OUR PLANS MULTIPLIED
Thursday, March 31, 2011
I do have degenerate disks and I also have some bone spurs, but nothing that is at a crisis level, at least for now. I'm excited to be able to focus on more exciting things, even if I'm doing it while I rest on an ice-pack.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Today I received an email from a large adoption agency that does Ethiopia and Uganda. The lady stated that she didn't think Uganda would be a good country for us due to the number of children that we currently have (if I had a dollar for every time I've been told that!!!) Apparently, they have one family that has seven children and are having a pretty rough time getting through court. I guess God is answering our prayer to make His will concerning adoption clear. This "door-slamming" happened to us several times before Liberia opened in 2006 as well, so we will plug on until we are sure of the direction He has for us.
In the meantime, there are kids around here to pay attention to. This is Elijah's friend, Summer. On occasion he calls her "my baby, Summer." I think he's a bit confused since we've often spoke of getting him a baby someday.
They were parked on the counter to help confine the stickiness caused by the cantaloupe dripping off their chins.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Julia sleeps on a loft bed. Every night she hauls Gus up the ladder to bed with her; the amazing thing is that he generally just lays down and stays with her. He really helps make bed-time less traumatic for Julia.
Bad picture (with the shadow), but such a good kitty.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I did not lay grass-seed today, since they are calling for snow tonight and tomorrow (how annoying towards the end of March in Virginia.) We also did not plant our fruit trees since we are working on securing a truck-load of horse manure to plant them with. I guess we'll be out there as soon as the snow thaws.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tomorrow is supposed to be clear, so it is possible that I'll be riding around and around in circles spreading grass seed for the 5th or 6th year in a row. In the beginning, we spread with a spreader pulled by the 4-wheeler. Last year, I did it with the push spreader since the 4-wheeler was broken. This year, we are pulling a new spreader with the riding mower. Every year I hope that this will be our banner grass growing year! I also have to clip all the guinea's wings and attempt to keep them in the chicken fence for a while since they will just eat all the fresh grass-seed before it has a moment to grow. They actually recently stuffed themselves in the left-over grass seed bag in the barn and ate 25 pounds of grass seed!
Here's proof that I actually was in D.C. with JD and the kids last weekend -
It's supposed to dip into the 20's tonight - not exactly the spring weather that we were blessed with in D.C. last week.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
After paying $11 an hour to park on Friday evening, we decided to take public transportation. On Saturday morning, we took the hotel shuttle to the metro, the metro to the spot that it shut down for repair, a bus around the construction area, another metro into D.C., switched line colors and then headed to the zoo. All together, the travel still took almost two full hours! There is really just no quick way to get around D.C. (or New York city!) Of course, we had to reverse all that to get back in the evening.
Julia and Elijah were train riding pros by the end of the first day! There were several times that we boarded packed trains and didn't have seats. There was one especially crowded ride that I had to hold a folded stroller with one hand and the pole with the other, Julia held the pole herself and little Elijah just held on to my leg for dear life. If you are wondering, there were always able bodied men sitting in seats watching the kids and not once did one ever offer their seat to me or the kids. I'm afraid chivalry in the District of Colombia is a thing of the distant path. (There was one man on the first bus that did offer me his seat; I had no idea at that point how rare that would be.)
Julia and Elijah got along so well and really enjoyed each others company. I don't think the "normal" family realizes how easy it is to just juggle two kids. We had several people comment how bad they felt for us with the kids and the strollers up and down the escalators and on and off the trains, (we had to unload and fold them each time.) We usually didn't tell them that this was our idea of a peaceful break!
Look at Julia holding Elijah's hand while we waited for the train.
While we saw tons of stuff, the high-light for the kids was the D.C. Zoo. It was perfect weather and while we had been there a year ago, they didn't remember much. When we told Elijah that we were going to the zoo, he jumped up and down and yelled, "that's a good idea!"
Here's Elijah leaving the zoo; he held in there until we saw the last animal - the kamodo dragon. While Elijah was completely enamoured with it, Julia broke the bad news to him that it didn't have wings, so she didn't think it could fly. He didn't care, he's still asking to go back and see the "modo" dragon.
As I'm finishing typing this, Elijah is standing by asking to please do back to the zoo now. I realize how my greatest joy comes from watching them do things more than doing things myself.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Alei just finished a book, entitled Trust by Lydia Brownback, from her College Plus advisor. I just started reading it and this was in the introduction -
"Some of us don't realize that we are trying to pull the wrong yoke. We reach toward dreams and goals designed to further God's kingdom and to bring blessing, and our prayer requests are for good things. But how do we react when things don't go according to plan? If, when our plans don't work out or our prayers aren't answered in the way or time we think best, we get frustrated and impatient and worried and fearful, that's a tip-off that something is off-kilter. All wrong views about God result in anxieties and fears about life.The health of our vertical relationship - our relationship with God - will always determine the health of our horizontal relationships - those we have with people, with life, and with ourselves. So the first thing to get straight is our view of God.
Since God overarches everything, we must view our lives and everything that happens to us through that lens. But we often don't. Instead we allow our circumstances to shape our view of God...Sometimes when we cry out in our pain, asking God to make himself known, we can't find him. He seems faraway and distant, and we conclude that he just isn't as good and kind and powerful as we had thought. Our weak faith is shaken, and we wind up distancing ourselves from God, because our own means of comfort and the people who love us seem safer."
We thought we'd been relying on God, but the truth is, we'd actually been relying on our idea of God and on what we were hoping God would do for us to make our lives happier. What we don't see is that disappointments and other difficulties that seem to threaten our faith are really blessings in disguise. They are designed by God to draw us closer to him, to enable us to see him as he really is, and to dispel our misconceptions about him and our wrong understanding of what it means to be a Christian."
I have so much to learn...
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I have lived in constant fear of another episode like 2004 or 2006. Since I've had three "flare ups" in the last year, I went back to the ortho. doctor that I've seen since 2006. He did new x-rays to compare the disk to my x-rays from five years ago, and sure enough, the disk is not holding up. He basically said there wasn't anything that he could do other than surgically fuse that spot. Even more alarming to me than that, is that I have three other disks in my neck that are at risk of herniation. I'm going for a new MRI next week, so he can predict how close they are to rupturing.
Needless to say, I've found this whole chain of events pretty depressing. At this point, I have booked a consultation at a laser surgery center in early April. I don't know if my neck is eligible for laser surgery, but it is a far less invasive procedure and doesn't require near as long to be back on my feet.
Although there is never good timing for all of this, it's really leaving some things hanging out there - of course, the new adoption plans, enrolling my kids and/or teaching at Classical Conversations, even knowing how much child care help I can offer to the mom that spent last weekend at our house. So much is balancing on my neck at the moment, but I'm assuming God knew that when he presented all these other "opportunities."
Since you don't want to see pictures of my neck, I'll show the three hour play-dough fest we had yesterday around the kitchen table. I sure don't mind the mess when it entertains so many kids for so long!
Here are the play-dough food creations; the chocolate do-nut looked good enough to eat.
Monday, March 14, 2011
We are, however, back to everyone sleeping in the correct bed, other than Julia. JD had to leave on travel for the week and that is always enough to throw Julia into the depths of despair at bedtime. I thought that I would help her out and let her have a turn sleeping on the inflatable bed that was set up on Alyssa's floor. She was so tired at 8:00 p.m. that I got her into bed. I tried everything! By 11:00, she had been in the inflatable bed, her bed, my bed and the couch. She had also ripped all the sheets off of several beds and was still screaming. At times like this, I know we are dealing with way more than just strong will. In spite of her passing the attachment testing in Charlottesville last year, my gut tells me that she is suffering from attachment challenges! Today I called two closer places to at least have an evaluation done; I really think we need some therapy or something. (If she doesn't qualify for it, maybe they can provide the rest of us with some advice for dealing with hours of high-pitch glass-shattering screaming, because our nerves were a bit shot my the end of the session last night!)
I'd also like to point out that JD never sees these episodes, although he has heard many of them across the phone lines. She just doesn't act like this when he is home. And from what I've heard, it's even worse if we are both gone. I'm supposed to head north to meet JD for the week-end this Friday. I really hope it improves this week because I"m not sure that I would even leave her with a sister I didn't like!
So, that's my question of the hour. Do you leave attachment challenged children that freak out anyway? Or do JD and I never go anywhere without Julia because she has a tough time? She adores my sister and my sister is the one here with her, so it's not like I'm leaving her in a strange environment or anything.
Parenting can be so tough!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
You would think that my four years of foster parenting would prepare me for helping families that function is great dysfunction, but I'm totally out of my comfort zone with situations like this. I'm not sure what our role will be after tomorrow, but I'm sure that we will still have a role. It's been a remarkable witness to see the Christians at my husband's company come together are provide this family everything they need to start a new life. We are praying that she sees Jesus in it and will come to know Him through this difficult time in her life.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Please pray for us!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
And to accompany that urgent request, here's a few birthday photos. We had a great time eating as a family at Chili's. For obvious reasons, Chick Fil A is the fanciest restaurant that my children are accustomed to, so it was a nice treat for everyone. After that, we headed to Aunt Deb's house for cake and ice-cream; she even had a few friends that came for the event.
We are planning on having a father/son camp-out in honor of Ben's birthday in a month when it warms up a bit. He is very excited about the idea.
Happy Birthday again Ben!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
My second area is one of my children. Sometimes, I feel like we have made progress and other times, it really looks hopeless. I really hate how negatively it can impact the other children in the family as well.
And thirdly, the Ethiopian adoption realm isn't looking too promising right now. They are reportedly cutting adoption processing by 90%. At that rate, it looks like a new adoption could take up to three years; that is not good when we are often talking about medically fragile children that desperately need to make it "home" to be treated.
Lastly, I really dislike how I often allow my joy to be sucked out by the circumstances around me. I'm trying to not allow these situations to steal my joy...I'm trying!
As for the right now - it's Ben's 10th birthday and Chili's decided to have a today only special that allows two kids to eat free for each paying adult. Thank you Chili's and happy birthday Ben! (pictures will come.)
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Here are my 15 guineas wandering and eating. We are down to exactly half of what I ordered last year, thanks to Charlie the secret chicken killer. They wander and peck around all day and fly back into the coop at night on their own. I got them because they eat ticks and keep snakes away, both valuable services in my opinion.
We had a few regular chickens that needed their flight feathers clipped to stay in the fence. I armed myself with the scissors and sent Ben to catch them one by one. In this picture, Julia is blocking them for Ben.
We decided on planting four apple trees along the retaining wall in the backyard and dug the holes for them. I'm planning on planting two pear and two peach in the front yard, but I have to have the power people come mark the lines before we dig their holes.
This is a copy of the email that we sent our to friends and family yesterday - we are requesting direct prayer on our behalf in the area of our future adoption. Granted, this is not a "are we going to adopt" - it's a "do we start now" request. If you are led, won't you prayer for us when we come to mind.
Hello family and friends,
We are asking prayer for wisdom and direction for our family. We know that God directly answered a prayer a few years back that we are supposed to adopt a special needs child from Ethiopia. On Monday, we were finally able to close on our house, making this the first realistic opportunity we have had to move forward with a new adoption. We both desire to be in the center of God’s will, not only with the subject of adoption but in everything. Compounding the challenge is the awareness that we have for the necessity to save a child (or children) and contrasting that with being good stewards of our financial resources. Without the focus of being in the center of His will, which we are still practicing, you can imagine the emotional roller coaster that we are experiencing.
We really need prayer to know if we are supposed to step out in faith and begin the process now or if we are supposed to start saving towards it in the future. There are early components in the adoption process that have to be complete before we could even claim a child that God would lead us to adopt, but if we were told that the time is not now these parts would expire and have to be redone. Unfortunately, the cost of Ethiopia has really sky-rocketed, mostly due to the requirement of making two trips per adoption. We can't imagine delaying much beyond next year and even then, the amount we could save up would only be a small fraction of the needed funds.
We are specifically petitioning God in prayer to show us if we are supposed to step out and do what we can now or take a step back and continue to prepare for a future time that he would lead us to begin the process. Thanks for praying with us in this vital area for the orphan/s that we know we are called to bring home one day.
The Foringer family
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Let us know...
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Today I made five trips to homeschool co-op; usually it's four on Tuesday and four on Wednesday. While I'm actually quite happy with this co-op, I'm still contemplating putting the children in Classical Conversations next year. I may do the three day training in June before I actually make up my mind and hand over the big bucks.
On a very happy note, we actually closed on our house yesterday just as planned. There were also no hidden costs at closing, like we have encountered once before. At the end of next month we should close on our re-fi on our rental home. So, that really is one huge thing off our mind.
There is little on my mind at the moment other than an adoption. I still don't feel like I have real peace with starting an adoption immediately nor do I have peace with delaying; we are going to be spending serious time praying and fasting over a few major decisions that our family needs to make.
In the meantime, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and praying for wisdom to know what we are supposed to do.