family picture

family picture
We "want our very serve as HIS signature to all mankind so that all may know His work," Job 37:7

Friday, December 30, 2011

And So....

I am catching everyone up on all things adoption so if you didn't see the last two post go here and here

I went back into the kitchen.  I sent out a few emails and with in minutes our information had been received and was being prepared to go to the Chinese government asking for permission to adopt this child.  We made the deadline with time to spare. 

(Our sons referral picture)
Over the next few days there was much paper work to do and calls to be made with our placing agency and our homestudy agency.  It was going to be 2-3 weeks before we would receive pre-approval.  During this time we were also putting the final touches on our Homestudy to file for our I-800A.  I will attempt to explain,  China allows you to receive a referral before your homestudy is approved and before a Dossier has been submitted.  A family can accept a “special focus” child while their dossier is being worked on, these are kids that are harder to place like older kids and children with medical needs.  Once the home study is done, which takes 2-3 months, families can select either a special focus child, or children that have been on the databank 2 months or more, but are not necessarily special focus.  Once their dossier is logged in, they can take brand new referrals, special focus children, or a child that has been up two months or more.
We received our pre-approval on Nov.3 the same day we filed our I800A immigration paperwork.  At that time we were told that it would take 45 days for approval.  So during that time we were able to contact someone in China to get an update on our little boy.  We used ladybugs and love and were floored when 6 days later on Novemberr the 14th we received 19 photos, 2 videos, and the answer to all of our questions plus some information that we hadn't asked for. 

(Second week of November)
I called Ethan talking very fast and almost crying especially when our information said that the orphanage was sending  him for his next heart surgery.  I was not prepared for that.  We knew he was going to need more surgeries but we thought that they would wait till we brought him home.  I have to admit I was torn about it.  I replied to our contact and asked if we could have some more information about the time frame of the surgery and if we could contact the orphange after the surgery to check on him.  On the 21st. we found out that he had left on the 16th for the hospital and the orphanage would call our contact when he returned. 
It was a long December not knowing what was happening with our son.  On December 19th we were informed that our son was on his way back to the orphanage.  Such relief, such Thanksgiving,  we were so excited to here that he had made it through surgery and was on his way back.  We ordered a care package to be sent to him and a birthday cake for his birthday (his birthday is January 2).
So now we wait.  I will post again on the first for his Birthday since his birthday is January 2nd we will celebrate it on the 1st since China is 12 hours ahead of us.  See you then.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Not your typical day at the Farm! (part 2)

If you didn't read my last post I am bringing you guys up to speed on our lives particularly on the adoption front.  So if you need to catch up go here.

We returned to the car and started home and I started a great debate in my head.  Maybe I should check my phone one more time for a confirmation email from IAC or maybe I am being ridiculous and I should just go about my life and let it be.  You and I both know I checked my email.  There it was.  One of the doctors had gotten back with us and let us know that they were reviewing the file but because of the heart condition they had forwarded it to a cardiologist. As I informed E of the email, I knew it was possible that it could be tomorrow before we would know anything. There just was no way it could all get done. An immediate peace washed over me and I knew I would and could wait.
Upon arrival back home we started the evening routine. Time easily slipped by with all of the busy that takes place in our home. Before I knew it children were in their beds and E and I had sat down for the evening. My phone rang and to my surprise one of the doctors from the clinic was on the other end. The next few minutes were intense and the spiritual warfare had begun. Basically, this little guy’s heart condition could have a lot of variables. Best case scenario, he was not gonna be a track star. Worst case, his heart would get to tired and wear down. The next step would be a heart transplant. We were also told 25% of children on the transplant list do not receive a heart. I don’t know what really to say. I could barely hear over the what if’s going through my mind. Then, just like that the conversation was finished.  Some last nuts and bolts about the process, a question about which way we were leaning and then she left me with her cell number in case we needed her help.
During this call Leila woke up and seemed very frustrated calling out for me and E and I can honestly say I felt the same way.  In my heart I was calling out to my Heavenly Father for help and comfort.  Ethan and I were overwhelmed.  We got Leila settled down and then prayed to God for this child and then for our part in the child's life.  E and I have a very yin/yang type of relationship.  E was on one road and I on another.  To some this can seem confusing and frustrating all on it’s on but over the years we have learned how to navigate better (not perfect just better and with more respect).  Approaching a problem this way has allowed us to see problems that we might not have seen on our own.  There were many unanswered questions with this little guy, there was stress of our selfish ideas clashing with the faith we were being asked to have. 
You see in the beginning we signed our names to a medical condition form.  We discussed, prayed , researched the different medical conditions that we were open to in a referral.  We knew God wanted us to be able to protect our children, all of our children, including our 5th child.  We also knew we have limitations and want to be fair to all of our children, this means we were trusting God for his will to be done in our lives and asking him to help not abandon a child for selfish comfort reasons.  We confidently and peacefully drew the line at adding any extra lifting and hopefully being able to live independently when in adulthood.  We had said okay God we are willing to be given something hard and now we are faced with the reality of it. We had to step in faith, again and trust this was the will of our good and sovereign God.  We retired for the evening our hearts heavy with the knowledge of a little boy half way across the world, one who needed a mom and dad to love him.
My first thoughts when I woke up was of that sweet little guy I had seen yesterday.  Already part of my heart was in China with him.  I spent some quiet time in God's word and in prayer this morning.  I felt different this morning, there was such peace in my heart.  I had an ease in my step.  The confidence that I was taken care of and provided for.  It was all still hard, that had not changed, but I knew that my hesitations were not biblical.  My God had never questioned my health when He adopted me nor did He debate my faith as He sent His Son to die for my sins. I knew where I stood and now I waited with baited breath for E to weigh in.  
E woke up with indecision.  When E is making decisions he is quieter than usual and he was almost mute.  He spent the morning reading his Bible, and seeking wise counsel. Then it happened.  His phone started ringing, emails started flying, boss needed reports, and costumers needed things ASAP.  His work world was totally pulling him away from thoughts of China.  I can honestly say it was one of the busiest days he has had in the past six months.  He couldn't stop work to eat, or talk and the time was ticking by.  I entered his office to grab some things and asked him to find a stopping point so we could talk.  I smiled to myself as I left his office.  I could almost see the evil of this world swirling around his head trying to disrupt this decision.  Confirmation! I knew this was my child.  Thirty minutes later, I returned to E's office.  He is overwhelmed and I ask him, "What do you want me to do?"
As he swivels in his chair I am so thankful.  I can see it on his shoulders.   He is a man of great character he takes his job of leader of our household seriously.  That day he was wearing it on his broad shoulders.  "Send it all in."  , was all he replied.  Thank you God for this man's heart!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Not just a normal day at the farm.

October 11, Field trip to Old Baker Farm.  The kids kids had been looking forward to this trip all month.  It is kinda a confirmation that fall is here. They had counted it down on the family calender letting all within in the block know how much longer till this field trip.  Old Baker Farm is a real working farm.  There is so much to see, animals to look at and pet, corn mazes to walk through, cotton to pick, tractors to ride and of course your souvenier pumpkin. 
So we awoke that day to some clouds but nothing to cancel a trip over.  We rushed through a bit of school (and when I mean a bit, I mean more like, "Kids straighten up your desk!"), got ready, packed bags and started an early lunch.  Old Baker Farm is about an hour and a half away from here and because of our designated field trip time slot (this trip was taken with our homeschool group) and Ethan's conference calls we had a very tight schedule.  You and I both know that when you have a very specific schedule that is when you get a curve ball and that is just what happened.
As I was chewing up a large bite of my PB&J and the phone rang. 

"Hey, Kara it's T at All God's Children"
"Hey, how are you?"
              *****(I will spare you the small talk about paperwork and other adoption process)*****
"Hey Kara I don't know if you are ready to talk about this
but I wanted to talk to you about a referral"
My heart pumping and adrenalin going I stammer, "Uh, sure"
"Great, now I need to ask you to guard your heart with this one.
There is a lot of variablity in this condition and I want you to be
prepared for that when you look at the referral."
"Okay, sure we will"
"Alright, well, it is a little boy, 9 months with a heart condition.
He has had surgery but you will need to send this to an Internation Pediatrician
and have them take a look at it. I'm sending you the file now"

During this conversation I walk into E's office. Now if you know E you know that he does not like for you to come in to his office while he is on the phone ESPECIALLY when he is on a business call.  He immediatly spunn around in his chair and gave me the glare.  The one that says, "I'm trying to work here!" I didn't care and start writing down on his white board, AGCI. Referral. Boy. 9 month. Heart condition?
He picked up his cell phone and started texting.  I then received a text message while on the phone with T.  (This was one of those times that I am thankful for smartphones.)

Text from E:
"Lock him and send to IAC"
Text from Me:
"Locked forwarding you file"

I spent a few more minutes on the phone discussing this referrral and the plan of action that would need to take place.  I knew immediately it was gonna be hard.  Time was against, China allows you to "lock" a child for 72 hours.  In that time you decide if you are gonna accept the referral.  It sounds simple but it really isn't. Not only are you trying to decide and pray for the referral but there is other paperwork that has to be filled out, translated into Chinese, sent to China and have an International Adoption Pediatrician look at the file and get their consult. I should tell you now that T had also locked the child at midnight my time before she called that morning because she was afraid he wouldn't be on the databank (fyi: China has a databank that orphanages' use to post their adoptable children)  So I had already lost 8 hours.
I got off of the phone with T turned around and faced four perfect little ones staring back at me.  "Who was that Mommy." Elaina was the first to ask.  She is so aware of what is going on and bold about knowing.  Korinna stared back at me and I knew she knew.  She has a sense about her that just knows when something is afoot.  It is only then that Josiah notices the girls and then he quickly wants to be in the "know", whatever it might be.  "Just an adoption call. They needed some information that I had to ask Daddy about." I had not lied but not exactly told the whole truth.  I knew it was to early to say anything it is best to guard there hearts.  Adoption is warfare and this was a time in which I could sheild them from getting their hearts broken if things did not work out.  I quickly changed the subject.

"Okay let's load up and go to the farm."

As the kids finished I opened the document I had just been sent.  My stomach dropped as I looked into his sweet face and asked God, "Can this be my son?"
The ride was gray and drizzley.  I hovered over my phone trying to google everything in his medical file while veggie tales played in the background in an attempt to cover the grown up conversation in the front seat. I finally conceded that I could figure nothing out about this little guy.  The medical jargon was beyond my education and my life experience even if I may have more medical conditions in my house than most. We sent the file to the IAC (International Adoption Clinic) for a consult and waited.
Old Baker Farm was gray and cold and the kids loved it. Goats, chickens, turkeys,  fun, fun, fun.  The owners and staff really take the time to explain life on a real working farm.  In fact, Ethan and I enjoyed it just as much as the kids.  The added bonus, is it allowed us to relax and focus on other things while we waited for the IAC.

Leila with her suvenior pumpkin

 Elaina found the perfect one
 Haybale maze that ended up being a contest of great jumping skill.
Trying to conquer the great corn maze.

Picking Cotton

Back in the car and a quick stop at Hamburger Heaven for some grub.  (Remember we ate an early lunch). The only thing that was said about the earlier referral was a quick question about if we had received any emails.  It didn't look good.  There wasn't a confirmation email from the IAC and we knew the time was just ticking by.  I went on and prepared myself for the loss of this referral.  The loss of a child, my child.  There was just no way all of the paperwork can get in on time. 

We finished off our trip with yummy milkshakes and headed home.
To Be Continued......

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So What's it like?

Many of you have been asking me about homeschooling the three oldest so I thought I might stop and let you guys in on the good , the bad and the funny. 
The Good.

This year we have been able to join a local Co-op group.  This group meets on Fridays were they have a variety of classes that are taught for different age groups.  It is so wonderful to be with a group of families that I can share my struggles with and know that they have been through it, are going through it or will go through what I am going through.  There is such a great since of community, love and support.  So wonderful to have the sweet spirit for the mom/dads (yes we do have a few homeschooling dads) and the kids.  Just a little sample: Korinna's classes include quilting, playdough economics (a personal fav of mine), flat stanley and fitness.  Just to let you know, she sits out on fitness.  We did it one day and well let's just say I did not enjoy seeing her snack return.    Elaina's classes include, Character First, Intro to Chess, History Around the World, and Crafts.  Josiah's classes are: Bugs, Science Experiements, Aesop Fables (Totally glad about this one.  I had this in my lesson plan but dropped it when I realized they were doing it. SCORE), and Karate.  Korinna's class is all girls and Josiah's is mostly boys.  We have also been blessed with some divinely inspired placement.  Let me explain.  One of the mom's was a physical therapist before she started homeschooling and one of the mom's has a myraid of degrees that focus with special education, behavioral disorders and children who need physical adaptions and of course one mom is a wonderful friend of mine from church who has a background in Special Education and has extensive relationship with Korinna.  These three women have been working with me and learning Korinna.  The point to all of that is so that Korinna and I will be able to take a break from one another at Co-op.  I am so proud of Korinna how hard she tries to give to these women who are trying to give her some independece from me. I am so thankful and appreciative of this opportunity.  All of the kids and mom look forward to going everyweek.  It is just such a blessing.  I have met some great folks and pray that we can continue to build these friendships.
Besides Co-op, we have adjusted fairly easily.  Josiah has jumped right in.  He enjoys reading new material and LOVES HISTORY.  He even listens in on the girls and then asks about it all day.  One day he took one senctence in a lesson about Ann Boleyn and wanted to research it to death.  He now has a wonderful knowledge about English history in the 1500's, English Reformation, and Henry the VIII. 
Elaina is still blazing through her work though having to stop more and think.
Korinna and I have made a few adjustments and feel that we are getting more done but there is still more to figure out how to do.
The Bad:
Korinna has hit us with a bad attitude.  The first day of school she cried and whined for 4 hours.  After extensive questioning we discovered.  She did not want to go to school.  She was sad that summer was over. We have also had her just stop working which is not good.  I think she as come to a point in her life were she is trying to find anything that she can control.  We have struggled with her.  This is a very hard part of having a child who is trapped in a body that she can't make work the way she wants. 
Elaina is more distracted by Josiah than Josiah is distracted by her.  I tried to seperate them but that put them in two different places in the dining room and Korinna and I in the living room.  We will be changing that SOON.
Josiah needs to move more than the girls do.  This I knew but tried to push the limits which resulted in a bad day for Josiah and myself.  I had to adjust. 
The Funny:
The funny has been the newest adjustment in Blankenship Academy and that is mostly due to this little boy.

He is so funny. 
I find myself laughing out loud or either leaving the room so I won't fall out laughing. I decided to share a few of his fabulous moments here. One reason is so that I won't forget them and two they are high-larious.

Several weeks ago Elaina had a loose tooth and she would not let anybody pull it.  So, you know what we were left with.  I tooth that could just about do a 360 in her mouth.  It was gross.  She would talk and it would wiggle.  Don't even let me describe what would happen if she started giggling and opened that mouth with that dangling piece of bone. YUCK!
Anyway, we were knee deep in school one morning and making great time.  It had come to the time in the day when we go to the living room to do history and science. Josiah yells back over his shoulder at Elaina, "C'mon crazy tooth."  I couldn't hold it in.  BAHAHAHA!!  What timing, what delivery! That one just jumped up and slapped you in the face.  What is even funnier is that, NO ONE, I mean NO ONE had called her that, or mentioned that tooth.  Elaina has a tendency to be very sensitive when it comes to stuff like that so E and I just let it be but Josiah is merciless.   

One morning as we are trying to get started with school when I discover that Josiah is missing. "Josiah come to your desk let's get started."
Josiah enters with a swagger in his step and a twang in his voice. He does this in his attempt to make his maleness known in a house full of girls. "Mom, I have good news and bad news." I pause and hold my breath.  I can tell he is about to deliver something that could change the whole day's pace.  "What Buddy?"
"The good news is I found my plane.  The bad news is I don't wanna do my school work?"
I loved it.  It brought an immediate grin to my face and warmth in my heart.  Though we still had to do school work.

One day Korinna had a therapy appointment in Birmingham.  It was going to be a long day so Nana came down to help out with the Josiah and Elaina. As I was getting ready to leave I gave them the run down.  They were going to go to church with E and we would not be back by then so it was important that everyone knew what was expected of them.
I gave Elaina her instructions for getting ready for church with ease, eye contact and her finishing it all off with a "Yes Ma'am."
I turn to Josiah. "Josiah you can not wear that shirt you have to change your shirt, brush your teeth and your hair. Okay?" The whole time he is staring down at a toy in his hands so I question him, "Jos, What did I say?"
He takes a deep breath, looks at me and leans against the door frame.  "You said to change my shirt, brush my teeth. And, if you are here, I will ask you to brush my hair?"  Out of the corner of my eye I saw my MIL cover her mouth, turning around and walking away with a slight motion in her shoulders as if she was laughing.  I look at Josiah and notice he noticed her too.  He tilted his head to the side and grinned his cutest grin. 

With the recent weather change her in Tuscaloosa, I had to run up in the attic and switch out some clothes.  While I was doing this Josiah was standing at the bottom of the steps gazing up into the attic.  They are not allowed up there.  It is just to dirty, cramped and unsafe.  He yells up the steps, "Mom, what are you doing?"
At this point I am searching as quickly as possible trying to find the right clothes I had stored up there for Leila. I grunt out, "I'm looking for something." Josiah returns rather quickly, "Mom, Is the attic your Batcave?"

I tell you the boy is funny. During some of the most intense moments he can deliver the perfect dose of comedy.  So there it is the good, the bad and the funny.  That sums up life at Blankenship Academy.  We get a lot of work done, some days more than others but we are always learning, always loving and always laughing.

Adoption update:
We are finished with our homestudy.  It now will go to immigration for approval. This can take 30 to 60 days. We are told it is running more like 45.  I am praying for 30 but will be prepared for 50.  I don't even want to think of  60 days.  The rest of our paperwork needed for our Dossier is done.  We are now just waiting.  We are having a Boston Butt sale to raise funds for our adoption.  If you live in the Tuscaloosa or Birmingham area I hope you will consider ordering your Boston Butt.  They are 30 dollars and pick up will be October 29 at 2210 University Blvd.  from 9-12.  You can email Me please put Boston Butt in the subject line. Keep praying for our baby all the way across the world, keep praying for our family as we start preparing our hearts for another child and keep praying for God's hand to guide our paperwork.   

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What happened to my summer?

I know, I know, I am not keeping up.  I want to I write  an entry everyday but when night falls I can't bring myself to the computer to write.  Forgive me.  I wish I could sit down and right all of the funny things and stories that have been going on but that might take too much time away from the family which means I will miss those funny stories and memoriable moments.

We spent July fourth with our sweet friends the Hocutt's we have been watching the fourth of July fireworks with them for at least 8 years. 

I spent a crazy amount of time doing adoption paperwork after the kids went to bed. I wish I had a picture of this packet I dropped off.  I have to admit I was nieve in thinking that I could do it quickly.  Just to give you some idea there were fingerprints to do, lifestories from both of us (these were very detailed), birth certificates, marriage certificates, letters to write, online classes to take (a total of 8), forms to sign, things to decide, medical reviews, background checks in three states to apply for, contracts to sign, passports to apply for, pictures to send off and then we had many of these documents notorized. Finally these have been completed.

  Of course we had no lull in life. We had to turn around and start focusing on Rise Graduation.  It was Josiah's turn to walk down that aisle and stand and honor him as he graduates.  Have I mentioned how awesome that place is.  If I haven't it is. I made these super cool little gifts for his classmates.  On the bag they said, "Owl Miss You".

I'm sorry but that is the cutiest thing I've done in a long time.  I LOVE IT!!!
Then there was the big night.  Here is that funny boy showing everybody were he is headed for Kindergarten.
They do a several skits and Josiah's was precious if you don't mind me bragging.  His song was "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by Peter, Paul and Mary.  He was the ground crew and he lead the "airplane" in and unrolled the red carpet. Precious I tell you, Precious! I have tried to upload the video twice but to no avail. Drats!

Of course to make things interesting we let Elaina partake in a Summer Camp. Not the kind with bugs and tents but the kind with music and dancing.  Little E took part in a muscial camp.  This was put on by the Community Musical School based out of the Music School on the University Campus. (Another great program) The musical was Beauty and the Beast and I have never seen such wonderful milk maids. 

(she was also a knife in the "Be Our Guest" scene)
I know what you are thinking, "What about the other 2 kiddos?"  Well they are the only ones who really got a relaxing summer.  Korinna and I spent a lot of time playing, running errands, watching TV and letting Leila entertain us. Here is just a few of summer nonsense and mayhem.

Daddy Daughter Date

Attempting to play Memory

We really did have a great summer.  I just have to remind myself to stop and sit in the floor with the kids and listen to their stories and have a conversation with them.  I love learning their personalities and finding out more about them.  I want to remember these times.  I don't want to be so caught up in the busy life part that I forget how to live in the everyday mundane part. 
I hope to share with you again soon.  Until then I hope you go sit in the floor with your kids or if you don't have kids then please encourage a mom or dad to go sit in the floor with their kids.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jam packed July

You know most people start off their July with a BANG but here in the Blankenship household we are blessed to celebrated for a whole new reason.  This will be a multiple post type thing because like the title said we had a "Jam Packed July". The 3rd of July is this awesome girls birthday.  Rin turned 9 this year (if you could bear with me and just pretend I had her when I was 12 so I won't feel so old. I would appreciate it)
She wanted a candy buffett and of course I made it happen.  We ended up will a little something like this.
super cute yarn wreath (I actually made this for summer but I had Rin's bday in mind when I made it)

 The goodnes of Candy
For those of you who know I have been going to Hobby Lobby in Birmingham with MK about every 3 weeks since the Tuscaloosa one was destroyed.  This cake stand I scored for next to nothing.  It was originally red with black something on it.  Nothing a white can of spray paint can't handle.  I made the trim from ribbon, double-sided tape and paper. 

I found beautiful lunch bags in the same colors Rin was using for her party @ Wal-mart. (Yes I took 3 out of four kids with me and all I can say is that I live to tell the tale.) I used scrapbook stickers to personalize them and then let her guests fill up their bags with candy to take home. 

Yummy Goodness!

These girls are my girls, there mommas are my support group.  I am so thankful that we have been able to share this season of live with each other.  I am so thankful for these girls and that they love Rin not matter what.  In fact the tall one probably has better coping skills with Rin's condition than most of the Sunday School Teachers. 
But I digress
I get so excited in celebrating this little girls birthday.  What a joy I have having her as my child.  What joy she brings to my life.  I would not be the same women, mom, daughter and wife if it is wasn't for her life.  I pray that God continues to use her and draws her close to His heart.  I pray for health and healing from the symptoms of Rett Syndrome.  I pray that she will continue to change the world like she has changed me.  All while bringing the glory to our heavenly Father.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

You Know You Gotta Have One!

Well folks, we are knee deep chest deep over our head in adoption paperwork.  As we get closer to completing another phase of paperwork we come closer to another fee payment.  Ethan and I walked into this adoption knowing that we would have to raise the funds for some of the expenses.  So below you will find some of the things we are selling.  Each item is 20 dollars.  I plan to make a order on Thursday so lets get those orders in, You know you want one or 100!! If you are not able to purchase then there are still ways you can help. 
  • Pass on to all of your freinds (post a link to the blog or on your fb or the good ole fashion way by calling a few freinds on the phone)
  • Pray that God will continue to provide for our family as we pursue this adoption
First up on our fundraising tour is this lovely Ugandan beaded necklace hand made from recycled paper.  This purchase helps a women make a sustainable income for her family and helps bring home our child.
You can wear them several different ways.

 I love these and wear them a lot.  I also will wrap them around my wrist about 5 times for a bracelet. 

Second is a Navy t-shirt.  It is great for guys and gals.  I love that you get to spread the message of the orphan crisis while staying comfrotable.  I think it is most awesome. 

Last but certainly not least is a ladies t-shirt.  I heart this one too and while I was trying it on for the picture I decided this is what I will be wearing tomorrow.  So don't be surprised when you see me in this outfit. (Unless I spill coffee on it or get kid crazy on it).

So since I know you want one let me tell you how to make one of these pretties yours. Just send me an e-mail @ with the subject "Adoption Fundraiser" then let me know your order and your plan of payment.  I hope in the next few days I will post some buttons on the side so that you can make your purchases there. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Some of my readers might find this as old news and some might find it new but either way it is time to post that Ethan and I are expecting.


I realize that this is not the ultrasound you were expecting but we are not your typical expecting.  We are adopting!!!! 
When I was only 9 years old my mother decided to open up our home to foster children.  Ever since those sweet babies were in my home I have been forever changed.  That experience opened up my heart for adoption and I have often made comments to Ethan, "that I wanted to adopt".  After Elaina was born I started researchining adoption knowing Ethan was not thinking adoption was in our future.  I tucked those thoughts away in my heart and continued on with the life that we had been blessed with.  Over the next few months and years we discovered, our oldest daughter had a nerodevolpmental disorder called Rett Syndrome, we were blessed with two more children and struggled through job changes.  During this time I did not know if adoption was in our future but I kept praying.

After our fourth child, Leila was born I started praying more fervently about adoption and asked God that if this was not His will then please take this desire away from me.  Instead, God fueled my passion for adoption and the orphans and widows.  God changed my mind set about adoption and started molding my heart to see the orphans the way He sees them not the way Kara sees them.  I started to see my own adoption in God through Christ.  God worked on my heart, molding me and growing me closer to Him.  This also grew my passion for adoption for our family.  Still not knowing where Ethan was I knew that God would have to work in his heart as well.  I prayed and God answered again in ways that only God can.  I saw Ethan starting to struggle and wrestle with God over adoption for our family.  After praying together and asking close friends to pray for us Ethan also felt that adoption was God's call to our family.  We are stepping out in faith to follow God what we believe is God's will for our life.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Over the past year we have come to realize that we were being prepared and asked to live a radical life.  Though God doesn't ask everyone to adopt He does command us to take care of those less fortunate and in trying to live an obedient life we prayed and said how does God want us to respond to the widows and orphans in this world?  It was this question that led us to start seeing adoption as a perfect picture of how our heavenly father adopted us into His eternal family through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.  We "want our very serve as His signature to all mandkind so that all may know His work," Job 37:7.  Adoption is providing a way for us to spread the gospel, minister to the less fortunate and show the love of Christ.  We have decided to follow our Heavenly Father through growing our family through adoption as well as journeying through an experience and trusting that we will grow in our relationship with Christ and bring Him all the glory.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Famous Last Words...

You know how God has a way of redirecting you?  The days that followed the last post was just that, a total redirection, reprioritizing, moving, scolding and changing of my heart.  You see when I posted last I was in a little bit of of a complaining mood.  I had spent many days in very small exam room with all 4 children. This family had 2 cases of strep, 1 REALLY bad year infection, a horrible cold, a check up with a gastrointerologist, 4 OT, 6 communication therapy, and 2 PT appointments and numerous other appointments, activities and responsibilites that I decided and scheduled for this family. I was tired, cranky and selfish.  To add to the chaos of the month on April 15 just 10 houses down there was a tornado that came through it was small compared to the damage of recent storms but it was really close and a little concerning to me.  My friend and fellow blogger MK had some damage and you can check out her posts about  here.  All to say I wasn't in the most relaxed state of mind.  Then that "redirection" I spoke about happened. 
You see just 2 days later on April 27th I woke up at approximatly 5:12 a.m to tornado sirens.  I jumped up litteraly jerked kids out of bed and threw them in the hallway.  E was not at home and my heart was pounding and my mind was in the same state as the weather, a tornado.  I kept a calm exterior and just kept trying to reassure the kids over, and over again.  By 5:45 we were okay but a neighborhood about 15 minutes from here had been hit and there were several people injured, and lost homes.  Someone from my church lives in that neighborhood and has started picking up the pieces.  We then began the wait.  You see we were scheduled for more tornados that afternoon.  I was a nervous wreck.  My heart never stopped pounding as the local weather men and women became very serious and our state decided to go into a state of emergency BEFORE the weather came.  All of the information we were given was preparing us for conditions that were favorable for "Extreme Devestastion".  But what "Extreme Devestation" meant was completely left up for your interpretation. Schools and business were closed and very little activity was going on around town even though it was a beautiful day.  Breakfast came and went....Beautiful.  Lunch came and went....Beautiful.  I attempted to get the kids down for a nap since we had been awake since the break of dawn but it was hard with the air being filled madness and mayhem tension.  Shortly after lunch we WATCHED a tornado rip through the small town Cullman.  I decided at that time it would be best for us to weather out the storm in the basement of a sweet neighbor and fellow church family.  Josiah does not like storms to begin with and I could tell he was having a rough time dealing with the situation.  Well, to be transparent I was too.  I was a wreck inside. I had even seriously thought about driving south and trying to miss all of the storms but I feard that E would think I was a nut job so I stayed and waited. Since E was still not home and was in lots of meetings in another state he was oblivious to what we were dealing with.
Our town was scheduled to start seeing things at approximatly 4:30 p.m.  At 4:00 p.m. I packed up a bag of snacks, toys and other things to occupy the kids and headed down the street.   Approximatly 12 hours after being awakened by the tornado sirens I sit in the basement watching images from a tower camera. I couldn't believe my eyes.  A tornado, a BIG TORNADO.  It was unreal.  I was amazed, shocked and somewhat disbelieve.  I tried to text Ethan but was unable. I watched it come down 15 street (approximatly 2 miles from my home) and then we lost power.  We moved to the safest place in the basement putting the kids under a table, trying to remain calm.  We listened in on a battery powered radio but due to the basements structure we were struggling to get a signal.  After 15 to 30 minutes my phone starts going off.  Txt message after text message.
  • Jamie: Were are You?
  • Hanna: Are you okay?
  • Madison: Are you okay?
  • Mom: Are you okay?
  • Kevin: Were are you are you okay?
  • Kelsey: Are you okay?
  • Lisa
  • Stacey
  • On and on
Then the missed calls,
  • Mom
  • Nana (MIL)
  • Hannah
  • Jamie
  • Casey
I tried desperatly to return calls and texts but couldn't.  What was going on? I had no communication and had no idea what those people were seeing but they were freaking out.  Shortly after that first band of text messages and missed calls another wave came through, except this time the seriousness and tension had increased.  I couldn't get out any information to anyone.  Finally after about 45 minutes I decided to leave the basement and head to my home quietly praying, PLEASE don't let there be any damage.  I tried the first and quickest way but was blocked by a tree and as I was backing out I noticed the the sounds. There was only a faint sound of ambulances.  That's IT!!!  I turned around and headed out and around my neighborhood and noticed a few more down trees.  I then got to my house and found not even a limb, pinecone or leaf.  I walked in and started trying to feed the kids it was past 6:30 and I needed to start coming up with a plan. 
1st : Are the kids and I safe.
2nd: I need to contact these people and let them know I am okay the number of people looking for me is now in the 20's
3rd: Are we gonna stay here and where do we go.
No more than I get these thoughts together when my cell phone rings.  I jumped because I am amazed that it is even working.  I look down and see "E". It is then I fall apart.  I answer and give him a very quick run down.  I also ask him to call everybody and let them know I am okay.  I can tell from his voice that there is part of him that thinks I am blowing this out of proportion.  He is up north and he does not have any information about the goings on here.  Well, over the next few minutes as I wait in my now dark house with 4 kids who-know-something-has-happened-but-are-unaware-to-the-magnitude run around playing with flashlights, E discovers the distruction.  TUSCALOOSA IS LEVELED.  With every call he makes he is given more info.  One of his calls was with his boss who has a daughter at the University.  They were not able to get in touch with her and did not know if she was okay.  E informed him that I was having horrible problems with communication and tried to comfort them.  When he called me back he told me he was glad that we were finding a way to communicate because his boss had not been able to communicate to there daughter.  I quickly said, "She is fine she was able to get me a text after the storm asking me if I was ok." E replied with a little passion, "Are you sure it was after." After I confirmed it was after he pretty much hung up on me to call his boss. 

These are the moments that culminated after the devestating tornados ripped through Tuscaloosa. 

What is left of my church.  (1.5 miles from my home)

looking at the church from a couple of blocks away (usually block by homes and business)

The Hobby Lobby (2.25 miles from my home)

Twenty three families from my church lost everything they owned another 2 dozen had severe damage to there homes.  This is our new life: Rubble.  It has been 41 days since the tornado and much about my life and daily routine has changed.  I don't even know how to explain it.  The first couple of weeks the kids bombarded me with questions.

  • "Mom did Chuckie Cheese get hurt by the tornado?"
  • "Mom did our church get built yet?"
  • "Mom can we go to Taco Casa?"
  • "Did (insert a friends name here) house get hit by the tornado?'
  • "Mom are there gonna be another tornado?"
  • "Mom why did God send the tornado?"
  • "Mom what do you mean God allowed the tornado?"
Oh so many questions!!! 

This is hard.   This is redirection.  There are many needs that need to be met and my church family and I are in for the long haul trying to literally sift though the rubble and pick up the pieces while asking God to to guide us and show us what he wants us to do.  So I ask you two questions.
What are you gonna do? 
Do you know Him?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Josiah's Birthday Party

I thought I would share Josiah's birthday party and what we did on his birthday on today's blog.  I know I am a little late but we have had a very Adventerous April and well let's just say the that April has come in like a lion and I am hoping it will go out like a lamb. It still seems like we are roaring a little to much for my taste.

SO, we decided to have Josiah's birthday party on Saturday the 19th. I think this was the first BIG birthday party we have had for Josiah.  That doesn't mean he has had a crappy birthday party by any means in fact the last 2 parties were full of fun and lots of laughter.  This one we chose to have at our house and let him invite all of his friends from Rise and any of other friends from church.  Then we started thinking.  Okay, well "I" started thinking. When you have a big party like that you don't always get to spend quality time with your family.  What to do? What to do? Well this is what you do, Josiah had his party from 2-4 and then we had family from 5 til.  I realize it seems a little over board and a little to much but I knew I could do it and it would totally rock. So I started compiling my to-do list and 2 pages later I started working, planning and checking things off.

I made the invites from left over cards, scrapbook stuff and my computer.  I must admit that they looked smashing.  Unfortunatly I can't seem to find a picture of one so you will just have to trust me.

So you will quickly noticed I Josiah chose a superhero theme.  I had seen were my friend Lisa did a superhero party for her little boy and it was the inspiration of Josiah's.  We did a Batcave under the playset, a Vanquishing the Villans with silly string and pictures of villans through out the backyard .  I had my friend MK make the letters for my signs.  She has one of those supercool, awesome, amazing Cricut's.  I went over there one day and she cut my letters while I enjoyed two of her sweet girls.  Rin went with me but found a cozy spot in MK's husbands bean bag and took a snooze. I think taking care of her kiddos while she did that was a perfect trade off.  I wish I could say I had a picture of all of the signs she made but I suck and I don't.  This one was on the mailbox along with some balloons. 

I made the cupcakes and the cupcake toppers.  I made 46 cupcakes and when the last person left Saturday night I had 7. The next morning I had 3. Someone I think had a hankering for some cupcakes in the middle of the night.

A funny side story.  We thought we might rent a bouncy thing for the day but when we checked into them we had a little sticker shock and decided that we just couldn't do it.  So, what do you replace it with.  Well a case of silly string of course. Now we did give the kids a couple of rules.
  1.  No silly string on the patio. It is a safe zone.
  2.  If someone says stop you have to stop
Those kids had a blast and so did the grown ups.  In fact, ummm, E and I kinda got into a little duel.  I will admit here on this blog that "He WON".  I think he unloaded a whole container of silly string in my hair.  It was HORRIBLE.  (MK if you have that pick you should totally upload it).

I decorated with primary colors and grounded it in black.  I also used a lot of Josiah's superhero figurines.  I first had the idea that I would make capes for everyone but after watching the movie "Incredibles" for the hundredth time I was reminded of the dangers of capes.  So, "No Capes!"  (I hope when you read that you said it the same way the character Edna Mode did ) I then totally scored when I found these superhero books at the Dollar Store.

It was a an awesome party if I do say so myself.  Not because I totally rocked the do-it-yourself decorating thing but because I couldn't have imagened spending it with anyone else.  Family and good friend some old and some new.  It was perfect. So to make you totally sick lets look at the pictures from the party and of my sweet boy.