Celebrate A Simple Life

it is no bad thing

The Brown & Pink of it (book reccomendation) October 24, 2008

Filed under: random,reading — Ellie @ 11:00 am
I would like to highly reccomend the book “One Blood” by Ken Ham, Carl Wieland, and Don Batten to any person who lives in a world where there is confusion, predjudice, and bitterness about ‘race’. I have acually been thinking about this topic for some time, but quite frankly I don’t know if my thoughts are clear enough to write a blog about ‘race’. The other day, Ellie (the Ethiopian daughter of a friend), who is very fond of Josiah, was sitting and playing with him. Then she asked me “Did he grow in his mommy’s tummy?” [that means ‘is he a birth child or adopted?’] I thought, what in the world? Didn’t she see that he is brown & his Mommy is pink? And that made me wonder- does she know? I know that Ellie notices that he is the same colour as Isaac & herself, but what does that really mean in her four-year-old head? Anything? It makes me wish that things could be so simple for adults as they are for her- but they’re not. It’s more complicated than that, because we have made it more complicated.

What exactly is racism? It is rooted in the evolutionary belief that there is more than one ‘race’, and there still are many, many sad people in the world who- knowingly or not- believe that God somehow is more proud of one people group than another. There are, sadly, still people out there who would love a vanilla Josiah- exactly the same except the amont of melanin- but will not love the chocolate one. The reason I say ‘sadly’ is because I feel their loss everyday. The reason this hurts so much is because- though of course we are not a brown family- we’re just not quite as white as we used to be (isn’t that fun?). While I do not care in the least what people who don’t know think of us, it does hurt to have this small glimpse of what Josiah will have to live with. Anyway, read the book & try not to get bogged down in the scientific parts (I actually found them intensely interesting & very important to understanding the differences in people groups). Here’s a link where you can buy the book (or if you see me often you can borrow it!): http://www.amazon.com/One-Blood-Biblical-Answer-Racism/dp/0890512760?tag=dogpile-20

 

On Adoption pt 4 October 23, 2008

Filed under: adoption,faith,JOSIAH! — Ellie @ 4:23 pm
this is my attempt at telling Josiah’s story… in a sketchy, not very thought out sort of way. Maybe later I’ll try again.

Josiah’s Story

For years and years, my family liked the thought of adoption more than we liked the idea of actually doing it. Before Mercy was born, we came very close to adopting but we didn’t. We didn’t. I think that happens to alot of people…

About a year ago Momma went through & cleaned out all the old baby stuff. She said it made her a little sad but she was also excited about the ‘next chapter’ (we always find ourselves thinking in terms of books around here). After that, we didn’t have ANYTHING left. We assumed Mercy would be the youngest & so we wouldn’t need any of that stuff anymore… Then God spoke to Momma & Dad’s (and all of our) hearts, ‘begining’ with Isaac (the son of a family we know). Shortly after the Mathenia’s brought this wonderful boy home we had their family over to supper, and that was one of the last times we had Mrs. Amber over to our house. It is so strange to think how God used that one Sunday afternoon to change our lives for ever & ever. It is strange to wonder, if we had not had them over, wether we ever would have adopted at all? You never know when God is using you. Make the most of every opportunity. God used Mr. Anthony & Mrs. Amber (and sweet Ellie & Isaac) in an amazing way that day to change our family’s veiw on Adoption- and I didn’t have to wait until Monday when Momma called Life Choices for the first time (‘just for some imformation’) to see what was happening in Momma & Dad’s heads.

We did not find out what people meant when they talked about waiting at first. We recieved our initial paperwork from Life Choices & Momma & Dad started working on filling it out- there is ALOT they want you to do! And we began our homestudy- our first visit was the 17th of January. We had to have all sorts of medical things (tests, exams, be sure no one has TB, so on and so on), Momma & Dad had to write seperate bio’s and fill out about 75 million pages of paper work, and on, and on.

Some opposition came & stung our hearts, but it could not undo what God had done in us. Our enthusiasium could not be quenched. During the first few months, Mrs. Amber always had words us encouragement… but after God took her home, it suddenly felt like all of our support was ripped away. It felt like we were alone, like no one was left who ‘approved’ of us adopting a child. When we realised what we had lost in Mrs. Amber, we almost let ourselves believe that no one else in the world cared in a positive way about adoption. It hurt, and (I can only speak for what my heart felt) honestly if it were not for God, who came & filled that hole, I do not know if Josiah would ever have come. I wrote in Josiah’s book (which I kept for him throughout his adoption) after Mrs. Amber died: “In my human mind, this was not supposed to happen. Mrs. Amber was suppsed to appear in these pages, her smile was supposed to encourage us on our adoption journey. … She was supposed to someday hold our baby like we held Isaac [when he first came]. … Help me to trust You, God! … ” and later: “[we are] feeling a bit alone right now… God gave us one person who [we knew] was truly supportive, who never failed to ask what was going on, who answered questions and she seemed like the person who really even cared … and then took her back away from us… I will never forget the emcouragement we recieved from [them] those first few months. … I guess we should not expect everyone to want to talk about our adoption [all the time], but still… it seems as though we don’t have anyones support… but I know it’s not that way… …” Then I talked about some specific ways how God seemed to send encouragement- begining with a specific thing that happened the Sunday night following Mrs. Amber’s going Home. We foud that God would not have us relying on Mrs. Amber’s support. We were to trust Him fully. He was our support, as we found when we leaned on Him. Mrs. Amber was not the center of our adoption story. God was, and we were made to remember it again.

Meanwhile, we were continuing to head toward a new child slowly but surely. Slowly, because we could only move forward as the funds were provided- but surely, because God always provided.

It was the beginning of March when ‘the’ call first came. We did not have a completed homestudy & had not yet submitted out Adoption application to Life Choices when we first recieved a call about a baby girl, who they asked us to pray about. She had several health risks (her birthfamily had a history of mental illnesses) and they wanted to know if Momma & Dad would consider her. We knew that we didn’t even have the money yet to finish our homestudy & we sure didn’t have the placement fee, but after some prayer Momma called J and told her we would be 100% willing to be a potential ‘Baby Girl #1’ family if we could somehow make it work- somehow raise the money in time. That was when Momma asked J when the baby was due, and found out it was March 3- the day before. It was so hard to hear that & to think that there was such a slim chance of us ever being a potiential family for this baby who we firmly believed would be perfectly wonderful no matter what. Momma & Dad had to tell J that we were not ready. The rest of the month of March slipped by. We were working on raising funds & continuing slowly to move forward inch by inch- including finishing our homestudy.

It was April 1st when I wrote in Josiah’s book: “we find that there was a mix-up, and Baby Girl #1 is not due until May 3, which means we could still be a potential family for her…” This news was so energizing. We went ahead & bought a carseat in order to be ready just in case. We sent in the application & got ‘officially’ approved. We kept working on fundraising. It is a long story (which I won’t to go into), but we knew that if we could just get one more document, we could file ammended tax returns & get back more than enough to pay the placement fee. Momma kept trying to push that through faster. We had thought before that the baby would be a boy but suddenly everyone had a ‘gut feeling’ that it was a girl. A few entrys later in Josiah’s book “We got [the document] today!!! … Yes! we are now a Baby Girl #1 potetial family!…” Birthmom was sceduled to have the baby on the 29th. I remember how long it seemed to take for that day to arrive. Sometime during those weeks was when I first fell in love with this baby. Strange how that could happen when ‘she’ was not even born yet. Finally the day arrived. I am sure it must have been rather comical, all of us sitting around all day staring at the phone. Of course the baby was born safely, and as I suspect you have all guessed it was not Baby Girl at all- it was Josiah. Not that weknew that at the time- we did not even find out he was a boy until two days after. So- now that I look back at the dates, it was only May 7th when Josiah’s birthmom first looked and the profiles, but you must understand- to us, those 8 days could not possibly be longer. J and birthmom’s counselor dropped the profile books- ours & another- by birthmom’s house at 9:00 on the 7, but it was not until the 14th that we found out who would be Josiah’s family. If we thought the first week after Josiah’s birth was long, this was way longer. We had kept a copy of our profile book here, and that book got looked at more times that one week than all the rest of its life put together- I guess we just wanted to remind ourselves what she was lookig at.

While we could not have been more excited about the possibility of having the priviledge of becoming the family of this sweet boy, our hearts hurt for birthmom. We could only imagine the deep pain she & her young children were going through during those weeks. We had heard some about her from J and were so touched by what a sweet woman she seemed to be, and how much she loved this little baby who (we did not know yet) would soon become ours.

At 2:29 on the 14 of May I wrote in Josiah’s book- in very bad hand which I can barely make out now-: “Mommas on the phone in her room w/ J right now and I think- I dont want to say what I think- Oh! Thank you so much God! What a kind father you are!…” You see, I had heard Momma’s end when she answered the phone (naughty Ellen to evesdrop so!) and I had heard her say “What?…” “No, tell me…” “Tell Me!!!…” “[undescribable gasp/sucking in of air sound]” “oh my gosh you’re joking!”, which Momma says is not what she would have planned to say. As soon as Momma got off the phone she called Daddy at work & then there was a shocked moment of wondering who to call now. Momma said what I was thinking – that there was that unspoken plan to call Mrs. Amber- and we couldn’t. That was a very hard moment. Finally Momma started dialing & it took off from there. We got an email from Josiah’s foster mom with our first pictures of him. This is the first of him we saw:

this is the first pic we saw of him

this is the first pic we saw of him

 

 

After that came a very long month of ups & downs & terrible longing for Josiah to come home.That was by far the hardest part- the waiting, the knowing that Josiah was growing every day living with another family, the emptiness, the longing to have him- the knowledge that sometimes he cried, and we could not comfort him.

Then came June 9th. This is what I wrote in his book: “[June 10th, 2008] The ups & downs of these last days have been a little bit much for me to write about- and so I have not been here in a time.

Things often don’t seem to go the way we planned them. In our plans, Josiah would have been with us a month or so ago when we wanted him so keenly. I still wonder, why? Why did God not bring him then? But I know, and am persuaded, that Gods perfect plan was for Josiah & us to be apart for that time… I know that patience worketh godliness… and I know that now, when prince Josiah is here with us, it doesn’t matter anymore. Yestreday was placement…”

I told about placement, but I’ll spare all the details here. Josiah coming home was not the end of his story, but it is all I can tell now. It was several more months of ups & downs & wondering (as I mentioned in part 2) if they did re-pos before the money finally came & we paid the ‘placement’ fee. Now there are the legal fees for the finalization in Dec. & his adoption will be something in the past. We are already wondering where the money to pay for that will come from. Haven’t we learned yet that God always provides? I cannot thank everyone enough: our friends who rallied around us, supported us, and helped bring Josiah home. You were some of Gods hands & feet in Josiahs story, the Mathenia family who God used in such a real & visible way to bring Josiah to us, and our great and Kind Father, who is so kind to His children- He is the one who provided everything we needed. He is the one who holds us up in the hard times & brings us to rivers of Joy. He is the one who blessed us beyond measure by putting this wonderful boy in our arms.

More Recently
More Recently

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Josiah is absolutely the sweetest baby on earth. I could never imagine living a better life here than the life God has blessed me to have. I cannot imagine any child more perfect for our family than Josiah. It makes me sad to think about all the people who miss out on so many wonderful children because they are ‘afraid of what it will do to their family’. When did a blessing become something to be afraid of? When did children become something to avoid? When did this happen?

Every day of our lives, Josiah adds that much extra Joy- and as Dr. Voddie Baucham said once referring to his (adopted) children “actually, there is this bonus BECAUSE they are adopted, because they joined our family the way we became a part of God’s family…”*** As I read back over what I have written, I realise that there is so much more that I forgot to put in- so many parts of Josiahs story that I forgot to put in. Maybe someday I will rewrite it, but for now this will have to do.

***I do not remember the exact quote & can’t look it up ’cause the DVD is at the Brandons. This is a paraphrase & I’m sure Dr. Baucham said it much better***

 

 

More pictures & a SCC song for Momma October 21, 2008

Filed under: life,pictures,quotes,random — Ellie @ 12:17 pm

I am about to go finish the 4th & final instalment of my unconnected (in some cases) thoughts on Adoption. But before I do, I decided to just post something fun. Ben says that he won’t read my recent blogs becuase he ‘scrolled down & saw that it was about a foot long, and the letters were tiny’. He said he’d wait for the movie to come out. Anyway, here are some pics I have had uploaded for a while but never posted before:

Josiah having second breakfast

us kids  minus Trey [working] at the zoo

Mercy Kate (in the egg); Jake (on the egg); Ellen (by Jake); Josiah (in Ellens arms); Emma (by cow); Hannah; Ben; Annie & Sarah (left to right on cow).

All of the kids in the above picture & one other brother (Trey) are my brothers & sisters (except me. I’m just me). All of the children talked about or pictured on this blog are my brothers & sisters or friends. Just thought I’d clear up any confusion. Anyway, this is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I’m posting for our Mom. It makes me think of her.

You’re up all night with a screaming baby

You run all day at the speed of life

And every day you feel a little bit less

Like the beautiful woman you are

So you fall in bed when you run out of hours

And you wonder if anything worth

doing go done

Well maybe you just don’t know

Or maybe you’ve forgotten

That you, you are changing the world

One little heartbeat at a time

Making history with every touch and every smile

Oh you, you may not see it now

But I believe that time will tell how you

You are changing the world

One little heartbeat at a time.

With every “I know you can do it”

And every tear that you kiss away

So many little things that seem to go unnoticed

They’re just like the drops of rain

Over time, they become a river

You’re beautiful, so beautiful

How you’re changing the world

I believe that you, you are changing the world

One little heartbeat at a time.

*** some of you might have noticed that Momma recently posted about the song “Something Crazy”, which is also on Steven Curtis Chapmans album “This Moment”. That CD has been playing pretty much non-stop around here- at home & in the van- for about a week now (those who know us really well know that we never like something in moderation) so it’s no wonder both of us thought of posting songs from it. 

 

On Adoption pt. 3 October 20, 2008

Filed under: adoption,Christian living,JOSIAH! — Ellie @ 6:54 pm

Opposition

Okay… I have alot of experiance with this one, but not the time to really think out a post. Another short?

Most people who are adopting/ have adopted outside of their race are eventually going to run into someone who disagrees. Even if you are adoptiong a child who looks very much like you, you’re likely to meet disapproval somewhere. It might be someone who you couldn’t care less wether they approved or it could be someone who is very important to you. We had plenty of both to go around when people found out about Josiah. It was/is both very important people in our lives & somewhat minor and irrelevant people- it was both people who rejected/reject the idea/baby because of race & people who didn’t/don’t like adoption at all & people who simply thought/think we have too many children- as well as people who just didn’t understand. It was people who were very vocal and forceful about their disapproval & people who left us to figure it out & people who politely stated their concerns. We’ve been through it all- we even got used to it after awhile- but that didn’t make it ay easier- that didn’t make it hurt any less.

Racism is a terrible thing. It hurts so badly. It hurts to say goodbye — or never get the chance to say goodbye — to loved ones because of it. It hurts to know that while I live every day being incredibly blessed by children like Josiah & Ellie & Isaac & Phoebe & Isaiah who add so much Joy to my life, there are people who I love who make the chioce on a regular basis to refuse such blessings. Josiah is such a happy baby with a juicy smile which he bestows on anyone whenever he gets the chance. It hurts that there are people who will never know that smile or the wonderful boy who it comes from. It hurts. 

It is so hard when it seems like everyone is against your adoption & no one is for it. I have actually already started on part 4 and touch on this there as well, how God is on our side- and His approval way out-weighs everyone elses disapproval. I know, I understand that saying that does not make it any easier when you are in the middle of it. I know that you can know it in your head but it is much harder to really believe it when you feel overwelmed by the waves of opposition that seem to be coming & flooding your heart from all sides. It hurts so much. I know. When we follow God even when it seems crazy, people are bound to raise their eyebrows at it- and they do. But we are not to look for approval from those around us, and what people think of us is not who we are. We are the children of God, who adopted us, and what we should really be concerned about is whether He wants us doing it. If that is true, and we know it is true, then why does it still hurt so much? Ah-ha, the catch- love. When you love someone, you really, really want them to love you too- and even if you know that is does not matter, it usually does matter to you what they think. And it hurts. It cuts your heart. Sometimes it takes something like this to find out what that relationship really was. If it was real, if you really were bound together in Christian love, than it is probably going to take more than the bitter seeds of racism (or whatever) to kill that. We discovered that to be true in most cases, but I must also say that it is very, very few relationships that came out of this the same. Mrs. Amber said that it seemed to her like an opportunity for some friends/relations to grow, and it was- but very few did grow. Many, many relationships are not at all the same, and unless God works in these peoples hearts, never will be. There are people who were once a part of our lives & no longer are. And we love those people- that is what really hurts. That is why it stings- if there were no love, there would be no stinger in the wound- but there was love. When the opposition (which in some cases was expected & in some was foolishly unexpected) first came up, we went to God and cried “look God! are we really supposed to be doing this? They say we’re not!” and He told us “are you doing this for them? and, do you love them more than you love Me?” and He helped us. He helped us through the fire. He said “If I am for you, who can be against you?” He carried us.

God did not call us to live a comfortable life. He did not call us to do whatever was easiest. He called us to follow. Feel free to comment/ email if you are in the middle of this ‘hard part’ of adoption & need encouragement- or you might be better to contact Momma.

One more thing- I know if you are in the midst of it this is hard to remember (very hard), but after it’s all said & done;

 

this really is all worth it.

 

Rondom pic’s since I can’t post what I’ve written October 18, 2008

Filed under: pictures,random — Ellie @ 11:55 am

Laptop is messing up (?) so I can’t post what I’ve written. Here’s recent pics instead- oh, & I hope I’ll be able to post alot more often now that we have our wildblue set up right. It is so much faster than before, and doesn’t take 2 hours to post 🙂 

The sweet & wonderful Josiah having his first sink-bath

Daddy on a tractor

Hannah at the zoo

Annie on her birthday (with her new cookin’ gear!)

 

On Adoption pt. 2 October 16, 2008

Filed under: adoption,Christian living,faith,pictures — Ellie @ 4:13 pm

What about the MONEY?

Most of you know that I’m not really in the habit of getting into the controversial subjects on my blog. I hope that everyone is ready for a change, because part three is coming too- but you can also be relieved that the ‘worst’ is passed & don’t be afraid to keep reading 🙂

How much of the Bible is true? How much of it is really the Word of God?

We seem to have a wall of shelves. Every Christian goes through God’s Word and sorts it out in order of what they personally think is more important (top shelf) down to least important (bottom). But that is not how it is supposed to be. That’s not what we’re supposed to do.

If all of the Bible is true, if every word in it came from God, what do we do with verses like “Care for the widows & orphans in there distress”? ‘Wha- uh- no- uh- you see, that’s for some people, but it’s not for me.’ Suddenly, God’s word means different things for differents people. Suddenly, it’s true for me but it’s not true for you. Suddenly, God is re-made in the image of man who changes.

Now the point of this post is to talk about the cost of adoption, and as you can see I have already strayed dreadfully from the topic. I feel like something needs to be said, but I don’t really have much to say. This may be a short post.

The cost- I’m talking about the money- really does sometimes seem impossible to reach. But does God command us to do more than is possible for us to do? Most certainly- with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Not adopting because you don’t think you ever could is not an acceptable excuse.

Have any of you ever heard of Steven Curtis Chapman? If you’re reading this blog, you probably have. What about Shohannahs Hope? Heard of it? It’s an organisation where they give grants to families who want to adopt but don’t have sufficient income. There are so many organisations like that out there. That is a very real option for raising money- also, think about how much money you spend in a year on things you don’t really need. Ask yourself ‘What do I need?’ ‘What can I sacrifice?’ People who are not at all rich can adopt:

 

See?
See?

God is faithful to provide.

I know that wondering where the money will come from is a very real concern that holds people back from adopting a child. The belief that adoption is impossible because of the funds is a very real belief. If you act on God’s command anyway, trusting Him to provide, do you really think He is unable to take care of it? God did not tell us to do His commands only if we think we can- He told us trust Him with it.

There were times during Josiah’s adoption when we faltered. There were actual real times when we were forced to wonder wether Life Choices did re-po’s. We don’t have to wonder that anymore, because God gave us what was needed just when it was needed. We were almost not even a potential family for Josiah because we couldn’t finish our homestudy until we had the money to pay for it. Then one day out of the blue the amount we needed came in the form of a check from some friends who wanted to help with our adoption. God knew just when we needed that check to come, and He was faithful to bring it on time.

The God who laid the orphan on your heart is faithful to supply everything needed. Give it to Him. Watch Him bless you.

 

Midnight

Filed under: life,pictures,random — Ellie @ 4:04 pm
 
Jacob & Annie
Jacob & Annie
That’s what time it is where he’s (^) at. Just thought I’d let everyone know that he’s there- they arrived in Addis & went to bed since they didn’t get much rest on the plane.
Jake & Trey
Jake & Trey

 (^) THIS IS MERELY THEATRICAL (^)

no teenagers where harmed in the making of this photo