Monday, December 3, 2012

Their Families Found Them!

I have some exciting news today!  Three of the children I have been sharing have been found by their forever families!


I am so thrilled!

Now lets find Kimberley's Family
Once I hear who their adoptive families, I'll let you know if there's a blog to follow their adoption stories!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Zoey Needs to find Her Forever Family!

I've copied this from my friends at Carry Your Light:

This week a little face came into the light.  A small fragile little girl that has been locked away for many years is now available for adoption.  "Zoey" is six years old and weighs less than 10 pounds.  She has been neglected and left hungry, but she held on.  Her little blurry picture is outdated and disturbing.  But it must be shared if she is to find a family.  I have heard from people "We've often thought about adopting..." when I have shared our adoption news.  I can't imagine a child more in need of a family.

It might be easier to get mad, really mad, and ask "how could anyone do this to a child?", "THEY must be evil", "SOMEONE should do something!", "the government should step in..." And we frantically search for a way other than being a voice for "the least of these."  If you aren't her parents, let's find her parents, we can do it together...PRAY, SHARE, GIVE, ADOPT!

Diagnosis: Congenital anomaly of the broncho-pulmonary system; Infantile cerebral palsy – spastic quadric paresis; severe malnutrition
 is almost 6 years old and weighs less than 10 pounds. She is currently fed through a feeding tube, though it is obvious that she is not receiving the nutrition that she needs. We have very little information on Zoey at this time, though we are working to get more detailed medical information. The current information indicates that she moves her upper extremities and that she smiles and responds positively while being fed and when caregivers interact with her, change her, bathe her or talk to her.

For Unto Us a Child is Born....

Please, have a safe and blessed holiday season, and remember the real reason for Christmas is that the God of the universe loved the human race so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth as a little baby, fully man and fully God, to live among us and to take our sins on Him and die in our place to pay the penalty for sin. Then He conquered death and rose from the grave so that we could have eternal life. 

All you need to do is confess that you are a sinner and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. He will forgive all your sins, and you will receive the gift of eternal life. But it's more than just a prayer prayed once - you need to make Him Lord of your life. To learn more, please read my blog post about how to be saved and how to make Christ Lord of your life.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Blessings of Family on Thanksgiving

Every year that we are blessed with celebrating Thanksgiving at home, we try to invite at least someone to share it with us.  This year, although we tried hard to find someone who did not have a place to go to for Thanksgiving, we were unable to find any guests.  This turned out to be a good thing as I ended up being quite sick the days before, so our pre-Thanksgiving preparations were not quite up to our normal.

Despite my being slowed down due to my bad cold, the day went really well.  We had french toast for breakfast and while the pumpkin pies that Jessica made from scratch (well, the pumpkin puree came from a can) baked.  Then once the pies were finished and I had cleaned the turkey, Jessica did the final prep on the turkey and it went in the oven.  Most of the morning I was working on dishes as I was a little behind, even after the kids had done a lot of dishes for me yesterday.  We seem to generate a lot of dirty dishes around here!  I was able to finish all the dirty dishes by noon, just around the time that Jeremy and Jason showed up.

They came bringing supplies for our traditional punch (7-Up + frozen fruit juice concentrate) plus their disk golf basket.  So for a while nearly everyone was outside throwing disks and they had a lot of fun. The chickens were definitely wondering what in the world all the commotion was about! Esther loved it - she even brought me her sister's boots and coat, so I helped her find her coat and boots.

By the way, Esther can put her own coat on now, and can put her boots on without help too!  She loves to put on her siblings shoes and boots and tramp around the house in them.  Elizabeth's rubber boots that look like cowboy boots are her favorite!

Once the disk golf spree wound down, a few took up archery practice while some of us started a game of Nertz (a family favorite card game, kind of like speed group solitaire).  We also had some traditional popcorn to stave off hunger.

We checked on the turkey, and it was already done, 2 hours early!  So the rest of the food preparation hit full tilt.  Jessica worked on the potatoes while Rebekah and Rachel sliced apples for the apple pie.  Once the potatoes were on the stove, Jessica took over and made two apple pies while I started the gravy and then the stuffing, while Reuben got the corn in the microwave.  Rachel made the first batch of punch too.

While we were busy, some of the others were enjoying some down time in the living room, taking care of the little girls while we were busy.

The meal was great, and everyone said it was one of the best turkey dinners.  Afterwards we used the name cards from a Thanksgiving set we got years ago from Family Life Today, and had each person read the quote and answer the question on the inside.  It was lots of fun (funny things said and shared) but also very meaningful.

After cleaning up the meal, we played another game of Nertz, then we had our pumpkin and apple pies, ice cream (a rare treat for us that Daryl went out and got the night before) and whipped cream.  Then we played a new game for our family that the boys taught us this summer, 7 up 7 down.  Reuben nearly won, but Jeremy came from behind to win in the end.

We ended the day watching Lord of the Rings, Two Towers (we started a LOTR marathon of sorts Tuesday night, but we only get 1/2 a movie (extended edition) in each evening.

photo of Esther helping with the dishes today, sheWe had a great day, but I'll leave you with a was doing a great job!  And earlier today she helped me put my vitamins into the daily pill organizer that I use and she was doing a great job too!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lord, may each of these precious "least of these" be celebrating Thanksgiving with their forever families next year!

Please share this awesome video today with your FB friends or put it up on your blog, and as you eat your fill, surrounded by your family who loves you, say a prayer for these little ones who have never known the love of a family and who never get a tummy full of good food like we do every day. All because of a diagnosis.
Watch for Kimberley!

Now head on over to Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree Project and donate to an orphans adoption fund before you spend all your money on "stuff" tomorrow!

Grab This!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving - A family for Alexandra! Plus updates on Gemma and Kimberley

This precious angel that I've been advocating for has a huge adoption grant and now she has a family!  If you want to follow their adoption story, please check out The Frye Family Five blog to see what's happening and how things work with her country.

You can donate to their adoption fund here:

You might be wondering where Alexandra's money's still there - click on her link and you'll see it. They don't add her funds to the family's funds due to the country she is from and how they work...but if all goes well, her funds will be used for her adoption into the Frye family!

I am so excited to follow their adoption story!

I am also excited to see that Kimberley is on the Angel Tree 2012  at Reece's Rainbow this year! Please think about helping to raise funds for her adoption, and share her on your social media so her forever family can find her!

And I have an update from the Browns (Carry Your Light) who are adopting Gemma!  They completed their homestudy and they have submitted their dossier and are awaiting news of when they can travel to meet Gemma!  What an exciting time!  They are facing huge traveling costs, as well as money for the adoption process once their dossier has been approved, but they only have around $750 in their adoption grant.  Please consider helping them out!

All donations to these children are tax deductible too!

As we gather with our families for Thanksgiving, I pray that these three sweet little girls will be celebrating Thanksgiving with their forever families next year!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I have to say that last year just before Thanksgiving I was suffering from an ear infection and had ended up in the ER after passing out at home.  I remember praying fervently for the safety of our baby.  At that Thanksgiving, we couldn't know what the future held.  I had no idea if Carese would be born safe and sound and if I would survive her birth.  Now, looking back, we can see how God orchestrated so many miracles to preserve both our lives.  So this Thanksgiving I am praising God for the precious little girl that is such a big blessing to our home:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pro-Life In Action

So many people claim to be pro-life, but what they mean by this can be so different.  I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of what defines pro-life as far as abortion goes right now, that will be for another post someday.  But I do want to talk about going beyond saying that you are pro-life, whatever that means to you, and doing something about it.

Our family supports our local pregnancy center, both on a monthly basis and yearly, larger contributions.  They are THE place that is making a difference in the battle to save unborn lives.  This is where we can start to make changes in the White House and in our state governments.  Our government is a representation of the people of our land, and in light of recent developments our land needs to repent and return to serving the Lord.  But that can not happen if His people do not head His call to be light in darkness.  The way to abolish wrongful laws is to make them useless.  The way to close down abortion mills is to make them go out of business.  As long as there is a demand for wholesale killing of the unborn, then there will be people in the business of murdering the next generation.  So, please do something!  Support your local pregnancy center, financially and with your time.  Get involved.  Make a difference right where you are!  Make Planned Barrenhood go out of business!

But that is not what this blog post is about. .  I want to share with you what I read this morning in my quiet time - actually I read this yesterday and missed it, but for some reason I felt led to re-read yesterday's readings and I found a gem that I missed:

Psalm 102: 16 - 22:

For the Lord Build up Zion; he appears in His glory; He regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:

That He looked down from His holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
To hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die,
The they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem His praise,
When peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

Please do not shut you heart to what I am about to share.  Take a little time, read this post in it's entirety  do not shut down as I have done in the past.

I want to share with you a difference face of being prolife.  That of saving the lives of the born.  Every life has value.  Every life, no matter the circumstances or physical abilities has been spoken into existence by the God of the Universe and He loves each and every one.  We are made in His image, and we should share His love for these, the least.

Let me share with you the images that came to my mind when I read that passage this morning.

I know, it tears your heart out, at least it does mine.  This has been going on for a long time around the world, especially in communist countries.  The children rejected by their parents are put into state run orphanages and locked away from the world.  Until now.  Satan has had a stronghold on these forgotten children, but God has said that His time is up.  The doors have opened to the world, and the deplorable conditions have been exposed.  And His people are on the move.  But not all of His people.  Sweeping changes are happening in some of the orphanages, and many of the changes in these foreign orphanages are being financed by families in the United States!  In one of the worst orphanages in the world, Pleven in Bulgaria, the biggest changes have been made since the conditions there have been exposed and you can read about that HERE!

But even when I read about the amazing changes going on there, my heart cries that it is not enough.  These children need homes and families that love them, a mommy and a daddy of their own!

Many of them have families committed to adopting them, and there are families committed to adopting hundreds of children with special needs languishing in orphanages around the world, but something is slowing down the  So many families want to take these little ones into their homes, but the lack the financial power to do so.  Reece's Rainbow  is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting these little ones into forever families.  Not only do they list children in need of adoption, but once a family commits to adopting they do everything to help facilitate the adoption.  Go there and click on "Sponsor a Family" and you can see hundreds of families who are in the process of adoption and need financial help to do so.  If God isn't calling you to open your home, then please help others who are doing this.

I also highly recommend clicking on the link there for families who have their little ones home already as it is so inspiring to read what a difference this makes in the child's life, but even more the blessing to the families that the child, and the whole process of adoption, has been!

I want to share with you some photos.  First I'll show you some that will break your heart, but will show you the urgency of this situation.. and then some photos of the change adoption can make in the lives of these little ones, and then I'm going to share some of the children who do not have all the time in the world to wait for a family to finally be ready to adopt.  These children are in baby houses (orphanages for children up to a certain age, usually 5 years of age).  When they reach this certain age, they are transferred to the orphanages for children and adults.  These orphanages are usually horrendous.  In some countries the death rate in the first year is over 95%.  Their heads are shaved and they are confined to their beds/cribs most of the day.  I have seen images from these place that will give you nighmares, but I won't go that far...I will only show you a few before and after photos to give you the idea of the harm these places are to these little ones:

This is Sonny,  He is still listed on Reece's Rainbow the last time I checked.  This first photograph was him when he was 4 years old, this photo was up on RR for a long time.  The most recent photo if of him after spending a short amount of time in the "other" orphanage:
This is Teri-Lynne .  I'll give you the good news first - she has been adopted!  But while her adoption was in process, she was transferred out of the baby house.  Her "after" photo was taken just 3 weeks after she had been transferred to the "other" orphanage.  When I saw this I was can such a change happen in only 3 weeks...what unimaginable things could have caused this change.
Now let me show you some before and after photos of children who have been adopted and now have their own mommies and daddies to show them love, to care for them physically, and to redeem their lives:

Meet Amelia.  She was basically starved of everything for the first ELEVEN YEARS of her life.  Then a family came to rescue her.  In just one month she went from this emaciated, baby sized 11 year old, to an adorable little girl!
And then there's Katie.  I introduced you all to her last summer, but it bears repeating.  Katie was 9 years old when she first met her forever mommy, and she only weighed 11 pounds.  Recently, Susanna, Katie's mommy, posted a condensed version of The Story of Katie's Adoption, and I highly recommend reading this!  The before photo is of Susanna the first time she went to see Katie.  Katie smelled bad and looked worse.  You can see that even this loving mother is overwhelmed at Katie's condition.  The after photo is Katie after 9 months with the loving care of her forever family.  And the story continues, as they are adopting another child from the same orphanage - Tommy!  Please go check out their newest adoption adventure, and I was so pleased to see that they have raised over $14,000 towards his adoption already!

Lastly I want to share with you a few children who face being transferred in the next year. These children need to be adopted urgently!  Not being adopted for them will probably mean certain death.

Sawyer has already turned 5, his days in the baby house are numbered:

Archie will be turning 5 next summer:

Angelina will be turning 5 this March:

Abbott turned 5 last May and has already been transferred, (no updated photo available since he was transferred) but he can still be adopted!!!

And there's many, many more - here is a list of children in an orphanage that I know transfers most of their children out around 5 year of age...Children from Region 03.  Any of them born before 2009 are facing transfers or have already been transferred. Help one of these today by sharing their page!

Please, let's keep these children from ending up here, behind an orphanage in Eastern Europe:

Do you know that if Esther was there, she would be facing being transferred within the year?  Can you imagine her never having had a mommy and daddy and siblings to love her?  

My heart is breaking for these children.  I cried out to the Lord this morning with tears that He would move His people to save these little ones before it's too late.  There have been times in the last few months since I started advocating for these precious children that I too have been unable to face it.  I've avoided reading the blog posts, I've shut down as I just couldn't face this tragedy again.  But I have stepped back into the ring and I'm doing what I can to save these lives.  I do not have funds to send their way, but I can tell others about them!

You may be asking yourself, but what should I do.  Your asking the wrong person.  Please take a minute and ask your Lord what He wants you to do.  There are at least three things you can do, and some of them don't even require you to get out of your chair!

1. Advocate - share links of children/families who need help in the adoption process, so that others may see and respond to the needs.  This might be children still waiting for their forever famiiles and listed on Reece's Rainbow, or it might be links to families pages who are in the adoption process.  This could also mean committing to advocating for specific orphans/adoptive families by blogging and posting of FB about them, possible fundraising for them and of course committing to praying for them.  There are many ways you can support these children/families without even spending a dime!  Who knows but that one of your friends on FB or a reader of your blog might be the one that God calls to adopt that child you are advocating for - don't miss out on being the instrument God uses to change the world for that child!

2. Contribute!  Send some of your money their way!  Maybe you can commit to going without something for a while and donating the money you would have spent - here's some ideas - espresso, take-home pizza, DVD rentals, date nights, birthday know, things you do for yourself and your family that are enjoyable, but come at a price tag.  Did you know what if you had 2 espresso stand coffees a week and decided to donate that money instead, it could mean that you could send nearly $400 in a year to an adoptive family?  Many adoptions take a year or more to complete!  I've had customer tell me to send their refund/discount for a sale to the orphans that I advocate for even!

3. Adopt.  I know, I's unthinkable, you don't have that kind of money, your life is already too complicated.  But is God calling you to do this?  What would you be willing to do to save a life?

Lastly, let me remind you of something you might not even have known, or didn't think about while reading about these children.  The Bible says that children are a blessing.  There are no qualifications to this - it doesn't read "healthy children are a blessing", or "biological children are a blessing" it states that CHILDREN are a blessing.  Most of the children at Reece's Rainbow have Down Syndrome, and all children there have some special need.  Any parent of a child with Down Syndrome will tell you that their family has been blessed by having a child with DS.  Parents of children with special needs will tell you that it is not a road they would have chosen, but they are so glad it was chosen for them.  Are you missing out on a blessing?

And let me leave you with this:

James 4:17 - So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

What are you going to do today for these little ones?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fall Recovery

First, I have great news!  Alexandra has been moved to the MFFM list - MFFM stands for My Family Found Me!  And not only that, but her grant is now at over $18,000!  I have contacted via email her family, but I can't share any details yet, but once they are available I'll let you know all about it!

Gemma's family is working hard to get her home!  They've raised over $700 towards her adoption, and they've completed their home study and submitted their dossier to Gemma's country!  You can follow their adoption journey through their blog Carry Your Light!

Secondly, Kimberley was placed on the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree Project and has already received $39 through that program!  Please consider donated towards Kimberley's adoption fund through this fun Christmas project!  And can you please share her page with your friends and family and ask them to share too so her forever family can find her and bring her home!

I know, I know...I fell off the blogging bandwagon.  But it's actually good news!  I was spending lots of time on the computer while I was recovering from my knee injury.  But once I was able to be up and about my computer time became very limited. So here's HUGE update of some of the things happening around here!

Jonathan moved up to a big bike this fall - pretty radical for us, but he loves it.  I told him that motorcycles run in my family!

The third week of August I started doing a DVD workout called T-Tapp.  I discovered this through Charlotte Siems Blog - I figured if another mom of 12 can lose all her excess weight and regain her health, then I could too!  So I saved up my money and ordered the MORE Workout DVD.  On that DVD Teresa Tapp shares how to walk and do stairs to minimize strain on the knees and within 2 weeks I was able tobwalk and go up and down stairs without pain in my knee!  This gave me a new lease on life!

By the beginning of September we were in the thick of canning and learning to care for chickens gain, plus taking on many projects around the house to reclaim areas that had gone a little wild during my year of little to no housework limitations.  We decided to delay the start of school until we were mostly done canning and we had worked out new chores and finished most of the bigger projects, one of which was getting all the computers networked.  This, however, proved to be impossible for some unknown reason.  But one day while talking with Daryl over the phone about this problem, the kids took a vote and determined that everyone would prefer doing their schoolwork in books rather than on computers, so we went with that.  I headed up to the attic to see what was usable from previous years/students, and brought down what I found.  I then made a list of what subjects for each student that we did not have material for and made an appointment with my friend, Cheryl, who owns Homeschool recyclers in Lynden!  I was able to find everything I needed to fill out each child's curriculum in math, language, history/geography, Bible and science!  Most of the materials are Alpha/Omega Lifepacs, but there's also some Abeka and Bob Jones for the high school history.  I was able to fill our all our curriculum for less than it costs for purchase new curriculum for one student!

I even got to play a little volleyball when we met another volleyball crazy family for a day of volleyball - met them halfway in Mt Lake Terrace! 

Late in September we had a spontaneous picnic in the park!  The younger children got to play on the playground for hours while the older kids and adults played lots of disc golf and I even got to play a full roung of disc golf and I also got to play a little tennis!  I am so thankful that I am regaining my health and that I can be active again!  It's so easy to take your health for granted until you no longer have it!

Disc golf is a sport that my older boys found, and now Daryl does a few rounds at least a couple of times a week with Jeremy and Jason and sometimes with Jonathan!  Daryl has taken me twice as part of our date nights and I really enjoy it too.  On several Sundays after church Daryl has taken some of the kids too.   The great thing is it'a free to play, you just have to have the discs!

Jason is the best player in our family, with Daryl and Jeremy vying for second.  I'm not sure where Jonathan is in the mix, but I know the rest of us can not compete with the 4 men in our family!  They even got to participate in a tournament recently and Jason won some kind of award, I believe it was for second place!

We started school the first week of October with 2 in high school, 1 in middle school, and 3 in elementary and Esther is doing some therapy/preschool work.  This year is the first year in a long time that I am not teaching anyone to read, but I am working with Elizabeth and Dayton to improve their reading abilities.

We are pretty relaxed about school time.  The children can do their school work from anywhere in the house, as long as they can focus on their work and they can get to me easily if they have questions.  Our usual school time finds me in the living room with a few of the younger children very close to me and the other kids on the couches or in the dining room or play room.  

Last year we discovered that Rachel needed reading glasses, and that has really helped her with her reading!  This year Rebekah, Rachel, Reuben and Daniel are all Bible Quizzing as well, and I'm coaching their team!  They did excellent at the first match in October - Reuben even quizzed out with a bonus!  That means that he answered 5 questions correctly with no errors in one match!

Esther loves to do school work - we look at books together and work on her vocabulary, as well as purposeful toys such as shape matching and stringing beads.  Carese also likes to hang out with the kids as they work on their school work too!

 I do not hold to strict grades, but try to select materials that will challenge each child where they are at, and also selecting the secondary subjects according to their likes/what I want them to learn (for example, I might choose a lower or higher grade level in Bible because I want them to learn church history verses old testament studies).  So far the kids are all pleased with their subjects and doing well.

Another recent development in my efforts to be frugal was putting clothes lines  up in the garage.  This could save us quite a bit of money over the next year as propane has gotten so expensive.  We have really cut down on our usage of propane, and due to that our propane bill has not gone up even once since we moved into our new house, while the cost of propane has nearly doubled.  But I really want to see that bill go down, and the dryers are probably one of the biggest consumers of the propane.  I won't hang towels, but I'm hanging the younger children's laundry out there!

We received the shipment of our meat birds in late September, and they lived in our garage for 4 weeks.  Daryl built an ingenious mobile chicken coop (known as a chicken tractor) and since then they have been out in our yard, moving every few days.

We recently found a stash of eggs that the
Americana's were laying in the tall grass!
We ordered 25, and there were 26 alive when I picked up the chicks from the post office.  We lost one at around 2 weeks as it got stuck between the waterer/feeders.  Everything was going great until this past weekend, when we lost one chick (or parts of it anyway) to some preditor, and the next night another one was damaged and it died too.  We have now fortified the walls so the raccon/skunk/possum/whatever-it-is can't reach in to grab the chicks anymore and we have not had any further incidents, thankfully!

 So right now we have 19 full grown layers, 4 teenage layers and 23 meat birds.  The meat birds will be butchered just after Thanksgiving.

One major thing that has slowed me down since I last blogged is that Esther got really sick.  She developed croup, an ear infection and tonsillitis.  It was so bad that one night she could hardly breath, I even videotaped her breathing to show to the doctor, and that proved very valuable as it proved that she has sleep apnea (which I have been suspecting for about 6 months now), and we could skip doing a sleep study and go right to seeing an ENT.  I took her in and the medications they put her on really helped, but we had some long nights.  We ended up having her on a monitor to make sure she was getting enough oxygen while sleeping and she was doing fine in that regard, but we found her heart rate was very erratic and extremely slow for a couple of nights. 

Esther turned 4 years old in September!
So we made appointment at Children's to see both the ENT and the cardiologist.  It was determined that she needs to have her tonsils and adenoids removed to help her breath better while sleeping, and she came home with an ECG attached to her for a 24 reading on her heart rate.  We haven't heard back about that yet, but I hope to hear the results within the week now.  She is scheduled for her surgery on January 7 as an inpatient surgery as children with Down Syndrome tend to have more trouble recovering from this surgery than most children do.

Carese is doing great - she weighs over 15 pounds now and is wearing 3 - 6 months clothes.  She is now 7 1/2 months, sits all by herself, and will spin when on her tummy.  She also rolls from tummy to back, and has been seen up on the hands a knees a few times.  I am not in a hurry to see her crawl or walk, so I'm just fine with her progress!  She continues to be the most adorable baby ever - I call her "eye candy"!  She is starting to participate in conversations with us - we coo, she coos...and she tried to imitate our sounds too!  Just today she is graduating to her big crib, as she was peaking at me over the top of her bassinet this morning!  

Last Sunday we were all invited to lunch after church...this doesn't happen very often you know, as many people are intimidated at inviting such a large family over for a meal. But this was extra special as our host was Jeremy!  He has purchase a home on nearly 3 acres and he invited us all over to show us his new place!  We enjoyed pizza, bread sticks and pop, plus Jason provided pumpkin pie and whipped cream!  We were so pleased to see what Jeremy had purchased, and he was so blessed by all the wonderful things that the older couple who had owned the home before had left behind...everything from games and hangers to a tractor and a full woodworking shop...he had no idea about any of that until after he took possession!  Amazing!

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful fall and looking forward to the holiday season like we are!  Here's a few more photos of my kids being kids: