My 3 yr old daughter took this pic of me

Monday, March 11, 2013

Outrageous Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are soft and melt in your mouth!

Makes 3 dozen

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats (may grind them up)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional) - I usually leave these out - personal preference

1. Preheat oven to 350 degreesF
2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
Stir in peanut butter, vanilla, and egg until well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the batter just until moistened.
Mix in the oats and chocolate chips til evenly distributed.
Drop by tablespoonful onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven til edges start to brown.
Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ignorance is bliss?

People often say ignorance is bliss. They don't want to know about the awful things going on. It's too hard to watch; it's depressing. Besides, it's not like they can end poverty or make much of a difference anyway.

I used to be one of those people. I couldn't handle it and didn't want to know about the horrible things happening to people all over the world; images that I couldn't get out of my mind.

But if I close my eyes to what is happening around me in this world, I am also closing my heart and my resources to it. Knowing means facing truth, no matter how ugly that truth is. It means either sitting back and feeling guilty for doing nothing, or deciding to get involved in the solution. It is overwhelming to think of all the poverty and abuse and devastation in the world. Where do I begin? What can I do? Really? I am just one person.

I am a person. A person who can make a difference for another person or people. Those people may in turn change the lives of other people and so on.

If you are ignorant to what's going on in the world, it is not bliss. True, you may not have to be bothered by it, but it is still there. People are still hurting and desperate for answers and for help. Be a part of the solution and healing for someone today.

All of us are able to reach out and help someone. It doesn't have to be big or extravagant. Even a small gesture can make a big difference in the life of someone who is suffering. Ask yourself what you can do and what resources you can offer. Start changing the life of someone right now, today, and you will start changing the world and you will find satisfaction in being the hands and feet of Jesus to someone.

Katie Davis is a 22 year old who wanted to make a difference and here is a glimpse of her story and what she's doing.

After watching that, it is hard to say, "I can't." You can. You maybe cannot do what she is doing, but you can do something for someone somewhere. Beauty can come out of tragedy and you can be a part of that.

You can read the rest of Katie's story in her book called Kisses From Katie 

There are so many things you can do to make a difference.

Here are a few:

Adopt a child

Foster a child

Buy a shirt to support a weekly cause at sevenly

Buy jewellry to support women saved from sex trafficking rings in Nepal at safoundation.

Sponser a woman left abandoned or widowed, HIV+ single women, returnees from abduction and teenage mothers in Kampala and Gulu at Watoto Project Living Hope

Sponser a child or baby or house mother thru Watoto

gather supplies and deliver them to a women's shelter, 

make meals for an adoptive/foster family

Do something

So what are you going to do? 

What are some ideas you have come up with? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why Foster-to-Adopt? Why not an "easier" route?

Someone asked me this week why we are in the foster-to-adopt program instead of straight adoption or having more of our own children via a surrogate (I have one ovary left from the partial hysterectomy I had to have 5 years ago). I have been thinking about that a lot. Many people have asked us that question over the last few years.

Why would we do something that could cause us disappointment and loss?

Why not just go the "easier" and more guaranteed route?

Why take that risk?

I have Our family has a deep love for orphans and the fatherless and the widow. I admire people who spend upwards of $10,000 to adopt internationally and wait for years to receive their child(ren)....who adopt older children...who adopt medically fragile children, etc. That is their calling. But it is not ours, at least not for now. God has called us to this ministry. No matter which program you choose to pursue, NONE of them are easy. Or fast. They all include waiting, anxiety, unknowns, and emotional pain.

The positives of the foster-to-adopt program are....

that it protects the children in the program. If they are to be adopted, they WILL stay with us and be a part of our family forever, but if not, they will return to their birth family. The less transitions the child makes, the better. This is the best thing for the kids.

that we are supported financially while caring for these kids, as well as after we adopt them. When we went into this at the beginning, we had no idea of what that would look like financially and we didn't care. When we found out our monthly amount per child, we were almost disappointed - not because of the amount, but because we weren't in it for the money. We just wanted to help kids. But we have learned that this support makes a huge difference in our ability to meet the needs of the kids in our care and the needs of our growing family - and I appreciate that. I have the peace of mind that if my child needs therapy because of trauma or has extra medical needs, I will be able to provide that.

The training. I cannot say enough about the training. I think that every parent should have to take this training and especially people who are adopting internationally or adopting older children. If more people had the training needed, I believe that adoptions would have a higher success rate. Knowing what is causing the behaviors in my child and knowing how to properly respond in order to best meet that child's needs trumps being confused and thinking that they are just a spoiled brat and following that with actions that increase their emotional trauma.

that we can foster/adopt babies. We do babies because it is easier on our older children and on our family. We also made this decision because there is less trauma experienced by the child. Notice I said "less". It is difficult to adopt babies internationally, at least newborns, because by the time they are actually in your arms they are often well over 1 or 2 years old. Attachment can still happen with children this young, but it is not an easy thing.

Now what I do not like about the program....

there is a lot of legal risk. (means that the child may be returned to their family and not be a permanent placement). This is hard on the heart because we attach so strongly to each child. But it is usually good if the child can be returned.

Yeah......I could only come up with one negative. 

I think that we are able to help more children through foster-to-adopt than we could through any other program, and that is just my opinion. I don't think that this is what everyone should be doing, as obviously there is a great need for the other programs, too. But this is what we are called to. 

I won't pretend it is easy and that it doesn't dramatically change our family dynamics. It is hard at times and it changes everything, but our lives are so much richer for doing it. Not just my husband's and mine, but our children's, too. They are different kids now that we foster. They are empathetic, loving, world-changing kids. They see beyond the next video game or cookie they want. They see the world through new eyes. I have met so many people in the foster/adoption field who say, "Yes, my parents fostered (or adopted) and it changed my life and I love it and wouldn't have it any other way." It is hard on them, but they are stronger and better people for it. It is also a great blessing to them.

When facing the hard parts - the loss and lack of control - I sometimes think, "suck it up, princess, other people are worse off than you" and other days I truly let loose and grieve - crying, venting, hiding in my room, etc. I trust that God is in control and that His plans are above mine, but it's hard to let go and realize that it is out of my hands and I may not get the outcomes I'm begging and pleading for.

Someone said to me recently that God is weaving a beautiful tapestry and we are a part of it, but we can only see the knots and the ugliness on the back of the tapestry. One day we will be able to turn it around and see the beauty that God has created through these tough times and we will understand. I am so grateful to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of these precious children.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"Little Flower" a poem of love from a mother's heart

Tiny, fragile, lying there
grasping at her long black hair
Eyes are closed and eyebrows raise
beautiful, her little face

Little hands are all outstretched
nothing on her face is etched
Long brown fingers, big brown eyes
everything is a surprise

Cooing, laughing, looking 'round
this little treasure that we've found
Exploring, crawling, cuddled tight
angel tucked in for the night

Peace and love are all you know
as you grow and grow and grow
Time flies by and now you're one
can't believe you're so much fun

Brother holds you in his lap
where you fall asleep to nap
Sister loves to play with you
every day with you is new

Daddy holds you way up high
you are laughing in the sky
Mommy sings your favorite song
holds you close all day long

Pretty soon you start to walk
I can't believe how much you talk
You laugh and run and sing and dance
get into mischief every chance

Your second birthday has gone by
we love you right up to the sky
You are our joy and our delight
each morning all the way til night

I try but can't describe this child
she's intricate, unique, and wild
A flower, soft, a loving heart,
intrigued, affectionate, and smart

I'll never leave or let you go
how great our love, I hope you know
I've never met a girl like you
each day you fill our hearts anew

My greatest fear, I face today
they'll take my little girl away
I'd surely stop them if I could
I hope my baby knows I would

She won't know where her mommy went
why to grandma's she was sent
Did we really love her so
will our baby ever know?

She'll try to find her mom and dad
the brother, sister that she had
She'll cry not knowing where we are
or why we had her sent so far

 Our precious girl, alone and sad
crying for the ones she had
Please come back, come back for me
I'll be good, mom, you will see

Once this case is closed and filed
"they" will have traumatized a child
who should've been happy, attached, and free
instead of suffering emotionally

Will they know your favorite things,
the lullabies your mommy sings?
Your blanket, drink, and special cup, 
what you like when you get up?

My tears flow freely as I write
sitting here so late at night
Wishing I could stop this pain
fighting, but I fear in vain

I pray to God in Heav'n on high
I beg Him, "no!" and ask Him, "why?"
and yet I know He knows my pain
I know our loss is not in vain

His plan, I trust but cannot see
I'd stop it all if it was me
I want to keep my little daughter
I beg my God, my Living Water

So I beg, please hold her near
Lord, please let her know no fear
Hold her tight and dry her tears
give her joy for many years

Help her, please, to understand
if I could I'd hold her hand,
Hold her close and hear her voice,
but letting go is not my choice

If from her this cup can pass
I plead, my God, that's all I ask
Let us keep her, let her stay
don't let them take my girl away.


Disappointment has kind of been a theme in our lives this last week.

Finding out that we have to fight for our little girl or we could lose her.

Finding out that we can't get legal aid and will have to pay for our own lawyer.

Finding out that in order to get an attachment assessment, we'll have to foot the bill for that, too. (We'd spend all the money in the world on her if we had it, but we don't).

Watching the saddest documentary of a failed international adoption and realizing the sad but real reasons behind it.

Wishing I could control everything and save all these damaged and hurting children and knowing that I can't.

Watching people throw their money away on useless stuff when so many are suffering and could be helped. (Not saying we never do this, but this week it has especially been bothering me).

Missing my workout and blogging for a whole week.

Vowing to do better by my kids and limit their tv/electronics and then turning around and letting them watch it on and off all day.

Regretting my tone or way of handling a situation.

Disappointment is tough. I've always particularly struggled with handling it well. I'm learning to let myself grieve and that it's ok. I don't have to justify it or explain it away. If I grieve, I can move on, let go. It happened. I can't change what has already happened, but I am not crippled by it. I can make a new decision right now. I can succeed right now. I am not defeated just because of a single failure or ten single failures (haha). I am not defeated just because I have run into an obstacle. Strength is manifested through endurance. God is my strength. I am looking forward to the beauty that this week has for me and I am ready to face it head on with an optimistic and positive confidence.

How do you handle the disappointments in your life?