Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday

I just want to wish two of my children a Happy Birthday. One we had the honor to celebrate with and the other we desperately wish we could have in our arms.

Happy Birthday Emma!!!



Happy Birthday Gideon!!!






Lost, UGH!!

This morning at 7:30 I got a phone call. When it showed up as the USCIS I got butterfly's in my stomach. I was so excited. That didn't last too long however. Our officer was calling back from my previous messages. She informed me that she has still not received the paperwork and that she couldn't find it in the system. The conversation went on from there. To paraphrase, she had no idea where the paperwork was and figured it was not even in the lockbox. I gave her our receipt number and from there she looked several other places in the system and found something. She was going to get the Supervisor to try and get the package so they could get the approval out in the overnight mail today. When that was done she would email us to let us know. Our officer was very nice and gave me hope that things would get done today.

I checked email A LOT and nothing. The average case takes 7-10 days to get to the officers desk. An expedited case is supposed to hit the officers desk in 3 days. Our paperwork has now been there for 13 days!!! My guess is that the officer still does not have it in her hands and there is no way for us to email the info over to bypass the problem, I asked. We are stuck in the government cycle of failure and mediocrity. Funny thing, this is what happened with our last adoption. At that point we called our Senators office and got them involved and that is when we were put on the naughty list for our agency. Do I dare call the supervisor tomorrow and ask them to please do whatever it takes to get this done?

My faith is waning and the positive attitude is getting very hard to maintain.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Struggling

Not much to say today. Or a lot to say but I don't want to pull anyone down.

The last few days have really been a struggle waiting and knowing our son needs to come home. There is nothing we can do to speed things up. No one to talk to and no where to turn for help. This is when we see what kind of faith we have.

The struggle has been exhausting. It seems I get nothing done physically because all of my efforts go to trying to stay positive. I am mostly winning that battle but it's hard. I keep reminding myself that one day I will look back and the difficulties will fade in my memory but for today they are real and hard. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to look at my list of things to do and get one done. The emotional and spiritual work that is being done is good work just not something I can look at at the end of the day and feel accomplished. Exercising faith takes much effort and there is a lot of faith to be had. Faith that the money will come. Faith that the paperwork will be processed quickly. Faith that we will travel before the trade fair in Guangzhou. Mostly faith that Gideon will experience some healing of his heart so we will avoid bringing oxygen. Oxygen has brought us to many dead ends, maybe we aren't supposed to use it.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring progress with the paperwork!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Still Waiting

I have been trying to get a hold of our USCIS officer for two days to get an update on our progress. I left messages and then decided to call our agency to see what they knew. I guess they had been in contact with our officer and she is still waiting for the package to get to her. The USCIS received our application on February 13 and it takes 7-10 days for the officer to receive it. It seems that our officer should have the paperwork no later than tomorrow. This is a pretty cumbersome process. Red Tape stinks!!

We're praying for speed with the paperwork, miracles with Gideon's heart and the Lord to bless us with the next set of fees that are due today. Our God is  the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does preform miracles and we must believe that we will be recipients of them. This has been a spiritual journey. One that has taught us much about ourselves, our God and our abilities and desire to obey. We are being purified daily and I am grateful for that. I just hope our faith is strong enough to facilitate the miracles that are needed. Those that come after the trial of our faith.

He Melts My Heart

Hyrum, "I love you Mom. You my favorite one!"

I happen to be the only one. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Creed is Going To Prom

Creed came home Friday afternoon and asked if he could go to Prom. When he told me who he wanted to ask I told him he needed to ask that day or she would be taken. So in a matter of about 2 minutes he had his invite prepared.

"I hope you CHEWS to go to prom with me"
Attached to a vase of colorful gumballs.

He then wrote his name on the gumballs so that she had to figure out who it was. While he was at the temple I dropped the invitation off at the girls home. She wasn't there because I had brought her to the temple with Creed and the other kids. I knew I was safe.

Saturday we get a hurried knock on the door. At the step was her reply.




Notice the half full jar of gumballs. We were able to make the invite so fast 
because the gumballs are always there.
 I love gumballs, they make me smile. :)

Mom's So Nice?

This story involves two children. The first, Hyrum. He has always told me that he loves me. For the last little while he has now added to that.

"I love you sooo much. You so nice."

 I hear this A LOT throughout the day. It really makes me feel good. I have to step back from myself and acknowledge that I really am not as mean as some of the children try to make me out to be. You see, my children know my weak points and being a good mom is one of them. Anyone that is a parent can just imagine how this can be used against me. :)

Now the second child, will not be named, has a respect problem. Meaning, we're still praying this will develop in their life. Picture mom and dad being gone and a child that has no respect. Add in the older sibling and babysitter who, by the way, love authority. Not a pretty picture.

Doug and I had to go to a meeting this evening and came home to find that the second, or non-respectful child, caused problems when it came time for dishes. This child would NOT help or do what was asked. A very familiar story. So as the mean mother, I very calmly informed this child that they would need to learn to do dishes when asked and they now would get to practice all day tomorrow.

Mom, "You get to do all the dishes tomorrow, breakfast, lunch, and dinner."

Right at the time that I finished being the mean mom Hyrum chimes in with the sweetest most sincere voice.

"You so nice mom." 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We Got It!!

We Got It!! 

                




Our new LSC has been signed, emailed, and is on it's way to the USCIS.
Hopefully we will get our I-800 approval in the next couple of days.
 Please pray for renewed speed.

No new info on Gideon. Bummer


Monday, February 18, 2013

Bria Gave Me A Flower

Bria loves to draw! She uses probably 10-15 papers a day. She not only draws on paper but has now started drawing on lots of things. Sadly I have had to take pencils and pens away from her for a short period of time but she always gets them back. Today she asked if she could draw. Soon she came to me with a "present".


Bria drew this by herself and even wrote my name.
She is doing so well!!
By, Bria age 4.4


Our New LSC

We have been told that our new LSC has been issued and should be here today or tomorrow. That is much faster than I expected!  I really thought we would be another week before we would see anything. We have also been told that we can scan our signed LSC and email it to our USCIS worker because of the rush and then the delay. If you are in an adoption and are thinking this is a way to speed things up, don't get your hopes up. This was a very special circumstance.

Myriam is now expecting travel in April. I looked at the Trade Fair schedule for Guangzhou and the next Trade Fair is April 15th. With our last adoption we ended up in China for an extra week because of a holiday but if we had waited it out we would have had to wait 6 weeks for travel because of the fall trade show. Everything get more expensive and the agencies don't like doing business with families in China those weeks. Well, now here we are again with the same concern. How do things always happen?

No new update on Gideon. Hopefully we will get one soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Washing the Wedding Dress


Days before the wedding Ressa needed to wash her wedding dress. Because she worked at a Bridal Shop she knew the tricks, there really aren't any so don't waste your money on dry cleaning. She took the dress to my big beautiful pink tub, Haha, and washed the dress in there. Hyrum came in ans sked what she was doing. He loves to be in the middle of everything. He sat on the side of the tub for a minute and very quickly asked if he could help. Ressa was so sweet about it and gladly accepted his help. He had such fun! He got in there and washed just like Ressa. A while later Bria came in and saw the fun and just climbed in. She really got into it. They were all so cute to watch. Ressa made good memories that day and deepened her connection with her brother and sister. 

Just before starting to wash the dress Jason called and asked Ressa what she was doing . She told him she was washing her dress. He asked how and she said in the bathtub. He was so confused and said. 
"You are going to take a bath in your dress to wash it?"
He was not kidding. :)



To wash the dress all you need is some Fels Naphtha soap,
elbow grease and a steamer when you are done.







Another Grand Walker

Last Sunday Tyler and Jessica came over so they could say good bye to Ressa and Jason. Well, that's why we thought they came over. We had a good evening together and when it came time for prayer Tyler said, "We wanted to tell everyone something while you are all here. Jessica is pregnant!" Jessica is doing great. No  sickness as of yet and not extremely tired. They are expecting the beginning of October. We pray for health and a good pregnancy.

What exciting times. This will make Grand Walker number 2. I am guessing that from here on out we will be adding children to the family on a regular basis. With 3 married and one looking for a great partner, we will have a continuous increase in our posterity. We knew this time would come. 20 years ago we had no idea this would come so soon. Somehow we don't believe that we will get older. Thank Heavens there are many good things that come with our progression in life. I love Grand kids! I only have one but if they are all as cute and precious as our Preston then we will be filled with joy. Eventually very great joy. We figure if each of our children, minus Emma, has an average of 5 kids we will have over 75 grand kids and 375 great grand kids. That is a lot of posterity!! How are we going to remember birthdays or even acknowledge them? Any ideas are appreciated. :)

Tyler and Jessica

Friday, February 15, 2013

Simple Pleasures Speak To The Heart

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. We don't typically do anything for Valentine's Day because our Anniversary is the end of January and Valentine's Day just seems too canned and commercial. I really do have a rebellious spirit and so, by nature, I somewhat boycotted Valentine's Day.

Yesterday I felt like I needed to do something for the children and Doug to remind them that  I loved them. So I took advantage of the holiday. I made Doug his favorite dessert, or is used to be.:) For the kids I made simple valentine's and stapled ring pops and candies to them. The reaction and thanks were worth every minute of effort. The children felt special and loved.

The best reaction I got was Bria. She took her Valentine, looked at me with big eyes and said "Me?'

I responded "Yes, that's for you".

She said "Why?"

With one more reminder that she still needs lots of validation I said, "Because I love you and Daddy loves you." I gave her a kiss on the head and she got down from the table. She ran to the other side of the kitchen, with her little limp and a huge grin then back again and said,

"Thank You!"

Bria and a Ring Pop

Pierce reading Lord of the Flies while eating his Ring Pop

Hyrum loving Valentines Day

I wish I had more pictures of the other kids but I didn't think fast enough.


Hannah reminded me she still had her Ring Pop. Good hint she wanted a picture.

Olivia too ran up with her Ring Pop.
These cute girls helped me to remember that we all need attention, no matter how old.

Clayson didn't care about the candy, he just wanted to show the crazy hair.

Niya is just beautiful. 


"It is our sacred joy and privilege to serve the Lord and our fellowmen, to commit the best that is within us to the noble cause of lifting others and building the kingdom of God."
                                                                                                                                                         —Dieter F. Uchtdorf



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jason and Ressa, Off To China and Wedding Pictures


Yesterday we dropped Jason and Ressa off at the airport for the experience of a lifetime. They are going to teach english in an elementary school in a town in China. If you want to follow their journey this is their blog address.     To live will be an awfully big adventure   They are on their way to Hong Kong first to visit with Jason's Uncle and Aunt. They will spend  a few days there seeing the sights then on to China.We are so excited for them but will really miss them. Ressa has never been far from home. Even when she went to college it was a long time if we didn't see her for two weeks. We would talk on the phone several times a week. They found out yesterday afternoon that their apartment may not have internet so Skyping regularly may not work either.

We got the pictures back from the wedding. There are some really good ones. Here is just a sampling.


Ressa and Jason, Brigham City Temple

Jason what posing for his parents when we told the photographer to take a shot.
He is silly at heart.

Ressa took this dress from being sleeveless and very low to  modest. She did all the altering herself.

What a beautiful couple, inside and out!

Walker Sisters
Walker Brothers

                                       
Some of the center pieces. We needed a filler around the vase of flowers but had to have some color. What better way to add color than gumballs.
I love gumballs!  They make me smile. :)
                         

I was told this setup with pintrest worthy. What a great compliment!  The Hot Chocolate Bar turned out great and looked beautiful. I recommend having a tray under the Hot Chocolate dispenser. There are bound to be those that spill. Of a few small cloths with plastic under them to save the table cloth. You can change out the cloth as it gets dirty.
If anyone wants the labels just email. I would love to save someone time.

What do you do at a reception? Drink hot chocolate,

Walk around in Mom's shoes,

and play in the flower boxes.


Creative registry book.





Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Lord Is In Our Lives


A very timely quote to come through email as pressures mount and the Influenza rages in our home.

"The Lord is in all of our lives. He loves us. He wants to bless us. He wants us to seek His help. As He guides us and directs us and as He hears and answers our prayers, we will find the happiness here and now that He desires for us."
—Thomas S. Monson

He does guide and direct us. He does hear and answer our prayers. I am so grateful for these blessings and so many more. I am especially grateful for an understanding of why I am here and what the Lord desires for me. Without that knowledge I would be lost in the darkness. Without His loving help I would have no hope.

Friday, February 8, 2013

We Thought We Had Good News

About 10 minutes after publishing the last post I got a call from our agency. It was good news. DHL arrived at 5:15 their time, about 2 hours late. Our LSC arrived!  30 minutes later another call from Myriam. This was not so good. Gideon's birth date was wrong on the LSC. That is very VERY bad news. We will most likely not get our I800 approval with this mistake. Myriam will try but I'm not holding my breath. This will most definitely pose a problem in China when we go to the consulate. Because of this we will have to have a new LSC issued. How long will that take? Who knows. We can't even do anything until the 19th of February. Here's hoping for another miracle.

God must have something good in store!!!

Another Delay

Well, our LSC did not come in the DHL package our agency got yesterday and no DHL today, like they were told. Unfortunately, all offices in China are closed for a week for Chinese New Year. If the agency doesn't get a package on Monday then we won't see the LSC until the 21st at the earliest. So much for promises and trusting what they say. Myriam, the owner of Agape Adoptions, is much more frustrated with this than I am. I just have to leave it all in the Lord's hands. I don't know His purposes in these delays but He knows all and I must be patient. That doesn't mean I will get much done though. My faith isn't quite that strong yet. :)

There is another little boy that needs many prayers right now. If you remember I posted about a boy named Leo. He just turned 5 and has a sever heart condition. He was scheduled to get surgery in another country but got pneumonia.  About 2 weeks later he was admitted in the hospital. I'm not sure how long he was there but it wasn't a short visit. Once back at the orphanage he still struggled. They had to reschedule his surgery several times. I know through much fasting and prayer he is now strong enough to travel. He will be leaving soon and will undergo major surgery, on his own. This poor little boy could really use the comfort of the angels and healing and protecting powers of God. Please join us in prayer for him. This is an exciting time but scary too. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Was God Just Kidding?


This was originally posted on 
aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com

I chose to cut and paste this post knowing that some will be more likely to read it without having to click through to another blog. This blogger speaks truth that we all need to hear, including those that already serve.  Elder Dallin Oaks spoke in the October 2012 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and pleaded for all to "Protect The Children". Please take the time to read that talk as well.




TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2013

Was God Just Kidding?
This post has been mulling in my heart for a really, really long time.  I have prayed.  If you are 'not in the mood', then please just skip it.   If you decide to read, proceed with caution and remember that what I share, I share in love and through deep conviction in my own heart. 


********************



Remember Lisa {Karl's aunt who instigated the blind date between Autumn and Karl}?  She and her husband and two children are missionaries in Kenya. 

Yesterday morning I received a text message from Lisa asking for prayer.   A little boy whom they call "Little Dwight" from the orphanage where they serve, was having seizures and they could not get the seizures to stop.  They had brought Little Dwight to the hospital and they still would not stop.

Somehow Lisa's text hit me close to home. 


Ruby has seizures.  They are scary.  They are long.  Really long. She had one about 10 days ago when Dw was still in Africa.   Seizures are not something that one ever gets "used to".  Even two of Ruby's neurologists, when I have said, "Seizures freak me out," they each {separately} have responded, "Yes, they're very scary."  {When neurologists who have dedicated their lives to caring for the brain, agree that seizures are scary, that says something!} 

To top it off, Lisa's prayer request was for a little orphan boy with the same name as my husband.

All day long I could not stop praying for Little Dwight, his precious body fighting. 

Later in the day I received this text message:



 "Little Dwight, who has no mama or baba, 

did not wake frm seizure.  

Medicated n sleeping @hospital.  
Pls keep praying." 



A little boy, known by only a few, without a mama or baba...

Tears filled my eyes.  I could feel the sobs coming...

What are we doing friends?
*and*

Do we honestly care?



There are, literally, millions of precious treasures around the world, without a mama or baba. 

Do we care?

I mean, do we really, really care?

And what are we doing about it?

Do we really think that an all-knowing, all-powerful God put us on Earth to ignore the orphan's cry?

Do we really think that Almighty God put us on Earth just to spend the vast majority of our time making ourselves happy?



Do we really believe that the God of the Universe, who wove throughout His word a thread to 'care for the orphans and widow", really meant it as a suggestion for people?  Maybe it was just an idea from God for those who don't have anything else to do?  You know, kind of like, "busy work".  

Or do we think that God was just kidding? 

The thread throughout God's Holy word is to care for the orphan, the oppressed, the poor, the widow, the starving, the imprisoned. 




  And yet, we spend most of our days with little thought for the orphan, the oppressed, the poor, the widow, the starving and the imprisoned.  


Sooooo....was God just kidding?
And why did He use real life examples of people who made a difference through the power of adoption in the Bible?

When God could have chosen any one of thousands of beautiful young women to be Queen and save the entire Jewish nation....He chose an orphaned girl who had been adopted...named Esther. 


WHY?

Because adoption is His heart. 

And if adoption is His heart, what are we doing to beat with His heart?

Oh me.  We're so busy hustling through life:  "busy, busy, busy."

"You have no idea, just how busy!"

I hear people all the time say:  "I am sooooooo busy."

And I don't want to appear rude, so I bite my tongue, but wonder:



"Exactly what are you soooooo busy doing?"



Sweet friends, do we realize that at the end of our days we will give

an account for how we spent our time -



And yes, we will account for what we did specifically to care for the orphan, 

the oppressed, the poor, the widow, the starving, the imprisoned.


Was God Just Kidding?

Each one of us have the same number of hours in our day.

It's true, God gives us each our free will and we can spend our days however we wish.

But I can't help but wonder how much regret there will be when we kneel before the throne?

If there were to be a big screen, revealing our lives, moment by moment....how much wasted minutes, which roll into hours, which roll into days, which roll into weeks, which roll into years? 



Minutes wasted on Facebook
{unless you're using it to primarily advocate for the orphan}
Minutes wasted on Pinterest

{longing for things we can't have and don't really need - ouch!}

Minutes wasted reading Books that hold no eternal value 

{in the end, what do they matter?}

Minutes wasted on Television

{it's basically all garbage, really!}

Minutes wasted on Shopping

{filling our homes with stuff while the rest of the world won't eat}
Minutes wasted on Hobbies

{while more than 350 million don't know if they will eat today}



Minutes wasted on anything but what really matters for eternity.



Which adds up to hours, weeks, months and years.


Was God Just Kidding?



Do we really think that Almighty God is nodding His approval as we spend our days doing nothing that really matters?   Doing nothing to make a difference in the lives of the orphan, the oppressed, the poor, the widow, the starving, the imprisoned? 

Somewhere in life the Western world got the idea that

"if we have earned it, we most definitely deserve it."  Kick back.  You've 'worked' hard enough. 

Friends!! 

We didn't earn it to keep for ourselves.  Actually, we didn't even earn it to "keep most" for ourselves!!  We 'earned' it by His grace and His grace alone - 

to give it away - 

generously!! 



I can't help but wonder how much grief there will be when an accounting is done in eternity? 

Will there be great applause for the bigger home? 

The big boat? 
The super-sized camper with all the frills?
The big 401K? 
The things that brought the applause on Earth?



Not a chance.


Was God Just Kidding?

He most definitely was NOT kidding.

But there is time, friends!!

There is time to change our hearts and our ways. 

There isn't much time, but there is time. 

Repent. 



Turn from the things that steal your minutes, your hours, your weeks, your years and your resources.





Turn off the TV, get out of your comfort zone, get off the couch, get off Facebook, get off whiling away the minutes, the hours, the weeks, the months and the years....


Get involved in caring for the orphan, the oppressed, the poor, the widow,

the starving and the imprisoned. 



Where do you start?


Joey in Jan 2012

Prayer is the starting point....


Pray for the orphan.  Little Dwight!  The orphans around the world.  The foster care system in the United States.  Those in the midst of adoption.  Those just home from adopting.  Those who are contemplating disrupting their adoption.  The missionaries who tirelessly serve around the world.  The widows in your community {The modern day widow is the single mom.}  Start fasting regularly for all of these needs...



BUT while you are praying - Get busy!  

Don't wait!! 

I know so many people who are using the excuse "I'm still praying about what to do!"

Are you kidding?

The need is there.

What in the world must be prayed about?

Get busy!

Don't wait!

Say you "care?"

{It's an action verb.} 



Prove it!  

Prove it in tangible ways. 

Get involved in real ministry to the orphan, the widow, the oppressed, the poor, the vulnerable - No doubt, it WILL hurt - but it will change your life - for good! 



Then lay your head down at night knowing that because you were alive today - 

the world is a better place - 

because you were alive today - you did all you could to be His hands and His feet - 
to minister God's love 
to those who He so desperately loves....
because no, actually, 

God was NOT kidding.    


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

That's So Fun!!!

A belated post. This took place about 3 weeks ago. I was waiting for the pictures to appear but I still can't find them so here is the story without pictures.

We got more snow today and the temperatures have dropped again. It is 14 degrees at 1:45 pm. A little on the cold side!! I know all you people in colder areas think I'm a wimp  Well let me tell you, I AM. I hate the cold and would prefer to live somewhere perpetually sunny, Fiji. :) One positive that comes with the snow is the fun. Yes, I have already posted about sledding behind the four wheeler but this time Hyrum and Bria did it all by themselves.

Marshall came in and insisted that I go outside because Hyrum wanted to tell me something. For a split second I thought "Can't he come in and tell me?" I put my coat on and went outside. Hyrum was ecstatic!   He said "Mom, I went by my self!"  I had him go on again and took some pictures. There was no way to capture the excitement, glee, pure happiness and complete thrill Hyrum felt. I asked him some questions and he kept saying,

"Yeah, but it was so fun." It didn't matter what the question was I still got the same answer.

Do you want to go again? "Yeah, but, it was so fun."

Did Bria go by herself? "Yeah, but it was so fun."

Do you want to go to bed? "Yeah, but it was so fun." I really didn't ask this one but the answer would have been the same.

Too cute and worth every bit of difficulty getting him home.

First Picture From the Reception

I stole this picture from Facebook. Sorry Kristen. Our photographer and niece posted  a few last night. I can't wait until the rest of them come back.



                                               What a great crew !! Now we just need Gideon home.

Monday, February 4, 2013

We Got LSC!!!

We just got word that our LSC was issued today. The LSC is the letter that officially offers the child for adoption to us. We will sign it acknowledging that we accept the referral. We should get the document in the mail on Thursday. Great news!!!  I really needed good news today. :)

We were hoping that this would come through before the end of the week. It is the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebrations so starting Monday of next week all offices in China will be closed for 10 days. We now can do all of the US side of the paperwork and miss having down time during the holiday. Hopefully everything will be ready to submit to the consulate in China at the end of the holiday. It is starting to look very likely that we will be in China in March. YEAH!!

No new info on Gideon. That probably means he is still in the hospital. We are absolutely going to need oxygen for him on the way home. We found out that Cathay Pacific will allow O2 concentrators and they can also provide oxygen but there is a possibility that their oxygen may not come through. We have been looking for a used unit. Please, if anyone comes across one or can put the word out let us know. The portable oxygen concentrator needs to be FAA approved and continuous flow. That means there are only 4 different units that will work for us.

SeQual Eclipse
DeVilbiss Healthcare IGo
O2 Concepts OxLife
Invacare Solo2

These are the 4 we can use. Please, please, please keep an eye out for us.

How Many Kids Do You Want?

Not to long ago our daughter Hannah, 12, was asked by a friend how many kids she wanted.

Her reply, "Not too many, it would be hard to take care of them financially. Probably about 10."

That's my child!!