Friday, December 17, 2010

Provisions in Funny Packages...

I just had to share this. Last Saturday night, we were driving into our neighborhood and our van started making these CRAZY sounds. The brakes went out on the van. On Sunday, only 3 of us could go to church because that is all that would fit in the borrowed car (remember our other one bit the dust and has still not been replaced). We take our van into the shop to get fixed because it is the ONLY vehicle that will move our family around. $600. BAM. AHhhhh!! However, they found a leak in the steering column and said that we needed to get that fixed ASAP because it would more than likely break while driving, and we would loose all control of the van at that point($740). WOW. In just 5 days we are driving 16 hours to see our family for Christmas. IF the brakes hadn't gone out (a problem we could detect easily) we would have NEVER known about the MUCH MORE DANGEROUS problem going unseen in the steering. I don't want to think about what "could" have been... because God is gracious enough to provide a way out of that circumstance. What was initially a huge burden, I now see as a blessing and God's provision of safety for our family.
Sometimes how we pray and WANT God to provide is completely different than how He sees fit. Pay attention to those squeaking things in your life... there may be an even more dangerous problem lying beneath it that God wants to deliver you from...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the limits of poor, weak dust...

Just so you don't think I've "got it all together"... This post will surely debunk that myth. I've debated on whether or not I want to post about this, because it is my private journey and struggle currently. At the same time, I believe that there may be MANY who are possibly in the same place.

Over the last 2 1/2 years, we have faced a LOT of change in our household. Job changes, moves, financial changes, leaving family, adding to the family (soon to be 2xs), divorces in our close family, blah blah blah.

The last year has been interesting. While God has provided support that I could not have dreamed of, living in a new place is still just that ... new. unfamiliar. uncomfortable. lonely.

At the same token, we have been unbelievably blessed by some of the BEST neighbors and church family we could EVER ask for. So... within it, there is ALWAYS provision from the Lord.

If you know me, I have always been involved... and maybe over-committed. When we moved, I vowed that my "new life" wasn't going to be that way. It would reflect a "calm and peaceful home." Slowly, I have traded that for a life that has been slowly evolving into more than I can handle. Now, hear me out. I love Jesus more than life. I am not seeking "balance" because He owns me.. and I'll do whatever he wants. What I'm seeking is "obedience." I do not want to be busy with the WRONG things, but I will give my life away to the RIGHT things. I get the whole "my life is not my own" part... but that doesn't mean I can give it to any "good" thing. I hear my sweet Jesus calling me back... for a time of refreshing... It reminds me of this:

There was this guy, you might know him... Elijah. He loved the Lord with all he was. BUT, he was going through some not so great stuff and had actually RAN a very LONG journey... which landed him "under a juniper tree." That's where he actually laid and asked God to take him on home! Physical exhaustion led to depression for Elijah... you know... the guy that everyone thought JESUS was... ya, even he struggled emotionally! When Elijah laid there... God sent an angel and left food and water for him... and that kept him alive... from perishing. It didn't "fix" his exhaustion, but it kept him moving. The bible says that the angel said " get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you." Basically... TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF or you will not be able to do what God wants from you.

ok, break from this story. I struggle SO MUCH with taking care of myself. In my heart, I do not want to be selfish or self-centered... but I know the Lord needs me to be healthy in order to do what He has called me to. I must see that taking care of myself and being self-absorbed are 2 different things. In addition, don't you love how God provided exactly what Elijah needed to continue? He didn't scorn him or just say "suck it up..." He provided, and allowed for refreshment. Back to the story...

Elijah went on for 40 days from that food... then went to a mountain where he MET GOD... in a still small voice... He went to the mountain of God... and there he was able to stand in the Lord's presence after being on a journey that almost killed him.
He then went from that place BACK to where he had RAN from... and eventually appointed Elisha as his successor... back to finish business and build God's story and legacy...

Ok. I'm not really sure what God is asking me. But I know that I am to a point that I can no longer go in the way I have ran in the past. And, i'm not exactly sure... but I think I MAY be sitting under a juniper tree!! WHAT IN THE WORLD?
Not where I want to be! When our physical strength is gone, all else ceases. God is faithful. He is enough. He provides enough. And I desire to meet Him on the mountain and receive Him fully so that I can continue on... back to the life He has called us to. I am a lover of Jesus, a wife to the Mr., a mom to my 3...soon to be 4... wonderful children... and a defender of orphans. I want to spend my life well... and in order to do that, I am in need of refreshement from God.. or "the journey will be too much for you."

I realize this is a LONG post.. but I have to add this poem from a devo I read...

I'm too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said I , as my overtaxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought that my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.

Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without questioning if I may,
Without even trying to trust and pray?

Will God forgive you? Think back, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did your mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?

Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she give her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?

Oh how quickly a mother's love can see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you've grown too tired to trust and pray,
When overworked nature has given way

Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on a mother's breast
He knows all about it, the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes

Without even asking if you may
God knows when His child is too tired to pray
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.

He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust.
And He knows too the limits of poor, weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,

When He told them, "Sleep and take your rest"
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed
You have trusted your life to Him to keep
then don't be afraid to go right to sleep...

Ella Conrad Cowherd...

If you are needing to be refreshed, don't wait... the Lord wants to give his servants living water... times of rest... so that we can then "get back at it"... just like Elijah did. If you don't know the story you should read it... 1 Kings 19. So... there it is... all my junk...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reflecting and Expecting...

A year ago....


The last couple of weeks have brought about some great celebrations! We love that we can celebrate E's forever family day the same week as Thanksgiving... as it just brings a focus around the many many things we can be Thankful for. The last year feels like it has been a whirlwind! I am truly blown away by the grace of God upon my family...
I am so thankful that we can look behind us and see some of the hurts and fears slowly fade away. We have been able to witness one of the strongest little boys I know truly rise above circumstance. Not just some difficult things in his life in Ethiopia, but living with severe Asthma, many medical treatments, medicines, blood draws, etc... and the boy is simply courageous. His strength brings me to tears of thankfulness. I love that I can attribute that to not only the amazing Ethiopian culture that he comes from, but from the Lord Almighty, molding E into a strong little man. His joy for life makes me laugh, and his full out "love like there's no tomorrow" Love for us, and his brother and sister (and Lightening McQueen) is truly an amazing gift.
He has come so far... and yet, I know we are all still on a long beautiful, sometimes difficult, journey toward healing.
When looking at E, I can't help but see the beauty in Z & KG. They have walked this transition well, too. For only being 2&3 at the time, they have not only made adjustments, but fallen deeply in love with their little brother. The are officially the "three musketeers"... If you had asked me a year ago if that were possible I would have and maybe cried a little too. I thought certainly I had "ruined KGs life" because of her difficulties having a new brother only 6 months younger. They have moved from "Cain and Able" status to "normal sibling" status... which is a HUGE blessing and answered prayer. Z has been the true leader... setting the pace for the rest. He is kind, patient, loving, and wants to love his brother and sister. It's truly magnificent to watch the dynamic. Please don't get me wrong... we still have way to much whining, problems sharing, impulse control issues, and LOTS OF TRAINING going on in our house... but as for the 3 of them... they have come a LOOOONG WAY from where we were a year ago. Sleep issues... gone. Aggression... gone. Attachment issues... few if any. Bonding... strong. Praise the Lord! It came with lots of work, but SO worth it. Thus... the expecting...

With all that said... we have reflected on our year... and now with great expectation for the coming year. More change... more transitions.... more sleepless nights... but I know that God is unfolding His plan... even as we speak... to get us to our AJ just in perfect time....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World AIDS Day...

This is a blog post written by a lady that is very well respected not just in the "blogging" community, but throughout the world of adoption advocates. This is something we are passionate about, and want to encourage others to be educated... so take today to learn about something you might not have otherwise... or maybe had misinformation about. Families depend on people like us to not only become educated, but to go near and love like Jesus. Enjoy her post...

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Does it matter to us? Should it matter? Many of us have lived unaffected by HIV/AIDS, but in Ethiopia, my children’s birthplace, there may not be a single person who can say that. Every day children are orphaned by this incurable but treatable disease; they are left to raise their siblings, left on the street, left to a neighbor’s kindness,or left at the gate of an orphanage. They cry, they starve, they suffer, and many of them do not yet know that they too are infected with this virus.

What can you do?

1. Read

If you only have time to read one book, I recommend There Is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Her Country’s Children. Written by an adoptive mother, the book tells the story of one Ethiopian woman who responded to the AIDS orphan crisis with practical compassion. It is a compelling and interesting read.

If you have time for two books, get 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen. My exposure to AIDS in Africa had been limited primarily to Ethiopia, but this book features a short story about 28 different people across the continent and how AIDS has affected them. 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa will give you a quick education about HIV/AIDS in a captivating style.

2. Learn

Visit the From HIV to Home website, to find great information including our free webinar and audioconference. You can also read Family Stories about families who have adopted children living with HIV.

If you have 30 seconds, go to my HIV Fact page and get the facts.

Take three minutes to watch Truth Pandemic by Project Hopeful; make sure your knowledge about HIV/AIDS isn’t stuck in the eighties.

3. Shop

Shop with a purpose. Christmas will be here soon and this year you can purchase gifts that will benefit children with HIV/AIDS.

At From HIV to Home we have some great new earrings available for a donation of $30.

4. Care

If it all seems remote to you, take a few moments to watch my family’s video of our Ethiopian adoption. I know I don’t write about HIV/AIDS much, but our lives have been forever changed by this virus. I am so thankful to God that we learned there was nothing to fear about HIV, and I feel honored that God trusted us to adopt our children who are HIV+.

5. Adopt

Consider adopting an HIV+ child. It isn’t as hard as you think! The last four years have seen an explosion in the number of families adopting HIV+ children. When we began the process, a handful of HIV+ children had been adopted from our daughters’ orphanage. Now, the children are finding families very quickly. For more information on HIV+ adoption, contact Adoption Advocates International one of the other agencies placing HIV+ children.

Don’t wait until December 1st to wear a red ribbon. Do something today and when World AIDS Day arrives, you will be ready to tell somebody else what it is all about. Please feel free to share this post and spread the word about World AIDS Day. My family thanks you for caring.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A favorite: GREAT deal...

Well, I love good pictures and GREAT deals.... Shutterfly is offering 50 free photo cards to bloggers! I LOVE that! With as many photos and Christmas Cards that we send out, it is a HUGE blessing to have 50 for FREE!!

Every year I complete a book for each of the kids, and give it away as gifts. So this is one of my favorite things:

I also love making our own holiday cards :

It's fun, affordable, and right now AMAZING deals at Shutterfly!

Ok, go check it out!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stuck in the 80s?

Something that we have become passionate about over the last 2-3 years within the realm of adoption and orphan care is the HIV/AIDS crisis and how it is a major contributor to the overall orphan crisis. Another ministry we've been able to get to know, Project Hopeful (In this weeks PEOPLE magazine, btw) has created a project called the TRUTH+Pandemic. Here is a little glimpse of how they are using their platform to educate others. Amazing, really. Hope you enjoy, and are educated... maybe even challenged a bit...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Forever Family... One Year ago...

One year ago... We were getting ready to meet you for the first time.
One year ago... We were wondering how you would react... how you would feel... would you be scared?
One year ago... We were changed forever. Blessed beyond imagination.
One year ago... We touched you for the first time.
One year ago... We fell in love with you.
One year ago... We held you for the first time... and haven't let go since.

Our first year is behind us! We can't believe how much we have ALL changed. It was a sleepless 4 months, lots of trying to understand each other, and lots of tears... both ways. At the same time... there was always love... for you... and we saw you loving on us too... But now... there is a beautiful dance starting. We know you, you know us. The fear is starting to disappear. Your personality BLOWS US AWAY. You are quite possibly the cutest jokester on the planet. You are SO SMART! You are talking so much! There are so many times that I can't believe you haven't ALWAYS been here. You are one of the three musketeers, and you are awesome! There are so many things you love... and you are SO HAPPY! We love every part of you. Happy forever family day, EHM!

Love mommy and daddy...

* This is the first post ever of our video. We hope you enjoy it. It is truly perfect as we understand more fully OUR spiritual adoption through the physical adoption of E. Through adoption, we ALL were given the chance to "feel like I"m born again." WE are the ones who have received the BIGGEST GIFT. We are the ones who have ultimately been saved... from our self-centered world... from a life full of ourselves and our own "wants" ... and have been given the ability to give... to love... and in turn receive love from one of the most amazing boys that walks this earth! I'm so grateful I'm chosen to be E's mommy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh Attachment!

This week I have the privildge of attending the TBRI (Trust Based Relationship Intervention) Training at TCU with Dr. Karyn Purvis and her collegues. Today was my second day, and it is amazing! Yesterday I was so exhausted I could barely hold my head up when I got home! I really can't put into words all that I am learning, and re-learning. What I can say is that I am so passionate about helping families walk the adoption journey well, and I am excited to see what comes out of this experience. If nothing else, it is without a doubt helping our family function at a better, more secure, and nurturing place. I find it a breath of fresh air to balance nurture and structure instead of getting caught up in the tug of war of power struggles and feeling like "I have to win!"

However, my most memorable part of today was when Dr. Purvis discussed Attachment. It is completely fascinating to learn more about how Adult Attachment impacts Child Attachment. I was able to have the AAI (Adult Attachment Interview) as part of our pre-training for this week. Dr. Purvis says that "We cannnot lead a child where we have not gone ourselves." The meaning behind that is that we as parents and providers can't lead children to healing if we are not healed. The AAI measures your Adult Attachment style, giving greater insight into how your attachment style as an adult impacts your childs attachment style.

Did you know that in adoptive families, there is an abnormally large amount of parents that are Avoidant or Entangled, and only a small % are actually secure? I find this very interesting. Dr. Purvis says "Your attachment style has nothing to do with being a good or loving person, but it has to do with if your heart is available to connect with your child in a way that brings healing." WOW. ok. So, we need to be mindful of this! I must admit that I was SWEATING IT on getting my results back, assured I was at best a real mess! ha! The results were better that expected, so I was pleasantly surprised! It must have been the years of internal therapy with myself! ha!

I wanted to share with you all 2 videos that we watched today that just moved me deeply. The impact we as parents have can NOT be undermined, or forgotten. It MATTERS if we are present with our children and emotionally available for them! It has an IMPACT on who they are if we do not respond or take their needs seriously. We watched one video called crybaby, that shows a child's needs being completely ignored and basically taunted. Many find it "cute" or "funny" or even "spoiled"... but ultimately, the child is acting this way because he NEEDS something, and whatever that is... it is being completely ignored. The second video I found completely moving me to tears... because I know that attachment dance with my children... the one that brings mutual respect, fun, joy, and obedience! That's the way God intended us to be! Enjoy the videos... and sorry this is so "clinical" but I have to process somewhere!

Coolest Dog in the World
- Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The waiting and what's to come...

Well, we have been on the waiting list for over a week now and I'm starting to remember how much I hated it the first time. ha! Not really! We are just moving on with life... Just the 5 of us... waiting for that perfect timing when our phone rings and says "we want to talk to you about a little..." WOW! I remember it like it was yesterday for E... and I am SO DANG BLESSED to be here again so soon. My plan? not a chance. His plan? certainly. Ya'll only God through me and the Mr can raise these children in His love.

So we wait with excited, yet peaceful hearts, knowing that our day will come and it will be the one He chose for us. For the meantime, we are enjoying being our family of 5... the way things are today. I'm really trying not to get caught up in the future and just enjoying each and every day with my little 3 guys and doll right now. I don't want to miss one day!!

But, we've gotten some questions about our adoption that I thought I would try to answer the best I can.

1. How long will you have to wait?

We aren't sure. It could be weeks or months. Thus... we feel like we are waiting at #1 ALL THE TIME! AHHH... it could be anytime!

2. Why do you have to wait for a special needs child... aren't there plenty waiting?

We chose our agency based on their incredible ethical standards. We have NOT been looking on their waiting children's list because they know what we are open to and will notify us if there is a child that comes into care that matches our parameters. That may sound silly to you, but that is the way we have chosen to do it, unless God drops a child in our inbox... which has been done before (remember Dimples?)

Also, another wait is how the paper trail works in Ethiopia. Gladney will notify the government orphanages that they have a family open to XYZ, if Gladney doesn't have a child already in care that fits our parameters. At this time, then a child that was "waiting" in the government orphanage will be moved into the Gladney home. Before this happens, Gladney has it's own team of investigators and staff ensuring the paperwork and story of that child is accurate. After all the appropriate paperwork has been completed, they will transfer the child to Gladney. At this point, there is more paperwork that has to take place in country with Gladney staff BEFORE we EVER KNOW about the child! After the appropriate steps have been taken, then Gladneys in country staff will notify my case worker who will then call us! That's the deal... pickle!

3. "I'm worried about you adopting a child with special needs."

Don't be. We have spent the last 2 years praying about this and you have to trust God that He knows what He is doing! Don't worry about us, pray for us. Pray for our family. Pray for the transitions that are coming. Pray for our financial support. We would NEVER CHOOSE this road if we didn't know 100% we were called.

4. What kind of special needs?

We obviously haven't gotten the call, so we don't really know the entire extent of our child's medical needs. However, we can tell you what we are not ready for. We are not approved for any major neurological problems or long term care situations. We believe that in the future God may call us to that, but for now, we believe that the ages of our children limit our time and energy to take that on currently. We have found this lays to rest many people's fears who love us, but only know a little bit about our adoption journey currently. I appreciate people's concern, and desire to pray. We believe that we will be in a situation that will require dire need of medications and medical care, yet most of our life will be lived normal day to day. If you have more questions, you can ask us!

We hope this helps you understand the process we are in right now. I know it helped me to type it out! ha.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Christmas Challenge...

Christmas... snowflakes... warm cookies... caroling... love... and family. I LOVE Christmastime! Shopping has clearly become a pretty big deal, too. Even Charlie Brown was a little taken back by the "consumerism" of his day.
Indeed, Christmas is about giving... and celebrating the BEST gift we were ever given... in the form of a child... Jesus.

This year, the McBs want to challenge our friends and whoever else may read this... to buy "gifts that give"... Blessing and most of all Hope... to those who are reaching out and loving...

the widows...

the orphans...

the oppressed...

We have decided to buy all our Christmas gifts through ministries, organizations, and families who are reaching outward... which is what Christianity is all about...
it's what Christmas is about...

being in a place that isn't comfortable....

reaching out to people that aren't like you...


.... and giving sacrificially.

That's the Gospel. That's Christmas.

So that's the Challenge... buy Gifts this year that GIVE HOPE and LIFE.... which is the gift we received in Christ.

As I was compiling my list... I came across a blog that had a HUGE list already... I've added the button at the end if you want a more comprehensive list. This list is a condensed version of theirs and the list I had started... Happy shopping for a cause!!

147 Gear Store
Show Hope
Compassion Store
Dolka Pots Etsy Store
Feeding The Orphans Tshirt
HOPE & Love Is Not A Color Shirts
Light Gives Heat Store
Mocha Club Store
Poppy Dip Clothes
Twinkle & Shine Store


Mulder Adoption Cookbook
WIPHAN Cookbook


147 Gear - Uganda Necklaces
Adopting Ainsley Etsy Store
Chosen Adoption Necklace
JunkPosse Etsy Store
Light Gives Heat Suubi Shop
Mama Sheep Etsy Store
Sweet Tea Shoppe Etsy Store
Uganda Necklaces
Noonday Collection
Funky Fish Designs

Bags & Totes:

Haggerty's Adoption Bags
Light Gives Heat Store
Twinkle Stitch Etsy Store

Hair Accessories:
Bring Our Angel Home Fabric Flower Headbands
Dolka Pots Etsy Store


Ahni Art
The Canvas Heart Etsy Store

Embracing The Least Of These Ornaments

Haggerty's Adoption Aprons

Coffee: Gobena
Galindo's Tagsies, Burpcloths, and Binky Links
Wine Glass Charms


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

God's amazing provisions...

Just a quick couple of stories this week of God truly blessing us...

1. about that car... yeah, it's still sitting at the Volvo dealership hanging out. No one is working on it... and we haven't gotten it yet in hopes to find an engine head for half the price that they originally stated. BUT, after a few days of being a one car family... thanks to a family in our BFG (Bible Fellowship Group... so many names for Sunday School!!) Mr. McB has a car to drive back and forth to work!!! YAY!!! We have truly been blown away by so many friends offering to let us borrow their car for the day... or in this case "for a while." God is so good, and we are giving him the praise and thanks... and of course... thanks to all our friends who have helped us out!
Now, we keep praying God provides a long term solution for us. That may mean even changing our hearts and minds that we can indeed be a one car family. He can do that, too...

2. He answers prayers! Sometimes fast, other times not so fast... but this week... it's been FAST! As many of you know... we have been waiting for fingerprints and I171h. Check yes for the prints... and the 171 had NOT come in (despite that sweet conversation I had with a lady a few weeks back... remember?) Anyway, on Sunday I admitted to the Mr. that I really needed God to re-affirm our direction. We LOVE orphans... we are CALLED to ADOPTION... and sometimes it gets really muddy when I'm waiting for a piece of paper and their are kids in my own county who need a home. But we prayed and prayed when we started the process, and were sure this is the way God was leading us at this time. However, after 4 mos of staring down my dossier, loosing dimples, and waiting on what seems forever... I started doubting. So, on Sunday I started praying... "God, I NEED you to affirm to me 'this is the way...walk in it'. and I feel like I need it SOON."
So, on Tuesday, i called USCIS and got the officer who happened to have my case. She said she actually mailed out the 171h that day! WHAT? (i've heard this before, mind you.) YAY. THank you thank you... because you can't really be ugly. and I hung up the phone hoping we would eventually get it. THEN MY PHONE RANG... AND IT WAS THE USCIS OFFICER CALLING ME!!! She said that she knows I only need a copy of the original for my dossier and that she would be more than happy to scan me a copy TODAY! (yesterday).!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ABOUT LOST IT!!!!! YAY! and the true THank you's started pouring out. Oh how He loves me! So, I just FEDEXed it to Austin for authentication (because our agency requires it) ... and by Monday we should have our dossier sitting on the desk of our CM at Gladney and officially "ready to wait for a match"... which I"m not sure how long it will take... there aren't very many families who are open to as many needs as we are... so ... WHO KNOWS!! Could be weeks, could be months...
But all that to say... God is good, and He provides all we need... sometimes more... but NEVER less!

Friday, October 8, 2010

24 hours and never less...

The past 24 hours has been quite the whirlwind! God is SO GOOD. I recently read "God always provides what you need, sometimes more... but NEVER less."

God is truly gracious how he presents life to us at the McB house. Yesterday, we got an AMAZING call from the Dr that E is indeed NEGATIVE for CF! WHEW! and YAY!!!!!! God is so gracious to us! We can't say how relieved we are.

In the SAME timeframe... Our car broke down. :( Just 45 miles after being "inspected" and a sensor replaced at a "joe shmoe" mechanic shop... suspicious indeed. The Volvo dealership took the car... and relayed the message that the entire engine blew out!! And even better... it will ONLY BE 4,600 to be fixed!!!!! PAHAHAHAHA... WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? The car is worth less than 4k, i think. SOooooo.... the Mr. and I are a one car family right now. We have talked with the original mechanic who was nice enough to come look at the car, but did NOT take responsibility for the damage because his insurance won't cover it. So... we are on our own. We are NOT acting on the car. We will more than likely tow it to our house and wait. We will wait on the Lord to provide either the money to fix the car, someone to fix it for us, or another car... or some other crazy wonderful plan He has up his sleeve. We obviously don't have the $ for it... 1. we don't really make that much to start with 2. adoption 3. asthma. SOoo.. we will wait.

What I think is gracious is this... on any other week, this might have really concerned me. This week... not so much. I'm just PRAISING GOD my baby doesn't have CF. Who cares if I have to drive the Mr. back and forth to work, and go without a car most days? I'm so thankful God put our life situations into perspective. He didn't have to do that, and I'm grateful. As for the car... it was the best thing we had from our "old life" and now... it is gone. haha. embrace the future baby. ;)

love and thanks to you all who prayed for E!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jesus.. my rescuer...

This video was shown at T4A... it is the perfect picture of what Jesus did for me... for all who believe... He scooped ME up and brought me into HIS family... He rescued ME from certain death... and from the elements of this world. Thank You God, for adopting me... we love because HE FIRST loved US...

Isaiah's Story from 31Films on Vimeo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Who's holding Who...

When I am at my worst... He is at his best
When I am weak.... He is strong
When I am nothing... He is everything
When I can't go another step...He is my strength
When I'm not in control...I can trust the one who spins the universe into order

Tomorrow I will walk with E into the Dr's office to be tested for CF. Obviously, this is not something we ever anticipated...and it very well may be something we NEVER have to worry about beyond tomorrow. For the most part, I have had a tremendous amount of peace. I have to share where this comes from. God has given me truly an amazing gift... if you know me, you've probably heard this before... but I have to share it more for a reminder tonight for myself. (BTW, know I'm not one who has "dreams" regularly as a sign of some spiritual significance... not that it isn't valid... it just doesn't happen to me... hardly ever)

When I was 20 weeks pregnant with Z, I was placed on bed rest due to significant bleeding. The Dr. prepared me that I could indeed loose the baby. I remember holding the bear we got him (he sleeps with him to this day) and crying myself to sleep. While asleep... I had a dream. (stick with me here people...)
I dreamed I was holding Z... he was wrapped in a baby blue blanket and I couldn't see his face. I could feel his little body laying in my arms. I looked around and was surrounded by clouds and fog... I started walking... and I came to the gates of heaven. At the gates, the most amazing figure ever stood there... He was kind, comforting, and so tender. It was Jesus. He stretched his arms out... not taking Z from me...but asking me without words to place Z in his arms. I could feel everything in me screaming inside... my heart rate was up... and I didn't want to let go... yet without a fight outwardly... I knew I could trust Jesus... and I placed Z in his arms and had to walk away. I still have a hard time talking about that dream... It was so painful. BY FAR it was the hardest thing I've been through emotionally as a mother. When I woke up, I just knew that was Jesus way of telling me I was going to have to let go of Z... that I would loose him... so I thought. However, over the next week... things improved... and obviously Z is quite great and healthy! I remember God speaking to my heart... "This is what you have to do... Leave Him with me... always... when he is born... when he starts to walk... when he goes to school... when he starts to drive... when he choses a mate... leave him in my arms and walk away."

So... that's where my peace comes from. I know that the most caring, compassionate, Savior holds E in HIS arms. HE loves E more than I do. He is the one who had planned of E's life before one came to be. HE is the one who has a plan to prosper and not to harm him. Now, I realize that doesn't necessarily mean E doesn't have CF. But it DOES mean that someone much greater than myself holds E... and will use that difficulty to bring greatness. I believe that he makes beauty from ashes... if I didn't... I could not go another day. Where would the hope be if not in Christ?

Pray for E tomorrow... pray for him to be negative.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Serving Others Together...

First, let me preface this by saying that even the title of this blog post sounds a bit euphoric... So... let me set the record straight... What I'm about to say is all true... BUT is mixed in with tantrums, poor choices, and complete chaos...

Since reading Radical... I've been praying about ways to serve the poor in our community alongside my kids. Our evenings are very full, and the days that aren't are that way intentionally, so I knew I needed something to fit us during the day. Just last week, some gals in our small group at church mentioned that they are going to do MOPS at the Housing Authority in the town where we live. BUT they needed someone to keep the Moms kids occupied while they met. Hmmm... I started to think that we could actually do that! So... today was our first day! We finished our school work before 9:30, the kids played for a while... and then we headed out the door with a BIG O' BAG of some of our favorite toys and games to play. We had about 4 other kids that joined us there... and for 2 hours we just played with them! They were all GREAT! Bubbles, coloring sheets, parachute play, singing, bowling and snacks! It was fun to give our time away like that together.

I used to think that I was in a "stage" of my life that I "couldn't" serve the poor... especially WITH my kids DURING THE DAY! But, I really believe that we can teach our kids all day long within our 4 walls... send them to church every Sunday and Wednesday... but until they learn to interact with people different that themselves, show them love, share their toys, and be in an environment that isn't "their everyday"... our Christianity becomes about us instead of what Jesus really intended it to be about... OTHERS.
My favorite part (we always talk about our favorite parts of our experience or day at home) was seeing my kids play with the other kids and there really wasn't any difference...and they didn't notice any differences. I love that. So... in 2 weeks, we go back and do it again... 3 hours of our time 2xs a month. Small impact, but it offers a BIG experience for us all!

Z's favorite part: "Playing balloons with the other kids."
KG's favorite part: "Playing with the kids, and the kids, and the kids." :)
E's favorite part: "bubbles."

So, before you think anything that you shouldn't... please know that this definitely WASNT easy! It was right during lunch and nap time... the kids were on the edge... my house is a wreck from running out and in so quickly... and again... tantrums occurred, the need to be reminded of sharing occurred, my own frustration...the whole bit... NO EUPHORIA, but well worth the time! I just want my kids to know how to relate to and love many... and honestly... those kids are so lovable this should be a pretty easy one!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The day everything changed...

‎"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes." David Platt

I read this... and it just shook me... and took me back to the time when I couldn't name ONE orphan by name- When I didn't want to think about all the fatherless children, their conditions, and their need.... I remember a time that it was so overwhelming that I wanted to stick plugs in my ears to block out their cries. I ALSO remember the first time I stood face to face with an orphan. I was nervous, unsure of what to say (especially since my "spanglish" was a little off), and didn't know what to even do with them. I was in Nicaragua and I was 19 years old. I spent more time painting a room than I did loving the kids.. because I just wasn't sure. Yet, I knew in my heart... "I need more of this."

21 years old... and I find myself standing in one of the largest orphanages in Guatemala. It's night, and I'm sitting in the middle of what would be filled with soccer balls and kids during the day... yet it is completely silent. And I lay, looking up at the sky... and in the complete darkness, I saw the MOST beautiful stars I've ever seen. It was THAT moment that I knew my life would be changed FOREVER. Because in the complete darkness of the stories...horrific ones... I saw the most beautiful children...the stars of THE FATHER's eyes. I saw Jesus transform children from darkness to light... from ashes to beauty... and I felt Jesus inviting me to be a part of THAT! It was that trip, November 2000, that I knew their names, their stories, held the child no one wanted to because they were covered in lice, scabies, and HIV+... It was THEN that I became "Gloriously Ruined" for the sake of HIS children. How could I ever forget the things I had seen? How could I forget the 50 2year olds putting themselves to bed and crying to sleep? How could I forget the nightmares they had a night with no one to calm them? How could I forget the stories of restoration? I COULD NOT FORGET THEM! What once was something SO was literally a part of my oxygen... I can't STOP loving orphans. I can't DO ENOUGH. And I DIDNT do this... God did... He changed my heart with some pretty amazing little children... who are now beautifully grown teenagers. And the Why is always JESUS.

Do you know an orphan by name? Can you remember holding them and feeling the ache of leaving them behind? If not, GO. There are SO MANY wonderful ways to GO. GO AND PRAY. GO AND LOVE DEEPLY. GO AND BE CHANGED. I DARE U 2. (shout out FBC McKinney)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Conversations I REALLY want...

There are so many conversations that take place surrounding adoption. I think most adoptive moms (especially those who have children that "look" different) would agree that a warm conversation surrounding adoption is always welcome. In addition, even one of "those" conversations often isn't meant out of harm. AND while I write about the crazy conversations, we have positive conversations almost daily with families desiring or curious about adoption.... and not only that, have had NOTHING but positive support from our family and friends. But I am often taken back by the lack of tact or wording that often comes my way. I truly want to believe it isn't what is in their heart... but rather the lack of understanding how to phrase things. So, I thought I would make a list of what is OFTEN said, and what we REALLY want to hear. So... hear it goes... and other adoptive moms... feel free to add to my list! :)

1. "Are all those kids yours?"
*Rephrase (as I often say to my kids...haha) "Wow, your kids are so cute/full of energy/wonderful...pick ANYTHING..." We would rather someone ASSUME they are ALL MINE rather than ASSUME they aren't. This just really puts so much negativity onto the child who is "different." Eventually our kids will figure out "oh... they are asking that because E has brown skin and ours is white." No thanks on making him feel different in a negative way. AND if they "aren't" all mine, I'll just say ... "Actually these 3 are mine and these 2 are my neighbors kids." No harm is done and it really isn't offensive to assume they are mine. If nothing else, the mom who IS ACTUALLY babysitting may just get a little laugh.

2. "Where's his real mom?"
*Rephrase: Well, there is no rephrase. My answer would be "you're looking at her you big..." ok... but really? 1. I'm his REAL mom. If you mean "biological mother", then use that phrasing. BUT 2. Don't ask. Adoptive parents are usually encouraged to protect a story that isn't theirs to begin with. So, if they wanted you to know... you would know. I think it is ok to ask what the childs story is... and the adoptive parent will be prepared with a story that is appropriate for the person asking. AGAIN: NEVER ask this in front of the child or other children!

3. "Are you going to have any more of your own?"
*Rephrase: "Do you think you will have more biological children? Why did you choose to grow your family through adoption?" This phrasing allows for a family to actually share their story and what God has done and is doing in their lives through adoption. However, the first question immediately places the conversation focus on defending the phrasing of "own children" instead of being positively focused on our choices to build our family through adoption.

4. "That's such a wonderful thing you are doing."
* Rephrase: "You are so blessed to have all of your children." What I think is so crazy is that NO ONE EVER says to a pregnant lady or a lady that just had a baby "That's so good of you to do." It just DOESNT MAKE SENSE. To adoptive families, the statement of elevation MAKES NO SENSE. It is NOT something GREAT we are doing. We are growing our families in the way God has called us to... we aren't rescuing... but instead we are the ultimate receivers of the blessing of life. Children are a blessing from the Lord, regardless of how they became a part of a family. What is interesting is that the idea that I "did something great" by adopting our children suggests that they are NOT a blessing.... it's in our language when discussing with others their biological children... but for some reason it just doesn't transfer to adopted children in people's minds. TRANSFER it to your mind. We are nothing... we are not doing a wonderful thing... we are being blessed beyond belief. It's actually kinda selfish. ha.

Those are some of the main statements that I get. Don't feel like you have to tip-toe around me... I'm fairly gracious... but as my children age... I really want to make efforts to educate others on their weight of communication choices. :) And... I'm praying God prepares me for responses that are powerful when E gets to the point that he "gets" what others are saying...
Until then, I'll just gently re-direct, rephrase, and try my best to be filled with grace.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

one of THOSE conversations...

I just have to share my conversations, in part to process and in part to just hope that some other adoptive mom out there who is having the SAME conversations in her life will not feel as weird or crazy... it just seems to be the way it goes.

Yesterday I was having a conversation on the phone with a close friend. She was asking about "if we still only have 3 kids or if we have 4 yet" (she is close in that we have been friends for a LONG time, but not always up to date with each other) I said that we are getting closer to 4 every day! Then the short conversation took place "Well that's great, then you can have another one of your own and have 5" Me: "They are ALL my own, you know." friend: "Yeah, I know, but you are going to have another one, right?" me: "Why would I?" friend: "It would just be special." REALLY? I do NOT even KNOW what that means? me: "well, to me, they are ALL so special, and pregnancy was NO MORE special than adoption. We have no intentions of having any more biological children. OF all the ways we could add to our family, biological is on the bottom. I wouldn't be devastated if God surprised us, it is just not the way we are choosing to build our family. " silence...subject change. :)

I guess this is the first time we have been asked if we will "HAVE" any more children biologically. I guess people are wondering as we continue to add through adoption. So, let me just air my laundry here... No, there are NO plans. When I see my future... here is what I see (and who knows what God sees) I see lots of kids... We have a heart for special needs children, we love Africa... we love foster care... we love minority domestic adoption... so when I stack up my desire to get pregnant with those passions and callings... it's at the bottom. I truly do not believe pregnancy is the "first choice" and adoption is "second." In our family... we view BOTH as being equally viable, beautiful, blessings... and they have been EQUALLY fulfilling for our family. There is not one part of me that feels like I am "sacrificing" by not having any more biological children so that I can adopt children. Being a mom to both biological children and adopted children is the BIGGEST BLESSING OF MY LIFE. And at the end of the day... I forget that I didn't "have" E.... because I love him as if I did.

So... I don't know if this is helpful to read in preparation of questions you may get one day... questions you have towards a family like ours... or you have had the same experience. I just want to say... Adoption is no consolation prize... it's the real deal... and one of the biggest privileges of our lives that we could have missed out on...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

USCIS news....

Well friends... I've had a productive am thanks to my God-send Ms. M for helping me a couple of mornings a month! I have mailed off documents for authentication in Austin (because I have no time to drive there myself+3) and I spoke with USCIS. I got the sweetest lady on the phone, Praise God, and she was looking up our case. We aren't in the system yet because the Dallas office was 6 weeks LATE on mailing the stuff to the NBC. (National Benefits Center, not the TV station..ha) BUT this lady was so sweet and looked for 20 minutes. She FINALLY found my request and said that she would amend the 171h to special needs TODAY and get it in the mail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY JESUS!!! This is the LAST document missing from the dossier. SO, it looks like my prayer of getting my dossier to Ethiopia by court re-opening is going to happen! YAY! AJ.. we are coming!!!!!! I can't say how great that makes me feel... to be honest, I haven't spent a ton of emotional energy in the adoption process to this point because so many things have been out of my control. (lesson learned from adoption #1)... This has freed me up to be available for my 3 at home. I say this because I don't find myself with a "lot of extra" to give... so I'm excited to be excited!

I was asked the other day (I get asked a lot of questions)... if we were going to hault our adoption or change to a healthy infant if E tested positive for CF (October 5th...pray). I have to be honest, Mr. McB and I have prayed about this. We want to be CERTAIN that we are still moving in the direction that God wants us to go. AND as CRAZY as it seems, God has given us great peace that we are moving in the RIGHT direction. Although, HE assured that HE is setting the pace of this adoption and it may NOT be the pace I WANT, but that I NEED. So... we move forward, trusting God's timing. If E has CF, then we will just have 2 children with chronic illnesses. BUT, E has asthma so severe, that the treatment wouldn't be that different, from my understanding. The difference would be the long term outcome... and THAT I'm NOT dwelling on right now. No need to "borrow trouble" as my friend said...

God is Good... He gives us what we need... He equips us for the calling... He gives joy... speaking of joy.. please look at these and LAUGH with me!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sweet AJ....

Well, our little girl is now affectionately called A.J. and I think it is perfect! This next week promises movement... I just feel it! I am getting all our documents authenticated and praying our updated 171 comes back! This is doable, right?

While this is happening, I am developing this crazy feeling inside... like I'm going to meet my little A.J sooner than later. I don't know, maybe she is being born this week... or something significant is going on... maybe it's just that my paperwork is FINALLY getting ready to be out of my hands and this frees up some emotions for other things... so.. I just wanted to write my little AJ a note....

My AJ Angel...

Half way around the world... there is a family waiting for you... praying for you... for your health...for your protection... and for all that surrounds you. You are precious... and eagerly anticipated! Your big sister.. KG is BESIDE HERSELF to share her room with you and to paint your fingernails "all by myself" she says...
I'm finding myself wondering what it will feel like to hold you close. As I have learned already... lucky for you you aren't the guinea pig here... God's timing is perfect and He will hold you FOREVER.... that includes now... while we aren't there. We love you... you are loved... God has an amazing plan for your life... and for ours as we move together as a family. miss you! WHERE ARE YOU FOR GOODNESS SAKES?

love... your mommy....

Friday, September 17, 2010

When life isn't what you expected...

When I expected ease... I found perseverance

When I expected good behavior... I found grace

When I expected a clean house... I found the need for a pure heart

When I expected feelings of happiness... I found contentment

When I expected sleep... I found rest

When I expected quiet... I found peace in chaos

When I expected perfection... I found the perfecter...

When I expected fun... I found the meaning of true joy

When I expected bliss... I found commitment

When I expected health... I found sovereignty

When I expected love... I found it in abundance....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

When I say say Prints!

Woot!!! Ok, I thought the pictures above really demonstrate my excitement! ha! We got our fingerprints yesterday! YAY! So, hopefully by the end of this month our dossier will be in Ethiopia!!! That would be amazing to say the least! We shall see. We are waiting on our updated I171H to be changed to special needs, and then we are good to go for sending the dossier! Can I get a WOOT!!!!???!?!?!?!?!
So, what happens next? Yeah, not sure. We are waiting for the amended 171h and then send the dossier. THEN we will be officially ready for a match... which not sure how long the wait will be...??? We are indeed requesting an infant 0-12mos because I don't think this mama can take another 2 year old AT THIS MOMENT...ha.
We really really REALLY want a girl, but are NOT closed to a boy either. So, we will just wait and see. Hopefully by the end of the year, we will know our baby! Here's to hoping! cheers!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

God's always preparing us....

Well, there has been SO much excitement at our house over the last week! A visit from Uncle Dan, followed by KG's Pixie Dust at Dusk birthday party, tail gated by Zs first soccer game on Saturday (18-4, btw) and ended with a visit from Will and Trey Haun...cattle drive and fountain play! whew.... All this to say.. it has been MORE THAN FUN!

IN the midst of all the fun our family is having was a conversation with our pulmonologist's nurse about E. For those of you who don't know, E has severe asthma. Since the recent hospitalization, we have been discussing with the doctors about triggers and prevention. Last week they tested him for allergies and immuno-deficiencies. The nurse called back and told me all his tests were normal. Not only that, but he is not even likely to be allergic because his IGE (?) or something of that nature is very low... which is good. So we started talking about other possible triggers. That's when I asked about the possibility for testing him for Cystic Fibrosis. The nurses at the hospital recommended that I ask about that, but I had not done that yet...hoping that he actually tested positive for allergies and we would have our answer.
Anyway, when I mentioned this to the nurse, she stated that they would normally test for it, but because it is so uncommon in African American kids they had not. I kindly stated that he is not African American, per say, He is Ethiopian... and there is virtually no way of saying what the CF rate is in Ethiopia. She agreed that this raises some concern and possible need for further genetic testing. Not sure what that means. However, the nurse state that he has many of the symptoms and will be talking to the doctor about scheduling a test. Now we are waiting... and NOT reading any more about it online. I've read enough to scare me, and so I'm calling it a day on that... thank you very much. ;)

I was asked the other day if We would have adopted E if we had known he had asthma... and now possibly something even more severe.... I don't even have to think about the answer. YES.
Why wouldn't I? Yes, I spend many days dragging my kids to Drs appointments. Yes, we watch more TV that I would like because we have 4 breathing treatments a day (and that's maintenance), and yes we spend a ton of money on Drs, hospitals, and 7 daily meds. But I can honestly say I have NEVER thought about "if he were we asked" ... what I can say is this... God was preparing us... and still is preparing us... equipping us for His purposes. I wouldn't have thought I could have done this at this point (which is why we didn't specify special needs on his adoption)... but GOD knew otherwise... and I'm grateful for that.
I'm trusting in His power, knowledge, and grace. E is one amazing kid... can't imagine NOT loving him....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"God is Gracious"

John means "God is Gracious"... John is our next child to pray for. He is 14 years old and like most boys his age loves sports, food, and video games. He is doing very well in school, and is on the honor roll. He cares about his appearance and has a great disposition. He is waiting for a family. John is FULL of potential. He will indeed rise above his circumstances, I believe. BUT, wouldn't it be amazing to see him share this potential with a forever family?

"God, I'm praying right now for John. I pray you bless His school work, his mind, and protect his heart from hurt. I pray you continue to bless him with charisma and give him an abundance of opportunities. God, I ask that you indeed show grace to John. I'm asking that you provide for him a family to share his life with, so that He may experience you to the fullest... and that the family may in turn experience you in a deeper way. Thanks for encouraging me through John, and the courage and effort he is clearly showing in life despite circumstances. AMEN."

*You know the drill.. pray this week for John. If you or someone you know is interested, let me know!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Project Life Tuesday... only it's Wednesday and...

...I don't even do Project Life! BUT, I'm trialing (is that even a word?) it to see if I can actually keep up. I'm not particularly organized... so here our week is... in reverse... in no particular order... yeah, this project will totally work...pahahaha

This is us making Mr. McBs birthday cake tonight!

Puzzle cakes from Wilton... It makes a train, rocket, or dump truck! Genius!

This was posted in the ladies room at Babes Chicken... if you know me and diet coke...

Celebrating the Mr.'s Birthday dinner....

Asthma ain't stopping this boy from gettin' his party on!

This week was full of "firsts"... This is Z's first Soccer practice. Dad is the coach! (yes that is E running towards the team... can't keep that kid loose for a second!)

This is our first day of "school"... we started a K curriculum for Z and the other 2 love doing toddler/preschool projects!

The kids started piling toys on top of Dad... and this is where that went...

Ok, really? Every single toy we own? awesomeness... convenient for Mr. McB... He was UNDER the pile... guess who headed up the clean up?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What exactly am I relying on anyway?

re·ly (r-l)
intr.v. re·lied, re·ly·ing, re·lies
1. To be dependent for support, help, or supply: relies on her parents for tuition.
2. To place or have faith or confidence: relied on them to tell him the truth.

Believing in something we can't see... Believing in something even when circumstances suggest otherwise... That is Faith. And I am on a Faith exercise. I keep thinking "I'm good.. I have faith." But I do recall a few posts ago writing about Faith Atrophy... and not wanting to let my faith waste. Well, thanks, God... you are indeed working out my faith. ha.
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jn. 20:29
What an amazing word from God. We do not HAVE to see to BELIEVE. Not just believing in Jesus himself, but in His perfect dose of provision for us when it looks contrary.

Let me share a couple of quotes from my devotion today:
"How important it is for God to keep us focused on things that are unseen, for we are so easily snared by the things we can see!" Yes... again... in the hospital the other night... I began to walk off the edge when I started focusing on the horizontal verses the vertical.

Ok, I just have to write out the rest of this... because it is so good and so applicable I have to share it.
"If Peter was ever going to walk on water, he had to walk, but if he was going to swim to Jesus, he had to swim. He could not do both. .... God had to bring Abraham to the end of his own strength (feels familiar) and let him see that with his own body he could do nothing. He had to consider his own body "as good as dead" (Heb. 11:12) and then trust God to do all the work. When he looked away from himself and trusted only God, he became 'fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.' (Rm 4:21).
This is what God is teaching us (me), and He has to keep the results that are encouraging away from us until we learn to trust Him without them. Then He loves to make His Word as real to us in actuality as it is in our faith. A.B. Simpson"

The question is this... Is my faith so elementary that I need constant encouragement and reassurance from my Savior? Or... can I indeed trust him without it? I am praying the answer is YES! I will trust even though I do not see the "How." Can we simply believe God and take Him at his word without demanding encouragement/evidence at every step? It just felt so convicting to know that for years I have relied more on His "provision" than I have HIM alone...