Friday, August 29, 2008

Your Family Can Help a Child Come Home

Fifth Day of School

Yeah, you read it right - FIFTH day of school. Don't mock me people. I'm doing the best I can.
In other news, last night D took his first karate class. Here he is showing off his tough "kiah" face. Jason said the instructor couldn't stop laughing(:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Picture Pages - totally random

D's new playmate now that all the big kids are in school... Me and my girls...

Seen at local farmers market...

The girls finally got their ears pierced this summer. Here is M - cool as a cucumber...S is a little more dramatic...and vocal...And then Mommy had to have a stool and a lollipop so I wouldn't pass out. M just had to take a picture - she thought it was sooooo funny...

How gorgeous and grown up are these two????

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back to School

Well, the kids started school this week. At the end of last year I thought we would be homeschooling M this year, and by the middle of summer we had decided that she would go back to public school and I would homeschool G. Now, here we are with all of them back in public school. You just never know how things will play out around here.

Day One: I dropped S and G at the elementary school while Grandma took M to the MIDDLE SCHOOL (WHAT??). I wandered around the house feeling literally nauseous most of the day - praying and trying not to throw up. When M got in the car at pick up she was beaming and said, "I didn't want the day to end." Yeah, I missed you too. G said his teacher was strict and S said she had an awesome day.

Day Two: Less nausea. Same reactions.

Day Three: NO NAUSEA! Kids doing great. Good times.

The bad news - I was such a wreck I forgot to take a picture of their first day. Maybe tomorrow I can snap one of the "Fourth day of School". Hey I like that. I think I meant to do that. From now on, at our house, pictures will be taken on the fourth day. I love when I can turn a mistake intentional - I feel accomplished and rebellious all at the same time(: WIN WIN.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Perfect Peace

And this is why there is no fear in love. What a wonderful testimony. Satan can never be victorious if we are resting in God's arms.

"And because I know Who, I am willfully unconcerned with why."
Angie Smith

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

No Fear in Love

The agonizing loss that the Chapman's have endured with the death of their sweet Maria Sue has once again opened the flood gates in me. Literally and figuratively. I've been "teary", but also been talking with the Lord about it. Sometimes people say, "I could never do that." and I guess they mean they couldn't survive it. Whatever "it" may be - cancer, death, loss. But it really has nothing to do with doing does it? It has to do with being. You have to keep being. You have to keep breathing in and out and trusting the Lord in the midst of the most mind numbing pain you coud ever imagine.

In the past when I learned of someone losing a child I shut down. I pushed it away and just prayed, "Lord, not me. Please!" I couldn't even let it in hypothetically, much less imagine dealing with the reality. But this time, especially after watching the interview with Larry King I knew I needed to let it in. Steven said that as he held his daughter in the driveway he said something like, "Lord, not this. You can't ask this of us. It's too much." And I realized that is exactly what I have done. I have said, Lord you can have me, you can have my life, but please leave my kids out of it. That is a pain I cannot bear. When I heard Steven say that, the tears started to flow. I looked at that amazing man of God and his God-serving, God-loving family and I FELT their pain. I went there with them. I sobbed and heaved and let it in.

It occurred to me that as the Body of Christ this is how it is supposed to be. We are to bear each others burdens, mourn with those who mourn. The walls we put up to protect us from feeling it come from fear. Fear that it could happen to us, fear that we would not be able to stand under the pain. But, if we are the body, then it HAS happened to us. Steven and Mary Beth are our brother and sister in the Lord. To say that it is their pain, their burden, is not fair. Their faith and honesty are such a powerful testimony of God's sustaining grace. How much more so if we let ourselves feel their pain and atleast try to understand where they are.

There have been, throughout my walk with the Lord, pockets of my life that I did not give to Him. Since my children have come along, THEY are my biggest "pocket". I surrender them to the Lord in word, but my heart still holds them tightly. I say God holds them in His hands, but I still think it is my job to protect them. The fear that something could happen to them can be overwhelming. And what if something did happen? Would God be smaller? Would He be less trustworthy? I can say "no" with my head. My heart may wonder. So, for me to grieve with the Chapman's, and so many others who have lost a child, is a gift I need to embrace. I need to let the pain in, to go there with them, holding my daughter in the driveway as she breathes her last breath. And I need to let God come. I need to let Him take the fear. I need to surrender that moment to Him. Whether or not I will ever grieve the loss of a child I need to know that God is bigger than that moment, than those days that follow, than that pit of darkness and grief and loss. I need to know that NOW. Not when or if, but now.

Even now, just writing it feels wrong. There is a twinge of superstition. I shouldn't say these things. What if it happens? As though my words have power over the almighty creator of the universe's plan for all of his creation. Seriously.

Lord, please take the fear. I am yours. My children are yours. I know that you are all loving and all knowing. I cannot say that I have fully surrendered this "pocket" to you. I am so human. I ask that you give me your eyes to see. Fill me with faith in your love and hope in your peace.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Today I have been married to my best friend in the whole world for fourteen years. I honestly don't have the words to express all this man means to me, but I will try to explain. So, in honor of 14 years here are 14 things I love about Jason. (in no particular order)

1. He is the "cup half full" to my "cup half empty", so I guess together our cup runneth over.

2. He can make me laugh on command by pulling out one of his many impressions. My favorite is Bill Murray as "Carl" telling of his caddy job for the great Dali Lama.

3. He is the most hardworking person I have ever known in my life. Seriously, I have no idea how he does it.

4. He loves our kids passionately.

5. He loves the Lord passionately.

6. He lives in constant pain, but most people have no idea. He's just that tough.

7. He actually loves me, all of me, even the quirky annoying parts.

8. When he smiles he has these adorable dimples that just melt me.

9. He does not make decisions based on emotion.

10. When I do stupid stuff like get a couch stuck in a hallway (yeah, literally stuck as in wedged) because I wanted to rearrange furniture, he doesn't give me a hard time. In fact he usually fixes whatever I mess up with a smile and some sort of compliment like, "you're a tough chick for taking that on."

11. No matter how I decorate or paint the house he always says he likes it.

12. He is honest. I mean really really honest. If you ever meet him and he says anything, anything at all, you can trust it. He just doesn't lie. He is what he is, and he says what he means.

13. Every time I get a hair cut he says it looks great. (Does this contradict #12? Hmmmm...)

14. In 14 years of marriage I have only come to love and respect him more.
I love you. Thanks for choosing me as your bride(:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tell Two

This post will count as one of my two people to tell. Perhaps you have noticed the button on the right for "From HIV To Home". It is an amazing group of people who have adopted HIV positive children and are now educating others about it. The stigma against HIV is still very strong and deep in this country so for many of these parents their child's medical needs are far less daunting than their child's social and emotional adjustment. Who can they tell without their child becoming ostracized? Will their child be left out, ridiculed, shunned? We briefly dealt with this in a very small way when we thought Daniel had Hep B. It was gut wrenching for me to imagine someone not wanting to be around this amazing and precious child, and what that would do to his self image. How could we protect him from the ignorance? Well, in an effort to help spread knowledge about HIV in hopes that those courageous enough to adopt will not be outcasts I am posting this info from the FAQ on their website. If you want more info click on their button on the right. If we can spread the word perhaps these children will be welcomed and loved as they should be. And now I challenge you to go TELL TWO. Find two people and educate them. We can spread knowledge and make a difference.

But isn't HIVContagious?
HIV is a very fragile virus, and there are very specific ways that it is transmitted. HIV is only transmitted when the virus enters the bloodstream. This only occurs through sexual contact; through the use of contaminated needles or other sharp instruments, or receiving a transfusion of HIV-infected blood products; and from a mother who is HIV-infected to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, labour and delivery, and breastfeeding. HIV transmission does not occur with normal household contact. It is not transmitted through tears, saliva, mucous or other bodily fluids. It is considered a "communicable" disease - meaning you can't simply "catch" it. In addition, when an infected person is on treatment, the levels of HIV in the blood are brought so low that they are considered undetectable - meaning the possibility of transmission - even through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluid - is that much more remote.
Aren't these children going to die after their families bring them home?
Many people don't realize that the prognosis for children on treatment for their HIV is excellent. They are expected to live long, normal lives. In fact, in the west, HIV is now considered a chronic illness rather than the terminal disease it used to be. Sadly, this isn't the case for those HIV infected children living in resource-poor settings, where 50% of infected and untreated children are not expected to live past the age of two.
Is it true that you can have HIV and not develop AIDS?
Absolutely! There are over 30 medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV, and more are in development. These medications bring the levels of the virus so low in the body that the virus can be considered undetectable in the bloodstream. Patients receiving treatment for HIV can expect to live long, healthy lives without developing AIDS.
What about all of the children who don't get adopted?
We recognize that adoption is only a band-aid answer. It is one small piece in a big puzzle - we are working to provide holistic HIV+ orphan care through our Hope Houses launch in Ethiopia.
What if I catch HIV from my child?
Many people don’t know that HIV is a very fragile virus. As soon as it leaves the body, it begins to die. There are no documented cases of HIV transmission through casual household or school contact. HIV+ children can (and do!) share cups, baths, pools, dishes, bathrooms, etc.! In addition, when children are on treatment for their HIV, the amount of the virus in their bloodstream can be brought so low that it is considered “undetectable” – meaning the amount of the virus in the blood, even through contact with blood, has been brought so low that the possibility of transmission has become even more remote.
What if my other children touch her blood?
Most households with HIV+ children find that this was one of their initial worries and, in fact, becomes not much of a worry at all once their kids are home together. There are very few activities where the blood of one child would enter the bloodstream of another child. Families simply train their children never to touch another person’s blood or “owies” and practice universal precautions in their homes (using gloves when dealing with blood, covering all sores with a band-aid, etc.).
What if no insurance company will cover my child?
Here’s the great news! It is a legal requirement that all adopted children be added to group insurance plans without pre-existing condition clauses in all 50 states! And many states also require that private insurance plans do the same! In addition, all 50 states have funding programs that will assist with the costs of HIV treatment within specified income guidelines. For specific information on your state's programs and insurance requirements, please request our State Fact Sheet for your state.

Also, please go check out this blog and see one family's journey to bring their HIV pos. daughter home from Ethiopia!