Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Delirium

Christmas is one of my most favorite times of year. I love the whole idea of Christmas, but the clutter of it I could do without. It is at times smothering.

Our Christmas was wonderful! Take away the fact that my husband had the worst case of the stomach flu I have seen in a while and that I had a touch of it on Christmas Day, it was a great day. Hazel and Emilly were a little overwhelmed with the quantity of presents that they received, but they are adjusting with great finesse.

My Mom and step dad came to our house for the holidays. What a blessing that was! I cannot imagine taking on Christmas morning with both girls and a husband who was too sick to care. The girls really enjoyed all the extra attention. It also fed my love for being surrounded by family on holidays. Yes, I do love the whole idea of Norman Rockwell.

Christmas for me was so much deeper than the gifts and ideas. This Christmas was a great reminder of all that is important to me. Between having two special little girls living with us this year and participating in the pageant, my focus has been much more Saviour oriented.

Too know that the precious little baby born in a stable in Bethlehem as a sacrifice for my sins, is incomprehensible on a certain level. Yes, I believe it with all of my heart, but to truly absorb the meaning of that takes a little longer. Love came down at Christmas, but Love was planned before the creation of this world. Knowing that man would fall, God knew that a Sacrifice would be required. I don't think there was a question or doubt that crossed His mind.

At times I wonder if I could have offered any of my children for the life of another who had not even been created. I really don't think I could. Why not just forget the idea of creating a world where mankind would ultimately turn their back on their God? And then to offer a Redeemer who would be despised, rejected, brutally beaten, and crucified for them. What infinite love God has for each of us. Amazing love!

My focus this season has been deepened and strengthened. It is my joy to love, worship and serve a God who loves me boundlessly. May Christmas live in our hearts each day of the years to come.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Christmas day has finally arrived. I am anxiously awaiting the awakening of my girls. When they went to bed last night, they were unaware that today was "the day".

This is our first Christmas together, and I am not sure what to expect from them. Have they ever really had a Christmas? I have so many ideas of what their response may be...well, I hear them now. So Merry Christmas! See you soon!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Better Late

Thought I should take a moment and give an update on how court went last week. The judge was the same one who ordered the home study be done on the maternal grandfather.

Basically things have all been continued until March 15. DSS was told that the paperwork must be sent out ASAP. (it was sent out the following day)

Where does this leave us? Well, at this moment, I am living like there is no chance of these children leaving us. I believe God is in control, and I am trusting Him.

There have been moments of panic lately. The day I found out that Florida had received the paperwork was on of those days. Questions fly through my mind at warp speeds. What if Florida does not consider the recommendations of two therapist and the GAL? What if the truth is not revealed in their "investigation" of this man? And on and on the list could go.

But what it all comes down to is that no matter what Florida finds or does not find. It does not change the fact that He is God. He has a plan for Hazel and Emilly. He is the deciding factor.

So, this brings me back to what I learned in Believing God by Beth Moore.

1. God is who He says He is.
2. God can do what He says He will do.
3. I am who God says I am
4. I can do all things through Christ
5. God's word is alive and active in me.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Gentle Reminder

This morning at church, Stephen Johnson spoke. He is to be our new associate pastor. He is a young, gifted, Bible-believing man. This was the second time I have heard him speak, and both times I have felt that his message was meant for me. The first time he spoke, he taught from the book of John. John is my favorite.

Today Steve spoke about Mary being told that she would be with child before her marriage to Joseph. In true humbleness Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant, May it be to me as you have said." She showed no concern for her own well being or desire. She allowed God's will to come over her as if it were a covering for all that might go wrong when others heard the news that she was with child. In those days, women who were found to be with child could face being stoned to death or sent away from their home. Mary did not question God's will or her safety, but simply submitted herself to God's will knowing that God would provide a way.

This spoke volumes to my heart. Tomorrow we are facing another court date. For anyone who has been following our story, you know that we are waiting to see if Hazel and Emilly will be sent to live with their maternal grandfather. Our case will be back in front of the same judge who opened the door to possibly allow the girls to be taken. DSS is hoping for a continuance tomorrow, but I can say that I am waiting to see what God is going to do. Whether our deliverance comes through a judge in whom I have no faith or whether it comes later in a judge of good repute. God can work through anyone. He does not need ideal circumstances to work through. So, I am patiently waiting to see how and when He will be revealed.
Holy God, today I want to praise you for what you are and will do in our lives. Reveal your plan for our lives as you see fit. I trust that You love us and that You will keep us safe. I give you my all. May it be to us as You see fit. I love you, Father!

Friday, December 08, 2006

What's On Your Tummy? (Not Male Reading Material)

A two year old's fascination with chest is beyond my realm of understanding. Why are they always needing to touch them? Talk about them? And poke or squeeze them? I just don't understand!

But even I must admit when my two year old make the funniest of comments about them. So, here it is in the words of Emilly, my precocious little two year old.

I am standing in front of my closet trying to find a cooler shirt to wear. When up walks Emilly who immediately pointed to my chest...
"What's that?" Emilly asked
"Mine" I stated
"That your chest, Mommy?"
"What's that?"as she pointed again.
I turned and pointed at her chest and said "What's that?" She grabbed her chest and looked down. Then as sweetly as can be replied, "My chest laying on my tummy like yours mommy?"

Well, I decided to leave it at that. What more could I have said?

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Cup Runneth Over

Our Christmas Pageant began yesterday, and God was in the midst. Several decisions were made for Christ last night. In those moments of the invitation, all of the hours of practice and sacrifice were all worth it.

Hazel and Emilly are both part of the pageant. Emilly is a sheep, and Hazel is an angel. I know all parents must feel this way, yet, somehow I feel that I am unique. My heart is completely overwhelmed when I see them on stage singing or not singing to Jesus. When they come out in their Christmas dresses for their last song, it is all I can do not to run to them and wrap my arms around them. They are beyond precious! And somehow God saw fit to place them in my life as my daughters. It is in His grace that I am somehow found deserving to have them for this season. He is so good to me! Even as I write this, I cannot stop the tears. They mean so much to me. I love them beyond words.

Thomas is also in the pageant. He looks so handsome when he opens the pageant with a little introduction, and then he snaps his finger and says "let the music begin". At that moment the stage becomes a winter wonderland with people in Victorian attire. Magical!

Later when Thomas comes back out, I tend to be offended by his character. Oh, I know that as a Roman soldier he is not suppose to be nice, but it is heart rending during the crucifixion. Then he tells Mary, the mother of Jesus to leave, and my heart is broken for her. I know it is a play, but somehow it comes to life with all the emotions. I cannot say that in that moment at the cross I want to run to him, but he plays his role with passion. He is truly believable in this role.

The lady who plays Mary at the cross is amazing. Her name is Nancy, and what can I say...she plays the part amazingly! She truly does weep at the foot of the cross. And it makes that moment priceless. I am honored to work with her. When Jesus is taken off the cross and prepared for burial, she bends down and touches his face. That is one of the most beautiful scenes. The love of a mother. Tender. Loving. Heartbreaking.

God has blessed my life abundantly this year. I cannot wait to spend a little more time reflecting on this after the pageant is over.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Yesterday I began giving thanks to those who have meant so much to me this year. And now I will continue.

Dad, you are a blessing in my life. Your legacy is that of faith. You have challenged me to choose right in the hardest of situations and encouraged me when I have failed. Through all the ups and downs of life you have loved me. Dad, on this Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for leading the way to Jesus and a love that is always there. Dad, I love you dearly.

Mom, I have understood more this year what it means to have a daughter. You have walked with me through some of the most unbearable things that life has thrown my way. At times you have not agreed with my choices, but I have always known that you loved me. There is something about the mother/daughter relationship. As I have seen the girls struggle with their situation, I am reminded of how you never wavered in your devotion to me in my struggles. Now I see that it was harder on you in some ways as a spectator than on me as the one going through it. Thank you, Mom, for your consistency in your faith in me that I would be ok. I love you.

Mike, my brother, you are a hero. You put yourself on the line each time you go to work. You protect families and individuals. There is nothing small about what you do. I pray that you will stand in the midst of God's plan for your life and remain firm in His will. I love you.

Faye, last night at dinner Hazel asked if you were my mom. I told her that you were one of the moms that God has blessed me with. I am thankful to have you in my life. You have given my dad and our family joy, hope, love and macaroni salad that is to die for. I am eternally grateful for you. Thank you for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. The food was amazing and the fellowship was wonderful. I love you, Faye.

Bubba, you live life without worry. I have often wished that I could be more like that. You have loved all of my children as if they were your own. Thank you. With children like mine, it takes a lot of family to raise them and keep them safe. I love you.

Jenny, my sister-in-love, I don't know where to begin. Well, maybe I do. From the moment I met you, I have always thought you were so beautiful. We have come from two different worlds that somehow don't always mix. Yet, you always found the perfect way to reach out to connect with me. You have walked with me through seemingly impossible to deal with situations. I will always remember the first time you met Z. He had been hospitalized while you and Mike were down visiting. You came up to his room and brought him a toy. Even though you didn't know him, you sat on the floor and played with him for the longest time. At that moment, my heart was completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude for you. No, it wasn't the gift. It was the kindness of your heart. Lately, things have not been as you would have planned. My prayers and my love are with you all at this time. Trust God. Give Him your all. I love you.

Michael, could it really be that you are almost twelve? You would have thought it was me who was pregnant when I found out that your mom was pregnant with you. Your birth added a new dimension to our family. I would even say that you were born with a smile on your face. Michael, you bring a lot of joy to those around you. Even when you were younger, you were always telling jokes. You have the amazing gift of making people laugh. Never lose that. You made me so proud this summer while we were all in GA. You took Hazel with you wherever you went. She never had a moment to feel different when you were around. Thank you for being so kind to her. I love you, Michael.

Laura, my niece, you are so precious to me. From the moment you were born, we have known that there is something so special about you. Maybe it was the jet black hair with a mind of its own that first told us that. You are a girly girl who can play sports with the best of them. I am so thankful to have you as my niece. You add a uniqueness that is all your own. I love you, Laura.

Ms Sara, you have become like a grandmother to me. You are so kind to all of us. When we are at your home, it feels like we have "come home" to a place we have always known. You have loved my family like your own, and I am eternally grateful for that. Thank you for your warm heart and hospitality. We love you.

Thank you God for my special friend, Debbie. Over the past twelve years, we have been through some of the hardest circumstances that a person can ever face. But God in His loving kindness brought to each of a person we could call friend to walk beside us. You challenge me to walk closer to God in the best and worst of times. Through it all you have loved me and prayed for me. Lately our time together as been limited to quick dinners, but I treasure each moment that we have together. Thank you for being a place to go with my plethora of words and a safe place to fall. I love you, my friend.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Lifetime of Thanks

It is Thanksgiving Day, and we are simply taking it easy this morning. We will not leave for my dad's house for a few more hours. So, I thought I would take a moment to try and put into words all that my heart is feeling today.

My first thanks must always be to my God. You brought me out the pit and set my feet on a Rock. Even when things have gone totally crazy this year, I may have been shaken but my Rock is my firm foundation.

As we have rehearsed so many times these past few weeks for the pageant, I am so moved at the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. It was for me that He was sent. He thought of me by name as He hung on the cross dying. Jesus was separated from You, His Father, to be a sacrifice for my sin. Jesus was willing to do this for me. Yes, I know that He died for all mankind, but I think it is more personal than that. You see as individually not as a mass of people.

Many times I fail to say "thank you" to my husband. Thom, you are amazing. You have walked with me through seemingly impossible times. Times when I have wanted to give up on everyone and thing. You have remained strong. When our child, Morgan, passed away, I wanted to give up, but you remained strong that God would be our Provider. Eighteen other children have come into our lives. God has truly provided. When Mike decided that he needed more independence, you stood with me. We loved, prayed and hoped for him. We still do.

Since retiring a year and a half ago, we have seen God provide us with a new house and community. While the community still seems a bit peculiar, our home has become a refuge. This is where we belong at this time.
Thank you God for my son, Mike. I love him so much. He is on my mind daily. Please keep him safe. Bring him back to You and to us. We know that You brought Mike into our lives for a reason. Let him know that we truly love him.

God brought two miracles into my life this year. One is named Hazel.

Hazel, you are a beautiful four year old bundle of energy with long sandy blond hair and soft blue eyes. At first, it was hard to see the who you really were. The rage that filled your heart and mind was terrifying to me. The screaming made it hard to get close to you. So, God in His wisdom allowed you to become seriously ill in February. You were hospitalized with RSV and pneumonia. Your SPO2 level was 85%. Sleeping with you in an oxygen tent as you struggled for each breath allowed our hearts to be bound together. At times, I do not know where my heart ends and yours begins. We have bonded in a way that I cannot explain.

The second miracle was Emilly.

In January, at seventeen months of age, you were quiet withdrawn with eyes that had little to no life. Hazel was your everything. She had raised you since birth, and you needed her like the air you breathed. Ten months later, you are still shy around "new" people, but for those of us "old" people you are quiet the performer. Silliness comes easily and naturally for you. Cute does not begin to describe you. Since turning two, you have become much more independent. Your favorite words are "No", "I do it myself", and "I don't want to!" Amazing! For a child who would not complain about anything, you have matured immensely in these past few months.

Hazel and Emilly, I am so thankful for the joy and laughter you have brought to our home these past months. The ride has been bumpy at times, but we have done our best to maintain a smile on our face. I know that God is in our situation. He will not fail us. This next year could possibly be one of the hardest that we have ever had to face, but we serve a God who is alive and active. He is not quietly sitting on the sidelines of life watching what is happening to us. God is in control. Nothing surprises God. Let us trust Him in it all, and we will watch the amazing things that He will do. A year from now, I am believing that we will be celebrating together how God has delivered us from this situation.
This is only the beginning. I have many more things to be thankful for, but right now I must go get ready to leave for our celebration with my family.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Human Side of Things

Our lives are wrapped around practicing for the 9th Annual Christmas Pageant at our local church. The stage is set, the costumes are almost ready, the cast is present, but the lines and words are slow to come. Well, slow may not be the word. Maybe more like there but not in the right order.

Last nights practice seemed more like the lines you would here on America's Funniest Videos or TV's bloopers and practical jokes. For example:

The original line was "Welcome to the 9th Annual Christmas Pageant..." but it came out "Welcome to the 9th Annual Christmas Parade..."

Words of songs tumbled over each other, tongues were twisted and some even tied. It was absolutely hilarious. I am so thankful for laughter. It could have been really intense, but instead we laughed at ourselves and tried our best to move on. Somethings were done over many times, but it was not done without gales of laughter.

The pageant begins a week from this Sunday. I cannot guarantee that I will know all of the songs, but I can say it will be fun to see how it all comes out.
With a cast of over 50 people who knows what will happen next!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ , and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

Monday, October 30, 2006

Autumn Leaves

Fall is here! I know it has been here for a while, but today was just one of those days that makes me appreciate the season. On the way home this evening, the smell of autumn leaves and logs burning in fireplaces filled my senses.

The weather today has been beautiful. It was in the mid 60's, and the sun was shining. The strong winds of the last few days had calmed. This is what I think of when I think of fall.

As I have sat here tonight savoring this beautiful day, I cannot help but reflect on what the Bible says about the smell of things.

II Corinthians 2:15
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

Our life is an offering to our precious heavenly Father. We decide each day what we will smell like. Will we offer up our time for His plan or will we hold on to all of those things that we consider a must? Will we offer ourselves, spouses, children, and other relationships to God to use as He sees best, or will we do what we see is in their best interest?

Denying myself and my plans causes a great struggle within me. On one hand I could give you many great explanations for why I am this way, but, ultimately, it comes down to a rebelious spirit. It is easier to control than surrender.

What an amazing gift that we can offer to God! That others would be drawn to Him because of the sweet smell of our life, our offering, to Him. When God inhales the aroma of you, His child, is He pleased with the aroma? Or does He find that we have an odor?

Do those we come in contact each day find the aroma of our lives a savory delight or a pungent stench that repulses? Do we draw others to Christ or send them scurrying in the opposite direction?

Lord, let my life's offering draw others to you. When you inhale, Father, be glorified. When you exhale, let me inhale the sweet peace of your presence. I love you, Lord!

My Purpose

My purpose is to point others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. In all things giving Him the praise, honor and glory. Claiming Him as my hope and my shield.

In fulfilling my purpose toward my family I should pour out the best of me at all times. "Things" always try to rob me of my best. Whether it be appointments, deadlines, or other peoples needs, I need to remember that these precious people, my family, need and deserve the best of me each day.

My purpose in my church is to encourage women in their walk with the Lord. God has called me to work in women's ministry. This is the purpose that I am struggling with the most right now. I am intimidated by others and do not feel qualified or capable of leading them. Their are so many others who would do a much better job at it. But in my heart I know that God did not call me to fit in the mental mold that man or woman has made. There is not a perfect person here on earth. God called me, and I must choose to be faithful regardless of the image I have set before myself as "ideal."

So often, God, I find myself falling away from the purpose you have called me to do. Please forgive me. Fill my spirit with a boldness that I cannot shy away from my calling. Thank you, Father.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Road Less Traveled

On Sunday, my friend, Debbie, and I set out to encounter the splendor of fall. We drove for almost five hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The company was amazing, and the leaves were beautiful.

One of the first thoughts that came to my mind as we drove was that I needed to write about the road less traveled. So, with this thought in mind, I set out to find the perfect picture of "the road less traveled" . It is not completely unused nor is it a dead end. When traveling along this road, you must be careful. There are many bumps and some large pot holes. The scenery is awe-inspiring and the encounters can take your breath away. It is a path that not many can sympathize with nor can they say that they have had that kind of joy and triumph.

I have experienced great joy and tremendous sorrow on this road. My husband and I have parented 19 children on this road. (No, not all at once) I have loved much and seen the fingerprints of God all over our lives! Sometimes it has only been after an intense and trying time that I can see the work of God in our lives, but I know that He is there. I know that He is in control. He is loving all of us through our hurts and celebrating with us in our great victories.

At this time the road seems unknown and even frightful. The beauty is all around, but there are huge unknowns around the next bend. We finally heard the ruling from the judge yesterday. The judge has ordered that DSS begin termination on all parental rights. Amazing! What sweet grace those words were to my heart! He also ordered that a homestudy be done on the maternal grandfather of the girls. My heart stopped at those words. Why would he order that?

So, now is when I must remind myself that God is in control. With all of the unknowns looming around the next bend, I need to remind myself that He is still God. While the worst may be yet to come...He has a plan for each of our lives. Before we were formed in our mother's womb, God had a plan.

At times like this so many sweet hymns and even a few newer songs seem to play continuously in my mind. Songs of trust, surrender, mercy, faith and grace remind me that my Redeemer lives. He has not forgotten or overlooked me or my family. This is not an accident or a surprise. So, I will keep my eyes on my Lord. My Anchor holds!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Sweeter Place

On Sunday night our church had an ice cream social before the evening service. What a wonderful time it was to just be at church with all the people you love and who love you! (and eat more ice cream than you really should) At the same time we also presented a lady in our church with a weekend trip to Pigeon Forge, TN. (the trip included spending money for her and her husband) You see this friend is pregnant. But this pregnancy has not gone as she would have planned it. Her child has some physical abnormalities. With the birth of any child life changes for the parents, but having a child with special needs the changes multiply. We wanted them to have some quality time before they were inundated with all of the doctors, appointments and needs of this child.

Last night I received a phone call from another friend. Our friend had been to the doctor and a heartbeat could not be found. They had taken her to the hospital to induce her labor. Her dream of this child had slipped away.

As of 1:00 this afternoon she had not made much progress in her labor. The doctor does not want to give her pitocin. On one hand I understand not wanting to put her through the agonizing contractions that pitocin brings, but on the other hand, the waiting is agonizing. My heart is breaking. I want to do something tangible for her. But I have nothing but love and prayers to offer. I cannot go see her. My husband is away today, and taking two small children would not bring her comfort.

Heaven is now a little sweeter. God is holding this precious little one, and He is holding my little one. What a longing I feel to be in that place where sickness, death and pain are not allowed to enter! To be with the ones I love who have gone before me or from whom I am separated from. To not have to endure the horrible pain and sadness that this earth holds. To be free for eternity and united with God and our loved ones. Oh, praise God! May His coming be soon!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Emilly is such a funny girl! She says the funniest things at just the right moment. Such a wonderful characteristic for such a wee one. Yesterday, she had one of those moments that about made my face split open as I tried not to show that I was laughing. The expression on my face must have been one of sheer torture with all my facial muscles contracting to try to contain the laughter.

First I should set the scene. Emilly and Hazel were with me at school. Thom, my husband, had a JROTC competition. I was asked to help serve all the kids lunch. So, we spent most of the morning and afternoon at the high school. At one point, Hazel and Emilly were right outside the concession stand, where we were serving, coloring and writing. I came out to comment on how well they were behaving and this is the conversation that we had.

Susan: Thank you girls for behaving so nicely!

Hazel: You welcome!

Emilly: I all done.

Susan: You're all done with what, sweetie?

Emilly: I all done behavin'

Emilly then proceeded to walk over to Hazel and poke her with her pencil.

I found this to be extremely hilarious! (not the actual poking) That is honesty! She knew that she had had enough of being good and was kind enough to let me know that she was done. Of course, she had a consequence, but it was most difficult to do with a straight face.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Paternity Test

Last night after I arrived home from church, I had a message from our social worker. She asked that I call her at home.(yes, I panicked!) Turns out the paternity test results came back, and R is Hazel's biological father. The SW is unsure of whether visits will start this month or if we can hold off on them until after the judge hears this case next month. They are ready to introduce R to Hazel even if Hazel is not at a place where she is ready to be introduced.

Today I as I have tried to begin to process this week, I realize that my relationship with God is about to go deeper. Honestly this scares me! Going deeper with God usually involves a lot of pain. The outcome is a good thing, but the process is hard.

The key verse in my devotion this morning is I Peter 5:10 "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

Monday, September 18, 2006

And the verdict is...

well, I don't know. Court was continued until next month. The attorney's for the girl's mother, grandfather and Hazel's father were not present. There was also a question as to whether the motion for a homestudy to be done on the grandfather had been rejected by the judge in July or not. So, we will wait until October to be heard.

What do I think of it all? Well, honestly, I have had a spirit of praise all day. There is a reason that this judge did not hear this case. The reason is God. God obviously did not want this case to be heard today, and I will praise Him. This was not the judge who was likely to rule in our favor. Next month may be the right time and place for this to be heard. God has asked us to wait.

My purpose this next month is to love Hazel and Emilly, teach them more about God, and rest in the promise that God is who He says He is. I do not have to worry about anything. Trusting God is all I need to do.

Thank you, Father, for the answer you gave today. I will wait for you to reveal your plan for us.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Waiting

The paternity test is done. The waiting has begun. They say it will take four to six weeks, but it could be as soon as two weeks.

It would be easier if I could say that there was something obviously wrong with this man or his mother. That is other than the fact that he has not tried to have contact with Hazel or paid child support in over 3 years. Yes, they did know where she was for at least two of those years. But they were very kind and respected every boundary that I placed on the meeting. They did not try to touch her or directly interact with her. They just sat and watched.

At the time, my husband, Thomas, and I were more concerned with Hazel feeling comfortable and safe. Thomas sat on the floor and played trains with Hazel in the waiting room, and I spent time with our new acquaintances.

When we were called back for the test, Thomas waited in the waiting room with Emilly, and I went back with Hazel and R. R was kind enough to step up his part of the paternity test. This gave Hazel time to see what was going on.

Back in the waiting room, we sat around and talked a little while longer, and then Hazel became afraid that we were going to leave her. She began crying so we left immediately.

Now, a few days later, I think back and wonder what it was like for R and his mother, D, to sit and watch Hazel. Did R long to hold her? Did he regret all of the years he has missed out on? Was he angry at what this child has been through? Did he wish he could turn time back and do things differently? What was he thinking? Were his feelings hurt when Hazel kept asking for "my daddy" (Thomas not R) while we were waiting for the test? She does love Thomas. Some times I think she has forgotten her other daddies.

The hardest part of waiting is trying to live normally. Do I continue to fix her room up the way she wants or do I wait? Do I buy winter clothes? Winter in the mountains of NC is a lot different than winter in FL. When she asks me if I will keep her forever, what should I say? Do we plan on Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family of four or will there only be three?

Today we have lived together as a family of four. I do not know how long it will remain that way, but I am thankful for today. I pray for a thousand tomorrows together. God is amazing and loves to show up in the midst of our darkest times and let His light shine.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

All to Jesus

...I surrender. ALL to Him I freely give.

Today I will take Hazel to meet her biological father and her paternal grandmother. They are trying to get joint custody of her. So, today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. Today is the paternity test. DSS is hoping to have the paternity test back by court on Sept 18.

My feeling have vacillated from one end of the spectrum to the other. We love Hazel as our own. In July the judge ordered the plan to be adoption. We were asked if we would be willing to adopt Hazel and Emilly. Of course, our answers was a hearty yes.

Now we are faced with a very real possibility that Hazel and Emilly will be separated, and Hazel sent to live in Florida.

But honestly, today and even last night God has given me a peace I cannot explain. I know He holds her future and will guard her. We have prayed continually that He would place a hedge of protection around her. I believe He will. His grace is sufficient. And when my faith waivers I will ask God to help me my unbelief.

Friday, September 01, 2006

And Emilly...

Emilly, you are an amazingly funny two year old. I never would have thought that the introverted and scared child that arrived at our home eight months ago would have turned into who you are today. What is it that you are today? Well, I thought I would make a list of the top ten things I like about you.

10. Those cheeks! You have these sweet cheeks that can glow like a light bulb with the slightest bit of heat or when you cry. Everyone comments on the baby with the round cheeks.

9. Mine! Since you turned two in July, you have perfected the word "mine". You have an amazing vocabulary for a two year old, but the word "mine" tops the list most days. It makes my heart swell when you say "my mommy" or "my daddy".

8. Your laugh! We did not hear your true laugh for a while. At first, you laughed a silly artificial laugh when Hazel did something silly, but then one day we heard the real Emilly laugh. It was so sweet. The laugh of a baby. Last week that sweet laugh changed to that of a child. It now resembles a donkey. But you do it so well. Your laughter is truly contagious.

7. That you are two. Some days that might not be my most favorite thing, but I love that two has turned you a little more confident. Hazel is not able to force you do as much anymore. You tell her "no" often, and you are not always willing to be at her beckon call.

6. This might sound like a contradiction to number 7, but you are a wonderful follower. So often everyone wants to be the leader, but you are willing to be a follower without complaint. It is a gift to be a good follower. I pray that you will use that willingness to follow in your future relationship with Jesus. He is an awesome leader who never fails!

5. You look totally opposite of what I thought my child would look like. This is a gift from God. He definitely has a sense of humor, and He has used it often when I try to dictate what things will be. I thought for sure my next child would have dark hair and eyes like myself. You are God's design with your blond hair and blue/gray eyes.

4. At this moment, I am your favorite parent. Selfish? Yes, I admit to being a little selfish of your attention. I love that in a roomful of your favorite people I am usually your first choice when you wish to be held.

3. YOU ARE A GIRLY GIRL! I have no clue how God put us together on that one. You shake in fear at the sight of bugs, amphibians and reptiles. (even the fake ones) You would rather play with your babies and blankets. Funny since, I am the proud owner of two of the sweetest frogs on the earth.

2. You do the funniest voices and facial expressions! It is hard to believe that a little girl like yourself can have that big deep voice you do. It makes people laugh in hysteria when you do it.

1. Is simply because you are you. You do not try to be Hazel or anyone else. You live life as yourself. That is an admirable quality for such a young person. Never give that up!

Emilly, this list could go on forever, but these are a few of the things I like most about you. You are such a joy to be around. I love you, boo.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Forever Changed

Our eight month anniversary is almost here. It seems like a lifetime and then it seems all so new. Already I can say, I am forever by changed by loving you.

Hazel you have the most stunning blue eyes, and a happiness that glows in the worst of times. You love people and they love you. If laughter is the best medicine, we are more healthy because of you.

When you arrived in January you brought with you a truckload of raw emotion. Anything and everything could send you into a screaming rage. I felt unable to help you deal with everything. How could a four year old child have so much hurt inside them?

But God is good! He has brought us to a much better place together. The anger and rage that lived at the surface of you has been slowly chipped away. There is more love and trust in its place. Oh, there is still a long way to go, but look how far He has brought us!

Now we are faced with a new challenge. Your biological father has surfaced. You have never really known him in your four years of life, but now he wants to take you to live with him. In the next few weeks, you will meet him. At first you won't know him as your father but just as another person in this world. After his paternity is confirmed, you will be introduced formally. This thought devastates me. You are ours!

We may not be related by blood, but we are family. I have loved you as my own, and in my heart you hold a place that only a true daughter can hold. Your dad feels the same way. No, not the one who's paternity is being tested, but the man who has held you the past eight months as close as any biological dad should.

I do not know what these next few months will hold, but I know who holds them. He is faithful even in the worst of times. Daily I will seek to trust Him a little more with these feelings of fear. Losing you is a reality I do not wish to face, but should my God bring it to be then I know He will hold our hands. Your family here will love you for an eternity, dear one.