We have been logged in now for 4 months, so it seems time for an adoption update- especially since there is actually something to report. Don't anyone get excited. It isn't anything like THAT.
As I've mentioned, our agency did not get approved by the Hague. It's a long story, but basically there was an isolated incident in one state where there was an improper use of notaries. The problem was swiftly taken care of and a correction plan put in place. However, for reasons I can't recall at the moment, this was not enough for the Hague approval committee and our agency was not approved. Because China is a country that participates in the Hague treaty for adoption (or whatever it is actually called), only agencies approved by the Hague committee are allowed to facilitate adoptions in those countries.
Shortly after announcing that they were not Hague approved, our agency then closed all of their various state offices. I think it had more to do with not having the financial revenue to keep them going than anything else (between not being able to take in new clients for China, Vietnam and other programs closing, there were no new families). I also think (though they have not said) that keeping their licence only in Missouri where they are based should, in theory, make Hague approval easier, and should also eliminate any further issues with people doing improper things (because they will now have closer oversight). Also, because they are not Hague approved, China no longer allows our agency any access to the waiting child listings. This has been particularly painful to many families. Thankfully, those of us who are already logged in are unaffected by the Hague issue as long as we keep our immigration paperwork updated (and assuming that our agency DOES eventually gain approval- if not, that's a whole different ball game that I can explain if that ever should happen).
Where does that leave us? Well, in all honesty, in the very same place we would be with or without Hague approval. Since our referral probably won't happen till the dawn of the next century (ok, so maybe a LITTLE sooner), we have time to wait out the Hague issue. We have been praying about turning in a waiting child checklist (indicating what special needs we would feel comfortable handling) and waiting on that referral (which would surely come faster), but we really have no peace about that at the moment. For us, it feels as if we are just trying to escape the wait. We have said at this point that we will wait till 1 year after the Olympics to make any decisions about adopting a waiting child. Between now and then, we'll just pray and pray.
All of that to say, this week our agency (Children's Hope International) is reapplying for Hague approval. The committee has 15 days to reply back. Please, pray that they are finally approved to continue facilitating adoptions in Hague compliant countries. I will let you all know when I hear anything!
At the very least, 4 months of our wait is behind us and we will never have to wait those 4 months again. Thankfully, they were so full of great and exciting things, we barely noticed we were waiting. Let's hope the next, oh, 48 months or so go by as quickly!!! :)
Look at me, two posts in one day. That's like a miracle these days. Don't get your hopes up for anything exciting.
I just had to ask for some brilliant advice while I am thinking of it. I am no good at potty training. I don't know what I am doing and my kids never get to that magic point like everyone else I talk to where they just decide one day to use the potty. Honestly, I don't remember what I did with Sawyer besides making a sticker chart. I plan on making one here soon for Chloe.
But, any other great ideas? Chloe's going two and a half, so it's time to at least attempt it- I just don't know what "attempting it" actually means. We read the ever-so-famous potty books and have the Elmo potty video, but beyond that and a sticker chart, I don't know what to do to motivate her to want to cooperate with the process. Oh- we also went and picked out some pretty princess undies too!
I hear girls are easier in this regard. I'm praying that is actually true, because it was a long ordeal with Sawyer. (However, he never once had an accident ever, so I guess it worked out ok even if it did take the better part of a year and a half.)
All advice is appreciated. I'll keep you posted.
Hi, my name is Jenna and I'm a highlighter-aholic. It's been a week since my last highlight.
I know. It's rare, but it's real. That's why I need to join Obsessive Highlighters Anonymous.
So real, that I currently have the shakes because I'm reading a book that I borrowed and I can't highlight in it. What if I try to go back and find a line that struck me and I CAN'T because I can't find it? I'm serious. I'm having a hard time!! I've been reduced to taking NOTES because I can't actually write in the book. I didn't actually realize I had a problem until I told someone that I do this in novels too- not just in non-fiction. If I find a line that strikes me, I have to highlight it. That person looked at me with a look that said, "Oh. Wow. You've got issues."
Although, I did get through the entire Harry Potter series without highlighting anything. That might have been before my disease got out of control!
So, don't be offended if you offer to let me borrow a book and I don't accept. It's not you, it's me. I have to be able to highlight. This is also why you may not want to borrow a book form me. It will be highlighted all up.
Just a little something I realized about myself this week! Thought I'd share!
There's a chill in the air today and it feels like fall. I went to the farm stand and bought a bunch of freshly picked apples. So, I'm suddenly dying for apple crisp. Problem is....I don't have a really yummy apple crisp recipe. (I realize this would be brainless for most people. When it comes to cooking, I am NOT most people.) I tried to call my mom, but she wasn't there!!!!
So.....does anyone have a really yummy and really easy apple crisp recipe? If it includes oats (which I LOVE), then it would be even better!!!
I've been forgetting to post this, but it isn't because I am not thankful! I won a bloggy award! So, it isn't an Emmy or a Grammy, but hey, it's a start! :) It was given to me by Andrea which makes it even more special! Thanks, Andrea! You know I'd give you one too if you didn't already have one! :)
Here are the Smile Award rules:
1. The recipient must link back to the award's creator.
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.
Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (Ummm....no comment.)
2. Must love one another. (I try to. I really do.)
3. Must make mistakes. (I'm an award winning mistake-maker!)
4. Must learn from others. (Does reading blogs and books count? Then, this is true of me!)
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world. (Well, I don't know about this....)
6. Must love life. (Check.)
7. Must love kids. (Most of the time I do.)
So, I get to pass the award along to five lucky winners. There are many of you who have already received this award, so I can't give it to you. Too bad. But, I can think of 5 blogs that I read that have not yet received this award that deserve it, so here it goes......
My cousin, Rebecca, at Grace Like Rain. She's a fantastic home schooling mom who puts me to shame with all she does with her kids. She also takes great pictures!
I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see Casting Crowns during this tour which combines both my favorite music artists and something else I love- Christmas music. However since they are coming nowhere near New England, I'll post this so that one of YOU can go and then tell me all about it! Deal?
Sawyer on Politics
Sawyer: I'm going to vote for Aarak Obama (That's Barak Obama to the rest of us).
Me: Really? Why's that?
Sawyer: Because I like him.
Me: What is it you like about him?
Sawyer: I don't know, I just like him.
Me: Well, that's about right!
Scot (yelling in from the other room): I'm glad he can't vote!!
Chloe and I spent the morning at Barnes and Noble while Sawyer was at school. This felt like a great luxury this morning as I don't know when the last time was that we were in a bookstore, and BOY, do we love bookstores! Even better- I left without spending a dime. I'm almost certain that has NEVER happened before!!
But, while I was there, I was previewing a book called Half-Life/Die Already: How I Died and Lived to Tell About It by Mark Steele, and I came across a quote that made me laugh out loud- because of the way he said it, but also the fact that it rings so true:
I long to lead others to Christ, but MAN, if I don't have a dickens of a time following through with all those good intentions when it comes to actually doing right. Goodness constantly argues with myselfness and myselfness always rips goodness a new one.
Well said, in my opinion.
I completely forgot that my mother-in-law is coming over for dinner tonight. That's unfortunate timing since I hadn't planned on actually MAKING anything for dinner tonight. We were going to eat a little of this, that, and the other thing in small portions from whatever is left over or readily available in the kitchen (yeah, I know, just call me Martha Stewart). So, since my mother-in-law is coming over, we're doing the same thing (since I have no time or skills to come up with a Plan B), but we'll call it tapas.
Doesn't that just sound better?
In children's ministry every week a highlight for us is worship time. This fall, we are learning several new worship songs from a CD called deliberate kids by Phil Joel. The music is fun, current, and loaded with Biblical truth in the most singable (and therefore, memorable) way. It's also kind of rockin'. So if you have a fear of electric guitars, this CD is NOT for you. Sawyer and Chloe love this CD, and sing right along! That's part of what is so great about this CD, Phil Joel and his wife clearly know kids (they are kid's worship leaders at their church). The songs are easily singable for even the youngest kids. As an added bonus, you won't want to puncture your ear drums while listening to it- you'll like it too!!
If you are looking for some great kids music to listen to in the car that will allow you to worship God together as a family, may I whole-heartedly recommend this CD? You can listen to samples of the music and find out what deliberate kids is all about by visiting the deliberate kids website here!
When I was at the Leadership Summit in August, one of the speakers, Craig Groeschel ended his talk with this Franciscan prayer that I have not been able to forget.
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
I really believe that a huge difference can be made if we all really ask God what He is calling us to do and then we just stop fretting about it and get busy doing it- even if it is something really, really simple like loving your neighbor. I've seen that one in action recently, and the results have been AMAZING. (That's a story for a day that I have more time, but I'm dying to tell it.) I am blessed to have some great friends (and a pretty cool husband) who are doing some really ordinary things because God has called them to do it, and those ordinary things have yielded some pretty extraordinary results.
I think I'm being blessed with a little bit of foolishness lately, because I'm starting to think that my very small little life could make a very big difference if I just let go a little bit. It's pretty exciting to think about what God can do through us if we just cooperate a bit. I'm trying to be better about that! :)
In the last month, I've gone from this:
I'm not living with the sensation that I am simply unable to get up for the air I desperately need like I was just one week ago, but I still need swimmies to stay afloat. I am ignoring a basement full of unpacked boxes and pretty much pretending that we're settled in just so I can get through the day without sinking below the surface again. It isn't just the moving. It's the moving, the launching of a new children's ministry strategy, and the new routines of fall. Oh, and the simple fact of trying to get dinner on the table and keep the toilets clean in the middle of it all. I'm hoping that just the fact that I was able to post to this blog means that I have made so much progress that it won't be long before I'm here:
I actually have had lots to say......just no time to say it! :) I'll be back soon.