Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Foiled Wedding Plans

I overheard Jillian arranging a mock wedding this afternoon. She had dressed SaraGrace in a sparkly dress from the 'dress-up bin.' However, Jillian was quite frustrated because the intended groom had no formal attire for the big event. The next time I saw Jordan, he was dressed in the best Jillian could muster...a plaid shirt and khaki's.

Soon SaraGrace was dancing happily around the room, dragging the somewhat dazed looking groom. After a few minutes of that, he became disgusted and wanted to leave her clutches. If you know SaraGrace....well...that just wasn't going to sit too well with her. Jordan broke away from her and she followed him, scowling. Jillian shouted commands for Jordan to fall in line with THE PLAN. The reluctant groom became quite uncooperative, which spoiled all hopes of a wedding for today. SaraGrace crossed her arms and said, 'Fine,' with a huff, and Jordan was spared--at least for today.

I tried to get a picture of them dressed in their wedding finery, but sadly, SaraGrace was already wearing a different outfit when I returned with the camera.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Singing in the pool

SaraGrace loves to sing and perform. She has been cracking us up since the day we got her in China. The other day, I took a video of her singing in the baby pool with Molly. If you want to see it, here is the link:

You will probably have to copy and paste this link into your web browser.

SaraGrace could be voted, "most likely to embarrass us." She is spirited, loud, and loves to laugh and tease. The other day, we were at a restaurant and she had to go to the bathroom. As Molly and I were herding her to one, she announced loudly (while holding herself), "I have to go pee-pee!" Molly turned around, mortified, and said, 'SHHHHHH! You're going to gross out the customers!"

As I said, she love to sing. A few months ago, we were riding in the car and all the girls were each singing their own made up songs at a deafening level. After I reached my limit for noise and bedlam, I thought I would make a suggestion. "Why don't you guys sing an actual song? That way, you would all be singing the same thing." Without missing a beat, SaraGrace belted out, "Actual song, Actual song...."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's not Ryan's week

Ryan has had a very eventful week. He gave me permission to say that he failed his first driver's test. He was quite glum and we felt so sorry for him. Jeff took him for the first one, so I took him again the next day and thankfully, he passed. Before he had much time to celebrate, though, life got a bit interesting for him.

He had just returned from a week at a Christian camp and told us that he had an adventure with a raccoon the first day of camp. Apparently, he was taking out the trash in the middle of the afternoon and there was a raccoon near the dumpster. He tried to scare it and then kicked it--whereupon it attached itself to his leg and wouldn't get off. He tried to get it off but wasn't successful, so he picked up a rock and killed it. He had some scratches that broke the skin, but no one thought to have the raccoon tested for rabies. When he told us the story, I told him that he would need rabies shots. I looked it up online, sure enough, he did need rabies shots. Poor Ryan!

I took him to our doctor who confirmed that Ryan needed the rabies series, but said that we would have to go to ER for the vaccine, because they didn't have it. We were fairly light hearted about it all until we saw the look on the ER doctor's face when we told him that eight days had elapsed since the raccoon encounter. It was then that it finally hit me that Ryan had been put in a serious situation since rabies is fatal for humans or animals. We don't know if the raccoon was rabid, but some of it's odd behavior was listed on "how to know if a raccoon has rabies." He ended up getting 7 shots--four at the wound site and then....ignominy of ignominy...he had to drop trou in front of mom and the nurse for 3 shots in his derriere.

We have been teasing him about wearing a raccoon hat with a robber mask and amusing his friends.

Today he and his buddies decided to go 'mudding' with the pick-up truck and dirt bike. Ryan promised he wouldn't ride--and he didn't until evening. He came home moaning and groaning, unable to put weight on the same leg where he had gotten the rabies shots. He crashed his dirt bike into a tree at 60 miles an hour. Sigh...He is in tons of pain. Jeff is out of town, so I was trying to decide if I should make another trip to ER when we had the brilliant idea to call our neighbor who is an ER doctor. Ryan called him--ironically, he is the same guy Ryan bought the dirt bike from. Good way to get patients...ha! It took us 10 minutes to get him out to the car, but thankfully, our neighbor doesn't think he has more than a hairline fracture or bad bruise. He suggested waiting a few days and if it still hurts Ryan can get an X-ray. I feel so sorry for Ryan--although his bellowing in pain, might start to get old. :) So far his siblings and I are willing to wait on him hand and foot, but I'm wondering how long that will last!?! :) Jillian is willing to wait on him but said that it will be fun having Ryan not be able to chase her around. ha.

I am very thankful that he is okay--things could have been so much worse.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Show me the money!

A friend gave me this comic strip the other day, and I love it! (In case the print is too small to read, the father is saying, "Do you realize how rich we'd be if we didn't have four children and three pets?" The mom replies, "No, I realize how POOR we'd be." I have many people tell me that they would love to adopt, but they can't afford it. I know it is so scary to look into adopting and see a cost--from $15,000-30,000. However, I want to tell you what God has done for us and maybe it will encourage you to take a leap of faith!

We have never had the money to do any of our adoptions. Most of the time we started out with nothing, or maybe with just enough to get started. God has provided for us in many different ways. With Jacob's adoption, we were already in the hole for the entire amount of Jordan's adoption. And yet, despite having to borrow money sometimes, God has always given us a level of income to be able to make the payments--or put it on people's heart to help out. There have been times that Jeff got an unexpected bonus at work. There have been times when we received more back from our income taxes than we were expecting. None of our 'windfalls' have been enough to cover an entire adoption, but they have been enough to get us to the next step. Yes, we have made some sacrifices--like no vacations--but we are very much aware that we live better than most people in the world, so how could we complain?

This is my favorite story of God's provision. We had completed the paperwork for one of our adoptions but we didn't have the money for the next step. We needed $3,200 to pay the adoption agency fee. I put all the completed paperwork into a drawer and thought, "Well...I have no idea how THAT is going to get paid for." A few days later, Jeff called and said that his former company car was going to be removed from service. It had a problem and the company decided it wasn't worth fixing. Jeff asked if he could buy it (against company policy) and miraculously, they said yes. He bought it for $600! It was only a few years old and it was a very nice car. Jeff fixed the problem for very little money and put an ad in the paper to try to sell it. We got no response. Jeff wanted to use the money to fix up the basement but after the car didn't sell, he began to ask God what GOD wanted us to use the money for. We decided that it should go for the adoption. The very same day that Jeff gave up 'his right' to use the money the way he wanted to, God sold our car! When Jeff tallied up the costs of buying it and fixing it and deducted it from the sale price, the amount was..... $3,200!!!

When we began adopting, our income was much lower than it is now. We scrimped and saved to get Jillian home and as soon as she was home, God led us to start Molly's adoption. I was fearful of many things--not just money--but wondered how we could possibly parent four children?! I want you to know that God has increased our strength, our income, and everything we need. There is never more than we need--but there is enough. Over the years as we have adopted, God has raised our income as needed. I truly believe that we would not have these income blessings if we were not adopting. Even if we were, it would not compare to the blessings that the kids bring to us each day.

So if you are contemplating adopting, do not let the fear of lack of money or lack of energy (or any other 'LACK') hold you back. Take the leap of faith and trust God to supply all that you need. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Yesterday's festivities

We had a fun, chaotic day--haha. My parents, siblings and their children came over for a cook-out and most stayed to watch our 13 year old son, Taylor, put on his own firework extravaganza. Taylor worked and saved up $100 to spend on fireworks (I don't get it??!) and hit a 2 for 1 sale, so he had an arsenal ready to go. It cracks me up how the sound of one firecracker can bring boys running from all over the neighborhood, as if drawn by some mysterious force. Our pastor and his wife live in our neighborhood and came over to watch. They also have a son with a 4 of July birthday--how cool is that. Their little Andrew turned 6 yesterday.

Here are some photos of our day! :) We celebrated Taylor's birthday, also, since he will turn 13 on July 7th. SaraGrace regaled us with a loud rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" while standing on a table (her stage) and dressed in high heels. She loves to perform. Maybe next year we can teach her the "Star Spangled Banner!"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Happy Birthday to our wonderful, 17 year old, Ryan!! I so vividly remember pacing the floors 17 years ago today, while his amazing birthmom, Dana, labored to bring him into the world. We prayed for her all day as she endured the pain of his delivery. We were in touch by phone throughout the day. Finally, about 10PM, our phone rang again. This time, Dana put the phone up to Ryan's little mouth and we could hear him making sweet baby sounds. Off in the distance, I could see fireworks going off, which mirrored the excited pumping of my heart. Our baby boy!!! Finally, after 7.5 years of infertility, we were about to become parents! The following morning, we jumped in the car and headed south on the 14 hour drive to see our tiny new son and his precious birth family. They were so very brave over the next days, weeks and months as they handed him to us, a sweet bundle of life, to love forever.

And what a ride he has given us! He has lived up to his birth date as a Firecracker and is full of fun and energy. As a toddler, he thought the fireworks in our city were in his honor. We let him think that for awhile! Now he knows better, but in my heart, the 4th of July will continue to be about my Ryan--as well as it being America's birthday. We look forward to watching Ryan grow and develop into the man God wants him to be.

His little sisters are so excited to be celebrating this day with him and made him some homemade gifts with dirt bikes on them, since they know he loves to ride dirt bikes. They are all dressed in red, white and blue and ready for him to wake up!

Happy Birthday to our Ryan, and thank you with grateful hearts, to Dana for the ultimate gift of a son. He has brought us much joy! We are honored to be his parents and in awe of the sacrifice you made for him.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our Citizenship

I was just talking to some friends the other night about what a privilege it is to be a citizen of the United States of America. Since we have adopted our children from China and Guatemala, I get emotional thinking about our flights from their birth countries to the U.S.

As I think about that, I cannot help seeing a parallel for those of us who are Christians, since God said that our citizenship is in heaven.

On the flights home, our kids were completely oblivious to what they were about to receive. Each time, I have held them on my lap, handed them a flag and whispered excitedly that they were about to become citizens of the great land of America. They waved and chewed on the flag, smiling without any comprehension.
The flag had no meaning to them because they could not understand it's significance. As we walked onto U.S. soil and their Immigration paperwork was stamped, I said in their ears, "Welcome to America, little one!" They had no idea what they were being given. They had done nothing to receive it. It was something that they could not comprehend or appreciate--and will only do so little by little, as they grow.

Just as our children do not understand what citizenship means, I think that I, too, am often completely unable to appreciate what God has promised will be mine someday. I will have a place in heaven with Him, as His CHILD. I cannot begin to comprehend what that truly means. I have no idea what heaven will really be like, nor do I really understand what it means to be a daughter of the King. I have done nothing to receive this amazing gift. I can hear those words, but I think my ability to comprehend them, is very similar to our kids understanding what it means to be a citizen of the United States.

Monday, July 02, 2007

America--home of the brave!

I have been called a 'patriotic nerd' and you will probably agree with that after this week. :)

Since this week is America's birthday--and the birthday of my oldest son, Ryan, I thought it would be fun to share some favorite memories or things I love about America. Since I don't want to be too long-winded, I'll just share a bit each day. :)

First...a tribute to two men in our family who proudly served their country--and whom we lost last year. My granda, Tom Priestap, and my cousin, Jim Priestap. We miss you both. Thank you for giving of yourselves to keep us free. Jim paid the ultimate price and was killed in action in Iraq last Thanksgiving day. Jim--you are truly one of America's BRAVE, and your wife and children are carrying on bravely in your absence.

Second...I am so thankful to live in America. I am thankful for a roof over my head, cars in my garage, enough food to feed my children, clothing for them, and a place I can go to worship without fear of punishment. I am so thankful that I have been able to build a family because of the resources that God has given to us--and to be able to bring our children home to a place that will embrace and accept them.

Happy Birthday, America! May you not forget to seek God and continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave!