Monday, March 31, 2008

Another Great Opportunity to Trust HIM...

We got an email from our adoption agency today.

We were hoping for a phone call.

Phone calls usually mean good news. Email - usually bad or no news.

It's been two weeks (tomorrow) since we got the call that our file was approved. At that time, PGN said that they would not release any files to be picked up until after the Easter Holiday. So, the Monday after Easter, PGN was open for business. We waited expectantly all week to hear that our facilitator had his hands on our file and was moving to the next step. On Thursday, we got an email that he was heading to PGN to pick up our file. We should have confirmation on Friday.

All day Friday I waited. I paced. I checked the email. I looked out the window. I willed the phone to ring.

NOTHING...NO WORD...Weekends are very long when there is NO WORD.

So today, I picked up where I left off on Friday... pacing, checking the email, biting my fingernails, willing the phone to ring. At 4:00, an email comes through...

I spoke with R_____ a few minutes ago. He said that he went to PGN on Friday, but they did not yet give him your file. He confirmed that it is approved, but it has not yet been released. He asked me to call PGN and ask about it. I have been trying to get through but have been sitting on hold for a while now. Your PGN case number is: *********
If you can help, please call PGN with me....
So, they haven't released the file! Why not? What's going on?

I spent the last hour of the (business) day dialing PGN over and over again. It was either busy or the call would not go through. That is pretty normal from what I understand.

What could be going on? Here are my best guesses:
  1. It's a bureaucratic delay. Somebody somewhere needs to enter the information into the computer system before they can let it go.
  2. It's a political delay. This week, the head of PGN was asked to step down by the President of Guatemala. He is refusing to do so. Maybe he is not allowing any files out the door.
  3. It's a motivational delay. Someone may be sitting on our file, waiting for a little (ahem) financial motivation to get it moving again. It's been known to happen.
I had so hoped this last part of our adventure would be easy and quick. I'm so ready to have Cupcake home. The closer it gets, the more tied up in knots my stomach and heart get.

So this is where we have the great opportunity to trust God again (still).

I know that He is working all things out for our good and His glory.

I know that His timing is perfect.

It is time for me to be still and know that He is God. I will trust Him because He is good. I will rest in the fact that He loves Cupcake more than I ever could.

I will trust Him.

Blessings to you,
Mamita

Saturday, March 29, 2008

In Memory of Pepper

We are a house in mourning. Pepper, Sugar's dearly loved hamster, died unexpectedly yesterday.



The grim discovery was made when Sugar went to go get him, so he could listen to Elsie Dinsmore. We've been reading the Elsie Dinsmore series for school. Every morning, Sugar would go get Pepper for read-aloud time. He would curl up in her lap and listen to the story. He was a better listener than some of my children. :-)

Pepper was a Black Bear hamster. He had cute little Mickey Mouse ears and he looked like a black bear in the face. He really was a sweetie.



Pepper was the most laid-back rodent we've ever had (We've had several.) He NEVER bit anyone. He wasn't all jumpy, like some hamsters. He would ride around the pocket of Sugar's satin PJs. He would sit on my shoulder. He allowed endless play with the neighbor kids.

You might say a little prayer for Sugar, since she is taking it pretty hard.

We had a proper burial last night. Sugar made a paper tombstone that read:

Pepper
The best hamster in the world.

The best hamster I ever had.

Sweet, cute, and loyal to me.

I love him so much.
May he rest in peace!!

We're going to miss the little guy.


Monday, March 24, 2008

The Hard-Boiled Egg - A Blank Canvas

I hope you had a wonderful celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We did.




And we had a little fun dying eggs this weekend.

I remember the good ole days, when I was excited to dye my eggs blue or yellow. Or if I wanted to be really wild, I could do half and half. But alas, my children have engineer/artist blood coursing through their veins. Not satisfied with mediocrity, they searched the internet for the greatest techniques and came up with a few of their own. So here are some of their creations:

From Sugar...





From Sunshine...



From TE...





From Daddy and Mamita...



I imagine other families dye their eggs in about an hour...but it took us most of the afternoon. It sure was fun, though.

Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Thursday, March 20, 2008

APPROVED!

We've been approved!

On Tuesday, March 18, exactly 23 months after we committed to the adoption of Cupcake as our daughter, we got the phone call we've been waiting for! The government of Guatemala (PGN) has approved our adoption! The papers have been signed! Cupcake is coming home!!!!

Now, we're not officially OUT of PGN yet, because they won't release our file until after the Easter holiday. Easter lasts a full week in Guatemala. So, hopefully, Wednesday morning, our facilitator will be able to pick up our file from PGN, and move to the next step.

I'm a little fuzzy about the next steps, because our case is an abandonment. It has different (fewer) steps than normal relinquishment cases, which could speed things up considerably. I believe the next step is to get a new birth certificate issued with our names as parents. Then we get submitted to the US Embassy for "PINK". "PINK" is the notification of your appointment time at the US Embassy in Guatemala City. (The paper used to be pink, but now it's done by email.) This appointment is where we raise our right hands and swear to care for Cupcake as our child. The next day, they issue her visa and then, we get to bring her home! So my best guess, if all goes smoothly, would be 4-7 weeks from now! :-D

And speaking of Easter...

Is God the God of the resurrection, or what?

I have to tell you guys, HE IS!

Last week, I didn't post much, because I was fighting this giant in my life called "Easter's coming". Now I know that Easter is all about the celebration of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, but this Mama's heart was hurting. You see, two Easter's ago, we spent the weekend with a picture of a sad little girl. We prayed over that picture. Was she the one God had planned for us? Was this a picture of my 4th child?

The resounding answer was "YES!" Someday I'll share why we were so certain, but let's just say we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Cupcake was ours. Little did we know how painful this journey would be.

As Easter approached again, I was filled with an incredible ache as I longed to just have my baby home. I was having a BIG TIME PITY PARTY. One day last week, I told Daddy S, "I feel like a dried up leaf that's been blown around and trampled on." Friday was the worst. On top of my pity party, I had a run-in with a jerk. And there was no news at all from our agency. I spent the afternoon and evening in tears, knowing that we would not hear anything until after Easter. To my friend, who witnessed the jerk and the tears, I choked out, "I'm at the end of my strength. There's nothing left."

It's always darkest before the dawn.

Well, a good cry was therapeutic. And despite my feelings, I did not curl up and die. My body kept breathing all weekend. The only thing I could pray was for God to have mercy on us and for Him to restore my joy. I began working on a photo/video montage of Cupcake to try to work out some of my grief. Daddy S joined me. As we spent hours choosing photos and videos, we laughed and cried. We remembered. We cherished. We hoped for someday.

On Tuesday morning, our tears of sadness turned to tears of joy. In an instant, this dried up leaf of a woman came back to life. He had mercy on us! My joy was restored! And the timing - at the last minute before they closed for Easter - That was the work of a mighty God! Now I know He could have restored my joy without the happy news, but isn't it just like Him to make it extra sweet?

So, here is our montage of our sweet Cupcake. She is loved more than she knows...





Make an on-line slide show at www.OneTrueMedia.com

Hold on, little girl, we're coming!


Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Real First Class Guy

That's my boy!



Thursday night was our Boy Scout Court of Honor, where they acknowledge the achievements of the boys over the last quarter. Both boys had roles in the ceremony.

Sunshine was part of the Color Guard



TE lit the candles at the opening of the ceremony.



Sunshine earned the rank of First Class this time. I'm so proud of him. He is becoming such a polite young man. He is very generous and always empathizes with those who are hurting. The other day, when I had the flu, he brought me an electric blanket and some water to drink. Then he asked if there was anything else he could do for me. My heart just melted and swelled - all at the same time. He's already a first class guy in my book.



Blessings to you,
Mamita J

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Miss My Baby

I miss my little girl.

I miss her big, brown eyes looking into mine.

I miss her precious face snuggled deep into my chest.

I miss her sweet voice.

I miss her long, silky hair...


video
Cupcake and Her Hair


I miss the way she "Ch Ch"'s when she wants me to look at something.

I miss walking with her hand in mine.

I miss rubbing lotion on her feet.

I miss feeding her ice cream....


video
Cupcake and the Ice Cream

I miss her giggles.

I miss her smiles and her frowns.

Just missing my baby today.


Blessings to you,
Mamita J

(These videos were from our 2nd visit trip in February '07. I can't believe that was more than a year ago.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Bible Makes No Distinction Between the Born and Unborn


What the Bible says about abortion:
God Values Human Life
Children Deserve Special Protection
Life in the Womb is More Than a Blob


This is an easy one, but our culture has been confused for quite some time.


Infant Fetus Baby


These words all mean the same thing. Listen to the activities of these fetuses....


Jacob and Esau were already fighting with each other while still in the womb.


The babies jostled each other within her. Genesis 25:22
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Elizabeth was Mary's older cousin, who was approximately 6 months pregnant with John the Baptist when Mary came to visit. Mary was very early in her pregnancy with Jesus.

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit... Luke 1:41a

-------------

When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would become pregnant, this is how he put it...


You will be with child... Luke 1:31a


I love that phrase...:with child". It sounds so tender and it is so true. It honors both the mother and the child.


This concludes my series on what the Bible says about abortion. This is, by no means, everything the Bible says, but it is a good starting place if you're just trying to figure things out.

Next time, we will move on to covering some of the gray areas that are often used to justify abortion.

Blessings to you,

Mamita J


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wacky Weather

What would cause a third grader to create this protest sign?



This...



We had a big snowstorm today - almost 9 inches! All the outside activities were canceled, but this mom does NOT cancel homeschool for a little snow. Since there is no problem getting to school, we're having school. Call me mean, but we've missed a lot of school due to our trip to Guatemala and my bout with the flu.

It's amazing how fast kids can get their work done when there is a special incentive. We were done with school by 1:00 and had the whole afternoon for fun.






What's so wacky about this is, just Sunday it was 78 degrees! The kids wore shorts and jumped on the trampoline! Today, it's sledding, and igloos and snow tunnels!

Crazy!

Blessings to you,
Mamita




Saturday, March 1, 2008

Life in the Womb is More Than a Blob




Life in the womb is more than a blob.


We know this is true from a practical standpoint.

Nobody ever says, "Oh, Honey, my blob of tissue is having spasms!"

We say, "Oh, Honey, the baby is kicking!"

I will prove that life in the womb is more than just a blob of tissue from the scientific perspective at a later date, but today, let's look at the Bible. Does God ever talk about the unborn and what is going on in the womb? You bet He does.

You remember Job? He had all the troubles.
He lost his property - it was a lot. He lost most of his servants - there were many. He lost all of his children in the same day - ten of them. Later on, his health was attacked and he was suffering greatly. Through it all, he loved God with all his heart, but still, he had questions. He was having a pity party while he was talking to God. This is what he said...

"Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?

Remember that you molded me like clay.
Will you now turn me to dust again?

Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese,

clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews?

You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit..."

..."Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me."
Job 10:8-12,18

So God's hands were shaping Job, molding him. The image of milk curdling is a picture of substance formed where there was none. The picture of God clothing Job with flesh and knitting him together is the example of the gentle care of a loving creator. Notice that, in his self-pity, Job wishes he would have died before he was born. You can't die if you're not alive, so Job was alive while he was in the womb.

----------------

Now we turn to David. You know, he killed Goliath when he was a boy. He became King of Israel. He was also a poet - and a darned good one. Here he is contemplating how much God knows about him...

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16


So, David understood that God knew him intimately before he was born. David was not a scientist, but he knew that what happens in the womb is amazing. He recognized that God had a plan for him while he was not yet formed!

----------------

And then there was Jeremiah. He was a prophet. This is what God said to him...

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5
So, God knew Jeremiah, even before he was formed. And he was set apart as a prophet while still in the womb.

----------------

Don't be fooled. God is an active participant in the development of life. He carefully molds each person and He has a plan for each child. What goes on in the womb of a pregnant woman is incredible. It's anything but a blob of tissue, even in the earliest stages.

Blessings to you,
Mamita J