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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adoption classes

SNOW DAY PICTURES---This is when the "other side of the street" neighbors decided to attack us with snowballs...check out my stance ( i am in the green). I think it was a tie b/c we all collapsed in the snow from laughter.

These are the two snowmen we built in our neighborhood.
All of our neighbors who contributed to the snowmen. We are blessed.

Last night was our first adoption class at our new agency. We were supposed to start last Thursday but it was cancelled due to snow. In fact, we went through record snow last week for the Dallas/Fort Worth area...about 9 inches where we live. We were out of school/work for two full days, tag on a weekend and we had a nice looooonnnngg 4 day weekend!! We spent almost all day Thursday throwing snowballs, making a 9 ft snowmen and body sledding. We spent almost all day Friday nursing our bodies back to health since we are getting old and took a beating playing in the snow :). Anyways, back to adoption class.

Last night the topic was on Sexual Abuse and everything that goes with it. Its hard to imagine why anyone would want to hurt a child in that manner but our director told us that almost 60% of the kids that come through thier agency have been sexually abused or sexually exposed.

We talked about things such as; appropriate boundaries, perceptions, warning signs, etc... We even got down to details such as the rules in our household when it comes to changing clothes. Do you allow your child to undress and then run to the shower?, or do you have a hamper in the bathroom? Are they expected to be fully clothed at all times? Are you and your spouse comfortable with a child who may not want to hug at first or even hold your hand? Its a lot to think about but you want your child to feel safe with you and to know that they can have rules about thier own body that you will respect.

We have another class tonight on Grief, Seperation and Loss and then another on Thursday night on Behavior Modification. We are going to aim for having our home study finished by the end of April....which right now seems practical.

*** We have a bed for our kiddo*** . Two of our closest friends here are getting married in March. He is moving into her home and is giving us his bedroom set!!!!! We are excited to begin setting up his/her room. We already have a really fun bright red rug, a bed, a miniature frisbee golf basket (adam is going to start our kid early) and a desk. We are waiting on a dresser and are hoping to create a small activity table for him/her out of our current coffee table.

Please pray for us as we start to narrow down our preferences for adoption...they ask you to be very forward about what you can and can't handle ( disabilities, past experiences, religious preference). At first, I was the one who wanted five children of any age and any race and Adam wanted one baby. However, Adam told me on the way home last night that he thinks we could handle a sibling pair ( and without any persuasion on my part :)). I was just getting used to the fact that we were only going to get one child :). God is working, I know that!!! Now, if only we could agree!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Israel 2010

( Green is where K worked last summer, Orange for A)

Can you believe that we are already starting to get things together for another Israel trip this summer? I can't believe how the time has flown and how different our lives are from this time last year.
This years trip will be very different than last summers since they will not be digging at Tel Gezer. Dr. Ortiz is taking a year off to publish some findings and compile everything from the last couple of dig seasons. However, Dr. Mitchell is taking a group over to survey the entire Tel. The survey team last year found some really neat artifacts, such as the BOUNDARY STONES!! I can't remember exactly how many have been found but they say " Here marks the boundary of Gezer". They are large stones and they circle the Tel. The survey team also has found olive presses, tombs, beads and tile floors. The survey is very important in that it tells us how the occupants utilized the surrounding land, how far out thier borders went, how they intereacted with neighboring tribes and specifics as to how they buried thier dead (tombs).
The trip is from June about 25 days, a little over three weeks. Adam and I are hoping to fly out on June 5th and come back on the 26th so that I only miss three weeks of work. I am hoping to get one of those weeks paid (please, oh please!!).
Our expenses won't be quite as much as last year since we will be considered staff this time. Adam as an assistant and me as (insert cool position.....they are still figuring that out). We will more or less just have to pay for our plane tickets.
Thats about all I know right now....of course, this could all just happen for Adam if we get our child before then. We are meeting with our new agency tomorrow to make sure that planning this trip won't hinder our adoption. We want to make sure that they won't look down on our a) being gone for three weeks, without communication (except for the blog) and b) how much money we are spending on the trip...they like to know your income and see how you budget to make sure you can financially take care of and provide for a child. We also will know a better timeline after tomorrow night so if there is any chance that we could be parents by June then you better believe I will kiss Adam at the airport and stay home with our kid!!
We are trying to arrange a layover in Rome this summer, but were given a thumbs down since staff normally go in one big group flight....oh well, i was really hoping to have another "locked in a famous place's bathroom" story :).

We sang this song in Chapel today and I was reminded of the sweetness Christ brings to our life and the satisfacation we have in knowing that He has always been, is and will be victorious!!

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;

Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chugging right along

Just wanted to give an overall update of our lives over the past month.

Adoption- we switched agency location in January. We don't want to be misleading or point out splinters but the classes we attended at this particular location were not Christ-centered. Therefore, we are now going to classes that are offered by our same ageny in Arlington. We felt the need to switch based on the idea that if the people who were leading the classes could be our case workers then we wanted out. We chose this agency based on the fact that they had a christian owner and background, we knew that what drove thier agency was the very same thing that drove us. However, one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. We know that this was all God's providence though and we are going to be able to pick right back up where we started with the Arlington office.

We have thus far completed three of the eleven required classes; First Interview/Orientation, Child Development and Communication. We have been exposed to quite a lot just in those three meetings. Its a very emotional process as you are shown what young kids go through and how they are taught to view the world. We have left all three classes thinking "what in the world are we doing" and praying that God would renew our strength to go back and listen to the harsh reality of being a foster child or coming from a broken home. We are diligently praying that God would put a wall of protection around our child as they are either already in foster care or will soon become part of it.
There are happy endings for lots of these childrens but it makes me wonder how anyone can adopt a child without having Christ as thier biggest motivator. I constantly revel in the fact that I am going to be able to show a child, who has probably lived without hope, the hope in Jesus. Families without Christ will be able to offer children shelter, food, and consistentcy but Adam and I will show and tell our children that Christ can offer them more. He can offer them a better life and a hope that washes away all past suffering. AWESOME.

We are also gradually cleaning out our entire home. Moving from our 3 bedroom, 2.5 home in Tennessee into our quaint little seminary duplex already required two yardsales. However, we went to work this past Sunday and cleaned out a full closet for little Harvell and also got the second bedroom ready for a new bed and dresser. We already have a desk and we are working on a customized activity table.

On changing homes we have decided to stay put (for now). We realized that while a townhome may offer us more space, I think the idea of having our cats would be more beneficial. If we get our kid and they hate us, hate the food i cook, hate our home....hopefully they will love the cats and love the idea of having thier own pets! We overheard some foster parents saying how much pets and children connect and how most of time its an instant bond. Since Elvis and Priscilla are both very loving I think they give our child insight into the loving environment we hope to create.

Thats all for now....this weekend coming up is a big weekend for Adam and I ...will post more on that after its over.