Absolutely, without-a-doubt, the hardest part about moving....

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh, my friend, I miss you so much already.
What am I going to do without you??!!

We have a winner!

Y'all are so much more creative than I am! I loved your suggestions for a new blog name. Some friends commented on my f/b account and one friend private messaged me with her suggestion. And guess what? That's the name that I chose! So, since we're not moving until August 30th, you'll have to wait a bit to see my friend, Cindy's, creative suggestion. Cindy, your book is in the mail. I hope that you love it!

Thank you, everyone, for participating!

He cared, before we even knew him...

Monday, July 29, 2013

With each of our adoptions, we have discovered miraculous ways that God intervened in our children's lives before we even knew them. From miracles about their names to miracles regarding their health and survival, each of these discoveries reminds us that our Father cared for our children and held them in His heart, when we could not. He has never left them alone. He has always been with them.
About a week ago, Kaikai had an MRI that showed that he had hydrocephalus, Arnold Chiari malformation and tethered cord. Our doctor called us and he also called the neurosurgeon's office. I talked with them both. They urged us to make an appointment for Kaikai as soon as possible.

Today, feeling just a bit of trepidation, we visited the neurosurgeon's office. He told us that Kaikai did indeed have enlarged ventricles and that 80% of children with spina bifida need to be shunted. But, Kaikai does not need a shunt.

He told us that only 10% of kids with Arnold Chiari malformation need surgery, and Kaikai was definitely not in that 10%.

He told us that MRI's done on a child who had a repaired mylomeningocele would often show tethered cord, even when it wasn't tethered. He also told us that he had never seen a child with spina bifida at that location (L4 or L5) who walked as well as Kaikai walks!

Friends, these are miracles! Our sweet son may not have survived in China if he had needed a shunt, or if he had needed surgery for the Chiari malformation. And, he continues to defy all of our expectations as far as walking, running, riding his bike and climbing.
Today, I am grateful for a Father who cares for the least of these. I am overwhelmed by a King who has "compassion on the poor and needy" (Psalm 72:13). And I am so very thankful that our little boy has been never been forgotten by our generous and loving God. Our Father cared for Kaikai before we even knew him.

home (part 3)...and a giveaway!

Monday, July 22, 2013

We're buying a convent!
(And it's our new home!)

I've been waiting to write that for a long time.

Seriously. I'm giggling right now. We are soooo excited!

It's not huge...just a cozy little convent (as far as convents go). But, it's got plenty of space in which we can minister to children and adults. It's got a bedroom downstairs where our good friend, David, is going to live (Yay!!!!). It's got ample space for prayer and for meetings. And it's got more than enough space for a swing set, a zip line, chickens, a garden, apple trees and goats.

Right there in the middle of Kansas City!

How fun is that??!!!

I'm thinking about possible new blog names.
(I am way overdue for a new blog header. Yikes! That family photo is over 4 years old!)

So how about this for a blog name?
"Six kids, growing up in a convent in the hood."
"We ain't no nuns."
(Okay. Maybe not that one.)

hmmmm...that gives me an idea.
How about a little giveaway?
I'd love to send someone a copy of one of my favorite books (it was life-changing for me).

So, here's the deal.
Suggest a new blog name in the comment section.
Feel free to make as many suggestions/comments as you'd like!
Then, I'll choose my favorite, use it as my new blog name, and send the person who suggested it, this book.

And if you'd like to see a picture of our new home, you can check it out here.

Yay! I love it!!!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Do you understand that this is permanent as of today, and that you can no longer change your minds?"
This was the last question that our judge asked us at Kaikai's adoption finalization today.

Goodness gracious!
We wouldn't change our minds if someone offered us the whole world in exchage for Kaikai. This precious boy is our son, and we are beyond grateful.

The Costigan family joined us at the courthouse. That was fun!
(We missed you Kristi and Crosland family...get well soon Caleb and Elijah!)

Order in the court (no giggling now!).

So very glad that we are officially "permanent" as of today.
Oh how we love our sweet son!

home (part 2)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Part 1 is two posts might want to start reading there.

After taking some time to process our decision with others, and to seek confirmation from the Lord, we felt confident that we were to move forward in going to Kansas City. We, therefore, planned a premliminary trip out to Kansas City to meet people, pray about where to live and look at housing options. I can't exactly say that the trip was a great success. In fact, though some good things happend and we met some amazing people, it was pretty stressful, overall. We left Kansas City with a plan to potentially buy two houses (that were side-by-side) in the suburbs, as a beginning way to start our lives together there.

Our family, then, continued on to Minnesota to visit my parents, sister, and brother. While in MN, we received a life-changing phone call from Brett. I have to back up here a bit to explain a few things: you see, after we had already decided to move to Kansas City, we formed an association with a couple who had previously been living in Kansas City. They had started a ministry/church in the inner city of Kansas that sought to be a light to the community around them. A couple of years ago, they passed the ministry on to some younger members of the community and moved to CO to oversee the planting of two churches in the area. But, now those in leadership in Kansas City believed that God was calling them to another part of the city. They couldn't leave, however, unless God brought in others who could take their place.

There are numbers of families who have invested their lives into this community through moving into the area, fixing up houses and tearing down condemned houses, reaching out to people with the love of Jesus through various ministries and bringing micro-businesses into the community. These are precious, precious people who simply want to give their lives away. And now, God is inviting us to help them do just that.

So now, instead of moving into the suburbs, we will be moving to the inner city...a big change, but a very welcome one! Moving where the physical needs are great was always in our hearts, but we had no idea that God would bring this dream to fruition so quickly! I shouldn't have been suprised, though, because He has a way of doing things that completely blows our planning and ideas out of the water! At the beginning of this journey, God spoke to me during a time of prayer. He said:

Be still, My child.
You have it in you
to get everything done.
But if you
get everything done,
you will not have the opportunity
to see Me
Rest, little one.
Be still.
Watch and see
all that I will do
before September.

So there you have it: miracles before September (we're moving August 30th). What an amazing God we serve!

In my next post, I'll share some more details about our new home. It's gonna be fun...and I think that you're going to love it, dear friends!

mountain river fun

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Even though our house is under contract (in just three days...thank you, Jesus!), our realtor still wanted to have the open house that he had previously planned. This would give our house exposure for a possible back-up offer, since CO is such a buyer-friendly state.

Soooo, we had a couple of hours to kill in which we, and our dogs, needed to be out of the house. Since we're moving away from the mountains soon, we thought that it was the perfect opportunity to spend the afternoon in the upper altitudes.

Maple jumped right in to the river. Rosie, on the other hand, was a bit more discerning.

The kids had a great time building a dam.

And climbing trees.

Some walking on water shots. :)

Okay, Maple has had enough of the river now.

But, Kaikai hasn't!
(Note to self: always pack swimsuits when you're going near water!)

Adam and Yana wanted to cross the river.
I was totally fine with that.

Yana made it across with no problem.

Adam too!

What I wasn't so sure about was the fact that Adam wanted to climb up the mountain on the other side of the river!

Ummm...see that little dot? That's my son up there!

Okay, I'll admit it...I took this picture and then had to close my eyes while he climbed back down the mountain in bare feet.

But, he made it...and I made it without heart failure.
So, I'd pretty much call that a successful day!

I'm so very grateful for a wonderful afternoon with my precious family.

(Part 2 of my "home" post coming up tomorrow!)

home (part 1)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Here we see what compassion means. It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there."
Compassion, McNeill, Morrison and Nouwen

Twenty years ago I read these words and they have been burning a whole in my heart ever since. Through reading this book, I knew that God intended something personal for me (and later, when I was married, for my family), but I didn't know what He intended.

Friends, it's been a long time coming. I've had so very many things to learn, but I think that we are finally coming home.

A few years ago, David and I began praying earnestly for some answers. We had been (and continue to be) a part of an amazing community of believers here in Fort Collins since the year 2000. We were incredibly grateful for the many ways that we had grown in love through this community, but we were also beginning to understand that our call from the Lord, although the same in many, many respects, was also different than that of our brothers and sisters here in Fort Collins.

We did not pray lightly. We knew that our prayers meant something. We were asking the Lord either to help us to be content here and to clarify our vision, or for another place to build community (the church) with other believers of like mind and heart. We were asking for something that we considered to be a miracle.

And then we waited.
And waited.
And were loved by our brothers and sisters.
And loved them (albeit imperfectly) in return.
We learned a great many things.
We struggled through some other things.
And grew in patience and trust.
And waited some more.

And just at the point where were tempted to despair,
our Lord broke in.

Some very dear friends from our church, unbeknownst to us, had also been praying,
and hearing from the Lord.

And one night, when the time was just right, our friend, Brett, invited David to his house and told him that they believed that God was calling them to Kansas City to plant a church.

And immediately, we knew.
We knew that this was the Lord's answer for us because this family loved the Lord and lived for His glory. We knew, because this family wanted to build community (the church) and was dependent on the Lord to lead them. We knew, because this family's heart was for the poor and the needy. We knew, because this family was greatly invested in children. We knew, because the Lord had already given us such tremendous love and affection for this family.
(The beautiful Costigan family: Brett, Gracie Joy, Alyssa and Michelle)

And we could hardly fathom the goodness of our Lord to lead us in this way, in this time, and with this family (but of course, we know that's just how He very generous).
And, as it turns out, that was just the beginning of all of the good things that He was about to do...for He was about to fulfill all of the dreams that had been burning in my heart for twenty (or more!) years. He was about to show us our new home.

(part 2, coming soon!)

Grace in her steps...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Grace was in all her steps."
"Heaven in her eye."

"In every gesture,"

"dignity, and love."

-John Milton

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