I have come to realize though, that while I can hope for an "easy" life, I'm not going to get one this side of heaven! We will continue to have struggles and sorrows and difficulties until we get to heaven. I simply don't have control over the things life throws at us. It is the lessons we learn, the way we react to our trials, the way we grow and what we teach our kids from it all, that's what we have control over. I have control over how I deal with things, how I appreciate every blessing, and who I become from it all. We are hopeful that 2012 will be at least slightly easier that 2011, but if it isn't, I pray we will be half as blessed as we are today despite all we went through last year!
God has grown our entire family so much this year. He has taught me things and brought me down roads I never thought He would, and I am honestly really thankful for what He's allowed in my life. I can look at who I was a year ago and honestly say that I am forever changed. I will never be the same. My heart has been broken for things and for issues that didn't affect me as much before my miscarriages, before losing Lily, before starting on the road to adoption, before...
I have always had a heart for children, for families, for sick kids. But through our experiences this year, God has really given me a heart for mothers experiencing loss, for orphans, for adoption, for unwanted and unloved little ones. I have noticed how people's passions usually derive from their experiences. They or a loved one have been forced to face something, to deal with it, to research it, to live it, to ask others about it, to see the inner workings of it, the causes, the effects, the people. It changes them, it creates a passion in them to do something about it. They get involved. They ask others to get involved. Maybe they pray for it, maybe they support it financially, maybe they become activley involved in helping those affected by it, maybe they center their career around it, or maybe they blog. ;)
I tell myself that maybe God needed one more person to be passionate about adoption, about loss, about advocating for those going through it. I hope I never lose that passion, but I don't really think I could if I wanted to. What will God use in your life this year and the years to come to create passions in you? It might seem like something horrible, something difficult, something you never, ever would choose to face. But maybe it will create a passion in you that will change the way others see things, the way we view them and how we support them! Maybe you already have a passion like that! I would love to know how you came to have a heart for that specific issue. What happened in your life or in the lives of those around you that forced you to stand up and take notice of something, to look at it differently, to see it from the inside instead of as an observer? How has your perspective changed because of it? What do you do about it?
These are some of my thoughts as we start a new year! I'd love to hear from you about what God has used in your life to change your heart and soften it towards something, to make you a die hard supporter of a certain issue, an advocate for a particular population of people, and what are you doing about it?
I also wanted to update you on a few adoption related things! We are so excited to be seeing a LOT of movement this month as far as the whole adoption process goes. Josh and I start our adoption classes this week! This will be a seven week "course" on adoption issues with topics such as open adoption, bonding, dealing with previous loss, etc. I will definitely let you know what we learn in each class as this is a learning process for all of you too! :)
We will have the last of our homestudy appointments over the next month, and will be submitting that to the courts sometime in February or March. The next appointment is in a couple of weeks and will include individual interviews with me and Josh, most likely talking to the kids, and also taking notes on our home. Our caseworker joked with me that she would be checking for dust, and when I nodded and said, "Okay!" she laughed and said, "Oh goodness adoptive families will agree to anything!" Haha I have to say she is right about that! We are being so scrutinized in every area of our lives and have been trying to bring home a child for so long that we certainly would not be surprised if they did check for dust, and we would agree to that too if that's what it took!
What she really will be doing is checking to see if what we wrote on our forms was accurate as far as the size and location of our home, gates around pools, number of bedrooms, etc. She said she looks to see if the home is warm and inviting, nicely decorated, and a good place for a child to grow up! I told Josh I wish she could have stopped by at Christmas time when it was all Christmasy and pretty haha!
We continue to fundraise and pray that God will provide what we need, when we need it. We have been seriously blessed by people making random and generous donations to our fund. We know it is a sacrifice for people to donate and we are so incredibly thankful for each and every penny. To those that have contributed financially, thank you so much for your support and the tangible way you have gotten us one step closer to bringing home a child to his or her forever family. Please know it means the world to us!!!
Our garage sale is coming up a week from Saturday and WOW we have a lot of STUFF!!! Thank you so much to everyone who has dropped things by and has given us some great items to sell! I can't wait to empty that garage and trade it all in for another great donation to our fund!
As you may have noticed, there is a new icon to the right of the blog. I found out about a really awesome organization called "Just Love Coffee" from a few other adoptive families. Basically their company sells fair trade, organic coffee and other various products and lets adoptive families (as well as a few other organizations with fundraising needs) set up a personal "storefront" that people can visit and purchase their products from. For each item bought through our storefront, Just Love Coffee will donate a good portion of it right into our adoption fund! It is really a great organization, and I have heard the coffee is really delicious!!!
To visit our storefront, click on the Just Love Coffee icon on our blog or go to https://justlovecoffee.com/about/beneficiary/harrisonadoption/. We would appreciate you sharing the link to our storefront with your friends and family, and encouraging them to visit it and buy some yummy coffee!
I will keep you posted on our adoption classes as well as how the yard sale goes next week! If you are praying, please pray the yard sale is a success! We would also appreciate prayer for our family as we start a pretty hectic couple of months with me working full-time, Josh coaching, the kids starting their football and dance seasons, us starting our classes and trying to finish our homestudy, continuing to fundraise, and of course the daily stuff every family has to get done!!! I usually thrive in the busy-ness of everything, but it can tend to get pretty stressful too!
We are also, as always, praying for the child that God has already chosen for us. We pray that God will bring them to us in His perfect timing and that we will have total peace when it comes time to make that decision. We pray for the family of our little one, whatever they may be going through, that God will be very close to them and they will totally feel His presence during a really tough time.
Thank you for continuing to support our family as we walk this road. Thank you for every donation, every prayer, and every encouraging word you give us regularly.
Happy New Year!!!
Just to make you smile...;)