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2013 Family Update – Crazy Busy Days!

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There has been so much going on in our family these days – I simply have to update you! Sorry for not manning the “Mom of Many” ship lately, but like I said, so much going on!

How about I give you a quick run-down? We’ve been crazy busy…

  1. We’ve moved to a new home where my mom has her own third level MIL apartment.
  2. We have a guest room in our new home that has frequent visitors – love this!
  3. I’ve started a new blog: Love My DIY Home.
  4. I’m constantly doing DIY projects, not only for my blog, but for my home and family.
  5. I am always in the process of editing pictures from photo shoots.
  6. Our church has a new building where I work in the office one day a week.
  7. I am a part-time nanny.
  8. April and I share tables at craft shows.
  9. We have started a new business with the Jones family: Adark Holsters.
  10. I help home school April and Adam’s boys a once a week.
  11. We have a new baby in the family – Emeryk Markus

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Let’s start with #1 – the new home.

Oh my. God has blessed us there! We looked for 2.5 years for just the right house. It had to have a place for my mom, one that was big enough for family to come visit and stay, and a good sized kitchen/dining room for our ministry of hospitality. Since empty nesting, we’ve wanted to do what we could never do before – have people over, lots of people! We didn’t want a lot of stairs since Mark’s knees aren’t so great, so we spent a lot of time looking at ranch style homes. We needed a nice sized garage for Mark to be able to get back into his wood working and other such endeavors, and a good yard for the grandkids. It didn’t have to be big, just safe and big enough for them to play. We had a really decent size yard when we lived in town, and we surely didn’t want to give that up. It was so great to see the grandkids playing out in the yard. This new house has a dirt road that the boys can ride their bikes down without fear of traffic.

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It also had to be within 20 minutes of church and the Joneses. That was a tough one, but I stuck to it! I think we may have looked at 70+ houses. Our realtor was so very good about being patient and looking for just the right house within our price range – under $150,000. Even that was a bit high for us. One day Mark was looking in the Homes and Land magazine, you know, the one where you can never find a house? Well, he found one that was a foreclosure in our price range in Wausau, about 9 miles from the Joneses and about the same to church. When we called our realtor to follow up on it, he couldn’t find it in the multiple listing. It had been on the market, but wasn’t listed on the  multiple. Huh? That doesn’t happen, unless you are us – the ones who prayed God would find us just the right house that would fit every criteria of our “forever house.”

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Here is Mom’s side of the house where her walk-out opens out onto her own driveway.

Up to the left you can see the door leading to nowhere from our guest master.

Some day there will be a deck up there, but for now it’s bolted shut.

We made the offer.

We made our offer – which was the second offer that week and waited for the outcome. Fortunately our offer was the best one (we offered $500 over asking price) and we took possession a month later. Our mortgage company required a long list of things to be done in 30 days time and our family along with our church family came to our aid and helped us get it done in time.

So much to do!

I had never painted before, but that job fell to me since the roof had to be done and Mark and all the guys focused on that while April, Mom, a couple of church friends and I painted every room in the house. It had to be done before moving in since every room was sponge painted – let’s just say not to my liking and leave it at that. Little by little I’m showing before and after pictures on my other blog. Kitchen before and after here. Kitchen half bath before and after here. Every ceiling was popcorn – ugh! Mark was kind enough to make it a priority to scrape the ceilings so I wouldn’t be in hate with our ceilings! Once he got busy on the roof, I finished up and scraped the last two ceilings before I could paint.

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All the rooms were sponge painted so we painted every room a neutral color.

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My mom’s apartment had ugly wallpaper that had to be scraped and then painted. We did this room first.

It’s a good thing because it was the hardest.

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Isaac wanted to join in on the “fun”.

It was in pretty nasty shape. Oh it was sound and built well. But it smelled so bad from the animals that used to reside in the house and the cosmetics of the inside were atrocious. I’ll just show you some of the before pictures so as not to steal any thunder from future posts on Love My DIY Home. Suffice it to say we had our work cut out for us!

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Somebody apparently liked the “under the sea” theme. This was going to be our master bath.

We did the work.

We got it all done (painting, fixing, replacing) in time thanks to all the help and moved in. Mark was still working on the roof when we needed to move our stuff, so I spent many a day toting boxes from our little rental to our new house. I got to the point I could lift a TV by myself! God was good to me and sustained me through it all, even temporarily giving me exceptional strength for the job. The big stuff came last and fortunately we had a few guys and girls to help with all that. I NEVER WANT TO MOVE AGAIN!  I love our new home and God was so good to give us so many needs AND wants in this house.

God gave us a home tailor made.

It already had a complete mother-in-law apartment with its own walk out and a kitchen bigger than mine upstairs! Where we first thought was a closet turned out to be a huge storage room, the fourth level! The house is a quad-level. The listing agent thought it was a tri-level and was as surprised as we were when we found the fourth level. Top level is our master suite (more on that in a sec), main level is our kitchen, half-bath and living room. Third level is mom’s apartment, laundry room and my photo studio (Yes!) and the fourth is the basement that has three little rooms off shoot from the main very large room. She has her own driveway and we share the laundry room.

The upper level has 4 bedrooms, one being a master. April had the idea to make the master a guest/library/craft room and for Mark and I to take the other three smaller rooms that had a full bath near all three as our “master suite” that would eventually have a door in the hallway separating it from the other master. In the three rooms we have our office, bedroom and walk-in closet. We also have plans to give the full-bath a walk-in shower.

God supplied more than just our needs.

The kitchen has very nice cabinets with an island. It was pretty icky to start with, but turned out to be one of my fave rooms. Mark bought me a nice Kitchen Aid french door fridge with the freezer in a bottom drawer and a vegi drawer – it’s a dream! We found a microwave/stove fan and dishwasher on clearance, so we have nearly all new appliances in the kitchen. Off the dining room is a nice size deck. Friends helped shape the walkway there down to the garage and another helped Mark build a nice little deck by the front door. We sit on an acre and have discovered a nice big fenced in garden that we took advantage of this summer. Who’d a thunk it? I actually enjoyed gardening and our yield wasn’t too shabby either for it being our first year. April and I canned tomatoes and grape jam for the first time. Click here for a couple of garden pics and here for our canning story.

This home has great potential.

I don’t have my photo studio up and running yet, but hopefully that will be our 2014 project. The house has tons of wall plug-ins – a great perk! The garage is huge and has built in for heating (once we buy a boiler). There are 3 out buildings, one is big enough for us to set up a little shop. We are set on one acre in a dead end dirt road. There are only two of us on our road and we are out in the country with deer, turkeys and bears! There is a lot to be done to bring the outside up to speed, but we have forever to do it!

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Over the next year I will be showing our before and after pictures of the inside of our home on Love My DIY Home. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and paint will do for a room! I hope to see you there!

Next I will tell you about our ministry of hospitality…

Please stop over to Love My DIY Home where you will find lots of DIY home projects.

~Val, Mom of Many, Wife to One, and Grammie to 10

Virginia Trip Travel Log #4

The last two days we focused on getting Jillian’s front room finished. We’d painted the deacons bench, nightstand, shelf, and corner bookshelf. We bought all the little do-dads that she needed to complete the look. We hung everything that needed hanging.

She went with the Old World Style, a look that I am rather fond of myself. Here are pictures of my last day when we pulled it all together. I have to say, I think I enjoyed the process as much as she did. Maybe some day we will go into interior decorating together. We have many similar interests, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
Don Williams, Jr. (American Novelist and Poet, b.1968)

I definitely enjoyed the journey as much as the destination in this case. So often we will see “before and afters” published but not the “in-betweens” – the grunt work, so to speak. Yet, I just can’t show the in-betweens – check out the “before and afters” on Love My DIY Home. We finished Jillian’s front room the night before I left for home.

It was with a happy heart I drove home. I spent nearly three weeks away from home visiting family – many people helped me on my trip. My peeps not only gave me gas money, shelter, and fed me, but they cared for me in a way I never ever expected. I will never get used to being loved. It’s a malady I will always carry with me, I suppose, because of the difficult times I have experienced in the past. But that can’t be such a bad thing, can it – to feel so blessed each time love is shown, to be in awe of the moment, to choose to look back over and over to relive it because it is such a treasured memory? I think not. I hope it never changes for me. I love being loved. I love knowing that a handful of people in my life will love me no matter what. Wow.

Here are some more pics of my trip. Such a blessed person I am!

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I stayed with family in Ohio on the way home – such a fun family they are!  Though I traveled alone, I had the support of family, church family, and friends. God showed me His faithfulness by protecting me and giving me people in my life who care. Thank you everyone for giving me such a memorable 3 weeks!

Parenting is Your Highest Calling & Eight Other Myths

Have you every had a passionate belief that you couldn’t put into words? You knew it had a Biblical foundation, but for the life of you, you couldn’t nail it down or explain it well enough without making you sound like you were making excuses or justifying yourself? This book, Parenting is Your Hightest Calling & Eight Other Myths by Leslie Leyland Fields does a great job at explaining the ins and outs of parental responsibility and dispels the myths that are so prevalant in Christian society – myths that I ran into in my parenting experience. 

 She outlines 9 myths that many parents buy into that can cause grief and disappointment when their parenting experience doesn’t the bring the results they’d expected. As a mother of 15 children, 13 of whom are special needs adopted, I saw how the blame game is easily entered into by those who have a tendency to judge others, especially Christian leaders who take credit for their own children’s successes. It is my desire to see that parents are encouraged and loved, not expected to be perfect or to take on the responsibility that was only God’s to begin with.

Here are the 9 myths Leslie outlines in her book:

1. Having Children Makes You Happy and Fulfilled.
2. Nurturing Your Children Is Natural
3. Parenting Is your Highest Calling
4. Good Parenting Leads to Happy Children
5. If You Find Parenting Difficult, You Must Not Be Following the Right Plan
6. You Represent Jesus to Your Children
7. You Will Always Feel Unconditional love for Your Children
8. Successful Parents Produce Godly Children
9. God Approves of Only One Family Design

Her basic premise is that we as parents are required by God to be faithful, to follow His basic guidelines for holy living and endeavor to teach the same precepts to our children. That’s it. We are to leave the results up to Him. He is the one who will woo their hearts, call them to repentance and a life of service to Him. We can’t do that. Only God is able to take our children and make them into something He can use.

I have seen and experienced the extreme pressure from others to measure up as the perfect Christian parent – too often reminded that “if we do our job, our kids will turn out right”  and “if they stumble and fall it is ultimately our fault.”  This advice is given without the slightest bit of acknowledgement that God is the One who shapes the believer and determines their path in life.  In her book, Leslie reminds us of parents in the Bible who lived a faithful, godly life only to experience disappointment in their parenting experience. The business of parenting is hard enough. We certainly don’t need to be bogged down by misplaced condemnation. This is a very encouraging book and I recommend it to every parent.

Thank you Leslie, for sending it to me. I wish I’d read it years ago.

You can get this book at Amazon.com for $11.19 and Christianbook.com  for $10.99.

A Plea for Help From an Adoptive Parent

I have a friend on my adoptive parents Yahoo email group who is in dire need of a solution to her family problem. She’s in the place we were months ago with no solution in sight. She has one week. I am asking prayer for her and her family as well as any input you all might has as to a solution. Below is part of her story from her blog, Adoption Drama…The System. She lives in Michigan. The comment in red with brackets is mine.

Michigan’s Post-Adoption Support Fails Youth, Families, and the Community.

I am an adoptive mom and a professional in the foster care system. I cannot sit back and watch the post adopt system fail our children. The children that are in adoptive homes today and those awaiting adoption. At the time of adoption, some children qualify for Michigan’s Adoption Subsidy support – medical and/or financial support. The concept of this support is to provide adopted children and their families with the support they need to meet the needs of the adopted child that were present prior to adoption. These needs are considered prior to signing of the adoption document. A family has to option of submitting documentation after the adoption is finalized to add other conditions that were present before adoption but not diagnosed until after adoption. No where in any of the support, does it say there is a limit to how much they will cover for the qualified condition.

My son is 16. He came into foster care when he was 4 and adopted when he was 5. The conditions he lived in prior to adoption have had a lasting impact on who he is and how he operates in society. Its like he is miss-wired because of the abuse he suffered (prenatal drug exposure, severe physical abuse and neglect). His behaviors started around age 6 and became out of control at age 12. Things continued to escalate and he went for residential treatment at 14 1/2 years of age. Well in the first facility, things got worse and he acted out more, placing more people in danger. He was moved to another residential program and spent the last 1 1/2 years there. He’s completed their program but not without incident. Their program has not addressed all of his behaviors or needs, but has touched the tip of the iceberg.

FUNDING HAS STOPPED. Despite the fact that he has not addressed the initial needs that placed him at risk or a danger to himself or others, FUNDING HAS STOPPED. It doesn’t seem to matter that the need hasn’t stopped – the qualifying need that got him adoption subsidy. But all they can say is, “FUNDING HAS STOPPED.”

The reality is that if he makes any of the same choices he made prior to going to residential treatment, he will go to prison. The reality is that he has lived in a very structured program of 2 years and they are just open the door and send him on his way. No transition back into the community, even though programs exist to help him transition back and be successful. All this because FUNDING HAS STOPPED.

Where is the adoption subsidy support that is suppose to help him get the care to address the needs without a limit? Without a limit doesn’t align with “Funding has stopped.” Helping him be as successful as he can be given the past he was dealt, isn’t a part of their plan. Where are my son’s rights to care and treatment from adoption subsidy?

The transitional program costs money. If I had the money, I’d pay for it myself. I don’t have the kind of money the program costs. I want nothing more than for my son and the other adopted children in the same situation and the foster children with the same struggles that are waiting to be adopted to have a chance for a successful future. To be given the opportunity to use the “support” from adoption subsidy they were promised. As adoptive parents, if we don’t pick them up when funding ends even though the need has not, the state threatens to file CPS neglect charges on the parent. Yet, Adoption Subsidy it the one who is neglecting their need and the agreement to support the treatment of that need. [If we bring them home and a child is hurt, we will be charged with “failure to protect. This is a lose/lose situation for the adoptive families.]

Please help me help my son and others in the same situation. Our funding is scheduled to end on 3/19/2010. Coming home places me and the other children in the home at risk due to his violent and sexual behaviors. He has threatened to kill me and tried once before. I love my son dearly and want for him to have a chance of being successful. Home and back in the community is not where he belongs right now.

Family Photo Op

These first few pictures are some candids I took of April’s family, my oldest daughter, during our family picture outing. We’ve had a hard time deciding which ones to use for their family Christmas picture. Of course, being the mom, I’ll be printing them all and placing them around my house, in scrapbook albums, sending them to the rest of the family, etc.!

Isaac told me today that when we move here to Wausau that he’s going to put tape on both of our houses so we’ll never be apart again. Hudson was a real trooper during pictures. When he wasn’t sticking his finger in his dad’s ear, or looking at his brother be silly, he was flashing us smiles right and left. I was even able to catch a few.

Too Cute for Words

Here are some more pics of Matthew and his family. We are hoping they’ll be here to visit at Christmas. Family is such a blessing! I just love grandbabies!

A Three Day Snapshot – Day 1

I have a long time friend who recently found me on Facebook. We reconnected after about ten or so years. We originally met during our old adoption advocacy days when we lived in Flushing. Our adoption support group was instrumental in bringing her and her first son together by adoption. I will call her Linda. This is day one of three days in the life of her newly adopted son, Matt. She currently has four sons.

 Monday, August 24, 2009

Today I had no choice but to take all the kids to Sam’s. I had to pick up a prescription that could not wait. Matt wanted me to let them wait in the car, which I have allowed if I am just running in somewhere for a minute or two. But today I knew it would be longer, so I said “No,” and that they would have to come in with me. First, Matt ran away in the parking lot and Allen ran and got him for me, which set him off against Allen now, too. We went in, and by the time we got back to the meat coolers he was working himself up deliberately. You can actually see him doing it; he clenches his fists and starts breathing harder and faster to work up a good rage. I ended up having to hold him against the cart with one arm while pushing/steering the cart with the other, because he’d started running up and kicking Allen as hard as he could. So he started kicking me, in between pressing his foot on the wheel so I couldn’t move the cart. I ended up having to hold him against the cooler to stop him trying to hurt me, Allen, or himself.

We made it to the pharmacy counter and had to wait a few minutes for it to open back up from lunch break. A lady, who’d been shopping back by the meat dept. and tried to speak with him when he was doing all this, followed us. I saw her come around the corner and duck back when I saw her but didn’t think anything of it at the time. She apparently followed us out and took down my plate number and called 911. Not 10 minutes after we got home a county sheriff’s deputy was at the door with a worker from FOC. To avoid speaking with them, Matt ran to the back of the house and out the back door, but they got him to stop. I told her what happened, and Matt admitted all. She came down squarely on my side, and told him he has to obey me, that I have the right to discipline him, and that she thought he was very lucky to be where he is (she had already asked about his background).


He told her he knew he was lucky, but that being told, “No,” makes him “want to get mad and hit people.” So, I’ve joined the ranks of parents who will need to document, document, document, I guess. She said this was NOT going to CPS; she saw no reason for it. It looked to her like that lady who called 911 was a nosy woman who had no idea of the actual situation or circumstances, and apologized for having to come here especially when it was very clear I’d done nothing wrong. The whole cops at the door for what he had done scared him though, I think. After that, he apologized to me and then to Allen and couldn’t do enough for either of us for several hours. He and Manny have an appointment tomorrow at CMH to get them services. Here’s hoping for at least respite time, huh?

Linda

Do you know a FASD/RAD child?

Click here for a pdf that explains RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) and suggests how to deal with a child that may have attachment issues.

Click here for a pdf with some suggestions on how to handle a teen with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder).

Note to family & friends: Read these to better understand some aspects of our family!

Is it Wrong to be Proud?

Years ago a friend approached me and told me I was wrong to use the word “proud” when I wrote articles because it is not a godly attitude. I didn’t immediately disagree with her because I wanted to think it over. Many times over the years I’ve reflected back and each time I have decided to stick with my word – a word that perfectly expresses how I feel at times toward another person, especially my children or grandchildren.

I don’t use the word “proud”  in a way that causes the reader to think that I am exalting myself or putting myself above others. I merely use it to express how I am grateful for some progress or behavior in someone I care about. Someone once said that to be proud of your son or daughter meant that you were glad that child was yours and no one elses. I think that’s a fair description of the pride I’m talking about.  I’ve spent many years very proud of my children and many years hanging my head in sadness over them. Since we have 15 children, many of whom are special needs, you can imagine the things we’ve experienced as their parents. But today I am focusing on the good things – just because I can.

Let me tell you some things I’m proud of – some things my kids have done to generate that peaceful goodwill feeling of pride – a happiness that God made me their Mom. A happiness that I’ve seen fruit of my efforts to raise them for God’s glory. Many of my kids have made their share of mistakes and caused all sorts of consequences to fall on themselves and their family. But today, I’m reflecting on the recent events that for this moment in time, I am swelled with pride. If that is a sinful attitude in the eyes of my reader, then I guess I’m guilty without excuse. I think it is a good thing to be proud of your children. Here are a few blessings I’m counting today – my 5 oldest daughters.

April is such a good mom. I choke up every time I think about her with my grandsons Isaac and Hudson. To watch her parent is something that makes the world OK. What a blessing to see the love she has for those two little boys that I so adore.  She’s the one who was always there, like my shadow that is there every time I turned around…even on the dark days. 

Lauren has turned her heart toward her God. He showed Himself to her recently and she saw Him for the first time in all His glory. What an event! We talk by phone often and most of the time we share about how good God is and how He’s working in her life. God was kind to both her and me when He took her out of the world and planted her in my lap. 

Katie is like a porcelain vase that sits on the shelf reminding me of all the beautiful things God has created for my enjoyment. She’s the one who reminds me that there is a quiet consistency in God’s love. I smile in my heart every time I think of her because she is a tried and true child of God who is a perfect example of God’s loving heart.  To this day, I can say she has never grieved my heart.

Devin is a good example of God’s grace because of what she’s overcome. Her beginnings could have caused the strongest man to fold, but not her. She found herself a kind hearted husband and has built herself a life out of the ashes. Her desire to have and be close to family is very encouraging to me. When I wonder if we’ll ever be one tight/solid family, I think of Devin and what she’s accomplished.

Marissa has found her sweetness. When she was younger I saw a sweetness in her that I knew some day would mark her as special. As a teen she was never content to just be near, often times she would find the little corner left on my chair and park herself right there. Today I found that sweet girl again when she called me to let me know that she was reaching out to encourage her brother. Wow. She’s really grown.

I could go on and tell you about how Levi has helped me with the house today or how hard Jacob has worked these past few weeks for college money. Or I could write of how Jesse  respectfully listened to my counsel on the phone earlier, or even about the three “out of the blue” presents Jillian gave me yesterday, but I won’t. I’ll save that for another day. For now, this moment in time, I sit here with my white chocolate flavored coffee and chocolate chip Chewy Dipps granola bar, blogging and basking in God’s goodness.

Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow I have to endure a bitter sweet moment when I take Jillian to the airport and have to return home without her. But that’s tomorrow. I’ll wait and deal with that tomorrow – there’s too much good stuff to dwell on today.

Yo’ Mama Wears Army Boots

With the help of my son, Andrew, this slam has become a reality in our family.  April, Lauren, Katie, Jesse, Devin, Marissa, Andrew, Nathaniel, Daniel, Mollie, Jillian, Jonathan, Jacob, Levi & Caleb…your Mama DOES wear Army boots – well, Marine boots, that is. Thanks, Andrew, for the boots. They really came in handy!

Our family has rogued the corn fields for the last several summers for college money and since our boys went to Camp CoBeAc this week, the last field was left for Mark to do on his own. I saw this as an opportunity. You know that expression, “Problems are just opportunities turned inside out”? Well, I decided that since the boys were gone, it would be a good opportunity for Jillian to make some money for college. She had elected to work at Meijer for the summer rather than do fields – since rogueing is quite the distasteful chore. I had tried to talk her into it only to be given the brush off. Well, I decided to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse! I told her that if she’d work the 263 acre field, I’d work alongside her and donate all of my earnings to her college account. Ha ha! She couldn’t turn that one down since working at Meijer hasn’t gotten her the $$ she’s needed to go back to college in the fall.

Of course I had to have Mark take a picture of me in the field to prove to all my kids that I really did get out and rogue the field!  This was supposed to be a vacation for me, since the boys are out of town for the week, but I decided that you can’t pray and ask God for $$ and then turn down an opportunity to make a lot of it in a short amount of time. I had to talk Mark into letting me do it, but he eventually relented and I think I surprised everyone! I got tons of comments from my kids, saying they “won’t believe it ’till they see it” on facebook. So here’s the picture to prove it – I worked 15 hours trompin’ through the field with a bean hook, cutting down rogues. Since I went into it with the thought it was going to be horrible, based on all the whining and complaining of past years by my kids about how awful a job it was, I was pleasently surprised that it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. Of course God was gracious enough to me to answer my pleadings that it not be too tall, or too hot, or too full of bees and other bugs. I had pleasant company, and a nice breeze both days. The second day we hired AJ and Ross to help and they were great workers. It was the biggest field we’ve ever been assigned.

Just call me Ma Podunk!

corn crew

Brow Beating Believers

The path I have chosen with God’s direction has been enlightening. I have learned many things, especially the past few years. After 20+ years of dealing with “interesting children,” I’ve seen my share and then some of children tied up in a world of sinfulness. Not only have they sinned in record measures, but they have been sinned against in ways that would cause even the most experienced sinner to blush. I’m talking about the kids who were adopted out of families that did not regard them as precious jewels the way Christ does. They were broken as small children and grew up with that reflected in their behavior and thought processes. Nearly all of my children who were violated as small children by their birth families have fallen into great vast pits upon leaving our home and striking out on their own. Yes, you can sit back and judge them – or you can have great compassion for a fellow human being who experienced the worst the world has to offer and is trying to make sense of it. Sure, they could have leaned on the One who created them and could have trusted and obeyed Him, but for some reason their view was so darkened they were not able to look up at the light at that point in their lives. It is not for me to judge, though I have tried to reason the “why” of it all.

We tried to make up for all the “bad stuff” that they had experienced prior to coming into our home. It was certainly our intention to do so, but for some reason we were not enough. We gave them a safe home that had proper education, both spiritually and mentally, love and concern along with the discipline to train them in the right way to live. Did it “take?” No, not for the ones who were resistant to such things. But it was planted in their heads. That’s the key.  We’re beginning to see that for some of them, when the time is right and they’ve discovered that the world has nothing for them, they know where to look when they decide to seek God and all He has for them.

It’s obvious to everyone what a parent’s stand ought to be in the midst of their children’s life’s journey. They support the good decisions and don’t support the bad ones. They seek the best for the child. When sinned against, they are to be willing to forgive if the child is genuinely repentant. That doesn’t mean the parents have to support them when they aren’t living right, but they pray for them and give godly advice when asked. They don’t brow beat them or slander their name. They sit quietly by and wait for the child to see the light and welcome them back when they do. They do their best to advise them and try to teach them to keep their paths straight. If the child gets off the right path, the parent does not go off with them. They continue on, waiting for their child to return. If the child is living at home, the parent is to grab them and put them back on the right path in any way God directs them to do so. I’ve told my adult children that they have the right to choose whatever path they want to walk down, but to not expect me to go down with them, for I too have a responsibility to walk with God in the way He directs me.

But what is the responsibility of those who are not family, those who the child has sinned against? If they are believers, then their responsibility is the same. The only exception is deferring to the parent for discipline. Compassion ought to rule. We are in God’s family. Too often I have seen my children offend or sin against another believer and receive the same amount of offence right back. If we consider ourselves mature believers, then we ought to return love and compassion, not seek to “make them pay.”  We ought to consider what is the best for that child, not recompense for our offended pride. Brow beating someone into submission out of our so called spiritual standing as authority is not love. The desire to capitalize on their sin is as bad as the original sin we were considering. It is prideful arrogance – showing we care more for our hurt feelings than the offender’s welfare and spiritual needs. To not offer forgiveness and reconcilliation when there has been repentance is to curse the love of God. If the love of God dwells in us, we will love others. If it does not, we will allow our selfish desires to walk all over those we consider less than us. It is then at that point that we become the offender and turn God’s attention off the sinner and on to ourselves. That is not a place I would ever want to be.

John 8:7  “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” 

Galatians 6:1  “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Matthew 18:6 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Fun in the Sun

Jillian wanted to go to the beach one day when Taylor was here, so we all went to Holland for the day. We had a grand time walking the beach, sitting in the sand and walking up the sand dune steps. We were trying to remember the last time we were at the beach and couldn’t – mostly because of the beach wear, or should I say the lack thereof? My job was chaperone, photographer, and modesty police (not for my kids, but others around us)! Noon hit and we had to go because the bathing beauties came out in droves.

Jacob won the strong man contest – he was the only one who could pick up Jillian – Hehe

Jil picked up

I loved watching Jillian and Taylor enjoy the beach and the boys.

J & T beach

Jil Tay walk beach

Jon buried

Jon sand

Jillian fball

Jon Tay ball

O Promise Me…

A little more than thirty years ago, Mark and I wanted to be engaged but we weren’t ready financially to take that step. So Mark gave me a promise ring letting me know he wanted us together forever. A few months ago, I offered the ring to Taylor, Jillian’s young man, to give to her when the time was right. They had included Mark and I in their relationship every step of the way, so it seemed right that I offer. I cautioned him that the ring wasn’t anything extravagent but it did carry a lot of sentimental value. When he arrived from Washington, I slipped the ring to him when Jillian wasn’t around. The next day they went for a walk in the back yard and he gave it to her – the beginning of a hopefully, very long journey. I felt fortunate that I was able to witness it all through the window of our living room. 🙂  I think chaperoning is more for the mom than the couple – it allows us to be around when special moments occur!

IMG_5422

Keeping Up with the Joneses

 

3x3 Hudson plays3x3 Dev Isaac swing

3x3 Isaac Slide23x3 Hudson smile

3x3 Isaac Dancing

Eva Barrows Says…

      “In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.”

6.9.04 Family Picture

The Parental Rights Amendment

A parent’s right to raise their children as they see fit is a time-honored American tradition, but today it is being threatened. The Supreme Court’s Troxel v. Granville decision in 2000 undermined a 75-year heritage of Constitutionally-protected, fundamental parental rights, which 8 of the 9 justices abandoned. At the same time, a growing body of international law fuels activist judges to legislate foreign standards from the American bench, while treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child would subject parental decisions to government oversight and international review.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI-2) has proposed HJR-42, the Parental Rights Amendment, to stop the erosion of parental rights in American courts while simultaneously defending our laws from international invasion. Please, visit parentalrights.org to learn more about the Amendment, and to join their email network by signing the petition to protect parental rights.

My Kind of Family Therapy – 5 Days in Wausau

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Isaac missed his Aunt JuJu.

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Isaac showing how brave he is

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Guess who she’s talking to…

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Going for a walk to the park

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Something  borrowed?

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Pooh is still Isaac’s favorite.

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Andrew surprised us by coming overnight to help Adam build his shed.

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Family dinners are such a good time together

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My precious boys

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Hudson thinks Katie is his second mother.

Jacob & Mackenzie

Family dinner2My favorite thing to do is get together with family, and with our family being spread out across 8 states, it doesn’t happen very often. These pictures are from our get together in April when Marissa brought her new husband and step-son to visit, along with Mackenzie. Devin and Scott came for the day too. It was a really nice day.

Mack dandylions

Mack dandylion

Jake

Jake play w papa

Mack Jacob run

Marissa Mack2Devin Mack peekabooGrammie Papa Jacob

 

 

My Eyes Were Opened

p1010014There is a camp called Midcourse Correction Challenge Camp  that a lady on my Adoption Support Yahoo group told me about. I was skeptical because it’s only 46 hours long and I’d never heard of it before. I’ve spend 100+ hours on the Internet searching out Christian resources for families like ours that needed help with their special needs kids.

How could a boot-camp type of weekend ever change my kid? We’d had years of tough times…how can they promise me results when I’ve worked with him for years and was never able to get through to him? I’m going to let him tell you himself. Let me introduce you to Jonathan – adopted at age 6 months, 17 years old, 12th child out of 15 in our family. He’s the one in the picture in the back row. I blanked out all the other faces since it wouldn’t be appropriate to show them. Below is his story.

The Way My Life Used to Be and What it is Now

I guess I can start out by saying God is good. For the past 6 months I have not been doing too well. I have been doing bad things and have been going down hill since. I’ve been disrespectful, disobedient, rebellious, etc. to my parents and thinking I was the only one that was right. I have been a fool, doing the same things over and over again and getting in trouble for it. This is where every thing changed. My mom was talking to a lady and found out about a camp called Midcourse Correction Challenge Camp – it was just like a boot camp and it was hard for me physically but I made it. I passed and I graduated during the process.

I was there and God spoke to me. I learned to listen to authority, not be disrespectful, and not be a fool, so in the process I learned a lot. Most importantly, my eyes were opened and I got saved. I am a totally different person. I’m a newborn Christian and I’m the most excited person ever. I’m so glad I went and I encourage you from my heart – if you are one of “ME” or what I used to be, or if you know someone like that, I strongly encourage you to go to Midcourse Correction Challenge Camp. It will change your life just like it did mine, but it’s your choice, so choose God and your life will be totally different.  ~ Jonathan

This makes five of our children that have been saved since June of last year. Wow. “I stand amazed in His presence.”

The “Wright” Kind of Correction

Over the years we’ve seen different reactions to some of our children’s behavior. I always hesitate to say such things as “my children’s behavior” because it conjures up in your mind a picture that all of my children have been difficult. That is by no means the truth. I have had children who have been compliant and respectful of our parental authority trying their best to be a blessing. So when I start out a posting like I did above, please understand I am not referring to all of my children. Also do not assume we do not love our “difficult” children, or wish them ill in any way. I am just stating the facts so that I may bring across a truth that I have learned or because I wish to encourage others to remain faithful and not lose heart if they are in the midst of trial with one or more of their children.

It’s pretty typical to get a reaction of, “Oh, you have such a nice family.” That’s a reaction of someone who sees us for the first time. They haven’t gotten to know us or had much interaction with us. Of course the statement is true, for we have had many wonderful times together as a family.

After they get to know us a little better and see some of our difficulties, we’ll hear something like, “Oh, but what you are doing is such a great thing, don’t get discouraged over the tough times, you are doing this for the Lord and He is pleased.” These are the ones who have seen some difficulties and give us encouragement because they see we’re doing something they’d never consider doing.  These people get misty when thinking about what could have happened to our kids if we hadn’t pulled them out of the world’s system.

Then when people are affected in one way or another by a misdeed of one of our children, we’ll see one of two different reactions. I’ll give you an example of something we experienced about two or three years ago.  I was out of town for a missionary event and someone took over my classroom. One of my boys was called a “girl” by the substitute in jest. She didn’t know it was a sore spot in his life because his brothers had been unkindly taunting him in that way for years. This had been something  we’d dealt with over and over in our family but hadn’t gotten victory over yet. This boy ran down the hall in anger and bumped into one of our teachers, Mrs. Wright, without apologizing. Of course then she called him back and corrected him, but she didn’t receive a proper repentant attitude from him. She decided to pray with him because she was disappointed in his wrong spirit. When I came back, she discussed it with me and I looked into it. When I discovered the story behind the behavior, Mrs. Wright understood and then felt bad for him. She called him back into her room and talked to him about it and acknowledged that she understood and then instructed him on what a proper behavior ought to have been, removing the demerit she had given him earlier (which had been his third one, leading to a detention). She had expressed her love in her correction. 

Her loving heart administered correction and even though it wasn’t received right away, she still cared enough to check into it and amended her correction later when she found out the source. In our experience, most people administer the “punishment” without care over the catalyst that caused the behavior. After all, we all ought to respond correctly even when we have been wronged. Yes, this true, but compassion added to the mix will bring the child closer to God. Harshness and an unloving attitude in correction will only drive a child’s heart away. To this day all my sons love and respect this lady because they saw her good heart.

I just asked my son if he remembered the incident and he said “Yes,” with a smile on his face. My boys love Mrs. Wright to this day and consider her one of the kindest adults in their life. Comments we get from this type of person are usually like, “God will bless you for being faithful, don’t get discouraged.”

Here is the next example. This one represents a lack of love when dealing with my children. One of my sons was kicking a ball in the gym that was hitting the ceiling. He was told not to do it but did it again anyway. He was told to stand by the wall and that he would be taken to his parents. When he started to walk out with the other kids at the end of the activity, he was picked up and thrown against the wall and chewed out for being disobedient. That was years ago and everyone who witnessed the scene remember it very well to this day.

I just asked my son if he rememberd the incident I described above and he said “Yes,” and then said with a less than cheerful face, “I never did know why he was so mad.” Comments from this type of person would be like “Those kids are so bad, I wish the parents would train them better.”

Romans 12:14-20 “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

A vengeful attitude of, “I’ll make them pay,” will not bring God glory or benefit the one being corrected. It will only cause bitterness and hatred, especially in a child. But a loving attitude of, “I want you to see that what you are doing is wrong so you can become better through it,” is a way of showing God’s love and bringing them closer to a better understanding of that love. I call that the “Wright” way to correct. Of course we can make that statement with our mouth, but too often our actions do not match our words. We need to be careful that we execute judgment in a way that shows we desire restoration.

God has given me many such incidents to learn from and has changed my perspective through the years. I often struggled to have a proper spirit when correcting a child who would repeatedly choose to defy the rules and purposely sin against others. It’s been a hard road to travel and I have not always been successful in reacting as I should. It is true that hindsight is so much easier to learn from.  I shutter to think of all the opportunities I missed to show God’s love to others around me. But I have also determined to look for those who need encouragement and to be the one to give it. Of course I cannot justify sin or walk down the road of destruction with others, but if they step off that road and need assistance, I want to be the one God used to offer it. There will be many who don’t want help, but there will also be many who need it and would greatly appreciate a helping hand. Too many years I walked around wishing someone would see my pain and heartache and offer the healing balm of acceptance or support. If we truly are beloved of God because we have chosen to be a part of His church, then we need to make it a safe place where others can find rest. I have never received one unkind comment from anyone “in the world” about my children. Unfortunately that has not been the case in the Christian realm. I want to be like Mrs. Wright who was so kind to my erring son that day a long time ago. I want to be remembered with a smile by a child that happened upon me while in he was distress.  That’s what we call the love of Christ.