Dec 23, 2012

Apathy

I have spent the last 2 weeks in Africa and since i have been home i wake up every night and can't fall back to sleep.  Some may say jet lag.  Perhaps.

The question that keeps coming to mind is how can i sleep when i know tens of thousands of children are going to bed on a dirt floor with no mattress or blanket but yet mine are asleep warmly in their beds??  Why do my kids get 3 solid meals a day but yet many only receive one which resembles a snack?




(A family of 24 live under one roof with over half of them sleeping on the floor)



The simple answer is--I AM BLESSED!  But, how can i not feel incredibly raw about this all the time??

I know what the gospel says.  I can quote scriptures about the poor.  I know God commands us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned..blah blah blah.  And if we simply throw money into an offering plate for missions it's blah blah blah.




In fact, i'm pretty sure Jesus is serious about all of this since he basically says to care for the least of these in nearly every book of the bible.  But yet there is a gray area of filtering my life through our culture and not through the gospel. 

Is it really God's vision for us to build bigger buildings and acquire more stuff because we are Americans when the bible says God is obsessed with social justice?  So often we are blessing blessed people here in America as we dream about bigger houses and nicer cars or bigger church buildings.




Is this God's vision for us?  If all we do is talk theology and think about the suffering, what good is it?  Jesus did not seek out the rich and powerful, but yet he hung out with the outcasts and undesirables.  Are they suppose to walk into our 10:30 services?  Our bigger buildings?  Or are we suppose to go to them?


My trip to Africa makes me tired of Christian rhetoric.  Jesus' community is the brokenhearted.  The ones with the hurts, habits & hang ups.  Are our visions lined up with Jesus' vision? 

God, please break our American hearts for what breaks yours and align our vision with yours...






Nov 27, 2012

It's not a courtdate, but....

In less than 2 weeks, i will be traveling to Africa to meet our precious little girl.  I have had lots of people ask how they can help.

Simply...we need prayer. 

Specifically:

Pray that God would prepare our hearts for the upcoming changes to our family, and that God will give us wisdom, discernment, and insight as we raise our new daughter to know Jesus Christ.

Pray for our precious child. That God will keep a hedge of protection around her and pray for her little heart to start to heal despite the loss and trauma that she has experienced.

Pray for my trip to Africa.   Pray that i have the right words to say at the right time and most of all pray that God's love is seen through me.

Pray for Micah and the kids that will not be traveling with me at this time. He'll be Mr. Mom for 10 days.  He gets my vote for Husband of the Year award!

Pray for a court date.  That it comes soon!!!!

And most of all...Pray that God is glorified.  This sounds so cliche, but it's what we truly desire.

Nov 20, 2012

'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven"

Here we sit and wait....we just heard that we have a good long wait before our court date.  Doesn't look like we are going anywhere anytime soon. 

Please keep us in your prayers and for God to work a miracle in His perfect timing.

My prayer today:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 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




Nov 19, 2012

Nov 13, 2012

No news...

I wish i was updating you all with some fabulous news, but NOPE.  I have nothing.  We are waiting and guess what??? 

Waiting sucks! 

But through the waiting, i know God has His hand on our adoption.  We have had 2 deaths in our family and i can not fathom the thought of being half way across the world and missing those funerals. 

God's timing is perfect. 

So easily said...yet so hard to live. 

Oct 16, 2012

Dossier--Check!

Drum roll, please . . . The dossier is done.  I'm hoping after our agency receives it that nothing will need corrected but with hundreds of sheets of paper that's a pretty large margin of error. 

It has been signed and notarized and four sets of copies have been mailed to our agency for the last review. That means it should be in Washington by the end of the week and I can finally collapse with a big sigh of relief.

Thank you Jesus!   Now, we are waiting on a court date!

Oct 15, 2012

The Orphan Foundation Grant

Back an August, i spent the majority of my free time applying for Adoption grants.  Adoption is expensive. 

Crazy expensive!! 

We had a few friends that wrote reference letter after reference letter for us.  We are incredibly blessed to be walking alongside of some fabulous people in this thing called life.  I know life is busy and they would drop everything and send off a reference letter whenever i called.

One of the grants we applied for was through The Orphan Foundation.




The Orphan Foundation - This a foundation with programs that range from providing financial grants to low and middle-income adopting families, to a host of other volunteer services. They are all volunteers who are trying to make a difference in the life of a child. Their website says they award approximately 10 grants of $500 per child yearly, and they review their incoming grants on a quarterly bases. Their application process was fairly brief and entirely on the web. I received a response for them and hope they will be reviewing my application soon.


Sadly, they only have funding for 3 families this quarter.  By the grace of God, we were one of the three.  We received a $500 grant today.  I am amazed at God's hand on our adoption. 

The reality is that their funding is still very low, and The Orphan Foundation is trying a variety of ways to raise monies.

The have a program at a crowd-funding site, Indiegogo: http://www.Indiegogo.com/100orphans, but you can see that they haven’t yet reached the halfway mark to one $500 grant.

They think they will be able to issue 1-2 grants next quarter, but unfortunately, their push to raise additional donations has been more than offset by many new applications for grants.



Oct 14, 2012

I will Praise Him in this Storm




Yesterday morning, i was in a drive thru flu shot line and my phone started to ring.  It was "home" and i figured it was my oldest asking me something about crocheting.  I went through the line.  I received my shot.  OUCH!

I called home and got THAT call.  Micah told me that he was on his way to Tampa General because his aunt and uncle were in a motorcycle accident.  

His uncle has bleeding on the brain and is in a coma.  Praise God, his aunt just needed a few stitches.

We are close.  My heart is breaking, but all i can do is pray.

In this thing called life we are either going into a storm, smack in the middle of a storm or coming out of a storm.  

Life is hard.  It's not fair.  Life as we know it can change from one minute to the next.  We are not promised tomorrow.

But, God is on the throne.  He is sovereign.  He is in control.  

I choose to praise Him in this storm.  I choose to trust Him with whatever may happen. 

I look around and see the laundry that needs to be folded and the dishes that need to be put away.  None of that stuff really matters.  

It's the people that we love that truly matter and so often we put the stuff that really doesn't matter before the people we love.

Oct 12, 2012

Hand in Hand Matching Grant


Hello Everyone,


Oh my goodness!! We have been awarded a dollar for dollar matching grant for up to $5000!!!

What does that mean? That means for every dollar that we receive Hand in Hand will match dollar for dollar up to $2500 for a total grant of $5000.

Below is our letter with the information about our matching grant. Please feel free to share our blog address and/or this info with anyone who may have a heart for adoption. THANK YOU!!!

Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of Adoption,
As many of you may have already heard we feel that God has called us on a new journey to provide a “forever” family to a child through the process of adoption.


We have started down this path of adoption and will be excited to bring a child into our home within the next two to four months.

We have felt led to pursue a little girl from Africa. She is 6 years old. We officially accepted the referral last month.

This road to adoption is full of many joys and challenges, the greatest joy being the inclusion of a child into our family and the greatest challenge being finances.

The costs of adoption include the expense of a home study, adoption agency, lawyers, travel expenses, etc., with the total cost ending up somewhere around $25,000.

We were recently awarded a matching funds grant to help with the expenses of our adoption through Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. a non-profit private operating foundation.

Hand in Hand will match any funds that are donated through our friends and family for the expenses of our adoption.
All funds received through our friends and family will be matched dollar for dollar by Hand in Hand up to our awarded grant amount. All donations are tax-deductible.

Please find enclosed a grant award letter that will explain more about the matching grant program from Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.

You can find out more about Hand in Hand through their website at
www.handinhandadopt.org. If you have further questions about the Hand in Hand matching grant program please feel free to give us a call at 941-429-1224 or email us at poulinsj@hotmail.com.

You may also contact Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. with any questions you may have.
They can be reached at 913-248-5015 or by e-mail at handinhandadopt@gmail.com.

Please send all donations made payable to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption” postmarked by Nov 26 to:

(for tax purposes please include our name on the outside of the envelope ONLY…do not put our name on the check itself)

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Micah & Sheila Smith
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS 66030

Thank you for your prayerful consideration in helping Brenda find a “forever” family.


Walking Hand in Hand,



Micah & Sheila Smith
941-429-1224
poulinsj@hotmail.com

Oct 2, 2012

Waiting...

So, do you want to know what's new on the adoption front???

NOTHING!!!  But....
















This statement is so easy to quote unless you have to live it out.

Please lift us up in prayer as we come to mind.

We are hoping to have our family complete before Christmas, however it feels like we're on an endless journey without a map.





Sep 28, 2012

It costs how much???

I have a lot of people asking me how much does it cost to adopt in Africa.  It's crazy expensive.  In general, families spend around $20,000-30,000 in fees when they use an agency. You may be wondering why international adoption is so expensive.  Me too!  There are lots of costs associated with adopting.

Our fees came in 3 categories. 

1.  First we had the Homestudy, Fingerprinting and Initial agency application.

2.  Next came the Agency and African Program fees (attorney).

3.  Lastly, we have travel and accommodations to pick our little girl up.

Here is a breakdown of our fees:


Agency Application Fee $300

Homestudy Fee $1300

Immigration fee
I-600A, Family pre-approval $720
CIS Fingerprinting (2 adults) $170

AGENCY FEE $4500

FOREIGN COSTS

First portion $3000

Second portion $2000

Program Fee $3000 (subject to change since she's older/special needs)

Child’s US Visa $230

Child’s Medical Visa $400


TRAVEL COSTS

These costs vary (average $7100 includes airfare for 2 adults and 1 child, accommodation, food, transportation in Africa for 5 weeks).  We plan to take all 3 of our bio kids (God willing) so this bumps up our travel cost another $4500.

TOTAL: ~ $27,220

So where are we in this process?  We still have to pay for our little girl's last portion of the program fees ($1500ish) and our travel fees.  Isn't God just amazing?  I could go on and on about God's hand on our adoption.

We have been on the fence on whether we should take our kids and we feel that it would be best to introduce our entire family to her and vice versa.

Goodness gracious, this is a family affair!!

We all want to meet her and show her love!  I also want the peace knowing that my family is completely intact.  We have went round and round with this decision, but this is the one that we are at peace with.  We are planning for all 5 of us to travel unless God shuts the door. 

We have already seen God faithfully provide financially in such big ways in this process and we are continuing to trust His timing!

My prayer is that God is glorified through this entire process and He opens the doors that need to be opened and slam shut the doors that need closed.  


Sep 26, 2012

Giving Up.

Throw in the towel.  That's what i wanted to do today.  I really think I'm the only homeschooling mama that doesn't enjoy homeschooling.

Sure, i absolutely love hanging out with my daughter all day.  I love shopping with her.  I love talking to her. I love the closeness that i have with her, but the sitting at the table TEACHING her--NOT SO MUCH! 

God's been dealing with my heart on this.  I am committed to this for one year, but i do not feel that i NEED to be a homeschooling Mom to be a "good christian mom".

In fact, i think as women we get caught up in what "the church" thinks we should do versus what God calls us to do.  Satan is alive and well in our churches and he loves to keep us busy doing things we think we should be doing for Jesus.

Sure, God calls some of us to homeschool, but i am a firm believer that it's not a cookie cutter, one size fits all decision.  I know some awesome Christian mamas that send their little ones to school.  School is a fertile mission field.  If we take all of the Christian kids out of the school, who is going to tell the other kids about Jesus?

I CAN trust Jesus with my children in a public school setting.. 

It says in Proverbs 16:9 that We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.


So what am i going to do? 

Stand still.  Watch God work.  Keep quiet and let Him take over.  I'm going to lay low and listen to God speak to me on what He wants us to do. 

Sep 21, 2012

I-171H has Arrived

Guess what came in the mail today from the USCIS?????





We are officially approved! This is the last piece of paper that we needed.

There is nothing else we can do but wait and pray. The Lord knows when we should travel.

Sep 20, 2012

I miss running...

Many moons ago, i started this blog as an accountability fitness blog (now deleted). After all, who wants your weight plastered on the internet.  Lately my life has been consumed with adoption and homeschooling. 

Life happened.

Somewhere along the way, i put running on the back burner.  Last year, I was running a race almost every month.  The last time i ran was in 2011.

I miss those days. 

I miss putting my headphones in my ear and hitting the pavement.  I miss those moments of pushing my body to its limit and everything going on in my life, that is terrible or stressful is just gone, even if it's for a short duration.

For that short time my mind is at ease and I am just a runner trying to hit X miles in less time than the last.  There is nothing that comes in between me and the clock.

It is me, the open road, Jesus, and my music. It is when I do some of my best praying, brainstorming and planning.

When i run, i'm a better mother.  I am a better wife.  I am just better...

And let me tell you, i've been in a funk!

So...my lazy butt is running 8 miles Saturday with a friend.  I. AM. GOING. TO. DIE!! 

Seriously!

Stupid?? YES!

But, i've never been one to be conventional. 


Sep 12, 2012

Finding your tribe

This year I'm homeschooling.  Do i love it?  I honestly can't say that i do.  Is it homeschooling that's the issue?  Not really.

So what's my issue?  FINDING MY TRIBE!  Micah and I have lived here in Florida since 2004.  I love Florida.  It's my home.  I grew up around here, but my tribe isn't here, or at least i haven't found them yet.  Finding my tribe has been a life long pursuit.  There was a moment in my life that i had a tribe; when we live in NC.  My heart is still there.  I see glimpses of them on the internet from time to time.  I only wish they all lived in my neighborhood!

Here in Florida, I have a hodge-podge of a tribe. I'm truly thankful for these friends as they get me, but we are all in different seasons in our lives.  I am blessed to have them though.  So blessed!

I woke up this morning realizing I'm lonely, but not alone.  Does that even make sense???  I stumbled into bible study after talking myself out of it all morning, but immediately realized i was right where i was meant to be.  I think God allows seasons of loneliness.  At various times He allows us to have numerous friends and then at times He only provides a few, and at just the right time.

God gives us friends.  He has given me friends that would risk their life to save mine. Or the friend that will pull us out of the pit. One that is more like a sister.  And then there are the friends with a servant's heart, or the constant blessing.

We may be lonely, but God doesn't leave us alone. If we have one loyal friend we are rich.

When God sends us a friend we need to be humble and willing to receive the help that he or she has to offer in the way that God intends. This can be difficult especially if you are like me and  find it hard to accept help.

We feel like we don't deserve it. Our pride gets in the way. We are so intent on being strong and independent that we won't expose our needs. Yep, totally me!

We refuse to open our hearts because of a deep fear that we will end up getting hurt.
Oh my word...sound familiar?

We insist on being a rock. 
S.T.R.O.N.G.

But if we insist on being self-sufficient, we will miss great blessings.  I don't want to miss God's blessings.  I don't want to get caught up in the busyness of life that i miss God--even though I'm doing things for God.  And this my friends is why i feel God is allowing this season of loneliness.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings on what God has revealed to my heart today.










Sep 7, 2012

Thank you Jesus!!

I didn't expect to hear anything until next week.  I was literally praying over this situation and the phone rang.

I can hardly write this post as i'm simply amazed at our God and how He has consistently shown up in this adoption. 

I can officially say that we have a little girl waiting to come home and i can hardly wait to meet her. 

Be still???

Today is a big day in the life of our adoption.  We are hoping to hear good news soon as a result.  My mind wanders...but, what if we don't?  What if God decides to close the door?  What if this little girl, that has already become a part of my family, isn't the one?  What if...What if...What if??? 

We pray.  We search scripture.  We trust.  We obey.  

But, what if???  What if God has a different plan?

Then, all i can do is:



I don't know the future.  I don't know what God has planned, but i pray that whatever happens may it bring Him glory.  I do know that without Him, i'd be a big mess.

Sep 5, 2012

Dear Brayden,

Happy 5th Birthday Little Man!!

We don't do big birthdays around here.  Been there, done that!  We let the kids pick where they want to eat and that's what we do.  Brayden wanted to go to Applebees.  He wanted to hear them sing to him.  In fact, that's all he wanted for his birthday.  Bless his heart. 


Aug 30, 2012

Prayer is ALL i have...


Not a whole lot to report truthfully.  We had our biometrics appt this month.  Now, we wait for the approval.

I would love to go into specifics of our girl, but i can't publicly.  I can say that she now has a "FAMILY FOUND" on top of her picture on the Agency's waiting child's list.  Now it's all in God's timing.

I am feeling a lot of emotions lately.  She is 6-7.  Parenting an older child that has experienced more hurts in her small life than i have in my entire lifetime scares me.  I have prayed.  Micah has prayed.  The kids have prayed.  I KNOW she is our daughter, but I'm still scared.  She's not a baby.  She remembers...

So what am i doing? 

Reading books. 

Reading blogs.  Yeah...they scare me even more at times. 

Facebook groups.  Downright terrifying at times.

PRAYING!!!  Through this short journey, i have experienced the Power of Prayer. 

Sure, i always knew there was power in prayer, but i have FELT it.  For many years my prayer life looked like this. 

BAM.  Life happens.  {{sigh}}  Cry. 

Then i think, all I can do now is "pray" after I have turned to every worldly solution which man has to offer for whatever problem may be facing me.

BUT

These past few months, I have felt the peace that surpasses all understanding cover my fears when i wake up in the middle of the night asking God, "Are you sure??" 

Will it be okay?  I don't know. 

Will i have a rambunctious spitfire join our family and turn our life upside down? 

Perhaps. 

But, what is certain in life?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! 

We are not promised tomorrow.

But i have more than i need.  I have Jesus.  At the end of this life, i can honestly say, Jesus i listened and by golly, I stepped out in faith.  I TRUST you.  Maybe, it will be a total disaster, but i KNOW when i take my final breath, i will hear Well done, good and faithful servant! And that's enough for me.

But i'm still scared.  :)


Aug 26, 2012

Depraved Indifference



God keeps speaking to me over and over again through this video.  Compassion and empathy is religion, but doing something about is "true religion".  





Aug 24, 2012

The God who meets us where we are!



This morning i woke up at 6:45--before the bambinos were up. 

I ate my breakfast. 

I had my quiet time. 

I woke the kids up gently and we were dressed and ready to go an hour before we had to leave. 

After all, this is what the experts say to have a successful day.  Right? 

Wrong!! 

Fast forward to 8:50 a.m. The kids were fighting and crying.  I was on the verge of tears asking God, "Why????"  

By this time, I had them buckled in the van and "forgot something" in the house (desperately needing a quiet moment to myself before I lost it with them).  Standing in my laundry room, I verbally cried (bawling my eyes) out to God, "I can't do this today."

Wiping away the tears, off to preschool with my "fake it til i make it" face on. 

The preschool director walks up to my van with the clipboard and casually asks me, "Did you read my facebook post yesterday?"   Trying not to bawl, i shake my head no.  She says, "Look up Galatians 6:9." 

 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Did God just answer my cry to him (remember laundry room) verbally through another believer??

  Can i get an Amen???

So often, i expect God to speak to me through other methods.  I read God's word.  I have a teachable spirit.  Heck, i even read parenting books, but so often i feel like i am one step behind where i should be.  

This morning, I felt like quitting.  I wanted to throw in the towel of motherhood.  Even though i long to live for Jesus, and to serve Him with everything I have, it just goes the opposite way I had hoped for more often than not.  I was discouraged and I just wished I could run away (without children).  Have you ever been there??

Then, in a random carpool line--living the mundane life--Jesus met me right where i was at.  He spoke Truth into my life through a woman that i barely know.  Jesus loves us enough to meet us where we are, no matter how broken, how worn out, or how unworthy and overwhelmed we may feel.  He is there for us whether we recognize him or not.






Aug 23, 2012

Homeschooling is so darn hard!




I have realized something this week.  Just because i want to do something doesn't make it easy.  Even if I'm 100% committed! 

I absolutely love the IDEA of homeschooling--i really do!!  Last April, i had envisioned teaching my daughter, enjoying precious time with her, but let me tell you homeschooling is not for the faint at heart.    I am finally coming to grips with the reality that homeschooling is not what i envisioned.

What was i expecting? 

1.  A child so eager to spend time with her mama. 
2.  A clean house.  After all, we are "home" schooling.  Lots of time at home, right?? 
3.  Lots of time to prepare meals and healthy ones at that.  
4.  Lots of time to grocery shop and run errands.

Reality check!

My house is messy!
My house is noisy.  Really noisy. 
I am eating, sleeping, breathing, all things 5th grade. Seriously, have you seen the show Are you Smarter than a 5th grader? Need i say more???


I must admit, when i was dropping Brayden off for preschool and Kaila off for 2nd grade, i was a bit depressed .   Yes, i am homeschooling just one and sending the others off to school. 

Why was i depressed? I would have had 5 hours three days a week to clean my house, shop, prepare healthy dinners, and spend more time with Jesus.  Instead, I'm crying out to Jesus to just get me through the day.

I know it will get better.  I know I am right where I'm meant to be.  Is it easy?  NO!  Am i cranky?  You betcha! 

Homeschooling takes commitment and until i start loving it-- I'm going to fake it til i make it!  :)


Aug 19, 2012

Holy Smokes Batman, We are Homeschooling!

Call me crazy, but there is nothing as refreshing as starting a new week, especially if you did not have a good one last week. I love to crack open a new journal and write on the very first page.  I am in love with new beginnings.

Tomorrow starts a new school year.  It also starts the beginning of our homeschooling journey.  Insert slight scream.  This decision sounded fabulous last April when all 3 kids were in school. 

Why am i homeschooling my oldest? Simply to boost my 10 year olds self esteem and confidence.  Girls' self-esteem peaks when they are about 9 years old, then takes a nosedive.  Let me tell you, this is a brutal age when it comes to how young girls view themselves. 

Am i making the right decision?  Who knows, but at the end of the day at least i can say I'm giving it everything i have.

Now, i am not a Holly Homemaker type.  I often laugh when i think of how God has called me to be a stay at home mama.  I am not a typical Stay at Home Mama.  I own a sewing machine.  However, it's still in a box--At the top of the closet!  Do i like to cook?  Nope, I look at food as fuel.  I cold live on baked chicken and rice.   Boring?? I know. 

But this is me.  I love to run.  I love to work out.  I love to read.  I love learning about human nature.  I absolutely love the beach.  Now my life is consumed with wondering if I'm going to royally screw up my kid.  Just being real here.

There are many days that i dream about going back to work.  But i have these 3 terrific kids and i love them something fierce. Granted, there are more days than i would rather admit that i dream about their bedtime coming early, but they are my world.  So i must put on my big girl panties and figure out my new normal. 

Aug 17, 2012

Outrage???

I read this article http://www.lifenews.com/2012/08/14/woman-20-weeks-pregnant-with-twins-has-abortion-last-week/ and i was outraged.  How could a woman this far along kill her babies??  She was halfway there to holding those sweet babies in her arms. I am angry.  I mourn those innocent lives. 

The media makes it sound as if these girls getting abortions have no value for human life.  Yep...pregnant..don't want it...abort it.  So easy, but was that decision really that easy?  We will never know.

I am sure she agonized over that decision for weeks.  After all, she was 20 weeks along.  By that time, she had seen those 2 babies on a screen for her 18 week ultrasound.  She felt those babies moving around in her belly.  She could rest her hand on the top of her belly.  She knew those babies were there. I imagine she walked into that abortion clinic battling a war deep within her soul.  I imagine she is popping pills at night just to keep the nightmares away.   

Why did God allow those babies to be murdered?  This is a question i always come back to when i think of life's hurts, habits and hang ups.  God is not a Father in heaven who is organizing the murder of his children.  God doesn’t do that. That’s not how God works.  God remains good. And God is so good that he rules over evil, and he uses it for good.

My question is what are we going to do about this?  I'm not sure about you, but i am tired of sitting on a pew posting on facebook about what upsets me.  Goodness gracious, we can rattle the whole Christian community and organize them by the masses to show up at Chick fil A.  THIS IS JUST AS IMPORTANT!

I wish i could wrap my arms around this young girl and tell her about Jesus.  Jesus has the power to change her life.  We need to pray and we need to start being some Titus 2 ladies.  Stop with the judgement and pointing fingers.  It's not US against THEM.  We need to come alongside younger women before they are pregnant and love on them. 

I work with youth girls week in and week out and guess what?  We have a whole lot more youth girls than we do helpers!!  And i go to a church that has 900 people.  I KNOW collectively churches are hurting for help in their children's/youth areas, and it's not just my church. 

That 13 year old girl that is sitting by herself, she has a Mom in prison or her Mom is strung out on drugs--She needs US.  But what happens when we are not there?  She falls into the arms of the first boy that whisper he loves her and a few months later she is standing in line at the abortion clinic.

We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus because lets face it, society is failing them.  School is failing them.  Their parents are failing them.  Jesus will NOT fail them.  Standing outside an abortion clinic with a sign does NOTHING people.

God uses the arduous parts of life, the painful, traumatic, straight up messy, grievous parts of your life, to reveal himself face to face.  God is so much bigger than abortion. God is 100% sovereign. He uses evil for good, though he’s not the author of it, he’s the ruler over it. He has a definite plan, he knows the future, and we can trust him.


Collectively we need to pray and get off the pew and do something to save these lives....the spiritual life of the Mom and the physical life of the baby.  Jesus gives life. 

Lets stop being religious, devout, nice, moral, spiritual people.  We need to get messy.  Christ's death was messy.  The gospel is for "messed” up lives, for those experiencing heart-ache, pain and sorrow.  And there is power in it. 









Aug 15, 2012

Limitations

God is not limited by our limitations.  Some days i forget that God is God.  He spoke EVERYTHING into existence.  I get so caught up in my busy day that i don't pause to think God doesn't need me.  I desperately need Him.

Insecurities.  Short comings.  Doubt.  Yep...i have them all.  But they are not the Truth in my life.  Why do we have to fall into the comparison trap?  It starts out as admiring someone and then BAM.  Satan starts whispering those lies into your ears. 

Then you fall into that heartbreaking place of insecurity thinking how you should have it all together.  After all, SHE does.  She home schools, cooks, cleans, runs 5 miles, looking all glamorous and oh those kids are so well behaved while you are still in your gym clothes in what feels like World War 3 because your youngest child has the oldest DS game.  {{gasp}} Yes, they are playing video games!

Then I hear God's still small voice whispering i am exactly where i need to be.  Do i have that huge zap of self confidence?  Nope, but i do realize the deeper need for dependence on Him.  That deeper dependence eventually leads to transformation.  Transformation leads to believing God's promises and relying on the power of them.

So on those days when i wonder what on earth God was thinking calling our family to adopt i must shift my focus back onto Him knowing He is the one that will fight against my enemies of inadequacy and insecurity.  He doesn't call the enabled.  He enables the called. 

As for me, i still need to take my shower and get out of my gym clothes--church tonight.  :)

Aug 3, 2012

Ugandan Magazine Beads Fundraiser




Thank you friends!!  All Ugandan beads are sold.

HOW FABULOUS ARE THESE UGANDAN BEADS?????



 


These beautiful necklaces are hand-made by Ugandan women to support their families. Each necklace is unique.

 


You can wear them all different ways-- as a long necklace, doubled, tripled, or as a cool chunky bracelet. 

 

#1.  White beads
(sold out)
 



2. 1 Turquoise left



3. black/red/blue beads
(1 black left)




4.  Long multi color beads



5.  1 blue/ 1 white necklaces left




6.  grey beads (one left)




7. blue/purple/white beads




8. Multi colored beads



9. blue/red/yellow beads




We are currently fundraising to bring home our little girl (yes, you read that right) home from Africa.  

The necklaces sell for $10 each.
Please add $3 for shipping.


Please email at poulinsj@hotmail.com with any questions. They are all gone.  Thank you everyone for helping to bring home our little girl!!

Jul 30, 2012

Waiting Child

My heart is breaking tonight for a little girl that is 6 years old. When Micah and I talked about adopting we envisioned adding a little boy under the age of 5 to complete our family. It just makes sense. We have 2 girls and our youngest is a boy. We didn't want to adopt out of birth order.

Currently we are:

#5 for 0-5 healthy boy
#3 for 0-5 HIV+ boy
#4 for 0-5 healthy girl
#3 for 0-5 HIV+ girl


Then i saw her picture. Did i fall in love with her picture? Yes, but i heard God whisper in my ear she is the one. Of course, we are in a season of prayer over this. I tend to make quick decisions. Run with an idea and run FAST. Micah...not so much! God knew what He was doing when He brought us together.

So i sit and pray and allow God to break our hearts for what breaks His. In my heart of hearts, i feel that i should not wait for a child to become available when there is a little girl that desperately needs a home NOW!

What is stopping us from saying yes immediately?

1. The size of our house. We have a 3 bedroom and would have 3 girls and 1 boy. Selfish...yes, but i'm being honest.

2. Money. Unfortunately, adoption costs ALOT. It shouldn't cost this much, but it does. We need another $3000 to move forward.

3. I want to 100% know that she is my daughter. I know God's timing is perfect. I am waiting on the Lord. There's only one thing worse than waiting on the Lord—wishing you had!

Jul 24, 2012

Hurry up and Wait!!

We are officially on the wait list! Our home study has been finalized and now the waiting begins. It's surreal to think that God has a child already picked out for us.

As many of y'all know Brayden was a preemie. Unexpectedly, My water broke at 32 weeks with him. I had him under general anesthesia. I remember being loopy and asking to sign the papers to have my tubes tied as i was whisked off to the OR. I never wanted to go through that experience again.


At that time, i didn't understand God's plan. Today, Brayden is perfectly healthy, but i know that if Brayden would have been a full term baby Micah and i would have had one more to round the numbers out. We would have never discussed adoption and would not be in the place we are today.

It reminds me of Isaiah 55:8. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

Jul 21, 2012

Adoption Babysitting Fundraiser

We are so blessed to have supportive friends. We had 24 friends come out and support us for our babysitting fundraiser. We raised $1300. For 5 hours we decorated cupcakes, made suncatchers, played on a slip n slide, had water balloon fights, went swimming, and had hot dogs and snacks. All in all, we had a blast and so did the kids!!
















Jul 12, 2012

Sweet Redemption

"My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and
outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it
killed Him."
---Derek Loux

Jul 2, 2012

Done with the Home Study

Yes, you read right! We have every thing done. There is NOTHING left to complete. Jesus simply amazes me. My prayer is for God to keep the door open or just slam it shut. We want to be in the center of His will.

Now we wait. Oh how i can't wait for the completed Home Study. Once we receive it, we can start applying to grants.

Jun 25, 2012

Chosen Marathon



Oh how i love to run! However, i haven't been doing much of it since our last race. :( Now i can mix my love for running with fundraising. Chosen marathon is Oct 27, 2012 in New Braunfels, TX. They are offering both the half and full marathon.

Chosen Marathon is having a little incentive this week. If we can get the most runners/walkers registered from 6/23-6/30 our team Running for Africa will receive $1000.00. But you MUST sign up under our team.

Please join our team!!!
http://www.chosenmarathon.com/race/register/

And remember to sign up under the team: Running for Africa.

Jun 23, 2012

Our First Fundraiser

Initially, Micah and I were on the fence about fundraising. Should we or shouldn't we??? That was the million dollar question.
It's hard to admit to the entire world that you have a need. A $28,000 need. I am a giver. I can easily give money. God constantly stirs my heart for people with hurts, habits, or hang ups. Honest. To. Goodness--I want to save the world. However, i can not ask for money or easily share my needs. I know as believers we are called to share our burdens. It just doesn't come easily to me.
So i came up with an idea. Let's do a babysitting fundraiser. A VBS style fundraiser. Bring your kids on over for a fun filled evening of swimming, crafts, games, popcorn, & pizza. Cost: Donation to our adoption fund.
It's not exactly asking straight out for a donation, but it's admitting that we have a need. A small compromise.

FBI fingerprints--Done

Today in the midst of rain we packed the bambinos up and headed to Sarasota for our FBI fingerprinting. One more thing we can check off.

We are officially done with EVERYTHING on the home study list except for my medical form. I have a doctor's appt on Tues and hopefully we will be 100% done by the end of the week!

Jun 21, 2012

2nd Home Study Visit

Our social worker arrived to 3 kiddos greeting her at the door. Mama was a nervous wreck. I love my babies, but they have the potential to make or break this appt. :) My Kaila bug is witty and i never know what to expect.

Fortunately, it was a success. We started with small talk. We handed in the majority of our paperwork. She is a notary, so she was able to notarize our financial statement form. We are waiting on our medical forms to be picked up, our local background checks & we get fingerprinted on Saturday.

She told us tonight that we passed and she is going to write us a favorable recommendation. Praise God. My heartfelt prayer is to glorify Jesus through this process. I only want to be in the center of His will. If it's not His will, then simply close the door.

Jun 14, 2012

1st Home Study Visit Completed

Goodness gracious, i fretted over NOTHING!!! I cleaned my house from top to bottom. I kept my kids out of the house all day long to keep this place spic and span. I must say that i was incredibly blessed by our Home Study Visit. She actually prayed with us at the end.
I am up to my eyeballs in paperwork. I need to make friends with a notary. I have never seen so much paperwork that needed to be notarized! It's crazy!!

Jun 11, 2012

Why Africa???


I could always give you the good christian girl answer, but i prefer to be real.
I could always tell you it's because God adopted me or God is the Father of the Fatherless, or we are called to help the least of the these. These are all true, but i could fulfill my God given call with a child from here.
My honest answer is because God has stirred my heart like no other for Africa. It all started last year when i saw the media coverage of the suffering in the Horn of Africa. Micah and I started fundraising and ran a race with World Vision.
Then i went to a Patch our Planet seminar. God didn't call me to parachute ministry. He called me to be obedient to His will. His will is for us to adopt a child from Africa. After lots and lots of prayer, my husband felt we were meant to adopt from Africa. Of course, I jumped on that train thinking I would get to snuggle with a cute little baby.
We went into a season of prayer, but God kept telling us not any child, but a child with special needs. I looked at my husband like he had 2 heads and said NO. No way. I have 3 kids that are healthy and happy and just No Way. I didn’t even pray about it. I had simply told God nope. Well God basically told me to put my money where my mouth is.

You see the grace of God has no limitation and the blood of Christ is powerful. As I read the bible scriptures started jumping out at me and God started to whisper in my ear, this is what I have called your family to do. I know it’s going to be hard. I know it’s going to make you look like you have lost your mind. I know you don’t have $25000 laying around here. But Sheila, I’m bigger than your circumstances. Allow me to break your heart for what breaks mine. Remember where you came from.
Psalms 103:6 says The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. I was telling Jesus I wanted to be his disciple but yet I was attaching a list of conditions.
So back to why we are adopting. Simply Because of God’s grace. I have a responsibility to be obedient to God’s calling. The grace of God has no limitation.