Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hiding God's Word....And Matching News!

For some time now God has been impressing upon my heart the importance of guiding my children to put God's Word in their hearts. More than anything else that I could hope for their lives,  I pray that they will seek and know God's truth, and that this truth will guide them throughout their lives. God has helped me to see that if this is truly my prayer, then I must act! In the world we live in, children are exposed to and drawn to many so called "truths" that I feel parents must take a proactive role in making sure their children are exposed to the real Truth- Jesus Christ!

Though we try to read the Bible or a devotion each night with the boys, we have not consistently focused on scripture memorization. It has been on my radar for several months, but the hecticness of life seemed to always take over whenever I tried to find a system or program that we could use. I was browsing the internet today, and found this easy idea to start the process of helping children hide God's word in their hearts! I am so excited!! Check out this link for a simple idea for scripture memorization:
http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2012/04/abc-bible-verse-flashcard-printables/

In a world that seeks to find "truth" in so many other places, I can't think of a more urgent and life altering lesson to impart to my children than the one truth- the Word of God. May he give us wisdom as we strive to seek Him.

In adoption news, we have been called twice to review files of children! This process has been more stressful and difficult than we could have imagined, but God has been faithful to give us wisdom and guidance. We did not accept the first referral we were called about due to several circumstances- there was some discrepancies in the file regarding the child's medical needs that we did not feel comfortable with, and the timing of the referral was just not right- when families are matched from the shared system, a decision as to accept or reject the referral must be made in 72 hours (per China laws)! In this time frame, the family must secure a doctor to review the file, send any questions from the family and doctor to China, receive the answers back, and then make a decision. We were called early Friday morning, which meant trying to get a doctor to review a file on the weekend was very difficult (our deadline for making a decision was Sunday at 2pm!). This was no easy feat, and along with some other circumstances, we felt as though God was not leading us to accept this referral.  It was difficult to say "no" to a life. It caused feelings which were difficult to process, but we knew we made the right decision with this particular child.

Yesterday we got another call. We are currently still reviewing this file and praying about God's leading. It is not a shared referral, so we have more time (about two weeks) to make a decision. Please pray with us as there are several different factors to consider. We desperately desire God's leading!!




Friday, November 16, 2012

LID!!!


Yesterday we found out that our dossier, which was sent on October 26, 2012, was logged in on October 31...so, our LID (log in date) is 10-31-12...Happy Halloween!

Once a family has a LID, they are eligible to be matched with more children than while they are paperchasing. So, this is exciting news for our family! We anticpate the next round of matching to occur the last Monday in November, which would be November 26th. We have been told that we should not expect to be matched with a young girl with minor special needs for several more months, as these requests are the most common. However, we have indicated some needs that are not as common, so there is a small chance we could be matched by the end of the year with a young girl with these needs.

Zack and I have also spoken about considering adopting a boy, as there are literally boys waiting as we speak, with some of the minor special needs that we have indicated. There is a wonderful chance we could be matched with a boy by the end of the year.

It may seem as though we are being impatient in wanting to be matched soon. I will be honest, it is hard to wait! We are hoping to be matched by the end of the year primarily because that would mean we would travel during the summer, which is ideal for our family, but even more so, for our new child. Because I work for our local school system, I am already home in the summer, and this time would be wonderful to bond with our new child. I would not be rushed to return back to work, and I could even take additional FMLA time and theoretically be able to be home several months with our new child. Zack and I both are firm believers in one or both parents being at home with a newly adopted child for at least a few months. The benefit to the child and the parent is just invaluable. I have been blessed to have been able to do this with Caleb and Noah, and I know it made  their transistions so much easier. As I said, invaluable.

This also means that financially it would be better for our family, as I would not have to take unpaid time off from work. The benefits of being able to travel in the summer seem to dictate our timeframe. So, if we are not matched by the end of the year, we feel as though we should wait until around fall of next year to be matched, to ensure we travel in the summer.  If we do this, we most certainly would be matched with a young girl with minor special needs, and travel in late spring or early summer of 2014. 

2014 seems a long way away. And we don't want to wait that long. But, God knows exactly what child belongs in our family, and we trust Him with this timeline.

So that is the news for now. God works miracles, and we are praying that he will work a miracle for our family by the end of the year!

In other news, this past Sunday we celebrated Orphan Sunday at our church. As a part of this wonderful celebration, we presented a video featuring local famililies in our community of London, Kentucky who have been impacted by the miracle of adoption.

Faces of Adoption from Rebecca Caldwell on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

DTC 10/26/12!!

Finally, all the paperwork is out of our hands!! The last of it is being authenticated at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, and we should be Dossier to China (DTC) on Friday, October 26, 2012. Once the paperwork arrives in China, it usually takes around 2 weeks before it becomes "logged in". At this point, we will receive a log in date (LID), and we will be eligible to be matched with many more children than while we were paperchasing. We are very excited!! The paperwork has been more challenging than we have experienced in our past adoptions from Ethiopia, and it has taken us longer than anticipated to complete it all, but we trust God's timing.

We have been made aware of one little girl who has a special need we inidcated that we would accept. We have been told she is around one, but this is all we know about her! Our agency thinks she might be in the November matching group, so we are very excited and anxious. We have also been told that once we are mathched, we should expect to travel in 6-8 months.

The boys are becoming ever more aware of their sister, though we don't even know her yet! They often think of her when we are shopping and find something that they think she would like....today Caleb saw some princess rain boots and suggested we get them for "our sister". It truly warms my heart!

We also are 90% sure about a name...but we do want to wait to see her face first :)  A hint...we are sticking with the Biblical theme.....Noah, Caleb and ????

To pass the time as we wait, we have been busy with soccer, I have been busy with graduate classes, and our family  has enjoyed with nice weather. This fall has been so beautiful and a wonderful reminder of God's amazing creative ability. The boys have had such fun hiking and exploring nature. Fall has always been my favorite season, and I love enjoying it with my family. Below are some pictures of our most recent outings......





Monday, August 27, 2012

The Caldwell Family Has Some News to Share...

About this time a week ago, I was turning 30! I am doing okay with being 30. I feel the same as I did when I turned 25, which seemed like just the other day….. It seems like just yesterday that I was telling everyone I was now halfway to 30….this made sense in my mind, though I realize 15 is half of 30, not 25. Oh well.


Anyway, besides being a significant milestone in general in terms of age, being 30 years old also has significance to the Chinese government. What type of significance, you might ask? Well, once you have reached the age of 30, you are able to submit a dossier to China and be matched with a child for adoption. Hmmm. Interesting. Wonder why I might be bringing up this piece of information.

Well……now that I am 30, our family can officially be matched with a child from China…specifically, a little girl!

For the past 6 months or so we have been completing paperwork to complete an adoption for a girl, ages 1-3, with minor or correctable special needs from China. We knew all along we would want a girl someday, and it seems like the time is finally here, and we are super excited!!! We did go back and forth about how a girl would fit in our family…would a boy be easier, since we have all boy things and all I know about is boys? Would I be able to fix her hair? (hey, I was 12 before I could fix my own hair, just ask my mom) Are we ready for a third (and for sure most likely the last) child? Can we afford another adoption? (hello, we have never been able to afford it, but God has!!) Through all our doubts and worries, God kept saying, “Yes!”.

We then had to make the decision as to which country to pursue an adoption from- that was a toughie. Of course, our hearts will forever be in Ethiopia, as it is the beautiful home of our sons. We know that one day God will give us the chance to return to this special place, but after much prayer and thought, making spreadsheets, and talking, talking, talking, we did not feel that this was the country from which God was calling us to adopt our daughter. There were many reasons, but the one that stood out the most to us was the requirement to have to travel twice to Ethiopia. With our jobs and two young boys at home, we did not feel this would be in our families best interest at this time. So, we began praying about adopting a little girl from the China Waiting Child program, as it is a relatively quick program and there is only one trip required.

We are super excited (and I am very nervous!!) about adding a sweet girl to our family. The boys talk about their sister almost on a daily basis, though we don’t know who she is, how old she will be, or what province in China she will be from. Caleb is ready to not be the “baby” any longer, and Noah is excited to show his little sister all kinds of cool tricks  No names or anything like that have been decided upon yet, but the boys have also been very helpful in adding in their picks on that topic as well.

The China Waiting Child Program is very different from the way Ethiopia processes adoptions, and I will not go into all the details, as I am not sure that I even understand all the intricacies. But, basically, once a month, usually on a Monday night toward the end of the month, China will release hundreds of children who are ready for adoption on a shared system to every adoption agency licensed to facilitate adoptions from China. Every agency has access to this list, and every agency is working to match their waiting families with a child. Once a child’s file is “locked” for a family to consider it is also blocked from other agencies view. A family has 72 hours to either accept or reject the match. Some children can be matched with families who are paperchasing, like our family (we are still waiting on a few documents to send to China), while other children can only be matched with families who currently have a dossier in China.

Tonight is actually the first night that we have been eligible to be matched due to my age! So, it is feasible that we could get a phone call tonight or in the morning with a referral to consider. But most likely, that will come in the next 2-4 months, given our age range and special needs that we are open to. After a referral is accepted, travel usually occurs 6-8 months after. We are praying we will be matched sometime before December, so that we can travel during the summer months.

We desperately covet your prayers as we wait and pray for our daughter. We pray she is being loved and nurtured, wherever she may be. We pray that already God would begin working in our hearts and her hearts to create a special bond and love between all of us. God has blessed our family so unbelievably through the miracle of adoption, and we look with great hope and anticipation to the future.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Catching Up.....


The summer is almost over, and I haven't even caught up the blog from spring yet....so I have a lot of ground to cover!

First, Noah graduated Kindergarten and we are so proud of him! He finished strong and is looking forward to beginning first grade. Below are some pictures of his graduation. Caleb will attend preschool next year and is excited to be at school with his big brother!




The boys also played tball this spring and had a great time! Noah actually got to play first base and "pitcher"!




They are currently both swimming on our local swim team, the Barracudas! At the beginning of the summer, neither of them could truly swim by themselves- they either needed to use floaties of they wouldn't let go of the wall! Now they are both able to swim alone, and Noah is even diving in! They love the water and have come so far! We are so proud of all their hard work...below is a video of their most recent swim meet.

video

In March I began working for our local school system as a family educator, and I have been so thankful to have had this summer to spend time with the boys. We have had tons of fun and I wouldn't have wanted to have missed a minute of it! The boys are both growing and changing so quickly. They are each developing their own VERY DISTINCT personalities, to say the least. Some of my favorite times are reading books to them, especially our Family Reading Bible. It has been a wonderful addition to our family library and I highly recommend it! It guides your family through the Bible and comes equipped with questions to ask after each story.... and listening to their responses is so interesting and reminds me how important it is for Zack and I to pray for our boys every day. Our hearts desire is that they will desire God's truth to guide their lives.

 I also began taking classes this summer, working towards completing my Master of Education degree with an emphasis in guidance counseling. Thankfully, I am blessed with a supportive family who has made sacrifices to allow me to take four summer classes! I will only have two classes left in the fall, then a practicum and internship to complete- prayerfully it will all be done by 2014!!

Well, that seems to have hit the highlights of our spring and summer thus far.....one month from today I am celebrating a significant milestone :) and our family will be celebrating a significant milestone as well....more to come on that!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Treasuring Cinderella

Neglected! Yes, our blog has been neglected for far too long. I do apologize. There are so many awesome and exciting things that I have wanted to share, but somehow life has just not slowed down enough for me to share, and I realize that it won't slow down. So, I guess I will just have to slow down and take time to do what I love to do.

I was reminded of this in February when Zack and I were given the chance to volunteer at an America World Adoption both during a Steven Curtis Chapman concert. Before the actual concert, we had a chance to sit in on a Q&A session with SCC and he also took some requests from the crowd. It was really awesome and so cool for us, as he is one of our most favorite people and role models, especially because of what he has done to advocate for adoption and assist families who are adopting....not to mention he is an amazing artist! During the concert he of course sang the song, "Cinderella". While I had always figured that this song was written about his daughters, I did not know the exact story which inspired the song. He told the story that night during the concert. He said that on a night when  he was so tired and  still had so much to do, his daughters were playing dress up and very much wanted him to play along. He, however, was set on getting them in the bed!  Every parent has been there.  He said he left the bedtime experience being frustrated with his girls because they wanted to play and wouldn't settle down. It didn't take the Holy Spirit long to remind him of how precious each moment we are given with our loved ones really are, as life and its moments are so fleeting. He left that experience and immediately went and wrote Cinderella. As he began to sing Cinderalla that night at the concert, I most likely would have been brought to tears anyway, but hearing the story  behind the song really caused me to lose it! Did Steven Curtis Chapman know exactly how I had been feeling the last few months?  God's Spirit gently reminded me that my boys are growing so fast and becoming more independent each and every day. This, of course, is a wonderful thing, as this is what we want for our children. But was I really enjoying each moment with them, even the frustrating and exhausting ones, or was I wishing them away, for easier times where I could have some peace and quiet and get back to business? When I think about the amazing blessing my boys are, it is hard for me to understand why I ever would not stop and treasure each moment with them. But in moments of frustration and busyness, which all parents have, it is easy to wish time away. I have been praying for God to remind me of the beauty and blessing that each day brings, and to celebrate each day that He gives me with my precious family. I want to dance with my "Cinderellas" while they are here in my arms. Because just as the song so beautifully conveys, one day they will be gone. Sigh.

The boys are both doing wonderfully. Caleb finished his first full year of preschool today. He is ready for summer break! Noah has two more weeks of Kindergarten left. He is excited for first grade and new challenges. We are very proud of them and their progress over the past year truly reflects all their hard work.





They are truly best friends and I can't imagine our family fitting together any better than it does! It is such a miracle when you think about how God has orchestrated the composition of our family. I just sit in awe and think about his goodness to our family and how much He loves us.



 Zack and I have both been blessed with jobs that we really enjoy, and I am looking forward to spending the summer with my boys.....oh the adventures we will have! What a blessing to be able to have this time with them!

We are entering into a new chapter in our lives as a family, and I am entering into a new chapter in my life as well....but there a few details still undecided at this point, so that will have to wait until the next blog post.....and I promise it won't be near as long for that one :)