Friday, August 31, 2007

Bad fortune cookies

Tonight Jim picked up Chinese food on the way home from work. Over dinner I shared with him some very disappointing news we heard from a friend regarding an adoption. We discussed how heartbroken we were for our dear friend and also our concerns over how tough things are for Haitian Adoptions right now. We even discussed what would happen if we can not get our kids home and agreed it would mean we would move to Haiti as we could never leave our kids there without us. (Not that this is likely to happen)

While in a glum mood from our discussion I picked up my fortune cookie and said maybe we would have good news in it. The first line of my fortune cookie said (no joke): Your luck is just not there. For the first time over dinner we laughed. Then I asked Jim to open one as maybe he would get a better one to counter act my bad one and he got the same exact fortune! Luke opened his and got the same also. So it seems that our luck is "just not there." Well, duh! :)

We are glad we don't believe in luck and believe in a God who makes all things good for those who love Him!

To our friend (you know who you are)-- We love you and your family so much and you are in our prayers. May God overwhelm you with peace and comfort as you seek His plan.

Xcelerator at Knotts Berry Farm

OUr favorite roller coaster at Knott's. If we didn't have the kids we may have rode this and surpreme scream over and over again all day.

knott's berry farm's supreme scream

Borrowed this video from youtube. This was so fun!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blowing off a little SCREAM!!

Wed:
A day of fun was just what this family needed. Jim had Wed. off and Knott's Berry Farm had a great discount special. Other then the heat of over 100 degrees and being outdoors all day we had a really wonderful time. Here is just a sample of the many things we did.

Jim and My favorite rides (BTW- Jim screamed like a little girl, haha):

Supreme Scream, transports brave, open-air riders straight UP, to a record-breaking 254 feet in midair, before power-blasting them straight DOWN -- in a gut-wrenching three seconds flat! Velocity of the downward plunge tops 50 miles an hour, bringing terrifying new meaning to the term "negative gravity." But the towering thriller isn't finished with you yet. There's still another heart-pounding wallop as riders rebound halfway back up the skyscraping tower before a final, merciful landing at the launch pad below.

XCELERATORSM hydraulically launches you off the line at an electrifying top speed of 82 mph in 2.3 seconds through an exhilarating 205-foot ascent and immediate descent ata 90-degree angle.



Jim, Johnny, Luke, and Kyle at the Knott's entrance
Kyle, Jim and Johnny on the ferris wheel

Carousel Ride


Jim and Luke on the back of a real horse drawn carriage

Kyle, Johnny, and Me sat on the top front with the best view!




In a train car getting ready to ride off into a gold mining cave

Jim, Johnny, and Kyle returning from the water Rapids ride. This was a family favorite and Jim and I took turns taking Kyle and Johnny since Luke was (sadly) too small to ride.

Look out Kyle is behind the wheel!

Jim and Luke ready to bump anyone in their way.

Bumper Cars fun- Kyle in the yellow car in the middle

Jim, Luke, Johnny, and Kyle in a cave in front of a waterfall
We had a great time together. It was so fun to ride the roller coasters and scream, scream, scream! I LOVE a scary ride!!!! I decided that I'm pretty sure God thought of roller coasters in Heaven... or will we not need them for such a rush?
On Thursday we had a friend from Texas visit with us as she was in town to see family. It was so wonderful to be with her. Then we went to bible study and taught in the kids class... we just love the kids in our class!!
A couple very good days. Thanks everyone for your prayers!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sometimes I don't know if I should smile or cry!

I just now received this wonderful update picture from NLL/HFC! Aren't they just beautiful? It was a surprise as we had already received our update photo that I just shared with you here recently. I noticed the title on this one was "august_better_update". :) It was very sweet that they would send us another picture!
So how is it I could be trying to decide between tears or a smile? I emailed them today asking a question about our paper work and saw my chance to throw in there the question of asking if we are in MOI yet (I try not to hound them with questions). The answer is no we are still not in MOI! My heart just sank and I had to hold back the tears as I had really hoped our files were submitted and they just forgot to tell us (wishfull thinking right?). What does this mean for us? We likely still have several months (at best) ahead of us before bringing our kids home. I'm so tired of sharing that news. I'm so tired of saying "they should be home any day now". I'm so tired of putting our life on hold in hopes that we will get that email to come and get them. I'm so tired of watching everyone zip on past us in the process. I'm tired of thinking about how we can't even start to bring home our precious Jacques and Vilner until we get Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie home. I'm just tired. I'm pretty sure tired is a symptom of being "Paper Pregnant" and we are paper pregnant X 5, of course I'm tired!
As I fight back tears (okay, lost the battle- As I sit here crying.....) I try to remind myself once again of the post that I just posted a few days ago stating that I have no REAL problems (except maybe attitude, haha). I continue to believe I'm a blessed woman beyond words but to deny that sometimes the process is not so painful I feel like I can't bare anymore would be a lie. Adoptions hard, it's really hard. Worth it but HARD! I do not "blame" anyone for these delays and do have faith that much is being done to bring home our children. I thank God for the hearts, minds, and hands He is using at NLL and HFC to get our children home and am so glad to have been able to see them in Haiti and know they are happy, loved, and well taken care of as we wait.

From unemployment to jackpot

Today, just like everyday, Jim called me at lunch for our mid-day "How are you?". He shared with me about one of their employees that was recently fired from their company for lying about something he did or didn't do (a serious offense when working in Chemical Manufacturing). Not much longer after that he won around $260,000 from the lottery! Not really making any point...just thought it was amusing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Kyle's Crazy Movie

Once we figured out how to do the video's Kyle wanted to produce his own. This is some of his favorite pictures of good times with family and friends. We sure have a good time together. Great Job Kyle!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

3 More teens from HFC have a family!!!!

Daina
Duckhein (Duck)

Drisk

Praise God!!! 3 More teenagers from HFC have a family in answer to months and months of prayers for them by the family that wanted to adopt them. The agreement has been made between this family and Dr. Bernard for these really wonderful kids to be adopted as brothers and sisters. I'm always excited when families make their connection but even more so for these three very wonderful kids! I won't share who their family is so that they have a chance to announce it themselves. I just wanted to celebrate with you all that they have a home now.
More then half of the HFC kids have found their families now. This is pretty incrediable since it is so much more difficult to place teenagers. Nothing is impossible for our God. Please continue to pray for the remaining children that do not yet have a family.
Here is the message that I got from a good friend that is at HFC now:
(Parents names to be announced) are getting to take home Duckhein, Drisk and Daina!!! I was so thrilled and so were they. 31 down, only 25 to go....


Saturday, August 25, 2007

3 Strikes and we are NOT out???

No we are not out...we are in. I've recently shared with you our excitement of seeing Circque du Soleil and the story behind it. I didn't mention that the while we were dating there was a time we wanted to go to the show and it was sold out. That's why it was especially sweet that when we were engaged Jim bought me tickets for my birthday (quick review) and then we didn't go that time because we eloped instead. Then this 3rd attempt, almost 10 years later, I bought Jim tickets for his birthday. We have been so excited and looking forward to it. A whole date night planned of dinner and theater. We were talking with some friends recently about it and they asked us how many times we have gone out on a date in the 1.5 years we have lived here. Lets just say you don't have to use more then one hand to add them up.

This morning (the day of the big date) Luke woke up and started throwing up and has continued all morning, I'm just now starting to battle with an unhappy stomach, and Jim woke up with a headache. So, yes, for the 3rd attempt to see Cirque du Soleil we will not be going. Some friends of ours have been kind enough to take the tickets off our hands and we can't wait to hear about it. I'm sure they will love it and have a blast!

So..... Is it not meant to be that we ever see this show? :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

All we want is our family

I think for anyone that knows us... this says it all! To see the video on youtube here is the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxF71q7jA4I

Humbling reality check

So if you talked with my husband, Mom, or kids you would be most likely to see the real me as they are often the ones I turn to (especially my Husband and Mom of course, the kids just sometimes get stuck with "cranky Mom") when I'm frustrated and need to cry or "vent". They are such blessings to me and constant love and support!

Admittedly I have real bad days through this adoption process and other things in life: Days where I get mad at Haiti's government officials, mad at American officials, hurt when I see other peoples children coming home when they have waited less then half the time we have (not mad at them and clearly it's not their fault), mad at the world, and yes-- sometimes just flat out mad at God (insert sounds of shock here). I confess it to God...it's not like he doesn't know my attitude, and He's faithful to set me straight again.

Fortunately God does not allow me to stay in these self pity funks for long. But they do come from time to time and I've thrown more tantrums then I would like to openly admit to. :)

Recently I was having a particularly mad at the world kind of attitude. That day I was sent this link:
http://www.xanga.com/no_Im_not_a_nurse
They are seeking help of donations, specifically for stackable cots as many kids are sleeping bunched together on hard floors while struggling with survival due to severe health problems. Please check it out and see if you are able and called to help.

Then this same friend sent me to a link to watch news clips about the restaveks (child slaves) in Haiti. I was so choked up as I listened and accepted the reality of the situations that other people live. I thanked God that he spared our children from such lives, and my heart was broken from those that have not been spared from unimaginable pains due to a fallen world.
Please take a moment to see the video's on this link:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20399594
There are 2 video's one is called No Place Called Home and the other is Stuck On the Streets.

I then look at the kinds of things that get me "stressed" and "upset" as I pout or throw a fit and complain to God about the "unfair" things in my life... meanwhile I'm doing it in excellent health, in a big safe home with lots of food, many people who love me, and most importantly knowledge and experience of God's sacrifice and great love... and yet I complain about my "problems". I have no serious problems! When I look at the things I get upset about in the light of what others face I marvel that God does not just go ahead and strike His very ungrateful child with lightning (clearly he is a God of mercy). I'm a woman blessed WAY beyond anything I could ever deserve. I pray that God would continue to open my eyes to this and continue to create in me a thankful heart for a life that is heaped to overflowing with great blessings, and show me how I can use all these blessings He's entrusted me with to bless others.

(I know... I'm totally rambling again...thanks for baring with me. It's great to be able to pour out all these thoughts so that they are not all jumbled up in my head!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

August Update

Jacques, Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie (still no Vilner yet)
Hello Laughlin family,
We wish that everything is so fine for you and your family.
Here are the updates of your children for this month.
Lovenie: ( 20 lbs & 35 inches).
Jude: ( 80 lbs & 58 inches).
St├ęphanie (54 lbs & 51 inches). The kids are in perfect health.
Attached is a picture of them to behold.
God bless you always!!!!!!!

(I'm guessing the weight and height of Jude is wrong as he is smaller then Stephanie, perhaps it has been confused with Jacques?)

While we do not have pictures of Vilner because he is not yet in the orphanage, we did get some news on him this week. Kez is at HFC for a visit and saw the birth Mom of Stephanie, Jude, Lovenie, and Vilner there for a visit (and hopefully also for the birth parent interview, but this is just a guess on our part). The birth Mom was well and told Kez that Vilner is doing very well also. She had left Vilner with a neighbor to watch him so he wouldn't have to take the very long, very hot and crowded taptap ride (totally understandable). So, no new picture of him but it's wonderful just to hear that their Mom and Vilner are doing well as we have been praying for their health and safety.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Little bits of good news...

www.haitiadoptionhelp.blogspot.com has been deemed not spam and is available again!

Also, a bit bigger news. I've been sharing each month as I reach yet another month of being seizure free. It just occurred to me that I hit the 5 month mark on the 19th but was so busy I didn't realize it or announce it. So now I get to say: 5 MONTHS SEIZURE FREE AND LOVING IT!!!!

Thank you so much to everyone praying for me. I thank God for this gift because I know that it is from Him that all good things come and this is definitely a good thing!

"Are they all yours?"-- SO funny!

I just received this in an email from a friend and had to share it. I know many people with large families that hear this question all the time and will really appriciate this story. And being a Mom about to go from 3 to 6 then to 8 children-- it both terrified me and cracked me up. Enjoy:

From a Mom who's been there-done that,
I really enjoyed reading this auction listing of a pack of Pokemon cards that this women's kids snuck into the basket. Read this one all the way through. Take notice that she offered these at $2.50 and FREE shipping. Over 170k people have read her listing and look at what she got for them...what a blessing children are.


click here http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130144061675

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Busted by the blogger police again!

It's happened again. Bloggers robots have detected me as possible spam (should I be insulted?). Not on this blog but on my other blog at www.haitiadoptionhelp.blogspot.com . I'm sorry to anyone trying to access it. It should be restored soon.

I'm again amused at the wording from blogger about their robots. They must have changed their wording a bit because it seems to me like last time they said that it would have to be reviewed by one of their humans, that was a lot funnier:

Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.
We received your unlock request on August 21, 2007. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jim's birthday updated

Jim's first attempt at spray paint art

My first attempt at spray paint art

Ready to go out to dinner


Johnny, Kyle, Luke, and Jim at Mimi's Cafe



Kyle taking his own picture at Mimi's (yes, they got bored)



Luke was a sweet, mellow, and angelic as always---As you can see here.



What a fantastic day we had. It was so relaxing and fun! The first half of the day was spent with Jim sleeping in really late and being woken up with breakfast in bed. Then for the next couple hours was a flood of phone calls from family wishing him a happy birthday.
Later we made our first attempts at doing spray paint art. I asked Jim if I could try one and he agreed so we had fun working on our first pictures side by side. We made them outside and jumped in the pool to cool off. Then we played a few games that Jim likes. Since it was birthday I let him go first each time but still managed to beat him pretty good from time to time. :) For dinner we headed to Mimi's Cafe to use Jim's b-day gift certificate (thanks Jim and Debbie!). We had not been to a Mimi's in years. The food and service was terrific! We didn't get home until pretty late but we had not yet sat down to watch The Tick cartoons. So we served up some cheesecake (Jim's favorite cake) and watched one episode of the Tick and just cracked up. Seriously...If you are not familiar with The Tick it is a MUST see!!! It is now 10:30 PM and Jim got a call from work and they are having a problem so he is on his way in to work to spend the rest of his special day (bummer). Working for a Chemical plant you can't exactly "deal with it tomorrow" when there is a problem so off he went.
Overall it was a really relaxing and fun family day. Me and the boys are going to stay up late and continue to watch episodes of the Tick because I just can't get enough of it!





The Story behind the Corteo tickets gift.

Almost 10 years ago while Jim and I were engaged he bought us tickets to go see a Cirque du Soleil show together. We were really looking forward to it. Right after he gave me this present I went on a cruise with my family and a friend. When I got back from the cruise Jim and I missed each other so much that we decided to elope and get married the very next day! This was a decision made on a Friday at lunch. We lived in San Jose so it only took about 3 hours to drive Lake Tahoe. We began to pack and get ready to leave to get married the next day when Jim remembered that the tickets were for our soon to be wedding day. Do we put off getting marrried until the following weekend or do we give them away and go have our wedding? We gave the tickets to friends who went and totally raved about the show. We headed off to get married (another great story I may share some day). I loved our wedding day! It was so beautiful, romantic, and so near perfect! I think eloping is just about the only way to go. :)

So here we are just a couple months shy of 10 years from when we got married instead of going to Cirque du Soleil. By next weekend we will wait no more and we will get to see the show. See... you can have it all, sometimes you just have to wait a decade for it to all fall in to place. :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tournik Act - CORTEO (Cirque du Soleil)

Here is just one clip of part of the Corteo show. You can find many more on Youtube. They are fantastic and we can't wait to see it. There is a story to why this is special and I'll share more about it later.

Happy Birthday Darling!!!

Jim with some of his birthday loot.



Happy Birthday to the greatest person I've ever known! I pray God blesses you bigger and better this year then any other before.


August 19th-- A day to celebrate God giving this world a very wonderful gift. Jim opened up his presents tonight (just a few hours early). Tomorrow for his birthday we plan to lay around the house watching a DVD of cartoons of our much loved The Tick. Jim may finally try his hand at spray paint art, I will willingly play strategy board games (going in to a battle of wits unarmed!)and other games that I normally find to be torture but will do with a smile on his birthday and Father's day. Then we plan to go out to dinner as a family with a gift certificate a great friend gave Jim today.


Jim also opened my gift to him today and it was tickets to go next weekend to see Corteo by Cirque du Soleil. There is a reason why this is a bit special to us and I'll share that soon. The tickets are for next Saturday.

Jim's birthday gifts

Jim opening his gift from Mom and Dad. No it's not for grafitti! He's been wanting to give spray paint art a try for years and now he's all set with the tools.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

August Family Fellowship






(click on photo's to enlarge)






What a fun and wonderful day. Thanks so much to the families that came over for some fun time with us. We had 14 kids from ages 4-16 and they all really enjoyed the water slide! Some of the littlest of them were flying down the slide with no fear at all- it was so fun to watch. It was a great time to get to know each other better and a very special day!


Weekend of party time

Today we are having some friends over to have a party for no other reason then to have a party! We think it will be a wonderful time to get a bunch of families together and play. We will be putting up our big waterslide again so us grown ups should be good and sore tomorrow. :)

Also, Jim's birthday is tomorrow. This party is not for his birthday as we have big plans to celebrate it next weekend but I can not say what we are doing for it until he opens his presents, but it should be really fun. I plan to serve his birthday cake at the party today because we will have friends with us.

So- I will post and update what we have been up to as soon as I'm able.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Adoption- A calling or a back up plan?

I'm just going to throw out the ramblings in my head so this may not make a lot of sense to anyone else but these thoughts have been rolling around in my mind for a while now. Recently I heard a radio announcement for a well know Christian Family Company that was speaking up about adoption. That's good right? Well... sort of- It's always great to get the word out there and remind people about children needing home. However.. The issue I have is with some people that promote adoption for the wrong reasons.

I do believe, at least from my experience, that adoption is, or at least should be, a calling on our lives from the Lord. When and how God calls you to adopt is usually a different story all together.

Recently I was listening to a call in radio show and a man called in very clearly upset and asking advice about him and his wife struggling for many years to have a child. Immediately their response was "Have you considered adoption?". My heart went out to the man as you could tell he was fighting both tears and anger. He responded with a shaky voice that this is the first thing people ask them. The caller got quiet and did not respond and that was the end of that call. It was the second time in 2 days that the radio program suggested adoption to someone struggling to have kids. I am not meaning to speak ill of the radio program as I know that they mean well. Sure it seems natural for people to blurt out "What about adoption?" to every family that struggles with having a baby. I think though of all the passages in the bible that share about the pain even then from not being able to have children physically. For many people it was not God's will for them to have a baby, and I think of Abraham who did not wait on the son God promised him and his wife but took the matter in his own hands miserably. What if many families struggling to have children are being ask to wait on God? What if He has plans of showing His glory through them by given them a beautiful miracle? Could God be growing them to use them to adopt? Sure, but He can use any of us. Why is it the first thing that is being spouted off to those who are struggling with the pain of wanting to bare their natural born babies? Why is that question only being asked of them by everyone. I wonder if many of these people giving them this advice, including large biological families, if they have turned to themselves and asked themselves and God in prayer "What about adoption?" with a willing heart if God were to call them in this way...as well as those who struggle with having bio children. Should they ask this question also? Yes... but not any differently then a family with 10 bio kids.

In my opinion it does not make any sense at all to single out those who are struggling to have children physically to ask this question. It would be like someone with a strong desire to share God's word and going out and doing anything and everything they can to reach their neighborhood and when they are not feeling as if they are reaching anyone they turn to people they trust to ask what more they can do and share their frustrations just to have everyone tell them-- "Well, if you are not seeing the results you want here why don't you move and try and reach people somewhere else?" I believe adoption is a calling as much as God sending his children to other countries to share His word. I do think there are so many people that God would be pleased to use for adoption that are not opening up their hearts and being willing to be used by God in this way. I encourage each of you reading this to ask yourself (if you have not already) if you have submitted yourself willing to consider adoption if God should call you to it, and asked God for an answer about it? Some He will use, and others he will have other plans for. So while I do love to share my passion for the children of Haiti and even just adoption in general- I truly don't want my posts or experience I share to ever just "tug on heartstrings" and encourage people to adopt if it is not part of God's plan for them, but only after much prayer and being sure it is God that is calling you to it and not me or anyone else putting the suggestions on your hearts.

I would love to hear in the comments section what others think of this. It's just been something eating at me for a while. Am I the only one that feels this way?

Much Love,
Angela

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Creole phrases for friends and family

I thought while we wait for our children to come home it would be nice to share some Creole phrases with you- our friends and family. I'll sprinkle in a little here and there.

Good morning:
Bonjou
Sounds like- Bohn-zhoo

Good Afternoon:
Bonswa
Sounds like- Bohn-swah

Goodbye:
Orevwa
Oh-ray-vwah

We are so happy you are part of our family:
Nou byen kontan ou fe pati fanmi nou!
Sounds like- Noo bee-ihn kohn-tahn oo feh pah-tee fahn-mee noo!

We love you so much:
Nou renmen ou anpil!
Sounds like- Noo raynmayn oo ahn-peel.

You are so beautiful/handsome:
Ou bel anpil!
Oo behl ahn-peel!

If you would like to learn a little more Creole or practise writing/speaking it... there is a chat group for adoptive families and their family and friends that you can join at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KreyolAmizman/

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On the road again? Will I or won't I???

CURRENT TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS:



Some of you following my blog know that I have been without a drivers license for almost a whole year now because of my seizures. I'm just about a week away from 5 months without having a seizure.... Praise God BIG TIME!!!! My doctor has agreed that my license should be reinstated, however, he wanted me to see the Epilepticologist who oversaw my Epilepsy study stay in the hospital, and that would be the doctor who should fill out my DMV form. When I contacted that doctors office they took forever responding to me and then said that I should not see them but should see the Epilepticolgist that referred me to do the study. That doctor's office said they just saw me briefly to refer me on so they would not be the ones to sign my letter and referred me back to my original neurologist whom I only had one appointment about a year ago with.... who seems to think that the Epilepticologist's should sign my letter. Uhg! Have you caught on to my frustration here? According to my letter from DMV it seems clear to me that my Primary Care doctor should be the one to sign it. SO... last week I sent a fax to the insurance company about what was going on and asked them to get involved and establish which doctor is responsible so I can move on and make an appointment as we have already wasted a month getting the run around. So, as of now I have an appointment for Sept. 7th (Johnny's 7th birthday) to see the first Neurologist that the insurance company has said WILL sign my form. I've also talked to my Primary Care doctor's office that insists that if he does not I can walk right over to their office (same building) and my Primary Care doctor WILL sign it. So.... Lord willing... one way or another SOMEBODY may be signing my DMV form on Sept. 7th! :) We shall see. Then I will get to see what kind of hoops DMV will make me jump through as the letter says they may choose to have me retake the driving test and written test before returning my license. I'm hoping this will not be the case as I did not lose my license because of an accident or anything I did wrong and have had a perfect driving record for at least 10 years now.

Please pray for me about this if you think of it. It is a huge inconvenience to not have a license and I would sure love to be behind the wheel again before we have 6 kids (hopefully soon!) and not have to worry about getting to and from the many different doctor's appointments that will come with bringing our kids home.

Silly CA and it's grudges against people who might convulse and drive... Texas didn't mind! :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Mug that says it all!

In case you can't read the print it says: No news yet. Yes, it is taking a long time (thanks for pointing that out).

I find it so funny because so many people are screaming this on the inside. :) Many people talk about how much it frusterates them to continue to be asked "Any word on the kids yet?" When so clearly we will be shouting it so loud the world with hear and know when we get the news we are waiting for. However, it does not bother me... I know those who ask are showing interest in our family and showing that they care about how it's going. So thank you to all of you that show your care and ask, even though my answer is almost always... "I dont' know" or "No new news"

I still find the mug very funny. So, if anyone is looking for a hint for what I would like to have for an early Christmas or birthday present- look no further! Even after we get Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie home we will still be in constant waiting for any information on Jacques and Vilner so the mug will be handy for a very long time to come.



Monday, August 06, 2007

Unplugged to Reconnect


This weekend I was saddened when I tried to make fun plans for our family but at least one of our kids would rather stay home and play on the computer or Playstation 2 instead. Once we went and did the plans the kids were glad we had done it. Then I realized this was not just a problem for the kids but I also spend WAY too much time on the computer that I could be doing something else with. We have been overdoing it since our summer break began and it is becoming too much of a habit.
So... Me and the boys are giving up the Playstation 2 and computer for this work week and making a list of things we could be doing together with that time instead. We are looking forward to a fun week together and when we come back to the computer and Playstation 2 we will have made a plan for limited times to use it. So this will be my last post on the blog until at least Saturday.... I'll let you know how our week of reconnecting goes then.
If anyone needs to reach me with an urgent question or concern you can send an email to my husband to pass on to me at gamesbyjames@sbcglobal.net or call me on my cell phone at 512-363-6820. My husband is exempt from this project as he has not fallen in to our bad habits. :)
I look forward to catching up with you all soon!
Much love, Angela

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Harvest Crusade 2007

By arriving a couple hours early we managed to get GREAT seats!
Me, Luke, Johnny, and Kyle
The band POD playing... a band Jim really likes and we have a few of their CD's

The Stage

THOUSANDS of people came forward to accept Christ (on the field). It was really overwhelming to be a witness to! I found it moving to see people on the field but even more so when I looked around and saw all the now empty seats that was once a packed stadium. I thought they just might run out of room on the field. So cool!
Our family's experience: As with almost everything we do in our lives... the decision to go to the Crusade was pretty much a spontaneous one. We were unsure about taking our young boys but after checking it out online and seeing pictures of many young kids at past events, and because Jim had heard on the radio that it was the most kid/teen friendly night of the event...we decided to give it a try and go as a family. I must admit- we won't be doing that again for a long time!
We got to the event a couple hours early and had excellent seats as you will see in the above picture. The kids were wonderful and the couple hours of wait was really fun as the crowd was having a great time together (see very short video below). THEN the concert started. What was I thinking??? It would have been a total blast if it were just me and Jim but it was as loud as you would expect a concert to be. My mistake is not thinking through the fact that we had an autistic child with us. Johnny wigged out as loud noise really bothers him, and this was way louder then anything else he had experienced. He covered his ears, curled up in a ball, and burst in to tears and in an absolute panic within just seconds of the music starting. I got Jim's attention as he was on the end seat and Johnny was sitting next to me and Jim grabbed Johnny and got him out of there. There was no time for us to talk or make a game plan first. When Luke saw Jim and Johnny leave he wanted to go too and burst into tears. I had to scramble around grabbing all our bags and things since I couldn't leave them behind and rush Kyle and Luke out to try and find Jim. I told the usher what was going on and that I would be right back to let her know if we were going to leave or stay so if we left she could give our seats away.
I was so glad to have been able to find Jim quickly (having a tall husband has major benefits!). I told him what happened and we decided what to do. I had packed along a blanket and some games so we decided to make a picnic outside of the auditorium until the concert ended. I went and spent a fortune on snacks from the snack bar. I went back to the usher and told her my husband would be back in for the concert and then the whole family would be back for the message so we would like to keep the seats and she assured me it would be done. So, I went back and we got the kids all set up and sent Jim back in to enjoy POD since he likes that band. He was back quickly. He went back in to find that the usher had gone ahead and given away our seats anyways!
Now what? Being outside in the hallways of the stadium was cold and we were not dressed for it. We were so close to just going home. We took the snacks and had a little picnic on a small blanket and then packed up to leave. Just as we were getting ready to leave we heard it was the last song and had really hoped to stay for the message. We thought maybe we could just stand somewhere and listen and watch. We lugged our bags and kids around looking for a place to stand but there were few spots even to stand and you couldn't see anything from there even if you found one. Just as we debated leaving someone told us they were opening up seats but they were behind the stage and the only spot you couldn't even watch on the big screens. We decided to go ahead and have a seat and listen in. The message was great and the seats may not have been what we would have picked but here is another example of why I'm glad God leads us to where we are supposed to be:
At the time that Pastor Greg Laurie offered an opportunity to come forward to receive Christ guess where they had them go?... right in front of our seats!!! While sitting there it was so overwhelming to see floods and floods of people giving their lives to Christ. I began to pray about the people around us. There was a teenager in front of us that was squirming in his chair and looking like he was bored and uncomfortable. God put it on my heart to pray for him and I began praying. It was not long after that he stood up and walked forward! Then God directed my attention to another man in the crowd and I felt I was supposed to be in prayer for him. As they were giving the last opportunity for people to come forward him and his wife stood up and walked forward! God's SO good!!! It was an event I'll always remember.
Some of it was fun, some of it was very moving, some of it was frustrating.... all of it was worth it! Enjoy the short videos below for just a few glimpses of what it was like to be there. We would like to go again sometime but this time will absolutely get a babysitter!!!




Harvest Crusade 2007

The event has not begun but the crowd is excited. Cheers and play begins as one section of the crowd yells "We love Jesus, yes we do, we love Jesus, how about you." and they would all point to a section of the stadium that would respond in the same and point at another section. Everyone was excited and having a good time

Harvest Crusade 2007 - The Call

Watch as people begin to answer the call to except Jesus in their lives.

Harvest Crusade 2007- The call continued

Watch as thousands of people continue to flood forward to publically give their lives to Christ

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Family Celebration and Embarrassing story

Kyle, Johnny, Luke and Daddy at the Drive-In
Luke managed to take Dad's place on the comfy bed inside the van.

a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:4


The expression "Emotional Roller coaster" could have been made specifically for anyone going through an adoption process. We like to keep the roller coaster spinning again and again by committing to the adoption of 5 children at one time. Whew... It's been quite a process and every word of the above verse not only describes what the experience is like but it is possible to even have all those emotions in just one day!

As you know from our previous post that 3 of our children in Haiti are now legally ours: Stephanie age 11, Jude age 9, Lovenie age 3! While we are so excited and celebrate this great event we also mourn a bit for Jacques and Vilner not being able to come home with them until much later. The idea of going and picking up some but not all of our children certainly combines all of the above mentioned feelings.

We wanted to have a special family day really celebrating the completion of the adoptions of Stephanie, Lovenie, and Jude. We had hoped Jim would have Friday off and maybe we would go to the beach or something. He ended up getting the day off (hooray!) but when I woke up early that morning I found there was a couple messages on our machine. Who would have called us in the middle of the night? It was Jim's work. He usually keeps a phone next to the bed in case there is a problem in the middle of the night and forgot this one night and it's of course the night they needed him and they called home and his cell phone again and again. I ran and woke him up and he ended up needing to rush in and spend half the day problem solving. Then he also had committed to a meeting regarding the new Calvary Chapel church we are involved in helping plant at 2:30 so now the beach was definitely out of the question! I was determined that we would celebrate and have a fun day so as soon as Jim got off work we all went to a Carls Jr. with a really fun playland and Jim scarfed down his lunch and then was off to the meeting leaving me and the boys at Carls Jr. for some serious playtime. The boys had a blast. I got to practise learning Creole while there and even got to catch up with a dear friend on my cell phone. When Jim returned from the meeting we walked over to a nearby Baskin and Robbins and had ice cream. When we got home we ran around gathering supplies to head to the drive in theater where we watched Underdog (Jim and I were dreading it from the previews but actually thought it was pretty good) and, since you get 2 movies at the drive-in, we also watched the movie Ratatouille.

It was our best drive in experience yet. I think we've got a great system figured out. When we find our spot we pull out the van seats and lean them against the back of the van making a long "couch" for the kids (as you can see in the above picture). We open the back of the van that now has a huge empty spot since the seats are removed and we roll out a memory foam mattress topper (sooooo comfy) and bring lots of blankets. We had great snacks that we bring ourselves like popcorn, candy, hot cocoa, and more. It is also a new tradition that everytime we go to this drive in we stop first at a nearby Red Lobster and get a take out order of Lobster pizza and Coconut Shrimp (delicious!). We had a really great family time! A full day (until 1AM) of family fun time.

Okay... Now I'm going to rat myself out for your own entertainment. We made a great comfy bed in the back of our van. To get in and out I would slip my sandals on and off and enter/exit through the side sliding door. Near the end of the night I had to walk a long distance to the drive in restroom. On my way back it was dark and I was tired (this is my defense). I walked over to our van, slid open the side door to get in, began to remove my shoes... Just then a woman popped her head by the door and said "Uhm, excuse me" Uhg! I had opened a strangers door and was about to crawl into the bed they made in the back of their van!!!! :) I apologized and told her I thought it was our car and sorry to startle them! I then slinked off to find our van (that looked exactly the same as the other one) just a couple cars over! Once inside our van I could laugh about it but I sure was startled and embarrassed! It was funny until the one van between us packed up and left leaving the van I tried to enter right next to us. I slinked down out of sight in our van for the rest of the movie!







Thursday, August 02, 2007

Haircut day again


I just can't do it! I can't bring myself to take the kids back to kids cut type places and pay the high prices no matter how fun their place is. Instead I take matters (and by matters I mean hair) into my own hands. It's actually been kind of fun to try and create the different looks that the kids want. Here's how we all look after being attacked by my new haircutting scissors....


Kyle turned in his Mohawk for a more spikey do- which is fine with me...I've always loved his hair spiked.

Luke continues to like his hair real long. As long as we can see his face we are okay with that so he just got a bit of a trim on his style of choice.


Johnny surprised me by still wanting to keep his Mohawk since he was the one that made me promise I wouldn't cut his hair this way not long ago. This time we went shorter on the sides and on the Mohawk. We found it was just too hard to keep standing straight up if it's too long. (Goofy expression is all his- I had nothing to do with that part!)



Even I fell victim to my own scissors taking a couple inches off my hair which always makes it curlier. (above picture courtesy of Kyle)


So there it is... the new do's of the household. Jim's not here or I would take his picture too but his hair has not changed since we have been married, while mine changes every 6 weeks or so. He never knows who he will come home to. It's a fun little game.




Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Legally Ours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friends, we have waited over two years to be able to share this news: Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie's files have been approved by second legal which makes them all legally our children!!!

They have been "ours" since the moment God put them on our hearts, but I admit it feels really good to have it legally bound here on earth as well!

While this is very exciting we still do not have an idea of when they will come home. Now begins the process with immigration and there are some big problems in that area but they seem to be clearing up considerably! So, they could be home very quickly or we could hit another snag and be stuck for many many months. Only the Lord knows.

For now we celebrate the gift of 6 of our children recognized by the government as belonging to us and we celebrate the gift of Jacques and Vilner who are not yet in the same place but are as much our children as the others!

Thanks for sharing in our many trials and our many moments of great joy (this being one of them) and thank you especially for your continued support and prayers for our family!

One last huge celebration awaits us: Bringing them home!

Hope For the Children of Haiti

The HFC kids are finding homes!! Praise God!! I've shared with any of you that has followed my blog for any length of time how much I love the boys and girls of HFC. I have been praying that these great kids (mostly teenagers) would find their families and am excited to say God is hearing and answering our prayers. It seems like every week I am hearing about several children that people have either started the process to adopt or are praying about adopting them. Just in the last month many children have found their families!!!

For anyone that wants to know more about these great kids you can read quite a bit about them (and see photo's and video's of my time with them) on this blog and you can also go to http://hfchaiti.org/ for more information. If God is not calling you to adoption of these teens could you please pray about possibly sponsoring one? Information about doing so is on their website. Some of the kids have already reached the age of 16 and no longer adoptable and HFC will see to it that these kids transition well from teens to adults in Haiti and will need to support of many people to do so. Please also continue to pray that God will lead these kid's families to them before their 16th birthdays. Thanks for your prayers and for celebrating with me as God answers our prayers and many lives are being changed FOREVER!