Thursday, June 21, 2012

A shout out for the Dad's

Happy (belated) Father's Day to all the blog readers.  We have had a whirl of activity around here and just haven't had a chance to sit down and blog.  Father's Day was fabulous as we were blessed to spend both Saturday and Sunday with both our Fathers.  Below I wrote a little something special about the Dad's in my life.

First, my husband.  You are such a good Father.  I am proud of you and love you for so many reasons, but I have to say seeing you with our boys is pretty close to the top of that list.  I love that you play with them, wether it is video games, or baseball, or golf, or UNO and even read to them on occassion (definitely not on his list of favorite things to do:)  I love that you pray with them and for them.  I love that you already love Isabel and that I am with you on this journey.  I found this poem, and although it's a little cheesy, it sums up how I feel.  The day the you were born, I'm sure God already knew That one day we would meet and I would fall in love with you.  For I have seen his blessings and I've felt his guiding hand Leading me to share my life exactly as He'd planned.  With a good husband who has shown me how loving God can be...My husband, friend, and soulmate, who means all the world to me.

To Rocky's Dad.  You are one of my favorite people, ever.  When I was fairly young, 12 or so I would ride out to with him so I could stay at the Strand's with Shawnda (my now sister-in-law) he would talk and make conversation just like I was a grown up the whole way (which was about 45 min!)  These days he loviningly reminds me I am his favorite daughter in law (I'm his only daughter in law!) and tells me it does his heart good to see me working (he therefore has the best heart in the tristate area:)  Words that come to mind:  Loyal, Committed, Hard Working, Faithful, Honest...He is leaving a very rich heritage and example for his sons, and aren't they handsome!!!

To my Dad.  I told him recently that he was one of the reasons I really started thinking of adoption.  When I was 2 he married my mother, as a child he adopted me, he gave me his name.  He sacrificed for me, probably more times than I even know.  He provided for me.  He took on the responsibility of me.  He loved me as much as he loved his biological daughters.  He is my Dad and I am proud to say so.  I know that love is very often a choice, and he chose to love me, chose to call me his daughter.  In the very same way, partly due to his example, we are choosing to love Isabel. 

 Happy Father's Day! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

June Update

(this entire post is from Laura's perspective as Rocky's emotions never yo-yo lol)

We recieved an update on the Thailand program from Holt yesterday letting us know that the June referrals came out early!  Their were 4 children referred to Holt.  Two were matched with families in the program and two placed on the waiting child list.  My emotions were exactly like a roller coaster.  Early referrals:  UP,   4 referrals this quarter:  DOWN,  2 kiddos matched with their permanent families:  UP,  Do we only move up 2 spaces then?: DOWN....Sigh

Yep, up and down all night.  See even though I told myself not to expect anything major to happen,  their is this little what if glimmer that is impossible to put out.  What if Holt receives a record number of referrals and all the families are matched?  What if a child on the referral list matches only our profile and we recieve a match now?  What if...what if...what if...

I couldn't even attempt to wait a second and immediately emailed the program assistant with my questions of how this impacted our I recieved an email from her that we are #14 on the waiting list.  Okay so are you like me and feeling a little puzzled...I mean the math just isn't there.  I was expecting 17 at best, so 14 seemed like a small miracle:)  Again she reminded me that it is impossible to tell when a family is matched as Holt has no idea what type and make up the referral groups will be each quarter, and they can only make estimates.  At any rate emotions back UP.

To put it mildly, I don't really like not being able to have some control over this waiting part.  I want to get in there and just make it happen, which of course I can't.  I feel like God is looking down shaking his head at me, again, with a small smile on his face of course as he knows me even better than I know myself. GOD: "Patience, my child, patience." ME: "BUTTTTT I want it now."

 I can definitely feel the prayers from all of my friends and family, praying #8 on my prayer list...They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.   Teach me Lord to Wait.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A rose by any other name...

For our family, friends, and blog readers we have a made a very important decision we thought worthy of announcing.  A few weeks ago someone asked us why we decided on the name Cherish, and more importantly if that is a name we would have considered if we were not adopting.  It really made us stop and think and we had to be honest with ourselves, it really wasn't.  We started discussing the pros and the cons, Cherish means to treasure, and while we love that meaning it is not a name you hear, well barely ever.  Realizing she is going to have many challenges ahead of her, we wondered if by giving her a unique name like Cherish it might add to those challenges.  Yet, we were torn, she has been Cherish in our hearts for 8 months.   The phrase, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,"  came to mind (even though in the words of Anne of Green Gables it couldn't possibly smell as sweet if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage:), and so we decided to just try out a few different names to see if one stuck.  We have talked of names off and on for two weeks, getting our boys input along the way:  Peyton "how about Mackenzie then I can call her Macky?"  Ian "what about Velma? you know like in Scooby-Doo? that's a really cool name!!"  We added a couple of others and came up with a list of 4 or 5 names we really liked and had partially decided on one, but still weren't sure.  A few nights ago we were on the topic again and decided to google meanings instead of just names.  First we pulled up treasure, which typical of google prompted us to pull up loved, which prompted us to pull up beautiful.  Reading over the long list quickly, we were stopped in the "I" section, Isabel. We both looked at each other and said the name aloud again, more slowly, Isabel.  Rocky said, "That's it"  I said, "I know".  It was exactly that same way when we named our boys, a look and feeling of mutual connection. 

The boys were both a little skeptical still sticking to their above suggestions, but then Ian said, "Mom, I'm calling her Izzy."  Peyton agreed, and they were happy to have found a nickname for their baby sister.  This is really important because if you know anything about the Strand's, well let's just say no one is hardly ever called by their name.  When we named Ian we wondered what in the world they could possibly shorten that to, but it only took about 5 seconds before they simply dropped the "N" and called him "E". Peyton is Peyter baked potater, or simply Peyt.   And who knows what Grandpa Strand will call her!  If you are called anything remotely similar to your name you are lucky!  For example, growing up he called Rocky whatnebager (I'm not even sure how to spell that) lol.  We shall see.

We were worried no other names would sound as sweet, but we have to say we have been using it for several days now and it feels right.  We just can't wait to put a face with the name:)  On a side note we have moved up to #18 because a family on the waiting list above us accepted a referral from the waiting child program moving us all up a space...we should move up again by the end of June and I will keep everyone updated.

Isabel...our beautiful treasure.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We Need Your Prayers

How to Pray for our Adoption

1.        In every aspect pray that God’s will is performed.  To him be all glory and honor.  We are simply his servants and no different than anyone else.  He spoke into our lives and placed a burden for children and young people in our hearts.  He said, “Adopt a child”.  We said, “How? There are so many obstacles.”  He said, “I am greater, I will be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, nothing is too great.  He has been opening doors and providing ever since. 

2.       Pray for our daughter’s birth parents, for peace and strength.  Adoption is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong.  But the closer we come to it the more we realize it’s not all butterflies and roses.  Someone had to make a decision and a sacrifice, that as parents we know could not have been easy, but because we do not live in a perfect world they had to choose adoption for their child.  We pray God’s peace upon them, and that someday they will know how much their child is loved by us.

3.       Pray for her foster parents as they fill the gap for us.  Let’s just say this…Foster parents are HEROS.  They step in and care and love for these children as if they are their own, and then we come and they give them up to us.  The foster families we have read about in Thailand are selfless.  We pray God is providing and protecting them, their families, and our girl while we wait to step in as her parents.  If they are not Christians, in a country that is 98% Buddhist this seems very unlikely, we pray we can somehow be the light God has called us to be.

4.       Pray for our family.  Early on we realized there would be a lot of bumps along the way, and once she is home it will change the dynamic of our family.  Pray for our sons that they grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.  They have embraced this adoption with open arms and accepted without question, and with excitement, that their world is to be invaded by a sister.  Help us to always be what they need us to be.  Pray for our marriage that God would continue to strengthen our bond and help us to continually be open to the purpose God has for us.

5.       Pray for provision.  The largest obstacle has always been the expense.  We knew from the get go we could not do this without God or the support of others.  (Thank you for all the support you have already given as we came before you, almost begging, with requests of financial support.)  God has already blessed us in so many ways, and every time we have needed funds they have been there.  Pray our faith will continue to hold as God helps us move this mountain as he supplies all our needs according to his glory.

6.       Pray for our girl’s heart.  In meeting with others in the adoptive world we have quickly learned that one of the major challenges is the grief that your child goes through upon coming into your life.  Some adjust well.  Some do not.  We are praying now, before we have even seen her face, that God would surround her little heart with the comfort only he can give and help us to know how to comfort her when the time comes.  Please Lord, let the transition be a smooth one.

7.       Pray for our Agency.  We are so blessed that God led us to Holt International.  Adoption is extremely complex and overwhelming, but they have been there every step of the way and are always there for us.  God has been working through them for years and we pray God will bless all the staff who work so hard for these kids all over the world…again real HEROS in our book.  We pray God will give them wisdom to discern the correct placement of the children referred to them.

8.       Finally, for peace right now.  This wait is so hard, there are times when we (especially Momma) feel emotionally exhausted.  Pray that God will give us strength to mount up with wings as eagles, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. 

With Love,

Rocky and Laura