- Share relevant information about our family and
- Paint a picture of what a life with the Thrashers would be like for a child.
Mr. Thrasher and I took the first step towards adoption when we made our decision to adopt. Which, we strongly believe, originated as a God-given dream in both of our hearts. (Read all about our adoption decision here.)
Step Two was to choose our adoption agency. Our main criteria was that our agency should be a Christian agency. God had to be in and all over this process and we needed our agency workers to speak the “same language”, understand the power of prayer and share the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. We also knew that we wanted to adopt domestically, ideally from California. After hearing only great things from our friends, we decided to contact Bethany Christian Services.
We strive toward a world where every child has a loving family. ~Bethany Christian Services
After a few calls, asking lots of important questions, and discussing our fears and concerns, we submitted our pre-application and attended an information meeting where we learned more about adoption in general. Bethany cares first and foremost for the birthmothers. They love and care for them before, during and after the adoption. Bethany encourages long-lasting, open relationships between birth and adoptive parents. Paul and I now understand that we will not just be welcoming a baby into our family but that we will forever be bound to a loving, courageous mother who selflessly decided that her baby should be raised by us. My heart breaks for her, I’m overwhelmed by empathy for her and astonished by her sacrifice. Our prayers are no longer just about our baby. We pray for the well-being of our baby’s mother. We pray for her emotional stability. For her safety.
Today, we received Bethany’s “Next Step” package. A plain brown envelope on our door step filled with forms, questionnaires, fee schedule (yikes!) and a list of education requirements. Besides a bunch of paperwork, this envelope also contains hope, excitement and joy.
I read this somewhere: “Remember if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!” Isn’t this encouraging?
Shortly after posting my recent adoption update, friends started asking me why we decided to start fundraising for our adoption? They were confused because I had just told everyone that we would “be still and wait” (for God). So all this activity around our garage sale, the “Make A Change By Giving Change” baby bottles and our fancy, new PayPal donation button, came as a surprise to some.
For us “being still” doesn’t mean sitting on our couch, twiddling our thumbs and waiting for God to bring us a miracle. It simply means to be faithful, to not panic and to trust Him. It means “having peace, being calm”. While we feel peace about our situation and know that God has us covered, we also believe that faith without action is dead. I don’t think God can move if we don’t move.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. ~James 2:17
That said, we are kicking off our adoption fundraising campaign but won’t be stressing out about it. As someone who struggles with high expectations, I might need you to remind me to be ok with whatever the outcome will be. I do believe that part of God’s provision are the many friends who are, have been and will be supporting us on our way to making a home for a baby.
What do you think about fundraising? How would you find ways to raise money?
“Be still, and know that I am God.” ~Psalm 46:10
Psalm 46:10 encourages us to reflect on what God can do in the face of what we are unable to do. Sounds pretty much like the headline of our adoption story which, at this time, is not necessarily a story yet. It’s more like a draft or outline.
Most of the times, our desire to adopt seems so unrealistic, so unreachable, so impossible. Last year, we thought, we’d be in a great position to get started with the adoption process: Attend the workshops and online classes, read the obligatory materials, submit our application and maybe even complete our homestudy. You might have followed my Adoption Awareness Blog Project or joined our excitement when we announced that We Are Expecting Again. Then, Thrasher Home went awfully quiet all of last year, very few posts, no word about our adoption. Dear friends, I owe you an update:
A call to the adoption agency of our choice in January of last year made us slow down, rethink our approach and finally turn to God for advice. We were told by a very sweet agency worker that it may not be a wise decision to start the process considering the little funds we had available to us. It may not work in our favor if we had to interrupt the process while trying to save or raise more money to move on to the next step. With only one income and a tight monthly expense budget, we were only making small progress towards our adoption savings goal of $29,000. When we called the agency, we had merely $4,000 in our savings account. (Just reading these numbers again makes me nauseous.)
While I was disappointed and sad, Paul received a word from God that Sunday in church. God told him that we need to be still and trust His timing. Certainly not a mind-blowing revelation but as usual God’s timing was perfect: Paul’s regained confidence, helped me understand that we were trying too hard to force our own agenda. We were desperately trying to control the situation.
Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him. ~Psalm 37:7 (GWT)
There it was.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” [...] ~ 2 Corinthians 2:9
Yes, more of that, please.
The most important thing Paul reminded me off is that this adoption will happen. We will add to our family through adoption. Only God knows when. In the meantime, we must not be discouraged but be faithful. And surrender.
The American evangelist D.L. Moody once said that “If you partner with God, make your plans big!”. Our plans are big indeed…
Do you have any big plans that require someone like the Almighty as a partner? How did you surrender? Did you already reach the end? Do share. We appreciate any words of encouragement, prayers and stories.
With Christmas being only weeks away, I wanted to share how we are hoping to teach our almost two-year old Emma about being thankful and giving back. My prayer is that you are inspired to join us and millions of others who are participating in Operation Christmas Child. (National Collection Week is only until Nov 19, 2012. So hurry up!)
A few years ago, we have participated in the Fill A Shoe box project through our old church. Thanks to Life As A Mom, I was reminded how beautiful, simple, and fun this concept is and together with Mr. Thrasher decided that from this year on, the Thrashers will participate every year. Go ahead and read the stories on the Samaritan’s Purse website, take a look at the photos of children receiving and opening their shoe boxes. It warms your heart! Such a simple gift. Such a huge impact on a child’s life.
Besides feeling utterly uncomfortable, I was so afraid of bears that I couldn’t sleep at all. Like I said, we had lots of fun during the day but being sleepless for several nights wasn’t really recharging my batteries. After three nights of biting my tongue, I asked Paul if we could go home if I couldn’t get any sleep that night.
It must have been just before daylight broke, that I heard the sound of an animal approaching our camp. Then I saw a shadow. I prayed that Emma wouldn’t wake up and that Griffin stayed calm. I tried to wake Paul, whispering that I think there was a bigger animal wandering around our tent. Thankfully, he didn’t brush me off nor fell back asleep (like he usually does). He had heard something as well. He held my hand and with a soft voice I explained my escape plan to him.
After a while, it was quiet again. The gently gurgling of the creek and those darn chipmunks throwing pinecones on our tent was all we could hear. My prince in shining sleeping bag nodded off again.
The next morning couldn’t come fast enough and I was almost glad when I heard Emma stir in her travel crib. As soon as we crawled out of our tent, we saw our camp neighbor walk towards us. Her family had been up since the break of dawn to pack up and get ready to head home. She greeted us friendly and asked if we needed more fire wood, we could use their leftovers. Her next question, however, had me break out in sweat: “Did you see the bear that visited your camp earlier this morning or have you been asleep?”
When she continued to tell us how that bear walked up to our picnic table and put his paws up on my cute tablecloth sniffing around for food, my smile froze and I wondered why I was the only one shaking. Turns out she was a camping veteran and “totally used to sharing her camp with bears”. Oh, right.
Well, not me. A bear sneaking around our tent was enough reason for me to tell my husband that the Thrasher camping adventure was over. And the next time, he wants to take the kids into the woods, I’ll be heading to a spa in the wine country. Mark my words.
Unlike her Mama, Emma loves camping. And so does Griffin, our dog.
I have to admit, seeing our little Miss Sunshine explore the woods with her dog made me happy. She had a blast. Not even dime-sized blisters on both of her feet from wearing her water shoes barefoot in the creek all day slowed her down. Too much to do. Too much to discover. Too many pinecones to collect. Too many monkeys (her sign for chipmunks) to chase.
We didn’t bring a watch. Emma was our clock. When she showed first signs of tiredness, we put her down for naptime. To my surprise, she slept just fine. She neither had problems with the bright daylight, background noise from other campsites, her nervous mother, nor the heat. We brought her lullabies but quickly deferred to the white noise provided by the lovely creek. Her naps were between 2-3 hours. For the first time, I was grateful how easily kids are entertained (read: tired out) by roaming around outdoors all day. At least one of my concerns was unjustified.
As for the dog, he didn’t mind our leash-rope-construction that allowed him to roam around without wrapping his leash around every tree. Mr. Thrasher hung rope between the trees, then attached the leash to the rope with a carabiner hook. That way, Griffin could remain on leash. The creek provided a refreshing “water bed” for him. And the best part (if you’re a dog)? We didn’t stop him from digging. Heaven!
He also slept peacefully through the nights with only mild growling every now and then when a monkey, excuse me, chipmunk got too close.
Our gear (download our packing list Thrasher Home Camping Trip Packing List):
I know I promised to share our reason for leaving the beautiful California Twin Lakes in a rush. After the jump you’ll find out here. Pinky swear.
I hate camping. I simply don’t understand why people like to add discomfort, uninvited critters, lack of hygiene and unstoppable amounts of dirt to their vacation and call it “recreation”. Mr. Thrasher, however, is a big fan of
the cheapest way to vacation uncomfortably sleeping under the stars with nothing but a piece of fabric separating you from rain, wind, mosquitos and bears. Despite my dislike of outdoorsy sleepovers, I agreed to take our 20-months old on her first camping trip and even managed to get a bit excited. (I herewith officially apply for the Wife Of The Year Award.)
I started the preparation for our trip weeks ahead of time. One of my mottos is “Be prepared; then go with the flow.” I humbly like to say I’m quite excellent at the first part, but still need to improve lots on the latter.
These were my major concerns:
Another minor concern:
To address my concerns, I packed everything in my home that could possibly assist me in making this trip easier for
myself all of us. You can download my packing list here: Thrasher Home Camping Trip Packing List. Don’t judge, I never said I travelled light!
More advice we didn’t follow:
During my first ever camping trip, I learned that keeping food, especially perishables, cool and fresh is a challenge in itself. So I was thrilled to find out about tin foil dinners and packed a few for our first campsite dinner. I also cut and chopped a bunch of veggies and fruits so I wouldn’t have to do it camp-side. Sliced cheese and deli meat was stored in Tupperware containers so the melted ice wouldn’t get it all wet.
When I was pregnant with Emma, I had the best intentions to teach her Baby Sign Language (based on ASL). I learned that “research studies show that signing with babies accelerates language acquisition, reduces frustration, enhances a child’s self esteem, and deepens the bond between parent and child.”
Even Mr. Thrasher thought it would be a smart idea. Well, that was before baby when we were determined to be Super Parents. In the end, Mr. Thrasher claimed he’s already ‘speaking’ enough languages (PHP, Drupal, Ruby on Rails, Java) and doesn’t have the capacity to learn another language. So it’s just me who is signing and signing and signing. For months, I felt like a clown waving my hands in front of my clueless child without seeing any results. But I kept it up, learned my signing vocabulary with the help of My Smart Hands’ fantastic online dictionary and babysignlanguage.com, and continued to playfully teach Emma.
At the age of 11 months, Emma started signing ‘milk’. Of course. She quickly realized that Mama acted on that sign and decided to use it whenever she wanted anything – food, snacks, water, a hug. Her second sign was ‘dog’. Not a surprise either. Accompanied by a cute, grunting sound and pointing of her tiny finger at our dog Griffin, it is now the first thing she ‘says’ after waking up in the morning. You thought she would be happily throwing her arms around her Mama’s neck…
I began teaching Emma sign language when she was 6 months old. Today, Emma is 15 months old and I love seeing the results of my teaching efforts.
And truth be told, it does reduce frustration and it certainly creates a fun, interactive bond with my daughter. I can tell she’s adorably proud when I praise her for showing me the correct sign. She also seems eager to learn more. But more importantly, she seems to have the time of her life. At least, that’s how I interpret that big smile on her pretty face when she signs and we communicate with each other.
Her vocabulary to date includes about 20 signs: milk, eating, dog, cheese, flower, Papa, Jesus, taking a bath, please, shoes, socks, (teddy) bear, bed, baby, zebra, all done, it’s time/clock, gorilla, monkey and sometimes penguin.
Have you tried sign language with your baby? How is it going?
We have a new car. 1 1/2 years of disciplined saving and no other major expenses – Dave Ramsey would be proud of us. To be precise, we bought a new car but we don’t have it yet. It’s in transit, on the truck, on it’s way – however, you want to call it. It was very weird to leave a check for the down payment at the dealer without driving our car off the lot.
Our previous car, Roger was his name, served our family well. When we purchased our 2000 Audi A4 Avant, we assumed we’d be driving it for a very long time. Because we assumed that it would fit our family (including the dog) perfectly. We also assumed that we could totally handle the maintenance of a German automobile. Well, we all know what they say about ‘assuming’…?!
Let me ask you this: When you purchased your car, did you sit on the backseat to see how much leg room you have back there? Did you consider the space you may need to fit a toddler car seat even though you just got married? Well, we didn’t. While our Audi looked spacious (it was a station wagon, for Heaven’s sake), it actually had a very small interior. We couldn’t even install Emma’s infant car seat behind one of the front seats but had to install it in the middle of the back seat instead. And that still didn’t leave Paul and I much space in the front.
There was only one solution: Our family needed a car with lots of space for tall adults, a tall toddler, a mid-sized dog, a large stroller, a large cooler and at least three mid-sized travel bags. We needed a car that was Thrasher Road Trip-approved and would meet the following criteria:
After test-driving Crossover-SUVs like the GMC Terrain, Audi Q5, Chevy Equinox and our friends’ Ford Escape, we quickly realized that we had to upgrade and search for the new Thrasher Mobile in the SUV category. After ruling out the Dodge Durango (not liking the design), we tested the Nissan Pathfinder. Still not enough space. So we (as in Paul) went back to the virtual drawing board and researched more SUVs…
(…to be continued.)
As you’re probably anticipating the reveal of the Thrasher Mobile more than Part Two of the Twilight Saga, head over to my Facebook page and guess what car we got.
Naptime entrepreneur. Lived in England, Germany and the U.S.A. Married to a handsome California boy. Together, we are called to adopt. By day, I build cozy castles made of sheets and pillows. By night, I plan kids' birthday parties and coordinate weddings. [More about me here]