I've had a lot I want to blog about, but then I worry who will read it and what Ethan might think someday when he reads about his story. I don't want to say things that will make him think that people weren't supportive of us adopting him. But, then again, that is reality. But then again, I want to think about the positive, so I guess i will just start typing and see where this goes...
We have done really well the last month pinching every penny. We have never been the kind of family that spends money on frivilous things, but we are taking it to a whole new level! In some ways it's a real sense of accomplishment, and it some ways it still really stinks! I am so proud of my kids for not ever asking for things, though. They have not asked to eat out or go somewhere that costs money all summer. We have enjoyed doing normal things for us, like playing games and hanging out. We took Reagan out of gymnastics, which was way more emotional for me than her. She enjoys doing cartwheels, backbends, handstands, etc. everywhere she goes. Even when several of her friends left summer school to go to a team bonding activity, it never bothered her. One of my friends (who didn't know why we pulled her out) asked her if she was doing summer gymnastics and she answered "no, we are saving that money for Ethan" with a grin on her face. So sweet. I am so proud of her heart. She is learning to put others before herself and she is only 7.
We have a friend at church who has been handing us a handful of money every week. I am sure she has no idea how much it means to us. I always feel awkward and don't know how to properly say thank you, so instead I thank God for putting it on her heart to give to us. I believe He does this all the time and people don't answer the call. Not just for Ethan, but for adoptive families everywhere. There is enough money in America to adopt all 143 million orphans, but people just choose to spend it selfishly. It makes me sick to think of how overpaid pro athletes, movie stars, etc. are. How can anyone feel good about life when there are 143 million children who need a family. Our messed up society will pay a verbally abused bus monitor $700,000, but practically ignores 143 million orphans. It's making me a little crazy.
I've been hearing the comment lately over and over that adopting is so expensive, governments charge ridiculous fees, blah, blah, blah... Yes, all of that is true, trust me I KNOW! However, most businesses in this country do the same thing. Air conditioner repairmen, drug companies, food at the movies, gas for your car... getting overcharged for products and services is a part of our culture. The same people who say they could never adopt because of the money, need to take on a different perspective. God is bigger than any money issue. He is not going to lead you to your child and then not work out every detail. I firmly believe that God is showing us how to manage our money better through this adoption. I thought we were doing pretty well, but now I have prioritized things in our life and cut out what we can. Am I neglecting my kids? Some will judge us and say yes. I say that part of being in a family is working together to make the most of what you are blessed with. It does stink that we won't go to Silver dollar City this year or Six Flags. We aren't going to Springfield unless absolutely necessary. We are eating at home, even though we all love to go out (even if it is just McDonalds). We didn't buy any flowers to plant this year. It may seem like a small thing, but it saved us money we normally would've spent. And who really cares if our flower pots are empty this year. There's a million over ways I have cut back a little bit at a time and let me tell you, I am not any less happy because of it. And neither are my kids! And neither is Tim!
I love my kids. I really try to parent them in a way that will help them grow up to be productive members of society. I want them to be shining lights for Jesus in every aspect of their lives. They each have amazing testimonies to share and I am thankful that God has given them to me so I can be a part of their lives. Tim and I talk all the time about how awesome our kids are! They are polite and helpful and spiritual and caring. They are not perfect, but they are unbelievably terrific! I cannot wait to add Ethan to the mix and see how he reacts to each of his sisters. I imagine Reagan showing him how to sniff a raggy and do a cartwheel. I imagine Ryleigh teaching him how to read and telling him about the science stuff in his room. I imagine Becca wrestling with him and teaching him how to kick a soccer ball. I imagine Isabella sharing her love of animals and helping him keep his room clean. I feel like this little boy is going to change us all in a way we can't even imagine yet. We laugh about how he might be wild and bratty and that he may not even like science! I am just ready to know him! I hope he likes to rock and cuddle and that he will bond with us quickly. I pray that he will be healthy and feel loved immediately. I pray that every lonely moment he has had in his first two years of life will be erased when he gets to be spoiled by the six of us. I pray that he will someday understand the number of people it took to bring him home.
Our small group studied about Freedom tonight. Part of our discussion was about being a slave to God and having the only kind of freedom that matters, freedom in Jesus Christ. We talked about how people in America take freedom for granted and abuse the freedom our society provides. It is such a blessing to have brothers and sisters in Christ to talk and learn with. I love how close our small group has become and how special they are to us. We have been able to share some of our deepest hurts and exciting moments with them. God knew exactly what He was doing when He put our group together!
So, we are waiting to hear from Great Wall about when our paperwork is/was dropped off at the Consulate in Guangzhou, China. This is the Article 5 wait, which is the most predictable part of all. Provided GW tells us the drop-off day, we will know that it will be picked up in exactly two weeks. Then our wait for Travel Approval begins. This is averaging between 10 and 14 days for all the families in our group. Although GW still says we are several weeks away from a travel date, I know better! That is why we have made so many connections with other adopting families. We could travel as soon as a week after we receive TA. Of course, this depends on how quickly GW schedules our Consulate Appointment, which determines our travel dates. We are guessing that somewhere around the 3rd week of August, but it all depends on GW and how quickly they work for us. I don't even want to get started about how disappointed we are with them throughout this entire adoption. Completely different experience than with Reagan's adoption. Praying that our in-China experience is the same.
We found out who Ryleigh and Reagan's teachers are for next school year. God answered our prayers for both! So excited that Reagan has Mrs. Bechtel, it's going to be a great year! She was one of Ry's favorite teachers and just an amazing person! We don't know Ry's homeroom teacher but know that she has a great reputation. She's a cancer survivor and lover of the Lord, so we are so thankful! Both girls have several friends in their class, so that is also very exciting! Praise God!
A friend from church fixed the AC in the suburban, so now we have one vehicle that has air. Thank God for that, since we have had record breaking temperatures this past week. So blessed by good friends!
Tomorrow officially starts summer, as summer school finished on Friday at Bright Beginnings. I have a very long to do list, especially to get ready to be gone and not knowing how much work I will get done when Ethan is with me. I hope to get a lot accomplished this month and I also hope it flies by!