Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Heavenly Christmas Gift.

If you read my most recent post..."mommy...am I otay?" you will see the stress and anxiety I've been struggling with regarding the new house.

Christmas Day morning...we were not at the new house yet. We did not celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day. We chose, as a family, to wait until we move in the new place.  So Christmas Day was weird for us. We worked. Hard. On the shower in the master bedroom. We are installing all tile and all hardwood floor. Ourselves.  This is just one of the many things we are doing to save necessary money.

Our neighbor down the hill is a retired Navy Seal.  Our kids are in awe of him. We can't wait to sit and hear his stories.

He woke Christmas morning and looked out his front window to see the hill covered in a thick, heavy fog.  But...there was something. Brilliantly...shining...on the hill.  He couldn't believe what he saw.

He looked. He grabbed his phone to take pictures.

His text said this "I saw your house filled with the Spirit of God..."

When I saw the photos, I started to cry.  Like...that cry.  That cry like when I saw ZhenAi's photo for the first time. It's a deep, spiritual cry that I can't explain. I'm not crying. I'm not emotional in the moment but my eyes are crying. Yes...that. If it sounds confusing, it feels much more so.

You can try to explain these photos away. That the sun was shining on windows...but it's the wrong angle for the windows. Where his house is and where our window are...it doesn't add up.

Tirzah said it best. She said "I'm sure people will say it's all sorts of things but ... I believe."

Tirzah believes it's angels.  Angels with flames of fire.

I don't know what it is. But the tears that come every time I see it tell me it's something special.

What a beautiful Christmas gift.  After all the questions. Fears. Stress.  My doubts...if we will ever get in this house.

My close friends both had the same immediate thought when they saw the photos:

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.





Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"Mommy...Am I otay...?"

Nazara is 2.5 years old.  She's the baby of the family.

She had a head cold and went to bed at her normal bedtime.

It was about 11pm and all of a sudden she cried out "Mommy...!! Where are you??" :)

I ran upstairs and laid down beside her.  She scootched (yes, it's a word. In my world anyway) in close.  She went to sleep. She was breathing very heavily, not stirring a bit.  All of a sudden, she spoke up.

"Mommy...? Am I otay...?"

My eyes popped open. I was wide awake.  But it was a "did she really just say that?" moment.

I quickly answered. "yes, my love. You are okay".

She said "Otay Mommy. Otay" and went right back to sleep.

I laid there for the longest time.  Smiling in the dark.  Holding my sniffly 2 year old girl in a half hug.

I knew that message was for me.  How my 2 year old, in her sleep stupor, had just spoken directly to me...was a gift.

Here's what I knew in that moment. Sometimes...you just need to be told you are ok. You are going to be ok. And you are going to make it.

Ever been there?

Come on. I know you have.  If you haven't...someone you love, has.  And they simply need to be told..."you are ok".  I realized holding Nazara close...she just asked what I was asking...without ever using the words.

Don't read too much into this.  There's no hidden meaning here. I'm being transparent and real.  I have a lot on my plate right now.  The mortgage paperwork is making adoption paperwork look like a walk in the park. And that...that's saying something.

I find myself questioning if we'll ever get in the house, yet knowing deep down that we will.  There have been random, even crazy...bad news days.  Then there have been gifts and blessings that have left me spell bound.  There have been tears and questions...and then there has been peace. Peace that God brought us here not to drop us and leave us.

And all along I didn't realize until the moment my baby asked it...that my heart was crying out to God asking "am I okay...?"  Longing to hear the whisper.."ah my love.  You are totally ok. You are going to be ok. And you are going to make it. I got you."

I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I laid there processing what had just happened.

It's been a long season of waiting.  Of working. Of....striving.

At the end of the day...I just wanted to hear that soft, sweet voice that calms every fear in my heart. "oh Janice.  You are totally ok. And you...you are going to make it. Just like you always do. We got this."

If that's you...then this message is for you.  You are going to be okay.  Whatever is happening. Whatever is burdening you.  You...you are okay. You will be okay.  You are going to make it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ahhh. I'm still here.

I know if I tell you my life has been crazy...you couldn't possibly know what I mean.

But really...my life has been crazy.

We are up to our eyeballs in adoption paperwork.  We are so close to traveling to bring ZhenAi home.  So close that I can't even think about it quite yet because we have so much to get done before we go.

And...we are so close to moving into our house.  I know you think that moving can be fun and stressful but in our case...we are so involved in the building process. Especially now.

We spent today scrubbing the floors and shop-vaccing in prep for cabinets to be delivered hopefully tomorrow and for US to install hardwood floor starting this weekend.  Yes. We are doing that.

We also installed our own wood shelving in all the closets to save a ton of money but that also means caulking, taping and painting them all. I cried after doing the master closet as it took three coats. I'm doing this around being a full time Mama to 10.  Non stop runs to the out house on the property with little kids terrified of falling in (I get it!!).  Snacks, boo boos and just a need for a hug.  Paint everywhere. I'm not a neat painter.  And ... ahh.

It all led to a few days ago I took Azahria out to run errands and I stopped in the parking lot of Walmart and just cried. I couldn't even drive.  I didn't want to do errands, I didn't want to go home and face the hours of paperwork on my desk...I just felt overwhelmed.

I know. This comes as a shock to you. But it shouldn't.  You only think I'm superhuman.  I'm...not.

In my sadness and feelings of complete exhaustion in the Walmart parking lot, I notice this grandpa aged man trying to wrap a large BBQ in the wind. I dried my eyes, pulled forward, rolled down my window...and asked if he needed help. He warmly smiled but assured me he had it under control.  I must have connected with that statement...b/c I promptly parked and got out to help him.

I get it.  I'm fiercely independent too.  But he needed help.  He smiled and sweetly said "you are my Christmas angel".  Ahh. I felt like anything but.  He talked about his adopted grandchildren and was just plain wonderful.  I got in the van with a bounce in my step.

Yes...I have a lot going on right now.  But I'll make it.  We'll make it.  And getting my eyes off my mess for a moment was just what I needed.

I do have specific prayer requests.  We have some strange issue with the IRS and our income taxes not being posted properly.  Whatever...they are a mess and anything but fun to deal with.  But this NEEDS to be sorted asap for us to get the mortgage approved. Yes.  That's on my plate too.

God has shown up in so many ways. For our family. Our house. Our adoption. That we know we are where we are supposed to be.  Yet ... it's amazing how I can sit questioning it all in a moment of weakness.

I am totally transparent about the fact that God called us to this adoption when we were already in the process of building our house.  It's just a lot...all at once.  And they are both at the end...at the same time.

We are trying to get into the house in the first week of January and travel to China in February.

All of this to simply ask...that you would pray for us.  For the tax situation to be fixed asap...and for everything else to line up so we can close on the house quickly and get settled before we head to China.

Thank you. For being a part of our journey and praying with us.  For us.  All of us.

XO



Monday, December 7, 2015

LOA!

We received our Letter Of Approval (soft copy) at day 21 since LID!

Needless to say...we and our agency were shocked!

What does this mean? This is a big, big step closer to bringing ZhenAi home.

We are likely traveling in February.  And trying to move first of January.

Please...if you would be so kind...keep us in your sincere prayers. We have a lot going on right now.

Thank you so very much, friends.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The prayers of a little girl.

I tell this story...because it's even though it was such a 'small' prayer...it was answered...in a big way.

And I tell it with the sensitivity that many prayers...by many heartfelt hearts...go seemingly unanswered.   And you and I...this side of Heaven, will never know the answer to why that is.

This is a story...about a prayer that was answered. Though small...it was big.

To one little girl...it was very big.

Tirzah turned 12.  There was only one item on her wish list for the last year.  We stopped talking about it. She had stopped talking about it. But it was her #1 wished for gift.

A kitten.

We have not been an 'animal family'. Yes, we have a horse. But...indoor pets...not so much.

I grew up with a siamese kitten and determined if we ever had a cat...it would be one with fun, spunky personality like siamese.

For Tirzah's birthday, we found an amazing family with new 6 week old siamese kittens. In fact...we decided to go for an 'afternoon drive' for these kittens. The people became friends.  We sat and visited with them, with all of our children for over an hour.

During the hour...Azlan fell in love with the feistiest one there.  No surprises in that connection! :)

After looking at me with those eyes and me knowing he has the money in his account...no intentions of going to China...we decided he could buy one as well. So Tirzah got on for her birthday and Azlan bought one with his money.

The names were decided. Moe and Joe.

By the time we got home that evening...Azlan was quite sick. The next day I took him to the pediatrician to find out he was having quite an asthmatic reaction and needed an inhaler.  She said it was highly unlikely this would go away and to not give him treatments sooner than every 4 hours.  Well by 2 hours after treatments...the child would be wheezing, red face and barely able to catch his breath.

We knew it wasn't looking good.

By the second night, Tirzah knew as well.

I went up in her room to find her snuggly Moe and Joe, two tiny 6week old kittens. She was sobbing. Her face was red, puffy, swollen.

As I laid down beside her, stroking her hair...there was little to say.  I had honestly never seen her so emotionally distraught.  She finally spoke up:  "Have you ever had your absolute dream come true...only to have it ripped away two days later?"  Now ... you would have to know Tirzah.  She's all about her siblings and of all her struggles...selfishness isn't really one.  I told her I completely understood and was so sorry for this happening. She quickly looked up at me and said "it would take a miracle wouldn't it? A total miracle for Azlan's asthma to be gone? Because he's getting worse and worse..." She stopped and told me how she's praying for that miracle b/c she would know it was God and nothing else.

I actually cried with her. It was a simple prayer. Not life altering. No disease. No death bed. Just a simple, sweet prayer...from a hurting little girl.  In perspective...it was a non issue.  To her...? In that moment...? It was a big one.

She wanted a companion. Not a dog.  Tirzah's a reader. Loves crafts. Books. Quiet time. She wanted a sweet kitten to hang out with.

When I came downstairs, I thought "God...that would be such a sweet prayer to answer. A big one...? no. An important one from your vantage point? Not even close. But...for her...a big one."  Her faith will be tested in this big, wild world. There's no doubt.  This...this would be so much to her. Right now.

Dean ran to the store and got a filter for the air return that helped w/ pet dander. We both knew that wouldn't cut it.  This wasn't sneezing and puffy eyes. This was quite extreme asthma.  One hour after treatments I could hear his wheezing across the room.  :(

Well at 7 am the next morning, I ran into his room to find him still sleeping. I laid my ear by his chest to listen and there was no wheezing. Remembering the night before he had come into our room at 4am barely able to catch his breath, I went downstairs thinking he probably just had a treatment before Dean left the house.

I called Dean at 9...he said "no...I listened to him when I left and he sounded perfect!".

He has not had wheezing or a treatment since.

That is now over a week ago.

I have friends much more experienced with pet issues than I. They all agree. Asthmatic reactions to cats...don't go away.  Especially extreme ones.  The pediatrician had told me "please prepare your children...for rehoming your kittens".  We did decide to rehome Azlan's. And we did that quickly.  I apologize...publicly...for my lack of faith in doing so.  I thought "if he can't play with him, sleep with him etc...he paid for him...then we mind as well move on".  And we did. Azlan was fully on board with the decision.

But Tirzah...? Tirzah had that heartfelt...sweet prayer from a breaking 12 year old heart...answered.

And she will tell you with a sparkle in her eye.


Monday, November 16, 2015

LID!

As of November 10th, we are officially LID! Now the count down :)

And...we got beautiful new pictures of our beautiful girl.

Yes in one she is crying. We were also given videos and we can see why she's crying in the video (big thanks to my brother and his wife who interpreted it for us!).

We are doing as much as we can to bring this beautiful girl home.

Isn't she stunning?

Breathtaking.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do not become...weary.

Today this verse has played over and over in my head. It has been a few months since I read Galations...so I will take it as a whisper from God.

I need it today.

Janice...do not become weary. Do not become weary ... in doing good.

Have you ever done something for a long time and you just grit your teeth and get through it...then as soon as there is hope of things changing...light at the end of the tunnel...you find it so hard to keep going?

Yeah. That.

Like when we moved into our small rental home very, very temporarily...but it dragged out much longer than we thought.  And we did it.  Without complaints.  Until now.  The house is almost done. The light is at the end of the tunnel. We can see the end...and suddenly..it's so very hard to be ... here.

That's where I am with Taizi.  Suddenly...it feels even harder.  We still have a very long road ahead to get help and care.  No prescriptions can be given quite yet.  Whether I agree with it or not...it's the way it is.  SO yes, he still woke with new bruises on his face this morning and he has been hitting himself ever since we left Children's on Monday.  It's a process. And now we get to the back of the line.

And somehow...it's much harder now.  Now that I know I'm not crazy and that his needs are profound...now it's much harder to wait.  

Do you relate with that at all?

Something I've realized in writing my thoughts for you all to read...is that though our circumstances vary greatly...often the same lessons are being taught.  Whether it's being stuck in the land in between in your living arrangements...your job...your marriage...

Do not...become weary in doing...good.

Ahhhh.

But...I am.  I am weary. I am... tired.

When Taizi threw his breakfast on the floor for the fifth time this morning... and I calmly pointed for him to get down to the floor to get it...and he's shaking his head and limbs and hysterically laughing the whole time...and whacking himself so hard I'm ducking to not get hit....then he dumps his water on him and me...

Weary?

We are on minute 55 of just trying to get food into him this morning....

Weary.  

I fall back to my knees. My head in my hands.  Just...sitting.  

In that moment...I hear a soft, gentle whisper of a good Dad who loves me so deeply.

"Oh Janice.  Do not...become weary. You are doing good...do not allow yourself to become weary..."

Suggesting somehow...that I have control over it.  Hmmmm.

Or do I?

If He says "do not..." then surely I have control over it happening or not...right?

I smile. Perhaps only inwardly.  Put my shoulders back...remind myself that I can indeed do hard things. Even this.  And I can do it...without becoming weary.  I can be whole hearted. Not robotic.  No. A whole hearted do-er.  

My brain rapidly searches for things to be thankful for. They won't be related to breakfast. Not today.

But...I did walk into his room as his pajamas and blankets were thrown out of his bed and the diaper was inevitably next.  And it was full of explosive diarrhea. SO yes. I am thankful I walked in in THAT moment.  Just before the next step happened.  I can choose thankfulness there.

As I sit reading Galations over agin...it hits me that someone else needs this message today.  No...you don't have a Taizi.  But you...you are weary.  And you feel yourself giving in.

Don't.

Hold on.  

Help is coming.

And if you cannot see it...please...please just go walk in your front door and look up.  Look up into the sky.  It's so very big. And suddenly you see how very small you and this situation is.  If God can keep all of that in control...surely...you situation is not too big for Him.

Yes. Yes I do that...lots.  In my despair...I look up.  

Psalms 121:1.  One of my favorites. 

I look to the hills...where does my help come from? 

Do not become weary in doing good. At the proper time, we will reap the harvest if we do not give up.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Small gifts.

I have learned to really tune in to the details in life and try to recognize the gifts. So easily missed...so easily overlooked.

For me...today...it's the gift of a precious little 2 year old girl that potty trained herself.  I couldn't miss this gift if I tried. I dread that task. I've done it many times and to hear your little girl say "I have to go potty" and put her there and have her go...well...yes.  All morning she has done that.  On her own.

Our days are filled with small gifts. Things we will someday look back on and only hope to remember. The little things that made us smile. That made us look toward Heaven and whisper..."thank you, I needed that".

Today...it's a small gift but in my life of juggling 'hard things'...but I take it as a kiss from Heaven.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Taizi.

Ahhh. Today was THE day.  A day I forgot about until I was reminded by the Children's Hospital recording but...nevertheless, we made it. :)

We were in the van before 5am with all 12 of us. It was dark, the children were all excited and off we went.  And as we did, we smiled to each other that the kids are excited to do these mundane days with us.

We arrived at the Autism Clinic for our 9am appt.  I went in with Taizi. Dean stayed in the waiting room with the other 9.  (My job was much harder, we both agree on that one! :)

We first saw the speech pathologist. Then the behavioral psychologist. Then the psychiatrist.

Each one was amazing.

Taizi was Taizi.  He bit me several times. He grabbed my hands to bite my ring.  He head butted me multiple times. He kept banging his head HARD on the arm of the chair over and over and over. He hit his face with closed fist  many many times.  He sat gasping air, spitting, crossing his eyes and shaking his arms and legs.

Several times the doctor yelped as I was about to get my jaw smashed with his head.

He was not in distress. He was laughing. Semi crying.  Chewing his tongue. Just being Taizi.

All through the discussions they were watching closely.

Then we got to the last doctor. She was really sweet. I never know the responses I will get...IN Seattle...when they find out we have 10 children. But this team? They were so wonderful.  She kept saying "I really feel I just want to get to know you...and see how you can be so amazing".  Amazing, huh?  Sigh.

Just yesterday I was feeding Taizi and he was spewing his food everywhere and then proceeded to dump his water everywhere...while going frantic with his arms and legs and almost wacking me every few seconds.  Tirzah was there watching and I was smiling. Like...a forced smile. She said "why are you smiling Mommy?" I told her I've learned that I can indeed do hard things but now I'm trying to focus on doing hard things...with joy.  She said "oh that must be very hard. It looks like you are forcing your smile" I assured her that I was but I'm sure that if I force it enough, it will soon become natural.  She smiled.

After several hours in these appts we were told to go for lunch and come back in 1.5 hours. I came back alone to meet with the behavior specialist.

They could not figure out why it took us 3 years to get in to this appt and I assured them the craniofacial team has many frantic recorded voicemails and conversations of me begging for help.  Of waking and seeing more large purple bruises on Taizi's body and begging...for something to help.  They were more than sad to hear, for no known reason, there was zero urgency to get us help.

In fact, when I last spoke to his team I told them our other children feel we are not getting great medical care. I love the team...but really.  She asked why and I said b/c they have seen for 3 years their brother who is extremely sleep deprived and very "self injurious".

Well..here we are.  And as hard as I pushed...I'll have to trust the timing b/c it was NOT for lack of effort. And...maybe even emotionally charged begging.

In the behavior doctor's words: "Taizi is globally delayed. His file is extensive.  He is also PROFOUNDLY mentally delayed and PROFOUNDLY Self Injurious".

Ok. Let's just pause for a moment.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted just in hearing that.

I wanted to cry.  I felt...validated.  That I wasn't crazy...after all. Yes, he's cute. DOn't get me wrong. But I'm not from a 'medical family'.  I don't have experience with 'mentally delayed' individuals and I've always felt my feelings were tainted by the fact that it's me.  Even Dean has felt that his delays are mild  and very manageable.  Now...that's coming from extensive experience working in an institution for the mentally handicapped.  (Let's not get angry at my choice of words...there is nothing condescending about my words whatsoever...it is simply what the institution is.)

Today to hear top professionals in this field state that Taizi should have been at their doorstep THE DAY he was first seen @ Children's for intensive therapy and help.  Made me want to cry. For many reasons.

I try to live focused on "no regrets".  No, I'm not perfect. Yes, I fail.  But I can't go back and think what if someone took me seriously and got us here sooner. They didn't. And I tried. Hard.

Even on his file it says "mother referred child, no doctor referral". Lovely. It's really not the case but perhaps because I was the one insistent on this appt...it's appropriate.

We were also told that Taizi's behavior issues are the very very hardest to treat.  As they are "sensory" 98% of the time. In other words, he's not mad, not having a fit, but he injures himself because it feels good.

So much of this behavior was enforced 3.5 years of living in a crib in an orphanage.  Since he is NOT atypical, and has loss of 2 senses (full deaf and partially blind)...combined with profound developmental delay....it was much more significant.  A "typical" (Healthy) child could be "loved out of these behaviors" whereas Taizi...cannot.

Let's just go back to that. 3.5 years in a crib, shaped this child into who he is today.  If born into our family would he be typical? NO.  Definitely not.  Not saying that at all. Just saying it was compounded by his very rough start to his life.

So here we are today, in what the doctors referenced as a very "rich environment".  Full of warmth, love, lots of happy, healthy children...but Taizi still has very self injurious behaviors.  You can put him in a room full of toys and he will probably still stare at his fingers and cross his eyes and hit his face.  No amount of color or fun will pull him out of it.

They could not believe we have gotten him eating. Real food. I was told that is very very very difficult to get a child with Taizi's level of disabilities to eat. Table food. Well...many of you remember me blogging about the hours of screams we endured to get here but here we are.


They were shocked. Saddened. And really in total disbelief that he has not been getting disability services.  That we have no help. No home care. No therapists coming to our home.  Nothing.  They said he qualifies for every service at every level.  Full care.

I smiled as I told him my motto is "I can do hard things". He said "is that how you've talked yourself through this?" I smiled he said "this isn't hard...this is intense. And we can't believe you've done it for 3 years".

At least I know by "hard things" ... I wasn't exaggerating.

Ahhhh!

The plan.

Immediately: sleep study.  Based on his loud snoring and his breathing they witnessed in the office they believe he may have something significant that is interrupting his sleep. (You have no idea how many times I've suggested this and been shrugged off).  They want that done ASAP.

Then they have prescribed meds for sleep but under the care of his cardiologist.

Then meds for just calming him.  Often given to children with profound mental delay.

Then hooking us up with full care disability services in our home once we move in a few months.

Then an intensive 20 week program with this team. Where we will come every week for several hours one day and do intensive behavioral therapy. For 20 weeks in a row.

From there they will hook us up with local behavioral therapists that will come to our home and work together with this team.

When I asked why coming back here for 20 weeks vs local care (only because I know others will ask me that), he said "because this is profound, profound self injurious behaviors and that calls for the best of the best in therapy and I'm it".

Now you see why I feel lighter today.

For three years I've carried the burden that maybe I was just weak. Not strong enough.  Not cut out for this job enough.  To...today...discovering....no.  That's not it at all. Taizi is not slightly delayed. This is very significant and he needs intense medical help.

So thankful for today.


Friday, October 23, 2015

DTC!

Big news this morning!!

We are now DTC today!! Meaning our Dossier (huge pile of paperwork) is TO CHINA!

All documents are authenticated and this pile is now on it's way to China! This is a big step!

What is next? In a week or so we wait to hear we are Logged In.  We call it LID or Log In Date.  Meaning it's now entered into the system and the countdown begins for a LOA (Letter of Approval).

We needed a LID of December 15th or we were going to be in trouble with ZhenAi's filed but we are now months ahead of schedule!  So we are doing great.

Our last Chinese adoption, our LOA wait was 77 days from LID. This time they seem to be running really fast.  We will see. We are told it's about 4-5months after LOA to travel.  Honestly, April would work really well for us.

We were just awarded a matching grant of $4000! So we are starting a big holiday Facebook auction on Monday to raise the funds. If you are friends with me on fb, you can be invited to the auction.  Feel free to add me. (Janice Procopio Walker) and send a little private note saying you follow my blog :)

We have just requested a photo update of ZhenAi, hopefully we get one.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"I can do hard things" ends tomorrow!

This fundraiser ends tomorrow! Click on the link below to see all styles, colors, sizes and prices! All proceeds go to bringing ZhenAi home.

Monday, October 19, 2015

I did it, Mom!

Tirzah came skipping down the stairs last night...holding her bible with the embossed horse on the front cover. "I did it, Mom!" she was beaming.

We both knew what it meant.

This girl...just read the Bible cover to cover.

She looked at me and said "So...someone was wrong. They told me if I read 4 chapters every day I'd do it in a year. But...I started January 1...and it's only October 17th!! So I guess it's 3 chapters a day. Now I know!" :)

She hasn't missed.  No matter how tired she was. If Mommy and Daddy were out of town or not. When she was in Mexico with us. She read 4 chapters every day. One day I remember she read 8 b/c she didn't know if she'd be exhausted the next night from travelling late.

Oh the lessons we could learn.

I asked her a few questions.

Me: Why did you decide to read the whole Bible?
Tirzah: Well it was a good idea to read the Bible because I need to and I thought it would be great to read it in a year.  Even though a year is a long time.

Me: Why did you think it was a good idea though?
Tirzah:  Well, to hear God speak to me.

Me:  Was it hard to stick to your commitment?
Tirzah:  Yah. Sometimes I forgot, only a few times but those times I made sure to read doubt (8 chapters) the next day.

Me:  Did you ever feel like quitting?
Tirzah: Well sometimes only because some of the books are hard to read.

Me: What books were the hardest?
Tirzah: Honestly...Psalms, Romans.  Because I love the books about Jesus...and some were stories, that's easier for me.

Me: Why was Psalms hard?
Tirzah: Well some of it didn't super make sense to me.

Me: Did you understand that it's David's songs to God?
Tirzah: Yes I do know that. Some was Soloman too.

Me: What was your favorite books in the Old Testament?
Tirzah: First and Second Samuel definitely!

Me:Why?
Tirzah: I love the story about David and Abigail.

Me: What was your second favorite of the Old Testament?
Tirzah: Well loved reading about Joseph, Abraham and Isaac.  The thing that surprised me was the story of Moses wasn't what I thought, I thought it would be more details. The amount of sacrifices people had to do for their sin also surprised me.

Me: What was your favorite of the New Testament?
Tirzah:  Matthew b/c it was the first I got to hear about Jesus after reading the Bible for months. I was so excited to finally get to the part about Jesus!

Me: Why was that exciting?
Tirzah: It was good because I had been reading the Old Testament for so long and now I got to hear about Jesus and his miracle birth, his miracles he did in his life, how he died for us.

Me: Any other favorites in the NT besides the Gospels?
Tirzah: Yes it would have to be Acts b/c I loved hearing about Peter now telling others about Jesus.

Me: Anything you want to share that you feel you learned that you didn't know before?
Tirzah: Well I learned lot of things. In Moses' story they had to sacrifice so much and they always had to sacrifice their BEST! Like, not the one they wanted to get rid of. That really hit me.  I loved reading bout how so many people had to trust God.
I learned a lot reading about Elijah and Elisha.  That it took so much faith like when the city ran out of food and they believed God and the next day they learned the enemy was gone. They weren't attacked after all.  And there was tons and tons and tons of food!

Me:Did reading the Bible change anything for you?
Tirzah: Well yes I learned I have to trust God more.  Sometimes when I'm afraid, even things like at Silverwood on scary rides, I need to trust God. Because other people trust God with much bigger things. That was something that I really understood when I read the Bible.

Me: Do you think you will learn more by reading the Bible again?
Tirzah: Oh absolutely! I'm going to do this over and over and over again for the rest of my life! I know I will learn every single time!!

Me: I'm super proud of you Tirzah.
Tirzah: Oh thanks Mom.  I'm glad I did it. Do you think we could maybe get donuts for recess tomorrow....to like celebrate or something?

:)


Just some wisdom from our not yet 12 year old Tirzah Liberty.



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Just 5. You can do 5.

This story is written by one of my personal heroes. Yes. She is. This girl is 15 years old and their family has gone through such a hard, tragic loss. When I found out Azlan was cleft affected @19weeks gestation, Kailyn Loewen's mom, Nichole Loewen, is probably the third person I contacted. Little Noah was cleft affected and we were suddenly forever linked by an incredible bond. I have watched their family go through incredible loss. And pick themselves up and live a life that is nothing short of admirable. After little Noah passed away, they moved their family from Canada to Florida for one main reason: To volunteer with Give Kids The World (Make a Wish) that gave so much joy to their little Noah. Kailyn Loewen has a heart of gold. But she's only 15. I suggested she do a gofundme account to raise money that will supply the food she needs to bless 100 families. She has no idea how amazing she is. She's only 15 and the world could use more Kailyns. It won't take much. Not much at all. $5? $10? 100% of your money will feed poor children. One child...feeding many. I know there are so many gofundme's begging for your attention, but I ask you, from my heart...to take a closer look at this one.  Dean Walker and I decided long ago...we couldn't give a lot to everything, so we try to at least give $10 to the ones that tug at our hearts. We've seen the power of $10. At the very least, just read her story.

Could you give $2? $5? Just $5.  I have over 1000 people that read this blog daily. Can you imagine...if you just clicked the link and get $5??? This girl is amazing and she gives of herself 100%.  YOU can make a difference in just giving $5.  

I challenge you.

https://www.gofundme.com/x76e7u2s

Friday, October 16, 2015

Chazano won!!

A young 11 year old boy did a grant for siblings to travel to China to adopt their new sibling. Each child had to answer a few questions UNASSISTED (yikes!! haha) and pay $10 to apply.

Well...Chazano won third place and won $300 towards his trip to China!!!

He's so excited.

Here's his application. It's so funny and SO CHAZANO, that I wanted to share it.

1.  My name is Chazano Walker.  I am a twin.  I was born in Africa.  My tummy mom died and my tummy dad never knew me.  My great aunt took care of me.  I was adopted when I was 5 years old.  Now I’m 11.  I remember seeing my new mom come in a airplane. I do remember giving her a hug. I did not know why she did that, I was very confused and little.  And so when my mom went home to America, I was thinking about her. When she came back to Africa, she adopted us and we went to an airplane and we came here to America.  I have 9 siblings.  At first I was very scared to meet this kids and they show me so much. I love this family and I think ZhenAi will like it too. I love sports.

2.  ZhenAi might be smaller than me. I hope she’s not scared of the dark. I hope we will be friends.  I can’t wait to see her soon. I’m really happy that she’ll be adopted by us. I always dreamed of having an adopted sister.  Sometimes I feel afraid but I know my Mom and Dad are with me. My twin brother loves book. I love sports. He’s getting glasses, I’m getting a new haircut.  So we are not alike at all. He’s skinnier and I’m a little tiny bit stronger. I like to run, he likes to read.  Sometimes I think what will we be when we grow up.  I hope we can still be close to all my brothers and sister when we are adults. 

3. I think it’s important to go to China. I will see a whole new world. There’s lots people there but I won’t be afraid. We will go to a hotel and I will see new people.  It’s important that I’m there for ZhenAi so I can give her a hug, but only if she’s not afraid of me. I will never ever forget that day that I get to meet my new sister. She may have some disabilities but I still love her.  

4.  I do laundry, clean the van lots and do lots of chores, clean the shoes and get money for doing those things. I try to help as much as I can. And will do lots more. I take good care of our baby too and even though she’s 2, I do that. The $500 will really help me go to see ZhenAi and will also help me go to in an airplane which I always wanted to do. To look out the window and see the sea. There is one thing I am afraid of! The dark. But it’s ok because my brothers and sisters are with me. So I think of me in Paradise! Sometimes there is someone in my way, it would just be my twin brother, he thinks I’m sleeping when I dream of Heaven so he tries to wake me! 

5. Did I already say I like to play sports? Yes. I do. I am kind of small but I sure jump high and I do big things. My arms are not that big but I do feel like my arms are just fine.  And well what I do is run fast. I am strong and I do run. And I do love to play sports.  I think about the future and every time I try not to be afraid. When I meet new people I try not to be scared instead of say “Hi I’m CHazano and its nice to meet you”. I like doing school and we are building a house. We are going to live n that house and I CANNOT WAIT. I can’t wait to see my new sister see this new house. I wonder if she will think its big or tiny. I remember being scared when I first met my new family so I understand how she feels. When she learned English I will help her understand that this family can change her life because they changed my life. They make me life. My brother Zion is taller than me but I kinda think I might be taller than him. He makes me laugh. Sometimes he makes me cry. Most of the time we play football. My brother Azlan was born with a cleft lip and he doesn’t hear well. When he’s sad I try to cheer him up. I don’t say rude things to him. When things are tough I try to always think there s hope. There is always hope. I’m never alone and I know there will be lots of things in the future but I try not to be scared. When things may seem tough I just feel like I’m alone but there’s no need because I’m never alone. I have so many great brothers and sisters that help me.  Voila. It’s just like that. We really get along great.  When people cry I know how they feel because I have seen my life change. I know I’m home here!!




Here is Zunduka's entry:

1.  My name is Zunduka Walker.  I am 11 years old.  I was adopted. I was born in Africa by the equator.  I was born August 29, 2004 with a twin brother.  We are not identical twins.  My tummy mommy, she got very sick and then she died.  We were just babies when she died. So our grandmother’s sister was taking care of us.  She was very old and so she couldn’t take care of us any longer.  My twin brother and me, we had a cousin that we didn’t really know was our cousin until later in our life. After that lady could not take care of us anymore, someone else took care of us for a little bit.  My forever dad’s sister is a nurse there in Africa and she helped take care of us for a bit.  I was adopted when I was 5.5 years old.  I didn’t really know that I was about to get adopted.  I remember when my Mom came to visit.  We went to a small airport and there was a small plane and my mom got off the plane. We said “hello” and got to know her. I don’t remember that I knew that she was going to adopt us.  She stayed with us for two weeks and then she went to her country, America, and then later she came back but I didn’t really know one thing about that. The last day or something we were going to our village but then we got some news that we needed to go somewhere so we didn’t get to go to our village.  When we were going on a airplane, our mom said “do you need to go to the bathroom yes or no?” but we didn’t understand so we just copied her and said “yes or no” because we didn’t know english yet. I like that story. It makes me laugh.  When I was in the airport and I saw my brothers and sisters, I didn’t really know what was going on. When we hugged I felt better! When we got home, we had a party. I thought it was our birthday but it was just a party to celebrate that we were with our family and that we would live with them until we grow up and get married and be adults. I really love my forever family. We a lot of time play football and sports. We go to Seattle to have doctor appointments for three of my brothers.  I really really love this family because they take care of me and love me. I love them back.  Our mom and dad they work from home so we can spend time with them a  lot.  We are building a house so mom and dad are working super hard so we can buy a new house that is on a hill with lots of place to play.  I’m really excited to go and live in our new house.   I love to read.  I love to read the Bible. So i can learn more about Jesus and I know that I am going to Heaven because I believe in Him.  I love Jesus because He is God’s Son.  And the world has so much sin and if we didn’t know Jesus we would live sinful lives and I don’t think I would have this amazing family if it wasn’t for Jesus. Jesus came to earth to be a baby and He grew up teaching people about God. Then He died on a cross and they put nails in His feet and thorns on His head. He died. Three days later he rose again and went back to Heaven. He did all that for us so we could be with God if we believe in Him. That’s why I love Jesus and that’s why I want to learn about Him.

2.  The child we are adopting lives in China.  I don’t really know much about the place she lives there but I know she lives in China. Her name is ZhenAi. She’s 12 years old.  She just turned 12 in September. And she like a problem with her arm and it doesn’t really work so she doesn’t use it that much.  She’s an orphan.  

3.  I think it’s really important that I go to China so that ZhenAi can know me and she will know that I’m a really great brother. She will know I’m a great brother that isn’t mean and won’t bully her ever.  I think it would be great to see her place where she was born too. When I was adopted I was scared and nervous to meet a new family and be adopted. When I learned that my family was really nice and was a good family that loves Jesus, it helped. If I go to China I can help her know we are good family that loves Jesus and we will take of her.  She won’t have to be afraid and nervous, I think I can help her with that.

4.  I am trying to raise money by doing chores and getting paid for them. I also try to watch my baby sister when my mom and dad need help. I also wash dishes and do laundry and I’m working really hard to think of other ways to raise money to go China.  The $500 will me almost buy my airplane ticket and I think I raise the rest of the money.  So $500 will really really help me go to China.  

5.  I go to a really great church that is really fun and I love my teacher and she is really nice and our family really gets to spend time together a lot.  I’m really thankful for my forever family and I’m thankful that my family gets to do so much together that maybe other families don’t get to. That’s sad.


Here is Zion's entry:

1. My name is Zion Courage Walker.  I am 10 years old.  I like to play sports.  I love babies!  I love my little sister, she is 2 years old.  I am going to have 5 sisters, I also have 5 brothers.  I love my family.  Our family loves Jesus Christ. I love to help my mom and dad clean. We are going to be moving to the mountain in Benton City, Wa.

2. The girl that we are adopting is ZhenAi.  She is from China.  She just turned 12 years old.  I think she’s going to be happy living where we are going to live. I think she’s so lucky because there are so many kids that are orphans, yet she gets to be in our family.  I think she will really like doing school with us too.  I think she will like lots of brothers and sisters. Our family will love her and I hope she will love us.

3.  I want to go to China and see her beautiful country. I want to be one of the first in our family to meet our new sister.  I would love to see her foster home and family because I want to know the people that took care of my sister.  I want to know she is ok.  It’s important that I’m there because it’s a big moment that I will remember for the rest of my life that I was there to meet her when she came into our family. I think I’m old enough that I will remember this for my whole life.  I want to make sure ZhenAi is not afraid and if she meets several of our family in China, I think she will be more comfortable.  I hope she’s comfortable meeting us. 

4.  I am babysitting my 2 year old sister to raise money to go to China. I do lots of laundry and chores that my Mom and Dad pay me for.  I am working very hard and saving most of my money and holding back on spending any money on other things because I really think I should be in China meeting her. Today I helped my Dad build a fence so I could earn money.  I am working hard in many ways and hoping I will have enough money to go! The $500 would help me because I really need the money to be able to afford to go.  I just don’t have very much money right now. If i had more money, I would share a lot with my new sister. I’m working so hard to go on this trip.  For every $20 I put in my bank account, my parents give me another $5 towards my trip.  If I get this $500 I will be so very happy. I won’t brag to others, I will be very kind about it and thankful.

5. I really love helping people. I love to organize things. I just turned 10 years old.  I was born July 9th.  I am so happy that I have a big family. I love my mom and dad and so do I love all my brothers and sisters. I play with them. I play sports with them, I sometimes even play tea parties to spend time with my sisters!  I love fishing as a 10 out of 10 on things that I love!!

Tirzah's entry:

1. My name is Tirzah Walker.  I am almost 12 years old.  I live in Washington state.  I am homeschooled with my brothers and sisters.  I have six brothers, four of them are adopted.   I also have three sisters.   I am the oldest of 10 children and I love them all very, very much! I love horses and have my own horse. His name is Marz.

2.  My new sister that we are adopting is 2 months older than me.  She just turned 12.  Her name is ZhenAi Poppy.  She has Cerebral Palsy and was found orphaned as a one year old baby.  I am really happy that she is close to my age.  She’s so pretty too.

3.  I would love to see ZhenAi in China.  I really need this money to meet her in China.  I want to be there when she first meets our mom and dad so she’s not afraid.  I cannot wait to be her sister and help her learn English.

4. I am raising money but working very hard babysitting my brothers and sisters.  I have earned over $400 so far to go towards my trip to China!  Plus, every time I earn $20, my mom and dad give me an extra $5 towards my trip!! This extra $500 would help me so much.

5.  I have been wanting a sister my age for so long, I never thought it will ever come true.  I prayed for this for a long time and I am so excited to meet her!


Monday, October 12, 2015

I.Can.Do.Hard.Things

This has become my life motto. I say it multiple times a day. And now...our children say it too.

:)

This fundraiser is much simplified over the last one.

You can order and get it shipped right to you. Scroll through and see the multiple styles and colors.  There are many more colors of the hoodie!! And know you are bringing our daughter home.








Sunday, October 11, 2015

Only good.

Many of you know that I really dislike flying.

I'm not sure when this happened in my life...because it wasn't long ago that I loved it. I think once I had to leave my children home...that was the turning point.

I know we all know people that dislike flying. I promise you...my fear of flying is much, much worse.

Yes, I've been consoled that there's a name for it. Also been told many times by many people I should take meds while I fly.

I am really trying to do something different.

Surrender.

And oh...this one is a big one.

In the words of my husband: "I LOVE traveling with you. I get to look at your back the entire time. You won't talk, won't move, won't turn away from the window.".

That.

I want to be at the back of the plane because I want to see everyone if I need to.  Yes. I just said that.  I don't ever look at the people but if I 'need' to, I want to know I can.

Do I have control issues...? Ahhhh...!

Please...I know (now that I'm home and on the ground...) that it doesn't make any sense. But...when I'm in the air...it absolutely does.

So turbulence...? Yah.

No.

Yes I have it. A lot.  It seems a lot of our flights are just not...smooth.

Last night we flew home from Palm Springs, CA (a business trip).  When we got on the last flight (just a short 40 minute flight from Seattle), the pilot announced there would be no snack service on the flight at all because he wanted the stewardesses buckled up the entire flight as it was forecasted to be quite rough.

Seriously.

You know it's bad when.

He then said it's extremely windy out and basically, stay seated, it's a short flight.

I texted my friend and asked her to pray.  Tirzah was waiting up to see us and she was praying too.

As we took off, I was once again glued to the window.  Interestingly...I was calm.  I just had this strange peace.  A few minutes in, Dean put his head set on my head. I wouldn't' even turn to look at his phone, I mean... I LOCK on the window.  Somehow I've convinced myself that if I can see down...I'm safer.  I have no idea.  It's really not logical.

I could see down. For a good bit of the way.  This is late. 11:20pm.

Then there were clouds.  I couldn't see down.  On my headphones...Dean had played "After All".

One of my very favorites.

After all...You are constant.

After all...You are ONLY good...

It was right then and there that instead of being fixated on the clouds beneath...I looked up.  And the sky. Oh...it was amazing. Full of stars.  So clear.

It was perfect timing.  The panic was setting in. The song was playing.  I could no longer handle seeing down...and I looked up.  I wish it didn't take that...for me to look up. But it did.

Oh.  Oh....how true this is for so many areas of my life.

And...yours.

I was struck by how constant...how beautiful the sky was.  In the midst of my chaos.

I smiled to the window.  To the sky.

I really...truly...did.

Something magical happened.  The flight was the smoothest flight ever.

As we were coming in to land, the pilot announced there was a 45mile an hour cross wind and descent and landing would be rough.

It wasn't at all.  Unless I was so wrapped up in the 'constant' of my God that I didn't notice. And trust me...that in itself would be a huge answer to prayer and a miracle.

When we stepped off the plane...I felt like I was going to blow over. It was THAT windy.

I looked up to the stars...and just smiled.

So thankful for this night that God graciously answered the unspoken cries of his little girl's heart.  He doesn't always. No...He really doesn't. That flight home from Cancun in March was insane. All 5.5 hours of it pretty much.

We've heard it said many times...God can...and may calm the storm.  But if not...know for sure, He's in the storm with you.

I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.

Only good.  Good when He calms the winds and seas (that He created and controls...) and good when He doesn't .

Always. Only. Good.

The word ONLY in the song is so powerful.

He's not just good.

He's ONLY good.

He can't be otherwise.

Last night...He calmed the storm.  And this frail human being...is so very thankful.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Putting walk...to my talk.

I have read several blog posts floating social media about the Pro Life stance and how we, as christians, need to heart check.  Are we really pro life? Or are we anti-abortion...?

There is a difference.

I am not going to talk about adoption.

Though I could.

And hopefully, if you read our story...you will see God has called our family to love and parent the fatherless. He may call you as well.  My advice...?  Listen. Closely.

What hit me is the... thought.  Am I pro life?  The parents that often abort are young, single moms.  Growing up in rough situations.  Am I pro that young mom having a child?

I would answer a resounding, confidant...YES! Once that life is there...we are to protect it.  It is sacred.

Yet when that mom is in my church...and her poorly parented children are running around like little terrors...am I pro life? Am I supportive? Loving? Gentle?

Or am I rolling my eyes, annoyed and wishing she'd be anywhere...but there...?

Well this morning I was definitely called to put the walk to my talk.

We sat in church and a mom who has been coming with her wild, crazy toddler...sat in front of us.  This time, she brought 3 girls as well. All about 8-10 years old.  She sat all 4 children in the row BEHIND her.  Right beside us.

The worship wasn't even over and the kids were screaming.  I mean...wild, crazy, terrible twos, whatever you want to call it...would be a cake walk in comparison.  The entire congregation could hear the meltdowns.  She frequently got up, marched back to our row to yell at the kids. In a loud, very audible, barely classified as 'whisper'.  At one point the little boy (3 years old?) spit on her.  Another time he slapped her across the face.  Another he just screamed at the top of this lungs "NOOOOO! Don't touch me!!!!".  All while...staying..in church.  Mom had no control. None.

The girls sitting beside me were anything but behaved. One was constantly hanging upside down off her chair.  She looked to be 9 years old or so.  They were leaning over to talk to their mom. Getting yelled at.  Yelling back.  It was a nightmare.

Hear a message? Honestly...I don't know if I heard more than 10 words!

The natural thought process?  Really...? Your kids are not well behaved enough to sit in church.  Why are they not sitting WITH you?  Why has your husband not once noticed this mayhem?  Little boy...is a walking, screaming, out of control...TERROR.

Then I remembered the blogs I read.  ProLife?  Or...anti abortion?

Ouch.

I leaned over to the girl a few seats away from me.  I tapped her on the arm. She whipped her head around at me, GLARED and said "WHAT?!?!".  I smiled and said "I was wondering if you could draw me a picture?" I handed her a pen and paper.  She snapped "WHY!?!?".  I think everyone in my section is hearing this conversation.  I have no idea if it's going to work.  I said "I would love to see how amazing you can draw. Could you do that? I bet you can do a beautiful picture!".  She is staring at me with a scowl. Totally trying to figure me out. I have a pasted...perhaps begging smile on my face.

She snatches it out of my hand and kneels on the floor beside her chair. And starts to draw. She drew a quick, rushed, sloppy dog.  She glared up at me and I smiled.  She kept going. She drew the most detailed picture.  It took her 15 minutes or so.  Mom sitting ahead didn't seem to notice the row behind her was suddenly very quiet.

When she was done she handed it to me.  The intensity of her eyes grabbed my heart.  She was so baffled why I'd want anything from her.  Her hair was matted and all over the place. The mix of sweat pants, gym shoes and a pretty church dress...said much.  I told her it was so beautiful and I knew she was an amazing artist.  She just stared back at me.  Expressionless.

She sat back on her chair as church was almost over. I could feel her stare on my face.  Every few seconds I would glance over at her and smile. She quickly would look ahead, as to NOT catch my glance.

All of a sudden, this child was right in my face.  Like the awkward first date... she had her hand on my neck saying something about my hair.  I tried not to look her in the face, but just smiled.  Then all of a sudden her arms were tightly around my neck. It was the most heartfelt hug.  She just stayed there on my shoulder, in the middle of church.  This is not a toddler.  This is a girl probably 9 years old.

I could feel the lump in my throat.

Choosing to be pro life.  To the moms that definitely need help parenting.  To the moms with more than out-of-control children.  Am I pro life for those children...? Why...yes. Now that you make me stop and think of it. Yes I am.  And yes...that changes my actions.

I was so broken by this little girl's hardness...that had melted within 20 minutes.  We exchanged so few words. She didn't know my name.  I was sitting there with my husband and 3 toddlers.  Her response to love was almost immediate.  Had someone told me that would happen I'd laugh.  Never did I expect that response.

She was so dry. So thirsty.  So very thirsty for love.  I am not saying her mom doesn't love her. Not at all.  There was a lot of anger there. Bad behavior. Bad parenting. Bad behavior. Bad parenting.  It's a vicious cycle.

Pro Life...? Or just...anti abortion?

We can do more.  Oh...so much more.






Friday, September 18, 2015

I choose.

The power to choose.

Choosing to let peace reign.  When life is pure chaos.

Choosing kindness.  When the situation deserves otherwise.

Choosing joy.  When the skies are so grey. 

Choosing hope.  When your foundation is no longer secure.

Ever feel overwhelmed?

Yes. Yes...you do.  And...yes...so do I.  

I don't wear a Super Woman cape under it all...no...I don't.  

These last few weeks, I have cried.  Weary, hopeless, overwhelmed...tears.

Ever been there...?

Taizi is now gaining weight.  Or was.  But we are in a catch 22.  He no longer wants his food. All he wants is his liquid food. It's like a milkshake to him. 400 calories.  Pure sugar and carbs and plenty of not-so-healthy stuff.  

So we separated it.  Food. 2 hours later, drink. 2 hours later, food, etc.  So that he's hungry at each interval. Still not really working.  He has thrown the food. Into the nearest bin.  Garbage. Toilet.  You name it.  Many times, it's not exactly recoverable.  

And the diarrhea.  There is no way this is acceptable.  The child has been having straight diarrhea for weeks. They changed his formula for the rx drink. It's worse.  Pure liquid.  10-12 times a day. It's so bad, he's playing in a pack and play in the living room b/c every few hours he explodes all over the place and we don't exactly wish that on the carpet.  What are we being told by the medical team "well just keep feeding him what you are feeding him". Awesome.  

#weary.

We are working hard at our house.  Dean has worked so hard. Framing is done. Roofing is almost done.  Now the sub contractors come in.  We have a lot of work to do to get ready, pick and purchase the flooring that we will be installing.

This is the fun part of our life right now but with everything else on our plate...definitely feeling it.

Then the adoption.  Oh my heck.  Our dossier is done and mailed off to our agency today.  Things have changed over the last 3 years!! Either I have chosen not to remember or this process is way more intense.  From notarized documents being filled out incorrectly. To police departments refusing to fill them out.  To finding out the notary notarized me instead of the doctor's signature.  To flagging people down, begging them for 5 more minutes.  

#weary.

We have applied for so many adoption grants and while this is an amazing gift, that this even exists...it's a lot of work.  Now we sit and pray that we receive grants to off set the costs.  

#weary.

Starting school in the house we don't wish to be in.  In the garage.  Yes. That's where we have our school room.  It goes from way too hot to way too cold.  How I wish we could just scrap it all and start in January in the new house...but no. Choosing to keep living life right now, even when it's less than ideal.  

Choosing peace.

Planning a series of appts for our kids at Children's hospital knowing Azlan may have a huge jaw surgery before the end of the year...and my heart immediately beats at an abnormal rate.  Just don't call them. Just don't book the appt. Maybe they forgot.  No..Janice. No.  He needs this.  And you...you are equipped to do this next hard thing.  

Choosing courage.  Choosing peace.  

Literally picture yourself standing at a fork in the road.  You choose where the next step goes.  It is a choice.

I choose peace.  Sometimes it's easier to do with a cup of Pumpkin flavored coffee...there's no doubt.  Definitely easier with a good friend.  Absolutely.

I went out for coffee with a friend last week for 4 hours, long after the cafe closed, we sat in the dimly lit parking lot.  Crying. Praying.  Sharing our burdens.  I don't walk this journey alone.  

Perhaps what I most wish you could see as you think Janice Walker is oh-so-much-stronger-and-braver-than-you ... is the army of people that love me so deeply...so fiercely...that fight for me.  That help keep me focused.  Keep my eyes on Jesus.  The friend that when I'm overcome by fears...looks me in the eye and says "ok Janice. What if.  Let's go there. What if this fear becomes your reality...? Is God still good? Is He still true...? Is He still trustworthy...?" Yes.  That friend.  I love her so deeply for speaking truth into my life and not what I want to hear.  She doesn't bandaid my fears...she reveals them for what they are.  Lack of trust. Lack of faith.  My eyes off Jesus.

I choose to be real. To be transparent.  To put my walls down with people who have shown themselves to be safe.  

I choose surrender in the midst of my hard for the 100th time.  I can do hard things. I can. I can do hard things because of Christ in me.  I'm not caving. I'm not flailing.  I am stronger than my fears. I am able to choose peace and joy and love when it's the furthest thing from natural...because I surrender to Him.  

I choose love. Not the love that first comes to mind.  Want to know something...? That love is never a choice.  That's a natural response.  Mmmm...true.  The love that can change your life forever is the love you choose.  I choose love.  You don't choose something that is a natural response.  That's not a 'hard'.  Love is a verb. Love is a choice.  And it's a hard one.  

Today...when each individual hard in my life feels so big...I choose Peace. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Tee shirt update.

I think it's safe to say, we all assume on a blog that gets nearly 1000 visits a day...that a fundraiser just sky rockets.  :)

It's not true.

Our goal is to sell over 100 shirts to make the fundraiser worth while.  As of today, I've sold 7.

I linked a Paypal button on the right side of the blog, making it super easy. On top of that, there's no set price.  Any donation amount will get you a shirt in your color and size choice.

XO

**update: 14 sold!**

**Update on Sept 9: **32 shirts sold**!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Courage.

Because most of us are fighting a battle.

Usually a secret one.  No one knows.  But in the quiet of your heart, you do. And you are tired.

So.. very..tired.

If I were to ask you if you consider yourself courageous...I think it would be an instant, confidant response.

Perhaps a chuckle.  Coupled with an awkward shrug.

"Me...? Courageous? Um...no."

The word 'courage' almost confuses us.

We picture strong.  Like...really strong.

Brave.  Like...really brave.

What if courage is simply standing up...? When challenged...you take a stand.  For truth.  For what you believe.  For what is right.

What if... courage is not laughing at that joke in the break room? Yah.  That's... hard.

What if...courage is simply facing another day?  In the midst of pain. Heartbreak. Betrayal.  Choosing to not give up.  When, in fact...that's all you think about.

What if... courage is watching someone you love go through cancer...and choosing hope? Choosing fight.  Choosing to even find joy...when it's oh...so very dark.

What if...courage is reminding yourself that tomorrow is new?  And with it...come God's new mercies.  And your story...it's not over yet.

What if...courage is giving? Giving when your tank is so very dry.

Let's give you a do-over.   Now if I were to ask you..."Are you courageous?"  What would you say?

This design is simple.  But powerful.  So small. So insignificant.  Just quietly...swimming...upstream.

You see...courage doesn't always roar.

This was made...with you in mind.

These shirts are really high quality.  The crew neck is fitted, but a great length. If you don't want fitted, order up a size.  I find it very true to size.  S, M, L, XL.  Black, grey, bright pink, teal.

The youth shirts are adorable.  S, M, L, XL.  Please don't hesitate to email me with questions on sizing.  Also available in several colors.

Every dollar (apart from paying for the shirt and the cost to ship it to you) will go to bringing ZhenAi home.  See...she's courageous too.  She didn't choose the battle she's fighting...neither did you.

There is no set price.  Suggested donation would be $25 including shipping.  Any amount you give...please specify the color and size and quantity. Shirts will be mailed in a few weeks.

Simply paypal to thewalkers2000@mac.com and leave in the comment your choice. I will ship anywhere in the world.









Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mommy's Superpower.

I will often hear our children talking about their wonderful make believe things and many times...'superpowers' come up.  Tirzah will tell the young children that Mommy has a Superpower.  They all listen with rapt attention...eyes wide...what in the world could it be...?

Mommy's Superpower...? Helping people change their lives.

Overhearing your 11 year old child tell that to her 4 and 6 year old siblings...makes me tear up.

Many people would think that she's referring to our 5 amazing children we have adopted and no doubt, had a tremendous impact on their lives.

But she's talking about something else.

Seven years ago I started a business that I could do 100% around my family.  Nap time. Bed time.  Totally around my family.  That was the beginning of a life changing journey.

I matched Dean's income in less than a year.  While being a full time, stay at home, homeschooling mom of 4 little children.  As God called us to amazing things, around the world, bringing once-orphans home to our family...our business continued to grow.

Last year, there was such an amazing, unforgettable day.  Dean closed the doors of his construction business and he came home. For good.

Here we were. Ten little children, homeschooling, three with special needs....and both of us, full time, stay at home parents.

What a tremendous gift.

Tirzah's talk to her younger siblings reminds me that we have been given something super special and perhaps it's time for me to reach out to you, my loyal readers.  I often pray that God leads me to people... praying for what I so easily take for granted.

This is our life. But I realize that many dream of such a life.  Perhaps...they don't even dream. That was me.  I didn't dream of being a stay at home mom with a stay at home husband!! I dreamed of not having creditors call me around the clock. I dreamed of sleeping at night without reciting verses over and over about anxiety and fear as I truly struggled finding joy when we were up to our eyeballs in debt.  I dreamed of knowing we were going to be ok.

When God called us to a big life (literally!)...that big life takes a lot.  Emotionally. Physically.  Financially.  And He has given us this amazing opportunity to provide for our family at every level.

What I love the very most...is helping others.  Giving hope to others. Perhaps it's you.  You often think "we are so close...just a little bit more each month and we could breathe easier." I can help.

Perhaps you have been goals, big plans for life and as it stands right now...it's years off.  I can help.

Perhaps you know someone.  Maybe a single mom.  Maybe someone who's worked hard their whole life only to just lose their job.  Maybe someone who desperately wants to stay home with their children...but as it stands right now, cannot.  Maybe someone like my husband...dreamed of owning his own business, the American dream...but didn't plan on the economy crashing and spiraling us into debt.

According to my 11 year old girl...her mommy has a superpower.  She helps people change their lives. Moms come home with their children.  Debts paid off. Goals reached.  Time to spend with the people they love the most.

The gift I was given...is the gift that keeps on giving.

What if...this post was for you?

My heart is helping people.  It's what I simply love.

janice.walker@me.com  Pass it on.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What if ... it's a lie?

You have heard it...hundreds of times.  I've been comforted with it...hundreds of times.  Yet...it's a lie.

"He won't give you more than you can handle!"

Really?

Somehow there are superhuman among us?  They are stronger, braver, more resilient than any of us can fathom?  They can hold their babies in their arms as they take their last breath....and they can handle that? That's not too much...?

Huh?

No.  We are often given much more than we can handle.

In my reading a few weeks ago, I read this verse.  And I sat in my bedroom closet, on the floor, reading it over and over again.  The next night...I read it again...and couldn't get past it to read more.

This.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (Jesus said)  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. 

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This.


We have been falsely comforted.  Yes. We are given much more than we can handle. People suffering through tremendous hardships ... they have the same emotions, struggles, fears...that you do.  They can't handle more than you can.  No...no. They just have someone who can.

In my weaknesses...the power of Jesus is visible. Because I can't...and He can...it's so obvious that it's Him, not me.

At some of the hardest, lowest points in my life...I have seen the most of Jesus.  Why? Because I needed to.

We live such self-sufficient lives.  We really can keep God in our little "Sunday go-to-meeting" box.  Pull Him out when we need to.  

When something is shaky in our lives instead of crying out for His strength...we question His very existence.  What....?  Yes.  It's true. We all do it.

When I had nothing in Africa....nothing.  Lost our baby. Thousands of miles away from my husband and children...I had no where else to draw support from. That's when I saw His love. His grace. That's when I heard His voice.  Because...I was desperate for it! Everything else had quieted. I was forced there by my inability to go on.

In my weakness...I saw His strength.

Instead of comforting each other and ourselves...which Christian-ese cliches that are definitely not founded in the Bible...let's acknowledge...we are given more than we can handle. 

We need Him.  

For when I am weak...then I am strong.  
Through Christ. 
 Christ in me.  




Friday, July 31, 2015

I can't keep silent.

Like many of you, my heart is absolutely broken over the recent news of Planned Parenthood.

I have watched each awfully-worse-than-the-previous-one video and felt like the air was being sucked out from my lungs as I did.

Oh...how far the mighty have fallen.  The once great nation who's motto was "in God we trust" has so quickly become "God have mercy on us!"

Right. Before. Our. Eyes.

To watch the fourth video of top Planned Parenthood officials discuss their dissection of human fetuses for sale of their individual parts has left me...broken.

Hearing the crack of a tiny skull and the laughter in the room as each limb was pulled one by one...even the exclamation of "its a baby!!!" and "another boy!!!" contradicting their own supposed belief that it's not a baby and nothing but tissue, yet she all but named him in her witch hunt.

I've been thinking a lot about this.  Do I boycott the businesses that support such a genocide? Do my purchases really have an impact? Is that merely a response in anger that I'm not strong enough to really carry out and stick with? I mean...Starbucks???

A friend and I were just talking about children being bullied. In her and my family if your non-bullied children stand by silently as one is bullied and does not tell an adult...they get disciplined.

I picture myself standing before God and as if with a smile on my face that I didn't support that...and being reminded that I did. I knowingly supported those businesses (as to not inconvenience myself...) that I knew were avid supporters of Planned Parenthood.

Yes...I know they do good things.  But their free pregnancy tests offered and other services to women does not wash their hands of the blood of millions of babies.  It's kind of like a defense attorney standing in court, saying how this serial killer and rapist serves the homeless every Saturday. That would leave me scratching my head...but would not leave me with one consideration that indeed his actions were justifiable because he does some good things.

I have lost 3 children.  When I say something about our ten children, one of our kids will say "13 you mean..." and every time I look at them confused until they remind me there are 3 waiting for us in Heaven. Oh...the veil between here and there is so thin for them.  They talk about it like they can see it.  Oh to have faith like a child.

The first pregnancy I was 5 weeks pregnant.  The grief was so extreme that Dean took a week off work. There were many days he helped scoop me off the floor and got me into the car and we just drove.  To try to find beauty again.  The hopes the dreams that died with that precious child.

After Azahria, before going to Africa the first time, we lost another baby.  I was over 7 weeks.  I will never ever forget waking in the night so many times that I started to cry. And every time I woke, I noticed I was singing "Heaven is the face of a little girl..." by Stephen Curtis Chapman.  Finally I begged God to tell me in the morning so I could sleep. I was just stepping into the shower and I collapsed to the floor in sobs. I remembered the night before. And I knew. I knew two things.  I was having a little girl. And she was about to see Jesus.

Two days later, with no physical warning at all, I miscarried our baby.

I went to Africa, came home, and prayed, sought medical help etc and was so excited that we were expecting again.  I had so many ultrasounds where we saw that strong heart beating. I went to Africa this time for 28 days to adopt our boys and the very first night...I delivered an intact little bubble of a sac with a perfect, tiny, formed 8wk3day fetus inside.  Numb.  I held that baby for so long. I can still feel the too-bright florescent light in that tiled bathroom in the heart of Africa.  I didn't sleep until the sun came up. I laid there numb.  And for the next 28 days every night I'd put a pillow in my mouth to dull the sobs as my heart broke more and more about the loss of our child.

The fetus I watched get pulled from limb to limb on the Planned Parenthood video was 11.5 weeks.

Absolutely horrific.

I don't comment on politically charged topics. And oh...there are many these days where I simply am quiet.  But this is one...I can't.  We believe life starts at conception.  We fight for life.  And I believe this fight goes all the way. It's not enough to shout your beliefs and let someone else pick up the pieces...because let's be honest...if you really believe abortion is a genocide...do you have any idea how many babies would be up for adoption if it ended...? Are you going to step up to the plate and do something?

Courage. Oh how it's missing today. We give awards for courage...to people who simply have not earned them.  Yes. I said that.  When we named our son's middle name Courage...it had the meaning of standing up. Standing up when it's not easy. Fighting for those who lack a voice. Putting yourself at risk if you must but you do not...sit by silently.  When the feelings are gone...you still act.  You act because you believe.  Courage.  Where is it today? Where is mine? I battled with even writing this because I know the backlash! You can unfriend me if you must...at least you know where I stand. I cannot sit by and watch these babies being slaughtered. I will inconvenience myself.  I'll support local businesses who fund wounded veterans and foster children's summer camps.

In our house:  We. Fight. For. Life.