Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Is it REALLY about YOU?

I LOVE how God is moving families toward adoption. There are so many children that need a mommy and a daddy to kiss them goodnight and remind them that they are no longer alone. SO many children that are waiting to be chosen. A very dear friend of mine is adopting and about to begin the 'waiting Purgatory.' The entire process of adoption is exciting, no doubt, but I hate to be Debbie Downer when I tell you that it is a very INTENSE and very HARD process. While I didn't enjoy being pregnant with my older children, I at least had some time frame, some idea of control in my life. With an adoption you have NONE. NO control. NO timeframe. NO IDEA of what God's got up His sleeve, except that He called you here and your only choice is to OBEY and WAIT. OH DEAR LORD.  Our case worker was so abundantly (and painfully at times) PATIENT with me. She heard my aching heart and understood how my arms just longed for my sweet baby. At one point, while bawling to her on the phone, she said, "You know Robyn, its not really all about you. There is a birth mom that is struggling with what to do...there is a baby that needs a forever family...and I'm not just talking about YOUR birth mom and baby...there are thousands out there!" WOW...SLAP.IN.THE.FACE. And not in a bad way, but it was like God grabbed my shoulders and shook me. HELLO!? Its not all about you and the needs you feel...Robyn, get on your knees for the ones that are looking for their forever family! YOWZERS. Even in the midst of me feeling like I couldn't bear the waiting and uncertainty, I still had a job to do. Even though I didn't think I could really do what God was asking of me, I still had a job to do...I still needed to be praying for the families that were struggling right there along with me, I needed to be focusing on the birth moms who were facing the most difficult decisions...I had forgotten to take the focus off of me and put it back on what mattered...

This blog is to those who are in the process of gathering information, the process of beginning your adoption, and the process of waiting. When you start to question the Lord, asking in panic mode: "WAS THIS YOUR PLAN OR MINE?" "ARE YOU SURE?" "WHAT DO WE DO NOW?" I want to say that the Lord is FAITHFUL. He never makes a mistake. I believe that when God calls a family to adopt its a very specific. Its scary, but God sees your fear and acknowledges them...trusting is hard when you are completely unsure and totally financially unprepared. Fear and finances are valid concerns, but God is so much bigger than both of those. We were NOT in a position to afford anything more than what we had...especially not an adoption...yet, God called us to adopt anyway. HOLY CRAP WHERE IS THAT MONEY COMING FROM is all I could focus on. And not only that...Lord, I have 3 children that I can barely manage anyway!? YOU REALLY THINK I CAN HANDLE ANOTHER ONE!? And I will tell you right now (you may want to sit down if you don't know me and if you do, hold on because I'm going to shock you...) I will sit and stew over something I do not understand. No really! I do! LOL Actually, I will obsessively try to figure it out until I'm basically sucking my thumb in a corner and humming while I rock myself. I have never liked surprises and I HATE not having any idea of whats to come...okay so I like having some sort of control in my life alright!? I don't know anyone who doesn't like control to some degree in their lives...its something I definitely struggle with.

I do not believe that everyone is called to adopt a child and bring a widow into their home. I do however believe that when God says to care for the widow and the orphan that its not just for 'Christians'...its for EVERYONE. To 'care' for an individual is to support them...maybe a family is struggling but knows they have been called to trust the Lord's direction regarding adoption...SO DONATE what you have. It doesn't need to be the full amount, AND donating isn't limited to or defined as MONEY. ITS TIME. ITS FOOD. ITS LOVE. ITS THAT LONG PHONE CALL LISTENING TO THEM BAWL. ITS PRAYING WITH AND FOR THEM. And ultimately its not really about you anyway. Its about what God can do through YOU when you allow Him to move your heart and through your actions and obedience God blesses the giver and the receiver. 

When a family adopts, it allows others to see God's glory. Not because of what the adoptive family is doing...but how that family opens their hands and hearts to the Lord and allow the Lord to direct and provide all they need! AND HE DOES! ALWAYS! Its unlikely that it will come in the ways the family will expect...God will use the people who you least expect. I love how God does this! If we could actually anticipate His next move, where would His splendor and SOVEREIGNTY be? Having gone through an adoption and being FORCED to trust and lean and obey on the Lord completely was excruciatingly difficult, but changed my heart in so many ways. Now that our precious son is finally home and in our arms I can see where my case worker was coming from. I can appreciate my Bible study girls so much more, I can appreciate my dearest and best friends so much more because they knew my heart and were there for me in the midst of it all. When I felt like the most unlikely candidate for the Lords plans with adoption...but see that is the most awesome part! WE ARE UNLIKELY CANDIDATES BECAUSE WE ARE THE MOST UNLIKELY! WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING BUT TRUST AND OBEY THE LORD!!! THAT IS EXACTLY WHO HE WANTS!!!! SO take this as an encouragement if you are feeling unlikely! God has you JUST where He wants you. 

Nicki Koziarz
May 22, 2012
By Nicki Koziarz

"Jesus replied, 'What is impossible with men is possible with God.'" Luke 18:27 (NIV 1984)
It was my senior year of high school. The grass was turning greener, birds were chirping louder, and department stores were lining their racks with beautiful formal gowns.
Spring had sprung and that meant just one thing to a senior girl: prom.
Taking my seat in my homeroom class, I began working on the previous night's history assignment. The bell dinged and the redundant morning announcements blasted over the loud speaker. I didn't pay much attention until I heard, "Today in every homeroom class you will need to nominate this year's prom king and queen."
Suddenly my stomach was tangled in knots. I knew never to get my hopes up. After all, I was the athletic girl who was at church every time the doors opened, not the socialite this honor required. While I knew not to expect it, inside I still wanted to beworthy of being prom queen.
I couldn't shake the dreadful feeling as sheets of paper were passed around the room for us write down our nominations. Would my name be on any of them?
It wouldn't take long to find out. Our teacher took his place, front and center of the classroom. As he collected the papers, he called out the names written down. I waited on pins and needles. Thirty seconds before the bell rang we'd nominated that year's prom king and queen.
Quickly I made my way to the only place a girl can get an ounce of privacy in a large high school: the bathroom. I shut the rusted stall door and wept.
It wasn't me ... again. No one picked me. I was forever an unlikely prom queen candidate.
That moment was defining. Looking back, I can see that I started to becomeunlikely in a different way.
It could have ruined me - and in a way it did. For good. You see I discovered in Scripture there are many who didn't meet the qualifications of society; great heroes of faith that were improbable candidates. Men and women who faced impossible odds with the God of all possibilities.
Moses was not an eloquent speaker, but he met with God and delivered the Ten Commandments to a generation of people (Exodus 19).
David was an adulterer, but is described as a man after God's heart (1 Kings 14:8).
The Samaritan woman was a repeat sinner, but her testimony led her entire community to see Jesus (John 4). Jesus' very own disciple Peter denied Him three times, but he went on to be the rock of the Church (Matthew 16:18).
God seemed to have handpicked and set apart these unlikely people. He used each of them for a redemptive purpose, despite their inadequacies. And turned their impossible, to possible.
I'm finding this is exactly what God wants to do through my own flawed life. He wants me to be unlikely.
Is there something in your past that you feel is too far a stretch for God to use? Do you possess a quality that the world would look at and say, "Nope, not you?" Have you ever felt completely unqualified, but still dream of doing impossible things?
If so, you should get ready. God qualifies the unqualified and He deems the unlikely, likely. Never think your inadequacies are too much for Him.
He's called you. He's chosen you. Go ... do great things for God. You ARE qualified and likely. For "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
Dear Lord, I am inspired by those You chose for such great purposes. I believe You are choosing me, despite my inadequacies. Please open my heart to Your movement through my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Clearing the Forest

Well alright, so its not really a forest in our backyard...but it sure does feel like it sometimes! About 4 or 5 years ago I planted 4 cotton-less Cottonwood trees in our backyard. THEY GREW LIKE CRAZY. I really did bury them the depth I was instructed to do and have enjoyed watching them sprout up like they have. They are all close to, if not over, 30 feet tall.

Well, we also had a concrete patio poured in our backyard just before I had planted these trees. See now, this is where it gets a bit irritating to me. They say not to plant trees within 30ft of your house...and this was barely on the line...but for some reason the notion that a cottonwood would grow to be GINORMOUS somehow missed my train of thought as I dug my tree's designated hole. I knew we were headed for trouble LAST summer when my patio was already cracking from the roots of one particular tree. GRRRRR.
But we strategically placed our trailer over it and 'hid' it for the winter (because if I put something over it, in my world, it should go away...because it has never happened before, but there's always gotta be a first...right?). Sadly the one bad thing is that by hiding it we were able to ignore what we just found last week...THE ROOTS CRACKED AND RAISED OUR CONCRETE BY 7 INCHES...UGH!

Again, not sure why I was thick enough not to assume it would happen to us. I think therein lies human nature...this idea that 'it won't happen to me/us.' Doesn't matter how many darn times we are proved wrong over and over again...slapped with reality that YES IT DOES HAPPEN TO ME, we still behave and continue on as though we never learned it the very first time. HELLO!? DUH!? Well as we rolled our trailer off the lifted area, horror struck as we realized, yep...gotta cut down this tree. So, again...UGH.

This tree...has a 43 inch circumference, standing well over 30ft tall. Its also GREEN...therefore wet and difficult to cut down. I'm mentally going back in time when I was deciding where to put this tree and slapping myself...a total high-five to the face. WOW. This tree took a massive hit last fall when CO was pounded by that ice and snow storm in October 2011. All of our cottonwoods did, but this particular tree seems to have taken the brunt of most of it. I also realized, as I was contemplating how much work this was going to be, that this tree provides afternoon shade across my grass...(LOL right now its basically dirt, but I believe it has great potential to be grass...again). SO SAD. Why is this tree such a big deal? I'm not sure...really I don't know why it bothers me so much to cut down a tree? My kids LOVED climbing all over this tree...and it happened to be where a robin laid that eggs that the Lord used to confirm my doubts when we were in the dreaded waiting process for our son's adoption. *sigh* Well, either way that tree is DOWN and waiting to be cut up into pieces so that we can haul it away next week. UGH, this is when I'd love to live in the Jetson's time and have a robot or something to clean it up for me. LOL

here is Duncan NOT helping...
the girls with the main root that cracked our concrete

So as Rob began cutting this horrid tree down it occurred to me that it was going to be a HUGE mess...and I got to be apart of the cleanup crew...along with all the children. ;) Hey, its good for them. I remember every Mothers Day and Fathers Day (well any weekend really) being a huge yard work day...and my brothers and I HATED it. And for some reason my parents actually ENJOYED doing this...yard work and torturing us poor children. Now that I am the parent, I realize why they did this: CHEAP LABOR. Its like dog poop duty...excellent form of discipline and gets a job done that I really don't want to do. I've also come to realize that I do, in fact, enjoy yard work. Its like my instant gratification...minus the grass growing part...(apparently you have to actually WATER grass for it to grow. I know right? Weird!?)

We also had a TON of branches that still had to be disposed of as well as our sad swingset that was demolished by our trampoline when 65mph winds picked up our tramp and blew it into our swingset the week before we went to get Josh. Byebye swingset and byebye old trampoline. GRRRR...

Josh decided cleanup meant 'nap'

And this tree project just seems to LINGER on forever. BUT we did get most of it done. I was seriously surprised by the root system of this cottonwood tree! The roots not only cracked our concrete, they continued on clear under the next portion of our pad and had lifted it by an inch or so! We did learn, however, that putting RoundUp on the root end would kill the root. So we doused those suckers and eventually the pad will go back down once the roots flatten out. Getting the two pieces back into place was an adventure though...but it was such a relief to finally see it back to how its supposed to look...except for the huge cracks, which we'll use a sealant much better though!

Now the stump and the irritating roots that went into our neighbors landscape was another adventure. The roots had actually grown THROUGH the wire! Here is Rob cutting wire OUT of the root...RIDICULOUS.


So that is the end of the on to rediscovering our grass...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

....The Rest of the Story (*insert Paul Harvey's voice*)

Yep, thats it! We are DONE!!!! Done with what?
Erika & the Riggins kiddos
Josh's adoption is COMPLETED!
May 10th, 2012 Finalization Day!

All the Riggins and 'Grama Judy'
I'm still in a bit of a shock or daze...can't pick a word to really describe it. Except to say that it went a lot faster than I thought it would. We were so blessed to have 2 amazing people help us that day! Judy is our Notary and Erika is our beloved friend who watches our kids often.

 A little recap:
*In February of 2011 we began the paperwork with our Colorado agency, Colorado Adoption Center.
*In April of 2011 we were put on the family list and began paperwork for our Florida agency, Christian Family Services in Gainesville.
*In June of 2011 we became home study approved...thus beginning our 'waiting purgatory' (Thank you Randee...I will ALWAYS be using this marvelous adjective for what the waiting is really like ~LOL).
*In July of 2011 we applied for the JSC Foundation's grant and received $8000 it in September, taking care of our placement fee.
*On January 7th, 2012 at 11am we received 'THE CALL' and left at 530pm that same day for Florida. We pulled into Christian Family Services on January 9th, 2012 wrapped up paperwork and headed over to the hospital to met our precious son, Joshua, who was born on January 6th, 2012 around 3pm FL time. How amazing and faithful is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lead us into the adoption world on shaky and wobbly feet to come out strong and in awe of the miracle of adoption. What a perfect picture, that we got to experience first hand, of His unconditional love. To see and meet our son and fall in love with him absolutely, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was, in fact, OUR son. Knitted together by the Lord's hands, loved so deeply by his precious birth mother, and designed so specifically for our family. When I look at my children and see how miraculous each one is, I'm humbled to my knees, knowing that the Lord handed me the most incredible privilege of being their mommy. What an honor to have such a huge responsibility that the Lord HIMSELF CHOSE FOR ME. While it is sure to be a long road, its one that is marked with sounds of laughter and tears, heartache and immense JOY. How deeply engraved are my children on my heart and each day that passes I grow more and more sure of who God created me to be as their mommy. Such an awesome gift!!!

*May 10th, 2012 we nervously awaited the call from our lawyer to come in. We were set to 'appear in court' by phone with our case worker, Monique and our FL attorney, Mitch. Our judge is a man known for his passion for adoption and the lives of the children he sets in each special Forever family. It wasn't a long call at all, but as Rob and I stood in our kitchen with our dear friend & Notary, Judy, it was hard to imagine that the journey we had been on for what seemed like so long was about to come to an end. What an enormous relief it was to hear these much coveted words, "...its official, this adoption for Joshua Connor is final." I could FEEL the smiles in the room that we were only hearing and the joy that the Judge felt as he asked me, "So, is Joshua sleeping through the night yet?" which I was trying so hard to control my shaky-from-tears voice, "Not quite yet, but we are working on it." And hearing the chuckles of understanding from our case worker, attorney, and Judge, I knew that again, God had lead the way, knowing exactly who needed to be in our court room and so joy-filled Himself that we had followed by FAITH and not sight. We could have never found our way here without His very clear leading. Tears of relief, joy, and exhaustion rolled down my cheeks as I looked at my sleeping son, who had no idea how much we had worked to get to that day.

I think its very similar for each of us, as God's children. How far He does go and Jesus was our very obvious sacrifice that God made to love us and to be with us. When He sees us He doesn't see the 'sister' or the 'aunt' or the 'husband' or most importantly, He never sees us as 'the grandchild.' He sees us as His CHILD. There is no inlaw or grand, step or half when God looks at us...there is nothing but His OWN CHILD. This absolutely amazes me because how often do we feel the pressure of what other people think about us and take it on as though that is how the Lord must think about us? I know I certainly have, only to realize that no, I'm a daughter of the Lord Most High...created and established IN HIMHis thoughts, His words...everything that I am...IS FOUND IN HIM. The ONLY identity worth having is my identity that is found in Jesus. No matter what crappy, untrue words that are spoken about me do not matter...why? Because Jesus knows me. He knows ME. He sees my heart and is the ONLY ONE that has the authority to judge me...NO MATTER WHAT. Which is why I can stand FIRMLY on the knowledge that each of my beautiful children was given to me, with confidence, BY GOD HIMSELF. He knew I was capable, even when I didn't. He knew I was able, even if others questioned it. He knows that I will always call out to Him in my distress and holds me up when I'm too weak to stand. When I am weak...HE IS STRONG. Such true joy is found in obedience...
May 10th, 2012
And for the simple, yet complex task of obeying, I can say with all my heart...ADOPTION IS SUCH A BLESSING!!!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shine It On

While I absolutely LOVE my life at the moment...the raw facts of life is that not everything is perfect. (I am guessing you didn't gasp in surprise!? How very odd!) And if I had to choose, I honestly wouldn't choose perfection anyway. In perfection there can be no growth and we become emotionally, mentally, even spiritually OBESE. Unchanged, unchallenged, unfit! Our greatest ability as Christians is to persevere! Because we have Jesus! I am a fighter (do not break out into song please...), I want to be making a difference. I'm stubborn and strong willed...I don't back off and while there are many things that I absolutely need to let go of, its extremely difficult for me to do so. When I was in school...clear back to elementary age and I've have a squabble with a friend, or someone was mean to me, my mom would always say, "Shine it on." As in, they can do whatever they want to do. They can think whatever they want to think. Not everyone is going to like you, nor is everyone going to be your friend. But that is okay...they don't have to be. You keep being you and if they don't like it, they can go 'lump.' (I think that is a nice code for 'bite me,' which I know my mother would gasp at the thought of me insinuating that, but its how I always took it. LOL) Which is why I think my favorite line in this picture is "If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. SUCCEED ANYWAY."

I LOVE how my friend will say,"You can't fight with someone who won't fight." And that doesn't mean 'can't fight back' it just means, they will NOT fight. Its a dead issue. Its NOT going to I can 'shine it on' in my own way. I am not the sort of person to be silent...I like to have the last word...always have...I don't like to be passed over or to not have my 'side' heard. And when I can't fight back, phew! That makes me angry...kinda like poking an rabid monkey in a cage man! LOL!!!! I have had to learn to really bite my the point of blood. See, and the thing is is that I don't not want people to like me; I do want people to like me...(I do not understand people who don't give a rat's patoot about people not liking husband is one of those people. HE>DOESN'T>GIVE>A>CRAP. Not sure I always agree, but thats not my deal, that is his.) I struggle with knowing someone doesn't like me...even if I don't like them! LOL Its very weird, but regardless, there it is. However, I'm unwilling to just be okay with someone who continually pushes me into a corner and belittles me for the way that I am or for the beliefs I have. I have to be extremely careful that I'm not turning around and doing the same thing because I don't agree with something. Having recently been convicted on that, I am more mindful of making sure that I can step back and be okay with someone not agreeing with me in turn...not sure if that makes sense or not, but I know what I mean.

And because of my inquisitive nature, I have a lot of questions and I struggle with not understanding why the Lord will allow this or that in my life...or my kids' lives...or my husband's. Like Jacob, I wrestle with the Lord on issues that I have...and I wrestle HARD. I do not give up or give in often and if I do its a matter of coming to a place where I know that the Lord has absolutely brought me. This counts in almost every single area of my life.Which is why, when I saw this picture, it completely hit home with everything that I'm currently struggling with and what I've already struggled through and accomplished. But I LOVE this perspective. I LOVE how it inspires me to keep going. Because was never between me and was always between me and the Lord.