Friday, December 31, 2010

Chili Feed Fundraiser!

Chili Feed Fundraiser
Sunday, January 9th
11:30 - 1:30
505 - 13th St., Hudson

Christmas, Adoption, Prayers and the Next Trip

My Christmas was fine. I know, I can't stand it when people use that word. But it's the word that fits. I had a truly wonderful time with my family. A little food, a few presents, and a lot of laughs. (Dawn and Kineta - it was not enough time!!)

My mind constantly wandered off to Haiti. What were the babies doing? How was the staff celebrating? I was told the kids celebrated Christmas on Monday the 26th. Nikki was overwhelmed at the amount of presents that were sent down. She said it was far beyond what she ever expected. It took 5 volunteers 2 full days to wrap the presents. You all provided a very Merry Christmas for the babies!

I'm sure she'll upload the pictures when she's got a spare moment. They have 48! babies right now, so she's extremely busy. I'll let you all know as soon as I've got access to the pictures.

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Adoption Update
Jason and I had a paperwork meeting on Wednesday with our home study agency. We accomplished so much in that hour. It felt really good. And yet, there is still so much more to do.

Right now our biggest challenge is money. The home study is going to cost us $3,430. That's just the fees I know about at this point. My dear husband is a bit freaked out about that cost. (Oh honey, that's just the TIP of the iceberg!!) I'm happy to put it on my Discover, but he's not to thrilled about that idea. I need to send him to Haiti for a week. He'll 'get it' then! It's just money...

Once we have a completed home study I'll be able to apply for adoption grants. I'm trying to negotiate with him. Cough up the 3 grand right now, and I'll take care of the rest. He's not an easy one to negotiate with. But there are two people in this process, and we need to have an agreement along the way.

Just imagine another sweet face added to this picture!

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Pray, Pray, Pray
For those of you out there who are prayer warriors for the babies, please send up some extra prayers for the newborn we're trying to get up here for surgery. He's been admitted to the hospital in Milot with possible meningitis. My heart breaks when I think about his parents who are doing everything they can to save him.

Please send up extra prayers for this little guy!

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The next trip
I sent an email to Jamie yesterday to start talking dates. I'm committed to getting another trip in before we are assigned our little girl. That means late June/early July. If you are seriously considering joining me, please send me an email and let me know your availability. I'm going to confirm dates with him soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Be a Mama Bear

Keeping in mind Matthew 6:1-4, I start off this post with the following:

"Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them...when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret."

From the onset of this blog I have said that I'm but a servant. This blog is not intended for any self-glorification. The intent is to move and inspire others to take action while here on earth. To see that you CAN make a difference. To inspire you all to have full prayer life and see where God leads you.

What I'm doing is driven by God. With the power of Him, and the Internet, some amazing things have happened recently that I'd like to share.
As you know, we've been working on getting sweet Guerlin his much needed heart surgery. From what I understand, with the condition he has there is no sense of urgency. The challenge is that any condition in Haiti really DOES create a sense of urgency. Because of the conditions and lack of resources there, a child like him could die from a simple virus - something we don't necessarily need to worry about here.

I'm very excited to report that Guerlin was accepted by a program in New Jersey. They will cover his surgery, hospitalization, and provide a foster family to care for him while he recovers. God is good!

Many of you know that I've been called on a second mission to help a 4 month old who has a much more serious heart condition. She is not able to fly, and since there are no resources in Haiti our only option was the Dominican. Initially, the door was completely closed. Again I was told she is stable enough to wait until services are set up in Haiti.

She's now battling pneumonia, which is very serious not only given her condition, but also the fact that she is in Haiti.

Let me give you a little Karen insight. I have no medical background. With the exception of my sister Beck, medical professionals intimidate me. The idea of emailing this cardiologist again was initially daunting to me. But this is a child's life that's on the line. Maybe I don't sound very smart in my emails, but I do sound passionate and committed.

This doc amazes me. He RESPONDS to emails immediately! Within minutes of sending the email he responded and said that one way or the other, she would get her surgery. And all expenses, including getting them to the Dominican, would be covered. God is so good!!

Well friends, we have another one. A newborn baby boy who has spina bifida and club feet. The most urgent need is obviously taking care of his spine. Once that is taken care of we can work on his legs/feet. So the emailing begins again. Please pray that the doctor I emailed last night is still in PAP and that he will take on this little boy. The other option is to get him up here to MN for surgery. One way or the other, God will provide for this little boy.

This is a new calling. I just send the emails. God does the rest.

Please continue to pray for these babies. They need us. They need an advocate. They need the mama bears of the world to be their voice.

Every child deserves a chance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God shows balance

I have a perma-grin on my face tonight. As a mother I fret and worry about how my children are being raised. Am I teaching them the right values? Am I doing the right things as a parent? Did that one time I freaked out and yelled ruin them forever and doom them to counseling for the rest of their lives?

Tonight the kids and I were driving home from church after Sofia's choir practice. She was jabbering away, as she always does. At one point she stopped to share something that happened at school. The conversation went like this:

Sofia: "Mommy, some kids in my class told me that Christmas is only about getting."

Me: "Really Sofia? What did you say to them?"

Sofia: "I told them that Christmas is about giving and it's about Jesus' birth."

Me: "How did they react to that?"

Sofia: "Oh, they agreed with me. But the said that even Jesus got presents."

Ok - so the last comment is pretty darn cute and a great argument for the whole gift-giving thing. Those kids put up a compelling argument. After I giggled, I got pretty misty when I thought about Sofia sharing her feelings, sharing her beliefs, with the kids at school. So brave. So wise.

She's such a good kid. Now if I could only get her to clean her room.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Falling in love and leftover rice

It's a bitter cold night here in western Wisconsin, a perfect evening for a comfort food dinner. On the menu - sloppy joes. Most everything I make here comes in two varieties - the meatless one for me, and the other one for the rest of the family. The traditional sloppy joes are on the stovetop, and I'm now making something that I'll eat. As I heat up the soy crumbles, I notice leftover rice in the fridge. It's that little bit that's leftover from Chinese take-out.

Normally I'd toss it. It's dry and I have nothing to use it with. It's really not being wasteful, right? Then my mind flashes to Haiti. I picture Magdalyn on the day she was admitted. A tiny little body, so incredibly malnourished. What would her parents do with leftover rice?

I just added the rice to my soy crumble sloppy joes. It will stretch out the meal and create lots of leftovers for my lunches at work.

Haiti, my friends, has really changed me. There are so many instances where my mind flashes to Haiti, and it changes what I'm doing at that moment.

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Jason and I have been married for nearly 11 years now. We've had our ups, and we've had our downs. I'd say our relationship has gone through the normal cycles that relationships go through. There are times when we don't like each other, and there are times that we giggle together like we did when we first met. Just recently, I've fallen in love with him all over again.

It happened after I asked Jason to fill out the special needs and disabilities form for our adoption application. The form basically has us check which types of special needs and physical needs we will accept in an adopted child. I figured I'd check a lot more than Jason would, so I left most of the form up to him.

He stayed up late that night and filled out the form. When I woke the next morning, it was waiting on the counter for me. What I saw made me cry. (I know - shocker - Karen crying!) I looked over the form at all of the YES boxes he checked. Some were simple things, some were big things. Most of it surprised me. I thought he would have checked NO on most of it.

This journey as been overwhelming and frustrating. It's also been heartwarming. To have open conversations with Jason about who we will bring home and raise together as parents. We'll still have our ups and downs. And I'm certain there will be days when we don't like each other. But we're in this together - as partners in parenting. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. In adoption paperwork and huge fees. We're going to bring our little girl home.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I need to find the balance

My baby girl turned 9 yesterday. It's a joyous time in our house, and she loves to celebrate. For the past two years we've taken her and one friend to Build-a-Bear at the Mall of America. She and a friend get to have lunch together, then they each get to pick a stuffed animal and an outfit. That's our version of a friend birthday party.

I didn't want to do it this year. The thought of going to the mall was nauseating to me. I don't like malls to begin with, but this year it's harder for me. I don't want to spend the money on stuffed animals and I don't want to see the excess we have here. It disgusts me. Can't put it any lighter than that.

Sofia had a family birthday party yesterday, and yes, we went to the mall today. She's had such a wonderful weekend. She loved her birthday party. She loved the mall with her friend from church. She loved the entire weekend. I, on the other hand, just want to cry.

At some point I need to find the balance. My kids need to live life and have fun being kids. I get that. But what we've done in the past has got to change. I can't go to Build-a-Bear anymore. Here's a store filled with clothing for stuffed animals. Shoes, socks, even underwear for STUFFED ANIMALS! All I could picture was the kids running in the streets of Haiti. Many of them were naked. They will never see a store like the one we were at today.

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Here's a picture of Sofia with an add-on birthday present. My sister Kris bought a tie-dye kit and onsies for Sofia to decorate for the babies. The balance - what I need to somehow figure out - is letting Sofia and Henry enjoy their childhood, get fun presents, and somehow know how good they've got it. To know that life isn't only about getting presents. It's about helping others who are less fortunate.

How am I going to make it through Christmas?