Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Keep those prayers coming!

First, I would like to say how deeply grateful I am to all of you for your continued support of us as we continue down this foster care road in the hopes of being able to adopt this beautiful little girl who has captured our hearts. Although there are some updates I will begin by saying that NOTHING has been decided, yet! We won't know anything until our next hearing which is scheduled for April 10th. In the meantime, we are trying to do some things that were suggested to us but mostly we are just continuing to trust in the Lord and His plan. Although it is hard in this situation to know for sure just what His plan may be we are praying toward her staying with us as being what is best for Khylee - physically and psychologically.
 In the last week or so we did find out that a few more family members have stepped forward to say they were interested in Khylee. What we don't know is whether or not any of them would actually qualify to be able to take her. We also found out that dad isn't "on board" with us taking her with us. I won't even go in to my opinion on that whole topic but it is what it is. What the social worker is putting together is what they call a Ohana Conference where us, the social worker, the guardian ad-lidum (GAL), all the family members that have come forward and, hopefully, dad joining us over the phone come together to talk. The hope behind this conference is for the family members (and dad) to get to meet us and get to know us and, hopefully, recognize that at this point for Khylee the best thing for her would be to stay with us. What we don't know is what will happen if they DON'T feel that way! I guess what also makes me nervous is that our GAL told me today that if we can't get dad on board with us that we will probably lose!! The conference is currently scheduled for March 22nd so please be praying for that meeting as we get closer! (Especially because that is the week we are also getting packed out of our house!)
 Another thing that we just found out about today relates to mom. I believe I mentioned before that publication for mom was supposed to happen back in December but hadn't happened. Our GAL then told us that it was set for March 1st. I got the paper that day to be able to discover if it had been published or not and, alas, it was not! I immediately called the GAL and he said he would call the DAG (district attorney general - the lawyer for DHS) to find out what had happened. He called today to tell me that it turns out the March 1st date was actually the date of the hearing that mom was supposed to show up for and she didn't show. I thought all this time the publication happened for the hearings we attend but it turns out they have a separate hearing just for those publications and if they don't show then we can move forward as mom having, I believe, forfeited her rights. So, praise the Lord, we finally may have some forward movement!!
 Brian and I had the opportunity to go on a date night Saturday night which was nice after him being gone for a couple of weeks and, of course, we talked about the situation and what will we do if we don't get to take her and other things relating to that. It is easy to be anxious and I am certainly not one who has been very good at patience so the Lord really is working on me through all of this. My evening devotions both Saturday and Sunday spoke right to me and I was so extremely thankful! I would like to share them here - both for me and future reference but also just in case any of you reading this could use it as well!
 Here is Saturday's devotional:
Blessed are all those who wait for ME! Waiting patiently does not come easily to you, but it is nonetheless very good for you. You long to plan ahead, make definitive decisions, and make things happen. There is a time for that, but this is not the time. Now is a time for sitting in My presence, trusting Me with your whole being. This discipline will bring a wealth of blessings your way. Some of the good things I offer you reside in the future. While you obediently want on me, you are building up equity for those not-yet blessings. Because they are veiled in the mystery of the future, you cannot see them clearly. Other blessings are for the present. The very process of waiting for Me is beneficial. It keeps your soul on tiptoe, as you look up to Me in hope. You acknowledge that I am in control, and you rest in My goodness. Though you may not understand why you have to wait so long, I bless you as you choose to trust Me with all your heart.
I am taking care of you. Sometimes you feel alone and vulnerable - exposed to the "elements" of a fallen world. When you are feeling this way, stop and remind yourself, "Jesus is taking care of me," This reminder can comfort you and help you relax. It draws you back from obsessing about the future, trying to figure out and orchestrate what will happen. When circumstances are confusing and you don't know which way to proceed, remember that you are in My watchcase. I know everything about you and your situation. I also know the future. A child in a good family with adequate resources doesn't need to know how his parents will provide for him tomorrow, next week, next year. You are in the best Family imaginable, and My resources are absolutely unlimited! So bring Me all your needs and concerns. Entrust them to Me and live confidently - as a child of the King of Kings! Relax and rejoice, for I am taking good care of you.
 Both of those seemed to just speak right to me and what our family is going through right now. I am so thankful that He speaks to us and comforts us!
 Anyway, that is where we are right now! Again, thank you for your prayers and please keep them coming!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Can it be that it has really been almost FIVE years since I last blogged?! Where has the time gone?! I am not even going to go in to an update because if you are reading this now you know us and you know where we are and what we are doing! I AM writing, however, to let some you know a few more details about what is going on with Khylee. I am actually doing this at Ellie's suggestion!!! Most of you know that we have been fostering a little girl named Khylee. I picked her up at the hospital when she was 12 days old. She was so TINY!! She was 4 pounds 7 ounces and looked like a little old man! She has grown and blossomed so much and is now 16 months old, in to EVERYTHING, smiley, knows what she wants and is such a blessing to our family. We have been notified that we will be moving again to Miami, Florida, and are due to fly out on or around the 13th of May. What we are not sure of is whether or not Khylee will be able to come with us. Back in November our social worker made it sound pretty definite that if we got orders, it was no problem for Khylee to come with us. Well, at our December 22nd hearing we found out that that certainty was not so certain now that we actually do have orders. We met with our social worker today and her supervisor and were hoping that, perhaps, there had been some forward progress. Unfortunately, though, although perhaps progress it left us with even more uncertainty about Khylee being able to come with us. Our next hearing is scheduled for April 10th and unless the judge says at that hearing that she can go with us we may have to seriously be preparing ourselves for not taking her. What we found out today is that there are two families on dad's side who have expressed an interest in her - one here on the island and another somewhere on the mainland. IF the family here passes the licensing procedure the court COULD decide to place Khylee with them instead of having her go with us. Although there is the other one on the mainland to consider I truly don't think they weigh in too heavily right now. It turns out, too, that dad is hoping to be paroled in April and would like to try to see if he could get custody. IF he isn't paroled in April he may not have that opportunity. SO there are lots of moving parts and we are no closer to an answer. At the end of the day we want what is best for Khylee. She has been such a joy to us and we love her as if she was our own but we don't know what God's plan is for her life and whether or not it includes us as her forever family. My prayer is God's will and that when the evening comes that I will still be singing HIS praises no matter what. So many of you have shared that you are praying for us and it means the world to us. PLEASE keep praying!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Our First Family Ski Trip

Although Brian, Josh and I have all skied, we have never skied together. It is something we have always wanted to do, we just haven't taken the opportunity. While we live in Europe, it seems silly not to, so we scheduled a ski trip with a local ski club that started the day after Christmas. The nice thing about the trip is that ski lessons were included for everyone. Brian is a good skier and wasn't sure he needed the lessons, but in the end decided he learned a lot and was glad he did them. Since I hadn't skied since my senior year of high school (just a couple years ago, right?!) I was happy to be doing lessons. Josh went skiing a few times on youth trips and would have a day lesson but he really enjoyed not only having the lessons but having a full week to ski! Ian and Ellie were in classes, too. Ian picked it right up - must be all that ice skating! Ellie learned to snow plow and even went down the mountain with us one day! She was worn out at the end of each day, though, and usually fell asleep in the car on the way back to our hotel (a mere 10 minutes away). We had a great week and really enjoyed our time. Since we were all in separate ski classes, we did take the last day of skiing to have us all (minus Ellie) ski together in my ski class because we decided it was a happy medium for all of us and my instructor, Paul, was a nice guy and let us do it. We had met another family at our hotel and the wife (Gretchen) was in my class, the husband (Jerry) was in Brian's class and their boys were in Ian's class and they, too, skied as a family in my class the last day. It was a great way to wrap up the week on our Family ski trip (otherwise we were apart most of the day). Here is a picture of Brian and I on our first morning on the slopes - right before we got put into our classes! This is a picture of me while on lunch break with my class. The views were amazing! This is a picture of the view from our room at the hotel (Gasthaus) we were staying in. Enjoying the sunset from our room. The first two days of skiing were beautiful! We were running a little late for our classes the second day due to traffic getting up the mountain and Brian and I were unable to find our classes. We decided just to enjoy some time skiing together and see if we could find our classes at lunch time.

We were able to get a picture together at lunch right before we left to join our separate classes.

Here's a picture of Brian and Ellie as they were coming down one of the sloepw together. I love Ellie's expression. This picture is of the kids watching a Tim Hawkins video on Ian's iTouch he got for Christmas. I love seeing my kids having fun together! This is a picture of a well-known restaurant on the mountain that serves donuts - either savory or sweet. They were delicious!

Here's a picture of the family waiting for our donuts to arrive! Here's a picture of me with the donuts Brian and I were sharing! Josh with his donuts. Ian with his. Here's a family picture of us on the slopes. It was cold - hence the reason I look like a pink stay puff marshmallow man! I took this picture of Josh outside the place we had our award ceremony for our ski classes. Ellie got a silver medal for her class. She did have other kids in the class they just weren't at the ceremony).

Ian got the gold medal for his class. For some reason the boy standing on the podium with him thought he'd gotten the gold, too, and wouldn't get down.

Yes, I actually got the gold in my class too - beating even the young ones that got silver and bronze!

New Year's Eve the village we were staying in had a little fire works display and celebration in the town center. We stayed for the fire works then left because it was dinner time and it was snowing a wet snow that was soaking us!

Here we are on New Year's Eve with the family I mentioned earlier. Our tables were right next to each other and we chatted every night. It was fun having another family to hang out with!

The kids would hang out in the stair well near the dining room with the iPad and play games because it had a better Internet connection there!

It really was a great trip and was hard to come home to see the whirlwind of Christmas still in the living room since Christmas seemed so long ago at that point! We are already thinking about and planning for another ski trip we enjoyed it so much. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Sankt Veit, Austria

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

December 2011

Yes, another holiday season has come and gone and I am only now blogging about it. I guess the upside to that is the fact that I took the time to just enJOY the holidays! It's all becoming a bit of a blur which is why I figure I should probably take the time to write about it before it is all forgotten! We spent Thanksgiving in Poland at a Christian mission there. Our purpose was bringing Thanksgiving dinner to the workers and their families. Our time there was tainted, however, with Ellie getting sick and us having to head home earlier than expected. We ended up spending the night in Dresden and were able to enjoy some of the Christmas markets there. The city is amazing and we look forward to going there again! Unfortunately, the month started on a sour note with Brian getting in an accident in his car and we eventually found out that our insurance company would total it. This disappointed Brian greatly as he really liked that car. As I type we still have yet to replace the car. We had a couple of work related Christmas parties to attend the first couple of weekends in December. It was our first time to have a babysitter here in Germany. I was given the name of a German girl in our village so we hired her. She is very sweet and it worked out nicely. Early in the month we made Christmas cookies to give to our neighbors. The kids and I had a good time making them and Daddy helped to ice them! Bella got whatever fell or dropped on the ground!

Ian also had his first hockey game here the second weekend of the month in Luxembourg. It was on Saturday morning and we had to get up pretty early to get there but we made it. Their rink is outside under a cover so it was pretty chilly. It was a good game and ended in a tie.

After the game, we explored the surrounding village a little then went to a Christmas market in another village on the German border (but still in Luxembourg). While at the market, Ellie rode a donkey through the town and I walked alongside with her and took pictures. She really enjoyed riding the donkey and wanted to do it again.

We finally went and picked out a tree and got it decorated. It seemed a little late for us but the timing just worked out that way for us!

On the 16th of December, Brian and Ian went on a bus with his hockey team to Mannheim to watch a German professional hockey game. They enjoyed the experience and Brian was glad to have along a couple of other American dads to chat with - one of them, in fact, graduated with him from the Academy! Small world! The next day we left in the morning to pick up Josh from the airport in Frankfurt. We got there in plenty of time and ended up waiting quite a while for him to come through customs and everything. It was so good to see him! We had already decided to go to the Christmas market in Frankfurt so we headed that way for Josh's first German experience! Unfortunately, Josh was fighting a pretty bad headache so we didn't stay very long at the market but we did stay long enough to enjoy some Gluhwein and German specialties like kartoffelpuffer (a potato pancake thing similar to hash browns and it's just fun to say) and schwenk steak (a seasoned pork steak that is quite yummy). We headed home for a little bit then went to a restaurant in a town near ours and had a nice traditional German meal. The next day we had church and then came home to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. I decided to go ahead and give the boys a gift my friend, Deb, bought on clearance thinking of my boys and sent to me - the big Harry Potter Lego castle! It took them just a couple of days but they got it done. (I need to get a picture of the finished product.)

That week before Christmas, Brian was working and Ian still had his evening activities so we had a pretty normal week. The kids did make a gingerbread house one day and we did take Josh around a little to see the local area. We did get some snow one day that week and it was enough to play in and make a snowman in but it was gone by the next day.

One night after Ian's hockey practice, we took the opportunity to do some ice skating as a family!

Brian ended up having the 23rd off so we decided to take Josh (and Ian since he wasn't with us when we went before) to Heidelberg. We walked around, shopped, ate and just enjoyed the day.

Christmas Eve we went to the service at our church then went to our friend's Tim and Jennifer's house for refreshments. We have been friends with Tim and Jennifer for a while (since 5 assignments ago) so it was fun to hang out with them and for them to get to see Josh. We came home and opened our traditional Christmas Eve gift - new pajamas! Then, sent the kids off to bed!

The above picture was taken at Tim and Jennifer's house.

Christmas morning the kids actually slept in a little bit! We then had a wonderful time of opening gifts and being together.

We got to relax for a little while but then we had to get serious packing for our ski trip that we were leaving for the next morning! I will write about the ski trip in the next post so that this isn't any longer than it already is! All-in-all we really enjoyed our time celebrating our risen Savior and His coming to earth as a baby. May we never take for granted the gift He gave us!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad