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Friday, August 17, 2012

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ???

I guess I started blogging to keep in touch w/ my first travel buddies from our first adoption and then it turned into a sorta of journal to work out my feelings and the to share what God was doing in our lives ... Now it has days when it is a challenge to share or a milestone in the family, but I do feel God has used my blog to encourage and empower people -- so I guess my question is HOW CAN I HELP YOU ???  What do you want to know that would benefit you in your walk w/ the Lord, with his calling upon your life, or simply a logistics question (how do you do it on budget, how do you explain adoption to others, or where do I start) ... I don't want my blog to just words, but WORDS TURNED INTO ACTION !!!

I want to help you on your road and help you to be in the center of God's will ... so just shoot me questions and I will blog on them ... blessings !!!


OK, GONNA ANSWER THESE ONE AT A TIME (as quick as I can ... hee hee)

Two questions: how do you share about adoption with others you do not know in a way that builds your child up, doesn't single them out, and allows you to share Christ? My little ones are not so little anymore and are starting to listen as I share and I would love to know what words you wrap around it. 

Groceries! How do you feed a big family on a budget?! MaYbe my budge is unrealistic ally small but I am in need of some ideas! :)


How do you follow Gods calling and not make others feel they are less than you? Sometimes I feel like because we as a family are passionate about adoption and orphans people think we think we're "holier than thou". I really try not to put off that vibe. But sometimes I think I may talk to much! Does that make sense?

I will say my style has changed over the years.  I used to just answer the questions they asked, but as my children have gotten older (and obviously adopted by the color of our skins and eyes) I am bold and honest because we talk about it all the time as a family ... God knitted our family together - He created it before the beginning of time - No matter how it happened it was in his design and he saw it - We respect our birth families and countries, but ALL MY KIDS ARE OATSVALL'S ... I had a sweet friend (who was recently home w/ her first child ask how I could let my kids wear 147 shirts ... wasn't that uncomfortable for them) ... Please know my friend is the sweetest and most encouraging friend, but she was newly home w/ her child and still had that feeling of "she was an orphan." ... I explained to her that my children have ever right and are commanded by the LORD to speak up for those w/ no voice ... My kids love being a part of 147 and helping to build wells, feed kids, or visit children in need ... They want others to get involved ... You must understand that you can't control how others view your family or what you say ... If they see you as anything but truly trying to encourage them to find their calling then that is on them ... I firmly believe some people make me feel uncomfortable about what I say or what we have done, because they themselves are living a life convicted and deciding NOT to obey ... I appreciate all the people who are truly trying to find their way and I love when they tell me what God has called them to do ... Because in the end we are all GOD'S hands and feet and should be serving somewhere ... 

GROCERIES ... wish I could say I cut coupons, but I don't ... My best plan (when I can get it to work) is planning out my week, stocking up on needed items, and use what we have ... About every 3 months we do CLEAN OUT (where we eat everything we have before we shop again) ... Kids don't like it, but it is friendly on the budget ... We have just recently gone to CLEAN EATING so I am still working that out on the budget ... Some areas it really helps on the budget and others not so much, but I will make it work eventually because we are all feeling so much better (plus it cuts out a lot of eating out) ... and obviously RICE AND PASTA make things go really far ... WE LOVE LEFTOVERS (or at least we eat them NO MATTER WHAT ... my hubby is the best at that) ... My aunt promises when she retires that she will do all my grocery shopping cause she is a big coupon person ... ALSO - crockpot, quesadilla maker, frozen veggies are my friend !!! 

I was wondering what happened to Kevin, and how is he doing???

Kevin decided to move out and is currently with his mother and grandmother ... We are supporting and praying for Kevin ... I know he will do good things for the Lord ... 


How did you go about pursuing your referrals in Uganda? Is there an agency you recommend or an orphanage or organization? And what are your tips at staying connected with your husband amidst the crazy/busyness of life and ministry?

Wow, the Uganda question is a hard one ... The country is going through a lot right now and you have to make sure that the agency or private attorney you are working w/ has integrity ... Many agencies are not accepting any families right now because there is such a back log of people waiting ... If you are really serious then email us at twomoms13kids@gmail.com and I will send you a few links ... 

STAYING CONNECTED W/ THE HUBBY ... We are so intentional on this - whether we lock the doors to our room and tell the kids we need to talk, hold hands on the couch, kiss when we leave and when we arrive home, plan a date night at least once a month (harder than it looks), we send FUN texts, and have DOWN PHONE TIME AT HOME so we are not disturbed as a family ... Scott is my ROCK and my hero, so I make sure that we stay connected and communicate (and not just about day to day - play fun question games (you have to come up w/ his own on this one - hee hee)  ... We talk about everything and realize that at any day God could move us and we have to ok w/ that and we are because we know each others LOVE LANGUAGES (that is super important) ... I adore my husband and even on our toughest days he is who I want in my corner !!! 


Well im just your # 1 stalker I guess LOL, my daughter got me hooked on yalls stories & i just got back from my first trip EVER to Uganda & it was life changing for me. I know we have never meet but I feel like I know y'all because I stalk y'all ALL the time. I do not know what the next step for me is from God but I just wanna work or support 147 million orphans in any way I can. We went with visiting orphans & they are a great organization also. Just PLEASE tell me how I could be of help to 147. 

147 is always looking for more people to help us spread our mission ... Have you thought about doing a SHARE EVENT,  where you share your heart and how 147 has empowered you to tell others about how they can help an orphan ...SHARE us on your FB / blogspot so more people can follow us and see what every day people are doing to change lives ...  I think so many people WANT to get involved they just don't know where to start ... BUY A SHIRT, GO ON A TRIP, DONATE MONEY TO PROVIDE FOOD, WATER, MEDS ... SEE the orphan and meet a need ... 147 now has trips to Honduras, we are working on raising funds to build a clinic in Haiti and always supporting our sweet sister Katie in Uganda ... JOIN US - and get as many involved as you can !!! AND THANKS FOR THE SWEET WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT ... It is cool to think that God can take my family HE created and change the lives of others !!! 

Having a child that is adopted and hearing impaired, I would love to hear how Joseph's doing...school,speech development, what is his school program like right now (do they use any special programs with him) , how is his sign language development going, how is the family doing with signing,etc,etc,etc. what have your struggles been, what has been easier than you thought it would be?

What a great question w/ so many answers ... I can laugh and say that God knows my limits when it comes to choosing children and that is why HE CHOOSE them for me ... There have been so many times during my adoptions that I thought how ever did you pick me for this Lord - I am so not the right person for this and each time he gave me ALL THE STRENGTH I needed and the LOVE to begin healing and belonging ... Joseph has had many test, lots of Speech Therapy and now sign language (which has been so hard for me learn, but I do have a really cool app on my phone that is teaching me) ... He has some nuero issues also that is still being determined, but I just say WHATEVER because my sweet sweet Joseph is the most joyful little boy ever !!! He doesn't get frustrated in communicating w/ us, but uses both words (he has less than 50 in his vocab) and some sign language he has learned.   He is the ultimate survivor - he figures things out !!!  He has just started Kindergarten w/ a full time sign language aid, ST, OT and a deaf ed specialist ... He loves school and we will do whatever we need to do to help him learn to communicate the best he can ... It has all been harder than I thought (which is God's present for not showing me the road ahead) ... And the biggest surprise is how I watch Joseph change people w/ his smile and his unconditional love ... Emily asked us tonight if Joseph never really learns to talk or sign then how will he accept Jesus as his savior and Scott talked about how GOD KNOWS THE HEART OF A PERSON - and oh boy does my Joseph have a heart that loves like the LORD ... 

Question came in on my FB ... People often give advice on how to help children, but not so much how to help the mother's who are thinking of disrupting, heading into depression, or don't really love their child ... 

One thing I can promise to not do is try to advise a situation that I am not familiar with ... I have had moments during adoptions where I had to learn to love because the process is different w/ each child (depending on their age, their past, and all the attachment that is missed on both sides - parent and child) ... I think knowing w/out a shadow of a doubt that they were my children given by God helped me to understand my purpose and how to grow deeper with the LORD as he taught me how to parent and love the children he gave me ... 

I know there are many wonderful counselors out there and I would say GO ... speak the truth you have to a godly person w/ an educational background in this area ... Don't keep it in, but also don't share it w/ just anyone who could counsel you in the wrong direction ... I have known many days where I just begged God for a word from the bible ... I needed soothing, healing, and comfort myself and each time he brought it ... Scott and I have both been transparent w/ each other as our family has grown and that helps to make sure we are all growing and their is NO hidden darkness ... There is help out there, so don't wait if you need it ... There is NO SHAME in asking for help and seeking to understand the journey you are on with the Lord  ... 

Question sent in an email ... What do I do when I am ready to adopt (whether it is the first, second, or third time) and my husband is not on board ... 

Wow, if I had a nickel for every time I was asked that question then I would have my next adoption paid for (hee hee - yes, I said next, but that is all up to God) ... I am going to have Scott do another video on this topic, because I think he can speak to fathers better than I can ... You see our husbands say NO for very real reasons and we have to understand and accept that ... You want your hearts connected when you adopt and that sometimes will take time and God will unite you either way ... I know the ache is absolutely like an elephant standing on your heart, but God wired men and women differently for a reason ... Our husbands have been called to protect and provide for the family as well as lead spiritually, so they need more time to process most situations where women were built and lead by emotions ... God wants you of the same accord and that ACCORD is his will ... Seek his will together ... Read scripture together and don't pressure ( I was not great at that one on some occasions) and be silently submissive (struggled there sometimes also) ... I trusted that when Scott said he never has felt called to adopt, but he knew what scripture said and that we would be obedient as a family that he was ready, but DON'T GO BEFORE YOU ARE BOTH READY ... (promise a new video blog from my sweet hubby to come soon) ... 


we are from Canada and we would like some advice on where to start...there are so many ideas to fundraise it's almost as overwhelming as it is inspiring!! There are no non-profit organizations like this in Canada that we know of yet. Any advice would be valuable!!Bless you and all you dooooo! 

This is a great question and one we get asked often ... I love that people are feeling called to move and act on behalf of children ... I have 2 suggestions for you 1) don't necessarily start your own non-profit if there is someone out there doing what you want to do because then you are reinventing the wheel (for ex. if you want to continue to raise funds for the SN program in China then continue to do that for them or if you want to raise funds for people's adoption then you could raise the funds and send to SHOW HOPE a grant organization - we love show hope) 2) We do have the SHARE KIT AVAILABLE and you could pick one of our projects and become a TEAM 147 member to raise funds for the LOVE 1 PROJECTS ...  so thankful for people like you willing to SPEAK UP AND ACT !!! if you have more specific questions just shot them at me ... 

 I want to work in an orphanage I know that, but that doesn't really get me anywhere. Where should I even start?

First, YEAH FOR YOUR FIRST TRIP ... I know God loves us to go and see all the many people he loves and understand how life is different for so many ... As far as what to do now I would find ministry you know that may accept longer term volunteers (Ekisa Ministry in Uganda is amazing, Show Hope I think has summer volunteer programs, and 147 has short term trips in Honduras) ... I would start w/ another trip that was a bit longer and get your feel for what God is calling you too and pray he shows you where to go ... I also know one thing that has alway encouraged me about our sweet friend Katie's story is that before she ever went to Uganda she served in her local community shelters and food kitchens ... There is always a place to serve and love !!! I hope this helps ... 


Will you be planning serving trips to Uganda to help Katie in the future?

Although we adore going to see Katie and spending time w/ her we are not doing trips right now ... She has a smooth running ship and has not set it up there for serving trips yet ... We do have serving trips to Honduras and  the new schedule will be posted soon ... You can help build homes and love on children at the orphanage ... It is a blessed trip ... We are also going to start working on serving trips to Haiti ... both of these locations are also more feasible financially ... It cost approx $1600-2000 just to fly to Uganda, so until we can devise a real serving trip we don't want to embark on that project just yet ... you can email us at twomoms13kids@gmail.com for info on the trips to Honduras ... 


THE QUESTION OF A MULTICULTURAL FAMIY (MANY COLORS) ... what does it look like ?? 

This is probably one of the most popular questions out there ... What happens when you bring a child of a different color or culture into your home ... How do you help them to feel family and belonging ??  Well, I guess the easiest answer is with love ... Love knows NO boundaries and believing in your heart that God created your family will help you to answer questions and handle difficult situations ... I firmly believe that you need to make sure that there are people of the same color as your child in your life -- whether you choose a church, an activity, a school,ball team, or a group of new friends -- YOU MUST MUST PUT GODLY POSITIVELY PEOPLE IN YOUR CHILDS LIFE THAT LOOK LIKE THEM ... We have always been blessed with people of different colors in our life and seek it out ... At the end of the day your extended family may or may not understand and that is on them, but what is on you is to teach your child about the LOVE of God and not placing boundaries on what a family can look like because of color (that is just sin) ... Join an adoption group or have regular dinners w/ other multicultural families ... There are so many opportunities to help your child feel connected and it will actually grow you so much more than you can ever imagine ... I will tell you that you will need a lot of grace and a strong back bone, because there will be times when you need to FLIGHT and FIGHT for your child ... Those moments will solidify your bond and love ... They will see how you react to certain questions and situations and it will become a fabric of who they are ... So as a mom and dad you need to talk about a lot of things and how you will handle certain topics so that you are prepared ... HOPE THIS HELPS ... any other specific questions let me know ... BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER TO STAND UNITED AS A FAMILY (even if you have to stand against people you love) ... 


How did you introduce what was in your heart to your extended families...parents, siblings, etc?

Were you met with resistance and/or rejection?

How should that be handled?

What about the church? This is undheard of in some places. Probably more so than not. How did you approach the church? Were you met with resistance?


I think when sharing w/ others about your decision to adopt whether it is family, friends, church, or community you have to know IT WAS CALLED BY GOD and really there is NO need for arguments or opinions from others ... You should be open to help educate and encourage others into understanding what it will look like, how God called you and why, and how it can be a blessing to many ... I believe the more people understand then the more encouraging and engaged they will be ... It will be important that you surround yourself w/ people that want to understand and if there isn't any support groups at your church or in your area then you need to help start one ... BE PROACTIVE !!! 

Ok so I feel like someday I am supposed to live in Uganda and do work like Katie & I feel like I am supposed to start with a few mission trips...where do I start when looking for one and how do you do the financial part...I heard the approx. price is 3000!

Some churches have financial help on mission trips, you can earn the money w/ odd jobs, and you can always find cheaper trips for your first time out ... Our Honduras trips cost about $1500 for 7 days ... you should check it out ... 






21 kind words.:

A Cup of Cold Water said...

Two questions: how do you share about adoption with others you do not know in a way that builds your child up, doesn't single them out, and allows you to share Christ? My little ones are not so little anymore and are starting to listen as I share and I would love to know what words you wrap around it.

Groceries! How do you feed a big family on a budget?! MaYbe my budge is unrealistic ally small but I am in need of some ideas! :)

Thanks!
Erika

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

LOVE YOUR HEART!!! Love hearing about your family and your passion to serve!

You are an inspiration to me and many many many others!!! THANK YOU!

Hmmm...don't have any questions right now....just wanted to encourage you!!!

J.J. said...

I was wondering what happened to Kevin, and how is he doing???

Erika Chapman said...

How did you go about pursuing your referrals in Uganda? Is there an agency you recommend or an orphanage or organization? And what are your tips at staying connected with your husband amidst the crazy/busyness of life and ministry?
Thank you for sharing and investing! Your family has made a tremendous impact on mine!

Kristin said...

How do you follow Gods calling and not make others feel they are less than you? Sometimes I feel like because we as a family are passionate about adoption and orphans people think we think we're "holier than thou". I really try not to put off that vibe. But sometimes I think I may talk to much! Does that make sense?

tammie hayden said...

Well im just your # 1 stalker I guess LOL, my daughter got me hooked on yalls stories & i just got back from my first trip EVER to Uganda & it was life changing for me. I know we have never meet but I feel like I know y'all because I stalk y'all ALL the time. I do not know what the next step for me is from God but I just wanna work or support 147 million orphans in any way I can. We went with visiting orphans & they are a great organization also. Just PLEASE tell me how I could be of help to 147. Thanks for being REAL & Honest about your journey.
Tammie Hayden

Stacy said...

Having a child that is adopted and hearing impaired, I would love to hear how Joseph's doing...school,speech development, what is his school program like right now (do they use any special programs with him) , how is his sign language development going, how is the family doing with signing,etc,etc,etc. what have your struggles been, what has been easier than you thought it would be? Blessings to you all!

Laine said...

My question is: when are you coming to Birmingham so I can squeeze your neck again? ;)

your blog always inspires me, Gwen! No matter what you are sharing, you let it be known that your desire is the glory of God!

Hugs!

Molly said...

I just saw your lovely news on facebook and I would love to hear the story of Emily accepting the Lord as her Savior!! How wonderful!

Debz said...

How perfectly timely!!
A friend of mine and myself are sending our first box of medical supplies to an organization in China who aid in helping the urgent needs of some of the tiny little lives who are sent there. God has broken our hearts for them. We both feel deeply that God is leading us to yet a bigger picture in our future....I have 2 children adopted from the Special needs/special focas programs and have raised adoption funds with your gear in the past..we are from Canada and we would like some advice on where to start...there are so many ideas to fundraise it's almost as overwhelming as it is inspiring!! There are no non-profit organizations like this in Canada that we know of yet. Any advice would be valuable!!Bless you and all you dooooo!
Ps. Also we may consider doing fundraising through your gear again if you still have promo kits.
"In your hands the orphan finds mercy. -Hosea 14:3

Debz and Janet

the_blissful_mommy said...

You and me, baby. You and me are joined at the spirit. And I mean tightly.
Xxxoo

Kristin said...

Thanks for answering my question, Gwen! I appreciate your honesty!

Allison said...

So, I just got back from my first ever trip leaving the country, first trip to a third world country exactly four months ago. I was in Ethiopia and absolutely fell in love. I feel like God is calling me to go back but, I just haven't put all the pieces together yet. Any tips? I obviously need to fund-raise (18, paying for a few community college classes, just got my first "actual" job this summer...), decide when to go, where to go.. how long to go.. where to stay.. hmmm.. I want to work in an orphanage I know that, but that doesn't really get me anywhere. Where should I even start?

Debz said...

Thanks Gwen! We'll be in touch for sure1

Anonymous said...

Will you be planning serving trips to Uganda to help Katie in the future?

Show Hope said...

Thanks for the shout out! :)

Anonymous said...

The Lord is definitely working here. We have sponsored a child from Uganda for over 2 years...and it was then that I knew the Lord was speaking to my heart about adoption. I brought it up to my husband and he spoke a very firm "no". I decided I would pray. I made plans to do whatever I could to raise money to travel to Africa -- but knew it would be difficult. My husband had an idea last fall to request the orphanage director bring our sponsored child to the US when she visits (she comes every year to raise money and find sponsors). I thought she would say no...but it was a very quick YES. I felt this was God's doing -- softening my husband's heart to want her to visit us. We have been raising funds and getting her room ready (that was also his idea - that she have her own room), and now we are waiting for the Visa to be approved, and she will be here in November! Well, at dinner Sat night, my husband started asking how much adoption from Uganda cost as well as how long it takes. PTL! IT has been a long 2 years of prayers, but I feel God bringing this all together. Keep praying...may he completely fall in love with her while she is visiting...all in God's will and timing.

Anonymous said...

Ok so I feel like someday I am supposed to live in Uganda and do work like Katie & I feel like I am supposed to start with a few mission trips...where do I start when looking for one and how do you do the financial part...I heard the approx. price is 3000!

Stacey said...

Thanks for your mentorship on this!

How did you introduce what was in your heart to your extended families...parents, siblings, etc?

Were you met with resistance and/or rejection?

How should that be handled?

What about the church? This is undheard of in some places. Probably more so than not. How did you approach the church? Were you met with resistance?

Sara said...

Have you heard of signing time videos? The would be great to help your fam learn signs! Fun and easy to watch and catch on. Our library has them but you can also buy them online!

Sara said...

Have you heard of the Signing Time video series! If not, google it! They are awesome for helping family and friends learn sign language!

Our library even has them.