Friday, December 31, 2010

When it's meant to be

I believe in things that are meant to be. Sometimes, we can try so hard to have things our way or try to manipulate situations to be in our favor because we know best.

We lost our dog Sasha 5 1/2 years ago. Olivia has been begging for a dog ever since. Steve and I have thought of every excuse under the sun to not get a dog, everything from the dog would ruin our new carpet to we don't have time to take care of a dog.

The biggest reason has been that we didn't think our girls were old enough to take on the responsibility of caring for a dog.

This Christmas, the ONLY thing Olivia wanted for Christmas was a dog. She even mailed a letter to Santa, telling him that he was her last hope for a dog.

It's winter, we have had several inches of snow and we live in a cold climate. Steve and I said we would keep an open mind and think about possibly getting a dog in the spring or summer. Our excuse this time was that a new puppy would be too hard to train in the winter.

Still, Olivia was relentless in her asking.

Two weeks before Christmas, Steve and I went shopping for the kids' Christmas presents. We set out hoping to discover something really cool and fun that would satisfy Olivia and take her mind off a dog for a while.

But we were having no such luck. Anything that was really cool was also really expensive.

During this particular day of shopping, I left Steve in the electronics department and headed to another part of the store. I ran into a friend that I had not seen for several weeks. I told her about our predicament with Olivia only wanting a dog for Christmas and that it was not going to happen.

My friend told me that if we ever consider a dog at some point, we should look into a local poodle breeder, which is where they got their female pup. She explained how this particular breeder breeds poodles that are not yippy, smart and easy to train.

At that moment, my friend's cell phone rang, so we said a quick good bye and I was off to find Steve. Just as I found Steve (still in the electronics department), my friend came running with her cell phone in her hand and pushing her cart.

She said, "you would not believe this!" Then she proceeded to tell us that that was her husband on the phone and he wanted her to know that he just talked to the poodle breeder and she had one puppy for sale - just 4 weeks old. The breeder asked if they knew anyone that wanted a poodle. After breeding poodles for 20 years, this was going to be her last puppy.

After a series of phone calls and conversations, Steve and I miraculously ended up at the breeder's home that same afternoon to look at the puppy.

We agreed that we were just going to look - not fall in love - just look.

We both left there smitten. We told the breeder we would think about it and call her with our decision.

We waited five days, did our research and Steve and I both decided that this was the one. The one thing that sealed the deal for us more than anything is that poodles are the most hypoallergenic breed of dogs. Steve is highly allergic to cats and dogs, so this was very important for us.

On Christmas day, we wanted to surprise the kids. We arranged with the breeder to bring the kids over that morning. We got up, ate breakfast, opened a couple gifts and Steve said he wanted to go for a drive. The kids thought this was a great idea! It was a beautiful day, snow clinging to the evergreens and a light snow fall in the air.

We drove to the breeder's home on the other side of town and Steve turned in the driveway. The kids freaked out! They asked their dad what the heck he was doing just pulling into a stranger's driveway. Steve got out of the truck and said he was going to go ask for some cookies.

The girls got unbuckled and went to the floor because they were embarrassed that their father would walk to a stranger's house and ask for cookies on Christmas day.

Then Steve came back to the car and said that we could all go inside. We practically had to drag our kids out of the truck.

The new puppy was running around on the floor and I said, "Olivia, Merry Christmas!"

There are no words to describe this moment. It was all worth taking the plunge and buying a dog.

Days following, Olivia named our new puppy, "Coco". She is black with a little white on her chest and on a couple paws.

We were not able to take her home with us that day because she still needed to be weened from her mother.

So, today, New Year's Ever, Steve traveled to the other side of town in the truck, through a snow storm, with the three youngest kids to pick up Coco.

She is the most adorable, cuddly dog ever! Our whole family is in love!

Introducing.....Coco!!! It was meant to be!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

One little girl could use your prayers

I have been home from Haiti for 2 months now and still feel just as messed up as I was when I first arrived home. I was only there for a week but experienced enough to impact me the rest of my life.

For the past several years, I have been reading a lot about human trafficking and I have been following organizations advocating against human trafficking. Each time I read another story of a tragedy involving trafficking or a rescue, God gets my attention over any other injustice in the world.

One part of my experience that I will never forget, are the beautiful children of Haiti. There was one little girl in particular that stole the hearts of many in our group. In fact, members of our team left money to buy her a school uniform so she could go to school. She had been wandering the streets on her own until she entered school.

The teacher has relayed glowing reports through a mutual friend to our team back in the US. We have enjoyed seeing pictures of her in her new uniform, smiling and very happy.

Earlier this week, I received a very disturbing email from our contact in Haiti. This girl is in danger of being trafficked.

I can't share details of this story. But I will say that they have haunted me all week. Up until this point, I have read some horrible stories of children being sold into the slave trade. Nothing has shaken me more than this story.

Our contact is doing everything in his power to intervene and to rescue this beautiful child.

In Haiti, there are currently 300,000 children working in the slave industry. 1 out of 10 children in Haiti are working as slaves. Since the earthquake in January, sex trafficking in Haiti has been rampant. Just google any of this and you will find several stories on the Internet to back this up.

These statistics shake me even more now that I can put a name and face to a potential innocent victim to this horrendous crime.

Please pray for little 'B' and her future. Pray that my friend will be able to work through red tape fast enough to rescue her. It's all very complicated. Thank you!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

Grandpa and Grandma and their grandchildren.

Beautiful Olivia

Avery and crazy hair
Great Grandma, great grandchildren and one miniature Santa

Avery opening gifts
Lauren opening something she has wanted for a LONG time.
Remember the Duct Tape bags? My nieces are now proud owners of them.

Samson and his new guitar!
Avery sporting her new classy bag!

My little Shepard boy

My sweet little angel! (Avery on far left)
Baby Jesus!
Christmas Eve cookie baking and decorating!

Dressed our best
My handsome, photogenic boy
Reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas begins with Christ

Merry Christmas!

Celebrating the true meaning of Christmas...

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Luke 2:8 - 14

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Duct Tape

The girls and I have been creating duck tape purses in recent days. It's fun and simple! You can create just about anything with duct tape..even a PROM dress!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bianca's Story

A few days ago, I wrote about Rudy and how malnutrition took his life. He is in a better place now - much more comfortable - no longer hungry - no longer struggling to breath - no longer in pain.

Today, I want to share a miracle story about a baby who has survived her battle despite her grim prognosis.

I learned about Bianca when I first arrived in Haiti. There is a young woman from my community who serves in an orphanage in the city of Leogane, just a 30 minute drive from where we were staying in Haiti. Her name is Rhyan. I also have friends who are in the process of adopting 2 girls from the same orphanage.

I tried every effort to go to this orphanage to bring donations and to see my friend's girls but it just wasn't meant to happen.

However, I was able to connect with Rhyan by phone. At the time, she was at the hospital in Carrfour (the same city we were staying) with baby Bianca. She asked if we would pray for her because her health was failing fast. I learned from Rhyan in our brief conversation that she was not expected to live.

To call Rhyan, I had to walk across the street from where we were staying and through our translator, used the neighbor's personal cell phone. I spoke with Rhyan briefly, just enough time to give her the address of where I was staying and Pastor Amos' cell phone number. We were staying at Pastor Amos' home at the time.

That was the last I heard from Rhyan until we arrived home from Haiti.

Once home I learned that Rhyan indeed did call Pastor Amos the very same day. Rhyan asked him to come meet her at the hospital, assuming he would bring me with him.

What I learned is that Pastor Amos walked to the hospital on his own, met Rhyan, prayed over Bianca and baptized her. Bianca was expected to pass away any day.

Rhyan left Haiti that week for a scheduled trip back to the US. She had to leave Bianca behind in the care of the hospital. She was uncertain whether she would see Bianca again.

Bianca was very weak and was going in and out of consciousness when Rhyan left her.

However, instead of passing away, Bianca regained strength. When Rhyan returned back to the orphanage, Bianca had returned to the orphanage!

Since then Bianca has been back in the hospital once but again regained her strength and now is back at the orphanage. The last report is that "she is going to make it." She is a fighter!

In the midst of much suffering and pain in Haiti and around the world, there are stories like Bianca's, stories of miracles and hope. No doubt God has big plans for this precious little one.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bale's Story

For those of you who are following Drawn From Water and their story of rescuing children from mandatory infanticide, you may be interested in learning more about Bale, the first child rescued. Go to My Crazy Adoption and read the Wahlberg's adoption story of this beautiful girl.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I thought I was broken before my trip to Haiti. I thought I was broken enough when I returned from my trip to Haiti. But God keeps breaking me more and more as weeks pass by.

Obviously, I have a heart for the orphan and with each story of heart ache that I come across I think God can't break me anymore. And then He shows me another story of pain and loss.

Today I want to share one of those stories. It is the story about a little baby boy that I only knew about after returning from Haiti and since has gone to be with Jesus.

First, I have to back up several months when both Olivia and I had a discussion about adopting another child. I had been thinking to myself about a girl. Years ago, our family used to visit a sweet couple at the local nursing home and the woman's name was Ruby. I always liked the name Ruby and thought I would name my daughter Ruby if I ever have another daughter.

Well, during this discussion, Olivia shared with me that she thinks our family should adopt again and she thinks there is a girl named Ruby out there waiting for us.

A couple Sundays ago, Olivia and I had a discussion about Ruby again. Steve has not said 'yes' to another adoption but Olivia and I have been planting seeds for him hoping that some day adopting another child will become 'his' idea. But in the meantime, we talk and dream about a little girl named Ruby.

So, Olivia and I are sitting at the computer on a quest to find Ruby. Recently back from Haiti, we wondered if maybe Ruby is in Haiti. I came across a blog of a family going through their first adoption from Haiti. On there blog was a link to their daughter's orphanage..

We clicked on the link and the first blog post was a post about a little baby boy named "RuDy". Whoa! We were very taken back, especially when we first read it to be "RuBy". We read Rudy's story about his severe malnourishment and that he had just been relinquished to the orphanage.

Then we scrolled down to the next blog post, which was about a little girl named Olivia, a young girl who has a heart for orphans and who rallied her class to raise hundreds of dollars for the orphanage. Double Whoa!!

Baby Rudy has been in my thoughts and prayers. I stumbled upon the same orphanage site again today for the first time since that Sunday. I was struck with great sadness when I learned that Rudy had gone to live with Jesus last Friday. His little body was just too weak. Oh how my heart breaks for God's children who are suffering needlessly.

I don't know what all of this means for our family. But the more God breaks our hearts, the more motivated we are to help in some way. So, we continue to pray for God's guidance and direction. Please pray that our family hears God's specific assignment for us.