Thursday, June 23, 2011

Paddack Adoption Fundraiser

Hey everyone! I wanted to let you know that I am having some Pampered Chef fundraiser parties to help other adoptive families. Right now, Matt and Holly Paddack are having their fundraiser which will end July 10. Matt and Holly have 3 little boys and they are waiting for a referral for a baby girl. They can't wait to see her precious face and bring her home! As you know, adoption is expensive so what a great way to help them financially and allow you some GREAT products! To help Matt and Holly, click the Pampered Chef link to the right and enter Holly as the co-host. Some of my favorite summertime products are shown below.

Cool and Serve: Veggies, fruits, deviled eggs and more stay cool 4-6 hours, even outdoors! Mix and match the two removable trays and cooling inserts for a variety of serving combinations. Divided trays have two 1-cup wells, four compartments and solid walls, so juices won't mix or make dry foods soggy. Dual-sided inserts are filled with an exclusive cooling gel, and feature one flat side and another with egg wells. Their compact two-piece design with finger slots allows for quick removal and takes up less freezer space. The clear lid and base snap together for easy transport and storage. 12" x 12". Dishwasher-safe. 

Collapsible Serving Bowl: Generously sized for large gatherings! Pop it open to serve, collapse it to take up less cabinet space. When collapsed, it also creates a well for chips and dip. A nonskid ring keeps the bowl steady. Includes lid. Bowl is dishwasher-safe. There are 3 sizes, 2, 4, and 8 quarts. 

Corn Butterer: This butterer is so handy! Instead of using a knife and having your butter fall off the corn, or rolling it in the stick of butter and getting silk all over your butter, use this butterer! Just add butter to neatly baste corn and fresh bread. Dishwasher-safe. 
BBQ Grill Basket: A stainless-frame mesh basket makes it easy to grill foods like shrimp and veggies. Its rectangular design takes up less space so you can grill other foods at the same time, even with the lid closed. Integrated handles help you easily move the basket. 11" x 8 1/2" x 2". Dishwasher-safe.
Mega Lifter: The easiest way to move foods from the oven or grill to serving platters! Simply slide the stainless lifter under pizzas, appetizers and cakes, then use the angled nylon helper handle to keep your fingers from touching the food. This sturdy duo can even handle deep dish pizzas and cakes up to 5 lbs.! Lifter, 10" x 10". Helper handle, 7" x 2 1/2". Dishwasher-safe.  
Veggie Wedger: Cut onions, tomatoes, potatoes and citrus fruits into six wedges in one quick motion. Simply place food on the base and use ergonomic handles to press a serrated stainless blade through the food. Includes nonskid base. 5" diameter. Dishwasher-safe.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

On this father's day, I would first like to say thank you to my wonderful father who showed me what kind of man I wanted to marry. Dad was, and still is, a great role model for all of us!

Most of all, however, I want to tell Garth how much I love him and what an incredible dad he is. The boys have been with us for almost 2 months now and I couldn't have asked for a better husband and father for these boys. They LOVE spending time with him and ask several times a day if daddy's at work. So on this very first father's day, I would like to share some of my favorite pictures of my 3 guys from this past week. Enjoy!

Simon, Daddy, and Jeremiah at North Lake

Daddy helping Simon hold a kitten

This picture was taken of a reflecting ball

Simon, Daddy, and Jeremiah waiting patiently for lunch

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Picture updates

I know it's been a while since I posted any pics of the boys and part of that is because I lost my camera at my parent's house for about a month. We have another one which we did take some pictures with, but I wasn't used to it and it was a bigger camera so I couldn't as easily carry it around with me for those really cute moments. Here are some of what I DID get, though.

Jeremiah hugging Simon

Daddy's home from work!

The boys sleeping at Grandma and Granddad's house

Simon wearing my slippers

Simon mowing

Simon riding the tractor

Jeremiah on a sit and spin

Jeremiah had put that diaper on himself...he was so proud

We got this play water table by some unknown person...and the boys LOVE IT!!!!! 

Bucket heads

Simon and Granddad, Jeremiah and Daddy

Cowboy Jeremiah

Grandma and Jeremiah

Jeremiah and Simon playing in the sandbox at Inman

Simon, Mommy, Daddy, and Jeremiah

Simon and Jeremiah wearing their new raincoats

Jeremiah and Simon riding in a wagon at someone's garage sale

Simon and Groucho

New friends Cerra, Ethan, and Brantley Anderson in their backyard. Their parents are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia as well and are waiting for a referral.

Simon is on the level

Thursday, June 9, 2011

HIV is not a death sentence

The following testimony was sent to America World by a mother who adopted her son 2 years ago. His name has been changed to protect his identity. I read this post from the AWAA blog and wanted to share it with all of you. I met several HIV positive kids while I was in Ethiopia and they are just like any other kids, they just have to take medicine. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.

Since bringing our son “Adam” home from Ethiopia in 2009, we have often been asked by fellow AWAA families about HIV positive adoption and I always have two answers for them. HIV is not the difficult “issue” here, and secondly, “How could it not be God’s will to adopt an HIV positive/special needs child?”  I have never read a verse in the Bible where it says, “Run from the sick, don’t take care of those with special needs, and don’t do anything that is uncomfortable.”

We are the body of Christ. If it isn’t us who will bring these children into our families, then who will?

HIV is not a death sentence. HIV is a chronic, manageable condition that if treated properly is considered easier to manage than diabetes. Every three months we bring our son to see his specialist at the children’s hospital, he gets blood work, then home we go. His medications are adjusted based on his weight gain every three months and we make sure to strictly administer them twice a day. If he cuts himself we simply put on gloves and give a quick band aide. When others become curious or probe for answers that are not needed to be given, we redirect the conversation. Only our closest friends and family are aware of his status, which gives us and our son a support system in which to have total honesty. Maybe one day our son won’t mind sharing his positive status with the neighbor or random person, but for now we are going to be mindful about whom we tell. Once it is let out, he can never get that privacy back. Disclosure of his HIV positive status should be done with his best interest in mind. At the same time, we also want to emphasize that we don’t need to hide or be ashamed of this, so it is a tricky balance.

Believe it or not, that is all I have to say about HIV and that is all I tell families who call me with questions about HIV positive adoption. What I tell them next is something I hope they really take into prayer and think seriously about- the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual needs of their adopted child. We have focused 10% on Adam’s HIV, and 90% on these other areas. Our son came home to us at only 2 ½ years old, and the trauma he experienced in those years was horrible. The nannies at the transition home were wonderful but everything he experienced in his forming years has affected him.  I have stayed home with Adam since he came home. We have worked through and continue to work through anxiety, fear of African Americans, sleeping difficulties, ADHD behavior, and Sensory Processing Disorder. We have been to occupational therapy, read books, listened to lectures, and really have been doing “therapeutic parenting” since he came home. You can’t expect to bring your child home and just say, “Ok go play, or here’s your class go to school now, or run 100 errands in one day.”  Love, safety, consistency, structure and JESUS is what our children need.

Now have we seen healing in our son? YES! God is miraculous and His Grace is sufficient. He is so faithful and has heard every one of our prayers. Our son has bonded to us amazingly and we share such an extraordinary relationship with him. We would give up our lives in an instant for him and I could say that from the moment we knew about him. His smile is contagious and we sing worship songs together all the time. He knows so many Bible verses and at times of high anxiety we will say them together. We constantly snuggle, cuddle and hug all day long. We bike, read, play, run, laugh and cry together. We love our son so much. None of the difficulty he had in his early years will stand in the way of God’s healing hand. But I think what we need to be aware of is that adoption is difficult, these children have trauma, and HIV should be the least of your worries. How will you restructure your day to meet the needs of your child, will you homeschool if needed, will you lay at night with your child for hours while they sweat in fear and cry so loud that you want to cry yourself, will you continue to pursue them when they reject you, and will you take the time needed to build their trust in you, a total stranger, but now called their parents?

You see, HIV is not the “big deal” in the adoption process. Adoption itself is the “big deal” and all of the things that go along with it. We hardly ever think about the fact that our son is HIV positive but we are reminded daily that he is a 4 year old with way more memories, worries, and fears than a 4 year old should have. So when you consider HIV positive adoption, may you spend just as much if not more time preparing your heart, home and family for meeting the needs of your child. Taking care of their HIV is probably going to be the easiest part. Adoption is Plan A for our family and I would never ask for it to be any other way. In fact, we are anticipating the referral of another HIV positive child knowing the HIV may just be the easiest part of the whole journey. Only by His Grace.

New Pampered Chef fundraiser!

Hello everybody! I wanted to let you know that I have another Pampered Chef adoption fundraiser going on for some friends of mine who are also adopting from Ethiopia! They are Matt and Holly Paddack and you can hop over to their blog here to check out their story. The Paddack fundraiser will go until July 10 so you have plenty of time to peruse my website and order something for the summer. Products usually arrive about a week after I close the show so they should be there by the middle of July. To help support the Paddack family, click here to go to my Pampered Chef page, click on "Shop Online" and enter Holly in the cohost box. You will know you are helping them when you see Paddack Adoption on the top right corner of the page. Thanks for your support!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Prayers for adoption friends

Hey blog followers! Today while I was on Facebook I saw a post from an adoption friend of mine that broke my heart. Brandon and Jen Hatmaker were in our travel group and they are adopting two children, previously unrelated but will soon be brother and sister. They had court the same day with us and while in court, they were told that they hadn't passed because (I think) MOWA hadn't written their letters. Later that day, however, they got a call saying that their daughter had passed and they thought their son would pass later that week. That was March 10....and their son still hasn't passed court. Today Jen got a call from AW while she was having lunch with a friend and throughout a long conversation, AW mentioned the words "appeal" and "final subpoena". They also said that it might be best for them to come get their daughter. My heart just broke at that post and while sitting here with our Ethiopian miracles, the tears just started streaming down my face. PLEASE pray for this family, that MOWCYA will write the letter, and that the Lord will MOVE THIS MOUNTAIN so the Hatmaker family can be rejoined at home in Texas. It has been FAR too long and those kids need to come to their forever family! 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oakland's Swedish Festival this weekend!

If you live around here and would like to take a short trip to one of the best towns in Nebraska, tomorrow and/or Sunday are the days to do it! This weekend is Oakland's Swedish Festival and there are many activities to take part in including garage sales, Swedish pancakes, cookie decorating, children's water fights, the Amazing Arthur from the Balloon Brigade, Swedish Dancers, and a steak dinner! I have listed the activities below. I will also have a Pampered Chef booth tomorrow at the City Auditorium so if you come up, come see me! There will be other booths at the auditorium from 9-4 so check them all out! We love the Swedish Festival and would love to share it with all of you!

Saturday, June 4

7-11 a.m. Swedish Pancakes at the Golden Oaks Center, Main Street
Mini Health Fair at Gold Oaks Center

9-4 Gifts, Arts, and Crafts at the City Auditorium
Logan Valley Artists Club Art Show (includes art table for the kids) at the Veteran's Building     
Tribute to Oakland Calendars-Veteran's Building
Digital Diva's Class Display-Veteran's Building
Bake sale at Lutheran Church - Oakland Hospital Auxiliary - Coffee, cookies, and rolls available on-site
Quilt show - Lutheran Church downstairs
Old Dish Display - First Lutheran Church
OC student Art Show at First Lutheran

10-3  Young at Heart - Memories with Linnea Young - Golden Oaks Center

10-4  Swedish Cookie Decorating for the small fry - Vet's Building

11-noon Swedish Festival Story Time at the Oakland City Library

Afternoon-Oakland Fire and Rescue - Visit "Sparky" on main street

1-2 Charlotte Endorf "Excess Baggage: Riding the Orphan Train" - First Lutheran Church

1-3 The Amazing Arthur from the Balloon Brigade - City Auditorium

2-4 Children's water fights and visit with "Sparky" - Oakland Fire and Rescue - Fire Hall

2:30 Oakland-Craig's 4th Grade Swedish Dancers and Little Miss Sweden and Viking Prince - Main Street Stage

3-6 The musical duo of Debby Greenblatt and David Seay will play and sing upbeat folk music and fiddle tunes. Featured will be Swedish folk instruments and music - Main Street Stage

4:30-8 Steak supper at Nelson's Food Pride Tent $8.99 at tent and kids eat free!

6-7:30 "Troubadour" - Main Street Stage

9:00 Street dance sponsored by Quenchers. *Beer gardens by Quenchers and Trophies (open until 1:00)

All Day
Yard sales around town
Golf Club Open - call (402) 685-5339 for tee times
Troll Stroll - On 1st Street, 4 blocks east of Hwy. 77 - See the trolls scattered around as you take the nature walk at your leisure.

9-4 Swedish Heritage Center open house. Hwy 77 and 3rd Street

9-5 pm 3-on-3 basketball tournament - Oakland-Craig High School Gym, 4th St and Hwy 77

Sunday, June 5

8:30-9:30 Coffee and cookies by P.E.O Chapter EL before and after church service.

9:30 Community Worship Service led by Oakland Ministerial Association at Oakland City Auditorium.

11-1 Dinner at Vet's Building - provided by Oakland VFW and VFW Auxiliary Post 5543

Food and Snacks!!!

7-11 Swedish Pancakes at Golden Oaks Center - Main Street

9-4 Hospital Auxiliary Bake Sale and Coffee at Lutheran Church

11-1 Burgers, Brats, and Desserts at the Masonic Lodge - Downtown

4:30-8 Steak Supper at Nelson's Food Pride

8:30-9:30 Coffee and cookies by P.E.O Chapter EL

11-1 Dinner at Vet's Building - provided by Oakland VFW and VFW Auxiliary Post 5543

Memories Cafe (Open for breakfast and lunch)
A & D's Hot Stuff Pizza
Fred's Food and Fuel
Bowman Funnel Cakes, Curly Potatoes, and Onions
Itty Bitty Shoppe

Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend Jeremiah, Simon, Garth and I spent the 3-day weekend in Trenton, Missouri visiting with Grandpa and Grandma D as well as honorary Auntie Maria and Uncle Ron Cochran. We got to Trenton Friday night at about 10:00 and after unpacking the car and going inside, the boys immediately had to go around and turn on and off all the lights. Grandpa and Grandma D live in a BIG house so that took some time. :-) Saturday, we went to the church ladies thrift store, to a garage sale (where we were able to get one of those rechargeable 4-wheelers that they can ride on...among other things), and spent the rest of the day at Grandpa and Grandma D's. The boys had a BLAST...and I think Grandpa and Grandma were glad to have them visit as well.

On Sunday, we went to church at 9:30 where the church family got to meet the boys. Many of those families had been praying for us during our adoption so it was fun for them to get to see the fruit of those prayers. For the service, we heard from 4 men who had gone to Joplin to help in any way they could. They had taken chainsaws and were cutting trees and removing them for people. The pictures were heartbreaking and their stories were very interesting. That night, Garth and I got to go on our very first date since becoming parents. Ron and Maria and Grandpa and Grandma watched the boys while we went out for dinner and then to see Kung Fu Panda 2 (which I really enjoyed, by the way). I will confess that as we were sitting in the restaurant my mind was more on what the boys were doing than dinner, but I guess that's normal for the first time being away from the kids. :-)

Monday we had some more family come over to meet the boys for lunch and we just stayed at the house until about 5:00 when we left to come home. The whole weekend was so much fun for all. Garth is planning on taking the boys back for 4-5 days around July 4 because he will be off work that week (and I won't be).

We did get some pictures from the weekend that I will post on here as soon as I get them downloaded. We had to use a different camera than I'm used to and it's bigger than the one we lost so there weren't as many pictures taken, but Grandpa and Grandma D took some so I'll try to get those as well.

Is there a child waiting for YOU?

In the past I have talked about the blog that America World has and highlighted some of their blog posts. Well this morning as I was reading my e-mail, I saw a blog post from them that I just had to share. America World has a Waiting Child Program of children that are either older or have medical conditions that make them harder to place. I actually met the little boy from Ethiopia who is highlighted and he is truly a delight. Please pray for these children this month as well as their future families. I confess that I still "stalk" the Ethiopia WCL and I pray for these children regularly as well as their future families. It is such a thrill to see when they are placed with their forever families. The names have been changed for these three children to protect their privacy and if you would like more information on the Waiting Child program, click on the child's name.

Thank you for joining America World in committing these children to prayer during the month of June.  We trust that God will move through our prayers on their behalf and we are eager to see all He will accomplish through our united prayers! 

Maria is an 8 year old girl who loves to play with toys and interact with other children.  She has not been allowed to attend school because she first needs corrective surgery on her hands.  She has congenital fingers anomaly and has had surgery to repair a cleft lip and palate.  She is a smart girl with a positive attitude, but desperately needs a family to step forward and provide a loving, caring, and godly home to her.  As with so many children just like her, she deserves an opportunity to go to school with other children her age and learn about the world in which she lives.

Lawrence is a 6 year old boy who is HIV positive.  He loves meeting new people and has a lot of friends.  His teachers say that he enjoys telling stories, drawing pictures, and helping other students in class.  He is an active little boy; loves playing football and games with toy cars and trucks.  Please join us in praying that a family would come forward to adopt Lawrence, and also for him as he waits for a mom and dad.

Janelle is a 20 month old little girl who loves music and being outside. She likes being held and teased by her caretakers.  Janelle has a repaired hernia, hydrocephalus, dysplasia of brain and spina bifida.  She is learning to walk and is described as a happy girl, who has a ready smile and likes to laugh out loud. 

Please join us this month in praying for Maria, Lawrence and Janelle.  Please pray for their development and health, for their nannies/caretakers, and for a family to come forward for their adoptions. 

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

Today I Kissed an Angel

Today I kissed an angel. I knew it from the start. The first time my angel smiled at me; I gave away my heart.

Today I kissed an angel; This angel child of mine. Though not of my creation, My child by God's design.

Today I kissed an angel. My heart is dancing wild; Our family, by a miracle; Blessed by our angel child.

All I Really Want by Steven Curtis Chapman