Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Surprise!!!!

We had a very busy weekend, with painting projects, soccer games, church and time spent with our friends. The painting is moving along quite nicely, with one bedroom, bathroom and closet almost completely finished. We had plenty of ...ahem...helpers as you can see from the photos below. We are painting a room that will become our master bedroom, and it is little girlie yellow and pale blue. I tried to go more "adult" with my colors this time around, but it seems both Dominick and I are stuck in the teenage girl phase as we both really liked this color combination, so we decided that since we have to live with it, we simply wouldn't care what others thought and would have our cheery, sunny bedroom to wake up to every morning and leave the more sophisticated, classy look to others. Those that know me wouldn't put it past me to paint a broad "Happy Face" on my walls, and there are moments when I wonder if I don't have just a touch of Hippie tie dye in my past :-) While I will forgo the Happy Face for now, I am quite pleased with the end results and after cleaning our carpets and finishing the trim we will be ready to move our furniture in and then it is on to the boys' new room.









Today was a special day for a couple of reasons. One of our dearest young friends had her Confirmation today at church, and I'll admit to shedding a few tears myself. I swear, it seems like I am ALWAYS doing that lately. I used to be far better able to control my emotions, and there are moments when I admit to feeling like a total idiot...and then there are other times when I feel so fortunate that instead of life turning me harder, it has somehow managed to soften me and I am actually glad that the blessings of life can touch me so deeply...even if I do look like an idiot! We have had the pleasure of being a part of her life the past 3 years and she is a wonderful young lady whom I love very, very much and we will miss her beyond words when her family moves soon. Is there any greater joy than standing on the sidelines watching as right before your eyes a child grows into a young adult?


As we came home from church today we stopped at the mailbox to retrieve yesterday's mail. As I got into the car I saw a large envelope from Shriner's Children's Hospital, and we all held our breath as I opened it...and then we hooped and hollered as we read that Kenny had been scheduled for an initial evaluation in Chicago for June 25th!!!


Can I tell you what an incredible blessing this is for us? Before making the decision to move forward with Kenny's adoption, we really talked long and hard about adopting a special needs child for many reasons...we live in rural Colorado without access to major hospitals and specialists which means a 5 hour drive one way to Denver for us, and although we have health insurance we have a high deductible plan which means $8000 per year out of pocket for us before we receive any benefits.


We really prayed about it a lot, feeling in our hearts that Kenny was definitely ours, but being admittedly filled with fear at how we might handle the anticipated medical costs. I made calls to Shriner's prior to even committing to adopt Kenny, but felt it wouldn't work out because the distance and cost of staying somewhere might cancel out any overall savings we might enjoy. It just seemed beyond reach, and then there was the challenge of being accepted, which there were no guarantees. So, ultimately we made the decision to adopt Kenny solely on faith. We felt God was speaking to us, telling us firmly he was our son, and we figured if that were true then someway, somehow, we would be able to handle it. Our plan was to borrow more against our house to cover the cost of the multiple surgeries we have, get second jobs if necessary, and just carry a huge debt load (like we don't already do...hahahaha!).


When we learned recently that our best friends would be moving to the Chicago area, I remembered that one of Shriner's 3 hospitals that treat cleft/craniofacial cases was in Chicago. At the urging of our friends who offered to help us in any way they could with local transportation there and a place to stay, we decided it might be worth giving it a try. It just so happens that our long time employee and close friend had a connection to Shriner's through her father-in-law, and she obtained the applications for us, and her father-in-law hand carried the applications to a Shriner's meeting a few days later. And here we are, a month later and our entire future has changed thanks to the kindness of so many others.


You see, Shriner's will cover all of Kenny's cleft related surgeries, etc at no cost to us. None. Zilch. And they even will help us with transportation costs to and from Chicago. If they find they can help us at our day long examination in June, then they will even cover him until he is 18 years old which means ALL of his future surgeries will be covered. Dominick and I were so thrilled about this that once again, we were in tears this afternoon. If all goes well, this is an enormous financial burden being lifted from us...years long repayment of loans that we might be saved from.


Our gratitude knows no bounds right now, we are profoundly appreciative of our friends' offer to take us in and help make it even possible to consider applying, we feel so blessed that Shriner's Hospital exists to help kids like Kenny and we might be the beneficiaries of their generosity, we are so fortunate to have friends who helped push it along for us, made contact and gathered applications. To us, this is just beyond anything we could have ever hoped for.


Mostly though, we are eternally thankful to God for placing Kenny in our family, for giving us the courage to move forward and trust that He had it all under control.



You know, God really does speak to us. Sometimes it takes awhile to hear Him, to see or understand His reasons. As our friends and we were talking about this evening, they could have moved to anyplace else in the US, and yet they ended up in a place where God could use them to help us. Although the financial benefits are overwhelming, one of the more personal benefits is that this will allow us to remain more closely connected to this beloved family. All of us are cheering over that, and I have no doubt that God is looking at all of us with a big smile on His face, having known all along that our sorrow at the news of their leaving would eventually be seen by all of us as a blessing in disguise. While the next week will be one which will have me trying to let go of the ache in my heart as part of their family leaves, the sobs that will never be held in check will also be accompanied by the joy of knowing that God has not only watched over both of our families financially, but that He is protecting our blessed friendship as well.


And once again I am left at a loss...how in the world can I ever repay the blessings in our life? How can I pay it forward or backward? I see my beautiful, wonderful family which He created, I feel the love of those around us who have carried us in so many ways, and I just can't see how to balance it out, how to make it fair. We don't deserve this, what we have received is so far and away beyond what we have ever offered. How can we repay our friends for their generosity, encouragement and friendship? They have always done far more for us than we have for them. How can we repay Shriner's for the gift of financial stability they handed us today in a large white envelope? How can we adequately EVER repay the kindness of another family who are standing firm beside as with financial support in the hopes that we can one day add to our family again? Then there are the smaller but equally wonderful kindnesses of others...boxes of clothing shipped to us from loved ones who have always shown their support, strangers who offer a magical trip to Disneyland, unexpected emails from unexpected places asking "what can I do to help?" so that two little girls far away might one day come home, envelopes discreetly handed to us at church to help as yet others walk up and say "If your girls come home, we will cover their first set of clothing and shoes".


It is too much, it is like walking around covered in His love. But there are times when it feels wrong, when you look and try your hardest to pay it back in the ways you can and it feels so insignificant in comparison to what you have received and you wonder to yourself "What am I doing wrong? What more can I do that I am not seeing? Why do we deserve this?". To whom much is given, much is required. But what do you do when you can't possibly repay because SO much has been given that it is beyond your ability to possibly come close to balancing the scale?


As I looked in the eyes of my three little guys today as they each presented me with gifts of dandelions that they proudly stuck in cups and in the side of our pantry cupboard, a cupboard which was covered in the growth charts of all the wonderful children who have thus far crossed our paths, I felt even more humbled at the joy and innocence reflected in their faces, the pure love and trust that they offer up to us as their parents. Such a responsibility it is, to parent any child. Of all the gifts we have been given, of all the blessings bestowed, those three faces smiling back at me are the biggest by far.


Thank you to all who are there for us, if our children grow up to be healthy, successful, kind, productive men it will be due to many factors...personality, parenting, and participation of every single person who has contributed to their lives in untold ways.






6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cindy,

After reading your last two posts, two Bible verses come to mind. I believe grace means that we don’t have to pay it back-- we can’t pay it back. It is a gift freely given, and we can only receive.

My Devotional Bible has this commentary: “There is sublime joy in holy boasting of the power of God in a life that is totally dependent on him. There is sublime peace in accepting the sufficiency of God’s grace by allowing him to be strong in us where we are weak.”.

This is easy to write about, but hard to do. I have not yet learned to live with this dependence on God’s strength. I am still trying to do most things “my way.” Perhaps one day, God will give me the spiritual gift of total dependence on the sufficiency of His grace.

I do believe that we can ask God to help us love one another as He has loved us. When the time is right, He makes the paths for us to bless others. Often, the way we bless others is never known; it is like the ripples in a pond spreading out beyond our sight or awareness.

Here are the two verses:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68: 5- 6

The last verse is one that I have been praying for your two girls. Please tell Kenny that I will add Amir to these prayers.

Peggy in Virginia

Jamie said...

Wow! What an amazing example of God's faithfulnesses if we will just trust in him to handle it! I used to think it was careless to make a decision to do something like...say...adopt a SN child without knowing how you could cover medical bills, or...maybe adopt an infant with no idea how you could fit diapers and formula into an already stretched one income budget. Now, though, I understand far more that the Lord just wants us to trust him...depend on him...stop trying to do everything ourselves in our way. He has it covered! I love that!

LaJoy Family said...

Peggy,

“There is sublime joy in holy boasting of the power of God in a life that is totally dependent on him. There is sublime peace in accepting the sufficiency of God’s grace by allowing him to be strong in us where we are weak.”.

Wow...that is one of the most powerful quotes I have ever read. I am printing it out for my fridge right now. I have such a long way to go in getting to the sublime, sometimes I think I have the "joy" covered but the peace part is where the trust really comes into play, and I waffle on that so often, ever trying to really get to that place. Maybe someday, I will.

Thank you,my dear friend.

Cindy

Lindsay said...

What a beautiful photo of your 3 boys together.

I'm so glad for you that you have all these tremendous offers for help with Kenny's medical needs. What a blessing in so many ways for you all. And what a life example for your sons (as well as us) in how faith in the goodness of strangers can be so wonderfully rewarded.


I don't believe God holds a scale in His hands making sure you pay, measure for measure, every blessing he bestows on you. But if He does then He will know how your writing has touched so many; how your story, generously and fearlessly shared, has inspired many. So if God were to be keeping an eye out to make sure you 'pay it forward' then I suspect He will be content in the knowledge that you do.

Jane said...

My Dear Little Sis,

I hadn't seen yur blog for a couple days. What a thrill to read that our prayers are answered with the appointment at Shriners. and the timing is perfect. It will be a short time after our friends leave for Chicago, and after your planned trip to Disneyland.

I can tell you that C&E are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer to help. It will make their departure a little less sad for them knowing they will see you soon.

This kind of answered prayer is never earned by good works or deeds. It comes freely from our Creator. It is our task to gratefully receive and live each day to the fullest.

Be happy, Little Sis! That is how God created us to be. See you soon!

Jane

Anonymous said...

Hi!

I have enjoyed reading your blog! We have also adopted - my friend sent me your blog - she has adopted as well and we have adopted several times over. We a domestic infant (who is now almost 14), a boy who is now almost 12 from Russia (he was 4); two little girls who were adopted through the foster system (they were our foster children for three years then legally adopted almost three years ago they were 5 months and 3 years when they originally came); the last adoption we did was of a sib group of three from Russia - they were 7, 3, 2 at the time - it has been two years exactly today! God has been so tremendously good to us. We realized how He has used us - we have one bio daughter who is now grown and w/ a child of her own and one on the way. I cannot even imagine what I would be doing today if I was not still raising children for His Kingdom. No one really understands except other adoptive parents :) People just think we are nuts!

Would you believe we are also going to be in California this summer? we are traveling from the South to a family reunion in the NW and then over to visit more family in California.

We hope to adopt (we always say one more time - but am not sure we should keep saying that :) And so we start saving again.

Please feel free to email me at chatkat@bellsouth.net as I would love to keep in touch.

Kathy

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