Saturday, December 27, 2008

God is speaking...

The Phillips had a very nice Christmas. To say it was hard with Jacob would be an understatement, but I choose joy. I had joy. I have joy. I watched my children as they passed out the gifts they had bought for each other...they did enjoy receiving, but each of them was more anxious to give. Hallelujah, God can speak to and teach them in spite of me.

I am relieved to be finished with Christmas. Next year will be better and I plan on being an active participant! Everything is cleaned up...not a trace of Christmas left at this house! (Well, don't look out in the garage...Patrick still has to put the trees up in the attic!) Ahhhhh...I love to decorate for Christmas, but I also love to have all the extras out of my house!

(Side thankful that this blog auto saves as I just recovered from what my computer guru hubby calls the "blue screen of death"!)

We have some news regarding our possible....wait....probable....wait....unless God changes His mind adoption! "T" tried to call me yesterday! UGH! Again...I had been up half the night praying for her and the baby. I did not know that she had been given our number...that is a good means she is calling her family in Texas and checking in. I am praying that she call again, and I know in God's timing she will. She is still here in Oklahoma. One problem is money...she doesn't have any, so calling is a problem. I realized yesterday morning that we have a toll free number! (For our adoption website thingy!) "A"...our going to get this info to her family. That way she will not have to worry about money for a pay phone. I just cannot imagine the hold drugs have on people that they would choose to live this way.

So...that was God's encouragement for me yesterday. Today, as I was reading my Bible, this is what He said:

"Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, and he will give it. It is the Lord who makes storm clouds that drop showers of rain so that every field becomes a lush pasture." Zechariah 10:1

I am asking for rain and believing He will give it.

"He is the one who keeps every promise forever, who gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry." Psalm 146:6-7

"The Lord protects and preserves the strangers and temporary residents, He upholds the fatherless and the widow and sets them upright, but the way of the wicked He makes crooked (turns upside down and brings to ruin)." Psalm 146:9

Because of the way I had been praying, I took this verse very personally and literally. "T" is the temporary resident (of Oklahoma), our baby is the fatherless, and "T" drugs/whatever she is running from is the wicked. God is SO in control of this!

Please continue to pray for "T"s safety and protection and also for the health of our baby. Patrick is off work this next week...would be the "perfect" time to bring a new baby home! (As a reminder, baby is due in 4 weeks!)

Well, I was going to add some of our Christmas pics, but they have somehow disappeared from my camera! UGH! Patrick is trying to do his "techy" magic for me...praying it works...I will be sick if they are all gone! will be fine...breathe.

They were really cute...just so you know!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Be still and know that I am God...

Well, quite a lot has happened since I posted. I will start where I left off. Two days after bio dad relinquished, we had a meeting with DHS. It took all of 5 minutes and I think it was just a "cover our butts" meeting. (DHS is supposed to have these meetings once every 6 months...this is the first I have EVER been to with ANY of my foster babies.) Anyway, long story short, we should finalize the adoption in JANUARY!!! Seriously! The two workers said we could be done by Christmas, and I kindly asked them if they were smokin crack! BUT...January will work for me! I have already talked to our lawyer and she is working on it!

We were also given the "green light" to change their names. For awhile, we were not going to because of their emotional state...that has all changed now. In January, 2009, we will be adopting Samara Grace and Josiah Nathan. "Samara" means "God has protected" and "Josiah" means "God has healed". Perfect, don't you think?? They are adjusting well to the new names, although there was a little confusion when Josiah thought we were calling him "Messiah"! Not even close, dude! We need the new names...too many bad memories with the old names.

Then, a few days after that, Samara had her speech/developmental testing. Her speech is delayed, but the speech pathologist is not concerned as Samara just received her tubes last March and had definate hearing loss before that. She is catching up nicely. Now...onto the developmental testing. We really believed that there were things in the child's brain that were not know...loose wires so to speak. It always got worse after some sort of trauma (bio visits) but there was just something we couldn't put our finger on. She could write her name if I told her the letters, but couldn't tell you the names of the letters. She would know something one day and not the next. She has been 4 since March and still has to "count" it on her fingers....can't just say "I'm four"! And we have WORKED on this for a LONG time.

So...she comes out of the room with the pathologist. She proceeds to tell me that Samara tests at a SIX YEAR OLD level! ARE YOU SERIOUS???? My jaw dropped and I practically told her she was out of her mind. Her response to my "issues"??? Samara has been playing us. Her daddy said, "Yep...she's SO smart she had you and her therapist fooled!" So, on the way out, I told Samara how good she did and how smart she was. She said, "No, I'm not." I said, "Oh yes you are...that lady said so!" From that point on, all I have had to say to her is, "Remember that lady?" Samara sighs really big and proceeds to do whatever it is she is trying not to be able to do! BUSTED SISTER!!!! I am relieved, at least I know that my expectations are NOT beyond her! It is amazing how far she has come in just a couple of weeks!

We are still on track to adopt "January" baby. Thursday night, I did not sleep well. I felt impressed to pray for "T", the bio mom of our baby. I prayed for her protection and that God would place someone in her path that could help her. I prayed all night for "T". At this point, we had not heard from her. She called Friday morning wanting to make sure we were still planning on adopting her baby. Thank you, God. BUT...while she has called several times, she has not been able to talk. We are afraid she is on the run. Please pray for her safety and that of the baby. She is in Oklahoma, we do know that. This will make it MUCH easier on us. (Remember...God said He would "smooth our way"!) "T" knows she needs to sign some paperwork and we have the resources to keep her safe and in hiding (thanks to my fabulous friend) so we are just praying for God's provision.
Christmas is about 28 hours away. The past couple of weeks have been up and down emotionally for me. Just the thought of a holiday without Jacob is almost more than I can bear sometimes. I am having trouble with some of the normal, especially. Christmas pics this year will be sparce and that will have to be okay. Christmas gifts are a blur...I have no creativity or thoughtfulness this year. This part of grief ticks me off the most. I am used to being this certain kind of person, and I just cannot be that person right now. I see people doing kind things for others and that used to be me. I just can't. I know that one day that will come back, but right now, I feel so selfish. I was discussing this with our therapist (who happens to be a very dear friend) and she told me to look on my wall.

I put this verse on my wall the week after we moved into our new house in April. I have preached it to my friends, believed it myself, and here was my therapist throwing it up in my face. I kindly told her to shut up! She explained to me that this is my time to "be still". God does not expect me to be the same person I was before Jacob died...quite the contrary. He is molding me and teaching me to trust Him and only Him. He is making me into a new and (hopefully) improved version of "Tracy". I am hoping He will build on my good qualities and get rid of some of the yucky ones! I know that God has a purpose for my life. I have no doubt that He will use our story for His glory...He was using our story BEFORE Jacob died. All I do know is that whatever His plan is, I am willing. I do not want to step out in front of God, but I am ready to walk right beside Him.

As my therapist (and friend...don't forget this!) and I were discussing my feelings of selfishness and such, I was reminded of what a liar Satan is. It just hit me that the father of lies was really doing a number on me. Every other person in my life has basically "given me a HUGE break". As I would do for them in the same situation...everyone except Satan. I have never been more aware of his delight in hitting you when you are down. And it isn't anything that anyone else would notice...I haven't committed any crimes or been ugly to my kids, but here is what he has been doing. In my ear, I hear things like "You are such a failure as a mom...are you even teaching those kids about God right now?? Nope, you are neglecting their spiritual growth because you are consumed with your own grief." "Seriously?? Those are going to be the dumbest homeschooled kids ever...Ashlee will be in 9th grade next many languages can she speak??" "Couldn't you even read one of the 14 Christmas books you have to your kids this year?? It is the birth of many nursing homes have you caroled at??"

And then there is the doubt...did God REALLY promise me this baby??? Could He really have given me 1247 confirmations and meant it?? I know I told him that I had to sell that house if this were our baby and He did it...but really???

So, I caught him at his lies...that got then guess what he does??? He starts putting these pictures of Jacob in my head at the most inopportune times! I refuse to be in the pit...and in the midst of it all, God spoke to me through my "Power of a Praying Parent" book.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ." Philippians 4:6-7
(I got this verse about 5 different times in about 2 days!)

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:1-3

I have also been singing the old "Imperials" song, "Praise the Lord"...

When you're up against a struggle
That shatters all your dreams
And your hope has been cruelly crushed
By Satan's manifesting scheme
And you feel the urge within you
To submit to earthly fears
Don't let the faith you're standing in, seem to disappear
Praise the Lord
He can work with those who praise Him ,
Praise the Lord
For our God inhabits praise,
Praise the Lord
For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise him
Now satan is a liar
And he wants to make us think
That we are paupers
When he knows himself
We're children of the King
So lift up the might shield of faith
For the battle has been won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen
So the work's already done
Been singing this one a lot...and how amazing is it that our Father God comforts us with songs from the 80's??? :) Who would have thought!

Today we spent a lot of time baking. We made little goodie boxes for all of our neighbors. (We live in a small addition...only 11 houses so far!) My kids delivered the boxes while I watched from our warm home! (Daddy drove them.) I can see almost every other house from one of our windows, so I watched them as they blessed others. They were so excited to be able to do this. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off this year, but God gave me the strength today. I want our neighbors to see us as more than the family that lost their child. I want them to see us as the family that God has provided for and healed by His mercy and grace. Anyway, I had hot chocolate ready for them when they got home...they were so funny. I have great kids.

I know this post hasn't been very "smooth" in it's readability, but I wanted to update you the best I could before Christmas. I look forward to 2009 with all God has planned for us. I am ready and willing. Are you?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Unless the Lord builds a house,

"Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hand. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates." (Psalm 127:1-5)

This was my Psalm of the day. Perfect, don't you think??? I have struggled and worried for more than TWO years about Stevee and Jessy (notice I used their real names??). Today, their bio dad relinquished his rights, telling the judge that his attorney told him many good things about the family that wants to adopt them. (Us!) It is done. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

God is adding to our quiver. He is building the house. He is protecting our city. He is giving us rest. And, he is giving us a gift of children.

Thank you for all the prayers! Now we pray the adoption proceeds QUICKLY!! All it will take is a little effort on the part of DHS...all the paperwork has been prepared.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Those who trust in the Lord...

As I was taking my nightly bubble bath, God and I were having a discussion. It seemed a little one sided, until I got out of the tub and started reading my Bible.
God and I were talking about court on Monday. I was letting Him know that I really needed our case to go to trial...I am so tired of waiting and having DHS in my home, telling me what to do, having to ask permission to pick my nose, I am just tired. I was thinking that maybe we should just hire our own attorney and get this whole thing overwith. If we hire our own attorney, it would definately make DHS mad, but once we get tpr on bio dad, our adoption would go much faster. (Remember...Jake's took 10 months and that was with NO problems other than the lack of DHS participation in the matter!)
I was also talking to Him about our January baby and all the details regarding that. Here is what God told me:
"Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround and protect Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds and protects His people, both now and forever." (Psalm 125:1-2)

And about hiring a lawyer: "If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule, but no satisfaction." (Proverbs 29:9) I am considering myself to be the "wise" one here and DHS the "fool"! I am always totally amazed when God answers a prayer so quickly and specifically.

I also want to share a conversation that "S" and I had today. She came to us when she was 2 1/2 years old. We were her first glimpse of stability and normal family life.

S - What are you doing?
Me - Sewing (I explained to her a little bit more about what I was doing.)
S - Can I sew like you?
Me - Well, when you are older you can.
S - When I am older like you, can I spank people??
Me - (spitting my Pepsi) Well, I guess if you have kids that are naughty, you can spank them, but you can't just spank "people" in general!
S - When I am older like you, I'm gonna have four children.
Me - Really? You are going to have four children?
S - Yes, and when we get a baby, the children will hold it all the time.
Me - That sounds like a plan!

She wants what we have and that makes me feel extremely humbled and gratified. Healing's what I have been called to have a part in. I am also amazed at how a child not of my biology can be so much like us...she has my heart for children.

Here are a few pics we had taken for Christmas cards and such...I thought they turned out pretty well considering this was done only a few hours after we learned about the medical examiner's report on Jacob...

This is Noah...he was the "baby" of the family for WAY too long! He LOVES attention!

"What are you doing, Noah???"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We're Matched!!!

I would like to ask you all for your prayers...okay...MORE prayers! As you know, we have been pursuing adoption. Well, this past week, a situation has presented itself to us and we have accepted. Our baby is due at the end of January, but biomom will be induced, so I am guessing it will be more like the 3rd week sometime. Here are our prayer needs in this situation:

1. Baby will be born addicted to Meth. Please pray for this baby's protection in the womb, and for her/his withdrawals to be mild or better yet, non existent.

2. Bio Mom will be signing a consent to adopt this weekend. Please pray that she actually shows up where she is supposed to and signs the form.

3. We need God to take care of the details...I don't even know what some of them are yet!

4. This baby will be born in Texas. (Does that mean we have to become Longhorn fans??? SURELY NOT!) Please pray for the ICPC to go smoothly and quickly. (ICPC is a process that allows us to take baby from Texas to can take 24 hours to 2-3 weeks.) Our prayer is that the ICPC and termination will all be done when the baby is ready to leave the hospital.

Bio mom only has two choices...sign baby over to us, or DHS will take it at birth due to the drugs. She REALLY doesn't want the baby with the state. We understand the risks with adoption. We understand that this baby is not ours until the ink is dry. We understand all the things that can happen between now and the birth. We are praying that God will continue to "smooth our way" as He promised to me back on September 17, when He said, "I am a God of justice, and I will smooth out the road ahead of you..."

We learned of this baby last week. I told God that He was going to have to do some BIG things if this was His plan. (Like I really needed to tell Him!) First of all, the finances of it all. Seriously, I went to work on Sunday and said, "If we are to get this baby, I need to sell this house...TODAY!" Guess what?? I sold that house! It closes on 12/26. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

"Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Mark 11:24

Another prayer request...court for S&J is on Monday. I don't have to go unless they decide to hear our case. PLEASE pray they do. My patience with DHS is wearing thin. I want out SO badly. (So much for my foster care recruitment, huh??? Seriously...things have changed SO much in since DHS was sued by the New York law firm!)

Well, I am off to eat some more of the fabulous Peppermint bark candy I won at our Mom's Night Out Dirty Santa game last night! (Sorry, Heather...and it's SOOOOOOOO good!) It got a little ugly...all those quiet homeschool moms who sit so nicely in the nursery during PE should have heard the smack they were talking. There was yelling, there was coniving, there might have been a little blood...I can't really be sure about that one! Thanks, guys, for allowing me to host your nice, Christian, homeschool group Mom's Night Out!!!