Friday, December 13, 2013

Our family letter--December 2013

Our family letter—December 2013

Well, Friends, a lot has happened since we last sent out a family letter in the fall of 2011!!!  I will try to recap the last 2 years in a relatively short letter.  I’ll leave you to decide whether or not I was successful. :-)

You may recall that we made an unfruitful trip to Ohio around Thanksgiving 2011 for the purpose of adopting a little boy that was to be born shortly.  We came home empty handed and broken hearted.  A month later, our adoption agency in PA suggested we broaden our search because their birthmother clientele was in a slump, and they figured it may be a while till we would get matched. So I (Judi) went back to our trusty computer and spent more hours seeking further opportunities for us to get connected with a child.

At that point—the end of February 2012—we contacted A Rainbow’s End Adoption Services, a facilitator in California. On April 3rd, we were matched with a sweet birth couple who were making an adoption plan for their baby girl, due to be born in July.  Something felt “right” about it, and, in spite of the knowledge that it could fall through (ANY adoption can fail until finalization), we felt an uninhibited joy. 

That joy was brought to fruition when our precious daughter, **K,  was born and placed in our arms.  We were there for the birth (K’s birthparents requested that we be there), and felt the incredible emotions that surround the placement of an adopted child… the agony of the birthparent, placing their much-loved child in your arms… and on the other hand, experiencing an unmatched joy in the wonder and ecstasy of being Mommy & Daddy to this priceless bundle!!!  Without a doubt, K’s birthparents loved her dearly but were unable to provide for her financially, etc., and thus made an adoption plan.  It was our privilege to get to know them prior to K’s birth.  During the three intervening months between matching with them and K’s birth, Birthmom and I texted a lot.  I have saved those texts and will give them to K when she is old enough to understand and appreciate them.  We also spent some time with Birthparents after we arrived in California, both before and after the birth.  K’s birthparents are not just two regular people to us.  We treasure them as individuals and also because of the way they gave us a child.  It is an awesome and emotional thing to have two people place their own flesh and blood child in your arms and then introduce you to their friends as “our baby’s parents”.  Makes you want to smile and cry at the same time.  I don’t think it’s possible to capture in words the thoughts and emotions that accompany the placement of a child for adoption. 

K’s adoption is not final yet, which is very unusual and quite a trial to us.  We want her to be an official part of our family!  The attorney that we started out with was not aggressive at all and let things go at their own slow pace.  Finally, after a year of waiting around for some serious action, we hired a different attorney who is pushing things through.  There are some aspects of her adoption that has stretched out the adoption much longer than normal, in addition to the original slow attorney. Please pray with us that things may soon be wrapped up for good!

Whatever the case, we dearly love our precious little girlie and have THOROUGHLY enjoyed being parents!!! She is human like the rest of us, but we don’t think there’s another sweeter girl on planet earth.  Of course, we might be just a wee bit prejudice (I suppose most parents are).  J  She has a very lively personality that is almost always on the go.  K is not a noisy child, but is moving ceaselessly from one activity to the next, most often with smiles and chatter.  At nap time and especially night time she seems to feel the need to rehash her day, and can be heard “talking” and sometimes even chuckling to herself.  SO sweet!

God has continued to give Reuben with steady work, for which we praise God!  We realize that many are not so blessed.  This is especially important to us for the past and present adoption expenses. 

My life consists of nothing outstanding, except that I LOVE being a wife, mother, and homemaker.  I cannot think of anything I would rather be doing!  I feel such a fulfillment in my role.  It is also a great pleasure to me to watch K and her Daddy.  She LOVES him (and visa versa, of course!), and one of her favorite times of the day is when “Daddy” or “Dee-dee” comes home.  When it starts getting dark outside, she goes to the outside door, looks out the window, and starts saying something to herself, no doubt about Daddy coming in.  And when Daddy DOES come home…. wow! she lights up like a little fire cracker.  Of course, Mommy has taught her (by example) to be very, very happy about Daddy’s home-coming, so it’s little mystery why she acts like that.

In looking back over the last 2 years, we have one thing to say: God has been so good, so faithful, so PRESENT.  This last year (2013) included several heartaches with regard to the enlarging of our family, but even in that we experienced God’s grace. The winds of change have also blown strongly over our church.  Our dear bishop, Dale Kulp, went Home forever on March 19th after a brave battle with cancer.  Three weeks after his death our church held an ordination that Dale had planned before he got sick.  God chose Reuben’s brother—Joel—as the new pastor, serving alongside Steve Graber and Marlin Good.  Again we would say—in spite of these losses and changes—that God has been CHANGELESS, and so PRESENT in every moment.  We didn’t always FEEL Him, but that made Him no less near. 

Our heart’s cry is to draw nearer to God moment by moment… to WAIT, to TRUST, to HOPE, to MOVE FORWARD with God.

He is WORTHY!!!

~Reuben, Judi, and K

**I have not included K’s full name, nor our last name, for security purposes.  Thank you for understanding.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December already!!!

Winter has come to our "neck of the woods", but there's no measurable snow to prove it.  Maybe next time I'll have some pictures of K enjoying the white stuff for the first time.  But for now, here are some other pictures...


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fall is here!

...and so are some new pictures! :-)

Last month the young married couples from our church went camping for a weekend.  Well, actually, our little family only went for the fun and fellowship on Saturday.  But we had a great time in spite of the rain.  The following 5 pictures are from that day.

K with her little girlfriend--the only other one that weekend.

No rain coat? No problem.  Just put a grocery bag over your head and you're good to go!

Little sweetie pie--one of the 3 young lads at campout

Warm fellowship in a drippy world :-)

At the lookout

Several weeks ago Reuben took her out to the church swings and she had a grand time—until he took her off. :-) A couple weeks ago we went to the Rockbridge park and gave her a little swing time, which she loved. The higher the better! She giggled and hung on tight. She sure doesn’t take after me in her love of adventure! :-)

K really fits in the family—she loves books!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Missy's birthday party!

Maybe I should start this post with an introduction since it's been so long since I've posted. :-(  I've intended to update this many times, but with the summer being so crazy busy and some unexpected events, posting has simply gotten bumped to the BOTTOM of the priority list.

But today I reform. :-)

Following are a few pictures from Missy's birthday party.

Missy's personal cake

 We invited Reuben's parents and the young couples from our church for Missy's party.  Here is one of the young married men with his son and our daughter.  Missy LOOOVES other children!!!

 Singing "Happy Birthday" to Missy.  Don't look so happy, little girlie! :-)

 To taste or not to taste: THAT is the question. :-)  

 A sweet little girl with a lot of sweet smeary stuff!  Missy was far more interested in squishing the icing than playing with or eating the cake.

Opening gifts

Missy with one of her new and favorite treasures: BOOKS.  She's definitely our daughter!


How can our little girl be a year old already?!  Where has the year gone? 

We knew it in theory before, but now we know it experientially: CHILDREN GROW UP SO FAST!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Adoption update (from email)--June 2013

If  delayed hopes automatically produced patience, we'd probably be some of the most patient people around! Just kidding. :-)

Well, here's our latest adoption update (mass email) to explain my previous statement:

Howdy to all our friends and prayer supporters. 

We really do value your presence in our lives and in our adoption journey.  We feel a keen need of your prayers and a definite gratitude for all the times you have asked God’s blessing and guidance in the last couple years. It’s sort of hard to believe, but it was over two years ago (January 2011) that we formally began our quest to start a family.  Hopefully by the time the third anniversary rolls around in January of 2014, our journey of adding ONE child by adoption will be completed.  The way it looks, it could very well be the end of this year or early next year until the adoption is finalized, meaning we will have had our little darling with us for about 16-18 months before she is legally OURS.  We never dreamed it would take this long.  God is SO good to not let us know these kinds of things on ahead!

But you are wondering why it must take so long. Good question.  We just heard from our attorney this morning, and here are the things that need to happen yet:

1) We need to sign a petition to terminate the rights of "J" (Birthmom’s legal husband, but not K’s birthdad, though), and return it to John, our attorney.

2) John will file the petition and get a court date to terminate "J"’s rights, but those dates are usually about 60 days out.  Meaning that if he tries to book an appointment late this month, it will likely be early Sept. till he can get a court date for that. 

3) Either John or Celeste (state lady) will talk to "J"on the phone (preferred) or publish a notice in the paper (which would cost us several hundred bucks) so as to give him a chance to step forward and say he wants K.  This is merely a legality because in order to actually get K, he’d have to prove he was her biological father—and he is most definitely not. 

4) After the court date terminating "J"’s rights (probably early September), John will give Celeste "J"’s termination order, etc., and she can write and file the final adoption report.  Not sure how long she’ll take to do that.
5) John can get a court date for finalization, which usually is about 30 days out.

SO! here are the prayer requests:
**Pray that God would give speed to those involved.
**Pray for the court officials to give John court dates as soon as possible and not drag it out needlessly.
**Please continue to pray that the tribe would not step forward AT ANY POINT and disrupt the adoption, but rather give a form of consent. If they show interest now, it could really slow things down even more. It would be BEST and highly desirable if they would write a letter or something stating their approval of the adoption.  Otherwise their rights will be terminated in the finalization hearing, simply by lack of response rather than by consent.  Obviously, it would be preferable to have a consent on file!

If any of you are considering adoption, please don’t let our case disturb or discourage you. This has been an unusual situation, and most infant adoptions are finalized quicker than this!  California is just notoriously slow—the slowest in the country, from what I understand--as well as other aspects unique to our case.

The last month has also held some personal heartache that God allowed and which has drawn us closer to God and each other as a couple.  Pray that as we process both that heartache as well as the seeming lack of progress in Kinza’s adoption that we would become ever stronger in the Lord, in His Word, in His love, and more like Him than we could possibly be otherwise.  That is our desire.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Been a while!!!

Well, folks, I haven't been around here in a while! I've been too busy scattering Mommy's dishes over the kitchen floor (the plastic ones that won't break), helping "work" in the garden (mostly trying to eat dirt when Daddy & Mommy aren't looking), playing with my toys, and all the other things 10 month olds like to do.

News for this month:
--I now have THREE teeth: 2 on the bottom and 1 on the top!
--I am crawling like a pro and pull myself up on anything that will support me. I've had a few let-downs, too, such as when I pulled the dining chair on top of myself :-(
--More and more, I LOVE being outside!  When Mommy or Daddy pick me up to take me out, I kick and kick because I'm so happy!

So anyway, here are some more pictures.  Enjoy!

Don't say dirt is gross.  When's the last time you tried it?

Me with some of my friends from church

Mommy & me.  We were watching Daddy work. :-)

Mommy thought I'd like to swing, but I'm not too thrilled about even sitting in it yet. Can you tell?

Here I am: 10 months old!  Only two more to go and then I'll be a whole year old!!!!

 Mommy's friend, Rachael, came to visit for a few days.  She and I got along very well. :-)

OK, that's all for now... Gotta get back to my toy box!  (Next month I'll show you a picture of it.  Daddy's not quite done with it yet, but isn't it pretty?)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A day in the life of a 9-month-old girl...

Well, I'm NINE MONTHS OLD now!  I'm getting pretty grown-up, don't you think?  I like to pull myself up on things, I've learned to crawl, I'm pushing my first tooth through, and I'm learning how to wave!  I tell you, I'm moving on with life!

So I thought I'd share a few pictures of what I do with myself these days...

Sometimes I play with my toys...

 ...but I really like to play with Mommy's containers.  She has one drawer that she lets me play in.  I try to get into her other cupboards and drawers, but she says that bad word that I don't like: "No, no." But on the whole, I have really good times with Mommy and sing to myself while she works.  She talks a lot to me, it seems.  She sometimes tells me that she was so lonely during the day before I came, but that she's not lonely anymore.  I keep her happy during the day, and then Daddy and I do it together in the evening.  

 Another thing I like to do is be with people.  Mommy calls me a social bug.  On the picture below, my uncle is "Han" is feeding me, and my cousin is watching.

And my absolute FAVORITE thing to do is SMILE!  

Well, that's all for this time.  Have a good day folks! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Been a long time!!!

Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted family news on here.  I keep thinking about it, but other things keep taking priority over it. 

Reuben has been largely out of work for quite a while, due to the cold weather and the snow. Thankfully, both are on their way out, and so he should be back to work regularly soon.  We praise God for that prospect.

We are having a garden at our own place this year instead of at Reuben's folks' place 15 minutes away.  But due to the rocky soil, we are having to hand dig it first.  Rather tiring, but fulfilling since we anticipate the pleasure of tilling, planting, observing, and harvesting as the summer progresses.  We are excited about that!  So anyway, yesterday and today we were out there digging.  Today we also purchased some new garden tools.  We'd been using Reuben's parent's stuff, but now we'll need our own.  So, armed with seeds and tools, we should soon be in business! :-)

Speaking of gardening, though--I've started our tomato plants inside like usual, and the first ones are about 2 or 3 inches high and looking good.  We have a 3-seasons porch on our house, and on warm days it works like a greenhouse for our little growing things.  We also have lettuce that we hope to eat long before it will be ready outside.  Mmmm... home-grown lettuce salads... Yum!

  8 months old and as happy as ever!

 Grandpa is trying to help me crawl.  I don't understand what I'm supposed to do yet, but I like him playing with me anyway!

Often when Mommy plays piano, I laugh and coo and sing along.  But she knows good and well that I like to play, too!  One day she fixed me up in a fine little seat (I also eat in that seat) and scooted me up to the piano.  As you can see, I sure had fun!

 Peas and applesauce.  Yum, yum!

 I'm starting to get tired, but I'm still happy. :)

 There are several noises that scare me: when Mommy winds a bobbin on her sewing machine, when I hear Daddy's impact drill and when he blows his nose.  (Maybe there are others, but I don't remember them now.  `Sides, if I told you any more, you might think I'm a sissy--and I'm not!).  I don't know why, but my face just crumples up and I cry till somebody holds me.  But if I sit on Mommy or Daddy's laps while they do those scary things, then it's better.

 Riding high on Daddy's shoulders

 Two of my cousins (and their mommy and daddy and little brother who's my age) came for a visit recently.  Her my girl cousin is feeding me.  I think she had fun, and she did a good job. :-)


 Reuben holding a big rock he dug up from the corner of our garden.

I (Judi) also worked on clearing the dead stuff out of our flower beds.  The daffodils are poking their heads up, as well as the tulips and crocuses.  What a wonderful time of year!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A dear brother went HOME this evening

Our dear bishop, Dale Kulp, departed this earth and is safely HOME as of 6:23pm this evening. We will all miss him sorely, but most especially his wife and family.  Please pray for them and our church as we adjust to a huge hole left by a very godly and well-loved man.

If you want to read about his courageous fight against cancer and leave a message for the family, please visit their Caringbridge site: Dale Kulp 
Thank you!