Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pictures from Mexico

Sunday morning,ready to head to Hagerman for church service and to meet up with our MAPS team. We dropped Caleb off on the way with friends from our church. The Hagerman church heads up a team each year during Spring Break to assist a couple churches that Pastor Tellez has been associated with down in Mexico.
Kevin had our van packed very strategically so everything would fit and things needed sooner were more readily accessible. We were packed to the gills.

Prayer with our team prior to leaving. James was the youngest at age 10. Gene S. was the oldest and is at least in his 70's. Some of the team are experienced construction people but most of us were just taking willing hearts and hands.

I, Joy, was enthralled with the palm trees and all the desert plants. Here are Billy, James, and Teresa under the fronds in Las Vegas where we spent the first night at Boulder Station.

Here's Scheri beside a 'palm bush'--sorry this Idaho girl doesn't know the proper terminology
for this beautiful vegetation.

Kevin and Billy beside their cacti buddies in Yuma, Arizona--our last potty and food stop before crossing the border on Monday, Mar 16

Gorgeous flowering bush in Yuma. Also the very cool woven palm bark in the background. Here in Idaho the kids had just shown me tiny green leaves showing themselves in our flower beds.

The smooth, green bark on this tree was quite remarkable as well. I took tons of pictures of the plants but I won't bore you with any more of them.

The border between the United States of America and Mexico. For all of us but Kevin this was our first visit to Mexico and for our children this trip was their first visit to Nevada and Arizona as well as their first time to a foreign country.

This is the church in Morales where our team was working. Various ones did painting, sheetrock, tape and texture, dropped ceiling, floor tiles and roof work. Several of the teens were part of a praise band.

Construction Scheri ready and available for work.

The Sunday School room at the church that was our family's home for 3 nights.

Kevin (far left) playing guitar with part of the praise band at morning devotions.

Here's Teresa holding the long handle of a paint roller. The kids and I were given the assignment of priming and putting 2 coats of paint in the kitchen/fellowship hall.

Kevin spent hours and hours and days on his knees laying tile in the sanctuary. Here Teresa is holding a piece of tile until he is ready for it.

Here's Kevin and Scheri stirring up another batch of 'mud' for the tile.

Scheri singing "You Said" at the San Luis church on Wednesday night.

Here's Scheri assisting with the tile-work by carrying mud to the proper spots.

Another shot of Kevin laying tile.
On Thursday I had the unique opportunity of going to a private school in San Luis run by the church there. I took salvation bracelets made by the kids in our children's church several years ago and got to explain them to the approximately-70 students seated on the floor in front of me. This was my first-ever experience to speak through an interpreter (Pastor Tellez' teenage daughter, Ana). The black beads stands for all of our hearts dirty with sin. The red bead stands for the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin. The white bead stands for our hearts that are made pure and clean when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins. The green bead stands for life and growing in Jesus through Bible reading and prayer. The yellow bead stands for eternity with Jesus in heaven where the streets are paved with gold.
Thursday night Kevin got to actually preach a sermon at the church in Morales (after we scurried around sweeping and mopping those new tiles, got the chairs set back up, the platform back in order, the outside cleared of pieces of tile and scraps of boards and papers) through an interpreter. He spoke from Romans 12 about being a living sacrifice and worshiping GOD's way.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We're Home Safely

Just a quick note to let you know we had a good trip to Mexico and got home last night. I'll try to post more about it later.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Leaving Tomorrow for Mexico

I just wanted to remind everyone that we are leaving in the morning for Mexico and that we plan to be back on Saturday the 21st. We are traveling in our van but I think there will be another van load of people going too from various Assembly of God churches in the area. The kids are excited that their cousin Kandous is planning to go as well.

This will be our children's first time to be in Nevada and Arizona (Yuma) So Kris when we enter your state I'll wave at you, OK!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sorry, I forgot to follow up

I forgot to mention that our papers arrived in Kiev on March 10, Tuesday am, and were cleared for international release. However, our main facilitator Oleg said he hadn't yet received a call telling him to come and get them. (Actually, I don't remember being asked by Fed Ex to supply Oleg's phone number--which worries me a bit.) So today Nastya emailed that she is going to call and find out what is going on with our packet.

Friday, March 13, 2009

While I'm Waiting

I have to be honest and say that waiting on our adoption of Steven is very difficult. I have several friends in Ukraine right now. Please know that I am sincere when I say how excited I am for them as their adoptions progress and as court dates are scheduled and adoptions are finalized. But my heart aches, wondering when it will be our turn. Sometimes it seems like it will NEVER happen. (But I do remember other times of thinking that our dossier paperwork would never come together completely and correctly--and it did)

So what do I do while I'm waiting? I read lots of adoption blogs. I follow my favorite Yahoo group, Reece's Rainbow avidly. I cling to the computer like it's my lifeline to our son. :) We do the regular normal everyday stuff. We keep loving and correcting our children And we keep serving God.

We have had the coolest opportunity come to us to go on a FAMILY missions trip to Mexico during Spring Break. (We plan to leave on March 15 and return on March 21) Both Kevin and I have done short-term missions trips in the past but I am tickled at this chance to involve our children. I so want our kids to expand their world view, to develop a heart for the needy, to fellowship with Christians from another culture, to experience the joy of letting their talents and willing hearts be used by God.

We're not totally sure of all we'll be doing. I think the main thing will be helping on a construction project--and since most of us are not particularly skilled in that area, I have just encouraged the kids to go with the attitude of wanting to be helpful. There will be two evening church services in 2 different towns. Kevin has been challenged to preach at one church (with an interpreter!) Scheri is planning to do 1 or 2 songs. It sounds like we may get to attend a school and Scheri may get to do a song there, too. I guess we'll know more about the details when we get back!

We would covet your prayers for safety on the roads, at the construction site and in Mexico in general. Many have expressed concern about us traveling there at this time. We have been assured that the areas we are visiting are calm and peaceful and safe--but please pray that they stay that way. Secondly, please pray for health. We have had sick kids over the last couple weeks--and we need to be healthy on our trip. Finally, please pray that we would be a blessing.

I'd like to invite you to view a video clip from "While I'm Waiting"--a great song from the fantastic "Fireproof" movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3b2jw1rjBc

And if you don't have time to listen here are the words and an explanation of the song by John Waller:

8. While I’m Waiting
Psalm 5:3, 27:14, 33:20, 37:7, 38:15, 40:1, Isaiah 30:18, Lamentations 3:24

John Waller"The explanation for this song is simple, I was waiting on God and I was hurting when I wrote the lyrics. I probably wouldn’t have written a song if my friend, Mike, hadn’t encouraged me to document what I was going through during that time. I’m sure there are few people who can’t relate to this song, but the important thing to remember while we’re waiting on God is to not just wait but to actively wait. Serve, worship and be faithful with what you have, where you are… “even while (you) wait.”

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord
© 2007 Travelin’ Zoo Music (ASCAP) (admin. by EMI CMG Publishing)

Sing, Oh Barren Woman

Isaiah 54 (The Message Bible)

"Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!
You're ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women." GOD says so!
"Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You're going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family. . .
Don't be afraid--you're not going to be embarrassed.
Don't hold back--you're not going to come up short. . ."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Steven

Here is Steven's first birthday cake in the McClain family--even if he isn't home with us yet. Today (6th) he is 5 years old.
Here's our family gathered to celebrate: Billy, Scheri, Grandma (Joy's Mom), Teresa and James, Papa (Joy's Dad) and Caleb. Kevin wasn't home from work yet so he had to eat his food later. We had Easy Chicken Bake for our supper (made with strips of chicken breast mixed with cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and frozen mixed veggies with brocolli and topped with stuffing)

Caleb and James enjoying desert

Joy's parents and Caleb. They actually had just come over for cake but I 'forced' them into having some of the chicken casserole, too. They liked it.

Scheri being silly for the camera

Don't forget Mommy (Don't ya love these 'eating' pictures)

Decorated the cake with 'boy' stuff: grasshoppers, caterpillars, snails, frogs

Well today is Steven's 5th birthday and I must say I'm pretty bummed that he isn't here with us. But I plan to get a cake and celebrate anyway. I hope he is having a good day, that he is healthy and cared for and well-fed and warm and happy.

You all know what a horrible waiter I am. And you've all heard my jokes about God knowing how much I need patience so He's giving me lots of practice. I remember a saying that has spoken mightily to me before: "There is deafening activity in God's silence." Though I cannot see what God is up to, I can be assured He is working relentlessly behind the scenes to accomplish his purpose. Another saying I am reminded of is "when I cannot see His hand I can trust His heart."

I can "know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) I can be "confident of this, that He who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion." (Phil 1:6) I can be assured that he is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we are able to ask or think according to HIS riches in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:20) I am amazed at how uplifted I am when I begin to quote the promises of Scripture. Jesus will never leave me or forsake me.(Heb 13:5) And for Steven: "Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me." (Psalm 27:10) "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." (I Cor 2:9) "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor 2:16,17)

Well, I didn't set out to do an on-line Bible study but I am no longer so bummed. I remember Who is in control.

Happy Birthday, Steven. We love you so much. And so does Jesus.
Hope to see you soon,
Love, Mommy

P.S. Weird thing about those documents we sent. The tracking says they arrived in Paris on 3/5 at 7:35 pm, departed Paris at 9:35 pm and arrived in Paris at 12:11 am on 3/6. Sounds like they are having quite a party!! I guess Paris must be quite a place!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No longer in Paris

The documents I sent by Fed-Ex have now departed from Paris, France on their way to Kiev. They were just picked up from Twin Falls yesterday afternoon so that seems pretty speedy for Economy. Cool!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We're Due This Friday

Oh my goodness! I just counted how many weeks it has been since we committed to Steven--and it will be 40 weeks on March 6--his new 5th birthday!! I've joked about being pregnant with a 5-year-old as I stick my belly way, way, way out--but I didn't realize this coincidence.

OK God, you see our 'full-term' adoption. Please bring the delivery.

Happy to Do Paperwork

Today Caleb and I headed for Boise--approximately 2 hour drive from here--to get apostilles on the two documents we had notarized yesterday. One was a document stating that we could not be at the preliminary hearings in Ukraine but that we promise to be at the final (adoption) hearing. The second was our letter stating why we want to adopt a child with Down syndrome. I was so intent on trying to get us actually moving down the road that I forgot 2 important details: (1) pull-ups in the diaper bag (clean clothes, Kleenexes, comb, toys and etc. junk do not count) and (2) directions to the Secretary of State. Oh brother!! Thankfully, Caleb slept much of the way there which reduced his food and drink intake and praise the Lord, I remembered I might have the needed address on one of the receipts in my 47-pound adoption binder--and I did! I got to the correct building with only one fairly minor boo-boo, walked in, paid my money and walked back out in 10 minutes tops with 2 Idaho apostilles. Amazing!

I then had 3 tasks before heading back home: buy pull-ups, pick up some lunch and get gas. It started absolutely dumping rain (with a little hail and snow mixed in) but I actually made it back to the right main thoroughfare which I don't believe I have hardly ever done--even in good weather when I can see where I'm going.

I made it home about 3:30 and loaded up 3 of my big kids who had just got home from school (B had developmental therapy) and headed to Twin Falls to ship the paperwork. I wanted to include 4 pages of pictures of Steven and about 8 pages of Caleb just to soften our potential judge's heart but it took me awhile to label them. Unhappily I missed the pickup deadline for today so the paperwork won't actually move toward Ukraine until tomorrow--but at least it is at the office paid for and ready to go.

It felt so good to do SOMETHING positive.

We also got a note from the social worker to whom we sent the application for the subsidy for non-recurring adoption expenses. She said we need the relinquishment of parental rights on some official letterhead from Ukraine. We'll see what Nastya the Great can do with that request.