Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Every year during national adoption month, which is also our 'Gotcha' month, I am challenged to look back over the years of our journey and do a lot of contemplating. This year even more than in past years because of the challenges this year has brought.
Yes, during National Adoption Month I feel a need and a responsibility as an adoptive parent to inform and encourage people about the wonders of adoption, but this year I thought long and hard about encouraging anyone to jump into another person's pain. That may sound harsh, but the reality is 'hurt people, hurt people'.
Now I can hear many of you thinking, "They were so little when they came, how much can they remember?" or "After 8 years in a loving family, surely their past is their past." or "It is just being a kid or a teenager, nothing unusual.", and the most painful "Surely if you prayed enough and asked God for healing you would not be dealing with these things."
The truth that many people are not able to comprehend, I know I could not before we adopted, is that kids with hard starts are going to have a lot of hard work to go through to deal with the trauma locked up in their minds and hearts. Think about a soldier coming home from a war zone trying to deal with what he has seen and the PTSD he deals with, they were adults with functioning reasoning skills, the ability to protect themselves and fight back, and they had lots of other guys on their team. These children have none of these things on their side. They have immature reasoning skills, they are too small to fight back or protect themselves, and many times the ones who should be on their side are the one harming them or doing nothing about the harm.
Now before you say it, I know this is not true in all scenarios, praise God. And I know that all children will deal with trauma differently. And I know that many adopted children go on to live very typical lives with little affects from their early losses. And I know that some children will mold into their families with not a thought of looking back at what they have lost.
That being said, I do believe that the majority will not fall into this category, especially with the trends to children being older and older when they enter their forever homes.
SO WHAT HAS TIME TAUGHT ME THAT IS HELPFUL?
1) The biggest thing I am learning is that adoption is refining me in ways that I never knew I needed refining!
When you have a child who can find every button to turn on your anger, bitterness, selfishness, and the unforgiveness in your heart. A child who desperately wants in his deepest soul to believe that he can trust again, but in order to do this he is going to test and manipulate every part of you to say, "Are you trustworthy? Are you going to stick with me?"
I have been on my knees searching out God with tears of desperation and dying to self repeatedly. What better place to be than to know you can't do it-----only God can.
2) That God is more than enough!
I am a control freak, I admit it. Stepping into the lives of hurting children, I wanted to 'help' to 'fix' to 'control' to 'make it better'. What parent does not want the best for their children? But as time went on I was daily reminded 'I can't fix this'.
Don't read this wrong. I fight for my treasures! I read and research and implement all sorts of different techniques. I have new friends all over the country that have become part of my rallying squad and I a part of theirs. We use therapists and therapies to engage hearts and minds. We have prayed over, cried over, and loved over a hurting soul.
But in the end I have to trust that GOD IS ENOUGH! Only His love can reach a lost soul. Only His touch can heal a broken heart. Only His mercy can cause a heart to trust again. Only His forgiveness can release a ripped up heart to forgive others. And all of this takes time and it is in God's time, not mine!
3) That love is a moment by moment choice---for all of us.
Sometimes love is easy, the sweet tender face of a sleeping new born, the sweet smile of a six year old handing you a bouquet of dandelions, the smile of triumph in the face of a child who aced the test.
But what about love when you have been lied to again, or they found the answer keys and cheated again, or the child who is screaming in terror over what seems like nothing, or the silence and trembling for no apparent reason, or the fists balled in anger again. Where do you find the love here?
I tell you, you find it in the choice. You choose to love this child in his pain. You choose to forgive again and again and again. You choose to teach the same lesson again and again. You choose to look past the anger for the hurt daily to see the child. You choose not to wait for the 'I'm sorry' but remind them again it is needed for restoration again. You choose not to be easily offended again. You choose to try again. You choose not to let the offending words pierce your soul. You forgive those outside your family who do not understand.
Many, many days lately these choices have been made though puddles of tears and piles of prayers, but they are made none the less as I fight my flesh for my children's future and God's glory.
There is so much more running through my mind, but for today on this eighth anniversary of our children's home coming, I wanted to share what I am learning about myself, about love, about God.
And to decide, "Do I encourage others on this journey?"
Well the answer is yes!
Is the journey going to be all roses? No
Is the journey going to be all thorns? No
Some days, weeks, months or even years it will lean heavily in one direction.
But if this is the journey you are called on, you will be called to die to yourself daily, to pray harder and longer than you believed possible, to seek the TRUTH in everything, even things you long thought true, and to grow through trials, pain and joy unspeakable.
May the God of all Truth be glorified in our lives and our journey!
Hannah is very excited to be playing baseball this year. She is playing on the challenger league for kids with differences that make playing on a typical team not possible.
She is fun to watch. She still has to think about how to step when she throws the ball, and usually it does not go far. Notice Caleb has no mitt because it usually ended up on the ground. It is part of her motor planning issues.
It is so fun to look out on the field and see more parents and coaches than kids at times! And coaches and parents helping out kids on both teams.
Yeah! Who needs to pay attention to the game when you have such a great smile! She liked playing first base, but had no idea what to do with the ball when she did get it :) Didn't matter much because outs don't count anyways.
Notice the amazing hitting stance. But don't let her fool you.
She hit it from a pitch all the way to the outfield! Best hit seen all morning!
She got to first base and stood for a while then decided why not head to second for a double:)
We are very thankful for the opportunities she has to play on teams such as this, where she feels 'safe' socially and can be herself and have fun.
What an wonderful experience this has been.The Pear Blossom 10 Mile Run was great, even
though I had shin splints!Thankfully, I
was able to finish with help and encouragement my dad, Dustin Clark, and Pastor
Together we raised $1,310 for water in South Sudan.That is enough water for over 26 people for
an entire generation!Thank you for
helping me to do this and for blessing all these people on my home
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us
(Philippians 4:13), we do not have to be strong enough to do the task that has
been laid before us alone.
Caleb has now raised $1100 for water in South Sudan!!
That is water for 22 people for a lifetime!
And he is still hoping to impact the lives of more.
Hello friends and family--
I will be running the Pear Blossom 10
miler on April 13th with Team World Vision to help change lives in Africa.
As you know I spent my first 5 1/2 years
in Liberia, West Africa.I have
personally seen and experienced the poverty and need that is abundant in many
parts of Africa.
Recently my family read together "Running
for My Life" by Lopez Lomong, a former lost boy of Sudan who is now an
American citizen and Olympian.He talked
about wanting to do something for the people he left behind in Africa.He started an organization called4 South Sudan, and teamed with World
Vision to help bring clean water, education and the Word of God to many in need
The needs are great, but I believe there
is something we can do!
I am running the Pear Blossom and seeking
sponsors to help me raise $500 or more for World Vision.$50 provides clean water for 1 person for a
generation. That will be enough to provide clean water for 10 people or more
for an entire generation!
Can you imagine what it would be like not
to have clean water available?
We can make a difference together!
Will you make a tax-deductible donation to support my efforts? Together we can help change lives in
If you would like to help please go
to www.teamworldvision.orgYou will need
to click the donate button.Then enter
my name "Caleb Jordan".Scroll
down and click on my name and you will then be directed how to make a tax
I can also take check donations made
out to World Vision and I will forward them on for you.They will send you a donation receipt.
Now the thought of being still and quiet is not real high on my list of priorities.
I am a mom after all, of 5 kids of a great variance of needs and ages.
And being quiet requires me to focus on keeping my mind still and in places of peace.
It is much easier to be busy.
You know the challenge of being a Mary in a Martha world---I am reading that book right now by the way!
So part of my challenge being layed up with my bum knee is keeping my normally busy self from going stir crazy sitting around with my leg up.
This mornings run to Walmart ended with a two hour stretch down on the couch.
All this laying around has caused sleepless nights too.
So what have I been learning through this trial of rest....
TV is bad company after a show or two--LOL
God's perfect timing---the two books that had been delayed reaching me, both got here, one the day before and one the day after my surgery. The other one is Follow Me by David Platt---great book.
As I had the time to really digest the Follow Me book and think on it, it became clear that the timing was perfect for one of my children and the struggles they were having. Me being down allowed the time to read, reflect, and train.
I have been working on memorizing the book of Colossians and have been doing it while I have been walking. With that option out right now, I have been doing lots of review while laying sleepless in bed at nights! Though I may be reviewing it a little incorrectly in the dark--LOL
I am so thankful to have a husband who loves to cook--and a son who is extremely interested in learning--especially this vegan thing we are doing.
And on the humorous side, guys really do think a kitchen is clean when it is very questionable whether it is!
And I am so very thankful for my husband's great job with good insurance that allows me to have this surgery done so that I can keep up with my family again without the constant pain.
Through God's wonderful mercy, our treasure came home very ill and malnourished at 2 3/4 weighing a mere 21 pounds with little energy but lots of determination.
As many know our Hannah "Belle", as we call her, suffers from a variety of developmental delays due to her rough start. Did we know when we adopted her? No, but it has no bearing on the fact that God wonderfully chose her for us!!! We have learned so much about ourselves and the grace and mercy of God through the blessing of parenting a child with developmental challenges. I am so thankful we did not miss it!
Up to this point in Hannah's life she has seemed fairly content with not having lots of friends. She has always preferred playing alone, or in one on one situations, or with younger children. Her speech delays have made groups intimidating so she stayed on the edges of them.
Well this year before her birthday as we were talking about what to do, instead of naming all the kids she wanted to come, she started naming all the kids who don't talk to her. I was shocked and in such pain for my precious treasure. Her innocence is lost. She knows she is different. It hurts. We cried. Talked. Comforted.
And made special plans with her best friend, Bethany. I call her
"Hannah's special gift" the friend who accepts and loves Hannah for who
A few days before her birthday Hannah had her first ever breakdown with anger. If you know Hannah, you know anger is not a part of who she is. But we have seen it a couple of times now. As we work through the anger it is stemming from not being accepted. She feels alone. It breaks a mom's heart.
We are working diligently with her speech therapist is social communication right now and she is making great progress. We are also working with some things from the therapist and from big sister Erinn on understanding our feelings and finding proper outlet, and not letting it build up. She is doing great and I am so thankful for all the amazing resources to help our little one find her voice.
The fear of rejection for her is still a very big thing, so her steps can be tentative or on the other side awkward. We are praying for some little hearts that are willing to hear her call for friendship. For growth on her parts. And for wisdom for this Mama who wants to help her little treasure blossom into all God is calling her to be. Thank you God for my Precious Hannah, my gift from You!
One of our beautiful stops on our trip was to the Joshua Tree National Forest.
I take great delight in seeing new place and things.
We saw these little guys all over the place. From a distance they looked like a bunch of the little minions from Despicable Me running all over the desert!
Isn't it amazing God's diversity in creation. What would the world be with only one kind of cactus?
Hannah and I marveled over this bird's nest in the middle of all the thorns! Yeah you really have to look it is well disguised.
Then we talked of how it looked as though God was having fun with building blocks when he made these formations!
And of course we had to discuss whether these stairs were man made or God made. I have to remember that some things in life I do have to take the time and talk Hannah through, she is such a delight and has opened my eyes in so many ways.
Here is our contrast picture of our beautiful rock formation pictures for you.
Now you can see how big they are.
An old gold mine back in the hills.
This was the hike we went different directions on because the boys were going on a run---I was not kidding when I said they took every advantage of new running trails!
See Caleb way up there!
This was a big step for me too because I have lots of bad memories of
trail runs and hikes, that I do not do to well on trails so much. Yet
God gave me peace and allowed me to enjoy the beauty of His creation
with out fear! Very major for me.
Had to show you the cute little bunnies that were running all over the resort we stayed at. So fun. The first night we just kept seeing shadows racing across the paths--I was just praying they were not big rats! I was very thankful to see these cute little guys the next morning--LOL
Yes, we were blessed with a very lovely place in the middle of the dessert to refresh.
Another zoo visit. The Living Desert in Palm Springs is beautiful if you ever get a chance.
This wild cat was so much more obedient than our dog :/
Beautiful animals in natural settings.
We loved the storks backwards knees! And his long legs reminded me of Hannah's.
Mr. Tortoise we enjoyed seeing because our friends, the Greens, have one that will get big too.
The beautiful regalia on display.
My family! Caleb had just been saying it was too hot and he needed a place to refill his water bottle. I was OK with the water bottle part, but after a winter in the Pacific Northwest I told him NO complaints about warm weather were allowed!
Ok Ok last couple of cactus!
Thank you Lord for your awesome creation for us to enjoy!