Friday, March 28, 2008

Mom and Dad's vacation blog

Jon's parents are touring the east coast before departing for a trip to Isreal. Check out their progress here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Robbie and Nikki

Our friends, Robbie and Nikki Morales, have put up a blog. Check it out!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Time to think

I didn't have any work set up for today which is unusual because business has been picking lately. So, instead of moping around the house all day, I decided to spend a few hours hiking at Daley Ranch. I enjoyed myself so much that those few hours quickly grew into four and a half. I've just added up the distance I travelled by using the trail map, and I walked just under 8 miles today. Daley Ranch is this huge parcel of land that the city bought and turned into a park and ecological preserve. The late 1800's ranch house and many of the farm outbuildings are still standing in the valley but can only be observed from a distance. It is amazing to have 30+ miles of trails available to us only 2 miles from our home! (Yea city government!)

I took a route I'd never seen before (which isn't hard to do with so many options), and I was richly rewarded. Springtime is so great here. The temperature was just under 80 and there was a slight breeze. We've had a wet winter, so all the year-round ponds are more like small lakes, and there are a number of ponds, creeks, and small trickle waterfalls that don't appear on any map. They will soon be completely dry.

The ranch is bursting with spring color. The meadows are a lush green and dotted with yellow, orange, and red wildflowers. The hillsides are speckled with the vibrant purple of the Ramona Lilac that has just started blooming.

But probably the greatest thing about my hiking adventure today was the time to think. I stopped and rested under a gnarled old coast live oak and read through the book of Hebrews again to review for my class tonight. It is easy to walk away from that book with a feeling that Jesus knows exactly what I'm going through. I need to trust and have faith. Along the way, I need to love other people and share what I've been blessed with.

I spent some time thinking about what my cousin Candace wrote in her latest blog entry (click here to read it). I have been in the stressful crunch of an immediate and consuming project. But today, I am pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum. But the call of God in my life is the same whether I am crazy-busy or have a completely free day. I am called to trust and have faith. After reading, I spent some time in prayer, and I ate the cliff bar that I had brought for lunch. I was starving when I got home, by the way! :)

And then I decided to continue on my way. As I travelled through deep rocky canyons and tree-lined shady paths, I came to a meadow on the top of a ridge. God gave me an image to illustrate faith. Here it is:

When I came out through the trees and saw this view, I felt God telling me that even though I can't see where the path will take me, He does. So all the worries about my job, all the sadness about losing out on the opportunity to take the girls into our home, the fears about an uncertain future - all those things are very real, but God knows what is on the other side. My task is to trust Him and have faith in His plan. With God's help, we will follow that path.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The latest on us

Through a lot of phone calls, our immediate family and our close friends here know that we had something exciting happen last weekend. But I thought the extended family and others who check this blog would appreciate knowing the latest info on our adoption process.

We had resigned ourselves to the fact that the two little girls would not be moving to our home. Apparently, that changed when we got the word that the social worker did not have a family in mind. In retrospect, I think this information was probably due to a misunderstanding or poor communication more than anything else. Even though we had decided to try to keep an even keel, we got really worked up by these events. We had dinner with the foster family and played with the girls on Saturday night. Then on Sunday after church, the older of the two girls spent the day with us at our home. That started off really scary for me, and I'm pretty sure I had a panic attack at church because our friends thought the look on my face was like deer in headlights!

But that afternoon was really wonderful. We had lunch together, colored, and read stories. Then she took a nap. After she woke up, we went to a park and played for a while and took a short hike to pick wildflowers. Jenetta showed herself to have "the right stuff" when it comes to being a mommy. She handled the few behavior issues very effectively. We figured out carseats and bought a stool at Target so she could reach the sink. We have a lot to learn, but we were left with a strong feeling that we can do this!

It took only a few hours for me to fall totally in love. The older sister is extroverted and fun-loving. She reminds me of Judy somewhat. She is so smart and is so excited to learn and experience new things. So we spent Monday making calls and following up to see if this could be a reality. (The girls need a new home by the 29th).

On Monday night, I went to the Hebrews class at our church. I shared with a number of my friends there about what had happened that weekend and what we were praying about to occur this week. After the fact, it is easy to see that I needed to be there that night and that the class was a "divine appointment" for me. I'll get more into that later.

On Tuesday we were crushed to hear that the social worker did indeed have a family in mind and that he was going to begin the placement process with them this week. As I am writing this, the girls are having their first full day visit at their new home somewhere in San Diego. While both of us were really sad to have things not go our way, I think I took it the hardest. I was devastated. I am still very sad about it. I think about how new and exciting Easter would be spending it with them. Every time I drive by a park, I am saddened to think about not exploring it with them. The house seems very quiet. I have kept the door to the back bedroom closed because it makes me sad to look in there.

It has been comforting for me to learn a few details about the other family. Apparently, they have been struggling with infertility for a long time and even had two foster girls in their home at one time who became unavailable for adoption and were returned to their birth parents. They are believers and teach sunday school at their church. God's "No" to us looks to be an exciting "Yes" to their prayers.

I think we have a lot to learn from this week. Here are a few of the things that are becoming more clear to us:

- We are on the right track. At some point, we will have a child or children in our home. We have a lot of love to give, and we need to share it with someone who needs a safe, stable, and nurturing home environment. We will make mistakes, but with God's help, we'll figure it out and do a good job as parents.

- God wants us to have faith in Him. The writer of Hebrews 11:39 says "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised." The context of Hebrews is to encourage believers facing persecution to persevere. "God's promises are worth it! Don't give up!" he is saying to his audience. All the people in the "hall of faith" in Heb 11 believed God and trusted that He had a plan for them even when it was invisible. They died without seeing the end result of their faith. They hung in even when it was confusing or painful to do so. We are certainly not facing persecution. I spent some time this week talking with a friend who has family that is definitely being persecuted. Talk about perspective! But even in our situtation, the exhortation is the same. Trust God! He has a plan for your life even when you can't see it!

- God loves us so much. A good friend of mine was brought to tears by our story because it reminded her so much of God's love. As I described my feelings of fatherly love for the girls (even though I really only had a few hours to experience it), she could see in my eyes and my heart that my love was real. It really was a powerful illustration to her of how much God the Father loves us. It reminded her of Matthew 7:9-11.

- We need to look forward to the future. Jenetta and I have appointments with our adoption case worker this week. We each meet with her seperately for a two hour interview. Then on 4/1, she will complete our case application by checking out our home. We already passed this on the Foster Care side, so we're confident she will find everything OK.

So that's what we have experienced and are continuing to learn through this week. Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thankful for friends

We had a really fun evening tonight at David and Courtney's place. Our homegroup session was wrapping up and we did it in style, celebrating Rachael's (yesterday) and Blake's (today) birthdays and holding a baby shower for Brandon and Crystal. Courtney set her home up so nicely - you can tell she is an excellent event planner!

Time spent with good friends helps us to realize just how blessed we truly are.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Adoption Update

A lot of people have been asking about the progress of our adoption through SD County. We have been hesitant to spread the word on the latest developments because it is so uncertain. But we appreciate all the love and support that so many have been expressing to us. So we feel that some sort of candid response is appropriate. To be totally honest, it is kind of embarrassing to write this because of how positive we were about our prospects earlier.

Wow. Talk about a disclaimer! OK, here goes...

It seems clear that the two little girls will not be coming to live with us. The timing is just not right. The social worker for the girls needs to move on their situation now and there are many good families that have been waiting a lot longer than us for the same opportunity. We are still delayed because of the fingerprint problem. Their social worker has decided to proceed with a family that is already in the system and ready to go. We got fingerprinted on Dec. 31. Here we are nearly three months later and Jenetta's still have not been cleared by the Dept. of Justice. It is in the best interest for the girls to begin transitioning to their new home this month. Although we have done everything on our end to prepare our home and ourselves, and we have completed all the necessary paperwork, this fingerprint delay keeps us from being active in their system. Their social worker has decided to go with a family that is waiting and ready rather than us because no one knows how long our delay will last.

We are saddened by this a bit. It would be really nice to have a child connection with our friends who are leaving to be missionaries. They are good people and to have them as "grandparents" in our lives would be such a great thing. But we are comforted by the fact that we met a lot of really good people when we were going through our classwork. We know the preparation and heart that is necessary to be in this program. The girls will get a fine family, and it will be the best situation for them.

On our end, they were really the personification of an idea. They were the names and faces attached to what we feel God is calling us to do. Although the names and faces attached to the concept will change, the idea is still firmly in place. We had only met them once for an hour and purposely avoided further contact based on the advice of our social worker. In hindsight, this was the best for them and for us. There was no real emotional connection - it was more of a possibility.

This was embarrassing to me because after over a year of keeping this process very quiet, we were finally sharing it with friends and family. It felt really good to be able to talk about this with everyone. So I wondered if maybe I shouldn't have been so open until things were more certain. I wonder if we should keep things more close to the vest in the future until we have children placed in our home. But it gets really easy to be worked up when friends start talking about throwing a shower for you or helping to get your home ready. We have known this news since last week, and we were not sure how to tell everyone or if we even should, but since so many have asked, we felt that some update was necessary.

Thanks for all the love and prayer and support that you give to us. We really appreciate it so much! We know that God's timing is best and that at some point, Jenetta's fingerprints will pass and we can proceed with someone else.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Craigslist is awesome!

So we got the two new beds for free by posting our need on Craigslist. It was great to meet two really nice families who were happy to help us out. Then, as we were trying to stuff the old full size bed from that room into the garage, we decided to try to sell it for $50. We had two calls within an hour and we sold it to the first caller who happened to live within walking distance to our home. It was perfect for their second home they have in the desert. They were happy. We got $50 and some room back in our garage, so we were happy. The internet can truly be a great thing!

We have our meeting tomorrow morning at 9:00 with our social worker here at our home. I think we are ready for her. The back room is completely cleaned out and we've removed all the cleaners and medications from lower cabinets. I'll post sometime tomorrow and let you know how it went.

Also, by way of a commercial, Jenetta launched her new website today. You can check it out by clicking the tab at the top of this page. Oh, and she booked a wedding today. We are thankful for all of these developments!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Our back bedroom

I'll post about the video shoot I worked on this week at a later time. I'm waiting on some photos from someone else that I'd like to include to help describe the experience. But I had a great time, and I hope it leads to more work in film in the future.

We got a response on our craigslist ad and got another free bed today. So the back bedroom is set up now. We are planning on painting the dresser white and the whole room pink if we end up getting those two girls. Here is what it looks like now:

Jenetta found a really neat toybox chest that will match nicely to put on the left side of the room.

We have a meeting with our foster care social worker on Wednesday morning. She was very helpful in dealing with the fingerprint problem. We are still waiting on the results from that, but it is sounding more positive. On the other end, our friends that are currently fostering the two girls have raised their necessary support, so they are planning on leaving for Africa soon. Things seem to be moving forward for us. We are trying our best to trust God each day and not get too worked up about things. But we are both getting excited!

Thanks for your prayers!

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