20 December 2014

raw honesty

This post is much overdue.
It's been on Arlan & I's heart over the last several months actually. Probably since late September. Yes...3 months late. Pathetic...I know.
Here goes...raw honesty. The good. The bad. The ugly.

Late summer & even early fall found us still eagerly anticipating & awaiting our phone call/email that would declare our adoption paperwork sent to the Ugandan courts, looked over by a judge & granted a court date. A court date means we travel. And by we, I mean Arlan, myself, Covenant & Haven. If you'll remember (click here), shortly before Covenant was born our agency was pretty confident we would most likely be traveling to Uganda by early/mid summer to go get Keziah Patience as our paperwork was progressing well.

Summer came & summer went. No forward motion with our paperwork to the judges. We then switched our hopes & prayers to potential fall travel and having her home by Christmas. But as the leaves changed color, the paperwork seemed stuck. The lawyer hadn't been using the most recent homestudy (updated in April after Covenant was born) and thus we had some glitches with the testimonies we were supposed to sign off on in October. We over-nighted documents to our agency in TX only to find out we had to redo them the next day as the documents needed to be single-sided printouts and not double sided. (insert sigh)
Our documents eventually found their way to Uganda and thus were sent to the lawyer one last time before being sent on to the courts. We just received word last week that the courts finally have our documents. It's December. [insert double sigh]

I hesitate to even give you a time frame as to when our agency expects a potential hearing for Keziah. It could be as soon as two months. Most likely it will be another 4-5 months. We are ECSTATIC for our dear Kaeb friends as they are traveling to Uganda in February to go get their son. This shows forward progress with the country & international adoption in Uganda. Click here to follow their adoption journey.

Raw honesty comes in the form of me admitting my fears...so here goes...
I fear our little girl will never come "home".
I fear she is spending yet another holiday/month/week without her forever family.
I fear she is continually searching [as one of her videos confirms] for "a family of a different color who will take me 'home'...and we aren't coming.
I fear we won't have the opportunity to show her the love, touch, growth, health that Christ first showed us.
I fear we can't even begin to work through the ugly/trauma/attachment/neglect that often comes with children from hard places.

There. There is raw honesty.
But glance again at all of the above phrases and see how each sentence begins.
I know...pathetic.

Adoption isn't about the "I"...it's about God's back-up plan. Adoption isn't natural. It's hard. There's a lot of hurt....ugly...frustration...and the waiting. Yet God's word provides for a way to equip His Body to pray, provide & adopt children who don't have parents. And Arlan and I have been called to adoption and many of you reading this have helped equip us. We are asking His Body to continue to pray.

Our lives are SO blessed right now. We are looking forward to a holiday season with friends & family...Haven is giddy with anticipation of presents & cousins. We are excited to have our "promised" Covenant spend his first Christmas munching on wrapping paper, lighting up the room with his smiles, and peeling around the family room with his push car. And yet...there is an ache in our hearts. An ache knowing our daughter is 1/2 way around the world wondering why this "different colored family" doesn't come get her and knowing there will be one more season of family memories she will have missed. 

Many of you have asked in recent weeks and months how our adoption is progressing...I'm usually more optimistic than this post possibly reflects. Yet, I'm also very real in communicating to you how we are continually petitioning you all as The Body to repeatedly pray. We are encouraged by those of you who are praying. And asking. And giving hugs when needed. Below are our prayer requests.

My lack of faith often translates to me trying to compartmentalize God's sovereignty. I'll declare I trust Him in all things, give lip service to His "timing is perfect" and know He has everything under control [I ususally do this with a big smile on my face too!] and YET I try and orchestrate details, wanting my/our agenda to "fit" into the timing of adding Keziah to our family. It is good for us to continually petition the Father for and repeatedly lay our prayer request time and time and time again at His feet. Do I or don't I trust Him fully? 

Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Jeremiah 32:17

Prayer Requests
  • Pray for continued movement in Uganda...for our agency workers, lawyers, and judges overseeing our case. 
  •  Pray for Keziah. She is now 4.5 years old (she was born about 8 months after Haven-July 2010) and must be wondering why this transition she has been told about is taking so long. 
  • Pray for our family...especially Haven as we anticipate this transition. 
  • Pray for our faith to be strong while we wait.
  • Pray for continued provisions as needed costs increase due to the amount of time waiting.

Thank you for your prayers. We are blessed by your love & warmth each time you ask/hug/care.
Love-The Millers

01 November 2014

5 years old

Dear Haven,
In years to come when you read this (or right now, as you can already read well above what the average 5 year old should), we want you to know how special you are...how loved...and how you have forever changed our lives.
You are the joy in our days. Your bright, inquisitive mind never rests until your body does. (You get that from your Daddy.) You love jokes and you LOVE being around friends & cousins. "Who's coming to play today?" is a common question. You lovingly remind us to read Bible stories at dinner time & your attention to details  is astounding. You are also a head-strong little lady who knows what she likes and what she doesn't. Learning to love & obey has come hard the last several months but overall, you have transitioned into your role as big sister to Covenant like a champ. You look out for him and pray regularly for him and you never forget to pray for Keziah. When Mommy & Daddy lack faith to believe your sister will join us soon, you BELIEVE with all your heart. Your child-like faith is refreshing.
We love you sweetheart and pray for your heart on this, your 5th birthday.
May God continue to grow your heart & life into His.

Much love,
Mommy & Daddy

Methodist in Peoria

our little Punkers

our little beauty

she got a brother!

we said "no" to the ice cream truck

15 September 2014

1st day of Preschool

Haven began another year of Ironkids preschool. After much debate [mostly my own], we decided to send her yet again to Normal Community's Child Development classes so she can seek & develop the socialization she craves. She loves Mrs. Thomas, the Big Kid Buddies (high schoolers who take the class) and the friends she makes. It is also a great way for her to humbly realize she's not the "only fish in the sea".

Haven was very excited to learn her Big Kid Buddy from last year, Ms. Ali, is also her buddy again this year!

While many tears were shed by some preschoolers, this one forgot to hug me goodbye and settled right in! :)

07 September 2014

go back-stay here-move forward

I'm typing this blog 2 days before the third anniversary of my Dad meeting Jesus. Because today [Sept. 7, 2014] Arlan and I have the privilege of spending this Lord's Day with over 200+ college kids at our AC College Camp in Monticello, IL. It's a neat part of our ministry where we get to love on & interact with college kids from all over the U.S. It's special to hear their hearts. Share their pain. And tell our own testimonies of life. Which usually somehow come back to a journey in life, like the death of a loved one. In fact, just yesterday, we spoke on the topic of "Discerning God's Will". Wow. Not easy, huh? Thankfully, my wise husband took the lead and I was merely his "assistant" :)

Aside from the necessary adoption updates & prayer requests, I've done a poor job of documenting our lives this summer on the blog. But towards the beginning of August, my mind often wanders to this early September post and how I can possibly capture with words the thoughts and emotions that cross my mind in regards to losing my 62 year old Dad to the horrible disease of prostate & bone cancer.

I force myself to think about the journey it has been over the last 3 years. 1095 days. Hmm...that seems like a while. It hurts to still see Mom hurt. It is tempting to want to stay in my self-pity. When Dad first died and I would go grocery shopping, I remember wanting to walk into the store and shout "Guess what? I'm sad. I just lost my Dad." to everyone. I was sure the strangers would all come hug me & tell me it will be okay. I still sometimes want to shout that at the grocery store...why the grocery store-no clue? I just do.

It's the simple everyday things & routine days where I miss Dad most. Sure I think of him on holidays, anniversaries, celebrations and the like...but I miss him most when I can't see him get out the car with Mom, or call him up on his phone, or watch his pick-up pull up in the driveway at home or tell me to stop talking so loud. Oh...to hear him tell me to stop talking so much. I miss that. :)

I lost my Dad when I was 31 years old and statistics/averages will tell me I will most likely live more years without my Dad than with him...that's difficult to type. Let alone think about. 

However at the end of my thoughts & the end of each day, I do realize this:
1. My God is sovereign and He is good. He knows our lives & plans for us better than we should/could/would.
2. God doesn't call us to a life that is healthy, wealthy or easy. He calls us to holiness.
3. Daily provisions are ample & enough. Just like the Israelites got caught up in the complaining of manna, manna, manna...I, too, can also get caught up in my self-pity (think grocery store example :) and can forget that often, manna is enough. 

And the last encouragment I remember is below:

You can't go back.
You can't stay here.
You have to move forward.

I like that saying. I wish it was my quote. It's not. I read it somewhere once.
It's honoring. It's a motivator. It gets the focus off of me and to what plans our sovereign God has in store for us.

So...I move forward. I'm blessed to spend today with many college kids. Many friends. My husband and son (of course, Covey came to his first CC!). And with many prayers for my family today.

Thanks for listening to my heart. And thanks for your prayers.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11

12 August 2014

adoption update-just...waiting

The Waiting Place...for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or NO
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig that curls or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

While not trying to make light of a fairly impatient time right now, I am reminded of this page from one of Haven's favorite books...waiting. That's where we stand right now with our adoption. Many adoptive families can identify. Waiting. It actually relates to a lot of us, whether adopting or not. Most of our lives, in our minds, are in wait mode for that one person-job-car-roommate-situation-child-time period-degree-sense of peace...you fill in the blank. We are all waiting for something or someone we think will give us that ultimate, long-lasting peace. 

Reality is that getting a phone call which says we have a travel date...getting on that plane routed to Uganda...bringing our dear Keziah Patience home...having Covenant sleep all night...having Haven not wake up every.single.night...you get the picture (and a small glimpse into our lives right now :)...will not create the sense of complete and total peace that our Savior desires for us. 

It's His arms. 
His cross. 
His Word. 
His Spirit.
He wants us to turn to Him for that peace. 
For rest. 
For purpose. 
These are the reminders our great I AM is teaching me lately.
So to update everyone on our adoption...we are, in fact, just waiting.  
Waiting for our last piece of paperwork, namely her long form birth certificate to get filed, then into the lawyer's hands, who will then check to make sure we have all necessary paperwork needed to then file to the Ugandan courts. Once filed, we wait for a judge to look over our case and set a court/travel date for him/her to hear our case.

We are so appreciative of people's prayers and your inquiries. By you asking you give us courage that you care & are praying. Thank you. Thank you.

Please don't misunderstand...we are loving life right now & thankful for our small family. Arlan's place at ACCFS. Family. Friends. A cozy home. Haven getting ready to start preschool again soon. College kids about to come back for the school year. We are blessed.

Your continued prayers are greatly needed and appreciated. Below is some of our humble requests...they have stayed very similar to my last post:
  • Timing~that God would provide timing/details of travel for our family.
  • Guidance~travel preparation for us & also for our caseworker (Emily), Ugandan lawyer & investigator & our judge(s).
  • Patience~that we can trust in our Almighty & patiently wait on others overseas.
  • Support~that the rest of our travel expenses would be provided when needed.
  • Keziah~for her daily care, her extended family, her nutrition & play & for her little heart.
Interestingly enough...have I ever mentioned our daughter's given birth name is Nkukunda Patience?

Probably NOT a coincidence? :)

 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

22 July 2014

Garage Sale time...again!

Multi-family Garage Sale: 400 Plumage Ct. [Pheasant Ridge subdivision]
TH July 24: 1-6pm & FR July 25: 8-4
Great baby & household sale including: Graco baby swing; Baby Einstein jumperoos (2); Fisher Price Rock N Play; bouncer seats; diaper genies II, kids jackets & winter coats; umbrella stroller; Talking Elmo chair; kid's table & chair set; Little Tikes wagon; small toddler bike; air purifier; lots of children's toys, books, games & puzzles; baby/kid towels & washcloths; boys clothes: Nb-6t; girls clothes 3mo-5t. . .brands: CP, Carters, Old Navy, Gymboree, GAP, Oshkosh, Ralph Lauren; adult name brand clothes: CK, Loft, Banana, GAP--women's S-L & men's M-L; d├ęcor, lampshades, kitchenware, pictures, frames, decorative bird cage; men's skis (size 11); new IKEA shelf.
Items in great condition, clean & from pet/smoke free homes.
The tables are full and priced to sell!
No early sales please.

 1 of 2 Baby Einstein baby jumperoos

 decorative bird cage

 Fisher Price Rock N Play

 Graco baby swing

IKEA expresso shelf-brand new

decorative shelf set-set of 5

the tables are full!

 talking Elmo chair

28 June 2014

Happy 65

Can you imagine going into labor and delivering not only one darling, but unknown to you, another darling appears?  That's what happened to my Grandma Doorneweerd 65 years ago today! 

Happy Birthday Mom & Uncle Butch!  Love you both!

11 June 2014

a hodge-podge

With the addition of #3 to our family, continued communication & paperwork for #2 in our family, travel & holidays in between...my blog has been sorely lacking.  Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth it to catch up my social site when I get so far behind...

But then I take a deep breath and realize in years to come this blog will serve as an archive of sorts-almost a daily journal for our family and then I re-prioritize my dear blog.  Plus I have lots of friends and family who repeatedly "encourage" me to update.

So now you all take a deep breath, because there are LOTS of pictures to follow :)
Random pictures...Easter, Mother's Day weekend in Iowa, Chicago X2, & Memorial Day
[**they are NOT in chronological order**]

 Easter Sunday pictures

 Why not have a garage sale?  While they are lots of work, it is always fun to de-clutter my basement & go through closets...what is one man's "junk" is another's treasure, right? :)
This is not all mine...I always enlist my in-laws "junk" too!

 Haven loves garage sales because she gets to see friends like Rich & Vicki...

 ...and for some reason, I always get to see former students at my garage sales...T-Rev, you can come without us having a garage sale :)

 ...and Haven loves seeing her cousins & Grandma!

In early May we attended CAFO's Orphan Summit in Chicago.
It was neat to see our Ukrainian friend who is now attending college here in the states...what a testimony!

 ...and I caught up with a cousin of mine I haven't seen since high school!

 Mother's Day weekend we headed out to Iowa...Covenant did great on the trip & Grandma Iowa was ready to love on them both!

 Covenant's first coffee with Grandma Iowa and her friends.

 Haven playing on Lucy & Jackson's play set with Burkelle

It was a quick trip, so this was the only picture we got of the two "new" cousins, Kayleigh (on the left) was born 3/7/14 & Covenant on 3/26/14

 Uncle Butch & Aunt Kathy got to meet Covenant too

 Covenant meeting Uncle Buddy

 Ms Aisley meeting her new cousin...she is going to get a new baby brother or sister in Oct.
 Haven and Charlee at Logan's Roadhouse

 Haven's last day of preschool...here she is with her Big Kid Buddy, Ms. Jessica

 Garage saling is always fun, but going with the Baners is even MORE fun!

 Haven and Elle with Elle's garage sale purchase.

 Arlan and Haven camped out the other weekend...Covey and I held down the house :)

The end of May we headed up to Chicago to spend time with Arlan, who attended a conference for work.  So the kids and I tagged along and went to see the sites during the day and hung out with Daddy during the evening.

 Lincoln Park Zoo was fabulous!

 Haven was VERY determined to find the giraffes...and we did...inside eating!

 another highlight for her was Navy Pier's ferris wheel...so high, so slow & so fun!

 family selfies on the Ferris wheel

 a treasure find & suggested by our friend Tami (who we got to spend the day with but alas, I have no pictures!)...don't be fooled by these Donut Vault prices folks...these donuts are worth every cent & are enormous!

 The Lego store at Water Tower Place where Haven was elated to find one of her Lego Friends as a statue :)

 American Girl Doll store also at Water Tower

 While Rainforest Cafe was probably her favorite experience of this Chicago trip, it was NOT Covenant's...over stimulation, along with animal noises at high decibel levels combined with an interactive thunderstorm every 22 minutes proved too much for our 2 month old.

 Navy Pier

and every afternoon, we would head back to the hotel & rest up so we were ready to go when Daddy got done with his meetings

 Haven LOVES hotels!

 She was fascinated with this juggler in Millennium Park

 Daddy & Haven at the Bean

Covenant's first Bean picture

Easter with the Miller brood at Alan & Theresa's

Covenant and Carter had great seats!

Oh Gabe!  I love how cute & ornery you look all at once!

Yeah for Carissa being home!

Memorial Day Sunday at our place with the family...