Monday, March 29, 2010

For your listening enjoyment ....

This past Thursday night was the night we looked forward to for months. The end of the the recorder unit...... I mean, Provi's 4th grade concert ! YAY ! 95 fourth graders playing their recorders for one whole hour. Music to my ears.

No, it actually was better than I anticipated. The volume of that many recorders on stage was actually less intense than one playing in my living room with me right next to it. Who knew ??

Provi was really sick the day of her concert, but was such a trooper. Not only was her concert that night, which she really wanted to be at, but during the day at school was the last day of CSAPS (Colorado testing) of which she just couldn't miss (she said). Such a dedicated 4th grader. I'm very proud of her. (The next day she called in sick. Poor thing.)




Malachi was grooving to the beat.... or something.


Eden grew some tasty teeth during the production.



Sam could hardly contain his excitement !



And now .... the moment you've been waiting for..... time travel with me back to when we were in the fourth grade.

For your listening enjoyment !!!!

video

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AMAZING !!!!

I just read this post regarding the Adoption Tax Credit.

I've got chills ! I am thrilled beyond words at this change. For so many, money is what will keep them from pursuing adoption. The adoption tax credit makes the pill a little easier to swallow. And even better, the changes now include families who pay little to no taxes to be eligible for the credit. (Some of you are scratching your heads right now as you wonder if there are really people who pay little to no taxes ......)

Anyway .... I just had to share !!! Yipppeeeeee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Monday, March 22, 2010

Water anyone ????

Today is World Water Day. Did you know that even existed ? Yup. There is a whole world out there who doesn't have clean, drinkable water flowing freely from the kitchen sink. There is a whole world out there who can't drive to a convenient store and buy fresh clean water that someone took the time put into a plastic bottle and market to the rich people of the world.

So today, on World Water Day, a great organization called, Mocha Club, has presented a way for us to help. Go to their sight today and purchase a great stainless-steel water bottle (yay ... no more need to buy those plastic ones that I guess someone said are bad for us anyway) for only $20. In doing this - you provide clean water to 15 people in Africa who aren't as blessed as we are.

Next time you turn on your kitchen sink, thank God for what comes out !

You know you want some !

I've been on a "Green Smoothie" kick now for a few weeks. What is a green smoothie some of you may ask ? A smoothie with added "greens" (spinach, broccoli, kale, etc ...).

It's no secret that the Britton's are not known for their love of veggies. To get a serving a day of veggies in our bodies around here is a good day. So you can imagine my disgust when a friend told me about her spinach smoothie drinking habit. Vomit. Although, she promised that the spinach is undetected. So .... I figured, why not ? What do I have to lose ? (Besides a pitcher of nasty smoothie, of which I was convinced I would have.)

Boy, was I wrong !!!! She was right! You can't taste it at all ! So a lot of people have been asking how I make them. I found some recipes online (just google "green smoothie" if you are a recipe lover), but I have a bad habit of not following recipes (or not turning my crockpot on, or setting my kitchen on fire, or getting garlic in my nose, or pepper in my eyes ... but that's another topic).

So, in general, here's what I use for a Kale Smoothie:



- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups frozen fruit blend from Costco. It has mango, papaya, strawberry & pineapple in it.
- 1 whole banana
- Um, several heaping spoonfuls of Greek Yogurt (honey flavored)
- Agave Nectar (again - not sure how much I used, just pour it. I just like it a little sweeter!)
- 5 -10 large Kale leaves (I know, the kale isn't pictured. It's b/c I took this picture after I made the smoothie, and I had used up the last of my kale.)

And the finished product ????

4 servings of fruit (at least) & 1 1/2 servings of veggies all in 32 ounces of yumminess !

Yes, I do drink all 32 ounces at once. It's lunchtime silly !

In my spinach smoothies - the fruit I use is still 2 cups of fruit, only it is frozen strawberries & blueberries and one banana. Then 2-4 cups/handfuls of spinach. You can play around with all the other ingredients. I've tried water as a base, almond milk, and skim milk. I've added real honey, agave nectar, and vanilla. Just play with it. Anything to hide those nasty greens !!!!

Cheers !

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baby Britton Blurb

Sam informed me tonight that he knows the abbreviation for brother.

"Oh yeah?", I asked. "What?"

"BS"

(trying not to laugh) .... "Um, no it's not Sam", I said.

"But I told Kinkaid [a kid in his class] today that it was."

"Well tomorrow you probably need to tell him that isn't right."

"But he already wrote it on his paper .... IN CRAYON !"

Oh .... well .... in that case, it would be fun to be your teacher when checking that worksheet!

Someone tell me that is funny !

Friday, March 12, 2010

This is why we adopt....

A friend of mine who has no kids went to this website that claims to tell you what your baby will look like. I told her she should think about adopting. :)

So for curiosity sake, I put in to see what it would say Aaron & I's child would look like. This is what I got ......

babies
What do you think about my little new baby Aaron Jody Junior?
MakeMeBabies.com - What will your baby look like?

Thank the Lord HE knit my children together in my womb rather than this service !!!
(And of course, I'm only kidding when I say this is why we adopt. My children are beautiful ... all 4 of them ! )

My new favorite song

Ever since hearing this song online from this years Passion conference, it pops into my head at least once a day. I LOVE IT ! I love when a song finds its way into the grooves of my heart and means something different to me everytime I hear it or sing it. That's this song for me.

Take a listen, buy the album, read the story behind the writing of the song by Christy Nockels. Praise God !

The problem with a blog ....

is that if you are reading this, you probably read what I wrote yesterday. And in what I wrote yesterday, I've been feeling this nagging in my spirit that something I said was unfair, judgemental, and wrong. So ... when I could just erase it, the problem would still be that some have heard me say it .... And since I don't know who you are, let me just say this :

I wrote the following words yesterday:

Let me make this clear --- those people who I mentioned above do not have these children's best interest in mind, nor do they cling to the heart of God who LOVES these little ones unconditionally.

Now let me say this :

I don't know the hearts of why people would do what they do. It is not my place to judge those that I was referring to in this statement. It seems to me an odd thing that would happen (relinquishing children, not taking a child, etc), and it seems to me that it wouldn't happen other than this view I expressed. BUT .... I don't know. So..... sorry. I was out of line in making such a judgemental comment.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ethiopia changes things up .....

Yesterday a new change in Ethiopian adoptions was announced. It may not seem like a big deal to people who have never adopted before .... but to those who have, those who are in the process, and those who are planning to adopt, trust me when I say - it is.

Ethiopia is now requiring adoptive parents to travel not once to get their child .... but TWICE. When we adopted Malachi, the process went a bit like this at the end :
- Get referral of child. (YAY !)
- Wait approximately 4-6 weeks for a court date for the Ethiopian Courts to grant us as legal guardians. (NOTE : We were not there for this court date. Our agency, all agencies, held a power of attorney to stand in our place.)
- Upon approval of the court, we were granted permission to travel 3-4 weeks after approved court date.
- We traveled to meet and bring home our new son ! Again, YAY !
- For the first year after coming home with child, you go through a re-adoption process making them a legal US citizen.
- Child is with us forever ! YAY!

Well, now it will look like this :
- Get referral of child.
- Court date will be set 3-4 weeks after accepting referral. BOTH parents are required to be present for court. (Thus, the first set of plane tickets on short notice. Totaling $2000-$4000)
- Stay in country for 5-7 days over set court date, and meet your child. YAY !
- Fly home without child. Not yay.
- Wait 4-12 weeks for all paperwork to be finalized (different agencies put this time different). Go back to Ethiopia to pick up your child and bring them home. Yay ! (Another $4000-$6000)
- Child comes home on a different visa because parent was there for court and upon arrival in the US is already a legal US citizen.
- Child is with us forever. YAY !

Notice both ends result with a big fat YAY !

Some may still say, "so what?". Well, several things. One, the child now has to wait longer to come home. Parents have to leave their child for several weeks after meeting them in a place they know is not best for them. So hard ! Something that costs $23,000-$27,000 is now pushing $30,000 or more. Ouch.

Bottom line - as much as this in an inconvenience for adoptive families, it's a bigger inconvenience for the orphaned children.

This situation is making me mad .... with a holy, righteous anger. The Enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He does not want these children to be placed with families. He desires their destruction. He does not want us as Christians to die to ourselves in the way of time, family and finances. He wants us to be selfish and live this life for ourselves with as little pain, frustration and inconvenience as possible - at least when it comes to doing what is good and right and pure. But you know what ?!?! WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS ! (Stop reading this and go read Romans 8. Then come back please. :) )

One of the ways I already see the Enemy working, and is a sad reality, is that families are being deterred (or will be) from adopting in Ethiopia because of these changes. Take for example, Aaron and I. To adopt again from Ethiopia, we now have more funds that need to be in place. Plus we have to find 2 chunks of time, relatively close to each other, in which we need to figure out what to do with our current children at home (not to mention leave them twice. Sad.). The millions upon millions of children (4.8 if you want to be more exact) now face an even bigger barrier to finding their forever families.

The challenges that one will face in adoption are a daunting, never ending list. This just added to it. This is one of those times that for those in the process or those considering it, we MUST remember that adoption is not about us, it is about the heart of God. The challenges, the struggles, the discomfort, the finances are NOTHING when compared to the eternal significance of adoption. Did you hear that ? ETERNAL. I praise God that Ethiopia is still open to adoption, rather than shutting their program down altogether.

On the flip side of the tactics of the Enemy that make me angry - I see a big God who is still sovereign and in control. I've heard HEARTBREAKING stories of children being taken from uneducated families in the remote parts of Ethiopia being told they are coming to America for education and will be returned, only to be adopted out forever. I've also heard equally heartbreaking stories of parents getting to Ethiopia and meeting a child that did not match what they thought they were getting (be it health or age or looks) and they leave the child there. And to top it all off .... stories of parents bringing their children home only to relinquish them here in the states because it is not what they signed up for. For all we know, this could be God's way of protecting those kids !

I'm thankful that Ethiopia is taking measures to protect their people from corrupt agencies and people. I'm thankful that they are trying to keep their children and country from being taken advantage of. I'm thankful that they are trying to keep children who are not orphans in their homes and make sure that new families mean it when they say they want to adopt a child. Let me make this clear --- those people who I mentioned above do not have these children's best interest in mind, nor do they cling to the heart of God who LOVES these little ones unconditionally. But God does !

In my anger and in my small understanding of God's sovereignty, all this has done is drive my heart to desire adoption MORE and NOW.

Aaron and I would love to adopt from Ethiopia again. We've already begun to talk about how these new challenges will factor into that possibility. I have been praying HARD for God to make a way SOON for us to dive into this journey again. We are taking steps in our life that we think are honoring to God in both our current situation as a family, and our hopeful future as a growing family. And while my heart is already fretting about the money aspect again - I trust that if this is God's will for our family, the money will be there just as it was with Malachi ....
EVERY.LAST.PENNY. (And as for who will care for our children ..... well .... REBECCA ?!?! haha)

All that said - we truly are desiring to adopt again. Would you please join us in praying for God's timing, and for the money portion of it to come about. We don't even have the funds to START the process this time, let alone complete it. I don't want that to be a reason for us, or anyone to not adopt. God has worked $25,000 worth of miracles in our lives already. I've seen Him do it for others. I know He can do it again.

Psalm 10:17-18

17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.