Thursday, July 31, 2008

Opening a Can of Worms

Yesterday was a great day...we had our fingerprinting appointment, we ate lunch together in Madison (and I didn't have to cut up anyone's food or beg them to stay seated in their highchair), we had a leisurely drive home. We even stopped at a rest area & laid in the grass under a shady tree. The breeze was nice & we enjoyed watching the beauty of God's creation in the sky. Then we got home and found the little nastygram comment in our inbox. I felt like I got punched in the gut.
And let us consider how we
may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24
Let me start at the beginning...last fall when it was confirmed to us that God wanted us to adopt from Haiti we sent out a letter to our family & friends from church letting them know of our plans & saying that if anyone felt led to contribute that we had a financial need. We searched several Christian websites relating to adoption & they all clearly said one thing - we should invite other believers to participate so everyone can have the opportunity to care for orphans as the Bible calls us to do. In all honesty, we weren't sure how our families would react, but we were certain of one thing - our church family would be excited. After all, we were sharing God's plan for our life & of course other believers would want to learn about that. They would most certainly rally around us & be our greatest prayerful encouragers. Right?

I can say we have had a handful of wonderful local people who were interested in our adoption, asked questions and prayed for us. For this we are grateful. Even more grateful now. For the most part, however, it was a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Questions weren't asked. Excitement was not in the air. There was no rallying to be had.

We have received a handful of donations from people who know us, but surprisingly the majority of our donations came from complete strangers or by way of fundraisers.

We tried to suck up our disappointment & move forward...after all if people could see the great things God was doing in our lives through this adoption they would most certainly come around, right? We knew God was calling us to more than just the adoption of one orphan. He was calling us to get others excited about this earthly act of His love.
For he chose us in him before
the creation of the world to be
holy and blameless in his sight.
In love he predestined us to be adopted
as his sons through Jesus Christ,
in accordance with his pleasure and
will— to the praise of his glorious grace,
which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:4-6
We are sad we were unable to cultivate this calling in the place we thought. We have prayed for God to show us how we can have a greater impact on His kingdom by sharing the passion for orphans He has given us. We are open to His calling alone, wherever that may be. Although it is difficult to leave a place we have called our church home for over four years, we feel it is better to do so than to stir up discord among the members of the body.

Adoption is a difficult process, the wait is long - now more than ever we need to be encouraged by other believers & to be in a group who is open to sharing in our calling. We stand firmly in God's truth.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thank You Anonymous

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
1 John 3:16-17

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:27-28

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.
Matthew 5:11

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

If you are truly interested in learning why caring for orphans matters to God, click here. I'm praying for you.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Long List of Prayer Requests...

Baby Girl is gone all week on a mission trip. It is her first time away for a whole week. It sounds like she's doing fine, but I don't quite think I'm doing the same. I kind of have this sick feeling in my gut.

Would you please say a little prayer for us? Pray that we all will have peace while she is away. Pray that she will have the heart of a servant. Pray that the Lord will place a hedge of protection around her and that she will be a light to all she meets.

Also, Jeff and I will be traveling tomorrow night so we can get fingerprinted bright & early Wednesday morning. If you could pray for travel mercies also, it would be much appreciated. My mom will be staying with the dynamic duo so you might want to say a little prayer for her sanity too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cuteness All Around

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
Psalm 34:1

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In My Dreams...

I had the most vivid dream last night about Anchise. It was so incredibly real. When I fully awoke I had a hard time remembering if it had really happened or if it was just a dream. It was all about meeting her for the first time. I was walking over to see her, she was shy at first, but then smiled with a big grin. She let me pick her up and hold her. I could actually feel the weight of her body against mine. It was so AMAZING! Two months from now this dream will become a reality. I feel like God just gave me a "sneak peek" into what it will be like to see her. Thank you Lord for this gift!

~ and ~

For Amanda (and anyone else who's interested): I will be in Haiti for six calendar days, but the first and last day will not be full days. If I hadn't hesitated & TRUSTED more, I would have saved myself $50 on the ticket. On Monday it was $325 from Chicago, but on Tuesday (when I purchased) it was $375. That's what I get for second guessing! I am counting the days until this trip. I am beyond excited & incredibly thankful to be meeting Colleen & others adopting from Three Angels and most of all holding our girl. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Learning to Trust...Learning to Fly

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”
Patrick Overton

Last night at 11:45 pm I was laying in bed praying. I had been praying for some time when I felt that I must read from the book of James.

Did I want to get out of bed? No.

Did I feel compelled to get out of bed? Yes. I had to read from the book of James.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of
many kinds, because you know that
the testing of your faith develops
perseverance. Perseverance must finish
its work so that you may be mature and
complete, not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without
finding fault, and it will be given to him.
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt,
because he who doubts is like a
wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
That man should not think he will
receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man,
unstable in all he does.
James 1:2-8
So, I have stepped out in faith regarding this trip. I BOOKED MY FLIGHT! Do I have the financial piece worked out? No. Do I have all the arrangements made for my children at home while I am gone? No. But as the saying goes - faith is not something you talk about, faith is something you do. Lord, please teach me to fly!

Playing in Sandy's room
Checking out what friends are doing
Having snack with sweeties Justin & Kervens

Monday, July 21, 2008

Enchilada Casserole...A New Dossier Requirement?

I was going through the sets of copies of the dossier inserting the color copies of drivers license, passport photos and page of pictures & guess what I found? I included a copy of a recipe for enchilada casserole in all the sets of my dossier!

Do you think they would find this recipe so great that it would help speed my way through IBESR? I'm thinking NOT!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Feeling Foolish

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."
Isaiah 55:8

When we were first making plans to adopt we thought we had it all figured out. We were going to adopt a little girl from Guatemala. I contacted several different agencies & thought we had found just the right one. I excitedly filled out the application, but something prevented me from mailing it in. No matter how right it seemed I just couldn't bring myself to mail it in.

Some months later I learned of the country of Haiti. I can tell you quite ashamedly that a year ago I didn't care in the least about this country. Thankfully God kept working on me and I finally admitted to myself & my husband that God was telling me our daughter was in Haiti and I thought we should take the plunge. Jeff offered to pray about it & eventually it was made clear to both of us that this was indeed the right path. Praise the Lord!

Again, we made plans. We were going to adopt from Children of the Promise. We were hoping to adopt a sweet girl named Ella, but the Lord had other plans for her. We were sad that we were not her family. How could God send us on this path to Haiti & then take this girl away from us?

As I sit here thinking about our precious Anchise all I can say is that I feel foolish. I feel foolish that I thought my ways were better than His ways - my plans were better than His plans. He knows the plans he has for us. He assured us of that in Jeremiah 29:11. If we had not been open to His direction we may have very well missed the opportunity to find Anchise. If we had focused solely on our plans we would have missed a journey that has gone far beyond anything we could have imagined. Quite miraculously we've learned to ignore what appears impossible to the world & trust in God with wild, reckless abandon.

So, once again we are seeking Your direction Lord. Your ways are better than our ways and I am praying for your guidance regarding the trip to Haiti in September. I am praying for this trip to be Your will, not mine. I am praying for Your provision. Most of all I am praying that You will use me to be Your hands & feet while I am there.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mark 8:35

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We Have an Appointment with the U.S. Government!

On my excited trek to the mailbox today I finally saw the papers I have been longing for - a fingerprint appointment! Or shall I say three fingerprint appointments?!? I received one & Jeff received two...strange. Both his appointment slips were for the same day/time, but were in two separate envelopes both addressed to him.

Anyway, our field office location was in Minnesota so I assumed that's where we would be going to get fingerprinted. Turns out they are sending us to Milwaukee which is actually further away. We'll have to drive 4 hours & we have to be there at 8 am. I do not want to spend money on a hotel, but it turns out that may be our only option. Either way, I am excited to get this done!

So I need advice from other adoptive parents...since we're having our fingerprints done before the end of the month do you think we'll receive our I-171H in time to go on the end of September trip to Haiti? Logic tells me yes, but this process isn't ever logical. I appreciate your advice!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Girls Night Out

What a great night out! Delaney and I ventured out boy-free to see a performance at the local university of The Secret Garden. The show was very well done with lots of great music. It was so nice to look over at Delaney and see her with a big smile on her face. It's not often we get out alone together, but we need to make a point of doing it more often. She LOVES the theatre so this was a great opportunity for us to get our girl time in.

Another blessing from the evening was that I ran into someone I used to work with. She said seeing me reminded her that she had wanted to make a donation & she did just that. Praise the Lord! It was really a blessing talking with her and of course I had to gush a little about our precious Anchise. I managed to hold back the majority of the tears of thankfulness until I got to the parking lot.

On the way home the Lord gave me this passage:
And God will generously provide all you need.
Then you will always have everything you need
and plenty left over to share with others.
II Corinthians 9:8

Thank you Lord for an evening filled with Your blessings!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Precious One

A gift from mama & papa....

Candles and cake for me?

Enjoying cake with friends...

Dear Lord,
We ask you to watch over our precious Anchise on her special day. Help her to know that we love her so much and that we are working hard to bring her home. If it is Your will Lord, I ask that this be the last birthday we spend apart from her. Please protect her & keep her safe all of her days. Surround her with people who will love & care for her until she is home. In Jesus name we pray.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fun & Frolic at the Funeral Home

We just returned from the visitation for Uncle Otto. I have to say it was an interesting evening! Big sis D had play practice & we arranged for a family friend to pick her up when she was done. We did, however, take the boys along.

Personally, we feel it's good for children to have a healthy respect for life & death. We would never want them to do anything they weren't comfortable with, but we want them to know that death happens & it's something we shouldn't be afraid of. We have always used death & funerals as a way to talk to our kids about life after death through Christ. It's good stuff!

Anyway, I'll give you some of the highlights from the evening:
  • Mr. B started screaching to be let down the minute we walked in the room. We took him outside to let him run around a little before the rest of the family arrived (please keep in mind that Jeff is the baby of 10 kids, so his family descending upon a funeral home is not just an arrival, it's an event).

  • We were introduced to Jeff's second cousin at the entrance. She only burped loudly twice shortly after introductions. Apparently the gas station burritos she had for dinner didn't agree with her.

  • K-man had to use the bathroom the minute we walked back in. This kid LOVES public bathrooms & feels the need to check out the bathrooms the minute we walk into any public building - even if he just went at the last stop.

  • Right when we were going to go to the casket to pay our respects Mr. B let us know quite publicly that he pooped his pants. The ladies bathroom was set up such that when I pulled the changing table down it trapped a lady in one of the stalls & she couldn't exit until we were done. Good times.

  • Back to the casket...Mr. B says "what's wrong with that guy?". Jeff tells him he is sleeping. Mr. B says, "is he sick?". Jeff says no, he is sleeping. Mr. B exclaims "let's get outta here, he's wakin' up!". Good times.

  • We let Mr. B down to go by his Aunt Janie only for him to make a break for the lobby where he wildly jumped on the couch. When I came for him he dove head first several feet away to the ottoman. He stuck the landing & let me tell you it was definitely a "10". I tell you letting that kid down is like letting a chimpanzee loose at the zoo. Good times.

  • K-man disappears to the next room where a separate vistation is going on. He comes back & let me know he went to check out the other guy & that he was wearing a tuxedo. I asked him how he looked and he replied "dead". Good times.

Thankfully we found a play room in the back with coloring books, games, books & puzzles. Things settled down after this discovery & we actually had a good time visiting with people we haven't seen in a while.

They look innocent enough, don't you think?

You may think I was asking for trouble by taking the boys along, but we've never held back from including our kids in things that are a part of everyday life. Unfortunately funerals are a part of life, but there is victory for those that know Him. Good times.

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57

Lord Willing, I'm Going to Haiti!

I've tentatively signed up to go to Haiti at the end of September! I will go provided I have the paperwork approval to file my I-600 while I am there. The thought of holding Anchise in my arms makes me grin from ear to ear! The thought of traveling to Haiti makes me both super excited & scared out of my mind.

Ask me how I'm going to pay for this trip? I'll have to answer that I have NO IDEA! I guess it will be like everything else with this will happen by the grace of God. Please pray this trip will come together for His glory!

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

Lamentations 3:22

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Blessing from Colleen

Mr. B announced when we watched this that "Anchise wants to play trucks with me". I look forward to the day when that is true!

Praise the Lord The Dossier is Complete!

Much to my delight I found our papers returned from the Haitian Consulate in our mailbox today! I have everything for the dossier. Every box is checked...every last one. Praise the Lord!!!!!!!

(Kathy - I think that makes it officially time for an HBWD in honor of this auspicious occasion!)

Sad News

We received word that Jeff's Uncle Omar passed away. He suffered a stroke several weeks ago & had gone down hill ever since. He was very fond of Jeff and would call occasionally to talk. Since he knew of Jeff's love of electronics he would occasionally give away an old radio or retro TV to us. His wife passed away a few years ago. I pray they are together in Heaven.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

And the Awesome Husband Award Goes to...

Jeff Salzwedel

Jeff is receiving this prestigious award today after voluntarily & unexpectedly cleaning out the refrigerator. There were many scary moments during this procedure. I'm ashamed to admit many items lurked that were way past their prime. There was atleast one container that held a "mystery item" to which we did not recall it's origin. Thank you hon for tackling this job without being asked. You're the best!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're Processed Baby!

Status: Processed
Your item was processed and left our
CHICAGO, IL 60701 facility on July 10, 2008.

OK, on a neurotic package tracking whim I decided to check the return package one last time before signing off for the evening. It said "processed"...PROCESSED! That means our documents are on their way back home.

This crazy phone calling, driving around, calling & e-mailing Cara 1 & 2 with a bazillion questions, notarizing, authenticating, legalizing, post office trippin', brain frying paper chase is on the countdown baby! Yee haa! (Do you sense the excitement or I am being too reserved?)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Neurotic Package Tracking Update #2

Your item was delivered at 11:01 AM on
July 9, 2008 in CHICAGO, IL 60604

Woo hoo! This means our final papers are in the hands of the Haitian Consulate. Almost done with the initial paper chase...and this face makes it worth it all!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wanted: Fingerprint Appointment

When I was a child I used to dream about what life would be like when I "grew up". I can't say that my dreams ever included the anticipation of going to the mailbox every day hoping & praying to find an appointment to get fingerprinted.

Who knew fingerprinting would be such an important part of my life at this stage of the game? Who knew I would be tickled pink to pay $160 & drive 360 miles round trip for such a privilege?

In other neurotic package tracking looks like our papers on their way to the Haitian Consulate left Elk Grove Village IL today which is a mere 25.7 miles from their final destination of Chicago. I don't know what the turn around time is, but there is potential I could get these back by the weekend which would be simply wonderful in my book.

We wait in anticipation for His perfect timing...

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, July 7, 2008

...and the Fundraising Continues

I'm thankful to say I've found a fundraiser that's not a whole lot of work, but has the potential to generate some much needed funds for our adoption/travel expenses. It is 100% profit & we don't even have to pay shipping.

If you are interested in donating your unwanted/used cell phones we would be HAPPY to take them off your hands. All of the proceeds from the items we collect will go towards our upcoming expenses & help keep these items from polluting our landfills.

If you are interested in donating, please e-mail me at salzwedelfamily(at)verizon(dot)net. We would GREATLY appreciate your support!

The Power of Prayer

I don't know the LeBlanc Family, but they are in need of our prayers. Darren, Misty & their daughter Olivia are going through very tough times. Misty has stage IV brain cancer & has been told she has two weeks remaining. Please take a moment to pray & stop by and give them a word of encouragement. Darren's words of faith are inspiring as he is fasting & praying for his wife.

“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.” - James 5:14-15

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Did I Ever Tell You...'s a HUGE perk to have a husband who is a massage therapist? The kids & I were all spoiled with massages today. What a great way to spend the afternoon after a great morning of praise & worship & the Word of God.

In other exciting news, Delaney got the part of Shprintze in Fiddler on the Roof! Shprintze is the fourth daughter of the main charaters, Tevye & Golde. She is so excited & we are so proud. She will have many hours of practice over the next five weeks (not to mention squeeking in a mission trip). Way to go baby girl - we are already looking forward to the performance!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nous Avons Traductions

In other words...we've got translations! Hooray! I'll be shipping off the five documents to the Haitian Consulate this afternoon. It was such a joyous thing to mark almost every box on the dossier checklist.

Almost done baby girl & then the real wait can begin! Please pray that the remaining funds come in THIS WEEK to send in the dossier.

To me this picture says, "You can't possibly be serious that I'm going to have to wait that long!".

O Father, today I want to ask you for something that does not seem possible. I know this cannot be accomplished without your power and blessing. So I ask this of you in the name of Jesus that the remaining funds needed be supplied to us according to Your will. Amen

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:22-25

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Going the Distance

When I was at the DMV a few weeks ago getting the address on my driver's license updated I was joined in line by a young, newlywed couple. They stepped up to the counter & told the man they needed her license updated with her new last name as they were recently married. The "funny" young man quickly shared the advice someone had given him about how in a marriage there are three rings - the engagement ring, the wedding ring & the suffering. They laughed & laughed thinking it was so incredibly funny. Inside I was crying for them. To be young & newlywed & already happily sharing how this union was going to bring suffering.

Twenty years ago today I was kissed by a boy on a beach under the moonlight. The rest, as they say, is history. Fifteen years ago today we were married. We were young, in love & thought the world was our oyster. Well, we've had our share of ups & downs in this life, but one thing has remained constant - we are truly best friends & there is no one I would rather spend my days with. Our life together is not all sunshine & roses, but it is filled with a deep seeded love that has grown stronger every day. I'm thanking God today for the love he has given us.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Who's Got the Giggles?

Grab Some Popcorn...It's Video Time!

This video was put together by the lovely & talented Cara Green from her recent trip. Be sure to stop by her site, watch her other great videos & give her some props!

It includes footage of lots of the great kids at Angel House including our precious one. The pictures of her looking at the pictures of us made us more than a bit weepy. Beautiful video Cara!