Sunday, July 26, 2015

Gladiator





POST #12 July 26, 2015 
Standing in worship this morning, I met God, I felt his heart and his Love. Many times, while in that place of peace and refilling, my mind becomes clear and focused. Things that are on my heart, get felt by God and he gives me words of love and courage. He reminds me that he IS. 
Sometimes, I soak it in and sometimes I feel the need to write. I wrote this down. Usually it hits home with another person as I know God uses each of us to lift the other. So this is what I felt this morning.
"There's something about stepping into the adoption process that thrusts you into this big arena of faith!
I picture myself as a Gladiator contending for the promise of another. The promise of a family. The promise of no longer being lonely but being set into a family. (Ps.68:6) In this arena, we are going up against the fury of death and destruction. The circumstances at times look dreary and harsh. I know having traveled this road before that there may times that look hopeless and I may start to fear loss. But through it all, I know that I am fearless, because I know Love wins. I cannot walk out of this arena a loser. There is another I am fighting for. 

Maria wrote this the other day on our driveway. 
Duane took a photo of it. It says, "Nothing can stop me from God's Love"


When I think how He loves that little child, my heart bursts with that same love. A Love way beyond me. beyond my capacity. A Love that is more powerful than death. A Love that is backed by all of the forces of heaven. A Love that carries hope and joy. A Love that brings life and restores. So here I go. I am ready. Open the gates. I will contend. I will persevere for the one. Oh, how he loves them! Oh how he loves us! And for that reason no power of hell can stop me. Who can stand against us, if God be for us! (Romans 8) The champion of heaven is fighting for us.  He's made a way for a child to enter in to a family where forever resides. He makes me brave! "

Adoption Updates

I am still posting what I can from the FB group here.
Here is what is happening lately.

UPDATE #11 July 25,2015
I spent a good part of the day, filling out applications- One for the home study agency, and one for Homeland Security to immigrate Little J to the States.  The good news is that we do not have to immigrate M. into the states. That saves a lot of money and time.  I paid some fees. Gasped at some other fees that are coming up and wrote emails and texts asking for letters of reference. 
I went through documents to see if I already have some marriage certificate and birth certificate copies and found some but don't have enough so I will have to order those from vital statistics. I also got an email from the adoption agency director who was able to talk to my friend who runs the baby house. 
Later in the morning, my older son, Ben called and asked if he could come get the kids and take them to a movie. I thought that was an awesome idea! The house was quiet for a couple of hours and I actually experienced some complete thoughts, totally uninterrupted! LOL! and I got to spend some time with my man in the pool. 

I really can't believe all this is happening! After two years of barely any movement on either adoption, we seem to be now moving at a fast pace. There are tons of paperwork to gather and notarize, visits to be made by the social worker, and lots to do around the house. We realized we have no working fire alarms, or fire extinguishers. Two musts if you are adopting. We are trusting God for the finances to be there when they are needed. The agency still hasn't given us a price yet, but in reality, it doesn't matter, LOL! we have already jumped off this cliff. We are expecting to fly!


Our Adoption Journey Continues....

I will post on this blog when I can about our adoption process but will not be able to post pics showing the kids or personal info. If you want more details on the journey please FB request that I add you to the group of our adoptions journey.
In this post , I will include several post I have put on the FB group. If you want to read Updates 1,2,3, & 4, You will have to join the group. :)

July 7, 2015: Update #5: We are not going with either of the two home study Agencies that we had originally looked at. We found another one in close by and it looks like we will apply there. After talking to the adoption agency director in late May, We decided to go with a certain adoption agency who said they are willing to help us pursue little J's guardianship as well as get the guardianship of ( M.) changed over to us. So here we go!!!! Timing is everything!: 
For this agency to work with us, we could only have 5 kids in the home per their policy. As it turns out, The twins- age 23- moved out last month, 
smile emoticon and our other older son is headed off to college in August, leaving us with 5 kids! 

Now comes the hard part in my mind. The money. But in God's mind, it is simply pocket change. There are days that my mind wanders off and says, how are we going to do this financially? But I have to be intentional and remind my mind of all the times that God has provided for each child in our family to become a family member. His promise is to "set the lonely in families". 
He knows a price tag comes with it, so I guess if he has slung these doors wide open, he will finance it as well. One other thing is that we have changed V's name to M. 
( God's favor and love towards a longed for child).  So she will from now on be referred to as M. (but in these post, I will refer to her as M. and the boy as J.)                   
 She loves her new name and we are getting used to calling her by it. We will at some point change J's and will let you know what it is. I love giving our kids new names for their new beginnings. God did it all the time in the Bible.
It's been 8 years since we have had to do a home study and so here it goes. 

Paperwork piles upon paper work piles, finger prints and criminal checks. Questions about finances,our whole life laid out for the Social departments and Governments to see and to determine if we are appropriate parents etc..... Let the race begin! We could use your prayers for all to go smoothly. Since they implemented the Hague Convention Rules, there is a lot more to do to prove our "worthiness" to adopt internationally. LOL.

July 15, 2015: UPDATE #6 : 
Well, there hasn't been much new news. I'm still trying to nail down a home study agency and I talked to one today. Its a little tricky with all the new Hague policies in place and then there are some other home study agencies that just don't fit our family or are not able to do it. The area we live in does not have a lot of options so we have to look more towards bigger cities to get one done. That means travel is going to be included to get visits and interviews done. I spent after lunch scanning documents we had on M. to the adoption agency so I feel like I got some stuff accomplished. Last night, I went through our tub of adoption documents (Yes, we have a rubbermaid tub full) and found all of our old home studies, in hopes it might make filling out paperwork easier! I also discovered that I need to get my passport renewed. One praise is that we got creative and made a few sales and the money when added to our savings was exactly enough to cover the home study! yay! So, there is our 1st step towards making these kids Carter kids!
Scanning documents to our adoption agency

UPDATE #7 July 19, 2015 : It's starting to get real! Our adoption process for Maria and Johnny begins! Here begins the first step of faith- Filling out the application for the adoption agency who has agreed to take our cases under them. If you would like to be added to our Facebook Group to follow our journey, let me know!

Filling out adoption agency applications

Update #8 July 21,2015: 

Today we got a phone call from the Adoption Agency who is for sure taking our case and talked to our friends at J's orphanage for them to connect with the agency, got an email from the attorney in U. that he will look forward to our dossier arriving as well made a phone call to the home study agency. It looks like things are falling into place. Please pray that doors will be opened for a quick home study for both kids. U, we will see you soon.




UPDATE #9 July 22, 2015
So starts this roller coaster ride. I didn't hear back from the home study agency for the last two days so decided to call them. Unfortunately, they informed me that they could not do our home study because they are not licensed to complete a home study for a child already in the home. What???? I will tell you that I am a little frustrated for sure. I do not understand some of these state policies that I keep running into. 
All we  really need is an international home study for 2 kids. It seems simple but it is not.
 So back to the drawing board I go. I contacted 2 other agencies today. Hoping and praying one of them might be good news.

UPDATE #10 July 25, 2015
After going online and contacting two home study agencies the other day, I had a call from one of them today. After talking in depth about the complications of our processes, the agency said that they could do our home study for us! Saying all goes well, ( and it will) they will allow for three children (incase of a sibling being found) ‪#‎ithashappenedbefore‬ . 

Since they are not the adoption agency as well, they have to sign an agreement with the adoption agency we are using. They said that should be no problem as they were the ones who accredited Adoption agency for their Hague Approval . 
And....even though they are in S. California, we can do our classes online and may get to skip some since we have been trained and have adopted already. The cost is only $300 more than we were going to pay the other agencies because of travel cost up here to visit our home. She thinks we can have this home study done in a month or so which works wonderful for a hoped for Fall court date in U. We also thought we were going to have to get a pool fence around our entire pool but she gave us alternatives that were acceptable in California as well which is going to save us unexpected thousands of dollars. Yay! A good end to a busy week!




Thursday, July 9, 2015

Here We Go Again! Adoption Journeys 11 and 12!

Just when we are getting down to 5 kids at home, God is increasing our family size! LOL! We have not done a home study in about 7 years so I feel like a complete newbie! We have to start over from scratch as we are living in a new state  and an updated home study just won't work. 
HOW IT BEGAN
In July, two years ago, we suddenly had V brought to our home from a disrupted African adoption. (You can read the story HERE.) Within a couple of days we knew she was to be ours. Complications with state policies involving her final adoption has also prevented us from giving her the Carter name. It has been frustrating and disappointing to say the least.

Also, two years ago in May, I met a little boy, J while teaching at a women's conference in AFRICA, and we decided to pursue his adoption but so many roadblocks these past two years have prevented it from happening. We released him to God and decided to move on. 
( You can read more HERE

We are creating a  private Facebook group because there has been breakthrough for both children! We are so excited that God is doing some impossible things to allow us to be family to these two wonderful children. We have to keep the details of V's and J's process low key and where as I have always blogged publicly about our past adoptions, we need to do this one a little more privately.  I will put generalistic posts here on this blog but no details of our journey experiences. 

I assure you, we have always had adventurous adoptions and will need prayer and encouragement support from family , friends and the adoption community. smile emoticon

If you want to be part of this group, please FACEBOOK friend request me at  Melissa Ammons Carter and PM me to let me know you want to be added to the Secret Group.  I cannot add you to the group if you are not a FB friend. 

Blessings and Love, Melissa and Duane

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Break 2015! PACKED AND FUN FILLED FRIDAY!!!

Well, I woke up feeling much better! Yay! Today, I planned on making up for not doing anything really special yesterday and since the carnival was only in town for the week, I decided we would go during the day time. I had already booked us for a family fun bowling night for the evening. 
I got everyone up and rolling so they could get their chores done and lunch eaten before we left. 

I myself had never been to a traveling carnival before, but I already knew my pocket book was going to take a hit, so I had prepared myself to ignore that and just have some fun. 
Yep, it did. The sheets of tickets were not that bad, but when it came to HOW MANY TICKETS per ride, now that was a little over the top.  We probably could have gone to King's Kingdom in Sacramento for the same price! 
We split the tickets up and I took the two littles and let them pick what they wanted to ride. Everyone chose the swings first and the giggles and smiles even on my 18 year old were worth it. 

video

The kids ready to play! 

The first ride Isaiah and Violetti went on was the slides! 

Allenni and Andrew on the swings

Up, Up and Round and Round

Violetti wanted to ride the Carousel, She had never ridden one before. When I asked Isaiah, if he wanted to ride he said, "Nah, that ride is too booorring. " 

This ride was a space ship that spun to outer space- Supposedly. LOL! We misread the sign and thought it was only 3 tickets. Oops! It was 4 but since we had no more tickets, the guy let the kids in anyway. 


After the Space ship! Everyone of them was drunk and dizzy! They all fell on the ground and moaned and groaned. Andrew got the hardest hit and I didn't think he was going to make it. 

Well, nausea didn't last too long and we decided to get some funnel cakes. That was a must on Graham's list! We had been smelling them the whole time. We were disappointed to go to concessions and find no Funnel Cakes, only Churros. So we decided to head to the Mall Food Court to get a snack.  Graham was herding us all along so that we would not "shop". It didn't stop us from entering into a toy store where everyone wanted everything! A big reminder why I don't take 6 kids with me shopping.  Graham played a quick game of tabletop fuse ball with me where he creamed me, while Eli made much noise on a pinball machine. Isaiah was intrigued by everything and Violetti had never seen so much girl stuff. Graham herded us all out the door once again, reminding us to keep walking. You would have thought he was a grandpa with the kids! 
Well, we checked out all the food choices and no body wanted any of it and we decided to head back to Razzilicious for the 2nd time this week and get another frozen yogurt.

After running an errand, we made it home in time to chill out for awhile before we had to head to the Bowling Alley. 
I think we have been to the bowling alley only 1 time before as a family and that was many years ago. We had reserved two lanes, 4 pizzas and 2 pitchers of Soda ( a very special treat) and the kids were quite shocked that I had gotten soda, so it didn't last long. Right when we began to bowl, I happened to look at my phone and saw a text from a friend. I had forgotten to pick him up! I ran to the van and went after him! I was so glad he only lived down the road! 
Rosen joined us for a second game and this mama kept the score up better than I thought I would. I guess those college bowling classes paid off after all! 

Eli is smiling because he just pestered his brothers

Rosen, Nathaniel, Ben and Andrew is serious about this bowling thing!

Violetti, made a good bowl! Look! she painted her nails! 


Mama and Daddy's scores are looking good! We were beating the boys who had bumper guards! LOL!

Yes! I made a strike! 

This was right before the games began. There ended up being many more bowling balls

Competition is serious.

Cutie Patutie

Girls Just gotta have fun! 

See, I told you there ended up being more balls. Nathaniel had several more balls than anyone and most coordinated with his Alabama hat and shirt




Spring Break 2015- THURSDAY, Day 4- NORMAL LIFE NUGGETS

Well, Day 4 of Spring Break was scheduled to go to the carnival in town but got filled up with life. Most everyone (except mom) slept in.  I woke up with a horrible headache and congestion in my head. So I wasn't sure if the carnival was going to happen or not.  I ended up loading up on essential oils and Duane gave me a dose of antibiotics ( as I had fought this about two earlier)  and laying down because I was in misery. I woke up with Graham asking me what time his haircut was!  Right now!  Chelsea, Graham's sweet girlfriend had scheduled it with her grandmother. We were a few minutes late as the the dude and I both had slept in. It drives this mama crazy that this child always sleeps to the last minute for everything! Then acts like, "What?"  
Thankfully, when we arrived, she was still with another client and we had to wait a few minutes.
With my haired life of a crisis and stress popping up whenever it wants to, no matter what you have planned, it was kinda of a good breather for me as I got a little break in a quiet mom and pop salon.
Graham's new haircut.
God can meet you anywhere, He's always around if we stop and take a moment to notice and be aware. Right there in that salon, he met me. sitting there in my own little corner, I was thinking of some things I wanted to accomplish this spring and summer, I wondered how we would be able to do it. I had been a little discouraged here and there. Some of my dreams were big and necessary. Some were just to add some fun, beauty, stability and rest to our family. Inwardly, I was sighing, just when we would think we are getting ahead a little, whether it was financial, mental, emotional or physical, it has seemed like another mountain would appear and another struggle for health or wellbeing would be at hand. It seems like we have been in battle for years now, contending for certain victories in our lives. 
But in that moment of wondering how some things were going to come together, I looked over to a product shelf and there was a word of encouragement straight from Heaven. Tucked behind a couple of rows of products, sat a little plaque. It was old, covered in hairspray and dust but it had life giving words on it.  "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:2 I stored that nugget away in my brain to look at later but got busy. 

Then again today, 3 days later, our pastor read from that same passage. I know that God is sending me messages of hope. A love note to his beloved (me) that He plans for me and my family to be prosperous in all things in body, mind and soul. 

Chelsea's grandmother got Graham looking all good and then wouldn't let us pay for it! 

Since our pantry and fridge were pretty much completely empty, we headed to the store to buy 2 buggies full of food. That is always a task in this family but we did it fairly quickly. (in under 2 hours) Grocery shopping is my least favorite thing to do so I was very glad to get that chore over with. 

By the time we got home, it was late afternoon and I again put my head down on my pillow I was never so happy to see my essential oil order show up at my door. I quickly opened it to get my Protective Blend  Softgels and the Respiratory Blend.  Boy, was I ever glad to see those two essential oil products! We had been out of them for over a week! 

 Well, it was time to get dinner far too soon and I got up to get the boys assigned to cook going on dinner. 

To make up for not making it to the carnival, I pulled up a movie on Netflix for the kids to watch.  I ended up going to bed rather early, praying I would feel better when I woke up!   


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring Break Day 3 WEDNESDAY



Spring Break has gotten off to a fun start! Today I decided we would head to Turtle Bay. We enjoyed the nature walks, seeing the animals they had, playing on the playground, getting pooped on by Lorikeets, seeing the fish aquariums, and visiting the candy exhibit. 
The kids enjoyed going through the maze

Isaiah has food in his cup which is why the lorikeets are all over him

Andrew is excited ! LOL! 

The birds all made us giggle

I didn't have food but I had money and they tried to take it! 

Eli made a friend

Graham needed some brain power

yes, Allenni has a disguise

Selfie

We stood and watched the Porcupine aggravate the Skunk for a while. Until finally the skunk had had enough! He turned on the Porcupine and raised his paws as if to say , " Leave me alone or I will slap you! "

The kiddos

Swinging

on the boardwalk to the outdoor nature area- The "good" pose

The crazy wild pose

At the Candy exhibit. Violetti is sporting that golden hairdo.


They're not acting like sweethearts! 
They were so in awe of this incredible chocolate bar! 


Spring Break Fun! Tuesday Day 2

Day one was pretty fun but day 2 had great fun as well. My older daughter is living in AL and is close to having her 1st Baby! That is right! I am going to be a Grandma!
She's 34 weeks! 

Johnny and Magy

Little Andy's Ultrasound! 

So we decided to go shopping to Target to buy her some baby stuff. Everyone picked out something and it was fun. 

Afterwards we headed over to Razzalicious for some great yogurt. It was quiet fun having leisure time chit chatting.  

Picking out the goods for little Andy coming!


All wrapped up and ready to mail

Me and Andrew Selfie


Graham and Andrew

Allenni and Violetti enjoying their yogurt

Later that night, We decided to talk to Dad into going to eat Indian Food.  So off we headed to  enjoy some Curry and Masala!
This sweet girl is always full of smiles

Duane was tired after a full day of work but enjoyed his Biryani 

Violetti and Andrew

Isaiah is over waiting for his food to come out! Graham must have just gotten finished teasing someone

Eli is the stud muffin 'cause he just ordered spicy for his food, Allenni is dreaming of her shrimp curry coming

The food has arrived! 

I would say that our day 2 of Spring Break was a great Success! Wonder what Day 3 holds?




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