Monday, March 18, 2013

A Birthday Party for Viktors

Viktors turns 12 years old in just a few days. Let us give you a little back story on Viktors. Feel free to explore past blog posts about our journey to bringing him home. God sure is in the miracle business!

  • Viktors lives in a small orphanage in Latvia (Eastern Europe). 
  • He was hosted twice before through New Horizons for Children. He spent Summer 2012 in Illinois and Christmas 2012 in North Carolina with amazing, loving, christian host families. 
  • We are hosting Viktors for 5 weeks this summer AND we are adopting him.

We've decided that every kiddo needs a birthday party even if they aren't home yet, so we're having a party and YOU ARE INVITED! 

For Viktors' birthday, we've bought him a puzzle. It's a 252 piece puzzle with a picture of him holding the host family's dog during his Christmas 2012 hosting. I love this picture because I like the way his eyes sparkle and he looks so happy. This was the first picture we saw of Viktors and something about his smile just captivated us and drew us in to want to know more about this amazing boy. 

Please join us for Viktors' 12th Birthday Party! 

You don't even need to run out to Target to grab a gift. You can stay right there in your pajama pants at your computer to come to this party! We just want you to buy Viktors a puzzle piece for his birthday. 

Each puzzle piece is $5 and you can be a part of bringing Viktors home to his forever family! I dare you to find a present at Target that is as awesome as that! For the cost of a Hallmark card and a gift bag, you can be a piece of the story of Viktors journey home. When you sponsor a piece (or pieces) of Viktors' puzzle, we'll write your name on the back of each piece you sponsor; be sure to tell us what name(s) to put on each piece. 

Here are your directions to the PARTY: 

1. Donate $5 per each puzzle piece you want to sponsor. You can give via our PayPal link at the top of our blog or HERE and it will go straight to New Horizons for Children. 

2. Share on your facebook page, on your blog, and on twitter. Help us spread the word about Viktors Birthday Party! Everyone is invited, so bring a friend!  

3. Pray for Viktors as he comes here this summer for hosting and shortly after as he joins our family permanently. 

Don't forget your goody-bag! Parties are more fun when there are prizes! When you buy Viktors a puzzle piece for his birthday, you'll automatically get that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing you helped a kiddo join their forever family AND we will enter you into a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!!!

Here's how you earn tickets: 
1. Earn one ticket for each $5 puzzle piece sponsored.
2. Earn an additional ticket by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog. (Make sure to comment here on this blog post for your additional entry.)

Thanks for joining us for Viktors' 12th Birthday Party! Let's have all 252 pieces sponsored by his birthday (March 28th)!!!! We will keep you posted on the progress of the puzzle every few days. I can't wait to see it all come together! This will help us finish up his hosting fees and get us started on our homestudy update. Thanks for bring a piece of Viktors' puzzle home! 

~ Paula

With man this is impossible, but with

God all things are possible.

- Matthew 19:26

Puzzle Update 1: As of March 21, 2013 at 12:36 CST, we have 106 puzzle pieces sponsored so far!!! Thanks to all of you that have been a piece of the puzzle to bringing Viktors home!

Puzzle Update 2: March 22, 2013 at 8 am, we have 145 pieces sponsored!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I love this Tenth Avenue North song, "Worn". I think the thing that I love the most about it is the focus on redemption. I think about the cry of the orphan. For kids that have waited YEARS for their forever family to come, yet they wait... 

I think their souls feel crushed by the weight of this world and they have no one to help shoulder that with them. Can you imagine for a second how they must feel to have no place to really call home, no mom and dad to help them navigate life, nobody to look into their eyes and tell them they are a precious child of God? As the days turn into months, and the months turn into years, and they still wait alone: knowing that the day will come when they are cast out onto the street with little or no material possessions, no money, and no place to go - they begin to lose hope. They've seen this happen to other children and they know that time is coming for them too if nobody steps up for them. 

This part of the song really stands out to me: 

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

I know God sees the orphan. I know He hears their cries. I pray that they can sense His presence in the midst of their desperation and pain. I know that He sees they are worn. 

Some people have asked us why we would adopt an older boy. This is why. We believe in redemption. We believe that God can restore what has been stolen from a child who has been labeled as an underdog in life, an outcast. We believe that God can heal that broken heart and make it new. We believe that God will restore those years spent in an orphanage - alone and hungry. We believe that gently placing a hand under the chin of that child and looking into his eyes and saying "You are mine. I love you. You were chosen. We love you. God loves you. He didn't forget you." will begin to heal those places left raw and hurting in his heart. We know LOVE WORKS (a motto of our church) and we believe in LOVING BIG. Sometimes we have to wade through some muck and go to the hard places to see that healing happen, but we know that REDEMPTION will win. The struggle will end. And the child that is frail and worn will be restored to a healthy, thriving child of God. 

I know many of you are adopting or hosting children from all corners of the world. But if you're not, will you step into this with us? Will you be a part of the story of redemption for Viktors? He'll turn 12 this month. We still need about $750 for his hosting fees this summer. We are believing God will move the mountain of fees to bring Viktors home forever. 

You can donate HERE to contribute to Viktors' hosting fees. All donations are tax-deducatable and go straight to our hosting agency, New Horizons for Children. 

Pray with us that we can see redemption win in Viktors' life! 

~ Paula

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hosting Fees Almost Fully-Funded!

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. - John 14:18

The love of the Father for his children never ceases to amaze me. I am so thankful that He is in control and I am not. He's moving some pretty big mountains on behalf of our Viktors and I stand in awe of what He's doing for this boy on the other side of the ocean. There's been some major miracles in his story and we're so thankful for God's sweet reminder that He's got this! I am being constantly reminded that HE loves Viktors even more than I do!

Many of you know we've chosen Viktors' Life Verse  and that is proving to be so true for the life of this boy and his BIG God story.

As of right now, we are 77% funded for Viktors' Summer Hosting fees! We just have $750 to go and his hosting will be fully-funded! I am so thankful to God for how He's working through His people on behalf of this amazing boy.

You can donate to Viktors' hosting fees HERE! 

Once we're done raising his hosting fees, we'll be able to start working on our home-study update and getting our paperwork going with our adoption agency. We are wanting to minimize Viktors' time back in Latvia after his summer hosting. We know how important every day with our children really is and we've already missed so much of his life, we want him home as quickly as possible.

Some of you might be wondering why hosting costs so much money. Here is an approximate breakdown of the hosting fees when hosting from New Horizons for Children.

Child's Travel Expenses (airfare, transport)$1700
Medical insurance$100
Portion of Chaperone Expenses (Insurance, airfare, stipend)$400
Interview Trip$50
Safety Visit$100
Total$2,950 per child *

Additional money is needed for connecting-flights and a small portion goes to the fundraising site, Active. Active sends the money straight to New Horizons for Children and that allows your donations to be tax-deductible since New Horizons is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

If you are not currently hosting a child or in the process of an adoption, would you please consider being part of Viktors' journey home? You can donate right HERE and your donation will go straight to his hosting fees. Thanks to the many who have already been part of Viktors' miracle story; we appreciate each of you and we thank God for your generosity. There are so many of you praying for Viktors and for our family - thank you! We covet those prayers; keep them coming.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. Blessings to each of you!

~ Paula

Created for Care 2013

Lake Lanier Islands Legacy Lodge

Oh, how the weekend at Created for Care was exactly what my mama heart needed. Bright and early Friday morning, my sweet friends Jewel (McRoberts Clan) and Camille (Embracing the Odyssey) loaded up our Pilot and headed off for Atlanta.

From the moment we stepped into the beautiful Legacy Lodge at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, you could literally feel God's presence in that place. Sweet Andrea Young (Babe of My Heart) and her amazing C4C team have spent hours planning and praying for the weekend to be a source of encouragement and restoration for the 450 adoptive and foster mamas that were there. Their amazing attention to detail did not go unnoticed by me. But even more, was God's amazing attention to detail over the weekend was such a sweet comfort to my heart. He showed up in the small details and in the big ones too over the course of the 3 days.

Roomies: Jewel, Paula, Jenny, and Camille 

Jewel, Jenny, Camille, and I shared a beautiful room (not that we were in it much - the C4C team seems to be against sleep!) and as God would orchestrate it: all four of us are currently adopting older children. This was not the case when we signed up in the fall, but God knitted our hearts together with the same passion for the waiting children. 

Main sessions were filled with Worship and incredible speakers that spoke to the crowd, but I am certain that God had them speaking straight to my heart! 

There is something so incredible about worshipping with
450 mamas with the same heartbeat for the orphan.
The lyrics to the songs that we sang spoke to me in a new way when singing them with the thought of the orphan in mind. Our God really is "Mighty to Save" and I pray to "Let Me See Redemption Win"!

The main sessions were led by incredible women with passion for healing and connection for adoptive families, encouraging us during the wait and hard seasons, and to grow us more deeply with the Father. It's amazing how in sitting in a room with so many women and just feel how God is speaking directly to you. God certainly had a message for me this weekend. Our last session on Sunday morning was led by a dear friend of mine, Tona Ottinger ( Tona lives here in Memphis and I can pretty much call her anytime I want. Funny that God took us to Atlanta for her to deliver a word that I so desperately needed to hear. Tona spoke on Hagar and boy howdy did she get every little nugget out of that passage of Scripture! God spoke right into me that He sees me. I often fail to remember that He sees me too. I seem to remember that He sees my children and my husband, and that He sees the orphan in their distress, but I forget that He sees me. Often times, I feel like I'm not worthy to be seen by the One who created the universe. 

The breakout sessions were fantastic too; God crammed so much wisdom and nuggets of truth in every little ounce of the weekend. Running on practically no sleep for three days and soaking up every bit that God has for me over the weekend, I found myself so exhausted on Sunday, but so full of encouragement and new truths that He wanted me to hear. 

One of the coolest things about Created for Care is that the founder, Andrea Young, is how we found out about sweet Viktors! I had to hug her neck and tell her how much I appreciated her helping lead us to our boy. I met several moms at C4C that knew about Viktors and our journey because of Andrea. Many have been praying for our journey and it was such a blessing to be able to connect with them.

As if this is not reason enough to go to C4C - they
are certainly working it! ;-) 

There were actually FIVE Latvia mamas at Created for Care this time too. All of our kiddos have been hosted through New Horizons and now we're bringing those kiddos home! A couple of us are hosting this summer too while working their adoption at the same time. I just find it fascinating how God orchestrated this. We registered for this conference back in the fall, and had no idea we'd be adopting kiddos from Latvia and we all ended up at C4C at the same time (there was also a January retreat).

Latvia Moms at C4C March 2013

I came home Sunday night both refreshed and encouraged, yet totally exhausted too! I sure am glad to be back home with my people. A huge shout out to the most amazing hubby in the world who held the fort down while I was gone.

This girlie sure was glad to see me back home on Sunday night

We spent pretty much all day Monday curled up in my
bed, watching movies, and just enjoying one another.
I love these little people!

This morning I had my coffee in my new C4C mug and I prayed for
all those mamas and the families they represent.

Thanks for a great weekend, Created for Care! We'll see you in 2014!

~ Paula

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We love Dr. Seuss, so we spent most of the school day yesterday doing Dr. Seuss activities. Today, we finished one of those up and spent some time reading silly Dr. Seuss stories together.

This simple, but fun time together reminded me that this is what family is all about. Curling up on the couch reading a book or wearing a silly Cat in the Hat mask and laughing about silly things. Just simple fun!

I’m sorry to say I didn’t make green eggs and ham for breakfast – I meant to, but I had an early morning errand to run and the kids had already eaten by the time I got back.

Here are some pictures of the fun things we’ve done to celebrate Dr. Seuss the past couple days. 

Robert painting the Cat's Hat

Zoe painting the Cat's Hat

Andrew painting the Cat's Hat

Everybody's doing a great job on those stripes! 

Zoe making an "at hat" 

Robert wrote "-at" words on his hat

Andrew cutting out his "-at" hat. 
Our finished "-at" hats
I love to see the kids' work hanging up in the window. It makes my heart happy. 

Robert's "Grinch" face. 

Andrew's "Grinch" face

We made Dr. Seuss Cootie Catchers! Throwback to the 80's and 90's kids! 

She thinks the cootie catcher is the most fun toy EVER! 

We made some fun Cat in the Hat masks! 

The 3 cutest Cat in the Hats I've ever seen! 

I bought us 3 new Dr. Seuss Books (Kohl's has these for $5 right now in their
Kohl's Cares for Kids section)

Zoe loves our new Cat in the Hat stuffed animal.
(also a Kohl's Cares for Kids item for $5)

And we've been reading a LOT of funny stories together! 

That naughty Cat in the Hat! 

These are the moments that mean the most to me! 

This big 'ol stack of books is sitting on our living-room table and we're having fun
pulling them out and reading them together!
Hope you're having a great weekend with your family! The boys and I are headed out to see a production of Tarzan by a local christian school and Zoe's on a daddy date! Take some time to read some Seuss this weekend in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday. 

~ Paula