Monday, April 28, 2014

would that be okay?

I'm so in love with this post, I can hardly stand it.  Thanks, Jason Sanders.

What is wrong with us?

I sometimes catch myself ensnared in the same trap of thinking and comparison, too.

Not proud of it.

But, God has done a lot of work in me over the years in this area.

And, I pray he plans to continue.

Would That Be Okay?

What if your kid never really does all that great in sports? While all of his
friends are making diving catches and hitting home runs, the only action
he sees is during practice. In right field. Where he likes to pick flowers
and see how long he can stare at the sun before blinking. Oh, and that’s 
when he’s in the 11th grade. Would that be okay?
What if your kid never really gets it when it comes to reading? Suppose,
on her best day, she’s somewhere around the middle of the pack in her
class. And in the second grade, when all of her friends find out that
they’re reading on a fifth grade level she has the number 2.1 under the
reading comprehension column next to her name. Would that be okay?
What if your kid is never recognized for her exceptional good looks? It’s
not that she’s ugly. She’s just not prom queen material. Or even prom date 
material. And so she misses out on the pictures, limo ride and good times
that come along with that rite of passage. Would that be okay?
What if your kid just isn’t wired for college? When God knit him together,
he was thinking more of trade school than the Ivy League. And so, when 
all of his friends are getting acceptance letters in the spring and moving 
away the next fall, he’s looking for a job that will work around his hours at 
the trade school where he’s learning how to weld. Would that be okay?
There’s a trend among parents these days. Maybe it’s always been the
trend but I’m just noticing now that I’m a parent. We want our kids 
speaking two different languages by the age of six, dribbling a basketball 
with both hands by eight and talking to colleges in middle school. And 
here’s the thing about parents. At least the ones in this country. When 
we want something, especially something for our kids, we’re willing to 
pay for it. So we give some guy $75 a week to teach our three-year-old 
the Spanish word for bathroom. And we give another guy $100 a week 
to tie our four-year-old’s right hand behind his back so that he can dribble 
with his left hand. But don’t worry, it’s for their own good. They’ll thank us 
when they get that college scholarship.
No pressure, kid but here’s to hoping that God didn’t hardwire you to
be a welder.
And that’s what we forget in all of our parental hustling. God. What
might he want? And what if what he wants for our kids contradicts what 
we want for our kids? Who wins then?
Maybe your kid will grow up to be a beautiful, well-read athlete with her
choice of colleges to attend. Maybe. But maybe not. What then? If she 
never plays for a World Cup, will your daughter still be able to look 
back on her little league soccer days with fond memories of friendship 
and building a foundation for good physical health? Or will she think of 
her life as one big failure because she never met your expectations? Will 
that be okay?
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on 
the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees 
not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord 
looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)
It’s good to know that our heavenly Father is not like some earthly parents.
While some earthly parents tend to focus only on the physical, our
heavenly Father looks deeper.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every 
way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 
1 Timothy 4:8 (ESV)
While some earthly moms and dads get wrapped up in how their kids
look, our heavenly Father reminds us of what he finds to be beautiful.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the 
imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is 
very precious. 1 Peter 3:4 (ESV)
Back to the original question. What if your kid grows up to be average?
Average as grits. No scholarship. No multi-million dollar signing bonus. 
Will that be okay? Most of us are quick to answer yes. But that’s just the
 verbal answer. The Sunday School answer. There’s a better way to find 
the truth. Maybe the way that we spend our money and time is saying 
to our kids and the God who made them, “No! It’s not okay. I demand 
the best.”
Whatever your answer may be, your kids are paying attention to it.
And so is God.
What if all of your dreams for your children came true? The scholarships.
The popularity. The success. It was all theirs. And yours. But you lacked
one thing. Your First Love. What if you gained the whole world for you
and your kids only to lose your soul?
Would that be okay?

Monday, April 7, 2014

silly moments

Just some fun shots (for the record!) over the last several weeks.

There are moments when I could not love these boys more.  They are just remarkable little dudes.  And they are having the time of their lives running around like wild banshees with their posse in the 'hood.  This neighborhood is like something from a time gone by.  The children can literally be on the next street, down at the creek, or in the woods playing and they are totally fine.  And I don't say that lightly.  All of us parents in the neighborhood revel in the sweetness of our children truly running free as children should be able to.  

Hence, our return to nightly baths.  They have been coming home so, so very nasty.  Oh my.  

Recently, for the adoption of a certain young lady, all of us had to have TB tests.  Oh my goodness.  This was not a requirement for James' adoption -- nor were, a-hem, psych evals for JD and me!  Yowzers.  That's going to be fun.

Here's Jackson taking one for the team.  What a trooper.  :)

Then, out to lunch.  These are the sweet spots of homeschooling -- the ability to be flexible and spontaneous.

And serious.

And silly!

Some friends of ours from church moved into our neighborhood recently (so fun!) so we had them over for dinner and then invited a bunch of neighbors to come by for dessert, a beer, a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.  The kids enjoyed it as much as the adults did!

A few of the littler ones.

The bigger ones always end up outside.

Last week, I had to register Payton and Avery for their classes at Westminster Academy for next year.  Think college class registration before computers (if you're old like me and experienced that!).  Although, thankfully, at Westminster there's only a couple hundred students as compared to 10,000+ like there was at UT (Knoxville).  

Anyway, when there, I asked the Director what she thought I should do about Christine in that we don't know when she'll be coming home or what grade she'll be in.  Her suggestion was to go ahead and register her for some classes so her space will be reserved.  

Look at what I had to write for the first time!  Christine Beam.  Omigosh!  

Spring officially sprung last week.  It was awesome.  The boys in our neighborhood decided it was time to shed their shirts and make perfectly clear just how warm it really was.    

That's a lot of bare chests.

Bring on the tulips!

We're wrapping up our school year and, with the weather being what it's been, we just had to go to the zoo.  It'd been so very long since we last went.  

We had such a ball!  

There are times when I just yearn to run off with my kids somewhere.  

Look at these beautiful creatures.  Giraffes are truly something special.  Gorgeous.

But their tongues...let's just say they're not so gorgeous.

Look at the cheeks on that cutie (I'm talking about James!)

Look at that tongue!  Eeek!

Hello, eyelashes.

Feeding the birds.  James is having the time of his life.  Ha!

That evening, we dropped P off at choir and decided to stroll to a nearby restaurant to eat dinner.  We then sat outside and enjoyed Sweet Frog.  A lovely evening.  

The slip flops have sprung!

James climbed that tree by himself.  He's holding on for dear life, isn't he?!  Sweet boy will let nothing stop him!  Nothing.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014


A post two days in a row?!

It's a miracle.  :)

Perhaps my posts wouldn't be 862 paragraphs long if I posted more frequently.


I need to do better because I feel like these little lives are passing by so fast and I'm not documenting these precious moments as I want to.

Not to mention the glory there is to share.  James continues to absolutely amaze us!  You should see this child work the Wii remote with his lower lip.  Y'all.  I can't even do it sometimes with my whole hand with five fingers!  He's a maniac.

Let me just list off some things for your reading pleasure about James:

1.  The boy is p-o-t-t-y t-r-a-i-n-e-d.  Yes-oh-yes he is.  It was a long time coming.  And it got a little ugly there at the end, to be honest.  We've never had to negatively reinforce potty training before.  Ick.  But we made it!

2.  This winter was a little rough for him (and us).  Poor little dude coughed himself silly for months.  Including throwing up in his bed many a night from coughing so much.  That's my favorite thing ever when parenting -- pukey bedsheets in the middle of the night.  Yee-haw, baby.

It appears he's an asthmatic.  Poor baby.  Lots of breathing treatments and now a daily inhaler that seems to be doing the trick, hence, why it's believed he probably has asthma.  We'll know more when I take him back to the doctor in a week or so.

3.  We celebrated two years with this little dude!  Crazy!  We look back at photos and he was a baby.  He has grown and changed so much.  It's just amazing.   It's like I thought he wasn't going to grow or something.  

In this photo, he's holding a framed picture of us in China that Aunt Karen sent as a two-year Gotcha Day gift.  Super sweet.  Thank you, K.  :)

4.  A classmate from school invited him to his first birthday party.  It was a princesses and super heroes party.  Little man got to go in his Halloween costume.

Superman was adopted too.  :)

He's quite the ladies' man.  All his friends from school are girls.  

Wearing Avery's rain boots.  And smirking, of course.

5.  One of the most amazing things to report that relates to James is the enormous blessing his preschool has become to us.  All four of our older kids went to a different preschool very close to where we used to live.  It was a great school.  For seven years we had at least one child there.  In fact, there was one sweet teacher there that every one of them had.  The whole experience was just sweet to us.  We were excited to send James there too, but then we moved five miles away and there was a preschool just down the road from our new house that many neighbors used.  I had to look into it.  Right away, I had the feeling we should give it a try.  One big reason was that the building was so much more accessible for James -- no stairs!  The old preschool required him to go up and down stairs every time they entered or left the building.  That made me nervous.  Someone would always need to be near him.  But at the new school, he could march right into the building all by himself and I loved that.  

But more than that, when James and I toured it this time last year, the women there just seemed so open and willing to have him.  It was like they really didn't care that he has only a partial arm and partial hand and he may need extra help here and there.

Pretty much from the start James has loved it!  One morning I bawled hysterically as I pulled away because he marched his little self right into that building without looking back and instantly I saw how far he'd come from being abandoned as a newborn in China to the very capable and lovable boy that he is.  It seems these kinds of moments just come out of nowhere.  It was cathartic.

That child is a fighter, a winner, a doer, an overcomer, a dream come true.

Last month, they sent home the contracts to reserve your child's spot for the 2014-2015 year, with the requirement of a $400 deposit.  Yikes!

Our thoughts went to our being in the middle of an adoption and being unsure what next school year will hold.  Christine will very likely be home with us and she will need to go to school.  Yes, it's a personal choice, but, at this time, we wish to homeschool her and have her take classes at Westminster Academy (where Payton and Avery are and very likely where all our kids will end up).  We love this hybrid-style of education for our family.  Having them home three days a week and at school two days a week is perfect.  And it seems the kinder option for Christine as she transitions into her new life with us.  But that left us unsure of whether we could afford to pay for all we can with this adoption in addition to paying for three kids to take classes at Westminster in the fall, so I kindly responded to James' school saying that we were not going to be able to commit to James returning next year due to our adoption and the unknowns of next year.  I explained that we love St. Mary's and hope to have him there next year, but we just can't commit right now.

To my surprise, the director came back with an email that brought tears to my eyes.  She immediately said how much they love James and want him at St. Mary's.  She said he is a blessing to the teachers and students.  She asked if we would consider a scholarship.

Come again.

I thanked her for her kindness and told her we were humbled by such a generous offer, but we didn't want to prevent someone from a scholarship they really need.  She said the board was meeting the following day and if it were okay with us, she wanted to tell the board about our family and our adoptions and request a scholarship on our behalf.


Fast forward two weeks and we were awarded almost a full scholarship for James to attend preschool next year.

These are the kinds of things that God does to show us that He's with us.  

People often express to us a fear of adopting because they don't know how they'll afford it or afford another child.

We so get it.

We so get it.

We have those thoughts too.  Oh yes we do.

But then they quickly fade as we remember His faithfulness to us over and over again.

So we choose to trust Him.

Again and again and again.

And guess what?

He is faithful.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

good news!

Omigoodness, I've been waiting almost three months to write this post!  Perhaps compared to this announcement, nothing else seemed worthy of reporting?

We are adopting Christine!  

And she now knows!

We weren't able to say anything publicly until she was notified and we found out last week that she was notified by her orphanage director because the Philippines gave them the official word.

You are being adopted.

The Beams are adopting you.

You've been chosen.

You're not alone.

You're loved.   

Her reaction?




Can you believe that?  

Sweet girl.  

We had to say good-bye to her without being allowed to have a single conversation with her about whether she would even like us to adopt her.  We certainly didn't enter into hosting her with the plans of adopting her, but she quickly gelled with everyone in our family and we started having secret conversations about whether or not we should consider adopting her.  We suddenly went from closed hearts to open hearts and we were asking God why.

Immediately upon her departure (like that night!), we sat the kids down to talk to them about the hosting experience.  We wanted to see if we all felt a void now that Christine was gone or if it was back to 'business as usual.'  It was not.  We were sad.  :(

That was a powerful sign.    

Why did God have us all on the same page?  How did Payton's hesitancies of having an older sibling suddenly disappear?  How did my dread of adopting again dissolve at the idea of adopting a sweet teenage girl versus a toddler (uh, very easily!  ha!).  It felt like a crazy turn of events, but it also felt very right.  

So, in January, we began a new home study.  And I'm happy to say that it should be done any day.  Just waiting for a few last pieces and -- boom! -- approved!

We've already started working on our dossier so that's good.  We're hoping to travel sooner rather than later.

Thank you so, so much for your prayers and support.  

Sometimes I can't believe we're adopting again!


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