Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Letter to my Son

I wrote a letter to my son today...

It was unlike any letter I have ever written...

As I fumbled through the keys on my computer and the emotions in my heart...

 I realized the enormity of my words.


What do I say to a 13 year old who has been loved where he is but who has no future where he is?

It is a fallen world.

A flood of emotion overtakes me as I begin to try and wrap my heart around his reality.

This incredibly brave young boy is about to leave everything he has ever known, everything that is familiar and "safe" and my heart just breaks.

It is a fallen world.

In order to start a brand new life, to have "a hope and a future", this young boy will walk away from his past with a family he has never met, a family he cannot see, a family he cannot understand, a family he will have to trust.

In a tragic but beautiful meshing of loss and hope, this young boy will step into a future that will,  prayerfully, offer abundant life as His true father is revealed to him.

I wrote a letter to my son today...

and it was hard and it was wonderful and it was covered in a mother's love, confident in our Father's amazing love and beautiful redemption.


Dear Song,

We are excited and we cannot wait and we are grateful and you...

you will be loved...

forever.

Love Mom and Dad


Please join us in praying for our son and if you feel so led, visit our fundraising page here to see how you can help to bring him home!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sing a Song of Hope

So there's this kid and he lives on the other side of the world and he doesn't look like me and he doesn't share my genes and he doesn't speak my language and he doesn't even know who I am but miraculously...

HE IS MY SON

Adoption is complicated.

It is beautiful and inspirational and blessed but it begins with such loss.  We hear the stories of abandonment at birth or even later and it is unimaginable to us but it is not our reality, until...

until you have held that child who cries when you leave because she is not sure you will come back...

until you have parented through that loss that sometimes threatens to consume you...

until you have seen the fear in your child's eyes as her past disrupts her present...

until the faces of those left behind call you back...

We are being called back and the journey to our son has taken years.

This child has been on my heart ever since our Maggie came home but it was not time, so I advocated and spent many evenings trying to find out more about this precious little boy who was our Maggie's foster brother.


His file was on and off the shared list.  His file was with even with Lifeline for a while but it was not time so I kept advocating and I kept praying and as time went by my prayers for him began to involve our family, but...

this child is blind - a need we had not parented before...

this child is a teenager already - we have parented those before and yeah...

this child is musical - what - I do like to sing - just ask the kids - hehe...

this child is a million miles away but yet still deeply in my heart.

I began to picture him in our home, at our church (praise band maybe), at soccer and school and JuJu's and and and...

However, it was just not time.

When the Lord finally open the door for us to be able to bring another child home, both Hubby and I felt very strongly that He wanted us to begin the paper work and let Him do the rest, so we did.

I have to say, there was such peace about starting the process and totally turning it all over to Him. He doesn't make mistakes but I sure do!  There have been many times that we thought we had all the answers, that we thought we knew what was best for our family, only to find out later that we were clueless and we didn't want to mess this up!

So, as we followed His lead, months went by...

our home study was done, our fingerprinting was done and our dossier was almost done and this child remained on my heart and as much as I had been praying, so had Hubby.


We prayed over many precious children but this one kept us up a night and it was one night, late, at our neighborhood dock that the Lord spoke loud and clear to Hubby's heart.

That dock has provided a place of respite for Hubby, a place of peace for him to go and pray and think and listen, cause in this house...

 well, you understand

*wink*

So that night, Hubby was listening and what he heard brought him to his knees.

As he watched this child's video and read what was written about him - again...

it was different...

Hubby looked at this child's picture and saw his son!


He then heart the Lord whisper to his heart, "That is your son!  Go and bring him home!"

Wow, right!

So what was my reaction when he tearfully called to tell me??

"What took you so long!  I knew it all along!"

Yeah, I know...

*grin*

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to our son!


Song is his name and he will age out very soon!  We have to be in China before his birthday in January!  

Sooooo, we will need some help!

We have self funded up to this point but will need some help to fund the rest in a short amount of time.  I have set up a You Caring Site for donations and fund raising, here

 Our church has also set up an account for adopting families.  You can mail tax refundable donations there with our name in the subject line.  Just contact me for details or...

You can give through the Easy Tithe app on your phone! You don't even need to download the app. 

You can just click here: https://app.easytithe.com/g3/h/ and select 'Adoption Fund' from the dropdown menu and in additional info memo, put in “Hamlin Adoption”

We also currently have a fundraiser going through The Apparent Project in Haiti.  

Just read their mission statement:

"Our focus is to “make the needs of Haiti known,” to support opportunities for Haitians to provide for themselves and their families, empowering them to rise out of poverty… to be able to keep their families together… to avoid relinquishing their children to orphanages… providing educational opportunities for both parents & their children."

Pretty cool! They help us to bring out 8th child home and we help them by providing jobs for Haitian families to be able to KEEP their precious ones! You can read more about this wonderful organization here

So, right now, we are selling these beautiful cereal box beaded bracelets. Each one comes with a tag that tells you all about the person who made your bracelet and what their hopes for the future are! How cool is that! Keep the tag, put it on your fridge and then you can commit to praying for that family!


We also have Christmas Ornaments that are made from recycled oil drums! They are gorgeous!


Each bracelet and each ornament is only $10 (not including shipping), five to our adoption fundraiser and five to Apparent Project!

Please share and please let me know if you would like to purchase any. You can reply here, message me on FB or email me at 5puppies@comcast.net.

Sing a Song of hope!

Please join us in praying as this precious child prepares to leave all that he has ever known to come home...

a home that will seem foreign and strange but one that the Lord has gently prepared, just for him!

Thanks y'all!  I will post more later but gotta go and get stuff done, cause...

we have a son!


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

So excited for you...

"How exciting! Are you excited?"

This is typically what we hear from sweet friends...

most of whom truly are excited for us.

We know there are some who proclaim excitement about another adoption, while thinking...

"Are you crazy!"

And while I would much rather the first response than the latter...

I struggle with my reply.

Funny, it is easier to answer the "are you crazy" response because...

ahem...

yep we are just a little crazy!

just a little

*grin*

What's harder is responding to the proclamations of genuine excitement, when my heart, my flesh says, "NO, I am really not all that excited"

*shutter*

Now, stay with me here.

Yes, we are excited about welcoming another precious child into our family...

and 

No, we are not excited about welcoming another precious child into our family...

It's hard y'all.

There is honestly nothing "easy" about adoption.

It is messy.

It is time consuming.

It is uncomfortable.

It is expensive.

It is painfully revealing.

It is brokenness.

It is heart wrenching.

It is life changing.

It is loss.

It is pain.

and it is what we are called to do.

The Lord has called us to once again, step back into messy and broken and uncomfortable and loss and we know the cost....

less time, less sleep, less money, less freedom, less retirement...

less "normal"

Are we excited yet?

Yes, it is hard but while we prepare to venture back into the trenches...

there is an excitement...

not the typical kind of joyful excitement when a baby is welcomed into the world... well loved... because... 

let's be real...

adoption begins with a tragic kind of loss, a hurt that settles in deep, a brokenness that is not repaired this side of heaven.

No, this kind of spiritual excitement flows from obedience because as hard and messy and uncomfortable as adoption is...

It is also grace-filled.

It is refining.

It is inspiring.

It is faith-filled.

It is heart changing.

It is healing.

It is heavenly focused.

It is redemption.

It is God's will...

and being smack dap in the middle of God's will is always exciting...

not always easy...

but always exciting.

Over the years, we have come to understand that it is not as much about adding a child to our family as it is about giving a family to a child.

We don't set our eyes on achieving the comfortable "American Dream" anymore, but rather on Jesus and His dream for our family.  

After all, Jesus left his "comfortable", stepped right into my mess and died for me, so that I could be adopted and live with Him forever...

 yeah, I think I can surrender back into messy and die a little more to self.

How could I not?  

He has revealed things to me that have forever changed me...

images that are eternally etched into my heart...

stories from my own daughters that have shattered the bubble under which I spent most of my life.

My eyes have been opened and can no longer be closed in peace.

So, with our eyes wide open, we step back out of comfortable (7 kids, 4 dogs and 2 crazy cats kind of comfortable - but still...) and with a holy excitement, say "YES" to that precious child who is right now, only known to the Lord.


Stay tuned for a sweet fundraiser...

Exciting!

*grin*
        

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Uneasy Street

So things right now are pretty good.

All the kiddos are back at school…

Even the ones “formally homeschooled”

*sniff sniff*

Teachers seem good.

Attitudes are good…

Really they are!

No really!

*wink*

Therapies are done.

WOW

Soccer practices have been rained out…

YES

And afternoons are not too crazy.

Yes, we are still meeting and managing needs and life with 7 is still busy but compared to the last 4 years…

We are sort of chill!

“Chill” in a 7 kid, 4 dog, 2 crazy cat kind of way!

But still…

“chill”

Soooo…

I guess it’s time to shake things up a bit?

Right?

Just when we start to get comfortable…

when life starts to get easy-er…

BAM

It happens and usually, for us, it happens just as we start to exhale, just as we begin to enter into easy…

That still, small voice eases us into back into unease…

I sometimes wonder if our hearts will ever truly be easy again.

After visiting two orphanages and one cerebral palsy rehabilitation hospital…


Unease infuses every inch of our hearts.


We have joy and we have peace cause the Lord enters into this brokenness and into our unease, using it for His good…


helping us to recognize when He says “go”.


So in a timeline attempted to be manipulated by us but only known to Him…
we will go!

More to come…

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summer 2017

It's been a while!

Honestly, you would think I have 7 kids, 4 dogs and 2 crazy cats!

Oh right!  I do!

Can that be my excuse?

Cause by the time I sit down at my computer at night...

all of my creative juices have been sucked up by the 7 kids, 4 dogs and 2 crazy cats!

Ha!

So, in an attempt to dust off the cobwebs, I will recreate our summer in a pictorial recap and now that the kids, ALL the kids (sniff sniff) are back in school, maybe just maybe I can handle 4 dogs, 2 crazy cats and blogging!

Our summer started at our favorite spot in the whole world!

Edisto or Edistahhhh as I like to call it!


















And of course, visits to my Mom's with her gorgeous yard and overflowing candy basket always happen in the summer.







 

Lots of swimming and dock jumping are a summer necessity!













We celebrated 4 birthdays!






Had summer jobs!




Still makes me shudder!

*grin*

We took long walks early in the morning.







One of us got new glasses and one got glasses for the very first time!


But one of the most exciting things that happened this summer, came at the very end of our summer...

when Maggie and Lucy graduated from outside therapy!  


A little bit bittersweet as these ladies have been in the trenches with us for 3 years, fighting hard for my girlies.


I had a few special things made for them and more than a few tears were shed as we said our good-byes to Wednesday mornings at 8:00!

Then eventually, sadly and just like that...

Summer 2017 was over.


Sent Maggie off to 4th grade, Lucy off to 3rd while Em and Lizzie transitioned from home school to middle school...

Still can't talk about it...

sniff sniff

and no one warned me about 6th grade boys!

I mean I know I raised three of them but they never wrote love note to girls when they were 11!!

Right....

Yikes!!


At least the girls will still tolerate back to school pics.

This was it for the boys!

Caleb waves bye (kind of) on his very first day of high school!


Charlie smiled for me only because Aunt Cortney made him!  I loose him next year too!  

Again...

can't talk about that yet!


And if that wasn't bad enough, this was all I got from Christian...


who is a Sophomore this year and living in his own apartment! 

Apparently having your picture taken and actually looking at the camera is no longer cool once you are a Sophomore in college!


Thank you Bella!

So now we are back to school and soccer and crazy and I hope to be able to keep up a little better... 

cause ya never know what might happen!

Stay tuned!