Saturday, June 15, 2013

Foster Adopt Journey

Michael and I have talked about adoption ever since we knew we were getting married.  It has been on our hearts for a long time.  We didn't know what it would look like for our family, but we knew it was something we needed to do someday.  When we struggled with infertility, we began to look into adoption for the first time.  We were set on doing infant adoption and we were going to do domestic.  We talked to a lady from the agency and decided to wait.  Then we had Tatum!  Our miracle baby boy.

Fast forward a few years.  Michael and I were sitting in a service at the Austin Stone and in their bulletin that week was a testimony of a family who was adopting and the title was "Our Plan A."  The Lord really used their story to speak to us.  Adoption became a topic of discussion again and we were feeling really strongly about the fact that, like the couple in the bulletin, we wanted it to be Plan A.  We didn't want to always hold adoption as plan B for if I couldn't get pregnant again.

Fostering was a scary thought.  Fostering is hard and it has a bad reputation.  What if we have to give the child back?  What if we get attached and can't keep the child forever?  We can't do it.  We can't go that route.  There is no way we could ever give a child back.  These were all of our thoughts and questions on fostering to adopt.  Out of the question...

In July of 2012 I received news over the summer of a student that I had that year in my class at school.  Because of some extreme circumstances, she was in a children's shelter.  Michael and I talked about it and it was a no brainer...we wanted to have her for however long we could.  I made a lot of phone calls and waited to see what happened.  She ended up getting to live with dad and I was able to love on her again in my class this past school year.  Through that, God really helped us decide that fostering to adopt was a no brainer.  There are kids who need safe homes and loving parents and we want to help.ll

That is where our journey began.  In January 2013 we went to our first training through an agency called Family Link.  The agency has a ranch in Luling, Tx where they are opening a children's home and a home for teenage boys who age out of the system.  We found out about Family Link through a couple at our church who were getting licensed through them.  Training was overwhelming and we had very heavy hearts after hearing the stories of kids who are abused, neglected, and mistreated.  God continued to confirm in our hearts that we were to be "yes" people.

Over the course of 5 months, we had home inspections, a home study, CPR training, TB tests, did lots of paperwork, did more paperwork, were fingerprinted...and after 5 months we were licensed.  We were officially licensed June 5, 2013.  Pretty quickly after being licensed we were getting e-mails and phone calls about kids who need families to care for them and possibly be their forever family.  Our agency would submit our homestudy to CPS and then CPS would select a home for the child/ren.  Were were submitted on about 5 different children and not chosen for them.  I was anxious and Michael was racing to my phone every time it "dinged" that I had an e-mail.  The morning of June 11th I received a call about a 3 week old baby in the NICU needing a home.  Quickly after the first phone call it was confirmed that we would be baby girl's home for a while or forever.

Michael and I went up that day to meet her, hold her, and sit with her.  We would go up that day and Wednesday.  Thursday we went up to the hospital, filled out paperwork, signed some papers...and left the hospital with baby girl!  We were instantly in love.  We feel so humbled, blessed, and privileged to be part of her precious life.  Our journey has begun and we could not be more grateful to be called to this journey.

One of our prayers through this journey is that others will answer the call to take care of orphans who are forced to leave their homes or have no homes at all.  We pray that God will use the story He is writing in our family as a testimony of His faithfulness in an unknown process.  God is Sovereign over all.  If we are her parents for a month, a year, or forever, we will be eternally grateful to have played a part in this sweet baby's life.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sometimes things change....

So my last post was about me desiring to be at home next year......
A lot has happened between then and now, too much for me to blog about right now...
Things change....
There are a lot of factors that went into our decision, but I am going to teach another year and then see what happens...
This is where we have peace, in this decision. I am excited. I just am thankful for the journey we are on and in the grand scheme of the journey, one more year isn't that long. We are super blessed to have a Nana who takes care of our sweet Tatum 3 days a week and he goes to an awesome Mother's Day Out program the other 2 days. Financially, we need my income right now and that is ok. So, first grade isn't finished with me yet! :)

I considered titling this blog, "here we go again." We have begun "trying" to have another baby. I actually was only on birth c.ontrol for about 6 months after having Tatum. We knew how many issues we had the first time, so I didn't want to be on the p.ill for too long. I have been off of it for over a year now. Anyway, just as soon as I was ready to admit that we were trying again I started having a lot of issues with my c.ycle. I went to see my dr. who thought she felt a cyst or fibroid in my uterus so she ordered an ultrasound. the u/s came back clear, praise the Lord! I just have some "aggressive" (as she put it) scarring because of my c-section scar. Anyway, I had to go back on b.irth c.ontrol to try to regulate my cycles. I will be on it for 3 months and then we will go from there. This time around is so different. We desire to have more children, but we also have a sweet miracle boy already. We don't deserve him or any more for that matter. It's all an abundance of grace. This time around is really, really a peaceful way.

Tatum James is almost 20 months. I cannot believe I am thinking about my baby boy's 2nd birthday party already! Time really does fly. He is ALL BOY. I am often saying, "he is like a bull in a china closet."
Tatum is rough and tumble. He likes to run. He LOVES to be outside. He likes to spin in circles until he falls down. He loves to slide. He really likes making truck noises. He doesn't like naps because it means he is missing something. He is a super picky eater. He laughs when he is disciplined unless it is timeout...that works for now. He laughs a lot. He does the robot dance, gets his "guns up" and shows his muscles. He loves to read his "Bibles" as he calls it. He is obsessed with guitars and loves to hold them and play them. He loves music (which he calls lolly). He likes to ride in the jeep more than the honda. He wants "wader" a lot (but really means a little apple juice with water). He wears 2T and 3T clothes. He says "wuv you" which will melt your heart. That is our boy in a nut shell! We are so blessed by this boy and definitely on our toes all the time! :)

We are still amazed each week at ARCC to see the way God is blessing His church. We are growing and we are seeing the Lord change hearts and lives. We are humbled and so thankful for the opportunity to be leading and serving there. I get really overwhelmed when I think about all of the relationships the Lord has given to us in and through the starting of this church. He is so good and has answered so many of our specific prayers. We are just so excited to see all He has planned in the coming days. Michael is doing an amazing job as a lead pastor. I may be a little biased, but I think others would agree! ;) He is anointed to teach the Word. If you want to hear a sermon you can get the podcasts on the website at Michael has a gift of communicating the gospel. We are currently going through Mark. I am so thankful for Michael's leadership, not just of his family, but of the church as well. I am humbled to get to do this with him. We are blessed beyond measure and are just loving life. We know that in all things, our Sovereign Lord is faithful and in total control. We rest in that, we lead in that, we parent in that, and we just try to walk daily in that truth. We pray the same for our families, our friends, and our church family.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Heart's Desire

I am a teacher. I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I love my job. I have put a lot of effort into what I do. I have stayed too late and brought too much home. I have shed tears over students. I have been doing what I felt like I was meant to do for 6 years....

and then God blessed me with a miracle baby who needs his mommy and God entrusted us with His lead...and shepard...

God changes the heart. He calls. He commands. He requires obedience. As Michael has taken the role of lead pastor of a young church plant, my role has changed. I had no idea how much it would change as a pastor's wife. I had no idea that all of a sudden, my heart would be burdened, not by first graders, but by women in the church. My heart would yearn for ladies to become disciples. My heart aches for women who are hurting within their marriages. God is making it clearer and clearer that I am to partner full time with Michael next year. I am to be available for whatever...

Obedience is hard. Obedience means faith. Faith that brings about that brings about fear that constantly has to be repented of... Faith that says, "If you are calling, Lord, then Yes, I will obey."

So many questions, so many what-ifs, so many financial obstacles....He's calling though...I know He is...and I know it's going to require obedience. So, my heart's desire is to get to stay home next year and not go back to teaching (I NEVER thought I would say that)! My heart's desire is to be able to serve alongside my husband and serve him as he leads ARCC. My heart's desire is to be home with my son to teach him and nurture him. My heart's desire is to have ladies in my home to love and encourage. God is so faithful. Praying for bigger faith through these worldly eyes....just wanting to fix them on Jesus...just wanting to obey.... but a little scared of this heart's desires.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

1st Birthday....Help!

Fellow moms: what are some fun activity ideas for a first birthday party? We are having Tatum's party at our house and our house is small. It is hot outside so I am trying to come up with some indoor activities. Let me know of any that you did or have seen done that worked well!

I am already planning to do a craft table where the kids decorate a paper necktie (we are doing a "little man" themed party).

I'm open to any and all suggestions! :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alamo Ranch Community Church

In January, the 16th to be exact, we launched a church in Northwest San Antonio. When we moved to San Antonio we jumped right in to serve alongside Michael's dad at Vineyard Hills Church. Michael became the worship leader and we were on leadership. We were happy to serve where there was a need. Michael was called to preach when we were in college and knew that someday he would have that opportunity. VH ran about 30 people on a Sunday and we were kind-of at a place where we stopped growing. We were at this place for a few years even. We (the leadership) all felt as if God might be calling us to do something else. We began to pray. Michael was a middle school math teacher in an area of San Antonio where there is a tremendous amount of growth. On his drive to work each day, he noticed how few churches there were in this part of SA. He began to tell me that he thought God may be calling us to re-plant VH in this particular area. During this time, Michael's dad felt like it was time to hand over the preaching to Michael, so in October he took on the preaching full time at VH.
Michael could not escape the call he felt in his heart to Northwest San Antonio (specifically the Alamo Ranch area). We all began praying and we met with all of the people of VH to ask if they would be willing to go with us if we re-planted. (This new area is quite a drive for a lot of them) All of our members at VH said they would go! So it began, the praying and planning...
January 16th was the launch Sunday for Alamo Ranch Community Church. We are meeting in an elementary school in the AR neighborhood. We were so excited (but nervous at the same time). As people kept coming in the doors that Sunday, we felt such a comfirmation from the Lord that Michael had been obedient to the call west! Ever since that Sunday, we have averaged about 135 people to love on and minister to. We hear so many people say that they were waiting and praying for a church in their area.
So, here we were, 135 people to minister to.....and a pastor/worship leader who also taught middle school math! Michael and I began to pray that God would open the door for him to be able to resign his position as a math teacher so he could pastor full time in the fall. A few months before school got out for summer, Michael turned in his resignation letter to the school district. We are so excited! The time he was having to devote to studying the word and meeting iwth people after school hours, did not allow us to have family time. We are so thankful that God has given us the go on him pastoring full time. We aren't 100% on the finances as a church to pay him salary, but we are trusting and praying! Our elders have gone to our people to ask them to pray about giving over and above so their pastor can go on full time. We know God is able and we feel like this was the right step of obedience for our family.
We are so humbled for the opportunity to serve the Alamo Ranch community and beyond. I am thankful for a husband who leads us in faith and obedience. I am confident that the Lord will provide.

Monday, June 20, 2011

10 Months

We are still here! Tatum is 10 months old today! I never knew what people meant by "time flies" and "they grow up so fast" until now! Holy cow! We are 2 months away from having a one year old in the McCracken house. It is unbelievable!
When Tatum went to the Dr. for his 9 month checkup he weighed 22 pounds. I am sure by now he is 25! He was in the 75% for his weight and height and 90% for his head. We have a big boy on our hands!
I am absolutely loving being home with him for the summer. He is so much fun. At 10 months he is pointing, crawling super fast, pulling up on everything, walking along furniture, standing on his own for a few seconds at a time, babbling a lot, eating cheerios and lots of puffs... and a lot of other fun things! He loves to go to the pool and he loves to be outside. Tatum means bringer of joy and he is certainly living up to his name! We are so blessed!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

So tomorrow is my very first mother's day. I am overjoyed as I type that sentence and as I sit here thinking of my beautiful and healthy 8 month old sleeping in the next room. I am overwhelmed by the faithfulness of the Lord and His grace upon my life.
In my joy, I am also heavy-hearted. My heart is heavy for those I know who want so badly to be moms and haven't been able to have children. My heart is so heavy. I used to dread Mother's Day. It used to be a super emotional day and selfishly I used to wish we could just pretend like it wasn't mother's day even though I wanted to honor my own mom.
So, tomorrow, I am celebrating Jesus's power to answer our hearts' cries for our own child. I am celebrating my mom, who has endured so much in her life and still presses on. I am celebrating that God answers prayers....and I will be praying without ceasing for my friends who are hurting so badly on their infertility journeys. Oh, Jesus, be near to my precious friends who want the blessing of children. Father, open their wombs and heal their bodies. Father give them peace in You and satisfy their souls with your presence. Be glorified in their stories and in ours!