Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cross country, yes!

Today Andrew runs his last race of his high school cross country career.  He is happy to have qualified for districts and will be running at the Giant Center in Hershey.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the sport my eldest has chosen and to tell you why I think cross country is most definitely the best high school sport.

Reasons Why Cross Country is the Best High School Sport

1.  No one gets cut from the team.  You can have as many or as few runners as you like.

2.  No one sits on the bench.  Everyone runs, every time.  Even if you're injured, you don't sit on the bench because they don't in fact, even have a bench.

3.  Meets are quickly canceled in case of rain or threat of rain or a course that is too wet from yesterday's rain.  The runners may not really care what the field conditions are, but this mom is thrilled to watch a (mostly) fair weather sport.

4.  There is no overtime.  Meaning that those same spectators that do not have to stand or sit in the rain, also do not have to spend extra time at the field.  The gun goes off, you run, you finish.  Period.

5.  There are no fights in cross country.  Coaches do not yell at coaches.  No one argues whether a ball really went through the goal posts or not because there is no ball.  No one accidentally or on purpose gets a stick too high because there are no sticks.

6.  There are no expensive pieces of equipment that one must buy, other than sneakers.  And some teens are quite content to run in regular sneakers or hand-me-downs.  No pressure from coaches to spend lots of money.  No pom poms, shin guards, mouth guards, etc.

7.  There is no concession stand so this parent doesn't have to take a turn pretending to be friendly to a bunch of moms that I don't know.

8.  The end of year banquet is a quick, over and done deal.  And it's a pot luck at my church.  So I don't even have to buy a ticket to attend.  No tears, no long soliloquies.

9.  You can participate no matter what your motivation is for participating.  Don't plan to try for a cross country scholarship in college?  No problem.  Don't plan to ever attend a summer cross country training camp?  Who cares.  Never plan to give it all for the team?  Doesn't really matter.  Here to lose weight or work toward a healthier lifestyle?  Sure.  Running just to stay in shape for the sport that you really love?  Come on out.

10.  And the best thing about cross country is that it's the only sport I know where the person who comes in last gets more support and cheers from the crowd than the person who came in first.  Effort is valued.  That's my kind of sport.  Someone should have told me about cross country when I was in school.

My apologies to my second born who had the misfortune of choosing mascot as his school sport, a sport that didn't make it to the number one spot on my list.  While I considered making it my favorite high school sport, having to serve in the concession stand left a bad taste in my mouth.  But never fear, school mascot is definitely my second favorite high school sport.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Of loaves and fishes and checks

Mark 9:24  I do believe!  Help me overcome my unbelief!

There is a story of George Muller's orphanage in the late 1800's.  One morning as the children sat down to breakfast, there was no food on the table.  In faith, George prayed for the provision of food that God had given them.  Soon there came a knock at the door and it was a local baker.  He told George and the waiting staff and children that God had instructed him to bake bread and donate it to the orphanage so he was doing so.  Not long after that, another knock came at the door.  It was a milkman, explaining that his milk truck had broken down outside the door and that he wanted to give some of his milk to the orphanage.

This is one of my favorite stories of faith.  I've often prayed that God would give me these kinds of stories but at the same time realized that I would need to be in a place of need to experience these miraculous provisions in faith.  Just like the 5,000 who, in Jesus' day, were fed on the mountain. Had they been sent home for lunch, or if someone had provided their food for the day, they would not have been witness to the multiplication of that simple lunch, enough for one, and of the bountiful baskets left over.  So I've also prayed that God would allow me to be in those places of need so that I and my family could experience not only the miracle that comes from faith but the left-over as well.

Recently in the adoption journey, we received the home study invoice a little earlier than we were expecting.  Desiring to pay for this adoption from our fundraising, we weren't at a place where we could pay the bill.  The next day we did receive a check from a family wanting to help with our adoption.  It was out of the blue, so unexpected, and such a God thing.  But it didn't cover the whole amount.  That night I went to bed praying that God would provide the funds that weren't there yet.

The next day we were approached by a couple holding an envelope in their hands.  They said that they felt like God wanted them to bless our family and they were giving us this gift with no strings attached; it was ours to use as we wished.  I asked them if they knew that we were adopting again and with surprised looks, the confirmed that they did not.  I couldn't help a tear of joy as I told them about our journey, about the invoice, and my prayer.  They then confessed that they had felt this nudging this past summer but were just now getting around to sharing this with us.  I told them that I thought the timing was perfect.  Of course, when we got home and looked at the amount on the check (you already know this is coming, don't you?), the amount, coupled with the check from the day before was the the exact amount we needed to pay the agency doing our home study.  For days, anytime I thought of this miraculous provision, the tears would freely flow.  How can anyone say that is a coincidence?  As I like to say to myself, "Oh, me of little faith."

And God wasn't finished, we also received a third check from a family wanting to be a part of our adoption journey.  And then another cookie order came in.  Just like the loaves and fishes, there were baskets left over.  And so we continue to fundraise for this little blessing that we know is a gift from God.  He will provide just what we need, when we need it.  And when I doubt, I can remind myself of the story of the multiplying checks.

Deuteronomy 4:9  Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adoption grace and blessings

This morning, as I read (yet another) beautiful adoption story, I was reminded again of the sacrifice of the birthmother.  We have in our possession a lovingly-written letter from HopeAnne's birthmother to us which we plan to give to her on that day when she can both understand and believe the words that this woman gifted to her.  Our joy on termination day stood in stark contrast to the pain of the woman who gave life to this peanut of a little girl.

But another blessing of our newest adoption announcement has been the willingness of others to share their own adoption stories.

A man, old enough to be my father, told us that he had been adopted.  For years he has tried to find information about his birth family, mostly for the sake of his children and grandchildren, to have a health history he can pass down.  He knows he was born in the days when unwed mothers were sent away to "Aunt Edna's" for a vacation, only to return, predictably, about 6 months later, forever changed  by the events of the pregnancy and birth.  His suspicion that it could have been someone in the community, and that his aunts and uncles could tell him the truth, will now never be confirmed since they have all passed on.  But there is no anger, no bitterness.  There is life and grace in the adoption story.

Just this week we received a letter from a wonderful friend.  Just recently, she revealed that she had been adopted as an infant.  Her words brought tears to my eyes.

"I was really moved by your adoption cookie story and immediately knew that I wanted to help.  Being an adopted child myself, I have embraced all that this has meant to me over the last several decades.  A selfless act on the part of a brave and strong woman.

God led me to my forever family and I know he did the same with HopeAnne and Shoun.  I have never thought of my family as being anything other than, my family, although I have found that there are people who don't believe that.  There have been points where I have struggled with that notion and accept and embrace that this was God's will.  I, too believe, that God is also calling you to do the same once again.

I loved the adoption cookies and thank you for sharing them with [my daughter].  You have been so kind ot her over the years and certainly have accepted her as part of your family.  See, genetics has absolutely nothing to do with it!  There is so much love to be shared and I know you have more to give.

Looking at the end of the month budget, I find I was a bit ahead of where I thought I would be, so please add the enclosed to your fund.  no cookies, no thanks, just one step closer to God's work being fulfilled for your family.

Blessing to you all as you continue on this journey."

I am truly humbled and thank God for the gift of life that this woman is to her family and friends.  Thank you, not just for sharing your end-of-the-month gift, but for sharing your story with our family.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cookies anyone?

For anyone who may have missed the actual information for our cookie fundraiser:

You can call them Stuffed Cookies...
You can call them Inception Cookies...
But we like to call them Pregnant Cookies...
...because we're expecting.  Well, kind of...

Yes, the Kings are adopting again!

If you like cookies, and an Oreo cookie stuffed inside a chocolate chip cookie to be exact, then have we got a deal for you!  Order just a few or a dozen or two, and you can help us help another child.

If you are interested in some cookies
1.  for yourself (it'll be our little secret)
2.  for someone special (awww, you're so sweet)
3.  for a gift (Surprise!)
4.  for a picnic (hurry up, it's getting colder out there!)
5.  for a college student (we've already sent orders to colleges as far as MA and CO!)
6.  for someone who can't make it home for the holidays
7.  or you fill in the blanks (Be creative - you can do it!)

then please let us know at kingzoo@comcast.net.  Let us know if you'd like us to include a note, if you're local and plan to pick up or would like a drop off, where you'd like them mailed, etc.

Individual cookies have a minimum suggested donation of $1.00 or more (Remember, each cookie is really the equivalent of 2 or 3 cookies)
A dozen cookies has a minimum suggested donation of $10.00/dozen or more
Keep in mind that shipping adds an additional cost of approx. $7.00 or more/dozen

Just as exciting as getting closer to our goal is the many ways people are choosing to bless others through our fundraiser.

A family sent cookies to their nephew/cousin far away in college.  He reported that they were the best cookies he's ever eaten (really - those were his words - I didn't make it up).

Grandparents ordered cookies to be delivered to their grandchild for her birthday.

A couple sent a donation and asked us to bless any of the college students who attend our church.  The best part of this story?  The couple lives out of the area and doesn't even attend our church except when visiting relatives.

One of our instrumental teachers gave a donation and asked for just one cookie per week at the child's lesson.

A musical theatre friend of ours, now back in college, shared a beautiful story of how her younger sister was adopted and her desire to someday have a family of her own that grows through adoption.  She sent a donation and later reported that her office really enjoyed the cookies they received!

A youth worker at our church ordered cookies to be sent to a former youth who is now at college.  The college student is now doing his best to find someone else to send him a dozen or two.  :)

A young woman's mother was scheduled for cancer surgery so she ordered cookies to take along for her mother and the family post-surgery.

A 16th birthday party was blessed with some of our special cookies.

A friend asked us to send cookies to someone currently serving in ministry.

I can't wait to see where they are going next!