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. Have fun!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
So, here's a recap of our day yesterday...
We arrived late at night to our apartment so had no idea of the beauty around us. We opened our door to find this beautiful sight. What a tangible reminder to start our day, a reminder that the same God who created majestic scenes like this, also created the teeniest, tiniest among us.
We met the social worker at the hospital who gave us some disappointing news and that was that Victor's birth mother was requesting that she be the only one to hold him until she leaves later in the week. Our hearts were broken to honor her request, knowing that would mean we would go home in a few days, missing out on something special, but recognizing her pain, we agreed.
He was all covered up, resting and growing, but they uncovered him a little so we could peek.
Then back to the hospital to sign paperwork. The first step has been taken and we officially have physical custody of Victor Noah King. Now the process of post placement and passing ICPC and eventually finalization, can begin. Some day there will be no more, "He's ours, but..."
By early evening (but late evening PA time), we were feeling the effects of jet lag so decided to pack up and head home. But then the nurse asked if we could stay just a little while longer as she was going to change the bed and needed someone to hold Victor. Not wanting to step in after I had promised his birth mother I wouldn't hold him, I explained this to the nurse. She smiled and said that this wouldn't technically be holding, it would just be transferring. That sounded good to me.
Victor's biggest danger at this point is infection so please join us in praying against that.
Pray that he has no major complications so he can continue to grow and develop, slowly but surely. Everything in the NICU is slow and quiet so the babies can mature without sensory overload.
Pray that we can have strength for today and can rest well tonight. Neither one of us is sleeping well, a normal occurrence for me, not so normal for John.
Pray for the kids at home. HopeAnne had a little missing-Mommy time at bedtime but she was able to tell my mom this morning that she knew I said I would come home. We just keep reassuring her of this.
Monday, April 29, 2013
In church yesterday morning I clearly saw a picture of Jesus standing at Victor's incubator (food cart, as Andrew called it when Mariana was a baby), loving him, kissing him, stroking him, breathing life into him, and holding his healing hand over Victor's tiny chest. That picture came back to me throughout the day as we flew from PA to Utah.
I am so thankful for the hope we have in Christ. I am so thankful for redemption, mine and Victor's. I am thankful that, as one friend remarked afterward, "this is family."
As you pray today, please remember these needs:
Pray for the children at home.
Pray for Victor's birth mother who we are to meet at the hospital this morning. Pray for her heart. Pray that she would find HOPE. This is just as much about her as it is about Victor. I so much long for an on-going relationship with her so we can speak truth to her. She is loved and admired. Our family will pray for her daily.
Pray for us as we begin to talk with the doctors, that we would fully understand his status and coming milestones. Pray that we would know the questions to ask.
Pray for miracles in Victor's life. Words that have already been spoken over him are that he will be victorious and a world changer, he will amaze and God will use him in significant ways.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
My breast cancer scare started about a week before April 20. Of course it did. We knew something was going to happen that day. Looking back, I realize that it all began about the same time that Noah's precious mother was having complications and delivering her baby. I started to have pain and my self-examination led me to several diagnoses, all of which were most definitely fatal. I decided to leave it in the hands of the doctor so I made myself an appointment. I explained the pain, an overall achy feeling and fatigue. She told me I had spring allergies and scheduled a mammogram for Monday, April 22.
Of course this was all very distracting to the adoption discussion so I asked my dear praying friends to cover the situation in prayer. I went to the appointment thinking all would be well. The next day I received a call telling me that I needed to return for a follow-up and to be prepared for an ultrasound as well. I explained that we were considering an adoption situation and that I might possibly need to be out of state for a period of time, could they please give me their earliest appointment to get this over with. So I was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
The distraction and fear were overwhelming. It was only the prayers of my prayer warriors that kept me from sinking further down the well of anxiety. I felt like I was carrying weighted backpacks of fear, distraction, pain, and anxiety. How could we discuss adopting when at my worst moments I was sure I was dying? A whole lot of faith there, huh? As I prayed on Wednesday morning, I saw myself walking along the beach holding Jesus' hand. He looked at me and said, "You don't have breast cancer. Now go." I had such an overwhelming peace. But because of my frail humanness, it was short-lived. A praying friend wrote to say that she sensed she was to tell me that our decision about adoption was not to be dependent upon the results of Thursday afternoon's appointment. So we decided that we would make our final decision Thursday morning.
One friend wrote back to our SOS call for prayer, "UNVELIEVABLE! Satan takes such cheap shots! He's a liar!" She wrote back and said, "This is a big deal and the enemy is threatened. Noah has a destiny and a purpose that will blow us away. I always feel so amused that Satan gets so bent out of shape about the 'least of these', the weakest of the weak...it's because he knows, HE KNOWS that there is power in life redeemed. You will NOT be shaken today, my friend. Jesus goes before you and He s your rear guard too!"
In the midst of this we called our personal out of state physician, the one who has actually made more correct diagnoses in my life and given me the best medical advice on numerous occasions, compared to my local doctors. Without telling her all of my symptoms, just mentioning the pain, she diagnosed an infection. She called in a prescription and we waited.
Thursday morning we knew that we had to say yes to Victor. We prayed, we made the phone call to Utah, and we waited for my appointment in the afternoon. The pain was still there so I prayed that they would find nothing in the first test and that I could go home immediately.
But Satan was not finished. After the first scan they sent me back to the waiting room to wait. Then the radiologist wanted another scan. Then I waited again. Then yes, he wanted the ultrasound as well. I've had enough ultrasounds in my life to realize that she wasn't finding anything. After a little while she left the room saying the radiologist himself might want to come back for more pictures. So I waited again. I lay there for 15 minutes, alone. Hoping there were no hidden cameras in the room I just whispered the name of Jesus over and over and over again. Finally, the technician came back into the room and announced, "You're free to go. They found nothing." I think I might have offended her slightly when I explained that I knew it, I knew that Satan was just using this to distract. I told her about the adoption and we had a lovely discussion on the topic.
If I could have, I would have danced the whole way home. But the van made the 15 mile trip a whole lot faster.
About an hour later we got this sweet message from our case worker:
From Noah's birthmother: "Ok they won my heart and I am more than happy to choose them."
Jesus, thank you that the victory is already won. Thank you for holding me up when I couldn't do it myself. Thank you for each twinge of pain that reminded me to pray for our birthmother and her son, even when I didn't know who she was yet. Thank you for teaching me to let others help carry the burden. Thank you for teaching me so much about prayer. Thank you for once again demonstrating to all that we have power through your shed blood. Thank you for the power in your name. Thank you for this experience that has grown me so much in my faith. Amen.
We'll join in singing with all the redeemed
'Cause Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King! (Listen here)
Friday, April 26, 2013
In March, we asked our prayer warrior friends to pray for us concerning a potential match involving a 6 year old boy. We were torn. We know it's harder to place older children but we had decided we didn't want to mess with birth order this time around; we wanted a child age 5 or under. As our friends searched God's heart with us, one friend came back with an interesting word from God, "Disabled." Confusing, to say the least. While I had grown up with the passion to adopt 20 or more special needs children, the Good Doctor had no such passion. And by this point, I wasn't sure that adding a disabled child to a home with such large numbers was the greatest idea. But like any word that comes from these trusted Christian friends, I pondered it in my heart and added it to my word - disabled but victorious.
We did decide to present to the situation with the 6 year old but another family was chosen. And as only Jesus can do, it was sealed with a Heavenly surprise: The chosen family "just happened" to be on their way to a spring break vacation, traveling through the area where this mother and her son lived. They were able to stop in and meet them right away. So I tucked both of these words away and they became part of my prayers for our future child. I wrote the word VICTORIOUS in the center of a page in my journal and circled it. I told God I wasn't going to stop praying until our victorious child was home. Little did I know what was coming.
1 Samuel 1:27 - I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.
When each of our children was little I chose a Bible verse to pray over them. For some, the verse came to me when they were very young. For others, I went through several verses before settling on "the one." It's amazing to pray each child's verse over him or her and to see how fitting it is for his or her situation. Their verses are posted on their pictures that hang in the hallway so we can all be reminded of God's promises to them.
As I started to explore verses for Victor, I found several that speak to victory. Someday I'll narrow it down to just one, but for now, please join me in praying these over Victor. The neat thing about the Psalm 20 passage is that during our wedding ceremony, John and I shared Bible verses that would guide our marriage and verse 7 of this passage was one of the verses we read that day.
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
Where, O death, is your sting?”[b]
1 John 5:1-4
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Psalm 20: 1-8
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
I took HopeAnne to lunch today. We enjoyed a nice time together while she wiggled and squirmed and kept up a running commentary. As we finished up, I got the little bill holder thingie (does that thing have a name?) ready for the waitress. But then Hope had to go to the bathroom. So, we trotted to the other side of the room while I hoped the waitress didn't think we had left for good.
When I returned to the table the waitress was standing there with my credit card in hand, no bill holder thingie. She told me that my bill had been paid.
I was speechless.
I wanted to stand up and look around the room, to see who looked the most generous. I refrained. I wanted to make a public announcement thanking the anonymous donor. I didn't. I cried. Well, not exactly right away. I hurried Hope along so I could cry in the privacy of our own car.
You see, it was a rough week. We felt spiritual attack on so many fronts. The enemy doesn't like something that we're doing. Maybe it was the Good Doctor's dissertation defense or maybe it was his two weeks of preaching on sexuality and purity. Maybe it was our talk at Diversity Day. Maybe mountains are moving for our adoption? I don't know. Our Good Samaritan Angel didn't know either but chose to follow a nudge to bless two people at lunch.
I made it to my car. But then I lost it.
Thank you, Jesus, that you care so much about us that you would take the time to bless us in this way today.
Monday, April 8, 2013
So when I saw the creative ideas for patching jeans, I knew this was one I could use. I was just waiting for the right moment. And the right jeans.
Yesterday I saw Mariana wearing jeans with holes in them. I inquired as to whether she actually wanted the hole in her jeans, just testing the water. She reminded me that I had bought them like that. Now, lest you judge me for spending good money for hole-y jeans, let me just say that they came from the thrift shop. At a price that reflected the fact that the jeans looked previously worn. Where, in fact, we expected the clothes to be previously worn. And coming from another member of the human race who is height challenged, I can attest to the fact that when you find a pair of jeans that fits, you are less inclined to care what they look like. Especially if they are just a few dollars.
Going on. I casually asked if she minded if I would patch her jeans. She said it'd actually be nice because then she could wear them to school and the teacher with the I'll-lecture-you-if-you-wear-jeans-with-holes-to-school-because-that's-not-very-professional philosophy (Since when is high school professional, for that matter, when do college students dress professionally for class? I don't want my kids to be slobs, but all in due time.) would not lecture her. I asked if she cared what kind of patch? She didn't. Good.
Later, when she went off to youth, I set off on the adventure of her room to find said pair of jeans. Wasn't too difficult, thrown as they were on top of the pile of clothes (not sure if it was a pile of clean or dirty clothes?) in the middle of the room.
I headed to my sewing table and an hour and a half later...
I then deposited the jeans right back where I'd found them (although a little more folded and with both legs pulled through right-side-out). When she came home I reminded her that the weekend was almost over and she had an obligation to clean her room.
Then I waited. For the elephant-like stampede down the steps. It came. She was thrilled. And determined to wear them to school today. With red Converse since they match the little guy so well.
Who's next? Andrew? Jesse? Friends? Classmates? Enemies? This was so much fun I think I'll be emboldened to approach strangers on the street just to ask if they'd like me to patch their jeans. For a donation to our adoption fund, of course.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
One such event is the Maple Syrup Incident of Aught Four. We had just embarked on a 10 hour trip to visit the relatives. Having awakened the kids out of their slumber at an unearthly, still-dark hour and bundled them in the van, we traveled a few hours before stopping for breakfast at a fast food restaurant. The kids all ordered pancakes and as soon as we were situated in the van and on the road again, someone spilled the contents of their breakfast thus causing syrup to be deposited all over the carseat, van seat, and seat belt. It somehow hid in areas unknown to us and recurrences would mysteriously appear months apart. To this day, the mention of pancakes and syrup can cause Andrew to have weeks of flashbacks and nightmares.
Another is the Nail Polish Incident. A more recent incident, this one occurred when the Good Doctor was in charge. Presumably clueless as to the dangers of a child bearing nail polish, the Good Doctor allowed his 5 year old to apply the substance while in the living room, carefully balancing the bottle on a piano bench, situated in the middle of the living room floor. On one of the few carpeted areas in our house. To her credit, she did place the bottle on a piece of paper towel. In a feat that will never be understood, the bottle fell off the bench, hit the floor with such force that the content flew all the way up to the ceiling, deposited some there, before the rest fell to the floor (carpeted, remember). A few stray droplets landed on the Good Doctor himself, and for good measure, some made it all the way up to the laptop in his lap. Needless to say, that one left a lasting impression on the Good Doctor who no longer allows nail polish to be handled by 5 year olds on a piano bench in the middle of the living room. And lest he forget, any time he looks up, there's a pink patch to remind him.
But the incident of all incidences was actually a series of incidences involving the first four King children and something as innocent as Silly Putty. Who hasn't enjoyed Silly Putty? You can stretch it, you can smash it, you can put it on a comic strip. You can't however, put it on a carseat and leave it in a hot vehicle. Let me rephrase that. You can place it on a carseat and leave it in a hot vehicle. And it will remain there forever and a day. You also cannot place it on your pillow at night, as a bedtime companion of sorts. It will end up permanently attached to your pillowcase. Good-bye favorite pillowcase. Relatedly, you cannot play with it in bed and leave it on your sheets. Good-bye sheets. This series of events has resulted in a familial diagnosis of PTSD that cannot be cured by any medication or therapy. Silly Putty was forever banned from our home and family members were warned that anyone even attempting to do so would find a whole crate of the stuff on their doorstep when they supply me with grandchildren.
We regret to admit that we failed to warn Shoun of this particular incident. The poor guy showed up at lunch today with the Silly Putty he had received at a birthday party last night. Yeah, he never experienced the incidences himself, but regrettably, after the reactions of his family members today, he now suffers from a type of second-hand PTSD. Poor guy will never be able to handle Silly Putty again.
Just call it family bonding.
Monday, April 1, 2013
While sitting at home with no snow, my daughter was bored. So she started looking at the websites for local theaters and found an audition. That night. The show? Thoroughly Modern Millie at a community theater. This production being for 3rd - 9th graders, she decided that she should go. Not only would this be her last year for this youth program, but she had aspirations of being Mrs. Meers. Twice we've seen this show and twice the actor playing Meersy was brilliant. Mariana wanted to be them.
She got the part of Millie. You know you're a drama queen when you have to psych yourself up to be the lead because you really wanted a different role. Oh, the problems of the extremely talented.
But we're beyond excited for her. As is she. Now that she's over not being able to hone her fake Asian accent.
Only we just found out that Millie needs tan character shoes and tan tap shoes. Originally it was okay to wear black ones, which Mariana owns. But they changed their minds. Mariana did have tan character shoes but she let someone borrow them in the last show and a strap broke. The very kind borrower offered to return the borrowed shoes but unfortunately Mariana really needs a working pair, not a broken pair, go figure.
I love my daughter. Even before telling us of this need, she started praying that God would provide these shoes. It's not that we absolutely cannot afford to buy these shoes right now. It's just that it wasn't in the month's plan. And usually we have Mariana purchase her own dance wear. No need to argue this point with me, it's the way our family works and besides, the girl has been getting paychecks for acting since she was 9 years old.
Anyway, she told us about this one night and we also encouraged her to put the request out there on Facebook to see if anyone had a pair to sell.
The next day, someone anonymously offered to buy Mariana a new pair of shoes. So she now calls them her Jesus shoes.
Don't ever think that God doesn't care about each and every one of our requests. He cares about us from the top of our heads to the (you got it) tips of our toes. Even when those tips need taps.