Thursday, October 03, 2013

My Thoughts after Meeting our Daughter

I wanted to get down some of the thoughts I have had since I wrote the "Open Letter" and subsequently meeting our daughter. We started the DHS adoption process last November/December. In the beginning of the year we went through hours and hours of training. In late spring and early summer, our schedule got busy with Jacob graduating High School and going on various Youth Ministry trips, so the adoption process slowed down a bit. We also needed to set aside some money to get Italian background checks to complete our application. Toward the end of the summer, a family generously gave us the money to get our background checks and it was back on!

The week that our background checks were completed, our profiles were matched with four kids. Our daughter was one of them. The four kids' case workers would need to review our profiles and determine if we were a good fit from their perspective. Throughout the next month we prayed that God would send each of the four kids to a godly home and He would send whichever child to us that He chose. We asked Him to make it clear. We asked Him for guidance. And we asked others to pray with us.

God made it clear. Our daughters name was sent back to us for consideration. We went to DHS and saw a couple pictures of her. We couldn't take anything with us, so we had to keep her image and profile in our memory. We decided to follow God's lead and move ahead with the adoption process of our daughter.

Last week, we had a meeting to find out more about her. We actually got to keep some pictures (that we can't post - sorry!) and info about her. We also got to see a video of her talking to her Adoptive Parents. She was staring into our souls. It might have been at that point that all was lost. I was smitten. Tears came to both our eyes. I felt like I was looking at my daughter in that video. At that moment, I wanted to reach out and hold her, protect her and make sure she knew that she was loved.

From that night on our love grew. Each day felt like eternity was increasing as we waited, first to pray and make the final decision to move forward, then to wait for the night we would meet.

That night finally came. We met our daughter on October 1, 2013. We can't tell you specific details about her, other than her age (she's 13), but we can tell you that she is adorable, lovable, friendly, sweet and likes to laugh and sing!

Today, I get to pick her up from school for the very first time. I am excited. Angie will be waiting at the house for us, getting dinner ready and hanging out with Kevin. We will get to hang out and get to know her better for a few hours. I told our daughter on the phone which car to look for and that I would be standing on top of it waving my arms. She giggled and said that wouldn't embarrass her, she would just tell everyone that I was her new Daddy. My heart turned to mush as I soaked up her words.

Some may say that she is lucky or fortunate to have a forever home, but I would say she is such a sweet special girl that we are blessed beyond words that God has chosen her for us. Picking her up today cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

YM Tip Game Idea: Bucket Ball

I created this game as a fun icebreaker for our students. I call it Bucket Ball.

Bucket Ball is set up with two long tables, end to end. On one end there is an igloo, bucket, clean trash can, etc... From the other end students line up taking turns trying to make a shot. After their attempt they go to the back of the line. If their attempt is good, there is a score. If their attempt failed, they must retrieve the ball and place it at the end of the table in front of the shooters. The next person in line does not have to wait for the person getting their ball if there is another ball left in front of them.

Here's how we played it.
Items needed:
For one set-up - two 6 foot tables, one container and five practice tennis balls.
For teams or multiple set-ups - Simply create the same set as many times as you want teams.

We played with two teams of 6.
1) Everyone must attempt their shot.
2) Cannot cross the end of the table.
3) Must bounce the ball at least once (we did change this after a couple games, but still fun as a rule).
4) When a ball makes it in the goal, it stays in. This means there are now less balls to cycle through shooting team members.
5) First team to five balls in wins.

We played best two out of three games wins.

Objectives: Relationship building, icebreaker