May 11th, 2010 · Comments Off
My Mom sent me this poem recently, and I wanted to share it. It’s a good reminder… and a good excuse!
BABIES DON’T KEEP
Mother, oh Mother,
come shake out your cloth,
empty the dustpan,
poison the moth,
hang out the washing
and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house
is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery,
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little
Boy Blue (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done
and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing
will wait till tomorrow,
for Children grow up,
as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep……
~Author Unknown ~
March 31st, 2010 · Comments Off
Growing up, I always did well in school. Yes, I was one of the annoying kids who got upset if I didn’t get an A++ on a test and who ruined the curve for everyone else. Of course, I was also completely lacking in people skills until college, but that’s beside the point. I’ve always known I had some brains in there somewhere; the difficulty has been figuring out what in the world I’m supposed to do with them.
Through my school years, I enjoyed most of the subjects we were studying. Well, I really didn’t like learning French in college, but in a moment you’ll see that there was a good reason for that. With the rare exception, I found something to like about every class I was in, which may have made my schooling more enjoyable, but it also put me in a difficult position when it came to figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Consequently, I became something of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none and ended up majoring in theatre in college. Why? Well… why not? I couldn’t think of anything else I’d like to do more, though honestly I didn’t have the passion for it that some of the other theatre majors had.
It was in my college theatre experience that I discovered my love for management. My favorite job in theatre was, by far, stage managing. Acting was fun at times, and I had a great time as a tech, but stage managing was pure joy (along with a heap of stress… but once again, that’s beside the point). Being able to start with an idea and help put the pieces together to turn it into a full-scale wonder was an incredible adrenaline rush to me. But after graduation, the question arose as to what exactly I was going to do with my oh-so-marketable degree. My new husband and I weren’t living in an area where I could start looking for theatre jobs and I don’t have the balance to be a waitress, so instead I turned to teaching. I enjoyed teaching, but it still didn’t really feel like I had found my niche.
After my brief teaching stint in a local Christian school (which ended with extended bedrest and an eventual miscarriage), I moved on to customer service. Eureka! I had found it!! The job I would NOT want to work in for the rest of my life. My acting skills definitely came in handy, though. From there, I found what seemed like the perfect job for me, creating, running, and teaching in a drama program for a nearby Christian arts studio for kids. It was a fabulous job, and I did enjoy it. Had I not become pregnant with our first baby, maybe I would have kept working there. As it was, the time commitment required for the position was too great for a new mother, so that was that.
Fast forward to today. Other than a brief time of doing a little email customer service from home, the Drama Director job was the last paying job I held. It’s been more than eight years now since I actually worked for money, and though the eight children that we’ve acquired in that time certainly keep me busy, I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I might like to do with my life if I ever enter the workforce again.
So now that I’ve had eight years to reflect on the question, what have I decided is my calling in life, besides being a mother?
I don’t know. But I’m one big step closer to figuring it out! And that step began with a little thing called Classical Conversations.
Maybe some day I’ll type up the whole story of what led us to finally start homeschooling our kids this year, but I don’t want to go into that right now. Suffice to say we had pretty solid reasons to begin on this particular journey. This year has definitely been one of learning for all of us, perhaps even more for me than for the kids. The younger school-age kids were mainly going through an ABeka curriculum, while our oldest, our adopted 15 year old, joined with a local homeschool group called Classical Conversations, or CC for short. The way the group works is that they meet together as a class every Friday under a specific tutor. The tutor is hired by CC as a contractor, so they actually have to go through an approval process and are paid by the organization unlike many homeschool co-ops where parents just offer to teach classes either in exchange for participation in other classes or for a small fee that they charge on their own. Another difference with CC is that they have their own curriculum. If you know anything about different theories of education, you may have heard of the classical model (as opposed to the traditional model employed in most schools). For an excellent essay on classical education, check out The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers. If you’re going to follow a classical education process, then you aren’t going to be using the same curricula that you would see in your typical schools. Classical Conversations makes the whole curriculum thing a little easier by putting out their own materials so you don’t have to do as much shopping around to pick your books. They also have a large section of recommended materials in their catalog if you want to get extras to supplement the basics that everyone needs. This is the system into which we stepped when we signed our eldest up for CC last year, and it’s this system that has led to my recent, significant self-realization.
One of the major differences between classical education and traditional education is the focus of the former on rhetoric and logic. Students actually go through logic classes in which they learn how to detect fallacies and how to frame their own statements logically. They learn the art of debate and how to apply their understanding of logic to a persuasive argument. This idea of logic becomes a thread that is woven through every other area of their education, showing itself in math, science, history, theology, Latin (yes, Latin!), etc.
So what, you may be asking, does this have to do with me? Well, somewhere along the way, I had the sudden, startling realization that there’s actually a very good reason I’ve done so well in a variety of subjects but never bothered to master any of them. My gift doesn’t lie in any one compartment of traditional education; my gift is in logic! It makes perfect sense! I love seeing how things fit together, and I’ve always pushed to understand the “why” of a particular piece of knowledge so that I could understand it better. Throughout my schooling, I could find something logical in just about every subject which is why I enjoyed them all. I think the reason I disliked French so much, and wouldn’t enjoy most languages, really, is because they truly defy logic. Latin is an exception as far as languages go; I think you’d be hard pressed to find a language more logical than Latin.
Where does this realization put me? Well, for now I’m doing the only thing I could think to do. All of our children are enrolled in CC for next year, and I’ve applied to be a tutor in their program at either the middle school or high school level. I mean, I’d love to go out and tackle a PhD in logic. UC Berkeley has a program that’s supposed to be excellent. Unfortunately, there would be two mitigating factors to pursuing this most excellent degree: I don’t think it’s a distance program and I believe they would actually want payment for the classes. My husband also reminds me that going for a PhD while caring for eight children, the youngest of whom is an infant, might be a tad daunting. So for now I think the most I can do as far as learning more is to continue with independent research and reading. That’s ok for now. Maybe I can go farther than that some day.
But to finally understand a bit of myself that didn’t make sense to me before! I don’t know if I can fully express quite what this understanding means to me. For a long time, I’ve felt rather stupid though my grades in school would say otherwise. I couldn’t figure out why it was I didn’t seem to have an aptitude for a specific subject like so many of my friends had. To finally be able to point to something and say, “Here lies my talent!” is an amazingly freeing feeling. Does that make sense at all? It should. It’s logical.
It’s taken me longer than I like to post this, but I hope most of you will understand why once you’ve read the whole thing. As most of you know, our two new daughters will be arriving home with Daddy tomorrow morning. Yay! Now for further news…
When we started this adoption process, Joel and I talked about someday having another biological child once the girls were here and settled. We thought it would be nice to have one more baby, and it might also help our family bond a bit over the common experience. But I wasn’t absolutely sure I wanted to go that route. My pregnancies have gotten progressively harder each time, and I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to go through another one. But seeing as we wanted to get the girls home and settled which would mean having them here for a year or so, and then with the fact that it usually takes us a year or so to conceive once we start trying, I figured I had plenty of time to put off thinking about it.
And God laughed.
Baby H will most likely make an appearance in late September or early October.
Now to explain why we’ve waited so long to announce. As I’ve said, this news was a surprise to us. We weren’t trying for it this time, and since we usually have a little trouble conceiving we were doubly surprised to find out we were expecting again. When we did learn of the situation, we discussed it for a while to figure out how to handle it given our current adoption. We finally made a decision which may very well irritate our agency when they find out, but which we felt at the time was appropriate: we would hold off on telling them at least until after the first trimester. I’ve lost two babies to miscarriage, one of them quite late in the first trimester, and I simply couldn’t deal with the idea of our adoption being delayed and then losing a baby on top of that. Remember, we weren’t sure how old the Ethiopian court would say Liya was, and we were afraid they might decide she was too old to adopt out. The longer we waited, the more real that danger became. By alerting the agency to the pregnancy at that point, I risked losing both our older girl we were trying to adopt and the baby I was now carrying. It was a risk I wasn’t willing to take.
We probably would have told them when I entered the second trimester, but as God worked it out, our court date ended up being assigned earlier than expected and my first trimester led us right up to it. Once the court date had happened, the girls were legally ours. Technically, we could have announced then, but we chose to be paranoid. We’ve heard of some strange things happening in adoptions, even after the court date, so we decided at that point that we would wait until the girls were on the plane on their way here before we made any official announcement. They’re on the plane now, so here’s the news!
A short summary of my condition so far: everything seems to be going ok. We had a scare around 15 weeks when I randomly started bleeding, but it didn’t last long and an ultrasound showed that all was well. I did have a really incredibly rotten first trimester (some of my facebook friends may remember that I suddenly disappeared for a little more than a month) where I couldn’t move for being sick. I couldn’t even use my laptop because the warmth and the sound of the fan made me more nauseous. It was crazy. Once that passed, I had a lot of energy trouble, partly because I had been stuck in bed for at least a month. It’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve felt mostly back to normal, and even now I tend to have good days and bad days. That’s somewhat expected, though. We’re praying at this point that my disk injury in my lower back won’t act up like it did in my last pregnancy as I got bigger. So far it hasn’t been too bad, so maybe it’ll be ok this time. Prayers are appreciated.
And there you have it! Three new children for the Fouse family in the year 2009. Wow. Certainly not our plan, but it must be in the plan of the One who knows better than us. I’m trying to rest in that. (From five to eight! Ack!) Forgive us for not announcing sooner! I hope all of you understand (including our agency when they find out!).
Tags: Adoption · Family Life
Ok, so those of you going through Ethiopian adoptions right now will understand the full magnitude of this miracle. Let me try to spell it out for everyone else…
There are two judges who hear all of the adoption cases in Ethiopia. Because the adoption laws in the country have changed a bit recently (requiring different paperwork than before, etc.), the judges have had to request more paperwork on several of the adoption hearings that have come through, which has increased a backlog in the cases. In addition, there are now 40 some (?) agencies working in Ethiopia, so there are a lot of court date requests going in. The wait time for a court date has been steadily increasing since at least last fall. As of last week, we were informed that court dates were being assigned 10 to 12 weeks out, so whenever we were told of a court date, it would most likely be 10 to 12 weeks from the date we were notified.
It was odd, though. Back in… oh… January, I think, Joel felt very strongly that the Lord was telling him we’d adopt in March. I’ll be honest. I doubted even then. I thought maybe he just had an optimistic feeling. But I told people that, as unlikely as it seemed, when he got strong feelings about these sorts of things they tended to pan out. As the weeks went by, I grew quite certain that the feeling he had was his own and not of the Lord after all. Joel still held onto that March word until just in the past week or so when he started thinking maybe he was wrong after all.
We got an email today. With absolutely no known reason, we were assigned a court date of March 25th.
I have prayed and prayed and asked others to pray for a miracle in the process to speed it up, but I never really had faith that God would do it. Oh, I knew He could, but I questioned why I was important enough to warrant this particular intervention when so many other families would like to speed things up as well. Well, I don’t pretend to understand His reasons and they’re probably more complex and far-reaching than I’ll ever know, but I am humbled and in awe of the way He has consistently moved this particular adoption along and helped us to bring these girls home. All glory be to Him!
If this court date is successful, we believe travel will be in the beginning of May. This would be another answer to prayer since Joel would be able to go over and come back before airfare costs go up in June. Please continue to pray with us that the court date will be successful and that we’ll be able to bring our new daughters home soon! Oh, and stick in a prayer for the necessary travel funds while you’re at it. I have absolutely no doubt that God can take care of them just fine.
February 24th, 2009 · 2 Comments
This’ll be brief because… well… you know, life.
Our dossier should be in Ethiopia now. Yay! We don’t know how long it’ll take for them to assign us a court date, but when they do set the date it’ll be about 10 to 12 weeks away. We don’t travel for the court date; we travel for the embassy date which usually happens about 5 weeks after the court date. We’re praying that things might speed up a bit (as are all of the other adoptive families in process), so we’ll see what happens. We did hear that one of the judges in Ethiopia is now hearing only adoption cases and is hearing them five days a week, which might help a bit. Apparently a lot of court cases are being postponed because the judges decide they need more paperwork which is one reason the cases are getting so backed up. Things will even out eventually. We’re just praying it’ll happen sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, you can pray with us that God will bring in the necessary travel funds. We don’t know exactly how much it will be yet because airfare changes based on the time of the year, but we can be sure it’ll be more than a couple thousand dollars since that’s about how much it is for one round-trip ticket. Joel’s going without me this time, so that’ll save some money, and he’ll stay at a guest home which is cheaper than a hotel. So the main costs will be the plane tickets – one round trip for him and two one-way for our girls. God has provided so much already that we have complete faith that this last little bit will be there when needed as well.
I’ll update as soon as I can when we find out our court date. Thanks again for praying us through our journey!
January 9th, 2009 · 1 Comment
We got our authenticated documents back in the mail today!! Yay!! I had thought we would be able to send off our dossier at this point, but after looking through the home study I discovered that our social worker hadn’t included the agency license and such that we need to send with it. She said she should be able to get them in the mail today, so I think we’ll have them by Monday at the latest. In the meantime, we’ll scan all of the forms we do have so we can print of copies whenever they’re needed.
December 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment
We got our USCIS (immigrations) fingerprints appointment in the mail today! It’s January 13th in the afternoon. I’ll have to work out someone getting the two oldest from school if not babysitting for all of them, but it’s well worth it. Please pray with us that the results come back quickly so we can get a court date in Ethiopia.
December 18th, 2008 · 2 Comments
As of today, we have the money we need to send in our dossier.
God is SO good and has blessed us so richly!!! I had no idea where these funds were coming from, and now He’s brought them in from all over the place to give these beautiful girls a home. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
If anyone was giving adoption money to us for Christmas, no fear! We’ll still need to save money for travel. Anything the agency receives above what we need to send them for their expenses is reimbursed to us for travel. Since airfare isn’t cheap (though at least we might catch it in the off-season… fares to Ethiopia go up in June), and Joel will also need in-country money for the kids’ visas, medicals, and any other expenses that may arise, donations are still welcome.
God is so good. I know I said that before, but I can’t say it enough. God is so very good and His blessings are abundant. Glory to His Name.
December 15th, 2008 · Comments Off
What gift is there that’s better than life with a loving family, a chance to live and grow? We only need $4000 more to give that gift to our two future daughters in Ethiopia. Please consider helping us to that goal.
A friend just came back from picking up her Ethiopian children, and she had a chance to meet L & B while she was there. She sat down with L and told her that we were close to being able to get them. L began to cry. She said she loves us and misses us, and she wants to come home.
Please help us to bring our girls home. I don’t know how God will reward you, but I truly believe that He does bless people for helping the orphans.
To give online, go to http://www.cwa.org and click on the link to donate to CWA or CWF. Fill in your info, choose “CWA/CWF general fund”, and in the optional field choose “A CWA Family”. Put in the name first name Joel or the first name Rebecca and the last name Fouse. Input your credit card info and be sure to click submit.
God bless you this season and always, friends!
December 8th, 2008 · 3 Comments
We only need about $4000 now to bring the girls home!!! If anyone wants to donate, it’s tax deductible! You can get one more tax deduction for this year if you do it this month. And what a fabulous Christmas gift for two lonely girls…. a family!
We’ve been expecting to hear that the home study was complete any day since we received and corrected the draft a couple weeks ago, but we haven’t heard anything yet. I think we’ll call our social worker today and check on it. We’ll miss the December deadlines for grant applications, unfortunately, but it’s all in God’s hands. Perhaps He’ll lead enough people to help us that we won’t have to apply for the grants. That would be wonderful since it would mean more grants available for other people. Most of the people who go through the adoption process don’t start out with all of the funds they’ll need, so there are plenty of people applying for the grants that are out there!
On a completely different note, the kids are using their birthday money to Christmas shop for their siblings (my suggestion, but they all liked it). I think it’s wonderful that they get a chance to use their own money to buy something for someone else, but since they’re all pretty young it means I have to come up with a lot of inexpensive (they don’t have that much birthday money) gifts for each of them. That isn’t a problem for Eli who loves cars (matchbox cars are cheap), but the others can be more difficult. I think I’ve managed ok so far, but I was trying to think what I could suggest to Charis for Alexis. I think I know something she’d love, but I have a dilemma…
Early in our marriage, Joel and I swore we would allow no barbies to enter our house. The idea behind this is simply that they promote an unrealistic and unreachable view of beauty. Having so many girls in the house now, I think it was a good decision. There’s such a high rate of eating disorders and such things out there, and anything we might be able to do to prevent our kids from going through that is worth it. (Don’t know if the anti-barbie stance will make a difference, but it’s one small way to try.) Anyway, Alexis is now at the point where I think she would love to dress up dolls and play with them like I used to play with my barbies. But I can’t find any of that type of doll that’s any better proportioned and whatnot. I found some “Bible character” dolls, but I’m not sure if they’re meant to be undressed and redressed in different outfits – there certainly weren’t any clothing sets on sale with them. Besides, it would seem odd to have “Queen Esther” going shopping with her girlfriends or losing her pet dog.
So my question is this: does anyone know of any dressable dolls out there that aren’t as oddly proportioned as barbie dolls? I’m not looking for dress up baby dolls, because she’s mostly past the age where she would enjoy them. I’m looking for ones that look more like young adults, but real young adults and not freakishly shaped ones.
Tags: Adoption · Family Life