Our crew

Our crew

Friday, May 30, 2014

Life as we know it

It's been a while since I've posted.  I haven't really had much to say.  (Shocking, I know.)  You probably know by now that we were not selected for the most recent sibling group that we had submitted our home study for.  I didn't take it as hard as I expected to but it was still difficult.  If waiting for children is this hard I can only imagine how difficult it is for the children waiting for a family.

When we first submitted our home study and then shortly thereafter submitted again I had a hard time with the planning part.  I want to plan and be as prepared as we possibly can be but there's really only a tiny bit I can plan.  I also wanted to put everything else on hold.  I had a hard time planning for family trips or events not knowing if we would have more children or not.  I think I've finally let go of that.

Life is continuing for us.  Life is good.  The big boys are out of school for summer and we've made it a full week into summer vacation.  We have lots of activities and trips planned and it's really nice that the kids are at a point that we can go, go, go and they don't fall apart quite so much.  Last weekend we attended six parties in four days and nobody completely melted down!  Now, if you're reading this and you know me even a little bit, you know how much I enjoy social events.  Even with a hefty 21 month old on my back sneaking in a 20 minute nap here and there, it was w wonderful weekend.  The other four kids did their own things, checking in with me here and there and enjoying their friends and activities.  Did I mention how delightful it all was?

When we're doing all these fun things I often think about what it's going to be like when we add to our family.  Will we get a six year old boy to even things out with the boys?  He can bunk with the boys and play legos and ride bikes and go on camping trips.  Or will we get 3 and 4 year old girls that will keep us all on our toes and play dress up with the girls and squeal and giggle?  Or will we rock the boat and add a boy at the bottom and a girl at the top?  See what I mean?  The possibilities are kind of crazy.  It's so much easier giving birth!

I wish I could take a peek at God's chapter on the Shipp family.  I want to know what He has in store for us!  Should we go ahead and get licensed for foster care and welcome and embrace one child (since there's a limit of six children in the home for foster care)?  We would likely have a placement much sooner, but it wouldn't likely be a forever thing.  We could specify a very young child and give that child as much love and stability as we possibly can and wait to see what happens.  Should we look at other adoption resource sights and look at children all over the country?  Should we just sit back and wait for the right child/children to fall into our lap?  I know that whatever we do God will use it for our good and His glory.  But I just want to do the right thing.

As you can see, I'm full of questions today.  But I'm content with where we are right this minute.  (And that's not just because the little one is napping.)  It's still so weird having a 21 month old baby of the family.  Any other time I've had a 21 month old I've either had a newborn or been very near to delivery.  I don't know if this toddler is busier than all the rest were or if I'm just more aware of it.  She's definitely busy though!

Would you continue to pray for us as we seek to discern God's direction and will for our family?  And as we try for patience and peace with His perfect plan?  And pray for our future child/children to know the love of the Father, and to be well connected and safe with their current foster family.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New Dear Caseworker letter

I needed to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING during this waiting period so I wrote a new "Dear Caseworker" letter.  I'm hoping to grab their attention a little more.  This will be laid out with our family photo like the last one.  Please, tell me what you think.

Dear Caseworker,

Yes, you counted correctly.  There are 7 people in our family.  Before you put this letter away though, I want you to know how much love our family has and how much more we have to offer.  If you cant imagine having this many (or more!) children, please consider our family experience as on-the-job training. We have a lot of it!  We deeply desire to add to our family and to help provide children in need with a loving, safe, and secure forever family. 

Im Rachel, the mom of this crew. Im 32 years old and have a BA in photography.  I currently use that degree taking pictures of my children in their day-to-day lives as I stay home with them and am constantly entertained.  I am so thankful that I get the opportunity to stay home and care for my children and my home and manage our household.  Im living my childhood dream of being a wife and mother.

My husband Andrew is 30, and has a law degree from Baylor University. In his practice as an attorney in Nacogdoches he does work for the Attorney Generals Child Support Office, takes court appointed criminal cases, does business planning, estate planning and probate.  While he keeps busy with work, he always has time for the family.  Eating dinner together each night is a priority for us both.

We have been married for nine years and have known since we were dating that we wanted to adopt.  We werent sure what that would look like for us, but we knew we wanted a big family. We have several friends that have adopted through the foster care system that have lead us and turned our hearts towards these children. We have spent many years in thoughtful consideration and prayer over this decision. In October of 2013 we began our journey to adoption, were licensed in March of 2014, and now we eagerly wait to add to our family.  Our children are anxious, too.  Each day they pray for and ask about their future siblings.  They are excited to welcome new brothers and sisters and share their lives with them.  They already know what its like to share and love and will sincerely welcome more children into our home.

Gabe is our 9 year-old athlete, musician, and best big brother.  Jonah is our affectionate, tenderhearted, helpful 7 year-old.  Liam, the constant entertainer, is 5.  Our first little princess, Maggie, is 3 and full of spunk.  And little AnnaMae, the dare-devil, is almost 2.  I know it sounds like we already have our hands full, but I like to tell people, we really only have one hand full!  Sure, more children would be more mouths to feed, more to educate and clothe.  But more importantly, its more to love, more to share life with, more to grow old with. 

We hope that you will consider placing children with our family.  We would love to share our hearts, our home, our faith, and our lives.


Andrew and Rachel Shipp

Monday, May 12, 2014

30 Days of Prayer

May is National Foster Care Month and Buckner has been sending out a daily prayer guide along with a short devotional each day.  Today's message was powerful for me.

Should the Right Thing Be the Easy Thing?

Scripture: Isaiah 51:7
Recently I've been learning that just because something is hard, it does not mean it is wrong and just because something is easy, it does not mean it is right. Like many Christians, I determined the will of God through circumstances alone. God has been consistently showing me in His Word, however, that there are more scenarios where the easy thing was not the right thing, but the right thing was the hardest thing ever.
God's Word is full of examples of people doing the right thing no matter the cost and no matter how it appeared to those around them. My favorite is that of Joseph and Mary. Joseph could have walked away. But instead, he and Mary chose to do the hardest thing for them in their culture. They chose to stay in their hometown, in their small community of family, friends and neighbors, and to raise a child that appeared to be born out of wedlock. Certainly not everyone in the community was accepting and supportive of their choice. I wonder how many times Mary and Joseph had to listen to comments or endure looks? It would have been so much easier to move to a place where no one knew them or their past. I would have been tempted to follow this path.
During our first adoption journey, I was initially surprised, shocked and disappointed that not everyone shared our enthusiasm for adoption. It was difficult to understand why others were not excited and supportive of our decision, especially those within our own family. Even church acquaintances and people who we thought were friends surprised us with their reaction. Many of them looked at us like we were crazy; some even said so out loud. This was so hurtful and shocking.
If you ever experience something similar, please take heart. There may be people who will not congratulate you for making what seems to them like a very unwise or illogical decision. Always keep in mind the words from Isaiah 51:7, "Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults."
When you care for the fatherless ---- whether it is for a day, a week, or for a lifetime ---- it is simply the RIGHT THING to do no matter how hard it is. May He give you the strength to do the right thing, the hard thing and the best thing ever.
Cheri Walroad and her husband, Paul are parents to six children. Their youngest three children were adopted in 2003, 2006 and 2008. Cheri works to help other adoptive families find the financing options they need to realize their dream of adoption through her website Resources4adoption.com 
Prayer Guide: 
Pray that the Lord would give strength and courage to those called to adopt. May they endure the journey, though it may not be easy, and friends and family won't always understand.
Pray that children in foster care would know the love and protection of the Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5).