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After the last couple heavy posts, it is time for a little levity from the Nap Clan Asylum.
Psalm 23:5-6 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
When the Lord inspired men to pen these verses, I don’t think He was thinking about what I am about to say. Actually, I am quite positive that these verses do not pertain in the least bit to the large family problems I have in mind. Well, if I truly dig deep, I could probably come up with some sort of symbolism with the abundance of cups, first world problems, contentedness and such but I’m not going to go there today.
Instead, I am about to address something super serious in large families…Cups. Seriously, cups, cups, cups everywhere. “Where did I put my cup?” “Is this my cup?” “So and so sibling is drinking from my cup.” “Mom, can you get me a cup? Didn’t I just get you a cup? I can’t find it!” “We don’t have any more clean cups.” “Was this my cup?” “Ugh, there are floaties in the bottom of this cup. Apparently it wasn’t mine. Gross.” “The top shelf of the dishwasher is full of cups and it isn’t even lunch time.” “I have to wash cups again!?!” The list could go on and on. Cups are a huge problem in a large family.
Tonight I am going to enlighten you with two sure fire ways to keep things much more organized in the cup department. When I first heard of this first one, it made my slap my forehead with its simplicity. Just buy a pack of rainbow colored hair bands (like these), let each person pick out their favorite color, and put that band around their cup. When they need a clean cup, they just move the band to the clean cup. Really, it is that easy and inexpensive!!! It works because the kids get excited to brand their cups with their special color. I guess they kind of work like wine charms only cheaper and easier. Besides, I don’t know that your kids should be drinking that much wine. LOL. If you have company over, just give them a color as well. It helps keep your kids from drinking out of the guests cups which is not good form from a hospitality sense. Be forewarned when you have just loaded the dishwasher and good friends come over, they may grab a glass and pick their own band. They know the drill. What they don’t know is that you are really used to having a certain color. It may or may not take most of the night for you to realize that you are both drinking out of the same glass. But again, this has changed my dishwashing life!!!
Now the first solution does make a huge difference in so many ways but your counters will still look like this. No more fighting over glasses or wondering which one was yours which is great. However if you are like me, the cluttered counter is stress inducing and 8 different cups means lots of clutter. Normally they aren’t even in such a nice little group, they are scattered everywhere. Some on the counter, some on the table, some on the end tables, and who knows where else. What to do with this part of the problem?
Never fear, we have found solution #2. I should give credit where credit is due. My husband found the solution and made it for me for Christmas last year. All it took was a few pieces of wood and a few tiles, one per child to be exact. He had each child decorate a tile with his/her name and then made one for he and I as well. Each tile then received a place on the wood frame. The cup organizer was made for the counter or the middle of the table but we found a nice little ledge for it in a window. After every meal, each person puts their cup back onto their tile. They know where it is at all times and they know it is theirs. The water stays out to be drunk throughout the day. This solution does take a bit more work but is still very inexpensive for the clutter it saves. You will notice a couple empty tiles. Good thing my husband left them because we have an adopted son coming home soon and had a baby that wasn’t ready to decorate a tile yet. I will have my husband work on a quick tutorial for making our massive cup organizer to share with you when he has a chance.
If you have any kids, you know the seriousness of the cup issue. If you have a large family, I am proud of you for having found your way to an iPhone or computer amidst the sea of cups. I hope these solutions bring you as much decluttering peace as they have me.
After highlighting our need to trust the Lord for adoption finances in my last post, I realized I didn’t actually address the true cost of adoption. When we step out in faith to follow the Lord, the enemy desires to derail us. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I guarantee that Satan wants the orphans to remain fatherless and the widows to remain alone. He wants the orphan to not ever have an understanding of what a father is so it is harder for them to understand who our Heavenly Father is. Satan wants to keep people in bondage. He wants the orphan to be forced into unspeakable things to survive. By adopting, we are more or less putting ourselves directly in the enemies crosshairs. We are standing between Satan and his plan to kill and destroy. I don’t say this to boast but to bring to light the gravity of walking in the Lord’s will. There will be shots taken by the enemy to try to move us from this path. He wants his prize, destruction of life. We as believers cannot allow ourselves to be swayed from the narrow path no matter the cost.
There have been so many trials put in our path since we started this adoption and they seem to be multiplying as we get closer and closer to bringing our son home. There have been so many things, that it has become almost comical. I have to laugh to keep from crying. We have had a daughter break her arm, tiles fall out of our shower revealing dryrot, major service needed on my husband’s car followed a week later by the need for major services on our van, now the transmission is acting up in the van as well, the floor in the kitchen has popped and the tiles are cracking, the RV isn’t selling and neither is the travel trailer and all of this is since the beginning of September. All of these are a major financial hit in a time when we need inflow not outflow. But in the end that is all stuff. It is causing stress which I am working to leave at the feet of Jesus and moving on trusting in Him. He has called us to this adoption and he will provide the finances. I am sure of it. Well, I’m sure at times like these and then when another thing “falls,” I question again and worry again, and stress again until the Lord pulls me back.
The thing is, not all of our trials have been things or money. The biggest ones have come in ways I wasn’t expecting. If you have read our adoption story, you know that my dear friend passed away a month before we started officially pursuing our adoption. Her loss was and still is a huge blow. I miss her. I miss her laugh, her British accent, her faith in the Lord even as she watched her body fail her. It was this time last year that they were told to bring in their family because she was nearing the end. She battled until mid-February but the last time I saw her as herself was about one year ago. I can’t believe it. She left behind a husband and a young daughter. I am grateful that she is healed and worshipping Jesus but I miss her.
Then came the next huge blow. The first weekend in June, I got to see my Dad at a Special Olympics track meet. He loved track and field and had found such a love for coaching Special Olympics. It was fun to see him, my mom , my sister, and their team. Two weeks later, I got a call that my dad wasn’t well. They had found a tumor in his brain and it seemed to be very aggressive and they were going to do a biopsy. The local doctors didn’t know what it was so they sent it off to specialists. We got to go back to Spokane where my parents live and visit the last weekend in June. My dad was declining. In a matter of 4 weeks, he had gone from healthy at the track meet to completely unsteady on his feet and extremely forgetful. We enjoyed our time with him and for that I am grateful. He was in good spirits and loved on my kids. It was the last time my sweet kids would see their Papa. Two weeks later, he was brought over to Seattle to see a special cancer doctor. He started having seizures the day of the appointment. We saw him at the ER while they waited to admit him, still hoping that once treatment was started he would start getting better. At this point we knew it would be fatal, we just didn’t know how long he had. We had a nice time chatting with him for the few hours we were there. I went back the next day and he was much, much worse. This continued for two more days. He was having very few completely lucid times. I was able to hug him and tell him I love him one last time on Tuesday. Wednesday, they transported him back to Spokane because while not a candidate for the special treatment, he could receive regular radiation to drop the tumor swelling which in turn would help the seizures. We were told without any treatment he would have 3-6 months left but they were going to do treatment so maybe that would double. By that Saturday, he was gone. Four weeks after learning my dad had a tumor, he had passed away. It was all so fast and unexpected. I am blessed to know that my dad loved the Lord and is with Him now. I can take comfort in the fact that He was in heaven but am devastated that he will never meet our adopted son. He was so excited about our adoption. Our biggest supporter. The grief is still so raw and I am crying as I recount the story. He comes to mind often as I know he would have been here patching all our crazy house problems. I think of how many laughs we would have had watching him sign. I can guarantee there would have been some funny stories to tell. But he isn’t here and those stories I expected will never come to pass. One of my sons prayed for Papa last night. We are all feeling the void that he left. He has left quite a legacy with his children, grandchildren, and Project id.
Just this last month, we received news of more loss. My sister-in-law and her husband were 31 weeks pregnant with their third child, our nephew and for reasons only known to our Lord, his heart stopped beating. They had announced that they were going to start as missionaries just the Friday before. Stepping out in faith and trusting the Lord. A place that Satan doesn’t want us to stand and struck hard. On Monday Oct 27th, we spent some time with them at the hospital as they waited for their son to be born just trying to be a support in their time of sorrow. We couldn’t do anything to take their pain away. We could only pray and encourage and all the while they were a testimony to me through their faith. That evening, he was born into the arms of Jesus never to be known here by us. (They have shared their faith and story on their blog.) I left that afternoon just done. I couldn’t handle the loss. There had been so much already. How could there be another one Lord? How could this happen again? I wanted to hold that sweet baby and love on him. I wanted to watch him grow up.
The cost of standing for the Lord is great my friends. You never have to question if you are fighting the good fight because Satan brings the fight directly to you. We have been taken to the ragged edge of faith. An edge to which we cannot cling on our own. We are only held there by faith. Faith that our God is bigger than the enemy. Our battle is for the eternal. Our son will hear the gospel because he is in our family. This battle is for his soul and the souls of all the people our family will touch. The things of this world will pass away but his love endures forever. I will choose in this day and every day to not lean on my own understanding but to lean on the Lord. Please take heart that being in the line of fire, no matter how painful, is the only place we want to be. We want to be used by the Lord for His purposes. Through each and every fire, our faith has been refined and our need for the One and Only God has grown and for that I am grateful. In James 1:2-4 The Lord recorded it perfectly…
This year we entered into the realm of fundraising for our adoption. As most of you probably know, international adoption isn’t cheap. There are funds to raise. What does that mean? It means all told, bringing our son home is going to cost $32,000 including post placement visits. It was interesting to see those fees all broken down when we were signing forms back in the beginning. There are agency fees, home study fees, immigration fees, paperwork fees, postage fees, translation fees and more. And those are just the cost here in the US. About half of the total cost comes from what they call in-country cost. Those are the things we have to pay for in China. Airfare, medical, guides, food, hotel, transport, government fees, orphanage fees and more are needed while we are there. It all seems so crazy. Who has an extra $32,000 laying around? But it is what it is and we know the Lord will provide because where the Lord guides, He provides!!!
We started seeing Him provide right from the beginning. The funds started to come in with an amazing $5000 grant from our adoption agency (mentioned in Part 4). That was right off the top when we committed to our son. (Update on our grant. When I started this draft months ago, we thought his grant was $5000. We got a bit of surprise to get a bill with only a $2000 grant applied. The agency had mistakenly put $5000 on his advocacy post. The extra $3000 wasn’t available for orphans from his region. We are grateful for the grant we did get, but it was hard and it was here my faith in His provision began to falter.)
Our FSP, Family Sponsorship Program, through Reece’s Rainbow went from $25 to $816 in one night and we have no idea who that money came from. It was so cool. I had been feeling a little overwhelmed by the gravity of the amount left to raise. Then we woke up the next morning to an almost $800 donation. Are you kidding me?!? Our God is sooooo good. And now it is up another $1200 thanks to gifts from friends and strangers alike. WOW!! You can follow our progress at any time by looking at the total in the widget on the right side of this page.
Since we started this journey, we knew that we would need to raise funds but we also didn’t want to strive and stress about making those funds appear because in the end, coming up with the money would have to be His doing. We did some brainstorming about things we could do that would be as much sharing our testimony as fundraising. Sharing about adoption segues perfectly into sharing the gospel. We knew that we had been given a platform to share our faith and open eyes to the plight of the orphan worldwide. The Lord opened up the opportunity for a pancake feed, two huge garage sales, a donated RV to sell, bibs to make and sell, profits from my sister-in-laws jewelry sales, a gluten free bake sale, a new 5/5/5 grant and people buying items through our Amazon link (please click on the banner at the top of the page any time you have purchases to make). I will highlight these fundraisers this week and how the Lord has used them to bless us.
But I will be honest. Trusting the Lord to provide is not my strong suit. I like to control what is happening and have a plan. As I shared, I was strengthened and encouraged with the grant and increase in our FSP but then our grant got decreased and the FSP quit moving. I find my emotions and my trust waffling as the funds pour in and then as they dry up. As we have gotten closer to traveling, I have found my faith in His provision faltering. How is that for honesty? We still need $12,000 and things aren’t selling. We leave in 4-5 weeks. How am I supposed to come up with the money Lord? Did you notice the problem with that sentence? The pronoun “I”. “I” am not supposed to strive, worry, or stress. I “know” these things. But the closer it gets, the more I question the Lord. It has gotten bad. I have been throwing out fleeces, begging and pleading with the Lord to SHOW ME THE MONEY!!! All to no avail.
You may be starting to wonder. Is this entire post just to ask us for money, purchases, and the like. Is she striving for the money still by asking us? But no, that will come in another post. LOL. In all seriousness though, I am writing this as a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness even for people like me. People that don’t easily trust, people that question, people that hang onto control with all their might, people that doubt. He will meet us in those places. I was struggling this morning about going to church because I was feeling like such a doubting Thomas but we went anyway. The worship team introduced a new song called “Waiting Here For You.” Here is the first verse…
Through these words, the Lord spoke to me. He told me He loved me even in my times of little faith and that He would not forsake me. He would provide for me, not just financially but in all ways. I just needed to wait on Him. What a sweet time of worship. I was actually able to let go of a little bit of the rope I so desperately cling to. Not all of it but I’m trying.
And after I gave up a bit of my control and allowed the Lord to take a portion of this financial burden, He gave me a gift. First, a sweet sister prepaid for her baked goodies right after worship. And she paid 6-1/2 times what I was asking because she felt that they were going to be worth every penny. Wow Lord! That was cool. Then I shared with her how the Lord had met me and asked for continued prayer that I trust the Lord for provision. I felt at peace for the first time in weeks about the money. Then we picked up the mail after church. In the mail was a $500 check from an anonymous donor. Really!!!
Yes we still have a long way to go but not only did my gracious Heavenly Father take my burden today, He provided $600. He was willing to give me a small look at what he was capable of even though He didn’t need to. He can provide in His timing but to strengthen me, He gave me a gift right away. What a loving God we serve.
Welcome to my completely inconsistent blog. I’m guessing an adoption update is a tad bit overdue. There has been a lot happening here unrelated to the adoption and I pray that I can fill you all in on that in due time. Right now though…it is a time for some adoption news.
The last few months have been full of the dreaded acronym. Let me give you a quick run through ..
First came PA on April 17th which started the acronym ball rolling. Our home study was full of lots of forms like the i800a for the USCIS and others that I won’t bore you with. We sent all completed documents of our dossier, first to the SOS of WA and then to the US State Dept and the Chinese Embassy in DC. On July 17th we were DTC which led to LID on July 18th. That led to a 77 day wait for LOA. We finally got LOA on October 2nd. Once we got LOA, it was time to overnight it with our i800 application to the USCIS (for a second time) and that then got forwarded to the NVC. We received our GUZ number which will allowed us to do our DS-260 application. Now our Article 5 is being processed and then is sent to CCWA so we can get TA and leave 1-3 weeks later.
Yikes!! Did you make it thought that? I almost didn’t. This has been a most confusing process. They don’t make it easy. I have heard adoption called a paper pregnancy. It is crazy how similar a regular pregnancy and paper pregnancy are…all the emotions, stress, uncomfortable sleepless night, nesting, anxiousness, wondering when the blessed day will come, and so much more. But the payoff in the end, no matter how hard, is worth every bit of it.
So after all that, where are we you ask? We are close. Close to done with all the paperwork and traveling. Close to the truly hard part. The part I can’t wait for. Meeting our son for the first time and bringing him home. Our prayer is to be traveling in around 4-5 weeks. But as with this whole process, it is not a done deal. We have finished all the paperwork now. We can only pray that all the paperwork continues to move at a good pace. We want him home for Christmas sooooo bad!!! But in the end whether I am stressing about whether things are moving fast enough or not, I am not the one in control. The Lord knows the best timing, not me. I have had to work on doing my part and then waiting patiently on Him. Oh how the Lord is growing me in these days, growing me in the areas that I am so weak. He is good like that!!
I have many more things to share with you about our journey but I needed to get this update out like three months ago so the rest will have to wait:)
Hello all ~
My name is Sarah Nap and I am the author of this site. While this isn’t my final draft for this page, I figured it will at least give you a little idea about who I am. I hope to expound on it soon. I am a…
Lover of Jesus
Helpmeet to Than (an amazingly talented, handsome, and loving man)
Mama to Teagan, Logan, Rowan, Declan, Dresdan, and Lawson (trusting the Lord in family size and everything else)
Live in North Bend, WA
Homeschooler (of eclectic style)
Natural Living Enthusiaist (Home cooking, traditional whole foods, natural medicine, Young Living essential oils, cloth diapers, Shaklee cleaners)
Hobbies (crocheting, organizing, reading, sports)
I hope this gives you a little insight into me. If you know me and I’ve missed something crucial, leave me a comment. If you don’t know me and want me to give a little more info on something right away, leave a comment too. May the Lord Bless your day.