Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cute Doesn't Cover It

Zoe and I were hard at work on home school when this image appeared on Facebook. I kind of stalk LWB's Facebook page to see if they post my cuties. This picture stole my heart, made me laugh out loud and squeal! (You can ask Zoe). They just don't get any cuter than that. I am a smitten kitten for these two boys. I cannot quite make sense of how I can be so desperate for, miss terribly, love like nobody's business, two little guys, I have never met. It has to be God. So I was drawn back to this quote I "pinned" on Pinterest earlier:

"Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you did not grow under my heart, but in it."

I love that! That is EXACTLY what is happening here. This mama loves these little boys so much it hurts!

So what did we do for therapy? Well, we dug into their darling little outfits, and started putting them away!

Please pray our Article 5 is picked up by Friday!!!



Monday, February 27, 2012

It seems I have been "nesting" for a good few months now. When biologically you are not bringing a child into the world, the nesting thing can run rampid, and twins at that. Yes, I am feeling the need to be prepared. The kids and I learned how to make laundry soap and fabric softener in bulk. (It's good for sensitive skin too)!
We are rearranging a bit, and gearing toward making room for babies. We are not putting the cribs up yet, staring at an empty crib is pure torture if you ask me. They can go up when we have travel approval. We are expecting our Article 5 by Friday (crossing fingers). Once that is picked up, we are officially in the "Waiting on Travel Approval Boat." We did get our Chinese Visa's, which means are precious passports are back in our happy hands!

Today, Zoe got fitted for her palate expander. Bless her heart, she has tiny everything, but too of a tiny mouth, not enough room in there for all the teeth she will get.

My parents came over and we all went to the arena so the kids could get some riding in. The calander says spring is here but the forecast is arguing. Some say we are supposed to get 5 inches of that beautiful, cold, white stuff, that extends the mud season. I am grateful we got out today and enjoyed the spring weather though!
Clay and I are excited for our weekend. We are going to the Family Life's, "Weekend to Rembember" Marriage Conference. We went last year and had a great time, and it will probably be our last getaway before we have 5 kids under our roof, and the Lord knows it sure does not hurt to do a bit of maintenence on the relationship before we undergo a major life change.

We were blessed this week with an adorable picture of Ivor. Oh how cute he is!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Together Again!

Trigg and Ivor have been reunited! We got word this week that they are finally back together. It did not look like a very happy reunion but from what we gather, Trigg was done posing for photo's and Ivor is a sympathy crier. Apparently, if someone is upset, he assumes they must have pretty good reason!

Sevenly.org is an orphan advocacy group and this week they are highlighting Love Without Boundaries. As you all know, I am over the moon for LWB. So, if you would like to support their cause, and take part in orphan awareness, while looking super cute-GET YOUR SHIRT. I have put a link along the left column.

We are getting closer friends, closer every day!



Friday, February 17, 2012

Time to Act

I have been working on this blog post for the last few weeks. I can't count how many times I have typed a sentence and then deleted it. I want my heart to be heard. I don't just want it to be heard, I want God to stir people into action. Just yesterday, another blogger published a post very similar to what I was working on. She went ahead and said it all, reguardless of how much it made people squirm. (Love her for that.)

For as long as I can remember, looking at a photo of an orphan has tugged at my heart strings. I have read about orphans and their stories on the Internet for years. I recall nights when the problem disturbed me so deeply,I would sit up late, looking at one photo after another on Rainbow Kids, Reece's Rainbow, and other photo listings. I would watch video after video on You Tube shot in orphanages around the globe. Some nights I would find myself sitting at the computer weeping. It was pure self torture. I didn't know what to do or how to help.
(photo from google)

Last April, I went on a mission trip to Uganda. For the first time in my life, I held children without families. I talked to kids who are growing up on the streets, with no mother, no father. I listened to grown men tell their own stories of survival. I spent a day with a little girl who had been raped for years by her own father, before authorities stepped in and placed her in an orphanage. I walked through slums and saw toddlers run across a busy street, with noone in sight who cared. It was then, my life changed forever. All the lonely faces on the computer screen came to life, they had names. And as hard as it was to imagine, I knew this was only a few of them, there were 147 million more. Many of them are living under far worse circumstances than I was witnessing.
I would go back to my hotel at night and visit with my friend Char, and then I would start journaling. Some nights I would lay there under my net and feel blank. Others, my thoughts seemed to swallow me whole. I felt so small, so helpless. I remember one night in particular when the wind picked up and rain started falling. It was coming down so fast and hard. The tin blew and the thin panes shook at the storm. At home, I would have loved such a time as this. Nothing is more cozy than being under my warm covers while the storm rages on outside. But this time, this time brought me to my knees. All I could think about was the street kids. All those sweet boys I played with today are out there somewhere, suffering.
The following morning, I learned that after storms, many times some of the children are swept away and die in the waters. Several were hurt, and all were scared. As a matter of fact, the week before we arrived two of the local children had drowned in a rain storm in the ditches. Not acceptable.

Proverbs 24:12 tells us, "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."

So, what are we going to do about it? It's hard to know where to start. I contacted my girlfriend, Jessica, and we started bouncing some ideas off each other. We are both currently working on adopting children from Ch!na, and we agreed, you do not have to adopt to serve the orphan. But the bible does commands us to act.

James 1:27 says this, 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 think it is safe to say, the children lying in beds, day in and day out in soiled clothing are in distress. The children that are hungry, desperate to be held, motherless, and scared, are in distress.

So here is where we are starting. We are starting an orphan relief "group." The purpose of this group will be to serve orphans around the world in a number of different ways. We aim to provide finances, prayer and relief to these helpless children of God. We would love you to partner with us. Let's speak for these who cannot speak for themselves. Let's bring awareness to this crisis. Let's make a difference in these children's life. The Lord's blessing us upon us, for they are His.

More information soon...and we are always open to ideas.

Below is a link to the blog I referred to in the beginning of this post. It is clear to me, He is stirring us as a body. He is breaking our hearts for what breaks His.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My life does not belong to me, it belongs to Him.

Last night I worked late at our office training our new book keeper (who just happens be be a dear friend of mine). Before I left, I made a casserole for Clay and the kids, gave Zoe orders of when to put it in and rushed off. I returend a couple hours later to a sink full of dirty dishes.


I felt my mood start to shift. I began to feel a little abused, taken advantage of. I very easily could have thrown a fit, but instead, I picked up my scrubber, turned on the warm water and got to work. Right then, God gave me this thought: My life does not belong to me, it belongs to Him. Everything I do, should glorify Him. I don't deserve to come home and kick my feet up and turn on the T.V. I don't deserve "me" time, even though in today's society I am told I do. I am blessed. I am not working for rewards. I am working because I already have the reward.

Don't misunderstand me. I do think the dishes should have done before I got home. I do think everyone in a family needs to contribute. On this particular night, they didn't. Do they sometimes? Yes, they do often.

Later, my sweet husband suprised me with an anniversary gift. (Yes, we got married on Valentine's.) He presented me with a beautiful, rustic, necklace and ring. For the first time ever, I did not have a gift for him. The adoption is consuming my time and concentration, and thankfully, he understands this. He was not angry or upset one bit. As he was putting my necklace on me, I thanked God. I thanked Him for helping me to not ruin the evening by throwing a fit about a sink full of dishes. My husband had planned this sweet little moment, and my tantrum could have easily prevented it.

My life does not belong to me, it belongs to Him. I am so grateful He is taking me on such a magnificent journey.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11



Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Daddy Daughter Dance and Adoption Update

Clay took Zoe to the Daddy Daughter Dance Friday night. Our good friends, the Lewis' were visiting so Brad and Sydney also went.

The theme this year was "Candyland." It was absolutely darling. Tara and I went by and spied from the church balcony and got some pictures. There is not many things as sweet as Daddy's taking their Daughter's to a dance.

They all had a great time and came home with lots of stories. I'm thinking I should have hinted to my dad about it...hehe.

Adoption Update:

I filled out applications for 6 Visa's today! We are knocking these tasks down, one by one. We got our I800 approval and we are rocking and rolling...

My sister called me a few days ago to tell me about Kohl's big sale so I hopped online and got some cute outfits ordered for Trigg and Ivor. I don't feel I can buy a whole lot yet because we are just guessing their sizes. We need a few things to get them started out, and oh what fun it was! I can't wait to see them in their new duds.

My mom (Nana) got her monthly sponsorship update on Trigg, and oh my~ was it ever heartwarming. He sounds like such a sweet and playful little guy! Here is what it said...

"Max is still in the loving care of Maria’s Big House of Hope, and his sweet nurse continues to provide us with nice updates on him. She tells us that he is a “charming little boy” who likes to twirl his pacifier in his mouth when asked to do so. He’s quite the little performer! 

Max also enjoys playing ball with his nanny – he is able to kick and throw the ball. Great job, Max!
Max can already walk backwards and he runs really fast. He likes to dump all of the toys out of their box, and then explores how each one works. When not engaging in play and other fun physical activity, Max loves to climb up on the couch, snuggle in and take a little snooze – how adorable!

We are so pleased with Max’s healing and overall development, and we are anxious to see him reunited with brother, Matthew, who has now caught up to him in size. In the meantime, Max continues to receive great care and he will soon be ready to return to Heartbridge. It won’t be long after that when both boys can go home with their forever mom and dad. Yay!!!"

I love it!!! I can't wait to meet them!



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ups and Downs

If I had three words to discribe the last week, it would be: Ups and downs.

The wait is getting harder, more emotional, more stressful. For some reason, my heart has felt so heavy. I kept checking Love Without Boundaries Facebook page to see if by chance they had uploaded our boys on there. Nothing. Occassionally, I would just whisper to God, asking Him for peace. Thursday afternoon rolled around and I was hard at work at my husband's office when my mom called. "Check facebook," she said. I knew she had spotted them. Hurriedly, I checked, and sure enough, there they were. My sweet little boys, half way around the world. But these pictures were different. Ivor Jude just looked so sad. Trigg Cody looked much thinner. Below the picture, the Love Without Boundaries volunteer had said that he lost 1.5 pounds this month after his final surgery. This meant for the first time, the brothers weighed the same. Ivor had gained the amount Trigg lost. Trigg also looked sad to me. My heart is breaking. I wonder, "Why must children go through surgeries and trials without a mommy to snuggle them when they are hurting?" I am so grateful they are where they are, I just wish they could be home, feeling a mother's love.

I headed home, still feeling down. As usual, I pulled over at the end of the driveway for Zoe to check the mail. She handed it to me and I started flipping through. There were two envelopes from immigration! I was elated! I tore into them, assuming they were the documents I had been waiting for. Without reading the small print I went into celebration mode. The kids and I were beyond excited. I announced the documents arrival to my mom, sisters, and of course, facebook.

Later that night, I read them, small print and all. As it turns out, they were the receipts, saying our I800 request had been recieved. Well, still good news, but not the approval I had assumed it was. I had felt so encouraged by God. I felt like He was saying, don't worry, it's closer than you think. I guess maybe He was. He was encouraging me, but He also continues to work on my patience and trust in Him, trust He has "got this." I need to trust in His timing. In the meantime, I will continue to pray.

If you are reading this and you feel so inclined, pray that Trigg Cody will be fully recovered soon, so he and Ivor Jude can be back together. Pray for God's timing in our adoption. And please, pray for peace for our family in this last leg of this journey.