Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unexpected Gift - More of God's Provision

Oh how I love to brag on God, and how He chooses to provide for us...

Last week we received a letter from one of the many care givers our children needed when we first brought them home. For almost 18 months, I had been working to establish some financial aid options for the large medical bills we incurred that were not covered by insurance. Three times I had to submit all new (original) documents as the individual helping me left for other employ. Three times the process started over from the very beginning! I tried to control my frustration, and at times felt completely helpless... (I don't do paperwork very well!!)

Before heading off to Brazil, the call came that I needed to start over once again. I gave up any hope that this issue would ever get resolved this side of Heaven. Once again, I submitted the necessary paperwork to the 4th person handling our account. When the letter came last week, I did not want to open it. Here is what it said...

"Nationwide Children's Hospital has reviewed your application and has adjusted your account(s). It is your responsibility to pay $0.00. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service department at ....." I'm not going to call them... but I might drive down and give them a big kiss! Trust, Rest, Wait (See post on Brazil just previous to this one.)

Just when I felt like giving up... God made a wonderful provision! I wonder how close I would have been to giving up over 2000 years ago when He made known another Gift to those He loves. It seems He is always providing. Always. I thank God that He continues to provide in so many ways. This Christmas season I have new reason to celebrate just how practical He is!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jungle Fever

Back in November, Aaron and I took a little Father/Son adventure trip into the heart of the Amazon River Basin. We teamed up with The Kubacki Family (kubacki6.spaces.live.com/) and Thirst Relief International (www.thirstrelief.org) to install water filters in remote areas of the jungle, and bring fresh drinking water to these people for the first time ever.

I can say that it was a life-changing experience for me, and that Aaron has spoken of how his perspective has changed as well. Three words kept coming to me on the trip... Trust, Rest, Wait. I am not good at any of the three, but I do sense God taking me to a whole new level of each that I would have been unwilling to go to on my own.

Aaron and I have had the chance to share a few times about our trip, the most recent was today at one of our Lunch & Learns. (www.lunchandlearn.us) I am so thankful that God is faithful and that He continues to fulfill His promises as He stretches me beyond where I am willing to go on my own. I hope my kids catch a glimpse of the adventure that awaits them as they too learn to Trust, Rest & Wait.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Entering the Teen Years

Jenna became a teenager yesterday. Oh Boy! We dressed up and went to lunch. I had the most beautiful lunch date of anyone in the restaurant!

She's a hoot... so fun to be around. I love watching her grow up. We had a great time... lots of food and a sweet dessert.

I'm excited about her future. God has a place in her heart and Jenna has some amazing gifts that will serve her and others well. I love you, JJ. Many more happy birthdays!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Power Outages Can Lead to Power Restored

Hurricane Ike ripped through Central Ohio last weekend. (I never, ever thought I would utter those words in my life.) Trees down, power lines down, houses smashed, vehicles smashed, roofs ripped off... damage, damage, damage! For many in the area power has been out for several days and clean up continues. We were very fortunate... only a small limb came down at our house and our power was off for about 12 hours through the night. Many others were not nearly as fortunate as us.

Got me to thinking... Devastation can rip through a house or a life at any time. Pain and hurt can mount so high that we might wonder if power will ever be restored. In the process, we have choices to make... namely, will we run to the Power Source or will we run away? I have thus far discovered that during those times in life when storms brew up and devastation hits, God is not hiding Himself from me... He is actually wanting me to run to Him. If any storms blew through after your adoption process (or any other events going on in your home) I pray that you are able to find the Source of your power and get restored. I would believe that He is there waiting with open arms to help walk you (and me) through the messy clean up. His Word says He owns the power (Psalm 62:11) and is all about getting it turned back on! Clean up is generally part of the process.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Breaking the Silence

Greetings! After months of staring at our unchanging blog, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I had to break the silence! So much has transpired since even before we stopped sharing, and life may or may not ever get back to normal. I know we've all heard in the adoption world that life really never returns to "normal;" rather a "new normal" sets in and I believe we are into yet another level of new normal. I can't say that I like it all right now, and I'm sure I never will like everything about my life here on Earth, but I do hold out hope for the future because I know what God's Word promises to all those who believe.

I really don't know how much posting I'll do... maybe, kinda, sorta as the Spirit moves me. Writing has always been somewhat therapeutic for me and I have gotten away from it. You should probably know right up front that I'm not really writing for anyone else. So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm okay with you listening in on whatever God moves me to write.

That's all for now. Maybe I'll find something to share again real soon. Until then...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What a year!

What a difference a year can make! On April 14th, we celebrated our one year anniversary of landing in America with our three adorable children from Ethiopia. Wow! I remember the look on our children's faces when we first met them at the CWA care center. I remember watching them board the plane for America. I remember watching the look on our bios as they met their new siblings for the first time. From there, the last year is a little bit of a blur.

We started our blog to communicate to loved ones back home during our trip to pick up the kids, and now we feel it is time to post our last post. It has been a good year... a challenging year... a year in which we have seen God provide in magnificent ways... a year of growth... a year of increased trust in the Lord... a year of answered prayer. We are so very thankful that so many have joined us in this journey. Adoption is forever, and we will continue to enjoy our journey. We covet your prayers and thank you for tuning in over the last year. Who knows... maybe someday we will resurrect this blog site with the next significant movement of God in the Long Household. Until then, we will leave you with a few pictures... Many Blessings!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Post Adoption Depression - The Prideful will Fall

The words came as a complete shock. "I think you may be dealing with Post-Adoption Depression, " Kris said. "No way," I thought! In my typical manner, I ignored my wife's counsel and set in motion several months of the worst emotional experience of my life. I loved my kids... all of them. The old ones and the new ones. What was wrong with me? We just needed to get through this tough time and everything would be great... Listen Up... Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS) is real!!!

I was short with the kids. I was short with Kris. I was stressed out all the time. I walked around our house with a complete heaviness about me. Everybody suffered. I should have been enjoying all of the "newness" of our family... our "New Normal"... but I wasn't normal. I was distant. I wasn't bonding at the same rate as Kris and the kids. As already stated, I loved them all... I just couldn't keep myself from being stressed out all the time. I couldn't handle what had happened to our beautiful family, and I couldn't handle what had happened to me. The Bible says that pride comes before the fall, and I was falling. It seemed like I was falling for months. Why didn't I seek help? Why didn't I acknowledge Kris's words? So much pain could have been avoided. So much time and energy could have been invested wisely. So many little issues could have been resolved so quickly. But Pride has a way of taking you off track... and I was off track!

But God has brought me around. Much progress has been made. I love my kids, and I really, truly enjoy them. I am bonding with them more all the time. It will soon be a year that our seven children met for the first time. I can't wait to celebrate with them and Kris.

Guys, Husbands, Dads... don't be like me. Don't think you are above PADS. Listen to your wife - she knows! God has brought her to you as a helper. Use her words to wake yourself up to the help you need. (I didn't!) Be patient as you trust God to bring you through. (I didn't even ask Him for help.) He can do it and He will. He wants those kids fully attached to their earthly father so they can experience the love and the nurture and the strength they need to face the world one day. In doing so, they will get a picture of their Heavenly Father that will be accurate and good and right. After all, that's why He placed them in your family.

The following link takes you to an article that can give you some more insight...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Speaking of Life Saving Interventions

Formerly, I was on a path to destruction. Relationships that weren't Godly. Activities in my life that did not honor the Lord. I already claimed to be a Christian, but I sure wasn't having a daily walk with the Lord. But God...

God brought into my life and allowed me to marry Kris. He used Kris to teach me and correct me and bless me. I remember sitting in the Living Room five years ago and giving Kris back to the Lord the night before she went in to receive her Pacemaker. Her mother was there. Her sister was there. Our four children were there. We were confident about how God was going to answer our prayers, and how He was going to fulfill the calling He had placed on her life.

This last week, we gathered around Kris again. And this time it was to celebrate. She turned 39 again last week. Her mother was there. Her sister was there. All of our seven children were there. It wasn't anything fancy... Kris doesn't do fancy... but it was special nonetheless. And the coolest thing is... God is still fulfilling His calling on Kris's life, and we are still the beneficiaries of that calling.

I don't know how you do it, Kris. You were meant to be a mom. Of all the people I get to meet, you are by far, the one that is living the life God created you to live. You are a wonderful mom and a great gift to our children! And I thank God for you...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Five Years

This months marks the five year anniversary of the greatest birthday gift I've ever received. Some girls love diamonds, others chocolate - but me?....The best birthday gift I ever got was my pacemaker.

I lived 25 years of my live with a rather troubling heart issue that could not be solved. As scary as it was, I just assumed that I would never know this side of heaven, what was wrong with me. But to my great surprise, February 2, 2003 the issue was identified and 48 hours later I was the proud owner of my very own titanium pacemaker. Happy Birthday to me.

Tonight I was reading my friend Patrick's blog. It appears they have a five year anniversary of their own to remember. This would be an anniversary of much different kind. On February 11, 2003 Patrick and his wife Jennifer held their 10 month old daughter as she died.

This is a pain that I hope to never understand.

It does cause me to wonder... Why does God need some of us here and some of us there? That He would choose to preserve my life as wife and mother and meanwhile call a lamb home right out of the arms of her parents?

I have always said that would take physical pain any day over emotional pain. The first is over when it's over. The second drags on forever. Because He is the Master weaver and His plan is sovereign and perfect there is peace that can be found in the midst of pain. Patrick and Jen have that peace - their lives are a living testimony of God's healing power.

I have a new sense of appreciation for this pacemaker in my chest. It is a constant reminder of God's intervention in my life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


When Brent and I first started thinking about having children I dreamed of having four boys. I felt pretty confident that is what God would give us so when Aaron was born and the doctor said "IT'S A BOY!" I said "Of course it is."

A year and a half later, when the doctor said "IT"S A GIRL!" I was in shock. What would I do? What would her name be? I don't like pink! Oh, it was an interesting time.

The only thing I knew at that moment was that this baby girl would need a sister.

Sisters are one of God's greatest gifts to me. I have two of them and my relationship with my sisters cannot be explained - it can only be experienced. We can have intimate conversations without having to explain details of our lives. We understand each other unlike any other relationship on earth. My daughter would need this.

"IT'S A GIRL!" said the doctor three years later. "Of course it is" I responded.

One of my greatest pleasures is to watch my girls (4 of them now!) together. They really enjoy each other and it is exciting to watch them grow in their relationships. One of my famous lines when I see them off giggling together is..."I love sisters."

In honor of sisters.........

3 sisters holding 3 sisters
(pre-adoption photo)

My pioneer girls

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Truth About Birthdays

Max just had his first American birthday. He thinks it was also his last. It is so interesting to me when I discover things we assume the kids understand. Who would have thought I would need to explain that a person has LOTS of birthdays - one every year, in fact.

Max didn't know that. He was so very excited about his special day - but before the day was even half over he got real sad. I asked him what was wrong and he said "Tomorrow is not my birthday." I said "No sweetheart, but TODAY is your birthday and we still have your party tonight!" Max sadly retorted, "But then no more birthdays."

I explained the way birthdays work. He was quite relieved to know the truth. It also cleared up for him how everyone else got to be so old. We had noticed that he was very confused about that. He would ask different siblings throughout the week..."Jenna, how do you get to be 12?" He is so happy to know that he will get to be 12 one day, too.

We are blessed to be able to make such a fuss on birthdays. In so many other parts of the world they have much bigger things to worry about than remembering the day a child was born.

In honor of our five year old I will attempt to limit myself to five things I love about Max:
1. Max is hilarious. I have no idea how he comes up with his stuff but he keeps us in stitches

2. Max is teachable. He wants to obey and please us - when he needs corrected he gets
quiet, drops his head, sheds a tear or two, nods his head, and obeys.

3. Max has a smile that lights up the room.

4. Max loves books. He memorizes his favorites and recites parts of them throughout the

5. Max is thriving in a family. It is plain to see that he enjoys the benefits of being the
youngest, but he still wants us to "get a baby" from Ethiopia.

Some fun photos of our yummy 5 year old...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Love Hurts

Many of you know that it is our Brooke who has struggled the most with losing her birth home, parents and previous life. She has grieved and we have greived for her. The other night when I was kissing her goodnight we had a very sweet conversation.

Brooke: "Mom, I wish I was in your tummy when I was a baby."

Mom: "You do? Why Honey?"

Brooke: "Because then I wouldn't miss my Ethiopia mom."

How does her six year old brain think of such things? It makes me love her more which I did not think possible. She is learning, at too young of an age, that love can be very painful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


This is how we envisioned school at our house when we set the room up last August.

In reality this is how school looks most days.

Expections are so often not met. It was not realistic for me to think I was ever going to be able to have 7 kids work quietly at a single table doing school all morning.

The greatest thing is that although expectations are often not fullfilled, they are often exceeded. When I get my perspective right (this often needs to be self-corrected) and look around, I am tickled by what I see. Two kids doing school work under the table. (who said the "on" was better than "under"?) Two kids cuddled together reading. One man-boy happily improving his typing skills. Yet two others finding a quiet spot in their bedroom. (no pictures because I actually didn't know where they were until too late.)

Then there are the times when I feel like nothing is getting done. This happens more often than I care to admit. Again, when I take a step back and evaluate what is going on - even then I am often not dissapointed.

Here are some "out takes" from our home school days gone by....

This is what happens when you let two ornry boys go off alone for "Buddy Time." (Those are Aaron's pants that Max is "wearing".)

These beautiful ladies were having some quiet reading time and instead got a complete make over.

Joseph has had a rude awakening about family dynamics when he became a younger brother. As Aaron puts it..."I have waited 13 years to do this!" Unfortunately, I have to break them up to get back to business at least once a day.

While expectations are good - flexibility is better...especially when you are a homeschooling family of nine.