Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why we won't be watching Princess Movies Anymore

So, up to this point I have mainly kept the posts on our blog to adoption related posts.
But I titled the blog "It's a mom life" for a reason!  
I'd eventually like to just be able to update family and friends on how our family is growing and changing.
But I would also like to share more about what my life is as a mom and share things that
are close to my heart.

So here it goes.

Our oldest daughter is a princess fanatic!
She absolutely loves all the princess movies, has a Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella dress complete with
her several tiaras, princess shoes, and necklaces.
I do not see anything wrong with allowing our girls to dress up and play pretend.

However, we're seeing a trend that we do not like, and we believe it stems from watching all the Disney princess movies like Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Tangled, etc.

And we've just made a decision to take those types of movies out of our video library for a long time.  
And I'll share with you the reasons why.

She is looking up to an adult princess.

 "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior..."
Titus 2:3a
Our girls are little ladies.
How do these movies line up with the example
of Godly women?
Joy loves to look pretty.  She loves to dance like a princess.  She loves to look at herself in the mirror, pretend to marry her prince (daddy), and pretend she's falling in love.

But she's 4.

We're noticing that it is difficult for her to understand what is acceptable for adult (or teenage, really) princesses vs. her little preschooler self.  For example, usually the days following watching a princess movie, she talks about the difference between an adult kiss and a little kid kiss.  She is fascinated by it for some reason and tries to push the envelope with the type of kisses she gives to us or her siblings.

And another example.
When dressing up, she is always looking to us to tell her how beautiful she is.  How "princess-like" she is.  How precious she looks.
I'm sure that this stuff is normal for little ones to experiment with.  But look at what she's watching!!!  She's 4 years old and sees movies with teenagers "falling in love" and wanting to marry their prince within the week!  They normally dress pretty immodestly, are always beautiful with long flowy hair, and will always kiss their prince.  How is she supposed to process these adult concepts in her head?  I believe it's so hard because she isn't SUPPOSED to have to process things like this yet!  Her example of love should come from family around her.  
Our kids see my husband and I hug, exchange kisses and goof around all the time.  
But to their understanding, we have always been together.
We are secure.
We are a solid fixture in their lives.
We can explain our love story to them, but all they see is that from the moment they were born, mom and dad have always loved each other and that's how things ARE.

We need to nurture her inner beauty.

 "But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."
1 Peter 3:4
 I don't believe this "gentle and quiet spirit"
can be found in the princesses
that girls look up to.
Joy doesn't need to have the same "self worth" that the world tells us to.
She needs to know what is most important to our Lord.  And that is her heart.  

Think about it.
What's the first thing that comes to our mind to say to a little girl when we meet them?
"How pretty you are!"  
"What a beautiful dress!"
"I love your gorgeous eyes!" 
"Wow, such a little cutie pie!"

Anything wrong with these?  Not inherently.

But what are these tiny little hearts learning???
That they need to be pretty for others?
That they need to smile pretty for others?
That they are better because they are pretty today?
That we should strive to earn complements about our OUTER appearance?

We need to address their hearts.
And the "heart" of the matter is that God cares for what is inside.
Our "inner" beauty.
NOT the counsel of the world that says how important and self-loving we should be to ourselves.
But our inner self that loves the Lord.
That puts others first.
That desires to honor and respect our parents and forgive others.
The thing that our Father finds as PRECIOUS!
We would like to pull our girls away from the all-important Princess persona of beauty.
We need to teach them what true beauty is in the eye of our Creator.

We want to be an example of humble repentance and grace.

 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9 
Good vs. evil is not the same as sin vs. righteousness.
  Repentance is obviously not seen in these films because
they are void of Christ. 
The best way for our children to understand their own depravity and forgiveness through Christ
is showing it to them practically.
We talk to the girls all the time about repentance and forgiveness of sin, but they NEED to see
that we are in this with them!
We are sinners saved by grace and they need a Savior just as much as we do!
They must see us apologize when necessary and be the example of humility and turning from our sin to Christ.

But look at these movies!!
Young women and men break the law, disobey their parents, disrespect their parents verbally and with their actions.  Couples make it clear that regardless of what their parents approve of or think, their "love" is most important of all and gives them permission to do whatever necessary to be together.
That is directly in contradiction to what we are trying to teach them!
And there is usually no remorse!

We are working in a direction more like this:

We can tell our girls how "not nice" they are sometimes.
Or how "mean" they are when they take something away from the other.

But a better approach would be this:

Did God create you?  
Did God create your sister?
Did He make those hands of yours?
Did He form your heart?
Then how would He like you to use your hands toward the sister He made for you?
And how do you think He feels when your heart is unkind toward someone that He made and loves?
Do you think we should pray for Him to forgive you?
Would you like to try and do better and treat your sister in a way that pleases The Lord now?
Sometimes it's hard, mommy and daddy sin too.  But we always are very sorry for our sin and thank Jesus for forgiving us and allowing us to do better next time!

If they watch a show, make it a purposeful one.

 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
1 Corinthians 10:23
Is it sinful to turn on Cinderella?
But I do not see it as helpful to our little girls'
hearts and minds as they try and process what this world is all
about and who God created them to be.
This isn't ALL about the princess stuff.  
It's about both trying to take the ungodly, unnecessary adult-like fairy tales away and replace them with much more appropriate videos for their little eyes to watch.  
I mean, it's not like there aren't 1,001 BETTER things for them to watch!
I was the one who brought out these nostalgic movies to introduce them to anyways.
I remember watching them, wanting to be Ariel transformed into a human, Belle being captivated by magical creatures and falling in love with a beast, Jasmine in her skimpy outfit and pet tiger....
So I am to blame for subjecting her to these concepts. 
How much more productive would it be for her to watch Biblical shows?  Educational shows?  
Things we can talk about later that don't include explaining why Rapunzel was allowed to kiss Eugene with an "adult kiss"? And that don't include explaining why Ariel's top is technically a swimsuit top instead of a "bra"?  And why we don't pull our shirt down to show our bare shoulders like Jasmine? 

Our little girls are future women.  
We were once this young.
We must do our best to form their hearts to see themselves as God has created them.
Precious in His sight...yet with sin.
Which is why the Gospel is SO important in our parenting!!!!
He looks at our hearts...which is sinful!  Even theirs.  And look at the wide open door we have to tell
them of the beautiful gift of Jesus.  
There's no wondering when we'll have an "opportunity" to share the Gospel with our kids.
It's every minute of every day!

So maybe later down the road when our kids understand more about being young ladies, we'll sit and watch Little Mermaid again and sing all the songs together.  Lord knows I look forward to that! 
I don't know when that will be.  But I know that when our little girls lay in bed at night falling asleep, I don't want them day dreaming about a Prince Charming.  Their hearts are much too young for that. 
Instead, they can lay in bed and dream of the date that they get to take with their daddy.
Of a fun day ahead shopping with mom.
Of all the funny things that their baby brother did that day.
Because the time WILL come that a young man will lay heavy on one of their hearts and mind.  And when that day comes, I want her to see herself as the lady that we do.  As a daughter of our Heavenly Father that should be guarded and protected from the world's distorted view of love.  And also saved for the prince that will one day take her away from us.

Friday, July 19, 2013


I spoke with our agent at USCIS yesterday
and she said our I600 was
on July 12th!!!


For those of you who aren't working on adoption
paperwork in your spare time,
an I600 gives us
permission to bring Tobias into the States!
We already had permission to bring an "orphan"
into America, now we have permission to bring our
son specifically!!

SO, all he needs is a Passport,
his Visa,
and he's ready!

Sounds simple right???
Not quite.

It sounds so so simple in our minds as well.
Here is what the next few months will
hopefully look like.
Things can change very quickly though!

Didier will go back to Congo and
schedule a trip to Kinshasa.
He will bring Tobi to a place called
"Love Beyond Borders"
transition home.

We are now working with them to complete the adoption.
They have a home there to take care of the
children while they work on getting his
passport and visa.

They will get the passport, get an appointment for
The Embassy, then the Embassy will start what is called a 
"field investigation."
 This is where we really need to be in prayer.

They physically travel to Lubumbashi where the orphanage
is and do an investigation.
They make sure that documents and a bunch
of other stuff is correct and legitimate.

They do a group of investigations all at once
and I've HEARD that they
will be traveling to Lubumbashi in

This. Would. Be. AWESOME.
With all the delays that we've had,
we really have stopped counting on a specific
time period.
If they did Tobi's interviews and investigations
in August....
that would mean he'd have his visa soon after that!

please pray with us that it happens that way!

Once they are done with the investigation,
and stamp his passport with his
approved Visa...
we get to go to Africa
and pick up our son!!!!

The bittersweet part of all this is that
it looks like we will NOT be traveling
to Lubumbashi where he has lived
for over a year.
We won't get to see Didier's family and those
that have helped care for Tobi while he
was there.
We won't see the church and participate
in worship with them on Sunday.

This is about Tobias right now.
And we get to meet him,
hold him,
and keep him!

It will probably also be a better situation
for our children back home.
I believe we will be able to communicate with them
more in Kinshasa.
We'll see if that's true!

So we're excited and anxious as ever to meet Tobias.
And let me share something real quick.

I think about our son's beautiful
dark skin all the time.
Ever since I was young, I have just LOVED
African American's skin!
As a young, immature teenager,
my best friend and I would always talk about how
we would one day adopt
a black child because they were so 
darn cute.

Well, we watched "42" last night.
It's the story of Jackie Robinson.
I confessed to my husband that I honestly
try to forget about the past of our country and the
other countries that treated
their people with dark skin like they were animals.

Then, when things started to change,
they would recognize African Americans as
but FAR from equal.
I was thinking about how we would one day
explain to Tobias how people that looked like
him used to be treated in such a
terrible, inhumane way.

THEN, I thought of how it must have been
for parents back then.
How do you explain to your child that
God created all of us equal,
but the majority of the world doesn't see
it that way???

I'm so thankful to not have lived through those days.
And I weep for those that had to.
Gosh, could Jackie Robinson's grandparents even
COMPREHEND white people
WILLINGLY adopting black children???
I'm so glad that we've made it that far
as a country.
But the CHURCH should have been there
LONG ago!

That's just a little of what has been on my heart.
All children, regardless of their
ethnicity or skin color,
need parents.
There are millions that need rescuing.
But I really look forward to the stares.
I look forward to people glancing twice as they see
our 3 kids with light skin,
walking with our son who stands out with
his chocolate brown face and wide white eyes.
 Every stare and every question is an
opportunity to share WHY we adopt.

If we could only get him home....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Little Closer to Congo

So right now we have a lot going on.
We returned last week from
a week away with Chris
while he had an intensive Seminary class.
We are getting ready for VBS.
Oh, we're adopting.
We're potty training Noelle.
And I got a cold on Friday!

But all these things (except the cold)
are so rewarding!

We had a great time staying in a hotel while
Chris was in class.
I was actually surprised at how much the girls
behaved and liked it!

There was even a class on his last day
that was for the seminary wives!
It was SO refreshing to be with like-minded
ladies whose husbands are, or will be in ministry.

AND there was child care!
I had angel Jackson with me, 
but the girls
got to go play.

The last few weeks we've really just been
looking forward to Didier coming though!
I hope no one thinks we put him on a high pedestal.
I don't think we do.
He's a man of God that preaches the Word,
disciples men,
takes in and cares for orphans
and does A LOT of work to get them home.

It was wonderful to allow our church family to get
a glimpse of Congo through him.
He speaks of Tobias and it makes me tear up!
It makes me feel so much closer to him, yet so far away
at the same time.
You can listen to it here.

He sang a song for us in Swahili that was about
always being ready for The Lord's return.

The people received it as we hoped they would.
We really felt such a unity,
not only for wanting Tobias home.
But I pray it is also for adoption in general.
And for Congo.

When we finally DO bring Tobi home,
we don't want to look back on the year and half or so
and think that we're all done now.
That we've all done our part and have risen to the
call to care for the orphan.

This isn't a one-time thing.
We ALWAYS care.
We ALWAYS do what we can to help.
I can't WAIT for the next person we know to adopt!
I may not be able to write a big check,
but we'll do all that we can to assist!

And I really think that this process has
instilled that in most of our church body.
It is precious to see!

SPEAKING of helping!
I'll give you a little update on our financial status.
We have about $3,300 left to raise.
Give or take.

The shirts have done really well!
We only have 6 Lrg shirts left and that's IT!
If you want one let me know soon!

We're looking forward to seeing how the rest
is provided by Him.
We received a check for $500 from a very special
friend recently.
What a generous surprise that was!
We are SO undeserving!

It looks like more changes in the process are ahead for us
as well!

We'll tell you more about it when it's set in stone :)

So that's all for now,
hope to have another update very soon!

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