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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Heading Home.....

Thank you all for your prayers for our family over the last 3 years and especially the last 42 days. We survived life in the Dominican with 6 kids for 42 days straight.... living in a very different culture and it was very good:) The kids did better than me in a lot of moments-LOL!! This was a blessing of time to bond as a family and it will forever be a wonderful memory for all of us. I do think my kids are going to miss it here. I am going to miss drinking the fresh fruit punches that we are all now addicted to:)) If I could only figure out how to bring it home with us:)) I will also miss the extraordinary view of the amazing ocean as we ride down the road and the beautiful palm trees:) There is such natural God made beauty in this country:) And last but not least I am going to miss our friends that are soo special to us here....what a blessing God has given us in the friendships we have here:))

Tonight was very difficult as we had to say goodbye to our sweet daughters for a short time. Prayers were answered tonight because, although we all cried and my heart hurt deeply....I feel like we all handled it pretty well. It is comforting for us to know that our babies are in good hands with Giovanny and Carolina:) They will be well taken care of and loved much in our absence. We will now be counting down the days until Tommy and I come back so that we can bring them home FOR GOOD!! OH what a feeling of JOY that will be!!!

We are in the midst of packing up, what feels like a house, once again to return to our home in the USA!! I have missed my family, friends and yes MY HOME!! Oh to sleep in my bed:))) I look forward to seeing my baby, Brayden, play some baseball when we return....off to the baseball field Monday night we will go! Back to the real world-HA!

I will continue to update as we begin to prepare to return to the DR and get closer to the date of bringing the girls home. So blessings to all of you and your precious God-given families!!

I wanted to share just another gift of God's faithfulness with you...below are the very 1st pictures of our girls when we first met them and a current one...It is still so hard to believe we have been able to watch them grow over the years and love them more and more each time we were able to be with them....soon they will forever be a part of our family:) Thank you Lord for answering our prayers:)

Praising God for His Plan for these 2 precious souls.....Goodnight:)     Heather

The first time we met Izzy... She is with George Lemonakis (one of Tommy's former players)
She is on the right:)


                                           The first time we met Jada...she is with my dad:)


                                                           Our Family....Complete:))

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 39 and counting.....

Well, it is hard to believe we are on Day 39 in the Dominican Republic. Yes time has flown in some ways but it has stood still in others-HA! I do love this country and the wonderful people the Lord has brought into our lives here. We have made forever friends with SCORE missionaries (friends we already had before this trip....we so enjoyed spending more time with them here) and "NEW" forever friends that have been brought into our lives on this journey:)

 Life here for the last 39 days has taught me to relax in the Presence of God...I read the Jesus Calling devotion everyday and most of each of the days we have been here have spoken to this. I have learned that we are a "BLESSED" People no matter where we live on this earth because God is with us each moment of each day....longing for us to rest in His Presence, His Provision and His Purpose for each and every one of us. I am grateful for this time that has grown mine and Tommy's faith and I pray the faith of my children.

 God has certainly continued to provide for us with a mountain of expenses and has certainly blown our minds by the amazing people that have so generously given to help us through this process. We still have a few hills yet to go but we are approaching the final destination very soon...ahhh that feels so good to know!! I just want to say "THANK YOU" once again to those of you who have helped us in this way AND in the gifts of prayer and encouragement!! Words just cannot begin to express our gratitude!

So here is the update for the last week:

We got my dad and Brayden off to the USA last Saturday.  We have been able to watch all of Brayden's games through Face Time on the Computer!! This has been great!! It has killed us to miss watching him play so this has been a BLESSING!! Many thanks to my sweet daddy who holds the i Pad up to the fence and commentates for us! Brayden's team went undefeated in their sub-district tournament and so they will host the District Tournament at our fields that starts this Friday!! The team as a whole has played Awesome and we are praying they have another GREAT Tournament!! We are excited to hopefully see the last half of their games played next week:))

We were able to get Izzy's hair done for her last Saturday. Carolina's mom is a hairdresser and she straightened and fixed Izzy's hair and I trimmed it. She was beautiful before but is even more breathtaking:)) She is a precious girl of very few words but we are starting to get her loosened up-LOL!

BIGGEST NEWS:
We went to CONANI and signed our last official adoption papers!! They are being processed and notarized then Lord Willing we hope to have them submitted to the court by Friday....NEED YOUR PRAYERS SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS!!!

We were able to meet with the Judge who will make final adoption ruling on our case on Tuesday afternoon. This was somewhat of a miracle that she would agree to meet with us since our case hasn't been submitted yet. We went to ask if she would allow us to turn power of attorney over to our lawyer so that Tommy and I would not have to be present when she gave the final ruling which will come 10 working days after the case is received by the courts. She granted us both permission to leave as planned this Sunday June 30:) I am thankful for this but Tommy and I are still both very torn over leaving the girls. We know the end is NEAR so this helps some!! So... we are starting to prepare today for the hard transitions were going to make in 4 days...

So I will leave you with My Jesus calling Devotion yesterday....May I continue to be thankful for ALL of the blessings God gives even if that only means just being able to walk and rest in His Presence Each Day!! Blessings and much love to all of you!!

Jesus Calling:

Open your hands and your heart to receive this day a precious gift from Me. I begin each day with a sunrise, announcing my radiant Presence. By the time you rise from your bed, I have already prepared the way before you. I eagerly await your FIRST concious thought. I rejoice when you glance my way!

Bring me the gift of thanksgiving, which opens your heart to rich communion with ME. Because I am God, from whom ALL blessings flow, thankfulness is the best way to draw near to Me. Sing praise songs to Me; tell of My wondrous works. Remember that I take great delight in you; I rejoice over you with singing.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
-Psalm 118:24

Heather

                                       The kids and their new sunglasses...missing Bray Bray:)

                                             Funny moments at a mall in Santo Domingo...
                                    We were able to take the girls to a movie:)) They loved it!

                                                   Our last dinner with our precious friends
                                              the Soto's! We are going to miss them!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 33...

Hello to everyone this Thursday:) We were blessed to have my dad (aka...Paw Paw) come to see us this week! He arrived on Sunday and oh how excited we all were to see him! As soon as we picked him up from the airport we were off to watch Jackson and Brayden play in a basketball tournament game. They have been fortunate to play each weekend we have been here and have loved it. The little team they have played with are a bunch of precious boys! It has been a lot of fun to watch them! After the game we went to the mall...it's so funny....you would think my kids had never been to a mall before because of the excitement they have when we go! Paw Paw bought them all a goody and smiles were on everyone's faces!! Paw Paw was so tired by the end of the mall experience...I told him he was walking and talking in his sleep! He only had an hour and a half of sleep the night before. My mom was in Texas when he left so he of course he waited to the last minute to pack his stuff...lol! I do take this trait after him:) He made it though....He passed out as soon as we got home and so did we!

We had a great few days together....Tuesday we were able to go a SCORE orphanage in Boca Chica. It is a girl's orphanage that has 37 PRECIOUS girls:) The youngest little girl was 1 year old and her name was Achante. My kids were so taken with her:) Jackson says...."Mom I think we might need to adopt her too..." OH MY! Brayden says "she is so cute, I can't stand it!". It does melt my heart that they have a heart for children:)) I will have to say though....that as far as the Lord has let me know....the next adoption to take place will rest with them when they get married and have a family-LOL! It was also very sweet to watch Izzy and Jada interact with all of the girls. I'm sure it was emotional for them to experience.  The orphanage is fairly new and they are in the process of finishing a beautiful kitchen and getting the grounds in good shape. They orphanage is looking for sponsors for each of the girls to help with school and living expenses. For 30.00/month you can meet their needs for this. If any of you are interested please visit SCORE's website and inquire or let me know and I will connect you:) They beauty is you can make a trip here and meet your sponsored child and build a beautiful relationship with them! It is a wonderful thing!!

The best part of the day was listening to these precious souls sing to us:) They sang "How Great is our God" in Spanish and English and "Mighty to Save" in spanish. SO PRECIOUS!!!  I cannot begin to express how awesome this was!!! It was a wonderful day for all of us!

After the orphanage we went to "The Highlands", which a Sports Complex in Boca Chica. The USA Major League Giants have a practice field facility there and we were able to go and give Brayden some batting practice. The girls shagged the balls for him and then Miss Izzy decided she wanted to try and hit some balls. Well, let me say all but about 2 went into the outfield!! She is really GOOD!!! Tommy got very excited:))

Yesterday we were able to go to a brand new water-park that just opened last week that is about 10 min from where we are staying. It was so much fun!! The girls have never gone anywhere like this before and it was priceless to see their faces as they came down the slides!! It was a great day!

Lastly...today has been quite emotional on many different levels. My dad and Brayden left this morning to head home. We all took them to the airport. We have prayed for Brayden until now that God would give him peace of mind and calm his anxieties of leaving. He was quite emotional but did ok. What we haven't prayed enough about was the emotion and anxiety of my other children. It was almost more than I could bear. When we got out of the van...Aubree says "Bubba, I give you a kiss and she did and just hugged him so sweetly:)) Bad enough for one to cry but to have 5 crying hysterically along with me, Tommy and my dad....it was BAD!! I have no idea what the people around us were thinking:)  I will admit on one hand seeing the love that has been established between all of my kids over the last 5 weeks was a most precious sight, but the pain in their cries was so hard to endure. I do praise the Lord for giving us a glimpse from time to time that He is in our children's hearts and that they have Love for each other and for others. God has been so faithful and He continues to grow our faith and trust in Him each and every day. The hardest part of today was realizing how difficult our departure on June 30 is going to be. How difficult to say "goodbye" and leave my girls here once more. We know it will only be for a month but oh how sad we are all going to be. The most difficult departure yet! I know God will go before us and prepare all of hearts for this but I do ask for your specific prayers on our behalf concerning this! Thank you:)

Here are a few pictures below of the orphanage and the water park we went to yesterday! Love you all and look forward to seeing many of you soon:))

Heather








Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 26....

Hello to everyone....Well, I have great intentions of blogging everyday but it hasn't been as easy as I thought. By the time I get food ready for everyone and feed them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the snacks & drinks in between and clean up....the day is almost gone! Then trying to find a moment where the kids are somewhat quiet enough for me to think and write my thoughts is the other obstacle-lol :) So here we go in giving a quick recap of the last week....

We were so blessed to take a trip last Friday to a BEAUTIFUL Resort in Samana, Dominican Republic,  with the owners of the house we are renting and their precious family! We were able to use one of SCORE's older vans to take the trip, praising the Lord for this, because it was going to cost around 500.00 to rent a van for the 4 days we were gone...Yikes!!  The van is great and seats up to 12 people....only problem is the van is a stick shift and the roads were very curvy and we went up and down mountains for about 2 1/2 hours...praise God I gave all of the kids dramamine except Aubree. She was asleep when we left and woke up about and hour into the trip. Well, about 30 min before we arrived to the resort out comes the vomit from Aubree Mae...oh my....Jackson screamed like a girl (he was sitting next to her), she was strapped in the car seat and I couldn't get to her to get her out, so we were all screaming for Tommy to pull over....Yes it was a bit of a funny nightmare-LOL!  Tommy was finally able to pull over and we cleaned all we could up with a beach towel....stripped her down and then she enjoyed the rest of the ride in the front with me:) She kept saying "I throw up, I throw up"...she never cried just kept right on as if she was fine all along. Always an adventure with the Kyle's. 
      
We reached the resort and what a beautiful sight it was! The pools were wonderful, the beach was beautiful and the company was awesome. The Soto's treated us like royalty and met our every need. The kids had such a wonderful time and the girls enjoyed it so much! My wish was for the girls to have an unforgettable experience on their island and this they did along with my other kids:) We made friends for a lifetime! I couldn't have prayed for a more wonderful time for our family...It was simply a gift from God! 

We returned home late Sunday night...yes we ALL took dramamine this time except for Tommy (our driver)....we slept very well that night:))

Monday we just hung out at the house...it stormed almost all day....made a trip to the store to restock our food and drinks (this is very important-lol!)

Yesterday Brayden was able to play in a baseball game. There is a 10 year old baseball team here on a mission trip with SCORE and they were playing in a game nearby- so we went and Bray played on the Dominican Team. He had a good time:) This was good....he needed some practice....Brayden made All-Stars back home and decided that he wanted to come home early and play. So, we decided to let him do this. My dad is flying over here this Sunday June 16, and he is taking Brayden home on Thursday June 20. This was a bit of a difficult decision for Brayden because he desperately wants to play but has struggled with anxiety of separation of me and Tommy alot this year. We have been getting some help for him with this issue. He has been doing better over the last couple of months and I am praying really hard for him that he will have a breakthrough going through with this decision to come home early. So, I covet your prayers for him as he comes home, that God would give him peace of mind and that he will continue to have faith that God is in control and with him ALL of the time. Thank you for this:)

So to wrap it up....Today has been a chilling kind of day as well....it has been quite rainy and overcast this week. I am still struggling with some homesickness but as my Jesus Calling devotion keeps reminding me....God is my strength, my trust must be in Him and Him alone and He is the provider of all that I need...moment by moment. 

One of my precious friends, Christine Pendley, mother of 4 and precious wife, fell asleep with Jesus this morning. She has battled with cancer for about 7 years and has fought a good fight of faith and courage! I am so sad that I am not there to love on her precious husband and family but I know Jesus will meet them in every moment, sustaining them for the journey He has them on. I will continue to pray for them daily! 

I continue to ask you to pray for my other dear friend and mentor, Bonnie Moore, who is struggling with recent news of re-occuring cancer. What a difficult season of life for so many families going through these situations. For this reason, I am grateful for the hope we have in Christ that this life on earth is a journey that takes us to the our REAL Home...sometimes I have to admit this is really difficult for me to wrap my brain around because of the sadness I feel of thoughts of losing those I love so much but I keep praying for God to deal with my mind and give me His perspective. This devotion I am sharing speaks to me greatly. I pray it will speak to you as well.

A Jesus calling devotion states this...
"TRUST ME,  and don't be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. The battle for control of your mind is fierce, and years of worry have made you vulnerable to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be viligant in guarding your thoughts. Do not despise this weakness in yourself, since I am using it to draw you closer to Me. Your constant need for Me creates intimacy that is worth the effort. You are NOT ALONE in this struggle for your mind. My Spirit living within you is ever ready to help you in this striving. Ask Him to control your mind; He WILL Bless you with Life and Peace.

"Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:2

Much Love to all of you...have a blessed day!
Heather




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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 19....

Well hello again from the Dominican!! Hope this note finds all of you well and off to a great start of Summer:) I am enjoying seeing all of the beach and pool photos of everyone on Facebook! Well...we have had a good week so far!

Monday....A friend of mine named Allison Hale, who is a missionary here, took me out for the day!! Whoo hoo....this was day 2 of some girl time for me. I loved it! She showed me, she and her husband's ministry sites in San Pedro which is a big city about 15 minutes from where we are staying. She and her husband have planted a church in San Pedro, they have also started a Christian School there and they have a Safe-House where they take in women and children off the streets and out of prostitution situations. They teach these women skills such as making jewelry and doing hair and nails, so they can earn money the right way for their families! They also teach them how to handle the money they make so that they learn to tithe, save and live efficiently. It's AWESOME!! I loved it!

Tuesday....We went to Santo Domingo to Giovanny's house and had our 1st visit with a social worker from CONANI. It went really well, she asked the girls and Tommy and I several questions about how things have been going since they have been with us. I think the girls answered favorably...hopefully not any horror stories in Spanish about how crazy we are!! LOL!!

After we finished our meeting we went to a new mall that has been built in Santo Domingo...Inside the mall they have a place called Screamland! Well..it is like a mini-six flags in the mall....the kids had a BLAST!! Of course this was the first time the girls have ever seen anything like this and they LOVED it!! It was so fun to watch them act like little kids and enjoy all of the rides and each other! We got there at 2:00 yesterday and did not leave until 10:00 last night! Needless to say we were ALL exhausted at the end of the night!! They are all begging to go back!

Today has been a chill day...we have spend a little time at the pool and I have been cleaning some!

We have been blessed by Mr. Soto (the owner of the home we are renting)! He and his family have asked our family to join them at an all inclusive resort this weekend and he is going to help cover our cost! GOD is so awesome...One of the things I really wanted to do while we are here is to visit a part of the island the girls and us have never been to. I was hoping we could go to a resort since it might be a long time before all of us could ever fly over again. I looked into it but the cost was more than we could do with 8 of us....So the Lord is definately giving me a desire of my heart through Mr. Soto and his precious family!!!

I love this insert from Jesus Calling...
"Relax in the knowledge that the One who controls your life is totally trustworthy. Come to me with confident expectation. There is nothing you need or want that I cannot Provide."
"Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song." Psalm 95:2

I am thankful that the Lord sees fit to meet our needs AND our wants to continue to show us just How BIG of a GOD HE IS!! May I praise Him each day for WHO He is and not WHAT He does for me!!

Miss and love you all!! Have a great day!!!
Heather

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 15....

Hello to everyone! Well today is day 15 that we have been here:) It has gone by quickly in some ways and slowly in others-lol! Overall, it has been really good!! I have had a little harder week this week with homesickness but today I have felt a lot better!

*Monday we spent most of the day at the pool. It was very nice!

*Tuesday we went to Santo Domingo and met with our lawyer so she could map out the timeline of all that is ahead to finish the adoption. Here is what we learned:

Our 30 day co-habitation is over on June 21, papers will be prepared by CONANI (this will take 3-4 days) and then filed with the court in Santo Domingo to give final approval our adoption. This ruling will take up to 2 weeks to get.  Once we get the ruling, the 30 day appeal period will start. They have to allow for this by law. (Hoping this will start by July 10 or earlier.) Once the 30 day appeal period is over (Tommy will probably fly back to the DR then)  and we will then file with La Junta (Dominican Registrar)  to obtain their new birth certificate approval (this can take 4 days up to a month to receive- yes we are praying for 4 days!!! This could be around August 15), once we have this (I will probably fly back to the DR here) then our lawyer and Tommy will go La Romana (the girls' place of birth) and file for their new birth certificates and passports, then we will take these to the US Embassy to file for their VISA's and THEN WE ARE READY TO COME HOME!!!!!!! Soo...it is looking like mid to end of August before we can bring them home. I was not happy about this when I initially heard this but the Lord is continually teaching me that it is HIS WILL NOT MINE! I am just so overwhelmed with gratefulness that the end of this is truly in sight!! It is hard to believe!

The kids and I will for sure be flying home on June 30, Tommy may have to stay if the court requires one of us to be present for the final ruling. The girls will then go to stay with Giovanny and Carolina Valdez until we return in August to get them. I discussed this with Izzy today and she seems to be good with this. We are planning to enroll the girls in an English speaking class for the month of July to continue to help them with their English. They are both doing very very good so far!!

*Wednesday we chilled again at the pool:)

*Thursday was a Dominican Holiday here so Giovanny scheduled a game for my boys and his son's team to play basketball:) The boys have practiced with Giovanny's team the last 2 Saturdays and have had a lot of fun. This has been a good outlet for them while we are here!! We went to papa John's and had pizza afterwards....they had a playground inside so the kids were very happy!

*Friday I spent most of the day with Margaret Morris and a friend of hers which is now a friend of mine too named Mercy. It was a lot of fun!!! Thanks to Tommy who so sweetly kept all of the kids so I could get out for a little while!!

*Today the boys got up and went to play basketball early and we girls slept in and went to the pool. The weather has been very nice today!

Thank you all for continuing to pray for us while we are away. A very close friend and mentor of mine was diagnosed with cancer yesterday and I had a very difficult time last night not being where I could go see her, hug her and tell her I love her in person... BUT in all things God is Sovereign and I know He has her in the palm of His Hand and will continue to carry her through whatever lies ahead. I am praying for healing and strength for the days to come for her and her precious family!! I ask that you might lift her up and continue to pray that God will do a mighty work in all of our family's lives while we are here and continue to grow our faith in all the ways we need it!! I love you all! Have a blessed and wonderful day!

Heather