Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day Twenty-Seven, Gift Twenty-Seven

I had a bit of a heavy heart this morning for the person who called me the night before.  She is having relationship issues and I know all too well how difficult that can be from my first marriage.  I married very young (19) and a couple years later had my Dakota.  Five years later when the marriage ended, I was on my own for about six months before I met Tim.  Tim, also having a previous marriage, had a daughter, Kaylee.  Tim and I were meant to be and hit it off instantly.  When we decided to get married and move in together, Kaylee and Dakota got along so well it was unimaginable.  Tim then went on to adopt Dakota and we conceived Abigail on our honeymoon.  While I was still pregnant, we heard about Jamie and all her failed adoptions.

It took 18 months to complete the foster care process and home study, but finally we were considered to adopt Jamie.  While considering us, Justin and Jordan came into our lives.  These were two brothers who needed a place for "two weeks" we were told.  Ultimately, both ended up being adopted.  We adopted Justin and some relatives of Jordan's adopted him after living with us for a year.  While we had the boys, we were denied to adopt Jamie because I was working three hours per morning and they wanted her to have a "stay at home" mom...even though she was in school those hours...sigh.  So, I quit my job and again, we were denied because we didn't have enough income...sigh again.  Shortly after, Tim took a promotion to a police department out in the middle of no where, while I was scared to death to move, the homes were half the price and his pay would be more.  We then applied again to adopt Jamie and our persistence paid off, we were chosen!  From the time we first fell in love with Jamie to the time she actually moved in was about 2 1/2 years.

How did we find Jamie?  Well, there is a great website that has all the kids who are waiting to be adopted.  These are the kids who are legally free to adopt, but for whatever reason, the state can not find them an adoptive home.  They are currently in foster homes or more likely, group homes.  Go to: to look for children in your can adopt from other states as well, it is just easier for visitation, etc, to stay within your own state.  These children usually are older, have special needs, or are in sibling groups.  Here is the only picture in existence of all six of the children together...they all smiled, but not at the same time!  It was after taking them to the circus...we get a lot of stares when we take everyone out at the same time...Left to Rt in back (Kaylee, Jamie, Abigail, Justin), Left to Rt in front, (Jordan & Dakota)...

I'm sorry I went off on a tangent, but my point is that Tim and I went from each having one child to having six under the age of six in just a years time!  The stress was unimaginable, yet we handled it with grace and happiness.  I want this for every marriage and when my friend called about her relationship, I was saddened.  This morning I thought of what I could do as a gift that may help her.  I sent her the book, "The Love Dare" is located right here on my blog if you are interested.  It is based on the movie, "Fireproof", a Christian film starring Kirk Cameron.  His marriage is obviously over at the beginning of the movie, with no chance of repair, however, his Dad insists that he does the "Love Dare" for one month before giving up.  The son, who respects his father greatly, reluctantly agrees.

What is the "Love Dare" exactly?  It is a daily challenge for one month based on the Bible and Christian principles of marriage.  Each day, you read a devotion and you are given a challenge.  For example, the first day the dare is "to not say anything negative to your spouse for the entire day".  It also gives you a place to journal about what you did and your spouses response, etc.  I did the "Love Dare" with Tim last year without him knowing, what was most amazing is that he did not even notice I was doing it!  This showed me that I'm showing him love, kindness, and patience on a regular basis.  However, if you are not showing these things in your marriage, this is a great way to start.  The book emphasizes changing your behavior and most likely your spouse will let his/her guard down and their behaviors will change as well.  You have to go in expecting nothing but to promise yourself to do the dare.

I have decided I am going to do the dare again this year during the month of February in the spirit of Valentines Day.  I think even the best marriages can benefit from "The Love Dare" and struggling marriages could possibly be saved by it.  Anyone who takes the month to really challenge themselves, pray with God, and journal on these challenges will have a changed life, I am sure of it!  So for my gift today, I gave my friend the gift of "The Love Dare"...I ordered it from my website and I expect she will get it by February 1st.  This is when I plan on starting my "Love Dare" so I will let you all know how it is going.  Tim doesn't read my blog on a regular basis, so it will be fun to see how long it takes him to realize I am doing it!  There is also a "couples kit" on my blog if you want to buy it as a gift for your spouse and do it together...but don't try and make your spouse do it :-).  Shortly after Tim realized I was doing it, he went on his own and got the book and did it for me!  It's really quite fun.