About Me

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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

One word

A year ago right now, I found myself still in the beginning stages of recovery from severe burnout. Life was rather scattered, and I felt absolutely exhausted and depleted. I'd run into a wall, and I could almost audibly hear God whisper one word to me. "Stop!"

Stop all the busyness. Take some time off from the things you once loved but don't even enjoy anymore. Stop striving to please everyone around you. Take some time to rest in Me while you gather your thoughts and regain your focus.

And there it was: my word for 2017. FOCUS.

I listened. I pondered. I took a step back from my normal activity. And I made sure I focused on one thing at a time, my best yes.

Basically, God was trying to tell me, "I have BIG plans for you, but I need you fully present and focused so I can accomplish my will in you,  through you, and for you."

To be able to find your best yes, you have to learn when to say no--or to realize what your YES meant you said NO to. Running from one activity to the next wasn't going to work anymore.

I took a step back from writing, barely writing a thing all year long. Instead I listened to that still small voice and started an online support group for anyone grieving a failed adoption, a group that has grown to over 120 members in one short year.

I took a step back from women's Bible study and focused on personal Bible study instead. That meant saying yes to a night at home and the opportunity to go to bed early at least one night a week. It meant using my Saturday mornings to work on scholarship applications with my son rather than using that time to keep up with Bible study homework.

I took a step back from trying to participate in every activity or volunteer requst that came my way (no matter how good it seemed) and focused on being fully present for my family, at both of my sons' athletic events, through my adoptive son's last semester of high school and first semester of college. Present with my parents when my dad sustained a life threatening brain injury from an automobile accident. Present with God for an entire week alone while my husband and sons were far away at camp. Present with Juan on our first international mission trip together and then fully present as we travelled to Spain to reunite with his sister. Present with my husband as we stayed connected over weekly dates on Sunday mornings, a time I used to devote to writing. And then present through the holidays to take advantage of the chance to visit and reconnect with both sides of the family over Christmas.

Learning to focus made a world of difference for me. I am starting this year much more energized than I was a year ago, energy that comes naturally, I believe, after seeing several very deep longings fulfilled.

2017 took our family all over the map, literally. From Texas to Missouri, Colorado, Guatemala, California, Spain, Oklahoma, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. It held soccer games, banquets,Senior night, graduation, mission trips, college orientation, camp, Six Flags, and Homecoming. In between all that, it also held moments of significant challenge, heartache, and loss. Those hard moments sometimes made the good ones hard to celebrate.

So now it's time to settle down for awhile (I hope) and just reflect and take it all in.

I don't want to just push forward and forget all the amazing things that God did for me and my family in 2017. I don't want to say, "Okay. Been there, done that. What's next?" I want to cherish them, to savor the richness of each moment spent connecting and reconnecting with my family.

Like the moment my son walked the stage to receive his diploma after only speaking English for three years. Or the moment my dad read the card my mom gave him for their anniversary after not being able to speak just a day before that. Or the moment the other leaders on the Gautemala trip told me how proud I must be of my son for how clearly he taught the gospel to a full room of kids and kept them fully engaged as he spoke. Or the moment I watched Laura run past all the barriers in the airport to embrace her brother for the first time in six and a half years. Or the moment she snuggled up beside me, held my hand, and looked at old pictures with me, remembering our phone conversations from eight years ago. Or the moment I read someone else encourage a new member in the failed adoption grief support group, saying how key the group has been in their own healing. Etc. Etc. I could go on and on.

My boys are so tired of me taking so many pictures, but the pictures are what I cherish more than anything because they are tangible evidence of the memories we made together.

So there it is, my word for 2018. CHERISH. To spend the next year counting my blessings, savoring each tender moment, cherishing each memory and every memory to be made in the year ahead.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Moments to cherish #Collectmomentsnotthings

Christmas without gifts.

I'd say it turned into one of the best Christmasses ever. I wouldn't trade it for a single gift to unwrap on Christmas morning. 

Now we have pictures and memories that can be unwrapped again and again, to cherish for years to come. I cannot even begin to describe how much it meant to me for Juan to meet my brother and his family, the rest of the Kloppmann clan that does not live in Texas.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Tenth stop

Alarms rang at 3 a.m. on New Year's Eve morning, and we all headed out the door by 4 a.m. for an early morning flight. First to Chicago, then to Dallas. 

If we thought DC was cold with weather in the 20's and 30's, it was only 2 degrees when we landed in Chicago. I had the window seat, and all I could see was snow for miles and miles. 

And as much as I wanted to head home to warmer temps, our second flight was delayed about a half hour or so due to freezing rain and sleet in DFW. We are very thankful to Amy and Kyleigh (David's sweetheart) for braving the roads to come get us. They also did an awesome job taking care of our spoiled animals while we were gone, and we even came home to a plate of cookies!

After a long day of unpacking, doing laundry, and grocery shopping, we still had to stay up long enough to bring in the New Year with one son and then pick up the other son from a party with some church friends. 

And as a way to bring our two week family reconnection journey to a close, guess who the boys got to spend New Year's Day with? More cousins! They got to celebrate Sam and Will's entry into teenagehood, along with their aunt and uncle, and their grandparents--who are now here to stay. 

What started out as a heartbreaking situation of NOT being able to reunite Julian with his two siblings turned into a chance for our family to see and reconnect (and meet several for the first time) with almost every family member on both sides of our immediate families, plus two aunts, an uncle, and a Grandma. We almost even fit in a stop at my Grandma's, but our plans that day did not coincide since we didn't think about it until too late. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ninth stop

We warmed up at the hotel for a brief night, had a nice breakfast Saturday morning, bundled back up, and packed our things once again to spend our last day of vacation touring DC during the daylight.

A Christmas tree for soldiers right beside the Vietnam Memorial Wall. 

We hopped off the tour bus to walk around some of the places we wanted to see. This was as close as we got to the White House. 
These were all the Christmas trees in front of the White House. There is the National Christmas tree, and then little trees lined up all around it to represent all of the states. 

The Texas tree

The National Christmas tree

The little train that runs around the big tree
The Indiana tree
The Nativity by the trees

From there we went shopping in the White House Gift Shop, then we kept walking to get to the National Archives. 
On the way we passed the Trump Hotel. 

Arriving at the National Archives 

After seeing the original Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, we decided to hop back on the tour bus to see some more sights and to learn about more of the history of each place via the tourguide. 
Here we are waiting on the next bus to come. 

The Pentagon
Arlington National Cemetary (which took us into Virgina for a few minutes)

A nice stop at Pizzeria Uno in Union Station, trying to warm up after spending the day out in the cold. 

Starbucks made the perfect stop before heading out to our final hotel, one situated close to the airport for our early flight out the next morning. 

Next stop: A quick flight to Chicago O'Hare, then home!