Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Friday, August 30, 2013


As soon as the girls moved in Naomi asked, "Now that you're adopting us, can you enroll me in gymnastics?" This girl is crazy about handstands, back bends, flips... She has even watched gymnasts on You Tube. I found a great gym that offered a home school hour only about 20 minutes from our house.

Today was her first day. I loaded up the car and we headed off. Me, Naomi, and her fan club. All the other children can't wait for their turn in the spotlight. The boys will start wrestling in November. Aaliyah and Taylor will be swimming and Tabitha will start ballet in September.

We are going to have a busy school year! But these smiles make it all worth it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

more than just hair

I had my first, "Am I good enough?" moment today.

Okay, maybe this wasn't my first but it was hard. It had to do with hair. 

Hair is my area of "expertise." In our adoption meeting, I was excited that I could answer DSS confidently, "Of course I can do their hair." I went to Carolina Beauty College and practiced on 95% black hair. I had one instructor that requested I give her twists and curl the back. I am comfortable with all types of hair. 

Last night we took out Aaliyah's kinky twists. I had help and it still took about 4 hours. Today Naomi, Aaliyah, and I went to the hair salon where I used to work to finish it up.  I shampooed it 3 times, gave her a deep conditioning treatment, sat her under the dryer, used a leave in conditioner then attempted to comb it out. About 2-3 hours later I had a huge mess staring at me. I was just before breaking down in tears.

Thankfully, a lady that works there stepped in to help. She finished her up and got it all straightened and pulled in a ponytail. All the way home and for most of the day I felt inadequate and frustrated. 

Then I realized, the issue was about more than just hair. Hair just happened to be the situation at the moment. The problem was/is (once again) my heart. I have more "Fear of man" than "Fear of God." I feel like I have something to prove to the outside world that I know is watching. 

The truth is I'm not good enough. If you keep watching, you'll see me mess up. I don't necessarily know what I'm doing. But... I AM being obedient. I have, serve, and love a God that IS good enough. I am trusting that He is doing something amazing through me. 

After a total of 9 hours working on Aaliyah's hair, I still paid to have it finished. That's okay. I don't have to know how to do their hair. Not every white, black, Asian person that adopts knows how to take care of their new child's hair. That is not what is going to make me a good momma or not. There are far deeper things that matter. 

I will figure this hair thing out. Only because I love my daughters and I'm determined. ;) If not, I'll pay to get it done. But more importantly I'm going to pray for my daughters, I'm going to pray with them, I'm going to walk beside them, I'm going to teach them, I'm going to correct them, and I'm going to love them!

Proverbs 29:25 "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe." 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

1st week of school

We made it! Whew! By mid week Aaliyah and Naomi weren't as excited about homeschooling as they were before. (Neither was I)  So Thursday and Friday I slacked off a bit. I slept in a little later, started school later, didn't finish all the subjects....(Gasp!) It was great! 

This is our 9th year teaching our children at home and I still struggle with trying to mimic the traditional school setting. After teaching Aaliyah and Naomi this week I was quickly reminded, we are different. We do school differently. It's okay. 

I still LOVE a schedule. I have to have a schedule. It gives me peace. Although I was more relaxed Thursday and Friday, I felt more organized and together Monday-Wednesday. So, next week we'll once again wake up at our "scheduled" time, do our chores, and start school work. If by Thursday, I need to (sleep in) loosen up, it's okay.

I do not want my children to hate school. One of our goals in home educating is to foster an environment where learning is fun! That doesn't mean there won't be tears. Because as we experienced this week, learning can also be hard. There are those moments where we must push through and then there are moments where we must take a break. 

Here are a few pictures that I was able to capture one day in a very short period of time. 
Aaliyah working hard on her math drill sheet. By the end of the week she was able to finish this sheet in a faster time than the rest of the week and with no mistakes! She also made a 100 on her spelling test, wrote a paper about the Middle Ages, and memorized loads of new grammar.

Ethan loves the flash master. All the children work on math at the same time. I set him up with this for a bit while I get the others going. This is definitely one way to make math facts fun. Ethan made a 90 on his spelling test, finished his first cursive handwriting book, and memorized loads of new grammar.

Naomi made huge progress this week! My goal  is to build her confidence up so that she is motivated. Tonight I heard her tell someone excitedly, "I can read!" She also worked through some math worksheets, memorized many different sounds of letters, learned about the different biomes.... 

Oh my sweet perfectionist, Tabitha. She started "doing school" before she could talk. This is one ambitious little girl. Most of her life I've begged her to go play. There will be plenty of years to do school, I'd tell her. This just happened to be one of those days. She's crying in this picture because her number eight wasn't perfect. Although, it was perfect, especially for a 5 year old. She wrote it, erased, rewrote, erased and rewrote... 10 minutes later, she was all smiles. You can see those pictures further down. Tabitha also learned several sounds for letters, made words with letters, did several pages in her Explode the Code book (which she is in book 2.) I started those books with her a couple of years ago when she was begging for work. She flew through books A, B, 1, 1 1/2, and now 2!

Carissa is much like Tabitha. She really wants to do school. She sees the others worksheets and wants "Papers like theirs." I have worked hard to keep up with her. She's had several books read to her, talked about colors, counted, sorted counting bears...

A smiley, happy Naomi!

.....and there's Andrew. Oh wait! Where is Andrew???

There he is! I need to frame this picture because he didn't stay in this seat for long. Andrew had a great day, Tuesday.  He struggled the rest of the days. Andrew does school the best in forts, under pillows, outside, or on my lap. We only did one of those ways this week. He and I placed pillows all around us and on top of us while we read Language Lessons. It was great. However, we have to figure out a way to motivate this boy when he's out of the fort or the pillows. Oh, Andrew....

These are the pictures I was telling you about. Literally 10 minutes after the tears. Note the perfectly written 8.

Take a picture of me now, Mom! (runny nose and all)

My class. 

Ethan proud of his work.

The Lord is so good and gracious to me. Yes, this week was hard. He showed me my heart. He showed me my struggles. He showed me how much I need Him.

Philippians 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

Hebrews 13:20-21 "Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you (me) in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The hard things....

There are so many difficult things about adoption. If you see me gazing off into space, walking around like I've been hit by a 2 x 4, talking a lot, changing subjects mid-sentence, or not talking me grace. I need grace.

There are so many new things in our life. We have to make so many new decisions. Everything we do or decision we make is thought through to the 10th degree. Try not to judge. We're hard enough on ourselves.

I thought I would give you a glimpse into some of the "Hard stuff." Adopting is kind of like having a new baby. However, when you're adopting older children there's no time to slowly transition. One day they're just there. (and they come with lots of stuff) Older children have already developed patterns just as you have. Children within the foster care system have learned "How to survive." Once placed with a family, they have to learn there's no need for those survival skills. They are loved, accepted, forgiven no matter what.

One of the most difficult decisions we made was to change our girls names. We always knew we had that option. When you adopt, the children are issued a new birth certificate. Being that they are older, Martie and I didn't originally think we would give them new names. From the beginning D has begged us to change hers. I prayed about it, talked to her in depth, I tried to get to the heart of the issue. S just wanted to do what her big sister was doing. I still don't think she grasps the whole concept but none the less she is thrilled with her new name. D is now Aaliyah and S is now Naomi.

It is strange and we talk about it being hard. I think it's helpful to be honest. Looking at the bigger picture we really believe this is just another way God uses adoption to point to the gospel. Looking through scripture you often see God changing names. When we are "Adopted" into the family of Christ we are "A new creature; the old things passed away." (2 Cor. 5:17)

The Mangum family is different now. We are no longer a family of 8, we're a family of 10. We didn't just have another baby, we had TWO! They are 10 years old and 7 years old. We are adjusting. There have been some absolutely beautiful God glorifying times in this last week. There have also been times where I needed a few minutes by myself.

But see this isn't about the Mangums. This isn't about Heather or Martie or even Aaliyah or Naomi. It is about God. He laid adoption on our hearts. We know it is close to His heart so it has to be close to ours. Galatians 4:3-7 says this,
"So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."

Christ was willing to come and pour out Himself for us, even to death. We didn't ask for Him to do that, we weren't even searching for a "Savior." He just loved us so much that He wanted to rescue us from this world and ourselves. He adopted us as sons/daughters.

I pray that He equips Martie and I to continually pour out ourselves for the sake of all our children and their salvation. No, we can't save them but we can point them to the Savior. The One who is perfect, holy, righteous, patient, gracious, merciful, mighty, loving, kind, forgiving...

"For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love." Galatians 5:5-6

Immersed in Truth Academy 2013-2014

Seth (1 1/2) Tot school
Carissa (3) Tot school
Tabitha (5) Kindergarten
Andrew (7) 2nd grade

Naomi (7) 2nd grade

Ethan (8) 3rd grade

Aaliyah (10) 5th grade

Taylor (15) 10th grade

My kids... My class... My blessings!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Welcome home girls!

We have been providing the girls with respite care since June 13th. We were approved to adopt them on July 23rd. They spent that very next weekend with us. It was the first weekend they stayed with us since finding out we were chosen as their, "Forever family." It was also mine and Martie's 11th year anniversary. Friday night we gave the girls a few small gifts to welcome them into our family.
Water bottles!
Their very own bible.

Yes, they were very excited to get chore packs. 

Last Friday, Aug. 9th they moved in for good... FOREVER! We picked them up about 5:30, brought allll their things back to the house and headed out for some dinner. We celebrated by taking the whole family to a Japanese steakhouse. They loved the food and the entertainment. 

Saturday, we had a "Back to school bash" at the church. The kids all enjoyed the bounce house, sno cones, and popcorn. S, even lost a tooth while chomping on a sno cone. 

The "Twins."