Posted by: apowell5012 | March 13, 2011

Samuel’s Story

On Friday January 21, 2011 (yes, just a few weeks ago) I met up with a few of my girlfriends at an indoor playground we affectionately call the “Dinosaur Park” (since all of the super cool, soft yet structurally sound apparatuses  are different dinosaur types or stone-age creatures).  We were talking about life with kiddo’s, adoption (as one of them had also adopted), incorporating baby #2, etc….

As we sipped on our coffee and the kiddos climbed and daringly jumped off the dinosaurs to their hearts content, I shared how the week before we had been approached about an adoption of a 13 month-old boy.  I told my friends how Scott and I had no peace with this situation.  Not because we did not want another child right now–we did–desperately in fact.  Not because we were opposed to adopting an older baby–we aren’t.  It was just that indescribable gut feeling that we were not the right family.  On top of that, we knew rationally that with our summer at camp coming up, we could not effectively and appropriately transition a child into our family that knew a differently family for a whole year.  It just did not seem fair to that sweet child.  Furthermore, after this emotional roller coaster of being asked and discerning, we were told he is not going to be needing a family after all-the person who called us made a mistake.

So…..at least we discerned correctly that we were not called to adopt that child!

I told my friends “I just knew now is not the time for a 13 month old–but we could do a baby, I really feel like we could adopt a newborn at this point…”

10 minutes later my cell phone rang (yes, that’s right, just 10 minutes later)

Our friend April, who adopted with an agency in Florida 9 months before, called to let me know that her agency called her that morning about a birth mom who was due in 2-4 weeks.  They needed an adoptive family who had all of their paperwork ready to go (current home study, finger prints, etc).  April knew we were on the list for adoption #2, and thought we may fit this description–we did!

Now it wasn’t that simple really, there would be a lot of phone calls to be made, a home study update, more paperwork, but for the most part,with enough quick moving, we truly could put our names forward.

So I called Scott who was out of town for a speaking engagement and recruiting our summer staff.  When I called him, he was overwhelmed and excited all at the same time.

One would think we would be shocked since to our knowledge we were only on the list to the list at our adoption agency. We were on that list for almost a year already and had at least 6 months more before we would even create a family profile that would be shown to birth families.  The reality however, is that we were not shocked.  Scott just KNEW that a baby would come to us through a different means–that our next baby would present himself to us, similar to how Lily came into our lives-through a friend.  I told him we were unbelievably blessed with Lily’s adoption and that that does not happen usually ever, much less twice.  He said, why not?  If it is the baby God intends for our family, God will join us with that baby in what ever way is needed.

So with Scott out of town, Lily and I prepared a family profile–a book of pictures describing our family.  Lily later that night developed croup–probably from all of the germs that day at the park. Even with an ER visit and lots of cuddling and bedside manor with my desperately sick toddler (while being the only parent at home and preparing for this adoption), I did not feel overwhelmed.  I knew a baby could only be a good thing right now–even amidst a parent’s most intense and emotional moment–a severely sick child. Luckily, the next morning my good friend Beth came over to help, and by Saturday night, I shipped out our family profile and our “Dear Birth Mom” letter (which Scott wrote) to the adoption agency in Florida.

On Wednesday, January 26, a courageous young woman met with the agency in Florida and reviewed a group of family profiles.  She asked to speak with us over the phone.

When we spoke to her she said “I just know you guys are the right family for him (Silent Squeel by us!!!), I just want him to be happy and you all seem so happy.”

On Friday February 18, she called us to tell us she was going into labor and on Saturday February 19th, after a long flight to Florida, we met our son, Samuel (meaning God heard) Isaac (meaning laughter).

We feel blessed beyond words.

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Every summer at Camp Wojtyla hundreds of kids and teens encounter our Lord in powerful ways. A HUGE part of our success is our amazing and incredible staff. We partner with the leading Catholic ministry, FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) to have staff that are devout, enthusiastic, and know what it means to be a Catholic in today’s world. Most of our staff are student leaders within the FOCUS program or are FOCUS staff.
This year FOCUS had 4 National Conferences –we attended, exhibited and spoke at all 4 Conferences.  Four cities, FIVE THOUSAND students and many amazing conversations, applicants and zeal!
In addition to the great people we met, my other favorite aspect of each conference was the breakout session we gave in each city–our alumni staff helped us out with a royal kayak entry (where the crowd acted as the waves) to get the audience pumped up!

All in all we had so much fun and found ALL of our staff for Summer 2011!!!!

Some highlights below:

Denver breakout session "Answering the Call"

Our family with some of our full time staff/dear friends

Other Happenings…a great new program!

In addition to our staff and camper recruitment this fall and winter, we have also been quite busy with our newest program, JPII Outdoor Lab. Currently in its third season, JPII Outdoor Lab is a faith-based outdoor education program here in the Archdiocese of Denver.  Catholic and Christian Schools come for 1-5 day programs to learn about the environment/creation and the Creator through hands-on field studies, outdoor adventures, daily mass and adoration.

It is a complete blessing and honor to bring this program to middle school and high school students.  I remember LOVING my week of Outdoor Education in 6th grade (at White Pines Dude Ranch!) and can only imagine the impact it could have had on my life it was ALSO integrated with aspects of knowing the Creator!

Below is the latest newsletter to our schools–I think the pictures show what how fun, educational and spiritually enriching this program is for our Catholic school kids in the west!

Posted by: apowell5012 | October 27, 2010

My Friend Bud

It has been an unusually warm fall. On Saturday October 23, as I drove early in the morning to check out the hall for our big fundraiser dinner to be held there later that evening, I could not believe the brilliance of the fall colors. So much brighter and later into October than normal. I stood in awe of the perfect rows of yellow on one side of the road with the symmetrical view in red on the other. Add the morning fog and voila—fall at its finest.

My friend Bud was 83, and nine months ago we found he had cancer. I thought for sure he would fight through it, I think we all did. As the summer ended however, we found out that the Chemo was not working and his body had but 6 weeks to 2 months left. Leave it to Bud though to live just a few days past the longest prognosis. That was his way, to live life to the full and then go beyond even that! He had a lovely wife (the epitome of a wife, mother and joyful woman! If you have read proverbs …that’s her), 12 children, 33 grandchildren, owned 12 McDonalds (later one for each kid), was a Deacon in the Catholic Church and to anyone you asked, the finest man you ever could have known.

I am honored to call Bud my friend. He and his wife Betty would often have dinner with Scott and I. Their stories were amazing—we never wanted an evening to end. They were so curious about us too and supportive as could be when we found out about Lily! They gathered boxes of baby clothes and supplies for us from their children and relatives. When we told them we wanted to start a camp, Bud offered us their cabin in the mountains to get us started. That is the kind of person he is.

We would laugh, discuss, and question together the deepest mysteries of our faith. Bud was immensely intelligent-he never stopped expanding his knowledge and was humble enough to keep asking questions. He was an excellent father and I never tired of hearing stories about the kids in mass, driving in the big station wagon or the simple ways in which they lived but the joy they all had. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during a Boselli childhood.  I so wish I could hear him share more stories….

In many ways, since I met Bud my second year out here in Colorado (over 7 years ago now), he and Betty became like my Colorado family. They just always felt like home to me. He was a good friend and I learned so much from him. The way Bud lived his life will affect the rest of mine.

When we had heard about his final prognosis, we stopped by to see him. I asked him how he felt and he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “I am so happy, I am so happy….I get to see my daughter Mary, my parents, my friends who have gone before me…I want to go to heaven, and I will be praying for you” I have never in my life encountered anyone with such tremendous faith.

I was able to visit a few more times in the coming weeks, I would have gone almost everyday if I could, but when you have so many children and grandchildren you are not at want for visitors and a non-family member must show love without showing it too often.

In his last weeks, Bud would just sit and enjoy the sun while sitting on his deck overlooking Boulder. He would just smile and bask in the Lord’s goodness. He was so peaceful. Betty and I both thought it remarkable that the fall had remained so warm and calm and that perhaps this was God’s gift to Bud in his final earthly days.

On October 23, 2010 at 8:00pm, Bud made his transition in the presence of his 11 living children and his beloved wife. Our world lost a saint and heaven gained hers.

When I walked out of the banquet that evening, I could not believe how cold it was, truly the coldest of fall we had seen yet. That night and the day that followed had tremendous gusts of winds, removing many of the brilliant leaves. I feel that the earth herself is mourning our loss and that God is just now allowing the cold to come and the beauty to end. Nothing lasts forever, in this life anyways, and while I did not think to say goodbye to the leaves before their quick end, I did get to say a final “I love you” to my friend Bud and that memory, longer than any scene of beauty, will remain forever in my mind.

Posted by: scottpowell | October 26, 2010

Banquet to benefit the John Paul II Adventure Institute

On Saturday, we held our first annual banquet to celebrate and support the work of the John Paul II Adventure Institute (the parent organization for Camp Wojtyla). Keynote speaker Curtis Martin inspiried the crowd and a great time was had by all! Here are some highlights:

Posted by: apowell5012 | September 18, 2010

An experiment in health(ier) baking

I love baking and I love cooking.  Many years ago I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, which drastically changed my eating and cooking habits (for the better in my opinion).  Over the years I have also discovered the wonderful world of healthy gluten free grains that do not spike blood sugar, are high in fiber and taste great! These are ALL ideal qualities when baking for a 2 year old and keeping my family healthy. I hope to share many recipes over time as I grow as a gluten free cook.  Below is my new favorite:

Oatmeal breakfast cookie bars: (adapted from the Oatmeal Lace cookies from the Junior League cookbook)

1 1/4 sticks of butter

2 Tablespoons Pure Maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup Almond flour

1/2 cup ground flax seed meal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/2 cups GF oats

1-2 eggs

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 cup sliced almonds (or to desired mix)

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or to desired mix)

1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (or 1/2 the bag if you are my two year old daughter:)

**Feel free to experiment.  Similar to granola, many different ingredients will taste amazing in these bars.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan on Medium heat.  Once melted add the pure maple syrup, stir and remove from heat. Whisk together the flour mixture with the baking soda and powder.  Mix together the egg and agave then add to dry mix.  Stir in oats 1 cup at a time.  Now pour the melted butter and syrup over the mixture and then add the fun ingredients of your choice.

Use your tablespoon measuring spoon to make cookie balls to be placed on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  The nature of the flour mixture is a bit more crumbly, so your cookies may not be perfectly round, but not to worry since you’ll need to flatten the balls a little bit anyways.

Cook for 12- 15 minutes until ever so slightly browned, let cool 5 minutes on cooling rack before transferring to a plate.  They may not seem cohesive at this point, but they will form more as they cool.  You can also place them in the freezer in Tupperware for a day and then eat them.

Makes 3-4 dozen.  Tastes great with morning coffee or as a snack or dessert!

Enjoy!!!

Posted by: apowell5012 | September 11, 2010

The Orgin of our Blog Title

A little over 2 years ago we were waiting, and waiting and waiting for our daughter to be born and welcomed into our family via an open adoption.  I told Scott of my desire to write during this waiting period and as a result he opened up this blog for me to share my thoughts about parenthood, adoption and yes, waiting.   Any parent knows that time of waiting before a child arrives, and in an adoption, your only link to when the waiting will end is the phone call…

2 years and 2 days ago we got that phone call–we were about to become parents!  We were going to name her Lily Avila after Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (who was known as the Lily of the Mohawks) and Teresa of Avila.  Blessed Kateri is my favorite Saint being a humble, young Native American girl who loved the outdoors and loved Jesus.  The St Teresa of Avila influence was our way of honoring Lily’s 15 year old birth mom.  Teresa of Avila as best I can tell from her diaries was extremely strong willed but also extremely kind and charitable.  To us, this was Lily’s birth mom in a nutshell!

There is so much that could be said about her birth story and the beginning of our open adoption.  But for now I want to focus on the gratitude I have for Lily’s life and for us being a part of it!  We chose this blog title not just because of Lily’s name and the time it represented, but also for the trust we have in God and how he really does care for us and our needs.  Two years have gone by and we have decided to make it a family blog.  I think my reflections 2 years ago turned into concrete actions like buying onesies and cloth diapers.  And once the waiting was over, well, we had a baby and now 2 years later there is so much more to write about!

Now we begin a new waiting–for that of a sibling for Lily and a 2nd child for us.  We are on a list to a list, so really it could be years, but we are praying that by this time next year we have news of a little one arriving.  We also run an adventure program in the mountains of Colorado called Camp Wojtyla and are waiting on the county to allow us to operate on new land for our faith based adventure programming.  And so we wait, knowing that if God cares for the Lilies of the field, He will indeed care for us…

Posted by: scottpowell | September 2, 2010

Welcome to the Powell’s blog!

Hello and welcome to the Powell family blog! We hope to use this page to update friends, family and ministry partners on what is happening in our lives and in our ministries; namely Camp Wojtyla and the Catholic Biblical School. Likely, its topics will range from speaking engagements and teaching to recipes and camping trips. We are also prayerfully beginning the process of our second adoption. Exactly what route we will take is up in the air at this point so this space will also be a place to discuss that. Thanks so much for visiting and for keeping in touch!

Scott and Annie

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