Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Unknowns

Strange title I know, and this will probably be a jumble of a post but here goes...

It is a weird feeling, getting closer. Feeling like I am in the second trimester of this "pregnancy". We, obviously, still have no idea when we will get a referral, or how long after we get our referral it will take for us to travel the first time, and then the second time to bring her home; so, I feel like I am in that never ending second trimester. We hope to get a referral in Aprilish and then get to bring her home in summerish...but, who knows.

I remember being pregnant with my biological three, and what it felt like as I got closer. Thinking about decorating their room, picturing whose features they will have where, whose personality traits they will have for what, how big they were at the time in my tummy, wondering when I need to start getting out, washing and folding their little clothes. There were many unknowns with my bio three. Even if they would come out healthy is never really known. The unknowns of this little on are totally different. Like how old she will be - could be anywhere from 0-12 months. How big she will be - she could be 6 months but only weigh 8 pounds. Obviously, she won't look like us :-) I wonder if her mom is even pregnant with her yet, or maybe she has already been born and is cold and alone somewhere. Maybe she is with her mom, but her mom is dying. Maybe she is hungry and crying. Will she have some disease that will be hers for the rest of her life. Is anyone holding her. How will she be received being an African child in a white family. There are so many unknowns.

This really has been an awesome journey, but I feel like the closer I get to the end, the more I hate that I am on this journey. I know that sounds weird but bare with me. I do not hate that we are doing this. I am so very excited about this child and so thankful that I am getting to love her, but I hate that there is a need for it. For adoption. Adoption is wonderful, a gift from God, as He has adopted us into his family. But there is so much grief involved in it. Just as our Heavenly Father, and Mary and the disciples felt keenly the grief and loss of Jesus at his death on the cross - THE requirement for our adoption - , I am realizing more and more the grief and loss that MUST go on in order for me to adopt my child. It isn't as it should be. My baby should be able to stay and nurse at her momma's breast. To grow up in her own culture with people that will teach her heritage through living it out with her. To have siblings that share the same blood. I long for that for her, even though it would mean she would not be mine. I hurt for her momma. I hurt for the choice that she will make, either by her death, not being able to provide for her child, or even just not wanting her child (there is much grief in that as well). I HURT FOR THEM BOTH. It rips at my heart. I wish that there was another way, if I could just bring them both here and care for them, help them stay together, I would. Even if it meant my not being the mom. I long for the eternal.

There is also the unknown in my heart. The unknown of feeling like I am crazy for doing this. Even though it has been confirmed and confirmed in so many different ways that we are doing the right thing for us and for our family, I just still get those looks and those questions of WHY? Why do you want more kids? are you crazy? Probably! :-) Why adoption when you can have your own? Why from Ethiopia? many reasons - but just to share one - have you seen how amazingly adorable those kids are :-) Why spend your money like that when you have three kids that you need to take care of already? because it is God's money and he will provide it and take care of us at the same time. He promises to after all. I know and FEEL all this and more in my heart, but there is always that little whisper that likes to tell me that I am crazy to be doing this. When I already feel overwhelmed by the craziness of three kids, why am I adding more? When I could be paying off my house or saving money, why be using it in such a way? LIES! I renounce them all. But, the whys, the whats, the whens all linger.

Lord, be my comforter. Remind me that in the middle of all the unknowns, the questions, that you are ever constant. My Rock.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Humble Gratitude

I have felt gratitude, I have felt humble (though this could have been humility and I just didn't know the difference), but I don't know that I have ever felt so grateful as to be humbled - until recently.

It is no easy thing to ask people for money. Money is such a sticky subject. People get all out of whack, uneasy, confrontational, protective, secretive, when it comes to money. There are surely more manners attached to talking about and dealing with money than there are for sitting down to a formal dinner. Seriously, I feel uncomfortable even writing this. But, we did ask. We asked for money. We didn't really want to. We actually planned on not doing it and just taking out a big loan. But, we were encouraged to, so we did. Uncharted territory for both of us, but we plunged ahead.

Plunged is actually not the right word though. We didn't really plunge. We more like, took a hesitant step, not really expecting much to happen. Our initial mailing had 30 letters in it and as we licked, stamped and mailed those letters, we prayed over them. We prayed for the people that they were going to, we prayed that our efforts would be fruitful, but we really didn't have much expectation. We even sort of laughed about how if everyone sent in $10 then we would have $300 more dollars than we started with. I smile now thinking about how pathetic that was. That we would expect so little. Really that we were expecting so little from the Lord. He was so ready to show us what he could do.

Within a few days, our first response came. Not at all who I thought would respond the fastest - my sweet 91 year old grandmother.

BAM!! $300!!! Right off the bat! We could go nowhere but up from there! Humbled that she would love me so much and believe in what we are doing so much to give so generously to us. Humbled that the Lord wanted to show me right from the beginning that my expectations of Him are sometime so pitiful. He wanted to show me what he could do.

It continues to be that way. Random little (and large) acts of kindness that were so unexpected. God using his people to pour out on us in amazing ways. Few times in my life have I fallen on my knees and cried to the Lord in Humble Gratitude. In fear, yes, in anger, yes, but in overwhelming and outpouring gratitude - sadly, few times. I am overwhelmed by people's support of us.

Are we close to the amount of money that we need? Not really (though closer than when we started to be sure). But I am one step closer to understanding how lavish my God is and how powerful His Spirit is inside his people who are gathering around us. Honestly, that is the real gift. I will probably someday forget about all this money stuff. To feel gratitude so strong that it humbles you, I hope I can hold on to that one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Where Are We?

I have had so many blog post rumbling around in my head and I will get to them in time. The thing is there is no time! So, I will update you on our official numbers...Ready?

We are #43 for a girl and #26 for siblings! Can you believe that? They just had a huge run of kids being referred to their families and it was so so sweet to watch. There are a couple more in progress so our numbers are probably a bit lower than that. Can't wait until it is our turn :-)

Will try to get more out later...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Help us bring our Sister Home!!

Our kids love their adoption t-shirts and wanted to put a picture on our blog of them wearing them. Our middle one, the only girl so far, wants to wear her shirt all the time. Says it makes her think about her sister! Love that.

Support our Adoption by buying a t-shirt!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How Big is your God?

This past month has been a weird month for my spirit. There are lots of things going on, not so much in my physical world as I have been working hard to clean out busyness, but in my spiritual world.

I have been reliving what this time last year looked like. Spending time with my father on and off in the hospital which resulted in his death one year ago today.

Preparing for our yard sale to raise funds for our adoption. That was an emotional drain because it involved going through and using a lot of my dad's stuff in my yard sale. Amazing how the smell of him and seeing his handwriting can wipe you out. The yard sale was not just an emotional drain but also a physical drain in being up late for nights and nights organizing and pricing.

Starting the school year and really questioning not only do I have the ability but the desire to homeschool my kids this year. I have had a lot of doubts here.

Struggling in my parenting as all these emotions have left me raw and exposed to my battle with lack of patience.

The, what feels like, never ending wait to bring our child home - and I have only just begun the waiting. I probably still have another year to go.

This and other things have left my heart and body feeling a bit raked over.

What do I do when faced with all this? I would like to say that I turn my eyes to my Lord and give it all into his capable hands. But, that would be a lie. What I normally do is turn on my super powers and "function". I know you know what I mean. I isolate. I take a posture of defiance and strength while crumbling inside. I hide. I start acting like God isn't big enough to handle me, and sometimes I believe it. Sure he can create the heavens and the earth, calm the seas, and raise people from the dead, but ME? Just not big enough.

The Lord knows that I get in these funks. He lets me wallow in it for a time. Until I realize, once again, how desperate I am. He has consistently brought me this song over and over these past 2 months. I do not own it as I never buy music. I do not listen to the radio as we are always listening to the kid's music. But he brings it to me however He can, and it has come a lot.

He is Mighty to Save - - Hillsong

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus (x2)

God has made this my prayer. I can't tell you that he has answered all of my "dilemmas", but he has spoken into each one.

MY GOD is mighty! Mighty enough to rescue my father's soul. Mighty enough to get me through that crazy yard sale. Not only get through but be BLESSED by it. Blessed by the around $1800 we made peddling other peoples junk, but also blessed by the total strangers that came and poured out words of encouragement to us being in this journey of adoption, dropping an extra $5 or $10 bucks in support of us - strangers walking for a brief moment with us in our adoption.

Giving me peace about stepping down and slowing down my physical world so I don't feel like all I have to give to my family is left over energy. Not only giving me peace and showing me the ways to do it.

and the waiting...yes, the waiting for our child. When I was in the craziness of adoption paperwork, but longing to get it all done and approved so we could finally start waiting, someone said to me, "This paperwork is the easy part. You have something to do. Something to control. When you start just waiting, it is really out of your hands." I have to say that is partially true. The waiting is harder than I thought. Not like being pregnant where you know a due date. God just keeps reminding me that He already has her (or them) picked out for us and He is caring for them while we wait. HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE.

To save not just me and you, but all of them. ALL OF THEM! Do you get that? ALL 147 million orphans in this world and he will pour out his compassion on every single one - like they are the only one. All the lost. All the hungry. All the forsaken. HE IS BIG ENOUGH. Praise Him!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Loving our T-Shirts

So excited to present our T-shirts to the world!

The Lord has been so gracious to give us a heart to adopt. It is so not of us. We want the message from this Hosea passage to tell the world that this adoption is not about us, or something we are doing. It is about the great love and compassion that HE has for the fatherless.

We want to raise funds for our adoption, yes! But we also want to spread the message that our great FATHER is present, and HE is mighty to save.

Hope you enjoy wearing our t-shirt!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fingerprints, fingerprints

Not sure how many times at this point I have been fingerprinted :-) Surely by now they know who I am.

We travel this Friday to Nashville to get our final FBI fingerprinting done. The great thing about it is that we get to eat at one of the great Ethiopian restaurants that Nashville has and Knoxville is lacking in.

I will travel for food...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Feels like life is out of control right now. My to do list goes on and on...

Trying to cram all my summer projects into the last 2 weeks of summer before school starts.

Trying to get school organized and realizing I have way too much stuff that I want to teach my kids and way too many resources to do it.

Trying to gather all the wonderful donations that people have given us so that we can have a yard sale to raise money for our adoption. I can't even park in my garage anymore. I, somehow, sometime, have to find time to price all this stuff in preparation of the yard sale.

Trying to get T-shirts designed and made to raise money for our adoption.

Trying to use up all the tomatoes I have so I am busy making and freezing spaghetti and pizza sauce (on the list again tomorrow).

My car is filthy - not a norm for me.

My house, while not messy, is NOT clean - not a norm for me.

My last two batches of bread have caved in in the middle while baking - what the heck is up with that? Makes me angry daily when I make lunch with my caved in bread.

I literally haven't sat down for any long period of time in days...weeks maybe.

So much on my plate, so much frustrating me.

"I can barely hear you whisper through the rain". That is my hearts cry right now. Just to hear the sweet, soft whisper of the Lord telling me that He is with me. I know he's got me. That he is all over every one of these details. That he is going to be the one that provides the funds to bring our baby home. That he could care less about my dirty floors and the never ending crumbs under my table. I am not praying for those things to go away, they are not bad things by themselves. I am just praying that I will take it a day at a time and be peaceful in the middle of it.

I have only a few days left of summer. I want to spend them with my kids not my to-do list.

In other areas...Our adoption keeps moving! We are #64 for a girl and #39 for siblings. We go next week to get our FBI fingerprints done in Nashville. Excited to get that next step over with.
Should have our T-shirts printed b y next week and will get that out and about so people can start buying them.

We start school next week and I am ready for the consistency that will bring. It is hard to believe that my little girl is starting Kindergarten and my oldest little boy going into 1st grade. Time is flying by.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things in the Works

I thought that getting all our paperwork finished and entering the 2nd trimester of our adoption - the waiting stage - would be quiet. Not so true. We have all sorts of things in motion.

We had to file our I600A which is our immigration paperwork so they will let our child into the country. I got our FBI fingerprinting dates in the mail today. We have to be in Nashville on August 20th at 9am. I had hoped that the date would be before school started so we aren't having to work around school. That is the glory of home school though. School can go anywhere. I guess school that day will be in the immigration office in Nashville. Excited to be in Nashville and get to eat at some yummy Ethiopian restaurant - don't have that luxury here in Knoxville.

We are also starting to get into some fund raising activities. I am working on gathering donations for a yard sale, working with some artist to do a design for a fund raising t-shirt, and we will be starting a support raising letter soon which means compiling a list of addressed which will probably put my wedding list to shame!

In the midst of that, we are working on applying for grants in hopes of raising some funds that way.

It is a lot.

Am I complaining - NO WAY! I know the Lord will take care of all this, even if I don't take a single one of these steps to raise funds. He has chosen a child for us and he will get her home, no doubt in my mind. All these steps are just steps, just things on my list and they will get done, eventually.

For now, I have a 2 year old tugging on my arm saying, "More raisins please."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Keep on Moving!!

Wow, this journey is amazing! Our Dossier got approved on June 24th and we were able to get our official numbers on June 25th. Our initial numbers were #75 on the girl list and #45 for siblings. Which really almost blew my head off. When I went to mail our Dossier, I just had the number 75 stuck in my head. I just knew that we were going to be number 75. Crazy...

We will get a call or email every month letting us know our new numbers. I got the call yesterday for July and we have already moved :-) We are now officially #70 for girls and #40 for siblings. Crazy how those numbers can get you so excited but also anxious thinking about how long this wait is going to feel like before we are able to bring our little one/s home.

Yes, I am still, for some reason, really hoping that we get two. I know that the reality is that it will probably be just one as sibling groups that young are very rare. I suppose this just means that we are going to do this again. I just keep feeling like there are 5 kids in this family, so we shall see what the Lord does with that.

In "normal" family life, we are all doing really well. I have had mono and am trying to still recover and gain strength back from that. I am trying to keep our summer slow and relaxing, with not much success. The kids and I are hanging at the pool, playing with friends and eating lots of ice cream :-) I am super excited (especially since I whined on my blog about not getting to go on a 10 year anniversary trip) that next week M and I are going away for 5 days ALL BY OURSELVES! Thanks to some WONDERFUL family who are taking on our three, we are going to get a chance to get away and invest some time in us. I am so excited!

My heart has been in a bit of a funk as we have spent a couple of months now feeling overwhelmed by paperwork and the process of adoption so I am thankful that is past. The Lord has been really sweet to bring back around the real emotions of why we are doing what we are doing. The sweetness of the journey, the longing to bring our baby home, the excitement for my kids to have a new sibling, what it will mean to our family to be trans-racial. God has blessed me so much already and I am thankful. Anxious and impatient :-) but thankful!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Huge Step!

We picked up our Home Study on Friday and submitted out Dossier today! So very excited to get past this big step! It has been an adventure so far and the Lord has been very gracious to us through it. Always guiding and directing...

I am sure, and I am preparing myself, that there will need to be changes, additions, corrections, etc. but just to take this step feels like I can take a big breath. Once it is all reviewed and finalized (which will probably happen next Friday and then we will have to make any changes that need to be made), our next step is to BE PUT ON THE WAITING LIST!! Doesn't sound all that exciting, but just the thought that we are on the LIST is awesome. One more step to bringing our baby home.

Friday, May 28, 2010

An interesting perspective...

As I cram myself full of information on Ethiopian foods and customes, my husband is filling his brain with information about the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. One of the things that he read yesterday was particularly interesting.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church believes that at the time of resurrection, the men will be resurrected as his mature self, which is at the age of 30. The female will be resurrected as her mature self, which is at the age of 15.

I am not sure where exactly these beliefs come from, but as a women, I find this very interesting!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting Educated...

After about 25 hours on Adoption Education, I remember why I quite Law School! Good stuff to be sure, but man my brain hasn't worked this hard in years!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When Doubts Come

I have had several moments of doubt lately. Mostly when I get so caught up in the paperwork of all this, or when my focus leans toward the risks involved, I really doubt. I have several times in the last few weeks wondered, why am I doing this to myself? Why not live the way everyone else in our western world seems to try to live? When I look at the hard things this could mean for my family, I think I am a little crazy. Not even hard things really. I am not talking about not being able to afford food or clothes for my kids. I am talking about the luxuries in my life that I already take for granted. Like not getting to go on a big trip for my 10 year anniversary this year. My anniversary gift gets to be to get put on a waiting list. It makes me think of what Melissa Fay Greene (author of There Is No Me Without You) said in one of her interviews, "Look, we ran out of bedrooms about four children ago. And no one has invited our whole family to dinner since about 1998." Is this what we have a head of us, a packed house, no one inviting us to dinner because they can't afford to feed all of us, not being able to go on vacations because we can't afford it with four or more kids. Sometimes I can laugh and say a resounding, "YES Lord! I hope that is what you have in store for us." Other times, my response is a little, OK a lot, more hesitant. I get whiny and dramatic thinking about how "EVERYONE" else gets to live a life of ease while I am stuck here in my large, suburban, air-conditioned house with my cup of tea and snack beside me, while I type on my computer. Even now as i write it, I am laughing at myself. That I can get so bent out of shape over the thought of not getting something (like having to choose Kroger brand ice cream instead of Ben and Jerry's or not getting to go on a cruise for my anniversary), when my Ethiopian child (when she is born) will be lucky to even get held, or fed regularly, or get her diapers changed.

I want to stop here for a second and say this: Please do not hear me wrong, I am not judging going on vacation or having a nice home. There is nothing inherently wrong with those things. There is nothing super holy or special about our decision to adopt either. It is just where the Lord has us.

So, where do my doubts come from? Jesus tells us about the Devil in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" he then tells us about Himself "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." I have to ask myself, Who am I going to do life with?

James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

So, am I going to chase after the world? Am I going to run to those things that seem easy and safe? I want to, at times. I long to, at times. I run to my coping mechanisms, I run to my chocolate, and my thoughts of an easy, stress-free life with lots of money and no worries. Will that bring me life? Jesus says No. Who will I believe, my petty desires, or the God of the Universe?

We haven't told tons of people about our adoption (other than this PUBLIC blog :-)). We sent out an email to a few people who have been special in our lives. I have gotten a few responses like, "you are so amazing!" I am so NOT amazing on my own. I am only amazing because the Lord has called me to be His beloved child. I often want to follow the world, and give up on this idea that the Lord has called us to live differently than the world does. This is where the Lord is calling us to go and I know that to not follow that calling will mean to miss out on the LIFE that the Lord offers me. It would mean to follow something else, something that wants to "kill, steal, and destroy" my joy, my life. I pray the Lord's protection from that.

I love this video of Francis Chan. I hits my heart every time I watch it. I hope it hits yours too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Blindness of Youth

It is a beautiful thing. I wish we could retain it throughout adulthood. I have read in I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla that children don't start seeing people in color until around 3 or so. I experienced this first hand today. It was a bit embarrassing, but mostly was a funny, enlightening and sweet experience.

My youngest child, who is just a few short months from being two, is very friendly with strangers. Hugs them, pats their bottoms, buries his nose in their legs. Any one's legs will do really. It is a tad embarrassing when he smiles up at other women and calls them "Mommy", but sometimes even more so when he does it with other men and calls them "Daddy". I always want to assure the men that he really does have an amazing dad, he just calls all adult men "Daddy".

So, the story...

Checking out at Wal-Mart with my not so few items, trying to contain my children as they roam about. We were being checked out by a mid-30's, attractive African American man. A Christian man if his cross and tattoos mean anything. Micah, true to his friendly self, looks at him, smiles and says very loudly, "Daddy!!" The guys just smiles and laughs at him. Normally I can move on, but he is still checking me out. Micah says it again loudly and points to him, "Daddy!!" I just laugh and say, "Micah that isn't Daddy. Daddy is at work. He doesn't look anything like your Daddy." The cashier thought this was hilarious, for obvious reasons. Very embarrassed now, we move on and the cashier waves at Micah and says, "Bye Son!"

Love how that didn't even seem weird to my little boy. How he didn't see a color, but just a sweet guy who would play along with him. Wish that we could all be that way.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I didn't expect it to happen

I really didn't expect it. A friend told me it would happen, but I didn't really believe her. I thought we would start this process, be in the drudge of paperwork for a while, then begin the waiting process, and then maybe it would happen, maybe...

I didn't expect that I would already be loving a child. I thought it would be so different than carrying my own child. The initial joy, the hormonal mood swings, the fear, the cautiously telling people (I have had three miscarriages so I was generally pretty cautious in my telling). I feel like I am in my first trimester. I am weepy at the silliest things. My stomach feels nervous with anticipation. I day dream and get a funny half grin on my face at times. I am already picturing a baby in my arms. Thinking about what she will look like (this, obviously, is very different than carrying my biological kids). Thinking about her hair, and her little fingers and toes. Already imagining how life will change when my "due date" comes around. Thinking about life with 4 kids, and picturing my older three holding their little sibling.

Wow, I didn't really think this would happen. That my heart would open up, so exposed already, and be pouring out on my child. I knew I would pray for her. That I would think about her. But, LOVE HER already? Wow.

I know the estimated time of when we should be able to bring a child home (IF all the IF's fall in to place), and the estimated age that our child will be. So I am picturing my child's birth mom, and praying for and for her health. Picturing where she is in her pregnancy. Even found myself praying that if there was some way that the birth mom could keep her precious baby, and take care of it well, that it would happen (of course then it wouldn't be my child, but still...). I hurt for that mommy. I know what it feels like to lose a child. I have seen my best friend walk a journey of losing her almost three year old little girl. Whether that mommy gives her child up by choice, or because of her health or situation, she will still experience grief and loss.

My husband calls it "creating emotional space". There is an emotional space inside of me already that is calling out to be filled up with this little one. My arms feel the same way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home School today was...

Geography: Trying to find the City County Building downtown

Science: The Art of Fingerprinting, and Criminal Background Checks. How do the police catch criminals by their fingerprints?

Math: How many quarters do we need to put in the parking meter? How many blocks do we have to walk to get to the City County Building? How much money does it take to do Criminal Background Check and Fingerprinting?

P.E. How fast can we run in the rain through the city to find the building we need to get to?

Bible: Praising God that we got to the fingerprinting office before the 10 elderly people showed up!

Reading: An entire backpack of books that I brought along for entertainment.

All in a day of school my friends! It was a wild adventure of waking my kids up early, heading downtown to try to get there by 8am when the offices opened, walking through the rain with one child in stroller and trying to keep the others out of the road. But, we are criminal cleared and have sent our FBI fingerprints to their destination! Recess for the rest of the day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Better than birthdays....

So, the last thing we did was mail in our notarized contracts along with a large sum to our adoption agency. Since then we have been waiting for our Adoption Planner (with our Dossier info) to be mailed to us. I was told it would be here Friday by UPS so I have been anxiously waiting. Imagine my sadness when nothing came, all day.

Until...I was playing in the yard with the kids and noticed a box sitting beside our side garage door! Excitement!

Wow - a box? Really, is it that much stuff. Wow - it weighs 5 POUNDS - are you kidding me? How much stuff do we have to do? The answer to that is A LOT - i knew that already. But, 5 pounds worth? Yes!

But I open it up and look at these sweet faces that greet me.

It is worth 5 pounds and excited!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Learning Begins

We are moving forward in trying to adopt a child from Ethiopia! We are excited and nervous and overwhelmed. Much like being in the first trimester of pregnancy - even a little morning sickness thrown in when I get nervous about various things!

We are in the craziness of adoption papers. Papers coming, papers going out, signatures a million times, Notaries, contracts - all this just to do our application and initial stuff. I get so excited to check the mail these days. Anticipating some piece of information. It really is a gift to get to pour over this paperwork, unwrap it and see how it is taking us one step closer to our child.

I am learning so much, daily. Reading some great books. My two favorites right now are:

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla by Marguerite A. Wright

There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene

Powerful books. Especially There is No Me Without You. Always have tissue available as I read that one. Man, I can't wait to get my hands on one of those kids. I wonder if I will ever stop holding it. Can't wait to have all 4 (or more) of my kids in my arms. Crazy, huh???

Monday, April 12, 2010

Made me smile :-)

So I have a million pens in my house. Some work. Most probably don't, but I haven't had time to throw them out. While filling out the endless paperwork of adoption, I looked around for a pen that would write nicely and didn't stop the ink flow mid-signature. So I found a pen in the drawer that seemed to fit that criteria. I have kept it with my adoption paperwork so that I didn't lose it, or some other little fingers didn't run away with it.

Picked up that pen today as I moved some of my paperwork around. Know what it said?


It was the pen I got while I was in the hospital having my third child. Now it is being put to work to bring home my next child. Even then, He was preparing the way...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Moving Mountains

"I stand in awe of every Mountain that You move."
In Better Hands Now - by Natalie Grant

Powerful song. Powerful words. I feel like God is doing this for me right now. Moving mountains. Protecting me. Sheltering me in His wings.

After the initial glow and shock of knowing in my heart that the Lord was calling us to adopt, I was peaceful for several weeks. Sad how quickly my heart turns to doubt; to frustration; to questioning. Seems as though the further I get away from a special moment with God, the more I doubt it really ever happened. Thinking to myself, "He didn't really say that, did He? That isn't really what happened. That isn't really what I am being called to." I was all in a funk wondering once again what this new path was supposed to be. My hubby and I were really questioning the intelligence of making such a huge step. The money, the time, the risk, the energy. Not sure we wanted all that. My heart did, but my heart wants lots of things, including unhealthy things.

I had talked with another friend who has an adopted child of another race. Asking her questions about what it has been like, what led her to adopt. She asked me good questions as well. One of the things that she asked was wondering if I had the emotional energy to go through an adoption process and the emotional energy to have another child at this time. My Dad had just died about 4 months before and I was, still am, in grief about his unexpected death. So, basically she was asking me if I was looking for something to distract me, a coping mechanism. Great question considering I am full of those annoying coping habits. My Dad died, I adopted a puppy, and now I am talking about adopting a child. Wow, was I just trying to distract myself? Maybe. I was really questioning.

A couple of Sundays later...heavy heart. Asking the Lord to show up for me. To let me feel connected to Him during worship. I get to church, my side is totally full, so grumbling I sit in the middle with people that I do not know. I make some snide comment about some song or something. Really preparing my heart to meet my God here, aren't I? So, church starts, and I start asking the Lord over and over again, "Really, Lord? Really? I need you to tell me again. I really need you to tell me again that what I thought you told me is true." He is so gracious, even when we whine. I needed him to show me again, and again, and again. He did. Every moment of that service, from where I sat in church, to a person that spoke, to the songs that we sang. He loved showing me again. We sat in the middle of the church where we never sit, right behind people that we maybe have met one time, and sang songs that I had long ago given to the children that I had miscarried. We sat behind a family who just recently brought home three children from Ethiopia and the husband spoke in church that Sunday about the needs of the orphans of the world. I, finally, just smiled and said, "OK, Lord, I get it. Thank you for showing me." Halfway through this man's talk, my husband looks at me with a smile and says, "OK, let's do it."

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break yours. He did, again.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Let the little children come...

As I have prepared to celebrate tomorrow, Resurrection Day, Easter, I have been thinking again (and again) of how the Lord moves in such mighty ways. How powerful and loving He is. That He loved us so much to die for us. That He continues to love us in our brokenness and unbelief. He has shown me many truths in the last few months.

When I first started thinking, praying about, and talking to my husband about my feelings about moving forward in adoption, I had lots of misgivings (still do occasionally). We had always talked about maybe someday adopting, but always as a maybe someday. So as I started talking to God about it, I probably told Him daily that I thought this was a crazy thing. I don't have the energy or patience for the 3 I have. I don't have the energy or the patience for the process. We don't have the time. We don't have the money and I want to use the money we do have to have an easy life. Life is getting a little easier with my 3 biological kids getting a little older and more independent. I don't really want to mess that up.

But God kept talking to me so I tried to keep listening. My husband and I decided that we would do a little research so we set up a meeting with a local crises pregnancy center, just to ask questions. We thought we might look in to some info about a local, domestic adoption. We had a great conversation and went back to our thinking about it. We were specifically thinking about adopting a bi-racial or African American baby as that seems to be the greatest need. I felt bombarded with a world of new information. Living in a very white area of the world, how could I teach and expose this baby to it's heritage? What about learning to do their hair? I would need children's books in my home that specifically have children of different colors in it and African American baby dolls. Wow, there was so much I had not thought about. I felt an even stronger call to move forward but there was new information coming like crazy.

I called a friend of mine. A Christian African American women who has 6 children of her own and grew up in a very diverse and mixed culture. I wanted to tell her my fears, ask her questions, get her opinion. The Lord blessed our conversation and blessed me through her. She eased my fears, assured me of her presence, reminded me of how adoption is such a beautiful picture of the Gospel. That conversation reminded me of the verse that talks about not worrying about what we will say, for the Spirit will tell you the words when you need them. He did. That whole conversation felt God breathed. While I was talking to my friend, I had this beautiful picture of God bringing me two children. That there were two out there. I had this picture of my heart and God opening it up and pouring that love out on two children. It blew my head off! If I thought that God was talking crazy before in just letting me think about adoption, I sure thought he was crazy now telling me that there were going to be two! I told my friend what the Lord had just poured in to me. I have no idea what this means or how it will come to fruition, but I am anxious to see how the Lord will bring those two in to my life. My heart is being prepared.

Later in the day as I was still spinning from this encounter with God, my second child, a little girl who was almost 5, brought me a sweet picture that just confirmed my conversation with my friend and my Lord. It was a picture of 3 stick people and it said "I love you Mommy" on the top. The people were three different sizes so I just assumed it was me with two of my kids. So I said, oh how sweet, I love it, is it me and you and one of your brothers. "No", she said. "It is Jesus and he is telling the little children to come to him." Once more a how sweet from me the mommy and loving her tender heart I said, "Oh, is that Jesus with you and one of your brothers?" (I can really just picture God laughing right now as he waits for the punch line!) Once more she said No. "Mommy, that is Jesus and those are two other children somewhere out there that he wants to come to him." My heart burst as the Lord poured out on me through the picture my little girl had drawn. I fell to my knees as I cried out in praise of Him, thanking Him for showing me, for giving me a glimpse of what he desires for me, desires of me. God is calling my family, as He calls all of us, to be Jesus in this world. To be His hands and feet here, now, and to care for the least of those around us. Not to be like the disciples and hold them as bay saying we are too busy or too tired (Lord knows I am both of those things), but to be like Jesus as he opens his arms and his life up to them.

I called my husband crying telling him about this sweetness I had encountered, the confirmation to the things we had been questioning. Through my crying there was also laughter as I told my husband that we needed to be prepared, because one of the children in the picture had no arms :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

About Rest

So as I toiled over this new path, I was spinning a bit out of control. The Lord spoke over me Is. 30:15 which says, "In returning and rest, you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." I was asking Him for a very specific answer to a very specific question.

I had a moment sitting beside the river one day. Another cloudy day in what felt like months of cloudy, rainy days. I was calling out to God, asking him my question. I was under the canopy of the trees so I would not have really been in the sun even if it had been out. So, I was asking the Lord to show up for me, to prove to me that he was there, when suddenly the sun came out so big and bright that I could not even look up, even under the trees. There was a break in the clouds, in the gray, in the toil, and suddenly Glory was there. A beautiful glimpse of God's ever present presence. Even when the clouds are there, the sun is ever present, even when you don't feel it or see it. So, I closed my eyes, turned my face toward His and let him wash me with His warmth. He was telling me to stop looking for the answers but to look for him. To trust him, that he will always show up, always be present. That I can walk in to these questions and know that he is right there in it. He wanted me to return to him and he would bring me rest.

He didn't leave me there for long. He gave me a moment to gather myself and once again told me to get ready. To make strong my feeble knees. I still really just thought this was all about me and more work that I was going to do with me. How small my world is!!

Then he started pouring scripture into me about being a servant. Asking me if I would surrender to what he was going to ask of me. Telling me to give without counting the cost, to labor and not to seek any reward, to give alms and not sound a trumpet. When Jesus turned the water in to wine, the Master of the feast didn't know it was him. All the while still reminding me about rest, reminding that when my hand does a good thing, it is not lifting itself of its own accord, but God making it lift. I was thinking all the while, Oh sweet Jesus, where are we going with all this?

I am still not totally sure and I trust that more and more will be revealed on this journey. One journey that the Lord is calling me and my family to is adoption. I have been praying for a year now for God to "break my heart for the things that break His." He is doing that, powerfully. Adoption has been something that my husband and I have talked about for years, even before we had our own children. We starting talking about it again about 4 months ago. On and off. Exploring a little, talking to a few people. Nothing big for us really. Until my heart exploded with love and desire for orphans. "Break my heart for the things that break Yours Lord."

So that has been my journey for the last few months and there is so much to tell. Only a few months and already so many stories. Can't wait to write some of them...

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I continued to ask the Lord for revelation about my new path. I, as I said earlier, had committed to praying daily about it so we were having some good conversations. The Lord started pouring and pouring into me words about my new path. He kept drawing me to a scripture in Hebrews 12 that says, "Therefore, strengthen the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees. "Make straight paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."

I have walked much of my life in a "lame" place. Being broken and wounded from various things. God, in his great love for me, has brought healing to many of those areas. Those healing, while beautiful and so worth it, came at a cost, much heartache and hard work. I wasn't really sure I was ready to start another journey like that. God had been talking to me for several months (years really) about anger. This deep seeded anger that I have inside sometimes that I have fought with for years. I really thought it was about that. That we were about to start working on that (and we are, Praise God!), but that wasn't it at all. The Lord kept telling me to get ready, to strengthen my hands and my feeble knees so I once again committed to praying daily about this new path in preparation.

He kept pouring into me and I kept wondering where we were going. I was led to another scripture in Isaiah 35:

3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;

4 say to those with fearful hearts,
"Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you."

8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it. a]">[a]

9 No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,

10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

As I asked over and over again and wondered and thought about what my new path should be, He reminded me over and over again to quit looking down for the path but to look up for him. To remember that He is walking that path with me, carrying me when I can't walk anymore. He has done this before, He is doing it again. He reminded me that I am his ransomed and I will walk in His path, that everlasting joy will crown my head, that gladness and joy will overtake me and all sorrow and sighing will flee away. I claimed this.

A song that has really spoken to my heart lately is "Let the Waters Rise" by Mikeschair. You can listen here

I prayed this over and over. To" let the waters rise if you want them to. I will follow you". Tears started flowing, a lot. A friend recently told me that when tears start to flow it either means that you are about to be healed or someone is about to be healed through you. I pray that it means both this time.

So, I keep praying, daily and trust that what God tells me is true. Isaiah 41: 13, "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."I am banking everything on His help right now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

a crazy thing...

So, I did a crazy thing a few months ago. On a dare (which I could never really pass up). A friend of mine ask me, "What present are you asking for from God for Christmas?" My first response was confusion. What? My next response was that I am not asking him for anything really, ever. Other than my normal, please help me be patient with my kids and husband and loving to other people, and to forgive me when I fail miserably. The more she talked about it, the more I pondered the idea. I know people who have ask, are asking, big things from God, and he really does answer them so why not ask? I had had a pretty hard few months so I decided to ask the Lord for a new, fresh start. Something different, something new, something to break my heart of it's sedentary place. Crazy...I committed to praying about it daily. Probably a first for me.

The next week, my Women Getting Real Group (probably 40 or so women) had a Christmas present exchange. We were supposed to bring in a little gift, something we made, something we bought for a couple of dollars, and we were supposed to pray over it and trust that the Lord would lead our little gifts to the correct people as we randomly passed them out. I saw people get cute bookmarks with great scriptures on them, plaques with beautiful sunrises or butterflies. Me? I got a journal. A very ugly journal with pastel flowers on it. I do not use the journals that I have and I do not do pastels, especially not pastel flowers. Someone had obviously just had this at home and re-gifted it because they didn't like it either and didn't use it. Great, I thought, one more thing to go in my yard sale pile.

I opened it up and the sweet person that had brought this gift had put a handwritten note in it and a verse from Proverbs 3:5-6 which says,

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

The note to me said, "Start a new journey, a new path with the Lord this Christmas." OK Lord, I will take that and cherish it as a word from you and try not to think about the cover of the journal.

What did this mean? This new path, this new beginning? I had no idea and it made me excited to think about it. Nervous as well. The Lord and I have traveled down plenty of not so fun paths. But He tells me in His word that he will make that path straight. My role, in His mercy and grace, is to trust Him with all my heart and not my own understanding. To acknowledge Him, above all things.

This started the first of many conversations that the Lord and I started to have about my "new and straight path."

Almost 4 months later, I am still walking that path. More to come...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

why indeed...

Why am I finally deciding to start a blog. All my friends do it and I am rarely the last to do anything. Why now? Because the Lord is doing some amazing things in my life and I want to be able to share it. I can not promise that I will be consistent or articulate. I can promise you that it will be full of grammatical errors (which I am so fine with and gave up on a long time ago). I probably will not write every day but only as things happen or God moves. I am excited to get started and anxious to discover even more about myself through writing it.

However, I don't think it will happen today as the day is mostly over and I am slammed. I have a babysitter coming over in 30 minutes so I can go have a moment to myself, and a couple of hours with my husband.