Fully Funded!

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Our bags are packed, and we leave soon! We are pinching ourselves and thanking our God for His kindness and provision. Due to a generous donation from some loving church members, we are now fully funded for travel!! Keeping true to His promises, God provided for this adoption, so that we incurred ZERO debt. He is a miracle worker!

Thank you so much.

Keep the prayers coming, especially for the flights back home. We are hearing that customs can be a difficult process on the trip back.

 

Blessings to you and yours!

Joy

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It is with joyful hearts and excited anticipation that we announce that our daughter is coming home! Paperwork has been approved, corrected, submitted, etc.,  and we have travel dates!

Spring has dawned on earth, and our hearts are blooming as well.

Gratefulness, thankfulness, appreciation…none of those words convey how we feel about the many prayers you all have prayed to storm heaven for this to happen. We love you.

We are still working out all the travel details, but we should be united with our child in a few short weeks.

Praising the Provider for His provision and grace!!

Please don’t stop the prayers. Our journey has truly just begun as we will have travel, transition, and lots of firsts coming up!

P.S. We still have a bit of funds we need to raise. If you’d like to contribute to our travel expenses, message me, and I can show you how to do so and receive a tax deduction.

 

 

Please Pray

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If you’ve ever thought about our story….if there ever was a time to pray…

It’s now.

As of tomorrow, we will have waited a month to have those court documents corrected. So, the passport, according to the information we currently have, has not even been ordered yet.

The family behind us…the one who we prayed would be able to be processed after us…they have already traveled and received their son.

Our hearts are aching so much now. We need your prayers. Our little one needs your prayers. She has known about us since October. Imagine. Bless her precious heart, wondering why Mom and Dad haven’t come yet.

God is working. I know that to be true, because He is always faithful. Please keep praying.

Blessings.

What’s in Your Hand?

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I’ve been reflecting on our adoption journey a lot this week. As each morning I trepidatiously check my email, hoping for word that our daughter’s passport is FINALLY ready, I have found myself fighting frustration at the waiting. (Sound familiar, anyone?) But as several friends reminded me, there is no wasted waiting. No wasted tears. God is always at work, doing something, whether we see it right now or not. So, tonight, I found a quite moment to dive into God’s word, and again I am so glad it is alive! I can read the same passage a thousand times and it can teach me new truths each time.

I turned to 1st Samuel, to chapters 16 and 17. This is the story of David and Goliath. Even those who don’t read the Bible know this story. It is used as an adjective even in the secular world. (If you want to read the entire story, please look it up! You don’t have to buy a Bible to do so…just do a web search on 1 Samuel 17-18.)

And what new truths I found! First, when we are doing Yahweh’s work, we WILL be attacked. We will be questioned, doubted, and even hated. And it won’t come from just those who don’t know God. It can even come from those who claim to know God. Chapter 17:28 finds David in this situation. His older brother loathes the fact that David is considering doing something radical for God: “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

Whoa. Listen to those venomous words! David’s own brother not only attacked David’s intentions, he also attacked his character as well as his daily occupation. Belittling him with jealousy, Eliab was not speaking to David like a loved one. David could have totally backed down at this point, not wanting to look “conceited.” But David kept on.

Eliab wasn’t the only one who doubted David. King Saul quickly heard of this young boy and called for him. “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

Now, it’s one thing for your competitive brother to not believe in you. But it’s another for the king, the leader of your people to try to talk you out of your destiny. At this point, I am sure many of us would have come to our senses and walked away. Surely the king knows better than a boy, right??

But, David recounts to Kind Saul that, with his bare hands, he had killed both a lion and a bear. Saul is convinced, either out of astonishment or lack of other options. He gives David his armor. But David cannot move freely in such heavy armor, and removes it. He approaches his destiny.

Here comes the next guy who didn’t believe in David. You know who it is…Goliath. David has passed the family members, made his way past a respectable leader, but now? Now he must face a giant. An ugly, arrogant giant, that, according to biblical scholars, was between 1-3 feet taller than most men of that day! So, here comes a young shepherd boy…with NO armor on…coming to fight a massive, confident creature, who had considerable battle experience.

I wonder if the words of Eliab, Saul, and Goliath were ringing in David’s ears as he approached this battle….”with whom did you leave those few sheep…? I know how conceited…and how wicked your heart is”…”You are not able to go out against this Philistine…you are only a young man”…”Come here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the wild animals!”

But here is what I LOVE to read. David’s reply…”All those gathered here will know that it is not by the sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

And little David, with no armor, no sword, and really no emotional support, takes what he has in his hand: a stone.

Let’s stop there. I love this part! How many times do we feel like we don’t measure up? Like we don’t have enough education, don’t make enough money, don’t have enough experience, aren’t attractive enough, aren’t fit enough, aren’t a picture-perfect parent…blah, blah, blah.

Who. Flippin. Cares.

What is in your hand?? You have something there. Open it and look!

Whatever it is, God can use that. That thing. That thing that you don’t think is significant. That little. Bitty. Stone.

And why? Because, “The battle is the Lord’s.” See? Now we can all relax and say, “Ahhhh.”

“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” (17:48-50)

It’s been said before, but I want you to realize that you are SO VERY SIGNIFICANT. Truly. And those little talents, those little desires, those tiny pastimes you enjoy…those things might just be your little stone. It wasn’t a theologian who defeated the giant that day. No highly educated man. No decorated warrior. Just a boy, a stone, and his God.

So, here’s your homework. Ask God what your stone is. Then, listen. Once you figure it out, ask Him how He can use it to defeat giants in your life. How God can do big things with what is in your hand. You are important!

And here is my homework: I am going to do the same, and my goal is to use my stone to do whatever I can while I wait. There is no wasted waiting!

It’s February

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Today is Saturday, and that means we are waiting for Monday excitedly. Ha! You rarely hear that, right? But, any adoptive family can agree that weekends mean that we won’t receive any updates for two whole days. And since each day is a month long when one is waiting to meet their child, weekends can seem like an eternity.

Our agency was expecting to hear word this past week on our daughter’s passport, but we haven’t heard anything yet. So we are praying that this coming week is THE WEEK we will finally hear news.

I realize this is not much of an update, but we wanted to let you know where we were. Our emotions go from excited, to frustrated, to overjoyed, to exhausted during this waiting phase. Some days it feels like my entire life is about waiting. We began our adoption journey in 2003….

But we believe that God has good things for us and our little girl. Please keep praying. It truly means so very much to us.

 

We love you.

God bless!

 

Court…

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And the verdict is…

 

She’s ours!!!

Our case passed court this week and we are officially her parents! We have a daughter! Wow. All the celebrating in the world doesn’t seem like enough.

OK, so I don’t have anything poetic to say. We are just rejoicing at this house this week and cannot wait for them to get those written court orders and order that passport so we can fly to our daughter! Woohoo!

 

Please pray it goes quickly. Our bags are already packed! (Who am I kidding? They’ve been packed for like a month–the hubs would love our floor space back ;) ).  

 

P.S. We are still hoping to raise those last travel expenses. If you want to give a tax-deductible donation, we would sure appreciate it! Our Reece’s Rainbow link is still up and running. :)

She’s Just My Daughter

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During our adoption process(es) (sigh), we’ve had many curious questions from others about our process and our child. This is to be expected, and we take it as a kindness: most folks are genuinely interested and/or care about us enough to want to know more. It’s a funny position to be in as we wait for our daughter to finally come home. Some days it gets tiresome to have so many questions asked about our process. We want to have answers to all the comments and questions, but often we don’t have any new information to share.

“So, any news?”

“I thought she’d be home by now.”

“How’s the adoption thing going?”

But really, we are very grateful that folks care enough to even be interested. That shows that there is still human concern in this world.

However, it often catches me off guard when folks really seem to focus on her ethnicity or her special needs in their questioning. We get so many questions about her race and her special needs, that it is clear that many people are very interested in those two aspects alone. And every time a question is asked, I have to stop and think of a genuine response. Truth is, when we think of our daughter, we don’t think about her special needs. We don’t focus on her differences (though we do embrace them!). We just imagine our little girl. The little girl who will sleep in the room we so lovingly prepared for her. The little girl whom we will play dress-up with. We wonder what her favorite foods will be. We wonder if she will be shy or outgoing. We daydream about her sitting on the sofa with us, just enjoying a family movie together.

I don’t know. I guess I just find it interesting that I really have to be reminded of her differences, because at this point, in our hearts she is just one of the family. We adore the color of her skin, her smile, her country of birth. We embrace the culture that God had her born into. But in our hearts, she is just our daughter.

We just can’t wait to hold her.

******

Update: Our court date is less than two weeks away. We are very excited. Please pray that those court orders will be written up speedily and the passport can be ordered and received expeditiously so that we can jump on that plane and finally receive the daughter God has for us.

To My Special Child: You Are Exactly What I needed

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“You guys have the perfect family! A mom, a dad, a boy and girl!”
“And they are so well behaved!”
“They are so mature!”
“How do you have such well-behaved children?”

Those are some of the many comments my family received when my brother and I were children. Despite some ups and downs, we did have a pretty great family.

My father had joined the military at age 18 and he felt like it was the best thing that had happened to him. It help discipline the “wild child” that he was and gave him purpose and direction.

So, when he and mom had children, he incorporated a lot of his military background into his fatherhood. We were expected to obey quickly, the first time something was said. There was never, ever, to be any back-talk or questioning of authority. We ALWAYS used “ma’am” and “sir” when responding to adults. Love was constant; Correction was swift and predictable.

And it worked. We were very well-behaved children and it showed.

Fast forward to adulthood. My brother and I are both married with children today. And we are still very “mature” and “well-behaved” (for the most part ;) ) Needless to say, I suppose I expected my children to be just like my brother and I.

(Stop it. I can hear you laughing from here.)

Do you remember that child psychology course you took in college? You remember the nature/nurture debate, don’t you? I was pretty sure I knew the answer to that debate back then: Children are a product of their environment much more than their genetic make-up.

(I can still hear you….)

Well, let’s put it this way….There are two main types of animals in a circus show: elephants and lions/tigers. They are both trained by animal trainers. They are both fed and sheltered. So, why is it that the lions and tigers are always in a cage while performing and the elephants roam free around the three rings?

BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT ANIMALS.

Now, I will say that my parenting style as a mother is somewhat different than my parent’s style was, and rightfully so. Each child should retain what they like from their parent’s method and alter what they don’t for their own parenting. But still, I learned quickly after having three boys that there are lions and there are elephants.

Just in case you were wondering, my brother and I were elephants.
My children are lions.

So, parenting these beautiful, amazing gifts has challenged me like nothing else in life has. They roar. They play. They eat like no one’s business. They fight. And they are majestic. Instead of glittery arts and crafts, we jump on the trampoline, wrestle, and read super-hero stories. This motherhood thing is not anything like I pictured it would be.

And then, we got a special one. This little lion had a harder time learning the circus act. Sometimes it took him an extra year or two to pick up what the other lions had already learned. He roared constantly when he was a cub. He was a picky eater. He threw his mama for a loop.

And he was exactly what she needed.

This “mature” and “well-behaved” mama could be way too serious sometimes. Boring, even. This little lion cub has taken his mama out of her shell. He has opened up a whole new world of innocence and wonder to her. Never before has playing “Go Fish” been so hilarious and fun, now that she plays it with this guy. She has learned to slow down and just play. To not worry about comparing, and just let these cubs grow into whatever lions they were meant to be.

Christmas morning was a delightful auditory experience as this little cub gave a high-pitched play-by-play of exactly everything that was going on:

“We got three! One for E, one for N, and one for T!”
“It’s Christmas, mom! There are three stockings! There’s a monkey in mine! A new monkey. I don’t know what his name is gonna be…..”

He was the most excited child of all three. He wanted to show us every little detail of his new toys. He loves figuring out how things work, and he wants to make sure we all enjoy those details, too.

Today, something happened that I’ve never seen him do. Biggest Brother woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap. As he groggily plopped down into the stuffed chair in our living room, this amazing little cub of ours walked up to Biggest Brother, wrapped his arms around him, and said, “Here’s a good hug to help you wake up.”

*Sniff*

Yes, little lion…all you little cubs…You are just what this mama needed.

What Did Jesus Pray For?

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This week I’ve been reading the book of John. As a mother, I try to pray good things for my children daily. I pray in private and I also pray aloud to them, so that they can know that it’s important to talk with God. But today I was struck by what Christ prayed for in regards to his “children” (disciples).

Earlier in the week, I read the familiar passages in John chapter 15 and 16, in regards to how the world will treat followers of Christ. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (15:18) “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God….I have told you this so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you.” (16:2&4)

So, here Christ tells the disciples that following Jesus will not be easy, and to expect that those who don’t know Jesus will not treat us kindly. That’s too be expected. We are to love them anyway.

But then, when you read into the next chapter, Christ prays an interesting prayer for these very same disciples. “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” (17:11b-12)

Did Jesus just contradict himself? On the one hand, he tells his children that this world will not treat them kindly, and to expect such. One the other hand, he prays that God will protect them after Jesus returns to heaven. Hmmm…

I believe that Christ’s prayer was focused on the disciples’ hearts. He was praying that God’s Spirit would protect their hearts from the evil one. Jesus knew that the evil one was active in this world, and wanted to make sure all the children he had come to love would remain in Christ. He was praying for spiritual protection. He knew that we all could fall if we didn’t remain in him.

I’ve been meditating on this all day. Have I prayed for the spiritual protection of my children enough? I pray daily that he will protect their physical bodies, and I don’t believe I am wrong to do so. But most important is their souls. May Yahweh protect the hearts and souls of all of our children. May He hold them close to His heart. May they hunger for His heart and holiness all the days of their lives.

Amen.