Jun 29, 2010

A video that moved us

When we decided to adopt from Ethiopia, we got online to find out all that we could about adoptions from this country. One of the first sites that we were led to was a blog about a family that had adopted a baby girl. We watched their video and it added fuel to the flame that was already burning within us.

The video is of the day they met and received their baby girl.

So precious! I can't wait for that day!

A thought taken from a friend's facebook status today:

If the church is to have the heart of God & God has a heart for the fatherless - shouldn't people turn to the church for orphan care/adoption information before the Internet? Interesting...

I love it when others push us to think and reassess our current train of mind.

Lord, help me to not sit idle in my thoughts but to constantly be seeking you and your plans for our family. Help us to see where we are lacking and help us to fill the gap.

Jun 27, 2010


I am someone who uses the word hope a lot. As a Christian striving to live each day showing the hope that lives within me. The hope that I have received from Jesus Christ. We live in a struggling world. A world filled with many trials and mountains to overcome. On almost a daily basis I hear of many being diagnosed with illness, people losing loved ones, stories of abuse, neglect, abandonment, job loss, loss of home, divorce, deceit, and more. There is a lot of heartbreak in the world we live in. Many ask “what are we to do”. There seems to be no end in sight to all of it. We as Christians know the answer to that. We know a source of hope that shines through even the greatest darkness. A hope that lies in the one who is there even when all everything else is stripped away. Jesus Christ The one who is with us, always.

because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 (also in Joshua 1:5)

He provides hope and a promise that through it all we are not alone and that a better day will come. A promise that an eternal live without pain and suffering will come. (John 3:16) What better message to give to the world! What better message to give to a child without a family, without love, without a home, and without guidance. Wooh! I could have just shouted that last line!
The Bible even identifies the suffering that we Christians endure as something that will help increase our hope. WOW! I admit I am not always excited, cheerful, or happy when things are tuff. I get down just like everyone else. However when I fix my eyes on the one in which I find hope, things change for me. Situations appear different and I am able (with Christ, without him I am pitiful!) to move through the struggles. Praise God for the hope I have and that the whole world can have too!

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:1-5

As many of you have seen most of my comments on my blog have been from Alison at http://lovinmuch.blogspot.com/ Her family is adopting a little girl from Ethiopia as well. I have been blessed to get to read her blog and exchange e-mails with her. You should check her blog and adorable family out as well!

We had a name!

We have decided we are going to do the paperwork for a girl!! And we have chosen her name! Drum roll please! .........Alexandria Hope

The name came about in an unusual way for us. Josh had text me the other morning to show me the tile job he had completed in our master bath shower. It was beautiful. I text back "looks great! How about Alexandria?" His reply was "what we aren't even sure what we are going to choose a boy or a girl". Then about 30 minutes later while I am online looking up the word hope in Amharic (language spoken in Ethiopia) he text me back I think Alexandria Hope should be her name. How cool is that! I was overjoyed!! So we have a name and will have another, yes I said another girl! Bless my dear hubby's heart, 4 girls.

This weekend has been an exciting one. I went to St Louis on Friday night and Saturday with my momma to listen to Beth Moore. We had a wonderful time and talked uninterrupted for the longest amount of time I can remember since having children. I am so thankful for my momma and the time I get to spend with her.

Also today we spoke to our church congregation about adoption and where God has led us. Our church family is very supportive. We even had a few members come to us after and tell us about their own adoptions. Update 06/2012 turns out God had a boy waiting for us!!!  Alexandria Hope just didn't seem to fit him!

Jun 25, 2010

Genna's gift

Today when we got home, Genna told me that she had made something special for me.

"This is daddy, you, Gracie with a peace sign on her shirt, me, Delaney, and our baby. Yep our whole family!" Wow, I was speechless. I am thankful for God's guidance and undeniable presence through all of this. Every worrisome thought, or concern I have is blown away by a moment of confirmation or reassurance. Tonight I ran into a young man that was in our youth group several years ago that was adopted. I took great pleasure in watching his face light up when we were discussing our upcoming adoption.

Cute pic, huh? I am just a little worried though. It looks like I might be wearing a yellow moo-moo!

Jun 23, 2010

Orientation Call & Priorities

We had our orientation call today. We discussed paperwork, fees, who would be helping us with each step, and what to needed to be done before moving ahead. We had read the paperwork ahead of time so we felt like most of it was reviewing and getting some clarification. We did find out that I was wrong about when our fees were due. We have up to 3 months to pay our first set, but we can't move forward until it is paid in full. So our current goal for our first payment is to come up with/ raise $9640 by August. We currently are at $3600 so we still need $6040. We are trying to focus on one payment goal at a time. There will be a few more to come, plus travel expenses for us and our child.

We have already started making lifestyle changes to help increase our adoption savings. For the last 4 weeks we have only bought food out twice. We had snow cones one night and we grabbed a quick bite from McD's dollar menu one night. We have chosen to cut back buying sodas or going into the convenience stores all together. Josh and I have given up our date night in order to stay home and save the money from the sitter and the extras. Instead it is Netflix after the girls' bedtimes! I am saying all this because in the beginning we thought there was no way we could come up with extra cash in our budget but we have! I have been stressing because we have vacation coming up in July and have already paid for a nonrefundable rental for the week but we have decided that we will cook at the rental house and keep our activities to those that are free or dirt cheap! Plus Josh thinks we need the time to just focus on our girls and make them feel extra special during all this. He is a smart man!

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." - Mother Teresa

I read this quote awhile back and I believe when I read it was in reference to abortion. However, the thought that came to my mind was that I spend my extra money and time doing as I wish sometimes with complete disregard for others and their needs. Don't get me wrong we have helped others and given to worthy causes before but we have still blown countless amounts of money and time on things that didn't make our lives better or anyone else's. Our prayer is that our family will use each resource that we are given for the better of others and not just ourselves.

One of my favorite verses and the tag line on my e-mail account:

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4
If you know me I have lots of favorite scriptures and I am sure I will say that over and over again!

Jun 22, 2010

First Big Steps

The last two days have been busy. Yesterday we received the orientation packet from our agency and began reviewing it. We also went to our local police station to get fingerprinted for the FBI background check. It was neat because the man fingerprinting us stated that he was adopted. As I write this our prints are in the mail headed to the FBI. Woo Hoo!!

Last night was a late night for us. We stayed up preparing for our first home study visit. It was this afternoon and it went great. I had been so anxious about what it would entail and what we would have to cover in the first meeting. But as I said it went great! Our caseworker was super nice and answered all of our questions. Our adoption agency is out of Oregon so we have to have a local agency involved for our home study. I was curious how that was going to work and if they were very accepting of someone getting their adoption done through another place, but she didn't have any problems with it and stated that they contact the adoption agency as much as needed to unsure our home study is written exactly the way they need it to be.

Along with all of these meetings come the beginning of our payments. We have probably paid out already around $1,000 in application, documents, and postage fees. It is only the beginning, in the next 3 months we have payments due that will total around $9,500.and more will follow after that.

We have great confidence that God will provide and we will be able to make our due dates.

July 3rd we will have our first fundraiser. We are planning a garage sale and have had a few people already bring by items for us to sell. The girls are planning on having a bake sale and lemonade stand that day as well!

If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; Psalm 37:23

Jun 20, 2010

Accepted and it feels so good!

I am not one that usually seeks the acceptance of others however.......this time it is different!!!!

On Wednesday, we got the call that our application went through. We were ACCEPTED!!!!!! We could not be more thrilled, well maybe if we had been picking up our new baby on that day! This upcoming Wednesday we have our orientation call with our agency. This means we have a lot more paperwork ahead of us and will soon begin paying some of the fees.

After talking with the caseworker, from our agency, we realized it would probably be best for us if we decided between a girl or a boy. We found out we can't have opposite genders sharing a room and our plans had been to put Delaney and the baby together. We have an extra room that can be converted into a nursery, but it is across the house from our bedroom and I am not liking the thought of any of my children that far away at night. So we will continue to pray and have heart to hearts on what to do.

Yesterday we had a wonderful summer day together. The big girls played on the slip and slide and Delaney sat in her new baby pool.

They also washed the Jeep and van with daddy!

Oh....how I enjoy relaxing days when we are all at home!

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Jun 14, 2010

Why, Why, Why?

I/we have been asked this numerous times in the last few weeks. So why? Why do you want to adopt?

I have had adoption on my heart since I was a teenager. I have a sister that is three years older than me that was adopted. She was adopted through a domestic adoption within a few days after her birth. We are two very different people. "Night and day different" as my parents would explain when we were kids. She is musical, artistic, and a perfectionist. I, on the other hand, love music but, can't play a thing or sing on key, make stick men look bad, and can be very lax-a-daisy! However, we are family and love our differences and enjoy each other's company. It has always broke my heart to think what if she hadn't found her forever family and what if she wasn't a part of our lives.

I have been blessed to have a family that has always shown great love. Family was more about those who gathered at our dinner table than those who had the same blood line. I can remember when I took my first job at the children's home. So many young people there at that time didn't have someone to call and check on them. Many had been done wrong by those that were supposed to be their family. I was baffled and in disbelieve. I was only 21 when I started and couldn't fathom not having a mother or father that I could trust or find help from. I was often saddened by what I had seen or witnessed in the lives of these kids. Many nights I returned home to my husband and newborn daughter and cried myself to sleep. Why? Why would the Lord bless me with such love and leave others without much? It was then that God began working on my heart and changing how I viewed theirs and my situation. I felt as if he was saying over and over to me why would I have blessed you and then put you here? You have received much love in order to give just that... MUCH LOVE!!! So my life's greatest blessing has become my burden.

I know my family and many others through God's grace have what these children need. Love. The kind that doesn't give up. The kind that is there in spite of all the flaws. The kind that rejoices with them in the good times and griefs with them in the tough ones.

It is not enough for us, personally, to send money to help feed or clothe a child. I know it takes more. Sometimes that is all one can do, but I know God is calling us to do more. To share the greatest gift we have ever received, love. The love of our heavenly Father first and foremost, and also the love of a family.

If you say, "Surely we did not know this," Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? Proverbs 24:12

And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' Matthew 25:40

Jun 11, 2010

My two cents...

Ok...so I'm hijacking the blog for a few minutes today. My lovely bride is usually the thoughtful journaling type. But God has laid it on my heart to give "my two cents" about this whole adoption process. First, a little background to our current situation. My beautiful wife and I were married in 1998. In our vows we made a covenant with God that our home would always be filled with His love and we would strive to uphold His word in all we do. Twelve years and three blondies later our commitment is stronger than ever. During that span God has used us in youth ministry, counseling, and church leadership. However about 18 months ago God called us to step out of the ministry and focus more on our family. 2 months later God moved me into a new role at work that has challenged us more as a family than ever before. During the past year God has done a tremendous work in our family using the challenges of my schedule and the rigors it creates for us. God has presented where our faults are and has used this time to build up and strengthen this home. All for what? I always think of the jack in the box when I think of Gods plans. We know that it's coming but yet we are always suprised when it jumps out at us. During this "challenging" time God has really been preparing our hearts and home for this adoption process. The truth is I was not always open to this whole concept. When she presented it several years ago my initial thought was "I could never love that child the same as I would my own." Well 3 girlies later my heart has softened (must be from all the lip gloss I've ingested) and is prepared to receive God's new blessing in our home. I, as well as the blondies, are excited and antsy with anticipation. We know this is a long process but God has prepared us to "run the race" the reward will be worth more than any challenge we have faced. -Bigg Daddy

Jun 10, 2010

The view from where I am..

We are definitely blessed in this house with love and laughter. There is not a day that goes by that someone is not making everyone else giggle. Genna lost a tooth last night right before bed and today she packed it around like a trophy! She also tried to put the tooth back in where it left a GIANT hole. The tooth fairy didn't take it or leave money because she was unaware that it was placed under the pillow last night. After a run in the heat, her (the tooth fairy's) brain wasn't working as well!
This morning I walked in to find all three girlies sitting on Gennabugs bed singing and talking about "the tooth". It is one of the best views I could ever lay my eyes on. My girls enjoying each other's company.

We received our homestudy paperwork yesterday and have begun reading through all the details and filling it out. Lots of details! I feel like the caseworkers will know more about us after we get done than our closest friends. However, I can definitely understand why they need to know this much, after doing interviews and reading applications from families at work. It takes alot to figuire out the dynamics (strengths and weaknesses) of a family from just paperwork.

Jun 9, 2010

In the beginning...

We are plugging away getting papers prepared to submit with our application. In between ballgames, cooking dinner, eating dinner (very imortant to me..HA!), and giving baths we are trying to get all of it done. Spoke with a nearby agency today about our homestudy. We are so excited to get the ball rolling!

I am already dreaming of what our child will be like and look like. Praying for him or her each night along with our other three. It is surreal to think that given the estimated timeline that God could just be beginning to create our child.

It was so precious today at lunch Genna prayed and "please God help our orphan and other orphans". Oh, they melt my heart sometimes! I explained later during the meal that our baby would be just like Delaney was a few months ago and that she could call it our baby already.