Our Story

Our Story
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.
~ Kristi Larson ~

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn't grow under my heart - but in it!
~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger ~
Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the CALL to Give LOVE, MERCY, and PATIENCE.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ever Changing

One thing that I learned very early on in our adoption process is that things are ever changing.  The "normal" expectation for referrals, court dates, embassy - are always so unknown and completely different depending on what family you talk to.  Every family has their own story, based on their own time frame, based on God's journey that He took them on. 

Our adoption journey has been amazing so far and God has already taught us so much!  He's opened our eyes up to the world and His people.  He has shown us that if we are willing, he will take us places we never thought we would go, and I'm not just talking about going to Africa!  I'm talking about the journey that He's taking our hearts on, our lives, our family, our outlook on life.  I can honestly say that God has spoken to us so deeply and clearly that I can say with absolute faith that we will NEVER be the same again!  We will NEVER look at the world in the same way!  He had bigger plans for our family than we had for ourselves and He is slowly revealing that plan to us.

Part of God's plan for our family is to bring our daughter home from Ethiopia!  We do not know when that will be or who she even is but we DO know that God does.  He knows every hair on her head and has been there beside her to wipe away every tear she has shed.  God has been revealing and changing our hearts on this process and a couple of months ago we felt like God was asking us not to put Him in a box, not to limit His plans for our family.  We felt like God was asking us to not only adopt our daughter, but also to be open to a sibling group.  God's plans are ever changing - He waits for you to get comfortable with a new decision, only to prompt you to step out in faith once again and follow His leading.  We made the decision to be open to a sibling group back in August, even before our Dossier was sent to Ethiopia.  We were told by our family coordinator that sibling groups are not as common as an individual referral so we would more likely just receive our daughter.  We know that God knows and we are trusting Him to bring us our child or children, whatever that may look like.  We feel that God asked us to be open to sibling groups - He may have just wanted us to be obediant and we might just get our daughter - or  - He may have our children out there waiting for us and He needed us to be open to them.  Either way we will receive a 3-4 yr. old girl, either in a sibling group of 2-3 children ranging from 18 mon. to 7 yrs, or by herself - whichever is available first!

We have kept the sibling portion of our decision pretty quiet due to the fact that it most likely won't happen.  Lately, however, we felt like we should share this change that God has led us on.  We know that many of you are praying for our family and our adoption process.  You are lifting up our daughter in your prayers and praying with us that God would bring her home to us soon.  We feel like we need prayer, for whatever God has planned for our family. 

I just posted a couple of days ago under our Adoption Timeline where we are on the DTE LIST - this list is the make shift list that the families have put together to see where we are in our wait. For fun, I posted where we are on the sibling group list- just to see if anyone would notice - LOL :).  The only person who noticed was my mother-in-law and that was with some prompting on my part.  Since posting a couple of days ago, the list has already changed.  It is important to remind you (and myself) that the list is not accurate and complete.  Not ALL families are included in the list, it only has the families that have chosen to participate in the yahoo chat group.  Also, families can change their request at anytime which can rearrange where everyone is on the list.  This is what has happened in our case, so instead of moving up the list, we have taken a small step back.  We are #4 for a 3 yr old girl, #2 for a 4 yr old girl, and #6 for a sibling group.  Most all of the families ahead of us are not requesting EXACTLY what we are, so they could receive something completely different than what we are requesting.  But the families that I have down as ahead of us are eligible for a 3-4 yr old girl so we have to consider ourselves behind them in line.

Please continue to lift our family up in prayer as we walk on this path that God has layed out before us.  Please pray that we would continue to draw close to Him for strength and that we would be obediant to His calling for our family.  Pray for our biological children, that God would prepare their hearts and minds to accept the changes that are coming.  Please pray for our child/children who's lives are going to change drastically in the months to come.  Pray that God would begin preparing their hearts to join our family and pray that God will comfort and keep them safe in His arms.

God is our rock when everything around us is EVER CHANGING!

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalms 18:2

Monday, October 24, 2011

Courageous

Went to see the movie "Courageous" with some amazing friends!  Inspiring movie about men standing up to the challenge to be Godly husbands and fathers, to live life with integrity and COURAGE! 


So blessed to have an amazing husband who gives his all to his family and who loves God with all of his heart!  Love you babe!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sweet Music from Sweet Kids from Halfway Around the World

We got the opportunity to watch the African Children's Choir perform this morning.  This agency has been doing amazing, life changing work for a couple decades. I was surprised by the flood of emotion that overtook me as I first heard and then saw the sweet faces of the children as they ran and danced up onto the stage. 



The director that was with the choir was a past choir member who was able to do amazing things with his life thanks to the opportunities that the program and sponsorships provided.  He graduated with a bachelor's in business and is using his talents to help his country back home.  He presented the children with the preface that all of the children are 7,8,or 9 year olds and have either lost their mother, father, or both.  These children needed a chance to shine and African Children's Choir has given that opportunity.  Their faces beamed and their hearts shined as they sang about God's love.




One of my favorite parts of the concert was when each child came up to the microphone, introduced themselves, and said what they want to be when they grow up.  Their future dreams ranged from pilots to nurses to doctors to teachers to vets to cardiologists to pastors.  The tears snuck back into the corners of my eyes knowing that these children have the opportunity to hope and aspire for a future.

Their faces are beautiful but it is not as amazing as their voices...enjoy the sweet music from sweet kids from halfway around the world...

video
African Children's Choir - He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

video
African Children's Choir - Can Dance - Common Game Played in African Villages

video
African Children's Choir - This Little Light of Mine


Another reminder of how God is doing amazing things in Africa!  Can't wait to show the video to our sweet daughter - and hopefully take her to watch them next time they come into town!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2 Months DOWN!

Life has been crazy to say the least and I haven't even had time to think straight.  There doesn't seem to be an end to the busy schedule in the near future either, with conferences on the horizon!  A few things in the schedule have been by choice - but oh so needed for my soul!  We went back to the Africa church a week or so ago!  It was even more amazing than the first time we visited.  I took my mother-in-law and Aunt Becci with us and it was a moving and inspiring service.  We found out that evening that the African Children's Choir was coming to town next Sunday!  Oh SO excited to go see the beautiful children and hear their amazing music!  My brother and I reminisced back to our childhood when the African Children's Choir came to our church.  It was something that has stayed with me as an amazing experience and I'm excited to take my children!  Josh and I also get the opportunity this coming week to work a booth for our adoption agency, America World Adoption Association, at Steven Curtis Chapman's concert.  We have loved working with our agency and are excited to share our adoption journey with other families.  The exciting part is that we get VIP passes to the pre-show and we get tickets into the concert, when we aren't supposed to be manning the booth that is!  I don't think I've been to a concert since I was in high school - and it was Steven Curtis Chapman back then too - HAHA!  So incredibly excited to see what God has planned in the near future as he places us in each of these situations!

The title of today's post is 2 months DOWN!  We submitted our Dossier(paperwork) to Ethiopia 2 months ago yesterday!  It has flown by and seems like just yesterday I was driving to the UPS store to ship off the paperwork that had consumed my life all summer.  God has blessed me with a busy schedule to keep my mind off of the fact that I am still waiting!  He has blessed me with "meeting" some amazing families in our AWAA(America World Adoption Association) Family Chat Group.  He has allowed me to pray for and focus on the needs of these families that have been waiting longer, stuck in court closure, struggling through embassy investigations, receiving emails saying their kids are sick - AGAIN - and there is nothing the families can do but pray from afar that God would be with their children, that God would be with their paperwork, that God would be with their process, that God would unite thier Families SOON!  I want more than anything to receive a phone call tomorrow afternoon with a referral - is it going to happen - most likely not - but maybe!  I want more than anything for God to do BIG things in Ethiopia and MOVE some Mountains for some amazing families that need to hear a Word from the ALMIGHTY!  Can it be done?  ONLY with God - IT WILL BE DONE!

So - with the Steven Curtis Chapman concert in our near future - I will leave you with a word from him!


Our Love will bring them home - IN GOD'S PERFECT TIMING!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Faces of Joy!

It has been a while since we updated the kids' pictures.  I like to take posed individual pics of the kids at least once a year!  I loved their enthusiasm and their willingness to strike a pose!  Here's the final product!







Flag football has also been consuming ALL of our free time - Go PATRIOTS and JETS!





LOVE - LOVE - LOVE my Collage Program....can you tell!?!?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trust in the Lord

Our agency posted today on our Ethiopia facebook page...

“Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:4 NLT

Most of you know that courts in Ethiopia have been closed since the first week of August and are due to open up this week.  It has been a long and quiet time for many families stuck in the midst of court closure.  A few families are waiting for a recommendation letter from the courts to submit to Embassy in order to bring their children home.  Some families are waiting to get clearance from Embassy to travel and pick up their children and bring them home to their forever families! Other families have received referrals in the quiet of court closure and are waiting to receive a court date so they can make their first trip over and hold their children for the first time.  There are yet others who are waiting for a referral.  Not just waiting a month or so, like us, but these families have been waiting for over a year.  Waiting and hoping each time the phone rings that it is their family coordinator with news of a referral.

The mood in many families is a sense of yearning and exhaustion.  Many families have asked for prayer - that God would give them strength when they don't feel like they have any left.  For peace and comfort in the continued wait.  I am asking you to lift up these families with me.  God has an amazing plan and everything needs to be in place for each family to receive the children that God designed for them.  It is so hard for us to see and understand God's timing - but I know that it is perfect and I will choose to believe and Trust in the Lord.

I know the day will come when I will be sick of waiting - I am already there most days...even though I know I have a long and difficult wait ahead.  I ache for Naomi and want more than anything to hold her in my arms and tell her everything is going to be ok - that her Mama is here now!  In the midst of the waiting I am  choosing to spend my time in prayer - and I ask that you join me in lifting up our process.  Instead of trying to figure out what scenario may bring us our daughter and trying to predict when a referral may come - I have been spending my time on my knees!   I have been praying for every hand that has a part in bringing our daughter home.  I pray for the doctors, the nannies, the orphonage workers, the court officials and clerks, our family coordinator, the embassy officials and clerks!  I pray for every piece of documentation that is involved in bringing Naomi home to us - the homestudy, the Dossier, the medical forms, the referral forms, the legal papers, any orphonage papers, the approvals and recommendations from court, the embassy papers, her visa.  I know that I have NO control over all of these things - but I KNOW that God does.  I TRUST that God will safeguard each aspect of our adoption and bring our family together - whatever that may look like - I will TRUST IN THE LORD!