Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Place I Will Show You

I have a HUGE writing deficit going on. We have been waist deep in research papers at school, and that has left me little time for anything other than grading and answering questions. But oh so much is swirling around in my head.

First and most importantly, I am so humbled by all that God has done in our lives, not just in matching us with our son, but with EVERY SINGLE DETAIL over the last two and a half years leading up to the moment we saw our son's beautiful face. At so many points along the way, I doubted, questioned and even defied. I just KNEW that my way was better, that if God would just LISTEN to me, everything would work together and end up exactly right.

But I was wrong. So, so wrong.

All of those months of tears and begging and bargaining, and our son was not even born yet. How humbling. How like God to lead us through a valley that, to us, seems impossibly deep, only to bring us to the place He designed for us all along. So much of this journey has been God asking us to trust Him. Much like Abraham, we were asked to go to a place He would show us. Not a place He had showed us, but to a place that He would at some point in the future show us.

So hard.

So unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

I have always known Jesus. I cannot think of a time when I didn't. But my faith had never been tested in this way. I had never had to choose to believe God in spite of my circumstances. God had blessed me beyond measure. And then we began the road to our son. This road that we were so certain would look a certain way.

Only it didn't.

It didn't live up to ANY of our expectations. It seemed like we were hitting brick walls at every turn. All we wanted was to become parents, to adopt this beautiful child. Yet nothing was happening. If anything, we seemed to be getting further and further away from our child(ren). Months and years passed.

And we were SO tempted to pursue something else in the meantime. A concurrent domestic adoption. Another country. Something. We were committed to Ethiopia, but it looked like it would be YEARS longer. I pushed for it. Told Adam that I just couldn't take it anymore.

And he, like the Godly man he is, reminded me of Abraham. Over and over again. God asked Abraham to go to a place He would reveal. God promised Abraham a son. Decades went by with no end in sight. And then Abraham veered off God's course with Hagar. He doubted God's promise. And I did the same. But Adam steered me back, away from the temptation to pursue our own path, away from the shouts of the world, telling us to do what we wanted.

And through God's strength and grace, we managed to stay faithful. Now there is this little life, this sweet and precious life who is ours to love for all our days. God has given us a glimpse of the place He has called us to, and I am so thankful, so humbled and so overwhelmed.

So now we are praying him home. And even in that, I am learning to trust God in a whole new way. Someone else is caring for my son. Someone else is feeding and hugging and comforting my son. Someone else is feeding and loving my son. And I am here. Away from him. Trusting God to intervene and believing in His promise that He wastes nothing and controls everything.

More to come VERY soon.

Love,
Baylor

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A New Phase

Monday was December 1. Do you know what I did NOT do on Monday? Stalk my email for a waiting list update. For the first time TWENTY FIVE months! It was a glorious relief. No more numbers. Just his precious face. Amen to that.

I have spent so much time over the last few days tracing back through this incredible journey, and I am amazed over and over again by the evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness. Evidence that is just NOW being made visible. I am overwhelmed and completely humbled. And I'm working on getting it all together to tell you. I promise.

For now though, I want to share just a bit about this new phase we are in. Adam and I are BEYOND thankful for your love, support and constant prayer over the years. You are such an integral part of this journey we are on. Thank you for walking with us. This phase is different. There are a lot of things we cannot share. I want so much to send his precious photo to everyone who has walked this path with us, but I can't. We have to protect his privacy. And then there's his life up till now. There is much of our son's story that is not ours to tell, and so we are keeping it for him and not telling it to anyone. It's not that we don't want you to be involved, and I am so worried that it will come across that way. It's just that this is his life and his story. He will one day grow up to be a man, and this part of his life is just not ours to share.

So we are asking for your grace and understanding in that.

We want you to be involved in his life from here forward. We want you to meet him and love him and remind him of God's love and goodness.

Much will happen over the coming months. Paperwork. Court hearings. Travel. COMING HOME! And we still need you! We still need your prayers, and we are so thankful for them and for you, for all you have done in our lives and in the life of our son. You are being the hands and feet of Jesus, and it is beyond humbling to be recipient of your love.

Love,
Baylor

Sunday, November 30, 2014

His Face: Our Referral

The post I have been waiting years to write, and I don't even know how how to explain it to you. I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

Half-time of the Iron Bowl and my phone rings. Catherine, our saint of a case manager, says hello. I knew this was it, and I grabbed Adam's arm. My gracious response to Catherine? " Can you please tell me why you are calling me right now?"She told me that she was going to make my Thanksgiving a little happier, and I bolted out of the room into the kitchen.


We get her on speakerphone, and she tells us...
 We have a son. 
Shock. Disbelief. 

I will never, for the rest of my life, forget the look on this man's face in this moment. 

So completely and wholly overcome. 
So thankful. 
So overjoyed. 
So glad this woman got to be a part of it. 
 And then we saw his precious face, another face that I will never forget for as long as I live. 
It is etched into my memory. 

Joy. 

My main man looking at my little man. 
 God did it. He brought us here. He brought us this little life to love. 
We are so humbled, awed and blessed by God's faithfulness in our life and in the life of our son. 
 We are parents! 
And we could NOT be happier! 

We would love nothing more than to show you our son's face, but we cannot share it yet. If you see me in person, though, please ask! I am likely to have 30 copies of his picture in my purse and a few dozen more on my phone. 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." 

Love, 
Baylor 

**I am eternally indebted to my sis-in-law to be, Farren, for being quick on her feet and grabbing her phone to record and document this incredible night.**

Friday, November 21, 2014

Obsessive

Apparently I'm obsessive. Who knew?

Oh, wait. You knew?

I feel like we are getting close, like REALLY close. And I have been obsessively checking my phone and my email all week this week. As in refreshing my email every three minutes and refusing to be anywhere without my phone, lest it ring and I not hear it. Some referrals went out last week, and based on those, it looks like it could be us VERY soon. My heart races and pounds just thinking about it. After all we have endured over the last two years and seven months on this adoption journey, I can hardly believe that this day is coming.

It is honestly a bit difficult to put this out there to you, to admit that I feel (for the first time…ever) like we are actually close. It's a risk. Because what if we aren't? What if things stall out again like they did exactly one year ago? What if we are waiting for months and months and months more? And the answer is this: I don't know. I don't know what it's going to look like or how long it is going to be. All I know is that I FEEL like it could be soon. And that is a first for me.

So I am petitioning you again, dear friends. Will you pray? REALLY pray?

Will you pray that it is soon? That I will be able to finally write the post that I have crafted in my head over and over again? That I will be able to share the best of news with you? That the day will come when there is one less (maybe two less) child(ren) in the world waiting for a family? That Adam and I will FINALLY know what it is like to look at a picture and say, "That is my child."?

I am trying so hard to trust God in the middle of this craziness, to rest the in the truth of His goodness. And I am so, so, SO ready for Him to write the next chapter in this beautiful story. I am ready to see the goodness of His promise come to fruition. Ready to love this little life. Ready to teach this little one all about the great God who brought us together.

"They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." 
Isaiah 61:3

Love, 
Baylor 

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Story is His Story

I have spent a good deal of time this past week reflecting over all that has transpired in my life over the last almost four years on this journey to parenthood. Goodness, so much has changed. When I think back to specific times, times full of excitement and others overflowing with sadness, I am amazed to have come through it all. And in that, I know, is the grace and goodness of God. This journey is by no means over. We haven't been matched yet. But I have arrived in this place where I am enjoying looking at the story God is writing in my life, and I am coming to the realization that my story is actually His story.

You see, this is not the life I would have chosen for myself. Thirty is staring me in the face and motherhood is not yet in sight. There is hope on the horizon, yes, but nothing certain. I thought that by now, we would be adopting our first child to add to the two already in our home. But that is not the case. We only have one child. And she has four legs.

So this is not the story I wrote for myself when I was younger. My story was not nearly this dramatic. It's the story God wrote for me before the dawn of time. He knew all of these things would happen. He knew the moments that would fill us with joy and anticipation. He knew the moments that would threaten to drown us in sorrow and hardship. He knew the days that I would rage in anger at the apparent unfairness of it all and even at Him. He knew the moments when I would be so totally and completely overwhelmed with love for my little Ethiopians that I would cry just thinking about them.

He knew all of those things, and He is using them to write this incredible story. A story that I cannot believe is mine. He is revealing to me the depth of His own love for His children and just a tiny glimpse of the hardship and sacrifice He endured to redeem us unto Himself. He is showing me that He can strengthen a woman, this woman, to withstand the most difficult and heart wrenching of tests and that He can carry her through those tests. He is showing me that I cannot be taken away from Him, no matter how hard the enemy tries and no matter how much I want to give up and give in. He is showing me that the love between a man and his bride can be the deepest, most profound example of Christ's love for the church and that that is exactly what it should be. He is showing me that the greatest thing we have on earth to advance the Kingdom of God is love. He is showing me that a mother's love for her children will cause her to willingly endure all kinds of hardships, impossibilities, disappointments, ridicule, loneliness, desperation and heartache and that she will keep coming back for more because her children are WORTH it. And He is showing me that HE feels the same way about US.

God has used this incredible thing called adoption to open my eyes, maybe just a little bit, to the startling reality of His love for us. His children. The children He adopted through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. The children He fought for and suffered for.

So when I say that my story is His story, I don't mean that I am like God. I'm not. Trust me. I mean that He is using the story He is writing in my life to reveal His character to me. And He is doing in the most radical of ways. This is not the path I would have chosen, but God has my attention. And I am ready to see what's next.

Maybe God is doing something awesome and redemptive in your life, too. Maybe it is NOT what you thought it would be. Hang in there, dear friend. He is working. He is writing a story in your life that is actually His story. Let him.


Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33

Love, 
Baylor 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Some Good News!


Well, it seems that things are starting to move again in Ethiopia! Eeeeek! We have been hearing about some referrals going out this week.

I don't know about you, but that just sets my heart a racing and swelling with hope. 

Wil you pray today that our time is soon? Like really soon? Like before Christmas soon? 

I think it can happen. And if it does, I promise to share my whole, great, big, crazy reaction with you.

I have learned so much about God and His goodness and His rock-solid faithfulness. I have learned that He wastes nothing and provides everything. He loves unconditionally and forgives always. He pursues us and waits for us to come home when we insist on going our own way. He never leaves or grows weary of our prayers. He suffers and grieves right alongside us. He comforts us through His Spirit, His Word and His children here on earth. He brings people into our lives to lift us up in our hour of need. He reminds us along the way that He is good. And He never forgets us. He asks big things of our lives, not to torment us to but to strengthen us. He puts the impossible in front of us so that He can be glorified. He allows pain and suffering so that He can heal and restore.

I have learned all of these things and so many more. And I know that I could not have learned these things if not for this incredibly deep valley we have been walking through. So while it has been (and continues to be) the most difficult thing God has ever asked of me, I know that God is here, that He is in it and that it will ultimately be far more than I could ever ask or imagine.

Love,
Baylor 

Stirring

November has been a tough month. No movement. Learning that the way things have been is the new normal. Finding out that our expenses are significantly increasing. Lots to process and most of it is not good.

But in the midst of all of this, I sense God stirring something. I don't know exactly what it will all ultimately lead to, but I do sense that a change is on the horizon. God has been tugging on my heart lately to move forward with something I have been circling around for a long time. It wasn't some huge revelation. More like a series of events and promptings pointing me toward what will hopefully be a whole new, adventurous chapter. I just hope I am brave enough to do it.

It involves sharing a LOT of my story. Like, all of it. Yikes.

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to speak at a women's event in Eufaula, Alabama. I was able to share not only our adoption story, but how God is using it to restore, redeem and beautify my life in a way that only He can. I think that night was the spark that set this new thing into motion.

So, once again, I am trying to walk and live and breathe in faith, hoping and praying that God will guide me and use me and my life and this story to bring glory to His wonderful Name.

Hoping to share more soon. Stay tuned.

Love,
Baylor


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