Thursday, August 17, 2017

We Must Take Sides

I have felt compelled to write something--anything--in the days since Charlottesville. But every time I have sat down in front of this computer, I have been unable to order my thoughts in any coherent way. Anger, frustration, sadness, helplessness, despair, rage, fear are all warring with each other. And so I was tempted to just walk away, to let other (far wiser) voices ring out. But there is a deep part of me that knows that the absence of my voice would speak volumes.

The absence of my voice might project that this horrifying display of the wretchedness of human sin was simply not enough to move me to action. The absence of my voice--a white, female, middle class voice--might scream that since these events did not directly impact me that I am excused from acknowledging them, much less dealing with them. The absence of my voice would, in all reality, be my giving consent to allow things like this to continue.

And that I cannot do. I cannot give consent, even tacitly. I cannot ignore. I cannot accept. I cannot pretend that people like this do not live in my neighborhood, go to my church, play on my playgrounds and shop in my grocery stores. I cannot.

But what I can do is add my own voice to the chorus of those standing against racism. Because that is what this is. It is racism. Pure. Simple.

It is a group of people so entrenched in their own pride and selfishness, so accustomed to their own superiority, so insistent that they alone should reign supreme, so consumed with hatred that they are willing to incite violence, to bring harm, to hurt, maim and even kill all who stand against them.

When I allow myself to sit and truly sink into thinking about all that Charlottesville represents, I feel like I am drowning. And so I cannot even begin to fathom what my brothers and sisters of color must be thinking and feeling. What my own son would be thinking and feeling if he was fifteen instead of three.

It is time for us white people to do better. Our fellow human beings, fellow image bearers of the Most High God are being attacked because of the color of their skin, a color that same God designed. It is not enough for us to shake our heads and say, "How awful." It is not enough for us to make jokes aimed at white supremacists. It is not enough to change our profile pictures on Facebook and quote Dr. King.

We have to start looking at people the way Jesus looks at us. With love and compassion. With arms open wide. We have to start living the way God commands us to in His Word. What if the white Christian church did that? What would change? Everything would. God's banner over us is love. Let that be what identifies us to the world. Not this racial elitism that threatens to destroy anything in its way.

Let us live like we believe that Jesus died and rose again for all mankind, not just those who look like we do. Let us live in such a way that our children learn to love the way Jesus did, recklessly. And when our leaders fail to call out racism, let us be bold enough to step into the gap and speak the truth in their stead.

I'll finish with a quote from a hero of mine, Elie Wiesel. Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor. He lived through deportation to Auschwitz and was eventually liberated from Buchenwald. I had the privilege of teaching his beautiful memoir Night for all of my eight years in the classroom. At the end of the text, his publishers included his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. It is incredibly compelling, and I always made sure my classes took time to read it and discuss its importance.

The words I have included below shake me every time I read them. There is so much truth here. Truth and a call to action. A call to respond.

And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever wherever 
human beings endure suffering and humiliation. 
We must take sides. 
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. 
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. 
Sometimes we must interfere. 
When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. 
Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.

May we have the courage to interfere.

With love,

Thursday, August 10, 2017


A huge weight lifted on my shoulders to when I DROPPED OFF OUR I800A! Yes! You might be wondering what that means. Well, it means a few things. First, it means that we are being able to move forward with our adoption process. This is a BIG praise to the Lord Almighty. Secondly, it means that we are FINISHED with our home study. A to the MEN. And lastly, it means we are awaiting our pre-approval to bring our daughter home. Once we receive this approval, we will be able to send our dossier to China and at that point, we will officially be a waiting family.

So travel to China is still a loooooong way off, but we are at a huge milestone, and it feels good to celebrate a sense of true progress.

When Adam and I sit and talk about adding another daughter to our family, we are overcome with a sense of nervousness but also a deep sense of rightness. We know that this is what the Lord has for our family.

So today we are excited to be another step closer, and we are still praying for this sweet girl who will one day join our family.

With love,

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Change in the Requirements

We've been sitting on some news since last week. Don't get excited.

If you know our family's story, then you know that international adoption can be fraught with uncertainty. The peaks and valleys that inevitably accompany trying to work with two sovereign nations on two different continents on opposite sides of the globe can leave us feeling quite dizzy at times. Add to that the emotional toll that IS adoption, and it is easy to feel utterly and completely overwhelmed.

While we were in process to adopt Bradley, there were several points along the way when it looked like things would not work out. There were rumors of Ethiopia closing to foreign adoption completely. Then things did shut down for about six months. Then the requirements started changing to a degree that our agency offered to let waiting families change programs because it looked like things were coming to a halt. It was a chaotic experience to say the least.

And while we were in the middle of it, I really struggled. Deeply. Now, though, on the other side of it all, it is so easy for me to trace the Lord's hand in the writing of our family's story. Each piece that felt like a delay or setback was overseen by our great and glorious Father, who was truly working a miracle. And I would do it a thousand times if it meant I would be able to be Bradley's mom.

Then, a few months ago, we started the process to adopt again, this time from China. And I thought it would be easier. I thought that our past experience and the notorious consistency of the adoption process for China would make things easier to bear. I was ready.

But one week ago today we received a phone call from our social worker. She told me that they had just received word that China has changed some of its requirements for inter-country adoption. My heart started racing. When I hear things like "change in requirements" I immediately start sweating. She told me that among the new requirements is one that affects our family in a big way. The new policy states that in order for a foreign family to adopt from China, the youngest child currently living in the home must be three years old.

I managed to hold it together on the phone. But after we hung up, it started to sink in. Asher is not quite 16 months old yet. That means we will have to wait a year and a half before we can submit our paperwork. We are devastated. We thought that in a year and a half we might have our daughter home.

I called Adam and sobbed on the phone with him. We were scheduled to have our final home study interview the following day. We were one step away from submitting everything to immigration.; a huge milestone. And now we are on the sideline.

It's so tempting to despair. To throw our hands up and say, "Why?" But we are trying to take some deep breaths and make the right decisions.

We are still committed to adopting from China (until the Lord tells us otherwise). After meeting with our social worker and our agency's program director, we are going to complete our homestudy and keep it updated until the time comes when we can submit.

As we have talked with each other, family and friends over this past week, we are starting to see some light. We have more time with Bradley and Asher, more time to invest in them and focus on them. We also know that if our first adoption had followed our desired timeline, then Bradley would not be our son. So we KNOW that the Lord is sovereign, and that while this shocked us, it did not surprise Him.

So we would ask for your prayers as we wait in this new way, that God would use this time to strengthen our faith, our marriage, our family; that we would not grow weary in the waiting; that we would seek out ways to glorify Him through the path He has laid before us.

With love,

Friday, April 14, 2017

We Can Now Be His

I love Easter. Not the bunny or the eggs. That's not so much my thing. But the redemption, the power of Christ on full display, the conquering of death, the reuniting of Holy God with His people, His bride. That I love.

I've often said that one of the most unexpected gifts that came from the adoption of our precious boy is this teeny tiny glimpse God gave me into His heart, into His deep love for us.

We pursued Bradley while he was unaware of our existence. We stood in the downstairs room of his orphanage itching with anticipation, knowing we were about to meet our son while he slept above our heads completely unaware of the fact that the people who would become his mom and dad were in the building. We were tense with excitement and thrilled beyond description that the moment we had been longing for was finally upon us. My stomach was in knots and my heart was galloping. We had been running toward this goal for so long, and here it was. All we had to do was walk up two flights of stairs.

And I wonder now, if our Heavenly Father doesn't feel the same way right before one of His image bearers meets Jesus and has his or her life forever changed. I wonder if the Triune God tenses with anticipation and gets giddy with joy, knowing that everything that has been done, all the sacrifice, the pain, all of it has been leading to this moment. This moment when a wanderer is claimed forever by the Father. This moment when He reaches out and says, "Mine. This one is mine."

I wonder if the relief I felt when I held Bradley for the first time isn't in some way similar to what our Lord must feel when one of us leans in to His loving embrace.

And then we went and stood in front of a judge to petition one final time to be Bradley's mom and dad. Oh, I was nervous. This hearing would decide our family's future. The judge asked us a series of questions. Do you love this child? Do you want to parent this child? Will you love this child as one you birthed? On and on. I was in tears by the time he got to the final question.

"Do you understand that once I sign this document, the adoption is final and cannot be undone?"

I whispered, "Yes."

And he signed it right there in front of us and said, "It is done."

I tried not to sob in his chambers.

It was done. Finished. We could not change it. Finally.

There was nothing we could add to make Bradley more ours.  Nothing he could have done to be more ours. It was over.

And I wonder again, was this God giving me a peek into His heart? When Jesus proclaimed, "It is finished." and gave up His soul, it really was over. Nothing else could have been done to redeem us MORE, to save us MORE. We bring nothing to the redemption table. Jesus paid it all. There is nothing left to be done. We can now be His.

What beauty we find at the cross. What finality. What redemption. What grace.

And we are only the recipients. God fights for us, and we become His heirs.

That is Easter.

And here I have to pause. I do not want to paint myself as a savior in any way. Adam and I did not save anyone. We don't have that ability. We are ONLY Bradley's parents. That's it. And I always hesitate to use our family's story as part of the gospel in adoption narrative because I realize that as the parallels progress it is easy to look at the adoptive parents as "God figures." Let me assure you WE ARE NOT in any way. Just ask my kids! What I do want to clearly convey is my deep appreciation of God's love for us, the battle He wages for us.

With deep love,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Incredible You

You guys are really something else. Do you know that? Do you? I mean, buying a shirt might seem like such an inconsequential thing to you. Not to us. To us, it is you reaching out your hand and offering to walk side by side with us all the way across the world to bring our girl home. To us, it is you saying, "This thing Adam and Baylor are trying to do is worthy of me investing my resources." To us, it is you giving sacrificially to help us walk the path the Lord has laid at our feet. You are making it possible for us to adopt our daughter, for us to fly around the planet and bring her into our family, into her family.

So you might think you just bought a shirt. But please let me assure you, you did a whole lot more.

And for that, we are humbly, fully and deeply thankful.

Pursuing international adoption has caused Adam and me to do something we are not very good at doing: ask for help. You see, we can commit to running after this girl, bringing her home and loving her for all of our days. But first we have to get to her. And we can't do that alone. With international adoption costing what it does, we just can't.

But then God sends us you. You, who freely give your resources, your prayer and your love. You, who have known us all our lives. You, whom we have never even met. You, who see this path as one worthy of walking. You, who helped us bring our son home and are now doing the same for our daughter.


And incredible you purchased 151 shirts. 151! That is enough to cover half of our first agency payment! You did that.

Thank you. We could never say it enough.

With all my love,

P.S. We should receive the shirts during the first week of March, and then I will make it my mission to get them to you as fast as possible.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mess This Up

We are in such a good place right now. Bradley and Asher are both thriving. They love each other so well. They are happy. They are healthy. We have found our rhythm. And when I sit back and look at them, I find myself feeling tempted to think,

"Why would I do something that could mess this up?"

It's tempting to say that we are done, our family is complete. Two kids and a dog. That's good, right? We both come from families with two kids. Two's company and three's a crowd, ya know? And the truth is, if that's what God had asked of our lives, we would be done. DONE.

But right in the middle of things moving and grooving along, God appears to have asked us to trust Him again and take the first step toward adding another daughter to our family. And while I am so, so excited, there is a part of me that KNOWS this will have such a profound impact on the two sweet babes who already share our home.

I remember having these same feelings right before Asher was born. Bradley was in such a good place. I felt like all of our hard work had paid off and we had finally turned a corner. He was so happy and eager to love. He was so obviously secure in his role as our son. And I just knew that when baby girl came along, he would take such a hit. And he did. The first three months were tough. I told Adam that we needed to get an apartment and Asher could live there with me while Bradley and Adam stayed in the house. Then after six months we could reconvene and see if we were ready to all live together. HA! Seriously, though. It was rough going.

But now! Now I watching these two play together and laugh. I watch my son help take care of his sister. And I just think, "YES. This is family. This is what it's about."

And then I get so excited about doing it again. About bringing another daughter into our family. About watching our current two learn to love her. About watching Babe #3 learn to love her brother and sister. About watching my own love grow again.

So this little family right here is not done growing just yet! 

I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do in each of us through this next adventure. And I am so thankful that so many of you have already linked arms with us to help get our girl home. We are still selling our t-shirts, baseball tees and tank tops to help fundraiser for this adoption. Shirts will be in sale through February 16. Our great big goal is 500 shirts sold. And our goal for this weekend is to get to 100. Right now, we are at 63 shirts sold. SO CLOSE! Will you help us today? Click the link below to shop!

With love,

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Here We Go Again!

Remember that time the Lord called us to adopt a precious boy from the other side of the world and so many of you locked arms beside us to bring him home?


It's happening again! Adam and I are so excited to announce that we have started the process to adopt Baby Knott #3! This time we are heading to China to bring home a sweet baby girl. In 2010, when we first felt the call to adopt, our hearts first went to China, but we did not meet the age requirement at that time. It ended up being a huge blessing because the Lord brought us our sweet Bradley bear. And then Asher girl right on his heels. Now, our hearts are being pulled back to China and the sweet little girl we know will be ours. 

It all feels so very surreal. Looking at a binder full of forms to fill out. Starting to think about gathering all the necessary documents to gain foreign adoption approval. Getting our finances in order. 

It's different this time because I know how long the whole thing can be.  It's also different because I have seen the sheer BEAUTY that comes once it is over. I know what it is to adopt, and I now know for certain that it is the single greatest adventure God has asked of our lives. 

So we are going to ask you to come alongside us again. We need your love and your prayers. Our daughter does, too. Eek! 

And we want to offer you an opportunity to be part of our girl's story in a tangible way, too, so we are selling shirts to help offset some of the cost of our adoption. Last time we were both working and had no kids and it was still a big stretch. We literally could not have done it without you. So as we step out in faith, trying our best to trust God's plan for our family, we humbly ask you to partner with us to get our girl home. 

Our design this time is reflecting back on a verse that has become so dear to me. 

"Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope. Even now I announce that I will restore twice as much unto you." Zechariah 9:12

I love the idea of being a prisoner of hope, held captive by hope in Christ. And I am in CONSTANT need of being reminded to return to my fortress, God, my Rock. It is from Him alone that all blessings flow. Nothing has shown me that truth quite like walking through the world of international adoption. 

Here is a peek at the styles we are offering this time. 

Super cute baseball tees! 
Grey with navy sleeves or grey with maroon sleeves. 
Both are adorable and super soft. 

Crew neck tees in heathered kelly green or heathered navy blue! 
Awesome t-shirts and easy to wear colors. 

Tank tops in berry pink and heathered black! 
I am SO excited about these! Great for hitting the gym or out and about! 

Click HERE to place your order. 

We will be taking orders until February 16. Our goal (Oh, please, Lord!) is to sell 500 shirts. Yikes. That's a lot. All orders will be shipped directly to us, and then we will get tham to you. Purchase price includes shipping if you live far away and delivery if you are nearby. 

Please send us pictures of you in your shirts! We have multiple pages in Bradley's adoption book of people in their shirts all around the world. We want to do the same thing for our sweet girl so she can see how many incredible people helped us get her home! 

Lots more to come on our journey to Baby Knott #3! 

With love, 
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