Friday, November 17, 2017

Three Little Words

YOU GUYS! YOU GUYS! YOU GUYS!

I talked to our social worker today and she said the three little words I have been longing to hear for MONTHS:

DOSSIER TO CHINA!

Our family is DTC (dossier to China) as of TODAY! I could sob.

We have been working toward this for almost this entire year. Right now--RIGHT NOW--our papers are flying overseas, and once they are registered, we are officially waiting to be matched with our daughter.

OHMYSTARS.

We are so excited and so very humbled to see what the Lord has in store for this family in the coming months. Thank you so much for you love and prayer and support. We could not, COULD NOT, do this without you.

With love,
Baylor

**And we are still selling our new t-shirt designs. Click HERE to check them out and place an order. As of right now, we have sold 24 shirts, and our great big goal is 150. Shirts will ship in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mountain Mover

If you have been with us any amount of time, then you know that we have seen the Lord move MOUNTAINS for our family. Big, giant, huge mountains. Mountains that scared us, challenged us, humbled us. But each of these mountains have one thing in common: God has used them all to WOW us, to remind us of His sovereign power and endless grace.

And we have seen Him do the same this year as we have started down the road of international adoption again. Already, we find ourselves humbled by the work the Lord is doing in our family, for the chance to glorify His great name and point people to Him.

We are now at a critical point in our journey to bring our daughter home. All of our FINAL paperwork has been received by our adoption agency. It feels insane to even type that. Our social worker is reviewing everything this week, and early next week, our papers will fly to China, and we will officially be a waiting family.

I can't believe we are here again. Standing on the edge of something so huge. We're honored that the Lord has asked us to do this again, and we cannot wait to see what He has in store for our family. We know that whatever it is, God will continue to move mountains.

And as we prepare to enter this next phase, we are trying to think and plan ahead, to get ready for whatever might happen. So we are asking our family, faith family and community to partner with us once again, to join with us as we seek to follow this mountain moving God.

We are selling a BRAND NEW, mountain moving t-shirt design during the weeks leading into the holiday season. Check it out!
 Tank top in Heather Deep Teal
 Tank top in Maroon 
 Baseball tee in Grey and Emerald 
 Long sleeve tee in Dark Grey Heather 
 Long sleeve tee in Forest Heather 
 Crew neck tee in Heather Clay 
Crew neck tee in Black 


Each shirt will come with a beautiful, printed thank you note from our family, making them the perfect Christmas gift for everyone on your list this year. The shirts will be $25-$27(includes shipping) and are available in sizes small through XXL.

Our goal is to sell 150 shirts by December 1. Will you be a mountain mover and partner with us to help bring Baby Knott #3 home for good?

And we promise they will be delivered in time for Christmas.

Click the link below to shop away!

www.theknottsadopt.bigcartel.com

With love,
Baylor



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

So That God Gets the Glory

It's so funny. When I look back at our journeys to Bradley and Asher, there are so many SPECIFIC instances I can point to that so clearly demonstrate God's sovereignty, His goodness, His love for us, His desire for His own name to be glorified. During those seemingly impossible years, Adam and I saw the Lord move in ways that are still beyond our comprehension. By God's grace alone, we found favor in the eyes of our government and the government of Ethiopia to proceed with an international adoption. With no experience as parents, we were somehow deemed suitable. As we walked what seemed to be an endless road toward parenthood, we watched God change our hearts, our marriage and, most importantly, our view of Him.

God glorified Himself in a breathtaking way as He slowly wound us toward our children. He used the platform of our family, our pain, our struggle and our redemption unto Him in order to bring glory to Himself alone. By compelling us to share our story as it was being written, He elevated His Name, allowing those walking the road with us to see what He alone is capable of achieving.

So why am I even a little bit surprised that He is doing the same EXACT thing this time around as we run toward our daughter in China? Don't know what I'm talking about? Allow me to explain.

We have been finished with our homestudy for awhile now. Which means we have been waiting on our immigration approval before we can send everything over to China and become a family waiting to be matched. More or less, our case has been in the hands of the U.S. government, and I have become a mailbox stalker, checking each and every day to see if our approval letter has come.

For a host of reasons, I have not been able to document this adoption process as thoroughly as I did the first. Something about a three year old and a one year old living in our house. But on Friday, I did share via Facebook a post that I had written four years ago that day. It talked about focusing on Christ instead of all the hardship and impossibility raging around us. At that time, I was thinking a lot about Peter walking on the water, doing the impossible only because Christ was enabling him to do it. So I shared that post again on Friday and asked our community to please pray that our clearance letter would come by the end of the following week.

Not two hours later, I received an email from immigration telling me that our case had been approved and that we could expect our clearance to arrive within 3-5 business days. EXACTLY THE TIME FRAME I HAD ASKED OUR FRIENDS TO PRAY FOR. I couldn't believe it (though I don't know why; the Lord has already moved mountains for us in this process). The thing I had been begging for for WEEKS. We share it publicly and get response in a matter of hours.

And I have a theory about that. God wanted to give Himself the glory. Might it have happened this way regardless? Sure. But I know for certain that when the Lord moves, He does so for our good and for His own glory. And I believe wholeheartedly that our sharing this request with our community provided an opportunity for God's sovereignty, goodness, faithfulness, everythingness to be on full display for more than just our family.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.

Yesterday morning, I got a phone call from our case worker. Somehow, she already had her copy of our clearance IN HER HAND. I thought it would be Friday at least before she had it. But then GOD. He is sovereign over the postal service! So our last document was sent for translation today!

And isn't that just like our Heavenly Father? We ask for something that feels impossible to us, and God not only does it, but then does something we wouldn't have even thought to ask for because it's actually beyond the realm of human possibility. He is bigger than we are!

So I tell you all this to keep you updated on our progress toward Baby Knott #3. But even more, I tell you this to remind us all of Whom we serve. He is a great and powerful God, and His Name deserves to be exalted high. So when God is doing something incredible in your life, SHARE IT. Not to turn the spotlight on yourself, but to shine it brightly on the Lord Almighty, to give Him the glory and honor that are rightly His.

With love,
Baylor

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,
Baylor

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Progress!

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,
Baylor

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,
Baylor

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,
Baylor




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