Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I feel like I have been neglecting my blog lately; I need to get back on the writing train. We have been super busy around here, with Adam working in overdrive, me wrapping things up with my students before the holiday, starting up with Noonday and trying to balance all of that with working through the waiting for our little ones to come home. In a lot of ways the busyness is good, because it keeps my mind occupied. That is a very good thing, because if I am not actively thinking of or working on something, my mind is in Ethiopia.

Over the last few weeks, though, it has seemed like the Lord has been trying to make something clear to me. He is allowing this to happen for a purpose, and I need to trust Him in that. A couple of weeks ago, our pastor preached a sermon on "The Cross and Christian Suffering." He focused on why God allows suffering and how we deal with it as Believers. It was a very difficult sermon for me to sit through. If you have been reading here for any amount of time, you probably know that my heart has been hurting for a really long time. I often question why this is happening, why God is allowing me to hurt this much for this long. And I realize that when I do that, I am questioning God. I'm not saying that it is wrong to beg God to end suffering. I seem to ask for that a whole lot. But I am trying to get to the place where I can say and mean it every time, "God, your will above my desires."

The next week, my friend Amy sent me a sermon her pastor had preached called "No Thanks." I laughed when I got the CD in the mail. Clever title. It is an incredible sermon, and I have basically had it on repeat in my car for the last ten days. The pastor is preaching from 2 Corinthians 12, when Paul asks God to take away the thorn in his flesh. Three times he pleads with the Lord, and God says, "No." He doesn't remove it. Instead, God allows it to continue and tells Paul that he is better of for it. That the thorn in the flesh teaches Paul to rely on God instead of his own strength. Paul goes on to write that God's power is made perfect in our weakness. This is good news for me. I have felt so weak for the last few years. At this point especially, because I am completely powerless to do anything to bring our children home. I have said it before, but I want so badly to be a mom. I know that God has called us to this adoption and so we are in His will for our lives, but I did not know it would hurt this much. So I am trying to trust in God's strength instead of my own. The paster opens by asking us a question. If you could change one thing in your life right now, what would it be? Well. Guess what I picked. Then he followed up with a more difficult question. What would happen to your spiritual life if God's answer to your plea to change that thing is no and stays no? Yikes. Tough question. God does say no to us. Not out of spite or malice, but to give us something better. Even when we don't realize it is better. I do know that God is working through this time of suffering in my life, and I am trying to focus on that. But it is tough.

It is tough because I hurt a lot. Not a day goes by that I do not want this waiting to be over. And a few months ago, when we made a huge jump on the waiting list, I thought we were getting so close. But it doesn't seem that way any more. It seems like things keep getting farther away. Today is November 26, and there have been no referrals (that I know of) this month. That means there is a very real chance that December 1 will arrive, and we will still be at #29. That means we will have moved 3 spots in the last 4 months. Oh my. Will it ever end?

When we started this process, I thought for sure that we would have everyone home by the end of 2013. Then I thought we would definitely be matched by the end of 2013. But it is looking more and more like that will not happen. That we will get all the way to 2014 and still not even know what our children look like. This reality fills me with a sense of helplessness. I am trying to keep it away and trust that God knows when this will happen. But it is hard.

I have asked before, but will you please pray that we do not get to the end of the year without a referral? It will be an absolute miracle. I know God can do it. Nothing is beyond the scope of His power.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Adoptive Parenting: Post Adoption Depression

Each month our agency, Lifeline, hosts a Community Night. This is a time when adoptive parents in all stages of the process can come together and listen to a pro speak on different adoption related topics. Adam and I went to the first one back in September. Dr. Jennifer Chambers of the International Adoption Clinic was talking about sleep. Well, on Monday we went to our second Community Night, which focused on Post Adoption Depression. Something I knew very little about.

I called my mom on my way home from work on Monday and told her what we were doing that night, and she was like, "That sounds... fun?" Ha! It might not have been a fun topic, but it was definitely something we needed to learn more about. Post Adoption Depression is not something that people really talk about. We like to see the "gotcha" pictures and the airport pictures and the adoption videos.

But those don't always tell the whole story.

I think one of the most important things to remember is that adoption exists because of sin in the world. Children are not adopted because everything was going great. No. Adoptions are born in some tragic circumstances. And while adoption is a beautiful and glorious picture of redemption, that redemption comes only through loss. It is so difficult to type this, but while we are over here waiting, fretting, begging and pleading for our children to come home, they are probably not thinking the same thing about us. So all of this work and pain and heart ache will eventually result in a beautiful new addition to our family. But that new addition does not get to pick us. We are strangers. Strangers who are taking our children away from anything and everything they have ever known. So, they will probably not instantly look at us with loving eyes and say, "I've been waiting so long. Thank you." Bonding with our children will take time. And that is tough to think about, because we have already spent so much time waiting for them to get here.

One of the things we focused on last night was the reality of expectations that will go unmet and how this can lead to PAD. After all of this waiting to become a family, it is probably really natural to want to feel like a nice, normal family right away. But that might not happen. After dreaming of holding our children and having them reach to us and only us for comfort, we will want those dreams to become a reality. But that might not happen right away. After all of this work on the front end, hours of education, thousands of pages of reading, countless forms and proving to governments that we are fit to be parents, we will want to feel like we are ready and that we are good parents. But we might not feel that way. Our presenter, was all about setting realistic expectations. Things might not be the fairy tale ending we are dreaming of, and that let down can lead to Post Adoption Depression.

My main take away from Monday night was that if I start to feel like I am struggling, it is OK to ask for help. I do sometimes feel like the fact that we have wanted this so badly for so long and have worked so hard to make this happen will make me feel like I should just be grateful once it happens and not ever say anything about how hard it might be. I am trying to break down that feeling and let it fall away. The reality is that I will probably struggling. At first, our children might now love me the way I already love them. I have been dreaming of and praying for our family to be united for years. That will probably not be the case for my kids. There is going to be a transition, and it might be (probably will be) a tough one. And if that happens, I need to be humble enough to be honest about it. I will need to push aside feelings of shame and "I asked for this" and "I can't believe I feel this way," and reach out to the beautiful people God has placed in my life.

Someone please remind me of that when we are in the thick of it after our darlings come home!

One book our presenter recommended that I will probably be looking into is The Post-Adoption Blues. If you are adopting, regardless of the phase you are in, check it out. And know that you are not alone!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday: My Sister

Today I am thankful for my lil sis. My dear, sweet Brookie.

Brooke and I are almost exactly two years apart, which made for some interesting times when we were growing up. Sometimes in my mind, we are still 12 and 14, rolling our eyes at each other while we try to get ready in the same bathroom. Now, though, we are the closest of friends. It has been so incredible to watch her grow up and become the woman she is today. She is someone who loves deeply and is fiercely loyal to her family. I see these, and more, beautiful traits coming out in her more and more as the years progress, and it is truly astounding. There is something about watching the one you used to play dress up with and argue with over who didn't put in the new roll of toilet paper become a truly beautiful and Godly woman. I love watching God's plan for her life unfold.

Among so many other things, Brooke is unconditionally supportive. She will rage with me when I am frustrated to no end by how long this adoption process is taking, and then in the same breath, remind me that all of this is part of God working things together for the greater good. There has not been a time since we have started this process when she told me that she just couldn't talk right then. Her ear is always available. And I appreciate that so much, especially because the longer this takes, the more needy I seem to become.

So I am thankful for you, Brookie. For the joy and laughter you bring me. For the love and support you never cease to give me. For the encouragement you always send me. I am thankful that the Lord saw fit to bless me with a woman like you for a sister.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just Flying By! A Say What? Post

I have to start this one out by saying that today's Say What? is not something that EVER makes me upset or angry. Not at all! This is one of those things that makes me laugh and serves as a reminder that there is life outside of the adoption (something I tend to forget). My hope in today's post is to provide a little bit of the perspective of the waiting mom while reminding myself that there is a great big world out there where other things happen. So, without further ado, here we go.

Now that we are officially in the 20s (insert mega sigh of relief), I have been getting a few remarks like this:

-"This adoption is just flying by!"

-"It seems like you just got on the waiting list yesterday!"

-"Wow! This is all happening so fast!"

I appreciate these comments so much, because it shows me that people are hanging in there with us, still keeping up with our journey and supporting us. Your support is truly carrying us through this very trying time. Thank you for that.

But on the other side of that, I have to say that this adoption is not flying by. We didn't get on the waiting list yesterday. And it isn't happening fast.

Still, I can relate to the people who feel that way. I have felt that way about things that have happened to other people, things I am not directly involved in. Like friends having babies or looking for a new job or waiting to buy a house. In the past, I have always said things like, "That went pretty quickly!" or, "Wow! That happened so fast!"

Never again.

It might seem fast to me. But I am on the outside. I am not the one living it every day. That makes a difference. A BIG one.

When it comes to our adoption, it seems to be anything but fast. Days drag on. Sometimes I feel like I am literally having to claw my way from one day to the next. Every single day for the last one year, seven months and two days, I have thought about our children. I have wondered where they are, what they look like, how old they are, if they are safe, if they are hungry, if they are alone, if they are scared, if they are being loved. I have wondered how much longer we will have to wait, how much longer I can take this, how much of their lives we will miss. I have begged God to bring them home now, pleaded that He care for them in the meantime.

These are the thoughts that race through my mind each day. Every day. Sometimes without stopping.

So for me, the last year, seven months and two days have not flown by. For me, they seem endless.

And it is that way because this is my life. This adoption is what God has in front of us right now, and so we live it every day. It is deeply personal for us. These are our children, and each day apart from them is almost too much to bear.

So please keep on asking us how it is going. We love to talk about it and share what God is doing. Please be excited with us that we are in the 20s and that we are getting closer. We need those reminders from you. They are gifts to us, reinforcing the truth that we are not alone in this. And at the same time, know that this has been and will continue to be a long process. There is a whole lot of waiting involved. And while it may not look like it from the outside, this is so hard for us (for all waiting parents), and we feel it every single day.

Hopefully the rest of this really will fly by and we can get those babies home soon!


Monday, November 4, 2013

A Hard Choice with a Beautiful Outcome

I feel like a lot of my posts here fall into the Debbie Downer category. What can I say? Feeling sad makes me want to write. I guess it is just how I process things. Today is not going to be one of those days. It might start out sounding like that, but stick with me to the end. I promise it is worth it!

Each month, when our agency sends out our monthly wait list number update, they include a list of waiting children. These are children who are ready or nearly ready to be adopted, but do not meet the requirements of anyone on the waiting list. Talk about breaking your heart. Most of these children are on the list because they are older. In a lot of cases, they are too old for us to adopt. Most countries have an "18 year rule" which stipulates that adoptive parents must be 18 years older than the child they wish to adopt. So pretty mush all of these children have not been an option for us.

Well, when we got our saddest update yet at the beginning of October (the one telling us we were at #31 for another month), there was a new child on the waiting list. A one year old boy. The first child on the waiting list who was within our approved age range. My heart started sputtering.

I called Adam right away and told him I felt like we should email Lesley, our program director, and tell her we wanted some more information about this little one so that we could pray and see if this is what the Lord had for us. She sent us some more information on his right away.

We spent the next several days praying and asking God if this was our son. We felt like the Lord was closing this door. But so many things about the situation seemed so perfect. I asked, begged, implored.

"God, are you sure? This seems so right."

But we never felt like we got the green light. It was heartbreaking.

I knew we had to call Lesley back and tell her that we felt like this precious boy was not our son. I couldn't even bring myself to make the call. Adam had to do it.

We knew this boy was not our son, but we committed to pray for him and for his family. We prayed that he would be adopted quickly. And by a loving family who would welcome him home with loving arms and open hearts.

I told Adam that if this little one was still waiting when we got matched, then we would be revisiting this conversation and might very well be bringing home two littles.

We were praying for this little fellow by name and asking God to bring him a family soon.

Well, not two days later....

My friend Noelle sent me a message. She and her husband are one spot ahead of us on the waiting list. Our paperwork arrived in Ethiopia on the same day, and we have been friends ever since.

Guess what her message said...

She and Colin are adopting that very same little boy!

How insane is that? The very boy we were praying for has been adopted by my friend!

Oh, God is good. So, so good.

Noelle is going to be an incredible mom, and I hope to one day be able to meet their precious son.

Back to Noelle's message. I wrote her back right away and told her that we had inquired about this boy, felt like the Lord was saying no and started praying right away that the Lord would match him with his family quickly. I just couldn't believe it. God answered in 48 hours. And He answered in a big way!

But God did not stop there.

Noelle wrote me back right away, and there is a part of her message that I will never, ever forget.

Thank you so much for following the Lord, too. Thank you for being willing to say no, when I'm sure it would have been so tempting to say Yes. Thank you for allowing us the chance to be **little one's name** parents. And I know that when you receive your referral, it will be for the little boy(s) or girl(s) that are meant for you!

God works in the craziest of ways. He used us being led to say no to a child to lift up my heart and reassure me that He is ultimately and completely in control of all of this. How incredible is that?

Thank you, Noelle, for speaking some seriously needed encouragement into my life. I cannot wait to meet your little one. I know he will bless your life beyond measure!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Orphan Sunday: Do You Have Room?

Today is Orphan Sunday. Each year, on the first Sunday of November, churches and ministries all across America set aside time to advocate for the fatherless around the globe. Sitting here this morning and thinking about our own children who fall into this category, I am a little floored by the fact that I had never even heard of Orphan Sunday until last November, when we were well into the adoption process.

Why would that be? 

I think maybe because, as a society at large, we don't want to talk about it. It makes us uncomfortable. It is easier to think that everyone in the world has the kind of life we do. Maybe we think it is someone else's problem. We are "called" to take care of the fatherless; we are "called" to do other things instead. Maybe we say that the problem is just too big. Current estimates put the number of orphaned children in the world at 153 MILLION. That is a number beyond our comprehension. So what difference would we really make if we helped just one child? Even just ten? Even just 100? It is too overwhelming, and so we resolve to do nothing. To live our lives each day choosing to be blind to the fact that there are 153 million children alive today who will grow up without parents. 

That is not the solution. 

For those of us who think that orphan care is someone else's issue, think that we are not called to take care of the fatherless. You are right. We are not called. We are commanded. God commands us to look after the fatherless. In fact, that is what He calls "pure and faultless religion." It isn't going to church every single Sunday for our entire lives or being on a bunch of church committees or even tithing faithfully (though all of those things are good, too!). But pure religion isn't just doing religious activities. It is taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves, protecting the vulnerable, loving those who have been given up or abandoned. This is pure and faultless religion because it requires sacrifice. It isn't easy. It isn't glamourous. It doesn't give us applause. It's messy. It's hard. It hurts. But it is what God commands us to do. For every Christian out there, orphan care is not an option. It is a command. 

For those of us who think the problem is just too big. You are right, too! It is huge. Truly unfathomable. 153 million orphans in the world? I have never even seen 153 million of anything. Maybe grains of sand on the beach. But even then, our minds cannot comprehend that number. But what about the number 7. That one we can comprehend. We see 7 all the time. If just 7% of professing Christians in the world would adopt just one orphan, then the orphan crisis would cease to exist. There would be no more orphans in the world. Isn't that crazy? But until that happens, what do the rest of us do? It is easy to sit back and think that because we cannot fix the whole problem that we just can't do anything. That is not true! You can change the world for one or two or three. I know that sometimes seeing a number like 153 million causes us to just categorize these children, label them as "orphans" and then hold them at arm's length. The number is too big for it to be personal. It is easier to generalize. But each one of those 153 million is a person. A living and breathing person with a heart and soul and a desire to be loved and protected. Each one has a story, part of which has been written and part of which is waiting to be told. We have the opportunity to step in and help tell the rest of a child's story. What an honor that is! I know the number is huge, but that whole great big  number is made up of individual people. People who need us. 

I recently watched a video that really just rocked me to the core of my being. It is about caring for the fatherless and why it is God's heart. Please take a minute to watch it. 

So my question for you today, on Orphan Sunday, is this. 

Do you have room? 

Do you have room in your home and in your heart for at least one of these little ones? 

Could God be asking you to step out in faith and commit to bringing one of these children into your home, your family and your life? 

Would you pray about it? 

You could end up being an instrument for a beautiful display of God's glory. 

I know not everyone is called to adopt. But we are all commanded to care for the fatherless. There are tons of ministries out there that support orphans all over the world. You can partner with these to bring hope to orphans. Here are a few: 


I want to leave you with something our pastor said. It resonates with me, and I hope it does with you, too. 

"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”

Everything certainly does change. 

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress." 
James 1:27


Friday, November 1, 2013

Waiting List Number: November 2013

Can I just start by thanking all of you who prayed for movement yesterday? You are some seriously effective prayer warriors. Yesterday, I was fairly certain that we were going to get an email today letting us know that we were sitting at #31 for yet another month. I spent the better part of today refreshing my email with a growing knot in my stomach. I knew being at number 31 was a real possibility, but my soul was just not ready for it. I want my children home so much it hurts. I mean that. Physically hurts.

Well, today we are two steps closer to having them home with us for good.

 We are number 29!!
Excited enough to do two pictures! 
And the sweetest Daisy girl sticking her tongue out at me. 

I know it might not make much sense, but there is something about breaking into a new decade that makes me feel like we are SO much closer. Crazy right? But I don't care. For today, I am clinging to that feeling. 

November 1, 2013 will forever be a day that this family got GOOD NEWS! 

"Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace."
Psalm 29


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