Saturday, January 25, 2014

Praying Together Part II

If my counting is correct (and I am an English teacher, so there is no telling), we had over 100 families praying with us at 11:30 this morning.

I cannot grasp the words sufficient to express my humble gratitude at the outpouring of love from family, friends and people I have never even met. To know that you each took time out of your day to pray over our children, their birth parents, their birth country and their soon-to-be adoptive parents fills my heart to overflowing. I cannot wait to reflect back on this day, years from now, and tell this story to our children. Thank you for being a part of it.

Adam and I sat on our bed and prayed together for our children and the entire nation of Ethiopia today. We prayed for our children's hearts, that somehow they would know that we love them and are doing everything we can to get to them. We prayed for Ethiopian adoption officials, that they would see their work, not just as a job, but as a ministry in which they have the opportunity to remove the title of "orphan" from hundreds of children each year. We prayed for the birth parents of our children, that they would find comfort in the Lord as they make what, to me, seems to be the single most impossible and selfless choice a parent can make and that they would know that the children they brought into this world will always be loved and told of their birth parents' great and honorable sacrifice. We prayed for all of the children waiting to be matched with their families, that God would protect and comfort them. We prayed for waiting families, that God would strengthen them and use this wait to pull them closer to Him. We prayed for our children's safety, that God would keep His hand on them while we are apart. We prayed for the waiting list, that referrals (nine to be precise) would go out before the end of the month. And we prayed for our own hearts, that God would hold them during this seemingly impossible time.

Thank you to all who joined with us. We are excited and ready to see what God is going to do in the coming days and weeks. We do not know what God plan is, but we do know that He is able to do all things and that His ways are always higher and better than ours.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Springing into a Noonday Spring!

Since joining the Noonday Collection team in October of this past year, I have found SO much happiness, purpose and hope springing up in my life. As we have wandered through the (sometimes) wilderness of international adoption, Noonday has been a source of true joy for me.

Being able to partner with hardworking men and women around the world in order to provide a way out of poverty, all while helping to bring orphans into their forever families? That is my jam! I have absolutely loved every single minute of it! Even the accounting and bookkeeping, which, if you know me (an English teacher to the core), is really saying something!

Thanks to so many wonderful friends and family members, I had an incredible fall/winter season. Being able to meet the friends of all of my friends and share the Noonday story and vision with so many women has been so humbling for me. God is writing a beautiful story, and I am honored to be a part of it.

And now it is time for a new chapter. On February 20, the Noonday Spring Line will officially launch! We have TONS of beautiful new pieces and incredible new stories to share with you.

Here is a teeny tiny sneak peek:

 Check out that middle bag! I die. 
 It is really all about the artisans and what God is doing in their lives through Noonday Collection. 
This beautiful necklace comes from our new Haiti partnership. 
From their hands to yours. 
Bright, vibrant colors are the signature side of this new collection, 
and I cannot wait to get my hands it all! 

I would absolutely LOVE to partner up with you to host a show. It will be a time for good snacking, great story-telling and fun shopping. Sounds like a good girly time to me! As the hostess, you can earn rewards while you and your friends/family shop. Use your rewards toward Noonday freebies OR you can have Noonday make a donation to an adoptive family instead! 

Interested? Click HERE

Or leave a comment below. 

Or email me! (

"and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the NOONDAY."
Isaiah 58:10


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Praying Together

Hello, dear friends. Things have continued to be sloooooow on the adoption front. And it is doing a number on my heart. I want to see God move mountains! So I am going to ask you to join with us is a specific time of prayer this coming weekend. We would love for you to partner with us in the following way:

At 11:30 A.M. (CST) on Saturday, January 25, we invite you to pause with us and take 15 minutes to pray for the country of Ethiopia, for international adoption and for our family.

Prayer focuses (foci?) :

-For Ethiopian adoption officials, that God would soften their hearts and that they would move with a true sense of urgency to place children with their waiting families.

-For the children waiting to be matched, that God would protect them and let them know that they are loved and prayed for.

-For the waiting list this month, that referrals would go out before the end of January. I will be specifically praying for nine referrals before February 1.

-For waiting families, that God would give us the strength and faith we so deeply and desperately need.

-For our children, that God would somehow let them know that we love them and are trying so hard to get to them.

-For the birth parents of our children, that God would give them comfort in knowing that the children they brought into this world will always be loved and that they, the parents, will always be held in a place of honor in our home.

We believe in the power of prayer. And we would love for you to be a part of our plea to God this coming weekend. He listens when we cry out to Him, so let's cry together and loudly. Let's fall before the throne of God Almighty and ask Him to do something only He can do.

If you will be joining us in prayer on Saturday, please let us know. We would love to know about you and be able to thank God for you. You can leave a comment below or on Facebook, or you can email us.

"For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them."
Matthew 18:20


Friday, January 17, 2014

Paperwork Part Deux

Remember the summer of 2012? I sure do. It is emblazoned into my memory as the two month period during which we filled out more forms and practiced our signatures more times than I could possibly count. We went to doctors to make sure we are healthy enough. We are! We went to police stations to make sure we are not criminals. We're not! We went to banks to prove that we can afford to have a child. We can! We wrote to our health and life insurance companies to get proof of our policies. We have them! We asked our friends to be references for us. They agreed! We had our social worker come to our house to make sure it is a safe place for a child to live. It is! We went to the local immigration office to be cleared by the Department of Homeland Security. We passed!


It's time for round two!

Our home study is about to expire, and so we are having to do some updating in order to keep things current. The update is not nearly as involved as the original home study. Wahoo! So here is what we have to do:

-Update medicals
-Update financial information
-Update criminal background check
-Update Child Abuse and Neglect clearance
-New home visit

All of these updates will be written up by our wonderful social worker and then the whole home study update will be sent to United States Citizen and Immigration Service. Once USCIS receives our updates, they will extend our immigration clearance, which is what gives us permission to bring our little birds into the country. MUY IMPORTANTE!

While parts of this are frustrating, it does feel really GOOD to be DOING something. For the last 16 months, our adoption has been entirely out of our hands. We (as you know) have just been waiting. So there is definitely something nice about working to bring our babies home.

One quick (and rather exciting) thing. It looks like we are MOVING!


We are not moving far. Just to the other side of Birmingham. I am mentioning this now just in case there are any other waiting adoptive moms who are blog stalking our timeline (no shame; I do it ALL THE TIME) and wondering if a new home visit is required for their home study update. I am not sure if it is always required, but we lucked out with the timing and will be able to do our new house update at the same time as our annual update. SO, if you are approaching your home study update and are worrying about another home visit, check with your social worker to be safe, because I am not sure if it is always a requirement.

More on the business of moving once everything is final. Yay!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Whenever I am struggling with waiting for our children, I almost always have people point me to the story of Abraham and Sarah for encouragement. On the one hand, this is a great reminder of God's faithfulness. He took a couple who, by all appearances, was barren and used them to create a nation. It was a miracle, and so, in that way, it is encouraging to look at Abraham and Sarah and be reminded that God is capable of overcoming circumstances that, to us, seem insurmountable. On the other hand, Abraham was one hundred years old when he became a father. So you can see how that is a bit frightening for us, as well.

But there is something else that is interesting about Abraham. He did not do anything revolutionary. He just trusted God. He believed that God was able and that His plan was best.

This shockingly simple truth was brought to my attention by my husband, who discussed this very notion with a friend on New Year's Eve.

So often I feel like I am dropping the ball with this life God has handed us. I feel like I should be able to be happy in the midst of these trials, be able to accomplish great things for God as a result of what we are going through, do more "spiritual things" as we wait. And most of the time, honestly, I just can't. Most days, it is all I can do to hang on. We are at the point in this process where every single thing is out of our hands, and we just have to hold on to the truth that God is in control of this and that He knows what He is doing.

That is where Abraham comes in.

He and Sarah wanted a child so desperately, and I am all too familiar with that sentiment. He knew God was real and able to do all things, but there was this hole in his heart that longed to be filled with the role of parenthood. I imagine him and Sarah trying to comfort each other through years, decades, of waiting. And I can easily imagine some of the conversations they must have had. We have had them in our home, too. I can imagine Abraham's prayer life. Calling out to God, asking for this blessing that seemed to come so easily to others. I can relate.

And then God comes on the scene. He waits until Abraham is 100 and Sarah is 90. He tells Abraham that He will be the father of many nations, a manly richly blessed.

What does Abraham have to do?

"I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
Genesis 17:1-2

All Abraham has to do is walk before God faithfully and be blameless. Let me tell you what I think that means. 

Walking before God faithfully. For me, this means trusting God. Even when it doesn't look like you should. When we look back throughout the course of Biblical history, it is easy to see that our God has a knack for not doing things the way we humans would do them. The clearest example of this is the Cross. It makes ZERO logical sense for God to send His own Son from heaven to earth in order to be a sacrifice for sinful man, especially when you consider the fact that God knew most men would reject that very sacrifice. The greatest picture of God's grace and mercy is also one of the most counter-intuitive choices we see in the Bible. But look at the outcome of that choice. We now have, for all eternity, the ability to be in direct communion and conversation with the Creator of the universe. For God, the outcome was worth the pain of His choice. And it was for Jesus, too. We see Him in the garden of Gethsemane, and He is asking His Father to "let this cup pass" from Him. He did not relish the idea of going to the cross, but He did so willingly because He knew what the outcome would be, what the end result would lead to. And for Him, it was worth it. He just had to stay faithful. 

And that, I believe, is what God is asking of me, of us. He wants us to stay faithful to Him, to believe that He is good and in control even when it does not seem like it. And right now, I will tell you, it doesn't seem like it. I look around at our life and where we are in this process, and I want to shake my fists at the sky and scream, "What are you DOING?" When you sign on for the adoption process, everyone warns you about how hard it will be. And for a while, I felt like I was really prepared for the difficulties that accompanied our journey. But that has changed. This process has been so much harder than I ever imagined it could be. I did not know that my heart has the capacity to feel this much, that my soul has the ability to be this weary, that every part of me can long so desperately for something. I fully and openly admit that I was not prepared. And it is rocking my world and my faith. I have found myself questioning everything I have ever believed, asking myself, "Do I really believe that God is still in this?" My answer is yes. Some days it is a strong and powerful YES. Other days it is a shaking whisper of yes. But the answer does not change. I am trying to stay faithful. 

The second part of Abraham's side of the covenant is to be blameless. This I cannot do. But I am cover by the grace and mercy of God through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. And by His glorious sacrifice alone, when God looks at me, He sees the purity of Jesus. It is nothing I have done or could ever do. He has paid it all. I have been bought back from sin through the blood of Christ. And so, in Him alone, I am blameless. Now, I don't mean I that I have stopped sinning. Clearly that is not the case. But my sins have been forgiven, and I am free. 

And so, like Abraham, I am not doing anything extraordinary. At this point, I completely lack the ability to be extraordinary. I am just trying to cling to God and pray that He keeps me standing. 

So if you are going through something that seems impossible to you, it is my hope that you know this Jesus who loves you so much. He loves you enough to have willingly given up His own life for yours. Let the depth of that truth permeate your heart, mind and soul. He is with you now, right in the midst of your impossible circumstance. 

I would continue to ask for your prayers over our children, this process and over us. It seems like there is no end in sight. And we already love these children so much, more that I ever though possible. We just want them home. Please pray for their health and safety while we wait for them. Please pray for the governing bodies over international adoption. And please pray that we continue to seek God first while we wait and that our family would be united in 2014. 


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wait List Number: January 2014

New year, same number.

Yes, you read that correctly. Our waiting list number is the same for the third consecutive month. I will say that I was surprised. I thought we were going to move up one or two spots, but the Lord seems to have us parked right here for the time being. And I am trying to stare into the darkness and find the good.

Not the easiest thing I have ever done.

So I have a request for you. Will you please pray that the court officials, specifically in the "O" region (trying to maintain namelessness while still asking for specific prayer), would move swiftly to match children with their families in the coming months? We are so beyond ready to see our children's faces. And will you pray that we will have everyone home by the end of 2014?

The last thing for today is this. Due to some recent privacy policy changes with our placing agency, we can no longer post our waiting list numbers online. We can still share them in person and via email, but they cannot be posted on a publicly accessible site. So, that means our monthly updates will look different. I still plan to do them without the numbers; I'm just not sure what that will look like yet. But I guess this is a good month to start since there was no change! (Look at me searching for that silver lining.)

Reading back through this post, I realize that it is not the most beautiful thing I have written. But my nerves are a bit raw this week, and so I am asking for your grace.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Treasure in a Field

It seems that 2013 really wanted to go out with a bang. Well, it succeeded.

On Friday of last week, rumors started flying about Ethiopia closing its doors to international adoption. We heard, from what seemed to be reliable sources, that the shut down would/could occur right away. These last few days have been some of the most heart-wrenching of my life. It seemed that our children, whom we have fought so hard for and waited so long for, were about to be snatched from us before we even knew their names. We were stunned and shaken completely to the core. Since beginning the adoption process in April of 2012, this has been my worst fear. And it seemed to be coming, and coming quickly.

For three days I stayed glued to my phone, refreshing my email obsessively and checking our agency's website and Facebook page for updates, which (bless them forever) came out pretty frequently.

At this point, it seems that a closure is not on the immediate horizon. There are some proposed improvements coming before parliament, and these could eventually (though hopefully they won't) lead to a closure.

Our placing agency posted THIS on their blog as an update.

Even though things have been much calmer for the last couple of days, I have to tell you that I feel like I have been through a battle and left broken on the floor. On Saturday night, I was sitting on my bed in my parents' house crying to my mother, completely resigned that our journey to adopt from Ethiopia was going to come to an abrupt and terrible end. I felt utterly and completely hopeless. To be completely transparent, I felt like we had had children and lost them. Grief swept over me for days. I couldn't keep my mind focused on anything. My friend, and fellow waiting mom to be, Amy and I were constantly texting, trying to encourage and confide in one another.

Now that we are somewhat on the other side of this, at least the other side of near-constant panic, I am trying to refocus my heart. I do know that the Lord is in this. I do know that He is sovereign. I also know that this is a broken and tragic world, and that bad things will happen. But I am trying to trust the Lord to bring beauty out of those circumstances. When we started our adoption process on April 10, 2012, we did so knowing that we were saying good-bye to what we thought our life would look like. We had always envisioned having biological children first and then adopting. But as time wore on, it became evident to us, through a variety of avenues, that the Lord had it in His divine plan for us to adopt first. We were excited and thrilled to be adopting, but we were also letting go of what we had been planning since getting married. Last week, I truly believed that we were going to be saying good-bye to the life we have been planning for over the last twenty months. I thought we were losing our children. People like to say that when God closes a door, He does so because He has something greater and more beautiful planned for you. I believe that. As we have moved through this adoption journey, it has become so clear to me that adopting first is right for us. What a gift to be able to look into the eyes of our adopted children and tell them, "I am a mom because of you. You are the one who made me a mother." I think there is such beauty and great power there. Beauty and power I would not have seen for myself had we had biological children before adopting. So as we have progressed, I have grown to deeply love the fact that we are adopting first, and I see God's beauty in it. But I struggled so much to see what beauty could come from Ethiopia closing its doors. Maybe that is the wrong attitude to have. Maybe I am being to egocentric and self-focused. Maybe. I don't know. What I do know, is that for twenty months, I have believed with every fiber of my existence that my children are in Ethiopia. Everything about it feels right to me. And I thought we were losing them. I was sitting on the floor of my old room in parents' house on Friday night with Adam, crying and terrified and trying to pray. And I looked at him and said, "I can't bear the thought of losing them. I will walk away from everything else if we can just bring them home." And it is true. I would. I would let go of everything else, surrender everything else, forsake everything else to bring them home.

And my mind goes to Matthew 13, when Jesus is explaining the Kingdom of Heaven in a parable. Read His words:

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."
Matthew 13:44

The man who found the treasure sold everything he had in order to make that treasure his. That is how we should approach salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. We should joyously give all we have in order to attain Him. That is us going to the Father. But we can do that, because He first came to us. He gave everything up, too. He did it for us, did He not? He gave His Son. And for the first time, I understand this picture through the eyes of the parent. Now, I know that salvation and becoming a parent are two different things, but I do think there is a parallel here. 

I would give everything I have to bring my children home. And maybe that is why God allowed this shutdown scare to happen. I have always known that I love them, but now I know how much. I know what it feels like to think that they are lost. And I know, because I wailed it out in the depths of my sorrow, I know that I would give it all away, sacrifice everything else I want, to bring home these children I love with my entire heart. I think maybe that is the beauty in what just happened. 

We would still ask for you prayers. Please pray that the Ethiopian government makes good and wise decisions about the orphans within their borders, for adoption agencies to continue to work tirelessly to match these children with families, that government employees would be diligent in their work, ensuring that each child is truly in need of being adopted and that those children would be cleared quickly, and that Ethiopia would keep its doors open to international adoption so that these sweet children would know the love of a family. Please pray for our specific children, that the Lord would protect and comfort them, that He would provide for them and let them know that they are deeply loved. And lastly, please pray for us as our hearts continue to mend and we wait to see our children's faces. Pray that we would seek God above all else and that our eyes would not stray from Him. 

Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts. 

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