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




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.

YOU ARE INCREDIBLE.

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,
Baylor

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!

www.theknotts.bigcartel.com

With love,
Baylor

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?

Well...

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, 
Baylor 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

We Can Love

I sat down last week to try to write through my feelings on the inauguration and subsequent women's march. And right in the midst of my post, our computer crashed and died.  I took that as a cue to sit back and let everything marinate a little longer before taking my thoughts into the public sphere. So now, a week removed, I am going to try to give voice to the many feelings that have coursed through me for the last several days.

Like many Americans, this year's inauguration was hard for me. I found myself struggling with the reality of sin in the world more than I ever had. At least up till that point. So much of what our current president said throughout his campaign was painfully offensive and seemingly intended to cause further division where healing was and is desperately needed.

And then the following day I watched the women's march. And my heart just sank. The display of vulgarity and disregard for the sanctity, not only of femininity, but of all human life was breathtaking. I watched in shock, thinking to myself, "This is not representative of what women are. We are more than this. We are better."

Please let me be clear here. I believe in women's rights. Wholeheartedly. And I believe that where rights are being trampled, we have an obligation as human beings to step into the gap and say, "Not here."

I believe that I have the right to be respected for my intrinsic value as a human being. I believe that my voice should count just as much as a man's.  I believe that women are an invaluable part of society and culture. I believe that women are brave and undeniably strong. I believe that women bring beautifully unique qualities and characteristics to our world.

God created both men AND women in His image. Both genders reflect different attributes and qualities of the Most High God. Yes, DIFFERENT. I fear that somewhere along the line, we humans decided that different must actually mean worse. But it doesn't. Things can be equal in value and still completely different. I think about something as simple as the shoes I wear. I own both boots and sandals. I like them both a lot. I love that my toes have the freedom to wiggle in the warm months while I wear my sandals and that my feet stay toasty in the winter when I wear my boots. Both are shoes, but both work best in different ways. It's 30 degrees outside today. I'm wearing my boots. I still love my sandals and think highly of them, but they are not what will BEST serve me today. Different, but equal. It's the same for our genders. Men and women are both equally human, image bearers of God with different strengths and weaknesses.

And that is ok. I actually think it's quite amazing. I see this even in my own marriage. Where Adam excels, I may struggle. Where I find success, he may not. My gifts are not his, and his are not mine. And I am so thankful for that. If we were exactly the same, who would pick up our slack? Who would balance us out? That's the beauty of God's genius design. It allows man and woman to be so different FROM one another while being equally valuable TO one another. It's brilliant.

And so when I saw women marching dressed as parts of female anatomy while hoisting signs covered with profanity I cannot repeat, I couldn't help but feel as though the mark had been terribly missed. Vulgarity is not feminine. Shock value, while good at making headlines, is not the way to bring about lasting change. What I saw on my screen was womanhood belittled, not empowered. And it broke my heart.

I understand that so many of us are angry, frustrated and perhaps feeling like we do not have a voice. I am there with you. The headlines these days are far from comforting. I know God's heart must ache as He looks down at the people He created to reflect His character and sees us lashing out against one another, speaking from hatred and fear instead of love and compassion. It's  so overwhelming. And when I try to figure out what I can do to affect positive change, I am brought to one conclusion.

I can love. I can speak in love, act in love. I can mourn with those who mour, comfort those who are grieving. I can teach my children to love as Christ loved.

This love does not come at the expense of the truth. No. It comes FROM the truth. Christ came to give life and give it abundantly. He did so out of His deep love for us. Look at His life. He spent it loving people. He met them right where they were, but He did not leave them there. That's the most sincere part of Christ's love for us: that He refuses to leave us in our sin. He compels us to change FOR OUR OWN GOOD. So when we love as Christ loved, we meet each other right where we are and then, out of that love, we urge one another to Christ likeness.

So that is what we are going to try to do in the Knott house in the days and weeks ahead. We are going to love as best we can.

Baylor
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