Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Baking for Baby" - Africa Shaped Cookies!

God is already reminding us just how faithful He is! Just today, we have already raised $160! I got a nice surprise in the mail from my friend LeeAnn - a book of stamps! That will help us mail out 20 of our sponsorship/support letters. I like how God works in fun ways! I also received the most sincere and touching e-mail today from a friend that I go to church with. It was full of so much encouragement...thanks Heather! I will have to blog about the great lessons Heather shared with me from Genesis 3 later will need it's own blog entry :)
If that's not some amazing blessings, I also had a friend offer me the chance to raise some money at her upcoming Mary Kay's how we are going to do it!

The first fundraiser we are launching (starting now!) is "Baking for Baby" - we will be selling iced sugar cookies in the shape of Africa for $5 for 1/2 dozen or $10 a dozen (or you can buy fewer cookies for $1 a cookie). We will be taking orders and selling cookies during the month of August.

If you would like to order cookies to help us "Bring Home the Missing Linck," you can e-mail me your order at Here is a photo of the cookie cutter, so that you can get an idea of what the cookies will look like. They are actually pretty big cookies!

We have already sold 16 dozen cookies. Holy Cow, I better stop blogging and start baking!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Few Bumps in the Road, but Our God is Faithful!!

I'm emotionally drained. Yesterday and today have been HARD! I had to go to the doctor to have a pregnancy test done (when in reality I can't be pregnant because of a health issue) and they had to poke me numerous times (did I mention I hate needles??) because they couldn't get any blood (finally got it out of my wrist). What an emotional appointment. That nurse probably thought I was crazy crying all those tears about a little ol' needle. If she only knew that the emotions were the result of so much more than my fear of needles.
Anyway...I survived the blood work drama and treated myself to a Classic 50's Dr Pepper :)
But later in the day, John and I discovered that we have hit a financial bump in the adoption road. This is going to result in us having to postpone sending in our adoption application until we do some more fundraising. After praying and talking over the details with John, we feel like we need to raise about $10,000 before we can proceed - I am not going to pretend that I am not heartbroken. I am crushed. I was really looking forward to mailing off our application on Monday and getting this process started. I'll admit that I let myself have a bit of a pity party last night - I think I was grieving about my health problems, that dumb pregnancy test, not being able to turn in our application on Monday and overwhelmed at how we were going to come up with $10,000. Thank goodness today was a new day. Between God's faithfulness and my husband's optimism and dedication to bring our child home, I am ready to face this fundraising head-on. John and I know that God is calling us to adopt from Ethiopia and we are ready to do whatever it takes to bring our baby home. We feel like the responsible thing for us to do is to have enough money to cover the bulk of the initial costs in the adoption process (pretty much everything except for travel expenses). That way we are ready for the fees as they become due and we won't have to hold up the process once we get started because we lack the money. Tonight John said that he can't even fathom the emotions that he will experience when we lay eyes on our child for the first time, because, you see, we are already in LOVE with this child (and we don't even know him or her). But our God does! He knows every detail about him or her, long before they are ever formed in their mother's womb ( I am totally choking back tears as I type this!). We are so giddy with anticipation! Oh what a GLORIOUS day it will be when we bring our baby home. John said he would take a cargo plane to Ethiopia if he has to!
So here we go.....we are ready for the journey. We have come up with a lot of great fundraising ideas and I will reveal our first fundraiser on the blog later this weekend!
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you!"
John 14:18

Monday, July 26, 2010

Get Hopeful!!!

Sunday at church we talked about hope - hope in the midst of suffering and our fears.
I am so thankful that my hope is in Christ. Without that hope, I could easily fall into a pit of despair when I hear of yet another person who is pregnant or has just had a baby.
Satan would love to mess with me (and believe me, he tries). He whispers lies such as "What's wrong with you that you can't get pregnant?" "Why is is so easy for everyone else?" "You must be paying for your past sins."
Thankfully, "the reason for the hope that I have" (1st Peter 3:15) is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have tucked His promises in my heart and they are the weapons that I use against Satan's schemes. Despite the hard times; the things I don't understand, I can have HOPE!!
God promises us beautiful and encouraging things....
Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." and Jeremiah 29:11 promises "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."
I'm not going to lie, hearing about so many people who are pregnant and having babies is tough; especially when my heart's desire is to be a mom. When John and I really want to start a family. But I REFUSE to question God! I am NOT going to fall into the trap that Satan wants me to fall into.
At church yesterday, our preacher encouraged us to "exude hope into the lives of others."
I pray that I never allow my hope in God to be overshadowed by infertility issues or the doubts that Satan tries to plant in my heart.
I want to always be "real" with people. I don't want to pretend that this road to our "Missing Linck" is all flowers and happiness - it's not. It's been filled with tears, too many doctors appointments, a lot of unknowns and heartache; but, there has always been HOPE. There has always been the steadfast love of Christ; knowing that each and every detail is in the palm of His hand. That's the only reason I can wake up each day, see another Face book post announcing a pregnancy and not fall apart; not question God.
May I ALWAYS exude hope into the lives of others. May I always "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks me to give the reason for the hope that I have."

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our Family Photo....

John and I are just a few weeks away from submitting our application to Gladney....our goal is to send it off the first week of August. We have to submit a family photo with the application, so last night we took a few. Thought I would share....

Friday, July 23, 2010

When Worldly Desires Rear Their Ugly Heads.....

This morning during my prayer time I was in tears - humbled and in awe of this journey that God has called John and I to take (we are just a few short weeks away from turning in our application!).

Last night I spent time reading the blogs of other families who have adopted from Ethiopia and I am just floored by their stories and how God's Mighty Hand has been in every detail.
God taught these families SO much during their journeys and I just started praying that He would open my eyes and heart to His wonders. I have this, almost, urgent feeling because I don't want to miss out on a a single thing that God is trying to teach me during this adoption process.

After reading the stories last night, one thing I feel like God is revealing to me is how much I still rely on material things to make me happy - how so many times I still get caught up in what the world says we must have - a size 6 body, the trendiest clothes, a big house, new cars, etc. As I was praying this morning I was telling God that desiring material things is something I fear I am going to struggle with until the day I die. Some days I am perfectly content, but then one trip to the mall can change that in an instant - I HATE that about myself.

I was praying "Lord, you are calling John and I to adopt a child from a country where people live on less than $1 a day. Where kids go hungry - help me to get a grip! Strip away every single one of my desires for more stuff! You are more than enough."

I feel so selfish when I think about what people in Ethiopia (and other countries) face. I have it SO good...I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on the table and I am healthy! That should be enough! But look at what people in Ethiopia face: (this information was gathered from
  • 41% of Africans live on less than $1 a day
  • Today in Africa, there are 12 million AIDS orphans and that number is expected to climb to 18 million in 2010
  • 46 years old is the average life span for an African
  • ONE Million children are killed by malaria each year, which can be prevented by a $6 mosquito net

This puts things into perspective! The Bible makes it clear that we aer not to store up "treasures on earth, but we are to store up treasures in heaven." (Matthew 6:19). It also says that we should be content as long as we have good and clothing. (1st Timothy 6:8).

"But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it." (1st Timothy 6:6-7)

Our society/media portrays a completely different picture than God's Word and that's where the trouble begins. Just this week I was at the mall and I got sucked into the lies that I needed name-brand (and expensive, might I add) clothes to look good, feel good, to make me happy. I left the mall in a complete funk! Can you see why I hate this part of myself?? I could just scream! John and I are about to adopt a child (who might not even have food or clothes) and I am STILL letting the devil fool me into thinking that I need to keep up with the worlds standards.

God still has a lot of work to do in me...I want to close with an excerpt from the Bible Study I am doing called "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter. This is an e-mail that the author received from a friend who is a missionary in China. She wrote this after a visit back to the United States.

"If it be any encouragement to you all, this is what I saw, especially in America: pain (deep, private, unanticipated, suffocating) met with stubborn hope (white-knuckled, clinging to Him, rock-bottom conviction that His offer of Reconciliation is the only viable option, and a willingness to risk believing that Redemption is not only something that means we get to go to heaven, but something that He is passionate to carry out now, in specific life situations, to make things show His brand of beauty - in which a healed relationship or person can reflect more glory than one who never knew brokenness"

Kelly Minter goes on to describe who I hope to be "A person who is clinging to God with fierce abandon despite my caving and pained heart, believing indeed that "redemption is not only something that means I get to go to heaven, but something that He is passionate to carry out now."

Lord, I believe you're passionate about redeeming me from the temptation for material things that I struggle with on a daily basis. I thank you for continuing that redemption process by bringing to my mind the precious faces of Ethiopian children who have nothing (material), but yet have EVERYTHING (a joy so deep in the midst of so much pain). Help me to be content with what I have and to desire more of YOU! Thank you for your precious son, Jesus! Amen

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adoption on the Rise among Christian Families...

I was listening to KLOVE this morning and they had a story about how adoption is on the rise among Christian families...thought I would share the link to the story.

Now to change the subject, I just have to share the letter I received from my sweet friend Autry this weekend ( she is eight, and likes to send me letters in the mail). I won't try to paraphrase it, because it will take away all the here is what she wrote, word for word.

"I heard you were going to adopt a kid. So we, as in we, I mint myka, you, me and the baby could go shoping. So what do you say? Love Autry."

Reading that just made my heart SO happy! But it gets better. She included a list of possible baby column for boy names and one column for girls names. At the top of each list she put "Autry Jr." I will SO have to include this letter in the adoption scrapbook I make.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Make Me More Like Hannah.....

This summer I have been working through Kelly Minter's Bible studies: "Ruth: Love, Loss and Legacy" and "No Other Gods." I have completed the study on Ruth (it was AMAZING! I highly recommend it.) and am making my way through "No Other Gods." I am amazed (although I shouldn't be) at how God has used these studies to speak to my heart about this season of my life.
Last week I did a pretty in depth study on Sarah and Hannah's desire to have children.
Sarah was so desperate to have a child that she took matters into her own hands - forcing Hagar to sleep with Abraham in order that he would have children. (Genesis 16).
Oh how she complicated things, creating a bunch of unnecessary baggage (or luggage as my mom would say). She got so consumed with baby fever that she couldn't wait on God's timing.
We see in Genesis 21 that all along God's plan had been to bless Sarah with a child, it just didn't happen as quickly as Sarah would have liked it to.
I love what Kelly Minter had to say about Sarah's predicament:
"God had a beautiful plan for Sarah in spite of how bleak things looked. Definitely she was in a bind. She had a genuine cause for concern. But that's always going to be the place where our faith is tested. If it all looks easy and doable, it doesn't require faith."
So, where as, Sarah decided to take things into her own hands, Hannah decided to trust God and WAIT.
In 1st Samuel, we read that Hannah was in pain because she couldn't conceive. The Lord had closed her womb, but instead of Hannah trying to "fix" things, her pain drove her closer to God.
"I was pouring out my soul to the Lord....I have been praying here out of great anguish and grief." (1st Samuel 1:15-16)
The Lord heard Hannah's heartfelt prayers and blessed her with a son, who she named Samuel "Because I asked the Lord for him." (1st Samuel 1:20)
Oh how I pray I follow in Hannah's footsteps. That I don't try and take things into my own hands like Sarah did.
Like Hannah, I want to run to God, pour out my heart - the good, the bad and the ugly - that comes with infertility issues and the long adoption process that John and I are facing.
I think at times God purposefully brings pain and hard times into our lives so that we cling to Him. Our faith is stretched and made solid. God uses these times to test our hearts. Will we seek Him or other worldly things in our time of pain?
As Hannah grieved for a child (I have done my share of grieving!) God saw her and understood her pain. Yes, she trusted God, but it was still painful knowing that she was barren.
God "gets" our hurts and pain. The good news is, it's okay to grieve and approach God's throne of grace with pure honesty and raw emotion, as long as we keep trusting Him.
Kelly Minter says:
"The one thing we can always hold onto is that though He brings pain, it is always for our good....God has brought pain in my life but as I have surrendered to it, He has used the flames of hurt to burn away the parts that need not linger."
If it had been easy for Hannah to get pregnant, she wouldn't have had to depend on God and she would have missed out on knowing Him in such an intimate way. I personally know the emotions involved when your heart desires a child, when you don't completely understand God's plan. Those emotions have driven me to my knees before the Lord - I may not have a child, but I have something better - a stronger relationship with God!
I'm walking the same road as Hannah. May I relish in this time as God works in my life, strengthening my faith as I learn to trust Him like never before.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith, develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
(James 1:2)

Monday, July 19, 2010

More than Becoming a Mother....

As you can probably tell by now, this journey is about far more than becoming a mother. It's about fulfilling the amazing plan of a loving, powerful and faithful God!
I read something very interesting in a Christian adoption book recently. The booked asked, "Why adopt?" I started thinking about the reasons why John and I were choosing to begin this adoption journey. We definitely want to be parents, but in reality, God has chosen us for this journey. It's about being obedient to Him. For me personally, adopting a child from Ethiopia is about stepping out in faith, following God's call and opening our hearts and home to a child in need of a family, love, security and hope for the future. It's a privilege!
The book went on to say (about the importance of adoption) "What if that child never heard about Jesus?" Oh how I am humbled to think that God is using John and I to ensure that a child, who might never hear about Jesus, will hear the good news of the gospel and hopefully come to know Jesus as their personal saviour. As Beth Moore would say, "Glory!!!"
You see, this adoption has far more than earthly purposes, God's eternal purposes are at stake too.
As a Christian, I have been called to "love the least of these." (Matthew 25:40). God's word says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress...." (James 1:27)
Yes, I desire to be a mommy. But more than that, my heart desires to be obedient to God and fulfill His plan for my life.
You see, I can come up with all kinds of plans for my life - I want a baby, so I thought I would get pregnant and "poof" we'd have a family. But God has better plans! I believe with all my heart that God wants to give me the desires of my heart and will bless me with a child in His perfect timing - but that's the key. It has to be in His perfect timing and in His perfect way! Sometimes He takes us on a different path then we would have chosen for ourselves.
When God was leading the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promise Land, the Bible says "God did not lead them on the road through Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said 'If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." (Exodus 13:17-18).
In my Bible beside these verses I wrote:
"Adoption v. biological children. Sometimes God's way takes longer - but it's always better and for our best interest. God doesn't want what's "okay" for us. He wants His PERFECT will!"
I want my Promise Land...even if God has to take me down a longer, more difficult road (all the way to Ethiopia). Even if I face obstacles, I don't want to turn back to the easy way, to my way.....I want God's way!

Friday, July 16, 2010

If Not Haiti, Where God??

John and I decided we would start the adoption paperwork when we returned from our vacation in early February. Before our trip, I was doing some research, only to discover there was going to be an international adoption information meeting the Tuesday after we returned from Mexico - only a few miles from our house. It was the only meeting (that this particular agency was having) in Moore, Oklahoma for the entire year. Once again I felt like God was laying out the pieces of our adoption puzzle.
But the question was, where were we supposed to adopt from? We didn't want to randomly choose a country. We knew God was calling us to adopt, so we believed He would show us where we were supposed to go.
The Bible says in Isaiah 58:11 that "The Lord will guide us always." We were believing He would guide us to our baby, wherever that might be.
Before the meeting I prayed for wisdom and discernment. I knew God already knew all the details of our child. The Bible promises that God sees us before we are ever created in our mother's womb. (Jeremiah 1:3 and Psalm 139: 13-14)
Once we were at the meeting, we quickly discovered that every country had a long list of rules and guidelines that adoptive parents had to meet. Once John and I had been married two years, we would only qualify to adopt from Ethiopia or Russia. However, there were several things that stood out about Ethiopia.

1. You can adopt a baby! (as young as 6 months). This was really important for John and I because with our first child we wanted to experience all things baby....
2. In most cases, an excellent medical history is provided for children being adopted from Ethiopia.
3. As first time parents, you are not able to choose the gender of your child. We like this for two reasons: First of all, how would we ever choose between a girl and a boy (I would want to bring home one of each!) and second, you don't get to choose when you have a biological we were excited that we would be surprised.
4. To adopt from Ethiopia didn't cost near as much as Russia. (It was $10,000-$15,000 less).r

But the "Icing on the Cake," and the answer to my prayer for God's direction, was that Ethiopia strongly preferred that their children be placed with Christian families! I was sold! That was all I needed to hear, to know that we had found our country.
As soon as John and I got in the car after the meeting we agreed that a trip to Ethiopia would be in our future.

"But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
~Exodus 9:16

Thursday, July 15, 2010

God's Call Part II

I was sitting in a Mexican food restaurant with my small group when I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me towards adoption for the first time.
And honestly, it's all kind of a blur because after sensing what God was asking me to do, I zoned out, completely lost in my own thoughts and excitement.
Our small group was discussing the recent earthquake in Haiti and how so many children were without families. The topic of adoption came up and my entire body was suddenly covered in chill bumps and it took all I had not to start crying. I had a sudden flood of emotion overcome me. I knew God was stirring in my heart - He was definitely up to something.
As we ate dinner our small group was already brainstorming how John and I could bring a baby home and simultaneously planning a baby shower.
In the car after dinner, John said " You know me, I would get on a plane to Haiti right now and bring home a baby."
I immediately knew I needed to pray; seeking God and what His plan was for John and I regarding adopting a child.
I started researching Haitian adoptions and discovered that not only were adoptions on hold in Haiti because of the earthquake, but John and I didn't even qualify to adopt from the country.
So where did this leave us??
I was still feeling God's nudge and I remember telling John that I felt like God was saying "I have an awesome journey planned for you. Are you going to step out in faith and obedience and follow me? If you do, you're in for the ride of a lifetime."
Excitement was bubbling inside of me - I was ready to put all my fears aside, not worry about all the details and follow where God was leading.
I told John that I did not want to miss what God had in store for us.
About a week after having dinner with our small group, John and I received a phone call that only God could have orchestrated.
We were informed that if we felt like God was calling us to adopt, there would be help to fund our adoption! I was in complete shock! (and tears!) I had to hand the phone to John because I couldn't even tell him the amazing news.
God knew that financing an adoption was the one hurdle that would have kept John and I from giving a baby a future, a home, a family and unconditional love. Oh how He is so faithful!!!
I remember saying "God, this is something that happens to other people - but to John and I? Really?"
I knew in that moment that God was about to start a work in our lives that was about far more than bringing a baby home. ( I could write a whole blog on this, so I will save it for another post!)
That night, after receiving that life-changing phone call, I wrote these words in my journal.
"What an amazing testimony of God's power, love and faithfulness. That He knows every detail and need of His children, WOW! I think John and I better hold on tight - we are in for the ride of our lives."

"God can do anything, you know - far more than we could ever imagine or guess or request in our wildest dreams!" ~Ephesians 3:20

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We're Adopting!!!! God's Call (Part I)

I probably should have started this blog back in January - that's when God started tugging on our hearts to adopt and it's when He started opening all the doors (very quickly, I might add). I'll probably have to go back and post the details of how God has moved over the past 7 months, just so you can see how His hand has been in every detail of this adoption journey we are about to embark on.
Yes, that's right! In October we will begin a 12-18 month journey to adopt a baby from Ethiopia - to bring our "Missing Linck" home.
Whoa! This adventure is something that I would have never dreamed for myself - but as you're about to read, God's plans are different (and far better) than mine.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
Our journey to Ethiopia started with one tearful and heartfelt prayer for God's perfect plan for our future family.
In January, I thought I was pregnant and I was heartbroken when I discovered I wasn't. Since the Fall, I had been overcome with the crazy emotions associated with "baby fever" and for several months my body had been playing cruel tricks on me. There were several months that I thought I was pregnant, only to discover I wasn't.
One morning (after yet another negative pregnancy test) I was driving to work, tears streaming down my face (the ugly kind of sobs) having a real heart-to-heart with the Lord. In complete honesty, I told Him how disappointed I was that I wasn't pregnant and how I deeply desired to be a mom.
I prayed "God, please just help me to trust You and Your perfect plan for my life - especially in regards to starting a family. Help me to remember that Your plan and timing is far better than any plans I could have for myself. Please give me patience. Help me to trust in Your plan."
God "heard my prayers and saw my tears" (Isaiah 38:5) and just like His word promises in Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
He did! He began to reveal His plan for John and I to adopt only 5 days later....
(to be continued!)