Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend In Texas

John and I had a great time this weekend. We went to Texas and spent the weekend with my sister and her fiance! (They just got engaged Friday!) We went to the Texas Rangers baseball game Saturday night and then went to IKEA on Sunday. It was a lot of fun. Here are some photos from our weekend.

 John and I in the Texas heat. It was SO hot! We sat in the all you can eat section. I enjoyed a hot dog, nachos, some peanuts, a few handfuls of popcorn and an ice cream helmet. Yep, I made sure to get my monies worth.
 Myka, Paul, John and I. Notice that John wore his St. Louis Cardinals gear to the Ranger game.
 Me and my sister....
 Myka with the foam finger. We bought it because I wanted a creative way to take our one month on the wait list photo and thought a #1 foam finger would be creative.
 This is our funny group photo....notice Paul's face and John's foam finger
 The newly engaged couple...
After the game...we were SO stinky!
 Foam Fingers are great for a lot of things...
 Baseball games aren't the same without an ice cream helmet
 Sunday morning we took Myka and Paul to the Original Pancake House. The best place EVER! They have fresh squeezed orange juice that is so yummy.

On our way home after a great weekend. We let the guys do all the driving....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One Month!





We have been on the Wait List for One Month! One month down, anywhere from 11 to 17 more months to go before we receive a referral.
Yep, you read those numbers correct. Our agency is now saying it could be up to 18 months before we see the faces of our children.
So how do John and I feel about the long wait ahead of us? Believe it or not, we have an amazing amount of peace! We know in our hearts that Ethiopia is where God has called us to adopt from and we trust that He will make a way, whatever it takes, to unite us with our children.
The uncertainty with Ethiopia adoptions has been the cause for the many thoughts bouncing around in my head. I have to be completely honest –I do have complete peace about our adoption process and I do believe my children are in Ethiopia, but the devil is trying to play cruel tricks with my head. When I hear of families dropping out of the Ethiopia program it’s bittersweet. Part of me thinks, “Well that’s one less family on the wait list.” But then another part of me thinks “how could they give up so easily.” Then despite my peace, I start thinking that maybe I have missed a sign from God. Tons of questions race through my mind – are we supposed to go a different direction, am I really in tune with what God is telling me? Am I praying enough, is my faith strong enough? Ugh. I hate the devil and his sneaky tactics.
I realize that God has changed the adoption path for many families, but I still see the faces of 5 million Ethiopian orphans who need homes. It grieves me to think of John and me not adopting children from Ethiopia. We just know in our hearts this is the path God has for us. John said the other night that he can’t even picture our family with a white baby.
Here’s what we are feeling – that unless the Ethiopia program completely shuts down, we are meant to forge ahead. I want to be obedient to what God has called us to do, even if the timetable isn’t what I had hoped. I don’t want to step outside of God’s will for John and me. I don’t want to change the entire direction of our adoption because I am impatient. I believe God has a great plan for this time of waiting. He still has work to do in my life. There are things he wants John and me to do before we become parents. I also believe that God can still move the mountains that are standing in the way of Ethiopian children being placed in their forever families. I don’t think any of these slow downs surprise God.
Right now God isn’t giving me big neon signs showing me a new plan that He has for me. He’s asking me to trust Him with the plan He revealed to me in February 2010. Even if it takes 18 months, He will make a way.
So ONE month down and who knows how many more to go – but I know who holds everything in the palm of His hand. I know that the peace I have can come from only one place – Jesus!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Texas

Friday, May 27, 2011

Until the Whole World Hears

“Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Isaiah 55-5
This Sunday at church the sermon was about world missions – how it should be our priority as Christians to spread the good news of Jesus Christ with the world. Our pastor Todd said that for the longest time he focused the majority of his attention on the people in his own community and in the United States who didn’t know Jesus. He didn’t think much about going out into the world and sharing the gospel. Then he read Isaiah 55-5 and it completely rocked his world.


Todd explained that God’s missionary purpose is for the unknown nations to hear the gospel and for those people to receive Christ as their Savior. The Bible tells us that before Christ can return, every nation, tribe and tongue must hear about Jesus. It is our responsibility as Christians to share the good news with those who may never get the chance to hear if we aren’t obedient to God’s call.


I admired Todd’s honesty on Sunday. It wasn’t long ago that I was just like him. I had all kinds of excuses for not supporting global missions. I would say, “Lord, there are so many people in the U.S. that don’t know you, people in our own backyards.” When God placed adoption on my heart, He also began to give me eyes to see the world from His perspective and a heart to do something about those who desperately needed to hear about the love of Jesus. For the first time in my life I actually desired to go on a Mission trip. There was a time in my life when going to Africa or some other third-world country scared me.


On Sunday Todd announced that our church would be taking their first mission trip to Haiti in September. John scribbled something on our talk notes and elbowed me. He had written and underlined “we are going.”


We both feel very much like God is asking us to get on that plane and be the hands and feet of Jesus for the people of Haiti. We will have the opportunity to work with an organization called Mission of Hope, which is 20 miles north of Port-au-Prince. The complex sits on 76 acres of land and employs over 150 Haitians. Approximately 2,500 children are enrolled in the School of Hope and the Hope House Orphanage is home to over 60 children. Hope Clinic sees hundreds of patients every week and over 1,000 adults, youth and children come from surrounding villages to attend Church of Hope each week.


When we first started looking into adoption, we thought we would adopt from Haiti but quickly discovered that adoptions were closed. Through our adoption process, God has given us a heart for the orphan and there are millions of orphans in Haiti. We would love nothing more than to lavish the love of Jesus on these children – even if just for a week.


Will you please pray for us as we seek God’s direction? We want to be obedient and go on this trip if that’s what God wants for us, but we are also faced with the high cost of the trip. The one thing that I have learned through our adoption process is that when God calls you to do something, He provides the resources to do it. It may mean that John and I have to sacrifice some of the comforts in life, but we are willing to do that if it means we can be on that plane to Haiti. My human mind can’t comprehend how we will get to Haiti, but God knows. I had no idea how we would ever come up with $28,000 for our adoption, but God has provided $21,000 since July.


I know that God knows my heart. He knows that John and I both desire to go on a mission trip. We trust that He will provide the resources and show us the path He has to get us to Haiti. I believe that if we are willing to be obedient, He will show us the way. I know that this experience will be life-changing for both of us and I can’t imagine being able to experience it along side of John. I am already praying that God will prepare our hearts for what He has in store.


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching
them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Matthew 28:19-20

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oklahoma's Grieving...

I didn’t know 3-year-old Ryan Hamil, yet my heart is broken. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache and gut wrenching emotions that the Hamil family is experiencing as they grieve the loss of not one, but two sons. Both were killed in the deadly tornado that ripped through Piedmont, Oklahoma on Tuesday.


My stomach has been in knots since I heard that Ryan was missing. People from all across Oklahoma, the country and the world have been praying that Ryan would be found safe. We have begged and pleaded with God for a miracle, but this morning Ryan’s body was found. I was devastated that he didn’t survive, but relieved that he had at least been found. Praying that it would bring some sort of closure for his family.

I had to give devotion at work this morning and the title was “Be a Friend to those in Need.” Oklahomans are facing a major time of need right now. Families have lost loved ones and homes. Just moments before I led devotion, I saw reports speculating that Ryan’s body had been found. I stood before the women at the Mission in tears, heartbroken over the loss of this small boy that stole the hearts of so many. As of today, more than 36,000 people have “liked” the facebook page that was created for Ryan and his family. The wall has been flooded with prayer after prayer for the Hamil family.

You feel so helpless in the midst of disasters. When you want to help, but aren’t sure what you can do, you can always pray. When the world is crashing down around you and destruction is all you see, there is still hope. His name is Jesus! Despite the sadness and the loss, He is still sovereign. Oklahoma (and other parts of the country and world) was reminded this week, through a 3-year-old boy, that prayer is a powerful thing.

God tells us in Galatians 6:2 that we are to “carry one another’s burdens.” There are thousands of people lifting up the Hamil family in prayer; thousands of people grieving the loss of a little boy whom most had never met. Let’s continue to lift this family up in prayer. They have lost so much and they will need our prayers now more than ever – it’s the one thing we CAN do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yesterday's Tornados....

On Monday evening, I sat watching news coverage of the tornado damage in Joplin, MO – there were a few times that I had to fight back tears at the site of the destruction. It looked like a war zone. Tornados are not a new thing to me – I grew up in Texas and there were many times when my family had to take cover in the laundry room. In 2002, I moved to Oklahoma and tornados became an even bigger part of my life. I spent late nights covering tornados during the time that I was a reporter and now live just a few miles off the path of the May 3, 1999 tornado.


Yesterday weather forecasters predicted a dangerous weather day with a high chance of tornados. They compared the conditions to May 3, 1999 and to what caused the tornado in Joplin. I left work around 2 p.m. because I had been fighting a weather-related headache for two days and was starting to get nauseous. When I got home I flipped on the weather to see tornados already building in the west part of the state. I cleaned out our pantry and began gathering our flashlights, shoes, weather radio and a few other things. It wasn’t long before a huge tornado was wrecking havoc on parts of western Oklahoma, destroying everything in its path. News reports said the tornado had picked up trailers at Canton Lake and left them in trees. They feared many people were severally injured or dead.

I decided that it might be wise to remove all the canned foods from my pantry. The last thing I wanted was to survive a tornado, only to be killed by a can of green beans hitting me in the head. I removed all the cans from the pantry and continued to watch the live shots of the tornado that destroyed everything in its path. The massive storm was headed towards Interstate 40 and El Reno! The weatherman described the tornado as “one that kills.” I realized that if something of that magnitude hit Moore, our pantry would not save us.


I decided John and I should play things safe and go to a storm shelter with our friend Annette. As I began to pack a bag with some extra clothes I started thinking about other things that I should pack. In that moment nothing in my house mattered. As long as John, Story (our dog) and I were safe, I knew we could replace pretty much everything else in the house. I stuck my Bible in my purse and I did decide to take the huge binder full of our adoption paperwork. If my house was going to get blown away I wanted to save the 6 months of paperwork that will lead to my baby.

It wasn’t long after we were inside the storm shelter that tornados began breaking out all over the state. We listened as the weatherman described one bearing down on Newcastle – just a few miles southwest of where we were. Our friends Mike and Krista live there and were in the storm shelter with their children. The tornado destroyed an RV park and literally missed our church by about a mile. There for a while we thought the tornado that hit Newcastle was on a direct path towards where we were. There were a lot of prayers said in that storm shelter, especially as we got word of a tornado practically ripping apart the town of Goldsby and heading towards Norman. At one point storm chasers thought the tornado would pass across Interstate 35. When John and I left our house to go to the storm shelter, Interstate 35 was bumper to bumper traffic. We prayed that the tornado would go a different direction. Thank the Lord that it did. If it had come across Interstate 35, so many people would have been killed or injured. There was just absolutely no where for them to take cover.

About 7 p.m. we finally decided to head back home. At one point a possible tornado had been spotted in east Moore (very close to where we live). Although it never touched down, we still knew that there could be damage from the strong winds. Thankfully when we got home our house was standing and there was no damage. There was, however, some debris on our roof and in our backyard – who knows where it had come from.

We had yet to see any footage of the destruction because all we had was a radio in the storm shelter. We turned on the TV to see empty slabs where houses had once stood. We saw a lake littered with lumber that had once been someone’s home. In those moments, as you watch people, in shock, sitting in the middle of what was once their home, nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter how much money is in your bank account. It doesn’t matter if your house is clean. It doesn’t matter if you drive the latest and greatest car. What matters is that you’re safe. All that matters and all that you need is God.

This morning as I was driving to work, I was flooded with emotion as I prayed for all of those who lost everything yesterday. The most gut wrenching is the 3-year-old boy who is still missing because of the storm. His mother and siblings were taken to a hospital in critical condition, but they couldn’t find the 3-year-old. Just this morning they announced that one of the siblings had died because of injuries he sustained in the tornado. My heart just breaks for this mother who has lost one child and has no idea where the other one is. I pray that the 3-year-old is alive. I pray that they will find him soon for the sake of this heartbroken mother. I pray that despite how far the tornado might have carried this child, God’s hand of protection is on him and he is safe and alive. I believe in miracles!

I pray that all of those who lost homes and loved ones will feel God’s presence. That He will comfort them and give them the strength to face the devastation and destruction that they had to wake up to today. Will you pray too??

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cupcakes, A Cabbage Patch Doll and Weekend Fun

When I woke up on Saturday morning it felt like summer. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling except that it felt like I was a kid, waking up on a summer morning, knowing that I didn’t have to go to school. John and I spent the morning piddling about - he washed the cars, I cleaned up the house. We went and bought flowers for the flowerbeds and while I dug around in the mud, John mowed the yard. The sun was shining and I could feel my legs getting bronze. As I planted my begonias I thanked God for the gorgeous day we had just to hang around the house.


I also did a little baking this weekend. I had the honor of making cupcakes for Miss. Ellie Kate’s first birthday! I whipped up a delicious butter cream frosting. (I’m not a big fan of buttery things but it was pretty darn good). John doesn’t have a problem with butter so he ate several spoonfuls of my creamy creation. He didn’t even need a cupcake. Why didn’t I think of opening a cupcake store before it became the rage? I LOVE to bake! Here’s a few yummy photos….



This is the birthday girl! Is she not the cutest thing in the world? I swear she looks like a Cabbage Patch. I could just squeeze her.


The weekend was wonderful, but several things happened that have my head swarming with thoughts - thoughts that I can't quite express with words - about the sermon I heard on Sunday, about Ethiopia and families deciding to go different directions with their adoptions and a possible trip to Haiti. My wheels are especially turning about Haiti. I'm praying and seeking God and what he has planned for John and I and the opportunity that He has presented to us.


I don't have the words to express the jumbled mess in my head, but I should in a day or so. I'll fill you in on all the ways that God is rocking my world (and it's a lot).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Before Adoption Was Ever On My Heart....

In 2003, while working as a reporter for the Oklahoman, I wrote these words.


“Laura Baker knows the heartache of being unable to conceive a child – and the joy of parenthood.”

When I wrote those words I couldn’t fathom the emotions and heartache of infertility. I never dreamed that I would one day be standing in Laura’s shoes. I figured I would get married, wait a few years and start having babies. But eight years later I have experienced every gut wrenching emotion that plaques women who can’t conceive – sadness, depression, heartache, emptiness. But I have also felt joy knowing that God has children for me. I am already a mother in my heart.


What if I was assigned the story about Laura Baker’s adoption today? Would I write it completely different? Would it be choked full of emotion? Would I spend a little more time focusing on the pain that accompanies infertility? Would I ask her how other people reacted to the news of their adoption? Especially adopting a child of a different race?


I probably would have. I would have taken a little more time to dig a little deeper and try to better understand the pain and the joy that she experienced throughout her adoption process.


I think it’s pretty amazing how God works. Back then I had no idea that I would be infertile, that John and I would be adopting from Ethiopia or that we would be using the SAME adoption agency that Laura Baker used to adopt her son. I think God was preparing my heart for His plan way back then.


I was fortunate enough to get to know Laura and her two children (both were adopted). I see how God used that story to plant a small seed into my heart and prepare me for my own adoption journey. Being around Laura and her family, I learned that adopted children are no different than biological children. They are “your own” kids. I witnessed the joy of parenthood that I will soon experience once my babies are in my arms.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TRUST

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice…in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.”
Proverbs 3:5-6



My job pretty much rocks. I get to begin each day with God during chapel. The staff rotates giving the daily devotion and this morning it was my turn. The last few devotions that I’ve been given, have been exactly what I needed to hear – funny how God works that way. During my devotion this morning, I was reminded of two things that I oftentimes forgot when it comes to trusting God. 1. Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. 2. When we trust God, we can’t indulge in human reasoning.


I know this may sound like a no brainer. After all, trusting God is a pretty basic part of the Christian life, but I’m realizing it’s not always as easy as it seems.


This morning I shared how I’ve had to learn to trust God on a completely different level through this adoption process. First I had to trust that He would provide the money we needed to adopt – we didn’t have $28,000 sitting in a bank account. I also have to choose to trust Him each and every day regarding the adoption hold ups in Ethiopia. I have to trust that He will move the mountains that are standing in the way of children being united with their forever families.

As I was sharing my heart with the ladies, I told them that although I have seen God provide in amazing ways for our adoption, I still find that doubt lurks in the back of my mind. I start to think “how will we come up with the remaining $7,000 that we need to finish paying for the adoption?”


I have seen God provide more than $20,000, yet I still doubt! I’m sure God is up in heaven, shaking His head, wanting to tell me to take a big, fat chill pill.


God’s word says that we shouldn’t try and figure things out on our own. The devotion I did this morning also said that when we start to doubt, we should look back and see who delivered us in the past. So when I start fretting about $7,000, I think about how God has already provided more than $20,000. I thank Him for what He has done and tell Him that I trust that He will provide the rest – in His perfect way and in His perfect time, because after all, God’s ways are beyond human reasoning.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Few Random Things About Me...

I've been sitting here staring at my blog thinking about how I need to write something - anything - but my mind is just mush today! There really isn't much to report on the adoption front because we're at the point where all we can do is wait. We finished clearing out the nursery this weekend. We moved our computer and desk into the spare bedroom so now we have an office/bedroom. The nursery is ready for for Marcia to work her magic.

I decided I should do a goofy post. Random things you might not know about me. Something fun for this Monday afternoon because I can barely keep my eyes open I'm so sleepy. Here are a few random things about me:

1. I am TERRIFIED of needles! I almost break into a sweat thinking about the shots I'm going to have to get before going to Africa. Yesterday I was told that there's an oral medication for Typhoid and it was literally the best news I had heard all day. Thank you Jesus! One less shot makes one less knot in my stomach.

2. I've been a circus clown! Yep, that's right, I dressed up with the red nose and all and performed under the Big Top. There were some fun perks to being a newspaper reporter for five years!

3. I HATE eggs, milk and butter. Gag, gag, gag....but mix them all together to make a cake (actually a cupcakes is more like it) and I'll eat them.

4. I love cupcakes!! (maybe you figured that out from #4) I love to eat and make them. I wish I had one right now!

5. I snorkeled with sea turtles in Maui.

6. I once ate a hot dog that I dropped at a ballpark stadium (to the horror of my husband) because there was NO WAY that I was going to pay $9 for another one. I'm sure it was covered in germs but I survived and saved some money. But then again, I also licked the bottom of a flip flop because my husband dared me to.

7. I was on the Today Show when I was in NYC. My mom saw me on TV standing outside the studio in the freezing cold!

8. On my wedding day (in my wedding dress) I held the door open for Barry Switzer. Hum..something seems wrong with this picture.

9. I grew up in Stephenville, Texas - the Cowboy Capital of the World. My dad used to be a bull rider/rodeo clown.

10. I used to *heart* Garth Brooks. My parents loved me so much that they took me to Fan Fair in Nashville, Tennessee and we stood in line for 8+ hours to see Garth in concert!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm a Published Author (actually Ghost Writer)


Common Threads by Patty Bultman with Jennifer Jackson:


In the first book of the Peace House Series, three women from a small Bible belt town, connect over a mysterious box and painful secrets from their past. Judging by outward appearance, Ruthie, Abigail, and Mimsey are nothing alike, but on the inside they are one in the same, hiding dark sins, guilt and shame. When Ruthie discovers an unexplained box full of personal letters, past secrets are revealed and friendships form. As the women set out to find the owner of the box, they begin to see the common threads that tie them together-hope,faith,and the incredible grace of their Savior.

I can say that I have written a book! Kind of crazy but kind of exciting at the same time. It looks like there could be another book or two in my future. Patty has asked if I would like to ghost write the next book of this series and I am currently working on a book about our journey from infertility to adoption. We will see what God has in store for me. I'm glad I was able to help Patty make her dream of writing a book a reality.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Children Are the Best Medicine for A Waiting Heart....

This is my friend Madison. I just love this girl. She brings so much joy to my heart. I love listening to her recite her Bible verses. She gives the best hugs and her laughter makes me smile. I love that she wants to eat “white dip” (ranch) with everything and that I made her day when I just happened to have Craisins at my house.

Yesterday during church I witnessed the most precious sight. I was worshiping, not really paying attention to anything going on around me, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed that Madison was standing behind me in the chair with her arm lifted to Jesus singing along. She’s 3-years-old. I took her small hand in mine and we continued to sing. I guess at some point during the worship I put my hand over my heart because when I glanced back at Madison she was doing the same thing. It was the sweetest moment. Oh to have the faith of a child. I think God knew I would need that sweet moment in the midst of an emotional church service.


I think He also knew my heart might need to be filled up with the love of a child after the emotional Mother’s Day I had. Since I started my job at the Mission, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with two of the kiddos that live there. It isn’t uncommon for me to have both of them sitting on my lap during devotion each morning or to tote one of them on my hip while I sing praise and worship songs. I could just squeeze them they are so cute! I look into their dark, chocolate eyes and see a glimpse of what my babies will look like. They have just stolen my heart.

This morning as I walked into devotion their faces were the first ones I saw. It didn’t take long for both of them to crawl into my lap. As we were singing, the little girl laid her head on my shoulder and fell asleep. She slept like a rock, her head on my chest, during the entire devotion. I just soaked up the half hour that she slept in my lap. I thanked God for a few “mommy like moments!”

My friend Amber sent me this quote last week and I have been meaning to post it on the blog:

“We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God’s very own hands.” ~Kristi Larson

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Day of Hope and Heartache....

Today was much harder than I anticipated. It started out wonderful. John woke up early; drove down to Classic 50’s and brought me my morning Dr Pepper and a Mother’s Day card in bed.



I went to church and several people wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, which means more than I can even express because as of April 29, 2011, I’m paper pregnant. A baby isn’t growing inside of my belly, but my heart is about to burst with love and anticipation for these children. Mother’s Day was filled with hope for the day when I see the faces of my children for the first time, but it was also a day of heartache and very messy emotions.


We had baby dedication at church this morning and it was during the part when one of our pastors read 1 Samuel 1:27 that I just lost it. Hearing the words that Hannah uttered to God “I prayed for this child and the Lord granted what I asked of him” brought gut wrenching emotion this morning.


I have prayed and prayed and prayed for my children. First it was that God would allow me to become pregnant. Then on my knees before the Lord, through tears, I let go of that dream and prayed for His will to be done. He has shown me very clearly what His will is – to travel across the ocean to become a family. He has taken away any desire I have to become pregnant and replaced it with a love for adoption, the orphan and my children in Africa. I believe that I can already thank God for hearing my prayers and giving me a child because I know that at this moment He is preparing the way for me to become a mom. He knows each and every detail of my children long before they are ever knit inside their mother’s womb.


They showed a video at church today that also caused the floodgates to open wide. They were asking children different questions like “Why do you love your mom?” “How are you and your mom alike?” “How are you and your mom different?”


It was one of the answers to that last question that hit me right in the heart. The little kid answered “I am brown and my mom is tan” and they showed a drawing of a dark brown baby and a white mama. Oh be still my heart! That will be me and my child someday. That’s the family portrait that God is painting and I can’t imagine it any other way.


Today as I sat aching to have my children in my arms, I realized that I never want to forget these gut wrenching emotions. I pray that when I do bring my kids home and I’m changing dirty diapers and wiping snotty noses that I never forget how desperately I wanted to be a mother. That I never forget the burning desire I had to have children; or the hole in my heart that I waited years for the Lord to fill in His perfect timing and in His perfect way. I pray that I will always take the time to think about the women on Mother’s Day who have empty arms, who desperately want children but can’t have them, or who are “paper pregnant” and are often times forgotten because so many people don’t celebrate the journey of adoption the same way they do 9-months of pregnancy.



Mother's Day Cards from some special people....




Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day in My Heart....

Mother’s Day is tomorrow and I’m celebrating because I already consider myself a mother. I have yet to see my children’s faces, but I already love them. It’s highly likely that at least one of them could already be born, living in an orphanage in Ethiopia. It’s almost surreal to feel so much love for little ones that you do not even know, but with every prayer uttered on their behalf and each day that brings me one day closer to them; my love for them grows and grows.


I came across something in the attic the other day. It was an assignment from my 12th grade creative writing class. We were to write a definition of a good parent. Here’s what I wrote:



“Disciplining, listing (only) when your child needs to spill their guts. Giving advice when appropriate, saying I love you, laughing with your kids, playing pretend with your kids, teaching your kids new things, cherishing every day you have with your kids, try to see your kids point of view on things, always hear their side of the story, give them space when they need it, help them when they need it (homework, college applications, etc.), reassure them when they’re scared, always let them know they can do anything if they put their 100% in to it, Don’t damper their dreams, always encourage them, have patience, make birthdays and holidays special memories they will never forget, keep a scrapbook so they can look at it, write notes and put it in different places for them (lunchbox), make them chicken noodle soup when they are sick, read to them, color with them, teach them God’s word, sing and dance with them, always be honest, violence isn’t the answer, treat people the way you would want to be treated, watch cartoons together, snuggle on rainy, cold days, bake cookies together, let them know “why” they can’t do something and don’t just say “because”, make plenty of time for just you and your child, don’t criticize, doesn’t abuse.”


Twelve years later, I laugh at several of the things on this list, but I still dream of snuggling with my babies and teaching them God’s word. There are nights when I will lay in bed and daydream about what it will be like when our babies are home. I get giddy with anticipation thinking about the moment we walk off the airplane and are greeted by friends and family who have been walking this journey with us. I can’t wait to read bedtime stories, give baths, rock and sing to my babies, take them to story time at the library, visit the zoo or to finger paint with chocolate pudding.


But more than anything, I want to lavish love upon these babies and teach them just how much God loves them. To share the story of how God knitted our family together, despite the thousands of miles that once separated us.


This Mother’s Day I will thank God for the journey He is taking us on, pray for my babies and dream about all the things on my Mommy-to-do list.


P.S. A big thank you to several sweet people who gave me Mother’s Day cards this year. It really meant a lot that you guys acknowledged that I am already a mommy in my heart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Now That We Are Officially Waiting...

Now that we are officially waiting, I wanted to update everyone on where we stand with our fundraising. As of today, we have raised $20,645. We are only $7,355 away from being fully funded! I'm just in awe of the way God has provided for this adoption.
John and I are having a garage sale this weekend and the money we raise will go into our adoption fund. But besides that, we are taking a break from fundraising for the next few months. I really feel like God is asking me to "Be Still and Know that He is God." To have faith and trust that He will provide the remaining money at the exact time we need it. So I am resting, trusting, knowing that God will provide.
This morning I was listening to KLOVE and they said something pretty profound. It was important enough for me to stop curling my hair and make myself a note so that I wouldn't forget the words of wisdom.

"Jesus will meet your needs as the need arises"
Praise Jesus that He does! I have a feeling I will be holding on to this promise throughout the next 12-18 months. The reminder this morning goes right along with one of my memory verses this month.
"And my God will supply your every need according
to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

As we wait for our referral I have a long list of things to keep me busy - decorating the nursery, doing some home improvement projects with John, completing my adoption journey scrapbook (I don't think I will have time when I get home from Ethiopia) and working some more on the book I am writing about this journey. John and I also have some fun things planned over the next few months - some weekend trips to Texas and St. Louis and a trip to the beach. I want to make sure John and I enjoy our time together and focus on our marriage because things will get a little hectic with two little ones joining us.

As we are waiting here are some things that our friends and family can do.

1. PRAY: More then anything we could use your prayers. Prayer is a powerful thing and we know that God hears each and every one that is lifted up on behalf of this adoption, our future children, etc. Please pray for our future children, that God would prepare them to be a part of our family. Pray for John and me – that God will prepare our hearts to be the parents He desires us to be. Pray for us as we continue to fundraise to pay for the adoption expenses. We know that God will provide. He has already provided so much.

Please also pray for the birth mother. She will be sacrificing so much and I can’t imagine having to make the decision that she will have to make.
Please also continue praying for the changes in Ethiopia adoptions. Pray that God will soften hearts and that adoption cases will be heard quickly. We know that God can move the mountains that are standing in the way of children being united with their Forever Families.
One more prayer request (I know it's ridiculous) but I am terrified of needles and the thought of having to get the shots I need to go to Africa freaks me out. Please pray that God would ease my fears.

2. Buy a puzzle piece! We only have 20 pieces left and we would hate for some of the pieces not to be signed by the people who have encouraged us and supported us all along this journey. Each piece is $20 and we will write your name and a special message on the back. We can’t wait to show our children the puzzle and read the messages from all the people who helped to bring them home.

3. Spread the word about our adoption and the puzzle piece fundraiser on your blog, Facebook, etc. We love to share our adoption story with new people because it’s a chance to share Jesus and all that God has done through this journey. It really is all about Him.

4. If you'd like to donate to our adoption you can do that through the paypal button here on our blog. Every little bit helps. We have already raised more than $20,000 and now we are focusing on raising the funds we need to travel to Ethiopia twice. We only need to raise about $7,500 more.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

WAIT LISTED!!!

WE ARE ON THE WAIT LIST....WE ARE ON THE WAIT LIST...WE ARE ON THE WAIT LIST!!!!

April 29, 2011 was the official date but I just found out this morning. It's crazy to think that after 6 months of paperwork and doctor's appointments and a roller coaster of emotions, now we are just waiting! I feel like I've been given a Mother's Day present this year! Hoping and praying that in the next 12-18 months we will see the faces of our precious babies!

Just this morning I read Matthew 17:20, which says "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

I am will repeat this verse over and over and over during our wait as a reminder that God can move all of the mountains that are standing in the way of Ethiopia adoptions right now. I do not believe that we would have made it to the wait list if God didn't intend to bless us with Ethiopian babes. It may take longer than we once thought but we will wait as long as it takes for them to be placed in our arms!

Let the count down begin!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

John's Rainy Baptism Sunday...

John was baptized this morning at church! We woke up to rain, thunder, lightning and COLD temps. John was supposed to be baptized in a pool outside - thank goodness they moved the baptism inside. John said the water was still a bit chilly, but at least he didn't need a wet suit like he would have, had he been baptized outside. It was a day of celebration as John showed the world that he has accepted Christ as his Savior. We were so blessed to have great friends join with us in the celebration. Here are photos from our day, followed by the video of John's baptism.

 Our pastor Todd asking John when he made the decision to accept Jesus as his personal Savior - John made that decision in 2008.
 Ready, set, dunk...
 Baptizing John in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirt
 At this point there were LOTS of shouts of celebration!
John and I before he was baptized
 John with our pastor, Todd.
 John and Todd doing the baptism pose
 John and I with Todd, Paige and Bryce
 Our wonderful friends the Habuda's and Hulseys
Our Oklahoma parents - Wayne and Annette

video