As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Verdict on the Sweet Potato Pie....

While I had fun making it, and it turned out beautifully, I'm not sure that I will ever make Sweet Potato Pie again. It really wasn't TOO bad, but I would definitely pick the pumpkin, pecan or chocolate cheesecake over it any day.

Here's a picture of it baking in my oven:

And here's one of the cheesecake:

Which one looks better to you?

And now that Thanksgiving is over and we're back into the swing of things, this is what we feel like:

(Especially since it's such a yucky day outside today and there's actually snow in the forecast for the next few days! I feel like settling down for a long winter's nap.....)

Hmmm..... yucky pie, yucky day, and all I want to do is sleep. Doesn't make for a very exciting or positive blog post, does it? Hope you all have a wonderful day filled with yummy pie and wakefulness!

Have a happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I sit down to write this, there is a pecan pie baking in the oven, Chris and Shana are putting address labels on  our Christmas cards, Adrian and Ashton are playing Monopoly, Malia is taking a nap, and Christmas carols are playing softly in the background. I feel so peaceful today, and am so thankful to have my family around me. I wish I knew exactly where our Ethiopian child is, but am trusting God to take care of him/her this Thanksgiving. We will be spending the holiday with my family at my parent's house, and I'm in charge of desserts. Today I baked a pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie with a marshmallow meringue (I have never had a sweet potato pie before, but thought it sounded good! I know, you southerners probably can't believe I've never tasted it before!), and a pecan pie. I also baked up a chocolate cheesecake, just for good measure.

May we all remember to thank God for the many blessings He has given us, and also to remember those who are without families, nice homes and wonderful food this Thanksgiving. Have an awesome holiday, and blessings from our home to yours!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Dream and A Cry For Help.....

The other night, after crawling into bed, I was trying to remember how to say 'I love you' in Amharic. I finally remembered, and repeated the word to myself several times before falling asleep. I dreamed that we were meeting our adopted child for the first time. It was a girl, about 20 months old, and she was absolutely beautiful.  I picked her up, held her up in the air, and talked to her. I had tears running down my face, and I remember thinking that she was so soft as I held her cheek next to mine. Then I woke up. I was so sad that it wasn't real!

There is a family who traveled over to Ethiopia last week to meet their daughter for the first time. They posted lots of information about their trip and their time in Addis Ababa on our agency's yahoo group. Their account was so beautiful, heartbreaking and convicting all at the same time. The taxi driver that they hired to take them around the city also took them to his home to meet his family. About 11 families live together in an area of makeshift houses, made up of mud, cardboard, stucco and sheet metal. Each "house" has two small rooms, concrete floors, and no sink, toilet, shower, or heat. They wrote, " We stepped into the first of the two rooms that made up his "house." There was an old small couch, a wooden chair, a tiny tv and a small fridge. In the room behind it was where his wife and he slept on one side, and he had makeshift metal bunkbeds on the other side where his two boys, 13 and 8, slept. It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen and I really felt guilty - why was I born in America and why was he here - why do I complain and he doesn't AT ALL? Each family has to pay a huge sum of rent each month - outrageous - which the landlord continues to raise. So basically they are paying to live in a garbage dump, and even though (the father) is working class, this is all they can afford.

"His family was so beautiful! He is so giving. He went and walked down the street and got us each a bottle of water (which was probably worth several day's wages). His wife performed the traditional coffee ceremony (roasting whole coffee beans, crushing them up with a bowl and rod and boiling them). This alone probably cost everything he had for the month - that is how special it is to them and they only do it on special occasions. So basically he gave us EVERYTHING he had, everything he could offer. They had nothing, and yet they gave all they had.

"When he stepped in to show us where they slept, he put his hands in the air and said, "Thanks be to God for all this." This is when I lost it - my eyes welled up and I couldn't believe how spoiled and selfish we as Americans (including myself) are. He was SO genuinely proud of his home and SO thankful to the God that had "blessed him so."

"He told another member of our group that he was so proud that his sons were in school and even though he has to pay $25 a month (which is SO much money there), he said that they go hungry if they have to, so that the boys can go to school. Even if they can't eat, including the boys, education comes first. Another family with us gave one of the boys a soccer ball and he was over-the-moon excited. He slept with it in his arms by his head all night. The boys were in clothes worn through with holes and his wife had just gotten really sick and had to go to the hospital. So, get this - there is no insurance here, and if you can't pay before being treated, you don't get treated at all! But he said, "She is my life, she is everything to me." He loved her so much and the boys were so kind - well-mannered and amazing people with great hearts.

"The other couple that was here went and bought them a pizza...they were so thrilled as they had NEVER had pizza before (can you even imagine this as an American citizen?) But, they don't keep things for themselves. This culture is more sharing than we tend to be. So, what did he do? He shared (the pizza) with the other 11 families that live (around him).

"His wife is in school, but get this - you have to attend 4 years of college to become a hotel receptionist! That is what she is doing and has one year left. He drives a taxi, but doesn't own the car and has to pay to use it. To buy a tiny car in Addis is around $30,000 - $40,000 US Dollars!

"As we left their "house", kids and people were milling around in the dirt all over the crowded compound. They were smiling and the little kids broke our was all so overwhelming and I just couldn't shake the fact that they have absolutely NOTHING, and are so happy and thankful....smiling, and yet look what we have - everything to be comfortable, and we are still not happy, and are always wanting more.....I know that if each person went to his house for that coffee ceremony and saw what we saw, the world would be SO different!"

This family's account brought me to tears. They also told of a visit to a state-run orphanange, where only 2 women were caring for about 17 babies. "It was horrible. Some (of the babies) slept 2 to a metal crib. They looked at us with eyes that were so hopeful, but we couldn't pick them up. We walked by and talked to them and they would smile, but the older kids wouldn't smile. They just laid there in their cribs and stared because they knew that they wouldn't be picked up. They said that they don't hold the babies - they just prop a bottle or maybe hold them to feed them quickly and change them, but that is it! The smell was horrid and there were babies that were soaked up to their waist in urine and who knows what, had spit-up on themselves and were just crying for love. Some would reach their hands up to us and it killed us as parents to just look at them crying for comfort and to walk away just like the orphanage workers did. How can this be? They just want comfort and love - why is this the reality? Why can't they have someone to call their own and someone to give them comfort and someone to be their mom and dad?"

The family then went on to encourage us waiting parents and reiterate how WONDERFUL our agency's transition home, Hannah's Hope, is. The children there are treated fantastically, and all of the special mothers love them so much. The care that they receive is exceptional.

I have heard before that around 62% of Christian families express an interest in adopting. However, only 2% actually ever do anything about it. How can this be? God commands us in his Word to care for the orphans. And once our eyes have been opened, we can't pretend that we don't know what to do. God knows our every thought, and will hold us responsible to act. So how about you? Can you help a hurting child? Can you help to lighten someone's load? Today I'm asking you to pray to God and ask Him what you can do to help. What you can do to make a difference in this dark world. And He can show us clearly what to do. This Thanksgiving, let's open our hearts to those who need us. Let's truly be thankful for the blessings we have been given, and let's be willing to share those blessings with others.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Wonderful Boys....

Adrian and Ashton were both named as Students of the Month, so the other day Malia and I went to school to eat lunch with them.

Adrian receiving his award from the principal:

Adrian's teacher chose him as Student of the Month because - 

"Adrian works conscientiously in all subject areas. He has an in depth understanding of math concepts. Adrian's quiet sense of humor makes him a pleasure to have in class."

Ashton receiving his award from the principal (and he doesn't look too sure about being the center of attention):

 Ashton's teacher said she chose him to be Student of the Month because - 

"Ashton is such a shining star! He comes into our room each day with a smile on his face and he is ready to learn. He is always the first to offer help when someone needs it. I appreciate all of Ashton's hard work. Continue to let your light shine!"

Good job, boys! Keep up the good work! I love you lots!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Less Orphan....Our Adoption Story, Part 3

*For Parts 1 and 2 of our story, click here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

In one day, God had shown us clearly that we were supposed to adopt from Ethiopia. The next afternoon, Chris and I drove about 3 hours away to attend the funeral visitation of one of our friends. My mom watched the kids for us, so when we stopped by her house to drop them off, she gave Chris the new Andrea Boccelli Christmas CD so that we could listen to it on our trip. We talked about the adoption the entire way, and as we were listening to the CD, we heard, "One day I'll hear the laugh of children in a world where war has been banned. One day I'll see men of all colors sharing words of love and devotion. Stand up and feel the Holy Spirit, find the power of your faith, open your heart to those who need you.....Yes, I believe." The next song said, "Come together one and all, in the giving spirit. Gifts abound here great and small, joyously we feel it. Blessings sent us from above, guide us on our way. We raise our voice as we rejoice, bow our head and pray. A miracle has just begun. To the voices no one hears - we have come to find you. With your laughter and your tears, goodness, hope and virtue. Father, mother, daughter, son - each a treasure be. One candle's light dispells the night. Now our eyes can see, burning brighter than the sun. A miracle has just begun." Once again, we knew that God was speaking to us through the songs. That night when we got back, we talked to my parents and shared a little of our story.

The next morning, the verse “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” popped into my head.  I opened the Bible to the account of Jesus hanging on the cross, then my eyes fell on the opposite page.  “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” was written there in red lettering.
Then my mom called and said that she had prayed for us that morning before opening the Bible.  She opened to Job, but had a strong feeling that she was supposed to turn somewhere else. She flipped the pages and opened to Psalm 41: “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.”  Chris called me later in the day, and I told him what mom had said.  He said that he had read those very same verses that morning.  That night, Chris’s parents came to our house after church and we shared our story with them.

 My dad called me the next morning and told me that after we had told him of our decision to adopt, he prayed for us and then opened the Bible to somewhere in Daniel.  The verse his eyes fell on talked about the Ethiopians.  He said that he didn’t even know that Daniel mentioned anything about Ethiopia.  All that day I opened to various verses that convicted me, such as Proverbs 24:11-12, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works?” and Acts 7:3, “ Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.”  But I was sort of discouraged all day. I had no idea how we would be able to afford an adoption, and was way too worried about what other people would think of us. Later that afternoon, I realized that I hadn’t checked my e-mail all day, and thought that maybe someone had sent me something that would make me feel better.  I opened up my account, and found an e-mail from my mom.  It was about a little boy who was poor and dirty, and got bad grades in school. His teacher found out from previous teachers that the boy had been a perfect student and was well-liked.  Then his mother had died and his dad didn’t really care about him anymore, and his life started to go downhill.   The teacher took the boy under her wing and tried to make him feel very important, even when the other kids made fun of him.  She turned his life around, and even though he went on to become a famous doctor, he never forgot the teacher who had cared enough to reach out to a hurting child.  The e-mail encouraged us to reach out to those who need help. It said, “Can you make a difference for someone today? Tomorrow? Just do it.”

I began to feel an urgency to filling out the paperwork and finding an adoption agency. After all, I felt that I had been shown so much in such a short period of time. Each day, I read verses that seemed fitting, such as “And the gospel must first be published among all nations” and “ And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them (is like the man that built his house on the rock)…But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth……and the ruin of that house was great.”

That Saturday we attended a funeral of a man that was an acquaintance of ours. As we were getting ready to go to the church, Chris pulled on his suit coat, then took something out of his pocket and handed it to me.  It was a World Relief pamphlet that said “Together we can make a difference” across the front.  It had pictures of black children on it, above the verses from Matthew 25, “I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”  As we were leaving for church, I was cleaning out my purse and found a piece of paper with the same verses on it.  When the funeral service started, I thought to myself, “Maybe the minister will read the same verses out of Matthew 25.” Then I thought, “No. Why would he? This is a funeral after all.”  He opened the Bible and said, “I would like to start by reading from Matthew, chapter 25.”  He read the exact same verses, except he went into greater detail about them.  Again, I was very convicted.  I felt that we were supposed to move ahead, but I wanted it all to be in God’s timing.  I prayed that God would show us when we were supposed to go forward.  At one point, the minister said that when God says to do something, He doesn’t mean wait a little while and then do it. He means now.  He then proceeded to read the account of Nicodemus, and again I was reminded that God had adopted me as his daughter.  I thought, “Yeah, so there are risks with adopting a child. But what if God would have looked at me and said, ‘She’s way too risky. Just forget about her.’ Then where would I be?”

It seemed that Ethiopia was popping up everywhere. That night I opened the Bible to Jeremiah and read, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" Then next day, I saw a book about missions people who work there, and then saw an article in a newspaper insert about a family from Ethiopia.  That night after supper, we read from Amos, chapter 9: “Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me….? saith the Lord.”

On Christmas morning, in church, I  prayed about the whole adoption thing, because I felt that I was ready to move forward, but Chris was not yet sure. I prayed that we would know God’s timing – if we were supposed to move ahead, that God would show us. If not, I prayed that God would keep it all fresh in our minds.  When it was time for the first reading, I opened my Bible to Isaiah 43 – “I have given Ethiopia and Seba for thee….I will call thy sons and daughters from the ends of the earth, etc.”  When it was time for the second reading, I opened the New Testament to the story in Acts about Philip and the Ethiopian.  “Well,” I thought, “obviously God is not going to let me forget about it!”

That night, Chris and I had a discussion about the whole timing issue.  He said that I needed to be patient with him because I had been shown to move forward, but he hadn’t.  We got into bed and he opened the Bible to the verse, “Suffer it to be so now, for it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” He closed the Bible and said, “OK, there’s my answer!”

We listened to a sermon  the following day, and the minister said that when God asks us to do something, we need to humbly follow.  It may seem impossible or scary, but He has gone before us and prepared the way.  He encouraged us to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” He said that God would take us places we never dreamed we’d go. Even though it seems like there are huge obstacles in our way, God has already rolled away the stones in our path, just like He rolled away the stone from Christ’s grave.  That night, Malia brought a Bible story to be read at bedtime. It was about Christ’s baptism, and included the verse, “Suffer it to be so now.”

On Sunday, December 27,  Chris and I both found the sermon to be very powerful.  The preacher talked about how we may have something to do or think about in the next week. We may need to step outside of our comfort zones, but we need to follow what God is telling us and step out in faith.  When God says ‘go’, we need to go. He will prepare the way for us.  Sometimes what we do may not make sense to those around us, even family members, but we have to follow God rather than man.  We then sang a hymn, which said, “My praise and thanks I give to thee -  for through Thy grace Thou makest me - an heir by Thy adoption.”

We  told our families about our decision on January 2. While playing the Game of Life with our kids over New Year’s weekend, I landed on a space that said, “Help orphans in Africa – pay $40,000.00.”  On Sunday, January 3, the sermon was about helping the poor and fatherless.  At lunch, I sat by a friend of mine, and even though she had no clue what our plans were, she talked all about adoption and how she adopted an Ethiopian boy through a sponsorship program.  She is a teacher, and her school kids write letters back and forth to him.  She said that if she was married she would definitely consider adoption and admires those who do adopt.

As I look back, I realize how God was leading us every step of the way, even before we knew anything was going on.  We had decided earlier in the fall to remodel our laundry room and make it bigger.  At the last minute, after we had made arrangements for a crew to do the work and we had picked out paint samples and everything, we decided that we better save the money instead.  We figured that we could always put the project off just until Spring, and that there were probably people that needed the money worse than we did. I’m glad now that we waited.  Our laundry room is just fine for us, and we really need that extra money for the adoption.  Also, we had thought about taking the kids to Florida during Christmas break for their Christmas present.  I spent days online looking for all kinds of condos and resorts to stay at. Many had availability, but even though I e-mailed lots of the owners to set something up, nothing worked out.  I spent lots of time and got very frustrated, but we couldn’t find anything.  God shut the door, knowing that we needed to save the funds for a little Ethiopian child.  After we finally decided to go someplace closer to home, the various websites kept e-mailing me places that would accept us for our original dates. God certainly knows what He’s doing, and even though the adoption process can be a very long, difficult, and tiresome journey, I just trust Him to be there for us every step of the way. And somewhere out there is a little child who may not have enough food to eat or clothing to wear. Who might be lonely and scared. Who might be hugging his mother and wondering why she is crying all the time, not realizing that she is concerned for his future. Not knowing that she cannot provide the food and care he needs.  Not  knowing she is thinking of trying to find a better life for her precious son. Or he might be sitting in an orphanage, waiting for his forever family to come and take him home.  Wherever he is, I pray each day that God will wrap His arms around him and hold him close. I can’t wait to meet my child.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Adoption Story, Part 2

*To read about the first part of our journey, see my previous post.

During this time, the thought kept running through my head, "We have so much - why not share it with someone else?" Also, the verse, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" replayed itself over and over in my mind.

One Sunday in early December, I was really thinking about adoption again as we headed to church. I thought to myself, "OK, if someone mentions adoption today, maybe I'll take it more seriously." I listened for the word all day, but no one mentioned it at church. I heard two sermons, however, that really touched my heart. Chris's dad had the first sermon, and spoke about how Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and wondered how he could be born again. As I listened, a thought struck me. There are two ways for a person to come to his father: he can be born biologically, or he can be adopted. In this case, Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he had to become the adopted son of God. In the second service, the minister talked all about how there are times in our lives when we come to the point where we have to make a decision about something. It may seem scary or impossible, but nothing is impossible with God. He will always have our best interests in mind, and He doesn't ask anything of us that is too hard.

Well, no one mentioned the words "adopt" or "adopted" all day in church, so I thought, "Well, that's that!" Then, on the way home from church, Chris was talking about one of our neighbors, and mentioned that he had an adopted son. I thought, "There's my word!" When we got home, I was flipping through the newspaper when I saw an article about adoption. A lady and her husband, Chris, (which really grabbed my attention, because that's my husband's name!) adopted 2 girls from Ethiopia. They talked about how much sweeter their lives were because of the girls. Once again, I felt that God was trying to tell me something.

A few days later, Chris was opening the box of a new puzzle, and I was standing beside him re-reading some adoption materials that Loving Shepherd Ministries had sent to us. I was thinking to myself, "Is this really something we're interested in?" Just then, I looked over and saw a little slip of paper sticking out of the box that Chris was opening. I picked it up and suddenly had chills. It read, "Yes, we are interested." And then underneath, "This product was made by team #12." I showed it to Chris, and we chuckled because it made absolutely no sense whatsoever, until you put it into context with the question I had just asked myself: "Is adoption really something we're interested in?"

It seemed like I was starting to get more signs pointing toward adoption, but Chris wasn't really feeling it like I was. I told him, "We're in this together - I want you to be just as sure as me, so I'm not going to say anything else about it for now. Just keep praying."

The next Sunday in church, the minister talked about how we can ask God for all kinds of signs for something, but at what point do we act in faith? Also, in the back of my mind I had been thinking, "What if we're supposed to have another biological child instead?" At one point the minister said, "We are not supposed to start over - we are supposed to minister to other nations." (He had been talking about the children of Israel. At one point, God was fed up with them and was ready to do away with them all. Moses interceded on their behalf.) However, what he said really touched me. Another minister that day said, "If God is telling you to do something and you don't do it, you don't have enough faith." I kept thinking, "OK. I'm just going to be quiet about this after church, and if Chris tells me he's ready, then I'll know." As we drove home after church, Chris said, "OK. I think I'm ready."

That night I talked to my sister about the adoption process (since she had been through it before) and felt really peaceful about it. She encouraged me to go online and fill out the pre-application form for Loving Shepherd Ministries. They are not an adoption agency, but do a lot of research for you. They can tell you which countries will accept you and which reputable agencies work in those countries.

Chris and I felt that we should adopt internationally. We thought that there was probably a much greater need in some third world country. But we were a little overwhelmed and had no idea which country to choose. Chris had an interest in Haiti since he had been there a couple of times on work teams, so the next morning I filled out the LSM application and said that we were interested in Haiti, but that we were open to any country. The response came back from LSM saying that there were 5 countries that would accept us based on the size of our family, etc: Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, China and Ethiopia. After reading through the restrictions, I felt that Ethiopia was really our only option.

That afternoon, Chris received an early birthday card from my grandparents. On the front, it said, "When you walk...the Lord will guide you. When you run...He will sustain you. And when you fly...yes, when you fly - He will take you places you never dreamed." I asked Chris, "Did you ever dream you'd be flying to Ethiopia?"

That evening, I began to have doubts. I needed some reassurance that we were making the right decision, and I was very emotional. Chris sat down beside me on the sofa, wordlessly reached over and grabbed the Bible that was on the end table, and randomly opened it. He started chuckling, then passed it over to me and pointed to the verse he had opened to. "Let mine outcasts dwell with thee." Isaiah 16:4. Then, my eyes fell on the verses beside it on the opposite page: Isaiah 14:24-27, "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.....This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?"

About this time, Chris told Shana to go get a Bible story so he could read to the kids before they went to bed. She very happily brought the Bible story book, open to the story of Philip and the Ethiopian. The first line of the story basically said, "God told Philip to go, and he went." There I was, pretty sure that God was telling me to go, and I was stewing and fretting about it instead of just simply following the way that Philip did. While Chris was putting the kids to bed, I decided to write down some of what I had been experiencing. I opened the Bible to find the verses I had just read in Isaiah 14 and 16, but instead the Bible fell open to Isaiah 43. My eyes fell on verses 1-7: "But now thus saith the Lord that created thee...and he that formed thee...Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." At this point, I was laughing and crying at the same time, and thinking, "OK,God, you've made Yourself pretty clear!" I was just so completely overwhelmed and humbled. I thought, "Who am I, that God would reveal this to me?" The night before, we knew we wanted to adopt, but had absolutely no idea which country to choose. In just one day, God had shown us clearly that it was to be Ethiopia.

*To be continued in a later post.

Friday, November 12, 2010

National Adoption Month - The Beginning of Our Journey

*To God be all honor, glory and praise.

November is National Adoption Month. This month also marks the anniversary of when God began to clearly show our family that we were supposed to adopt a child. We had never really considered adopting before; in fact, we were content as a family of 6 and weren't really interested in adding any more children. But God began to work in our hearts and we soon realized just how selfish we were for wanting things OUR way. We began learning more and more about the orphan crisis going on in the world today, and started feeling very convicted that we could do something about it. After all, hadn't we been praying since early in the year that God would reveal to us someone who needed our help? (We had taken a Crown Financial class at our church during the winter of 2008/2009, and we were very moved by the class. After learning that everything we own is really all God's anyway, and that He had blessed us far more than we deserved, we wanted to give back in some way and help others more. We started praying for God to show us someone who needed our help, whether it be someone we could help out financially, someone for whom we could do a work project, etc. We helped out here and there and whenever we could, but still felt that we wanted to do more. We never once considered adoption.)

Then in the fall of last year, little things started happening that made me start to wonder more and more about adoption. I found a tiny scrap of paper in the bottom of Adrian's bookbag one day. I pulled it out and was ready to toss it into the trash when I saw that it had some writing on it. It said, "If you would like information about adoption or becoming a foster parent please contact:" and included an address and phone number. I set it aside, but soon forgot about it.

One day in November of last year, I was blog-hopping when I ran across a blog called "The Journey." It was written by a 21-year-old girl who lives in Uganda, giving food and medicine to the people there. She had taken 14 girls into her own home and described how poor and diseased everyone is there. I was very convicted as I read her post, and thought to myself, "Here is a young girl who is doing so much for others - what in the world am I doing?" She mentioned how there are 147 million orphans in the world today. 11 million children starve to death or die from treatable illnesses each year. 8.5 million children work as child slaves or prostitutes, and 2.3 million are living with HIV. This equals out to 168.8 million needy children in the world today. Katie stated, "Seems like a big number, huh? It shouldn't, because there are 2.1 BILLION people on this earth who profess to be Christians. Jesus followers. Servants. Gospel live-ers. And if only 8 percent of those Christians would care for just ONE of these needy children, they would all be taken care of." Well, that really got my attention.

Shortly after that, I received a DVD in the mail from Loving Shepherd Ministries. It was called "Fields for the Fatherless," and was all about adoption. It asked for our help with the orphans and fatherless, because God commands us in His word to do so. Again, I had the feeling that we should do something to help. We talked about it with the kids, and Shana said that it was really something she would like to do. The children started praying about it as well.

I'll try to share more of our adoption story later - that's all for now! I wrote it down last year as we were going through it, and our story is almost 15 type-written pages long. I'll try to just share the basics with you in several different posts.

Thanks for stopping by today, and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Quick Update....

My dad got home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. YAY!!!! He still has to make the trip back to the hospital for the next few days to get his blood checked and his Coumadin dosages figured out, but he is feeling much better for the most part. Hopefully he can get some much-needed rest now that he is home and make a full recovery quickly! Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement! God is good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Prayer Request.....

Today, I'm asking you to say a little prayer for my parents. My dad has been in the hospital for a good share of the last two weeks with ulcerative colitis/chrohn's issues and blood clots. He also has two different types of diabetes, and it seems that the medicine the doctors give him for one of the issues affects another issue, so those meds have to be changed and balanced as well. Yesterday when we visited him, he seemed to be doing really well, and we thought maybe he would be able to come home in the next few days. But he had a really bad night last night and now everything is acting up again. We would greatly appreciate any prayers you could offer up on his behalf, and also on the behalf of my mom, who is getting tired and worn out as well from living at the hospital. We praise God that dad's life was spared last week, and we hope for a speedy recovery this week! Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, November 5, 2010

New November Numbers.......

We received our official waitlist numbers today for the month of November. They are:

for girls (we have moved up 9 spots this month!)

for boys (we have moved up 12 spots this month!)

for siblings (we have moved up 10 spots this month!)

October was a great month for referrals! So many families got to see their child's face for the first time. Congratulations to all of you newly-referred families, and may God bless you as you prepare to travel to meet your children! Hopefully November is full of referrals as well! 

When we started this whole process, I thought that we would definitely get an older child - maybe a 2 or 3-year-old. (Most families are waiting for infants, and right now, we are unofficially #2 in line for a 3-year-old boy). But lately, way more babies have been referred than toddlers. So maybe we'll just keep inching up the list until we make it to #1, and maybe we'll get an infant! I certainly haven't been expecting that, but God knows best who we need and who needs us. So we'll just anxiously wait to see what He has in store for us!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Our Trip to Colorado and a Must-See Video

Well, we're finally back from Colorado, and what a week it was! Poor Shana, who stayed home, was sick for a good portion of the week, and my Dad ended up in the hospital with blood clots in his legs and lungs, and even had a few by his heart! The doctor stressed over and over how fortunate Dad was that he survived the incident. I'm so glad that he got to the hospital when he did - Praise God!!!!!!!!!! He is doing much better now, and was released from the hospital on Sunday. It was a pretty scary week, but I'm so thankful to God for answering our prayers.

Although my heart was at home with my Dad and Shana, we still enjoyed our trip. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our week in beautiful Colorado:

Monday morning, there was a huge double rainbow over the city that lasted for at least half an hour. We got to enjoy it the entire time we were eating breakfast.

Malia with John Avery Whitaker. We visited Whit's End (from Adventures in Odyssey) at the Focus on the Family Visitor Center in Colorado Springs.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs:

We visited an old Ghost Town:

And went to the zoo:

We even ate lunch with this little guy:

One day, we went to a candy factory and watched them make lollipops, caramels, and ribbon candies:

Friday, we visited Estes Park:

Needless to say, I didn't stick to my diet very well while we were gone:

One evening we ate at the Buckhorn, the oldest restaurant in Colorado. I even got adventurous and tried a bite of rattlesnake, which was actually pretty good! Malia loved the alligator, and Chris had elk, buffalo and quail. I think from now on, I'll just stick with beef or chicken.

I'll leave you with this video about Orphan Sunday, which is this coming Sunday, November 7th. Grab a tissue!

Hope is Fading – Orphan Sunday from Allan Rosenow on Vimeo.