It’s Hard to Update…

…when there are no updates.  *Sigh*

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to know what’s going on.  I like to have a plan.  I don’t like to do things last minute (unless they require no preparation).  I’m a list maker.  Shoot – I even write things on my to-do lists that I’ve already finished just so I know it’s all in one place.  I have a certain day that I clean the bathrooms and wash the sheets.  I LOVE to have a plan.  Even if I don’t follow through with it, at least I know what should happen if I got my act together.

So for me to sit here and write to you that we have no idea where we’re adopting from is hard for me.  I don’t like not knowing.  I want to know where we’re going so I can start preparing.  Learn a teeny tiny bit of the language.  Embrace our future child’s culture.  Teach our current children about that culture.

So I guess that’s the update: there is no update.  We’re sitting and (ever so impatiently) waiting on God to lead us where He wants us.  The good thing is we have nothing but time right now.  Through our new agency, Lifeline, I must be 25 before we can send off our dossier.  Which means we can’t really start the process until I’m 24.5 (in September).  The only exception to this is if we decide to adopt from Congo.  But their program is on hold right now due to a large number of applicants, so that’s not an option at the moment anyway.

That gives us plenty of time to save money, raise funds, abide in God, and focus on the two little ones He’s already blessed us with.

We’ll keep you posted when things change.  🙂  In the meantime, we could use your prayers that God will lead us where He wants us and that we will listen to only Him.

Change of Plans

It the last two months since we made the decision to adopt there’s one thing I’ve learned quickly: God’s ways are not our own.  And if we’re going in a direction He doesn’t want us, He’ll make it very clear.  I’ll warn you now – this is a long (and maybe confusing) update.  Bear with us if you want.  This changes the entire course of our adoption and has changed our hearts some as well.

For those who have been following along, we had decided on an Agency and a country – Ethiopia.  We’d already sent off the $300 application fee and were on schedule to have an orientation call this afternoon.  Well, my mom taught me early on in my life the value of research.  So researching I do.  All.the.time.  For everything.  Especially for this adoption process.  I’ll admit this: we chose Ethiopia because I wanted to adopt from Africa.  Because Ethiopia was open and it just seemed like a “good choice”.  Not because I prayed about where God wanted us to go.  Because I wanted to go there.  So I got Craig on board and we sent off money.  Then I started REALLY doing research.  Research that didn’t lead to the answers I wanted to hear. And what I found made my stomach drop.  First I got defensive and tried to rationalize what I was reading.  But you can only rationalize so much. After reading about how unethical most (not all) Ethiopian adoptions are, we knew without a doubt that we couldn’t adopt from there.  While we know our agency will do everything in their power to have an ethical adoption, there are some things they can’t control.  And it’s happening very frequently in Ethiopia.  I would never have peace adopting from there.

So that knowledge obviously threw a wrench in our plans.  We have no country now.  And the agency we signed on with only qualified us for that country.  Now what?  It’s funny how when you’re in God’s will everything becomes clear.  After deciding on Ethiopia I still had feelings of unrest (which is why I was researching).  We didn’t really know what would come next.  When we made the decision to back away from Ethiopia, God started opening doors and guiding us where He wanted us.  An adoption “mentor” of sorts was discussing adoption with me via email.  She mentioned the agency they’re using: Lifeline Christian Services.  At church on Sunday another woman (who didn’t know about our change of plans) mentioned Lifeline and that they were opening an office in Charleston.  And then on Tuesday, a friend of ours who works with Craig mentioned Lifeline.  Coincidence?  I think not.  God’s making sure we’re following this time.

So where does that leave us?  We’re not sure yet.  We know we’re now going with Lifeline.  They have an amazing orphan care program through domestic adoption, international adoption, foster care, and their (un)adopted programs.  They’re amazing and it’s obvious they have a heart for this.  But we have no idea where we will be adopting from yet.  And we’re okay with that.  We’re not diving in head first just yet.  We’re making sure we take our time to REALLY pray about the situation and follow where God is leading us, not where we want to go.  We KNOW we are called to adopt.  But that’s all He’s revealed so far.

The following are countries that are or will shortly be open to us.  Congo, Peru, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, Uganda, and Ukraine.

This is also a blessing in disguise because it gives us the opportunity to raise the money we will need to start the process.  Before we can begin our home study (one of the first steps) I think we’ll need around $10,000.  We now have time to raise and save that money without going into debt.  Definitely a blessing!

So there you go.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time God changes our direction.  And while it’s not fun in the middle of the process, there is much more peace knowing we are where He wants us.

Why We’re Adopting

God has been up to some pretty big stuff lately.  Obviously.  We’re adopting.  Internationally.  There’s nothing little about that.  Several of you have asked how we got to the point of making such a huge decision for our family.  Here’s where I attempt to put into words some of what God has done to lead us to this point.

For the last couple of months I’ve been having feelings of being “unsettled”.  Something just wasn’t right.  I kept feeling that God had something bigger for me out there.  That I’m missing something.  I’m not complete yet.  Until now, that feeling was a huge downer for me.  And a bit confusing.  I know God’s called me to be the best mother I can be which, for our family, means I stay home with our kids.  How can there be something else bigger than that for me?  How is my family not my first priority?  Talk about conflicting emotions.  I even saw my family doctor to rule out thyroid diseases and other things that can physiologically cause the “tiredness” and unrest.  Everything checked out fine, by the way.

A few weeks ago I was surfing facebook and found myself begging to God.  “God, give me something to fight for.  Give me a cause – something to invest in.  Something I can do to bring You glory.”

No sooner did I pray that prayer, did I see a link to an article pop up on Facebook via a high school friend.  I didn’t read it right away, but sat down to read it while the kids napped.  I’ll warn you now, this article is not for the faint of heart.  Make sure you’re in the position where you can really sit down and read it if you choose to.  This is the article: http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2012/02/if-not-usthen-who.html. To sum it up,  there are children around the world who are considered “less than perfect”.  These sweet babies are placed in orphanages.  If they haven’t been adopted by the time they are 4 or 5 years old, they are almost always placed in institutions and live out the rest of their lives in a crib.  With no one to love them.  No family to give hugs and kisses.  No siblings to chase around the house.  No quality of life at all.  I read through that post and my heart shattered.  To read about such inhumanity broke my heart.  And yet there was joy there too.  Because the entire time I read that article I could hear God whispering (it was so clear it could have been audible) “This blog post was for you.  This is what I want for you.  This is your cause.

Talk about an eye opener!  He told me just enough to catch my attention and give me a direction to follow, but not enough to answer any of my unending questions.

Questions such as: Are we supposed to adopt?  Am I supposed to go on a mission trip to one of these orphanages?  Are we supposed to help support families who are adopting these kids?  WHERE ARE YOU LEADING ME?!?!

That night I mentioned the article to Craig and told him how confused it left me.  He didn’t say much, but didn’t write it off either.  A few days later he ran into a man who was raising money to adopt a child internationally.  Coincidence?  Probably not.  But it started up a conversation between the two of us in which I found out that Craig was indeed thinking about this.  At least to some extent.  He even mentioned it to his mom.  Hearing that he didn’t think I was crazy gave me some confidence.  I got online and started following some blogs of families who have adopted.  The more I read, the more I found myself sharing in their sorrows and their joy.  And the more open I become to the idea that maybe this is what God was calling us to.

Exactly a week after reading that blog post, we made the “official” decision to pursue international adoption.  Looking back on that experience, even as near to us as it still is, I can see God’s hand at work leading us here.  And I must admit, I could feel God calling us to adopt even as I read that blog.  But I was scared and overwhelmed by the permanency of adoption and I let my fear make me think I didn’t know what God wanted.  However, we can’t run from God for long and I soon realized the blessing this adoption is going to be for our family and for the child we adopt.  And the avenue it’s going to give us to make a difference – even if just a little one.

Never Give Up

In four days I will be a college graduate holding a BS in Elementary Education with a teaching certificate on the way.

Over the course of the last four years I came through a very rough bout of clinical depression, became engaged, planned a wedding, got married, took a semester off, became pregnant, had the most adorable little boy ever, survived student teaching, and am still graduating ON TIME with a 3.8991 GPA (less than a tenth of a point short of the highest university honors – darn!).  I will be graduating with a degree that takes a lot of dedication and hard work to complete in just four years – without everything else added in.

NEVER let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.  With enough faith, determination, and support you can do anything.  Had you told me that 9 months ago I wouldn’t have believed you.  But here I am.  If I can do it, so can you.

A Tribute to 2009

2009 was an eventful year!  How about a look at all that went on?

  • I became an aunt.
  • At 8+ months pregnant, Craig and I took a vacation to Atlanta.
  • I became a mommy.
  • I became an aunt again.
  • Craig and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary.  It’s been a wonderful two years.
  • I survived (by the grace of God) the most difficult semester of college yet.  Hello, senior year.
  • I received the Certificate of Excellence award for my Praxis score!
  • We celebrated our first Christmas as a family.

It’s been a pretty awesome year, but I’m excited to see what 2010 brings!

Duh!

For the last few weeks God’s been trying to get my attention.  And I’ve been putting Him off.  My quiet time has been pretty much non-existent since this semester started.  I keep telling myself I need to get back into it, but I always come up with some kind of excuse about why I’m too busy for God.  Seriously?! Too busy for God?!  How stupid am I???

Anyway.  I brought a book with me to class today that my mom gave me for Christmas.  I read the first chapter in between classes.  The subject of the book is the Fruits of the Spirit, and having them be evident in our lives.  Well, the first chapter emphasized the importance of spending daily time with God.  Okay, God.  You’ve got my attention.

Well, I get to my next class and the teacher always has a daily motivational verse or quote for us.  Today was a passage about the importance of spending time ALONE with God every morning.  She overemphasized this point so much that I knew it was really God trying to get through to me.

He sure knows how to get our attention, doesn’t He?

Answers to Prayer

As you’ve heard already, our fridge died earlier this week. But it’s been fixed!

It only cost us $100 to fix it, but we were going to take that money out of our Emergency Fund so as not to completely bust the budget. Well, we got a check in the mail today and we had apparently overpaid a bill somewhere. The check was for $170. That covers the cost to fix our fridge! So our Emergency Fund is already replenished! 🙂

AND, I went shopping today and had to buy mayo and cheese and stuff to replace what went bad, so I skipped out on buying all the fresh fruit I usually buy in order to stay within budget. (Geez, this sounds like we’re poor or something. I promise we’re not! I’m just working really hard to stay in budget so that we can be saving as much as possible for Nathan.) Anyway. I only bought apples today because I also bought some new acne treatment to try to get rid of the mess on my back. Well, my mom called earlier and asked if I wanted some strawberries. She was at Publix and knows I LOVE their fruit. She just came by to drop off my strawberries and had blueberries and cantaloupe for me as well. I have fresh fruit!!! And I love it!!! Thanks, Mom! 🙂

Still

Hide me now, under Your wings.
Cover me within Your mighty hand.

When the oceans rise
and thunders roar.
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father You are king over the flood,
I will be still and know You are God.

Find rest my soul in Christ alone,
Know his power, in quietness and trust.

***
When the oceans rise
and thunders roar.
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father You are king over the flood,
I will be still and know You are God.

Find rest my soul in Christ alone,
Know his power, in quietness and trust.

***
When the oceans rise
and thunders roar.
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father You are king over the flood,
I will be still and know You are God.

***
When the oceans rise
and thunders roar.
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father You are king over the flood,
I will be still and know You are God.

Thanks, Reuben Morgan for reminding me that I can take refuge in my God!