Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
If you are like me, you have probably thought and even said one of the statements above in the past year, month, or even week. There is so much sin in our world today. I have often wondered why God doesn't take all of it away...
This summer Todd and I were shocked to learn of our friends' struggles in their marriage...sin had corrupted their marriage and it was broken. My heart was burdened for my dear friend as she struggled to make sense of it all...as she struggled with her new reality as a wife. I wanted so badly to take all of the hurt and pain away and tell her it was "ok" when it obviously wasn't. I wondered over and over again why this had happened to them...why...
Todd and I had many deep, honest conversations about the state of our own marriage during that time. We realized how over the five years of our marriage we had allowed "the world" to creep in and take over parts of our relationship. We recommitted to praying together and spending time in God's word together on a weekly basis...and it changed us as believers and as husband and wife. When we started to seek God together on a daily basis, we began to see that God had big plans for us and our family...we realized that God was calling us to love deeper and harder than we had ever imagined...we realized that God was leading us down the road of international adoption.
The other day, Todd and I were talking about how quickly our lives have changed in just six shorts months...how what we thought was "important" a year ago, suddenly seems so trivial now...how everything we saved in our bank account was now going towards bringing our "baby Ethiopia" home instead of the nice vacation to a tropical island. We both agreed that God used our friends' broken marriage to convict us of sin in our own lives and made us reexamine our own hearts. God used the sin and pain from their marriage to bring GLORY to HIS name. Their heartache and pain was used to bring us back to daily walking in communion with the Lord. While, we would NOT have wished that this tragedy in our friends' lives would have ever happened, I now wondered where Todd and I would be without that "wake up call" from God. Would we be seeking God on a daily basis...would we be walking by faith down this adoption road...
God uses the good, bad, and ugly in this world to bring honor and praise and glory to HIS name...we might never know why tragic things happen to us or the people around us but we must trust that God is in control and HE will use our hurt and pain to bring others to salvation through Christ.
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when HIS GLORY is revealed." - 1 Peter 4:12-13
Thursday, December 16, 2010
* putting on Christmas music and watching my kiddies dance and sing (or at least make noises)
* watching Leah Bear read books to Jay Tyler
* seeing my husband pray with Leah Bear before tucking her into bed
*hearing Leah talk about the cross and how "Jesus died on the cross so we can live"
* staying home with our kiddies to be in the "little moments" of their lives
* my loving husband who is a servant in so many ways...I love that man MORE and MORE each day...you rock Todd!
* watching God provide financially for our adoption each week and month that has passed by so far
* hearing Leah say "mommy why are you wearing a scarf...scarves are for snowmen silly"
* watching Jay Tyler consistently share with his big sister and other friends...he is already developing a little servant's heart
* hearing Leah Bear talk about "baby Ethiopia" and the love she is already developing for a child she has never met
* reading the scripture for the Jesse Tree each day with Leah and bonding with her through God's word
* following God's plan of adoption and finding pure JOY even in the difficult moments
* watching God answer prayers for our family and friends...HE IS SO FAITHFUL to his promises
* the Christmas season...so thankful for the birth of Christ and my salvation through Him
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Also, in an earlier blog I mentioned that we were going to do a "Thankful Heart" tree during the holidays to reminds ourselves of ALL of the many things we have to be thankful for on a daily basis. Well...let's just say that "crafty" idea is not going so well...the first day Leah cried for almost 30 minutes because she didn't want to holepunch her leaf and hang it on the tree. She wanted to carry it around even though I tried to explain ten different reasons why we were putting it on the "Thankful Heart" tree. Then over the last week, Jay Tyler has managed to sneak in the dining room and get almost everything off of the tree and destroy it...he's such a boy!!! So, needless to say, the "Thankful Heart" tree is looking pretty empty and uneventful!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
1) My salvation...Christ loves ME...He daily forgives me, encourages me, and LOVES ME! He died on the cross so that I may have life abundantly here on Earth.
2) My husband...Todd truly loves me unconditionally with my many faults. He works hard daily to provide for us financially. He has a servant's heart at home, in the community around him, and for the world. He is the biggest teddy bear and I love his "bear hugs"!
3) "Leah Bear"...she is so much fun to watch each day. She is growing so wise in her "old" age of 3. She already has a little "momma's heart". I am thankful that she is a healthy, energetic little girl.
4) Jay Tyler...I prayed for several years that God would give us a little boy and God granted that wish and HE IS ALL BOY! I am thankful for Jay Tyler's "full of life" spirit. He is nonstop when he is awake but I love it! I love his giggles and smile...they melt this momma's heart all of the time.
5) God's provision for us financially...I have been staying home with our children for about a year and a half now and God has been so FAITHFUL to provide for us each month. We have been able to pay our bills and give to others every single month and that is a BLESSING. In this "bad economy", Todd's income has actually increased and we both know it is a BLESSING FROM GOD. I have enjoyed every moment...even the tough times...of staying home and I know it is God's will for our family!
6) God's PLAN for us...God has led us down the road of adoption and we are SO THANKFUL for this opportunity to love and serve the world around us. We are SO EXCITED about seeing God work through our adoption. We literally can't wait to meet our precious "baby Ethiopia" hopefully in 2011.
7) The ladies in my life...God has granted me SO MANY beautiful, spiritual, FAITHFUL, convicting, PRAYING ladies that I can call sisters in Christ...ladies that I know I can turn to in times of joy, praise, thanksgiving, doubt, fear, and need. I love you ladies and you mean more to me than you will ever know!
8) Daily bread...literally...daily bread. There are many many people around this country and world today that cannot feed themselves or their families. They don't have the means to get clean water and food today and IT BREAKS MY HEART. I want to do MORE each day to meet the needs of these people....to feed "the least of these" in Christ' name.
9)Our HUGE support team...When Todd and I made the decision to adopt internationally we honestly were not sure who would support our decision and pray a long side of us and help us in the many ways we were going to need help over the next months and years ahead. Once again, God was FAITHFUL and LOVING towards us. We have been overwhelmed by the abundance of love and support from friends, family members, and people we barely know if our community around us. We have felt your love and prayers on a daily basis. We asked for donations for our upcoming yard sale/bake sale and over 25 PEOPLE have volunteered to take the time to put together donations and bake goodies for us! WOW...we are so grateful!
10) My precious mother...she is the most hardworking and loyal person I know. She GIVES and GIVES and GIVES more than anyone I know...she cares for my family unconditionally. Thanks so much for EVERYTHING mom. I hope and pray that I can be half as great and faithful as you in the years to come for my own children.
Monday, November 1, 2010
1) We were able to save almost double the amount we had planned to save this month due to both of us working a little more and spending A LOT less!
2) My dad is "on board" with us adopting from Ethiopia!!!
3) Our sweet sweet friends, Blake and Emily, made the first "official" donation to our adoption fund and it was MUCH MUCH more than we would ever have expected. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR GRACIOUS DONATION!
4) I have met one sweet friend that is adopting from Ethiopia, I am going to meet another mommy with two children tomorrow that are adopting from Africa, and I have emailed, Facebooked, or talked to at least TWO other ladies that are ADOPTING from ETHIOPIA and live in SOUTH CAROLINA. Hopefully, we can get all of these precious families together in one house to celebrate one day!!!
5) LOTS of people are donating items to our yard sale and making baked goods for our bake sale in a couple of weeks!
Here are just a few pics from Trunk or Treat at our church last night too.
Monday, October 25, 2010
This has been one of my favorite verses in the Bible for many years but this summer God really used this verse to convict Todd and I both of sin that had so "easily entangled" us and conformed us to the world. It is hard, dare I say even impossible, to do God's will when we are so entangled and caught up in the sins of our flesh and of this world. When we repented of our sins and did away with temptations around us, we quickly began to see the "race marked out for us" by God. We began to see God's great plans for our marriage and family. After a few shorts months, it was evident in many ways that God had called us down the road of adoption. Our "race" mapped out by God was going to include a precious child from the continent of Africa. What an AWESOME GOD!!! He clearly states over and over again in HIS word that he has great plans for His children...if only we would be still and listen...if only we would do away with the sins of our flesh and fix our eyes on Him...if only we would focus on His promises and not worldly promises...if only we would faithful and obedient to Him. Todd and I feel so humbled and honored that God has chosen and called us to run this race towards international adoption in Ethiopia. What a privilege to save the life of a child and bring that child into our home to love and nurture for the rest of our lives. What a sweet, sweet picture of HIS faithfulness to us now and in the years to come.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
First, this morning a girl named Leigh sent me a message on Facebook about adopting a child from Ethiopia. She found me on Facebook through a mutual friend and she and her husband are adopting from Ethiopia too and she lives 15 minutes away from us!!! We are meeting for lunch on Monday to get to know each other and she is going with me to a women's retreat in February for women adopting children from Ethiopia!!! She also knows of two other families adopting from Ethiopia that live in Columbia, so we are going to try to all get together soon!!! Todd and I have been praying for the opportunity to meet other couples who are adopting internationally like us for support on our journey. Thank you God for that answered prayer today!!!
Also, my dad came over today and expressed that he is happy for us and proud of our decision to adopt a child from Ethiopia!!! THIS IS A HUGE ANSWERED PRAYER! I was concerned about how my dad would react to our decision and we have been praying for weeks that God would soften his heart to our decision and HE DID!!!
GOD is so GOOD! Today confirms that Todd and I are walking down the path that God wants us to be on right now...HE is mapping out all of the details and answering so many prayers a long the way. I feel so honored and humbled to be a part of this journey!!!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Statistics on Africa from Tom Davis:
"Every HOUR at least one THOUSAND children DIE in Africa."
"Africa has more occurences of genocide than any of place in the world."
"The HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa is expected to kill more people than World War II, which cost 62 million people their lives."
"Just in Ethiopia alone, there are currently at least 4.3 MILLION orphans."
So as Christians, what are we called to do? How can we help those in need in our neighborhood and around the world? Tom Davis writes:
" We are God's hands. What God cares about, we ought to care about."
"We are to do the work Jesus commands us to do-feed the hungry, heal the sick, provide shelter for the homeless."
"More than anything else, we are called to reach out in compassion. We are called to touch the untouchables. And it is that very touch-a touch not unlike that offered by Jesus-that gives hope."
"Interruption to our lives brings change, and change is uncomfortable."
"We make a living by what we get, but WE MAKE A LIFE BY WHAT WE GIVE."
"Every child behind the tragic statistics we've included in this book belongs to GOD. They are HIS sons and daughters."
"Following Christ is all about helping the outcast."
"Far too many of us take the easy route, the path of least resistance. The path of doing nothing. I don't think this is because we're evil, or because we want to see harm come to others; it's just easier. Safer. But is silence really "safe"?"
I encourage you to reach out and make a difference in your world today. Open your eyes...there is SO much need right around the corner.
Friday, October 8, 2010
1. What age will the child be when you bring him/her home?
We chose the age range of 2-24 months old.
2. Did you ask for a boy or girl?
We did not specify the sex of the child. We would love to have another boy or girl.
3. When will you bring your child home?
The adoption process from start to finish is estimated to take between 9-18 months. We are hoping and praying to bring our little child home from Ethiopia by the end of 2011!
4. How much will this adoption cost?
It is estimated to cost about $28,000-$33,000 from start to finish.
5. Why did you pick Ethiopia?
We both had a heart for the people in Africa. There are millions of people in Africa that are literally "dying by the minute" from diseases such as malaria, HIV, and AIDS. Lots of countries in Africa do not have clean running water, food, and shelter. AWAA, our adoption agency, adopts children out of Ethiopia and Rwanda. After a lot of prayer and discussion, Todd and I chose to adopt from Ethiopia. There are at least 3.4 million orphans in Ethiopia right now so the need is endless there.
6. Will your child have HIV or AIDS?
While it is possible to adopt a child with HIV/AIDS, each child is tested and screened with the same medical testing that we have in the United States. A family will not unknowingly adopt a child with HIV or AIDS. Every family requests what medical or special needs they are open to and willing to accept and then they are referred a child from our adoption agency based on their request. We did not request a child that has special needs or major medical needs.
7. What have your families said about you adopting internationally?
We have spoken to some of our family members in person and have sent the majority of them our support letter. Overall, they have not responded with an abundance of excitement but some have been supportive, some have had questions, and some have not spoken to us yet. Todd and I both understand that for some of our friends and family it may take months for them to process and understand why we are adopting. It took us months of praying and processing the idea of adoption for us to decide to do it so we don't expect everyone to jump for joy the first time we tell them our news. For some of our family members, it may even take them seeing our child for the first time to be supportive of our decision. Overall, we love our family members and friends and would LOVE for all of them to support us on our adoption journey but we understand if they choose not to do so. We didn't decide to adopt based on anyone else's thoughts or decisions. We trust that God is going to use our adoption to soften people's hearts and see Christ's love through our words and actions. We believe God will provide the family members and friends that we need to help carry us through this journey!
8. Are you worried about adopting a "black" child? Do you realize how hard it is going to raise that child?
This is the most frequently asked question and we have tried to answer it as best as we can right now. Of course, when we chose Ethiopia, we knew that we were going to bring home a "black" child. We both believe that Jesus loves ALL of the children of the WORLD and the color of the child's skin DOES NOT MATTER to him or us. A "black" child deserves to be loved and provided for as much as a white child. God calls us to love, serve, and help others no matter what their skin color is or what economic class they are from. We know that there will be MANY challenges a long this journey but we are confident that God will provide the strength, wisdom, and guidance needed for each day, month, and year ahead. We see this adoption as an opportunity to break racial barriers and model for our children, friends, and family members how to love another person unconditionally and without prejudices against them. We will be the first to admit that we don't have all of the answers right now but that is ok. We are focusing on one day at a time and we will conquer each hurdle as it comes. At the end of the day, LOVE ALWAYS WINS!
"Red and yellow, BLACK and WHITE, they are precious in HIS sight...Jesus LOVES the little children of the WORLD."