Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Two Truths & a Lie

We once played this game as an ice breaker at a women's get together and I thought it might be fun to do it "blog style". You need to make a list of three things about yourself - two of them true and one not. Then, try to guess which one is the lie.

Here goes:
1) I've worked with both Cher & Madonna
2) I once called Oppossum Holler my home
3) In high school I swallowed a live goldfish on a dare

Good luck on your guessing. I challenge you to post your two truths and a lie on your blog. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I'm afraid this may be a long one. So grab a cup of coffee or a soda of your choice and sit a while. I'm glad you're here...

When we first started our adoption process we were originally planning to adopt from Guatemala. This was before Guatemala closed. Although we found several good agencies and saw many beautiful children that needed homes we just never felt enough peace about it to actually send in an application.

One day I quite casually learned about adopting from Haiti. I'll be honest and say I didn't know or care the first thing about Haiti. However, the thought of bringing home a child from this country could not escape my mind. As the weeks went by the feeling only seemed stronger so I mentioned it to Jeff and asked him to pray about it.

One day before school started we were shopping out of town for kids clothes. A severe storm had gone through during the day and when we arrived home our phone lines weren't working. We checked with a neighbor and they had service so we knew it had to specifically be a problem at our house. Jeff checked the phone and line in the kitchen and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. He went to the bedroom to check the same in there. While he was there he started to pray about the adoption and asked God for direction as to where we were supposed to find our daughter. After he was done praying he unscrewed the little box from the wall and inside was a sticker that simply said, "assembled in Haiti". He came out of the bedroom with a big smile on his face and told me I was right - we were meant to adopt from Haiti. The next morning our phones were miraculously working again. Let's just say we dove in head first and have never looked back despite the financial obstacles in our path.

We originally applied to and planned to work with Children of the Promise. The problem came when we saw Anchise's photo on the Three Angels website as an available child - those eyes, those cheeks, that smile - we didn't stand a chance. We were sunk the minute we saw her. We applied to Three Angels and were soon the proud parents of our precious daughter.

Unfortunately, you most likely know how that ended. Once Anchise was taken back we didn't know what to do. Our precious girl was gone, but we planned that at the first of the year we would decide what to do.

2009 made it's grand entrance and with Three Angels not knowing when or if they would be taking in more children we decided to check out what our other options would be. Our first alternate was Marantha Orphanage, but they are unwilling to take us on at this time because of having three biological children. We've also found that to be the case with many other programs. It is just deemed too risky right now for people with more than two. We did have a lead on using ROTH, but although it is a VERY reputable program, the ongoing monthly childcare fees didn't seem like a good fit for us. To get to the point, it just seemed as though all doors to adopting from Haiti were closing. It didn't make sense since we seemed so sure we were called specifically to Haiti.

Part of the reason I was so weary last week was because I had been spinning my wheels checking on different programs trying to make things happen. One can only hear "no" so many times before you raise the white flag in surrender. And that's just what I did. I raised the flag and the conversation with God went something like this:
I can't do this anymore. I am weary Lord. I give it up to you. If the doors to Haiti are closed so be it. I will move on. I will "cut the cord". I get it Lord. We are not meant to adopt from Haiti. I don't know why everything pointed to the fact that we should, but it is obvious to me now that it is not to be. I am not going to make any more phone calls. I am not going to send any more e-mails. If you want me to adopt from Haiti then you will have to send someone to me. I. am. done.
So just TODAY we made the decision we were going to adopt from Ghana. I placed a call to our home study provider to see what it would take to get that updated for Ghana. I'd spoken to an agency that did work in Ghana. Ghana it is! Ghana is nice. Ghana is neat. Ghana is FAST. We are going to Ghana. Woo hoo for Ghana.

Then at 2:47 pm today God did just what I asked for. He sent someone to me. The e-mail went something like this:
Hey Stephanie! I came across your name today. I believe you guys had decided to go with another orphanage and that is fine. I know we haven't talked in forever, but out of the blue I've decided to contact you and see if you are still interested in adopting through us in HAITI. Let me know.
Did you hear it? Yep, there it was. The large vaccuum sucking us back into Haiti. Well played God. Well played.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Looking for a Sign

I have to admit about mid last week I started not doing so well. Our desire through this whole process is to follow God's plan for us. Along the way we've had many confirmations that this was good and right. When Anchise was taken back it was like the rug had been pulled out from underneath us. These days it seems there are a whole lot of questions with no answers to any of them.

Are we supposed to wait?
Will Anchise come back?
Are we not meant to adopt from Haiti?
Are we meant to adopt from Haiti?
Would Ghana be a good choice?
Would Ethiopia be a good choice?
If we chose either of those countries how would we come up with the money quickly?
If we stay with Haiti how are we going to come up with the rest of the money?

It's difficult to have all of these thoughts running through your mind at one time! The truth is I don't know what the right answer is. I am completely willing to do whatever the Lord wants me to do - I just wish He would let me in on the plan.

I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate your prayers and ask that you continue to lift us up. My dear sweet friend reminded me just yesterday that God WILL lead us to our child. And so we pray with all of our hearts for this precious one (or two). We pray that when God speaks we will listen. We pray that we will be waiting with joyful expectancy for His plan to be revealed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beauty All Around

This morning I can't help but look out the window and marvel at God's creation. There is thick white frost dripping off of every tiny tree branch. Trees like graceful sculptures chiseled delicately by hand in the night.

I'd love to hear how you have experienced the beauty of God's creation today...

Let all that I am praise the Lord.
O Lord my God, how great you are!
You are robed with honor and majesty.
You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you ride upon the wings of the wind.
The winds are your messengers;
flames of fire are your servants.
Psalm 104:1-4

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Embracing Grace

Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:2-3

Today I am thankful for God's grace. I am thankful that although I am undeserved, He extends His grace to me each day.

I'm feeling a bit like a spiritual failure today. So although I don't want to turn this into a whiny post, I want to be honest and say today I am having a bit of a down day.

I made the mistake of looking at the Precious website. I see the long list of agencies with waiting children and wonder why in a country filled with such great need for adoptive parents I don't seem to have the ability to adopt even one.

Dear Lord,
Give me the strength & grace to live each day for You -
trusting in Your perfect plan and leaning not on my own understanding.
Thank you for your unending love & grace.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flashback Friday

Here's a great flashback from the 80's! As you can see, Aqua Net was my friend. Gravity didn't have nothin' on my hair.

Link below if you plan to post a "Flashback Friday" picture on your site!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Awwww Shucks...

I have been honored by the lovely Laura with my first ever blog award. Dare I say I'm blushing?

As I accept this "fabulous" award I am also instructed to pass it out to five other blogs I love and also list five things I am addicted to.

We'll start with the five fabulous blogs in no particular order (it was hard to narrow this down to five - if you are in my blog list, please also consider yourself dubbed in the fabulous category):
Help me pray her boys home!
Praying for sleep & health for the whole gang!
Praising God that her girls are home!
Let's pray sweet Joshua out of IBESR!

Waiting for Mercy
Praying for God's perfect plan to be revealed!

Here are the five things I am addicted to (I was pleasantly surprised that Laura and I had a nearly identical list):
  1. Diet Pepsi - LOVE this stuff. I limit my intake to two cans a day, but I could easily have a few more.
  2. Blogging/Facebook - I love my online peeps!
  3. My Family - God has blessed me with an amazing family that I love to spend every possible moment with.
  4. Sharing About Adoption/Haiti/Faith - I love talking with people about these subjects. I get really excited to share with them about the amazing things God has done in our lives since we took this leap of faith. Praise the Lord!
  5. Photography - I love taking pictures and capturing moments in time. I'm hoping to take my skills to a new level and learn more about this subject.
Thanks again Laura. I think your blog is fabulous too!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Great Expectations

My son and I recently had an exchange that went something like this:
Mr. B: I want juice.
Me: I will get you some juice as soon as I'm done with what I'm doing.
Mr. B: I want my juice now. Stomp, stomp. Cry, cry. Pout, pout.
Me: Until you can behave properly I am not going to get you any juice. If you want juice, you can ask nicely and wait for me to finish what I am doing. Then I will help you. But I expect you to wait patiently for me to finish what I have started before I can help you.

You may see where I am going with this. It occured to me this past week in a very real & personal way that the Almighty One is my dad. He's not just some random heavenly being hanging out in the clouds, but my father. And like any parent worth their salt, he expects me to behave properly while I wait for His plan to unfold.

When I truly think of our heavenly father as my dad, that is when the "a-ha moment" happens.

As a parent, it brings me great joy to fulfill my children's hearts desires. I delight in doing good things for them. God is the same way.

As a parent, I feel like I know what's best for my kids. Sometimes they ask for things that I know are not right for them and I have to say no. God is the same way.

As a parent, I don't sit around planning bad things for my kids. God is the same way.

It has been made clear to me that I am in a season of waiting. Not waiting down in the pit of despair. Not waiting in the mud & mire, but waiting expectantly.

I need to wake up each day, lay my requests at my Father's feet, and wait for something amazing to happen. When I begin each day praying, hoping & expecting something great my whole perspective changes.

By faith I can be filled with joy & gladness because I know my Dad makes the best plans and I believe He something amazing in store for me.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Psalm 5:3

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gimme a Break!

Did anyone else besides me start singing that Kit Kat jingle when you read that?

Or maybe you thought of the 80's sitcom starring Nell Carter...yeah, when was the last time you thought about that show?

Anyway, the point of this post is that I am going to be taking a week long internet break beginning tomorrow. I will be checking e-mails once daily, but no Facebook. Yikes, this is going to be tough.

I feel like I need to spend more time in prayer and reading scripture. I want to focus on what God wants me to do with our adoption and try to eliminate unnecessary distractions. Sorry...I love you all, but it's easy to get wrapped up in what y'all got goin' on!

So...whenever I am tempted to "log on" I plan to spend time in prayer and reading, re-reading, and memorizing Psalm 40 (thanks Kathy).

Blessings! I am praying that I will have good news to read about each of your adoptions next week.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols.
O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.
You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand
— you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”
I have told all your people about your justice.
I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord, well know.
I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
of your unfailing love and faithfulness.
Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles surround me—too many to count!
My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.
Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace.
Let them be horrified by their shame,
for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout,
“The Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy,
let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior.
O my God, do not delay.
Psalm 40

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not The One

After much prayerful consideration we do not feel led to pursue the adoption of "R". He is completely adorable, but we do not believe we are his family. We have peace with this decision and thank God for that. There is another family that has expressed interest in him, so we believe he will not be without a family for long - praise the Lord!

I feel like God is telling me to "wait" at this time. I don't know for how long, but we have decided to just sit tight and continue to wait on His perfect timing. Again, we have peace with this decision which tells me it is the right thing.

Don't get me wrong, the waiting is not easy. I am not the type of person to just sit and wait for something to happen, but if that is what God wants me to do, so be it.

It does, however, kind of make me feel like I'm on the outside looking in. Like I'm in the adoption process, but not really. I know that's not true and it may seem silly to say, but it's how I feel. We have been so blessed by all of your kind words & prayers. I can't imagine going through this without any of you.

God is good...all the time!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Under Pressure

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philipians 4:4-9
Let me just be honest - I have not been full of joy. The holiday season, although filled many wonderful moments, has been filled with pressure. The scab that had formed over the loss of Anchise has been ripped off. I've been fearful of what's to come regarding the adoption. I haven't been filled with peace.

The pressure of trying to figure out the right thing regarding the adoption has changed my perspective. Satan has been working overtime trying to use this pressure to push down my dreams, faith & commitment to God's plan for us. I have been overwhelmed at times with the uncertainty of the whole thing.

So today I have no more certainty than when we started this journey some 17 months ago. I cannot put my trust in this process as it is a process made by men. I can, however, choose to put my trust in the living God. For He is the One that started this good work and will carry it through to completion. My hope is in Him.