Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

The last four or five days have been trying in regards to our adoption process. There have been rumors regarding the integrity of our adoption agency. We were alerted to these issues Friday morning by a family that was concerned that we make an informed decision before accepting a referral. We received this information just minutes before Scott was scheduled to leave town. For four days I was left to process this staggering information and seek more details. I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I tried to research other options and pray for wisdom. When Scott returned Monday evening I shared with him the new information I had received. Scott said, "our child is in Liberia and we need to get him or her." That is what was in my heart all weekend. God is so good that He would bless us with this like mindedness. I still pray for His wisdom as we sort through the information that continues to come to us. I pray for protection for us and our child.

As I did my Beth Moore study on Sunday afternoon God blessed me with His presence.

"Have you learned how to let Christ minister to you? Let me make this assignment: let Christ love you today. Curl up in His arms and tell Him you need Him. Until you learn to let Him serve you at the point of your need, you will never be truly free to serve others. "

Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

I have never been overly good at visualization. But that afternoon in my kitchen, I let
God draw me up on His lap and comfort me. He is there to meet our every need.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Because It's Christmas

So, I've dug out my favorite Christmas music, my house is decorated (well, at least inside) and I need to get ready for our first Christmas party of the season. As I started to prepare my dish for this evening I was struck in a new way about the words on one of my favorite Christmas CDs. The CD is from Truth. I don't even know if they are still around. I see the song was written in 1986 and Barry Manilow was one of the writers. Who knew?

Because It's Christmas

"...Tonight the stars shine for the children
And light the way for dreams to fly
Tonight our love comes
Wrapped in ribbons
The world is right, hopes are high
From a dark and frosted window
A child appears to search the sky
Because it's Christmas

Tonight belongs to all the children
Tonight their joy rings through the air
To all the children everywhere
To see the smiles and hear the laughter
A time to give, a time to share
Because it's Christmas
Now and forever
For all of the children
Children in us all

Somewhere in an orphanage in Liberia my son or daughter waits for me. I can hardly type this with the emotion that is striking me now. I want to hold my child. Kiss him or her and sing "Away in the Manger" as I did to our other children. I pray that next Christmas that will be possible. Lord, I commit our children to your care!

On a lighter note: I have a recipe to share. I have been enjoying this Chai Tea Mix lately. If you put it in a mason jar it makes great gifts for teachers, etc. Enjoy!

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French Vanilla flavored powdered creamer
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamon

Mix all in a bowl and then a little at a time put into blender. Blend until fine powder. Mix 2 Tbsp into a mug of hot water or milk.

Happy Christmas preparations!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Dance!

Many people on the AoH yahoo group speak of doing the happy dance. Well, since receiving an email from Rachel in the Wisconsin office, we are doing the happy dance. This email went out to the AoH group, not us individually.

"I know that many of you are on the edges of your seats, as I am, awaiting referrals...However, earlier this week, I received a list of over 60 children who are in this process of being prepared for referrals. I am awaiting the final steps to be taken and then referrals will begin flowing over the coming weeks."

I get chills every time I think about it!! It seems that we would very likely be included in this batch of referrals. Soooooo exciting!!!!

Psalm 27:14: "Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."

Psalm 37:7a: "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act."

Colossians 1:11-12: "We also pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light."

Prayer update: The McKinneys were able to bring their three children home! The Whites were able to bring Joseph home! He is having heart surgery next week. The Coverts are going to pick up Mercy and Joy this week! Our God is so good!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Yes, we are one of those crazy families!
These are the loves of my life, here on earth.
Scott, Noelle and Jake
God is soooo good! Thanksgiving went very well. We hosted up to 10 people, for up to eight days, and everything came together just about perfectly. My anxiety did not rear its ugly head, meals went as planned, accomodations worked out and activities were enjoyed. We toured a dairy farm, see above, and went to our cabin twice. I got to spend quality time with my sister in law, Rachel, and our daughters got to play. Noelle did great with Holly one on one. When it got to be three on one she kind of made a bee line for the bedroom and some privacy. They played so well that I am not sure that she was missed.

Micah (6), Holly (6), Naomi (4) and Noelle (11)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pink Hair!

I said I would post it when I got a copy. This is me and some of our small group, rocking at trunk or treat! It was so fun.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

On our knees

The power of prayer, James 5:13-18

"Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green, and the crops began to grow again."

The children of Liberia need our prayers. The news from the embassy there is not good. The consular has reduced the number of visits she will accept. She is only accepting appointments from each agency twice a week. So one visit for Acres of Hope on Tuesday and one on Thursday. Each adoption requires two visits to her office. One for relinquishment from the birth family to establish status as an orphan and one visit to issue the visa to America. The second visit is with the adopting family. Essentially one adoption will be processed per week. It is not clear if this is a deliberate attempt to slow down adoptions or if the office is truly "overworked". There is talk of an additional employee joining the office in December which would hopefully speed things up again.

I do not share these things only in relation to our own adoption journey. There are so many families that are more affected by these decisions than we are at this point. I would like to take this opportunity to share some of their stories with you. I know many of you are prayer warriors and these families need our prayers!

The Coverts are adopting two girls that have experience caustic ingestion. This means they ingested lye and are therefore unable to eat properly due to the scarring of their esophaguses. Mercy is 13 and weighs 48 pounds. Joy is 8 and weighs 36 pounds. To put this in perspective, Noelle, who is quite thin, is 11 and weighs right around ninety pounds! They are hoping to travel in the next six weeks so that they can get these precious girls home to the best possible medical care.

The Horrocks family are adopting three children from Liberia. They are adopting two boys, Joseph and Nyemah, and a daughter, Ellie Kebbeh. Ellie has Potts disease and desperately needs to get to America for surgery. The surgeon in America has written to Liberia the severity of her situation. We need to pray for her health as she waits. We also need to pray that the Horrocks are able to bring all three children home at once. It is very expensive to travel and will be very hard for everyone if they need to make two trips. Think of the boys being left behind!

The McKinneys live in California. Katy started our 24 hour prayer watch. She and her husband Scott and their daughter Midge are facing unbelievable obstacles. They were evacuated during the recent fires. Scott is in the Navy and is to be deployed soon. They are in the process of adopting two boys and a girl. They had originally hoped to have the children home before Scott deployed. Now add into their lives more excitement: Scott and Katy have the chicken pox (from Midge's vaccination) and their home is being renovated due to termite damage. They are traveling to Africa November 21-30th so that they, especially Scott can "bond" with the children. Their prayer is that by God's faithful hand they will be able to bring their children home with them!

The White family is adopting Joseph. Joseph needs to have heart surgery and has spent a lot of time in the hospital. His mom is leaving to pick him up on November 13th. Pray for his health in waiting and in travel. Pray for no obstacles in the final meetings with the embassy.

The last family I want to share about has already brought their little girl home. Her name is Josie. She has epilepsy and cerebral palsy. The doctors say that there is a 50% chance she will not live past age 10. She is currently in the hospital as her seizures have gotten worse. Please pray for a miracle. Pray for wisdom of the doctors in the mean time.

Don't these stories just touch your heart. Let them drive you to your knees.

Psalm 61:1-4:
"O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!"

Lord, give each one of these families your safety, your shelter.

(If you just read your story, I apologize for not asking permission first. I will be glad to remove it if it is a problem. I am so touched by each of your stories and know the best that I can do is cry out to God on your behalf and seek others that will do the same!)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

12 Extraordinary Women

Just finished my youth small group. One of my favorite things is meeting with this group of 7-8 amazing young women. We just started John MacArthur's study, "12 Extraordinary Women". We began tonight with the question "How does your life feel ordinary and how can it be extraordinary?" Having Christ in our lives brings the extraordinary into every day. It was a little sad to hear how even at 16 or 17 years of age they already feel the monotony of life. I pray that each one of us can see Christ throughout our day and through striving to serve Him our lives are taken out of the muck and mire and into His presence. This is one of the amazing things about this adoption process. It is extraordinary. And to walk in His will opens our eyes and hearts to the wonder of His plan!

Using Eve as a jumping off point we talked about everything from submission to politics. One of the verses that opened up lots of discussion was I Timothy 2:9-14:
"And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was the woman, not Adam, who was deceived by Satan, and sin was the result." That's NLT, the NIV says she should be silent.

We talked a lot about submission in marriage and in church. How this passage applies to leadership in other areas of our lives. How God has gifted each of us. How we are not inferior to men, but designed to be man's helper. MacArthur compares the relationship to that of the Trinity. Christ and God are equal, but Christ is submissive to God the Father. I am a pretty strong person. I can be assertive and when I am in social situations I have a tendency to be a leader. I do not hesitate to have an opinion and express it. But I praise the Lord that I do not struggle with submission in my marriage. I thank Him so much for the gift of a Godly husband that loves Him and loves me! It is not hard to submit in a relationship like that. I hope that I am able to be an example of how a woman can lovingly submit to her husband and how that does not resemble being a "doormat". I think that sometimes from the outside it sounds like that, especially to "the world".

It is so humbling to be in this position of leadership/mentoring. I feel inadequate and pray that I do not give misleading answers to their questions. Another thing that we discussed was the intimacy that Adam and Eve had with God in the garden. In another mentoring relationship I am in, we committed that this week we would spend quality time with God at least four of the seven days. For those of you that do not struggle with this, this may sound pathetic. But for me I have long been able to read lots of commentary and do lots of Bible studies but have never been able to have a sustained period of time where I consistently read God's word and prayed. Let this commitment be a new and unending season. The example of the women, and men, in the AoH group has been so eye opening for me. I thank you for your examples.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not feeling too "deep" right now, but I wanted to give a quick update. Scott is feeling better, though still having trouble with a cough and lack of energy. This is hunting season, his favorite time of the year. Please pray with me that he will make wise choices. Noelle is back in school and is feeling close to 100%! PTL!! Jake is home today with a cough, hopefully he has not succumb to the same infection that they have had, since it is sooo long lasting. I continue to hold out. I did go get my flu shot hoping it will help me resist!

On the adoption front, we sent in the rest of our items on Thursday. Scott and I had a chance to talk. We decided to stick with one adoption at a time. Not saying for sure we want to adopt again, but we think for sure just one this time. We decided to expand our age range, up to three years old. Lastly, Scott did not feel comfortable expanding our requests to include special needs. If that is what God wants from us, I know that is what will happen. So now we are really waiting.

Yesterday was fun. Our church hosted a trunk or treat. People bring their cars and decorate them with a theme and coordinating costumes. My youth group girls and I always do a trunk. This year we were a rock band. So much fun! They had their electric guitars and drums and we all punked out our looks. They have enough musical talent that it was awesome! And I finally got my tattoos! Three of them, though unfortunately they are temporary. And pink hair. I forgot my camera but when I get a picture from someone else, I will be sure and share.

I should probably get out in my yard today and cut back some things and plant a few bulbs. Today should be pleasant and who knows what tomorrow will bring. Enjoy your day! Thank your Creator for all that is good!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Normally I love rollercoasters. I am the first one to say, "Again, again!" But the rollercoaster ride of real life is a little more difficult. Yesterday, Scott felt as if he was feeling a little better. Today he has regressed. All he does is sleep. Which I realize is wonderful for his healing but the change in my life is hard to handle some days, or should I say hours. The good news is that Noelle is back in school. I think she is just about caught up with her school work. She still has a cough and is looking forward to Saturday so that she can sleep in!

The most frustrating part is in relation to our adoption. We were (are) so close to being on an official waiting list. I have the letters all typed and ready to go. Then we decided to discuss expanding our vision, as discussed earlier. Well, it is hard to have those kind of discussions when you have pneumonia. Apparently, anyway, because I have certainly tried! Everyday he says, "I promise, tomorrow." Many tomorrows have come and gone, OK, three tomorrows. But the days turn into weeks so rapidly and I hate the fact that we are causing the waiting at this point!

I keep thinking back to this kids album my sister used to listen to all the time when we were little. (Yes, I said album and she is six years younger than me so that's probably why I remember it.)
"Have patience, Have patience. Don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient you only start to worry. Remember, remember. That God is patient too. And think of all the times when others have to wait on you."
Well, it is better with the music and the animals. Guess you had to be there.

I would love to have my Bible right now, but it is the room where my husband is sleeping. But in Philippians it says something about not be anxious for anything and giving it to the Lord! My memory is failing me. (And after remembering that silly song. Shame on me!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Have patience!

Yeah! He's finally home from the hospital. The doctor did say that he shouldn't work for the next week. He wasn't very happy about that. And I 'm pretty nervous. Sometimes I just don't think that I am a good caretaker. I know I have some potential but for some reason when it is my husband I just want him to get better and the faster the better. I hope someone out there can relate. Sometimes I wonder what on earth I would do if something serious actually happened!!

I found this verse, I will be chanting: Colossians 1:11, "(I) also pray that (I) will be strengthened with HIS glorious power so that (I) will have all the patience and endurance (I) need."

Noelle is back on her feet though not 100%. They gave her another round of antibiotic and a steroid to clear her lungs. Apparently she did not actually have pneumonia just a very powerful virus.

Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Plodding on

Quick update. Not much has changed. Noelle made it a half day at school yesterday but is home again today. So we are headed back to the doctor for more tests. Scott is still in the hospital though he seems to be feeling a little better. They did an ultrasound of his liver yesterday in reaction to something that showed in his blood work but we haven't heard back.

Noelle's homework is a bit of a concern. I don't feel like I have the clarity of mind to help organize and figure it out and she is so overwhelmed. I think going to school that little bit yesterday made it worse not better. Pray that her teachers will be easy to work with. She hates blood work, past bad experience, so pray for us this afternoon as I am sure she will need it.

I am just overwhelmed and don't know where to be. Home or hospital. Doing what??

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I sit at my computer waiting for the kids to wake up. Praying that Noelle will feel better. She has spent the last seven days in bed. This alone would be challenging for me. I am not good at being housebound. But...Tuesday evening I took Scott to the ER and he was admitted with pneumonia. So I am back and forth between my two patients. Praise the Lord we live quite close to the hospital and my mom and dad live here. Noelle only wants me. That is always hard. I am convicted that you shouldn't leave a patient alone at the hospital, especially one that means the world to you! So my dad and Scott's wonderful friend, Brent, are sitting with him when I am at home with Noelle, and Jake. I have been tucking the kids in and then going to the hospital and spending the night with Scott. Then back to take them (hopefully) to school.

On the adoption front: before all this illness we had some news. We were fingerprinted on the 10th for our government preapproval. On the 12th we received an email from AoH that they had received a fax of our I171H approval. This timing is just unheard of . There are people that are waiting months for this approval. His email did raise a few questions for us as to if we wanted to change our adoption request to consider: older children, more than one, or special needs. To wait for an infant with little or no health problems, we will wait 6-12 months for a referral. Which Scott pointed out is not that long, but some days I do feel my age and Jake is already a sophomore. I will want him to have the opportunity to "bond" with his new sibling. Also, there is the consideration of: Do we want to be parents waiting for a child or parents adopting a waiting child??? Obviously we could probably meet a more pressing need. So pray for us as we seek which direction God would wish us to stretch. I had hoped to have had much time to pray and seek God about this with Scott. However, he has been rather uncommunicative for a few days. Something about his ribs hurting. God's timing is perfect!

Pray also that Jake and I do not get sick. That Scott improves today and does not get some scary staph infection in the hospital. ( I hate the news!) Pray especially for Noelle. That she would feel like herself today, both physically and emotionally. That she would feel motivated to go to school, for at least part of the day. (I am having a very hard time knowing when to push.)
Some days this blog really saves me, like today!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The fullness of the Lord

This week has been so full. Scott and I went away for four days to celebrate our (belated) anniversary. It was awesome! I have begun a relationship with a mentor. She and I are going to study the women of the Bible then I will be sharing the study with my small group of girls, juniors and seniors in high school. I felt it might be a great time to be in a mentoring relationship during the adoption process. This morning a young lady approached me about being her mentor! I was so honored. Please pray that I will do her request justice.

Another prayer request. Due to changes in Liberia, the wait time for referral is increasing. Thus far I have not felt any impatience, please pray with me that I will continue to be patient. Pray also for three families that have lost their referrals. How heartbreaking. Hopefully, the wait on this end of the process will help prevent things like that from happening later in the process.

A friend of our in ministry with Navigators shared some verses in an email this morning:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6
"He who did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
Colossians 1:17
Yeah! Trust Him with everything, for He alone is worthy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cries for Liberia

I just finished "Tears of the Rain". The book ends in March, 2004. The women of Liberia are sharing with the author, "Elections are coming, so the people running for president go to the witch doctor. He tells them which body parts he needs for his sacrifices. Usually it's the tongue, the eyes, the private parts, and the blood. Yes, it's true." They kidnap children to provide these sacrifices! They go on to say, "That's why we don' let our chil'ren out of sight. But all we need to do is call on the Blood, an' we will be safe!" What incredible faith! "There are many witches operating in Liberia. If you are not a Christian they will get you. You wouldn't believe what powers the rulers of darkness have on people who allow them."

Ephesians 6:12-18, "For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere."

Romans 8:38-39, "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

We beg you Lord, be strong in Liberia. Stand against the evil one. Protect your people and your work there.

What a great week!

I have been waiting to blog all week, because we had such a great weekend. But, I wanted to post pictures and my husband misplaced the memory card to our camera. Scary. I am trying not to panic. Saturday afternoon after Noelle's soccer game, she scored two goals before she came out with a stomach ache, the four of us went to our cabin. Jake, Scott and Noelle all went deer hunting. I stayed at the cabin to assemble furniture and greet my parents when they stopped by. Jake shot his first deer with a bow. Sorry if they are any anti-hunters out there. It is hard to explain the magic of being at our cabin. Currently there is no electricity and no running water, so it is just us and 40 acres and an amazing view. As we drove back to town for church I asked my husband if his family was this close when he was in high school. He shook his head and I had to say no also. My 15 year old son turned down a date to homecoming and came with us. That in itself is a great story. A junior asked him (I can hear you all now), but we decided to give him permission to go with some restrictions. He chose not to go when he decided she might be someone who would want to drink. Yeah, Jake!

Then Monday my sister called. Now my family has not been negative about the adoption but they have not been excited either. And we are an excitable family. This is such an answer to prayer. She said, "I have a word for you". I was like oh, great! She said, "No, it's a good one."
She proceeded to relay to me a conversation she had with her mentor. Her mentor and her husband had actually considered adopting from Liberia and knew many families that have. She was able to express to my sister that when we felt a call from God that we needed to obey "no matter what". (See previous post entitled Obedience.) She also was able to express to my sister the desperate situation in Liberia and that in many cases this is a rescue mission. Sometimes due to health and poverty, but always in that hopefully these children will be saved for eternity by being raised in a Christian home. Somehow my sister was able to hear these words when mine have failed me. PTL!!

I have started a new Beth Moore study entitled "A Woman's Heart". I want to share a couple "nuggets" from this week. She has been taking us from the garden to the tabernacle and especially looking at obedience. She says, "Abraham was freed to be faithful to God on the basis of his belief that God would always be faithful to him." Amen. Then she talks about God as the "I Am", or "I am being that I am being," or "I am the Is-ing One". She writes, "Whatever your circumstances, your challenges, your doubts, or your pain, if you are in covenant relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, the King of the universe is your Is-ing One and He's presently is-ing in every area of your life!"

I know I am jumping around here, but I have lots to share. If you need to open your heart to Africa, rent "God Grew Tired of Us" and/or read "Tears of the Rain". Both great pictures of the tragedy that has happened in Sudan and Liberia. It strikes me again and again that this is recent history not decades ago. People were evacuated from Liberia five years ago. "Tears of the Rain" gives specific stories of the many orphans or babies whose parents cannot possibly parent them. Wow.

Two more quick things. If you need funds for pursuing an adoption, Rachel and Christy, check out Their mission is to find funds for adoption. One of the people involved, Donna Barber, just left Acres of Hope to pursue this new venture. Apparently it is well worth the fee. Also, Scott and I leave tomorrow for a little getaway to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Please pray for Noelle, as she is convinced that she will surely perish without us. She is very dramatic and very clingy since a homesick episode at girl scout camp this summer. Pray for my parents as they watch them that she is not too tough on them.

Well, except for the fact that I really wish I had pictures to post, I guess that is it. Thank you Lord for this incredible season in my life!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Tuesday mornings are our women's Bible Study. We are doing a Beth Moore study entitled "A Woman's Heart". This week included materials on obedience and the leader, who happens to be my mom, asked me to share. I want to share what I shared this morning. Sorry if it gets long.

When my mom first asked me to share I said, " Are you sure now is the time." The journey I want to share with you is just beginning. I want to start with some words from Day 3. (In our study.) "Have you noticed that God often requires us to leave our comfort zones to answer our calling: That through which God hones us is rarely within the parameters of the familiar. You may be thinking: Thank goodness I'm not important enough to be called by God. I don't like new territories and unfamiliar assignments. If you consider yourself a Christian, consider yourself called. No amount of comfort is worth missing the greatest adventure humankind can experience." She ends with a quote from Colossians 4:17 which I am going to read from the NLT, "Be sure to carry our the work the Lord gave you."

I am not overly good with "new territories and unfamiliar assignments". Here are just a few examples. When my parents left me at college in Minnesota, they left me crying on a step. I flew home regularly to visit and dwhen I came home for Christmas break I begged not to go back and ended up transferring to UNI. (a college about 10 miles from my home!) Though I was a big girl and stayed in the dorms not at home! Then when I went on a missions trip to Fiji in college, I called my dad from the Los Angeles airport and said, "I really don't think this is God's plan". He sais if you truly believe that stay in the airport and call me back and I'll get you home. Somehow I got on that plane. Praise the Lord because that is where I met my husband, who is God's greatest gift to me! One more story. On our wedding night, mind you I was only 21, I began to cry and called my mom in the middle of the night. So I am sure I appear brave, it is only a front!

I used to always wonder how to know the Lord's will. Obviously I still do at times. I would joke if God just put it on a billboard or gave me a call I would definitely do as He asked. But many times the Lord speaks with a still small voice and we have to be attentive enough to hear that voice. Obviously the louder and busier we are, the harder that is. And I am pretty loud and generally very busy.

This story begins in the late 1980s, in a church in Green Bay. Scott and I were visiting his parent's church. I don't remember for sure if we were married yet or not. A white woman walked by with an African-American baby and Scott said to me, "someday we should adopt a baby like that" or something to that effect. Scott thinks it is silly that I still remember that but it is important to my story.

On and off throughout our married life we have been intrigued by the idea of adoption. Approximately five years ago the thought became strong enough that we actually met with Bethany Christian Services. After our meeting we spoke with family and felt discouraged that they did not feel this was a good choice for us. It was easy to file this notion away.

Missions has been another call that Scott and I feel on our lives. In March of this year he and our son Jake went to Thailand. While there, they visited an orphanage. Scott was touched. In April for two days, I felt strongly that I/we were supposed to do something sacrificial. We feel very strongly called to give but I felt certain that this was not a financial call. When I shared this with Scott, he said we were being called to adopt. I said, "that would be sacrificial."

A little background for those of you who do not know me as well. My husband and I are 41. Our children are 11 and 15. More importantly I don't really like young kids. I like my own and I love the youth (that we volunteer extensively with) but when I see a baby or small child very rarely do the maternal instincts start flowing.

Yet, I had to admit that this theme had been nudging it's way into our lives for a long time. I did not feel any more that we could ignore that this was God's call, God's will. So I started to research our options. I cannot explain why, other than to say it was God's leading. But Scott and I both felt led to Africa. Not Thailand where he had visited, not China where our niece is from. We began to explore Ethiopia as an option. Then on Mother's Day my sister gave me an article from the Des Moines Register, the front page actually. It was an article about a little girl that was adopted from Liberia. (This is Patience Duval, adopted through AoH!) After talking with her mother and another family we have decided to adopt from Liberia.

Our home study was completed this summer and we will be fingerprinted in October (on the 10th) to finish our government approval. Then we will wait for God to pick out a child for us.

So far the most amazing part of this journey is how it has drawn me into greater intimacy with Christ. I am now spending my spare time in the deep places of God's word and prayer rather than HGTV. Every reason that Scott and I came up with not to be obedient to this call was selfish. Another adoptive parent put it well, "Your life is not about you, or your retirement or becoming empty nesters...your life is about glorifying God."

There are those that still don't think that this is a good idea. Our son, whom I covet your prayers for, is not able to say he thinks this is good. I don't know that I feel that my family is able to be excited about this. This topic is sometimes the elephant in the room. Along the way God's timing for His encouragement has been amazing and an answer to prayer. We mailed our application on our 20th anniversary not by our design but by God's design. That morning, despite Jake's reservations the four of us each prayed over that application. Everywhere I turn there are small things that help me know I am on the right path. I feel as if I got my billboard. I know this is God's call on our lives and I cannot stand before God and say I know you wanted me to pursue an adoption from Liberia but Jake didn't want me to or I just really am not into babies or whatever. I am ready for my "great adventure".

In closing I read a couple of things that God has placed in my path. I read from "Fields of the Fatherless", by C. Thomas Davis. And I read a poem from Beth Moore's blog:

My dear sister
God's divine power
Has given you everything you need
To do life and to do it His way
God has given you
Great and precious promises
Start believing them
And acting on them
When circumstances overwhelm you
Or people annoy you
Turn your faith into action
Dispatch what you need
From the holding tank of the Holy Spirit
And God will blow your mind
With what He can do through you
Never ever forget
You have been cleansed from past sins
Go FREE from this place
And live on purpose
Pour out your life for others
Then one day
When you close your eyes on earth
You will open them and see Jesus
And with arms full of riches
He'll say, "Welcome Home!"
"Aren't you beautiful!"
Now, go out into this world
And live like crazy!
Because your God
Is everything you need!

That's what I shared. I think I was most nervous to speak about my family's feelings since my mom was there. She thought I did a great job. Hopefully this will lead to some more honest discussions about the adoption, and maybe someday they can be excited about it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blue Clay People

Apparently I was born to research. I love to read and since we decided to adopt I am reading everything I can find on adoption and Liberia and related topics. I just finished "Blue Clay People" by William Powers. What an amazingly clear picture of Liberia just six years ago! Each one of the children at AoH have family, moms and dads that lived through all of that. Some of the older children lived through the violence and poverty. I know that some of that is still there now, though hopefully not the violence.

So being the ex-English minor that I am, I had to look up the words that I did not recognize. So here is your lesson for the day:
obsequiousness: compliant, deferential, obedient, dutiful (used to refer to the Liberians)

quixotic: chivalrous, romantic, visionary, impractical

tetra pods: four-footed (used to refer to hippos, I should have been able to figure this one out)

lebensraum: additional territory desired by a nation

koan: a nonsensical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating

"Like any good koan, the more you meditate on it, the more it unfolds like a lotus flower and makes sense." I feel this way about this adoption, and even about my walk with God. It feels as if this process is making things much clearer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thank you, Donna

Hallelujah! What a load off my mind. I heard from Donna at AoH for the first time tonight. She has received most of our documents and cleared up some questions that I had. Most importantly she put my heart at rest regarding where our important papers were. Having never received word we were worried about tax returns, etc.!

In a completely different train of thought. Our pastor on Sunday suggested we read Ezekiel 34. I had a chance to do so this morning. I do not know all the background of this passage, but loved how it spoke to both evangelism and adoption.

2b "Destruction is certain for you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn't shepherds feed their sheep? 3 You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals but you let your flocks starve. 4 You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the broken bones. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with force and cruelty. 5 So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd. They are easy prey for any wild animal.
6 They have wandered through the mountains and hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. Though you were my shepherds, you didn't search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. 9 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock . I will take away their right to feed the flock, along with their right to feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey."

How challenging is that??

On yet another wave length. A fellow AoH blogger has set up a 24 hour prayer watch, see link, for AoH and those adopting through their organization. If you would like to join us in seeking God's favor in Liberia please see the link for requests and inspiration.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

They are HIS!

Yeah, I know, I just was here about 15 minutes ago. I had to look up a scripture that was on another site and then I just had to share it. I Samuel 1:27 & 28a.

"I asked the Lord to give me this child, and he has given me my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life."

How simple and logical that seems. Yet I keep taking them back over and over again. Once again I commit them to you Lord. Once again I put them back in your care and trust you with them. I trust Jake and Noelle and this new little one to YOU!

Preparing my heart

Jake, our 15 year old, says that I am addicted to blogging. Since it is 4:00 am I might have to agree. Though I prefer to think that God is preparing my heart for adoption. I told Scott, on a walk last night, that I wished that he had time to spend staying up to date with the blogs, etc. It is putting my heart in such an open place. I feel so open at this point I will not be surprised by anything in our referral. I just hope that AoH is wise enough to look beyond the parameters we placed on ourselves (under one and with minor health issues that could be dealt with in the US). I am almost scared to type this, but I feel like God may be preparing me for a "limb deficiency". It keeps coming up in everything I am reading. I just pray that if that is the case that my family's hearts will be prepared as well.

Early in our decision making process I spoke with a family in the adoption process from Texas. They were adopting from Ethiopia, one of the countries we were considering. I called them because they had older siblings. She said that even if the adoption did not go through, the way their family has drawn together throughout the process has been amazing. I feel that way about the closeness I am feeling with my Lord. The others, in the AoH group, share such amazing scriptures, etc. that they make me feel immature in my faith. It is almost embarrassing since many of them are in their 20s and 30s and I am 41. I hate it when I feel like I am wasting the gift of my relationship with Christ. Pray that I would pursue Him in an unprecedented way!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

At a standstill

I think we will probably be in this state for awhile, adoption wise anyway. I am anxious to hear from AoH that they have our materials and have approved us for the adoption process. Things have really slowed down in Liberia, partially in response to unethical procedures in other agencies. The one good thing is that when we receive a referral it will be less likely to have trouble later. Some families are experiencing terrific heartbreak right now as different issues are attempting to be resolved regarding children whose referrals they have had for some time. I cannot imagine. I already feel as if our child is out there somewhere waiting for us. I appreciate so much your prayers regarding our adoption and the different stresses that are arising during the process. During my quiet time this morning I was reminded that God's ways are not our ways. In Matthew 16:23 Jesus tells Peter,"You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God's.", NLT. Praise the Lord, His point of view is so much better than ours!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I lift up my hands!

I wish that I could pour out my heart right now. I have a serious prayer request regarding our adoption. However, I don't know if this is the place to reveal the details. I do know that this is a place to seek prayer. Please lift up our family and our desire to please God and also do what is best for our family.

Crazy kids!

As I write (type) this, my kids are going nuts. What's new. Today I received an email copy of our home study. Very exciting. Now if I could just get my family in one place with someone to take a picture we would have everything done. Friday I was able to resend the I600A with a cashier's check! This week Donna will be back in the AoH office so possibly we will hear an affirmation of our application. On another note, Maxine, my friend's mom, did go to meet her Jesus. I know Sue will miss her so much, but how comforting to know she is at home. Sue said she pictures her dancing with her dad who passed away when she was fairly young. What a fun picture. Youth starts up tomorrow night. I am so looking forward to spending time with our "extended" family. We will be studying the Beatitudes in small group. It will be interesting what new information we can glean from this passage. Most likely new insights will come from the mouths of my girls.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mixed Emotions, again!

Wow, sometimes life is such a roller coaster. My good friend, Sue, is going through a really tough time as her mom had a massive heart attack and they are facing tough decisions. I so want to be there for her. Jake had a good day at school and golf. He will play Monday to see if he can move up to Varsity. Noelle apparently had a bad day after three "fabulous" days. She was very emotional and not able to really articulate why. And in the mail I find a letter from Homeland Security. I was not supposed to send a personal check but a cashier's check. Up and down, up and down. I need to head back up to the hospital but this is so therapeutic. God's plan is perfect: for Jake, Noelle, Maxine and our new baby. Who I cannot wait to hold!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Getting excited!

Today we mailed our I600A, a petition to the US government for permission to adopt. I also called our social worker. She was actually working on our home study when I called. All of our referrals are in, and she expects our criminal checks any day. She will be emailing AoH and us a copy of our home study very soon. All of this moves us much closer to being ready for a referral. I am anxious to hear from AoH since they should have received our application on Friday. My understanding is that the office is pretty much empty right now as many are in Liberia. It is exciting to follow the stories as they get to meet their precious children. I am so excited to meet the child that God has set aside for our family.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reality Check

Noelle and I have had fun searching through other blogs this morning and learning how to update ours. First reality check, we are way behind with family photos. Jake has grown at least four inches this summer and is taller than me, by about those same four plus inches. Noelle is growing up fast too, and looks much more like a middle schooler than a fifth grader. Second reality check, our adoption may be on a different time schedule than we originally thought. We were not aware of the issues with visas, etc. Jake may be relieved, as he has been the slowest to warm up to the idea.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Adoption quest

August 22nd. Our 20th anniversary and the day we entered the adoption process "for serious"! We mailed our application and most of our dossier to Acres of Hope. Now we have just a few things to finish up and then we wait for a referral. Now that I have done more research on AoH's Yahoo group I have many mixed emotions. This is so exciting with so many unknowns.