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.