Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adoption Connect!

Today I'd like to introduce to you the author of Adoption Connect. I really appreciate Courtney's heart for adoption. She has a wealth of experience from their own adoptions to offer on so many important issues that adoptive families face, including trans racial adoption, financial hurdles, older child adoption, bonding/attachment and many more. No doubt you will come away very encouraged! Recently I was able to ask Courtney a few things about her experiences.

At what point in your life did you contemplate adopting?
I always wanted to adopt. I can remember being a young girl and thinking about it. My husband and I starting discussing it immediately. We got married young and so the timing never seemed right. Initially we said we would adopt after our biological children were raised. After our 4th child was born, God moved on our hearts. In fact He spoke clearly to both of us about it. That was in 2004 and it wasn't long after that we welcomed our first two children in our home through adoption.

(Click on this photo to enlarge so you can see her beautiful children!!)

What is one challenge in particular that you or your family has overcome after bring home one or more of your children?
Attachment disorder. Yes, it is real. Yes, it exists. And yes, it is a struggle. However, what I want people to know is that through our loving and healing God, it can be overcome. Our daughter who came home at 8 years old from Russia had attachment issues. She rejected me immediately and fought my love and affection with avengence. There were many hard days. And many days that I cried. It was not at all what I had imagined when we went into adoption. But, God used those times to draw me to Him. And He used those times to show me what it means to love without conditions. It took time, a lot of prayer and a lot of perseverance, but today our daughter is a wonderful, loving, well adjusted 11 year old. And I would go through all of it again to have this precious girl in our lives.

What is something you feared about adoption?
Since we had set out to adopt older children, my biggest fear was that our children would struggle from their past hurts and have so much pain that they would be unable to move past any of it.

Your future grandchildren .... What is it that you want to be known for by them?
Faith. I want to be known for my faith. I want to pass down to them a Godly heritage as well to my great grand children and great-great grandchildren. I want them be faith -filled believers who are willing to risk it all to follow after Jesus.

What is a verse that helped you through difficult days?
I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber. The LORD watches over you- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore.

Psalm 121:1-3,5-8

If you could share one thing with people struggling to trust God with all the unknowns associated with adoption, what would it be?
Adoption is a giant leap of faith. It is an awesome an amazing journey. Yes, there are many unknowns. In our humanness it is only natural to fear those unknowns. If God is laying adoption on your heart, JUMP! Is it scary? YES! But, you will not regret it. And God will do amazing things in your life in the process. Adoption has changed me in so many ways. It has made me a better me and I am so glad we took the leap. Don't let your fear hold you back from doing what God is placing on your heart. You only get one life and our lives are short and fleeting. If you are feeling that nudging that your life is meant to be more than it is, I encourage you to cast your fears aside and put your faith in our Father. Then get ready for the most amazing journey of your life!

Courtney and her family's story is adding a new chapter

very soon You'll want to also check out their family blog
Storing up Treasures in Heaven, to hear more about
how this little guy will be joining his family,
Lord willing, very soon!!! What a joy it is to see a family trusting their Heavenly Father for every detail of their lives. Adoption brings about real obstacles and real challenges, but God is greater than all of them. If we will trust Him and yield to Him, He WILL make a way through provision, strength and healing.

I have always appreciated Courtney's honesty about both the trials and the joys with adoption. Be sure to share the Adoption Connect link with others. May we encourage each other along this wonderful journey, as we trust in our Heavenly Father to help us climb each mountain on the path He's set before us. Perhaps you are not in a season to adopt yourself, you'll find several families highlighted on her blog who are adopting and could use your love and support!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Introductions & Great Article

Here is a great little article very much worth reading! I find myself pondering these issues more and more as our 3 year old grows older and much more aware of introductions and things being said about her.

I think of my sons and how it would feel "odd" to both them and me if someone introduced them as "C, N & J, born of her womb". Seriously .... wouldn't that make us kind of think ... "hhmmm .... strange?!". I'm not saying it's never appropriate to acknowledge that our children have been adopted ... that's not the point at all. But I do think we should ponder this over in our hearts and continue to seek to think of our children. It's pretty obvious my daughters do not look like me. But they are my daughters, most certainly as much as my sons are .... without the need to always give commentary on how they entered our family.

Often if it's an introduction, you're gonna end up spending some time together and usually you'll cover the "adoption conversation" anyway.

What have been your experiences and how have you found good ways of handling such things, helping your child to feel comfortable and not needing to justify who they are? Would love to hear!

Monday, October 20, 2008

One of These Little Children . . .

"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." Mark 9:37

Lately I've been reflecting on the unbelievable transformation we've seen in our little one since she came home. Not only that though, but even greater what God has done in our family. There is a deep truth in Mark 9:37.

Oh Lord, how grateful we are for your incredible love for us, your presence that sustains us, your faithfulness that carries us through. We are so undeserving ... we fall short ... we fail. But You, oh God .... you are the true example of what it means to be a Father. How blessed we are to be your children. Thank you for all the ways you teach us about your great love. We rejoice in what you've done in Arsema's life. Thank you for allowing us the absolute privilege of witnessing it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why Adopt article & book

Why Adopt? over on Crosswalk.com is a wonderful article you'll for sure want to read. The author, Natalie Nichols Gillespie, shares about her family's own experience with adoption, as well as taking a look at what scripture says about caring for orphans. Take a look. She has authored the book Successful Adoption: A Guide for Christian Families. I plan to order it! Successful Adoption also includes real-life stories from families who have adopted, including: Steven and Mary Beth Chapman, Rita Springer, Dave Thomas, Karen Kingsbury and Donna Van Liere.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Meet the Darlings!

We have been so blessed to meet some wonderful families along our adoption journey to Arsema. The Darlings are one of those families. You can imagine their great JOY as they just recently received their referral of a beautiful little girl waiting for them in Ethiopia!!

Throughout their adoption journey, many people have come alongside them to help them with raising the financial needs of making this a reality. Their church has been a wonderful support to them, not only in helping with a special offering, but also helping with supplies for a very successful garage sale. I remember how excited I was to hear all they did to raise awareness for orphans around the world at this event. Many orphans have had a voice through this family's journey.

I would encourage you to read a bit more about their family at the Legacy Child program through the ABBA Fund. And also, be sure to read more about their adoption journey at their family blog.

Today they have heavy hearts as the funding they thought had come through for this next phase didn't work out in the way needed at this time. Will you join us in PRAYING for this family? Pray that God would meet every need of this adoption. Pray for creativity for them as they face this current challenge. Pray for their new "Darling" .... waiting for them in Ethiopia!! I can't show you her beautiful picture until they pass court! :)

$3,385 is a small thing for God. Pray that it is taken care of in abundance!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tupelo, MS/Memphis, TN Conference!!

Calling all families that live in the Tupelo,MS/Memphis, TN area!! There is an event THIS Saturday that you will NOT want to miss! Be sure to check out all of the details at the ABBA Fund blog today. How we wish were not so many miles away. We would be there for sure! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Card Info

So ..... along with a huge passion for adoption and family .... I enjoy a little "side business" with card-making. I hold monthly classes here in our home. Many of you know that this is hugely how we funded Maleah's adoption. I will share more on that story in another post. But for now, just wanted to let you know that over HERE you can see what I've been up to concerning card production and if there's ever any way we can help fulfill your card needs, please let us know! This is only a small sampling of what we do. I say "we" ..... because pretty much everything in our home is a team effort. We continue (on a much smaller scale now!!) to sell cards to finish paying our no-interest loan through the ABBA Fund.

In the future I'll be gathering resources for the many fabulous things out there that families have done to help bring their children home. I would LOVE to hear what you've done! Please share in the comments section!! Your ideas will help spur on others about what THEY can do also!! Not only do funding projects help to bring your child home, but it is just an amazing way also to raise awareness in your communities for the needs of waiting children! Just leave a comment and I'll be in touch to highlight your family/project in an upcoming post. Thanks so much! Be sure to check out the resources in Jason's blog that he does for the Abba Fund. It's full of a wealth of information, including this topic as well!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Courts Open - Prayer Needed

Now that October is here and courts have reopened in Ethiopia, my heart and mind are often drawn to the many families that have been waiting SO long for this time to arrive! Some of these families approaching court have children in Ethiopia that we met when we traveled this last spring to bring home Arsema. (sidenote - yes we still call her by both her names. I used to think that might be awkward for kids, but I now see it is not. I have a feeling she'll always be called by both names. She smiles adoringly at both, so why not?)

Would you join me in praying for the many families who are waiting to pass court? It can be a very nerve-wracking time as a waiting parent when it feels you have NO control over your soon-to-be-official-child's life. What a comfort it is to know that someone IS in control though! He has every detail fully taken care of. He asks us to trust Him and cling to Him.

Pray for extra strength for the staff workers of all the different agencies working on behalf of orphans in Ethiopia. Pray for accuracy in paperwork. Pray for provision for these families, both in their upcoming travel expenses, as well as God's mercy to get through each day. Pray for health for the children.

I'll never forget receiving the call that we "passed" and made it through court. I think I asked sweet Mary at Gladney like three times, to be sure I heard her correctly. Now soon it will be time to go to court again for us here in the states to make everything final on the US side.

For you waiting families ..... my heart goes out to you in abundance. For some of you the wait has been extra long. May I just encourage you that the Lord has not forgotten you or your child(ren). He cares SO deeply for you. Our family will be rejoicing in abundance with you when we hear you've made it and will soon be on those planes!!!

May you declare Psalm 130:5 . . . "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Getahun update

Thanks so much of those of you who have checked in with us about Getahun .... I know several of you are also praying for him and that is so comforting. Well, we have received word from him and he's with his grandmother right now. I don't want to share many details on the blog about this. Thanks for understanding. He isn't able to get the care he needs at Kolfe .... nor is he really able to get the care he needs at his grandmothers .... but that's where he is right now and I'm grateful for his trust in the Lord. This move (for now) also means he isn't in school. This is a huge "not-good" thing. His education there is his future hope. He is such an amazing student. So your continued prayers for his health are GREATLY appreciated!!!

One thing I am learning is that there are no easy fixes for the fatherless. I "knew" this before .... but walking this journey with Getahun .... it's much more deeply embedded into my heart. So we'll continue praying for him and loving him from afar the very best we can.

May I also say here that someone from our agency was very helpful in checking on him for us as well. We are SO grateful for a staff that truly cares for the orphans in Ethiopia. Not only those they are able to find homes for .... but those also whose status will remain.