Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sometimes Things are Brown & White

While reading Naomi a new book the girls got for Christmas, a familiar conversation transpired once again. I was admiring the beautiful artwork and thinking of later doing an online search to see what other books might be in this series. My daughter, on the other hand, had something different on her mind. I glanced down at the photo and saw a Mom and daughter. The sentence that came out of my little girl's mouth pierced my heart once again. "Mommy ....... I wanna be white like you!". The topic of the color of our skin is something we've openly talked about as she's grown. She knows that we think God made her incredibly beautiful and we rejoice in the lovely shade of chocolate brown skin that He created her with. But during those moments, I have learned that there is nothing that I can say to fix the longing in her heart.

I've found that in those moments sometimes it's best not to say much at all, but to draw her in close and just hold her tight and love her. We went on to enjoy a whole pile of new little books that evening! It was one of the best moments we've had yet. This little girl is all about princesses and all things pink. We started a new devotional that is entirely devoted to that topic. How I pray that as she grows she learns more about her King and that He made her perfectly according to her design in Psalm 139. I found it amazing that this was the first lesson in the book ... especially after just having that heart-piercing moment on skin color awhile earlier.

I will never be brown and my daughter will never be white. We will never share the same DNA. Sometimes it's still hard for me to fathom how God has woven our family together. We are so incredibly blessed!!! He's taught us so much about His heart on this journey of adoption. His love is far bigger than the color of our skin. And most importantly .... He's here to walk us through each season of this journey together.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

God's Princess

This picture brings about such emotion for me. Five years ago we were trusting the Lord to reveal the child He had given us a burden for. A child who would be born in America without parents able to care for him/her. A child we would use the last few dollars (and so many more) we had to our names to bring home. A child our young sons (at that time) worked all sorts of odd jobs to help raise the money for their adoption. A child that would take our family across ethnicity lines ..... in our situation those lines could have also meant still be welcomed in the family ..... God had another plan! .... those are now lines of love.

There were sooooooo many practical reasons NOT to say "yes" to God concerning adoption for our family. It would really be impossible to put into words the gratitude I have in my heart for the man in this picture. Because this man said YES to God, one more little girl doesn't have to grow up knowing the pain of being fatherless. Instead of being a statistic in the US Foster Care system, this precious spunky Texan has the status of family member.

We know full well, it's not about us saving children. OH HOW WE HAVE BEEN CHANGED because of adoption. But when I see this picture, I can't help but also know the sacrifice that was made and in part today is still made. For some, adoption is more than a RADICAL step of faith. It is not just the rich or upper or even middle class families that God calls to OBEY Him concerning adoption! The call to care for the orphan and the fatherless has NO financial status tied to it. If we are a child of God and have been saved and ADOPTED BY HIM then we MUST listen to HIS HEART for HIS CHILDREN.

Today a little girl will go see a fairytale movie about a princess, but she gets to live out soooooo much more than a fairytale. Her story is REAL. She is the princess of a REAL prince and even greater a REAL KING. Her life is not all perfect and this side of heaven she'll probably never live in a big castle and certainly does not live in a family with a big bank account. But even better she will get to grow up hearing about the hope of heaven where there are mansions waiting and the singing of angels and the worshiping of the one true King.

As Christmas draws near ..... will you be brave enough to think about the children both here in the USA and across the world that are so desperate for a family? Will you be bold enough to ask God what YOUR part is? Hang on ....... you just might get your life radically changed. I promise you can't even imagine such a wild and wonderful ride.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two Little Girls

Years ago we would never have dreamed that two little girls would be part of our family waiting for Grandma to visit. Yet here we are.

Obeying God's call on our family to adopt was a complicated endeavor. There were so many obstacles between what we knew God was doing in our hearts and the end result.

One very "unknown" piece of the puzzle for us was not knowing how our extended family would respond. We just didn't know how that would all go over and it was a very difficult part of the puzzle for us. We felt so torn. In our own home and little family we were ecstatic with incredible joy over what God was doing in our lives. But to know that others might not share in that joy ..... well, it's just very difficult to describe.

I only share all this now because I know many of you fellow adoptive families are going through similar struggles. Perhaps you grew up in a family that didn't embrace diversity and other ethniticies. Maybe you grew up in a home where racial slurs were heard. It's quite possible you fear that by adopting a child that looks different than your current family will risk being shunned by the family. These are tremendous things for the adoptive family to consider.

In some ways I wish I could say that every member of our family just fully embraced our adoptions ... that they worked alongside us to help fulfill the goals of bringing our daughters home. However had that been the case, I would have missed out on seeing God do such a work in our family's hearts. I would have missed the opportunity to learn to trust and follow my Heavenly Father first and foremost ..... even before my earthly family.

Just over 4 1/2 years ago I was walking the streets of Houston, TX, having just gotten a bite to eat while our new daughter was working hard to recover from open heart surgery. I will never forget looking up past all the tall buildings to the sky feeling quite alone. At that time I hadn't heard from my family yet after landing in TX. By this time some of them were tolerant of what was happening, yet others I had no idea if I'd really have much of a relationship with them once we returned home. While I felt very far away from my earthly family, I struggle to even find the words to describe how close I felt to my Heavenly Father. I knew without a doubt I was right where He'd called me. There was such an overwhelming sense of His peace, presence and joy.

God has not only worked in my life over these last years, but He's worked in my families' lives as well. So recently while preparing for "Grandma & Pa Pa" to come for dinner I found the girls sitting by the window waiting so expectantly for them. And the beauty behind it is that Grandma was just as over-joyed to see them as well. One little girl born here in America in desperate need for a family .... one little girl born across the world in Africa .... now brought together as sisters. But not only has God given them each a home and a family - while that's huge in itself - even more so He has transformed the hearts of that family to better love Him, to better serve Him and to better know Him.

No matter what challenges you are facing in your adoption, be encouraged that the God of the universe is bigger! .... and He will see you through.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where Do We Begin?

There are probably an extreme few who even check our blog anymore, because of our horrible negligence in updating it. Each month I think ..... man, I HAVE to get a blog post update done ... and it just doesn't happen. It is difficult to know where to even begin.

This photo is of our new location. As you can see when we arrived it was in major need of help. The board across the front picture window was completely broken, as were many other windows. The yard was very sparse and those walls have NO insulation which made for a very cold Illinois winter. As I look back at these photos, it painfully reminds me also of the condition of our lives at the time. No doubt we were really feeling the affects of being uprooted and starting over. After just completing a major remodel with the North Dakota house, we ventured once again into a house needing massive TLC.

Our incredible remodel crew went to work, yet it was just incredibly overwhelming. Plaster walls and ceiling crumbling; old wire needing repaired; dirt, dog hair and who knows what all needing swept and washed .... it nearly did us in. My stomach turns just recounting that time.

The good news is that God had gone before us .... oh without Him we would not have made it! We were embraced by our church family with such genuineness. They asked nothing of us, but just loved us right where we were at and were used by God as a soothing balm to our hearts.

All during this time we were trying to discern what God had for us in this new chapter of our lives. Over time God gave David vision to launch a Handyman business here that has proven to be a really good fit both for our family and for the needs here in our area. As you know, our deep passion is adoption and orphan care and we are blessed to be serving with the ABBA Fund here from Central Illinois.

Just as we were getting the house livable, we were plagued with the Chicken Pox. That ended up being 5 weeks of utter misery. Chicken Pox IS as awful in adulthood as you can possibly imagine. Let's just say I never care to repeat that Mother's Day again as I sat collapsed in the bathroom wondering if I could even make it 10 steps to my bed.

The house remodel continues ... boys all still waiting to be settled into their living quarters which has drug on months passed what we'd anticipated. North Dakota house STILL awaits a buyer (recent interest in leasing option which we'd covet your prayers about!!!). Through it all God has poured out His grace on us and kept us going. He has filled the barren walls of this big 'ole house with much fellowship and ministry. He has ministered to our hearts and blessed us deeply.

We enjoyed a wonderful summer including many memories made with extended family ..... a rare treasure that we have missed incredibly across the miles! There are many photos to share .... here are a few. Seeing these smiles just bring me such encouragement after such a long journey.

A little landscaping, a bountiful garden and sweet fellowship have created much beauty at this new homestead. We promise to update again soon. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remembering . . .

A year ago today we were finally united with our dear Arsema. What a bittersweet day it was. Our precious girl was less than excited about everything that was happening. I will never forget holding her stiff, scared body. We wanted so much for her to know there was nothing to fear. That process would take weeks for her. It definitely didn't come overnight. You can read all about that on the blog we kept to record our journey to her. However, a year later, she is deeply connected to her family and thriving. She is an absolute joy. We are so thankful for all the Lord has done in bringing her into our family.

Currently we are in the midst of an attack of the Chicken Pox. Three boys down, two girls likely waiting their turn. Hopefully all will be well soon and we can get onto better things ... like celebrating Nathaniel & Colton's birthdays!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Year Ago . . .

Wow ... so it's been a year ago now (and a few days) since we got that infamous call! The time had come and our baby girl was revealed to us. The Lord had been preparing our hearts for her what seemed like forever. We will never forget seeing her first photos and hearing her story. The shock ... the sadness ... the overwhelming hope and joy.

What a long journey you have had, precious child, in your first two years of life. Many difficulties, losses and trials . . . yet your heavenly Father loves you SO MUCH and by His grace made a way to provide a family for you. Oh what a privilege it is, precious Arsema to be your family. You are a beautiful reflection of God's grace.

Gone are the days of being weak and ill and tiny. You are now strong and full of energy. Your vocabulary is just exploding and it is so much fun to hear you learning to build sentences. You're a bit sneaky and beginning to be quite mischievous. Just this week as you found sister's gum (in the trash can!) and quickly hid it away safely between your chomping teeth you said to me .... "Gum ... mmmmmmm ... yummy ... Mommy!!". I could do nothing but laugh and let you enjoy your rescued treat. Silly girl!!

There are times you still get confused and scared and far away ... especially during our recent move. Those painful expressions of yours take me back to our first days together in your home land. More often though your eyes just sparkle and light up with wonder as you explore and take in all the amazing discoveries in this world.

You are so loved, my precious child. I will never forget God's relentless urging in my spirit about you. It seemed impossible that He would lead us to adopt again. By all realistic standards it was just kind of over-the-top. Oh but the Lord has NO limits, my child. He is ABLE to walk us through any mountains we face. I am so glad He led us to you. Through this journey I have learned so much about His heart and what He values.

May the Lord continue to work through your life just as He has ordained.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Birthday pics

Since blogger and I aren't getting along very well, here is another post with more pics from the birthday time! :) As you can see, progress is being made on the house! We'll update photos here soon.

Happy Birthday, Maleah!

It's hard to believe that Maleah has already turned 2! Between working on some molars and coming down with a cold, the birthday girl wasn't so happy. But she sure did enjoy some presents, cake and cousin time! She has not been a big fan of this move and getting her little world turned upside down again. Thankfully, things are beginning to settle down and she's learning that we are here to STAY and we're not leaving her. We look forward to another wonderful year with this precious sweetie.

And since Blogger isn't cooperating with me, there'll be a separate post with more pics.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I'm sorry that you're getting an error when you try to leave comments! Be assured we DO get your comments, but since our email has changed it sends this "unable to deliver" message. If any of you can tell me how to change my primary email on blogger, we'd love to hear from you!!! ... before I take the saw to my computer!!

But PLEASE still leave comments!! We LOVE hearing from you!


Much progress being made on the house ... LOTS of tools everywhere. Falling plaster has been removed, walls repaired and fresh paint put on. Stress has been felt with all the craziness. Children needing structure. Job search still in progress. Much prayer needed. Gratefulness has been felt in abundance while experiencing God's wonderful mercy and love throughout this move. BIRTHDAY to be celebrated soon!!! .... so come back for pics after the weekend. :)

The Roberts Family

Friday, February 6, 2009

Trust ... sometimes a difficult thing

As I somewhat anticipated, this move has been a difficult one for Arsema. Our mostly carefree little girl has temporarily transformed once again into a frightened wee-one with her guard way up. She looks at me as though I’ve let her down. We worked so long and hard to build trust with her and this set-back hit me hard emotionally. And while I would not choose for her to go through this, the Lord is definitely working through it and teaching me even greater lessons about Him.

When I look into her eyes and see that stare of confusion I have to ask myself ….. is this what I look like when looking to my heavenly Father during times of difficulty and unknown. Does my guard go up when I don’t know what’s coming next? Does my anxiety level rise when my routine is broken? Oh you betcha! I sense the Lord whispering to my spirit these last weeks and months …. “My child, don’t you know that you can TRUST ME?! Haven’t I proven to you over and over again that I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU?! My word says that I WILL NEVER leave you or forsake you! …. Do you really believe me? I have been there with you every step of this journey, none of that has changed!” But my flesh and my weakness seep out at times and I give in to fear and I’m tempted to believe the lies of the enemy.

The Lord is so KIND and MERCIFUL. He does not hold office hours. He is readily available to us every single moment, if we’ll just look to HIM and embrace Him with arms open wide. I’ve had to ask myself a lot this last year what is it that keeps me from embracing Him! Often it is the fear of the unknown. At those times I’m challenged to take a look at His character. What I am coming to realize is that He is worthy of our absolute trust!!! He longs for His children to be completely, whole-heartily surrendered to Him.

I find myself doing lots and lots of reassuring with Arsema these days. Doing my best to meet her where she is, which is a bit regressed from where she was. I’ve been working to connect with her, seeking frequent eye-contact, maintaining limits so she feels safe and secure. Over and over again the Lord gently reminds me ….. this is what I’m doing with you, my child! I long for your COMPLETE trust. I want you to look to me, not with eyes of fear, but eyes full of vibrancy because you are SO familiar with me and my ways that you just trust me no matter where I take you!
I find myself trying to prove to my daughter that she can really trust me!, that I have her very BEST in mind, that I work to meet her needs. But you see, with the Lord it’s all been proven long, long ago. Unlike me with all my sin and selfish desires and inadequacies, the Lord has NO limits. He is the perfect example of a parent. He proved it all when He chose to die for me so that I might enjoy eternity with Him. Thinking about what He’s done for me, spurs me on to surrender, obedience and walking in truth. Oh that He would take out the yuck in my heart and life so that I can better serve Him and my family.

I look forward to the days to come, knowing with some extra work, patience and time, our precious Arsema will let her guard down and flourish once again. Soon her anger will give way to laughter more frequently and she’ll have figured out that we’re all still here and while her life got shook up yet again, she’s gonna be okay. How I long for her to grow up to know and understand her Heavenly Father’s love. What a privilege it is to walk this journey of life with her, even during her very grumpy moments.

Change does not come without pain. Even good change causes stress and anxiety. But as I’m learning day by day, the Lord can be trusted with every detail. Selling a house, securing a job, and raising support for a new ministry …. The Lord is in control of all of it. HE is the one who will make it all come to be, we need to focus on surrender and obedience each day, moment by moment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Time to Hit the Road

A lot could be said about how moving is like labor! I had long, long hard labors. In the midst of it, I wanted to never endure them again. Yet later, it's like the weight of the difficult part of it had faded and I was left with focusing on the many blessings. Well ..... moving .... while fighting off a flu virus would rank right up there for me!

Many of you have prayed for us these last days as we not only learned we'd be moving soon, but then found out in was in a matter of days! We are SO very grateful for your prayers!!! Yesterday, I hardly had strength to walk around for very long .... yet tonight we're preparing to be on the road early in the morning. Oh how we'd appreciate you praying with us as we travel!!

As we sat around tonight trying to establish our game plan for the morning, I posed the question to our kids .... how many pizzas do you think we served in this kitchen? It was fun to hear their guesses. Some of you know that our current home was a huge work in progress. The kitchen was the major focus of renovation. We loved having company over and making home-made pizzas while chatting with them and learning of what God was doing in their lives. SO many memories in this kitchen.

When listing our house with a local realtor she was commenting to David that a marriage only withstands a certain number of house renovations. Ha. But I hope we defy the odds, as we're embarking on yet another one in IL. Although not as extensive as here. :)

This move is one very emotional for us. We are leaving folks here that we have grown to love so deeply. Not only are we changing location, but major roles as well. In our time table we would have not had an extended stay in ND. And while it was full of some great difficulty as far as work/job went and the great unknown .... it was God's plan for our family. He taught us to trust Him and believe Him to greater depths than we've ever known. There might come a day I write more about the things He taught me through this last seven months.

Many special people await us in Illinois. Grandparents! (well one batch of them we have to wait til April to see as they don't do IL winter anymore), our dog Honey!, our church family ...... and a new house waiting and ready to be turned into a home. Still many details to trust God about. But we are learning to trust and obey Him day to day.

Perhaps in the days to come you'll get to see some pics of our progress on the new place we call home. We look very forward to updating you also on our future ministry with the ABBA Fund. Be sure to check out their blog, written by Jason Kovacs, for many helpful resources concerning adoption and orphan care.

North Dakota holds special memories for us as well, because this is where God led us to follow Him on our adoption journeys. We saw Him move mountains time and again for each one. Now as a family of 7 we embark on this new chapter.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heads Spinning, Boxes Packing, Thanks Giving!!

As you know we have been waiting for over six months now for our move to IL. As fall came and went .... then winter began .... our hearts were growing weary wondering how everything was going to happen.

Well ...... the
Lord has seen fit to move us to the next chapter of our lives and ministry in IL in the very near future. Through an amazing chain of events, a house has been secured for us yesterday and we plan to work hard to making it a wonderful home base for ministry. It is incredibly overwhelming to comprehend that this is happening. This would be the "Heads Spinning" part! The last six months + have been increasingly difficult for us here and transition is always hard .... It's time for us to process through that and move forward.
We would very much appreciate your continued prayers for a good sale of our house here in ND. We'll make the complete move at that time. We'll be spending Maleah's birthday there .... What a special bonus. A packing we will go? .... yeah, insert prayer request here!
It's really impossible to express to you how much your prayers and love have meant to our family through this journey. We have asked the Lord time and time again to use what He's taught us through this season to bless and encourage others. We're trusting He will do just that.
Lots to figure out here in the days ahead. There is a need to secure work for David in IL. Now that we have a date we can pursue that further. It is also time for some difficult good-byes here in ND. We'd be so grateful for your continued prayers.
May the Lord be glorified through this wonderful testimony of His faithfulness! We will never forget what He has done for us. It is incredibly exciting to us what He has done in this next big step towards working more with the ABBA Fund through our new home base in IL.
The Roberts Family

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Princess turned 4!

What a fun week it has been. Thankfully, the Princess Birthday Party was the day BEFORE the big snow storm, or we'd have had one crying princess on our hands! We ended up not being able to make it to Maleah's court date because of the storm, so we have to wait just a bit longer for that special day. However, celebrating we have certainly been doing.

We haven't had a great track records with Naomi's birthday the last couple of years. Last year Daddy was nasty sick with the flu (that made it's way through the family). The year before that Nathaniel ran into a tree sledding and ended up with a nasty break to his leg. So ..... we were really trying to not repeat any of that this year! We had a wonderful day with friends.

Nathaniel helped to set a very special table for the birthday girl and her guests. Gotta love a brother that will go to great lengths to make his sis feel special! Josiah treated her like a princess all morning long and entertained her while she waited for company. Maleah slept through much of the fun, but woke just in time to enjoy cake with us! :) Boy does she LOVE cake! That's a good thing because next month we'll be celebrating her birthday!

The boys all enjoyed sledding and ping pong (and lots of yummy treats!). What a fun day! More celebrating to come yet this month. Then we hope soon it's time to pack up the moving truck! Lord, please send a buyer!!! :)