Thursday, September 22, 2011


The official processes of our adoption have begun. We were pre-approved to adopt from Colombia through Gladney Center for Adoption on Tuesday, September 20th. We had a phone orientation today to give us an overview of what we can expect throughout the adoption process. The manual containing all of our instructions for paperwork is 55 pages, if that's any indication of how much work is ahead of us. Our heads were spinning after our hour and a half conversation.  We talked about our homestudy, documents needed for our dossier, immigration papers, what to do when we receive a referral, what the stay in country will be like, when fees will be due, among MANY other things.  The most exciting part of our conversation was when the agent from Gladney told us that it is very possible to have our children home a year from now!!!  In the adoption world, that is like THE SPEED OF LIGHT! :) Everything became REAL to us during this conversation.  But, as overwhelming as the reality of adoption is, we are trusting God for His provision.  We anticipate the amazing things God will accomplish in and through His people. 

Every once in a while, I get strong impressions from the Lord.  Through scripture, preaching, and prayer, God reassures me of His purpose for us.  Sitting in church last night, I began to consider the miracle of our circumstance.  I began to reflect on the command in Scripture to preach the gospel to "every nation, kindred, tongue, and people," Revelation 14:6 and how Scripture declares that God has a PEOPLE, redeemed "out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation," Revelation 5:9.  What if God has called us to this adoption in order to make (3) little Colombian souls a part of THAT PEOPLE, redeemed by the blood of Christ?  Scripture teaches of God's infinite plan, how that Christ purchased His people "from the foundation of the world," Revelation 13:8.  What an astounding thought that, before the foundation of the world, God ordained that we would adopt these children.  We can only pray that His purpose for doing so was that they might KNOW HIM. What a beautiful story we will be able to tell them; how God's love purposed them to be our very own.  Not unlike how He has purposed US to be His very own.  Did His love seek you out?  Consider the circumstances that God used to bring you into His family.  Aren't we all immensely blessed?  We are not merely guests at the Kings table, we belong there.  

In light of this, are we to remain seated at the table, enjoying all of its bounty?  Or is this bounty to be shared?  Matthew 5:13-14 gives us a clue, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it (the earth) be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."  Take a moment to consider what salt does.  It seasons.  Once you put salt in something, you can't take it out again.  It's sort of permanent.  If you've ever over-salted your grits, you know this.  But, what about savor-less salt?  If salt had no taste, would you still put it on your french fries?  No, what would be the point?  If salt had no savor it would no longer be effective, it would be useless.  Light hearted jokes aside... God's word tells us that we are the "salt of the earth."  We are intended to be the effective kind of salt, the lingering kind of salt, the kind of salt that has SAVOR.  We should be making every effort, with our words, actions, thoughts, and deeds, to season this earth with the gospel.  THAT IS OUR PURPOSE.  Have you lost your savor?  Don't be "good for nothing," but be a BRIGHT LIGHT in this dark world, be "a city...on a hill (that) CANNOT BE HID."  Be effective for Christ.  We have work to do!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Day in the Life of an Orphan

(We came across this information today and we really wanted to share it with our readers.)

Bedrooms and Bedtime
During the first few years at the orphanage, babies sleep in a room that contains 18-20 cribs and possibly a single changing table.  Usually the nursery walls are painted white or a pale color.  The children are rarely rocked to sleep or comforted when they cry during the night.
When orphaned children get older, they sleep in a bedroom with up to 20 other children.  The room is filled with rows of beds and contains no other furniture.  Each child has his or her own bed, but they do not have any special blanket, toy, or stuffed animal that they take to bed with them.

At bedtime, the children climb into bed and a worker turns off the light.  No one tucks them in or hugs them good night.  When the boys and girls have nightmares, no one comes into their room to console them. Many orphaned children are afraid of night time.

Closets and Clothing
Children who are 5 and older may have a small closet of their own in a special room.  Most children have only one or two sets of clothes - possibly dresses for the girls, and pants and shirts for the boys.  The children will wear the same clothes for many days at a time.  Orphans may have a special outfit to wear for a holiday program, but that is stored elsewhere.

Many orphans own one pair of "street shoes" and another pair to wear indoors.  They wear the shoes until the soles are coming off.  If children receive a new pair of shoes, their name is written on both the shoes and the shoebox with a permanent marker.  This is to keep workers or other children from stealing them.

Mealtime can be a stressful experience for orphaned children.  While still in the hospital, abandoned newborns eat from bottles propped up on towels in their cribs.  Babies are not held and snuggled during their feedings.  At the orphanage, mealtime is often rushed.  With only 2 workers and 30 hungry babies, adults must feed many children at the same time.  Workers shovel food into toddlers' mouths, hardly giving the children time to chew.  
Older orphaned children eat together at tables with up to 10 children.  they do not have a variety of foods at their meals or a choice about what they eat.  Breakfast usually consists of porridge.  Soup and bread are served for both lunch and dinner.  Because they are hungry, some children steal food from the table and then hide it to eat between meals.  Boys and girls hurry to eat their meal so that the other children won't steal food off of their plates.

Bathrooms and Hygiene
Bath time can be very traumatic for orphaned children.  Instead of taking baths, children generally take very quick showers.  The younger children are put into a bathtub or shower with other children.  As they stand up, workers quickly wash them and spray them off with a hose.  In some orphanages, the water can be very cold.  Most children cry during bath time.
Older children take showers 2 times a week, at most.  They have a central place where their toothbrush and towel is stored.  Many bathrooms for older children do not have indoor plumbing.  Children go to an outhouse to use the restroom.

Most orphanages cannot afford to buy quality playground equipment for their children.  Playground equipment is very simple.  There may be a swing, a slide, and a sand box.
Toys in the orphanage are kept neatly on shelves and only taken out at certain times of the day.  Getting many children to share a few toys can become a problem, so workers feel it is easier to leave the toys on the shelf.

Children learn music, drama, and poetry in an organized class time during the week.  Their rooms do not have televisions or radios.

The Christian Alliance for Orphans
The Cry of the Orphan

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Decision

We would like to thank each of you who committed to pray for us concerning our decision to proceed with Colombia, we have definitely felt your prayers.  We are proud to announce that we completed our pre-application with Gladney Center for Adoption for the Colombia program today.  If anything has changed in the past 2 weeks, it has been that our desire to adopt from Colombia has had a snowball effect, it just gets bigger and bigger by the day.  We have felt God's assurance that He will provide the way physically, emotionally, and financially.  We don't have all of the answers yet, but the outpouring of support and love that we feel from you has been more than we could ever ask for.  So, we are certain that we must trust God as we walk down this exciting, scary, uncertain path that will ultimately lead us to the little ones we have long prayed for.

We would also like to announce that we have created another blog, specifically dedicated to the support of our adoption. We would, as humbly as we know how, ask that you pray about how you can be involved in supporting us.  If you'd like to host a fundraiser; help out with a fundraiser that I have planned; if you would like to take up a love offering at church; if you would like Blaine and I to come to your church to share about our adoption; if you would be willing (on any level) to support us, let us know. Our support blog can be found at It will also be linked to this blog.

Thank you again for your expressions of love and support.  Each time we receive encouraging texts or emails it gives us a BOOST and helps us know that this adoption is possible. "for with God all things are possible." Mark 10:27

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2 Weeks

Blaine and I could both feel God at work in our hearts as He gave us the ability to say, Whatever this adoption looks like, Lord, we are willing.  We decided to revisit the idea of adopting Internationally, this time without blinders.  THIS time we wouldn't be searching for the program that could give us the youngest child, but we would prayerfully consider every opportunity.  I also looked into a few new agencies that we hadn't yet requested information from.

I've been involved in mission work in Mexico since I was 15 years old.  This experience has cultivated a genuine love in my heart for Spanish speaking people. I'm almost 27 now, so needless to say this mission has been profoundly influential in shaping who I am today.  It was the reason I began to consider adoption, many years ago.  From the moment I stepped off of the van in La Nariz, Mexico in 2000, my life was changed.  For the first time in my life, at 15 years old, I understood the meaning of poverty.  The people of La Nariz taught me what it means to love God unconditionally.  They have so little, yet they continue praising God for His goodness.  Now that's a lesson America has yet to learn.  It's a lesson I, myself, am still learning.  So often our love for God and our happiness in life is contingent upon our circumstance.  The testimony time at Iglesia Bautista Gracia puts testimony time in our churches TO SHAME.  Not only did this mission teach me what it means to love God, it also showed me my responsibility as His child.  I enjoy so many blessings as one who has been adopted into the family of God, one who has been invited to dine at the table of a King, one who shares in all of His wealth and goodness. Therefore, it is my responsibility to care for the needy, the helpless, the poor, the widow, the stranger, the orphan. (see Deut 24:17-21)

I shared all that to say that, as Blaine and I again approached the idea of adopting Internationally, my heart was drawn to the Latin countries that had an adoption program.  As I began reading about different programs I came across Gladney's Colombia adoption program.  It offered an immediate placement program for couples willing to adopt sibling groups where the oldest child is 7 years old.  Two months ago there is no way I would've even considered this, but now.... well now I was completely ecstatic. I immediately told Blaine about everything and he was ecstatic, too.  We were both in agreement to seriously consider this option.  We kept other programs in mind, but this is the one that stood out. 

We made an agreement with one another to really pray about this for 2 weeks.  We both wanted to make sure that this was God's will for us.  We decided that in this period of 2 weeks, we would search out financial resources, further details about the program, and Blaine would determine if his work would allow him time off to complete the adoption.  This coming Friday will be the end of our 2 week agreement.  I'd like to tell you that there were all happy discoveries up until now, however we began to face the hardships of the adoption process.  So, we'd ask that you would enter into prayer with us in the final days before our final decision to proceed with adoption from Colombia.

Here's how you can pray:
*Pray that God would CLEARLY show us the right decision
*Pray that He would provide the finances necessary to make the adoption possible
*Pray that He would send us people to rally around us in support
*Pray that God would be glorified and we would be satisfied in whatever He chooses to do through us

Saturday, September 10, 2011

God's Promise

The more I walked through this season of uncertainty, the more God reassured me of His promise in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  In this season of my life, God has used the writings of Charles Spurgeon to bring me peace just when I begin to unravel at the edges.  I remember one night laying my head on the pillow with a heart full of worry.  Before going to sleep, I read the evening portion of Spurgeon's daily devotion.  These were his words, "Trust in Him at all times." Psalm 62:8 How pleasant to float along the stream of providence. There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God. We have no care, for he careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord.  Amazing, right?  No matter how many times I struggle with the SAME thing, God reminds me of His faithfulness.  He never grows weary of teaching me the same lesson.  When I forget His promises and begin again to wallow in my anxiousness, He doesn't leave me there, but He stills my fitful heart and reminds me to trust Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  

It was in this time of waiting that I could clearly see God changing me.  Even though I had embraced adoption, I still placed limitations on what I would be willing to do.  I really wanted a baby.  I was okay with the idea of adopting a toddler, but I didn't want an older child.  I didn't want a sibling group.  Those were my stipulations, so to speak.  Well.... I cannot tell you clearly enough that God, unmistakeably, CHANGED my heart.  I began to consider adopting an older child.  When I spoke to Blaine about it, I found out that he was considering it also.  Now this was a HUGE deal for the both of us, because we had said all along that we just couldn't do that.  We felt too inexperienced to adopt an older child.  We also had concerns about behavior.  We were down right afraid.  It 's funny how we declare we can't do something and suddenly God makes us able.  I began to let go of the desire to experience everything that goes along with having a baby, and I started to realize the need for children of all ages to be adopted.  How could I ignore their needs simply to satisfy my own desires?  Instead of imagining all of the things I would "miss out" on by adopting an older child, I began to consider all of the wonderful things I would be able to enjoy.  Blaine and I were both excited to see what the future held for us.

Well, you'll never guess what happens next...... or maybe you will. :)  

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Letter

About a week after we mailed off our pre-app with Catholic Charities, we received a letter from them acknowledging their receipt of our application.  Much to our surprise, the letter encouraged us to continue to research other adoption methods/agencies.  We were completely puzzled by the letter.  Why would an agency encourage us to search out other options?  I was a little unsettled, but Blaine became really discouraged by this.  I tried to reassure him that it was just their way of telling us to make certain that we wanted to work with them.  As days went on, Blaine became restless.  He just didn't feel right about this.  The more he expressed his concern, the more I became concerned.  We wondered, is this the right decision?  So, we decided to make another appointment with Catholic Charities to express our concerns and hopefully get some answers.

We learned that the time line for the completion of the adoption was a lot different than we had imagined.  Catholic Charities encourages their clients to explore all avenues because it is such a long wait, and they want to make sure that each couple is 100% sure of their decision before moving forward.  The details of their procedures are confusing, to say the least, so I won't try to explain them here.  In a nutshell, it became clear to both Blaine and me that this wasn't a good fit for us.

So, what now?  We were both discouraged and confused.  To add to my discouragement and confusion, I became FITFUL.  I was more anxious than words could ever explain.  It felt like we were back at square one, with no direction.  I couldn't see it at the time, but God was working.

In the midst of my inward turmoil we attended a Shane and Shane concert.  For those of you who know us well, you know we LOVE the Shanes.  Anytime we have the opportunity to see them live, we are on the front row.  I was looking forward to a time of enjoyment, where I could leave my worries behind.  Shane Barnard's wife, Bethany Dillon, was also there that night.  She is one of my favorite Christian female artists, so I was excited she was there, too.  She hasn't released an album in a few years, so she mostly sang familiar songs.  But, she shared one that she had just written.  It was called "to those who wait."  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  It was exactly what I needed to hear, as if God was speaking directly in my ear.  I began to sob as I listened.  As hard as I try, I can't seem to remember the exact lyrics, but the song talked about not being quick to leave, and filling your lamp with oil... as if to say, wait all night, as long as it takes, just wait.  God reminded me to be still and wait on Him to guide us.  And so began a season of prayer and waiting for direction.  We weren't sure where we were to go next, but God made it clear to us that He would lead us, if we would but wait on HIM. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

International or Domestic?

As I began to learn the lesson of loving an adopted child just as much as one born to me, God began to change my attitude from merely an "acceptance" of my situation, to a beautiful embrace.  Every fear I had, every doubt, was taken from me.  God replaced doubt and fear with trust in Him and excitement for His plan. Although we faced much uncertainty, He imparted His grace to sustain us.  

We began to consider the different avenues of adoption.  After talking to other adoptive couples, we decided we wanted to work with an agency, but we weren't certain if we should adopt internationally or domestically.  As we looked into international adoption we were completely overwhelmed by all of the obstacles that stood in our way.  First of all, the price seemed insurmountable.  Secondly, many countries required a long stay in-country to finalize the adoption.  We began to worry, how would we afford this? would Blaine's job even allow him to take time off?  At that point, we began to shy away from international adoption because it just seemed "too hard."  So, we looked into domestic adoption.  I will take a moment and be perfectly honest with you, I was sold on this idea because I could get a baby... not even just a baby, but a newborn baby.  Next, we learned of domestic adoption through Catholic Charities.  They offered newborn adoption and the fee would be based on a percentage of our income.  We also learned that there was a government adoption tax credit that would completely cover the adoption expenses.  I was so excited, I couldn't contain myself.  I wanted a baby so incredibly badly, and this seemed to be the answer to my prayers.  I was over the moon.

We met with a representative from Catholic Charities to find out more about their agency.  After the meeting, we felt so strongly about everything that we filled out a pre-application within days of the meeting.  We had finally begun our adoption journey. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A New Point of View

Through the dark times of struggling and praying, God surrounded us with His love and began to change our viewpoint.  He used the encouragement of friends and family to remind us that though we sometimes face difficulty, God is sovereign over every circumstance.  It was only by His providence that we faced a possibility of infertility.  At this realization, we had to yield it all to Him: our struggles, our fears, our sadness, our questioning, everything.

We felt certain that God was leading us in the direction of adoption, but which path were we to take?  (International, domestic, private, through an agency) We had a lot of questions.  So, we began to read.  Google became our best friend.  We began to search for reputable agencies, we bought books about adoption, we listened to sermons about adoption, we talked to adoptive parents; we completely saturated ourselves in adoption information.  In this time of research, we requested information from several agencies.  One of the information packets included a DVD of testimonials from adoptive parents.  A statement one of the adoptive mothers made really stood out to me.  She was talking about infertility and how we often categorize couples into those who can have children and those who can’t; her exact words were “We can ALL have children.”  That statement hit me like a ton of bricks.  God used her words to completely change my outlook on our situation.  The negative thoughts slowly dissipated, and I began to see the beauty of what God would do in our lives through adoption.  

God began to show us the parallel between our adoption of a child and how He has adopted us into His family.  The statement I made in a previous blog, “I couldn’t bear the thought of not having ‘my own’ children,” was no longer a thought in my mind.  I began to consider the love God the Father has for me.  He loves me AS HIS OWN… I am His.   “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;” Romans 8:15b-17a.  I am as much God’s child as Christ is.  What an astounding thought.  As I reveled in this thought, I realized that no matter how God chooses to give me children, they are all my own.  As a dear friend of mine prayed, He has already set them aside for me.  They are mine, even this very hour.  I just have to go get them. :)


Monday, September 5, 2011

Devastating News

The day Blaine and I found out that infertility might be an issue for us was a very dark day.  A flood of emotions encompassed us as we rehearsed the news in our minds; we felt sadness, confusion, uncertainty, and most of all intense grief.  I always assumed that I could have a baby whenever I felt ready.  So when I was told that it may not be possible, I was quite simply, stunned.  I immediately thought, this can't be happening to me.  God showed me, in a very real and personal way, that life is a gift FROM HIM.  Having children is not something 2 people make up their minds to do; God is the giver and creator of life, and He ordains ALL things.  I know what you must be thinking..... DUH, everyone knows that, but I finally realized what that really means.  It was from that moment that the Lord began an intense reconstruction in my own heart and mind.  At the time I couldn't see where He was taking me, but looking back now I can, as scripture teaches, count it all joy.  

It was no accident that the week after we received this unsettling news, we were to spend a week at a Bible retreat.  This afforded us the opportunity to share our burden with some of our dearest friends in the Lord.  Not only was it helpful to be able to pray with others in this dark time, we were able to spend 4 days immersed in God's word.  It was exactly what we needed.  

In the days following the news from the doctors, I remember feeling as though the Lord was using this experience to sort of push us into the commitment to adopt.  After all, thinking about adopting and following through are quite different.  We had always thought about adoption, but I felt the Lord confirming in my heart that it was time to do it.  Blaine felt that very same urge.  Even though the thought of adopting a child brought a little relief to my heavy heart, I still felt fearful.  I still couldn't bear the thought of not having "my own" children.  From the time I was a little girl, I had always imagined what my life would be like.  Now I was realizing that the life I was living didn't match my picture.  It became a struggle for me to let go of what I had in mind and embrace what God had in store for us.  He began to teach me how to love what HIS PICTURE looks like.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Introduction

Blaine and I began talking about our hopes of adopting when we were dating, around 9 years ago.  Blaine comes from an adopted family of 4 and I have been involved in foreign mission work since I was 15; these experiences were instrumental in not only shaping our view of adoption, but also in enhancing our desire to include adoption as a part of our "family plan."  Though our desire to adopt was certain, we never went much further than dreaming that we would adopt someday in the future, after we'd had a few kids of our own.  Blaine and I got married in December of 2005 and shortly thereafter, I went back to college to pursue a degree in Elementary Education.  We decided that I would complete my degree before we started a family.  As my graduation date drew nearer, we took the plunge and began trying for a baby of our own.  Months and months went by when we realized something was wrong.  Several doctor's visits and lab tests later, we discovered that having children may not be an option for us.  We were told that it would be a long, investigatory process to identify the problem and determine if it was correctable.  I'd like to pause here....

Blaine and I were given this news 2 months ago.  What God has done in our hearts since that day is simply remarkable.  For that reason alone, I chose to create this blog.  Firstly, because I have SO much to share about what our MAGNIFICENT LORD has done, and continues to do, in my heart.  Secondly, because I want to document our journey.  I wish I had started this blog from the very beginning, simply because we've come so far in such a short amount of time.... it's ASTOUNDING! I'd like to rewind and go back to that day.  I'd like to take you down the road we've been on, as a testament to our gracious and loving God, and His POWER to transform even the darkest of night into the brightest day.

***Sharing everything we've experienced up until now would make for one ginormous post. So, for your sakes, and mine, I will split the story up into several posts. I look forward to sharing the amazing things God has done for Blaine and me. TO BE CONTINUED.....