Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Small Request...

I thought tomorrow was June 1st. Darn.
I love the beginning of Summer.
Well, I guess it is,technically, since its after midnight as I write this.

Why am I up at midnight you ask? (You know you did...)

Because I have heaved this notebook that weighs as much as my 3 year old and contains all our adoption paperwork and multiple sets of copies onto my lap and I can't get it off.
I am praying that tomorrow we will finally, FINALLY get Jeremiah's proof of employment letter and then we'll be able to send this stuff off to USCIS and get our fingerprinting appt.

I hope I never, ever have to talk about Paperwork again. I'm sick of that word.
At least until our next adoption. hehe. hopefully...

Anyway, we need our letter to get here and our stuff sent off to USCIS, get our fingerprints done, and have everything State Certified and to our agency preferably in the next 18 days, when some of our Homestudy documents start to expire.
Thats really fast.
Probably a little too-humanly-possible-fast.
But our Great Big God can do it.
Will you pray for us this week?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Conversations with Ethan

Ethan: "When you move out and I'm grown up I'm gonna live in this house!"
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Ethan: "Yeah, but could you leave the computer?"
Me: Uh...ok"
Ethan: "Because then I can watch Andy Griffix! And I'll teach my kids to watch it and then they can teach their kids to watch it!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Hope Does

Hope looks at a little girl and does not see it's reflection in her eyes.
But it keeps looking anyway because she is beautiful.
Hope says she is not a burden, not unworthy, not unloveable.
Hope says she wont amount to nothing.

Hope says she was created in the image of the Living God.
That she was knitted by His hands in her mother's womb.
Hope says God knew her before she was born.

When the world says her transfer is imminent,
Hope says its a long way to September.

When the world says it would take a lot of money,
Hope says Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
And He owns the universe too.

The world says, "There are plenty of healthy kids here in America too, you know."
Hope says someone will see that beautiful, sad face and say

Hope says Her ransom will be raised, and she will know the love of a family, and fulfill her God-given purpose on this earth.

The world says it can't be done. Just forget about her.

Hope says, I may not be able to do it alone. But I don't go alone. He who has set a good work in my heart will finish it. My God is with me, and He is bigger than the cost, bigger than the red tape, bigger than my fears. He will not leave me.

A Perfect Lily is raising money to get Albina adopted and away from the danger of the mental institution she is headed for when she turns 5 on September 20.
She has Down Syndrome and a Septal Defect.

Through the month of May, an anonymous donor is giving her a matching grant. If she recieves $5,000, her grant will actually be $10,000. Currently, it is up to $2964.

There are some awesome prizes being given away too. But more importantly, there is a family for this girl somewhere who will be able to bring her home where she belongs.
She will be the winner.
Will you be her hope?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Koi Day!

Today after church we all went and helped Queenie pick out some new Koi for her ponds.

(Not these Koi...)

The kids each got to pick one out. Ethan named his Batman, which is also the name of the one he got last year. Charlotte named hers Ice.

Then we went to a cemetary.
I don't really know why. But it was interesting.
How many Brickers can you spot in the tree?

Then my camera card was full because I can never remember to take the pictures off.

Then we went back to the Brickers for lunch and a day of playing on the new Playground and watching Grandpa clean out the little pond. We found another turtle- he (she?) is about the size of a Quarter and Ethan named it Long Tail, because it has a long tail.
Then we found a green snake and a fat toad in a tree hole.
We took a walk around the big pond and fed bread to the catfish, played frisbee, climbed the apple trees and played with some more cousins back at Aunt Judy and Uncle Bob's.
Such a lovely day to be outside!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Why am I always the last to hear about these sort of things?
I mean, you'd think The Rapture would make bigger headlines. But then again, we have been watching a lot of Andy Griffith on Netflix, so I guess I sorta missed the memo.
I say again,
There's so much I wanted to get done before Saturday.
Like vacuuming out the car and eating better. Maybe going to the gym.
Maybe not. I hate working out.
And I should have been using our good dishes.
I mean, I should have bought good dishes, and then used them.And what in the world have I been saving my expensive shampoo for?
Oh well.
Must not concentrate on the what if's...
What I should do is take advantage of Sonic Happy Hour tomorrow and possibly Saturday, depending on what time this all is supposed to go down. Does anyone know?
I want to savor the Cherry Limeade like its going out of style.Because as awesome as Heaven is, I'm pretty sure they don't have Sonic ice.

Also, does anyone want a baby turtle? If we all go away, the poor thing is going to be Up.A.Creek. Maybe we should just let him go. On the other hand, if IT doesn't happen, I'm gonna feel like the world's worst parent come Sunday morning. Oh what a quandary!

Of course there would be some benefits to being raptured.
(Like not dying, for one.)
No more Michael Bolton elevator Musack, pumping my own gas, or waiting in line for the bathroom.
And no more mustaches...

I wonder if I can eat a whole roll of Pillsbury cookie dough before then?

And I should probably clean up my house in case any unbelieving squatters need a place to stay after we're gone. I want to leave a good impression, you know.

So much to do!

Oh, well, if it doesn't all get done, it doesn't get done.
It's not the end of the world.

Or maybe it is MWAHAHA...

In all seriousness, in case you don't know, Jesus really could come back Saturday.
Of course, He could come back tonight or in August, or in 3000 years.

"No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn." Mark 13:35

No one has special insight into this sort of thing.
I mean, if God hasn't even told Jesus, His own son, about it, why would he tell any one of us?
But you gotta give those people some credit- they are nothing if not persistent.
And one of these days, bless their little hearts, one of them might just finally get it right!

*No offense if you have a mustache. Jesus loves you and so do I , but come on...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reece's Rainbow

There are things that adoption brings to your attention that you just really don't want to know. Before we started this, the world was a better place. In my happy ignorance, I could just worry about my kids. 3 is easy. I could focus on dishes and dinner and occasionally read magazines about all the pretty ways to decorate my home.
My favorite YouTube videos were funny and had nothing to do with Third World Countries, Trash Dumps, or HIV.

I didn't know about the things that come up when you go through an international adoption.

I didn't know about Reece's Rainbow. I have spoken about them before. They are a wonderful organization that advocates for children with down syndrome, HIV, and other special needs in Russia and other Eastern European countries.
But more than just advocating for these children, they also raise funds to get them adopted(called grants, which attach to individual kids) and help potential families understand how to take care of their needs.
And when they don't make it to their families, they grieve.
In these countries where RR works, children who have Down Syndrome are treated like trash. Thrown away, abandoned, mistreated, abused, starved.
Children with HIV are treated just the same. Their society doesn't know what we know about HIV and AIDS. Children with HIV may go to the institution, or will age out at about 13, which means they will be put on the street. They will have no one to support them, and will not be able to get a job because of laws that mandate that employees not be HIV+. They will live, and die, on the street.
There are stories from RR Adoptive Families that would break your heart. Absolutely crush it. Stories of twins born in a hospital, but only the healthy one went home with the parents, because they didn't want the one with Down syndrome.
Stories of children who weigh only 11 pounds at 3 years old because no one saw the point in feeding a child who was called worthless by her society.
Stories of children that are drugged twice a day by their "caretakers" who can't be bothered with feeding, changing diapers, playing with, exercising or bathing them.
Stories of children who are only 5 years old being transfered to a mental institution for adults because they are not perfectly healthy, where most of them will die within 2 years because they cannot handle the abuse and neglect. Some of them have Down Syndrome, some have HIV, some are unable to walk but are perfectly healthy otherwise.
All just need a family to rescue them and love them. Feed them. Show them that they aren't worthless.

While most people who are considering adoption want to wait for a sign from God about whether or not He is calling them, whether now is the right time, whether they should save up the money first, these kids are spending their days hoping that TODAY is the day, that money will not stop someone from loving them NOW.
While we are weighing the pros and cons of adoption, how much it will cost, what it will do to our social circle, our children, our vacation opportunities, our retirement, these kids wait for someone to just help them survive.

I want to tell you, I am not a voice for God. I don't have any special insight to His will for your life, but I do have a Bible. And it tells us exactly what to do.
And I'm guessing that if you are reading this blog, you know what it says too.

I believe that God grieves for these kids. His heart breaks because He loves them more than an of us ever could. He made them with a purpose and without flaw. Only we put labels and stipulations on them. Only we make them out to be imperfect and undesirable.

There are some people who have no business adopting. I understand that.
But what if God gave us all our talents, our income, our creativity, our location, our church family,our particular job, our ability to stay at home, our resources, so that we could use them for the purpose of rescuing a child from certain death?
Isn't that more worthwhile than a new car, expensive clothes, or a cush retirement?

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later, I'll give it tomorrow"-when you now have it with you."
Proverb 3"27-28

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
Proverb 24:12

Jin Wu

Monday, May 9, 2011

How We Came to Adopt...

Grab a snack because this could take awhile...

This is the story of how we got where we are today, totally in love with a little Ethiopian baby we've never seen.

The Way Back Background:
I remember now looking through my mom's catalogs when I was little and pretending that I was picking out babies to adopt. I never thought twice about skin color, though I didn't know anyone who didn't look like me. I remember always wanting to be a photographer so I would have an excuse to go to Africa and adopt a baby. And I remember telling my mom, even after I was married that if I ever had a little brown baby I knew exactly how I wanted to do her hair. Who knows where I thought I'd get one;adoption was nowhere in our radar at the time, and since I married a very pale, although handsomely so, man, it probably wasn't going to happen naturally...

The More Recent Background:
For a few weeks last spring, prior to the beginning of this story, I had started having this unsettling feeling that someone was missing. The kids would be playing near me, and I could see them all, count them all, but still, it felt like someone was not there that should be. It was a feeling I couldn't shake, but I didn't say anything about it because it was just so weird. I couldn't explain it.

Exactly one year ago this weekend, May 16 2010, we decided to pray together for God to let us know what to do about our family. We had at the time 3 kiddos, our oldest was 4 and our youngest was 9 months old.
2 boys and a girl.
Practically perfect in every way.
It seems that about the time the youngest of the brood is about to turn 1, I always get that desire for another one. But this year, I just wasn't feeling it.
No baby fever. Not even lukewarm about it. Just didn't wanna.
We talked about it casually for awhile,
"Do you think we should have another baby?"
"I don't know, what do you think"
"Well, I don't know, what do YOU think?"
I didn't want to have a baby just because it was what we always had done, and I just wasn't feeling a peace about it either.
And finally we decided to ask the Lord about it, since He's kinda the boss of that stuff.
So we prayed earnestly, and for the next few days, I occasionally wondered how God was going to tell us what to do. I figured sooner or later (like 9 months or so) we'd get our answer.
Which didn't happen.
Instead, I got sick.
About the time I thought I would die if I didn't get some medicine, I went to the doctor and found out I had Pneumonia. So besides sleeping and staring blankly at the walls, there really wasn't much to do besides blog-hop. (Jeremiah and his mom took over with the kids so I could rest and recoup.)
Somehow, I really have no idea how, but I got onto this blog and specifically this post, where they announced that they were expecting a baby- from Ethiopia.
And honestly, I was like "Whaaat?"
Sad to say.
I was skeptical. I had never met anyone that had adopted transracially.
And then I pulled a Serpent-in-the-Garden.
"Would God reeeeally tell someone to do that? That's crazy..."

And then "somehow" every.single.blog I visited for 3 days had something to do with adoption. No kidding. Either they had adopted or were adopting or they were talking about it. I couldn't get away from it.
And very slowly it started not to seem so crazy.

I fought it, I really did.

"This is not something you could have us do, God," I said. "That's so not us. It's not who we are. We have 3 whole kids already!"
And "somehow" every.single.blog that "just happened" to be talking about adoption were of families that had as many, or more kids than us.

And I fought it again.

"But God, look at us- we are pretty white, Lord-remember, You did make us this way. I'm just sayin' , what would people think when they saw our Christmas cards?"

And He so graciously reminded me that I have never sent out Christmas cards.
Problem solved.

Honestly, it really wasn't the difference in skin tones that bothered me. The whole idea was just completely different than anything I had ever really considered. We had said a few times that we would like to adopt...in the future...later on...when we had the money. And certainly Africa had never entered the conversation. But deep down, I don't know if we really meant it. I don't know that we ever would have found the right time on our own.

So my tactics for convincing the Lord He was wrong were not working so well.
But He was patient and gentle in unfolding His plan.

"This is not crazy, this is what I have planned for you," He began to whisper.

"But Looo-ooord! We only have 1 bathroom! We don't know anyone else who has adopted from Africa! I don't know anything about hair! We don't have the money! What will our families think? What will Jeremiah think?"

I really let Him have it.

( In the 5 days that this had all happened, I hadn't told Jeremiah a word of it. I was scared he would think I was nuts.)

Exactly one week after our prayer, I was a little less near death and Jeremiah had taken Ethan and Charlotte to his parent's so I could rest. Caden was home with me. And I was once again on the computer.

I found the blog We Love Our Lucy...and it was all downhill from there.
At the time, this song was playing on her blog.

The blog post I read that day was about all the excuses people make to keep themselves from adopting.
And they were all the same ones I was trying to point out to God.

And then I watched their adoption video.
The same one that has inspired over a hundred families to adopt.

I am going to get really real here for a minute.
I think there are some times when God speaks to us.
Maybe not in an audible did-anyone-else-hear-that? sort of way, but to our heart. To the very spot that He has nestled inside us that only He can take hold of.
I'm not used to this, it doesn't happen alot. The only other time was just before I was saved. So don't think that I am a pro at this or anything.
But that day, I believe He spoke to me.

I couldn't take it anymore. A whole week of God unveiling His plan for our family-just like we asked Him to do- and it wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I was nervous and scared and worried and I didn't think that Jeremiah would say yes. I didn't think we would have any real support. I thought everyone would think we were so off our rockers that they wouldn't want their kids to play with our kids.
(And we have an awesome family and wonderful friends. It's just that, again, it was so weird.)

But our God is in the business of being weird.
(In a Sovereign, Almighty sort of way.)

And as I watched that video, I just couldn't hold it all in anymore.
I fell to the floor. I was a mess.
"How will you do this?!" I said (outloud-after all it was just me and Caden.)

And Caden crawled over to me as I was on my knees, head on the floor, and gently put his little hand on my head.

"Mama!" He said

And the Lord said, " How have I given you any of your children? By my mighty will!"

And that was how I knew it would really happen.
The end.

Just kidding.
Then I told Jeremiah.
He was pretty cool about it. At least, he didn't say no.

" Um , babe," I said casually, " I think I know the answer to our prayer"
"What prayer?"
"The one about kids..."
"Oh yeah, what about it?"
"I think that God is telling us to adopt...(this is where I held my breath and ducked around the corner)
"Really?" Followed by a weird, indecipherable look.
"From Ethiopia..."
"Really? Why do you think that?"
"Weeeeeelll..." and then it all came out.

The money issue was the biggest issue for him.It took a lot of prayer and guidance from others. I know for him, he couldn't decide if we were to go ahead and start then or wait until we had some money saved up ( at the time, we had no money saved for this, and were trying to get out of debt). One night a week or so after we talked, he said he was listening to the radio in the car and some kind of commercial came on and at the end, the person on the radio said "Adopt Immediately" and he said he knew that was his answer.

Our family has been crazy supportive and they are totally in love with a girl they've never met.
And our church family has been overwhelming in their support and love for us and Zoey. God is moving big time right now for adoption in our church.

We are getting ready to submit our Dossier to Ethiopia and get on the waiting list for a healthy or special needs little girl. What should have been a 4-6 month timeframe for paperchasing has turned into an 8 month long paperchase.
But we are resting in the sovereignty of our God. His timeframes are better anyway.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dear Zoey, (Letter #5)

This weekend was Mother's Day here and as much as I tried to focus on having a good time, I've been thinking about you and your first mommy alot this weekend. I wish you were in this picture, not wanting to stand still.
I wish I knew your first mommy's name. "Birthmother" seems so formal and distant.
I have been thinking about how she has probably never heard of a Mother's Day, or had a whole day of being celebrated. I'm wondering if all these days and weeks and months of our extra waiting are her "just one more" days and weeks and months with you.
While we are waiting on paperwork, is she writing your features in her memory? Trying to lock away how you smell, and how soft your little feet are? The way you laugh or toddle around?
Is she cherishing this time, praising God for the extra minutes of knowing you?
I have prayed harder than ever that we will be able to meet her, that she will want to meet us. I want so badly for you to know her.
It's so strange to think that you will have two mothers. She is the one who grew you and loved you first. I am the one who will watch you grow up and teach you to speak a language she cannot. She will give you her features, her beauty, and her mannerisms. I will be the one who gets to snuggle with you and do your hair and teach you to read.
It's getting close to a year, to the day that the Lord first pressed you gently into my heart, like a tiny seed pressed into the ground. I didn't know then how it would happen, how it would all work and turn out. Almost one year ago I couldn't believe that I could ever be the mommy of a little brown skinned girl from across the world. And now, I know that all my life, the Lord has been preparing me for this, to be a mom by birth and adoption.
I hope you are able to snuggle extra close to your first mommy. I hope she is taking the time to breathe you in and savor you. Let her. Enjoy it while it lasts.Pretty soon, you will have to learn a whole lot of new things. But I hope she knows that you will be safe, and loved, and that she will always hold a special place in this family.
I love you and I love her too.
xoxo Mommy

Thursday, May 5, 2011

National Day of Prayer...

Is today!
How cool is that?
We live in a country that sets aside a whole day for worshiping the Lord, for casting our cares on Him, for asking His guidance, His favor, and His will.

So many hurting people.
So many fatherless children.
So many broken marriages.
So many hungry families.
So many women and children in slavery.
So many sick.
So many fighting.
So many hating each other.
So many lost.
So many without Jesus.

There is so much trouble in this world we live in.

"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Today, will you join me in asking the Lord God to heal our nation's heartaches, to find families for children that need them, for hearts all over the world to turn and run to the one and only Savior?

There is nothing too big for our God. There is no trouble he does not care about. There is no sin so great He cannot forgive.

We serve the Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and Earth!

Our Week In Pictures...