Friday, November 30, 2012

3 Months Waiting & NEW NUMBERS!!

We have OFFICIALLY been waiting for 3 months today! In a way, it seems like forever and in another way, it has flown by! One thing that helps is so many REFERRALS going out over the past few days!! Our yahoo and facebook group (for our adoption agency) has been filled with excitement!

So far- referrals that WE know of are:
4 Boy referrals!!
and 3 Girl referrals!!
 *Referral is when a family is matched with a child*

Of course, there could be more, but these are the ones we know of for sure.

Sooooo.... That means that we have FINALLY moved on the "unoffical waiting list!"

We were number 82 for a boy 0-12 mos, but NOW we are.....

And we were number 38 for 18-24 month old boy, but NOW we are....

Praising God this week for all of the movement in our agency!! All of these sweet children will soon be placed with there forever family! And of course, one step closer to Malachi!

I am excited to finally take numbers down on our countdown wall in the kitchen!

Please continue to pray for children to be matched with families and paperwork to be processed ethically and quickly!

Happy Friday, guys!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Perfect Parent - Budget Series

Miller has learned how to talk. He is quickly learning the language and surprises us daily with new words. It's fun. Just the other day, he pointed to a newly bought bag of Cheetos, spit out his pacifier, and said "cheeto!" Of course, I gave him one. He ate it, then pointed again and said "cheeto." I gave him another. This cycle repeated itself MULTIPLE times over the next 20 minutes. And finally, I looked at him and said "no" when he asked. He looked at me like "Excuse me... what did you say?" As reality sank in, he gave me that sad look like "why??" Then... his face started turning red, his bottom lip folded over his chin, a tear fell down his cheek, and he began to wail! Stomped his feet. Swatted his orange hands. Fell on the floor. And cried.
I kneeled down, not saying a word but smiling.
He ran from me. I stayed right where I was. A few seconds later, still crying, he poked his head around the corner and with his lip still folded over his chin... He ran to me saying "maaaa maaaa." I hugged him and he sat in my lap on the kitchen floor. We just sat. He cried. I kissed. Then, interestingly, he started smiling. Started laughing. Wanted to play. I cleaned him up (orange cheeto everywhere). I cleaned all the places he had touched and swept the crumbs he had left. Life was good again.

Soon after I became pregnant with Miller, I went part time at work. God waS very specific with me years ago about making an effort to be at home more than work. I never knew if that would be a possibility, but when the opportunity presented itself - I took it! Needless to say, our lifestyle changed drastically with me going part time, adding a baby, and a new house. It was (is) hard. Don't get me wrong, we live in such luxury compared to a majority of the world. We still have cable, Internet, a beautiful home, Etc. I will not say that we are "poor" but I will choose the words "on a budget" to better explain.

When we first began our "on a budget" journey, it was EXTREMELY hard. We never went without needs, but we definitely have gone without many of our "wants." Prior to this past 1&1/2 years, I would have argued that I didn't necessarily "love" the world and all it's stuff. But up until now... I was never denied anything that was within reason.


I am denied things that appear to be "within reason." I am denied luxuries." I am denied things that you wouldn't consider "luxuries" such as random food items that aren't on my specific grocery list. No random shopping. No extras.

Just two days ago, I texted Lee in all seriousness and said "I bought two luxury items at the grocery today. A 5$ candle and a 5$ travel mug." In his sweetness, he replied "yay!" One gift was for me and the other for him! We were truly thankful. However, we haven't always had a grateful posture. As a matter of fact- we were far from grateful in the beginning! We were angry!! Sounds silly huh?

It was hard. For the first time in our lives we were denied the things of this world, and we realized just how much we LOVE this world. We LOVE comfort. We LOVE Security. We LOVE to shop and to buy the things our eyes see. We covet and are envious. We want more, more, more. The lust of our eyes was revealed to us when we were denied things we wanted. Our hearts were filthy with a love for worldly things.

But God, in His loving kindness, looked down at us and said, "no."
At first we were shocked like Miller was when I said "no" about the cheeto.
Then reality sank in, and we began to pitch a total fit! We wailed. We kicked our feet. We fell on the floor.

And God just kneeled down, smiling.

We ran from Him. We ran around trying to make sense of it. Trying to understand. We tried to "figure" it out on our own.


Still crying, we poked our head around the corner and we began to run back to Him. We climbed in His lap. We cried. He kissed.

And as He loved on us, we realized that we actually LIKE being dependent on Him. We were glad He had told us "no." We were thankful that He began cleaning our "orange cheeto" hands. We were glad He was cleaning our hearts and everything we had touched. He is slowly replacing our love for the world with a love for Him... And it is good! Still hard, but good!

I would never deny Miller the things he needs and I am a sinful parent. But I will deny him things he "wants."

God is teaching us that He is a perfect father. He will say "yes" some and He will say "no" some. But always, whatever He says... I can trust that it is best! I need only to sit in His lap.

Life is good again. We need only Him.

I will posts a few more blogs on our budget and ways that we have "survived" living on a budget!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Embrace The Noise

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that I come from a very large family. My grandmother had 7 children and each of them have children, and all of those children have children, etc. :)) I have heard from family members that my Grandfather would have had 15 kids if my grandmother would have agreed! My mom said that even "back in those days" people thought my grandparents were crazy for having so many kids. (No offense to people who don't desire to have many children).

But I often wonder.

Behind my grandfather's quiet, sincere smile.... Did he know a few secrets that bring true joy in this life?

Noise. Laughter. The blessing of a new life welcomed as family. Snotty noses. Dirty hands. Hugs. Kisses. Rocking chairs. Lots of food.

A house with standing room only during the Holidays.

Some people see noise as annoying... But I wonder... Have they ever experienced true silence?

I stopped dead in my tracks while reading in the book "Kisses From Katie" this week. Below is the few paragraphs that captured my heart. Katie was a missionary, but now she lives in Uganda and has 14 little girls that she has adopted (so when she refers to "girls" you know she means SEVERAL children)!

In this chapter she is talking about an elderly woman that lives in a very poor village. The woman's house is made of mud and is about 4 feet by 4 feet. She had no family left.

Here it is:

"I was not prepared for the sight that met my eyes.
Grace was indeed old and blind, but those realities only scratched the surface of her troubles. Frankly, I stood there looking at her for a few minutes, marveling at the fact that she was still alive. Her body was hardly strong enough to sit upright, certainly not able to stand or walk. She had not eaten in three days, and she hadn't been able to see for the past five years.
She can't weigh more than eighty-five pounds, I thought.
What most caught my attention was the eerie silence that surrounded her house, in the very back of the village near a trash pile. All of her neighbors had gone to work their menial jobs or do whatever they did to pass the time.
Even the wind seemed quiet that day.

I thought for a moment that Grace's tiny mud house was exceptionally dark inside, and then I remembered that for her, it was already dark anyway. I embraced this sweet woman, patted her back, and kissed her cheeks; and I told her that Jesus loves her and I love her.
"He does!" she exclaimed. "He has sent me visitors as I asked!"
Her excitement turned to a whisper. "I wanted to stop believing. I did not think God cared for me. Lord, I believe in You."
Tears streamed down both of our faces and together we began to pray to our Father, who sees and hears even the smallest of our requests.
That day was just the beginning of lots of time spent with Grace. I immediately began to take her food a few times a week, and her neighbor helped her cook it every day. We went to many, many doctors' appointments getting treatment for her TB, blood transfusions and lots of vitamins. When I took the girls to meet her, they instantly fell in love and immediately adopted her as their jja ja (grandmother).
Before long, the girls and I had developed a habit of packing a picnic lunch and heading over to jja ja Grace's house to share a meal with her, read the Bible, sing and dance. The girls loved it and Grace loved having her home filled with noise and laughter."

Can't you just see it? An old, sick woman alone in her tiny hut filled with hopelessness and sadness. A home filled with an eerie silence.

And then.

God gives her a family. And soon, her home is filled with 14 little girls laughing, dancing, kissing and hugging. No doubt it was standing room only in a 4x4 house.

I am sure that a joy radiated from Grace on the days that Katie and her girls came to visit.

In my selfishness, I sometimes miss out on the joys of life. I see "crowds" as a nuisance.

But when it comes to a noisy household, I think my grandfather was wise. There is joy in the noise. I can just see him sitting quietly in his chair during holidays.... Listening to all of the chatter around him... And smiling.

Embrace the noise this holiday season. You would miss it if you had only silence!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2 years ago...

Two years ago today (November 17, 2010), God confirmed His call for Lee and I to adopt. It is a day we will never forget. My tear filled eyes met Lee's tear filled eyes and an overwhelming sense of joy filled both of us! We didn't even have to exchange words. It was as if time stood still for a moment.

We knew.

The call was clear.

We were going to be parents and we were ecstatic. On that day, we didn't know any details about when or where we would adopt from. On that day, it didn't matter. We were just so excited to begin the journey!

Today. We celebrate 2 years!

God loves details. If you have ever studied the Bible in any depth, you are fully aware of this. He loves details and He loves to make his children smile.

We went to visit my cousin, Jill, today. She surprised me with an "Africa Coloring Book" that she had found on her recent trip to Birmingham. She explained to me how she had planned to send it by mail, but things didn't work out so she decided to give it to me today :)

Jill had no idea that today was our "adoption anniversary."

God did.

I also received an email this morning. It was an email explaining that today is none other than:
"National Adoption Day!"

I just smiled when I read the email.

As if National Adoption Day and an Africa Coloring book were not good enough "anniversary gifts" from the Lord... He kindly put the icing on the cake when I arrived home tonight. I checked the mail and there it sat.... Another check from Pinelake Church supporting our adoption! (more on that later).

Oh How He Loves Us!

I knew today was something to be remembered, but honestly, I thought it would be "just another day." I didn't expect ANY of the above things. I don't deserve any of them. But I am thankful for them.

In all honesty... Above all else, I am overjoyed at the thought that God loves me enough to make me smile. He knew that today was special for Lee and I. Nobody else knew, but He did. He knew that I had mentally marked this day in my mind weeks ago. He knows it is a special date to me.

And honestly.

I think today is special for Him too. Today marked a day that two of His children said "yes" to His call. A call that would forever change them and their relationship with Him. A call that would not be easy, but would totally be worth it!

Thank you, Lord, for sweetly and continually confirming Your call on our lives!

The coloring book! Thanks, Jill.
It's almost as if I could see God whispering to you in the store, "buy this for Abby! I need to give her an anniversary gift." :))

Monday, November 5, 2012

Remember the Shoes?

Remember the shoes that I talked about (Ethiopia and Ukraine)? If not, here is the ORIGINAL POST about giving to a missionary in Ethiopia to fund shoes for some of the street kids there. Last night, the sweet friend who was collecting the money posted a more detailed blog about the kids getting there shoes!! She has lots of pictures included! I thought it would be fun to share and to thank any of you who may have given. We do not always get to see the result of our giving, so it is sweet when we see a glimpse of the impact. Thanks guys. Click on the link below to read about the kids.


Oh, and I cannot forget the shoes for Ukraine! My friend, Gray, does not have a blog. However, she returned to work last week and said that her mission trip to Ukraine was awesome! She said that she was able to buy all of the girls who live at Hope House a Bible and some boots! She said that the girls were thrilled to receive these items. She said, "they were happy about the boots, but they were most excited about the Bibles." Yay! We know that these sweet girls have Hope in Christ! For a re-cap, these girls have "aged-out of adoption" and are now living in a transition home. They may never know an earthly mother and father, but praise the Lord, they are invited to know their heavenly Father!! Pray for these sweet girls!

Thanks again guys for helping make a difference in the lives of sweet kids all over the world!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Orphan Sunday

Today was Orphan Sunday! I know that many churches are becoming more and more aware of Orphan Sunday, and it is exciting to see the movement in churches to answer the call of caring for the fatherless.

Adoption update:
Our "unofficial numbers" for the month of November are still the same.

Number 38- for 18-24 month old boy

Number 82 - for 0-12 month old boy

The movement is s.l.o.w.
Painfully slow.
This month, our agency placed some older children in homes, but no toddlers or infants were matched. That is why our unofficial number did not change.

Please pray for a flood of referrals in the month of November! November is such a special month.
In November 2010- God spoke specifically to Lee and I that adoption was His plan for us.
Interestingly enough, the month of November is national adoption awareness month :) God loves the details!

Join us in praying for God to place the lonely in families this month! We will keep you updated on any movement that takes place!

Trusting in His plan.