Thursday, December 18, 2014

Though it linger... wait for it.

Who am I that the Lord of all creation might choose to speak to me?
Who am I that the God of Heaven and of Earth might hear my cry and answer me?

Lately, I have struggled to keep walking forward in this adoption.
I am more than weary...
Literally... physically... emotionally... mentally... 
I have been struggling.
My closest friends surround me, support me and pray for me.
I seriously could not do this without the love and support of others!

I have been wrestling with God.

I have been crying out to Him.

WHEN will this adoption EVER happen?!? 
WHY do you stand silently by and allow governments and corruption to keep innocent children from forever families?
Where are you? 

Then this morning... It was as if He looked down at the earth and chose to speak to me.

I sat down for my morning Bible Study. I didn't really have anything in particular I wanted to read so I decided to read the L3 (our church's reading plan). 
The first option in the L3 is Revelation... ehh.. I will just skip that today. I'm not feeling it.
Option number 2 is Habakkuk. 
Sure. Why not? 

Habakkuk 1 begins with Habakkuk praying to the Lord a prayer that is very familiar to me.

"How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?"

Habakkuk thinks that the LORD is merely standing by, passively, and allowing wickedness to prevail.

God's response:
"Look at the nations and watch - and be utterly amazed. 
For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."

I was intrigued.

Habakkuk thought God was silently standing by.
But He wasn't.
Instead, He was working "behind the scenes" to create something amazing.

Most days I feel like Habakkuk. I feel like God is silent in our adoption journey.
Instead, could it be that He is actively crafting together something that I would not believe even if I was told? 
(of course the answer to this is YES, but that is so hard to see in the day to day struggle)

God proceeds to give Habakkuk a revelation of His plan.

Habakkuk responds with a few more questions.

Then the next few verses jumped off the page at me.

"Then the LORD replied:
Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.

What will certainly come and not delay?
The revelation that God had given to Habakkuk.

God gave Lee and I a revelation about adoption in November 2010.
That is what we wait on.
Of course we wait for a child, but our heart of hearts waits to see the fulfillment of what the Lord spoke into our lives. 
So much of my most recent struggle in this adoption journey is focused on God and not Malachi.
Sure I love Malachi and cannot wait to see him.
However, more importantly than receiving a child... I long to taste the faithfulness of the Lord. I long to see the fulfillment of His promise

The words "though it linger, wait for it" were both encouraging and discouraging.
I am encouraged because it is Truth spoken directly to me. I renews my Spirit and reminds me that ONE DAY He will fulfill His promise.
It discourages me because... it lingers... and I must continue to wait.
He didn't tell me that it would happen swiftly like I wish He would have.

A sweet friend of mine who is also in the adoption process made a comment the other day that really stuck in my head. This particular friend is just as (or probably more) weary as me.
With tears in her eyes she said, "If I had to choose the short route or the long route in His presence... I would never want to choose the short route."

In essence, she was saying that she would never want to choose the shortest route of a journey and miss out on the presence of the Lord. She would rather journey the harder, longer route just to be in the presence of the Lord for longer.

That is NOT an easy comment to make. 

So I have chewed on it for a few weeks. I am praying that in my weariness that I don't miss out on His presence. I don't want to become bitter. I want to become more like Him.

A lady asked me a question the other day (innocently and sweetly). She said, "I don't mean this to sound weird but I simply have to ask you... Do you think you will be able to love your adopted child like you do your biological children?"

I proceeded to explain that in my heart there seriously is no difference in how I feel about Malachi, Miller or Chip. I explained that you fall in love with your children while you are pregnant with them... and I have been "paper pregnant" with Malachi for... umm... 3 years!" She understood and appreciated my explanation.

I looked away from her for a moment. We both paused in the silence.

I slowly looked back up at her and said, "I honestly don't think that I will ever be able to look at Malachi and not think about the Lord."

I pictured my brown son standing in the room next to us.

And when I saw him... I thought about Jesus.

Exciting news on the adoption front!
In the last 2 weeks there have been at least 3 baby boy referrals go out so we have moved up a few spots!! 
We are thankful to have seen so much movement in the past 2 months. We pray that referrals continue to go out, and we also pray that children can get the necessary paperwork to COME HOME!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5.5K for the 5K!!

Your support through our 5K fundraiser has literally left us speechless.
The 5K just sort of "fell into our laps" as a fundraiser and we didn't really know what to expect.
You responded to God's nudge to give and we are eternally grateful!


So far we have received approximately
and counting...
That DOES NOT include the $3,000 match that Colonial Heights is giving us!
So with the match, we have raised approximately
I seriously cannot believe that I just typed that number!
and counting...

I keep saying "and counting" because we have had several people come forward in the last few days asking if they could still give.
YES! The answer is YES!
8,500 is a lot of money, but we still have a good bit of money to raise!

One of the most amazing blessings of the 5K was an answer to a specific prayer that I prayed. 
I remember praying..
"God, I know You will provide financially, but I ask even more that you would show Lee and I that we are not alone in this journey. Adoption can be a lonely and weary journey, so could you just bring forth people to come around and support us?"

I remember thinking, "if we could get 30 people to stand up and sponsor us... That would encourage me so much." 

I sit here typing this today as I am writing over 87 thank you notes!!! 

Yes.... At least 87 people sponsored us...  
That is not counting the family members of the sponsors! That is simply counting how many donations we received!! 

So if we are counting "people" we could easily double or triple that number! 

Our hearts are full. Our words of gratitude fall short. 

Thank you.

Here are some photos from the race! 
It was a cold, brisk, beautiful morning. 
Colonial Heights Baptist Church did an AMAZING job on the race! It was almost surreal to be surrounded by so many people coming together for orphans... Which is always on the forefront of mine and Lee's heart.

warming up

The Blackburn Family before the race. The boys were freezing!
Our handprints

Sweet team of runners! A few runners weren't pictured in this photo.
Thank you Megan Stewart, Nicole Hand, Danielle Stewart, Stephanie Kitchens, Ben Kitchens, Chasity Bounds, Will & Alicia Mattern, Courtney Anders and Jennifer Crane for raising money for us and for volunteering to run!!

My sweetest friend, Megan Manuel. We have been journeying together for years! Immensely thankful for her friendship!
Lee and Will did a great job of pushing the 4 kiddos the majority of the race... or I mean... pretty much the ENTIRE race.
"Team Blackburn" after the race! Such a sweet day!

Lee and I said "we know we have some sweet, sweet friends when they will get up early on a Saturday morning to run in below freezing weather to support us!
This sweet boy is READY for his brother to come home!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

4 years ago...

November 17, 2010 is a day that Lee and I will never forget. It was the day that the Lord confirmed to both of us that He had indeed called us to adopt. We took this picture that night.
I am so thankful for this photo. It is such a tangible reminder of God's calling on our lives.
But y'all.... that was FOUR years ago!
Four years and we are STILL on this journey!!
We have learned a lot and grown a lot since that night, but our desire for our son only increases by the day! Our passion for orphans has not faded.
Today was a hard day.
My heart is so heavy over our adoption. I desperately long to see Malachi's face. I long to have these days of waiting behind us. This mother's heart aches for a child that she has not yet seen, felt or heard.
Still we wait.
God's timing is perfect. His will is perfect. He knows our past, present and future.
I trust that He is working all things together for His purposes.
It's still hard.
I am not sure when Malachi will come home, but I know two amazing brothers that are waiting on him!
Please continue to pray for us and that God would bring our boy home quickly!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Handprints and Clearing up confusion

I wanted to post a follow-up blog about our 5K Fundraiser. And some very, very exciting news at the bottom of the blog! 

Here are a few details to clear up some confusion:

1) Our adoption 5K and the Down Range 5K (camp we live at) are two DIFFERENT races! Down Range trail run is THIS Saturday, the 8th. Our adoption 5K is NEXT Saturday, the 15th! They are two completely seperate events!

2) You can still sign up to race (in both races if you'd like). 

3) The handprints are only for our adoption 5K. They are not for the Down Range Trail Run (again, two completely different races). 

About the handprints... You guys ROCK!!! Seriously! I think we have close to 30 or more sponsors for our runners so far!! Yay!! 

Here is an example of what the handprints will look like when we wear them in the race! 

Do you want to purchase a handprint? 

All you do is make a donation (of any amount) to our Lifesong account and we will write your name on a handprint to wear in the race! 

Below are the instructions to make a donation:

Family name: Blackburn
Family account: 4909

Make sure you add those two things so that the money goes to our account! 

Okay.... Now for the exciting news I promised you! 

I received and email last week that stated this.... 

Dear Lee and Abby,


Praise God for the $3000 matching grantyou received funded by Colonial Heights!  Our God is an awesome Provider God!  

Ahhh!! I was so excited! So that means that every dollar donated into our lifesong account will be matched up to $3000!! 
Basically your donation is doubled!! 

We are so thankful and grateful! 

Earlier today Lee and I checked our Lifesong account. We were truly blown away by the generosity of everyone. Lee looked at me and said "things like this remind me that we are exactly where God wants us to be." 

Thank you for your prayers and financial support. When you support us, you don't only help provide financially, but also emotionally. We are so encouraged when people step forward and support us. It gives us the strength needed to keep pressing on in this journey. Your giving results in us praising God! I was feeling very lonely in this journey prior to this fundraiser, but God is reminding us that we are not alone! 

Thank you for being such a blessing to us! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Confidence Climb

Out here at Down Range, we have this thing called an obstacle course. I'm not real sure where your mind goes when you read the words "obstacle course," but if you can imagine military style obstacles that are very hard and scary then you are getting close to the image. 

I could talk about many things involved with the obstacle course, but I want to focus on one obstacle.... The Confidence Climb. 

Here is a photo of Danielle and CJ at the bottom of it. It's 35 feet high! Seriously. They look all cute at the bottom but most people standing at the bottom getting ready to climb are thinking... 
Well... I won't type what they're thinking. 

Okay. Here are a few quick details about the obstacle. 

Goal: CLIMB TO THE TOP (preferably climbing up the middle and not touching the side poles)

Details: Notice the bottom two boards are fairly close together? The higher you climb, the farther apart the boards get. 
You are harnessed in and someone, usually my husband, is belaying you. 

See this photo? Danielle (she rocks by the way) is harnessed in and Lee is at the bottom on belay. 

I have literally watched a hundred plus people climb that thing. Some of them have been very athletic, and some of them do not have an ounce of athleticism in their body.
I've also watched extremely athletic people stop midway because they cannot overcome fear. 

It's interesting to watch people. It's called the confidence climb because it is just that.
It's a mental toughness. 

The climb becomes scary when reaching the next board is difficult. Frequently people will yell down, "what do I do?" "How do I get to the next board?"
People standing below will begin instructing them on how to move to the next board. 

The people below the tower instruct because they can see the whole tower. We can tell exactly what position their body is in and what position it needs to get to. We can see how far or close they are to achieving the next level. 
Slowly, but surely they trust our instructions and they will proceed to the top. 

Other times, they will slip and the rope will catch them. One of two things will happen: they will get scared and want to come down, or they will realize that they are extremely safe in the harness and they will gain a whole new level of confidence - sometimes fearlessly completing the obstacle! The latter is cool to watch! 

So... Last week... I decided I had watched enough kids climb that thing and I was gonna give it a whirl (I ABSOLUTELY HATE HEIGHTS!) 

So I strapped in, told my husband he better not drop me, and I began the climb. I got on about the 6th one and I couldn't reach the next one. That meant I was going to have to let go with an extremity or 2 in order to climb to the next one. 

My heart was racing. Fear was creeping in. I couldn't see where my body was or how far the next board was. I couldn't see the whole tower like when I'm on the ground. 

I screamed down "how high am I??" I didn't want to look. 

So I did what I should have never done... I turned around and looked down. 

A rush of fear came over me!! Sure, I wasn't 35 feet high, but it didn't matter! I was scared. 

That was it. I couldn't mentally force my physical body to move any higher. Lee began telling me how to reach the next board, but it didn't matter. Fear overrode everything I trusted. It overrode Lee, the rope, the harness and my own physical ability. 
Fear and doubt became the only voices I could hear. 

So I came down. 

Now, I'm gonna show you this picture of me. It's lame!! I'm not very high. It's not as cool as Danielle's but if you laugh... You come try it! 

That night I contemplated that climb. 

I'm more athletic (or use to be) than half those kids that make it to the top. 
What happened? 

And it was as if God began to poor an illustration into me. 

When He calls us to take a big step of faith... It looks a lot like this confidence climb. 

Our adoption is a lot like this confidence climb! 

However, a human isn't belaying us.... 
Our perfect Heavenly Father is in complete control. 

God can see the whole picture. He has complete control of every ounce of the journey (except his grace to give us free will). 

Before we took this leap of faith, we had to have confidence in something. People don't start the confidence climb without having a little trust in the rope, the harness, the belayer and their own ability.
 We stood on the ground and looked at the journey ahead. Sure, it looked hard, but we had confidence in the one belaying us. We had confidence that our trust in Him would carry us to the next board when things became tough. 

So we harnessed in and began the climb. 

One thing you cannot feel when you are standing on the ground below the tower is how powerful your emotions become once you are climbing. 

Fear is a powerful thing. 
It creeps in and can become completely overwhelming. You can feel the wind beat against you, your heart racing, body shaking and sweat pouring. It's hard to hear anything outside the thoughts racing through your mind. You can barely see the next board. You have no idea how far you are from the top. You reach and can't feel. You seem to have lost your balance. Trust in everything flees from you. And all you want to do is return to the ground. 

Everything you knew to be True while standing on the ground gets put to the test. 
Do you TRULY trust the rope?
Do you TRULY trust the person on belay?
Do you TRULY think you can make it to the top? 

In this adoption journey, every OUNCE of our faith has been put through the fire to be tested. 
Do we TRULY believe He is faithful? 
Do we TRULY believe He is provider?
Do we believe He can do the impossible?
Do we believe He will complete the journey He called us to? 
Do we believe He is able? 

Having your faith tested is exhausting and emotional. There are days when you just want to give up and return to the ground. The past few weeks God has revealed some places where my faith in Him lacks. 
It's been emotional and trying. 

There are days when the voices in my head are so loud that I cannot hear what God is saying. 
There are days when I do not have the strength to even attempt reaching to the next board. 

But little by little we are silencing the voices in our heads and listening to the instructions from below. 

"Keep going" 
"You're almost there" 
"Don't give up now"
"I've got you" 

And we reach to the next board. 

And the next.

And the next. 

We still cannot see the top from where we stand... But we know it's there. 
We TRUST that it's there. 

We continue climbing even though we are physically shaking and completely exhausted. 

People say that the view at the top of the tower is beautiful. I'm sure the beauty of the scene is magnified by the emotions you feel because you overcame fear, doubt and physical testing. 

At the end of this journey, we won't be looking over a lake. Instead, we will get to see a glimpse of our Creator like we have never seen before. As we stand there, we will be filled with a new confidence in who He is and what He is capable of doing. 

We will stand on top... Looking back at how hard and difficult the journey was. We will be filled with joy to have overcome in Christ. 

THAT is a view worth seeing. 

And we simply cannot wait to see it! 

Until then, we are slowly but surely continuing to climb. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5K Fundraiser!! Very Exciting!

We have been invited to participate in a 5K fundraising event on November 15 called Hearts of Compassion. We are so thrilled about this awesome awareness and fundraising opportunity.
Before I explain the fundraiser, I first wanted to address adoption funds.
I feel like it's important for people who are extending a hand to help us to understand exactly what funds are needed and where the money is going.
Our application to this 5K required us to write down all of our adoption funds. So I looked it up on our agency's website and my heart dropped.
$38,000 dollars!
Yep, that was the closest estimate I could come up with.
Here is the link to our adoption agency's website telling exactly where some of the funds go.
The best I can tell, we are approximately 12-15,000 dollars "in" right now.
So we still have a long way to go!
Now to the 5K fundraiser!!
Colonial Heights Church has had this 5K called Hearts of Compassion for 3 years now (I think). Anyway, this is the first year they offered it to adoptive families to use as a fundraiser. We are 1 of 6 or 7 adoptive families that are participating this year!
The race works like a St Jude Marathon or the Bike for MS.
Participants in the race try to raise money for the "cause." In this case, our adoption is the "cause."
Colonial Heights Ministry partner in this race is Lifesong for Orphans
If you have never heard of them, you should check them out. They are legit and great. We had to fill out an application with them so that we could set up an account for this fundraiser. Trust me, the application was VERY thorough!
So for those of you still confused about how this works, I will try to break it down a little more.
We need runners and walkers!
If you cannot run or walk because you live too far or are busy or just simply don't want to, that's okay! Sponsor one of our runners or walkers!
We don't receive benefits from people simply signing up for the race. Our fundraising happens through people sponsoring those who are racing!
One way that we are thinking about empowering our runners to raise money is through "sticker sponsorship." The idea is a branch of Tee Shirt sponsorships (you know, when a company sponsors a Tee Shirt, they get their company logo on the back of the shirt).
With that concept in mind, we are thinking about getting each runner to sell stickers.
If you buy a sticker, your name will be put on it and the runner that you sponsored will wear the sticker on the back of their shirt during the race!
We hope to have lots of runners with lots of names all over the backs of their shirts!!
So if "Sally" decides to run in the race and she sells 10 stickers for 25$ each, that is 250$ towards our adoption!!
I hope that somewhat cleared it up.
Let me know if you sign up and I will tell the appropriate people that you are on our "team."
Then I will connect with you and give you more details about the race including how to get sponsors, how to have them donate, getting stickers, and the "attire" for our team!!
If you can't sign up but want to sponsor a runner (including me and Lee) just shoot me a message and we can make that happen!!
Thanks for continuing to journey with us!
We are slowly getting closer to our little man!
We are hopeful to have a referral by February 2016! I know that seems like a long time away, but it's actually only a little over a year away!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

My little warrior

We just got back from the beach. We had a blast with family and friends! We are so thankful for amazing family who took care of our kiddos the second half of the vacation so we could have time with friends! 

This picture struck me when I saw it. We always call Miller a "little warrior." It's simply a part of who he is (and probably all little boys). 

Look at him trying to do some serious damage to the splash pad! Nothing could stop him! 
Embarrassingly, when a new little boy entered the splash pad, Miller was so "in the zone" that he gave that little boy "the look."
Lee noticed and quickly said "Miller, that's your new friend. Go tell him hello!" 
Miller walked over to the boy and instead of saying hello, Miller "bowed up" at the little boy. (I can't believe I just told that on the blog 😊) true life. 
Lee shouted, "MILLER!" 
And before we could blink our son was running and playing again. (Sigh) 

One night on the beach we took the kids crab hunting. Miller was thrilled. He had his net and bucket and was sprinting through the condo with utter excitement. 

Then we got down to the beach. 

In a distance, lightening flashed and you could hear the sound of thunder. It was far away so we knew we were safe. 

But Miller was terrified. 

He hates storms, y'all. Like "crawl under the covers, plug his ears, close his eyes and cry" hates storms. 

His joy turned to utter fear. 

He wanted to go back into the condo... Now! 

But everyone else continued on crab hunting as if the lightening and thunder wasn't even in existence. 

I knew I had two options. 
1) take him back into the condo
2) help him face his fear

I chose the latter.
 But I decided to do it in a gentle way, not in a condesending "suck it up and come on" kind of way. 

I grabbed his hand, picked him up and explained to him that we were safe from the storm. I even tried to pull the whole "isn't it pretty?" card but he didn't buy that. 

I then said, "do you want me to pray for you?" He said yes and I whispered a short prayer over him. 

I wish the story ended with me saying that they prayer filled him with courage and he went on crab hunting with the storm in the background. 

But that's not the way our night ended. 

Instead, he clung tightly to my hand and walked everywhere that I went. He didn't let go for a second. At times I could even feel him shaking a little because he was so afraid. 

But he didn't cry.
He didn't demand his way. 

When we finally returned to the condominium (literally as soon as we walked through the doors), Miller grabbed both my legs and began hugging me as tight as he could. 

He looked up at me and said, "Mommy, now I'm so happy!!!" 

My sister-in-law and I just laughed and smiled. It was the sweetest scene because that boy was indeed so happy and thankful to be back indoors. 

So why did I blog this story? 

This part of our beach trip has stuck out in my mind. 

Miller trusts me because he knows I love him. He trusts me to feed, clothe, and bathe him. He trusts me in so many areas of life. 

However, his trust in me waivered when walking with me meant facing one of his greatest fears. 

Instead, he wanted to tuck tail and run. 
He desired to return to comfort and security. 

I am just like him in my walk with Christ. 
I trust Jesus in so many areas, but when He calls me out upon the waters to unknown and scary places, my trust waivers. 

I often tuck tail and run. 

I refuse to step out of the boat. 

Jesus I trust that you will provide for me but you want me to do what?? To give how much?? To live where?? To surrender what?? 
To adopt from Africa?? 

Luke 9:23-24
"Then He said to them all. "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." 

Jesus, don't you see the lightening and hear the thunder? I can't possibly walk out there! 

Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." 

I doubt because I don't trust.
I fear because I don't trust. 

The interesting thing about that particular splash pad was that it was fenced in. It was protected. It was also running on a censor so we could activate it whenever we wanted. So much of the splash pad can be controlled. 

My little boy is a warrior on the splash pad! 

But at the end of this life, being a warrior on the splash pad amounts to nothing. It is a chasing after the wind. 

I desire for Miller to be a warrior in the spiritual realm. I pray that he is dangerous for the kingdom of God. 

It is hard for a child to navigate unchartered territory. I pray that Lee and I would learn to trust God in all areas of life. To step out upon the waters. To face fears and conquer giants. As our trust in The Lord increases, His name will be magnified. 

Don't be a warrior on the adult splash pad! 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A look back over the past 2 months

I was so far behind on making my "monthly collages," but it turned out to be SUCH a blessing yesterday.
I sat down yesterday afternoon, turned on some music, and flipped through photos from this summer.
I knew that our summer had been "adventurous," but when I went through these pictures I was truly blessed by the memories that flooded my mind.
My sweet boys growing, playing and loving each other more and more.
Our old and new homes.
Our old and new lives.
We serve an awesome God who constantly blows me away by his goodness.

June 2014
Chip turned 9 months old!
Chip's first time riding in a buggy (without a car seat)
Girls trip to the beach!
Finished reading the Bible after 3 years!
Goodbye old house
Miller's countdown to moving day was over!

 July 2014
I knew that July was a busy month, but until I saw all of the pictures I didn't realize HOW busy it was! I eliminated and didn't add so much stuff and I was still forced to make 2 collages!
So here we go.
Chip turned 10 months old
Miller turned THREE!! (Miller and Mary Grayson celebrated at the water park).
The boys started a new daycare
New bathtub routine (which the boys love)
Chip joined Miller in the Kroger car for the first time
My sweet friend, April, got married!
Chip loves his MayMay

July was filled with activities at "Down Range" (this is nowhere near an exhaustive list)
Obstacle course
Fourth of July
Camp babies
Riding the Kubota
Girls night of worship/ End of summer
Chip has ridden many miles in the Ergo this summer!
Our two crazy, silly boys are in the middle of it all!


This recording is a sweet memory for me.
We sang worship songs around the camp fire and it was the sweetest time!
The lyrics to this particular song (Oceans) were what I prayed prior to moving.

Oh, and I love the crickets! They are seriously so very loud in the country. We can hear them over all of our sound machines!

Tomorrow is our 2 years DTE so stay tuned for an update.

Welcome back College Football!! We have missed you!



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our Adventurous Summer

I last blogged in May.
I guess that goes to show how busy life has become over the past 3 months.
First things first... our adoption!
Yes, we are still adopting!
Yes, we are still waiting!
August 31 will mark 2 years that we have "officially" been on the waiting list.
The majority of families are receiving referrals (matches) after being on the waiting list for 3 years. So we are confident that we have a minimum of 1 more year to go.
BUT... we are SO MUCH closer than we were 2 years ago!
God is sweet though. He has given us something to focus on for this next year. (not that we didn't already have things to focus on, but God simply inserted a new "adventure" into our lives that is slightly out of the norm).
So what are we doing? Where are we? Why the heck have I been completely absent in blog land for 3 months?
Around 2 years ago, a girl from Boston walked into my workplace. She had a funny accent and a weird story. She had fallen in love with a boy from Mississippi, packed her bags, married him and moved here to start a Military Based Christian camp.
Day in and day out we introduced her to life in the South.
We became friends.
Two years later God had creatively crafted together a situation that I am certain He had in mind from the day she stepped foot into my workplace.
Job changes.
Schedule changes
Adding a baby to our family.
Growth of Friendships
Stirred Spirits
A husband who craves to work outdoors
In April they began conversation with us about joining them.
April we prayed.
In May the conversation became serious and within approximately 6 weeks we had rented our home and moved to Clinton to join them for a year.
But you must know that us moving really has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with God's work in our lives, in the lives of our friends and advancing His Kingdom.
If you would like to learn more about what all is going on out here, check out the website.
I'm sorry that I didn't give more details. I seriously feel like I have writer's block :)
You can private message me if you desire to know more!
I am hopeful to write more blogs in the near future!
Here is our May Collage
Miller loves his dogs!
First time in the pool and on the boat Summer 2014
Chip turned 8 months old
Miller took swimming lessons
The photo right above "May 2014" was the beginning of our countdown wall to moving to Clinton. Miller was so excited to move to "Danyo and CeeJ's" (Danielle & CJ)
I need to get busy making our June & July collages!
Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Miller started swim lessons

My sweet little Miller man started swimming lessons this week. We have been everyday. This is our first extra curricular activity with kiddos! 

Lee and I didn't know that we were going to learn some lessons in parenting during such short swimming lessons! 
Take notice of the window. The parents sit in a little "viewing room" while the kids swim. 

Day One: 
The Blackburn family arrived and everyone was excited. Miller walked right out to his class, sat down in the water, and began kicking and splashing. He did well for his first little day. He participated in all of the activities without much fuss. Lee and I were so proud watching our little fish splash around. 

He did really good... Until the end. He cried and cried because he did NOT want to go down the slide at the end. We couldn't hear what Miller was saying. We could only see him crying. Lee and I were actually kind of surprised because Miller normally jumps at opportunties like a slide. Anyway.

The lesson ended and I richly welcomed little man at the door. I wrapped him in a towel and shuffled him to the bathroom to change clothes. I told him he had done a good job, then fairly quickly I said "Miller why wouldn't you go down that slide?!?!" He said "I didn't want to."

We walked out of the bathroom and met Lee and Chip. Lee leaned down and said "Miller! Why didn't you go down the slide?!!?" 

Miller didn't answer.

We said our goodbyes and got into the car.

I looked at Lee and said, "We both highlighted Miller's failure first thing when we saw him after his lesson. He did so good the whole time then the one thing he didn't do is what we talked about." 

Obviously this led to a deeper conversation between us. 

Why do we do that? Why do we highlight the negative?
We came up with several answers to this question. 

Lee and I had been SO proud of Miller the whole time, but did he know that? Or did he hang on the very first thing that was uttered from our mouths when he saw us?   

The conversation was a blessing for both Lee and I. We verbalized how we desire to raise our boys (and we will fail constantly). We want them to be men of confidence, not defeat. We desire to foster a learning environment based on positive reinforcement instead of threats, negative reinforcement, etc. 

I want to love them. Constantly. 

I want them to know that they are loved because of WHO they are not WHAT they can do. 

And we need a community to come around us and help us teach our boys in this way! 

And honestly, at the end of the day... 
Whether or not he went down the slide is not worth squishing his confidence over! He will eventually do it! 

(For the record...  He still hasn't done it 😄) 
And... His sweet little lessons have become more and more tearful on his end 😢 but that's ok. We are pushing through!! Lee says God is teaching us lessons on humility 😁😁 

But he loves his little friends at swimming lessons! 

In all honesty, as parents we don't intend to break our children's spirits. We desire more than anyone for them to succeed. Lee and I were so shocked that Miller didn't go down the slide and cried about it. We were honestly curious about what happened. 
But did he know that? 

He is only 2, but that child KNEW that he was scared to do something the other kids were doing. He has talked about it since. 

Lee and I realized that it is crucial for us to be intentional about the things we say to our boys. We have to foster their learning without crushing their spirits. 

This blog post by another writer is beautifully written on this exact topic! It's worth the read! 

For the record, no we aren't beating ourselves up! Yes, we have MORE than encouraged our little swimmer. And yes, we realize that this is ONLY. THE. BEGINNING. In raising kids!! 

I simply wanted to give some other moms encouragement that "you're not alone!" 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

small update

I last left you guys with my frustrating "paperwork" post!
The good news is.... We have ALL paperwork updated (I think) and are waiting on our social worker to type up the Home Study Update!
The latest on our adoption.
Still waiting!
How much longer will we have to wait?
That question is hard to answer. For now I will answer it this way.
The families who received referrals this past month had been waiting right at 3 years.
August 31st will mark 2 years that we have been officially waiting.
IF and its a big, big IF, the wait times do not change too drastically then we "should" receive a referral in approximately a year to year and 1/2 from now!
That would be awesome!
We are ready to get that boy home!
We covet your continued prayers as we slowly get closer and closer to seeing Malachi's sweet face for the first time!
I am sticking my collages for the past 2 months on this post since it's short!
MARCH 2014

Cousin Blakely came to visit and took Miller to the zoo!
Chip got his Giraffe!
Chip turned 6 months old!
Big Brother Miller pictured in rare form (feeding his brother).
We began sponsoring Yeabkal
Top Left: Plagiocephaly awareness day!
Chip turned 7 months
Miller got a trailer for his tractor
Yeabkal's birthday!
Miller and Chip sound asleep on our bed
MS State vs. Ole Miss baseball (Go DAWGS)!
Fishing with Jay Jay
Chip and Miller are going to be best buds!
Kari Jobe concert with my friend, Keri
Tim Tebow with CJ Stewart foundation (Danielle and I at the event)
Happy Easter! Loved the suspenders on my boys!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A day in the life of adoption paperwork

We are in the process of updating our Home Study. It expires in May. 
Therefore, we have been knee deep in paperwork again!! 

What does that even mean? Paperwork? 
I'm sure you hear adoptive parent say all the time "there's SO MUCH paperwork!" 

Allow me to enlighten you.

For those of you who think our paperwork journey looks like this, you are sadly mistaken. 

Oh how I WISH it was simply sitting down and working through mounds of paperwork! 

Instead, it looks a little bit more like this.


Sometimes this.....

And sadly.... At times, it looks like this lady! 

Journey with me for a moment.

One of the 20ish things we had to do for "paperwork" was get a physical done by a physician. 

We pulled up the email. Printed out the forms from our agency. Contacted our hospital (which no longer does physicals). Contacted a new place to get the physicals done and they said "go to your old hospital, print out your records, then come here and we can do it." 

Easy cheesy huh.

8 am. 
We pack the kids up. 
Drop Miller off at daycare.
 Head to our old hospital to get our records. 
Unload Chip. 
Sit in waiting room. 
Get the records. Back in the car. 
Stop by the house to get any last minute paperwork so that there are no questions and we have all needed info. Drive to the new place. 
By now it's nearing 11 o'clock. 
Sit in waiting room for ONE HOUR. 
12 o'clock. 
Get called back. 
Vision test. Blood pressure. Etc. Etc
Chip is getting hungry.
Into another room we go.
Sit there for approx 20 min.
Chip is screaming by now Bc he's hungry and sleepy and has been in the car seat for a really long time.

Nurse walks in. 
"Ma'am, I'm sorry but the doctor says she can't sign this physical because these tests were done at an outside facility." 
A conversation takes place.
I tell Lee to just leave and take Chip home to grab a bottle. 
Lee leaves. 
I try to work out the details.
I Sign another medical release form.
Back in the room.
Doctor comes in to finish the physical and draw some blood. 
She isn't pro children or pro adoption.
She makes some less than nice comments. I would post them but seriously, they would outrage you.  
I don't have the energy to even respond to her. 
I'm almost in tears.

She finishes.

Lee returns.

He goes in the room to finish his physical and get blood drawn. 

I feed Chip.

It's 1:15

We finally leave the medical facility, WITHOUT completed physicals. We leave our phone number and ask them to call us when they have everything they need or need us to do anything else. 

And that my friends, is the road to (almost) filling out ONE piece of paperwork! 

Don't get me wrong. Malachi is totally totally worth it! 

I simply blogged this to enlighten you into a day in the life of adoption paperwork! 

On to the next form we go :-) 
Actually we are praying for that "form" to be complete! 

Our car on the way to doctor office

Happy camper for most of the morning!! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Last weekend Kari Jobe came to my home church. The worship music was great.
Kari began to sing the song "Healer."
As she sang the words:
"Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands
I lost it.
I wept. Ugly cry.
I prayed hard. I wanted so hard to be able to sing those words and believe them.
But in that moment my faith fell short.
I felt like it was impossible for God to bring Malachi home.
I felt like this whole journey was impossible.

To y'all, the above picture may only resemble a mere table in a local diner.
To me... it represents a journey.
I have sat at this table and the one next to it several times.
I meet with a group of local moms who are/have adopted from Ethiopia.
We call it ET mom's coffee night :)
We journey together.
We all "get it."
I am so thankful to be surrounded by mothers who are like-minded and who can truly relate to the emotions I am feeling in the journey.
The above picture was taken as I sent a text message to some other "moms" saying I needed a coffee night!
We met together on Monday night of this week.
I vented to them about my frustrations and hopelessness in the wait.
When I left that night, although I was encouraged by them, I was still feeling pretty hopeless in the journey itself.
Then the next few days God began to open the floodgates!
We have had a lot of REFERRALS go out this week!!
It's been way more than we have seen in months!
I cannot tell you how excited that has made me.
It has given me the hope I needed.
*A referral is when a family is matched with a child. When a family receives a referral, other families on the waiting list move up a spot closer to being matched with their child.
For example: When an infant boy referral goes out, all the other families in the infant boy line move up a spot. Got it?
I am proud to say that we are number 63 on the "unofficial" waiting list for an infant boy and #36 for a toddler boy.
I know that 63 does not sound exciting to those of you who have been following us for a long time.
In fact, I announced LAST June that we were #66, so it sounds like we have only moved 3 spots in almost a year.
That's not the case.
Since it's an unofficial list, some families are not on the list and other families have changed their parameters (age range, gender, etc.)
Over the course of the months, we moved back up into the 70s and I stopped announcing our number because it hurt my heart so bad!
But today, for the FIRST time, we are #63!
Praying hard that we get out of the 60s soon!!
Please continue to pray for us, for Malachi and for Ethiopia.
We are waiting on the Lord.
On Monday night when I was talking with other ET moms, the common question came up:
Do you feel like God is telling y'all to continue waiting in Ethiopia program or to switch gears to a different program?
We honestly feel like God is telling us to stay the course.
That night after Kari Jobe, I laid in my bed and downloaded the song "Healer" onto my phone.
A wise woman once told me:
"Say it until you believe it.
Then say it because you believe it!"
So I have been listening to that song over and over and over!
Click Here for the link to it if you've never heard it.