Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Call her BLESSED...

Today, Lucy and I had the joy of attending our agency's 6th Annual "Call Her Blessed" Fundraising Luncheon.  Originally, I had planned on letting Lucy stay with her daddy, but he's a bit swamped at work right now, and my friend decided to bring her little girl last-minute, so Lucy excitedly joined me for today's event.  I told her that she got to be one of the grown up ladies today and that we were going to support the agency that is going to help us get her baby brother and sister.  While there, she proudly told someone that passed by our table, "I get to be one of the ladies today!"  too cute:)  As I was putting her down for her nap this afternoon, she said, "I'm excited that they're going to help us get our baby soon."  I just couldn't help but sit back and smile, "Me, too, baby girl."  God continually reminds me in so many ways that He has called us to adoption...but today I was blessed to be reminded that it's not just DH and myself that He has called to follow Him on this adoption journey, because I believe with all my heart that our four-year old daughter has even heard His calling.  I told her today how blessed I am that God chose me to be her mommy, and how excited I am to see her become the amazing big sister that I know she's going to be because of how loving, kind, encouraging, and nurturing she is.  I know her baby brother and sister are certainly going to be blessed to have her in their life!  Just as DH and I are excited about being parents again, so is Lucy as she anticipates us expanding our family.  I know that at four she can't fully comprehend what that is going to look like or the changes it will mean for her (goodness, at 29 I can't even fully comprehend it!) but I believe with all my heart that she has a very clear knowledge that God desires to expand our family.

Proverbs 31 states how "Her children arise and call her blessed." and as I thought over those words today from the event's title, I couldn't help but also be reminded of what a blessing it is just to be called.  God's calling on our family to be a mother, a father, and a big sister just floods my heart with excitement and joy!  I'm so excited to welcome our baby(ies) into our home and to invite their birthmommy into our life as well... 

Lucy and Lillie Kate at CH&FS Call Her Blessed Luncheon: 4/25/12

Friday, April 20, 2012

Outreach Requirements...

In an effort to keep myself from twiddling my thumbs while we wait (I never realized how impatient of a person I truly am until all of this!  My goodness, PB, get a grip!  LOL:) I thought it might be time for another blogpost.

I didn't get a chance to blog this past week about fulfilling part of our outreach requirements with our adoption agency.  We asked for someone from the agency to come speak to our local MOMs group. (This is a group our church hosts every first and third Tuesday of the month.  Childcare is provided while women come together for a time of Bible study and fellowship/activities/projects/etc.)  I was so excited for CHFS to come and share about their amazing ministry, and I was so blessed to have my mom surprise me by showing up to be there for it as well.  Shaylee came and spoke to our group and gave a wonderful talk on what Christmas Homes is all about.  I was surprised to learn that Abilene (where our agency's main office is located) has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Texas, and Texas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.  I'm so thankful for ministries like Christian Homes and Family Services that provide help and resources as well as truly empowering options for girls facing an unplanned pregnancy.  Please join me in praying for this organization:

*As they raise awareness for the option of adoption
*As they strive to provide help (financially, emotionally, and spiritually) for these girls and women
*As they continue to seek the Lord's direction for their ministry

Also, if you are near the Tyler or Abilene area, check out their upcoming fundraiser luncheon this next week with Anita Renfroe:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Connected by a Common Bond...

Ok, so I think we all would agree that just because something can be found under a google search does NOT mark it as the "truth."  (one word: wikipedia.  Need I say more?:-)  However, there's something about the fact that we are now on our adoption agency's website that makes everything feel so much more official.  Maybe it's because I've pretty much stalked their website DAILY since we first started this journey with Christian Homes.  And maybe it's also because it's comforting to look up other couples who are going through the exact same process that we are.  Since our orientation weekend with the agency, I have looked at that website and wondered what it would look like to have our picture, information, and birthmother letter on there, so it's just really surreal to actually see it on there for real now! 

I've been actively watching the CHFS website since January, and it's been so neat to see a couple go from having a short bio posted next to their picture, to seeing the text changed to "CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW SON/DAUGHTER!!!"  (Side note to Emily: I love how they use multiple exclamation points in those posts.  Just another affirmation that this is the perfect agency for DH and me!  LOL:)  My heart just leaps in joy for these couples when I see that written in.  I get excited at the thought of seeing that next to our names one day soon, but I also just feel such an excitement for them, too, because in some way, I feel connected to them.  No, I don't know their exact struggles, but I do know we have one common bond: we are all longing for a baby through adoption.  The mission statement for our adoption agency is "A Christian home for every child," so I also know we are connected by our relationship with the Lord.  We may all come from different religious backgrounds and different denominations, but we all strive to bring a child up in the ways of the Lord.  So, when I see that these couples have reached this step in their own journey, I rejoice with them, because they give me hope and serve as a reminder to me that God keeps His promises.  In Psalm 37:4, we read this:

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your ways to the Lord.  Trust also in Him, and will do this!"

I believe without a doubt that God has given us this desire to adopt a baby, so even though there are days when I feel so impatient that I can hardly stand the when and how of it all, I am still filled with a confident assurance that He is going to grant this desire of our hearts, and it's going to be in a more beautiful and joyous way than I could ever imagine or try to bring about on my own. 

So would you like to see the screenshots of our profile??  First, let me give you the backstory on discovering we were "live."  I'm sure you'll find this incredibly difficult to believe *insert sarcasm* but I literally wanted to start dancing across the room screaming.  HOWEVER, I was in Chickfila, so rather than scare the massive amounts of small children surrounding me, I just looked like a slightly crazy lady jumping up and down in her chair with a BIG huge goofy grin on my face!  And I probably did let out a few un-containable squeals without realizing it.  I remember looking around quickly for just SOMEONE to tell my good news to!  But the ladies at the table behind me were too busy discussing Facebook.  (One of my favorite conversations overheard today: "I think you can put it on...oh, what's it called?  The wall?  A wall??  I'm not really's something like that..." :)  I was able to try to discuss the excitement with Lucy though (we went on a mommy-daughter date today) and showed her the picture of mommy and daddy on the webpage and got DH on the phone as well.  (He was excited, too...and maybe even jumped across the room in his office, but I have no actual evidence of this:-)  Once again, it's just another step closer to bringing our precious baby home!

And NOW I'll show you the screenshots.  Of course, you can also go directly to the webpage (scroll down a bit to find us, or click here for a direct link to our profile.) but since that page eventually won't be there anymore (go ahead and prepare yourself now for more jumping up and down/dancing across the room/screaming in excitement!) I wanted to put the screenshots on our website to remember it all...

We're on the CHFS website!!

Our Profile

Page with our Dear Birthmother Letter

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Blessings from boldness...

1 John 5:14: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."

Exactly two weeks ago, we had our homestudy, and since exactly two weeks ago, I have been anxiously checking our mailbox every day awaiting our approval letter...and, for exactly two weeks, my heart has sunk just a little bit each time I've opened the mailbox and sifted through its contents only to see that no approval letter has come.  As you may remember from our blog entry on our homestudy, I wrote this:

How cool would it be to receive our approval letter on (DH's) birthday, April 10th, and for our baby to come home on my birthday, June 16th?!

So, today (DH's birthday-feel free to fill up his FB wall with birthday wishes!:) I excitedly approached our mailbox because I just *knew* I was going to find out we had been approved!  I confidently opened up our mailbox only to find a pamphlet from Old Navy about their annual Stuff and Save.  While I do love a free stuff and save bag, I was less than thrilled to see I could save 20% on some new items for my summer wardrobe.  I had told DH that if we didn't hear anything by the two week mark that I would send in an Email to check in and make sure we weren't missing anything.  So, today I sent an Email to our case worker, but got an automated message back stating she was going to be out of the office until Wednesday.  My heart again sank just a little bit, but I reminded myself I just needed to be patient, so I said a prayer and hoped we might hear something tomorrow.

Well, this evening I made a special dinner for DH's birthday.  (Lasagna, garlic bread, salad, fresh mixed fruit, and a MUPPETS cake!) As I was in the kitchen, I happened to pick up my phone and saw that I had an Email from our case worker:

I am so sorry about the approval letter. I have you approved, but C has been out ill for a week so things got backed up. You will receive your letter and please know you are already available to be seen by birth mothers...

I LITERALLY started jumping up and down screaming excitedly and ran over to DH and gave him a big hug, while screaming and showing him the Email.  We both immediately called our parents to tell them the news--you'd think we had been matched we were so excited about it!  But did you catch the last part of the Email: We "are ALREADY available to be seen by birth mothers"!!!  *squeals*  It is SO crazy to think that ANY DAY NOW a birth mother could be looking at our letter to her and looking through our scrapbook, and considering us to be the adoptive parents for her baby!  (Of course, it won't necessarily happen super quick, but it's a POSSIBILITY now, and that excites me beyond what words can convey!)

But here's the part that just makes my heart leap even more...we found out TODAY, on DH's birthday, just like I have been hoping and praying for these past two weeks.  It just felt like such an incredible affirmation from the Lord, "Yes, PB, I'm hearing your requests to me.  Continue to seek me BOLDLY!"  As I look back on my journal from the past few years, I see entry upon entry pouring my heart's desire out to the Lord for a child, just not understanding why He would give us the desire for a child and not fulfill that longing.  Was He even listening?  But now I can see He was using that time to PREPARE our hearts for what He had planned for our family--He used that time to prepare our hearts to be open to adoption, He gave us the desire to adopt, and He began paving the way for us to have the ability to adopt.  Our time of waiting was a time of preparation.  These past few years have reminded me that God's ways are so much higher than ours that we can't always understand His answer or His timing, but we CAN always trust that He is in control and He is answering us.  And then these past few weeks have reminded me how sometimes, He does answer us in the way and in the time that we ask.  But, no matter when His response comes, He always does respond!

So, tonight I'm so excited--not only that we are one step closer on this amazing journey to expanding our family, but also because I feel such a sense of God's presence all over this.  So, happy birthday, DH--you are such a gift to your family, and what a gift we all received today with this exciting news!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Every Life is Beautiful...

It's rare for DH and I to have a date night just the two of us.  But, we do know it's important for us to take time out for just each other.  Life has seemed especially busy lately, so when we realized we had a free night open, we decided to see if we could get a babysitter and go out this evening.  L was super excited to have her friend come over to play with her, so I picked DH up from work and we headed out for dinner and a movie...

Our first unofficial date in the fall of 2000
Funny side note: Tuesday is typically "family date night" for us because L's favorite place in A-town is Chickfila, and on Tuesday's they have free kids meals.  Plus, this really cool pastor comes each week to make balloon animals for the kids.  Well, we were in a bit of a rush to make it to the movie on time, so, even on a non-family date we still ended up going to Chickfila!  No fancy-schmanciness needed for a romantic night out for DH and me:)  (Although Chickfila is actually sentimental to us since our first unofficial "date" happened there:)
almost 12 years later:)

Anyway, the point of my post is the movie we went to see: October Baby.  This movie tells the story of a girl who finds out she is the survivor of a failed abortion.  We both cried and left the theatre with a sense of heavy-ness for several reasons: one, it's just a weighty topic period, and we are big advocates of the pro-life movement.  But I also think it touched our hearts deeply because of where we are at in this stage of our life as a family of wanting to adopt, and knowing that the birthmother of our baby has had to make the decision of whether or not she will choose life for her baby.  But whether or not you are going through the adoption process, I think this is definitely a movie everyone should see.  It not only celebrates the beauty of life, but it also touches on the truth behind abortion--it tells it like it is in a very real and true way.  As Christians, I think it's so important to support these types of films, but even just from the standpoint of someone who enjoys seeing a good movie, this is definitely worth the ticket price.  Yes, it does have some laggy bits, but overall it is well written, acted, and deeply moving.  I truly urge you to go support this film--it will touch you, I'm certain!

For more information on October Baby, and to see the move trailer, check out the official website here

And, please continue joining us in praying for the birthmother of our baby.  Pray specifically that she will make healthy decisions both for her and our child.  We're still awaiting our approval letter (it's only been a week--is it just me or does it seem WAY longer than that?!) but hopefully that will be here by this time next week!:-)