Monday, August 17, 2015

A New Home

Hey there, friends! It has been a long time! Life has changed a lot since I last blogged here.

I will be taking this blog down shortly, after I save the posts for my personal memories. Most of you followed our story as we were going through an adoption. Our son has been home two years now (wow!). Most of you also followed our story as we met and were very much changed by our hosting Vika. Vika is now being adopted by a sweet couple (yay!) and will be home shortly. Since she is starting a new chapter, I think its fitting to remove those stories - which are really HER stories- for her privacy.

If you would still like to keep up with us, I have a new blog home at

Thanks for sharing in our journey.

God bless!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Breaking the Silence

“Bridget, you have to write about this.” Tears slip from her eyes and hearing her say it aloud just confirms those God-whispers I have been brushing off. “There must be others out there. What if it would help someone; someone who feels alone, like they can’t talk to anyone?” I shift my napkin and look around the restaurant, not wanting to even consider it. Yet, God is persistent. In the days that follow, there are a million confirmations that I need to write this post. Even today, someone asked the question again. “Is it normal for adoption to be so hard… after they are home”?



A loud, resounding YES.

And we don’t always want to admit it, do we? If we admit that it is hard, will people think that means we regret it? (We don’t.) If we admit that it is hard will it mean that others won’t adopt? (Because we hope you will). At home you are trying to put together all the pieces of a puzzle and figure out what the crying means. Maybe there are mood swings. Maybe there are language barriers or speech delays or even an unwillingness on their part to tell you what they want/need. So you guess. You try. You use all the tools in your toolbox. You fall short. You have bad days- maybe more bad days than good days. Everything is new, uncharted territory. Your other children are comforted and soothed by your touch just because you are “Mama”. But to this child, your presence isn’t enough. Maybe they have started to call you “Mama”, but do they even know what a Mama is?

There are a million different things that parents deal with when they adopt children from “hard places” or from difficult circumstances. I could turn this post into 27. Even the youngest children come with a story.

With hurts.

With fears.

Some come with medical problems, cognitive problems, or other “special needs”. And trying to wade through all this new territory is difficult. It is intense. Coming home is about getting to know a child. It is about earning the trust of someone who finds it difficult- or impossible- to trust. It is about giving unconditional love to someone who might not know how to really receive it. It is about learning to draw closer when pushed away. It is about coming to terms with the fact that your love doesn’t make everything instantly better. It means admitting that love is, in fact, NOT enough.

At least, yours isn’t.

It’s a painful truth to face. But then, something beautiful happens.

In steps Jesus.

In steps Jesus, offering abundant grace that is more than enough for your little (or not so little) one.

In steps Jesus, giving you rest- REAL rest- when you have had no sleep.

In steps Jesus, reminding you that love has nothing to do with butterflies or feelings. It is a much more beautiful, more steady, faithful determination to give everything you have for the sake of another.

In steps Jesus to meet your “I can’t” with His “I can”.

To meet your “This is hard” with His “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

Notice I did NOT say “In steps Jesus and everything turns to rainbows and butterflies”. It doesn’t. Yet, something even better is happening here. He is teaching me to abide. To abide in Him. Friends, I will take that over rainbows and butterflies ANY.DAY.OF.THE.WEEK. Ok, except Saturday at 7:00am. Then, I usually wish for rainbows, butterflies, and sleeping in over spiritual growth. But I digress.

Adoption is hard. It is like learning to parent all over again, only with twice the hurdles every step of the way. When do I push him to try harder and meet his potential? When do I show grace? Is this adoption related? Transition related? Normal for his age? Related to his medical needs? His background? And oh my word... let us please promise to never even utter the words "food issues" around newly adoptive parents. Amen?

The questions can be draining, and you might not ever get all the answers you want. But there is One who knows the answer to every question.

Let's not forget that He chose you to be Mama or Daddy to this child.

And He said He promised He would never leave you or forsake you.

At night I rock Isaac and sing songs to him. You’d probably guess most of the songs I sing (Jesus love me, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star), but there is one song you’d likely raise an eyebrow at. It is a song by Ginny Owens that has long been a favorite of mine when something in my life seemed hard. It is called “If you want me to”.

It goes something like this:

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reasons why you brought me here.
But just because you love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley if you want me to.

Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet.
So if all of these trials that bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if you want me to.

And it may not be the way I would've chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But you never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone.

I think I probably sang it mostly for my own comfort in those first, hard days when Isaac would cry at all hours of the night and I was as delirious as I was when I came home with nursing newborns.  But I have continued to sing it for two reasons. One is because Isaac seems to really like it. The other is because God reminded me of something as I sang those words. Adoption is not all the glamorous thing that welcome home videos are made of. There is incredible joy, yes. 
But there is also loss and grief and transition. There are wounds and scars- though often inside, that are very real. There is spiritual warfare- always. ALWAYS. Sometimes the pathway IS broken and signs ARE unclear. 

But ... I have never walked alone. Through Christ, I have known the kind of patient, devoted love that was relentlessly gentle when I pulled away in fear, and always wrapped me in His arms and His joy when I came to Him. I have come to know that I am never alone and no matter what darkness I walk through, He will always be my light.

And I want to teach that to Isaac- by example. 
So if he walks through valleys I will be right by his side, holding his hand through whatever life may throw at him. Because although Isaac doesn’t know it yet - that is what a “Mama” is.

Sometimes I sing that song and I feel his tense little body relax in my arms. I see him make eye contact- that he refused to make 3 months ago- and he smiles as his little hand outlines my face. And I hope on some level he gets it. That me and him – no matter – we are in this together and no matter where he goes, he will never go alone.

So, adoptive Mama- YES, it is normal to struggle. Yes, it is suppose to be hard. Your suspicions are correct: you cannot do this on your own. Get some support from the adoption community. Get support for your church. Press into Jesus and lean on Him like you have never leaned before.

Because Jesus is enough.

So is it easy? No. Love – real love- isn’t always easy (but it won’t always be hard, either).

Is it worth it?


(And for the record, if you still wonder if we would do it all again … we would. And we will.)

Well what do we have here? (Besides the finger of an ameteur photographer) Looks like a little bonding happening! 

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”    - 1 Corinthians 13 (The MSG)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Million Dollar Question

You expect a lot of questions when you adopt a child, and we have heard them. There are even more questions when you announce it the day before you show up to church with the new guy (or when you have spent a couple of years pursuing an Ethiopian adoption and the new guy is not, in fact, Ethiopian). I was happy to answer the questions because it’s an exciting time for us, and because I love a chance to brag on the good things God has done.
Yet, there is one question I hesitated to answer. Our Isabella cried happy tears when we told her that we would adopt Isaac. Both of our girls did, but after the initial smiles and tears it was Isabella who braved the question first.

"What about Ethiopia?"

We told her the only thing we knew to say at the time. “We are going to catch our breath, and pray”. Everything has been such a whirlwind. At that moment we couldn’t really give an answer. It would take some time to make such a major life decision. We knew that it would be up to our agency anyway. We knew that there were people who had done what they call “concurrent adoptions”; either doing a domestic adoption while waiting or even adopting from two countries at the same time. Don’t ask me to explain it- His ways are above my ways. We knew they might say “no”, and we were ok with that. Really. If all that we have worked for and gone through; if every dime we had spent was what put us on this collision course of becoming the family God has created here- well, it was worth it. Isaac was worth it. The journey with Jesus was worth it.

And still….

We weren’t ready to call the other adoption off. We had really been keeping something to ourselves for the most part. We always thought there were two. Of all the adoption paperwork we had to do, the hardest was the “desired child form”. 

Age? We decided to stay with the birth order. So with Gavin being four, we chose “0-3”.

Gender? We decided not to choose.

Number of children? We wrestled. And wrestled… and wrestled. We finally decided on “1”. We decided on one because we weren't sure if there might be something unexpected in the meantime.

We had to tell our agency about Isaac and let them know about such a major change. So, we told them and asked that we be allowed to continue our Ethiopian adoption concurrently. We knew that even if we were allowed to continue, we would have to be put “on hold” for a while. They said they would have to look into it and get back with us. We felt the greatest peace about it. If God had called us to adopt there, no one could stop it. If He had closed the door, no one could open it. We felt like He was still calling us to finish what we started, but only time would tell. So we were completely at ease as we waited for an answer. There are times when not knowing the future can seem scary, and trusting God can be hard. Rocking this new, oh-so-unexpected blessing? Not rocket science. That’s one of those rare times you can physically see evidence that God is working all things together for your good. You can see that He knows things you don’t and He doesn't need your help. No more analyzing. No more over-thinking; just complete peace. We knew that God ultimately held the future and whatever happened, it would be for our good and His glory.

When the agency called back they said we could continue. Then they said we would NOT be put on hold, but that our paperwork would proceed just like it had been planned. Honestly, you could have knocked me over with a feather at that point. We quietly watched charges on our Fed Ex account as we tracked our paperwork all over the country. We didn't really hold our breath or stalk the emails as we were busy adjusting and being a family. We didn't say a lot publicly because we felt like this was a time to celebrate Isaac and we were enjoying the present. 

Our dossier arrived yesterday and we were given our first wait list number today. I got to hear the news from Brian via text, “We are number 135”! Whoa. It is real. 

It will be a wait, but we are fine with that. A couple of months ago I shed a few tears as I told God that I had wanted our kids to be closer together and I thought Gavin and the new baby (from Ethiopia) would be up to seven years apart. But God had things He hadn't revealed yet. Yesterday as we were leaving a store and I saw all three boys walking with Brian like little stair-stacked ducklings in a row, all 2 and 3 years apart. There are some things only God can do.

And all God does, He does well. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Story of Isaac

Where do you start with a story like this? I want to say it started two and half weeks ago, but we know that God had this in mind for much, much longer. He just chose to reveal it one Saturday. Two and a half weeks ago, to be exact.

Some friends of ours adopted a little girl several years ago. About a year ago they found out that she had a half brother and he was in foster care. They felt led to do something for this little guy they didn’t even know. That’s their story… so I will skip to where their story became intertwined with ours. They were able to get him out of foster care and have custody. Basically, they were providing a sort of private foster care. They loved him, tried to communicate with the birthmother about his future, and prayed hard for him and what God had in mind for his future. It wasn’t always easy because it just never is when you are advocating for and loving a child. They felt unsure about where he was suppose to be, but God made it clear over a period of months that he wasn’t theirs and wasn’t meant to have their last name. You can imagine the confusion this caused for a long time, as they didn’t see an obvious door opening for him.

Meanwhile, we were praying. We knew God had a child for us. We worked tirelessly- and I do mean tirelessly- on homestudy documents and dossier documents. They told us a dossier can take anywhere from 2-4 months depending on the person. I thought “oh, this WILL be done in two”. (It took over four.)

Interviews, medicals, and notaries.

Home visits, insurance letters, reference letters, and immigration approval.

Employment letters and bank letters.

Weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Okay, that might be a little dramatic. It wasn’t quite that bad.) (Yes it was).

Then we got a large grant and a large donation. We were overwhelmed and excited. God was in this, yall. But we never could have imagined what He was about to reveal….

It was 2 ½ weeks ago that I found myself sitting across from my friend as things came into focus for both of us. Despite lunch dates and talks and sharing our hearts there were some very important things that had been left unsaid. Like the day she got up the nerve to call and ask me if we would be interested in adopting this child, only to receive an email from me asking for a reference letter for our Ethiopian adoption. She talked of how her heart fell in that moment and she decided not to ask. I shook my head in disbelief. “We thought you were called to Ethiopia” she explained.

I told her how I had just recently realized that they were considering other options for him- as uneasy as they felt about them. They prayed and wrestled.  How could I have not realized? “Why wouldn't you consider us”? And tears fell as she shared “yall were always our first choice”. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. “We thought we made it clear we were an option. We just never got the impression you were considering it” I explained. And there at that table God revealed what He had been planning all along. We cried and laughed together over ice cream at as good friends sometimes do. I don’t know how we managed to miss so much until that night, except that God’s timing is never our timing. And his timing was 2 ½ weeks ago.

Then, I blinked.

That night there was a family emergency and she needed to go out of town the next day to be with them. So she asked me to keep him for a few days. But after a few days, it was clear that he was right where he needed to be. So since that day he has been here. The dust hasn't even settled and it still feels like a dream. Yet somehow, it oddly feels like he has just always been here. We have seen God’s grace just rain down on this child as he transitioned better than any of us had hoped. We have felt God’s grace as we went through the motions of paperwork with such a peace that it can’t be described. This was God’s will, and we knew it. We all do. 

A year from now I could have written this story with more eloquence I am sure. I still can’t wrap my mind around it yet. I am tired, and I am blessed beyond measure. If you think that Jesus is a religion or a set of rules- hear me: there is no adventure and no love more thrilling and enduring. God writes the best stories. If you are living out a sad part, don't give up. It just means your story isn't over yet. 

And this is a high point for sure. But this story isn't over yet either...... 

"For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord"
 - 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Monday, June 10, 2013


When they told me that a dossier could take anywhere between two months (for the experienced) to four months to complete, I immediately thought, "Oh, it WILL be two months"! Four months later, I can officially say it is finished. It has been mailed and I am grateful to have it out of my hands. Unless they call and say something is wrong and needs to be redone. In which case, I will promptly fall onto the floor and throw a tantrum of epic proportions, one that makes your two year old look mellow. We won't go there, though. We are going to be optimistic! 

It. Is. Finished!

What now?

Now it is headed to Kentucky where it will be checked for errors. Then on to Utah where it will be authenticated. Then to the embassy, and then to Ethiopia. When it arrives in Ethiopia we call it DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) and this is a day celebrated in the adoption world. This means we have jumped the hurdles and have reached a milestone. It is out of our hands now. There is nothing to do but wait. 


All these months of rushing, working, signing, filing, running errands, begging people to "hurry", and learning to loathe the word "notary" (ugh, I still twitch when I say it)! All this to get to ... WAIT. 

I was on a website today and saw this: 

"Definition of WAIT:
  1. 1.To stay in a place or remain inactive or in anticipation until something expected takes place.
  2. 2.To be ready or at hand.
   3.To remain temporarily undone or neglected."

  Now, to be fair, they were using this definition in the context of waiting children. Yet, being the "word nerd" that I am, I thought about this definition for a minute and decided to try this against a biblical definition of the word wait (which I had to look up). I thought of verses like Psalm 27:14 which says "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord". 

  Are we to be undone? Are we neglected? Of course not. So I pulled out my trusty concordance and looked up the meaning of the word "wait" in the original language. When this word is used in the Bible it actually translates to something more like wait expectantly or "expect". 


  It's quite a different picture isn't it? "Wait" implies back of the line. "Wait" implies someone or something else has priority over you and your concerns. 

  "Expect" on the other hand, implies that your needs are already known. Already being addressed. It implies, "have a seat, someone is taking care of that for you." 

  So now we wait. But waiting isn't so bad. Not when the God that holds the universe in His hands is the one already taking care of things for you. Everyone is waiting for something. I bet you can all think of something you are waiting on right now. 

  Waiting on the birth of a child. 

  Waiting on a spouse. 

  Waiting on a job. 

  Waiting on the wayward child to come back to truth. 

  Waiting on God to heal that thing that is eating you inside. 

  Waiting to see some evidence that God is listening to your prayers. 

  Take heart, friends. We may be waiting, but we are not at the back of the line. Pray, and wait on the Lord- expecting that He hears, He knows, and whatever the answer is- it will be for our good and His glory. 

"We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield." - Psalm 33:20 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Our Adoption - FAQ

We get tons of questions and many are the same ones over and over. Don't get me wrong- we love your questions! We are so grateful that people are interested in our adoption process or adoption in general. We just thought it would be helpful to answer some of those questions here. 

"Where are you adopting from"?


"Why did you choose Ethiopia/ not choose foster adoption"?

After  a LOT of research we just felt like God was putting Ethiopia on our hearts. At the time, the agency we were working with for our homestudy didn’t even do Ethiopian adoptions. We had several delays, including a job change. The day after Brian got his new job we were told that our agency had begun to do Ethiopia adoptions again. There were a lot of things that made it a good fit for our family- including the fact that we only have to spend 5-7 days at a time in country. That is a big deal when you have four other kids you are leaving behind to travel. Basically, over the last 3 years God has more than confirmed this is where He is leading us. 

"Why not adopt from U.S. foster care"?

When we first started to think about adoption we were open to adopting from anywhere. We did make several calls to inquire about foster care adoption. We also spoke with an agency and gathered information about domestic (private) adoption as well as international adoption. We honestly felt discouraged by the foster care system and there are clearly some things that are broken. In the future, we would be very happy if God called us to somehow advocate for reform or even adopt from foster care. For now, that isn’t where he called us. We feel strongly that one type adoption is not necessarily better than another. It all matters, because each of these children matter to God!

"Are you adopting a boy or a girl? Will it be a baby or an older child"?

We had the ability to choose but we didn’t. We will be matched with a child age 0-3 of either gender. You have the ability to choose the age and gender that best fits your family. We felt like the best fit for our family would be a child that is younger than Gavin (who is now 4).

"Africa has an HIV epidemic. Are you worried about HIV"?

No. All of the kids are tested for HIV. There are two separate waiting lists- one for HIV positive children and one for “healthy” children, or with other special needs. We chose not to do an HIV positive adoption. However, we have learned a lot about HIV and encourage others to be educated as well. We now know that it can NOT be spread to others through casual contact, sharing drinks, etc. and HIV positive children do not pose any risk to others in their home. 

"How much does it cost"?

When all is said and done, we will have spent about $30,000. I think this is the part most people struggle to comprehend. I think it depends on your perspective. In 2006 I was pregnant with our third child. I walked onto a car lot and purchased a brand new minivan (something I would probably not do again)! No one gave a second thought when I paid close to $30,000 for a vehicle. Yet, somehow we bristle at the idea of spending that to adopt a child. If a vehicle is worth $30,000, how much more is a life worth? Furthermore, Jesus said that where ever our treasure is, our heart will be also. If our heart is with the orphans of Ethiopia I reckon it’s safer there than it would be in any material thing. God’s economy is different, folks.

"Why does it cost so much? Who gets all that money"?

Understanding where the money goes helps. Part of it is paid to our agency for their services. They provide us with a homestudy which includes visits to our house and lots of paperwork. They walk us through the process step by step and make it possible to wade through all the red tape. They authenticate documents, run a transition home in Ethiopia, and do too much other stuff to list here. Lifeline is a non-profit and also runs a program called “unadopted” which helps children that will never be adopted.
Another large chunk of the money goes to a “referral fee” that is paid to Ethiopia. It is humanitarian aid. There are lots of “little cost” that add up as well. We needed two passports, certified copies of birth certificates and marriage licenses, a $890 fee to apply for immigration; there are visas, etc. etc.

The travel accounts for several thousand. Two trips are required, which means we (both) have to fly to Ethiopia twice. Then there is lodging and food while we are there. So as you can see, we aren’t paying $30,000 to an agency or to Ethiopia. It all just adds up. And we are fine with that. We consider it “ransom”. And frankly, I think God is all about high cost adoption- he didn’t spare a thing when He adopted us into His family. Why should we?

"Wow. You must be rollin in the dough to afford that"!

Negative. The costs are broken up into payments. So far we have paid about $8000 of that. We are about to make another payment of $3000, which God has already provided. We have applied for a grant with a Christian ministry that helps families adopt and are praying for some assistance there. We are also saving, stretching, and praying and God has provided every need, although often at the last minute! We believe that if God calls you He will fund it every time. There are plenty of families out there who can attest to this!

"Where are you in the process"?

  • We have completed our homestudy. (Homestudy= social worker visits and mountains of paperwork, 18 hours of video education, 2 books to read, various other things).
  • We have applied to USCIS (immigration) and will be getting our fingerprints done this week as part of that process.
  • We are compiling our dossier (dossier = homestudy +immigration approval + 20 other documents). Once we get immigration approval back our dossier will be sent to our agency, authenticated in D.C. and sent to Ethiopia!!
  • Once our dossier is in Ethiopia, we will be assigned a number on the wait list. The wait list exists not because there aren't enough children needing homes (there are over 5 million!) but because they can only process so many cases per day. There are a lot of families adopting, and for that we are grateful.


    "But…. You’re white."

(Gasp). What?! Ugh, we hadn't thought of that!

People, clearly we thought of this. If we hadn't  the interracial adoption exercises we had to complete for our homestudy would have brought it to light. If we didn't  the 9 hours of training we had to go through with the international adoption clinic in Birmingham (including sessions on racial identity) would have. We get it. And here is the thing: black parents might be better equipped to raise a black child. That may very well be true. However, there is not an abundance of adoptive parents and a shortage of children. This isn’t a question of black parents vs. white parents. It is a question of white parents vs. NO parents. There is a desperate, desperate need for children to be adopted. It is estimated that 1 in 8 children die before their 5th birthday in Ethiopia. So, no, your concerns about my race don’t move me.

1  "Aren’t you worried about the child will deal with racism, persecution, or identity issues- especially since you live in the south"?

This is a legitimate question and I think it deserves a thoughtful response. Racism is very real and we are not blind to that. But the question always makes me smile a little because you have to understand- I am raising all of my kids to be persecuted. Is that not what the Bible says? That if we stand firm in our faith for Christ we will be laughed at, mocked, or even persecuted? Well, I still teach my children to stand firm in their faith anyway. I teach them that their identity is in Christ. They are valuable because GOD says they are valuable and no person, no status, no mistake, and nothing else can ever take that away from them. I am not minimizing the struggle many adopted kids feel or what we may need to handle as we raise a child of a different race. In the end though, the fact that something isn't easy doesn't mean it isn't right. I think everyone struggles in some way with identity if it isn't rooted in Christ. And two parents who love and adore him/her will give our child an advantage that so many children are missing today- black, white, or otherwise. Ultimately, racism is a sin and although we realize we can’t escape the fact that it exists, we won’t let it rule our lives or decisions either.

We sincerely appreciate everyone’s support and interest in our adoption process. We would love it if you would pray with us for the rest of the journey, and especially for our child! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Waiting Room

Its been a while since I have written. Its been a while since I have posted what I have written. Its been over six months since I was faithful to blog and I am not really sure how to explain all that has happened. I scan through the things I have written as if one might fill in the holes to the story. Each time I read and reminisce and think “too raw”, “too vulnerable” or just realize its too long of a story and remember why I haven't blogged.

Its been three years since we first heard God’s call to adopt. We immediately said “yes” and began to pursue an adoption. We quickly learned that there is a season for everything, and the season you are called is not always the same season in which is comes to pass. Or should we say “ever” the season it comes to pass? We hit more than our fair share of hurdles. Maybe we just ran ahead of God and didn't count the cost. Maybe He intended to teach us a few things along the way to prepare us and grow us until we were ready. Maybe both.

So often adoption feels like a visit to the doctors office. You sit forever in the waiting room. Then eventually, when you think you just can’t take it anymore, you see some movement. Someone calls your name and leads you through a door and you are making progress. Then, they sit you in a smaller room: and everyone knows the smaller room takes longer than the big room! Adoption is often like that – with 3424 times more paperwork.

Several times we started a homestudy and each time something prevented us from finishing it. Each time it was hard on us. So when our agency called a few months ago and asked us how we were and if we were ready to pick up the adoption process again, I honestly told the coordinator that I didn't know. We still felt the call, and we still had the desire, but we weren't quite as naive as we were three years ago. We knew the sacrifice it would take. The risk, the emotional investment, and the ups and downs we would no doubt experience. Our agency was fantastic- patient and prayerful.

Yet as the days went on, we knew that we were so sure of God’s call that at this point we didn't need Him to confirm it anymore than He already had. So we began… hesitantly at first… to renew all of those homestudy documents. And you know what? There were no hurdles this time. Everything went smoothly. Each time I would think something would be difficult it wasn't.  Every appoint led to helpful people. Every time money was due God provided. Often Always at the last minute, but He did. I felt Him encouraging me to trust. 

To relax. 

To believe.

I heard a faint whisper of a verse in my ear… “blessed is she who has believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord ”. I never shared it because I was afraid something might come up and it might not work out. And honestly, I felt like it was a little presumptuous. I struggled to believe that this time would be different. And in its context, that had to do with Mary and the plan God had for her and His Son. Yet, somehow I believed God had a plan for us, too. 

I have seen God work with faith that I assure you has often been as small as a mustard seed. Our homestudy is now finished- written for an Ethiopian adoption. As soon as we got that back we sent it, along with an application, to U.S. immigration to get approval to bring a child into the U.S. We have an appointment to be fingerprinted by the FBI in a little over a week.  

Oh my. Now THAT makes everything feel real. :)

After our fingerprints we wait (hopefully only a couple of weeks) for approval. Then we will send it along with about 20 other documents (called a dossier) to our agency and then on to Ethiopia!! We will then be given a number on the waiting list, not because there are not enough children who need homes (there are an estimated 5 million), but because they can only process so many cases per day and there is a backlog. So we are making progress, yet we still have waiting ahead.

And yet.....

I’m so grateful. I am so grateful God chose to take us this route. We had to learn to listen to His voice- and only His voice. We had to learn to step out into the scary unknown based on only that small whisper. We have counted the cost and we know more about the sacrifice and somehow I think that must make our “yes” all the sweeter to His ears. I asked Brian one last time, “what if it doesn’t work out again”? He quickly replied, “if we have learned anything it is that we will be just fine- either way”. And we will. 

But blessed is she who believed. 

And I do. 

I am so glad He chose to take us down the winding path, through the ups and the downs.... through the waiting room. I am glad because He was there with us the whole time. And the journey has always been about Him anyway. 

We are so excited to see what He has in store!! 

"And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait"  - John Waller,  "While I'm Waiting"