Wednesday, February 27, 2013

For the love of a child

A couple nights ago my world was rocked and it hasn't stopped shaking.

I was a normal day. I came home from work, checked my email while Landon played at my feet and then checked my facebook notifications. I always enjoy reading what other people have posted in the Reece's Rainbow groups that I am a part of. Ryan and I truly did not know how blessed we were when we partnered with Reece's Rainbow to help us save the lives of our precious boys. Now, everyone just feels like family. I love hearing about and seeing the pictures of children who were just added to Reece's Rainbow or children who have been found by their families, but this notification was different.

It was short and to the point...

Stacey had died.

Up until this point I had never seen Stacey's picture. I read the little I could see of her profile and learned that she had been transferred to an institution, had down syndrome, was tiny and in desperate need of a family to rescue her. I clicked on her link so that I could read the whole profile, but it took me to a blank white page.

My heart broke inside.

I posted her picture on my facebook wall hoping that people would see her face and be moved to change.

Three days later and her picture still sits on my facebook wall. 

No comments

No likes

Time passed after I saw her sweet face. I replied to some emails, scanned some documents, played with Landon, but God wasn't letting me forget.

I was holding my Landon in my arms when the damn broke. 

I lost it.

I sobbed and sobbed...

I sobbed for every child that spends their days imprisoned in an institution.

I sobbed for my Ivan and Levi... because I'm terrified for them... but most of all...

I sobbed for Stacey.

I sobbed for this little angel that I had never seen before an hour prior.

I sobbed because she had spent her whole life waiting for love...

waiting for the body of Christ...

and we never came for her.

I wiped my tears, put Landon down for his nap, and went about the rest of my day, but I couldn't deny this pain that was seeping out of my heart, this grief.

That night when Ryan got home I was sitting on the couch. I was trying to focus on school, but I just couldn't. Ryan knew that something was wrong so he came over and talked to me and through my sobs I told him about Stacey.

I told him I was just heartbroken for her.

She deserved so much more.

I asked Ryan if he really thought that the life she lived was the good and prosperous plan that God had written out for her?

He just shook his head with tears in his eyes.

I told him that I believe God had redemption in store for her, but we failed him.

I told him, "I wonder if God just couldn't take seeing her suffer any longer so He came to her rescue because we wouldn't listen, because the church wouldn't fight and ransom her. I imagine Jesus going to her, taking her by the hand, and telling her all the things that a mama and papa should have told her. 

I bet He told her she is loved.

I bet He told her she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

I bet He told her she is beautiful.

I see Him wrapping her in His arms, squeezing her so tight, and whispering in her ear that He is sorry, so so sorry, that she had to suffer so much pain.

I see His tears falling in her hair.

and then I see him wiping her hair away from her beautiful face, lifting her chin so she can look right in His eyes, and saying "You are safe now my daughter, you will never be alone again."

I sobbed and sobbed...

Ryan held me and I just cried. 

"That is what the body of Christ should have done for her."

Where were we?

I'm sure that hundreds if not thousands of people scrolled over Stacey's picture, but no one chose her. 

No one said "Yes Lord I'm willing."

Maybe people made excuses why they couldn't adopt her, maybe they said "someday."

But now Stacey's picture is no where to be found.

The only chance of her redemption on this earth has been wiped clean and the content about her has been erased.

I just don't know how we can justify this church?

Have we grown so insensitive and numb to the pain of this world?

One of the things that came out of my mouth that night, through my grief, was "we say we're pro-life... We're hypocrites. 

It's not enough to protect the life of the unborn, what about the perfect lives that have been born, but haven't truly been allowed to live a day in their lives? 

Can we forget about them.

Can we read about them, but go back to our normal lives?

This is Stacey.

Her picture was never hung on anyone's wall or made the wallpaper on anyone's cell phone.

She was never held and rocked to sleep by a mothers sweet embrace.

She was never told that she was beautiful.

She was never given a chance to learn and explore the world.

She lived her whole life in a crib and in a crib she passed from this horrific existence into paradise.

Her precious tiny little body was thrown into a hole, probably with many other children.  
No family members surrounded her grave. No one cried or grieved over the loss she has left in their lives.

It could have been so different for her.

I truly believe that God had a magnificent future in store for this girl, if only we would have been His hands and feet for her.

Ryan and I were told the other day that we don't even know how hard life is going to be once we get our Ivan and Levi home. "You may think it will be hard, but it is going to be 10x harder than you could ever imagine."

Ya know what... that person may be right. It is going to be hard for us. Life is going to be uncomfortable. We are going to have sleepless nights and probably many mental breakdowns, but no matter how hard it is, we will never regret it.

Did you hear me, we will NEVER regret it!

Because what kind of Christians would we be if we pass on saving the life of a child because redeeming that precious life will be "hard?"

No matter how hard it may be, it is NO WHERE close to the pain and suffering these CHILDREN face on a daily basis.


Could we let God break our hearts? 

Could we dare to feel an ounce of the pain God feels for His precious ones?

Could we dare to weep some tears on behalf of these precious lives that Satan has captured, tortured, and wasted.

Could we dare to step out in faith and be "uncomfortable?"

Could we dare to fight for the love of a child?

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Is it truly Thursday already?!?

Where did the week go I am wondering...

Right now, adoption feels like training for a marathon. I still have other things to focus on... normal life things... like work, school, church, family, friends, but it's always there. My mind feels like it is in constant training mode.

Granted I am not running 20 miles a day (I can't remember the last time I put on my running shoes, oh yeah that would be the Bismarck half marathon... in.... was it October? Read about it here), I am constantly thinking documents, paperwork, funding, scheduling appointments, researching.

It is extremely taxing.

I remember training for marathons and thinking that it should really be considered a full time job because who can spend hours and hours running in their free time? Adoption feels the same way. There is SO much to do. The little steps we are making seem so small in comparison to how far we have to go, but I know that it's the hard runs that make you stronger. It's the days where you just don't want to do it anymore... but you lace up your shoes anyway.

We have a lot of those days.

I am also finding though, that this is an amazing experience to share with my husband, even more amazing then running a race together.

We need each other.

We know we can't do this without one another.

With each signiture we both place on each document, it feels like a promise, a covenant, that come what may, we're in this together.

Even though it still feels like we have so far to go, we truly are making progress.
Our last home study visit is TOMORROW!!!! WAHOOOO!!

We are also working hard getting our dossier compiled.

We are so excited to be moving ahead (slowly but surely) in our adoption process, but with every step forward comes added expenses. I would be lying if I said I have not had at least one breakdown this week due to our finances. It kills me that there are some things we have had to put off, just because we don't have the money right now.

I just want to do everything as quickly as possible because everyday I'm haunted by the knowledge of the neglect and pure evil our boys are facing on a daily basis. I know we are in a race against time to get them out of there, but the huge money mountain standing in our way is heartbreaking to me.

I know that it should not be. I know that through the power of Christ we can say the word and that mountain will be leveled... but Ryan and I have been praying... and the mountain still stands, glaring at us with those horribly intimidating eyes it has.

It can be discouraging... I'm being honest.

But each day we wait on the Lord, we seek Him to renew our strength.

We cling to His promises at every moment.

We know that His timing is perfect... not slow... perfect.

I am not going to beg for money on here (at least not today, I've already confessed that I will do anything for the boys). You all know our need and we're trusting that God is going to speak to each person whom we need to come alongside us and support us financially (huge thank you to everyone who has given to our adoption, you are such an encouragement and blessing to us) but I am going to ask, for prayer.

Please commit to praying for our boys. So far, we have only had a couple people commit to being their prayer warriors. I know MANY of you ARE praying for them so please email me so I can put you on my weekly prayer request mailing list and so I can put a heart on the boys' wall to remind us daily of the army God has raised to fight on behalf of our beloved little ones.

Well right here was where I was going to put an updated picture of the boys' wall, but my computer has been stupid lately, not wanting me to blog or let me into my courses for school (coincidence... probably not ;) so I will just be happy if this post publishes

Anyways... just know that there is LOTS more room for your heart.

Again my email is

Lastly, if you live in the Bismarck area there is an adoption event going on at Charity Luthern church tomorrow at 6:30. There will be dessert and childcare provided! If you've ever considered adoption, or even if you haven't, it will be a great time of learning and fellowship.

Also, we would love for you to join us at New Song church on Sunday. Ryan and I will be sharing a little about this incredibly crazy beautiful life God has blessed us with.

Services are at 9 and 10:45. Free breakfast at 10 :)

Hope to see you there!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A day in the life of surrender

Have you ever wondered what it looks like to completely give your life to Christ and say yes to the crazy and insane thing that He calls you to? Have you ever wondered what goes in between the prayer and the answer to that prayer? 

I can tell you...

When you say YES to God... like really... yes, Lord whatever you say we will do... your life becomes a huge....... hmmmm.......


Yep, it becomes one big target for the enemy to shoot at.

And let me tell you, he is relentless. He just doesn't give up. 

I don't think it helps that I have a husband who is a rock when it comes to his faith. Seriously, nothing seems to phase Ryan so I think he ticks Satan off to the point where he takes out his big guns and is like.... really... you didn't care about that, well what if I make your wife sick... what if I take out your reliable vehicle... what if I make you do the same set of documents three times because of something as stupid as the librarian not placing her stamp in exactly the right place, or spelling February wrong... yep, that's sure to get him....

Ryan's response... It'll be okay, God will work it out. Don't worry. Well, we'll just try again...

In the past two weeks it has been ridiculous, even comical how much bad stuff has happened to our family. First I got really sick and finally went in to the dentist to find out that I have an abscessed tooth and will need a root canal. This put me over the edge because I was already so stressed about the adoption and school. I had been putting off going to the dentist because I knew we didn't have the money to fix my broken tooth... well I guess I waited too long because it got really infected... great.

Then I tried to start our jeep after work... nothing. 

Ryan came, but couldn't fix it and decided that it needed a new battery. The next day we got a battery, but it still wouldn't work. By some miracle, the day after, we were able to get it started and it ran long enough for us to get it home. It's been sitting in our parking lot for days, we're waiting to buy a new alternator, but for the mean time we've been sharing one vehicle, which is not ideal now that we are both working.

Last night we were driving home from Olive Garden when our radio started flickering and our battery light came on. 

Seriously! Now this vehicle is dying!

Ryan said it was fine and he would buy a battery the next day and fix it. He told me not to worry about it and just focus on having a great Valentines Day. Our car got us home and we did enjoy our night.

This morning we got up early so Ryan could get a battery and fix the car before he had to be at work. He was just praying that it would start.... and it did. We started driving but it wasn't long before all of our gauges turned off. We were both praying with every breath that it would make it to Walmart and for the traffic lights to turn green. We made it through our third light, when it completely died... in the middle of one of the busiest intersections. Ryan was able coast to the side, but it didn't take long for panic to set in on my end. Landon was in the backseat and I didn't have his bag with his bottle and blankets. I was instantly worried about him because it was so cold and we weren't very close to any building that I could take him into. Ryan started calling around to find someone who could tow us (who we wouldn't have to pay), but he wasn't able to get a hold of anyone.

Then a cop pulls up... She told Ryan that he had to get our car off the road and asked if we wanted her to call us a tow truck. Ryan said yes, and then we took Landon and got in the back of the police car (So there's your explanation, for all of you who saw us climbing into a cop car this morning, sorry it's not more exciting;) to stay warm. 

My response to all of this...

God why... seriously why God... I was just telling you this morning that I need you to speak to me and encourage me because I don't know how I can do this and now this.... this is NOT the answer I was looking for. Are we not supposed to go through with this adoption? How will we be able to take care of these boys? There must be better parents out there that would be better fit to care for them. Our life is so crazy and unstable. It feels like everyday is a battle. I get why people don't want this. I get why people focus on comfort and money. Right now Lord, right now, sitting in the back of this cop car, I wish we had comfort and I wish we had money.

What I imagine satan's response to be: HAHA success!!!

Ryan's response to all of this...

Come here babe so I can get a picture of all 3 of us. He was bummed I wouldn't let him post it to facebook without an explanation as to why we were actually in the back of a police car.

satan's response: You've got to be kidding me!!

Even in the most crazy times, Ryan can always make me laugh and ease my worries with the peace that seems to consume him. Ryan possesses a peace that follows him everywhere he goes like the dust bowl that resides around Pig Pen in Charlie Brown.

I was able to get a hold of my friend and she came and got Landon. She is such a life saver! I don't know what I would do without her.

Eventually the tow truck came and we drove with him to Walmart. On our way he told us that it wasn't the battery, it was the alternator that we needed to replace. Ryan asked him if Walmart would do that and he said, and I quote, "oh yeah, they will do that." So we get to Walmart, pay the tow trucker, and go inside to the auto center. Ryan tells the lady that we think our car needs a new alternator. She said, and I quote, "We don't touch those."


Ryan runs back out to tell the tow trucker that we need a ride to another place, but we could see him driving away in the distance. Ryan took my hand and we walked back inside. As we were walking around looking for gloves, Ryan got a call from his friend, who said that he would come help us. So we spent the next 30 min. walking around Walmart, buying gloves and hats for $1. As we were walking around we talked. I told Ryan how I was feeling and I asked him if he ever thinks that maybe we wont be able to take care of the boys. He said, "I don't ever let myself think that. Satan is obviously trying to discourage us and we're not going to let him right?" Me: groan. Then he said, "it's going to be okay baby, let's just try to enjoy our time together." 

and we did...

I was still feeling discouraged, but I couldn't deny that there was this amazing peace too. It was like there was a battle waging in my heart, but I knew that God had already won. 

Our friend got there, bought a tow rope, and off we went to another auto place. While we were waiting inside, I felt everything changing. I knew that Ryan was being encouraged by his friend in ways that he really needed and I was feeling so incredibly blessed to be on this journey with such an amazing man. 

Our life is not all romance. There's really nothing glamorous about it. We don't own anything fancy and we don't reside in a beautiful home, but I wouldn't trade our life for anything because it is real. I know years down the road I will remember this day and how we sat in the back of a cop car and laughed about it or how we walked around an empty Walmart hand in hand laughing about things that only we would find funny.

That is what marriage is. It's nothing that you'll see in Hollywood, but isn't it what everyone truly wants? To be known and loved and share in an incredible adventure together.

I know that a car breaking down doesn't really seem like an adventure, but Ryan and I know that it's so much bigger than our cars or our bills or our work schedules. We have an enemy who wants to destroy our marriage. We may not have much that we can give our boys when it comes to material things, but satan sees the love that we have in our family and that is what he wants to destroy. That is what he does not want Ivan and Levi to get a taste of. Satan has seen what this kind of love can do...

It can heal.

We ended up having to get our alternator and our battery replaced today. We forked over a pretty penny. We sat in a dirty waiting room and drank nasty coffee, but somewhere in the midst of all of that, I found the peace that I had prayed for this morning. 

God didn't speak to me audibly, but I believe that He placed an idea in my head, an idea that turned into a belief, that turned into confirmation. 

I really believe that we are going to get Ivan and Levi. 

I have days when I wonder if it's possible and the fear of our adoption failing is all consuming at times, but today I have no doubt that we will get them. Why else would satan be doing everything in his power to get us to stop fighting for them? Today, as we were sitting in the back of the cop car, I seriously considered that maybe I should try to find another family that would be willing to adopt them, someone who has more money and a bigger house, who can care for them better then we can. 

God has changed my perspective now though. 

I don't believe all of these bad things are happening to us because God is trying to tell us that we shouldn't adopt, I think all of these things are happening to us because we are supposed to. 

Because satan knows that these boys are going to flourish with us. 

Because he knows that the love and the bond Ryan and I have is unshakable. 

Because he knows that these boys are about to have a papa who will protect them and cover them in his faith and peace.

Because he knows that if Ivan and Levi get introduced to Jesus then the plans that God has for them are going to come to fulfillment and that is going to mean a lot of glory for God and a lot of trouble for him.

We finally were able to go pick up Landon this afternoon and go home. I got the mail on our way up to our apartment and screamed with joy when I saw a check for $617. 

God will always provide.

Granted there was also a home study bill for over a thousand dollars, but...

God will always provide.

Our family just takes it one day at a time. That is how we learned to live after Landon's heart and that is how we will continue to live everyday forward.

I have not been sharing some of the hard times we have encountered because I fear that you will think that we are not in the position to bring two more children into our family, but today God took away that fear. Ryan and I were talking on our way home and he said that the fact that we make it through so many hard things together does not mean that we will be able to make it through this adoption and through raising our boys, it just shows us how completely and utterly reliant on God we are.

He is absolutely right. We believe God has given us these boys and we have complete faith and trust that He is going to meet every one of their needs. 

We just may be the vessels He uses to do it :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Give your heart to bring them home

I figured since today is the day that the whole world is celebrating the loves in their lives, it would be a great day for me to celebrate our two little lovies on here and tell you all a little more about them.

We really do not know very much about the boys, but what we do know I'll try to fill you in on.

They are both 5 years old.

They live in a country where parents are told to give their children with special needs to an orphanage because they are considered worthless and have no hope to ever live a normal life. When the children turn 5 they are then transferred to a mental institution where, if they cannot walk, they spend the rest of their lives in a crib.

I will start with Ivan because he is the older of the two, but only by a couple months. They are so close in age, we plan on raising them like twins (not that I really need an excuse to dress them both alike :)

Ivan has been described as "a darling little boy and a favorite of the staff"

Ivan has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. When I first saw Ivan's diagnosis, I didn't know what it was, and I didn't want to know. I didn't research CP before I told God that I would love Ivan. I gave that child my heart and I stepped out in faith. After Ryan and I knew that Ivan was ours, we started to research what cp is and how to care for a child with it. We know that Ivan has spasticity (stiff and tight joints), and microphaly (this means his head is a significant amount smaller than the rest of his body proportion). To be painfully honest, at first I didn't want to know what cp was because I was scared I would be too afraid to move ahead with the adoption. It was scary reading about cp, but God had given us such a love for this child that Ryan and I decided that whatever happens, we're going to love Ivan. Even if we have to care for him our entire lives, that would be such a small price to pay for the blessing that we know he is and that he is going to be to this world.

Ivan is not walking or talking at this time. There is a possibility that he may never do those things, we're going into this knowing that, but that doesn't matter to us.

We just want our child to be safe.

We just want our Ivan to know love.

They cannot care for Ivan at the baby house he is at. Ivan needs therapy, he may need surgeries, he needs good nutrition, and most of all, he needs love.

This is Ivan at two years old

Already in the orphanage. I'm assuming he's been there since birth.

Look at those eyes!

He is not a child with CP. He is a child (period). His diagnosis does NOT define him. He needs love and a family. Please help us bring him home.

I think Ivan is 3 and 1/2 in this picture.

I sobbed when I saw it. I've seen other pictures of children in these orphanages with nothing but skin hanging on their bones, but this is MY child.

Please help us bring him home!

This we believe, to be the most recent picture of our sweet boy. We're guessing he is 4 or 5. He is just a baby still. Please help us bring him home, so that he can, for the first time in his life, live and grow. Satan has stolen years from this child. Please! Please! Don't allow him to take anymore. We cannot do this without you. We need your prayers and support.

Help us bring him home!

Levi has three siblings. Two older and a twin sister. He may have more younger siblings, but they are not listed. I have been told that his twin sister has been adopted by a couple in his country so sadly, we will probably never be able to find her :(

Levi has also been diagnosed with CP, but that is all his profile says. It does not tell us what symptoms he has that have led to this conclusion. Deep down both Ryan and I believe that Levi does not have cp. It is very possible that this child does not have the ability to control his movements simply because he has been severely neglected his whole life. We know that Levi is an outcast because of his darker skin color. We have been told that even the staff do not interact with him. Ryan and I have been watching and reading things about neglect and what we are finding is devestating. Neglect is just as bad, if not worse, than physical or sexual abuse on the brain and development of a child. Children will not grow and develop if they are not receiving loving physical touch. Some one who visited Levi's orphanage described him as a very calm child because they never saw him cry or fuss, they never saw him show much emotion at all. Levi is not a "calm" child. He is a child who has shut down because his cries were never heard or responded to. I'm crying writing this because my heart aches for him, it breaks and shatters for him.

He does not deserve the life he was given. He is fearfully and wonderfully made, created in the image of the all mighty God. His birth parents may not have been able to see it, and the family that adopted his twin sister and left him to die may not have seen it, but we see it.

Dear Levi,

My darling child. Mama cannot tell you how sorry I am for the pain that you have suffered. I know that we are going to have to work through so very much. We are going to have to wade through all that pain and anger that has built up over the years in that little body of yours, but I want you to know that you will never have to do it alone. You have never been alone sweet heart. God has heard every one of your cries. That is what your name means "to be heard". Simeon was your name all of those years that you laid in your crib. We will keep it as your middle name, but God has told us that we are to give you a new name, a new identity. Levi: joined in harmony; attached; combined. You will never be alone again my child because God has joined us in harmony. You were always supposed to be ours and why you had to wait so long, I will never know or understand. Just know that just like Simeon in the Bible's prayers were heard. God will not let you die before you see His salvation.

We are coming for you my love. We are coming.

God has heard your silent cries and he is sending us for you. Just hold on xoxox

Levi does not have very many pictures, which is a result of him being labeled an "outcast" and "worthless"

We were able to find this one, which is him when he was two

Is he not the cutest thing???

Oh my goodness I could eat him up. My heart breaks that this is the only baby picture I will ever have of him and he is already two.

I know that God is going to repay this child for the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)

We are going to make sure of it!!

The only other picture we have of Levi is the one wehre he is sitting in the bumbo chair. We think that was taken when he was 3 or 4. He is probably not much bigger today than he is in that picture :(

This is your room lovies! It's all ready and waiting for you. On the day that Mama and Papa get our USCIS approval we are going to go buy your cribs, get you your own pillow pet, and make you your own blankie. That is what we did on the day we found out that Landon was coming into our family and we cannot wait to share the same tradition with you.

This is the picture that we are going to send to your country to show them where you will be sleeping :) I hope they think you will be happy here. We will have so much fun and share so much laughter in this room. 

This is the wall that your cribs will go on. It's my favorite wall because it has your names. We are going to frame your pictures and put them next to your names soon :)

Okay, so this is where you all come in, we need your help to decorate our boys' wall! From this time, until they are safe in our arms, we are asking you, begging you, to give our Ivan and Levi your hearts. We need you to love them, truly love them and invest in saving their lives.

There are two ways that you can do this.

The #1 thing we need is prayer warriors. Our boys already have some of the best, I believe that is how we were able to find them and get this far in our journey, but they need more.

#2 We need money. It's humbling and it's not fun to admit, but I'd do anything for these boys and if I have to make a fool of myself, get on my knees and beg, that is what I will do. We are in need of about $20,000 to cover our adoption expenses and travel. Expenses are already mounting and I would be lying if I said the numbers aren't extremely overwhelming at times. We know that God is going to level every mountain that stands in between us and these two precious ones who need our name to save their lives, but we also know that He needs His body in order to do it.

If they do not get adopted, they will die.

There is no question about it.

All children with special needs in their country get transferred to a mental institution when they turn five. Our boys are both five now. They have been transferred, but to different orphanages, which is a complete and total miracle. We have been told that they could be transferred to an institution at any time though and that is why Reece's Rainbow is working with us to get them home as soon as possible. Once they are transferred they will be living in a place that has been described as "a concentration camp for children" What they are living in now is horrible, but if they get transferred, it is really only a matter of time before they die. PLEASE, I'm begging you with tears that if you can help in anyway financially it would mean the world to us.

From now, until the time they are in our arms, if you commit to being their prayer warrior or giving financially from your heart to bring them home, we will place a heart on their wall with your name and where you live on it. We are doing this so that we will daily have a reminder of the people who are loving, praying for, and believing God for a miracle for our precious Ivan and Levi.

Here is an example

We would love to fill their entire wall with hearts so that one day we can show them how God brought hearts from all over the world together because of them, to bring them home to us.

 If you would like to be their prayer warrior and commit to storming the gates of hell for our boys on a daily basis, please email me at I would like your info to put on your heart and then I will also put you on a mailing list so I can send you weekly/daily updates and prayer requests.

If you desire to give your heart through a financial blessing there are two ways you can do it. You can hit the yellow donate button at the top right to give directly to our family. This is appreciated because this money can be used for expenses outside of our travel and in country. Or you can click on The Reece's Rainbow button with our two precious ones pictures and donate to our family sponsorship grant. This is a tax deductible gift and we will receive the money once we are ready to travel. Please keep in mind that only donations made through Reece's Rainbow will be tax deductible.

I will be posting updated pictures of the boys' wall so that you can all watch your hearts grow!!!

We love you all! Thank you for loving us and giving our boys your hearts and support! 

One more thing, PLEASE share this blog everywhere you can!! Tell people about our boys!! We need all the hearts we can find!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Worth it!

I am seriously beginning to consider submitting our family's picture to the dictionary so they can place it under the definition of "crazy." I knew adoption was not for the faint of heart, but... wow... you really have no idea until your committed, until you're all in, until you're home is drowning in paperwork, and your heart is being wrung out by the hands of God.

It is so emotionally and physically exhausting!

In a perfect world, I would have all day to focus on compiling all of our documents, sending emails, driving to the library to visit my new best friend the notary public lady (she hates us), reading preparation books, and corresponding with other fellow adoptive parents. Instead I'm distraught with jealousy over the other mothers who seem to be constantly getting things apostilled and sent in. I tell myself that they obviously don't have anything else to do. I know this probably isn't true, but it helps me justify my exhaustion and lack of desire to conquer the mountain of paperwork.

I am so over school! I stopped being able to focus on it after Landon was born, but now with the adoption, it's a miracle that I get my assignments sent in on time each week.

I yell at my classes daily!

I tell them I wish they would just go away. I tell them I am over them, and that I'd rather be with facebook then stare at their boring face one more second... Okay that may be a little harsh (I gave you the best 5 years of my life college!! ;) I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel though. I received an invitation to my commencement ceremony in May!! I obviously will not be going to Virginia to end my life as a student in style, but I will be just as happy to receive my diploma in the mail. I will take it out of the envelope, dance around with it and show Ryan probably a good 20 times. Then it will likely go into our file cabinet with promises that it will soon be taken out and placed into a beautiful frame, but truth is, I will forget about it, and there it will sit for probably years to come. To be brutally honest, I don't care about paper, I don't care about my accomplishments, I care about people. Sure, it will feel amazing to be done and I will forever be proud of myself that I stuck it out and finished, but compared to rescuing our two lovies out of the hell they are in, graduating from college, just isn't on the radar.

I started working at our churches daycare again this week. God worked it out, so I could work there for my internship!! It was such an incredible answer to prayer. I had wanted to get a part time job to help pay for our adoption, but I knew I couldn't because I would be observing counseling sessions 8 hours a week for my internship. God closed the door on the counseling, which I was really bummed about, but then He opened the door for me to work in the daycare again. I'm working 15 hours a week. My amazing friend is watching Landon and I get to watch her two adorable children two days a week (win win! :)

Last weekend we switched bedrooms with Landon so that we could start getting his room ready for the boys to join him. It was absolute chaos for two days as our bed was taken apart and scattered around our living room, along with everything else. To say we downsized is a major understatement (I have to turn sideways to get to my closet), but Ryan and I are actually really enjoying it, we call it cozy :) Our closet is less than half the size of our old one, but we are also liking only having a select few items of clothing to choose from.

We're making sacrifices.

We're making room...

because they are of more worth than any material thing we will ever own or desire.

People make up so many excuses why they can't adopt... space being one of them... seriously... why do we need "master" bedrooms that could fit maybe five (or more) cribs in them? Do we really understand what children are living in? Do we get that some children are sentenced to spend their entire life in a crib!

Do we think these children would not be happy in our middle class homes? Do you think our boys would rather stay in their dirty orphanages where they are being neglected and starved than come join us in our little two bedroom apartment where they will be smothered in love and their tummies will always be full and satisfied?

Our life is crazy.

I feel like we barely have time to breath.

I am stressed a good majority of the time.

I am scared, I don't see how everything is going to work out.

But whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed and I think, man, poor me, my life is so crazy, I stop myself and say woh woh wohhhh Get behind me Satan!! Poor me?? Poor me?? NO! My sons are on the other side of the world living each day on borrowed time, just holding on for a salvation that they neither know or understand. God forgive me! Yes, I'm stressed and this is hard, but it is nothing compared to the life of an innocent child. All of the paperwork, the working, the donating plasma, the researching, the emailing, the fighting... this is all for them... and for them I would do anything... because.. for them Jesus You gave EVERYTHING.

They are so worth it!!

So please forget every complaint that has been documented in this post. Every ounce of stress is going to be worth it, every penny, every all nighter, every moment of what are we doing? is all going to be wiped out with one touch from their sweet skin.

Please pray for them. Pray that God will sustain them until we can come for them. Pray that Ryan and I will somehow find the energy to work on our dossier at night. Pray that our adoption goes quickly. We have been told that we could have them home by August. Pray that is true!! We would LOVE (beyond love!) to have them home by their sixth birthdays.

We love each of you. Thank you for following and journeying with us. We couldn't do this without your support.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Spread Hope! A message from Landon

Good morning all!! I have seen many Feb. 1st come and go in my life, but today when I woke up, I was reminded that this one is different, as will every Feb. 1st be from this day forward.

I was reminded as I lifted my sweet Landon out of his crib this morning that God has given me a great responsibility by giving me this child with such a special miracle heart.

I have the great responsibility to spread hope.

I carry this responsibility everyday, but Feb. is the month that the world has given me to step up on a pedestal and, through my son's story, share of God's faithfulness and power.

Hi, my name is Landon. I am just like any baby big boy, my age. I love to play and get into mischief. I love eating all different kind of foods, but puffs are my very favorite. I love my mama and papa and my soon to be big brothers bunches. Today I even waved good-bye to my papa when he left for work. It was no big deal, but mommy and daddy went on and on about it and smothered me in kisses. I love watching all the cars drive by out the window and staring up at our ceiling fans. Yep, I'm just like any other big boy, but mama tells me that God made me very special.

Mama tells me that when I was still in her tummy, the doctor told her that I had a very special heart. I have something called Pulmonary Artresia and Intact ventricular septum. Mama says that's just a very long word that means God chose not to open one of the valves in my heart. The doctor told my mama that I would have to go to the doctor a lot and even have to leave her and my papa sometimes so that the special doctors could open the door to my heart, look inside, and try to fix it. The doctor told me that I wouldn't be just like other big boys my age. He said that my heart wouldn't ever grow big and strong. He said that I wouldn't ever be able to use a big chunk of it, but mama tells me that she trusted that God could grow my heart and make it big and strong. Her and papa believed for me. Mama tells me that they had people all over the whole world praying for my special heart.

After I was born I was teeny tiny. Mama says the doctors had to take me right away so that God could help them fix my heart. Mama says that it was a very scary time and her and daddy cried a lot. I tell mama that was silly because I was safe with Jesus the whole time.

Mama says that the happiest day was when I finally got to go home and see my room and all my toys for the very first time. I learned right away that I really like my life. Mama would take me on stroller rides everyday. Everyday she would show me something new and tell me that God made it. God made EVERYTHING. He likes to make everything different. Mama says that is what makes everything so beautiful. Mama says that my heart is different, but that doesn't make it a mistake. God made my heart different so that I could show the world that different can be beautiful.



Mama says that not everyone believes that God still does miracles. She said that's why we have to tell them about my special heart. So many tears fell down for my heart and God told me He caught everyone. Mama says all the tears she cried could fill the ocean. So many prayers went up for my heart and mama says God heard everyone. Mama says God has a broken heart to, so He knows how hard it is and how much it hurts sometimes, so He decided to do something crazy! He took my little broken heart and He made it grow. Mama calls it a miracle. She says it's just like when Jesus made the little bit of bread and fishy into a lot of bread and fishy.

Mama says that my special heart left the doctors speechless. Then God helped the doctors fix my heart completely. Now my heart only looks a little different then most other boys and girls.

Mama tells me that there are lots of boys and girls that have special hearts just like mine. She says that miracles never look the same for everyone and that even though some boys and girls' hearts look really different that doesn't mean that they aren't miracles too.

So I helped mama change the calendar this morning and she told me that now it's February. She said that this is a special month where we celebrate all of the broken hearts. She said that we wear red this month so that we're reminded to tell our story and spread hope.

Mama told me that some mama's choose not to give their baby's broken heart a chance to beat on this world and go for stroller rides and play with toys. She told me that they get scared because they don't know that different is so beautiful. I told mama that is so silly. I told mama that even though I've had to get lots of owies that make me sad, I love my life and I'm glad that mama and papa believed that God can turn everything that's broken into something beautiful.

I wish that I could tell every future heart mama out there that, but I can't talk yet and I don't get out much, so I need you to tell my story for me. I need you to spread hope so that every baby with a broken heart will be given a chance. I need you to tell everyone that it takes a lot of tears and prayers, but brokenness can be something so so beautiful.

So will you help me??

Mama says that not everyone can see God's faithfulness on them, but I'm special cuz Jesus marked me :)


Go spread HOPE!!!