Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My thoughts on being "saints" and an adoption update

I apologize for not writing in so long.

To say we've been busy is vastly understated.

We have been blown away by God's provision, but let me tell you, we have not been sitting on our bums praying for the money to come in the mail.

Yes, we've been praying like crazy, but we get up off our knees and WORK.

Sometimes when I tell people we're fundraising for our adoption, they give me this blank stare and I can tell they're trying to process what the heck an adoption has to do with fundraising.

People fund raise for causes, not when they want to grow their family.

They usually get out an awkward "congratulations" and we part ways.

I understand that this takes some processing and change of perspective to understand.

For starters, adoption isn't just a means by which we've decided to grow our family. Believe me, we know there's much cheaper, safer ways to grow our family. After my miscarriage last Summer we met with multiple doctors and each of them told us there was no reason why we wouldn't be able to have more biological children.

With that said, God didn't lead us down that route...

He has called us once again to risk everything and make the sacrifices necessary to rescue HIS children.

A Father to the fatherless; a defender of widows, is God in His Holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5

Let me just say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with fundrasing to adopt because you want to grow your family. God gives us that desire. The ability to love one who is not biologically your own, is Holy in and of itself, but for a lot of us adoptive families, adoption is something we feel is a calling on our lives, just like people who are called to fight for the cause of children battling cancer, or those who feel called to join the army, peace corps, or those who commit their lives to overseas missions.

Everyone is not called to adopt... but we are.

And with any lofty calling, comes the need to unify and seek the help of others.

I had this nagging thought our last adoption and it's been rearing it's head once again... why doesn't God call those who HAVE the funds needed to rescue these amazing children.

I know they're out there, those people that have 25k sitting in a bank account somewhere.

It would be simply a drop in the bucket for so many...

But, strangly what I have found is that the majority of people God calls to adopt, are just average joes making an average income, some even living pay check to pay check.

We get called "saints" all the time. People see us and our lives don't make sense. They don't understand why we would "choose" this; why we would choose Ivan and why we would choose these two children, but the truth is simple.

We didn't choose them, God did.

and I believe that God chose us to adopt them, not because we are "saints" and have it all together, but because we are the least likely. We fall in the catagory of weak, young, irresponsible, nieve, in way OVER our heads, but that is exactly the kind of people God loves to use.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; (check) not many were influential (check); not many were of noble birth (and... check) But God CHOSE the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things (I can't help but picture all the precious children around the world labled worthless to this world because of their special needs, Jesus sees THEM. Jesus chooses THEM.) and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who have become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

So you see, we're not saints, we're far from wealthy, and we're definetly no where close to ready for this next journey God is calling us to.

We're just an average young family that truly believe that because we call ourselves Christians, our lives should resemble Jesus' life. Our hearts should break for the things that break the heart of God, and we should risk everything so God can be glorified through our weakness.

With all that said, time to do a little boasting!!

When we first began this adoption journey I had some doubts that we would be able to fundraise enough in such a short amount of time, but after seeing God move this month we are now confidently trusting that God WILL make a way.

Since announcing our adoption, we have had an out pour of support and love from others, some already close friends, some complete strangers, but now forever friends, and some people who have chosen to remain anonymous (You know who you are, THANK YOU!!)

This past month we have had a t-shirt fundraiser, jewelry party, I've sold dozens of burlap wreaths, hot cocoa and Russian tea jars, and just a couple days ago we had an awesome event at Dunn Bros, not to mention, the fundraisers the Gathering Family has had going to help with our adoption!!

It has been a full month! On top of all that, I've been working a lot to help cover our home study fees.

It's been crazy and this mama is TIRED!!

We are ready to go home for Christmas to refresh and relax as a family.

We wont be planning quite as many fundraisers next month since we'll be focusing on completing our dossier (a ton of paperwork that will get sent to our children's country), but I still have some awesome ones up my sleeve so stay tuned :)

Now for some numbers!! I know you've all been waiting for me to update our thermometer!

Our FSP is now at 2,117.65 (it seems to have gone up a little or a lot each time I check it!!)

Baby girl is on Reece's Rainbow's angel tree this year! The purpose of angel tree is to get each child's grant up to $1,000. She is clearly loved because angel tree has raised $430.20 for her adoption. with what she already had, her grant is now at 506.70

Reno had $103.50 in his grant. We will recieve both children's grant money when we are ready to travel.

We raised $274.58 from our awesome t-shirts!!

$305.65 from selling our wreaths and jars!!

We had such a beautiful day for our event at Dunn Bros. Everyone had a great time and we raised $1,160!! Which includes alot of wreath orders :)

So our grand total raised during the month of December is


To God be the glory!!

Thank you to everyone who donated even one penny to our adoption. You are being used by God in such an incredible way to change the lives of His dearest ones... the ones that are so often overlooked, neglected, and abused by this world.

Thank you for standing in the gap for them and declaring through your giving that their lives DO matter.

We love you all and thank God daily for your support. 

Praying each of you have a merry Christmas and Happy New Year in the days to come!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

All I want for Christmas...

This song came on the radio this morning and I've been a mess ever since.

We are in such a good place as a family. Ivan is a completely different child than the terrified, traumatized little boy we brought into our home last year. This Christmas his eyes sparkle with the joy and wonder that every child should have this time of year.

The ability to rest in the love and security of a family is the greatest gift we can give a child.

Ivan is one life that has been changed forever, but there are so many more... and we feel it this year. In every precious moment we share as a family, Ryan and I can sense it, that all to familiar feeling that something... someone is missing.

It's the feeling that keeps me awake at night, praying for the little ones who will one day make our home and heart even fuller.

Adoption is hard...

I hear it all the time,

"We would love to adopt, but it's just so expensive."

Yes, yes it is expensive.

The financial cost is great, but the financial cost is nothing comapared to what adoption cost you.

Adoption will change you.

It will wreak havoc on your heart like nothing you ever imagined.

You will be an emotional basket case during the entire adoption process and it will only get worse once you finally get your child home and you have to battle your selfish desires everyday and even fight off the nagging feeling that you've made a terrible mistake.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm glad it is so expensive to adopt.

Adoption is something that has to cost us absolutely "everything".

If we are not willing to spend greatly for the sake of a child, there is no way we will make it when the dream becomes a reality and our lives and hearts are left in shambles.

I will be honest with you, I hate fundraising.

I hate admitting that we don't have the money we NEED to be able to ransom these children on our own.

But you see, this is just another lesson we need to learn before we bring these precious ones home.

Just as we cannot ransom our babies on our own, we cannot be what they will need us to be by ourselves.

We will need your prayers, your encouragement, your support on the hard days when we wont want to get out of bed.

I am reminded of all of the people that came alongside us to help us bring Ivan home.

I hope that as you read each of his monthly updates you realized that the reviving of his life couldn't have been possible without your support.

And now we're asking again....

Not because we want to mooch off of your generosity, but because we know it takes more than a village to raise a prior orphan.

We want you to experience the joy that comes with investing into the redemption of these precious ones who are extra dear to the Fathers heart.

We want you to play a role in making a little boy and a baby girl's unspoken wish for a family come true.

Please, help us make this, the last Christmas that these precious children spend alone.

I'm working on making some wreaths to sell and should have pictures up in the next couple days, but we still have our t-shirt fundraiser!!

We only have a week left and we need at least 10 shirts sold for them to print!

I realize that there's so many great organizations and causes to support this time of year, but please know that anything you can do to help us bring our precious little lovies home is so appreciated and makes such an eternal difference.

The proof is in the pictures!!

Thanksgiving Day last year. He was shell shocked by his first holiday. Snuggled with his daddy, but stiff as a board, not able to relax.

So much sadness and fear in those eyes. It breaks my heart to remember.
This Thanksgiving there was no trace of fear in his big brown eyes! Only the joy and wonder of a child who is loved beyond measure!!

Can you imagine his face a year after knowing that kind of love??

And I know it's hard to imagine this face any cuter, but just wait till she is HOME!!