Family forever and always...
|Posted on July 17, 2014 at 8:50 PM||comments (0)|
I've been waiting to announce this news because its a big pill for us to even swallow. But here it goes! My husband just resigned from the job he had for the past 6+ years. This was clearly a huge life changing decision for our family, but we have had complete peace from God daily. My husband doesn't have a new job lined up yet, so because of that, our adoption is put on hold. Again. I've wanted to cry and be frustrated, but his peace has brought me to tears of thankfulness almost every day. Amidst all these changes and emotions, we held a couple fundraisers the last couple of weeks. I did an Instagram sale where I sold signs and such that I made, and we held a Jamberry nail fundraiser. Between those two sales and a couple VERY generous private donations, we raised $1500!!! We are totally shocked and beyond THANKFUL for his reminder that even if the system says pause.... That means nothing to our Savior. We are waiting for our son, and we know he is waiting for us. But the stress has been lifted and we rejoice in His plan. His peace is amazing!
Also! I ordered a set of nail applicants from Jamberry during our fundraiser and was shocked how easy they were to apply, how long they last, and how cute they were! Sooooo I signed up to be a consultant! This is exciting for a number of reasons... One on the top of the list is because now I can hold fundraisers for other adopting families! If your interested in checking out the product, you can see my site at : http://Buggy.Jamberrynails.net . If you have any questions, you can email me at [email protected] .
Thank you all for following our story in anticipation of seeing who our son is, supporting us in all ways, and your cherished prayers.
|Posted on May 30, 2014 at 1:25 AM||comments (1)|
Ok here is the adoption update we've been so excited to share with you all!
(This just got deleted so here's my late night attempt of writing it all out again, haha! God WILL get the glory for his work! And you will ignore any spelling errors! Haha!) We have been on this adoption journey for a year now, but really our story began in the begining of 2010... When Haiti was hit with their horrific earthquake. We had just lost our son, (details in previous blog), and weren't yet pregnant with our now 3 year old son, Carter, and our hearts broke for Haiti. We looked into adopting from there but found out we didn't qualify. We had to each be at least 30 and married a minimum of 10 years. Well even so, I researched orphanages out there and came accross one called Gods Littlest Angels and fell in love with them! We donated what we could and signed up for their newletters. Once we got the first one in the mail, it was full of little faces who were in desperate need of being adopted. I held onto that paper for months praying and crying over them and asking God to allow us to adopt one of them one day. Well we know that God does some crazy miracles but this is one of the coolest in my life so far. Time went on, we had two children, God re-broke our hearts for orphans, we began the adoption process and began meeting people on the same journey. Carol Duarte insisted I meet a lady who lived up the street from me, Zsanae Miller. (If you don't follow them on Instagram you need to!) Well Zsanae and I hung out a few times while she was waiting for her son to come home and then one day God had me scroll through all my old Instagram pictures. And there it was, so unexpected and forgotten.
Do you see the date on the top right hand corner of that post??? 109 weeks ago?? God blessed us with two beautiful children and we had forgotten about the millions in need of famiies. We had forgotten we prayed these prayers. But God didn't, He had a plan all along, He re opened our eyes and used this paper as a miracle. I re-posted this on our adoption accound and Zsanae commented on it... She had this exact same paper STILL and sent me a picture of the full thing to show me that her son Jacque was on that paper!!!! She had the paper before they started adopting too, and also prayed over all those sweet faces! After she was matched with Jacque she realized he was on that paper as well. How amazing is that?!?! After she got her amazing son home and they came over and visited, I just sat in awe. Really, God? I was broken from loosing my son, broken over Haiti, prayed for those children, for Jacques, then three years go by and I make a new friend who I had no idea about back then, and she now has Jacque HOME as her son. And he's in my living room becoming friends with MY son? Oh, this is too good!
Well once we dove into adopting and knew Haiti wasn't an option, Uganda was our next choice and was so easy to fall madly in love with. For a year now I've dove into learning about Uganda, falling in love with that land and culture, following every person I can find who had adopted from there, prayed for our son there and had him cemented in my head, dreamed and dreamed some more about going to Africa and stepping on that red dirt and watching my son run to us. And yet God had different plans. Uganda is such a tricky place to adopt from right now between lack of structure for adoption and high demand of families wanting to adopt from there, and high amount of corruption. It has broken my heart so badly and I've been terrified learning about it because I desperately did not want to see this part of our journey end. Its devastating that the corruption is limiting people from being able to do ethical adoptions there, its not impossible! Its just so much harder right now. Its devastating because International Adoptions have decreased rapidly the last few years already. (If you're interested in details, this blog is so informative about the current state of Ugandan adoptions http://www.familyhopelove.com/on-ugandan-orphans-and-adoption/ ).
But the Lord is not done with us, or the miracles! So I wanted to attend an adoption conference but couldn't afford it. A girl, Mallory Crain, I had never met who didn't even live in the same state as me, who followed our adoption Instagram page, one night felt the Lord leading her to buy me a ticket, and she did! I couldn't believe it and totally cried!! Well then it got weirder! Turns out unbeknownst to either of us, that she grew up with a girl in our home bible study group, Dianna Gritters! Even crazier! When I finally got to MEET and HUG and THANK her at the conference, she told me Haiti just changed their guidlines for adoptions and thats where her family has decided to adopt from. Wait... What?? That's right! They are now a Hague accredited country, (which is so awesome and basically means they take all steps to ensure ethical adoptions!), and they changed their requirements to only one parent needing to be 30 and married a minimum of 5 years. I-was-shocked! I text our agency right then and there to confirm and within the hour they were looking into a program we could transfer to to adopt from Haiti. I know this is getting lengthy but friends, there is one more miracle!!! Before we had made this final decision to apply for the Haiti program, dear friends of ours Brooke and Bryce, dropped $300 on our porch one random day for our adoption! Again, I was shocked. The next week we sent in our preliminary application, $50. Next week, formal application, $200. Really God? Again? And today we found out we are accepted into the program and are thrilled to move forward! Since our home study and dossier (all adoption paperwork) are completed, they'll just need to make minor changes for Haiti versus Uganda requirements before sending it all over. Once matched with our child we'll travel there soon after for two weeks to bond with him!!! Then come home and wait an excruciating year or so until Haiti finalizes all paperwork and we get the green light to bring him HOME!!!! And I'll end with the God sized goals we now walk in faith with. But let me say, we are walking in TOTAL faith that HE WILL PROVIDE! He's made that real clear. We still have $5500 in our adoption account! We will pay our new agency $1750 tomorrow, then $4100 in the next month. But in total including those fee's we'll need to save/ fundraise another $20,000- $25,000. We are choosing to not even really look at those numbers, just walk in faith taking one step at a time.
If you feel called to support our journey you can pray for us, (clearly God has moved mountains already through prayer!!!), share our story with others through word of mouth of sharing this blog on your social media account, and/or financially supporting us by going to the donate button on the home page of our website. We appreciate you all taking this journey with us! Thank you for all the support you have flooded us with this year!
|Posted on May 17, 2014 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
This is a vulnerable post for sure, but I just feel pressed to share this part of my story today since I know a lot of people that follow us also have loss as a part of their story.
When we lost our baby Corban, I wasn't sure how to navigate through mourning as a pastors wife. Some felt I should trust God, have peace, and move forward speaking about it openly and be just fine. That was not the case. I am so thankful for Gods faithfulness in showing me there is a time for mourning. True mourning. Mad, angry, broken, ugly mourning. I am so thankful for my parents always encouraging me to just cry! Im thankful for the moment we walked out of a top ranked specialists office in LA and I looked around at all my family broken in tears, and yet I was filled with the weirdest peace that I knew was from God alone. I'm so thankful for pastor Joel Fairly, who prayed over me when I was still pregnant and said "God prepare a place for Corban." It wasn't the typical prayer of healing, God had told him that he wouldn't live on earth but in heaven. I can't explain that moment in words... We just felt the Holy Spirits comfort and peace. I'm so thankful for elder George McKinney telling me to never apologize for visiting my sons grave. That it's the same thing we do at the cross. I'm so thankful for Pat Barnes telling me, when I was so frustrated I couldn't "move on", that I'll never move on. He was my son. Not an event or a season. I'm thankful for pastor Mike Long and his wife Janice, opening their home to us at all hours to counsel Cody and I on how to grow together and not apart through the mourning. I'm thankful for elder Dr. Dave counseling my husband to not be afraid of emotions and helping him become the man that he is today.
I haven't been able to pass Phillipians 4 in my Bible time this past couple weeks and today I just had to stop and put it to practice finally.
My summary of it: God is always with us. Worship Him, pray to Him with genuine detail, cry out to Him in thanksgiving! And He will fill you with His peace that may not even make sense to have. I had that peace so often with Corban, but time goes on, and I allow anxiety to take control. Not today. I worshipped Jesus during the kids nap time with tears of mixed emotions, prayed my heart out, and thanked him for EVERYTHING! I now sit, and am filled with peace. He is faithful!!!
Now seeing how loss lead us to the road of adoption, theres a part of me that is thankful for my time of mourning. Adoption begins with tragedy, with loss. I can relate to our future child in a very intimate way. They will have lost their parents, and I have lost a child. So cheers to mourning!
As far as our adoption goes, we see Him moving and we are hopeful and excited! Details hopefully coming soon!
****ADDED DISCLAIMER!!!!**** Back when I was in the thick of my mourning, no reason anyone ever could have suggested to me on why I had lost my baby would have been a good enough reason! I wanted him and no one else. I really didn't care if it even caused someone to come to Christ in that time... (I told you- dark, ugly, mourning). After seeing your son leave this earth... No reason is good enough that people suggest to you. I remember telling the Lord over and over, "I really don't need a reason Lord. I just want to trust you and know that Your arms are tightly around me." I'm grateful that God alone has shown me this truth, that quite frankly, I probably wouldn't have accepted by anyone else's mouth. But then I was mourning, and now I can see clearer. If you are in your mourning... know that I deeply empathize with you!!! Please feel free to email me if you need prayer!! [email protected]
|Posted on February 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
I never want to forget these intense feelings of waiting, wanting, fighting. I want our current and future children to feel Gods love filling us, stretching us, to overflowing and for all of us to be taught how to love more like Him through this time.
We are so appreciative to everyone who has supported our adoption journey in all ways! The t-shirt sale was so excting and we are so blessed to have raised a total of $734 from the shirts and seperate donations during that time frame!!!! Praise the Lord!!! It makes the waiting not as hard when I see that He's providing for us in a way that will allow us to jump and run (fly!) when the Lord says "Go!". We are ceasing all fundraising until we have more details revealed to us from the Lord, though. Thank you all for taking us half way to our funding goal without even knowing our child's name yet. Thank you for entrusting us with your hard earned money and believing in the Lords calling in our lives to care for another one of His children.
We have recently opened our search up some which has been very stretching. There is a lot of corruption in Uganda, but really, there is a lot of corruption in most parts of Africa. As we are VERY cautiously moving forward with Uganda still, we are also expanding our search to all of Africa and opening ourselves up to special needs children as well. We don't know all the details, but we know God does and we rest in Him daily. We recieved VERY exciting mail the other day from Immigration stating, "It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan(s) as defined ... of the Immigration and Nationality Act." And it has been transferred to Uganda!!! Best feeling ever to be taking steps forward!
I can't wait for the day that I have very exciting news to announce!!! In saying that though,your prayers are SO appreciated in this step of our journey. We have already been presented with some childrens information and need His guidance to OUR child more then ever. Its truely heart breaking to hear any orphans story which can make this part very exhausting. Thank you all for being such encouragers to us during this time! We love you all!!!
|Posted on December 29, 2013 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
We always have fun doing Tukula sales. It's a company in Uganda that has empowered women in teaching them a trade and life skills. They make and sell purses, head wraps, clutches, bracelets and such. And to families adopting from Uganda, they sell the merchandise to for 50% off so they can use it as a fundraiser. Just awesome! We took a massive leap of faith this last go around with them and purchased $800 worth of product!! Not going to sugar coat it, I was scared! It was also our first time back at fundraising since Uganda was put on hold. So yes, my faith was tested! But our Lord is always so faithful, ALWAYS! It just blows our minds! Along with Tukula product we also sold 15-20 hand made heart cloth/lace ornaments with Africa painted on them and a heart painted where Uganda is. (My step mom busted them out before Christmas and they were precious!) The total number we profitted from this sale is $655!!! Praise the Lord! All is sold and the couple pieces that weren't, we were blessed to give away!
Technically, that isn't the final number though:). I met an awesome couple before church this morning. After service the man called me over, and while handing me a card started tearing up. He said he and his wife watched us when we lost Corban, and they've followed our adoption story thus far. They were given money for Christmas and prayed over it. In service, at the same time, the Lord showed them it was for our adoption fee's. He didn't just hand me the money though, his words made me sob. "We want to help you welcome your child home. We want to watch him grow and be a part of his story." We are so touched and thankful!
Oh my child, I pray daily you KNOW you are loved so deeply and that we are coming!
|Posted on December 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM||comments (0)|
Jesus has reminded us how much He loves to answer prayers. And how much He loves adoption! When we did our 40 day fast in the beginning of 2013, we were praying over adopting. We told God one of our fears was that our car barely fits the four of us. We would need a new, bigger car, in order to adopt another child. After that fast we made the final decision to push forward with adopting, and have been praying for a car since then. We've almost pulled the trigger a few different times to go buy a new car out of pure frustration with our little car, and being anxious wanting one in time for our growing family. We desperately didn't want to go into debt for a car though and so we have sat back this year waiting and praying.
Last night friends of ours came ove to "deliver us Christmas cookies." They came inside and right away she wanted me to open a gift bag, and all eyes were on me. These must be amazing cookies! So I opened it up and inside were car keys. Car keys? Car keys?!? Car Keys!!!!!!!!!! They gave us their 2003 fully loaded Suburban for FREE! They are packing up and moving to Texas in a couple weeks to start living a new simple life. They have sold everything with such ease, knowing Gods hand is all over their decision, except the suburban. They have been lowering the price weekly and have not had even one call! With all their blessings they wanted to give back to the Lord in some way, then God showed them how, and blessed us immensely. I sobbed, and will probably keep sobbing for months over this gift.
Thank you Jesus. You care for your children in intimate ways.
Psalm 139 says "You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately aquainted with all my ways."
Amen. I love you my Lord. We will walk in faith and trust and thankful hearts!
|Posted on December 8, 2013 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
What a long few months we've experienced in the 'adoption world'. There have been great high's and lows. First off, we finished all the paperwork for our home study!!! But right after we completed all of that, our agency closed their Uganda program. It forced us to pray, trust and continue walking forward even amidst confusion and many emotions. Would we choose another country? Switch agencies? Wait it out with our agency?
After much prayer and many talks we gained greater understanding of the situation and appreciated their awareness of high volume of child trafficking in Uganda and their hopes that some laws will be passed this December. So with that being said, their Uganda program should be re-opened in January. That’s all of our hopes and prayers. We love adoption and feel fully called to it. We love adoptions here, China, Philippines’, and Africa. But God has broken our hearts for Uganda. It sounds funny to some, but when I see those sweet kids faces, I see my son Carter. I see him in them. I don’t see color, I see his brother. Our son. Uganda has been called the pearl of Africa, possibly where the garden of Eden was, and yet the hold satan has on it is heart breaking. Child sacrifice, Child soldiers, Child trafficking, Child poverty, Children born HIV positive, Children orphaned. My heart is just stuck there and I know its because he wants us there.
We had a fundraiser planned for the week after we found out Uganda was put on hold though. We ended up cancelling it. Its so hard for me to fundraise and call on others for money anyways, and without having a solid plan, I couldn't go forward. I wish I had though. And I'm glad we've started it back up again selling Ugandan made bags and such on our adoption IG page; codyalyadoption. This is going to be a hard process one way or another because adoption is war. It's Gods heart, and thus a war with the evil. In a perfect world there wouldn't be orphans, yet satan’s hand has caused much hurt. God calls his church to save these kids, to speak up for the ones without voices, to see our brothers and sisters as just that, family. And yet there are millions of orphans and we still look at adoption as just for people that can't bare their own children. Like its a bank we can pull from when in need. Not like there are millions of kids growing up in dark rooms, little food, and no family or love. Its heart breaking. (Not at all wanting to be insensitive to those adopting who can't have children! God rejoices in restoring families mourning in this beautiful way. No matter how God forms a family, it is just that, a family. And those who adopt before having their own kids are such hero's! And like my post from a while back... "You might be a mom without her baby, but these are babies without their moms".) Cody and I haven't got it all right and never will. I'll be the first to tell you our family is no where near perfect. But I thank God that He has taught us this. Taught us to break down the walls we built for our comfort... two children and be done.
I will speak up for those children who can't do so for themselves. I will live my life in awe of the adoption I have in Christ. He is the example, the standard.
So we are completing more homework for our agency, (an online course and two books and then reviews of them), and then submitting our immigration paperwork that should take 1-3 months. When that is done, and if the doors are open in Uganda, we will then be able to send our dossier, (all our work), to the Ugandan lawyers and orphanages and the search for our son will really begin. Oh Lord, let this be such an incredible year! We're ready for the adventure of a life time!
|Posted on July 28, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (2)|
This fundraiser was so successful and so much fun!!!! Thank you to everyone who shared a date night with us! We will definitely be having another one. It was so great hanging out, eating good food, watching couples dance, and snacking on candy and popcorn outside while watching The Proposal... just dreamy!!!
We rented a large blow up screen and that company supplied a popcorn machine also. We had an awesome taco man. And we provided drinks and boxes of candy that came with everyone's ticket. We also had people who wanted to, donate goodies for a raffle. So everyone was able to buy raffle tickets there and had so much fun winning different kinds of gifts! We profited just under $1500... you were all so generous and we are incredibly grateful!
We have been so busy finishing our home study, (which we did complete this week, horray!!!), and fundraising. Then this morning I woke up to an email from a FB friend who just adopted a boy from Uganda. Thier agency is searching for another parent whose home study is complete because they have a severely malnourished boy desperately needing to be adopted. I've been in tears. I have no idea if this is possible for us to adopt this child, but regardless I pray God will give him a family! I pray God will give us our son from malnourishment and poverty.
I then watched this video with Carter this morning and we both thought it was so great. It's so hard to explain to him where Uganda is, that there are children with no Mommy's and Daddy's, that they don't have a refrigerator with food or water, that we want to bring a son home from there to share his room and be his brother forever... Lord prepare our hearts and our children’s hearts.
|Posted on July 11, 2013 at 1:40 AM||comments (0)|
I will be up late tonight, up early tomorrow, up late tomorrow night..... You get the picture... working hard until we finish our parenting course work. It's more then I thought!! In retrospect I wish we had done a little every week as we were in this process of doing our home study but it's the one area we've pushed off to the side. We're hoping to finish our home study this week and it's our last area we really are scrambling to finish now. Not a worry though, it will get done soon enough! And definitely still in time for our agency to hand deliver our dossier, (finished home study), in August! Woo hoo!
When fasting and praying about if we should adopt I really felt like God was telling me to not be afraid to work hard. I had no idea what that meant, at least not what specific areas that would be referring to. There have been so many situations lately that have challenged me in that exact way... And I feel Jesus with me and I'm not afraid! I'm even excited to work hard and loving every second of it! I should be exhausted but I'm not only because of Jesus. Instead of exhaustion I feel even more thankful for all I have, especially my family. Last night after putting my kids to bed I sat in the hallway and cried just from being so thankful for them.
I can't wait to have my heart stretched even more with love for our new child and am ready and willing to work as hard as I need to in order to finish the race strong..
If you can shout out a quick prayer that we can finish all our work this week, and that everthing is wrapped up and ready to go by August so it can be hand delivered to our agencies lawyers in Uganda, that would be a big blessing to our family!:)
|Posted on June 27, 2013 at 5:45 PM||comments (0)|
"Mommy, Me!" Is now the phrase I hear from my two and a half year old son every time he see's a picture of an African boy. I save pictures on my phone of sweet faces that capture my heart on blogs or Instagram and we'll sometimes talk to him about them. "Carter do you want a boy like this to be your brother?" "Will you love him and let him sleep in your room?" "Will you share your toys with him and play with him?" "Yeah Mommy!" When he says "Mommy, Me!" He points to his chest telling us in his child like way, "I want him!" Oh Lord how my heart could sing, dance, and cry over this act of love from my son... For our son... Because of Your son- we have love abundantly! Katie Davis in Kisses From Katie says, "I believe there is only one truly courageous thing we can do with our lives: to love unconditionally. Absolutely, with all of ourselves, so much that it hurts and then more. I am so thankful for my children's example of loving their neighbors and welcoming them into our home without blinking an eye. They see a baby who needs love and carry him off to feed, bathe, and dote on him as if doing so is the most normal thing in the world. They see a stranger who needs a home and beg me to let her stay. While I am starting to feel overwhelmed, they are feeling overjoyed at the prospect of helping someone else. We face urgent situations frequently; we see devestation sometimes multiple times a day, but my children continue to love, to hope, to believe we can help make someone's life better. Oh, what I learn from their beautiful hearts."