Friday, December 31, 2010

Words to Ponder

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."  ~Anne Frank

May "2011" be the year we start to take steps (however small they may be) to improve our world. Happy New Year to all of our friends and family!

A Christmas full of surprises

This post is a little overdue, but I wanted to take some time to share a little of our Christmas last weekend. It was a beautiful holiday for us, full of surprises from our families. Plenty of quiet planning and secretive conversations had been buzzing through phone conversations & FB messages in weeks leading up to Christmas I'm sure, and we were oblivious to all of it. My sister and brother-in-law sent a special message in their Christmas letter, prompting people to purchase our fundraiser T-shirts (which BTW are still available!) for their loved ones. Anyone who's ever written a Christmas letter knows that open space is valuable and hard to come by, and yet our adoption was included! Thanks Bri and Troy for including your nephews in your annual letter, that was really special to us!

At JT's parent's house Christmas morning, we were given some very sweet gifts in preparation for our little boys: children's books, playdough, a super cute future halloween costume, and a very unique photo album. This special photo album is voice recordable. JT's mom explained that she thought we could fill the pages with pictures of us and use the voice recorder to record messages to our sons. We'll be able to take it with us on our first trip to Ethiopia and leave it at the orphanage when we have to return home. The nannies at the orphanage can show/play it to our sons until we return for them (after all the paperwork has been completed by the government).  We're hoping it will help with voice and facial recognition while we're away from them, so it will be an easier transition when we return to bring them home.  Such a sweet gift, one to be treasured can cry at the thought of this gift, we both did!

Another surprise were 2 PSU footballs for our sons...given to us by a Michigan fan! Now that's a real surprise!! ;)

The day after Christmas we went to celebrate at my dad's parents' house, which is our annual tradition.  Within the hour leading up to driving to my grandparents, my mom is always frantically wrapping all the gifts that need to be taken over, this year was no different. After dinner, we all went into their living room to begin opening up our presents. As my sister was passing out the gifts that she and my parents brought, and as I was passing out the gifts we brought, my grandma started walking toward JT and I with a box.  She was reading something directly to us; we were both caught of guard by the change in atmosphere and stopped what we were doing to listen to her words.  She explained that the entire family had decided against buying gifts for each other this year. They decided instead to give the money they would've spent on gifts to us for our adoption expenses! We were words could accurately describe the appreciation we felt. Incredible, selfless love was handed to us in the form of a gift.  One that we will be forever grateful for.

I feel like we keep saying "thank-you" but it seems those words aren't strong enough to cover all the thoughtful gifts that we've been blessed with this Christmas. Love and hugs to our families always, we don't know where we would be without your support. Thank you.

Oh--and one more surprise...the gifts my mom and sister were frantically wrapping (and later handing out) were all fake! Inside the gift boxes were old magazines and odds & ends from my parents house!   hahahaha!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas eve, I'm sitting at my in-laws house, awaiting the joys of Christmas morning. (smile)

Their house is beautifully decorated for the season; we've had a wonderful dinner together with lots of laughter filling the room and memories being recalled, but still I can't help but let my mind wander to next Christmas and what it may be like. A Christmas with little ones at our house, old traditions to be continued, new traditions to be made. A single thought brings forth a smile on my face and creates a smile within my heart every time I let my mind go to this place.  This special place of family. Our family. As I think of what God has been planning for us, and everything that will take place over the next year, it also makes me think specifically about my little boys and where they are right now. And so, tonight I have a special Christmas prayer for my babies...

Dear Heavenly Father,
As we celebrate the birth of Your Son, I ask that you take care of our sons this Christmas.
You know exactly where they are, the conditions they're living in, the people they're surrounded by on a daily basis; please protect them and keep them safe.
Soothe their cries, wipe away their tears, erase any fears within their young minds.
Send loving, caring people to hold them everyday until we can.
Give them enough food each day to keep their bellies full and their bodies growing big and strong.
Prepare their hearts for the love of family and the love that you alone can give.
Please watch over them tonight, as they play, get fed, and as they go to sleep.
Wrap your loving arms around them to give them a hug from their mommy and daddy.
Tuck them in for us, give them the kisses we can't give yet.
Let them know that they are incredibly special and are already loved more than they know.

Thank you, Father for these precious gifts. 
We feel so blessed to be a part of this divine plan, to have a family perfectly created by you.
Your love for us is indescribable. Help us to share this love with our families and our family yet to be.

In Your Son's Name,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A prayer request for our friends

We have some very special friends who I'd like to ask you to pray for. This loving couple is also in the process of adopting, but they're adopting domestically, which is a completely different process than an international adoption. Instead of being given one referral, they are given profiles of multiple children on a weekly basis in hopes of finding the most perfect match for their family.  Their profile is simultaneously given to multiple case workers to review for the children they have in their own respective systems.  Each week, they literally see faces of children waiting for families, and as much as they just want to claim a sibling group and wrap their arms around each of them, they cannot until a "match" has been made by the case workers and all the red tape has been cleared.  The entire process is set up specifically for the protection of the children and the prospective families, but can seem like so much time and work before forever families are formed.

Knowing them individually and as a couple, I know that they will make wonderfully caring, compassionate parents to any children placed in their home.  I see how anxious and frustrated they can be as they wait; I can relate to their feelings.  I understand their ache to become parents. I respect them immensely for following this call that God has placed on their lives.  I love that they eagerly press on day after day, optimistically hoping for the long-awaited phone call or email.

They have been praying specifically to know who their children are by Christmas, and as Christmas approaches, I know they are becoming a little more anxious each day. I've seen God do some pretty amazing things in my own life and believe that He is able to do this for my friends, so please join me in praying for this specific request daily until Christmas (or until they meet their kids!). I'm so excited to see this God-Story unfold!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not just friends, more like family

Every week, JT and I get together with our "life group."  Our LG, is made up of a group of friends from our church that are all at the same life stage, so we're "doing life together."  Last week, we had a white elephant gift exchange Christmas party - hence the huge "chubby bunny" poster on the left! Our good friend Jason, always tries to get the biggest laugh with his gifts - I think he definitely won this year! (The poster is actually him circa 1993 ~ hilarious!)

Over the past few years, these friends have surpassed the friendship status, they've become more like family to us.  We share meals together, we listen to each other, we laugh together, we cry together, we celebrate together, we pray for each other. This incredible group of people recently surprised JT and I with a very generous gift toward our adoption expenses!  It was something they certainly didn't have to do, but something they did because they love and care about us and our kids (who we don't even know yet) so much that they want to help us bring them home.  We are so thankful for all of the support they've given to us since learning about our decision to adopt. We love each of them like family and wanted to take a moment to thank them for loving us!

Thank you Sarah & Jordan, Molly & Jason, Ashley & Dave, Christine & Eric, Kathi & Chad, Jess & Jared for being a part of our family.  We love you and feel so blessed to have you in our lives!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Transracial Adoption ~ through the Eyes of God, through the Eyes of The Church

Lately, we've had some comments made to us regarding our choice to pursue a transracial adoption.  We knew we would face some criticism, some ridicule, but I don't know that any of the counseling we've had, prepared me for the heavy emotions I've been feeling lately.  Some of the comments have been out-right offensive, while others were spoken in almost an apologetic tone, as if they were saying "I'm only telling you this for your own good." While I know that not everyone understands adoption, much less a transracial adoption, these words have hurt deep in my soul and saddened my spirit. I yearn for the opportunity to speak truth into this discussion, to open the eyes of those blinded by the world to a love that God shows to us all, regardless of ethnicity.  I pray that our family will be a visible image of God's love and his adoption of each one of us into his family.

Romans 8:15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Below is an article I came across by Dan Cruver from Together for Adoption ( - an excellent site!) regarding this very topic, enjoy!
The Church is the Theater of Transracial Adoption
God promised Abraham that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). From the very beginning, God’s promise to Abraham encompassed every ethnic and racial group.

Jump ahead 1,800+ years.

When Paul wrote Galatians 3:7-8, Jesus had already completed his redemptive mission by living, dying, and being raised from the dead.

The result of Jesus’ redemptive achievement is the fulfillment of God’s promise that in Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed: “Know then that it is those of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed’” (Galatians 3:7-8).

If we’re not careful, we can step right over the significance of Paul’s words. Because of the work of Jesus to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham, a principal identifying mark of God’s family is that it is decidedly multi-ethnic — as multi-ethnic as it’s possible to be!

Because of Jesus, the church is the theater of transracial adoption. It is the place where the drama of redemption — God’s work to adopt children from every ethnicity — is played out over and over again. The church is, as Kevin Vanhoozer writes, “the theater wherein the world sees God’s love played out time and time again” (The Drama of Doctrine, 400).

As Christians, we have the privilege of playing out this drama on both the macro and micro levels. The macro drama, of course, is the church itself. The universal church continually displays the drama of the multi-ethnic family of God for all the world to see. There’s nothing like this macro drama to be found in all of human history.

But there is also a micro drama in which families within each local church can participate. No, God does not call every Christian family to adopt, transracially or otherwise. But the families God does call to adopt transracially have the privilege of being a micro-theater of the macro-drama of redemption for their communities to see.

The earthly practice of transracial adoption is much more than a way to build a family. It’s an opportunity to display the grand story of redemption before a watching world.