Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fabulous Fall

It can't get any better than this..



Leaf fight...

I love these two so much that even raking leaves alongside them is a precious blessing! Can't wait for our little toddler to join us..Don't worry Jill your rake is waiting. Hope you have time to enjoy your family and this beautiful fall weather. It seems like the days are going much too fast!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Unexpected Blessings

When I set out to embark on this journey I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew was God had stirred my heart to add to our family and I was drawn to the Asian face. I had met a handful of people who had adopted, but never discussed it with them. Adoption was not part of our plan and so I had never thought too much about it. It caught us off guard for sure!

Then as I researched and saw the orphan crisis with my own eyes through the images of others-my heart was broken and opened up like I have never experienced before. A passion for adoption, orphan ministry, and those who reach the least of these was born in me. One of the unexpected blessings along the way has been that there are sooo many other families who feel the passion we do.

We met the sweet couple whose video I posted above in our adoption training classes. We entered as strangers-left as families connected by our passion for God, for orphans, and for adoption. Our daughters were born a half a world away just a day apart. Praying for these sweet twin girls and dreaming of the day that we can be in play group celebrating the goodness of our God together!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I opened up my daily Bible on Sunday, Oct. 24 to read this...God's Family of Friends That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15 God offers you a family of Friends and friends who are family-his church. When you transfer your trust into Christ, he not only pardons you; he places you in his family of friends. So appropriate on this day-Oct. 24-because we headed over to IWU to celebrate one of those dear friend's birthdays who God has so graciously given us to love as family-not of blood, but through the fellowship that we share in Christ.


Cookie Cake.


Family:) (Minus this sweet girl's momma who is taking the picture.)

I am so very thankful for this young woman and her mother. Thankful to God for them and the many more that he has given us over the years who love on us like family because we are all a part of the church together. Praying that you know this love dear ones and that you have experienced the miraculous love of the family of Christ.

Prayer Requests


We are waiting on one piece of paper to complete our dossier. The NBC said that they mailed our I800A approval last Thursday and it is still not here. It is coming from Missouri and should be here already! So frustrating..I want to get these papers to China so desperately so that the official wait can begin.

Fundraising is a must in the next three months and we are anxious to see what God will do. We are praying specifically for direction about what, when, where, and how to raise funds to bring Jill home. He has been so faithful to provide over $15,000 already and we know it will come in His time.

The t-shirt design has been submitted to the t-shirt house and we should be able to unveil it next week. I need to learn how to set up our paypal store this weekend. We covet your prayers and thank you so very much for taking this journey along with us!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh Be Still My Heart

I will probably struggle with putting this experience into words, but it touched my heart so very deeply I am going to try. It was Sunday morning and I was seated in my back pew sandwiched between those two older, beautiful foster faces living with my friends that have blessed me beyond words. Oh how I love those girls! The four year old was parked in my lap rocking back and forth and doing her best to be still and quiet during church. This is a nearly impossible task most days and last Sunday was no different.

She rocked to the side and grabbed my precious word of God. She fiddled in the front pocket and pulled out the picture of our Jillian that I carry in there. I will carry it until I get her home! When she saw Jill's picture that wonderful little four year old girl on my lap got the most beautiful look on her face-a look of tenderness, love, and compassion like I have never seen. That sweet girl stroked Jill's face in the picture and looked into my eyes and said,"I hope that I am still here when she comes. I want to play with her." Oh Be Still My Heart! I nearly broke down in tears right there in the back pew.

I am so praying that God moves mountains and that those three foster girls are still here and in our lives waiting for us to bring our Jill home. Those three girls are so loved in my friends' home where they are being raised in foster care and they are so well cared for. I long to see those girls running in the backyard with my Jill laughing, playing, and shouting with joy. I dream of them clapping off beat, praying too loudly, and dancing together during the praise set in Sunday service while we do our best to keep them quiet. Oh What a Glorious Day that Will BE-when we are all together!! Praying those girls are still here and that my Jill is home soon!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paperwork Hurdle Cleared!

So this past week was a flurry of activity on the adoption front! We took off for Naperville on Wednesday for our fingerprinting appointment at the US Dept of Immigration. What an adventure! We headed to the big city the night before because our appointment was at 8:00 AM and we worried about being stuck in traffic and missing it. Good thing we did because the address for the immigration office didn't come up on the GPS and the name of the office was random and didn't at all match the name on our summons to the appointment. Anyway, a nice Asian man working at a local gas station knew exactly where immigration was located and so he gave detailed enough directions to get us there. As we arrived, we realized that they must give everyone an 8:00 AM appointment because every one's summons listed the same time. How neat it was though to sit outside this office with other adoptive families and share our journeys. Throw into the mix quite a diverse crowd of multicultural immigrants waiting as well and you've got some interesting sights and sounds to start your day! The fingerprinting appointment that cost us nearly $1,000 lasted only about ten minutes and we were sent on our way wondering how long it would take for the magic piece of paper to arrive to clear us and send us off and running to the next paperwork hurdle. Well our wait was over extremely quickly, because we received approval the next day!!! This is truly miraculous. So, we notarized about 50 pieces of paper on Friday and sent off our official referral acceptance paperwork to AGCI. Next week, we should have our dossier (the mountains of paperwork china requires) state certified in Springfield and off to China! Then the official waiting for China to invite us to pick up our daughter begins! I have been begging God lately in all my prayers to move mountains and get us to our daughter as quickly as possible. I am dreaming that we will hold her before May-a girl's got to dream. Right? Can't wait to see her. Hold her. Smell her. Kiss her. See her with her sissy. Just can't wait!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Staring Sin in the Face

Seems like our weekends are never dull here. Last Saturday was no different. We woke early and headed to U of I with a stop at ISU along the way. Our purpose-to catch a day with two more of our sheep who have left us to join the college ranks. Spending so much time on college campuses has certainly left me with an urgent feeling of conviction that I don't spend near enough time on my knees praying for these students. In case you didn't know, sin is alive and well on these campuses. And to be honest I have to tell you as I live my life in this safe, predictable christian environment of mine, it is easy for me to forget just how ugly and evil it is out there. I also forget that this is exactly where I am preparing my daughter and all the students we are lucky enough to have in ministry to be. Walking on the U of I campus and even near the apartments at ISU, it was clearer to me than ever that most of the students living around these precious girls are not believers. In fact, they come face to face with evil and sin on a regular basis. Let's face it-I just don't get that. I don't have to deal with sin in my face every minute and my environment is much more conducive to growing my relationship with Christ. Man, they need our prayers. Our kids are in deeper than we can ever imagine! I need to open my eyes, recognize that, and pray like crazy that God will protect their hearts! Despite this sin and evil so many of our students are thriving and answering God's call to live a life of holiness-to be in this world but not of it. That is exactly my daily prayer for them-to live in this world and not be of it.

Despite coming face to face with this reality fun did abound!

We visited an Asian grocery store to pick up some unusual ingredients for a dish our Jill eats in the orphanage,

had lunch at a yummy Italian restaurant that's use of garlic was so liberal no one wanted to sit next to me,

bought frozen yogurt by the ounce in buckets as big as my head,

and took in the marching band competition where our PCHS dragons took 6th place! My band kids rule!! Hope your weekend is great too!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yummy Cinnamon Goodness

So, I was lucky enough to spend the night in the church kitchen with my kids (and some even more incredible parent volunteers!!) cookin' up some yummy cinnamon goodness tonight. Delicious rolls good to eat any time of day! Especially good to sell for raising money for our mission trip. Love me some teenagers! I wish I had their enthusiasm and energy. If you want to bake up some delicious cinnamon treats of your own, it's easy.



Butter, cinnamon and Sugar-need I say more.

Bake, Eat, and Enjoy!!:) Hope you have a great Thursday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letting Myself Do It

I'm letting myself do it. In the early morning hours with my cup of hot tea and that precious picture of my daughter, I'm imagining her here. Letting myself hear her little footsteps trotting down the stairs. Letting myself see her chubby hands clinging to mine. Letting myself hear her voice calling momma. Imagining singing hymns to her while I rock her in the darkness and quiet. Imagining sitting around that tea party table, waiting in her room, having tea parties with stuffed animals. Letting myself hear her giggle and say I love you momma. Oh to hear that sound for real and to see those sights, not in my mind's eye, but in the here and now. So many days it seems like the waiting will just destroy me and yet I know that God is using this time to grow this love that I have for that sweet face even more. I just can't believe that I am lucky enough to be bringing this precious face home as my daughter. With everything in me, I pray for this child throughout the day. Please Lord..take care of my girl and prepare her heart to love me as much as I love her. Help me to be a picture of your love to her. Help me to teach her your ways and bring her to the path that you have for her life. I am truly grateful to know you as Savior and feel so unworthy of this blessing..Thank you Jesus that you love us so much and that you made this little girl a half a world away to be mine.

Calling All Families of Chinese Children

We are designing a super cool t-shirt for fundraising purposes. On the front, we want to put the American names of as many children as we can who have been adopted from China. The names will be inside the outline of China with John 14:18 over it. I can't wait to reveal it to you all out there. If you have adopted from China and don't mind having your child's name included on the shirt, leave their American first name only in the comment section for me and I will let you know when the shirts go on sale. Super excited to see how God will work through you to help us bring our girl home!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our PA IS Here!!

When I started this journey and I would check in on blogs of families going through the phases of their adoption, I was amazed at all the acronyms-PA, TA, LOA, CCAA, NBC??? It all is really a foreign language familiar only to those who have taken this plunge for themselves. Trust me PA is a big deal. It the magic piece of paper from the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs that says we are suitable parents for our Wei Ren Ying. She is one step closer to being ours forever. The best news is that now we can request updates from the orphanage and send her care packages. No guarantee that we will receive any or that she will get our packages we send, but oh is this momma gonna give it a try in hopes that we can catch another glimpse of that sweet face through a shared picture or gain more info through a letter from her orphanage. Praying that God allows us to see her just a bit more clearly through updates in the coming months and that God would prepare that sweet girl's heart for this crazy family.:) Still can hardly believe this baby is mine!! Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Power of a Praying Momma

So as a momma of an only child who has difficulty connecting with people and forming relationships, one thing that I pray for all the time is that God will bless my darling kiddo with role models who will reach out to her and pursue her even when it is difficult. I pray specifically for young ladies with strong faith who will walk alongside her, try to speak her language, and be an example of Christ. Oh how my prayers have been answered again and again! God is so faithful to provide so many wonderful young ladies to build into my darling kiddo's life. This beautiful face below is off at college now and her weekly meetings with my girl are deeply missed by darling kiddo and by this momma. They usually met for Starbucks once a week and because of these, darling kiddo was turned on to vanilla bean frappuccino.I'm not sure this is a good habit that was passed on to my girl, but you can't have it all!! LOL!

Darling Kiddo is missing her so much that she and my DH decided to head over to IWU for a visit and lunch. They visited Daddy's ole stomping grounds at Wesleyan too. Then headed to Carl's for their famous ice cream!!

The only thing I hated about this trip was that I had to miss it! Praying for this wonderful young lady regardless and love seein God at work in her life. What a precious role model and answer to this momma's prayer she has turned out to be!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Need A Good Cry?

I was reading this week that if just 1 in17 born again christian families would adopt, there would be no orphans in the world. 1 in 17? No orphans left! Every child would have a family! How is it that this born again family has missed this all along? Praying that God would continue to break the heart of our family for what breaks His and that we may truly know His way!

Here is one of those 1 in 17's! They just brought a precious boy home from Ethiopia. If you don't cry watching this, you are made of steel!

Blessings to you!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

College Tour Continues

Last weekend we had the joy of visiting two more of the gorgeous girls who are part of our college ministry in their new surroundings (aka Olivet Nazarene University). What a huge blessing it is to see our lovely college kiddos growing in their faith and embracing the new lives God is placing before them. Exciting, scary, and sad all rolled into one..

We were greeted by this sign as we approached the girls' new home. This momma can't help but loving that this new home holds to high Biblical standards for these girls-no boys allowed in their building..period!! DH couldn't even go in for long and I love it!!

We had a wonderful day. We attended a football game, visited their campus bookstore (DH needed to get a hat of course), and took them to a yummy local pizza joint. The pizza was delish and the campus was beautiful. The game however was really cold and the team was really bad, but hey you can't have it all.

So Darling Kiddo and I decided to escape the cold, long, boring game and find a quaint coffee shop for warmth, hot tea, and conversation. Just when you least expect it..I got me some precious time to connect with my girl! What a pleasant surprise this was for me. I actually had my new book, Keeping the Little in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh and we discussed some of the checklists I'd done. She was a goofball as only she can be, but oh what a terrific afternoon. She just doesn't do serious very well!

Visiting two of our sweet college students + one very cold day for a football game = two hot cups of tea and one great opportunity for some intentional mother/daughter bonding. Not exactly the formula my new book laid out for mother daughter bonding, but spontaneity can provide too! Hope you have time to connect with the precious kiddos God has given you this weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Adoption?

Here's our story...

My dh and I were married for three years when we decided to add a child to our family. We always knew that we wanted to be parents and with relative ease we had our first child as planned. As she has grown, she has been the most amazing blessing and parenting her has been a true joy for us. We have poured ourselves into her-making certain that she feels safe, secure, and loved. When I entered into parenthood, I really had no idea just how much you could love another person. How your heart could literally overflow with joy when you saw your child! We have been so happy to have our darling kiddo. So often, my feelings for her have given me a whole new perspective on just how much God, our Father, loves us.

We were happy and we were done. That was our plan. We had our darling kiddo when we were in our early twenties. We would be young parents, raise her, and be done early enough that we would still be young enough to walk alongside her when she had children of her own. So here we were well on the way to our plan. We have a beautiful family. A family who loves the Lord, loves each other, and loves spending our time together. We vacationed, spent late nights playing games and talking, read our Bible and worshiped together regularly, prayed daily, and smiled a lot. The perfect picture of family-done!

Then we let God enter in..

Last spring, our good friends opened up their hearts and home to these gorgeous feet! They added three foster girls to their family! (I wish I could show you their faces! They are so precious.) Suddenly, all those verses about the fatherless and orphans-that I have read a million times and passed over-had a face. I had seen the fatherless in these girls and I loved them so much! The verses became personal. I watched these precious, sweet parentless children shown God's love through my friends. I watched their lives transform as they were introduced to the reality of living in a home with parents who were able to take care of them. I listened as they learned to pray, sing praise songs, and were introduced to Jesus. I saw my darling kiddo fall in love with them herself and gain so much by building into their lives too. I experienced for myself first hand-through the loving example of our friends-the huge difference a God loving home can make in the lives of children who are fatherless. Truly these children are the least of these that the Bible talks about in Matthew! Walking alongside these children gave me a glimpse into God's heart that I had never allowed myself to see before.

I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. John 14:18

Religion that God our father accepts as pure and undefiled is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

So, here we are on this journey ourselves. I never would have believed it. I never planned for it. I never knew to hope for it. But wow what a huge blessing it is to be a part of it! Oh, how I feel so closely connected to the heart of God! What a true privilege that God has done this for our family. I praise Him for introducing us to those precious faces that changed our hearts so dramatically and led us to obediently follow His plan for our family.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Orphan No Longer

It is really late and here I am just staring at that face. Oh that face! Her Chinese name is Wei. Wei means valuable and brilliant. I just can't shake the fact that this morning this valuable, brilliant young face with those beautiful brown eyes woke up an orphan. She lives in an orphanage-most likely has many crib mates and gets little attention from caregivers. AN Orphan..She had no momma who called her daughter. Now those same eyes are closing tonight and they are orphaned no more. One less orphan is in this world tonight and this momma's heart is soo full and soo overflowing. I just can't wait to look in those eyes and show her what it means to be accepted into a family. Oh how is it that I am so lucky to be experiencing this? How is it that God has chosen to give this to me? My God is sooo good and soo loving. He continues to just blow me away! To think that if I had disobeyed His call for my life-I could have missed this joy! One less less..mine..adopted into our daughter.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Psalm 146:1


It is with shaking hands, sobbing eyes, and a FULL heart that I ask you to rejoice with our family as we received our referral today!

I got a call at school this morning at 9:15 from my dear hubby calmly explaining that our social worker at AGCI had matched us with a child (WHAT!) and she was emailing her medical file and info to me in 5 minutes. I was anything but calm. Those poor third graders in Mrs. M's class were wondering what I was so excited about and why I was crying! I told my dh to get out to school stat because I didn't want to see her without him. Waiting the ten minutes for him to get there were the longest ten minutes of my life. There on my computer was her file waiting for us to open. OUT OF THE BLUE-the wait to see her face is over! Miraculous that today we laid eyes on our Jillian for the first time!! She is the most beautiful, plump nineteen month old I have ever seen. I wish I could post her picture, but we have to wait until she is officially ours. God is so incredibly good to allow us this tremendous blessing! Oh the love-it is just indescribable!

Where do we go from here? We are taking "her" (Chinese paperwork) to her first pediatrician appointment this afternoon. Her medical file has to be reviewed by a doctor before we officially accept her. We have filled out more paperwork asking for permission to adopt her from the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs. We wait (gotta love that word) for approval. It will probably be six or so months at best until we can get her home, but until then I can see her face and her chubby hands while clinging to the pictures of her everyday.

Thank you so much for walking this journey with us! We are overwhelmed by your love and can't wait to get Jillian home to meet all of you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Walking This Road For Myself

I have been in youth ministry for about eight years now. I have walked alongside many families who are parenting tweens guiding them into the teen years. I have offered advice, provided an ear, and most importantly prayed for wisdom for parents as they guide their children through this stage. Now, here I walk on this road for myself and the reality that I am having to become accustomed to parenting an almost teenager myself is setting in. I am facing the challenges, realities, and joys first hand nowadays.

That has been apparent this week as we headed to the apple orchard for some intentional family bonding. You see these days, she is tolerant of these trips, but definitely possesses less enthusiasm than in years earlier. She "allows" me to take a few pictures, she picks a few apples, and she smiles off and on through out our time. She even announces with grandeur that she is not interested in going in the playground. (As if I didn't know that!) Still, I know that these are precious times that will all too soon come to an end. What a beautiful gift from God-being able to parent this darling kiddo is!

As we were picking together, I was thinking that just as darling kiddo is examining the apples on the tree and trying to pick the ones best and most suited for our bag-God has picked her to live this life at this time because she is the best and most suited to accomplish His work here and in this generation. Our conversations of this nature never last long, but the seeds of her budding faith are being cultivated. And oh how I treasure every moment and word we spend together with the Lord regardless.

God is at work and I am being as obedient as I can to Deuteronomy 11:19 Teach them (God's words and ways) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. I understand that she is beginning to go her own way, but I am certain that I have done and am doing all I can to pass my faith along to her. The rest is up to the Lord who is faithful and who loves her even more than I do.

I found a great new resource for parenting tweens. Check out for Dannah Gresh's new book-Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl and a one year devo book for moms and tweens. I am loving these resources. If you know of any others, please pass them along in the comments to this momma-who needs as much help as she can get.