Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


"Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence."--Augustine

Josie and I stepped off a plane in the USA over two weeks ago.  We've spent that time reconnecting with Darren and other friends and family here as well as just trying to remember what "normal life" was ever like.

I have to say that the Lord has been so good to us during this adjustment.  He provided a mini-vacation for us in Key West the first week, Darren's parents came the next week and as always provided much needed encouragement and babysitting:), Josie and I both had NO jetlag to speak of, and the basic adjustment to American life has been fairly smooth.

It's still a daily process of trying to sort my emotions about everything, but God continues to flood our lives with peace even as we pray for the new family that is in Zambia right now trying to adopt the girls.  You can follow their journey at www.sherleysinzambia.wordpress.com It will be exciting to see how the Lord moves in this family and the lives of the precious girls I once called my daughters.

Josie is thrilled to be back--to have her daddy around again and see her friends and be in her own home.  There's just something about "home" that never gets replaced.  I can't even explain how happy it made me to open the door and be home again.  I sincerely hope that I never ever have to do anything like that again!

My church family has just showered us with so much love and support.  I feel so honored to be a part of such a marvelous group of brothers and sisters. 

Even now we are starting to see glimpses of God's purpose in this.  We may never know this side of heaven the full picture of his plan for these two girls, but I know that for whatever reason I was meant to be there with them for the 71/2 months I was.  It changed me and most likely forever changed them and Josie as well in many ways.  I don't have any regrets about it even though it is so very hard to understand sometimes.

 I hope that the struggles we've had will not necessarily scare anyone away from adoption.  I do believe that ours was a uniquely difficult case and if anyone would like to speak with us about adoption in general or how to avoid some of the risks we encountered I would still be happy to advocate for orphans and pass on any knowledge I can share.

So this is likely the last post for this blog. I'm gratelful for everyone who followed along and walked this rocky road with us. Thank you for your prayers, your love, and your words of encouragement that always came at just the right time.   I don't know where our family goes from here and right now we aren't making too many plans, but just enjoying each other.  I do know that whatever comes our way in the future, we will pray for the faith to always see God's faithfulness and trust His love for us.

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved."  Psalm 55:22

Sunday, June 17, 2012


When I came here in November set out to adopt two girls, I never ever EVER thought I would be writing the words that are about to come.

We are revoking the committals for both girls and Josie and I are headed home next week.  Let me cover the responses we have already heard so that no one feels the need to say them.  Then I'll explain why.

1.  "But you're so close!"
2.  "But it will ruin their lives!"
3.  "But Jesus never leaves his children orphaned!"
4.  "But you can't.  It's wrong."
5.  "But you'll never forgive yourselves!"
6.  "I'll bet you guys will never adopt again, huh?"

Please know that right now our hearts are broken, yet the Lord has granted us peace and unity in our deicision.  It doesn't mean it's easy...it doesn't mean that any options on the table were completely right or wrong.  This simply is the way that this story is playing out thanks to the ever merciful and good hand of God himself.  There is the possiblity that even after the 7.5 months I have spent here moving house to house away from my husband, family, friends, and church back home, that something could still work out.  "Just wait one more week  On more day.  One more month."  Those phrases are passed out like bubblegum here in Zambia.  I guess what it has come down to for us is a final loss of trust with those working in the adoption system here.

Whether intentional or just by way of being sloppy at their jobs, those in authority have failed us miserably and we are not willing to keep our family apart indefinately to see how the future "ifs" play out here.  So I'll answer the above questions as kindly as I can.

1. "Close" has been an extremely subjective term over here.  In reality this adoption could be completed in July 2012 or it could be 2013 sometime.  When I started out thinking I was leaving in February, I don't have a good category to place the word "close" in right now.

2.  I don't presume to know whether Evolet and Keira's lives will be ruined or not.  The Lord placed me here for a purpose and more and more I am believing that it was only to touch their lives for a short time.  I don't regret that and I hope they remember what they've been taught.  I believe the Lord will raise up families for them.  His plans are better than ours.

3.  Jesus does not leave his children orphaned.  I would not leave my children orphaned either and even though in practice they were my children for a short while, legally they never were.  If so I would be leaving the country with them and there would be no problem.  The analogy only goes so far.  The same Jesus who never leaves us also has the power to orchestrate the universe.  I don't.

4.  I have prayed and prayed and prayed for the answer to this question.  Is it right or is it wrong?  The Bible says to care for orphans, but he also promises to be their father.  I crossed an ocean to do that and in the end it feels that the Lord is saying "thank you.  Now it is time to move on."  I truly don't feel that in this situation it is wrong to leave them in the hands of the Lord. 

5.  I will forgive myself because I don't feel that I've done anything wrong. When the Lord placed the desire of adoption on our hearts we followed.  We obeyed.  We suffered for love--both for our Lord and the orphan.  Now I feel that the Lord has placed it on my heart to leave and simply trust him to provide for these children. I know it doesn't make sense.  I've been on knees praying for clarity this past week and somehow I just know that leaving doesn't mean giving up.  It means that my time with them is up.  The Lord had me here for a purpose and I've fulfilled it.  It's time to get back to filling my role as a wife.

6.  This question is like asking a woman who has just travailed in childbirth when baby #2 is coming.  It simply isn't a good question to ask right now.  My answer is "absolutely not."  But I would never agree to say "never".  My reason is simple:  I don't know what the Lord will ask me to do next.  If he impresses that on our hearts again...we will follow in obedience--hopefully guarding our hearts as well as the children's hearts a little more.

I'm thankful.  I'm thankful for the experience I had even though I'm coming back with the same number of children I left with.  The Lord has taught me so much about himself and this part of the world.  I go home with no regrets and no worries.  That doesn't mean that I'll return with no scars or no pain or longing for the children I've left behind.  Please be understanding.  Please be supportive and encouraging to our family.  Lift us up in prayer and hold us close in your hearts.  There will be alot of adjusting back to American life for Josie and I. 

Providentally, the pastor's message this morning was on Acts 14:22.  He spoke much about hardship and the ways that they serve to strengthen our faith.  Paul said "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."  BUT Praise the Lord:

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." -Psalm 147:3

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Still Learning

So I've been holding my breath to write another post, but I have pictures and I figured it was time so...here it goes.

We filed for court on Tuesday.  I thought that meant we would be in court the next day since that's what the lawyer said, but alas, everything that exits a person's mouth is not always true.  You would think I would have learned that by now.

The seven month anniversary of me actually being in Zambia has come and gone today.  Don't think for a second that it went unnoticed.  I'm now working on month 8.  Awesome.

The Kids petting Jate

Josie, Jate, and "A Derby".

Josie carrying the sweetest little puppy.

Best roommate ever making best Nshima ever!

Evolet and Jate

A girl's best friend.  How cute is that?
This girl is preciousness wrapped up in the sweetest lil package!

So God has seen fit to teach me MANY things in my time in Africa.  Even though I cannot wait to step foot back inside my own country and my own house, I will never be able to look back on this time as a waste.  Here are just a few things I've learned...

1.  Life is hard.
2.  Life is harder than you thought.
3.  Life is hard and that's the only aspect that many of the people in this world see.  But there's always beauty if you determine to find it under all the pain.
4.  Africa is NOT hot all the time and they call it "cold season" for a reason.
5.  The word "Mommy" can get annoying, but you also never get tired of it.  That's a paradox only a mother can ever understand.
6.  A three year old's chuckle can make my bad day turn happy:)
7.  "Jesus, Take the Wheel"  is a song that should be taken seriously when crossing paths with a mini-bus driver.
8.  I'm far from perfect...in fact I barely have a handle on life most of the time.
9.  Don't brag on your children--God will think it's funny and humble you almost immediately...you'll laugh too.
10. Kids are born really sinful...but also very teachable.  They tend to watch and repeat.
11. The Psalms never get old.
12. When things get to the point where you do a "happy dance" everytime someone poops in the potty you will look in the mirror and wonder who the freak is looking back.  But you'll smile.
13.  God provides...when you least expect it and sometimes from means you didn't imagine.
14.  Friends can help you carry your burdens and you should let them.  God sends them to you.
15.  It's smart to make a plan for using every drop of water that comes out of the faucet...it could stop at any second.
16.  I can survive a freezing cold shower--I may scream like a crow, but I will live to see how the rest of the day turns out.
17.  When the lights go out, just sing and dance, have pie for dinner, and enjoy making your kids laugh with shadow puppets.
18.  I can wash clothes--by hand and in cold water--and they are wearable!!!!
19.  I never would have chosen to live away from my husband for this amount of time, but I love him even more than I did in November.
20.  I never would have chosen to go through the struggles I have, but I feel a SMALL kinship in Christ's sufferings that I never would have known otherwise.  I love HIM more than I did in November.
21.  Christ paid a price to ransom my soul for adoption.  I've done very little in comparison.
22.  You can be friends with a spider.  You really can...as long as he stays on his spot on the wall.
24.  You can love three children equally and admire their individual strengths.  It's a phenomenon I will never understand.
25.  Andrew Peterson change your outlook on life for the day.
26.  God doesn't promise that being more like him will be easy.
27.  Jesus said pray for your daily bread for a reason...you only get through life one day at a time with grace for each moment.
28.  That grace is abundant and God has always given me enough to get through each day.  He does not forsake his children so I will trust him no matter what.
29.  The best things in life are worth the struggle, blood, sweat, tears, and cries to heaven.
30.  Heaven sounds better when the weight of this world is crushing you.
31.  Life is a vapor.
32.  Love never fails.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Already There

Good news!  The potential "birthmother" drama dissipated today.  Turns out the woman was looking for a different child.  I have ALL...A. L. L. court documents done and ready to be filed now for BOTH girls.  Happy day.  But my lawyer's out of town until Thursday or Friday so I still can't file without him.  I'm moving tomorrow so I have spent the day packing and trying not to freak out about the unknowns still ahead.  I feel like inch by inch we're getting closer, though.  These are the lyrics to a song that has really been an encouragement to me lately.  My cousin who's daughter has been battling cancer over the last couple of years (now in remission, praise the Lord)  told me about it and it has been a real encouragement especially in recent days so I thought I would share the lyrics.

Already There
by Casting Crowns

From where I'm standing
Lord it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can't control

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

From where You're standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan

Here are a couple of pictures to make you all laugh!

Evolet and her good friend Brooklyn.  They got crazy in the fingerpaint.
Josie covered in fingerpaint and walking around like it's normal.
Josie running from Evolet while Evolet tries to freak her out by pretending to eat a bug.  Josie's exact words were "Mommy, I told Evolet to stop eating the bug and she won't STOP!"
Evolet pretending to eat the bug.  She didn't actually do it, but according to a Zambian who was there, these types of bugs are totally edible.  Yum.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just When you Think Things Can't Get Worse...

So my dad had this saying that "When you see light at the end of a tunnel it's probably a train coming at you."

I always laughed and rolled my eyes and thought it was a little pessimistic, but darn it...dad's have a way of being right sometimes.

For real, though.  On Tuesday, all the paperwork was in and done for Evolet and Keira.  I was so happy...went out and celebrated by watching a movie with my friend.  Came home and hugged my kids and sang songs about Jesus!  It was a really great day.  I allowed myself the joy of feeling like we were at the end and the fight was almost over.  I spent that night restless thinking about home and how I'm so close to being there. The plan was to file for court the very next day after my lawyer finished up his paperwork.  It sounds simple...right?

So I woke up to a text from my social worker--who I thought I was done working with.  She says "A woman came intot he police station in Balastone claiming that Hope (Evolet) is her daughter."

And the Bomb falls.

What?  How in the world is this possible?  Why the day I'm supposed to file for court?  Why do I have more crap to deal with now?  Have I not done enough?

All those thoughts kind of hit me at the same time.  This is absolutely beyond ridiculous.  Everyone--lawyer and social worker included have said they think it is a false claim.  There are myriad of possibilities that it COULD be, but it is very unlikely that this woman is actually her birth-mother.

So I told my lawyer to go ahead and file for Keira before something else goes wrong.  The plan was to go to court for her at least on Monday.  Did he do that?  No.  I still can't get a hold of him and the courts close in 30 minutes.  And tomorrow is a holiday--African Freedom Day.  So...as if weekends aren't the bane of my existence anyway I get the special treat of having a three day weekend to freak out about all of this.

My social worker wasn't able to get a hold of anyone until late in the day so now she'll be going to Balastone on Monday and trying to sort this through.

Add to that that British Airways is sold out past June 22 and we need to get our tickets...well, now.

And I have to move for the fourth time since being here.  Thankfully, I didn't have to stress about that for long.  My friend Katryn has graciously agreed to open her home to an "on the verge of psychopath" mom and her three kids for a couple of weeks.  What a blessing!  I really don't think I could have handled the whole house hunting thing again.

I feel like this tornado of impossible circumstances is like swirling around me.  I don't know alot of things right now, but I do know this:

1.  This kind of insanity has to end--now.  I won't continue to live in another country at the whim of this person or that person anymore.  I'm going home to my husband and that's that.

2.  God knows that and he's got the whole world in His hands.  I can't explain the peace that gives in the middle of this.  It doesn't make the pain and uncertainty go away,  but it does give me a freedom to know that even though I am only human and can only do so much, God has known from the beginning of time what my tomorrows would look like.  He knows these girls and He cares for them so He'll do what's best by His holy will.  He can't do anything else--He's God.  And he specializes in "impossible things".

"He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. 

He turns a desert into pools of water,
and parched land into springs of water. 

And there he lets the hungry dwell...
he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks. 

The upright see it and are glad,
and all wickedness shuts its mouth. 

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let him consider the steadfast love of the LORD."
-Psalm 107:33-36 and 41-43

Monday, May 21, 2012

Still in the Tunnel...

...Wait!  Is that a light?

Sorry I haven't posted any cutesy pics lately of my kids all dolled up and looking amazing.  I don't think I would win the mom of the year award for this past week.  I'm doing good to bathe them and keep junk in their hair.  I randomly find Josie hanging out in the pantry with brown sugar all over her face or (like yesterday)  motor oil, deoderant, and salad dressing.  They've been eating cornflakes and oranges for probably 2 meals out of the day.  Momma's anxious--and exhausted--and not very entertaining lately.

But, today I was told that the elusive "paper" that's been the cause of all this stress is now in the hands of my social worker.  The last paper we need for Keira should be available tomorrow as well as the final--FINAL papers I ever have to ask Elizabeth for!!!  Yay!

So if those things can be in our hands tomorrow, then my lawyer can file for court and we'll go either Wednesday or Thursday.  Friday is a holiday, and probably Monday too so I really am hoping it all comes together.

I've been trying so hard to cast my cares on the Lord.  There is so much that weighs on me and some days and I can't even remember what home is like.  I know I miss it--painfully.

So Darren and I are starting to talk about travel plans and tickets.  I still probably won't be home until the last week of June.  One more month.  I can hang on that long, right?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Power of Prayer and a Kit Kat Bar

I'm so encouraged by the amount of people that prayed for me today.  Some people even got up at 2 a.m. to pray during my 9 a.m. meeting here.  I really seriously am blessed to have friends and family like y'all.  (Yes, I can't wait to be back where that is considered a valid word)

God was good to answer some of those prayers today.  I was extrememely anxious about what I was going to say in the meeting.  I didn't know what to expect and more than anything I didn't want to jeapordize my kids...or get thrown in jail.  You just never know in Africa.

My friend Megan took me to the office and we waited for over an hour.  Then we were told that the boss was in court and would have to meet later.  In the hallway I ran into Keira's biological father--slightly awkward.  He was called by Elizabeth too, but wasn't sure why.  So Megan and I ran some errands and just waited for a call.  I was told to come by again at 2 p.m.

 Megan had to go to pick up her kids from school so I waited at the mall across the street until 2.  I tried to eat lunch but was still a little anxious and wondering if I was just making too big of a deal of the whole thing.

I just kept praying for peace and the right words to say.  So would you believe that when I walked into the office I wasn't even nervous?  God gave me a peace that I truly can't even explain.  I showed no emotion--which I was told would only make things worse if I did.  I just stated the facts.  It turns out too that I ended up meeting with a different boss which probably was a good thing.  He was much more professional and even though I still had to apologize very formally and everything for the misunderstanding, he heard me out and listened to my frutrations as well.  He said that he has instructed Elizabeth to finish as quickly as possible because she's been reassigned and he needs her to move on.  So in fact she said she would go to the police station for Evolet's report tonight after work.  We'll see if that happens.  I gave Elizabeth a kit-kat bar (the woman's a chocoholic bigtime) and it seems that for now we are back in a position where we can communicate again, but hopefully she knows that I'm serious about her doing her job.

Keira's dad was asked to come in because--get this--Elizabeth lost the consent forms he signed months ago and needed him to sign new ones.  So that meant that I had to take them to the magistrate's court to get them signed again.  It was kind of a ridiculous day really, but I can see ways that the Lord is moving and I am so thankful.

My lawyer got back to me--finally.  He's been out of town and now that this storm has passed he's decided to resurface.  I really felt like I needed him to be present the last couple of days, but I also know that everything is going according to God's plan so I won't complain.  It can't be a coincidence that he only got back to me five minutes AFTER this meeting was finished.  God obviously didn't want him there.  Anyway, we are supposed to meet tomorrow so I can pass off some of this paperwork for him to start filing. 

I really do believe that God is fighting for us.  The ways may seem small and we're still waiting for tangible evidence that will calm our hearts more, but I know that he is with me and I know that He is getting ready to display his glory in a way that I don't understand now, but I would choose if I could see into the future.  I wouldn't have chosen for things to be this hard, but I trust him and I know He's good.

Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for God's sustaining Grace.  It is no small matter that I am in the middle of a battle that is more than flesh and blood--more than anything I can fight in my own strength.  A friend posted this on my facebook wall and it has offered so much encouragement to my heart lately.

O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. -Psalm 10:17-18