Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Monday, November 22, 2010

Orphan Care Sunday

Yesterday was Orphan Care Sunday at my church. What an amazing Sunday it was! We heard the testimony of a man who had been in foster care with a lovely Christian couple in our city. Our pastor Shawn brought a beautiful sermon from 2 Samuel about how David treated Mephibosheth (his enemy's grandson) just like his own son and gave him a place at his table. Normally, that's not the story I think of when considering orphan care...I think that's why it had such an impact on our congregation. That sermon was truly a blessing from God. I don't think it's up yet but you can go to http://www.morningview.org/ to download it. It is entitled "A Place at His Table."

We also gave out copies of the book "Adopted for Life". This is the single best resource I have seen that compares our adoption in Christ with how we should view caring for orphans.
We gave a testimony in the night service. I feel like Moses just a little bit in that I really don't feel like I have the gift of speach, but I will not turn down an opportunity to get the word out about how important it is that the church step up and answer the call to care for orphans.
Tom Hicks also preached a riveting evening message on adoption. It was a powerful day for me.
We should be recieving our official notarized home study any day now. In this week of particular thankfulness, I'm especially thankful for my adoption into the heavenly family, and I'm thankful for this journey that God has seen fit to bless us with. I'm thankful for the daughter that I have, and for the one I will be meeting very soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rabies Shots

Who would have thought that a Rabies shot would be a crucial part of adopting a child? Alas, the rabies vaccination certificate was the last piece in the very large puzzle of home study paperwork...we hope anyway. You just never know with these things. So, Josie, Clover, and I braved the first major rainstorm in a few months to take our Persian cat Clover to the vet. Thankfully, I was able to leave Josie with my friend Ruth so that I didn't have to worry about holding on to my emotionally disturbed cat AND my "I demonstrate my love for animals by pouncing on them" child.
Clover actually did very well! The poor little thing was shivering with fear, but didn't try to scratch, bite, or run away so I would call it a successful trip!
We had our last home study meeting last Friday. It went very well. Our social worker is so easy to work with! We discussed alot about Ethiopian culture and things concerning that. It was great and it feels so nice to have that done with. The next few steps we are working on simultaneously now are:
1. Sending our application for a matching grant to Lifesong
2. Sending in our I-600 form for pre-immigration approval
3. Getting our Tastebook fundraiser created and marketed!
4. Creating family photo pages for the Dossier
(amidst Christmas shopping and holiday baking and party planning and doing Christmas cards and camping trips and traveling...)
Oh well! I love this busy time of year! I love the food, the smell, the weather, the lights, the music, and...sitting by the fire sipping hot cocoa with my handsome husband. He is such a blessing to me and provides such emotionally stability for me in this crazy wonderful season! I love that this is the time of year that we celebrate the incarnation of God himself. While Christ has always existed and will forever exist, Christmas was the beginning of Christ's humanity. How exciting that Christ came as a man to fulfill God's justice and love at the same time. How gracious that He saves us from Himself.
I'm going to go binge on my Pumpkin Spice ice cream now. For those of you in parts of the country that don't have Blue Bell...I pity you at this moment. Happy Monday.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This is my favorite time of year!

I ordered our Christmas ornaments this week!

We decided to continue the tradition of a special ornament for our family every Christmas. We also recieve annual White House Ornaments from my sister every year. Darren's parents are giving each of their gandchildren an ornament every year. So...our tree will fill up quickly.

I also decided to express our anticipation for our adopted daughter through a special ornament this year. I ordered this from a girl on etsy. This is a fundraiser for their Ethiopian adoption.

Cute huh? I got these in the mail this week and can't wait to put my tree up to hang them on!!!

On the adoption front, we had our indivudual interviews with our home study agency yesterday. It went very well. Our social worker is so sweet. What a blessing to have someone so laid back! Our last meeting will be next Friday the 12th. So...this week I am busy trying to tie up some loose ends on the paperwork. It will be so nice to have that segment done.

We attended a parenting conference at our church today. It was great, although it did leave me thinking, "Wow...this sounds difficult with only one child. Why am I adopting another one again?" I guess that's the beauty of it...we MUST be reliant upon Christ in our parenting! I only have a nine month old and I am humbled a hundred times a day by seeing my own sin in parenting! Praise God for His abundant grace and I trust that when the number of my children doubles, my precious savior's grace will be sufficient.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why Ethiopia?

Many of you have asked questions like "How did you decide to adopt?", "How did you decide on Ethiopia?", "How did you choose your agency?". I LOVE getting asked these questions because it gives me the chance to brag on my God and what He has chosen to do through us!

If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be adopting, my response probably would have been, "Oh then I guess we won't be able to have kids, huh!?" How shortsighted of us to think that we are only obligated to help those in need as a last resort to fulfill our desires for children! Don't get me wrong, I know many people who have gone the adoption route for the reason that they can't have children, but I'll bet if you ask any of them if they view adoption as "the next best option" now, they would say "No." because now they can see the purpose in it all and they love their adopted children as their own. Adoption is not second-best. It is a God-ordained method of growing our families and showing love to a hurting world.

One of our pastors, David Hardgrave taught a class on Adoption last year. I was pregnant with Josie at the time, and while we have bounced around the idea of adoption it seemed very distant. We read the book Adopted for Life by Russell Moore which is a book comparing our adoption by God into the heavenly family and why that should propell us to think biblically about adopting children into our families. It is an amazing book!!! So after that class we decided that adoption was something we wanted to pursue one day.

Then, our Sunday School teacher began a study in the book of James this past January. I never realized how many passages there are about adoption! Jesus himself was "adopted" by his earthly father Joseph. One verse really stuck out to us. James 1:27 says "Pure and undefiled religion before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and keep oneself unspotted from the world." That's a pretty short summary of the Christian life! While no one does this perfectly, the point is, are we doing it at all? Does your heart move for the 143,000,000 orphans in the world? Or is it something that doesn't concern you because you because it would take too much of your time to really try to do something about it?

I fully recognize that everyone is not supposed to adopt a child into their family. There are so many circumstances that prevent it for some people. But you can pray for the families that are adopting. You can give of your time to help with fundraiser events or make monetary donations to organizations or churches that you trust. You can get involved with the foster system. I've really rabbit trailed, but the point is...why doesn't the church in America realize that this is such a big need and that everyone can at least care and pray?

After Cole's message on James, Darren and I were driving home from church and we both said, "Why not now? We have the room now. We have as much of a financial capacity as we will probably ever have now. We have the time now. Let's do it now!" So we met with our dear friends the Portises and talked over the practical aspects of adoption and began to narrow down the countries.

Narrowing down wasn't very difficult after all. Between lengths of travel and age requirements, Ehtiopia fit our needs best. In everything God has been faithful to handle the details for us. Sometimes I think we expect a flash of light or a talking bush or a vision or something to show us God's will. More often, though, God's will for us is simply obedience and a deisire for His glory to be made manifest through us. These little decisions haven't really been that difficult.

Choosing an agency was much the same way. Most agencies have an Ethiopia program, but not all of their web sites are user-friendly. America World has a great reputation, came recommended by friends that have used them, and I liked how organized they seem to be. So far, everyone from there has been amazing!!! They always keep us informed about what's going on and they are so friendly. Of course, we are not too far along in the process, but it seems like they are a great agency!

So that answers a few questions. For those who go to church with us, we will be giving a short testimony in the evening service on November 21st. We'd love to have you there! We love to talk about adoption and the whole process so if anyone has questions we'd be happy to tell you what we know!