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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Day in Zambia

So my days in Zambia generally fall into one of two categories

Category 1:  A day with excellent news and also bad or confusing news
Category 2:  A day where nothing happens

Most days fall into category 2, but today was a Category 1 Day.  I had a confrontation with my social worker which was traumatic for me.  I hate fighting and handle it by either apologizing for things I didn't do wrong, lashing out like a cornered animal, or as was the case today weeping in her office and crushing under the overhwlming weight of everything that's going on--doesn't help that Keira keeps having nightmares and I haven't had a good night's sleep for quite a while.

So I accused Elizabeth of lying.  Which I was somewhat justified to do I think, but the situation in question ended up being a misunderstanding.  I still think that if you've told someone you're doing ALL you can to help them and six months later you still haven't managed to get one piece of paper---that falls under the heading of lies too, but still.  I accused without having ALL my facts straight.  I quickly apologized, but apparently that wasn't good enough and now I'm being "called into the principal's office" where I don't even go to school.  She called her boss on me!  I can't believe how things manage to keep getting more and more ridiculous.  This has become a very personal thing for her when all I've ever wanted was for her to do her job!

Ok so the good news though is that in the midst of this very stressful conversation with Elizabeth she tells me that her boss gave the ok for Keira to be adopted.  We still have to collect the paperwork and file for court, but this was a HUGE answer to prayer that was slightly overshadowed by the drama of the day.

I'm thankful that my friend Megan was there for support and to remind me that in the end it is God's will and not mine that will be done.  He can work through all of this and it seems that he is even though it is still a mess.

I don't know what to expect from tomorrrow.  I really wish my lawyer could be there to help advocate for me, but I haven't been able to get a hold of him since Sunday.  Maybe he hates me too.  I know that I will need to apologize for the horrible Zambian crime of offending Elizabeth and for opening my mouth without having all my facts collected...even though I was probably right.  I also know that I will now have an audience with her boss and can delicately, but firmly plead my case for these girls and our need to be done quickly.  My prayer is that Elizabeth will have already picked up the report before our meeting and then I won't need to plead for anything.  I can just apologize and grab my documents and go.

Please pray that I wouldn't do anything stupid. I've been told that above all else I am to show no emotion at this meeting tomorrow. That's not easy.  I am very rarely anxious, so when I am I look and act defensive or breakdown in tears and that is not what these people need to see.  I have to be calm and collected and the more I think about how to force that the more I want to cry.  I know that God can harden and soften hearts at his will and pleasure.  I know that even though Moses wasn't good with words he boldly went before Pharaoh and God blessed him.  I know that even though alot of people here don't like me that God can enable me to manauver these tricky customs of communication even when I don't understand them.  I know that I can trust him to guide me through whatever comes my way. I know that even though God is throwing the one thing I hate more than anything--confrontation--my way that He can use me and get me through it.

Still--I'm anxious.  I've been made to feel like I've done something horribly wrong by demanding that my social worker do her job.  I have been polite and nice and kind and understanding of Zambian slowness for 6 1/2 months and I just feel like enough is enough.  I do hope all of this is overwith soon.  I saw a glimpse of that finish line today and it felt oh so nice.

 P.S.  I miss my husband more than anything in the world right now.  I will die if I don't get back to him soon.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day Wishes

I wish alot of things lately.  I wish I didn't have strep throat and I wish my water wasn't off.  I wish I smelled better, I wish my kids weren't as loud, I wish my electricity would stay on.  More than anything I wish Jesus would come back.  I wish he would make things right again--heal the broken and bring justice to his people.  Erase the pain and darkness with the light of his presence.  It's a grace that he hasn't and I know that.  He delays His wrath in love, but I look around and I long for it.

So I'll settle for something of a smaller scale--the miracle of adoption.  The beauty of his love displayed in a parallel that is so close to gospel sacrifice that it feels like Satan and the world has opposed us in every way.  Christ says that the persecuted are blessed.  And I know my suffering pales in comparison to what many others have experienced.  It is all relative, but right now this is the hardest thing I have ever done...to date.

This has been an interesting time of paradoxes for me.  Most of my life I've beheld God's goodness in a comfortable form.  Now things are hard and it is a temptation to wonder where his goodness went.  But for my children, being in a family has been the first tangible evidence of it and they are learning about the God who is good to them.  For me it's the hardest time, but for them they are experiencing love and thriving even though they have no idea how good they are even going to have it when we get home!  I think things are terrible, but they are ecstatic to just be living where we are and eating and doing the things we do.

Tomorrow (Monday) at 1 p.m. I have a meeting with my social worker and lawyer.  I'm taking them out to lunch and leaving my kids so am hoping to have an uninterrupted discussion about the state of things and where we are headed.  I always hope that these meetings are curves in the road and most of the time they are uneventful, but I'm putting a stake down tomorrow and I pray for the boldness to demand answers for the sake of my children.  My wish is that by Mother's Day I could look at these two kids and tell them they are mine for good.  And that we are going home on a particular day.  Please pray that with us! In the meantime just pray the water comes back.

"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted...I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you: therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."--Job 42: 1, and 5-6

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Too cute not to share....

So today was a photo day for us.  The sun was bright and the kids were giggly.  We were all dressed up and ready to go have some fun with our friend Sophie and her daughter Natasha.  These little munchkins make me laugh so hard.  Their little personalities are developing so well and it's fun to capture some of that with a camera.  How cute are these little things?

Josie rockin' her new jacket.

Love the progression of those three photos!

Josie wrinkles her nose up when she says "banana".  It is one of the most precious things in this universe.

All three riding on a tree stump.

Precious Sister kisses
I love this one.  This kid is so radiantly gorgeous!

Beautiful Keira.

Cute little Josie.  My how she's grown!
I wanted to share the lyrics to a song that's been going through my mind alot lately.  We sing it at our church and it's a great reminder of God's complete control over things and His goodness even in the midst of the trials of this time:

"Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain

Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well

You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night"

I love these three.  They are such a blessing!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lewis Girls

Today we went to Kilimanjaros with some friends and got some photos.  My little girlies are so cute.  The adoptions seem to be moving a little bit at least.  My lawyer had some hopeful news for me on Monday, but then I haven't heard from him since so I guess we'll see what happens.  I feel like if we can just get through these last battles with social welfare then we should be set.  I continue to pray for us to get through court very soon.  I want to go home so bad!
I love getting kisses from my little girls!

Keira and I laughing at something.

All the Lewis Girls

Evolet crossing her eyes by the creepy "eyeball" chair.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Keira's Three Months

Keira in November-First Meeting
Today is April 23 and that means that Keira's three month fostering period is over today.  Of course, we still don't have a court date for either Keira or Evolet so it doesn't really mean much, but I wanted to take today to just talk about "the middle one" and how much she's changed.

Keira's a fighter.  The house mom at the orphanage told me the story about how Keira had been abandoned in the hospital by her family after her mother died in childbirth. She was premature and tiny.  She was neglected by the hospital staff who didn't turn her often enough so one side of her head was flat.  When she was released from the hospital at three months old she was 2.5 kg or 5.5 lbs.  The orphanage mom said she was sickly and they didn't expect her to live much less walk or talk.

Keira is still much smaller than the average 3 1/2 year old.  She doesn't speak clearly, but she understands everything.  She has the disposition of an angel and her radiant smile warms the hearts of everyone around her.  The house dad said she was the "diamond" in their family and he was right. She is a special little girl.

Keira in April
In the past three months, Keira has had more energy, she's been talking more, her wandering eye doesn't wander anymore (Praise the Lord).  She's noticeably gained weight although I don't have a scale so I don't know how much.  She's outgrown a pair of shoes that were too big for her in January.  She's attached to me and her sisters better than I ever thought possible.  She smiles ALL. THE. TIME! (unless there are puppies or butterflies floating around.  She's wary of both.)

I don't know what God has planned for this little girl.  I believe that she's my daughter, but there are still alot of unanswered questions surrounding her adoption and we just don't know that for sure until it's final.  I do know one thing...a child doesn't need to have a massive vocabulary to teach you certain things or to steal your heart away.  I love Keira and I pray that God makes a way for her to come home with me.  It would break my heart to leave her here even though I trust that God would provide for her through other means.  Whatever time I get to spend with this precious little girl I will be thankful for it.

I'm praying fervently for progress this week.  Now I'm done fostering both girls and I just want them home.  I want everyone to love and enjoy them the way I do.  Thirty-eight days until the end of May.

"Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." Isaiah 1:17

Monday, April 9, 2012


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you."
1 Peter 1:3-4
Why is it so hard to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time?
 Josie Playing with a pinecone.  I love how this photo turned out!
 Who doesn't love a traditional Easter Clown?  Ran into this guy at the store on Easter.  He made balloon animals for all the kids.
 Running...chasing each other around a tree.
 My sweet little Keira!
Evolet picked some flowers for Mommy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Psalms and Behemoth Avocados

I know you're all wondering about the avocados so I'll just start with those. We have this HUGE avocado tree in our backyard here that makes the BIGGEST avocados I have ever seen in my life. In fact I didn't believe everyone when they said they were even avocados until I cut into one.

They enjoyed throwing them!

I'm in awe and am trying to find recipes with stuff to do with avocados. I don't even particularly like them, but hey they are free so I can learn.

This is the kids "mattress sliding". They have discovered a new game. Yay!

I'm going to really try to refrain from using the term "roller coaster" in yet another one of my posts, but that's exactly what this past week was. I was told all this great stuff and then found out yesterday that we can't get the police report for Evolet's case until like the end of April probably which means that the earliest we can go to court is the first week of May and that's only if our social worker will agree to work on our case while she's on vacation. I had allowed myself a little spark of hope that maybe we were close to the finish line on at least one case. I had been thinking about how nice it will be to step off the plane and proabably cry and kiss the ground in Atlanta...ok maybe I won't do that, but who knows! I might! I've been thinking about home alot (probably not smart) and it just makes me really sad that I keep getting told one thing and then something else happens. People have been doing this to me non stop for 5 months and I just don't think I can take much more!!!!

Which has all led me repeatedly to say "Ok, God. I thought I knew what you were doing. I thought I was doing what you wanted me to. So why do I keep getting kicked around?" It's easy to mix those emotions with feelings of doubt that God really knows what is best for us. Remember when the Hebrews were finally released from Egypt and really actually thought that God had only rescued them to kill them either by the red sea or the wilderness? I'm starting to understand a little bit why they felt that way. They knew that he was strong enough to save them, but they couldn't understand why he hadn't done it yet.

I'm not going to lie and say that those same doubts have not arisen in my mind, but I'm thankful that even when it feels like God is silent he isn't. He's blessed us with reassuring words and examples from the Bible. There is only one thing that I can always count on and that is that God is God. That is a comofort to me in so many ways. If he is always who he says he is then I have nothing to worry about. I do believe that we are submitted to his will right now and no matter the outcome it is not about us, but about what the Lord is doing. It seems like every day he's given me something to cling to to remind me that He is there and that this is His plan even though for the life of me I can't see where it's going or why. He didn't have to give us words of comfort, but he did because he's good...no matter what the circumstances around us tell us to believe.
There is a remedy for the doubts we feel. In Psalm 77, the Psalmist faces the same doubts as he preaches to himself and says this "Has his [God's] steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?...I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old." Remembering Christ and his goodness is a remedy for all doubt. He is faithful.
The Psalms have been a blessing to me so I thought I would share just a few of the snippets that have really calmed my heart as I was going through my highlights this past week.
  • Psalm 37;7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."
  • Psalm 41:1 "Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him."
  • Psalm46:10-11 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."
  • Psalm 55:22 "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved."
  • Psalm 62:1-2 "Fod God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken."
  • Psalm 66:10-12 "For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into a net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
  • Psalm 72:4 "May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!"
  • Psalm 73:25-26 "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Small miracle? Maybe....

After being completely fed up with the lack of progress I had texted my lawyer last night that he needed to work on my case or I was gettin' out of Dodge. Not exactly that way, but I think he got the point. Suddenly he had meetings set up from here to Tuesday. Today I met with him and our social worker, took them cinnamon rolls so they were all smiling when I told them that I really really need some things to start happening. So here's the latest:
  • Should have the missing paperwork tomorrow
  • Lawyer will have a conversation with the big wigs about Keira's case and have them come to a decision about wheather she is likely to actually come home or not. Would be better to know sooner rather than later.
  • He will hopefully be able to submit our papers on Monday morning and he really believes that we can get squeezed into court before Elizabeth goes on leave Wednesday afternoon.
  • I'm skeptical, but praising God for some progress. Please pray that things would go smoothly for once!
  • I had lunch and pedicures with great friends and felt very refreshed and ready to tackle what's ahead!

That's my small and happy update for now. Praying for more good news soon!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Prayers, tears, giggles, and Lorax

Here's an adoption update and with it ways that you can pray for us specifically:

1. I found out yesterday that there was a paper that should have been filed for Evolet way back when in order to adopt. It just got filed yesterday and unless we can get them to speed up it won't be ready until "Friday" so...probably not till next week.

2. My social worker is going on vacation for a month starting next week.

3. Keira's paperwork is still not complete and unless we can change social welfare's position on it then we are kind of at a stalemate as there's no real way to obtain the rest of the paperwork which would mean that we could not complete Keira's adoption. Would have been nice to know that before the committal was given to me.

4. Our attorney is back in town after leaving for a few weeks. Our prayer is that based on his relationship with some of these people that he can help smooth our path to court. This is definately not a guarantee, but we are praying for it.

5. Was told by the embassy that my fingerprints were clear and good to go. Now there is a hangup between the office here and in the states. They haven't recieved my prints in the US and they expire in 5 days.

6. Random things keep going wrong--yesterday not one of the 3 toilets in the house was working for one reason or another, my water goes out at some point every single day (normally during bathtime for the kids)things keep breaking and it just compounds the frustrations of living here.

This has definately been the hardest week for me. Things are uncertain and I feel more alone than I ever have. It's forced me to cling to Christ more than I ever have and to trust what he says above what I feel. I keep wondering when God is going to show me what he's doing. Do I have a right to know that? I guess not, but it would be nice to understand a little bit. I'm ready for things to stop getting worse and to start getting better. Please pray with me that this week would bring some changes and that things would start to turn around.

How cute are they?
Took Evolet to see the Lorax in 3D yesterday. We spent the day together and had popcorn and forzen yogurt at the theater. It was a really fun day!