Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just the PUSH We Needed

Several months ago, Reid and I heard this talk given by Michael Oh. We were challenged and convicted. It was one of the things that began to "turn our world upside-down." I encourage you to listen to it...then listen again.

Missions as Fasting by Michael Oh

Thanks, Lord for the PUSH!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010


We are still working on completing the home study application. Nope, it's still not in the mail. Everything is now done except Reid's autobiography. For those who have never written one for a home study, it is quite in-depth. Mine was 2.300++ words. However, I'm reminded - it's worth it!

I've struggled today wondering if we can care for another child. Not only financially, but emotionally. I wonder if I can divide my attention one more time with another person who needs me. Even as I question, my internal spirit tells me - Yes, but only with God's help. So, I'm asking for His help. Help!

Last night, one of the boys shared a struggle that was deeply painful for him. After much coaxing and patience, he was finally able to verbalize his hurt. In hearing his words, I hurt. My heart crumbled. Holding onto my dear one, I recognized that another child could mean sharing more pain. At the end of our tear-filled conversation, Reid, our son, and I embraced in a family hug. What overwhelming JOY to help heal the hurt. How privileged I was to hear the heart of my child - to be a safe place. Yes, another child may mean some pain, but that is the risk of LOVE - and it's worth it.

In my autobiography, I had to write a short synopsis of each of our boys. As I weighed their personalities, I realized these four gifts are currently entrusted to our care. Here is my "take" on each son:

Mason: Our 13 year old son reminds me of Reid. He is sensitive to the needs of others, and beyond his years in maturity. Mason is a natural leader, gifted guitar player, bright student, and self-motivated. He adds love to our home through his willingness to sacrifice for his brothers. He’s offered to help us raise money for the adoption by mowing yards in the neighborhood. He is a giver!

Franklin: Our 11 year old son creates a spark of friendship with anyone he meets. He engages others by including them in his play. Franklin is gifted artistically, drives on the drums, exerts himself athletically, and school-smart. Franklin is our prankster, and brings lots of laughter to our home in with his antics. On the nights I find a love note on my pillow, I know the signature will be from Franklin.

Weston: Our 9 (almost 10) year old son gives a quiet peace with his presence. Although soft-spoken, his presence brings a calm assurance. Weston is extremely kind, an expert at anything electronic, engineer-minded, talented on the keyboard, and wonderful with younger children. Weston is willing to do anything asked of him with a joyful spirit. He helps me with anything remotely computerized!

Braden: Our 6 year old son keeps us smiling. Because of his older brothers, he thinks he is really much older than six. He is extremely active, aggressively tackling reading, learning the bass guitar, and the first to try new things. He is a risk-taker! Braden is vocal and will honestly tell you what is on his heart. Braden brings beauty to our life by noticing the blooming flowers, blowing wind, or the changing leaves.

This verse has ministered to me recently.
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." Luke 12:48

As God continues to pull our hearts toward our child in Ghana, I recognize that when everything comes to fruition, God will be entrusting us with another child. God is calling us to give more of ourselves away - for an eternal plan. That God would choose to entrust us with another child? What an honor. It's a high and holy calling to raise a child, and it is challenging to do it in a way that honors God, especially in our culture.

As a friend told us last night, "A child needs love and discipline. However, if you must be heavier on one, always give more LOVE!" We are trying.

I pray we can raise all of our children in a way that pleases God - recognizing our many failures and inadequacies and trusting Him to fill in the gaps. We trust.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's a BEAUTIFUL day!

Knoxville's freeze ended today with sunshine warming the ground. A gentle breeze wafted through the trees, and birds chirped happily on the branches. It was a gorgeous day!

This morning we had a super productive day home schooling. We learned five Latin prefixes (meanings and examples). We labeled three bodies of water, and four countries on our Africa maps. We added timeline cards #102, #103, and #104 (Jamestown, Mayflower, Pilgrims). The boys finished their Math, English, Science, etc... All of this was accomplished before 11:15! Whew! My teaching was fast-and-furious because I had to have Mason to his Destination Imagination Team practice time at 11:45. Go, go, go!

The boys and I loaded up in the van to head over to meet his team. Today was my day to assist the coach, so for three hours I helped whenever it was appropriate. (Cleaning up, asking people to listen, etc...) Franklin, Weston and Braden played outside during the practice. Mason's team is comprised of five boys and two girls. Although they are very talented, their time together is LOUD! At the end of the session, I had a headache coming on - BIG TIME!

The five of us loaded up back in the van for the drive back home. As we were pulling out of the driveway, Franklin stated, "It's such a beautiful day today!"

Ouch! That hurt! As soon as he said it, I realized because of my agenda for the day - I hadn't even noticed! Shame on me!

My eyes were opened, and I enjoyed the ride home with our precious boys! Cracking the windows, the cool breeze felt nice on my face. Lord, forgive me for not noticing the beauty. My life should not be about rushing to accomplish tasks, but savoring everything You give!

The rest of the day, I have forced myself to relax. It's nice to be at peace. I've laughed and been tickled by the antics of boys. (Perhaps part of my relaxed state has come from limiting my computer time. During Lent, I've chosen to only allow myself on after 1:00 pm and off before 9:30 pm. I realized my quiet times were suffering because of poor choices I was making with regards to my computer time.)

After I stopped to enjoy, these were some of the blessings God had waiting for me:

Weston learned a new magic trick today. My eyes couldn't keep up with his disappearing coin trick. Where did it go? Weston may be the next David Copperfield.

Upon arriving home from the DI meeting, the four brothers trekked up into the woods. Play, boys! Play! Evidently there is some nice moldable dark brown mud somewhere in the forest. A handmade pile of poop was left on the top of the toilet. Yes, it was! (Thank you, Mason!) To get him back, Reid and I placed it on a paper plate and served it to him at dinner. What goes around, comes around! Whoo-Hoo! Gotcha!

Braden helped make supper tonight. He cut up the pear. When he finished slicing it, he seriously asked if he could serve it on the red "You're Special Today" plate. Are you kidding me? Of course you can! Reid lifted him onto the counter so he could get it down himself!

During dinner, Franklin asked if we could have some "Blue Cord Chicken" soon. Blue Cord Chicken? Huh? What? O-o-o-h-h-h, you mean Chicken Cordon Bleu. Yes, sweetie, we can do that!


Adoption Update - We didn't make the goal for sending the paperwork today. Hopefully, early next week it will be on the way to the agencies. Please pray for Reid to have time to do his portion. He's worked late every night this week. Yuck! After being outside all day in the freezing cold, he's been exhausted. He's been working on reports from the job site at night, so his time has been limited. Unfortunately, he will be working tomorrow as well.

There's more I could say about it, but I'll hold my tongue. We are thankful he has a job. This is the Lord's provision for our family now, and we are grateful. Thank you! We would appreciate prayer for him to have the time he needs to complete his part of the paperwork. He needs some relief from work for the time to accomplish this.

Please pray Philippians 4:9 for us:
"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

I'd better go, it's almost 9:30. Love to everyone! I plan to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL day tomorrow! Hope you will also!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's All About Perspective...


This morning I spoke with a friend, B, who just returned from another African country with his daughter and his newly-adopted grand-daughter.

A few things B said to me reminded me of why we began this journey.

1.) There were eight other families traveling to this country to adopt children. Everyone of them stated their reason for going...God called them to do so. B said that was why every family in their travel group was adopting. I was awe-struck to hear this from him! As a previous football coach, B has a tough-guy exterior and rarely shows a spiritual side. He continued to share how God moved on the hearts of his fellow travelers. B's faith is not the same.

2.) My friend said he never could have imagined the poverty he saw in this country. This country is as poor as Ghana. Recently, our news coverage has been about the devastation in Haiti where the cost of living is approximately $2 per day for each person. Haiti is experiencing great trauma without the internal means to rebuild their country. Friends, they need our prayers.

The standard of living in Ghana, however, is less than $1 per day per person. (I believe it is about the same for the country B returned from. How about that for perspective on the McDonald's $1 menu?)

My friend said he realized his grand-daughter would have grown up in a grass mud hut with a dirt floor, never hoping for anything better. B said he really did not have any concept for the extreme impoverishment he witnessed.

3.) Every morning at 5:00 am the morning wake up call was the city loud speaker calling people to pray to Allah. It is the first of five prayers calls throughout the day! In researching this continent, hearing Mathiang's story, and studying history, it's evident that the primary religion in Africa is Islam.

This afternoon, I started our new read-aloud. It's called The Glorious Age of Africa. We are studying the geography and history. The first empire we are learning about is the, get this, GHANA EMPIRE! Seriously, I had no idea! Coincidence? I think not.

I'm grateful that God continues to point us in His direction. Small events in conversation, timing, etc... are evidence of his leading on this journey. We can not do it alone.

Please continue to pray our child home. I'm completing my autobiography tomorrow, and Reid is starting his. Our goal is to mail the home study application by Friday. Please pray for the time to complete everything!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine Morning

Before church the boys were overjoyed by a few Valentine surprises! I think this is the FIRST year they have received more than a box of Sweet-Heart candy and a few pieces of chocolate.
Our family was "Secret Santa-ed" over Christmas with a gift card to Target. The gift card has purchased some necessities, but Santa was also the giver this Valentine's Day. (Thank you to whomever provided these Valentine smiles!) The Target clearance rack stretched my budget with a few new shirts and toys. The boys were thrilled!

Franklin, I'm glad you like your new shirt. I know it's a not often you receive something new. Aren't you thankful I lifted the "collared shirt rule" so you could wear it to church?
Weston completed this K'nex set before bedtime. He is our master builder! Sometimes, he simply amazes me!
Braden is ready to BAT! He was so excited about his new shiny, red batting helmet. He's been begging for this for months. Baseball season is on the horizon!

Braden with the love of my life! Happy Valentines Day, Honey! I love you, love you, love you!

I love our family so much. God is so good to give us a taste of His goodness within our family!
"We love, because He first loved us." I John 4:19

Science Olympiad 2010

Thumbs UP! Medals, medals, medals... Way to go!
On Saturday, January 13, 2010, Mason and Franklin competed in the Regional competition for Science Olympiad - a national Science competition. Mason competed last year, but this year Franklin also entered several events. Competing as a fifth grader against all middle schoolers was intense, but Franklin did very well! He and his partner placed 4th in his study event. Yeah!
Mason's Events: Battery Buggy, Pentathalon, Dynamic Planet, Wright Stuff, Experimental Design, Elevated Bridge

Franklin's Events: Solar System, Wright Stuff, Dynamic Planet, Elevated Bridge

You can read more about the competition here:

I love this annual competition because Reid spends the day with them (and lots of other dads!) The competition this year took place on the Tennessee Wesleyan College campus.
Mason and Daniel watching their plane circle the gym. Mason and Franklin both helped in the Wright Stuff (plane building competition) this year. They did not build the planes, but helped with the launch.
Mason receiving one of his five medals of the day. (He competed in six events, so five medals is incredible!) Franklin received one medal for Wright Stuff. His partner built the plane, and Franklin helped him launch it. His partner was also in 5th grade and they placed second! Yes, Matthew and Franklin received a second place silver medal! Wow! Aerospace engineering may be in their future!
The Cedar Spring Homeschoool team placed second in the competition. This means the middle school and high school team will both progress on to the state level. As homeschoolers, they held their ground against some of the Knoxville area's top schools - Farragut, Oak Ridge, and Bearden. There were also some private schools and public schools from Chattanooga, TN. The Bearden "A" team and the Cedar Springs Homeschool team are the two progressing to the March 27th State Science Olympiad Competition in Nashville.

Way to go TEAM!
Listening to the rules for Battery Buggy. Mason will probably be building this next year. This year, he learned from Daniel.
Mason and Franklin with some of their team-mates. All smiles!

We're so proud of all of you! Your hard work paid off!

Sorry Mason, you still need to be studying for the state competition. Ugh! I know this is NOT what you wanted to hear!

You may be wondering what Weston, Braden and I did while they were gone... We prepared a special "Red and White" Valentine's dinner for them. They came home to candlelight and crystal on the table! (I wish I'd taken a picture...) We ended the day celebrating the LOVE within our family! Praise God!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ansley Anniversary

I know Ansley is ready to wring my neck right now for posting her "painted ear" on the Internet for the entire world to see! Ha-ha! I'm so glad I grabbed it out of the Yard Sale pile when she was trying to get rid of it. This "ear" painting has brought many laughs!

For those of you who do not know, Ansley is the friend who taught me about living life, about friendship, about sacrifice, and that if one knows the Lord, then dying is not the end - it's the beginning.

Ansley and I walked life together for nearly nine years. Our friendship was birthed from her decision to become a stay-at-home mom after coming to faith in Christ. She thought most stay-at-home moms were "weird," but didn't seem to mind spending time with me...Ha-ha! Our oldest boys (Ansley's-Colby and Robin's-Mason) were the same age...and the friendship for these two boys still remains.

(The only thing Mason asked for on his 13th birthday was to spend time with Colby and Andrew. I hope we can make this happen soon.)

Ansley lived life... even when life was hard to live. In the photo above she was in the midst of her second round of cancer treatments. She'd spent most of the weekend in bed with nausea, but was able to come out for one afternoon of fun. She's holding Braden (our youngest) on her lap. She was always smiling, and I know sometimes it was a sacrifice to smile during the pain.

I praise God for the memories we made together. Ansley, Todd, Colby, and Graylyn were our family in High Point. We lived life together. There are so many memories...

As friends, we did crazy things together! This photo was taken at Ansley's surprise birthday party. Ansley thought she was coming to hear Godwin and Lenusia give a talk about Ghana. (Godwin and Lenusia are our missionary friends in Ghana.) She has a kente cloth stoll from Ghana wrapped around her neck. Ansley's passion - Missions - GHANA! SHE LOVED GHANA, AFRICA!

"Why don't you go to Africa on the next mission trip?" was the challenge she gave everyone.

(P.S. Ansley's favorite gift of the Surprise party evening was the photo of Jay's chest hair! Ewww!)

Scrapbook Queens - Amy, Kelsey, Amanda, Ansley, Robin

We are the scrapbooking five. Four of them were/are talented enough to be published...but they always let me come along for the weekends at Celo, Amanda's cabin, and the one beach retreat we took together. I miss those fun times.

Three years ago today, February 13, 2007, Ansley joined Jesus in heaven. She made the most of her short 36 years on earth by living life as if her mission field was wherever she was at the time. I'm not sure I know anyone who has prayed with more strangers than Ansley Wolffis. She was a faithful servant.

Three years ago when she died, God gave me this poem. I was praying about what she would like shared about her life at her funeral...

What Ansley Would Say
To Our Hearts Today

February 14, 2007

Oh Lord – May I ask
What would Ansley want today?
What would she want people to remember?
What would she want people to say?

I come before you to ask
What is to be done with her story?
Her prayer on her knees in the beginning
Was that her life be used for Your glory.

So what can be said
To comfort the hurting?
Those who don’t understand?
And those who are searching?

What would Ansley want, Lord
Can you tell me please?
I’ll stay here and wait to listen –
I’ll remain on my knees…

I ask you, dear child,
You knew her heart so well –
What do you think
That she would have you tell?

Oh, Lord, at the end of her journey
Which You carried her through
She would not wish this to be about herself
Her desire would be for all glory to go to You.

For whenever someone was touched
By her words or her prayer
It wasn’t herself she wanted them to see-
It was You Alone she longed to share.

She would comfort us and say,
“Don’t shed your tears for me
I am with my Lord and Savior
He has healed me completely!

To her beloved Todd and Colby
And to her precious daughter Gray
She would convey her great love for them
And remind them they will all be together again one day!

Ansley would say
To her family and friends
Always cling to Christ
Until your very end.

He will hold you
On any journey long
For we are so very weak
And our God, so very strong.

And, if there is anyone here
Who doesn’t know Christ
I want you to know Him
Let Him give you the Abundant Life!

For if you don’t know Jesus
You have the worst cancer of all
But one He will take away
If you will only heed His call.

Ansley would want people challenged
Your followers reaching for You higher
For everyone’s heart to be filled
With your all consuming fire!

She would gently beckon us
To soften our hearts and completely yield
To whatever God’s Will is for our lives
And to make that our mission field!

She would ask us to lift our hearts
To You, our voices raise
In a song about Your goodness
Giving You, Your worthy praise.

Is this it, dear Lord?
Are these words from her heart?

Oh yes, My child, it is –
For I have set her apart.

Her path of earthly suffering
Was never walked alone
Ansley has reached her final destination
At the feet of My glorious throne.

When she came before Me
And she beheld my face
She completely understood
My amazing grace.

And, as I placed her crown
Gently upon her head –
I thanked her for walking
Along the path where I had led.

Then I whispered in her ear
That this was the answer to her first prayer-
As she grew to love me more
As I peeled away the layers.

While she was on Earth
She was given an incredible story
I told her that her prayers were answered-
For it was all for My glory.

As she stood before me
I praised her for being My good and faithful One-
I gently touched her precious face
And told her, “Well done…well done.”

So, where does this leave me three years later? A lot has changed, but much has remained the same.

I realize many people don't understand why I would remember the date of a friend's passing. When I sense this from someone, I think to myself that they have not tasted the depth of a friendship as I have. Ansley and I walked some very hard roads together. We journeyed to places no friends would choose to travel, but the Lord took us both there. It was here that I learned the depths of His great love for me...on the roads less traveled.

So, now, why adopt? Why Ghana?

On January 24th Reid and I were driving home from my parents home after spending the day with Mathiang. As a couple we had been praying about the possibility of pursuing adoption for several weeks, and on the way home God said two things to me (not audibly, but through His Spirit).

First, God let me know that part of Ansley is in a child from Ghana, Africa. A child for our family that represents the country - the people - the children - the nation she loved. (Yes, I became emotional!)

Second, with Mathiang - there will be three nations in our family. He let me know this is not something that we can is something HE WILL DO.

We made the decision that night to mail the adoption application by Friday.

When our child finally comes home, I pray a piece of my precious friend will live on.

Until we meet again in heaven, I'll keep on living life as you would do. Smiling as I go...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Poetic Valentine Gift for MyClass

This is my older English class at our home school co-op. I LOVE teaching this class. The students are amazing and always willing to "rise to the occasion" with the creative writing assignments I give.

This photo was taken back in November. Sadly, on this day, their regular teacher, Mrs. Beebe, was absent. Her replacement was a crazy, strange woman named Mrs. Truly Tacky. (Does the outfit look familiar?) She had a weird accent didn't know anyone's name. Everyone was known by something they were wearing..."little boy in the red shirt," "little girl in the blue hat," etc... The students were given a timed writing prompt and asked to write a descriptive essay describing their substitute. It was a day to remember!

Yes, really, it was!
This week, this same English class had another unusual assignment. Along with their book report, they had to make a personal Valentine for every person in the class. Each Valentine had to include an original poem for each person. Of course, I added my name to their list of Valentine recipients. (I love to receive cards of any sort!) I decided to create a poem including every member of the class. This is my Valentine gift to them...
A Valentine Poem Written by Your Teacher

These names are so difficult – What will I write?
A poetic gift for Valentines Day – To make them feel bright?
Their names have several syllables – Some with three, Some two –
Rebekah or Madison – I can’t rhyme them, Can you?
But for Julia and her brother, Jacob Rook –
I suppose I could thank them for their reports on a book?!?
What about the girls, Chloe and Sarah?
Why can’t I have two other students named Zoe and Clara?
Montgomery McRetto? Anthony Stallone?
How can I rhyme them? Really, come on!?!
This rhyming is hard – And my writing is messy.
I need help. Oh please – I guess I’ll ask Jessie!
I could ask Caroline or Alonna or Sam –
They would know what to do in this rhyming jam!
Weston and Franklin will help me. After all, they’re my sons.
Wait ‘til I share this poem I’ve begun.
They’ll laugh at my rhymes. They’ll say I’m in a “real pickle.”
They’ll tell me I need help from the Rhyme King – Philip Brickle!
Oh, what should I do? There’s so much at stake –
The class will probably laugh at me… Especially Jake!
This is such a conundrum – I should probably call Will –
Oh dear! What should I do? My mind needs to stop and BE STILL!
But I can’t stop – Really, what if I slip?
If my rhyme scheme is off – I’ll be corrected by Chip!
The hour is late – I can’t dilly-dally.
I wish I had the poetic ease of sweet Emma Bali.
My time is up. This poem will have to do –
I just wish between the lines – They could read the “I love yous.”
This class has great potential – To change this wide world.
I pray they will live life with their faith unfurled.
It’s an honor to teach them. They all bring such joy –
I hope they’ll like this poem – Instead of a Valentine toy.
Precious Shurley 5 Class, As I’ve rehearsed –
I’ll close this poem with this short verse…
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Always remember,
I believe in each of you!

Philippians 1:3 -
With Love,
Mrs. Beebe
(The last names have been changed to protect privacy.)
This class is currently writing a "round-robin" progressive story. So far, I'm impressed. When they are done, perhaps I'll post it so you can laugh like I've been doing when I read it! I love the creativity of kids.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Water Angels Sunday

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58:6-8
Sunday was our monthly service with the Water Angels Ministry to the homeless. Our family hosts the service once a month. The boys' band, "Perfect Aim," leads the worship and Reid delivers the sermon. It's been such a blessing to serve as a family within this amazing ministry. The Lord has truly anointed the work that is done within Water Angels. (I didn't include many pictures of the homeless in order to protect their privacy.)
Our church provided the meal after the service. It was wonderful to see everyone serving together. Children and adults alike. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!
Passing out the forks is an important job for two special girls!

Patiently passing through the line for food...
Papa taking up tickets. He loved being a helper!
My sweet friend, Janet, who helped give me the "baby bug!"
Perfect Aim - Franklin on drums and Braden (on the bench) is playing the bass guitar. Braden is six, but he is able to play several songs now at Water Angels. He's been working hard.
Mason, on guitar, and Weston, on keyboard. God has gifted them and we give Him Alone the glory!
To God be the glory - Great things He has done!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Candid SNOW Shots

Knoxville received a nice dusting of snow on Jan. 8th, and these four shots were some my favorites of the boys. They are growing up so quickly. Their personalities were captured with these photographs.

[Our sledding time on Jan 9th was significant in moving us to take the step toward adoption. I hope to write more about "How We Got Here" later. Actually, it would be more correct to write "How We GOD Here." God's leading, we're following.]
Weston - "SMILEY" - His smile captures my heart! (The snowsuit Weston is wearing is a hand-me-down from my cousin who is now in his early 20s. It cracks me up that it's lasted that long. Mason and Franklin have enjoyed it as well!)
Mason - Always trying to make me laugh by being silly, silly, silly
Braden - Daring and not wanting to take time from sledding for a picture
Franklin - Steadfast and Strong

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

AAA - Adoption Application Accepted

Well, it's official. Our application has been accepted for adoption. The next huge step is a home study. I've started the 51 page application, and, believe it or not, now I can not find it! I'm serious! We did a clean sweep of the house a few days ago so I think it's in a paper pile somewhere. Please pray it will be found soon!

We are trying to decide about spring sports. Franklin and Braden want to play baseball. Today Franklin said, "Mom, I want to play baseball but if it's between spending money on baseball or adoption...I want to adopt." He is a giver through and through. Precious, huh?

We need prayer for wisdom, discernment, strength, peace and provision. We know God will provide everything we need! Trusting, trusting, trusting...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Signed, Sealed and On It's Way for Delivery!


The next few posts were written last week. I waited to post them until I'd made a few phone calls, and during that time I decided to post our adoption journey on our family blog rather than starting a new one. This will be our journey as a family, and I'd like to record it as such. Thank you for walking alongside us as we take this ENORMOUS LEAP OF FAITH!

Originally Written January 29, 2010

Today we completed the 18 page application for Adoption. I met Reid in a parking lot where he "signed his signature" to the many dotted lines. Afterwards, I headed to the post office where it was sealed in an envelope and officially beginning the journey to the adoption agency. Oddly enough, the agency is in High Point, NC which is our previous hometown.

Upon returning home from the post office, I printed off the next step - the 51 page Home study application. Whew! I had no idea we would be completing so many forms, sharing so much personal information, obtaining so many verifications, finding original copies of certificates, etc... It seems like a lot of work, but we know it is more than worth it!

Tonight we told Omar and Lamar our plans. They are so excited about another "brother or sister" from Ghana. Omar said, "That is so cool!" I asked if their Mom, Anna, would help teach me to braid hair if we end up adopting a girl. I was assured she would be thrilled to walk me through it. We assured Omar and Lamar that our relationship with them would not change. Lamar seemed relieved to hear it. Honestly, I think the two of them have played a significant role in preparing our hearts for this decision. They have shown us that the only thing a child really needs is someone to love them. So, love, love, love...

This evening Reid did the devotion with all of the boys (Omar, Lamar, and ours). The scripture he read reminded us that God knew everything before time even began. He knew we would be making this step at this exact time. He knows.

Tonight there is a child in Ghana who has no idea that we are already praying for her/him. This child does not yet know that our hearts are already opening wide with love. This child does not realize there is a family waiting with open arms to receive her/him home. However, tonight in our devotion, Weston pointed out that "God is the one who knows which child will join our family." He knows.

Two Comments from Original Post from another blog site:

Comment from Kelly - We Want Tessert, left January 31, 2010
Robin! Congratulations!! How exciting and what a surprise! I will keep your family in my prayers. I can hear your dad's voice telling you to do what you need to do. You are surrounded by love and support----this will happen.

Comment from Becki - Party of Five, left January 31, 2010

WOW, WOW, and WOW!!!!!! Thank you so much for keeping me posted! I'm so excited for you! God is SO good, and start writing all these "little" things down of how He provides and how He confirms that you are walking the road He wants you to walk! That's my favorite part from Addie's adoption!! I'm sorry I've been "away", I am leading a team of 11 to Haiti on Monday. We are going to work in an orphanage that houses 75 children and is bringing in up to 300 displaced orphans! it was an "emergency team" that was put together, so life has been a whirlwind the past WEEK since I found out I was going!
Sorry for taking up such a long comment.
We need to connect again soon!
Love and congrats to YOU!

God's Providing

Originally Written Friday, January 29, 2010

As we begin this journey, my heart begins to pump rapidly when I think about the enormous cost of this endeavor. However, I trust God will provide every step of this journey...

The day we made the decision to adopt (Tuesday, 01/26/10), Braden, our 6 year old offered us all of his money to put toward the adoption. Therefore, we have a start of $72.36. (Ha-ha!) What an encouragement to already see the generous heart of our son! We are blessed.

Mason is planning to start a lawn-mowing business and he told us that he's decided to give his "tithe" to his father and me for ministry and adoption. My heart rejoices at his early recognition that his first fruits belong to the Lord! Of course, we will discuss the tithe should go to the church, but at 13 years old, his desire is to share! God love graciously abounds in Him!

Many of you know, Reid was gone for most of December working on a project at Three Mile Island, PA. He spent long, freezing-cold days away from his family during the Christmas Season. It was difficult. Well, yesterday, he received a little bonus for his work there. After taxes and with-holdings, he brought home $321.00! Whoo-Hoo! We laughed to realize that this will cover the initial application fee, which is being mailed TODAY! It's the perfect amount of money - in the perfect time! God will provide! Yes, we believe He will!

The Brothers are Praying

Originally Written Friday, January 29, 2010

Last night, Mason spent the night with a friend, so the other three decided to have a "brother slumber party" downstairs. Reid tip-toed toward the downstairs room wondering what he might find as the boys were preparing for bedtime. However, standing outside the door, his ears picked up a sweet surprise.

"Does anyone want to pray?" asked Franklin.
"I will," replied Weston. "Dear God, We pray for Mason at his friend's house and ask that he would have fun and you would keep him safe. We also pray for this adoption. Please bring this little child home to us."
Franklin continued, "And Lord, we pray that our new brother or sister would come to know Jesus. We pray that he or she will choose to follow You. Amen."

Three Nations - One Family

Originally written Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reid and I have made the decision to pursue adoption from Ghana, Africa. The Lord began moving our hearts toward adoption over a year ago. We have been seeking God and praying, and it's with much fear and trembling that we are taking this step of faith. Yet, we KNOW this is God's desire from us, and we know the child is to come from Ghana. We have both been to Ghana on mission trips. Reid - twice, I - once. On Sunday, I had this overwhelming feeling that there is a little girl over there that is supposed to join our family. We step forward in faith, trusting God's plan. Please PRAY!

We spent Sunday afternoon (1-24-10) with Mathiang, and his friend from China, Yilong. I realized that, because of Mathiang in our life, our little family will consist of people from three nations. That is ONLY GOD!?! What a beautiful picture of HIM! I've been studying 1 Corinthians Chapter One. It's amazing how "God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise." I know this will seem foolish to many. Through our time with Omar and Lamar, we've realized that children simply need someone to love them, and not all of the trappings of this world. God continues to grow our family and press us on!

Yesterday, I shared with my Dad how God was stirring in our hearts. Expecting to hear all the reasons not to adopt from a foreign country or reasons not to adopt - period, I braced myself for what Dad was about to say. He looked me in the eye and said, "If it's something God is telling you to do Robin, you DO IT." We say, "Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord!"

All four boys are extremely excited. They are ecstatic that we are bringing a little one into our lives. Mathiang sent his smile through the phone line. Our families are excited about another child. (I feel like we've announced we are pregnant again!) It's been so encouraging!

Friends, we humbly ask for your prayer as we begin this journey.

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation."
-Revelation 5:9

"I've Got Pit Hair!"

So, I'm sitting beside Mason last night at dinner, and I glance over toward him. My eyes are immediately drawn to the shadow cast by this new facial hair that's growing between his upper lip and his nose! I quickly react as any surprised mother would, "MASON, YOU'RE GROWING A MOUSTACHE! OH MY GOODNESS! W-H-A-T!?!"

Reid looks over, nods his head, and verifies what I have already seen.

Mason pulls up his shirt and begins checking his underarms for growing hair that he may have missed. He sees the budding growth and exclaims, "I'VE GOT PIT HAIR! ALRIGHT! I'VE GOT PIT HAIR!"

Ummm...yes, we have officially entered puberty!