Friday, July 30, 2010

How Great Is Our God

Wow!  I'm amazed!  Between the time I posted about being $1000 short for the dossier and now - less than two hours later - God has provided!  Yes, he has given us what we need to send in our dossier at the beginning of next week - His ways are amazing and miracuous!  Thank you Jesus by helping us through these secret friends!

This friend said, "Thanks for letting us help in a small way.  Let's just bring him home.  Let's just bring him home."

Every penny, nickel, and dime has added up to the $3990 we needed for this next step!  Dossier will be mailed next week!  YIPPEE!  Thank you to Jesus who has provided through everyone!  Our family is so grateful!  We are on our way to bring home our son!

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:19

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First Pic From Ghana

I just saw a picture of our little one - taken today in Ghana.  The family posted a group photo on Facebook and a friend called me after she saw him.  I nearly cried!  I called Reid and all the boys in to see him.   We were all just star-struck by the image on the screen.  It's really him!  It's really him! 

Here's the response I received after posting for the family to look for him.

*name deleted for protection

Robin- hello this is *J's* daughter. I am her personal assistant for the next week lol. I will tell my mom to look for your *child* and I am glad we could share this photo with you. ( We got several photos in the beginning from true angels and my mom fully intends to "pay it forward") .. she will be sending me more pictures tomorrow and i will post them on here. I will tell her to tell your *son* that his mommy loves him and is coming as soon as she can ;)

Thank you, Lord for watching over him -
"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."  Genesis 28:15
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The Hands of Many

Wow!  I'm one tired lady this evening.  Today was the first day of our two day yard sale.  We are in a frenzy to raise the rest of the money needed to send in our dossier.  Yesterday, we received our notice from Immigration that we have our fingerprinting appointment in Nashville in three weeks!  Now we are in a hurry to send everything to Ghana so the process can begin in country.  Today we raised 1/3 of what we still need in order to send in our dossier - $500!  Yippee!  $500 down, $1000 to go - and we trust God will provide.  

Tonight I entered the names of the people who have helped with this yard sale - either by donating something or by helping with their hands.  Can you believe over 70 people had the heart to help bring our little boy home?  Some simply donated a bag or box, some worked to price, etc...  Four families that we do not even know donated items to this fundraiser!  Thank you!

The past few days it's been a blessing to see the love of Christ in others.  My mom has been in pain, but has been here to help set-up and work this sale.  She has endured difficulty in walking to be here.  My dear friends, Janet, Patti, and Jacquie were here to set-up, price, and work the sale.  Our sons and nephews worked feverishly selling concessions and carrying heavy items to the cars.  It could not have been done without every one's help!  Kristie came by tonight and brought another load of fresh items for tomorrow sale!  Some were transported from Arkansas!  Thank you friends and family for everything you have done!  What a blessing you are to us!

Several more sweet surprises came today.  One family brought cookies and bicycles to donate.  The daughters offered great encouragement to me because they were both adopted as malnourished children - something our son has noted with severity on his medical report.  These girls are now beautiful, strong, healthy girls!  It was incredible to see how the Lord has been weaving HIS story in their lives!  Meeting them was one of the highlights of the day.  Oh to see them now!  Another was serving a free bowl of homemade ice cream to a couple celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary! 

Tonight the Lord continued to provide encouragement with the surprise visit from Ami and Rachel Carr.  They are making beautiful handmade beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.  Every sale will help bring our little boy home.  (1/2 for us, 1/2 for their ministry choice)  Ami said her birthday present to herself is to help us bring our little one home!  What an incredible gift!  This family has a heart for orphans.  You will have your first opportunity to purchase these tomorrow at our yard sale - so swing by.  This jewelry is amazing.  A special factor of these beads are they are made using the same technique as in Africa, so it's a special tie with orphaned children there.  Additionally, this mother and daughter are using their talents to offer gifts to God by helping others.  You might enjoy reading their vision for their jewelry -

Words seem so inadequate for thanks.  The blessings that have come on this journey have been astounding.  Although there are some aspects of the fundraising that has been difficult  - for example, getting everything out for the yard sale and then having a downpour (yes, it happened...again!).  God continues to remind me that this is not for us...  It's for a little boy waiting in Ghana.  One living in a foster home without electricity or running water.  A precious boy who shares a small mat on the floor with two others, and shares a cup with 24 children.  A child who does not know us yet, but who has stolen our hearts.  Yes, this is what the work, effort, and energy is spent on.  Him.  Our son.  And, even in the tiredness, it would be a JOY to do everything again...because HE is worth it.  Yes, he is!

Thank you again to everyone who has helped with this adoption -
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14,16
We praise God for blessing us with each of you!
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PS - Remember the Yard Sale is ON tomorrow starting at 8:00 am!

Thursday, July 29, 2010





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Wordless Wednesday

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Adoption Journey


I offer my sincerest apologies for being gone for so long.  I'm sure you were having "blog withdrawls" from my absence, but our life has been traveling at the speed of light.  The Lord has confirmed HIS child for our family, and I plan to chronicle how this child has come to be our fifth son.  (Yes, we are adopting another BOY!) 

Until then, I'd like to share one of the essays Reid and I wrote together for a grant application.  This was an incredible testimony to all that God has done and is doing to lead us on this path toward a precious little boy in Ghana, Africa.  The timeframe on the left side of the blog will share some of the details in "blurbs."

Journey to Adoption

In May of 2001, our family became the American surrogate family to a Sudanese refugee, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Mathiang Gutnyin. He was 20 years old when he came to America, and although we were only just over a decade older, he has always called us Mom and Dad. Since he entered our lives, Christmas Eve has always included African songs and dance, our prayers are constant for the continent of Africa and for peace in Sudan, and we have witnessed God leading this young man to follow hard after Him. After nine years, Mathiang is still an integral part of our lives. He’s overcome adversity by obtaining his GED, his citizenship, and he now maintaining a 3.6 GPA majoring in International Business at Maryville College. Although our relationship with Mathiang was not a legal adoption, we consider him a son. Through Mathiang, our hearts were initially opened to the idea of opening our hearts to an orphan.

Early in 2009, Robin and I began to consider the adoption of a child. The economy had weakened, the stock market took a dive, and real estate values plummeted. During this anxious time, the Spirit of God began to stir in me saying - at a time just like this, when people tend to become more self focused, we (God’s people) need to offer hope to the most forgotten people in the world – orphans. We began to pray about adopting but sensed that the Spirit was saying we should wait because He would “bring the children.”

Shortly after, our family became involved with a local ministry to the homeless of Knoxville – Water Angels. One of the aspects of the ministry is focused toward homeless children. We befriended two boys, 9 and 12 years old, that lived at a local shelter with their mom and younger twins. Shortly after meeting them, we began having them spend weekends with us, realizing that at this time, these were the children God wanted us to love as our own children. As our involvement with these boys and their family grew, the thought of adoption began to fade but never went away completely.

In February of this year, God began to nudge us once again toward adoption. We began praying as a couple about this possibility. Our oldest son, Mason, came to us one night and shared that he believed we were to adopt a child. Additionally, the O’Learys, who are very close friends of ours, were in the process of adopting and God used this family to fan the flame of desire. Very quickly we found ourselves believing this was God’s desire for our family. One Tuesday evening in February, Robin and I were in a World Missions class. The teacher was illustrating how very short our life on earth is in view of eternity. At the same moment, we turned to each other and said we needed to immediately submit an adoption application, and our journey toward adoption was underway.

Related to the orphan problem is child slavery. God began opening our eyes to this horror shortly before we initially began praying about adoption. I was surprised to learn that child slavery is significant problem in the Volta region of Ghana where small children are sold as slaves to fishermen. I have been to Ghana twice on mission trips and Robin was with me the second time, but we were unaware at the time of the slavery problem. The O’Learys were adopting from Ghana, and the Lord seemed to be directing us toward this nation trying to stabilize their new international adoption program. From the time we had spent in Ghana, a part of our heart was already there. It seemed natural for us to pursue an orphan in that country.

We have decided on a referral, a two and one-half year old boy. We received the initial information on him on Robin’s birthday. In his picture, he is wearing a shirt exactly like one our boys used to have when they were younger. This child’s birthday is also very significant to Robin as it redeems a day which has been a reminder of loss and now God is bringing “beauty from the ashes.” We learned last week that a family in Chattanooga, Tennessee is adopting three children from Ghana who live in the same orphanage as our little boy. In fact, one of those children is currently helping to look after our soon-to-be-son. How exciting that when they all come to live in Tennessee, they will have good friends less than 2 hours away.

The Lord is leading others around us for Him to “set the lonely into families.” Since we started this process, both my sister’s family and my Robin’s sister’s family are pursuing the adoption of children from Ethiopia. Our son will have a brother from Sudan, four American brothers, nine American cousins, and two Ethiopian cousins – one on each side of the family. God is bringing the nations together. His fingerprints are incredibly evident.

In God’s gracious and compassionate heart, he has chosen to adopt us into His family. We have been chosen by Him through His great love. It is an honor to be surrendered to his call on us to bring another son in to our “quiver.” We will have “no greater joy than to see our children walking in the truth.”

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