Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Rain

In Hosea, the Lord said that even after he wounds us, he rebuilds us. That as sure as the sun rises and the spring rains come, so will he.

"Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth." Hosea 6:1-3
I spent the last 2 days at the Orphan Summit.... and I'm on brain and heart overload. It's AWESOME... but dude, I need sleep. So- I will elaborate on the experience later. For now, I just want to say that last night, I woke up at 3:30 am... and thoughts began swirling in my head, and I needed to get out of bed to write a card to a friend that I was for some reason, (AT 3:30 IN THE MORNING??!!!???) , composing in my head. No time like the present, right? Grrr.

Anyway, I got up, wrote the card out, and thought I heard rain. I love rain... I'm an Oregonian by birth, so I LOVE rain. I went to our kitchen sliding door, and began to open it to hear and smell the rain. Well, I was disappointed at first because I didn't see or hear any. The reason I was disappointed was because the verses about him coming, as surely as the spring rains come, had entered my mind, and I had this expectation that God woke me up in the middle of the night and made it rain just for me... to to remind me that a time of healing and restoration and clarity was coming.... just because he loves me that much. But then, I stuck my head further out the slider, and sure enough... there it was. The sound of light rain falling on the grass and the trees, being soaked up by the dry ground that was so in need of water. The spring rain had come, and it was just a tangible reminder to my heart that God is faithful to "appear", just as he says he is, and he knows just when I need him.

He has been readjusting me to find joy in where he has me, not just to resign myself to the fact that this adoption may not work out as we had thought. He has plans for us. He has plans for them. And you know what? I can't see it... but I can smell the spring rain ALL over them.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Well, this last week has been good. The difficulty of the latest news on the kids has lessened as a little time has passed... plus, we had company that was a wonderful distraction. Also, I'm crazy busy with boutique stuff, planning for our trip, and tring to be faithful with school lessons for the kids. Anyway, we're doing well. God has given us peace and we trust that his plans for us, and for the kids, are good... no matter what they are. I'm sure things will be hard now and then on our hearts, but we are holding on to what we know to be true. He seems to have me very removed from the emotion of it all after the first few days, and I believe that the Lord is protecting my heart right now.

So many of you have been praying for us, and I am just so grateful. Thank you. What more can I say...?

I am heading to the Orphan Alliance Summit conference tomorrow and Friday. I'm very excited for the opportunity to go... as orphan care has become such passion to me. I'm looking forward to learning more about how we can function within God's calling on us and serve orphans in all sorts of different ways. Also- I'll get the chance to meet Angel (our adoption coordinator for the Liberia program) for the first time. She's been our cheerleader and worked continually toward getting adoptions going again. She is one of the only people that really know and understnsd everything we've walked through, beause she's walked through it with us. She is a treasure to me, and I'm so excited to meet her and visit. We'll also get to spend the week in Liberia with her as well.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Adoption Update & Weariness

I'm so tired of having to tell my family and friends bad news. I am so tired of asking them to pray for us because we are in need of it. I am so tired of hearing and trying to acclimate to bad news. I am just so tired...

And yet, once again, the news is bad. It's actually very bad, and I don't know how to feel yet. On Monday Angel called me to talk in person. Her blog sums up the gist of it well:

So, the chances of Kelvin and Hawa or any other Liberian children being able to be adopted are very slim. They have always been poor chances seeing as how the last 18 months have gone... but now they are most likely not to be able to leave Liberia. We have known this was a possibility... it is not news to us in that aspect. We just always have decided to trust and hope that the Lord would make it work out. We will continue to trust and hope in the Lord... but I don't know what to ask or think anymore.

Anika, Asher and I cried together as we started to mourn the loss of our sweet kids being able to be here with us one day. It hit the kids hard this time. They have always been so resilient... and in these past three years of uncertainty and disappointment, they have remained faithful and trusting. I love their example. I was able to encourage them to see God's goodness even though things seem so sad... and it ended up a sweet time and an opportunity to have a teachable moment. But we're all weary. Anika is so sad that she may never meet Kelvin and Hawa, and Asher just cried and cried and told me he just really wanted a brother. My heart is so heavy and broken over the fact that my kids, and some of yours, have been faithful to ask the Lord for this adoption for such a long time, and the Lord has not honored them with a miracle. If I'm not careful, that makes me a bit angry. I want them to taste God's faithfulness, and I know they taste it through our example to them, but this is almost too much to bear. Why won't the Lord answer them and bring their brother and sister home?

Once I shared the news with Jason, we had very little to say. We've been in this place so many times before. We've said all the words, cried it all out, and thought all the thoughts before. There is almost nothing left that we haven't repeated so many times that we just held one another and talked about how this is no different than it was before, not really. We never had control before, we never had any promises that it would work out in our way, we never could look to Liberia or governments or agencies or ourselves to make any of this happen. It has always been, and will always be, God alone who can accomplish anything. So, nothing has really changed except for the fact that reality is clashing with hope in a much bigger way now.

I don't know where to go with this, or what to feel. Do I continue to be optimistic and hope for the miracle that I KNOW God could do? Do I accept this new reality and gracefully move on to what God may desire to do with us next? I don't feel certainty about what the outcome is supposed to look like, so I am not sure what to press toward.

In June, Angel will either be able to meet with some people in Liberia and sense that they will work with her to make adoptions happen, or they will continue to shut her out and not answer her calls. In the latter case, our agency will have no choice but to close down the Liberia adoption program. They will continue to partner with ACFI and their ministry to the orphans, but without the ability to facilitate or entertain adoptions. They will still try to allow a foster care situation for our children, but we'd essentially be asking a Liberian family to raise Kelvin and Hawa from here on out... and we can't assume that's possible. If there is no option for this, they will return to the orphanage. This breaks me, and it makes me scared and angry.

Speaking of June, we will still be going to Liberia. We will still spend time with Kelvin and Hawa, and we will do everything in our power to love them and convey to them that they are important to the Lord and to us, that we would do anything to be with them, and that we will always be part of their lives in some way. But, it will be hard. I can't even think about it. Saying goodbye and not knowing how many more months it would be until we got them home was going to be hard enough. Saying goodbye and not knowing if we'll ever see them again, and most likely never as their Mama and Daddy will be beyond what I know how to deal with. Way beyond...

I am sobered. I am sorry for the factual account, but I don't know how to feel yet. I have to fight becoming hard and angry these last two days. I fight blaming Liberia and their leaders. I fight confusion and lack of understanding. I fight having a pity party and thinking of all the times we have had reason to cry in the last 3 years, of all the children that we have desired to be parents to... I could name so very many. I tend to get angry and bitter just to stay afloat and not lose my mind. But, I am fighting that anger and bitterness because I know from experience that God does a much better job at keeping me afloat. He needs me soft and pliable and broken... so here I am.

The afternoon after speaking with Angel, I found several places in my bible where I had stopped reading the time before. Often, God uses the very place I happen to be in scripture to encourage me in a very specific way, and he did it again on Monday.

Psalm 108:5,6, 12, 13
"Be exalted O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered... Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies."
Hosea 6:1-3
"Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."

I do feel torn and I do feel injured. I am in need of that rain, and so it is a beautiful thing to be reminded that he brings it, eventually.

This morning, I couldn't sleep after 5:30, and so I for some reason began thinking of the beginning of this journey. About a year after I sensed that God would have us adopt, Jason and I were sitting in the sun outside in the back yard, and regarding adoption he said, "I don't think it's a matter of if, but when." As I thought of that, I wondered if God was trying to remind me that it's still not a matter of if, but when. So, I asked him (because I know that may be true for adopting kids at some point, but am unsure about my Liberian children), "for Kelvin and Hawa?"
And I got this very real, but strange sense to look up and to my left, with my eyes closed. If I had to tell you what I think he was telling me, it would be that he was saying, "Look at ME, look for ME." It was like he wants me to remember that this isn't about knowing the future with Kelvin and Hawa, or even about adopting his kids and obeying his desires... it is about keeping him as our focus and knowing that if our eyes are on him, we will not fail.

I write that with tears in my eyes. I've said it before, but it remains true, that to obey him is a sacrifice... and it is HARD. To be obedient, even when I feel like raging and having an attitude and feeling sorry for myself, is HARD. To be on the verge of tears all the time, but never really able to sob because I KNOW and am choosing to believe that God has good for me and my children is HARD. But that knowledge gives me hope and keeps me going. It gives me strength and peace. It gives me the will not to give up and crawl in a hole and sleep all day. So, I press on because he is good, and worthy and because he holds my world together.

And so I choose to say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord," not because it's easy, but because it's true. I am weary though, and it is too easy for me to feel differently from moment to moment. I can feel so strong and secure, so hopeful for the future (even if it is without Kelvin and Hawa)... but an hour later I can feel so cynical and bitter, and ready to quit this whole adoption thing. I want to be able to keep fighting this fight, and I have confidence that I will, simply because I KNOW that God has burdened Jason and I with his orphans, and while we might want to quit on ourselves, we can't quit on them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Boutique Items



bud vases - hanging or sitting

homemeade playdough w/ recipe

tin signs

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

VBS Plans, Boutique crafts, and Yellow Fever Vaccinations... oh my!

Yep, it's been busy. When my hands aren't busy, when my brain is. Even when I'm asleep, I'm dreaming about crafts for the boutique or about being in Liberia.

I leave in a few moments to get vaccinated for yellow fever (required for our travel). Yeah... shots. I always let the kids pick out a doughnut after they get shots... do I still get to do that? :)

Two months and we'll be heading out! Crazy. I'm getting so excited about it all, and yet the Lord seems to be holding my heart back a bit about the time with Kelvin and Hawa. Maybe it's just because it seems so strange that we can actually go to meet them, I don't fully believe it yet! We'll send our monthly e-mail letter to them this week, and tell them that we will be coming to see them. I am very excited to share the news with them! VBS plans are coming together with the missions team members, I am still trying to collect supplies to bring for the children at both orphanages, as well as collecting the things we will need for our trip. I have to find the strongest mosquito spray ever invented by mankind, research a water-filtration unit, buy some little battery-powered fans, and borrow some fanny packs, among many other things. Yes, fanny packs. Gotta love 'em. They come in handy when you have to wear your valuables all day, everyday.

The boutique stuff is coming along amazingly. It is simply incredible to see what the Lord is doing. I had about 15 different ladies come out this last Saturday to help with whatever I had for them to do. It was beautiful outside, so they spend lots of time sanding wood and painting! (THANK YOU!!!!!) We have an amazing location for the sale... many people donating homemade things, many people helping out, and even some generous donations toward the costs of finishing up some crafts and getting supplies needed for it. Ultimately, I believe that the Lord will raise some great funds for the orphans... how awesome! :) I think that just seeing the number of people who desire to help has encouraged me in such a deep way. I'm so grateful. I'll post some pictures of boutique items that will be for sale soon!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Supplies for Liberia

"A significant part of our June missions trip to Liberia involves taking 1600 pounds worth of supplies for the kids who are either at the Daniel Hoover Children’s Village, the Mission for Deaf Children or in foster care waiting to come home to their adoptive families. As you’ll see from the sign up list, there’s a lot that we need. Would you be interested in collecting a little bit of it?

There are many ways to do this. Maybe you would like to purchase a couple packs of underwear and send them in. Maybe your Sunday school class would like to collect bars of soap or lotion. Maybe one of your kids is having a birthday party and you’re tired of her receiving lots of little toys that are only used for a short time. Instead, you could ask the guests to bring flip flops for Liberia. You could even ask your dentist to donate toothbrushes or toothpaste!

You can send the supplies to Christian Adoption Services (Attn: Angel Rutledge 624 Matthews Mint Hill Rd, Suite 134, Matthews, NC 28105). Just make sure you sign up on the list, so we know what’s coming and don’t end up with too much or too little of anything." Check out the video via the link below to see how the supplies that were collected last year were dispersed. A fun part is seeing how excited the kids were after receiving their balls with the elastic straps attached to their wrists. Please make sure to send everything by May 15th, so we have time to get everything sorted, accounted for and packed. It will also help us figure out where we still have gaps to fill in. Thanks!" (most of this is a quote from Angel's blog)

Link to Sign Up for Liberia Trip Supplies:

Link to the video of last year's trip w/ the kids enjoying the supplies that were brought to them: