Thursday, May 26, 2011

Saw this on a blog Im following, so true!

‎"By adopting a child
and helping them reach their potential,
they help us reach ours.
An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary.
They are a child who was searched for,
prayed for, cried for, begged for;
received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full.
Love is ...meant to be shared."
- Author unknown

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

God is good at breaking down walls!!

Let me take that back…God is GREAT at breaking down walls! Over the last few months, Chris and I have been pretty adamant that a few things HAD to change before we began the adoption process, two of which are getting our debt down and moving. About a week ago I finally sat down and created a “plan of action” and basically budgeted every cent that we will bring in for the rest of the year! It looked like we would have about 1/3 of our CC and student loan debt paid off by January! So Chris and I decided that was that and our plan was to pay off that debt and then re-evaluate where we stand in Feburary and begin the repairs we needed to make for our house to sell quickly. Once all that happened then we could FINALLY apply to adopt.

Well, I think God has other plans! I have been feeling God push me pretty hard for the last week to move. Monday I prayed and prayed and prayed some more for God to reveal His timing. I asked Him to give me a glaring sign I couldn’t miss. Later I was reading a blog and took this pic and texted it to Chris:

Do you see it?? Chris’ text back was this: “That is a pretty big sign. It even has a glare on the picture and everything.” I started tearing up, God has a great sense of humor!

Because we are human, Chris and I still couldn’t get passed the fact that there are walls that are between us and starting the process…and God showed us just how mighty He is!

Wall #1 Last week I just happened to see on the site that you could pre-apply to see if you might qualify to apply. Tempting as it was, I decided that it wasn’t the right time and just closed the page. For the next two days I just kept thinking about it and wondering if maybe we should just try. Finally Thursday I prayed about it and then after filling out some info about us and our finances, I submitted it. I was pretty certain that there was NO way we were going to get approved. Friday morning I got a call that said we were approved!! WHAT?!?!? How is that possible?? I called them back Tuesday (we were camping Friday and I forgot Monday) and asked what all this meant. The lady explained to me that financially we looked great and that we may just have to explain how we have so much debt and a “plan of action” to pay it off! Wall #1 down!!

Wall #2 Our next issue was that we didn’t know how AWAA would feel about the fact that we live in a 2 bedroom house with a child already occupying the 2nd bedroom. I was told to contact the Texas AWAA office because it all depended on state regulations. After emailing the office I received an email back saying “Yes, your new child can share a room with room with your son indefinitely if you adopt a boy (we are sure yet if we are going to pick one or the other or just say “random”). If you adopt a girl, you would need to separate them by age 5.” WOW!! Im starting to realize that this might have been a “duh” to others but to us we just assumed they would want separate rooms! To make things even better, Chris thought of a great plan to turn the loft study/room into a true room by closing in the arch. Why the heck did we NEVER think of this?? Its not even that expensive (compared to selling the house). Wow, wall #2 down!!!

Wall #3 Money, money, money. I know this one is a no brainer but to be more specific, we need a certain amount pretty quickly after we apply. When we apply we have to send in $250 and then if we are approved we will need to pay $1500 for the First Installment Program Fee to AWAA. Then we will need to start compiling our dossier which will cost anywhere from $2700-4700. And this isn’t even half of all the adoption expenses!! (I will probably do a blog later about all the adoption expenses for anyone that is interested) But I know that what God favors, God funds! I have no idea how we are going to fund this adoption, but I do know that God favors adoption and God is calling us to it, He is not going to let us fall. I can already feel God working on blasting this wall down! Our plan is to do anything we can to help. A few ways that we are trying to fundraise are below:

Just Love Coffee: Love Roasters takes the two passions of its founder, ORPHANS and FAIR TRADE COFFEE, and incorporates them into one company. Their mission is to offer quality Fair Trade coffees and to use these coffees to help orphans and their forever families. They’ve created a fundraising program where we are able to set up our own online store! I haven’t tried it yet (waiting on our order to come in) but Ive heard it is VERY good! With each bag sold, $5 will go directly towards our adoption. Your coffee is delivered to you by USPS and you get to help us adopt or child (or children)!Proceeds to Our Adoption:
• Coffee: $5 will go towards our adoption
• T-Shirt: $5 will go towards our adoption• Travel Mug: $3 will go towards our adoption• Tote Bag: $3 will go towards our adoption• Hat: $3 will go towards our adoption• Coffee Scoop: $1 will go towards our adoption

Our Etsy Shop: I have been making jewelry for about 8 months and now all proceeds goes into our adoption fund!

Garage sale: We are going to be hosting a garage sale in the very near future and already our friends are blowing us away with their generosity! Thank you so much for those that have already commited to helping us with this! If you would like to help, we are taking donations of pretty much anything, just give us a call (or email) and we will haul it away! All proceeds will go toward our adoption fund and anything not sold will be donated or saved for another garage sale.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” --Luke 12:22-24

Why Ethiopia?

*Life expectancy in Ethiopia 39 years for males and 42 years for females. The leading cause of death is communicable diseases such as malaria, typhoid, meningitis, cholera, AIDS, tuberculosis, yellow fever.
* One in ten children die before their first birthday
* One in six children die before their fifth birthday
* Woman have an average of 7 children and the maternal mortality rate is 1 in 14
* Ethiopia's neonatal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world - 49/1000 births with tetanus infection being the second major cause of infant/neonatal death.
* Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Over half the population lives on less than a $1 a day. The average income in Ethiopia is US$100 a year. Almost 82% of the population lives on less than $1 a day.
* Malnutrition levels are among the highest in the world.
* Ethiopia is home to 4-6 million orphans, or 12% of all children.
* That is the same number of children under age 18 who reside in Massachusetts, New York State, and Washington DC combined. If every parent in those places died tonight - that would be similar to Ethiopia’s orphan crisis.
*More than half a million of these were orphaned as a result of AIDS.
*Only 42.7% age 15 and over can read and write.
*Only 18% or children reach grade five. That means 82% of children don’t.
*44% of the population is under 15 years old.
*60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition.
*Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
*Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any other country in Africa
*Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) declined 40-60% from 1998-2002
*Severe drought struck the country from 2000-2002: first year no crops, second year no crops, third year no animals

Every time I read these stats I want to cry! I can’t even imagine what their world is like, how hard it must be to live a life where your chances of dying are almost greater than living. I start to think about the poor children and then I start to envision our child (or children) being the ones that don’t make it to five…or even worse, they don’t make it to their first birthday. This just breaks my heart. Adoption isn’t enough, I NEED to do more. What you might ask? I have no idea! Right now God is calling us to take step 1 with adoption and that is what we are doing!

"Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us" ~ James 1:27

Do you feel the NEED to help? Well you can! Not everyone is called to adopt but every Christian is called to help! We are called to be His hands and feet. A few ways you can help are:
Sponsor a child! Check out or

Donate to water charity! Check out or Living Water International (

Donate to an adopting family OR adoption grant organization: or

These are just a few quick places I can think of but there are sooooo many ways you can help, all you have to do is a little bit of research!


P.S. I "stole" all these stats from an awesome blog I have been reading, A couple who are in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia...Thanks Jenn for letting me use these!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A New Year, A New Direction!

Ok ok technically it isn’t a “new” year anymore considering that it’s May already, but for our family it is. A year (and a month) ago, we began trying for another child. We have always wanted a lot of kids (4 was our goal) and close together so we thought, ok Jacob is 1 so its time! God has had some other plans. About a month after we started trying it was apparent that my PCOS was beginning to act up and stayed that way for about 4 months. I decided to finally see my doctor and she “fixed” that issue for a while but we still couldn’t seem to get pregnant. Fast forward to mid-March and I was losing my mind. A combination of the one year mark creeping up and the fact that all of my friends and family were one by one becoming pregnant broke me. Broke me to the point that I just gave up. I just couldn’t do it anymore. But unfortunately the idea of not trying anymore was just as hard as trying without results. Thankfully, earlier in the week we were reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan in our small group and we were on chapter nine. Chapter nine was filled with stories about people that were obsessed with God, so obsessed that they did some awesome, life-changing things. In that moment that I gave up, God used this chapter to convict me and move me. Suddenly I felt peace and assurance that God had great plans for us, that He was going to use our love for children, just in His timing not ours. The next morning I felt this overwhelming need to help children around the world. I googled every website I could think of, Compassion, Living Water International, etc, and then suddenly I decided to Google adoption. Suddenly it was so clear to me: God is yelling at us to adoption and I was refusing to listen. So, I am so ecstatic to announce that we are going to Adopt from Ethiopia!!

I think the best way to explain all the details is to do some Q & A with some questions that we have already been asked

Are you adopting because you are infertile? Yes...and no. We are adopting because God is commanding us to and we want to be obedient. God is using our infertility to get our attention. He is not trying to hurt us or leave us wanting but honestly I wouldn't listen until I was forced to. Chris and I have been talking about adoption since before we even began dating, but if I had my way, we would be adopting later in life and probably only once. It's not because I don't have a heart for orphans but because I want to do things MY way and MY way is to have 4 biological kids, adopt 1 and then look into fostering after our kids are headed to college. It's funny because now that I am where I am I can see how God has been trying to get my attention. Just some subtle things like friends asking about adoption, messages at church suddenly about adoption and of course, Chris asking me how I felt. My answer? Not yet! I just didn't think I was ready yet and even more, I didn't want to yet. But thankfully God showed me His loving grace and changed me heart. After the small group reading I mentioned earlier, I prayed that if God wanted to us to move toward adoption, if he could please just give me a sign...and He did! Later, when I asked Chris how he felt about adoption he said "I feel like God has been pushing us toward adoption for a few months", I asked him why he didn't tell me and he said, in a very loving way, that he had, I just didn't want to hear it. Oops! I immediately started crying, in awe of how God was working in our lives already.

Why adopt internationally? Because God is calling us to. Ok I know it's not always that simple but honestly it's the truth. We aren't against domestic adoptions and hope to foster/adopt domestically in the future but right now we feel that our child is in Ethiopia.

Why Ethiopia? Well, because you have to be 30 to adopt from China! Ok kinda...when we first starting thinking about international adoption we only considered China, until of course we realized that we were too young! I immediately became discouraged and kind of worried that maybe I was wrong, maybe this isn't what we were supposed to do. And then I fell in love with Ethiopia. I have to thank 2 very awesome women who let God speak to me through their blogs. My next blog will answer this question better!

What next? We wait! I know some of y'all are thinking, "well duh, adoption includes a lot of waiting, but when are y'all going to start the paperwork?" to which I answer "we don't know yet". Frustrating huh? In short, we have a lot of debt we have to pay off before we can move forward. So right now we are praying for God to guide us to a "when" and until then we are trying to be the best stewards that we can be. If I had to guess when I think our budget says we will be financially ready, I would guess in about a year.

What can we do to help? Pray!! Your prayer will mean so much to us! Some things we need prayer over are:
Patience: Over the next year we are going to continue to pay off debts and sell our house. These two things HAVE to be done before we can even apply to adopt. During this time we are going to try to learn as much about the process as we can so when we are finally ready and get the “GO” from God, we can dive in! Also, I have zero patience so I could really use some!
Financial: Adoptions are expensive and at the moment we have no way to fund it. BUT we know that God is capable of anything and I trust that if this is His calling He will provide. Please pray that we can be good stewards of the things that He has given us!
Guidance: Enough said!
Healing: None of this has come easy to us. This last year has been painful and testing and we know the road in front of us is not going to be easy either. Thankfully we have a wonderful and loving Father God who gives us peace and a pretty awesome support system too!

Lastly, please have patience with this blog! I have no idea what I am doing design wise so it will probably change a lot in the next few months! Come back soon for some exciting updates as we go through this adventure!


Jeremiah 29:11 ”For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."