Friday, July 30, 2010

Saying Yes Makes a Difference

Watch this video to see how lives are changed when you SAY YES!

Here are 2 affordable ways to make a difference in the life of an orphan through sponsorship:

Learn how you can sponsor a Russian orphan and help save a life: click here.

Learn how you can provide "long-distance" adoption of an orphan in India: click here.

New topic:  my sweet bloggy friend (Lu from Reece's Rainbow) is helping me get the comment system kinks worked out.  Unfortunately, it looks like all of the comments have disappeared (atleast for me), but someone left a comment that said they were thrilled that they could finally see the comments and leave a comment.  I don't know what this means for ALL of it always going to be that some browsers are more compatible with the various commenting systems?!?  UGH!

So, if you're looking at the blog and don't see ANY comments, don't panic (like I did), I think they're showing up for some people but not all.

If you'd like to try out the new commenting system to see if it works, feel free.  There should be the word "COMMENTS" at the bottom of this post, and hopefully you'll be able to click it and leave a comment.  If the comments aren't showing up for you, please email me at to let me know...and tell me what browser you're using (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.)  Thanks so much for your patience and grace as we try to get this figured out!

PS  We're looking for a really long farm/harvest table that will seat everyone as our family grows!  We like the rustic farm style, nothing fancy, so if you have any leads for us, please let me know.  So far I haven't been able to find anything in this style that is long enough...looking for something that will seat 14-16 people so that when we're all here (including Emily, Samantha and Stephanie Hall), we'll be able to eat at the same table! :-)  Right now we're 1 seat short, but we're just cramming 4 kids on the bench seat and it's working fine.  The man who made our current 8-seater farm table said he can make us a larger one, but it won't be until sometime this fall.  So, I know we will be able to get a big enough table eventually, but thought it would be fun to see if anyone has any other suggestions for us.  Thanks!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I was notified that there are apparently lots of you who are not able to access the comment section on my blog now that I changed the design.  Apparently many of you are not able to even read other people's comments on the blog.  If you are one of the people who isn't able to see any of the comments when you visit the blog (the comments are supposed to show up directly under each blog will say COMMENTS really small just under the blog post) or if you're unable to leave a comment for me on the blog, please email me at and let me know so that I can try to fix the problem.  If you would let me know what browser you are using to access the blog (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.), that will be helpful in trying to figure out the problem.  Also, let me know what specific issues you are having with the comments.  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back to Ethiopia

Click HERE to read the precious plea of an American teenager who left a piece of her heart at a preschool in Ethiopia.  Find out how you can join Addisyn in raising money to send precious children in Ethiopia to provide them with an entire month of tuition for a mere $1.84!!!  Here's a VERY AFFORDABLE way for you to decide the TIME IS NOW to start caring for the least of these.

Asher: Happy, Blessed

Deuteronomy 33:24, "About Asher he said: "Most blessed of sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers'..."

Genesis 30:13, "Then Leah said, "How happy I am! The women will call me happy." So she named him Asher."

The name Asher means happy, blessed.

We are happy and most blessed to announce the arrival of our newest child, Asher.

Asher is coming to our family from a disrupted adoption situation, with hopes that God will use our family to provide Asher with His healing and a chance to help Asher find the future and hope that God has planned for him. 

Asher has been loved deeply by his original adoptive family.  They are choosing LIFE for Asher, with hopes that our family will be able to provide hope and healing for Asher.  They are trusting our family with faith that God does have a hope and a future planned for Asher, but in finding His perfect plan, they are choosing to let go and let God.  This is the hardest decision they've ever had to make, and it is not one that has come easily for them as they have worked for five years to provide Asher with the help and healing he desperately needs.  They have come to a decision that they've exhausted all possibilities with Asher, and they are trusting God to bring Asher to a new family who may be able to provide something different for Asher.

We pray that our family will be able to provide this for Asher, through God's grace, wisdom, and strength.  And if He so chooses to work through our family with Asher, to God be all the glory.  God has already given a piece of our hearts to Asher, and he captured my heart within the first day of being here.  God is so amazing like that.

If you have been in a situation where you've had to disrupt an adoption or where you've taken in a child through disrupted adoption, would you please leave a comment of encouragement for Asher's original adoptive family?  This is extremely difficult for them, and I cannot imagine being in their shoes. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Make a Difference Monday

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” ~Mother Teresa

I was going to stop with that powerful quote, but there's so much more I want to say.

Basically, I'm tired.  I'm not tired of the things you might think...not tired of dishes, laundry, kids...those are all blessings, and I never tire of blessings.  I'm tired of people sitting back thinking that theyr'e waiting for some magical moment to step in and make a difference in the life of just 1 child.

Waiting to sponsor that child until they get a larger paycheck.

Waiting for our "own" kids to grow up and move out and then we might consider helping someone else's children.

Waiting for our house to get cleaned up before we think about a home study.

Waiting for more bedrooms before we can possibly add another child into our home.




While we wait for our lives to be perfect before we consider helping another child, guess what?

There's someone else, a helpless child, who is waiting...



for us to get our act together and decide that RIGHT NOW is the time to make a difference.  Right now is the time to step up to the plate and say YES.  Right now is the time to trust God with our lives, our homes, our finances, instead of relying upon self.

Right now is the time to realize that as we wait for the right time, a child dies of starvation.  A child dies of neglect.  A child dies of malnutrition.  A child is ignored.  A child is abused.  A child wishes for a clean cup of drinking water.  A child is sold into sex slavery.  A child aches for a mom and a dad.  A child yearns for just one person to tell her that she's special.  A child wastes away in a crib in an orphanage, waiting for someone to rescue him. 

All of this while we wait at a fast food restaurant, getting angry when it takes longer than 3 minutes to get our food.  While we wait for our pocketbook to grow larger, wishing our waists would grow thinner, and hoping our gym memberships will get us in shape so that we'll be in a better position to help others.

When will you decide that RIGHT NOW is the time to make a difference?

"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world." ~author unknown

One life matters!  There are so many ways to help, to make a difference, to help orphans and live out James 1:27 (to care for orphans and widows in their distress).

Feed 1 child.  (through a child feeding sponsorship)

Pray for 1 child.  (that he/she would find a home and be kept safe until God unites them)

Foster 1 child.  (it's actually get paid to do this)

Adopt 1 child.  (yes, adopting 1 child really does make a difference)

If you're ready to commit to making a difference RIGHT NOW, go register to attend the Together for Adoption 2010 Conference to find out how YOU can make a difference in the life of 1 child.  Or more. :-)  There are SO many ways for you to make a difference.  Come find out how.  CLICK HERE to register.

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." ~Mother Teresa

"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty". ~Mother Teresa

"There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread." ~Mother Teresa

"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." ~Mother Teresa

"The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved." ~Mother Teresa

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14,  A Time for Everything

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil?  I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him."


There is a time for everything.  A season for everything.  Not all of us will walk the same seasons...ever.  Not all of us will lose a child...ever.  However, no matter what the circumstances, I assure you that Ecclesiastes 3 does apply to every one of us.  It just might be that while the various circumstances are very different, the various seasons are quite similar.

I want to talk today about disrupted adoptions.  Some of you may not even know what that means, and some of you may be way too familiar with this unlovely term.  A disrupted adoption occurs when a family adopts a child(ren), either domestically or internationally, and after the adoption is finalized, the adoptive family decides that the adoption is not going to work (for whatever reason), so the adoptive family seeks to find a new home/family for their adopted child(ren).  When the adoptive family finds a new family for their child(ren), it is handled as a private adoption, very similarly to the way that a pregnant mother decides to grant her baby a new life, a better life than what she can provide, by giving her baby up for adoption.  Disrupted adoptions give adoptees a new shot at life, with a different family who might be able to better meet the child's needs.  It is a legal adoption, handled privately (in most cases) between the previous adoptive family and the new adoptive family.  Families are not paid, kids are not "sold".  It is a legal adoption with a decision that is made in the best interest of the child between the original adoptive family and the new adoptive family.

It saddens me that many people place judgment upon adoption in general.  When a young mom gets pregnant and chooses adoption instead of abortion, she will face judgment because others will see her tummy grow larger and place judgment upon her.  When a woman is raped and chooses adoption instead of abortion, she will be judged as to why she chose to carry this baby and when she gives the baby up for adoption, those who don't know the baby was a product of rape will judge this capable mother and question why she gave her baby up.  For adoptive moms who have poured their hearts, souls, resources, time, prayers, and given all that they have to their adopted child, yet nothing seems to work, she will be judged for giving up her child...or for giving up on her child....or for not loving her child...or whatever others want to think/say about the situation.

The fact is that God created all of us in His image.  He created mothers to love their child(ren).  It is not easy for any mother to give up her child, no matter what the situation.  No matter if the mother is on drugs, is single and can't provide for a baby, is raped, is too young to properly care for a child, or perhaps the child is born with special needs, or maybe the mom is an adoptive mom whose child needs something different than what she can still HURTS to give up the child.  It hurts more than any of us who have never been in their shoes will ever know.  It is wrong for us to judge the situation and say what we would do if we were in her shoes.  The fact is that if we've never been in the same shoes, we have NO idea what this mom feels.  We have no idea what type of pain she is in.  We have no business placing judgment (ever).  We must come alongside the mother who is choosing life for her child, pray for her, encourage her, comfort her, and praise her for choosing life, especially in our culture today where choosing death is the norm.

With disrupted adoptions, it is HARD for others to understand how a child could possibly be on someone's home for a year, two years, three years, sometimes five or mome years, and then all of a sudden the adoptive family decides to "give up" and give the child to a new family.  I assure you that because we've never lived in that specific family, we have no idea what that family has gone through that has brought them to a point of having to CHOOSE LIFE and give the child up for adoption to a new family.  In most disrupted adoptions, the original adoptive family has worked around the clock to try to bring healing and hope to the child placed in their family.  They try everything they know to help the child from reading adoptive books to researching disorders to praying around the clock to therapies to doctors to evaluations to medicines to clinics to residential treatment name it, they've tried it. 

But sometimes it's not enough. 

Sometimes love is not enough. 

Sometimes families have to make the hardest decision they'll ever face:  to CHOOSE LIFE for their adoptive child by placing them into the loving hands of our Father God with faith that He has a family chosen for this adoptive child.  This is His child.  He has a plan to give this child a hope and a future, and sometimes, as painful as it may be, the original adoptive family was only meant to be for a season in this child's life.  And the adoptive family loves the child enough to submit to God's will and CHOOSE LIFE for their child.

And I think that this courageous act should be praised instead of judged.  I cannot think of anything more difficult than to CHOOSE LIFE for your child by giving him/her up for adoption.

Thank you to all of the families out there who have CHOSEN LIFE for your child.  I admire your decision to put your child's needs above your own desires.  I admire your ability to recognize that God intended you for a season in your child's life to deliver them on to LIFE.  To have the courage to face judgment, when you could choose to hide from judgment through abortion or through keeping your child with you, even when you know that is not what is best for the child, for whatever reason.  You did not fail your child.  You provided your child with hope at a new life.  A life that matters to Him.  Thank you for having the courage to CHOOSE LIFE, in a culture of death.  As cited in Deuteronomy 3, you have lived a heavy burden.  Thank you for choosing to allow God the opportunity to make everything beautiful in its time.  I am grateful for your pro-life decision, as you have brought blessings into our lives that we never would have known without your decision of LIFE over death.  Thank you.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a:  See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who's The Boss, Part 3

Are you willing to surrender your life wholly to Him?  He's the only One I trust wholeheartedly to be my Boss, and I pray that one day I will be blessed to hear my Boss say to his worker, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Part 3 of the "Who's in Charge" series:

Who's in Charge? Part Three
July 9, 2010 by John Moore

In two earlier posts, I shared about how Terri and I have occasionally put excessive limits on the children we were willing to take into our home as foster children. I shared that on each of those first two occasions, God redirected us to be open to the children He had for us, rather than the ones we had in mind for ourselves. And, naturally, on both occasions, when we submitted to His will, we saw that what He had in mind was infinitely better than what we had imagined. We never would have adopted four of our children had we not abandoned our desires, and submitted to God’s will for our family by being open to the children He wanted to place in our home.

I do think that whenever you open your home to a child, you need to use wisdom. If you have young daughters, for instance, it might be unwise to take in a teenage boy who has been sexually abused. That’s common sense. But the problems come when we start letting our own personal desires dictate whom we are willing to take into our home, and whom we are not. We really need to go into this with our hands open to what God has for us, not just open to what we think we want.

Well, in spite of the four physical reminders of God’s goodness and grace sitting at our dinner table every night, Terri and I once again decided to close our hands a bit when we told our social worker last fall that we were open to taking in another child. We specified this time, though, no babies – we were done with the middle of the night feedings, etc… We asked for a child 2 years and older. Now, most agencies would be thrilled to have a family that is willing to take in a child over 2, but then, on November 9th, our agency got a call for a six week-old child who needed a home. Our social worker called our home and talked to Terri, telling her that based on the information she had, this would likely be a very short-term placement – as little as a few days, in fact. We know the foster system well enough to know not to count on such things, but we also know and trust our social worker enough to know that she was giving us the best information she had.

Terri told me that we had been asked to take in a child who was a month and a half old. Evidently, I hadn’t had coffee yet, because I know I heard her say a year and a half. In my mind, it wasn’t 2, but it was only six months away from 2, so surely it wouldn’t be so bad. We called the social worker and accepted the placement. It was only on the way to the county office that it became clear to me that this child was only 6 weeks old. To be honest, I was a little bummed out…okay, I was very bummed out. This wasn’t the plan. We were not going to take in a baby this time around. We thought we had made that clear. Yet, we had accepted her already, so we couldn’t go back on our word. And besides, maybe it really would turn out to be just a few days.

We brought her home, and well, a few days turned into a few weeks. Naturally, the few weeks turned into a few months. We were in court for her case yesterday, and it is looking more and more likely that I will walk her down the aisle one day. I would love to share a picture of her, but she is still a foster child, so I have to keep her name and face private for now. Trust me on this, though – she is beautiful, she is precious, she’s a part of us…and we are so thankful that I hadn’t had my coffee when Terri came to tell me about her 8 months ago today. Once again, God took our desires and redirected us to be open to what He wanted. And once again, what He had for us was better than we could ever imagine.

Who's The Boss, Part 2

Who is The Boss of your life?!?

Here's Part 2 of the blog series found on the Hope for Orphans blog:

Who’s in Charge? Part Two
July 2, 2010 by John Moore

Having learned our lesson — that God is in charge, and we’re not — with our adoption of Chris and Ant, you would think Terri and I would move forward in wisdom and not put so many conditions on the children we would or would not take into our home. Then again, you would be wrong to think that.

After we adopted Chris and Ant, and after we took a short break from fostering, we opened our home again, taking in Ashley, who was twelve at the time she moved in, and fourteen when she was adopted.

Then, in the summer of 2006, we decided to open our home again, but this time, we once again decided to put parameters on the child we would be willing to accept. The lessons learned from almost losing Chris and Ant because of our own self-imposed limits were distant memories, or maybe they were lurking and we just decided to ignore them. I’m not sure.

Regardless, we asked our agency to be on the lookout for a baby for us. We had never done that before. Terri especially wanted to take care of a baby, and she actually had a pretty sound reason for wanting to do so. She figured that one day our kids would likely have babies. And like many first-time parents of babies, they would likely have questions. And like many parents who have questions about childrearing, they would likely call us and ask us what to do in certain situations. Well, Terri didn’t really want to have to say to our kids, “we don’t know what to do…call us back when they’re four.” She wanted to be able to help our kids with their babies. Noble. Practical. Not exactly selfish.

Still, the result of us acting on our desire meant that we called our agency, requested a baby, and pretty much eliminated most of the children in the foster care system from consideration. Because of our long track record with our agency, our social worker told us she would keep an eye out for a baby. It wasn’t long before we got the call – they wanted to place an eight month-old baby girl with us, a baby that was likely to be adopted. The baby was placed in another home for a few days while we got the room prepared for her. We saw pictures of her. We shopped for her. We anticipated her arrival with excitement.

Then, as things often happen in the foster care system, plans changed. The woman who kept this baby over the weekend decided she didn’t want to give her up. She had fallen in love with her, and for the first time, had decided she wanted to adopt. We were deeply saddened by the unexpected turn of events. To add insult to injury (that’s how we, in our self-absorption, saw it at the time), our social worker told us that she had gotten a call about a “problem six year-old” who needed a home. We had expected this sweet little eight month-old, and now instead we are being asked to take in a problem six year-old who was hitting the other children in her current home, and was having tantrums that lasted up to eight hours – on a daily basis.

In addition to our sadness, we were a little bitter. We questioned God. After all, we had adopted three older children, which everyone knows are generally harder to place than infants. Didn’t we deserve to get what we wanted? In a word, no. We didn’t deserve anything of the sort.

We had forgotten what this is all about. This isn’t about us building our family to look like we want it to look…this is about God using our family to accomplish what He wants. There is a huge difference. And what we didn’t see at the time, but did soon enough, was that God didn’t have an eight month-old for us at that time. He had a six year-old whose options were running out, a six year-old whose social worker said they might have to place in a group home if they couldn’t find a family for her soon. A six year-old who had been deeply hurt by recent turns of events in her life and was crying out to be noticed…and loved.

Our oldest had lived in group homes while in foster care, though when she was much older than six. A group home is no place for any child, let alone one as young as six. So again, God was compelling us to realize that He was in charge, not us. Again, He was asking us to abandon our pre-conceived notions of what we wanted in favor of what He wanted. We gave in.

Aruna came to us on August 10th, 2006, and she was adopted on April 2nd, 2008, which was the 5th anniversary of Chris and Ant’s adoption. She had some adjustment problems, and she had a few of those hours-long tantrums we had heard about and braced ourselves for. Ultimately though, God’s love touched her heart, and she began to change. Today, she is a straight-A student who has just finished the 4th grade at our church’s elementary school. She loves to sew. She loves to play video games. She loves to get on her oldest brother’s nerves, and frankly, she’s pretty good at it, too. She hasn’t had a tantrum in years.

As I mentioned, this adoption journey we have been on for over a decade is about God and His plans, not us and ours. God is simply not concerned with our plans. He isn’t concerned with how we want our family to be made up, or what we want it to look like. He is about fulfilling His purposes in the world, and as we discovered yet again, His way is always better.

We also rediscovered another truth about God back in 2006 — that He is a loving Father who loves to give good gifts to His children…and does so in abundance. Seven weeks after we were blessed with the wonderful gift of our daughter, Aruna, we got a call from our social worker. A two day-old baby girl was in need of a family that would foster and likely adopt her. Two days later, on September 29th, we brought her home from the hospital, and on August 14th, 2007, we adopted our first baby, Hallie. We made a million calls to our parents and other friends asking advice during her infancy, and we are now in a much better position to answer our children’s questions about their babies one day. We’re also in a better position to answer our kids’ questions about problem six year-olds one day.

We smile as we think back on those months in 2006 when we again wrestled with God and were again brought to our knees, first in submission and repentance, and then in gratitude and awe. Our lives are forever enriched and blessed by our precious Aruna and Hallie, and we cannot imagine what life would be like if we had gotten our way.

What an amazing God we serve.

The Boss

Yesterday was the 2 month anniversary of Chrissie's Homegoing to live with Jesus.  God continues to work in our lives in glorious and amazing ways.  Chrissie continues to bring joy to our hearts, even while she lives in Heaven.  Her legacy remains strong here, and she is continuously changing lives to this day. 

I've had so many deep thoughts, revelations, and Scriptural Truths revealed to me over the last two months.  I don't have the ability yet to form them into tangible thoughts for the blog, but God is working and moving in such amazing ways.  Ways that I never realized possible.  I'm learning things about Heaven and the life of our sweet Chrissie in Heaven and how the two realms connect, scripturally.  It's awesome.

I recently read a series of blog posts from the Hope for Orphans blog which have affected me profoundly, and I believe the blog posts fall right into line with our family obeying God and bringing Chrissie into our family, regardless of the outcome.  God continues to show me that He's the only one who is Boss, He is the one who is responsible for the "Boss Your Heart" phrase/day that impacted so many hearts around the world, and I want to surrender ALL to Him and let Him show me what life really looks like when we allow him to really and truly be THE BOSS, the One and Only Boss, ALL of the time.

I'm re-posting the series of blog entries (3 parts) here.  You may also click  HERE to visit the Hope for Orphans blog series, which includes photos of this adoptive/foster family.

Who's in Charge? Part One
June 30, 2010 by John Moore

In our home, we will celebrate July 4th this Sunday like many Americans. But the next day, July 5th, is going to be a day of celebration that for us will easily surpass the 4th. July 5th will mark the 10th anniversary of our sons, Chris and Anthony, coming into our home, as the first two of five (and soon to be six, Lord willing) children that we would adopt from the foster care system. And as much as I anticipate celebrating with great joy, I am sobered by the reality that if had been up to my wife and me, it never would have happened.

We were newly certified foster parents at the time, and like many, we had placed parameters on the children we would or would not take. We were fairly open in terms of the basics – age, gender, number of children, race…but we had been clear about one thing. We were not interested in children whose cases were unlikely to lead to adoption. In our minds, we didn’t want to “simply foster”. We wanted to adopt.

God allowed us to hang on to that condition for a couple of months. We were limited, of course, in that many of the children who come into the system are likely to be reunified with birth family, and we had essentially cut ourselves off from ever having a chance to care for and love those children.

Then one day, in late June of 2000, while visiting us in our home, our social worker asked us a question that seemed innocent enough, but it was a question that challenged us to be open to what God had, not what we thought was best for us. He asked us if we would be open to a placement that would not likely lead to adoption. It may have been Glenn’s voice, but it was clearly the Holy Spirit speaking, asking us who was in charge…us…or God. Terri and I looked at each other and said the only thing we felt we could say — that we would not necessarily be closed to it.

Glenn left our house and went back to his office. Within fifteen minutes of his leaving, he called us. Two brothers, ages 4 and 5, were in a temporary emergency foster home and were in need of another foster home. They could only stay at the shelter until July 5th. He didn’t even know their names yet.

Glenn told us the boys would likely not be adopted, and that they could be in our home for as little as five days (they had a court hearing scheduled for July 10th at which birth relatives might show up and ask for custody). Terri asked if they could sleep in the same bed, since the bedroom we had set up for kids had a double bed and a crib in it, having been set up that way for a previous placement that never happened. Glenn said no, they would each need their own bed. Terri asked if that meant we would have to go out and get two twin beds for what could essentially be five days. Glenn said yes. Terri told him she would talk to me and call him back.

We were torn. We didn’t want to say no and possibly get on the agency’s bad side by turning down these kids. At the same time, it seemed like a lot of work and expense to go through for what could be only five days. What was the point? The point was, of course, that we were wrestling with God. Were we going to do things on our terms, or were we going to be open to be used by God for His purposes, no matter the cost and inconvenience to ourselves? Was our foray in foster adoption about us, or was it about God? Those were the big picture questions that we only saw in retrospect. At the time, we simply saw the little picture question – would we take in these two brothers that needed a home for perhaps five days? Put that way, we felt we just couldn’t say no.

We said yes. We spent the next few days preparing the room for two boys that would very likely be just fleeting memories one day. And then, on the morning of July 5th, Glenn brought them to our home. We’ve all heard the cliché of love at first sight, and we acknowledge that it can happen in certain contexts, but we also know it doesn’t happen often. It happened to us on July 5th 2000. I don’t attribute it to anything other than the fact that God knew Chris and Ant would be our sons, that He had planned it that way, and so He had begun knitting our hearts together long before they stepped out of Glenn’s car and into our home.

The five days turned into weeks, which turned into months, which turned into years. On April 2nd, 2003, these kids that we almost turned down, became our legal sons through adoption, formalizing what God had ordained long before. We think back and are so thankful that He allowed us to wrestle with Him, and we’re even more thankful that we lost. Did we learn our lesson from all that? For a time, yes, but then we’ve gone back to putting conditions on subsequent placements as well (more on those in parts 2 and 3), demonstrating yet again that our sinful hearts always think we know what’s best. Thankfully, we have a gracious and patient God who always reminds us that this is His plan, His story, and that when we submit to His will, and allow Him to use us as He wants, the blessings are more than we could ever imagine.

These past ten years with Chris and Ant have been an adventure. Of course, there are times we would all love to forget, and times that we will treasure for the rest of our lives. Through it all, we’ve been so blessed to see them grow into the young men they are becoming. Anyone who knows them will tell you that these two kids that almost weren’t ours are pretty amazing guys. Terri and I can’t imagine what life would have been like without them.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Adoption Resources

Here are a few of my favorite resources for adoption.

Click on each title to visit the website for each resource.

Please add your favorite resources in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Reece's Rainbow International Country Requirement Comparison Chart

Reece's Rainbow Home Page

Rainbow Kids


Hope for Orphans

Together for Adoption (T4A)

Lifesong for Orphans

147 Million Orphans

Show Hope

Lutheran Social Services

Bethany Christian Services

Family Link

The Zoe Foundation

Charis Orphan Care and Adoption Ministry

Texas Disney World

Click HERE to read in the San Antonio Express News about our Texas Disney World day! :-)

Thanks Dr. and Mrs. Leininger for hosting the Haitian adoptee lake day.  We all had a fabulous time!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Save Maria, In Memory of Chrissie!

Click HERE to see Princess Maria! 

Thank YOU for helping save Maria's life.  Those of you who donated to Reece's Rainbow in memory of Chrissie made it possible for Maria to have a $2460 grant!  Please be praying for a wonderful forever family for sweet Maria!

Maria is in Serbia (Chrissie's home country).  She has Down Syndrome.  She is of Roma heritage.  Unfortunately, these facts are working against Maria in her home country, where people view people with Down Syndrome as being evil or cursed.  The Serbian culture does not embrace those of Roma decent either, so Maria is being tossed aside like a piece of trash, not a valuable human life who should be cherished as the precious child of God that He intends her to be!!! 

Despite being discarded and not valued, Maria has the most precious smile on her face.  Her photo reminds me of our Princess Chrissie's orphanage photo where Chrissie was standing in her crib (see her photo below), although Maria's orphanage smile is much bigger than Chrissie's.  I can't even imagine how much Maria would thrive with a forever family who would show her how precious and valued she really is, fearfully and wonderfully created in the image of God Himself.

Please help me advocate for Maria and keep her in your prayers!

Princess Chrissie in her orphanage crib in Serbia.

Princess Maria in her orphanage crib in Serbia!

Edit:  Here is a button for Maria:

Be sure to right click on the box below and then select all.

Baby Conference

We had the privilege of attending The Baby Conference in San Antonio last weekend where Michelle Duggar (19 Kids and Counting) was awarded the Mother of the Year award.  We are grateful for the gift that the Phillips Family of Vision Forum (who hosted the event) gave our family when they asked us to attend as their guests.  It was such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by families who all wholeheartedly believe that children are a blessing, a reward from Him.  Thank you Phillips Family for your generous gift to our family and for your ministry of proclaiming the Truth from His Word about children, biological and adopted.  All are precious in His sight.
Here is Michelle Duggar receiving her Mother of the Year award.  She is such a humble, gentle, meek, mild, loving, wise woman of faith.  We adore her, and we were so blessed to be seated directly behind Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar at the event.  They are every bit as precious in real life as they are on their shows.  Then again, their shows ARE their real lives! :-)

We had the privilege of having tea with Michelle Duggar...what a special treat!

Our sweet baby-loving friends, The Robertsons, attended the tea with us. 
(Thanks to the stranger who took our photo so that Mom could actually be in the picture for a change!)

Doug Phillips' daughters, Jubilee and Liberty, served alongside their dad in Haiti after the quake.  They spent a lot of time at HCRM, the orphanage where Nahomie lived.  Nahomie was really excited to see her friends in the Lord who came alongside her in Haiti and welcomed her with love here in Texas!

I LOVE this photo!  The shirts that we're all wearing can be purchased at 147 Million Orphans online, and purchases help feed and care for orphans around the world!  This particular shirt supports Project Hopeful, an advocacy for HIV+ orphans.  The back of the shirt says "Chosen 1".  We get more questions and compliments on these shirts than anything I've ever worn.  Amazing how God works like that!  Click HERE to check out the cute gear they have in support of orphans.  Thanks 147 Million Orphans mommies for starting this's working!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


My son, Sawyer (age 10), and I had a date tonight.  While we drove, we jammed to Something Crazy by Steven Curtis Chapman, at the request of Sawyer.  This is one of his favorite songs, and I know exactly why.  (I've posted the song and lyrics below incase you're not familiar with it.)

Some people called us crazy for adopting Chrissie, knowing she might not live long.  Some people called us crazy for adopting at all since we already had 3 bio kids, or "children of our own" as so many people say.  (Which, by the way, all of our children are our "own" children, whether born in our hearts or from my tummy!)  Some people call us crazy because we homeschool.  Some people call us crazy because we love children.  Some people call us crazy because we believe that ALL children are a blessing of the Lord.  Some people call us crazy because we believe "the least of these" are worth it.  Some people call us crazy because we have more than than the American average of 2.5 children.  Some people call us crazy because we love God.  Some people call us crazy because we're not like them.

Well, I happen to think CRAZY is GREAT!   I've always been a little crazy (before we ever began adopting!).  I can't think of anything better to be crazy about than loving God, adopting orphans and living out James 1:27 (looking after orphans and widows in their distress). 

So, go ahead and call me crazy.  I think it's a great compliment! :-)

I pray you'll dive in to the crazy side of life and join me at the Together For Adoption conference Oct. 1-2 in Austin, Texas!  I'd LOVE to meet more crazy people who are just like me!!!  In the adoption community, one will learn very quickly that crazy is a compliment.  The best thing about the adoption community is that we're all crazy together, for His glory, loving the least of these, who are ALL precious in His sight.  I can't wait to meet all those crazy adoptive families out there!  Oh how I love the unconditional support of the adoption community.  Click HERE to find out how to join this crazy community!  I promise you won't regret it!  And remember, as the lyrics say, "You really don't know love at all 'til it's making you do something CRAZY"!!!

Something Crazy by Steven Curtis Chapman:

He's got a Bible and a megaphone standing on the corner

And everybody's saying he's crazy
Well does he really think anybody wants to hear what he has to say
He's not screaming at anybody in fact he says
It's a love story that he's trying to tell them

And he knows he may look a little strange
But he just smiles and says that's okay
'Cause you know sometimes love makes you
Act that way

And it's crazy when love gets a hold of you
And it's crazy things that love will make you do
And it's crazy but it's true
You really don't know love at all
'Til it's making you do
Something crazy

I know a lady in Uganda, forty kids call her mama
And everybody thought it way crazy
She used to drive a beamer, but I've never seen her
Any happier than she is now
I've met them all around the world, they're the boys and girls
Filled up with the love of the Father

And they know it may seem a little strange
But they just smile and say that's alright
'Cause love puts everything in a different light

And it's crazy when love gets a hold of you
And it's crazy things that love will make you do
And it's crazy but it's true
You really don't know love at all
'Til it's making you do
Something crazy

Something crazy
Crazy when love gets a hold of you
Crazy, crazy
Crazy thing that love will make you do

Well, some might say it's a crazy thing
To believe in a man who would say he came
From heaven down to earth because of love

But I just smile and say that's okay
'Cause you know sometimes love makes you act that way

And it's crazy when love gets a hold of you
And it's crazy things that love will make you do
And it's crazy but it's true
You really don't know love at all
'Til it's making you do

Crazy when love gets a hold of you
And it's crazy things that love will make you do
And it's crazy but it's true
You really don't know love at all
'Til it's making you do
Something crazy

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Lovies Photo

I know you all have already seen this photo (from Father's Day), but I'm experimenting. :-)  Thanks for your grace!  (Oh, and let me know if the comment section shows up for you.  I had one comment come in (even though I couldn't see the comment section!), but it never showed up after I approved it.)  Hmmm...hoping I can get this all figured out!  Oh, and Cassie (the one who left a comment), I do plan to put smiling photos in the sidebar of all of my lovies! :-)

Ignore This Post

Sorry, just disregard this post.  The comments didn't show up for me on the last post, and it's designed to only show up on new posts, so I must create another new post to see if the comment option works. 

A New Look

I'm in the process of changing up the blog a little.  (If you read this in an RSS feeder, you won't notice changes because you will have to actually go visit the blog to see the changes! :-)  Hopefully a new comment system will show up to make things easier when trying to comment since many of you have gotten frustrated when you type a long comment only to have it erased by Blogger accidentally.  I have some housekeeping work left to do on the blog changes and lots I'd like to accomplish (like adding photos of our kids to the sidebar), but for now it is what it is.  Let me know if you have problems with commenting.  Not sure if it's going to work yet or not. :-)

Edit:  Looks like the comment system didn't work.  I'll try again! :-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Together for Adoption 2010 National Conference!

I would like to cordially invite you to attend the Together for Adoption 2010 National Conference in Austin, Texas Oct. 1-2.  Click HERE to learn more about the conference or to register.

I know that many of you have left comments for me or privately emailed me to ask questions about adoption.  This is THE CONFERENCE for you!!! 

There will be topics for everyone, ranging from how-to, what-if, why, where, when, finances, challenges (pre and post adoption), domestic vs. international, social services adoptions, what to do now that your child is home, orphan ministry in your church and everything you'd ever want to know about living out James 1:27 (looking after orphans).

There are smaller break-out sessions and amazing large group sessions, as well as a pre-conference special session with Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child.  (The most helpful adoption book I've ever read!!!)   and even a time to meet many of those amazing adoption bloggers out there who we've all grown to know and love via the internet but have never had the chance to meet in person!!!

I am so excited about this conference!!!  I just love how God works to bring His team together for a big how-to pep rally!  Gimme a G, gimme an O, ahem, excuse me, got a little excited there.  Let me put my megaphone down and just ask you all to join me in a big shout out for this conference:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Update in Photos

Ever since Chrissie went to Heaven, I haven't been able to keep up with the blog as much as I prefer since Chrissie went to Heaven.  I've learned in some of my research and devotions about grieving that there's a period of time after the loss of a close loved one that one isn't really able to think and process and function in a "normal" capacity (the way the person functioned prior to the death of a close loved one).  I've read stories of people who lost their spouse who couldn't even find their way home from work, after traveling the same route for years.  I feel like I've been in a similar fog where I am able to function, but not think deeply.

Then God put a book in my path called Have Heart.  (Thank you so much to the reader who informed me of this book!)  If you've ever lost a loved one, particularly a child, I HIGHLY recommend this book.  It has been a wonderful resource to begin our healing journey, and it is filled with Truth of His Word as well as encouragement and personal testimonies from a family who has walked this path of learning to live again after their 17-year-old son went to Heaven after a tragic car accident.

Today is the 46th day since Chrissie went to live with Jesus.  I feel like the fog is beginning to lift.  That doesn't mean that we've stopped missing Chrissie, it just means that we're learning a new normal, by the grace of our awesome God.   Sawyer, Mattie and Meribeth are all attending a bereavement camp this weekend (July 2-5).  (Our other kiddos didn't fall in the correct age requirements for the camp.)  I pray that this camp will help them to take the next step on their grief journey, as we all pray for God's guidance, strength and healing hand to lead us down this path.

I've been wanting to update the blog with photos to document the joy that Jesus has faithfully given us, just as He promised, as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Nothing can rob us of joy as true joy is found in Him, and for that, we are most grateful.

Now that I feel like I'm about a month and a half behind on blogging, it's a bit overwhelming to figure out where to start again.  There's so much I want to share, but it's kind of like scrapbooking...when you've not scrapbooked in a really long time, it's hard to know where to begin.

So, I thought I'd begin by showing some pictures from the last couple of months.  I think that may be the most efficient way of feeling like I'm catching up on life.  Hopefully I'll be able to be more diligent with blogging from now on, but if I'm not, I assure you that we are experiencing joy, but I may not always have the opportunity to record it.  I try to stay off the computer while our kids are awake, which means most of my updates are done late at night.  My husband was battling a kidney stone for a couple of weeks (which ended up having to be surgically removed on June 29), so I've been helping him and much of his pain occurs at night, so I've not been on the computer much at all recently.

I had hoped to write to all of you on June 20, 2010:  Father's Day, but I couldn't get the words out.  I was still having a hard time writing as I just really didn't know what to say.  Father's Day was a hard day, but also one filled with joy.  While our Christyn Joy wasn't physically with us this Father's Day with her precious dimple, chubby cheeks, contagious laugh, sweet smile, big hugs, and lots of love to share with all of us, her spirit of joy lives on and brought us all joy, even as we grieved not having Chrissie present to celebrate Father's Day 2010.  God was sure to surround us with His joy, the joy that only comes from Him, along with a peace that surpasses all understanding.  We shed tears on Father's Day, yet we also shared many laughs, hugs, and lots of "I Love You's".  I've read that holidays are really hard to get through when we lose a close loved one.  Father's Day was our first "holiday" without Chrissie.  I feel like God helped us through one holiday, and I know without a doubt that He will see us through the others, faithfully holding our hands and our hearts.

I know many of you are wondering about Kiefer and Nahomie.  Both are doing GREAT.  I continue to be blown away by God's goodness.  We have come to realize that while many obtain what they call "joy" in material things, God's gift of joy to our family is our children.  God is the source of joy, and His chosen children are the vessels through which He pours His joy into our family. 

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him."  Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Now, here is a glimpse of our lives over the past couple of months, in photos.  (If I write anything about the photos, I will record it UNDER the photo.)

On Sunday, May 16, 2010 (just 3 days before Chrissie went to Heaven), God blessed us with an opportunity to meet with Steven Curtis Chapman at Seaworld.  This was part of God's plan in bringing hope to our family through the personal testimony of Steven Curtis Chapman and his experience in his adopted daughter, Maria Sue, going to Heaven on May 21, 2008, at the age of 5 in a tragic accident.  This photo is of our kiddos with Caleb, the son of Steven Curtis Chapman, who now has his own band that ROCKS!

Steven Curtis Chapman.  God's source of inspiration and hope to our family even before He took Chrissie Home.  If any of you are grieving, we highly recommend Steven Curtis Chapman's newest CD, Beauty Will Rise.

At the Steven Curtis Chapman concert, Daddy purchased all of his girls "Princess" t-shirts.  Steven Curtis Chapman signed our shirts, and this is a snapshot of Chrissie's shirt.  It says, "God bless you.  You are a precious treasure!  Steven Curtis Chapman".  (Daddy and Chrissie's last dance on earth was to Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Cinderella".)  The back of this shirt says, "The dance will go on...", and it does.  Thank you, Steven Curtis Chapman, for meeting with our family and for hugging my husband's neck with a tender, genuine hug that only two dads united by God and grief could possibly exchange.

Kiefer is THRIVING!!!  He is such a happy little guy who brings much joy, love, and action to our family!

Kiefer celebrated his 2nd birthday on May 20, 2010.  The day after Chrissie went to Heaven.  Friends from church brought Kiefer a Spiderman cake and some presents, too!

After Chrissie's visitation.

Parker celebrated his 14th birthday on May 25, 2010.  This was the worst birthday of Parker's life, having buried his sister's body on the day before his special day.  Yet God enabled Parker to smile as we sang him "Happy Birthday", and we were so grateful for the Coca Cola cake that friends from church brought to Parker.  (Coca Cola cake is Parker's favorite cake!)

Kiefer loves to wear Daddy's belt with the BIG belt buckle.  The belt wraps around his waist twice!  He especially enjoys sporting his cowboy diaper look!

Brothers.  I love sleeping child photos.  Kiefer is totally sprawled out across Sawyer, both peacefully sleeping.

Mattie and Kiefer at Parker's Wrangler Jr. High State Rodeo competition at the beginning of June.

The kiddos enjoying the air conditioned camper, looking out the back window, at the rodeo action.

Cowboy Kiefer and PawPaw (my dad) at Parker's rodeo (in our camper).

This photo is a treasure for me.  This was taken at one of Sawyer's All-Star baseball games in June.  Kiefer is sucking on a Blow-Pop in his daddy's arms.  The scripture on Matt's shoulder says, "Speak up for those with no voice."  Proverbs 31:8a.

Sawyer playing catcher for his All-Star team.

Parker and Meribeth sharing a chair at one of Sawyer's baseball games.

Kiefer loves brownie batter, just like Chrissie always did.

Parker caught a crawfish in the stream by the baseball fields in Austin, so Matt was showing it to Kiefer.  Kiefer did NOT LIKE this critter!!!

Another brownie batter pic.  (Sorry, photos are out of order and I'm too lazy to fix them!!!)

Sweet hand of our sweet Haitian boy!

Parker with his new pup, Red Ryder, and Sawyer with his new pup, Blue Bell.  Both dogs were adopted from local shelter/rescue organizations. 

Some good friends of mine, Julie and Bonnie, hosted a tea party for us.  Julie (AKA "Martha Stewart" carved and created this watermelon fruit girl!

Meeting Nahomie at the airport, June 19, 2010.  Welcome sweet girl!!!

The family welcoming Nahomie at the airport.  (Sawyer isn't in this photo because he was playing in an All-Star baseball game.)

Sisters.  (Meribeth and Nahomie at the airport.)

Kiefer loves to rope!  (His brothers and daddy team rope, so Kiefer is determined to learn to rope as well!)

Nahomie's first night home, enjoying our swimming pool with a night swim!

Father's Day 2010:  Kiefer and Daddy.

Father's Day 2010.  Sawyer and his rockin' dad!

Although Chrissie wasn't physically present on Father's Day, her presence was felt.  As I handed Daddy his Father's Day gift from Chrissie, we both wept.

But God turned our tears of sadness into smiles of joy.  Everyone stayed in their PJ's most of the day and we enjoyed wonderful family fellowship.

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy."  Psalm 30:11 (NLT)

Even Daddy busted a move on Father's Day 2010, kidney stone and all!

Belly Bump!

Kiefer wasn't sure what to think of all the dancing, but he asked Mattie to dance with him!

Twist and Shout!

Buckshot enjoyed the family fellowship, as always!

Kiefer grabbed Nahomie's hand and asked her to dance, too!  Nahomie had only been with our family for one night! :-)

Such sweet sisters!  Mattie, Nahomie, and Meribeth.

Well, that brings us almost up to date.  There's always so much I'd like to share and so little time.  Kiefer is awake from his nap now.  Hopefully I'll be diligent with future blog posting! 

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