Thursday, November 6, 2014

faith the size of a mustard seed.

I’m sitting alone in the living room of an apartment somewhere in Eastern Europe.
How I got here I don’t know.  Well, of course I know HOW I got here—I took plane ride after plane ride, tried to sleep, tried to eat, repeat.  But I really don’t know how I got here.  It’s been a long ride, this journey of adoption.  And I know I write that as if I’m on the other side of it, as if it’s over already which it’s not.  But in many ways, my journey has been as much about ending as it is beginning.  My heart aches this morning for a sweet little orphan boy in a remote region of Russia.  If I close my eyes I can still see Davis’ smile and feel his arms around me as he hugged my neck so, so tightly.  I can feel my hands rub over his freshly shaved hair and see his sweet eyes twinkle while we sang and laughed and I snapped photos of him.  He is alive in me.  And so it is quite ironic and heartbreaking that I am in another country waiting anxiously to receive a referral for a different child that I hope to make my son.  I am as eager as I am fearful.   My heart is again open and laid bare, and again, able to be crushed.  But FAITH. 

Faith is a very strong and undeniable thing.  The day before I got on all of those planes, I laid in bed with my only daughter and we talked about faith.  How can you go even when you are afraid?  Faith.  How can you still love when you’re heart has been broken?  Faith.  How can you still risk when all seems lost?  Faith.  How can you continue on when it would be so much easier to stay put?  Faith--faith the size of a mustard seed at times.  But that’s all it takes.  You don’t have to be sure or certain but you must have a teensy tiny amount of faith.  Faith is what propels us forward and gives us courage.  Faith is that glimmer of hope when everything else says, “Impossible!”  Faith will revive you, grab you by the hand and get you on that plane.

I sit here on this sofa surrounded by unfamiliar sounds and smells, my stomach rumbling and my head racing, already longing for my own bed and my children back at home.  Yet I know that this right here, right now, is the stuff of life.  My discomfort and rumbling stomach are merely signs of my physical sacrifice.  Adoption is a process of sacrifice.  I am sacrificing my comfy life, my comfy normal, my comfy bank account for the good of another human being.  And it’s nothing.  Truly, when I think about what Christ did for me, for all of us, what I’m doing is nothing.  But it’s something, right?!  I have to believe that this fight I’m living is for something.  Even the fight I lived for Davis is for something.   Because God is with me here in this apartment, fighting along side with us.  God is with Jude in his orphanage, preparing his heart to meet us.  God is with Davis, sustaining him, with my children who miss us, my parents who are working so hard to take care of them for us, with you even as you read this.  He is working in each of us. 

I truly believe that there is so much Good Work being done all the time that we couldn’t possibly begin to understand the enormity of it all.   Our lives are intertwined and overlapping and our stories each contain threads that are woven into this great, beautiful tapestry that we can’t humanly comprehend. Those things we claim to be ironic, coincidental, those times we say "what a small world!"...all part of the tapestry.

I just woke John up and explained the dos and don’t of taking a shower in the bathroom here.  He’s yawning and unimpressed.  Doesn’t he realize that I’ve spent the morning wrestling my anxieties and writing all these deep thoughts?  Nope.  He isn't interested.  But he does say to me, “I hope Cindy’s alarm went off on time.”  Cindy is a woman we met yesterday that was boarding a train at 6:00 this morning to go rescue two orphans.  She is a woman with a story as long, as twisting, as full of disappointments and heartache as anyone, but her grit and her resolve impressed us both.  She has an enviable relationship with God.  And I imagine that He knew exactly what He was doing when our plane showed up two hours late and we shared a driver from the airport into the city.  It was no accident that she shared her story of losing a little girl from Russia during the ban and how she came to the crossroads of adoption yet again.  It most certainly wasn’t a mistake that we went to dinner together and walked her back to her apartment.  Three strangers in a strange new city, yet last night, the world felt smaller, together.  Cindy is a part of our story now.  She was a gift to us, a gift of reassurance and hope and friendship.  I pray that the Lord will bless her tomorrow as she heads to court for the parental rights of two special needs orphans who desperately need her.  Lord, be with all of them. 

Our DAP appointment is in an hour.  We expect it to be short, just a few minutes, as we receive our referral for Jude, the very first step here towards making him our son. We expect our driver soon so I’m off to find clean socks and unpack my boots. The day awaits.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

jude: an adoption update and an auction!

way back in january we committed to a little boy named jude.
we blogged about it in march.
remember way back when?

well we have been busy and things have been progressing!
we completed our paperwork in may and were invited to travel in august.
unfortunately jude's paperwork wasn't ready when we were, so we are now requesting travel for november.
did you catch that?!
we are requesting to travel in just a few short weeks!

in fact, he has already begun his required TB testing this week!
AND just to send our happy meter off the charts, last thursday, he was told he has a family.
i can't even imagine his thoughts, his excitement, his emotions!!
it's almost too much to handle, isn't it?!



now that we are getting so much closer, it's time for some fundraising!
i'll admit, i'm nervous about this part.
when we tried to adopt our sweet davis boy, we raised about $13,000.
our russian adoption expenses took every last penny and then some.
so when we began this adoption we knew that money was gone.
we have paid for all of our expenses so far but in the next few months, our needs are going to grow exponentially.
airfare alone for one trip is running around $4500--and we have to take 2-3 trips depending on when we are assigned a court date!
we need help.



our first fundraiser is an instagram auction TOMORROW!! (from 1-9 pm)
so many INCREDIBLE items have been donated to help us!
we would be honored if you would check it out and bid on some awesome stuff!
100% of the money raised goes directly to our adoption fund.
every last cent.
praise Jesus!
all you have to do is go to the instagram app and follow @auctionforjude for all the details!
i'll post some pics here tomorrow to remind/tease ya! ;)

i can't end this post without thanking all of the shops and lovely ladies who have generously supported us for this auction.
even if we don't raise a dime, we feel so blessed.
xo!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

it's only been six months.

let's get this blog updated why don't we!

let's start with the obvious:  i am still healing.
it is taking much, much longer than i ever expected.
and if i'm being completely honest with you, i still look at davis' picture almost every day.
i look straight into his little face and i apologize for failing him.
that's how i feel--like i could have worked harder or completed my paperwork faster or pushed myself in some other way--to get to him faster.
i almost can't believe it all happened, like it's a bad nightmare that i can't seem to shake.
i'm working on it.

we received our invitation to travel to jude's country in early august.
unfortunately, his paperwork was not ready yet so we had to miss our appointment.
major bummer.
we hope to be able to travel in november now!
deep breath and fingers crossed!
if you could pray for putin to go away and leave all neighboring countries alone forever, i would be so grateful.

so many wonderful things have been happening in our family.
the children all returned to school!  (see what i mean?  wonderful!)
josh started middle school/junior high and has amazed me with how well he transitioned.
he is such a good kid, even though he struggles with keeping up with his homework and helping out around the house.
but then again, what 12 year old doesn't, right?



anna started fifth grade and is doing great.
she is crazy about her science class and the fact that she recently was named the class "reptile manager".
perfect.



like josh, ben changed schools too, continuing with our city's special education program.
the first week or so was Rough.
with a capital R.
but now, oh man.
now, he's found his groove and he is loving his new class.
we have all settled in and it feels so good to be back in a rhythm again.




john is going back to school to get another master's degree.
overachiever, that one.
i can barely find enough energy to get a shower every day.
he's out getting degrees.
nuts.

we got a new dog.
his name is tater and he's a goof ball.
i think i like him.
even though he pees all over my house and i keep repeating, "why can't i have anything nice?!!"



miss kitty still isn't sure about him*.
he pounces on her every chance he can get.
*might have something to do with it.

i'm getting tired of typing (tragedy! i've obviously lost my blogging stamina!).
so quickly...
josh quit football.  (too much practicing, all the days and nights.......)
anna is playing volleyball (loves it.  she's a beast.)
ben is playing soccer (so far -- meh.)
i still wanna own my own store. (no $. story of my life.)
i'm obsessed with the show fixer upper.
joanna gaines.
oh my lawd.

i think that's about it.
it's just a little summary that i'm not really proud of but hey, i wrote it.
and we lived it.
and now i'm gonna hit publish and give myself some grace.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

he's a hugger.


we just got back from a week at the beach.
the weather was weird, every day was something different and much cooler then we had hoped.
still, we were all together and at a place that we love, so there were still many memories made.

for me, one thing i want to remember, is ben giving out hugs on the boardwalk in orange beach.


we were walking out to the beach and ben chose the longest path for us to take.
it was warm and a little sunny and ben and anna were barreling down the walkway, giddy to be heading to the beach.
there weren't many people walking out but a few walking back.
ben ran up to each one and hugged them, all the while i was apologizing, "i'm sorry, please excuse us..."
no one seemed to mind but i really wanted ben to just let them pass by.

right before we reached the end of the walkway, an older man was approaching and ben was so enthusiastic about hugging him.
the man smiled so big and hugged ben right back.
i did my usual, "sorry!" and he stopped quickly.
"for what?" he asked.
"some people are bothered by him so i..." i fumbled.
"well, that's THEIR problem!" he said smiling and reached down to hug ben again.

by now we were at the beach so we all ran down and played with our children and i kept thinking about what that man said.


when we were ready to leave and head back to our car, we once again had to make our way back on the long boardwalk.
ben and anna ran ahead of us once again and this time, when ben hugged each person on our way back, i didn't apologize.
i watched instead.

and i saw each person smile and hug him back and it was almost as if he brought out something sweet and kind in each one of them.
when he approached them, at first they didn't quite know what to do.
but then he would wrap his little arms around them and each person couldn't help but smile.  and giggle.
and laugh.
but mostly smile.

ben was spreading love and acceptance up and down that entire beach all by himself.

and instead of apologizing, i said things like, "he's a hugger!", "he always hugs the prettiest girls!", "you're next!"

and it was so much fun letting my son be exactly who he wanted to be.
and enjoying him.
and that is a memory that i hope i never, ever forget.

it changed me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

our warrior and our first giveaway!

a week or two ago i received a beautiful surprise.
our family was assigned a "family warrior"-- a fellow adopting momma with battle scars of her own who stepped up to advocate for us and help us raise the ransom for jude.
i mean really, isn't that just amazing?

she sent me a lovely note and also an offer to do a giveaway for a felt easter banner and devotional book that she herself made.
click over to her blog and check out all the details!
it is so beautifully made, so special, and such a wonderful way to share the true meaning of easter with your kiddos.
(i just can't seem to find the words of how grateful i am, tanna!)







so, here's the deets:
if you would like a chance to win one of tanna's beautiful felt easter banners and devotional book, please donate $5 or more to our reece's rainbow account and leave me a comment here saying you did so.

please share on fb, instagram, twitter, your own blog, etc.
if you do, leave me another comment and i will throw your name in the hat for another chance.

that's it.
simple simple.
i will pick a winner next wednesday, march 26th (ben boy's birthday!).

thank you TANNA! and thank you friends for all of your love and blessings!



Thursday, March 13, 2014

when you must move.

It’s been one year and three months since we last saw Davis.
It’s been a time of confusion, sadness, pain, and darkness.
We ache to understand why the door was closed on us.
And I feel like writing this over and over again on the blog does nothing to relieve that pain so I just stopped.

Over this time though, we’ve been forced to look back and remember specifically why we were drawn to adoption in the first place.
Was it just to save one child, Davis, or was it just to save a child, any child, one of the hundreds of thousands without a family?
Truthfully, there were many times we said “it is only Davis or nothing”—our hearts still raw and the wounds still fresh from a failed adoption.
But slowly, ever so carefully, God reminded us,

Draw near to me, hold on to me, don’t lose Hope, persevere.” Hebrews 10:22-23

When we stopped allowing ourselves to listen only to our own pain, we remembered the pains of thousands, the stories of the lonely and forgotten, the reason we chose adoption in the first place.

Rescue.

Redemption.

Freedom.

Love.

Last summer we decided we still wanted adoption to be a part of our story.
Love still wins. Period.
We still choose Davis, always, but that situation is out of our hands.

  “We need to do what we can do and let God do what we cannot.” Joyce Meyer

We began the search for another child in need, another child waiting for his turn to be CHOSEN.
With hearts open to whatever God was to put in our path, we waited.
And waited, and waited, and prayed, and with great patience, waited some more.

Then one day, a message showed up on Facebook.
 “He looks like a Jupin to me.”
Through a series of notes between friends we quickly learned of a bright young man who asks every day, “Are you my family? Please tell me about my family.  I want a family too.”
His story touched us all and broke our hearts all over again.
He has been overlooked for his entire life, abandoned, rejected…yet he bravely asks for his greatest desire—a family.
I cannot imagine his courage yet I share his desperation.

Together, with the children, we decided YES! we can do this.
He will be ours, a part of our story and our family,  Lord willing.
Fast forward to today and the paperwork consumes us yet again and we are *this* close to finishing our dossier.
We await approval from USCIS and once that comes, we await submittal to his country.

Please allow me to formally introduce you to “Jude”. 
He will most certainly have a different name but we will refer to him as Jude here.

From what we’ve learned, he’s quite a character and as sweet as they come.
We can't wait to meet him.

You may see more of me here in the next few months.
I have a guarded heart full of emotions and words that struggle to make it to the page, but I think writing will be an important part of our journey.
I am scared, I am afraid of failure once again, but life is full of disappointments, many as big as what we’ve endured.
Many even bigger.

We have Hope, we will persevere IN FAITH.
We covet your prayers and well wishes.

Sorry, adoption blog trolls, your comments are not welcome here and will be deleted in a heart beat. Save your energy for someone else.

With Love Always,
Amy

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

more goodness.

another quick list.

--i am loving american idol.
of course i am.
harry's owning it.
and harry is my favorite.
you know that.

--i forgot to mention the blog cranny and me the other day.
today, her post moved me beyond words.
it was just perfect.

"I'd like to banish the idea that ministry, or marriage, or life, has a honeymoon stage. If we are honest, we know, we absolutely know that life will have its difficulties. And if we believe in the sovereignty of God, we also know that those deserts, those difficult times, are for our good and the glory of God as much as the mountain-top experiences."

a million times yes.

--and good night! have you read this post shannan wrote yesterday??
just so on point for exactly, precisely, scarily where i am and what i'm feeling.
creepy really.

"That is where my pitiful humanity wrecks this gift of loneliness. Over and over, rather than fixing my eyes on the One who loves me best, I frantically scan the horizon-line for a jeans-and-sneaks person to save me. "..."It is our unequivocal duty to love the lonely. We should be linking arms with the outcast, remembering that sometimes the outcast wears $200 jeans and drives and Audi. Sometimes the lonely sits in a nursing home, but she also sits next to us on the bleachers at gymnastics practice."

--and lastly, this, this and this. (from here)