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A Third Package and More of the Story

We are getting ready to deliver our third package to the boys, but this time I'm hand delivering it to the family that will be bringing it to Ethiopia for us... which leads me to a portion of the story that I haven't shared yet on our blog. 

I'll try to keep this brief. Our referral for the twin boys actually came from a different agency than the one we were waiting with for over two years. It came from the agency we had been contacted by earlier in the summer, and the story of how that all happened is a post for another time.  

But, back to the care package... or even before that. When we moved forward with the referral for our boys and entered the program with the new agency, we found out that the twins from this summer were in the same care center in Mekele as our boys and (even more crazy) that they were going to a family from my home town. I emailed this family and found out that the husband and wife had actually attended the same small college as Don and I. 

When everything happened this summer with the other twins, I remember Don and I talking about how sad it was that we'd never know what was going to happen to these two little boys. We'd probably never know their family or where they were going to live. We didn't know if they were going to a Christian family or not... it seemed like they were just going to be a little blip on our life story that we'd never again have any connection to. Well, we were totally wrong! Not only have we been able to see these other little guys in pictures and see how they've grown, we're also getting to meet their future family. They are going to grow up in the same area that I grew up in! 

And it's this family that is taking our next care package! They have told us that they'll spend time with our twin boys while they are in Mekele: playing with them, holding them, taking pictures of them, and praying for them! AMAZING!   

One other crazy detail: the day that we found out that we were not going to be able to adopt the twins from this summer was July 19. When we opened our referral information for our twin boys, their birthdate was listed as July 19. So while our hearts were breaking over the loss of these other boys, God was preparing a new set of little boys that was going to be just perfect for us... and he kept us in line with our other agency for exactly 14 months to put us in a position to be ready for them when they became available. Can I say it again? Amazing. 

So, later this week, I'll drop off a gift for the other twins boys, and I'll drop off a care package for our little guys, and I'll sit down for coffee with this other family that has already become very dear to us. Amazing. 

"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him." - Isaiah 64:4 (ESV) 


Second Care Package

We're so thankful to have another opportunity to send a package to the boys! 

They are at a care center in northern Ethiopia, and most families that travel only go to Addis Ababa, the capital city. Mekele, where the boys are, is a 90 minute flight from Addis. So, we have to take all of the chances we can get to send them things when there are families taking the additional trip!

Two more cozy sleepers and some crinkly, rattling, soft blocks. 

When we send them things, we package them up in these ziplock bags and include a little picture of each of them with their Ethiopian names on it so that the families know who to give the packages to. Today I included "Jones Family" under their names. How sweet is that?!



Today we received some additional pictures of the boys. The family that took our care package just returned from their trip and we got to see 7 new pictures of the boys. I so wish that I could post them here, but I have to wait until we pass court... grrr! In a couple of the pictures, they have their little care packages resting on their bellies, and in one they are holding their toys! Well, the big guy is holding his toy, but the little guy is not so interested yet... he seems to be more interested in sucking his thumb. I would say 90% of our pictures of him show him sucking his thumb (do I see braces and orthodontics bills in our future?).

Honestly, I was so happy to see the new pictures, and yet as soon as I saw them I felt so sad. In every picture we have of them, they are on their backs in their crib staring straight up. I am not complaining at all about their care; we are so thankful for our agency and for the nannies that are caring for them, but there are lots of babies and not a lot of nannies. How often are they held? Do they ever get put on their tummies? When was the last time their little cheeks were kissed?

I was looking at their sweet faces and wondering how many of their wakeful hours they spend staring at the ceiling when they should be staring into the smiling faces of their mom and dad, who love them. It broke my heart in a whole new way today to think about them being so far from us. 

I thought, All I can do is pray for them and entrust them to the Lord, and then I thought, Well, that's what I should be doing all the time, even when they are home- that's the best way to parent them both now and in the future! The Lord gently reminded me that even when we have them in our care and I'm able to help meet their physical needs, I'll still need to pray just as diligently for them, and I'll still need to entrust them to his care.  This is precious training time, and not being able to care for our boys' physical needs is making us learn to be dependent on the Lord for them in a way that we might not experience if they were with us right now.  

None of this has been easy, but none of it has been wasted either. 


Christmas Mantel

Notice the two additional stockings this year? 


Looking Back...

Wow- these past weeks have been an absolute blur! There have been about a million things going on, both related to our adoption and outside of it that have kept our heads spinning. We're actually hoping to take some time in the next day or so to reflect on the past weeks/months/years so that we can record all of the answers to prayer and all of the ways that we've seen God's hand orchestrating all of the details that have come together for us recently. 

Thankfully, I had a little opportunity to do this over Thanksgiving. Our church has a tradition of having a Thanksgiving Eve service where people are given an opportunity to share about God's faithfulness to them over the past year. I've never gone up to share at this service, but this year I couldn't resist! I'm posting what I shared here because it briefly sums up how I'd describe these past years and also the past weeks since getting our referral: 
Many of you know that for the past two years we have been in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, and for several years prior to that we have been praying and waiting on the lord for children. 
We thought our wait time for our adoption would be about a year, and it was easily double that. There were many discouragements and disappointments along the way, but God sustained our hope and our trust. He refined us and used this trial to drive us more deeply into the love of Christ that was shown for us on the cross. We are different people now than we were when this all started, and I’m sure we’ll forever be thankful for these “painful but precious” waiting years. 
 Well, last week our waiting season came to an end. The Lord blessed us with the most beautiful twin boys in all of Ethiopia. They are four months old, and Lord willing, we will bring them home this spring. We love them already and are so thankful to the Lord for these precious little boys. We are humbled by the extravagant love and kindness of the Lord in all of this and feel as if we are standing beneath the waterfall of his blessing. It’s more than we can contain… we are overwhelmed and marveling at the undeserved kindness of the Lord to us. 
We always wanted twins, but we didn’t think it was going to be a possibility, and not only did he give us twins, he gave us the most perfect little twins in all the world! The following poem, written by William Cowper, was really helpful to me over the past years, and it seems especially fitting to share now in light of what God has done.
God works in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs
And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy,
And shall break in blessing on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flower

Thank you for praying for us over the years and for now rejoicing with us. We are blessed!


First Care Package

We got to send our first gift to the boys today! I found out before I went to work that there was a family traveling to Ethiopia on Friday and if I could get the care package to them by Wednesday, they'd be able to take it. So, I threw some things together (thankfully I had already done a little shopping), and shipped it out today during my lunch. And yes, those toys are hideous, but their bellies crinkle, they have rattles in their heads, and you can teeth on their feet, plus they can squish down into a small package. I hope they love them!

We already got to see a little video of them in their crib together from a family that recently traveled! This same family sent us a very detailed email about their time with the boys while in Ethiopia. Here's just a little of what they told us:
We cuddled them a lot when we were there and gave them massages.  The littler one liked it but the bigger one was always distracted by noise and activity. The bigger one can turn over or almost turn over from back to front by himself, and whenever we had him out of the crib on the floor or on the bed, he was really interested in what was going on around him and was twisting to see where noise was coming from.  He also is almost able to hold his own bottle – definitely able to grab it and guide it to his mouth if it’s propped up.
What a gift to get this information! It is so comforting to know that they are being well cared for and loved by so many people already!  

And, yes, we do have names in mind, but we aren't going to share them until we're totally set on them and possibly even until after we have passed court in Ethiopia and everything is legal. For now they are the big guy and the little guy... and we're okay with that!


The Details

I always imagined what it would be like when we finally got our referral. I pictured us sitting at our computer at home, opening the email together, I'd probably start crying, and then we'd spend the next several minutes (hours?) staring at their pictures and pouring over their information. I thought maybe we'd even video tape it so that we could share it with our kids someday. It didn't quite happen that way. 

We actually got the email while we were both at work. I knew there was no way we'd be able to wait until we got home to open the email together... we're both too impatient and the distraction of knowing that email was sitting in our inbox would have been more than we could have handled! So, we decided ahead of time that if we got the referral email at work, we'd just go ahead and open it. Thankfully, I didn't get the email until my students were already out of the room, so I had a little time alone in my classroom to look at everything. Right away I forwarded the email to Don at work and we both began to look over their pictures, and then began firing off tons of emails to each other in response. Eventually we did call each other and talk through all of it on the phone, but our email records show a little glimpse into what was going on. I took these right from some of our first emails to each other: 

Sara (to Don): I forwarded the pics. to you. I think they look great! Really sweet with gigantic eyes!
Don (to Sara): Wow. Yes, they look really great. Really beautiful boys. Huge eyes. 
Sara: Do you think they are sweet?!
Don: Yes. Very much so. They are very sweet. Beautiful eyes. Do you? What do you think?
Sara: They are SOOOO SWEET, cuter than I ever imagined!

We loved them instantly! Seriously. More than I ever thought possible. 

All of the official paperwork and medical records didn't come in until the next day, so we didn't say anything to anyone. Thursday night, we had our own little private celebration and went out for Giordanos pizza and then to pick out a matching set of pajamas. It was so fun to finally have their faces in mind and to know who it was that we had been praying for and waiting for all of these months!

And twins?! Can you believe it?! We didn't think there was any way we'd get twins, and we had long stopped praying for it (though I know many of you persisted on! thank you!). God certainly surprised us and gave us a better gift than we ever thought possible in these sweet little boys.

And seriously (not that it matters), they are BEAUTIFUL. They have the most perfect button noses, perfectly shaped pouty lips, and the most gigantic dark brown eyes. I wish we could share pictures, but until we pass court in Ethiopia, we won't be able to post their pictures publicly. 

There is so much more to share, but I'll save it for future posts. In the meantime, here's how you can pray for us now:

  • Pray that we will get a quick court date. We are hoping that our court date will be in the next 3-4 months. We will travel to Ethiopia at that point, and the adoption will be finalized in Ethiopia, though we won't get to bring them home until the US Embassy clears us for travel (which could be another 3 months or so from our court date).
    • This puts us at about 6 months until the boys are home, but we are PRAYING, PRAYING, PRAYING that it will be sooner! Please join us!
  • Pray that the rest of the process goes quickly and smoothly and that God will continue to sustain us as we wait. 
  • Pray for our boys. They are healthy as far as we know, but they are a little tiny. One is smaller than the other and could stand to put on a few pounds, plus his iron counts are low. Pray that God will nourish and protect their bodies and their health over these next months. Pray also that they will have people caring for them that will love them and attend to their needs (and kiss their sweet cheeks once in awhile!). 
Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying for us over these months and years. We are completely humbled by the undeserved kindness of the Lord in giving us these boys and by the love and support of so many of you! Please be encouraged that your prayers for us were not in vain, God has heard and has given us abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined! 



I can't believe I'm finally typing this!!! We got our referral on Thursday for TWIN boys. They are 4 months old and absolutely perfect. We love them already! 

Thank you for praying. It was worth the wait! I'll share more details very soon!!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23



14 ways that God has used others to love us during these past 14 months:
  • Our pastor meeting with us and counseling us, listening to us, and providing support and encouragement to us. 
  • Countless emails and messages from friends and family telling us they are praying for us. I could list you all, but you know who you are, and we are thankful for all of you and for each of the messages you have sent to us! (And, Rochelle, seriously, is there anyone more thoughtful than you?! Thank you for checking in on me so often and sincerely caring about how we are doing.)
  • A surprise advent basket last Christmas (that I still don't know who to thank for!).
  • A package left by my dear friend (and sister-in-law). This made my day/week/month, and I still look at it from time to time! I think I cried first when I saw this and then laughed as I read the whole thing! This took a lot of thought and time, and I'll never forget it. 
  • The diaper bag I've always dreamed of (and never thought I'd get) arriving at precisely the right time. Thank you, Elissa. God used you to remind me of his extravagant love on a day when I needed some encouragement. God is in the smallest of details- all the way down to you picking out the exact diaper bag I would have chosen for myself!

  • A letter from a woman in our church who was sensitive to a situation that was hard for me. Your prayers and compassion brought me to tears.  
  • People who bought and proudly wear our adoption shirts. I love seeing them on you!
  • Friends and family who contributed financially to help us bring our baby home. We have been humbled by your generosity. Thank you for partnering with us!
  • Sermons and songs that came at just the right moments.
  • My mom crying over the phone with me more times than I could ever count. Thank you for your listening ear and your loving words that often served as a healing balm for my heart. 
  • People who ask us how we're doing, even though it'd be easier to not bring it up.
  • The women in our church calling a special prayer time for our family. Thank you for seeing a need and responding with such love and compassion. 
  • People who buy us gifts for the baby, even though it's still so far away. You show us that this is real to you, and you help it seem more real to us. 
  • Friends and family that have donated furniture and toys to help us prepare our home. We are so thankful!
Though this has been a long journey, we have been well loved and cared for. Thank you!


Silent Days

Well, today has been another silent Friday. Today marks six weeks that we have been number 1 on our agency's list for an infant boy (which may not have been clear from earlier posts). Referrals tend to be given out on Fridays, though they could technically come any day of the week. Our agency informed us that they would be in meetings all afternoon today and that we wouldn't be able to contact our family coordinators until Monday (which translates in my mind to they will not contact us either), which means it's another silent day, and the cycle continues. The hope and expectation that this could be the week crashes down again until next week when we start hoping again that maybe this will be the week. Throughout this process there have been different lessons at the various stages... the latest lesson: submission to the will of God, whatever that looks like. 

I'm thankful I was able to catch this on the radio today. I was listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss interview a woman going through suffering and this stuck out me:  

I think what you (the woman being interviewed) are doing is helping people understand the sovereignty of God. It's been an incredible blessing and challenge to me to watch you say, "Though I don't understand this, yet I still trust that God is God, that He knows what He's doing, that He doesn't make mistakes, that He hasn't made any mistakes with my life, and I surrender myself to whatever He wants me to experience and to learn through all of this." 
I think of a number of women listening who have their own issues. It may be another physical affliction or a financial affliction or an affliction in their marriage or with a son or daughter that they cry themselves to sleep over at night, and they're saying, "This is so hard to understand." 
God's heart to that woman is, "You don't have to understand, but you do have to trust. Let Me be God. Trust that I know what I'm doing, that I'm too wise to make a mistake, and I'm too loving to hurt you except that I know that ultimately it will be for My glory and for your ultimate benefit."
Surely those truths mean more to me now than they ever did.  


Our little love

One of the positives of not having children yet (aside from being able to nap whenever we want, go out whenever we want, consistently sleep through the night, etc., etc.) is getting to love on our sweet nieces (and nephews-though they're a bit older and don't like to snuggle quite so much anymore!). We're able to focus on them and delight in them in a way that we might not be able to if we were distracted with our own kids. I'm thankful for that and for the relationships we've been able to build with all of our nieces and nephews during these child-free days. 

Tonight, Don's family came over and we got to celebrate with one of our nieces, Lucy, for her first Halloween. We love our little Lucy Lu, Lucy Girl, Lu Lu, Loopy, L, Sweetie Pie (you get the picture) so much. Sometimes I even swing by the nursery at church just to get a peek at her and possibly steal a little kiss on her sweet cheeks!

Here she is, starting the night out very stoically. Taking it all in...

Warming up... the baby doll is helping.

And she's off!

Hmm... Twix bar or baby doll? 

Happily sitting in the candy bowl...

Sweet little baby! We love you!!


Well Said...

I've been a bad blogger lately... mostly it's busyness- teaching, coaching, responsibilities at home and at church. Some of it though is due to the heaviness of the wait. Yes, we're close, closer than we've ever been, and yet somehow it's become so unreal to us over these long months that I can't imagine our phone ever ringing with that 703 area code that tells us it's our referral. We're number 1 on the list for an infant boy, the call could come any day, but there is still a genuine fear that it will never come. 

Someone shared this on our agency's yahoo group, and I thought it was so beautifully articulated. I know many people who have walked and are walking very painful journeys, but I don't know many at all that have walked the particular one that we are on. Sometimes it's helpful to hear from someone who has:
"The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only "I'm sorry for your loss." But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?" - Laura Bush


All Things Fall

I love this time of year! Right now we're enjoying football games, Honeycrisp apples, pulling out warm blankets, starting up the fireplace, and of course, fall decorating (though that's more me than Don!).


On Deck

The "good news" finally arrived today in the form of an email saying that we are officially "On Deck" to get our referral. We are so excited and so thankful for the encouragement as there really hasn't been any good news for us in the past 9 months. Seriously. 

The dark cloud that has been looming over us has parted just a little and light is shining through! There may actually be a baby for us in Ethiopia, and we may actually see his face soon!

Technically, being "On Deck" means that you're close. The referral could come at any time, most likely within 1-3 months. They let you know you are "On Deck" so that they can verify your request again, check to make sure they know how to contact you when the referral comes, and let you know what expenses will be due at the time of the referral. 

So, all that to say, it should happen within the next 3 months- though we're hoping for much sooner! Like, tomorrow would be nice.  


Waiting for Good News...

I decided after my last post that I wasn't going to post anything until we heard something GOOD. I felt weary of continuing to share the same information: more delays, more waiting, it's hard, we're doing okay. Some days/weeks/months are better than others. That pretty much sums up the last 22 months of this adoption process.

I had no idea when I made that decision that a very long time would go by without hearing anything GOOD. 

We're unofficially 3rd on the list with our agency for an infant boy, and we've been there for almost two months. We're just close enough to the top that there is a glimmer of hope that the referral could come any day (remember that four referral day several months back?), but we also know that being number 3 could still mean 6 more months of waiting for a referral, and then many more months of waiting for a court date.

So, we wait, and pray, and daily surrender it to the Lord to do as He sees fit for his glory and for our ultimate good. 

I read this recently from C.H. Spurgeon and it was used by God to help me take my eyes away from myself and to look to the preciousness of Jesus. I hope it is an encouragement to you as well.  
True have His promises been; not one has failed. I have often doubted Him, for that I blush; He has never failed me, in this I must rejoice. His promises have been yea and amen. I do but speak the testimony of every believer in Christ, though I put it thus personally to make it the more forcible. I bear witness that never servant had such a Master as I have; never brother had such a Kinsman as He has been to me; never spouse had such a Husband as Christ has been to my soul; never sinner a better Saviour; never soldier a better Captain; never mourner a better Comforter than Christ hath been to my spirit. I want none beside Him. In life, He is my life; and in death, He shall be the death of death; in poverty, Christ is my riches; in sickness, He makes my bed; in darkness, He is my Star; and in brightness, He is my Sun. By faith I understand that the blessed Son of God redeemed my soul with His own heart’s blood; and by sweet experience I know that He raised me up from the pit of dark despair, and set my feet on the rock. He died for me. This is the root of every satisfaction I have. He put all my transgressions away. He cleansed me with His precious blood; He covered me with His perfect righteousness; He wrapped me up in His own virtues. He has promised to keep me, while I abide in this world, from its temptations and snares; and when I depart from this world, He has already prepared for me a mansion in the Heaven of unfading bliss, and a crown of everlasting joy that shall never, never fade away. 


8 Years and a Mini Vacation

On July 26, we celebrated 8 years of marriage. The previous weekend we went on a mini-vacation to Michigan. We stayed in Saugatuck for one night and Traverse City for three nights. We had a GREAT time (despite the fact that it came on the heels of our big disappointment). 

Our hotel in Saugatuck. I spent most of my summers during high school and college working at various places in Saugatuck, so it was fun to come back now as a "tourist". 

Pumpernickles in Saugatuck still has the BEST cinnamon rolls ever. And doesn't Instagram make them look even sweeter?! 

We stayed right in downtown Traverse City, and it was so fun to be able to walk to the shops, restaurants, beaches, and river (guess who liked going to the river?). 

Here Don is fly fishing in the river. There were a few people who stopped and watched him fish for close to 30 minutes- it was so funny!

On Friday night, there were two different bands playing in the streets. One played Jazz music and the other did cover songs. There were also lots of stands and vendors out in the streets, which was really fun. 

Another fun experience on this trip was wine tasting. We went to 2 Lads, and the view was spectacular (overlooking Lake Michigan). 

One of the days we went to Leland, and it was such a cute town. We had lunch, walked around the shops, and of course, got some advice from the local fishermen. 

This was my meal one of our nights out. I'm only including it to prove that my tastes haven't changed much in the past twenty-five years. I'm still waiting to become the type of woman who chooses to order a salad instead of loaded cheese fries. 

Thankful for the 8 years of marriage God has given us (could say more on that), and thankful for our little getaway. And thankful that even in the midst of sadness and hard times, God gives so much joy as well. 


Two Weeks Ago

Exactly two weeks ago we saw the faces of two sweet little baby boys that we thought could possibly be ours. Through a strange set of circumstances, we received an email from a different adoption agency letting us know that they had 7 mos. old twin boys that were available for adoption and no families that were "paper" ready- meaning there were no families within their program that had completed their home studies. It was an unusual situation for them as an agency, but they remembered that we had contacted them earlier and had expressed a desire for twins. They asked if we'd be interested in receiving the information on the boys and possibly moving forward. Of course we said, "Yes!"

I could detail all of the things that happened over the next days, but most of that doesn't matter... what does matter is that we instantly fell in love with these little guys (even though we were TRYING to guard our hearts) and they ended up going to another family. 

I think the hardest part (aside from having their sweet little faces etched into our memories) was also that this potential referral felt like the answer to all of our prayers- or at least to the prayers from the past 21 months we've been in this process. After all of the delays and setbacks, it felt like somehow we were getting everything we had hoped and prayed for. And then it was all gone. The previous week when we were notified that the timeframe with our agency had extended again, I thought we were at the bottom... but through this we learned that there was still deeper to go. 

Within the first few days of finding out that we would not be getting the boys, Don typed up some of what we felt God was doing through all of this, and I'm included it here so you can see as well.  
  • “Does God really have something better for us?” Yes and no. From a human standpoint, I’m not sure that God has something better for us. From the world’s perspective, God does not always give us the best possible life. He does not cause every detail to work out perfectly from a human standpoint. (If that were the case, we would be billionaires, living in Hawaii with six perfect children). But from God’s perspective, I do believe that he has something better for us. He desires to give us more of himself, more fruitfulness, more freedom from sin, more fellowship with Christ, more holiness, faith, joy, and love, more likeness to Christ, more closeness with him. God will give us the best possible life in this sense, which is the best possible life indeed! He knew that getting those twin boys would not be the best for us in this way, and his love wouldn’t allow it.
  • “Why even go through this? What’s the point?” This has already had a purifying effect upon us. It has caused us to draw near to God and to want to center our lives more fully upon him. How silly to devote our lives to any other center. I believe that this is one of the primary reasons why this happened. This is one more little hammer blow that is meant to break through our selfish, dull hearts. God is preparing us for more of himself.
  • Disappointments like this make us look forward to the day when all disappointments come to an end. When Jesus appears, all disappointments will be gone forever. This cursed world will be transformed into a world of continual, non-stop blessing. Bring it on, baby. Our eyes are now a bit more focused on that day.
  • We have been reminded that we cannot interpret God’s love for us based on our circumstances. We must interpret God’s attitude toward us based on the cross. God was willing to crush his only Son for us. He gave his Son over to death so that we could be his. God does love us, and his love was shown in the most full and extravagant way on the cross. We have been reminded that our eyes need to stay fixed on the cross.
Thank you again to so many of you who have been praying for us. I wasn't able to post about any of this (or anything else) earlier because the wound was still too fresh. Since many of you are following our story though, I decided to share it as this is now part of our story. 

I so want to be able to post good news soon, and I thank all of you for walking this long road with us and for loving us so well through this journey! 


Plotting for our Joy

This has been helpful to me in recent days... 
“Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories is to help us feel in our bones not just know in our heads, that God is for us in all of these strange turns.
The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory. It’s more like a dark and seemingly unknown trail through the mountains. There are rockslides and slippery curves, and hairpin turns that make you go backward in order to go forward.
But along this hazardous twisted road that doesn’t let you see very far ahead, and may even make you feel like you’ve been lead to the edge of the cliff, God gives us encouragement and hope that all the perplexing turns in our lives are going somewhere good.
Often when we think God is farthest from us, and has even turned against us, the truth is, that he is laying a foundation for greater happiness in our lives. God is plotting for our joy. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ."
From John Piper's book, A Sweet and Bitter Providence


God Knows

Yesterday we got an email saying that the wait times for infant boys have increased again, and the wait is now 10-16 months. We are four days away from being at 10 months... and definitely part of the group that gets to the end only to have the end move further away from us (it was 4-6 months when we first sent in our dossier, at 6 months we were told 6-8 months, and at 8 months we were told 7-10, and now 10-16).

Reading something like this after all of these months (and years) knocks the wind right out of you. I felt like I couldn't breathe for a few moments, and I was barely able to compose myself enough to be able to call Don and tell him the update. 

It's hard. Really, really hard. And I don't even want to talk about it anymore. The pain and disappointment run deep and contain many complicated layers that I wouldn't be able to explain anyway.

But God was gracious to remind me today through many tears that He knows, He understands, and He is near. 
He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready to provide help... he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself.- Spurgeon on Psalm 46
Thank you to so many of you who have stood by us in prayer throughout these many months. It looks like it could still be a long road, and we appreciate your continued prayers. 



Summer Fun in Pictures

Here are some of the things that have been occupying my time this summer:

Redecorating our house by finding new purposes for old items. Here's one example... this "J" has been laying around for awhile. I've tried it in the bathroom, thought about it for the nursery, and finally moved it above the stove. 

Trying new recipes. My goal is one new recipe a week. This week was Caprese Chicken... it turned out great!

Gardening. Love, love, LOVE gardening... just realized it this summer! So fun. I've planted or transplanted at least 40 different perennials, bushes, or trees this summer. Seriously... 40, and I've loved every minute of it!

We re-landscaped the entire front of the house, including edging, laying sod, mulching, and doing all of the plantings. 

I've been sprucing up our furniture. Here is a glider I picked up at a resale shop last summer- I finally spray painted it, and it looks great!

These are some benches that were at the house when we bought it. The wood was loose, so I nailed them back together nice and tight and spray painted them red. So cute!

You can see in the backyard we also edged here and planted grass (Don edged, I mulched and planted the grass- it's coming in slow, but it's getting there!). Most of this whole area was dirt before. 

I've been reading this parenting book, and it's knocking my socks off! Seriously. I don't think I've read even one chapter without a few tears falling... it talks about "dazzling your kids with the love of Jesus", but you can't read it without being "dazzled" by this love yourself! Highly, highly recommend!

Definitely thought I'd be chasing a little one around this summer, but as it turns out, God has given me this time for some much needed rest, enjoyment, and time with Him.  It has been a gift, and I've loved every minute of it! 


Wedding Weekend

Yesterday, Don's youngest sister tied the knot. It was such a fun celebration and we're so thankful for both Sarah and Steve (her new husband).

As usual, I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but here's a little glimpse. 

At the rehearsal dinner

With Joe and Rachel

Our niece, Noella. Silly girl- love her!

The beautiful bride and groom- somehow I didn't get any pictures of them both facing me at the same time. 

Happy couple...

Don and I both got to stand up in the wedding to support Sarah and Steve. It was a great day- wish I had taken more pictures to capture it all!


9 Months DTE

I was going to use this post to highlight all of the ways adoption is NOT like a pregnancy (since so many people like to make that comparison). If adoption were like a pregnancy, we'd now have completed two consecutive "pregnancies" with at least one more full term ahead of us before we have our baby home. 

But, I'm going to resist the urge to do that and instead share with you our prayer list in regards to adoption in case you want to join with us. I know that many of you are praying for us, and we're so thankful for that.

Pure hearts
  • That our deepest, overriding passion would be for the glorification of God.
  • That we would have a growing, genuine, heart-level desire to picture forth the Gospel.
  • That we would come to a deeper understanding and delight in the fact that we have been adopted by God through Jesus.
  • That we would have a deep love for and compassion for orphans.
  • That Christ’s own love for orphans would be dwelling within us.
  • That we would not make an idol out of adoption.
  • That we would not make an idol out of having kids. 
  • That we would not seek meaning or to have our deepest longings fulfilled through adoption.
  •  That we would not seek to earn God’s favor through adoption.
Blessing on our current adoption efforts
  • Get our child or children home soon.
  • God’s presence and protection over the child.
  • That God would provide everything we need—spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, financially—to complete the task.
Vision for and blessing on future adoptive ministry
  • That God would clearly lead us to greater and greater adoption fruitfulness.
  • That he would give us a unified vision for what that will look like.
  • That we would be open to what God has for us.
  • That we would trust God enough to move forward in the ways he wants us to.
  • That God would greatly expand and multiply our adoption ministry, above and beyond what we could ask or imagine, for the sake of his name, and for the relief of suffering.
  • That God would fill our home with children that we can love and raise up to know and love Christ.


The Magic Touch

Guess who has the magic touch with our favorite 3 month old?

Well, those aren't my hands, and that's not my leg! 

As I tried comforting Lucy and helping her fall asleep, I walked around, snuggled her in close, kissed her head, made the classic "shhh" noice- all to no avail. 

Don took her, held her out like she was on a stretcher and started doing exercise squats with her (he was already doing a workout, and he just added her into his routine)- she was out in seconds. 

Who would have guessed?


Toy Bin

I picked up this little basket recently, and I'm thinking that I'm going to fill it with baby toys. 

I'm determined to not let toys overtake our home. I love to have the house looking clean, orderly, and stylish. Bright, primary colored toys that make strange noises, quite frankly, scare me. As does the toy aisle at Target, but that's another story.

I'm sure those of you with kids are probably laughing right now, but let me live in my dream world a little longer... if I just put a few fun things (blocks, teethers, some books, maybe a stuffed animal or two) in here, that's good, right? I'd keep this in our living room and hide away all of the other toys and books in cute little cubbies (and probably more baskets) in the nursery. 

What do you think? It's possible, right? 

And besides all of this, they were practically giving the basket away! It was on sale from $32 to $7 (yes, $7.98 is closer to $8, but I like to round down in cases like this). I just couldn't resist. 

And when I heard that they were giving a $20 same-as-cash-coupon if you bought anything with your Pier One charge card, well I couldn't resist even more. So, basically, buying this toy basket not only solves my toy problems (ha!), it also earned me $20.