30 November 2012

finally final!

Here is a little slideshow of our boys. It is mostly in chronological order. I had made another one, but for some reason it turned out all choppy & weird. Brad swooped in and saved the day by quickly transferring pictures to this version last night. {I had originally added captions with the babies' names on their photos. You'll have to just watch closely and look for the color-coding hints... generally Lincoln wears red and Franklin wears green. So if one of those colors is more dominate you can guess who is who. But SO many of our clothes for the boys have been given to us and therefore the color-coding isn't super consistent.}
 


The song is "Mine to Love" by Dave Barnes.

24 November 2012

Thankful!


We have so very much to be thankful for this year. Including each person that added a feather to our Turkey this year (and we're thankful for those of you that didn't too - you know who you are!) 


We tried a couple variations of the picture, the sitting one didn't last long and turned out a smidge blurry, as you can see.  The standing pose above, well, the babies r-e-a-l-l-y wanted to get their hands on some of those crosses on the cross wall!

We had a great Thanksgiving celebration.  The babies were absolutely thrilled with the amount of food and the number of choices they were given.  Brad had to work in the morning, but thankfully he was home all afternoon.  We are truly blessed!

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 
 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

19 November 2012

National Adoption Month

first meeting
Did you even know that the month of November is dedicated to adoption awareness?  I'm not sure I did until we started on this process. 

Oh, and fun fact :: I thought our child(ren) would be placed in our home during that first National Adoption Month after we finished our home study in 2010.  And get this - I thought the adoption would be finalized by the end of that same month.  It is almost laughable now {praise God} but I really believed it would be fast.  And easy.

Our experience with adoption has been neither fast nor easy.  But we have learned a whole lot.  Some things we've learned, if I'm being honest, I'd like to unlearn.  There are some hard truths out in the adoption world.  Things that unsettle, unhinge, and more or less just wreck a person.  And once you are wrecked, you can't be unwrecked.  But the glory of it is that God makes something beautiful in that messy space.  And that wreck in your heart becomes a humble place for obedience.  So, maybe I don't want to unlearn it after all.

second meeting
 "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing, but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."  Psalm 68:5-6



 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27




"But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortal  will never again strike terror." Psalm 10:14, 17-18



All that to say.  There are a few things I want to tell you in honor of National Adoption Month.  And its sort of hard to even know where to start.  Don't worry, this is not a post to try and convince you to adopt.  I'm pretty certain the Holy Spirit has got that covered.  Rather, its just a bit about how to be a part of adoption in general.  More than anything, I think, I want you to know that you have a role to play.  And its important.  Here's why:

1.  A lot of people don't know very much about adoption.  See the 2nd paragraph and you will know that I was once one of the ignorant ones.  I do not mean ignorant in the sense of idiotic so much as lacking-information.  Its not an insult, its an observation.  Folks just do not know things.  And they don't realize that they don't know...so they say things that lead you to an awkward place really quickly.  This can be a very isolating and frustrating experience for the adoptive family.  For example a nurse at the doctor's office recently launched into a tale of a baby with FAS and all of his issues after learning that the babies with us were our new sons.  Awkward. And not helpful.

2.  Adoption is expensive.  But so are children in general.  Somewhere along our journey after yet another well-meaning-encourager told me how great it was that we were adopting from foster care instead of "paying all that money to get a baby from somewhere else" it hit me.  Babies cost money.  Each one.  I haven't done the math, but I think if I added up the costs from when I was pregnant for all of my doctor's visits, prenatal vitamins, blood tests, labwork, ultrasounds, acupuncture, adjustments, maternity clothes (why not?), plus all the costs of labor + delivery... we'd be awfully close to the price of an agency-assisted adoption.  {And maybe beyond that price with my induction + epidural with Walker.}  And while we aren't really paying anything out-of-pocket for our adoption, the State is paying. There is still a cost.  And I am certain that there is not a price you could tell us today that we would say, "No way, these babies are not worth that much!"  Every child is worth it. 

3.  Adoption is a battlefield.  I feel like we have had to fight {hard + often} along the way.  I know other adoptive families that have done the same.  I have had people in church pull me aside and whisper "why are you adopting?", and I've felt judgement when I expected joy.  Somehow, the horror stories in adoption are the stories that Christians retell most often.  I don't know why, but I have a theory.  I think Satan hates adoption.  Russell Moore wrote an excellent book called, "Adopted for Life" and in it he writes, "The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.  As we become more attuned to the gospel, we'll have more of a burden for orphans.  As we become more adoption-friendly, we'll be better able to understand the gospel."  Moore does clarify that he doesn't believe Christians should adopt out of some sort of obligation like donating to the building fund.  And to be clear, we do not believe that either.

So you might be wondering what role you have to play in all of this. 


In a nutshell : Learn, pray, give. 


Learn more about adoption, might I suggest you read "Adopted for Life" as a starting point?  This was the first book I read after we felt certain we should adopt.  Rather than convince us of anything, it confirmed what we already knew - and put it into words that helped us understand better how God was leading us through His story.  I think reading it would help anyone have a better understanding of adoption as it relates to Jesus...both as the act of adopting a child and the process of becoming an adopted Child of God. Having more knowledge about adoption will allow you to be a support for those families that are adopting, and help avoid awkward conversations!   [Click here for purchasing information!]

One of the absolute best things we did in our journey is ask others to pray.  I have a chicken-scratch-list of emails on a notecard near our computer and I emailed this group of ladies regularly about how the process was moving along (or not moving along).  These ladies encouraged me in my worn-out-weary-state more often than I can say.  Their well-timed words were soothing, encouraging, and strengthening.  They are forever a part of our family's adoption story.   They continue to be a vital part of this process.   So if you know someone that is considering adoption or is in the process of adopting... volunteer to pray with them.  And then do it.  Often.  This will help in the battlefield of adoption more than you or I can know.

And one more practical thing you can do?  Give.  If you know a family that is adopting there is a good chance that they are needing to raise funds.  Not always, but often. So ask what they need.  And give.  Maybe you can trade services or goods, or host a yard sale.  You might be able to offer something that will translate into funds for them, even if you can't hand over cash.  Whatever you can give will help with the expense of adoption.

And if we happen to be the only family that you know personally that is in the middle of this adoption journey, well, I have a suggestion. ;)

I am guessing that if you have read this far than you r-e-a-l-l-y love our family.  And there is a good chance that you would have given as much as you could if we had needed you to.  But God provided for our adoption in another way.  So today I'd like you to consider if you might like to make a donation in Lincoln and Franklin's honor to help bring home some baby girls from India.  My friend, Aimee, and her husband and two boys are adopting two sweet girls from India.  God has brought in an astonishing $37,000 toward their adoption and they are in the final push for the remaining $10,000.  I assure you, every little bit helps.   I will send you an email with further details about donating to their adoption.  Leave a comment or email me if you would like this information.