This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

This is from Kerry Hasenbalg's blog.  She's amazing and she (and her friend Lydia, whom she quotes in this post) are saying just what i've been needing to hear these last few days.  

Moving the Mountain of Self

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear"  I John 4:18

I just ran across a wonderful thing tonight written by a friend of mine, Naomi, who is still in the very long process of waiting to adopt her child, which she has been matched with, from China.  I thought it was worth sharing her words because to me it speaks a profound, but perhaps difficult to hear, truth:  She writes, "I believe that God can move mountains and take us to China earlier if it is His will, but I also believe that He wants to move the mountain of self and unbelief in our hearts first."  

So, to you, my sister in Christ, Naomi, I say, "wise words, and AMEN!"   I believe the biggest spiritual mountains standing in the way of us experiencing greater and more blessed things in this life more readily are very often the mountains of our own self-will, pride, fear, jealousy, idolatry, judgment, and certainly unbelief. ...We stumble more over our own issues than probably anything else that is "in our way".  And perhaps God allows these circumstantial things to be in our way, so that we will notice the nasty blemishes of our souls which we are now being forced to address out of necessity and desire to move on.  It is God's great love for us that He often calls us to wait..and wait..and wait for certain blessings and resolutions to come to pass so that He can do a great and necessary work in us in the meantime; which is often the building up of our faiths...believing first what we cannot see. So that when our desires are fulfilled, we are surely aware that the credit and glory belongs to God. The Father's goal is to transform us into a beautiful church, as a radiant, faithful and humble Bride for His Son, Jesus. He desires for us to know His love for us and His ability to save.  He cares far more about our holiness than our happiness at this point in the eternal scheme. Are we complaining that we haven't reached our individual promise lands in our timing, all the while circling in the desert because we can't see where we are going due to the mountains of our own sin blocking the way. Instead of blaming God as we often do, we perhaps might take a page from the days of Moses and thank the Lord for long-suffering with such a stiff-necked and unbelieving people as us. It may seem that we are the only ones waiting, but let us not forget all the patient waiting God is doing on us as well (not to mention all the saints who have waited and learned patience before us).  

And as for the orphans and other vulnerable one who wait while we wait, we ask you Lord to be with them and comfort and protect them in the meantime.  We claim your scriptural promise specifically for all the children who are waiting to come home at last, which says "We know that you are able to keep that which we have entrusted to you until that day."  We also know that you are not causing all the delays which "plagued" or human hearts, but we also believe you are using the these things to transform us along the way. And while we are "waiting", please help us choose not to fear or get in a mode of worldly striving and self-righteous control which can harm us and others. Minister to our hearts of your fatherly and unfailing love.  

God knows what stands in our way and He loves us, and so we must simply keep making our requests known to Him and then trust Him to do what is best for us.  And most assuredly, in His timing, He will answer our prayers and move what must be moved for His will to come to pass. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want...I shall trust and be willing to see what He is showing me about me - in me - so that I can be as He intends me to be for His glory and for my blessing. Everyone has times of suffering and waiting in this life, but not everyone grows in faith and matures in character in the process. Much of the outcome in us is our choice to enter in to His love and light.    
"He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation." Luke 3:3-6 Our part is still the same - prepare the way by repenting of our sins and being willing to be cleansed. And His part as well is still the same- move the mountains, straighten our paths, smooth what is rough, and Save us! Lord you tell us in your Word that if we had the faith of a mustard seed, we could moves mountains...We want to have this necessary faith. "Lord, we believe, please help our unbelief." Naomi's Adoption Blog Link

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Carnaval in Brazil

This week was Carnaval in Brazil and all around the world.  I don't want to get into the religious, theological or moral questions that are always raised when a Christian talks about the event.  I just want to ask the Lord to hasten the day of our Brazilian Celebration, for we know that being united with our children will be as joyful an occasion as Carnaval is to so many Brazilians.  The colors, the smiles, the zeal.  I already feel the joy of meeting our children, and I can hardly wait to experience it fully.  

Courts are closed in Brazil for Carnaval, so we're hoping for news shortly after.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quilt #2

We are such a TEAM!  We worked together and got the second quilt just about done in one day! 

Quilt #1

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 2

Here is where we are at the end of day 2 of quilting.  A few last fabric squares are trickling in from neighbors, friends, and today, one from James' first grade teacher, Mrs. Laughlin.  We are so grateful to everyone whose prayers and pieces are a part of this quilt.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Under Way

The quilt is coming together.  Here are some pictures from the end of one day of work.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Putting the Pieces Together

I've talked with Gram, and we're all set to spend Tuesday together.  I'm hoping that we'll be able to plan a design for the quilt so that I can spend the rest of my vacation week putting the pieces together.  (For contributors who have filed for extensions, this is good news.  I'll still be sewing all week.  That may give you another day or two to bring us your squares!)

As excited as I am to start working on the quilt in earnest, I'm more excited to spend some good quality time with my Gram.  I'm pretty sure we've never had a whole day together, just the two of us... ever.  She is an amazing lady, full of wisdom and stories of her life and her travels.  She just turned 90 and is full of zeal for life.  

The two of us at Gram's 90th birthday party

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Beautiful diversity ...or... Amazed by Grace


Since just before Christmas, 2008, we have been reaching out to our friends and family members from near and far and asking them to pray for our family and for our far-off children.  We have been asking our friends and family to send us a little symbol of the love and prayers they have offered the Lord on our behalf.  Nearly every day since then, we have received little envelopes, bags, packages, folders with little squares of material and messages of love and support.  These we have carefully cataloged, stored, and thanked the Lord for.  

This little project has done our hearts a world of good.  Keeping our hands busy helps to keep our hearts from breaking with the knowledge that our beloved ones are far from us.  The time spent working on the project is also time spent in prayer for our future family and our children where they now live.  Knowing that we are building something tangible that will someday soon wrap around the bodies of our dear ones makes it feel like we are mothering and fathering them already.  The diversity of the patches brings us joy as we think about the diversity in our future family.  Working on this quilt together and with our houseguest, SuJeong has given us time to enjoy the moments we are given together and be thankful for the life we have even before our children are in it.  Most of all, touching and feeling the symbols of so much prayer on our behalf is a humbling experience.  What sustains us?  God's own hand and nothing else.  What will bring us together as a family?  The power of God and his Will for us.  

There is more to come.  (In fact, 8 new squares came while we were taking these pictures.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Distracted / Soon

I just wanted to confess here on this page that I'm distracted.  Those who know me best would say that "distracted" is not too far off of my normal pattern of behaviors, but even aside from my normal scattered personality, I'm a different kind of distracted.  I'm distracted from my normal, everyday activities by the thought that my children are somewhere other than here with me and that I am doing useless activities that do not involve mothering.  

Usually, I keep this journal pretty upbeat, hopeful and positive, but lately (the last few weeks) I've had trouble thinking about anything other than my darling children--whoever they are.  I know that we are closer than we've ever been to knowing our children and falling in love with them--and I'm thankful for that.  But there seems to be a magnetic pull that comes along with getting closer to that day.  It pulls my mind and my heart in that one direction all the time.  

Could this have something to do with another birthday approaching?  Another year gone by full of questions and short on answers?  2 years, 7 months going by since submitting our first dossier?  Something about a "biological clock" telling me it's time to mother?  Emotions going haywire because of the possibility (POSSIBILITY) that this long wait could soon be over?  Oh, I don't know.  

I talked on the phone with a dear woman from our church the other day.  She is one of those prayer warriors who, I swear, has a direct line to God.  (Let's not get into theology here... I know about the priesthood of all believers.)  She is a woman who is continually on her knees and faithful to lift her heart and her cares to the Lord.  She asked me how she could pray for us.  She told me in sweet lullaby tones that I could ask her to pray for anything, and that she would lift it to the Lord.  Sweet saint.  I told her that I wanted her to pray that it would be SOON that we would meet our children.  Wise sister.  She told me that surely the Lord had purposes and that He was using this time to prepare us in every way that He needed us to be prepared.  Darling friend.  I told her that I was thankful that God has allowed us this time to grow in Him and to learn and be prepared.  I told her that I was thankful that God has allowed us to be conscious of the blessing of this time and grateful for every minute of it--really!  I asked her to pray that it would be SOON.  She reminded me that the Lord's timing is perfect.  Yes.  It is.  I trust that with all my heart.  And I asked her to pray that it would be very soon.  

Soon for my heart's sake, yes.  But soon for my children who have spent today without the love of a mother and father and will go to sleep tonight in a temporary home.  Pray that it will be soon.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Portuguese Phrasebook

There are plenty of things that I should be more diligent about: exercising, keeping things tidy, emptying the dishwasher, walking the dog, reading my Bible, keeping up with friends... the list goes on. The main thing right now is studying my Portuguese. Well, here's something I found today that I hope will both motivate me and help keep me focused.