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!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ready to talk

I titled this post several days ago.  Ready to Talk.  I guess I wasn't really.  I'm still not sure if I'm ready to talk, but if we're let God move us on, it's important to document where we've been and what we've learned.

We got our hearts tangled up in thinking about being parents to the two boys we petitioned for.  Maybe too much.  Maybe too soon.  We must have prayed for and about them for a hundred hours in the short time we knew about them, and we know that literally hundreds of loving friends and family members lifted our petition to God as well.  

So why aren't we angry at God for not answering our prayer?  We couldn't have prayed more.  Or more fervently.  Or with more faith.  Why?  Because God answers prayers His way, not ours.  And it's a good thing too.  We know what we want and what we wish for, but we don't know the whole story from beginning to end.  God's plans are perfect and they are meant to bring Him glory... not us.  In fact (after the disappointment wore off), I've felt more peace than I can understand.  If 10,000 prayers were offered asking God to have His way, and the answer is "no," then I am certain that this is what God chose for us.  Waiting a little longer.  And it's hard not to imagine that He will do something amazing in the wake of this disappointing answer to prayer.  We may not know what that is yet, but we are resting securely in knowing that His plans are better than ours and trusting that He will make our family whole.

We are grateful to our friends for all the encouraging words we heard during the last week.  We are blessed even when the answer is no.  

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fw: Petition

Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 8:33:04 PM
Subject: Limiar

Hi Kim

I am so sorry to inform you that the boys were placed with a Brazilian family.  Let's believe that God knows the right child for you and that those boys weren't the ones.  I tried the best I could, you moved fast too, I guess it wasn't supposed to happen. 


* I will not be here tomorrow morning but if you want to call me I will be here on Wednesday.

Everything's in place

The last stitches were put in place in both quilts this weekend.  Grandma Janet helped trim the edges and attach the binding.  She hand-stitched the binding on the whole first blanket!  (Of course, I forgot to take pictures.)  Grandma Sarah helped me sew the binding on the second quilt and stitched the last stitch. 

Both quilts are now complete!  So many hands have touched these quilts and so many prayers have been offered for our children.  These blankets will oneday be a treasure for them.  We are more than grateful for all those who have had a part in praying our children home and all those who will have a part in welcoming them when they finally arrive.


Sunday, March 22, 2009


We needed to get away.  I think we'd been focusing so much on the agony of waiting to hear if the court will grant our petition to adopt the 2 boys that we were stressing ourselves out.  So, we went to spend the weekend with our parents in PA.  Instead of checking my email 87 times a day, I only checked it about half a dozen times all weekend.  And I've felt great peace.  Of course, the court wouldn't have done anything over the weekend anyway, but I think the prayers of so many friends and family members are filling my heart with a calmness that I haven't felt in a few weeks.  

Saturday morning I went to a women's missions breakfast with my mom.  She gave her testimony to the group and we listened to a guest speaker who is involved in prison ministry in Pennsylvania.  Miss Ann is her name and she sat next to me for breakfast before she spoke.  

It seems my parents have their whole church praying for us and our children and our petition, so everyone knew who I was and they all asked for updates.  When Miss Ann got up to begin her talk, she said, "Before I get started, please let me pray for Kim and her husband and the two boys in Brazil that they are hoping to adopt."  She prayed that God would "show off" his power by working mightily to bring these two home to us quickly.  After her talk, she found me and said she wanted to tell me one more thing.  She told me about a volunteer at her ministry who has two daughters and is pregnant with a third child.  This woman and her husband strongly desired to have a boy, so Miss Ann sopped them right there and prayed that God would give them a boy.  She said to me, "And guess what... they're having a boy!"  

She's a passionate woman who has full confidence in her Lord and in the power of His Word and effectiveness of prayer.  She reminded me of how big and how active our God is.  

So, we're still praying, but at least for the moment, we are also resting in God's peace.  

Also, while we were away, we worked on binding the quilts, and so... one is DONE and one is just a couple hours from being done.  Thanks Mom!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts & Prayers

Hi, this is James writing today--it's my first blog entry on Perfect Provision.  Kim has done such a wonderful job faithfully documenting our adoption journey on the blog these past few years, and she has spoken so eloquently about matters from both her heart and mine.  However, as I'm sure you noticed from her last entry, we've had quite an emotional week!  I just felt like I needed to write and share some of my thoughts also.
  • I have had such a hard time focusing at work this past week.  Thinking and praying about the two boys in Brazil has really preoccupied me, and I have felt so distracted from my job.  I generally try to keep a healthy perspective and balance between my "work" life and my "home" life, but this feels like another thing altogether.  It really puts into perspective what matters most.  My passion for architecture and my enjoyment of my job are amazing gifts from God's gracious hand, but they pale in comparison to the heart He has given me for my family, my responsibility as a husband, and my desire to be a father.  God, help me be a strong husband and father.  Draw me closer to you so that I may be the man you have called me to be.
  • I told one of my friends this week, a new father himself, that I couldn't imagine how much of a parent's day must go into thinking about their kids!  I don't even know yet if these two wonderful boys in Brazil have been chosen by God to be our sons, but I can't get them off of my mind.  God, you know every thought in my mind and every desire of my heart.  Help me to focus on You constantly so that all my thoughts and desires will be of You, and not of my own selfish desires.
  • I "miss" my children.  I know, it sounds crazy, right!  But I can't think of another word to use.  I don't even know who they are yet, but I miss them.  It's the only emotion that comes even close to expressing how my heart has been feeling.  All this time, while knowing God would reveal His will in His perfect timing, I have been missing my children.  And now that I have the names and faces of these two particular boys in my heart, I miss them even more.  Could these be my sons?  Oh Lord, I know your plan will be perfect whether these boys are my sons or not, but oh how my heart longs for them.
  • I don't think I have ever prayed for any one thing so much in my life as I have for these two boys this past week.  In general, I have not been the most consistent pray-er in my life, and I haven't always made a point to go daily to the Lord with my prayers.  I heard someone say once, "we sing 'sweet hour of prayer,' but God's lucky if He gets even a few minutes a week."  That has definitely been me most of my life.  But a few weeks ago, Kim and I committed to praying daily for our children "whoever they are" each night before bed.  Shortly after we started our daily prayers, we received the information about these two boys.  I'm not trying to insinuate at all that our particular prayers, as an example of our own selfish works, had anything to do with the fact that shortly afterwards we received information from Brazil, but I am celebrating the fact that He frequently uses trying or difficult  circumstances to draw us closer to Him.  Even in the past few weeks, Kim and I have become more comfortable praying in front of each other and in going to the Lord with our thoughts--we hope and pray that, whether or not these are our sons, we will be able to keep daily prayer in our lives.  Lord, help me be a strong example as a pray-er in my family, for my wife and my children.  I want to have a household where prayer is a daily activity, where praising You and going to You with our joys, praises, fears, and concerns is "normal."
  • At the same time I have been praying this week with very particular words at times, it has also been one of those "groans without words" praying weeks too.  Romans 8:26-27 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."  There have been times when all I could consciously say was, "Lord, you know my heart--please take it all."  Other times, I have silently said the boys' names, held them in my heart, and lifted them to the Lord.  Lord, you know my heart--please take it all.
  • It's been hard to know what to pray for this week.  At the same time I want to pray for the Lord's will to be done whether or not these are our sons, I also feel like it is appropriate to petition God from the deepest depths of my heart that I want to be a father to these two boys.  I also know that I need to pray that God is preparing a proper home for them, whether or not it is in His plan for Kim and me to be their parents.  God, not my will but thy will be done.  But if You will it, oh that Kim and I could be parents to these two boys.
  • Today before church, I sat down in one of the pews to pray for these boys.  Afterwards, I took one of the pew Bibles out and opened it up.  The first thing my eye went to was Psalm 127:  "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves.  Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate."  God, the desire of my heart is to build a household that loves and fears You.  Your word tells us that children are a gift from your gracious hand.  If it is in your plan that these two boys are our sons, we pray that you bring them to us without delay.
  • There are a number of things in the mix that might make it seem like our petition would be denied by the Brazilian courts.  As Kim mentioned, this is namely the fact that other agencies were also provided with the information about these two boys, that the referral may be quite desirable due to the children's age, and the fact that other people have been waiting longer in the system and those petitions might be given preferential treatment.  It is because of all these things that, if the petition is granted, it will be all God's doing.  Of course we know it's all God's doing to begin with!  But He has been so faithful in  sustaining us through this process because we have tried to remain focused on Him.  He's led us to adopt internationally, sustained us through years of "waiting," showed us clearly it was His will that we switch countries--He was in our heart when we decided with that switch to request siblings, and He has challenged us to consider older aged referrals than we initially thought.  All these things were against all odds, even "crazy"!  It is for this reason that we know that, if our petition to adopt these two boys is granted, God has been using all of this waiting, this preparation, this longing in our hearts in order to glorify Himself.  What a joy it would be for us to tell of this miracle!  Lord, we praise you because you are a God who can work against all odds.  We praise you because you are able to use imperfect people and systems and governments and actions to carry our your will.  We know that your hand is in everything that goes on in this world, but when the "impossible" happens, we see your hand at work even more clearly.  Regardless of the outcome of this petition, we have felt you working in our lives these past few years, and we know that you are faithful always. not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  (Hebrews 10: 35-36)

*Deep breath* Sigh...


Requesting Prayer

I know it's been over a week since I wrote, and that usually means nothing is going on in the adoption process.  This time, it means that SO MUCH has been going on that we've really been unable to post--so much time spent talking, processing, praying and hoping.  

Last Friday we got a referral.  We got information about two boys (7 years old and 3 years old) whom we are both very interested in adopting.  On Tuesday, we submitted a petition to the court of minors in the state of Parana, but it turns out that we're not yet sure whether it's the big news we've been waiting for.  The referral was not sent just to us.  It was sent by CEJA to several different agencies (probably).  That means that there could be several different families reviewing the same information we reviewed and submitting petitions just as we did.  In all likelihood, most other families have had their paperwork waiting in Brazil longer than us, and would therefore receive preference over us.  We are told by LIMIAR that we should know in a couple weeks whether the court grants our petition or not.  

First things first:  if you're reading this, PRAY!  Please pray our documents to find favor in the eyes of the courts so that these two little boys might be our sons.  Pray for whoever is reading and approving our dossier and our petition that they will see Jesus on every page and between every line and just know that they need to place these boys with our family.  Pray that God will be glorified through this step of the process and that the boys will be placed very soon in the home that God has chosen for them.

Second things second.  I may be stating the obvious here, but we're a wreck.  Though we're trying our hardest to guard our hearts to keep them from being broken, we are already falling in love with these two sweethearts.  There is so much about them and their story that makes us feel like we could and should be their parents.  Though we've reviewed a few other kids' files (see this post that I wrote back then but didn't post until now), and had our hearts broken by what we've read, this is the only time that we've both been smitten and felt strongly about wanting to adopt them.  We are hoping that this tug on our hearts for these two boys is God's voice revealing to us who our children are.  We are distracted all the time and praying harder than we've ever prayed before.  

We submit to His will for our family--and we hope it's these boys.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Laying down my control

James is powering through his ARE exams toward becoming a licensed architect.  Today he took the 6th of 7 tests, and he wasn't quite done by the time I was ready to leave work.  It was a warming day after a big snow on Monday, and it seemed like a good day for a walk.

Turns out I needed the 45 minutes alone for some thinking and praying.  God revealed some ugly truths about my heart, and I spent the whole time home trying to find a way to lay them down at His feet.  This was a real battle between flesh and spirit.  See, my mind knows all of this is ridiculous, but here is what my heart has been saying:
  • If I pray fervently enough...
  • If I pray enough times...
  • If I behave patiently...
  • If I tell God my longings...
Then I'll free God up to finally reveal who our children are.  

Now, I'm sure that praying fervently and frequently, having patience and opening your heart to God are never  bad things, but what my heart was trying to do was control God's hand.  If I do... then a referral will come.  If I do... then I will have peace.  I, I, I.  I actually felt like my actions were what would cause God to move.  

Even as I heard myself confessing that my heart believed itself to be in control of God, I struggled with not even knowing how to lay that down.  I desperately want to be rid of this false idea that God acts because of what I do--but how can I tell my heart to stop leading me this way?   Can you hear it?  Even in that statement... I'm trying to control it.  I CAN'T get my heart to behave another way.  He has to do that work in me.

So, I decided that in faith, I would tell the Lord that I wanted to be rid of this manipulative attitude and that I wanted Him to be in control (at the same time hearing my heart say, "that should do it, tell Him He's in control... that'll get you what you want).  I'm not sure if I've ever felt so conflicted in my own self and I was acutely aware that one half of the conversation was sin talking, and the other half was the Lord.  So, I told Him I wanted to lay it down, and that I didn't know how, and that my flesh was still holding on tightly... but that I really wanted Him to take it from me.  

That was all I knew how to do.  After all, His grace is greater than my sin and He is more powerful than my sin-sick heart.   

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


We've learned some new information about CEJA (Brazil's State Judiciary Commission on Adoption) this week.  Seems that the CEJA offices in Rio and Sao Paulo have closed to the US because of something to do with the way the US is implementing the Hague Convention on International Adoption.   Rio and Sao Paulo were two of the states we thought our dossier might travel to, but in light of these new events, our dossier is safe at home in Paraná in the south of Brazil.  The only other state LIMIAR works in is Pernambuco, way up north, but we're told that Pernambuco rarely makes referrals of children in our age range.  

So, it seems we know more specifically where our children (probably) live.  The capital and largest city of Paraná is Curitiba (Koo-ree-chee-ba), which was the home of all 12 children adopted by the 3 American families we are familiar with (2 from our agency, one from another).  Seems like God is doing what he does, and putting us right in the exact spot where He wants us.  I can begin to see Him using the feet of those who've gone before us to tread a path of blessing.   I can begin to imagine Him taking away our worry about where to stay, how to get around, what to do with our time in Brazil with our children.  I can even hope that some of the children who have come home from Curitiba to their American parents in the last year would have been friends with our children, and that someday we could meet with them in sweet fellowship.  

I was reminded while speaking with Luciana today that we must just be patient.  I think I'd forgotten that for a while, thinking that it "could be any time now."  That is uncertain.  What is certain is that we will be parents someday--someday we will see our children.  


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Almost done

Looks like tomorrow's shaping up to be a snow day, and I'm looking forward to the time at home to finish up the quilts.  Here are some pictures of the first quilt with it's boarder in place. 

We've gotten a great blue backing and decided that we will be tying the quilt with some beautiful blue embroidery floss instead of sending it off to be machine quilted.  The second quilt will have a boarder with the same pattern, only black on white instead of white on black.  They will both be finished with black binding.  

Finishing up the quilts has been a little more emotional than I'd anticipated.  We've waited so long to have children to hold, and these blankets are the most tangible thing we've had to hold since we started dreaming about adopting our children.  It's beautiful, but it really makes me feel deeply the fact that they are missing from us right now.  

I've mentioned this to a few of our close friends, but the waiting is harder now than it's ever been because it could be soon... or it might be still off in the distance.  It was easier to wait for something that we knew would be years out in the future.  Now, not knowing whether it's right around the corner or far down the road, it's a bit unsettling.  

We're praying that God will speak loudly and give us ears to hear His voice.  We want to surrender our family to Him.  

Easier said than done... pray for us.