Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A year ago...

A year ago, today, you were only a picture. A precious, little boy in overalls, who stole our hearts with your sweetness. We decided to take a step of faith. It was time for us to quit hugging the beam and begin to walk purposefully toward you. They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step. So, we took the first step, we signed the papers that would be the first of many stating that, "Yes, this boy is our son!" We committed our hearts to you one year ago, today.

Since then, we have had the great JOY of meeting you and learning about you. We know that you are loving, generous (a trait not often found in an orphan boy), that you laugh easy and often and that you love with your whole self. We have also learned that you are willful and headstrong and are going to be our greatest parenting challenge, yet. We look forward to showing you love, while giving you the boundaries that will allow you to reach your greatest potential.

Mostly, as we acknowledge this 365th day of waiting for YOU. We want you to know that we don't regret one second, of one minute, of the journey. We are so in love with you and eagerly await the day when we will be yours and you will be ours forever. You still have no idea what's waiting for you. My precious boy, you are going to be a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a friend. You are going to be cherished, chosen, loved, valued, adopted. We can hardly wait.

We couldn't let this day pass by unnoticed. It's the day we put all our cards on the table. We told God, "We're ALL in!" Our lives began to match our words of faith, as we stepped into God's calling for our family. I can't tell you how blessed this year has been and how often we've found Jesus waiting in the most unlikely of places. We will never be the same and your life is forever changed.

We love you, little boy and we're coming soon.

I wanted to add, that all it took to give Samuel a home, was obedience. We're not special people, we're not chosen people, we're simply obedient people. There are many children waiting for a home, waiting for obedient people to come and redeem them into a family. Sweet Bernadette is one of those precious children. A year from now, she will either be at home with her family or she will be locked away forever in a mental institution. Please, pray and share Bernadette's story with everyone you know. So that one day soon, we can read a love note written to Bernadette from her family and we can smile and know that we had a little part in her miracle.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...They're worth it!

Hidden in Christ,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Generous Gift

"All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:4

I come to you with these stories of God's people and their faithfulness to our family and to His calling on this journey to our boys. Each time, I am certain that I have seen Jesus in the face of the giver and I cannot wait to get back here and share the overwhelming mercy and faithfulness of God.

God began to weave this next thread into our tapestry in June of this past year. I know, it was June, because I met my new friend at our big yard sale fundraiser. I believe she contacted me on facebook after the event and we began to chat. She had been touched by our boys and had messaged me to let me know that she had collected money for us at her church. She wanted to know when I could meet her and what else she could do to help. This stranger, who from the moment I met her, exuded the awesome love of Christ.

My friend has had a rough year and even when her life must have felt in shambles, she came alongside our family and did anything she could to encourage and support us. It was one of my greatest griefs to learn that while I was in Eastern Europe meeting my boys, my precious friend walked through the most difficult season of her life. She waited til I was home to tell me that her husband was no longer living with them. Just weeks before Christmas, my friend suddenly found herself the single parent of two beautiful children, the sole provider, with no job, in a community who's jobless rate is tipping the scale at one of the highest in the country. My heart grieved with and for my friend. My kids and I were making weekly trips out to visit them. Did I mention she also home schools her kids?

I saw that when others would have felt beaten down by life, my friend still had JOY. She was ever clinging to her faithful, heavenly Father and He was making provision at every turn. It has been a great joy to Marty and I to witness God's faithfulness to our friend, to be a small part in caring for her and her children in this very difficult season.

So, yesterday, when my friend messaged me and wanted to meet when I came into town, because she had something to give me. It never entered into my imagination that when I went to meet my friend at the mechanic's shop (where she is getting an estimate to repair her broken car, so she can get to her new JOB in a few weeks, told you God is faithful) that she was going to hand me a card with an extravagant gift. I won't share the amount, because some of you know my sweet friend. It was an extravagant gift, because it was given from her need. My friend, who is struggling to find her way after being a stay-at-home Mommy for 10 years and suddenly finding herself on her own, is giving our family a gift.

I said, "This is too much."

She said, "I've been watching the ticker and praying that you wouldn't get funded before I had the chance to give." 

Seriously? I am humbled and grateful and more convinced than ever that the road less traveled is truly where we meet Jesus face to face.

I hope you continue to be blessed as we watch God faithfully provide for our boys to come home. The mountains continue to melt like wax in the presence of the Lord.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ONE Family

Well, Bernadette would like the attention back on her and who can blame her? I'm am praising God this morning at the many miracles He is accomplishing! Bernadette's grant took a HUGE jump this morning!

She's at $5,400!!! Do you remember where she was on Saturday? $372.30. How GREAT is our GOD?

He is MIGHTY to save and He loves the fatherless! Is this sweet girl your daughter? I don't believe we've come this far to allow her to end up in an institution. We need to HOLLER louder, ya'll! She's not had ANYONE inquire, yet?

Let's keep sharing and praying, it only takes ONE family to save Bernadette. She doesn't need 100 inquiries, just ONE! Just ONE Mama and Papa ready to be "water-walkers." Just ONE Mama and Papa ready to step out of the boat and lock eyes with Jesus and never waiver in their mission to bring her home. ONE family called to be her family!

Are you the ONE? Will you consider being the ONE? God is moving mountains for Bernadette and we're praising Him for it!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

A Broadcast Break...

For about a week, our channel has been set to Bernadette. I love Bernadette and am amazed at the miracle God is working for her. Her grant is almost at $1,000! So keep sharing and praying. We need to find her Mama and Papa.

Now for your commercial update: Breaking Adoption News...Our dossier has been processed and is waiting on one signature. The signature that allows us to get a court date! I will travel to pick the boys up about a month after court. Please, pray for that pen to fly across the paper.

We're coming boys! Very soon, Joseph and Samuel will be sons, brothers, cousins, nephews, friends, chosen, cherished, redeemed, ADOPTED! It's so close.

Please pray and don't forget Bernadette!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sunshine Girl Update!

Well, our Sunshine Girl Giveaway is going well. Once the money from the chip-in makes its way over to Bernadette's grant she'll have $826 in there! That's more than double what she had on Saturday. I would love to see us double that number again in the next two days! I know that seems like a lot, but just keep sharing and praying.

God is moving! People are asking questions about Bernadette, wanting to know about adoption. I know, we must be close to finding her family. No one wants to see our Sunshine Girl lost forever...

We've created a Facebook event to make it easier to spread the word and invite your friends to help find Bernadette's family. Just go here, join the event and select invite friends. You can earn a free entry by inviting your friends, too! There's a lot more information about Bernadette on the Facebook event page. Read through the comments and see how much people care about Bernadette.

There's a page on Reece's Rainbow, where the kids with large grants get listed. In order to make it onto that page, where lots more people will see her face, Bernadette needs to have $2500 in her grant! Let's see if we can get her there by Friday. Once, she moves over I'll post a link to the page and you'll be able to see and share in this little victory.

The BIG victory comes when Bernadette moves to the My Family Found Me page on Reece's Rainbow! Keep sharing and we'll have a celebration, along with all of Heaven, when someone chooses this sunshine girl. If you have questions about adoption or Bernadette, I'm happy to try to answer them. If I don't know, I'll find someone who does. You can simply click my picture under "about me" on the right hand side and then email me from there. It's easy and I look forward to hearing from you!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunshine Girl

I shared with you all, yesterday, that Bernadette is heavy on my heart. I'm not kidding when I say that. Her image is imprinted on my mind and heart and I cannot get away from it. I'm telling you to be careful when you ask God for things. I wanted Him to open the eyes of my heart. He did and this is where I found His purposes, in the fatherless children, in the least of these.

Some would say our family is doing it's part. We're going and bringing home two little boys. It's not enough. It will never be enough as long as there are children waiting for families in dark and lonely places. As long as there are children tied to beds, left to sit in their own waste for hours, existing on little to no food. It will never be enough. Not this side of Heaven.

My heart cries out for the day when Jesus will make all the sad things come untrue. When He will ride in as a white knight on horse, the hero come to save the world. Until then, He has called commanded us to be His hands and feet, to show His love to one another, especially to the "least of these."

Back to Bernadette, my friend, Julia, called her a Sunshine Girl. Julia got it right!

This Sunshine Girl needs a family, desperately, urgently needs a family. She is going to spend every day of the rest of her life in a mental institution if she is not chosen by November.

I have seen our community rally around a child, I know we CAN, but will we? Will we look at this sweet sunshine girl and say to the world that she has value, worth, that we will not allow her to spend the rest of her days in an institution?

I don't have much to offer, but here's what we're prepared to do. For every person who donates $10 or more to Bernadette's grant, you will be entered to win a Brand New Kindle Fire from Amazon.

We bought one of these prior to our first trip over to meet the boys and it is great. You can read books, play games, watch movies and videos, access the web. It's really great!

You can also earn an entry by sharing this giveaway on facebook or your blog! Help us spread the word that Bernadette needs a family, NOW!

This is the link to Bernadette's Reece's Rainbow grant. Leave me a comment and let me know you donated, if you'd like an entry for the Kindle Fire. Her grant is at $372.30, right now. A full grant is $20,000. Let's see how close we can get in 2 weeks, this giveaway will end on March 3rd or when Bernadette is fully funded (yes, I did have the audacity to say that)!

I'm hoping to have a button on the sidebar of the blog that will link you directly to Bernadette sometime today. So keep watching the right hand side bar.

Update: I'm adding a chip-in to the right hand side for Bernadette. If you use it there's no need to leave a comment, I'll be able to see who's giving. It is linked to Bernadette's Reece's Rainbow grant and is still tax-deductible. It will just take a few days to show up in Bernadette's grant, because Michelle at RR has to enter it manually. If you'd rather use the grant, just be sure to leave a comment so I can get you entered to win.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Does not walk...

When did "does not walk" become the terminology for "does not need a family?"

I have to wonder...ARE YOU THERE, CHURCH? Sorry, for yelling at you, but this is where I am right now. I am frustrated that there are children waiting for HOMES and FAMILIES, while the CHURCH continues to build bigger buildings, with cushier chairs, that lead to more complacency.

There are some (and you know who you are) that the Spirit of the Living God is rising up on the inside and saying, "ENOUGH!"

We will not sit idly by, while they are sent to institutions, because they can not walk?

Aren't you thankful that God didn't leave you in your broken, sinful condition? That the God of the Universe reached down grabbed hold of your hand and snatched you up out of your despair? He's commanding us to do the same for these children. Children, who's minds are very much intact, but who will be locked away forever. Mostly because they can not walk. 

My heart is breaking. God's heart is breaking. Will you not DO SOMETHING? 

"This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. do no wrong or violence to the alien, the FATHERLESS or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood." Jeremiah 22:3 (the emphasis is mine)

Their blood will ultimately be on our hands. Once we know the truth, we are accountable with that truth and we will one day stand before a righteous God, one who requires justice and He will want to know what we did for the fatherless?

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, February 17, 2012


This is sweet Bernadette. Look at the JOY on this girl's face. Bernadette is unaware of the reality she's facing. You see, Bernadette will turn 16 years old this November. I can barely hold back the tears as I type this next part. If Bernadette is not chosen before her 16th birthday, she will be sent to a mental institution for the rest of her life. Forever locked away. Look at the JOY the world is going to miss out on. Where is her family?

Mama, Papa? Bernadette is waiting for you. I know, it seems scary because she's 15 years old already, but Bernadette is about the size of an eight year old and probably enjoys all the things a "typical" 8 year old girl enjoys. Her report says she is friendly and was so excited to have her picture taken. 

God doesn't call us to easy, but I have a feeling that as scary as it may seem to some of us, that Bernadette is going to be easy to love. She has captured my heart this week and caused me to look further inside and consider the possibilities of adopting an even "older" child sometime in the future. Our family can't get to Bernadette in time. Someone else is going to have to go! 

Please, help find Bernadette's family. Ask yourself if God is asking you to bring Bernadette home.

Let's not allow this beautiful girl to be locked away in a place that will steal her joy and may even take her life. We must do something!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doctor Details

So many things on my heart this morning. I'm going to tell you about our day, yesterday, and then I will probably have another post before the day is over. First I must tell of God's goodness and faithfulness to our family, once again. He is truly concerned with every detail of our lives.

About the time we came home from our first trip, I began to think about a pediatrician for our boys. Eli and Julie are very healthy and normally, only see a doctor once, maybe twice a year. We live in a small town and don't have a lot of choices when it comes to doctors. I knew our boys (especially Joseph) were going to need someone experienced. I prayed. I asked God to please show me who to take these precious gifts to for medical care. During our homestudy classes I met a wonderful couple who had brought their son home from Haiti. Mom had met him while doing medical missions work and had sent me a friend request on facebook. Sondra is a NICU nurse and I just felt like God was leading me to ask her for a recommendation, so I messaged her and she made one.

Sondra recommended the doctor who was with her on the medical missions trip to Haiti when she met her son. He has done an excellent job of caring for Sondra's boy, since they've been home and she felt like he'd be a good fit. I called about a month ago and asked for a consultation and that's where Marty and I found ourselves, yesterday. In a consultation room, where we waited to meet Dr. S. for the first time. His degrees were hanging on the wall and Marty was happy to see that he started his career in service to his country. His initial training was received while he served in the US Navy. He went on to receive many other degrees. Very educated and well-trained on paper.

Then, the door opens and in comes a kind face, with a friendly smile and hands full of material on Down Syndrome. What my friend, Sondra, may or may not have known is that Dr. S. loves people with Down Syndrome. He shared how until recently he had set on the board of the local Down Syndrome Society. He didn't have to read notes or look things up. He gave us names and phone numbers of local people who would be so helpful to us on this journey. He talked about how early on in his medical career he had a Mom with a little girl who had down syndrome. He said he learned so much from them and that he continues to learn. He also, sees lots of internationally adopted children.

I could go on and on, but I won't bore you with the details. Let's just say we have never been more impressed with a doctor. He is intelligent and humble at the same time. He is going to be a good fit for our boys and warned us to "pack a bag" for our first few visits, because we'll be there for awhile. He read over the boys' reports and began to form a plan of action. God wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. We simply have to surrender to Him.

I want to say, too, that I am so grateful for the Mom who went before us and helped teach a young doctor. We are reaping the benefit of the seed she planted. That first Mom was an advocate for her daughter, willing to work alongside a young doctor and learn together the best ways to care for her daughter.

Give it to God. Whatever "it" is. He wants to help. He's faithful in every detail. He loves us all the same.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...

Hidden in Christ,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Put on Love

I am so blessed by the people that God has surrounded our family with on this journey. I have said often that if people knew about the added side bonus of becoming part of the Reece's Rainbow family and the Down Syndrome Community, they'd be fighting their way in. Not only is our family receiving the gift of two new sons, but we've already received the gift of new family and community. I just can't explain what a blessing it is, but you're going to have a better idea about the people I'm referring to, when you read the rest of this post.

I asked a couple of weeks ago, in this post for people to share with me about their journey into Holland. Holland symbolizes life spent loving a child with down syndrome. Not everyone who wrote needed to be the parent of a child with down syndrome. So, let's begin and see where we end up...

My friend, Tonya, is very new to Holland, but she's jumping in with both feet. This Mom of 4 beautiful children was enjoying life in Italy, thankful for the blessing of 4 healthy children and then...

"...all of a sudden I saw Maxim.  My heart leaped when I saw him, eyes crossed, tongue sticking out, and a huge smile on his face.  As I read all about him, his love for balls and cars, and laughing every time he farted, I felt it in my soul that he belonged in our family.  Suddenly the trip to Italy didn't seem quite as desirable anymore.  I would rather have the privilege of loving and caring for someone that the world says doesn't matter than having a perfect easy life in Italy...So I guess right now I'm living in Italy, but I'm sure praying that God has a trip to Holland planned for us."

Another advocate wrote these precious words about how praying for a child with down syndrome changes the way your heart feels..."I became a Christmas Warrior and later a Prayer Warrior for Wyatt 26HA on Reece's Rainbow. He started out as just a picture of a poor little orphan boy far, far away. Then as I began to advocate, raise money and pray for him, little Wyatt became a small precious boy, just as real as my own children. His needs are great, but our Lord is good."

It's amazing how prayer causes faith to rise up in us and we begin to see those around us with new eyes. Eyes filled with the love of Christ.

Sight becomes "seeing" when we put on love. Colossians 3:14 says this in the Message version, "And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." My friend, Susan has also "put on love." She has been a huge help to us on this journey to our boys. She has encouraged me, every step of the way. When I read the words she left in the comments last night. I became a weeping mess...

"I could have gone to Holland. I didn't buy that ticket because no one else I knew had. Then I met Terri Lynn; she had a warrior or two. Then I met Mandy. Then Adeye. Then a dozen more that had bought a ticket. When we filled out the medical needs form for our adoptions, Down syndrome was one of the first I said "no" to without a second thought. This past year has opened my eyes. I should have given it another thought. Holland is not a scary place, after all. It would have been a wonderful trip. We are done building our family, but we are not done caring for orphans. I might not have bought my own ticket, but I'm here to help others as they prepare for their journey. On a side note- I have four boys. The girl name I never got to use? Holland."

Wow! I bought a ticket to Holland. I have never thought about it, quite like that before. I have another friend who bought a ticket to Holland this year with me. We have become great friends as we journey to bring our boys home from the same country. Jessica tells about how she and her husband, Wes decided to buy a ticket to Holland here on her blog. It's a three part story and you will fall in love with my friend and her boy, if you take the time to read it. Here's part of the comment she left me...

"Danny is special to us because he is the promise of God to build our family.  No, it's not in the way we ever would have expected, but we are thrilled to have him as part of our family.  We pray that he is the big brother our future children love and adore and wouldn't trade for the world.  We also pray that he is not the only special child our family has, but that's up to God!  I have prayed for a son, much like Hannah in the Bible....and he will belong to the Lord all the days of his life."

There were so many more of you, who shared your stories. I could only choose a few. I hope you all will be blessed by these love stories, today. I hope you will choose to "put on love" above all else. We are praying and fasting, today for our littles who still wait across the sea. Will you take a few minutes, today, to pray for not only ours, but for all the others who are waiting. Check out Reece's Rainbow, today and consider making the ultimate love purchase and buy a ticket to Holland. It's lovely here.

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...

Hidden in Christ,

P.S. The winner of the wooden shoes is Andrea R. I'll be in touch Andrea.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Time for an UPDATE!

I know many of you would like to know where we are in the process and last week we got some news to report! Our Article 5 letter was picked up from the US Embassy in the boys' country and our 2nd Stage Dossier documents have been submitted to the MOJ (ministry of justice, who oversees adoption in country). Normally, the turn around is one month from the time you submit to the MOJ until  you have a court date.

We're praying to know a court date the first part of March and be able to guesstimate travel/pick-up from there. Tomorrow, we're praying and fasting for our boys and all the other children in their country. For their families paperwork and processes to move along smoothly and quickly. Please, feel free to join us in the ultimate expression of love and pray for the fatherless tomorrow. That one day soon they would belong to a family.

Our hearts are a little sad each time a Holiday rolls around and we don't have all of our children here to celebrate it with. Marty and I don't do much for one another for Valentine's Day, but we take great delight in celebrating with our children. Giving them little "love" gifts and letting them know how much they are loved and valued. We don't ever want them to feel like they need to look beyond their own front door for love and affirmation. We can't wait til next year when we'll have four little blessings to celebrate!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mountains Melt like Wax!

God's promises are "YES" and "Amen." God has used this adoption to take our family on the biggest Faith journey of our lives, so far. I have had so much peace since I wrote about how God was going to slay the giant of our financial need for us. I had people come to me with doubts, but God kept our spirits at rest with the decision we had made to give it to Him!

Yesterday morning, I was riding to the grocery store and I heard the DJ on K-love quote this verse, "The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth." Psalms 97:5 The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "That's how it's going to happen for you. I'm going to melt the mountain like wax." I went home and looked up the verse and shared with Marty what I knew God was telling me. Sometimes, we say to the mountain, "MOVE" and we feel like it looks back and says, "NO." It's not allowed to do that. God was saying, it may not happen as quickly as I'd like for it to, but slowly and surely the mountain is melting like wax.

I spent a great day with the kids and some Godly women, yesterday, brainstorming about a new orphan care ministry we're starting in our local community (more later, I promise). Then, I got a phone call to meet a friend yesterday evening. She had something for me and was so excited to give it to me. This family has given and served alongside our family from day one of this adoption. As soon as they heard what we were doing, we couldn't have asked for bigger cheerleaders. True servants. When I arrived at their house, imagine my surprise when her husband hands me an envelope full of cash. Not one thousand dollars, not two thousand dollars, not three thousand dollars (are you excited, yet?), but FOUR thousand dollars! I was almost too stunned to speak and barely held it together while I got my kids back in the car.

Eli said, "Mom, God really is going to do it!" Yes, sweet boy of mine! God is really going to do it! God is melting the mountain like wax. We just keep giving it over to Him, covering it in the word and prayer, standing where He has called us to stand and He is moving the mountain! How good is our God? How Big is our God? Is your faith growing? Mine, is. Our family's faith is getting bigger by the minute. No one gets the glory here, except for God. God who uses willing vessels. People yielded to His call. He used our dear friends, who from the outside looking in, were not likely to have a spare $4,000. I know, it was a sacrifice. I know, they gave until it hurt and I know that God is going to meet them in their obedience and continue to pour out blessings on their lives.

God is melting the mountain like wax and we are the spectators watching in AWE of His work. Keep watching and check out the ticker, we're so close to walking over the mountain, laid flat by the hand of God!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How BIG is God?

I love, love, love my friends. All of you, who are in a little bit of a panic, since I posted about ending our fundraising efforts. All of a sudden, a light switched "on" for many of you. I have received numerous messages from friends saying, "Can we fund raise for you?" It makes me giggle a little bit and I want to tell you why.

Two weeks ago, we were happily fundraising along and my friends assumed that Marty and I would get this done. Somehow, in everyone's minds Marty and I would be more than able to raise $7500 in the next 3 months. Then, I said, "I'm giving it back to God" and something like panic ensued. So, it begs the question, "How BIG is God?"

I can promise you, He's way bigger than anything Marty and I could ever do or even imagine doing. Don't ever put your trust in man, when God is so much bigger than man. Don't put faith in the created thing, rather than the Creator. God told me to take my hands off of it. I don't know what He's telling you to do, but...

I trust you to do whatever God is telling you to do. 

You don't need my permission to fund raise on our behalf. If God told you to do it, then by all means, have at it. However, if you really do just feel panicked, please, don't. God knows what He's doing! God will use whatever vessel is yielded to Him and obedient to His voice. That's how He rolls.

I can't even begin to tell you how much peace has reigned since I posted It's not about the Giant. I am focused on getting the kids through this year's schoolwork. Which had honestly fallen behind with all of the adoption stuff. I'm looking forward to preparing for our sons' arrivals. Purchasing car seats, clothes, diapers, etc. God is dealing with the Giant! If you don't believe me, just check out the ticker.

So, "How Big is God?" He's bigger than any problem, mountain or Giant that you find yourself facing. He's certainly bigger than our need. Our boys are coming home! We're excited to see who God uses to help get them here. Please, watch and find out "How Big is God?"

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,