The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Saying YES...Part 4

This is the part of the story that I can't share everything YET.  Because this is the internet and because we are still praying about a lot of things, I have to ask you to forgive me for not telling the WHOLE story.

Weeks after our Rwanda trip and after the Christmas rush, when things got back to normal, well, what is normal for us anyway, I heard that whisper again...felt that nudging be open to whatever--To not limit God, limit myself,  to only waiting and dreaming about adoption in Rwanda.

So almost unconsciously my prayer changed...

Lord, don't let me miss you in the waiting.
Do you have more children for our family before Rwanda adoptions are opened up again?

I can tell you what I am learning about saying yes.  Recently, Jeremy and I participated in some triathlons and we had the whole weekend to ourselves.  (sigh)  The day we headed out, I got an email from a friend who shares our love for the orphan.  Orphan Hope International was looking for families to host about 17 orphans from Colombia.  They would be coming to the States for 3 weeks this summer in hopes to connect with forever families. 

These kids are close to aging out.

As I was on the bike (my 2nd least favorite part of the tri, the swim being my least favorite), I was thinking

shoulders down, butt back, cadence high....

AND about all the opportunities around us to love kids who do not have moms and dads.

We had recently talked about "when do we say no?"

And we are finding that for us, at this time, as we see opportunity around us (right here, right now), as we wait on the Lord, as we plan our next Rwanda mission trip, as we start a new chapter with homeschooling, as we seek His face, to know His heart more, and desire to follow Him...

we can't say no.

We will say YES. 

YES to whatever. 

And let Him say "No."

This is not the final part to "Saying YES"
It is still being written.

So we plan to host up to 4 kids from Colombia and share them with you! 
Have you ever thought about adoption? 
Are you on the edge of your seat looking for God to show you His plan? 
You will have many opportunities to meet all of these kids between July 15 - August 7---please please let me know if you want more info! 

Just say YES

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saying YES...Part 3

February 2010
We contacted All God's Children International (the ONLY adoption and orphan care ministry that I found that ALSO offers mission trips to the orphanages).  After hearing what we were interested in doing, the mission coordinator asked,

"What about Rwanda?"

I heard the music! 
You know when you KNOW that you KNOW something is right.

We began planning our first trip, raising money, and inviting others to join us.  We brought 3 others with our family (leaving Savannah with grandparents for this first trip).  Our trip was set for November 2010 and we would put all adoption plans on hold until we accomplished this trip. 

August 2010
Rwanda stops all adoptions until they enter the Hague Convention.  No one knows how long it will be before that process is complete.  It's a good thing.  But the waiting is hard....especially for those families already in process (sending prayers up for you guys!)

November 2010
You can read all about our amazing trip here.  I shared highlights about it last November and December.  We were most impacted  by and surprised by how much we fell in love with the older kids.  The kids getting closer to "aging out."  We knew we would fall in love with the babies, but these older kids....we really love THEM.

This trip to Rwanda, solidified for us our desire and love for older kids who do not have moms and dads. 

That is huge.
And we are just beginning to see how HUGE that is for us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Saying YES...Part 2

Fall 2009
One Sunday night we sat on the couch and opened the conversation up again.  I wrote about this in an earlier post....

We had several speakers come through our church in the Fall sharing God's heart for the orphan.  One Sunday morning, a guest speaker was showing pictures of different orphans around the world and he asked what came to our minds. 

People in the congregation started speaking up.....


All I could think is

"That's my child."

I did not speak up in church but that night Jeremy and I talked.  We both wanted to go somewhere and work with orphans.

We had originally thought that all five of us would go somewhere this past summer for 3-6 weeks.  We knew we wanted to work with an organization or a country that we would at least have the opportunity to pursue adoption.  I knew that my heart was already wide open to welcome more children into our home.  In fact, Jeremy and I had already let our first adoption agency know that we were feeling led to open our home to a sibling group.  New Life would keep us in mind in case they had a special situation come up.  We did not know if it meant foster care or adoption, but we just knew we needed to first say "yes" to the nudging in our hearts to be open.

January 2010
So we began to set our sights abroad--serving orphans in some other part of the world on a short term mission trip.  It wasn't until January 2010 when we really looked, asked questions, and spoke to people like Harris III (who shared about Holt International at his show) and Will McGinniss (formerly with Audio Adrenaline, now works with The Hands and Feet Project). 

As I looked at different opportunities, my heart was drawn to Africa and I could not help myself from automatically thinking ADOPTION.  I had to make Jeremy very aware that one, two, or three weeks in an orphanage will ONLY make me more sure, more in love, and more ready to adopt adopt adopt!

He understood...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Saying YES--the story begins...

Yes, LORD, whatever you want.

A little over two years ago, God began nudging.  Have you ever felt that nudge?  When you feel pulled in a certain direction, led down a particular path, compelled to speak or do something that is different than what you are doing right now?

December 2008
Jeremy and I were away for the weekend for our anniversary and having a yummy dinner in a quaint German restaurant.  I was nervous to bring up my thoughts to him.  We had fulfilled "our dream" of having 3 kids.  Savannah was then 18 months old, Wesley was 7 and Emily was 9. 

And we were blessed!

But God seemed to be nudging me again, opening my mind and heart to the possibility of extending our family even more.  I was nervous because it was nothing but an act of God alone that moved Jeremy to a place of wanting to adopt back in 2006.

But I could not ignore this nudging.

So with a smile I told him what I had been thinking about in recent weeks.  How I felt like we were "not through."  How I thought there are more kids out there for our family--either through foster care or adoption.  I told him I did not know what it meant, I did not have a plan, but I just wanted him to know.

He sat across from me and just smiled. 
He took it in. 
A little to my surprise, he did not make opposing statements. 
And that was it.

That night, we celebrated our 13th anniversary and I think we reached a very sweet place in our relationship.  I could share my crazy ideas and dreams with him and they would be accepted.  He listened to me.  He did not have to answer, tell me all the reasons why it was not a good idea, how we couldn't afford it, etc.  He had learned something during the process of adopting Savannah.

We both had.

Through our first adoption, we saw how mightily God worked in so many ways.  I think we both realized that it doesn't matter if we haven't figured it all out when we take a step of faith. 

When we just say "YES." 

God is GOD.

All He wants from us is a willing heart.
We just need to say YES.
Yes to whatever.

We tucked that conversation away and waited to hear more from the Lord on how He wanted to enlarge our family.....