It hit me like a ton of bricks the other night sitting in a camp with some of my ladies.

I had thought about it before, but not like this. My heart has broken again and again for these ladies as they are far from their children. Their stories about their children who don’t even remember who they are when they go home, who call an aunt or grandmother ‘mommy’ haunt me. Their reason to be here is purely for those children, who they are trying to provide for, and who will grow up without them. You can see it in their faces, you can see the physical toll that it takes on their bodies.

I have been struggling some lately with not knowing when our babies are coming home. I think about them and pray for them all of the time. I love them already more than I thought possible, even though it sounds crazy to love someone you don’t know- which is a whole other topic.

I have thought about how these ladies miss their babies, more than I can even imagine at this point. We love our kids so much already and don’t know them, but these ladies DO know their babies, they know what life is like with them, and now they have to try to do life without them, often for years at a time. I have thought about this before and how much greater their pain is than I can imagine, and how small mine is in comparison.

And then as I sat there it was like God smacked me with it. What if all of this- the waiting, the not knowing, the whole thing, is simply so that I can love these ladies more and gain the tiniest of perspective of where they are coming from. No, I will never fully understand it, and our lives will never be exactly the same, but to even just ‘get it’ in the smallest of ways.

I don’t want the waiting, I don’t want the unknown, but if this is what it takes for me to care more, to understand more, and to love more- then I want to be willing, because I want to love like that.

photoUpdate: We are currently waiting for our visas to come through for Pakistan, and we are waiting to for our I-600 A form to be approved (basically the form that applies for us to be approved as adoptive parents by the US government so that our child can have citizenship). We would really appreciate prayers on this as our home study was done here, and has been verified by a licensed American, but there are still so many unknowns! Thank you all for loving us and our baby/babies so well already!

I had forgotten that today is ‘Orphan Sunday’ until I saw a friend post something about it. Today is the day that the Church brings to the forefront the estimated 150 million estimated orphans in our world today. And it is awesome and necessary and so important.

But it’s not enough.

Because you see that number- 150 million, that’s huge. That’s way bigger than one day a year. Its way bigger than us. Sometimes when I see that number I become overwhelmed- because the need is so great. I can’t fix that number, but I can do something. I may not be able to change all of those kid’s lives, but I can change at least one, and so can you. Maybe you can’t adopt- but maybe you can. Maybe God is asking you to prayerfully consider it. Maybe your role is through advocating, fostering, giving, or encouraging those around you who are adopting and fostering.

“Adoption is not just about couples who want children-or who want more children. Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.”

Russel Moore, Adopted for Life

We’re not adopting because we are some sort of special people. We’re adopting because we were adopted, by a Heavenly Father, who loved us enough to send His son, and who has commanded us to care for those without an earthly father. We’re adopting because we have been given a love greater than we could ever imagine, and we want to love with that kind of love.

We are still in the waiting process for our sweet baby, waiting now for our visas to come through to travel to Pakistan. We would be so grateful if you would pray with us.

 

 

 

First of all, I want to say how blessed we have been by so many of you- your encouraging words, how you have shared in our excitement, and how you have prayed for us. We are so incredibly blessed, and we don’t take it for granted!

We have spent so many hours researching, filling out paperwork, sitting in a psychologist’s office, all to be approved as parents. We are preparing ourselves, making our home ready, our lives ready, and most importantly our hearts ready to be parents. I do know I can’t ever be completely prepared, I’m fully aware of that, but we are getting ourselves as ready as we can. But there was one thing I thought I had prepared myself for, but keeps taking me by surprise. It’s just one simple question.

“But do you want any of our own kids?” or maybe “Don’t you want to have your own kids first?”

Here’s the thing. I get it. Well kind of. People just naturally think of beginning their family by having biological kids- and there’s nothing wrong with having/wanting biological children. I mean the Bible says, “be fruitful and multiply” and God promised to make Abraham a great nation- and He did by giving him a son, and many generations. All children are an incredible blessing. The thing that is wrong is the thinking that somehow adopted children are somehow lesser than biological children. Most people probably wouldn’t say that, or maybe they aren’t even thinking it consciously, but to equate “own” with biological is doing just that. It is lessening the relationship of parents with their children who were adopted.

This baby is our own baby.

We don’t know them yet, but their presence is felt in our life. The evidence of their place in our life is seen by the home study sitting on my table waiting for its final stamp, by the empty space in their bedroom waiting for a crib. But more than that, I feel it. It’s the change in my heart, the way it longs for them, the way I worry if they are being held, cared for, loved, and protected. The way that I pray for them, pray that they would come home quickly, pray that they would have someone who cuddles them until I can, pray that someone would show them that love until I can.

Because you see this isn’t just some random baby that I pray for, this is my baby. My own baby.

“Whether or not you can have biological children really has nothing to do with the Christian’s call to orphan care. Further, we don’t see adoption as merely a plan B and only for parents who can’t have biological children. Rather, we see both orphan care and adoption as expressions of practical Christianity.”

-Orphanology

Please know, my desire is not to bash anyone, or to make people feel badly about what they may have said to others, but simply to share my heart. I believe that we have been adopted into Christ’s family, that He recognizes us as His sons and daughters, His own sons and daughters, not as something lesser. I also believe that adoption into our families here on earth is a picture of that which He did for us.

well, we are officially one year in! I can’t believe that Nick and I have been living here for an entire year! It has been such an amazing year- we have been so blessed by getting to live and serve here, and by the people God has brought into our lives. We have learned so many lessons, grown in dependence on Christ, and felt blessings beyond what we could have ever imagined. It is incredible what can happen in just a year.

The other day Nick and I were talking about how amazing/crazy this year has been. It’s hard to believe that this next year could be any more crazy, but the thing is, it probably will be. We’re so excited for the next adventure that God has put in front of us, and we’re jumping in head first.

Image

yes, it is true- Nick and I are in the middle of an adoption! Today was such a great day to mark one full year in Dubai, first we went to the police station to get our criminal clearance for here, and then we got to have our final home study. We still have a few more papers to fill out/hoops to jump through for the UAE/USA side of things, and we don’t know how long it will all take, but we know that God is preparing our hearts more and more every day for our sweet baby.

International adoption is something that God put on our hearts even before we were married, and we just feel God’s timing is now. There are so many unknowns, and so many questions still unanswered  for us, but we do know that our baby will be 0-12 months and from Pakistan, and we are hoping to bring them home sometime this next year (although the sooner the better for us!). 

We are so thankful for all of the support we have received, and we are so thankful for God’s grace that has brought us to this point. The more I learn about how Christ adopted us into His family, the more I see His heart for adoption, and the more He grows and molds me. We have so far to go but we can’t wait to see how He continues to grow us in this area, and we are so excited for the journey. Thank you to all of you who have journeyed this with us. We are so blessed by each of you! 

B

p.s. a big thanks to my friend Shelby who helped us with our announcements to send to our family- she really is the best! you can check out her amazing creativity at http://honeysuckleblog.blogspot.com/

This week has been…emotional. Poor Nick walks in on me crying quite often- it seems like the smallest things will bring out the tears.

Please hear me- I’m so very excited to be getting this amazing opportunity and can’t wait to start our new lives in the U.A.E., I know that this is where God has placed us for this season and I am thrilled to be a part of it! However, that doesn’t make me less emotional about leaving this place.

Lynchburg is the place where Nick and I met, fell in love, got married and started our life together. This is the place where our church family is, where we serve, where we went to school. This is the place where we have made many friendships, grown in so many ways, and have been loved so well by so many people.

When I think about all of these things, it feels so hard to leave this place. To leave my precious middle school girls who I have seen grow from little 6th graders, who have grown into beautiful young women who are passionate about Jesus.

These are just a few of my sweet girls. I know that saying goodbye to them will be one of the most difficult things about leaving here.

 
Or saying goodbye to this sweet boy that I have been able to love for more than a year. I love him so much and cry pretty much every time I think about leaving him.

Or my sweet Cote girls who make me laugh and make me think that having all girls one day wouldn’t be as scary as I once thought (Nick still doesn’t feel the call to have a bunch of little girls- ha!).
But at the end of all of it, it always comes down to one thing. It is all worth it. I want to pursue Jesus with my whole heart- because He is worth it. No matter what He asks- He will always be worth it. If I truly believe that He died, paying the debt for my sins, so that I could spend eternity with HIm, how can I not live like it? What we are doing is not extraordinary in any way, it is simply living like Jesus is worth it and following Him where He calls. We are still far from perfect, however we are continuing to strive to be worthy of the calling bestowed upon us.

He promises incredible blessings when we follow Him, more than we could imagine.

Matthew 19:29- “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.”

B

Lately I have been thinking more about being in a place of “yes.” By this I don’t mean saying yes to everything that anyone asks me to do, but rather saying yes to Christ. No matter what. I truly believe that saying yes comes from a place of willingness, willingness to whatever Christ has for us. I also believe that saying yes happens before you necessarily know the specifics.

I have been reading a book entitled “Anything” which talks about being willing to do anything that Christ asks. Often I feel like I am willing to do anything, but when it comes down to it there are parts of  myself that, if I am honest, are not really there. I hold back parts of myself, keeping them for me, for my own selfish desires.

However, this is not where I want to be, and I am slowly learning how to lay down more of myself, more of my plans, and to say yes more. Yes to whatever God has for me. Yes to things I find inconvenient. Yes to boldly sharing Christ with those who don’t know.

 I don’t want to miss what God has for me because of a lack of obedience, or an unwillingness to say yes.

Recently I was reading in the book “Anything” something that really struck me. Jennie Allen wrote, “What if these small acts of obedience were a small part of a matrix of dominoes unfolding the glory of God (small because, after all, I am a small domino in a huge matrix). Could he bypass me and find another route? Of course- he is God. But what if I laid down my life, my domino, and through that unleashed an army of others who laid down and unleashed their obedience, and through this matrix, God’s glory was displayed through the laying down of lives int he midst of a generation? Just in case God has given me this ridiculous opportunities to display his glory, we (my husband and I) feel compelled to obey, no matter the cost and uncertainty. Because heaven is coming…and soon none of us will care about any other glory but his anyway.”

There are so many times where I have been so overwhelmingly blessed by a choice to say yes. What if I hadn’t said yes to these simple acts of obedience? I would have missed out on this. This trip transformed the way I look at life. In every way. It transformed my view on world missions and my part of God’s plan for this world.

In one month (from today!!) Nick and I will land in another country- in our new home. I am beyond excited and so incredibly thankful that God is allowing us to go there and to serve Him in that way. I don’t want to miss out on any of it by an unwillingness on my part. I want to say yes to all of it- the hard, the dirty, the uncomfortable, and even the painful. Because in the end- heaven is coming, and I want to live like it.

B

 

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