This blog is a chance for us to tell our story and shine the light on the God who wrote it.

It is also a place for me to bring into the spotlight the millions of orphans around the world who are waiting for the Body of Christ to fulfill God's command to "care for orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)

Soli deo Gloria... (All Glory to God Alone).

1.28.2012

This is Why

Many times in the past few years Scott and I have been asked- "Why"?

Why do you adopt? Why did you adopt internationally? Why would you adopt a child with medical needs? Why are you so 'activist' about all this orphan care stuff?

If you really want to know why, I can think of no better way to explain than to ask you to watch this video. In fact, even if you don't wonder why, I want to encourage you... urge you... to just spend the next seven minutes watching and listening with an open heart.




Your kingdom come, Lord. On Earth as it is in heaven.

This prayer is prayed in nearly every church across America.

What if we lived what we pray? What if?

1.26.2012

His Miracles and Our Rescue


I've been wanting to post an update on Mei for the past week or so, but when I sat down to write this is what came out instead. I think this is just what I needed to remind myself so that I don't miss the miracle... But I promise an update on Mei will come soon!

When things get crazy around here (which happens alot lately!), I am praying and asking that God would help me to stop for a few minutes and just live in this miracle. Between laundry and doctor's appointments and cleaning up messes of all sorts and smells... well, sometimes it is just too easy to let my focus stay there. To buy into the idea that I have to keep doing.. cleaning, fixing, working... and I cannot stop and just be here and sit in wonder at this little miracle unfolding right here in my house.

Because it is a miracle- all this... This child that is coming alive and blossoming so beautifully right here in my messy home. Scott and I wondered about all this as we sat all weary on the couch the other night- how does this happen? How does a child who has been alive for two and a half years and really has no idea that two people on the other side of the world have been preparing their hearts and homes to become her parents... how does she become so very ours in such a short time. We are her parents! Just think of that- in her little mind two months ago, she had no framework even for that... what is a parent anyway? For really she had only known nannies and orphanage life.

How does she come to embrace us, to know us as parents in such a short time, in just the way our other children do? How can that not be a miracle?

And then there's the other miracle. The one that Scott and I know in our hearts but may just not be able to explain. Just that we get to be a part of all this.

And how Ben's adoption... Mei's adoption, now... has etched in our hearts such a deeper, more living understanding of what it means that God has adopted us... rescued us... redeemed us.

Because the reality is that Mei has been redeemed and rescued. Outside of simply not having a family, Mei's future without intervention was not looking good. Because of her medical condition and simply because she was an orphan - this is simply the reality.

Please do not hear me saying that we are heroes or rescuers or redeemers. Because with all my heart I know that I am the one being rescued. We know deep in our hearts that all of this was about God's love for Mei and His amazing plan to care for this child. And Scott and I? We are just so grateful that He would let us be a part as His plan unfolds each day.

Then there is this, too... That in being a part of all this, we are being rescued. No, our need for rescue was not as obvious as Mei's... but we knew. And we have prayed for this very thing. Because here, with our lives and our blessings being so abundant, we know how easy it is for us to fall into lives that are mediocre, self-sufficient, complacent, unaware, and frankly, selfish. We know the pull the American Dream has on us ... when with all our hearts what we really want is to know and serve God with radical abandon every day of our lives.

Today I am more desperate for God's presence than ever before. I am more aware of the suffering that goes on all around me in the world, and by His grace, I am more willing to be used by Him for His kingdom's purposes. Every day... every hour... I see glimpses of Jesus' work all around me and in me. Every day I am less and less satisfied with anything but knowing Him more and being a part of His purposes- both here in my city and around the world.

So, yes, God, in His grace had a plan to rescue Mei. But this plan is our rescue, too. In so many ways.

1.09.2012

More Than Enough

When friends have asked lately how things are going I say that it is hard … hard, but good. So good.

There was a time, not that long ago really, when I did not think that things that were hard could be this good. I bought into the lie, albeit unconsciously, that happiness came when life was relatively smooth and comfortable. That allowing, even inviting, hard things into my life was ridiculous and would only harm me and my family. So I felt the need to control .. to protect that which I had- my kids, my health, my sanity, my marriage... But I was not always happy, and certainly not joyful.

When we began this adoption journey that led to bringing Mei home, I did not think I was ready. I did not think I had “what it takes”. Like the energy, the health, the love, the finances, the space in our home, the time... I felt like we were lacking. But it turns out that all of that is simply a matter of perspective. God said that we were ready, and that if we trusted Him He would provide everything we needed. So there must have been something wrong in my thinking.. in my perspective. I did not see things the way God sees them.

About halfway through last year, God gave me a gift that was an incredible, tangible help in seeing things His way. When I finished reading “One Thousand Gifts” and began that gratitude journal, it was like the final key to bring to light what was lacking in my perspective. I've still such a long way to go, no doubt, but I feel like at least I know the way now. So I keep counting... counting His graces, counting the ways that God loves me, all the things I am grateful for... and all of the sudden I no longer see the lack but the abundance.

How could I have missed it before?

The truth is that Jesus is more than enough in and of Himself, and if my life is open to Him I have access to “more than enough” always- I am never lacking. If I feel like my life lacks, it is not because He has not given me “more than enough”. It is because I am looking around at others... and with those eyes nothing will ever be enough.

When a woman I know from church sees me in the park, she quips, “That's good for you... that you are doing that (adoption). I could never do that; I don't have the energy. I can hardly handle the two I've got.”

(If she only knew.) I brought the same arguments to God.. and then I read Mary's words and repeated them and meant it- “I am the Lord's servant. Let it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) And all of the sudden there was more than enough.

And another woman known for her faith asks, “How do you afford that? Isn't international adoption incredibly expensive … and now you have done two?” And I wonder- does she really not know?

I remember then the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. And how it has now taken on new meaning. Now I notice this- Jesus did not just do the miracle. “Ok, you five thousand, sit down and watch me feed you all from nothing.” He did not rain down manna this time. This time, he said to his disciples, “You feed them”. And of course, they said- “We do not have enough”. They were incredulous, probably. And I imagine, like me, they were upset with Jesus for asking them to do something that clearly they could not do.

I believe He still does this today. He speaks to the hearts of His followers and shows them a need and says “You do it”.

And I think I am like Andrew who sheepishly points out that .. well, we have this (a boy's sack lunch). I know it is not much, Lord, but here is what I have. That is how I feel- I have little to offer, but because Jesus asked and because I have this strange-crazy hope that maybe... just maybe my life could matter for something more than just me... that maybe He could see fit to use me …
Here is what I have, Lord. Thank you for it.. all of it. It is yours. I am yours.

And then the miracle. The miracle that there was enough to feed the five thousand … No, wait... there was more than enough. Enough that Jesus' disciples got to go around and each of them filled a basketful with the leftovers. Leftovers! Abundance! They started with not enough and here they are wondering what to do with the abundance.

So that is how I feel. I do not wonder now everyday if I will have enough – energy, time, love, money, faith... Because I have traded camps and now I am in the camp where we count graces not worries … we count what we have, not what we lack. I am in the camp where we stand in awe at the abundance. And even in the hard, there is this wonderful, freeing joy.

1.02.2012

Beniam Turns Four!



My sweet, amazing Beniam ... Today is your 4th birthday!!

Mommy and Daddy love you so very much.

I love just watching you when you don't know I'm there. You are one funny guy, Benny Boo! There is never a dull moment in this house with you around. We never know what you'll come up with next, and you love to keep everyone laughing. You can be quite the mischief maker, but I have to admit that some of my favorite moments in parenting have been times when you've gotten into 'trouble'. While it was rather dangerous, I actually got a big laugh out of seeing you ride the garage door up to the top. I am just thankful that God has assigned extra angels to your care.

I love watching you play with your trains, and I love that you could be happy playing with one toy all day long... as long as it's a train! You are also so talented physically-- you learned to ride a bike with training wheels when you were two and you rock at throwing up the baseball and hitting it with your bat. Plus, you are always growing!! When I saw you after being gone two weeks, I thought that you had grown a foot. You're a big boy... but you'll always be my baby!

And I love how you LOVE, Benny Boppers! You give hugs and kisses out so liberally, and everytime my heart swells with joy. You are tight-like-glue with your buddy Macky, and I am thankful for such a sweet friendship at such a young age. You are so sweet with babies, and especially your new little sister.

God has good plans for you, Beniam Ananya. I cannot wait to see them unfold...