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10 years later we are newly weds again

I never expected to get as emotional as I did when we renewed our vows this past weekend.  After 10 years and 5 children (how many times can I work that into a sentence? I love it!) I definitely felt married. 

Lucky for me my sweet husband insisted. He was raised Jewish and as a new Christian (2 years) he wanted to renew our vows in Christ at our church with our amazing church family, friends and neighbors there to celebrate.  What started as, “Well, I want to wear my original wedding dress then” evolved into a full blown wedding with our sweet friends helping plan the events and just making it magical in every way. 

Even allowing us a “honeymoon night” while they watched all 5 kids following our dinner reception.

I have much more to say on the topic but I want to wait until we get the pictures back from our photographer.

Until then, my parting word of advice would be this:  Renew your vows with your sweetheart at 10, 15, 20 or 25 years.  You won’t believe what it will do for your marriage.

I need to update this signature line to say mom of 5!

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God’s perfect timing

I have a story to share. One that I hope to tell to bring Him glory and to bring you hope.

Many of you have followed our adoption journey and gotten a taste of my ponderings, questions, and flat out impatience.

Now, let me let you in on something God recently showed me.

In my mind I always pictured our ideal adoption situation involving a teenage girl and no drugs or alcohol. Later in our adoption journey I pictured our ideal adoption situation including me getting the call to pick up our child who was already born! I just wasn’t sure I could  endure a failed adoption scene in the hospital room after watching the delivery of a child I hoped would be ours.  I didn’t feel I could personally deal with the prolonged “limbo” of the situation and how could I take our 4 young children on that journey too? It is one thing to risk breaking your heart, but what parent wants to break the heart of their child? Our children have been fervently praying that God would bless them with another brother or sister. I wanted to protect their young spirits.

Unfortunately, the more I learned about adoption the more I began to feel personally discouraged. Yes, we had FOUR biological children, neither of us were adopted, and my husband was over 40.    These were all things I was told did not make us the most ideal of choices for a birthmother.  Add to that the fact I was frustrated that our profile wasn’t online and we had not been able to get our book shown to several birth mothers who I just knew were “perfect” for us.

While I was deep in my doubt and despair I even consulted my fertility specialist. I was going to have a baby one way or another.  If God wasn’t going to hurry it along, I would have to help Him I thought.

This past weekend we completed our 2 day adoption class, which was the last of our requirements before the grueling wait.  On the second day they had a panel discussion and I enviously listened to one adoptive parent tell the story how she came to adopt her son 24 days after they fulfilled their adoption requirements.  I couldn’t believe her luck in not having  to agonize over whether or not a birth mother would follow through with the adoption plan or choose to parent.  Why? Because when she got the call they were asked to come to the office to meet their son!  I left the class thinking, “Why not me Lord? I’m just as impatient as she is.”

On the way to lunch I prayed a whiny prayer full of: Why not me Lord? That would be our ideal situation and I cannot take the waiting and limbo. I need a sign.  No sooner did I finish my prayer (if you want to call it that) did I notice a a text from our Social Worker which said, “Call me. There is a 12 week old baby girl “.

My heart stopped.

God’s perfect timing. You hear about it all the time.

This precious teen had made an adoption plan for her daughter but had changed her mind just before delivery and decided to parent.  Now, 12 weeks later she had realized that her initial thoughts on adoption were true. She couldn’t parent like she wanted to, like she felt her daughter deserved. She had dreams for herself (go to school, get a job, get a car) and the baby (grow up with 2 parents, have siblings, have opportunities, get an education, have a stay at home mom) and it was obvious neither would be possible.    All the people who had promised to help her had not.  Things had turned out exactly how she said she knew they would when she made her original adoption plan.  Yet she still wanted more for herself and her daughter.  She wanted to make an adoption plan again.  She wanted to meet us.

Fifteen hours later I would meet her, unfortunately without my husband. Exhausted from lack of sleep with a stomach full of butterflies I would meet her. She was everything I imagined, dreamed and hoped for.  She was me at 18, except much more mature and with child.  She was observant, quiet and soft spoken but very strong. We had a connection. She was like a sister.  She wanted me to know she loved seeing the pictures of my kids—-you know, the children who made us “undesirable” to the average birth mother. She said she wanted her daughter to have parents who were experienced enough (okay, older) to help her make the right choices in life.  She wanted her daughter to do all the things I already did with our other children. She liked that I was a stay at home mom and on and on it went.

 She chose us.

Have I mentioned that is far earlier than my “impatient” plans?  The birth mother situations that I  (in my impatience) felt were perfect for us, were due in late November and December.  Our daughter came to be in our arms 3 1/2 days after our final requirement.  Now I see why our class date was moved up unexpectedly—-so that we would have met all of our requirements in perfect timing to receive this beautiful girl into our home as our daughter!

God has a sense of humor like that.

Not only was His timing perfect. It was faster than mine.    God’s best for me was faster than my idea of what was best for me.  That just blows my mind.

God’s best for us is always, always, better than what we think is best.  Don’t you want God’s best for yourself?

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. 
Romans 11:36

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Radical Thoughts

Being a part of a community of faith involves being exposed to the life of Christ in others. Just as we are identified with Christ and his church in baptism, we now share life in Christ with one another. So to whom can you deliberately, intentionally, and sacrificially show the life of Christ this way?
David Platt; Radical page 98

We are in Orlando for our two-day adoption orientation.  As I write this I am in my hotel room snuggled up in bed with my laptop and my copy of Radical that I’ve been trying to finish for longer than I’d care to admit right now.  Not because it isn’t a good book…but rather because it is.  Radical  is a book that speaks truths that take me out of my comfort zone. There, I’ve said it.  Or, well written it.  You know what I mean—-and because I seem to make everything about adoption these days, let me tell you how this reminds me about adoption.

Adoption is uncomfortable at times. It completely takes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to face myself, my beliefs, my prejudices, my inadequacies, my inability to control everything and everyone, and it flat out forces me to move forward with faith into situations and circumstances that any sane person would frankly avoid.

 Who else would fill out mountains of paperwork while navigating nonsensical bureaucratic red tape in the hopes (not a guarantee, but a hope) of it ending with them raising a child? Who looks at a profile questionnaire and checks yes or “will consider” when asked if you are comfortable accepting placement with a child that may  have been exposed to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco? 

The more I look at our adoption journey the more I see that it is really a spiritual journey I am on.   I have no doubt that it is through adoption that I will deliberately, intentionally and sacrificially model Christ. 

My heart is already growing to love someone I don’t even know. Someone whose everyday life and present circumstances may be completely different from the world I live in with my Christian husband and children. Someone who will give me, a total stranger, the most amazing gift and awesome responsibility imaginable. Wow.

  I cannot even wrap my brain around what it must be like to give another woman your child.  I cannot even wrap my brain around what I will feel like when I look her in the eyes and walk away with her baby, only I’ll be the one the baby calls Mama.

Sometimes I don’t know what to think about adoption.  It seems so unfair that something that is born out of such tremendous love (loving a child enough to give them life and raising and loving a child unconditionally) can be paired with such grief and pain. I suppose it is true that God takes things and turns them to good.

I pray that my heart will be prepared to minister lovingly and faithfully not only to the child we are blessed to raise, but to the people who brought that child into the world.

I hope I get an opportunity to faithfully,  deliberately, intentionally, and yes, even sacrificially, model Christ through this adoption.

I pray that I will do it well for His glory. 

To whom could you model Christ?

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In memory of Ava Hunter

The single greatest gift we can give our children is a knowledge of who Jesus is. The second greatest gift we can give is a mom and dad who live out a love for each other that models the way Christ loves us.
-Joshua Joel Hunter

Ava Hunter went to be with Jesus at the age of 5.  Please pray for her family during this time.  You can read about Ava’s journey here.

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My family 2010

On August 21, 2010 we completed our adoption paperwork and home study requirements.  Now we are officially in waiting mode.

I’m learning that adoption is a roller coaster filled with waiting.

Waiting to have our profile book shown. Waiting for a birth mother to choose our family.  Waiting for a baby to be bornWaiting 48 hours before placement papers are signed…if they are signed...Waiting to take our baby home.  Waiting 90-days for finalization of adoption—to when we are officially a family and not one in limbo.

  I’m learning that adoption is a journey filled with more questions than answers.  Is this the right situation for our family? Will this “match” really end up with our bringing a child home to raise? How long are we willing to wait?  Is this really God’s plan for our family?

For someone who likes to know the answer (even if it is no) the adoption process has proved to be very tough on me emotionally, because instead of an answer you are forced to just WAIT. You are forced to put your faith into action.

I must admit that I had a very tough week last week. A number of things happened that made me question EVERYTHING I had previously said I believed was put on my heart by God.  And yet when I cried out to God, where was He? When I prayed specifically for an outcome as a “sign” where was He?  Why did He leave me waiting when He knows that I cannot handle being asked to wait? 

I believe that like infertility, I will one day be on the other side of adoption and consider it a blessing. But right now, I’d be lying if I told you I felt blessed by the process.

So I’m waiting.

Waiting for God’s perfect timing.  Waiting to see how He molds me during this process to make me a better follower, woman, wife and mother.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 NIV

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