Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Another Update

I wanted to give you a quick update.  Last update I gave had us basically packing bags to head to Uganda. 

We scurried around getting malaria medicine, supplies we needed and making sure we had all our paperwork.  We had airline tickets on hold and were checking our email every few minutes.  It was craziness but we were so excited!

Then we got an email letting us know that some things had changed and that we would not be flying out as soon as we hoped.  It is the roller coaster ride of International Adoption; very high highs and very low lows. 

So right now we are in waiting mode again.  Our case has been assigned to a Judge and we are waiting on a court date.  We are praying that it is sooner rather than later.

post signature

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Overwhelmed by God's Abundance!

I have been anxiously waiting to give you an update about our yard sale this past weekend but I first had to finish up some things with work.  Well, first I had to recuperate from the weekend.  On Sunday night, I think my body just melted into the mattress; even my bones were tired.

We had been collecting items for our yardsale for sometime.  I had been storing things in our attic, garage, dining room and in our bedroom.  Plus we had several people generously donate items to us.  Really good stuff, some of which I wanted to keep for myself but I didn't. 

All week I had been trying to price things in the beauty of air conditioning but I only made a dent in it.  On Thursday night we loaded everything up and hauled it over to my in-laws house.  They were so gracious to let us take over their garage and house.  By the time we got everything in there, you really couldn't walk.  It was packed full and we even had to put things behind their house on the porch because they wouldn't fit in the garage. 

Friday started the task of getting everything organized and priced.  My mom, Cliff's mom, Aunt Sandy and myself worked all day pricing items and getting things set up.  The men (father in-law, brother in-law, dad and husband) moved stuff, priced stuff and worked too.  We worked late into the night on Friday but we didn't really mind because our Yard Sale Entertainer was FABULOUS!

I wanted to take lots of pictures and be able to show you how much stuff we had and how organized we were.  But that just did not happen. 

Here is everyone working away.

We finally got home and ready to crawl into bed around 2:00am.  The yard sale was to begin at 7:00 am, so our plan was to be back over at their house at 6:00 am.  It is very foolish to think that you will get up at 5:00 am when your alarm goes off when you are so tired you can barely feel your legs.  So you can imagine our shock when I rolled over and the clock said 6:00!  It is a miracle that I managed to get clothes on and my hair brushed.

When we got to the yard sale site at around 6:40, people were lined up in the driveway waiting for us to open the garage.  My in-laws said their doorbell rang at 6:30!

We jumped out of the car and started pulling stuff out of the garage.  The guys were hurrying to get the big items from behind the house. Thankfully, the people were very patient to let us get everything pulled out before they started grabbing stuff.   It was really crazy from the start which is why I forgot to take pictures.

At one point my mom asked me what time it was and we were shocked that it was only 10:30.  We were both sure that it was at least 2 in the afternoon.  I have never seen so many people at a yard sale! 

We wrapped up the yard sale at around 2 in the afternoon.  We probably sold at least 95% of what we started with and took the remaining items to the Salvation Army.

We were all so exhausted but so very thankful because after counting all the money we knew that we had witnessed a miracle.  The grand total from our yard sale was a little over ....


Who makes that kind of money at a yard sale?  We were all truly in awe and overwhelmed by God! 

post signature

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pregnancy of the Heart

Do you know what happens when you tell people you are going to adopt, especially if you don't already have biological children?

They start in with the stories of all the people they know that are now pregnant since they decided to adopt.  Literally if I had $10 for everytime that has been told to me, this adoption would be close to being fully funded.  I know it happens and I even have friends it has happened to.  I think for me the reason I find this almost offensive is that it somehow lends itself to the idea that this is some secret desire that adoptive families have.  Nothing could be further from the truth for me.  Adoption for us wasn't a second best option but rather God's best for us and for that I am so grateful. 

I literally still look at my children that are 12 and 10 years old and wonder how I got so blessed to be their mama.  And the same goes for Brenda.  Only God could look the whole world over and pick me to be her mama.  How blessed I am!

Well, that went down a rabbit trail I wasn't really planning.  I started that story because just this week my mom told me she had a dream that I was pregnant.  My response was something along the lines of "Please don't go there because y'all would need to commit Cliff and I if that were to happen."  I love babies but I really don't want to start back over.  She goes on to explain that I am pregnant just not in my womb. 

That is the part of adoption that very few people understand.  We adoptive mamas get pregnant in our hearts.  The hardest part is that our gestational period isn't usually the typical 40 weeks.  We don't have a protruding belly telling us the time is drawing near.  (Well, some of us have protruding bellies but they don't really mean anything other than we like to eat!)  In reality, many times we don't really know how far along in the heart pregnancy we are.  Such was the case with me.

Who knew that I was over 8 months heart pregnant with Brenda!  (Only God knew!)

So you can imagine my surprise at around 1 am this morning when I opened my email to read a message from our lawyer that said we should make preparations to travel.  We will either be in court in two or three weeks from today!    So then, my water broke! 

All I could do was sit at my desk at cry.  I was so overwhelmed at the goodness of my God.  I have been hoping for a September court date and never even thought of an August one.  I just told someone how I had a feeling it was going to be in September.  God must have been smiling with amuzement at what we were about to learn. 

Pray for us!  Pray that God would prepare our family for Brenda and prepare Brenda for us.  We love her so much and can't wait to be reunited with her!

Also, pray for our yard sale this weekend.  We need no rain and lots of customers!  We want a complete sell out!
post signature

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Adoption Fundraiser Yard Sale

We have scheduled our yard sale for this Saturday, August 10th.  We are busy gathering items and filling up our dining room. 

If you have items that you have been meaning to get rid of but just haven't gotten around to, we would gladly take them off your hands.  You can call, email, facebook us and we will coordinate getting the things from you.

The yardsale will be held in Wentworth Subdivision.  Please go ahead and pray now for a sunny day and a major sell out! 

And if you would like to help set up or price items, we could sure put you to work.  We will be doing the majority of everything on Friday.

Thanks so much!

post signature

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fundraiser and Latest News

For us the road to Africa is paved with watermelon seeds.  We first started selling watermelons back in 2011 to fundraise for our mission trip.  We literally set out with a truck and trailer headed south.  God blew us away by redirecting us and putting us right where we needed to be. And we came home loaded with melons. 

Last year we sold melons again to raise money for our adoption.  And we have been busy selling melons the last couple of weeks.  This year the season was later and shorter due to all the rain but we still had two good weekends of selling melons. 

God has blessed our efforts and the money raised will be go toward paying for our lawyer fees. 

We still are not fully funded, so our next fundraiser is a yard sale.  Our dining room is being used as our collection site.  We still have more cleaning out to do.  We are sick of clutter, which makes it easier to part with things. 

If you live near us and have some things that you have been meaning to get rid of, we would love to take them off your hands.  You can call us, email or text us and we will work out the details of getting your items.  We do not have a date set for the sale, but we want to have it in August.  If you would like to help set up or help on the day of the sale, we would love the extra hands.

In other adoption related news...we mailed our dossier this week.  If you are not familiar with what this is, it is basically multiple copies of all your personal information.  Ours weighed in at almost 5 pounds.  It is on it's way to Uganda.  Please pray it arrives quickly.  I checked, rechecked and checked again all our documents before sending them off.  It is pretty nerve wracking making sure that you have everything that is needed.  I was a little nervous to let the lady at the counter take it, but I had already had a prayer meeting over these papers while I was sitting in the car.  So off it went!

Our next step is...


Can you tell I am a little worked up over it.  There is nothing left for us to do except fundraise before we go.  (Oh who am I kidding, there is lots of things to do but you know what I mean)

Soon I will list specific ways that you can pray for us.  For now you can pray for our court date.  The courts are on break right now and will start back up August 15th.  When the courts reconvene, there will be new Judges in place.  We are praying that this does not cause a big delay in issuing court dates.  We are really hoping that we get a September court date so we can be back home before the holidays. 

Thanks for following along on our journey!

post signature

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Little Pink Purse

Next week, people I know will be at Brenda's orphanage.  I am a little teary eyed because in some crazy way it makes me feel closer to her.  We got her a little gift that will be delivered to her.  It was a little pink purse.  I had a hard time thinking what we should put in it.  In reality, I wanted my current family of four to crawl in the purse and go be with her. 

Oh Lord, make to soon!

But since we couldn't fit, we put pens, bracelets, a necklace, a bouncy ball, a notepad and a pair of flip flops.  I hope the zipper holds.  And to top it off, I put in two blow pops.  I don't know if she has ever had gum but I do know how much she loved dum dum suckers.  So, she is really going to love the blow pops.  And we also sent a few pictures and stickers.  Above all the stuff, I hope she knows how much we love her and how crazy we are about her. 

Prayer Request:  There is an important meeting taking place on Monday in Uganda relating to our adoption.  Will you join us in praying that this meeting goes well and it accomplishes its purpose.  Thank you!

post signature

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's Happening?

I have been holding off posting hoping that I would have more to report.  Our lawyer is working to get the documentation needed so we can file in court.  We are praying that our case can be filed with the courts before they close July 15th for a month long break.  We would love it if you would join us in praying for this to happen. 

Once the courts come back in session, they will have all new Judges.  Every two or three years the Judges are reassigned and this is the summer for that to happen.  You can also be in prayer for the new Judges.  We pray for fair Judges that look at the needs of the children. 

So that is all we really have to report right now.  It is hard waiting but there is not one thing we can do to speed the wait up.  The not knowing when you might be going is what makes it really difficult.  But the fall will be here in a few months and I guess that isn't really that long to wait.  (I don't know that we are going in the fall just me hoping!)

We did go see the farewell concert for Uganda Thunder on Sunday.  Whenever I visit with someone from Uganda it makes me miss Brenda so much more.  Something about hearing the accent makes me recall the words Brenda said when we were together.  On our last day together, she started singing some of her songs from school for us.  I wish I had them recorded but every time we would try to video her she would suddenly get quite and just smile.

After we left the concert, we started talking in the car about Brenda coming home.  We dreamed about what it will be like at the airport.  Amelia has designated herself as the "Airport Party Planner"!  And she said we really needed to let her know when this was going to happen because she had so much to do to get ready!  We just laughed and said we wish we knew!  It was fun to think about what we should wear, as if that is important, but it is fun to dream about the day.  Should we all match and if so what should we wear?  I think it was decided that at least Brenda and I should match since we will be the two coming home together.  My thought was that I won't be hard to miss...look for the crazy haired woman crying like a baby!  I get teary eyed now just thinking about it. 

This has been quite a journey.  I would like to think that we are nearing the end but in reality we could be at the beginning or middle...only God knows.  This experience has revealed so much about myself.  The other night in our small group I made the comment that I think I need Brenda more that she needs me.  God has used that little girl to teach me so much about His love for me.  If you don't know me personally, you wouldn't know that I led the women's ministry at my previous church for 10 years.  I love leading women to pursue a deeper relationship with the Lord. 

I have spoken on numerous occasions to groups of women about God's love for them.  I wanted them to know just how crazy God was and is for them.  The problem was I had a hard time living in His love and believing in His love for myself.  Oh I could tell you about it all day long, but when it came time for me to live it well that was different. 

I have gained a greater understanding of God's heart for me through this journey.  We took Dum Dum suckers when we went to Uganda.  The children there call them sweeties.  We had a giant bag because we were going to give them to the kids at Brenda's school.  It didn't take long for Brenda to spot this big bag in our room our first night together.  I gave her one and she was so excited.  Over the next few days she kept asking for sweeties.  One day I finally had to tell her that we couldn't have anymore for now.  In reality, I wanted to give her the whole giant bag of sweeties and tell her they were all hers.  But that wasn't what was best for her.  I love her more than she can comprehend but I also only want what is best for her.  And sometimes what is best is "No". 

God reminded me of this little "lesson" this week.  I can't even begin to comprehend the love that He has for me.  And because I am His child, He only wants what is best for me.  Sometimes what is best is for Him to say yes but other times what is best is for Him to say no.  And there are even times when the best is for Him to say wait!  And when there is a no or a wait it is not because He doesn't love but because what we are asking for at the moment isn't the best there is for us.  And in His time He has something so much better waiting for us!

post signature

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Do We Care?

This video speaks so loudly to me.  Maybe it is because I have a daugher half the world away from me that I want to have home.  Or maybe it is because there have been so many times in my life that I have been indifferent.  I have learned this though...

We Are Here On This Earth For God's Glory! 

It really isn't about us.  We work so hard to make it about ourselves but it never is.  When we are finally able to grasp this truth, I believe that is when true living begins.  It really is about dying to ourselves and living for Him.  And the reality is when we die to ourselves, that is when we are the happiest because we see there is so much more to life than our present circumstances. 

post signature

Monday, June 10, 2013

We Have Progress People!

I am excited to tell you that today we wired our deposit to our new lawyer in Uganda and I emailed her our homestudy so she can get busy preparing our affidavits for court.

I am so excited to have some progress to report.  We still feel that it will be sometime in the fall before we can go get our girl but at least we are moving forward.  Which brings me to some other exciting news...

This week I will be posting how you can be a real "piece" in Brenda's story.  Sorry to keep you in suspense but that is all I can tell you now.

post signature

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Oh Ruby!

I am one of those crazy people that names their cars and my current vehicle is named Ruby.  Before Ruby there was Bessie and she was special.  Bessie hauled us around for about nine years and that old girl saw some stuff!  My children grew up crawling over her seats, spilling juice all over her and who knows what else. 

Three years ago Bessie lost her will to haul us around and it became evident that while we loved her deeply, it did not make sense to keep putting money into her.  I am not lying when I tell you that there were tears shed when we left her at the dealership.  It felt like we were leaving behind a family member and it didn't help any when the salesman said she would most likely be sent to the scrap yard.  Oh Bessie, you were good to us old girl!

The day we left Bessie, we drove away in her next of kin Ruby.  Ruby was the same make and color as Bessie only a little newer.  We thought it was just meant to be.  We just knew that Ruby would be as good to us as Bessie had been. 

There is this thing that happens to most adopting families once they start their journey to adopt...things all of the sudden just decide to break or quit working.  Ask a family that is adopting and believe me they will have some stories.  It is the battle that is raging that we feel but just can't see with our eyes.  We know that God is for the orphan and the enemy is not.  He is a lion who prowls around looking for who he can devour.

Well, tonight it happened to us.  Ruby decided that she was going to start having some issues.  Two years ago when we were planning our first trip to Uganda, Ruby's transmission went out.  Needless to say, most of the money we had been saving up had to go to repair her.  Tonight, I was over her.  I wanted to take her to the scrap yard, only we can't because we need her. 

As tears started to fill my eyes, all I could think about was how unfair it is that we are having to spend money on a hunk of metal when there is a little girl we love waiting on us.  It isn't fair!  I am happy to say that I didn't stay there long.  I was quickly reminded of my devotional this morning.  I read the passage where Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers.  The verse that stood out to me was when he tells his brothers what was intended for evil God can turn it into good. 

So that is what I am going to focus on...my God can bring good from this.  I will press into Him and take it one step at a time. 
post signature

Friday, May 3, 2013

Adoption Update

This week we sent this picture to Brenda.  We want her to know that we miss and love her very much! 

We have some news regarding our adoption of Brenda...

It appears that we are having to start over again.  What that means is that we are having to find a new lawyer, get an investigation done, and get all our documents notarized again.  It was a little hard to accept this at first.  We believe that we have found a new lawyer to work with and are looking for an investigator.  Luckily, I have all of our documents still in my notebook from our trip to Africa so it will not be too difficult to get that portion done. 

The most challenging part that lies ahead is the fundraising.  The money that we had raised last year was spent on lawyer fees, airfare, lodging and immunizations.  So, we are pretty much starting over again in this area as well. 

I loved what I read this week written by Beth Moore.  She wrote that when you have a mountain in front of you to ask God to move the mountain or to give you the strength to climb it so you can see His transcended glory.   

We know that money is not an issue to God since He owns it all anyway.  So we are just trusting Him to show us what we need to do to get our girl home!

There have been many days over the last several months where we have felt like quitting.  This has been a really long, hard journey.  But without exception, every time we have felt that way shortly after we have received some type of confirmation to keep on going.  And probably the biggest confirmation we have received is her name.  In Uganda, you are given a name that has meaning.  It may have something to do with how you were born, the season in which you were born, etc.  Brenda's birth name is Tibihabya.  Can you guess what it means?


Did you just get goose bumps?  I still get them every time I say it. 

Only God knew that the name given to her on the day that she took her first breath, would be the encouragement that two people living half a world away would need to continue in the fight before them to become her parents!

post signature

Monday, April 8, 2013

An Update

"I miss her" was the whisper of my heart to God as I sat listening to the Suubi tribe sing at Dollywood.  Tears began to sting my eyes as I tried to blink them away. 

Everyday I think of her, but somedays I miss her so bad that my heart physically hurts.  And when I am around another child that shares her same accent and ebony skin, well my heart hurts for her. 

We are still waiting and it is not easy.  I want so badly to get on an airplane and go get our girl but I know that is not possible.  So, we continue to wait.

Over the past few months we have wanted to give up and say enough, but every time we have that feeling God sends some sort of message that we are to continue on.  Just a few weeks ago we were once again at this point.  There has been no movement in our case and it really just doesn't appear that there is going to be any.  I had shared with my family, through tears, that this was the hardest thing in my life I had ever done and that I just wanted to give up but I felt that God was saying to continue on.  A couple of days later, we received a picture of her through email.  We can't give up! 

I can't close my eyes and pretend she doesn't exist.  She is real and the reality is that there are thousands more little precious faces just like her in need of a family to love them.  And my response is "well I'm here let me love her, but the reply is wait!"

 And so we will continue to wait because the story that God is writing it bigger and better than anything that I could dream up.  After all we are here for the glory of His renown and I want my life to exclaim His glory!
post signature

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Have you ever had a recurring theme running through your life?

Maybe a lesson that you knew for sure that God was trying to teach you?

The recurring theme, the title of the lesson plan in my life is TRUST! 

As I look back at the events in my life over the last couple of years, it is plain to see.  I can almost hear the question being asked "Do you Trust Me?"

My quick answer would be yes, but upon examination it appears that I hesitate quite a bit.  Things scare me and cause me to want to draw back.  I have tendencies like a two year old and I want to throw fits when things don't go how I had planned.  I want to give up when dreams become to heavy to continue to carry.  And yet it is in all of those moments and so many more that I hear the question being asked..."Do You Trust Me?"

A couple of weeks ago I boarded a flight to Houston with my daughter.  I was excited about our trip and wasn't too concerned about the flight.  Once you fly for seventeen hours, a two hour flight seems like a piece of cake.  That was until I looked at the weather forecast and saw that there were thunderstorms in Houston waiting to greet us upon our arrival.  I need to let you know something about me...I do not enjoy flying.  The actual flying part is not too bad, it is the turbulence that causes my hands to sweat and my stomach to knot up.  So when I saw thunderstorms in our flight path, I began to pray.  I asked God to calm the storms and smooth out the air.  (This prayer started days before our flight.)  As we boarded the plane to leave, my daughter and I grabbed hands and prayed for our trip.  We talked about God creating the wind, so He certainly had the power to calm it.

The flight was a little bumpy but not too bad until we were about an hour out of Houston.  The attendants had just given us our drinks and crackers.  Then the pilot comes on and informs us that it is about to get rough.  We were told to hold on to our drinks and tray tables.  I had a death grip on my coke and tray.  I was praying and trying to remind myself that I was the adult and needed to hold it together.  My daughter fell asleep which I was so envious of her ability to just catch some zzz's.  It got BAD!  We were swaying from side to side and bouncing up and down.  I did not like it ONE BIT!

In the midst of this patch of bad air, my prayers changed.  I was no longer just asking for the air to be smoothed out by Creator God.  I began to cry out to Abba Father saying "Daddy, I'm scared!  I don't like this!  Daddy, please make this stop!" 

In about fifteen minutes, the air smoothed out and I wanted to lay in the floor and cry.  Not because I was scared of flying but because I knew what had just happened.  I had just gone through a lesson in trust.  I had to come face to face with one of my greatest fears.  I had to trust that He was in control and that He had me tightly in his grasp. 

That was a couple of weeks ago and today I am still trying to really learn this lesson.  I am weary from waiting.  I know all the good christian things that I should say and more importantly that I should be doing, but if I'm honest I am just worn out.  We had hoped for news of progress to come this week from Africa and yet what we got was more of the same.  The report is still not done.  It could be a week or two or three or four... you get the picture.  I so want what God wants for me and my family but it is really hard to continue on when there is no end in sight. 

I read a devotional about Abraham yesterday.  It was out of Genesis and was the passage where he was instructed to sacrifice Issac.  I read the whole passage and was really struck at how Abraham was able to walk up the mountain.  How was he able to put one foot in front of the other and continue on to face the unimaginable?  What was running through his mind?  What questions was he asking?

Those are all questions I am still thinking on today.  Abraham was just a man.  He was not super human or anything.  What did he possess that gave him the strength to continue to walk when you know he wanted to run the other way.  The answer is that he trusted God.  He trusted the promise that God had made to him.  I want to trust God like that.  I want to trust Him when times are hard and relatively easy.  I want to trust without hesitation.  I want to press on when everything in me wants to run the other way. 
A trust like that requires that my feet are firmly planted on the truth  The truth of who God is and who I am as His adopted daughter.  It also requires that I fix my gaze on Him and not the circumstances around me.  Knowing this, I have to think that as Abraham climbed the mountain he wasn't thinking of what he was about to do but rather Who he was about to worship!

post signature

Thursday, February 7, 2013


In one of my last posts, I shared how I am trying to live just focusing on today and not what may be in the days to come.  Well, I stink at it! 

I can't even do today!  That was the main cry of my prayer yesterday.  "Lord, I can't even do today but I can do right now, this minute."

I don't know about you, but I am so thankful that God doesn't dust His hands off and say enough.  I am thankful that He doesn't give up on me, that I truly am a work in progress. 

I get up everyday with such good intentions to focus on Him but before I know it I am knee deep in my circumstances either trying to make something happen or worrying about what might happen.  I need those blinders that they put on horses so they can only look straight ahead. 

This week in Jesus Calling, it said that to try to grasp hold of anything other than the hand of God is disasterous to your soul.  In my mind I visualize it as grasping something and then having it run through your hands like sand.  And yet, I still reach for it.  I still reach for any bit of control I can have.  I still reach for things that appear so appetizing to me even though I know there is no substance there.

I know this is the lesson I am to learn from the events in my life over the last few months.  My life right now is not in my control and that is driving me nuts.  I can't focus on The Hand that I should be grabbing hold to for being so focused on other things.  Help me Sweet Jesus!

I was so challenged during Bible Study last night by Paul's opening statement in Ephesians 3.  I will go ahead and tell you that I never really give a whole lot of thought to the greetings.  I read through them quickly to get to the rest of the passage.  Well last night God stopped me at verse one and I really didn't hear much else of what was said because I was having my own internal lesson.

Ephesians 3:1 states "For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the sake of you Gentiles"

Paul was writing this from prison...talk about circumstances.  Paul's focus is what struck me.  He doesn't say I'm a prisoner of the people that actually imprisoned him.  He has a much grander viewpoint and states that he is a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  His focus is not on his earthly circumstances.  He is not sitting around focusing on how he is locked up.  He gives no mention to that.  But what he does mention is that when we become a follower of Christ we die to ourselves and we give our lives to Him.  We are in essence His prisoner.  And no matter what our circumstances are we are serving The One who has a grander plan and purpose. 

That is so hard to live, so very hard.  I stink at it.  It is not in my power to do it, but when I die to Laurie and grab hold of His hand it's possible.  It's the only way! 

The great news is that His hand is outstretched just waiting for us to grab hold of it.  So stretch your fingers and reach for it.  He will never, ever let go!

Leave me a comment letting me know your thoughts on this.  It's always good to know we are not alone in our struggles!

post signature

Friday, January 25, 2013

Our Adoption Story

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner blog today and her Show Us Your Life Adoption post.  I encourage you to go visit her blog and read the other stories of families that are or have adopted. 

Adoption is very dear to our hearts.  It is the means God used to bring our children to us and give me the most glorious of all names "Mama".  Twelve years ago, I became a mother for the first time through adoption.  I can say to you that the moment I heard about my son that I knew he was mine.  I knew that he was a gift directly from God and I didn't care if he was green with three eyeballs, I just couldn't wait to be his mommy.  When I held him for the first time, well there just are no words. 

Two years later, we would begin the process to adopt again.  This time God blessed us with the most beautiful baby girl.  She was and is more than I ever dreamed of in a daughter.  We love to tell the story of how her daddy picked her out of all the babies in the hospital nursery.  We just knew she was ours!

Both our son and daughter were adopted domestically through an agency based in Texas.  After we adopted our daughter, we felt that our family was complete.  God had blessed us more than we could have ever imagined!

Fast forward to 2011.  My husband and I were preparing for a mission trip to Uganda, Africa.  Adoption was the furthest thing from our minds.  It was not even remotely on the radar!  We love adoption, are for adoption, but felt that our family was complete. 

Well, that was until Monday, October 31, 2011.  We were in Uganda and we traveled by bus three hours to an orphanage near the border of Kenya.  We were greeted by children clapping and singing welcoming us to their orphanage.  We hugged on the children as we exited the bus.  They were all so beautiful!

We took a seat that had been prepared for us and listened as the children from the orphanage sang for us.  That is when I noticed her sitting on the floor with her legs crossed.  She was so tiny.  She was staring back at me and I motioned for her to come to me.  She got up and came and sat in my lap.  I grabbed her ebony hand and held it in mine.  She would turn and look at me with the most beautiful smile.  Her name was Brenda.  It wasn't long before she felt comfortable enough to lean back against me.  I soaked up every second of it.  She would stroke my arm and eventually lay her head against my arm.  My heart was a bunch of mush by this point.  At one point she sat up, turned around where she was facing me and began to rub my face and neck.  I remember the tears stinging my eyes and praying.  I remember saying to God, she has no idea what she is doing to me but you do. 

The program ended and it was time for her to go eat lunch.  I started painting fingernails and was able to paint her precious little nails.  Finally it was time for us to leave.  Our group started handing out suckers to the children.  I lost her in the choas.  They called for us to get on the bus.  I began to search the crowd for her but could never find her to say goodbye.  I got on the bus and the tears that earlier stung my eyes were now spilling forth.  There was no holding them back.  I whispered to God "You knew I couldn't tell her goodbye." 

We returned back to the States the first of November but I knew that a part of my heart was left in Uganda.  We tried to re-enter our lives, but coming home during the holiday season isn't the easiest when you have seen and touched extreme poverty.  They were no longer nameless faces on TV.  I had held them and knew some of their names.

Finally in January I just could not stand it any longer.  I needed to know more about this little girl that had stolen my heart.  So I just thought I would Google the name of her school and orphanage.  Much to my surprise, the orphanage had a website with contact information.  I typed a brief message and hit send.  I thought my heart was going to skip a beat.  The next day I checked my email and about fell in the floor when I saw that I had a message from the Pastor of her orphanage.  We started emailing on a regular basis and I was able to find out lots of information about Brenda.  We found out that she was an orphan.  At this point we just felt that the Lord wanted us to sponsor her.

In April, I remember having a conversation with the Lord. I was thinking of all the things that Brenda would never get to experience.  I remember saying she will most likely never have a bike and then I would think "Is that fair?"  Well no that is not fair but there are lots of kids that will never have a bike.  I happened to be in my bathtub during this time and I thought about Brenda never getting to have a bath in a big bathtub with warm water.  Again I asked if this was fair and of course it's not fair.  I did this with numerous things and then all the sudden the question changed from "Is it fair" to "Can you live with it?"  I immediately knew the answer to that...NO!  I would not be able to live the rest of my life knowing that I did not do anything to make her life better.  So we brought up the question of adoption with the Pastor at her orphanage.  It was a God moment and a God thing and it was very evident that God was leading in that direction. 

We worked like crazy getting everything together and officially started the process to adopt.  We had to have another homestudy and get all of the paperwork together.  We did it all in record time. We sent our paperwork off and finally were assigned a court date. 

This past November we flew to Uganda to appear in court and bring our little Ugandan princess home ...only things did not go as planned.

We arrived in Uganda late on a Thursday night.  We would be reunited with Brenda on Sunday and go to court on Monday.  I had played the scene of our reunion out in my mind a million times.  I was trying to prepare myself not to cry but I pretty much knew that was hopeless.  When she arrived at our guest house, I thought I wasn't going to be able to catch my breath.  She did allow me to hug her and hold her and I did pretty good about not crying.  She stayed with us in our room that night and she did so good.  We all just bonded so well and you would have thought that we had been her mommy and daddy forever. 

We went to court on Monday and sat all day waiting to be seen.  Finally we were the last family seen by the Registrar.  He had some questions about some of the paperwork on the Uganda side of things.  Our lawyer and the Pastor would work on Tuesday to get the questions resolved and we would be back in court on Wednesday.  By the end of the day on Tuesday, the questions were still unanswered and we knew we would not be going back to court on Wednesday.  By the end of the day on Wednesday, my husband and I both felt that God was saying stop.  We did not really understand it but we knew better than to force something that God was saying stop to. 

On Thursday, we had to let Brenda go back to the orphanage and I honestly thought that I was telling her goodbye forever.  Did I mention that this was Thanksgiving Day!  We were hurt and heartbroken.  We left that day to fly back home.  I cried on every flight.  Our return flight certainly would not end with the Gotcha Day video that I had scripted in my head.  The only thing that we were bringing home were pieces of a broken heart. 

For weeks I grieved and mourned our loss.  I have never cried so many tears.  Finally one night I was praying and I confessed that I could not continue living like this.  I was just a mess.  So I gave my dream of being Brenda's mommy over to the Lord.  I did not understand why He said to stop but I knew the peace He had given to both my husband and myself.  We knew that we had done the right thing even if we did not understand why we did it.  It was His peace in the midst of our heartache.  I confessed that I would be okay with Brenda never living in our house and I began to pray that God would allow me to see her just one more time in my lifetime and that he would let my other two children meet her. 

The next day, the internet in our area was out.  Finally by evening it had been restored and I was able to check email.  That is when I saw that I had an email from the Pastor at her orphanage.  More than two weeks had passed since we left Uganda.  The email was a game changer for us and we committed to pray to see what God was leading us to do in regards to this adoption.

And that is where you find us today.  We believe that God is opening the doors for us to go back to Uganda and adopt Brenda.  At this point we are waiting for some paperwork on their side to be completed.  Once it is finished we will get another court date and we will go back. 

This is the first time since we came home from Uganda that I have typed for the world to see that we believe God is leading us to go back.  So much about this process is scary.  But I have come up with the saying "I can do today!"  I declare this often to the Lord.  The future at times can look scary no matter what season of life you are in.  There are twists and turns up ahead of us that seem more than we can handle.  When I start to focus on what's ahead and the what if's, I quickly get overwhelmed.  That is when I declare "I can do today!"  I might not can handle what is ahead but today God, well I can do today!

So please pray for us!  We know that Brenda is safe and she will be heading back to school this next week.  We want to do what God wants for our family and for Brenda. We want her so badly!  If we could get on a plane tomorrow and go pick her up, well we would wave to you from the airport.  We are also seeking God's direction regarding the funding of this journey.  We had not budgeted for two sets of plane tickets so we are having to start over again as far as that is concerned.  We are looking to have a yard sale soon and are really just praying for God to direct us as to what else we need to do.  So I ask you again, will you please pray for us!

post signature

Monday, January 14, 2013

Making Manna

I am hard headed and strong willed.  Independent almost to a fault.  If my husband reads this he will yell out a hearty AMEN!

Asking for help is something that I rarely do.  I always use to think that I didn't ask because I didn't want to inconvenience anyone but the reality is that pride didn't want me to admit that I needed help. 

That was until November 22nd ...the day I left Uganda without the daughter I went to get.

Physically I was still in one piece, but inside I was broken so badly that sometimes I wondered if I could catch my breath.  I arrived back in Atlanta dragging a mangled heart wondering if it would ever be whole again. 

I clung to the promise that Jesus came to "bind up the broken hearted" and knew that He was my only hope.  The tears were plentiful and the words few.  I did not have the vocabulary to voice the pain and hurt to Him.  Instead I just asked to sit in His presence and that is when the piecing back together began. 

And just when I thought that I had somewhat of a handle on things and somewhat of an understanding of why things might have happened, I was quickly reminded that neither of these things are true. 

Through this experience I have learned something about myself.  I realized that I have spent much of my life trying to concoct the recipe for manna. 

After my first trip to Africa, I learned that I live most of my days not having to depend on God.  I have organized and arranged my life to where I am self sufficient, which has caused me to think that I can cook manna. 

In the Old Testament manna was the bread from Heaven that fell every morning to feed the Israelites.  They were given instructions on how much to collect for the day.  It was only enough to feed them for that day.  The only day that they could collect two days worth was on the day before the Sabbath. 

When greedy, disobedient hearts tried to gather too much and store it away Scripture tells us that the manna got magots in it and was rotten. 

God set up this system so that His chosen people would depend on Him daily. 

They weren't given the recipe for manna because God wanted them to see their need for Him; their daily need for Him.

I wasn't created to be independent but to be dependent!

I was not created to be independent but to be dependent! 

That has been the hardest lesson for me to learn.  It goes against the independent vein in me that runs deep.  I have to fight against this daily.  God has to harness that run away mustang in me because whoa nelly is she a wild one.

I don't know a tremendous amount about horses.  My dad loves horses and has owned one several times throughout his life.  I have learned that when a horse is independent and wild you have to break them of it. 

I guess the same holds true for almost forty, hard headed, strong willed lovers of God who think they can cook up their own batch of manna!

I was not created to be independent but to daily depend on Him!

post signature