Thursday, July 27, 2017

Take the Leap

Chances are that if you are reading this you found my blog from Reece’s Rainbow.   Some of you have followed our journey to adopting Nic, prayed for, supported and encouraged us from the beginning and for that we are so grateful. 

And some of you are probably here because you have stared at the children on Reece’s Rainbow, read about the conditions that they are in, followed the journeys of others who have adopted and want to adopt “someday” or maybe WANT to adopt now but are trying to get up the courage to take the final leap of faith.  You want to know how it works and what it takes, how in the world did people raise the money and get the time off work. 

We were there before and I am happy to be on the other end of it. 

There's something very important that you need to know.  Our family is no different then anyone else's in one sense...  We are all sinners.  We all lose our patience, worry, get hurt, among other things.  We are not "a special family so we did a special thing".  The only reason we can do anything is because we know that we serve a Great, All powerful, Almighty, All-knowing, Sovereign God.  Still even knowing that we can become like the panicked disciples on the boat in the storm or Peter on the water sinking in a moment of weak, sinful, faithless, fear.  

So while this might not be the specific answers that you are looking for, because every family’s situation is different, here’s the one thing that I can tell you that can be applied universally to everyone reading this.  If you believe in the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, if you believe that God created the universe, if you believe that He calms the wind and the rain and holds the stars in his hands, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed and you are being called to adopt, all those worries and fears that seem so huge to you WILL be taken care of according to His plan. 

I can guarantee you that you will have struggles and things go “wrong” according to YOUR plan from the moment you commit to adopt, but it is all in His plan and will grow your faith as you trust in Him through it all.  We have not been called to a life of comfort and ease.  We are not striving for an “imperishable wreath”, temporary riches, rewards and worldly accolades.  Hallelujah and Praise the Lord...  We get to rejoice in that, knowing that those things cannot compare to the true joy and peace that comes through obedience and faith in our Father.  

God's ways are so much better than our ways!  I am so thankful for Nic and the beautiful gift that God gave us when He opened our eyes to first Down syndrome with the birth of our son Colt and then adoption with Nic!! Glory be to God for His perfect plan!!
Now, take a deep breath.  Open up the Word of God.  Get yourself some music that reminds you of the power of our Mighty Lord in every word and keep it on auto-play. PRAY. 

Consider the stars in the sky;
Look up and wonder, can you count their number?
Consider the stars in the sky;
Umbrella to hide in, a dance floor of heaven.

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid

Consider the stars in the sky;
When it is darkest they shine out the brightest
Consider the stars in the sky
In every anguish, Oh, child take courage

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
He who made all of this, and who holds all of this,
Holds you in his hands

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid

Consider the stars in the sky;
Diamond in a ring. Over the Child King.
Consider the stars in the sky;
Grace He had promised, coming to find us

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
He who made all of this, says “You’re worth more than this,”
And holds you in his hands”

— Words and Music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Fionan de Barr

(I highly recommend Keith and Kristyn Getty's worship music! 
I love their newest cd "Facing a Task Unfinished"!)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

5 Months Home!

5 Months ago today we were walking out the door of the orphanage where Nic had spent his first year of life.  We carried him out of the only building, the only room for that matter, that he had ever seen.  He was seeing the outside world for the very first time.

I have tried to be sensitive to all the new sights and sounds that he is exposed to at once, but he has quietly enjoyed taking them all in with no objections or anxiety. 
I will never forget his first time at the park looking back and forth at it all, tilting his head all the way back to see the tall trees and waving his hands and feet to feel the grass, or the way he calmly looked all around at his first track meet at the crowds with their loud cheers and the busyness of the action on the field.  

He went in the pool for the first time yesterday.  He wasn't so sure about it but he was calm as always. 

It seems like everyday he experiences something new. 
As he smiles back at friends and strangers who wave and talk to him when we are out and about I can't help but think about that baby who had never even had a visitor for his first year of life, the baby who spent his days laying in a crib, bobbing his head back and forth for any type of stimulation.  The baby that had no idea he had a family that loved him and was frantically trying to get to him. 

I really don't know how to describe in words the feelings of my heart when I see the love and joy surrounding Nic now through people and experiences. 

But through God's love, provision and providence we have been able to see a vivid picture of love and redemption.  It is not because we are a special family or extraordinary in any way but simply a family who can only love because HE, Christ, first loved us and our love pales in comparison to His. (1 John 4:9) 

Charles Spurgeon wrote in a commentary on this verse, "The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in Christ's love for him and in the offering of his love to Christ." 

Then describing the early believers he wrote,

"Love for Jesus was a flame that fed upon the core and heart of their being and therefore by its own force burned its way into their demeanor and shone there...

Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because of their love for Christ they did much, and it is the same now."  (Evening by Evening, Charles Spurgeon)

I pray that out of zeal and love for Christ our family will depend on Him and dare much so that we may do much in our short time on this earth and by doing so we will continue to see these example of God's love, faithfulness and redemption. 

Thank you for following our journey and if you are looking for the courage to step out in faith and adopt or to follow wherever the Lord might be leading, you don't have to take my word on God's faithfulness, simply open up HIS word :0)


Full Quote From Spurgeon's "Evening by Evening"
"The love that they felt toward the Lord was not a quiet emotion that they hid within themselves in the secret place of their souls and that they spoke about in private or when they met on the first day of the week and sang hymns in honor of the Christ Jesus crucified; it was a passion with them of such vehement and all consuming energy that it was visible in all their actions, evident in their conversation, and seen in their eyes, even in their casual glances.
Love for Jesus was a flame that fed upon the core and heart of their being and therefore by its own force burned its way into their demeanor and shone there.  Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of genuine Christians.
Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because of their love for Christ they did much, and it is the same now"

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three Months Home

*** If you want to see more pictures of Nic and regular updates just go to my Instagram "downrightwonderful"***

Nic has been home for three months already.  In some ways the time has flown by and in other ways it's hard to believe that it has only been three months because it seems like the whole adoption journey was years ago and that Nic has always been a part of our family. 

I continue to be amazed at the way he blossoms every single day.  His smiles come easier every day and little things that we take for granted with our other children, such as a giggle when something delights him, can brighten our whole week. 

I never thought that I would WANT a baby to cry, however, a baby is supposed to cry for his mom or dad or when they need someone to take care of them and love.  Nic does not cry very often, but he is now crying for us and that is a beautiful development.  Several weeks after being home he cried in the middle of the night for the first time.  As I rubbed his back he became quiet and as I slowly got up to leave his bed he started to cry again.  I returned and rubbed his back until he was quiet, only to have him object to my leaving a second and third time with his cries.  The cycle continued and I stayed there in the dark and praised the Lord that Nic now knew love.  He knew that we would be there for him for no other reason then just to rub his back if needed and his cries would be answered.

His continuous head bobbing and rocking has completely stopped.  I learned that rocking and bobbing is a very common trait of children out of orphanages because it is the only way they get stimulation of any kind in their crib.  I don't know anything more behind this, but I am so amazed at how soon after he was home that this constant habit came to an end.  I just can't fathom what life must be like for these children in the orphanages. 

One of the hardest parts has been figuring out how to feed him properly.  He will not stop eating when he is fed and cries when his food is pulled away.  Knowing that he went hungry we want to feed him until he stops himself, however, we learned the hard way that he will NOT stop.  He will eat three days worth of food if we continue feeding him and then have a stomach ache and throw it all up.  Finding the tricky balance of giving him enough until he is full without giving him too much has just had to come down to measurements, trial and error and nutrition.  His blood tests showed how malnourished that he really was and so we know that it will take time and healing for him to learn that he will not go hungry. 

He is so loved by his brothers and sisters and of course us, mom and dad.  Watching our children love and take care of their new brother is a special gift that I couldn't explain in words.  When adopting people often ask, "what about your other children?"  I wish those people could see my "other children" with Nic.  There is too much to write here, but I'll just sum it up with the fact that they have learned more about God's love and giving of ourselves for others with every child that we have added to the family and to see them embrace and show that love even deeper to their newly adopted brother keeps me constantly thinking, "thank you Lord!" 

Adoption isn't easy and it isn't all "rainbows and unicorns", to quote someone else, not sure what that really means, but we went into it trusting in God and God is faithful.  He does not change.  He was faithful through the whole process and provided for every last detail and we know that in the hard and easy times, everything was and is in His control.  We continue to praise Him for bringing Nic home and for His love. 

Once again, thank you all for your prayers, love and support for Nic and our family.  There are so many orphans who need you.  They need your prayers.  They need you to take the leap of faith and adopt or to support someone who is adopting.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends
John 15:13

Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.   
Luke 9:23

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27                 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Our Adoption Journey

After spending his first 11 months in an orphanage in Ukraine we celebrated Nic's first week home and his 1st birthday on Sunday!

Here is a short video that we put together of our adoption journey.

We began it with nothing but trust in God. He is faithful and provided above and beyond for every detail through your prayers, generosity, love and support!

Thank you for being a part of His amazing plan!