Monday, August 29, 2011


Relief is about the only word that I can come up with to describe how I feel right now.  We were so  excited at the start of last week because our agency's director was in The Congo and we were anticipating new pictures of Alli (maybe even some video) and an update on where our case stands.  I'm not going to go into all the details, but I'll just say that this visit was very difficult for our sweet director and her heart was broken by all that she saw while she was there.  In the end, we did get new pictures of Alli and word that she's doing as well as can be expected.  Please continue to pray for her!  Also, please pray for our director and her staff - they are incredible and work tirelessly on behalf of many families and kiddos -  their hearts truly care for each one!
I'll admit that I was longing for happy news and happy pictures this past week.  And even though that isn't exactly what we got - my relief comes from knowing the best news of all - God loves our little Alli more than we ever could and He is holding her in His hand.
We still can't show her face, but here is the latest picture of our sweet girl.  No smiles yet, but we know they will come once we get her home! Pray that time comes quickly!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Anni's story

Yesterday was the first day of school for the Thomas girls.  Averi and Abbi were mildly excited and came home mildly pleased with how their first day had gone (you know how it is with teenagers!).  But Anni...she was a different story.
I have to go back a little bit for you to fully understand what an incredible story this really is.  A few weeks ago, our Children's Ministry started a series of lessons on the missionary journeys of Paul.  Heidi, our Elementary Director (and also a great family friend) and her team have done an amazing job of expressing to the kids the opportunity we have each day to be "missionaries" for Jesus - to share with others about Him wherever we are!  Anni soaked in every word and really took to heart what she was learning.  
The day we got her teacher letter from school she was so excited to find out that her best little friend from the 3rd grade was also in her 4th grade class.  She told us that she knew God had answered her prayer that they would again be classmates because He wanted her to do a better job this year of telling her friend about Him.  In the days leading up to school starting, we prayed and Anni "rehearsed" what she wanted to say to her friend as she shared God's love with her.  The first day of school came and Anni was beyond excited!  We prayed together in the morning that God would give her courage and help her be bold in sharing God's love with her friends at school.  When Anni hopped off the bus later that afternoon, it began to bubble out of her that she had talked with her friend at recess and that she had shared with her who Jesus is and how much He loves her and then she and her friend had prayed together.   
Now I have to sadly admit that as Anni was sharing her story, my "adult" mind wanted to analyze what she had said to her friend, what they had prayed together - did she say the right words?  Did her friend really accept Jesus?  And then God pretty much whacked me upside the head (I certainly deserved it!).  Child like faith is so pure - it isn't corrupted by all our highfaluting "adult" thoughts.  Anni's faith yesterday was mighty and strong and I know that it touched the very heart of God.  
As I was driving to work this morning, tears were streaming down my cheeks - to think that our 9 year old, heard God's voice asking her to speak His name and love to her friend - she listened, obeyed and opened her mouth!  It challenged both Jeff and I, how many opportunities do we let pass by where God asks us to open our mouths and we refuse.  
We are so proud of Anni - she has a light and boldness that we know God will continue to use in amazing ways - not just in the future, but right now, in the 4th grade!  
We love you Anni - keep shining for Jesus!

Sweet Blessings

Yesterday was a day of sweet blessings!  I love those days when it feels like God Himself is reaching down and hugging you, just because He wants to!  He doesn't have to...we love and serve Him because of who He is, not because of what He does for us, but on those days, when you feel His loving touch in such amazing ways, it's indeed a sweet blessing!
Blessing #1 - We received our I-171H approval in the mail. This was the last piece of paperwork that we were waiting on.  This says, Yes!  You are approved to adopt a child!  Now all we have to do is wait and pray that our lawyer and our case will receive favor and approval through the Congelese Court System - quickly!!
I'll share Blessing #2 in a separate post - coming soon!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Question

I've just started this book...I absolutely LOVE when books hit me square between the eyes and really make me examine where I'm at! 
One of the things I love about our adoption journey is that adoption and caring for orphans is now deeply ingrained on the hearts and minds of our family!  Our prayer is that as we, and thousands of others, continue to share our stories, the body of Christ will wake up and understand what God requires of us. 
"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 1:26-27
"Obviously, not everyone is called to adopt, but every believer is called to act. That means not merely feeling sorry for orphans. Sentimentalism is no substitute for action.  Adoption and caring for orphans is about responding to God’s grace properly: first with gratitude toward Him, and then with active love toward others. How is He calling you to love the orphan today?"
Great question.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Love God, love others as yourself...

Be sure to turn off the music at the bottom of the page, so that you can hear the words and heart of this beautiful woman of God!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Dossier is on it's way!

Our dossier is on it's way to The Congo!!  It left FL on Monday and was in Memphis yesterday - our agency is tracking it and they'll let us know as it continues to make it's way to our lawyer in DRC.
We also got our Biometrics Appointment in the mail - Monday, August 8!
Sweet progress - all leading us closer and closer to bringing Alli home! :)

Thanks for continuing to pray with us - especially for Alli's protection.  She lives in a very dangerous and unsettled part of the world - it's so comforting to know that she is held tightly in our Heavenly Father's hand!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sweet 16

Yesterday was our oldest daughter's 16th birthday.  I'm writing about it a day later because I'm still trying to come to terms with it! :)  I feel like I've said it a million times in the last few months, but time really does fly by and the time parenting our girls seems to be growing so short!  So while I try to come to terms with this birthday, let me spend a few moments loving on our Abbi -
Abbi is our first born and she does exhibit some of those common first-born traits - she can be quite head-strong and on occasion a tad-bit bossy (of course, I mean that in the most loving way!).  But Abbi can also be very laid back and easy going!  She's beautiful, inside and out and we love her so much!

Abbi, thanks for making us laugh
at the most unexpected times. :)
We are so blessed to be
your mom and dad.  XXOO

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sent with LOVE!

We were so excited last week to find out that our agency's director will be making a trip to DRC and is willing to take along care packages for our little ones (and she'll also bring back new pictures and video!!)
It was so much fun to pick out outfits and toys to send over to Alli!  It's so amazing to think that the very things that we packed with such love will actually be worn, touched and held by our sweet girl!  It makes it seem like we're close to her even though we're still an ocean away.
So here's what we're sending over (it all had to fit in a 2.5 gal ziploc bag)

Sent to Alli with LOVE!!