Friday, December 28, 2012

In the midst of quiet...

It's quiet at my house right now!  This past week has been busy with Christmas and friends and everyone home from school and's been hard to find a quiet moment.  But this morning, JT and Anni are off to a soccer clinic and Abbi and Averi are still sleeping.  Otis, our new puppy (yes, we're a little bit crazy!) was up at his normal 5am, but he's settled in to his crate with his bone and is quite content for the moment.

In the midst of quiet, I've been thinking over all that the next weeks will hold for our family.  We were very aware this Christmas, that next Christmas will look very different.  It's exciting, overwhelming and a tad bit sad all wrapped up together.

At work we recently took a strengths test - my result is that I'm "paced" - timing, flow and ample opportunity to plan are all very important to me - shocker! :)  In light of that, I understand how important it is for me to quickly find a new flow each time I encounter change - a new "normal".  
I'm under no delusions - I know our home is about to be turned inside out and upside down, but I'm praying that God will give us the wisdom and insight to quickly find a new normal, a flow that will work for our new expanded family.
I know many of you are praying faithfully for our family - we appreciate that so much!  I would ask that as we get closer and closer to bringing our little ones home that you would pray specifically for God to pour His extravagant grace on our home - that it would fill each crack and each gap and that each of our hearts would be saturated with love for one another - the kind of love that believes the best and has incredible hope in the story God is writing for our family!

We sent an email to the Embassy in Kinshasa yesterday asking for an invitation to travel.  We just need them to say the word - "come".

Merry Christmas 2012


Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Adoption Update

We've been updating what's happening adoption-wise on Facebook, but I haven't done a good job of keeping the blog up-to-date - sorry about that.
It's been a busy month and we're definitely making great progress!  Here's where we're at -
We're waiting for Immigration Approval - they told us we should hear something within 1-4 weeks.  We're sitting at just under 2 weeks right now. So we're hoping we'll hear something any day now!
We go on Wednesday to get our Yellow Fever vaccination - this is needed before we can get permission to travel into DRC.  
We have been super hopeful that we would be traveling before the end of  2012 to bring our little ones home, but on Wednesday we got word of some serious unrest in The Congo.  I won't go into all the details, but a rebel force has taken over a city called Goma and are threatening that Kinshasa (where J and A are) is next.  The Embassy in Kinshasa is alerting Americans to leave Kinshasa - which we assume means that they aren't going to be giving permission for any other Americans to travel in.  Our Director hasn't heard anything concrete from our lawyer, JB, on this - so right now we're just speculating - which we really don't like to do.
Bottom line is that this conflict could certainly hamper progress with our case, but we're choosing to be positive and hopeful.  God certainly isn't surprised by what's happening in DRC right now and we'll trust that His mighty hand will protect our children and guide our progress towards them.

30 Days of Thankfulness - let's call this Day #17 through the end :)

We were able to spend Thanksgiving with our family in MI this year.  So thankful for the opportunity to catch up with everyone!   We have been blessed with an amazing family!  
Let me give you a recap:
LOTS of eating, LOTS of shopping (Grandma T and Abbi made it an all-night, all-day event), LOTS of talking and laughing, LOTS of kids, which of course, means LOTS of noise and most importantly, LOTS of love!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day #16-20

Ok, so I'm behind again.  It's certainly not because I'm not thankful each and every day - we just have been so busy, it's been hard to find time to post.  So I'll do a little catch up today. :)
The last few days I've been so thankful for and proud of our daughters ~
Abbi took part in her high school's Miss Warrior Pageant and did a fantastic job!  Averi had her Sports Banquet and was awarded for her dedication to being the very best cheerleader she can be (despite a less than stellar situation with her squad) and Anni auditioned for and won the part of Midge in her upcoming school play, The Adventures of Robin Hood.  
Love, Love, Love them!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day #14 and #15

As temperatures have dipped quite low lately, I'm so thankful for a warm home - for the ability to turn up the heat, turn on the fireplace and pour a hot cup of coffee.  There are so many who don't have this ability.  I'm reminded not to take it for granted!

I'm also thankful for JT's employer that allows him to take mornings off for running adoption errands - like today's biometrics appointment! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day #12 and #13

We definitely have adoption stuff to be THANKFUL for - we now have our CONA and Adoption Deeds translated and we received the kids new birth certificates (they should be translated by the end of the week).  Our Director is working on our "Invitation to Travel" letter and we'll be applying for our Visas soon.  We're also scheduled for our Yellow Fever vaccinations this week - although I'm not sure that qualifies as something I'm necessarily thankful for! :)
We're incredibly thankful for God moving His mighty hand!  And for our Agency working so hard on our behalf!  We're also beyond thankful for all of those who are praying for us!

We literally just got our translated Birth Certificates - WooHoo!  Another thing to be super thankful for today!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Days #8-11

Ok, so we found out on Thursday that our Immigration paperwork was sent out - we now wait 1-4 weeks for approval!  The thankfulness for that has stretched out for several days now! :)  We're close! Having our little ones home before the end of 2012 is looking more and more promising!
The last couple of days I also have been thankful for our beautiful Carolina weather.  These sunny, 70 degree days are perfect in my book!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day # 5, 6 and 7

I have a little catching up to do...
Day #5 - So thankful for our new-to-us piano.  Some great friends had this in their house (it has belonged in my friend's family since she was little - so cool) and wanted to find a good home for it. :)
I was more than happy to give it a new home!  We painted it up and here it is...

Such an amazing blessing to be able to sit and play again! 

Day #6 - Despite a long line and a not-what-I-would-have-chosen outcome, I'm still incredibly thankful for the freedom and right to vote!  I don't ever want to take for granted what others have sacrificed so much for!

Day #7 - Thankful that we've received our CONA (Certificate of Non-Appeal) and Adoption Deed so quickly - other families before us have waited months for these documents and we received ours days after our non-appeal period was completed. We're rolling!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day #4

I am so thankful for our Southbrook Church family!  What an incredible blessing to serve our amazing Cove kids and families alongside an amazing team of Cove volunteers!  
It just doesn't get any better than this!


This little guy cracks me up! :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day #3

Today I'm so thankful for my helpful hubby!  Already he has made "big breakfast" (our Saturday morning tradition), fixed our garbage disposal, helped with laundry and now he's painting my piano.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day #2

Today I'm thankful for my morning's first cup of coffee...sometimes it's just the little things that bring such happiness. :)

My coffee routine was almost messed with this morning.  My grinder is a bit temperamental and gave me a scare.  After taking it apart and shaking it up several times it still wasn't cooperating with me.  My hubby came to the rescue just before I threw it across the kitchen - his timing is impeccable! (and obviously, I'm a little irritable first thing in the a.m.)  

This morning as I was going through the process of grinding beans, heating water in the kettle, pressing my coffee to sweet perfection - I was reminded of something a good friend shared with me a couple years ago - it's funny how some things stick with you...she was challenged to ask herself if she looked forward to her morning time with God as much as she looked forward to her morning cup of coffee.  Ouch.  
As thankful as I am for my coffee in the morning, I want to anticipate and savor my time with God a hundred thousand times more!  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy November - 30 days of Thankfulness

I love the month of November - the beauty outside, the anticipation of special family holidays to come and an overall sense of profound thankfulness that just seems to bubble up this time of year.  For the 30 days of November, I want to share some of the things, little and big, that our family is so thankful for.

This November is especially meaningful as we wait with great expectation for our turn to travel to Africa and bring our sweet littles home!  As I sat thinking about all that the next months will hold for our family, I was overwhelmed with the great reality of the beautiful journey God has led us on so far.  Yes, we have so much to look forward to - a lifetime of moments and memories to make and cherish, but today I was so thankful for the road that we have already traveled.

Our adoption journey to this point has been long and filled with detours and delays we didn't expect, but the way God has used this road to grow us can't be overlooked.  It hasn't been wasted time and that's one of the things that I love most about how God works.  He uses each circumstance, each "surprise", each disappointment to draw us closer to Him, with the very specific purpose of making us more like Him!

This journey has opened our eyes to a world of need around us - not just in Africa, but right in our own community as well.  It's also opened our eyes to the level of generosity that surrounds us.  Our family and friends have overwhelmed us with not only prayers and encouragement along this road, but also with financial generosity that has given us hope and inspired a new level of generosity in our own lives.

To all who have bought t-shirts, given up Christmas gifts to give a love gift to us, stuck checks in our pockets, sent checks off to Project Feet - to the special family that has answered our phone calls and said "whatever you need" more than once - your generosity will not be forgotten.
It makes us so thankful for the community of family and friends that will surround our little ones once they get home!

This video describes beautifully our heart for adoption.  We are His hands and feet.  And we are so honored to have friends and family that allow God to move in their hearts and give because of what has been given to them. On this first day of November, we are so thankful for you.  You are our heroes and you will forever be a part of our family's story.  Thank you for allowing God to move you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Day!

Today is the end of our 30 day Non-Appeal wait period!   The twins are officially ours and we are officially finished with the Congolese Courts. 
Here is what the next steps look like:
Our lawyer will collect a series of documents (including new birth certificates)
All of those documents will need to be translated from French to English
Passports will be issued for the twins
ALL of that will be submitted to the US Embassy for review
They will issue an Embassy Appointment, which our lawyer will attend on our behalf
The Embassy will send us permission to travel
We'll pack our bags and head to DRC

Please pray with us that these next steps happen quickly!  We are still praying (and hopeful) that we can bring our little ones home before the end of 2012!
Thanks for following along on our journey!  We appreciate your prayers and encouragement so much!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Choosing What is Better

Today is my "day off" from work.  Taking a "day off" when you are in ministry has always been a hard concept for me to balance, but over the past couple of years God has taught me that taking time for myself is not selfish, in fact, it's necessary and extremely important.
Okay, so I've learned to not beat myself up about taking a "day off"...

Here's the next problem - and I know this is something that moms all over the world struggle with - my "day off" from work usually ends up being my "day on" at home - you know what I'm talking about...laundry, groceries, cleaning toilets, etc, etc....Usually productive, but not always beneficial for my emotional/spiritual health.
So today, I was reminded that I have a choice to make.  Choices are a part of our everyday lives and yet in the busyness and dailyness of life, there are times when I forget that I have the power to choose what's best. 
This morning I was reminded of the story in the Bible of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).  This story is one that I always secretly struggle with.  Yes, I know Mary made the wise choice and yet my busy, "doer" heart always goes out to Martha.  Couldn't have Jesus and Mary at least acknowledged that Martha was doing a good job and thanked her before asking her to come sit down?!
But that's not the point.  In verse 41, Jesus says, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her."
Mary chose what was better.  Jesus wasn't saying that there isn't a time or place for cooking and cleaning and being a good hostess - He was simply letting Martha know that in that moment, she had a choice to make - sit at Jesus' feet and be filled up by Him or continue on with her busyness - and she didn't make the right choice - she didn't make the better choice.
So today, I have a choice to make.  Right now, because we are doing some rearranging to fit a piano that was given to us by a good friend, I have a room in my house that looks like this -

For those of you that know me well, you know this drives me crazy!  Every instinct in me is saying, rearrange furniture, hang pictures, fill that room up, for goodness sake!
On the other hand, the past month has been difficult and I'm longing just to sit at Jesus' feet and pour my heart out and allow His joy and peace and power to fill me up.
So I have a choice to make.
I can tell you what my "Martha-ness" is telling me to do...but not I'm choosing what is better.
Today I choose this -

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We are Family! :)

We received an email yesterday from our Adoption Agency with our Adoption Judgement documents attached - WooHoo!  We now wait for a 30-day non-appeal period and after that we start our immigration process and prepare to bring our little ones home!
The documents we received yesterday are all in French, but the part I did understand was this...
de l'enfant OMBA a' celui de Jayce Jeffrey Thomas, et l'enfant SHAKO a' celui d' Alli Kristine Thomas
My interpretation...Omba is now known as Jayce Jeffrey and Shako is now known as Alli Kristine.  Two orphans now belong to a family - our family - the Thomas family!  
What bubbles up from the deepest part of my heart is "Bless the LORD, oh my soul!"
As God continues to write the story of our family - there are now two more characters!  I can't wait to see what happens in the next chapter - this is a real page turner! :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Surgery is Complete

Good News!  We got word today that little A and J had their surgeries and are now recovering in the home of this sister and brother.

Word from our Director is that they are doing well!  And it looks like they got some cool sunglasses out of the deal (although they don't look all that impressed)! :)
So thankful that God holds our little ones in His Almighty Hands! 
Continuing to pray that they will be home soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick Update on Project Feet

Thank you all so much for praying (and giving) over the past week about the situation at our children's Orphanage.  Our sweet Director is feeling encouraged - as are we - with the progress that is being made.  Here is a portion of her Sunday blog post:
The good news is this:  we have 3 or 4 people who will be in Congo by this weekend.  This includes an African Public Health nurse with experience in this issue, who will be a tremendous asset in dealing with the short and long term problem here. At this point, there is no need for more travelers! Thank you to all who have considered going to Congo.  God has provided the hands we need for now.
More good news:  the 2 children who were in the most severe situation had SURGERY on Saturday!  AND, they are staying in the home of a Congolese pastor and wife for recovery! 
More good news:  I was able to speak with a Congolese pastor yesterday.  He had been studying the project blog website and had already printed out all the pictures. Today, Sunday, he is presenting this need to 3 congregations.  The conversation with him was the most encouraging conversation I have had.  He said, “We MUST help these children. It is our job, it is our duty.  We must do so”.  Praise God.  We trust that today, God would speak to the hearts of local families to serve Jesus by serving these children!
I look forward to presenting ‘before and after’ pictures of the children, and to see their smiling faces!  God bless you for caring for children you have never met.  He sees! He judges the motivation of each heart!  He provides!  He rewards!  Praise Him!
Here is the link to our Director's blog if you'd like to read more

We would ask that you continue to pray for all of these precious children! Please pray specifically for our little J and A and for our family.  It's hard to be a world away from your children when they are hurting.  Pray that our lawyer would have an unexplainable sense of urgency, that he would act quickly and thoroughly, and that the time for bringing our children home would be soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I just don't understand...

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

There are so many things about these past few weeks that I just don't understand.
And when I seek to find understanding to all the struggles and hard to explain situations...
I fall miserably short.

And then I'm reminded {again} that God has instructed me to trust in Him, not my own understanding.  So instead of searching for answers and illusive understanding, I need to be searching for and seeking our Mighty God!

This verse just sums it up for me today ~
When You said, "Seek My face", my heart said to You, "Your face Lord, I will seek".  Psalm 27:8

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My heart is heavy today.  Our children are hurting and in danger and yet, they remain half-a-world away.  My only action today is to fall to my knees and lift them up to their Heavenly Father.  Please pray with me!  I'd also ask you to read Our Director's Blog and help if you can.
Jeff will be talking with our Agency this afternoon to see exactly where our family is in the process and what our best course of action will be.  I'll keep you up-to-date once we know more.
These are pictures of little A and J's feet.  

There have been and will continue to be many unknowns and challenges in this journey, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the One who has called us is Faithful!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Just a Little Update

It's been awhile since I've posted an update on our adoption journey, so here it is...
We're still waiting!!

Here's the latest -
On July 5th we found out that we had passed Court - woohoo!  However, because we already have 3 bio children (the Congolese gov't likes for you to have 2) we needed a Presidential Authorization.  We were told it could be 3-4 weeks before our lawyer would have that in hand.
Then, on July 31 we found out that the law requiring you to have only 2 bio children was changed (effective immediately) so our Presidential Authorization was no longer needed.
As of now, that's all we know.  
Our agency has been trying to get a concrete update on our specific case since.  We try to wait patiently, understanding that communication with our lawyer is difficult.
We know that a 30 day wait period is up next (giving anyone who may want to appeal the Court's decision the opportunity), but we're not sure if we are officially in that wait period or not.  

Waiting is never easy, but we do have absolute faith in God's timing!  For us "God's perfect timing" is not a cliche, it is simply the place where our hearts rest.

"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.  Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life."  Psalm 143:8
Each day is a new day!  We'll continue trusting in God's timing and resting in His unfailing love for us and for our precious little ones!

We'll keep on waiting and praying!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Abbi's 17...What?!

Yesterday we celebrated Abbi's 17th birthday.  Seventeen years have flown by and we are standing at the brink of her senior year in high school.  When I think about the fact that she has one year left under our roof, the swirl of emotions are too many to even try to explain.
We have definitely made our fair share of "first-child" mistakes, but when I look at the incredible young woman Abbi is, I am amazed - and so thankful for the power of prayer!  We have prayed our way through a lot of "what in the world do we do?" kind of moments.  
I've prayed a verse for each of my girls since the day they were born - Phil. 1:6 "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  God has been incredibly faithful as He continues to work out His good plan in Abbi's life!

We know God has big things for you!  We can't wait to see what the next days, weeks, months and years hold!  Keep your eyes on the One who holds all things together!
We love you beautiful girl!
Dad and Mom

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy 15th Birthday Averi!

Today we celebrate our sweet Averi!  Fifteen years ago today she graced our family with her presence!
There are so many words that come to mind when I think of our girl - sweet, sensitive, loyal, calm, caring - and as you can see, the tallest of all the girls in our family! :)

What a blessing you are to our family!  It takes a strong girl to handle "middle-child" status with such grace.  Thank you for being our encourager and our peacemaker!  You're beautiful, inside and out and we love seeing how God continues to mold and shape you.
We love your passion for serving others, especially our little ones in The Cove!  You shine with God's love and we could not be any prouder of the young lady you have become.  We adore you and enjoy each moment we get to spend with you!
Continue to listen and follow after your Heavenly Father - we know He has amazing plans for you!
We love you -
Dad and Mom

Friday, June 8, 2012


We celebrated 2 milestones in the Thomas family.  First, on May 30, JT and I celebrated 20 years of marriage!  We've always said that we are the poster-couple for "opposites attract".  As a result, our marriage has certainly had it's ups and downs, but we've grown up together and over the course of 20 years have discovered so many things about ourselves, our relationship and what it means to "meet in the middle".  More now than ever, I'm so thankful for a husband that truly leads our family and consistently points each one of us to Christ.  We're so excited to see what the next 20 years holds for us as a couple and for our ever-expanding family!
On June 3, we celebrated milestone #2 - my 40th birthday!  I really hadn't thought too much about this birthday - I know 40 is supposed to be the "big one", you know "it's all down-hill from here".  But I really don't feel all that old and I do feel like my best years are yet to come - I think if I keep saying that, it'll really be true! :)

My husband is awesome with surprises and he always seems to have something up his sleeve when it comes to birthdays - one of the many things I LOVE about him! This birthday was no exception! The Friday before my birthday, he had my friend, Amy, kidnap me from work.  He had arranged for us to have lunch, pedicures and manicures.  He also had arranged babysitting for her kiddos - now that's a real man!  I was thrilled to spend an afternoon with my sweet friend and you just can't beat the massage chair while getting a mani/pedi!

After a fun afternoon, I headed home to get ready to go out to dinner.  JT and I  headed to one of our favorite restaurants.  We opened the door and were met by so many of our amazing friends and of course, "surprise"!  

I truly was surprised and so thankful to spend the evening with incredible company!  We had dinner and then headed back to our house (which had been cleaned by our girls) for cake and champagne.  It was a perfect night that I will always treasure!  

On Sunday, my actual birthday, our girls gave me the gifts they had made. Priceless!

I love my girls and their beautiful hearts!  The verse they wrote on the mug is Proverbs 31:26 "She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."  I pray I'm that kind of woman!

I think about all that this next year holds and I feel so blessed by the amazing people God has surrounded us with to share in it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Congo on our Mind

We're still waiting...
Waiting to hear if we've passed court.
We're praying that our little ones will be home soon.  
And continuing to believe that God's timing is perfect!
So thankful for the encouragement we find in God's word.

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I love this picture of our girls and thought I'd share it.  
We definitely have Congo on our mind!
Thanks Jaclyn McNeal for taking this perfect picture!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Double Digits!

Today we celebrate our 10 year old Anni!  We had a little family party for her last night - here's the recap

We gave her tree fort a little make-over! :)

You ask a 10 yr old what they want to do on their birthday and this is what you get! 

Our Lovelies! 

Dear Anni,
You've always been our determined one!  As a baby, you were determined to eat RIGHT NOW and sleep on your schedule.  You were determined to be heard...loud and clear!  
You were determined to be held by Abbi, because most of the time, she was the only one who could calm you down! :)

We've always believed that God would use your determination to do BIG things for Him and now as you grow, we're beginning to see glimpses of that more and more.  
We see your determination on the soccer field, as you work hard and give your best effort.  We see you cheer as you win and see the tears well-up as you lose and all the while you're learning what it means to be a good team mate and a good sport!
We see your determination to be a good friend to those around you and most importantly, to make sure your friends know about Jesus!  
We see your determination as you pray that God will help you be a good sister to little A and J, even though it means that you'll no longer be the "baby" of the family!

We love your heart sweet girl - so tender towards others!  You connect with people quickly and once you've made that connection, it's for life! :) 
Hellos are always exciting and Goodbyes are always hard. 
As God continues to mold your heart and determination for Him, we can't wait to see what will happen!  You're one of a kind and we're so thankful that you're ours!
We love you!

3 Projects - Project #3

I finished my 3 projects last week - whew!  

As Averi and I were working in A and J's room the other night, she said, "Man, I wish we would've known about IKEA when I was little!"  
Their room is looking pretty fun!  
Can't wait to have 2 sweet little kiddos home to give it that "lived in" look! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

3 Projects- Project #2

I've been a little under the weather for the past couple of days, but I'm bound and determined to finish my 3 projects for little J and A's room this week!  So here's Project #2 (again, thanks to Pinterest!)

Prepping the canvas 

The words - I used a black paint pen.  I like the "handwritten" look, but if you are more particular, Michael's had lots of letter templates.

The finished project!

Here's what it says:
I am your parent, you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your dinner, you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your good night kiss,
you are my 'I love you'

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Joy in The Congo

Simply Beautiful ~

3 Projects - Project #1

The past 2 weeks at church have been non-stop busy, so our Children's Pastor gave our staff this week to work from home - accomplishing just the "have-to's" and spending some time recouping!  Since I'm not one to sit still for too long, I decided this week would be perfect for accomplishing some projects for little A and J's room.  I found 3 projects on Pinterest (oh Pinterest, where have you been all my life?!) that I LOVE - I figure if I chart my progress, I'll have more incentive to actually get them done.'s yesterday's project - #1

Prepping the canvas

Cutting out the letters


I make my own modge-podge using equal parts of Elmer's glue and water - shake really well and presto - you've got modge-podge!

Finished project!

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Cup Overflows

I'm sitting this morning thinking through all the events of yesterday, Easter Sunday, with such a grateful heart!  I'm so thankful for our Risen Savior, who gave His everything for me.  One of the songs we sang yesterday with our Harbortown kids was "Remember" - I'll remember You - remembering the price You paid, remembering the cross, remembering the empty tomb - I'll remember You.  Even this morning, it brings tears.
I'm thankful for our girls!  As I looked at them in their "Easter best" - which, for our family, meant their volunteer t-shirts - my heart overflowed.  They chose to spend their Easter Sunday serving others through 3 services and 3 Easter egg hunts - love their hearts! 
I'm thankful for my incredible husband, who "gets it" when I'm tired and is patient even when that tiredness results in grumpiness.  Instead of complaining, he grills steak and takes us to TCBY!  
I'm thankful for the amazing people I have the privilege of serving with each Sunday in our Children's Ministry - what an inspiring, encouraging and fun group of people - love them!  
I'm thankful for the two sweet little ones that are waiting for us on the other side of the ocean.  I'm thankful for the little glimpses we have of them and their personalities through pictures and video.  I can't wait to be their mommy - I can't wait to celebrate next Easter with them!  
I'm so thankful for all that God has taught and continues to teach our family through this adoption journey.  It isn't easy, but we have seen God's hand in undeniable ways - we all have grown and I wouldn't trade that for anything!
This morning, all I can say is "thank you Jesus".  My cup overflows!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Our great hope is found in believing that God sees the bigger picture - the highest perspective.  And in those times when we are puzzled by the small pieces that just don't seem to fit together, He promises to be with us.
A month ago, our family was truly puzzled, the picture just wasn't turning out like we thought it would.

We knew that God delights in adoption, in putting orphans into families and we knew that God called our family to adopt - so why weren't things working out?  

I asked myself that question many times in the days right after we lost our 1st referral.  But here's the thing, we never lost hope - because we know that God sees the pieces of the picture that we don't and we knew that He was walking through this time with us - we felt His comfort and peace in so many different ways.

We continued to wait with great expectation for what piece of the picture God would show us next.  And boy, did He have a beautiful surprise in store for us!

Today, we officially accepted another referral and our lawyer will be heading to court on our behalf in just a couple weeks.  Here's what I can show you...

Yep, you counted right!  10 little toes on 4 sweet little feet!  Not only did God give us another referral - He doubled the fun!!  Twin girl and boy, who turned 3 yrs old in January.  I cannot begin to tell you the range of emotions we're experiencing right now, but joy certainly tops the list!

"God has done great things for us and we are filled with joy!"  Psalm 126:3

Friday, February 24, 2012

I know the plans I have for you ~

Last Tuesday, on Valentines Day, we received the news that "our" little one will indeed be placed with an Italian family.  There were tears and sadness and we had to work really hard to pry open our fingers and let go of this little one that we were supposed to be holding onto loosely.  It was beyond difficult, especially for this momma.  I placed her picture in my Bible in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".
God's promise for this sweet little girl.  
I'm so thankful that she will no longer be an orphan - that God did place her in a family.  We'll continue to pray that she will come to know and love her Heavenly Father and spend her life discovering the plans that He has for her.

And we'll continue to follow God's plan for our family and wait for the little one He has chosen for us.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Update: It's not happy news

We got an email from our Agency late this afternoon with the subject line: "It's not happy news".

We'll now be waiting until next week to see if our little girl's name is on a "list" - that "list" will tell us whether or not she has already been promised to an Italian family.  My heart says, "she was already promised to us", but since the Italian agency holds the Abandonment Decree, our "promise" is really only words with no official backing.  
We'll wait for next week.  We'll wait for the "list".  We'll wait to see if this little girl is the one God has chosen for our family.  
We'll still wait, pray and trust.
We're not the only family from our Agency that this "list" will affect.
We'll be praying for them as well.

Col. 1:17 "He is before all things and in Him all things hold together."

Wait. Pray. Trust.

The past few days have been...interesting.  We're still waiting for that one document that means that we can move forward in our adoption process. This document - an Abandonment Decree - we found out last month is in the hands of an Italian Adoption Agency.  There has been a lot of back and forth, but we're still being told that they are willing to hand it over to our lawyer - when that happens we'll start moving along again.
We were told that our lawyer would be meeting with a representative from the Italian Agency this past Sunday or Monday.  We were told on Tuesday that didn't happen as planned, but they promised to meet on Wednesday. Our Agency was going to talk with the lawyer after that meeting and would let us know what transpired.  We got word from our Agency Director this morning that they tried several times yesterday to call our lawyer, but didn't get through.  They would try again this morning.  We're still waiting for word from them.  
I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I'm feeling right now.  
Worried, No.
Disappointed, Yes.
Frustrated, Not Really.
As much I would love to have all the answers and feel like I'm in control of this situation.  Here's what we know...
God is in control of all things - big, small and everything in between.  He's never taken by surprise or caught off guard.  
We trust Him.  Period.  
Wait. Pray. Trust.  That's all we can do right now.  Thanks for joining us.  We appreciate all the prayers. We're happy to answer questions the best we can.  We love knowing that the arrival of our little one is greatly anticipated by family and friends.  We're trusting that we'll have news to share with you all very soon!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yes, it's been awhile.

I guess I just haven't had much to say.  Although, that's not really true.  I have lots of thoughts rolling around in my head, but I can't seem to make them into paragraphs that actually make sense.  So today I'll just stick with sentences.
We're in the midst of a transition in our Children's Ministry.  We've hired a Children's Pastor.  He's an answer to prayer.  The vision he has for our ministry is incredible and I can't wait to see all that God is going to do in the next months and years.  
Even when we believe the "destination" of change will be more than we can ask or imagine, the road to change is sometimes bumpy.  
So thankful that God is faithful.  We can trust Him in all things.
Our Abandonment Decree is still in the hands of an Italian adoption agency.  We hope that changes soon.
Our Director is getting ready to make a trip to The Congo mid-February.  We're hoping she'll be able to get some answers in person that are proving difficult via over-seas communication.  We're putting together another care package for Alli.  We're hoping it actually goes to Alli this time. :)
We're trying to wait well.  Some days are better than others.
Again, so thankful that God is faithful and we can trust Him in all things.
Jeff fractured his leg playing basketball.  He's in a walking boot for 2 months.  Good times.
Cheerleading is in full-swing.  Soccer is just gearing up.  I'm the team parent.  Let's not talk about that. :)
I guess that's all the sentences I have for today.  I'll just end with this - because I loved it so much -
God is less interested in right circumstances than in right responses.  
I'm trying. :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hello 2012!

The beginning of a new year seems like the perfect time to bring one chapter to a close and begin again. I've never been one to make "resolutions", but I am really big on setting goals. I won't bore you with my long list of 2012 Goals, but I will tell you that I read something yesterday that made me want to do this:   2012 Goals

“God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity when we plan only the things we can do by ourselves”. – A.W. Tozer

Reading that made me want to do this...
2012 GOAL -  Throw my plans out the window and be open to whatever God may choose to do through me!

I'm praying that 2012 will be an Ephesians 3:16-20 kind of year!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.