Beauty for Ashes

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Our family is growing...

We are so excited to share our big news- we are adopting! The Lord has been calling us to adoption over the past few years, and looking back, He has been preparing us for this journey every step of the way. 

Adoption is something we began talking about before we were married, knowing it would be a part of our family one day. God has been breaking our hearts for orphans as we have learned more about orphans around the world and God’s heart for the fatherless. We began to dig into scripture and found that there are over 40 verses about the fatherless and orphans.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.” Psalm 68:6

We know God’s heart is for adoption. Adoption is and has always been God’s idea. We know that we (all believers) were once orphaned, but God adopted us into His family. (He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:4-5)

We have learned there are an estimated 153 million orphans in the world. Even knowing that, it can just seem like a statistic or another number.
“We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes…” –David Platt

Through our trips to Kenya and Uganda, the Lord began to open our eyes to the plight of orphans around the world. We were able to go to orphanages in Uganda and our eyes were opened in so many ways. He began to not only break our hearts for the countless children who did not have parents to tuck them in at night, but those who had never heard about Jesus. A little over a year ago, we officially knew God called us to adoption, and we said yes to Him, still not knowing the “when” or the “where.” We were open to adopting from wherever.

We began praying and deeply researching international and domestic (within the US) adoption possibilities. We looked into many agencies and countries and we were planning to start the process soon when we found out we were expecting our sweet Ellie Kate! The Lord has blessed us beyond words with her. We put adoption on hold then, and just over the past few months officially began our process.
God has confirmed to us in many ways that it is His plan for our family to adopt, and He has confirmed that our child will be from Ethiopia. We know that He already knows who our child will be. We are in the process of adopting a 0-2 year old boy or girl. The process of international adoption is long, but we have been accepted into the Ethiopia program with our agency and are beginning our home study meetings. Our home study with the paperwork process will take about 6 months, and then we will be put on a waiting list for a referral (which is when we will get pictures and medical information on our child). After accepting our referral, we will prepare to travel twice (both trips will be about 5 days each). The first trip is to meet our child and for our court date, and the second will be to travel home with our child!

Why Ethiopia?

*Ethiopia is a country in Africa that is twice the size of Texas with one of the largest orphan populations in the world
*There are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia alone
·      1 out of every 9 children is an orphan
·      1 out of every 10 children will not live to see their first birthday.
·      1 out of 6 children die before their 5th birthday
·      Over 60% of the population does not have clean drinking water
·      The doctor to people population ratio is 1 doctor to every 42,000 people
·      4 out of 5 families live on less than $2 a day
·      Only 50% of children attend primary school (K-3)
·      88% of children will never attend secondary school
·      Malnutrition is the cause for more than half of all child deaths

As you may know, adoption is very expensive, but we are trusting the Lord to provide. (2 Corinthians 9:8) We have saved enough to start the process, and will be doing many fundraisers along the way. Our first will be a t-shirt fundraiser (info coming soon!) You can see our fundraising progress on the side of this blog.

As we prepare to have a transracial family, we are learning many things to be the best parents we can for all of our children. We recognize that multiculturalism is an asset to be valued and will value it in our home. We will take pride in our child’s birth country and celebrate Ethiopian culture. We are also committing to seek out relationships to support us and our child. When God first began stirring our hearts toward adoption, we really knew only one person who had adopted, a precious son domestically, and their story has impacted us so much. Now, we have been blessed by so many families who have adopted or are in the adoption process. God has also been teaching us about caring for orphans through foster care with some of our sweet friends fostering two precious children right now. I love that the Lord has provided those relationships, and even some who have adopted from Ethiopia or are in the process. We’ve also been able to be a part of an orphan care group at our church of families who have or are in process of adopting or fostering, which has been a huge blessing.
As a transracial family, we are committing to be intentional to create a positive racial identity for our child and for all of our children to value themselves and others. All of our children will have a sense of belonging in our family, and most importantly will be taught the love of Jesus.

We are beyond excited to see the Lord’s plans unfold for our family. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to read our story and be a part of it. Our main need is prayer, prayer for our baby who may not even be born yet and that God would give us strength and patience through this long process and direct our steps.
We already love this precious baby, even before knowing anything about him or her. We cannot wait to see the face of our daughter or son for the first time!! Ellie Kate is going to be the best big sister!
 I will try to update on our process as much as I can! We will be selling t-shirts soon, more info coming! If you would like to donate toward our adoption, you can click the “Donate” button on the top right of this blog, and all donations will go directly into our adoption account. Thank you so much for your prayers and support, and if you read this to the end, you are awesome!

“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” John 14:18

“Let us hold fast to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

Friday, January 10, 2014

Prayer of a Martyred Zimbabwe Pastor/ A New Year

"I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
 I have the Holy Spirit power. 
The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made- I’m a disciple of His.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure.
I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
 I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
 I now live by faith, lean in his presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and I labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions are few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till he stops me. And, when he comes for his own, he will have no problem recognizing me. . . my banner will be clear!"
-Prayer of a Martyred Zimbabwe Pastor

I love this prayer. It portrays the radical lifestyle a disciple of Jesus lives- completely counter-cultural. It reminds me of Jesus telling us to count the cost of following Him- to take up our cross and die to ourselves.

This new year brings a lot of new: the biggest being a sweet baby girl the Lord has blessed us with coming in May..just a few months away. As I was thinking about new year "resolutions," (we like to call them goals :) I was seeking what He would have for me this year-- my prayer is to focus more on Jesus this year and meditate on scripture each day by reading through the whole Bible over this next year. It's been a goal for a long time and it's time to stop being selfish with my time- when I spend it doing so many other things that don't matter.

The new year also makes me look back on this past year and all that God has done in our lives-- makes me really thankful for where He has taken us and what He has taught us- from mississippi to uganda and all that was in between. Looking forward to this next year and all He has planned.
A few of my favorite moments from 2013:

What is He calling you to this year? I pray I don't miss it.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19