Beauty for Ashes

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Run the Race with Perseverance

Words can't describe the way God used His people on Saturday to speak to us, provide for us, encourage, and strengthen us along in our adoption process. I am going to try to put our thoughts together because it is too great not to share!
The Hearts of Compassion 5K was an amazing picture of the Church coming together to care for the fatherless!! We were completely overwhelmed and blessed that our family was one of the 8 adoptive families benefitting from this race.. The Hearts of Compassion ministry is such an impactful orphan care ministry of Colonial Heights, and we were so blessed to get to know them & be a part of their ministry! Each family had a team of runners, and the families are in the process of bringing 8 children home from all over the world, including the US, China, Ethiopia, Columbia, and Kyrgyzstan. Some of the families have already been matched with their child and are getting ready to travel soon!!
{pictured are all the families and some of the team members after the race}
{some of the families who have already adopted and were a part of the race last year or years before, and the family on the far left just brought their son home from Poland a few weeks ago!}

555 people registered for the race!! We had 40 runners on Team Kitchens and over 100 sponsors names on stickers!!! 40 precious friends & family ran in the rain to help bring Levi home and advocated for our adoption by getting over 100 very generous sponsors.. 
Our prayer for this fundraiser was not just about the funding, although that was a huge need. We prayed that God would send people to rally around us and remind us that we aren't in this alone, that he would bring awareness to the need for orphan care, and that He would use this to provide a way for those who may not be called to adopt or can't adopt right now a way to care for orphans and be a huge part of bringing an orphan to his/her forever family.

The Lord answered this prayer in the most amazing way.. we prayed for 10 runners, he sent 40.. a few who we never even met until the day of the race... which completely blew me away!!! Each runner wore their sponsors names on Africa stickers, so there were so many names represented of people being a part of bringing our son home.. we all were leaving a trail of stickers throughout the race because of the rain! :)

As it got close to the race, we found out it was pretty much 100% chance of rain. The leadership team of Hearts of Compassion put so much work into the race, so they were right along with us praying it WOULD NOT RAIN!! We thought no one would show up, and after all of their hard work along with all the families, we really really prayed that it wouldn't rain. Well... it rained! And SO many people still showed up!! and even ran in the rain!! 
I don't think I even made it 0.2 of a mile without crying.. watching everyone there running in the rain with us just was an awesome picture to me.. a reminder of God's faithfulness even in the rain.. He provided every single need and He made it perfect! It was a perfect picture of adoption to me.. because adoption is beautiful, but it is also hard, comes with loss, is expensive, with lots of obstacles and waiting. It doesn't (hardly ever) go as we plan it out.. but His plans are perfect. He knew it was going to rain all along, and that was actually a part of His plan to show that He is bigger than all of that.. He is bigger than what our earthly minds can plan for our lives, SO thankful that His plans are better! He used it to show us His control, sovereignty, and provision through every circumstance. He has provided for every step of the way through our process...

{probably my favorite from the day- my mom and her friend Teresa who finished last but not least!!}

The day after the race marked 1 year since we began the adoption process.. I couldn't believe it worked out like that, but we know that wasn't a coincidence! I remember starting the process not knowing HOW in the world we would raise over $30,000 to be able to fund this adoption.. I am so thankful that we stepped out in faith on that day, because He has provided every single amount we have needed at every stage... Y'all, if He calls you to adoption or anything else that can be scary.. say YES! He really will take care of the rest and you will be so blessed and strengthened in your faith to watch Him.. I could talk for hours about the crazy ways He has provided for us, and it has had nothing to do with us. He has taught us to trust him and has strengthened our faith so much, in times where without Him coming through we wouldn't be able to move forward in the process. He has never left us through this process even when we doubted, and I know he will continue to walk us through the days ahead after we are matched with our son!

From this race, we have raised over $8,500 and counting from sponsors' donations and a matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans... and people are still donating to our fund! We are going to sell the extra Give Hope t-shirts that my awesome sister-in-law designed and our amazing small group leaders printed for us! We are very close to being fully funded for the rest of our entire adoption!! 

What's next?  We are waiting to be matched with our son! We have been officially on the waiting list for 4 months (even though we have been in the process for 1 year because it took time for the home study and all of the paperwork). The average wait time with our agency for a referral is 14 months.. so we have around 10 months to hit that wait time.. that would be around August-September.. It could definitely be longer or shorter than this wait time. After we are matched, we will get updates each week with pictures of Levi until we are able to travel for our court date and to bring him home!

We will always look back on this memory with a full heart, and we can't wait to share it with Levi one day!

Thank you seems so inadequate for all of your prayers, support, and encouragement along our journey.. We can't wait for you to be a part of seeing Him complete this journey he started us on and see Levi come home

Here is a recap video from the race- the end shows each family who was a part of the race and at the very end, a very special baptism

"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2

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