Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tagged

My friend Whitney tagged us forever ago, and I'm just finally getting around to responding. I'm supposed to answer the following questions with one word answers...so here we go!

1. Where is your cell phone? Near
2. Your hair? Blonde
3. Your mother? Friend
4. Your father? Kind
5. Your favorite food? Dessert
6. Your dream last night? Scary
7. Your favorite drink? Coffee
8. Your dream/goal? Faithfulness
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Kidnappers
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home
13. Where were you last night? BarnesandNoble
14. Something that you aren’t? Tall
15. Muffins? Chocolate
16. Wish list item? Isaiahhome
17. Where did you grow up? Todd,NC
18. Last thing you did? Talktosister
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? Football
21. Your pets? Lab
22. Friends? Love'em
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Content
25. Missing someone? Isaiah
26. Vehicle? Honda
27. Something you’re not wearing? Scarf
28. Your favorite store? Thrift
29. Your favorite color? Can'tchoose
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? Brian
33. One place that I go to over and over? Chick-fil-a
34. One person who emails me regularly? Jennifer
35. Favorite place to eat? BennettPoint

Ok, so I only cheated a little bit.
Now I tag:
Sarah at http://thestoryofafamily.blogspot.com/
Audrey at http://ourjourneyjohn1418.blogspot.com/
Rebecca at http://milfammilwaukee.blogspot.com/
Rebekah at http://rebekahandwillmcgee.blogspot.com/
Anna at http://hopperhouse.blogspot.com/
Shannon at http://dotcox.blogspot.com
You're it!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Great is His Faithfulness

Lamentations 3
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"How can I justify..."

I was reading some old Frances Chan blog posts and came across a YouTube video of Chan's wife in a Uganda orphanage. She was holding an abandoned baby in the brief 30 second clip. Below the video, Chan wrote this:

Why is my life more valuable than this baby's? Someone asked me recently why I don't save money for emergencies, or retirement. My answer was, how can I justify saving for myself "just in case" something happens to me when something IS happening to so many already. 29,000 kids will die today of preventable causes. If I'm to love my neighbor AS myself, why spend so much time worrying about me?


This is a drastically different mindset from everything I'm accustomed to learning and a terrifying thought for me. To actually do what Chan's doing (to live literally from paycheck to paycheck) takes real, solid faith, but it's amazing to consider how that step of faith strengthens that very same faith further.

Along the same lines, I read the following in an article on Chan. It encouraged me, so maybe it will do the same for you.

Despite what is clearly a flourishing ministry, Chan remains an anomaly. He lives in a tract house in one of Simi Valley's down-and-out suburbs with his wife and four children. He rides a 1995 Honda Elite scooter to work. An avid surfer, he emits a laid-back Californian coolness.

According to one comment he made in a sermon, Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income (though his church administrator preferred the phrase "most of his income"). Chan doesn't take a salary from his church, and his book royalties, which total about $500,000, mostly go to organizations like International Justice Mission.


Proverbs 30:7-9

7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.


I have never prayed for God to give me "neither poverty nor riches," yet there it is as plain as day. Rather, I find myself chasing retirement like everyone else around me.

With regards to the same issue, John Piper said this in Don't Waste Your Life:

Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.” That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life. (Don't Waste Your Life, 45-46)


-Brian

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Encouragement

"If the Lord makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts... He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people." -C.H. Spurgeon

Thanks to the McBrides for sharing this quote!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Hard Week

This week has been tough. We found out on Thursday that our adoption will be delayed, due to some changes in the process and some particular aspects (that we can't discuss) of our case. With this information came the realization that we might not be able to bring our son home by Christmas. Talk about heartbreak.
However, despite our sadness, we realize that we have a choice. We can choose to be depressed, or we can choose to rejoice in the fact that many other families in our agency received the good news of court appointments this week. We can choose to despair, or we can choose to believe what we say we believe: that God is in control of each and every detail and will unite us with our son at the exact perfect time. So we will keep hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and praising Him throughout it all. We'd love your prayers, as we daily fight against the temptation to be overcome by worry, fear, and sadness. Thank you for walking through this with us.

I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp

Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I've never felt so torn before
Seems I don't know where to start

But it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

'Cause I still believe in Your faithfulness
'Cause I still believe in Your truth
'Cause I still believe in Your Holy Word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
With promises I still seem to bear
For even when answers slowly unwind
It's my heart I see You prepare

But it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

'Cause I still believe in Your faithfulness
'Cause I still believe in Your truth
'Cause I still believe in Your Holy Word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

Well the only place I can go is into Your arms
Where I throw to You my feeble prayers
Well in brokenness I can see that this is Your will for me
Well help me to know that You are near


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgJrflQ0Qwg

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adopted for Life

Here's an excerpt from Russell Moore's new book, Adopted for Life. I must admit that I haven't read it yet, but this part was on CJ Mahaney's blog (thanks to Will and Rebekah for pointing us to Mahaney's recent adoption series).

“So, are they brothers?” the woman asked. My wife Maria and I, jet-lagged from just returning from Russia, looked at each other wearily. This was the twelfth time since we returned that we’d been asked this question. When I looked back at the woman’s face, she had her eyebrows raised. “Are they?” she repeated. “Are they brothers?”

This lady was looking at some pictures, printed off a computer, of two one-year-old boys in a Russian orphanage, boys who had only days earlier been pronounced by a Russian court to be our children, after the legally mandated waiting period had elapsed for the paperwork to go through. Maria and I had returned to Kentucky to wait for the call to return to pick up our children and had only these pictures of young Maxim and Sergei, our equivalent of a prenatal sonogram, to show to our friends and relatives back home. But people kept asking, “Are they brothers?”

“They are now,” I replied. “Yes,” the woman said. “I know. But are they really brothers?” Clenching my jaw, and repeating Beatitudes to myself silently in my mind, I coolly responded, “Yes, now they are both our children, so they are now really brothers.” The woman sighed, rolled her eyes, and said, “Well, you know what I mean.”

Of course, we did know what she meant. What she wondered was whether these two boys, born three weeks apart, share a common biological ancestry, a common bloodline, some common DNA. It struck me that this question betrayed what most of us tend to view as really important when it comes to sonship: traceable genetic material.

This is the reason people would also ask us, “Now, do you have any children of your own?” And it is the reason newspaper obituaries will often refer to the deceased’s “adopted child,” as though this were the equivalent of a stepchild or a protégé rather than a real offspring.

During the weeks that Maria and I waited anxiously for the call to return to Russia to receive our children, I pondered this series of questions. As I read through the books of Ephesians and Galatians and Romans, it occurred to me that this is precisely the question that was faced by the apostle Paul and the first-century Christian churches. …

When Maria and I at long last received the call that the legal process was over, and we returned to Russia to pick up our new sons, we found that their transition from orphanage to family was more difficult than we had supposed. We dressed the boys in outfits our parents had bought for them. We nodded our thanks to the orphanage personnel and walked out into the sunlight, to the terror of the two boys.

They’d never seen the sun, and they’d never felt the wind. They had never heard the sound of a car door slamming or felt like they were being carried along a road at 100 miles an hour. I noticed that they were shaking and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance. Suddenly it wasn’t a stranger asking, “Are they brothers?” They seemed to be asking it, nonverbally but emphatically, about themselves.

I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, “That place is a pit! If only you knew what’s waiting for you—a home with a mommy and a daddy who love you, grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and playmates and McDonald’s Happy Meals!”

But all they knew was the orphanage. It was squalid, but they had no other reference point. It was home.

We knew the boys had acclimated to our home, that they trusted us, when they stopped hiding food in their high chairs. They knew there would be another meal coming, and they wouldn’t have to fight for the scraps. This was the new normal.

They are now thoroughly Americanized, perhaps too much so, able to recognize the sound of a microwave ding from forty yards away. I still remember, though, those little hands reaching for the orphanage. And I see myself there."


It is very depressing to think that there are children like these all over the world, as you are reading this, who have also not seen the sun or felt the wind. Who have not been loved or comforted when they cried. And who may never hear the name "Jesus."

But there is hope in knowing that we have the ability to change that.

-Brian

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Together for Adoption: Dr. Russell Moore

If you are at all interested in adoption, orphan care, or the church, take the time to listen to Dr. Moore's segment from the Together for Adoption conference.

Here's a sneak peek:

"The doctrine of adoption and the mission of adoption has to start with a unity of the church. If you do not recognize the reality of the brothers and sisters in your congregation as your brothers and sisters then how do you expect those people to recognize the reality of a family that comes together through adoption?"

"We in orphan care movement ought to be the ones teaching the evangelical church in America what it means to love people more than stuff...
And we are living in a world in which we can love the poor as an idea and we can love orphans as an idea and we can love being countercultural as an idea but when it really comes down to getting rid of our stuff, even though the most impoverished person in this room... is richer than the rich young ruler. We see where all of that ends. If God gets ahold of us with an orphan care movement where we see the glory that is to be revealed and we see the fact that bringing in children into our homes and raising them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, when we see people who aren't simply adopting or going on mission trips or caring for orphans...once everything else is in place, when we start seeing people who are saying, 'I will live in a trailer park for the rest of my life so that I can care for orphans,' 'I will forgo having a second car, so that I can care for orphans,' 'Who in the world needs cable television when there are orphans?' When we start seeing that kind of movement, not as a Pharisaical, imposing it on one another, but when we see people freely and joyfully saying, 'This is worth it, to have another seat at the table.' You will see an opportunity for the orphan care movement to turn and say to the rest of the body of Christ: 'Let's believe what we say we believe. Let's be who we say that we are.'"

Wow. I'm challenged. Are you?

Listen to it here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Excited

We received word last week that the courts in Ethiopia are officially back in session! We are now just waiting to hear when our court date will be. Hopefully we'll hear something soon. Congratulations to the East family, who passed court last week and to the Hensley family and all the other families who have received a court date!! We are so excited for you. Speaking of excited, this little girl cannot wait to meet her new little baby cousin!
video

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Showered again!

Last weekend, our friends from Wake Forest threw us an amazing baby shower. Here's a peek at the festivities!
















A big thank you to the hosts of the afternoon!



We were so blessed by your thoughtfulness and generosity! Thank you everybody!!

Sending out Prayers

The Wrights and the Andersens, two other families adopting through AGCI, recently found out that their baby girls have been hospitalized with pneumonia. It is unbelievably hard to know that you have a child half way around the world that you can't bring home yet. I can't even imagine how much harder it gets when you find out they are sick. Please join me in praying for these sweet families.



"You Raise Me Up"

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up... To more than I can be.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blogger Buddies

One of the great blessings from this process has been connecting with other families who are adopting. We rejoice with one another, pray for one another, and truly walk through this journey together.


Our sweet friend Whitney made us this awesome t-shirt.


Check out her blog to order one! She will even customize it to your liking!


We ordered this adorable little onesie from Angie.


She is selling everything from clothing to Christmas ornaments, so check it out and see how you can support them.

Our amazing friend Audrey sent us this surprise in the mail last week.

We can't wait to put our first family photo in it after we bring our little guy home. Thank you Audrey!

And finally, last weekend we got to meet another NC adoptive family. They gave us these great shirts!



Meredith, we can't wait to hear about your referral call! We know it's coming soon!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Can't stop staring...

Aren't these the cutest little toes you have ever seen?

Showered



Two weekends ago (I know, I know...I am really behind on blogging), my family and friends from my hometown gave us a baby shower. It was so much fun to see everyone and to show off our referral picture. And of course, sweet little baby Fleming got a ton of great gifts. Thank you everyone for all of your encouragement and support! You are too generous!!