Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Raising Adopted Children": Part 2

I learned a lot from this book about "Talking About Adoption." There's really a lot to think about, and many preparations to make even now. Here are just a few of the things I've learned (am learning!):

1 "Parents should start at the beginning - the child's beginning. That means talking about the child's birth and places that she lived before being adopted. The child's life did not start with her adoption, although she may have no conscious memory of her life before her adoption, and her parents may have little information." We can teach our child about his/her life before their adoption even with little personal info - we can create a "life book" containing our own journey to adopt, pictures of his/her orphanage & transition home, photos of Ethiopia and the village where he/she was born, facts about her culture, mementos from our trips, etc. I love to be creative and "crafty," so this excites me. We can get the book started and as our child grows older, our child can help us add to the book and learn to tell his/her story. Love this. We'll want to get this book out often throughout the year and leave it in a prominent place in our home. We want it to be natural, and not a once a year occasion to talk about the adoption.

2 "It is important to tell the adopted child that her birth parents probably loved her and that it was probably difficult for them to place her for adoption, but that they thought that was what would be best for her...A child should be reassured that her birth parents placed her for adoption because they weren't able to act as parents of any baby, not because there was anything wrong with her." We need to be sure our child can openly communicate with us about his/her birth parents, and that we do not disrespect or tarnish them in our child's eyes - no matter the circumstances surrounding the child being given up for adoption. The act of placing a child up for adoption is an act of love and care for the child.

3 "Some children talk more than others about adoption because they are more verbal. Parents who are unsure whether their children are fully expressing their interest in their origins may want to look at how their children gather information or express themselves on other topics. Is this a child who talks through a problematic situation, or is she more likely to work through issues alone or express herself through art, music, or movement? A child who tends to be more intense about expressing her feelings may express more intensity about adoption than a child who is more easygoing." It's definitely going to be a challenge to pick up on these cues and help direct them. We want to encourage ways of expressing feelings and thoughts in a way that is safe for our child. We always want it to be natural, and we want to take advantage of the opportunities we're afforded to talk about these things as our child continues to grow and develop. Adoption will not be a one-time explanation or conversation. It is part of who they are, and as they develop it will mean different things to them and they'll explore different aspects of it. It will be a continuousjourney for them and for us.

There was much more in this chapter, but these were a few of the highlights for me. Still digesting a lot of this. We've already begun saving things for our child's "lifebook"...our first acceptance letter, notes and cards from friends and family, receipts from fundraising opportunities, our Home Study, will be fun to continue building a "lifebook" and to add to it next year!

Ben and I both got fingerprinted this week (we'll let you know if we're wanted criminals...still waiting to find out), and we had a bunch of labwork done. Two more big things crossed off the list of remaining pieces for our dossier! Just a few more things to go before we are finished. I'm not sure we'll be able to send it off before the end of the year, but we're hoping for shortly after the New Year. But, you know, it will happen all in God's perfect timing. We're plugging away, and we know that nothing we are anyone else involved can do will change the fact that we'll be receiving the child He's designed for us all along. So, that's always comforting! Can't wait to meet our little one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Raising Adopted Children": Part 1

I just finished reading Book 1 of 2 of the required reading for our dossier. It is entitled "Raising Adopted Children" by Lois Ruskai Melina. I was surprised at how much I loved it and how helpful it was. A lot of my concerns and questions were addressed, and I just really felt that the author "gets it." She has adopted children of her own, so she's speaking from experience as a prospective and post-adoptive parent. I want to get some of my thoughts out on "paper," so I'm basically just going to list things I found insightful and helpful in this blog entry. It may seem somewhat choppy, incoherent, or possibly even boring to many readers. But, the purpose is just to put it out there. So, here goes:

1 "Having expected finally to be recognized as a mother or father, adoptive parents may be taken aback when someone predicts that a pregnancy will soon follow the adoption - with the implication that the adoptive parents will then have what they really want." - How many times have we heard this in the past year? We know it's spoken from a place of genuine love and care, but this has really opened up my eyes to my own perspective on adoption. We have learned that God builds families, that adoption is not about the next step to having our own biological child, but the next step in God building our family.

Later on the author states, "Five percent of people with untreated infertility problems conceive after adopting - the same percentage of infertile couples who conceive but do not adopt. Yet the myth persists that one sure way to get pregnant is to adopt." - We are learning to see this way of thinking as just that - a myth. We never want our child to think that we only adopted him or her so that we could become pregnant with our "real" child. Our adopted child is just as much our "real" child as any we may physically bring into the world. Just as each of us who have come to Christ are just as much God's "real" children as His own Son, Jesus. (Galatians 6:4 is a great picture of this)

2 "If visits with the infant before placement are not possible, adoptive parents can make the transition easier by learning and following the routine and method of care and interaction used by the previous caretaker. It is important to maintain the infant's schedule as much as possible and to replicate the way the infant is used to being fed, dressed, bathed, and even diapered..." Pray for us in this - that we would be given as much information as possible so that we can aid our child's transition and make it as smooth as we can. We will get to meet our child when we make our 1st trip to Ethiopia for our court date (still months away), so we're hoping we'll get to learn some of these things while we're there that first time.

3 Attachment is a major issue and concern with adoptive families. There's so much in this book and other training materials we've read that address attachment - too much to share here. But we also ask that you pray for us now and once we bring our child home. Pray that the Lord will give us patience as we develop a relationship with our child and as we allow that child to attach to us. We may have to take the first month or so somewhat "alone" - allowing our child to understand who we are (their new caretakers) and helping to form that bond and attachment. This means we will need to limit the amount of time our child is held by, played with, or has his needs provided by other people. This is a new concept for us - it's different from what you'd expect with a biological child. Biological children have already attached to the mother, and have other ways of continuing that attachment to the parents after birth. It's just a different situation. Of course, we will at times need help, and of course, we will want our immediate family members to be able to spend time with our child. This is probably going to be one of those trial and error processes. We are going to have to make an intentional effort to help the child bond to us first. It can be confusing to the child when he/she is being held by or cared for multiple people when he first arrives. It will take longer for him to bond to us as his parents, so it's going to definitely be a time of learning. Not only will this help us bond to our child and him to us, but we know it will grow Ben and I closer to each other as we depend on the Lord and each other during that first period of adjustment at home. Pray with us for this process, and we'll appreciate your continued prayers and patience with us as we figure this out after we bring our child home.

Next time, I'll blog more about "Talking About Adoption." I learned a lot in this much to think about, plan for, pray about! But, this excites me as well. It's definitely a journey, and we're so glad that we're not on it alone! Thank you for your continued prayer and support!

Until next time! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Long time, no blog.

My intention when we started this blog was to be really good and consistent about keeping it updated. However, I just have not had the extra time or mental energy to spend on it the last couple of months. My Premier business has been super busy - this is our busiest season, and I've been trying to work on our dossier as well. We've made some progress, and hope to make some more this week and next. Our goal is to get all of the "work" done before Christmas. So, we don't really have any BIG updates for you right now on our process. But, hopefully we will soon.

I've been wanting to blog about what we're learning, things we're reading, etc. I just haven't had time to sit down and put "pen to paper." (Or fingers to keyboard) So, hopefully that will come along soon as well. We are learning a lot and being challenged. The things I've been reading have really caused me to think hard about some things, and have prompted a lot of good discussions.

Please continue to pray for us as we attempt to complete our dossier by Christmas. Please also pray for our child, and for our agency who will be matching us with the child God has for us. Also, please pray for our finances. God has been so good to us. He's been meeting and exceeding our every need. We're getting ready to start paying out some BIG chunks of cash, so we pray that He will continue to provide, and that we will continue to be able to set aside some extra each month to our adoption fund.
Thank you for your faithfulness to us during this process. We'll try to update you again soon and share some things we're learning. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Hi everyone!
I'm so sorry it's been so long since our last post. Things have been very busy around the Lowery house! Ben's semester at DTS is winding to an end, which means lots of papers, reading, and tests. And of course, it's almost the Holiday Season, so my Premier business is super busy - Praise the Lord! What a blessing Premier is to us, I'm so thankful.

So, here's an update for you. We received our finalized and notarized copies of our Home Study, so we are officially through that stage of this process. We've been working on our Dossier for a couple of months now, and we'vemade some good progress over the past couple of weeks. There's still much to be done, but we're chipping away. Our goal is to have it completed by the time we leave for Seattle for Thanksgiving on Nov. 22nd. We're not sure we can get all of it done by then, but we're still shooting for that date. Things are moving along!

At this rate, we're looking at possibly 6 more months before everything is finalized. It could be more, it could be less.We'll have a better idea of our timeline once our Dossier has been approved and sent to Ethiopia - and we're still a couple months away from that. Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on us, praying, spreading the word about our fundraisers, and offering encouragement. We're learning so much through this process, and we know there are many more lessons ahead of us!

Some of you have been asking for practical ways you can contribute or help. So, here are some opportunities for you:
1. Purchase Coffee from (We receive a percentage from each sale, and the coffee is delicious! You can even sign up for a Coffee Club.)
2. Purchase T-shirts from (We receive $6.50 - $9 from each t-shirt sale, depending on the shirt purchased. The founders of this website are currently in China picking up their new baby daughter! So exciting!)
3. If you or someone you know needs Carpet, Wood Flooring, Tile, or Laminate, call me or my dad! My dad is a representative with Carpet Direct, and all of his proceeds for the month of NOVEMBER will go toward OUR ADOPTION FUND! We are so blessed by this! Spread the word!
4. Some of you have asked if you can make monetary donations, and we are just so humbled by this. Yes, we definitely welcome that as well. All cash and checks are placed in our Adoption Fund. Donations can be made out to us and mailed to 4818 Blue Flax Dr., Garland, TX 75043.

Please feel free to spread the word about these opportunities. The Lord has been providing exactly what we need when we need it, and we trust He will continue to meet our every need throughout this process. We hope to be able to help other families and organizations in the future. This has been such a blessing to us, and we hope to be able to bless others as well.

Thank you again for your thoughtfulness, it means so much!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lost in translation.

A funny thing happened at our Home Study interview last Friday. Actually, a HILARIOUS thing happened. We're sitting there almost to the end of the Adoptive Parent Training portion, and our caseworker says she'd like to read a paragraph to us and get our responses.

So, she reads it, and when she's done she looks up, teary-eyed with a look of expectancy on her face. I look over and Ben and he has kind of a shocked/confused look on his face (oh how I wish this had been caught on video). She finally breaks the silence and says, "So, what do you think?" I immediately answered with a genuine, "It makes me want to cry!" The paragraph had really moved me and caused me to think about our child and what he/she will be feeling and thinking. Ben looks at me, then looks at her as she's waiting for his response and says, "What do you want me to do with that?"'s the paragraph, and then I'll explain further what happened.

So, as she's reading the paragraph I'm of course identifying with our child - which w
as the intention. Ben, on the other hand (insert a heartfelt "Bless his heart..." here), thought this paragraph was about US. Pahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now would be a good time to read it again and get a GOOD laugh!

Finally, after a couple of seconds he bursts out with, "OH! OOOOHHH! This is about our child!" We all busted out laughing! It took us a few minutes to regain composure and then as we tried to move on, one of the three of us would start up again. It was so hilarious! Our caseworker said she's never had that happen before, and she'll never be able to read that paragraph again without thinking of Ben.

We laughed for about 10 minutes straight on the way home. And then of course, we had to share it with friends and family. Ben's dad said he really got it right - he wasn't projecting his feelings onto some child, he was literally feeling what they will be feeling! HA. Whatever makes you feel better, Ben. ;) Wow, we made some pretty great memories that day. This story is definitely going in our Baby Book.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

God in a Fortune Cookie

We ordered Chinese Takeout over the weekend, and this was the fortune inside my Fortune Cookie . . .
God speaks to us in many ways!

Home Study: check!

Well, we're through the first part of the adoption process! We've completed the requirements for our Home Study. We had our last interview/training session on Friday in Waco. Our caseworker will compile the Home Study and send it to us and to our Adoption Agency for edits. Within a month, it should be finalized. It's very exciting to know that the first big step of this process is almost complete!

So, what's next? We get that question a lot. :) We're currently continuing to work on our dossier (pronounced "dos-ee-ey" - you'd be surprised at the number of pronunciations we hear). This is basically a collection of all kinds of paperwork ranging from medical records to financial reports to an autobiography of our lives, photos, etc. We will send this to our agency and once it's finalized it will go to Ethiopia along with our Home Study to be translated and approved there. So, this is the next big step for our adoption. Once the dossier is approved, we'll receive a Referral (also called a "match") - which is a child to say "yes" or "no" to. (Pretty sure we'll say yes!!!) Then we'll be assigned a court date and we'll make our first trip to Ethiopia.

We could still be waiting 3-6 months for our Referral, and then possibly another 3-6 months after that to actually bring our child home. We're hoping for the shorter time frame on both! :)

We have been learning so many things through our online training, Home Study training, and the books we're required to read. I'm hoping to blog a little bit more about that soon. We appreciate everyone who has been checking in on us and praying for us! We are still raising support through our 2 Fundraisers. Please feel free to check them out and spread the word!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let it be so...

Lots of unknowns in our life right now. Lots of waiting on the Lord with some hurt, pain, confusion, seeking, longing along the way. It's been a difficult couple of days for me emotionally. God led me to Steven Curtis Chapman's latest album this morning...played it really loud in my car as I was running errands.I had to keep my sunglasses on so people couldn't see my tears and struggle (and then I question why we work so hard to keep people from seeing those things...but that's for another blog entry). I know He has a plan, I know that He is at work. I know that He is made perfect in our weakness. I know it's ok to feel weak sometimes. I know He can be trusted. This is my anthem for today:

"I Will Trust You" Steven Curtis Chapman

I don't even wanna breathe right now
All I wanna do is close my eyes
But I don't wanna open them again
Until I'm standing on the other side

I don't even wanna be right now
I don't wanna think another thought
And I don't wanna feel this pain I feel
And right now, pain is all I've got

It feels like it's all I've got, but I know it's not
No, I know You're all I've got
And I will trust You, I'll trust You
Trust You, God, I will
Even when I don't understand, even then I will say again
You are my God, and I will trust You

God, I'm longing for the day to come
When this cloudy glass I'm looking through
Is shattered in a million pieces
And finally I can just see You

God, You know I believe it's true
I know I will see You
But until the day I do

I will trust You, trust You
Trust You, God, I will
Even when I don't understand
Even then I will say again

You are my God, and I'll trust You
And with every breath I take
And for every day that breaks

I will trust You
I will trust You
And when nothing is making sense
Even then I will say again

God, I trust You
I will trust You
I know Your heart is good
I know Your love is strong
And I know Your plans for me
Are much better than my own

So I will trust You, trust You
I trust You, God, I do
Even when I can't see the end
And I will trust You
I will trust You, I will
Even when I don't understand
Even then I will say again

I will trust You, I will trust You, I will
I know Your heart is good,
Your love is strong,
Your plans for me are better than my own
Yeah, Your heart is good
Your love is strong
Your plans for me are better than my own
And I trust You
You are my God
And I will trust You

- Abby

Monday, September 20, 2010

This is becoming very REAL.

The reality of this process really hit home last week. We got an email from our Home Study caseworker with a BIG list of things that we need to make sure are done before she arrives on Wednesday. Basically, she has to do an environmental and fire inspection along with the interview. This list included having outlet covers on all of our unused outlets that a child could get to. This may seem like a small thing to most, but it was a big thing to us. I told Ben about it and he said, "Wow. That makes this seem really real."

I spent all day Saturday cleaning, organizing, (obsessing), and childproofing the house (well, not completely childproofing...but at least a start). I was literally sore on Sunday morning - pathetic, I know. I felt really good after accomplishing so much on Saturday, and just have a few odds and ends I need to take care this week before our interview.

Today has been kind of strange though. I woke up knowing I had some things to complete and got started. I was really motivated for the first couple of hours and then just hit a wall. Not a physical wall, but an emotional wall. I think I'm more stressed than I've realized. I've got a lot going on in my life aside from all of this, and I think I've just been moving forward, accomplishing tasks, and not always taking the time to think or process my emotions along the way.

I've realized over the last few days that I need to take some time every now and then to just sit...and to even do something fun or relaxing for myself here and there. A couple of years ago at Youth Camp, the Adult Bible Study leader told everyone that we need to have our own personal "Sabbath" each week. It doesn't always have to be on Sunday, or even the same day every week...but we need a time to rest, relax, and recharge. I don't think I've been allowing for that lately. It really is important, and I'm learning it's not selfish. If I'm overwhelmed and overspent, I'm not any good to those around me. So, just a life lesson I'm learning (relearning even?).

Yesterday a friend prayed for us and our interview this week and he asked the Lord to help me be motivated by excitement this week and not worry. That's life lesson #2 for the week. So, if you want to pray for us this week, we'd ask you pray for these things specifically:

1. That we'll allow time to rest, and that we'll make time for each other in the midst of school, ministry, work, and adoption stuff.
2. That we'll be motivated by joy and excitement and leave the rest at the Lord's feet.
3. For protection for our little one, wherever he or she may be.
4. For patience as we wait on the Lord. We realize we are not waiting on decisions, finances, etc., but on HIM.
5. For our interview on Wednesday. Peace and joy, and that we would find favor with our caseworker.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our little updates and wandering thoughts. So many of you ask about us and the process, and we know you are praying. We love you and appreciate you, and we're excited to be going down this road with so much love, prayer, encouragement, and support. I'm sure I'll be writing again soon since this is a big week for us! Love to each of you!

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Online Training

We have to complete 8 hours of online Training this month, and we have to complete it separately. I started mine today and I'm already learning a lot. Just hoping I retain it all!

We'll complete our last 2 hours of
Training together at the Home Study agency either later this month or in early October at our 2nd and final
Home Study interview.

We've so appreciated all of the prayers and encouragement through this process thus far! Keep 'em coming! :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home Study Interview

We've scheduled our first of two Home Study interviews! It will be Wednesday, September 22nd from 11am - 1pm at our house. I spoke with our case worker this morning, and she seems really sweet and has already been very helpful. We're looking forward to getting this going!

We'll have a 2nd interview at her office in Waco about a week or so after this first interview. By then we'll have to have 8 hours of online parenting training completed. Yikes! We better get started! Please be praying for this as Ben has a heavy load this semester at DTS. He's already way ahead in a couple of his classes, so I'm hoping that will help him to not feel stressed as he has to squeeze these extra hours in.

Once we've completed both of the interviews and the Home Study Agency has approved our final Home Study, they will send everything off to Love Basket. We'll have the first really big step of this process behind us! In the meantime, we still have that big stack of paperwork and assignments looming. I tried to get started on it a little this week, but it has been a little overwhelming. I think I just need to get a system down - chart everything, schedule everything etc., then it will seem much more manageable to me. :)

Please continue to pray for us during this process. Here are some specific things to be praying for right now:
* Peace and patience as we continue to go through all of the steps involved
* A clear head and organization as we tackle this next set of paperwork and assignments
* Smooth Home Study interviews - surprisingly I'm (Abby) not nervous yet, but I'm sure I/we will be!
* That the Lord would continue to plant in us a love for our child(ren), and that we would be faithful to pray for our child(ren)
* Preparation for parenthood (spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and financial)
* For our fundraising and support - God always shows Himself faithful
* Good stewardship with our time and finances as we prepare
* We found out we will be making 2 trips to Ethiopia instead of 1, so please continue to pray for Abby's anxiety about flying/travelling
* That we would give all the glory to God for everything that happens (good, bad, stressful, exciting) throughout this process
* Protection for our child(ren) until we are united

Thank you for walking alongside us! We love and appreciate each of you! We'll continue to keep you updated as we move forward.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you."

This is my first official post about this whole adoption process. I must confess that, while I'm emotionally and spiritually invested 100%, Abby is bearing the heaviest brunt of the mental and physical investment. My responsibilities at church and at seminary keep me from taking part in my fair share of the "paper mountain", as I've come to call it. The paperwork required for an adoption is unbelievable! But Abby is simply amazing. This process would be impossible without her. She's going to be a wonderful mother! (Ya know, I think maybe I should tell her that!) However, like I said, I am invested emotionally and spiritually, and to those ends I have given certain aspects of this process a fair bit of mind-space, and, thankfully, thinking about the process has yet to result in any paper-cuts.

It's amazing to me how many verses in the Bible reference orphans. One particular verse jumped out at me several weeks ago, and I've been pondering the words of Christ's since then. John 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." This verse comes on the heels of Jesus telling his disciples that he was going to leave them and return to the Father. Can you imagine what must have been running through the disciples' minds? Confusion. Frustration. Panic maybe? He goes on to say, though, that we are NOT as orphans, because he is sending his Spirit to us. However, we ARE as orphans in the sense that we are spatially separated from Jesus. We are waiting for his glorious return. There are two events promised by Jesus in 14:18: first, that he would send his Spirit. Second, that he would come back for us. (WARNING! THEOLOGICAL CONTENT: It should be noted that I'm interpreting these verses as describing two separate events, i.e. the Spirit being sent and Jesus coming to us, because I believe that the Spirit and Jesus are two distinct persons of the Godhead.) So, based on the scenario in John 14 and more specifically the words of Christ in verse 18, I want to make an observation about the current state of our absent King.

Concerning Jesus...

I've never seen my baby. I can't hear his laugh in my head. I can't picture her smile or her hands. However, while that's true, I cannot begin to depict for you in words the longing of my heart for my little orphan(s). Oh how I long to go to my baby and hold her in my arms and watch Abby's face light up as her son falls asleep in her lap for the first time! The thought that my child might be alive today in an orphanage crib some thousands of miles away is enough to deeply move me. Is he hungry? Is she crying? The point is... I don't know any of these things, and yet I love him/her anyway, more than words. Consider the words of Christ now, "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." As a father waiting to go to his child, I can almost hear the resolve in his voice. I think I'm beginning to experience a tiny fraction of what Jesus must have felt as he uttered those words and what he must be feeling now as he waits to come to us. I've never seen my child; Jesus had spent three years with the disciples he was having to leave. I've never heard my child's voice; Jesus hears the prayers of his orphans around the globe. Jesus longs to come for us, Church. He knows us well. He sees us laugh. He watches us stumble and fall. He prays for us and intercedes for us before our Father in heaven. Believe me, as one who longs for his orphan(s), he is longing to come to us! And he surely will.

In John 14, Jesus makes it clear that there's a common result that stems from both faith and love: action. 14:12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do..." 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey..." Faith can move mountains. I think, perhaps, love can too. One thing I do know, faith and love are moving "paper mountains" in our home.

May God be praised, and may our lives be spent in service to our King. Come to us, Jesus!

One of Your Orphans,


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Step 1: complete!

We did it! We finally finished our Home Study Application, and we mailed it off today!
So. . . what's next, you ask?
Well, once our Home Study Agency receives
our application, they'll contact us to schedule our first of two Home Study Interviews. The first interview will be conducted in our home. We're told it will last about two hours. We'll have another interview later on in Waco at the agency's office.

In the meantime. . . we've got MORE PAPERWORK to complete for our actual Adoption Agency. This is the BIG stack! We've also got to start working on getting our passports, do 8 hours (yes, you read that right) of online adoptive parenting training (2 more hours will be done at our Home Study Agency at the 2nd appointment), and read two books on adoption/parenting. We'll have to squeeze Ben's 3rd semester of seminary, Abby's business, youth ministry, and life in as well. ;)

So, there's still a lot more process left to go through, but we're really excited to have STEP 1 Complete! Keep checking back for more updates!

God's "mad networking skills!"

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him" I Corinthians 2:9 (Is. 64:4)

It is amazing to me to think about how BIG and WONDERFUL our God is. Since the beginning of time He has had this course laid out for me and for Ben. All the details of it are already planned - all of the things we know nothing about. He's had this amazing thing prepared for us, and it's so exciting to be walking
in it.

Daily I'm seeing His hand at work in big and small things. A friend once put it this way, "God has mad networking skills!" Funny, but so true! Here are some small examples of how God is working:

Most of you know that I have my own business through Premier Designs. We are a direct "sales" company (they prefer the word "service" to be inserted) with
our own line of jewelry. Premier supports missions in dozens of countries around the world. One of my upline leaders emailed me the day she got our "support" letter, and told me about another jeweler who recently adopted from Ethiopia and just started a non-profit organization to to help adoptive families! Check it out at She found out about this organization from that jeweler the same day she got our letter! It's so neat to know another Premier jeweler who has been through this same process. I'm so excited to talk with her about her experience.

Last week I had lunch with my best friend from high school. She was wearing her new Adoption Bug t-shirt! After lunch she stopped at Walmart to pick up some things, and she was approached by a woman and her kids. The woman was from Ethiopia and recognized the Ethiopian writing on Amber's t-shirt. She wanted to know where she got the shirt. Amber told her about us and our adoption, and the woman asked for the website so she can purchase some
shirts as well and help us out! I'm excited that our shirts can provide us all with opportunities to share and live out the Gospel.

Each time we make a sale on Adoption Bug, they send us an email. We're provided with the name and email address of the person who purchases from our site so we can keep track and send Thank You notes. Just a few days ago I saw 4 t-shirt purchases come through my email from someone we do not know. I wanted to thank this person for purchasing, so I sent her an email. This lady's name is Joy Pierce, and she and her husband adopted a little girl from China a few years ago. They are very passionate about adoption, and she told me she loves to support organizations who help people adopt. A friend of hers told her about Adoption Bug, and she wanted to support their cause. She decided she also wanted to "give" to one of the families, so she began looking through the adoptive families andprayed that God would lead her to a family to purchase from. She said He led her to our family! She bought 4 t-shirts from us! AND...she and her husband also have an organization to help adoptive families! Can you believe it? Their organization is called A Brother's Love.

We're just overwhelmed at all of the support we've received so far, all of the resources being made available to us, and the community we're finding with other families who have gone through or are going through this process. It's been really eye-opening.

We appreciate so much everyone who has donated to us and purchased from our fundraising sites so far. We've raised over $500 so far! This process is very expensive, but we know that God has everything all planned out for us. We're praying that we would walk faithfully in His plan and give Him all of the glory!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Ben and I were so excited and humbled to see some of our friends wearing our adoption t-shirts at church yesterday!

A special shout-out to Gregg MacInnis, Maci Klawetter, and the Griffin family! Thanks for sporting your shirts yesterday!

YOU can still get yours at Collect all 6 over the coming months! ;) We're working on our collection as well - just ordered our first shirts over the weekend, and we can't wait to get them in! They are super soft!

Here are some of our models. ;)

Thank you for supporting our adoption!

Friday, August 6, 2010

And so it begins...

Many of you know that I (Abby) really love to fill things out. I am the antithesis of Ben in this department. I get giddy when we go to a new doctor's office or get surveys in the mail. I love filling in the blanks, making lists, etc. I know, I'm weird. Well, this adoption thing might just cure me of this curious fetish. Take a look at the stacks of paperwork we have to sort through, read, and fill out...


We received our Home Study paperwork last week from the TX agency we're contracting with, which included everything from getting references and submitting the layout and dimensions of our home to Izzie's vaccination status and a 22 question detailed autobiography of each of us. Whew! We're still working on all of this paperwork, and I was beginning to feel like we were making good headway when our actual Adoption Packet arrived from Love Basket. I was instantly deflated. Oh's just part of the process! Be thinking of us and praying for us as we tackle all of these things. It's a lot to sort through, and we want to stay on top of everything and submit things as quickly as possible.

We did get some EXCITING news today, though! Our t-shirts are now available for purchasing! Check out our t-shirt store at We have 5 designs to choose from, including two custom designs. Most of the shirts are available in regular sizes as well as fitted women's sizes! And 3 of them are also available in youth sizes. We hope you like them! We receive commissions on all sales, hits, referrals...they track everything for us and reward us for site traffic, and especially t-shirt sales. PLEASE spread the word about this site! You can also check out other families who are in the process of adopting and read about their stories.

We greatly appreciate your support! So many of you are already spreading the word through Facebook, email, Twitter, personal websites, phone calls, church prayer lists...The support and prayers are overwhelming. We cannot thank you enough! This is going to be a long process, and there may be many "lulls" along the way, but the need for prayer and raising finances will not diminish. Thank you for partnering with us on this journey!

Love to each of you!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Beginning the journey.

We are so excited to share this exciting news with you!

To many of you this may seem like new news, but our adoption journey actually began about 3 years ago in Glorieta, NM. Ben had gone to College Week with our college students and was blessed to sit under the teaching of David Platt of Brook Hills Church in Birmingham, AL. There's much to say about this young pastor, but we'll let you check him out for yourselves at the Brook Hills website. Ben came home with a passion to answer God's call of obedience to the Gospel. He'd had a new vision of what that obedience looks like and he couldn't wait to share it with me. We had some tough and very frank conversations when Ben returned home, and decided to begin praying that the Lord would bring us both to the same page.

We've had the opportunity to attend College Week together the past two years and sit under David Platt's teaching as well as another young pastor named Tony Merida. Both David and Tony shared their recent adoption experiences, and that really sparked something in us. We were intensely challenged by the Word both years, and we spent a lot of time praying and seeking the Lord on how to apply the things He was revealing to us. We've honestly come back from College Week each year CHANGED. Radically changed. If you ever have the opportunity to go - GO!

We came back this past year knowing that we were going to pursue adoption. We spent much time in prayer together and individually about the when and where, and the Lord brought us to a point of decision just this July 5th. We knew we'd waited long enough, it was time to ACT. So, we spent the day discussing, researching, and praying through where we would adopt. We filled out paperwork that night for an Ethiopian Adoption through Love Basket in Hillsboro, MO. We mailed everything the next day, and heard just this week that we are approved! PRAISE THE LORD! We will begin our Home Study soon, and are in the process of gathering information and documents.

Many of you have asked to be kept in the loop as we continue along this journey, so we hope this blog will provide you with lots of info and updates. We are beginning some fundraising, so we'll also be communicating how you can be a physical part of our adoption journey through those opportunities. You can click on the Just Love Coffee ad to the right and check out one of the opportunities we're making available. Feel free to spread the word! We'll have some t-shirts available soon, so be watching for those!

We love and appreciate each one of you! Thank you for your prayers and encouraging words! We can't wait to bring home our baby!