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!