Not Impressed

I’d like to go on record with saying that I am so far entirely unimpressed with the year 2013. Really, I’d be fine if we skipped it. Like an old hotel, I’d like to move straight from floor 12 to floor 14. Bell hop? Anyone?

It’s been a rough few days and I have the bags under my eyes, the twisted muscles in my neck and the knot in my stomach to prove it. I look at the calendar and I look to the heavens and I wait. Because things have to go up from here.

This morning, I flipped open my (in)courage daily inspirational calendar to this quote by Holly Gerth:

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

“I’ve always thought of those words in the context of believing in God…But that morning it seemed the One Who Loves us whispered that part of faith is also about believing that our obedience makes a difference – when we can’t see the results.”

The past few days were hard for more reasons than one. I talked my kids through the events that have transpired over the last few weeks and it broke my heart. I sat with my nine year old as anger and pain and doubt clouded his crystal blue eyes.

Why would God let this happen?”

“We have a good family and we want to love a little girl who needs a family. Why wouldn’t God let us love her?”

“Why do these bad things happen?”

“What’s going to happen to those kids in the orphanage?”

His questions were great. They were deep and real and honest and beautiful and I didn’t fully know how to answer them because I have the same questions. So I told him.

I told him everything I’ve been telling you and myself for the last ten months. Hope is slow. It’s so slow that sometimes we can’t see it.

I told him that God promises to be the Father to the fatherless and we have to believe with a faith beyond our sight that He is there with those children. We have to believe that they experience God in ways that we never will because He is all they have. We have to trust that He hasn’t forgotten the children – all the children – around the world who are waiting for love.

We have to believe and in this moment, we must build an altar for our kids. We must set a place for them to look back on and remember. We must guide them in this thing called faith that so often requires blind action.

Officially, our adoption is not yet terminated. There is still a thin thread of hope, but that thread gets dimmer each day. I feel like I’m preparing to lose a child. I imagine that this is much like it feels to miscarry. We haven’t given up hope entirely, but we are preparing ourselves to move on.

But can I share the miracles in this story of ours?

Friday, after I listened in on a call from the Department of State for adoptive families in process, I hung up the phone discouraged and defeated. I sat next to my husband and sobbed in his arms. In that moment I felt like it was over completely.

You see the thing is, I’ve always thought I would adopt a child from Russia. I’ve been waiting for so long for God to give us the signal to move forward, but I never once doubted that He would. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t bring home a Russian child. Not once.

But Lee, my steady and wise husband, has a different vision. He has a passion for adoption…not just Russian adoption. To him, whether the child comes from Russia, India or America doesn’t matter. This brought me a lot of comfort, particularly because the idea of adoption was initially difficult for him to embrace. He had deep reservations, but in the course of this past six months, God has really opened up an excitement in Lee about the beauty of building a family through adoption.


Later that night, I sat down and opened an email from an old college friend who didn’t even know all that was going on inside my heart. This is part of what it said:

I’m writing to you because God has been sending me clear messages for you. I’ve been praying for you all and following along here and there on your journey. And every time I read one of your posts, I get an image of Christ riding in, like a soldier redeeming this situation for good. EVERY TIME you write something about the current situation in Russia or your heart breaking over the possibility of loss, the words “promise” and “redeemed” come flashing in my brain. I immediately get a sense of urgency to tell you that God will follow through on the promise He has given you. He is good. He has made a promise to you. He planted seeds so long ago in your heart for this country and for the people there. This horrible situation will be redeemed. His promises will be made known to all who know you and hear your cries.

She ended her message with a beautiful prayer that I have printed out and read over and over. Because I’m so heartbroken right now that I don’t know how to pray. But her prayer gives me the words to lay before the altar.


My heartache goes beyond the potentially failed adoption. There are other things mixed in that have worked together to form an emotional tsunami. But this one thing I know – God is good. He has not left the throne. Right now, I cling to the fact that our faith must be manifested in obedience. Like the quote mentioned above, we have embraced our faith through obedience and we are learning more and more each day about what it means to live courageously – even when the steps of faith don’t look like we thought they would.

We took a risk in moving forward with the adoption. It was a step of faith. It was obedience. And in our obedience God has worked miracles. I pray He’s not finished. I pray that the redmption of this story does include the completion of our adoption.

But I’ve no doubt that our family’s story is not finished yet. I believe my friend’s vision. I believe that God has redemption in store for us and we wait in expectation with hands held high. And when it is all said and done, no matter what the outcome may be, we will build an altar of remembrance.

We will look at our children (all four of them?) and we will point to these days and we will say, “Look, kids. Look at what God has done. He is faithful!”

Pray with us?



  1. Thank you for sharing. God is good. God is a redeeming God.

  2. Good stuff…one thing I have learned over many years of following Him, even through adoption, is that our God always honors faithfulness. Hang in there; He’s at work in ways we can’t always see except in hindsight.

  3. Oh Kelli. It just breaks my heart for you guys. And selfishly for us too. I imagine you are correct in comparing it to a miscarriage. I have had two. While it’s a baby you haven’t met, you still love them so fiercly.
    I am still praying and holding onto hope!
    Love you guys!

  4. Well, now I have chills. Hold tight to those miracles. There are more to come because that’s the kind of God we serve.

  5. Hi Ya Sweetheart.

    All I can say is keep the Faith. God works things out and answers prayers in his own time and way. I keep my Faith for a answered prayer in my life for my health. I believe these things are here to try us and make us stronger. You are a strong person and came from a extra strong family so just keep looking up. We send our love.

  6. I rarely have the right words and this is another one if those times. Don’t know what to say… We’ve ridden some difficult waves over the years and for most of them we understand. Some I don’t get. Praying that as God reveals his good and perfect plan for your family that it’ll feel like home. Comfortable. Right. Perfect. Our love to you, Lee, Sloan, Tia and Landon!

  7. Vonita Hill says

    Kelli – as you shared about your college friend and how her words came to you at just the right moment … I was reminded of a broadcast I heard on Words to Live By, December 14, 2012.
    The title reads like this,
    “She prayed and waited, and then God answered!” Joanna’s story …
    I admit, this is not a story about adoption but it is a story about a woman’s journey of faith and how GOD ANSWERED HER VERY SPECIFIC PRAYER IN WAYS SHE NEVER COULD HAVE DREAMED! (Yes, I am yelling!!!) I hope you will download the broadcast and hear it for yourself … your family.

    God sees you. God planted within you the love for that little Russian girl. He does not fail. He does not forget.

    Wish you were near so I could hug you tight. Hope my squeezing prayers are felt instead. I’ll agree with the apostle Paul and pray this over you, Lee and all your kids … RIGHT NOW Ephesians 3:16-20

    16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

    20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

    • *tears*

      Thank you, Vonita. I felt the hug and the strength of your prayers. Love you. 🙂

      • Vonita Hill says

        I won’t be a pest about this … well, maybe just a little bit of a pest … I truly hope you take the time to listen to that broadcast. If/when you do, I would love to know what God says to you thru it. Love to you.

  8. Wanted to share a verse that I have been reciting over and over the past few weeks….Psalm 18:1 (NLT)

  9. I can very much relate to this. We were registered in Russia in October and were expecting to be getting a referral about now. It has been heartbreaking to keep up with the ups and downs of all of this. My husband and I both felt so strongly led to Russia that I never even considered not getting our little girl from there. I have heard HIS voice telling me that she is there, and I have seen her in my mind while I’ve been praying. So, we wait, which I have never been good at. We hadn’t told our two biological boys, but they actually overheard a conversation on the phone tonight and my 8 year old ask, “does that mean we can’t get her?” It broke my heart. I told them that I was SURE we would get her and that we both felt like God told us she would come from Russia and that we hadn’t heard differently yet, so that’s what we still thought. It actually started a great conversation about how you can hear God speaking to you if you take the time to listen, so it didn’t turn out all bad.
    Sorry to ramble on, it’s nice to hear someone else speaking about the same situation and in much the same way we have been thinking. I keep repeating: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11. We will all make it through this and eventually know his plan.

    • Yes, Stacey! I’ve received so much encouragement from dear friends and family in the last week that have revived my hope. I felt certain this door was closed for good a week ago, but now I’m not so sure. While I’ still preparing my heart to move on, I’ve got a lot more hope in the vision that seemed so clear a few months ago! May we come together with rejoicing soon! 🙂


  1. […] who knew me best to come close, hold my hand and let me cry. Early on this year, I started to get a little lost inside my twisty head and I knew I needed to get out and meet people or things were going to go down […]

  2. […] will be marked down as the year I’d rather pretend never happened. The year in which I was mostly unimpressed. The year full of ridiculous, undeserved blessings. The year of very low, lows, and very high, […]

  3. […] to a great 2014! I am thankful to have 2013 behind me. Looking forward to this new […]