Exposing the Real Issues in Sochi


Tonight, the big torch will light, and another two weeks of the world’s top in athletics will wow and inspire us with their dedication, determination, and skill in athletics. I’m as excited as the next person to watch the Olympic Games. I love everything about the Olympics, though admittedly I’m always more drawn to the summer Games than the Winter.

But there’s a shadow over these 2014 Olympics Games, and I’m struggling to get excited. In the days leading up to these Games I’ve heard little about the athletes, and much about the condition of the hotels, the discomfort of the visiting journalists, and OH DEAR ME THE POOR SHIPMENT OF YOGURT THAT NEVER MADE IT.

*caps for dramatic effect*

Last year, I participated in three phone calls with the U.S. Department of State on the situation with the law banning Americans from adopting from Russia. I listened as bereaved parent after bereaved parent asked, “Where are our leaders? Who is fighting on our behalf?”

We were given answers that were pandering at best, most of them meant to deflect a question without an answer. Outside of Senator Mary Landreiu and a few of her colleagues, very few of our nation’s leaders had anything to say on the matter of Russian adoption. For months and months, the issue was pushed aside as parents who had already met their children, who promised to return and bring them home, languished with no answers.

So imagine the horror we all feel at this abandoned shipment of Chobani. Within hours of hearing that the yogurt would not be cleared, Senator Schumer fired off a strongly worded statement: 

“Chobani Yogurt is safe, nutritious and delicious and the Russian Authorities should get past ‘nyet’ and let this prime sponsor of the US Olympic Team deliver their protein-packed food to our athletes.” Senator Charles Schumer.

Where was this indignation when innocent children were caught in the red tape? Where was the quick response, the strongly worded rebuke, the balled fists and determined pride, when over 200 families who had already met and bonded with their children were told they could not return?

Forgive me, but this is a gross misdirection of priorities and it leaves me sick.

I’ve tried to ignore Yogurt-Gate, but when I turn away from that story, I’m accosted with the images of what appears to be a slew of uncomfortable, horrified journalists who have shown up to half-finished hotel rooms, yellow water, and bathroom situations that leave them red-faced and confused. I read these stories, and I see the tweets, and I can’t laugh. I just can’t do it.

I understand that the Olympics are a big deal, and that a certain level of service and comfort is expected when one visits the top athletic event in the world, but can I just offer a tiny bit of perspective? People live like that every day, all over the world.

Instead of making an entire country, and the wonderful people inside that country, the laughingstock of the world, why don’t you start doing the thing that journalists are supposed to do:

Why don’t you ask why?

Why do you think the conditions are so deplorable in Sochi?  An estimated 51 Billion dollars was spent on these Olympic Games, with an estimated two-thirds of that suspected to have been lost to corruption.

Please, everyone, stop making fun of the situation, and start asking questions, because the people of Russia are by and far good, kind, hardworking people. They don’t deserve to be laughed at, but by all means, question the man who serves as their “leader.” Expose him as the fool that he is.

I want to enjoy the Olympics this year. I really, really do. But I will not laugh at a group of people that I love, especially when they are operating under a man who is nothing short of a dictator. And I will not grow indignant at a missing shipment of yogurt when I know thousands of children are sitting in orphanages waiting on promises to be fulfilled.

I just can’t do it.


The One Where I Brag on My Kids

Last night Lee and I took a little time to debrief. We haven’t really had time to talk this last month, to process all that was happening. It was sort of survival of the fittest around here, and since he went down hard with the flu, we’ve just passed each other in the house this past week with little more than a few mental high fives, and withered looks of fatigue.

2013 was a big year for us. Now that we’re on the other side of it and can look back and take stock, I’m amazed to see at all that happened in those 12 months. They were undoubtably the hardest months of our lives, and at the same time, with hind sight providing some clarity, I can see just how blessed last year really was.


And my kids? You guys, they were just amazing.



My kids saw and experienced more in the last year than they ever have before. They witnessed abject poverty when we went to Dominican Republic in June. They served many Saturdays at our church’s food pantry, and they helped serve Thanksgiving dinner to those in desperate need of assistance. They helped make shoes for children in Africa, and they delivered a car full of toys to children in the hospital.

And then, to top it off, we asked them to make the biggest sacrifice of all – we asked them to open their hearts to love a 17 year old girl from half way around the world, and they did it without hesitation.

roomSloan gave up his bedroom for a month, letting me turn it into a pink and grey girl room. He never complained, never asked why. He didn’t whine, and he didn’t once make us feel bad about the decision to put her in there. I could not be more grateful for his attitude. 

Tia sacrificed being the only princess girl in the house. She gave up a bit of her autonomy as the coveted female, and she willingly shared her daddy with K for four weeks. We had less time to spend watching her do gymnastics, and when it was time to play with makeup or paint nails, it was always three of us participating in the activities. She didn’t complain or react in jealousy, but freely gave up her coveted one on one time with us. I’m so, so proud of her.

Landon did what Landon always does. Pulled out a ball and asked K to play. The language barrier didn’t matter to him, and he willingly and daily asked her to play with him. Most days she said yes to his inquiries, but sometimes she said no, and when she did he moved on without complaint. He was so gracious and loving toward her. What a precious boy he is.

I’m bragging on my kids today because they deserve it. They aren’t perfect kids, and they have their moments, as any child does. But they gave up a lot this past year. We asked them to make sacrifices of comfort and time and material things to the benefit of others, and every time we placed a challenge in front of them, they met it.

When we began the adoption process a year and a half ago, we were warned more than once to be careful that our children weren’t sacrificed in the quest to bring someone new into our home. While such warnings are wise, and should be considered, the fact is this: our children (mine and yours) are a heckuva lot stronger than we often give them credit. Kids love to know they’re being helpfulthat they’re being used to make someone else’s life better.


I saw this not only in my own children, but also in their friends while K was here. So many of their friends wanted to be a part of blessing K, and they really, really did! They gave her rainbow loom bracelets and 1 Direction cards. They laughed with her, and shared smiles and waves that communicated so much love. K went home blessed by more than just my kids, without doubt.

If you’re looking at stepping outside your comfort zone this year and trying something different – something that might be hard – I encourage you to let your kids take the journey with you. And as you do, watch and observe how they respond.

I can almost guarantee they will surprise you.

When you wish you could see Him face to face…or back


A few weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to join the Tuesday morning Bible study at our church. The bratty teenager in me had been battling this decision for some time, because somehow I still feel like I’m young enough to say that the only people who attend Tuesday morning Bible studies are women who are older. And then I looked in the mirror, tallied up the wrinkles, remembered that I have three elementary age children and swallowed the pill of reality.

But I was apprehensive.

We are going through Beth Moore’s The Patriarch’s, and you guys we are three weeks in and it is completely wrecking my already tender heart. I feel like it was written just for me to experience at just this time. Had I done this study a year ago, I wouldn’t have been nearly as moved as I am today.

Last week’s lessons were particularly challenging, especially given the fact that last week was when I finally, fully laid down the adoption and said so out loud. Oh how my heart ached through the week. My soul was weary and weepy.

Then I read the story of Hagar and for a few days my spirit grew restless and anxious.

For those who may not know, Hagar was an Egyptian slave who lived in the house of Abram, serving as his wife, Sarai’s maid. Though Abram had been promised an heir by God, he and Sarai had yet to have a child and Sarai, in her grief and impatience, commanded Abram to take her maid as his wife.

“Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps I can have children by her,” Sarai told her husband, and Abram agreed. (Genesis 16:2)


It’s so easy to pick apart this passage and point out the blatant and glaring errors in this plot, but it’s good to remember a few things. First, as wrong and ugly as that practice sounds, it was not uncommon in those days. A female servant becoming a second wife for the purposes of bearing children was not considered wrong then, and though not a designed or desired practice by God, to Abram it could have seemed like a practical solution to what seemed to be a real problem.

Second, God uses flawed people who struggle in their faith to carry out His plans and promises and thank goodness He does, amen?

IMG_0119So Hagar  and Abram conceived a child and Sarai, naturally, writhed in jealousy and bitterness because she got what she wanted but did not consider the outcome of such an ill conceived plan. Things got so uncomfortable that Hagar fled the house, escaping her mistress’s cruelty and this is where the story took the breath straight from my lungs.

As she rested in the wilderness, an Angel of the Lord found her and comforted her in her emotional suffering. He told her to return to Abram’s house and that the child she carried, who was to be named Ishmael, would receive a promise of many offspring.

There, in that wilderness place, Hagar became the only person, male or female, in the Old Testament to give God a name. The God who Sees.


“I have now seen the One who sees me,” Hagar said when the mist of the moment faded away. (Genesis 16:13)

God saw her pain and her distress and He met with her. It is generally believed that the Angel of the Lord referred to in Genesis 16:7 was God Himself and, as Beth Moore so beautifully explains, the literal Hebrew translation of Hagar’s words is “Have I really seen the back of Him who sees me?”

In Exodus 33:20, God allows Moses to see Him, but He had to do so from inside the cleft of a rock and he could only catch a glimpse of God’s back as He passed by because God’s glory is too great for our feeble human eyes. “You cannot see my face,” God spoke. “For no one can see me and live.”  

I was so struck by this lesson. First, just the reminder that God sees us in our distress, when the wilderness closes in, was something I desperately needed because I have felt so terribly lost and alone this year. But He sees and He knows and the comfort that brings is difficult to describe.

But I had another emotion, one so great that I almost felt a panic well up inside me – I wished I could see Him. I longed so desperately to see His back, to have a physical, real and tangible glimpse of Him. I wished that He still revealed Himself to us today the way He did in Old Testament times. I wished I didn’t have to listen so hard for that still small voice because what I wouldn’t give for a burning bush right now.

IMG_0583It took me a few days to work past that before I could embrace the Truth of today: We have the revealed God available to us in scripture, and His power ignites from the pages of His word. We glimpse His back when we read His Words in scripture. He hasn’t need to issue in person promises anymore, because all of His promises were complete in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. And so what now?

I look up and praise the One who sees me. He has revealed Himself to me, and His glory is evident every day. I will likely never have a moment when I come face to face with Him incarnate on this earth, but that does not diminish His power or glory, and oh does it make the prospect of heaven seem so much sweeter.

If you, like me, are longing to see His face today, take comfort in the fact that He Sees yours, and rejoice in the knowledge that you are not alone. I am praying for everyone who reads these words, that they would have a fresh encounter with the God who Sees.

Happy Wednesday, sweet friends.


They say it takes two years


Two years ago, we played Tetris with all of our earthly possessions, stuffing and shoving and twisting them juuuust so into two giant PODS and the back of our (smokin’ hot) minivan. We waved goodbye to the POD men and began a three month odyssey of moving from one place to the next until we finally found and bought a house.

It’s been a hard, hard two years.

The first year was spent just trying to figure out our place in this new town. We spent a lot of time mourning the loss of seeing and being with people who were more than just friends – they were family. That first year was spent visiting the beach, sticking our toes in the sand and trying to convince ourselves that we made the right choice – that everything would be okay.


The Beach – God’s Glory Land…

“It takes two years in a new town to feel settled,” we heard from more than one person and I’ve clung to that adage these last 24 months. On the nights when we’ve paced the house in the wee hours of the morning fighting hyperventilation and panic attacks, I’ve told myself to wait for that magic two year mark. Other days, as I felt lost in loneliness, I searched out the Facebook pages of my dear friends so far away for some connection to the life I missed, and I told myself it wouldn’t be long before this all got better.

After the first year, I felt like the worst of the mourning had passed and we finally began the arduous task of rooting ourselves to this new place. We found a church, made some friends and looked for ways to plug ourselves into this place that we desperately needed to call home.

This second year has been equally difficult, but for so many different reasons. So many times I have desperately longed for the friends 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 hill quickly. So I found new friends who met me for coffee and even though we hardly knew one another, they listened as I let my broken heart roll down my cheeks. Just thinking about those glimmering moments of grace in such a dark time brings tears to my eyes once again.

Moving is hard. It’s so very, very hard to start over, to not be known, to feel like you have to smile when you just want to cry. But one thing our new friends have taught me these last two years is that there’s no faster way to get to know and love someone than to be raw and real with them. I could have stuffed all my sorrow inside and kept it hidden, but I would have been a miserable person as a result.

IMG_1310They let me be real. They passed me notes in church when they noticed my eyes were full of tears. They called just to check on me, to make sure I wasn’t staying in seclusion. When I apologized for crying so much they shook their heads and told me not to worry about it as tears glistened in their own eyes.

These people who were practically strangers felt my pain and in so doing, they took some of it on themselves, relieving me of carrying the burden on my own. 

They say it takes two years in a new town to feel settled and I’m embracing this two year mark. I still miss St. Louis so deeply that sometimes I feel a physical ache in my chest. I miss my friends so very much. Just today I called three of them because I just needed a little more than a Facebook status.

In two weeks, we head back to the ‘Lou to touch home base again. I think it will be perfect timing. Five days won’t be enough time, but it will quell the ache of the heart enough to allow us to continue to grow here – to continue to plant roots and gain a familiarity with this new place we call home.

Yesterday, I woke up, got dressed and it dawned on me that I was really excited to go to church. I was excited to see the people that are settling into that special place in my heart that’s reserved for the closest of family and friends. It’s been two years since we waved goodbye and I think “they” were right.

It’s starting to feel like home.

Saying Yes to the Good and Bad


I’m learning a lot right now about what it means to say yes. By nature, my first response is not generally yes. I’m more of a “maybe, let me think about it, I’ll get back to you,” kind of a girl. Saying yes is scary because saying yes usually comes with some sort of responsibility attached.

(Unless, of course, someone asks me if I’d like some Nutella, at which point saying yes is non-negotiable and always rewarding…)

Last year Lee and I said “Yes” together to adoption and as most of you know – that didn’t work out so well. But we said yes. We agreed because saying “No” didn’t feel right. If you talk to Lee and I individually about our motives to adopt, you’ll hear two different stories. Mine is the longer one.


Lee’s story is quite simple and I love the purity of his answer. When he was asked last summer why he decided to step forward with the adoption he said, “Because God didn’t give me the freedom to say no.”


That was it.


He couldn’t say no because he didn’t feel like GOD (not me – I had given him full permission to say no) had given him the freedom to say no. So he said yes.

I will confess that I still struggle with some bitterness and disappointment that God didn’t lay “No” on Lee’s heart. I still don’t understand why He brought us to this point in the adoption process. But obviously there were lessons of faith and trust and dependence that I needed to learn and so even though I’m disappointed in the circumstance and sometimes even in God Himself, I can still say He is good.

I still have faith, even though my faith feels much shakier than it did before. It’s being tested and burned and molded – it will come out stronger, but I have to wrestle through this.

As we prayed and sought and searched and looked at what our next step should be after the adoption was terminated, Lee felt a deep desire to go as a family on a mission trip this summer, and this time it was my turn to be reluctant. I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to spend the money. I knew that money could be spent on transferring our adoption to a different country. But Lee felt really strongly that we should take the kids on a mission trip.

And I didn’t have the freedom to say no, so yes was the only other option.

We began to search different missions opportunities that we could take with the kids. We needed to find something that fit into Lee’s hectic work schedule and after a lot of thought, we decided to join forces with Servant’s Heart Ministry on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

One month from today we will board a plane with our children to meet and serve the children of the Dominican Republic. I will confess that my heart is still unsure, not of the trip – I have no doubt the trip will be amazing. But I am still unsure about where we stand with the adoption and I still struggle daily with this idea of saying yes to God.

But what is faith if we don’t say yes to the things that don’t make sense – even those things that may not go as planned?  And how will we ever teach our children how to serve those in desperate need if we don’t go and do? Even if it costs money? Even if it sets us back in the adoption?

Or maybe it’s a step forward…


God has been terribly silent through all this adoption stuff, but I have this sense of peace that as we continue to say yes to the things in front of us, He will slowly reveal His plan for our family. As I said earlier, saying yes is scary because the outcome is not always certain, but if there is one thing I have been able to cling to in these months of questioning and doubt it’s that God is good and His plan is perfect, even when I don’t understand it. 

So we are saying yes to the things that are scary, the things that are good, the things that could go wrong or right. We’re saying yes because when presented with an opportunity to bless another person, is saying “No” really an option at all?


What about you? What have you said yes to lately?


(And as a PS to those who gave money toward our adoption – please know that we have those donations set aside and we will not touch them until we decide what we are going to do. Should we ultimately decide not to proceed with another adoption, those funds will be returned. I just wanted to offer that explanation in an effort to be fully transparent. We don’t yet feel that God has shut the door on adoption so we continue to save in anticipation of adopting. We are walking in faith making each decision with an enormous sense of trust.)

Monday Musings

Well hey there, friends ! How is everyone on this fine and lovely Monday morning? Me? I’m cold. Yes, I am. Apparently Mother Nature has gotten her geography mixed up and has dumped a bit of Midwest weather on my beloved Florida and I’m officially not a fan.

Of course, it’s supposed to be 88* on Thursday, so I can’t complain too much, but still… My feet are cold right now and in general cold weather clothing isn’t my favorite. I want to wear dresses and sandals so C’Mon Florida! Get it together!!

(Two exclamation points mean I’m super serious.)

I had a total OMG I’m a parent moment this weekend as we huddled under blankets on the bleachers at both boy’s baseball games. I remember my parents sitting on the sidelines of the soccer field when I was a kid, sipping coffee and hot chocolate and cheering me on through numb, frozen lips.

Except we lived in Wisconsin when I was a kid, so my parents definitely suffered more for the cause of parenthood. Northern parents get an extra jewel in their crown for frigid mornings on the sidelines.

Nevertheless, as I sipped my hot chocolate and cheered my boys on to baseball victory, I had to laugh. I’m a friggin’ parent! This is what parents do. Come rain or shine, hot or cold, we’re on the sidelines banging our hands together because the smile that comes across his lips when he hears you call his name is totally worth a little frostbite.

Plus hot chocolate tastes better at the ball park. Silver linings…you can always find them.


I updated our adoption page this weekend. If you don’t mind, take a moment to hop on over there and check it out. God is good, friends. I’m still struggling with this place we’re in. I am on the verge of tears at any moment of the day so if you happen to call at one of the bad moments, I am so sorry!

But I know and believe my God is good. I believe that He loves the orphan more than I do and I believe that He has given me a heart for orphan care for a reason. Though He feels quiet and distant right now, I believe without a shadow of a doubt He is doing a good work that I cannot see or understand and when the time is right, He will reveal it.

I believe this and I am clinging to this belief.

I still wish He would send me an email, though. Gosh, that would make this easier.


I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble right now as I write this post. I love book stores – even big, impersonal commercial ones like this. The books that surround me just smell of imagination. Sometimes I look at the shelves and imagine my own book sitting up there.

I don’t know if that will happen or not, but I have hope and dreaming is always fun.

Speaking of my book, Lee and I are heading to Naples this weekend. He has a conference to attend there for work and I’m tagging along because HELLO a weekend at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Florida?!

Lee told me the other day that he was afraid I’d be bored while he was working during the day. When I stopped laughing hysterically I assured him I would not be bored. I will be working on my book and when I’m not writing, I will be laying out by the pool reading a little Jane Austen.

“Bored” is not written anywhere on my to do list for the weekend.

And I mentioned that it’s supposed to be 88* this weekend, right?


Okay, friends. I think that’s enough chit chatting for today. I’ve got a few topics rolling around in my head, but I can’t seem to get them to translate onscreen yet. Lee and I are leading a study right now on the Character and Nature of God based on C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. Well, to be clear, Lee is leading the study. I am setting snacks on the table for everyone who comes over.

We all have a part in life…

The Screwtape Letters is rocking me pretty significantly, especially right now with all that is happening in life. I want to share some of that with you.


For now, I’m off to tap out a few more pages on The Novel which, by the way, I have titled. I love the title. I think it’s perfect. I hope I get to keep it.

Happy Monday, folks! Anyone have good news to share today? I would love to hear it.

I ran a mile the other day

On Wednesday, after yet another fitful night’s sleep, I forced myself out of bed, threw on my running shoes and pushed myself out the door before I had time to consider the ramifications of my actions. I started running before my not-totally-alert brain could convince me otherwise.

I was about a quarter mile in when my brain issued a “What the BEEP?” signal to the rest of my body, at which point my lungs constricted, my legs turned to lead and I remembered how much I have always hated running.

But still I kept going, because while I may hate running, I hate defeat even more and I simply cannot let my body defeat me this way.

It’s been a long, hard month and a half, which has left me feeling sad, tired, sluggish and trapped under the weight of so much heaviness. Beyond the potentially failed adoption, there have been family issues, hurting friends and looming changes that have so weighed me down that the very act of smiling began to feel tiresome.

So I’m making some changes. Change number one – I’m spending a little less time online. For the most part, the people I interact with online are beautiful, wonderful, encouraging, happy people. But I’m also prone, at this time, to drift toward sites that discuss the current adoption situation, and I dwell on the faces of the children who made it home and it makes my heart ache.

So, I’m stepping back a bit to let my heart heal and to let God realign and reconfigure the dream a bit. He’s doing that, by the way. God is completely and totally shifting things around for both Lee and I. It’s exciting and scary and heartbreaking and relieving and it’s still developing. I don’t totally understand what He is doing or what next step we need to take, but I feel confident that He’s not done with us yet.

I just need some time to let go of the dream the way that I saw it playing out.

Second thing I’m doing is drinking more water and tea, taking vitamins and trying to sleep more. The sleep thing is tricky, though. Darkness and quiet foster too much thinking. I’m working on shutting my brain down at night.

The third thing I’m doing is exercising, because it produces endorphins that help combat sadness, stress and fatigue. Incidentally, I quote Elle Woods from Legally Blonde every time I lace up my shoes to work out:

“Excercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands…they just don’t.” Elle Woods

Ha! That quote makes me happy. It should also make Lee happy, too. And make him feel safer at night…

So back to exercise. Working out has always been a big part of my daily life. I wake up, I eat, I work out, I go about my day. That’s been my routine since college. But lately, particularly the last year, I’ve lost my workout mojo. It’s just been hard to stay motivated.

Add stress and heartache to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. Remember, I am the wisp of a girl. Letting myself get lazy is not healthy. There’s also the added stress of this being the year I turn 35, which doesn’t help matters. I’ve officially dubbed the next five months Operation Kick 35’s A$$ Bootay.

In an effort to stay on top of this very important part of my road to emotional recovery, I have joined up with Team Pretty Muddy as one of their Tampa bloggers! I’m so, so excited about this partnership for a few reasons.

One, it just sounds like fun. Running a 5k? BO-RING! Running a 5k that exists entirely in the mud and has slides? SO FUN!

I am already recruiting my local team of runners and if you want to join us, let me know because the more the merrier in my opinion! I plan on running a few times a week so that I can at least survive the run without complete and total embarassment, although I did inform my potentail teammates last night that should the running portion of the race be over my head, I will totally fake a sprained ankle.

I’m not too proud to take myself out of the race if it means saving face…

But really, it’s only 3.2 miles and it’s in the mud! It can’t be that hard, right? Right?!

It’s taken me two days to recover from the one measly mile I ran on Wednesday. I think I have my work cut out for me….

If you want to join me in this year’s Pretty Muddy Race, visit the website and register now, then let me know so we can plan our post race party! *wink, wink*

Onward and Forward

We did it.


Yesterday we mailed out a package filled with every detail of our lives to the capital building in Tallahassee for apostilling. From there (and barring any major mistakes on my part) the package will head to our adoption agency, most likely by the end of next week. I have one piece of paper that needs to be apostilled in the State of Arkansas and I’m waiting on one more document that will need apostilling in the State of California.

And then?

Then our dossier is complete.


As in done.


Into the hands of Russia. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

And now we don’t know what will happen. Will Russia close? Possibly. If that happens we will take a little time to breathe and are open to exploring other adoption options. But they might remain open. This whole political stand off may pass on by and if that happens, then we are that much closer to seeing this thing through.

So we wait and you know what? Waiting isn’t a lot of fun. It just isn’t. I want to know. I want to know now! I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to see what kind of blessing might be at the end of the unknown.

I’m so human and so impatient.

A friend reposted this video the other day and it’s served as a good reminder for me. This was made a few years ago and yes, that’s Sloan you see in the video. He was around 6 when they shot this at our church in St. Louis. Besides being an awesome and adorable look back at him and all the other kids I love so much, it’s been a good reminder that even when waiting is hard, there are rewards to patience.

I want my cookie now. I don’t want to wait for two cookies.

But I will wait. I will wait and I will work on patience and grace and love and peace until we are presented with the next step. I will wait for the blessings.


What are you waiting for? Can I be praying for you in the wait?


I haven’t had the heart to write this week. Between Christmas, birthday, a traveling husband, the flu, the tragedy in Connecticut and some adoption drama, I have felt a bit boggled and crazed.

I walk from room to room in my house with a very clear purpose in mind and by the time I reach the bedroom, I have forgotten why I went there. My brain is scattered and I can’t remember the most minor of details. The pantry is nearly bare and the fridge is empty of all but a few leftovers that have been in there for…well, for too long.

In the midst of all this chaos, I am trying to sit still – to breathe. I’m trying to keep perspective. I’m trying to spend more time on my knees and less time listening to all the noise.

Every day this week, I’ve put my kids on a school bus and sent them to a place that should be safe, but instead has become a warzone. Yes, our school is secure. But so was Sandy Hook. Yes, it probably won’t happen here. But it wasn’t probable there, either.

I got a sweet email from Sloan’s teacher this week assuring us that she loved our children and would do anything to protect them. I sobbed as a read that because she shouldn’t have to feel that way. Teachers shouldn’t have to think about how they will protect their children if a gunman comes in.

Teachers shouldn’t have to think about taking a bullet for a child.

The shouldn’t have to! But they do have to. I shouldn’t have to worry about my children being safe in school, but I do have to. My children shouldn’t have to walk into a building armed by policeman and doors locked tight.

That’s prison. It shouldn’t be school.

I think we’ve all lost a little innocence this week. Or maybe we were never as safe as we thought?

These things have served as a distraction along with the fact that Congress passed the Magnitsky Bill this week. I don’t really understand that bill, but from what I am reading I understand why Russia feels outraged. And Russia’s retaliation is to threaten to shut down adoptions.

Will it happen? Who knows. This is political bantering at its finest. Unfortunately, the collateral in all this back and forth are the children lying in orphanages.

Right now I am not panicked by the thought of adoptions closing down. I feel a peace. I truly believe that if God wants us to adopt a little girl, He will bring us a little girl. If He doesn’t, I will wait expectantly for what He does want to do with us. I don’t believe our family is complete yet and that is where I find this comfort.

But while I feel a peace, I am also in constant prayer over this. It is on my mind at all times. I’ve never felt more out of control as a parent and I have to cling to the One who I believe is in complete control. I have to focus on Him because if I don’t, then a blanket of grief and fear begin to close in and I feel like I’m going to suffocate.

I’m not a person prone to fear or doubt. I count it as a blessing that God has knit a unique measure of peace inside me that has always given me the ability to trust, to believe and to not wallow in the fear of the unknown. But this week has shaken me a bit. This week I’ve had to keep things simple. I’ve had to sit and think and ponder. I’ve had to focus on Christ as Lord and let everything else fade away.

Truly He taught us to love one another

His law is love and His gospel is peace

Chains will He break, for the slave is our brother

And in His Name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of hope in grateful chorus raise we

Let all within us praise His Holy Name

Christ is the Lord

Oh Praise His Name forever

His power and glory

Ever more shall reign

Adoption Update: Month Six

It’s been six months since we began this adoption journey. Shaky hands placing a thin sheet of paper into a crisp white envelope were what started us on this path. We told no one as we took this tiny, yet enormous, step forward. A step of faith. We had waited for the burning bush long enough – it was time to take action.

It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since.

I love reading the status updates and blog posts of my expectant friends. It reminds me of the exciting days when we were expecting a child. I would scour books and marvel at the fact that the child inside me was now as big as an apricot, a walnut, an orange, a pineapple, a small elephant (Sloan…that kid was huge!). I love the anticipation of pregnancy and the posts of growing bellys, gender reveals and approaching due dates leaves me happy with memory.

It dawned on me recently that part of what makes this adoption process so difficult is it feels so…lonely. I don’t have a cute, growing belly to dress. I don’t have weekly markers that point to the impending arrival. Whereas in pregnancy, most mothers can breathe easy after that twelve week mark passes, adoption always feels a bit tenuous.

I keep waiting for the floor to drop, for something to happen to end this journey. I think part of the reason that I feel this way is because I’m not celebrating the milestones – the little moments that mean we’re getting closer.

So here are a few little moments:


Our paperwork is nearly done. We submitted the first round to our agency for review and were only missing a few documents. Unfortunately, one of them is going to take about six weeks to complete, so we’re in a bit of a holding pattern, but there are things we can be doing to keep moving the process forward so that when the paper comes, we’ll be set.

We are almost $10,000 into the process. For awhile it felt like we were going nowhere with the funds, then BOOM! We had the next payment. We still have a long way to go, but I’m in awe of how far we’ve come.

Would you like to be part of that process with us? We could still use your help. I have ideas for some other fundraisers that I will kick off in the new year, but for now we are still running our Story campaign. So far we’ve received almost $2,000 from dear friends and readers through online and personal donations. Thank you!

It feels more real. I get a little scared to admit that, but the fact of the matter is this has shifted from being an idea to being a person. There’s a person out there waiting for us. A little girl. She’s real and she is ours. She is as real to me as any of my children were in utero.

She has become more real to the kids as well. There isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t mention their baby sister. They are excited to meet her and I’m so proud of how they’ve embraced the idea.

There are still challenges to be met in this process, though, and we would love your prayers:


We still have a lot of money to raise. A LOT of money to raise. God has been so faithful to provide and we prayerfully wait to see what He’s going to do next. But I am a terrible fundraiser. I am being stretched and pulled in this process and have learned so much already.

The paperwork needs to be coordinated and sent to various states to be apostilled and I am so nervous that stuff will get lost in the process. We are also on a bit of a clock and with our final clearance six weeks away, this leaves me a little worried that a lot of the paperwork will need to be redone. If we don’t receive a court date within one year from the notaries, the paperwork expires.


There are emotional challenges to prepare for. I don’t expect that bringing an adopted toddler into our home will be all sunshine and roses. It’s going to be hard and I’m sure there will be days when I sit on the floor and cry from exhaustion and an overwhelming sense of fatigue.

Kind of like I did with every one of my kids when they were newborns and I couldn’t figure out how to manage life with all the change.

In so many ways, this adoption journey mirrors a pregnancy. But it differs in a lot of ways, too. People don’t always understand why we chose adoption. I find myself still feeling like I need to defend our decision to do this and I must constantly stop and remember that we all have a different journey in this life. Our path won’t look like your path and that is okay.

Will you pray for us? As we head into the holiday season, I find myself longing for my daughter. I want to know who she is and see the completed picture. This is the exact same way I felt when I hit about seven months pregnant with each of my children. I was just ready to be done!

The only difference was that when I was seven months pregnant, I knew I only had to wait eight more weeks. At this point, we are very likely still looking at another year.

Adoption is hard. It’s so very, very hard. I may not have the growing belly, but I very much am growing a baby. She is growing in my heart and until she’s in my arms, I fear I will feel incomplete.

Thank you for praying.