Friday, June 19, 2015

I have asked for him...

  Many times in our married life I have gone to the book of Samuel. Most of the time it has been broken hearted begging God for the life of one of our children. This time again broken hearted for my son, the son God has called us to, Yu Ming. We know he is our son, we know that we are called to sacrifice everything possible to bring him home. Over the last 17 days our hearts have been broken, surrendered, waiting (patiently and not so patiently), questioning, doubting, and then back to resting. 

When faced with any calling that requires steps of faith there will always be the questions from others, or the well meaning comments of "well if this doesn't work out then it just wasn't meant to be".  This week we were reminded many times to go back. Go back to how we knew we were called to Ming, and all the things that have happened since. Every time it has been a journey right up to the deadline and Gods provision has been there. This time was no different.

Saturday we had a killer garage sale. Thank you to all who pitched in and helped and for those who donated items.  Our total was a little over $1,000 from that sale and we are so grateful for the many ways you chose to support that.

Displaying image3.JPG

Monday we were at Chick Fil A (yes, AGAIN). This is our favorite fundraiser if you couldn't tell and when they heard of our deadline they wanted to help by having 2 fundraisers for us in that 17 day window. What a blessing! It was at that fundraiser we were able to thank someone who had given us a donation on their own. I had been praying that we would be able to thank him in person. Little did I know what God was doing. We learned of his family and their adoption story. I love this part of public fundraising! 

Tuesday- we were still in need of almost $2,000. That morning we had a very generous adopting family offer to loan us our needed amount. As many of you know we have felt very strongly that God is asking us to adopt debt free. While we know at some point this direction may change, we knew that God was just saying "wait on me for this. I will supply your need." All day our hearts just focused on the fact that we didn't need it yet. That morning we mailed this giant stack of paper to our adoption agency still not having everything we needed for those to even be processed. For us, that was a major step of faith just mail out 9 months of labor and over $2700 in documents and not know if we were even going to be able to finish processing them. But God is faithful...

Displaying image2.JPG

 Later that afternoon we received a call from someone we literally just met saying they had a check they wanted us to have before our deadline. Inside the envelope was a note of encouragement and a check for over and above what we needed for our payment the next day. God is faithful. We will never tire of sharing this story. Even if you are reading this and God is not a part of your belief system, I know you can not deny this is a miracle. 
Our little miracles keeps showing us and pointing us to the name we have chosen for Ming.
Samuel - The Lord hears .
 We will keep his Chinese name as his middle name and let him choose what we wants to go by.
God has not only heard our cries as parents, but has heard his cry for love and a family. His longing to be back with us. With joy we await the day we have travel approval and fly to bring him home.

Today we received word that our dossier has been entered into the china system and our papers are being mailed for translation. What an awesome week! 

"now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly above all we could ask or think"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Exhausted, yet pursuing

   " And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing." (Judges8:4)

Ok so I may not have crossed the Jordan river but I can say honestly "I am exhausted" .  I read this with a new compassion for those involved in this story. As I read the verse that resonated with me in a very practical sense I reminded myself of the context.
Gideon is someone in the bible that I have been reminded of several times over the past 16 days. God called him to defeat the Midianites. From the perspective of many I am sure he was the most unlikely candidate. After all, didn't he require "signs" and confirmations before he would blindly obey? Didn't he want to be assured success before even starting?  Even before that he questioned God and his timing, the things that were allowed to happen ect...
I am so much like Gideon. The conversations that play out in my mind look much like his.
 "ok, so God you called us to this adoption thing. Can't you just give us a peace to take out a loan? That way I can see how this is all going to play out?"  "So God, really? you want me not only to adopt, but to have a biological child at the same time? Did you possibly hear me wrong when I said I would be willing to do what you called us to do, even if it was hard? Was adoption not hard enough? I kind of thought that was like difficult to the MAX."
 Often I picture God listening and just shaking His head smiling as he lets me process aloud to Him, without judgement, so I can fully be empty of my thoughts and be ready to accept His.

Looking over and reminding myself again of the story of Gideon I see several things that encourage me this morning. This morning as I sit and beg God for his provision, not seeing how fully he is going to provide the remaining $1900 before tomorrow morning.  As my doubt was creeping in, I am drawn to this story and see many things that have given me hope and encouragement.

  * Gideon may have needed signs and processed his doubt in a similar way God still gave the victory. Gideon was called to lead the people to conquer and to set the captive free, and that was accomplished

 * While victory was sure, there was a LOT of work involved and he was going to be exhausted. Many times this week I have questioned and have been questioned if doing all of this to pursue debt free adoption is really what I should do. Should I be sacrificing my energy, and feel awful physically all for this "calling" of adoption.

 Today I needed to read that simple phrase "Exhausted, yet pursuing"  The encouragement that I have gleaned from that today is this, While I am exhausted from a weekend of the biggest garage sale of my life, while I want to cover my head and just let things happen as they may, while I could just say "whatever happens will happen". I could choose any of those things, but instead I am going to choose to be exhausted yet pursuing. Pursuing every avenue possible, continuing to sell things online, looking for ways to raise funds, getting up and driving AGAIN to next day air paperwork that isn't paid for yet, and can't be processed until it is. Out of every step, this one is the biggest faith step for me. Trusting that they make it there, that they will be able to be sent to China this week. My heart is heavy but resting in the promise that God called us to this and has ensured victory.

 Until our next post,
Exhausted, yet pursuing

Darrell and Michelle

Monday, June 15, 2015

Glorious Unfolding

Wow! It has been a crazy 15 days! Each day, each hour, each second bringing something new into our lives. If it was paperwork, sickness, contractions, exhaustion, a third trip to the Secretary of States office and the list could go on.

 Last week as we were heading to the Chinese Consulate as everyone was sleeping, a song came onto my spotify that I had never heard before. God usually for me uses music many times to speak to me and bring His word and promises to mind.


The words of this song brought me back to so many verses God has given to us as we sought to know if we were called to adoption. 
    I love the whispers from God in our hearts when He is ministering to our spirits. 
"I know the plans I have for you"   "My grace is sufficient for you, because my strength is made perfect in your weakness"   "Look unto me. I  am the author of this story"  
"Be still and Know that I am God" 

Only God could have written this story for us. When we lost Lliam I begged God to bring beauty to the ashes of grief in my heart. I held on to knowing his plans are always greater than mine. Little did I know he would bring a little boy that gripped our hearts before we knew him, a little boy he called us to adopt before we knew how he would "fit" into our family.  Every time leading to the decision to sign the contract for his adoption we begged for the doors to be closed if we were walking into something we shouldn't be and every step God has provided the money, the time, the correct documents, EVERYTHING.  
 The past 15 days I have had to go back to these things. I look back on the promises fulfilled, the calling affirmed.

Over the last 15 days our need for the payment amount of $6,000  is now been whittled down little by little to just a little over $2300! That is God.  I know that is something some of my friends may not believe in, but it is no denying its a miracle.  We are thankful, blessed and humbled by this. 
We are thankful for those who have supported our adoption with prayer, giving of time, sacrificing their schedule to help us, sacrificing financially because of their desire to support adoption in the ways that they can.

When knowing of our deadline a friend donated this beautiful 31 hostess exclusive bag for a give a way. For each donation of $10 you will receive one entry.
 Example:$10 donation = your name entered 1 time, $100 donation = you name entered 10 times.
 The winner will be selected by a random drawing.
  The deadline for entering is Wednesday June 17 9:00

    Thirty One Style setter bag with clutch and wrist strap ($150 value)
   Hostess exclusive item

Friday, May 29, 2015

19 days

19 days, this is the amount of time we have to submit our dossier (Giant stack of paperwork documenting our life) to our agency.  Along with that stack of paperwork we have a very large payment due to the agency and many fees at the Chinese consulate before they will send our papers to China.

So what does this mean?
 Well it means it is going to be a fast 19 days. We have many documents that will go to the Secretary of States office for certification, then all of those same documents will then need to be taken to Chicago to the Chinese consulate. Yes, agencies have services that pay for other people to do this for you but we are trying to save every bit we can by doing it ourselves.

Financially we need $6000 at this point to cover all of the costs involved in those steps. We have been cutting every corner we possibly can in the area of budgeting. We continue to apply for the many grants available to adopting families. To date we have sent 2 applications in and are working on the next 4 applications to be sent on Monday. All of these will not be processed or received before June 17th (our deadline).

What happens if we don't make the deadline?  This is the only date that we have. Our only opportunity to move forward and bring Ming home. It is crucial, there is no late fee, grace period, nothing.

What do we know?

Well we know that its going to be busy, we are going to be tired, there is not going to be enough hours in the day. However we know that Gods strength is made perfect in our weakness and that with his help we can do all things. We know that Gods love for Ming is even greater than our love for him. Gods desire for Ming's situation and little life to be redeemed is greater than Mama and Babas desire to bring him home from the life he lives now.

How can you help?

 First we ask that you pray for us. Pray that God will give us strength, clarity of mind, energy, accuracy and speed in gathering documents and for those processing the documents. Pray for those who God will send to take part in our adoption in a financial way. Pray that God will lead us in ways we can continue to add to the funds as we know this sudden date was not a surprise to Him
Pray for Ming- Pray that God will comfort him, and protect him from any that seek to do harm.

Second - If you are someone who feels led to help us financially at the end of this post we will share the options available to do so.

Lastly we would like to thank each of you. Your love, prayer and financial support has blessed our hearts and has allowed our children to see miracles.

The link below is to be used for money contributions if you would like to claim as a deduction for tax purposes. They do not take fees from it, and you will be emailed a receipt for tax purposes. I am so thankful that they have come up with this amazing tool. This Monday the organization just launched this site to bless and help adopting families. All contributions go directly from their organization to our agency.

If you would like to mail us a check please email us for our address
 (this is not an option for tax deductions to be available to you)

We have necklaces that another adopting mom so graciously designed for us to help with funds for our next step.
To order or browse click the necklace title

                                                          Choose Joy

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Another plan

 With our last post, we were sharing how we felt our hearts were led to adopt two children at the same time from China. One being Ming and the other a sweet little 2 year old. We do believe God was preparing and working in our hearts to be willing and open to have two additions into our family at once but He had other plans of who that second child would be. 
 Many of you know this and many may not. We are expecting the arrival of baby girl Roeske in September. Doctors have said she is very healthy, quite active and doing very well. While the second child that God is bringing to our family is biological, our hearts have not changed nor have things changed in pursuing the adoption of Ming. 

Are we crazy? Possibly by the standards of others but we know the peace and excitement of following the path and plan that God has set rather than our own attempts at setting the plan. 

We are planning to keep the blog updated regularly now as things will be moving fast over the next 6 months. So stay tuned!

 Darrell and Michelle

Friday, January 16, 2015

Giving up and letting go

We give up. Yes you just read that correctly, we are giving up. This past year has brought so many changes to our little family. Just when we think we have Gods plan figured out, another plan unfolds. So to even say we know what is going to happen next week is a stretch. We have possibilities sketched out, but seriously at any moment that could change. We thought that once we were past the pregnancy with all the sudden changes,ups and downs,joy and sorrow, that we passed some type of test. We thought "maybe life will slow down, and we will live with more intention"  that looked more "zen" than it actually is. Slowing down life seemed to us to be the answer, the peace and calm.  We planned to live and give more time into quiet purposeful time and attention to whatever seemed to be in the path ahead. But, God had other ideas as many of you know.

This past summer began our journey with adoption. One that we did not see coming at this time in our lives. We have always known and actually asked God to lead us to adopt when the timing was right. Ok to be honest I think it was more like "call us when we have an extra $40,000 sitting in our account" kind of prayer. Never did we look at adoption as something that we would step out in blind faith, and choose to adopt without debt, and NOT know 100% where the money would all come from.
And never did we think God would call us to a second child in the process.

 As we are sharing this news we sit in amazement, and just an awe. We had chosen to be open to a second child when we saw that as a possibility in our adoption contract. We thought it would be more like a year from when we bring home Ming. Never thinking that God would not only lead but open and close doors in this area as well. After being open to bringing another older child home, reviewing several files we felt God telling us we were not the family for them. Yes, we actually felt that way. Then Darrell and I decided to sit and pray over the list of waiting children. Letting God know our hearts were open and willing to obey His leading even if it was radical. After praying together Darrell looked through the waiting child list. I already have it memorized, and had looked the night before but did not mention it to Darrell.Silently I prayed 'God if you are REALLY calling us to consider this, can you prove it to me and have Darrell choose one of the two I felt you leading my heart to last night?' .  The waiting list is like 6 pages long and probably 12 to a page. Ages range generally from 3 most of the time 5-12yrs of age. I scrolled through moving faster past the ones I felt drawn to. Suddenly Darrell speaks up.. "go back, look at that one."  We then proceeded to open the bio to the child God had placed on my heart the night before.  After praying with an open heart and receiving his file and medical information we both feel at peace in surrendering to the call to pursue his adoption. He is a 1 yr old from southern China. If all continues and we are able to secure the needed finances we can submit our Letter of Intent to China (which would hold his file for us and he would be considered for all US purposes ours) and submit the same dossier (large mound of papers) for both children and only pay the registration fee for both. Did we see this coming... No! But we trust and know that God did.

 Many times we look back and see how God has used our experience of loosing Lliam. So much can be mirrored in the faith that this journey is taking. It requires us to Give up and let go. To give up our picture and idea in our heads of how life and adoption should go.Letting go of our plans, our will, our materialistic desires and everything that would hold us back from living out a radical faith. One of our favorite quotes helps sum up our hearts toward this new step.
 " My (our) greatest fear,even now, is that I will hear Jesus' words and walk away,content to settle for less than radical obedience to Him." David Platt Radical: Taking back your faith from the american dream

How can you support us?
1) Prayer - Please bring us before the Lord. This is even more a spiritual battle than a financial one. Pray that we will have unity in our home, that we will wise with our time and resources. Wisdom and direction as we have our home study today. Wisdom for what grants to apply for. Most of all, for unwavering radical daily faith.

2) Pray for the boys - for God to intervene in their lives, protect them, and help them to feel loved and ultimately for them to come to know the Love of God.

3) On the side bar is a new link -- Amazon -- we now have this link as our affiliate link. If you are a prime member or shop amazon, will you consider bookmarking this page and using it for your shopping? It is no additional cost to you, but amazon will give us 4-8% back on purchases made through that link! Cool idea right?!

4) You caring - If you feel led to give financially to our adoptions we have the link at the side bar you may donate to. We will be updating the page to add the financial goal and need of adding the second child. But for now that is the fastest way for our agency to access funds. If you are wanting a tax deductible way to donate, please contact us and we will be happy to share that with you as well.

We are so thankful for the thoughts, prayers and encouragement that all of you have offered to our family. Thank you for following us in this journey.


Darrell and Michelle

Friday, December 26, 2014

a year later...

As I sat down to post to the blog this morning, a dear friend shared the following with me.

"When things don't go as you would like, accept the situation immediately. If you indulge in feelings of regret, they can easily spill over the line into resentment. Remember that I am sovereign over your circumstances, and humble yourself under My mighty hand. Rejoice in what I am doing in your life, even though it is beyond your understanding . I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. In me you have everything you need, both for this life and for the life yet to come. Don't let the impact of the world shatter your thinking or draw you away from focusing on Me. The ultimate challenge is to keep fixing your eyes on Me, no matter what is going on around you. When I am central in your thinking, you are able to view circumstances from My perspective.(1 Peter 5:6)"

Little did she know it ties so well in with what God was showing me this morning. You see today I could be angry and focused on what I do not have or rather what I am missing. To be honest all year I have lived with a regretting heart, and a little angry that the last moments shared with my dear friend, Lillian, were moments I was in the deepest cloud of grief over losing my son. Frankly it is frustrating to not remembering a lot about that time in my life. Grieving two of the most beloved people in my life at the same time was definitely NOT my plan.So today like every other day I have a choice. I can choose to focus on what did not go my way, or choose to focus my heart on the one who is The Way.
"The decision must be deep in our (my) heart- not our physical heart but our inner self as a whole. Our thoughts, emotions, intellect and spirit all combine to form this beautiful spiritual heart within us. To make the decision to experience God, you must have a heart that is open to Him. When we forget to be renewed day by day by looking, and listening for God, we loose our eternal perspective, get entangled in the troubles of today, and close our heart to Him. A closed heart, tragically forgets God."*

Though many times I completely fall short I have chosen to refuse to close my heart to God. He has proven Himself faithful. I will choose to remember His goodness when things go 'my way' and His goodness when they don't. I will have joy, believing in Him. He is too real to deny. I made the decision over a year ago to choose joy, not because it sounded like a good blog title, or because it made me sound like a good Christ follower. I decided to follow. To follow wherever this journey took us. To have an open heart to the changes that would take place. Why? Because I know God has my best in mind. I choose to believe that. Past all reasoning, all proving based  data and research, all the black and white. I chose to trust the heart of my heavenly Father.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future"

Today I choose joy.