Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A New Perspective

One of the hardest times during an adoption comes when all of the paperwork is completed and there is absolutely nothing more you can do but wait. Waiting for "the call" that will get the ball rolling to purchase airline tickets, book hotels and finally give you the opportunity to meet the children you have been praying and preparing for over a very long time is like being in the third trimester of pregnancy and not knowing when labor will begin.  That is exactly where we are in our adoption process and it is a very hard place to be.

We received word that on May 21st -May 25th the boys would be in Manila completing their medicals and visa interviews.  Our family was so excited with this news and, of course, we had to look back at the paperwork from Naomi's and Jacob's adoptions to give us an "idea" of the timeline ahead of us.  In both cases, visa's had been issued within 7 days of their appointments and we received word that we could travel shortly after that.  So, within a month of their medical exams we were in the Philippines meeting our child.  That's it we said!  We will most likely be traveling at the end of June into the beginning of July.  We were so certain of this time frame - our time frame - that we began thinking ( and telling folks) we would probably be traveling during this time. (Rule number 1 in an adoption is NEVER have your own time frame. Rule number 2...once you have a time frame don't share it with many because plans always change with adoptions)! And sure enough, having our own time frame ended up being a bad thing as it is now the end of June and we have yet to receive the call we had anticipated back in May.

 However, this week God gave me a new perspective on the wait as I was reading from Jesus Always.  I read...
    " Instead of trying to force Me to do what you want, when you want it, relax and look for what I am already doing.  Live in a receptive mode - waiting for Me, trusting in My timing. "
I continued reading...
  " My followers often fail to see the many blessings I shower on them.  They're so busy looking for other things that they miss what is before them - or what is on the way.  They forget I am sovereign God and the timing of events is My prerogative." 

At that moment as I was reading those words God changed my heart.  My eyes were opened to something that I hadn't seen before. Up until now, we have made the waiting all about us. When will the call come because WE need to know and WE need to plan.   How much will airfare be?  Will we have enough money to cover the tickets?  What happens if we don't? What about Marshall's job?  Will he be able to take vacation at a moments notice? This is the busy season for him. There are so many unknowns and that makes things difficult and scary.  Yet, God gently reminded me as I was reading those words that the wait isn't just about us. It's also about our boys - even more so. As we wonder when the call will come and try to plan every last detail we are loosing sight of the most important thing.  Everyday we wait for the call God is doing something in our boys heart to prepare them for our family. God knows what they need and exactly when they need it.  For reasons we don't understand, our boys must need a little extra time in the Philippines to prepare to leave everything they have known, come to a new country and join our family. That's a big thing - especially for a young child.  They must need something more. So, everyday we wait for our phone to ring, God is using the time to bring glory to His story and to prepare  our boys (His children ) in ways we may never fully understand.  I was reminded that His timing and His ways are always perfect.  I was given a new perspective; one that has changed my whole way of thinking about this waiting thing.

 I would like to say that the call came as I was writing this post. It did not. There are still so many unknowns at this time and the waiting is still hard.  After all, we are human and are so excited to meet our boys.  We still pray for the call to come soon. However, as we wait for the phone to ring and make a dash towards the caller ID with every phone call, we can rest and trust knowing that God is doing so much in our family and in our boy's lives. One day soon that call will finally come and we will be joined together as a family. What a day that will be!

 "Lord help me keep my eyes on you as we wait for the call."


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

So you have this...Really?

Why do we not believe Jesus when he tells us he'll give us everything we need?  So often I find myself saying  something like "...well if I don't take care of this, no one else will..." or  " its my responsibility,  I'll get it done..." We've all said things like this.  Self sufficiency....being capable...these are all good things but they are on the razor's edge of our unbelief.

Camping With A Purpose
We are faced with an obstacle and our first instinct is  "....I got this..."  What foolishness.  If we're honest, we have absolutely  -nothing.  You may say  " ....oh that's not true of me...I'm in total control..."  But which of us actually knows whats coming?  Which of you knows what's going to happen tomorrow and how it will affect you and those you love?  You don't have 'it' do you?  Well that's ok - nobody does. Nobody that is except for Jesus.

I'm going to tell you a story to prove to you that when you don't have it - Jesus does.  For those of you that don't know him -stay with me.  For those of you that do maybe you're facing something now and you need a reminder (as I often do).

Those of you who know us know that we're all about adoption.  You know about Naomi who I told just this morning "...our lives would be significantly less without you..."  She was the door through which many blessings came (and still are).  Jacob was the next one through that door.  Perhaps the gentlest soul I've ever met...happy...fearless...victor over death - with Jesus now  (you can read more about him in earlier posts).  

Lorrie and I started thinking we might adopt again in January of 2017. I had just started a new job with a fantastic company.  Great salary, benefits - you name it.  Plenty of income to pay for an adoption...I had this...

So you know one of the things that I love about Jesus most?  He's disruptive...  

In March of that same year my company made some radical (and wise) changes in it's compensation model and moved me to a commission plan. I had never before worked this way and it scared me to death.  Not only that, but since I was now on commission my base salary went down...way down - far enough that we considered holding off on adopting.  We sensed Jesus say ..."Keep going."  Wanting to "have this" I was very tempted to leave that company but it became very clear to me that Jesus intended me to stay and so I did.

Cleaning with A purpose
So here's the picture - we're doing Dave Ramsey (gazelle intense to get out of debt), our pay has been cut in a major way, I have no idea how successful at work I'll be (commission?) and we're adopting and that costs ~$35K.  Still Jesus says "Keep going..."  So we do what we can - after all Jesus told us to "Keep going".  We apply for grants, we set up a go fund me site.  Lorrie cleans houses, we do a fund raiser called 'camping with a purpose' - two weeks last summer living in our trailer so we could rent our home as a vacation rental.

I want you to know Jesus showed up as we kept going. You guys don't have time for me to tell you all the ways he  showed up - but here are a few:  He blessed my work (commission!), he raised up people  to give lavishly  (even a former employer of mine - who does that!?).  Frankly, if you look at our finances from last year - the math "doesn't add up".  But as of now we're mostly funded - we're going to be able to go get the boys.  He Has This.

We never "had this" or anything else for that matter.  He has it all.  When Jesus tells you he's about to do something, the only thing you have to do is believe him and then... it might be good to duck.  

So that's my story.  Jesus has this... this adoption, three little boys in the Philippines that we've never met and this family.... and a plan that He is carrying out - and it's good.  How exciting and life giving of a privilege is ours as we watch 'this' unfold....

You know as I write this I'm realizing that the 'this' we're all so obsessed with having ...is really Jesus - himself.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God
Psalm 20:7

Thankful He has it all,


Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Day to Remember

One of the best things about having a relationship with Jesus is that he redeems the darkest days in your life.  He makes beauty where there is none and brings tremendous joy in the midst of sorrow and sadness.  March 22, 2014 is the day when our life changed forever.  March 22, 2018 is a day we will never forget. 

Four years ago this morning we received the news no parent ever wants to receive.  The doctors in our mountain town suspected that Jacob had leukemia.  There are some things in life you can remember vividly.  This is one of those things.  I remember where I was when Marshall called from the hospital.  I remember what I was doing that morning and for some reason I can even remember watching the snow start to fall as I was listening to what sounded like muffled words from my husband. To this day, I  remember that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  

As you all know, the "suspected" diagnosis ended up being correct.  Jacob had Acute Myloid Leukemia and ended up spending the rest of 2014 at Children's Hospital up in Aurora, Colorado.  He joined Jesus on January 3, 2015.  

But God's story doesn't end there.  In fact, it gets even better!

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  
Romans 8:28

God's fingerprints have been all over the adoption of three brothers into our family. Fast forward four years...

March 22, 2018... We got word this week that the boys legal documents finally arrived.  We had been told back in January that they were "on their way and we should get them soon."  The word "soon" threw us off because these important documents never came - until now. March 22, 2018 is the day the boys legal documents( I-800) will be sent to our government!  The I-800 approval is the last step in the adoption process and allows for the boys to begin the process of obtaining their visas to come to America!  You can imagine the excitement in this house when we were told about this! 

March 22nd will always be a day we remember vividly and celebrate passionately. It is the day when God tapped us on the shoulder and said, "See, I am making all things new and there is still so much more to come. I take the darkest times in your life and make something good out of them.  I will turn your sadness into joy.  I will make March 22nd a special day for you for years to come. "  Thank you Lord for this day and for all you continue to do through this adoption.  

Please celebrate this day with us and remember that when there appears to be nothing but sadness, God promises something great on the road ahead. As always, we appreciate your continued prayers as we get even closer to bringing our boys home.  What a wonderful day that will be. 

 Yeah, Jacob, I know you are smiling at all of this.  Must be something to have a front row seat.  Love you always son,

Friday, January 26, 2018

Nearing the End

We wanted to share our great news with you all. Shortly before the new year, we received the call that we had been “matched” with our boys. We decided to keep this news quiet until we received the "official" paperwork from the Philippines. We thought that the paperwork would come within a week or so. We were wrong. Day after day, week after week we waited for the call.  It never came until today! Finally, we got the call we had been waiting for for nearly a month! This call means three brothers now have a forever family of their own AND we have them. This is such great news and a huge step towards the boys coming home.

Now, begins the next step in this adoption journey. The boys official documents will be sent over. We will be filling out the I-800 for each child. This paperwork will go to our government. This document allows the boys to come to America and specifically to our family. After that approval, the boys will be scheduled for their medicals and passports, visas, etc. Once all of those things happen we will get the final call we have been waiting for… the call to travel.

With this great news, also comes the reality that there are still costs involved and funds needing to be raised. We have watched in awe as God has provided just what we have needed to cover the adoption expenses thus far.  His plan has involved many of you. Thank you for giving and for being the hands and the feet of Christ here on earth.  We are so grateful for each and every one of you. 

We are continuing to trust in His provision as there are still funds needed for our travel to the Philippines and back. Airfare, meals and hotel expenses add up quickly. We are estimating that we will need around $7,000.00 to cover our airfare, hotel room, meals while we are traveling and a donation to the boys orphanage. To date you have given approximately $4,000.00 towards these costs. Only $3,000.00 is needed.  Will you prayerfully consider being part of the boys adoption by donating to this last remaining amount?  There is also a great advantage to donating now... Any donation made will be matched dollar to dollar up to $2500.00 thanks to a matching grant from We Care for Orphans administered through LifeSong for Orphans. A donation of $10,$20 or $30 will make a huge difference in three boys life and move us one step closer to having the funds needed to purchase our plane tickets to the Philippines. Information on making a donation can be found by clicking on the link "How you can help" on the right. We cannot wait to tell our boys their adoption story and how so many people loved them enough to help them get home to their family. They will learn that, because of the generosity of so many, they have the opportunity to grow up in a family; and be loved on forever! We can just imagine the look on their face when they hear this news.

Please rejoice with us this weekend as we celebrate what God has done for three brothers today. Thank you also for your continued prayers over our boys as they wait to join our family.  What a wonderful day that will be!

Marshall and Lorrie

Friday, December 1, 2017

There's Joy in Doing Hard Things

Lately, I have been thinking about how much we miss out on simply because we are afraid.  Afraid of the unknown.  Afraid we might fail.  Afraid people will think we have simply lost our mind.  There are so many reasons why we don't step out and do something totally radical.

One of the books we read with our children during the Middle School Years is a book titled  Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris.  Two brothers.  The premise of this book is to encourage young people to step out of their comfort zones and do something they never thought they could do. In other words, do hard things.  Every time I read this book I think of how different my life and our family would be had we not stepped out and did something totally against the "norm". 

As many of you already know, I was mayor of my town from 2012-2016.  I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would or could do something like this.  I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone as I knocked on doors and held up campaign signs on the street corners.  I will tell everyone that I had no idea there was a Robert who had rules we had to follow in our meetings. My time as mayor was definitely something I will never forget.  It stretched me in so many ways.  However, because I stepped out and did something I never thought I could do, I realized just how much I love serving people.  I realized just how much I love being in government and encouraging people to get involved.  I realized I was good at something I never thought I could be good at.  I did something hard.  And, I was blessed because of it.

Our family did something totally radical when we adopted Naomi in 2008.  Neither Marshall nor I had come from an adopted family. We knew no one who had adopted from the states, not to mention internationally.  We were the odd balls out for sure. But, because we followed our hearts and listened to the Lord, we were so very blessed.  Adoption was hard.  Many tears were shed during the process and I began to realize that adopting was so much harder than being pregnant.   Marshall and I learned so much about being parents during that time. And, we were blessed because we did something hard. 

If our family thought we were nuts adopting Naomi, they were in for a much bigger shock when we announced we were adopting Naomi's best friend.  Two international adoptions?  Crazy right?  We followed our heart and relied on the Lord for His provision throughout the process and before we knew it we were back in the Philippines at the same orphanage we had been before bringing our Jacob home.  Life didn't get easy once we were back home. As you know, Jacob ended up being diagnosed with cancer and passed away only two years after he came to our family.  It was hard. Our family was stretched during that time. Tears were shed most days. But the joy that came to us in the midst of the sadness superseded all the hard.  And, because we stepped out and did something totally radical and adopted a little boy who no one else wanted, we are so much "more" today.  Going through something hard and seeing Jesus up close, changes you forever. 

Back in January when we realized that we STILL have so much to give orphan children, our life began to change once more.  Once we saw their pictures and read their story, we knew we had to do the hard thing and adopt these boys.  To be honest,  we have questioned whether or not we are doing the right thing.  We have wondered how in the world can we adopt three at one time?  We have been given "looks" from some as they question our sanity.  "You guys are crazy" is the response most of the time.  But, as we have stepped out in faith,  we have found so much joy in the hard.  We have seen God move mountains to bring these boys home and he has used many of you to fulfill his purpose.  The hard has been so rewarding as we continue to see God's provision in this adoption of three of His children.

Your "hard" might look totally different from mine or my families.  However, whatever your "hard" might be, know that you have a cheerleader cheering you on.  You've got this!  We are living proof that once you get through your hard, it will all be worth it.  


Friday, November 24, 2017

So you wanted a story....

Recently, Lorrie and I were asked to 'tell our story'.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to do justice to this God story in an email?  You can't.  You just can't.  But as I wrote the email I did manage to create a sort of 'cliff notes' version of our story - from Naomi and Jacob to  Levi, Josiah and Issac. Maybe some of you new readers will be able to put it all together now.  To help you I have embedded links to key parts of the story - that is still being written.

Lorrie and I have been married for 25 years. Since the beginning we have both had a strong desire to share our lives and our Jesus with children and have a house full of love, laughter, and teaching. First Lorrie gave birth to our oldest boy Joshua, then Noah and then Hannah– three altogether. These three brought so much joy it can’t be articulated in this brief write up. But Lorrie’s pregnancies while beautiful were also very difficult for her.

Complete…or so we thought. I’ll never forget the day Lorrie told me …”We’re not done, I don’t think God is telling us we’re done.” Within a year of that conversation we were passionately pursuing the adoption of a little girl in Southern Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. It was such a joy to see her and to watch her get to know her big sister Hannah and brothers Joshua and Noah. Once again…”Complete or so I thought.. The day we met Naomi, we also met a little boy named Jacob.

Naomi came home with us and she brought joy and this new and wild passion for living into our home. But we never forgot about Jacob….and later with Naomi’s enthusiastic blessing we adopted Jacob in 2012. You can read more about that story here.

God did amazing things in our home through these adoptions. He LOVED us through them. Jacob and Naomi reunited…well that was something to see. Their presence here brought so much life and love to us. We camped, climbed and we’ve had adventures all over. And then there was suffering… 

In 2014, Jacob was diagnosed with AML M7 Leukemia. It was devastating news. It was the hardest thing any of us have ever experienced. As his family, we felt powerless. But Jesus never left us. He was THERE with Jacob and us the whole time and his presence was palpable. Funny thing – Jake’s attitude, his heart was the glue that held the staff together on the 7th floor of Children’s Hospital while he was there. Every day Docs, nurses came into his room so they would feel better. Jacob jumped into Jesus’s arms on 2 January 2015 - he left us with a smile...

Our family has been through so much but never alone. As we watched, Naomi’s story, and Jacob’s have touched lives – not just ours. Jesus has been made much of.  So fast forward to January of 2017. Lorrie and I asked ourselves “what tells the best story about who Jesus is in our life?” Is it having been willing to adopt, love with all you have and loose a child? Or is it being willing to do it again? We chose the latter X3. Why? Because that’s exactly what our Jesus would do – its exactly what he did do - show us unmerited favor....

So there it is all we need now is a yellow and black cliff notes jacket...  Better yet watch this:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Miracle

Do you believe in miracles? We certainly do. Today my family witnessed a miracle. Before I explain, let me back up a bit.

A year ago Marshall and I celebrated our 24th Wedding Anniversary. Over dinner conversation we started talking about what the next season of our life would be like. After all, we are getting older, our kids are growing up and even moving out. Things are changing. Basically, we asked ourselves these questions..." Where do we want to be living? What do we want to be doing? and What brings us the most joy? " You see, neither one of us can imagine being that typical "retired American couple." We both realized at that moment what we wanted these next years to look like. The thing that brings us the most joy in life is family. Specifically, children and adoption. So, that led us to a conversation about the possibility of adopting again - someday. End of conversation for awhile.

Fast forward to January of this year. We were sitting around the campfire asking ourselves the same questions we had asked back in March. This time though we involved our children. We asked our daughters first what they thought about us adopting again. Both of them looked at each other and then replied..." we would love to be big sisters BUT we really don't want anymore girls in the house." After talking with the boys we decided to begin the process of adopting a sibling group of boys. We thought 2 brothers. God brought us 3 brothers...Levi, Josiah and Isaac.

From the beginning we knew that the biggest obstacle to adopting these brothers was going to be the financial cost of the adoption itself. After all, the cost of adopting one child is a lot, three children seemed impossible. However, we took the plunge, stepped out in faith and trusted that the Lord would provide what was needed to complete the adoption of these boys into our family if this was his will for our family. We got the word out and started a GoFund me site. I started cleaning houses and babysitting - all for a donation to the adoption. More and more people found out about our adoption and more and more people donated to help bring our boys home.

God is faithful. He will (and did) provide ALL we need....

Our miracle came today when we received the total amount needed to completely fund God's adoption of these precious boys! Hallelujah! To God be the glory for the great things He has done! You should have seen us celebrating God's provision to our family this afternoon when we realized what He had done. We were definitely a sight to be seen as we were dancing around the kitchen and yelling "thank you Jesus" over and over.

     And this same time God, who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippines 4:19

     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.  Ephesians 3:20

When my faith wavered God was there. When I questioned if we were doing the right thing ( adopting 3! at 50?!)  God listened. When I had doubts that the money wouldn't come in God provided. Do you want to know the greatest thing? He used you to accomplish His will for our family. He did this through your love, your prayers and your giving. Wow! So I will ask you again. Do you believe in miracles? You definitely should because nothing is impossible with God. Thank you Lord!

Rejoice with us tonight.

One last thing....
As we continue moving through the adoption process would you please pray specifically for:
- An expedient turn a round of our I-800A . We found out today that our case has been assigned to an officer to handle. That's great news!
- Protection over the boys while they wait. Pray that God is working on their heart to give them a desire to join our family.
- Funding for our travel and expenses while in the Philippines. We will have 3 people going over and 6 people coming home. We estimate that we will need about 8,000.00. We will be continuing our fundraising efforts for this last step.