Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our Homecoming

I have so much to share about our time in country and our first days at home. First, I'll leave you with this video. My dear, dear friend took pics and put it together for us. Incredible and priceless! I am eternally grateful!

Click here to watch!




Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Words

I walked in the door from running "Africa" errands today. My 3 year old looks at me and says, "MOM! Why are you here? You need to go to Africa and bring home my brother and sister!"

PRICELESS! Next week, his dream will come true!





This Time tomorrow

This time tomorrow I will be sitting on an airplane headed for Ghana. Yes, HEADED FOR GHANA, GOING TO GET MY BABIES!!! It still seems so very unreal. However, it is very true. We got visa approval on Monday afternoon and we are on our way. Right now, my family is sleeping as my sweet husband prepares to fly to Boston at 6 am. He is headed to a job interview. The children and I will finish packing. Then, Marms (Righ's mom) and the boys will take Sydney and I to the airport. I am so excited I can barely stand it. Our God is so incredibly awesome that it is breathtaking! In 36 hours I will be holding my babies in my arms!

We are on another mission while we are in Ghana, too. We have 8 suitcases full of donations to be handed out to the children. Stay posted for updates on all the things God has provided. You will be amazed. :)


Monday, November 8, 2010

Strength

As we drove home from church yesterday, I started feeling nauseous with the start of the week. Will this be the week we get our email? Will we wait longer? Only God knows. I am trying really hard to have complete trust and peace, but sometimes it isn't easy. I woke this morning and read my Jesus Calling book. God's words brought peace yet again.

Isaiah 41:10 - fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Peace again. A reminder that He will sustain us. He will deliver us soon. In the meantime, will you join us in prayer as we wait to be reunited with our beautiful children? Will you pray with us as many adoptive families across the world are waiting? And pray for the children waiting for a family. We are the Church and the Church is God's plan for the orphan. Let's step up and do something. Let's take that step of faith and love a child with no family. This doesn't have to be adoption, but it should be something.

Friday, November 5, 2010

GIVEAWAY

My daughter, Sydney, is doing a giveaway on her blog, FEEDING THE ORPHANS. We have some really cool shirts that just came out. Click here for all the details. There is something for everyone. She is even doing a giveaway for CHILDREN MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR OTHER CHILDREN.

Please repost for her. All proceeds from the t-shirts will help the children of Africa.

She will draw the winners next Thursday night, November 11.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

National Adoption Awareness Month

Most of you know it is National Adoption Awareness Month. Now I know not everyone is "called" to adopt, but we are all called to care for the orphans and the widows.
James 1:27 - Religion that is pure and faultless is to care for the orphans and widows in their distress.

Not an option, it is a requirement. I find myself asking, "What can I do?" Well, sometimes the answer isn't so easy and sometimes it is. Here's an easy way: buy these new shirts here to spread orphan awareness AND feed a child at the same time. Feeding the Orphans is the vision of a 10 year old girl (just turned 11). Her desire is to feed the children, provide clean water and medical supplies. Through all of this, she wants to help the women learn a trade so they can provide for their own family. She wants to help them keep their babies instead of feeling forced to give them away because of lack of food. There are so many different aspects to this ministry. One thing you can be certain of, all profits go to the children. Every single penny.

We are just a family trying to follow His lead one small step at a time. It just so happens our 11 year old daughter took hold of it way before we did. I love it when our children lead us, don't you?

So, click on over here and buy a shirt. These are a sampling. There are other color options.



It's the perfect month to LOVE ORPHANS BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pray please

Our visa interview is early tomorrow morning our time. Please pray for it to be God-ordained, for the children to be reminded how much we love them and for them to know we are coming soon. We will update once we have info. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Exodus 14:14

So a lot has happened in the last few days. We have a visa exit interview scheduled for next Monday, November 1. Please, please pray with us as we wait for visas. We will not be attending, but will wait for visas to be issued. We are very excited about this! Another step, another step!

I woke up this morning feeling very nervous and anxious about our kids. This is very strange for me, but I couldn't shake it. We couldn't decide whether to attend the interview or not, so this became our focus. A sweet friend prayed with me and mentioned the verse Exodus 14:14. I didn't read it once we got off the phone, but stored it away. Tonight I was chatting with a dear friend and all of a sudden I see Exodus 14:14 on the screen. Coincidence? No way. There are none. God gave this verse to me. I didn't heed him the first time so I got a 2nd gentle reminder. I opened my Bible and read:

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

He will fight for His children. It is not for me or for us. He has chosen our family to adopt our two children. He will place them in our arms in due time. Thank you, Jesus, for the gentle reminders.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No news yet

We have been waiting for an email from the Embassy saying we can pick up our "packet" to move forward with our case. The other two families with us got theirs Monday. Us? Nothing. I woke up all night every 15 minutes checking my email since they are 4 hours ahead of us. If we don't hear today, it will be next Wednesday. Do you think God is teaching me something yet again??? Yes, patience and trust. Some days are better than others. To be honest, the thought of waiting another week to begin this next step makes me nauseous. As I was talking with Righ this morning he said, "I need to read this verse to you. God just gave it to me."

Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. - Isaiah 60:4

Amazed once again! He will bring them home. I just need to trust my Father.




Monday, October 18, 2010

I600 is APPROVED

I woke up this morning with a true peace about our African babies. No uneasiness about when they will be here, just very confident in God's perfect timing. I sat down to read my Bible and God led me straight to Jeremiah 30:10 - Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the lord, nor be dismayed, o Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and YOUR OFFSPRING FROM THE LAND OF THEIR CAPTIVITY.

Peace came even stronger. God is in control. He has a perfect plan. I do not understand it, but it is not for me to understand. I am to seek and obey anyways. Now, I don't think my African children are being held in captivity. They are being loved in Ghana, but God was telling me they WILL COME HOME.

As the day wore on, a friend received her approval (we filed the exact same day). Peace still. No uneasiness, just pure joy for my friend. Later in the afternoon while chatting with a friend, she got her approval. Still peace. Seconds later, I got an email. I had no words, only tears. My kids ran over to see what was wrong. They read the email and everyone started yelling! This is a huge step for our family and for us to be reunited. We give God all the glory and honor. He is AWESOME and ALL POWERFUL.

What now? We wait for visas to be issued. Almost there, little ones, almost there!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Update on the adoption front

Day 46. That's where we are. We filed our I600 46 days ago and still nothing. Frustrated? Yes. Trusting in God? Yes. We are trusting, but it is hard. Our arms seems so empty without our children. We remember their smiles, their hugs, and their laughter. We also remember their sadness when we left. We remember the way our son felt abandoned. Over and over we have prayed for God to remind him of how much we love him. We pray God is reassuring both of them every day of our love and that we will be back. And that we are doing everything in our power to get back to them. We leave them in their Heavenly Father's gentle hands, trusting Him in all He is doing for our sweet African angels.

The last picture taken before we left Ghana. He is such a joy, always smiling!
She walked over and hugger her daddy's leg. Priceless. She stood there for a long time, both of them relishing in the love they have for one another even though they just 'met'.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another God story from Africa

As most of you know, our trip to Ghana was twofold. Mainly, to meet our sweet kids and bond with me. Secondly, to minister to the least of these. One day we were tired and just didn't know what to do. We felt like our African children could not handle running around Accra all day so we took a short trip to the mall. Very American mall! We were going to get lunch at the food court (with pizza!!) and get some groceries. Well, after finishing eating and it had been a very trying lunch, to say the least, everyone needed to use the bathroom. I took Helen and Sydney with me. Now, this is a really big mall, keep that in mind. When we were finished, Sydney and Helen walked out before me. As I came out the door, an American woman was standing in the hall. I noticed her, obviously, we stick out! She says, "Kristie?" Can you say CAUGHT OFF GUARD? I am in a foreign country and someone calls me by name? I said, "Yes?" She says to me, "I recognized your daughter, Sydney, as she came out of the bathroom." God has broken Sydney's heart for the orphans continuously and my new friend had seen her on FB raising funds to feed the children of Ghana. So we talk and hug and hug and talk! By this time, our husbands both arrive and her sweet friend that is spending a year with them. As we talked, all I could think of was how God had arranged our meeting. We were both in the same place at the same time. Coincidence? NO, ONLY GOD!

We stood in the mall and talked as God unfolded a beautiful plan. Stacey already knew Sydney had a heart for the street kids and wanted to feed them. Suddenly, she knew of the perfect place. And Stacey and Johnbull were offering to cook for the kids. They were going to help us make this happen. Before we met them, we knew we were going to feed the street kids, but we had no idea how. We needed a way to cook massive amounts of food. God made a way, He showed us His plan.

We arranged to meet them on Friday so Sydney could purchase the supplies to feed 600 children. On Saturday, we drove to the Freedom Center (their children's home) to package the food. The big day was here. The street children were expecting us to arrive at 4 pm. The food wasn't ready yet, so we didn't get there until 5 pm. Most of the children had gone home, but as we pulled up we saw a group of children dressed in their best clothes waiting for us. As we got out of the car, we saw children running down the streets. Running back to get food.

These children were waiting to be fed. Hungry children. Children waiting for God's people to help. It took about 30 minutes to pass out over 550 meals. (Part of the food was left at the Freedom Center for their children. Sydney insisted upon this.) Over 100 children left with nothing. However, these children didn't complain. They just walked away with empty hands. Very hard to watch. How we longed to have more food to pass out. Next time we will. A huge thank you to everyone at City of Refuge Ministries who were Jesus' hands and feet that day.

The plan now? Sydney has a dream, a vision, to set up a weekly feeding program for these kids. In order to do this, she needs financial partners. People willing to support this. For 70 cents, one child will have a meal. Will you help?

I'll leave you with more pics. If you want to see the entire album, go to FB - Kristie Clements O'Leary and click on Ghana Day 7. It is worth your time to see these precious faces. :)

I think her face says it all. The reality of so many children around the world.
Our team


The group waiting as we pulled up.

I'll leave you with one last pic. This young boy carrying my blonde-headed son was just rescued. His story is incredible. There are many children waiting to be saved just like him. Our friends, Johnbull and Stacey, run a ministry - City of Refuge Ministries- to the children of Ghana. Click here for their website. Powerful!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We love our agency!

Our POA delivered our new court decree yesterday. He is fast and we adore him! Then, today we received an email from the Embassy saying they received our CLEAR court decree. They think they have everything they need and we should have an approval by mid-month. Can you hear me praising God from here? Closer and closer to bringing our babies home. Thank you for praying with us. We appreciate you so much!

On another note, our sweet Sydney made her goal! For those of you who do not know, she has a tremendous heart for the orphan. God has called upon her to take care of the fatherless and she is doing just that. She wants so badly to travel back to Africa to bring her brother and sister home when I go. We cannot afford that so she decided to raise the money herself. She had a birthday in August and asked for money to put in her PLANE TICKET jar. She dogsat, made bottle cap magnets and chokers, and put every penny she could find in that jar. God has blessed her tremendously! This morning she needed $200. A dear friend texted today and wanted to know what she needed still. I texted back the answer. Her response, "Done. I'll bring a check to her." WOW!! I cried as I read it. So many have given up for her to go back to minister to the orphans. As I told Sydney, she cried, too. She was so stinkin' excited I thought she would choke on her drink! Thank you, dear friends, for helping her live out God's plan for her life. She will continue to sell those bottle caps for the orphans. All money from them will now go into feeding the children and drilling wells. Clean water, food, medical supplies. These are her goals. And her biggest goal: a new orphanage with schools and lots of God's love. She prayed today for God to give her a new t-shirt design and He did. We are working on it and it will be out soon! I think you'll like it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Update from earlier

If you haven't read our post (below) from earlier today, do that, but since then we received word from our in country rep that he will deliver a new adoption decree tomorrow at 2 pm to the Embassy. Please pray it will meet the Embassy's requirements. We stand in awe of God and His provisions for our family. Once again, we are reminded of Proverbs 3:5 - Do not lean on your own understanding.

Where are we?

We filed our I600 with USCIS in Ghana 35 days ago. Their "usual" approval timeframe is 30 days or less. You can imagine the anticipation every day to see if they will email us back. Well, this morning I woke up, opened my email and there it was. An email from USCIS, ACCRA. I opened the email and this is what I read, "The adoption decree you submitted with your petition is not legible. Please submit a new one so we can process your petition." Tears came! What, are you kidding me? I felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach. I was expecting an approval and I got this. I cried for over an hour. As my family woke one by one, this is how they found me. Not a good start to our morning! However, I have been gently reminded by my Heavenly Father this morning of His love for me, for us, for my family. I was reminded of the day He told me He had sent HIS ANGELS to watch over my African babies. I was reminded that we will not always understand His purpose, but it is His. (Thank you, Robin!) And God's word for Righ this morning? PEACE. He will grant us peace.

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. This is where we have to trust this morning because we sure don't understand this.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

I'll leave you with this video we made of our time in Ghana. It was finished last week, but I waited for Aaron Ivey's permission to publicize it. His song AMOS STORY has spoken volumes to me through the months. I think you will see why.

I cannot make it work so click here to watch.


Monday, September 27, 2010

No words

Every night, I have thought I need to post, but I have no words. We have been home 2 1/2 weeks yet it seems like an eternity since I held our kids. I need to post about our trip. It was truly incredible and amazing, but I cannot find the words. Tonight I will share the most touching and most difficult part of our trip. Heartbreaking, really.

Two nights before we were to come home my husband told our sweet son he would have to wait for us in Ghana. He got very quiet, but said nothing. Later that night after Helen was asleep, the 6 of us sat on the bed, Mom, Dad, Sydney, Keenan, Aiden and Samuel Richard. I pulled Samuel Richard into my lap and he sat there. I told him how very much I loved him and how I wished we could take him to America with us, but we were not allowed yet. I couldn't see his face, but suddenly I felt tear drops falling on my arms. I cried with him. Tears ran down my face as they came faster down his. I rocked him back and forth while everyone else sat with us. I told him repeatedly, "I love you. I'll come back for you. I promise I'll be back." I cuddled him like a newborn baby and relished in the moment I never had when he was small. We stayed this way, crying silently for a long time. I held him as each child came over to him and hugged him. They told him they loved him. Priceless! This is what Jesus is all about. Love, unconditional love that is lived out by these precious children who GET IT!

Two days later we were scheduled to fly home at midnight. We didn't talk about leaving with Helen and Samuel Richard. However, that afternoon as we drove closer and closer to their foster home, I watched my sweet son's face change from a smile to an OH NO. He looked at Righ and said, "Daddy, you go in with me, right? Daddy, go in with me?" Righ assured him he would. We all got out to their "home" and their foster mom. Righ and I hugged her, prayed with her, and thanked her for loving our children. For taking care of them in their time of need. Samuel Richard climbed in the chair when he realized we were leaving and cried silent tears. I held Helen close to me. Then, I gave her to Righ and knelt with my son. He cried and cried. I tried to make him look into my eyes and understand I would be back. I'm not sure he ever understood me. I think he felt abandoned. His cries went from silent to loud. As I cried with him, I heard Helen screaming. Her daddy had left. He had gone to the car with our youngest, Aiden. Sydney and Keenan stood in the room, not knowing what to do or how to feel. They understand. They watched their brother and sister cry for us and their hearts broke. I gave my sweet boy a last kiss, told him I loved him and took Helen. I rocked her and she tucked her head into my neck. I kissed her over and over. I told Sydney and Keenan to give them one last hug and go to the car. I watched them leave reluctantly. Then, I handed my baby to her foster mom, hugged the mom, and walked out the door. All I could hear were my children screaming my name. They were screaming for their daddy. They wanted us to come back. As Uncle P got in the car, we were all crying. Righ asked him to get us out of there ASAP. As we drove off, we could hear them crying for us. That's the last memory we have of our children. We pray we will return soon. We pray for God to grant our petition and our visas. We pray for their foster mother as she nurtures and cares for them. And finally, we thank our God for her and Uncle P filling in for us while we are away.

About ten o'clock that night, Aiden, our 3 year old walked over to me. We were getting ready to leave for the airport, but he said he had something important to tell me. He said, "Mama, the woman who is keeping Helen and Samuel Richard just sent us an email. She said we can come pick them up to take them home with us." If only it were that simple. He is 3 years old and he understood. He missed his brother and sister already. This is what I am thankful for! Those precious 12 days we had in Ghana bonding as a family of 7. Thank you, Jesus, for choosing our family to be on your journey!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I miss my kids

The last week has been okay. Today, though, the reality set in and I miss my kids. I miss Samuel Richard's beautiful smile. He loves to smile and he can light up a room. He is so loving and always ready to give a hug! I miss the way Helen runs into the arms of any of us. She brings such life to all of us.

Being in Ghana made me realize they are part of us. Things are not right without them. I cannot imagine life before this adoption. Our family is not complete.

What now? We wait. We filed our I600 20 days ago. We have 10 days left and then they'll start the orphan investigation process. Pray with us and several other families who are with us in the process. Pray the US Embassy will find favor upon our cases and families can be reunited with their children. Pray these children will find their way to the loving arms God planned for them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Words

Daddy with all 5 children the day after we got there
Our 3 boys playing futbol with a beach ball. :)
I love this! Samuel Richard is looking at Keenan with such admiration. Are you ready, big brother?
Helen's beautiful smile!
I treasure this picture!


While we were in Ghana, my computer time was limited. The time I spent was on putting our pics on facebook. So many people in the States were waiting for the daily update. And most nights I couldn't find the words to convey how I felt. However, now people have said I should try to put everything in words so I will try. We will try. God has laid our hearts in Ghana and the 12 days we were there was absolutely incredible and life-changing for all of us. We left a piece of ourselves with the children there and continue to pray God will show us our next step. For the time being, we wait for our I600 approval from the US Embassy, then for visas. Our babies are back in their foster home waiting for us to return. We pray the days will go by quickly and everything will be in God's perfect timing.

Ghana Day 2 - Our second day was spent hanging out at the hotel with two other families waiting for our Embassy appt. Righ went by himself and I stayed with our 5 children. Much less chaotic without them waiting impatiently. :) Our adoption responsibilities were over so our hearts and minds could focus on our children and the orphans we came to minister to. So many things we wanted to do and almost every day we had a project, but we walked away feeling like we should or could have done so much more. Tomorrow I will start recapping each day and posting more pics.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Our family

Today has been incredible! We arrived in Ghana and that in itself, seems surreal. We traveled in with two families from Hopscotch. These are families we are walking this journey with, but have never met. Now we have and their kids! Adorable and sweet!


I am not sure words can express how I am truly feeling right now. I feel like I am where God planned for me all along. I feel at home. I have all of my children under one roof and my heart is happy. My heart is full of love for these children God blessed me with. I am amazed by that! God is so good!!! Percy brought our children to the hotel to meet us tonight and I lost it. Our babies we have prayed for and longed to see their little faces. Thank you, Lord! Our five children have played together and laughed together. It was hard to make them go to bed. After they were all showered, they laid together and watched a movie. It just seems right.


Aiden talked all day about when we would meet his new brother and sister. Right before they arrived, he asked me to walk him outside just to see if they were here yet. Keenan adores both of them. He just sits and talks with them. He even asked why we have to leave them here next week. And Sydney is in heaven. She is with the sister she prayed for three years for. The two of them were cuddled under the blanket tonight and Sydney was cupping Helen’s face. How I wish I had a picture!


All in all, everything is going great! Memories are being made and we are bonding as a family. Please continue to pray our Father will be glorified in it all!!!


(I couldn't get our family pic to upload! I'll try again tomorrow.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where do I start?

This has been a busy, but awesome week! We are flying to meet our babies!! I cannot believe it. The day we have prayed for is finally here. We are so thankful to our God who has brought us thus far and we know He will guide us through the rest of our journey. Please be in prayer with us as we travel. Pray for our flights to be easy with our 3 children, for Aiden to not have any reactions to his many food allergies while there, for our bodies to be healthy in country, for God to use us as He wants to, for God to show us each step we are to make and for our complete obedience to God. Pray for our sweet African children, that our family of 7 will have an instant connection and bond. Pray for the people we will be ministering to while in country. Pray that the blood of Jesus will shine through us every day. And lastly, pray for patience for us as we parent 5 children in a foreign country.


Now, a little recap for our week. Monday I went to dinner with a group of girlfriends to celebrate a sweet friends' birthday. As I was walking to the parking lot to go home, you can imagine my shock as I saw my window had been smashed! Glass was everywhere, all over my car and the parking lot. I cried. The security guards came over and I cried harder. Yes, I was a little upset about the car, but that wasn't really it. I needed to be focused on our trip and Sydney's birthday, not some thug breaking my window to steal my GPS. Now as I'm typing this it is almost funny. The enemy tried everything possible this week to distract and discourage us. GOD IS BIGGER!!!! HE WILL OVERCOME!!!! And He did.


The rest of our week was spent packing and going to Wal-mart, packing more and then going to Wal-Mart again. Yes, we made multiple trips there this week. My kids are so tired of seeing Wal-Mart I thought they could scream. Honestly, me too, but we have everything (I think) and we are ready. We packed lightly so we could have more room for donations. We have had so many wonderful people donate to the mission. The greatest, though, came from the homeless of our city. Our good friend runs God's ministry, The Water Angels, in downtown Knoxville. So this week, they prayed for the orphans. Their hearts broke for what breaks God's heart. PEOPLE WITHOUT HOMES and they get it! They spent a day making goody bags for the orphans. They stuffed these bags with Bibles, snacks, homemade bookmarks, toothbrushes, you name it and it's in this bag. They prayed over each bag and for the child that would receive it. My friend shared a story of one of them as he was filling his bags. His prayer to our God was that he has everything (HE IS HOMELESS) and these poor children have nothing. He is so blessed and they have nothing. He cried out to our God on behalf of children living in Ghana, Africa and that God would bless them. I was amazed! I cried! These people gave of themselves. What a touching story! I cannot wait to distribute these bags that were made with so much love, made with God's love!


There are so many people praying with us and for us on this trip. Each prayer is heard and we covet them. This week we had the opportunity to have some of them pray personally with us. Our lifegroup at church was so touching. They prayed over us as a family, but then Thursday night I was handed a group of envelopes. They handwrote a note for each day we are going, each day we will be gone. How inspiring! And the day they were assigned for the note, that family will cover our family totally and completely in prayer! I am amazed at their love for us. Love they show us because God loved us first. Another friend brought me to tears as he prayed for Helen to find her voice and to know how much we and God love her. (Last time we heard, she doesn't speak.) And he prayed for our Samuel to be able to be a little boy, no longer responsible for taking care of his sister. He is a child. We want him to be a child. We want so many of the orphans living around the world to live a child's life, not an adult life. Let's step up as Christians and love these children. Let's give them a childhood. Let's love them the way God loves us, they way Jesus loved them when He was on this earth.


We will update as much as possible while we are in Ghana. We want each of you to be a part of this journey God is bringing us on. Sydney will update her blog, FEEDING THE ORPHANS, too. She has already told me, "Mom, you'll have to post for me. I will be spending every moment with Helen, Samuel and the orphans."


One last thing, our sweet 5 year old's birth name is Richard. We love this name and will be keeping it. The day after we received this referral as I had Bible time with the children, God led us to I Samuel. I heard God tell me our son's name is to be Samuel. You see, we prayed for him and before he ever joined our family, I told God I would give our child(ren) back to Him, just like Hannah. God gently reminded me of this and so our Ghanaian son's name will be Samuel Richard O'Leary.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Hope

Last weekend my parents traveled to TN to celebrate Sydney's birthday a week early. We had lots of fun, cake, of course, and all the grandkids playing. My nephew didn't want his picture taken, but he was here, too. Before long, there will be 6 of them!!!
O'Leary kids with Pap and Gran
Sydney and Gran packing for Ghana
one suitcase full of clothes and shoes for the orphans
So sweet to see them working together
Now this one deserves a story. Wednesday morning I asked Aiden what he was going to say and do when he sees his new brother and sister. His answer was, "I'm going to hug them, tell them I have missed them, and tell them we have butterflies in our backyard. Mom, can we take pictures for them?" This has special meaning to me because it is a reminder of HOPE. God's hope for us. So this is our butterfly picture for H & S. We will take it to Africa. I love 3 year olds! He has not been excited about our trip UNTIL NOW! Every day he will say something new about it. He cannot wait to travel to meet his new siblings.

I have so much to share, but it is Sydney's birthday so I will post more tonight. I have so many pictures to share. We have been given so many donations to take to the orphans. One donation, in particular, though involves the homeless of Knoxville and their incredible giving. Details tonight!!!

This week has been an adventure to say the least. We are going to Ghana, though!!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This is Sydney's last post from her blog: Feeding the Orphans

BOTTLE CAP MAGNETS AND CHOKERS!!!!!!

I am selling Bottle cap magnets and chokers to buy my plane ticket. Our first trip our whole family will be going. The second trip my mom is going but I am trying to raise 1,000 dollars for my plane ticket because I think God is telling me I need to go. If you would like to buy a magnet, choker or have any questions please email me at kotasgo@hotmail.com

blessings,
Sydney

Friday, August 20, 2010

It is Time!

Our African babies

Yes, it is true! It is time! God's time, His perfect timing for us to fly to Ghana to meet our children. I still sit in amazement. This has been an awesome journey, but a difficult one. Aren't all adoption journeys, though? In 9 days I will meet my babies, our little ones we have prayed for. The sister Sydney prayed for 3 years. I still am not sure it is even real. Is this normal?

We fly out of Atlanta next Saturday night. We will arrive in Ghana and hopefully we will be taken to meet our sweet angels. We will spend time in country while our dear friends take care of our home here and our dog. What are we going to do in country? Love on our little ones is our main objective. Secondly, Sydney will buy and deliver food to the orphanages with P's help. We will visit with John's orphanage and take lots of pictures for everyone. We hope to visit the villages that need water. We need to get this started. We have so much we want to do and are so excited to meet everyone! Mostly, we want to soak up every minute, every second with our children while we are there. We will not be bringing them home this time. We are filing paperwork with the US Embassy, then we will come home with our arms empty. We will wait for approval and visas and go back to get them. Already, I know this will be one of the hardest things I have ever done, we have ever done. Please pray for God's guidance and wisdom to be over us, for us to be completely obedient to Him, for our children (all 5 of them) to bond. So this is a family trip, all 5 of us will be flying to Ghana. It doesn't really make sense, but that's what God tells us. Sometimes He will tell us to do things that do not make sense to us. We are stepping out in faith here and being completely obedient to His call of our whole family traveling and staying 12 days. Huge step of faith here. Do we have all the money to complete everything? We aren't sure yet. We are waiting to hear about some of our fees. If we do have it, we will wipe everything out. All we know right now is God is asking us to obey, we need to do that and we know He will provide a way for everything.

On another note, I prayed months ago that our 5 year old would take care of his little sister, our baby, until we could get there. My friend who took this photo and spent time with him said while she was there he held her hand the entire time. That warms my heart! I cannot wait to scoop them both up. I'm not sure I'll ever let them go. :)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Really???

This was an extremely busy weekend for us. Saturday our family spent the day at a ministry our friend runs for God, Water Angels Ministries. 600 backpacks were given away to children who cannot afford them, stuffed with school supplies. What a blessing!!! It was hot, hot, hot, but an awesome day. I loved watching those kids walk away with their backpacks. Now, they are all ready for school to start tomorrow.

On another note, last night I got a phone call from Beth Haynes, a news reporter for the local channel here in town. She heard about Sydney's Feeding the Orphans and wanted to interview her. Sydney decided to do it because it could help more orphans. Well, this morning she woke up and as the time approached for Beth and her cameraman, Tim, to arrive, the nervousness came faster and faster. We prayed over Sydney. We asked God to give her the words He wanted said. We prayed for courage for her, strength for her to overcome her fear of the camera. I thought she was ready. She seemed to have such a peace about her. Then, they arrived. It was time and she lost it! All of a sudden, she couldn't do it. Tears were coming in her fear. However, she overcame that fear and let God work through her. She did a great job. We are very proud of her, but also humbled at the same time. God doesn't need any of us to get His work done. He will find a way, but I stand in awe that He chose our family to adopt H & S from Ghana and He chose our Sydney to do His work for the orphans. I am so thankful we have been obedient. Tonight as we were getting ready for bed, Sydney seemed down, not herself. She and I talked and as I listened, I cried with her. You see, today as the news people were leaving, we received a much anticipated email from Ghana. Our court decree is ready and we can schedule an appointment with the US Embassy in Ghana. Really??? We have been waiting for this. Awesome! This is our ticket to our kids in Ghana. This gets us to their sweet little faces in person! Thank you, Jesus, for answered prayers! As I listened to Sydney talk tonight, though, for her it opens up something else. A fear that the 1 year old sister to our Ghanaian children might not be alive. She may be living with Jesus now. When we accepted our referral, we learned our little ones had a baby sister, but this baby was sick. Very, very sick. She was in the hospital and they weren't sure she would live. And we knew if she did survive, Mom wanted to keep her, to take care of her. This is a baby that has changed Sydney's life. I can't even explain it. However, now we are going to Ghana (yippee) and Sydney's heart is fearful. She is afraid of what we will learn when we get there. As I listened to her talk tonight, my heart broke for her. Her heart breaks for the orphans and I am thankful because this breaks our God's heart. I pray for God's continued peace and strength for our family. And for all the families waiting for their little ones. And for the orphans who do not have a family yet. Click here to read Sydney's last post. Touching. No one helped her write this. Actually, I should say God helped her. What can you do to help an orphan?


Click here for the video.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Praise Him in the Storm

One of our favorite family movies is FACING THE GIANTS. Now, we are sports nuts and this is a football movie and it is Christ-centered so it quickly became a hit for us. Today I struggled a bit. I am just so ready (or as a friend said, PAST READY) that today I just sat and cried, several times actually. Not sad tears, just frustrated. I know God's timing is perfect and I am so thankful for this, but in the midst of it all, I am ready to hold my babies. I am ready to see their little faces, to tell them how very much I love them, to see my children here united with their African siblings and to watch them love one another instantly.

During one of my tear fests, I opened up my Jesus Calling book. Here's what I read: Come to Me when you are weak and weary. Rest snugly in My everlasting arms. I do not despise your weakeness, My child. Actually, it draws Me closer to you, because weakness stirs up My compassion-My yearning to help. Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been.

These words were written for me. I felt weak and weary today. I felt like there was no end. I read these words followed by the Bible verses below and just cried harder. I realized more and more just how much Jesus loves me, little ol' me. I can run to Him in my sorrow and it is okay. And my neediness draws me closer to Him, as it did today.

This all reminded me of the Facing the Giants movie when the wife cries out to God, "I will praise you no matter what. I will praise you in the storm." Then, it hit me. I needed that reminder today. I need to praise God no matter what. I need to praise Him if it takes years for my babies to come home. I need Jesus and I choose to praise Him even in the storm.

Until our time comes to travel to Africa, I will try to praise our Savior for loving me, for choosing me to be H & S's mother, for choosing our family to be a part of His great adventure. I will fail at times, but that's okay because Jesus will pick me up AGAIN, over and over again.

Isaiah 54:10 - "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Romans 8:26 - Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Update

Nothing to update. We are still waiting for our court decree. This can be discouraging, but God is in it. He has a purpose for the wait. And I keep reminding myself of this, along with precious friends. Thank you for encouraging words!

On another note, God is in even the small things. I know that, but was reminded today. There are two boys who God brought into our lives ONE YEAR AGO. That is hard to believe, but true. Well, I posted about how one of them moved away a couple of months ago. The other one is still here. We are enjoying the last few days with him before he goes back to school. Anyways, the other night he was walking down the steps, stopped and looked at his socks, and was upset because he had a hole in one. Then, yesterday we were at Wal-Mart and I was talking with a dear friend while my two boys, Keenan and John, went to look at men's clothes. I didn't know what they were doing, but John was trying to buy socks with his $2 in his pocket without asking me. A man saw him looking at socks and talking to Keenan about how he didn't have enough money. This kind man walked over and said, "God told me to give you $10 to buys socks." Wow! God even cares about socks! Of course he does, but John needed to know this. He needed to see God in that and see how much God truly loves him and cares about him. Thank you, Lord, for caring so much about the little things! Now John has new socks and will be reminded each time he puts them on his feet. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Court decree

We just received an email that our court decree should be ready by the end of the week. As soon as P receives it, we can schedule our appt. with the US Embassy in Ghana and travel to file our I600. We are ecstatic and thankful! Thank you for praying with us. Please continue to pray. We are uncertain about travel arrangements and want to clearly hear God's voice. We want His Name to be GLORIFIED!!!

The timing of this email is so perfect. Isn't God always, though? This morning I was unsure about what to do for Bible devotion with the children. I opened my Streams in the Desert. It talked about Lazarus' death and how Jesus raised him. You can read the whole story here or John 11:1-44. It is a beautiful story! In this story, though, Jesus thanked God for raising Lazarus before He ever did it. He gave this thankfulness first. The song of victory was sung before the battle was fought. Our lesson this morning was on being thankful first. Knowing God will deliver. Especially on our court decree. We know God will deliver it, but this morning the kids and I praised Him for that decree. I cannot wait for them to wake up and hear our news.

Hope

My dear sweet friend came over the other day to deliver a gift. No special occasion, just because. As I read the card, my heart was moved and I cried (seems to be a common occurrence around here). These are the words I read:

I know it is hard to see the HOPE right now, while you wait in the darkness. I think that's why butterflies always symbolize HOPE for me. Little does the caterpillar know what God is forming in the darkness of the cocoon. After waiting in the tight, dark place, he finally crawls out as a beautiful butterfly. And, as each butterfly appears to reflect the amazing creative beauty of God, so must the circumstances vary that brings us the closest to Him. As you continue to wait in the cocoon that the Lord has knit together, trust in Him for the perfect time to release the beauty of all that He is creating. For if a butterfly is released too early from its cocoon, the wings will not form and it will never fly.

With our adoption we are in the dark. No news, just waiting. And this card is inspirational to me. I want to draw closer to Him and have through this journey. I want to become so totally dependent upon My God that I do not breathe without Him. I want to soak up every minute of Him. And I know He will release the beauty in the end and it will be far better than we ever imagined. I am so thankful for sweet friends, for encouragers sent by God and so thankful my God loves me so much.

Here are pics of the sweet 'BUTTERFLY' clothes that came with my card. A gentle reminder each time I see them in her room and will be when I see my beautiful girl wearing them. Thank you, Robin!





Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Father, Glorify Your Name

I read a friend's blog the other day that was talking about people who had visited their children, taken gifts for them and brought back pics of them. She referred to these people as "angels on earth". How precious! I am so thankful for friends traveling ahead of others and loving on kids. However, this is something we have not had. Our kids are in a different foster home from the others. No one has been able to see them thus far. So even in my joy for others, sometimes this is really hard for me. Please do not mistake me! I am ecstatic for everyone else, just longing for the same thing for me. :) As I read these words the other day, tears starting flowing. I couldn't control them. I stood there and just said, "Why, God, why? Why haven't you sent angels to see my kids?" And ever so clearly, just like He was standing beside me, I heard Him say, "I did. I sent my angels. I did that for you." Oh, thank you, sweet Father! Thank you for loving me! Thank you for sending your angels. You see, this has been a prayer of mine for months, that God would send His angels to love my kids until I could get there. And He reminded me that He answered my prayer.

Adoption requires faith. God has grown our faith so much over the last few months. When I feel like I cannot do it any longer, He lifts me up and comforts me. Through all of this, sometimes I find myself asking God to help me, to save me. To bring my children home now. More and more lately, I have been asking God to fulfull His perfect timing, for His plan to be laid out, for everything to be about Him. Yesterday Righ (my husband) shared a chapter in a book with me. It talked about how every day, every minute we have two choices. We can say FATHER, SAVE ME! or FATHER, GLORIFY YOUR NAME! I was convicted of this. I cry FATHER, SAVE ME more often. I realize I need to ask His Holy Name to be glorified in everything. If it takes years for my babies to come home, that is okay, if it brings glory to His name. My life is about Jesus, nothing else. Living my life for Jesus, living my life how He wants me to, being completely obedient in everything. I want our lives and our adoption journey to glorify His name!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Awesome Giveaway

Enter this incredible giveaway. You can read all the details here while helping orphans along the way. Kim has gathered 16 items to be included in this and has featured each participant. Check it out, enter the giveaway and you might even find a gift for someone special while helping the orphans. Blessings!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

God is Good...All the time

So most of you know our court date was scheduled for Monday. For us, it has been a bit of a wait (especially for Ghanaian adoptions). Needless to say, we were anxious, excited and totally relying upon God for strength Monday. We waited all day with no word. Finally, about 9:30 pm we got an email: Court has been postponed. I read it and truly had peace. Truly. You can read about it here.

Tuesday was our new day. I don't think I slept more than a couple of hours that night. I kept waking and felt like I was being reminded to pray, to seek His face. I did. About 2:30 the sweetest words I have ever read came across my email: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! ADOPTION HAPPENED!!!! Of course, I cried. My babies are now legally and officially my babies. One more big step closer to them. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for granting this and for you, my friends, for praying with us and encouraging us along the way. I am so thankful God has chosen me to be their momma, chosen me to walk this faith journey with Him. I realize His love for me now more than ever.

What now? We wait, again. We pray for our adoption order to be handed to P so we can travel to Ghana to file our I600. We are praying earnestly for this. We are praying God will move this next mountain between us and our beautiful children. We know He will. I am so ready to hold my little ones, to see their faces and to tell them how much I love them.


Crazy Love Challenge



Oh, how I love some Crazy Love. I read this book by Francis Chan months ago and just soaked up every word. Now Erica over at The Road Less Travelled is hosting a Crazy Love Challenge for fundraising families. Well, we are one of those! You can check out the other families here.

We decided to adopt from Africa about 8 months ago. When we began, it was supposed to be a 4-6 month adoption. We learned very quickly nothing is normal with international adoption. However, God has walked us through each step and we continue to have faith in Him.

Just a little bit of background, we started selling our shirts months ago, had 2 adoption garage sales, and cut back on our expenses. We thought, okay, our fundraising is over. We can do this! Guess what??? Not so. We have had a bit of a different month around here. Two hospital visits with crummy insurance adds up very quickly. Adds up to thousands of dollars!!! You can read our "GOD STORY" here. Really, you shouldn't miss it!!! He is a Miracle working God!!!

So, we are back in fundraising mode. We need to sell some more shirts. We are cutting even more expenses than we were. We are doing everything possible to get our kiddos home. :)

Our shirts are $15 each, unisex sizing. We have children's sizes and adult large and xlarge sizes in stock. These are ready to ship. And we are getting ready to place an order for the other sizes. Please spread the word about our shirts. You can pay on the donate button on the side or mail a check. We usually ship out the next day. Thank you so much for helping us bring our babies home! You can order by leaving a comment or emailing me, 4oleary@msn.com.






Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The children of Ghana

What's on my heart? Orphans. What's on my mind? The children of Ghana, Africa.

Our daughter, Sydney, is raising money to feed the orphans of Africa when we travel to get our children. I thought she might raise $500. Guess what?? She has raised over $6000. God's plan! In praying how she is going to use that money, so many options have come up. What is God's plan for this?? Well, she is going to feed the street kids while we are there for 2 weeks, buy and deliver food to the various orphanages, and drill a well in a village that has no water.

In the meantime, we are looking for monthly food sponsors at one of the orphanages. There are 23 children and we need 12 additional sponsors. These children need you. They need you to help them eat. Isn't this what God calls us to do? James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Will you help feed an orphan?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Postponed

Well, we got an email a little bit ago that our court today was postponed. Our rep will travel again to the Volta region tomorrow. We pray our case will be heard and we will pass with a full decree and for us to receive word to travel soon.

Now some of you are probably wondering if we were discouraged when we got the news. I can honestly say no. I felt a peace and comfort that I can only say came from the Lord. HOWEVER, an hour later we received other news that was just plain old discouraging. We have waited for 3 months for a court date. Some people wait 2 weeks. Can I explain that??? No. Does it make me angry for others? Absolutely not! I am so thankful for 2 week waiting periods, just so frustrated with 3 month periods. We have prayed for these sweet children, we know they are our children, I have imagined holding their little faces and telling them how much I love them, imagined hugging them and not wanting to let go. I have pictured what it will be like when all 5 of my children are together. Last week, when we received our court date I let my mind wonder back there. I could almost feel them in my arms. Today we prayed for our court, we prayed we would pass, we prayed we would receive word.

When I became discouraged and weary about an hour ago, I cried. No, I sobbed. I totally lost it! I am tired and want to hold my children. To see their precious little faces for myself. Then, as I was crying and trying to update our friends on Facebook, God gave me a little gift. He is so good to me! I shared a story about a verse a friend gave me in the very beginning of our adoption here. Well, tonight when I logged onto Facebook a friend had posted this:

He is ahead of you as your shepherd. He is behind you as your rear guard. He is above you as your covering. He is beneath you as your foundation. He is beside you as your friend. He is within you as your life.


She posted this on her status, but it was the first thing on my screen when I logged in. Can you say, GOD??? It was a simple message, a simple reminder to me just how much He loves me. He reminded me that He is ahead of me and behind me. He is guarding our adoption and our children. Thank you, sweet friend, for posting something the Lord laid on your heart! Thank you, God, for sending me that encouragement. To top it all off, another friend emailed a verse to me: Deuteronomy 31:8 - It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. do not fear or be dismayed.

Do you see the pattern here? My God sent me a message. He is reminding me how He is holding me in the palm of His hands. Thank you, Jesus, and thank you for servants willing to encourage me and others around you.

Please pray with us tomorrow as P travels back to the Volta region for court. Please pray the judge will hear our case and we will pass court. Pray we receive a travel date soon. And pray for our hearts to find God, just like we did tonight. Pray for peace and comfort through the rest of our journey.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Emotions

The last few weeks have been eventful for our family, to say the least. We have had a lot of "mishaps", but God has strengthened our faith through it all. And He has used our adoption to help that along, too. As of today, we have been waiting 3 months for a court date. It seemed like an eternity. There were times when I felt like I wouldn't make it any longer, only to find God picking me up. :)

I found reassurance in scripture, in God's word. Two months ago, this verse brought me peace: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 It reminded me to wait on my Lord, to wait on God. This is His plan for our lives and He will not lead us astray. Well, this morning I was on the phone with Righ (traveling Dad) and was so frustrated and discouraged. We finished talking and I hung up. I opened my email and I saw one from our agency director. It said UPDATE ON DATES in the subject line. I thought it was so odd, clicked on it and then read these words: Court will be Monday, July 26th. I will be power of attorney. They need to prepare to travel to file the I600 soon.

Oh, my goodness! I stared at the computer screen, re-read it, and cried. My three children just kept looking at me and saying, "Mom, what's wrong? What's wrong?" I couldn't even find words. I was so blown away. All of a sudden I could feel my little ones in my arms. We are almost there. We are so much closer. We called Righ and just praised our Lord and Savior. He is so awesome and incredible. He takes such good care of us. Me. I do not deserve it, but He still loves me. And I find it so powerful that He chose ME to be S & H's mom. Ultimately, they are His children. All of my children belong to our God, but He chose us to be their parents. To train them up to fight for Him, to tell others about Jesus, to love unconditionally. I am so thankful for this blessing of a court date. Please pray with us that we will pass on Monday with a full and final decree. Please pray we will travel soon after and that we will know God's plan for our travel arrangements. We only want to follow Him, follow His plan, walk in His steps. At times, today I have cried "just because". I think I will until my little ones are in my arms. I am so glad we decided to follow God on this journey. So glad we said yes to Him when He called us to adopt.

The part that saddens me are the 147 million orphans without a mommy and daddy. Without someone fighting for them everyday. What can we do to help one more?? What can you do??

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. - John 14:18


Let's Go To Court

We just got an email from Ghana. We are going to court!!! I read that email this morning in awe and cried like a baby! Thank you so much for praying and walking this journey with us. Our God is so Awesome, Incredible, Amazing! Please pray we pass with a full and final decree! Our representative in Ghana will stand in for us. Thank you, Jesus!!!!!!!


Monday, July 19, 2010

A Miracle Working God - Memorial Box Monday

Almost two weeks ago I woke up on a Thursday morning and just felt awful. I had a pain in my abdomen just below my rib cage in the center. It was nagging, but I've given birth to 3 babies so it was manageable. I left our three children at home with my husband and ran out to do a couple of errands. I got to one store and almost called my husband to come get me. I was unable to stand from the pain, but finally got back in the car and felt okay enough to drive myself home. I spent the rest of the day and night getting progressively worse. The pain was so intense I was in tears, begging, pleading for God to take the pain away. Two of "our" boys from Club 180 were spending the week with us so they along with Righ (my wonderful husband) and our 3 children prayed over me endlessly. They were all very concerned for me. The pain seemed to subside for a while, but about 9:30 it was intense again. I contemplated going to the emergency room. Now let me clarify something, I am not a doctor seeing girl and definitely not a hospital girl unless it is a true emergency. So at 11:00 I decided it could not wait any longer, but I was determined to drive myself so the kids could have Dad at home. Trying to be brave for my little ones!! I got to the ER and described my symptoms. The triage nurse was so kind and I asked her if she thought I could go home. Her response was, "Honey, if anyone needs to be in the ER, it is YOU!!!" So I stayed and my dear sweet friend, Robin, came to be with me. I was so insistent she not come, but she was way more insistent and I am so THANKFUL she won! Later on I proved to need her so much! They took me to the back and gave me morphine for the pain. Nothing, didn't touch it!! The nurse and doctor were so surprised. Okay, they gave me another dose of morphine. It helped that time. For the first time all day I was feeling so much better. Still a twinge of pain, but okay. The doc ordered a CT scan to rule out gallbladder issues or gallstones or kidney stones. It came back normal except for A MASS IN MY COLON. That didn't really explain the pain, but it was certainly something to be concerned about.

By this time, it was 7:00 am and the doctors were changing shifts. Dr. Bolin became my new doc and he was very concerned about the mass. He decided to admit me to the hospital. Let me add, we are adopting 2 precious children from Ghana, Africa and God has provided every penny for that. Well, our health insurance is not great. Actually, it is lousy so to me being there was ticking away at my adoption fund. I was very worried about that the whole time. Right about the time he decided to admit me, I became sick. Nauseous sick. Just felt sicker than I ever had with nausea. So here comes more medicine. This time it made me sleepy so the next few hours are a blur. I can remember glimpses of things. I remember my sweet husband walking in and I saw his worried face. (My parents had driven in from out of state to be with our little ones so he could be with me.) I remember my friend, Robin, hugging me and telling me how much she loved me. I remember several dear, dear friends being in my room. Later I was told they just stood and prayed and prayed. The love that was shown to me that weekend is overwhelming and makes me cry each time I think of it. To be honest, that whole Friday is blurry for me. I do remember our friend, Dr. Pete Sulack, coming in and praying with Righ. They prayed for complete healing over my body and for the mass to be gone. They prayed and prayed and prayed. Then he left, too. Now, it was just Righ and I. As I went in and out of sleep (drugged up sleep), Righ and I prayed and believed God had healed me. I still felt very crummy, but we knew our God was going to heal me.

The next day, Saturday, I was scheduled for an ultrasound and an upper GI scope with our new doctor, a gastroenterologist. My nurse forgot to call for my ultrasound so that never happened, but the GI scope was perfect. Still no answers. I was starting to feel better, but my bloodwork had come back. I was low on everything, iron, red blood count, hematocrit, B12. If it dropped any lower, I would need a blood transfusion. So we waited until the next day.

Sunday morning I woke up and felt better. My ultrasound looked awesome, but I felt well enough I could go home to my babies. I was still moving slow, dizzy, but ready to get out of there. That afternoon was uneventful. I slept a lot, but that night my pain returned. Only briefly, though. And it was gone again. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy on Tuesday because they really needed to check that mass. We had no other answers yet.

Monday I started my prep for the colonoscopy. It was awful! I kept begging my husband to please let me skip it. I felt better, just very weak and we both had faith that I was healed. In my mind, what was the point? I had already endured so much over the weekend. So many pokes and pricks and so many drugs and iron transfusions and on and on. I was weary of it all.

My husband won, though. He took me back to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. As we were waiting for everything to begin I had my first thought of "Oh my, what if it is cancer? What if I have cancer? What will happen to my husband and how will he take care of our 5 beautiful children?" At that point, I began to plead with God. I pleaded for Him to take my uneasiness away, to take my anxiety away and for the enemy to flee. God was among us and He is all powerful! The next thing I remember is waking up to my nurse and asking for Righ. A few minutes later, he came back to me and said, "It's over! It's over, baby! No more needles (I have tiny, tiny veins) and no more hospital!" You see, when our surgeon did the colonoscopy he FOUND NOTHING! He told my husband I have the perfect colon! He took photos (yuk) and showed Righ where the mass was on Thursday night. He kept saying over and over how he couldn't explain it. He was confused, amazed. Righ wasn't. He told the doctor our God is bigger than this and He took care of it! He healed my wife. Of course, the doctor shrugged him off, but God did it. He took care of little ol' me!!!

People have asked us in the last week and a half if we were afraid. Honestly, no! We walked in faith and we just knew God was going to take care of it. So you see, I needed that colonoscopy (that I begged Righ to let me skip) so we could prove to everyone how BIG OUR GOD IS!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is awesome, incredible, awe-inspiring and He is a MIRACLE WORKING GOD!!!!!

So this is our Memorial Box Monday post compliments of A Place Called Simplicity. We know God has plans for our family to care for the orphans. He used our children in Africa to change our lives. We know these two precious orphans are only the beginning! He has called our family to take care of the fatherless, to speak up for the ones who cannot speak for themselves, to do whatever He calls us to do next. Thank you, God, for miracles!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Memorial Box Monday

Linny over at A Place called Simplicity takes every Monday for Memorial Box Monday. You can click here for the details. Well, as I read hers yesterday I was inspired to share one of many, many God stories that we have.

You see, back in November when Righ and I were both on the same page to adopt (yes, it took him much longer than me :) ), we decided, on our own I might add, to adopt a little girl younger than Aiden. He was almost 3 at the time. So we filled out all our paperwork and as we were getting ready to mail it, a last minute thought came up. Should we check that we would consider siblings? We prayed about it and to be honest, really felt God saying yes. However, I talked us right out of that one. We convinced ourselves we could not adopt out of birth order, which meant we would have 3 kids 3 years and under. Also, this would be way too hard for Aiden, our baby. :) So 2 months later we really felt God telling us we were to adopt siblings. Remember our paperwork read 1 child and we were getting ready to submit our I600A to USCIS. We were down to the wire. It was almost too late to change our minds. God had a plan from the beginning, though. While Righ was in Atlanta working and I was home holding down the fort, we both agreed to pray about siblings. When we talked the next morning, it was so obvious to both of us what God had in store. He had a sibling set waiting for our family. I contacted our agency that day and was so surprised to learn they had just received a healthy sibling set with a 5 year old boy and a little girl that was 2. AHHHHH! Now that is God. We waited for medicals and photos and just prayed God would show us His plan. So these are the two sweet children that belong in our family, the ones God had planned all along, and the ones we are anxiously awaiting their arrival. Another point to mention, we "wanted" a little girl younger than our Aiden. Our African princess is only 6 weeks younger than him. Doesn't God have a sense of humor???

Every Child Deserves a Home

Lyrics

To be remembered on your birthday
Feel a father’s kiss goodnight
To have a mother wrap her arms around you
And say it’s gonna be alright

These are the things we take for granted
That every child should know and love
It’s simply heaven’s way of telling them
They are precious in this world
Precious in this world

Every child deserves a home
Every child deserves to hear the words, “You are not alone.”
Every life on earth is sacred
Every heart is heaven’s own
Every child deserves a home
Deserves a home

They are out there by the millions
Hurting children without hope
Little boys and girls who need a family
That they can call their own

Now it’s up to us to help them
We can’t just close our eyes
Jesus loves the little children
And His arms are open wide
They are open wide

Every child deserves a home
Every child deserves to hear the words, “You are not alone.”
Every life on earth is sacred
Every heart is heaven’s own
Every child deserves a home

There’s something in their faces that tells us their story
There’s something in their cry that keeps calling out, “Don’t forget about me.”
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus died for all the children of the world

Every child deserves a home
Every child deserves to hear the words, “You are not alone.”
Every life on earth is sacred

Have you ever truly listened to the words of this song? Doesn't every child deserve a home? Doesn't every child deserve a mommy to whisper everything is gonna be alright as she hugs her child? We, as Christians, need to step up and care for the orphans. We need to be Jesus' hands and feet and love these children just as Jesus would love them. I'm not saying everyone should adopt. I am saying I BELIEVE everyone should do something, but there are so many ways to help. You can sponsor a child every month, provide an education for them, send the family money, the ways to help are endless. You can pray for them fervently. You can go on mission trips. And orphans are not just in other countries. There are so many here, right here in the United States. They just need to know someone cares, that someone loves them, that Jesus is their friend. And who better to show them than us? As you watch this video, I pray God will speak to your heart about how He wants YOU to help His orphans. Will you pray with me?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Faith

Streams in the Desert - July 10
I called him, but he did not answer. Song of Songs 5:6

Once the Lord has given us great faith, He has been known to test it with long delays. He has allowed His servants' voices to echo in their ears, as if their prayers were rebounding from a contemptuous sky. Believers have knocked at the heavenly gate, but it has remained immovable, as though its hinges had rusted.

True saints of God have endured lengthy times of patient waiting with no reply, not because their prayers were prayed without intensity, nor because God did not accept their pleas. They were required to wait because it pleased Him who is sovereign and who gives "according to His good purpose". Phillipians 2:13 And if it pleases Him to cause our patience to be exercised, should He not do as He desires with His own?

No prayer is ever lost, or any prayer ever breathed in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things we see as refusals or denials are simply delays.

Christ sometimes delays His help so He may test our faith and energize our prayers. Our boat may be tossed by the waves while He continues to sleep but He will awake before it sinks. He sleeps but He never oversleeps for He is never too late.

I read this tonight and it spoke so LOUDLY to me. We have prayed earnestly for H & S to come from Africa. We have waited so long for a court date that I lost my faith in the fact that they would ever come home. I gained it back only to find God never, ever left me. Then, I started questioning myself, "Am I praying hard enough? Am I not obeying Him somehow? Should I be doing something else so they can come home?" I know these are all silly questions, but honestly I was at a point of not knowing what else to do. Now we are being presented with this trial of me being sick in the hospital. No answers yet, by the way, so please keep praying for wisdom for the drs. and complete healing over my body. In the midst of it all, God never leaves us. He always stands right beside us, holding us in the palm of His hands. We just need to turn to Him instead of away from Him. We need to keep our faith in Him. Months ago (when we thought our adoption would be fast) a good friend looked at me and said, "Please be prepared for a fight. It may not be so easy. You may have to fight." The morning before he said that God gave me the verse - For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12 It all clicks now. Our "easy" adoption isn't happening, but we are willing to fight for our kids. We are not giving up on them. We know God will grant them to us ON HIS TIME, not ours. They will be placed into our arms and I'm not sure I will ever let them go. :) This waiting will make our story greater for our Heavenly Father. My prayer is people will be inspired and not want to give up, that their hearts will be burdened for the millions of orphans living all over the world when they see our diverse family. Our adoption will not be a secret, we will have dark skinned children and light skinned children. People will ask questions and I say BRING IT ON! I want to fight for the children around the world, here in America or Africa or Asia or Europe, wherever. These children need a mommy and a daddy, they need a home, they need to be loved, they need JESUS!!! So I am reminded once again that God will not leave me. He will not oversleep. We may have to wait, but that's okay. Just to clear up having faith doesn't make the waiting easy. It is still hard, but through this He is testing my faith (already did that) and energizing my prayers. He will wake up and deliver my children soon!!! I know it!