Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Remind Me Who I Am - Jason Gray

We were given free tickets to Andrew Peterson's  BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD concert last night.  What an amazing blessing!!!  So Sydney, Keenan and I went while Dad kept the three little kids at home.

The first half of the concert was everyone playing two of their own songs.  As the 2nd guy stood up and started playing, I recognized one of my favorite songs.  (I am horrible at remembering who plays what and the names of songs.)

Sitting there listening to Jason Gray singing "Remind Me Who I Am", my mind went to the fatherless, to the orphan, to my sons who are orphans  NO MORE, to my Heavenly Father who adores me and I was reminded of His great love for ME.  And YOU.  And each person on this Earth.

He sang the words, "I belong to you," and I saw my precious son running to me with the brightest smile on his face knowing in his heart he belongs to me.

 I saw the empty, sad eyes of children just waiting for someone to say YOU BELONG TO ME.  I was reminded of the millions of children sitting around the world waiting to belong, to be loved, to be held, to be cherished, to be told the name of JESUS!!!

My heart was overflowing and broken all at the same time.  Thankful for a God who moves mountains, who changes hearts, who places the lonely in families, who gives me grace each and every day.  Broken for the children who need someone to come, someone to be His hands and feet, someone to remind them who they are and that they belong to a Heavenly Father.  Are you the one someone is waiting on?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shooting Stars and Children

When my wife came to me and told me she heard from God that we were to adopt two more orphans from Ghana, I thought she had completely lost her mind.  (You can read her story here.)  When she told me she knew exactly who they were, I was sure she had.  She asked me to pray and seek the Lord on His will and I reluctantly agreed to do just that (as we had JUST brought home Samuel and Helen two months before).  On a daily basis she would ask what God was telling me about the boys and on a daily basis I told her “I don’t know yet.”  I was seeking and wanting to be obedient to what God wanted me to do, but I had to know for sure.  This was not, “God, should I take this job?” or “God, should we sell our house?” both very critical things to seek the Lord on.  But this was a HUGE decision and I had to be sure Kristie and I were on the same page and that page was ONLY God’s will.

I am a constellation man.  Since a child I have thoroughly enjoyed the stars and spent countless nights staring up into God’s vast greatness in awe and wonder.  

So one night as I found myself looking up into His heavens, I saw Orion the Hunter, and I heard the Lord say to me

 Happy is he whose quiver is full.”  

And I replied, “Yes, Lord, but my quiver fills pretty full with 5 kiddos right now.”  Then I started to bargain with God.  I told Him if he really wanted us to adopt these two brothers, it would be great if He would send a shooting star across the bow of this constellation, Orion the Hunter.  I waited in expectation, but nothing happened.  Then I started to walk back inside and I heard the Lord tell me to come back and look up again.  I obeyed, and as I looked back at Orion, a shooting star shot straight across his bow!  I sat there in bewilderment for a moment, then started to rationalize what I had just seen.  

“God, that sure was a small shooting star; and it sure did go fast.  I was hoping for something a bit more substantial in the way of shooting stars.” 

But no more came that day.  As I told my family what had happened, they were ecstatic and confident in the Lord’s will, but Dad needed yet more confirmation from the Lord that this was indeed His will.
A week went by and I was again outside one clear cold night.  I was talking with the Lord and telling Him that I was sorry I am like Gideon throwing out my fleece again and again, but I know He is a God of love and mercy and grace and forgiveness.  I told my King that if He would just send another large shooting star right now, then I would quit trying to rationalize and understand everything and simply would obey Him and ADOPT the boys.  As I said “amen” and looked right in front of me, a HUGE BRIGHT shooting star fell straight down exactly where my eyes were looking.  And I could visualize the Lord flinging this star from His fingertip. 

I hit my knees and wept.  Wept at the confirmation of what I had just received after seeking so long.  Wept over two orphans that would no longer be orphans.  Wept over my God who is SO loving and faithful and powerful.  Wept over my God who answers. - Righ

You can imagine my delight when the Lord connected our hearts, when He answered our prayers.  And the excitement as my arms are even more full of joy in the form of 7 beautiful treasures that God chose ME to be a mother to.  So if you are out there and you have a heart to adopt and your husband doesn't, it is ok.  A little over two years ago, my hubby was adamant we would not adopt.  4 children that are orphans no more later and he knows we are not finished.  So pray. Just pray. Pray for our God to intervene and to unite hearts.  If you feel like you cannot be a good mother to the children in your home, it is ok.  Our God will give you enough strength each day IF you just ask Him, if you lean on Him, if you fully depend on Him.  So for Christmas this year all I want is for my boys to come HOME and a Memorial Box.  The first thing to go in it?  A star. An incredible reminder of how God spoke to my husband about our beautiful Ghanaian sons. - Kristie

This story is such a reminder of God's love for the fatherless and I have been waiting to make it a Memorial Box Monday.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And it began again....

Twelve and a half months ago, I boarded a plane to Ghana with Sydney. We were on a mission. A mission to bring Samuel and Helen home. To bring them back to the States never to be separated from us again. Our 2nd mission? To love the fatherless, to provide food, clean water and medicine to the children left behind. You see, this is the mission statement for FEEDING THE ORPHANS, God's ministry.

If we give them food, but not Jesus, what have we done? If we give them clothes, but not our Savior, what have we done? Everything is in His name.

As we walked into one of the orphanages to be Jesus and visit Jesus all at the same time, a baby boy was placed in my arms. He stole my heart and I prayed God would provide him a family. I remember holding him, so small and happy, and pleading with God to bring someone to love him forever.....to place him in a momma's arms that will train him to be a warrior for JESUS!!!

I watched Sydney hold him and fall in love with him. And that night, I posted pictures to Facebook. One of my best friends in America saw his picture and her heart was broken, but her husband had not been open to adoption. He wanted to support others, but not put himself there. Yet. This is the same friend who had the dream about a baby boy. You can read that here. As I read her email, I could only think this is the baby in the dream. She emailed again and her husband wanted to know if he was adoptable. I was giddy!!!

We arrived back at the orphanage two days later to say goodbye to the children and give one last hug to them all. Once again, that sweet baby was placed in my arms. This time, all I could think is I will hold him again in America. He will live down the street from me. I will be a part of his life. Thank you, Lord, for giving him a momma!!

Six weeks later, I received an email from Ghana and the baby boy had a brother, a 6 year old brother. My heart sank. My sweet friend had three sons and one daughter. I knew God's plan was a sister for her daughter. I knew this meant they were not the family God had in mind. There truly are no words for the next few days. I mourned over these two boys. I pleaded with God to do something, to bring a family to love them.

As I sat in my chair one afternoon, I heard God say, "You are to adopt those boys." What???? Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute!!! We had gone from a family of 5 to a family of 7 just TWO MONTHS AGO!!! My hubby and I had just decided we would adopt again, but it would be a little while. Again, I heard, "You are to adopt those boys."

Now, I knew my hubby would say NO WAY!!! Don't ask me that, don't talk to me about that! I also knew what my Father was asking of me and I knew I had no choice. I want to live my life for Jesus to the fullest in complete and utter obedience. As I called him on the phone and explained it all to him he said, "Let's pray about it."

Shock, disbelief! God was speaking through him and leading him. I went on to explain it would be two weeks or more before we knew any details of the boys so we had some time. I sat down to pray and to seek His face. My specific prayer was over the oldest brother's name. We had no idea what it was. We only knew his age and had seen his picture. I prayed God would make his name so significant we would not be able to ignore it if he were to be our son.

Within minutes my phone rang. My contact in Ghana was calling with info on the boys. The same info I thought we would receive in two weeks. Oh goodness, I thought we would have more time. As I listened to their story, my heart was broken. Tears came and I prayed for Him to lead us. Or bring the family for the boys.

Then she said, "Kristie, his name is Joseph." This in itself was significant to us. You see, Samuel's birth name was Richard, but during our adoption process during Bible study one morning, God spoke so audibly we were to name him Samuel. I had prayed for a child and told my Lord I would give my child back to him, just as Hannah had done in the Old Testament. Joseph was another Old Testament name and my heart started racing. I felt the Holy Spirit prodding to google the Biblical meaning of Joseph (strange I know). The very first find was,

And she named him Joseph, meaning may He add to you another son. - Genesis 30:24

The tears came harder and faster. God answered my prayer. I asked specifically about the brother's name and He answered. He confirmed in my head what I already knew in my heart. Joseph and Bless were to be my sons. The baby in my friend's dream almost a year ago was my baby, just like she thought. As she scooped that baby out of the water and placed him in my arms in the dream, she is now doing that.

As I phoned my husband and ran through everything, he was not completely on board. He was amazed God had spoken so clearly to me, but now he wanted to hear. For himself. Over the next few weeks, I waited. Some days I was patient, others I was not. I needed my husband to hear SOMETHING. I was convinced maybe he wasn't even praying about it. I became angry with him for not believing me. In reality, he did believe me. He just needed to hear from God himself. As I look back I am so glad he was insistent. I am so glad he did not take my word for it because this was a HUGE step for our family!!

The next portion of the story is better told by him so hopefully he will be ready to share this weekend. God continues to amaze me. As I waited for my husband, continuously God spoke, "These boys will be for my GLORY and for my GLORY alone."

Lord, I thank you that I am given the gift to be the mother of these two precious boys from Ghana.

And how fitting that my dear, sweet friend, Paige, who had the dream of a baby boy almost two years ago was in Ghana with me when I met Joseph for the first time and cradled Bless once again!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meet Joseph and Bless O'Leary!!!!!

Two weeks ago today our world changed forever....we "OFFICIALLY" became the parents to two precious boys in Ghana, Africa.

Meet Joseph who will be 8 in February.

And baby Bless, 17 months old

Every good and perfect gift comes from above. - James 1:17

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A big day tomorrow

We are waiting and praying for good news from Ghana in the morning. Please join us in praying our two boys home. I'm not sure I will sleep at all tonight. :)

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All I want is to go to school

This morning as I woke, I checked FB after my quiet time, which I typically do not do. As I opened it up, our Feeding the Orphans volunteer had just posted this sweet picture.

Meet Lawrence. Here he is watching out the window, watching the other kids go to SCHOOL. He sits every morning and watches the other kids get ready and leave. His heart is broken. He has told Grandma (Lola) he just wants to go to school. He is praying for God to make a way for him to go. He knelt on the floor this morning seeking God's face. Pleading with God to send him to school. As Lola prayed over him with encouragement and the love of Jesus, he wept. How many kids CRY because they want to go to school???? Not mine!!!

Well, we are so EXCITED to announce Lawrence now has an education sponsor!!! My heart is so happy. I wish I could have seen his face when Lola told him today. He will start in January and I cannot wait to see him in his new uniform.

The kids and I talked about him this morning. We prayed for God to use Lawrence in a mighty way to further HIS kingdom. I watched the excitement of my little ones as they clapped and cheered knowing Lawrence's dream is coming true!! I pray our hearts will be forever broken for the fatherless, for the orphan, for the widow, for the least of these.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five years ago, our Sydney sat at the computer for hours watching adoption/orphan videos and prayed for a sister. Today she has her African sister plus a brother and 2 more brothers on the way! I thank God each day that He broke Sydney's heart for the fatherless and He heard her cry, her plea to break our hearts, too. Thank you, Sydney Grace, for being persistent and never giving up.

Even in the hard stuff, it will never outweigh the good. Adoption is life changing and SO WORTH IT!

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. - Psalm 18:6

His Timing

This morning I awoke to an email saying our court will not be this week, but in November. Trusting. I'm trusting. As I read it, though, disappointment set in. Another delay to our boys. I walked in the kitchen and was immediately drawn to a verse I put on my fridge a few months ago. Peace washed over me. As I opened my devotion and Bible for quiet time, the same verse was there. It was meant for me today and all the other families waiting for God to bring their kids home, go to court or whatever else you are waiting on. God knows our hearts, He hears them, and He is moving even when we cannot see it. So I encourage you today to pray for all the children and parents waiting, but also to trust Him. Wait on Him. Let your heart take courage and believe He is working and moving.

Psalm 27:14 - Wait for the Lord; be strong, let your heart take courage and wait for the Lord.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Will I have enough love?

Almost two years ago I sat on my living room couch snuggled between my two oldest kids and my youngest in my lap. We had just started the adoption process for a baby girl and I longed to have her with us. We didn't even know who she was, but I knew she was out there somewhere. I cried at the thought of her being with all of us. I cried because of the unknown. I never dreamed God would give us a sibling set soon after. As time grew nearer and nearer to bring Samuel and Helen home, I started to doubt myself, my mothering abilities. Is this the best thing for my three bio kids? Will I have enough time for them? Will they know how much I love them or will I struggle to juggle 5 kids? The questions kept pouring in over and over through my mind. As I said goodbye to my two boys and boarded that plane to Ghana with Sydney to bring Samuel and Helen home, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Joy and fear. Joy that I would be with my Ghanaian children very soon. Fear that this would be such a huge mistake for my American children.

As I reflected on all of that tonight, I realized how wrong I was. I have so much more love. And that love comes from Jesus. My kids, all five of them, know I adore them. They adore one another and BEG for more siblings. They already have brothers and sisters "picked out" as soon as B & J get home from Ghana. Oh, how I love their faith, their love, their selflessness.

Tonight, as I sat on my couch, I reflected back to two years ago and how empty my couch seemed that night with three children sitting all over me. Now, it looks a bit differently. With five children sitting all around me, touching some part of me, I realized how empty it was. I realized I long to have B & J sitting with us, scrambling for a leg, an arm, or a neck that belongs to Mommy. And God will provide all I need to be what I need to be for my 7 beautiful children. Will it be hard? YES!!! The last 11 months have not been easy with Samuel and Helen, but they have been GOOD! I would not trade the sadness, the heartache, the anger, the fights, the hugs for anything in the world. It is worth every second of pain to get to the point of hearing Helen say, "Momma, I love you" one thousand times a day. "Momma, Momma, Momma," she will say. And Samuel, what an amazing journey of redemption he and I have been on. A hard road we have walked and will continue to walk, but he is trusting me more and more each day. I thank God for that and we give Him all glory, honor and praise for the good work He is doing in our children.

So for now, I long to sit with my five boys and two girls and watch a movie. I long to be dreaming of what our home will look like next. I long to give God all the praise for choosing me to be their mother. A beautiful, precious, priceless gift He has given me. Over and over.

James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift comes from above.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One More?

Do you have room in your heart for one more? Two more? There are precious children all over this world waiting, just waiting, for a mommy and a daddy. They are longing to have someone say, "I love you. I will take care of you. I will never let anyone hurt you again."

Seek God and ask Him what you should do. What does He want from you? Then watch this and be moved. Moved to action.

James 1:27 - Religion that is pure and undefiled is to care for orphans and widows in their distress.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The children of God

Tonight at dinner, Samuel had chicken and french fries on his plate. Aiden needed to eat something different due to allergies so I saw Samuel lean over to Aiden and whisper (loudly), "Aiden, can I have your chicken and french fries after I eat all of mine?" And my heart broke. My sweet, little boy is ALWAYS talking about food. He is always concerned about what he will eat and how much of it next. He goes to bed asking what we will have for breakfast. He leaves breakfast asking what we will have for lunch. Heartbreaking.

Tonight, though, as I listened to him petition with Aiden, I looked at him and reassured him. I told him not to worry. He will never go hungry here. I will always give him food. My heart hurts that the fear of hunger haunts him, that there was a day when he would not get food. Lord, please, heal his heart and the hearts of so many children living around the world tonight who will go to bed hungry. I pray God will break my heart, your heart for these children and people and we will want to GIVE. Give of ourselves and what we have because we have so much. And not just food and material items. We have so much LOVE and that's what it truly comes down to. We have the love of Jesus that so many people do not have, do not know.

This week a precious little boy walked over to me (under 2) and held his arms up to me. I knelt down to his little face and he just wrapped his arms around my neck. That broke me. Completely broke me. I wanted to scoop him up and hold him forever. Whisper to him Jesus loves you. He will never leave you. He is beside you, ALWAYS.

The Lord is doing so much in my heart right now. He is breaking it like never before. He is calling me out of my comfort zone and showing me over and over again what I have known for years. He has called me to care for the children of the world, the fatherless, the sick, the hurting. He has given my family the ability to welcome other children into our home and love them like our own. And I have watched my children grow tremendously in Jesus' love through that.

Tonight, as you go to bed, ask God what He has called you to do. How does He want you to step out of your comfort zone? What is He telling you to do?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hold them a little tighter

Through our first adoption, I did not trust God very well most days. I was impatient, worried, fearful. I did not enjoy my three children in my home some days because I was so focused on getting Samuel and Helen home. Was that wrong? Well, I think there are two answers to that question. First, I learned on that journey that I must trust with every ounce I have. I must give my beautiful children living halfway across the world into my Savior's hands and TRUST Him. They are His children. He has only chosen me to be their earthly mother. He loves them....and more than I can even begin to imagine. So after walking that journey a year ago and now walking it again, I think I see things from a different perspective. I see His hand in the day to day. I want to enjoy my 5 children here and live life to the fullest with them as we wait. All 7 of us are waiting and what an incredible gift and example of God's love we are giving our children when we wait with a blessed heart, instead of an impatient one. Now, let me clarify, I have plenty of days where I am impatient, where I long to bring my boys home, where I cry at the thought of them not being here. However, I long to be an example to my children here and teach them of God's unfailing love and POSSIBLY teach them what it is to completely trust my Heavenly Father who knows all things, sees all things, and plans all things for His perfect purpose.

So tonight my prayer is when I wake in the morning, it will be with a smile on my face, a thankful heart that I am now one day closer to holding the boys God chose to be my sons, and another day to train my children in the way they should go, which is following hard after HIM.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adoption update

We started the process for 2 sweet boys in February of this year, just 3 months after bringing Samuel and Helen home from Ghana. Crazy? Yes, but crazy for Jesus. Longing to follow Him at all costs. Doing whatever He asks of us.

We sped through the first part of the process because everything was already current from our first adoption. We were able to bypass many of the steps the other families had to wait on. So we have been ready for court for months and months, just like everyone else. However, Ghana is trying to establish a way to protect their children better. Therefore, we are in a holding position.

Today we knew there was a possibility for some movement on our case. As I talked to my in country coordinator tonight and he told me it will be next week, I trusted. I trusted my Jesus to know EXACTLY what He is doing. He has a plan, a story He wants to write, but I need to wait for Him. All of us adoptive parents need to wait and be patient. We need to be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46:10. I know at the end of the journey it will be so worth it. Those little hugs will be worth the wait, worth the heartache and it will all go away once they are in my arms forever.

Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:31

Correction on the shirts

So there have been some minor changes on the shirts. We are still selling them and we have added sizes 2T, 3T, and 4T available any day now. However, all proceeds from the shirts will now only go to our dear sweet friends, the Bowlings. You see, the last few weeks have been tough. Actually, more than tough. Words cannot express what they have been through and my heart breaks each time I think of them. To read more about their story and how they have stepped out in faith, click the Bowling family. They are an amazing family and we are so thankful God brought them to our lives!!!

Anyways, they need to raise the remaining funds to bring their babies home, a 6 year old girl and a baby boy. So click the sidebar to order a shirt, or two, or MORE and help us help them!!! Be a part of helping two children find their FOREVER FAMILY!!!

(For those of you wondering, yes, we are still adopting our boys.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Worth the Wait

New shirts! We have new shirts to sell for our adoption and also our dear friends, Chad and Stephanie Bowling.

As all of you know, we brought Samuel and Helen home almost 10 months ago. It was a faith walk for us (as most of you know from personal experience). We watched God provide every penny for them. From fundraisers to garage sales to cutting off our cable and other budget stuff, God made it happen. He is faithful and He funds what He favors!!!

When we started this second adoption 3 months after bringing them home, my first question was, "How can I mother 7 children?" My 2nd, "How can we afford this?" A few months ago, I was out for a girls night out and expressed to a sweet friend of mine about my concerns. I knew God would provide, but had momentarily lost my focus. She gave me this awesome shirt design. As I thought more and more about it, I realized what an awesome idea it is.

You see, this sweet girl

and her brother were WORTH THE WAIT. What better shirt for her to be in??? And for me, it is so WORTH THE WAIT for my sweet children to come home from Africa.

By the way for those of you who are wondering, this is not me, but my Sydney with Helen.

So, we are selling these shirts for $22 each and that includes shipping. All proceeds will go to bring 4 sweet children home from Ghana, Africa. A boy and girl for the Bowlings and 2 boys for us. We will post pics of our treasures as soon as we all pass court. In the meantime, here's a "glimpse".

If you want to order, click the sidebar. We have youth sizes and unisex adult sizes. These shirts are a tri-blend so they are extra soft. If there is enough interest, I will order some onesies so please let me know if you would like one. The x-small youth runs a little big right now.

Thanks to each of you for being on this journey with us, but ALSO we are thankful to walk your journeys with you!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How can I?

How can I tell these sweet faces "Jesus loves you", when they are hungry?

When they are thirsty? Will they even hear me? Probably not, because their tummies are empty. They are thirsty, they are hurting. For them to see Jesus and His love, we have to be Jesus and His love. We have to live it every minute. How? I ask myself that each morning when I wake. How, God, am I supposed to be a mother to 5 children here, waiting for my 2 boys to come home, homeschool all of them (which is exactly what God has called me to do), be a wife to my husband, a good friend, daughter, helper, and advocate for the fatherless of the world? I am not. That's just it, I am not. It is Him. This is His story, His life. I have to choose each day to give it to Him before I crawl out of bed. I have to die to self every morning. I have to reach out beyond me when there is nothing left. I have to seek Him and ask for His strength to be what He has called me to be. I have to rely upon Him for each breath. Only then is it possible.

And these faces keep me going.

They remind me of my sweet Savior who gave His life for me. They remind me of the joy that comes from Him. Pure, simple, childlike faith and joy. They encourage me to help more children. They tell me they want to adopt again once B & J are home. They are already deciding who will be next in our family. They remind me that I CAN DO THIS WITH HIM.

They make the waiting for their brothers a bit easier.

A bit. However, I long to hold them. I long to see their little faces, to hug them until it hurts, to tell them I love them over and over and over. Will they tire of it? Oh, I am sure because I am relentless!!

Today I pray for His love to shine through, for Him to receive all Glory and honor and praise. I pray for each hurting child around the world to be comforted by the Almighty Comforter. I pray for hearts to be completely and utterly broken for the orphaned child. I pray for the Church to be broken. Hearts physically aching for the children that need Him. And I pray that when someone sees my beautiful children, they will be moved. And not to ask me if I wake up each morning, look in the mirror and bang my head saying, "What have I done? What have I done?" (And yes, someone really did ask me this.) No, I pray they will be touched by the love of Jesus and they will see His strength shining through.

I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength. Phillipians 4:13

If you would like to sponsor a child or make a huge difference in the life of a child in another way, please visit FEEDING THE ORPHANS.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Check out this AWESOME Give.A.Way to help build a Safe House for the children of Ghana. There are a few ways to enter:

  1. blog about it
  2. for every $20 donated your name will be entered once
  3. spread the word on Facebook or Twitter
Thank you ahead of time for helping us help the children of Africa!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, Miss Helen!!!

Almost 8 months ago, we brought home this precious little girl who spoke no English. She was shy and withdrawn.

Today, she is an incessant chatterbox and full of life. She brings so much laughter into our home and is definitely "our baby". All the kids adore her!! She can make us laugh and also give the sweetest hugs at the same time.

Last week, the kids and I all went birthday party shopping for her. I put her in the cart at Wal-Mart and off we went to the party aisle. As she chose her Princess plates and napkins, Princess pinata, Princess wrapping paper, I put it all in the back of the cart. When I turned back around, I saw MY PRINCESS with arms overflowing. She had gotten everything out of the back of the cart, put it in her lap and her little arms were stretched wide open as she declared to everyone in the store, "I AM GOING TO HAVE A BIRTHDAY. I WILL BE FOUR. I AM ALMOST FOUR. I WILL HAVE A BIRTHDAY." Just picture her waving at everyone in Wal-Mart and declaring her birthday to them all. (Her first birthday even though she would be turning four.)

For those of you that know Helen, you know she LOVES to be held. She loves for one of us to be holding her. She loves to snuggle her face into our necks. She loves to just be close. Well, a few nights ago I was combing her hair and she stepped back from me, put her hands on her hips, and stated, "I'm almost 4 now, Mom. I think I'm almost too big for you to carry." Then she left. I chuckled to myself.

This morning when she woke up and realized it was her big day, she was glowing! She enjoyed pancakes for breakfast, pizza for lunch, special time at the gymnastics center and a whole lot of loving on her special day! Her siblings loved doting on her and giving presents and taking care of her. At dinner, we sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Then I told her that her special day would be over when she woke up in the morning. With the most serious expression she asked, "Can I have two days, Mommy?"

Every day is special with Miss Helen. Thank you, God, for such an incredible blessing in that sweet child!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Adoption Fundraiser

Eighteen months ago, God started us on the most incredible journey of our lives. The journey to two of our children.

We fundraised and were able to bring them home 7 months ago.
Now, we cannot imagine our lives without them. It seems like they have always been a part of us. Before they came home, we longed for them to be with us. Every day I feel more and more blessed to see them walking through the house, giggling and playing with their siblings. God has shown us so much joy through these two children and taught us so much about life. I am just so thankful I didn't miss out on this. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the love God has shown me through all of my children.

The next part of our journey? Two boys that only He could choose.

We are saving to bring them home now. This is where you come in, though. We are doing our first fundraiser.

A 31 gift party! Click here for the catalog. Then click here to order OR send me an email to 4oleary@msn.com. You can either have it shipped to my house or straight to you. Just let me know what is most convenient for you! Don't forget to check out the great specials they are running for July here.

Thank you so much for being a part of this next journey God has brought us on and for helping us bring our boys home!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Be Still.....

As I sit in the unknown of the adoption world this week, I am reminded to be still. Be still and know. Be still and know that I am GOD - Psalm 46:10

He is paving the way. He is writing the story. He is in control. Will you join us in prayer for our precious boys in Ghana and for all the orphans there tonight? Changes are coming. They are being made and it is up to us to FIGHT for them. Help us FIGHT. FIGHT with prayer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Precious Hands

These precious little hands run through my mind all day. I am anxious to hold both of our boys very soon. I am anxious to get my arms around my sweet baby boy again, to strap him on my back "Ghana style" and just take off. I am anxious to meet my precious 7 year old son who has only met his daddy. I am nervous about meeting him for the first time. I am anxious to hear his little voice say, "Mommy" in person instead of on the phone. These precious pictures

and my sweet Jesus keep me going every day. He gives me the strength to wait another day to see their little faces and hug them tight. He gives me all I need every day. Now the trick is learning to ALWAYS rely on Him. Still learning...still learning.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Samuel and Helen's adoption timeline

11-30-09 international application approved

1-5-10 submitted agency fees to int'l agency

1-8-10 began homestudy

2-9-10 homestudy finalized

2-10-10 I600A mailed

2-13-10 accepted referral of siblings

3-8-10 received fingerprint appt. for March 22

3-10-10 walked into USCIS office and got fingerprinted (Praise God!)

3-25-10 mailed dossier to int'l agency

4-6-10 dossier arrived in Ghana

4-22-10 received I171H approval letter from USCIS

4-27-10 representative traveled to Volta region to try to schedule court

5-10-10 received new pictures of our sweet children

6-24-10 we were told we MIGHT go to court next week :)

7-21-10 granted a court date of Monday, 7/26

7-26-10 court postponed until 7-27

7-27-10 OFFICIALLY A FAMILY OF 7, We passed court! Thank you, sweet Jesus!

8-28-10 traveled as a family of 5 to meet our two Ghanaian angels

8-30-10 filed our I600 in country

9-8-10 took our sweet babies back to their foster home

9-9-10 arrived back home, but left our hearts in Ghana

10-18-10 I600 approval

10-22-10 granted a visa exit interview for 11-1-10

11-7-10 visas are ready!!!!!

11-9-10 Sydney and I fly to Ghana

11-10-10 Samuel and Helen in my arms FOREVER

11-16-10 reunited as a family of 7

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love Orphans - For Easter

I was so challenged and inspired by a guest writer on this blog tonight. So here's the Easter challenge. Go to FEEDING THE ORPHANS to Love Orphans because He first loved us.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Will it hurt?

Remember the post I did on whether adoption will hurt my kids or not? Click here for the story, but today I am reminded again of how AWESOME and INCREDIBLE adoption can be for our children. They learn to give more of themselves, love one another, be the hands and feet of Jesus. The list goes on and on and on, but this picture sums it up.

Two boys who met one another 6 months ago. Two boys who became brothers on American soil 4 months ago. Two brothers who are inseparable, who are crazy about one another. Two brothers depicting God's love in the love they have for one another. Each day I watch them and realize I can learn so much from these two brothers.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Dream

On February 26, 2010 one of my best friends had a dream. A dream of an African baby. This came just two weeks after we accepted our referral of Samuel and Helen. She dreamt Righ and I were bathing a baby and she came in to help us. As she awoke, she "knew" that baby was ours. As I listened to her tell me all about it, I "knew" it was her baby. You see, we had just accepted our referral and there wasn't a baby. Helen was 2. In my heart, I could see God writing this perfect story. A story of adoption for my friend. Her husband was all about supporting other families, but wanted no part of adoption for his family. So I just "knew" this dream was an indication that it would all change. God was going to change his heart and give them a baby.

Little did I know, God was writing a story so remarkable, so incredible that I couldn't even begin to imagine it. That precious baby would be ours and He would use my friend to lead me to him!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Ok, so I have been MIA for so long. Truthfully, my life has been busy (aren't we all), but I haven't been able to find the time to blog here. However, we have some very exciting news! WE ARE ADOPTING! Yes, again! Everyone asks that question. :)

We have been home with Helen and Samuel for 4 months now, but God has led us so clearly to two precious boys in Ghana. We have finished our homestudy and are praying our dossier can go next week. I will share the story very soon. Only from the Lord, only from Him. People are accusing us of being crazy. Our answer is YES, WE ARE CRAZY, BUT WE ARE CRAZY FOR JESUS.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adopted for Life

A few weeks ago, I was placing an order from Amazon. A dear friend and I try to save on shipping so she asked me to add ADOPTED FOR LIFE for her. As I read the summary, I was intrigued so I added one to my cart for me. Oh, I am so glad I did! It has been an incredible read. This is what I read this morning:

Think of the plight of the orphan somewhere right now out there in the world. It's not just that she's lonely. It's that she has no inheritance, no future. With every passing year, she's less "cute", less adoptable. In just a few years, on her eighteenth birthday (or 16th), she'll be expelled from the orphanage or from "the system". What will happen to her then? Maybe she'll join the military or find some job training. Maybe she'll stare at a tile on the ceiling above her as her body is violated by a man who's willing to pay her enough to eat for a day, alone in a back alley or in front of a camera crew of strangers. Maybe she'll place a revolver in her mouth or tie a rope around her neck, knowing no one will have to deal with her except, once again, the bureaucratic "authorities" who can clean up the mess she leaves behind. Can you feel the force of such desperation? Jesus can. She's his little sister.

Then my thoughts went to this could have been my daughter. What if my daughter faced this life? Look what I would have missed out on.

And hearing her say, "I love you, Mommy!" about a hundred times a day. I will never grow tired of those sweet words...

Or we would have missed the love these two have for one another. It is amazing, pure, and full of Jesus!

Everyone is called to recognize Jesus in the face of his little brothers and sisters when he decides to show up in their lives, even if it interrupts everything else.

I want to be interrupted for these little faces, these faces that NEED HIM.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Our Keenan is 10

Ten years ago, God blessed us with our second (and what we thought would be our last) child. He was only 17 months younger than Sydney and threw us for a spin. He has always brought so much joy to our lives and still does today. He came into this world smiling, laughing and trying so hard to make others laugh, too. What a blessing and treasure he is to our family!

We started the day off at Dunkin' Donuts...every kids favorite, right?

Sydney, Keenan and his friend, Eli
Aiden savoring every second of his donut

Then, we were off to church and home to open presents.
Tennessee football calendar - he's our "organized" kiddo

Then, the big gift came, but it wouldn't be so simple as opening a gift. :) Dad is way more creative than that. SCAVENGER HUNT!!!
Almost to the gift (hiding in the woods)
This is what makes me smile every day - the love these 2 have for one another. They have no idea they were ever apart. True brothers - real brothers...
The whole gang minus Daddy
"Dad, I don't see it. Is it up here?"
And he found it!!
This year, Daddy splurged as Keenan hit double digits and found him his very own gun. Obviously, lots of gun safety (always locked up and never used unless Dad is around) and the best part is it will become a part of Keenan's family as he grows older. He will pass it to his son, then to his grandson, and you get the picture. :)

On Monday, we went to everyone's favorite indoor play place, Tatarus' Gym. The kids had so much fun and burned a lot of energy.

Helen swinging from the rings
Aiden teetering on the edge
Sydney hanging from the rope
Now, it's Keenan's turn
And the day wouldn't be complete without Mom swinging from the rope into the foam squares. Oh, how I love my kids and am so incredibly thankful for each one of them in their uniqueness.

Ps. Some of you may be wondering why Samuel isn't in more of the pics! I couldn't keep up with him because he was having so much fun. :)