Friday, January 16, 2009

THANK YOU for the prayers

We cannot thank you enough for all the support and prayers we have received since we announced our adoption! God is so good and is continuing to bless us in the most unexpected ways. We have experienced a few people that aren't quite as supportive mostly because they don't understand. And that's ok. God has called all of us to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27), but He doesn't call all of us to care for orphans through adoption. And, again, that's ok. He gives each one of us our own unique path in this life. Whatever He calls us to do will become such a deep, soul-piercing passion, we cannot ignore it. If He doesn't call us to do something, we won't feel those same feelings. Those that don't understand why we would adopt another child or an older child don't understand why it's so important because they aren't being called down our journey. They aren't feeling the strong desire to obey God in this specific way. Wouldn't this be a boring world if we were all called to do the same thing?

We are so excited to share that we received our COURT DATE on Thursday!!!!!!!!! Our case will be heard in court on MARCH 23! It is a little later than we expected, but we are so thrilled to have a date to be anticipating! :) IF we pass on the first attempt, we should travel 4-6 weeks later to bring B home!!!! :)

We have been quite busy the last few weeks. We are just finishing up our indoor soccer season. We had 3 playing on 3 different teams. John coached 2 of their teams. It was Karson's first time playing soccer (for a team).

Kemry and I got to spend a LOT of time hanging out on the sidelines. :) She seemed to enjoy most of it. :)
Kollin marched in the parade and performed in a Christmas concert.
We went to a Lady Vols basketball game and sat 2 rows from the floor. We could hear their trash talk (which I TOTALLY loved ha ha). Here are my messy mouth kids. :)
We had fun at a Christmas party with friends we have made through adoption. :)
And we have spent many hours at the studio and theater rehearsing for the ballet, Prince Caspian (Karly has, not me...ha ha).
Almost completely in costume....there are still a few to finish up.
And of course part of every day routine is finding Kemry climbing where she isn't supposed to be climbing. :)

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Growing Our Family Again

Happy New Year to all of our friends and family!!!

This has been an absolutely incredible year for our family and we are thanking God every day for His many many blessings. I am so excited about 2009 because many big changes are about to occur in our family. God is blessing us with another child! We have followed God down the path of adoption once again. We started feeling His strong calling at the beginning of 2008, but we had to wait for His direction and timing. We prayed about it almost nonstop. We prayed for God's will and not our own. In May, everything seemed to intensify and we knew it was time, but we still had so many unanswered questions. May is one of the busiest times of our year. I'm always a little crazy in May because we have several birthdays, the end of the school year with so many field trips and school events, our anniversary, Mother's Day, you name it. That's when I started to doubt God's will for us. I was certain He didn't think, I, the woman who couldn't even handle the scheduled of the 5 we have, could seriously handle another child. We prayed for direction (which I suppose I expected to be "Yes Kelly, you're right, you cannot handle this. I'll ask someone else."). WOW who was I to question God? We had been doing a family Bible study discussing Joshua 3, yet I never made a connection. That same week I questioned God, two different friends (who don't know one another) sent me the same chapter of Joshua for different reasons. Two parts of the chapter stood out to me like none other. The first one was Joshua 3:14-17:

So when the people broke camp to cross the
Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who
carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the
water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance
away, at a town called Adam, while the water flowing down to the sea was
completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had
completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:14-17

These words repeated through my head day and night as if God had a recording in my ear hitting replay over and over. Being the thick headed child of God that I am, I didn't realize right away just how deep these verses were as God was applying them to our lives. I continued feeling sorry for myself and thinking surely God had made a mistake in calling US to add a child to our already large family. Then it hit me. This situation is so much like what the Israelites experienced. They were expected to cross the Jordan River at FLOOD STAGE which is what my life is with 5 schedule is definitely overflowing it's banks at all times. Did God give them all the answers ahead of time? No. He expected obedience and faith in Him. He told them to keep their eyes on the Ark (which represents Him) and follow it. I can only imagine what their Earthly minds thought. "God do you have any idea what happens when people walk into raging rivers??? Do you realize this river is at flood stage??" Or maybe, "I want to do your will as long as it's easy and we don't have to face such risks, so can you call us a little later on when things aren't so dangerous?" This is essentially what I, myself, was thinking. Thank goodness we have a very patient and gracious God. They obeyed. They stepped into the river on pure faith alone. God provided. The river stopped flowing and God allowed all the Israelites to cross on dry land as long as they kept their eye on God. Why should we be any different?

Ok God, we know we MUST trust you and adopt right now even if our Earthly minds think it's crazy. :) Now, where? Little did I know He was using that same chapter in Joshua to answer that question as well.

"When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, and the priest, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before." Joshua 3:3-4

We had quite an interest in several countries - Philippines, US, Thailand, Belize, El Salvador, Ethiopia, etc. One day we were just looking at the options of all the requirements, approx travel costs, etc. We were looking at flight costs of Ethiopia when just as we were closing the page down, a "tourist attraction" in Ethiopia caught my eye. A church in a place called Axum contains what is thought to be the original Ark of the Covenant! We knew RIGHT AWAY it was God's way of telling us "where to go".

It felt SO refreshing once we knew where God was sending us. God gave us the most AMAZING peace. We got our homestudy updated and sent in our documents to have our 171H extended and the country changed from Guatemala to Ethiopia. Little did we know that at the exact same God was speaking so loudly to us that we were to go to Ethiopia to adopt a child, God was orchestrating the other side of the adoption as well as a little boy in Ethiopia had just lost both his parents and was being sent to an orphanage.

The first week of August (the 5th to be exact), we were going about our every "Cashcrew" life when I looked at John and said, "Do you know what would be perfect for our family? A very sweet little 4-6yr old boy who needs a family would fight right in." (I told no one else this...just a random "think out loud" moment.) Within an hour, a friend emailed me a photo of a little boy an agency was trying to find a home for. I am not kidding beside his photo it said, "Very sweet little 5yr old boy in Africa in need of a family." John urged me to ask more about him. SO many obstacles had to be crossed. First of all our homestudy wasn't finished, our dossier wasn't finished, and this email went out to several people. The odds someone else would adopt him before we got all these things in order were huge! The agency wouldn't place a child on hold before a dossier was in, which we agree with, for ethical reasons. We felt God was telling us this was our child but we would only know if he was still available once we had everything in order. We rushed and rushed trying to complete all of our paperwork and what should have taken us about 2 weeks, took us 3 months! Satan threw every kind of road block he could muster in our path to distract and discouraged. The harder Satan worked the closer we knew we were to completing God's plan. In November we officially accepted the referral of our soon-to-be son, B. :)

We feel so completely HONORED and BLESSED to be called by God to love this little boy. Per Ethiopian rules, we cannot share a photo of him until we have passed court and he is officially our son (which we hope will be in 2-3 months), but I can tell you he is ABSOLUTELY beautiful with the most gorgeous eyes and the longest eyelashes ever. He will melt many hearts with those eyes (and he already has starting with his mama's)!!!

We beg for your prayers. While I have complete faith that God will work out all of the kinks, there are many kinks. Please be praying for B's heart to be prepared for all the changes he will be going through soon. We will keep as many things the same as possible but leaving behind your language, culture, food, home, and everyone familiar would be very hard on any 5yr old. He will know little, if any English and we will know little Amharic. Please be praying for me to be prepared to leave my children (which is torture for me) and to take a very long flight (which I'm terrified of) when it's time to travel. Please pray that our children are prepared to share their mommy and daddy with him especially during the first days when he will need so much of us to learn his new life and to feel secure. Please be praying we keep God's plan in focus and do not take any of the's ALL HIM. HIS plan. HIS adoption. HIS GLORY.

We cannot wait to fill this empty spot & add some names up there!

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