Our Journey

This blog is a small peek inside our family's first adventure into the world of adoption. We welcome your encouragement & financial support, but most importantly we appreciate your prayer covering as we climb the mountains & wander the valleys of this incredibly crazy, yet exciting journey God is leading our family on. We also ask for your prayer covering over our new children, wherever & whoever they are, that they will sense God's loving presence as He snuggles them for us, & for protection from satan's evil schemes toward each of us. Though we may be on opposite sides of the globe, or just a few miles apart, we trust God has already been preparing all of us for each other as our family grows again. May all the Glory in this journey go to our Heavenly Father, who adopted each of us as His own beloved sons & daughters.

About Us

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ever Blogged From A Puddle?

This could be a long post (I'll almost guarantee it), so go put children down for naps, start your dishwasher, or washer and dryer, or crockpot, or whatever you need to wrap up... so you can sit with us for a bit without any mommy guilt, and enjoy hearing what God's been up to lately!

So last update... we're moving to Oklahoma instead of Texas. You got that, right? What's the timeline you ask? We still don't know yet. All we do know at this point is that the children and I will be moving out of our home in Idaho around the beginning of December. Rick's corporate housing ends just prior to Christmas. Two of Rick's supervisors told him his transfer to Oklahoma was approved and he'd be headed there around the beginning of November. Everything seemed to be falling into place smoothly. So I penciled our journey south into the margins of December's calendar page. I keep checking in with God to see if He has any further specific updates for us... and, well, He just keeps smiling back at us with that “Just you wait and see” grin. So we'll wait and see! And we'll let YOU know the plan when HE lets US know the plan. Until then, we'd love to share what all has transpired since you last heard from us two weeks ago...

A few days after our last blog entry, I received an apologetic email from a blogger friend saying they had learned that another family had dropped commitment money on one of the two girls we were intending to adopt. I went to the website of the organization that had the photolisting and sure enough, our “girl no. 2” (not the one with the cookie crumb on her lip, but rather the one with shaken baby syndrome) had been moved to the “My Family Found Me” page. My heart plummeted into my stomach. My heart was crushed. No, not just crushed... honestly, I was devastated. I cried. I really cried. I cried the whole day off and on. I probably needed to have a good cry by then anyway, but I'd been stiff-upper-lipping-it for several days before that. It had already been an emotionally draining month for us. On top of the normal stress of a job change, our family being separated from Rick by 1800 miles for an indefinite period of time, and preparing a large family for a cross-country move, this month alone held three anniversaries of grief for us; the 2nd anniversary of my dad's unexpected passing, the 17th anniversary of our first miscarriage (which for some reason never quite hit me as hard in the past as it did this year), and then my original expected due date for our precious son, Nehemiah. Had we not experienced a first trimester miscarriage earlier this year, I would have been giving birth to him sometime last week (give or take). Those who have not experienced a miscarriage many times cannot understand how reaching their EDD can throw a mom into round two of her grieving process. We've lost 5 babies by miscarriage over the years, so I kind of figured I was sort of an “expert” by now and could handle it just fine this time. Yeah right! Our children were also grieving the loss of their Grandpa as well, saddened by the realization that, with the pending move, we wouldn't be able to go to the cemetery on his birthday, etc. It was a puddle month around here regardless of how many times we've grieved a loss already. And although I am, in some ways, grateful that God, in His mercy, knew beforehand that giving birth right now (without Rick by my side), immediately followed by trying to pack and move with a newborn, would have been a very, very difficult ordeal for me, I still grieved our empty arms this past week, wishing it could have somehow ended differently. I miss the pitter-patter of little feet in our home, and waking up to little eyeballs at the edge of our bed staring at us until we wake up. (Well, okay, I still get those with our dog being inside. She likes to stare me awake in the morning too!) And yes, I do miss the diaper bag stage, and the potty training stage, and everything else that goes with being blessed with children. Even God's Word says that a woman's womb is never satisfied. He made mamas that way for a purpose! So I found myself processing tidbits of grief off and on last week.

On top of that reason for the teary eyes, the children and I also hit “the wall” of Rick's absence here at home. Yes, I know we “should be used to it by now”. Let me explain something though... you never “get used to it”. And if you do, it should worry you deeply! Yes, we've learned over the last (almost) 6 years of Rick being a long-haul trucker (and a few other years before that with jobs that frequently took him out of town) to adjust to life without his physical presence in our home at every meal or at bedtime, but there just never is any real “getting used to it”. I always knew from past experience that we usually “hit our wall” around week three. It didn't matter what time of the month it was, “the wall” was usually around week three. That's when you see six teenagers morph into children I don't recognize as my own offspring. And they probably watch their mom regress into some strange woman they aren't eager to claim either! But around week four, life usually returns to a semi-normal state and moves on again. So this time around, when week three came and went, no meltdowns, and week four came and went, and no meltdowns, I was very thankful! I assumed, silly me, that attitudes around here were just staying a bit more even due to the excitement of our pending move south. Then week five hit. And I don't know for sure how they measure tornadoes, hurricanes, and nuclear explosions, but let me tell you... well, never mind. I'll move on. ;-)

So the day I received the email that “girl no. 2” had another family pursuing her as well, the cares of the world were already weighing me down. It just hit me when I was already not at my best, and I dreaded telling Rick or our children about this new development. I knew he had fallen over himself already with his love for these precious girls, and the children has as well. I prayed about how to tell him and the children the heartbreaking news. And I knew I had nothing positive to say about it yet, so I said very little that day to anyone, but my eyes leaked a lot. It was the only day I was thankful that my children are easily distracted from their packing projects by the books in their rooms. God must have known I needed the semi-alone time to cry without them asking why.

A few hours after receiving that email about “girl no. 2”, I received a text message on my phone from our oldest son which read “Guess what I did at work,” and a picture showing his leg in a brace type thing. As I waited for another text with an explanation, I thought “Seriously God? What else could possibly make this week any worse?” While working with a family member doing some landscaping project, our son's knee had popped completely out of socket, bending his leg sideways toward his other leg. Because of it, he was now in a velcro knee thingy (I can't think of the proper word right now), and not able to stand or walk without crutches. He was in a LOT of pain even though his knee had been popped back into place right away. As a mom, not being able to do anything to change his situation, it was one more weight on my shoulders that day. It hurt me to watch him in pain and not be able to make it all better for him. I don't care how grown up they get, a mom will always want to ease her children's aches and pains. Satan was playing around with my mommy guilt for sure. “If you can't be a good mom to him, if you can't ease his suffering, what kind of mom do you really think you would've been to 'girl no. 2' anyway? See, it's better that she goes to another family. They could take better care of her than you! She's beyond your capabilities anyway. You have no experience with her condition.” And on, and on, and on... satan attacked me with both barrels that afternoon. He knows my weakest spot over the years has been my mothering skills. And he's made good use of many willing participants in assaulting me in that area. That is where he has targeted me most in the past. His M.O. was certainly familiar, and I should have recognized it immediately, but I didn't. He is the accuser of God's beloved, full of twisted lies that shoot at us like a fully loaded assault rifle. And that day, his aim was pretty close to the center of his target; my heart.

Then that evening, Rick called after work to tell me that a third supervisor had approached him saying yes, the transfer was still approved, BUT it wouldn't be until sometime in 2012, and he wouldn't narrow it down from there as to when Rick could go. With real vagueness, he said Rick had to be at a certain “level” or something before a location transfer is made, but couldn't/wouldn't give any specifics as to what the goal was, or how long it would likely take someone to reach it. (We're not sure what the political pecking order is between the 3 supervisors, so we don't know yet who has the final say... besides God.) So our prayer at this time is that God will orchestrate the transfer according to the word of the first two supervisors, allowing Rick to relocate very soon so he can begin the house-hunting process in advance of our arrival there. Needless to say, when Rick called with that news of the possible delay, I realized very quickly that satan had been target practicing on the whole family that day. Now we were both stressed about the move, the adoption, etc. I did my best to be my husband's cheerleader in the moment and encourage him that “God had it all under control”, even though I was discouraged myself. But even as I said them, my words felt so empty, like I was lying to him and blowing smoke in his face. We were both doubting God's faithfulness at the same time, even though we've always said we couldn't both be “down” at the same time, lest there be no one to pick the other back up. So Rick and I lamented together on the phone for a few minutes, wondering why God was letting life unravel on us. As I got off the phone, that's when I heard God say, in His gentle fatherly way, “I can't have it all under control until you're willing to lay your Isaac down.” Ouch!! OUCH!! But it was true. I needed to just trust that He would “provide the ram in the thicket”, and just keep doing the last thing He said to do, which was to sort and pack, and prep for the move and the adoption process ahead of us. Have you ever noticed how God doesn't give you multiple instructions at a time? He doesn't move you on to your next task or assignment until you're willing to obey Him in the last thing He instructed you to do. So we're leaving the concrete details of this move in His perfectly capable hands until He's ready to converse with us about that. God knows that we need to have our family all living under one roof again. He knows when our current housing situations end. He knows already what home we will be moving into when we arrive there. He knows I really want a heavily treed property like we have here in Idaho, and a large window over my kitchen sink looking out into that green yard filled with lots of trees. (God, You did get my memo about that, right?) Okay, I really am learning to let God handle this department on our behalf since I have too much else to do to get ready for the move anyway. I'm just doing my best to stay focused on the sorting, packing, and prepping for now, without getting distracted by the things He's working on for us behind the scenes. I'm not big enough to handle it all right now. But He is! And that's actually a relief to me! It means I'll have fewer gray hairs by the time we arrive in Oklahoma.

So God had a pep talk with me about the move over those next few days. Next came the harder part. It was the pep talk about the adoption and the orphans we've grown to love so much. I was willing to take “Isaac” to the hillside with the timing of our move, and I was even willing to seat “Isaac” on the altar when it came to the location in which we'd move, but I had yet to “lay him down” on the altar when it came to the adoption. The next part of that pep talk from God came in a text message from my husband, who thankfully was listening to God as well. I know for a fact he was, because I had yet to share with him what God has said to me about laying my “Isaac” down. In his text message, Rick summarized something he'd learned from Bruce Wilkinson's book, The Dream Giver;

Be honest with God about how you feel (He already knows anyway) but always acknowledge His sovereignty. There almost always comes a point where the Dream Giver will ask us to surrender our dream. Sometimes like Abraham sacrificing Isaac, He gives the dream back to us to complete. Other times, like Kind David and the temple, He gives it to another (Solomon) to complete. We must never lose sight of the fact that the purpose of any dream is to bring glory and honor to the One who gave it to us. Even when David surrendered his dream, he continued to prepare the way for the one who would complete it. Humbling to think about, isn't it?”

Is my man an exhorter or what? I had no doubt God was speaking to me through my husband that day. See how I said we've always striven to make sure one of us was always “up” to lift the other when they were “down”? He shared what he'd learned from a book to encourage me through my heartbreak. (And I know his heart was breaking too, even though he was trying to lift me up again.) I had yet to read that book for myself, although I've intended to for years. After this conversation with Rick, I figured I'd dig it out of whatever box it was in... AFTER we finished the move. I planned to put it in my “to be read next” pile next to my side of our bed... in the new house. Obviously, God had other plans. Wouldn't you know it... God has a sense of humor! I can prove it! I came downstairs from my bedroom after reading Rick's text message, and, of course, a copy of that book was laying in the hallway at the base of the stairs. Just there. On the carpet. In the hallway. All by it's lonesome. How did it get there? No one knows. Seriously! No one recalls leaving that book there, never mind having held it or looked at it prior to me finding it there. (I know our dog is the master of kitchen dumpster diving while we're not aware, but bookcase dumping now too? Intelligent ol' girl is into doing God's business now too? Well, like I've said before... “If God can speak through a donkey...”) I seriously don't have a clue how the book got there, but I don't think God could have made the message any clearer... I need to read the book NOW, before we move! (Doesn't God realize just how many books I'm in the middle of right now?) Okay, obedience. I've got it! I haven't really gotten very far into the book yet, but that pep talk was the beginning of me releasing these girls from Ukra*ne back OUT of my incapable hands into His fully capable ones. When I finally reached that point a few days after that devastating email where I could say (without the mommy guilt of “not being good enough”) that if “girl no. 2” was adopted by the other family, then I was okay with that being God's perfect plan for her instead of being a part of our family. God gently reminded us that our original prayer for all of these orphans was for them to have a family to call their own, and for them to be able to leave the orphanage behind as quickly as possible, EVEN IF IT WASN'T WITH US. And several days after that first email, when I could again say that prayer with all sincerity, that's when I received yet another email...

It said that the other family had heard about us, had read our blog, and hoped to speak with us in real life as soon as possible. I really didn't know what to think. Honestly, I was scared. What if they were mean-spirited people? What if they put us through the wringer with their questions? What if they just want to make sure we clearly understood they had official dibs on this child now? We've all heard the story of the two moms in the Bible fighting over who got to keep the baby, right? I didn't really know for sure what this other family wanted. And although we still had a deep desire to adopt “girl no. 2”, the last thing WE wanted was a competition over an innocent child. I'm really a pretty phlegmatic person (with a good dose of melancholy thrown in for good measure), so I loathe unnecessary conflict! I wondered to myself if I could genuinely congratulate this other family on their adoption of “our” daughter. I had a LOT to pray about. My heart was still breaking at our potential loss. And yet I knew if we didn't let her go, their hearts would likely break too, but in the process, we would become their enemy, and they ours. I came face to face with “my Isaac” in that moment, and I knew I had to make that choice to obey or to disobey, not knowing the outcome. Not knowing if God would make me slay my dream, or if He would send a ram in the thicket just in the nick of time. I think it might have been one of the hardest things I'd ever done. I didn't tell Rick about them wanting to talk to us until I was fairly certain I could genuinely let her go and be happy for them. (Why was the process of letting go of a child so much harder this time than with the boys we first hoped to adopt? I don't know. I can't answer that one.) While I wrestled with God in making this decision to lay my “Isaac” down, I'm sure our children thought their mother was off in la-la-looney-land again!

I knew we had to face the music, and I told Rick this other family would like us to call them. So Rick and I bit the bullet, dialed their phone number, and began a conference call with this other family, not really knowing what to expect, or what to say. From the beginning, they openly shared their hearts with us, very quickly putting us at ease, and we knew we could openly share our hearts with them as well. We conversed about our respective families, how we each came to the place of pursuing adoption, and sharing info about international adoption in general. Before our conversation with them ended, we all prayed together for “girl no. 2” and for God to lead the four of us into a peace about her future, as well as the futures of both of our families. An hour and 15 minutes after that call began, we ended the conversation knowing we had made new friends who had huge hearts of gold. We hung up the phone still not knowing what the future held for us, or for them, but knowing one of our families was going to gain a daughter, and one of us was going to face the loss of the dream of adopting her. The future was unknown to all of us as we hung up the phone, but Rick and I had that confidence that God was truly in control of it all anyway. I had no doubts when we hung up that day that I had genuinely “laid my Isaac down” completely, regardless of the outcome which gave me an unexplainable peace inside.

The next morning, we awoke to an email from this family saying they had spent some time in prayer over the adoption of this precious girl. They wanted us to know they had notified the photolisting organization of their decision to pursue a different child and they wanted our family to continue to pursue “girl no. 2”. Again, I was speechless, and all I could do was cry. I was in a puddle of tears once again, not out of fear, or worry, or heartache, or anything like that. I was kneeling in a puddle of humble happy tears.

Rick and I could never say thank you to them enough, other than to humbly ask all of you to join us in prayer for our new friends, Jamie and Stephanie, as they wait for God to lead them to the child He has ordained for their family. Whoever she is, we know their new daughter is going to be an extra special addition to their family, and she will be greatly loved by the most unselfish parents we've met in a very long time. We would like to encourage your support of their adoption process as well! It would bring us joy to see their adoption fund grow quickly too!

So later on that day when I logged onto our Facebook page, I noticed a quote on someone's wall that summed it all up so perfectly:

You know it's love when all you want is for that person to be happy,
even if you're not part of their happiness. ~ Author unknown”
I will tell you now, “girl no. 2” is genuinely loved by this other very unselfish family. This describes the situation so very well. We, both families, loved her enough to be willing to let her go. She is genuinely loved and treasured, by more than just our family, and she doesn't even know it yet. It is humbling. I cried that entire day as the words to the Matt Redman song “Never Once” kept going through my mind...

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You've done
Knowing every victory
Is Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
The song lyrics stayed on auto-repeat in my mindand the tears just flowed. How could they not? 
He IS faithful!

So you haven't heard from us in the last two weeks, but I have an excuse... it's hard to know exactly what to write when you're blogging knee deep in a puddle... 

~ Michelle


  1. Wow Michelle, what a powerful testimony... I feel like every time I read your blog I walk away deeply touched and encouraged and today is no exception as I sit here reading with tears streaming down my face. Thank you for taking time time to share this intimate story of what God's been doing in your lives. "Girl no. 2" is truly loved by so many... I can't wait until she knows it and I look forward to watching God's wonderful plans for her play out.

  2. Michelle, I don't think I have ever cried so much in reading one post as I did in this one. Thank you for sharing your heart, and this beautiful story. God is doing mighty things in your lives and your girls lives.

  3. I would love to follow your blog but could you PLEASE change your font!! I can't read the print. My eyes can't focus on such tiny words.... PLEASE???


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