Tuesday, January 31, 2012


  • Joya 178We inherited an outdoor cat to solve our mouse problems from some friends who moved away.  Our outdoor cat has suddenly become an indoor-sleep-on-Rufus's-bed-22-hours-of-the-day-until-I-put-her-out cat.  My husband likes We like her though. 
  • I've decided that my favorite daytime listening Pandora station is "70's easy listening" - there is rarely a song I don't love.  I know, I should work in a doctor's office.
  • I'm seeing my sweet Squirt blossom at four and a half years old.  I agonized over the thought of him going to Kindergarten this fall, but now I think he's really ready.
  • Joya 127Two weeks ago a dear friend and I set up a "let's meet for dinner come hell or high water" night.  That night was last night.  It was blissful.  We ate lots of food including fried green tomatoes.  We talked and talked and laughed until the restaurant closed and then we walked to my car, I drove her to her car, and we talked for another 30+ minutes.  I left with a smile on my face.  It was a treat.
  • Fifth grade homework sucks.  I hate that projects become MY work and I wind up caring more about his responsibilities than he does.  Then again, I thought that midnight feedings sucked until I was on my third and fourth child and then they were easy.  So maybe fifth grade will be like that.  Or maybe not.
  • I hate the school science fair.  Please refer to my previous bullet.
  • My kids are so hungry when they come home from school.  Today I have dinner prepared for them at 3:30 so we can eat for real and then a snack later.  I'll report back with how that works.
  • One of my older children still wets the bed at night and I've gotten my hands on a "potty pager" to try to train the stubborn child out of the habit.  Last night was the dry run, except it wasn't dry, it was wet, more than once, and he hates wearing it.  I hate pee, so there.
  • Joya 185The first part of January was spent painting Mrs. Nesbit's room, and since we've lived in this house six and a half years and I've been looking at dingy not-so-white walls and ugly light fixtures in my bedroom, I just decided to push on through and paint that room too (which happens to be a rather large bedroom).  Ceiling, trim, walls, outlets, light switches, and light fixtures are all new now.  I was an aching, messy, paint covered, non-showering woman on a mission for an entire week, but it is done and I love it!  Now we are drooling over the thought of new carpet, and I hate to drool.
  • Because I know you're wondering, our adoption paperwork is in the final stages and we look on track to leave for China on March 14th.  My waves of anxiety have started regarding our/her transition and I'm clinging to the proven fact that God works good through the hard stuff in life.  Not that I wish it to be hard, but I want more of God for sure, so pretty much I can't lose, right?
  • The ski season has been a total BUST so far and I am actually praying for several big, powdery snow storms to crush our little town so that I can frolic on the slopes sufficiently before I bring a precious two year-old home from China.  Have you ever known me to pray for snow?  It's bad, people.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


To the bravest woman I know:

sweet joya This is a unique day in our paths, for I am certain that we are both wondering similar things today about the same special little girl that neither of us are able to be with.  Are you wondering what our sweet two year old girl looks like?  Are you wondering if she will get a party today or open any presents?

Are you sharing my questions about her care and if she knows that she is an orphan?  Do you have any suspicions about what her future holds?

Are you remembering the moment you realized that she could not be yours forever?  I wonder about you all the time.   I wonder if you knew her fate before you gave birth, or whether upon holding her in your arms your tears fell because her gender or medical needs forced you to give her up.

Are you picturing the day you wrapped her tiny body in a blanket, placed her in a paper box, tucked a note with her information beside her, and kissed her goodbye?  I'm wondering if you watched from afar as she was found on the doorstep you left her on.  Did you ever walk by the orphanage hoping to catch a glimpse of her?

I'm certain that you are wondering about me as well.  Was your written request for someone to adopt her fulfilled?  Where is she in the world?  Does she have siblings?  Medical care?  Parents that kiss and cuddle her?  A warm bed?  A limitless future?

Whatever the reasons were for leaving her that day, I wish you could know that I think you are brave and I am grateful that you gave her life.  Whatever the reasons were that prevented you from being her forever mommy, I wish you could know that you will never be forgotten.

Because, although we can't celebrate with her either today, we will be with her soon and plan to celebrate many, many birthdays with her.  We will tell her what we know and as she grows, give her the freedom and opportunities to learn all she can about her beginnings.

We will fulfill your request to adopt her and heal her and open the lid to her future so that she can make whatever she wants of it.  We pray that she grows up to make a difference in the lives of others and make the world better, giving glory to the one who knitted her together in your womb.

My heart is tied to yours today as we wish Joya a happy birthday from much too far away.

Forever grateful,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

manna and quail

I have been told by other adoptive families that sometimes the life changing part of adoption is not necessarily the addition of a child to the family, but the process of getting to that point.  We are about two months away from our travel date, and I am gaining clarity that the process is life changing for me.

I have touched on the financial aspect of this adoption being a major source of stress and strain (very common for adoptive families).  The timing was terrible from a personal planning standpoint, and I had very little trust from the beginning that God would PROVIDE.  I went into this thinking we would have to be creative and work hard to pull together the finances ourselves.

Ten months into our adoption journey, I have finally come to the realization that God has been gracious to give us just enough.  He has met every invoice with just enough money in our adoption savings account to pay it.

It started about two months into the process.  I was telling someone close to me about the stress of paying the home study fee of $1,400.  We were really only dipping our toe into the adoptive waters where fees were concerned, but it felt like a ton of money and I really didn't know where the rest was going to come from.  A week later, a check for $500 arrived in the mail with an encouraging note telling me how much this couple wanted to be invested in our adoption because of their great excitement for our future daughter.

We were blown away.  I felt so loved, but I didn't realize that this was just a glimpse of the waterfall of financial gifts that were to come:

  • A sweet friend showed up on our doorstep and said their family wanted to be involved, handed us an envelope, hugged us, and left.  We opened the envelope to find it contained $1,000 cash.
  • Our friends chose us to be the recipients of their adoption jar and surprised us with $283.77.
  • A friend who doesn't even know me that well, offered me ALL of her airline miles for our trip to China.
  • Out of the blue, a close friend of my husband's sent us a card with a message explaining how our decision to adopt had touched his family.  Inside the card was a check for $500.
  • My sister and my step-mom held a fundraiser for us in the Midwest.  Last I had heard, they had raised somewhere around $500, which was unexpected and amazing.  When Amy visited in December, she presented me with the final check - $1,365.
  • The very first people who sent the $500 check came back and offered us an interest-free loan for any amount if the need should arise.
  • Someone else very close to us contacted us and offered to pay for a significant portion of our travel expenses.
  • In addition to babysitting for us free of charge countless times, my neighbor collected spare change and coffee money into a vase on her countertop throughout the summer and fall.  Over Christmas break, she brought us over $87 to contribute to bringing Joya home.
  • I opened a Christmas card and a check for $1,000 fell out of it.  There was even a heartfelt offer to contribute more if we need it.
  • I opened another Christmas card and a check for $200 fell out of it.  They included a note expressing the excitement this family shared with us across many miles.

Shortly before Christmas, I wrote a check toward our adoption costs for $10,860.  I moved the money from our savings account where all these contributions were deposited and waiting with the money we saved each month.

And there was just enough.

We don't have any idea where the rest of the money for our trip will come from.  To be honest, we've spent time drowning in the stress of it all and succumbed to some major marital arguments about it.  I'm sure Satan had a party that day, because after all that I had seen, I still doubted.  I still wanted control and security.

Today I was pondering the lesson that God has clearly been teaching me.  The gap in my faith at the beginning of this journey is glaring to me now.

I opened my Bible to Exodus chapter 16.  "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you.  The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.  In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.' "  It goes on to tell how God provided quail (in the desert, go figure) each evening and Manna each morning - but only just enough for their immediate need so that they would continue to depend on Him.

Some of the Israelites collected more Manna than they needed, therefore disobeying God's instructions to depend on Him to provide food each day (trying to take over control).  "However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell."

I am now confident that if we began our adoption with the funds ready to write checks for all the costs, I would have relied on our own abilities and resources and NOT God's provision.  My heart would be inwardly focused, crawling with maggots, and foul with smell.

I would not have been transformed into a more generous person either.  I'll be honest and say to you that I doubt I would ever show up on a friend's doorstep and hand over $1,000.  That example of sacrificial generosity showed me the person I want to be going forward.

But apparently I needed to be the recipient of such generosity in order to learn the importance of being the giver.

My responsibility is to do my best with what I have been given, with both possessions and talents.  But, first and foremost, He wants me to depend on Him for each day, for each invoice, for each unknown, and for each fear.

I'm thankful that He has withheld abundance in this part of our adoption.  My life is so abundant in many ways, but He has given us the GIFT of a picture of being in the desert, doing what He wants us to do, totally dependant on Him for what is next.

He has given us just enough.

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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