Five Minute Friday: In Between

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These little shoes have little feet to fill them.  Those little feet are on the other side of the world, where my heart is.

We are living in the in between of not being parents and being parents. Every morning I wake up and wonder what our daughters had for lunch and if they are laughing and playing with their foster mom. Every night I pray that they are sleeping with full bellies and healthy bodies. Knowing who my daughters are, but not being able to care for them is just plain hard.

The in between stage for the majority women is a well defined 9 months. When people ask us how long we will wait, I go into a rehearsed speech of why it could be 7 months or why it will more than likely take at least a year for them to be in our arms and then explain that there is always the chance it may never happen. Every time my heart hurts when I speak those words.  I do not do well in the in between stages of life.

It’s here in the in between that I have found a deeper need, no a desperate need, to hold on to the One who holds time in His hands. He is the Only One who will be able to hold me in this season of longing for our daughters, to having in our arms and have our hearts filled with their presence. He is who I cry out to every morning, afternoon, and evening to be near our babies and to be near me.

I have found something special here. My loving heavenly Father is nearer now than ever.

In my in between.

Today I linked up again with Lisa-Jo Baker & her Five Minute Friday community. Every Friday a one word writing prompt is given and for five minutes you share your heart on what that word means to you.

Did you read my post where I shared my heart on the loss of our first referral? You can check it out here.

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How We Vacation

In about three hours my hubby and I will be driving out of the 116 degree temps of Tucson and hitting the road to tour Northern California! I’m so excited that I couldn’t stay asleep. So while, my husband is still sleeping, I’m going to share with you how we vacation.

My Idea of Vacation

My Idea of Vacation

My sweet husband and I vacation very differently! It’s one of those differences between us that we didn’t realize until exactly 17 months in when we were on our postponed honeymoon to the Cook Islands and New Zealand (it was awesome by the way). I am the type of vacationer that likes to sit by the ocean or on the back deck and read till my heart’s content or talk walks along the beach or hikes in the mountains. My husband loves to be doing something, seeing something because in his mind if we traveled there, don’t we want to see as much as we can?

Jason would tour this city all day!

Jason would tour this city all day!

I totally get that, but I am an introvert and an HSP (highly sensitive person…I should post about that sometime…), so having a lot of noise, people, and just stuff stimulation wears me out and makes me feel a bit crazy. My husband is a high extrovert and is amped up by all of that stimulation that makes me lose my marbles. How do we balance those two personalities and vacationing styles?

We are still learning. Last year when we went to the Cook Islands, we laid out by the beach and snorkeled in the ocean for the majority of our time (my perfect). In New Zealand we caught all the sites we could in two of the three cities and I slept through most of the other one because I was so exhausted. It was in Rotorua where we learned that we have differing vacation styles 🙂

This year as we tour Northern California, we are balancing our time. I want Jason to be able to see the sights and feel energized by the new surroundings. And I know he wants me to be able to be in the quiet and be near God’s beautiful creation.

So we devised a plan. We sat down a few nights ago and made a list of all the things we would like to see in San Francisco, Monterrey, & Sonoma. We then narrowed that list down to a more reasonable number and left the rest of our time as coffee shop time, beach time, or walking in the natural beauty time.

We are extremely happy with our google spreadsheet itinerary (we are both the first child in our family…it shows) and we are both willing to tell the other if we want to do something more or less.

We are hopeful that this vacation will meet both of our needs, but mostly we are hopeful that as we separate from this busy season of life, we will come home refreshed, reconnected and ready to take on what ever life has in store for us!

Have you found that you and your significant other have differing vacation styles? How have you managed that?

Now we only have 2.5 hours before we hit the road, so I think I’ll head out for a run to expend some of this energy. 🙂

Our Story is Not our Own {Mercy Found}

Today I’m over at Mercy Found Ministries. Mercy Found is a ministry founded by 3 adoptive mamas who saw a need to encourage adoptive families on their journey. They understand the financial burden and need for community that the adoption journey requires. God opened their eyes to the plight of the orphan and used their individual adoption journeys to ignite in their hearts a desire to financially and emotionally support adoptive families before, during, and after their adoption. 

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In February of this past year, I anxiously opened my email to see a picture of two beautiful faces looking back at me and we were told that these girls would be ours. We lovingly named them A & M and began dreaming about the day they would come home. Six short weeks later, I received a phone call that knocked me to my knees. Those precious girls weren’t going to be coming home to us. A situation had occurred that would not result in an adoption.

At that point, I couldn’t see past my own pain and loss. I doubted God’s goodness for my family and doubted whether I could keep going. I was tired of putting my faith in building our family, only to see my dreams time and time again fall through. What I didn’t see was that God was working on behalf of those little girls for their good and He was molding my heart so that He would receive the ultimate Glory.

When my husband and I began the journey of adoption, we didn’t anticipate roadblocks of the magnitude we experienced and we also didn’t expect that God would use adoption to open our eyes to orphan care around the world.  When we were told that A & M were not adoptable any more due to a family member stepping forward, I didn’t understand.

In my American prideful mindset, I thought that what my husband and I could provide them would be best. I didn’t understand that adoption isn’t always the ideal choice. I had thought adoption was the only way to help the orphan crisis. That was until we received that phone call about A & M and my eyes were opened to the true need in hard places, like Africa.

One rough morning I was crying with my friend on the phone and in her wisdom and through the Holy Spirit she told me something that has changed my heart for birth families forever. As she was praying she asked that God would open my heart to love and pray for the family of A & M. She called out to God and thanked Him that He knew that keeping A & M in Africa was the best for them and prayed that because they were staying in their biological family, the girls would grow to be women who love their people and help facilitate change. After that prayer, I was in hot tears. I was humbled by the truth that I was not the best for these girls. I will never know the outcome of A & M’s story, but in their short six weeks of being with me they have forever changed my story.

Adoption can’t and shouldn’t be the only answer to the millions of orphans living in the streets and in orphanages around the world. There are countless vulnerable children in the world who aren’t in need of being adopted, but are in need of their mom and/or dad having the resources to care for them.

As my heart has grown for adoption, I have also been challenged to start thinking about ways we can preserve the birth families of these children so that children can grow up emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy in their given culture. There will and are children who most definitely need the gift of adoption. And there are children like A & M who had family who wanted to care for them, but needed the resources to make that happen.

Where do I go from here?

Where do you go from here?

Begin with prayer. It will only be through the work of the Holy Spirit that change will happen and people’s lives will be restored. Pray for healing. Pray for restoration. Pray for goers. And pray about whether you are to send or go.

Start with being a learner and getting others involved in what you’re learning. Open your mind and heart to the possibility that some of our preconceptions about third world countries have been wrong. Learn about other organizations making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and women, such as Amazima and Compassion International. Read books like Orphan Justice by Johnny Carr.  Find your tribe of people who “get this” because we can’t live this out in isolation.

Finally, some of you will go to the hard places. It’s my dream to be able to go to the hard places of the world and help those in need. Not for my glory, but to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need and to experience a deeper intimacy with my Savior that rescued me from the pits of brokenness.

We as followers of Jesus are all called to care for the orphans and widows in their distress…how will you engage in that calling on your life?

And if you were wondering…two months ago we received another email filled with pictures of two other little girls who, Lord willing, will come home soon to us!

Weekend Reading

This weekend we are lining up some fun stops to make on our vacation through Northern California! I’m so excited to spend 5 days in San Francisco {we are for sure going to find the house from  Full House!} and have a 10 day getaway with my husband…SO NEEDED!

Full House

But first, I wanted to take a little break and share some of my favorite posts I found encouraging & challenging this week.

I hope that you all have a refreshing weekend! See you on Monday!

The Research that Proves You Can Change the World by Ann Voskamp {this is why we sponsor a Compassion child & why I need to be better at communicating with our little guy}

One more by Ann Voskamp because this letter needs to be shared A Letter to the North American Church: Because it’s Time

The One You Rush Through by Jessi Connolly {I don’t want to rush through this season of not having children. I want to squeeze all of the blessings out of it.}

Sometimes is Begins with a Whisper by Holley Gerth {I want to be brave enough to say Yes, don’t you?}

And for all my mama friends with little ones, here’s one that will make you smile Surviving Summer by Jen Hatmaker

Monday I will be the guest blogger for Mercy Found Ministries. I hope you’ll join me over there as I share a little of what my heart has gone through when we lost a referral a few months ago.

 

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

Rhythm.

Can I pause for a moment and say how I will never spell rhythm correctly the first time and I’m lucky if I spell it correctly the second time. English language, you baffle me sometimes.

There has been a rhythm to my life lately that has felt foreign. Life has surprisingly sped up in a season where I was anticipating a slow down. The longer I live this grown-up life, the more I realize my perceived need to control the cadence of my life with little regard to the freedom I have to dance in good plans of Christ.

Adoption does that to you, people. It makes you feel crazy and steady all at the same time. There are days you wonder if what you’re doing matters or if it will come to fruition and then the days come that are filled with a joyful music that bring peace, expectancy, and hope. It’s a matter of finding the rhythm of life in the already, but not yet time of being united as a family.

I long for the days I didn’t feel so tightly wound and wonder how do you loosen up when the answers are coming?  The steady pace of life I crave to step into seems impossible after a long season of running and gathering, with no end in sight? How does one find the beat again?

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Daring to be quiet and let the Word of God pour over my heart without worrying about what the clock says.

Sitting on our red adirondack chairs talking about life and dreaming again with my loved ones.

Planning a schedule that gives fluidity, but also structure so the Master of the Rhythm can teach me how to sway again to His rhythm that brings life and peace.

For those of us who feel harried and out-of-rhthym, let’s go to our Creator who sets all things in place for His good purpose.

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STOP

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Today I’m joining Lisa-Jo Baker  {for the first time}and a wonderful community of ladies for Five Minute Friday. Join us?

Thank You!

thank you

Our Thirty-One Fundraiser ended yesterday! The fundraiser went better than I was anticipating! We brought in $425 for our adoption fees. I just wanted to say thank you to all who shared our fundraiser, purchased product, and prayed for us!

We are getting closer and closer to reaching our next goal of $21,700! We have raised roughly $5,000 so far. I know that it seems like we have a long way to go (we do!), but we are tired and know that we are in need of taking a fundraising sabbath. The timing of our exhaustion works out well since we will be heading on vacation one week from today!

Thank you all for hanging in with us as we continue to wait for the day our girls are in our arms!

 

ps-If you’re interested in donating a tax-deductible gift at anytime, we are partnering with AdoptTogether. Here is our website: www.adopttogether.org/woodadoption/

I’m Over at Dreaming Big Dreams

Today I’m guest posting at Jamie Ivey’s blog, Dreaming Big Dreams. Jamie is the wife of the Austin Stone Community Church‘s worship pastor. She has been doing a Monday series of where and why friends (and blog followers) of hers adopt. Here is a little snippet and I hope you’ll jump over to Jamie’s blog to read the rest of our story.

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Pray. Take a step. Listen to your desires. Trust God.

 

My husband and I are on our first adoption journey of probably many. And I don’t say that because this specific journey has been easy, or even fun. It’s been hard. It’s been refining, yet there is a deep change happening in our souls. God is breaking our hearts for the orphan and He is cutting through and destroying my control idol.

 

Eight months ago, we decided to embark on this crazy road of adoption. We had been trying to conceive for a year with no success. We knew that God had called us to adopt sometime in our life, so we thought that this was that time.

Continue reading here