i’m a dreamer

dreamer_by_tgphotographer

I’m a dreamer. Not the visionary-type of dreamer, mind you. I’m a vivid night dreamer. My husband has declared the drive to work “Story time with Sarah” because I often spend the first 10-15 minutes sharing the previous night’s dreams to him (he doesn’t find them as intriguing as I do, but he listens…good man). My dreams are usually far-fetched stories that include bits and pieces of my days or something that we watched on TV the night before.

(I have a lot of Sydney Bristow (Alias) & Olivia Dunham (Fringe) dream-type dreams. Which often lead to interesting conversations as we drive to work!)

But, a few months ago I had a dream that has embedded itself into my mind’s eye and I hope it never leaves.

(Disclaimer: the dream is not how the reality is in our adoption process…that would be weird)

In this dream, my husband and I were headed to a hospital in the states to meet our children for the first time. We were walking through customs on a hospital floor feeling very nervous but excited to meet our children for the first time. We were then taken to a room filled with children and someone introduced us to our older daughter! She was beautiful, healthy, and happy playing with her friends and toys. We were then escorted to another room to meet our other child. As we entered the room, a nurse explained to us that our son was very ill. I went to him and saw his tiny, frail body and swooped him up. The nurse continued to tell us that he probably wasn’t going to make it and we should consider staying with him for as long as we can in the hospital.

In the dream, we weren’t supposed to take our children home yet; we could just visit with them for a short time. I pleaded with the nurse to let us take home our son for the remainder of his short life. As the nurse left to discuss with her directors, I held our son in my arms on a hospital bed. I told him how much I loved him and how wonderful he was and how I was going to do everything I could to make him feel better. He looked straight into my eyes and said “Mommy, I love you. All I want you to do is hold me until I die.”

And then I woke up in tears…

I also woke up with the pressing words of God on my heart…”I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.” God clearly spoke to my heart that there are countless orphans around the world battling illnesses who just want someone to call Mommy and hold them in their most desperate moments. I was and still am overwhelmed.

What do I do with this dream? How do I act upon it? How can I hold those little boys and girls who are sick while I am thousands of miles away? How do I care for children who may not be sick, but their chances of adoption or family are slim to none?

I still don’t know what to do with this dream and with this heart desire. We sponsor two children through Amazima and Compassion. We are adopting. We give to friends who go to orphanages. We try to raise awareness. We pray.

But still I feel like I can do more and I want to do more. I want to go to the broken places. I want to hold the children, care for the sick, and tell them about the love of Jesus. I want to build relationships with orphanages and help them provide medicine, love, and staff.

I guess you could say that I am a visionary dreamer too…

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. 

africa adoption--pink-puzzle

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!

This One’s Going to be Random…

I really should be washing the piles of dishes accumulating in my sink, but instead I chose to sit down, type out a few words, and drink some iced coffee from a mason jar.

iced coffee

I’m on day 3  of 6 of baby-sitting for a friend and I. AM. TIRED. My little friends are wonderful and great kids, but whoosh am I not used to that pace of life yet! Caring for a 2.5 & 14 month old is busy! Today as I was reading to one of the kiddos, I realized that the ages of G & M are almost identical to the ages of my friends’ kids (if their documentation is correct). Life will change dramatically when they come home and I can’t wait for it!

In two and a half weeks, the husband and I are hitting the road for two weeks to drive up to Northern California to visit wineries, friends, and enjoy time away. Any tips for long car rides? We like reading books to one another. On our last big road trip, we read almost three of the Harry Potter books. We may try to finish the series on the road, but we are open to other ideas.

Last week, I signed up for a blogging class for the month of July with Blogelina. Included in the class is a year of free web-hosting, so this site may be changing a lot in the near future. I’m really excited to see what God will do with this little blog. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for a new name. If you have any ideas, I’d love to throw them in the pot! My husband has been trying to have me sit down to do a day of brainstorming for the blog…maybe that will finally happen this week!

This past Saturday I had a small Thirty-One party to raise some funds for our adoption. Thank you to all who came and purchased some products! It was fun sharing with people our heart for adoption and even in the midst of the trials how God is changing our hearts and revealing to us more of His heart for orphans and families. Orphan care and sustainable living in third world countries has definitely been ruminating in our hearts lately. We’re looking forward to how God will continue to grow that passion and vision in our lives. This week I am finally picking up Orphan Justice: how to care for orphans beyond adoption by Johnny Carr. It should be a good read and I’m ready to learn more about how to love and care for the 98% of orphans who are never adopted or have families to call their own.

We still have A LOT of funds to raise for our adoption, but I’m pretty worn out from fundraising and I’m pretty sure my social media friends are tired of me saying stuff about it online. After the Thirty-One fundraiser, we’re taking a break from fundraising until we get back from vacation. If you’re interested in helping out during that time, there is a link on the upper right-hand corner (says donate now) that you can click and it will send you to our tax-deductible donation account. Other than that, we’d just appreciate your prayers for our girls, the process, and our funding.

This summer I’m re-reading a book called Bread & Wine with some friends and once a month we are going to get together for dinner and make some of the dishes in the book. I’m looking forward to cultivating community with women over the table and in homes. There is something special about sharing a meal and sharing your heart with women who have walked different journeys.

It’s really hot in Tucson now…like REALLY hot. I’m glad that I’ll be getting a break from it for 3 days while I’m on a quick trip to watch my brother play baseball in Iowa.

it's hot

One last random thought…this weekend I bought a new mop. And it’s awesome. That’s all.

Have a great week friends!