Category Archives: waiting

Here it is, W___. I’m telling them {advocating}

WM letter

Dear Uncle and Aunt,
I am very happy to write this letter to you. My name is W____. I’m thirteen years old. I study in the senior class here, and my favorite class is Table Tennis. I desire to be adopted by an American family. When I see some other children going abroad, I really envy them. I hope that you could help me find a family soon. Thank you! Below are some of my homework (Chinese and math homework.) Best regards, W___

Dear W___,
I am glad to help you! I am going to share about you with as many people as I can. I will also tell them about how you are a little shy but have a lot of friends, often chatting with the other children in your class and whispering in their ears, and how you love to smile. I know your papers say you have what we call “CP,” but I’ll make sure families know how you can play basketball and ping pong, help your foster mom and dad out around the apartment where you live without any trouble or fuss, and that you’re a healthy kid.

When you were in the English class we taught, you worked so hard to learn “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” I know it wasn’t easy to get all the words and all the motions right. But, you did great.

our canopy bed picAnd, when you were a part of the photography workshop in October 2014 when you were only just 11, you were a superstar with that camera. You took one of my favorite pictures from the whole workshop!

I’ll tell them all that. I’ll be sure of it.

It makes sense that your heart hurts when you see your friends leave to be adopted. It makes sense that you would want to have a family too, one of your own who will take you home to live together for everyday forever. I will do my best to spread the word that there is a really great boy who really wants a family and who will make a really great son who is available to be adopted right now.

Your friend,
Aunt Kelly (and Uncle Mark too)
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Interested in learning more about this young man? He’s currently available for adoption from “the shared list,” meaning that any agency with a China program can help you. If you are not already committed to an agency, I recommend contacting Madison Adoption Associates (who gives $3,000 in grants towards adopting boys over the age of 8 and has confirmed they will give that in addition to income grants for the adoption of W___) or America World to learn more.

____________________________________
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Kelly founded The Sparrow Fund along with her husband Mark in 2011. She works alongside Mark in his full-time purposeful work in China and works part time as a therapist at the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, Kelly has a particular interest in (a) encouraging parents who are struggling to attach with their children, (b) helping parents walk with their children in understanding their own stories, (c) helping couples continue to pursue each other and grow together while they parent their children as a team, and (d) training and supporting orphanage staff in China to build relationships with children and each other. Kelly and Mark have been married since 1998 and have 3 biological children and 1 daughter who was adopted as a toddler from China in 2010. You can learn more about their journey on Kelly’s blog.

Enlarged in the Waiting

I love the Advent season. Advent is all about waiting in anticipation, not just for the presents of Christmas morning, but for the manifestation of God’s presence—the increase of His kingdom, in this world, in our situations, in our hearts, in our homes.

We have done a good bit of waiting over the last 15 years of adoptive parenting.  We have waited for paperwork to be approved, for our children to come home, for proficiency in English, for a new normal for our family, for attachment, for healing, for wholeness, for the replacing of an orphan spirit for the Spirit of Adoption that speaks of sonship.

Our spirits are often full with the promises God has spoken to us. Even as I write, I am filled with the satisfaction of a promise already come to pass as I live out the dream in real life! For, like many of you, our children are home and they are no longer orphans. Oh how wonderful that is!

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But there are some of you reading this who are in the waiting- for-your-child-to-come-home stage; you are facing significant obstacles between you and your child being home. I just want to pause this post to add our faith to yours in prayer:

Father God, in faith we believe You for these precious families. We call these children HOME. And we speak to the mountains that would hinder that homecoming and say, Be Moved. Comfort the hearts of our friends who are waiting, and protect these precious treasures who are waiting to come home. Amen. 

 For a few other things that are very dear to my heart though, I am still waiting, feeling the weight of the wait! I am waiting for some promises that have yet to be delivered safe and sound into the arms of our lives. Sometimes the weight feels heavy and wearisome. When it does, I find I must be careful not to allow disappointment to sicken my heart.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 AMP)

Do you ever hear those whispers like I do–the ones that say “give up; it’s not going to happen; it is just too hard to continue in hope; the weight of the wait is too burdensome; it would be much easier to quit believing, maybe this is all there is and I should just settle …..”

I am pregnant with a promise from God, and I suspect you are too. For me it is the Promise of Adoption and all that is hidden in the meaning of that word. The promise of deep inner healing for my children, and their wholeness in all areas of their lives–healthy attachment, freedom from the residue of rejection, intimacy with the One who is The Spirit of Adoption.

And in the wait to see the promise delivered I sometimes feel cumbersome, waddling through some days with the weight of it all.

And it is clear to me that the enemy is always after the unborn life, tempting me to abort that unborn promise–to settle for less.

And I recognize the temptation to defer hope–to postpone hope for some other time, for some other promise. The sacrifice of bearing the unborn promise, nurturing it with the food of faith in what seems like a past term pregnancy, sometimes makes me weary.

BUT then I am reminded that

God’s Love Endures Forever.
Love, God’s Love In Me, is Patient.

The enemy would kill the child. It has always been his way.

But Father God responds with a shout, “LIVE!”

And so I choose to agree with LIFE.

And like a pregnant woman, I am enlarged with the promise rather than diminished by its weight.

And I see that God is changing me and my children with His promises, and once again I recognize the honor it is to bear such a weight. The stretch marks of the growth process haven’t faded, but they speak a good word to me. They speak to the expansion required by adoption, the shape change in our family and in our hearts. They speak to the pain that comes with growth— the “more” of increase. They are marks of growth in compassion, understanding, patience grace, mercy, and warfare. They are marks that speak to me about who I am becoming in the process.

And I am learning to enjoy His presence with me and in me along the way.

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.(Romans 8:24-28 MSG)

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

 

Finding Life in Infertility

There was so much life in my home last night. I woke up to empty wine glasses scattered about my living room and dishes filling my sink. And, I sat and cried in gratitude. I have found this beautiful infertility and adoption community. These women filled my home last night, some who have been coming since the beginnings of this group 6 months ago, and some whose faces and stories were brand new to me. But regardless of what history or lack of history we have with each other, we were instantly and eternally bonded because we share each other’s deepest pain and greatest passion through our infertility and adoption journeys. I adore these women.

My mind is always racing and processing for a while after these monthly gatherings. Each time blows me away with how God is moving and how God can turn pain into purpose. My thoughts woke me up before the sun and the rest of my house this morning. As I sat and reflected in the quiet stillness of the morning, I started to hear giggles coming from the back of the house. The quiet giggles quickly turned into loud happy yells. I walked in to get my munchkin out of bed, and his delight when I opened that door melted me. He reached his arms up to hug me, and in my arms was where he wanted to stay all morning. We played in the backyard. He held my hand as he walked, contemplating letting go, but just not quite ready yet. He’d play on his own for a couple minutes, then crawl over to me to give me a hug or lay on my lap. Back to play. Back to me…over and over. He has my heart.

There is life after infertility.

There is life in the middle of infertility.

I have found it, and I am so very grateful.

Morning greetings….

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…and outside play time.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 presetIf you are experiencing infertility and don’t have a community of people who are in the same boat, I hope you find one. If you can’t find one, maybe you could start one. I’ve been amazed at how many people have come into my life since I started praying for a community like this. Being able to share with people who walk this same road has helped me find peace with infertility.

Also, about adoption. If it’s on your radar, and you’re struggling with whether or not to take that leap, just do it…whether infertility is a part of your story or not. Adoption is the most amazing miracle I have ever experienced. It gave me a son who far exceeds my wildest dreams, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for the infertility that became a part of the story that led us to him. He has brought joy and life to our home and filled my heart to overflowing.

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Kinnier-3 copyMindy and her husband, Nick, adopted their son, Silas, domestically in August of 2013 after seven years of marriage and two years of unexplained infertility.  They live in Southern California, where Nick is a pastor and elder at ROCKHARBOR church and Mindy is a part-time teacher. She also hosts an infertility and adoption group each month, where she gets to do life with women who share her deepest pain and her greatest passion. She blogs at Finding Sunday.

Waiting {Summer Flashback}

I don’t like waiting.

I am the girl that always chooses the longest line at the grocery store.  Well.. actually…I choose one of the shorter lines, but something always happens that causes my line to move slower than all of the other ones.  Always might be a little dramatic, but you know what I mean.

Waiting is hard because it usually means you aren’t doing anything.  You have done everything in your power that you can do.  During the waiting periods for both of our adoptions, I remember saying, “If God could just tell me how long I was going to have to wait, it would be so much easier to handle.”  Moving forward is so much easier than being at a standstill.

Looking back, those waiting times were really sweet times for me and the Lord.

And these two were definitely worth the wait.  10478708_10152616495539120_3312072202697036569_n

We are in a different season of waiting now.  Waiting to see if our family will grow again.  I’ve written about it before.  We trust God, that if it’s time to move forward, he will give us the green light to do so.

Another standstill.

So, instead of spending my time wondering what will happen, I am fixing my heart and mind on what I do know.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalm 18:2

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

Maybe you are waiting. Waiting for paperwork to go through. Waiting for an answer from God about whether or not you should adopt. Waiting to go meet your child in another country. Waiting to bring your child home.  {Congo mamas…I’m praying hard for you.}  Waiting to be chosen by an expectant mom. Waiting for your spouse to be on board with you.

Whatever you are waiting for, my prayer is that you turn to the ONE who wants the very best for you. His best…not what you think is best.

Psalms 27:13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

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square for blogAbby and her college sweetheart husband Wes began the journey of domestic adoption in 2009. Blessed with a {more than they had planned but oh so thankful for it} open adoption experience, they were able to witness the birth of their first child Max in the summer of 2010. Little brother Sam joined their team in September of 2012.  You can read their story at Akers of Love.

Praying While You Wait: Prayers for Adoptive Parents

Prayingwhileyouwait1-700x525As Adam and I wait for our final piece of paperwork to arrive at our adoption agency, we continue to pray for our children daily, and ask that God would be so kind to bless us with them. This is a habit we have cultivated since the early days of our marriage, and has proved to be very helpful during our wait (along with some other habits).

Certainly our theology shapes our prayers. What we know to be true about the character of God will move our hearts, and words, as we boldly approach the King with our requests. In addition to that, the adoption education we have received during our wait has greatly influenced our prayers as well. There is so much we have learned over the past two years, much of it a heart-wrenching reminder of the brokenness that comes with every single adoption situation.

If you are also waiting for an adoption placement, we understand the “heart-pain” that accompanies your prayers. I hope this list blesses you, and encourages you to boldly approach our gracious God with your requests. If you have been following our journey, and feel led to pray for us, we would love for you to use this list to pray with intentionality.

We know that God hears every single prayer we lift to Him, (whether He chooses to bless us with children through adoption or not). We continue to walk by faith, and ask that He would do so.

1) That they would be protected from harm

We, especially women, love to be in control, don’t we? If God has children for us, somewhere in the foster system, there is absolutely nothing we can do right now to protect them from harm. All we can do is ask for God, the Father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) to keep our children safe. God is sovereign over insignificant events, like the end of a sparrow’s life (Matthew 10:29), He is more than able to protect our children and keep them safe from harm.

2) That all of their needs would be met

We don’t know the type of conditions our children may be living in right now. I am constantly wondering if they are with their biological mom and dad, in a potentially unsafe environment? Or are they with a loving foster family? Maybe they are still in their mother’s womb? We have no idea, but we frequently ask that God would meet all of their needs, whatever those may be. This is similar to the above request. We ask that they would have food to nourish their bodies, shelter over their heads, and clothing to keep them warm. We especially pray that they would feel loved and protected by those caring for them, and by God who cares for them infinitely more.

3) That their loss would be minimal

This is a tough one to pray for. Adoption is born out of loss and brokenness. Whether the child is a newborn infant, a teenager in foster care, or a toddler from Africa, there is always loss involved.

I always get squirmy when I see adoption sentimentalized, giving the appearance of “they all lived happily ever after.” Don’t get me wrong, I love a good adoption story, and I have wept over quite a few “gotcha-day” videos! Adoption is beautiful, Biblical, and emulates the heart of the gospel. However, in order for us to gain children into our family, these children will lose everything and everyone they have ever known.

Do you see the tension here, in regard to our prayers for them? Any child who is adopted will experience a great loss when they enter an adoptive family. That is inevitable. The two-day-old infant has lost the comfort of their mother’s voice, and the warmth of her womb. The older child from foster care has lost (potentially) years with their biological mom and dad, perhaps multiple foster families who they attached to, and maybe even siblings. The child adopted from another country has lost all of that, along with their birth culture, language, and familiar food.

We need to try and understand what these precious children have been through, and connect with how deeply their hearts have been broken over the loss they have experienced. Our compassion must grow for them. We know our children will experience great loss when they enter our families. They are losing everything they know, and will enter a place that is new, foreign, and possibly terrifying for them. We pray their loss, whatever it may be specific to their situation, would be as minimal as possible.

4) That they would experience healing

Going along with loss, we pray that our children would experience great healing, in spite of the circumstances that brought them into our family. We know they will carry that loss with them for the rest of their lives. We also know that God, our great healer, is absolutely capable of performing surgery on their hearts. He is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). We pray that one day our children will trust God to heal them too. He knows their pain more than we ever will.

5) That their hearts would be soft, and open, to trust and obey us

When we begin to understand the loss that our children will experience, it’s understandable that it may be difficult for their little hearts to trust us right away. We often pray that their hearts would be softened now, and that they would easily attach to us, bond with us, and trust us to provide for them. Undoubtedly, we will need to build their trust. This is very different from a child, born into a family, who has had their needs met from the start. We ask that God would be working on our children now, wherever they are, opening their hearts to trust again, and eventually obey us as their mom and dad.

6) That they would come to know Jesus and be saved at a young age

By far, this is the most important of our daily requests. Would we love to have healthy, well-adjusted, obedient, attached children? Of course we would, and we pray for that boldly! But, none of that matters if they don’t know Jesus, and ultimately trust and obey HIM. We frequently pray that God would be revealing Himself to our children, and that He would be opening their eyes to Him right now, no matter where they are, or how old they are. We desire for our children to come into a saving faith at a young age.

If you pray one thing for our children, let this be it.

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

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RedemptiveHomemaking.com_April is a follower of King Jesus, wife, mother, writer, and adoption advocate. She lives in New England where her husband serves as a worship-pastor. Her introverted nature loves to read, sip coffee, and cook nourishing food for those she loves.  Read more on her blog Redemptive Homemaking.

Waiting is Hard, Y’all!

As a child, I remember the excruciating wait from Christmas Eve to Christmas morning. I would lie awake for what seems like hours wondering how I was ever going to fall asleep and what the morning might hold.

Now as I lie awake at night, gone are the visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Instead, my heart is on the other side of the world, as I think about my sweet girl who is waiting too. Waiting for a family she can call her own and who will love her forever. 

Waiting for an adoption is hard, y’all. When I was young, I thought that one night of waiting for Christmas morning was tough. I had no idea what was to come.

First, we waited for years and years for a biological child who never came, because God had a different plan. Then we waited for our first adoption, our second and now our third. 

Waiting may be hard, but so worth it because God’s plan is so much greater and more wonderful than ours. And even though the wait is hard, once it is over, and we see God’s plan fully accomplished, we know why He made us wait on His timing.

This is a truth I cling to right now when I lie awake at night wishing my child were in my arms. I know that His plan and timing is perfect. I’ve seen it realized twice before, but that hasn’t made the wait any easier. However, because I trust Him based on past experiences of seeing Him work, I know that I will look back on this time and again see His hand behind the scenes in our life and her life, preparing us for the exact moment that He has ordained that we should become a family. 

How often has God had to wait for us to respond, believe Him, love Him, or follow Him?

How patient He is with us! 

He longs for us, searches for us, and seeks us just as I long for, searched for and sought my sweet little one. So I will trust in the Lord who is my God, Father, Savior and friend, remembering that He loves her even more that I do.

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Suzanne Meledeo

After struggling with infertility for 5 years, God led Suzanne and her husband Adam to His Plan A for their lives—adoption! Their daughter, Grace Lihua, came into their lives in 2011 from the Fujian Province, China. Their son, Anthony Jianyou, joined their family in January of 2013 from Shanghai, and their little girl, Eva Hanting, will be joining their family very soon from the Hunan Province. After a career in politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to work part time as a Pilates instructor while home schooling their children and working as a part of the WAGI leadership team. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.

Boomerang

{“everything is so clean“}
 {“there’s air conditioning“}
 {“look how cushiony the seats look“}
 {“everyone is so white“}
…these are my thoughts as I step onto the American Airlines plane. Everyone is smiling professionally. Their hair is clean. Their demeanors calm. The pilot grins a cockeyed smile to ensure us who are boarding that he’s totally got this flight in the bag. Every light bulb is functioning. It feels like a spaceship from the future to me. And people are relaxed as they step past me, orderly and shushed. I am leaning my head back on the stiff blue pillowed chair, completely upright and squeeze my eyes closed so that I can’t see every single one of them stare at me anymore as they file past my 14th aisle seat, watching my endless, silent tears streaming like a never-ending river down my cheeks. I can’t decide if it draws more attention to wipe them away or just let them stream down my cheeks, my chin, my throat, into my hair and my shirt and onto my lap. Either way, I cannot make the tears stop, even though I am literally tired of crying by now. It has been 4 hours since I kissed her for the final time and they are still running down my cheeks and this is just feeling so ridiculous now I am downright angry with myself. I am angry at all the Haitians boarding with leisure and business on their agendas. I am angry at all the Americans staying here. I am angry that no one else feels a boulder of agony on top of their heads, sitting here feeling crushed by the weight. Just about the moment that a peace settles on my face and my heart feels still and my face relaxes into an expressionless passivity, the captain says we are next in line for takeoff. The plane is racing down the runway. Andrew films out the window beside me, watching for Haiti to become a child-sized toy beneath us, and I feel fresh anguish squeeze around my heart. {“Jesus, help me. Jesus, help me. Jesus, help me….“} on repeat. These are my only thoughts for minutes while I sob.
She is too far away in just seconds. I can’t get to her. She needs me. She is too far away. I will have to wait for people to figure out what happens next, wait for a break in life’s demands, wait for it to make sense, wait for money, wait, wait, wait until I land here again and am within maybe a day’s walk at most from her if it came to that. If there’s another earthquake I can’t run at top speed to her and scoop her up, laws be damned. She is on an island. I can see the water lapping at the edges of her island and I see it from way, way up here now – she is smaller than a particle, small and gone from me somewhere I cannot find or get to on my own, in the middle of a wide blue ocean I know nothing about. Almost evaporated. Before we even land in Ft Lauderdale it feels like it was all just a dream.
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 All day I had planted my heels in the chalky dirt, digging my toes against the door, pulling back with both hands and all my strength, hands wrapped around the doorknob, heartache knocking on the other side. I determined not to let her see me crying. These white people crying while the babies were playing would only be confusing and troubling to this baby girl who now wanted to be on my lap, who wanted me to feed her by hand, who would go to no one but me, who smiled mischievously and lovingly, who laid upside down on my legs to have her neck tickled and nuzzled, who walked with arms up stretched to Andrew and I, back and forth, while dancing and giving kisses.
There is no holding the door closed anymore. There is nothing to numb this. There is nothing to dial it down. It steamrolls and flattens me, leaving my bones crushed to powder, my stomach filled with lead, my head thick with cement. Putting one foot in front of the other takes thought.This is sorrow. It is here.
I had leaned her back in my arms and said: “I gotta go bye-bye, baby“, remembering I should never just disappear from a toddler, and I watched a cloud pass in front of her eyes, watched as she furrows her brow, watched as she retreated from me in her eyes, scampered down out of my lap willingly for the first time this day, marched across the room to her beloved nanny whom I am so grateful is here to rescue her from me, watched as she wound her arm around the nanny’s neck, her baby doll still clutched tightly, watched as she looked at me with hurt and distance. I kissed and kissed her cheeks while she sunk into the nanny. She waved and smiled, safe again. She blew final kisses and made the “ok” sign with her hands because she can’t master the “I love you” hand signs we spent all 2 weeks sending her from across a room. 2 weeks. Behind us, we leave 2 weeks.Ahead, there is unknown.
 We determined we will not despair – she is far from us but she is not lost to us. We will wait. Jesus is steadying our hearts. We are sorrowful but not destroyed. God is with her. God is with us. He is so, so near, still using our weakness for an opportunity to show up. Andrew is already at work, already a doctor again instead of a One Man Toddler Entertainment Machine. My kids are clamoring for souvenirs and kisses, Rissa already in our bed this morning between us by 2am, ready to reclaim her parents in a way only a 3 year-old can. I hear birds outside but no armed guard, I see sunshine but no school children. I hear cartoons on the TV but no Creole songs. It’s weird. I feel disoriented still. It will take time to gently reclaim our lives but we will not ever feel right again until all 5 of our children area asleep in this house, under the same roof, breathing the same air, 10 arms wrapping around us instead of 8.This is what it feels like to leave your heart behind you and walk away.This is what it felt like when Andrew and I were long-distance dating for 2+ years. This is how your brain starts to take all the messy, sloppy emoting and turn it into action, trying to get steps accomplished to achieve the goal. This is how it feels. It feels like sorrow. It is a boomerang, though and it will not return to us empty. We are sending it all like single-lined texts to God our Father and He will send back answers and whispers smothered in grace enough for that moment. He already is. He will not let this be for nothing. He never does. He brings beauty from destruction. We will see it happen, friends. He will – He must.
                                        ____________________________
Esty Downes

Esty Downes

Esty is a wife to Andrew, mama to their 5 growing kids including 3 biological boys, a daughter from Uganda and their youngest daughter, who is not yet home from Haiti. This, their second adoption, has reached the 21-month mark in progress, and they earnestly hope to have their daughter home in 2015. It’s a very long process but they are surrounded by community and find that adoption has led them to deeply hidden treasures like nothing else. A former pediatric nurse, Esty now fill the days chasing her kids while her husband practices medicine in a southern Florida beach town. Their passion to build community among adoptive families birthed OASIS, a retreat offering intimacy and ongoing fellowship to adoptive mamas. This life is held together and flourishing only in Jesus, rooted in His good grace. You can follow their Journey at These Little Lives.

Muddling through the adoption paperwork haze . . .

“So tell me,” a friend asked with some trepidation in her voice, “does adoption paperwork get any easier, I mean, you know, with your third adoption?”

“I wish!” I replied with a sigh. 

In fact, I this go around is the hardest yet! Yes, you would think it would all be old hat for me by now, but I find myself more frustrated than the last time. I know what each document needs, I know how long it can take, and all I want is to hold my baby in my arms. 
My child who is waiting for her forever family, not even knowing that at this very moment I am staring at her picture for the 10th time today with tears in my eyes. This is the reality of the adoption paperwork haze, friends.

So I have been struggling this third go around staying focused on God. He has provided for us at every step of each adoption, and it has always been in His perfect timing, so why do I doubt?

Lately, I had been praying, “God, please help us get these documents together quickly!” And then suddenly this week, I stopped my nonsense long enough to hear that whisper in my heart, “Suzanne, stop. Just stop, be still and listen. Be open to my plan and timing. I love Eva more than you can imagine. I am with her, protecting her, comforting her and preparing her heart. The same goes for you. Be still and know that I am God.”

Wow, what a burden has been lifted. It doesn’t mean that I won’t still struggle but I feel a sense of peace now that surpasses all comprehension.

Praise God for His perfect plan!


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Suzanne Meledeo

After struggling with infertility for 5 years, God led Suzanne and her husband Adam to His Plan A for their lives—adoption! Their daughter, Grace Lihua, came into their lives in 2011 from the Fujian Province, China. Their son, Anthony Jianyou, joined their family in January of 2013 from Shanghai, and another little girl will be joining their family in 2015 from the Hunan Province. After a career in politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to work part time as a Pilates instructor while home schooling their children and working as a part of the WAGI leadership team. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.

Waiting

I don’t like waiting.

I am the girl that always chooses the longest line at the grocery store.  Well.. actually…I choose one of the shorter lines, but something always happens that causes my line to move slower than all of the other ones.  Always might be a little dramatic, but you know what I mean.

Waiting is hard because it usually means you aren’t doing anything.  You have done everything in your power that you can do.  During the waiting periods for both of our adoptions, I remember saying, “If God could just tell me how long I was going to have to wait, it would be so much easier to handle.”  Moving forward is so much easier than being at a standstill.

Looking back, those waiting times were really sweet times for me and the Lord.

And these two were definitely worth the wait.  10478708_10152616495539120_3312072202697036569_n

We are in a different season of waiting now.  Waiting to see if our family will grow again.  I’ve written about it before.  We trust God, that if it’s time to move forward, he will give us the green light to do so.

Another standstill.

So, instead of spending my time wondering what will happen, I am fixing my heart and mind on what I do know.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalm 18:2

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

Maybe you are waiting. Waiting for paperwork to go through. Waiting for an answer from God about whether or not you should adopt. Waiting to go meet your child in another country. Waiting to bring your child home.  {Congo mamas…I’m praying hard for you.}  Waiting to be chosen by an expectant mom. Waiting for your spouse to be on board with you.

Whatever you are waiting for, my prayer is that you turn to the ONE who wants the very best for you. His best…not what you think is best.

Psalms 27:13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

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Abby and her college sweetheart husband Wes began the journey of domestic adoption in 2009. Blessed with a {more than they had planned but oh so thankful for it} open adoption experience, they were able to witness the birth of their first child Max in the summer of 2010. Little brother Sam joined their team in September of 2012.  You can read their story at Akers of Love.

Chatting with my 25 Year Old Self {Summer Rewind}

When I was 25, my husband and I had been married for almost two years. It seemed like the perfect time to add children to our family. Little did I know the journey we were going to experience…

Abby and Wes 25 year old self

If my 25 year old self was sitting in front of me I would hand her a sweet and salty snack and cut right to the chase.

Your journey to becoming a mom is not going to be easy. You have a plan, but God has a different one for your family. You are going to cry a lot (even more than you already do) and have many ups and downs.

You will take more pregnancy tests than any one person should ever take. You will be consumed with wondering whether or not this month will be the month you finally see a positive result.

You will avoid certain people because every time they see you they will ask, “So when are you two going to start having kids?”  Every. Time.

You will go to a fertility specialist to get answers and discover that there really are no answers…something they like to call unexplained infertility.

After two failed IUI cycles you will realize that God is calling you to wait.  This will be one of the hardest parts of your journey.  As you wait, women all around you will be getting pregnant.  You will want so desperately to be happy for them, but on the inside, you will be a mess.

God will start putting a desire for adoption in your heart, but once again, there will be more waiting.  Your husband will not be ready.

But hold on, 25 year old Abby.  There is hope.  Lots of hope coming your way.

You will look back on all of those tears that you shed and be so thankful.  Those tears will bring you to your knees and draw you closer to your heavenly Father than ever before.  Your faith will be tested and you will learn that He is good.  Always.

Although the desire to become pregnant may never go away, God will miraculously take away the deep sadness of not getting pregnant and allow you to truly celebrate when others announce, “I’m pregnant!”

People are going to ask your husband, “When are you going to start a family?”  and you’re going to get to hear him say, “I already have family.”  It will melt your heart and make you love him even more.

And that sweet husband of yours?  He will come around and say out of the blue one day, “Let’s adopt.”

You will begin the adoption journey with lots of excitement, lots of questions and a bit of fear, but you will have complete peace knowing that this is exactly the path God wants you to take.

Expectant moms will choose you and unchoose you, try to scam you and rightfully change their minds, but once again, you will have peace.  It will be hard and you will wish you could be at the finish line, but you will have peace.

And then I would cut right to the chase again because I wouldn’t be able to handle it anymore and a would whip out this picture.

mother's day

You would say, “This isn’t what I pictured.” and I would say, “Isn’t it so much better?!?!?!”  You would agree…I’m sure of it.

I would tell you the stories of how God used two brave women to bring these two precious boys into our family.  You would be amazed at God’s faithfulness and His creativity in writing these stories.

We would probably sit in silence for a bit with you trying to wrap your head around all that I just said.

With tears in your eyes, you would ask for the picture, hold it against your heart and say, “I’m coming for you boys.  It’s going to be a long wait, but by the looks of things, you’re worth it.”

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Abby and her college sweetheart husband Wes began the journey of domestic adoption in 2009. Blessed with a {more than they had planned but oh so thankful for it} open adoption experience, they were able to witness the birth of their first child Max in the summer of 2010. Little brother Sam joined their team in September of 2012.  You can read their story at Akers of Love.