Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yea GOD!

Well, it has definitely been too long since we have updated our blog. God continues to blow us away since we have committed to follow His will. We want to share some of those "Yea God(s)" (as our friend, Jeff Young, would say) with you:
  1. One of the first was this: to start the process, you have to send in $50 to Gladney to receive the first information packet. Our sweet 11 year old, Shelby, came running downstairs with $50. She wanted to give the first $50. At first, we wouldn't let her, but a friend of ours told us, "when the kids feel led to do something along the way, let them. This makes them feel a part of the journey." So we both were so blessed by Shelby's giving heart. One of the things that we love about our Shelby is that she is so very compassionate.
  2. The next "Yea God" was the way we received our first $300. When you send in your application, you have to send $300 with the application. Ashley was a little anxious with "how" we will come up with $32,000. On the day that we were sending in our $300, two things happened. Ashley's company gave a bonus to her. This was the first time she had received a bonus from her company. We also dropped some clothes off at a kids' consignment shop earlier in the week. So guess how much we received from both of them ... yep, exactly $300!! It was God's way to show both of us ... "I have this, you step out in faith ... and I will provide in ways you cannot even imagine." He is our Jehovah-Jireh.
  3. Another "Yea God" ... there is a ton of paperwork, and steps along the way that you must do, a ton!! So far, each step has gone faster than anticipated. Right now, we have done everything that we can do. We are waiting on one last thing to complete our Dossier. Once we receive it, everything will be sent to the Embassy in Washington. At that time, we will officially be on the "wait list."
  4. We had our home study scheduled on Friday, July 30th. Ashley's grandmother passed away on Wednesday, July 28th, so we were going to have to postpone the home study. When we talked to our social worker, she said that she could come a day earlier to do the home study. It was a very difficult time for Ashley; however, we were able to do the home study on Thursday, July 29th. The next day (our original scheduled day) our social worker had to go to west Texas to be with a birth mom that was having a baby. If we would not have rescheduled, our home study would have been postponed.
  5. There are 6 families in Northwest Arkansas that are giving us a garage sale to help raise money for our adoption. We are going to have it inside since it is so stinkin' hot. There is already a vast amount of stuff that people have donated for the sale, and we are so very grateful. So, save the dates ... Friday, September 24th & Saturday, September 25th.
  6. We also have friends & family in Mobile and in Houston that plan to organize a garage sale for our adoption fund as well in the very near future. So if you are in Mobile or Houston and want to help out/participate, let us know.
These are just a few of the "Yea Gods" that we have experienced along our journey. All five of us are eagerly awaiting the time we will go pick up our little boy. So far, we have enjoyed the journey ... we are praying that the journey will continue to pick up speed along the way. :)

Thank you for all your prayers, support and encouragement! We know our God is faithful!

A few verses that God has shown us over these weeks:

But blessed is the man who TRUSTs in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Some TRUST in chariots and some in horses, but we TRUST in the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 20:7
TRUST in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our New Journey

Let me share with you our journey. Our family has recently decided to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia. This is how we came to this point in our lives. When we got married, we talked about adoption. Clint tells people that when he was a little boy he always wanted to adopt. He grew up watching Different Strokes (what you talkin' about Willis), and from that show, God grew in him a desire to have biological and adopted children. It has been a topic of discussion over our 15 years of marriage. However, neither of us had a peace that 1. we were called, and 2. that it was completely our desire.

In March, Clint led a mission team of 12 to Ntcheu, Malawi, in Africa. Our church partnered with an organization in Northwest Arkansas, Bigger Than Life, to build an orphanage in Ntcheu, called Esther's House. We have teams that travel there several times a year. Chandler, our oldest child, went with Clint on the trip. It truly was an amazing experience for both of them and for the entire team. Chandler came home, and he begged his parents to adopt from Africa. Little did Chandler know (or Clint know) ... the Lord was placing the same desire in Ashley.

Shortly, before the trip, Ashley asked our friend/student pastor's wife, Jackie Harmon, questions about adoption. Clint did not know the Lord was stirring Ashley's heart. Keith, our student pastor, and Clint meet weekly over breakfast to challenge and encourage each other in their walk with the Lord. When Clint returned from the mission trip, Keith casually stated Clint, "I didn't realize that you guys were thinking about adoption." Clint replied, "I didn't either." Ashley says that she knew if she talked to Clint that he would be filling out paperwork before the conversation was complete. She knows him well. :) Ashley also talked to Erin Kennedy, another staff wife, from our church about their adoption process. Both the Harmons and the Kennedys have adopted from Ethiopia. Clint also heard about this conversation.

This began many conversations late into the night. We talked about it with our children. We prayed ... we seeked God ... we talked about our concerns ... our fears ... our children ... our extended families ... we talked for 3 months. We didn't have a peace, but God was at work!

On June 13th, our student pastor, Keith Harmon, preached a message on Sunday morning. He said that sometimes God asks His children to do radical things that we do not know the "how", the "what", or the "why", but we have to just "JUMP IN." We have to "live by faith and trust God." Wow ... Ashley and Clint looked at each other at that time, and we both knew that was a word from the Lord to us. At the end of the service, Clint, Ashley and Chandler went down to the altar, and we committed to obey God's call. We prayed for God's provision. And the Lord gave us the peace we needed!

Since that day, we talk about our baby boy every day, and we eagerly wait for the time to come to go get our new baby boy. We know that it will happen in God's perfect timing so we are not anxious (or we try not to be) :) We often think ... has our son already been born? Or will he be born today? What will he look like? If he is already here on Earth, is he hungry? Does he feel love? And the Lord constantly whispers in our heart ... "don't worry, just trust Me." So we do!

So, our new journey has just begun ... and o, how we can't wait to reach the final destination!!