Invited to walk on water

Invited to walk on water
sisters and brothers waiting on one more

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Here we GO!

Our application was accepted by the Lesotho adoption program!!!
As the doors to county foster/adoption continue to close, a door to adopting from Africa is beginning to open.  Sending in our application was the first step out of our familiar little boat into the unfamiliar world of pursuing a child from Africa.   In December of 2011 our children brought us their pony fund.  This consisted of every penny they had saved for two years toward their goal of buying a pony.  "Mom and Dad, we've been talking a lot and we all want you to use our pony fund to adopt again."  Liam had an additional desire that we adopt a little brother who looks African. That's a specific desire.  We believe God places this specific desires into our hearts.  Our children have been asking, praying and saving every dollar they can earn for us to adopt a little brother from Africa.  Expect mountains to move when children pray and take steps of faith...
Here we GO!!!   

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In over our heads

What risk has He put into your heart?  For us, it's a passion to adopt. Today, someone casually warned me about taking on more children- especially special needs children- and also gently mentioned that God does not give us more than we can handle.   All I could reply is "God DOES give us more than we can handle- because then it's HIS strength that gets us through."  And Yes,  I am in WAYYY over my head and pursuing more children IS taking on too much.  Isn't it always this way when He put's a risky desire within our hearts? People speak doubt out of concern for us. Yet, He invites us to walk on water...
It's true- I am weak, and frail and prone to anxiety and fear.  We are getting older and our finances are too tight.  Our hearts could get broken....the list is long.  The list is always long when it comes to reasons to stay in our safe little boat-  It's okay to stay there where we feel safe.  But OH WHAT A GIFT it is to follow Him out of our safety zone.  Because, in brokenness, He is CLOSE and in these very weaknesses, HIS strength is shown.  Always.  When Peter stepped out of the boat - onto the water towards Jesus- He was waaay in over his head.  And he DID panic, stumble and sink.  Then, Jesus DID catch him and they walked on water TOGETHER back to the boat.  Peter's faith and trust and closeness to Jesus must have grown that day- especially after he stumbled!  Jesus was actually closest to Peter once he sank.  Any risk He puts into your heart is likely to feel like stepping out of a boat onto raging waters.  For us, this risk is the desire to adopt and advocate for orphans.  Isn't my discomfort ridiculous compared to the suffering of orphaned children who are left behind because we "are in over our heads?"  Looking ahead at the risks and challenges is daunting.  However, through the "hard" times, we've started to learn of His faithfulness and to not fear the loud, raging storms that are ahead-  He will be there.  He is faithful.  When we begin to fall- we will experience the closeness of HIM lifting us up! I can HARDLY wait to see what He does next-  Just when I think we are drowning, His presence draws close, He picks us up and miracles happen.  Every time.  Oh I can hardly wait...
 What risk has He put into your heart?  Stepping out of the boat is an incredible adventure.  

Lesotho, South Africa?

May, 15, 2013

A change in direction? 
Is this an answer to our children's prayers for a little brother from Africa?  Since last summer we have been waiting on a foster/adoptive placement.  Due to the need, we requested a waiver to adopt a sibling group.  For months we have called, emailed and waited for an answer.  Last month I surrendered this in prayer and asked God to open or close the door to the county foster adopt system as well as our heart for international adoption- "Thy will, not mine be done."   Twenty minutes after that prayer, the county licensing worker called me and told me that they will not grant us a waiver to adopt more than one child.  She also said that we can no longer be licensed for "Options" (special needs) foster or foster to adopt children because we have more than four children already in our home.   Had it not been for the timing of that phone call, my heart would have been beyond exasperated because sib groups and special needs children wait.  This time, I will surrender.  

So as we wait on the county and pray for direction, and while our hearts are broken for foster children all around us, our hearts also feel pulled to other nations- where children literally are dying due to their orphan status-

We'd never even heard of Lesotho (pronounced Le soo too) until this March.  It is a tiny, land-locked country in the Republic of South Africa.  After researching this country we have learned that it has a beautiful history of peace and is rich in culture and meaningful traditions. Lesotho is a mountain kingdom. Like every country it also has desperate social needs and as is always the case in such situations, children suffer. My heart breaks knowing that daily mothers who live in poverty die from preventable and manageable diseases while grieving that at her death her precious children will be left without her. That desperate mama could be me.  That could be my child- if I'd been born in a different situation.  After much prayer and discussion for the last three weeks, our family mailed in our application last night to an adoption agency with a Lesotho program.  
This is the first step of a long journey towards adopting from Africa- the request and prayer of our children for the last two years.  For two years they've saved every penny they can earn towards this prayer.  LOOK OUT when children pray and take steps of faith!   
We are still waiting on a county adoptive placement here in the USA.  The need is great both here in the USA and across the world.  Thank you for your prayers as we seek direction.  There are so many hurting parents and children- if only they could all be treasured.  Though, thousands around the world are rising up on their behalf in countless ways!  People really are being moved to care for these treasures.

Waiting and Remembering

January 1, 2013

Remembering miracles and treasures...The day we met Sierra:
One of the most difficult parts of any adoption journey seems to be the waiting- After jumping through seemingly hundreds of hoops, any tasks that could bring a sense of control are complete and there is nothing left to do but WAIT and PRAY and TRUST that God will move mountains on behalf of suffering children.  Psalm 77 encourages us to overcome discouragement by REMEMBERING what He has done before.  So today, as waiting for an adoptive placement seems endless, I will remember our first adoption journey.  Perhaps it will encourage others too ...

I had prayed for 10 years to adopt a child.  Circumstances said "wait."  Then, in 2009, my husband, David, came to me and said "I can think of no reason not to adopt that is not selfish.  Sign us up for the classes."  Tears flowed as this first obstacle was moved.  One year later, in January of 2010, our home-study was complete and we were WAITING on a placement.  The social worker had said it could be two years- even though we had agreed to either gender, any disability or ethnicity.  I was DISCOURAGED. This was the scripture God took me to that morning as obstacles again seemed impossible to move:

Psalm 77:19
Your road led through the sea
Your path through the mighty waters...
a pathway no one knew was there.... 

And then Psalm 66:5-6 Come and see what our God has done, what miracles He performs for His people!  He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and His people went across on foot.  There we rejoiced in Him. 

On Feb 20, 2010, the phone rang.  Our social worker's voice seemed surreal..."we have a match for you...."  Here is the first picture we ever saw of Sierra-  The social worker emailed it to us after we said "yes!" to her referral... We saw this treasured picture of her for the first time on my phone while sitting in the car...In tears we stared and laughed and cried.  It's like our first ultrasound picture of her.  It felt like we were watching God part the Red Sea...

 Here is David treasuring her in front of the foster home where we met her for the first time.  (Her first word came 2 months later "Dada!)  

Finally, we brought her home on March 8, 2010.  Here she is on our first night together- listening to bedtime Bible stories with Ianna, Leora and Liam who had prayed for her for months...

And seven months later on October 29, 2010- We were beyond surprised with another priceless treasure.  Sweet Alyssa, Sierra's biological sister, was entrusted to us.  Here is the FIRST time Sierra saw and held Alyssa.  Our precious daughters have changed us forever... 

We praise God daily that Sierra and Alyssa have each other-  and we have them.  

It was all so worth the wait for HIS TIMING.  It was worth every tear on the journey- and there were many.  Oh praise God that He allowed us to not "play it safe."  In a perfect world, adoption, foster care and orphan care would not be necessary.  But, this world is far from perfect.  Yet, today I look at my beyond-precious-daughters and R-E-M-E-M-B-E-R.   HE IS FAITHFUL!!!  

Isaiah 43:19 "For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

And He did.  And He Does.  And He will.

So the wait continues for more children. And along with many other waiting families, we will savor the wait and try not to obsess over when that phone will ring...

Expecting again!!

November 9, 2012

Our family is celebrating tonight!  David put a beautiful fire in the fireplace.  We have decided to adopt again!  Our county adoption social worker finished our last interviews today to re-open our adoption file.  We will wait for an adoptive placement through the county for two or three children while praying fervently for His direction.  

Here is the rainbow that showed up outside our home just after our social worker left. It's presence felt strongly like God's love and promises represented... It's incredible when I think of all the miracles that have brought us up to this day and His promise to sustain us in the journey to come.

Dear LORD, thank you for Your faithfulness.  Again.  Thank You for being seen. Again. 

Our First Adoption Journey

January 11, 2012

My name is Christy.  David and I have 5 children.  He works as an engineer while I stay home with our five incredible children- Ianna age 11, Leora, age 9, Liam age 8, Sierra age 2 and Alyssa age 1.  We live in San Diego, California.  My American parents raised me and my sister in Saudi Arabia where we vacationed often in third world countries.  We were not sheltered from seeing deplorable suffering that results from extreme poverty.  Up until five years ago, I worked as an international adoption social worker.  Such work further broke my heart over seemingly needless suffering of countless orphans in need of loving homes.  Each night, David and I prayed with our three young children that we could do something for children in need of homes.  Each night our little ones  would pray "God, please give mommies and daddies to children who have no mommies and daddies..." 

Ianna, Leora and Liam in 2009...

In April 2009, David agreed that we could together attend an orientation given by San Diego County Child Welfare on Foster care and adoption.  By December we had been approved to foster/adopt up to two children under the age of two- any disability, any race, either gender.  Ianna, Leora and Liam prayed each night for the protection of their new little sister or brother.  As a family, we decided to be willing to open our hearts to a child who had not yet been freed for adoption.  This decision was made with the knowledge that our family may grieve at the potential loss of a child.  God loves birthmothers in a special way.  We began to pray for the mother of any child God brought to our family.  We chose to love with an open hand.  This decision was scary for me- I did not want to be hurt and certainly did not want our three children to suffer unnecessary grief.  However, we decided that the grief we may experience was nothing compared to the pain experienced by children and birthmothers in need of Jesus' love.  In February 2010 our social worker, Lesley, called.  "You've been matched with an 8 month old girl."  Precious Sierra had been born in June of 2009.  She was in a special needs foster home due to the challenges imposed upon her little body.  On March 8, 2010, we brought Sierra home.  She was 9 months old.  She was God's precious baby, placed in our arms.  Each one of us loved and treasured Sierra as if she had always been with us.  The journey that followed over the next year was far more trecherous than I could have predicted.  As a social worker, I had felt prepared for the risks and potential losses and challenges ahead.  However, the reality of loving a child as my own while knowing she could easily be taken away to a life where we could not protect her was far more difficult than I could have imagined-- I was blindsided, broken and brought to my knees like never before.  Sleep seemed impossible as fear roared loud.  Depression crept in and seemed to suffocate who I was.  Slowly, love replaced fear as I learned to embrace pain instead of running from it. 
 My love for a God who chose to suffer and die in order to adopt us became more real than ever.

Here is David with Sierra just before bringing her home.  I call this picture "No Longer Fatherless"

Sierra's first word at 11 months old was "DADAAA!!"
Ten days after the courts decided allow our family to eventually adopt Sierra, we received a call from the county...Sierra's precious, suffering birthmother had another baby.  Alyssa was two days old and waiting for us at the hospital.  In a daze, David and I prayed and decided that depression and anxiety and possible grief of our family were no excuse to turn away from Sierra's sister and her biological mother.  Ianna, Leora and Liam also were adamant too that they wanted to love a new baby- even if they would loose her.  Friends came and watched the four children while another friend met us half way to the hospital with a clothes, bottles and formula from Target.  We walked into the NICU and saw Alyssa for the first time.  This beautiful daughter was 7 lbs, 12 oz.  What a strange feeling to walk out of the hospital with her that night... No labor, no physical pain... it almost seamed wrong- we walked out carrying a priceless child without earning her.  I will never underestimate the loss that our girls' birthmother has had. We chose to be her birthmother's arms of love for Alyssa until she would be able to bring her home.  That day never came.  A day has not passed that we have not prayed for her.
Early in the dark of the next morning I was up feeding precious newborn Alyssa and I poured my heart out to God..."LORD, I am so very weak and broken from the journey of nearly loosing precious Sierra.  Our family has suffered.  How can I do this again??! I am too broken!!"  Into my mind came a picture of black darkness.  In the darkness were numerous clay pots.  Within each pot was God's light.  Yet only the broken pots allowed the light to shine out- dispelling darkness.  The more broken the pot, the more light shone out of it.  Along with this mental image came so much peace.  For the first time, it was like I was healed from a fear of pain- through a realization that pain and brokenness are not to be feared.  Truly broken people are who God uses.  That day my prayer changed from "protect my heart" to "Here I am, Lord, break me, shine through into this dark and suffering world."  The next several months were very difficult.  However, I was willing to be broken.  Our children also were willing to be broken.  They told me numerous times "Mom, dont worry, if God let's Alyssa stay here, it's good.  If He let's her go somewhere else, it's good- even if it hurts. Whatever He does is good."  They grew so much this last year.  We all did.

Several weeks after Alyssa came home in November 2010...

Sierra and Alyssa's adoption was finalized on December 14, 2011.  Here is our family...