Invited to walk on water

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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Adopted! Introducing Joseph!

December 19, 2014


Last January, as we waited for a referral from Africa for two special needs children, we got a surprise.  The phone rang.  The voice on the other end was from San Diego County Child Social Services..."Mrs. Stinson, we have the newborn biological brother of your daughter's S and A in our custody.  Would you foster him?"  
It is difficult to describe the emotions that rushed over me as those words spilled from the phone.  I was in the Costco parking lot with our five children. 
We picked him up at the Baby's R Us parking lot when he was 14 days old (6 days later, we learned of Mohale!)  His foster mom met us there.  Oh how tiny and vulnerable he looked- lovingly packaged in soft blankets, enveloped within the car seat in the foster mother's white minivan- just over 5 lbs and in horrible discomfort from his struggling body.  Foster care is hard.  Very hard.  It means a mother's heart is broken and grieving. For us it meant possibly a road to adopting a child we immediately loved because he was our daughter's bio brother,  OR, losing a beloved child that our daughter's would love and connect to- and then later ask "why?"  RISK. I was horribly scared.  Yet, Love somehow draws us to walk forward in spite of even our worst fears. Walking on water.  Ive not blogged much about the treasure we've called "baby J" in the last 11 months due to confidentiality- much of his story is not mine to tell.  But I can say that the road has been very, very difficult. We've had to CLING hard to our Shepherd - The One who walks into pain out of love for us.   
Here is a picture of "Baby J" with our daughter's who are also biologically related to him...
I cannot underscore enough the value that siblings be kept together when possible.  The connection is beyond imagination.   For the last 11 months they have hoped and prayed that their baby would stay.... 

Here's the first time they held him...

Something that is beautiful to me is watching Sierra cherish her baby brother.. because she looks so much like her precious, beautiful birth mother.  I often pray that somehow their birth mom will know and find some comfort in this. 
"Dearest first mom, know that your daughter's and your baby boy completely adore each other.  They are an eternal gift to each other from God through you and they are being raised with love for you."     

Here's a typical morning when littles are awake way before anyone else....

The first time we saw and held him- sitting on the foster mom's van at the Baby's R Us parking lot...

Here's David loving him the morning after we brought him home... Sleep has been rare this year:)

We have loved and cherished Joseph for nearly one year while struggling to trust God with his life.

Then, days after our hearts were breaking over news that we must dissolve and completely re-start Mohale's adoption, (he's our little one in Africa),

we were called to finalize Joseph's adoption. 

on December 19, 2014, a Judge gave our foster baby a new identity:  Our Son.  


Absolutely treasured....

Each of our children ADORE him beyond words.  His little love tank is full.  Each of them hold him, play with him, and beg to care for him.  Each of them have prayed for him long before we knew he even existed...  Each of them have gratefully cherished him for the last 11 months.  God truly does place desires into our hearts that HE has a purpose for...

Christmas has been forever changed for our family.  Eleven years ago as I held our newborn son, Liam, I prayed through tears for children who need a home "Lord, Please let us adopt two by Christmas....Two desperately need a home.
In His timing, 8 years later on December 14, 2011 we had the gift of adopting Sierra and Alyssa:

(Pic from December 2010- when they were still our beloved foster babies)

This December 19 2014, we adopted Joseph!  What a miracle and gift he is!
(Pic taken when he was three weeks old by our daughter Ianna)

Christmas is about many things, but it especially is about the cross and adoption-  The Bible teaches that Jesus was born to pay for our adoption....He came to die so that He could adopt us.  Our adoptions have forever underscored how very loved we are. Adoption is SLOW.  It is HARD.  It HURTS.  Yet, compared to the model our LORD gave us, it is INCREDIBLE and worth every tear, every heartbreak, every sleepless night.   YOU ARE LOVED by THE ONE who was BORN and placed in a manger... The ONE who purposed to be born and live a difficult life and then DIE and raise again- all to ADOPT me.  And you.  YOU ARE LOVED.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Good news and bad. Required to dissolve one adoption, the other is here.

December 12, 2014  HOPE.
Bad news first:  
We learned last week that the US Embassy has not approved Mohale for a visa to enter the USA because our adoption paper trail was done in the wrong order.  They are requiring the country of Lesotho to 
dissolve Mohale's adoption
in order for us to re-do the last one year of paperwork in the correct order.  

(When we signed up to adopt from Lesotho, we were told we would be the first Americans to adopt from Lesotho since Lesotho became a HAGUE accredited country. We agreed to expect glitches, delays and setbacks as both countries learned on our family.  HAGUE is set up to help countries work together to provide safe, ethical adoptions for children. )

 Both countries want what is best for children- and we LOVE that.  

However, this is still crazy, horribly HARD.  

We have already had a little miracle regarding this setback of bringing Mohale home.  Because his adoption must be delayed, we must redo mountains of paperwork- at a cost.  Last week, the day we paid for our homestudy update and fingerprinting (totaling near $1000), we received an unexpected check in the mail from San Diego County for $990.  Then another family who is on their own risky journey, heard of our delay and donated $70 with a subject line that said "For Mohale <3)"  The setback expense was covered- and no one even knew we had this expense.  But greater than that, loved ones have faith that Mohale is coming home-even as we face setbacks.  I cannot find words to describe how uplifting that was.  God is lovingly, tangibly showing us that HE IS HERE.  OH HOW MY HEART aches to hold precious Mohale.  Yet, peace in God's perfect timing is clearly here.  

Here's a link to the devotions I stumbled across last week AND bible scriptures and devotions that friends sent to us when we were low....Encouragement

Good news too!!!!
As we are realing from this unexpected blast, we also received good news regarding our other baby.  

Baby J's adoption finalization has been expedited to next week!!  

This is a surprise.  In early August, during my prayer time, I sensed in my heart that Mohale would not be coming home until next year.  Our international adoption agency had expected him to be home last June or July.  We had hoped.  Wondering if this was God or my imagination, I just tucked it away in my heart and waited.  Mohale is now turning into our fourth adoption.  ALL of our adoptions have had delays and frightening obstacles.  Yet, ALL of them, after losses, delays, obstacles etc- have resulted in our AMAZEMENT in the end at God's perfect timing.   Perhaps in the midst of anxiety and impatience,  I really am learning a tiny bit to stop panicking and to "be still and know that (He is) God..."  Last weeks news regarding Mohale would have thrown me down had I experienced this in another season.  Yet, HOPE remains...