Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

Dear Charlotte,

Today is a very special day! You are turning two years old! Birthdays are very important in our family. I love to think about the day each child was born. I love to reflect on the memories of them throughout the years. Each of my children is so dear to me, and you are no different. Even though I wasn't there on the day of your birth and I have no memories of your two years on this earth ... I will celebrate you today. 

Another thing I like to do on the birthdays of my children is to think of all I wish for them in the future. For all of them I wish for safety and happiness. I wish for a deep love for God and to find purpose in their lives. I wish for more love than they could ever hold ... so much that it spills over onto everyone they come in contact with. Of course, I wish all those things for you, too. But today I'd settle for holding you and rocking you to sleep. Today I'd like to throw you a big birthday party where all your family gathers around to sing and watch you make an awful mess with your cake! Today I wish you knew how much this family already loves you and misses you! 

Since we couldn't be with you today, we did the best we could – sent a cake and gifts and a letter to you at your orphanage. I hope they made you smile! I hope the sweet ladies who care for you will show you our pictures and tell you that we're your family and that we're coming soon!

Sweet Charlotte, happy birthday! This will be the last one you'll ever have without a family to treat you like the princess you are. We adore you already and can't wait to spoil you rotten! 

With all my love,


These are the gifts we ordered through a service called Red Thread China. Charlotte received them along with a cake today! They labeled the pictures and translated our letter for her! I can't wait to get pictures of her at her very first birthday party!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Mother's Day ...

I always wanted to be a mother. But when I was younger, I lumped it in with all the other titles I hoped would be mine someday – wife, friend, career-woman, mother. I thought it would be something I could juggle into my well-balanced life. I had no idea that motherhood would be so life-changing. So defining.

Every year on Mother's Day I reflect on what motherhood truly means to me. I reflect on my own mother who gave up so much to be probably the world's most perfect mother. She poured her life into me and my brothers. She suffered the deepest loss imaginable – a  loss that could've crippled her emotionally and sent her into the depths of despair – and yet somehow through her grief she kept her focus on us. She showed me what it looks like to trust God's plan even when it makes no sense. To trust His love even when you feel forsaken. I'm so blessed to have grown up completely secure in her unconditional love. I hope I am half the mom to my children that she is to me.

On Mother's Day I reflect on the mother of my husband. Scott has always told me she's one of the strongest women he knows. She has not had the easiest life – for Heaven's sake, she raised three rambunctious boys! But just looking at the character of those three speaks volumes about what kind of mother she is. Her selflessness is reflected in the calendar filled with baby-sitting appointments for her seven grandchildren. I am so grateful for a mother-in-law who loves me like a daughter and spoils my children unmercifully!

On Mother's Day I reflect on my children. 

Each one is such a gift

Infertility and loss taught me nothing if not to cherish my children – never, ever taking them for granted. 

Not a day passes that I don't thank God for trusting me to raise them and marvel at the way He brought each one to me. 

I could never repay God for this gift of motherhood, but I'll spend my entire life trying. 

The only way I can think to do this is by loving them from the depths of my heart and living as an example of Christ's love for them.

On Mother's Day I reflect on three mothers who I won't be able to take out to lunch or hug today. But they are in my heart and I will eternally owe them a debt of gratitude. They are the three brave and selfless women who chose life for their babies. One I'll never meet, but she lovingly chose a safe place to leave her newborn daughter so that she'd be found and have a chance at finding a forever family. Two of them looked at my picture in a book and chose me to mother the baby boys they were not able to mother themselves. They were praying for impossible answers and so was I. And we were each others' miracles. The moments I spent with these two women were some of the most sacred of my life. Not a Mother's Day will go by that I won't think of them and honor them by loving their babies well.

And on Mother's Day I reflect on the 147 million children in this world who do not know the love of a mother. These children of every age, race, and nationality go to bed each night without a mommy to tuck them in or read the same story over and over. No mommy to kiss their hurts or bake them cookies. No mommy to take them swimming or cheer wildly for them in the stands or teach them the love of a Savior. This is a burden I cannot ignore. And while I have been reminded that "I can't save them all," I do know Someone who can. ;)

Love to all this Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This is an incredible time in the adoption process. In many ways it's the hardest. We have done all the paperwork (for the time being) and all we can do is wait. We study three pictures of a little girl, trying to memorize every feature and wondering if she'll look the same in person. Will we know her instantly? And of course, we can pray for her – for safety, health, peace, and assurance that her mommy and daddy are coming.

Another incredible thing about this part of the journey is watching God prove His faithfulness through the generosity of our family, friends, and even complete strangers.

When God began speaking to us about adopting from China, we started saving like crazy. But when we felt it was time to really begin the process, we weren't finished saving all the money we needed.  I was so afraid to take those first steps, not knowing for sure if we would be able to meet all the expenses. But we felt certain He was asking us to step out on faith. Having to rely on God's provision requires letting go of pride.  It's much easier to say "yes" when you know you can handle everything without help. It is very frightening to realize you have come to the "end of yourself" – the end of your capabilities and the end of your resources.

But this is where we need to be to truly understand our deep need for God. Never have I sought Him so diligently as when I really can't go a step further without Him. And though He has NEVER failed me, I am always blown away by His mercy and faithfulness. I am blown away by the people He is using to bless us.

God promised to provide ... and I believed Him. But still, when I open the mail to find a check from a friend, or I get an email that someone has bought a t-shirt to help with our adoption expenses, or my precious Bible study group hands me the offering they've been collecting for weeks, I am brought to tears with gratitude. And I see the simple truth. God is SO MUCH BIGGER than my resources.

It is really hard to ask others for help. I sometimes wish God would handle this between me and Him. That way I wouldn't have to bother anyone else with our needs. But I'm having to learn that it's not all about me. Yes, I am being changed, strengthened, humbled. But He has a bigger purpose than just strengthening my faith. And I believe He even has a bigger purpose than rescuing an orphan. If I were the only one who had a stake in this child's life, then so many others would miss out on the blessing of being used by God. Every person whose heart is pricked to help us in this journey or to lift our daughter in prayer gets to be a part of this miracle story. And God. Is. Glorified.

I hope you'll pray with us as we work on raising the last of our expenses – $8500 for traveling to China to get our sweet girl. We don't know the dates for sure, but we are hoping it will be sometime late this summer. We will be selling Show Hope adoption T-shirts for a few more weeks. They are a lightweight material and really comfortable. You can purchase by clicking on the T-shirt link. We have also set up a donation website. You can donate directly to our "Charlotte Fund" by going here or clicking on the button that says "Donate with WePay" and following the instructions. You will never know how much it means to have your support on this journey. Know that you are storing up treasures in Heaven, though, as you pray for this child and help bring her home!