If this is your first time visiting our blog, you may want to began by reading why we are choosing to adopt. We ask for your prayers, encouragement, and support as we go where the Lord is calling.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

Please take a few minutes to listen to this beautiful song by Third Day. During this Christmas season, pray for the families who are waiting on their children to come home, and especially pray for all of the children who are without a family this Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An ornament just for you...

To our sweet little girl:

It just doesn't even feel right that you're not home with us for Christmas. Oh, how we want you home with your family! Even though you're half a world away, you are not forgotten.  Daddy and I think about you all the time, and we pray for you daily. We can't wait until we see your precious face! We had hoped that the song, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" would be our special song this year...but next year, next year it will be!

It's a tradition in our home to buy a Christmas ornament for each family member every year to represent their year. We wanted so badly to have a Christmas ornament with your picture this year, but it's not the Lord's timing yet. But soon...very soon we pray! So instead, we found a very special ornament to hang on our tree in honor of you. Even though you're not home with us physically, we're celebrating Christmas with you in our hearts. 

We love you already and can't wait to bring you home to us!

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, December 10, 2010

We're Still Here...

Wow, it's been awhile since I last posted an update. No worries though...we're still here. And we're still waiting on our precious little girl's referral. So many times I've wanted to post something....but I just wasn't sure what to write. So many thoughts have gone through my head, but I just wasn't sure how to articulate them. What I do know is that there is not a day that goes by that we aren't thinking about our daughter. Not a day goes by that we're not praying to God, asking Him to take care of her and bring her home to us soon.

I read this quote earlier in the week by one of my favorites, Beth Moore, who simply stated "God purposes to use every second of divinely-ordained waiting to build us into the individuals our futures demand we be." How powerful is that?! And what a different perspective it gave me! This time that we are waiting for our daughter to come home is not wasted! God is using this specific time to prepare us for the journey to which He's called us. When I stop and think about the impact of this, it makes me so thankful that my Savior loves me enough to not let me have my way and that His desire is for me to be ready for what He is going to do! Many times throughout this process I have become discouraged, and the Lord always gently reminds me that He is still at work, even when I can't see it. Very recently I saw the His hand at work in something that I had been praying about for quite some time...I mean, months and months and months. And even though I had been praying about it, I didn't know when I would see an answer. And in God's perfect timing (and I mean PERFECT), He moved. And I was awe-struck over what He did! I felt Him softly whisper, "See, I'm still here. And I always move in just the right time. Your adoption is no different." What a refreshing thought to know that He IS faithful and He hasn't forgotten about us or our daughter...that He is bringing her home to us in His timing!

I've been listening to the song below almost daily. It's a song I remembered hearing back in late middle school, and one day recently, out of the blue, I just had this intense urge to listen to it. I love the message of encouragement during the waiting period. How gracious the Lord is to us! Many of you reading this may be in a period of some kind of waiting, and I hope this song encourages you as well.

Isaiah 40:28-31 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."

Praise be to our God who sustains us even in the waiting!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


This is a must-see video.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Simply Love T-Shirt Sale!

We have a limited number of Simply Love Moldova t-shirts left and are offering them at a discounted rate in order to move them out. Shirts are now $15 each (plus $2.50 for shipping if applicable)! There are still several women's small and medium shirts left (and remember, they all fit like unisex shirts). And there are literally a total of 8 men's shirts left. We do not plan on reordering shirts any time soon, so if you've been wanting a t-shirt, now is the time to buy!



Monday, October 18, 2010


On October 9th we hit the mark of our second month of waiting. Now I realize in terms of adoption processes, our wait hasn't been that long yet. But every day that passes seems so long to us. Especially since the paperwork part of our process went so quickly! We honestly expected to have a referral by now, but it hasn't happened like we thought. We don't have a timeline of when things will happen. We do know the process has slowed down but referrals are still being made. There are two families in front of us using our same agency that are wanting to adopt a girl around the same age as us. They have to receive their referrals before we will receive ours. They have been waiting over 2 months.

So here's me being vulnerable. I'm having a really hard time waiting. REALLY HARD. I just grapple with the timeline and that fact that this isn't going like I want it to. I just don't understand. I don't get why we moved along so fast just to be at a stand still. Just to wait. I don't get why we were called to adopt when we were only to find ourselves waiting for our referral. I just feel this intense sense of urgency not only to get our daughter home, but to have a referral before the end of the year. And I'm just tired of being patient!

As we were driving to Gatlinburg this past weekend for our annual college retreat, I stared in awe at the magnificent beauty around me. To think that the God of the universe created all of the mountains and the beautiful views I saw, a thought struck me. If our God can create the entire universe with all of its amazing features in just 6 days, why do I have such a hard time BELIEVING that He can move our process as quickly as He desires! He is choosing not to act right now. And while we sit and wait, He wants us to trust Him. Trust that His timing is perfect. Trust that our daughter is not yet ready for us. Trust that He is working in our hearts so that we will be the parents to her that He's called us to be. Trust that He's working all things out for our good. But it's so hard to trust when you cannot see. FAITH. He is growing our faith in Him. Every painful step of the way.

I must remember that God is sovereign, and that I am not. He chooses to do things in ways that don't always make sense. Look at Abraham waiting until he was over 100 years old to have a son! Look at Noah building the ark, waiting for a flood when rain had never even occurred. Look at Joseph, who had to become a slave and who was imprisoned for something he didn't do...only to later be in charge of Egypt! Look at Joshua and the battle of Jericho...marching around the walled city and finally blowing trumpets and shouting, all which destroyed the city. Look at David, who at age 15 was anointed by God to be king over Israel...and yet it wasn't until 22 years later that he actually took the throne promised to him. Time after time in the Bible we see evidence of the Lord at work in strange ways. And let's not forget how He chose to save the world...through a virgin who bore Jesus in a manger who ultimately died a horrific death on a cross when He never sinned and was raised from the dead three days later, giving us a WAY to know Him! Yes, indeed, God's ways don't make sense and are often strange. But that's how God works.

So I have a choice: I can choose to allow worry and fear to grip me and then try to take control and do things my way, or I can choose to trust Him and take Him at His Word even when things don't make sense. It is a daily decision that I must choose to make. And God promises that as I choose to trust Him, He will direct me each step of the way.

Please pray for these specifics:

1. Pray that all of the officials looking over our dossier will feel compelled to move our family forward in the adoption process before the end of the year. Pray that God moves in their hearts and places a sense of urgency especially with placing the child who will become our daughter.

2. Don't stop praying for our daughter. Specifically that the Lord will hasten her arrival home. Pray that as it continues to get colder that she will have enough warm clothing and heat to keep her warm. Pray also that the Lord begins to prepare her for the huge change coming. Pray even that she might see us and hear our voices in her dreams so that when we do meet, she will already know about us.

3. Pray for Caleb. He will also be affected by the huge change coming. Pray that his heart will be tender and that he will love his sister. Pray that the Lord prepares him to become a brother (and whether he is a big or little brother, that the Lord gives him everything he needs for that role).

4. Pray for Austin and me. Pray that the Lord will continue to comfort us and give us peace while we wait. Pray that we will trust Him and His timing. Pray that when the enemy strikes and fear grips us because of all of the unknowns that we will stand strong in the TRUTH and will be able to withstand his attacks. Pray that this adoption process will bring glory to Him.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”  Psalm 27:14

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quote of the Day

Remember: If (correction: WHEN) you come up against obstacles or doubts during your adoption (either during the process or post-adoption), remember it's Satan that wants to keep children orphans. He's fighting like mad for them. You must fight harder. Get mad.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where God Guides, He Provides...

We got an email on Friday from Trudy at Hand in Hand Christian Adoption with the final numbers on our matching grant. We will be receiving $12,950 toward our adoption! We had no idea we would receive SO much! We are amazed at the Lord's provision and overwhelmed by the generosity of those who donated!

Austin and I spent some time on Sunday afternoon crunching numbers, and with the money received from the grant and the garage sale plus the adoption tax credit we'll get back after the adoption is complete (~$13,000), we have a little over $6,500 left to pay in estimated fees! Isn't God so good?! In less than 6 months He has provided over $23,000 through various means to pay for our adoption!

When the Lord called us to adopt, the financial aspect of adoption (our total costs are estimated to be about $50,000) was one of the scariest things for us. Even though we knew the stories of how God has provided for His children from the very beginning, we were still afraid. But we stepped out in faith and proceeded through the adoption process even though we didn't know how it would all work out financially. The Lord has provided for us every single step of the way and mostly in ways we would have never imagined and through people we didn't expect. Seeing the Lord take care of our needs in His way has been one of the most amazing experiences for us and has grown our faith in Him so much more. It makes us wonder why didn't we just trust Him from the beginning?

1 John 5:14-15 says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him."

We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord has called us to adopt, and seeing Him at work in our adoption process each step of the way just reaffirms that we are doing exactly what He has called us to do and that He is completely in control.

Lord, as we continue to wait on Your timing for us to meet our daughter and to bring her home to us, help us not forget how You've provided for our needs so far. Let us set them as "stones of remembrance" in our hearts and mind. Help us to remember that You will continue to give us exactly what we need along the way. Thank you for Your faithfulness, Father!

Garage Sale Results!!!

The Lord once again provided for us beyond our wildest imagination at our garage sale this past weekend! After 3 days and over 25 families donating items, we raised $2,370.11. WOW! 

Thank you to our family and friends who gave us their stuff for us to sell. We appreciate each of you and your willingness to give your things for our sale. What a blessing you are to us! And thanks to everyone who came out in support of our sale. It means so much to us to see how many people are so excited to help us bring our little girl home!

Now, some pictures for you to enjoy... 

Before Pictures...

And After Pictures (there was hardly anything left!)...

Thank You, Lord, for the good weather, our generous family/friends who donated their stuff for us to sell, and all of the people who came out and bought stuff, often giving us more for it than what we asked. Thank You for Your provision! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

One month has passed since we submitted the last piece of our paperwork. One LONG month. Not too long ago there was a sign at a church that I pass by on the way home. It said Being Patient is Trusting God's Timing. I'm grateful for such a reminder...the Lord knows how much I need that reminder on a daily basis!

This waiting stage of this adoption process is HARD. Other adoptive families warned me that it would be, but I really thought I would be okay with the wait. After all, having a nearly 14 month old certainly keeps me busy! But even with our busy days, I long to know who my daughter is and know that she is on her way home to us. I find myself daydreaming about what she looks like and what type of personality she'll have. I think about what I will feel the first time I see her sweet little face in a photo and then how I'll react when I hold her for the first time in Moldova. There are days that I feel like I'm going crazy as we wait for THE CALL. We really have no indication of when we might hear something...whether it's next week, next month, or 6+ months from now.

Last night at Bible study I was reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9, which says, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" What a wonderful reminder to me that the Lord is orchestrating our whole adoption journey to bring our daughter home to us in HIS perfect timing! He is in control of every detail and knows exactly the right time for us to receive THE CALL so that we can travel to bring her home.  So even when I don't feel like we have control of anything in this process, HE DOES. And He is working out all things for our good (Romans 8:28).  

Please pray that we will get THE CALL soon. Pray that we will trust the Lord's timing and lean not on our own understanding. Pray that in all of this the Lord is glorified. And please, please continue to pray for our little girl...for her health, safety, and extra love from her caretakers until we can go get her and bring her home. We're asking the Lord for a miracle...we're asking Him to bring her home before Christmas. It's a little crazy, but we know that with God ALL things are possible!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adoption Benefit Garage Sale...ROUND 2

We are in the midst of preparing for another Adoption Benefit Garage Sale! We had quite a few people approach us after our first garage sale to ask if we had plans for another sale because they had items to donate...so...it's time for Round 2! Let the craziness begin!

We will be having the garage sale at our house again on Thursday, September 23 through Saturday, September 25, which is now about three weeks away. If you have anything that you'd like to donate for our sale, please let us know, and we will be happy to make arrangements to pick it up.  

Please cover this garage sale in your prayers and ask the Lord to provide in crazy ways again like last time. Please also pray for good (i.e. cooler) weather, lots of stuff to sell, and lots of people to buy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Orphan's Prayer

Is the Lord calling YOU to adopt? What are you waiting for? Don't put it off any longer. Now's the time to respond!

I am waiting...somewhere far...far away on the other side of the world.

I may not know who you are or what you look like, but somewhere deep in my heart I know you are out there, that one day you will come and find me.

It's a long journey, and it takes a lot of time...I wish it could be easier.
But I know the ones that come for me will not count the cost.
They will only see the joy in finding me.

For now I abide in the fields of the fatherless. Day by day wondering why I was born here and not somewhere else? Asking why my life couldn't have been different?

It is so lonely.

Even though I am surrounded by hundreds of other children, I know that something is missing...I know in my heart I need a place to call home. My arms long to be wrapped in a father's embrace...I long to be saved by a mother's love...

Gazing out the orphans window, I offer a prayer of hope, "Oh God please help them come quickly."

Even as I lay in the darkness each night somehow I feel assured, that no matter how lost I appear, I am not alone. Holy hands guard my steps; sacred fingers wipe my tears, touching my lonely heart. The one who made me, the God that knew me before I was born, hears me every time I call. He whispers His promises in my ear. I listen with hope to His voice.

But what I worry about most is that no one wants to look for me. The fields are vast and there are so many scattered all over the earth. I wonder how one little child, so lost, can be found?

Yet He calms my heart and assures me He will find you. That He will make sure that you hear His voice clearly. He has promised me that he will make a way through the fields, that He will personally cut a path, and lead you right to my orphanage door.

My prayer is....When He speaks...Please don't forget to listen...When He calls don't be too afraid to go. For I am waiting...somewhere, far...far away on the other side of the world to come home.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thirty One Party Results

Drum roll, please...

The results are in! Seventy-one people placed an order with Thirty One, spending nearly $4,000 in retail sales. As a result, we will receive around $850 for our adoption. Wow! What a blessing! Thank you to everyone who ordered something in support of our adoption! We are truly grateful for you. And a big thank you to Margaret, the Thirty One Consultant, who was obedient to the Lord's calling and willingly gave up the profits from the party to help pay the ransom to bring our daughter home. This sweet friend spent numerous hours praying for our party, answering question after question, taking a ton of orders, and keying them all in.  

It's been amazing to see the Lord at work throughout this adoption journey. The Thirty One party is just one tangible reminder of His faithfulness. To many, the Thirty One party just seemed like another fundraiser. But it was so much more than that. Many still do not know how the party came about, so I'll share the story with you. On Thursday, June 3, I was running errands one morning, and as Caleb napped in the backseat, I just spent some time praying over our adoption and specifically that the Lord would provide financially for our needs. When I went to check my Facebook messages a little later, there was a message waiting for me sent at 10:32 a.m. the same Thursday morning that I spent time praying over our adoption. It was from Margaret, an acquaintance from Bible study and church. She shared that she wanted to do a Thirty-One party to help fund our adoption, writing that the Lord specifically told her to do this party to help us bring our daughter home. Is that not incredible?! I'm just blown away by God's goodness!!!  

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hand in Hand Matching Grant!

We received notification from Hand in Hand Adoption that we were awarded a matching grant up to $8,000. Hand in Hand will match dollar for dollar up to $4,000...so if we raise $4,000, they will match it! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

We are beyond excited about this grant and its timing! As many of you know, we are in the waiting phase of our adoption process and could receive THE CALL any time. When that happens, within just a few weeks, we will need to pay the first installment of our international fees plus pay for our travel arrangements. To date we've paid out over $15,000 with approximately $35,000 still remaining. This grant ($8,000) will make a HUGE dent in the amount needed to bring our daughter home!

If you would like to participate in this matching grant, please let us know. We will send you a letter describing how the grant works. Oh, and your contribution is tax-deductible, too.

We still have an application out for the Lifesong Adoption Grant, and we should hear back on that grant within the next 2-3 weeks. Please pray that, if it's the Lord's will, we will receive a grant from them as well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An update soon...

I will post an update soon about the results of our Thirty-One Party. Thank you to everyone who came out in support of our adoption! We are simply amazed at God's goodness!

Monday, August 9, 2010

We've Been Approved!

Two posts in one day!

I got a sweet little surprise today when I went out to the mailbox to find our USCIS approval letter waiting for us! We've been approved to adopt our little girl! Hooray!!!

I wish y'all could see me right now...I'm so giddy! I can hardly concentrate on getting my "to do" list completed. This is really happening, and we're getting so close to bringing our little girl home! Our little girl. We are so ready for her to be a part of our family!

So...now...we wait on THE CALL with information on our referral. Please, please, please keep praying! Pray that the Lord will continue to protect our daughter until we can get to Moldova. Pray that, if it's His will, we will receive our referral in record time and that we will bring her home just as quickly. Pray for His continued provision for our family.

Lord, thank you for Your goodness to us! You never cease to amaze us! Thank you for moving things along so quickly in this process! Lord, we ask that You would see our adoption through to completion SOON and bring our little girl home. Please help us trust You and Your timing.

How God Provides...

Yesterday at church we we received an anonymous gift. Written on the envelope itself was Matthew 25:35-40, which says,

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'  "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'  "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Inside the envelope was $100 for our adoption fund. Wow. What an unexpected blessing! 

To our anonymous giver, we don't know who you are or if you even read our blog, but we want to thank you for your generosity and for sacrificing your money to help us pay the ransom to bring our daughter home. Words are not enough to say thank you. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thirty One Party/Adoption Benefit

You are invited to a Thirty One Open House Party!  Thirty One offers unique items such as personalized totes, purses, kids’ stuff, home goods, etc.  And for the month of August, embroidery is only $1!  By purchasing a product, you will also help bring our daughter home!  100% of the proceeds will go toward our adoption.

When:   Sunday, August 8 from 2-5 p.m.
                & Monday, August 9 from 6-9 p.m.

Where:    Our House - Lenoir City

It is an open house style party so that you can come and go as you need. There is no presentation or anything like that...just come and shop! Feel free to bring your kids, too. 

Invite others to come - your mom, mother-in-law, daughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, aunts, friends, co-workers and anyone else who might be interested! If you or others are unable to come on the 8th or 9th, you can also shop online (be sure to go under My Events and click on my name so that we get credit for it). Please note that your order will be placed on August 9th with the rest of the group. 

Please come out and buy gifts for Christmas, birthday, graduation, or just because. Thanks for supporting us and helping us bring our daughter home! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Simply Love Shirt!

Nana is ready to bring her granddaughter home!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Great article written by Russell Moore

Russell Moore is the author of Adopted for Life, which is one of the very first books Austin and I read on adoption. You can go here to read the full article. 

The creepiest sound I have ever heard was nothing at all. My wife, Maria, and I stood in the hallway of an orphanage somewhere in the former Soviet Union, on the first of two trips required for our petition to adopt. Orphanage staff led us down a hallway to greet the two 1-year-olds we hoped would become our sons. The horror wasn't the squalor and the stench, although we at times stifled the urge to vomit and weep. The horror was the quiet of it all. The place was more silent than a funeral home by night.
I stopped and pulled on Maria's elbow. "Why is it so quiet? The place is filled with babies." Both of us compared the stillness with the buzz and punctuated squeals that came from our church nursery back home. Here, if we listened carefully enough, we could hear babies rocking themselves back and forth, the crib slats gently bumping against the walls. These children did not cry, because infants eventually learn to stop crying if no one ever responds to their calls for food, for comfort, for love. No one ever responded to these children. So they stopped.
The silence continued as we entered the boys' room. Little Sergei (now Timothy) smiled at us, dancing up and down while holding the side of his crib. Little Maxim (now Benjamin) stood straight at attention, regal and czar-like. But neither boy made a sound. We read them books filled with words they couldn't understand, about saying goodnight to the moon and cows jumping over the same. But there were no cries, no squeals, no groans. Every day we left at the appointed time in the same way we had entered: in silence.
On the last day of the trip, Maria and I arrived at the moment we had dreaded since the minute we received our adoption referral. We had to tell the boys goodbye, as by law we had to return to the United States and wait for the legal paperwork to be completed before returning to pick them up for good. After hugging and kissing them, we walked out into the quiet hallway as Maria shook with tears.
And that's when we heard the scream.
Little Maxim fell back in his crib and let out a guttural yell. It seemed he knew, maybe for the first time, that he would be heard. On some primal level, he knew he had a father and mother now. I will never forget how the hairs on my arms stood up as I heard the yell. I was struck, maybe for the first time, by the force of the Abba cry passages in the New Testament, ones I had memorized in Vacation Bible School. And I was surprised by how little I had gotten it until now.
Gospel and Mission

When someone learns that I'm going to speak at their church about adoption, typically the first question is, "So will you be talking about the doctrine of adoption or, you know, real adoption?" That's a hard question, because I cannot address one without addressing the other. We cannot master one aspect and then move to the other, from the vertical aspect of adoption to the horizontal aspect, or vice versa.
Families, the Bible tells us, reflect something eternally true about God. It is God's fatherhood after which every family in heaven and on earth is named (Eph. 3:14-15). We know what human parenting should look like based on our Father's behavior toward us.
The reverse is also true. We see something of God's fatherhood in our relationship with our human fathers. Jesus tells us that our fathers' provision and discipline show us God's active love toward us (Matt. 7:9-11; Heb. 12:5-17).
The same principle is at work in adoption. Adoption is, on one hand, gospel. Our identity and inheritance are grounded in our adoption in Christ. Adoption is also mission. In this, our adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the poor, the marginalized, the abandoned, and the fatherless. Without the theological aspect, the growing Christian emphasis on orphan care too often seems like one more cause wristband for compassionate conservative evangelicals to wear until the trend dies down. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily becomes mere metaphor, just another way to say "saved."
No Natural-born Children of God

Little Maxim's scream changed everything—more, I think, than did the judge's verdict and the notarized paperwork. It was the moment, in his recognizing that he would be heard, that he went from being an orphan to being a son. It was also the moment I became a father, in fact if not in law. We both recognized that something was wrong, because suddenly, life as it had been seemed terribly disordered.
Up to that time, I had read the Abba cry passages in Romans and Galatians the same way I had heard them preached: as a gurgle of familiarity, the spiritual equivalent of an infant cooing "Papa" or "Daddy." Relational intimacy is surely present in the texts—hence Paul's choice of such a personal word as Abba—but this definitely isn't sentimental. After all, Scripture tells us that Jesus' Spirit lets our hearts cry "Abba, Father!" (Gal. 4:6). Jesus cries "Abba, Father" as he screams "with loud cries and tears" for deliverance in the Garden of Gethsemane (Heb. 5:7; Mark 14:36, ESV, used throughout). Similarly, the doctrine of adoption shows us that we "groan" with the creation itself "as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom. 8:23). It is the scream of the crucified.
The gospel of adoption challenges us, first of all, to recognize ourselves as spiritual orphans. The gospel compels us to see our fallen universe—and our own egocentric kingdoms therein—as not the way it's supposed to be.
With our evangelistic emphasis on the sinner's prayer, evangelicals ought to recognize this more than we often do. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Rom. 10:13), we rightly insist. But we rarely feel how desperate—and how liberating—the call is. We assume it's a cry only at the beginning of the Christian walk, not through the ongoing work of the Spirit. We grow complacent in the present age, too comfortable to cry out for a Father we can sense only by faith.
The Abba cry of our adoption defines who we are and what family we belong to. That's why Scripture's witness to the doctrine of adoption has everything to do with church unity, away from the divisions of Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, rich and poor (Gal. 3:28). None of us are natural-born children of God, entitled to all this grace, all this glory. It's not just the Gentiles—with their uncircumcised penises and pig-flesh-eating mouths—who were adopted into this family. The Jewish Christians, too, received adoption (Rom. 9:4). Yes, Abraham was the father of the Israelites, but he was an Iraqi Gentile before he joined the household of God. We Christians receive newcomers because, in Christ, we have been received. Our identity and our inheritance are found in Christ, or they are not found at all.
I was at first reluctant to adopt, because I assumed an adopted child would always be more distant than a child "of my own." I was wrong. And I should have known better. After all, there are no "adopted children" of God, as an ongoing category. Adoption tells us how we came into the family of God. And once we are here, no distinction is drawn between those at the dinner table. Love based on the preservation and protection of genetic material makes sense in a Darwinian—not a Christian—view of reality.
Thus, the adoption and orphan care movement teaches us something revolutionary about theevangel.
Orphan Care: Spiritual Warfare

We evangelicals often seem to identify more around corporate brands and political parties than with each other in our local churches. But our adoption in Christ makes us not warring partisans but loving siblings, whom the Spirit has taken from the babble of Babel to the oneness of Pentecost. The church's unity attests to the "manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:10). Would our gospel be more credible if "church family" wasn't just a slogan, if "brothers and sisters" was more than metaphor? What would happen if the world saw fewer "white churches" and "black churches," fewer "blue-collar churches" and "white-collar churches," and fewer baby boomer and emerging churches, and saw more churches whose members have little in common except being saved by the gospel?
Our churches ought to be showing the families therein how love and belonging transcend categories of the flesh. Instead, though, it seems God is using families who adopt to teach the church. In fact, perhaps we so often wonder whether adopted children can really be brothers and sisters because we so rarely see it displayed in our pews. Some—maybe even you—might wonder how an African American family could love a white Ukrainian baby, how a Haitian teenager could call Swedish parents Mom and Dad. The adoption movement is challenging the impoverished hegemony of our carnal sameness, as more and more families in the church are starting to show fellow believers the meaning of unity in diversity.
That's why adoption and orphan care can ultimately make the church a counterculture. The demonic rulers of the age hate orphans because they hate babies—and have from Pharaoh to Moloch to Herod to the divorce culture to malaria to HIV/AIDS. They hate foster care and orphan advocacy because these actions are icons of the gospel's eternal reality. Our enemies would prefer that we find our identity and inheritance in what we can see and verify as ours—the flesh—rather than according to the veiled rhythms of the Spirit. Orphan care isn't charity; it's spiritual warfare.
A New Household Economy

After we learn more about our gospel identity, we start reflecting the economy and priorities of our new household. The God of Israel consistently urges his people to care for the orphan, the widow, and the immigrant (Deut. 24:17-22) by noting his adopting purposes as "Father of the fatherless" (Ps. 68:5). He announces, "If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry" (Ex. 22:23). The Spirit drives us not just to cry Abba in the Christian gospel, but also to respond to the cries of the weak through Christian mission.
Orphan care is, by definition, missional. Paul's letter to the Romans, which includes perhaps the clearest explanation of the doctrine of adoption, isn't a systematic theology text; it's a missionary manifesto, calling the church in Rome to unify and to join Paul in making Christ known to the nations (Rom. 15:1-21). This is why James—the brother of Jesus—tells us that caring for widows and orphans is the essence of "pure and undefiled" religion (1:27). And Jesus himself—adopted by the righteous Joseph—identifies himself with the "least of these my brothers" (Matt. 25:40). And he tells us that the first time we hear his voice in person, he will be asking if we did the same.
Imagine, for a moment, the plight of an orphan somewhere out there. With every passing year, she will become less "cute," thus less adoptable. In a few years, on her eighteenth birthday, she will be expelled from the system. She might join the military or find job training. Maybe she'll stare at a tile on the ceiling above her as her body is violated—alone or before a camera crew of strangers—by a man who's willing to pay enough for her to eat for one day. Maybe she'll place a revolver in her mouth or tie a rope around her neck, knowing no one will notice except the ones who have to clean up afterward. This story could just as well describe a boy who is orphaned. Can you feel the desperation of what it means to be an orphan? Jesus can. Orphans are his little sisters and brothers. He hears them.
In saying that orphan care is missional, I do not mean that every Christian is called to adopt or foster a child. But every Christian is called to care for orphans. As with every aspect of Christ's mission, a diversity of gifts abounds. Some have room at their table and in their hearts for another stocking on the mantle by this coming Christmas. Others are gifted financially to help families who would like to adopt but cannot figure out how to make ends meet. Others can babysit while families with children make their court dates and complete home-study papers.
Still others can lead mission trips to rock and hug and sing to orphans who may never be adopted. Pastors can simply ask whether anyone in their congregation might be called to adopt or foster parent, or to empower someone who is. And all of us can pray—specifically and urgently—for orphans the world over.
Some would seek to contrast orphan care—and other so-called social ministries—with evangelism, perhaps even with the gospel itself. But such a dichotomy just does not stand up to biblical revelation. Genuine faith works through love, the Bible tells us (Gal. 5:6). The mission of Christ points us, as theologian Carl Henry reminded the last generation of evangelicals, to a God of both justice and justification.
Since genuine faith is always orphan-protecting, a culture of adoption and evangelism can work together. Indeed, they grow from the same root. Churches that are other-directed instead of self-obsessed in adopting unwanted children will be other-directed instead of self-obsessed in verbally witnessing to unwanted people. A conscience that's burdened for orphans, rather than seared over in the quest for more stuff, will be burdened for spiritual orphans. A church that learns to love beyond the borders of biology will learn to do mission outside the borders of geography.
A Kingdom of Rescued Children

As the Spirit draws more Christians to orphan care, we also must insist that adoption is not just a backdoor route to child evangelism. Of course, Christians who adopt will teach their children that what they believe is true and ultimately meaningful. Every parent does that and, to some degree, cannot do otherwise. A secular progressive parent would (rightly) correct racial bigotry or misogyny in his or her child. We wouldn't accuse that parent of having a child in order to export Western democratic values. In the same way, Christian parents will teach their child the message of Jesus, regardless of how the child arrived in their home.
But this doesn't mean that adoption is simply a means to evangelism, any more than biologically bearing children is reproductive evangelism. As those who have experienced gospel adoption, we know it is good for all children to have parents, even parents who do not yet know Christ. We advocate, then, for all orphans and rejoice when unbelievers adopt too, just as we encourage marriage between unbelievers, since marriage witnesses to the Christ-church union even when the married couple doesn't see it. The gospel is better understood in a culture that understands the one-flesh union. Likewise, the fatherhood of God is better understood in a culture where children know what it means to say "Daddy" and "Mommy."
Scripture characterizes the kingdom of Christ as a kingdom of rescued children. Solomon looks to the final reign of God's anointed and sings, "For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight" (Ps. 72:12-14). When we contend for orphans—born and unborn—we are doing more than cultural activism. A culture of adoption, orphan care, and ministry to mothers in distress announces what the kingdom of God looks like and to whom it belongs. We're contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
While I was writing this article, my children came running through my study hyped up on Kool-Aid and Pop-Tarts (don't judge me). I heard myself saying, "Will all of you please be quiet so I can think?" But I remembered when our house was quiet, and I remembered the silence of the orphanage where we found Timothy and Benjamin. The kingdom of God isn't quiet. Instead it's like my house these days, "like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men" (Mic. 2:12).
The universe around us is creepily silent—like an orphanage in which the children no longer believe they will be heard. But if we listen with Galilean ears, we can hear the quiet desperation of thumbs being sucked, of cribs being rocked. As we welcome orphans into our homes, we can show the orphaned universe what it means to belong to a God who welcomes the fatherless.
Let's remember that we were orphans once, and that someone came looking for us, someone who taught us to call him "Abba." Let's be ambassadors for the One who loves the little children, all the children of the world. Like him, let's welcome children into our homes, our churches, and our lives, especially those we are not supposed to want.
Russell D. Moore is author of Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches(Crossway). He is senior vice president and dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville. He and his wife, Maria, have four sons.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Simply Love Shirts Spotted!

Gram and Gramps are very excited about bringing their granddaughter home!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Update!

Well, I had planned on updating to say that we had no updates...but that all changed when I got the mail! We received letters from USCIS with our fingerprint appointments...and our big day is Monday, August 2! Wow...so fast! We didn't think we'd have an appointment until at least mid-August. This is the last thing we need to do before we receive approval from USCIS. Once we receive approval, we will send it in to our agency, and we wait for the referral on our daughter! Hooray! :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Please pray...

We are beginning to apply for grants to help us with the financial burden of adoption. Please pray that we will complete our applications quickly and convey our hearts in the limited space provided. Pray for the individuals who will review our applications and that they would ultimately choose to give us a grant (or two or three) to help us bring our daughter home. Pray that we will trust the Lord to provide everything that we need.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another trip to FedEx...

And this was a very important trip! We sent our dossier to our agency today! They should receive it on Wednesday, and after reviewing everything, they will send it over to Moldova to begin translation. We still need to send approval from USCIS after we get it (apostilled, of course), but right now, there is nothing else in this big paper-chase that we can do. Wow, I can't even believe it!

Caleb excited about mailing the dossier to bring sister home! 

Somebody's going to be a BROTHER!

Lord, you are so good! To think that only a few short months ago You began to weave this idea of adoption in our hearts...and here we are today sending our paperwork to our agency to ultimately go to Moldova, where the little girl that You have for us is waiting. We know, Lord, that before the beginning of time You planned this for us and our daughter. This is all a part of Your perfect plan to bring our daughter home to us. Father, thank You for Your faithfulness in each step that we have taken so far. Please bring this adoption to completion -- and our daughter home to us -- in Your perfect timing.

What's in a dossier?

As we've mentioned in previous posts, we've been very busy getting everything together for our dossier. So, what all goes into a dossier for Moldova? Well, our part includes...

1.  Application for adoption
2.  Home study
3.  Power of attorney
4.  Copies of passports (for both of us)
5.  Criminal record clearances (for both of us)
6.  Marriage certificate
7.  Birth certificates (for both of us)
8.  Medical/psychological letters (for both of us)
9.  Employment letter
10.  Deed to home
11.  Family photographs
12.  Post-adoption agreement

When you put it all together, it looks like this:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Simply Love Shirts Spotted at Disney World!

My cousin Matt and his new bride Katie wore their shirts on their honeymoon! Thanks for your support! We love you both! :)

Don't forget to send your pictures in, too! :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And it's off!

Our I-800a, that is. We sent it via FedEx on Saturday....and it was quite the process, too! We forgot to make copies of our marriage certificate and birth certificates, but thankfully we had them in the car that day for another "project", so it wasn't a problem. I think the 30+ minutes we spent getting everything ready to go to USCIS would have made for a great comedy! Normally Austin and I are both very prepared and on top of things, but yesterday it seemed like we both left our brains at home! But we were determined to get everything sent out so that we could cross off another BIG thing on our Adoption To Do List and be one step closer to bringing our daughter home!

So, you might be wondering, now what? Well, we have to wait to receive a letter from the local USCIS office to have fingerprinting done in Nashville, and we've heard this can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, and then we wait for USCIS approval, which typically takes anywhere from 60-120 days. While we wait, we are finishing up our dossier to send to Carolina Adoption Services who will ultimately send it to Moldova for translation. We've been working like crazy to get it ready, and I think it will be ready next week. So that's also good! However, until we have approval from USCIS, we cannot receive a referral. Once the approval is in hand, we have to send it back to Nashville to be apostilled, then on to our agency who sends it to Moldova. So...once it makes it to Moldova, we could have a referral on our daughter anywhere from 1 to 9 months from that point. EXCITING!!!! 

Please pray for us and our daughter every day. Pray that the Lord will move us through this process as He sees best. Pray that we will wait on Him and His perfect timing. Pray that He prepares our hearts for the days, weeks, and months to come.

Monday, June 21, 2010

We need your pictures!

If you own one of our Simply Love Moldova t-shirts, please send us a picture of you wearing it! We want to display your pictures on our blog and one day show them to our little girl. So send those pictures in!

Oh, and if you don't own one of our t-shirts but would like to, go here and buy one (or send us an email). :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sex Trafficking in Moldova

The following you are about to read was taken from Tom Davis's blog.

Many of you have asked why this issue (sex trafficking) is so bad in this country. Here's some information from the State Department:

"Although formerly one of the most wealthy parts of the former Soviet Union, Moldova is today officially the poorest country in Europe. With nearly total unemployment, the registered daily income of 80% of the population is below a dollar per day. This fact can explain why desperate people sell their organs for money and sex trafficking is rampant. Moldovan prostitutes are now the country’s main export."
40% of Moldova's sex slaves are kids, and both the traffickers and the involved government officials know that children are highly sought after for the sex trade."

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/redletters/2010/04/iempathize-the-story-of-the-sex-cafe.html#ixzz0qbRVDQxB

Brad and the Sex-Cafe from Tom Davis on Vimeo.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Moldovan Crisis

The following was taken from Tom Davis's blog (http://blog.beliefnet.com/redletters/2010/04/the-moldovan-crisis.html). We hope that it will provide insight to you about the condition of the country of Moldova. Please, please pray for the Moldovan people. And while you're praying for them, please specifically pray for our little girl.

Being in a country where 30,000 women have literally disappeared is hard to describe. There are over 250 brothels in the capital city of Chisinau and one of the greatest targets for sex-trafficking are girls who leave the orphanages. Yet, this is a country filled with secrecy. You don't see hundreds of young women walking on the street offering themselves to passersby like in Bangkok. Technically, prostitution is illegal in this country under the new government but for years this was the center of women you were shipped into and out of here to various places in the world. It was a clearing house of sorts where they would receive passports and paperwork. One of the main ways girls get trapped is attempting to escape from the country for a better life abroad. 90% of the population want to migrate out of Moldova because this is the poorest country in Europe. The opportunities are few and women long for a better life. This is the perfect environment for a trafficker. That life is promised to them by a company who offers, "great salaries" in England, America, Germany, etc. They sign up, get on a plane, and that's when the nightmare begins. Please pray for us and pray for the kids we are speaking with. Lots of spiritual darkness here and you can acutely feel it. We are off today to visit a center that rescues and rehabilitates girls who are trafficked. Here's registered information by the international organization on migration for Moldova: www.iom.md:

The majority of women and girls that are trafficked come from rural areas. Over 10 percent are under 18 years old, some as young as 12 years old. Traffickers recruit women and girls through different strategies:
1.Direct contact, when women and girls, or their families, are approached by traffickers. The traffickers are often women from the same village who have previously worked as prostitutes or have been trafficked abroad and became traffickers. The family is often paid money in advance and the woman or girl is expected to earn the advance and pay back the family’s debts;
2. Advertisements are placed in the press, offering jobs abroad. The advertisements directed at young women offer jobs as waitresses or house help, but more often bluntly state that the jobs are for those willing to work in the sex industry;
3. Tourist agencies offer full migration services from arranging passports and Schengen visas to transportation and work contracts. There are more than 3,000 tourist agencies, of which only some 140 have an official license to operate;
4. Job agencies. Out of a total of 100 job agencies, only fourteen have official licenses and these mostly hire men for construction work. Only three agencies offer jobs to women as waitresses and nurses. Others offer illegal work. Some of these enterprises are run by orga- nised crime groups and operate as covers for trafficking.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/redletters/2010/04/the-moldovan-crisis.html#ixzz0qbPwDJQf