Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun Friday - Update 37

Tough Like Dad

The girls both look absolutely amazing! They have both put on a little weight. Miss E is up to almost 18 pounds while her sister is hovering 17. This is so exciting to see! And I love happy baby photos each week. It does make this mama heart feel more relaxed. 

We were hoping, again, this week to have cleared US Embassy. But, unfortunately, our documents are  still be translated. We did verify again that our paperwork is in Addis. This in itself is great news! Usually, translated documents take a week to be done. So we remain hopeful that soon, very soon, we will pass and get our PAIR letter. 

We are still being told that we will travel this summer. With cautious excitement, we are really hoping to travel in July. Our parents would both have flexibility to be here to stay with the kids. This would be huge for us. Just to have that comfort of having two grandmas here to play and tag team our crew would be priceless. Please join us in prayer for travel in July. 

Starting in August, courts will close due to the "rainy season" and will remain closed until the middle of October. If we don't get a court date in July (or before the middle of August) we will need to wait the 8-10 weeks until court re-opens to be seen before a judge. This would obviously be tough. The Embassy, however, remains open. So if we can just get through court, we should (hypothetically) be able to have the girls home sometime between July and September. 

***

In the wait, God has opened doors for us to minister and love on others in a way that we wouldn't have otherwise been able to do if the girls were home now. Though we wish they were home, we feel grateful for God's willingness to allow us to bless others. Since our trip to Ethiopia, God has opened our hearts to see the need in our own neighborhood, our communities. There is so much need. Mountains tall of hurt. The sky is the limit for prayer. We feel like we were cognizant of others, pre-travel, but recently opportunities have fallen directly in our path. Sometimes God intentionally places others in your path and other times he asks that we seek it out. And sometimes, one leads to the other. 

I'm glad that God did not call us all to do the same mission. I'm pleased that He knows us so well. That He designed us for a unique purpose. That He placed a fire in each of us to help. There are people next door. Some in your local church. Others who need you in your work place. There are people in your running group, at your gym or in your school. There are children who are going hungry now that school is out for summer. Children who do not feel safe in their own home. Teens who are pregnant and are struggling each day. The needs are not always obvious. Because needs are often found in hurts. And hurts can't be discovered until we are willing to build relationships. Which means we must step outside of our comfort zones. Break down the walls of safe. Jesus calls us to take risks. To trust. 

What is important is that you open your heart. Be willing to listen to the purpose that God has placed in your life. And then you do just what He asks. 

For a long time, I struggled (and maybe I still do sometimes) with where God wants us to put our energy, time and money. After all, there are so many great organizations out there saying Yes to God's call. I can feel pulled in many different directions. When I feel this unsettled chaos, I have the tendency to stand still. Of not knowing where God wants to use me. To not do anything. Of seeing need and not knowing how to take the next step. I do believe there are times when God calls us to wait on Him. To rest. To be still. But other times when He is waiting on us to make the move. He is prompting us quietly and we can't hear. Or we don't listen. Or we are unsure. 

From time to time, because of this internal conflict, I've developed a formula or a few steps, really,  that work for me. I want to remember to come back to this when the need feels overwhelming. When I feel stretched. I think God wants to use us. Like the disciples after Jesus ascended into heaven. The angels warned that Jesus will return one day in his glorified body. Instead of waiting idly for this second coming, the disciples are instructed to go. Go. Do the work that He has designed for us. 

1. If you are standing still, like many times I have, I would encourage you to spend more quiet time in a good devotion or Gods word. Surround yourself with friends who desire to be used by God. Tell others of your desire to help. Ask God to break your heart for what breaks His. Join groups of like minded people. Start a bible study or journey group. Be in the word together and ask that others support you. When you are filled, you can be used. 

2. Then brainstorm all of God's experiences that He has already given. Where has He used me in the past? Do I like to be around a lot of people in a group? Or is one on one better for me? Do I prefer adults or kids? Healthy, sick, or disabled? Do I like a challenge? Am I comfortable with death? International or National? Do I feel called in the church or in a secular environment? 

3. Think about the life lessons God has given you? What have you learned? What is it that He has brought you through? Were you bullied in high school? In your workplace? Was your father an alcoholic? Your mother abandon you? Your brothers addicted to pornography? Did your child have an illness? You struggled through a miscarriage? Were you abused as a child? Is there something that you would like to see done differently that would have helped you succeed through these disappointments? What is it that you would like to see change in this world? What triumphs have you been given after tough seasons? How can you impact others currently in similar situations?

4. Next I would write down all of your passions. What makes you feel alive? What is it that draws you in? Is there a group that you feel connected to? One that you can relate to their mission? Are you passionate about women and children's rights? Equality for all? Do you have a heart for lower income families or those lost in the heap of money? Do you have extra that you could donate? Time you are wiling to teach? Does it make you feel excited to stand next to your friends and reach others? Are you interested in getting your entire family involved? You may come up with a list of 20  - try to narrow it down to the top five. 

5. And finally, just move. Be willing. Take one step in front of the other and keep walking. Reach out in all arenas. No task is too small or large. In silent or public. If doors close, check the next one. If the path doesn't feel right, try another. Be in prayer as you seek opportunities and know that each experience will land you in your calling. Nothing wasted. Each moment a small piece of the puzzle. Even the trials and obstacles. Yes, especially those. The struggles. The uncomfortable. The mistakes. Because that is where life is birthed. The hope in which is an anchor for your soul.  

Father, thank you for the girls that you have given our family. We are thrilled that hey have grown even more than we anticipated. Thank you for each opportunity, each moment in our life. Thank you for calling us to be disciples of all nations. For making each of us special. For giving us all talent to be used. Thank you for the love that you continually pour into our lives. For the blessings you call us to give to others. Thank you for the times you gently guide us into your will. When we don't understand it, but we keep looking up knowing you will bring us full circle. Thank you, Jesus, for leaving us with your holy spirit when you ascended to sit at the right hand of God. Thank you for living a life of sacrifice. I believe you want us to do the same. Please help shape our lives to continue to look like the one you called for us to have. Thank you for each life lesson. For the amazing people, in the broken of this world, you have placed in our path. Thank you for using us to glorify You. Amen. 


Monday, May 26, 2014

Wedding Anniversary

Elvis walking me down the isle in a white chapel in Vegas

Happy Anniversary to us! We celebrate nine years this year of wedded bliss! With so much changing in our lives each year, we have committed to renewing our vows every five years. This is our fifth year wedding anniversary in Las Vegas with our amazing friends, Amy and John as our witnesses. Did I mentioned that I was also 30 weeks pregnant?!?

Elvis singing

Quick smile for the camera

The entire wedding ceremony was in song

John and Amy

We had a great time together

Dancing

Laughing

And promising in front of Elvis, our witnesses and God to love each other

To choose each other

Hand in hand each day

To celebrate life, love and marriage

Because there is no one else I could imagine growing old with every day. I love you babe! 

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of marriage. For giving me this man to love and cherish. Every day I am grateful for the time we share together. I'm thankful for the ordinary and the normal. For the difficult days and the effortless days. In the valleys and on the summits. For the mornings I wake up and am beyond excited to spend another day with my best friend. For the days that I fall in love all over again. Thank you, Father, for giving me an earthly example of what it looks like for someone to truly love me unconditionally. To walk beside me in the journey of life. Thank you that our love doesn't look like it did when we first got married. But that you took the same love and grew it together in ways we couldn't have imagined. We are forever grateful that you are the center of our marriage and lives together. We look forward to the ways that You will continue to grow our hearts together as one. In your precious name, Jesus. Amen. 



Friday, May 23, 2014

Fun Friday - Update 36


The girls look incredible! Healthy and continuing to grow. We are so very excited to see them again soon - hopeful before Summer ends and rainy season begins!!

We found out that our documents arrived in Addis Ababa this last week. They are currently getting translated from Amharic to English. Once translated, they will be given to the US Embassy. This means that the US has completed their side of the investigation and will have all documents needed to make a decision regarding orphan status. Once determined in favor of orphan status, we will then be cleared for our PAIR letter.

This is the letter we need to be submitted to court. Once the letter is in hand, we are are hoping to be submitted in about two weeks. Though we remain hopeful, timelines in our case have been irrelevant. This adoption has been an adventure, to say the least.

Thank you Father for healthy girls! Thank you for delivering our documents to Addis so that we can move another step forward in bringing these girls home to our family. This morning Sam rolled over and asked, "Mama, when are the girls coming home? I'm ready now." We are all ready, God. In this wait, continue to mold our hearts. Walk beside us as Your love pours from within making us in your image. Though we anxiously wait, we stand in your will, knowing that you will bring


Saturday, May 10, 2014

This Side of Heaven


Our promises to you, the birth mothers, of our girls

On this side of heaven, I will shower her with love as I know you would have too. I will teach her to be strong and courageous yet gentle and kind. I will help steady her walk and learn from mistakes. To pick herself up and find joy in the journey. I will teach her to kick a ball and follow through till she make her own goal. Push her on the swing and move her legs until they pump on their own. Be a good example of helping her discover the delicate balance. When to lean in and how to rest. I will tend to her jarred, scraped knees as she falls off of her new fuchsia bike. I will touch her owies gently as the reality of her fall hits her hard. I will lightly place balm on her wound to soothe her aching hurts. I will be a strong comfort. A soft place to land. A compassionate mama. 

On this side of heaven, I will keep her healthy. I will take her to doctor appointments and search out specialists as needed. I will let her take an active role in her own healthcare. Together we will make decisions to best suite her needs. I will let God be her surgeon as he intricately heals her from within. His steady hand carefully penetrates and exposes areas of unrest. I trust Him to heal. To bring peace. To compose an orchestra of miracles. I will help her believe in Him. In the beauty of dreams. The desires of her heart. To look for abundant blessings as they freely flow from above. 

On this side of heaven, I will hang my finger above her dark hair as she twirls beneath my arms screeching in delight to dance. I will teach her the majestic movements of this life. Place soft, pale pink shoes on her toes and tie together the long laces. I will help her peel her tights upon her legs. Thread the dainty needle to sew the gaping holes in her worn out attire. I will support her when she makes her debut. When she announces her appearance in the morning. When she throws her hands in the air and holds her head high. When she waltzes into our living room singing her song. I will partake as she asks me to sing a duet.  And together we wail at the top of our lungs out of tune. I will be here to dance beside her. In our backyard or on center stage. Close or from afar. I will join her. 

On this side of heaven, I will cheer for her. I will clap and praise her accomplishments. I will embarrass her from the grandstands as I shout her name through the homemade megaphone. I will wear her jersey number and proudly display her name on my bumper sticker. I will encourage her to take giant leaps. To take risks. To learn from her failures. And know we will catch her if she falls. Whether she is nervous on her first day of sunday school or anticipating enrollment of college. We will encourage her on her first sports game or concert. Recital or swim team. Track or cheerleading. I will let her be the guide. Follow her heart. And give it her all. 

On this side of heaven, I will show her how to grow a garden with attention and detail. I will help her sow the soil and reap the benefits of a hearty harvest. I will plant seeds of wisdom. Inspire growth. Stir her hungry soul. I will teach her to protect her crop and feed it well. Set boundaries to keep it safe. I will give her the tools she needs to refresh, dig deep, and blossom. While she picks the bountiful rewards of her determination and labor, I will rejoice along side of her. 

On this side of heaven, I will share with her, my chocolate dessert. Food is fuel to her soul. Deep pleasure is taken when we chase our passions together. I will let her help me in the kitchen. Stand next to her while she learns how to stir the ingredients and whisks the eggs. I will not let it get old nor take for granted the thrill of seeing her face illuminate when the oven light is turned on. When her once doughy mixture unfolds into her first loaf of bread. When it slowly rises to the place she anticipated. When she tastes the scrumptious bite of her own creation. I will be mesmerized by her willingness to bestow me her last bite. Relish as she conquers the language of satisfaction. 

On this side of heaven, I will let Daddy make whipped cream and ask her to smell it. I will let her fall for his jokes because memories are made when we let go. I will laugh till I cry as the thick white cream delicately hangs from the tip of your cute button nose. I wrap my arms around her waist and pull her close as she stomps out of the kitchen, arms crossed in a march of disapproval. I will tickle her tummy and hand her off to her daddy who will chant of his success. As she gives in to her half laugh above his head, while trying to lick the whipped cream from her nose, I will grin as she finally melts into his arms. I will take a mental photo of the moments we are creating together. 

On this side of heaven, I will teach her how to be a woman of God. A daughter of the one true king. I will show her the deep love her Heavenly Father holds close for her. I will lead by example and tell her the stories of other women. The way He used women in the Bible to bring radical revolutions to His people. An extraordinary adventure for so many. He used Mary, to be the very vessel and lifeline of which Christ would be born and brought up. Martha, to be friends with Jesus. I will show her to be like Mary Magdalene, searching for her savior. Or Mary of Bethany, studying from the life of Jesus. Or Tabitha, caring for other woman as Jesus' apprentice. Pheobe, a teacher to many. Or Priscilla who was described as a "co-worker" in Christ with her husband. Esther, who was brave and wise. I hope to teach her to be like Mirium, dancing and singing as she led woman praising God for deliverance. I desire to teach her to be like "the women" in the bible who always welcomed Jesus. To commit her life to Him and cultivate a heart of unconditional love. 

On this side of heaven, I will travel with her. I will give her a wide panoramic view of this world. I want her to know the beauty of this earth. The depths of goodness in His glory when He painted the expansive views for us to enjoy daily. I will expose her to new cultures. Drive her to the ends of the earth. Fly to places we otherwise couldn't reach. I will help her cherish who she is. I want her to see that she is one in millions. Her story will always be unique and special. By learning about the love of others, I hope she learns how to love herself. 

On this side of heaven, as I gaze in her eyes, a part of you shines back. I will support her as she learns more about who she is in this life. She will not grow up in the country where she was born, but we promise to keep a part of you alive in the cultures of life we create here. We will celebrate traditions, try new foods food and experience the best of all traditions represented in our family. I will honor the day she joined our family each year with a gift from her home country. 

On this side of heaven, she may have questions about her first family. I will answer questions to my best ability. I will honor you in my answers. I will not hide knowledge. If she asks, we will search. We will make phone calls and contact country officials. I will be here when she doubts. When she is asked to make her first family tree. When others ask about adoption. When her heart feels unsettled not knowing you. I will be here to listen. I will hold her tight and whisper truth.  

On this side of heaven, I will teach her about authentic beauty. Not the kind found in dangling earrings, gold jewelry and a large diamond ring. Its not in hair bows and tutu's. Nor is it found in any earthly man. A fancy car. An enormous house. True beauty isn't about wanting to be someone else. Its about helping others feel at home in the skin God has given. I will tell her of her elegance. Speak of her charm. But more often, I hope to show her how exquisite she is because of the light that radiates from your heart. The kind, warm gestures that speak volumes of who God called her to be. 

On this side of heaven, I will teach her about life before life teaches her about itself. I will educate her freely and rally excitement as she learns. I will encourage her to explore. To swim in the lake. Build sand castles on the shore. Fish. Find toads. Fling rocks at targets. Make mud pies with the boys.  Wrestle outside and hold her own. I will teach her the undeniable rhythm of nature. The joy of being a girl. The happiness of rough and tumble boys. The way gender ideals dissolve when all you see is love. 

On this side of heaven I will ask her to volunteer and reach out to others in need. I will teach her about taking care of herself while placing the needs of others as a high priority.  I will ask her to work hard. To get her hands dirty. To discover hope in those discarded. I will teach her about the grace of parity. The secrets of harmony. The mercy to freely take and give. I promise to teach her to see Christ in everyone she meets. Those similar. Those different. Those who know the Father and who have yet to meet him personally. I will show her God calls us to serve the people of this world not save it. He's already paid that price. He said it was done. 

On this side of heaven, I may not always get it right, but I will show up. I will place my feet on the ground, each foot in front of the next, trying my best. I will be present for her with all that I have. On the days when my sleep is plentiful and my energy is high, I will be there. When my sleep is lacking and my frustrations are high. When she takes an eternity picking out the perfect dress. Then insists on wearing rain boots on her feet, a flower in her hair, and a cape to drape under her long hair. I will be there in her kindness, when she lends a helping hand buckling her brother's shoe. Or plans a tea party for two. When she uses her manners and cuddles her baby so sweet. I will let go of my agenda when with excitement, she wants to "help" me with laundry but it ends up taking four times longer than anticipated. I will tend to her. When the days seem long and the years feel short. When pictures are just a snapshot in time. I will be available. I will be here. In the highs. In the lows. In the good and bad. Each ordinary moment. Every precious, priceless day. 

On this side of heaven, I may make mistakes. Time and time again, I will ask for forgiveness. I am not a perfect mama but take pride in continually learning and growing. God has made me who I am in this moment to give to her what she needs. It may not always be what she wants. I am enough for her now. Me. Broken. The one who throws her hands in the air and says yes to this mess. Despite the crazy. Because it is our crazy. The one who loves to have fun. Loves to cuddle. Appreciates time together above all else. And enjoys every bit of the beauty in the broken. 

On this side of heaven, I will kiss her goodnight. Every night. I will give bubble baths and pamper her. Read stories to build character. To help her build on imagination. To make her laugh. I will teach her to read herself so she may always hold the key to empowerment. I will hold her close, nuzzle noses and give butterfly kisses. Smell the freshly shampooed hair and release a deep breath of thanks. I will feel the warmth of her skin. The joy within. And I will smile wide and cherish the moment that you gave life. 

On this side of heaven, I will love our girls fiercely, as if you were beside me joining in song.

Because one day soon, in heaven, I believe you will be. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fun Friday - Update 34

All smiles

We are so thankful for another week with great reports!! The girls look awesome and are as happy as can be. Their health is good and they continue to slowly grow. 

A big prayers report! The little boy who was in the hospital last week has recently been released! Thank you, Jesus. Please continue to keep the health of so many precious children in your prayers.

Our director is currently in Ethiopia. We are not sure when he will be back or when we will hear more information regarding the girls' paperwork, but we are remaining hopeful that it will be soon. 

Thank you, Father for health! Thank you for keeping the girls safe. Thank you for so many who love the girls while we are away. Thank you for the mama's who are traveling soon to Ethiopia to love on their own children. Please bless over their trip and give them protection as they travel. We would be so happy if they got a chance to see our girls too. There is something so sweet in hearing from others that your children look great. Thank you for the many blessings that continue to flow as we wait to bring these beautiful girls home. Amen.






Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy Star War's Day


Quin speaks through Darth's mask with heavy breathing, "May the forth be with you"!! His superhero siblings cheer in celebration!

Second Half Marathon

Pre-race excitement!

Thanks be to God that we complete another 1/2 marathon! I'm certain that I wouldn't have been able to do it without possibly one of the best running partners. Ever. Glory to our Father!

Last year when we ran the race, my first one, I really had no idea what I was to expect. I hadn't had the chance to train as much as I wanted (life of a mama with four young children :) ). So my three goals were 1. Not to walk 2. To finish 3. Not to be last (not that there is anything wrong with that). 

This year, because we wanted to achieve our goal, we chose to find a pacer. He was amazing! 

When we got in rhythm,  I couldn't help but think that if we looked to God as our pacer, we could reach any goal He places in our hearts. Any desire. Any race. 

We knew that if we stuck with our pacer, we were guaranteed to meet our goal. He had the race mapped out in a way that I didn't understand. Each mile was not a 9 minute mile, but rather one mile was slightly faster than the other, depending on the stretch. This was his 3rd half marathon in 4 weeks. His experience was far greater than mine. He understood this course. He had a plan far greater than I knew. Or understood. But we kept him close.  

The first portion of the race was fairly easy for us. The adrenaline carried us through the first 8 miles. The excitement of accomplishing our goal and finishing the race was still fresh. We were on cruise control. Our pacer reminded us that this is a great place to be. To stay in stride. Running too fast ahead while we felt good could be dangerous to our overall goal. 

If we ran too slow, if we fell behind, it may be hard to catch back up. If we got distracted with our thoughts. If we fell into discouragement. If we feared the pain creeping into our muscles. If we felt stressed. If we worried. If we didn't look to him. Our pacer reminded us to trust. 

We planned on 20 seconds to walk through each water station. He encouraged us to rest during this time by walking slow and stretching out during the seconds we were given. He wanted us to prepare for the obstacles ahead. He knew that if we rested, we would feel refreshed for the upcoming trials. If we took time to recharge, if we stuck together, we could accomplish our goal. 

There were times in the race that my legs felt week. Climbing hills became difficult. Slight inclines felt like mountains. At mile 11, just 2 miles left, each part of my body ached. I knew though, that we needed to push through. Dig deep. Look to our pacer for encouragement. 

On one stretch of the race where we ran on a trail. The road narrowed and I felt uncomfortable. In a group, it was hard to stick together. I wasn't the only one. I heard another racer behind me comment, "Thanks for being our shelter in the storm". He kept us on course despite our circumstances. 

Toward the end, we were close to our projected time. We were tired. With each step, each mile, I wondered if we were sill on course to complete on time. It would be easy to let doubt sneak in. As I looked to my side, He smiled and gave reassurance. "We are exactly where we need to be". 

I wanted relief. To stop. To make the pain go away. I could hear our pacer, "Relax your shoulders. Breathe deep in your diaphragm. You've got this. You are almost there." He never left us. He was by our side the entire race. 

I could hear the crowd shouting praise. I could hear strangers call out our names in encouragement. They could see the strain on our faces. The hurt in our bodies. The mental thoughts we were trying to keep positive when it got tough. Our pacer reminded us how great it is to have a crowd of support when we felt tired. He encouraged us to allow them to carry us through.  

We could now see the stadium. Every minute counted. We were so close. Just as we hoped. How we anticipate, he lead us to victory. 

We finished in under 2 hours - 1:58. 

He didn't say that it wouldn't be hard. He said that it would be worth it. Oh, how it was worth it! 

Runners on the last stretch

Sam waiting for his mama

Almost there

Cheering for their favorite runner - me! At least that's what I'd like to believe. Quin's favorite may have been Chewbacca. 

Big hugs at the finish! I missed you this morning mama!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Farmer's Market


The weather is absolutely beautiful! We were thrilled to go to our first Famers market of the year. We love buying fresh, organic produce from local farms when possible. It was great to see people we know from surrounding farms and nearby towns. We feel blessed to get to experience the best of small communities and a large city so close together. Love it! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fun Friday - Update 33

Love these little toes

Another great week with awesome reports for the girls. They both look amazing and are healthy! Yay!! Their weight continues to slowly increase but we are not expecting much at this point. Each little one weighing approximately 16 lbs. Their growth looks good and they are again all smiles this week!

There has been some illness, fairly serious illnesses, for kids close to the same age in the foster home. One little guy we know had to be hospitalized for possible Hep A. Please keep these precious children close to your heart as they battle serious infections far away from their new families. Please pray for the mamas who wait weeks for news from test results with their children half way across the world in medical facilities so different from ours. Please pray that other children in the foster home stay healthy. Please, God, place our girls and so many other precious kids under your wing. 

Soooo, not quite the news we were hoping to share this week. Our paperwork was not released from the region the girls were born. In fact, from our understanding, the paperwork from this region has been very slow (if not non existent). I called the director of our agency today and e-mailed the US embassy in Ethiopia to further investigate why our documents are not being signed. Here is a little back ground. 

Back in February, another agency unrelated to ours, was caught for fraud and corruption in adoption. The agency has sense been closed and charges filed. Unfortunately, the region where most of the corruption took place, is also the one we are working in to get our documents signed. Completely unrelated to our case, but it has had a ripple effect in all other adoptions in this region. Rightfully so, this region is being extra cautious to issue documentation. I respect this. I even understand it.

But seriously. Its too much. There are two little girls waiting for a family growing up in a small orphanage without parents. Next month, we will most likely miss their birthday. We have now been waiting 8 months for mounds of paperwork to be filed and completed. Timelines in our case have been unpredictable and we have met hurdles at each new step. It makes me want to scream "unfair". 

But then I am reminded that my ways are not His ways nor are my thoughts His thoughts.   

Our director is flying to Ethiopia on Monday and will personally be working with this region to try and get our paperwork signed this next week. If the region is still refusing to sign, he will go to the US embassy to see what other avenues can be taken. Keep in mind, the birth relative has relinquished rights 3 times now in the last year in front of several witnesses. The case as we know it appears to be clear cut out of broken tragedy. We pray for beauty out of ashes. 

We appreciate all of you who have followed us on this journey. Thank you for praying for us. For wrapping your hearts and arms around us. Thank you for thinking of these beautiful children. This week we are asking for miracles. We are asking for our documents to be given. For God to move mountains. To help us move forward. We are so close to bringing them home. We are asking, once again, that you come beside us to pray. We ask for you to join the village who ask for BIG, bold steps to be made in Africa this week. Our faith doesn't waiver in the storm, in only brings us closer to our Abba who provides. Who knows. Who protects and comforts.

While trusting the instincts, Jesus, that you have given, I am preprared. I believe that there are times to stand still and moments to move. Times to rest and others to act. Days to be proactive. To plead the plight. Over 8,000 miles away we are advocating the best we can for these girls. I will make phone calls. I will write e-mails. I will contact sources. I will lose sleep and fight for the right for these little loves to have a family to call their own. Because thats what mama's do. This adoption has never been about us. It's about our daughters. It's about providing a home when those closest to the girls have gone to be with You. Its about saying Yes, even on long, hard journeys.

Heavenly Father, thank you for a great week. Thank you for your word. For your love of children and families. Thank you for whispering truth this week and offering peace. Thank you for the fire that you place in our soul for children. For setting the deep uncontainable flame for You inside. We want more of You. Thank you for your guidance and your wisdom. Thank you for these girls that you have given us. We ask that you continue to keep them safe and healthy. Thank you for our healthy family! Let today be a beautiful reminder of our bodies being a temple to be celebrated and protected. Thank you for directing our next steps in the adoption process. For teaching us how to be in your will. For making us all in your image. We trust, Lord, you will be at work continually shaping us into the followers that you call us to be. Not just on the smooth, calculated roads but in the challenging, bumpy off-roads too. For you tell us, no matter our circumstances, you will never leave us alone. You are here. Amen.