Ghana bound!!

We are excited to officially be planning our first trip to Ghana in the next 2-3 weeks!! There is much to do and plan while we leave the kids at home for this trip. Please be praying for all the logistics to come together and for God to clearly show us the work He wants us to do while we are there! Thank you!

A Mommy and A Daddy

A few days ago, some dear friends of ours journeyed across the world to love and be reunited with God’s people in Ghana. This was Sydney (who started Feeding The Orphans) along with her dad, Righ, and oldest brother, Keenan. We have been blessed beyond words to get to see God work through them. God has used this family to connect us with the people of Ghana. It was through Feeding The Orphans that we became food sponsors for 2 sweet boys. One of which, by the grace of God, will come home to be our son next year.So as we prayed for them prior to their departure, it seemed so fitting of God to whisper to me that I should ask them to share with our son that he has a mommy, daddy, brother and sister praying and excitedly waiting to meet him and welcome him home.

It is just like God, to so perfectly time things. After they agreed to be a part of sharing this news with him, by tummy started in with the butterfly’s. I have been dreaming of this moment for 2 years. When we started on this journey we had no idea a timeline or what God had in store. I have had to learn (and I still am!) a whole new level of patience and waiting upon the Lord. Several times I tried to jump in the drivers seat and hurry things along all to end up right back where I started. But this is so different. God told us to “get ready and be still.” So we did. Once He said, “now go,” things have been moving and coming together in unexplainable ways. So now my head spins thinking about what our little boy is going to think and feel upon hearing this news. Kristie, Sydney’s mom, told me to write him a letter. At first my emotions got the best of me. How do I write a letter of this magnitude? Where would I even begin? “Hi, how are you? By the way, I’m your mom!?!” I gave it over to God and the next morning I wrote the letter. It flowed so smoothly as God helped me pen it. In it I shared with him about how we had prayed for him for the past 2 years. And even though we have never met in person, we all loved him so much. After I had finished, it came time to sign the letter and I froze once again….is it ok to sign it, mommy and daddy??? I am quite sure by this point Kristie is getting a pretty good kick out of me, as I text her this question. She confirms it and I type it out, “Love, Mommy and Daddy.” As I see the letters, I daze off and imagine his face that I have memorized. I imagine holding it in by hands to love and cherish. To wipe away tears and to bottle up the laughter. My cup is over flowing as I praise God for allowing us to care for another of His precious children.
I read the letter to Stephen, who shared in the joy and excitement over this much anticipated moment. Later that day he shared with a friend about what the letter said. He wrote,

“It was surreal to introduce ourselves as Mommy and Daddy. I wonder if Jesus feels the same when we make decision for him. I can only imagine how choked up he must get when we realize that he is our Daddy. He has loved and cared for us by name since before we were born. We told S that we have been praying for him by name for 2 years every night. He hasn’t known that God has been working in us to bring our family together and that he is our child.”

It hadn’t even occurred to me, as God gave me the words to say to our little boy, that those were the same words that He had said over me as He sought me out and fought to claim me as His child….to adopt me as His own. As this has been resonating with me over the past couple of days, I am reminded of the most important part of my job as a mom: To point to Jesus and help them know Jesus through my life, my actions, my time, my love. I am so thankful for this reminder, not just as we prepare to add to our family, but also coming off a rough week of new transitions with school starting, dossier needing to be done, work, home, wife….All the distractions and challenges. So tonight my prayer is that through it all, I point to Him. May that sustain me. ūüôā

Our I-600a went…

Our I-600a went out on August 29th! One more step down! We are currently doing our last yard sale of the year. Once again we are overwhelmed by the people that God is using to support us. Not just financially but even more so for the relationships. He is amazing!!! So many blessings have come from this. More connections with our Ghanaian community, neighbors who are adoptive and multiracial families and a gift that took our breath away…..As we were closing up yesterday, a gentleman came up to our sale. He asked if we were the family that was raising money for our adoption and if we had previously had other sales for it this summer. When we confirmed, he shared how his wife had come to our last sale a couple of months ago. They had a garage sale of their own and wanted to donate the proceeds of it to help us with bringing our kids home. I fought back tears as I attempted to introduce myself to this man that God had brought to us. He shared how his family had been foster parents and adopted 2 boys from the foster system. Hearts again were joined as we shared our stories and our passions for living out God’s call to care for the fatherless. May God be glorified!

 

If you haven’t had a chance to come by yet, please do!! We will be open till 6pm. Today is the last day of the sale and we would love to see as much stuff go as possible, if not all of it! We will make you a deal you can’t refuse! We are at 2110 Hidden Springs Ct., West Linn, OR 97068. If you have any questions, call 503-344-4169. See you soon!

Today’s joy!

After much anticipation, hard work, and speed bumps, we finally have our completed home study in hand! This is our first official step in moving forward with the adoption of S and a daughter that we haven’t identified yet. Basically it means that the state of Oregon has said we are fit to be adoptive parents. Next up is our i600a form. We hope to have that mailed out in the next couple of days. This form is a part of our USCIS (US Immigration) approval. They do more extensive background checks and fingerprinting. While we wait on our USCIS approval, we will be compiling our dossier. The dossier is a large collection of notarized documents that will be sent to Ghana. It is our formal way of requesting to adopt from their country. Hopefully this helps explain more technically where we are in the process. And why we are celebrating today!

We need your help! Please take a second to answer our poll. Thank you!

Now that I have seen……..

Now that I have seen…..I am responsible.

 

 

 

Along For The Ride

Tiffany and I have had a passion to love  and care for the fatherless for some time.  The Lord has pressed on our hearts that we can and will be a defender to orphans and a promoter to the world, knowing that any ONE person can make a difference in the life of a child in need.   Towards the end of 2010, Tiff and I went through financial crisis as the economy collapsed and the real estate market continued to head south.  During a moment of our life where we were most vulnerable and seeking financial reprieve, we heard a call from the Lord to open our home and adopt. Willing to be faithful, but confident that this was an impossibility, we prayed for the Lord to show us the way.

Within weeks we were connected to an amazing organization called Feeding The Orphans. We were absolutely in awe of Gods hand among Sydney and this organization that she started at only 10 years of age. We learned more about their work in Ghana and other countries and began sponsoring two kiddos. Amazingly we felt an immediate connection to these kiddos and we wanted deeply to make sure that they were taken care of.  Our children pray for them every night.  For over a year we grew in our understanding of the needs of the children of Ghana. We helped as we could and continued to grow in love for these children. We desired in our hearts to find a way to adopt but struggled still in the blatant realization that we had just enough to take care our family.  How were we going to be able to afford to pay for an adoption and raise 1 or possibly 2 more children?  We knew that if we waited for the time to be right and to make financial sense then we would not be following the Lord and we may never bring our child (children) home.

So several weeks ago we felt God’s peace and made the decision to start the adoption process.¬† We were not sure what we were starting exactly but were willing to move forward in raising funds.¬† We decide to kick off our fundraising efforts with a yard sale. As we spread the word about the sale on Facebook, through friends and family and at Stafford Academy, people poured out supporting us. We were overwhelmed by how many people gave of their time and resources. Early on we received a call from a woman we had never met. She had hosted many missions yard sales at her farm and didn’t have one planned this year and wanted to know if we wanted to have our sale there. What an amazing blessing this was! She had a large area for us to have our sale, right on a major road with plenty of parking. So many people donated items and time. It was admittingly a very daunting task to take on. But, as long as God was going to open the doors, we were going to walk through them. On our first day of the sale we were blown away to meet a Ghanaian woman. She shared with us about other Ghanaians in the area and how to get in touch with them. Soon another Ghanaian woman showed up and we all had such a good time connecting and sharing what God was doing. They were very excited for us and very supportive. I felt our family had grown that day. The next day we got to meet another family very close by that is adopting from Ghana as well. If the sale existed just for the relationships that were started in those days, we would gladly share that it was a complete success But God is in the business of doing God sized work, so as we sat down to count out what God had done, we were stunned to count over $2700. Yes, God can do this and we are just along for the ride.

Fasten your seat belts, God wasn’t done yet. A local ministry, Eternal Impact, reminded us a of a balance we have from a mission trip and offered us the $1400 balance for our adoption.¬† We also had other resources that brought our adoption account to nearly $5000 in a weekend. We realized that we could not raise $5000 in a weekend but God can.

Again, Tiff and I felt the presence of the Lord and a leading to look into a little guy that we sponsor that we are calling Syl.  We contacted our Ghana contact and asked about Syl.  She returned our message with a simple email that said he is relinquished and is suffering from asthma and being taken to the clinic. We know that any medical condition in Ghana is more detrimental than it would be here in the states.  We were immediately concerned about his condition and also did not know how our contact was using the term relinquished. She responded back saying HE IS ADOPTABLE. Overjoyed and without hesitation we responded we want to be his Mommy and Daddy! Without any thought of logistics or timing we knew he was our son and we needed to get him home. We then were informed that Ghana was looking to become Hague accredited which would eliminate our opportunity to adopt Syl privately and also that Ghana could shut down adoptions for a year or more during the transition.  We were told that they needed to get more info but if it could happen we would need to move fast.  This evening after a very stressful and prayerful 24 hours we were told that we could proceed but we do need to move fast.

We have already found a home study agency that can expedite things as much as possible.  We have asked that our in country representative start the preliminary paperwork and to get whatever medicine to Syl that he may need.

We are asking for prayer and support as we journey to bring our little boy home.  Pray for his health and that he gets what he needs to remain healthy with no attacks. Pray for our family to be united in this and that God be the foundation and the lead as we move forward.  Pray for our Braden (6) and our little girl Mia (4) that they be filled with love, peace, and understanding as we journey together with them.  Pray for the resources that are needed to be available to us to bring Syl home.  We are needing to raise approximately $13,000 and potentially in a short amount of time.  If anyone feels lead to support us through a financial gift or has a fundraising idea please contact Tiffany or I at 503-577-2714.

We will continue to write posts on our progress. We are praying and seeing if there is possibility of bringing home a little girl as well. We want to thank all of our family, friends, and people that we don’t even know that are praying and supporting us.

Blessings,

Stephen, Tiffany, Braden, and Mia

Reaching far and wide to find this sweet little girls family….

The Hole In My Life

I am currently reading a book called, The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. If you haven’t read this book before, I can’t recommend it enough. It is speaking to the heart of what my soul aches for. It is a God sized hole. He longs to fill it and use me for His great works. I fully agree with¬†Stearns that the Gospel wasn’t meant soley as a way for people to get to heaven. It is meant for the work that God wants to do on earth. That is why¬†Jesus says in Matthew 25, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” In Stearns life, he was confronted head on with the question:

“Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life?”

That means setting aside everything that stands between you and God. Think about that for¬†a minute. What comforts keep you saying yes, but…. For me I know that there are many things in my life that would have been really nice to hold onto. It is¬†truly a very hard question to answer, but it is what God will use to seperate the sheep from the goats (Daniel 7:13-14). It puts my answer to the question in perspective. Especially when¬†I consider, “What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God? What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?” (Quote by Stearns) Instead of thinking through¬†what the cost of that question is on your life. Consider what the cost is on the life of the person that God is intending to use you for.

It is hard to believe that after a little over 5 years of staying home with my little ones that I am going to be going back to work. I will be the new Global & Community Outreach Administrative Assistant at Rolling Hils Community Church. It is funny all of the questions that have popped into my head processing how this is going to work out. The biggest of which are: Can I still do what I used to do?, Will I actually be able to complete a thought or a task?, and¬† How will my kids adjust? I’m counting on the fact that it will all come flooding back to me. Everyone keeps promising me this at least! As for my kids, I was so worried I even counseled with our pediatrician. After I told him the parameters of the position he just chuckled and reassured me that it was going to be fine. Yes, the parameters made him laugh. Did I forget to mention that this is a part-time, temporary position? Yes, this is something that can be handled! Stephen and I have even been able to work out a schedule so that one of us is always home with them except for one day a week that they will get to go play with some dear friends of ours.

Why would I be going back to work? Because God is knocking at my door and I am thrilled to answer it! It is just one more provision from Him that confirms our direction. My salary will go straight into our adoption account. This is such an amazing gift! Not only did God provide us with a call to adopt and care for the orphans, but he has provided a way. And it is at the heart of where my passion lies. It is a perfect fit to our puzzle. We have a tremendous amount of gratitude for all those who have a hand in God’s provisions for us. So grateful to be used and can’t wait to work with my new team!

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