James 1:27

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the
Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let
the world corrupt you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It just keeps getting better.

I have wanted to blog SO many times lately but just feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting my thoughts/heart into words. The longer I wait, the harder it gets. I want to write more. I want to take the time to ponder and share our continued story in words.

Isaiah is almost 5 months old. At his four month apt he was 75% for weight and 90% for height. Today, I changed all of his 3-6 months clothes out for 6-9 months. The other day I put a 3-6 month onesie on him and it was so small. I was shocked.

Time goes so fast, too fast. I have said many times in the last month that I feel like I am now just beginning to grasp this gift that the Lord gave us. No longer sleep deprived, no longer floating thru the newborn stage, no longer so dumbfounded- I am able to look at what God did, and stand in awe (although dumbfounded and awe mean similar things...so I am at a loss of words here). Not that I didn't before. But I mean, seriously, this story God brought together is amazing. I have this deep deep thankfulness and gratitude. I look at him during worship and cry. There was one time while worshipping that he was staring at me the entire time. I just stared back, crying. He loves to hear my voice. I love to see his smile.

My friend commented tonight that there is love in his eyes when he looks at me. We were at Community Fellowship at Harvest (Leah's school) and every time people would clap, he would startle awake, confused and afraid.  His eyes would dart around in fear and then he would find my face and smile. Beam. His eyes would light up, then he would go back to sleep.  He adores me and I adore him.

This makes me think of the love of our Heavenly father. He adores me. He longs for me to seek HIS FACE when I am startled, uncertain, scared. And when I find His face, I find peace, and I am able to rest...no matter what the circumstances around us are, no matter what the noise of life is, no matter what the fear and confusion...to rest in Him. How great His love must be for us. I have experienced more and at a deeper level because of adoption.  We are so humbled that the Lord gave us the gift. We would not change a thing about what we went through. No, the road wasn't easy. But the glory FAR outweighs it all. It talks about that in Scripture...how our light and momentary troubles will far be outweighed by the glory that is revealed. I know it is talking of eternity with our creator, our Father...but it also makes me think of how His glory is revealed here on earth. How he allows us to experience that and how He redeems our pain. He turns mourning into dancing.

I wish I could explain how amazing adoption is. I wish more people would do it. I wish that people would know, yes it is hard. But it is WORTH IT. SO worth it. I wish I could help people that are hesitant, to understand- you WILL love this child. It was love at first sight with Isaiah but I read something that totally struck a chord with me. It was more like lust at first night (obviously not lust, using a comparison here).  And after all of that fades away, what are you left with? I was left tired, unsure of how much I loved him, questions of what ifs- what if i dont love him, what if he isnt cute, what if this turns out terrible etc etc. But it was a process. The typical bonding process takes 4-6 months. And now I am so in love with him...those what ifs seem a million miles away. I think the what ifs keep people from adopting. But if you could only know that they fade into oblivion and what you are left with is pure love, pure joy, and just truly being humbled that you could be given such a gift.

Yes, we saved Isaiah's life, in a way...but WE didn't, God did. We were just willing vessels. I know the Lord is looking for so many more willing vessels for His precious children- special needs or not. It is amazing how blessed we are by Isaiah. It is amazing to watch my husband with him, so in love (the bonding process was much quicker for him). Eddie, who a couple years ago thought he would never want to adopt.... he told me the classic "maybe one day down the road". Little did we know, God would totally transform his heart and bless us so much in the process.

Isaiah is doing amazingly well. The only struggles he has are gastrointestinal. He spits up a lot and seems like he is in pain at times...esp when it comes thru his nose (you can tell it burns so bad). Yet, he continues to thrive. He sleeps at least 12 hrs at night, has started taking great naps, and in between sleeping and eating- he smiles and laughs. This boy belly laughs. A lot! I make silly faces and crazy sounds at him all day long and he cracks up! When he is about to lose it crying I start doing that, and he just just laughs away. It's the best.

I am thankful I decided to stay home this year. I am with him all the time, yet time still just flies away from me. We needed/need this time together.

Thank you for continuing to keep our family and Isaiah in your prayers. God is so good. We finalized in court the other day, and he is now officially and forever a White. On this day I thought about how once we choose surrender our lives to Jesus, there is nothing we can do to make him reject us, love us less, throw us aside (no matter how badly we mess up). I was thinking about how Isaiah is now a White, and no matter what he does, we will love him and he will be ours. The only way that would change is if he went to court to change his name. It has just been such a picture of the fact that as believers, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God. There is nothing- NOTHING- we can do to make him love us any less or any more. Praying for a greater revelation of this kind of love that He has for me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Faith like a child

I learn so much about faith from my daughter. Through the things that she says, I see a glimpse into what Jesus meant when He tells us to have faith like a child...let the little children come unto me. One of my favorite times with her is snuggling in bed....when I remember to slow down and not try to rush through the songs...when I really treasure the moment. We chat about different things and I absolutely love it. Tonight she said "mom, guess who my best friend is." I said "who?" She said " it starts with a g-g-g sound and an 0-0-0- sound. GOD!" I asked her why and she said "because he loves me so much and is so sweet to me. When I am bored he helps find things to do like a tea party. When someone is sad he hugs and kisses them. When a child doesnt have a mommy or daddy, he takes care of them..." The list went on. The other day driving in the car she said " Mama, I can't WAIT to go to Heaven!" I asked her why and she said "Because I get to give God hugs and see Him every day! And it's going to be SO beautiful! ...hmmm....I wonder if God will be standing or sitting...." :) Then another time later that day I was not talking so nicely to my husband. Leah later told me that God wanted her to tell me to talk nice to daddy, bc he is my husband from God.".

She blows me away. We pray that we can be the kind of parents that make our home such a fertile ground for her to grow up so in love with Jesus....that he truly is her best friend all of the days of her life. Having these talks with her reminds me to slow down, and just be with her...I often ask her "do you have any questions about God?", and she will say "yes, um mama?....." and we will have a great conversation.

I am so thankful for her heart. I love her more than words can express. She is just a bundle of love and compassion and is constantly affirming Eddie and I in her extreme love and thankfulness to us. She is tender hearted and so full of life and creativity. She is our little miracle baby girl.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

journal entry

Below is a journal entry I wrote back in January. Reading it I am like, man, I was at such a raw place. But in so many ways I am still there. I still search for so many things other than the Lord to fill me up...even just in seemingly little and inconsequential ways. All I know is the only time I am at peace and full of true joy is when I am resting in Him. There is no other way. This was such a good reminder to me to daily, continually, lay my burdens at His feet. I absolutely love the verse in Isaiah at the end of this...whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear my voice behind you saying, 'this is the way, walk in it'." I need to memorize this verse. Thank you Lord for your grace.


 You won’t relent until you have it all…..

Lord I know you won’t relent until you have my whole heart. You keep me empty until I fill myself  with only you…and then the rest of your gifts are just overflow. There is love that is strong as death and jealousy as demanding as the grave. That is the kind of love you have for me. Not only is that the kind of love you have for me, that is the kind of forgiveness. Come be the fire inside of me, come be in the flame upon my heart. Lord, don’t let me go. I need you.  I long for wholeness. I am scared. I am weak. I can’t do this. But, you have spoken to me that that is good, bc you are saying my precious Brenda, I can’t be strong for you if you are strong for yourself. If you can do it by yourself, then you don’t need me. So let go, let me be your strength.  Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. You desire me to lay my burdens at your feet…to lay my burdens at the cross. I had a vision the other day of me going to the cross, looking up at you, and laying my bags of burdens down before you. There were so many of them. You smiled at me and your eyes shone with joy, and I felt peace.  I walked away, but then I turned around and decided to go pick them back up. I decided that I wasn’t worthy of your forgiveness. I decided that what you did for me wasn’t enough to cover MY sin. You looked at me with pleading eyes, begging me to leave them at the foot of the cross so that you could take them from me. Saying…look at me Brenda. I am dying for those burdens. I am dying for your sins. I was brutally beaten and tortured and I am here because of you. Please, my daughter, I love you. Leave them for me. Leave them and I will trade them for a peace that surpasses all understanding and a joy that cannot be contained. You will never hunger or thirst with me.  But I wouldn’t let you. I didn’t fully trust you. I didn’t feel worthy. But the thing is, I am NOT worthy. But YOU have made me worthy. You have made me whole. You have made me victorious. Your mercies are never every morning.  When I picture leaving my bags at your feet and see your tears of joy falling down your face and landing on my hands and I put them down, it makes me want to release it all to you Jesus. Please keep this picture in the forefront of my mind. Let it to be so real and so tangible to me that this is literally what I need to do with my worries, fears, insecurities, doubts,  depression….Thank you for taking them from me. Thank you for allowing me to leave them at your feet. Thank you for dying that I may experience fullness of life and not have to carry these heavy , so heavy, burdens with me anymore. I release them to you and I thank you for taking them as if it is the first time I have laid them down.

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” - Psalm 86:5

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Exodus 14:14The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

“For the battle is not yours, but the Lord.”

"God is my only circumstance.”

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grafted In

My friend sent me this website. http://www.wearegraftedin.com/

I read the article I am pasting below and just love it. Throughout this year the concept of being grafted in has been something the Lord has continually brought to my attention and deepened my understanding of. Because of Abraham and God's covenant with his people, we (gentiles) are given the opportunity to be grafted in (adopted) into the kindgom forever. In understanding more of this, it has given me a greater measure of thankfulness for being adopted into Jesus' family. Understanding more of this has made Eddie and I more passionate about adoption. Truly, we are all adopted children of God, and the adoption of Isaiah is just an earthly example of that.

Grafted In
I’ve been doing some research about grafting lately. And, believe me, research is needed because gardening is not my thing. Maybe it will be my thing when my kids are a bit older. But, as I look out my back windows and see my garden overtaken by grass and weeds, I have to remind myself that I’m growing kids not prize-winning tomatoes.
So, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Grafting by a master gardener takes two separate plants and binds them into one so that they now grow together as one plant, a more beautiful plant at that. You could graft two apple trees to make one tree that produces two different kinds of apples. Or, you could graft rose bushes to produce a plant with many varied colored flowers. Rather than create a genetically new plant variety through grafting, the plant actually keeps the two separate genetic codes but grows together as one, maintaining both the two original identities as well as creating a new identity as one.
Besides producing an interesting or more beautiful plant, grafting is also sometimes necessary. For example, if a plant does not have a good root system, it will die. Grafting it into a larger, more established tree which will become its root system will save the plant. Furthermore, grafting enables a plant which is no longer fruitful but has deep roots to become fruitful and useful again.
In order for grafting to be successful, 4 conditions must be met:
  • The two plants must be compatible to begin with. And, sometimes the only way of knowing this is through research and trial by a master gardener.
  • Each plant must be at the proper physiological stage. The plant grafted in should have buds that are present but dormant. The plant receiving the graft must be healthy and have strong roots—often determined by the quality of the soil surrounding the plant since you can’t actually see the roots. The best time of year to graft plants is late winter, on the cusp of spring when new growth is close. If the plant to be grafted in has a disease, the receiving plant will be affected and the graft a fragile one. But, if the receiving plant is healthy and the graft is done well, success can still be experienced.
  • The cambial layers of both plants must meet; they cannot simply have their bark touching. They cannot be attached on the surface; rather the plants have to be attached on a deeper level, under the bark, a process that is painful for both plants but absolutely necessary. Without the peeling back of the top layer and a connection at the core, the graft simply won’t take.
  • The graft union must be kept moist and warm until the wound has healed. It must be watered, nurtured, cared for carefully and regularly until the wound has healed. If you neglect the graft, the wound may not heal. And, even if the plants are able to grow, the growth will be poor and the scars on the plants apparent.
Now, read this:
But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.” (Romans 11:17, New Living Translation)
Do you get that? Do I really get that? As a Gentile believer in Christ, I have been grafted into God’s family, a full member of God’s family, receiving the blessing promised to His chosen people. I grow there; I bear fruit there; and I am pruned there as all branches should be—not as a punishment but as a way to keep me fruitful and productive.
Now read this:
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” (Ephesians 1:5-6, New Living Translation)
Do you see the word synonymous with being grafted in—adopted.
Now, read again about the gardener’s rules of grafting and consider not only our spiritual adoption but our adoptions as lived out in our families on earth.
God’s word is so rich, so absolutely applicable to our lives.
We are grafted in. We are grafted into God’s family, an adoption process initiated by our Father and one that brings Him great pleasure. He has poured out His glorious grace on us and made us—even in our dead state—His own, a coheir with His son.
My earthly family is also grafted. We believed God was calling this rooted family to become fruitful again. We researched and prepared and then had to simply take the leap of faith. We peeled back our layers as our daughter was forced to peel back her own. No doubt, this was not comfortable for either of us. But, comfort without roots is short lived. And, comfort without fruit is purposeless. We’re still quite aware of this new graft and daily caring for the wound, nurturing both the branches (new and old) and the roots of all of them and keeping the wound moist and warm in hopes that it will heal in time and produce a fantastic tree, one with two distinct identities—Chinese and American—but one root system, one life together.
Is this easy? No. It can be scary and overwhelming. But, not only is the end worth it all, but the process of getting there is worth it as well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2 months

Isaiah had his two month check up today. I am always so excited to see how much he weighs! It seems like each day he gets healthier, happier, and chubbier! Today he is 10 days past his 2 month mark so the numbers may be a bit high, but who cares about that. J He weighed 12 lb and 2oz, and was 23 inches long! He is now somewhere in the 25-50% range which is AMAZING! At birth, Isaiah was under 2%. At his 1 month he was around 20%. So it just keeps getting better and better. He has rolls all over and they are just too cute.

He still is just such a good baby. He is rarely fussy, is sleeping 7-8 stretches most nights, is smiling and cooing, and loves to be held. It is amazing being his mommy. Every day I truly love him more. I can say that this HAS been a bonding process. I loved him from the start, but the depth of the love continues to grow and grow. “They” say on average it takes 2-6 months fully bond with an adopted child. There is comfort in knowing that most moms go through similar things and struggles with adoption. My friend and I were talking about starting an adoption support group! It would be for people who have adopted, are interested in adopting, or just want to hear more…the Lord has placed that on our heart and we hope to one day begin doing that.
The other day at the park with my friend Stephanie and her two kids, I took the girls to the bathroom. Steph and her 7 year old son were just standing over Isaiah in his stroller staring at him. Josh said "He is going to be something real good someday. I just know it. I can just tell". Prophetic words over Isaiah! God has such a plan for his life, I just know it!

I can’t explain what an honor it is to adopt. I can’t explain how thankful I am to the Lord that He called us to be Isaiah’s mommy and daddy, and Leah his amazing and wonderful big sister. I am so so thankful. I think the thankfulness is still just shitting…because it’s SO crazy how it all happened!

Since adopting, our heart and desires have opened so much more, and we know that God is capable of more than we could ever think or ask or imagine. How amazing is that? Any plan I can come up with, on my best day- His is infinitely better. And it is so comforting to know that He sees beginning to end. There is no time to our Father. He knows what is best for each of His children, and I want to continue to learn to rest in that fast. Eddie and I still believe we will have another biological child, but we also want to adopt another child too. Reading my friend Laura’s blog who adopted special needs girls from China…oh man, my heart is there!!  I spent some time on her page reading and watching their family videos (a family of 9!), and my heart melted! What joy- what true and pure joy- they have. Joy that the world may not understand, but that it can’t take away.

I often wonder what our lives would look like if we really truly embraced all that God had for us…if we didn’t wait until it felt right, or made sense, or we could afford it….if we didn’t think about things like it will be too hard, there is no way, it will mess up my family, what if its too much….what if we just let go of all of those questions- in complete surrender to Abba Father; trusting that He is who He says He is. Trusting that he is the author and perfector of our faith. Trusting that He gives us all good things and more. Trusting that every part of Him is good and trustworthy. Trusting that if He asked us to lay it all down for the sake of His calling, that it would be worth it. Oh, it would be so worth it, I just know it.  I think…we could adopt special needs girls from China. I would LOVE to. Then the what ifs and the hows and the fears creep in. What if we said no to fear and what ifs EVERY SINGLE TIME. What if we didn’t wait for the feelings to come to do what we believe we are supposed to do. What if we stepped out in total faith (and without a warm fuzzy feeling) just because God told us to; and then the feelings arrive because we obeyed and we are able to say “thank you so much Lord for not allowing me to miss out on this best thing you had for my life.” We miss out on so much, I just know we do.

I want to learn to relinquish total control. I want to learn what it means to live in complete surrender.  I want to come to a place of utter reliance and complete trust in my loving Heavenly Father. At this place, I know we can do anything. We can endure anything. And through it all we will have peace and joy that does not make sense to those who don’t know Him. A peace, that the Bible says, surpasses all human understanding. Truly, often the hard and agonizing way, is the best way. It’s where we are broken. When we are broken He is able to step in and be our strength. Paul said he delights to be weak bc when he is weak, Christ can be strong. Jesus desires to be our strength. He longs to give us every good gift (that may not come packaged as a pretty gift, but as a special needs child that would seem anything but a gift).  I think we miss out on so many good gifts that our Lord wants to give to us. I don’t want to miss out on those gifts anymore.

I pray He continues to awaken our hearts to HIS HEART. I want what He wants, bottom line…..and I see more little ones in our future, that’s for sure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Mom

My mom was here for 9 days. She left yesterday. It was so amazing having her here. There is just something about moms...they make everything better. She played literally nonstop with Leah, she encouraged her, she praised her, she took her on special outtings, she read endlessly to her- she even slept in the same bed as her!!

She fell in love with Isaiah. I think everyone wonders how they will feel about an adopted, not biological child. I know it is different for everyone. For some people the deep love is instant, for others it takes a lot of time. My mom was not sure how it would feel....although of course she knew she loved him already.

I watched her, before my eyes, fall deeply in love with him. I would see her holding him, rocking him, crying....

My mom has been one of my biggest supporters and encouragers. She has prayed endless hours for me. She prayed me through the toughest experiences of my life. She is the first to be SO excited about good news, or to cry with me about the bad.

Watching her fall in love with her grandson, whom she has prayed fervently for for years, was amazing. It was so humbling to see God not only answered OUR prayers but hers (and many others) as well. Isaiah's story has touched her life in a deep way. What God has done for our family has caused her to know the love of Christ in a new way. It's amazing that when the Lord does something good for someone, the effects can reach so far.

She is part of  Isaiah's story. I love that. She was here in May for our Shine conference. The last day of the conference she had her arm around me as I was sobbing..she was praying to the creator of the universe, our Abba Father, to please bless us with another child. She left a few days after that to go to Taiwan to be with my sister who just had a baby.

A couple days after Everett was born across the world, I called my mom to tell her we might have a son soon. She spent the next week in constant prayer for us. It was an amazing day when I called her, crying, telling her we have our son in the backseat of our car! God added two grandsons to her blessed life, only two days apart.

My mom bought a gift for Isaiah's room- now one of my most treasured possessions. It is a plaque that says

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

The more I ponder this verse, the more perfect it is for Isaiah....the more in awe I am of the Lord. Remember the verse the Lord gave me in Isaiah about being with child when I was in the midst of the fertility struggle and crying out to the Lord? It hit me....I looked up every verse in Isaiah that had the word child. The verse He gave me was the only verse that would have showed me what He wanted me to see. No, I did not get pregnant (yet:)). But, it was so personal that I KNEW it was from Him. Because of that verse, I declared that we would one day have a son and name him Isaiah; and that I would tell everyone what God had done. God would be glorified and magnified!  I declared that Isaiah's life would be a testimony and that he would be a warrior for Jesus. When I read that verse above, I am amazed that truly, the Lord redeemed Isaiah. HE SUMMONED HIM BY NAME. He told me his name would be Isaiah. It is hard to put into words what I am trying to explain here...hopefully it makes some sense.:)

I am so thankful for my mom. I am thankful she is here every time I need her. I am thankful for our growing friendship. I am thankful for the example of the amazing mom that she is. I pray I can be the same kind of mom to my children. I love you mom.

next post: my dad

Friday, July 1, 2011

I can't believe we have a nursery

We are almost all done with Isaiah's nursery. Eddie put the crib up today- hooray! Waiting for a couple more decoration type things, but other than that we are done. It's small and crowded but SO full of love. It's beautiful! I just keep going into the room and standing there, looking around, with tears in my eyes, thanking Abba. This room holds SO many memories for me. When we first moved into this house I was pregnant. It was going to be the baby's room. I had a miscarriage, and then I had another one. Then the infertility...years....I kept the changing table/dresser in there for hope. We never did much to the room. Initially we tried to keep most of the space empty (closets etc) so that we wouldn't have to move stuff around when we had a baby. But as the years passed, the closets and drawers filled up. I spent hours on the floor of that room, crying my heart out to Jesus. I constantly listened to the song "the more I seek you" by Kari Jobe, and cried and cried. These are some of my favorite words.

"The more I seek you, the more I find you. The more I find you, the more I love you. I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat. This love is so deep, it's more than I can take. I melt in your amrs, it's overwhelming."
I remember many nights crying my heart out to Jesus and His presence surrounding me. I remember WORSHIPPING Him through the storm. I remember being so thankful for His goodness and His timing, and the fact that He was near. I can't explain the encounters that I had with the Lord- they were so intimate. I was in pain but I was also so full of joy because of the joy that is mine in Christ- no matter what the circumstances. And I KNEW that HE KNEW, and was weeping with me. He help me close and he helped me heal. Those were very healing days for me.

Leah never had a nursery either. We lived in a one bedroom apartment and her crib was in the dining room. The only decoration she got was a big gator flag above it! (yes, I gave in to my husband:))

Seeing Isaiah's room just brings me to tears. It makes me SO thankful. It makes me look back at the years and see His hand in EVERYTHING.  EVERY step of the way, He was right beside us. He knew all along that sweet Isaiah would be in that nursery. He prepared our hearts. We grew. We prayed. We fumbled. We got angry. We had every emotion, but in the center of it all was a relying on Him for what we could not get ourselves- joy, peace, strength. He made us closer as a family and closer to Him. He had a plan and a purpose, and I know it is still unfolding. I would not trade one single tear. I would not trade one single negative pregnancy test or miscarriage. I really wouldn't. Because Isaiah is our forever son.

It has been a struggle. It has been a transition. It has been wonderful and so hard at the same time. I have gone through some post adoption depression (which I found out is a very real and common thing). I will blog more about that later. But every day I fall more in love with him.

He has been such a good, sweet, cuddly baby. He LOVES to be held and snuggle. He LOVES to stare at faces and is very inquisitive. He loves it when I put my cheek next to his and whisper quietly. He looks right at me and makes little noises. I cried today during one of these moments. Still in shock and still so so thankful.

We had Isaiah's apt with the specialist bc of the alcohol the mom drank. From all the tests they did in the hospital, he was the "worst" in every category. The dr went over all the results with me. How they determine (in each level, on a scale of 1-4, 4 being the worst) is completely subjective- not objective at all. It based on exact measurements of things....it's basically down to a science and a computer screen can look at the image of a babies face and know if the mother drank and how severe. So, as it stands in the natural, Isaiah is in the worst category for fetal alcohol syndrome disorder. I hate even saying that word...disorder. Obviously, we are praying and covering our son daily. We KNOW God is in every detail and our hearts are at total peace. When the dr first gave me all the info, I admit, my stomach dropped a bit. But, he spent about 45 minutes with me and was so kind. He is FOR these children and knows they can live a happy, healthy, and full life.  He told me a lot about things to look for in the coming months. If Isaiah has them, we deal with them. If not, great. It's all about being aware of what could be, and early intervention. But, this disorder has such a broad spectrum, and the greatest predictor of "success" is being in a loving and stable family for 3-5 years. We are already way ahead of that bc he is with us forever! And more than anything, we have the Lord! So what more do we need on our side?! There is treatment for everything, and the dr was very positive and encouraging. He said its about understanding what the alcohol did to his little body (makes my heart break), and how it affects the way his brain was formed etc etc. He said often people try to treat the secondary disorders- such as ADHD- just put them on meds- but the meds dont work. He said its about positive reinforcement, understanding your child and their needs and working around them...and a million other things. I left there hopeful and grateful. Just so thankful to the Lord to entrusting to us this little one that probably would have gone into foster care. I picture him being formed in his birth mom's womb...getting a steady flow of alcohol through the placenta. It's maddening. He is doing SO well and has no signs of what could have been signs so far. Each stage is different and only time will tell what we may need to deal with. But, we know we won't be dealing with anything the Lord hasn't allowed our way. We love him more every day and are so happy to be a family of 4.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Gotcha Day!"

"Gotcha Day" is the day that you get to go pick up your child that you are adopting. It's a common phrase used in the adoption world- the day that we all look most forward to; after the waiting, praying, paperwork, money etc....it's hard to put into words (or even attempt to) what an amazing day this gotcha day is.

Below is a link to a video a friend sent me that is absolutely amazing and worth the few minutes it takes to watch it. It is on family's "gotcha day". Makes me ready to start the paperwork now! :) So thankful for so many families that continue to inspire, encourage, and challenge me.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inspiration from a mom of 7

I asked my friend if I could post part of her blog. She is a mom of 7; 3 adopted, 2 with special needs. Her blog is http://laurajonesjournal.wordpress.com/
I so look forward to her posts and every time I read them, I am completely inspired and humbled and challenged. Our God is SO big and wants to be so big in our lives. She is a living a example of being weak so that He can be strong. I encourage you the story of the adoption of her two little ones from China who both have an incurable blood disease and need blood transfusions every couple weeks. We are weak, but He is strong!

"If someone would have told me…

I would be in the hospital every week, for several hours at a time ….

that the laundry would be alot more crazy even with only two more little bodies.

that they won’t want to eat our food

and they will want you to rock them every night

and sing lots of songs every night

and bring water

and another hug several times the day

and “tell me mommy china” (the story of mommy coming to get them)again and again and again (in bed when I’m dead tired)

and going out would be such a production,

that both girls would be S L O W at everything (especially when I’m late)

that I would not be able to read out loud to my older kids for several months (one of my FAVORITE things to do)

that they had several other medical issues stemming from the thalassemia

that one would have some hearing loss

that one would have a deformed skull

that one would have severe eczema that takes extra time to tend to several times a day.

These things would have overwhelmed me!!! I have severe migraines that last for weeks and weeks, I have two fractured vertebrae in my lower back, I have two kids already who at times feel like severe “special needs” already. I homeschool, we like to go out to eat, we like to travel….on and on. It would have been “too much” for me.

But, the thing is that I’m on the other side, the other side of jumping off the “risky dual special needs older child adoption” cliff and I’m loving every single minute of it. We are better for it. Not easier, but better, learning to give, learning to love, to share, to care. I’ve seen deep compassion in my older kids that warms a mother’s soul like nothing else can. They were there, they were walking around the orphanage, viewing it all, taking it all in, with tears in our eyes. My stomach drops every time I stop to think of the day we visited their orphanage. Real lives are still there, still waiting, still wondering when they will get to leave. I just can’t even stomach it at times. That, yes THAT, not the extra’s on my list above, THAT place and THOSE FACES still in my mind…left there waiting. I wish there was no paper work. I wish we could just tell the orphanage that we want…that one and go.

THAT is the HARD PART of this adoption.

If someone would have told me it would be so wonderful to have them and such a privilege to care for them, such a joy…I could have gone forward with such peace. Over whelming joy. But, God does not work that way. He kept me needing Him. He kept me where he wanted me, clinging and trusting and obeying WHATEVER the cost, with NO Promises for wonderfulness. He wanted to remind me that Jesus chose the cross, the hard way, He had eternity in mind. He wanted me to have eternity in mind. Christ gave His life away, I needed to be willing to give my life away. I needed to be reminded that I am only a sojourner in this brief life. He wanted to remind me that He IS GOOD even if life looks bad to me. HE IS GOOD.

I’ve learned much and for that i’m so thankful."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Isaiah's name

I looked up the meaning of Isaiah (finally) and it means "salvation from God" . I looked up the word salvation and this is what it said

1. Deliverance from sin and its consequences.
2. Preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss

I especially love number 2! God delivered Isaiah from harm, ruin, or loss; in his birth family. How perfect is that?! He has SUCH great plans for him and we are so excited and honored to be a part of them.

The book of Isaiah in the Bible is really an incredible book. I am going to be reading it some more and blogging about it. I know a central theme is salvation; that we are ADOPTED as sons and daughters of our King- through nothing we can or ever will do to deserve it, but because of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


So I was sitting here thinking...I wonder when Isaiah's birth mom conceived. I did a look up online and it was around the exact time that Eddie and I decided for certain that the Lord wanted us to pursue adoption. He knew all along and His timing is perfect! We fall more in love with Isaiah every day. He is precious and beautiful and wonderful and amazing. Leah is the best big sister; so sweet and gentle. There has been no transition issues at all. She has been a huge help. The other day I gave her a dirty diaper that I didn't put in a bag to throw away and she stated "This is disgusting. I should NOT be doing this." I told her she would be doing this lots of times, for a long time. :)

Another insane fact is that I realized in facebook world today that my friend who lives in Jacksonville (that I met randomly at a park maybe last summer?) is very close with the family who is adopting Ladybug!! How insane is that?! She told me that they are an amazing family. Also, Ladybug is going to have a brother named Isaiah, just like Leah.

God is so good.

Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us in Him before the creation of the world; that we were predestined to adoption.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A little more

Hi again friends!
Wanted to share with you an email I got from my new friend Cindi, who filled in some of the pieces of the behind the scenes activity! :) Also, I forgot to mention, that the day that the birth mom told us no, I got a His Hands T-shirt in the mail. I haven't even paid for it yet (on my list of things to do!:)) so I was not expecting it at all! I opened it and on the front was this verse..

I Samuel 1:27
I asked the LORD to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.

God knew Isaiah would be ours!

Here is the email from my friend!

It was awesome reading your blog.  Carrie Wyatt overheard many of the women at our school, Beaches Chapel, discussing your baby, now known as Isaiah.  I had received a text from my friend, Susan, who is the director at One World Adoption Services in Atlanta, Georgia.  They were called in, when the original adoption agency had pulled out.  Susan knew that I had many contacts in Jacksonville, was a Christian, and had adopted 3 times.  She knew this was one of God's children, and it was her desire to help.  This was important to her, as she felt the need to at the very least, have a strong prayer partner for this little baby boy.  I was doing some volunteer work in preparation for our school's community garage sale.  I was hot, sweaty, and tired.  But I knew that I had to be obedient to God.  He was telling me to stop what I was doing, and start getting the word out there.  I texted everyone in my phone, that I thought would know someone who would want to adopt.  I asked for prayers, I asked for wisdom.  Several families responded and wanted the baby, but things weren't "right".  Most did not already have a homestudy.....most wanted to know EVERYTHING about the alcohol use......many wanted more details.  Well, having received a very similar call over 11 years ago, this situation was "black and white" to me.  Either someone wanted a baby or didn't....the questions and answers could come later.  That's where God's perfect will came into play.....Carrie came out to the POD where I was texting and working.  Hannah is in my son's, Matthew's class.  Carrie said she "might have someone".  The rest is "history" so to speak.  I know that my friend Susan is a STRONG Christian, and was herself, being obedient to God.  You see, Susan and I haven't talked in several months.  She has LOTS of friends.  But it was put on her heart to call me.  "The steps of the righteous man are ordered by the Lord"......Psalms 27:33.  It required a LOT of prayers, listening ears and obedience, but finally little Isaiah found his mommy and daddy.......CONGRATULATIONS!!  It was also great reading your blog and seeing what your beautiful family looks like.  I am so happy for you and will continue to be here for you, if you ever need anything or just want to talk.  Adoption is a special bond, shared by people who God has chosen.  
Love and hugs,


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Isaiah Edward White

Ok, so back to the story.:)

Overall, it has been an amazing year!! The pain of life not going like I would want it to had lessened tremendously. It would only creep up every once in a while. I would mostly get emotional thinking about my two babies that I lost.  But, overall we had been in such a peaceful place. I also had moments of breaking down in my boss's office bc I hated waiting, I hate not knowing. The PROCESS is hard...it's in the waiting that we are refined! I would get the pangs, every once in a while, of "oh my gosh this is SO out of my control! There is not one thing I can do to change or speed up this process!!"

Throughout the year God had given me so much encouragement and words from others. I truly believe all along He was using those things to just remind me that He sees me, He knows... and He has got a little plan called Isaiah Edward!! I had way more good days than bad, and overall was in a very peaceful and joyful place in life. It just felt so much easier! I also had moments where the adoption seemed SO FAR away, and I would honestly wonder if we could ever even adopt. All these expenses going into things like Home Studies, which all expire after a year. I would find myself here and there looking at our home study and thinking "man time is going fast!".

Ok, so, before I forget. It was one night over a year ago (I have the exact date marked in my Bible) where I couldn't sleep. I was talking with the Lord and just asking Him to somehow encourage me (guess I was in a rough spot at that moment.;)). I had been learning SO much about Him and would hear people say "and then the Lord told me", and I had been learning more about what that means, and how He really speaks to me/us. I had never felt like I heard him so clearly as this night. I was almost asleep when I heard him say go look up Isaiah 26:17. I remember thinking, ok, that wasn't you God. And I am way too tired anyway. And it is probably just going to be some generic verse. But, then I said to myself, HELLO! You were just asking him to speak to you! And that verse literally came out of nowhere! So I go and look it up and here is what it says.
Just as a pregnant woman

writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth,
so were we in your presence, Lord.

I immediately started crying. Not so much bc I knew what the verse meant.:) But because I knew it was Him speaking to me, telling me He sees me and is right here walking the journey with me. I then proceeded to read the entire chapter, tear it apart, try to find the real meaning, the hebrew or greek meaning, etc etc. That did not good. :) So I took a step back and just decided to take it for what it was worth. Although, I did think that it meant I was pregnant. So in the middle of the night I took two pregnancy tests! I must have taken a thousand of those in my lifetime! I am not one good at resisting those things! Anyway, not pregnant. So I thought ok, probably next month. Again, not pregnant. As the more not pregnant months went by, the more I kinda forgot about the verse and thought Hm, I just must have misunderstood what it meant. But thru a series of different things, the Lord showed me the verse meant that I was going to have another child. Eddie and I both long believed we were going to have another child, by adoption. We decided if we ever have a son, his name will be Isaiah- so we can tell everybody what God did for us! To God be all the glory and honor and praise!!  Slowly, time went on, and I just help onto that promise that I felt like He had given us.  One night a couple weeks ago at Bible study, I found that verse. I looked at the date and could NOT believe it had been over a year! It made me look back at the whole year with such thankfulness. It made me thankful that the Lord had not brought another child into our lives yet. I grew a whole lot that year, and God really dealt with a lot of my junk! I needed those lessons! I needed to deal with my anxiety. I needed to deal with my struggles. And I did! And He set me free! (that is whole nother long blog!!). So, the dream of adoption is continuing along in our heart. We had a couple other possible domestic adoptions that fell through or the mom didn't choose it. What a process!! I told my friend who has adopted two that in the beginning it seems like this glamorous thing, but when you get down to it- IT IS NOT FUN. It is hard! It is scary! It made me sick to my stomach at times! Gosh, it just was not at all what I thought it would be (even though i was warned:)).

So the end of the year comes. On the last day of school the teacher that I worked for, Arlin ,gave me a little pack of baby boy stickers. She had been buying fake flowers at Hobby Lobby and out fell those stickers. She said she felt she was supposed to give them to me....she didn't want me to over analyze it or anything, but she wanted to encourage me. I took them and I said  "to me these are just another reminder in a long line of kind and gracious reminders the Father gives me that He sees, that He remembers, that He is near." I walk out to my car, the very last day of school! What timing! I get a text from my friend asking if Eddie and I are still looking to adopt. She told me that there was a baby born in Jacksonville yesterday (his birthday is may 17) and they needed a family asap or the baby would go into foster care. A huge blessing was that it was so much cheaper than regular domestic adoption would be, bc they were in such a hurry! My friend connected me with a friend who connected me with a friend! The first friend, Carrie, just happened to overhear a conversation about this baby...I think...I still have to get the full story from her!! This all started on the 18th and it has been a total whirlwind!!

I call Eddie and speak to him for about one minute. I had no information to give him. I spoke with a lady who said I needed to get our international home study changed over to domestic, needed to scan the home study to them, and needed to send some pictures for the birth mom to look at , along with a letter to the birth mom. So I quickly did this.  We were leaving for Disney vacation on Friday. Thurs came and went and Friday all day came and went. I got the call that the birth mom had decided to keep her baby.  I was devastated. When Carrie first asked me about this adoption, I was driving. I pulled over onto the side of the road and wept. I just felt like LORD THIS IS IT RIGHT?! I truly felt it was Him. Eddie and I were SO excited to have a new baby boy!! It was heartbreaking but we were just so thankful for Leah, and to be able to go to Disney as a family.

Well, on Monday I drove back for kindergarten graduation. Right after graduation (why I missed the entire reception!!) I got a call from  number I didn't recognize. I answered and it was the birth mom! I was completely caught off guard!! She wanted me to go over that night to meet them!! Eddie was in Orlando and I was flipping out! I said yes. Then I got my bearings and realized that was not the best idea, and that I needed to call the social worker for help. They advised me to meet with her during the day in a public place. So, we met at Chili's. And she brought our baby! I was SO nervous, there are NO words!!! But as soon as we started talking, I felt comfortable. I cant at all explain how it felt to be talking to someone who might give me their child for my own, and to be staring at that beautiful baby. Right when I saw him I felt like he was mine, like he was perfect. He was so teeny and so cute. He only weight 5 lb 10 when he was born. The mother did drink, and all the details of that are not known. He could have fetal alcohol syndrome but we are praying for healing and health and wholeness!  One very good thing about this is that if he does have any affects from the alcohol, we can do all kinds of early intervention. More on that later. Anyway, we were there for 4 hours. I have never met someone like her in my life. I think her goal was to petrify me. But she didnt, and I told her that. I told her I knew it was just a defense mechanism for the hurt she had in her life (her and the birth dad have had a rough life!!). During the meeting we discussed Eddie coming and all 4 of us meeting that night. It was too late by the time we left, bc Eddie was in Orlando still. I had to drive back and was so exhausted and drained and kinda loony actually. I missed every possible exit, took every possible wrong turn, and called my husband bawling saying "i cant do this". Finally I made it back to Orlando.

We drove back to Jville the next day to meet with them for dinner.  They were 30 minutes late and us 15 minutes early. Those 45 minutes were some of the longest minutes of our lives. We didn't talk. We just sat there praying to ourselves, so nervous. The dinner ended up going really well and we were there for over 3 hrs I think. They left it that Friday they would sign the papers (this was wed at the time of the dinner). I hated that. I hated having to drive back to Orlando and wonder. We held Isaiah the entire time we were at dinner and we fell in love. He was an angel baby and he was ours. Praise the Lord that she called the next morning and said can you drive back to sign papers today? Hallelujah!!! Back to jville we drove. I cried a lot before leaving there. I cant even begin to explain the mix of emotions. I was sitting outside talking with Eddie and I walked inside and our IPOD was playing. I think God knew I needed to hear this exact like "let now the lost  be welcomed home, those you saved and redeemed, those adopted as your own". Thats when the tears really came. I was thinking oh my gosh, this is it, this is really it. could this really be it? oh my GOOOSSHHHH!!! So we quickly drove back again, went to Target and filled up two carts full of all that we would need immediately (car seat etc), and drove to the laywers office. I asked the laywer if the thought they would show. He said yes, but you can never be sure. When we heard those doors open we were able to breath again! Then they had to go in another room with him to sign papers, and we could overhere them talking some. It was agonizing waiting...wondering...wondering if they were going to change their minds. You see, they truly love this baby. That is why they let him go. Its a long story and I don't need to get into it here, but they did what was best for this baby. They did the right thing, BECAUSE they love him, not bc they were trying to escape.

When the lawyer came out of the room and said congratulations, the tears flowed freely again, among all of us! We went into the room to gives them hugs. We thanked them. We sat in silence. We cried. We walked them out and cried some more. We said how do we thank you for giving us our miracle baby, our dream come true? Words cannot express that. We told them we would pray for them every day. The mom held tight to each other us, tears streaming down, not wanting to let go (she is not a hugger!). Then watching her tears fall on her (but now our) babies face...it was so painful. so so painful.

But, we were soon jumping for joy!!!! All in a matter of 8 days we had our precious miracle!!! Isaiah in the Bible is AWESOME!! And it's all about God adopting/redemption of His people to be His own. We are believing for amazing things for our son. We believe God has placed such a calling on His life...He was not supposed to be here. The mother wanted an abortion but it was too late. She had had 3 other abortions before. When she said "he is not supposed to be here...I guess God has some plan for him", I said You are looking at that plan (meaning our family).

We drove back to Orlando the next day and it was SO fun watching our munchkin meet Isaiah! She has been praying for a baby sister for so long, but says a baby brother will do! She called him my little baby brother....she is so sweeet to Him and so happy we get to keep him! We cannot believe we have a family of 4!! Life as we know it is over!! :) Our house is a total disaster, nothing is ready for a baby, we have no game plan of any sort, we are running on empty, we are exhausted- but its ALL SO GOOD! We pray we remember this story forever and ever and ever!!

Oh, there was another birth family lined up but they booked it outta town and no one ever heard from them. That is why the birth mom said she was keeping him...bc she was really hurt and upset. But then she called down and decided to call. Praise the Lord she called!!

I wish I could print all of you guys amazing emails on here, encouraging us and standing by us! I have a hold folder (well folder on my email) that I need to do something with.

Hopefully I will be posting more updates/blogs on here! I know I forgot a million little details that are so important and special. Pray my brain remembers them so I can write them down, to share with our little buddy someday!! I love you all and am so thankful for you!

Ephesians 3:20-21
 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or imagine. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Proverbs 16:9
We can make our plans,

but the Lord determines our steps

Isaiah 55:9
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts

Happiest day!

We have a son!!

Hello world! It has been months since I have blogged. I started strong but faded quickly.:) Well, it's time to start blogging again BECAUSE WE HAVE A SON!!!!

I have found myself starting this blog so many times over the last couple days, but stopping bc I can't seem to find the words to say what I want. How in the world am I supposed to sum up such a miracle and try to put words to the joy we have in our hearts because of Isaiah Edward White? This story might take a few blogs. It's after 12 am and I am fading fast; but I figure if I at least start, it will be easier to keep going.

So, about 3.5 years ago Eddie and I started trying for our second child. We got pregnant quickly and miscarried, and then the same thing happened again. It has been over 3 years since we were able to get pregnant. These years have been some of the most difficult, emotional, heartwrenching, and painful years we have known. It's hard when you plan your life out and think everything will go a certain way. I thought I would have 4 kids by the time I was 25! Well, obviously that didn't happen. But, it has been worth every second! God hs been SO near and so present in every tear and sorrow. He has made us lean on Him in a way we never had to before. He had made our marriage stronger and our love for each other deeper. He has made us cherish every moment with Leah and not take her for granted. I could list a thousand blessings that have come out of this time period in our lives. Neither one of us would trade them for anything. It has been SO WORTH IT.

During these past years we did a few attempts at fertility treatments (lower level treatments). To be honest, I hated them. It was so hard to invest so much time and energy (every other day ultrasounds, shots, hormones etc etc), wait two weeks, and get the call saying "I am so sorry". Each time I would get the call I would say in a cheerful voice "that's ok! What's next?" Then my voice would crack and I would have to hang up. Then I would go sob. I did a lot of sobbing these past years....the first year was definitely the hardest. Then the tears/pain became more spread out and not consuming. It is so hard to explain. I know for those of you who have experienced fertility difficulty, you get it. For those of you who haven't, it may be hard to understand. You may think "well you already have one child", or something like that. People for the most part were very sensitive and supportive. But there were definitely times I felt totally alone and sad. One day I would be totally fine and peaceful and the next I would be a doubting wreck. People would give their well meaning advice, but really, going through any sort of infertility, there isn't much advice that should be given. There isn't much wisdom or words that someone can try to say that will help. Obviously, people are well meaning. But, I have found that usually with fertility struggles, a listening ear and a hug means the most. If you know someone going throug this- just be there for them. Let them know you don't want to talk their pain away or give advice..you just want to love them.

Anyway, so as I was saying, I hated fertility treatments. My husband was not a big fan either. I know people they have worked miracles for, and I think that is SO awesome. God just had other plans for us. My whole entire life I had wanted to adopt. That dream died for a little bit there, but God used our fertility struggles to ressurect that dream and multiply it many times over! God also did an amazing work in my husband's heart. We no longer wanted to pursue fertility. We no longer found ourselves saying "we just want one more of our own first, then we will adopt." We found ourselves saying "The Lord has called us to do and we will obey no matter what the cost, because His ways are best". Adoption switched from being something that could bring us what we wanted (another child) to a calling the Lord placed on our lives. So, we began the journey.

In the beginning, it was a whirlwind. Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Home studies, fingerprints, background checks etc. We got it all done super quickly, and then began the waiting period.
I shared in a different post how we came to plan on adopting thru His Hands in Taiwan (and we still plan on it!!). I shared, I believe, some about Ladybug, the little baby girl we were praying about adopting that had special needs. It was an agonizing period. We fell in love with her. We wanted the answer to be yes. But, we heard nothing. We didn't hear yes or no. So, we said "we don't know". Praying through that whole situation was emotional and painful. At one point we really thought we were Ladybug's parents. We fell in love with her. She lived with my sister and my family, and we got updates about here every single day.

God had other plans. Ladybug has been adopted by another wonderful family and we are so thankful for that. The day we found that out, we were SO excited for her, yet experienced some sorrow too. It's hard to explain. As we looked back on the whole process with Ladybug, we knew that God wanted to use it for good in our lives. We knew, even though we didn't bring her home, that He had a purpose in allowing us to walk down that path.

I know we don't know all the reasons for that yet, and we may never know. But, we do know a very HUGE AND IMPORTANT REASON!!!! It was so that when we got a call saying there was a baby that needed a home, and that his mom drank during her pregnancy, we didn't blink an eye. If we had not prayed through special needs before, I believe in my heart we would have been too scared....because it's unknown. The effects of alcohol on a baby have such a huge range/spectrum. He could be totally fine, or he could be really affected. But, walking through the situation with Ladybug opened up our hearts completely to whatever the Lord would have for us. It made us realize, wow Lord, thru you all things are possible. No matter what you call us to, you will give us the mercy and grace to walk it out! It doesn't have to make sense to us, it just has to be from you. We learned even more so that we wanted what HE wanted for us, not what WE thought would be best. God is the giver of all good things, and we KNOW He will provide us with all we need to raise our beautiful son.

He is crying now, so I am going to post this and get to the details of how Isaiah came into our family as soon as I can! Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors, etc- no time to proof read! I am just speed typing as I sit here and process! :)