Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Thursday, December 30, 2010

You have to read this blog post!

I started writing this post 2 nights ago but couldn't focus enough to finish it!! Can't imagine why!

Every time I even think about blogging about what's going on in my mind right now...I just get overwhelmed thinking there is no way I can write exactly what I am feeling/thinking. It's hard to get a deep breath sometimes! Right now I am preparing the last of the documents that need to be notarized to be sent to step closer!!

I just had to share this story...I just happened to read a blog post that you can read here from a sweet family that I know from being with our former agency. So I'm reading this on our way to Louisiana on Christmas day and my heart just about leapt out of my chest. All I can say is my heart aches for these kids that I have never met.

Since we have announced our big news, I have heard from so many that have been praying for our kids to have a family. And I look forward to the day that I can tell them how my sisters and brothers in Christ have cared for them in such a way!! Our family will treasure these memories. Thank you for being faithful to what God our Father calls a pure and faultless religion!!

May God have all the glory,

severely off her rocker

After our U.S. government in their wisdom (see sarcasm) decided to close down Nepalese adoptions for an undetermined amount of time, Jessica and I felt...well, unsure. We weren't entirely certain what we should do next. But God is sovereign. God planned it so that as this fact was settling in and beginning to weigh heavy on us, we were to attend the Together for Adoption conference.

We were there by divine appointment. Along with getting to spend the weekend with some great friends (the Williams, Libby, Dr. Yeats...err, I mean John Mark), God had plans for us to hear certain things from certain people. For instance, I had no idea what "waiting" children were. Come to find out there are children in other countries waiting for parents. You may say, "Well no duh, Ryan", but only if you're a true child of the 80's. Seriously though, I thought we had to get on a waiting list to be approved and then a waiting list to be matched with kids and then wait to travel to get them. A lot of waiting. Not so. There are kids that are completely ready, waiting for parents.

I didn't want us to jump back into anything too quickly though. After all, we were just coming out of an 18 month broken relationship with Nepal. I didn't want these "waiting" children to be a rebound type of deal. We prayed and talked about whether God would have us adopt domestically, foster, foster to adopt, international, "waiting" children, or if anything at all. We were starting back at square one. After prayer and discussion we came to a decision. We still felt strongly drawn toward international adoption. And why would we get on a waiting list to adopt slightly younger children when there are children "waiting" for people to adopt them. My rational: they're waiting, we're waiting. Hmmm. Let's alleviate both our waits.

We began moving forward with the process to adopt waiting children. I say "we". Jessica did pretty much all of the women should. Just kidding. The agency sent us a list (with pictures) of about 12-15 sets of siblings that were waiting in Ethiopia for parents. We looked through these pictures, asking for God's guidance. My salvation and security in Christ became more sweet (more cherished) during this process. Ephesians 1:4-6 says, "For He (the Father) chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will- to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One (Jesus) He (the Father) loves." In a nutshell God chose me! He chose to make ME His! Not because of ME, but because...well, I can't even fully express why! He chose to love me, in spite of me. Not because I'm lovable, but because He is Love.

That's all good and exciting, but now the connection. We had to choose. Jessica and I had the pleasure and the burden of choosing. Essentially by choosing one set of siblings, we didn't choose the other 20 something children that were waiting. Heartbreak. They are all so beautiful. They're kids. They're made in God's image. All of those kids need a home and a family. They all need to hear about God's love. All. Of. Them. I unapologetically hope you're kept awake at night with the burden to put actions to the faith and hope you claim. You may think me harsh for saying such things. You may say it's all well and good that y'all are doing that, but I shouldn't place my convictions on others. And to you I would remind that I can not convict. That is the Holy Spirit's work. And if you can walk away unchanged, unmoved, then okay. We can not.

James 1 tells us the religion that God deems as pure and faultless is to see after widows and orphans. There are many avenues this can be done: praying, giving, going, serving, and adopting. Across the street or across the world, we are commanded to minister to the least of these.

Now back to the program. Since we started looking at these pictures Jessica started falling in love with one particular group of siblings. I don't know exactly what she must have been thinking when she first told me she thought these were the ones. I know my first thought was: We're not adopting a sibling group, we're adopting a soccer team! I knew for certain that someone had snuck into my house at night and replaced my wife with some deranged look-a-like that was somehow a glutton for punishment and severely off her rocker. Four kids!?!? FOUR. The number has torn through my mind like a runaway train. It completely and utterly destroyed any coherent line of thought for days. And then it started to take root. And I began to consider it. And it started to, no, NO. It's crazy. There's no way. I prayed for God to protect the heart of my wife. "Lord," I said, "if You have other plans for these children and us please change her heart. Open other doors. Please don't let her be hurt again." All the while she fell more and more in love with these four children. And secretly, so did I.

On our way back from Louisiana we called our agency to ask some questions and get some clarification. Among the questions, we wanted to ask if we could know if there was anyone else interested in this particular soccer team, I mean sibling group. The words echoed in mind as she said that another family had requested them. In that moment I began to wonder how I would tell Jessica this news and I wished that I was someone else or somewhere else in the world, but I knew this was what I had to do. I had to be the one to break this heart-shattering news to my bride. As all of these things were swirling in my mind the agency worker continued. Then I realized she was saying something about having to tell the other family that she could not approve them. Something to do with income and that they already had children. My heart leapt with joy and at the same time hurt for that family's news. She said that we had already passed all the various requirements and if we were sure we wanted this set of siblings she would remove them from the website and send us their medical records and forty something pictures.

We said YES! Emphatically. Crazy. Don't know what all of this entails. Trying to grasp the concept of being parents. Mind racing. Weeping at the thought of some unforeseen thing standing in our way. Undeniably longing to get them quicker. So excited to begin this part of our lives. Grateful that God has led us to this point. Scared out of our minds. Reading everything we can get our hands on. Joyous occasion for celebration. Can't think. Can't breathe. Can't imagine how difficult the next few months of waiting will be.

She actually tried for a moment to talk us out of it. I say that tongue-in-cheek, but she did want to make sure we were aware of the difficulties involved, et cetera. I assured her that we had counted the cost and were as scared as we should be, not totally naive or overconfident, and we had in fact disposed of our rose-colored glasses back in the day. They don't go well with my red hair.

We can't disclose their names or pictures just yet, but it is one girl and three boys. Their ages range from 4-12. We should travel to Ethiopia in April for the first trip and again in (maybe) June to bring home our soccer team, OUR KIDS!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What we've been up to update is long over due. First of all, let me say God is so good! He knows what we need so much better than we do. So the whole living in limbo between Fort Worth and Austin was pretty rough on me. I'm not working full-time right now so I felt kind of useless...didn't have a house to set up, couldn't get going on our home study update until we really stunk. 3 or 4 houses we were really interested in fell through but God had us waiting for the perfect house for us right now. We are about a mile from the church in a really cute neighborhood with a great yard. I think the extra time was probably good to process and grieve the loss of our Nepal adoption. I'm kind of a list person so here goes some things I've been rolling around in my head.

Things I'm thankful for lately:

A wonderful and loving church family(they have been so supportive of Ryan's ministry)
New friends that have encouraged me
Godly and generous parents
God softening hearts about hard stuff
Together for Adoption conference
On fire adoption/orphan care community in Austin
A total stranger at church giving me a gift card for clothes and a precious note of encouragement on Orphan Sunday when she heard about our adoption
The Albritton family traveling to Ukraine to pick up their little one this week
Faithful friends who are prayer warriors
The youth we get the privilege to get to know and share Jesus Christ with
God's provision
Presence of peace and true joy that only comes from God during hard circumstances.
Healing of my friend Jessica Chapman's daughter Rachel
God showing Himself in little things like being able to get a medical form updated for our adoption so easily!

There are so many more things but those are the ones that come to mind right now. If you are reading this and you are one of those that have been praying for us...we are so thankful for you...I can tell you have been interceding on our behalf!!

I have been busy filling out paperwork again for our home study update. The social worker will come and visit us next week. Since we are changing countries, have moved, changed jobs, etc. the home study has to be updated. We are looking at waiting siblings from Ethiopia, so pray that God makes it clear which ones are our kids. We should have our dossier(paperwork to be sent to Ethiopia) ready by early to mid December so we are moving forward again!! Waiting children are kids who are usually older(age 3 and older but most are 7 and up) and have been waiting for a family for months or years so the process usually goes pretty fast(like 6 months total)!!

Love you guys,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Orphan Sunday is coming up...Nov. 7th

I am so excited about Orphan Sunday...our church is graciously allowing us to gather some resources to promote orphan care!! Praise God for a body of believers that care about the orphans! I pray that you will consider approaching your church leadership about promoting Orphan Sunday. See the following page for great resources.

Here is a prayer guide that Christian Alliance for Orphans has put together for anyone to use.

James 1:27 says Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Is He both good and powerful???

As some of you already know we got news a week ago that our U.S. State Dept. has closed all Nepal adoptions. It has come as somewhat of a shock and certainly a disappointment.

I am taking this better than some might suppose. Partly because of other things currently commanding my attention. Namely, a ministry position. More about that later. There is also the fact that a few weeks ago I went through a rather dark time. But there are a few things I discovered during that time that I want to share.

The questions I continue to come back to, that I think are at the root of much of our struggles, are "Is God all good?" and "Is God all-powerful?" C.S. Lewis writes extensively about this in The Problem of Pain. He poses it this way, "If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy and if He were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both." I believe, as did Lewis, God is all good and all powerful. I believe this more and more as the days go on. Let's look more in depth at these all-important questions.

Is God omnipotent, all-powerful? Does He hold perfect control over the sins and evil of this world? In Genesis 20 God prevents sin. In Romans 1 He permits sin and the people are given over to their own desires. In Acts 2 we see that He directed sin by delivering Jesus to by crucified (and all this time we thought it was Judas). And in Job 1 He limits sin. So, He prevents, permits, directs, and limits sin and/or the effects thereof. But God never causes sin. He never sins. Nor is He ever blamed for sin. Is God powerful? Yes. Does he hold sovereign sway over evil? Yes. He also has the ability to make children appear in our extra bedrooms, although that would just be weird. So, why doesn't He?

Is He a good God? How can God be powerful enough to stop evil, yet choose not to, and still be good? In James 1 we are told that every good and perfect gift is from above. The Bible runs rampant with His goodness. Read it! "Taste and see that the Lord is good." God is behind good. He is the author of good. All good is morally chargeable to Him. The human race is charged with all unrighteousness. He is good. We are not. There is no goodness apart from Him. There is no part of Him that is good; every bit of Him is good. Is He good? Absolutely.

How are these reconciled then? I think we can get glimpse of the answer in Job. Job had a rough go of it to say the least. Far worse, I would assume, than you or I ever will. After 37 chapters of suffering (and poor advice from friends) Job questions God. God can take it. He is bigger than our questions, doubts, fears, anger, ad infinitum. This is God’s perfect opportunity to give us the answer to the problem of sin, suffering, and pain. But He doesn’t. Maybe because He knows we wouldn’t understand it. Maybe He knows it would just cause more questions. Maybe because He knows what’s best for us. I think what Job gets is far better. It is a resounding “I am with you. I am in control. See my goodness.” He gets God’s presence! He will never leave us and never forsake us. He has not forgotten the children in Nepal or you or me. He is not caught off guard and reeling in the wake of these recent decisions. He is sovereign over all. For me, there is comfort in that. He has it under control. And I have Him.

I want to take this one step further. On the cross we get the perfect picture. Jesus is “God with us”. We do not have a distant God. God came near. He suffered. He was rejected. He hungered. He bled. He wept. He became the very presence of God in tangible form. Do we have a good God? Yes, we absolutely do. He bore the full brunt of sin and evil and pain and suffering and death and three days later He rose victorious showing that all of these things fall mercilessly at His beautiful feet. Is our God great? Yes, He is a great and powerful God. He allows us to know that this life is only temporary because death no longer has victory and sin no longer has its sting. And we discover that overwhelming joy in the midst of our trials can be found in His presence.

One step further? In Luke 11 we see a strange picture. Or is it? Jesus acknowledges that no one would give their son something harmful when they ask for something good. Well, duh. But then He explains that we will have the Holy Spirit when we ask for it. But what if we don't want the Holy Spirit? What if we want children? Or health? Or a job? Or a restored marriage? Or relief?

What we get is so much better! Our Father knows what we really need is Him. And He gives Himself freely. We don’t need an answer as to why these things happen. What we need is the Answerer. We don't need just comfort, but the Comforter. Not health, but the Great Physician. The Prince of Peace and The Source of All Life is with us through it all.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Praise God!

Yes...I'm doing the happy dance, not really but I'm sure I will when we get our referral. Our agency finally received 2 referrals for 2 of the 2009 families!!! Amen!

Hopefully we'll be getting more and more of this kind of news! When we see how soon they get travel approvals that will give us a better idea of our estimated wait once we receive a referral.

I'll keep you updated!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One more month!!

Yesterday marked 1 more month until N. will start reviewing our paperwork and working on matching us with those precious children we've been waiting for a year to see! I am getting excited, can you tell? I am trying to stay realistic though because there could be more delays at anytime as I've said before. N. is making steady progress though. We should hear any day now that they have released more referrals to the 2009 families...there have been rumors for a few weeks that they have matched over 100 families. Yay!

Ryan and I have been passing the time by doing some projects around our house. We painted our bedroom and did some decorating. I will post some pics later. We replanted our flower bed. I have been researching adoption and attachment resources, chatting with some families on FB that have adopted siblings to get some tips. I'm reading a book called The Connected Child right now on healthy attachments. Ryan is reading lots of things such as Radical by David Platt, and Hello I love you by Ted Kluck(which is a father's perspective on the adoption process)-I was very impressed that he ordered this on his own accord. Something cool that we have really enjoyed doing is Ryan has been reading to me; we started with Night by Elie Wiesel and now we're reading The Chronicles of Narnia series. Parents, you should read these books to your kids. It gives you just one more opportunity to talk about the gospel with your kids because of the symbolism C.S. Lewis uses in the books. I can't wait to read them to ours. Well, Ryan does really good at narrating these so he may have to read these to our kids. He does voices for some of the's very entertaining. He's probably going to appreciate me telling that part to you all. ;-) We have been visiting family pretty often and Clint came to stay with us a few days last week so that has made the last month or so really fly by.

Ryan had the honor and privilege of preaching at our home church this past Sunday. He preached Romans there's alot of meat in that passage. God has been speaking to him about some things that came out of this passage. Good stuff! One of the things I learned is don't quote vs. 23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" without telling the person the good news in vs. 24 "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." This was a proud moment for could tell he was seeking to bring glory to Jesus Christ and not himself.

So long for now,

Monday, May 17, 2010

We are #12/updates on family in country

Hey everyone,

When our paperwork is reviewed in July...we are #12 in line of dossiers submitted of all agencies in all countries. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this. Keep in mind they accepted over 400 dossiers last year. I still have a peace about everything...thank you Lord Jesus! I have been really encouraged by reading the family's blog that is in country picking up their adorable little boy!! Check out It makes me feel like it could really happen for us! I can't wait to visit N. Their pics are great, so go on over and take a look so you can see and read what our trip may be like. Hopefully N. will not have strikes while we are there but it is possible.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another praise and something about 3 months!

I just read an update on the family's blog that have been waiting since September to travel...they left today for N. I am so happy!! Almost yelled "praise the Lord" in the Barnes and Noble cafe!! Join me in prayer for their safety, health, and a blessed trip!

Well for us "3 months" seems to be a recurring theme. In January, we found out it would be April 15th before our paperwork would be submitted. I found out last Friday, our paperwork will be reviewed by the matching committee on July 15th. N. is giving the 2010 families until July to submit their paperwork. They are still diligently working on matching and referring the 2009 group and it will probably take that long to finish that group. So one 3 month period is behind us and we're on to the next. I think I should start setting some goals for myself to pass the read a certain number of books, read through some books of the Bible, etc. Let me think on that.

We started painting our bedroom this past weekend. You can go to my facebook page to see what we've done so far.

That's it for now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Praise God for movement

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. Praise God...there has been progress made in N. The family I have spoken of from our agency that has had their referral since last September(that should have long been home with their child) finally got travel approval around Easter. They are just waiting for a few logistics to fall into place to make their trip. Yay!! Then I found out this week that some of the families that received referrals about a month ago have already gotten travel approval...this is an amazing improvement for N.

Our dossier was officially submitted to N. last week. So we are getting closer!! They still need to finish matching the 2009 families before they will match the 2010 group.

Thank you for all the prayers...they are working!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Nepal shirt pic

Ryan's cousin Kirstie sporting her Nepal shirt! Thanks for the support!

Peace that I can't understand

Well, I have been on an emotional roller coaster this year. I was really discouraged about how long it was taking to get our adoption officially started(having our paperwork submitted for review by N.) for a few months. Then through encouraging words and prayers of several friends and learning some truths in Beth Moore's Breaking Free revisited, I have a peace that I can't explain. I really didn't want to blog about my discouragement(really mild depression if I'm honest) because I'm a person who likes control and didn't want to be viewed as whiney and weak. But in one of my bible study lessons, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was being prideful by not admitting my weakness. Beth points out that pride won't admit to weakness and says secrets are nobody's business. We should view pride as a vicious enemy. Proverbs 11:2 says:When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. I have since, talked to my manager at work and some coworkers and told them I am having personal struggles that are magnifying stress at work and that I needed some help. And another blessing is that they were all glad to help in any way they can, and things have significantly improved with my outlook on work. I am so thankful that my God loves me so much to put just the right people in my life to encourage me in the just right ways at the right time.

Then came some very concerning news from our agency. There are some issues with adoptions in N. In a nutshell the US are concerned over how N. is handling their adoption process. As it stands now, our agency doesn't think that the US will end its relationship with N. but it could happen in the future. This has spurred Ryan and I to consider our next steps if this happened. It really saddens me to think we may have to pick another country...but I do trust that God has his hand in this and will guide us all the way. For me, it is sometimes hard to discern whether God is closing this door to N. for us or if this is the enemy trying to put up roadblocks and trying to deter us!! Our dossier(paperwork) is supposed to be submitted to N. on April 15th, so I'm sure we'll know more soon.

Please pray that we will seek God's guidance as we make decisions along the way with our adoption and as Ryan graduates and pursues his career. Thank you in advance for all the support and prayer!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Adoption news

We found out recently that the N. government has set a deadline for themselves to finish the referrals from 2009 by March. Of course, I was saddened to hear that our file will not be reviewed until March, but I am burdened for the families that have been waiting for a referral since the early part of last year. One of the ten families has had their referral for their little boy since September and still have not traveled to get him. You know the waiting has to be tougher for them. The good thing is they are believers and are trusting God! One of the waiting families sent an email that gave me a different perspective. She said as hard as it is for us, just think about the kids in N. that want a family to love them and do not have suitable living conditions and are living in poverty. Think about how hard their life must be. Again its not about us but about them! Please pray for the government to start making progress with these referrals and issuing travel approvals! Pray for the kids to be loved, comforted, and protected by the Father as they wait!

*You may have noticed that I started abbreviating our kids' home country. We were told to be careful what we post in our blogs because the country is very private about their adoptions. When we receive a referral I will start a private blog.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas 2009

Hello everyone,

Jessica here. I have been meaning to blog since Christmas. Been pretty busy! I wanted to tell you some of my favorite times from Christmas week. I took a week of vacation and we went home to Louisiana to visit friends and family. These pics help tell my story. I wanted to make this Christmas special for my nephew since we will likely have kids of our own next Christmas. He and I painted Christmas ornaments and decorated a gingerbread train(so cool). My mom, myself, Kayle, Grace, Emma, and Will also went to one of the local nursing homes to sing Christmas carols and deliver cookies to my aunt and some other residents. We had a really good time and Kayle told me later that Emma prayed for the people we met at the nursing home that night. That made it worth the trip for show the kids that we should think of others at Christmas and not just worry about what gifts we're getting!

My dad surprised me by helping me roll the ginger cookies! Sweet time! I love him. He was pretty proud of himself! It was funny. I pray I don't take for granted times like these that I have left with my parents. Since we've moved away from family, it makes me view the time I spend with them in a different light. I enjoyed going to Jackson with my mom and sister to do some Christmas shopping.

Well I'm getting teary just thinking about all of this. We had a wonderful Christmas and I am praying and trusting that our kids will be home with us for the next one. I can't wait to start our Christmas traditions with them.