Exceedingly Abundantly

A couple of weeks ago, we announced that our friends had graciously offered their home for a house show fundraiser, but to be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect. Will people even come? Will they like the items we made? How many items to make and bring? Will the weather cooperate? These questions ran through our heads leading up to the day’s event.  As 10:00 a.m. rolled around, the house began to fill with people clamoring to buy one of Kendal’s wooden signs or Colin’s cutting boards. Bath bombs, baby quilts, cake pops, and other handmade items were going quickly. Over the next three hours friends, family, and friends of friends stopped by with genuine excitement.

The event turned out to be a huge success! Though we really had no idea what to expect in terms of fundraising, the total was more than we could have ever imagined, and gave us a big boost toward our fundraising goals. Certainly, while we are enormously thankful that the show was a very effective fundraiser for us, the more incredible part of the day was the outpouring of love and support we received. It was, and is, amazing to us that there are so many people who want to help us and be involved in making a difference in our lives. Those who stopped by encouraged us in our journey and shared stories of their experience with adoption and infertility. Friends and strangers alike spoke kind words of support and love. These words strengthened us to stay on the path, committed and hopeful for the blessings to come.

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Us with our hosts, KeriBeth and Laura!

For everyone who was involved, we cannot thank you enough. Our family made snacks and treats to enjoy, dear friends donated items to sell and auction, local businesses also donated items and profits to our journey, and total strangers stopped by to show support and purchase a few items. It was an incredible day, and it was hard to put into words the emotions we felt once it was over. But one verse stuck out in our minds:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

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Get Ready! A House Show Fundraiser.

In our last blog post, we mentioned that we had some exciting fundraising opportunities in the works. One of these is coming up this weekend, Saturday, January 21! A very good friend of my sister has graciously offered her home as a space to sell some of our home-made items as way to raise funds for our adoption. In addition, this open house will include donated items from a local soap company and Usborne Books.

Colin and I have been busily working to make sure we have plenty of things ready for sale. Our house is a mess (look at all that wood shaving!), but the results are some really pretty cutting boards hand-made by Colin.

I’m also churning out hand-painted wooden signs, along with my sister who is also making growth charts.

If you are in the Mandeville, Louisiana area (or close!), and would like more information about the show, please contact us directly and we’ll make sure you get all of the details! You can email or send us a message on Facebook. We are looking forward to this event and all of the blessings that will come from it. We can’t wait to share how it goes!

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Act. Love. Walk. Thank you!

Happy New Year! We are incredibly thankful for the tremendous outpouring of love and support we have received over the last several weeks. The encouragement has been downright amazing – y’all are awesome! And it’s really neat to see that opening up about our struggles and journey toward adoption has prompted conversations with people that may otherwise never have happened.

There are a lot of unknowns that come with adoption, which is hard for us to come to grips with. Knowing that there are so many people who are now walking alongside us, motivates us to press on, confident that the best is yet to come.

One of the difficulties of adoption is coming up with the funds to pay the fees. An adoption costs about the same as having a baby the old fashioned way; however, it’s not covered by insurance. And most fees are due upon match, not over a course of time (in addition to the expenses of the home study and visits, background checks, traveling, etc). So that is really scary, because most people don’t have huge chunks of change laying around with no purpose. We certainly don’t.

For quite a while, we have saved on our own, rearranging our monthly budget to account for adoption related expenses. We are trying our best to be good stewards of the money we earn. This fall, Colin taught a night class at a local community college to make a little extra income that goes straight to our adoption fund (and he’ll have two classes this spring). We are also making things to sell, such as wooden cutting boards, hand-painted signs, and possibly jewelry. These are all small steps that will eventually come together to help us reach our goal. There are some neat fundraising efforts in the works, so stay tuned for more information!

One way that many people have already gotten involved is through our t-shirt campaign. We launched the day we shared our news, and the shirt we designed was available for three weeks. It was very successful – we raised right at $1,000! Thank you to everyone who chose to support us in that way – family, friends, co-workers, even people that we’ve never met (how cool is that?). Not only did a portion of every shirt sale come to us, when you wear your shirt, you may have the opportunity to tell someone else about our story, or at least talk about adoption in a positive way. Here are some pics of you sporting those arrows!

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In addition to people purchasing t-shirts, we have received some generous gifts. It is humbling to know that there are people in our lives who have a real desire to be a part of bringing our family together. So, we are on our way in our fundraising efforts! We still need to save and raise a lot of money, but we trust that God will provide – for he is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Still, it is not easy to put oneself so out in the open, to expose our struggles and fears. Thank you for being a part of this journey and for praying with us as we continue on this path. We are so very grateful for the encouragement, and humbled by the gifts we have already received.

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Christmas is the Story of Our Adoption

2019A few weeks ago, I was reminded of a Bible passage which is very relevant to both the current season of the year, as well as the current season of life for Kendal and me.  The passage, Galatians 4:4-5, reads like this:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

When I re-read this passage, I thought, “Oh, that’s awesome!  I’ve got to write a blog post about it!  I mean, how perfect of a verse is that for us right now?!”  For a few days, I mulled over the passage, jotting down a few ideas here and there in an attempt to get my creative juices flowing.  Ultimately, I stumbled upon an article written by Jason Johnson, a minister from Texas who teaches on foster care and adoption.  Johnson’s blog post perfectly sums up my thoughts on Galatians 4:4-5 and how the Christmas season truly echoes adoption.  To give you a taste, here is one quote which profoundly struck me:

The gospel of our adoption, making its vivid debut that night in Bethlehem, acts not only as the emphasis behind why but also as the model of how we as those adopted into the forever family of God are called to forever give our families to those who need them.  Christmas is ultimately the story of God stepping into our darkness in order to bring light into it.  It, above any and all other motivations, compels us to do the same on behalf of the vulnerable, marginalized and orphaned in this world.

I couldn’t say it better myself.  Christmas truly is the story of how, in our time of absolute darkness, in our time when we were children of wrath, God brought light into our world through the birth of His Son.  In love, God chose us “for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5).  What an amazing act of love!

Merry Christmas!

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For Jason Johnson’s entire article, click here:  The Echoes of Christmas in Adoption 

Waiting

The most common question we have received since announcing that we are adopting, is “Where are you in the process?” The simple answer to that is “We’re just waiting.”

But there really is no “just” about it. We don’t sit around on any given night twiddling our thumbs waiting for a call. No, we, just like any other couple anticipating their child, are preparing for that arrival. We work on the nursery. We buy clothes and bottles and diapers. We make sure our paperwork is up-to-date. We talk about what the day will be like when we become parents. The only difference is, we have no idea when that day will come.

Some days, it seems funny to do some of those things with no “due date.” Other days it’s really sad. But mostly it’s exciting. Though it is hard to wait, our hearts are being prepared for the right baby to become a part of our family at the right time, with every day that goes by, item prepared, and paperwork signed.

wait-quoteOf course, there is a lot more detail that goes into the “waiting,” and we may share more on that in another post. But for now, we just wanted to provide a simple answer as to where we are in the adoption process. We have all of the initial paper work completed, applications approved, and connections made, so now we are waiting for – no, make that anticipating – the arrival of baby F. It could be next week, it could be a year from now. Though we don’t know the day, we anxiously await, and there is hope in the wait.

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Gratefulness

Colin and I have a sign hanging in our kitchen, with a message that constantly reminds us: “There is always, always, always, something to be thankful for.”

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Despite it’s grammatical incorrectness, this simple saying contains a very powerful message. No matter what we are going through in life, we always, always, ALWAYS, have something for which to be thankful. Whether in a really deep valley, or high on a mountain top, every one of us can dig deep in our hearts and find we are grateful for something (probably many things).

This Thanksgiving, I am particularly thankful for my dear family and friends. Colin and I have been overwhelmed by the support, encouragement, and congratulations for our adoption news. After carrying our grief for so long, it is such a sweet relief to share with others, even though it is scary to be so open about our personal life. My mama recently reflected on the day that Colin and I told her and my dad about our struggles. She said they could visibly see the weight lifted off of us; it was immediately evident in our demeanor that we felt more free. It’s true: when one shares their burden with others, the load becomes lighter and much easier to bear.

So I am thankful for family and friends who are walking through this journey alongside Colin and me, making our burden lighter. It is amazing to see what has happened in even just a few days of publicly sharing our story, and I am so excited to see where this goes, especially knowing that there are many people offering encouragement, support, and prayers.

This Thanksgiving Day, be sure to take a few minutes to think about what makes you thankful, and express your gratefulness to others and to God.

And remember:

There is always, always, always, something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,

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National Adoption Month!

Here in the United States, November is celebrated as National Adoption Month.  Within this month, certain days are set aside to recognize and draw special attention to each form of adoption:  domestic, international, and foster care.  In fact, in an effort to highlight “the important role that adoption has played in the lives of children and families in our country and around the world,” President Obama recently issued a proclamation dedicating November as National Adoption Month. President Obama urged Americans to “continue strengthening the adoption process so that all children can learn, grow, and thrive with the support of a devoted and permanent family.”

I must admit that prior to our adoption journey, I was not aware of how prevalent adoption has become in the United States, nor how involved and detailed the process can be.  Consider the following statistics:

Currently in the United States, there are over 400,000 children who, through no fault of their own, have entered a state foster care system.  In fact, the average child waits nearly four years to be adopted out of foster care.

One out of every 25 families with children have an adopted child, with about 39% of all adoptions taking place in the private domestic arena. More than 18,000 families will successfully adopt a domestic newborn this year.

Over 5,500 international adoptions took place in 2015, with the majority of the children being originally born in China.  In Louisiana alone, 32 families adopted internationally.

Despite adoption and fostering’s relative lack of conversation and discussion in social circles, these statistics reveal to me that adoption and fostering are much more prevalent than what they seem.  These paths to parenthood carry with them negative assumptions and stereotypes; that they are somehow second-best options.  Yet, quite the opposite is true – adoption and fostering is all around us.  Whatever form it takes, many of our friends and neighbors have experienced the exciting process of adoption.  And though the journey definitely brings unique challenges, I’m convinced it is one worth pursuing.

Happy National Adoption Month!

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