Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Did I Not Know About this Family?!

Ever since the first day I created my blog last November, I have had that quote by Derek Loux written at the top.  My dear friend, Shannon, read it to me sometime last year and I knew that if I were to create a blog, I'd want to put it somewhere on it, so she emailed it to me.  Fast forward several months later to this week.  My husband, Jamey, randomly (or not so randomly) decided to google Derek Loux's name and he ended up stumbling across his family's blog.  I just found out that Derek Loux himself has over 10 children, most of whom are adopted, with his wife, Renee, and that he passed away last year in a car accident at the age of 37.  On his gravestone were these words:

I was overwhelmed reading this family's blog, because I know that the only way that Renee is able to raise 12 children, many with special needs, without her husband, is by the incredible power of the Holy Spirit at work within her.  This is radical, Christlike living.  I am once again blown away by how Christ "sets the lonely in families", and am encouraged yet again to fall on my knees before this Awesome God and beg Him to do in my life what there's no way that I can do in my own strength to defend orphans and be like His Son.  One day, I would like for these same words to appear on my gravestone:

Beloved Wife, Mother, Daughter and Sister
Defender of Orphans
Champion of Justice
She ran hard and finished well
11 Timothy 4:7

I know God wants to use each of you to "Defend the Fatherless..." (Isaiah 1:17), and I'm committed to praying that He would move in your hearts and reveal to you how He wants this to look in your life.

As one adoptive mother said at the Summit a couple of weeks ago, "If God's definition of pure religion  is to look after orphans and widows (see James 1:27), then we have some work to do."

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Last Friday, we went to St. Paul for our USCIS (US Immigration Services) appointment where we were fingerprinted.  This basically allows for Lincoln to become a US citizen even though he's foreign born.  Also, now that this is done, we'll be able to accept a referral once one comes in for us.  We sent our Dossier (paperwork packet) to Ethiopia about 2 months ago, so we're hoping there's only two months or less to wait for our much anticipated referral.  How glorious it will be to finally lay eyes on our little guy!!
In the meantime, we continue to pray, wait, fundraise, and soak up our last few months as a family of four. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We need eachother...

This video was created to promote Orphan Sunday last year, but it's great to watch any time and be reminded that as Christians, we are called to care:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summit Highlights

After a full day of travel last Wednesday, we arrived at our dingy Motel 6 room at 1am-- a room claiming to be non-smoking but smelling anything but.  We slept for a little less than 5 hours and headed to the Summit which was hosted by Southeast Christian Church

As we pulled up, I didn't know exactly what to expect.  I knew it would be amazing, and I knew that God wanted me here, but I didn't want to be so attached to the experience I had at last year's Summit that it took away from what I was supposed to get out of this year's Summit. We walked in to this monstrosity of a church to register and right away the Twietmeyer family walked by us.  Tears came to my eyes just seeing them.  Here's a family that has 7 biological children, and has adopted two sibling groups of 3 from Ethiopia (some with HIV or AIDS), and another baby from the US with Downs Syndrome.  They also began an organization called Project Hopeful that works to advocate for and break down stigma's associated with adopting children with HIV/AIDs.  I knew our time there would be great and I was so in awe of how God brought me to this place when we didn't have the money to get there ourselves.

The time we spent at the Summit was amazing.  We got to meet Kiel and Caroline Twietmeyer:

We met Paul Pennington, Co-founder of Hope for Orphans:

We met our adoption coordinator that we've only corresponded with over the phone and email, gave her a big hug and were able to ask her a ton of questions:

We heard from former pro-football player, Luther Ellis, and his wife about their heart for adoption and how God has used their family of 13 to care for the Fatherless (Jamey ran and snagged a picture while I held our place in the lunch line):

We attended several breakout sessions including ones about protecting your marriage from the challenges of parenting adopted children, beginning an orphan ministry in your church, HIV and the orphan, becoming a multiracial family, starting an adoption ministry, current legislation affecting adoption and orphan care, and advocating as a busy mom.

We got to see the Mwangaza Children's Choir and later Sara Groves in concert (sorry, no picture!):

And we left with a lot to consider...

I'm sure I'll be processing all that we took in for quite awhile (I'll blog about some of it!).  One thing was clear and was stated several times while we were there: when you care for orphans, you come close to the heart of God!  I'm so excited to see how God uses all that He poured in to us to "Defend the cause of the Fatherless..." (Isaiah 1:17).  I'll be praying that He continues to work in each of your hearts, and reveals to you how He wants you to live out the biblical mandate to care for orphans and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


My husband asked me if he could write something to post on my blog regarding our experience at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit VII in Louisville, KY.  These are his words:


The Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit was a very moving and rejuvenating experience. It renewed my spirit; it opened my eyes to the plight of the orphan, to the importance of my marriage, and to the work God is calling me. There were great speakers and great worship moments, ones where you knew the Holy Spirit was at work in you and moving the cause forward.  The final night’s speaker was the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church, Kyle Idleman. He spoke on the three “C’s” that all Christians must truly understand to be followers and not just fans (from his new book “Not a Fan” see link http://www.notafan.com). The three C’s are Control, Comfort, and Convenience. These are three things that as followers of Christ we cannot expect to have when we follow His will. In the moment of his speaking, I was doing the typical Christian response with a nice steady head nod and a muffled amen to show my agreement. The problem was that ultimately it was all head knowledge, not heart and soul knowledge. Little did I know how quickly this would change!
    As we started our twelve hour car ride home, from the summit in Louisville, Kentucky, my mind was working overtime, excited about all the knowledge I had gained. I had thought that after the conference I would get some time to recuperate and let all the great wisdom settle in. God had other plans and wanted to continue my learning curve with some firsthand experiences. As we drove through the heart of Indianapolis our car overheated and left us unable to start it. A few moments after the smoke had settled and we were sure our car was far enough off the interstate so that a Mack truck wouldn’t come barreling down on us, my wife and I looked at each other with the “what do we do now?” look. It was at this moment I felt the honeymoon phase of the summit slipping away. The real world and all its problems came flooding back into our lives on the side of that road in Indianapolis.
    This is where the lesson begins.  No sooner had the car stopped working, when the realization that we needed help started to cross our minds. We needed people who we could count on, those that had been there for us before and had come through time and time again. We needed our families!  Even at the adult ages of 29 and 30 (I am 29 if you were wondering) we need our parents and families. My wife started calling her dad for help and I called my dad for help. Asking for guidance, reassurance, and the “what do we do now?” questions. In the course of this 6 hour delay that included a tow to a local auto shop, a new crank sensor (I don’t know either, but it is needed!), and a bill that could have bought me an itouch, I felt the impact of the three C’s. All my control was taken away because I could not fix the car myself, my comfort relying on our vehicle was gone and getting home around supper time changed to around 1am, making our long day even longer, and the inconvenience of having to sit in an auto shop waiting room for six hours, not knowing if we would have to junk the car, rent a car, or buy a new one all came crashing down on me. Through it all, the Lord was faithful and he did get us home safely in the same car. It wasn’t until driving through Chicago when the lesson he was teaching me sunk in.  

I am a grown man; I have an amazing partner in my wife. I have parents who were willing to drive from 3 states away to get us if needed. I had a brother in law and sister who live by Chicago who were willing to drive down and pick us up if needed. You see I have a family. I have a family and when the chips are down, families rise to the occasion, to protect each other, to care for each other, that is what family does. Do you see the point; do you see the importance of this reality? What if I were an orphan, a foster child who had aged out of the system at 18 years old and was stranded on the side of that American interstate? What would I do? Who would I call? And the reality is that we have too many orphans "sitting on the side of that interstate" in places of distress wondering who to call. I believe that God expresses his love for the orphans and the oppressed. I believe he talks about the orphan to Israel in the bible over 40 times because they don’t have control over their circumstances, they can’t find comfort in families, and they don’t have the convenience of support and resource of others.  
If we want to be like Christ then we, the church, must recognize our status as orphans who have been adopted in to the family of God. As we reflect on the amazing reality that God adopted us in to His family when we had nothing to offer Him, we can't deny the power of what adoption does for a person.  Our hearts should be grieved over the children living without the earthly family that they so desperately desire.  When our hearts break in the same way that God’s does, I believe it will bring us closer to being followers, not merely "fans", of Christ. And ultimately I think it will help us…help orphans.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Birth Mother's Day!

I just found out that today is officially Birth Mother's Day.  Today, I will be sending up prayers for the birth mother of our baby.  With our referral most likely coming to us in the next month or two, it is very probable that this woman has already given birth to our baby.  I have no idea what her circumstances are, how old she is, what she's like or what she looks like, but I'm deeply grateful that she has chosen to give her child life--and because she has, our hearts will be forever connected.

Once there were two women who never knew eachother.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.
Two different lives shaped to make your one.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you aim.
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.
One sought for you a home that she could not provide,
The other prayed for a child and her hope was not denied.
And now you ask me through your tears
The age-old question through the years,
Heredity or environment--
Which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling--neither;
Just two different kinds of love.
--Author Unknown