Monday, November 30, 2009

Adoption: A Gift of Love

(our family with the judge that finalized all four of our kids' adoptions)

November has been National Adoption Month, and all month long I've been thinking about what I want to post on here about this topic that is very near and dear to my heart. It's the last day of November, so I thought it would be fitting to close out the month with a post on adoption. I have so much in my heart that I want to say, afterall, all four of my kids are adopted. But I will spare you, and just hit on a few of the things I wanted to say. I'm not going to walk everybody through the process of how to adopt. There are many resources on that. The point of this post is to encourage those considering adoption or currently walking through adoption.

Our Story

After being married for about a year, my husband and I decided it was time to have kids. But over the next year, we began to discover that have children biologically may not be in God's plans. After visits to the doctor and much prayer, we decided to adopt. I think for a lot of people, adoption is kind of the "last resort." But for us, it was the first thing we considered. I, in particular, have always had a heart that is overwhelmed by the desire to help the hurting of this world. We thought that through adoption, we could minister to a hurting birth mother who had chosen life instead of abortion. And we could also provide a loving home for a child. So, we started the adoption process, and pretty much 9 months to the day after we started the whole application, we held little Isabella in our arms at the hospital. Our lives have forever changed since we brought that beautiful doll into our family.

(our first glimpse of Isabella, just an hour or so after birth)

When Isabella was about 9 months old, we were challenged at church to not just say that we were pro-life, but to put actions behind it. My husband and I, after much prayer and talking, felt that God was leading us to adopt older kids. Although in the back of my heart I had always wanted to adopt older kids, I had never really thought it would happen. But the Lord called us very strongly to show the world that every kid has worth and value because they are created by God. So, we got our homestudy done, and a week after we sent our application in to the agency, we got our three oldest kids. Our lives have been turned upside down we the addition of the three oldest ones, and while it was more than chaotic at first, we have developed a deep love for the kiddos, and have really enjoyed seeing how God is working in their lives.

So, both of our adoptions have been very different. The adoptions were motivated by different things, and the processes were both very different. But I thank God for my kids, and we can't wait to see what God has in store for our very unique family.

The Process

Adoption looks different for everybody. Whether you do a private adoption, a DHS adoption, or international. There are loads of paperwork, and it feels like you have to reveal every little part of your life to a stranger in order to have a child placed in your home. If you are considering adoption, I want to encourage you that while it seems discouraging to have to go through such a long and tedious process just to get a child, it is a season that will pass, and soon you will have a beautiful child to raise as your own. It is a sacrifice financially, emotionally, and with time. But it is a model on a small scale of the tremendous love and sacrifice of Christ so we could be adopted as God's children.

But I can't adopt right now...

Maybe some of you are really longing to be able to adopt, but there is something standing in the way. Maybe you don't have the money to do it right now (although there are financial resources out there if you dig around, afterall, all money is God's!). Maybe it is not a good time for your family. Or maybe you don't meet all the requirements yet (age, years of marriage, etc.). When you really want to add on to your family through adoption, but God seems to have you in a holding pattern, it is hard. I know. I've been there before, and I am there right now. Right now, we'd like to add to our family through adoption, but financially it just doesn't seem to be the right time. We know that if God wants us to adopt, he will have to open the doors financially and give us the green light. But we seem to be on hold right now. So, what are we to do?!

Well, for me, my heart is aching to adopt one (or two or five!) of these beautiful little ones. I sit at the computer and weep when I see their faces and read their heart wrenching stories. My husband knows how much it hurts me to want so desperately to save these kids and be powerless. So, he wisely suggested that I print off their names and faces, and then spend time praying over each of them each day. So that's what I have started to do. I may not be able to do anything right now except pray, and that is what I must be faithful to do. Maybe you've seen an older child that you wish you could adopt. Pray for them. Pray that God would burden the hearts of people all over this world to give loving homes to these beautiful children. And pray that God will open the doors to use you to adopt as well. That's the best we can do when God has us waiting.

Helping Others

Perhaps your children are grown and out of the house, and you don't want to adopt more. Or perhaps you have 10 kids already. Let's face it, not everyone is called by God to adopt. And that's fine. But we are all called, as Christians, to take care of orphans--however that looks. For me, it undoubtedly is through adoption. But maybe for you, it is through giving money so others can adopt. Did you know that we were only able to adopt our three newest kids because the day before we got "the call" from the agency, someone sent us an anonymous donation of $4000?! Our adoption was made possible because someone obeyed God's calling of helping orphans by giving us money. Maybe you are supposed to start an orphanage. Or maybe you're supposed to start a ministry at your church. Who's different for everybody. But we're all supposed to be involved.

How will you be involved?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just in Time For Christmas Shopping!

Okay, so I know I must sound like a paid spokesman for My Memories Suite (the digital scrapbooking software.) In reality, I'm not paid...I'm just a huge fan and I want to spread the word about it. That's why I joined their Creative Team. I use this blog as a means to get the word out, since I think digital scrapbooking goes well with the theme of my blog. It is good stewardship of time and money...but it is convenient as well!

That said, I want to remind all my readers that you can purchase the software for 25% off if you click on the banner on the right column on this blog. (You'll have to scroll down a little to see it.) By going to their website through that banner, you get the discount. But now, you can get an extra 10% off just in time for Christmas shopping. So, you can save 35% off an already good deal! Who doesn't love that?! Just enter the coupon code HOLIDAY10OFF when you check out. The coupon is good through the end of the year.

If you have any questions about the program or purchasing the program, just leave me a comment and I'll get back to you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Emily (emand2@). She is the winner of custom designed Christmas cards!

Be sure to join us for the next My Memories Suite blog train....coming soon to a blog near you! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!!

Note: This giveaway and the blog train is now closed. Please join us for the next train coming soon!

I am such a huge fan of digital scrapbooking. If you read my blog on a regular basis, you probably already know that! Digital scrapping can be quick and easy, very cost effective, and very clean, since you don't have any piles of paper and glue to clean up! It seems only appropriate that there is a holiday dedicated to this wonderful new world of scrapping. So Happy National Scrapbooking Day to you!

You may be wondering at this point what the Christmas tree has to do with all this... Well, to celebrate, I have a fun giveaway for you. If YOUR name is drawn, I will personally design a Christmas card especially for you and your family! I will design a rectangular or square card with pictures that you supply, and I will send my design to you so you can have it printed off and ready in time for the holidays! I will also supply you with a coupon code that will allow you to receive discounted printing services for your cards. So, this year you can send all your friends and family a beautiful card that is uniquely YOURs!

Here's how to enter my giveaway. You will get one entry for each of these completed. Please leave a separate comment letting me know what you have done. (example: I became a follower of your blog)

1. Leave me a comment telling me what is your favorite thing about digital scrapbooking OR if you are not yet a digi scrapper, leave me a comment telling me what you think would be the best thing about digital scrapbooking.

2. Become a follower of my blog.

3. Peruse my blog and let me know what topics (in keeping with the theme of my blog) that you would like to see me cover in the future.

I will leave comments open all weekend, and I will draw a winner on Monday using Please make sure you leave me some way of contacting you in your comment, in case you should win! Good luck!

And don't forget... If you don't yet own any digital scrapbooking software, you can receive a 20% discount on My Memories Suite by purchasing it through the banner in the right column on this blog. It's a fantastic deal for your money!!

Now, head on over to Mary's blog by clicking here to continue on the blog train!