Thursday, December 27, 2012

Please and Thank You (Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!)

I don't want to steal my bride's thunder, so I won't post about the wonderful holiday festivities we shared with the kids, friends and family.  Libby has a lovely post brewing...

But, I did need to jot an urgent blog to all of you amigos!  

Today, we found out that we are only $1,500 {Edited @ Sat. 12/29/12, 8:37 p.m. EST - We are 99.9% certain that it is now entirely raised! Thank you for all your help and prayers!} away from finalizing our beautiful cupcake's adoption. This is a miracle, flowing directly from your prayers, support and encouragement.  The kicker is that we really need to get the remaining funds paid to the adoption agency by year's end.  Otherwise, the balance will rise by at least another thousand dollars.  So, we are doing a big fundraising push over the next 24-76 hours.

If you have already donated to cupcake's adoption (or purchased one of our fundraiser items), we're NOT asking you to give more. Instead, please share our blog and the story of our children with your friends.  By spreading the word over the next 24 hours, perhaps other friends and strangers who have a heart for adoption can participate in helping us close the gap.

If you've been considering making a donation (or a purchase), now would be the perfect time to act.  You can click on the PayPal link on the left-hand side of this blog, or click on the Books, Store or Coffee links above to take home a cool or tasty item while you help make cupcake's adoption complete and legal in the courts.

If money is tight for you and Christmas has taken its toll on the chances of any monetary donation,  don't give.  Instead, please pray that we'll continue to be shown favor this weekend. Spreading the word would be awesome too!

Whatever you can or can't do, please know that the next couple days are pretty critical for us.  We so appreciate that we're not alone in this and that you all have been and continue to be in our corner.  Thank you for the blessings and cards and generous kindness all of you amigos have shown our family.  We're confident that God is putting the pieces together and that the timing will be perfect.  He is sovereign. 

(J & cupcake's daddy)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

147 Million - each loved lavishly by the Father

Psalm 46 from The Message

1-3 God is a safe place to hide,
ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.
4-6 River fountains splash joy, cooling God’s city,
this sacred haunt of the Most High.
God lives here, the streets are safe,
God at your service from crack of dawn.
Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten,
but Earth does anything he says.
7 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.
8-10 Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
11 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Help Needed, from Near & Far


We've been seeking creative ways to finish paying for the legal finalization of our baby girl's adoption and this week a door was opened that could lead to some significant headway.  But, we really need your help to make that happen.

There is a gala event for Tampa's Life Impact Network on November 8th. For every ticket Libby & I sell (to someone who will attend the dinner) $8 will be credited towards our adoption fees. We've been given the challenge of filling 100 seats at this dinner featuring author Bruce Wilkinson. The tickets are only $8 and it will be a really moving night hearing about the meaningful work that Life Impact Network does every single day. If you can join us that night and would like to help us finalize Cupcake's adoption, please email us to purchase a ticket or message us on facebook. We are going to try to sell out fast.  :)

If you aren't local and/or you can't join us at the gala, but you would still like to contribute towards the goal of finalizing Cupcake's adoption, there are several ways you can help. You can donate via the PayPal button on the left-hand side of this blog. You can puchase items from the Coffee, Store or Books links above this blog. You can pray for us. You can tell all your friends our story.

Whatever you are able to do today, it means a lot to our family and we appreciate it all. When things were pretty darn discouraging last week, a friend from a decade ago mailed us a lovely card filled with wisdom and sacrificial support for our Cupcake. Thank you, everyone, for reading this and being in our corner.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Precious Labor Pain

It's been months since I have been on here.  I guess my arms have been pretty full since our daughter came home.  She is unbelievably sweet and has been given the nickname Cupcake, so that's how I will refer to her on here.

She was quite a surprise.  We were far into our journey to China for our little ladybug.  Everything for her seemed to be falling into place.  The finances came in for each step....then just a couple days before Halloween last year, I got the surprise of a lifetime.  We were about to be given the most wonderful gift.  Just over a few months later, I sat next my children's beautiful, intelligent, and sacrificial "tummy-momma" as we took turns holding and kissing our Cupcake.  My heart grew even larger that day.

You can't exchange one child for another.  You can add another chair to the table though.  And that is what we did.  There are still empty chairs and that reality breaks my heart everyday.  We were supposed to be bringing our daughter home from China this summer.  We will be adopting a child with hearing loss and that is considered "severe" so a match would have come quickly.

My heart is overjoyed every time I hear Cupcake's laugh and get the honor of her cuddles, but at the same time, my heart aches for my daughter in China.  I want her home---yesterday.  And I am trying my best to understand God's plan in all of this.  All the money we paid for agency fees, homestudy, immigration....etc. is all gone.  We will have to start all over.  And we also still have a large mountain of fees to pay for Cupcake before we can finalize.  We have had to postpone finalization twice already, because we didn't have the money.  All the money went to China.  It's frustrating.  What keeps my daughter from being legally and officially mine is money.  And what keeps me from beginning the journey back to China is money.  I hate money.   And I am exhausted.

There is a saying in the adoption world that "God funds what He favors".  I hate that saying.  If I hear it one more time, my heart and head will explode.  Since He hasn't funded it yet, does He not favor my precious baby that is napping in the other room?  Of course not!  Sometimes, I think God lets us struggle.  Sometimes, all the money isn't miraculously paid for my an anonymous donor.  Sometimes we have to sacrifice and work really, really hard.  And it sucks.  I guess this is labor pain.  They don't seem to lessen.  In fact, they seem to increase without any end in sight.  But really, in the end, will this matter?

I dream of the day when I can look around my dining room table and know all the empty chairs are filled.  And I will try my best to savor the blessings I have the privilege to love on.  If you pray, please keep us in your prayers.  We are getting a lot of pressure about the fees from the agency via the courts.  I have faith that it will all come in.  God will provide.  I just wish He would provide sooner than later.

Also say a prayer for my children in China.  I am feeling like there may be two there for us.  And I won't rest until they are home.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Room for One More"

Libby, my beautiful wife, is celebrating her birthday and I wanted to leave a short note about what makes her so special and amazing. Our children get a chance to see her heart in action every single day.  I'm so grateful to witness her motherhood. This is something her heart was waiting to express for so many years. God has been faithful and gracious, and Libby honors that gift.

A while back, we watched a terrifically, funny film that Cary Grant & Betsy Drake made in 1952 called Room for One More. Betsy (as "Anna") cares for and inspires her husband and children to expand their hearts time and time again. It's her heart that quietly motivates her family to think beyond itself, to live selflessly, to set another chair at the table. Libby shares Anna's heart.

As our family grows and experiences the joys and hardships of attachment and connection, Libby shares her heart with other families, always seeking to encourage and lift up other people on the journey. She listens to the hurts around her and prays for God's kingdom to show up in big ways in the lives and relationships she encounters. Libby makes things of beauty out of nearly nothing. In short: she's a gifted wife and mother, a true friend & a genuinely creative leader.

Eugene Peterson posed this question in the preface of his book Where Your Treasure Is. "What unselfing are you aware of that you are engaged in?" When I reflect on that, my eyes are drawn to the daily, practical examples my beautiful wife sets. I look to her selfless heart and I am motivated.

Happy birthday, Libby.

I love you,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Six months with our little cupcake: your big brother adores you (but we think you know that well!)

We love you, little A. You bring so much joy into our family. Happy half-birthday, darling.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome to this humble world, adorable A!

Five days after bringing our daughter home, we are still in a blissful state of sleep-deprived shock.

J is quickly falling in love with his little sister. Right now, he's sprawled upon his bed like a drowsy great dane. Adorable A is a tiny valentine drifting back to sleep in my arms. They are quite a pair.

Thank you for the support. Photos and stories to follow!

We hope to see many of you at the shower our friends are throwing for adorable A this Saturday.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Closer and closer...

The joy God gives us through our son keeps us sane as the hours and minutes tick down...

We're on pins and needles, but it's tough to get anxious around J and his laughter...
We still can't believe we'll meet his little sister or brother soon, soon, soon...
Thank you for joyfully waiting with us...

We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ready to be a Big Brother

At nearly 2 years old, J has grown into such a sweet, little boy.

We're so grateful for our amazing son! He makes every day bright.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Where There Seems To Be No Way"

At this moment, you may be experiencing a drought in your life. It may appear that the losses are mounting. There's a good chance that discouragement knows your name. If so, please take heart...

“God, you were here all along, and I never knew it” says Jacob on awakening from his stone pillow.

"Such prayer, such seeing, takes away your anxiety about figuring it all out fully for yourself, or needing to be right about your formulations. God becomes more a verb than a noun, more a process than a conclusion, more an experience than a dogma, more a personal relationship than an idea. There is Someone dancing with you, and you are not so afraid of making mistakes. You know even those will be used in your favor. At that point you also have awakened from your stone pillow, and you know with a new clarity what you partly knew all along!" - Richard Rohr

May our eyes be opened to see the fountains in the Rock. May we wake up to see the ever-present Way.