Monday, April 29, 2013

Is it Worth it?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Seamus had the privilege of being involved in a mission project with our youth group, called the 30-hour Famine. He came home hungry and tired... and a little cranky... shh, don't tell him I said that ;-) but I know his soul felt refreshed! I spent some great time with my 3 little friends, just relaxing and doing some fun things together.

This next weekend is a big one for us! Saturday morning is our Adoption Doughnut Day and that afternoon is our final home study meeting. If you haven't ordered doughnuts and would like to, just shoot me an email ( I ordered a little extra so I can put your name on some of those if you let me know.

Y'all. We are in the thick of things right now. We have a list of items to complete before the home study report is finalized. Some of the items we are working on include autobiographies, medical screenings, background checks, reading of articles and books, reference letters, marriage surveys, and other questionnaires to further prepare us for adoption.

We are also required to earn 12 hours of online coursework pertaining to international adoption. Some of the topics covered in this education are legal information, effects of institutionalization, inter-racial awareness, and special needs information. It's clear that they want to make sure we are aware of every possible negative outcome. Much of the education is revealing and horrifying, but certainly necessary. I would imagine it's at this point that many couples have a change of heart. It's actually driving my desire to adopt even deeper!

Once all items and education certificates are together and our social worker has completed her report, everything will be sent to Immigration for their approval of us to be adoptive parents. This immigration process takes approximately 2-3 months. I believe at this point, there will be more waiting than scrambling. I suppose that will be a different kind of hard.

The paperwork and logistics of the adoption process can be discouraging at times. It's easy to get caught up in the business (because it's necessary) and forget the purpose of all this. We are also faced with skepticism and doubts from some. It's easy to begin questioning our motives when we are faced with this but God constantly reminds us of who HE is.

Is it worth it? Are the mounds of paperwork, the fear, the skeptical questions... Is it all worth it? We don't have all the answers and we are certainly not perfect people or parents. But our goal is to serve Christ and we are confident in HIS ability to do all things. So, when I ask myself, "Is it worth it?", I contemplate and the resounding answer is... YES, of course it is! Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on a cross in order to adopt me, thought I was worth it.

I am having coffee today with a precious friend who is also in the process of adopting. I look forward to encouraging one another and just being in her company. I need friends like this. I need time to sit and talk and hug and pray. It's food for the soul! It's times like this, over coffee with a friend, when the beauty of adoption so far outweighs the drudgery and our sinful fear. Seamus and I are so thankful for each of you who have encouraged us and reminded us of God's glory in this! It's the encouragement and prayers that get us through the rough patches. Thank you for your love and support that overwhelmingly outweigh the difficulties!

I'll be sure to post an update Saturday night, following our big day. Can't wait to share my heart with you again! Mwaa!

"We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Is There Really a Need for Adoption in China?

I marvel at the questions I receive from so many of you about our adoption, the country of China, the process itself, our motives, and countless other curiosities. I rejoice in your questions because it shows that God is stirring in each of your hearts. I am thankful that you are impacted by this ministry. Christ, so perfectly, places burdens on our hearts as He calls us to fulfill His will and become more like Him. "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2Cor.3:18) I am humbled that hearts are changing through this process. I give all thanks to Christ!

I'd like to share some information about China and the need for adoption itself. I'm not going to disclose specific information or my opinions about Chinese government, policies and procedures, and information that could jeopardize our adoption in any way. The facts are available elsewhere if you want to research further. I'm providing information to answer questions that have been asked of us and to further awareness of the need for adoption. That being said...

- Approximately 200 million people in China live below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

- Only 4-5% of the Chinese population is Christian.

- In order to address overpopulation, the One-Child Policy was introduced to promote one-child families and forbids couples from having more than one child in urban areas. Wealthy families can pay the government for subsequent children. Families who can't afford the tax are often forced to abort their pregnancies or abandon their babies.

- Up to a million orphans are abandoned each year in China.

- Giving a child up for adoption is illegal in China. Because of this, more than 95% of the orphans are abandoned with no trace of the birth parents.

- China has over 1,000 state-run orphanages.

- Sixty percent of the children in Chinese orphanages are children with special needs.

- Each year, millions of mothers in China are forced to undergo abortions under the One-Child Policy.

- An average of 8 million women undergo abortions every year in China.

- Approximately 500 women commit suicide in China each day.

Is there really a need for adoption in China? Based on the statistics above, I'll let you decide. There is talk that China may soon abandon it's One-Child Policy law. We are praying for this to be fulfilled, although the effects have already proven disastrous. I firmly believe that each of us are called to fight against injustice. Our fight will look different for each person. Some of us will be on the front lines as missionaries around the world, bringing the gospel to the hopeless. Some of us are adoptive parents, rescuing children from a life of slavery and into a freedom that Christ offers. Some of us support the front lines with our finances. Some of us are prayer warriors. Whatever your charge is, I encourage you to seek justice for the weak and oppressed. Join me in this fight against the enemy! It's so easy to become complacent in our comfortable lives. Let's encourage each other not to become indifferent to the pain of this world. Let's be proactive in our fight against evil and in our love for His Kingdom.

This passage is encouraging me today and I pray that it resonates with your soul as well. "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2Cor. 4:16-18) Let us not focus on worldly accomplishments and riches that perish. Rather, look to the one who provides eternal life, the one who promises an eternity of riches that far outweigh gold or silver.

"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Giving Thanks Today

Our home study went very well last night... from my perspective anyway... let's just hope the social worker thinks the same. ;-) It was the first part of 4 visits and we worked our way through some important decisions and information. I had an unusual peace yesterday going in to the visit. I'm sure most of that was because of prayer... Thanks friends! It was clear to me that she was not there to judge us. Rather, her goal is to ensure that we are prepared for an adoption and to help us get prepared in areas where we may need assistance. We were able to share our faith and our family with this precious lady and be open and honest without feeling threatened. We are thankful for the home study process because we see this as another support link, one that can offer a wealth of information to us who have never before experienced the adoption process. She will be revisiting 3 more times, 2 very casual visits and one last visit on May 4th (Adoption Doughnut Day!) at 2:00. The last visit will be more lengthy and will include our separate interviews about our backgrounds and personal history. Please keep the prayers coming... not just for our petitions but in thanksgiving for His provision, His wisdom, His hand over this entire process. It's clear that He is so perfectly leading this and "thank you" is all I have to offer Him in prayer.

"Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness... Let everything that has breath praise the LORD." (Psalm 150)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Full Force Ahead!

I have been itching to post an update and am thrilled to be sharing another piece of our story with you! Writing is my outlet and I find great joy in keeping up with this blog. I am thankful for the means to share my heart with you.

We have been officially welcomed in to Lifeline's agency. We have been assigned a case worker (precious lady named Logan who we met in Birmingham) and the official process has begun! We have been given a (very large) manual to read, with a whole lot of papers to sign and information to gather. Y'all. If you don't like signing your name, don't consider adopting a baby. Phew! And this is only the beginning.

On top of the reading, signing, and gathering we have scheduled our first Home Study meeting for next Friday, April 12th! The home study is performed by a licensed social worker and consists of a series of interviews, family interaction, home investigation, lots more paperwork, gathering of documents, and more fun than we can begin to imagine! ;-) We are happy to participate in all of it, knowing the end result of all this! If you would, please pray for us in our upcoming home study. I'm sure it will be fine but we will be sharing every personal aspect of our lives and will be examined thoroughly.

On top of all this, we have a couple big chunks of change due very soon. God has always provided for us and we know the payments will be possible with His help. If you haven't ordered your doughnuts yet, feel free to do that now! Click HERE to learn more about our yummy fundraiser!

After a little back and forth (and plenty of votes from y'all), we have decided on a name for our baby girl! Without further adieu... Emily Hope Loman. The name Emily means diligent and eager. I pray that she is blessed with diligence and an eagerness to know and love Christ fully. And I pray that she rests only in the "hope" that Jesus Christ offers. It's all we want for our children. We know that He will handle the rest. The kids are so excited to have a name for their baby sister and they think it would be cute to call her "Mimi". It's so sweet to see how excited they are. Good stuff. ;-)

Seamus and I are already overwhelmed by God's faithfulness in this journey. He knew that we would need plenty of people to walk with us, people who love us and are bound to us as brothers and sisters. Boy has he provided in that! Your prayers for peace are truly being heard by God and felt by us. The emails, phone calls, text messages, words of encouragement, the prayers, the donations, the offers to be hands and feet for us, your sharing my blog and getting our story out... the list of ways He has loved us, through you, goes on and on. We are humbled by your willingness to participate in our journey and amazed by the grace He continues to lavish on us! "Thank you" does no justice to how we are feeling right now.

I'd love to share a song with y'all that I heard recently. It's so cool and it's just one of many that's offering encouragement. I love, love, love music. Don't be surprised if I throw a song in most of my posts, just for fun. :-) I love me some Audio Adrenaline...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Sweet Song for our Baby Girl

"Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our HOME with him.' " (John 14:23)

OH! The momma bird came back, y'all! My one fern is going to look ugly for awhile with no water or fertilizer but it'll be neat to see those babies take flight one day!