Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Story for your Heart and BBQ for your Tummy

We have met some amazing people through our adoption experience. It's been really fun to see the Lord open doors and introduce us to other families who have been burdened for orphans. There's something really special about sharing encouragement with people who are living a similar life experience.

When we first began our journey, we were introduced to a very special family. I have mentioned them before but I'm dedicating this entire post to them (yeah girl, you can thank me later with some of Evan's homemade ice cream). Evan and Angie McGinty (and their 3 children) are adopting a little boy from Ethiopia and are also using Lifeline as their adoption agency. They happen to live about 2 minutes from us. When Angie and I met, it was eerie how similar our stories were and how similar we are. Seriously, Angie and I were finishing each other's sentences the first time we met! :-) But that's not why I'm writing about them.

They are determined and faithful in their walk to adopt a child in Africa. They have been changed because of their adoption in Christ and want to reflect that deep love. Evan and Angie have a rock solid marriage, incredible faith, and all the love in the world to share with another child. The only thing they don't have (like many of us) is a large chunk of cash sitting around to complete an international adoption. Seamus and I want to support them any way we can so I'd like to share their story with you here, as well as a way you can help this Sunday!

HERE is their sweet story of how their adoption began.

And here's Angie with her oldest daughter, Dixie, wearing their Emily Hope tees! They have been so supportive of us. Pretty girls!

The McGinty's church family is hosting a BBQ to help fund their adoption, this Sunday on the Madisonville lakefront (at the Maritime Museum). If you live in the area, wouldn't you love to join us for yummy, messy, good-cause barbecue??? Here's more information:


Hope you will join us this Sunday! The food will be plentiful and the company even better. :-) If you can't stay, feel free to pick it up and run.

Best wishes, McGinty clan. We love you to Ethiopia and back! (Angie has estimated that to be 17,136 miles of love) ;-)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Call to Worship

Our pastor at New Covenant, contacted me and Seamus earlier this week and asked if we'd be interested in opening up for worship this morning at both services. We responded, "Of course!" The "Call to Worship" is a 3-5 minute opportunity to awaken the body, to prepare our hearts for joyful worship. Needless to say, we were humbled and excited to be able to talk about our adoption with the ones we love most. More importantly, we were going to have the opportunity to share our testimony of who we are (adopted sons!) in Christ.

If you know Seamus, you know that he loves the Lord with all his heart and loves the opportunity to live out the gospel. His gift is speaking to people face to face, informal, and impromptu. He abhors being the center of attention. I think he'd rather be stung by a thousand jelly fish. Okay, that's pushing it but he really doesn't like talking in front of a congregation of people. You get the point. It was hard for him. But y'all, my man is one special guy.

Seamus' testimony this morning was less about our adoption of Emily Hope and more about who our God is. He shed light on our adoption in Christ. Our story this morning wasn't our story at all. It's God's story. Adoption is what He does. It's who He is.

This is the reason we are adopting a fatherless child. It is an expression of who God is and all that He has done for us. It is our desire and our goal in life to be an example of who Christ is. "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us." (Ephesians 5:1) We don't need to adopt a child. We don't need to grow our family. We have a wonderful life. And frankly, our salvation is secure because of His grace. We're certainly not doing it out of obligation. We are perfectly content. But the truth is, our hearts groan for more and "content" is just not fulfilling. Our ministry of adoption is our worship to Christ as an outpouring of our thankfulness.

So here's my call for all of us to worship... (echoing Seamus' words... the Spirit's words really... from this morning) Let's be thankful, reminded of His sacrifice- His blood that was shed, His infinite love, and His worthiness of our praise. And in our thankfulness, let's worship Him in all we do, whether that be through adoption or caring for "the least of these" in other ways that reflect who Christ is and all HE has done.

I'm proud of you, Seamus Martin. I love you to pieces. I'm even more thankful to my precious God who provided the opportunity, the peace for Seamus to make it through, the wisdom to recognize who Christ is, and our burning desire to share this story with others. These gifts only come from our perfect God who made the perfect sacrifice to adopt us as His sons!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Biometrics... Check

We had our biometrics (fingerprints) appointment in New Orleans today, and I am happy to say that's one more little step behind us. From here, USCIS (Immigration) will assign an officer to our case and eventually approve us to be adoptive parents of a child from another country. We should receive their approval (I800A) in about 4-6 weeks. I'll be stalking the mail man around that time frame... again. ;-) In the meantime, we'll be putting lots of energy into planning our November fundraising event. Keep sending those prayers up, friends!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Waiting

"Waiting" will be a recurring theme in my life over the next year or so. It's what the Lomans are doing now and we can expect lots more of it.

Waiting. It's hard. It's so contrary to our carnal world. It's not something we tend to appreciate. Society tells us that we should have what we want when we want it. Our culture is impulsive, telling us that "now" is the time. "We've worked hard. We're doing the right thing. We deserve it. Why wait?" I'm guilty of this. I can grow weary. And skeptical. And fearful. I want my Emily Hope now. I want to know that she's being cared for. I want what's best for her and in my mind, that's being home, in our family... NOW. But God knows better.

God's word tells us over and over again that waiting is a good thing.

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

"Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." (James 5:7-8)

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him." (Lamentations 3:25)

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" (Psalm 27:14)

God uses waiting to sanctify us, to make us more like Him. It draws us deeper into relationship with Him. It forces us to rely on Him, rather than on our own flawed plans. Patience is the fruit of a faithful spirit (Galations 5:22). How patiently I wait for God's will to unfold reveals my trust (or lack of) in God. 'Patience is the willingness to suffer- to put aside plans for a person, to lay aside self to serve, to set aside agendas to step up to an altar.' God is sovereign over everything and nothing is outside of His will. When I grow impatient in my waiting (for Emily, through pain or illness, in any context really), I am saying that I don't trust in God's sovereignty. Can he really handle this situation? Does He really know what He's doing by allowing our wait for Emily to be pushed back even further? Am I willing to suffer, trusting He's got it all in the palm of His hand? Y'all... Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Friends, I do grow weary, skeptical, anxious, and fearful. I need to be reminded of the very truth I'm sharing with you here. I need to be reminded that God has a perfect plan for my life and for Emily's life, reminded that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God, reminded that His timing is perfect and any events that I consider "obstacles" can and will be used for God's glory, reminded that my times of waiting are opportunities to be in prayer and relationship with the only one who can accomplish this adoption (and everything else for that matter). I need to be reminded that no ministry is worth a darn if I'm not being still and waiting for the Lord's voice.

Waiting. It's hard. But I thank God that He makes me wait. I thank Him for making Emily Hope wait. And I thank Him for His perfect timing. I may not understand His timing but I do know it's perfect... and I'm kinda okay with perfect.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope." (Psalm 130:5)



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gearing Up for a Very Special Event

With doughnuts and t-shirts behind us (we do still have plenty of shirts left for sale), we are moving our fundraising focus towards a family event we will be hosting on Saturday, November 16th from 3-6 pm. I don't have all the details now but I would like to share some preliminary information.

We are partnering with a very special organization (to be revealed soon) and it will be held on the Terra Bella Village Square. The goal of this event is to bring awareness to our community of the global orphan crisis and to offer education on how ordinary people can help in extraordinary ways. Funds raised at this event will benefit this special partner organization as well as our personal adoption of Emily Hope. Things to look forward to are live music, delicious food, kid-friendly activities, and a silent auction!

I am particularly excited about the silent auction we have planned. We want to make sure this auction has plenty of quality items. If you have an item or service that you would be willing to donate for the silent auction, please email me at lauraloman@yahoo.com. If you know someone that may be willing to donate, please share this request with them. Ideas for auction items include, but are certainly not limited to: art work, spa services, vacation home rentals, gift baskets, jewelry, children's clothing, baked goods, gym membership, autographed memorabilia, new sports equipment, restaurant gift cards, handmade collectibles, and furniture. Creativity is key in making the auction a success! We will begin collecting items for the auction now so feel free to contact me as soon as you have items available. :-)

There will be oh-so-many areas of help needed... market and advertise, set up and clean up, organize auction, man a station, etc. A local church has already donated their "block party" equipment for our event! I can't wait to give them a special shout out for all the awesomeness they are contributing. If you have a desire to help with a specific area, or just want to show up willing to do whatever, we are grateful for any hands and feet. Let us know and we'd love to have you get involved! Many, many "thank you's" in advance for your willingness to help!

We will keep you updated with details. For now, mark your calendars for November 16th and start spreading the word. We are hoping to have a huge turnout for this worthwhile jubilee!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fingerprints and Wait Times and Barbecue, Oh My!

Ups and downs. Anything goes. That's adoption.

Immigration fingerprint appointment secured for July 16th in New Orleans. This is the last action item on our end before we get our I800A approval. Even a fingerprint appointment is one step closer to being united with our Emily Hope.

Further news... our agency has informed us that wait times to be matched with a special needs girl under 2 years old has just increased by several months. This could change again but for now, we've gone from about a year long total process to maybe summer of 2014 or later. All in God's timing.

Lastly... Save the date! Our awesome friends, Evan and Angie McGinty are in the process of adopting a little boy from Ethiopia. If you live on the Northshore, please mark your calendar for Sunday, August 4th, for a BBQ to benefit their adoption. Their church family, Bridge Church, is hosting it at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville. They will be serving between noon and 2:00ish and you can eat it there or take it to go! Y'all. These people are amazing and your support would really be appreciated. The Lomans will certainly be getting our fingers messy that day! To read more about their story, visit their blog.