Tuesday, May 31, 2011

While I'm Waiting

God has the best timing of us all!

Now that we see we can apply with American Adoptions, of course my thoughts go to the question of "Why couldn't we know this a month or two ago so all this paperwork could be done and we would already be active?"  I'm human, I want things to happen now, and no matter now much God proves Himself to be faithful during the waiting, I will always struggle with it.

A few weeks ago I heard the song, "While I'm Waiting" and the lyrics really spoke to me.

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmania.com/while_im_waiting_lyrics_john_waller.html
All about John Waller: http://www.musictory.com/music/John+Waller

God wanted me to focus on Him during that time, to worship Him regardless of what is or is not happening in my life.  Just like a year ago when He still wanted my worship, my trust, and my faithfulness even though we had to face the most difficult trial of our lives.

Remember, it's during the difficult days that we see Christ more clearly!  During the trials that we come to know Him in a deeper and more intimate way.  If it wasn't for my trials, I would never have the privilege of knowing Christ the way I do!

And so after my initial impatient thoughts, I began to think about the reason He did have us wait.  We had a lot of plans for our Fundraisers during the first weekend of May, as well as Chad spending the entire Month of may with no days off.  Perhaps He wanted us to show our willingness to work before He provided in a way that only He can.

I also thought about the difficulty of Audrey's 1-year anniversaries.  Although we have come a long way in our grieving process, those anniversaries (especially the first) can be tough.

And the other reason I turned my timing back over to Him was because He has a baby meant for our family. And the timing of when our profile becomes active and when the birth parents begin to search for a family can only be orchestrated by God Himself!

So I want you to know what I have learned, again, about waiting on the Lord.  Because His timing, His will, and His way is always best!

I will worship while I'm waiting!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

God's ways of Providing

I want to share this video clip, not because their gift is in any way better or more important than the way God has led each person to help us.  We are so thankful for every bit God has provided.  And we are thankful for the ways God has allowed us to work for some extra money.  Chad always said, "What we need is a LOT, but a lot of little bits will make a lot!"

I want to share this because of the great Orphan Care program this church has started, and how God has blessed their efforts in such a short time.  They set a goal for what they wanted to raise in 2011 and in less than half of this year they have raised more than Three Times that amount!  It is such an awesome ministry, not only to us as a family but to children all around the world who are in need of care, love, and forever families.  Our friends have a website called Speak up for Orphans and I like what they say:

"Help make the orphan population 143 million minus 1"

Like I said, a lot of little bits will make a lot, whether that is money, support, help, or you bringing a child home.

Here is the Pastor at Ridgefield Baptist Church:

Orphan Care (click here)

Friday, May 20, 2011

We're Going Nationwide!!!

In March of this year we were advised about applying with a larger, nationwide agency because it would considerably lessen our wait time for a placement.  Our agency here in Murfreesboro is small and does great work, but the number of families waiting compared to the number of children that are generally placed in a year is not a good balance right now.  To begin with the wait time is 2-4 years ... or longer!  And adding in the number of families waiting could extend it even more.  Applying with this other agency would give us a much shorter and pretty much guaranteed wait time.  It sounded great to us!!!

After looking into it, we decided there was no way we could go that route.  We really wanted to, but the financial side of this option was more than we could handle.  We live debt free aside from our mortgage and car, and although we are willing to take a loan for our adoption expenses, that loan has to be within our budget limits.  Already we knew we needed to come up with more than $20,000 for a placement through our agency.  This other agency would increase that by about $15,000, and in addition they require $10,000 up front.  Taking out a loan because we have a placement was one thing, but taking out a loan just to apply for an agency was more than we thought reasonable.  

So we decided to sit back and wait.  We knew if God had our child right here that He could bring them to us even if the statistics show a longer wait time.  We also knew He would lead for each decision we needed to make and we felt He was not leading in that way at that particular time.

And we were truly content with that.

It has been less than 2 months since our official approval for adoption was made, and in that time we have raised more than half of what we were expecting to need for our adoption!  Also, if we get a placement this year, we would be eligible for a tax credit, so the wheels in my head began to turn....and I started punching numbers into my calculator.  What we have in addition to the tax refund would put us pretty close to the total cost with the other agency that places nationwide.  Two months ago there was no way and now it is a possibility?!?  Only God can work in that way.

Just a few days ago we were considering applying with another agency, but every one we looked at seemed to come to a "no."  At that time, we had not considered the tax credit, and a few of the other agencies were out of the question because of personal ethical reasons.  So even then we decided it was still best to just wait.

The very next day we received an email with advice from a financial group, and something they said in their email reminded me of the tax credit. That was when I picked up my calculator.  =)

Psalm 37:4 "Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

All along we have told God our desires.  We wanted to have another baby join our family soon, and we want Ella to have a sibling to enjoy before they would be too much farther apart in age.  We also wanted to be able to do this without huge financial strain.  He has proven Himself in every area, and even in the area of being content to wait rather than jumping into something two months ago that could have caused us financial strain.  

I continue to be tickled at the way the Lord is leading and guiding through each step of this process, and I can't wait to see what His plan reveals!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thank YOU!

This is way late in coming, but I wanted to send out a special Thank-You to each and every person who has supported us through prayer, encouragement, donations, help, and any other way I have not mentioned.  Each bit of sacrifice on your part has brought us to our financial burden being somewhat lifted and we are truly thankful.  When we would sell some T-shirts, or get a donation, or make a little extra ourselves and roll it into our "Adoption Account" at the bank, it seemed like getting anywhere close to defraying the costs would take a great deal of time.  But we look now, less than 2 months from completing our home study, and we have more than half of what we will need for our adoption!  It is certainly opening new doors and great hopes for what the next step will entail!

The support we have been given from our family and friends has been wonderful and we thank the Lord for you all!

Chad & Becca

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Year in Heaven

Audrey's Dedication May 10, 2010

When there is a baby dedication, parents are giving their child back to God in the form of a promise. In the Bible we read how Hannah promised to give her son back to the Lord all the days of his life. That kind of dedication usually looks forward to many years of blessed opportunities to teach a child about God's love, Jesus sacrifice and our salvation. But - on this particular day, we come to a far greater understanding of what it really means to give Audrey back to God. 
Giving your child to God is a statement of your love and trust for God. You are saying to the Lord this...that you love Him foremost and trust Him totally with His sovereign plan for Audrey. 

Giving your child to God is a statement of ownership. You are declaring that Audrey is a gift from God to you, and yet knowing that she still belongs to Him. 

Giving your child to God is stating that you believe God has a very special purpose for her.

As you obey God with your life, you posture that child to receive God’s very best for her life. But now it is apparent that God's specific purpose for Audrey will be accomplished in a short span of time. A friend wrote this note to us just this morning. "It sounds like Chad and Rebecca will not get to introduce Audrey to Jesus spiritually (as they surely would have done had things been different), but imagine the joy when someday they get to heaven and Audrey introduces them to Jesus personally."
Make this dedication your own lifelong promise to God, to live each day in the way that you would, as if Audrey had remained, to be nurtured and taught about the One who will soon be holding her in His own arms.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with All your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (emphasis mine)

This past January we took the first step into this adoption journey after talking about it seriously for about 6 months prior.   We had always wanted to consider adopting, but it wasn't until after Audrey was born and then taken to Glory that our talk began to be put into action.  But we still did not know how we would come up with the finances, and when that crossed our minds it just seemed impossible.

But we still knew that He would direct our paths if we would just trust Him!  We went to that first meeting with Heaven's Sent Children's not sure what we would decide, but we kept taking the steps forward and kept sensing the Lord's leading in that direction.

After finishing our home study, Chad kept saying, "I think God will bring our child to us after we have the money."  Of course, I did not like that thought because I know how long it would take to save that kind of money, and like anyone expecting a baby the wait is hard!  In case you are not sure what kind of money I am talking about, our domestic adoption will cost $21,000 to $22,000 with our current adoption agency. If we coordinate through an agency in another state it could be another $15,000 in addition to that.  We did not feel God was leading us to use another agency, so our step of faith was to stay with Heaven Sent and trust Him to bring our child in His time.  After all, $21,000 is "impossible"....we are a one-income family!

But we just kept going.  Trusting that this is how He is leading and only He can provide, while saving and working like we had to make that money ourselves.  And I will say that we have certainly been working that way! :)  This month Chad did not have a day off from work, and we also spent a great deal of time planning for our fundraiser that took place yesterday.  And our work certainly paid off, but only because God allowed it to!

About a week ago I got a facebook message from a friend of mine who I worked with at Camp Patmos more than 15 years ago (oh wow....that makes me sound old!).  She was just inquiring about our finances with the adoption, so I told her and never thought twice about why she was asking.  Others have asked and I do not have a problem telling people what it will cost.  I guess because to us it seemed impossible but we also knew that taking a step of faith and not worrying about the finances would be an awesome testimony to God and His faithfulness when we seek His plan in our lives.

Then today, being Mother's Day, was hard.  Memories of Audrey flooded our minds, remembering this being the last day she lived and spending the evening holding her in our arms...something we will always long to do just one more time.  My memories from a year ago of spending Mother's Day with my two beautiful daughters, and now this year not having Audrey here was certainly bittersweet.  I have come such a long way and Ella brings me so much joy, but my Mother's heart will always want to have Audrey here.

After a nap and a nice supper with family, I checked my facebook and saw another message from Stephanie, my camp friend.  She is now serving as Pastor's wife at Ridgefield Baptist Church in Connecticut.  She wanted to talk to me and asked that I call soon, it was important.  After I began talking with her I learned that my dad's aunt is a member at their church, and they did not know the connection until last year when Aunt Jib was praying for her niece, Rebecca, and the church was praying for Audrey Ann, realizing that it was the same baby they were all praying for!

This church has recently become burdened for orphans and have started a ministry to support them.  In a matter of a few months they raised three times their goal, and they would like to send us

$10,000 for our adoption expenses!!!

We were speechless!
We are simply amazed at God's working through the past 4 months, and how He has allowed each thing to fall into place.  It really should not amaze us, this is God working!  Our home study was completed smoothly, we were approved for adoption, Chad getting extra hours to work, and our fundraiser went so smoothly and was such a success.  All I can say is, That's God!!!

And now we can pay for our adoption, without a loan, when God brings that child to our home!  I did not think I would be saying this so soon, and it truly is a blessing to Chad and me and to the rest of our family!  Praise the Lord for working through us, the church as a whole, to help one another!

We are overwhelmed by this entire weekend.  And it all is taking place over the 1-year anniversary of Audrey...our miracle who continues to touch the lives of people here on earth.

I am so thankful for her legacy!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Our hearts are full

Thank you to an awesome group of family and friends who helped, donated items, and came to support us tonight in our Adoption Fundraiser.

Here is how God blessed us through you tonight:
Motorcycle Ride - $280.00
Copeland's Giftcards - $160.00
Silent Auction - $1301.00
Donations - $509.00
Total raised for Adoption - $2250.00

Our child home in our arms - PRICELESS

Our thanks is simply not enough!
We love you all
Chad, Becca & Ella

Friday, May 6, 2011

Your First Birthday

Dear Audrey,

You would have been a year old today and we would have been having a big birthday party celebrating your FIRST!  Family would have come and mommy would have made you a cake...or maybe cupcakes.  Daddy would have cooked hot dogs on the grill for all your guests while we watched you dig your little hands into your cake.

But God had other plans.

I wonder what you are doing today instead of celebrating your First Birthday with us.  Are you still sitting at the feet of Jesus?  Are you playing with Kyler, Kelan, Brett, Wesley, Taylor, Maria, Nate, Laynee, and so many other kids who live in heaven?  Have you and Laynee discussed the handicaps you had here on earth and how you are now perfect?  And you really are! I am one parent who can truly say I have a perfect baby. :)  Sometimes I wish you weren't perfect, because that would mean you are here.  But someday my hurt will be gone because I will be next to you...worshiping Jesus forever!

Have you sat with Gram and heard all about your Papa when he was a little boy?  How about Mamaw and Papaw, have you heard the stories about when your Great-Papaw worked in the coal mines?

I wonder if you know all about me, and how much I love you and how desperately I miss you. But I also wonder if you know I'm OK?  It still hurts, and I am sure it always will.  But there is something inside my heart that makes me know that it is also OK.  A year ago today I still did not know how I could deal with telling you good-bye to life as I know it.  But I did, and somehow I have peace in spite of not having you here.  I think it's called "Grace" ... I'm sure Jesus has told you about it.

You have a little friend here, one who would have been your buddy because you would have grown up together.  I love to watch him grow, and every time I hear about a milestones he has reached it gives me an idea of what you might have been doing by now.  Not too long ago I heard that he was saying "Mama" and "Dada" and my heart skipped a beat.  Wow!  You would have been talking!  Smiling!  Holding my hand!  Making my world brighter!

But it was the darkness of that time that caused your light to shine even brighter!!!
I still hear people talk about how they could share with someone the story of Audrey Ann and how she touched so many people.  I hear about how your footprints have led to a conversation about heaven and the Jesus that you now know so well.  I got a birthday card for you, but really for me, it told me how HUGE of an impact you had on her life.

You were only 2 pounds!  And you were only here for 4 days!

And so I think, if God had let you have a "normal" healthy birth and life, then you never would have caught the attention of so many people.  That is simply awesome.  Is it what I wanted?....NO! But I will bow to The Almighty and His plan for you so that He might have the Glory and the Preeminence.

And when that is my biggest desire, nothing else really matters!

I love you, sweet Audrey,
p.s. Ella and Daddy miss you and love you