Tuesday, June 26, 2012

URGENT: 5 yr old Josh fighting for his life!

My dear friends, we must pray.

My friends' precious little boy is in bad shape. He needs the prayers of us all.

This is 5 year old Joshua Wilson.

He's so cute, isn't he?

He is a twin and a beloved son of my friends, Roger and Renee Wilson. They live here in our same small town in Ohio.

Last weekend, he fell and hit his head. He was life-flighted to the University of Michigan where they performed emergency brain surgery.

Yesterday, he couldn't stop seizing. They escalated into full body seizures, they intubated him, medicated him, performed bedside surgery (who knew?!?!) finally put a central line in and finally had to resort to forcing his body to rest by putting him into a coma.

The news this morning is that he will be kept in this comatose state for another 3 days. He's also had another blood transfusion!

O friends, can you IMAGINE how his precious family must be feeling?

Roger and Renee have an abundant life with 6 sons! These are dear Jesus-loving people who have adopted 4 of these boys from the US foster care system. Josh and his twin are two of them. These are the real deal kind of people. Hearts as big as the God they serve.

And now, this family needs our love, prayers and encouragement!!

Please please join together with us in asking for TOTAL healing of Josh.

Please pray for Roger and Renee's hearts to rest in God's amazing peace during this storm of life.

Pray for all his brothers who wait at home and are apart from their parents.

Pray for the wisdom of the doctors who are handling Josh's care.

Do you want to have a hand in encouraging this family? Their church family will be assisting them with meals, but I KNOW their medical bills will be piling up and feeling insurmountable.

Please consider giving a generous donation to help this family pay for medical expenses. Please use the "chip in" widget on the side of the blog underneath Josh's picture. We will keep this fundraiser up until the 4th of July (next week!)

"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."   ~James 5:16

"The Lord protects them and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies.
The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health."
               ~Psalm 41:2-3

And please, share this prayer need and fundraiser on social media! SHARE SHARE SHARE!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Children and their FAITH!!

Want to hear a really cool story? 

How about two?

Would you stick around for THREE?

Well, I got 'em!

We officially began fundraising for Toby's adoption yesterday. Our need was steep. (And any need is steep when you don't have it!) The number needed for today (Friday) is $1,891.25. We didn't have it.

I am not proud to admit it, but I was stressing about it on Tuesday.

And Wednesday.

I lost sleep over it Wednesday night. :(

Thursday a friend was sharing with me that SHE had faith for me. She had been praying with thanksgiving for how God was going to do it.

She prayed as if it was done.

"If we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently..." Romans 8:25.

I was so encouraged by her faith.

I was like the disciples who watched Jesus feed the 5,000 with 2 loaves and 5 fish and then again saw him do it with a crowd of 4,000. The next paragraph they were in the boat freaking out that they only had one loaf of bread between the 12 of them. Jesus was like, "Dudes! Haven't you learned ANYTHING!?!?!?" (see Mark 8 for this story. My "dude" quote is verse 21.)

Yeah. I'm that dude in the boat.

God has SOOOO provided in the past.

He brought Zebby home to us in lightning fast speed and with money that only He could provide.

And I was lying in my bed with knots in my stomach wondering about this agency payment, "but HOW Lord???"

I could not foresee a way. I wish I had someone smack me upside the head with a fish. (that MIGHT have helped, you never know!)

Instead, God kindly gave me this verse, (because He is so gentle and is not a fish slapping kind of God!)
  " I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make rivers in the wilderness." Isaiah 43:19

Then, while having family devotions, our kids ran to grab their pennies and loose change. "There! Now we can bring Toby home!!"

Oh, the precious faith of a child!!

Then yesterday I got a private message on Facebook.  My friend's son read the last post with his mom and was asking good questions. "Why does it cost money to give a child a family?" "I want to adopt too!" "How can you hear God call you to do something?" Then, he came and gave her all his money to help bring Toby home.


I can assure you that those four dollars given in faith have BALLOONED into what we are seeing now in our Adopt Together account!!

Then, as today began, God filled me with faith. I had not a hint of wavering. I KNEW that God would do it. And as I am learning, faith is not something we conjure up, but it is a gift of God. (See Romans 12:3.)

Yesterday afternoon, I was also reminded by my friend that we didn't need the money THURSDAY, we needed it FRIDAY. That I should hold on and see what God did FRIDAY. God then put double rainbows in the sky that night. One for her, one for me. :) God's so cool like that!

Then this afternoon, as I was watching all these donations come in and fill up the need, one story in particular brought me to tears. Three siblings gave from their jars. Then their lovely mother messaged me the story:

This morning on the way to bball camp we prayed, asking God to show us what we could do to help orphans today.

Came home, saw your post, told Zoƫ. She said, "I'll give $5 to help that baby." then we remembered the jars they keep tithes and savings in. She decided to empty hers for Toby.

Greta saw what was going on. I told her about baby Toby in China who needs to come home to his family and needs doctors and medicine. Greta said, "give him my money jars, too."

After Caleb's playdate I told him about it and he didn't want to participate because he's saving for a science kit. Then he saw the girls' jars and said, "ok, I'll give everything in my jar, including my 8 gold coins from the tooth fairy."

So it's not much, but $57.45 was every cent the kids had. Their compassion speaks to my soul.

I thought you might like to hear these incredible God stories so YOU can have YOUR faith built up and encouraged like mine has been. (I Thessalonians 5:11)

God has taken these "loaves and fish" of these children and turned it into $1,736!!  Nope, just got another donation! Now we are at $1,836! (We had some cash given to us today as well...so it is not reflected in the amount on the Adopt Together page.) And truth be told, I have to keep changing this number as I type because the money keeps on coming!!! HALLELUJAH!

God is bringing our Toby home!! And using adorable children and precious adults to do it! 

Yahooooo!!! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spill the Beans...the Back Story!

So, this is the post so many have been asking for. My inbox is full of requests to know the BEHIND story of how we are adopting again! ...And from China! ...And a BOY!

Go get a tall glass of lemonade and sit for a spell. I love to tell a good story!

You may remember this post about my heart aching and me not knowing what to do about it, yes?

It was mid April, Zeb's adoption had finalized at the beginning of the month yet I was beside myself. I couldn't do ANYTHING but think of the millions and millions of waiting orphans around the United States and the world.

I would do everything I could to think about OTHER things--summer schedules, house updates we want to accomplish, gardening--but I simply could not get it off my heart!

Waiting orphans.

Children waiting in cribs.

Special Needs Children.

Teenage Children about to age out but longing for a mom and a dad.

All of them: Alone.

My conversations with friends would turn to my burden for these children. I would literally cry out to God to allow this burden to be productive. "Use me, Lord!" I would beg. One friend prayed for me to find a way to unite all the waiting children of the world with families! I was shaking in my shoes about that request but if God wants to use me, then I'll DO IT!

This was not a self-manufactured burden, it was clearly from the Lord.

And it was driving me insane!

It would seem as though God was doing SOMETHING...

I was becoming an addict. My vice? Spending hours late into the night looking through waiting children lists. I would email my dear Brian with different children. It got to the point that he wasn't reading them anymore, I got creative and stopped using the child's name in the subject and instead writing something to the effect of "you hot, sexy thing!" That would make him open the email! ;) Ha ha!

After a string of nights in bed sobbing for these children, Brian told me he wanted me to STOP looking.

"We are not going to adopt now anyway. Zareb is still working at fitting in."



I tried. I really did.

Then on a Sunday I had a conversation with a friend at church. I just belched out my whole story of how my heart was breaking for children I didn't know and that I wanted to be a family for one of these forsaken ones. I remember distinctly her husband asking me incredulously, "Really? You mean you actually WANT a child with special needs???"

My face lit up!

"Yes! Yes I do! I want to love on a child who has been rejected because of their needs."

I think the dear man thought I was literally out of my mind.

Perhaps I was am.

All along I have followed another blog called Ni Hao Y'all. The author is a mutual friend of two of my friends who run Wild Olive Tees. I've never met her, but I am inexplicably drawn to her blog. I adore her pictures of her sweet children. Looking back now, I can see God using it to place a specific hunger in my heart for Chinese orphans.

Then I began texting my dear friend Amie. She too has adopted from China. Six times in fact! I began just asking her general question about how in the world to start such a process. She gave me great advice...but Brian really wasn't on board.

Remember, he said we weren't adopting yet. It was too soon!

And sometime along the way I was crying over the orphans waiting here in America. I begged Brian to adopt a 11 yr old African American boy. He is AD-OR-ABLE. He let me pursue it to a point, but then pulled me back when things got serious. He said it just wasn't a smart idea to usurp Jensi as oldest at this time. Yeah, I know. But I would STILL love for him to get a family, so if YOU have an ache in your heart, please go watch this video about the adorable Omar!

Ok, back to the story!

Now let me tell you a really cool thing about my husband: He is ALWAYS willing to do whatever God tells him to. Because of this, he lets me go about my many children that I am drawn to. But one day, it was different.

I was not on waiting children lists.

I was not even at the computer for the purpose of children.

I was simply reading a blog I love and it was a harmless post about a day trip they had with another family. She had a link to the other family, so I clicked.  This blog also talked about their fun day trip. But there was another link to another friend of hers that I clicked on.

And then it happened.

I saw him.

I wasn't looking, but there he was, looking back at me.

"Are you my Mommy?"

And then I read the story. He and I share the same birthday! 

My heart did a flip flop!

I read about his special needs and read that they were looking earnestly for his family.

But the posts were back dated to December and January. Certainly this gorgeous child had a family snatch him up by now!

I wrote to the blog author just to be sure.



And it turns out, he was waiting for...US!!!

I shared the entire story (and his full file!) with Brian that night. He didn't turn a deaf ear, but listened with an open heart. He said, "*We can knock on this door with a feather," meaning God had to do some HUGE door opening to confirm that this was really right.

And God did.

Fast forward this story through paperwork to our adoption agency and background checks, visits to the doctor and filing an official Letter of Intent with the Chinese government and 7 days later we hear:

China has said YES!!!
We are now the family for this precious child who was waiting a long, long time to be chosen! He had been advocated for on many blogs and social media, and over 1,200 people clicked on his picture and read about him, but we didn't see it.

I think we weren't ready.

But then God prepared my heart, gave me a willing husband and away we go!

So now, after having just finished paying off Zeb's adoption in April, we begin again.

And the reality is, we need help. We cannot fund this adoption out of pocket. (Not many people can!)

We have partnered with Adopt Together, a non-profit organization that acts as a holding place for funds raised for family's adoption needs.  When donors give, they receive a tax-deductible receipt and 100% of their gift goes to the family. We have opened our page with them and you can visit by clicking here.

We are waiting on the Lord to bring Toby home and trusting in Him to fund it! We would be honored if you would choose to become part of Toby's story by supporting us in prayer, encouragement and/or financial support.

As always, we love to hear your comments and feedback and will answer any questions you may have!

And so, this is where the story is to this point! Stay tuned for more!

*{I foresee this "feather knocking" phrase as a very cool future catch phrase! I suggest we all start using it! ;)}

*If you are interested in reading about us finding Toby from the blogger who advocated his story, you can click here as she tells it from her perspective!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ode to Daddy

Ode to Brian aka "Daddy"


Joke teller.

Kid tickler.


Classic novel reader.

Biologist teacher (to anyone near him!)

God lover.

Hard worker.

Faithful lover.


Funny Hilarious!

Loyal friend.




Adventure seeker.

Thrill lover.

Wait-er on what might happen.



Ipod shuffle lover.

Honda CRV driver.

Cow breeder.

Shakeology in ice cream maker!

Great doodler.

Budding gardener.

Wood worker.




Spiritual teacher.



Grace giver.

Problem solver.


Fixer of all things broken.

Art lover.



Chinese speaker.

Spanish speaker.

Other culture lover.


Dairy manager.

Slow to speak.

Slow to get angry.

Taylor graduate.

Fatherless defender.


Whoopie pie baker.


Incredible example.

Life long learner.

In words of our kids: AMAZING and A BLESSING FROM GOD!!!!

If you don't know my man, you NEED TO!!!

Brian with the kids in a typical adventure. Taken last fall, 2011.

Monday, June 11, 2012

More Blessed to Give...

Know who these sweet girls are?

Two precious gals in my life!

One is Lara, a well-known blogger and momma to one of Zeb's former orphanage-mates. A dear boy named Ambrose whom I hope we can see again soon someday!

The other is Rebecca, a precious ten year old orphan, formerly living in one of the children prisons that Sixty Feet serves.

Lara just posted this picture on my wall all the way from Uganda!

Rebecca has been "ours" for about 6 months now. We sponsor her through the work that Lara does for Sixty Feet. Rebecca's story is not mine to share here but she has been a great delight in our life. We have her picture up and our kids love to pray for her and write her letters. We sent a bundle of pictures over to her and we were so happy to receive pictures hand drawn and letters back to us.

This precious life is changed because of the work that Sixty Feet does...and I want you to know that our giving to support her is really a BIG deal to her, but it is OUR BLESSING that is greater.

Lara told me today that Rebecca clung to her all day long today and told her repeatedly how she prays for us.


Honestly, there is no more powerful force. Hailing the Lord Almighty, this dear child cries out on our behalf.

That moves me.

Amazes me.

Soon, she'll be praying for another orphaned child in China. A little one we are working to bring home. She doesn't know about him now, but she will soon, and I am sure, she will ask for God to open doors and provide the funding.

We may give to her, but truly, WE are the truly blessed ones!

Tis more sweet to give than to receive!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Adventure of a Son with his Father

My favorite place on the planet is where the salty water meets the sandy earth.

The beach.

Oh, just the sound of it makes me happy!

This year we stopped everything for an entire week and sat around where water and land meet. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. But there was one moment in particular that was very special...watching our Zareb experience the beach and ocean waves for the very first time.

It was actually very emotional for me. Let me explain.

My adopted son, from a landlocked African country, finally got to put his toes in the ocean. We flew over that same ocean for hours upon hours last summer. We looked down through the tiny porthole in our airplane and talked about the ocean. We talked about the beach. I promised I would take him there--and that he would love it.

I have seen Zebby do many new things in the 9 months he's been home. I know that look of uncertainty and sometimes terror that he gets when he is unsure of something. I know that telltale shaking of his right hand when he is frightened. I know that tentative gait he takes on when he is scared. I expected to see all of that when we took him to the ocean.

But God.

In the form of my dear husband, God gave me a most gorgeous picture of how He walks me through this life.

You see, as Zeb approached the ocean with that tentative gait, his father came to him and held his hand.

Immediately, Zareb felt assured. This was going to be okay. Not scary.

They ventured out deeper.

Suddenly the water swirled up around ankles and surprised him with a shock of cold. Suddenly what was only "take me to the beach" now had depth in the meaning. It was no longer just a phrase, but it had meaning. Reality. Sensation. Hot, granular, cold, wet, rhythm...all completely unknown to him in the phrase "I'll take you to the beach soon, Zebby."

I couldn't help think in that moment how this is precisely what is going on with us--we look forward to the day we reach Heaven. We know a few things: God will be there, angels, no pain, no sadness, no sin...but we cannot truly grasp the depth of what HEAVEN itself means. We just have to wait until we go.

Just like that...Zeb had in his mind, no doubt, a diminished idea of what the beach really meant. Now he was here: touching, walking, hearing, smelling and tasting what to ocean really meant. That word came to life. And it was a swirling reality he was thrilled with!

Brian and Zeb continued to walk deeper into the ocean. Water around his knees now, he clung to his father's hand and was finding enjoyment in the waves that would come over and over again. Brian would allow him to let go and experience the power in those waves and little Zebby would topple...only to be quickly rescued by his father's strong arms.

I continued to watch the exchange, behind the lens of the camera. God was putting verses in my mind as I watched and I was thinking about heaven. It was a truly swelling moment (accompanied I am sure in heaven by great choruses of angels) when the water became too deep and Zeb's father swept him up safely in his arms and carried him.

The familiar poem "Footprints" came to mind. "...it was then that I carried you."

Emotion washed over me as I saw my husband play out the role of our loving Heavenly Father.

There was a time in our adoption process that we became frightened. That the fears of the unknown, the naysayers of this world grew loud and we were about to shut it all down and call it all off. We were going to walk away. It was too scary. Too much. We might lose control of our lives! (ha ha, I see that was a GOOD thing now!) During that very intense window of decision the same Father God spoke to Brian's heart. He said distinctly, "Let me bless you."

I continued to watch Zareb cling to Brian and point to go out further, further, further into the ocean. He had no fear at all in his father's arms. I saw them look with delight into each other's faces and I remembered God's words to Brian, "Let Me bless you." Once again, my heart burst.

I think so much happened in those 5-10 minutes that Zareb was introduced to the waters of the deep. Zareb learned again how Daddy is trustworthy and safe. Angels rejoiced over the adventure of a child. When we spoke later, Brian said he too remembered the words of the Lord to his heart and was savoring the joy on the face of his son in his arms.

Adoption is scary. But it is also wonderful. It's like having a daily picture of God self-sacrificing to bring us into His family. It is a continual picture of the wonderful ways that He cares for us as His very own dear children. We are so deeply blessed to have said yes to this major life change called adoption...I for one know I am better for it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The girl who waited...and waited is SPOKEN FOR!

Ever since last summer, my heart has been tugged for a precious girl waiting in Zeb's orphanage.

She had a long list of special needs. People prayed for her. People loved on her. She was cherished in many many hearts, yet...

She waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Years passed and this precious girl was still waiting on it to be her turn.

If it was EVER a question: CHILDREN DO NOT BELONG IN INSTITUTIONS! (No matter how wonderful, they simply do not take the place of having a mother and a father's love...or the love of siblings!)

Esther's story has had some tremendous ups and downs along the road, but her new title is


Her loving and incredible parents are Brad and Jenny and here is the crew pictured a little while back...

And as you can see...they have 14 other children at home! {gasp!} But wait...since then there are TWO MORE! :) :)

When you read her blog you will be AM.AZ.ED. at this family! They are so serious about their faith and DOING what Christ says!

  I LOVE people like this!!!

They have heard God speak and have said YES to Esther!! What a glorious match this is!!! Hooray!!

Every time I look at these pictures, pure joy floods my soul! Esther was completely nonverbal. Yet when her daddy holds her she hums. And oh how the angels must have rejoiced when she SPOKE and said, "Momma!!" WOW!!! Oh how incredibly blessed by God they are to become Esther's family! They have experience with a wide variety of special needs. They are bubbling over with the love of Jesus and they will be all the more amazing with Esther in the fabric of who they are!!

As I rejoice in this matching, I want to ask if you would consider helping bring Esther home to this precious family. They were able to get an expedited court date before the summer break! We have an opportunity to become PART OF THIS STORY!! Will you consider giving a gift to the FIG Fund through Project Hopeful (the wonderful non-profit organization who is collecting funds for Esther's adoption)? If so, please go here.

On behalf of Esther, her parents and many siblings, I thank you with great joy!!!

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