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I’m gonna trust You! I AM gonna trust YOU! Lord, I’m going to trust you.

Do you ever have to say something more than once? You know, when your heart knows you WANT to say it—you want to believe it—but you are having a hard time actually doing it? OK…so this is when I get really honest…forget about who is actually reading and lay it all out there…to bring more glory to the Lord in the end so that others may look into His miraculous work and see our Father in Heaven. Over and over again–daily…hourly and some times minute to minute during this process I have said that phrase…some times I have felt like I was lying…saying it enough until I could really believe it…and wanting so badly to really do it. Today–I just want to declare my leaving my worry, lack of trust, fear and wonder at the cross of Jesus. I AM GOING TO TRUST YOU LORD.

I am going to trust You. I am going to trust You because You called us to bring one of Your children home. Your voice is the one that we heard in our hearts. I believe in God. I believe I am Yours. And I believe Your Word is true. I trust Your promises…that You are faithful to finish what You start…You will supply all our needs according to Your riches and glory…You will never leave or forsake me…and if You are for us–who can be against us? I believe Your timing is perfect. I DO! I REALLY, REALLY DO!

For those of you who wonder where we are now in our adoption process…we are finishing up our home study (last visit!!!) on Monday, and our consultant said she’d have our study written in 7 days after. Our dossier is complete (minus a family pictures which will snag next week)—and as soon as our home study is approved we can send in our dossier and be placed on the waiting list. (Someone be ready to catch me…b/c I may literally pass out after we get a number.) I’m guessing we’ll have everything ready by the end of this month. Well…almost everything. This is where the I’m gonna trust You part comes in.

When we jumped into our adoption we knew the cost (well, we accepted it after we choked and Richard spit out his food over dinner;)–but had no idea that almost 3/4 of it would be due in the first few months. Yet, we felt the Lord saying TRUST ME. Richard and I want to be wise in how we pay for our adoption and want to avoid taking out a loan…so we’re paying for everything up front ourselves. We are trusting God to provide through my photography business, so I’ve been working harder than ever…many 3am nights…extra sessions…and of course early mornings with an 11 month old, 3 year old and 5 year old. The Lord has sustained us! When our dossier is completely ready to be mailed in with our home study at the end of this month–it will need to be accompanied by a second ginorous check. The Lord provided last month through my business in an AMAZING way. GLORY BE TO GOD!!!

Although I’m not quite sure how in the world in 2 weeks we will have what we need–I am going to trust the Lord. This weekend and next week I have 20 sessions. Yes, I said 20. For a stay-at-home mommy of 3 kids…I normally only shoot 2—and that’s enough to keep me up every night into the wee hours of the morning editing, ordering and packaging. Now, toss home study and dossier on top of that…and whew…it’s been a miracle. I have never shot 20 in a week…ever…but I’ve never had checks this big due back to back to back…and I’m trusting the Lord for strength. I’m trusting the Lord for energy. I’m trusting the Lord for friends and family to love on my children in my absence. It’s one week. Just a week. A week that I know in the end will be worth all the hard work. And I’m ULTIMATELY trusting GOD to provide for our adoption through the work. It’s not me–but Him who will do all the work. So again–I say to Him…I’m gonna trust You. I’m going to trust You for strength, creativity, and energy to not only beautifully capture these family but to love on them in the process. And in advance…I praise You Lord for your provision.

And to our sweet baby…this is how much we all love you!!! We will do anything to bring you home!!! The Lord has not forgotten you. He created you in your mother’s womb. Before any of your days came to be–they were numbered and He knew His plans for your life…that YOU would be OUR child…and MY how we can’t WAIT to love you!!! We are dreaming of you and can’t wait to love on you, get you all fattened up;) and to have you as a part of our family forever!

Running the race in obedience…and trusting the Lord for everything else. Please pray with us and for our family this week as we run this race! And please pray for all the families that are running with us to bring their babies home!!!

Are These Kids All Yours? - October 17, 2009 - 1:39 pm

I have to repeat things to my self too….usually it takes me a while – like years….to actually lay anything down at the foot of the cross. I don't know why. I have seen God's Hands at work in my life in too many numerous ways to even begin! I will be praying for you this next week as you are VERY BUSY!!! That God will give you EVERYTHING YOU NEED! Lay it at HIS feet and let us pray you through this so that your little one whom you love already can be with you soon……

What a beautiful reminder…

OK–the video I’m about to post has nothing to do with adoption–but I feel like right now I can really identify…and I wasn’t going to post it–but for some reason I feel like I should. Something spoke to my heart about it, especially as I’ve grown very tired after all the extra sessions I’ve been working on to help fund our adoption. I know this will all be worth it in the end—but at the same time I’m ready to be 100% mommy. It will be such an amazing feeling to walk off that plane WITH our baby and to know the adoption process is finished—God has provided—and we can be a family…and I can be all mommy with my crazy craft self again.

So while this video is really about a man determined to finish—and finish well…I am reminded that we don’t always finish how we plan or how we think we will…but if we keep our eyes focused on what the Lord has called us to do…He will provide a means for us to finish. It’s amazing the people He brings in our lives to encourage and support us right now. Thank you mom for coming up to spend the week and weekend so I can edit and get portrait sessions done to help us get closer to our next goal! Thank you sweet friends who call to check in and love on us during this time! Thank you AGCI sweet families who are sharing this journey with us and who are holding our hands through this sweet time..and time of trusting God in a new way. I’m really so humbled to see and watch God bring people in to carry us through when we are tired and to encourage us to continue to run this race.

And if you are one of those families running this race to bring home your child…you are NOT alone. Galatioins 6:2 says “Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of my Son.” He will provide…and He will be the one carrying you through. When you hit the ground…get back up—hold on to Him and RUN! Do not give up!!! There is a precious baby waiting for his/her mommy and daddy…and every fall and set back…every attempt to get back up and run…every hurdle and every win…will be worth it in the end! Running beside you, with you and for you! God is in this…and if God is for you, who can be against you? Amen!

Aaron & Whitney Pratt (A&W) - October 16, 2009 - 7:38 am

I think this is a fantastically encouraging post. Adoption is a journey, an adventure that we promised to trust God in, and it takes perseverence and encouraging words (and lots of prayers) to continue the race as God intended. So, THANK YOU for this post- so fit for the adoption journey.

Dan and Tara - October 16, 2009 - 11:03 am

I just wanted to thank you for the post! It is literally what I needed this morning right before I went to work. It has been a long journey to get to this point in our adoption and I am restles and anxious and (to be honest) getting really impatient! This was a good wake up call – this is not about me and my timing and my schedule – this is all about God and him working his perfect will in our lives. So, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you! Tara

The God of this City…

Today I felt like I was in a movie. Are you ever doing something that just feels so meaningful and in the moment of doing it you feel like you can here the music playing as you walk…the winds blowing…cars and people are racing by…part of you wants to walk faster and let the music crescendo with your confident pace–while the other part of you wants to put your hands out and spin around and savor the moment…only you don’t because you also realize you AREN’T in a movie and you’d look like a crazy person?! Okay–maybe it’s just me–but for me, today was one of those days.

The day started with Parker running off to school with Richard…kissing Frank goodbye with Mrs.Emily…and dropping off Laney at preschool carpool. I raced to Richard’s office, signed our Power of Attorney (giving Almaz our orphanages director authority to represent us in Ethiopian Court) and together got them notarized. I, then, headed off for the Superior Court of Georgia to get the notary authenticated. OKAY–so pre-adoption I had no idea what any of this meant. Basically, we are in the end process of our dossier which is a collection of legal documents that is required for international adoption. Some basic elements are photographs of our family and house…and the most intense being the document I got today…which required our signatures—getting someone to notarize it…then someone to check the notary to make sure they were legit (what getting it authenicated means) and then…FINALLY off to the Secretary of State who would plant our governor Sonny Perdue’s stamp, her signature and then a golden State of Georgia Seal all on top…giving Almaz…well, all our rights to our name as she represents us in the year ahead. So…my second stop after the notary was the Superior Court…


(music plays softly as I walk toward this building…if this were a movie;)
I’ll spare the details of forgetting to bring cash–I never carry cash…and I literally had to pray for parking. This entire journey has been a step-by-step trust God for every moment kind of journey. So…I prayed for parking. And just a block down from this building–God provided a spot…one lone spot…reserved for me (music speeds up here).
I walked as fast as I could to the court (not because I was excited…but because I had 2 carpools to make by lunch time)…and I have to confess I was also praying I wouldn’t get mugged on the short block walk…downtown Atlanta can be scarey people…especially for my mini-van, Beaver Cleaver lookin’ self. I know I must walk like a school librarian…and I sure as heck run like one. I went to the front of the building…got redirected that I was in employee only entrance and had to walk what seemed a mile all the way around. After 30 minutes of running around and asking 10 different people where I needed to go…finally I found the Clerk of Superior Court. And the Clerk I was put in front of…intimidating. He was a 6’5 huge black man…doubt my son will be that big one day…but still, his deep voice and big self…intimidating.
He asked why I was there and after explaining he said, “Adopting? Hmmm…that’s good.”
I just smiled and shook my head.
“Where from?”, he asked.
I just sat there. I wasn’t sure what he would think…Mrs.Beaver Cleaver adopting from Africa. So, I just sat there and watched his face as he looked over my document.
“Yes sir.”
He leaned over his desk–looked me dead in the eye–and I held my breath and smiled. (music stops). Then he softly said with a smile, “That’s even better. God bless you.” (music starts again;).
Not to me–but TO YOU BE THE GLORY LORD! And not that I need the approval of man–but to have the approval of this man…in some way, made my day. I couldn’t even say thank you for the big lump in my throat. I paid my $2 for my form authenication and raced down to the Secretary of State to get my golden seal…I knew today—God was bringing little joys my way and encouraging me as I went.
Now one parking place may have been luck—but TWO in downtown Atlanta??? Yes, another spot awaited me at the Secretary of State. The yucky rain clouds had parted, I couldn’t help but smile as I ran to the Secretary of State building…I had little time left before carpool but the sun was shining and I knew the Lord was with me and would provide. I realized carpool would be tight–called one of my bestfriends Nisia…and she agreed to pick my little guy up and the hubby was grabbing litte Laney-loo. I was set and had plenty of time now to finish what I came to complete. The music was really playing now;) People were walking texting on their iPhones, lawyers racing in and out of the building…and I wanted to scream, “Hey everyone! I’m working on my dossier and I’m almost done! I GET TO ADOPT! God is in this and He is brining us a baby to love forever!”
I raced right up to the 7th floor, opened up the double doors and as if I had an appointment the Secretary of State assistant was standing there waiting. She took my form back, returned it in 5 minutes and probably wondered what was just with my big toothy grin as she returned it. I wanted to hug the UPS man on the elevator on the way down—he probably still wonders why I babbled so about the weather, what a great day it was and wow he sure has a lot of packages;). Silly Beaver Cleaver lady…she doesn’t get out much;).
Got our physicals knocked out at 1pm…and although today was a full day of adoption hoop jumping…we are ALMOST there! Music! MUSIC! MUSIC!

There are GREAT THINGS TO COME! And I can’t BELIEVE that GOD CHOSE ME! He really and truly chose me to be the mother of another one of HIS! He did a great thing in this city for me today…it may seem small to some…but I am ONE step closer to our precious baby! I can’t wait to love you forever and ever and ever! THIS IS HOW MUCH YOU ARE LOVED! God loves you THIS MUCH…and so do we!

The Daraja Choir couldn’t have sung it better…

Kim - October 14, 2009 - 4:25 am

This precious post was like a WORSHIP service!
Sending you a Hallelujah from Hong Kong!

3 Blessings - October 14, 2009 - 6:38 am

That is so funny! I was doing the same thing yesterday at the TN state capitol. I seriously circled 5 times looking for a parking. I finally said a prayer and circled the next time and there was my spot. I didn't even have to parallel park. It was on the end! THANK YOU GOD! Oh and did I mention I had my baby with me. I was pushing her through the streets in her stroller…I too felt like I was in a movie because I was trying to get back to my car before the parking meter ran out. Too funny that we were doing the same thing yesterday.

Are These Kids All Yours? - October 14, 2009 - 10:19 am

That post…..sounds like my life….hmmm….love it!!!!! You are almost there and I am sooo excited for you. I love the fact of NOT parallel parking (3 Blessings). My husband laughs at me- being from a suburb of England- he thinks it is crazy that my parking skills are almost a 0! He he he. Hey, I just blame it on our huge 15 passenger…and the suburban that we had before that….and the mini van before that….and the car before that….he he he…I am just not a talented at parking.

The important part is you do get to have a baby soon- forever….and that will be AWESOME!!!

The Hull's at #4 - October 14, 2009 - 8:11 pm

I love this sweet post!!! I know your little one will love it too. I can't wait for you to get your approval and get on the LIST! I'm so glad that your day was so good, God is so faithful!!

Dru, Asher, Quinn, & Asa - October 15, 2009 - 8:48 am

Oh my goodness! You have the most BEAUTIFUL heart ever!!! I just love reading about your journey! You are not only a blessing to this babe waiting for you, but to those of us that get to read about your journey.

Workin’ backwards!

We *JUST* got our Eyes Wideopen Workbook in the mail TODAY. Yes, normally you would do this first and then start your dossier…but we’re working backwards people.  The workbook is something our agency asks you to complete back before they will accept your completed home study…they actually ask you to do it before you start your home study. They forgot to mail it to us weeks ago with our dossier packet…so although we’re almost done with our dossier and homestudy we are just now starting our 177 page/20 chapter workbook. Yes, I said 177 pages. I did the timeline on when our home study will be complete with our last meeting being on Monday…so I feel safe to tell Richard we can strategically complete 2 chapters a night, be done in 10 days and have everything wrapped up and ready to be mailed in maybe by Frank’s birthday just as our home study is completed.

On top of that–silly me thought we had to have our 171 back before we could mail in our dossier…something you might miss when you didn’t get a dossier walk through call. I’m so excited after talking to another adoption friend with our agency (thank you Angie!) and later with our agency case manager today that we can mail in our dossier without our 171! This was a huge relief and makes me realize we are even closer than I thought to being on the wait list! YAY! We could very well have our dossier in the mail by Frank’s birthday at this rate!

My scheduled mini-sessions have been mostly rained out all week…so I’m actually getting things checked off our dossier list and caught up on session orders—so the rain hasn’t been too terribly bad. Although I have A LOT of reschedules now! If it rains again tomorrow, I may even squeeze in a trip to the Secretary of State for state certification! And my sweet mom decided to come see us on her fall break from school (she teaches kindergarden) on Wednesday and help me throughout the weekend…so I can take a deep breathe…focus on wrapping things up for our dossier and knock out all these rescheduled mini-sessions this weekend (it’s supposed to be beautiful)!!! Wish I could play…but this momma has to work, work, work and save, save, save…and soon enough when our 4th baby comes home I’ll close the doors to my business, fall on my back much like runners do after a comleted race and be 100% momma for awhile! I can’t WAIT!

Running the race with perserverance! I can’t wait to be done with this part of the process and pass the torch to another person considering adoption. To think that my heart was stirred from reading someone’s blog. It’s true! Richard and I were already involved in an orphan ministry but it was a blog and you tube video that grabbed us. To see how adoption changed their family and even their hearts…I can’t wait to grow our family through the journey of adoption…and our hearts are already longing for him more than I ever thought possible.

Are These Kids All Yours? - October 13, 2009 - 9:52 am

Excited that you are getting closer. Hey that 171 page monster isn't so bad. Well….ok it is but you can do it! Glad you are almost done with a lot of other things on your list 🙂 Almost there and I can feel the excitement. From one mama to another- YEAH!!!

milreb - October 13, 2009 - 4:47 pm

Oh yes, the workbook. Don't rush through it if you can help it. The discussion that comes from the questions is really good. There were some chapters that took us 4-5 hours to make our way through! Worth it tho. 🙂 You are making good time!!

Dan and Tara - October 13, 2009 - 8:16 pm

You can do it. Slow and steady wins the race. It's exciting that you are getting closer. I know it can always seem like one more thing – but like you said – perseverance! Enjoy the workbook! Tara

A little pick-me-up…

I got the SWEETEST little goody basket today from one of the SWEETEST people in my life…Mama Judy! Any of you have those people in your life that are like your other momma? This sweet lady started out as one of my photography clients…but she quickly became a dear friend and I endearingly refer to her as Mama Judy…and some times even Mama. I wish I could say I’m the only other daughter she has but I know so many people feel this way about her…and I’m just so thankful to have her in my life. She poors into so many lives…and I wish you could see the way she loves on her children and grandchildren. And to love on me? She has “adopted” me as one of her daughters (she has 3 sons)…and the way she loves on me is such a beautiful picture of how you don’t have to be “blood related” to be “related”. How I love this woman! It’s one of those kindred spirit friendships that makes you feel like you’ve known someone forever. I have often secretly wondered if she is an angel…definitely heaven sent to me. I wish I could tell you more about her…I could go ON and ON…but I was taken back today as I photographed her grandson who brought a basket to his session for me from her…(I flipped as always and said “How does she do it?! She’s just too much! I mean, how many baskets does your precious mom make for people?” And her son…being just like her…responded, “Just you! You’re the only one!” You people are too much! I love how you all love on others…and boy, did this lift my spirits today! Hee…hee…lift my spirits…no pun intended being Halloween;)

The fun basket from Mama Judy…

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This special lady BLOWS me away…one with her creativity…and even more her heart for others. Here she is about to undergo one of the biggest weeks of her life with surgery…and what is she busy doing? Serving others! I must confess that I have been a bit overwhelmed with my “to do” list and not being an emotional person at all…I would say I have become one during this adoption process.
I catch myself reminding myself to breathe…so to have this friend who I SHOULD BE SERVING love on me this week…blew me away. Through Mama Judy I felt God just wrapping His hands around me…and then I sat down and gobbled up some of the things in her basket made with much love and care…
Every Halloween Mama Judy surprises my crew with something…Christmas and other holidays too for that matter. And Nam’s Bits are usually involved. If you’ve never had Nam’s Cookies…oh my goodness…they MELT in your mouth. (Note to Mama Judy: FRANK LOVED THEM! Richard freaked that I gave them to him…but Frank loves his Mama Judy for sending his first cookies! They literally melt in your mouth!)
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And my personal favorite…why can’t you eat just one?
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I wish I could say the bow was still tied and the jar was still full on this one.
Gosh, these things are just good.
That is all I have to say about that.
And as if her basket full couldn’t get any cuter?
She had to put white hot chocolate that turns ORANGE when hot! The kids are gonna love this!
And the coffee mugs?!
(You have GOT to double click on this image below for the full effect!)
And did you happen to see how many “adult mugs” and “kiddie mugs” she thoughtfully put in the basket?
One for Parker, Laney, Frank…and our precious baby we are all dying to have home with us!
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And that “white chocolate cocoa cauldron”?! Too cute and YUM!
Okay…you have to see the cat eyes in the inside of this cute mug…
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Too cute!
Mama Judy…I’ve got the towels already in place…
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And we are set and will be enjoying hot orange cocoa on you tomorrow night!
Thank you so much for always thinking of us and treating us like we were your own!
You have loved me and made me feel so loved!!!
How I thank God for YOU!
Everyone needs a Mama Judy in their life!
Praying for Mama Judy…and if you wouldn’t mind…please say a prayer for Mama on Wednesday morning that God would bring 100% healing and a speedy recovery.
NOW…I need to be thinking what I can do for HER!
Amy - October 11, 2009 - 9:53 pm

That is awesome! What a special lady!

Kim - October 12, 2009 - 1:45 am

Just prayed for your sweet Mama Judy. Loved this precious post and the reminder that we should do more serving of others. The goodie basket is fabulous. You've got me craving candy corn. Haven't seen that yet in Hong Kong.

Are These Kids All Yours? - October 12, 2009 - 3:11 pm

That is so sweet to have a person who just wants to do something for you- just because 🙂

Anonymous - October 15, 2009 - 5:00 pm

What a great halloween treat! I love those mugs, my kiddos would love them. Do you happen to know where Mama Judy got them? Thanks!