Monday, June 3, 2013

Revival for Adoption!


Hannah Joy is nearly 7 months old now and we are picking up our adoption process again.  To summarize here's where we are:

- Domestic (w/in USA) adoption of an infant (6 months or younger) through Gladney Adoptions based in Ft. Worth

- this baby will not be fully white, we have opted for the African-American or Biracial program

- we have to renew some paperwork (doctor's approvals, new family picture, new references) and once that is in we get to schedule our Home Study!

- wait time after the finalization of the Home Study (probably 4 months from now) is 8-10 months so we could possibly have a new baby in as little as a year!

Continue to pray for us in this process to prepare our hearts for this baby and preparation for our extended family.  Pray for his or her birth mother and father and pray for God's provision in this process.  Can't wait to see all that He does!

I'll be writing updates as we move along on how the process is going, great things we are learning and any adoption resources that we have enjoyed.  Thanks for the love friends and family!

Lindsay and Landon and Hannah

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lessons from the first Trimester

I didn't realize when I started this blog that it would begin as our adoption blog and turn into the place where I recorded thoughts and feelings from my pregnancy.  I continue to be a wild and unweildy fan of the life that God is putting together for me (for more on that reference see here).

I felt as if each trimester had a theme.  The first theme was "fight for joy."

Obviously after experiencing two miscarriages, having a positive pregnancy test doesn't equal excitement and celebration.  There is celebration mixed with an enormous amount of "We'll see."  I will say however, after finding out I was pregnant I had significantly less anxiety than when I found out I was pregnant the second time. 

For the first 12 weeks of this pregnancy almost no one knew we were pregnant.  I was very much hidden in secret like John the Baptist's mom, Elizabeth.  That precious isolation made that first trimester a very personal journey between myself, Jesus and Landon.  Hiddenness and even aloneness can be a blessing.  As I began to pray through daily dealing with pregnancy I had a very sharp sense of daily grace. 

Daily grace from Jesus kept me from worrying about a miscarriage.  Daily grace kept me from planning my future child's life.  Daily grace kept me from overwhelming anxiety every time I went to the doctor.  He kept me from putting my identity in becoming a mother.  I had trouble making plans with people because my heart felt so focused on just today. And although it may have been somewhat inconvenient I learned the beauty in just living in today - being fully in today, just the glorious right now.  There was incredible freedom in not being chained to the past (assuming miscarriage was inevitable) and tied to an unknown future. 

I don't know if these two concepts go hand in hand but they came coupled for me.  As I began to focus on just one day at a time - I began to think of all the things that made today incredible.  I began to practice graditude.  I started thanking God for all the things I have today: my health, my husband, my job, my friends, my family and more ultimately, the fullness of Christ always accessible.  As I cultivated this practice of thanking God for the daily manna He provided something extremely important happened: I learned the importance of graditude.

It even feels small when I type it but I wish I could articulate how this has revolutionized me.  The more I practiced thanking God, most of the time audibly for the daily provision of my life, my faith became razor sharp.  Thankfulness became more than a good attitude or positive outlook - it became a weapon of warfare.  I preached to my soul daily about the greatness of God offered to me in Christ who is the source of all wisdom, knowledge, satisfaction and joy.  I thanked God for moments with my husband that I may have not cherished before.  I thanked God for another day to live, be a witness to His character and yes, even another day to be pregnant with a baby I didn't know that I would ever get to meet.

Graditude is powerful because it saved my soul from a thousand other ills and entanglements like fear, anxiety, bitterness, despair and faithlessness.  I so sensed the Spirit confirming this work and speaking to my soul saying "Fight for joy Lindsay, fight for graditude!"  I remember telling a friend on the phone (one of 3 who knew I was pregnant) "I feel like fighting for joy is so important right now.  It feels so urgent as if God was telling me that eternity is at stake!"  It really felt that serious to me.  Daily I felt the Spirit remind me to take up graditude and fight to have joy in every moment even though I had no idea what the future would hold.

I am so glad for this 3 month season.  With confidence I felt like that band of brothers who faced the firey furnace saying "Our God is able to deliver us from this fire, O king but even if He didn't, we would still never bow down to you."  The miracle that happened in my soul is that even if this little child in my womb didn't live - I believed that Christ would be all sufficient in that moment and would heal even another loss - death itself lost its sting.

At my 12 week appointment we were scheduled for an ultrasound.  My last two previous 12 week appointments with an ultrasound tech proved to be very painful.  I was very preoccupied that day to say the least.  I spent the morning preaching to my trembling soul to take up Christ as my all, as the fountain of never ending joy and sufficiency and as my constant friend.  I went to that ultrasound in a tearful but confident state and what happened at that appointment changed me forever and hurled me into my second trimester and it's lesson: celebrate.

At 12 weeks baby Hannah was virtually a boxer.  I got to see her tiny, skinny frame kicking, punching rolling and living in my womb.  Oh what a redemption and follow up to my other ultrasounds!  Those pictures and videos are Ebenezer stones to me.

So, trimester 1: Fight for joy!  It continues to teach me today. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Ok, at this point I am wondering whether or not I should even post this but for the sake of some continuity on this blog...I have to at least update this saga of adoption.

Most, ok, everyone now knows I am pregnant and we are due in November. (If this is news to you, I am so sorry). No, this was not planned, yes, this is a surprise and yes, the timing is just that hilarious. So, let me share how this all happened (ok, not how I got pregnant because we all know that...)

We did go to a wonderful adoption orientation in Fort Worth in February of this year. It filled our hearts with confidence and excitement. I filled out that application binder (yes, BINDER) and all its releases, forms, surveys and everything else in about 10 days. We even sent the binder off with a big check (GULP) and I followed up to make sure someone signed for that package because I literally felt I was mailing off my baby.

About a week later I had a dream. I dreamed I was pregnant. I saw flashes of different points in my pregnancy, I saw myself in labor and I saw Landon and I with a baby girl. My heart was very distant from her in the dream because I was so afraid of losing her. I spent a week distant from that little girl (I don't know what the significance of a week is but I distincly remember a week) and then something in my heart broke as I watched Landon love this little girl with his whole heart. My heart was turned within me and I just gushed love for her and I regretted the distance I put between us because of fear.

So, my dream ended with me holding her and enjoying having her in my arms. I woke up the next morning thinking that God was telling me one of two things: one, don't entirely give up on having biological children and don't cut your heart off from that possibility (that's what I thought mostly) or two, you're pregnant, don't be distant.

Turns out the second of those two messages was right on and we're even having a girl!

But before I knew my dream would literally come true I had another 4 days of waiting...that tension filled, pretending not to be preoccupied, counting down the hours waiting that happens when you want to take a pregnancy test. That is a unique waiting. 6:30 am on a Friday I took the test and saw that shocking second line and I laughed and proceeded to abruptly wake my husband up.

And we were pregnant. And we took yet another unexpected turn in this journey.

I'll share some posts later about what God taught me at the beginning of this pregnancy and how He has moved in the last 8 months but for now you have the official pregnancy story. Also, all posts on this blog after about February 20th were all done while I knew I was pregnant but hiding it - sorry for the secrecy, I hope no one feels cheated ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just some thoughts

No news for our adoption, just wanted to write down some things I've been thinking about in the last few weeks.

I don't remember when I realized this but there was a moment when I realized that when a baby comes into a home, biologically or by adoption, another birth takes place - parents are born. And like babies, parents grow, change, fail, learn and mature. (This was my main reason for wanting to adopt an infant, I am also an infant parent). This thought has scared and thrilled me all at the same time. So, I have begun to pray that God would prepare Landon and I for parenting with just the right amount of help, tips, books, sermons, friends and whatever else God feels is neccessary.

A similar process happened for me just before we got married. I felt through random timings of certain books, Bible studies, mentors, coffee dates, conversations and prayers - I accumulated a foundation and framework for biblical marriage. I felt I knew what to fight for, what to work towards, what to reject and what to embrace. These things helped us navigate engagement and the first few years of marriage. Having a framework felt more helpful than rules because we all know - a rule is one thing until you have to actually live it out! I really believe God gave me the correct tools that I could enter into marriage knowing I have the right tools and now it will just take time and grace to figure out how to use them.

So, I am praying for the same thing in parenting. What foundation and framework do I work towards. What thoughts, attitudes and cultural expectations should I reject and what ones are worth while? I don't feel as though I've accumulated enough but I will share the things that I think are coming together:

1. Fight the good fight to love and enjoy your children daily. The scripture clearly calls them a blessing (not that they are not difficult at times). The attitude that children are endured, life-ending, life-sucking and a pain is not from God and should be opposed.

2. Approach them as individuals. They are not spitting images of me or Landon - they are their own person. They are not exactly like anyone - they are a mixed jumble of many things that will make them - them. So in discipline, love, education, entertainment and others - each child will have different needs so approach them this way.

3. Never stop learning about them. This kind of goes with the previous one but I wanted to separate it. It's important I not assume I know my kids through and through - I want to remember to ask them questions about themselves, what their interests have been lately, what God is doing right now. I find this will be important as we approach pre teen and teen years.

4. Apologize freely. Parents must be the model of conflict resolution in humility, apology and forgiveness. (Somebody has to be the adult in the house, right?)

5. Laugh abundantly. Joke, laugh, roar and be a little nuts!! I can't wait for this!

6. Make the scripcture, prayer and a relationship with Jesus approachable and talkable.

This is what I have so far. I'm excited to learn the rest and see what God gives us to prep us.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Update - But basically more of the same :)

I feel scared sometimes to use the word "Update" because although it's technically an update, there isn't really anything new happening but I have wonderful family and friends who love to pray for us so, here's what's up.

All our paperwork is in (like I said on the last post) but lots of things have to be done to that paperwork. All of our income/ tax information has to be double checked by the State Comptroller. Our residence, employment, and other history has to be verified. From our paperwork they have to create a electronic file and enter us into their database. So, as you can see they are very busy up there at Gladney with us. I am just glad the ball is out of our hands right now.

Currently we are waiting to hear from our assigned Caseworker. We do not know who he or she is yet but we're excited to hear from them. They will call us and schedule a time for us to first come and do an interview at their offices in Fort Worth and then secondly schedule a time for the caseworker to come to our house and check it out. After all that is done they have to compile an official "Homestudy" and submit it to the state for approval. That usually takes a few weeks to go from compiling to approval. (Also, after official approval we pay another 25% - $3,725) But the exciting thing is after approval - the next step is to create our profile for birth moms to look at and start getting in the adoptive parent pool!

So, we are waiting. That is the name of the adoption game, waiting. My good friend Casi teaches her youth group girls that if you can get really good at patiently waiting on God in your life then you will save yourself from many spiritual ills and gain lots of spiritual maturity - oh how she is right.

Here's how you can pray for us:

1. That the God of Hope would fill us with joy and peace as we trust in Him (Romans 15:13). Pray for our joyful, grateful and patient waiting as God pulls together this crazy ride we're on.

2. Pray that our caseworker would be a great match who will have lots of wisdom on this process that hopefully he or she can pass on to us!

3. Pray that God would continue to prepare our hearts for parenthood and for the unique way that God is creating our family.

4. Pray that this story would continue to encourage the faith of others and this would glorify God and show people Jesus.

5. Pray, as always that Christ would be supreme and paramount and that Landon and I would keep our eyes on Jesus and continue to selflessly love and serve one another.

Thank you everyone for your prayers! We are grateful that you are sharing this journey with us and we hope that you find yourself encouraged.

And ok, this story is going to make this post long but maybe you who are reading this have time today to think about something that God encouraged me with this week :)

First, gardening has so many parallels to the spiritual world - you should at least try having one plant - anyway...

We had this knock out rose bush in our front yard. It did great last season but it grew a little weird. I had about 5 or 6 really long branches growing up and it seemed thin and wirey. And so I trimmed the heck out of it during winter. My hope was that it would come back stronger than ever...well, it looked terrible for a long time.

It got to a point where Landon and I thought I killed that poor thing. It didn't bud or bloom, it didn't grow, and it started to turn yellow. I was so bummed. Spring came and we added soil, added fertilizer and did not prune anything and look what happened!!

It came back bigger than ever. I have counted upwards of 40 buds on this bush. I was reminded of Jesus: "And every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it may bear more fruit." John 15:2. Pruning can be a very terrible, painful and scary reduction of ourselves. It can seem at times we will never make it back to a fruitful and joyful place in our lives again. However, unlike me, God is master gardener, perfectly pruning our hearts into fruitfulness, always knowing how much is too much.

Today may you trust that Master Gardener of your heart and trust what He cuts off knowing He does it with passionate, firey love for you.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weekly Update and Prayer Requests

I heard a song on the radio the other day that I normally don't enjoy all that much. Nothing personal, just not my thing - sounds like a teenaged love song with premature and untested promises (ironically though I started dating my husband at 17, I'm full of double standards). As I blocked the song out a line from it hit me straight in the heart "One step closer." Without even paying attention all of a sudden this silly song had me choked up over adoption and children rather than a man and I resented it slightly.

It's true, every day we are closer to having a child (or children, who knows?!). So, every piece of paperwork we complete, every form that is turned in and every phone call I have to make to check up on this makes us just that much closer (dang song).

Here's where we are in our steps right now. The only bits of paperwork left are a form that says we've been fingerprinted by the FBI (whoa, big guns here) and a proof of insurance from our insurance carrier. Once those are received this initial application paperwork is complete! And our file is reviewed and handed to a case worker. The caseworker will call us and start talking dates for a homestudy. Those dates are dependent on how busy the caseworker's schedule is. Small steps, closer every day.

In other fun news we started working on the baby room. This room was a guest/office/put all the weird junk in our house room but we've cleared it out and received a cute crib and dresser from friends and family.

And we've been looking at paint colors - a wonderful activity that sometimes I just like to do even if I don't have to paint!

If you don't know me that well, one tidbit of information about me is I like color, lots of color, bright color, bold color and all of it together! Now, I will try to avoid a color scheme that would make our poor child have seizures but trust me this room will be fun!!

This has been a fun week, paint colors, putting together a crib, talking about baby names. It feels more real than a few months ago but still very theorhetical.

Prayer for this week:
1. Pray again that Christ would be our central hope, focus and joy above all else.

2. Pray that we would still be able to live in today, entrust to God what we have today and not take on worries of tomorrow.

3. Pray for the continued transformation of our hearts into parents that reflect the image of God the Father.

4. To enjoy and be grateful for each step and moment we have right now.

Thank you to everyone who keeps up with us, prays for us and loves us. We could not do this without the support of our friends and family. We are one step closer!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Prayer Requests for this Week

Hey Friends and Family!

Just wanted to share some of our prayer requests for this week. Thank you to everyone who keeps telling us "Keep us updated!" and "How can we pray for you?". I'm hoping to keep this updated pretty regularly so some of you can know specifically how to pray and know how we're doing so keep checking back.

1. First many thanks because the application is done. All of the paperwork on our end is finished! So, let's all just thank Jesus for the energy we had to finish that sucker!

2. That God would continue to teach us about the needs this child will have and how we can effectively meet those needs. This includes issues like attaching to us, the nature of his or her relationship to birth parents, raising a child who will probably be a different ethnicity, etc.

3. That we would find a great home for Lily! We haven't officially posted her anywhere yet but will begin to check that out soon so please continue to pray for a great family for her.

4. That Jesus would remain our first and greatest desire and that He would be glorified in us, this situation and all the circumstances we'll be encountering.

5. Pray for the birthmom and dad. We don't know who they are or if they're even considering adoption right now but someday we will meet them so pray for them because this is very hard for them too.

That's it for now. Thank you again for the prayers and support! Can't wait to see more and more what God is doing!

~Lindsay and Landon