Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yesterday's Oprah Show

Yesterday's Oprah show was titled "Fascinating Families." The middle segment of the show featured families from Matthews, NC who had adopted teenagers from Liberia. I had been anticipating this show for awhile, and invited two of my friends over to watch it with me. I'm embarrassed to admit that I cried through the whole segment.

I guess my heart has been in Liberia so much lately. When I first began researching adoption and specifically adoption through Liberia, I read a lot of stories about those families in North Carolina. I had been a fan of Proverbs 31 Ministries for awhile (The lady featured on the show, Lysa, is the president of this ministry) and I would go to their website often and look at the TerKeurst family picture and just pray that someday our family would look like that. Now that we are actually in the process of adoption, seeing that show just reminded me of all God has done for our family. I love how He works.

One of the greatest blessings that I have received from this adoption process so far is seeing the power of prayer. I honestly did not think that Pat's heart would ever be open to adoption. He tells the story himself about how he experienced a "miraculous heart change." His initial reaction to adoption was as he puts it "not just 'no' but 'HECK no!'" Today, he and I are equally in love with our son and are convinced of God's call on our life to adopt from Liberia. God told me to be quiet and pray and let him work, so I did and he faithfully worked for me in Pat's heart. My bible study leader shared a quote one time and I'm going to butcher it right now and I don't know who said it, but it was something like "It is possible to move the heart of man by prayer alone." After watching the miraculous change in Pat's desires, I am convinced that this is true. Watching Oprah yesterday, brought me back to that place where I thought that this was never going to happen and I had just set myself up for more disappointment. Now it is happening and I am so thankful to be able to follow in the footsteps of those faithful families in North Carolina who opened their hearts and homes to the beautiful children of Liberia.

(By the way, I have a link to Proverbs 31 Ministries on the right hand side of this page. I love their daily devotions)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Adoption Details, Finances, Timeline, and Our Guestbook

Pat and I were talking about how it would be helpful to others considering adopting from Liberia if we included details about our costs and timeline on this blog. I added a list of the expenses we have had already, what we expect to pay later, and our best guess timeline. It is on the right hand side of this page. I read a lot of adoption blogs when we were considering adoption, so I hope this is helpful to anyone who stumbles on this site.

I also added a request that people take the time to sign our guestbook. It would be fun for us to know who's reading the blog.

Thank you for your continued interest in our family.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Phew......It's over : )

I just wanted to make a quick post to say that our home visit went very well today. I am so thankful for everyone's prayers. It was peaceful and nice and the three hours flew by. I must say I am completely drained now that it is over. Our caseworker said that she should have our homestudy completed within two weeks. When we have the homestudy in hand, we'll submit it to Acres of Hope and to INS, then we wait for our approval from INS and a referral from Acres of Hope. I'm totally guessing here, but I think we should have a picture to share with you within about three months. Hopefully sooner!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Eyes Wide Open

Pat and I are working on completing some curriculum called "Eyes Wide Open" that our adoption agency requires for the home study. It is a book that helps prepare parents for international adoption. There are some things and questions that aren't applicable to our adoption, but for the most part, it has opened my eyes to some of the things that our son will experience in his transition from Liberia to home. I find myself listening to noises around the house thinking, "Will that be a strange sound for him?" The washing machine, the military jets flying overhead, the microwave timer, the doorbell. Right now the radio is on and the girls are playing a toy that has Cinderella's voice saying over and over again, "What a terrific gown! It will be just perfect for the ball!" I consider our home pretty quiet and peaceful, but I wonder how overstimulating it will be and how different the sights and sounds and smells will be to our new son when he first comes home.

Pat downloaded some Liberian music from the Internet and a Liberian cookbook. We plan on trying our hand at some traditional Liberian cooking. We just want to get a feel for what life is like for our son as much as possible before he comes home.

It is amazing to me to think about how scary the transition will be for him. I'm not sure what his age will be, but in my mind I imagine him to be between 1 1/2 - three years old. I am reading a book called "After the Dream Comes True" by Michelle Gardner. Last night this is what I read:

Adopting a child between eighteen and thirty-six months of age may be the most challenging of all adoptions. These little ones have hopefully bonded with their caregivers, whether that is a foster mother, birth mother, or orphanage worker, and feel a tremendous loss when they leave their familiar environment.
In addition, they are too young to understand why they are leaving. When children are four or older someone can explain to them that they are going to have a new family. The child won't understand all that is involved, but at least can participate in good-byes. To a toddler, the whole experience is usually very overwhelming and he may seem very sad for some time.

Please pray that our son will heal from these losses and that we will be able to help him through the scary transition.

Last night, our good friend, Daiquiri, came over to deliver the reference letter she had written for our dossier. The letter she had written was so full of love for us and our family. I was overcome with gratitude for the family and friends that God has blessed us with. It reminded me of one of the questions on the "Eyes Wide Open" curriculum that I had just answered. It asked "what benefits will your child receive by joining your family?" I wrote a lot of answers like love, stability, exposure to the Bible and the truth of God's love for him, having his physical needs met, and becoming a part of a forever family and being our son and enjoying all of the benefits that entails. One answer that really stood out to me, though, was when I wrote "an amazing extended family" and "a strong support system of incredible friends." I was reminded once again of how blessed we are by relationships. Our family and friends truly are "amazing" and "incredible" and I'm so thankful that our son will benefit from these wonderful people that God has brought into our lives.

Current Prayer Requests:
1. Pray for our home visit on Friday afternoon. This will be the final step of our home study. Our case worker will be here for about three hours interviewing us and seeing our home. Please pray that the home study process will be complete without a hitch. I pray that we will have good communication and that she will see how much we genuinely love our son and want to be good parents to him.
2. Pray that we will be able to get our dossier put together quickly so it can be mailed as soon as our home study is done.
3. Pray for our son. We don't know his name, but God does. The bible says that He knows the number of hairs on our son's head and knows him by name. Please pray that he will be safe and that his needs will be met.

Thank you!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Weaver

The Weaver by Benjamin Malacia Franklin
(Originally titled, "Just a Weaver")

"My life is just a weaving
Between my Lord and me.
I cannot change the color
For He works most steadily.

Oft times He weaves the sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Until the loom is silent
And the shuttle cease to fly,
Will God roll back the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the skillful Weaver's Hand
As the golden threads of silver
He has patterned in His Plan."

The lady who runs the adoption ministry at our church sent this poem out over email this morning. I loved it. I have seen so clearly over the last two years, how sorrow has been part of God's plan for me, and that I can trust Him with the weaving of my own personal tapestry.

I can also trust him for the specifics of our adoption. I keep forgetting that He has already hand selected the son for our family. I keep panicking that we should have filled out our application differently so that he isn't older than Amy or I worry that if we decide against adopting siblings, that we'll miss out on someone who is meant to be a part of our family.

Again and again, I am reminded of Psalm 32:8. I better just memorize it. It is quickly becoming my theme verse for this phase of our adoption. Here is an excerpt from yesterday's entry in my prayer journal:

Lately, I keep worrying about how we should have put an age range of 0-3 on our application instead of 0-4, and worrying over the decision to adopt one or two. I give you my anxiety. I cast it on to You because Your Word says that You care for me and my anxiety. I claim Psalm 38:2 this morning as Your promise to me: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. -Psalm 32:8
I keep forgetting that You are the One who started this process and You will be the One to complete it. I don’t need to worry because You will instruct us and teach us in the way we should go. You will show us the one or the two that You have picked out. I submit to You. Please show whoever makes the matching decisions whom You’ve selected to be our son or our sons. I don’t know, but You do and You know best. You know him, You know us, and You know how best to match us. Please forgive me for my lack of faith and trust. I can’t wait to see who he is.

I feel so much more peaceful now. I think Pat and I are both feeling that the wisest thing for our first adoption is to adopt only one right now. We've prayed and prayed, and I think we are both seeing the adoption of one little boy as the right thing for our family. I felt guilty, because I know the need for adopting siblings is great, and I also thought that that decision would be the most noble. I am learning that God has a unique plan for our family and we need to follow that, not what we think looks the best, or what we "should" do, but what God leads us to do. I want to be in the center of His will. Maybe He will tell us differently as the process moves closer to completion, but for now I am going to focus on preparing for one little boy.

Have I said that I'm so excited yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007


Today there was an excellent devotion sent out on my yahoo group. It was on the delays that God allows in our lives. I will paste it to the bottom of this post.

As I read the devotion, the word preparation popped into my mind. I'm always so impatient, but I have been thinking about how much God has used the delay to give me another child for His glory and for my benefit.

Two years ago, I prayed that God would give me an effective ministry. I had just started helping out with Women's Ministry at our church and I hoped that God would continue to use me there and maybe allow me to lead my own bible study. Three days after I prayed that prayer, I went in for my five month ultrasound and found out that our baby boy's heart had stopped beating. Following that loss, we lost three more babies in a row. I had lived such a protected and happy life, I had never felt pain like that in my life.

I've been amazed at how God has used that pain to make me more compassionate, empathetic, and able to minister to other women who are hurting. Prior to those losses, I could care but I didn't really know what it felt like to hurt. I also hadn't had the privilege of knowing what it is like to have God's comfort and love poured on you when you are in such pain. I know that He will continue to use that pain to bring good things. One beautiful outcome has been the expanding of our hearts to want to adopt.

I have fallen so in love with our new son, whoever he is. I am so thankful that God has made me wait for him. And now, as I continue to wait, I know that God will use the waiting to make me ready. I don't know what kind of emotional scars our son will have because of his own personal losses, but I believe that my own experience with loss will allow me to understand and recognize signs of loss in him that will be beneficial to his healing. I want so much to be a good mom to him and to be ready for him. As much as I hate to wait, I know that the time will allow me to read a lot, learn from other's experiences, and to pray a lot for the preparation of our whole family to love this new little one. I've already seen how as each day passes, he is becoming less of an idea and feeling more like the real person that he is. I see it a lot like pregnancy. At the pregnancy test, your baby feels like an idea. The more time passes, he becomes more and more real until you think you will die if you can't see him and hold him RIGHT NOW!!!!
I have so much to learn and get ready. I have a feeling that this year is going to fly.

My Little Liberian Boy....As I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee and doing my morning devotions, I imagine that you are eating your dinner. I hope that you are getting enough to eat. I hope that you will have a blessed sleep with happy, sweet dreams. Your family is getting ready for you. Love, Mommy

Here is the devotion on delays that I spoke about:
God-Inspired Delays
TGIF Today God Is First, by Os Hillman

Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days. - John 11:6 Delays in our life are not always easy to handle or to reconcile in our minds. Often, when God does not answer our prayers in the time that we feel He should, we appoint all sorts of characteristics to God's nature that imply He does not care. Such was the case with Lazarus' sisters when Lazarus became ill and died. Jesus was a close friend to Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. (Mary, you may recall, was the woman who came and poured perfume on Jesus' feet.) When Jesus arrived two days later, Martha shamed Him by saying, "If You had come he would not have died." She implied that He didn't care enough to come when sent for. It was a matter of priorities for Jesus, not lack of love. God often has to delay His work in us in order to accomplish something for His purposes that can be achieved only in the delay. Jesus had to let Lazarus die in order for the miracle that was about to take place to have its full effect. If Jesus had simply healed a sick man, the impact of the miracle would not have been as newsworthy as resurrecting a man who had been dead for four days. This is Jesus' greatest "public relations act" of His whole ministry.
What many do not realize is that the key to the whole story is in the next chapter.Many people, because they had heard that He had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet Him. So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him!" (John 12:18-19)If Jesus had not raised Lazarus from the dead, there would have been no crowds to cheer the Lord when He came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
God often sets the stage so that His glory is revealed through the events that He orchestrates. He did this with Moses and Pharaoh, allowing delay after delay for release of the Israelites from Egypt. He did this with Abraham and Sarah for the promised child, Isaac. God granted Sarah a baby past the age of childbearing in order to demonstrate His power. God did this in my own life. He delayed the fulfillment of what I believed He called me to do for several years. But the delays provided the necessary preparation and greater glory that God was to receive. My friend, don't take the delays lightly. Do not faint as God places you in what seems to be a holding pattern. God is at work. God knows the purposes for His delays. Don't give up, for they are for His greater glory; so we need to remain faithful.

In response to this devotion, one of the moms said this, "He has shown me again and again a glimpse of what He went through to call us His adopted sons and daughters. He waited 18 years for me to surrender my life to Him. A few extra weeks of waiting is nothing compared to that." I thought this was a beautiful reminder of how adoption on earth reflects God's adoption of us.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Somewhere Out There

I can't wait until I can pray for my son by name. I don't want him to be a stranger any longer. I don't want to guess how old he is or imagine what he looks like. I want to know him. I will truly be able to tell him someday that I loved him before I knew him.

This poem was shared today on the yahoo group:

(by Naomi Shihab Nye)

"Once by mistake
she tore a map
in half.
She taped it back,
but crookedly.
Now all the roads
ended in water.
There were mountains
right next to her hometown.
Wouldn't that be nice
if it were true?
I'd tear a map
and be right next
to you."

My friend, Daiquiri, told me the other day that she was looking at the moon and thought, "Becky's boys are under that same moon." It made me feel like Liberia was a lot closer.

It reminds me of that sweet song that the little mouse, Fievel, sang on the old movie "An American Tale" when he was separated from his family:

"Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight
Somewhere out there someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star
And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there if love can see us through
Then we'll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star
And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there if love can see us through
Then we'll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true"
(written by James Horner, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)

My little Liberian boy, I am here thinking about you and loving you and saying a prayer for you. I know that the One who is love will see us through and bring us together. I pray that you have a safe and joyful day today. I can't watch over you and protect you right now, but I know that God never sleeps and that His eyes are on you and that He knows you by name and will watch over you and protect you for me. He has a future and a hope for you and for our family.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I am finding that I am addicted to my yahoo groups. Throughout the day, I receive emails of families who have adopted from Acres of Hope. It is fascinating to read their emails and questions and to learn from their discussions. Most of all, I love looking at their family photo albums. I have been trying to imagine what our family will look like in a year from now. I am going to need to cut myself off a little or I will never get caught up in my housework. : ) (Hi, my name is Becky and I am a yahoo-group-aholic....)

One of the things that I have learned from reading these emails is that the passport situation in Liberia is very delayed because of a change in government. It sounds like the newly elected president and her administration are not corrupt and the change has brought hope to many for the future of Liberia. However, with transition comes chaos and delays. Many of the families in my yahoo groups have been waiting for months and months for their adopted children to receive passports. They can't bring them home until they receive their passport. Right now things are beginning to move again in the passport department, but there is still an estimated wait of 2-3 months. Once a family has a referral of their new child, they wait approximately 4-5 months for that adoption to be complete in Liberia. Once the adoption is complete, the child is officially their child. It is heart-wrenching for these families to know that their adoption is complete and then to wait and wait without a clear picture of how long it will take to get the passport and their children home.

Please pray for the passport situation. I am truly hoping that it will speed up before we get to that point in the process, but right now I just hurt for the families that want so much to have their son or daughter home. One lady in my yahoo group said that she has felt like she's been "in labor" for four months.

I am quickly learning that I will need an extra measure of patience for this process. I am still holding out hope that we will have our son home before Christmas. That would definitely be the "fast track" but I am still hoping and seeing that as my "due date."

Our first major hurdle will be getting the home study done. Please pray that that goes smoothly. Our home visit is scheduled for January 26th at 1:15. Please pray for us on that day so I will be peaceful and not a nervous wreck.

Blowing kisses to my little one who is half way across the world.....

Monday, January 15, 2007

Easy Ways to Stay Up to Date on our Adoption Progress

I've tried to set up some easy ways to keep our loved ones up to date on our adoption process. Here are some of the ways you can follow what's going on with us:

Yahoo Group
I have set up a yahoo group that will allow me to send emails to everyone who joins whenever we have exciting news to share. I tried to send out personal invitations, but for some reason some people received the invitations and others didn't. If you did not receive an invitation, and would like to join that email group, please let me know.

Emails of New Blog Content:
This blog will be my online journal of our adoption process. If you are interested in how things are going (or just how I'm thinking/feeling....) please check this blog often, as I hope to update often with new thoughts, updates, and pictures. You can sign up on the right hand side of this page to have emails sent to you every time I add new content to this site. That is an easy way to know when something has changed on this website instead of having to check often. I think the emails will come in plain text and won't be as pretty as the actual site, but you'll be able to keep up on what's happening.

Map of Liberia
Don't feel bad if you have thought, "Where in the world is Liberia?" I have added a map of Liberia to the bottom of this blog.

Thank you for caring. I think this is such an exciting thing we are embarking on, and having so many wonderful people going through it with us, makes it even more special. It is also nice to be able to share prayer requests.

Good day, sweetheart (s)....As I am going to bed, day is breaking there in Liberia. You are in my heart and constantly on my mind. I pray that you will have a safe and joyful day. I pray that God will speak to your heart of His great love for you and assure you that you will not be lonely for long. We are your forever family and long to bring you home.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


"Oh, how happy is the woman who believes in God, for he does make his promises to her come true." – Luke 1:45

I thought that once the process was started, I would be able to be patient. I'm finding each day that I am more and more impatient, especially for information. I am impatient to know who my child is. I want to know the answers to all of my questions. Who is he (or who are they)? What do they look like? Are they a baby, a toddler, a preschooler? Are they afraid? Are they hungry? Are they lonely? Are they in danger? What is their day to day life like?

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. -Psalm 37:7

Part of my questions lie in the fact that we do not know the specifics of our adoption yet. We said that we were open to a boy or possibly siblings, 0-4 years old. We purposely left it wide open, and left it to God to lead us. I have always been impatient to know God's will. I learned a valuable lesson from the book, Knowing God, a few years back. It talks about how we are always asking God what his will is. His response to us is, "You know my will. The Bible explains my will. What You want to know is my plan. Now that You need to leave to me!" (This is a paraphrase, not a quote from Knowing God) I am trusting that when it is time to make decisions about the number of children we will adopt and their ages it will be clear.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. -Psalm 32:8

Every morning, I go to a website called "Our Daily Bread" to read their daily devotion. (I added a link to this site on the right side of this page) I really enjoyed this devotion on waiting and think it is appropriate now:

"Author Henri Nouwen has observed that the first pages of Luke’s gospel are filled with people who were waiting: Zacharias and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna were all waiting for the fulfillment of a promise from God. But instead of passively waiting, they were actively looking to the Lord each day, what Nouwen calls being “present to the moment.”
Simeon, for example, was controlled not by hopelessness but by the Spirit who prompted him to go into the temple. His words of praise when he saw the child Jesus, the promised Messiah, resound as an example of patient hope in God: “My eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32).
Many of us find ourselves waiting on God for an answer to a prayer or the fulfillment of a promise. His word comes to us, just as it did to those who were swept up in the events that marked the first Christmas: “Do not be afraid, Zacharias” (1:13); “Do not be afraid, Mary” (1:30); “Do not be afraid, [shepherds]” (2:10).
As we listen to God in His Word and obey Him, we’ll discover His goodness and power as we wait. —David C. McCasland
Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest; Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. —Crosby

Time spent “waiting on God” is never wasted."

Good night! I am going to bed. It amazes me that as I go off to bed, my precious son is about to wake up. I pray that he has a blessed day.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our Journey Begins

Every Call Has A Beginning:

"Every call has a beginning…
A quiet moment when God whispers a promise to a mother’s heart
A holy place where a father bows and faithfully accepts the journey set before him.
A miraculous morning that unexpectedly dawns…Casting its first light on a chosen threshold.A gentle knock… a closed door opens.
A sacred invitation sent by the Father…Leads to the other side of the world.
Where lonely hearts stare out orphanage windows
Praying for someone to care.
And then one morning…On an ordinary day
An orphan’s life changes…God sends them a second chance…
Through you."
(From All God's Children International)

This is where our family's new journey begins. We have been through so much heartache and loss over the last few years. I am so excited that God has begun the process of turning our wailing into dancing and giving us beauty for ashes.

It is amazing how he has placed this idea in our hearts. We do not see the adoption as replacing our lost babies, but as a new dream. I find it so special and such a privilege to be embarking on this journey. God closed one door, but has sent us a "sacred invitation" and is "leading us to the other side of the world"- Liberia, West Africa.

I've always wondered when people choose to adopt internationally, how they know which country they should adopt from, or how they choose from the 143 million orphans in the world? I know now the answer is that God tells them. It is strange for me to think through the sequence of events that allowed me to "stumble" upon the Acres of Hope website, but once I was there, I knew. Pat mentioned the other day that when he was surfing the net, curiosity led him to check out other countries. He said that he had a strong emotional response that said, "No! This is not it," but when he looked at the pictures on the Liberian websites, he knew that this was where God was calling us. I was so thankful for the confirmation. Right now the specifics are fuzzy, but we know for sure that God has clearly said "Liberia!" and He has directed us to the orphanage, Acres of Hope.

Here is a brief summary (believe me, you don't want the detailed version)of where we are at in the process and what we still need to do before the adoption will be complete:

1. We are in the middle of the home study process. Hopefully, this will be done by the end of January.
2. After we complete the home study, we will need to submit it to the US Immigration Service and wait for their approval.
3. Once we are approved, we will gather all of the documents necessary for what is called our dossier. We will then send our home study and our dossier to Acres of Hope and wait for a referral.
4. Hopefully soon we will be given and accept a referral of our child/children. I can't wait to have pictures to post!!!

I'll wait to explain the rest of the process from there. I am just focused on knowing them by name and seeing their face. I am so thankful that whoever he or they are, God knows them by name and is even more concerned for their well being then we are.

Matthew 10: 29-30 NLT
What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Here are our current prayer requests:

1. Please pray that God would give us great wisdom in all of the decision making that lies ahead. We are torn on whether or not he is calling us to adopt one boy or a sibling group. We want to be in the center of His will regarding all of this, so we pray that He will direct us to the child or children He has selected to be a part of our family.

2. Pray for the process that it will go smoothly and that there will not be any hang-ups.

3. Pray that we would be patient. When I was tucking Amy in the other day, she asked me if we could go get our brothers tomorrow. Waiting a year or more will be tough on all of us. I pray that we will use the time to truly prepare as a family.

4. Pray for our new son or sons. Pray that God's hand of protection would be on them and that they would be comforted where they hurt. Pray that their needs would be met. I pray that God would give them the knowledge that He has a future and a hope for them, and that He loves them, and has a family ready and waiting to love them, too.

We are so thankful for your love and prayers, and your interest in our family. We are so blessed by the incredible relationships that God has given us.