We give thanks for Christmas. We celebrate the birth of our Savior who came to set us, wretches and captives, free. We sing our praises to Him and offer all we have and all we are to Jesus, our Redeemer and Friend. Thank you for making a way for us to be adopted into your Father's family and making us sons and daughters of the King.
We give thanks for earthly adoption. As the greater Body, we need God to direct us and guide us, imparting heavenly wisdom to each so that we may know how to come along side Him to support orphans and families called to give orphans forever families. We thank you, Lord, that in this crazy world of international adoption, You are sovereign, and You are mighty to save.
We give thanks for those who hear and heed the voice of God. It's not always audible. In fact, my guess is we rarely "hear" the voice of God, but our minds and our hearts hear Him clearly when we listen in faith...and when He speaks to our souls. I can tell you I have clearly heard God, and I can tell you that it isn't because I'm anyone special or "holier" than the next. He simply had a job for me to do, so He told me to do it.
There are people saying, "What you are doing is so great." Well, great or not, it isn't what I'm doing. It's what God is doing with me, in me, through me, and for me. It's what He needs to do for our Ethiopian sons. He has a purpose for bringing them to the United States and to our family. This is the way things are supposed to be, and though I can tell you that I love those boys with the true love of a Mama's heart, I can tell you in the same breath that they aren't coming home just because of my love or my desire for more children. Really, I didn't wake up one day in my 40's and say, "Wow! I feel like I can start all over with this parenting stuff, and homeschool as many children as I can, and keep up with the sleepless nights, and the vomiting little ones who get the flu every year, and the additional college funds, and the half-dozen more years of braces and retainers. Yeah! I'm ready to go, God! And, by the way, let's make this process really lengthy, really heart-wrenching, really humbling, and really expensive! Woooooo!!! I'm ready, God! Get to it!!" Really? This is hard stuff! It makes no sense, unless you know that it is God and that He will supply all you need and more. That's just who He is. He's a very faithful and generous Daddy! To be disobedient and not follow His lead in faith is just... well. It's just not an option.
We give thanks for the families and individuals who have shared of their time, energy, resources, prayers, and hearts. There are so many of you! I need to list you all, but I'm afraid I might miss someone! If I do, please forgive me, and please know that we are forever in your debt.
To those of you who gave endlessly to make our spaghetti dinner and silent auction an amazing evening of fun and fellowship, including donating food, auction items, and SO much more, and those of you who held us up and supported us financially, spiritually, and emotionally during the Two-Week-Timeline ...
Mom and Dad Lopez, Michele and Kevin Hull, Bart and Dusti Powell and family, Mike and Alisa Zoccoli, Chris Panepinto, John and Debbie Hervey, Kevin and Kathy Lott, Mark and Jennifer Sequeira, Lindsey Ozmon, Angie Kennedy, Chad and Cary Kent, Carlos and Natalie Valiente, Kari and Ruben Moreno, Kirk Pieper, Liz Mews, John and Eli Milan, Lisa Moore, Burton Howell, Stephanie Howard, Christine Heaps, Jeff Wilson, Daniela Virani, Gloria Mendoza, Eva and Jim Cionci, Morgan and Elizabeth Blitz, James and Bethany Pattie, Adam Chandler, Mark and Donna Grady, Eric and Velvet Jones, Scott and Dona Barclay, Tyler and Jennifer Flake, Skip and Normandee Ballingham, Melanie Clardy, Phil and Angie Klein, Andrea McClees and family, Amanda and Robert Hasty, Chris and Karen McCarthy, Scott and Theresa Myers, Matt and Dee Brown, George Lee, Scott Voyda, Darin and Natalie Soll, Rachael Gephardt, Bill and Vickie Frazer, Scott and Lesa Hinkle, The Van Dusen Family, Dr. Shane Blacker (our ortho), The Brown Family in Virginia, Todd Wilson, The FamilyMan!, our church family at Evident Life, and so many other families who donated and supported us from the other side of the country :-) ...
Our Ethiopia Director at the agency - Randi Shetley, for your unending prayer and encouragement - and for knowing that this could be done!
Melissa and Brian Snow - The Snow Bunch, for loving on our boys as they play with your daughters in Ethiopia, and for praying alongside us! Praying that your girls are home SOON! Thank you for inspiring us through your story. :-) God moved your mountain first!
Sara and Jason Gyolai - You know exactly why! :)
Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for our little boys in Africa!