Sunday, January 23, 2011

To answer your question....

Why are we adopting again? I know that many are asking that question because many have actually asked us .... WHICH I LOVE! I love having the chance to tell about God's heart and his story of redemption! Don't stop asking!

However, for the sake of time, I thought I would finally address the question here on the blog. And the reason I chose today, is because today is "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday". John Piper said something at one point about this issue that really resonated with my heart. I can't quote him exactly, because I can't find the quote. But the idea was this: To be pro-life is to be pro-adoption. Basically, supporting adoption is supporting life. For some reason, an orphan is an orphan because their mom or dad couldn't keep them, didn't want to keep them, or passed away. Whatever the reason they are an orphan, their mom chose life....and now she needs help honoring that choice. Sadly, the life an orphan lives isn't really much of a life. And for anyone who cares anything about social justice issues .... I read a marvelous quote today: "The right to life is the most basic of social justice issues."

So no, I'm not here to talk about abortion. I'm not here to talk about social justice issues. That one little paragraph was sufficient for that. I'm here to talk about why Aaron and I are heading down the path of adoption once again.

Well of course, the answer is because having four kids has grown boring. We need something to do with our time! Um. No. I must admit, I'm way more fearful this time than I was the first time we adopted. Five kids sounds insane to me. It sounds really, really hard. Every now and then I cry out to God telling him that he's got the wrong mom. I'm selfish. I'm tired. I'm not very nice, or patient, or loving, or fun, or any of those other things that moms are supposed to be. Yet He tells me I'm wrong because of who he is. He tells me that HE is enough for me. HE will equip me to be a mom of ... yes .... FIVE!

So long story long. Every agency has what's called a "Waiting Child List". Basically, it's a photo listing of children they have in their care who are waiting to be adopted, and not high on people's list for adopting. See, a lot of people adopt healthy infants. There's nothing wrong with this. We did this. (Okay, so, maybe minus the healthy part... but comparatively, even Malachi was healthy when looking at some of these waiting kids.) I would look at these lists, and shed a tear every now and then, or imagine if that child were mine ... but mostly I would say a prayer for the sweet little face that I was looking into. Until I saw two boys.

The agency we adopted Malachi from had up a picture of 2 brothers. Both had serious medical needs, and they were older children. (4 & 6 yrs old) Now, when I see children on these waiting child lists, I don't feel the need to adopt them. These two boys, however, did something vert different in my heart. The first time I laid eyes on them, I sent an email to Aaron with their picture attached. The subject line said, "PLEASE???". That's all I wrote. He never responded. Every few weeks, I would pull up that same list, and see those same eyes of those brothers staring at me through the screen. After several months of this, it got to the point where I was pulling up the list almost daily just longing to see their file categorized as "file under review". It never was. It still said "available". For almost a week, I cried and prayed over these boys daily. I couldn't help but wonder if God was leading us to adopt these boys. Surely he wasn't, but then .... maybe he was. So one day, I asked Aaron. I told him what I was feeling, and just asked him to pray about it. That began a process of us talking with friends who we trusted enough to be real with us about if we could handle this, talking with our social worker about if she would even approve us, and serious prayer. In the end, for many, many reasons - we did not have a peace about pursuing adopting these two boys. That said, we were lead to a peace about something else .... starting the adoption process again period.

Wait. What? See, those were actually Aaron's words. After praying about these boys, he felt like it was time to start the adoption process again. My response was not to be expected. "No!", was my response. I didn't want to "just adopt again". I wanted those boys. I thought we were being lead to those boys. Now that we knew that wasn't the case - adopting again just wasn't on the radar right now. God didn't let that sit well with me. After about a week, I finally understood that if I was willing to pursue adopting those two boys right now, why would I not be willing to pursue any child in need of a home....right now? So about a week later, we dove into selecting an agency. And here we are. Half way through the process. Un.Real.

Moving on.

We hit the ground running with this adoption. We've done this before, and knew what was expected of us, so we felt an urgency to do all we could do, knowing there was plenty of time to sit around doing nothing as we wait on governments. We have no question that God values adoption. We believe that He is for this, so nothing can stand against us. We believe that God is not going to leave us out on a limb when pursuing something so dear to his heart .... and that doesn't just mean bringing the child home - that means the ability to parent 5 children .... well. Parenting "well" is something Aaron takes very seriously. He values fatherhood more than any man I know. It's because of the fact that Aaron is my husband, the father of my children, that I can clearly see that God is providing. He provided Aaron as my children's earthly dad.  There's little else I need to be able to do this.

Anyway .... that's about it in a nutshell. Okay, maybe not a nutshell...

We are honored that God has guided us to this once again. We do not do this in our own strength, because we have little. We've seen the miracle of adoption before, and cannot believe that we get to see it again. Adoption, biological, whatever it may be .... God has chosen us to be a mom and a dad to some pretty amazing kids.

God chose life. I, as a woman, choose life. I value life. I value the life of my children, and the ones whose lives don't mean anything to anyone. I value it because God values it. God chose me, he values me .... so much that He chose to adopt me! To Him be the glory!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Everyone wins! (Poker Night Re-cap .... PICTURE HEAVY!)

Well you've read my plea's for help regarding our Poker Night Fundraiser. So many of you responded, and responded far beyond anything we hoped or imagined or prayed for. We cannot thank everyone enough. We are truly blown away by how faithful God is to provide, as well as how gracious and responsive our friends are. We had the matching grant of $2500 as I told you about, so we set our goal to raise a grand total of $5000. With the help of many, I'm humbled to tell you that we FAR exceeded this goal! I think about it still, 4 days later, and I tear up. This adoption has been moving rather quickly, and at every turn, runs the risk of coming to a halt until we have the money to proceed. After Friday night, we can continue to run this race full speed ahead to bring home our next precious girl!

Thank you's don't seem enough. Even as I hand write thank you's (which I'm horrible at), it seems so .... pitiful. So instead, I pray that God blesses the many that heard our cry, heard the cry of the Orphan, and responded so beautifully. I pray each person who gave, or helped, or prayed has their (sacrificial) gift doubled in their own lives. (Please don't hear me say that that will be in the form of money. No, blessings come to us in many ways. I pray blessing on each donor. That's all.)

Okay. Onto the fun! We had 40 players, and about 70 guests total come out to support and play. The Mercers did an amazing amount of prep work in both preparing their house, as well as preparing the players, and the gifts. Their efforts went above and beyond what any one friend should do. We are blessed to have them in our lives. They throw a mean party, too! They had their basement set up for the festivities, as you'll see below. Brian had detailed rules and cheat sheets, and kept the night running very smooth. There were prizes for just about everything - first party foul, first person to put Aaron and I out of the game, first re-buy, first to lose, most re-buys, whoever had a size 9 shoe, etc... The top 3 players left with some pretty fantastic gift bags. Tons of gift cards, coffee, and the top prize - an xbox 360. But hopefully, everyone felt like a winner....the cause makes it so! The games lasted until about 11:30, and I must admit, I can't remember the last time I've had so much fun. I actually stayed in the game until the final 3! (Okay, so I had to re-buy twice, but then I was on top it!) Who knew? The guys at my table kept calling me a "loose cannon". Hey, whatever works. :) (I also had serious issues with how to count the chips all night long. Thankfully, Mike was my counter every hand.) Maybe I'll head to Vegas to raise the rest of our funds. No. I won't. I'm completely kidding!

The pics really tell a better story than I can. Chelsea Hammond was there snapping some great shots of the evening. (The ones toward the end are the ones she took.) I'm so thankful to have this little photo collection to one day show our sweet girl how many people it took to bring her home, how many people thought she was worth it!


Good friends, Blake, Joanna and baby B.

Neighbors and friends. Doesn't get much better!

They call him D.

Kassie, the hostess, passin' out some chips!

Brian, the host, explaining some when to use the bathroom.

Sweet girls soon to be pediatrician and family friend. (I'm not telling which one he is! You guess!)

The rookie. (That would be Amy. She had never played before this event, and now is asking when we can play again!)

Christy is counting cards. That's how come she was the one to figure out that the red deck was 10 cards short! Shoot, I knew I was playing with a short deck. Story of my life! (And that's why I'm claiming I had to re-buy! ha!)

The Bouncer. Don't mess with her. She'll eat your food.

Vanessa's husband was gonna cut her off, until she reminded him it was for a good cause. :)

Poor Aaron. Someone stole all his chips, so he had to just watch me play!

One of my last hands before going all in.

Top prize!!!

Neighbor Amber and friend Jen w/ baby - Jen and her husband, Isaac, were the first couple to be on the receiving end of this fundraiser. The Mercers did this same event for their adoption a few years back.

"YES!!! They totally didn't call my bluff!"

Prize Table

"Loose Cannon" I must have won that hand. Good thing, too, cuz all my chips were sitting in the middle! :)

Still in!

Aaron w/ the famous Clay Rush. No really, he is famous! (And he's got the ring to prove it.)

Fold. Sigh.

The first place winner - Sean!

Who's the girl w/ the blond hair? Oh, wait, that's Isaac. Remember the story a few pics up about Jen & Isaac? Yup, that's him.


The official "blinds" clock. (Right, it's called blinds isn't it? And how many are the blue chips worth Mike?)

Mike is praying that he doesn't lose right away.

Just here for the fun! Such great supporters, and friends, these girls are!

He kept trying to steal my chips. Oh wait, I just stole his!!! HAHAHAHAHA!

The Men in Black. They're intimidating, aren't they?

Amber and the hostess, Kassie.

Brian distributing chips to a minor. Wait....

Yes I did laugh really obnoxiously every time I took a hand. It just should never have been. :)

Well, there you have it! A night to be remembered! A night to celebrate friends, fun, the journey of adoption, but mostly God's goodness and faithfulness. He holds true to his promises to set the lonely in a family. We are honored that He chose us once again! Thanks for your part. We couldn't do this alone!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'll see your $20, and they'll raise you $20

Yes, this is another post plugging our upcoming fundraiser.... thank you.

Exciting, exciting news!

1) We raised enough donations/prizes, to the point where even the money people donated for prizes, is now going toward our adoption instead. (This is b/c so many people gave gift cards, and other gifts for this part of the fundraiser. More on that to come in a minute.)

2) A family came forward and offered up a matching grant of $2500 for the money that is raised from this event! So now, your $20 buy in just became $40! For those who have already donated on Paypal, your $50 donations just turned into $100 ! We are so blessed to have such a gift donated to us, and couldn't help but sharing it with the blog world to shamelessly plead one last time (maybe) for your help. Won't you help us get to $2500???? If we can raise $2500 from this event, we will be able to have $5000 to help us bring home our next daughter. YES! $5000. I can't even begin to tell you how helpful this would be !

So we're asking again: come out and play (message me if you want details!), and for those of you who live far away or just aren't into the poker thing, would you PLEASE consider a virtual buy-in of $20 anyway? (Or any amount, really.)

You can use the same paypal link as before....and from this point on, all donations are going toward our little one!!!! Here's the link again:

We can't thank this family enough for offering up such a large amount, and we can't thank you enough for any amount. Everything counts .... only between now and Jan 14th, it counts double. :)

Also, for those of you who are thinking about playing .....Check out the prizes!!!!

Included in the first place winnings:
An XBox 360 !!!! WHAT, WHAT?!?!?!

All other prizes~
Gift Cards:
golf smith    $50
olive garden    $15
pf changs    $10
cold stone    $10
starbucks    $5
chipotle    $20
applebees    $25
amazon    $20
QDoba    $25

2 of these beautiful pieces of artwork by the famous Laura Prill (check out her other stuff. She's amazing!)
10lbs of starbucks coffee 
starbucks coffee themed basket 
A bunch of VANS gear  

And there's still more coming in.....

**Beginner players welcome!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I'll see your $20, and raise you a child....

Some great friends of ours are hosting a brilliant fundraiser on our behalf...on behalf of our next daughter. What makes it brilliant is that it is original, fun for all involved, and well thought out.

Here's the deal: (deal....haha)
Poker Night! (Texas Hold 'em to be exact)
Buy in: $20 (unlimited for the first hour, then $10 re-buy at the end of the hour)
Everyone wins, because the goal is to help us raise funds to bring home our next child.  At the end of the night, the entire pot goes toward our adoption! However, there wouldn't be much incentive to play poker if there wasn't a real prize for the winner(s). (We'd all be bluffing our way through the entire game, because there'd be nothing to lose! This is not the time for practicing your game faces. This is for real!)

Enter in the well thought out part:
This is where we need help NOW! We have 13 days to raise about $250 for prizes. The top 3 winners will walk away with a prize basket including gift cards to various places, coffee, VANS gear, etc.... Our goal was to raise $400 to cover the prizes. We are almost half way there.

So how can you help, you ask? Well, $5, $10, $15 can go a long way here. If you'd like to help out, you can donate through PAYPAL by clicking here:

If you can't play, but would like to "buy-in" anyway, you could also do that through that link. :) One more option ... did you get a gift card for Christmas that you would like to just donate to our event for the prizes? That would be a huge help! Any gift cards or prizes given would be that much less that needs to be raised for that, which means that much more that can help our adoption!

Sorry for my first few blog posts on this adoption to be regarding fundraising. We are flying through this adoption, and money is coming due at every turn. So we humbly plead for your help. I promise to get to the stuff you want to read about soon.

If you live locally and want to play, let me know if you didn't receive the invite, but would like to. We weren't sure who would be interested.

Thanks, friends! We love having such support around us as we strive to bring home another little one!


So I have limited knowledge on poker, and buy-ins, etc.... so straight from BMER's words:
"$20 buy-in(1500 in chips). unlimited re-buys at $20 (2000 in chips) for the first hour-or so. also at the break (one hour mark) everyone will have the change to "re-charge" for $10 (1500 in chips), one-time only, will be worth it."