Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Dance

Adoption: Dancing On the Balance Beam

I'm excited to share this fun, but "for real" video with you:
Francis Chan and "The Balance Beam"

Ha! Isn't it true that we gravitate toward the things we know are safe, and try desperately to avoid the things that aren't? Deep down, Cary and I want to live the life God intends for us. We don't expect it to be safe and easy, but we know the "routines" He dreams up are AWESOME when they are completed. We know God called us to begin our family through adoption, and we know from experience that the things God wills (though they often look difficult from the outside) are the things that yield the greatest blessing. We said, "Absolutely, yes," to adopting our sweet boys, and since then we have received blessings we could never have imagined. I was encouraged to talk to some teens at church today who are on the balance beam. They've decided together to speak out against some things that are wrong in a community that they love. I am so excited to see them taking this acrobatic leap out of their desire to live the life God is calling them to, and for the enjoyment that I know is coming for them when they land. Be bold and join us! Say "yes" to the scary things God is calling you to. He is good. His plans are good, and His plans for you are good. In this life, those scary looking things are the DANCE! Be it adoption, standing up for something, advocacy... If God is stirring your heart, don't miss out on the routine of a lifetime.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Power of (less than) a Moment

Accompanying all fresh announcements is a split second of raw, genuine exposure that can't be hidden or taken back. I know, because those are the split seconds of life that I faithfully bungle. If you want to gauge a clumsy reaction, try your news on me. I faithfully blunder those opportunities for beautiful instinct. I'm intuitive, but an over-thinker, to say the least. Maybe it's because I'm a slow processor, (or because slow is my one speed for just about everything... running, cooking, talking... Have I mentioned I'm looking forward to being in a country that I hear runs on my time?) but you can count on me to be three seconds behind on the genuine smiles, squeals, etc. that I WILL enjoy with you - just give me a second. This truth about myself has enhanced my appreciation of these people:

A small tribute to people who have greatly blessed this mom's life in a matter of instinct. The power of that one precognitive moment (or less), is not to be underestimated.

Dena L. - We are blessed to have lots of these stories to recount, but the first one that comes to mind is Dena's. The body of Christ is amazing. It is a wonderful thing to work alongside people you share the joy of Christ with, and I had the opportunity to do that at our church's "Summer Kids Club" in June. It's a week of everybody working in the field they're gifted in (crafts, skits, organization, snacks, music...) but together. It's fun! I know Dena because I've taught some of her kids and enjoyed getting to know her family better over time. I could have told you Dena was for me. And that she probably liked me. But I never knew how Dena loved me. We were standing in the back of the chapel where allllll of the kids were being entertained with the morning skit (screaming their cheers, laughing, waking up lions, all the usual in the background). Dena, our nurse for the week, stopped instead of passing me to ask how the first day had gone. In my response, I alluded to the whirlwind of events outside of SKC, assuming her daughter (who I had gotten a chance to share our news with) had already told her. She looked confused, and I realized she didn't know. "Oh! I figured she had told you. Well, Cary and I are adopting twin boys from Ethiopia!" Dena's eyes welled up with tears before I could blink, and her lip trembled as she said, "Oh, Amy." She was joyful, and I was floored. How could Dena love me enough to care that much about how Cary and I were starting our family, or for our boys, or... how could she care about anything of ours enough to make her heart overflow that fast? I realized at that moment that she loved me well - the way Christ does. I couldn't have done anything to make her love me that well, but she does. Christ's love in her was tangible. Unmistakable. And I'll never forget it.

Sherry H. (Also at "Summer Kids Club") - Before prayer time first thing in the morning before the kids arrived, all of the SKC leaders were sitting around sharing things we'd seen so far in the week that we wanted to thank Jesus for. Sherry brought up music time and some specifics about the way the kids had been engaged. Then, from across the room, she looked right into my face and said, "You're going to be a great mom one day." Her statement was so loving, but so intense! (Of course, she was completely unaware that we were starting a family, or that we'd decided only weeks ago to bring home twin baby boys.) She could have just talked about my teaching, but the Lord moved her heart and she didn't think twice. Whoa. It was one of the most impacting things that has happened to me in a lonnnnng time. I appreciated Sherry's boldness to make a statement that someone (a little more like myself) might have felt insecure making in front of other people, especially when it may not have seemed relevant to the moment. She could not have imagined what a blessing she was to me that morning as she said what had been placed on her heart, and spoke directly to my fears. And then we prayed together.

Josh M. (My brother in law) - It was during our very first adoption announcement (read about it HERE) that, when the news was finally out of our mouths, a face instantly lit up. (So did everyone else's as they realized what we were saying.) But Josh's smile sticks out in my memory as being the first thing that happened once our news was finally out there, and it felt big. :) I am not offended in the least by people who take a few seconds to cycle through our news, whose faces may not brighten for minutes even. (I'm in your club, and I know you are JUST as genuine when you rejoice with us!) But in the power of a split-second, Cary and I have been blessed in a special way that's fun to zero in on.

Josh and Holly - We've gotten close to this special couple over the past few years. They got married the same summer we did, have just had their first baby, and it's been fun swapping stories and enjoying being in the same stage of life. We knew Josh and Holly would rejoice with us in our decision to adopt our two little boys, and so we were eager to tell them. Their reactions were great - much like we expected. It was their next reaction that caught us off guard. The next thing Josh and Holly thought to do was put money toward this new piece of our lives that they were excited about and believed in. (Our turn to *blink, blink.*) I wouldn't disclose the amount they handed us a check for because they'd be mortified, but I tell you, it wasn't extra that this couple had lying around, superfluous to their monthly bills, baby supplies, and mortgage. They offered it to us freely, just in time for the first round of adoption fees. (It still makes me feel a little bit like we're living the vision of the early church - people sharing what they have in joy with each other, even giving up what they have to share it with one another, all because that's how Christ loved us.) Beautiful.

As I mentioned, we have been blessed by these people, and MANY more. There is SO much story to archive, and I will! (Maybe after this season of trying to choose middle school band concert music while accomplishing requests for a third copy of the permission slip while writing 16 purchase orders and throwing a jazz band sponsored dance - oh, and finalization of the adoption of twin boys.) But it's coming...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thanks for some encouraging messsages since my last post. There's no time for feeling low these days, because we have entered the era of FUNDRAISING! Here's the thing. I don't think I like fundraising. -Can't be sure, because I know little about it. But I hate thinking about money, and I really hate thinking about other people's money. But the good news is, this fundraising thing MUST begin and end pretty quickly, and I know the Lord never starts something He will not provide abundantly for.

The latest from our adoption coordinator (whom I love!) is... When Ethiopian courts reopen in October, we should get our date pretty soon. All paperwork is received in order of arrival even while courts are closed, so... we still have a shot at a November court date! (Ahhhhhhh!)

When I got off the phone with this news, and shared it at high frequency while jumping up and down with Cary, his first response came with a solemn (pale?) face: "Then we have to raise $20,000 by November." To which I continued jumping up and down, squealing, "We might see the boys in NoVEMber!!"

Thus, the commencement of our short (and... fundamentally important) fundraising season.

Fundraiser #1: A social media event. At the website below, we are launching a $2 for 2 campaign. The idea is that if everyone we know across the waves of this crazy internet world gives $1 for each of the boys, we'll raise a lot - and no one is really out anything they might not lose in the couch, anyways! If THEY ask all of the people they know across the crazy waves of this... ok, you get the picture... think how much we could raise! So please... Would you share your $1 with each of my precious itty bitty kissable-cheeked twins? Would you ask your friends to do the same? Because if you would, the possibilities are endless.

A $2 investment makes you part of something BIG. Our family will always be grateful.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Adoption and pregnancy are really similar in some ways, but this week I've been stuck in the differences. My boys are out there in the world, and there's not a thing I can do to reach out and shape the way their concept of the world is developing. This week, all that I can't do for them has been so tangible, which brings on the lowest of the lows... like this morning.

I can't stop singing to my boys. For my boys. Always singing. And it's doing nothing for them. When you're carrying a baby, research shows that they're impacted by what they hear and feel. It's a beautiful, bonding thing. It must feel good to be doing something you love and to know at the same time you're serving the little person you've never held but care most about already. I love singing songs for my babies. This JJ Heller album "When I'm With You," is just killing me - it's always stuck in my head, and my maternal heart is just gushing song. But they don't know. They can't hear or feel it. So when I sing for them, the best thing I can do is trust that the Lord is preparing my heart, and working through the sounds and feelings I have. At best, I can be sure of Zephaniah 3:17 - My God, who is ever present with my boys, is rejoicing over them like the scripture says - "with singing."

Still, I'm wrestling hard.