Monday, August 29, 2011

My sweet kindergartener...

I have been thinking of a few things I wanted you to remember as you start kindergarten.  It seems like the years have flown by and now I am scrambling the life lessons together to remind you before you leave for school. I think these are the most important ones I want you to remember....
1. Not everyone will want to be your friend, and that is ok.  Just be kind to everyone and they will come around.
2. Be brave and bold.  Never let anyone tell you, you are not special or important.  Remember the One who made you and He makes you special, not what they say about you.
3. Find friends that don't look like you and celebrate your differences.  If all the world were the same color, it would be a boring place.
4. Respect and obey your teacher.  Even though you think it may be busy work, work hard.  It is a lesson that will shape your ethic and core as you grow.  Pretend you are doing it for Jesus and treat your teacher and others like such.
5. Don't talk negatively about others, you know you don't want to be on the other end of that conversation and words hurt more than you know.
6. If you see someone shy or lonely, sit next to them. They probably have a great story and personality that just needs some encouragement to shine.
7. Still stay your silly self, even if you have to be quiet at times.  Humor can resolve a lot of problems and hurts.
8. Be generous with your things, your encouragement, and your talents.  Everyone will miss out if you don't share these things.
9. Jesus is cool, even if people don't agree with you. Don't be afraid to talk about him and don't be afraid to be bold to pray before you eat, or for others who are sad or upset.
10. There are a lot of other things I can't prepare you for. So just ask God, walk forward and do the right thing. I know your heart is pulled toward goodness, so follow it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Home Study-- Check!

Just finished the first part of our home study as well as our paperwork for it. Whew! Thankfully our case worker is so easy to talk to, kind and helpful! The kids did great. Reese told her all about her amazing coloring abilities, gave a full tour of the house, told her about the time that she took wheeler downstairs and got him a bowl of cereal and turned on a show for him while i was asleep (i'm sure that scored me some amazing mom points), and told her she wants a brother and a sister and for them all to sleep in her room. Wheeler also cried when she left and asked her why she didn't bring his brother with her. He apparently thought she was bringing him to us. Sad! But anyway, we are glad to have that done and started moving along in the paperwork for our agency and for Congo now. We are starting to have to write big checks, but are trusting the Lord to provide.  If you would like to join our support team, please email me at for details. Even more so than that, we would appreciate your prayers as we make big decisions and enter a period of waiting over the next several months!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy birthday, Reese McNeil White

Reese Mcneil-
5 years ago today, God wrote you into the fabric of our family.
He knitted you together perfectly in my womb.  I remember praying os many things for your health.  I even prayed silly prayers, like "Please Lord don't let her have a big red mark on her face".  Even in my vainest prayers, I saw the Lord work.  When you were born, you had a tiny red mark on your chest.  I laughed when I saw it because i remembered praying that silly prayer.  That mark, to me, was a symbol of God's faithfulness to even my most selfish of prayers.  God didn't put that red mark on your face, but he put it on your chest to remind me that he hears my prayers.

The years passed quickly, just like everyone warned me they would.  I often doubted myself and my capabilities of raising you into a Godly woman. However, you became such a joy filled little girl, loving laughter and loving others. You add such love to our lives.
You were named after your grandmother Jeanette McNeil Cathy.  I prayed you would one day embody some of the amazing traits she has.  I prayed these over you.  Patience, Generosity, Care for others, Hard work and Determination, Sensitivity, and Loyalty.  Your grandmother (like many others in our family) embodies these qualities.
Now you are 5 today, and I am starting to see these prayers answered as well.  You have extreme patience, overflowing generosity, a care for others that challenges me to think bigger and love more, a hard work and determination that will take you far, sensitivity to the Spirit, to others feelings, and to what you are feeling yourself.  God has shaped you so wonderfully, and I am so thankful to be a part of your journey. I know you are not mine, but his. And i am so honored to be entrusted your life, as we walk together.  You bring such joy to our family, and challenge our family to pray bigger, think bigger, and love those less fortunate.  Our lives are changed by your character already.  I am thankful the Lord speaks to me through your life.
You are my dear first born and I love you so! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

love is not bound by genes or color

"One day, I will have an African child" "If i go to Africa, I am coming back with a baby." "John, i hope you don't mind marrying me knowing at least one of our babies is gonna be black".  These are things I have said now for 10 years.  The Lord has called us to something I have always said I would do. I usually half said it as a joke, but half knew my heart was really pulled at it. Over the last 8 months, God has wrestled it back to the surface of my heart.  I had pushed it down for years.  I remember raising 2000$ to go to kenya in Fall of 07.  I remember having all of my money raised and going to the passport health clinic to get my shots.  I remember her saying, You need a pregnancy to test to get the yellow fever shot. I remember saying, Oh i'm not pregnant! I'm nursing and using back up protection. Then I remember seeing the pink lines on the test.  God always has a way of making his plans my own when I don't listen. I am so thankful he brought Wheeler into my life that day at the passport health clinic.  I was crushed I couldn't go to Africa, and shocked that I would now have an 18 month old and newborn, but God is the orchestrator.
Fastforward 3 years. Here I was telling God what was comfortable for me.  Two kids was getting easy for me. It was easy to go places, travel abroad, leave them for days on end, play outside, go to the grocery store, etc.  I told God our family was finished, but in the back of my heart, the spirit called..."Really?" I had a long enough list of excuses and fears to throw at God pulling this up in my heart for a good six months.  Continually he would bring it up.  John and I would talk about it, and it would return to the backburner as life pressed on.  Coinciding at the same time, I was asking God to write the story of our lives. I didn't want to live in the mundane, but I wanted God to call our family to a mission, a purpose we could all rally around. He was silent...or so I thought.
May came and Adoption was front and center again.  This time, our fears seemed small, selfish, pointless. I realized this was what we had been praying for.  Adoption was part of our story.  I just had always counted it off as something we could donate to, pray for.  But when I found myself balling my eyes out in the YMCA parking lot as a young caucasian mom walked her African child to camp next to me, I knew something was going on in my heart.  Reese came to me the following night and said "Mom, we need another sister in our family". My quick response? "oh reese, Mom isnt going to have any more babies in my belly". She said, "I know mom, not that kind of sister, the ones we pray for that don't have moms or dads, or food or houses".  I cried out to God like never before.  Is this it god? Is this just a compassion in my heart or a charity we are supposed to support? Is this what you want for me? Because if you do, ill follow, but if you don't please take this out of my heart. 
I decided to pass it off on JOhn.  He had always been the one hesitating more than i did.  So i threw it out there and prefaced it as, I know this is crazy, but seriously think about it, and if you come back with your answer being no, i am totally fine with that. 
I prayed to God again. God, tell him a strong no. Or tell him a clear yes. Lead me through him. My heart is so full of emotions and my thoughts are clouded, so just answer through John.  
Three days later John came home. He had taken 3 hours off in the middle of the day and gone out to pray.  He came home with a 100% yes.
Weeks of research and prayer followed and led us to around about where we are now. 
We are adopting a child from Congo, Africa. 
Maybe two children if the Lord hears our children's prayers.
We have submitted our application to One World Adoption Services and have been accepted and selected for the Congo program. Our homestudy paperwork was mailed out last week. She comes Aug 17 and 24th to observe and ask us questions to finalize our home study.  
The weird thing is, I am so ready for this little child to be in our family. For me, I have no agenda to pass on my genes.  I am thankful for the children God has given me in Reese and Wheeler, but just because they have my DNA doesnt make me love them more.  When I look at them, i don't want to "see myself".  I just want to see God's story in our lives.  The call God has asked us to do. For me, love is not bound by color. I pray God doesnt put me next to a white person in heaven.  I would much rather worship next to a Pakistani that found the Lord in a dream or through a lone missionary. Heaven is going to be an amazing collage of nations, colors, and peoples.  I want our family to reflect that. I am realizing that just maybe, God wants to tell the story of my adoption through my children.  The fact that God called me out when I was not desirable.  God waited for me, pursued me, and paid a high price to call me daughter.  God didn't just want to adopt me in as a step child or second rate citizen, he wanted to call me his firstborn.  He gave up Jesus on a bloody cross so I could be his child. He gave me his full inheritance, when hell was headed my way.
Congo is the rape capital of the world.  Right now, girls as young as 2 are being gang raped by militia, or raped with the bayonettes of guns.  Right now, toddlers are wondering around fields of corpses trying to nurse on dead bodies. I know it is hard to swallow, but there is a lot going on in this world that is evil.  I will not save every child of the world.  But if we can influence one, lavishly love one. Hopefully God will make himself famous and hopefully he will show someone else his heart beat for the world, for the orphans and for the abused.  
Adoption is not for everyone. It just took us a while to hear through the noise that it was for us.