Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our adoption into God's family!

One of the amazing truths that God has recently set upon my heart is how we, as Christ followers, have been adopted into God's family as sons and daughters through what Jesus has done and by the power of the Holy Spirit!  This truth is so deep and wonderful that there is no way that we will be able to plumb its depths in this lifetime.  We are loved by God!  What did God see in us that caused Him to look our way?  As I take an honest look inside myself I realize that there is nothing about me that would cause God to love me.  It is only because of the love within Himself.  And oh how great that love is!  The following verses are beautiful reminders of where we stand with God in Christ.

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." (Galatians 4:4-7)

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15)

"In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ," (Ephesians 1:4-5)

As I try to take in this picture of God's love and our adoption through Christ I can't help but parallel it with earthly adoptions.  There is nothing good that our child will have done to earn our approval or our love.  Our love for our child is already there; made manifest by the Holy Spirit.  Put simply, any genuine love in us is put there by God.  Amanda and I have now been called to share that love through adoption.  Thank God for the work He has done!

As we walk through this journey of life my prayer is that we, as followers of Christ, never forget our identity in Jesus as a son or daughter of God.  We were made new for the purpose of good works, and by God's grace we are walking through what He has called us to do.  Whatever that might be!

Love God. Love others.

In Christ,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You may say I'm a dreamer...

Well, we continue to receive God's assurance that we are on the right path in this journey.  I know people have differing views on the relevance of dreams, but I kind of wanted to go on record in mentioning this dream that I had Tuesday night (May 3, 2011).  I'm not one who dreams a lot so this was very interesting to me.

It was very simple but encouraging.  I remember a small Hispanic boy walking up, sitting in my lap, and me knowing that this was our adopted child.  The number 7 kept running through my mind, and, in the dream, I obviously thought that was the age of our child.  After I woke up, however, I remembered that 7 is a number that is used to symbolize perfection in the Bible.  So, it could have been the age of the child or just a way to symbolize that the adoption had been completed.  For me it just made me more confident that we were right in our decision to go with Honduras and that God would see us through the adoption process all the way to completion!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Great song!

Amanda and I love this song.  It's a concise statement of our beliefs, and it's really fun to sing along with! Lol.  Enjoy!

The City Harmonic "Manifesto"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Honduras?

God has indeed led us to Honduras but not before some praying and waiting!  Once we narrowed our choices down to three countries (Ethiopia, Bulgaria, and Honduras) we felt kind of stuck, as I mentioned before.  We knew that this was the moment where we would have to come to a decision about the country because we had come to the point where we couldn't move forward without having a specific destination in mind.

So......we prayed for leading and direction from the Holy Spirit and waited.

As I look back I realize that we actually lived out James 1:5-8.  We prayed for help with choosing a country and waited expectantly for the answer to that prayer.  The first thing that we turned to was the fact that our hearts were indeed drawn to Central America because of the mission trip from the summer of 2010, that we could speak some Spanish, and the close location.  However, we had a friend randomly mention Ethiopia, and the country that we drew out of the hat was....wait for it....Bulgaria!  It seemed as if we were getting conflicting signals, but God evetually began to narrow it down for us. 

A couple of things happened, all within a week's time, that we felt were confirmations from God of which direction He wanted us to go in.  Amanda read a story on Pinelake's website about a lady in Morton, MS that really had a heart for Hispanic children in her area and showed that by serving them in various ways.  Also, two of our regular weekly television shows had plots that included first-time and one-time only characters from Central American countries.  The thing that gave me closure in our decision for Honduras happened at work when I noticed a package of cigars a co-worker had that was labeled as having been made in Honduras.  If that wasn't enough we later found out that America World's Honduras adoption program, which is fairly new, was started in January 2011; the very month that God called us to adopt!  God is amazing and faithful!

Monday, May 2, 2011

First steps!

       There's so many things that have happened since we first stepped out in obedience to God's call for us to adopt back in January.  We will try to post every step in this process and attempt to convey the very present sense that we already have of God leading us.

       As soon as we knew that we wanted to adopt we kind of felt lost among all the information and in looking at the big picture of where we were; wondering how in the world we were going to complete this journey.  It was so overwhelming, but God is helping us take one step at a time.  Some of the first things we did were research different adoption agencies, talk to pastors at our church, and gather information from friends that have been through or are in the middle of the adoption process.  Through these things we were able to gain a better understanding of the comprehensive process which affects several areas (i.e. emotional, spiritual, financial, and legal).  We have already found that we will have to lean hard into God through this.

       Our first decision we had to make was to either go with intercountry or domestic adoption.  Amanda initially felt drawn to intercountry and I to domestic.  Amanda had a heart for Central America because of the mission trip that we took in the summer of 2010.  My rationale was that there are so many children here domestically that need a good home.  However, we came together in prayer and asked God to lead us in the direction that HE wanted us to go.  There wasn't one specific incident other than my heart really began to be drawn towards intercountry adoption.  So, once our decision was intercountry adoption we had to focus on what country and adoption agency we were going with.

We continued in prayer for God to lead us to the specific country.  We were able to eliminate several countries right away because they all have specific guidelines with regard to age, years of marriage, the age of children available, income, and, believe it or not, body mass index!  Lol.  Through that process we came out with three countries; Ethiopia, Honduras, and Bulgaria.  At this point we kind of felt stuck because we had to make a decision on the country before we could move forward with anything else.  Throughout this time we looked for confirmation from God for a direction.  At one point we even took things into our own hands and drew the name of a country out of a hat!  We were patient, albeit begrudgingly at times : ), but eventually God lead us to Honduras!!  There were a few interesting events that led to that decision, and we'll share that in another post.

We then chose an agency (America World Adoption Agency AWAA), filled out their application, and are now about to begin the home study.

We continue to be grateful for God's leading, and thank you for your support and prayers!

In Christ,

Love God.  Love others.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How we got here...

We would like to share about how God is beginning to move in and through us...
       Our desire to begin a family has been extremely strong over the past 3 and a half years.  So far, we have not conceived.  During this season, in late 2009, I approached Amanda about considering adoption.  She was completely closed off to the idea, so I respected her feelings, but we both continued to have an increasing desire to start a family.  

        Throughout the 2010 year, God was working in each of us individually, as well as both of us collectively to show us how He wanted us to begin a family.  That summer, Amanda and I led her basketball team on a basketball mission trip to Guatemala and El Salvador.  One of the experiences that we had there was visiting an orphanage in San Salvador.  Spending time with the children in the orphanage, sharing God's love with them, and seeing the need to care for orphans were all instrumental in God revealing His call to us, but we didn't fully realize it at that time.  In mid-January 2011, I approached Amanda again about the idea of adoption; and she told me that she had been thinking about it and had actually in recent days begun researching adoption agencies and processes.  The very next Sunday, the message at church was specifically about caring for orphans.  It was at this point that God's call for us to adopt was confirmed! 

In Christ,

Love God.  Love others.