Category Archives: Adoption

Adoption Update : Part of our Story

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Well this one is gonna be short and to the point because we gotta leave town in a second for a Crossfit competition. Before you choke on your coffee at that thought, you should know it is my husband who is competing. Not me.

If you are new to Lark & Bloom, you can get a quick overview right hereIf you have nothing else to do today and want to read all my posts relating to our adoption, be my guest.

So, what’s new???

We are on the waiting list for both Ghana & Uganda waiting to see which country has kids that match us first. Here is an update by country:

Uganda: Things will be slowing down a bit with Uganda adoptions. However, there are a few referrals for some boys that may be available in the near future. For those who don’t speak “adoption”, a referral is where you are matched with a child.

Ghana: There has been a adoption ban on Ghana that is supposed to be lifting shortly. Even once it lifts there are new regulations that have to be ironed out and we have been told that there will likely be no referrals for quite some time.

Summary: Ghana has boys & girls, but they are not doing referrals anytime in the near future. Uganda is cutting back on referrals, but there are some boys that will be available.

So, what are we gonna do?

Well,  it has been nearly 4 years since we started the adoption process. One thing we have learned is that God is in control and we are not. His plan may not be what we planned. After a lot of prayer, we have decided to do two separate adoptions rather than adopting both a boy & girl at the same time.

It was a bit difficult to emotionally transition for me, but I am really peaceful about it. The plan is pray that we get one of the referrals left in Uganda and bring our son home this spring.

Then continue to wait until Ghana is processing adoptions again and bring our daughter home. Uganda rarely has females available for adoption, so she will most likely need to come from Ghana.

How can you help?

So nice of you to ask. I’d love it if you would pray with us for these three things. Or if you aren’t a praying kind of person,  you can wish on a star or something.

1. Pray that we get a referral for our son.  – We would love it if we could get one of the little boys that is going to be available soon from Uganda.

2. Pray for Ghana to open soon. At this moment no one seems to know when Ghana will be starting new adoptions again. Could be a few months, could be another year. Pray that God would allow all the new government requirements and changes to work smoothly so that adoptions will start moving again.

3. Pray for provision. Two separate adoptions is quite a bit more expensive than doing both at the same time. We still need quite a bit of money to come in at this point, but we know God’s got that.

Thanks for walking with us through all of this. It has been more of a struggle than we ever thought, but it is totally worth it. Every hour spent & and dollar paid. They are worth it…. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

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Filed under Adoption, Kiddos

my beautiful pain

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In all my travels around the world, one thing remains the same. No matter what culture I am in, the reality of pain is present. Another Tuesday another travel story. This post is about pain.

The fall of 2008 took me to Ko Samui, Thailand for a conference. My incredible husband stayed home with the kids and I flew across the water to paradise.

Greeting me on my arrival was pure beauty. Beaches were incredible and even the alleyways were filled with vendor stalls and the smell of grilled meats.

I walked down the beach staring at the emerald-green mountains climbing up from the crystal clear water. Breathtaking times a million.

Along the way I stopped and talked to a middle-aged Thai woman. As we spoke, her eyes filled with a deep sadness. The pain of poverty and not knowing what sort of future her uneducated children will have. She was vulnerable, raw and uncensored. She was beautiful in her pain.

I’ve seen that sort of pain in every country. The emotion of loss, fear, and desperation. From the drug addict in Amsterdam to the refugee in the Sudan. Each carries a haunting ache. More than the attractions and natural wonders of nations I have visited, I remember the eyes of pain that I have seen.

Vulnerability is compelling. It reaches out and grabs people. Makes us stare. Inside we wonder if we will ever be brave enough to come undone too.

This is a picture of me crying real tears over real pain. Not gonna lie, its been a rough month for me in certain areas. Feeling like too much & not enough. Hoping for an adoption that has gone on for over 3 years. Waiting for distant dreams to come to pass. Coming up short in areas I had previously felt confident in.

I found myself sitting on my bathroom floor two days ago crying. That is when I snapped this pic. I guess I intuitively knew I would end up writing about it and would need a photo to go with the post. Seems funny now.

As I sat on the floor, I felt the desire to pull away. Step back, cover up and hide the flaws that were screaming neon at the moment. Shame seemed like comfort. Why would I ever show someone this weakness inside of me?

Across my mind came thoughts of the people I’ve met, the brokeness they exemplified and the shocking strength they represented.

Pain deconstructs our masks, walls and pride until all that is left is flesh and bone. Bare humanity. Tears of desperation for a Savior who will not fail. —> click to tweet

Tears streaming, contacts burning. I needed the Gospel to be true for me. In that moment & in that space. I needed a God that would find me, show me love and shelter me from the storm.

Completely unimpressive, I sat in my pain and came undone. Unraveling in the presence of One who knows exactly how to put me back together.

I chose to hope that Jesus would be enough. I chose to believe that by holding onto Him through all the disappointments I will be able to look back and say that I too know what a “hope against hope”  faith looks like.

A certain power lies in these places of vulnerability. A formidable beauty grows.

I cling to God and He works. He transforms my impatience, fear, anger and pride. The cracks and ruins begin to glow with Hope.

No need to worry about all that we are doing wrong and failing at. We simply cling to One who is making all things right. We find Him in our beautiful pain.

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Filed under Adoption, Beauty, Faith, Fire, Global, Going Places, My Life Thus Far, Uncategorized, Whimsy

adoption update

A Sunday Kind Of Love

Every Sunday I share with you guys something I love. Today’s thing that I love? Adoption.

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted our newest adoption update? I told you that I would let you know what we decided to do and then never mentioned it to you again? Well, I’m not forgetful, we simply didn’t have any answers until this past week. So, here is the follow up from that post:

Our family is currently on the waiting list for both Ghana and Uganda. Each one has their own delays going on at the moment & we are simply waiting to see which door God will open first.

Ghana has plenty of children that qualify for adoption, but there is a new ban prohibiting both domestic & international adoption. Hopefully this will be lifted quickly.

Uganda has children as well, but there are some delays in getting paperwork in order for the waiting children. Also, some of the children’s homes have had to take a break from adoptions due to some various issues.

And so we wait…

I would love your prayers that the process would start moving forward and that the remainder of the funds needed to adopt would come in.

Today, I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to help another family fund their adoption from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Allyson from All Our Days is opening up an Etsy shop. She is making downloadable digital prints for the home and this month 50% of sales in June will go to fund Lauren Mill’s adoption.

Lauren is a mama to three kiddos and her husband is a youth pastor. International adoption is very expensive and this is a great way to help fund them. You can read about their adoption journey here.

These are a couple more items from All Our Days:

Jeremiah 1-5 Gender Neutral 600 EtsyImage

via All Our Days

Blessed 600 EtsyImage

via All Our Days

Have a great Sunday and I hope to have another adoption update to share with you soon! All your prayers & thoughts are appreciated!

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Filed under Adoption, Sunday Kind Of Love

an adoption update

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Did you know we were adopting? If you are a newer reader, you probably didn’t. I don’t talk about it here too often. Although I did discuss it on Valentine’s Day. There was the time I mentioned it when I wrote about hope and when I told you about the thing that made me cry. I have gotten quite a few inquiries lately asking for an update, so…here it is!
We have been in the adoption process for three and a half years now. Trying to adopt a little boy and a little girl from Uganda. When we began the adoption journey it was estimated to take approximately a year. After many late nights of filling out forms and gathering countless documents, we were finished. But then we moved to California. 

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And we were underway getting all of our paperwork changed when six months later we moved from California to Texas. Our adoption agency is amazing and got all our paperwork ready for Texas very quickly. A year ago we were so excited to be placed on the waiting list for our kids! Unlike other countries, you are not matched with a child until one of the last steps. But then all sorts of delays happened.

The waiting list slowly moved forward & we finally got to #4 in line! This past week we received an email that the babies home we are adopting from is halting all international adoptions. Bah. I totally cried. I mean, what mama wouldn’t?

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Despite the unforseen turn of events, I know that God is in control and has better timing than I do. It really isn’t anyone’s fault that this journey has had so many twists and turns. Our agency is amazing. Uganda has changed some things along the way, but they have done so in the best interest of the children and that is the most important thing in adoption. I cannot say enough how much I love the country of Uganda.

So, now what do we do that the home we are adopting from is pausing their international adoption program? That’s a great question. We basically have two options:

Option 1 – switch countries and adopt from Ghana instead.

Option 2 – pray and trust God to open up another home for us to get children from in Uganda

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I know that you are not all praying people. But for those who are, would you help us? See, after carrying this for 3.5 years, my heart is a bit tired. I’m so thankful that I am surrounded by people who are believing with us to bring our  kids home. Seriously couldn’t do it on my own.

These next two weeks will be very telling regarding which option we should choose. Would you pray:

1. That God would make clear the path we are to go? And move every unknown mountain that would stand in our way?

2. Pray that God would provide all the remaining finances we need for adoption.

3. Grace to keep pressing in even when it hurts.

This mama would sure appreciate it. I’ll keep you posted regarding what we end up doing. Fully expecting God to do some miracles in these next few months! And we all said….”amen”.

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Filed under Adoption, Kiddos

what about when love hurts?

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via Amanda Pries

Valentines Day sends everyone into a panic. Either you are panicking because you have no one to spend it with or you are panicking because you are scrambling to get  a gift for that special someone.

It is good to celebrate romance. It is great to buy my kids treats and write silly poems about how much I love them.

But, I cried yesterday thinking about Valentines Day. I was getting my son’s Valentines Day cards ready for him to take to preschool for his friends. An ache started in my gut and then spread to my eyes & tears started popping out.

I thought about my two Ugandan kids who don’t know that I love them yet. They don’t even know I exist actually. Three years I have been in the adoption process &  I still wait. I still love.

Bizarre to love someone so much that it hurts. To love someone who doesn’t even love you back. Who doesn’t know you exist.

Whoever said love isn’t supposed to hurt was lying. Now, it shouldn’t be abusive or violent. They are right about it not hurting in that way. I have a friend who left her abusive husband this year and will be celebrating tomorrow alone. I ache for her pain and couldn’t be more proud of her bravery.

But, to be honest. Love hurts.

Loving the child you don’t have yet. Loving your neighbor as yourself when they couldn’t care less about you. Loving a home that is far away. Loving the teenager who says mean things and shuts you out. Loving your students who are disrespectful.

We are all loving someone this Valentines Day. But not all of us will have our love returned with a rose and a smile.

Does the love that hurts matter too?

I know for a fact it matters.

For God So Loved The World… ( John 3:16)

Six words that changed the course of mankind. God loved a world that didn’t love him back. God loved a world that offered Him a cross instead of a heart shaped balloon.

He still loves us today even when we are hard to love. He still loves you today even if you don’t acknowledge His existence. He aches for people.

If you find yourself feeling a love that hurts tomorrow, I know God can meet you there.

And if you have a hot date and happiness surrounding you tomorrow…Enjoy!

But, if love hurts tomorrow, celebrate it as well.

It matters that churches keep loving their cities even when it stings. It matters that parents keep loving children even when they seem so far out of reach. It matters that people remember the gift of loved ones lost. It matters that hospice nurses love the dying even though they know the outcome. It matters that a sister keeps loving her drug addict brother who brings nothing but disappointment. It matters.

Celebrate that we have the human capacity to love. Celebrate that there is a Savior who loves you even at your worst.

Celebrate that love matters.

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Filed under Adoption, Faith, Fire, Kiddos, Whimsy

The Uncomfortable Thing That Made Me Cry

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When I began planning my posts for An Uncomfortable January, I intentionally left this topic out. It was just too uncomfortable for me to go there. In fact, I’ve rarely written about it at all. It is like a small, sacred part of me that carries so much emotion it scares me sometimes.

I have two amazing kids that bring me such joy, but motherhood also has a painful side for me. A side that keeps me crying silently to sleep sometimes. A side that causes me to weep even as I am writing now.

You see, I am not only mom to Sophie & Tait. I am also mom to two children in Africa. We haven’t met each other yet. I have a son named Ford and a daughter named Etta. I’ve never seen their faces in a picture, but it is as if I see them everywhere I go.

I carry the idea of them into each calendar year. Hoping. Praying. Waiting.

Three years ago we began the process of adoption from Uganda. It has been three long & hard years. I talk about adoption all the time, read adoption blogs & pray for them each day. However, I rarely really engage with the heartache it has brought me. It just hurts.

But, today I took time to get really uncomfortable. To let the emotions unwind from the expectations…

I had no idea it would take three years. And we still are waiting…

I started when my daughter was 3 and my son was 1 because I wanted my kids to grow up close in age. Instead there will be about 6 years separating my two daughters. That makes me sad and frustrated. I wanted them to play hopscotch together, to learn to ride bikes together and to go to proms together.

It is no one’s fault the adoption has dragged on so long. Our agency has been amazing. Uganda is a beautiful country who bears no fault in my pain. Really, it is God’s fault. This is the really uncomfortable part for me.

Why did God initiate with us to start this process three years ago? Did He not realize that He was going to lead us to move states twice? Didn’t He know we would have to do our paperwork over each time? Why did He let us hope fresh? Why did He let us waste money?

Why does He let it hurt so bad? I know there are thousands of people waiting in the same process, but this is my story and it is my pain.

Doesn’t He know that I wanted my girls to play house together? Doesn’t He know that I want my sons to dig for bugs together in the back yard? Didn’t He know of my plan to avoid such an age gap between my biological and adopted kids?

It hurts to long for something. It hurts to wait, and wait, and wait. Why is it taking us three years and counting when other families seem to adopt at a rapid pace?

Why isn’t it fair?

This is the uncomfortable part for me: There is no answer to these questions.

God hasn’t answered any of my questions. He has simply been there. Sitting with me when I cry. Giving me faith to pray for them every morning. He feels the pain I can’t express.

God hasn’t answered my questions, but He has answered me. He has answered my need for hope. My need for faith. He holds me. And He holds them…in a land far, far away.

He is God and I am not. Even though I think my plan is better…it isn’t. I need Him, I need His plan and His timing. I don’t know why, maybe I never will. But His ways are higher than my ways.

So, if you are like me, uncomfortably waiting and painfully believing that something is bound to get better…take heart. Be of good cheer. He is a God who doesn’t let the dreams die, who doesn’t let the shadows drown out the joy.

He is good. Even when it hurts.

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Filed under Adoption, An Uncomfortable January

My Life As A Gang Member

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I make a hoodie look straight boss.

Don’t be fooled. I may look like a red-headed mama, but I’m totally gangsta. I’ll tell you why…

This month marks three years since we started our adoption process. The number of things God has taught me through this could easily fill a book, and perhaps one day they will.

These past few weeks though I have been thinking about how powerful it is to be chosen. Out of all the people in all the world, how amazing to be picked. Obviously, that translates to God and the way He chooses me in spite of the many reasons I think He shouldn’t.

I’ve been thinking about how it works in terms of friends. The people who could fill their lives and free hours with anybody & they choose me. When they are crying, they choose to call me. When they are excited, they choose to text me. My friends choose me and that says a lot.

Sure, there are plenty of people who don’t choose me. People who didn’t return my calls, people who hired someone else, people who followed another blog and not mine… More people haven’t chosen me than have. Sometimes we can focus on the ones who haven’t picked us.

Recently, I’m really amazed and humbled at my friends who do choose me. What an honor to be invited to be a part of someone’s life. What an honor to have friends, no matter how many, who choose you back. We really are like a small gang.

So, gang, cheers to you! Cheers to us choosing each other.

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Filed under Adoption, Faith, Kiddos, My Life Thus Far