For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future. Jer. 29:11

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Haiti on my mind

I was able to speak and sing at my parent's church a few weeks ago and then again at my sister in law's church for the night service. I spoke about my trip to Haiti and the work we did there and then about meeting our sweet Cadonia. I think since I came home from Haiti I have been so focused on getting our paperwork in for our adoption that I haven't thought as much about the people of Haiti as much as I would have if I didn't have this mound of papers to get turned in. But since Sunday I haven't been able to think about much else, the sweet people of Haiti and the life that they lead. Nothing, Nothing, NOTHING prepares you for the things you will see. The amount of devastation is unimaginable. Yet the people at both of the churches we attended have a love for Christ and a freedom of worship that most people in American may never know. They truly praise Him in the storm. Would you praise Him in this storm? *80% of the people live on less than $2.00 a day *Bowl of rice and beans cost about $1.50 *1/2 are unemployed with no job opportunities *Home to the 2nd largest slum in the world-300,00 people living in 3 square miles with no running water. *There are 1/2 million child slaves in Haiti *1 in every 3 of Haiti's children will die before the age of 5. Challanging us all to be more thankful for what we have, where we live and all that God has blessed us with. Since I have been home He is teaching me to be more responsible with the resources He has given me, whether that be money, time or possessions. I want to make a difference in my world with all that he has given me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Talking to Cadonia

We got to call the orphanage tonight and talk to our sweet girl. Just the sound of her voice makes me smile and cry at the same time. We found out that Ricot had already talked with her about being
adopted. I asked if she remembered me and she said yes, Stephanie. She sounded very excited when Kevin asked her if she wanted to be adopted and come home to live with us. It was so good to hear her sweet voice.
I told her that some of our friends were coming to see her next week and that we would be sending her some presents. She said yes, she wanted a new dress and a baby doll. I have so enjoyed shopping for her and can't wait to see her in each and every outfit. I just wish I were going on this trip so I could see her face when she gets her gifts. We are not going to get to go until June which seems like a long time away. But in the mean time I will busy myself getting through this mound of paperwork!!! The sooner we get through it, the sooner we will have that sweet voice filling our house.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holding My Breath

I feel like I have been holding my breath for the last few days. We found out Monday that Cadonia has only been in the orphange for the last 5 months. So before that she was with her parents and possibly siblings. In order for us to proceed with the adoption, her parents have to sign over their rights.

Ricot was able to talk to them on Monday about the fact that we want to adopt her. They were apparently excited that someone wanted to adopt her but were hesitant about signing over their rights. I know that they are told when they come to the orphange that this is a possiblity but I 'm not sure they are ever ready to hear that news. To think that yes, your child may be offered a life that you could never give her but that you also may never see her again has to be heart breaking. So they asked Ricot if they could think about it for a fews days so I know they love her but this is when I began holding my breath!

Knowing that God set us on this path I have prayed this week that he would see us through. That as hard a decision that Cadonia's parents have to make that they would let us bring her here to be a part of our family and that he would ease their pain in making this decision.

It seems like everytime I picked up my bible or a devotional God was giving me the perfect scripture. These are a few of them:

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Proverb 16:3 Commit your work to God, and your plans will be established.

Thankful for these verses that I have held onto this week as well as family and friends who have been so supportive.

So tonight I let out a deep breath and a shout of thanksgiving when we received the call that her parents agreed and that we can continue this great adventure of bringing Cadonia home.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How the Journey Began

I have wanted to adopt a child since before I had a husband or was blessed with three awesome boys of my own. I can remember as a teenager watching a video at church about China and all of the orphans there. That is what I always thought I would do, adopt a little girl from China. Of course life happened, we got busy doing our thing, raising our three active boys. On two previous occasions we considered whether the time was right for us to adopt. One time we received a call from the Tennesse Baptist Children's Home where we had been on a waiting list for 2 years...I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with our youngest child. Somehow the timing did not feel right! A few years later, we were all set to start the process of adopting that little girl from China. Again, something didn't feel right. So we dropped it and I thought that would be the end of our adoption plans.

Since the earthquake in Haiti, my church has sent 3 or 4 mission teams to serve in Haiti. In February 2011, I was able to be a part of one of those teams. I knew that over the course of these trips several families had felt God calling them to adopt girls from an orphanage in Camatin, a 3 1/2 drive up the mountain from Port Au Prince.

Weeks before we left, I felt that tug at my heart about adopting again. I told Woody to be praying and to pray while I was in Haiti that we would be obedient to whatever He was calling us to do. Most of the week the team worked at the church at Savan Pistache, in Port Au Prince. Two members of our team are already in the process of adopting and their girls were able to spend the week with us. I totally fell in love with all three of these precious girls and can't wait for them to come home.

The last full day of our trip we made the drive to Camatin to spend time with the girls at the orphange. Many prayers were being prayed on that drive and not just because the roads were narrow and winding! I continued to pray that I wouldn't force anything and that God would orchestrate this day as He wanted. When we arrived at the orphanage we were greeted by 26 smiling faces, most of them standing on the porch waiting our arrival. I remember getting hugs from many of the girls as I walked in. It wasn't long after we arrived, while I was hugging some of the little girls when I felt this hand in mine. I looked down to see another smiling face looking at me. This is where it began, she grabbed my hand and she grabbed my heart. She began to tug my hand as if she wanted me to go with her so I followed. We ended up on the floor of the room that she shares with 7 other girls. I opened my backpack and took out the silly bands, beaded necklaces, and chapstick that I had brought for the girls. It's amazing how you can give something to one of the little girls, they leave and come back with many girls wanting what you have. They look after each other so well.

Just spending time with this little girl playing on the floor I began to feel such a connection with her. She wanted to sit in my lap or be beside me the whole afternoon. We brought jump ropes and I was able to get her to go play with the other girls. As I stood watching her laugh and play she reminded me of my own children when I would take them to a park to play and they would lose sight of me. She did the same thing, and when she finally spotted me still watching her, she got the biggest grin on her face. It just melted my heart!

As we left Haiti the next day, I felt that as much as I had loved the whole experience I didn't think I could go back to Haiti without being in the process of bringing her home. I now look at pictures of her and see my daughter, Cadonia. Even though in my head I had someone picked out that was younger (maybe 4-5 years old) I knew I couldn't go back to the orphange and bring another little girl home, leaving Cadonia there. It felt like she chose me, but ultimately it was God who chose to put us together.

A couple of days after I got home I was able to tell Woody about her and asked him to think and pray about it. The next day he told me he was ready to bring her home and that he had already been praying about it long before I asked him to. He already loved Cadonia because he could see how much I loved her. It is amazing how quickly God can give you love for a child that you spent about 6 hours with and could hardly speak to because of a language barrier. Our whole family already loves her and can't wait for us to get through the mounds of paperwork and bring her home. There is still so much about this journey already that I need to share but you will just have to wait for one blog at a time!