This is blog was created to share some tidbits of our daily lives

and advocate on behalf of the 143 million orphans around the world!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Introducing.....Lily Hope!!!!!!!

We are SO PROUD and PLEASED to FINALLY announce the referral of our daughter from China...
Lily Hope Jiatong Stanley!!!!!!
(Scream! AAAHHH! Shout!)
Our little Ladybug
Look at those PRECIOUS eyes!!!! ( When I see this pic..I can see into this girl's soul!)
Pretty in Pink!!! (This was our first glimpse of our sweet daughter. The moment I saw this pic, I KNEW she was ours!!!!!!

We are STILL in total disbelief that we received our referral from China. After waiting over 3 years, you just wonder every now and then if you will EVER see the face of that little girl that God put a hole in your heart for. I cannot believe the journey of Faith we have been on. I can honestly say that this journey has brought me closer to God than ANY other thing in all of my life. I am so grateful that God made us wait. I know this sounds crazy because it hasn't been easy. But, what has been easy is knowing our God is in CONTROL of EVERY minor and major detail of our lives. He has shown us in BIG and LITTLE ways throughout this process that He is SO REAL, PEOPLE. If you wonder if there is a God, if he hears your cries, if He sees your pain, HE DOES. But we must remember he is molding us for HIS PURPOSE, NOT OURS. He set the lonely in our hearts for a child, when we felt complete at one time. His plan is to set the lonely in families, but not for a child from our womb, but HIS, on HIS terms, in HIS timing. You see, when we first began this process, we thought we wanted a "girl, 0-12 months, no known special needs". God knew we weren't ready for what He had in store for us, so SLOWLY but SURELY He began to mold us according to His PURPOSE, HIS CHARACTER. Teaching us to love and see through HIS eyes, with HIS heart. He knew that there was a little girl in Ethiopia for us that needed us first. He knew that he needed to remove the scales from our eyes...little by little, bit by bit, piece by piece. Taking away our tunnel vision, broadening our view. He knew we needed to go to ETHIOPIA, AFRICA to see the poor, the needy, and the BEAUTIFUL people. He knew we wouldn't be able to come back to America unchanged and has challenged us to DO SOMETHING about it. He also opened our eyes to the many children who reside in orphanages with special needs. He knew He had to teach us many things before we were ready to open our eyes and hearts to a child with known special needs. We submitted our medical checklist to our agency in Feb. 2009. I told Doug I just couldn't turn it in unless we checked cleft lip and palate. I just knew in my heart that this was something God had led us to. I even told Doug I hoped that was her need. We recently received the email with the information about our daughter. I first saw her name. (Jia means Happy and Tong means GOLDEN HOPE!!! and we had picked our name over 3 years ago!!!) Next, I saw her birth date... 8-25-09!!! What??!! She wasn't even 9 months old??? We had said we would accept a child up to 36 months so we were totally blown away by this! I then saw the words, "cleft lip and palate" and smiled....and finally I clicked on the picture of her in the pink! At that very moment, I was looking at my daughter. We are SO over the moon, the boys are SO IN LOVE, and Lola Joy says Lily BOPE and laughs!:) GOD IS GOOD! I wish I had the time to share all of the times HE showed up in this process in a very real way through circumstances and people and rainbows, names, etc. I am going to have to put it into words at some point. All I can say is...if you have any tiny tug on your heart to adopt...DO IT! Step out of the boat like Peter did and FOCUS your eyes on the ONE who will walk with you EVERY step of the way guiding you, molding you, providing for you, and CARRYING you. I DARE YOU!
Thanks for your love and prayers. We have about 3-5 months before we can see our sweet daughter face to face, so keep us all in your prayers. I will update soon with a "what's next" post.
Overwhelmed to be CHOSEN to be Lily's forever family,
For those of you in the adoption world that knows what this means...
we have sent our LOI and today we received our PA. Waiting for three letters LOA...then TA. And by the way, Happy 9 months old sweet Lily Pie.:)

Friday, May 21, 2010


Stay tuned to upcoming exciting news. We will share news when we are allowed to. Our agency has requested that we not share any news until we receive one more "official" piece of sorry. Wish I could share more!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baseball, Honors Night, and Sneaky Pete!

As promised, pics of Bren doin' what he loves!He takes it sooo seriously.

Monday night was honor's night at school. All I can say is I'm one proud Momma.
Here is Bryson with his best bud, Cole...a.k.a. "Tole Tole" (via Lola):)

Here's Bren and Darci. So proud of these two. They are each other's BIGGEST fans!

Darci, Bren, and buddy Keegan
And for Sneaky Pete...hmmmm.
I wonder how this bag from our fruit loops box got in the middle of the kitchen floor?
Oh--wait...there's a clue!!! (Or is that the prize Kelloggs left in there?) ha!!

Caughtcha stuffin' your face, girl!!

So blessed to be on this journey of life with my sweet, sweet kiddos, friends and family.
Counting down to summer break!!
8 more days!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today was a wonderful day. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to be a Mom. I remember being a little girl and dreaming of being a Mommy someday. I cannot explain the Joy I felt in my heart once again on this Mother's Day. We had baby dedication at our church today as well. Our biggest prayer is that our children will accept Jesus as their Savior and serve him all the days of their life. And it's my job as their Mother to nurture this, model this, and support them in whatever that looks like for them individually. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for these three kiddos!Lola Joy was a hoot, she was looking at the camera and saying, "cheese"!

Lola Joy was readopted on May 5. What an emotional and fun day! (We were minus one, Bryson. He had a fieldtrip that day and he bawled because he wanted to be there, but I made the decision for him and told him to go on his fieldtrip. )

This is where we spend EVERY NIGHT of the week...and ....I LOVE IT!
Here are some pics of Bryson at one of his games.
This cracks me up. Sophie and L.J. eatin' snacks with their big bows and cute glasses! ha.
Bryson enjoyed trying out the catcher's gear!:0)

I'll post pics of Bren playing ball soon:0)
Happy Mother's Day to my Momma and Doug's Momma.
We are super blessed to have the most amazing Mom's!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We can't pretend we do not know...

Tonight there is a lot on my heart. I wasn't going to post anything. We've been absent due to baseball games every night and I am so thankful that I have a family to fill each moment of the day with such Joy. Anyway, Lola Joy was re-adopted today. This along with a few other things has brought me to really search the word for God's view of adoption and God's Purpose for me. I was searching verses and found a blog with a post that summed up my heart's feelings since experiencing Ethiopia this summer. I have been unable to due it justice and put it into words. This person did so beautifully. So, here it is...

"It has been three months since we returned from Africa. In many ways it seems like we were there only yesterday. In others, it seems like an eternity ago.

I liked my first taste of Africa and my processing of it these last few months to someone who is going through the five stages of grief. I honestly think while I was there, I was in a state of shock. Being slightly numb is about the only way I could keep from weeping at every moment. I was carried along by the rhythm and flow of life in Ethiopia-the sights, and sounds, and smells. but I didn't know how to feel. I was overwhelmed by the need and my lack of ability to do anything about it. And certainly didn't know how to reconcile everything I was seeing with my life back in American.
Which led me to anger. At injustice. At rich, spoiled Americans. At myself. Some justified anger, sure, but mainly my anger was misdirected. I wanted someone to blame. Surely someone else was responsible for all this death and sickness and disparity, and so it must be all those people who don't know, who don't care, who don't do anything. If they would just listen. If they would just care. I was ready to point my finger at anyone and everyone.
And, of course, at myself. Because Africa, like a magnifying mirror, reveals more of yourself than you really want to see. Thing you hide well in a land of prosperity--like selfishness, laziness, greed, arrogance--get exposed in a land of want. when you see a woman who has nothing but her meager supply of water and injera to serve you tea--you can't help but think of how often you've opened your overflowing pantry and sighed that there is just nothing to fix for dinner. When you meet a man who walks 3 miles back and forth to work for 12 hour days, 7 days a week, all for about 2 dollars a day, and he counts himself as blessed--you can't help but think of how often you've complained you needed "me time" after a day "stuck" in your comfy house homeschooling your well-fed kids and folding enough laundry to clothe an army. when you give a child a piece of gum, and you look back to see them sharing it with 6 other children around them--you can't help but think of the overflowing Easter baskets and Christmas stockings stuffed full of goodies. And you feel fat. Regardless of how much you weigh, you just feel like soft, flabby glutton.
And so I entered the stage of bargaining. Ok, God, I can still live in my house as long as I speak up for orphans and bring one home to live in it. I can still have 25 pairs of shoes as long as a couple of them are TOMS. I can still spend hours online doing nothing productive, as long as I occasionally post something thought provoking on facebook. I can still own way more than I need as long as I donate some of the stuff I know really want anymore to Goodwill.
But that leads to depression. Because you can never really reconcile owning anything with having given enough. I think of the story where the man came to Jesus and said, ok, I'm ready to follow you, and Jesus said, only one more thing: go sell everything you have and GIVE IT TO THE POOR. The man walked away sad. He could not do it. His heart was not willing. while I certainly believe it's ok to own things, I can never again rest in a place of knowing, ok, I've given enough, I'm good now. It will never be enough. And that can be deeply unsatisfying for someone who wants a simple black and white way to deal with abundance. It just isn't simple, people!
And I am finally accepting that. There is no easy answer. Really, I am finding we here in America have a lot more in common with my new friends in Ethiopia than I originally thought. Our countries, yes, different indeed. But we are all people, created in God's image, and in desperate need of the Gospel. And redemption. What Africa wears on the outside, laid bare for all to see, we hide underneath layers in America. they wear physical disease, hunger, poverty, and need. Here our layers of "stuff" hides emptiness, brokenness, despair and a hunger that is never satisfied deep within our hearts. Their need is easier to identify, but ours is still there. Underneath it all are human beings with gaping wounds and fatal bleeding. we need a remedy. We need a remedy. We need to be rescued.
And with my acceptance comes HOPE. I believe in a Remedy. I believe in a Rescuer. I serve a King who loves Africans and Americans. I believe He will use me, if I will daily seek to obey HIS leading in my life. I will NOT prescribe to you what you need to do, and what that will look like for you. I will not pretend there is an easy solution or that one needs to be in one country. But for me, I cannot forget what I have seen, and now I am responsible for it. Under the viel of earthly things is a spiritual reality, one we sense when we close our eyes and stand still long enough to feel. we were meant to live for so much MORE THAN THE AMERICAN DREAM!!!
And so I will NOT doze off in the sleepy shire, I will engage in the battle. I want blisters on my hands and fatigue deep in my bones and scars on my heart form all I've seen and experienced--because too much is at stake. Lives are at stake. Physical and spiritual. I don't want to cling tightly to anything, but JESUS. I want to spend myself, my life, my time, my resources--WITH RECKLESS ABANDON. So that one day when I stand before HIM, I have NOTHING left. Nothing wasted. Nothing squandered.
SO--GO and SEE. Serve. Share. But don't wait to engage in the battle until your feet hit African soil. Start today. Start here. Because too much is at stake.
Join me in this conflicted state, where my sin and my obedience wrestle daily. Choose to live with eyes wide open. Stop spectating. Suit up, get on the field, here you strive for the goal but often meet resistance and sometimes fail. '

As I read this I felt like this girl was feeling with my heart. I pray that I will NEVER get so comfortable with the AMERICAN DREAM and with what is ACCEPTABLE to the world, but live with RECKLESS ABANDON because JESUS SAID SO!