Monday, December 10, 2012

Challenges and "Joys"

Two months ago....we were on our way home from getting our new daughter from the Philippines.. I haven't written a lot about our trip, but it was definitely not a vacation! The trip there was long...including 2 hours of severe turbulance when we flew through a typhoon on our flight into Tokoyo-(this resulted in two sick kids, !). I was never so happy to be on firm ground again, but then we had to run through the airport to make our connecting flight to Manila and board right back on another airplane!

Manila was croweded and I mostly felt claustrophobic the whole time I was there. The people, though, are genuine and friendly. I would have loved to had time to get outside of the city and see some of the beautiful country, where I hear it is not so crowded!

When we first met Joy, she was shy, but she clung to Natalie right away. We had told her that Natalie was her "Ate", which means "big sister", but we found out quickly that she called all of her caregivers "Ate". She thought that Natalie was going to be the one taking care of her, so she had decided in her mind that she would love Natalie.  Me, on the other hand, not so much. She had really no concept of what a "mother" or "family" was, and I think she was angry at me for taking her away from the only "family" she had ever known and quite possibly terrified of the whole situation! While we were in the Philippines, she did not warm up to me at all and it was a challenge, to say the least. We did not get a "honeymoon" period like I have heard some families talk about! As we have been at home, she fairly quickly warmed up to me and now she is very affectionate with all of us. It is definitely a "joy" to feel those little arms tight around my neck! She loves to give hugs and kisses! :)

We've had the challenges with language barrier, but also laughter. Joy heard the song, "Feliz Navidad" on the radio and she began to sing loudly "Police and a dog". Now that is a standing joke in our family!  Joy loves to laugh and has a great sense of humor.

We've had challenges in meshing the "family" together, but already, I have seen a change in Micah and Natalie and how they get along with Joy.  Oh, they still have normal arguments and annoyances like any brothers and sisters, but Joy is now a part of our family and I can't imagine it any other way. It is a "joy" to see the kids become a family together!

We are facing some big challenges with Joy's special needs and learning delays. We noticed quite quickly that Joy has difficulty learning in certain areas. I am looking forward to seeing her learn and grow as we work with her and find her the help she needs. 

 We have come so far in the past two months. Do we still have difficult days? Absolutely. I have read some blogs where everything seems to be going just so perfectly and peachy keen from the very first day...and I this for real? Some people are afraid to blog about the realities of adoption because they are afraid of judgment from others. They are afraid that people will say, "You asked for it by adopting an older child," or "This was YOUR choice". BUT the reality is, adoption is not God's first plan for a family. It is not always perfect.  It is not always beautiful. It is born out of death or abandonment. It is born out of tradgedy and pain. Don't get me wrong.  I am an adoption advocate and I BELIEVE in adoption. God wants us as His children to take care of orphans, but I also want others to know the reality. It takes a strength that sometimes you don't have in and of yourself. It takes a willingness to deal with unpleasant behavior, to love selflessly, to sacrifice time and money for a child who might not always ACT lovable, and definitely doesn't always feel thankful (maybe even resents you for taking them away from the only home they have ever known!). It takes a determination and commiment to parent a child that has been broken and hurt and may be a totally different personality than you. Adopting an older child, especially one with special needs, is not for the faint of heart. To be honest....I struggle. I am not always willing to give selflessly like I should. I have seen a side of myself that I am not proud of. I have been frustrated, brought to tears, and even asked God "why" at times...but God is stretching me and making me into someone with a greater understanding for a hurting child, a greater compassion for parents of children with special needs, and a bigger heart for those who do foster care.  I pray that God will make me into the mother He wants me to be so I can help others who might be struggling with difficult adoptions. Once again, this adoption journey has been much more challenging than I expected; but God never said following His plan would be easy or comfortable. I pray that He will continue to change me and make me into the person He wants me to be. I will revel in the joys and trust God to help us overcome the challenges and through it all, I pray that He will be glorified in our family.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Why you cry, Mommy?"

Honestly, these past few weeks have been some of the most difficult days in my life. I knew it would be hard to take a 7 year old little girl from the only home she had ever known, from the only culture she had ever lived in, from the only caregivers she had ever loved and help her become a part of our family. I knew it would be especially difficult with her learning delays, her medical condition, and the language barrier.  I had read books, gone to seminars, and thought I was throughly prepared...BUT nothing could have prepared me for those first few days and weeks with our new daughter. I do not feel it is right  for me to go into detail on this public forum, but if anyone out there has questions, is dealing with a tough transition, or just needs encouragement, please feel free to private message me.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Not that it is easy yet, but today our new daughter finally LOVES me! Probably too much! She won't hardly let me out of her sight when we are at home. She cried for me the first few days of school. We are working toward a healthy attachement where she can be happy even if Mommy is not right with her every single second,  and hopefully soon we will be there.

Last Sunday, Joy was having a particularly rough morning. She had been crying off and on all morning and was having a difficult time with all the "new" people she was meeting at church. During the worship service she was sitting on my lap just hugging me as tight as could be, and I started crying as we were singing a particularly powerful song. She looked at me and asked, "Why you cry, Mommy?", patted my back to comfort me, and tried to wipe away my tears.  I could not tell her the reason I was crying because I was crying for her. I was crying out to God to heal all the hurts in her heart. I was crying out to God to make her whole, to heal her medical condition, to help her understand how much God loves her and we love her. I was crying out to God for Him to "wrap her in His arms" and comfort her little heart. I was asking God to give me the strength to be the mother that little Joy needs; asking God to give me the patience and to help me to understand why she sometimes acts the way she does. I was asking God to give me the love He has for her and asking Him to help bring us together as a family. And God used Joy to comfort me that morning, telling me "it's gonna be alright."

Most of the time taking a step (or leap, in our case!)  of faith isn't easy. I thought the waiting part of this adoption was hard. I thought the financial part of the adoption was a mountian we would never overcome. (Which, by the way, after we factored all the plane tickets, hotel costs, etc, we were only about $1000 short! That is a MIRACLE!)  That was the easy part. Now the rubber meets the road and we are parenting a child from a broken background (even though she was well taken care of at her orphanage, there is no substitute for a family!) with hurts, learning delays and medical needs.  We have already been to the doctor, the neurologist, an occupational therapist, the dentist...the medical bills are wracking up. Thank God for insurance! We want to get Joy all the help we can get her. Adoption is a beautiful picture, but to see the beauty, you have to walk through the broken. It is not always a cozy, fuzzy, picture-perfect, new-family- loving- each- other..soemtimes it is an angry child,  a hurting child,  deep disappointment, or feeling all alone...someitmes it is siblings not getting along with the new adopted child or the new adopted child jealous of the siblings. Sometimes it is frustration becuase of a language barrier. Sometimes it is fear; fear that the new adopted child will not be able to overcome such big learning delays; fear on the part of the child being in a new culture or that her new family will leave her...but in the end, it is beauty. God specializes in taking the broken and making it into something beautiful.  So I remember Joy's words to me "Why you cry, Mommy?" and I feel her little hand patting me on my back, giving me comfort and I remember that God is in this.  He WILL make something beautiful out of it, even if mostly what I see now is the broken.  In the mean time, I will cherish every hug. I will hold my little girl's hand at night until she goes to sleep. I will correct and guide and nurture her. I will continue to cry out to God, asking Him heal her deepest hurts and make her whole. I will continue to pray to God for strength and wisdom on how to be the mother Joy needs me to be, asking forgiveness when I fail...and I will continue to pray that He will create something beautiful as He takes the broken pieces and knits us together as a family.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Introducing...Joy Noelle!

Hello, everyone! I have been totally out of commission the past couple of weeks since travelling to the Philippines and returning home with our new daughter. We have had a couple of rough weeks with our adjustment to becoming a family, but things are finally starting to settle  down, so I thought I would introduce you to our new daughter. I am not allowed to post pictures of her until we "finalize" the adoption after all our paperwork is filled out for our 1, 3 and 6 month post placement reports and we get the official consent to adopt from the Filippino government.

Here are some things I have learned about Joy in the past couple weeks and I would like to share with you to introduce her to you.

Joy loves to swim!
Joy loves chips (ANY kind of chips), ice cream and pizza! (Also, noodles and rice with various sauces, including salad dressing, mayo, and any other kind of sauce you can think of. We introduced her to Chick-fil-a sauce and she loves that as well!)-Typical kid, huh?
Joy does not eat much meat, veggies or fruit yet...we are working on adding that to balance her diet.
Joy ADORES her new big sister Natalie.
Joy was VERY afraid of Cooper, our miniature schnauzer when she came home just over a week ago, but now she LOVES the puppy. (Most of the time!)
Joy does not like loud noises and is very afraid of any banging, roaring, etc. (She's still getting used to the garage door opening/closing and is TERRIFIED of automatic flushing toilets!)-And yet, she has no qualms about being loud herself-Go figure! She can be very loud and sometimes at the most inopportune times!
Joy does not like stuffed animals...(She is scared of them, especailly at night)
Joy LOVES music and to sing and dance.
Joy is very artistic and likes to paint and draw.
Joy is learning new English words every day and I am very proud of her for starting to express herself with words.
She is super excited to go to school with Micah and Natalie and asks us EVERY day when she can go.

I am very proud of Joy and how she is adjusting. It cannot be easy leaving the only home you have ever known to
go with a strange family. She didn't even really know what a family was, or how to act. She was the oldest in an orphange and all the others were toddlers and younger. She has had so much transition and so much new to learn. She is still learning and testing her boundries, learning to trust us, and learning a new language. She also has a language and development delay, so learning new language is difficult for her. (She knew some English, but mostly spoke Tagalog).She has come a LONG way since meeting us 2 weeks ago and I am truly amazed already at where she is from the first few days we met her. Even though I am exhausted, sometimes I have been frustrated, and the adjustment has been difficult, I know that God will give us the strength and see us through.

Please continue to pray for us as each new day brings different challenges and as we try to be the best parents we can be for Joy. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


Tomorrow. TOMORROW we fly halfway across the world to bring home a little girl who we have never met to be our daughter. I'll admit, I have spent more than one night the last few weeks laying awake in bed,  wondering, "Are we crazy?" Are we crazy to bring into our family a 7 year old girl with a seizure disorder? Are we crazy to adopt a child we have never even met and add a whole new dynamic to our family? Are we crazy to spend the kind of money it takes to adopt internationally when we live on a youth pastor's and administrative assistant's salary? Some of you may think we are, but I have to look at the Bible and see how many seemingly "crazy" things God asked His people to do. Do you think Noah felt a little ridiculous building the Ark, when the earth had never even seen a drop of rain? How about Abraham, when God asked Him to sacrifice the "miracle" son He had provided for him? Do you think David, in his humanity, stopped to wonder "What in the world am I doing, facing this giant with a sling shot and no armor?" But in each of these situations, God was leading them and they followed by faith and obedience.

When God asks you to do something in faith, it may not always seem like the "sane" thing to do. If you step out in faith,it doesn't mean the road will always be easy, but it does mean He will provide for you every step of the way. Am I anxious? Yes, honestly, in my humanity, I am. I worry about how my new daughter will adjust, leaving the only home she has ever known to come home to a new culture, a new family, a new EVERYTHING.  I worry about her medical condition and her learning delays.  I worry if I can be the mom she needs and if I can love her the way she needs to be loved. I worry about how she and Natalie will get along sharing a room. I worry about a lot of things...but God says "Cast all your anxiety on Him,  for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

I have no doubt in my mind that God has led us on this adoption journey. The long wait and the paperwork and more waiting, has not been easy and I know there will still be many more trying days ahead; but, since God is leading us, I KNOW He will provide. He will provide the finances. He will provide the peace. He will provide the strength. He will provide EVERYTHING that we need.  So yes, we may be a little crazy, but hey, it takes being a little crazy to step out in faith sometimes!

Thanks so much for your prayers for us as we take this crazy journey of adoption and fly halfway across the world to bring home our beautiful little daughter! We appreciate so much the love and support we have in our family, our church family and our many friends! We can't wait to share with you the next part of this crazy journey!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Still Waiting...

Why, yes! We are still waiting! I think God is trying to teach me patience!!! :)  We found out through an e-mail from the US embassy that our little girl's Visa was issued last week and so now we are waiting for the final call...the call for travel approval! This week marks 1 year since we wrote the letter to the intercountry adoption board as to our intent to adopt our little girl.  We had no idea that the journey would take this long! On September 21 (which happens to be Joy's birthday) it will be 1 LONG year since writing that letter! Oh how I wanted to be with Joy on her birthday to celebrate! Instead, she will have one final birthday celebration with her friends at the orphanage and we will enjoy a belated birthday as a family when we are finally able to be with her! 

I have so many mixed emotions right now! I feel as though this journey is just about to begin, even though it started over 2 years ago with the first paperwork we filled out! I feel like we are at the top of the high hill of a roller coaster and we are about to be unleashed into the "real" ride!  We've been anticipating, preparing, reading, praying, and getting ready, the roller coaster chugging slowly up that huge hill of waiting-and now, I better hang on for the ride of my life! I hope I am ready! I am sure we will encounter many issues we could not even learn about in books; we will also see many miracles happen through God's grace! We know God has orchestrated this adoption and I just pray that He will use us to be His hands extended to our daughter.  He knows exactly what she needs, even if I don't.  I am already asking that He grant me wisdom and understanding to help our little girl.

 Please pray with me for extra grace, patience and understanding during this exciting time. Please pray with us for wisdom to know exactly what Joy needs and how to give it to her, both emotionally and physically.  We know that the next few months are going to be a transition time and we are going to have to spend some time just helping our daughter adjust. Our little girl will be leaving the only home she has ever known and traveling 24 hours away to a place of unfamiliar faces, foods, smells, sights and sounds. Please pray for her that God will calm her fears and give her peace. Please pray for her that God will heal the hurts in her heart and that she will be able to open up to His love and our love in a whole new way.

 Thank you so much for being a HUGE part of this miracle! We cherish your thoughts and prayers over the next couple months! We could not do this without your prayers and also your financial support. Thank you so much for being Christ extended to us as we walk the path that God is leading us. We love and appreciate each one of you!  Soon our daughter will be in our arms! Love, Darren, Jenna, Natalie, Micah and Joy Noelle

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Prayers Requested!

To all my blog friends and readers: I would like to ask all of you to pray for us tonight. Last week we found out that our daughter has had her medical visa appointmnet (on Aug. 22), but the attending doctor required her to come back for some further reassessment for her developmental delays. The follow-up appointmnet is Sept. 5th. Since the Philippines is 12 hours ahead of us, for those of you in the US, this will happen TONIGHT!  Please, please pray that everything goes well and they are able to schedule her visa appointment in the next few days. Please pray for no more delays. Please pray for peace for our little girl. Please pray for quick notice from the ICAB so we can travel to bring her home!

I am praying that I will be able to post a good report in the next couple days!

Thank you so much for your prayers! We will be traveling before you know it!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

And...the wait continues!

Another week has come and gone with no word on our daughter's medical and visa appointments.I didn't think this wait from referral to travel would be able to compare in any way whatsoever with the long wait to find out if she was going to be our daughter...I thought it would be WAY easier.  I will admit. I was COMPLETELY wrong. There were times, waiting to find out if we were going to be approved to adopt our little girl, I thought I was going to go out of my mind. When we finally recieved our official referral, I thought to myself, "The wait to travel will just fly by. It will be here before we know it!" The first couple months were alright. I was super busy with my job this summer and I was happy with how quickly the paperwork was coming together on our end. Now, however, I am stalking evey blog, trying to determine why we haven't recieved our call telling us when our daughter will have her medical and visa appointments. I am wondering why it is taking so long! The days pass by slowly...and still no news! This waiting is harder than I expected!  I want to hold her in my arms. I want to bring her home and get her settled into our family. I wonder often, "What is she doing right now?" or "Is she disappointed that it is taking so long for us to come?"

We sent a letter to her through our agency and also a list of questions to her caregivers (through our agency, of course!) that might help us prepare better for her when we finally do get to bring her home. These were sent several weeks ago...and still no response on that end either. I know the Inter-Country Adoption Board is very busy and I shouldn't expect answers quickly, but it is getting harder every day to wait.  At this point, we don't know if we will get to be with her on her birthday. More than likely she will not be HOME by her birthday, but there is a possibility we will get to be with I think I will go shopping this weekend and buy some things to wrap to either take to her or send to her for her birthday.  Maybe shopping for her will help with this difficult wait....Praying we hear something by the first of next week!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big thank you!

I just want to say a big HUGE thank you to everyone who donated over the past week! We raised $1450 in just a short amount of time and we hope to be able to purchase our plane tickets in the next few weeks. We truly are blessed and we have learned about God's provision in a whole new way! I also want to say thank you to give 1 save 1! What a neat way to help families raise the much needed funds to accomplish an adoption that costs so much! Anyone who is interested, please check out the new family this week and consider giving them $1 toward their adoption costs!

If you wanted to, but didn't have the chance to donate, you can still donate here through the donate button on my blog.  The plane tickets cost about $1200 each, so we still have a ways to go. I have no doubt that God WILL provide for all our needs! Thank you again to friends, family, and even strangers who took the time to help us in order to bring our little girl home! We cannot even begin to thank you enough! God bless!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blessed Beyond Measure!

I am just so overwhelmed and blessed right now! We have been doing the give1save1 campaign this week to help us raise the needed funds for our plane tickets to get our little girl home...and so many people have just come together and blessed us.  We've had missionaries, who I know are raising their own budgets to give their lives to share the Gospel, give above and beyond. We have had pastors, who have had difficult times of their own, donate large chunks to help us out. We've had strangers, who have no connection to us whatsoever, and blog friends who are in the middle of their own adoptions or who have just completed an adoption, donate out of their own pockets! What a blessing to see God's people join together! I just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. There was no way we could do this on our own. It is not easy to ask for money or share our need, but it is easy to share our passion! God has really stretched our hearts for orphans and children in need around the world!  We can't wait to not only bring our little girl home, but also share this blessing of giving to others who are adopting!

We've raised about $1400 so far toward the cost of our plane tickets! One round-trip plane ticket to the Philippines costs around $1200 right now, so we still need to raise some more funds to get us there to bring our little girl home! If you would like to be a part of our adoption story, you can click here to go to, watch our video, give a $1 and share with a family member or friend! Thank you so much!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Preliminary application fee: $550
Home Study Preparation Fee: $2600
Dossier Preparation Fee: $500
US Adoption Fees: $3500
Philippines Country Fee: $6300
US Paperwork (I800A and Fingerprinting): $840
Passports: $260
Numerous miscellaneous expenses: $500
Adoption training conferences/classes: $300
2 roundtrip tickets to the Philippines: $2600
1 one-way ticket home from the Philippines: $900
Hotel, food and other travel expenses: $1200
Post Adoption interviews/paperwork: $750

Changing an orphan's life forever: Priceless

The smile on my daughter's face when she found out she has a family: Absolutely Priceless

The cost of adoption is high. The sacrifices we make are many, but the end result is something there is no way we can measure in dollars. I can't wait to share with you the smile we've seen in the pictures of our little girl when she found out she FINALLY, after almost 7 years of waiting, has a family to call her very own.

We are doing our VERY LAST fundraiser to help us get our daughter home. Would you jump on over to and watch our adoption video and give $1 to help us get Joy Noelle home? Pass it on to a friend or two. Keep spreading the word.  We hope to travel in September!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adopting an older child

When Darren and I first felt God impress upon our hearts to adopt and we began to do a little research on adoption, we both felt that God was leading us to adopt a "waiting" child. We were blown away by the number of children in orphanages over the age of 5. Once a child reaches the age of 5 or 6, their chances of being adopted plummets. So many people are willing to adopt a healthy, infant or toddler, but when a child has something medically wrong with them or they are older, children are often labeled as "unadoptable."  There are numbers of beautiful children and teenagers waiting for a family, who have been passed over simply because they are not a baby anymore! There are numerous others who have been passed over because they have a medical need, maybe even something small like a cleft lip or crossed eyes.

Our little girl is almost 7! Her birthday will be coming up here shortly and we hope to have her home with us so we can celebrate her birthday as a family. She does have some special medical needs, but when we consulted physicians and spent time in prayer...God gave us peace that He will give us the strength to handle whatever comes our way. (And to look at her picture, you would never know it!!!)

We are excited to become a family to a little girl who has been waiting....who has watched friends go home with their forever families and who has expressed desire to be adopted; however, adopting an older child has some challenges as well. Many of these children carry a heavy burden from their past and a feeling of rejection. Many of them are scared to love their adoptive family because they don't want to face being abandoned again. All of them have dealt with pain beyond their years; and yet, God loves each and every one of them. How are they to know God's love, if someone doesn't show it to them? We are praying that we can be the family that Joy Noelle needs and that we can show her God's love in a whole new way.

This fundraiser we are doing with Give1Save1 is the LAST fundraiser we plan to do! Will you help us raise the funds needed to purchase our plane tickets? Round trip plane tickets to the Philippines cost about $1200 EACH right now and $900 for a one way ticket home. For just Darren and I and Joy Noelle, that is $3300.00!  We've raised $853 in the last two days. Our goal for the week is $3000 toward the plane tickets. Would you help us get there by donating $1 at and sharing our story with a family member or friend?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Can $1 REALLY make a difference?

What can you do with $1? You can't really buy very much with just $1.  You can get a cheesburger from McDonalds or a pack of gum or a large soft drink. You might be able to pick up something useful from the dollar store, but one dollar is not really much significance by itself. However, $1 added up with $1...and another and another makes a HUGE differnce toward our plane ticket costs to bring our daughter home from the Philippines! Will you be the one to start the giving with just $1 to help us bring our little girl home? I think some of you out there are not even bothering to give...NOT because you don't have a dollar or because you don't care, but because you don't believe $1 can really make a difference.  We have only had one person to this point give only $1.And it was from someone I don't even know!  Everyone else who has given to this point has given MORE than $1 and we are very grateful for that. I am very thankful for EVERY dollar given. Every donation, big or small, truly makes a BIG difference!! I'll be honest with you, I sort of felt silly giving only $1 to the previous featured family, so I made it $2 instead.... but I don't want you to not give because you feel $1 is not enough. I have over 400 friends on facebook; $1 each makes $400; if they each pass it on to 5 friends and some of them give $1, it just keeps on growing!!!

Let's see what we can do together if we EACH give $1! I can't wait to see what God is going to do through give1save1 this week!

Adoption is a beautiful picture of the Father's love for His children and God's people working together to change the life of  one.  Will you be a part of our adoption story by giving just $1 to help us bring Joy Noelle home? View our video at, give $1 and pass it on to a friend or two!!

BY THE WAY....including a large donation yesterday, our total is at $798.00 for day one!!! This is AMAZING!!!!

Thank you and God Bless!

Monday, July 30, 2012


We have BIG, we don't have a visa appointment or travel date yet. Sorry to disappoint you! Our big news is that our family has been chosen to be featured on give1save1 to help us raise funds for our adoption! Our adoption video is being featured starting today! It is just an incredible blessing to us and I hope that you will help us out! Go on now to and watch the Lewis Family Adoption video. Help us share it with friends, family, neighbors, everyone you know! Let's make this go viral!  We still need an estimated $3,000 to help cover the post adoption expenses and balance of our travel costs! We don't know how much the plane tickets will cost, but they are averaging about $1200-$1300 each right now. If everyone just gives $1 it will go a long way in bringing Joy Noelle home (hopefully very soon!!!)

We have been incredibly blessed along this adoption journey and God has provided every step of the way! There have been so many family members and friends who have followed God's direction to help us financially. We cannot even begin to thank you enough.  If you have already donated, please do not feel obligated to give even another dollar! Instead, please share this link with 5 or 10 family members or friends and help us get the word out.

God bless you as you help us be the the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to a little girl who has lived in an orphanage for almost 7 years! She is going to know the love of a real FAMILY for the first time in just a short few weeks and hopefully will come to realize the love Jesus has for her in a whole new way. YOU can be a HUGE part by helping us bring her home!

PS....if you are on an adoption journey, I encourage you to contact give1save1 for an application! They want to help you raise your funds. They have a separate site for Carribean adoptions, domestic adoptions, Asia adoptions, Europe adoptions and Africa adoptions!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I800 Provisional approval!

Wow! That was quick! We got our I800 provisional approval in the mail today 3 weeks to the day after we mailed it in. I was not expecting it quite so quickly! The way I understand it, now Joy's paperwork will be sent to the National Visa Center and to the Embassy in Manila to process her Visa.  I am not sure of the exact timeline, but I know we are moving ahead and we should still on track to travel sometime in September. Pray for no glitches or problems with the paperwork on the Philippines end. We REALLY want to have our little girl home before her 7th birthday in September!

The days have been busy, getting ready for Joy to come home. We have been clearance shopping because there are so many good sales right now. We've been buying dresses, school uniforms, basic necessities and some fun stuff too! The travel time between all the layovers will be somewhere around 24 hours, so we are trying to find lots of things to keep her occupied on the trip.

We are so excited and can't wait to have Joy home with us! Thanks for your continued prayers for us and for Joy as we all encounter this big transition in our lives. We pray for God's peace and joy to rest upon her little heart and for us to truly be God's hands extended to our new little one. We can't wait to see what big plans God has for her and for us as we continue on this adoption journey!

Monday, June 25, 2012


This past week we were pleasantly surprised to get a card and pictures of our little girl opening the care package we sent her! Our social worker said it is very unusual to hear from them after the packages are received! I was so excited!  Her caretakers sent us a nice little note. They said that Joy was so ecstatic and was ready to "go home already"! Hopefully, any day now, we will get the official paperwork so we can file the I-800! I am praying that this part goes quickly. It has been more difficult than ever to wait, knowing that our little girl is halfway around the world.

This is what Joy wrote to us:"Mommy, Daddy, Natalie and Micah,
I miss you and I'm excited to see you. I love you all! Joy."

We got the bunk beds up and have transformed Natalie's room to make room for her little sister. We are ready...everything except for the money. We put the country fees on the credit card because we  had to pay it immediately. That credit card is due this week and we are still $600 short.  We will also need the money for the post-placement fees and the balance of the travel expenses that will not be covered by our Show Hope grant! I am thankful and amazed for what God has provided. I am trusting Him to provide the rest!

If you would like to be a part of this amazing journey that God has called us on, you can donate by going to and clicking on the donate button, or you can donate directly through paypal on the side of this blog. It takes God's people working together to accomplish His plan. It takes someone willing to provide a home for a little girl; but it also takes many people together willing to help out with the finances, because adoption has many, many expenses. Thank you to so many who have joined us and supported us in this journey! You have helped a little girl in the Philippines come to know the love of a family and also the love of her Father God!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Prayers requested

I'm requesting your prayers today for several things:

1) We really need Joy's paperwork from the Philippines this week. We need to get our I800 filed in plenty of time so that our previous paperwork doesn't expire! Please pray with me that we get that paperwork TODAY!!!

2) I've had a little case of the "nerves" lately! I know we are doing what God called us to do, but every once in a while panic overtakes me. "WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE WE DOING?" Adopting a six year old girl has its challenges. Adopting one with special needs has even more challenges! I haven't written much about our little girl, and I honestly can't say much until she is in our arms, but she was on the special home finding list. Someday I might write a little bit more about her particular needs. Honestly, right now, although we have read her paperwork, had her file reviewed by physicians, and prayed about it, we don't really know the extent of the special attention she will need. Please pray that we will be able to be the family that she needs and that God will  heal her completely, both emotionally and physically.

3) Finances. Yes, here it is that awful word again when you are talking about adoption! We have been incredibly blessed and I know God is going to provide the rest of our finances or provide a way for us to work more to be able to fund this adoption without debt.  BUT....we have been praying and have come to the conclusion that we would like to take our children with us. Adoption is not just about the parents and the child when there are other family members involved. Adoption is about the whole family.  I believe it would be good for Natalie and Micah to see where Joy is coming from. It will be good for them to have an understanding of where she has been and what she has been through. I believe it will be good for Joy to meet the whole family at once and know that we are all in this together.  However, plane tickets are running at about $1300 a piece right if this is supposed to happen, we are going to need God to intervene on our behalf! Please pray for a miracle and for God's continued guidance!

Thank you so much to my fellow Christ followers who are upholding us in prayer during this adoption journey!! Your prayers mean so much to us!! There have been times I have been discouraged or worried or overwhelmed and just knowing that there are others crying out to God on our behalf has been an encouragement!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Humbled and Amazed!

This adoption journey has been one step of faith after another, especially concerning finances. When we began this journey, we thought to in the world are we going to come up with over $20,000 on a youth pastor and administrative assistant's salary????? And yet here we are toward the end of our adoption journey and we have paid for almost all our expenses without debt! We only need about $3500.00 total to pay the balance of our expenses! This even covers the travel! (Depending on the cost of the airline tickets, we have a grant that will cover a huge portion of our travel.) If you have questions about the cost of adoption and why it costs so much, I have posted a breakdown of our expenses in a previous post, or feel free to e-mail me! I will be happy to talk to you about it.

I just want to take a moment to say thank you to all who have stepped out to help us with our adoption expenses. We have made some personal sacrifices, but there is no way we could have done this on our own! When I started compiling the list of all those who have contributed, I was humbled and amazed. When God asks you to step out in faith, He WILL provide, often through others who will step out in faith with you. He does not leave you alone!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to these people for helping to bring our little girl home!!!! I pray God will bless you greatly! James 1:27 says, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." This is just one way you have helped care for an orphan and make her an orphan no more! Some gave $10.00, some hosted fundraisers, some gave $500 or  $1000, but together every dollar has helped us get to where we are today! 

Kristi & Darin Amsler
Bob and Jennifer Ater
Bruce and Mary Bracker
Joyce Bonnet
Brent and Miriah Garrard
Linda Greggory
Sharon Gocke
Sam and Marilyn Griffin
Carrie Jo Haakinson
Willis and Lisa Haamacher
Shirley Hawk
Norb King
Chris and Summer Lewis
David Lewis
Larry and Carol Lewis
Stephanie Lush
Kristie and Andrew Lundgren
Cleve and Joann McBride
John and Mary Morse
Ralph and Arlene Morse
Brian and Becky Neugent
Gabe and Anita Oxford
Kent and Paige Parrish
Marc and Christy Prasch
Cathy & Gerald Philips
Darren Sapp
Darryl and Chrystal Schulte
Joyce Temple

P.S. If you would like to help us get the last portion of our adoption fees, you can donate through the paypal link on the side of my blog, or mail a check to Mission 127, PO Box 99086, Louisville, KY 40269. God bless!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lots to do!

We got the "official" paperwork in the mail yesterday, including the letter from the ICAB. It was so unreal to look at that paper with our names and the name of our little girl on it. I can't believe it is finally happening. I re-read the updated report on our daughter, which I can't share much of the details, but let's just say, I love her already! She's going to fit right in with our family. I can't wait to give her the extra attention she needs and love on her! She has been very well taken care of in a Christian orphanage, but she "longs" for a family of her own. I wish I could be there to see her face when her caretakers tell her about her "forever" family!!!

We have lots to do in the coming days! We have some final paperwork to apply for her Visa and our FBI fingerprints expire in August. Because we have to have the fingerprints up-to-date for her to get her Visa, more than likely we will have to get them done again. (another $170!)  We need to buy bunk beds as she and Natalie will be sharing a room. We need to get the room set up for TWO girls! We need to figure out her school situation and plan our travel arrangments.  I am so excited and I am glad we have lots to do to keep us busy while we wait!

I really would like to take Natalie and Micah with us when we go. It would be such an amazing thing for them to experience and I think it would help the whole family to understand where our Fillipina girl has come from, BUT the plane tickets are around $1300.00 each. Please pray with us as we try to figure out the best thing to do. Many of my "blog" friends have encouraged us to take our whole family and I really do want to. It might help our new daughter to be occuppied on the 24 hour travel back home!

So much to do...Thank you to so many for your love and support, both financially and your prayers! We could not do it without you all! We are so excited that our daughter will not only have our family, but she will have much extended "family" through the body of Christ!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

We got the call!!

I am so ecstatic!! We got the call today with our offiicial "referral", which means we will be able to go get our little girl in approximately 4 months! I can't believe it is actually happening. For so many weeks, I have been praying, hoping, dreaming and trying to keep myself from getting my hopes up, "just in case".  And now, I am overwhelmed. A mixture of joy, anxiety and anticipation is filling my heart. I can honestly say this is the BEST anniversary, birthday and Mother's Day present EVER!!

One request for prayer is that we need the $6100 Philippines country fee by next week. We have about $2600 in the account from donations, but we still need about $3500. Some of you have asked how you can help. We have set up a tax deductible account at our church for any donations. Donations can be mailed to PO Box 99086, Louisville, KY 40269 or you can click on the donation link above and donations can be made to our paypal account.  Thank you in advance for your prayers and support! We can't wait to see what God is going to do!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

All I really want....

It's May...I can hardly believe that we have been waiting almost 8 months to hear if we can adopt a little girl in the Philippines. My heart is so heavy for her, and yet there is nothing else we can do right now except pray and wait.

May has always been a very special month to me! On the 8th, my husband and I celebrate 13 years of marriage, on the 13th is my birthday and this year it is also Mother's Day! I love the month of May and I am praying that we will hear from the Philippines before my birthday! That would be the best present ever!!

To celebrate this very special month of May, I have decided on a couple things. #1 I want to do something special for my mom this year. She has been such a Godly example to me and she is the most amazing mother I could ever have. She taught me the value in following God with all my heart. My mom has everything she really needs and every year tells me not to buy her a this year, I've decided to make a donation to Mission 1:27 in honor of my mom. I can't think of a better way to show her how much she means to me than by sharing the love of Jesus with orphans!! Love you, Mom!!! #2 I have decided that I don't need anything for my birthday or Mother's Day either and so I want to donate any gifts my family gives me to Mission 1:27. I am not saying this to toot my own horn. I just want to share what God is doing in me and give Him all the glory!

We tell our children the value of giving. We encourage them to give through our children's missions giving programs  (BGMC) and our teenagers through Speed the Light; however, are we teaching them by example? Over the past few years, God has been stretching Darren and I, teaching us the value of giving above and beyond our tithes. Not just a few dollars. Not just a casual offering in the offering plate. Not just the "extra" we have. He's been stretching us to give more. To care more. To show God's love through giving to missions.To give in faith. To give until it hurts. To give and keep on giving. And in return, we've learned the joy and blessings of giving.  I hope that I am a living example to my children of sacrificial giving. And this year, this is something I feel very strongly He wants me to do. It may not amount to much, but I know that God can take what little we can give and make it grow exponentially.

So this month of May....all I really want is a phone call from the Philippines and to see some orphans come to know the love of Jesus!

PS...If you decide you want to give a donation to Mission 1:27 in honor of your mother, you can donate at!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Steps of a Rightous Man....

I've been very discouraged lately with our adoption and the waiting without answers. I'll be very honest with you. I have wanted to write some pretty glum posts about my frustration, even anger, and my desperation to hear something about this little girl who still waits for a home; but God has reminded me several times in the last couple weeks that His promises are true. I keep remembering the verse "The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord". I went to look up this verse in a different translation and I was amazed at a verse I found. Proverbs 20:24 New Living Translation says: "The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?" Wow...that has been me. Struggling to understand why that little girl doesn't have a home yet. Trying to figure out if we made a mistake in the agency we decided to do go with for this adoption. Worrying that we should be doing something more.

But I know in my heart that we are where God wants us to be. We prayed about what direction to take. We have asked God for wisdom every step of the way, from the beginning starting with where to adopt from and which agency to use. We obeyed God's call to start the adoption process almost two years ago. I can only stand on God's promise that HE KNOWS and that we are in His will and plan. I cannot begin to understand why we have to wait this long, and I may never know, but I need to trust God that He is in perfect control of this adoption and that we are in His will and plan.

This is a concept we need to learn in every area of our lives. If we are truly, actively following God's voice and obeying His plan for our lives, we need to trust Him even if we don't understand. We need to trust that God has us exactly where He wants us to be and put behind us our struggle with worry, doubt and frustration. If I am in God's plan for my life, then He has everything under control!

While I know it will not be easy in the days ahead, I pray that God will give me the strength to trust Him, the wisdom to know if we are to walk a different direction, and peace that we are in the will of God for our lives. I am so thankful that HE directs every step and we can have PEACE if we walk in obedience to Him!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Gonna Be Worth It...

There's a song that my neice, Autumn, recently introduced me to. It's a song by Rita Springer called, "Worth it All." If you've never heard it, I have put a video link below. It is a beautiful song of hope. The lyrics go like this:

I don't understand Your ways
Oh but I will give You my song
Give You all of my praise
You hold on to all my pain
With it You are pulling me closer
And pulling me into Your ways
Now around every corner
And up every mountain
I'm not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains
I'm desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need
I will say to You

It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it all
I believe this
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it all
I believe this

It is a reminder that no matter what we are going through today, it is going to be worth it all to just see Jesus' face. Whether you are dealing with the adoption blues (that's me!!!) or if you are struggling with any other issue, the things in this life we struggle with are going to be worth it one day! The troubles we face are going to melt away, be a thing of the past when we see His face!!!

I can't help but think of our little one in the Philippines when I hear this song. Every day, I might face dissappointment that we haven't recieved the call, about the little girl we want to adopt,  but I know it is truely going to be worth it when we get to see our little one's face; when we get to wrap him or her in our arms and bring him or her home.  If you are in middle of the adoption process, remember...every mountain of paperwork, every corner that holds another bump in the road, every minute or hour  or day or month or year of is going to be worth it one day!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Burden of Waiting

I've let far too many days pass since I have taken the time to write. Honestly, I've tried to keep myself busy just to keep my mind off of our adoption. This is my crazy season at work, and it has helped the days pass; however, not one day goes by when I don't think about our little one in the Philippines. Some days the waiting is unbearable; a weight so heavy, I simply cry out to God asking Him to move swiftly and give us an answer; and day after day, the sun goes down again in silence. Some days, I know I feel the prayers of others lifting me up, because the burden doesn't seem quite so heavy.

I don't know if you have ever had a season in your life where you had the great burden of waiting, but I want to encourage you today if you know someone who is enduring this season in their lives. Take time to pray for them and encourage them. Take time to really show you care and understand. Waiting on God's timing can be a heavy load to bear. It can be frustrating and stressful. It can be lonely. And yet I know the reward will be worth it all. I know on that day we finally get to meet our little girl, the days of waiting will melt away and the burden will be lifted from our shoulders.

If you are in a season of waiting, I want to encourage you today. Don't grow weary in waiting for God's answers in your life. Keep pressing on. The reward will be worth every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month and every year of your wait. Ask others to pray with you and bear your heavy load with you, but NEVER give up waiting on God! He will come through! He is always faithful!

Monday, January 30, 2012


Um..I think this picture says it all for today!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This adoption journey: not what I expected.

This adoption process has not been what I expected. When God asked us to step out in faith by adopting a child, I had a nice little scenario in my mind of how it would all play out.  We would get our paperwork and homestudy done in about 6 months time; Our dossier would be sent to the Philippines and approved in the expected 2-3 months. We would find a child on the special home finding list and be approved within weeks time, and the whole adoption process would happen within 18 months to 2 years. I thought this was a realistic expectation, leaving room for some of the "expected" bumps and delays.  What I didn't expect was for our homestudy from start to finish to take almost a year. What I didn't expect was for my mother-in-law to be diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and pass away in the midst of our adoption. What I didn't expect was to see the picture of a little girl in September and be waiting even now, four months later, to see if we will be approved to be her parents. What I didn't expect was to feel so lonely in this process. What I didn't expect was my heart to ache this way for children around the world. What I didn't expect was for God to stir my heart to want to advocate for children. What I didn't expect was for God to turn my life up-side-down. What I didn't expect was for Him to take the hardships of this adoption journey and make me a different person.

Sometimes, walking with God in faith doesn't live up to our expectations. We expect to see immediate results of our bold step of faith, like Peter when he spoke on the day of Pentecost and multitudes were saved; but we fail to remember the steps of faith Peter took prior to that day without seeing the results.  We expect, when we step out in faith, to feel power and never doubt. We expect God's plan for our lives to unfold without a hitch. But God doesn't want to meet our expectations, He wants to exceed our expectations.  He wants to take our lives and turn them up-side-down. He wants to use the bumps in the journey to strengthen our faith. He wants to break our heart for what breaks His; He wants one step of faith to lead to another. It's not about taking just one little step of faith. It's about continuing to walk in faith, and you will see God's power in ways you never expected. As you continue in a journey of faith, God will change your heart. He will change your point of view. You will begin to see things in this life the way God truely sees them. And even when your journey of faith is not what you expected, you will look back and see that it has far exceeded your expecations. You will not be the same person you were when you started. God will use the days you feel lonely, to bring you closer to Him. He will take the LONG days of waiting in your journey to show you how His timing is perfect. He will take the unexpected storms to show you how you are safe in His hands; He will guide you through unexpected loss and become your source of comfort.  His strength will sustain you when you feel you can't go on. He takes the unexpected and does something with it far greater than we could ever imagine, drawing us closer to Him. And so, in this adoption journey, I am sure there will be many more unexpected bumps in the road, but I am going to trust Him. He will get me through. He will make me into the vessel He wants me to be. He will sustain my strength. And in the days ahead, when we finally get to meet our little one, I am sure that I will be able to testify of God's faithfulness in a whole new way.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Mother's Heart

Yesterday when I arrived home from work, there was a stack of my son's school work on the table. My little first grader was so excited to show me his work because he had gotten a "check +" on all of them. (Equivalent to an A+). One of the papers made my "mother's heart" burst with pride. He had written a paper that I have to share. (I fixed his spelling for him!!)

"Improving our World" by Micah Lewis
"The world could be improved if everybody believed in God and Jesus. I can walk to a airplane with my Bible and while I am walking I will look for people who don't believe in God and Jesus and if I find someone who doesn't believe in God and Jesus, I will read the Bible and While I am riding on the plane, I will Read the Bible. And I will Read the Bible to the People that don't believe God and Jesus."

Mind you, he is in a public school. When he started Kindergarten last year, we knew we would no longer be able to afford the private Christian school our daughter was attending. With much prayer and a little bit of trepidation on my part, we decided to put them in the school that is directly across the street from our neighborhood. God gave me complete peace with this decision and we actually LOVE it there! I am so proud of my son and I believe God has great plans for his life. Even at this age, he is shinning the light of Jesus in his classroom. Isn't that what God calls us all to do?

I can't wait to see what God has in store for him, Natalie and for our little one in the Philippines. I can't wait for more moments that make my "mother's heart" burst with pride.

(By the way...Micah is still determined that we are going to adopt a boy and a girl and prays about it EVERY night....Hmm...we are going to have to continue to pray about that! I am not sure I can handle another long adoption process like this one!!!)