The Best Part of Waking Up

When I wake up in the morning, I tiptoe downstairs and pour myself a big piping hot cup of coffee in my favorite mug from a tacky New York souvenir shop. I snuggle between the pillows piled high on the bench in the sunroom. This is my time. The quiet of each morning, watching the small part of the world around me wake up, having a few minutes with B before he heads to work, spending time with God.

Something new has been added to my mornings though. The reality that the crib across the hall holds a little one is still a bit surreal. To peek in the door before she wakes and see her tiny body snuggled up with her stuffed animals seems make believe. But it’s not make believe. She’s real and she’s here, every single morning. When she wakes and I walk in her bedroom door our eyes meet, and she smiles. The sight of me makes her smile. Some mornings it’s too much to take in and I let the tears fall. As I scoop her up in my arms and she snuggles sleepily up to my shoulder, I thank God. I thank Him for the blessing of being her mama.

year ONEderful

Today is Roxie’s birthday.  Her first birthday.  I’m bursting with all sorts of emotions. 

Excitement that she is one. 

Celebration that she is with us.

Pain that we missed 11 months.

Anticipation for what’s ahead.

In the (almost) one month that she’s been with us, she’s changed us.  She’s brightened our world.  She’s turned pain into rejoicing. 

When I think about her birthday, the blessing that we get to celebrate with her in our arms, there is also a sense of aching in my heart.  How many children are out there celebrating a first, second, tenth, eighteenth birthday without a family?  How many families are out there longing for their children to be in their arms?  I can’t ignore this aching.  So what can I do?  What can you do?

Over the past year so many of you have journeyed with us to bring Roxie home.  You have cried with us.  You have rejoiced with us.  You have prayed for us, for her, and helped us carry the burden to labor for her arrival.  We have felt so encouraged by your sense of support. 

In honor of our girl’s first birthday, I’m extending to you an invitation.  An invitation to help other families bring their children home.  An invitation to help just a fraction of the 150 million orphans worldwide. 

Hope That Binds is an adoption and orphan care ministry that provides adoption grants and fundraising support, adoption consultation to churches, and adoption advocacy.  By donating you are helping families to celebrate birthdays together, not to mention the other 364 days.  Any funds given here will go 100% to adoption grants. 

Giving is easy.  Just click on the donate button below.  


Forgetting what lies behind

As I walked into the care center I saw a group of women huddled around a tub filled with soapy water, washing bottles. They looked up as I walked in the gate, no greeting.  I continued walking toward the door and spoke my daughter’s Ethiopian name with question to the first person I saw inside the house. The lady understood the name and pointed toward a door, one which I already knew led to another baby’s room. That’s good, I thought as I headed toward the other room. This room, I knew from our last visit, was smaller.  Roxie would probably receive a little more one on one attention from the nanny. As I walked into the room I spoke her name again to the nanny standing inside the door. As she turned the small room came in to view and I saw her, those eyes.  Those eyes that nine months ago stared at me on the computer screen for the first time, eyes that I had looked at more times than I could count on my phone, eyes that I saw when I drifted off to sleep each night. The difference is that now I didn’t have to look on a computer screen or on a phone or in a memory.

I scooped her up from her bed and pulled her in close for hugs and kisses. This was my daughter. The daughter God had planned for me before the beginning of time. I didn’t have to leave her again.

After a quick change of clothes we passed out hugs and thank yous to the nannies, collected a container of Ethiopian formula, and climbed into the van. I breathed a sigh of relief that the waiting part of this process was over.  She was finally in my arms.  Arriving at this point had been a journey filled with joy but also suffering.  As the van moved forward carrying this new family of three I couldn’t help but look ahead to all that was in store.  I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s words.

“. . . Forgetting what lies behind and straining to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

I want to embrace each experience God gives me along the way.  I want to embrace this sweet memory of bringing Roxie home and all that God has taught me.  But it is not the end. It is only a portion of the race, this earthly journey.  There is still so much more ahead, so much more to look forward to.  Ultimately I must continue to strive towards the goal of being like Christ.  

“Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

Rejoice in the Lord!


finally HOME

There is so much I want to say, yet so much I don’t know how to say.
For now all I can do is praise God and thank Him for this gift!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost