Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Christmas card... just a little late

For those of you on my mailing list, your card should arrive today. For those of you who'd like to be, just send me an e-mail with your address. And for the rest of you, here's our Christmas card:

We don’t usually wait until New Year’s to send our Christmas letter, but this has been the most unusual of holiday seasons. Danny and I left Thanksgiving weekend for Malawi to adopt a little boy. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we discovered we had been thoroughly deceived and determined it would not be wise to complete the adoption. Needless to say, we are heartbroken, but God has been incredibly gracious to us. Through this experience we have learned to depend on Him more, love each other more, and cherish more the gifts we have in Alyssa, Parker and Reagan. Every day they make us smile – Alyssa with her sweet and gentle spirit, Parker with his never-ending antics, and Reagan with her silly songs and stories. It is my joy to stay home with them, watching them grow in knowledge and character. Danny still enjoys his job and his second job of being “the best daddy and husband he knows how to be.” We are especially grateful this year for you, our dear friends and family, and our Savior, Who is faithful through every season of life. We hope your 2011 brings you closer to Him!

God's grace even extended to my little printer this year, and it produced both the labels and the letter for me with minimal wrestling required. Everyone but Parker cooperated for the picture, and our dear friend Kwacha chipped in to snap the shot and stuff the envelopes. (We really know how to be good hosts!)

I am grateful for all of you too, my bloggy friends, and I hope that your new year is full of the joy that can only come from knowing the source of all joy and peace, Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We have so many reasons to rejoice this Christmas, despite the heartache of the last several weeks. We have a warm, cozy home, three precious children, dozens of gifts under a beautiful tree, yummy fudge on the kitchen counter, sunshine, and friends and family to share it all with. But most importantly, we know a God Who loves and cares for us through times of celebration and times of tears. He sent His only Son to earth; Jesus was born to die that we might have life forever with Him.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to sit down at the piano with my hymnal and my children, who are now old enough to read and follow along as we sing through the familiar Christmas hymns, and the not so familiar ones. This year Alyssa introduced me to a new gem in the old carol "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem." I hope it's words bless you as they have me, and that you and your family enjoy celebrating the Baby who is my Lord.

O sing a song of Bethlehem,
of shepherds watching there,
and of the news that came to them
from angels in the air.
The light that shone on Bethlehem
fills all the world today;
of Jesus' birth and peace on earth
the angels sing away.

O sing a song of Nazareth,
of sunny days of joy;
O sing of fragrant flowers' breath,
and of the sinless Boy.
For now the flowers of Nazareth
in every heart may grow;
now spreads the fame of his dear name
on all the winds that blow.

O sing a song of Galilee,
of lake and woods and hill,
of him who walked upon the sea
and bade the waves be still.
For though like waves on Galilee,
dark seas of trouble roll,
when faith has heard the Master's work,
falls peace upon the soul.

O sing a song of Calvary,
its glory and dismay,
of him who hung upon the tree,
and took our sins away.
For he who died on Calvary
is risen from the grave,
and Christ, our Lord, by heaven adored,
is mighty now to save.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


After weeks of testing, 40 hours of travelling, 2 nearly-missed connections, foot races through the Johannesburg and Washington Dulles airports, and an LA traffic jam, I'm finally home. Danny and my parents will follow on Monday, but my husband graciously paid the change fee so that I could have my babies in my arms just a few days sooner. It was every bit as wonderful as I had dreamed, and we had a slumber party in my bed last night so that I wouldn't have to let them go. God has been so good to all of us as we've been apart, and given me a new appreciation for these three precious gifts. Ernest will never be far from our thoughts and prayers, but I will forever be grateful for these most special of children that I get to love and hold each day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We have great friends... like you!

Thank you all for your kind words and prayers for our family! Our hearts still hurt, but we're actually doing really well. We were unable to change our return flights as much as we had hoped so we've tried to make the most of our time here. Last night we got back "home" to Malawi after an incredible adventure in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana. We were alternately terrified (by a harrowing 25-hour bus ride) and elated (by unbelievable amounts of game and Victoria Falls), but thrilled that we went. While we've had some of our hardest days ever here in Africa, we've also had some of our very best. God has been gracious to give us safety, comfort, and happy memories to go along with the sad ones. We're starting to count down the days ‘til we get on a plane, and are looking forward to the comforts of home and family. Please continue to pray that our flights will go smoothly and that we'll be able to get home without any further delays. Thanks!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Broken hearts but not a broken God

We asked you to pray for us that God's will would be done regarding the adoption of a little boy from Malawi (yep, Malawi. No need now to keep it a secret). We know with confidence that God has heard and answered our prayers. We made our plans but it is now clear that God has redirected our paths.
Wednesday morning we had the privilege of visiting and playing with Ernest, the boy we intended to adopt. Though he was sweet and affectionate, it quickly became clear to us, as well as my parents who had accompanied us, that Ernest has significant mental disabilities. After consulting with his nannies and school teacher, and my dad, Chris, who was a physician, we came to the conclusion that Ernest likely has Cerebral Palsy, and is likely older than the 3 years of age we had been told. He does not speak, does not engage with his peers and would likely require lifelong personal care. Though we were prepared for the normal challenges of bringing home an institutionalized child, and even open to parenting a host of special needs, neurological disabilities were not something we feel comfortable choosing for our family. The director of Ernest’s orphanage had represented him over the course of the entire adoption process to be a very healthy normal boy – a “leader” in his school. Needless to say, we were then shocked by the challenges we faced upon meeting him, and came to question other details we had been told, including his HIV status. Through much prayer and counsel, we decided Ernest and our family would be best served by leaving him in his current loving home and expert care.
The Judge who sits on His throne in heaven has ordained before the beginning of the world that we would travel to Malawi, but apparently not that we would adopt a little boy. We don't know why God would have us travel and have our hearts broken, but we hold tightly to the truth that God has caused ALL things to work together for His good. We are reminded that our time on earth is intended to bring glory to His name.
The past 48 hours has been the longest of our entire lives, but as we were lying in bed last night thinking of all of the events that had occurred, we noticed a consistent theme: God provided the perfect amount of grace for each moment. We left Blantyre yesterday and traveled 400km to the home of our dear friends, the Biedebachs, in Lilongwe where we are being loved on. This morning we attended African Bible College chapel service where we sang "Blessed be the name of the Lord." We have sung that song numerous times at home, but we were all in tears as we were reminded of the truth that the Lord gives and takes away. We are blessed to be able to trust in His plans and His ways.
Please pray for our children that they will be comforted as they learn that Ernest isn't coming home. Pray that we will be able to arrange to travel home earlier than planned without significant extra cost. Pray that God will continue to comfort our broken hearts. Praise God that Danny and I are united in this trial. Praise God for his goodness to provide a multitude of graces at the perfect moment to assist us in this trial. Thanks friends!