Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coincidence? No.

Some of the first words I read this morning were…..

“Put on the apron of humility, to serve one another.” 1 Peter 5:5 and then, “Servant hood requires no unique skill or seminary degree. Regardless of your strengths, training or church tenure, you can….love the overlooked.” (“Grace for the Moment” - Max Lucado)

Max is giving me a workout lately! I fell asleep last night trying to decide how to word some email responses that I needed to send out this morning. The emails that I am getting lately are truly amazing….from genuine people that want to serve in Guatemala or from here for Guatemala in some way or another. The questions I’m being asked are as sincere as they can be and while sometimes they are hard for me to answer, simply because I am not stronger or more qualified than any of these individuals, I still have to answer them. I decided last night that I’m going to start answering some of the questions that I get often here, on the blog, because if several people ask the same things, surely more are asking themselves the same questions. That doesn’t mean that I will stop responding to individual emails….I LOVE getting your emails and responding to them and I will continue to respond to every kind-hearted, genuine email that I receive. I will also start writing about some here.

Right before I fell asleep last night, a woman that I have never met came to mind and I wondered how she was feeling. I had just read an email from her. We’ve been emailing back and forth for several weeks now. The entire story is amazing. Let me go back a little bit……
A couple of weeks before we opened registration for the October trip to Guatemala, I felt like God had a project, actually 2 projects, for us in mind that would need to be worked on during that trip. In order to do either of these projects, we need a photographer to travel with us. So of course, I started praying. I prayed specifically for someone that ISN'T a professional photographer (yet), but who has a passion for photography, is good at it and wants to use his/her gift to serve God and others. For several weeks I prayed for this person EVERY DAY, sometimes several times a day if I all of sudden thought about the projects that needed to be done.

After we opened registration, I got an email from a woman that lives in our area. She asked many questions about the trip and expressed her fears about traveling. She was certainly interested in going with us, but I wasn’t sure if she would decide to go or not. I responded to her email and she responded with another. One of her main concerns was that she would get to Guatemala and then be kind of left in the dark because she probably wouldn’t know anyone else on the trip and because she wouldn’t “fit” in the small medical team that is coming together because she’s not a doctor or a nurse. She’s a stay at home mom with 2 small children. The reason she thought she may go is because she believes that she has been called to international missions, especially to work with children. At that time, she was the first to ask if we can use someone like her. I responded with an answer of something like, “We can use anyone, no matter what skills they have or do not have. Even if you can only hug and love orphans, that’s something and that is necessary. But, do you have ANY skills that you think could be useful?”
Her answer…… (not exactly , but as close as I can remember) ”My passion, other than my children, is photography. I love photography and really think that it is one of the ways God has called me to serve him and others.”

When I read that email, I started crying (she didn’t know that, but I guess she will now). Are you kidding me? I had been praying for this woman for weeks and she was at home thinking that she may not be useful for this trip. I sat there for a few minutes, not sure what to say. The projects that God wants done on the October trip CANNOT be done without a photographer and the photographer that comes with us cannot just be anyone….it can’t be someone that just likes to take pictures. It has to be someone that wants his/her work to glorify God. We emailed back and forth a little more and I was so happy to get the email saying that she was about to register for the trip. Despite her fears, despite not ever having met me, despite not even knowing any thing about me and despite never having been to Guatemala, she registered for the trip. We’ve emailed back and forth a couple of times since. She will also be working a project for us after we return from Guatemala in June. We assumed that we would meet then. At least she would meet me before she travels to Guatemala with me.

When I read “Love the Overlooked” this morning, I thought about her again, probably because I was getting ready to respond to several emails asking, “What can I do in Guatemala? Can you really use someone like me?” and she was the very first person to ever ask me that. For a brief moment I thought, “I wonder if she is at all worried about traveling with someone that she doesn’t know? I don’t want her to uncomfortable, so I’ll email her tonight and ask if she wants to meet sometime before the June trip so she’ll kind of know me before she works on that project.” I responded to emails and left for our playdate at the mall.

I rarely go to the mall. It is my least favorite place to be, unless we are there for a playdate in the play area which doesn’t even happen that often. As I drove to the mall, I hoped that the people that would read the emails I sent today would find comfort in knowing that they are needed….no matter what skills they may or may not have and no matter what they have to offer. Anyone that wants to travel with us can be used in one way or another. After all, servant hood doesn’t require a seminary degree. I remember so well being the same way….wondering what I had to offer and asking God, “Are you really sure about this since I know nothing about international missions?” He was sure and now so am I. I prayed that those I emailed this morning would also be given that clarity. And then I thanked God for giving the woman that first asked the same questions her answers which is leading her straight to Guatemala in October….with us.

As I was sitting in the play area with our play group, watching my son play, a woman approached me. At first, I thought she was going to say something about Tommy or my orphan awareness shirt that I had on (because yes, sometimes people just stop to either be nice or mean about our decision to adopt internationally), but instead she asked, “Are you Terry Bracey?” “Yes, I am.” With an outstretched hand she said, “Hi. I’m D.S. I’m going with you to Guatemala in October.” WHAT? Our photographer! My first thought was, “God, I LOVE this…you are CRAZY good!” It turns out that she rarely goes to the mall, but was there to return some things and had to stop to feed her son. She just so happened to sit down in the play area and she thought she recognized me from the picture on our website, but wasn’t sure until she saw Tommy (obviously, that was adopted) run over to me. We hung out for a while in the play area and then she went to lunch with me and the rest of Tommy’s playgroup.

Is that not freaky weird and totally amazing? She is going to do an AWESOME job in Guatemala and for AAB with the projects that we will be working on. I can’t wait to work with her on these projects that are going to touch lives both in Guatemala and in the United States.

D.S. - Thank you SO MUCH for having the courage to talk to me today, even though you weren’t sure that it was me. I am thrilled that you are traveling with us in October and know that God is going to use you in amazing ways. It was wonderful to meet you today!

All of that is to say this…….

It makes no difference what you think you have to offer. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom or a doctor, an elementary school teacher or a cashier at a grocery store, an attorney or car salesman…..you have something to offer and we need you. If you are feeling called to go on a mission trip, God has a purpose for you on that trip, for people that you come in contact with and the rest of your life. I’ve heard so often lately, “If you want to get closer to God, go on a mission trip.” It is SO true. Stepping out of your normal daily life and landing in a developing country with only Him to depend on certainly will strengthen your relationship with Him, no matter how strong it is already. Whether you travel with us, your church or another group, and no matter where you go, your life will be changed and you will NEVER regret it. So if you can help build a house or treat someone that is ill or give out food and vitamins or just hold a child that is in desperate need of love, GO wherever He's leading you. And of course, if you think you would like to travel to Guatemala, visit our website for information about our upcoming mission trips.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weaving Families - Forever Families Friday: Adoption Celebration

This week's topic:
"My family celebrates significant days in the adoption journey by..........."

Before I forget to mention it, I'm having problems with the Forever Families Friday button tonight. Please be sure to visit the Weaving Families website and if you are an adoptive parent, consider joining us in blogging on Fridays.

OK....how do we celebrate significant days in the adoption journey? We've just started celebrating 2nds (our 2 year referral-versary, our 2 year "meeting you anniversary", etc.). I remember EVERY DATE that had any significance throughout Tommy's adoption, so I am constantly thinking, "2 years ago we were.....". It is impossible for us to celebrate every date that I remember, but we make a big deal about the most significant dates.

Of course, our biggest day is Family Day....the day Tommy and I came home from Guatemala. Tommy and I celebrate on our own in August...the day that I never had to give him back, but celebrate our official Family Day in October because Danny was not able to join us in Antigua. For now, I make a special dinner of authentic Guatemalan foods and classic American foods. We've had one Family Day so far and wouldn't you know I burned the black beans? We also have a cake and Tommy gets a gift from the U.S. and a gift from Guatemala. Last year, we spent the next day visiting the zoo and aquarium. As he gets older, he will be able to choose what he wants to eat for his special day and choose a family activity (outing). We're still working out the whole Family Day thing. I'm sure we'll eventually look through his lifebook (if I ever get that done) or things that were his that I brought with us from Guatemala. We will celebrate each of our children's Family Days individually.

On our referral-versary this year, Danny and I talked about what that day and night were like and then we watched the montage that I made last year of pictures we took during our visit trips. Tommy LOVED watching this and we've had to watch it several times since.

We love celebrating special days with Tommy, but in our family, every day is a celebration with this goofy, super sweet little boy. We are beyond blessed!

Family Day 2008 - Enjoying his "U.S. present"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Giving More

(written yesterday…it seems that I can’t write and post on the same day anymore.)

My son got a new pair of shoes last weekend and wore them for the first time today. You wouldn’t think that the simple act of putting a new pair of shoes on his feet would not cause me to think any thing other than, “oh, how cute!”, but it did. As soon as I opened the shoe box, he knew what was happening. This child LOVES shoes or shoo-shoos, as he calls them. A few seconds of squealing glee and he was running to sit on my lap to “help” me put them on him. Once they were on, he hopped down and became so excited about his new shoo-shoos. He ran around the room, then ran around the house. He jumped up and down and then came to tell me all about the shoes. At that point, I was still thinking, “SO CUTE!” But when we made it to the first of 3 post offices today, that changed. Once inside, he made it clear to everyone that his shoes required ALL of their attention. He pointed at them, stomped his feet, giggled whenever someone said something about the shoes and then carried on singing about them. That’s when it hit me.

My 2 year old knows that he has new shoes. He’s proud of his shoes and he wants everyone to know it. Then I thought, “How many children do not have shoes today?” So many kids would give anything to have the shoes our child has worn for the last 6 months. So many would give any thing to have a cheap pair of flip-flops….just something, any thing to protect to their feet. I was on the verge of tears (which, if you know me, happens often these days…fortunately they all stayed put for the moment) while I stood in line watching this sweet child show off his new kicks to anyone that would look. When we walked outside, I scooped him up and thanked God for allowing us the ability to provide shoes for him. Then I made a plan for the day……to observe very carefully every single thing that he did throughout the day that I would normally take for granted. We sometimes think about what we, as adults, take for granted, but how often do we get down to our children’s level to think the same things? I did today and it was quite the experience.

When we passed by the bookstore, he got very excited. He loves to go the bookstore and he wanted to today, but we passed it up. How many children in the world would like to be able to read the books that my child already loves to look at? How many of them can’t simply because they either do not have access to education or because their parents can’t afford to send them to school? Do you know how fortunate we are to be able to send our children to school? Even the worst ranked public school in this nation is something.

We went to another post office to apply for his passport. He wasn’t happy during the wait, but I had to hold on to the surprise I had for him until it was time for the dreaded picture taking (he HATES sitting still for pictures). The picture was taken quickly, but after, he went back to wanting to run wild. So I opened a bag of M&Ms (the surprise) and gave him some. I spent more than what many people make in a day on M&Ms today to help him (us) through the long post office wait. What was I thinking?

He was hungry when we left the post office and the ride home would take 30 minutes. He kept asking for food. I cannot stand to know that he is hungry, so I stopped at McDonald’s for French fries to hold him over because I ran out of the house without snacks (such a healthy day today, right?). I do not even have to say that there are people that would fight to their deaths for that small order of greasy fries. Obviously, as I watched him through the rear view mirror, I thanked the Lord again….this time for giving us what we need to provide our child with food.
When we got home, he asked for water. I turned on the sink and clean water came out of the faucet. I filled up his favorite sippy and gave it to him. I once saw a child drinking from a mud puddle, but my child had clean water to drink today. Why do we get the privilege of having clean water, but so many others do not? We are no more deserving than they are.

While out and about later today, Tommy told every person he saw that I am his mom. That’s one of his new things to do….he’s actually become quite possessive, I think. Or maybe he’s just letting everyone know. Whenever someone approaches one of us, he points and says, “my mama” or “my dada”, gives us a hug if we’re holding him and laughs. He will usually do it until the person acknowledges that yes, they know who we are. He has a mom and a dad. One hundred and forty something million children (possibly more than two hundred million) do not have moms and dads. Our son could have been one of them. There are times when I look at him, smiling, laughing and see the faces of children around the world that do not have parents. Tonight, they want to be loved and to give love. What are we doing to make sure that they (every single one of them) receive the love and care that they deserve?

Tonight, he didn’t eat one bite of his dinner. He could have eaten his cheese quesadilla and beans, but he chose not to. A child had food right in front of him and he did nothing but play with it. Children around the world went to bed hungry tonight, but my child, because he’d eaten so much throughout the day today, pushed his plate away. His food went in the trash. Streams of tears are falling as I think about the children that did not have one bite of food today.
We watched American Idol tonight. Our son LOVES music, so he likes this show. When his (and my) favorite contestant came on (Danny Gokey!), this sweet boy of ours started clapping and decided it was time to dance. He has the energy to dance. He is healthy enough to dance. I all of a sudden saw lifeless children unable to move because they are so severely malnourished that they are on the brink of death. God, thank you for helping us make sure this sweet child is healthy.

During the show, he ran to the refrigerator and asked for milk. He knows that is where the milk is kept and there has never been a time when he’s been told that we do not have milk. He’s had it for so long that he assumes it will be there every time he asks for it. He went to bed with a belly full of milk. Full and happy. Some children drank sugar water in place of milk today. Some didn’t even have that.

I put him in his crib and did what I do every night…….bent over the rail to hug him and kiss him and just spend that last minute with him before another day is done. Before I shut his door, I told him that when he wakes up we’ll be going to see Sesame Street Live. We’re going to see Elmo tomorrow. Elmo and Nemo are both “momo” to him and I heard him talking about “momo” while he drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow we’ll get in our car and drive 30 minutes or more to see the show with our attachment parenting playgroup. He will have a wonderful time and so will I, just because he will be happy. Can you imagine how happy it would make some children to be able to experience such a day?

Right now, both my husband and our son are sleeping. Both are sleeping in the perfect temperature….just cool enough, but not cold. It’s warm enough that the air conditioner just turned on. I’m sitting here typing on a laptop while watching Everyone Loves Raymond. There aren’t any bugs buzzing around our heads and there is no need for mosquito nets or insect repellant. There are no rodents running around to make us sick. I’m thinking about having a snack in a while as I work late into the night pricing things for the AAB yard sale. I have so much food in the kitchen and yet I still think I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

I’ve said it many times before and this will not be the last…….we have so much. We have too much! Any thing more than what we absolutely need is more than enough. We deserve nothing. We certainly do not deserve more than those that have nothing; yet here we are. My days of longing for luxury ended long ago. As long as there are families on the verge of leaving their children as orphans, I want nothing. As long as there is 1 child, just 1, that is waiting for parents that never come, that is living on the streets, that is malnourished, that is suffering, I do not want any thing. I have not one possession that is more important to me than the life of a child, whether I know that child or not. Honestly, what I would like to do is follow through NOW with what I know, without a doubt, is coming for us. We are one of those families that will eventually give it all. We’re slowly giving more and more of ourselves and are on our way to living Mark 10:21.…..”sell all of your possessions….give that money to the poor….follow me.” Those words are in my mind always and my heart is longing for the day that it actually takes place….when we finally give every piece of ourselves to serve others. This is when so many people begin to think I’ve (we’ve) lost our minds. See, I used to want to live in luxury….I wanted it all. Now, I know that I do live in luxury. This tiny house, my 6 year old car, my shoe collection that has dwindled to something much different than what it was just 3 years ago, our lives……this IS luxury. To the person that has nothing, we have it all. Every day, I give more and today is no different. Until I have given it all, I will always have more to give. We are far from being wealthy, but we are still able to do more, give more, be more.

No matter what organization you support, whether it is Across All Borders, another organization working in Guatemala or an organization working in any other country, will you consider giving more today? Whether it is an organization working to find a cure for cancer, to prevent child abuse or an adoption ministry, can you give more? Will you give up one trip to Starbucks this week or one restaurant meal this month? Instead of buying that new purse or a new pair of earrings, could you give that money to someone in need. Instead of spending $100 on a pair of shoes, could you spend $50 or less and buy shoes for someone else with the difference? Could you donate some of your child’s toys or shoes to children that have nothing? Can you give any more than you are giving today? Will you?

We are leaving for Guatemala in 11 weeks. After that, we will be there in October and December. Numerous trips for 2010 are already being planned. We are currently collecting donations for each of these trips. If you can give more and would like to support orphans and families in Guatemala this year, please consider donating supplies or financially. We are asking for almost any type of OTC medication, hygiene products, children’s shoes, toys, socks and underwear and the list goes on. Any thing you think could be used in Guatemala, can probably be used. We need money to get all of these items to Guatemala and to buy food for families once we get there. We need money to make sure that people have shelter, have medical care and so that children can go to school. You can be the one that changes a child’s life….the one that prevents her from becoming an orphan. Are you willing to do that?

Donations can be mailed to:

Across All Borders
P.O. Box 14086
Baton Rouge, LA 70898

If you are using UPS or FedEx, please email Terry (terry at acrossallborders dot org) for the physical address.

Thanks to all that have sent donations so far and those that plan to. I cannot tell you how many tears I’ve cried over each box that we have received or how many prayers that have been prayed for the people that will receive the very items you’ve sent. Your support is overwhelming and I pray that you will continue to overwhelm us by helping orphans and families in Guatemala.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Cookbooks are Here!

The cookbooks arrived this evening and we are already working to get them shipped or delivered as quickly as possible. We hope to have all of the online orders shipped by Monday morning. Thanks again to each of you that purchased a cookbook!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Fire Within

I woke up yesterday morning, still groggy from the medicine I had taken for a cold the night before and not sure I wanted to roll out of bed and start the mad dash that comes on Sunday mornings when trying to make it out the door for church on time. I rolled over, picked up one of the books I reach for every morning (this year either Grace for the Moment or Jesus Calling), opened up to the day’s devotion and read:

The Fire Within (March 15 - Grace for the Moment - Max Lucado)
“Jesus began to explain everything that had been written about himself in the Scriptures“. Luke 24:27
When the disciples saw who he was, he disappeared. They said to each other, “It felt like a fire burning in us when Jesus talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us.” (Luke 24:31-32)
Don’t you love that verse? They knew they had been with Jesus because of the fie within them. God reveals his will by setting a torch to your soul. He gave Jeremiah a fire for hard hearts. He gave Nehemiah a fire for a forgotten city. He set Abraham on fire for a land he’d never seen. He set Isaiah on fire with a vision he couldn’t resist. Forty years of fruitless preaching didn’t extinguish the fire of Noah….
Mark it down: Jesus comes to set you on fire! He walks as a torch from heart to heart, warming the cold and thawing the chilled and stirring the ashes….He comes to purge infection and illuminate your direction.
Has God set you on fire? What is the fire that will not be extinguished in your heart?”

Max was a good choice to start the day and I not so quickly hopped out of bed and answered “yes” when my husband asked if I was going to make it to church. Throughout the day, I wanted to sit down and write, but I couldn’t, either because more medicine was making my eyes cross or because my internet connection was non existent. So here I am, a day later, writing about yesterday. I hope the meds haven’t wiped out my memory as well as my ability to make good sense.

Over the past few months, I’ve received many emails from people all over the country and from places around the world. Some people have thanked me for being passionate about helping the people of Guatemala, others told me I was wasting my time. As time passed and as Across All Borders was launched, I received even more emails and phone calls from people I do not know. Some just want to tell me that they are praying (THANK YOU!!!), others want to help in any way they can (another THANK YOU!!) and then there are those that are against every thing we are trying to do. Even some people that claim to be Christians want nothing more than to discourage us. For every email or phone call I receive, I almost always think the same things.

Someone says “Thank you for what you’re doing!” and I think, “It’s not me!”
Another says, “You’re so kind to go out of your way to help people you don’t know.” and I think, “It’s not out of my way….this is the ONLY way.”
I hear, “You’re a saint for adopting a child and then going back to help.” and I think, “Please don’t use the word saint in the same breath as my name because I am FAR from it.”
People say, “You’re stronger than I am. I could never do what you’re doing.” and I say, “Of course you can!”
Many say, “You need to slow down. You’re working too hard.” and I say, “I’m not working hard enough or fast enough.”
Some say, “You’re crazy! You can’t save the world, so why are you trying to?” and I used to think, “Ugh….they think I’m crazy and I don’t want anyone to think that. And I’m not trying to save the world.”

But now I think……I’m still not trying to save the world and I never will because it’s not my world to save, but I am crazy and I’m embracing the term every time I hear it. As I wrote in an email a couple of weeks ago (hey, hey…crazy sister that I‘ll see in Dec.!)…..I’m crazy in love with orphans, crazy in love with families in need and crazy in love with God. So yeah….I’m crazy and lovin’ it! It makes no difference whether or not you believe any thing I say or do……I am not doing it for myself or for anyone else. Every thing I do is for the One that set me on FIRE!

For months I’ve been remembering a beautiful September day in 2007, but yesterday when I read “The Fire Within“, I could almost hear the “match strike” and could feel the very moment that I was set on fire and for the first time I didn’t blow out the flame. For so long, the flame had been lit over and over, but time and time again, I would get very close to the point of being OK with it, but I’d get too scared and blow the fire out, putting a temporary end to it. I had known for years that I would be working to care for orphans and families in need. I wanted to do that, but it terrified me. My fear and lack of faith (no matter how strong I thought my faith was) put out the flame every time. I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of stepping too far out of my comfort zone, afraid that people would think I had lost my mind.

As I was reading yesterday, I could hear myself from that day so clearly….praying out loud, because there was nothing else I could do. The love I had once had for Guatemala was gone (I thought) because of a situation that we were in with our adoption and because I was terrified of being in Antigua at such an iffy time during Guatemalan adoptions. I wanted to love Guatemala again, but I didn’t think it would be possible, so I prayed (taken from my journal)…..

“…….I do not hate Guatemala. How could I hate the place where you first planted the precious child you’ve blessed us with. He is our greatest gift, second only to your love. It is the situation I am in that I dislike, though I know that I am here for a reason, for your purpose. But this situation has damaged the love I once had for Guatemala. I want to love this place again, except I want that love to be so huge that it is unimaginable………..”

I remember so vividly sitting there….one minute questioning every thing that I believed in and the next saying, “Here I am. Tell me what you want me to do.” One prayer and a few minutes later, I was on fire….it was all very simple really. A lot of tears and one struggling person at a split in the road, choosing which way to go. From that day on, no matter how much I wanted the U.S. Embassy to give us permission to go home, I loved being in Guatemala. I loved every thing about it. I saw what I was supposed to see and heard what I was supposed to hear. I realized how horrible I must have appeared to women that had been living there for months, some more than a year and I felt so bad for complaining about what must have seemed so petty to them. I took in every sight, every smell, every sound and tucked them away. I prayed that I would remember the day when every thing changed, but I doubted I would. It was just another day, fostering in Antigua, and I was sure that I would soon forget it. But here I am, a year and a half later, remembering it every day and still thanking God for the very moment that He decided to try one more time to light my soul on fire.

Six weeks later, on the night before I was to bring our son home from Guatemala, I prayed (from my journal)….

“…..as Guatemala fades into the distance, remind me that I will return because I feel like by leaving this place, I am losing a part of myself. Please, God, be near me, because leaving Guatemala now, even with our son, is hard for me to do…..”

Six weeks is all it took. A total of 2 short months living in Guatemala caused what is happening today. I went to Guatemala to foster a child that would have had a more difficult adjustment to us had I not gone and came back with the certainty of knowing what had to be done in our lives. It has taken us a while to even get this far and we are barely scraping the surface of His plan for our lives, but we are working every day to get to where we are supposed to be. This passion for helping orphans and families in Guatemala isn't something that has ever been shaken. It is certainly a fire that grows stronger every day.

I wanted to write this for one reason. I get a lot of emails, but sometimes one sticks out and stays with me. I got an email last week from a college student that is considering traveling with us on an upcoming trip. She believes that she is being called to work in other countries caring for orphans. No one in her family supports her doing this full time (though they do support occasional mission trips) and she isn’t sure what she should do. She doesn’t want to upset them by doing what she knows is right, but she doesn’t want to do what they want her to do because it feels wrong to her. So she asked the question….”How do you know for sure when you are called to do this?”

The answer is…..you know when you feel like there is a fire burning inside of you and when you feel that, there is no doubt what it is and no doubt about what you have to do.
That is such a simple answer and I could go on and on about it. I’ll stop here, though, with the same questions that reminded me of a great time in Guatemala and made me think about the girl that emailed with such an innocent question…….

Has God set you on fire? What is the fire that will not be extinguished in your heart?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weaving Families - Forever Families Friday: Managing the Wait


I/we managed (or are currently managing) The Wait by.............

Oh, I am a horrible, horrible waiter. We were blessed to have a relatively smooth process, but even so, the wait was extremely difficult for me.

Once we got Tommy's referral, I lost it. I could not wait to get to Guatemala to see him, so we visited when he was a month old. Leaving him ripped my heart out, but thanks to a friend we made on the trip, Bobbi (who is now a big part of
AAB), I was able to remember her words often and tried to believe them. "It will end eventually. One day, you'll bring your son home, too." (They were there picking up Reese and had just left their Embassy appointment when she found us in the lobby waiting to give Tommy back to his foster mom.)

When we got home, I was in a low place. Support came from everywhere...our family and friends, but the biggest support came from people that had gone through the process before because it gave us the slightest hope that it would end with our child coming home. Right after we got back from our first visit, Rebecca added a poem that helped them through their first 2 adoptions to one of my favorite pictures of Tommy. You can see the poem on her blog. I framed it that day and put it on my bedside table. Many times, that prayer was the only reason I was able to sleep.

We visited again before I finally just couldn't take it any longer, so I packed my bags and moved to Guatemala for a couple of months to wait out the rest of the process with our son.

Throughout it all, I cried, I whined, I had severe panic attacks, I checked for new emails a hundred times a day, I paced, I rarely slept, but mostly....I prayed. God was the only thing that could pull me out of a panic attack when I was convinced that I would die because I could not breathe. He was the only way I was able to crawl out of bed in the mornings, even after many nights that I never closed me eyes for sleep. I walked around like a zombie sometimes, not sure where to go or what to do. I blogged and kept a journal. I read every adoption book and book about Guatemala that I could get my hands on. I shopped for baby stuff and packed ziplocs full of stuff to send to Tommy through other parents that were traveling to Guatemala. We collected items for an organization working in Guatemala and brought those things each time we visited. I tried to do whatever I could to take my mind off of the process, but it didn't always work. I didn't always believe that the process would end, but soon after those thoughts crossed my mind He would always give me a moment of knowing that every thing would be OK and in the end, it was.

(after our Embassy appointment in Guatemala....the day we were afraid would never come)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Clean for Across All Borders

The Across All Borders yard sale fundraiser is April 18th in Watson (Denham Springs), LA. We are currently asking people that are local and semi-local to us to donate items that are no longer wanted or needed to be sold. We will accept items through April 11th. Please call or email Terry at terry @ acrossallborders . Org (removing the spaces), Danny or any of our Board Directors to let us know if you would like to donate items and we will arrange to get them from you. If you are out of town, but would like to donate something, please let us know because we may be in or near your area before the sale and will be happy to pick it from you. By ridding your home of things you no longer need or use, you will be providing help in a number of ways to orphans and families living in Guatemala. Those of you that know us personally know that we held a similar yard sale a couple of years ago as an adoption fundraiser. It was a great day, but ended early because of rain. We are praying that this sale will be an even bigger success and for great weather so that we do not have to end it early. If you are in the area on the day of the sale, please stop by and say “hi” to us. Thanks for donating whatever you can!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Weaving Families New Blog and Forever Families Friday


I don’t think it’s any secret that I LOVE Weaving Families Adoption Ministry. Check out the side bar to find their rather large button….I just couldn’t use an itty bitty button for this amazing ministry. The Caswell’s just created a new blog for Weaving Families and have started “Forever Families Friday”. I never planned to share personal stuff on the AAB blog or talk much about our children (well, for now just our 1 child), but adoption ministry and orphan care is really all tied in together if you think about it, so I’ll be answering their weekly question here. If you’re an adoptive parent, please join us!

This week’s question……

“When we received our referral, we shared the news with our family by…………”

We were so boring. I had this huge plan for how we were going to tell our families and in no way was a phone involved. It looks like I’m reserving those plans for our umpteenth adoption because when it came down to it, we got the call at 8:04 pm, jumped up and down and cried a little and then each ran to different rooms with our cells to start calling every body. See? Very boring. We did go to a cigar store because Danny just HAD to buy “It’s a boy!” cigars for everyone (that are now rotting away somewhere, I’m sure). We ran to Walmart for printer ink while we waited for the pictures to be emailed because our agency was giving out so many referral that night that they were calling every one first and sending out pictures a few hours later. The next day we framed a couple of pictures to give to our parents. And that was that.

Monday, March 2, 2009

"You are my baby. I am your mommy." by Kimberly Leclercq

I am pleased to announce that Kimberly Leclercq, author of "You are my baby. I am your mommy." has graciously decided to donate 20% of her proceeds to Across All Borders. From her website.....

"You are my baby, I am your mommy is a vibrantly illustrated children's book for any woman who has experienced excitement and hope mixed with heartache and challenges on the long road to becoming a mommy.
Explore the many questions that run through a woman's mind about how her child would come into her life and what characteristics that child may have.
Without having the answers to the many difficult questions and whether adopted or biological, she always knew of one real truth—this child is her own.
The simplicity of bright illustrations captures children's attention as the powerful words hold much truth and meaning in every mother's heart."

Kimberly adopted her son from Guatemala and is in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. To purchase Kimberly's book, click here to visit her website.

We are thankful for MJennings Designs and for Kimberly . Having generous sponsors like them means a great deal to us.