Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sowing Roots

Dear friends and family,
We are so thankful that we are at the next major step in our adoption process.  We are matched with Suubi, a precious four and a half year old little girl in Uganda. She is blind with severe developmental delays, and has been in the orphanage for a year.  Mark and I are headed to Uganda at the end of June to obtain legal guardianship of Suubi and bring her home.  We will then finalize her adoption when we are back in the U.S.  We are excited and overwhelmed at the same time.  This trip will require Mark to be gone for two weeks and Erika for anywhere between five and eight weeks.  We know it will be difficult to be away from our boys and there will be many challenges.  We covet your prayers during this time.
As you can imagine this kind of travel will require quite a financial investment.  Erika has submitted many applications for adoption grants, in the hopes of receiving some financial assistance.  We received word this week from the orphan aid organization, Sowing Roots, that they are offering us a matching grant for up to $2500.  This means any donation we receive toward our adoption can be given through Sowing Roots, as a tax-deductible donation, and they will match up to $2500.  So, we have the potential to raise $5000.
It is very humbling to once again be in a place of asking y’all to consider giving.  So many of you have already sacrificially given, whether monetarily, donating to and helping with yard sales, buying necklaces, getting haircuts at our Hair-Cut-a-Thon fundraiser, personally raising support or praying for us.  So please know we are SO thankful and if you have already given in any form or fashion, we humbly say
If you do seek the Lord and He impresses you to give in this way then
You can mail your donation in the form of a check to:
Sowing Roots
5222 76th Ave. Ct. W.
University Place, WA 98467
Please put Chap2013 in the notes field so the donation will be applied to our adoption.
You will be mailed a receipt for your tax-deductible donation. They will be accepting donations for us through June 20th.  These funds will go toward paying for travel in Uganda, paying our guide, for Suubi’s medical exam, visas and lawyer fees.
You can follow our journey at We also have a private facebook group that will have frequent updates. Just send us a message on fb asking to be added and we will do it!

Thank you for journeying with us!

Almost on our way,
Erika, Mark, McCall, Haig and Eli Chapman …..and soon, Suubi!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Almost on our way!!!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 

Proverbs 13:12

We are over the moon excited to announce that we have a court date and are finally traveling to Uganda to bring Suubi home!! Mark and I will fly out near the end of June and meet her.  Mark will stay in Uganda for about two weeks. During that time we will have a court date and hopefully receive a positive ruling.  We will also take Suubi for a medical exam and spend lots of time helping her transition and getting to know our sweet girl.

I will stay with Suubi in my care in Uganda for anywhere between 5-8 weeks.  So we are busy, busy, busy packing and preparing for our long trip away for home and for the boys long time away from us! We know it won't be easy but we are so thankful to know that the LORD has led us down this path and He has gone before us as well. 

We will share more as our journey continues.  We will also be sharing several fundraisers we are currently doing to raise the final funds for travel.  So stay tuned! Thank you for all your prayers, love and support!

Please pray specifically:
1 - all details of travel, immunizations and preparations will go smoothly and we will stay calm as we prepare!
2 - that some of the grants we have applied for will come through soon! in time to be used when traveling.
3 - the Lord will allow these next couple of weeks to be filled with sweet family time and not stress over preparations.
4 - that the boys will have a super time with friends and family while we are gone.
5 - that the Lord will continue to prepare Suubi for the major transitions she is about to experience!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A little update!

Just wanted to give an update as to where we are in our journey to Suubi.  Our dossier (which is kind of like ALL your info about your family, finances and background compiled into one big ole folder) arrived in Uganda beginning of this week and our lawyer has it. She is beginning the process of developing the case. That is great news! Hopefully within the next couple of weeks we will receive affidavits to sign and then she can file for our court date.  Again if she hits any bumps in the road it can take longer but prayerfully she will find all she needs relatively easily and develop a clear and complete file for Suubi.

Then we wait for a court date. That could take 3-6 weeks.  Once we have the court date we have to be ready to travel! We could get a date that gives us a week to prepare or our court date could be 6 weeks or more away from when we hear.  Lots of variables! If we don't receive a date before July 15th then we won't travel until late August or early Sept. even.

We have applied for 12 different grants, and may apply for others. We are so thankful there are organizations out there willing to serve adoptive families in this way. We have already heard back from 2 with a 'no'.:( However, we are trusting and waiting on Him to provide what we need to travel.  It is a huge amount. We really hope and pray we can take the boys with us for at least part of the time.  Spending 6-8 weeks in Uganda is going to be challenging but we would love for the boys to experience some of that time with us. Erika will spend the whole time in Uganda and Mark and the boys will return to the US after the first couple of weeks.

So we are praying for some grants to come through.  We are also going to have another yard sale in May, hopefully, yea! We are continuing to try and sell some items on line and by word of mouth. We have things like a very nice Medela breast pump, some specialty guitars, a piano, a violin, and Christmas china that we are interested in selling. If you know of anyone that might be interested in any of those items you can contact me at  We are going to work on making a fb page with just those items listed soon so you can send folks there to look and consider purchasing.

We are also still selling our Uganda necklaces. We actually only have a few left at the moment! God has been so faithful at helping us earn funds and share our story through selling the necklaces.  We sent a care package to Suubi a couple of weeks ago through another family that is adopting from the same orphanage.  We made her a stuffed puppy from Build-A-Bear with a recording of each of us telling her we love her. It was a sweet time doing that. We also sent some toddler snacks and a blanket we chose with different textures on it.

The family actually went to the orphanage today to give it to her and love on her. We are so excited to hear how it went!  And so thankful for their willingness to carry it to her and be our hands and feet for a day:)

Ways you can be praying for us are:
- that our lawyer would have insight, favor and wisdom in completing Suubi's case clearly, completely and quickly!
- that we would find favor with grant organizations and fundraising would be successful and the Lord would provide JUST what we need to travel as a family of five and come back as a family of six
- that Suubi would remain healthy and well, that she would feel deep down that she is chosen, loved and secure and the Father would prepare her heart for family
- that we would receive a court date this summer and all details would fall into place
- that Erika would remain emotionally calm and not become a crazy lady as she tries to prepare but not become too anxious

I wish you could hear our boys pray for their little sister and tell people they meet that they have a little sister in Africa. God is so good at how He enlarges our hearts and prepares us for what we do not even imagine. He is truly an Ephesians 3:20 kinda God!

"With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine." Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lift it up...

The last five weeks have not been much fun, and even though we are in a sense on the other side...we are still processing a lot. I had the opportunity to share today with some of the ladies that prayed for me through this and it felt so good to share how God has been so good through it, that I wanted to try to share with all of you that read this blog and pray and love us through each step. So hopefully you can hear my heart and it will make sense.

It felt like I went from a happy, fun party and somehow fell into a big, dark hole. I didn't know the way out and I couldn't see anything and I was pretty sure I was alone.  I wasn't very happy with the Lord. I was pretty mad....and I knew that He knew how disappointed I was in Him. I was just so terribly disappointed.

In hindsight that sounds crazy...that I could feel disappointed in Him:)  Thankfully Jesus can handle my reactions and my wrestling. He didn't rescue me from my confusion. He did in His tenderness remind me that He had never left me, and yes, He did indeed lead me to that dark hole, even though He knew I wouldn't like it.

The Lord has a tendency to repeat Himself with me. Does He ever do that with you? So some of my dear friends that were praying for me sent me Scriptures that they were praying over me through my heartache, and Isaiah 45:3 kept being repeated.

I will give you hidden treasures,
    riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

They were asking Him to show me hidden treasures and reveal to me these riches stored in secret places. So in the midst of the pain I started to open my eyes and let my eyes become accustomed to this dark place I found myself in. I realized I could actually see a little bit...and I began to feel around. I would find pebbles or sharp rocks, I was sitting on or found next to me.  After holding them for awhile, feeling the weight of them and rubbing the dirt on them and thinking they were just ugly rocks that caused my skinned knees and cut elbows...I started to lift them up to the Lord and ask Him about them.  He slowly began opening these very things that caused me pain, and inside were beautiful jewels.  I was amazed!  Well, if he could reveal such beauty in that dirty, old rock...what could He do with all these other things I was finding in the darkness around me...and IN me.  I slowly began lifting up the things He allowed my hands to find. And each time I surrendered these pain-givers...He opened my eyes to see magnificent treasures and riches that were all around me, and even in me.

I had been screaming lots of big fat "WHYs" at Jesus.  He wasn't answering those cries.  I wanted to know WHY my circumstances were painful and scary and disappointing and not what I thought He promised.  Once I stopped screaming though and began yielding up everything I found and everything that was hurting me....He began faithfully, tenderly healing my hurts and answering my questions and my neediness with Him. He was the answer I was seeking. And somehow the more I needed Him, the more I was filled.  I was never too much for him. My needs were never too great for Him. It was amazing!

And then He began answering some of my tough questions with Who He is. He reminded me that when things didn't go the way I expected...I began to doubt His heart for me.  He could handle me wrestling with Him but He quickly began to remind me of His promises and that my circumstances don't always reflect His promises....but they aren't supposed to! My security lies in Who He is and who I am in Him....not how well things are going in my life.

I could go on and on sharing treasure He has etched on my heart over the past five weeks. I am so thankful. The journey wasn't fun but it was so worth it.  He is so faithful. His ways are higher than our ways. He will never leave me or forsake me. His mercies are new every morning. He does have plans to prosper us and not to harm us.  He is the God who sees me. He is my provider!

He has brought me back into the light and I do feel like I once again trust His heart and am in a new place of greater yieldedness.  And I don't ever want to go holding my heart back.  But as for that dark hole?  I will go back isn't fun...but I know He is still with me there.  I want to remain in a place of being desperate for Him.  Because that is where I ended up after finally surrendering in that dark hole.  I realized I could trust Him and I needed Him more than anything else.  I want to live and obey in a way that makes me need Him to show up to just make it through the day.

So if you happen to be in that hole.  I feel is hard and lonely. But just rest for a minute and let your eyes adjust.  And then whatever you feel...scoop it up in the palm of your hand and lift it up to His beautiful gaze...hold that palm open and ask Him to show you it for what it is....I promise He'll blow you away:)

I'm praying for you! I would love to hear from you if you are having a dark hole/cave experience.  Remember though, the hole isn't meant for forever, but there is treasure there!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hope deferred...

Dear family and friends,
We love you...and are so thankful for your prayers and support over the last 29 months as we have traveled this windy and often confusing path of adoption.  The last 6 weeks have been very hard but also, because of God's grace and presence, they have been beautiful.  We don't understand why we were only given 5 days to love on Hope Amelia, but they were sweet and precious days.  We will pray for Hope and her momma, Ashley for the rest of our lives.  They are permanently imprinted on our hearts.

When we returned from Kentucky we decided that we wanted to give ourselves at least a month to grieve and process a bit before decided what "next" was going to look like. We weren't sure whether we should pursue another domestic referral or stay on the Uganda waiting list.  However, after being home for only two weeks our agency asked us if we would consider looking at the file of a little girl with some special needs at the babies home.  She is considered paper ready, which means at this point able to be adopted.  There was another family that met her while visiting Uganda on a mission trip and they were also inquiring to look at her file.  They had not even started their homestudy yet though, so their process would be lengthy.  

Initially we both said "no" because she is legally blind and we were not sure we felt like we could be what she needs.  She is 2 1/2 years old but is developmentally at a 4-6 month old level.  We decided to at least look at her file. Early on in our adoption process, I really believe the Lord gave me the name Hope to pray for our  little girl.  We named our domestic referral Hope, and as far as we know her momma decided to keep that name.  The babies home calls this little girl by a different name but when we opened her file we discovered that her name is actually Suubi.  Suubi means Hope in Lugandan.  We were floored by this....and decided to truly consider this as a possible referral.  So we decided to pray together and separately and limit our conversation about it, but rather pray and fast and seek the Lord.

So that is what we did.  We did not speak about it much between our selves or with others for about two weeks.  During that time in His gentle way the Lord confirmed and affirmed to both of us that we should accept the referral for Suubi.  We realize that there are no guarantees regarding her development.  We had our pediatrician look over the medical paperwork that we do have for her.  There is honestly not much other than bloodwork and some documentation of her physical appearance.

Her left side is immobile at this point.  She is reaching for things with her right hand and kicks with her right leg.  When she first came into care last May she would lay stiff as a board and was fairly unresponsive.  However, now, she laughs and sings to herself.  She responds to stimuli and favors certain caregivers.  She wil need extensive therapy for a long time.  We know this will change our family in many ways.  However, we feel the Lord said, yes, and so we say yes.  We are excited to see what all He can and do in her and in us.  We, honestly, are apprehensive and in many ways scared....but sometimes you just have to obey....scared!

Our God always comes through, is always faithful and we know we can trust His heart for us and for Suubi.  We have been praying for this little girl, in reality almost her entire life.  We don't know when we will travel yet.  We hope to receive a court date before July 15th.  The courts in Uganda close between July 15th and August 15th.  They are working on her case and we hope our dossier will be sent to the lawyer within the next three weeks.  We then sign affidavits and our lawyer will file for a court date.  Then we wait!

We accepted her referral about nine days ago.  We didn't share with many people yet for a few reasons.  We wanted family to be able to digest it first and ask questions.  And since it is still likely a long wait we didn't want to rush things.  We love y'all and please pray for us as we prepare our hearts, our home and for travel.  Also as we wait...that we wait with hope and peace, not anxiety.  Things are also honestly still a bit raw.  Our hearts are still healing...I feel like what I imagine couples experience after they have suffered a miscarriage, and then become pregnant again but don't want to announce their pregnancy until at least the second trimester.  We are still processing and wrapping our hearts and minds around all that has happened and is happening. 

So we are excited and so thankful. Please feel free to ask questions. We may not have the answers but we will try!

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

To Him be all praise and glory!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Our provision, through the desert...

We are here...this has affected all of us differently.  Today is really our first day back to real life.  We were so blessed to have a family offer us two nights at the beach at a wonderful resort/hotel.  We rested and played and swam and snuggled.  It was good for all four of us.  Mark stayed home and went back to work.  We missed him but I'm so glad we had the opportunity to just be together for a bit.  The boys are confused and have lots of questions.  We were able to take the time to be quiet and have some good conversations.  The hard part is I'm just as confused, honestly, and don't have many answers.  We are all a little heart sick everytime we see babies.  When we were at the beach I would often find them just sitting and watching a baby at the pool or at a restaurant.

This is way harder than I anticipated....but I cannot explain to you how thankful I am for all the prayers and fb messages, texts, meals, cards and phone calls.  It may seem small to you, but it is what has helped me stay together.  The prayers and love of the saints is the grace of Christ that is keeping us going.  So thank you, thank you, thank you!  You are being the hands and feet of Jesus in our lives.  We are so grateful.  I have so, so, so, so, so many thank you's to write and send.  Please know that I am working on it from weeks ago when we were doing fundraisers.  So you WILL hear from me and I AM so head just isn't quite on straight and my heart is everywhere right now.  I am hoping to actually copy and save all of your messages and emails to put them in a book, because y'all have been so good for our hearts.

I am keeping my face in His Word and just taking it one hour at a time.  Our small group is studying God's promises, which I find is interesting timing:)  Very appropriate for what we are walking through.  I wanted to share this song.  We have had quite a few songs sent our way this week that have truly blessed us, but I listened to this one today and it is quite appropriate.  Even when I don't FEEL this way, it is what we want our cry to be as individuals, as a couple and as a family.  I have posted the words as well.

I just wanted to touch base and let y'all know how we are doing on the other side.  We love y'all! Thank you for journeying with us!

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what you begin
Our provision, through the desert
You see it through to the end
[ Tab from: ]
The Lord our God is ever faithful, 
never changing through the ages

From this darkness, you will lead us
and forever we will say you're the Lord our God

Verse 2:
In the silence, in the waiting,
Still we can know you are good
All your plans are for your glory
Yes we can know you are good (2X)



We won't move without you, we won't move without you

You're the light of all and all that we need (4X)


The Lord our God is ever faithful, 
never changing through the ages

From this darkness, you will lead us
and forever we will say you're the Lord our God

Friday, February 15, 2013

Picking up the pieces...

I think I will have to share about the last week and a half in a series of posts.  Things are pretty raw and my emotions are awfully close to the surface right now.  But I at least wanted to post briefly because so many of you have been so faithfully praying for us and loving on us.  I want to at least share where we are at the moment.

It is all kind of a blur...but we got the call last Sat evening that the birth mom was in labor and about to deliver. So within three hours our kiddos were packed and dropped off with a friend, a plan was in place and we had thrown enough stuff together to head to Kentucky.  We were on the road by 8:30pm and arrived in Kentucky just before 5 am.  We were met at the hospital by a wonderful adoption counselor from our agency named, Lisa.  She was a godsend and walked us through this difficult week.

The baby was delivered around 7:30 pm and we had been contacted that she was healthy and mother and baby were doing well.  Lisa took us in to meet the birth mom and that went well.  She is a precious young woman that we truly grew to love.  She went through very difficult circumstances and made a very courageous decision to bring her little girl into the world.  She is a believer and a smart girl with an amazing future ahead of her.

Not long after they brought in the baby and introduced us to Hope.  She is beautiful and precious and absolutely perfect in every way.  To say we fell in love would be an understatement.  We were smitten. She had our hearts.  We spent the next 36 hours sharing time with the birth mom loving on Hope. The hospital staff was wonderful and let us have a room just down the hall from the nursery.  Some of that time we all three hung out in our room and oohed and aahhed over the baby.

The last morning the birth mom had had Hope during the night and was supposed to be discharged and bring us the baby.  She kept delaying and finally asked the hospital if she could stay through lunch.  We were anxious but Lisa kept assuring us that the birth mother just needed time to say good-bye.  So around 1pm she finally brought us Hope.  The birth mother was discharged and then we were discharged with Hope to our hotel.  The birth mother signed paperwork in the hospital releasing her to the adoption agency who then was able to release her to us until more paperwork could be signed.  In Kentucky the birth mother cannot technically sign an adoption release until 72 hours after the baby is delivered.  In South Carolina it is only 24 hours.

So we spent time that night loving on Hope and just cherishing each moment.  She was so good and definitely needed to eat every three hours but I loved every second.  It was heaven.  It was what we had waited so long for.  We were just dying for the boys to meet her.  We did FaceTime with them a couple of times and they simply wanted to watch Hope sleep the whole time:)

That was Monday.  On Tuesday we bought some baby blankets and simply rested and loved on Hope. A friend of a friend that we had never met contacted us and brought us a pack and play to use and a home cooked meal.  She is a believer and was so sweet to us! It was neat how the Lord even sent people ahead of us to help us while we were there.  Tuesday night the birth mother called us late and shared with us that she had called a close family member and told her about Hope and the adoption.  This woman was driving into town the next morning and wanted to meet Hope and us as well.  Up to this point she had not told any family members and told the adoption counselor that she did not want them to know because she was afraid they would try to change her mind.  This call made us very nervous but she assured us she was still signing the paperwork but she wanted her cousin to meet Hope.  So we arranged to meet that afternoon after she signed the adoption consent.

Wednesday morning we took Hope to the pediatrician for a newborn check up and then waited to hear from the adoption counselor letting us know the consent papers were signed.  We waited and waited and waited and I honestly became more and more anxious and frantic.  It was not a good sign.  Finally Lisa called and said that the birth mom did not sign the paperwork and she and her cousin met with the lawyer to discuss the possibility of the cousin parenting Hope.  The birth mom had until 3pm the next day to decide.

To say we were shaken was an understatement.  We still were asked to meet the birth mom and her cousin for lunch.  I just broke down.  I am not a crier but I was heart broken.  I knew this wasn't good at all.  I was a red eyed mess but we met them.  We didn't eat but just sat there trying to create conversation and without begging, appeal to the birth mom.  It was the most awkward interaction and emotionally charged meeting I have ever been a part of.  I tried not to cry but at times I did.  Mark was so wonderful at trying to engage the cousin and get to know them.  They weren't really interested in getting to know us and had no questions for us.  Which we knew was not a good sign.  We were there for at least two hours and oddly enough even though we offered for them to hold her, we held Hope almost the entire time.

We left shaken.  I cried for almost the next 24 hours.  The adoption counselor asked us if we would be okay keeping Hope that night even though it was likely the birth mom would take her the next day.  We said, yes, that we would love the time with her.  We ate it up.  Loved on her, prayed over her, played with her.  She is such a sweet, treasure and although that was so painful, I am so thankful we had that time with her.

So the next morning we just waited and waited and waited some more.  Around 11:30 am we finally got the call that the birth mom was not going to give the baby up.  She was choosing to parent but in reality she was going to let the cousin raise the baby until she can be in a position financially and otherwise to parent.  It was so hard.  We packed her bag and kissed her and told her how much we loved her and wanted her but would be praying for her.  Lisa came to our hotel and picked her up about 1:30pm.  It was just time for her feeding so it was so hard buckling her into the car seat crying.  But she finally calmed down and fell asleep.  We kissed her sweet little head and told her good bye.  Then went inside and held each other and wept.

There is nothing easy about it.  Nothing.  I hate it and I don't understand any of it really.  We have asked ourselves and each other a million times...did we disobey...did we mishear...but we don't believe we did. We asked God to provide open doors and we would walk through them. We asked Him to provide the finances and figure out the details and He did. The only thing He didn't answer was this one final thing....we couldn't keep her.  All along we said we would hold her with an open hand.  Anything that is a gift from God is good and we know we need to keep our hands open.  We just never thought He would take her that quickly.

Our hearts hurt....a lot.  Our boys hearts hurt....I know your hearts hurt.  Thank you for walking through this hurt with us. It does help to know we aren't alone.  I am so disappointed...and honestly there are so very few times when I feel like God has disappointed me...I know that isn't theologically correct because I know He hasn't truly disappointed me...but to my little girl feels like it.  So I am struggling through this.  I am trudging through the questions of reconciling what I know about God and His promises with what is actually happening in my life and heart right now.  I don't have all those answers yet.  And the really hard thing is I may never have the answers.

I do know my Jesus loves me and He loves Hope and he loves her momma.  And I can't call her her birth momma anymore because she is her only momma.  That stings and breaks my heart into more little pieces every time I realize that anew.  She will never be my little girl. Okay, here come the tears again.  I never thought I could cry this much. Shew! For a girl that rarely cries, going through two kleenex boxes in a 24 hour period is a record!

So where does that leave us?  Well, Thursday after we calmed down a bit and packed up all the baby stuff we went and drove around Kentucky (that is part of how Mark processes:) for a bit and ended up at the adoption agency.  We talked to the director and Lisa and another wonderful agency worker for a bit.  We don't have a definite direction yet.  We are trying to give ourselves some time to pray and heal before we make any decisions about the future.  However, we were thankful to find out that all the funds we poured into this adoption are basically still there.  We may have to pay some minor fees for rematching and we have to work some things out with our lawyer, but most of our fees are intact.  We just have to decide which direction we want to go.  If we want to pursue Uganda longer or try domestic adoption through Kentucky again or South Carolina.  There are quite a few factors that play into that but once we have had some time we will make a decision.

In so many ways we wish we could feel released from adopting...just because this journey has been hard on our hearts.  But we aren't released and we can't walk away.  We know we are called to adopt.  We believe the Lord has Hope out there for us, somewhere.  We have asked you all for so much and you have poured out on us.  Thank you!  Will you please continue to pray for us?  Pray that we will heal and hear Him clearly about what is next.  Pray for the little Hope that is growing up in Kentucky....oh Jesus may she know you intimately at a young age and follow you closely all of her days!  Pray for our boys...this is hard for them to understand, but we are praying the Lord places a passion for James 1:27 in their hearts.  And please continue to pray for our little one or little ones that are still out there somewhere.

What a week y'all! What a journey!  I really can't even begin to express the support y'all were this week.  Through FB and texts and phone calls and prayers.  We would not have made it spiritually, emotionally, our marriage would not have made it without y'all praying and supporting us.  Thank you!! We love you!!  We are thankful!  He is still our Eph. 3:20 God and He is teaching us and growing us and revealing new facets of His character to us through this process. For that we are grateful.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ginormous News!!

Hopefully this post will make a lick of sense.  I am a bit sleep deprived from fighting a cold and trying to line things up because...

WE HAVE BEEN MATCHED!!  With a birth mom from another state. She is having a baby girl:)

What does this mean?  We had a super conversation with a sweet young lady that is the birth mother.  I will have to post a longer post later about that sweet interaction.  Such a precious conversation.  We didn't hear from the agency until the next afternoon to tell us whether or not she still wanted to choose us.  I may or may not have completely freaked out and been very snappy with my husband and refused to take any phone calls all day because I completely did not handle the stress well.  I may NOT have, but probably did:)

We overnighted our agency fees...that day...because our amazing friends and family surrounded us and graciously and sacrificially gave so we could simply send those funds, exactly on time!

So now....we have an appt on Monday to retain a lawyer....we wait and continue to pray for the birth mother.....and...

We have an awesome yard sale and bake sale exactly 5 hours and 49 minutes....we watch in wonder as friends love and serve us with a Hair-cut-a-thon tomorrow, a 31 adoption fundraiser, my brother and his wife come and do some repairs to our house that need to get done, we plan and hope!!  We are hoping to raise the remainder of our need for lawyer fees, travel and some miscellaneous needs that have come up changing our homestudy.  We hope to raise another $3200, and we believe He will do that over the next 10 days!

She is due in ten days.  Wow!  Nothing is guaranteed.  So please pray for the precious birth mom that is making the most courageous and possibly difficult decision she has ever made.  Pray for a safe and peace filled delivery.  Pray that we can get everything scheduled and figured out over the next ten days or so.  One of us has to stay out of state for about seven to ten days.  Hopefully at some point during that time period all of us will travel to see the baby.

We still have lots of questions ourselves and lots to figure out.  I have spent the last 29 months researching international adoption and have only had about six weeks to learn about domestic adoption:)  So there is SO much I don't know.

What I DO know though, is that if this is what the LORD wants, then it will work out and the doors will continue to open.  I DO know that we are amazingly blessed by wonderful family and friends.  And I DO know that our God is good, great, sufficient, Sovereign, sees me and knows what is best for me. Therefore I trust Him!

We are celebrating and anticipating great things this weekend:)  Thank you for celebrating with us!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Running over....

Wednesday morning was when I posted that we really wanted to be considered for a birth mother that is due soon....but we definitely needed $10,000 to be considered.  I honestly was at the bottom of my rope.  I was so discouraged....and knew God COULD do it....but totally expected a no.  I was definitely fighting some heavy spiritual attack and couldn't shake this feeling of hopelessness.  So I wrote the blog post.  I was discouraged to be "asking" again.  I was trying to figure it out in my own strength again.  I wanted to figure out what I could sell or how I could earn this money fast enough.  One friend simply reminded me that sometimes we just need to open our mouths and ask.  Folks will say no or yes, but leave it up to them and the Holy Spirit.  So I did...and I reached out to some friends asking for some strong prayers for my heart and spirit. 

Wednesday night we had our small group and we started a series on God's promises.  Umm...yeah...He has impeccable timing.  I won't share all three pages of my notes, but He reminded me that He is about His business.  I can walk by faith while I wait for Him to work because His promises are exceedingly great.  And when it comes down to it I experience His promises through Jesus every day....through Him.  He is enough to sustain me until I see, someday, what I am hoping for.

So after an exhausting day of hoping, but grieving because I expected Him to say no.  I had worked myself up all day to accepting a no answer, not very graciously.  I had no idea that during the two hours we met, several people had called and emailed leaving messages saying they were sending....$6,800.  Oh my goodness!!! By noon on Thursday people had pledged by Feb. 1st to make sure we had in our hands over $7,500!! A-MA-ZING!!

We needed $7,000 to meet our agency fees so they could feel comfortable showing our portfolio to the birth mother this weekend. We were so thankful to be able to email our agency director Thursday morning and say that we are on board!! Hopefully unless the snow changes the plan, they will show our portfolio, along with several other families to the birth mother.  So please pray that the Lord will close the door if this is not the little one for our family or help us find favor in the birth momma's eyes if this is our little Chapman.  There are some amazing, incredible families that are waiting to be matched.

We are still continuing to raise funds because we need to pay for lawyer fees and traveling expenses; as well as other random expenses like FBI fingerprinting, having our homestudy changed to a domestic study and fixing some things at the house that need to be done since our household has changed a bit for homestudy purposes. We will have to travel out of state for at least a week when/if we go to get the baby.  This will require at least one trip, maybe two.  And there may be medical bills we need to cover for the birth mom.  Lots of uncertainties that may require funding.

The Lord is taking care of that too.  Friends have already started planning fundraisers, including a 31 party and a hair-cut-a-thon!  We have also had two people pledge different amounts for the future, as well as people send messages from other states letting us know that they are sending donations.  Once again we are overwhelmed and amazed at people's generosity and willingness to invest in our family.  What it really comes down to though is people's obedience and willingness to sacrifice to obey James 1:27.  And our prayer is first of all that all of this will bring Jesus great, big glory!! We also are praying this verse for each person that has given and reached out to let us know they are praying:
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38

We are praying the Lord pours out His blessings on you!  Thank you for your sacrifice and your obedience in blessing us!! We are so undeserving and so, so thankful!! We may not get picked this time.  However this will make us ready for whenever we are chosen.  It could be next month...I believe there is at least one, maybe two other mothers that would be due this year that might possibly choose us.  And who knows, we are still #1 on the Uganda waiting list!!

Regardless we want to give praise to the God who provides.  As Philippians 4:19 says, " And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."  He knows what I need best.  So we may need to wait longer:) but I'm so astounded at the number of loud "yeses" we have heard over the past three days!

Thank you friends and family!! We love you so much! We will update again once we know more, I promise!  And if I haven't responded to your email/text/fb message/phone call, please forgive me!  I will soon!  I am so blessed to have received many, many, many messages from y'all letting me know you are praying, or asking how to help, or encouraging me.  I will respond I just am also finishing more adoption paperwork, doing some Norwex parties, feebly attempting to homeschool, trying to keep up with my wonderful CBS ladies and keeping the household afloat:)  Someday I will get caught up and respond in a timely manner....maybe...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Higher than the mountains that I face...

My emotions are everywhere and I honestly am not sure I should be the one writing this post.    However you all have walked with us this far so I wanted to just lay out there where we are and what we face.  

We already updated you last post that we are #1 on the waiting list for Uganda.  A referral still appears to be quite a ways off which means maybe 6-9 months, possibly less.  We did hear back that the 4 yr old boy that we prayed about adopting did find a family.  Thank you Jesus!

There is a birth mom that the agency would like to show her our portfolio.  However we were told yesterday that basically we need to fill a $10,000 gap before they feel comfortable showing her our info.  She is due in February so a decision needs to be made quickly and the possibility of bringing a baby home is soon.  They are letting us transfer some of our funds from the international program over to domestic.  Much of what we have paid already went toward our home study and the recent update.  We also spent thousands of dollars on immigration approval, fingerprinting, birth certificates, passports, adoption education required for the home study, dr. appts, paperwork, etc, etc. 

However to finish the fees for the domestic program, the lawyer fees and traveling expenses we need to have access to almost $10,000.  The whole amount is $18,000 but through generous people and through fundraising we definitely have $8,000 readily available.

We hope/plan to do another yard sale on Sat. , Feb. 2nd.  That usually makes around $1,000. And just this morning two more friends pledged to gift us $600.:)  We are applying for an adoption grant today with a local bank.  We also are pursuing some adoption grants but unfortunately many of them don't guarantee a response for 60-90 days and they cannot be awarded once the child has come into care.  So if we are going to pursue this baby that is due in Feb, those won't work.

So we definitely need $9,400.  So will you pray with us?  We are also looking to sell some personal items...hopefully on ebay. Like my violin from high school, and my china, both Christmas and regular. The agency would really like to show this young woman our info this week but we don't want to sign paperwork until we truly feel like we have access to $10,000.  

This might be a door that closes.  Regardless we still need to raise $10,000 for travel to Uganda.  So either way that is our current goal.  I would be false if I didn't say that my heart really, really wants at least the chance for this birth mom to pick us.  I would love to bring a little one home.  But I know that the Lord has His plan and it is indeed best.  I choose to trust that and trust Him.  More than anything...truly, truly, we want Him to get great big glory!

So, so, so many of you have given sacrificially to us along this journey. THANK YOU!!!  It is not wasted, but hopefully about to bring our dream to pass.  Please hear me say we are not asking you to give again or more!! We are forever grateful!!  If someone is reading this though and feels a quickening in their spirit to help in any way though, we humbly and graciously would love for you to be part of this journey.  

I will update you as soon as we hear back from the bank about the possible grant.  We also are looking into a no-interest adoption loan to see if that would be a possibility.  We are also praying we might find someone willing to loan us a gap amount that we could repay within the year.  We potentially should get some refund money back through the adoption tax credit but it would be the beginning of next year.  So...

This is humbling and scary. I have been an emotional basketcase the past two days.  So if you see me and my eyes are glazed over, please forgive me.  I so, so hope that this is it!  But it very realistically might be another no...and that honestly makes me cry.  If the Lord fills the gap in the next few days then the birth momma will look at our stuff and we could potentially travel to get a little one in the next couple of weeks.  If that doesn't happen then we will continue to find ways to save and earn money and pray and wait for another referral.

Shew! Thanks for reading this long craziness and for journeying with us.  If you are contemplating giving, then thank you and bless you!!  If you can and will pray for us then thank you and bless you!!

This is what I know:

Higher than the mountains
That I face
Stronger than the power
Of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails
It never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen 
Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, January 18, 2013

What is new!

Sweet friends and family-

What is going on with us? :)  The exciting news is that we have officially moved up to the #1 spot on the waiting list for Uganda through Nightlight/A Helping Hands Adoption.  The disheartening news (in a sense) is we are probably at least 6-9 months away from a referral.  There are a few more children that have come into care but they can't even be considered for referral until at the very earliest possibly May. Then we would have to wait for a court date, etc.

We have been blessed over the last few months to reconnect with a precious friend, Lakeisha.  She was in my Community Bible study group last year and I had the privilege last May of being present at her daughter Paris' birth.  We didn't see much of each other this summer but in August we reconnected.  Lakeisha lived quite a ways from town and was having car issues so we started helping get her to work and also I offered to watch Paris while she worked.  Over Christmas it became apparent that her living situation wasn't going to work out so she moved into the apartment attached to our house.  The week before my parents, who had been living in the apartment, moved to Atlanta. We were sad, sad to see them go, but are believing with them that 2013 will bring them boatloads of blessings in Atlanta. So it all worked out.

Lakeisha hopes to eventually move into her own place but this helps her in the in between.  We love having her nearby and hopefully this will help her get back on her feet more quickly.  Through our time with Paris, as a family, we realized that we really would love to have a baby.  We are open and excited about the possibility of adopting older children but we newly recognized that adopting an infant would be a blessing too.

So as a result, we decided to look into domestic adoption as well.  Right now we are on a waiting list for both domestic and international ...we will just see which door the Lord opens first!  We have had some unusual possibilities arise over the last month or two, but nothing has come to fruition.  So we continue to pray and wait and just believe that the Lord will make it crystal clear and everything will fall into place at just the right time! We asked for prayer just today because we were contacted by an attorney in the state that we have communicated with in the past because he is looking for a family for a little boy from out of state.  They needed to place him very quickly. We were willing and excited but the details just did not fall into place, so we had to pass on that referral.  We are praying that Jesus brings that little man just the right family and quickly.

Mark also started a new job in December as the Discipleship Director at the Florence Newspring Campus.  He is loving this change and we are all adjusting to the transitions it brings.  The Lord is so good to us.  I have to be honest in saying that I am feeling a bit blue at still not having a referral, but I am thankful.  I realize the process is part of the journey and we are definitely learning and growing.  These are growing pains.:)  Thank you for journeying with us, supporting us and lifting us up in prayer.  You all are such an encouragement when you ask how things are going and send me messages and notes of encouragement.  We continue to pray that Jesus' name would be glorified and lifted high, high high through this entire process!!