23 May, 2016

5 Good Reasons

We are so excited about the orders that have come in for these shirts! If you haven't ordered yet, here are 5 really good reasons to order: 

#1 Share in our adventure!! Y'all really can't understand the gravity of your support for our family. We know it takes a village, and to have countless people walk alongside us as we grow by one more... well it's just mind-blowing. 
#2 Proudly Proclaim that our God is Bigger! My mind is just blown when I think about this... like a slug trying to understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity. God is infinite in power, sovereign in dominion, self-sufficient, and all sufficient. He is so strong, and so mighty that nothing is impossible for him.  God is Eternal and Unchanging. That means: what God is, he was from eternity, and will be so for eternity. And he is creator of all things (just think about the kind of character He must have to create all the crazy things just in the ocean) His love has no ending... there is nothing I can do to change his mind to ever stop loving me!! Y'all God is Bigger.
#3 All seriousness aside, these shirts are darn cute! Shall I say more?!? I'm so excited to have one and see these on my kids!
#4 It all adds up! Every one of you is helping fund the crazy expense of adoption! It does not have to be large donations, every $5, $10, $20 adds up. We are so humbled by each and every donation and sale of a shirt! 

#5 God says to do this stuff! God's heart for orphans is clearly displayed throughout the Bible and he invites his people to be the hands and feet. Don't you know that it makes God smile when people get involved in caring for what matters to Him??  

20 May, 2016

God is Bigger

My beautiful friends!! Y’all are the best! We are so thankful for all the sweet messages we received, the prayers for our family, and the many of you that have donated towards our adoption. We’ve already reached 16% of our goal in less than two weeks!!

Our paper bun is officially in the oven! We have now been through the adoption process two times before, So we’re old pros at this thing, right? 

Along with a mound of paperwork, the home study process also requires you to do some odd things, we’ve had our septic tank inspected which included digging it up and lifting the lid, just to say we are in good shape. We’ve given blood work and urine samples for our medical exam, written an extensive autobiography that felt a lot like an invasive personal interrogation. And on Sunday we will have our first home study visit from our social worker. She will interview Cody and I, and the kids (I hope I get to be in there with the kids, I want to hear what they have to say!) We will have our last home study visit on June 5. And when that is complete we can file for our I-600a. Not unlike pregnancy and birth, adoption is a true labor of love, only this time it is in warp speed.

I’ve mentioned to a few of you that we’d be selling t-shirts again to help us link arms and bring home this baby! Well, I am so excited to share with you the design!

Below is a mock-up, but the shirts will be very close to what you see. The Adult and Youth shirts are Charcoal/Black and the toddlers will be on Black shirts. These are going to be super-soft tees and will fit true to size. I’m so excited to have one and see these on my kids!! I only wish we had one of these God is Bigger Tees on Jovie when we left the hospital with her after her heart surgery!
The shirts are available in Adult, Youth and Toddler sizes here.
Adult XS-2XL

Youth XS-XL
Toddler 2T-5/6

We created these shirts as a a way to represent this journey and as a reflection of what God is doing! The t-shirts are so important to us, it’s not only that you are providing a donation to our adoption, but you are sharing in our adventure, and we are all a team. THE GOD IS BIGGER TEAM! We have been so crazy blessed by each and every one of you that walked alongside our family over the years. And I am so astounded every time we see anyone wearing our rescued shirts from Ian and Jovie’s adoption. 
  1. Buy a shirt. We will need to pre-sale these shirts so that we know what sizes to order. Once we have enough for the minimum we will go ahead and order our first batch. We hope that you will be a part of this first order and join us on this God-Sized adventure! We also hope you will wear your shirt, share it on FB and Instagram and help us spread the word!
  2. Donate. Partner with us and play a part in funding the (crazy!) expense of adoption. We will have $45,000 in adoption fees. Cody and I have $25,000, but that leaves us vastly short, and we must raise the $20,000 in less than 90 days. As overwhelming as that is, we know if 1000 people gave $20 we will reach our goal. 

 You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes. Phil 4:19

xo, Kristen

13 May, 2016

radical difference

For those of you that know our struggles you will see a miracle here. 

Ian has certainly turned an undeniable corner, (and I want to shout it from the rooftops-here again, GOD IS BIGGER!!) So what's the big deal?? He never would do any school work with us, and has struggled with any instruction or help from me. (He would shut off if I told him something as simple as his shoes were on the wrong feet.) 

He had no problem doing work at school for his teachers, but if they sent homework he wouldn't even put his pencil to the page for me. I just stopped asking him, and let go of unimportant things like shoes on the wrong feet. When I home-schooled Mae, Jovie always wants to join in but Ian never has voluntarily... until today! 

He has had attachment disorder (*Children with attachment disorders have difficulty connecting to others and managing their own emotions. This results in a lack of trust and self-worth, a fear of getting close to anyone, anger, and a need to be in control. A child with an attachment disorder feels unsafe and alone.)  He is hurting, that is clear, but it's so hard not to take all this personal when you are the one he is pushing away. He is back and forth on whether he likes me today, will talk to me, or even look at me. This has understandably been one of the hardest things I've ever gone through. (And my stress has looked like an extra thirty pounds) His phrase was "I love you today" and it was fitting. Those days were great ones... But on the off days it broke my heart in two. 

Ian has continually brought me to my knees, and I have begged God for the tools I need to parent him, and give him what he needs, AND overcome my pain. And my lesson I kept having to learn over and over again was, " for the battle is not yours but God's." 2 Chronicles 20:15.   

In January we celebrated two years home with Jovie and Ian. I was so saddened to see the daily struggles we were still facing with Ian and I was finally at the point that I broke down in front of the women in my Bible Study and shared with them my worries and burden for my son. Right then and there, I felt a beautiful release to share my hardship, and do you know their response? They got down on their knees right then and there WITH ME! Prayer is a powerful thing, and I do believe that God wants us to share with others our trials, so that when prayer is answered HIS GLORY is magnified. I only wish I had done it sooner!! 

Yesterday Ian exclaimed "I love you mommy and I get to keep you forever!" Wow wow wow!! You don't even know the gravity of this one phrase! Just looking at him you know change is happening, his whole posture looks different, he is more assertive, being more funny and getting less and less upset by things. It's like he's been holding back this whole time and now we are finally seeing all of him. His heart is healing. 

We knew that Ian needed to find a therapist to come alongside and help us. We found an amazing play therapist that has been working with Ian to overcome his many traumas (abandonment, adoption, multiple surgeries and painful medical issues). 

I know there will be ups and downs, but we see a radical difference. Glory to GOD! He has redeemed what was broken. He called me to be Ian's mother and the battle is His. AND HE HAS ALREADY WON!!

I read the lyrics of this song today: 
I’m holding you together

I’m holding you together
Like glue and like mortar, every seam, every corner
My love covers you…
I know you, even more than yourself, I know you
‘Cause I’m the One who placed all those dreams in your heart
So you could bring Me glory…
I know what it’s like when you’re hurting
This labor of love that you choose,
But long before you were a mother, I labored for you…

If you want to download this song it is here.

07 May, 2016


Hi friends,

We are so excited to share with you all that WE’RE ADOPTING!! (again) 

As you know, Cody and I have such a heart for adoption. The Lord has placed it on our hearts three times before to grow our family…and now a fourth! God has been working on both of our hearts in a really neat way—first a thought, then the back and forth until we came to the conclusion together that God is definitely prompting us to adopt again. Last week, while we were still on the cusp of making that decision, I got a call from one of my dearest friends who told me about a program in Japan that her agency was working with. The program is very small and would almost always be closed to new applicants. BUT instead, the agency is in a position they have never experienced before, and they are SEEKING out families to hustle through the United States' paperwork and be ready to fly to Japan to adopt a baby in need of a family…quickly.

This is still a little unreal to me, and I am feeling more like I am walking around in a dream. Because of the way this program works, we will actually be bringing home A NEWBORN! I have never had a newborn, and I am going from excited to overwhelmed and back to excited. I have so many sweet thoughts throughout the day, and then of course a little panic sets in too! 

Japanese adoption is very rare because there isn’t a government adoption program in place. As I have researched more, I have been so saddened that while there are children in orphanages in Japan, there is an exceedingly large percentage of abortions—HALF of all pregnancies in Japan end in an abortion. I saw this staggering statistic over and over again. 

In Japan, the birthrate for unmarried women is almost zero. In order for the child to be recognized as a Japanese national, the mother must be legally married to the child’s father; without this, the baby will become a stateless person. And, culturally, they think it is wrong or shameful to bring a child into the world without an arrangement of marriage. Our agency told us that an unwed mother would also never be able to find a husband. So, you can imagine the pressure from their families to resolve this and the shame that they feel. 

This program is in place to help the mothers while also taking action for these unborn children. They offer help to mothers, counseling and advising that there ARE other options while offering help every step of the way. Some mothers need housing, transportation to doctor appointments, and financial assistance. They are often under 20 years old and don’t have anyone supporting their decision. What brave women!

All this to say, when this fell into our laps, it was a lot to take in.

There are two rather LARGE obstacles keeping me up at night:

1. The timeline for this adoption is incredibly fast. We are # 4 on a waiting list, and that means that there is already a mother in Japan who is pregnant and has made the choice to give up her baby through international adoption with the help of this program. That’s a whirlwind…

2. The REAL obstacle for Cody and me is not knowing how we can come up with $45,000 for adoption fees in 2-4 months. We have money allocated for this adoption but we don’t have nearly enough. Not by a long shot! 

Some people might ask, why would you say “yes” to something you can’t financially cover? Our “yes” is scary. Our “yes” is really uncomfortable. Our “yes” really is keeping me up at night. BUT GOD IS BIGGER!!! And we would not be saying “YES!” without believing that this whole thing is from our Lord and Savior, and that this baby across the world God has already planned to knit into our family. 

We’ve already seen that GOD IS BIGGER…
I *thought* I never wanted to have children — GOD IS BIGGER
We adopted Mae in 10 months' time. She was supposed to have epilepsy and had a lot of seizures while she was in China, but has never had another seizure! —GOD IS BIGGER
We started our process for another adoption, and then Cody felt like we were called to bring home TWO at the same time —GOD IS BIGGER!
We raised $24,000 of the $43,000 need for our adoption fees for Ian and Jovie —GOD IS BIGGER
We brought home Jovie with a severe heart defect. It was a miracle that she was even alive, and we had open heart surgery 3 months after we came home from China… this was the hardest thing this mama has ever gone through, but GOD IS BIGGER!!
Ian was born with imperforated anus and the doctors didn’t know if he could ever have continence of stool. Y’all, this boy is completely in big boy underwear!! GOD IS BIGGER!!!
God is so much bigger than our limited view, expectations, and me-sized ideas. GOD IS BIGGER!!! 

Our goal with this adoption is to raise $20,000 by the end of July. Even as I type this, I am overwhelmed by all the zeros here, BUT if we have 1,000 people give $20 we can make our goal! We'd like to invite you to prayerfully consider how much you are able to contribute financially toward the cost of our adoption. And friends, we need your influence… would you share our page? 

We will be posting updates of our adoption story and fundraising on this blog. Check in again soon!
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