Thank you all for your wonderful prayers!!! We feel we have chosen a home study agency. I talked with a woman there for an entire hour this morning! She is great. The agency is ten minutes from our front door and it seems they are willing and eager to work with us! To God alone be the GLORY!!! Lets all praise Him for this. Keep praying about the International agency... pray that we will know when we know enough and that we will have peace once the decision has been made!
A week has gone by since we realized new plans needed to be made regarding adoption. I wish I could say I have all the answers, but that simply would not be true. I do trust the ONE who does, and pray that He will guide us as we make big decisions in the coming days! Through the harder days there have been many times of great joy. Some of you have sent the most caring messages at the perfect moment! Thank you!! Brandon's parents were here this weekend! We had a great time talking, laughing, game playing, movie watching, corn maze attending etc! It is such a blessing to be part of such a super family! Today I tried hard to get good things done on the adoption front. I made phone calls and sent emails. I think we might be closer than we were yesterday, but I know we are right where we are supposed to be. Tonight I started working on my autobiography. This is an element of adoption that I honestly was not looking forward to. Now that I am halfway through filling it out I must say that it has been enjoyable than I imagined It is reminding me of how I fell in love with my dear husband and the blessings of my family! I guess all the pages of typing are worth it. It is so wonderful to be working on something that will bring me closer to our sweet baby! I am so glad we the serve a POWERFUL and TOTALLY WISE God! We are praying that God would give is wisdom and power to make big decisions this week! We know that He can do exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine! To Him alone be the glory!
Here are a couple of photos from the weekend with my parents
With mom and dad in the family room! Thanks Bret for the great mantle!!!
Brandon and I enjoying our cozy clothes in the family room!
Yes... I know these photos do not really show you what the room looks like, but I am hoping to post before and after photos soon (need to finish our red wall and get Great Grandma's China put away first)
I know it would be good to update you on the house, life in our new community, transitions, family visits, the GREAT book we just read, visits with adoptive families etc, but those things will just have to wait for another day. I keep trying to write posts about those things and my mind keeps going back to our adoption and to big decisions that need to be made soon. We really thought that we were pretty set when it came to our adoption agency etc, but we now feel like we are back at square one. We have not sent in any applications so we are not stuck in any way, but we know we must choose a different agency. This is a sad reality as most other agencies have a much longer wait than the one we were considering. In the end, we need to do what is ethical, just, most caring for the orphans of Ethiopia, and most importantly... we must do what honors our amazing Father in heaven! Please send me a personal message if you have questions about this! Brandon is preaching through Ephesians, and yesterday talked about the first verses of chapter one. He talked about how we are spiritually adopted into God's family. Then late last night as we were talking about the reality of switching agencies, Brandon said,"Why are adoptions always so hard?" I immediately thought about the spiritual battle that occurs around us all the time. If James 1:27 is correct, and true and undefiled religion that God our Father accepts is caring for orphans, then it is no wonder that the kingdom of darkness desires to stop the plans of followers of Christ to adopt. As we were praying together last night it really started to hit me... GOD TOTALLY UNDERSTANDS how hard adoption is! He is in the adoption business. He spiritually adopted me and He waited a LONG time to become my Father through Jesus! Just as Brandon is now waiting to be a father to our baby, our Father waited patiently for us! It is so awesome when we can apply the things we learn in church from God's Word to our lives! Please pray for us as we sift though agencies and as we write and mail our "adoption letter." *I will not talk about the same aspects of adoption on the blog as I will in the letters (fees, time-line details, prayer updates, names and places etc). There are many rules about blogging while adopting and once we formally begin the process we can not mention anything about funds on-line, even in the confusing way I just did above :)
I admit... it is hard to stay caught up on the blog so I am hitting rewind in my mind and will try to relay the highlights! On September 22nd I got up early to call my dad and wish him a Happy Birthday before he went to work. After the phone call I packed like crazy and began my road trip to surprise dad for his Birthday! I got to my parents house shortly after 5:00 and my dad was indeed surprised! It was so much fun to celebrate with him and with family and friends! While at my parents I had the opportunity to visit with a GREAT high school friend Jessi! We had such a super time chatting and eating wonderful Mexican food (four bowls of salsa for me). We had so much fun that we decided to go t our hometown football game that Friday night. It was strange to think that the football players were in 1st grade or younger when I graduated... yikes!
with my dad and brother Bret Happy 60th Birthday DAD!!!!!
The next leg of the journey included a trip to Nikky's new home. In case you have forgotten, Nikky is my amazing friend who stripped wallpaper with us when we moved to the parsonage! It was payback time!!! Actually, I had a blast with Nikky at her new home. We are beyond productive when we get together! We got LOTS of paints, cleaning, purchasing, hanging, unpacking, assembling, etc. done during my time there. I also got to attend her wonderful church, her great care group, and visit her awesome classroom! It is always a blessing to be with my dear sister in Christ! The last leg of the journey was a day with Emily! Emily is a dear friend from high school who lives somewhat near Nikky. Emily was in a terrible car accident just days after we graduated from high school. The road for her has been long and full of challenges, but through it all she seems to have joy and a great heart for the LORD! I was able to see her family's newspaper, her home, and go to lunch with Emily and her wonderful parents! While traveling from the business to the home Emily and I jammed to Chris Tomlin! What a gift to sing with Emily again!
Shelly and Emily... ten years after high school... we haven't aged at all... right???
It was so special to come "home" to the parsonage. It sort of actually felt like home, which is pretty good I would say! It was awesome to see Brandon and to be together again as our little family. Sadly, I had such a bad cold and cough that I was most likely mildly repulsive, but Brandon still gave me a hug!!! *Sorry there are not more photos... I admit... I never remember to take any so I must steal from responsible friends and family! If I am blessed with more photos I will pass them on to you all!
I had a great trip and read a great book and so much more since I have blogged last. I can't wait to share about each of them. Brandon's work computer is getting a new hard drive (or something else???) so he has been using our home computer at work. I will update when I get a good chunk of computer time later in the week! I would love to share photos from the trip, but sadly I am a photo stealer. I intend to take photos with my camera and then it just doesn't happen. Mom, Jessi, Nikky, etc if you have good photos send them my way and you can be featured on a later entry... or tell me you don't want to be featured and I will just treasure the photos in my photo album!
I am a wife to the most amazing husband alive, a daughter, a mom to one beautiful son and one beautiful daughter, a friend,a teacher, a mentor, a cook, an encourager,and much more... BUT all this I count as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my LORD!