Colin & Noelle

Colin & Noelle


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Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday: When Doubt Comes Before the Good News.

I haven’t had much time to stop and really embrace the Easter season this year. But my mind has been rather reflective today, while my heart has been torn between hope and doubt.

If I had to guess, I’d say I've been about 95% hope and 5% doubt over the past several days.

Just when we’re clear of so much of the red-tape that comes with adoption, and we finally get to move forward a little, we move right into the Army’s red tape; into weeks of waiting for a signature that could have been done and returned within a few hours. That’s the most frustrating part of it all. That the only thing that may prevent me from being with my child – the only thing that could potentially keep him an orphan longer than he needs to be – is the Army. 

And this is how it goes in my heart and soul…

First, a slight panic. Followed by a remembrance that God called us into this and has a plan. So then I trust and I’m filled with hope. Because I know that The Lord will go before us and fight for us. He isn't surprised by this delay. He isn't bound by anyone else’s plans. He will do it best as He sees fit.

So my hope is strong. I keep praying. And I find more hope.

Then every once in a while that doubt creeps back in. The “what ifs”, and the fear that this will get dragged out so much further. And the thought that just when I am starting to feel my little boy within reach, the Army keeps him dangling just beyond my fingertips.

So then resentment sinks in for this Army that has already taken away my other love for more days than I can count, and now potentially has the ability to do the same with my child. 

This is where prayer becomes necessary again – and I move back around to hope as I recount the faithfulness of God through my past and this process. I can't necessarily count on anyone else to do their jobs, but I can count on His character and His sovereignty and His Grace. I am reminded that He is the God who often waits for things to look impossible before He shows up and saves the day. That is often His way. So I know that just because the odds seem against us – it doesn't mean they are.

Once more, I rest in Him and find peace to carry me through a bit longer before the doubt starts to return, and I find myself at His feet in prayer as I ask for His strength to carry me through another moment of frailty.

So this morning as I was driving and reflecting on Good Friday and all that it represents, I realized something powerful.

I thought back to the Friday that Jesus was crucified, and I imagined how it must have looked to everyone watching, particularly His followers in that time.

Can you imagine how they must have felt as they watched?

They hear about this man Jesus and start to follow Him and accept Him as the promised savior who will restore them. They trust Him. They place their hope in Him.

And then they watch Jesus get crucified, without fighting back. They see a man suffering and being mocked. They watch Him die before their very eyes.

I can’t imagine how many people went home that night doubting how this could have been God’s plan. 

Because, you know, death seems pretty permanent.

I wonder if any of them thought, “If this man Jesus is who he says he is, and came to do what he said he would do, then how could God have let this happen? How on earth could God possibly fix this?!”

That’s probably how I would have felt – like my hope was crucified with my Jesus.

But what they might not have realized is that it was only Friday. God still had His biggest plan for our redemption and adoption into his family only a few days away.

Sunday just hadn't come around yet.

My mind flashes back to the present reality we’re facing, where this Army approval we need seems daunting and impossible to get in the short amount of time we have left. Something that should have been easy, now seems to be anything except easy. 

However, it's still only Friday.

And sometimes, we doubt on "Friday" because we don’t fully realize that "Sunday" is right around the corner. It may look hopeless or impossible in this moment, but that doesn't mean that God has forgotten us, or taken the day off, or had a wrench thrown in His plan. He isn't surprised. And just maybe the thing that appears to be “getting in the way” of His redemption, is really just a beautiful piece of it – that only makes sense when Sunday comes around and our deadened hope is restored to life.

So as we wait for this approval, and as I’m trying to prayerfully fight off doubt at every first sign, I’m reminded of the time between the cross and the resurrection. The time when I’m sure doubt crept into some minds, like it has in mine lately.

I’m reminded that when all hope seems lost, God is still working and fighting on our behalf. (Phil. 1:6)

I’m reminded that He has a Father’s heart that longs for His children and wants none to perish (2 Peter 3:9).

I’m reminded that God always gets the last word and final victory. (Isaiah 43:13)

I’m reminded that it’s only Friday. He’s still working, and there’s still time for Him to show up, in His timing. He is sovereign and is not bound by any Army, anything, or anyone. Including us. (Isaiah 46:8-10 ; Proverbs 21:30)

I’m reminded to be thankful for "Fridays" because they lead us to His feet in prayer; they lead us to be strengthened by Him as we put our faith fully in those plans of His that we don’t quite understand; they lead us into a position to more fully appreciate "Sundays".

I’m reminded that there’s no need to doubt or fear. (Isaiah 41:10 ; Luke 12:22-26)

And I’m comforted in the reminder that even when I do – His grace is strong enough to catch me (2 Cor. 12:9), and He has already taken my sins and my doubts and my failures and paid for them all. (Romans 3:22-24 ; Romans 5:8

I still get caught in the doubt and struggle of "Friday", but I know He sees what's coming on "Sunday".

So while I have yet to see it, I'm trusting Him. 

Because His vision is not like mine. His vision is perfect.

And I don't have to see it all, to trust the One who can

I just need to see Jesus, and keep my gaze on Him.

"Since ancient times no one has heard, no hear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." -Isaiah 64:4 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Will You Stand in the Gap with Us?

I am so excited to be at the point in our process that I can write this post…

We are getting much closer to traveling! 

Which is really really really exciting in and of itself.

But that’s not even the best part of this post.

You see… since we will hopefully be traveling in the not-too-distant-future, we are starting to plan out what we will need to bring for us and B. Along with that, we’ve been deciding what donations we’d like to bring along for B’s orphanage. But the truth is that we cannot do this alone. We need your help with these donations! So we are holding a donation drive to bless the kids living in orphanages in Ethiopia!

The reason I’m so overly excited about this?

This is not just another fundraiser to help us bring our child home. Those have been remarkable. We greatly appreciate those. But this is different, and it’s a unique chance to do two things…

First, it is an awesome chance for us to show our gratitude for what’s been given to our little guy so far. Anything he has ever had in his life has been as the result of someone else coming along and giving it to him – even though he wasn’t their child. Even when they didn’t “have to”. These orphanages run 24/7 and their nannies to do so much for them. What a great way to give back into an orphanage after all the time, energy, and money that has been spent on his care!

Second, and most importantly in my opinion, is that there are kids in these orphanages who will not have the same ending to their story as B will have. They may never have a family to call their own. There may never be anybody to stand in the gap for them. These kids will be there looooong after we bring B home. Loooong after we step off the plane and our adoption story is complete with a happy little ending. And these kids have day-in and day-out needs that someone has to meet. Together, we can help be that “someone”! We can, in a small way, take our time and money and energy and spend it on them. Not because we have to, but because they are most deserving of it. Because it is our privilege to do so for them. 

Below is a list of items we've heard are most needed, as well as some important notes and links for each item. If you feel like donating any of these items over the next several weeks, we would greatly appreciate it!!

I know some of them are a bit pricey. If you have had to shell out $35 for a can of Nutramigen for your child before, and found yourself frustrated at the cost – just imagine running an orphanage overflowing with babies, in a country where many residents make less than that $35 in a month. It can seem overwhelming. If all you can give is one can – or even one dollar – it DOES make a difference. We will have 4 checked bags/tubs to fill up to 50 lbs each – and we are hoping to get them FULL! (Any excess donations will be saved for our 2nd trip.)

Colin and I cannot purchase all of this on our own but we can do it with your help! Let’s stand in the gap for these kiddos who don’t have parents to meet these needs, and let’s make daily life a little easier on the men and women who tirelessly care for these kids by providing them with the supplies they need!

Please contact us if you have any questions, or need to figure out a good time for us to get together to get the donations.

***We want to be very clear here – all donations and money given as part of this drive will NOT be for us and our child (unless otherwise specifically designated by YOU). This drive is for B’s orphanage, and may also benefit other orphanages in the area. B may benefit somewhat from the donations while he’s still there, of course, but these are not for our family’s use. All gifts will go 100% directly to the orphanages. ***


Nutramigen Formula
  • This formula is not available in Ethiopia so we are really hoping to get many of these! They are great for babies with milk allergies – something many Ethiopian kids have! This stuff is in demand at these orphanages and would be a HUGE blessing to them!!
  • At this time, we are not specifically seeking other types of formula, but please contact us if you have questions.

“Gerber” Pre-Fold Cloth Diapers

  • We know that people have different preferences for cloth diapering, but we hear these are the types that the nannies are used to using, so we ask that you stick to prefolds. They do not need to be Gerber brand, but very close in style would be preferable, both for ease as well as familiarity. Please be sure to check the label that they are “prefolds”. J
  • The 10-packs of these usually sell at places like Target, Walmart, grocery stores, etc., for about $12-15 a pack. Gently used is great, but please bring them washed and ready to go if used.
  • Click  [This Link] to order on Amazon.
Diaper Covers
  • Covers to go over the prefolds. Newborn and One Size are great! Gently used is okay, but please bring them washed and ready to go if used. J
  • Click [This Link] for an example on Amazon. 
Disposable Wipes

Ointments, Creams, & Medicines:
  • We would love to collect any of these, as they are always in demand:

§  Diaper Rash Creams
§  Ringworm Cream
§  Lice Treatments
§  Infant and Children’s Tylenol
§  Neosporin & Bandaids

Checks and Monetary Donations

Monetary donations are highly appreciated! All money will be brought with us to Ethiopia where we will take the orphanage director shopping with the allotted amount. We will then purchase the most needed items while in-country. (Checks are easiest for us, but all donations are happily accepted!)
   This is great for three reasons:
  1. It ensures we get what they really need at the moment because all the shopping is done right there with the orphanage director!
  2. Money is free to “bring” with us. It takes up zero baggage space/weight, allowing us to bring more donations with us!
  3. Cash donations also have the advantage of going back into the Ethiopian economy!