About Me

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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.


Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
Click on the card to order or read the reviews

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It is not by coincidence....

I was at my favorite Christian bookstore this morning, and I found myself going back to the same shelf about three times, each time walking away after not finding anything that caught my eye. Yet for some reason, I kept going back, like there was something waiting for me. By the third time, I spotted a single book tucked in the shelf that did finally catch my eye.

So, I read the title and thought, "Now that's a story that I can relate to." I bought it, brought it home, went out on my front porch, and started to read. I'm two chapters through already, and now I see why I felt like there was something waiting on that shelf for me. There's even a note in the back of the book saying, "It is not by coincidence that God has allowed you to find this book. He has known you by name since before I even dreamed of writing. With each word typed, I've prayed that He would minister to your needs."

The book is called Hannah's Hope--Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss., by Jennifer Saake. It's not been often that I've seen a book embrace all THREE issues together, especially including the adoption loss. I especially appreciate the way she defines that journey through an adoption loss as walking through "no-man's land" and how she counts those children in the specific number of children that she has lost and grieved. For anyone who has walked any, or all, of these roads (as we have), I highly recommend this book.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The need to belong

What's in a name? Apparently so much more than most of us will ever have the need to realize. The day we're born, we inherit a first, sometimes middle, and a last name. Our name was carefully chosen, our middle name either had a good ring to it or has some special significance, and our last name comes from one or both of our parents. It means we belong--to that person, to that family. So what if the one (or ones) who you belonged to abandoned you early in life? Then what? Who do you belong to? Where do you belong? Suddenly there's no one laying claim to you, and that last name you carry with you only screams out one thing--I'm abandoned. I belong to no one.

Julian took the initiative and began calling me Mom about a year and a half ago. A half a year later, he started calling Mike his Dad. Though he was already an adult by then and knew we could never officially adopt him, apparently that was an important thing to him. To have someone to call his Mom and Dad was filling a huge void in his life. To be considered a son to someone meant that he belonged. Around the same time, he started calling David his little brother. Soon the relationships grew and deepened, and I became Mami and Mike became Daddy--to a young man who had just become a legal adult! Every term of endearment he's used with us was completely from his own initiative.

Now that he's legally on his own and dependent on us for the time being rather than the government, he surprised me yet again by showing just how desperately he wants to be a forever part of our family. I found him online the other day and suddenly realized that he'd changed his name and unofficially taken on our family name. Yep. Kind of a humbling moment to be reminded of how great an orphan's need is to feel like they belong to someone, to know that someone will claim them.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Headed back to Colombia

This has been quite a year. We had no clue what all awaited us over the coming year as we returned home from Colombia in mid-June of last year. All we knew was that we had a new son that we were now responsible for somehow and that we had a story to tell. What only God knew was that there was a book on the horizon that would be our platform to tell that story and that our new son's needs would be much greater than we imagined or could handle on our own strength and resources. Talk about life just completely changing! Wow. We've learned the meaning of the verse that states that we need not worry about tomorrow because today has enough trouble of its own. Let tomorrow worry about itself. I have truly had to let go of any and all of our own plans and just let God guide us through each day, providing all we need precisely when we need it. Not before and not after.

This week I came down pretty hard on Julian regarding money, and I actually ended up really hurting him. Then God hit me over the head and reminded me that He is the one providing the money for Julian to live right now, not us or our "budget". I had looked at the numbers at what it was costing him to live, and I panicked because it was not in my proposed budget of what we could do to help him. Then I opened up my study on Experiencing God and read, "I wonder whether God ever tests our faith as He did Philip's. Does He say, "Feed the multitudes (care for the orphan)and we respond, "Our budget can't do it." Ouch. That hurt. I immediately confessed my lack of faith that God would continue to provide, I apologized to Julian for having been so hard on him, and the very next day God blessed us with airline tickets for our return to Colombia this summer that had dropped nearly $200 in price for the first time in months. That saved almost $600! Once again I was reminded of how much we miss of God's activity when we try to operate on our own logic, reasoning, and numbers.

So, I'm just going to back off from trying to control this whole situation and once again allow God to work in His own way to show that when He gives a God-sized assignment, it will be something that only He can do. He knows we can't do it on our own strength and resources, and that's the whole point. We were never meant to.

We will be returning to Colombia on June 5th to work at a school called El Camino Academy. I will be teaching intensive English in their summer school program, and Mike will be working in and around the school on different physical projects. David will join both of us in various capacities depending on what's going on each day. This will also give us another 30 days to spend with Julian. God may have completely different plans for us once we get there, but we will just wait and see what He has planned for us. Our trip is going to cost about $3,000, which includes the airline tickets, a furnished apartment, and daily food and travel. If you would like to give toward our trip, just go to this link https://www.lakepointe.org/Give/Default.aspx, click on the location to give to a mission trip, and find our names towards the bottom of the list. Our Lifegroup has expressed a desire to help with Julian's daily expenses right now, and we found this to be a way to do so in a tax deductible way because any part of our trip that is covered frees us to be able to help him more right now.

Thanks.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Another day, another game

Started out looking good on the field
....until an ankle got caught between another player's legs. Ouch!

Nothing an ice pack, a cute dog, and a sweet little boy couldn't cure. :)


After a little loving from the little dog and comforting from the little boy, he jumped back into the game and scored a goal. :)













Friday, March 23, 2012

Never Once - Matt Redman - Lyrics



Every time we sing this song at church, I remember our experience on the mountaintop.  Today when it came on the radio, I told David this song goes right with my book.  However, I stand corrected, because he then said that he's getting frustrated hearing me say "my book".  He said, "It's not YOUR book.  It's OUR story that we have to offer.  We ALL went through it."  So, enjoy this beautiful song that expresses our journey, OUR story.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My request

Lots and lots of you have been telling me over the last few days that you finished reading my book. I appreciate all of your kind comments, which have really encouraged me. However, if you would please do me the favor of going to Amazon.com or westbowpress.com and leaving a short review (anonymously), I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!!!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Under the Bridge

Sounds like David is having an amazing time in Waco. The kids have been busier than ever cleaning, clearing lots, helping out, and serving at different ministry locations. It sounds like a life-changing experience, one that will impact his thinking and his perspective on life in very deep ways. I am so glad that he had the opportunity, and the support, to go. This morning they are up and getting ready to head to church outside where they will be attending Church Under the Bridge, which is a church that literally meets under a bridge so it can reach anyone and everyone, regardless of their race, income level, economic situation, or home situation. If you want to see how they've been doing and catch some pictures of their ministry in action, check out this blog that their leader so graciously (and passionately) has taken the time to write.

http://lpfirewheel-surge.blogspot.com


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why I blog

I'm so thankful for the lady in my Lifegroup back in Rockwall who suggested years ago that I start a blog to let others know more about the specifics of our adoption process. I had no idea how to even start a blog at the time, but one summer morning while David was swimming with friends, I played around on the computer for several hours, and, by the end of the morning, POOF, I had a blog. Little did I know that only a few short weeks later, my heart would be captured and our lives would be turned upside down by two precious Colombian children who became the center focus of that blog for the following two years.

That blog was so good for me in so many ways. First, it helped me to stop keeping my life such a secret from everyone. I have a tendency to just keep my thoughts and feelings completely to myself. However, being the writer that I am, having a blog not only helped me share about our lives and our process, but it helped me share the contents of my heart in a way that I'd never done in such a public way before. Slowly, but surely, the introvert in me was coming out, and, for the first time, I felt "known".

As the process went on and life got confusing and hard, my blog became my outlet. It was there that I shared what was going on inside, emotionally. Yes, it was supposed to be about our family's journey, so it included lots of soccer stuff and our traveling adventures, but many times it became solely about me. There were times in the process that we all just kept to ourselves, trying to process what was going on, so I couldn't really speak for anyone else but myself.

When the adoption crumbled and we were left with nothing but an empty home and empty hearts, I wanted nothing more than to go back in time and erase the day that I started that blog. That blog made the fall harder than ever because it was all so public. Everyone knew. However, now that God had me write a book about the whole experience, I couldn't be more thankful for having written that blog. Every detail, every penny, every up and down, every emotion--it was all documented, in order, with dates attached. There was no way I could have rewritten our story had I not had it all documented on that blog.

That blog had one main purpose, to share the events of our adoption journey, but obviously it served for many other purposes, as well. However, that journey is over, and we are on a new one now. There are things in your life that change you, then there are moments in life that define you. I believe our adoption journey/experience is one that not only changed us, but it redefined us and our purpose in life. That is why I closed that blog and started a new one (besides the fact that it shared way too much information about two children that I cannot claim as my own). It is not an attempt to gain followers or attract an audience for my book. It is not all about the book or an attempt at marketing it. The book is a chronological retelling of the events that led us to where we are in life now, the experiences that led us to the present journey we're now on. This blog now is a way for others, yes, maybe those who don't know me but have read the book, to continue to follow our journey into the heart and life of one particular orphan (who represents at least 15 million more around the world). It is a place to share the people and the family that we became over the course of our adoption process. It was kindly suggested to me to maybe shrink back a little bit on the religion/spirituality in this blog in order to not narrow my audience. I thought long and hard over that, but I realized that to take out the depth of the relationship with God that we gained in this journey would be to discredit the whole purpose of this blog. Our experience, as I said, changed us and redefined us. This blog is to continue to share our journey and to reflect the people and the family that we became through the experiences that God led us through.

Anyway, this post has been on my heart for awhile, but I just couldn't find the words to express it. I sat down to make a phone call to Colombia this morning, but I kept getting a busy signal. So I opened up my blog while I was waiting to get through, and finally the words just came..... I hope they make sense.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quiet

It's definitely a quiet house here today. Miss the little guy, but I sure don't mind a nice morning of peace and solitude. Plus Mike reminded me to think about the fact that David is likely having a very life changing experience right now. :) I sat out on the back porch with the dogs for awhile, did a little cleaning, continued a little bit of this "self-marketing" business, and now I'm sitting out on my front porch enjoying the beautiful breeze, listening to the birds chirp, and watching my tree bloom into all these beautiful little white flowers. It's usually in full bloom on the first day of spring EVERY YEAR, but maybe the warm winter has gotten it confused, because it's almost in full bloom today.

David has been giddy and excited about his trip all week, until yesterday morning when he woke up and couldn't believe it was finally here! All day he kept asking, "Are you gonna miss me, Mommy? What will you do without me here? Are you going to hate me for going away and leaving you?" I think it shows that he's pretty confident about his place and his role in our home--he knows that when he's missing, his absence is quite noticeable. It got me to thinking about my other "child" down in Colombia. I can't ever see things from just one perspective, anymore. Everything we see and experience makes me think of him. Sadly, he never had that confidence about his role in a family. Growing up in an orphanage, he watched people come and go all the time, even his own siblings. He was taught that life just goes on. There is no time to spend missing them, nor is there time to grieve their loss. That's just how life is sometimes, and we just keep moving. Now that he's on his own, does he often wonder if he's even missed? It makes me wonder just how differently his entire "psyche" and view of the world is different due to not ever growing up with that confidence that he has a special place and a special role in a family, a confidence that when he's not there, his absence is greatly noted. I'm so grateful that my little boy knows how loved and cherished he is, but it makes my heart hurt for the millions and millions of children who don't ever get the chance to taste that confidence.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

....and they're off!


The whole crew from the Firewheel Campus
Ready to head off!


Mission Waco has begun! Lake Pointe's 4th and 5th graders from SURGE are officially off on their mission trip to work with and for the homeless in Waco. I'm so proud of my little guy for his heart to go and serve. When I asked him how much he personally wanted to contribute to his trip, he gave 20% of the money that he had been saving for several months. (He HATES to spend money on ANYTHING. This is the kid that spent $2 on two little cars that he wanted, only to regret it later, saying that it was just a waste of his money.)



Sending him off today took me back to that day back in July that I sent him off to camp for the first time. His best friend at the time couldn't go, so it absolutely broke my heart to put him on that bus, knowing he didn't have a single friend. Fortunately, the two friends that he made at camp have become even better friends now, and they happened to be the two friends I sent him off with today. :)



Tonight when they arrive, they will be having a devotional at one of the homeless shelters and will be meeting the Mission Waco staff. Tomorrow and Saturday they will be working with the homeless shelter and will be working on different service projects. Then Sunday they will be attending Church under the Bridge, which is actually outside and meets under a Bridge. What an experience they will have together. I absolutely love being part of a church that is so mission minded and gets the kids started into missions at such a young age. (I'm secretly jealous that I couldn't have had such opportunities when I was his age. Today when we were talking, I told him that I didn't go on my first mission trip until I was in high school. We counted and realized that by the time he's 11, he will have been on five already--counting this coming summer in Colombia). I personally think there's nothing like a mission trip to change your whole world view and perspective on life.


Keep this group in your prayers, for safety and just to be a blessing and be blessed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring is in the air

This is truly my favorite time of the year. The weather is absolutely beautiful, the flowers are starting to bud and bloom, the screen doors are both open to allow plenty of ventilation through the house, my front and back porches keep calling my name to just sit and relax--and a week off of school just tops it all off. David and I spent at least an hour or two yesterday cuddled together reading a new book out loud, and then we spent another two hours on our bikes, riding through all the neighborhoods surrounding us. Life is just as it should be on days like that. :) Planning to have another one just like it today.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What it's all about

Yesterday's presentation/book signing went really well. Truthfully, it was my very first experience to ever do anything of the sort, so I really didn't have a clue what to expect. Mike and I realized later that we should have gone to a few of the previous ones to get an idea before hand, but oh, well. Some dear friends from my Lifegroup came, some friends of Mike, and my brother and his wife. The lady working in the bookstore had a lot of questions about our story before the presentation, so she hung around to hear more and then talked with me more afterward. Also while I was talking to a couple later, a lady walked up behind to ask who I was, and, lo and behold, she was from Colombia!!! We talked in Spanish for a little bit, I signed a copy of my book for her, and later she found me walking around in the store and introduced me to her family. That, in itself, made the whole experience worth it. I don't expect this book to become a best seller, this whole self-marketing thing is really not my personality, but I pray often that God will just get it into the hands of the right people. So, now after this experience, a few more people have the book, it's been advertised in a local bookstore and in their monthly newsletter, they kept a few more copies, and it's now for sale in our church bookstore, as well.

For a while I started getting caught up in the financial logistics, constantly adding up sales and trying to figure out how to make the most profit so I could be sure to earn back what I had already invested into the book, with any extra then going back to Julian. Then God hit me over the head and told me to stop when my ten year old son said, "Since when was this about the money????" Ouch. As much as that little boy still has to grow and mature, I'm amazed at the wisdom behind many of his random statements. This is just another ministry that He's given me, and my focus should be solely on getting it into the right hands. When He's asked me to go on a trip, say, to California, Mexico, Argentina, or Colombia, I've trusted Him to provide the money, and I never looked back to see how I could earn it back. He obviously provided the money for this story to be published, so why am I constantly looking back at the money? It's helped me gain a better perspective of things. It's amazing how money can be so controlling of your thoughts at times.

Things are beginning to take shape for our returning trip to Colombia, which is coming up pretty quickly. I can't believe how the time has flown. Mike's job approved for him to take off for a month, so we'll be leaving the first week of June and returning the first week of July. The summer school classes that I'll be teaching run for 3 weeks of that time. Our church has approved/endorsed our trip as an actual mission trip, so now, thankfully, we have a way to raise financial support and a way to make our own expenses for the trip tax deductible.

Julian, unfortunately, found out that his military card/"exemption" won't be in effect for two more months, which leaves him completely dependent on us for at least that long. He's pretty discouraged, but it's just another reminder of why God connected us with Him. God knew all along that he was going to need the support of a family as he went through this transition of exiting the system. I am constantly learning more and more about what an orphan goes through as he begins life on his own. There are times I see that he's still just a child, but trapped in an almost 19 year old body. There are so, so, so many gaps--physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We're just having to take them one at a time, one day at a time. Currently, we're focusing on how to shop, cook, and eat properly, as well as learning the value of money and how to track what's being spent. All of these are quite a difficult task when we're so far away and can only try to teach him these things via a telephone or computer.

I always knew God had called us to adopt and that He had plans for us to be involved in a ministry overseas. I never imagined, though, that He was calling us to a full-time orphan ministry or that He would ask me to be the voice for the orphan. He gave me such an intimate view into their lives, showed me things I never knew I wanted to see, opened my ears to hear their voices and their cries, and opened my heart to love them as my own. Look at what we would have missed had we just gone along with our own plans and then given up on God when they fell apart.

Today is the start of spring break, so David and I have already made plans to read a new book together and ride bikes together all week. (After watching a video of me presenting yesterday, I see that I definitely need to get back into an exercise routine!!!!) David leaves for Mission Waco on Thursday afternoon, where he'll be serving in a homeless shelter and doing a few other service types of projects. He's really excited to be going, and I'm so excited for him to have the experience. He's got two really close friends going with him, so that makes it much easier on this mom than when he went to camp pretty much alone.

I think I got caught up now on everything that needed to be shared here. Hopefully I'll have more time to write throughout this week.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

A new experience





Every day in this journey is a whole new learning experience for me, and for us as a family. I'll write more later to tell about how the day went, but I wanted to post the pictures while I was thinking about it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Precious

Lastnight Julian was practicing his new English phrases over the phone with me. He's still waiting on his clearance to begin working, plus he's waiting to hear how his last job interview went, so he's been busy studying as much English as he can to keep from going crazy out of boredom. ( When you've been surrounded by people day in and day out for so long, and then suddenly you're away from all of your friends, living in a house with only one other person, it can be quite a shock.) Anyway, after talking for about 20 minutes, we brought the conversation to a close and said goodbye, but then right before I hung up, he said, (in English), "Wait! Say hi for me to Daddy."

Precious. He never calls him Mike anymore in our conversations. It's always just Papa or Dad. This was the first he tried out Daddy. Just goes to show you how desperately that boy has wanted to be part of a family for all these years. How many more are out there that never are given that opportunity?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book signing

I went to A Real Bookstore this weekend (yes, that's what it's called) to get more information about my book signing event that is scheduled for next weekend. (Sunday, March 11th, at 2:00 in Fairview, Texas). I found out that the usual format is to introduce the author, then the author gives a short presentation, and then there's time for questions and answers. So I realized I better prepare something for my presentation. I don't want to give away what happens in the book, especially the final chapters, so this is what I came up with to share. If you're a local, please come support me--even if you already have a signed book. They said that it's always a better experience if you have your own crowd with you. Leave me a comment if you don't know how to get there.

From the Mountain…to the Valley…and Back!

What were my motivations to write this book and turn our deeply personal story into one that is available for anyone to read?

· To describe an adoption process, in detail, including all the emotional ups and downs that come with it

· To document what it’s like to grieve a failed adoption, giving other families in our situation a resource we only wished we had had

· To show that there is still hope when we cling to God through a tragedy, proving that He is a personal God and can bring beauty out of ashes

· To help me heal by getting it all out, to serve as a therapeutic experience

· To give a voice to the older orphan, showing how desperately these children want and need to be part of a family, NO MATTER HOW OLD THEY ARE

Continue to follow our story on my blog—From the heart of Rachelle D.

www.fromtheheartofrachelled.blogspot.com