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
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


STUCK TOUR Coming through Dallas/Frisco area March 16th 

International adoption can be a long, lonely road.  Believe me, my family has stuck through it twice to adopt the same child from Colombia, and we’re still waiting to get through all of the bureaucracy and red tape in order to bring him home.  We met when he was ten years old, and now he’s already fifteen.  We're closer now than we've ever been, and yet we all still wait.  Our journey was a bit different and more complicated than most, but we never gave up hope.  We’ve visted his orphanage several times, and though given decent living conditions, access to education, and enough food to eat, he’s still one of the millions stuck there.  Stuck, knowing that there is a family out there that knows him, wants him, and loves him, yet can’t seem to get through this process quickly enough.

The STUCK tour is coming through the Dallas/Frisco area on March 16th only!  Join the movement to promote international adoption by purchasing a ticket to see the movie at 7:00 at the AMC Stonebriar 24 Theater in Frisco.  There will be a family event and a premier party at 5:00 in celebration of the tour.  STUCK is really a love story, demonstrating the steadfast love between families and children that have no family of their own. 

Be a part of this amazing event by purchasing a ticket, filling the theater, promoting it among your family and friends, or even signing a petition headed straight to Washington D.C.  Check it out for yourself at http://bothendsburning.org

STUCK PosterArt small 150x150 The Movie

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Back to book promoting

I've backed away from making much mention of my book over the last seven months because of what's been going on with our case.  I've given away a bunch of copies to keep promoting it, especially when applying for grants, but I've done very little marketing. Honestly, if this adoption indeed goes through, I can say for sure that a sequel is in the making.  If it for some reason does not, for reasons only God could know, then I'm not sure how to go about continuing to market the first book.  It's a complicated, awkward situation.  Needless to say, I've shied away from it all.  However, my publisher got after me for that yesterday, so I said I'd do better, even though I still feel very awkward.  He really recommended using Twitter more, so feel free to look me up on Twitter (Rachelle D.), follow me, and share me with others.  Thanks!

Friday, February 15, 2013

God's sense of humor

God sure does have a sense of humor.  You never know what lengths He's going to go to to get you right where He wants you.  This morning I took David to school at 7:30 with the plan to pick him up at 9:30 to take him on our tour of one of the middle schools.  I had two ideas as to how to spend the following two hours.  I've been listening to our series on James on CD in my car, so I could just find a place to sit in my car and listen.  I also had a ton of papers that needed to be graded, so I considered finding a coffee shop to sit and grade them.

Now let's back up a little.  I started out the morning feeling incredibly discouraged and defeated, letting my tears flow freely during my quiet time as I prayed.  This waiting is really beating me up mentally, and I guess emotionally, too.  (More mentally than anything).  So I pull up to the coffee shop as I heard the most tender song on the radio talking about how sometimes our healing comes through tears.  Once again, the tears just readily flowed.  I sat there for several minutes and just cried.  I decided I didn't feel like sitting in a car for two hours, so I went in, got a cup of coffee, spread my papers all over one of the tables, and proceeded to grade them.  I kept checking my phone to make sure I wasn't late, but time was passing very slowly, so I was getting a lot accomplished!  I couldn't believe how much I'd gotten done when it was still only about 8:15.

I graded one set of papers after another, and then suddenly I looked at my phone and saw that it was already 9:31!  I was supposed to pick up David at 9:30, which meant I was late!  How did that happen?  I was positive that only about ten minutes had passed since I last checked my phone.  I scrambled to quickly get all my papers collected and shoved them into my bag.  Then I nearly ran out the door to the car.  I get to the car, start it, and see that the clock still says 8:35.  I looked at my phone, but that clock still registered as 9:35.  Which was right?  Then the radio stated that it was currently 8:35.  Somehow my phone had just suddenly jumped an hour.

Well, I felt a little silly going back inside just to spread my papers all over the table again, so I decided to just stay in the car to finish grading them.  While there, I turned on the audio session for James and just listened.  Funny, just like every session from our Esther study spoke directly to me over precisely the area I was struggling with, this one did, too.  It was all about dealing with mental anguish,  believing that God will not leave us there and will redeem us when the time is His time.  There is a purpose for the wait, even for the anguish.  Just like He did last time around, He will turn this very anguish into a source of joy.

It was just what I needed to hear.  God saw my tears and heard my cries, and He answered me.  He just had to change the time on my phone in order to get me to listen!  I had to chuckle over that one. :)

I picked David up on time, got to the middle school, and noticed that my phone was back on the right time. :)  We had a great morning  touring the school and then having a lunch date together.  What a great school with such happy kids, happy teachers, and happy parents--and a ton to offer!  David even saw one of his buddies that he met through a good friend, so that was a bonus.  His teacher's been very helpful in getting David to appreciate the opportunity, too.  Now to make a final decision before the paper is due next week.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Decisions decisions

Middle school.  Just the thought of it makes me cringe.  Cringe over knowing all the changes my little guy is about to go through, cringe over knowing that he's about to hit a stage where he thinks he knows more than me, and cringe over the horrible memories of my own middle school years.  If there's any period of my life I would never want to live over, it would definitely be the middle school years.

When I was in middle school, there weren't a lot of choices out there.  You went to the school where you lived, unless you went to a private school.  Period.  Here in Texas, it's a bit more complicated.  You get to choose your school, depending on location, certain programs offered, special invitations based on test scores or academic achievement, etc.

David has never attended the school closest to our home.  His first two years, he went to school with me.  I greatly enjoyed that, but both of those teachers told me that he was above average and may need a different environment.  He qualified for the gifted academy, but I didn't want him under all of the pressure, so we sent him to a Math, Science, Technology Center that he'd been invited to.  That was the best decision we ever made because he has absolutely loved that school.  He's been close by, just a mile away from my own school, so that's been nice.

Unfortunately, he keeps growing up, and his time left in elementary school is coming to a close in just a few months.  With that comes the dreaded decision of middle school.  We came down to three options: 1.  Keep him in the MST program, which flows into the nearby middle school by his current school.  2.  Put him in one of the middle schools closer to home, one that has a pretty good reputation. 3.  See if he can secure a spot at the gifted and talented academy, even though I've kept him out of the academies up until this point.

We went to the parent night to check out the MST program, and we were pretty impressed.  However, he also got accepted into the academy, which is highly, highly, highly recommended by other parents who have children there.  To be honest, I've never heard a negative thing about it.  The school that the MST program is in doesn't carry quite the same reputation as the academy.  David, of course, wants to stay in the MST program.  He's already visited the campus twice and feels comfortable staying on the same track as his friends.  Mike and I know that the academy will offer him so much more, plus we really like what we hear from other parents about it.

David's teacher talked with him to help him see the opportunity he has, plus he suggested we take David for a tour of the middle school so he can actually see it.  So, that's our plan for the morning--to go tour the school.  We have to make our final decision for school by early next week, so I took a half day off tomorrow in order to take him.  We'll see how it goes.  Asking God daily for wisdom.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Voice of Truth, Casting Crowns *lyrics!*

If you want some transparent honesty from me right now, let me just say that to stand in my shoes at this moment is not something I would wish on anyone.  Every day that we wait on a final answer is just another day for Satan to mess with my mind, another day for me to hear all the voices in my head telling me how crazy we were to put ourselves through this again, another day to remind myself that the phone call is coming, the one saying, "I'm sorry.  They still don't think you're "good enough".

Our documents were presented and are being reviewed as I write this entry.  Despite all the voices fighting for attention in my head as we wait for an answer, again, I'm trying my hardest to listen to the only one that matters, the voice of Truth.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Consider it pure joy

Okay, so I guess you could say I am now officially discouraged.  I finally broke down the other night and just cried.  I hate living life in limbo like this.  Especially knowing that I've been here, in this same spot, before.  Not just once, or even twice, but three times.

The first time our paperwork went to Colombia, we waited in limbo for almost two months before we got an answer.  We never dreamed it would  be a denial, so we spent those two months preparing ourselves and our home for the addition of two new family members.

Less than a month after receiving that denial, we again sent more paperwork as an appeal to Colombia.  That time, we waited for three entire months, still believing with everything in us that those kids would soon join our family.  Once again, we just weren't prepared for the negative answer we received.

 Three years after that, we once again sent paperwork to Colombia to see if now they would consider our psycho-social reports "approvable".  Fortunately, we waited less than two weeks to find out that we were "okay" this time around.

 So, now, here we are for the fourth time, waiting on a final answer regarding the rest of our paperwork.  This time around, I somehow keep expecting a no and find myself surprised when things move to the next step.  Besides setting up a bedroom for the home study, we haven't made a single preparation in our home.  We haven't saved a penny because we haven't had a penny to save.  Even mentally, I've pushed the thought of a larger family aside and have begun to accept (and enjoy) life as a family of three again.  With the adoption process, online trainings, and paperwork behind us, I find myself enjoying every little moment with David.  I adore that little guy and can't seem to hug him, squeeze him, or kiss him enough these days.

Yet every once in a while, I feel that longing in my heart, knowing that someone is still missing.  I got to stay in touch with "Juan" for a few months after our process got underway, but then I lost that contact with him in the middle of December.  Thankfully, I got to talk to the person who made that decision to interrupt that contact and convinced him that my being in communication with "Juan" was a positive thing for every one.  However, nearly two months later, I'm still trying to get through a tangled mess of red tape to reestablish that contact.  Ugh.  My heart hurts for him because all I can imagine him thinking is, "Great.  It happened again. They tried and didn't succeed."  He has no clue that we've been fighting for him for the last seven months. We left him with the knowledge that we would try, but that it likely would not be possible to get the case reopened.  (I don't think he ever knew that it did get reopened).  However, we promised that we would at least try to get permission to stay in his life, and for three months, we were able to do that.  I just can't get it out of my head how much love that boy expressed to us over our four days together in Colombia and our short phone calls over a three month period.  It was like he couldn't say enough just how much he loved us, and there was such a longing in his voice every time he said he loved me before I said goodbye on the phone.  My heart hurts for him, wondering what he's thinking now that I haven't called him for the last two months.

This has been a long, lonely road, to say the least.  So many ups and downs, not knowing what to expect next.  I keep to myself a lot more than usual, knowing this is a spiritual journey more than a physical one.  I cling to God a lot more now and crave His presence and wisdom like nothing else.  There's not a whole lot of people out there that I can talk to, but believe me, I stay in very close connection with the few people that really get it.  I'm deeply grateful for God putting those people in my life, and I don't know what I'd do without them.

In my Bible study in James this week, I camped out on the verse that says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."  I don't know that I would have ever considered this to be a joyous occasion in my life, but our challenge this week was to consider what other options there are....Let's see, I could....

  1. Consider it pure joy to wait without answers
  2. Make phonecalls to everyone I have contact with over my case (which is almost everyone, this time) to demand answers
  3. Fret with anxiety over all that could still go wrong or fall apart
Where do those options get me?
  1. According to the book of James, the first option will result in perseverance, blessing, and maturity.
  2. The second option would likely get us into a big mess by offending someone or doing something culturally inappropriate.
  3. The third option would result in a ton of health issues, including the inability to sleep (been there), possible ulcers, inability to concentrate (been there, too), or being short-tempered (let's not even go there....)
I think I'll take my chances and stick with Scripture here, considering it pure joy to be going through this whole ordeal, again, because I know the results (perseverance, maturity, blessing) will be more than worth it.

I asked God yesterday that if it wasn't time for the answers, would He at least show me somehow that He's still there.  Then I heard the song posted on the top left hand side of this blog that inspired me to write the first half of our story, You raise me up.  David and I heard it once on the way to school (it hasn't played on the radio in quite awhile), and then we heard it again when we were coming home.  We both agreed, God was answering my prayer.  After walking through the valley, He will set us back up on the mountain again.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

One step closer

All of our documents have been translated.  I called our attorney today to let him know, and he said he'll be in contact in the morning with the agency's lawyer.  Hopefully they'll be presented very, very soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Picking back up with life

This is definitely a very awkward stage of life, to say the least.  I will admit that I am welcoming any and all distraction right now just to keep my mind off of the realities of this stage we call LIMBO.  If I had not just studied Esther and learned just how important God's timing is, I don't know that I could ever muster up the patience to wait on Him now.  I absolutely hate this phase of not knowing, though I will definitely agree that it's better than actually going through the tedious process of all of the paperwork that is involved in an international adoption.  In my personal opinion, there are just way too many people, organizations, agencies, and "other parties" involved, though none of them are connected, making it way more complicated than it should be.  If you've never been through it, you can't even begin to imagine.  I am so, so, so, so, so glad we're done with that part.

While we live in this land called LIMBO for the time being, life is beginning to resume after the winter break. We registered David for soccer, and his season will be starting in just a couple weeks.  His 4th/5th grade youth program at church started up again, so he's been happy going to his weekly meetings on Wednesday nights again.  He will be going on his second mission trip to Waco, Texas next month over spring break, which he is super excited about.  I have finally been able to concentrate and get caught up on some paperwork and organization at school, as well as get a head start on preparing for parent conferences sometime this month.

Our spring Bible study is starting up at church this coming Wednesday, and I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am about that.  The relationships and support that are gained in those studies is priceless, as well as just the depth of intimacy with Christ that can be gained by a deeper study of His word.  I'm sadly not teaching a study this semester, due to the fact that I don't know exactly where life is headed at the moment, but I'm excited to serve my dear friend as a back-up teacher (she was my back-up in the Esther study).  We're going to be doing an in-depth study of the book of James.  I just got my workbook the other night, so I spent the morning today working through several of the first week's assignments.  I've already learned a ton that I never knew before.  I'm also taking myself back to my Bible quizzing days in high school as I attempt to start memorizing entire chapters of the book.  We'll see how I do with that.......don't know that my mind is quite as quick and sharp as it was twenty years ago when I memorized huge portions of 1st and 2nd Corinthians and John. (It's amazing how quickly the verses from those books still come back to me today, though!)

Mike has been working on several projects around the house and keeping our vehicles maintained.  My little neon has been acting up lately, so we've had to put a little more maintenance in it than usual. Mike and I also are almost finished with our online course so we can print off our certificate soon.  It's getting a bit repetitive at this point, but today's segment was all about comparing ESL services in schools for the immigrant child versus the internationally adopted child.  It was interesting, but way too long.  Two more units to go, and then we'll be done.

That's where life stands right now, in a nutshell.  I wish we had some more definitive answers, direction, and timing regarding the adoption, but this week brought nothing but silence.  Normally I love the sound of silence and soak it up every chance I get.  This kind of silence isn't quite as peaceful or relaxing.

The weather here right now is beautiful, so I may just have to make another cup of coffee and spend some time hanging out on my front porch for awhile.