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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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Unexpected Tears comes from a friend who knows all too well the grief of losing a child. Though I did not physically lose a child that I once carried in my womb, her reaction to my grief in the book confirmed to me that I went through a very similar grieving process. Adoption loss is huge and comes with a very deep grief that so few will ever understand. This book bonded my friend and I in a way we never expected.

This is a wonderful book about faith and the honest struggles when going through trials and grief. I found myself relating to so many things in the book and I have never even thought about adopting a child.

Thank you, Amy, for sharing your thoughts in this review and then for sharing them more vulnerably with me as you read through the book. I cherish the friendship that you and I have recently developed. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A miracle in the making

In January of 2011, I wrote a letter to God, asking him to give me the desires of my heart. At the time, I wanted more than anything to still have a chance to adopt the little girl I lost through a failed adoption. But if I couldn't be her mommy, I asked God to give her a mommy who would teach her about Him and how to love Him.

A month later, that mommy God had chosen for her came and whisked her away, leaving her brothers and I both grateful for her adoption but heartbroken to lose her. Her eldest brother waited patiently to hear from her again, but as the time passed, he assumed he lost her forever.

In 2012, we finally received the opportunity for a second attempt to adopt her brother, who we successfully brought home a year later in 2013. Ever since I brought him home, I've prayed for God to make a way for him to reconnect with his precious little sister. For me, I'd be happy with a just a picture, but for him, I believed they would reunite someday.

In the summer of 2015, I prayed very specifically for God to help us find her, and He helped me make a connection with the right person in Colombia who could help us start that search. She told us the channels they'd have to go through, and she made no guarantees. After an entire year passed without any news, I pretty much gave up hope that we'd find her this way. I figured Juan David would have to be the one to search without my name attached. I mean, I did try to adopt her once, so maybe I was the one standing in the way.

Now here we are in the early fall of 2016, and while swamped with tons of stuff going on at work and in life, I could not have been more surprised to look down at my e-mails in the middle of the morning one day this week to see that long awaited e-mail from Colombia. The subject line said, "Foto hermana" (sister picture). Then I saw another one with the subject "Carta hermana" (sister letter). My eyes filled with tears when I opened them and then quickly sent them to Juan's phone and then to his biological brother, Julian.

This first attempt at communication between them is still caught in a chain of people and organizations protecting both of their families' privacy, so he doesn't have direct contact with her yet. But it's a huge step leading them to begin to reconnect, a step I believe will lead them to reunite someday.

It's a miracle in the making, and I'm so grateful for a God who always answers prayers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Painful Waiting comes from my dear friend in Colombia, Claire Marquez, again. She gave the book five stars, and I think she was one of the very first ones to finish reading it.

This book is an amazing book... I am so so happy for my good friend Rachelle and her family. This book speaks dear to my heart because I got to be part of the process. Our God is so so good and it talks about the wonderful journey that they took trusting and putting all their faith in God. This book brings all kinds of emotions. For me being a Colombian adopted into a North American family this book hits home in so many ways. This book has lots of amazing life lessons that one can learn from and especially how God is all ways there and never leaves you in the midst of the hardest times.

I love this review for so many reasons, First, because as a missionary herself, she gets the whole faith aspect of the book series. And in addition to that, she is a Colombian adoptee, so I got to see how someone with that background might be affected by our story. 

Thank you again, Claire. I can't wait for your own book to come out someday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Unexpected Tears comes from Charlie Ray, a friend who prayed me through the first book's contents and later told me she just kept on praying for both of the kids after we lost them. When I see how well my son is doing today, I remember her faithful prayers for him when we didn't ever think he'd come back to us. She gave the book five stars.

This is a wonderful story of this family's faith walk with God in their attempt to adopt internationally. Through all the tears and heartache, God's constant presence and unconditional love is ever present as his plans all unfold for them.

Thank you, Charlie, for your prayers and support and then for passionately cheering me on as the second book came out.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

My favorite sound

Can you hear it? Silence. I could soak it up all weekend. It soothes my soul.

I used to joke around with my second graders years ago that silence was my favorite sound. Now that I teach four-year-olds, it's no joke. By the time they leave, this introvert wants nothing more than to sit in a silent room all alone to recharge for awhile.

Don't get me wrong. I love my students' sweet little voices. Their conversations with each other either captivate me or entertain me, and their giggles are contagious. But here at the beginning of the year, I don't hear much of that yet. I unfortunately still hear a lot of crying (now 14 days in), a lot of tattles, and a lot of my own voice sternly saying, "Shhhhh! Stop running. Stop pushing. Sit correctly. Keep your hands to yourself. Pay attention. Watch where you're going. Eyes on me. Be nice. That's not how we talk at school. That's not how we treat our friends.Etc. etc."

I've relaxed a bit with the students who came in ready (usually the ones with older siblings), and thankfully, they've helped me to remember to smile. A simple smile can make a big difference in the entire classroom atmosphere.

Hopefully I can report back here in a few weeks with exciting news about how they're finally taking off and beginning to shine. I know they will--they always do. In the meantime, I guess I need to put a smiley face sticker on my hand as a reminder that a smile can brighten anyone's day, even my own. :)

As far as my home, I am soaking up an unexpectedly silent day due to David being at a birthday party, Mike out looking for truck parts, and Juan in bed sleeping after having to call in sick for work. I am still trying to get used to our new normal this year. Leaving 30 minutes earlier each morning in order to get David to school and get through the morning traffic to get myself to work on time. Juan working (and driving on his own)--meaning going to church at a different time than us when he works on Saturday nights. I crave a daily routine, and I'm not sure we've found one (or ever will).

Soccer is starting within the next week, meaning David will have his own schedule as a referee and then another one as a player. His coach could unfortunately not return this season. We got an e-mail at the last minute late Wednesday night saying if no one stepped in to coach the team, they'd have to fold the team and the boys would not be able to play. So, guess who stepped up to take over the team? Coach Dad to the rescue. And Coach Juan to help. It's gonna be an interesting season! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wednesday Review

Today's review of Painful Waiting comes from Stacey Doll, our dear friend that God allowed us to meet and serve with at El Camino Academy in Bogota on our second trip to Colombia. So many people said we looked like sisters, so we named ourselves the pink sisters. :) She gave the book five stars.

Rachelle Alspaugh has come out with her second book about trying to adopt internationally. I met this wonderful family on my trip to Colombia, and their story has stuck with me. So excited for you all to experience this book, a combination of heart-felt poetry and inspiring prose. Through the trials the Alspaughs faced, their faith was challenged and strengthened. Yours will be too as you see how God guided them to unexpected places and allowed them to adopt, but not exactly the way they imagined. God is so faithful and knows how to time everything perfectly. Rachelle's book is proof!

Thank you so much to my pink sister, Stacey, for sharing your thoughts on my second book. So thankful for our continued friendship today.