Thursday, December 1, 2011

If we are the body..

I've been considering this post for a while now.  I know it won't be popular with a lot of people.  But I've come to realize that many things that aren't popular with this world are popular with Jesus.  I can't tell you the number of times lately I've heard foreign missionaries cry out for help.  Churches are taking away funds, sending less people. They are being the hands and feet of Jesus. With the current economic woes, many large and small US churches have resorted to the "save our own" mentality. Since when is it ok for Christians to say where you live depends on if you live? These men, women, and their children are spreading the gospel.  They are working with people who are the least of these, places most of us would never dream of living. And the truth of the matter is that the poorest of our poor is rich to those in Third world countries.  Our poor and desolate have access to homeless shelters and places with warm food and running water. They have shoes. How many times do you see this in America?


 Jesus didn't say, "Go, make disciples of all Americans."    Don't get me wrong.  I love the US.  I am proud to live in a nation like ours.  But churches and Christians need to step up and start living up to what they preach.  I am sure there are other areas in church budgets that can be cut and trimmed that would allow more giving.  I am sure there are more areas in our own budgets that can be trimmed to sponsor a child, sponsor a pair of shoes, help build a medical clinic.  The question is, will you do it?

I read an article in People magazine yesterday.  A Jewish celebrity was interviewed.  Before we go further let me just say I have nothing against the Jewish faith, or any other faith for that matter.  I just don't agree.  This celebrity said her family celebrated Hanukkah but she didn’t want to rob her children of Christmas and Santa.  Most people wouldn’t have a problem with this statement.  Many people, some of my family included, go out and spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on items that will end up in next summer’s garage sale.  Materialism in this country has reached a peak, and we are using a holiday that celebrates our Lord’s birth to do it.  I can tell you one thing.  Santa comes to our house each year.  My son doesn’t know much about this Santa character. Because a fictional character is all he is. But he does know about Jesus.  He asks to read about Jesus most nights.  And for that I am thankful.  Christmas in our house will be slim this year.  I spent less than $100 on my son.  And he will never care. Our present is knowing Christmas next year will be with a sweet smiling Mocha princess from the Congo that will make us a family of 4. 


I encourage you to visit my sweet friend Christie Magera’s website  http://www.ekuboministries.org/ and see what she and her family are doing for the Lord.  Can you spare $10 this year? Maybe even $20 or $50.  Please know it is going to an amazing cause.  Sometimes I feel like no matter where I go in this world I don’t fit in.  Our church isn’t missional enough, our family doesn’t understand our values, and the world doesn’t understand where we stand.  That’s because this is our temporary home.  We were made for so much more.  What will you do to take a stand?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I find You when I fall Apart.

I have to say that this whole adoption experience has been very humbling.  I am a giver.  I give of myself, my time, and my money.  I'm not a materialistic person.  I put others needs before my own.  Being on the receiving end of advice and money is something that I am not used to.  I feel very much out of my comfort zone.  A sweet friend of mine recently donated $500 to our adoption.  They are not financially wealthy.  They are wealthy with love of Christ.  It took everything in me to say, "Oh no, that is a kind gesture but it is way too much money."  God had to sit me down and say, "You asked, I provided." 

Finances haven't been the only humbling experience.  I am learning more and more each day that this is not about what I want.  A few days ago I received a phone call from our sweet case worker at LBB.  I could tell by her voice something was wrong.  I had been dreading the phone call from her because I knew the money just wasn't going to be ready.  She told me that after getting more information about the sweet little girl, our Zola, that they would be unable to place her in our family because she needs to be the youngest child.  God had been preparing me for this moment.   God said to me, "Stop pushing.  Your Zola is waiting for you.  Be Patient.  It is My time.  My Plan."  We are on the top of a waiting list and more children have just arrived. It is our hope to accept a waiting child.  I know it will only be a matter of time until we see our sweet girl's face.  And I know when that happens that God will open doors that I didn't even know existed.  Until then we will enjoy our last Christmas as a family of 3. 

~Tara~

Psalm 46:10- Be Still, and know that I am God. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Perfect Timing

As I'm sure most have noticed, it has been a long time since my last blog post.  We've spent the last several months in thought.  Money is tight, and we thought we might wait just a little bit longer to proceed with the adoption process.  God had other plans.

Two weeks ago I was on the internet looking at various adoption agencies and reading posts on a yahoo group that I follow.  Someone mentioned that there were waiting children in the Congo at a Love Beyond Borders.  Knowing we weren't ready I went to their site and came across the face of an angel.  God spoke to my heart that night.  I prayed.  I looked at her face.  I prayed some more.  And when I went to bed that evening I knew that I had seen the face of my little girl.  The next morning I emailed a Love beyond Borders.  Two days, still no answer.  I forgot about it.  God was telling me something.  Two more days and I receive an email.  She is still available.  My husband had no idea.  What would he say? He is the one that wanted to wait.  I brought her picture home.  I showed it to him.  Tears streamed from his eyes and he gave the picture to my son.  My son looked up and said, "Zola?"  God was speaking to all of us.  He was moving us to adopt this little girl.

Fast forward two days.  Our caseworker tells us we have ten days to come up with the fees to pay them for our sweet angel.  You see, people had seen her sweet face and many were inquiring.  I told our caseworker our story, and she too knew God had designated this child for our family.  She is fighting for us.  Fighting to buy us time for our girl.  But time is running out.

I wish I had every penny of the money we need for our adoption.  There is nothing worse than knowing you want something so bad but have to rely on others for help.  We have few options to come up with $7000 in such a short amount of time.  We just purchased our home and don't have enough equity.  We don't have enough money in our 401k to borrow.  Credit cards aren't an option.  Doors are closing and still God is moving, telling us that nothing is impossible.  I knew when we started this journey it would not be easy.  I tell myself we are like Nehemiah.  We have a burden, one that doesn't appeal to all people.  A burden that confuses many.  But like Nehemiah we will not give up.  I look at the laundry list of fees and I cry.  I pray and I see her face and I feel some kind of peace telling me that miracles will happen. 

This morning was not unlike many others.  We went to church and worshiped.  I heard a song that I listen to almost every day.  Most days I sing along like a robot, untouched by the words.  Today I wept.  I cried so hard right in the middle of our worship service.  The words to that song shot through me.  Touched me unlike any other day.  God was stirring something up in me.  He was telling me that through all of this He would be glorified.  If we bring Zola home it will not be because my husband and I did it.  God will be the only way our sweet girl comes home.

I ask you to please continue to pray.  Pray that when one door shuts another opens.  Pray that God opens hearts and stirs others up.  We are attempting to take out a loan for the set of fees due next week. There is a donation link at the bottom of the page.  If you feel led please feel free to donate.  Please share our page and do not forget to pray for our sweet girl.

~ Tara ~


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Radical Part Deux

It has taken me a while to read as I have been extremely busy, but I wanted to share some more of my favorite quotes from David Platt's book Radical.  This book has totally given me a new perspective on my faith, and I wish I could give a copy to so many people who have such a narrow view of their own Christianity.  

"In our culture we are tempted at every turn to trust in our own power.  God puts people in positions where they are desperate for his power and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness."

"We were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of His spirit" 

"The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Helper, the Guide, the very presence of God living in you."

"Disciples of Jesus-genuine, committed, self-sacrificing followers of Christ aren't made overnight.'

"Materialism has become a weak spot in my Christianity.  We need to reflect radical compassion to the needy and the poor."

"If you have running water, shelter over your head, food to eat, and some means of transportation, then you are in the top 15% of the world's people for wealth."

All of these words really hit home to me.  It made me stop and question, "Am I doing what God wants me to do in regards of reaching out to others?" The answer was obviously no.  I can tell you that I have spoken to a number of people who are Christians that feel that giving to the poor and helping others is overrated.  They put themselves and those they love at the top of the list.  But is that what God really tells us to do?  Someone recently told me that they just didn't get what my T Shirt slogan meant.  "Break my heart for what breaks yours" I explained came from a wonderful song.  To me personally it means that the millions of people living in poverty and the millions of children without homes are breaking God's heart.  I want to see more of what God sees and feel more of what God feels.. Yes, that is right, I want my heart to break for these people.  I want to be radical and give my time and money to help His people.  I can honestly look at "my Christianity" just like David Platt did and say that it lacking.  Can you?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Resilience

The past two weeks I have felt like I have been living in a fantasy world! We have had more highs and lows than I would have cared for! Let me first start off by saying that we had a very successful fundraiser where we raised over $1100 for our adoption! We are so thankful to our church family for their continued support.

It seems that where there is a high, there has almost always been a low.  Our main vehicle has been in the shop for two whole weeks and we are up to $450 that is not covered by warranty.  For a family that is saving every dime to meet a $5000 deadline, that is a lot.  Please pray for us as we continue to have these setbacks.

Some other good news it that Eric and I both have opportunity for advancement in our jobs by the end of the year.  This could mean an additional $800 a month in income! Money that we could be putting away to bring our sweet Zola home! We are hoping and praying that this comes sooner this year rather than later.  The only great news is that we do know that it is coming!

I am overjoyed every day that I log into blogger and see our stats.  I always love seeing how many hits we have from Countries such as Kenya and Australia and other cities in continents I have traveled.  Please feel free to leave us a comment.  If anyone has any questions about adoption in the DRC please feel free to message me or email me at soball22@yahoo.com .  The one thing I do miss about the ET adoption community is that there were tons of support groups (yahoo etc) I am very open and love to talk all things adoption.

For anyone who might be facing some of the same economic challenges with adoption as we are, please keep one word in mind: Resilience.  It is a beautiful thing! God gives us the strength to get back up when we have been knocked down.  I am on a mission for our sweet baby girl and there is nothing that will stand in our way.  I can't wait until the day that I get the call and information for our sweet girl's face.  Most importantly I can't wait until I have both of my children under one roof.  One sweet loving home!  God bless!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Own Little World

I just opened my inbox to see the following message: Welcome to the OWAS Congo Program! Our official letter stating we are accepted.  I didn't know I would be so happy.  I am constantly amazed at how great our God is.  I was listening to the radio this morning and heard the following message: "Instead of telling God how big all of your mountains are, tell your mountains how big your God is." So financial barrier, my God is greater than you! I just printed off 32 pages of documents that we must sign and send back along with a $3,200 check to the agency.  Then we must pay our homestudy agency $1400 and Dept. of Homeland Security another $890.  For those of you who lost count that is a whopping $5490.  This does not include the costs of the dossier translation and fees.  


If you feel so inclined please check our fundraising tab.  We are taking pre-orders for Tshirts and Tote bags. Please continue to pray for our family as we continue on our journey to our little girl! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Radical- Part 1

Waiting. . . Adoption is all about waiting.. I figured I would start something new in between adoption updates. I recently started reading the book Radical by David Platt.  This book is an eye opener and at least once a week I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes from the book along with some of my thoughts.

"My biggest fear is that I will hear Jesus' words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obediance to him." 
      This sentence hit me hard.  When I heard his calling for us to adopt my first thoughts were not let's jump right into this.  I thought it was impossible.  Financially. Emotionally. Impossible.  Through Him nothing is impossible.  The beauty of this whole process is that it is not about me, my son, my husband, or our future daughter; it is about Him.  To be honest, I don't know where the money is going to come from.  We have encountered family and friends that are, let's say less than supportive.  But I know that like Nehemiah we have been given a burden that we will not let go.  

"Satisfaction in our lives and success in the church aren't found in what our culture deems important, but in radical abandonment to Jesus."


"We are settling for Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves." 

    These two quotes are some of the things I struggle with everyday.  I strive to live my life for Him each day, to not live up to our culture's standards.  My prayer is that day by day my heart and my life begin to look more like Jesus.  I pray that I will change from the inside out. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There's a Peace I've Come to Know

For the first time in months I have a calm sense of relief.  A peace that is only from God.  Since deciding to adopt we have been faced with some issues and decisions that were difficult.  This process is not for the faint of heart.  After praying and finally deciding on the Congo, today I breathed a sigh of relief as I watched our application hit the mail.  This evening, after I got my son to sleep and had time to reflect, I was filled with peace.  I felt as if God was telling me, "I've got this." I have no more "what ifs" and "how am I's," all I have is a still small voice whispering, " Be still, I am here." I didn't think I would ever get to this point.  I am a self professed worry wart, this is not my style. Today, more than any other day, I know this is His will and all will work out according to His plan.  

Today I started reading the book Radical by David Platt.  I recommend this to any Christian, or anyone for that matter.  It will open your eyes.  I look forward to finishing it and will keep you up to date on my thoughts and reflections.  Please continue to pray for us as we continue on our adoption journey.  

Tara    

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two roads diverged in a wood...

Eric and I have been torn lately about our decision to adopt from Ethiopia.  After choosing a country nearly 4 months ago we came to love Ethiopia even though we had never set foot there.  Since college I have had a love for Africa and knew that one day I would have a child from there.  We chose Ethiopia for several reasons, one of those being that it was a relatively short process.  Over the past several months things have changed, leaving the timeline in the air.  I have seen the hurt that came with parents leaving Ethiopia not passing court and not knowing when that day will come. I have prayed tirelessly that things would change.  But God has a better plan..  There have been circumstances in the past  months that have kept up from sending in our full application along with the fees, that being unforeseen expenses.  After much prayer, Eric and I feel that God is leading us down a different path.  We have done research and spoken with the Africa coordinator at One World Adoptions and we strongly feel that God has presented us with the opportunity to adopt a little girl from the Congo.  There is great need for loving families for children in the Congo.  There are over 5 million orphans in the DRC.  That number is astounding.  Combine that with the fact that there are 48 women and children raped every hour and you have a crises on your hands.  Eric and I know that adopting won't change the world, but it will change the world of one child.  Please continue to pray for us as we continue our journey to bring our little girl home!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Mother's Day this year was extra special.  As I watched my son running around the yard I realized just how much he has grown.  I never knew being a mom could bring so much joy. The past few months has brought many extraordinary people into my life.  I spend time watching parents meeting their beautiful babies for the first time and I long for that moment myself.  As a mother I already have an appreciation for the woman who will one day give birth to our little girl.  

Like most parents Eric and I wonder what our child will look like.  We are planning on how to prepare our son to be a big brother, how to decorate her room, and all of the frilly little dresses we will buy.  But unlike other expectant parents, we pray for a child who may or may not be born yet who is living half way around the world. Unlike other parents we are wondering if our child is eating enough or if she is sleeping in a warm bed somewhere tonight.  

Some of you are probably wondering what has prompted us to adopt. We
believe we were clearly directed by God to adopt and we are elated and thrilled
to obey Him. We desire to provide a little girl with a loving family who would otherwise not have family. We listened to that still small voice that was prompting us, demanding us, to jump out in faith and bring our sweet girl home. This journey is complicated and long, but the end result is worth all the lies ahead.  

To all the Mommies out there, Happy Mother's Day.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bottle Cap Necklace Fundraiser


We are selling bottlecap necklaces for $6.  The choices are below.  Message me for ordering information.  


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thirty One Fundraiser

We will be doing a Thirty One Catalog Party for the next several weeks.  20% of all sales will go to help bring out little girl home.  Please visit http://www.mythirtyone.com/13654 to place your order!  


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Onwards and Upwards...

After a month and a half of waiting we finally received our pre-application approval from AWAA.  We are thrilled! There has been a lot of questions surrounding the adoption process in Ethiopia.  Eric and I have spent a lot of the past month in prayer.  We feel that wait and questions have only solidified our decision to adopt.  When God calls us to do His work, the path is not always straight and narrow.  For a control freak like myself, this will be a difficult journey, but the end result will be so worth it.  


We are now entering the full application phase of our adoption.  While I have already begun the paper chase, there is still more work to do and more funds to be raised.  We have had some bumps in our quest to plug money into our savings (appliances breaking, car problems, etc).  Our fundraising efforts are becoming more and more important. I am very thankful that I have found a job where I will be able to make a difference.  Please continue to pray for our family, and check back often as I promise more is yet to come.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

God is Faithful..

  As you have probably noticed, I have not blogged lately.  It seems life came to a standstill and all I could muster was prayer.  I found myself looking at this long list of costs and our financial situation thinking, " God, you must be crazy! This is impossible." Truth is, without Christ this is impossible.  We have been covering the book of Nehemiah at church, and I can't help but notice the similarities of our journeys.  God has called us both to travel down an unknown path.  We could  jump off the wall so to speak, or we can stay on and know that He will take care of us.  
  After a lot of prayer, we have had an eventful week! I finally landed a job that will allow us to save some money while fulfilling our current financial obligations.  We also heard from AWAA this week.  It has been a month since we sent in our pre-app. Turns out that there was a glitch in their system and our application was lost.  Not to worry, I applied again and it is being processed as we speak.  We also raised $200 from pizza sells! We are finally starting to see some progress! We are pursuing our paper-chase a little early, so we are constantly on the go.  Keep checking back, we have T-shirt designs in the works and I will post a paypal link shortly.  Please continue to keep our family in your prayers! God Bless!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Break my heart for what breaks Yours

Just another reason why our hearts, and our little girl reside in Africa!
Don't forget to scroll down and pause or stop the music playing!


"It Began with Bale" from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Labor of love

Today has been an emotional day.  My husband has been sick, the baby has been fussy and I had a "To Do List" a mile long.  It's days like this where little comments or odd questions seem to really peeve me.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate people I barely know sending me words of encouragement during this long and wonderful journey.  It has truly been a God-send.  


Some of our friends and family have been less than supportive, adoption is something they don't understand. I get comments such as, " But you just got on your feet" "But you can have your own children" "It costs how much?"  Many of them can't see past the "price tag."  We are less than well off, and it raises eyebrows when we tell people that we are going to embark on a $27,000 journey to bring home our little girl.  A year ago my husband was laid off and I was only substitute teaching.  God has been good to us this past year.  We have been faithful servants, and I plan to continue.  So when people ask me why now, I tell them it is what God is telling us to do.  He's not saying, " Wait 3 years and then try, he's saying NOW!"  To be honest, I don't know where all the money is going to come from, but I know it will find its way to us.  God is good all the time, and this is the path He wants us to take, and he will bless us all the way to Ethiopia and back.  


I hope that someone who is considering adoption will read this blog and realize that they too can swing it.  I know a college friend really inspired me to get the ball moving, and for that I am truly grateful.  


Luke 12:32-34


32Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why...

And the Winner is...

I had a great morning today speaking with a friend who is currently awaiting a court date for her little girl in Ethiopia.  God has blessed us with a wonderful extended family in this journey.  My husband and I have decided to go with American World Adoption for our agency.  I feel that they have a great reputation in Ethiopia and have a lot to offer us.  Now we will begin the great paper chase along with lining things up for our homestudy.  



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let the Journey Begin

This is just one of the many sleepless nights I have had lately, anxiously rolling about in bed with thoughts racing. And so the journey began.  Eric and I spoke of adopting children long before we ever got married, I guess you could say it was one of my "prerequisites."  I have always had a heart for the orphaned.  My heart aches for the millions of children without a family.  One sleepless night I just kept thinking about my son, and how I would love for him to have a sibling close in age.  After tossing and turning all I could think about was adoption.  The next day it was agreed, we would embark on a long road of paperwork and a labor of love.  We are still early in the process and are narrowing down our list of potential agencies.  Please keep us in your prayers.  We have a long road ahead of us.