Saturday, December 22, 2012

Love Never Fails..

This Christmas more than any other year I think about the love of Christ... It was this time of year that Jesus came to a manger so that we could have a home in heaven. This was the time that God chose a Virgin to bear our Lord and Savior. When I was in Ethiopia I was consumed with love.  The people in Ethiopia are poor by the world's standards.  Most house and buildings wouldn't pass inspection in the US.  Children and adults sleep on the sidewalk or in the grass.  I can still hear the voice of a young woman about my age carrying a child, calling out to me, "Sister, sister I need something to eat." I wanted to do something.  But the need is overwhelming.  Most of the time I reached for a dollar or two.  But I didn't have enough money to give... And the faces and sounds still are as clear as if I were there.. So much need, but they smile.  They have so little, but they love.  If only the people of the US could have the love that these beautiful people do.  But we are wound so tightly in consumerism and putting ourselves first.  When we stopped at a farmer's house they had nothing to give us, but they still wanted to give us something.. That something was to breast feed our baby, and while I kindly turned down the offer, it spoke volumes to me.  I left half of my heart in Ethiopia.  I left my baby, but I also left a country that I could easily claim as my own.  This Christmas we celebrate with a different perspective.  Our focus is not on Santa, it's on Jesus.  Our sights are on love, not presents.  Our baby is a half a world away but he will be home soon.  This Christmas friends, family, and strangers have reached out to us.  God has shown once again that He still moves stones.  Nothing is impossible.  With the generosity of others and a grant from A Child Waits, our adoption and remaining travel is fully funded and we are only days away from bringing our precious boy home.  When we first thought of adopting we thought it was impossible.  But I have learned that love never fails... If God calls you to it, He will bring you through it.  May all of you reading have a blessed Christmas this year.  And may you be filled with as much love and joy as we are. 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hope for the Holidays...

As many of you who have been following our story know, financially our adoption has been a struggle... Many wondered why in the middle of a recession, 2 years after being laid off and out of work we would want to adopt a child.  I've answered that question before.  Because God told us to.  God doesn't care about a recession.  Isaiah doesn't care that we were laid off in 2009 and part of 2010.  We serve a mighty God, creator of the universe.  Eric told me yesterday that God does things we don't understand, and that if we understood why things are the way they are then it probably wasn't a God thing.  This had me thinking.  I've been so stressed wondering how we will get the money we need to bring Isaiah home at Christmas time.  A time when everyone's pocketbooks are low because we place so much need on "stuff." But then it made sense.  Christmas was when Christ was born.  When hope was born.  What better time to lean solely on the One who created us than Christmas? What better time to give a home and Hope to an orphan than Christmas?  Isn't that classic God?  When the Israelites were enslaved, He led them to freedom.  When Abraham and Sara wondered if they would ever have a child, He delivered.  When Lazarus was dead, He brought him back to life.  After Christ was crucified, He raised Him from the dead.  And He will be the one who provides to bring Isaiah home, whether it be now or a month from now.   I will rejoice in our suffering because I know He will deliver...

With that said, please consider making a donation to help us bring Isaiah home.  What other time can you say your 5 or 10 or even 20 dollars made a world of difference to a child?  When we left Isaiah he was sick with pneumonia.  It was so difficult to leave him, especially sick.  We pray for him everyday.  If you cannot donate please share the page below and help us.  All donations made on this site are tax deductible.  May God bless you this year!  http://grouprev.com/homeforisaiah#


Monday, December 3, 2012

Meetcha Video

I've been waiting so long to make this video.. I felt like our day would never come.. please feel free to share with others... I remember watching videos like this before we decided to adopt, and they really moved me..


Friday, November 30, 2012

I saw what I saw...

We only have a few hours left in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  To say it has been an eye opening trip would be to diminish our feelings.  We were in love with Ethiopia before we ever set foot here.  It's our son's birth country, but this place is so beautiful.  The people are amazing.  To say that I experience culture shock would also be minor.  After I was able to get over the enormity of their poverty and let God lead me, I fell in love.  So, here are some things I'm going to mis...

1.  The shepherd and his herd of goats walking up and down the street in front of the guest house.
2.  The many friends we have met here.
3.  The faces of the smiling children running towards us every day. 
4.  The shoe shine boys on the street behind our guest house.  It has been a pleasure to serve them, to show them the love of Christ.
5. The horns blowing in traffic.
6.  The morning prayers at the Orthodox church.
7.  The beautiful mountain landscape.
8.  Our son, Isaiah Biruk Wilkins.  You have made our family complete, and I cannot wait until the day I bring you home for good. 
 
 
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

To Whom Much is Given...

My mommy brain is exhausted, I've only had two hours of sleep as I type this.  Still, I cannot sleep.  There is so much to process... I knew before we stepped foot on Ethiopian soil God was calling us to something more.  There was a bigger picture coming into focus.. I still do not know what that is, but today has been eye opening.  I am constantly complaining about something at my house breaking, my house is too small, we don't have enough money, my clothes don't fit, I'm over weight... The list could go on... Friends, I've learned today that none of that matters.. I've seen kids as young as six working on the streets.  I've seen adults sleeping on side walks during the day.  Kids begging for food.  Mom's holding children they cannot feed.. And we are staying in a "wealthy" neighborhood.  My heart breaks.  No homeless shelter here.  No soup kitchen. These are people, children of God... I realized our animals in the US are treated better.  My dogs sleep on pillow top mattress in a nice home, they get fed everyday, they have medical care... Oh Lord show me what you want us to do.. There has to be something we can do.  Addis is a beautiful city.  The people here are absolutely beautiful.  Food is dirt cheap.  Still so many are hungry... So many are cold.. So many people back home live with excess, us included.  How much food do I throw away in a week? How much water do I waste?  How often do I take heat and electricity for granted?  This is my son's country.  These are our brothers and sisters.. Something has to be done... We must advocate for them...

Overwhelming Joy

We have been in Ethiopia less than 24 hours and we are in love.  To some Americans, Ethiopia has little to offer.  And to the eye there is poverty all around, but this place and its people are beautiful. We have had such hospitality since we arrived.  Around every corner you can see the mountain landscape, a reminder to me that God's beauty is everywhere.  It's hard for me to find the words quite yet.  Such beauty and pain.  The smells, the sights.  It is a foreign land but it feels like home..

We just picked up Isaiah from the transition house.  He is absolutely perfect.  We are blessed to have nannies who love the children.  His favorite place seems to be on his Daddy's shoulder.  He fell asleep on my chest while we drove home.. He is where he was meant to be now, in the arms of his mother and father.  I love how God brings hope and love to the fatherless.  I'm going to cut this short, but we are in love.  Thank you for your prayers. 

Tara

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Almost There...

I've been meaning to write a post for a while, but it's hard to find the right words or the time.  Eric and I are so humbled by the way the body of Christ has come together to support us.  We want to thank you for following us on this journey, for your prayers, donations, and love. 

A few weeks ago we went to Indianapolis to visit and Ethiopian Church as they have an adoption ministry (http://www.ethioindy.com/).  This was an amazing experience. Like a small piece of Ethiopia right here in Indiana.    I cannot explain the connection that Eric and feel.  We have such a love and burden for a country we have yet to set foot on.  Our emotions are running so high right now, as we are set to travel in 4 days.  This connection is something that only God could give.  Eric and I have both talked about how we feel God is calling us to do more.  This whole experience is about so much more than bringing Isaiah home.  We don't quite know what He is calling us to do, but we are praying about it.  As we prepare to travel, we do have some prayer requests. 

Please pray for our hearts, that God breaks our hearts for what breaks His.  That we may hear His voice.
Pray for our son Rylan (and us) as he will need to transition to not having mommy and daddy for a week.  He's never been away from us for more than 48 hours. 
Pray for Isaiah, that he is healthy and can attach to us.
Pray for safe travels.
Pray for our finances as we still owe our adoption agency money and are unsure about how we will pay for our second trip.  We have applied for grants and are saving money.  We're also unsure about when we will get reimbursed with adoption assistance from TMMI. 

And finally, if you are reading this post and are considering adoption but think it's impossible to afford please feel free to read previous posts or contact us. We felt like this too. In fact had we not seen God work in the Rager's and Sale's lives we wouldn't be here.  We are living proof that God still moves stones.  It is better to go against the grain and gain God's blessings than to go with the flow of the world and miss out on a miracle. 

~Tara

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Humbled..

When we first got our referral for Isaiah we only had $300 in our savings account that we could use for airfare! We were overjoyed to know our son, but so scared at the same time.  We prayed for God to take our anxiety.  And He did.  I can honestly say the past few weeks I have had a peace I've never known before.  Over the past two weeks we have raised over $1100! That means we have one ticket completely paid for (granted that airfare doesn't raise by the time we purchase our tickets). God still moves mountains! He blesses those that follow His path.  People still ask me what we will do if we don't get the money.  I don't think about that, because I know without a doubt that the money will come.  It happens everyday.  A check comes in the mail.  We get reimbursed for overpaying an account (that has never happened to us, but it has happened this week).  The money will come, by His hand.

I put a video together for our benefit dinner tonight, I wish I could share it, but we are not allowed to share photos of Isaiah just yet.  I look at those pictures from Ethiopia, and pictures of our son and  it still breaks me heart. So much pain.  But out of ashes beauty rises. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported our journey.  May God bless each and every one of you! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ordinary People.. Extraordinary God...


This post is for those people, many whom we love dearly who ask us why.  Why Ethiopia?  Why this child if you don't have the money?  Why not have "your own?"  The answer to all of those questions is simply because God has put us on this path, and we are obeying Him.  Our church has been preaching a sermon series on Real People Real God.  God used so many ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  He used Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Hannah, Paul, Timothy, and the Wilkins. 


We first felt the call to adopt in 2010. We both wanted to give our child a sibling, and having a child biologically wasn’t an option at this point in time.  Honestly, we felt like God must be calling the wrong people.  We were just recovering from our own economic downswing.  Eric spent several months unemployed after the factory he worked at closed its doors for good in April of 2009 and I struggled to find full time employment following college.  We had just bought our first home and were digging our way out of the debt that came from unemployment.  God could not be asking us to adopt a child.  As we searched for a church we found our now church home in December 2010.  The sermon series was about Nehemiah and the burden God gave him.  We knew after that first sermon that God gave us a burden for orphans.  We met a family who is now our closest friends.  They were bringing home their first of two adopted children from Ethiopia.  God is good.  After seeing their journey, their similar story, we knew with God anything was possible.  It took us many months to decide what country we would choose and the agency we would adopt with.  God led us each step of the way.  We got the call about Isaiah on October 9, on the same day we got our I171 H in the mail approving us to adopt! Our sign from God!


 Bringing Isaiah home is nothing short of extraordinary.   He is our little miracle child.  He comes from a region in Ethiopia where the infant mortality rate is 95%. That means 95 out of every 100 babies don't make it out of infancy! That is tragic.  Would you please take 5 minutes to watch the video below that another adoptive family put together?  Please pray about assisting our family and please share this post with everyone you know.  God uses the ordinary to do extraordinary things.  What is He calling you to do?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Miracle...

 


Our Isaiah is a miracle.  The Amhara region where he is from has a 95% infant mortality rate. He is sick but looking healthier! Can you be a miracle to us by making a donation?  

Lyrics to I Need a Miracle by Third Day

 
Late one night she started to cry and thought "He ain't coming home"
She was tired of the lies, tired of the fight
But she didn't wanna see him go
She fell on her knees and said
I haven't prayed since I was young
But "Lord above I need a miracle"

(Chorus)
Well no matter who you are
And no matter what you've done
There will come a time
When you can't make it on your own
And in your hour of desperation
Know you're not the only one
Prayin' "Lord above, I need a miracle"
I need a miracle


He lost his job and all he had in the fall of '09
Now he feared the worst, that he would lose his children and his wife
So he drove down deep into the woods and thought he'd end it all
And prayed, "Lord above, I need a miracle"

Chorus

He turned on the radio to hear a song for the last time
He didn't know what he was looking for even what he'd find
And the song he heard it gave him hope and strength to carry on
And on that night, they found a miracle
They found a miracle

And in your hour of desperation
Know you're not the only one
Prayin' "Lord above, I need a miracle"
Lord above, I need a miracle

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mercy

I've been sitting with a blank screen for about 5 minutes.  I know what I want to say, I just don't know how to write it.  Since Tuesday we have been overjoyed with our news.  As each day ends we are one step closer to bringing our boy home.  With that comes a price tag.  Some see it as a ransom.  And it kind of is. An orphan's ransom.  He did not ask to be an orphan. He did not ask to be born into poverty. We saw a need and we acted.  Can you act too?

Our sweet baby boy is waiting for his mommy and daddy to come and bring him home.  Many people ask us what will happen if we get a court date and we do not have the funds to travel.  To be honest I am not going there.  I cannot allow myself to think about that.  I have given that to God, and I know His plans are far better than mine.  With that being said, we have a huge need friends.  Isaiah is sick.  He needs to come home to the USA for lots of love and good medical care.  We are blessed with great medical insurance and a loving family.  We just need the money for our airline tickets.  So I'm going to ask a favor of you.  Many people feel that their small donation cannot make a difference. But it can friends.  I have seen families raise $5000, literally one dollar at a time.  We need $3000 more to have our tickets paid for. That's 300 friends donating $10, or6 00 friends donating $5.  Maybe you can only donate one dollar, that adds up.  Can you do without a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a double cheeseburger.  That $3000 of course does not take into consideration that Eric will not be paid for the time off, or the money it will cost in country. 

For the next week I am going to be sharing this blog post and asking that people share via facebook.  Make a donation using the donation button on this site.  Share and ask your friends to donate.  You are changing a life.  And you just might be saving a life.

Lyrics from One Less by Matthew West

We are called to the widows and the orphans
But it's easy to ignore their silent cries
Oh, but every single time somebody reaches into the darkness
Makes a choice to help the helpless, we let mercy save a life.

Please help us change the world for one!


PS.  We are now signed up for ShebaMiles through Ethiopian Air.  If you are reading this and feel led we could use some donated miles!

~Tara

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's a.....BOY!!

Wow! What a difference 24 hours can make!! Today, Eric and I got the call we have been waiting for... We have a referral... A sweet 3 month old boy born at the end of June is now ours! He is sick and we will know more about his condition once we get him home!  So please pray for our sweet boy.  His name is going to be Isaiah Walker Wilkins.  Isaiah because Isaiah 40:31 has provided us with strength and encouragement and Walker after George W. Bush who gave hope to millions of African children with PEPFAR (and he's my favorite president). It is probable that we will be traveling to Ethiopia in November for a court date.  We would appreciate your prayers as we apply for grants and try to locate funds for travel on short notice. Our airline tickets alone will be close to $3000.  Now more than ever we need support!






Monday, October 8, 2012

Numero Uno...

I want to thank everyone who helped us out with the Ordinary Hero Grant giveaway.  We were not in the top 3, but we did get honorable mention.  And you all helped us raise $488 that will go straight to Celebrate Children to help pay the remaining balance on our program fees. Praise God!  Some of you might me wondering how much more we have to go... With Ordinary Hero our Humanitarian aid is basically paid(we will provide the remaining $12).  We owe $10,000 which is for the Ethiopia program fee.  I believe $5000 of that is due at referral and or the first trip and the second $5000 is due when we travel for pickup.  Our travel expenses are also hefty.  Our first trip will be about $4500-$5000.  And that might be coming up within the next three to four months because...drum roll please... We are number 1 on the list for either gender!!!! I did not feel like we would EVER get there.  Our agency director has been so patient with my weekly emails.  However, we are in desperate need of help regarding our travel funds.  We will have approximately $500 that we have saved up.  We are asking that you email, call, share our blog, send letters to people you know who might be interested in helping us pay for our first trip.  Maybe you have some miles you can donate.. Maybe someone you know has miles they can donate... Maybe they can loan us some miles and we can pay them back... Anything will help. Also, we are currently selling Yankee candles to help with our travel expenses.  If you are interested in selling on our behalf, leave a comment... Please continue to pray for us... We are so close, and so restless.  God has really been preparing us for this over the past several months.  I will leave you with a verse I have been leaning on lately.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
 
~Tara

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ordinary Hero!

Dear friends and family,

The rainy season is almost over, which means courts open in Ethiopia soon.  We are very hopeful that we will receive a referral before the end of the year!~! But we need your help! From now until Saturday night I am going to light up email and facebook with plea's to help us fund our Adoption.  Ordinary Hero is having a GRANT GIVEAWAY through next Saturday night and 40% of what we sell goes directly towards our adoption costs! PLUS they are giving away $1800 this weekend to the top 3 sellers of items in their store! I so want to be one of the TOP 3! I really want to be #1!  #1 wins a $1000 grant!!! This is the easiest and FASTEST way I know to raise some much needed cash towards our adoption! They are selling jewelry,note, t-shirts, , sweatshirts, hats (kids & adult sizes), coffee tumblers and more!. They are also selling blankets, raincoats, backpacks, sheep,  & shoes for the kids who have so little In Africa- those purchases will go straight to the kids- those items are even tax deductible. Would you PLEASE consider helping me/us? Just check out their store and see how you might help! http://www.ordinaryhero.org/Ordinary_Hero/Store/Store.html


 


Please be an Ordinary Hero and help us fund our adoption.. When you purchase would you mind helping me by posting the OH store link to your Facebook and ask your friends to shop for us? I don’t know how much its gonna take to be the #1 seller (the #1 spot gets $1000 in addition to our sales!) I am hoping to sell $1200 in merchandise in the next 6 days! Wow, isn’t that crazy?? I know now you think we are really crazy, BUT, if we have JUST 25 friends spend $50 in the OH store we will meet our goal! With those sales I will earn $500 in commissions that goes straight to our adoption/mission trip fees and a REALLY great shot at winning TOP seller and get the $1000 bonus! Come on, please help us out! Pretty please?? :)

There are Donation Combos in the store that are $55 and they include a warm fleece blanket, two raincoats, and a pair of aqua shoes for the kids in Africa! You can even buy a SHEEP that will feed 40 people in Africa! How cool is that??? Now, how many people have asked you to buy a sheep? Really! Will you buy one pretty please ? :)There are also cool hats, cool shirts, coffee tumblers, and African Jewelry for YOU! Check it out today- and remember you have until Saturday at midnight to purchase and PLEASE make sure that you select our name from the affiliate box when you order so we get credit! Now get shopping!

Oh yeah, and more emails to follow over the next few days reminding you! I'm not trying to be a bother, I just don’t want you to forget about the chance to be AN ORDINARY HERO! Thanks in advance to all of you! Tell your friends, tell your mom and tell anyone who will listen!
Thanks for your help, thanks for your purchases and your prayers as we embark on this journey!
Here is the link to the store:
http://www.ordinaryhero.org/Ordinary_Hero/Store/Store.html

Just select our name in the affiliate drop down box in the checkout! See below for example!



The eyes of all creatures look to you,
and you give them food at the proper time.
You open your hand,
and you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 145: 15-16

Thanks for helping us Raise these funds! We are so excited about this opportunity!

Tara and Eric

Friday, September 7, 2012

Urgent

Our adoption agency is in need of desperate help.  Children in the Congo are suffering.  Here is what our agency director wrote upon returning home from the DRC:

Today, August 29, 2012, I returned from a 2 week trip to Democratic Republic of Congo and to Ethiopia.  My time in Congo was difficult, as it is every time I go.  The situation in DRC is difficult in every sense of the word.  This time, however, I was mortified and devastated by the physical condition I found many of the children to be in.  The orphanages in Congo are atrocious. They are overcrowded, poorly funded and lack the basic necessities needed to care for children.  One of the orphanages which with we partner is located in an isolated area surrounded but nothing but sand.  The children play outside and have contracted jiggers.  These are bugs that live in the sand during the dry season and burrow their way in the skin of the children. The result is severe pain and suffering and an inability of many of these children to walk.   Families who are adopting children have already paid huge sums of money to provide for the health and medical care of the children they hope to adopt.  Unfortunately, this condition seems to have been ignored by all those in charge.  Few people I met seemed to be concerned about these children’s condition, saying that this is common during the dry season.  The doctors, however, say they have never seen such severity of this condition. The children are suffering terribly.  This past week, adoptive families who were in DRC to pick up their children were forced to take their children a local doctor who pulled some of the jiggers out of their feet, however, this doctor eventually realized the severity of the condition and needed to operate on the children in order to remove all the bugs and infection.  The cost per child was approximately $1500.  We have at least 15 more children in need of this kind of surgical intervention.  This cannot wait.  It was devastating leaving the children in this condition but it was necessary for me to return home to look for the financial help needed to fix this and to get the children out of pain.


What lengths would you go to if these were your children's feet?  God calls us to serve the least of these.  To reach out to the needy.  Folks, here they are.  Wondering how you can help?  Visit the blog at : Project Feet, Pray for these children and divine intervention, volunteer to go to the DRC and help these children recover as they cannot go back to the orphanage where this occurred to recover. Last, you can donate funds.  Please please please share this need!

~ Tara

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Birthday Wish

It's late here in Indiana; and after two days of little sleep, a sick child, and an abnormally large work load I am exhausted.  But God has put a sweet sister in Christ on my heart.  I have blogged before about Christie Magera and Ekubo ministries.  This is a ministry that is very dear to my heart.  While I have not met Christie in person, I feel like I've known her my whole life.  She pours every bit of her soul into her ministry and Christ shines through her.  Christie has been battling malaria since April.  She came to the U.S. to rest several weeks ago, but rest she has not.  She has been putting many hours into fundraising for Ekubo ministries and the people they serve in Uganda.  Christie is such a selfless individual.  She truly serves the least of these everyday.  And today, her husband's 30th birthday she is in the hospital in Alabama, stricken with what is most likely a severe form of malaria.  She is very ill and needs your prayers.

Most people would expect her to be focused on her health and getting better, but Christie continues to worry about their ministry and the people they serve.  She shares her story with every nurse, Dr, and intern who enters her room at the University of Alabama hospital where she is seeing a specialist.  While her husband is half a world away in Uganda she has one wish, for people to donate $1 for every year of George's life to Ekubo ministries.  Ekubo is currently in the process of building a hospital in their village, as well as serving so many, many other needs.  Would you prayerfully consider making a donation of any amount to their ministry for George's 30th birthday?  You can do so by  visiting her blog at http://compassinmyheart.blogspot.com/ and  clicking "Donate Here" in the left-hand column there.  Please share this blog post with your friends!  Let's blow them away with our support today.

~Tara

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dossier Complete!


So much has happened since our last blog update.  We are now number 11 on the list for Boys/Girls 0-24 months and at the top of the list for Special Needs boy and girls!  Our dossier is now complete and is in the authentication process.  We have been experiencing so many emotions the past few months.  A few weeks ago I was double checking our dossier for completeness before I mailed it to our adoption agency. For those of you who don't know, part of the Ethiopian dossier is a compilation of photos of your family and home.  Ours looks something like this:
These photos represent your family, and are all the courts and Ministry of Women's Affairs get to see in order to better know your family.  I went a little overboard and attached 15 different pages of our home and family. As I looked at each page I wondered what it would be like to see these pages in the eyes of the woman or man who looked these over. As they walk home each day to poverty, what must my middle class home look like to them? I began to feel convicted. I have been reading through the entire Gospel the past few months and God really spoke to me through Luke 12:48- To Whom much is given, much is required. To most people in America, our home does not look like much.  But to the average person in Ethiopia and other third world countries, it must look like wealth.  Extreme wealth.  When we began this journey, our goal was to adopt a child. But we are adopting so much more than that. We are seeing Jesus in a whole new perspective.  Striving to live our lives in Radical obedience to Him.  I know once we step foot on Ethiopian soil and experience it first hand our lives will never be the same.  And I would not have it any other way. I wil leave you with some words from David Platt, “Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” 

~Tara

Monday, June 25, 2012

Full Circle

Our blog has been very quiet the past month or so.  I tend to be one of those impulsive people where I jump the gun and share things before they need to be shared.  It's just my nature.  My husband and I always exchange gifts before the holiday because we get so excited to share what we've gotten each other. So needless to say it's been hard knowing the path we were pursuing and not sharing it.  We have spent a lot of time in prayer and with our friends who are/have adopted.  Things have come full circle for us as we decided to adopt from Ethiopia. Our home study is final!!! Woohoo! I have began filling out grant applications and praying for our fundraising efforts.  We are so relieved and at peace with our decision.  We have no doubt (again) that this is where God is leading us.  I am so happy with our agency (Celebrate Children International) and the work they do in Ethiopia.  Not only has God led us to Ethiopia, he has also opened our hearts up to a child of either gender and to children with special needs.  We are so excited to see where God is about to take us.  But we need your help!  We are $5000 short of the money we need to accept a referral.  We are soooo close! Can you please share our blog with your friends?  Even small donations of $1 and $5 are helpful!  I have seen people raise up to $4000 in a week via the give 1 save 1 blog! Please keep praying for us and our adoption journey!

~Tara

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Live Out Love

We will be having a benefit concert along with the Sale Family on May 19.  Here's the flyer!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Be Still..

Today was one of those days that I could have done without.  I've just been an emotional mess.  My patience has been limited, tears were on the verge, and I just felt like putting on my sweats and crawling into bed.  My job can be very demanding and there were times throughout the day that I just felt like going home.  Our adoption is held up again financially and I just want to see some movement.  But I sit here. Still.  Eerily still..

This evening I opened up my devotional Jesus Calling and this is what I found.  "Thank me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still.  Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again.  Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My presence with you.  My strength and power show themselves most effective in weakness." - Sarah Young

Wow.  God really knows my heart.  I could not have needed to hear this more today!  I know in adoption there are a lot of moments that require us to be still.  If you are having one of those moments, I pray this verse helps you along the way. 

   My grace is enough; it's all you need.
   My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG

Blessings,
Tara

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mustard Seed

I've recently been asking myself, "Is your faith as small as a mustard seed?" Such a tiny thing, but when it comes to faith it can seem gigantic.  I must admit, I am a bit of a control freak.  I like things to go according to plan, on time.  You would think I would know better.  God has done a good job of telling me where I can take my plans.. I have learned that His plans are far greater than mine, it's this timing thing I have a problem with.  bib

I recently joined a women's Bible study.  We are reading the book One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer.  Funny God.  Real funny.  Just when I need a swift kick about being impatient you give me this book.  For those of you who haven't read it, go buy it!  It is a great study about the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promiseland.  I will admit, when it comes to Bible reading I prefer the New Testament.  But I am thoroughly enjoying this study.  So here's how it goes.  God delivers the Israelites from Egypt.  He parts the Red Sea and they wonder the desert for 40 years until they become spiritually mature.    Time after time God provided for them.  Time after time they doubted Him.  Talk about failing a test. 

I have been forced to look at our adoption journey as our journey through the wilderness.  Right now we are walking through the desert and its hot.  There's no water in sight.  And I'm thirsty! Man am I thirsty.  I just need a small drink, just a sip.  Then we come across this Marah, nothing but a mirage.  Looks like water, but tastes like beer(yuck).  I can't drink that stuff.  And just when we are about to give up, God brings us a miracle.  Ok, we aren't to that miracle moment yet, but man I know it's coming.  It's just around the corner and I feel it coming.  And I know when it happens, it will undoubtedly be God.  It may come in the form of a much needed zero interest loan, it may be a generous donation, it might even be a very successful fundraiser.  Heck, I would just settle for that job promotion I am up for.  I know I can't pick what it is, but I know God is faithful. I just pray he doesn't make us walk this for 40 years! I'm learning I swear!

The burden God gave Eric and I for orphans was so strong.  We felt it come on strong over a year ago.  We have questioned many times whether we were doing the right thing.  But each time we knew that God would not burden us if he didn't want us to move.  We have run into many roadblocks, and I began to ask, "How are we suppose to support a passion regarding our purpose and keep a sense of enthusiasm about our journey when morale is low?  He answered that.  He has brought people into our life that support us and love us, and we've never met them face to face.  He has given me this Bible study, and he has called us to lead our own small group at church. 

I hope that if you're reading this and you're walking through the wilderness of adoption that you just wait, wait for that miracle to happen.  It's coming!  It's just around the corner!  Have faith, even if it is as small as a mustard seed.

Tara

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's time for my Soapbox..

Faithful.  That is my goal, to be steadfast and faithful.  I knew that when we started our journey it would not come easy.  Why?  Just because God gave us a burden and we obeyed didn't mean Satan wouldn't attack us.  And oh has he attacked us.  I have had close friends and family accuse me of baby buying, of neglecting my son because we have to leave him behind in the US for almost two weeks.  I have been attacked as a mother, as a Christian, as a provider.  I have been told that if we don't have the money to adopt we should just have kids of our own.. I have second guessed myself and God.  I have prayed.  I have meditated.. I have felt like giving up.  And after all of this I realize the more my life becomes conformed to His, the more I receive what he received.  It's easy for us to forget that the world hated Him.  But I love Him.  I adore Him and I will obey him.  Jesus said, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."  I have found it friends.  And I can tell you that the most atrocious things have been said to me by people who claim to be Christians.  I feel like the Bible is very clear about how we are to care for the orphan and widow.

James 1:27

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Jeremiah 22:3

3 This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Isaiah 1:17


17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
   Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
   plead the case of the widow.


John 14:15-21

    15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
 
These are just a few passages that I have found.  There are over 20 verses in the Bible that I have found that tell us how to treat the oppressed, poor, desolate, and orphaned.  In none of my reading did Jesus say, "Only the barren shall take care of the fatherless."  I didn't find a place where God told us we would meet every need.  In fact I truly believe the attitude of "I can't do it all so I won't do anything" is straight from Satan.  (I wonder how many emails I will get about this statement.)
 
My hope is that someone comes across this post and realizes that it doesn't matter if others believe in what we're doing.  It doesn't matter if people think we won't succeed.  What matters is that God put us on this path and He will continue to carry us through it until we are successful.  This life requires more of Him and less of me.  
 
David Platt said it best, " Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.  They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.  It's easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms.  But once you do, everything changes."
 
Tara

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month I thought I'd post a blog about where you can get more information about Human Trafficking and how you can make a difference.

Not for sale creates tools that engage business, government, and grassroots in order to incubate and grow social enterprises to benefit enslaved and vulnerable communities.

 Rapha House  is a public benefit 501©3 nonprofit committed to ending the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Founded in 2003, Rapha House continues to rescue and rehabilitate children, while bringing them to lasting freedom. Love • Rescue • Heal is more than a slogan to us. It’s a way of life at Rapha House

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems - police, courts and laws - effectively protect the poor.


Polaris Project  is a leading organization in the United States combating all forms of human trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children.

Please take some time to look into these organizations and pray about how you can make a difference.