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Today was a big day. I had my appointment with immigration to get my fingerprints done for the adoption. I have been sick for three weeks now and was hoping the medicine would kick in and allow me to keep the appointment. Not sure how they reschedule these things, but since the government gave me the appointment, I really didn’t want to mess with it! I wanted to check one more thing off my list. And by the grace of God (and the wonder of medicine), I was well enough to go.

I drove to Milwaukee and found the office. It seemed to be just kind of placed randomly. Not right downtown, not where I would have expected. It did look very official, but on a plain, rather rundown street. The workers were efficient and polite. After filling out yet another form, I waited for my turn and then got my fingerprints done. It was pretty cool to see the details of my fingerprints show up on the screen.

I practically skipped out the door.

One more thing done. The list of steps for an international adoption is long. And I get to check one more thing off that list. Another 5-6 weeks and my dossier will be complete and waiting at my agency. Then I need to pay my next big payment and we will officially be on the waiting family list.

5-6 weeks. I am so excited. I know it could be many months more before we get matched. This is not a process for the timid or impatient. We certainly can’t see the finish line from here. But getting on that list is a major hurdle we are climbing as we make our way up this mountain.

Some days it’s hard to see people ahead of me finishing their dossiers and getting on the list. Another family in front of us. Then I remember that this is all God. This isn’t about us. This is about God placing a little orphan into a forever family. In His timing. In His way. He already knows who she is, where she is and how He will get her here. My job is to keep taking each step in obedience and trusting Him to complete the work He started.



The Glass in My Hand

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I have a fragment of glass under the skin on my index finger on my right hand. It is a remnant from a really horrible car accident. 17 years ago, we were driving down the highway at dusk. A deer tried to jump over our car. Not sure if he was trying out for the Olympics, or what, but he didn’t make it. He got caught on the roof of the car on the passenger side where I was sitting. The force of the deer smashed the windshield on top of us.

I don’t remember the accident. I remember my husband looking to the side (apparently seeing the deer) and the next thing I know, his hand is on my arm getting me out of the car.

What I do remember are those next minutes and hours of fear, confusion and pain. And the days and weeks that followed. I had a broken nose and at least a hundred cuts all over my face and hands from the windshield. With how swollen my face was, I looked like Odo from Star Trek.

And I do remember all those painful and frightening things if I think about it long enough. The fragment of glass in my finger sends me a twinge of pain every few months. For just a moment. But the things I just told you are not what that twinge brings to mind.

When my finger hurts, I remember the medi-van that was passing by after the accident, the two people whose names I will never know that stopped and helped clean me up and told my terrified husband that most of the blood on me was the deer’s, not mine. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that woman looked like. But I remember her presence. I remember her gentle hands and soothing voice, telling me it was going to be alright.

I remember the two nurses in the hospital, one on each side of me, carefully picking so many glass fragments out of my skin. I have no idea how long I was laying there between them, but I remember their gentle touch, even through the intense pain.

I remember months later, going to the salvage place to see the car. Somehow, I thought that would bring some closure to the whole ordeal. And I wanted to know what I had survived. You know what? I couldn’t find our car. I went all the way to the back of the lot and finally gave up. On my way out, I came from just the right angle and found it. I had walked right by it earlier, but it was so destroyed I hadn’t even recognized it. The roof over where I had been sitting had literally been peeled back like the lid on a can of sardines. I checked the back seat trying to convince myself that really couldn’t be our car. There were our things, laying on the floor covered with glass.

That glass in my finger is a constant reminder of God’s protection. That God is in control, no matter what life throws at us. No matter what crazy deer changes our course.

That glass in my finger reminds me that God has a purpose for me. He protected me that night. A night that could have turned out so very differently. But for the Grace of God.

Crazy for my kid

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“In order to develop normally, a child requires activity with one or more adults who have an irrational emotional relationship with the child. Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last, and always.” –Urie Bronfenbrenner (co-founder of Head-Start)

What a beautiful idea. One of the best things we can do for our kids is be absolutely crazy about them. Celebrate them. Let them know how very special they are. Notice when they get it just right. Encourage them when they don’t. Help them find their talents and develop them. Remind them daily that we are their biggest fans.

Yesterday, my daughter had a difficult incident with her best friend at school. The girl found something my daughter had lost and wouldn’t give it back. My daughter was very upset and angry with her friend. When she got home, she asked to go to her room to deal with it. She disappeared into her room for about 20 minutes then came out and got a hug. She asked to watch her favorite movie and later worked on lots of crafts. Throughout the evening she would mention that she was sad about what her friend had done.

I was amazed. She handled that so much better than I would have ever guessed a 7 year old could. What a victory to be faced with a hard lesson and to handle it with grace and calm. When she told me she was sad about it, I made sure to tell her what an amazing job she had done in handling it.

Then I ooh-ed and aah-ed over the glitter creations she was making.

Sometimes being crazy about her means I celebrate her creativity. Sometimes it mean complimenting her on great choices. Sometimes it’s letting her chase me around the house playing one of our games. Sometimes it’s doing an incredibly silly dance to celebrate a moment.

Sometimes, it’s cheering because our living room carpet is now sparkly.

Whatever form it takes, my kid knows I am crazy about her. No matter what happens in her life, she will always know that her mom is crazy about her. It’s a beautiful thing.

Engraved on His Hands

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See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:16

Stephanie. That’s my name. MY name. Engraved on the palms of His hands. Never forgotten. Always in front of Him.

I’ve been hearing this verse a lot lately. God tends to do that to me. A verse will suddenly start coming to me from every direction, over and over. So I decided to experiment. I wrote my name on my hand. And all day, I kept seeing it. A mark of blue where normally there isn’t anything of note. Just lines and wrinkles and flesh. But that day, my name was ever before me. Constantly brought to mind.

Imagine your name engraved on the Lord’s hand. Not written in blue ink, fading each time it’s washed. Engraved. Permanently. The Lord looks at His hands and see your name. And mine. We are constantly before Him. Always on His mind. His treasures. I wouldn’t write many things on my hand. It actually felt a little weird to have my name there. Uncomfortable. I would easily put my darling daughter’s name there. Or my Savior’s name. I think that’s what I’ll try tomorrow. Writing Christ on my palm. Keeping Him ever before me as I go about my day. A constant reminder in this world that He is my focus.

That He treasures me enough to engrave my name on His palms amazes me. I cannot truly fathom it. And it changes everything.



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Steps of Faith

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I have no question that God called me to adopt. His fingerprints are all over this. And in the end, a little girl will have a forever family. But God is doing more than just that one great work. He is growing my faith. He is growing me. And He is growing my daughter, too. He is showing her the world beyond our home and how much He desires for us to make a difference in it for Him. I look back over the last few years and am amazed at how much He has changed me. And I get excited at how much I’ve grown in my faith and trust and relationship with God. Then I see Him working to build my faith again and imagine how much farther I must have to go.

I am finding that every day is a step of faith. One more paper to fill out, one more item checked off. My home study is done, I have submitted to Immigration and will be getting fingerprinted soon. I keep moving forward with the paperwork, trusting God to provide. Adoption costs so much. That is one of the main things that prevents people from adopting who have a heart for it. And I can see why. It’s daunting to look at the numbers. International adoptions cost around $30,000.

But then I read stories from families who have already adopted. Some of them, multiple times. And I read again and again how God has provided. How the very day the money was needed to keep moving forward, it showed up. God has a heart for adoption. He adopted us into His family and promises to put the lonely into families. He commands us to care for orphans.

So, I keep filling out one more form, collecting one more piece of information. And every morning, I tell God that I will keep walking forward, and that I am counting on Him to provide to bring her home. I choose to trust. And I cannot wait to see how He will provide.

I can’t wait until my blog is one that adoptive parents look to for encouragement on the adoption journey. Until we can be one more family proving that God provides when we follow Him. And He gets all the glory.

If you feel led to help us on this journey, please visit the adoption page on my blog.