Adoption T-Shirts

Look at these AWESOME shirts! My brother and his wife Stevi are in the middle of adopting from Ethiopia and they made these AMAZING shirts in order to raise funds.  Aren’t they gorgeous?!  One of their students drew the picture and I just love it. Anyway, if you’d like to be part of bringing Ethiopia to Austin, click here and order a shirt of your own....

His Name is Asa: Part 3

If you missed parts 1 and 2 of Asa’s story, read them here. The next nine months were a blur of tears and pain.  I watched my sister become a shell of herself—depressed, alone, wondering if God had forgotten about her desperate and heartfelt prayers.  Emptiness throbbed through her soul every time she saw a mother with a baby in her arms.  Things came to a breaking point in mid-April as we planned and threw a baby shower for my sister-in-law Stevi—who was pregnant with her third baby.  Alisa was happy for Stevi—truly—but the pain that day was unbearable.  It was Alisa’s breaking point.  On the morning of April 27th, 2012 as we celebrated Stevi’s pregnancy, Alisa felt her soul telling her that she simply couldn’t wait anymore.  She tearfully let it go.  She handed it to God.  And resigned herself to the fact that she wasn’t going to have any more babies. But God knew about Asa—and as we sat arranging flowers, baking scones and wrapping presents for Stevi’s shower, God was orchestrating an incredible and totally unexpected miracle. Two hundred miles away, a brave, young women walked into the hospital—in labor with a baby that she knew she couldn’t raise.  A baby who she had hidden from her family, friends and even doctors for nine months because she knew she wasn’t equipped to parent him.  A baby whose fragile health condition was still unrealized, a baby who would be born into a world of pain and loneliness.  But also into a world of hope.  Because God had been planning for his arrival for a long, long time....

His Name is Asa: Part 2

If you missed Part 1 in this series, read it here. Waiting is hard.  Especially when you’re not used to it. My sister Alisa got pregnant fairly quickly with my niece Haddie—within a year of getting pregnant she had a beautiful red-headed baby girl in her arms.  And so, when Alisa and Peter decided to try again, they figured they would once again have a baby in their arms.  And soon. But God asked Alisa and Peter to wait.  Wait as friend after friend got pregnant.  Wait as nieces and nephews—not one, not two, but four—were born.  Alisa waited as pregnancy test after pregnancy test came back negative month-after-month, year-after-year.  Alisa waited through months of adoption training and paperwork and countless hopes raised and then dashed as one baby after another was placed in the waiting arms of another mother.  Waiting through painful and costly infertility procedures and tests.  Because God had other plans.  And he already knew about Asa. And then in July 2011, we found out that Alisa’s long and painful wait was finally over.  They had been chosen to adopt a beautiful baby girl.  We painted the nursery, bought pink ruffled dresses and itty bitty shoes and prepared our home for our precious new gift.  We laughed about how God had perfect timing, blessing Alisa and Peter with a baby just when they thought they couldn’t take another step forward without a baby in their arms. But God still had other plans.  Just one day after baby Abby was born, her birth mom changed her mind and decided to parent her.  And Alisa left the hospital...

His Name is Asa: Part 1

In honor of my sweet nephew Asa’s first birthday, I’m going to be sharing his story on my blog this week.  To read a little about his background, feel free to read some of my posts from last year and then tune in this week on April 27th, April 28th, April 29th and April 30th to read more. God’s Plan (Written after the loss of my neice Abby) Dear Birth Mom (Written three days after Asa was born) Asa’s Surgery Report (Written as he emerged from his surgery) When God Says Wait Here is Asa’s story: His name is Asa. He is exactly one year old today—sitting in his high chair eating a bacon-and-egg breakfast sandwich that he picked up to help him celebrate.  He is surrounded by family—parents, aunts, uncles, cousins—and perhaps most incredibly, his three-day old baby sister Alma who just arrived home from the hospital yesterday. We look at his big brown eyes and light blonde hair and comment that he looks just like his cousins.   And then we all laugh.  Because we all know that while he may grow up having the same obsessive love of swimming like his sister Haddie or the ability to throw willy-nilly curveballs that fly over fences like his cousin Joey, his eyes are his and his alone.  And I smile at this mystery-baby-turned ours and remember once again the incredible gratitude we feel at the beautiful gift that has unfolded around us.  A gift that is so beautiful, so stunning and such a surprising twist on everything that we expected that we can’t help to wonder what else God...

This is the Day That I Start Being a Little Bit Amish

I confess:  I’m hardly a scholar of Amish culture. I’ve been to Pennsylvania once.  I was thirteen and my family went to Bird In Hand and ate chicken and dumplings in a tiny roadside cafe.  I petted the horses hitched to buggies in the parking lot.  I tried (and loved) Shoo Fly Pie. Aside from that, I’ve spent very little time contemplating Amish culture, the Amish lifestyle and the Amish faith. Until last week. This is going to make me sound very unscholarly, but my unlikely foray into Amish culture came in the form of a novel.  A fantastically interesting and really fun novel. My friend Olivia Newport just released her latest book, Accidentally Amish. The book, set in Colorado of all places, explores the contrast between city-dwelling, technology-loving Annie and Amish-born cabinet-maker Rufus.  The book is great– without spoiling the plot, let’s just say there’s a fantastically romantic love story, some danger, some suspense, some money, some tears, some laughter and a huge dose of hope. But aside from a great story, I also got a glimpse into Amish culture that was so different from anything I’ve ever read or heard before.  Like this:  Do you know why the Amish people avoid modern technology like cell phones and computers?  It’s not because they believe they are inherently evil but instead its because they don’t want anything to stand in the way of God, family and community.  Before allowing anything to become a part of their lives, they ask “how is  this _____ (fill in the blank with a modern contraption) helping me to become closer to God, family...

When God Says Wait

We used to tease my sister Alisa and her husband Peter that they were going to end up like the Duggers.  They wanted lots of kids.  And when they got pregnant and had their daughter Haddie in 2008, we had no doubt that their house would soon be bursting with babies. But it didn’t happen.  God said wait. Months and months passed, months of raised hopes followed by negative pregnancy tests, tears and failed expectations.  Alisa grew numb.  She tried to ignore her cycles, pretend that it wasn’t time to take another test, pretend that her hopes hadn’t been crushed again. But God said wait. Peter and Alisa decided to adopt.  They busied themselves in a flurry of paperwork, taking classes, attending trainings, dreaming of a baby before Christmas. But God said wait. My sister-in-law got pregnant, Alisa’s best friend got pregnant, I got pregnant, Alisa’s dear friend adopted a son, I got pregnant again, my sister-in-law got pregnant again, Alisa’s best friend got pregnant again. But God said wait. So Alisa put on a happy face, smiling through her tears as she attended baby showers, sip-and-sees, hospital visits and MOPS meetings.  She cradled her new nieces and nephews, brought meals to her friends when they had babies, babysat as other moms went to prenatal appointments. And God still said wait. Then the news came:  Peter and Alisa had been chosen to adopt a baby girl.  They prepped their nursery, filling it with ribbons and bows and tiny pink socks.  They visited the birth mom.  They raised money for the adoption expenses and anxiously waited for their new baby...
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