Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas




John 1:12
But as many as received him, to them He gave the right to become the sons of God, to those who believe on his name;

Like every family..Christmas season brings us many things to "do"...many wonderful enjoyable things..parties, cookie making, getting our Christmas tree from the farm, Decorating, hot chocolate...school parties, good gifts.

But unlike some families, Christmas has a deep life meaning for us. It is the celebration for us that our Saviour did come. It reminds us who we are and why we are here. It perseveres us ahead into a new year.

The pictures in this post show smiling faces. They might make you think of a "happy family". We are happy indeed, but what the picture can not tell you is why we are happy. It can lead you to believe something about us. But I wanted to clarify that our lives really represent something about someone else.

What you can not see in these pictures is that most days, I am desperately in need of people's approval. And I will do good and bad to gain approval..to know "I am okay..I matter" I am desperate to feel loved.

What you can not see in these pictures is that my husband is desperate for power. He wants to influence as many people as possible so he can know "He is okay..He matters" He is desperate for love.

What you can not see in these pictures is that Wesley-grant and Kelly (our son who we are adopting from Haiti) are desperate for power and control. Wesley-grant wants to know he can be a leader...kelly wants to make sure no one hurts him again. They are unsure of love and their need of it.

What you can not see in these pictures is that Sally and Karis are desperate for approval and power. Sally wants to please everyone and never fail so that she will feel loved. karis wants to be in charge so that she can feel like she matters and is loved.

We are 6 people who can not make it on our own. On our best day we fail. On our best day we take credit for greatness and suppress the truth of God. In our grandest work our hearts want to be better than others and never allow anyone to matter more than us.

We are desperate people.

But there was Christmas. A long time ago, Jesus came. He came to do what He said He would do. He knew those he made before us, us, and those after us and that we would be desperate. That we would suppress His truth and try to find love on our own. We would create all kinds of ways...all kinds of pictures that looked like we had it all together. But God, who made us, knew our greatest need. And only He could come to save us when we could not save ourselves.

Christmas for us is the hope of our lives. Jesus came to do all we couldn't. Jesus came so that we would know we were loved. And as He says in His word, "give us the right to become children of God." No longer desperate or orphaned on our own. But saved. To learn a new way. To understand why we are here. To pour truth into the most terrible lie: "God does not love us".

This christmas, we will enjoy the traditions, the parties, the decorations, good gifts...but we celebrate b/c of the greatest gift ever given to us....Jesus.

What you also can not see in this picture, is that God is making us new...He is taking our brokenness and working for us. It is His work, not ours that makes all things well.

Christmas is life for us..and we are forever changed b/c of it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I was afraid



We were flying over the Haitian Mountains...about to land...I opened up the bible and read psalm 92...3 things stuck out...The lord's lovingkindness in the morning and his faithfulness at night....God's work, not mine. I closed it and took a deep breath...we were about to land in a country that seemed like a second home now...i knew the routine...the gate, the smells, the people, the language...i knew the walkway from the airport to the taxi that lead us into a country that brings constant thought....we were entering our son's country to visit him again.

We arrived at the hotel...he had been staying with another adoptive family waiting on our arrival. I couldn't wait to hold him and tell him we had returned and we loved him! He was the only thing in the country that really seemed familiar...home...

As I made my way up the steps to find him and the wonderful friend who was caring for him, i imagined again, with expectation, an emotional response...from him...to hug me with a smile and some how let me know he had missed me....but as I went to take him he tried to get out of my arms and started to cry.

I was afraid.

I gave him to Michael and he did the same...Michael held him tight and kept telling him we were here and we loved him. He held him until he fell asleep in his arms.
It was evening and we took him and our things to our room. Kelly Josiah woke up and we let him open his suitcase and look at his things. It was better...it was familiar. I laughed and talked with him. We tickled him and got him dressed in his pajamas. We hugged and played for a while. But behind it all, I was afraid.

I lay down that night and said something I never thought I would have said in the journey of adoption. "Lord, I can't do this." His word came to mind..."the Lord's faithfulness in the evening...His works...." And i fell asleep.

Kelly woke us up as usual and we got out of bed to go eat! He loves eating together! I took a deep breath and remembered..."God's loving-kindness in the morning..."

This trip brought a lot of joy...but each trip teaches me something. Even things I am not seeking to be taught.

For this trip, I was afraid. I was afraid that my work and abilities would fail this whole adoption journey. I was afraid to help a hurting child. I was afraid to make anymore trips. I was afraid to go home without Kelly again. I was afraid Kelly would not come home in time to learn English well and be in school. i was afraid Kelly would hate me one day. I was afraid I couldn't handle all that was necessary to walk ahead.

At the beginning of each day, I would wake with fear and beg God to show me Himself...at the end of the day I would lay down with fear but trust the He was faithful. I lived with this cloud of fear around me all week, but what is crazy is it didn't consume me. In the midst of being afraid, I was taught something.

Every night before bed, Kelly would throw a refusal tantrum about going to sleep and Michael would hold him close and I would stay close as Michael sang and told him we loved him. We have done that since we first met him. It has always been in those moments that I see myself. The Lord holds me every time in my refusals, confusion, wrestling...What a child really wants to know in those times is "Am i really loved?"

My insecurities about Kelly are stemmed in my own insecurity with God. Does He love me? Will He be faithful? Is it my work, or HIS WORK?Was I adopted into God's family by my work? Did God's work fail the journey or make the journey of adoption for me? Is His loving-kindness forever and His faithfulness for all eternity? Am I His child, loved?

It was God's work that set me free. (romans 5:8, Galatians 4) He did not and will not fail. (Deut. 32:4) He loves me. I am His.

The same truth to save me will be the same truth to save Kelly Josiah. I see that he and I both have insecurities in this whole adoption story...but it will be God's work, love and faithfulness that will rescue both of us. The Lord is carrying both of us.

Michael and I started this journey begging God to work apart from our abilities or resources....so that when times came and it got hard...I got afraid...We would be reminded that this story is God's and about His work. That His work would assure us we were right were we needed to be. And we could breathe and trust moving ahead.

That is exactly what happened this last trip. And as I ponder it and find myself walking forward instead of running away I am overwhelmed with His love, faithfulness and Great works and give Him praise!

We journey ahead...not b/c of our works but b/c of the One who has saved us. We wait for Him. Wait and watch with us. He is writing a great story of His love.....Stay with us, you won't want to miss what God has in store. =) thank you for praying us this far...continue with us ahead.

I was afraid, but God has me.

from Psalm 92
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, 4For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

5How great are your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Everything Rides on Hope



We are heading to Haiti again in a week. The trips to Haiti have become a new normal for us. We all start to get that feeling again...of leaving each other...the kids and stew and I. But we start our conversations again about now...and we remember God has carried us through this before...He always provides...and Kelly has not seen us for 3 months. We all take a deep breath and trust.

We got to skype with Kelly today and it was good for the kids to talk with him...to see that their brother needs us to come to him. After we skyped, i just sat on the floor of my bedroom. I wanted to burst into tears, but they were held back. I just thought, "Will he ever come home?"

We have been waiting since June 1st for a document to complete Kelly's Birth Certificate. Our dossier has sat waiting on his papers since August. Many who have walked this Haitian trail before can say, "yep, that is Haiti." But when it is your story...the waiting and the wondering and the praying and watching can come to a halt one day and you ask...will this 'new normal' ever end? You come to a place when you look for Hope. And you realize it is not found in any Haitian, agency or orphanage worker....it is not found in man.

A friend texted me this morning and said she woke up praying for kelly, the paperwork and for his homecoming. Tears came down my face as I thought...."My friends are carrying me when i have sat down in weariness." I am so thankful for the many of you who are walking with us! So thankful!

"Will he ever come home?" That is the storm that rages these days within me. But I was reminded of truth from a song and the Lord continues to bring me back to that. Everything truly rides on Hope and Faith. Since I was adopted into God's family...that is my journey. I so quickly forget...When the storm rises within me, i want to head for the shore. I have forgotten that I am not my own. This journey of adoption was not designed by me. I am God's....Kelly's story is God's and we as a family are riding on HOPE in His work, not ours.

Please continue to pray for us as we journey ahead. Here is our story captured so far...I am waiting on part 2....until then, the Lord of all will set my sight on His perfect provisions and carry me. And I will let my faith rise to Him alone. Where else would we ever go?!

Yes, Kelly will one day come home...until then...stay with us...we are still walking this road and need you with us.


When the world has broken me down, your love sets me free. Everything rides on HOPE now. Everything rides on FAITH some how. I am not my own. I have been carried by you, all my life. You have become my heart's desire...i now see a grace that is higher. Your love sets me free. When my life is like a storm...rising waters...all i want is the shore...If everything comes down to love...then why am i afraid? when i call out your name...something inside awakens in my soul...how quickly i forget...i am yours...i am not my own...i have been carried by you, all my life...from the song "Hope Now" by Addison Road

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Haiti is teaching Us...Faith



"Kelly fell, get him!!!!" screamed stew. It was Thursday evening. Our last evening in Haiti. We had just finished dinner and were off to bed. The big ache had been within me all day. Tomorrow I would say good-bye again and continue the waiting for our son to come home.
But suddenly the ache turned in to a cry out to Jesus and I went to rescue my son from his fall.
Stew picked him up and we went into our room. Blood was all over his face. I grabbed towels and applied pressure where his wound was. Kelly's little world had turn quickly from happy looking at lights into fear and cries. "Mama's here...Mama's here, kelly." Was all I could say over and over to him as I kept the towel over his wound with pressure. I will never forget that moment. It was fast and furious to help him, call the Orphanage and cradle him in our arms reminding him that Love was all around him and that he did not have to be afraid. I remember looking at him between his cries while stew ran to get a phone and said, "Jesus will heal you, kelly...Jezi loves you, Kelly." And as he calmed down, i found again my own story in my son's story...he and I are the same...wounded in need of Jesus to heal us.

Stew returned and held him, "Papa loves you...mama loves you...Jezi loves you." he would say over and over in English and then in creole. We prayed over him and waited for the Orphanage director to get there. We knew that he would have to return and we would have to say our good-byes that night.

Our last week in Haiti was different than the rest. The first trip was "magical" with everything new....the second was somewhat difficult, struggling with discontentment in waiting, frustration with the culture and language, insecure of self....but this last one, things have changed for all of us...We went to Haiti seeking God's wonders that are without number. We saw so much of what God has been doing in us and in Kelly. Haiti is teaching us.

Teaching us most that we can trust in our LORD. He is faithful. His love is never-ending. He is our God, even if we don't see Him as such. He is working, even if we are sitting discontent. He is helping all of us. This trip we experienced a since of "Home". Haiti, for now, is our 2nd home. Our time with Kelly was wonderful. He is learning English and mastering so many new skills. Stew and I are trusting the Lord to direct us in parenting and loving Kelly.

But at the end of the day all 3 of us are HIS alone. Our trust in ourselves is fading as we find the Lord's never-ending love.
Before I left, I was reminded of the story of Peter walking on the water.

Matthew 14:28-33
Peter said to Him, "Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water" And He said, "Come!" And peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

It was not peter's faith or lack of faith that caused him to sink or be saved. It was all god's doing. Surely Peter would have crashed straight down into the sea rather than sink slowly after seeing the wind. The Lord gave the wind, and held peter even as he sank. The Lord had peter all along...The Lord wanted peter to put all of his trust in Him, not in anything else.

We got out of the boat and pursued adoption as God had called us, but winds of processes and waiting have made us fearful at times. The Lord keeps his hand on us as we sink at times, but every step with Haiti has shown us our own story of adoption into God's family. We have cried out for God to save us over and over...and He has! Haiti is teaching us that God is certainly who He says He is. And that is changing us.

We walked Kelly to the car Thursday night. We prayed over him and against any lies that would creep in as we gave him back. He was calm at first. Then we looked at him and began to tell him as we have before, "We will return for you. Papa loves you, mama loves you, Jesus loves you. We will not leave you as orphan. We will come for you." Kelly began to wail. Tears flowed down all of our faces as the grace of God held us. We put him in the car and he was taken for bandages and to wait until we return. Stew and I stood in the dark crying together for what seemed like forever. But I could hear my savior's voice..."Trust in Me. I am working. Let your faith rise to be your sight. I will wipe away every tear one day...I am healing all of your wounds."


Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear. For I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you. For I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

And so we are learning Faith as we continue to wait. Not faith in ourselves, the governments, our agency, our resources. But faith in the one who is faithful. The one who is savior for all. Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Headed to Haiti looking for His wonders




JOB 5:8-11
"But as for me, I would seek God, And I would place my cause before God;
Who does great and unsearchable things, Wonders without number. "He gives rain on the earth and sends water on the fields,
So that He sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.

It was July 19th, another hot day in Austin, TX. I was picking up in the house as the kids were asleep on their beds. I glanced outside as I always do when passing by the window. There are so many stories outside my window. I am always looking. God has done so much on our street. A year ago drug dealers ruled our street. The stories I could tell you would fill a book. Now they are gone..stories for another day. But I still look, b/c there is always wonder outside of my window. The Lord's wonder. And that day, July 19th, he would give me another one.

This time glancing out the window I looked up. I saw clouds coming overhead...just like they had before...always empty of rain. I walked outside and fumbled through my garden. Looking at the plants, pruning what was not lasting in the heat, I looked up again. And the Lord pressed upon me this question. "Who is Lord?" "You are, God" I thought. And then "Rain" came to my mind. So, i looked up and asked for rain. I began to pray to God and show him all the plants that needed water and realized at the same time how much I need him. How much the earth depends on Him. And let's be honest. I thought if it poured down rain it might stop a few drug deals from happening in our neighborhood. =)

The clouds began to move and I looked up again. "God is there rain in those clouds?" "Will you pour it down?" I felt a few drops. Looked up. The clouds passed by and nothing else came...for the moment. I walked back inside and continued cleaning and thinking. "Do I really trust that Jesus is Lord?" There is so much unseen in this life but too often I find myself blinded by the things I see.

I looked out my kitchen window at my dead back yard and garden. You have to pick and choose which plants get the water. Curb appeal in the front won this summer. =) Then I looked up again. And I asked the Lord for rain. As I looked out my window I was filled with His wonder. I can ask the Lord, b/c if rain is what is needed, it can only come from his hand. I ask b/c he is my Heavenly Father. He is a father that gives all good things. I ask b/c He can, not b/c he should.

I went back to the front of my house and asked again. "Father, there is no cloud and no rain now..but you made them. Won't you give us rain today?" I sat down to read and then...... RAIN!!! It burst from the bright sky with wonder beyond wonder! Karis woke up and came running out of her room, "Mommy, it is raining...it is raining!!" I will never forget looking out that window again and seeing the rain pour down. With tears running down my face I thought, "You are LORD, indeed!"

A friend shared the verse in Job with me shortly after. It has taken deep meaning for me and in my house. Our prayer as a family is that God would show us that He is LORD. He is Great and does unsearchable things...WONDERS without measure!! If they are endless, then surely if we ask to see them, there is enough that perhaps we could notice them everyday.

We leave for Haiti Monday the 15th of August. It is a wonder of God. Adoption is changing us inside and out. The kids started school this week. They are sad, but love Kelly. They are trusting. I have to leave the 3 once more to go to the one. Then I will have to leave the one to go to the 3. I am sad, but know we are called to this. I am looking for His wonders in the midst.

He is LORD. Please ask Him for us, not because he should, but because He can do all things.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Our first year with KIPP Austin Public Schools

Wesley-Grant with some friends from his class
The playground
Principal Justin Scott with kids at the Exhibition for the kids
Family Saturday Schools....watching some accomplishments from the year
Art Show downtown with students from Kipp...and Ms. Boswell the Art teacher
Handicap spots the kids made to apply things they learned to help their community

Engineering Class display from the year
Playing Haitian Futbol after talking to the kids about Haiti and Kelly
One of many gardens the kids have planted this year on their campus.



KIPP AUSTIN COMUNIDAD was first introduced to us December of 2009. We had been praying about school for wesley-grant. Never did i ever expect the amount of choices before us when it comes to schooling a child. I grew up in public school and that was all i knew existed. Now, there are so many systems of education. I am thankful to live in a country with options and so many opportunities for education. There are many systems and all of them have great things...all of them are broken in some places. In all the research, I have not found anything perfect. But what we have found for our family is specific provision for all that we asked of from the Lord when it came to education as we entered that season with Wesley-Grant last year.

We wrestled with which option to pursue when it came to kindergarten for Wesley-Grant. If you want to know all the specifics, let me know and i will share. But for now, I just wanted to post about the school that we ended up choosing, or really, ended up choosing us.

So, it was December of 2009 when we were told about KIPP from a previous teacher who was at our house at a gathering. That is where we heard about their first elementary opening and that it would be Dual Language. Spanish/english. Long story short, we enrolled in the lottery. Wesley-Grant's name was drawn and we began our journey into charter schools before we ever knew all behind their name.

I could write a book on all we have experienced this year. Ask me if you are interested. Tears run down my face when I think back to all that we valued when it came to education and how KIPP has provided more than we ever expected. Here are some of the highlights from our first year there:

Defining Education: Kipp goes beyond skill academics and focuses a lot on character. Being nice, working hard, Be safe, Tenacity, Honor, Quality, and respect are always taught. They value language and their students perform above AISD reading levels in both languages at the end of the year. Education has always meant more than academics to us and we have found the same at KIPP.

Language is valued: They take kids that speak spanish and kids that speak english and tell them that their language is valuable and teach them each other's language. They teach the value of both languages to each other and it creates an equal environment for both.

Community: Students are taught to apply what they learn to help their community. WG's class had to learn about difference and same...about disabilities. They spent a day being blind folded or riding in a wheel chair to experience what it is like to have a disability. The kids painted handicap spots on their school parking lot. They talked about bullying and how they treat each other who are different. They even talked about adoption and WG was able to share about Kelly. At 4th grade they will be working with Non-Profits to learn about community in their city.

Commitment:The staff at KIPP works harder than any teachers I have known. They are there morning until 5pm and sometimes longer. They work at saturday schools once a month. They are always available to answer crazy questions from us parents. One of the things that is amazing is how they support each other. When one teacher is out, the others step in to help. There are no subs. They are a team that is commited to excellence from the teacher to the principal. They see the kids for what they can be and teach them accordingly. They don't see them as they are, but where they are going.

Making a difference:KIPP teachers are telling the kids constantly that they "CAN". They let them know that they were made to be something in their family, community, city and in the world. They serve under-resourced kids and continually serve to support the families of each child. Hands down, they are training leaders of tomorrow and impacting the city of austin and beyond.

We are so thankful for KIPP. We are so thankful for the staff, for the families that we have met through saturday school and everyday life with students. Sally will start kindergarten next year.

Wesley-Grant has grown so much this year. It is a great commitment for us as a family, but not too much. Life is being grown everyday as we are apart of this school. We are growing as a family and growing in community with other families. We are so proud of WG and look forward to another year for him.
For more info on KIPP, you can visit their website at www.kippaustin.org. It is one of many educational systems. We have found it to be a place of provision for our family as we have started down the road of education with our kids.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saying "yes" to everything, not knowing anything


I remember the moment when Stew looked across the dinner table at me and pulled out a map and said, "it is time". We began to walk openly towards adopting. You know, the journey so far is kind of like marriage. You walk down the aisle and you make a vow. You vow to everything when you know nothing. You vow to take the good and the bad, not able to imagine there would ever be bad.

That has been how our adoption process has gone so far. We vowed to go forward no matter what...vowing to everything but knowing nothing until the Lord would/will show us or lead us through it.

The Lord has shown so much! Our agency, our country, our son. He has given us people, money, resources, packing lists, encouraging words, new friends, suitcases, plane miles, babysitters, car rides, provisions beyond our recall. Most of all he has given us His heart and story of our own adoption. We still have not recovered, and I pray we don't, from the mirror picture of Kelly's adoption to our own adoption through Jesus to God Himself.

But you know when you get to that point when the "honeymoon" time fades...like all good things here do....and you find the hard things...the waiting...the new things seem old. It is at that point when we either push through and find newness of spring after the winter snow....or we shatter in the waiting and turn to something else for comfort.

I found myself there the last few days of our recent trip to Haiti. It was like someone took a bag and put it over my head and didn't lift it until i got on the plane heading back for the US. I hated it and struggled to push through it. I am still processing it. I couldn't wait to go see Kelly and hold him and i found myself in the end wishing i was back home. I can't tell you exactly why, but as I have processed it over the last few days I have found a few things. 1. I never like to anticipate pain-Saying good bye to Kelly was something i found myself wanting to just run from this time. 2. The reality of the waiting for our son to come home completely disappointed me and I wanted to bail. 3. I became so self consumed with my feelings that I couldn't even see the needs of my own family...(Stew and kelly)

This trip was full of wonderful things. We learned more of Kelly's first mother. I am thankful to gather the stories to share with him and hold honor for him and her. We celebrated kelly's 4th birthday with a party. It was a wonderful normal! (birthday kid throws a tantrum and spits out his cake...but everyone else is taking pictures and says it is wonderful eating so much candy! have to be honest, but still enjoyed it none the less) We got to talk to Kelly about his name. "Kelly Josiah Stewart" He will tell you if you ask him...it is so cute! We got to talk to him about our house here and tell him we are preparing it for him. We got to love him through tantrums and fun times playing together! We learned that his stuff for his dossier is getting ready quickly to meet up with ours when it gets there in a few weeks.

I could and will write down a "proverbs 31" account of all the right and good things and celebrate them. And I will. But in between all the good and right are valleys we don't expect that teach us truths about ourselves, and ultimately are to point us to truth about God. And I want to write down those moments too. Because I have found it is in the moments of valley's or pain that we find our need for God and grow close to Him.

So in our "bliss" I have experienced the truth of myself that I can't keep a "vow". I really only want the right things...the fun things...the happy things...I don't want the low times, the dark times, or the self-centered times. I don't want the waiting. I don't want the pain. But I am learning that the very story we are experiencing of truth, grace and love with Kelly is my own needed story. I can't do anything apart from the LORD. I can never stand without truth, grace or love. I need it as much as Kelly needs it. The last few days there with Kelly are a blur...i remember feeling every insecurity I could have ever felt in my life. All my failures flooding my mind and me doubting everything behind and ahead. But someone told me they were praying that "hope would rise as I waited on the LORD" I could hear that faintly in the midst. By God's grace I waited through it without leaving michael, screaming in the streets of Haiti or hurting kelly. I waited. And hope rose. In my failures comes God's redemption. And all over again, I experienced saving grace...the need for every human life.

And so from this trip I was brought back to the strong truth that adoption (and marriage too) has always been God's doing and only He can do it. And by His love and grace we will all be changed from it in the end.

Continuing on ahead, knowing that to step into everything, knowing little to nothing of what lies ahead, is okay. If there is a step, then there is a place ahead to go. And Jesus will be there all along the way.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Heading to Haiti again

Isaiah 30:18
Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.

A mentor of mine sent me this verse today saying she was praying for my time in Haiti this week. It gave comfort in so many ways. The grace, compassion, justice and blessings that come from my Lord was what I needed to read and what my heart needed to cling to.

We are so thankful for all of you who are praying for us. All of you who serve us in all the details that it takes to go to Haiti. We are so thankful for all of you who are getting documents, sending requests and referral letters for us. To our agency who tirelessly works to get our documents ready for Haiti. We are so thankful for each penny that comes from each of you when we least expect it or when we never expected it. We are in the middle of this first part of our journey, but I just can't even keep count of all that the Lord has given.

He is writing His story on all of our hearts.

I found myself back at the post office again for the same document! =) Without kids, longer line, but with hope. I was able to ask so much of my Father in that line that worrying about the document or timing or kelly or picking up my son in 20 minutes faded away. I am finding in this season to trust the LORD in all the details of my life. I long for Kelly to come home, but I would never trade what God is teaching us as a family or displaying to all of you watching.

We are headed to Haiti again.
May 9-15th we will be there. So, here are some things you can pray for this next week. Every time you take a drink, will you pray for us?

1. Pray for our children in Austin. Our prayer for them is not that they would be happy and never sad, but that God would show himself to them in this tension of being away from us. Pray that they would know and trust that we love them, but more that God loves them and has a purpose in all of this. I pray they would sense the story of God. That what we teach them of our LORD would become real life for them.

2. Pray for Kelly Josiah Stewart. That the Lord would give him grace to accept and understand us and what is happening. Pray for courage as he takes steps towards us as we are moving towards him. Pray that he would feel our love for him. Pray for a soft heart that is full of hope.

3. Pray for us. Pray that stew and I would grow closer together in this process. Pray for our marriage to be strengthened. Pray for us to love and respect each other. Pray for our own courage and trust of the Lord in leaving kelly there.

Thank you for praying for us each time you take a drink. Our cups are full and we will drink of our Lord's goodness as we head to Haiti again. And of course, we will continue to share it all with you! Look for updates on facebook as we can.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Because you are my SON


I find myself at that place again...between there and here. Between coming home and planning for the next return to Haiti. I find so much weakness on my part. So much need for Jesus. Day by day...minute by minute...He is faithful to carry us ahead. He is not only faithful, but He is so personal in helping us at each needy moment.

I found myself in line today at the post office...for over 40 minutes. We have one document that has needed to be changed again...so i am waiting to express mail something again. 3 kids, long line, one clerk. You can see the picture! =) My heart was racing...my body was tense...I literally imagined myself yelling out at the clerk, "hey can you get any damn person up here to help, this is crazy!"...If God had not have been holding my mouth, i really think i would have yelled that out...i started to sweat like every mother with 3 kids in a long line waiting on time sensitive material...it was awful. And then, in the quietness of my soul, I sensed the LORD saying, "Lean on me".

You see, that is how it works in a relationship. I am a daughter of the KING. Jesus is my LORD. But he is my Heavenly Father. I often forget his promises. I often forget that He has all my days and everything for me. I forget my own adoption. That he sent Jesus to come and die to appease the law that I could only break. He sent Jesus to do all the work that I could not do. He sent Jesus to give me all that I did not have. Why? Because He is my father. I am his daughter. At the perfect time, He opened my eyes and ears to see and hear his voice. To be awakened to new life and to be in His family when I was far off. But i doubt it in those moments like at the post office...or when people don't approve of me...or when I want to control my husband or children. I forget I am a daughter of the KING. There is nothing I could ever do to change my status. Jesus paid all for me, like a big fat debt. Because of Jesus' work, I am declared a child of God. I am a daughter.

Abraham never wavered HOPE in regard to God's promise to him. This is a reality and prayer for our son, Kelly. We skyped with him last Sunday and he was like the first time we saw him. Just starring. Not really responding. There was so much behind his eyes. It was all i could do not to cry as we spoke that we loved him. That he was our son. That mama and papa were coming. We would not leave him there. Kelly has been left over and over by many. I feared that he had lost hope..or doubt us. My prayer is for HOPE for him.

But despite. Kelly is our son. Though we left him, we had to. We have to go and prepare our home for him. Everything we have is his, because he is our son. But we must appease all the laws for USA and Haiti for kelly. We have to do this for him to be declared our son. But in the waiting, he is our son. We will come for him. We will not leave him orphaned. Kelly can't do anything that we are doing. He can't make himself our son. Only what we do makes him our son. Nothing he does or doesn't do will change his staus. He is our son and because he is our son, he can have hope and not doubt. He can believe the promise we have made to him, that we will come for him. Because he is our son.

Because he is our son, I stood in the line today at the post office. And i heard the whisper of my savior that because I am his daughter, I can ask Him for all things. So I asked him for help in my weakness. I asked him for another clerk. I asked him for this document to get there in the perfect timing. I asked him for the patience to wait for the day He has planned for Kelly's home coming...trusting Him for the day I too will meet my savior face to face....and finally be home myself. And He did for me, because I am his daughter.

Thank you Jesus for your reminders of our adoption as your children. I pray that many more of your children will hear your voice and come to you.


Romans 4

18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE."

19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb;

20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,

21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

23Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him,

24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,

25He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

JOHN 14

1"Do not let your heart be troubled;believe in God, believe also in Me.

2"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

3"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

4"And you know the way where I am going."

5Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"

6Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

18"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Waiting




Romans 8

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


4For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope

21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

33Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;

34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36Just as it is written,
"FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."

37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


This passage was read to us this weekend as our family went on a retreat with our adoption agency...for rest and training. It was a gift. I realized there that I had been a "wreck" all week due to the longing and waiting in my heart for Kelly. But these verses of real life in me, give comfort to the real life in waiting for kelly's adoption into our family.

I don't have many words right now. I am watching myself change as much as i want kelly's life to change. It is hard. It is good.

I was reading Narnia to Wesley-grant last night and it talked about why lucy could see Aslan's face when others could not. It was because she "knew his face". Edmund, when being accused of all his wrongs by the witch, though he felt he must do or say something, knew that he only must keep his eyes on Aslan's face.

I must keep my eye on my Father's face. My Lord has never failed. He who made adoption will also see Kelly's adoption through.

So we wait. May 9-15th we get to go and spend with kelly again! I am so excited! 28 more days! =)

When you pray, ask for God to bring Kelly home (as well as all of our friends' children) this year.

More later

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shine your face upon us









Psalm 119:135

Make Your face shine upon Your servant,

And teach me Your statutes.


I think back on the week with kelly. It seems so familiar in my mind. He is brilliant! He builds towers, plays with cars, jumps off of couches onto pillows, loves curious george now and is a child that loves life. He has an amazing throwing arm! We loved tossing the ball and saying "I love you, Kelly" with each throw. This was what helped us transfer creole words to english.

The next few days with kelly after the beach just became normal life. We longed for our other kids to be there, but we made life in haiti life for us and held on to every moment.

Kelly's first bath was hilarious! I started the shower and he looked at me terrified..."oh right, you probably take a shower out of a bucket"...so i asked him "where?" in creole and he pointed at the mini sink on the wall. My eyes were huge, but oh well. It is funny how when you are in another country that you don't mind trying crazy things. I would never have done this in america. Somehow normal gets thrown out the window.

So, he sat in the sink laughing while i scrubbed him and then poured water from a cup over his body. It was a blast! I bathed him more than i should have simply b/c it was fun! =)




I learned how to comb his hair, oil his hair, lotion his little body and figured out his look for needing to go to the bathroom. He loves brushing his teeth! Can't wait for him to teach that to his brother and sisters back home! =)

Kelly has been through a lot, but God has sustained life in him. I was amazed every moment at this kid! We taught him how to drink spark! =) My son is such a gift to us. He makes us think of the Lord every moment.

A new week begins today. We skyped with Kelly yesterday and it warmed our hearts just to see his face with our own eyes! It is a grace to us to help us in this journey. I know many don't get to see their children or hear from them as often as we will. I do not take that lightly..i am so thankful. Sometimes i think, "if i can just see his face and know he is okay, i will be better" 

BUT Today, I was reminded that God's will is always happening. His rescue, His blessings, His plans are always working. As much as I want to see kelly's face, i realized that it is the LORD's face that i must seek to see to help me walk day by day. His face will give me great hope! His face is the face that will save my son. His face works all things. He alone saves. God has held Kelly this long and will hold him until he is home with us. I seek the Lord's face as I long for Kelly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Waiting in the sadness and hope...our first few days

Our first day with Kelly on the balcony
Beach fun!
smiles were endless...this kid was more and different than we had ever imagined before
Each morning I wake up and have to face 2 things. Kelly is not with us today. But I get to see him in 38 days. I waver between the sadness and the hope. I am challenged to believe His promises and trusting that God has taken care of Kelly this far and can take care of him ahead.

Stew got home Thursday and the reality hit hardest then. I no longer could skype with Kelly in the mornings to keep my pain numb...sight was gone and I now had to trust until the next skype call and the next visit. We linger over videos and pictures all the time. Our son Wesleygrant is even found with tears as he watches the videos and asks, 'mommy, why can't Kelly come home?'. Such a question that we all ask. But one that draws us closer to our Lord in dependence and trust that He is working to do just that. We wait for him.

How am i feeling...everyone wants to ask me this...some do, some don't. Well, we are overjoyed at the wonder we have experienced....but then deeply waiting for it to be not just a glimpse, but a full picture! I imagine the disciples felt this way after Jesus ascended to heaven. And even before that, John 14 Jesus tells the disciples, "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." We hang on the truth that God loves Kelly more than us...God saves orphans and has led us here...and will lead us ahead. God will let us come again. God has a day when Kelly will come home with us. We are in pain, but with great trust held up by grace within us. That is how we feel.

So, "how did the first few days go." were you scared?

We arrived in PAP and made our way to the His Home Children's Home to meet Kelly. We finally saw him with our eyes...a longing we had had for a month. We held him close and he sat there. We proceeded to the guest-home to meet up with the other families and their children. All 3 of us were scared. Kelly seemed to be terrified...i imagine he thought he was being transported to another place yet again. Tears ran down my face. For him, and myself. He was scared...I was scared.

We arrived there and the Lord had already provided wonderful people to support and guide us. I am so thankful for the relationships and families God has placed us with!

We made our way upstairs, just the 3 of us, to all get acclimated. We were all 3 a little overwhelmed. We pulled out a box of toys we had brought for Kelly and we began to play with him. I had never seen kelly talk...he was talking and smiling as we played cars with him.

I remember being up on that balcony playing with our son for the first time. I was afraid that moment would be awkward...but it wasn't. It was normal...right. Did we ever explain that we were his mama and papa? no...we just were. We began to care for him as our son. everything we brought him was his and we began to live life as a family. I don't remember the first time, but it was that first day that kelly already called us papa and mama. We were his papa and mama b/c we treated him as a son. He felt has our son. It was just like we had come to see Wesleygrant. I will never be able to explain it...it was just something God did.

The next day we headed to the beach. I remember the car ride out there that took over an hour to go 10 miles...and thought as i passed by people, tents, mass graves, city and country....How in the world did i get here? This is crazy! Indeed, God brought us here and yes, it is totally crazy to human understanding. But then again, God always turns things upside down. =)

The first night, Kelly didn't want to go to bed...i can only imagine how different it was to be sleeping in a room with parents verses a lot of little ones. He threw a tantrum and we held him in our arms saying over and over in creole "mwen renmen u" "i love you".."Ou r bel, kelly." "You are wonderful, Kelly". I have to say that this happened every night but the last night. And it was not a disappointment for me, but one of my favorite moments of the whole time with him. Stew would hold him as he struggled. We both had our arms around him and would sing and say those things over him...sometimes for 30 minutes. He would settle down and we would all sleep. Each time i thought of how Kelly desperately longed for love...but didn't know what he longed for. I too...all humans...long for love, but don't always know what that longing looks or feels like. The Lord has and is doing just this with me all the time. I throw a fit with anger, worry, rebellion or hate. He takes me up in His arms and tells me, "I love you" "Kimberly, I made you wonderful." "I love you." And I slowly settle down to peace and I can truly live. I could tell that Kelly was experiencing a similar thing...I saw love breaking threw to Kelly's heart.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our faith continues ahead to Haiti

Psalm 82 1-3

God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2"How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?
Selah

3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked."



With every child the Lord has given me, I have found more death to myself and more life in understanding the God of the Bible. With each season with them I find that faith is walking with no sight. Kelly is no different. My son in Haiti brings me down the road again of death to myself and life in the Lord. This journey of adoption has been amazing...and it seems to never stop. I understand more and more that rescuing orphans...change in any of us humans is absolutely the work of God and never the work of our own hands. I am brought to tears every moment it hits me that I get to walk down this road of adoption.
We went to visit Kelly March 22nd. Exactly a month from the day we realized he was our son. We got to spend a week with him doing life with him in Haiti. We were with other adoptive families and their children. As stew and i got on each plane closer to Haiti, I was in wonder, trust and uncertainty. We had been praying for specific things in Kelly and couldn't wait to see how the Lord had helped kelly. On the plane i was in a constant state of stuggle..leaving kids behind and living life with our son ahead. Faith...no sight.
But the good news of why Jesus came to us was clearer and clearer. Kelly was playing in the orphanage while we were flying nearer and nearer. He had no clue we were coming and that we had chosen him. He had no clue he was our son. But we were coming. We were packed ready with all the things he would ever need. We would arrive soon. We would take him up and love him. We were coming. Soon our eyes would meet and faith would soon yield way to sight.