Thursday, December 18, 2014


Since Karen & I adopted our boys in 2010, we have become keenly aware of the core of God's heart and love that He expresses through adoption.  After all, when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven, we all got grafted in! (see Romans 8).   So many times now as I read scripture, I see the miracle of adoption playing out.  Today, I noticed something.  In Matthew 21, The Complete Jewish Bible uses the word trust where all my life I have heard the word faith...if you have faith you can ask what you will vs. you can ask what you will provided you have trust (vs 21).  This seems to put a slightly different slant on the deal.  It moves it from a much broader concept of faith to a much more relational idea of trust.  I can't always wrap my cerebral processes around the notion of faith but now trust is a different story.  We are confronted with this issue virtually every day.  Who can be trusted?  Can we trust what our clients are telling us or what the preacher is saying or the government or the media?  Recently, while watching a post-game interview with a well-known college basketball coach, I was surprised when the commentator asked him what was the most important thing to instill in his players.  Without hesitation he replied, "Trust!"  The issue of trust is all around us and it is a relationship issue.
In Matthew 21, Jesus' words challenge a man or woman with a somewhat camouflaged message, “Do you trust me?”  Its a question that takes me to the single most important issue with of our adopted children.  We have asked the question constantly for the past 4 years:  will you trust us?  Unfortunately, our children came to us trusting no one but themselves.  If you've ever adopted my guess is the light bulb just came on and I've caught your attention.  You know what I'm talking about and you're near-desperate to see if I have any answers.  It is amazing how quickly a child learns that the world is not worthy of their trust.  It is equally amazing how deeply this belief resides within the thought processes and behavior of these children. 
“I must take care of myself” is more than an idea, it is a mandate that is seared into the mind and heart designed to insulate against all meaningful attachments to others.  And by meaningful I mean “in any type of trusting way”.  Positive attachment is built on trust and without it relationships are simply a way to get what I want in this world.  Never mind consequences because after all, relationships only exist to give me what I want. 
But trust is a much bigger problem that strikes at the very essence of relationships including our relationship with God.  To not trust sends us on our way to do our own thing… “misbehave” if you will.  It leads to sin which is, in essence, man’s way of saying “I’ll do it my way”.  The process reminds me of our experience with our grafted children and many stories that I have read about others who have adopted.  Jesus understood this dynamic well.  His teaching in Matthew 21 is easily misunderstood as an invitation to make out your "Christmas list", give it to the Man Upstairs and presto, you got the instant gratification!  But when it doesn’t happen as we thought it should, we conclude that God is not listening and even worse, cannot be trusted.  A second look at Jesus’ words here suggests that it’s the other way around…the trust comes first!  Ohhhhhhhh! ...
  • I’ve got to trust before I ask?  
  • I've got to trust before I attach!  
  • I've got to trust before I receive!  
Jesus offers these words as an invitation to ask but that was only a smoke screen for the real issue:  Will you trust?  Make no mistake about it, Jesus caught our attention with the "and you will receive everything you ask" part.  But then, attention isn’t really what he was looking for …Will you trust when you ask?  

For the past 4 years Karen & I have been asking our children the same question.  They came to us with this not-so-little voice screaming in their heads...
“No!  I will not!  Adults, parents, people are not to be trusted!  I am in this thing for myself!”  
Oh, they don't say it with their words.  They say it when they don't follow house rules that we've gone over with them 40 gazillion times.  They say it when they destroy their toys or property and just like relationships, it doesn't really matter because, well, we'll simply move on to the next one.  They say it when they obsess about, hoard and gorge their food as if they will never be fed again.  Make no mistake about it, Karen and I constantly work to win and establish one simple thing with our grafted children:  trust!  Just like the crowd that was in ear shot of Jesus’ words that day, our younger children are focused on the you will receive everything while missing the "but you must trust" part.  On the surface, its aggravating to feel like you're offering something good over and over and over only to be ignored.  The rejection stings.  But then sometimes it runs through my mind:  I wonder what happened in those days before we got them that generated this level of inability to attach and trust?  Surely therein lies the answer to understanding their overriding skepticism towards everyone in their world.  At other times I retreat to a quiet place where I hear my Heavenly Father whisper in my ear...."I know how you feel, son!"  

Somehow I am strengthened when I realize He was talking about me!  

Until we talk again, I will leave you with this...  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Nation of Good News?

Today we wake up to bad news in this nation.  Its a common thing if you make it a habit to tune into the mainstream news.  One day its Washington politics, another day its the economy.  Seems like somebody is always mad about something.  Today, its Ferguson, Missouri.  But its not just Ferguson.  Its everything that reminds us of our nation's wounds that run so deep and so poignant that it threatens to split this country wide open like a pumpkin dropped off the end of a pickup truck!  People are choosing up sides like a playground pickup game.  It seems that this great nation finds itself with bad news upon bad news.  

But today, I read something that inspired me.  A read about a nation defined not by the latest political scandal or riot or body count or an illness that drives us to the Internet to purchase hazmat suits.  But rather, talk about a nation bearing  "Good News and  healing".  Hey, we need some of that!  I'm in!  I'm tired of all this bickering, finger pointing and chaos.  

So what is this nation of Good News?  Well, here's what I know.  This nation once sent its best representative to us sometime about this time of year. Every once in a while you still see signs and decorations commemorating this representative.  But what about this nation is so good?  Well how about this?  It starts with the fact that everyone is welcome.  Seriously?  Yeah, this nation boasts that "all who will come are welcome".  Its arms are wide open to everyone!  There is no distinction between race, gender, socio-economic status or any other label that keeps us locked into our prides and prejudices and all the anger, malice and angst that go with it.  It is a nation where a man will take a beating before knowingly wronging another and even give up his life if it means that another will live free of tyranny and oppression.  This nation is a place where everything you ever did that was wrong can be forgiven and wiped away.  No more more condemnation.  Its like all those heavy emotional bags that we humans lug around simply fad into obscurity!  It’s a nation whose citizens are loved, cared for and even blessed.  A nation that has its own economy where interest and dividends are guaranteed in direct proportion not to your gathering, but to your giving!  Law and order are its guiding principles while at the same time all citizens of this nation are soaked in grace.  It’s a nation where healing is available and health is promised.  A powerful lion fiercely guards the nation and stands ready to drive back any and all foes who threaten its citizens.   But at the same time it’s a nation so gentle, so kind, so imbued with peace that a lion and a lamb can be found napping together.  Abundance flows in its valleys and fruitful herds roam its countryside.  Wow!  Now that is Good News!  

So where did I find this inspiration this morning?  It was in the Bible in the book of Matthew (4:23).  Jesus is that representative who came not only to tell us about this Good News but to show us this Good News with His very life. He walked about healing the sick, letting the oppressed go free, and declaring innocence to those who were guilty as sin.  Everything He touched found new life and everything He taught inspired others to live the life.  And if that wasn't enough He did something unheard-of-crazy!  Remember that part about the nation where one would even die for the freedoms of another?  Well He did it!.  Jesus offered up His very life in order that each citizen of this nation may flourish.  And in doing so, He made a way that all who chose to believe may have citizenship with all its benefits!

So today, as you read about all that's wrong in this world, remind yourself that there is something left that is Good!  Until we talk again...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One of Those Moments

I've always been drawn to the passage of scripture where Jesus went to the garden to pray the night before "the plan" was to unfold.  Obviously He knew the time and He knew the incredible importance of the moment.  It was a process in full motion that intensified the moment He entered the garden.

There are many aspects of this moment in the garden that speak to me.  But for just a minute, let me focus on a few words He uttered:  "
Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me" (Luke 22:42 Complete Jewish Bible).  Willing?  Why did Jesus say this?  You can't really say that He thought the Father would take Him up on this one.  After all, it was their plan.  No, I think this is a moment that Jesus was having in the process.  Its a process that had become so arduous, so intense, that the soul is exposed and for a brief moment purpose is lost in a forest of overwhelming emotion.  It was a moment, a brief, fleeting moment, where something rose up in Jesus that wished that the whole deal didn't have to be this way.  It is one of the moments that reassures us that Jesus was, in fact, fully man as He carried out His divine mission.

I identify with this type of moment.  Karen & I have had many of them over the past few months.  You've had them too.  Those moments when it just seems overwhelming and something slips out of your soul that wishes for it to all go away.  We have met our "moments" in our current process of adoption.  We have not written much over the past few weeks partly because of technological challenges while in the mid-west and partly because, well, we've had our share of "moments".  But by way of update, I'm going to take a brief minute to let everyone know where we are these days. I supposed all adoptions have their struggles. Ours mostly come in dealing with the system.

Two weeks ago we returned from the mid-west with the 2 new children.  We had to leave a couple of days early after receiving word that Karen's grandmother was struggling to live and may not make it through the night.  After leaving the mid-west we realized that the new children did not know what they were doing with us.  They had not been prepared for who we were and what we were doing in their small town (i.e., they did not know we were there to welcome them into our family and that our plan was to adopt them).  As we got closer to NC it became more apparent that this was a significant issue as the 4 year girl cried herself to sleep each night.  Sometimes this has been better and sometimes worse. 

To give some background, our children have been in the same foster home for 3 years.  We thought this would make their little lives better than children who are moved around from home to home while awaiting adoption.  And while this may be true in some regards, it does not translate into smooth transition for the children. They have only known one "mom" and when that "mom" has told them she will always be their mom the idea of moving on to their permanent family must feel a little more like kidnapping than the love and security of a forever family.  But the truth remains, she chose not to adopt them and for whatever reasons did not  prepare them for being grafted into our family. I could write a book on the things we experienced in dealing with the foster mom but I will save that for another time.

To add to the drama of the transition, no more had we arrived home that we learned that Karen's grandmother had, in fact, passed away.  We returned to the western part of NC to attend the funeral and by the time we did so, 6 of the 8 of us had acquired either cold or flu-like symptoms.  It has not been until the past 3-4 days that we have actually settled into any type of routine.  The routine has been fruitful.  The new children are enjoying themselves and seem to be feeling safe and comfortable here. We have not had tears at night and we have had lots of laughter during the day.


Now is where it gets dicey.  The social workers devised a plan whereby the children would stay with us for a couple of weeks before returning to their previous foster home for a few weeks before coming back to us for a few weeks before returning to their foster home for a few weeks before coming to our home permanently!  Yes, read that last sentence several times.  It says it all!  Just reading the plan will make your head spin!  But that is the plan under which we currently operate.  We've pleaded with the social worker to simply leave them with us but so far to no avail.  Karen & I are sweating great drops of our own, feeling like this plan is a setup for failure and ultimately will lead to incredible mistrust, insecurity and confusion in the children.  After all, broken attachments are tough to heal in a child and we're just going to keep ripping them apart over the next few months?  We really don't have to speculate about the impact of this plan as it has already generated significant confusion, anxiety and frustration in the new children as well as our other children.

But rules are rules, right?  At least that's what we're told.  Forget whether they make sense for the children or not, the paperwork has to be done.  And to some extent I get it but when bureaucracy trumps common sense it doesn't set to well with me and I promise you somebody looses.  In this case, its the children.

So where are we?  Honestly, we're not sure.  We've got at least one child who is lost and confused right now, a system that seems dead set on stamping in insecurity and stacking the deck against successful transition all in the name of paperwork, and hearts that hurting.  We've passed Phase I which is simply to meet them but it sure seems like we are walking through a field full of emotional landmines that could detonate at any moment and send this entire adoption into oblivion.

Oh that this cup would pass!

I could write much more but perhaps I should stop at this point.  We will try to post a few times this week to update our situation.  Karen & I wish to thank all of you who have been such a wonderful support over the past few months.  You have truly been a blessing to us.  If you have adopted and have a story to tell, we would love to hear it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Today's blog focuses on reflection.  I'm not talking about reflection as in looking back at your life and gleaning some insight about why you are what you are and why you behave as you do.  No, I'm talking about reflection as in what you see when you look into a mirror.  I am a firm believer that everything we see here in this world is a reflection of something in another world.  That other world is a spiritual dimension where something beautiful radiates its goodness, light and divine plan into this world.  I often refer to this phenomenon as a "parallel process" between heaven and earth.  It is what drives Karen & I in adoption.

Let me explain.  Recently I was looking out the kitchen window and saw something reflecting off the windshield of my van.  The reflection sparked my attention and I began to look for what was reflecting.  Did I continue to examine the windshield of the van?  Of course not.  I was looking around the sky, the positioning of the street lights and anything but the windshield.  You don't look at the conduit, you look for the source!

Adoption works in a similar way.  When you look into the eyes of a child, especially those who have no parents, there's a flash.  Even in the most obnoxious (just being honest!), unruly, provocative child its there.  That flash.  Sometimes its quick, sometimes you have to be really attentive, but its there.  But what is it?  Its a reflection and like the windshield you don't search for it in the conduit, but rather you look for it in the source!  And its a beautiful thing when you realize that the source is something so loving, so kind, so pure and so innocent that it captivates your senses and melts your tendencies to think only of yourself in this world.

I have heard people say they wanted to see God or have a visitation from Jesus and I understand this desire.  But until we behold Him face to face, perhaps He gives us "flashes" of Himself.  Its a flash in the eyes of a young girl, or the smile on a little boy's face or maybe its the toddler's deep sense of security as they flourish in the safety of a home that is committed to their welfare.

Karen & I saw "the flash" 4 years ago when our children came bursting through the doors of the social workers office.  They were wild as a spring calf kicking up its heels but it was there in their eyes.  It reflected a divine being that overcame any of our fears of trying to parent these children.  We saw it again in the eyes of 2 children who got off to such a rough start in life and wondered if anyone would ever welcome them into their home and heart forever.  When you find the source you find the words "if anyone opens the door, I'll come in".  Its the source, not the conduit, where you plug in your heart.  Its the source that drives you, not the need.  When you tune into that source something magical begins to happen.  It is as if all of heaven pours out into your soul and you want more.

I hope this speaks to the hearts of many readers.  Do you hear what I'm saying?  Yes, Karen & I might be crazy and we've got the video to document it.  But there's a flash.  Can you see it?  Its in the eyes of  the child.  Its in your spouse's embrace.  Its in your prayer closet.  But don't get stuck on the flash.  Let it drive you to seek the Source!

And by the way, thanks to the kindness and prayers of many it looks like we are finally going to meet our new children  in the very, very near future.

Until we talk again....

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Its More Fun if You Raise Your Hands!

Today is August 6th, 2014.  If you had told me that we would not yet have traveled to meet and bring home our new kids I would have thought you were kidding.  As you know, we started out 2 weeks ago in an RV to head to the mid-west and only made it an hour down the road before the transmission began to fail.  Ever since that time I (Russell) have been working daily to find a suitable RV for us to take.  And when I say working, its the kind of work that has taken priority over all other things.  Things like work, play, the yard, the house, and yes, even having a lucid, meaningful conversation with other human beings that does not involve an RV!  At this point, we are exhausted and emotionally spent with the process.  Giving up is not an option but tell that to a set of stretched emotions that are screaming at you 24/7 and physical body that mediates the emotional pressures of the moment. 

Just when things reach a zenith of pressure something nice happens.  God shows up with an encouraging word usually delivered by one of His kids.   Like,  reconnecting with 
an old friend who happens to be well-versed in the virtues of RVs and provides wonderful counsel to help you avoid mistakes as you navigate toward that calling in your life.    And then, you go to a church to speak about adoption and the special place that God has in His heart for widows and orphans.  You're going to bless and educate a group of people but then something strange and wonderful happens.  Everything in the service seems to be designed to strengthen your feeble knees and encourage your weary heart.  You walk away refreshed and understanding that God hasn't forgotten you, He isn't hiding or withholding from you, and that all things "are as they should be" even though everything in you wishes to just settle this whole thing ....right now! 

That's where we are at today.  Still can't tell you when we're traveling.  As of this minute, still don't have an RV.  Still are about $4,500 short of our goal to raise the $20,000 it took to do this adoption.  But we're getting close and we know it.  God has shown up in so many crazy ways in the past 6 weeks that its hard to even express it all.  Maybe someday we'll put this entire, crazy ride into a coherent story.  Right now, its like being on one of those monster roller coaster rides at Disney or Busch just hold on, 
smile, laugh, raise your hands (because after all, the Lemur said it was more fun if you raise your hands...think Madagascar movie!) let out a few screams when it gets really, really scary, and otherwise grab your spouse, hold on tight and enjoy the thrill that comes with the ride! 

We'll be writing again really soon...right now the ride just went 90 miles an hour through a dark tunnel and I've got my hands raised & screaming like my pants just caught fire!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Eden Restored

Today is the 3rd day since we were forced to abandon our trip to the midwest to meet and bring home our new children.  We spent the first day just trying to figure out what just happened and the 2nd day trying to climb back on the horse!  We've now had a chance to rehearse things and a chance to regroup.  And the result?  Climb back on the horse and find a way!  I now want to share with you something from the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 36.  I think there's something here for us.
Ezekiel 36:33-38   Adonai Elohim says, “When the day comes...
I will cause the cities to be inhabited and the ruins to be rebuilt.  The land that was desolate will be tilled, whereas formerly it lay desolate for all passing by to see.  Then they will say, “The land that used to be desolate has become like the Garden of Eden, and the cities formerly ruined, abandoned and wasted have been fortified and are inhabited!”  Then the nations around you that remain will know that I, Adonai, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted what was abandoned.  I, Adonai, have spoken; and I will do it!”  ...So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. 
Whenever you feel that God has called you to follow Him and you accept that call, a strange journey will always follow...always!  Certainly Moses got more than he bargained for when the enemy pinned him in at the Red Sea.  Abraham must have been a bit dazed when God was asking him to offer up the promise of a great nation on the altar.  I'm quite sure that the disciples sat there the day of Jesus' crucifixion in something of a mental stupor, questioning the whole deal and wondering why they had given the last 3 years of their life for this outcome.  These are moments of desolation.  They lend themselves to feelings of total abandonment...much like when your stranded on the side of the road in an RV that won't run, 2 little children anticipating meeting their new family and the guy at the dealership says they have no other available replacements and you must cancel your trip!

But look what God says about such things.  At the end of ourselves a beautiful transformation happens.  Its a restoration of Eden.  Things that were ruined, hopes that were abandoned and things that have lost their energy will be inhabited and have new life breathed into them!  But this time its God's life not yours.  It was the Lord’s doing.  He's showing off and demonstrating His great love and compassion towards us.  He's causing the trees to yield fruit and the fields to increase their production, the grains to abound (vs. 29-30) and your sheep to increase (vs. 37)!

What is it that has been ruined in life?  What hopes have been abandoned and have wasted away in their lifeless energy?  The Lord has spoken 4 powerful words:  I WILL DO IT!  So we will go back to square one, await further instructions and abandon ourselves to faith & trust in Him all over again.  What we learned here is that when God calls you to something the most unfruitful question to ask along the journey is "why?" when along the way things don't go like you thought they should.  That one word only leads to an empty, vacuous silence.  The more productive question is "what now?"  It is from this place that you hear all over again the voice of God.

Until we speak blessed!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Perplexed.......But Not Abandoned.....

This morning we expected to wake up in an RV somewhere in western NC on our way to the mid-west.  But instead, I woke up in my own bed here in Southeast NC wondering what just happened.  But here it is in a nutshell:  Sunday the RV dealership called us to say that the RV had been turned in over the weekend per schedule "with the oil light on".  I insisted that they take Monday to thoroughly check out the unit and that we would push our leave date back by a day.  On Tuesday morning I picked up the RV, we packed and headed out.

We didn't make it far.  About 100 miles into the trip we received a revelation:  it wasn't the oil light that came on over the was the transmission light warning.  The transmission malfunctioned and we found ourselves on the side of the road wondering what to do.  We called the RV dealership who instructed us to return to Wilmington with the unit if possible.

We were able to limp home in the RV and fell into bed a little after midnight.  But what now?  We can only think of the disappointment of 2 little children who already have enough disappointment for a lifetime.  There were no other RVs available and we are at a loss as to what to do now.  At this point we are mentally exhausted and are retreating to our prayer closet today to try to sort things out.  I understand the words of the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 4 when he said, 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 

We will keep you posted...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Good things come to those that wait...

Don't you just hate that saying!  I don't know about you but waiting doesn't really flip my switches.  Recording artist and minister Jake Hamilton has a song that says "The King of Glory always comes at midnight..."  But why for crying out loud?  I wish I could explain it with a brilliance that would reflect an incredible pool of wisdom residing in me.  But I can't.  Such a pool does not exist.  Not in me anyway.  The only thing I know is that He is in control and that He promised. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious.  Here we are less than than 24 hours before we are to leave and we remain about $5,000 short.  I keep throwing that anxiety back to Him (I Peter 5:7) but like mud on a wall it doesn't seem to stick very long.  So I wind up and throw it again!  And while I find myself on the edge of agitation with the whole thing, I know that He works all things to good and that many, many inner thoughts and yes, fears, have surfaced in me that without the pressure, would never get addressed.  Things like...

  • Do I really trust or is my trust limited to things that if I fail its no big deal and the disappointments are small and easy to digest?
  • Is my faith strong enough to head out to the mid-west state with only $200 in my account?  
  • Is my faith in God or is it in others...or even worse, myself?  
  • Does all this speaking the truth in love, declaring His word and clinging have an effect?
  • Do the fervent prayers get heard?
  • And then the granddaddy of them all...What if I missed it completely and am in the flesh?
These thoughts swirl in my head like a tornado over open land.  Its one thing to sing and sway in the comfortable confines of my home and church but what about when God calls you to step out of the boat and walk on the water?  

While I can't explain all the why's and what-abouts, I can say this:  there is a refuge and a hiding place just like David claimed there was (Ps 25:20; Ps 32:7).  It is found not in what you see but in that place in the soul that is occupied by Him.  It is He who has authored and finished the deal.  So in the midst of pressure, facing an unknown and uncertainty that is not years or months or even weeks away but is right here, right now...I can lift my hands and proclaim "Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  [He] who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."  (Ps 103).

So we continue to wait for God to show up and show off.  I do as the old Native American prayer says, and Paul proclaims in Romans 12:9..."cling to that which is good".  So I hug Karen extra tight this morning and take a lesson from my younger children as they excitedly await our departure to meet their new brother and sister.  They aren't worried about a thing:  Dad's got it all under control!

Let me close today by saying that it now seems really appropriate that we introduced this entire adoption thing to others with Billy Joel's "You might be right, I might be crazy" playing in the background. 

But even in the tenseness of the moment I'd rather be found crazy attempting to walk on water at His beckoning, than be found sane in the "safety" of my own logic, playing it safe and living life only for myself!

Keep praying for us.  Until we talk again...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Update on Bringing Our New Kids Home!

So here we are.  24 Hours away from beginning the process to meet our kids and bring them home with us. Leaving the farm behind is stressful but knowing our police officer son will be here to house and animal sit while we're gone is comforting.  Anxiety mounts, but its a good least most of it.  Will our new children like us or will they be disappointed?  Will they take to us quickly or will it take a while to capture them?  What will our other young children think?  What will they do?  What is going through their little minds as they watch 2 other children being grafted into our family?

While it is difficult at times to determine what our 3 youngest boys are thinking, I think its safe to say they are both excited and nervous.  True to their history, they handle emotional stimulation with regressive behavior.  All kinds of things are popping up this week that we haven't had to deal with much over the past 6 months.  This is somewhat predictable and it is why we knew that we could not travel to meet our new children and not take them with us.  It would have ignited their worst fears in life and we simply could not do that to them.

In spite of the increased anxiety, the boys have also shown amazing resiliency and compassion for our new children.  Each evening at the dinner table they ask "when do we leave to get our new kids?"   They are genuinely excited and this adoption has served to help them expand their worlds beyond themselves in order to think of others.  We are proud of the progress our boys have made and especially proud of the acceptance that they have already demonstrated for our new children.

We can't fathom how little children comprehend how this works. It is so unnatural for kids not to have a home and family from the start and to see them getting excited about getting a family or adding to our family in this way is still so strange. We are glad that they are excited, it is just amazing that they can come to any kind of understanding in their little minds about it. To our boys, families just add more people/children at different times and to them "getting" these two is normal. They are not phased by that part at all. They are definitely more excited than anything.

I think there is a spiritual lesson here.  When one is born into God's kingdom, isn't one of the things that He asks of us is that we share His love and good news with others?   In other words, think of somebody else long enough to help them in life?

That's where we are today.  We wait expecting, excited and, yes, anxiously for the rest of God's provision, which as of today is $5,000.  We continually remind ourselves to not get sidetracked by what we see in the natural and re-focus on what we see in our mind and spirit's eye...and we break out all over again with thanks and gratitude to be a part of something so special as to take care of His little ones!  We are reminded of Pillar 12 (see my book, 12 Pillars & a Prayer) and we join with the Apostle Paul in "being anxious for nothing, but by prayers and petitions, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God...and His peace will guard your hearts and minds" (Philippians 4:4-8).

You can go to and scroll down to donate to help us bring our 2 children home!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Smooth Sailing or Walking on Water?

Anyone who has followed our blog for awhile will know that it is no secret we have had struggles in our adoption process. some may even think we are crazy to do what we have done. There have been times that we might have agreed with you. However, when God calls you to do something it isn't always easy and it doesn't always work out like you planned. We have learned this over and over and all we can do is keep moving forward. We have also learned so much about God through this process and how much He loves us and is with us all the way through all the struggles.

As most of you know, in 2010 we adopted 3 severely neglected children, ages 2, 3 & 4 at the time.  It has been the ride of our life!...absolutely one of the most challenging things we've ever done and at the same time absolutely one of the most meaningful things God has ever asked us to do!

Our boys are flourishing now and just when we thought we had smooth sailing, God has again called us get out of the boat and provide a home for 2 special needs children, ages 2 & 3. There are prominent medical needs involved secondary to severe neglect, starvation and hypoxia (the 2 year old literally starved to death but was revived).  

The only piece of the puzzle left now is the funding.  At this time, we still need to raise $10,000.  We should be nervous but we're not!  We are confident that God is calling us and believe that He will provide. We are keeping our eyes on Jesus and walking on water to meet Him.

He asked were we willing? and we put our Yes! on the table. He has challenged us to abandon ourselves to faith & trust that the need would be met.  We are simply to put our need out there to various groups, churches and individuals.  We believe somewhere in this process is a miracle of provision on behalf of these 2 little children.  

We are asking you be a part of helping us raise these funds by praying for us, donating if you desire and sending this need on to others? We only have one week to do this!  

We should be nervous...but strangely we're not.  There is a deep overwhelming peace and excitement that somehow goes beyond our circumstances.  It is a special time.  Never before has our faith been so tested and so much "blind trust" required.  It is a strange feeling knowing that you're doing everything you can but understanding that no matter what we do its not enough.  We must have something bigger, something greater, something supernatural operating in order to give these 2 children the home they deserve.  And somehow we understand that this is not about us.  And Its not just about the 2 children getting a home.  There are others at stake here too.  We believe that others will not only participate in our adoption process and be blessed, but that still others will step up and say "well if the Thomas' can do it, we can do it too".  We know not everyone is called to adopt. We are all called to take care of widows and orphans. James 1:27 but that doesn't mean that everyone is called to parent an orphan. It may that be that you are called to help others adopt, or serve and support missions to orphans. There are so many ways to serve God and we all are in this together. It is to this end that we recognize that this is not our adoption.  It has the feel of something bigger than us.  I've always heard that everybody needs a "why" in life in order to motivate them.  Ours is coming into focus. 

We have 2 ways set up for people to get involved with these children's future. First, people can go to and scroll down on the home page to the donate button.  Second, people can go to and donate. Both sites are secure. I'd like to thank you in advance for any help, prayers, donations and ask that you please pass this one to anyone that you may think is appropriate. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Looking for Answers in the Easy Places

This morning I heard my wife comment in the other room followed by a couple of emails she forwarded to me.  Both were CNN breaking news feeds that read as follows:

The new search area for Flight 370 is hundreds of miles closer to the Australian coast, which will give planes more time to spend over the area, an Australian official says. Planes may also encounter better weather there than in the previous search area.
Aircraft first arrived at the new search area Friday, an Australian official said. So far, authorities have not found anything they would classify as debris, he said.

After reading the 2 emails,  It brought to mind the story about the boy who was frantically looking for something behind the family home.  It was late at night and the boy was down on all fours, brushing his hands back and forth in the grass and near the point of tears when his father came looking for him only to find him in their back yard. 

“What are you doing, son?” the father asked.

The boy replied, “I’m looking for my watch” to which the father inquired further, “Where did you last see it?”

“In the front yard!” he quickly responded.  Puzzled by his son’s response, the father ventured again, “Then why in the world are you looking in the backyard for the watch?”

Slightly annoyed and obviously distressed the boy responded without hesitation “Because that is where the light is!

The CNN news search struck me as similar logic.  While I’m sure there is more to the story, it reads as if the search was moved to a new location because the weather was better there!  Of course the follow up news released indicated that the search team had come up empty! 

What really strikes me about this story is in the details.  How many times do we “look for answers in the easiest place to look”?  For example children...
        Why do they continue to do the things we’ve asked them not to do even after we’ve preached this     sermon over a 1000 times? 

Ø  Why do they ask for the very thing that wasnt offered?  
Ø  Why do they lie about insignificant things? 
Ø  Why do they terrorize the other kids in sunday school?

Its easy to search in the comfortable places…

Ø  They’re oppositional…
Ø  they’re defiant,
Ø  they’re ungrateful,
Ø  they’re detached…
But searching for debris in the comfortable places doesn’t pay off very well.  The search must move to the uncomfortable places…in such places the search team is pushed to discover the truth.  The secrets of the soul are not easily discovered and healing is never found in the label.  It requires something of a sacrifice from the search team and in the case of a child’s heart parents are that search team.  And if we’re talking about children who have been grafted into the family it’s difficult to know where the plane went down!  The search begins with asking a different set of questions.  If it’s not defiance, then what is it?  If it’s not detachment, then what?  What is my child feeling when he abandons all logic and consequence to do his/her own thing?

Recently, I had an interesting meeting with a young man.  During our meeting he began to tell me that his father abandoned the family when he was 6.  Literally, his dad went to the grocery store and never came back!  The young man tearfully recounted what it was like for him and that he now can relate to kids because he “knows what it feels like”.  I stopped him at that point and asked a pointed question, “So what does it feel like?”

I sat there for a moment and as tears welled up in his eyes.  He then looked me in the eyes and said “FEAR!  I was all alone and figured that I had to take care of myself…nobody was going to be there for me!” 

What had been an academic-like meeting suddenly became a sobering moment filled with emotion, as I got a glimpse of the injury in his soul.  His story represents the heart of too many teens and children who carry the burden of their own survival.  We get caught up on the opposition and disobedience because after all, the weather is safer there.  To search elsewhere requires that we fly headlong into the storm while suspending our need for comfort and/or realize that our intense desire for reciprocal love may not be realized…at least not right now.  The search requires that we keep trying to attach with no guarantees that it will ever happen. 

Granted, it is easier to search where the weather is good.  Otherwise I am forced to admit that this unconditional love thing is very hard.  I am confronted with the reality that on my own, I am inept at this “laying down my life thing” in order for my child to thrive and feel the warm embrace and security of love. 

So how do you look in the right places even though the weather there is terrible, maybe even treacherous?  I know of only one model for doing so.  Its found in these words, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who…made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant…He humbled Himself and became obedient…” (Phillipians 2:5-8).  The model also teaches that “while we were yet sinners, He died for us”…which translated means that while we were doing all that crazy stuff to try to hide our fears, He still loved!  And there’s the model.  The denial of one’s own self in order that others may prosper.  It’s the right place to search.  Its not as comfortable as where blue skies prevail or street lights shine into a frightening darkness…but then there are no plane parts or watches to be found in those places and there are no children to be saved from their fears there either.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Understanding Adoptive Parents

As we have previously written, our experience parenting children that we have adopted has brought with it many surprises, challenges and yes, its bizarre moments!  

One of the things that we’ve noticed over the past few years is how the entire adoptive experience has had an isolating effect on us.  If we would have had a nickel for every time we’ve looked at each other and said, “they [meaning friends and even family] just don’t understand” our financial status would be dramatically altered!  

One thing we admit is that it is hard to talk to about these things.  There have been those who tried.  It often feels like others are wondering if we’ve lost our minds, not to mention our parental touch.  Attempts by those around us to help us out by saying something that they think is either instructive or inspirational often seem shallow or even worse, judgmental and condemning.  Admittedly, it’s a tough line to walk.  I’m not sure I could say something all that wise to me if I were in my friends’ shoes! 

So that’s why we’re posting these links!  We came across several other blogs recently that say it all and to be honest really make us feel like we are not alone and there are people out there that do understand. There really are people out there that are living the life we are living to some degree or another. We are thankful for these posts that have encouraged us and spoken to our heart. We hope you will enjoy them as well.

This blog tells it all, exactly what we feel and experience daily. We are not saints but Warriors fighting for these children and all children who need homes and families. Please click on the following link:

This blog explains so much truth about special needs adoption and although our boys are not diagnosed with any physical special needs they do, in fact, have very special needs. The impact of loss, abandonment and neglect took its toll on our boys and the result is that our family has a very difficult time doing even simple, perfunctory activities like driving 30 minutes to eat out or an hour and a half to visit family. Such routine events result in chaos, destruction of property and frustration that even Mother Teresa would have a difficult time managing! The result is a feeling of isolation and even though this has been one of the hardest things we have ever done, we wouldn't change a thing. It has also been one of the most rewarding things we have done and in spite of our struggles we feel totally blessed to have our boys. Please click on the following link:

This blog offers a nice mix of humor and truth.  It is a list of the 10 things that you don’t say to adoptive parents.  Please click on the following link:  My favorite part was the 7 things to say to an adoptive parent. So true and encouraging. Lets all try to say some of these things to the families you know that are adopting or have adopted.

We are truly not offended by others attempts to encourage us.  In fact, we’ve said a lot of the same things to others too.  We recognize that ours is a unique and difficult situation and we are eternally grateful for friends and family like you that have stood with us and encouraged us!  With that said, enjoy and we’ll talk again soon…