Friday, April 30, 2010


It's the end of a l-o-n-g week filled with meetings, phone conferences, plenty of praying, kids stuff, husband stuff, and the eternal chores of laundry and dishes...sigh...
I'm in the mood for a cuppa hot tea and a reason to smile...

Tavin's 3 year old smile melted hearts. His long eyelashes that covered soft brown eyes never failed to evoke the envy of every woman who met him. With a gentle disposition that survived through profound woundedness, Tavin was a joy to welcome home. His adoption party hosted over 90 friends and we opened presents all day; a cowboy hat, flashlight and big boy underwear became his new treasured possessions.

Since we had waited years (no exaggeration) to adopt our little guy, extended family who lived in Ohio and New York wanted us to travel from Colorado to introduce our son to his gazillion relatives. We were excited for them to meet Tavin, too. We purchased airline tickets and prepared to travel -packing the cowboy hat and flashlight, showing Tavin photos of grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins.

After landing in Ohio, the worldwind began... new faces, new places, more new faces and places.

Each evening Tavin would ask, "Can I go home now?"
We'd answer, "Well, not yet, Buddy. You've got some more family to meet."

We drove from Ohio to New York to see my three brothers, five sisters, their spouses and herds of kiddos. Tavin played hard, hugged everyone, and smiled nonstop for snapping cameras; yet, each time we got in the car he would say,

"Let's go home now."
"Almost time to go home," we'd reply as we drove back to Ohio for a little more visiting...

When we boarded the airplane two weeks later, Tavin gladly buckled in and exclaimed to anyone who listened that he was going home. When our connection in Chicago was canceled and we had to overnight in the windy city, Tavin wondered aloud again,

"Are we going home?"
"No, Buddy, not yet." we mumbled, fumbling with the hotel key.

Finally, we boarded an afternoon flight and 8 hours later, we pulled into our driveway and Daddy carried a sleepy Tavin to his bedroom and tucked him in. The next morning, as the sunshine streamed through the windows, Tavin ran down the hall to greet us in the kitchen with a look of amazement and exclaimed,

"Mommy! Mommy! We're home - you found it!

Tavin's twelve now and he's reading this post over my shoulder. He's preparing to go to his first traveling basketball tournament. He gives me a hug and that heart-melting smile,
"Yep, Mom, I still like home best!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Dear Everyone who prayed and is praying for the house to sell,


Can someone say,

The story behind this house is very cool, but that's for another time. Right now we just want to thank everyone for praying and invite you all to PRAISE THE LORD with us.

Kenya, here we come!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Selling a House so We Can "Go..."

Please, please, please pray for our home to sell so we can live in Kenya and serve widows and orphans. Lisa's health could use some prayers, too! For more info. on ministry in Kenya, see the page under the header titled, CARE for Nations.

Big hugs and blessings to all who are in "crazy love with Jesus" and showing it to others!
(it's the greatest commandment coupl
ed with the great co-mission! Very cool, Linny at

Thursday, April 22, 2010


This update concerns adoptions in Haiti and news from from the Joint Council on International Children's Services. CARE offers our prayers and encourages a Godly response to those in Haiti who are enduring unimaginable tragedy and trauma.

Adoption agencies working with Haiti state that it will likely be a long time before the government in Haiti is able to begin processing adoptions, especially new cases for families. Currently many agencies' primary goal right now will be to help bring the children home that have already been in the adoption process.

What does this mean for new families? At this point many agencies plan to accept an informal family application to keep a record of interested families. Once the future of adoptions from Haiti is stable, and agencies are able to discuss their programs with directors in Haiti, they will contact families. It is impossible to predict when a newly rebuilt Haiti government will be able to turn its attention to international adoption law and processing. Many reputable agencies are not accepting any formal applications at this time.

The following information is provided from the Joint Council on International Children's Services:

Visas issues: It has been confirmed that a handful of Haitian children, whose adoptions were finalized by the Haitian courts and whose adoptive parents were in Port-au-Prince at the time of the earthquake, have received their visas to enter the United States. While the issuance of visas in these specific cases is very welcomed news, it should not encourage adoptive parents to travel to Haiti in an attempt to secure a visa for the child they are adopting. Such individual efforts may in fact be counterproductive and dangerous.

Children with finalized adoption decrees: The U.S. government and child advocates are making every effort to find a method by which children with finalized adoption decrees can enter the United States and be united with their adoptive families.

Other Adoptions: Our community, including the U.S. government, continues to work for a solution for those children and adoptive families who do not have a finalized Haitian adoption decree. These adoptions are often ill-defined; therefore creating a procedure that unites children with adoptive families while ensuring that children are not further victimized is extremely difficult. Despite the challenges, we remain confident that the means to move children into adoptive families will be found very soon.

New Adoptions, Airlifts & U.S. Foster Care: Ideas for airlifting children into the United States and placing them in foster homes continue to surface. In some instances, rumors and speculation have taken on lives of their own. Additionally, many U.S. families are seeking to initiate adoptions of newly orphaned Haitian children. While both airlifts and new adoptions are based on valid concerns and come from an obviously loving heart, neither option is considered viable by any credible child welfare organization. Bringing children into the United States either by airlift or new adoption during a time of national emergency can open the door for fraud, abuse and trafficking. Every effort must be made in a timely fashion to locate living parents and extended family members. Many children, who might appear to be orphaned, might in fact be only temporarily separated from their families. Currently everyone's efforts must be to provide the families and children of Haiti with shelter, nutrition, water and safety. Once the situation in Haiti stabilizes and timely reunification has taken place, adoption may be an option for the children who remain outside of permanent parental care.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Diamond Ring!

Although this post is not adoption/orphan related, it is a story about a relationship and how God took it to a new level to bring His destiny into reality - to produce fruitfulness for His kingdom. In spite of my "stuff" the Lord used my words to give me what I didn't know I needed.

Mark wanted to get married. So did I, but not as much as Mark. Maybe I was a little apprehensive about tying the knot since there weren't many marriages I admired. Maybe I was afraid the lurking muscle disease would someday scare Mark away - if I got weaker, would he leave me? What ever the case, I told Mark I'd marry him after he got me a "honking huge diamond ring and proposed on one knee in a very romantic setting." I knew a huge diamond would put the brakes on marrying since we were both fresh out of Bible school and volunteering full time at an inner city ministry in Providence, Rhode Island. The only money we had jingled in our pockets.

Winter in Providence is
sssoooo cooolllddd - FREEEEZing to be more precise! Every now and then, Mark and I would spend afternoons at the mall, just to be somewhere warm and walk around talking. He would ALWAYS slow down and pause in front of jewelry store windows....

"Hey, Lisa... look at this ring..."

"Yeah, nice. I need to check out some cards at the Hallmark store. Let's go."

Then, one freezing winter evening...
we were at the mall...
Mark stopped at the jewelry store window...

and there it was...

The Ring.
(not the actual ring, but it looks like it)
I stared at it. Niiiccce! Now, I'm not really into big rocks, gold and all that, but this was a very pretty ring that I knew Mark could NOT afford, so we went into the store to take a closer gander.

The sales woman, who's hair looked like she'd kissed a fan on full speed, came toward us with a booming voice. I was sure the whole mall could hear her ask us what we'd like to see.

"The ring in the display." Mark replied proudly, putting his arm around me.

"OOOOHHHH, HOW EXCITING!" Miss Fan-kisser shivered and was off to retrieve the diamond.

When she returned with the rock poised to fit on my finger, I gulped... and put it on. She told us the price, and then Mark gulped.

"SO, TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELVES!" Miss Fan-kisser beamed, holding my hand to show off the huge diamond to Mark. He smiled, smitten or nervous, I wasn't real sure. I proceeded to tell her my testimony of how God saved me from a life on the streets that was filled with drugs, booze and other rancid stuff; how we met at Bible school, worked with kids, youth, and homeless at a ministry downtown. She hung on every word. She loved the stories about soup kitchen, children's story times, and that we each lived in houses with no heat where addicts slept...

"OOOHHH, YOU'RE REAL CHRISTIANS!" Then she proceed to have all the other salespeople huddle around (apparently she was the manager) and had me tell the testimony again.

After the second rendition, the crowd dispersed, and Miss Fan-kisser stood there staring at us with this silly grin... Now I started getting nervous. Suddenly, and softly this time, she spoke,
"I'm gonna give you this ring at a discount cause I like what God's doing in you two."

"What's a discount?" Mark stammered. Her reply made Mark pull out his credit card and slap it on the counter. The beautiful ring this lady was practically giving us clinched the deal for Mark. He could have it paid off interest-free in a few months.

Well, let me tell ya, I got "cold feet" fast and not from the weather! I needed to pray, and pray some more. I asked Mark if we could decide tomorrow. His smile didn't flinch,
"Sure." He dropped me off at my place, and I laid my concerns before the Lord... my fears, my trust issues, my independence... and then God spoke...

This ring is a symbol if how much Mark loves you, Lisa. It's beauty shines, reflecting My Light. It's so big, you can't miss it. It has three stones, with the largest in the middle as a reminder that I am in the midst of you both. And this love costs Mark everything; like Jesus' love. It's a love that I have given him.

I felt like the Lord was telling me not to be afraid to take Mark as my husband, like He told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.

We got the ring. (Although when we went back to the store, Miss Fan-kisser was not there; a new salesperson looked at us like we had 10 heads when we told him the price we were quoted. He went into the back office, returned with this dumbfounded look, and sold us the ring for the agreed upon price.)

On a beautiful spring day, along the shores of the Narragansett Bay, Mark sat me on a bench, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He placed the "honking huge diamond ring" on my finger and hugged me into his heart.

It's been almost 20 years of marriage. Mark loves me with a unending passion regardless of my physical limitations which have gotten worse over time. He loves me in spite of my cranky attitudes. His love still
"shines in the Light, is so big - it attracts attention, and still costs him everything."

Today, no matter how unknown the future is, no matter what crisis face you, no matter your history of abuse and neglect, KNOW for certain that your
heavenly Father is Light, is Big enough to attract your attention, and His Love for you costs Him everything. Expect HIS hug to bring you into HIS heart!

Living in an eternal embrace,

Friday, April 16, 2010


We all know how trying life can be when you venture into the world of adoption; we also know how much FUN is happening all around us if we'd just take time to share it. God has given us His joy to be our strength. This FUN FRIDAY post (which hopefully will happen every Friday) is to make you smile, maybe even "LOL" a bit. I pray it lightens your load and reminds you of how much you your Heavenly Father loves you.

Believing a "merry heart is good medicine,"


Taleah's tender age of 3 didn't stop her from thinking like a debate team leader! Maybe it was a skill she acquired to overcome the hardship she experienced before coming home to us, maybe she's just gonna be a lawyer someday. Whatever the case may be, she usually comes up with the most unique way to view situations.

We adopted our kiddos as toddlers and as soon as they come home we start telling Bible stories - the common ones you share with kids like Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Jonah and the great fish...

Well, for a while, whenever Taleah needed a little discipline in time out, she'd hide somewhere. We'd eventually find her under the bed or behind a piece of furniture. We'd retrieve her, take her to the time out place and let her stay there for a short while.

As this "hiding" continued we finally asked Taleah, "Why do you hide every time you need a time out?"

She looked at us with big wondering brown eyes and simply said, "That's what Adam and Eve did."

I'm sure you have plenty of funny stories too that we'd all enjoy reading. Take a moment to LAUGH with us!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Don't Give Up

My friend, Linny, at has a Memorial Box Monday post. I like Linny, her family, and the idea that we need to remember God's faithfulness. In the midst of life's adventures - whether you're entering into the adoption journey, waiting... raising kiddos who've been adopted, believing for a miracle, or waiting some more... it's imperative to know that God holds you. His compassion is boundless, and His love for you is unquenchable. I pray my memory of an experience some years ago will encourage you today.
living amazing grace,

It's happening again. I feel it. I see it. My strength ebbs away and fear surrounds me like a shroud. What can I do? Why is my life fading into blackness so thick it chokes out any hope? Anxious thoughts encircle me and I struggle to overcome them. Hiding in the only place I know I will be safe, I slip a warm blanket around me in the early morning hours, sit with my Bible and listen to the Lord.

Reflecting back twenty years, I was diagnosed with a severe muscle disease that wouldn't respond to treatments. It's grown progressively worse and now my physical limitations keep me from everyday activities. I can't lift my arms or stand up from a sitting position. I can barely walk with a walker, and many times I have difficulty breathing. How do I watch my husband, who works a full time job, come home to household chores I can't do? How do I look into my little boy's eyes and tell him I can't take him to the park or pick him up and snuggle?

I cry out to God, sharing my burdens, my desires. He brings me to His Word and to an encouragement He spoke to me long ago...

I remember that time - becoming weaker and having to go back in the hospital. Discouragement pushed me to my friend's house where I lamented my crisis. My friend suggested I phone Eddie, a brother in the faith. I called and complained, telling him how scared I felt about my muscles growing weaker and the pending chemotherapy treatments. As Eddie tried to console me, we both heard static on the line. A voice broke into our conversation and asked,
"Is there a Lisa on the line?"

I said,
"Yes. Yes. There's a Lisa on the line. Again static vibrated into the earpiece and the voice repeated, "Is there a Lisa on the line?" Wondering what was happening, I urgently replied, "Yes, my name is Lisa." Evidently the person behind the voice couldn't hear me, but what he said next bought me to tears...

"If there's a Lisa on the line, the Word says, 'Don't give up!'"

I sat there, silent - shocked. I pulled the phone away from my ear and looked at it as though I'd never seen a phone before. Vaguely, I heard Eddie yelling in the background,
"Did you hear that? Who was that?" Slowly putting the phone back to my ear, I told Eddie I'd call him later.
I needed to talk to God since He had just spoken to me.

Now that word of encouragement, perhaps from an "angel unaware," inspires me again. Curled up in my chair, I grasp for the God who intervened in a past phone call. I look to Him for comfort, strength and healing. All those promises feel so distant; yet strangely, I feel a presence very near. Pulling the blanket around my shoulders, I surrender in faith. I believe His Word. I will not give up.
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