Friday, September 2, 2011

Our SECOND giveaway today is a bit different. We get to giveaway 2 beautiful Ugandan made bead necklaces to support our friends who are adopting!

This is close to our heart and these friends have been through so much on the road to bringing their sweet baby "I" home. Carla is sharing their beautiful story here and Ive posted details below for how to enter the giveaway. Hope lots of you will participate and show your support for these friends offering hope to the hopeless and a home to the homeless. What a beautiful picture adoption is of God's love for us!!

Meet Carla...and Chris and their sweet son Charley

I am so glad to have this opportunity to give away one of our Ugandan paper bead necklaces on the FFF blog! Women in Uganda make these necklaces out of paper and magazines! Mandy and I met because I was a super pregnant lady who needed a doula 3 years ago! I am so thankful for her and her faith!

My husband and I started the adoption process in early 2010. My friends and I knew we needed to get on track with making a habit of spending time in God’s word daily, and so we had a “30 Day Challenge” where we challenged each other to read our bibles for 30 days in a row for 30 minutes. At the end of that month, I could so clearly discern what the Lord was saying to me. His voice and His leading had become so distinctly recognizable to me because of time spent daily in His word. He was telling us to adopt our next child.

We stumbled upon a pilot program for families to adopt from the African country of Uganda. Uganda has an estimated 2 million orphans, in a country about the size of Oregon. About half of that 2 million are orphaned due to AIDS. After much prayer, God was saying, “This is it, step out of the boat and follow what I am doing.” In October of 2010 I was given the opportunity to travel with a team to the orphanage that we would be adopting from. A few weeks before that, I had talked with our social worker about a possible baby boy in need of a home at our orphanage. I had all of my friends praying, that the moment that I met him, I would know if he was meant to be ours. It’s a really crazy feeling to be meeting your potential child. As soon as I picked him up, he fell asleep in my arms. God was whispering to me, “This is him, this is your son.” About 3 weeks after returning, we were given this official referral for “Baby I.” That was 10 months ago. We have now been through many many twists and turns along the way as we wait to bring our son home. We don’t feel like we are “rescuing” him from anything. We only want to follow Jesus as we love others. God is going to do what He has planned for our son, no matter if he lives in Uganda for the rest of his life, or if he comes home to live with us, God doesn’t need us to fulfill His plans for Baby I. We feel incredibly blessed and in awe that He has chosen us to be his parents, that He has chosen us to be stewards of this precious little life.

Fast forward to the spring of 2011, which is when we thought we would be receiving a court date to bring our boy home. Each and every day, and every week, we thought, “This is going to be the day we will hear of our date to bring him home.” And each week came and went. By the summer we found out it would be fall before we would be able to travel. This was devastating news to us. I was given the incredible opportunity to travel once again to see our boy. During that trip, I saw how he was thriving and how his presence at that home fit so intricately into what God was doing there. God was saying to me, “He is in My hands. Baby I’s time in Uganda isn’t over yet. I have him here in his country for a reason still.” He equipped me to say goodbye once again to our boy.

So here we are in September, and we just received news of our court date, and it is SOON! It has been a long emotional process over the past 18 months, but what I have learned, and the way that my faith has changed, I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. It was awful, awful in the middle of it, but I have seen God move, and I have experienced His presence in ways like never before. So here I am to give away a necklace made by Uganda women to celebrate what God has done in our child’s life and in our family!

I would love to share with you some encouragement that we have learned from the “School of Waiting”:

1. I heard the Ugandan pastor preach a sermon at Gaba Community Church about Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water (in Matthew 14), and here is what he said: “It’s those people like Peter who jump out that experience God at work. Peter, in the middle of the water, instead of looking at Jesus, he started looking around him. He forgot to look at the Provider, and focused on the provision, and started sinking.” Wow. How many times have I gotten so emotional and upset because I was focusing on the adoption (the provision), instead of on the PROVIDER (Jesus)! I’m learning to keep my eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstances! As we stepped out of the boat and our comfort zone, we have seen Him provide time and time again through finances, paperwork, etc... He will provide, He just asks us to obey and seek Him.

2. If you are going through a rough trial or time of waiting, I highly recommend the book The Land Between by Jeff Manion. I learned this concept from the book: Our times of wandering in the desert can seem awful and never-ending. But it is fertile ground for growth in one way or another. We can choose to grow bitterness, or we can choose to allow our trial to shape our faith in maturity and strength as we lean on the Lord. I can’t tell you how many times I have chosen to sow the seed of bitterness and anger at this process instead of RUNNING to God’s word in my distress. In the times that I have chosen to run to his word, and bring Him my ugly attitudes and angry heart instead of letting them grow, He has refreshed my thirsty soul and my focus has been shifted back onto Him instead of on what He was doing. We can wallow in our bitterness or we can put feet to our faith and follow Him in the ups and downs.

3. Be careful not to make what you are waiting for into an idol. When you are so fixated on whatever the end prize is, instead of your relationship with Jesus being THE goal, it has become an idol. No matter how awesome and good that thing is that you are waiting for, Jesus is the prize. Whew! I have done that So. Many. Times. We have to continually be giving our burdens and our idols over to Jesus.

4. I have been very convicted about trying to set a timeline as to when our adoption will be finished. God says in Psalm 139, “And in your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” He knows the exact time that He has appointed for you to move on to a different season. The story that God is writing in your life is so intricately woven and perfectly timed that we could never write as beautiful of a story in our own lives like He can. If I wrote the story of our adoption, it would be about 2 months long and then Baby I would have been home with us. But God’s story for your family, including whatever trial or waiting that you are in, will be beautiful. In our sorrow we can have JOY as we watch Him work all things for our good.

I definitely am not so mature in my faith that I have any of these things down….I am continually focusing on myself and my problems. But it has been a beautiful journey and I am so thankful for the pruning He has done in our lives in the waiting! God is enough. He will carry you!!

How to Enter: What a gift to be able to come alongside these friends. There truly are so many needs and huge organizations to give to, but its special to get to contribute to something where you know exactly what it will be used bring sweet I to his forever family!!

They have a paypal account set up to help with travel expenses. For every dollar that you donate, that will count as one entry into the giveaway (and will be a huge blessing to Chris and Carla!) Necklaces retail at $15/each. Simply donate a dollar...or two....or three and then leave a comment below with how many $ you donated and we'll credit you that many entries in the giveaway. Carla is offering 2 necklaces, so we'll have a couple of winners! Arent they pretty?!


Tracy said...

Carla...we are so excited for you guys and can't wait for you to have him home!! Praying for you guys! I just donated 10!

Anonymous said...

I would love to help! I am mailing Carla $5. God Bless!
-Christina Neiger