Friday, December 19, 2008
The last few days have been cold and icy here and today it is going to be 75 in TEXAS!!! I can't wait for some of that "warmer" winter weather!! It will be so nice to watch our car thermometer rise as we drive south!! YEA!!
On the adoption front== all is going well. Our completed dossier was sent to BFAS on Monday 12/15/08. They received it on Tuesday 12/16/08, and it's going to be state autheniticated today 12/19/08. They told me via telephone that it will hopefully be authenticated in Washington DC on Tuesday of next week and be on it's way to Ethiopia before Christmas day. YEA!! We will be officially waiting for a referral when the paperwork is in Ethiopia. It could be 1-2 months, it could be sooner but no matter what......I'm confident that God's in control. I've done the paperwork that I can control and the rest is out of my hands and I trust God's in the middle of these plans and the process. Right now-- we're feeling patient. Next week or month--- tune back in because I may be going crazy with anticipation!! Adoption is actually a very emotional journey.....elating, exciting, draining and overwhelming at the same time!! I never knew what waiting families went through to adopt!!
My quiet time this morning refected on these scriptures.... 1 John 3:1-3
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
Well--- I am going to close and finish getting ready to leave for a few weeks. Although Joel thinks I'm a little OCD, I have to get the house totally clean before I leave.... I hate coming home to a mess!! haha!!
Merry Christmas to you all......
Monday, December 15, 2008
The scripture truths that I am pondering for today:
Exodus 14:13 "Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you."
Ephesians 1:10 " This is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ- everything in heaven and on earth."
Psalm 9:1 "I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done."
Hope your day is blessed. I'm going to bundle up, load my kiddos in the car and go pick up our homestudy now!!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
We are rejoicing with so many of our adopting friends that have traveled this week to pick up their children!! God is so good. We are praying for them all and are encouraged and inspired as we see them faithfully follow God's guidance in their lives. SO COOL!! We are also excited because we know that some of our BFAS families received referrals yesterday......we haven't heard details yet but there are good things happening for orphaned Ethiopian children!! They are going to have forever families!! HALLELUJAH!! We know that the Lord's timing and plans are so much bigger and better than ours!! I am thankful that at least for today, I'm not feeling overwhelmed by worries of timing and logistics of our life. God is in control. I read this scripture during my quiet time.....
"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day."
We are so happy for our friends that have listened to God's calling in their lives, and so energized by knowing that God had a plan for them and that God worked out all the details for them, some slowly, some quickly!!! But-- all these things happen on a timeline that is God's alone.
Congratulations Marianthe and Jill. BFAS families that are travelling this week and those that got referrals this week--- PRAISE THE LORD!! As for us-- I'm thankful and feeling so blessed today as we just wait for God's perfect adoption plan to continue to unfold and testify of his goodness to our family!!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Joel D, our 2 1/2 year old is having surgery to put some tubes in his little ears. He's suffered chronic ear infections (11 in 2 years to be exact) and we're hoping this does the trick and he'll recover quickly and also not have so many earaches in the future. Please pray for him today. Please pray for the doctors and nurses that will be caring for him and for a successful surgery with no issues.
So today is also the day we are hoping to receive the official, done, all sorted and printed and notarized and did I mention, --DONE-- home study. We've now done all ths steps in an amazingly short period of time....our personal review is complete, our international agency has reviewed it and has approved it and it is now truly done!!!
Our dossier is complete now except for this final home study approval document and as soon as we go pick it up (hopefully on our way home from the hospital as the agency office is on our way) we'll drop it by a post office for overnight delivery to our international agency. YEA! It has been amazing to see God open doors, fix little paper trail issues, and make the way so easy for our document processing. I am in AWE of His will for us, His power to move mountains for us, and for His gracious and merciful love for us. I know we are right in the center of His plan for us right at this moment in time and I am so comforted and joyful and have complete peace in this place right now. This morning, I've been pondering this scripture in my heart.......
"And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What then can we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" +Romans 8:28-32
Hope your day is blessed. Please remember Joel Daniel in your prayers today. We'll keep you posted.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Today was our final Homestudy visit. We should get the approved homestudy document in our hands tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest and then we'll add the homestudy to the above documents and we'll ship our COMPLETED dossier to BFAS, our international agency for state and national authentications! WHOOOHOOOOO!! My goal was to be done with OUR part of the paperchase before Christmas and God has provided. He keeps opening doors and making things happen!! It has been an amazing journey and we are excited! Thanks for your prayers during our homestudy today!!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Part of the reason I can't settle tonight is that Joel and I had a conversation over dinner about our adoption. We are truly seeking God's will in our family and we want to make sure we are in the center of His plans. The question is, " Should we continue to pursue adopting 2 siblings from Ethiopia or should we adopt 1 child from Ethiopia now, with plans to adopt another child in the future?" We've discussed this before and some of the reasons we are considering this change in child preference is that adopting 1 child at a time is more likely to be quicker in terms of adoption processing. We are due to move this summer and it would really be simpler paperwork-wise to be HOME with our adopted child prior to our move. Another reason is for attachment and bonding time. Adopted children grieve and have experienced major traumatic life changes in their tiny lives......we have learned that many adoption adjustments and transitions are often very hard and challenging at first. One child struggling emotionally vs. two children struggling emotionally at one time is another consideration for us. This will no doubt be tough, especially on me. Not to mention, our bio kids will have some adjusting to do also!!
We feel the Lord has definitely called us to adopt 2 children--- we just aren't sure whether it's 2 at one time or 1 at a time, twice. Is that as clear as mud or what??? :)
So--- I couldn't sleep and I opened my One-Year Bible and started reading today's scripture and this is what the Lord had for me tonight.......
Psalm 121:1-8 " I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever."
Is that an amazing truth or what? Can you believe the timing of me reading that scripture? Our God is all knowing and all powerful. He gives me such comfort in the middle of my worries and I'm humbled that He speaks to ME through His Word. I'm so blessed that He knows my every need. I can relax because HE will watch over me, He never sleeps or slumbers because He is protecting me. He is watching over my life, He is my help, and He will not let me stumble.
Ok--- that's not it, though. I told you God is amazing....listen to what else He had to say to me tonight. The Proverb for today was this:
Proverbs 28: 27-28 "Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding. When the wicked meet disaster, the godly flourish."
I can go to bed now. I can stop worrying. I know the answer. I know that the Lord will show us the children He has chosen for us to raise and teach and love, in His perfect timing. I know that He will provide. If I will just give of myself unselfishly, I will lack nothing. I shared in an earlier post that I struggle with selfish motivations. I just want things in my life to be easy and comfortable. The Lord sees right through my selfish concerns and in this Proverb, He speaks directly to me,again..... that I should not close my eyes to poverty but be willing to be a living sacrafice- and have mercy for these little children.
I am humbled. I know I can't do this alone. I don't have the strength, but I am trusting and I have faith and I believe with all my heart that GOD WILL PROVIDE me with the strength I need when the trials come.
Please pray for us that we'll stand firm in following the calling God has for us, that we'll not waiver, and that we'll be strengthened on the journey.
Since God never slumbers and He's watching out for me.....I'm going to rest tonight.
Goodnight with Blessings,
BTW....I worked on our Dossier today and we are OH SO CLOSE to being done!!
Monday, December 1, 2008
We have been so blessed.
I am just silenced by my thoughts of all I have to be thankful to our Lord for. I can't count or list them all. I am so grateful for God's love for me, His provision, His mercy, His grace, His plan. Wow-- I am truly overwhelmed by God's goodness to me. I am so undeserving yet still so loved.
We are so blessed.
Our family enjoyed a safe trip to Texas for the long weekend. It was a long time in the car- 19 hours total driving time (9.5 hours each way) but it's so nice to live close enough right now to our extended family that we are ABLE to drive home for the holidays. What a blessing within itself. The time together was wonderful. This visit was also a time when we felt we should and could share with our extended family our calling to adopt. We were able to share with most of our extended family our adoption journey and the compassion we feel for the hungry, thirsty, and naked children of Ethiopia.
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." Matthew 28
Thank you Lord for our family's reception to our adoption and their encouragement to us in our attempt and obedience in following You. The positive response was not what I had expected. I was honestly very nervous to share our adoption plans with my grandparents and some of my aunts and uncles whom I believed to still struggle with some generational racial prejudices. I was so relieved by their openness to the idea of adopting children of color into our family. This was just another evidence of the work of the Lord in our family. This was just another blessing from the Lord to me this weekend. Thank you Lord.
Our adoption journey continues......this week we are working on paperwork for our dossier and our goal is to have ALL the documents compiled and ready to go to the notary by Friday. Please pray for the Lord's perfect timing in all our document processing as we are moving this summer. Many people have said, "Why don't you wait until you move to do the paperwork so it's not so complicated and time sensitive?" The answer to that question is......The Lord has spoken to us and has placed in our hearts a strong passion and an overwhelming sense of urgency to complete this adoption NOW and not later. We trust that His plan is greater than our plans and HE will provide the way.
So please join us this week in praying for God's perfect timing and also for God's protection and love to cover the needs of the specific children He will bring to our family.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Today has been a good day. The Lord has blessed me with sweet friendships. Madilyn has been struggling with diving off the block in swim team and has been feeling super defeated and down about her fear and its effect on her swim performance. She's shed many a tear over this one. Yesterday, out of the blue, a dear friend offered to help coach Madilyn this morning in a private lesson. Upon returning from the coaching session, Madilyn burst into the house, raised both hands to the sky, and yelled, "I CAN DIVE OFF THE BLOCK NOW!!!" :) She was so excited and relieved and proud. The Lord knows our every hurt and need and He meets those needs by placing people in our lives to minister to us and help us. I was so blessed and humbled by His provision for Madilyn this morning and for helping her overcome her fear. YEA GOD!!!
We are still praying about our international agency decision and will ask you to join us in praying that God guides us to the agency he wants us to use for our adoption and that He will make the path very clear to us. This decision is a hard one for us for some reason. We are still moving forward with our homestudy but haven't signed contracts with an international agency yet.
Another huge praise today.....
As of tonight, we have completed the paperwork portion of our homestudy (YEA!) and I am going to drive the documents to the homestudy agency tomorrow. (YEA!) We have a class to attend this weekend on International adoption and we'll do our final homestudy visit on December 8. We're 1/3 of the way there with the paperwork processing!!
By the way--- our sermon on Sunday was on Matthew 9:12 "On hearing these things, Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners."
I was so touched and moved that God feeds me small bites and helps me learn and grow in His goodness with baby steps!! For months, I've been really praying that God will give me the strength to make my life a living sacrifice.... and then, in this passage He says "I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE." Hmmmmm.......now where does this lead me......If Mercy is a word used to describe compassion shown by one person to another, or a request from one person to another, then serving others with compassion and being selfless for another's benefit will be joyful and not a duty. I do desire to have mercy towards others as Jesus is saying to do, and in this compassion- the giving and loving and doing for others will come from my heart, it will be joyful and most importantly it will glorify God. I do want to be MERCIFUL and through that act of compassion, I want to share God's goodness and love with the oppressed. I am now praying that God will give me a stronger conviction to have mercy and compassion for others and to stop worrying about the "sacrifice" that I am making in this little life of mine. True JOY is about putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
For many months now, this verse has continued to speak to my heart and weigh heavily on my daily actions. This is a "life verse" for me right now where I am walking; this is a "rhema" word in my life. The specific words in this verse of scripture that have deep meaning to me are the words "living sacrifice."
To me, the word "living" speaks that this sacrifice is not a sacrifice of something dead, but it is definitely a sacrifice done by those living, breathing, and alive. It means in my LIFE. The word sacrifice, wow--- this one is big-- it is the work, the hard work. True labor for the Lord. Something that hurts when we give of ourselves. A willingness to suffer for Christ's sake. So when I think of these two words together, I am humbled. I am so humbled.
My LIFE, my every breath, action, and deed needs to be a LABOR and WILLINGNESS to suffer for the purpose of Christ. A living sacrifice.
This is a big RHEMA word for me from the Holy Spirit. I've been struggling with my sinful nature. My life's purpose is not fulfilled in my comfort and enjoyment and living inside my nice little family bubble. I'm not here on this earth at this particular time to just enjoy being alive and being entertained. While God does bless us and give us joy and rest every day, His greater purpose for me is not to watch movies, shop until I drop, play games, and eat dessert for my entire lifetime until I join Him in eternity. He wants more from me. God calls me to be a LIVING SACRIFICE in this verse. To be willing to work for His higher purpose. To be willing to uncomfortable, to reach out above and beyond what I think I can do each day to survive and instead EXTEND myself so that I can SERVE His calling. He requires me to live so that in my actions, deeds and focus- I sacrifice for Jesus. To share His love with others. To live outside my little bubble world and share the Gospel message with the world.
This verse has specific adoption meaning for me today especially as I doubt myself, my abilities. This speaks to me as I feel weak and small, unsure of this adoption road and my families future. I'm going to share how this "Rhema" word that God spoke to me lies here in this dilemma in my worldly brain vs. God's word.
I am so happy with our family. I have 4 beautiful and healthy children. I have a wonderful husband. I have a beautiful home in a great community. I have a great extended family. I love to homeschool and we are in a good school rhythm right now so I'm feeling super blessed. I have financial peace and security--- we are not rich by monetary standards, but we do just fine with what we have and we don't WANT for much of anything. So, this is my "bubble" world. It's perfect in my mind, but in my heart, I feel like God is calling for us to do more, be more, give more, love more, serve more. God has more good things planned for us, more good things, he just wants us to be a "living sacrifice" so he can bless us more richly and deeply.
The Lord has spoken to my heart that those good things He has planned for us will be found in the addition of adopted children into our family and the blessings they will bring to our family. In my selfishness, I am not proud to say that adopting will be too hard. It's too much paperwork, time and money to spend. It will require more emotional time, patience and mommy-duty for me. It will require me to homeschool MORE kiddos. It will be tougher financially to make those ends meet every month. It will change the dynamics with our 4 great kids. It will just make my life harder. Period. I'll have to sacrifice.
Thus, my LIVING SACRIFICE today is in my willingness to change and be obedient in God's calling and to give unselfishly of my heart, my daily schedule, my money, my time, my energy, my family, and my home. It's being WILLING to work harder in my home to provide and share God's love to these precious children that God has chosen to grow in our family. He has chosen the children and He has chosen us. I am choosing and willing be a LIVING SACRIFICE in the face of this adoption.....I am struggling with my worldliness and sinful nature- but my hope is in God and I believe His promise to me in Jeremiah 29:11. I feel His love and I want to share His love. I want to be a living sacrifice for Jesus! :)
Friday, November 7, 2008
"To everything there is a season,a time for every purpose under the sun.A time to be born and a time to die;a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;a time to kill and a time to heal ...a time to weep and a time to laugh;a time to mourn and a time to dance ...a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;a time to lose and a time to seek;a time to tear and a time to sew;a time to be silent and a time to speak;a time to love and a time to hate;a time for war and a time for peace."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Hello from the Newsom Family!! We are new bloggers......so please be patient with us as we learn and grow!! We are very excited to begin and share our families adoption journey with you all!!
This journey truly began several years ago when the Lord clearly planted a seed in my heart about adoption. I shared how the Lord was speaking to my heart about needy, lost, hurting, lonely, and abused children with my husband during that time but we both felt it wasn't the right time to pursue adoption as we had 3 very young biological children and were expecting our sweet baby#4!! About 6 months ago, however, the Lord began stirring my heart about adoption, again. This time, however, those stirrings have only grown stronger and He placed in my heart a strong desire to pursue adoption, NOW. The words He gave me during my quiet times were clear and precise. In reading scripture and praying, the Holy Spirit continued to speak....."You are called to adoption and the time is Now. Trust ME." These murmurings in my heart were way beyond my own earthly, selfish desires- they were spiritual directives from God. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." +James 1:27. Friends, now the Lord was really convicting me and had been for several months. The idea of adoption was no longer just an idea to discuss, adoption became an act of obedience in following the Lord's will for our family. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." +Jeremiah 29:11. I really felt the Lord saying to me, personally, "you need to take up your cross and follow Me." +Mark 8:34.
I do need to back up in our story, though, because while the Lord was truly giving me spiritual jolts of conviction and directions......Joel, my husband and the leader of our family, had not heard these same messages from God! In fact, he was quite disturbed by the idea of adding more kiddos and craziness to our already busy and crazy family!! He listened to me share my heart, but he did not share my heart's new desire. He was a true "RELUCTANT SPOUSE"!! I began to feel a wall come between us as I would share what the Lord was speaking to me through church messages, songs, Sunday school lessons, quiet times and I began to feel so isolated. Joel was not really interested in hearing any more about making our lives more complicated by adopting and while he agreed to pray about it, I knew he was really not on board. I was so confused. I started to question God's messages to me...... Why would God lay such a heavy burden for orphans on my heart if He didn't open my husband's heart to adoption??? I prayed that... if this was in fact what the Lord was calling our family to do, that HE would soften Joel's heart and speak to him because I couldn't and shouldn't push this big of a family decision on my husband. I needed to listen to God's word. "Be still and know that I am God." +Psalm 46:10.
So I prayed. And I prayed. And our family began to pray and our new "adoption friends" began to pray for us. The Lord did really begin working on softening Joel's heart. One of the very noticeable moments when I knew God was truly serious about adoption and our family and about changing my husband's heart...... We were visiting our home church over a long weekend and the message that Sunday was about "how each of us are adopted sons and daughters of God" and how as Christians we need to show compassion for the less fortunate in our world that also need to be adopted and we need to be Christ-like and show God's love and mercy to the orphans, widows, and distressed in society. --- WOW God---- .....and the walls came a tumbling down.
Over the next several weeks, Joel began to feel the Lord softening his heart and attitude towards adoption and he slowly started sharing this with me and even with others. I had been praying for "like-mindedness" and the Lord has totally changed Joel's heart about adoption. I was quiet and still in the Lord and now I am so blessed to know that I didn't manipulate him or his feelings about this, but instead- God Moved a MOUNTAIN!! So, here we are......striving to stay faithful and trusting that we are in the center of God's will in moving forward with adoption.
It's been a crazy few weeks since we started our adoption process. It's been a journey like no other I've ever experienced. I've learned so much, but I'm still so confused at times! It's exciting, it's emotional, it's exhausting, it's overwhelming, and yet I now have peace, because we are now moving forward, acting in faith and obedience to God's calling for us as a family and we are resting in the center of His will. ----Blessings, Amy