…our website location!

We decided to upgrade a few things, brighten up the place, and change our look.  We hope you will check it out and bookmark the new site once you do!  Be sure to let us know what you think…

http://darlingjourney.net

Thanks for following along on our journey of pursuing God, family, and adoption. We are extremely grateful for your support!

–Mike

This song by Leeland and Brandon Heath both scares and inspires me at the same time.  God calls us to follow Him into the broken places of this world. He calls us to care for the least, the last, the poor, and the needy.  If we have already chosen to live out His way of life in this world it’s not really a choice of whether or not to answer this call.  In order for our hearts to beat more like His we must be ready to follow His lead into uncomfortable, even unsettling places.  Sometimes it is uncomfortable simply because we haven’t spent very much time there.  But many times it is unsettling because of how we come face to face with the brutally honest reflection of our own self-absorbed way of living compared to the self-emptying way of Jesus.

There are moments when I feel like I’m able to embody this song, but too often I’m hesitant and miss opportunities to be Jesus’ hands and feet to others–even in my own backyard.  I’m hesitant because I know where His way of living will lead and I’m not sure I’m ready.

But I want to be.

And so I pray that God will continue to grow me and show me what it looks like to follow Him…to care less about self and more about living for others.

Where is the way of Jesus leading you?

How did August get here?  I can’t believe that school has started again here and we are well headed towards fall.

We got our new numbers for August last week and they were just about what we expected them to be.  In July we were at 19 on the sibling list but we have moved to ……

On the boys list we started at 14 in July but have moved to…….

The movement isn’t a lot but to me there seems to be a big difference between 14 and 12….it seems so much closer to single digits! There are a lot of families traveling this month to pick up kiddos so we are hopeful to be in single digits by next month.  The courts in Ethiopia have closed for August and September now because of the rainy season so it will mean that the movement will slow until court appointments start occurring again.
My heart has been burdened for our son and his birth family.  They are likely experiencing lots of heartache or will be experiencing heartache soon as they face some extremely difficult decisions.   Please be prayerful for us and our son.  My prayer is that God protects his little heart as much as possible and that he transitions to the orphanage easily and attaches quickly with one of his caregivers.  This is important because infants need to learn to emotionally attach to someone in the first few weeks of their life and it will make it much easier for him to attach to us when we are able to bring him home.  My prayer for his biological mom is that she will feel God’s comforting arms around her  as she experiences the grief of relinquishing her son.  My heart aches for her and the difficult decision she has to make.
Here’s hoping for single digits…..

We finished our summer event schedule this past Sunday night with our annual Back to School Bash for the teens in our church.  Mike is always creative in coming up with awesome games that everyone can participate in.  This year we participated in Noodle Wars first….and it was hilarious.  Everyone brought a pool noodle and a shield.  The object of the game is kind of like tag except that when you get hit on the arm or leg with a noodle you lose that appendage for the rest of the game.  It was hilarious to watch us hopping around on one leg trying to tag the other team out!  When you lose both legs you have to sit where you land.  I handed the camera off for the night to Stephanie so that I could play this time.

Here’s the group before we got started!



The beautiful Becca…

Don’t they look viscious?

Two of our precious new sixth graders!! SOOO GLAD they joined us!


THE ACTION!!!

We even had a few spectators!

A few more girls…

After dinner we played a series of “Minute to Win it” games from the TV show.  In this one they had to put 4 M & M’s on 4 straws in a minute.  Erin was awesome at this game!

Her outcome!  She was on my team!

Another game entailed pulling Klennex’s out of a box….harder than it looks actually.

Another game involved stacking three golf balls on top of each other.

Listening intently to the instructions (or something like that)

The evening ended with our favorite finger dart wars (played like dodge ball but with finger darts) but I don’t have any pictures of that.  It was an active evening AND so fun.  These are great group games if you ever need some ideas!

A week ago Sara and I celebrated our 7th anniversary together.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been married seven years.  In some ways it seems like yesterday when she walked elegantly down the aisle toward me.  In other ways (and only good ones) it seems like we’ve spent a lifetime with each other.

This year I wanted to do something a little more fun to celebrate.  The last several years we haven’t been able to do a lot to celebrate on or right around the day because of our (or should I say my) busy youth ministry summer schedule.  This year was going to be different!  I came home from Camp Barnabas with a plan.  Shortly after arriving home I asked Sara to priceline a hotel room for us in St. Louis.  I thought it would be fun to have a “kid-friendly” celebration this year in honor of waiting for the time to bring our son home.  St. Louis has several great places for families and many of them are free or fairly inexpensive.  So my grand scheme involved the Zoo and the Science Museum.  We ended up being a little more lazy than I anticipated leaving the hotel that morning that we only made it through the Zoo experience that day, but we had a wonderful time with each other nonetheless.

Here are a few pics of our new furry and not so furry friends:

Both of these guys seemed to have an unfair advantage in our staring contest…

I kind of wonder what these guys might say to each other in response to hundreds of people coming by just to look at them do their thing…

This was definitely one of my favorite anniversary celebrations yet!  It was simple.  It was free.  It was fun, especially as we imagined what it will be like next time when we get to share this experience with our son.  By the time the day was over I was reminded once again how much I love my wife and how I feel so blessed by God to walk this road with her.

And to our son, whoever and wherever you are: We are SO ready to meet you!  We continue to wait (as patiently as possible) for God to weave our stories and our lives together.

Hopefully sooner rather than later!

We just pulled in the driveway from a VERY HOT, BUT VERY FUN picnic with our adoption agency All God’s Children International.  We were excited to meet so many people that we “know” but had never met.  It such a strange to feeling to meet people that you have emailed with and connected with through blogs and Facebook but have never met face to face.  You are able to jump into conversation without all the small talk and these families look a lot like yours does or will.  We met some new friends as well today and hope to continue the relationships throughout the years as we raise our families.

My camera is my security blanket at times :) but I LOVED getting to capture some images for sweet families.  (If you would like a copy of one of these images, please email me and I would be happy to send them to you!)

This family is so precious….they are in the process of paperwork to bring their little girl home.


There was a pool set up for the kiddos….and I’m not sure the adults didn’t wish they could get in as well.  It was HOT and that even seems like an understatement.  There were lots of cameras there.


Loved seeing this momma babywearing.  They brought their little guys home just a few months ago.

We met this family for the first time today and they brought their little guy home about a year ago I think.  He was having more fun in the muddy water than the pool water.

Then he was having some sweet snuggles with his daddy.

Our friends the Stivers made the journey to Nashville as well! We love getting to see this little guy again.  He always loves the camera.

I was able to meet my friend Andrea that I have emailed with several times.  She just brought her handsome man home as well!

Here is the big group picture….It’s hard to get that many people in one picture.


And the kid picture.  I hope we have a little one in that picture next year! :)

Thanks for sticking around to read this post.  I want to make sure to have some record of our fun day to show our little one someday.

We just pulled in the drive from another fun weekend adventure!  It started on Thursday (Mike’s Big 30th Birthday) when we headed to Nashville to feast on our favorite nachos from the late menu at Sunset Grill.  We frequented this restaurant a lot in college and it remains one of my FAVORITE meals.  It’s probably good we can’t indulge more often!  Friday we enjoyed taking care of some errands and then had a wonderful dinner with some dear friends.  It was an evening full of laughter, games, and great memories being made!  We went out in the yard for a few minutes after dinner and grabbed a few sweet pictures!

The mini me and his daddy.

Isn’t she stunning?

She LOVED Mike and has the cutest little southern drawl. She would say “Heeeeyyyyy Miiiiikkkee,”  and “Wheeerrrreeee’s Miiiikkkkeee?” I’m telling you he is a kid magnet.  She was begging for him to get up this morning so I took her to wake him up.  He and her daddy stayed up a little too late last night play games.  :)  However we had a great time playing and visiting with the entire family!

We tried for a family picture but we waited a little too long…just gives us another reason to visit!  Thanks for the great meals and a fabulous time!

A few weeks ago we hosted a group of families that we have connected with all of whom have adopted from Africa or are in the process of adopting.  Unfortunately, several families had conflicts and couldn’t make it but we are hoping to have another get together really soon.  The few families that did come enjoyed connecting and sharing stories about their own processes or adoptions.  It was great fun to watch one of the little boys entertain us all for the afternoon!
Mike and Cullen enjoyed playing with a few toys in the living room….I think they had quite a bit of fun!

A few of the ladies chatting….

The snacks were very yummy!!!

Each of the families that attended…

The Bekners

The Moores

The McKeels

I couldn’t resist a few more of this precious little man!!


Okay….so we realize we have been MIA around here!  Summer got the best of us this year.  Ministry, Camps, and transitions have just proved overwhelming!  We are alive and well and I hope to be a blogging machine this week but we’ll see what happens!

This week we are in celebration mode…..Today is our 7 year anniversary and Thursday (the 29th) is Mike’s big 30th birthday.

Celebrating our 7th anniversary at the St. Louis Zoo

Seven years ago today I met the man of my dreams at the front of a chapel in Muskogee, OK.  We spent a few moments together praying before the events of our wedding day got underway.  The entire day felt like a fairytale that I wish I could relive every year.  I would gladly say “I do” again every year and I never want to forget the vows that we made to each other that day.  I can honestly say I love him infinitely more today than I did on that day 7 years ago and I loved him a lot then!  I wouldn’t trade these years for anything.  We have grown so much together and can often anticipate each other’s reactions and thoughts.

I cherish each of these last days of it just being “us.”  I love our easy way of being together and enjoying just riding in the car whether we are talking up a storm or just sitting quietly.  We recognize the importance of being intentional with our time and words and never let a day go by without sharing our thoughts and feelings with one another.  We are entering a new season of life and I couldn’t be more thrilled than to do it with Mike.  He will be the best dad in the world.  ALL the kids adore him and his funny antics and I long to hear our little one belly laughing because his “daddy” is so funny.

Mike inspires me every day to live out the gospel because he shows me what it looks like.  I can’t help but notice how kind and attentive he is not only to me, but to anyone we encounter.  The waitresses, the employees at the grocery store, even others around us in public.  He constantly has a smile and a kind word for everyone.   He has a calling on his life that he can’t ignore….he thinks about the implications of life on people he cares about and is often burdened with what the spiritual applications are of decisions that are made.  He is centered on walking in faith rather than fear and challenges those around him to consider the same. My prayer is that he would never lose sight of the influence he has to speak life into darkness!  I pray that everyday for him.


I feel honored to walk alongside and minister with Mike. He is my best friend and I will be forever grateful that he took a chance of losing our friendship pursued a romantic relationship! :)

I have lots rolling around in my brain that I want to post but tonight I need to go to bed.  I have been incredibly busy this past month and the next few weeks are chalking up to being just as crazy.  Sleep is one thing I shouldn’t sacrifice too much or I’m not worth much.

However, I couldn’t go to bed without posting our June numbers.  We have moved quite a bit on the boy list since our May numbers.

Our boy number is…..

…… and a referral has gone out since we got the numbers!

Our sibling number hasn’t changed.  We are still…..

It isn’t typical for this number to move very quickly.

Please continue praying for our child.  The urgency has picked up for me as I know we are so much closer to our referral and that means that his biological mother is either pregnant or is struggling with her decision to relinquish her child for whatever the reason may be.  It pains me to know that our baby has to endure more than any baby should at that age.  I pray for a relatively easy transition and resilience for his little heart.

Archives 2

Twitter

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.