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…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 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!!


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.

This is our first year for our OWN garden….so it’s been so exciting to watch it grow and develop.  Tonight we noticed our first squash….. I can’t wait to grill it up and eat it!

20 days ago Sara entered our names in a fundraiser a WONDERFUL family was beginning in hopes of helping other families in their goal of raising money to bring their son or daughter home.  To us (having read their blog for a while now) this family is one that truly embodies the message of the gospel in their everyday lives.  They want to make a difference in the world to the glory of God…and they are doing it!  The goal of their fundraiser was to raise 10K in 20 days for 26 families.  The winner of the drawing would graciously receive $5,000 and the rest would be divided equally among the remaining families.  You can read about why this family decided to start this campaign here.

Well, Sara woke up this morning to an email (while I woke up to a shriek of excitement and tears of joy) with a note and a link to a video (click below)…

** The Winner **

We are EXCITED, SHOCKED, ENCOURAGED, but most of all…HUMBLED!  There are SO many AMAZING and DESERVING families.

We praise God and give Him all the glory.  And we thank him for families who chase after his heart no matter what it costs and who pursue treasures of heaven instead of those of this earth.

Please join us as we continue to pray for all of these families as they seek to bring home many more sons and daughters.  Together we will make a difference in this world!

Wow…….

And Thank You! (Those two words can’t express our gratitude enough)

We are extremely blessed.

Blessed by a church family who love and support us no matter what.

And it feels AMAZING!

Almost two weeks ago several families from our church conspired together to organize a yard sale with the proceeds going toward our adoption fund.  So many people donated things to sell.  Many others graciously gave of their time and energy Friday and Saturday to setup, sort, arrange and price everything in preparation for the big day.  An event like this couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of so many people we love and appreciate in our church family.

Jessica (one of our close friends) talked with her mom about our adoption and her mom decided to donate a $100 gift certificate to their store, “Red Barn Gift Shoppe” in Murray.  They sold raffle tickets and the proceeds were generously donated toward our fund…

Harold Ann even brought her chair and offered her services as a masseuse for $1 a minute.  Several people took advantage of it and from what I heard it was well worth it…

Our young friend Madison wanted to help us by selling fresh-squeezed lemonade which she would make for you right there on the spot…

So many people pitched in to make this yard sale a success and for ALL of YOU we are extremely grateful!  In the end, we were able to deposit around $2,250 in our adoption fund account at the bank.  That number will be a huge help as we (hopefully) move closer and closer to our referral.  Thank you Reidland Family!!!!!

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