About Us

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Call to Prayer

As I sit here at the computer screen to type up a new post, I sigh. Such anxiety about a post that doesn't consist of much information. My weariness of nothing new to report. But, as I continuously report "no news" to friends and family inquiring, I realize the importance of being transparent about even this dry desert. This adoption process is certainly anything but glamorous and has it's high and low moments, and we want others to know that it's not an easy road that God has chosen for us. Nevertheless, we accept these plans with open arms because our heavenly Father is good.

As you can see by the date of my last post, it's been roughly three months since we've had any news regarding our adoption. This is due to our own negligence. Our profile is still not finished and the 15 page Abba Fund application has been gathering dust on our desk. What's the problem you ask? How could two people who have been desperately longing for children for 8 years now, possibly be dragging their feet? Not sure, really.

I feel unmotivated, overwhelmed at putting together this profile that will display my husband and me to a family that is choosing a home for their child. Trying to brainstorm the most creative way to "advertise" our desire and ability to be the best parents that they could ever hope for.  The weight of each screening, through home study and paperwork after paperwork, has left me a bit frustrated. Maybe I'm having some slight feelings of resentment, because Matt and I (unlike biological parents) have to provide detailed descriptions on why we want to adopt a children and why would we be good parents. How we are going to raise our child.. answering specific questions about what that looks like.

In fact Matt and I don't have all the answers.. we have few. And to be the subject of so many questions is daunting. We know that only by God's grace can we ever be anywhere near the mother and father that we aspire to be. All I can say is.. we have to believe that God is strongly at work even in the midst of this drought. And that it seems there is some spiritual warfare that we are standing at the front lines of.

So I end this rather short post (short for this blog anyway:)), and just ask for your prayers. Please pray for Matt and I as we look to the Lord for these next steps in the process. To persevere when things are looking rather bleak and our spirits are feeling disheartened and tired. More specifically, please pray for the following:

  • Continued clarity on God's will for a family
  • Sensitivity to spiritual attacks and fighting them with God's word/prayer
  • Perseverance to press on in this journey and discipline to complete our part
  • Patience to trust in His timing
  • Peace about each decision along the way 

Thank you to everyone who has continued to offer up prayers and encouragement in support of our adoption. Psalm 42 brings us much comfort.. 

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
 I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Home Study Officially Completed!

With the amount of personal and weighty issues on some of our most recent posts (which I felt necessary to be transparent about), it's refreshing to type up a more practical and less complex blog post with some exciting news..

We just received an e-mail from our social worker with an attached copy of our home study for us to review! From this moment on, we are officially and legally able to adopt a child. What a big victory this is in our adoption journey. Since we finished our online training classes this week, we were able to submit our last few certificates and our remaining home study paperwork. It seems like yesterday that we began our home study process, intimidated by the long daunting road ahead. With the mounds of paperwork and every last tedious detail (including, but not limited to: health physicals, water approval, fingerprinting, child abuse clearance, etc.) weighing over our heads, we took each stride in faith. And now, finally, we have made it through this crucial part of the process and we're onto the next stage.

We now need to create our adoption profile. We have already begun a rough draft that we have started to put together. This is the next big hurdle in the process, as once this is finished, we will be able to be shown to prospective birth families. Then the REAL waiting begins! Of course, we do have a few things to keep us busy during the official wait time to be matched. One of which is to apply for the Abba Fund through our church, which will provide a matching grant during our fund raising process. More on that later!

For now, we are rejoicing in this little "BIG" victory in our adoption process!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Infertility and the Sovereignty of God

 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power 
of Christ may rest upon me."
--2 Corinthians 12:9

Meet someone, get married, own a home and have a family. This is a typical vision of a Midwestern, middle class dream... but what if God had a different plan for you?

Although getting married seems much more like a choice (in reality it too is a gift and not a given), it appears that once you're married, children are more of a rightful passage. As if it's the next step in life and the result of your union together, creating little carbon copies of yourself. Indeed, it is biblical to think so, as God did command this in Genesis 1:28:

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

And there are endless verses in scripture about what a blessing children are from the Lord:

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! --Psalm 127:3-5

"Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table." --Psalm 128:3

"For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you." Psalm 147:13

So what happens when you have a couple who, for almost 8 long years, is still waiting for this "ultimate" blessing? What if they did receive their answer to prayer, but God took that miracle away after 3 months of pregnancy. He then left every month after that empty and barren for the next 5 years? Would you shake your fists at God, tell him that it's not fair? Not fair that he continuously blesses those who neglect their children, or worse yet, blessed millions (roughly 56 million) of women who have aborted their babies since Roe vs. Wade?

But what if we were asking the wrong questions? What if I told you these fists that used to clench at God, now receive openly (with much joy) this trial of infertility? And I told you that it doesn't have to do with getting what we originally wanted or even succumbing to plan B. That through this withholding in our lives, God has awakened a reality of his greatness and glory in our lives. So I tell you today boldly, don't feel sorrowful for us! May our testimony through this trial bring about displaying the living truth. Christ IS the ultimate blessing, and he has not withheld that from us! What may seem as a disadvantage in this life has only brought an overflow of blessing, and we can't even see the whole picture yet. Imagine if God has given us this taste of Romans 8:28 in the here and now just how infinitely wide and wondrous his plan must be.

That's not to say this road has been an easy one. Not by far. Nor has it been even-keeled. Years of praying and watching others experience pregnancy after pregnancy, always attending someone else's baby shower while your arms are empty and longing. Having friends who have been married less time than us and already have more than one child. Feeling like you are at a standstill, while the rest of the world is moving full speed ahead. Trust me, it hasn't been a painless road. If fact, there have been times where it has been hard to breathe. Hard to accept the reality that God has ordained this. Feeling like "less of a woman" because I can't bear the child that my husband and I long for. That may sound dramatic to some, but honestly, have you thought or even considered what it must be like to be denied something that God has created you emotionally and physically for? Numerous woman in the Bible know this feeling all too well... Sara, Hannah, Elizabeth, Rachel..

"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children," --Genesis 16:1-2

"When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!”--Genesis 30:1

"He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children."--1 Samuel 1:2

"But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years."--Luke 1:13

Notice Rachel's words to Jacob "Give me children, or I shall die!" Those are pretty strong words.  There obviously is a cultural difference, but if we are honest, has it changed that much? When a women gets married, how long does it take before friends and family members are asking when she's going to get pregnant? Even today, there is pressure from those around you to fulfill this calling.  Medical technology with regard to fertility drugs is rampant in society, giving women the ability to go to any extreme to achieve that long awaited pregnancy. The feeling of inadequacy of not being able to bear children has clearly not changed from the Old Testament until now.

So how did we go from this point of desperation to the point of embracing adoption and not considering it to be a plan B, you ask? As I sit here typing this question, I wonder exactly how I am going to put this all into words. But here goes...

Even since the earliest days of our marriage, God has been preparing a place in our hearts for adoption, but we've been discovering that this space is far vaster than we'd even imagined. In withholding biological children, he has nurtured in us a deep desire to care for the orphan and also a true glimpse of what God's family composition looks like. He has diminished the false perception of the importance of biology and revealed to us the deep impenetrable truth of being adopted into the family of God. You may say, from a logical standpoint, that our adoption plan "technically" is plan B, because we desired to have biological children first. And that's when I would tell you that there is no plan B with God, and that he doesn't provide second best for his children. He worked in a way that brought us here through the trial of infertility. When we hold true to God's promises, we know that he has chosen us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Every detail of our lives is according to his purpose, including the way he blesses us with children. So I say to you again, this is not plan B.

The thing is, we now deeply desire to parent and love a child from any background. And we value the love of a mother and father in a way that goes deeper than bloodlines. We will nurture this child from the moment he or she is laid into our arms. This child will be ours. God has provided a way for that. He's withheld something great, to provide something even greater. Whatever one may think we lack through this adoption, God has abundantly given by this process. There will not be a physical resemblance that links us to our child in the here and now, but God doesn't use the flesh as a means to build his kingdom..

"In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.." --Ephesians 1:5

In our lives, the pain of infertility and the grace of a Sovereign God to bring us to adoption mirrors the story of redemption. Before the foundation of the world, God planned to redeem his sinful, chosen people and adopt them as sons. This was never a plan B for God. We live in a fallen world, a fallen world full of imperfections, including barrenness. That is the reality that we live in. But the greater reality is that we serve a God who redeems. And through our adoption process, we get to be a living example of that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Give Me the Gospel and Let Me Be Culturally Awkward

We attended our final in-person Adoptive Training class on Sunday, June 30th. The class focus was on "Trans-racial Adoption." The discussion started out a bit difficult for us, for a few different reasons. One of those reasons was that the agency which was providing these classes is not a Christian agency. Without going into too much detail, being in this environment made us feel very heavyhearted. We left the class, slightly more encouraged than when we had arrived.. but still with questions.

The main question flashing brightly in our minds..When a Caucasian couple is desiring to adopt trans-racially, is there a cultural difference that needs to be addressed and more importantly embraced? Even though this may seem like an ignorant viewpoint, I felt like skin color simply shouldn't matter. (In fact, I mentioned this to the Dr. on the panel, who was African-American, and she clearly responded with, "well, what do you see when you look at me, you see a black woman!") At least in that setting, this kind of simple mindedness was not well received.

Matt and I were wrestling with this experience, as we tried to line it up with what we believe to be true of the gospel. If we, as brothers and sisters in Christ (from every cultural background), are adopted into the same family of God under one Father..why should we allow society/culture to dictate what is an appropriate family composition?

 Listen to Voddie Baucham's counter-cultural response:

"Here's the question. The question is. How do I honor the biology. That's the question. How do I honor the genetics. How do I honor the culture. Let me respond.  You Can't! And You don't have to. A couple of things. Number 1, there is the cultural myth. The myth that these people are dealing with is that black people have a culture. Black people in Los Angeles are a lot different than black people in Chicago, black people in Chicago are a lot different than black people in South Carolina or Georgia, black people in Georgia aren't a whole lot like black people in Texas, other than their melanin count. It is pure myth that there is a such thing as a quote un quote African-American Culture. 

Secondly, the only thing in anyone's culture that ought to be lauded is that which is derived from and brings glory and honor to Jesus Christ. If there is a part of "black" culture that is Christless, I do not embrace it because I happen to be black. We embrace those things in our cultures that are derived from and bring glory to and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. That's what we do. And here's what we get hung up on. We think that somehow these difficulties are worthy of forgoing the opportunity of giving someone the gospel! Listen to me. When children are adopted into a home there is always an identity crisis. It is always going to be difficult. But what we have to give is the gospel! That is what is most important, and so we overcome these difficulties as they arise. But this question comes from this idea that the most important thing for a black person is to be black! (That doesn't come from the Bible.) Give me the Gospel and let me be culturally awkward."

We have asked all family and friends to please listen to this full sermon by Voddie Baucham. It has been truly groundbreaking on many levels in our adoption process, not just regarding the trans-racial aspect. Please, please listen to this sermon, if you haven't already. (And if you have, listen again.. Matt and I continue to listen to over and over again.. it's THAT good!)

Voddie Baucham's sermon on Adoption:

In closing I would like to say, although we have learned beneficial things through this class, the answer to our question doesn't lie in any adoptee's experience in trans-racial adoption or even an expert in clinical psychology. The answer lies in the foundation of the gospel. I had lost focus in this, as I got wrapped up in the discussion of this "secular" training class. Sadly, every household does not hold to this life-line truth, therefore there will be trials in homes without the correct remedy. And although, this truth will be present in our home and in our child's life, this will not eliminate any struggles that may arise. It will however, give us a guideline to live as we were meant to live, on this imperfect side of heaven.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Michigan Law!

Well, I could have simply deleted my recent "Can" You Help blog post and not address the fact that it's illegal to cash in cans in Michigan from other states, but the goal of this blog is to be as honest and transparent as possible. So... to read more on the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law, please go here:


Thank goodness that a good friend read our blog yesterday and informed us of the bottle deposit law which states that it is illegal to take cans from other states and cash them in Michigan. Apparently there is a surcharge on these items in Michigan, which results in the generous 10 cent refund, with the goal to encourage recycling in this state. There is considerable amount of abuse of this state funding, as people from other states are attempting to cash in their cans (some with much success). Now that we are aware of it, it makes complete sense!

So, we have to laugh a little at ourselves, given that we were about to be one of these individuals (without being consciously aware of course!) It honestly is not our attention to recruit those we love to crime, for the sake of our adoption! All joking aside, we would like everyone to know that it is a serious crime to overlook the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law. Our previous blog post on cashing cans was before we were aware of this. Spread the word to others who may not be familiar that this law exists.

As for our aluminum can collecting, we found a recycling place in West Chicago that gives 65 cents per pound for aluminum cans. One pound of aluminum is roughly about 25-30 cans. As you can imagine, it's going to take a substantial amount of cans to even equal a low amount. With that being said, we have decided to withdrawal from our can collecting idea. We feel that there are other unique ways that we can put our energy in for fund raising, that requires less effort and more of a return.

If anyone has been collecting cans and/or scrap, we will be happy to take it off your hands, as we will cash in everything that we currently have in our garage. However for future reference, we will no longer be collecting. Although our can/metal collecting was short lived, we want to thank everyone for their efforts in collecting and such willingness to help!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Difficult Decisions


"For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 2 Chronicles 20:12

Matt and I have been faced with the daunting task of filling out the very heart wrenching form known as the "Adoption Health-Checklist." I felt compelled to blog about this part, because it is one of many not so glamorous aspects of adoption, that we are really struggling with. If we were to have biological children, and our child was born with a cleft palate, club foot, or even Down Syndrome.. we would love and cherish them in-spite of those imperfections, and probably even more because of them. At the same time, Matt and I don't necessarily feel that we have been called to care for a "special needs" child at this time. There is a separate program within our agency that is designated for special needs children. We keep reminding ourselves, that everyone has a specific calling and although it may not be ours, there are other couples out there who adopt with those specifics in mind.

Dealing with the weight of these questions to mark "accept" or "not accept", leaves my heart feeling disheartened and powerless to make such a decision. When I decided to blog about this, I was hoping to have a clear answer from God, some divinely appointed advice to make the decision easy. Well, that didn't happen.. at least not as of yet. After much prayer with Matt, and speaking to God this morning and meditating on his Word, here's what I do know: 
The greatest and most comforting reality.. no matter what we put on this form, is that God is sovereign and has already chosen our child for us.

Nothing we put on that form can thwart his way or plans for us, as we are not in control of any of this. And as we have said from the beginning, we do not have any of the emotional or financial resources for this adoption. Without him, we are helpless to fulfill this calling. John Piper said, "that God does not lead us to something, that he won't provide for." Our God is not a God to orchestrate plans and then simply say, "see ya at the end, good luck!" He goes before us each step of the way. "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

This road of adoption is a challenging one. But anything rewarding or worth having, is never an easy road. (Matthew 7:13-14) We know that God will not simply remove the difficulties, but we know that he will grant his grace to get through it. He doesn't lift hardships.. but he does part the way in between.

I want to close with a quote by Jon Bloom from his title Not By Sight, (chapter 13 "Do Not Be Afraid"  Jehoshaphat and Fear) :

"The reason God orchestrated Jehoshaphat's predicament is the same as his design in the tribulations and crises in our lives; He wants us to increasingly find freedom from fear. You see, real freedom is not liberty to do what we want or the absence of distress. Real freedom is the deep-seated confidence that God really will provide everything we need. The person who believes this is the freest of all persons on earth, because no matter what situation he finds himself in, he has nothing in fear. But the only way for sinners like us, with a bent toward unbelief in God, to find this kind of freedom is by experiencing repeatedly God's delivering power and his faithfulness. That's why we are "to count it all joy... when we meet trials of various kinds" (James 1:2). These trails are making us free."

We do not need to be afraid of any hurdle throughout this adoption process, we need only to trust that He will go before us and grant wisdom each step of the way.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Can" You Help?

 For those of you that may not know, we are collecting aluminum cans, bottles (with MI on them) and any kind of scrap metal. We thought that this was a creative way to begin fund raising for our adoption, by asking people to set aside what they would have otherwise recycled or thrown away.

Things to remember when collecting:

-Do not crush cans, as the bar code needs to be scanned
-Please rinse cans, if you are able.. (it avoids a sticky mess in the bag)
-All glass/plastic bottles need to have the MI stamp on them
-Mostly any metal can be scrapped, the heavier, the better

Because Chicago only gives per lb. for aluminum and Michigan gives 10 cents per can, we plan to cash in the cans in Michigan. Our good friend's parents live in MI and are willing to take cans when they make sporadic trips to visit them. We are so grateful for the family of God and their willingness to help in any way they can. It will take a substantial amount of cans and/or metal, so this will be over a period of time. We are not really sure how beneficial this will turn out to be for us, but we figure.. what do we have to lose besides garage space?!

**The picture above is an organized metal scrap extravaganza for discarded items from work. Special thanks to Carlos, Rob, Saidy and Hector for all their hard work.

Monday, June 24, 2013

On Course..


 I've wrestled with where to begin in this first post.. so much, that I've put it off for so long, that even more time has passed on things that we could share. So I've decided I will begin as if each person that is reading this is a friend who has some vague idea of how we got here and where we are at in the process. I'm just going to start with the most recent events and hopefully build off of that as time goes on.

Let me just first say the sole reason for this blog.. adoption. Matt and I officially began the adoption process at the beginning of this year, but God had been working in our hearts long before that. The name Cascading Grace, conveys the vision of God adopting us into the family of God and the doctrine of adoption carrying over in our life, as we seek to adopt a child of our own. Matt and I have been radically transformed in our thinking by this doctrine and we feel blessed that God has called us to such a "high calling." Adoption is not Plan B for us, but rather it has been knitted in our hearts as Plan A. Although we have not been able to have biological children, we feel that adoption is by no means God's second best for us, but His perfect will and plan from the beginning!

God has revealed much in our hearts throughout this process and also much about who He is. This road has not always been an easy one, but the fruit and reward that we are already getting a small peripheral glance of, by far outweighs any adversity. (Romans 8:18) We hope that this blog will not only serve as a stage for our testimony and a ultimately the display of God's glory, but also a practical place that family and friends can stay up to date on whats happening with our adoption.

With that being said, here is where we are at with things..

-Just had our first in-person adoptive training class yesterday in the city. We have our next and last in-person training class this Sunday the 30th. In the meantime, we are completing our online adoptive training classes. Once these are all done, the certificates will be sent to our social worker, who will then be able to begin the process of officially closing our home study.

-We received our PA child abuse clearance in the mail, and our social worker is awaiting the finger printing results. These also will be essential in closing the home study as well.

-We are starting our profile that will be shown to prospective birth mothers. This will include pictures, back ground, our lifestyle and any thing else that we would like the birth mother/parents to read. As soon as this book is completed, and our home study is officially closed (Lord willing at the beginning of July), we will then be able to be shown to any birth families.

-We can also apply for the Abba fund, which is a matching grant program through our church, once we have the completed home study.

I hope I didn't ramble on too much for my first post! But, I had to start somewhere.. so there we go.