We've been matched!!

We received the best Christmas news anyone could ever want! On Dec. 20, we got a call from our agency saying we had been matched!

When the phone rang, I saw that it was an Alabama number, and I wondered...why would my director be calling at 9pm (her time)? It could only be for one wonderful reason!!! I quickly answered, and she said, "Heather, have you checked your email in the last little bit?" I said, "No...why?" She said, "You better go check it!!" I screamed for joy and called for Andrew. We had friends over for dinner, and they started praising God! Andrew and I ran to our office, opened up our email, and fell in love with the little girl in the pictures. Our director was on the phone with us because she wanted to experience everything with us, and tell us about this darling little girl.

We are in love!!! I wish I could post pictures and tell you all about her. The only thing I can tell you is that she is 12 months old, and she is beautiful and amazing. As soon as China has processed our LOI ("Letter of Intent") paperwork, we'll have approval from our agency to post pictures and tell you about her.

They say it takes 2 to 3 months to receive travel approval from China, and I am praying it isn't more than that, and that it is actually less! We are now busy getting the baby room ready. We can hardly wait to go get her!

An expectant mother,

Pomegranates are the Fruit of Love!

Indeed, it is true. Pomegranates are synonyms with love! We were blessed to be in Turkey when pomegranates were in season. My friends had several pomegranate trees in their yard. I ate a pomegranate (or two) every day!

Oh the glory! Helllooo, pomegranates!

This is a lemon not ripe yet.


Lots of apples too, but who wants apples when you can have pomegranates?

My breakfast nearly every morning...Turkish yogurt with fresh pomegranates and honey! Heavenly.

I Love this Man

This is Andrew in Turkey bright and early enjoying time with his Jesus, his Bible and his Turkish coffee. I love this man with all of my heart!

11/9/11: DTC!!!!

Today is a very special day for us! I just found out from our agency that our dossier is ready to go, and it is being mailed to China TODAY!

DTC Day: Dossier to China Day!!!

Turkish Family, Turkish Food, and the Stealing of My Heart

Our second night in Turkey we got to meet my best friend's Turkish family, and enjoy a Turkish meal together. I got to both help and watch an amazing mother and daughter make a traditional, incredible, full of life Turkish meal for us. The women in the kitchen cooking and talking; the men on the porch hanging out. Yes, I know (and live) the truth that men and women are equal. But there is something incredibly endearing about being with your own kind and sharing life together while you chop tomatoes, crush spices and laugh about the little things in life. And the big things too. It was my first time experiencing Turkish culture, and this is when Turkey stole my heart. Honestly, I still don't have it back.

My best friend's Turkish family.
Let the cooking begin!
Turkish people get their hands in their cooking. Everything is fresh, nothing is processed, and you use your hands for most everything rather than various tools and appliances. As we tried to learn how to do this, we wanted to roll this lentil/bulgar meal up like perfect little sausage-like rolls, but our Turkish family told us—no, make sure you can see your fingerprints so those eating the meal would know how much you cared about it, putting your very fingerprints on it.
Like I said, Turkey stole my heart.
The food speaks for itself! The main dish was a mix of Turkish spices, lentils, bulgar, onion and olive oil. You would take a lettuce leaf and put the main dish in the leaf, then squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of it and then in your mouth it goes! We also had a chicken dish that was cooked in a light, fresh tomato/parsely sauce, with rice that was cooked and slightly fried with olive oil and pine nuts. RIDICULOUS.
Loved eating on the floor with everyone. Lots of laughter, eating, enjoyment! Also, it's Turkish culture to grab what you'd like rather than ask for it (believing it is rude to interrupt someone from eating or talking, to get something for you). So, there was also lots of grabbing of food from across the way. Loved it!
And then, after we were done eating, the boys were kicked out and the girls enjoyed Turkish belly dancing!! Part 2 of Turkey stealing my heart!

Learning how to belly dance.
I gave an Uzbekistan scarf to our Turkish Mom for blessing us with her generous heart and amazing meal.

The Journey Begins to Turkey!

It was a dream come true...go overseas with my love, Andrew. And in addition to that, to visit my best friend in Turkey, and minister with her side by side in her country! We went with three other dear friends, Kari Potter, Amanda Potter and Kelsi Evans. Here are pictures as we head out of Walla Walla, drive to Seattle, and land in Antalya, Turkey! These pictures aren't in order, but I don't know how to move them around. You'll get the idea!

Look who came with us! The creepy creature! (By the way, she snuck in by the Mrs. Kari Potter!! You stinker!)

In Seattle. Lots of bags!

Bag repair...needle and thread!

En route to Seattle. Outback in Yakima!

Mother and daughter! En route to Seattle.
Ready to go! Leaving Walla Walla.

Love this boy! We're on our long flight from Seattle to Istanbul.

Love this picture of all the flags. Love the nations!

A Waiting Mother

I seemed to face this all the time with Nepal...Checking my email 18 times a day to see if there was anything from my agency with an update. I haven’t had that really at all with China since we began our process on March 28 of this year. Until now. Our part of the paperwork has been done since the end of September. Then we received our USCIS approval on Oct. 21, and my agency said they thought our paperwork would go to China in about three weeks pending receipt of state authentication of all of our documents. And now, I’m wanting to check my email 18 times a day to see if my agency says, “OK – everything is off to China!” After that, I’ll be checking my email to receive the “Log-In Date” which is the date that China logged our paperwork as received and in process for review. And after that, I’ll be checking my mailbox to receive the “brown envelope” which comes from the U.S. Consulate in China containing paperwork we’ll need for our U.S. Consulate appointment when we’re in country.

And after that...I’ll be checking my PHONE for the referral call from our agency saying we’ve been matched with a baby.

And most of all, after that, once we receive our referral...I’ll be waiting for the day when we meet our precious son or daughter! Oh, that will certainly be the hardest wait of all. If only adoption pregnancies had due dates like biological pregnancies!!

“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” —Psalm 27:14

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” —Proverbs 13:12

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” —Romans 5:5

Here’s to His hope, and to our destined baby!

Goodbye Facebook, hello freedom!

Ahhh...it felt so good to inactivate my Facebook account. I canceled it because I found it to be a burden to keep up with. There were also times it discouraged me quite a bit as I read certain status updates of people now and again. As a pastor, there were times I felt little jabs here and there. I don't need any more discouragement than I already give myself, so I inactivated my account. IT FELT SO GOOD. As far as the time thing goes, while I didn't spend hours of time on Facebook, I spent probably close to an hour a day on it. Now I have that back to read books, my precious Bible, spend more time with the Lord, do other projects, whatever! It's also one less thing to check and update. Oh, the freedom!!

And now, back to blogging! It has been a year and a half since my last post. Wow, how time flies, and how much can happen in just a year and a half! We've had so much happen since my last post. We're now senior pastors of our church, though I'm still working full-time. Andrew is working part-time at his engineering job, and part-time at our church even though our church budget isn't able to pay him yet. But the call of God is worth any sacrifice, and more.

In addition to that major change, the US closed adoptions to Nepal on Aug. 6, 2010, for the time being. After all that happened at our church, and all that's happened in our lives regarding babies, this was incredibly difficult to swallow. But, we swallowed it, wept, prayed, and went through the grief process regarding our "adoption miscarriage." Seven months later, we began a journey for a baby from China, though we are keeping our file in Nepal open as we continue to pray that the US will open the doors there. On March 21, 2011, we began our China adoption journey with Lifeline Children's Services.

Seven months later, we are now done with our China paperwork, and we received our US approval to adopt from China on Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. Our agency said they expect our dossier to be off to China in about three weeks.

We recently returned from a ministry trip to Turkey. I'll blog about the trip in separate posts, but let me just say that while we went to pour our hearts out to our friends and the Turkish people, the Lord poured His heart into us. I feel renewed, rejuvenated, more in love with Jesus than ever before, and more resolved to not return to the busy life we've always lived.

A new day has dawn!

Psalm 34:8, "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!