Monthly Archives: February 2009

here we go


22 months and counting. Almost 2 years in process. Incredible. And finally the movement we have been waiting and working for is here. We are headed to Kazakhstan!

We booked plane tickets and will travel this Saturday, March 7th. We will arrive in kstan at 12:20 am on March 9th. We’ll crash there for most of that day and head to our region later that night. That’s where we’ll spend the next 2 months or so.

We don’t have a lot of details on what happens next at this point, but it should be fun and stretching at the same time. We will be updating the blog a lot more once we get in country (Of course that is all dependant on internet access, but we’ll assume). We will be posting updates of our daily adventures in the city and with our little guy or girl and whatever else is going on. We will have tons of free time, so be looking for updates regularly. We may also post some of our last week in the states before we go. We’ll see how much time we have. It’s going to be a freaking crazy week.

God is good, and he has been faithful. We;ve had some difficult days and weeks in the last almost two years, and I am sure there are still more to come in the next few months, but he has always been more than enough. He deserves the praise for today.

As always, thank you for walking on this road with us.


except by grace…

This is a brief post that is not about the Claytons, except to say that my heart is broken tonight reading about some other families. If you are here to read our latest news it is the post right before this one called news of a different kind. Please read this first.

I won’t share the entire story, but to shorten it, there are some families who have received a “no” in country when they went to court for a decision about their child. You can read a short update about these stories here:

Read the post titled Unbelievable. It really is almost unbelievable. It was hard for me to read. I cannot imagine being in the situation that these parents are. They went, met their child, saw them every day for weeks, and started thinking and preparing for a life with them, only to have them snatched away.

I don’t know how I would respond, and hopefully we will not find out, but for tonight I hurt for these families. Thank God that his grace is enough, that his love is faithful, that his mercies are new every single day, and that they never fail. What God is so great as our God?

I think in a moment like this it would be hard to echo these thoughts, but I will not pretend to know what they must be going through, and I won’t trivialize it. Our hearts are full for them right now.

Some days we just have to say that if it were not for grace that does not depend on us we would never make it.

news of a different kind

This is not our child! I want to be very clear before we move on any farther. This is not our child! This cool guy belongs to some friends of ours. I have actually posted these pictures without their expressed written consent, so hopefully they will not disown us as friends. Guys, if you’re mad, sorry. I will remove the offensive images as soon as possible.

We do have some news, and to go along with it I wanted you to see a real live child who is in the same situation ours is and will be in. Parents, thank you in advance for allowing this. He’s a cool guy and a good looking kid. We hope to be so lucky.


We received a phone call a little over a week ago with some great news. There is a lot to say, but to sum it all up we basically found out that our letter of invitation to travel was in DC. The letter is required to get an entry visa, and we thought it would be a few weeks before it came, but it showed up.

Then we got a call a few days ago saying that we need to get our visas by March 3rd and that we would be traveling sometime soon. The best estimate we have right now is that we will travel around the second week of March. We will be in country for somewhere around 2 months, which puts us back here with our new baby around mid-May if things go well. So we just have a few weeks to get some things set up at the house, stock up on some last minute or forgotten baby things, and figure out how things will function while we are gone. Oh, how we will be missed, I am sure.

Today as I type this the current temperature where we are going is -11 F. The high for today was -9. Not good. We’ll have more news soon, but please keep praying for our process. Thank you so much for hanging with us. We’re not there yet, but we’re closer than we’ve ever been.

why is it good to wait?

This is the second of two new posts today, so there is one titled the resurrection of hope you can jump to after you finish this one if that suits you. Thanks for reading. God is definitely doing something in our family through this whole deal. A lot is happening in the meantime, just while we wait. And maybe someone is learning something from watching us. If not, thanks for just taking an interest in us. We feel the love. Enjoy a sweet picture of Charity posing by a photograph/photoshop project that she recently had in an art show. Compliments of the iPhone.

Char Art Show

This post is more about the Word. God is good to us. We don’t always have fun, but a lot of the time we do, and things are not always easy, but sometimes they are. And God is good to us. That is sort of what this whole online journal is about. And of course I say journal because I feel like a woman to use the word diary. This ain’t no diary.

Our pastor recently preached a message from 1 Peter. Part of the passage was chapter 1, verses 6 & 7, which really struck me as it pertains to this season of our lives. As I say this, I want to be very clear, we are happy, not depressed people. We see way more good days than bad. At the same time, this has been a season of struggle in some ways, and we are honest about that. So these two verses spoke to me. They basically say that for a short time you have struggled through trials so that your faith will lead to glory for Jesus. It also says that our faith is more valuable than gold, which perishes, alluding to an undying faith.

It’s sort of a bitter pill to swallow because it fits in line with other passages that make it clear that at times suffering comes from God. He does more than allow it, he causes it. And on the surface that sort of makes me mad because I am selfish and most of my life tends to be centered around me. But when I read scripture I can see a plan that is so much bigger than my limited scope, and I can see that God is doing things that may be difficult for a season because there is an incredible payoff coming later. And the beautiful thing is that the payoff is also bigger than us. The payoff has ramifications for things that are too wonderful for me to really comprehend. And hasn’t your daddy ever told you that anything worth having is worth fighting for?

There is also a place that has been familiar to me in recent months, a book called Lamentations. I go there to find someone to identify with my sorrows, but I always find encouragement. Chapter 3, verses 25-27 go like this:
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person wh seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is still young.”

It’s a little strange, but these verses have been so encouraging to me because I think Charity and I both feel like we are hoping and waiting for deliverance from this whole process, to be very transparent. There is so much good coming through it, but we are ready now to be done with it, and we think of it like we are waiting to be delivered from all of it. So this hits me right where I am in these days, and it says that it is good for us to wait quietly, patiently, for it. And whether I want to admit it or not, I can feel the truth in that statement, too. It is good. It’s good for me, good for us, and just good. It’s refining and sharpening and deepening. Maybe not fun, but definitely good. And definitely worth it.

It also says that it is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is still young, and I don’t even need to go into that. That parts stinks. The rest of the Bible is good, but that part stinks.

Thanks for listening. We love to hear back from you. And as always, thank you for walking with us.

the resurrection of hope

These are some pics from our recent trip to SE Asia. There isn’t a lot of relevance to the rest of the post, but they are cool pictures, everyone likes pictures, and Chairty is a good photographer. So enjoy. There is some news and postage under them.

Palaung Girls

Shiny Streets in Shanghai

We are in a struggle right now. We have heard some news recently from the lady who is working on our behalf, but it turned out not to be exactly what she said it was, which we think is really just a communication barrier because of a language barrier. So we are praying and working toward clarity in this specific situation and as we move forward.

What is exciting, though, is that we did get some news. And even though it turned out not to be what we thought it was, it was something, we just aren’t quite sure what yet. But the feeling we got when we received the news was a very good one. It was this feeling of hope and anticipation. I really don’t want to spiritualize everything, but well, here we go.

Back before christmas I did a sermon on the anticipation and expectation that surrounded the birth of Christ. While many people didn’t then and still don’t accept his birth as the true savior of the world, for many others it was a really exciting time. Leading up to his birth there was a period of several hundred years of silence, and then all of a sudden angels start appearing to people, prophecies start coming, and there starts to be movement. And while the promises were still not immediately at hand, for the first time in a long time there was movement. And you can see the energy and momentum start to build as the movement happens. It all leads up to the birth of Jesus, the one who came to save his people from their sins. It was a reminder, and in some ways a resurrection, of hope.

That is how we felt and sort of still feel right now with this seudo-news. We feel like after a period of silence we are now starting to see some movement. The process may not really be picking up again yet, and it may be more time before we see or hear anything again, but this movement sort of reminded us of hope, and it was an exciting day. Word from a distant land was like cold water to our dry souls.

Thank you for praying. Please ask God to give us clarity as we try to decode what our lady is saying to us. We don’t think she is outright lying to us, but things tend to not be exactly the way they come across, so both sides need clarity in how we communicate. Ask God to give us that and discernment. And enjoy the pictures. I wish we had some that went along with our post, but other than taking pictures of excited and frowny faces, I’m not sure what we can do. Enjoy.

Thank you for walking with us.

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