Monthly Archives: March 2009

what is real family?

No pictures today. Sorry I just don’t have the energy, but instead we posted a new video on And I am working on some good Sam video, but I actually lost the one I had been working on. Sorry. Now on to some thoughts and a story.

Sam is one of 13 cute, awesome little kids in his class. They are mostly boys with a few girls mixed in. They come from all kinds of backgrounds and have been there for different periods of time. Sometimes new people come in, and other people leave. They have several different caretakers who rotate shifts. There are probably about 6 of them, so they see a lot of different people. But for these little people, this is their family.

These are the people they live with day in and day out. These are their brothers and sisters. These are their parents. These are the people they are comfortable with and the people they recognize. While we believe that we are doing a good thing by bringing Sam into our family, and we also believe that every one of these little people need families, there is something hard and painful about them leaving their home and their family.

When they leave here, everything they know disappears, everything. While the lives they move on to may be better in many ways, nothing is familiar or comfortable, nothing. I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave everything that gives me any level of comfort and have no one ask me if I would like to do that or not. Ultimately these little guys may not know what’s best for them, being around 2 years old, but being adopted is in may ways painful for them.

It’s painful for their adoptive families in many ways, too. It’s hard. It’s inconvenient. It’s uncomfortable to live in Kazakhstan for 2 months. It’s expensive. It’s freaking cold for two Texas people. And we thank God for all of it and pray with all our hearts that God would speak to more families and that more families would respond and answer the call to adopt. Because there’s another thing about it: it is absolutely not about us.

In many ways it’s about these kids and about hope and relief. But more than that, as we have said from the very beginning, while Sam was still a stack of paper called a dossier, while he was still an agency application, it was always about the gospel. It was always about Jesus because everything is always about Jesus. As we were reminded very painfully and clearly and beautifully our first week here, it was always about 2 Timothy 1:9: “…God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.”

Now, the story you’ve all ben waiting for:
Sam has a litle friend in his class, one of the 13, named Matisse. That is his name given to him by his parents who are French. He is a cool little guy and is very active and very happy. His favorite word is”tata,” which means “look!” And he is always pointing at something. We have noticed that every time we come to pick Sam up, if he is not already pretty close to the door or if he doesn’t notice us, his little friend Matisse gets very excited, starts making all kinds of noise and runs over to Sam and starts patting him and making sure he knows that we are there. He knows instantly that we are there to see Sam, and he is very excited for Sam that we are there. It’s so cool. These guys are family.

And no news on anything else yet. Just visiting the boy and waiting. Thank you for walking the long, hard, refining, beautiful, inspiring road with us.


specific answers to specific questions

One more step is behind us. We got a call about 1:15 Thursday afternoon saying that we had a meeting with the department of education at 2:50. So we had less than an hour notice before we had to leave. It was a crazy rush of nerves, excitement, anxiety, and relief. One of our specific prayers was for a quick date for this meeting, and it was answered specifically. We got the meeting the day after our bonding ended, so it couldn’t have been much quicker than that.

The meeting went well. We actually got several questions about stuff like our finances, our jobs, and Sam. It was pretty intimidating. The ladies didn’t let on much in the way they looked at and talked to us, but by the end of the interview they had lightened up. One of the ladies asked us a few questions, but then started talking about how she had seen us at the baby house with Sam and that we were a good family and good parents. She was smiling, and kept saying that things were “harasho,” good in Russian.

That was crazy to us. We saw the lady for seriously about 2 minutes one day, yet we had such good favor with her. This was one other very specific thing we had been praying for. We asked you guys to pray that we would have favor with these people, not just that they would listen and let us by, but that we would have favor in their eyes, and this lady definitely thought very highly of us. It was a very cool thing to sit there and see God’s answer to a very specific prayer.

We also asked for prayer about some pressure that we were under to do some things that we did not want to do pertaining to our interviews in a few places. This was one of those places. We didn’t do what we were being pressured to do, something that would be wrong, and the issue never even came up. Not even a passing mention of it. So great!

As the interview went on and the issue never came up, we just felt relief and such a sense of excitement that God was directing even the steps of those who do not know him. I am really thinking Malachi 1:5 – “Your own eyes will see this, and you yourselves will say: The Lord is great, even beyond the borders of Israel.” The earth and everything in it are the Lord’s because he made them. He directs each person and event as he wants. Whether they claim to be his or not, everyone and everything moves in response to him.

So that’s our news for today, even though it happened on Thursday. God is good, and he is faithful. We still have a few major things in front of us, but this was one big step, and we feel a definite sense of relief. Please pray for a quick court date and for favor with the judge like we have favor with this lady in the dept. of education.

bonding is finished!

Hey people, we got news. We found out today that our bonding period actually started the first day we saw Sam, so that means that our last day is today. That’s a cool thing. It really went fast. So now we have an interview at the department of education here in the city. They will ask us some questions, and once we get their approval, Lord willing, they will schedule a court date. They say we could get into the department of education as early as Thursday or Friday, so we are hoping for soon.

Once we are done there we will have a court date schedules. We are also praying that our court date will be soon. Court is the biggest thing that affects how everything goes from here forward. When our court date is determines a lot of how long we will be here, and what the court’s decision is obviously weighs a lot.

We had a good visit with Sam’s doctor this morning about his medical history, how she thinks he is progressing since we got here, and what to expect in court. She is a really sweet lady who is always smiling, and she will be in court with us. That is something we are glad for. She says that Sam is really progressing a lot since we arrived. One thing that stood out to me was that she said most kids are looking around as people come in and out for someone to be their parents (even if they don’t exactly understand parents yet, they are at least looking for “their people”). But since we arrived she said Sam doesn’t do that anymore. He knows we are his people.

Yesterday when we arrived in the morning we got their after the other family who has a child in Sam’s class. So they had already picked up their little boy, and Sam was left behind. So when we got there he was crying and having to be held, probabyl because he wondered where we were, and when he saw us he immediately stopped crying. So cool. Is it ok to say that we were glad to see our kid cry?

Sam is doing so much better at walking, too. It’s crazy that he is progressing so fast in only two weeks, but yesterday he tool probably 15 steps on his own. He usualy takes a few and then falls into our arms, but yesterday he just kept on going. It’s a cool thing. I plan to have him running and working on his crossover by the time we leave here.

We have uploaded a few videos on our youtube page that may give you some insight into our lives here so far. They are sort of old, and we are catching up. They are midly humorous, I guess, and we hope you enjoy them and feel part of us by watching them. We love and do read every single comment, even if we don’t reply, so keep those coming when you have those thoughts. If oyu have an idea for something you would like to see or know let us know and we will see what we can do.

The youtube page is Hope you enjoy.

Thank you for continuing to walk with us.

overwhelmed by the masses (and all kinds of goodies)

Today was our 11th day of bonding, and it is flying by. That is definitely an answer to prayer. We are enjoying the time, but we also want to see this whole process completed soon, so the faster some days go, the better. But we also want to enjoy it. Sam is also eating really well. We asked people to pray about that a few days ago, and since then he really has been eating well. I think mom and dad are figuring out that he is used to eating his whole meal in about 5 minutes, so we are having to learn to speed up some in our feeding routine, but he has been doing a lot better. We’re proud of him and thankful to you who prayed. Keep it up.

We also want to ask a simple question: where is the love? Does no one care about us anymore? We only had 743 people read the blog yesterday. Did we do something to upset you? Seriously, this junk is crazy. We actually did have 743 readers yesterday, and our all time high was on March 17th. 1,259 people checked us out. What the heck is that?!

I guess I should just be frank and say that 1,259 people checked Sam out. But when we see those numbers we are stunned and ask each other who all these people are. I don’t even think the two of us combined even know that many people. And we see how it is, too. Everbody loves Sam. Before we had Sam we had had like 10 hits on our site since its creation back in the 80’s. Now everybody is interested. Am I not cute, too?

If you were one of the 1,259 on March 17th, congratulations and thank you for playing. And really, all those numbers do is humble us. It is amazing and literally overwhelming to see how many people care about us and our boy. We have been blessed to be loved and carried by so many exceptional people. We can really feel you praying, and we have seen the results firsthand in the last two weeks for sure. We wish you could be here to see it for yourselves. It is faith-building to see God do things in response to our asking. You guys are helping to refine and deepen our faith and our dependence on the Lord, and you are participating in the ransoming of Sam. We are grateful for the part you have played. And we are humbled that you would walk with us for all this time.

So in response to the outpouring of support and the love fest we are unveiling the first ever Thoughts from the Journey poll. I am not making any promises that we will go with your decision, but we still want to know what you think. So this is your chance to participate even more. We welcome your comments, too.

And there’s also a video up for your viewing pleasure on our youtube page. It’s just raw video, and it’s funny. 

And as always, thank you for walking so long with us.

a certain prayer concern…and of course more photos

Today we are heading to our 10th day of bonding with Sam. It has gone so fast, but we do know that we still have a pretty good way to go still. We have 5 more days of bonding and then we go to court, and if we get a “yes” then we have 15 more days for the waiting period. So we are still looking at a minimum of 20 days before we might get to bring Sam home to our apartment, and we are enjoying our time, but also hoping that those days go really fast.

We talked with our coordinators the other day about some court stuff, and we found out something that is a little troubling to us. It is not something we want to post here, and it’s not devestating. It is just something that might come up in court that could potentially be a problem for us. We have talked with other families, and it seems like court will be fairly low-key. We just have this lingering question about this one issue more than most. It has to do with our answer to a certain question that might come up. We want to be honest in everything we say, and we want them to hear our hearts and be moved by that to approve us. the whole thing sort of feels like a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego moment.

Please pray for wisdom in how to answer if this question does come up. Also please pray that we would be able to rest in God’s peace in our situation and not dwell on the possibility all the way until we get to court. Also pray that God would soften the judge’s heart and anyone else we have to answer to and that our case and anyone associated with it would have favor. Pray for very clear and specific translation. We are really praying that this would not even be an issue. If the question even comes up at all that our answer would suffice and the judge would accept it.

As always, we really need your prayers and have felt them when you pray them. We have had the strength, wisdom, and peace when we have needed it, and God has done great things for us! We are still learning and being refined by a lo of the same things, and we love your prayers in the midst of it. Thank you for walking this road with us. We love you.

And as a reward, here are some new pics of the boy.

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