Sunday, June 2, 2013

When AMAZING is an Understatement!

The next few posts will be about our time celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Show Hope. I hope you will come along with me for this recap of one of the most AMAZING weekends we've ever had. 

Before we get going, I want to publicly thank the Chapman family, Scott Hasenbalg, Charley Redmond, Cathy Troyer, Nick Lyndon, Mindy Cook, and each and every Show Hope staff member for making this weekend possible for us. We cannot say thank you enough for everything you have done for our family - because you have been faithful to God's call on your lives, thousands of lives have been immeasurably blessed and changed for good forever.

We would also like to thank Erik Dellenback, Brandi Cook, Tim Tebow and the Tim Tebow Foundation for standing in defense of orphans - we are so blessed to be amongst the first families so generously blessed through your partnership with Show Hope (more on this later!)

And to Joyce and Robin, who have given their lives to serve the broken children of China, your sacrifice is what has made our family possible. Your courageous love inspires and heals - we cannot thank you enough.

Together, united, you all create one tremendous team, and with the Lord at your helm, the work you do not only reaches into thousands of grateful hearts, but also into all of eternity.

We had packed our bags and were heading out the door - we were on our way to Tennessee! As recipients of two Show Hope grants (one for Sarah and one for Sam), we had been invited to help them celebrate their 10th Anniversary and we couldn't wait to meet all the wonderful staff we had the privilege of connecting with in both big and small ways over the years.

For those who might not be familiar with them, Show Hope ( is a non-profit org, founded by Marybeth and Steven Curtis Chapman (Steven is a Grammy Award winning recording artist and is a household name in christian and gospel music circles). After their first adoption, they began to realize just how many orphans were in desperate needs of families and so helped to personally fund several adoptions. It was then they realized God was inviting them to do more by taking the next step to create an organization that would eventually unite thousands of orphans with loving families by simply helping them overcome the financial hurdles of the process. We are one of those families.

So where were we? Oh yes! We were out the door early that morning, with the two kiddos in tow and all of us were beyond excited. It was Sarah's first time on a plane since China and she was giddy at the thought of flying. "Because I don't remember flying to China mama," she told me over and over again that week. My little girl had counted down the days until finally, in our seats on the plane, we began to take-off.

At this point, Sarah had the sudden realization of what an airplane really was and desperately clung to my arm. As I whispered into her ear. holding on to her as the plane barreled down the runway, I observed Sam just one seat over from Sarah, who, being his normal free-spirited self, had raised his little hands like he was on a roller coaster and laughed like a little madman as we were pressed back into our seats.

We landed four hours later in Nashville and stepped out of the airplane and into our rental car, which, like so many things on this trip, was just one more thing that God blessed us with. We were upgraded from a small Ford Escape, to a brand new, fully decked out GMC Terrain for free, when the gal at Enterprise noticed it would be a tight fit for us.

And so, as we drove away with the moonroof open, the clean and crisp Tennessee air breezing in through the windows, there was not one mouth that was quiet - all of us were wahoo-ing and yippee-ing and yeehaw-ing, celebrating the goodness and grace of a God that had gone ahead of us to bless us with even the little things on this trip.

Once we settled in at our hotel, it was time to find food and apparently, Nashville isn't a fast food kinda city, so after driving around in "exploration mode" for the better part of a half hour, we decided to hop back onto the freeway and see if we could spot something from there. And it was then that we saw them...the golden arches!!! We all laughed as me and Mike did our best impressions of an angelic chorus as we drove towards the light. I do believe that will go down as the best fish sandwich I've ever had.

Later, with the kids finally in bed, me and Mike couldn't help but talk about many of the blessings, both painful and joyful, that had led up to this one moment in time. It was indeed a time for celebration. "What an adventure You have set us on Lord..." was the last thing I can remember lifting up to Him as I drifted off to sleep.

Sarah and Sam the first night at our hotel, celebrating the joy of life.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Show Me How to Live

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is.
- Ephesians 3:17

Back in April of 2012, we were told Sam had died. We had been in the process of rushing to get to him, to bring him home because his health was failing and we knew he wouldn't be able to hold out much longer without specialized medical care. And then the devastating news came.

I have never experienced a sorrow so deep. Many did not understand why we grieved. Most thought it was a blessing that we did not have the chance to hold him, but what they did not understand is that not being able to hold him, not being able to kiss him, feel his little arms and legs, or feel the warmth of his breathe against my shoulder or in my ears made it that much more difficult.

During that time, I listened to Audrey Assad's "Show Me" - the lyrics were the only thing that came close to touching the ache in my heart.

"You can plant me like a tree beside a river, you could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild, and I would blossom like a flower in the desert, but for now just let me cry...bind up these broken bones, mercy bend and breathe me back to life, but not before you show me how to die."

I would listen to that song for hours. It ministered to my heart on so many different levels. It is a song about pain and grieving and wanting to be left to grieve. It is a song about being broken, knowing only God can heal you and put you back together again. It is a song about learning how to cling to God in your darkest, lowest moments and how He will be faithful to stay with you regardless of how you feel about Him. But the more I listened to that song, the more I began to realize, the reason I was listening to it wasn't so much about my sorrow as it was about my desperate need for hope.

I listen to this song at least a few times a week now. It is a gentle reminder of the sweet moments I had with my Savior as He attended to my broken heart. And as I listen, He reminds me still, Kimberly, be desperate for Hope. Sit still and let Me work. Let Me heal the places that are wounded. Just be present with Me - that is the only thing you need to do. I will sit with you as you heal. I will wait for you as you rest. And then, when you are ready, I will show you how to live.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Most Precious Gifts...

Many of you may know, five years ago we heard about a very ill baby who needed a family. Chenchen had lived most of her life in a palliative care unit in China because she was born with a liver disease that if left untreated, would kill her before her second birthday. When we heard about her, we instantly knew she was meant to be ours. Now, 4 years later, this warm, funny, gentle-hearted, and humble little soul, who we named Sarah, thrives on hugs, kisses, and cuddles, and whose kindness and care for others goes well beyond her six years. we often think back to the doubts, questions and emotions we had during her adoption and think, what joy and laughter and love we would have missed had we turned her away.

Sarah has gone from seeing the doctor’s once every 3-6 months now going once a month for scoping and ultrasounds. Her doctors tell us her condition has advanced and a transplant may be in her near future. Our hearts ache when we think about the days that lay ahead for her and so, we ask you to remember Sarah in your prayers.

Sarah prays a good bit herself actually. We learn a lot by listening to her pray. Very regularly, for the past three years, she has prayed that God would give her siblings. Interesting enough, a month ago, we learned of two other babies who mirror Sarah’s story. They both have the same liver condition as Sarah and both are with the same extraordinary non-profit, New Hope, who cared for Sarah during her first year of life). It was impossible for us to adopt the children as we no longer met the requirements, however, we felt led to offer our help, hoping somehow, we could connect them to doctors who could stabilize them until they could be adopted.

Now, we should have learned a long time ago that “impossible” is a non-issue for God. Impossible becomes nothing more than a vapor when it stands in the midst God’s love and compassion for orphans.

So, long story short – we are adopting these babies! We were cleared just this past week by both our Home Study and Adoption Agencies. It may be anywhere from 6-12 months before we bring them home, but a handsome baby boy AND another precious baby girl are on their way! Yes – you heard that right: TWO!!!!

And so, we are asking that you join us – march onto the battlefield of prayer with us! Due to the complexity and the speed at which the whole situation is moving, we are asking for His leading, guidance, wisdom, discernment, clarity, provision and protection over our family. We have $50k worth of adoption expenses to raise ($25k for each baby), 10-12 months of paperwork to cram in as quickly as we can do it, coordinating with two agencies and upwards of 10 people, and most importantly, the increasing criticalness of Sarah’s condition as well as the babies themselves.

Before we let you go, there is one more thing we would like you to pray about…

Directly after we committed to adopting these two little ones, two more with the same liver condition were delivered to New Hope within days of each other; a baby girl and a baby boy. It is an extremely rare thing to receive two children with this condition at the same time, but four is – unbelievably extraordinary. Many people might want to see this in a negative light, but we are choosing to believe God’s promises – that He loves these children – and for some reason, He has gathered and maneuvered them to New Hope for a reason. We believe there is a family out there, amongst our family or friends or acquaintances (or amongst yours!) whose heart is being prepared specifically for these little ones – it’s just a matter of finding them.

So, as completely out-of-the-question as this may be, we are asking you to take these children before the Lord and ask Him in earnest if either (or both) of these babies are meant for you. He will either etch these children into your memory so deeply you cannot forget them, or…He won’t. We hope you will take a leap of faith, and help us spread the word. We know what we are asking may be uncomfortable, and we don't ask for your help lightly, but for these little ones, it may be their only chance at living.

To wrap things up, throughout the last five years, we’ve gone through some rough spots. We may not be well off, or hold high powered jobs, or buy fancy clothes - things may not be easy - but God continues to bless us with things far better than material happiness. We would have never known the love and tenderness Sarah brings to our daily lives had we overlooked her or considered her adoption as “something other people do.” And don’t rule out the impossible! Many times the impossible is where you get to see God work His miracles! Let's step out in faith - being open and willing to give Him our whole life, whether it's through adoption or not, by trusting Him with everything we have. Because that is what true and authentic faith is - the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11)

Thank you so much for reading this ridiculously long post. From our hearts to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas! May the Lord richly bless you and your family with the most precious of all gifts: Faith. Hope. And the greatest of these…Love.