what 10 years looks like.

We spent this weekend reminiscing. A lot. It was 10 years ago that we were in China for the first time. Holding a feisty, determined, pint-sized survivor, with a half-dollar sized hole in her heart. I still remember how it felt as those last moments inched by before I would finally become her mama: standing in a smoke-filled room, my ears filled with sounds of a language I didn't understand, my sweaty palm clutching a frayed referral picture of a tiny baby. And waiting, waiting, waiting to be handed that very baby, who was to be my baby from that moment into … [Read more...]

a dirty secret in adoption

My heart is naturally bent toward encouragement. Focusing on the good stuff. And as an adoptive mama, I can't even begin to put into words all the ways that the Lord has blessed me through my children. The work He has done in them, and in me... good stuff. But I have learned that sometimes the best way to encourage is to go beyond the warm fuzzies. To be a truth-teller... a person who loves by sharing the harder things - the things we don't like to talk about - in order to enlighten and encourage those who are on a similar, difficult path. It's no fun to go there, but … [Read more...]

orphan sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. We watched a video in church that was created to celebrate all the children who have come home to families in our church through adoption. Some from Ethiopia. South Korea. Alabama. And a few especially adorable ones from China that, when their faces flashed across the screen, might have made me tear up a little. Especially their faces before they came home. It's not that they didn't have a roof over their heads. Or clothes on their backs. Or food in their belly. It's that they didn't have parents, a mama to snuggle … [Read more...]

become a mentoring mom

I am so. excited. This project has been in the *dream* stage for a long time. But with a website overhaul pending, and realizing our need for more organizational and informational supports to make No Hands But Ours all it can be, the time to turn this dream into reality is now. Joining me on this adventure are Rebecca, Liberty, Becky, Amy and Sheryl. All moms of precious kiddos from China, who just happen to have special needs. All passionate advocates for the orphan. And all just as excited as I am to be working together to launch this crazy big idea. And we … [Read more...]

Maria’s Big House of Hope spotlight: Nathalie

**Today Show Hope and I are switching blogs. I'm sharing over there and they're sharing over here. So excited to share this sweet little one - and all about Show Hope Care Centers - with y'all.** Back in 2003, Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, founded Show Hope out of their desire to see more children find their way into forever families. Though many families they talked to desired to adopt, the financial costs to adoption were simply prohibitive. Since its inception, Show Hope has helped provide forever homes through Adoption Aid grants for more than … [Read more...]

biggest and littlest

Been thinking a lot about adoption lately. April marked 2 years home with Tallula. May was the month we traveled to China for Sophie in 2006 and Isabelle in 2005. It's also the month Esther passed away in 2011. And June will mark 10 years since the Lord opened our eyes to caring for the orphan. 10 years, y'all. (Excuse me while I take a moment to feel very, very old.) June was also the month we traveled to China for Jude in 2008 and Shepherd in 2009. Yep. Adoption has been on my mind for so many reasons. Usually, when I look at pictures of my … [Read more...]

we don’t celebrate gotcha day

... because gotcha day looks like this. Oh my heart. Just look at her sweet 27-month-old self. Confused. Sad. And perched uncomfortably in the arms of a complete stranger with a few peace offerings clutched in her tiny hands. More and more it hurts my heart to look back at gotcha day pictures. Because while I was positively beaming (and sweating!) - after all this moment is the culmination of months of prayer, effort, expectations and a rapidly growing sense of mother love - my child was heartbroken on this day. She's lost what she thought to be her … [Read more...]

there’s no such thing as an easy adoption.

Note: When I write about adoption, I'm speaking to other Christians. I can't write about adoption "in general" without beginning and ending with my faith. Separating my feelings and beliefs on adoption from my feelings and beliefs about Jesus is simply impossible. I think C.S. Lewis sums it up perfectly: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." I can only see adoption through the lenses by which I see everything: Christ. Adoption would never have been part of my story apart … [Read more...]

fundraising family? orphan ministry? read on.

Lots of y'all commented and emailed me privately about your adoption fundraisers and orphan ministries and I'm so excited to for November now! But I need something first. Please email me a square button or logo - like the one below that my sweet girl made for me - so I can add you and your efforts on behalf of the orphan to my sidebar. It can be any size, I'll edit it to the correct dimensions, but it does need to be square. If you don't have a button, let me know. And if you know of anyone that's fundraising for adoption, please share... the more the … [Read more...]

for the orphan

Hello. I'm Stefanie. And this is my blog. Thought an introduction might be in order since it's been so long. I mean, it's been months since I've sat down to really write anything here. I know I've posted pictures, but writing has been more elusive. It's not that I haven't thought about it, or that I don't have anything to say. But by the time I sit down and try to compose my thoughts, someone (offenders shall remain nameless) asks for lunch. Or to color. Or to play a game. Or go outside. Or whatever. I'm sure all you mamas get the picture. But Orphan Sunday … [Read more...]