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New Role

In the last few weeks, I have begun serving my community through our church, Christ Community Church, in a new way. Our church has had a relationship with World Relief for several years, but had no one to take up the role of being the point person. This new role will have me developing a cadre of volunteers who are willing to welcome new refugees into our area. It is a role which fits the call of Jesus on my life which is to embody Micah 6:8.

He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV84

Our goal (mine and that of Christ Community Church’s Community Impact team and the beginnings of our team of volunteers) is to build relationships with refugees in the hopes that one day we will be able to share Jesus Christ with them and see them begin a personal relationship with him.

I have been super excited about this new role and have studied all that it entails. I’m daily reading and educating myself on who is a refugee, the process for identifying them and approving them for resettlement and what happens when they arrive on our soil. I’m reading leadership books and spending a lot of time planning. I am a researcher, it’s a passion of mine. I like to really understand things and dig deep. And I have done so on this issue and especially on this community partner, World Relief.

I’m excited to share with you what I have learned. Look for new blog posts over the next few days. I’m dividing the posts as it is a lot of information to digest. I will be linking to factual data, so please follow the links. I hope you will read all of them.  Feel free to share them with others who are wondering about refugees, particularly those who fear an influx of Syrian Refugees.

It is my humble prayer that God will use these posts to bring about a change of hearts and minds.

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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in adventure, faith, kingdom living, leadership

 

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Just a little something I had to write this morning…

Family

An ever-changing
moving target
at our house

Acceptance always
our goal
our motivation

Love you where you are
show Christ’s love
believe you want to be
the best you
you are capable of being

Willing to be
a safe place for you
for a season
or for a lifetime

Loving you
is not easy
is heart-bursting
is joyous
is heartbreaking

Tears
of love
of grief
of acceptance
when you choose
to leave

Know you were
and are
loved

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

 

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Eve, Captivating, and Xena, Warrior Princess

I am a huge fan of John Eldredge’s books, I even subscribe to his daily readings. I have to admit, though, to never being able to get through his wife, Stasi Eldredge’s book, Captivating.  This week, I received a daily reading called “Haunted by Eve”.  Here’s the link:  Haunted by Eve

Honestly, I don’t see myself haunted by the question, “Am I lovely?” I identify much more easily with the generalized every little boy question, “Do I have what it takes?”  I accepted long ago, that God made me the way he saw fit.  Brian finds me lovely and I know God does and so I have no need to ask that question.

Much more important to me is “Do I have what it takes?”  I would so much rather don my spiritual armor and be a warrior for God fighting alongside the son of Man and the angels, than be a little girl twirling around in a pretty party dress.

Any other women feel that way? If so, join me in the Warrior Princess for God club!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in faith

 

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It’s Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d post a love story…

But it’s not your typical love story.  Instead, it’s the story of how Brian and I fell in love with two boys back in November 2008 and adopted them as our sons.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”  Romans 8:14-17

This post was originally shared on our facebook group, The Ames Fusion Experience. Please feel free to join that group if you’d like.  We’ll be updating the group with information on the adoption of Lowenski and Daveson and how they are settling in.  But I digress….  Here’s the story.

In November of 2008, Natalie ran across pictures of two young boys and had to do a double take. They were part of a gallery of pictures of children who were available for adoption out of the foster care system. There were small descriptions of the boys attached to the pictures and one of the boys said he wanted a family that liked to camp (well, Brian does, and Natalie will learn to like it again) and has a german shepherd (ok, we have a dog that sort of looks like one). The other boy said he loved sports and liked dogs too.

The gallery was put together by our church’s foster and adoption ministry so Natalie checked into the boys and discovered they were still available. She prayed for five days before talking to Brian and each time she did she kept getting a mental picture of Brian sitting on the couch between the boys and reading to them. She also kept hearing the phrase “bring them home” every time she prayed. When she told Brian, he agreed and the journey began.

Amazingly, every worry and barrier at the beginning of the process fell as fast as we could think about it. For instance, our worry about how much it would cost, turned out to be completely unfounded as it costs nothing to adopt from the foster system. We knew we wouldn’t be able to start the training that would be required until after Doug and Whitney’s wedding in January, so we were scheduled to begin our first of 9 foster parenting classes on January 17.

On January 16, we received a call that made our heart sink. The boys were going to be “staffed” and we were not going to be allowed to be presented. A “staffing” is when the child’s decision-making team gathers to make a decision as to which family the child will be adopted by. The staffing was to take place in February, about three weeks into our training. We did find out later that neither family was selected and we were back in consideration.

That brings us to today. We have finished our foster parenting classes and are in the middle of our adoption class (last weekend and this coming weekend – March 29). Next week, we’ll finish up the home study, at least I think we will. Then we should be ready for the staffing.Ok, there you go, you’re now up to date.So what happens next?Once the class is over and the home study is completed, then we submit it for the next staffing. If we are chosen as the family to adopt them, then we will begin the transition process. From what we understand, that will probably begin with a few trips to McDonalds, the park, etc and eventually going to an overnight visit to a weekend visit. We’re 95% sure they will not move in until after the school year is over. Once they move in, then that begins a six month to nine month “trial” period before the adoption becomes finalized.

****BREAKING NEWS******************

April 30 – The staffing was held this morning and Marcus and Denny will be joining our family very soon!! We’ll meet the boys for the first time next weekend! We’ll have a meeting early next week to discuss the transition into our home.

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May 8th – The boys will be coming tomorrow and spending the night. They’ll move in permanently on the 21st or 22nd. 😀

Marcus and Denny have been our sons now for almost 4 years and our life is much richer since they joined the family.  We are so grateful that God led us to them!

Here are the pictures of them that I first saw.

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Marcus at age 10

Image

Denny at age 9

And here’s a great picture of the whole family on adoption day!

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And here is a picture of them at Christmas this year.

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Do you have a love story to share this Valentine’s Day?

If not, I hope you will let this one become yours:

But to all who believed Him [Jesus] and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God – John 1:12

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

 

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Visa Update

Thank you all for praying! The US Consular Section in Haiti has begun again to schedule these appointments. Families who received approval from USCIS and who began the wait for the visa in mid-January are seeing appointments scheduled for February 20 and later.  We received our USCIS approval on January 28.

March 1, 2011 was the date of our first court appearance in Haiti.  It would be ironic if our visa appointment were scheduled for that day.  We certainly did not expect a 2 year process at that point.

On that trip in March 2011, our orphanage director told me we were looking at an 15-18 month process in Haiti.  I refused to believe her because I knew I had a big God who could move mountains and the laborious process was nothing against His power.  And I maintain that all of that is still true!  The pace of my adoption does not negate His power and does not mean that He wasn’t involved, didn’t care about me or my family.  Instead, He used these 24 months to teach me a lot about myself and to sculpt and mold me more closely to His image.

I don’t regret the last two years of this process. I am a different woman because of them.  He’s not done molding me yet and the arrival of our boys will start a new chapter in that process.

Thank you for praying for my family.

How can I be praying for you?

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

 

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Adoption Update – January 11, 2013

Finally after weeks of playing a back and forth game with the US Embassy, we have received some documents that needed to be translated, sent them off to a translator and are waiting for their return.  When they arrive, we should have final approval on orphan status for the boys.

From there, our file moves to the Consular Section and a Visa appointment will be set. The boys have already been cleared by the embassy-approved doctor for travel to the US, so this should be an easy step.  Visa appointments have been scheduled pretty quickly after final approval on orphan status.

It’s looking like a very real possibility that the boys will be home very soon.

We appreciate you all praying with us throughout this adoption process, we’ve needed every one of them to stand strong in faith that they would come home. We’ll need them even more when they arrive home and begin the transition to our family.

I’ll update as soon as orphan status is approved and the Visa appointment set!

Brian and I offer our most humble thanks for all of you.

Natalie

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in adoption

 

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Embassy status

Unfortunately the embassy is closed today for a national holiday in Haiti. I will be calling tomorrow.

Please keep praying!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in adoption

 

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