Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Ethiopia?

As I've shared here already, we have not yet even begun paperwork; however, at this time, our hearts (or at least my heart) are learning toward Ethiopia. I am trying to be open to other alternatives and know that whatever plan God has for us is better than anything that I could plan myself.

Actually, it is heavily "rumored" at this time that adoptions in Ethiopia may soon be closed. It is becoming more and more difficult to pass court and, in the past, when these things have happened (in countries like Guatemala and Vietnam most recently) it is a sign that the country is moving toward closing adoptions altogether.

In the meantime, I know the question, "Why Ethiopia?" is on many minds (regarding our family and others) and I thought that this video was a great visual answer to that question.

Why NOT Ethiopia?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

From The Mouths of Babes

For a couple of years, Jeff & I have considered sponsoring a child through Compassion International but, unfortunately, like some other great intentions that we've had, we started at talking and stopped at doing. We'd never signed up.

However, when our boys went to Student Life Camp last Summer (2010) at Orange Beach, they were given an opportunity to sponsor a child through Compassion and did. Joseph Adjei is our sponsored child. Joseph is an 8-year-old from Ghana.

We write to and receive letters from him regularly. The letters are written on a sort of form that has helps/prompts to help Joseph determine the things that he'd like to say to us. A translator does the actual writing for him.

Imagine our surprise when, in late November, we received a letter from him with the prompt, "Child's prayer for Sponsor". Joseph's response to this prompt (and I quote) was,

"Joseph prays that the Lord should bless you and your family and make it big".

.......and I don't think he meant tall. ; )

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ordinary Hero

While reading the Johnson's family blog (see last post), Kristy often referred to her sister, Kelly, or linked to Kelly's blog. Kelly has an amazing personal testimony and, the more I read, the more I wanted to read. Kelly is a person who, in a crisis situation, doesn't just say something like, "let me know if there's anything I can do". Instead, she finds a need and then finds a way to fill it. Mostly, she has done this through contacting everyone she knows when a specific need arises and, each time, finds someone who was ready, willing and able to step up and fill whatever need is out there. Emailing and calling on friends has, this past year, become a non-profit ministry...Ordinary Hero (

So, occasionally, at Kristy's prompting, I'd go to Kelly's site. Eventually, I became a regular follower (just in case Kristy forgot to remind me.....I didn't want to miss a thing) and soon I read a post where Kelly's last name was mentioned (which I hadn't known previously). Putty. Hmm. Braeden has a friend with that last name....could it be the same family?

As it turns out, Kelly doesn't just live in the area but she and her family live in our subdivision. Small world.

In the late Fall/early Winter of 2010, our Community Group was researching possible service opportunities that we could take part in. One of the first organization's that came to mind was Ordinary Hero. (OH is involved in both local and global ministry). Kelly was kind enough to come to our Community Group one night and share her heart; what she was/is doing in the Nashville area and what she is doing in Ethiopia (where she too has adopted a son).

This visit turned out to be very productive. Not only did our CG participate in a local stocking stuffing event but our dear friends, Chris and Valerie, were moved to adopt and my sister and I are going, in July, with Ordinary Hero to Ethiopia.


  • Read about the Christmas outreach here:
  • Follow Chris and Valerie's adoption at
  • Read here about the 2010 "Kicking and Dreaming" Ethiopia trip:
  • Watch this video to see one of the experiences the members of the 2010 team had. Our team will visit this same area in 2011.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Dots Connected

As I have mentioned in previous posts, over the last several years, I have followed the accounts of several different families who have adopted or are in the process of doing so. There was one particular blog...actually one particular post on one particular blog that rocked me a bit.

I'd been reading the Johnson's blog as they prepared to bring home their Lucy Lane from Ethiopia and I'd watched it all unfold right there on my laptop but, then, they produced this video and it gave me a new and clearer picture of the power of adoption.

As it turns out, not only is this family a local family (neighbors practically) but the Mom, Kristy, is also the sister to Kelly Putty of Ordinary Hero who I mentioned in my last post....more dots for another time. Kelly is actually in this video as she made the trip with Kristy to bring Lucy Lane home to Tennessee.

As you watch the video, you will see the Johnson children holding a number...that is the number that the family was on the wait list at that particular time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Connecting Some Dots

One of the biggest things that happened after this "turning point" (see last post) was/is that Jeff & I are now dialoging about this whole possibility more. In the past, as I shared, it had all been about what I could read, research and learn. Every now and then, I'd ask Jeff to read this or look at that but, for the most part, I was the one in waist-high and I tried not to impose my convictions on him.

But the door has now cracked open and, unlike any other time before, some things started to happen that I believe is God at work in our lives.

One of the things was that my neighbor (Kristen) posted on Facebook one day that her friend, Gina, was having an adoption yard sale. As it turned out, on that very day, my friend Gina (different Gina, of course) were going.....(you guessed it)...yard sale-ing. This was on a Friday and the yard sale was also on Saturday. Well, Gina and I didn't make it by there on Friday but, on Saturday, Jeff had class and I headed out to the grocery store. I really had no intentions of going to the yard sale alone but, somehow, it was as if my car drove me there anyway. As weird as that sounds, it did really feel like some sort of out of body experience. I got out at the yard sale (which actually was at 3 or 4 different consecutive homes....Gina has great neighbors) and looked around. Really, I didn't need one single thing so I determined who the adoptive Mom was and I introduced myself. I can remember almost being in tears as I gave her a donation and told her that God had been working on my heart. Gina was so warm and eager to share her story. She asked that I send her a Facebook friend request so that we could talk some more which I did.

I shared with her our "story" via a Facebook message and she, in turn, shared more of her own story. Her husband, Phillip, had not been onboard immediately and, in July of 2010 she went on a mission trip to Ethiopia with Ordinary Hero (another story for another time.....another dot connected) with her son Robbie. It was there, on the very last day, that she met and fell in love with their son, Daniel Mamo. (Daniel Mamo is now home....has been here just a few can meet the Payne's at

Gina had suggested that we meet sometime for a face-to-face talk so I mentioned this to Jeff who was all for it. I scheduled a Saturday morning Starbuck's visit with Gina one week while Jeff was in class. We were under some time constraints as Gina needed to pick her daughter up from school but, in the end, Gina shared with me that she believed in her heart that we were going to adopt. In fact, I mentioned to her that I was considering going on the Ordinary Hero trip in July of 2011 and with a smile on her face, she said, "Oh, I think you'll be in Ethiopia before July".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Turning Point

So it seems that that sermon was somewhat of a turning point for our family. As we got into the car that day, Braeden (our youngest) said, "You may not know this but I've always wanted a little sister". And I'll likely never forget Jeff's reply: "It's a good thing because you may be about to get one".

In all of the previous months, I had been convicted but Jeff, honestly, had not. And that's okay. Now, though, it seemed that God was beginning to soften his heart. And one of the things that it did was that it opened the door for us to discuss the things that I'd been reading and feeling a little more openly. Not that he had ever discouraged me from talking with him about it; it's just that I knew where he stood and I was at the point of trying to figure out what I was supposed to do; not what we were supposed to do.

I began to share more and more of the blogs and of the statistics that I'd become aware of. We began to dialog more and I continued to rest in the knowledge that God was working it all out. No matter what.

Moving (Part III)

So, time has passed and I finally get on Amazon to see what I can find out about this book that my Pastor has recommended. It takes only a moment when I discover that the book by Russell Moore is titled "Adopted for Life". I order it. I begin to read and, funny enough, it gives me a peace that I haven't had. Not peace as in "you're off the hook" but peace as in "I've got it under control". I begin to be able to rest, to wait and to watch.

Fast forward a couple of months and our Pastor delivers a powerful sermon on James 1. He says the words that I've come to know are truth but haven't yet been spoken. And those words are, in summary, that we (Christians) are ALL called to do SOMETHING. It's up to us. We ARE His hands and feet after all. He gave us three ways to help. 1.) To adopt 2.) To financially assist someone else who is adopting and, 3.) To pray. At the end of the sermon, he asked anyone who was willing to do one of these three things to come forward. As we bowed our head to pray, I saw movement (which, at the time, I thought were people going forward even though Joe had said to come after the prayer.....actually I know now that it was our musicians getting in place). I nearly sprinted to the front of the church. Needless to say, I was the first one there. : ) Jeff wasn't sitting with me but it wasn't long until I felt his hand in mine.

Moving (Part II)

Almost exactly one year ago, I was meeting with my pastor regarding something completely unrelated but somehow I managed to incorporate a discussion about the struggles I was having with these convictions and how I wasn't able to get peace about it. He agreed to pray for me and mentioned a book that I might want to read (wasn't certain of the title at that moment but told me the Author's name....more on that later).

Several more months went by and I was still being pursued by God; only now I've begun to really apply the Word to the situation and I've stopped to focus on what He says and on what He expects. He's definitely beginning to break my heart for what breaks His....unlike anytime before. The statistics, they overwhelm me and I can't NOT do something about it. I am moved to the point that I can't look away; I can't NOT move.

Now, before I go on, I need to explain something. My heart does not long for another child. Jeff and I have two awesome boys. Following the birth of our youngest, we felt that our family was complete and that we were "done". This idea was not born of a desire to have more children. This fact is one of the things that confirms for me that this is "of God"...and not "of Kelley".

In all honesty, the more "real" this started to become (the need to move), the more anxious I started to become. After all, my life is easy. I no longer have diaper bags or carseats. Both of my boys go to school during the day and I am free to have lunch with friends, grocery shop alone and/or treat myself to a manicure. Besides that, we have big plans for early retirement, of years of traveling together (without children). Why would I want to even consider bringing another child into our home?

So, as you can see, though I have felt convicted by this, there have been times that I've tried to fight it. At some point, I realized that every single reason that I could think of for not adopting was completely selfish. Humbling.

To be continued......

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Moving (Part I) - Just WOW!

Even setting this blog up is very surreal. I have blogged in the past but not on something as specific as adoption and the journey that God has us on at this time. However, as I have shared with a few sweet friends the burden that God has placed on my heart, my friend Paula particularly encouraged (or begged, really) me to journal this journey. I didn't take her up on it immediately but have been tossing around the idea of doing so in this fashion. So here goes.....

I can't say precisely when I began to have a tug at my heart regarding adoption. I wish that I could. I think back as early on as my 20's when I volunteered through the Big Brother/Sister organization....I definitely had a heart then for underprivileged children that, at some point, grew into something altogether different.

It was many years later that I began to really struggle with the idea that there were parentless children in the world. I really felt convicted by it and began to talk with Jeff about it. What I found was that he didn't have the same convictions. When I would bring it up, he would say that God had not convicted him this way and, therefore, it must not be what we were supposed to do. We have always subscribed to the fact that God is not the God of confusion, and that He would not ask one spouse to do something in direct opposition to the other. (I still believe this, by the way). So, every so often, we'd have a talk about it and then I'd move on....sortof.

Eventually, I began to soak up every bit of information I could find; mostly through reading blogs of other families who had or were adopting. Eventually, after much prayer, I was certain that I was supposed to do something (now rather than later) and that since Jeff didn't have the same convictions, that "something" was going to need to be something that I could do on my own which, of course, did not include actually adopting. So the search was on.

I continued reading blogs and praying for lots of different families and/or organizations. From time to time, I would make donations to the cause and/or buy products that families were selling in order to raise funds for their own adoption. I ordered products that were available (through 147 Million Orphans) that were intended to raise awareness of the current orphan crisis. Namely, Ugandan magazine beads. I began purchasing these as gifts in 2009. (read more about this organization and these beads at

And all of that was great.

But, eventually, it wasn't enough.

I wasn't doing enough. And God wasn't leaving me alone.

To be continued.....