Friday, November 8, 2013

Part two of our journey to baby #2

When we moved to Phoenix we immediately started the process to foster/adopt through the state. And it was a process! In our county alone there are around 14,000 children in state custody. So to us this seemed like a great place to start. We had to go through 10 weeks (3 hours each week) of training. Training that was heart breaking and scared the pants off of us. There were a couple of times that we left in tears. Heartbroken for the children and some of their stories, heartbroken for a society that has hundreds of thousands of children not growing up with their families, and heartbroken over a system that is in need of a major restructuring. We were both extremely confident in ourselves. We were going to save the world! Before class even ended we started the process of transitioning two brothers (ages 4 & 5) from their foster home to our home because they had just become available for adoption. We spent a lot of time with them. We celebrated their birthdays, set up their room, and they even celebrated Easter with us. I was going to be a mom of 3 boys...yikes!

Do you see something missing from this story so far? God maybe? So many people are called to go this route and are so needed, but we weren't. We didn't even ask "Hey God, do you want us to do this? Is this how you want us to grow our family?" So without Him we fell flat on our faces...hard. Basically, boys wound up not being a good match for us and our agency asked us to withdraw. It was again a loss, yet this time it was so freeing. We had been forcing something that wasn't for us because it was a good thing to do. Other people were doing it, but we are Christians so we should definitely do it...isn't that how that works? No. There is so much freedom in Christ!! Do Not let yourself get guilted into doing something just because you are a Christian. Just because there is something that is a great thing to do does not mean you are the one who is supposed to do it. And we weren't. And that's okay.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV). It doesn't matter how many great things we do, we can not earn our way into heaven- thank goodness! God has already set up what He wants us to do, we just have to be willing to walk with Him and trust Him!

So onto now. After that we decided to go back to private domestic adoption (I will break down all the different options at some point this month). This is where God has us. The process again took a bit longer in Arizona then we were hoping, but we are officially home study approved! This means that any day we could be getting "the call" that says that we have been matched. We are beyond excited but also at peace. A peace that comes from when you are working within Gods will instead of working on your own. So please pray with us that 1) our funding comes in(we have applied for several grants & scholarships) and 2) that we get matched soon! Gods ways and timing are perfect, and even when they don't match up to what we had planned (and thought were great) we have to trust Him whole heartedly. Isn't that what faith is?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our Second Adoption Journey...pt1

Three years ago we were blessed with a son. A son so full of life and joy...and energy. We had such an amazing experience that we decided to try to adopt again. We were approved in July 2012 and matched with a baby girl a couple of weeks later. We named her Madison, were blessed with boxes of the sweetest little dresses, and cleaned out/ painted/ set up her room. 
Well...if you know us then you know that we do not have a little girl who just turned one. We are still just a family of 3. We still do not know exactly what happened, but it seemed that Madison's birth mother decided to parent. She stopped communicating with the social workers while she was in the hospital. We were heart broken. I am not telling you this story to scare you or for pity, but so you know how important it is for God to be at the center of your adoption plans. He is the one who helped us through our grief. The hard part was not knowing what happened. But we were surrounded by awesome friends and family who lifted us up through encouraging words, letters, and phone calls. Our social worker was also amazing. I know that she was just as heart broken for us as we were! She called to check in with us and even when we were trying to push things aside she encouraged us to allow ourselves to feel the feelings of grief. We wanted to be strong and unselfish and the good Christians who trusted Gods plan, and we did, but she helped us to see that our feelings of loss were real. And that was okay. 
Even though we didn't understand our hearts were able to heal by repeating scripture to ourselves and talking to God about what we were feeling. We were constantly reminded that God's plans are so much better then we can even imagine (even when we think ours are pretty awesome), His timing is perfect (even when we are impatient), and He loves us and wants the best for us. Hebrews13:5-6 says: " ...for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” No matter what tough thing in life we come up against God, the God of ALL creation is standing by our side. He is fighting for us, He is cheering us on, He cares- not only about us but about our future child! 
So, we packed up a month later and moved to Phoenix as a family of 3. We were sad that we weren't able to rematch before we left, but trust with all our hearts that God is orchestrating things we can not even fathom. He has awesome things in store for our family, even if we stay just the way we are, we are PERFECT in His sight.

Stay tuned to find out what God has been doing in our lives since moving to Phoenix! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday, a day to shed some light on the orphan crisis all over the world. It is estimated that there are currently 143-210 million orphans worldwide (UNICEF). That number is unreal to me. In the United States there are approximately 400,500 children in the foster care system- 115,000 of them are eligible for adoption. 

Many churches and organizations use this day to teach others about the statistics surrounding orphans and also to teach others how to get involved. We were so blessed that our church in South Carolina talked about this more then just one Sunday a year.

 As Christians we are called to "Defend the cause of the fatherless" (Isaiah1:17). Orphan Sunday is led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans, "a national coalition of organizations and churches committed to the Gospel and the orphan" ( 

Like I mentioned yesterday, not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone is called to action in some way. Here are a couple of non-adoption resources to help you to get involved in orphan care:

- Orphan Galaxy: The number of orphans can be incredibly overwhelming. How can one person make any sort of difference in a problem that is so big? This is where orphan galaxy comes in, you can be a star that helps build the galaxy. This organization provides scholarships for adoption of older or difficult to place children, provides training to orphans who age-out and leave orphanages, provides aid for orphans, rescues orphans for trafficking, and sponsors tours to the US of older kids to raise adoption awareness. If you would like to learn more about getting involved with this organization go to:

- The Forgotten Initiative: If you are more interested in tangible work within your community you should check out this awesome foster care organization. They work with the foster care system to learn their needs, share those needs with local churches, and equip the church to meet those needs. Some examples are providing parents nights out for foster parents, packing emergency overnight bags for children being brought into care, organize meals for foster parents, and fix up their facilities. Check out their website to see if there is a branch in your community. If there isn't and you want to get involved, start one!

In the car on our way home with one less orphan almost 3 years ago! 

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation." 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Back In The Game

This last year I stepped away from blogging to evaluate the purpose behind our blog. At first I started a new one, but if you followed it you know that it didn't last long! I struggled with whether or not I wanted pictures of my child plastered all over the Internet (yes, that is an exaggeration but you get my point). 

Recently several of my friends participated in a 31 day blogging challenge. (They were awesome- check them out- & )This made me miss our family's blog and also what the point of our blog was. The point of our blog- Our Giant Leap of Faith- was to share our journey of adoption and then share the things God was doing in our lives. God has brought us so much joy by allowing us to be Marcus's parents and we want to share that joy with others. We want other people to have the opportunity to enjoy the adventures we do! 

"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13, 14 ESV)

This past year we were able to walk with some awesome parents through their adoption journey. I want more people to have the opportunity to learn about adoption and orphan care and the different ways to get involved. honor of Adoption Awareness Month I am jumping back in! I want this blog to encourage others to take they giant leap of faith! We are NOT all called to adopt, but we are all called to care for orphans: 

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (James 1:27 ESV)

If there is something you see on here one day that you would like more information about please contact me! I am so passionate about this subject! 

For now I will leave you with favorite little boy enjoying his "Yay you did it!!" potty training treat: 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blogging...good vs bad

When we started this blog over two years ago we wanted it to be a place where we could share what God is doing in our lives and the steps of faith we had to take in order to follow his will for us. We have had an INCREDIBLE two years to say the least. God continues to bless us and bring us unending joy through our parenting of Marcus. Since we live so far away from family we wanted this blog to be something that allowed our family to be a part of his life and watch him grow up from a distance. Recent events and negative remarks about the blog have however made us rethink things. We never intended for this to a blog where other people could question our motives, question how we spend our time, or even complain about what we do or do not include in our blog posts. That being said, since we are both incredibly technologically challenged and how no idea how to make this blog private, we will be taking a blogging break. I know that sounds funny since it was like 6 months between blog posts, but until we feel that this can be a positive thing again we are choosing not to do it. There are plenty of negative influences in the world and we try to do our best to keep them at bay, our blog has become one of those things that is negative.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


It is official.... a little over a week ago we (I with the help of some AWESOME friends) packed up our house and headed west. Way west. Cory recently took a new position in his company and we relocated to the Phoenix area. Words can not express how hard it was to pack up and leave all of our friends, our church, and lets face it, the beach. God had truly provided us with an incredible community of people who shared our faith, values, and loved us and Marcus so much. He provided a family for us where we did not have any. He provided people who pushed us to grow more mature and live out our lives for Christ. He provided us with the most wonderful blessing in Marcus. It is so hard to believe that we are not there anymore! We are really going to miss everyone who has poured into us the past 4 years. 

That being said...on to a new chapter. I am trying really hard to be positive about this move, since it happened! So far we do like where we are living. We love our little neighborhood, it has a great park, we have already met more of our neighbors here in less then a week then we did in Columbia in 3 1/2 years, we found a new gym, and have already been to story time at the local library. The first weekend we were here our neighborhood had a block party...but it was more like a block party on crack. It was crazy. There were bounce houses, raffles, a gas powered train, and a petting zoo. They also gave out tickets for free pizza, a snow cone, and cotton candy. There were tons of people there. There were a lot of kids, but we are finding that a lot of people have children older then Marcus and are at the next stage of life (middle school stage). We did however meet a couple of families with younger children, got invited to a costume birthday party next weekend (really missing my creative friends right now), and met a family a few houses down with a little boy who is a year younger then Marcus.

We are trying to stay busy and learn the area and meet new people. I know that it will take some time to find solid friends like the ones we had in SC but I know that God is faithful and that he would not have brought us here and then just left us. He will provide for us. Please pray that we find a new church home soon and that God will build us up a new group of friends!  

Here are a couple of pictures from our trip. the desert/mountains really are beautiful...

We live near the KC Royals and TX Rangers spring training and fall ball facilities. 

As we were driving it looked as if we were heading straight for this mountain (with snow on top) but luckily right before we hit it we turned south.

Yes, those are giant cactuses. 

The view from the park by our house...the mountains seem so fake to me, like a backdrop! Can't believe that they are real and so close!

Cory and Marcus riding a train at the neighborhood block party.

Summer Overview

I have so much to catch up on, so I have been avoiding this post like the plague, but I am determined to get this done before the holidays...get ready for a long one! Also, sorry for the quality of most of the photos...they are either from my phone or facebook!

We had a CRAZY busy, but wonderful summer! Starting the last weekend in April, we had plans EVERY single weekend, most of which included us going out of town. Here is the breakdown of the summer...

Hawaii- Cory was blessed to have an awesome partner in work this past year. All of their hard work was rewarded when they both won Gold Cup and we all got to go to Hawaii together! Talk about an incredible trip!! Since our airfare was paid for, Cory and I decided to go out a little early and spend some good time together, it was our first time both being away from Marcus at the same time! Big shout out Thank You to my parents for taking him on for 10 days!!! Not only did they keep him in Omaha but they traveled with him all the way to Minnesota to go to my sister Dawn's graduation. Sad we couldn't be there, but Marcus was there to represent! We had a great time relaxing and I know he had a great time being loved on and spoiled!

Even though we had a great time just the two of us, it was wonderful to get back to Omaha and have him in our arms again!

Mothers Day- So thankful every moment (well almost every moment) that God chose me to be Marcus's mom. Even though he is wild and crazy and NEVER sits still, he is also incredibly sweet and loving and has a really fun little personality. I love watching him grow and explore new things, even though that means he is going to be testing me more and more!

Dawn's Visit #1- A few days after returning from Hawaii my sister Dawn came to visit us. We went swimming, strawberry picking, and also traveled up to Virginia for our cousin's wedding. It was fun to see family, since no kids were invited Cory and little man had to stay home, but that meant a girls weekend for me!

Memorial Day Weekend- a few days before the weekend Cory went to Dallas to interview for a job. While there he got to spend some time with his family and celebrate his Birthday with them. He didn't wind up getting that position because God had other plans for our family. Unfortunately he came home pretty sick, so we didn't do anything else that weekend.

The first weekend in June I traveled to St. Louis to celebrate my friend Elizabeth's wedding. We lived together for two years during college and it was so wonderful to be able to be a part of her most special day. Of course she looked radiant and I got to catch up a bit with a couple of other sweet friends and their babies! I drove the Jetta to STL and my dad met me there and drove it the rest of the way to Omaha for my youngest brother to have. This means I got to spend a day sightseeing with my dad and we to a new car! We upgraded so we can fit more children into our family!

Cuba- Cory traveled back to Cuba this summer. He was gone for a whole week sandwiched with both the weekends. We really really missed him, but are so thankful that he got to go and share the love of Jesus with others. He went with 3 other guys who also share his heart for the Cuban people and they played a LOT of baseball and did a LOT of driving around the island, but had an incredible time getting to see God at work there.

Two days after Cory got home Marcus and I left for Omaha. The following weekend Cory was in the wedding of one of his really good friends who lives in Des Moines, which is only a couple of hours away from Omaha so Marcus and I went early to spend some time with my family. We had lots of fun going to the pool, the zoo, meeting Christians girlfriend (an only child who traveled from Wyoming to meet our family), and hanging out with everyone. Even though traveling with Marcus by myself is tiring, it is always worth it when we get to see family! He is always the center of attention and really has so much fun playing with everyone. One of the things he learned this summer was the different parts of his body. He loved showing off his teeth! He is always worn out by the end of the trip! Of course the wedding was great too. So fun to get to see two good friends start their forever journey together, and of course Marcus owned the dance floor.

The last weekend in June we had a little bit of down time and got to spend time with friends in SC. We also got to catch up with our good friends who moved to CA last year. They were driving through on their way home from the beach! I think this qualifies Marcus as the ultimate ladies was so special to get to see Susan, Bella, & Lily!!

So this sends us into July... we spent 4th of July weekend at the lake with some great friends who came into town from VA and their family. 

We traveled back to Omaha for my Dad's 60th Birthday party. It was great. More fun time with my immediate family, plus extended family and special friends came into town to help us celebrate. My Aunt & cousin from New York came bearing gifts for Marcus, including a Knicks t-shirt. They want to get him started cheering for their teams early! 

We set up our old tents for Marcus to crawl through...

got a technology lesson from my Dad (really watched YouTube Lion King vidoes)

And discovered his LOVE of trains (he literally played with them for hours).

Two days after we returned from Omaha we head out to the beach for a few days with some great friends. We had an awesome time with everyone, laying out, swimming with the kids, and just relaxing! Cory, Marcus, and I rented a condo and stayed a few extra days just the three of us. We needed some family time after the craziness of the summer!


We spent a fun weekend at a lake near Charlotte with some of Cory's friends from work that we got to know better in Hawaii. Marcus had a great time with their girls, especially their youngest daughter. They were so sweet together! We played in the lake, went boating, and had a fun time just relaxing by the water together!

My sister Colleen came to visit us. While she was here we went to the beach for a girls weekend with some incredible girls. It was so nice to just sit on the beach with NO children and catch up on life! We had some great conversations that ranged from "why gas station convenience stores don't sell Diet Dr. Pepper in a can" to "what does the Bible say about baptism".

To finish the summer we went to Texas to visit Cory's family for Labor Day weekend. Cory's parents had visited in April, but besides that we hadn't seen anyone since Christmas. Marcus and his cousin got along great. It was so fun for them to have someone their own size to play with and chase around. We all had a great time swimming. While we were there we also celebrated Nana's (Cory's Mom) birthday.

And my sweet, fun friend Raegan, who also lives in Dallas, and her husband Scott came to visit us and we played for awhile at the park, even though it was around 100 degrees out! They are troopers!

This is a picture of Marcus post-summer...exhausted. He slept so well after all of our trips!