Sunday Snapshot: Church Meet Luke, Our Son

Wish we had videoed today.

The Lord gave us the opportunity to "introduce" Luke to our church family and extend an invitation to them to partner with us in bringing Luke home.

I wish we'd videoed it because Kevin shared a condensed account of God bringing us to Luke...yet in so many ways said it all. He's better at that than I am
. I would have blubbered on for quite some time! {Like I’m doing here on the blog!}

But through my husband, God shared the most adorable face of our son and our excitement over br
inging him home. He also shared some of what the Lord has laid on our hearts from Numbers 13...maybe I can convince him to type it up and put it here!

Then, he brought me up to explain Wild Olive Tees. God has allowed us to offer others the opportunity to be His hands and feet in bringing Luke home...by purchasing a t-shirt from Wild Olive Tees.

Over to the right on the blog you see the button (and down below). By clicking
on it and purchasing one of the awesome tees, Luke is one step closer to home! Just be sure to put our family code in the coupon code box at checkout!


Wild Olive Adoption Fundraiser Tees

One thing we wanted to share with our church body was that we KNOW that God is going to provide what we need to bring Luke home. As the
tee I wore today says...Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see...Hebrews 11:1.

We are sure.

We have seen the money come as the needs have come thus far.

We believe He is allowing there to still be a need...not so we would worry or become discouraged or fret...but so that we would be watching and waiting expectantly...ready to shout "Hallelujah!" as He parts our Red Sea, slays the giants in our land.

And everyone who partners with us in some way (whether it be financially or through prayer or some other way)...gets to shout "Hallelujah!" too.

And our God gets all the glory...again...just as we long for it to be.

The need is simply the vehicle through which He gets to show Himself strong and for Him to get all of the praise, honor, and glory.

Will you spread the word for us?

Will you tell others that God is doing amazing things?

Will you tell them that a miracle is underway?

If so, you get to slay giants and enjoy the fruit of the land, too...

Feel free to post it on Facebook (I'm not on there) or email the info to family and friends or put the button and code on your blog...if you'd like to include Luke's picture, just right-click on one of them and select "Save Image As" and you'll have a copy for electronic purposes.

In Him,

Sunday Snapshot


A Walk on the Wild Side

About a week and a half ago we had a spell of beautiful weather. It dawned on me that we should take advantage of it and do as much of our desired outdoor activities as I could reasonably squeeze in.

One of those activities was the ZOO!

And, boy, was it ever a good day! Beautiful temps and even better...almost all of the animals were out and about. In my past experiences, zoo trips have been a bit like playing "Where's Waldo?" But, this time, the animals were in a much more front-and-center mood.

And Kevin took some awesome pictures!

LIONS and...

[Now, this lioness is O-U-T! Great napping weather, I guess!]


...and [sloth] BEARS!

...and [panda] BEARS

OH, MY!!!

Emma brought a friend...and I brought Answer in Genesis's ZOO GUIDE.

That was a terrific $3 spent at a used homeschool curriculum sale a few weeks back. As a side note...after I got it home & looked at it I thought it wasn't "meaty" enough, but after our first stop at the lion's den, I realized it was absolutely perfect! Just enough info and interesting tidbits (from a creationist's point-of-view!) for the amount of time you actually stand in front of any exhibit. Loved it! So did all of the girls...even better! Not to mention a few passers-by.

Inspired by the Zoo Guide, my favorite series of questions to ask the girls was...What do you think ___ eats? What do you think they ate before the Fall...before Adam & Eve sinned? The answer to the 2nd question was always the same...plants, fruits, nuts (any vegetation, but no animals) because death is a result of sin (Romans 6:23). Eating meat is a result of death, thus every animal was vegetarian pre-Fall.

Totally recommend this for your next zoo visit!

Plug done.

Group shot...photographer conveniently keeps himself behind the camera!

Utter Cuteness...she did SOOO well with our all day jaunt.
Very content and happy!

The fresh water otters became the girls' new favorite animal.
Were they ever cute!
Not to mention playful and photogenic!

Anna Grace and Ally under the misters...2nd favorite attraction of the day.
They could charge admittance for those!

Monkeying around...

Hakuna matata...

Have I ever mentioned I was bitten by a Prairie Dog once?
[Sorry...inside family joke!]

Love this picture...

Anna Grace was a trooper, too, given that every animal she wanted to see is not.at.this.zoo!
No giraffes. No rhinos. No hippos.
And...the Red Panda exhibit was closed.
But she handled her disappointment well.

And, now for some Black & White pictures...

Ally riding the anteater...

Just hanging around...

Looked like fun...so they gave it a try!

In Him,


Part 7: Boy, oh, Boy

If you are just joining me for How God Brought Us to Luke, and thinking: Part ???? Please go to this page and start at the top. Trust me...it will all make more sense when you start there!

So, we'd seen Luke's face, but I had done what I could to shake it mentally. Just being honest.

Yes, he stole my heart. Yes, he was adorable. No, I could not forget him.

But his special need was just too hard for me in my mind.

And there was another problem. Luke was a

Don't know that I've shared this before
, but Kevin and I were both very comfortable having only girls at home. We have four. In a row. Let's just say we have girl stuff.

And our one boy...well, he is out of the house. And our 18 years with him kind of left us feeling like a future of nail polish, dresses, hair styling, and dancing with Daddy was just fine. We were content to stay in the pink an
d purple zone.

Yes, I'd heard plenty of parents share their difficulties with their daughters...my parents included. Let's just say...I was every parent's nightmare. Really. I'm not kidding. I'll share my testimony of God's great grace toward me another time. But, all that said, we just couldn't picture "going back" to boys.

But I also knew that He'd been working on us both. Our adamant "no" of not-so-many months back was becoming..."if You really want us to, we will, Lord."

So, at the end of February, God clarified this issue about boys for me. I wrote about it generally here, now I can share the specifics.

Our pastor has been teaching through Exodus and that particular Sunday we were in Exodus 3, where God tells Moses He wants him to return to Egypt. I remember our pastor saying that God was going to send Moses back to the place of his failure. [Moses knowing that he was to deliver Israel from bondage had murdered an Egyptian task master. His fellow countrymen were contemptuous instead of grateful and Pharaoh made it such that Moses high-tailed it out of Egypt for Midian. Now, 40 years later, it was time to go back...to the place of his failure, failure to deliver Israel. It was time to go back to Egypt...where God would do the work through Moses.]

As those things were being taught, God was simultaneously speaking to my heart.

About boys.

He said, "Mandy, I'm sending you back. I'm sending you back to boys."

Oh, Lord, no.

Moses went through his list of excuses...and boy (pun intended!) did I have mine. You don't need to hear them here, but suffice it to say, I was not chomping at the bit about this word from the Lord.

I'm not sure exactly how the pastor said it, but he said something about Moses having a choice as to his response.

That's when God said to me..."Mandy, you
are going back. Unlike other times in your life, this is not choice. The choice you do have is how you go back. Will you go like Moses (willingly) or like Jonah (need I explain?)."


Like I (sort of) explained in the Burning Cry Room post, I wasn't sure I had heard Him right given the in and out nature of hearing the teaching while sitting amongst mommies and babies. The Lord provided the opportunity to hear that particular message again...the very next service. In the sanctuary. By myself. (It is the only time I've sat through a whole service since bringing Lily home!) I think I was hoping I'd he
ard Him wrong. That I'd gotten it mixed up. That I was off.

Not to mention that if this is what HE wanted, I
really wanted to be really sure HE had said it. I'd been asking Him to show me...and it seemed He was. But I wanted to be sure.

So, I sat through the next service. And heard absolutely nothing different!

That's where the story ended that post. But there was more.

On the way home from church, I told Kevin about what the Lord had spoken and how the second service only confirmed what the Lord had spoken to my heart.

Now, the girls always come home with a ream of worksheets from Sunday School. So, when we got home, Kevin was standing over the trash can with Anna Grace's papers doing the" Keep or Throw Away" interview. I heard him stop when he came to one of the papers and say, "Anna Grace, why did you write this?"

Anna Grace, kind of anxious to get on with playing, said: "I don't know, I just did."

Kevin: "Mandy, you've got to see this."

And this is what he showed me....

For "no apparent reason," Anna Grace had written the word "boy" across the center of a piece of paper. With "I do love Jesus" at the top.

On the day that the Lord told me He was sending me back to boys, He used my daughter to confirm His word and remind me that Jesus sa
id, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command" John 14:15

He had answered my prayer for direction...and made sure I knew what His answer was. All I could do in the days that followed was be thankful.

In Him,


Part 6: Looking for Lily...found Lovable Luke

If you are just joining me for How God Brought Us to Luke, and thinking: Part ???? Please go to this page and start at the top. Trust me...it will all make more sense when you start there!

February 15, 2011, has become a special day for us. Not because of anyone's birthday or anniversary, but because it is the day we first saw Luke.

According to my email inbox, it is the day I received an email from a fellow adoptive mom who had been with us in China. She had adopted 2 little boys while we were in China bringing virtual triplet boys into her life (she had a 3-year-old son at home)! One of her sons is from the same orphanage as Lily, so she and I have kept in touch sporadically through the parents of children from Shantou Yahoo group.

She emailed me because I had sent her a message saying I had a question for her. In her response she mentioned that she thought she had seen Lily's picture on Love Without Boundaries blog sometime back.

Well, I am sure you can guess what I did with that tidbit! I went looking, of course!

But, I never did find Lily.

Instead, I got stuck on the post from February 1, 2011..."Lovable Luke"

The moment I saw his face I broke down in tears.

I read the post and I wish I could say I jumped without reservation into pursuing his file; but, in all honesty, I said, "Lord, no, that is too hard."

Kevin was at my side. His response?

"If he is ours, the Lord will give us the grace we need."

And, I walked away from the computer. Part of me knowing I had just seen my son.

In Him,


Part 5: We Begin "the Process"....again

If you are just joining me for How God Brought Us to Luke, and thinking: Part ???? Please go to this page and start at the top. Trust me...it will all make more sense when you start there!

As I've already shared, the Lord had already been speaking to our hearts that we would be adopting again.

The question was when.

At the beginning of February, we received a reminder from our Home Study agency that it was time for our 6-month Post Placement visit for Lily. Aside from the "Wow! Where-did-those-6-months go?" musings, I had another thought.

Could we do the first Home Study visit for our next adoption...at the same time?

We knew we were going to adopt again at some point...why not be efficient, right? Multi-tasking is my Modus Operandi. Only made sense to me to do 2 in 1.

So, I called and asked and sure enough, they could do it. Next thing we knew we were sitting across from our social worker in our family room discussing Lily...and our next adoption.

[Little side note: For our first Home Study, I scrubbed the house top to bottom, organized left and right, and had butterflies dancing in my stomach. For this one...I forgot to clean
anything until it dawned on me that morning that some straightening might be in order! Needless to say...we passed both times!]

How little we knew about our next child became glaringly apparent...

Which agency will you use? Not sure yet.

Boy or girl? Don't know.

Age? Don't know...ah, under 6?

Special Need? We can answer this one! Yes!

No, she meant which ones! Oh, ah...still yes. [At which point she said that when we decide to let her know
which needs we were open to.]

Essentially all we knew was we were to adopt. Exactly what he or she or they would look like...we had no idea.

But, we were one step closer to getting to them. Whoever they were...

Funny...a few days after this visit I sat down to pray for awhile and wrote that list out before the Lord. I asked Him to guide us in His time...to fill in the blanks.

It would be only a matter of days before all of the questions were answered. It just took us a little longer to catch on....

Coming....Part 6: Looking for Lily...found Lovable Luke

In Him,