August 10, 2012

I Asked For It

This post was written on July 5th. I am just now getting around to sharing it…

I asked for it. It’s all my fault; I’m not going to lie. I told God I was open to caring for all the children He had intended to bring into my home. I told Him it didn’t matter their story, their location, their agency, age, race or gender, I would be open to any child He specifically had in mind for our family. (Although in the back of my mind I was thinking he’d have a limit that was in line with mine….oh how God has a sense of humor.)

Today I’m mainly talking about our foster son, W. W came into our lives on a Friday afternoon. In a matter of 5 minutes, his worker marched him through our door, told me his name, gave me a small box of all his belongings, handed over our foster parent agreement and said her goodbyes. W came with his head down, eyes glued to his slow shuffling feet and hands tightly folded in front of him. He didn’t know anything about me, about our home or about his new “brother” who was overly eager to play immediately. This little boy had every right to be unsure because he’d just been uprooted from everything he’d ever known…again.
Prior to his arrival, I was preparing for an angry little boy with uncontrollable temper tantrums. Upon his arrival, I quickly learned of a little boy who’s never known a stable home and is desperate for attention and praise. Within 10 minutes after the worker left, I had a little boy whose charismatic personality was quickly surfacing with the help of hugs and a big boy cup of juice. By Friday evening, I learned W was incredibly smart, very observant, gentle, had great manners, was 100% potty trained (BONUS!) and absolutely soaked up every ounce of love, affection and positive praise he could get. I also knew that night that this was a very dangerous situation the Lord gave me because I was falling in love with this little boy who was already calling me Mommy and it hadn’t even been 24 hours.

Tomorrow will be a week we’ve had W. It has been a week of adjusting to being a mom to two boys who already fight like brothers. ;) I was really worried before we were placed with foster kids that I wouldn’t be able to love them as much as I love our biological son, Kipton. I can honestly say, this week the Lord has worked on my heart and made it so easy for me to have a deep and genuine love for W. I love him as if I would have birthed him. My heart hurts when he hurts, and I jump with joy when he is excited about something he accomplished. I love him and care for him as if he’s always been mine. It is so hard to think he could be taken from us at any time. I hate not having control or being able to protect him from every wrong and injustice in this world and broken system. My heart aches at not being able to love him forever and give him a stable home where he will know Jesus and the dynamics of a true family.

Today the Lord really opened my eyes to His vast love for me. I know I love W with a deep love, but that love and protection I desire for him is not even a fraction of the love my Savior has for all of His children. I can not even fathom that great love, but I am so thankful for it!! I am so thankful for Jesus’ model of love and kindness. It is with His love that I am able to give this sweet little boy everything I can. I am not guaranteed a certain amount of days with W, but each day I have I will show him how much Jesus loves him and how much he desires for him to have a relationship with him.

My heart may ache for this little boy, but when we say his nightly prayers and his sweet little 3 year voice echo’s mine it is all worth it…even if just for a little while. Thank you Jesus for our time with this sweet child.

Don’t forget this week is our featured week on Give1Save1! Head on over to check out their website then come back and donate to Kade and Cora’s adoption through our Paypal link to the left!!

August 09, 2012

Give1Save1 Week: Our Little Girl

***Forgive the blurred faces in the pictures. Due to privacy reasons I am not allowed to share Cora’s face just yet, but trust me, it’s beautiful!***

When most parents talk about their 3 year old girls they talk about how they love playing with their dolls, playing dress up, and getting spoiled like the sweet little princesses they are. This is how it should be. This is how I long to talk about our little girl. Instead, when I talk about our Cora I can’t tell you that she loves to be cuddled and spoiled or that she is learning to be tough because her little brothers are constantly rough housing with her. I can’t tell you what her favorite toys and games are or if she has a friend to play with and I can’t even tell you if she’s ever heard the name of Jesus. I hope one day to know everything about our little girl and be confident in the young lady she is, but right now I just can’t . And that is hard.

What I can tell you is this little tiny girl has captured our hearts. We know she lives in a very rough orphanage in the Congo’s capital city, Kinshasha. We know if she’s lucky she gets one meal a day. We know there are anywhere from 30-50 children living in this small, dirty orphanage that would not meet the most lenient standards in America. It is not a place anyone would want their child. With that many kids in the home, not enough supplies, clothes, beds, food/water and supervision there is lots of room for harm to come to Cora. In fact, she has already had a terrible incident that we just learned about. 

Cora and another child were playing near the kitchen area and she fell into a large pot over an open flame. Her poor little three year old self didn’t realize the dangers of getting too close to the large cooking pots. She was probably just wanting to be near the food to ensure she would get her one small meal that day. Cora suffered from a terrible burn all along her right arm. She was in desperate pain and had no mommy or daddy to snuggle her up and rush her to the ER. She was hurt and alone and crying out for relief. I am half a world away and the thought of this scenario playing out makes my stomach turn.  

I want to shout across the earth…WE ARE COMING FOR YOU! HOLD ON JUST A LITTLE LONGER SWEET CORA! We are coming.

If it were up to me, we’d be on a plane tomorrow to bring our daughter home. Unfortunately international adoption, well any adoption really, just isn’t that simple. We have several hurdles we have to jump over before we can bring her home. One of our biggest hurdles is the financial aspect of Cora’s adoption. We still owe about $5,000 in fees for just Cora’s adoption. Is this something you could help with? Could you partner with our family to help Cora come into her forever family? I know not everyone has a lot of money to spare, but everyone could spare just $1. Would you be willing to donate a dollar or more to help bring our little girl home?
If you feel a tug in your heart to help Cora come home, please donate through our paypal button to the left of the page or visit Give1Save1 between Aug 6th-12th. All donations go straight to the adoption fund, nothing else. Thank you so much for your willingness and support. Blessings from our family to yours!

August 08, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Husband!!!

Today is a day to celebrate the man that God chose especially for me. He is all the typical things you would normally say when talking highly of your spouse…a wonderful father, wonderful husband, lover and friend, but above all that he is the my hero and the man I adore having by my side.
Trey, my love, thank you for being an overcomer in life. Thank you for rising up from your not so ideal childhood and growing into the man of God that He desires you to be. Thank you for leading our family in faith. Thank you for being the best provider a family could ask for. Thank you for always having your priorities in line and putting your family above all other worldly distractions. Thank you for always taking the trash out and killing bugs on command. Thank you for being loyal, kind, compassionate and tender hearted. Thank you for being an example to our children of what a father and husband should be. Thank you for your patience and always finding teachable moments with our children. Thank you for letting me sleep in on the weekends. Thank you for allowing me to dream big dreams and never making my dreams feel impossible. Thank you for putting up with my womanly crazieness and still loving me through it all. Thank you for putting your macho manlieness aside and letting our family rock a mini-van. Thank you for always making my heart beat a little faster and always bringing a smile to my face. Most of all, thank you for taking a chance on love with the crazy seventeen year old version of myself. God bless your soul. You are truly a cut above the rest. I love you with everything I am. To the star and back 300 times, always and forever.
   Happy Birthday Trey!!!

Don't forget this is our featured week on Give1Save1! Head on over and check us out then come back to donate your dollar!

August 07, 2012

Give1Save1 Week: The Domestic Side of Adoption

A lot of you have been asking how our domestic adoption is going, so I’m here to fill you in.

It couldn’t be going any better. We have really befriended our sons birth mother and hold our relationship with her highly. We have had the priveledge to go with her to all her doctors appointments and participate in typical pregnancy related events, such as maternity shopping and having lunch while talking about cramps and nauseousness. It isn’t something I can really put into words. It’s very surreal to have all this contact with her because it’s so completely opposite from our Congolese adoption where we are really relying on a few precious pictures and an email that our daughter is ok. With domestic adoption we’re able to correspond with the doctors and nurses taking care of our sons birth mom and know exactly what she’s feeling at every moment. These times we’re spending together will be priceless in the future when Kade begins to ask about her.

Right now we are about 2 months away from Kade’s due date. His nursery is all set up, minus a few little things. Our plan when setting up his nursery was to make it a room that Kipton could move into once Cora was close to coming home. The room was originally a burnt orange and instead of repainting, we just picked a theme that would compliment the room colors. For the bedding I picked Zaire. I love all the different patterns and textures, it gives the room a really rich feel. Plus, I think it’s not too babyish and will be something the boys can grow with.

We bought a brown and ivory chevron run to go over the tile that is in the room. It’s so soft and will be a great spot for the boys to play with their toys.

We also bought a 7ft tall giraffe wall decal for the room. Our foster son thinks it’s the coolest thing ever.

I think the boys will love sharing a room, especially once they’re a little older. We’ve also started bringing down all the baby gear from the attic, the swing, boppy, toys, clothes, car seat, and bassinet. I’m trying to mentally prepare for the newborn stage again, but it’s a little difficult when I’m not actually experiencing the pregnancy. However, once he’s here and we’re getting minimal sleep I’m sure we’ll jump back into the hang of things. It will also be interesting to see how Kipton adjusts to being a big brother. I just can’t wait!
Here’s a picture of our little guy, Kade. This was from his ultrasound last week. Isn’t he a cutie?! I’m so looking forward to kissing his little brown cheeks!

Just a's our Give1Save1 week!! Donate your dollar to get in on the action! Our total is climbing closer and closer to what we need to bring Kade and Cora home...won't you be a part of our featured week?! :)

August 06, 2012

Give1Save1 Week: Intro to Our Family

Hello all!! Some of you are new to our blog and are visiting us from the Give1Save1 Africa blog…welcome! We are so honored to be this weeks featured family. Let me give you the run down on our family and our adoptions…
 We are Trey and Ashton Phillips. We met in high school and were married just 5 months after graduation. We did the typical “American dream” thing, pursuing reputable jobs, the white picket fence, pretty cars, starting a little family, just trying to keep up with the Jones’. Then God rocked our world. He opened our eyes to the poor, the needy, the broken…the orphan. Once our eyes were opened there was no going back, we knew what we had an obligation to do. We had to begin living out our faith through works, not just words. For us, this came in the form of adoption.

Our adoption story has been a little crazy, but nothing short of miraculous. We began our adoption journey in Ethiopia then due to some doors closing God led us to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We were broken for the desperation of the people there. The 2nd poorest nation in the world, rampant with disease and corruption. It was in this destitute country that we knew we had a child. In May 2012, we were matched with a three year old orphan girl, Cora. The first pictures we saw of her only brought tears because you could see the sheer horror and sadness in her eyes. We knew she would be our daughter and soon she would be an orphan no more. Soon Cora will know the love of family and not feel the pangs of hunger and disease, soon Cora will be home.
When Cora comes home in the beginning of 2013, she will have two little brothers to love all over her. Our biological son, Kipton (18 months), and our soon to be adopted son, Kade (due this fall). Kade’s adoption came as a surprise. We did not intend on pursuing two concurrent adoptions. In fact, even the thought of that seemed ludicris, but we all know God’s plans are always better than we can imagine. When things were slow with our Congo adoption, we started entertaining the thought of starting a domestic adoption. We had the mindset that whatever happened first would be the path we’d take. Two months after we turned in our domestic portfolio we were matched with Cora. We immedeatly let our domestic agency know and told them to pull our portfolio. Despite closing the domestic door, God still worked his hand in the situation and had us presented to Kade’s birth mom. She chose us to raise her son because of the Christian values we lived by. I truly believe that as Christians if we are pro-life that we need to be willing to stand in the gap for the women who choose life for their babies. In this situation there was no way we could say no. With a simple yes and a phone chat with V, we were on our way to becoming parents to a newborn and a three year old in Congo all at the same time. Oh how great is our God?
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. -Galatians 6:9

Thank you so much for coming over to learn more about our family! I hope you’ll stick around and continue with us on our journey. Don’t forget to visit the Give1Save1  site and come back to donate your dollar. Every dollar counts toward bringing Cora and Kade home!
Also check out our adoption video...