Thursday, November 19, 2015

What adoption means to me part 2

I wrote about what adoption means to me personally here.  Today I wanted to share what it means to me in our job.  Jason and I work with a local agency as well as with Christian Adoption Consultants.  It is more than a job to us because of our perssonal story of adopting 9 children it is a passion.  We live out adoption in our home daily as well as guide many families through the process of adoption every year. 

 What is that like?  It is amazing!  This small sample of amazing children and families is what fills our facebook feeds.  When the rest of the world goes crazy this seems like home to us.  It is a place where we feel God has called us to use our various gifts to share and help others. 

We know what it means to do a home study, write a home study for others, and what that is like for our clients.  We know what it means to look over a situation, pray for the birth family, work with birth families as they place children in the arms of a family asking God to bless them all.  We know what it means to check your email a million times a day waiting to be matched wanting desperately for it to be your turn! 

 That is why we feel so very blessed to work with adoptions from all sides.  From the side of the birth family, adoptive family, and being able to see God at work through it all!  It literally is miracle after miracle.  Miracles of healing and hope as the birth mother receives validation from the adoptive family that she is worthy and encouragement that her child will be loved and cherished.  That the child now has extra people who love them not less. 

Seeing the adoptive family thankful that such a gift would even be entrusted to them.  To see their family grow and include the birth family and a new gift of life.  To see the overwhelming joy in their hearts as they bring that child home. 

What does adoption mean to me?  It is the expansion of love through the bravery of birth mothers saying yes to life, and adoptive families saying yes to them in return.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What adoption means to me

When I think about this question I have to admit I am overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed with emotions, memories, pain, suffering, healing, and great joy all mingled together.  Personally our adoption journey is one that started almost automatically as if on auto pilot. 

I am a walking miracle and survived cancer at the age of 8 that should have taken my life, but God had other plans for my crazy determined self.  Of course the surgery was intense and they removed any organs not necessary for sustaining my life which meant losing the ability to have children.  After then going through grueling months and months of radiation treatments I was cancer free.  At the age of 18 I was declared healed PRAISE GOD!  Feel free to read my testimony here

 Not knowing really what we were doing at all Jason and I started the process of foster care 15 years ago.  You can read a shortened version of how all our children came to us here

What it means is so hard to answer because like my faith in Christ is so very personal.  It is as different for each family as a set of fingerprints.  There is a different road each time we have traveled it and they have all become a part of me.  In a lot of ways adoption has mingled in with my faith. 

My faith in Jesus Christ says when tragedy happens that God is still in control.  When adoption loss happens and a family for any of a million reasons can not care for a child/ren I choose to believe that God is in control.  I don't know why the circumstances are there.  I don't understand it all, but my faith tells me God loves us all equally and so deep we can't imagine.  So the same has to be true for the birth family, the child/ren, and the adoptive family.   


When God set aside our family for the journey He has taken us on there is no way we could have pictured what it looks like now.  The part of adoption that is true for everyone is giving your "yes" and allowing God to work on the rest.  We didn't choose the timing or how it all happened, but God knew the children that would be in our homes and he knows the whys.  We have to remind ourselves of that daily. 

Our faith is greatly strengthened by seeing our children grow, heal, learn, and become a family.  It doesn't mean they "give up" or "forget" their biological family.  It means that they learn through faith that God loves them, their birth families, and all of us so much and that He continues to love us beyond all comprehension. 

God continues to hold our family together and grow our faith in God together as we seek Him.  Adoption is more about our response to God and to others around us than it is about paperwork or finances.  It is more about taking those huge steps of faith that God will honor His promises to our children than about our wants. 

Our story is crazy and beautiful.  It is intense most days.  

A continuous reminder that God's love never fails..............

And His blessings are new every morning.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bumps And Blessings - God's Continued Faithfulness

It's funny how we make such amazing plans for ourselves, yet we overlook how little overall control we have of the world. There's nothing wrong with planning, preparing, saving, investing, and all that, and maybe we even budget for unexpected health crises or for house repairs and car problems, but we cannot be 100% prepared for everything.

That's where TRUST comes in. Trusting in God's provision, faithfulness, and GRACE!

So, here's a brief description of some things of our lives of late to illustrate how life just "is" - the bumps and the blessings - and typically the bumps come with blessings mixed in, and the blessings come with bumps mixed in - crazy how that works, right?:

Let's start with a


Dawn and I are pretty consistent with a "Date Night" weekly. It doesn't always happen, but we earnestly try. This is from one date night this past Summer. Florida has its perks, right? It is definitely a blessing living here, and a blessing that we have older kids who can babysit so we can escape.


Recently our Air Conditioning decided to go out on us. Here's proof of the temperature inside:

Although the work and parts were covered by our home warranty (Blessing) the refrigerant was only covered at $10/lb. It costs about $75/lbs and they estimated up to 20 lbs (20 lbs times $65 = lots of money!!). The A/C company did cut us a deal (Blessing) and said they would only charge us for 10 lbs regardless! It actually ended up only needing 11 lbs, but that additional $65 was covered by them. The big BLESSING in this bump was the fact that some sweet friends of ours let us stay at their beautiful home whilst our air was out (They were on vacation). Talk about God's faithfulness and provision in the midst of our situation! We were also able to pay cash for the A/C work, so we're grateful for that. God is so good. Here's a picture of us playing at the pool of the friends who let us stay in their home, and Michael enjoying the water (Which is so good for him physically - another BLESSING in the BUMPS):


Working as adoption consultants is something we LOVE doing, but it means that our income is variable, and some months this year have been pretty tight, which brings its own levels of anxiety and doubts (Bump). However, during Christian Adoption Consultants recent Fall discount promotion God has blessed us with some new families! Praise God for His provision and faithfulness to our family - He never stops blessing us! Here's a picture of Dawn's new home office space (Complete with sleeping cat and hot beverage),


Florida Carpenter Ants have decided to visit us! Right now as we speak.

Yes, they are that big (At least they're easy to see - I don't know if that's a blessing, however). After research and advice we have contracted a professional pest control service to take care of this. They are coming next week. I did a little research with the company and saw that the are an "Angie's List" award winner, and I found out that I could get a $35 discount with them for being a member. So, I went online, found a coupon code (Blessing), re-activated my expired Angie's List membership for half the cost they wanted to charge me, and we are still saving money by paying for the membership, so that's a win! So, although it's going to cost, yet again God has provided for us to do this (Blessing), and we get a little discounted rate. Sometimes we have to look at the silver lining. It may still rain, but it's not ALL doom and gloom. I have to continually examine my outlook.

Let's close with a


How about 9 of them:

Oh boy - life isn't easy, and parenting is the toughest job on the planet (I think being a nuclear physicist must be easier than this!), BUT we make a conscious choice each day to exact "Love In Action" to one another even when we don't "Feel" it. When the "Crap hits the ceiling" (Bumps galore) with behaviors, attitudes or lack of respect we can make the mistake of only seeing the behavior when we look at our child, rather than a precious child made in God's image with simply a need being expressed (Can you tell we're also Empowered To Connect Parent Trainers?). We often make mistakes and have to practice "Repairing Our Mistakes", but I declare in the name of Jesus that our children ARE A BLESSING and inheritance from the LORD, and I am so glad God saw fit for me to be their Daddy. I am truly a blessed man, and I have lots of blessings to count!

When the bumps and blessings come:

"But the LORD has become my fortress,
and my God the rock in whom I take refuge."
--Psalm 94:22

"For the LORD is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations."
--Psalm 100:5

Monday, October 12, 2015

For I Know The Plans I Have For You: Kevin & Katie's Adoption Story

With any adoption there’s always the ‘nuts and bolts’ parts of finding a reputable agency to write your homestudy, getting background checks taken care of, creating a well presented family profile book, and filling out applications for placing agencies.

Then comes the waiting.

That’s the easy part.

Said no adoptive family ever!

Often times as adoptive parents we get so busy and focused on the process and all the working parts of adoption that we can lose sight a little of God’s hand in it all. Although it’s important to get the “I”s dotted and “T”s crossed with the adoption process, and that takes effort, diligence and patience on our part, it is so important to remember that God is working in it, bringing things together in a way none of us ever can.

Whether we’re in the waiting part, or in the middle of the ‘trying process’ parts it is worth remembering who holds all things together, and that He is a faithful and loving heavenly Father who wants to bless us, and we believe wholeheartedly that He does in adoption, because it is so close to His heart!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
– Matthew 7:7-8

Kevin and Katie, one of our amazing families, got started with Christian Adoption Consultants on March 1st of 2014. Katie shares:

“We were excited to start this journey after having two tragic miscarriages that almost took my life. Together, my husband and myself along with our 9 year old daughter were opening our hearts and our home to a little baby. We were open to birth mother cases of any gender or race. We anxiously put together our profile book. Our home study was completed very quickly and we were ready to start showing. We remained hopeful even after presenting our book to more than 15 situations. It was very difficult to understand that there is a reason behind each time we were not chosen. Together we prayed and hoped for God to place our book in the hands of the birth mother who was carrying the precious child who was meant to be in our family.”

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”
– Isaiah 40:31

Almost 5 months after getting started with CAC Kevin and Katie had their profile presented to a birth mom and they were chosen. Katie continues:

“The birth mother had made us her #1 pick! Our official match for our little boy due August 2014 happened on July 29th – just a few months after starting our journey with CAC. We had to wait a couple days while she made her final decision and I talked with her on the phone. After that, we had a little over 2 weeks to make final travel arrangements across country. The total adoption experience took a short 5 months from beginning to end.”

One amazing way that God connected the dots for Kevin and Katie, in a way they never imagined was through their profile book:

“There are so many huge signs with the connection to our family to the birth mother's family. In our profile book, the first page had the bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 which happened to be the same verse that was read at her other 2 boys' baptisms. There was no question that this precious boy was meant to join our family. The moment he was in our arms, all of the tears and struggles, wondering and praying finally came clear. God had a plan for us all along. The waiting game is tough and seems impossible at times but today is our baby boy's first birthday and he is nothing less than a miracle.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you a hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:11

Christian Adoption Consultants wants to help your family adopt by offering a 10% discount. Any new families who sign up between October 13-16th will receive 10% off
our full service consulting packages.

*This discount does not apply to our self serve consulting package,
returning families, or special needs consulting packages.

Please feel free to call or email today with any questions or if you're ready to get started: or Dawn's direct line (813) 360-7368

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How we do vacations......

We just got back from our Smoky Mountain vacation so I thought I would share a few pictures with you all as well as share how in the world we do vacations with our larger family. 

We start saving quite a while in advance.  Pretty much in the new year we start saving for camps for our kids as well as retreats for Jason and I.  As soon as those are paid we start saving for vacation.  These things we feel are all memories and experiences that are important to us.  Others would say - camps, retreats, or vacations are not a priority or even affordable. 

There have been many years that we have planned vacations where we stayed the entire time with family or friends and only paid for gas and food while we were there.  Those vacations are just as amazing because of the wonderful people we get to visit!  So it isn't about always having money. 

This year we chose a pretty cheap cabin (as cheap as you can for a family our size anyway) so we could stay 2 weeks.  After we had saved for the cabin we were blessed with being able to save to do some additional activities that we normally have never done on vacation. 

For us this is saying a lot since our income is very flexible so we never know from month to month what our income will be.  It is a lot of prayer, faith, and knowing whatever our income is it will be enough and we can plan accordingly. 

Guess whose footprints these were.........

 Yep!  This guy's or girl's?  I wasn't going to get closer to check people!!!

Actually no worries as we were all safe inside our cabin!!!!  He came by to check out our van.  Sniffed around a bit and then wandered back out into the trees.  Of course this happened our very first morning so from then on we did "bear checks" before going outside.  We also looked up some safety videos - from the National Park and reviewed what the protocol is if you see a bear. 

In case you are interested:  You ACT BIG, make as much noise as humanly possible, if you are with other people- gather together to ACT BIGGER, and if you have to start throwing things towards the bear.  NEVER play dead or try to run away.

Ok so on with how we do vacations.

1)  We plan ahead.  If we are able to do a vacation that requires more money, is that even possible?
2)  If we aren't staying with friends or family - we rent a home through  We have done this for years.  It is cheaper than a hotel and you get the bonus of being able to cook your own food! 

3)  We make a clear cut budget.  Like any other month things have to add up or it just isn't that fun.
4)  We plan our activities in advance so we know what the general costs are before we go.  That way we can vote as a family on what we want to do while we are there.  Would we rather do this or this.  If we do this and it is cheaper we could pick another activity as well.  How often can we eat out while we are away?  What restaurants are our favorites that we want to go to?

5)  Bring everything you can from home!  Such as water for the road trip, snacks galore, laundry supplies, movies, etc.  I start making a list of what to bring with us a couple of weeks in advance.  It includes things that we will take- dependent upon how much room we have.  Things like pasta or pasta sauce for meals once we get there. 

6)  I also made a list of meals we could do while we are there that are low prep and don't rely too much on how many pots and pans happen to be at the cabin.  That way when everything is packed what I couldn't bring with us I can quickly go our and shop for. 

 So that is pretty much it.  Planning is a big and actually for us a very fun part of vacation!  It is the dreaming that makes the anticipation so exciting.

 This was something we did on our first full day there- Alpine Coasters.  Basically this car takes you to the top of a nearby mountain or part of the way up.  Then at a certain point you hold down a lever and away you go!  Up to 35 miles per hour around twists and curves.  It was a blast and our kids all loved it.  If your child was under a certain height they had to be with an adult. 

We loved it!!!

We also love exploring the rivers!  Climbing on all kinds of rocks and splashing around in the streams! 

This was our 3rd vacation to the Smokies and we have always loved it.  How could you not with views like this?

Hope your summers have been great! 

Stay tuned for more on our vacation as well as home school start up! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Birthday to me and other summer stuff!

 I had my 42nd Birthday!  Here was my birthday gear!
 Chocolates, bracelets, glow in the dark balloons, cards, and fun confetti guns!
 Michael loved the confetti!
 Played games later in the day. 
 Had Angel food cake - my favorite! 
 Dave & Sharon Schar came for a visit!  They were the directors of Camp Wesley Woods where I had went as a camper, worked, and then the place where Jason and I met!  They were great mentors and encouragers of our faith and we loved our visit! 
 This summer we have played plenty of card games and board games.  I love his smile!
 Gone to Busch Gardens, Sea World, Aquatica, and Adventure Island. 
 Within the last week or so Jason has tackled laying new floor!!  Last Thanksgiving our floor had to be drilled through to fix the leaking pipe.  UGH!!!  So we paid to have our pipes rerouted anyway since insurance wouldn't fix that and are now getting around to redoing the flooring. 

We got the lovely letter that they would drop our coverage now as well- yeah for us :(.  Heaven forbid you would use your insurance!!!!

He has finished our main area.  We have a open kitchen, dining, living room area.  Yesterday he did the girls bedroom except their closet, and today he is working on our bedroom.  Of course there is always a snag because our patio doors were leaking a bit. 
 Michael- that looks great on you! 
 Joanna modeling some of her new "back to school" tax free purchases. 
 Jason and I on our recent date night to the beach! 
 He is so very handsome! 
 Oh and this is from our work day last Saturday.  Our church helps fix up some schools in the area redoing landscaping, painting, and supporting through community connections, giving shoes away, backpacks with school supplies, etc. 
One of my favorite pictures of me.  I was starting to laugh at something Jason said and actually caught it on camera. 

Hope your summers have been wonderful!