I'm Not Done Yet
by Jen Hatmaker on August 17th, 2011

Please sit down, because I am about to reveal something monumental, perhaps never before seen. With Remy in our home the last four weeks, Ben's miraculous Embassy clearance, and Brandon's spectacular reunion with him yesterday, I've had so many, many things to say, things I wanted to write through, things I wanted to share and show...

But no words.

Contain your shock. It won't last. It's some sort of temporary disorder, as I've never been short on words since the day some woman handed my mom the book, "Parenting the Strong-Willed Child" when I was two-years-old.

But the things I have to say are so deep and personal, so profound and overwhelming and constant, I've not been able to wrestle one thought to the ground long enough to write about it. My heart is Purgatory and these ideas are all stuck there, somewhere between the actual seconds they happened and the coherent, developed, processed account of them later. I'm riding the fence between wrangling deep, life-changing observations out of this season and - let's just be real - surviving until the next hour.

So I'm lassoing one idea that keeps circulating through my thoughts in between fetching Remy her thirty-eighth granola bar of the day and bribing her to bed with the promise of Chick-Fil-A fries. (My No-Compromise Organic Food Plan is shoved in the corner, beaten down and bloody, looking at me with eyes that clearly communicate: "Really? Flax seed over Cheezits? And you thought that dog would hunt? Idiot.)

This adoption has been a long journey for us, with lots of unexpected turns. To be sure, other families have endured much longer, much worse. Different countries have programs that run upwards of ten years. Other parents have lost savings accounts, friends, years, referrals, children. We've read stories that absolutely drained the blood from our faces.

So ours is certainly not the worst story, but it is ours, and it's the only one we have to tell.

As I look back over the last year and a half, I see a rhythm between God, our leader, and us, his clueless followers. The tune changed as the story unfolded, but the rhythm stayed the same.

It started after God made it *crystal clear* that we were to adopt two children. We applied for two kids. We got approved for two kids. We planned for two kids. We prepared our bio children for two kids. We told everyone we were adopting two kids.

And then we got our referral. For one girl.
Our referral call. This is not how parents' faces are supposed to look on this happy day.

Yes, this girl was beautiful. Yes, she was the perfect age for our family. Yes, we died over her shy smile (that was a clear fake out). Yes, her story broke our hearts and reminded us why we decided to adopt older children in the first place.

But where was our second child?? We were positive about this one. We couldn't have missed God's leadership on the two-kid agenda; it was one of those ridiculously clear moments where you either respond obediently or prepare to be immediately struck with cholera.

So this rhythm emerged:

"God, we're confused."
And he answered, "I'm not done yet."

As we begged for clarity and tried to decide if we should reject this referral out of sheer blind obedience, God nudged us toward the same darling boy we'd been eyeing on the Waiting Children's List. The one I had emailed our family coordinator about three times. The one she told me we'd have to get special approval for. The one with the 1000-watt smile, on a waiting list for his crime of being 7 years-old.

God reminded us, "Yes I said two, but I never said they'd be related. Go fight for that boy." Well, listen lambs, God doesn't tell me to fight for something lightly. Do I need to reference "The Strong Willed Child" observation again? Fight? Oh, I'll fight alright. What? I need to explain in writing why this placement makes sense for our family? A FIGHT WITH WORDS?? Bless the poor receiver of the footnoted dissertation I sent. And the phone calls I made. And the passionate plea (harassment) I unleashed. And just like that, we got our boy.
This was Ben's WCL picture. Please note the Run DMC shirt. Destiny brought us together.

So three cheers! God really had a plan; an unconventional plan that required a half-crazed Mama who would enter the ring and use words and persuasion to win a referral. (My little eye spies some typecasting.) We had not one but two kids after all! And they happened to be the two cutest kids in the whole country, which we considered our prize for actually completing the 700,000 page dossier, which - let's get serious - was spearheaded by moi, and if you remember my bent toward details, well, this is really something noteworthy and please act impressed because (allegedly) I cannot remember to put gas in my car, yet I pulled off a completed dossier in three months including multiple check lists and a 50-pound page-protected binder that I would've rescued from a burning house before my three children.
This was the hot mess AWAA sent me in 98 attachments. "Here. Do this." Tra la la.
Instead of getting overwhelmed like usual, I got awesome.

Fast forward to March 10th, that blessed court date. Now understand that I had already informed God that I didn't want to be "one of those families." The sad, sorry folks who didn't pass and had all the troubles and waded through messy bureaucratic drivel and watched as everyone else passed them like they were going in reverse. The ones that clogged up the Facebook feed with bad news and had to answer the same questions twenty times a day about any movement? and who seemed like they had lost the will to live.

I mean, I thought I had made that clear.

So when Remy passed that very day like she was just taking a leisurely stroll through Central Park on holiday - exactly how I told God to work it out - we were devastated when Ben didn't pass. Devastated. And the rhythm repeated:

"God, we're confused."
"I'm not done yet."

We'd seen other families who didn't pass court get their clearance within a week or two, so we naturally assumed our happy phone call was coming any day now. Remy was submitted for Embassy. Any day now. One month. Any day now. The court asked for additional documents on Ben. Any day now. Remy was cleared for travel in April. Any day now. We turned in some other official decrees. Any day now. Two months. Any day now. Three months. Please, God. Please. Any day now. "It doesn't look good for this case." Any day now. Crying, begging, pleading, cursing. Any day now. Four months. No. No.

"God, we're confused."
"I'm not done yet."

Let me be fair: When I recount our line as "God, we're confused," that sounds tame, almost like a little old grandma who got lost at the corner of 5th and Lamar until a kindly police officer asked if he could help her and she chuckled and shook her head and said, "Well I guess I got a little confused!" and they shared a knowing laugh about who can figure out all these confounded streets down here? and he pointed her west and she made it to her destination just in time for the quilting guild.

When we said "we're confused", it involved crying and wailing and days when I couldn't get out of bed. It included a string of months where, I swear to you, time stood still. I sobbed over other people's happy adoption news as I typed nice words on their Facebook pages. It included a phone call from my mother-in-law after my daughter told her, "I'm worried about my mom." My hair started falling out in clumps and my fingernails peeled off in layers. I lashed out at Brandon and my kids and Jesus on bad days; on worse days, I wondered aloud if God had any control at all over this chaotic, broken world. I doubted his invervention and questioned his sovereignty.

So yeah, that's what I mean by "confused."

And then we got this: "We're getting a rejection letter for Beniam's adoption, and we think you should consider coming to get Remy." No. No. How could this possibly be our situation? How? We were the compassionate mother who refused to split the baby in half even if it meant separation from us. How could we go back to Ethiopia and fly away with just one of them? How could we break our son's heart like that? How could God possibly be in this? Is he just mean? Has he forgotten us? Has he forgotten Ben? This is not the story we signed on for. This chapter stinks. I'm starting to hate this book.

"God, we're confused."
"I'm not done yet."

In the dead of night as I sobbed into my pillow, begging God to comfort our son as we prepared to travel for Remy, he delivered "Love Ben" fully developed into my mind. And if you're the believing type who buys the "God works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose" stuff, then you might not be surprised to hear that we witnessed hundreds of moments of glory through Love Ben.

Hundreds.

Like the 80-year-old outspoken racist who set his alarm for 1:00am to pray for Beniam at the start of the Ethiopian work day.

Like the multiple emails I got from adopted adults who were prompted to reconcile with birth parents, deal with decades-old wounds, and find peace.

Like the birth mother whose heart God healed after giving up her son 17 years ago.

Like the entire church who highlighted Ben's story and set up a Love Ben Photo Booth after both services.

Like the college friend who told me she was praying again for the first time in 20 years.

Like the bundles of you who emailed to say you've decided to adopt.

Like the mamas and daddies who taught their children about orphans and God's mercy and used Ben's little face as a tangible tool.

Please believe me, these could go on and on. Rays of God's light kept bursting through the dark. Just when I though my heart would expire, I'd get an email that said, "I told Ben's story at the camp we're running for foster kids, and they broke out in spontaneous prayer and singing for God to rescue him."

Evidently God can wrestle glory out of the hard parts of the story.

Ben passed court the week before we traveled to get Remy, but our agency prepared us for egregious delays and possible litigation at the Embassy stage because of his rejection letter (I assure you, this had nothing to do with his orphan status). So Brandon and I prepared for a fight. We threw down fighting words. We said stuff like, "What happens in fight club stays in fight club!" We kicked some chairs over and threw gang signs. We were all, "WHATEVER, HATERS! You messed with the wrong peeps!" It was all super aggressive with loads of swagger.

Then we flew to Ethiopia. And held our son while he threw up and sobbed in our laps and clung to our necks, as we drove away with Remy, his only family on the same continent. And all the bravado disappeared into sorrow. I cried for 24 hours without stopping.

"We're so confused, God."
"I'm not done yet."

Are you sure, God? Because I'm pretty convinced all our hearts are broken. Is there work left to be done? Is there something we can't see? Would you please just assure us that you haven't forgotten Ben and our family? Can we trust you to make this beautiful? Because it doesn't feel beautiful. It feels aching and devastating and horribly unjust. We believe you but we can't see.

But let it be said that God is still in the miracle business. As our agency prepared to submit Ben for Embassy, they were asked to try to secure his approval letter one last time, attempting to avoid the cluster ahead of us without it. Just as a courtesy, our agency went back to the government office, the same one who refused to write the letter for five months, in an effort I dubbed "the biggest waste of time on planet earth." They'd made their position clear on Ben's case, and had already died on this hill if you will. So whatever. Thanks for this great idea, Embassy. Maybe they can suck another five months of our lives away.

They wrote it.

SHUT UP. Yes they did. They wrote it on a Thursday, and Ben was submitted for Embassy the very next day. With all his paperwork intact. Every last piece of paper. They cleared him for travel four business days later on Thursday, and Brandon got on a plane three days later. Last Sunday.
This is what God does.

When God said he wasn't done yet, he just wasn't done yet. He wasn't speaking in code. It wasn't a trick. The story was still in the middle, but I wanted to flip ahead to the end, past the conflict and struggle and straight to the happy ending. As Keeper of the Story, God knew the whole plot. He promised us way back that he planned on seeing these two children all they way from brokenness and abandonment to our home in Texas, an unlikely journey if ever there was one. And at the risk of whitewashing the difficult middle, we have one of them here and the other will be here Sunday, so he was faithful.

God doesn't promise us a clean middle part of the story. He never said we wouldn't encounter antagonists and drama and surprise twists and heartbreak. We weren't assured a G-rated plot where good feelings are peddled and no one dies or leaves or fails or waits. God promised things like healing and restoration and redemption. Which implies there will be injuries and broken relationships and losses. When he speaks of beauty from ashes, he seems to know there will be actual ashes to resurrect beauty from.

If you are confused right now, if your story isn't going the way you thought, or if you're tangled up in the messy middle where hope is deferred, dear reader, it could just be that God isn't done yet. Your story is not finished. Every hero and heroine must wade through the conflict to get to the end, and you can trust God because he is good. If you have nothing else to cling to, remember this: God is good. He loves goodness and justice. He heals and redeems. He is on the side of love and beauty. He is for you. He is never against you. You may be against you, other people may be against you, but God is not against you.

It is okay to be confused; I'm afraid that is our lot as finite creatures dealing with an infinite God. Some of God's best heros were confused in their subplots. But I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on. Because God is good and he is for goodness.

And he just isn't done yet.


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134 Comments

Jennifer - August 18th, 2011 at 8:55 AM
Wow....in tears...can't see the keyboard. God. Rocks.
Bonar Crump - August 18th, 2011 at 9:00 AM
Six months of labor...no epidural...speechless.
Julie Hedberg - September 7th, 2011 at 4:18 PM
If this were facebook I would "like" this comment
Tessy - August 18th, 2011 at 9:00 AM
I laughed and cried so much through this entire post that I am questioning now whether I am bi-polar. J/K -- I love this story.... I love how you share it.... and I am glad you have found some words again -- Right now I am so here...."But the things I have to say are so deep and personal, so profound and overwhelming and constant, I've not been able to wrestle one thought to the ground long enough to write about it." But on my blog I described more as.... "i feel the words stirring - deep. but yet i face an empty room. always an empty room. why? b/c they leave one by one b/c I can not say the words... they stick in my throat like a gag of dry cotton balls. am i not in some way to be blamed? "

Side Note: Loved this line -- "It was all super aggressive with loads of swagger. "

Thanks for sharing your heart :-)

Mom to Moise in the DRC---Counting down to when he is in my arms....
Lundie - August 18th, 2011 at 9:02 AM
Between that video and this blog post, I'm a sobby mess. I second Jennifer's statement. God, indeed, rocks.
Donna - August 18th, 2011 at 9:02 AM
So glad that you found your words:) I love this story...I have read your posts and told all my friends...my heart couldn't be happier for you and your family...I don't even know you but I love your family...
Carmen D. - August 18th, 2011 at 9:05 AM
Wow....that is awesome! I can't believe they FINALLY wrote the letter! That's so awesome! Love you guys and can't wait to see you all together again.
Tara - August 18th, 2011 at 9:10 AM
I'm beyond confused (and not happy) with where God has us right now on the baby/adoption journey. So, thank you for this encouragement!

Jennifer - August 18th, 2011 at 9:21 AM
God provided the words as well; isn't He awesome!. Loved this, and my girls were all in tears as well.
Matt - August 18th, 2011 at 9:23 AM
Needed that reminder....thank you
Penny - August 18th, 2011 at 9:28 AM
What a blessing...God has used you in an awesome way :)
Angie Chadd - August 18th, 2011 at 9:31 AM
Best.Blog.Ever. Which is what I say every time you post. Thank you for sharing this very personal story and your gift to write it so beautifully. Blessings to you and the Hatmaker Seven as you begin your new chapter. Together.
Angela - August 18th, 2011 at 9:36 AM
Wow, this is so amazing and I love how you write! It's so good to be reminded that God is for us and He is good and what He does is good, in ALL things. Every struggle we have goes back to His character and who He is. That's how we can continually trust Him. Thank you and I'm praying for you and your beautiful family.
Kaylee - August 18th, 2011 at 9:39 AM
So grateful y'all had hearts that held on! I'd type more but I'm blubbering away right now. Can't wait to meet your son! God is so good!!
Leigh Ann Thomas - August 18th, 2011 at 9:45 AM
I love that God is bringing this boy home. My 9 year old played soccer with Ben last year when we went for court and I love that he is coming home to you.

I have loved following your posts and blogs and His story! Thanks for being obedient and sticking with it even through the hard parts.
Allison - August 18th, 2011 at 9:48 AM
OH my, tears, heart break, happiness and rejoicing!! Great post, great story, and bless your sweet family!!
Angie - August 18th, 2011 at 9:49 AM
Tears in my eyes, but a smile in my heart! Awesome to see how God works, hard to wait!
Can't wait to see what is going to happen next!
Sarah - August 18th, 2011 at 9:50 AM
Thank you for this. I put your last few paragraphs on my desktop. I think that living in a foreign country may always be "the middle of the story" for us. We will have glimpses of redemption, but we will also be always confused by this other culture and the brokenness we face daily. It is really easy to wonder where God is when the grasp of poverty is so crushing. God has been nothing but faithful to us through it all, though, patiently pointing out the poverty in my heart and healing it little by little.
Andrea is Happy for the Hatmakers - August 18th, 2011 at 9:50 AM
I love this whole dang thing. I love the racist praying, and every other Love Ben story.
Throughout this journey, you really have made me want to adopt, but I think you know I'm too lazy.
For a while, I was thinking that since you let the cat out of the bag about Ben's brilliance early on, that they were keeping him to be the president or something, but God was all "I'm done confusing these people. Send Ben home immediately so Aunt Lindsay can teach him the hook em horns sign just in time for the foosball season".
Leigh - August 18th, 2011 at 9:52 AM
Tears. You are so right, I always say "he never promised pretty, he just promised he would be faithful" and even when it's messy and it feels like he's not, he is.

Praising God that your sweet boy will be HOME. We have been home two months with our almost 5 year old. Every day is journey, I can't imagine life without him. And what a story this is for your Ben, for your family, for our God. and for the Haters, ugh, haters. we had plenty of 'em. "That's what you get for being 24 and adopting a 4 year old, I was told" WHATEVER! God is bigger! So much bigger! And I am so thankful he was bigger than MOWA in this case!
Melanie Strobel - August 18th, 2011 at 9:55 AM
What a gorgeous story and God is so good!
Lakisha - August 18th, 2011 at 10:02 AM
My friend shared this with me this AM ... I am at my desk in tears! What a testimony to our God who will never leave you and never fails! He has a plan and his plan always works for our good! Thank you for sharing your story! God Bless!
Reid - August 18th, 2011 at 10:03 AM
This story is a blessing to me. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Cathy - August 18th, 2011 at 10:05 AM
WOW...... God is so good.......I have no more words......:)
Heather - August 18th, 2011 at 10:24 AM
>:>) He does indeed rock.

I feel like dancin' around, wavin' my hankie.... yelling "oooooo, glaw-ray! hall-ay-looooo-yah! "
Nancie-Joy Ogden - August 18th, 2011 at 10:28 AM
Thank you! Romans 8:28.
Melissa - August 18th, 2011 at 10:52 AM
Ashes to beauty! I am going to write down a lot of what you said, such encouraging words. Thank you for sharing your heart and Glorifying the Lord at the same time. WELCOME HOME BEN!!
roxie avant - August 18th, 2011 at 10:57 AM
Amen Jen!! We are not in control! It's all on God's time not ours!! What a beautiful story!! I am so excited for ya'll. I am dying to meet your kiddos!!

Marla Taviano - August 18th, 2011 at 11:04 AM
Once again, I'd pay to read these words. THANK YOU for taking the time to write out the whole story for us. Praising our God who refuses to entertain my lame plot suggestions for my life. ALL GLORY TO HIM!!
Christina A - August 18th, 2011 at 11:08 AM
How AMAZING is our God and OH SO FAITHFUL!!! Thank you for sharing your journey. This makes the simple waiting for referral time seem like nothing.
amanda - August 18th, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Just days into praying about adopting a special needs child internationally and I really, really, really needed this. I will book mark this particular post and read it every day that seems like an eternity before our son comes home. He's just not done, yet. I love it. Thank you!
Dawn Wright - August 18th, 2011 at 11:20 AM
In tears.......PRAISING GOD!!!!!!!!!! OH SISTER I can sooo relate in sooo many ways with our crazy adoption stories that have seriously left me in depression I can not describe, and situation after situation that GOD cleared a way like no other. NOT IN OUR TIME!!!!!!!! But GOD HAD A PLAN!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for your story of HOPE of GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jami - August 18th, 2011 at 11:23 AM
Wow...what a powerful story. Thank you for these beautiful words of hope.
AmyE - August 18th, 2011 at 11:24 AM
Beautiful post, Jen! Our rough middle has been the year since we've been home. So hard to read everyone's happy posts about their well-attached children, when our son still struggles so deeply. Thanks for the reminder ... He's not done yet. Blessings as you bring Ben home.
Cynthia - August 18th, 2011 at 12:21 PM
Nothing like starting my morning out sobbing into my coffee. Thanks so much for sharing, Jen. God is using your story!!
Marigny's MOm - August 18th, 2011 at 12:34 PM
This blog post was such a blessing to me today as I sit in emotional darkness after loosing my daughter to Trisomy 18. Thank you for giving me hope.
Tricia Lynch - August 18th, 2011 at 12:40 PM
I just found your blog today and have laughed and cried as I've read as much as possible before the littles start demanding lunch. Love your story - love this post - really, really love your humor through it all!
Crissy - August 18th, 2011 at 12:46 PM
Yes, you were given the words and a pretty mouth too (that's a compliment) to share what a lot of us are feeling. Thank you for the encouragement in sharing your "details"....since I'm a chick I appreciate those, and my struggle is in "Why did you bring us to hippy-villel Austin, God?", this gives me hope and encourages me that there are wild, passionate, deep-christ loving folks here in "hippy-ville."That video was AMAZING to watch, thank you for letting us peak into your world
Christina - August 18th, 2011 at 12:50 PM
AMAZING!! I shared the video on my facebook. I hope you don't mind. A video like that speaks a million words.
Carrie - August 18th, 2011 at 1:12 PM
Ahh adoption, its redemption theme is so much bigger than just the adopted one's story. Thank you for the reminder that in order for the Father to restore beauty from ashes, there must first be the ashes. I think in this "thick middle section" of our adoption story, I'd forgotten that truth. Praising the Giver of every good gift for this incredible work He has and is doing in your family!
peter - August 18th, 2011 at 1:14 PM
amazed.. thank you.. i need faith where my vision fails
Shannon - August 18th, 2011 at 1:18 PM
Jen -
I have been following you on Twitter and your blog for about a month now and I am getting ready to read Interrupted, fully believing that my world will be rocked. I have loved reading about your adoption journey! My husband and I have been working with an adoption agency for 2 1/2 years for a domestic adoption. During that time, I got pregnant with our first child, but we still felt God's calling to stay in the adoption process. We knew that God was calling us to adopt at least one of our children. I am adopted myself, and have always felt that adopting a child was something I was supposed to do.
After 2 1/2 years of waiting, we got a call on July 25 that a birthmom had selected us to parent her son who was born the day before. Talk about a shock! After having a small nervous breakdown/stage-4 meltdown, we hopped in the car and drove an hour to the hospital where he was born. We were immediately in love with him, and we got to bring him home from the hospital two days later. Our 15-month old son was thrilled with his new baby brother!
When he was 10 days old, we were notified by our adoption agency that a man had come forward claiming to be the birthfather. We had to wait 8 agonizing days for DNA test results to come back. We were stressed beyond belief, knowing that if he was the father that he wanted to parent the child that we already dearly loved. We were devastated to know that we would have to return him to the agency and place him in an unknown situation that was out of our control. Last Thursday, August 11, we received the call that he WAS the birth father and was in the process of getting a court order that day to have the baby turned over to him. I have never been at a lower point in my life. Obviously, we had to follow the law, but I BEGGED God to grant us peace. I begged for a loving, stable birthfather who would raise this sweet baby in a Christian home with all the love and support that we would have given him if we had been allowed to raise him.
God is always faithful to us. After having the opportunity to sit down with the father and talk with him, we have peace in knowing that Conner will be raised in a good home with a loving father and supportive extended family to help out. We have a lot of sympathy for him as the entire situation had been out of his control and he had no idea that he had a child until after Conner was born and home with us.
While we were part of the 1% of domestic adoptions that fail, we still fully believe that adoption is a huge blessing. My sister, my nephew, and I are proof of that. My husband and I feel that God used this situation to bring Conner to his father and provide him with a stable, loving home, even if it isn't with us. During the 8 days that we waited for the results, I kept coming back to Romans 8:28 - "And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the GOOD of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." That is what we are still relying on to see us through our sadness. God has a perfect plan for all of us, even if we can't see it at the moment. When I saw "my" verse in your blog post, I had to smile. God certainly has His own unique way of working for good in all things. I am praying for safe travels for Brandon and Ben, and I look forward to hearing more about your new family of 7! Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

anna - August 18th, 2011 at 1:24 PM
Thank you for sharing! I loved your paragraph that ends "When he speaks of beauty from ashes, he seems to know there will be actual ashes to resurrect beauty from. " So true, and the reminder I needed for today. God is truly amazing, praise Him for His marvelous deeds! Blessings!
-Anna
Jules - August 18th, 2011 at 2:01 PM
You are amazing- your family is proof of God's infinite wisdom and love!
Jolene - August 18th, 2011 at 2:07 PM
Thank you for sharing this amazing story!! Loved it! I am an adoptive momma of 3 babies from Ethiopia, I kept a journal during our adoption process for each one, and it is so beautiful to see how God moved mountains and worked out every detail perfectly!
Christa - August 18th, 2011 at 2:15 PM
Amen, sister girl.
Krista - August 18th, 2011 at 2:23 PM
Tears and more tears. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. It was just what I needed. I've lost 2 children stillborn and sometimes I feel like my heart can't possibly ache anymore, but I know God is weaving an incredible story and he's not finished yet.
Wendy - August 18th, 2011 at 2:55 PM
He wrote the letter. After all that. Hope he learned not to mess with God. Hope we all learned to trust him in the storm. Love this. Love you.
Heather Metcalfe - August 18th, 2011 at 3:42 PM
Dear Jen,
I love your story, especially because I have spent time at an orphanage in Rwanda (Gisimba Memorial Orphanage) and advocated on the kids behalf back in NY. These children who have been left behind need families to call their own and it sounds like Ben and Remy have been brought into a WONDERFUL family. Thanks for sharing your story and best of luck as you all grow together.
Best regards,
Heather Metcalfe
Karen Peterson - August 18th, 2011 at 3:47 PM
Tina O'Kelley posted this on her FB page and so I read it because I know her. What a great story of God's faithfulness. Thanks for sharing it!!!
Karen Peterson
Ebony - August 18th, 2011 at 4:41 PM
Loved reading your story! So beautiful. I am an adoptive mother myself and know
First hand the 'the power' and LOVE of God! Firm believer, that what God has planned
For you- is for you! My son was always destined for our family and I thank God every day
For him.
Trace - August 18th, 2011 at 4:49 PM
Guess what... He still ain't done! (Nice work, author! I'm glad someone around here can still weave thoughts into a coherent piece of writing! We're so happy for you guys.)
Debb - August 18th, 2011 at 5:19 PM
Oh, Jen. Such a timely read for me today, as I struggle to let go of understanding the "Why?" behind our little baby boy getting caught in the court closures. Through tears, I type this. A THANK YOU to you for sharing this post. For sharing your heart. For sharing the reminder that God IS GOOD! He IS FOR us! Some days it is a challenge for me to cling to this. I often have to push aside fearful thoughts of "what more is going to hold us up?" I needed to read this post. To realize that others had weak moments during their wait to (I tend to beat myself up for this at times). To remember that our story is "in the middle." To remember that God is still working, even though it feels like we are in a dark, quiet wait. To remember God's faithfulness. Thank you, Jen, and CONGRATULATIONS on bringing HOME your precious son!!!! Your video made me sob. Not just cry. SOB!!! Good, joyful, God tears!!! He IS writing each person's story. Even when "He just isn't done yet." Love you, girl! Love your family!
Jan - August 18th, 2011 at 5:48 PM
Tears, many tears flow down my cheeks with jubilation for you and Brandon! God reaches out and gently places His hand on His children to grant our prayers. Your family's strength is absolutely amazing and awe inspiring. God shown his light and grace upon you and Brandon. God Bless you, Brandon and your family.
-Jan Evans
Darbi - August 18th, 2011 at 6:29 PM
Thank you so much for sharing this! We are on our own adoption story that has recently left us saying exactly this "I'm so confused". We have also heard his answer. "I'm not done yet". What a comfort.
Unlikely Christian - August 18th, 2011 at 6:43 PM
Wow! What a great story! I learned a similar but not nearly as "confusing" lesson as well recently - Just because God calls you to do something, doesn't mean He's going to roll out the red carpet for you! Congrats!
Stephanie - August 18th, 2011 at 7:52 PM
I wept through this post tonight. Most days the details of our Haitian adoption journey are just shadows in my memory. But reading the chapters of your family's adoption from Ethiopia reminded me of the hard. Of the hair falling out (yes, mine too.) Of the office that refused (in our case for 13 months to sign a document.) But in the end, of God's glorious Story. I praise Him for bringing two more children home!
kristen - August 18th, 2011 at 8:10 PM
Love this....no words. I will retweet, FB and email...your story has touched me more than you know.
becca - August 18th, 2011 at 8:54 PM
oh my, how that touched me today, so so needed it. Thanks for sharing. I have a heart for "Ben's" :), rejoicing for your family.
Sue - August 18th, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Thank you for sharing! I too am a mom of 4 adopted children, and two were not easy. Blessing to you and your whole, beautiful family.
Rachel - August 18th, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Thank you for sharing your story! It is such a blessing to be reminded of the goodness of God and sovereignty of His plan, even through our heartache.
Sarah - August 19th, 2011 at 6:53 AM
Jen~ Thank you for sharing the middle of your story! Thank you for being faithful to use the gift of writing that God has given you! So excited
Joanne Thuman - August 19th, 2011 at 7:15 AM
Oh my goodness, I don't know you at all but read this as a suggestion from a friend. I don't understand all the paperwork and letter stuff but I did understand the part about leaving Ben behind - killed me to read that and then when I saw the picture of Ben with his daddy I burst into tears - that is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Tears are literally pouring down may face and I am almost sobbing - how can that be? Congratulations on your amazing family - God really has a plan. Wow.
shari - August 19th, 2011 at 10:33 AM
you are an amazing faithful servant. Amen!
Julie - August 19th, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Oh my goodness!!! I don't know you, but your story was shared on Facebook through a friend of mine. Your story is an inspiration and you and your family are truly a God sent. You kept it real and told it like it was!! I love that!!! I will say that I had to take a break while reading it because the tears were flowing like crazy, I could not read the screen and was literally sobbing!! What an amazing plan God has for you guys!! My husband and I are in the beginning process of adopting a child from China and reading so many stories and blogs have truly been a blessing!! Your story has truly blessed my husband and I!!! God Bless you and yours!!!
Ginger Wilson - August 19th, 2011 at 12:54 PM
I am a grand mother of two beautiful four year olds from Ethiopia. Everyone asks if they are twins and it is easier to say yes. But, they are from different villages and both had sad stories. My daughter and son-in-law fought hard to get them. The girl was two when my son-in-law went to bring her home. She never stopped screaming for the 30 hour trip home to Denver. She was potty trained, but couldn't walk and was the size of a one year old. I call the boy "the Brad Pitt" from Ethiopia and Marlee is now thriving in dance class and with a personality as big as a room. She learned how to wow every potential adoptive family who walked in the door of that orphanage. I can hardly type for the tears remaining from reading your miracle story. God is so good and thank you for sharing what HE does.
Carissa - August 19th, 2011 at 1:42 PM
This is exactly what I needed to hear. We also have God's promise of 2 children from ET, and only 1 referral. So while we wait for a court date, we are coming boldly before God's throne to ask for that second child. And if the two don't come together, then God has a bigger plan that me wanting to only fly 2x rather than 4x. Thank you for reminding me that when the middle of the story doesn't look like what I expected, He is still in control. And I can rest in Him. God bless you!!
Tara - August 19th, 2011 at 2:17 PM
what a truly amazing story! my heart is full- and I am thankful my friend posted your blog on facebook so that I, a stranger, could be blessed by this. When you wrote, "When he speaks of beauty from ashes, he seems to know there will be actual ashes to resurrect beauty from." I almost lost it. So beautiful.
cadell walker - August 19th, 2011 at 2:39 PM
Thank You for sharing your heart. This post was so honest and so true. You've helped us with our wait more than you know. Thank You!
Missy - August 19th, 2011 at 2:46 PM
Thank you. I needed every word of this story. I am smiling with tears and hanging onto the promise that God is FOR goodness....and thankful (in a confused sort of way) that He just isn't done yet. Blessings....so happy to be able to follow your story.....
Anna Webster - August 19th, 2011 at 2:50 PM
I do not know you but saw this on a friend's wall and had to read it. I was so touched and moved by every word. I had a tear in my eye and goosebumps all over when I was done reading. What a miracle. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope you don't mind that I "eavesdropped." Congrats on Ben and Remy!!!! :)
Becky - August 19th, 2011 at 2:56 PM
Such an amazing post!
www.rebeccabany.com
Joy Woodruff - August 19th, 2011 at 3:18 PM
I am in the middle of a "God I'm confused" time. I have been preparing for fostering and adopting and have had a very frustrating summer. Your description of "God I'm confused" touched my heart as it rang true for me. Thank you for sharing.
Amy Melsa - August 19th, 2011 at 7:27 PM
Jen. This is so beautifully said. I absolutely love this story. And I love how honest you were and are about the middle of the story. You are such a blessing to so many people.
Michelle Morgan - August 19th, 2011 at 9:56 PM
Love your words and your story....thanks so much for sharing the journey you
Tara - August 19th, 2011 at 10:28 PM
I needed a good cry. I'm am so glad there is a happy ending to this story. As a parent in the middle of the adoption process thank you for giving me back a sense of hope!
Stephanie Bowling - August 20th, 2011 at 6:09 AM
Thank you so much for sharing! I am so CONFUSED right now! We've been waiting for our two precious kids from Africa since December. Things have come to a screeching halt and we have no idea when/if this will work out. Meanwile, yesterday I found out I'm pregnant. So I won't even be able to go visit my children during this long wait. I don't understand and I'm struggling. Reading this post made me feel like I can quit trying to be stoic through this and trust that God isn't done yet. After a good cry last night, I got a much needed, good night's sleep.
Stephanie - August 20th, 2011 at 6:51 AM
God knew I totally needed this encouragement today. Thank you!! Would you consider letting us repost this on "We Are Grafted In" (www.wearegraftedin.com)? It is a Christian adoption website/forum. We'd love to feature this post as it would be a huge encouragement to many adoptive parents. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions.
Briana - August 20th, 2011 at 9:12 AM
Thank you for this. It was just what my heart needed.
Alison - August 20th, 2011 at 9:39 AM
Wow!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story! And I so needed the encouragement as we are in the long wait for our daughter! But we know that God just isn't done yet!!! :)
Debbie - August 20th, 2011 at 10:19 AM
I found a link to your blog on another mom's blog. We are in the middle, messy part right now. We had court 8/5, didn't pass, now court is closed, and the orphanages in the same area our daughter is from are under some sort of investigation and MOWA says they won't write our letter until the investigation is done. So we wait hoping this all gets cleared up soon so that MOWA will write our letter by time court reopens. Yes, we're here too and I really appreciate the reminder that we're just in the messy middle. It's hard, but we know we are where we should be and that this is just part of it. Thanks for your encouragement.
Jennifer - August 20th, 2011 at 5:03 PM
Welcome home Beniam and Remy.
Sasha - August 21st, 2011 at 6:51 PM
so sweet
April Diaz - August 21st, 2011 at 8:52 PM
I saw your blog from my adoptive-mommy-blog-friend, Bex Mann. I could barely get through your post because the tears were in the way! God's gifted you and used you big time. May God get all the glory through your story.
Meg - August 22nd, 2011 at 9:32 PM
I am so, so glad to have had several other ap friends post this on fb. Thank you for being God's vessel, for sharing, for being so honest; I can't tell you how much it means to me... Welcome home to your two beautiful little ones- Congrats to your whole family
Lindsay - August 22nd, 2011 at 11:38 PM
I had no idea what the story was behind the video. Even better.
Rachel - August 23rd, 2011 at 12:18 AM
So excited for you that Ben is coming home. I just saw a reference to your blog today from another adoptive mom. My husband and I are at the beginning of our adoption process so this email was a great reminder that God is in every part of our process and story, even when it is tough. Thank you for the honest and true words.
Ben - August 29th, 2011 at 1:09 PM
thank you, thank you, thank you. My wife and I are in the middle of a difficult, drawn out adoption in Africa (started out in Ethiopia). I needed to read this today.
Christine - August 31st, 2011 at 2:43 PM
Thank you so much for your transparency. As a mother of a profoundly Autistic son, I cannot even begin to tell our story. When I read yours, I cried. I cried because I felt everything you felt and expressed in this story. My life has never been "G rated", and at times I question, wail, get angry and want to give up. Though our stories are different there is a thread that I see in the lives of those who suffer. It makes you real, approachable and usable. God's not done yet.....
Rebecca - August 31st, 2011 at 5:48 PM
Thank you for sharing this! We are not in an adoption process, though we hope to be one day. But this messy middle applies to so many things. Thanks for your openness with your struggles and for showing us all the goodness and sovereignty of God through your story. He is so good.
Kait - September 2nd, 2011 at 12:42 PM
We are currently stuck in Uganda, waiting on a judge to hear our case, and being told again and again by him that it will be two more weeks until he's got time for us. We are tired. We are broke. We are broken.

So tonight, when I clicked over here from a comment you made on rageagainsttheminivan, I didn't expect to hear God whispering and patting me on the head and telling me it would be okay. I'm not going to pretend I'm super pumped about this messiness here in the middle, but I do feel better about the idea that He's not left us, He's just not finished yet.
Julia - September 6th, 2011 at 12:56 PM
this is a beautiful story of God's love. absolutely in tears. thanks for letting us pray and be a part of Ben's story. I trust that God has big big plans for this little guy. you have no idea who I am but I have so loved following your story. You have encouraged my soul.
Christy - September 7th, 2011 at 1:42 PM
I'm reading this story in tears. Tears of joy for what God can do and tears because I've spent the past 22 months wanting to get to the end, to get to bringing our child home. I've cried out and just broken down so many times. But God does have a plan and His thoughts are not my thoughts and my ways are not His ways so I know I will see God's perfect orchestration at the end of this. But I feel less alone after reading your story. I am so thankful that Ben is home!
Kim - September 8th, 2011 at 8:32 AM
Thank you for your transparency. We are just beginning our adoption journey and I am already feeling weary. This post just blessed me beyond belief. xo
Daniel Ibn Zayd - September 8th, 2011 at 9:45 AM
Please know that I have assembled a large group of adult adoptees from Ethiopia and Eritrea, some of whom write for national newspapers in the U.S. and the U.K., and we are ready to intervene in order to repatriate these children to their land of birth. To quote one of these adoptees, "this blog makes my blood boil".
Bill - September 8th, 2011 at 11:56 AM
"It's McDaniels, not McDonalds. The rhymes are Darryl's, the burgers are Ronald's."

Sorry, I couldn't resist, even amongst the seriousness of the story.

Signed,
Fellow Run DMC adoption peeps
Heather - September 8th, 2011 at 3:29 PM
This post and the next one absolutely wrecked me. You know, the sobbing so hard you just can't take it kind of wrecked. Yeah, that one. Your story is amazing. God has opened your eyes to wonderful things and through you, opened the eyes of many. These posts are just what I need to hear. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis 3 months ago and basically had to stop my life. I could hardly move without pain. The Lord has blessed me with an amazing husband and supportive family, but I couldn't help feeling so terribly alone and sad. I'm only 20 years old and God has given me a deep desire for children (biological and adopted), which seems just short of impossible right now. I've prayed and prayed and still felt just so alone. But you have resonated with me. He's not done yet. He doesn't leave. He stays with you down in the trenches, and he will pull you through. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for letting God work through you.
Robin - September 8th, 2011 at 5:37 PM
2 Tim 2:3
I read your blog this morning and just cried it out. Then tonight, I get the perfect Scripture that fits it.

Thank you for sharing your hardships to glorify God.
Ann Kimmel - September 8th, 2011 at 9:14 PM
OK, you are freaking me out. :) After cleaning under my coffee table for the 1st time in months (and months and months...but who's counting?), I pulled out this devotional book I had bought awhile ago, and because I need a jump start for a quiet time in my days, I started to read it. And laugh to myself. And then laugh out loud. It's called "Out of the Spin Cycle", and it was a breath of fresh air. Then someone posted a link to your "After the Airport" post, and I wanted to cry, and cheer, and cry, and cheer. And then today I scrolled down and read this. Bless you. We are in process of finalizing our int'l adoption of a 13 year old girl after suffering through a failed adoption of a child we previously hosted and loved. It was excruciatingly painful in ways no doctor can explain, but here we are nearly 10 months later, and God has brought out of nowhere (but the palm of His hand) our dear daughter. Even though I made sounds of a nearly butchered sheep in labor of my two bio sons, nothing prepared me for the pain and stretching and miracle of this "birth". Every day is not sunshine and unicorns, but every day (when I take the time to look) I see glimpses of God at work. It is all very "in process", but it is good work.

I have struggled with so many feelings through this adoption journey that was nothing like I predicted (planned perfectly...), and your words via the book and your blog have been medicine to my weary soul.

Bless you, girl!
laura - September 9th, 2011 at 9:10 AM
The Lord is AMAZING. Thank you for sharing and encouraging others in their own "I'm not done yet." We had a similarish scenario adopting fomr Uganda 2 years ago. I feel your pain, and your triumph. Amen.
alece - September 9th, 2011 at 1:40 PM
wow. just... WOW. so so beautiful. and hope-filled. thank you... ten times over, thank you...
Elizabeth - September 10th, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Jen, I really appreciate this post. My sister sent it to me because we have experienced some great disappointments and losses this summer related to our adopted son's death and soon to be adopted child being rejected at the embassy. Your encouragement to remember that God is Good is ringing in my heart. But I have one question. How did you know that it was God's will to continue pushing? When we found out about our daughter's denial at the embassy I was a mess. ( loved your honest description of what this looks like) My seven year old said we needed to pray and reminded me to pray for God's will not my own. How do I know that God isn't just saying no? How do I know if this plan is His plan and not just my desire?
Danielle :) - September 20th, 2011 at 5:50 PM
I KNOW that God has amazing things planned for our family. He did it PERFECT the first time around. Thank you for your transparency and humor in an AMAZING story! Your family story! God is SO good. Thanks for the reminder. Duh! He's not done yet. I want it to be perfect again...and He'll do it! I know it!
Blessings to you!!
Janie - September 20th, 2011 at 6:09 PM
You have no idea how much I needed to read your story today. Thank you for being deep, personal, profound and overwhelming. God is SO GOOD!
Amber - November 3rd, 2011 at 5:16 PM
So amazing and wonderful to hear this story. Gods love is amazing, never fails. Thank you for sharing your heart, your lives, with us.
Keri Bryant - December 16th, 2011 at 8:04 AM
Dang you, Jen. I have 5 Shutterfly photo books I am doing for Christmas that need to be ordered, and I just can't stop reading your beautiful story. EVen the middleness with all its pain and raw truth.
And now I have a headache from the tears. Dang you! :):):)
Crystal - December 17th, 2011 at 5:47 PM
Wow! What a story you and your family have. You are an inspiration to those that don't even know you. Thank you for your post of raw emotions, your story, and honesty. It was a post that I needed to read. I am in a much different type of story and plot line than yours, one of which leaves me and my whole family asking, "God, we're confused!" (often in tears, frustration, the whole emotional ride)...And regardless of our different plots, your story was an encouragement all the same!
Dani MarieBernadette D'Angelo - January 14th, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Jen, You are an awesome story teller. You have a pure heart, which combined with the gifts God has given you teaches us how to take our own gifts, and use them in bringing glory to God.
I thank God for you.
amanda - February 27th, 2012 at 12:39 AM
i'll join the chorus of the thank yous for this post
Jen - May 22nd, 2012 at 8:55 PM
If I hadn't read this, I wouldn't be able to think about tomorrow. I want to rush to the end, too. At this time, I don't care if it's good or bad, I just want to know what happens. I don't know if I can wait another several months for an "it doesn't look good" answer. Thank you for giving me a real-life story of waiting and hoping in the face of hopelessness. Tonight I still might sob, but I will go to sleep knowing that God can still write miracles as they fit into his glorious plan.
Stefanie - September 4th, 2013 at 9:53 PM
This is a beautiful story of hope and faith that really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing this.
Mikki - September 5th, 2013 at 9:51 AM
What a beautiful testimony - thank you for sharing.
Nina - September 5th, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Two years later, thank you, that is Truth!

Amy - September 5th, 2013 at 10:07 AM
Beautiful. Perfect moment for me to read this. Also, let's be best friends. I already talk about you all the time so it's not like you're a stranger around here. Haha. :)
Jen - September 5th, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Thank you for sharing this today. I so needed it today! God is good, always!

Sara - September 5th, 2013 at 10:25 AM
Thank you for sharing this again. I am in the beginning of my struggle and I keep praying and asking God why. I needed this reminder that it is all in His plan, not that I really like the plan, but it is His and it's a part of my journey. Thank you for reminding me that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Anna - September 5th, 2013 at 11:23 AM
A group of amazing adoptive Mommas shared this with me today and I'm so blessed that they did. We have agonized over our adoption process. We have fought for 8 months since our referral to try to get our three children home from Ethiopia. What should have been simple and quick ended up being real, live despair as we hit snag after snag! BUT GOD....he wasn't finished! In the time we waited, and agonized and prayed, our oldest (separated from his siblings and living with a foster family) accepted Christ! We are still waiting to bring them home, hopefully just a matter of 3-4 weeks now. But God has showed us very clearly that this is His story to write in their lives, and we are learning to surrender to His leading even when it feels like we have the Red Sea to our backs. He reminds us over, and over, "the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still!"
Sarah - September 5th, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Thanks for sharing. In the midst of our ashes for our girls.....but thankful that beauty will come. He has promised. Your blog is good for my soul. :) so thank you!
Amy - September 5th, 2013 at 12:04 PM
A friend posted this blog today, and it's exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. My husband and I have been foster parents for the past year, and every time one of our babies leave, it's agonizing. I have a little girl sleeping in her crib right now that we've begun the adoption process with, but there have been roadblocks thrown in our plans, and I'm just crying out to God to make her mine. We have a meeting with lawyers this afternoon that if all goes well, we're one step closer to termination of parental rights. If not, well, tears will be involved. So, I needed to hear this today to prepare my heart and remind myself that God is in control even if things don't go the way I want them to. Thank you for sharing your story.
Sarah - September 5th, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Thank you for reposting. We just crossed the five year mark waiting on a child or children from India. I needed the reassurance today for my longing...
Ana Marie Gierhart - September 5th, 2013 at 1:25 PM
Sooo Beautiful!!!!!! Thank You for sharing your story with the world! Thank You that in it Jesus loves shines sooo high! This made me cry form the heart and prayers are coming out of my mouth for all those waiting for their child to come home! Blessing you and your beloved family!
Turner - September 5th, 2013 at 1:35 PM
Thank you for reposting this. My husband and I are in the midst of our adoption journey, and I have been having a hard time coping with the wait. We entered into this because we felt that God was calling us to open our hearts and our home to a little one, but as the time goes by, I begin to wonder, "Is this really what God wants us to be doing?" Hearing, "I'm not done yet" means a lot to me right now. Thank you.
Tanya Wright - September 5th, 2013 at 2:49 PM
As I sit here in tears I think I am just amazed. My husband and I decided to do Foster to Adopt after the Woman of Faith conference in Peoria, IL. God promised me there were going to be difficult moments. That's a promise that I didn't like. But God also promised me it would be worth it. This process has already made my head spin and it's only been a few weeks. Thank you for sharing your story, it brings me hope. I pray soon I will be able to say it was worth it all.
Beth Cox - September 5th, 2013 at 7:15 PM
Thanks for reposting...my husband and I are in year two of our domestic adoption drama...but I know we heard God's voice and have seen his hand in this, so we hold on! Your testimony gives me hope and assurance that my GOOD God is fighting for our daughter!!!!
Mare - September 5th, 2013 at 8:37 PM
so excellent. and so true. God is good ALL the time. And he's always doing something. We are just impatient and weak and confused. Beautiful post. Thank you!
Rosemary - September 5th, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Wow as I read this I thought nice story, so & so would like it, they've adopted children but what does this have to do with me. I kept reading and it was amazing how it hit me, it does not matter what you are going through if you believe in God and you are still confused, God is assuring you I'm not done yet. Thanks for your thoughts.
Amy - September 6th, 2013 at 10:39 AM
A friend posted this blog today, and it's exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. My husband and I have been foster parents for the past year, and every time one of our babies leave, it's agonizing. I have a little girl sleeping in her crib right now that we've begun the adoption process with, but there have been roadblocks thrown in our plans, and I'm just crying out to God to make her mine. We have a meeting with lawyers this afternoon that if all goes well, we're one step closer to termination of parental rights. If not, well, tears will be involved. So, I needed to hear this today to prepare my heart and remind myself that God is in control even if things don't go the way I want them to. Thank you for sharing your story.
Stacy Gruhn - September 6th, 2013 at 12:08 PM
I'm pretty sure that I needed this more today (31 months into our Ethiopian adoption process) than I did two years ago. Thanks for always sharing your heart. Thankful for the reminder that this is still the middle part of the story. And it's hard. Romans 8:28 has hit me like a ton of bricks this past year as we have walked through our hardest days. Some days saying God is good and feeling like He is are not the same. So thankful for the way God speaks through you, Jen Hatmaker!
Jenea - September 6th, 2013 at 2:14 PM
Thanks for reposting this link. Our trial is much different, not adoption, but definitely a "God, where are you" ordeal. I am beyond relieved to hear someone else admit to the ugly, messy middle stuff...it's exhausting keeping up the super-spiritual pretty pose. Sometimes being really real with people places you down a notch or two in their eyes...pride, on both sides. I feel like this has tapped me into a more open stance...an arms wide open...yes, use my story to help others transparency. A confirmation of something He was already brewing inside of me. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories...all the messy bits too. You're setting people free and sending them deeper into their own story of redemption and rescue meant to be retold. He doesn't give us these beautiful scars to be covered, they're for conversation, for sharing, for touching. As I felt your wounds, I cried tears of joy...celebrating with you, and so so happy He wasn't done yet. I come away now stingingly clear-eyed, tear-saturated no make-up faced, but that's okay...He's not done yet.
Tanya Naugler - September 6th, 2013 at 5:37 PM
Jen, I just got back from Uganda with my friend Laurel who's family adopted a lil girl named Esther! I went along so Laurel wouldn't be alone since her husband could not go on the 2nd trip. I have to say, i'm crying through this comment b/c Laurel faced so many things that were hard and made her "confused". I myself was thinking many of the things you wrote and was disappointed at things that didn't happen for Laurel. I was like "God you sent her all the way here, what's up with this!!!!!" Now, a week we've been back, all things are good and in place, Esther is loving all over her family, adjusting well and behold, God wasn't done with the story. He is good. He alone delivers. And you're right, we don't know the whole plot, the twists and the turns. I'm thankful for your words and encouragement and for sharing your stories so openly! Blessings my friend, tanya
Mariko - September 10th, 2013 at 11:27 PM
And THIS is why God sent me to read your blog in the middle of the night as I'm sad and I'm going fight club on Him. Thanks for the "me too" sermon. Someone sent me your tribute to Lee today and it brought me to tears. He was a life-changer and I see I was in good company missing him. Good words, sister from another mister.
Lori - January 31st, 2014 at 2:11 AM
I am new to your blog, childless (though always wanted to be a mommy!), and not in the adoption process. (Though I would like to be...) . I had no real reason for being here-or so I thought. Apparently, God has other ideas because I so very much needed to read this post!! I surely could use a friend right now and in the middle of this winter night here in Maine, you, through this blog, have been one. I read your words and felt some hope! Thank you! Lori
Kimberly - June 23rd, 2014 at 10:15 PM
God's never done. I've got my own story and I just started reading yours. Mine is filled with 3 cancers, 2 kids, a knight in shining armor, and a lot of Jesus plucking us out of the depths of despair but lifting us just high enough that our eyes can see His work if we keep swimming and look back at the mountains. Your story is beautiful. As is mine. As are ALL the miracles that HE gives us. We could be friends. And, I'll come hear you speak if you ever come near and you can for sure stay at my house.
Katie - August 18th, 2014 at 4:45 PM
I tweeted this blog post three years ago today and was reminded on my TimeHop as such (get that app if you don't have it). The Holy Spirit still speaks through you and your story, Jen, even three years later. Bless you and yours. So grateful to our great God and King, who is for us.
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