Coming upon our anniversary here at ABBA Adoption our family is in celebration mode with several birthdays. One in particular in the past couple weeks was my son Aiden, who just turned 13! The big birthday!! Finally a TEEN!! He is our 4th child to celebrate that milestone and each time it is a fresh (and terrifying) feeling of all things new to experience; later bedtime, more choices in movies (with strong parental oversight, of-course), more independence, and more responsibility. Then in our family there is the “finally can have gum” and coffee! I know…..crazy, but that’s the rules…..no gum or coffee till your 13! It’s more of a maturity issue. It gives them something tangible they haven’t been able to freely do before and now they can have those freedoms. Maturity…..yes, that time in life when you expect some of the childish behaviors to disappear and for the now teenager to step it up a notch in the responsibilities! It’s an exciting time of new experiences for both the child and the parents.
In pondering that milestone for my son, I got to thinking about ABBA Adoption and what new things lie ahead. We are spreading our wings in new areas. Some that we have only dreamed about, that now get to become reality, like chewing gum freely for the first time. I mean, you’ve chewed gum, but now there is a freedom to enjoy that privilege in a way you’ve never been able to before. Or that morning cup of coffee. From your first sip, you pucker from the bitterness of it, then, as your taste for coffee matures, you enjoy the warmth it brings and the fascination of having it in many formats; black, flavored creamer, latte’, or espresso double shot, please and thank you!
We are kicking off our 13th anniversary with many new things to come! AND WE ARE EXCITED! You will see a whole new web-site and new marketing strategies coming very soon! We want you, our adoptive families, birth moms and friends to learn more about us as an agency and what sets us apart. This will give ABBA Adoption the ability to have more opportunities to minister to those that need us most!
In our 13 years, we have walked with well over 200 adoptive families and birth parents in this journey of adoption all the while maintaining our strong pro-life, pro-family, pro-ministry calling to our community! Thank you for allowing us to be a vital part of your life!
I know….ewww…..gross! But seriously! Have you ever found yourself so grieved, crying uncontrollably that you felt as you could fill a pool of sorrows from the pain and tears that you find yourself trying to breathe and looking for a Kleenex? You know, because you have a giant snot bubble protruding! Then there are the tears of joy! Something you have prayed earnestly for! Something so grand and awesome, you are in awe of how God answered your prayers in such a big way! And for certain, there is abundant rejoicing and the occasional…..you guessed it, snot bubble! Or how about being with a group of friends and you are laughing so hard you can’t catch your breath, the tears are flowing like the waterfall over a cliff, you’re bent over because your stomach is literally getting a workout (crossfit style, of-course), and here it comes…..a snot bubble!
I have been in each of those situations, yes I know, TMI! Today, I was going through some books in my office, kinda doing a reorganization and came across a scrapbook that I put together depicting the first couple years of ABBA Adoption. As I was flipping through the book I was faced with back to back adoptions where snot bubbles made it in the pictures. I think where this journey of life has taken me these days, this really stood out to me. One of anguish yet peace and the other of joy and thankfulness. Both, an answered prayer.
PICTURE 1 This is a young lady who found herself in a crisis pregnancy. Never thought she would ever be faced with making such hard decisions at such a young age. Reflecting to the “what if I hadn’t” in life, yet faced with the reality of her actions. But she is strong! She is selfless! She decides that this child is worth having a life. Her bravery and fearlessness to choose what she feels is best for this precious baby hurts to the core of her being yet she has peace in knowing she is providing for this baby through her life plan of adoption.
I immediately reflected to how I felt a few times in my life with the most recent losing my dad. As I had the privilege to sit and hold my dad as he took his last final breath, the pain was so unbearable! I sobbed till I was choking! I hated he was no longer with me. No more watching sports with my dad. Spending time grilling together was over. Our long talks on the back porch by the pool would be no more! As much as I was in agony, I was also at peace that my dad would no longer have to suffer in this fallen world.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” ~ Psalm 147.3
PICTURE 2 I’ll never forget speaking with this sweet couple for the very first time. The husband was a bit cautious………really I am putting it mildly……..he was skeptical because ABBA Adoption was a new adoption agency (I however wasn’t new to adoption work). Adoption is very expensive and they lived in a different state. He put on such a hard manly front and his poor sweet wife was taken aback thinking he had offended me. Actually, he never bothered me, he was being the leader of his home and wanted to ensure his wife wasn’t going to get hurt. Nevertheless, the hard shell broke, I gained his trust, and they signed on with ABBA Adoption as one of our first families. He took the risk! They matched with a birth mother and looked forward with nervous anticipation as the birth of the baby approached. The birth mother wanted the baby placed in the daddy’s hands first (she also knew he was a teddy bear). I truly don’t think I have ever seen a man cry so hard! He was in awe! He was thanking the Lord for the gift of life through adoption and the opportunity that he and his wife had to show the love of Christ to a lady who needed to see grace in her own life. I have to say, this snot bubble picture is one of my absolute favorites! Every time I gaze at this picture I am reminded of how God breaks through the hard shell of our sinful hearts and does such an amazing work of sanctification in our lives when we will just release and trust him. AND THEN…….I giggle! I unequivocally LOVE this picture!
In my own life I have been faced with trials, fears, and uncertainties. I have prayed BIG things. I have relinquished control and gave it all to the Lord. He has answered prayers in ways I have never anticipated. Everything from making provisions to giving me the desires of my heart!
“You sent Your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold Your manna from them, and providing water to quench their thirst.” ~ Nehemiah 9.20
PICTURE 3 This is a mental picture! It’s the times with friends and family. It’s those moments when your kids/husband say or do something so insanely funny, you’re rolling on the floor with tears. The time you’re hanging with friends and the laughter becomes uncontrollable, your stomach is hurting, you can’t breathe, you make eye contact….and it just intensifies, and then yes, the snot bubble comes and the tears are flowing and you just need to pull it together to get through the rest of the story. I love these moments in life! They are precious pictures engraved in the heart.
“Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs. Then the nations said “The Lord has done spectacular things for them.” The Lord has done spectacular things for us. We are overjoyed” ~ Psalm 126.2-3
What’s your snot bubble moment?
To learn more about adoption services, visit ABBA Adoption at www.abbaadoption.com
It’s mid afternoon! If you know anything about me at all, you know it’s time for a piece of chocolate and a cup of coffee. I must get my afternoon energy kicked into gear! I have been reflecting all week about birthdays and celebrations. This couple weeks in particular, our family has had a lot to celebrate which is why I am more likely to share what is on my heart.
We began Friday the 10th with my husband’s sister and her family with a trip to Hot Springs. We don’t get to visit often as we live a few hours from each other, but when we do, our time is always special and our bonds are strong. We went to the Mid-America Science Museum, a family favorite. This is fun for the entire family from our youngest members to the oldest, we all love it there! My brother-in-law makes it a point to do everything he can to spoil my kids. He started off by getting each kiddo a gift at the museum souvenir store then when we decided to go full family competition at some bowling, he thought it would be a good idea to give in to the ever-strong calling of the vending machines. My youngest kid’s eyes always light up when we pass by those things. They are obsessed! I have no doubt we completely cleaned out one of those toy capsule vending machines. We left the bowling alley with one injury as the big kids (I’m including the men in that category) decided to compete with one of those power boxing machines. Everyone had a blast but it got me thinking how funny life can be sometimes. How you can have so many differences with someone and God will use the common things that you love like family and kids to unite you in a way that is indescribable. That’s Danny and me. We are as different as the big city girl who loves to shop vs. the deep woods of the country boy who you’ll find on a dirt track in the heat of summer….no thank you, give me some air conditioning please! Air conditioning and the great outdoors….that’s a blog for another time!
Saturday we spent the day at my husband’s family reunion. Uncle Joe and his wife Judy are always very diligent to get the family together for a feast and good times to be had. I always enjoy going to these reunions. Quite frankly I am very lucky to say that I truly enjoy my husband’s extended family. His family is huge and I have a hard time, even after all these years keeping everyone straight with who goes to who. But the genuine hugs and “I love you” and “come see us” are something that not only I love, but want my kids to experience how special these moments are. Cousin Angela had everyone do their thumb print and name on a family tree. What a great gift to give her parents. And believe me, this is no small tree with a few thumb prints, it is filled!
That Sunday we enjoyed celebrating my husband’s birthday. I have been blessed with an amazing husband who is my partner in life and ministry. He is very giving of his time and energy to our family. There is no doubt in my mind that I could not do what I’ve been called to do if it weren’t for his full support. We are in this together! We celebrated with his sister and her family. I was determined to make his favorite desserts, Kandi’s Banana Pudding and Bourbon Pecan Pie. I also, for an added bonus made my nephew Chase’s favorite dessert, Apple Fritters. We swam, we laughed, we enjoyed the precious time of family surrounded by my in-laws and our two sweet grandbabies. AND……my brother-in-law gave me a break from the grill and cooked the burgers to perfection.
The very next day it was my turn to celebrate (I told Chris very early in our relationship that if he ever forgot my birthday I’m sure that was cause for divorce being mine is the day after his.) Amy (who works with me) started my day with a beautiful outfit, from……Cracker Barrel! I kid you not! This dress is precious! Who knew Cracker Barrel had gone full out boutiquish! I came home during lunch (Amy and I wanted some banana pudding) to a sweet bouquet of flowers by my daughter Mallory’s boyfriend (yes, he’s quite the suck-up and I am completely ok with that!) That evening my husband prepared breakfast for dinner (because that’s our favorite!) and an evening sitting on my patio working on a project. In the midst, my sweet friend Janet came to see me with a gift and we sat and got to catch up a little on life which led to crying, Kleenex and praying. I mean, really, what more could a girl ask for?!
Thursday, I got to see the strength of love when a birth mom and birth father came to a court hearing and surrendered their rights (this was a special and unique case) and allow their little girl to be placed in the arms of a precious family. When court was over the adopted couple’s oldest son asked “What did they decide?” (he was a little confused with the proceedings) and Amy told him “they decided yes!” He was so happy! He later confided in me just how nervous he was because he loved his new sister so much and just couldn’t think of losing her. The greatest joy of this day for me was hearing the birth mother and birth father verbalize that they couldn’t go through with an abortion but they knew they weren’t in a position to bring another child into the home and how genuinely excited they were for this family and the baby. The love and joy they showed for the adopted family overwhelmed me. Choosing life is such a gift!
Friday celebrated our oldest son through adoption birthday. Aiden is the sweetest young man. He turned 12. Time seems to slip by so quickly. I have a hard time seeing him as a tween! A tradition in our home is on your birthday you get a pancake breakfast made by dad and whatever you want for dinner. Sometimes that means we pack up and go out to eat and other times that means I am in the kitchen cooking their favorite feast. Aiden had his menu planned weeks in advance. I think food is always on this boys mind. Nevertheless, it was a total success!
But Friday also brought a celebration of my nephew Chase’s life. A year ago on June 17th, Chase was in a horrible accident. He was pinned between two tractors. I remember getting the call as we were getting ready to go out to dinner to celebrate Aiden’s birthday. I remember traveling 2 1/2 hours to the hospital where Chase was and meeting Kim and Danny there. I remember very vividly being told they didn’t think he was going to make it and they couldn’t even believe he made it to the hospital alive. As the doctor spoke to us and gave options, it was truly hard to take everything in. We cried out to God and asked for a miracle. Not just that He would save and sustain Chase’s life, but that His name would be magnified and that Chase’s life would be a living testimony to God’s grace. The Lord saw fit to answer our prayers! I am so thankful for a year later to be reminded of God’s sustaining grace and His power to deliver when we see no way!
Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day. I have a daddy that made it a point to make me his own. He adopted me and sealed my name with his. I am so grateful! He showed my brother and me what loving outside of yourself was all about. I have a husband that loves his family sacrificially and has walked this journey of adoption with me in our marriage. I know he had to be so thankful to spend his weekend and his special day with all his kids and grandbabies.
And finally yesterday we again celebrate someone’s special day. Brandon turned 11! Another little life we have been blessed with through adoption that brings a world of joy into our home and family.
In the event you are like “WOW” “they are busy!” you are right! We have so much to be thankful for. God is so good to us. That’s 9 celebrations in 14 days!
Life is so precious! The people that God places into our lives our like valuable gems of great worth. All this celebrating of life, be it adoption, birthdays, Father’s Day and miracles given by God makes me think of the blessings of everyday life. I have witnessed great joy and celebrations through many birthdays, anniversaries, births, adoptions and miracles of life that God has given yet at the same time, I have observed heartache from those that walk through losing a loved one when it just doesn’t make sense. I’ve seen families devastated by divorce. I have seen time slip through my hands and opportunities missed to share just how special someone is or how important they are to God. It is easy to go through the motions of life and take for granted what is placed right before you. Let us be quick to remember the blessings of today and celebrate what God has truly blessed us with today, for we never know what tomorrow will bring.
I’ll never forget the day I met her. I received an urgent call into my office. She had been at one of the local pregnancy resource centers and they had called me with a desperate plea to meet with her. On the surface, her story wasn’t much different than what we see with women in unplanned pregnancies and crisis situations. She was pregnant, alone, confused, troubled, depressed, hungry, lonely, had a lot of anxiety, and contemplating what she was going to do about her pregnancy. She was a hot mess! And I just wanted to love on her! I was very happy to learn that she and I had an immediate connection……our love for a good latte’! In my mind, much of life’s bonding can take place over a good cup of coffee and the distress of life can be handled over a dose of knee time before a loving caring Father. My job was to simply listen to her, hear her and pray for her. Why was she was considering abortion? Why was life as she knew it in such a mess? Hear her cry for how lonely she was! Listen intently as to why she saw no light at the end of her tunnel! And……PRAY! Pray without ceasing as she unleashed her filthy laundry basket of life!
How often do we miss what is really right before our eyes because we don’t listen, we don’t hear, we don’t pray with intention?! I know I am very guilty of it! Sometimes we get into the habit of just checking off our list and moving on to the next thing. Even in ministry we can be anxious to complete our task and feel a sense of accomplishment without realizing we missed God in a big way. I am so thankful that the Lord had my spirit quietened on this day. I’m so thankful that on this day, this lady had my undivided attention and as I was listening and hearing and praying, God was at work! On this day I celebrated as I sat and cried with this broken, lost, scared, and frightened lady as she came to the conclusion to choose life for her child! She chose adoption! You could see the relief that overcame within her as she now had a plan and someone to walk along with her!
What I didn’t fully understand up until that moment was she had a plan…..a dark secret……an end to her despair! She wanted to give up on life, not just the baby’s, hers also! But now she saw hope! Now she had peace! A hope and peace that only comes from God!
All of life’s answers didn’t come complete over that one (or two) cups(s) of coffee that day, but it was the beginning of a painfully beautiful journey that this birth mother would begin to conquer. It was a day that a wonderful friendship ignited. There were many valleys along the way that she struggled with, yet there were many celebrations and milestones of life! I will never forget the day she had her sweet baby girl and placed her into the arms of her forever family and we all celebrated two lives that were saved that day.
This sweet friend of mine continued in her journey of hard times and many celebrations. She has been able to pour into other women with similar struggles. The Lord gave her to me as a special friend! A friendship I deeply cherish. I can’t think of her or see her without thanking the Lord for His grace in her life and allowing me on that special day to be available to LISTEN, HEAR AND PRAY!
So here we go! We begin a new chapter! (BTW…..this will be a little long) This launch has been one that I have agonized over! Seriously, it’s pretty sickening how much anxiety I have had over the new website and now launching the new blog! I want more than anything to bring glory to God in everything that I do, and I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, that is information for those that don’t know this about me. About 15 months ago I sat on a journey that I feel I have definitely felt the laboring pains. Our website was on such an old format and desperately needed updating. Our blog went without any attention for more than a year because of constant technical difficulties, not to mention the 500+ spam emails I would get a day, who wants that?!. I even started a personal blog with many articles that I had in progress because of things the Lord would lay upon my heart and would not complete, it just didn’t feel right separating myself from the ministry that I have been called to. Let’s be real, my life and ministry are so tightly knitted together and for goodness sakes, I need as much simplicity in my overly busy life!
So what to expect…..the title says it all and here is a taste of what is to come! So join me with your favorite cup of tea or coffee, because if you know me at all, you know I always have one or the other in my hand! Just an FYI…..I am sipping on a wonderful aroma of coffee and Irish Cream creamer……I know you can just smell it! Yummy!
FAITH: Nothing is more important to me than my faith. It is what guides my life, my family, and my ministry. In Hebrews 11, Paul gives us a picture of great men of God who displayed what it means to live out your faith in action. Hebrews 11 says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” But then calls out these patriarchs and starts each one off with “By faith”, how I want that to be the mark of my life!
In my ministry I think what faith an adoptive family has to come to ABBA Adoption and trust that this is where the Lord has lead them to grow their family through adoption. I often can be heard saying to any family or group that adoption is “A walk of faith”. An adoptive couple walks trusting in the Lord’s plan without having the tangible laid before them, with many unknowns they will have to embrace.
I also think of a birth mother. The faith she has to have to be courageous and not only choose life for her baby, but make an adoption life plan where she is trusting in a family to provide all the things she can’t, for whatever reason at this time in her life.
FAMILY: What a gift from the Lord! My family consist of myself, my husband Chris, seven children we have been blessed with along with a wonderful son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren. Four of our children came into our life through adoption! What an extra special gift they are!
In the world we live in, families are facing overwhelming battles. For an adoptive couple, family plays a big role in being supportive of this journey. Having a family that bathes that couple in prayer is vital, but it doesn’t stop there! We will address at a later time the importance of that on-going support between husband and wife as well as extended family that is necessary in life and in adoption particularly.
For a birth mom family matters can be extremely complicated and broken. Often times my staff and I become that source of support to her. My heart often breaks over the breakdown of the family structure and how this is generational and how this affects the lives of these ladies.
FRIENDS: One thing that I am known for is my “get-togethers”. I love being surrounded by my family and friends. They are the life-blood of prayer and community for me.
Friendships play a huge support role for adoptive families and birth moms. We need to make it a point to build healthy friendship communities around us. Investing in each other’s life is such a blessing!
ADOPTION and PRO-LIFE: In my own personal life, I know what it means to be adopted. I had a wonderful earthly father who adopted me and took me as his own! It is a special gift! It is something I am extremely grateful for, although I can say with absolute certainty, I probably have not always displayed my gratefulness, you know, because the teen years do happen!.
My greatest adoption happened when my heavenly father adopted me into His family when I put my faith and trust in Him. Many of you may know my life and ministry scripture which ABBA Adoption was birth from, Romans 8:15-17 states “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
As stated before, my husband Chris and I have been blessed with four children through adoption. We know firsthand the gifts that have been given to us and yet we also know the ups and downs that can arise.
For a woman that is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an adoption life plan is an important consideration and can be a huge blessing in her life, an adoptive couple’s life, but most importantly the life of a child. Let me be very clear where I stand, a woman, no matter her background, situation, or circumstances is a HERO! Any woman that is faced with an unplanned pregnancy and has the courage to choose life for her unborn baby is highly rated in my books! The pressures of the world makes it far too easy to end the life of that child, but when she can step outside of her own desires and put that child first and then place that baby into the arms of a family and trust them to give that baby love, security, safety and a chance at a better life than she is presently capable of, it calls for a celebration and a giving of thanks to the Lord every time, because it is truly a miracle right before our eyes………THE MIRACLE OF ADOPTION!
As I wrap this up, and you know…..my coffee cup is empty, I ask that you be in prayer for me. Please let me know what you want to hear from me on. We will cover all topics! Pray that I will honor God with my words and by that He will be able to work in the lives we come into contact with on a daily basis. Pray for my staff. Pray that we are always intentional to share the love of Christ with all those we come into contact with.
If you want me to speak at your event, you can email me at: