October 17, 2010

even bigger updates!

Another update! Seriously? Yes! So much has been happening in our lives and this one is even bigger than the last update. I want to have an account of the whole story - so sorry I bore you with the details. Warning: this is REALLY long. There will be an shortened version once I get the changes done to the blog & make it more adoption focused.

We are adopting!
from Africa!

Remember how I told you that there was another part of the story with my year at Op Camp. Well our adoption story starts there. You see, I have always ministed to and ministered with kids that were just like me. I have been a part of youth ministry in some form or fashion since my junior year in college and it's always been to white kids that are pretty much just where I was when I was their age. Now, there is nothing wrong with that - but growing up going to private school my whole life, and ministering to kids "just like me", and going to camp with kids who were "just like me" didn't lend too many opportunities to be around people who weren't like me. When I took the job at Op Camp, I was nervous. In fact I remember specifically calling my dear friend Brynn (who is my soul sister to say the least) and saying "Brynn, you know I am excited about this job but this is really more of "your thing". Ministering to "at-risk" youth, kids that weren't just like me. I wasn't ashamed to admit I was out of my comfort zone. The retreat we took our high school staff on started to change all that. Started to change the way I saw the world and the people around me. My new friends, Ja'Kay and Kennedy, changed my heart. They are two beautiful children of God who are not just like me. They have been through things in their life that I can't even imagine and despite all of that they love the Lord and seek him with their whole hearts. and they sought me out too - they took me in, they told me their stories, they LOVED me and I loved them. God was working on me, working on my heart and showing me the things that were outside my little bubble. Flash forward to camp, He was majorly working. You see, I never saw myself as "lost". I grew up in church, got baptized in elementary school, was always a part of youth group, bible studies, you name it. I was never lost. Ha. That is a lie! I never thought I had a "story" to tell - I thought my life was pretty good and my story didn't matter because it wasn't dramatic or exciting. Boy did God start to tell me how wrong I truly was. I was lost. We all were - we all deserve hell except Jesus came to save us! This Sunday at church we sang a song that said "Oh praise the one who paid my debt who raised this life out from the dead" and I believe that now with all of my heart. Without Christ, I am nothing. He saved me, he paid a price for me, he took away all my sin. Until you truly realize and KNOW that I don't know how you can appreciate and know His love for you! This summer - at the age of 25(scratch that, I am 26), I got it! I do have a story! The story of how God took a selfish self-centered sinful girl and saved her from herself. Without the love of Christ I am nothing. I want my WHOLE LIFE to be for Him because without him, I am nothing. He made me who I am & I have the experiences I have for a reason, for a purpose. This summer He started to teach me about who I was before Him and who I am in Him! {I am shaking as I type this I am so passionate). I remember someone at camp told me, "Wynne, I want to hear your story - I hear it's powerful". WOW! me? really? God is doing a work in my life, He's showing me powerful things and I am experiencing His love! His perfect love! One night at camp we did a cardboard testimony - and I shared mine! Really? I would have never considered myself someone who would have anything to share on that night - but the story of how He saved me from myself, from my sin, from my selfishness is worth telling! I could go on and on about the people I met at camp & how they have changed my outlook on life - how they have opened my eyes to the things unseen. How 15 year old girls can be thankful to God for their horrible home life because it helped them minister to someone else who is going through the same thing. Seriously? to "get it" at 15 that your pain is worth it for the kingdom of God is incredible to me! Ok, back to adoption.

So at Junior High camp I was sitting at the Ga-Ga pit by my friend Katie telling her my story. At the end of the story, she asked what most people ask recently - so, you are how old? and you've been married how long? So why don't you have kids? It's the age old question. I decided in that moment to let Katie in on that part of my story & I'm going to tell you right now. In August of 2009, God changed my heart over night and I just knew He was ready for us to have kids of our own. I was always that person that said, "yes in 5-7 years THEN we will have kids". I was never really a huge baby person, you know those people that always knew since kindergarten they couldn't wait to be a mom. Well I always wanted to be a mom, but I wasn't ready to start having babies just yet. Until one night in August - my heart was changed. seriously overnight. I remember telling Stephen I was ready (because he was always ready before me, telling me "I'm ready when you are"). That night we went to dinner at Luigi's and I remember having the talk. On the way home we heard commercials about babies, when we got home & turned on Project Runway the challenge was about designing for preggo people, commercials on tv, it went on a on. It seemed like "a sign". I even remember telling a few good friends about our news and being SO EXCITED! Well I had no idea what was in store over the next 12 months. It went from praying about the situation and knowing God was in control & we just wouldn't prevent and let Him do his work. Well after 2 of so months of that, you get a little obsessive. or at least I did. I knew I was ready, I had heard from God, and nothing was happening. It was pretty frustrating to say the least. There were friends all around me getting pregnant (at one time I had seriously 23 friends just in midland that were preggo) and they always seemed to share the news the day I was on my period. But I had finally come to a place where I was at peace. I was at peace with whatever God's plan was for once. I had to stop controlling, stop obsessing, and finally just LET GO!

So, again. back to adoption. I'm feeling like this should be a whole other post. Actually, I am going to change my blog a bit to be more focused on adoption, the orphan crisis, and how you can help :) and to journey along with me. but we'll get back to that. Katie tells me that I should pray about adoption. She tells me this awesome story about this family that led her on a mission trip that was only able to lead this trip because they adopted from this country & now take people back on mission trips. I tell her that is cool & one thing I have for sure learned through this whole process is that God has the bigger picture. He knows who my child is, and the timing might not be right for the child to come into the world. It might not have ANYTHING to do with me, but everything to do with him/her. So, I start praying. I was also starting to read this awesome book, Radical, which I will talk about more later I'm sure. I challenged my thinking - it pointed me to scriptures like the great commission that told me it's not my choice to love people of all nations, rather it's a COMMAND. We are all commanded to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to love and obey the Lord. It's not just something that some people are called to. It's a command! That hit me HARD. It was about this time that God started putting some amazing people in my path.

We go to Stephen's best friend, Andrew, wedding (Andrew introduced us too) and meet this amazing little girl, Ella and her brother, Bennett. You might remember them from this post. They were flower girl/ring bearer and I couldn't for a while figure out who they belonged to or if they were related. Ella, being the sassy 6 year old that she is, started chatting up me and my friend. I finally asked her if Bennett was her brother (I knew he was not from America!) and this sweet 6 year old, who just before I asked her and been telling me all sorts of details about her family members simply said "yea, that's my brother". Not, yes he's from Africa, or he's adopted but simply "yea, that's my brother". I was blown away! I needed to know more! I didn't know anyone personally who had adopted from Africa and I wanted to talk to the parents. I found out that night the mom is Ashley, Robin's best friend from high school, and the next day I made it a point to talk with her. After taking photos of Ella & Bennett playing in the butterflies I asked Ella to take me to her mom. Her mom I would soon find out is a photographer too! She shared with me some of her story and told me that they adopted through Gladney. Well, I didn't know anything about international adoption, so I started doing my research. We were leaving the next day for Cabo, and I didn't even bring my computer with me so everything was on my phone. I learned all about the requirements for each country, timeline, cost, etc. {I will get into this more later}. I am a bit of a researcher & I had to know more! I started thinking of all the people I know that I've seen on their blog/facebook about adoption and started stalking! I remember looking at one of my favorite photographers blog & seeing that she had a personal blog about adoption. {you can check it out here} Well over the next 24 hours I went through and read every. single. post and even ordered 2 books from amazon from my phone in the airport waiting to go to Cabo. The trip to Cabo was spent reading the book Radical & thinking about adoption. I told Stephen & he honestly thought I was a little crazy. But I knew in my heart this is what we were being called to. He told me we should go visit Africa & visit the orphans and we left it at that. When we got home from Cabo I went straight to my friends bachelorette party in Dallas. Sitting across from me at dinner that night was my new friend MeMe, who I very quickly discovered works with an organization called Visiting Orphans and wants to adopt one day! I literally started crying at the table. another person, Lord? It just goes on from there of really cool God stories. I sit down to tell my good friend & mentor, Becca, about it and she starts tearing up and tells me that God had put this on her heart for me a while ago. I was blown away! more confirmation! I talked to my good friend from Waco about adoption & quickly found out from 2 other people (Ashley from the wedding, Esther havens blog & my friend Holly) about a adoption conference in Austin called Together for Adoption. My friend from Op Camp, Allison, and I were having lunch and talking about this awesome photographer - Esther Havens - who is a humanitarian photographer and how she is speaking at this adoption conference. Well, Allison's mom Holly was going! Holly is my boss at Op Camp's sister in law! I knew her, but not really. I called her immediately to ask about the conference and so our friendship began. The timing was totally the Lords - we were supposed to go to our niece's 1st birthday party that weekend in Kerrville, then the party got changed to Austin and we already had reservations to stay at the lake! I KNEW we were supposed to attend!

It's time for the conference and Stephen still hadn't registered. I was thrilled, over the moon and he still wasn't so sure. We drove to the lake Thursday night & he still hadn't registered. He ended up having a ton of work on Friday and didn't come. I learned so much (again, will talk about more in detail later) and was so excited to tell him all about it but all we got was arguments. We argued because I want to adopt but know we weren't going to move forward until he was on board and leading our family in this. He was frustrated with me because I wasn't respecting his timeline and realizing that I had been in this process for a while & it was all new to him. God hadn't put it on his heart yet like he had done mine. I was frustrated because I know him, I know his heart and I know without a doubt that if he knew what I knew there was no way he would say that adoption wasn't for us. I just couldn't get him to see things they way I did. The arguing didn't stop but the next morning when Stephen was going to drop me off at the conference, he had decided to come with me. The morning was filled with great speakers, great worship, great people to talk to at various booths. I was watching/looking at Stephen the whole time to see if I could notice something different about him. After lunch we went to a discussion panel w/ three couples who have adopted (international/domestic/both) and it was really great to hear from other families what their "fears and obstacles" were in adoption. Stephen took notes. After, we went and talked to people from various adoption agencies, organizations, etc. I bought lots of African jewelry & shirts that all help orphans. Still nothing.

We are walking to the car to go to Rose's first birthday and he tells me he has a story to tell me. I get excited. He tells me that he went to bed & woke up praying about the adoption thing. He told me he was praying and reading James 1:27 on the deck and he asked God to break his heart. To break his heart for orphans, and to speak to him and tell he want he wanted of him. Well our God is BIG and He answers in His perfect timing and that timing was about two hours later during worship. Stephen was telling me the story - that for about one minute the Holy Spirit allowed him to feel like an orphan for one minute. He felt like he had no parents, he felt their pain and he was broken. At this point in the story there are tears on both sides. He tells me that after that experience with God, and after hearing from god-fearing speakers and families who have adopted he knows this is what we are supposed to do. He's ready. He's on board! Praise the Lord! Then it became real. It became something we were being obedient in. not something we just woke up and decided we wanted to do - but we were ready to be obedient to God's call on our life.

WOW! That is the story. Where are we now? Well we've told our families & close friends and are in the process of starting the paperwork process. Way more to come - so many details & so much I want to be a voice for. But had to start with the whole long story. If you are still reading, thank you. Please be praying for us as we start this journey!!


  1. Wynne, it's so great to see what God is doing in your life! May He bless you with a great adventure and a life full of joy! Grace & peace, bw

  2. What wonderful news!!! I am thrilled for y'all! I have two friends working with two different African organizations

    Arise Africa (Alissa is an aswesome photographer too)

    Aid Sudan

    I'm not sure if either of these organizations involve or include adoption, but I'll email your their websites/blogs.

    Congrats to you and Stephan and I will be praying for the process!

  3. What a WONDERFUL post! I cried. Not just a little. Big, fat elephant tears. I am just so excited for you on this journey. God is so good and I know that he will guide you on this amazing process!

  4. congratulations! what a neat journey you are beginning, and i can't wait to hear more about it!

  5. Wynne. I am so so soooooo excited for you and Stephen. This is wonderful news. We were actually looking into adoption before we got our good news. This is awesome. God is good!

  6. Wynne! WOW! I am so excited for y'all! What an incredible and wonderful journey you have been on and will continue to be on! :-) I have taught more than one sweet child from Asia who has had their life CHANGED by the parents who adopted them. . . One amazing girl went back to Korea with her "American mom" to spend two weeks volunteering in an orphanage. . . rocking babies, changing diapers, etc. She wanted to help the kids who hadn't been adopted yet. . . it still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. . . You are on an incredible mission and I look SO forward to following your blog . . . know that you have a friend praying for these next months!

  7. Such an amazing story!! I am so happy for yall and look forward to following your journey to parenthood :) Congrats!

  8. http://toth2002.blogspot.com/ I thought I'd share this family with you. They just adopted last year, and went through the wait, anticipation, etc. They finally got their boy! How exciting, congratulations!

  9. thank you all so very much for your support, kind words and prayers! I am excited to keep everyone in the loop and along the journey through the blog! so thankful for each of you!!!

  10. YEA! Great post Wynne. I know how hard it is to have patience when you feel so strongly about something. Michael was just every bit as excited about our first adoption as I was, but chosing to try to "foster to adopt" created much tension and debate. The month after we brought Ezra home I was ready to start round 2. Prayer and time have proved to be the answer and here we are.. just waiting for our next child!!

  11. I love stories like these! Its so encouragine to hear how God moves and works and how we are to obey. Can't wait to hear more!!!!

  12. i am SO excited to follow along in this journey with you!!! what an incredible path the Lord has lead you down and what a DIFFERENCE you are going to make in the life of not just one little orphan in africa but i'm sure many as you influence others to do the same and give to the cause of orphans in africa!!!

    congrats prematurely on your baby that will be blessed with you as parents in the future!!!

  13. Wynne you are an amazing person, and what you and Stephen are doing is wonderful. I can't wait to hear more about your journey!!

  14. Yay!!! I'm so glad that it is out there in the blog world and official!! I can't wait to meet your baby and see our little African babies playing together :) Adoption is beautiful. I am blessed to meet you through this journey :)
    The blog looks AMAZING!!! I'm a bit jealous :)

  15. Wynne- what an AMAZING story of God working through you and Stephen. I'm soooooo excited for you and cannot wait to keep up on you guys and this incredible journey. I've always been drawn to blogs of families who have adopted...I cannot wait to see where God leads your family. I will definitely be praying for yall and your precious child during this process. What a lucky little one!!!

  16. Hey girl! Amazing story that I can't wait to keep up with! My brother and I aren't from Africa, but we're adopted:)

    What a wonderful blessing--- so excited for your family!

  17. Holy long post! Ha! But I read every word. And cried a bunch. Yocham sent me here and I tend to do what she tells me to. I'm Katie who took the Baylor girls to Guatemala on the mission trip. I'm loving your story and can't wait to see how it all unfolds. God is 12 kinds of crazy! I love it!


thanks for the love!