Category Archives: adoption

thrice is nice

Our good friends, Bryan and Sherry, were on the waitlist to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia.  Little did they know, God had something else in mind for them.  Join us in celebrating this most amazing gift I’m calling the Lopez Trio!  Read Bryan’s email below.

Family & Friends,

I hope you are doing well. I am writing to fill you in on the whirlwind of events that have taken place over the last 60 hours with our adoption. As most of you know Sherry and I had been in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. By God’s grace we had our home study done, training done, and had completed all the major paperwork needed. We were just waiting to move up on the lists.
Wednesday night as I was headed home from work Sherry called, she had asked if I had seen an email about a mother in town who had triplets and was needing to find a home for them. I said “no,” but asked her to fill me in on details. With what little information she had, she filled me in, describing the boys, “they are six months old, they were born extremely premature, one is still in the hospital and has many special medical needs, the mother is 18 and realizes she can’t give her boys the life she wants for them, and that we should be praying for them.” I cannot express to you the immediate pull on my heart for these boys, even as I type this tears are welding up. We began talking about the boys, about the courage of the mom to make such a big decision, and we both realized that both of our hearts were drawn towards them. Our initial thought was that there was no way this would be possible, we thought for sure the adoption agency would tell us “no” because of the fact that we have 3 little ones at home already. But alas after much time of prayer and conversation we decided to call the agency and tell them that we were interested. We called and left a voicemail, not really expecting a call back that same night.
As we were bathing the kids and getting them ready for bed we got a call back, we were surprise to say the least. As I talked on the phone with our agent I began explaining the immediate draw in my heart for these boys, expecting that they would tell us we weren’t a good fit at any moment. Their response was not what I expected at all, she told me, “I have been thinking all day about a family that could handle this, a mom who would give these boys the love and attention that they need, and I kept thinking about you guys… I kept thinking about Sherry…” I couldn’t believe those words were coming out of her mouth, I was in shock. She filled me in on more details about the boys. “They were born February 26 and the mother was only 24 weeks when the c-section was performed. Two of the boys are healthy and developing as expected. They are still on oxygen, but are expected to come off it sometime soon. The other boy is a beautiful boy who will require much more attention. He was born weighing only 13 ounces (the mother told me today that he was a little bit smaller than a barbie doll when he came out, if you can imagine that). He has had liver failure, he has a severe vitamin d deficiency that has caused several fractures in his body. He has broken both of his arms, both of his legs, and his jaw. In addition to that he has a g-tube (a tube that is inserted into his stomach for feeding), and is still on oxygen, BUT he has fought through as is ready to go home this week.” As she was describing these boys (names Cameron, Christian and Caleb — who is still in the hospital) my heart was crushed for them. Tears began streaming down my face and I began to feel a love for them that I cannot express. Sherry was crying, I was crying and we knew that if even if we weren’t the ones to take the boys home we still loved them, loved the mom, and were committed to pray for them. We got off the phone and a flood of emotions and feelings came rushing in. Feelings of joy, fear, love, brokenness, and helplessness.
The next day (Thursday) we got a call from the agency telling us that we were scheduled to meet with the mother on Friday, but not to get our hopes up because there was another family meeting with her, and the mother will choose what family she thinks best fits. I kept thinking there is no way she will choose us, we already have 3 kids, surely this is the door that God will shut. Sherry and I spent all day in prayer over this, all the while feeling a peace about pursuing this that I cannot explain. We decided not to call our family or anyone because we didn’t know what the mother was going to choose, and we didn’t want to get our hopes up. I even remember praying over and over again, “Lord if this is not your will please close the doors, don’t let this happen, but give these boys a home.” After a long night, with very little sleep, Friday came. At work I could not concentrate, there was strange dichotomy off feelings, both nervousness and peace inundated me. Around mid-morning Sherry got a call from the agency stating that the other family dropped out. She told me and immediately my heart was filled with joy, but it was a very surreal feeling. I was still nervous, I thought what if she doesn’t like us, or what if she has a problem with us already having kids. Fears and doubts crept in, not of pursuing — but of the mother not being in favor of our pursuit.
We met with her at 3:15 Friday afternoon. What’s crazy is her requirements for the family matched us exactly: a hispanic / anglo mixed family, a dad with a stable job, a mom who stays home… and the list goes on. Everything she wanted was us. We began sharing with her our love for adoption, the church, our family, and even about God’s love for us and the gospel. The connection we made with her and the time spent in that small office was one that I will never forget. She shared with us her love for the boys. And that at 24 weeks she had to make the toughest decision of her life. At a routine check up they found out that the blood flow had stopped going to Caleb. They told her that she could just let him die and the other two would deliver fine. Or she could do c-section, but then put all the boys at risk. She said with a resounding boldness that she “wanted to give ALL her boys a chance at life.” So they delivered all three. It was a fruitful time of sharing our love for adoption, and God’s love for us. She expressed her love for the boys with many tears. I can honestly say that I have so much respect for her. She is a great mom, she just couldn’t give the boys the life she wanted. She wanted them to have a family, a family with a dad, a mom, and support system that would love them and nourish them. After about 1/2 an hour of meeting she said, “this is it… this is what I want for my boys, I feel comfortable with this… I feel a comfort I cannot explain, I want this.” I could not believe it, but was beyond excited, words cannot express the joy I had in my heart. All the while still feeling a bit of fear, understanding this will be a huge undertaking, but trusting that God will provide strength. We left to go tell our kids that they would be not just getting 1 baby brother but 3!
That night we went we visited Caleb. He is beautiful. I held him in my arms and literally never wanted to let go. We should get to bring him home either Monday or Tuesday. Sherry will be doing a 24 hour stay at the hospital to learn about some of the medical equipment he needs starting later today. After that we can bring him home. This afternoon.. yesterday afternoon (whatever it is now…) we brought home Cameron and Christian for an “overnight.” They are amazing well-behaved babies, and are absolutely adorable. They have even been asleep all night! I have that new dad… fearful something’s going to happen feeling that wakes me up about every 1/2 an hour (hence writing this at 3 AM), but they are doing great! We will sign quite a bit more paperwork this week and by mid-week they will officially be ours, the court process may take a few months though. We we are now one HUGE family… with a lot of love, a lot of diapers, and a lot of food… So, you may be wondering how you can help… or at least I’m hoping you’re wondering that ;)… well, here it goes:
In numerical order, because I’m a “type-a” computer programmer and I like numbers:
1. PRAY – Pray for a few things: the birth-mom, this will be very tough on her pray that God gives her strength. Also, pray that our sharing of the gospel gives her an interest in Jesus. Pray for strength for Sherry and I, as we both are in the middle of a full semester of school work and for me “normal work.” Another one is that our agency is seeing if they can transfer over the medicaid for the boys. This would be a HUGE answer to prayer, especially with all of Caleb’s needs specifically. Pray for the boys health, and that they too would love Jesus someday. Also, pray our court process finalizes before December 31, it will be extremely helpful to get the adoption credit this year. Last, pray for Madison, Matthew, and Selah, that they would understand what we are doing, that they would love their brothers, and that we (as parents) would not neglect their needs.
2. SUPPORT – We have put in $15,000 of our own money into the adoption process, and we have to come up with about $14,500 more (plus all the things we need to buy for the boys… car-seats, beds, clothes, etc.) in 4 days. That number can seem overwhelming, but I am confident God will provide. I am confident that we will give these boys a home and a family that they need. If you can help us we would be ever so grateful, if not that is totally fine, but please either way pray for this. Trust me this is hard for me to ask for… I have always had a pride issue with people giving me or loaning us money, but I think this is one way God will provide, and am trusting him in that.
3. HELP-OUT – We may need help with the kids in the first few weeks as we adjust. Or just help with “normal things” things around the house… not sure about what we will need at this time, but it we may need something. If there something comes up I can commit to letting you know.
Thanks for reading this mini-novel. I’m going to go check on the boys and their oxygen tanks, it’s probably about time to swap one out.
Love you all and can’t wait for you to meet Christian, Cameron, and Caleb!
Blessings,
Bryan, Sherry, Selah, Matthew, Madison, Christian, Cameron, and Caleb (I guess we need to just start signing things as the “Lopez Family”)

Sherry with three oldest

Bryan holding Caleb

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Havi’s Gotcha Video!

I finally finished a short video of our trip to Ethiopia.  View it here:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc_UWXzjYxY

(make sure you pick the 720 p option on the bottom of the video to see it in HD)

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the heart of adoption

Many have asked how the Rock this Restaurant contest went in regards to the Mancini’s burger joint, Lumpy’s.  After the final tally Lumpy’s won the popular vote with over 17,000!  If you helped by voting, thank you so much!  The contest is not over as the final decision will also be based on Good food and service, Community Standing and Compelling Story, but they are well on their way!

We receive an email from Jason this weekend that tells some of the joys and struggles after a few weeks home with the girls.  We are so blessed to have friends in our lives who are such amazing examples of God’s provision and grace in adoption…


Well we have been home from Ethiopia for three weeks tomorrow.  I can’t lie,
it has been very hard!  I think my eyes were opened to how hard about the
4th day home when we decided to take the girls swimming for the first time
and Mahder decided she didn’t like her swimsuit and went into a monster fit
that started with crying and ended with her walking out the front door and
down the street. You realize quickly that the fit isn’t really about the
swimsuit but rather part of this crazy process of becoming a new family.
Long story short, I had to carry a 7 year old all the way back home (kicking
and screaming) and then we spent the next 3 hours on our tiled bathroom
floor “working it out.”

But then, just when you think you can’t go on, the sun sets and then rises
on a brand new day full of new hopes and do overs!  Mahder drew her first
family picture (ATTACHED) on our driveway a couple of days later.  Amy asked
her what it was a picture of and she said it was Mahder (on the left),
Mommy’s car in the middle and Daddy on the right……and Daddy has a big
heart on his picture 🙂  We started to fall in love with each other on that
day.

With each day that passes, the orphanage gets a little further away and the
memories of their mom leaving them on its door step a little more distant.
Last night at bed time I held the girls down and kissed them like 50 times
all over their cheeks, forehead and neck while they laughed uncontrollably
and then said AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN……we fell a little more in love with
each other last night.

The last three weeks Amy and I have been brought to our knees begging our
heavenly father to supply us with wisdom, peace and the strength to go on.
And he does! “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the
everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow
tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength
to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and
weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will
renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

It is funny how we spend most of our lives trying to be more “comfortable.”
More money, bigger houses, better part of town, etc. Whatever we can do to
try and avoid suffering.  Yet it is during my times of suffering when my
relationship with Jesus Christ becomes the most important thing to me as I
rely on him alone to supply what I need.

I love adoption.  Amy and I are imperfect, fallen parents (and that is on
our good days :-).  But we find comfort in our role to point Mahder and
Mekdes to the One who is perfect.  We have and will continue to fail our
girls, but we are able to move on because we need to show the girls the One
who never fails.  You see, Amy and I were adopted!  Adopted by the King of
Kings and the Lord of Lords.  Adopted and given an inheritance of eternal
life with our heavenly Father.  It really makes the girls’ Lumpy’s Burgers
inheritance seem kind of silly 🙂 “But when the time had fully come, God
sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, that we might receive the
full right of sons.  Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son
into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.”  So you are no
longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an
heir.”

I think I got a little picture of heaven (our inheritance) this week.
Mekdes and Nate were playing baseball (ATTACHED).  I am not saying there
will be baseball in heaven (although deep down we all know there probably
will be).  But there was my little boy from China pitching the ball to my
little girl from Ethiopia in Albuquerque New Mexico.  One day we will all
worship together in our father’s house, all His adopted children in one
place basking in His glory!  I love adoption!

Please continue to pray for us….WE NEED IT!  Thank you for loving us and
supporting us.  We need our Brother and Sisters!  We love you all.

Jason

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recession remodel- part one

In case you have called or emailed or sent up emergency flares trying to get my attention the past month, I apologize for not getting back to you.  Jay and I have undertaken our biggest project to date, updating our kitchen.  This might sound crazy to you all-  but it seemed the perfect way to finish out our summer and we actually love doing home projects.   I was inspired by some creative people on the HGTV website and we wanted to get in on some recession remodeling of our own.  Jay and I have always done everything to our house ourselves, but it is kinda fun to blame the economy on why there are door panels all over our front yard and why our kids are covered in primer dust.  Before we started this, we went to Lowe’s and got an estimate on how much replacing our existing cabinets would cost.  The number inspired me to save all the receipts from this project so I can know exactly how much money we “made” by doing the work ourselves.

Here is the before picture.  Since we moved in two years ago, all we had done to the kitchen was paint the pink walls.

First thing we did was take off the crown molding at the top.

in a recession remodel, you have to find cheap labor…. or child labor.

Jay loved the chance to get to use all his toys.

I love how game he is for all my crazy ideas.  “Hey babe, what do you think about getting rid of the cabinet above the cooktop?”  He is amazing.  I wouldn’t recommend attempting a recession remodel without him.

We were wanting to add some height and variation to the cabinets-

mostly so I wouldn’t have to stress so much about what to put above them.

of course our general contractor has overseen all progress

… to be continued

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expense

After almost nine months as an adoptive mom I am getting use to hearing the same comments as I am out and about with the chillins.  I have been surprised how overwhelmingly positive the majority of the comments people make are.  And even the “negative” comments are usually not meant in a negative tone but are just the result of people not knowing what to say and therefor saying the first thing that pops into their head.  There is one question that has been bothering me, though, and each time my answers are getting a little less patient and a little more, I don’t know annoyed.

(does this scenario happen to anyone else?):

me:  trying to get through the checkout line while the kids examine and remove all the candy and gum from their boxes

grocery store employee:  “is she adopted?”

me:  deciding if should pay for the pack of gum Isaac licked or put it descretely back,  “ummmm, yes she is.”

grocery store employee:   “Isn’t it really expensive?”

Really? —-  is that really the first thing that comes to your mind as you are starring at my beautiful daughter?  I have answered this question in several ways.  But I continue to be miffed that a complete stranger would deem it an appropriate thing to ask.  This question bothers me for several reasons.

1. Havi isn’t old enough to understand or care about the stupid things people say in front of her yet but she will be and what she will hear is “was she expensive?”

2.  No one looks at a new car someone is driving and ask them if it cost them a lot.  No one asks people what they paid for their house or how much they spent on a haircut.  How does this question pass as tactful?

3.  God has not laid adoption on the heart of every family, but if he has laid it on your heart- is expense really a valid deterrent?  Can you really say, “that is just too expensive” no matter what figure appears on the bottom line- even if you must take out loans and borrow money?  Aren’t you are trading something you cannot keep anyway for something you cannot loose in a sense.  And what about my adoption into God’s family?  What did it cost?  It cost Jesus everything-   he didn’t think twice about it…

When the same people who raise their eyebrows at the expense of an adoption, feel absolutely comfortable financing %100 of the brand new chevy malibu in their driveway we know our country is up-side-down.

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ambassador

All the documents are completed and the papers are signed!  Havi is an official citizen with a passport and a birth certificate.  I feel like the last 5 months have flown by but at the same time it seems like she has always been here.  I have been reading a book about adoption that I will recommend as soon as I am done with it….  It is making me think a lot and clarifying some of the nagging I have felt since returning from Ethiopia.

I have felt, over the past several months, that we brought home more than a 15 lb bundle of brown eyes and curls….  unknowingly Havi brings with her an awareness and conviction that will not go away.  Her very presence tells a story of the millions of little children who do not have, who are not found, who don’t know love.  I see the mother that gave us the most beautiful gift when Havi looks into my eyes. I cannot forget the beauty of Ethiopia because it lives with us- in a little high chair at the edge of the table.  As she approaches her first birthday we know that so many of Ethiopian babies will never reach theirs.  She is my daughter, she is a piece of our family and she is loved unconditionally, but she is also a little ambassador to all she meets.  We cannot sleep in our comfortable beds or walk through the grocery store without feeling some of the burden for those who will never know such comfort and ease.  Many who have traveled far to bring back children will attest that they are never the same, though outwardly things may look the same, they are changed, different, heartbroken and hopeful, but no longer strangers to  life outside our American middle class bubble.  God has brought Havi into our home to be loved and complete our family but He has also brought her here to stretch us and change us more into His likeness, to trouble our hearts with things that trouble His…

at Havi's dedication last week...

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… Adoption Sunday

Last week our church had their first “Adoption Sunday”.  Our friend and music leader, Zach Nielsen spoke on Eph. 1:3-10 and our adoption into God’s family.  Zach and Kim adopted their fourth child, Mya, from Alabama last December and have been instrumental in beginning the adoption ministry at our church.  I love that our church has a growing heart for orphan care and that so many families are feeling led to begin their own journey-what an amazing environment for our children to grow up in.

http://www.desertspringschurch.org/messages/Date/OCT_11_2009.php

PA080099

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