There will be a day…

March 26th, 2014

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

~Jeremy Camp

It has been a weary season in my life recently.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of being tired and weary.  I’m tired of four-digit, monthly invoices reminding me that our daughters are still in an orphanage 7,000 miles across the globe yet they’ve been legally ours for 13 months now.  It is very likely, apart from a miracle, that we will have waited two years by the time we bring our girls home.  Two.Years.  I long to be with them.  I long to hold them and sing to them and weep with them for all of the time we’ve lost.  In the past two and a half months we’ve missed yet another birthday for all three of them.  Our sweet twinsies turned 3 in January and Hannah turned 6 last week.  Clothes hang in their closet, empty pillows remain on their bed, and two car seats and a booster remain latched onto the seats of our 12-passenger van, which seems like major over-kill for this current family of five.

I’m 21 weeks pregnant now.  Climbing into our big van is getting increasingly difficult; four months from now will be just plain comical, if not a little dangerous.  God is so good in the midst of life’s storms.  This miraculous pregnancy has served as a sweet distraction to our seemingly endless wait for our daughters.  The weekly progress and little milestones that one forgets about after seven years of infertility have been cause for great joy.  Our oldest son turned 11 on February 20th.  On that day, all five of us filed into the doctor’s office to find out the gender of our sweet little tie-breaker baby.  Everyone crowded around my belly and the little black and white screen.  The doctor said with a smile in her voice, Well boys, I know you were prepared for three sisters, but how about four??  IT’S A GIRL! My eyes remained glued to the screen.  Are you sure?  Are you serious? After three boys, I truly couldn’t imagine my uterus housing a baby girl, but there she was on that tiny little screen.  We’re going to have a daughter.  We’re going to have four daughters.  This little girl has really thrown me for a loop.  I had the worst first trimester of my life.  When I wasn’t sleeping I was either hugging the toilet, trash can, or curled up in the fetal position in bed wishing I was sleeping.  Thirteen or fourteen weeks brought major relief and my energy slowly returned.  Now I’m just passed the halfway point and I’m an emotional basket case. These girl-baby hormones are no joke.   The window of time in which my doctor feels comfortable allowing me to travel to Africa is quickly closing.  It doesn’t take much, or sometimes anything at all, to bring on ridiculous tears that I can’t stop.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so out-of-control with regards to my emotions.  We’re taking it one day at a time over here.  We’re doing well playing catch-up on our school work and we look forward to the summer months when our reward for finishing our school work is several hours by the pool.

I’ve come to realize that the remaining wait to bring our daughters home might not feel so urgent if it weren’t for the pregnancy.  We have prayed throughout the entire pregnancy that God would bring them home before Annie Rose’s arrival.  (That’s baby’s name:  Annie Rose.)  It isn’t looking very promising and that breaks my heart.  In reality, what is six more months of waiting?  It’s been 18 months since we first set eyes on them.  Six months will surely fly by.  I also realize that no matter which month we’re able to bring our daughters home, there will never be a day in Annie’s life that she won’t remember having three big sisters.  Our new life, new family, will begin when we’re all under the same roof.  I suppose I will continue to pray that we will be celebrating this coming Christmas as a family of nine, all together at last.  Hopefully, this time next year, all of the waiting and hurting, stress and tears will be but a distant memory and we will be able to say, It feels like our family has always been this way.  It feels like they’ve always been here.

Our house will be messier and louder.  There will be more dishes and far more laundry.  School work will be a challenge.  Successfully leaving the house will be a major accomplishment.  Meals will be planned down to the minute because goodness knows you have to stay on your A-game when feeding seven young children.  I’m so thankful for friends who have been able to travel to our daughters’ country and assure us that they look wonderful, happy, and healthy.  They’re being loved and very well taken care of.  We are so grateful for our agency and the staff at the transition home where our girls have lived for the past nine months.  Wow, it’s been nine months since I saw their faces in the person for the first time.  I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live.  Hannah’s sweet little raspy voice and the bossy tone in which she uses when she speaks to the younger children.  The innocent smiles of pure joy on Zoe and Ameris’ faces as we sat on the swing and they said over and over, I love you Mama. The twins were clueless when they were taken from me to return to the orphanage after spending a week with their new mother.  They smiled and waved ‘bye-bye’.  Hannah was a different story.  She wept, she pushed me away, she hid from all of us.  When I was finally able to sweep her up into my arms, I kissed her bald head over and over and promised that Papa and I would return very soon and bring them home forever.  I sure wish soon had been sooner than now; sooner than the fall.

Our friends and family have played a vital role in carrying us through this tumultuous journey.  Although it hurts that our daughters are not home yet, it is invaluable to us that so many still ask about them every week.  They are not forgotten.  They are loved and longed for by more than just the five of us.  Your love, encouragement, and support will never be forgotten.  Our airport day will be here very soon.  I can just feel it.

There will be a day…

 

 

 

 

BBQ and Estate Sale

March 17th, 2014

We have some dear friends who have graciously put together a big fundraiser for us at the end of this month.  The exit letter suspension has caused our daughters to remain in the orphanage for many months longer than we anticipated. By God’s grace, they will be home any month now and we’ll finally all be together.  Below you’ll find all the information needed to participate in the fundraiser.

 

WHAT:  BBQ LUNCH AND ESTATE SALE TO BENEFIT THE WILKERSON’S ADOPTION

WHEN:  March 29th, 2014.  Estate Sale starts at 8:00am and BBQ Lunch begins at 11:00am.

WHERE:  Church of the Good Shepherd in North Augusta, 920 Belvedere-Clearwater Road, North Augusta, SC 29841

If you’d like to purchase a lunch ticket, they’re $10 each.  You can use the donate button to the right of the screen and I will email your ticket number and leave your ticket at the BBQ table on the day of the sale.  All proceeds from the sale will go toward our remaining adoption and travel expenses to bring our daughters home.

Will you please pray with us as we prepare for this fundraiser; that God would be glorified and that He’d use it to provide much of the remaining needs for our adoption.

Please feel free to email me with any questions:  audrey@madetoorganize.com

God bless!

Christmas Miracle

February 1st, 2014

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:3

 

Thirteen years ago I had the privilege of attending Josh’s grandmother’s funeral.  Mrs. Bennett had nine children.  All nine children, 43 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren were present at the funeral.  It was the most amazing, God-honoring service I had ever been a part of.  All weekend I soaked up all of the amazing stories and love that came forth from that one woman and when we left I whispered to Josh,

I want nine children.

Of course I wasn’t being literal, but we did say early on that we would love to have a lot of children.  I guess we’re doing pretty well so far, right?  Next month we’ll celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.  Any month now, we’ll bring our daughters home and we’ll have six beautiful, healthy children.

Getting pregnant wasn’t something we tried to do for our first two children.  Three months after we were married I found out we were expecting baby #1.  Seven months after Joshua was born I apparently failed at successfully tracking my cycle and discovered we were expecting baby #2.  In 2005 I began having thyroid issues.  After trying to get pregnant for over a year we finally got pregnant with baby #3.  I cherished every moment of that pregnancy.  I no longer took fertility for granted.

Did you know that even the healthiest, most fertile couple only has a 25% chance of getting pregnant each month?  I never knew that until my doctor told me while we were trying to get pregnant a fourth time several years ago.  It has been seven years since I got pregnant with Owen.  We have tried many, many months over the last seven years to get pregnant again, but finally accepted that the Lord gives and He takes away and it became clear to us that my season of childbearing may be over but we were thrilled to add to our family through adoption.  What an incredible blessing it has been.  We still pray every single night that our daughters will be home next month…and then the next…and the next…

We know His timing is perfect.

On December 4th I received a text from a close friend.  This is how the conversation went:

A: Random question:  Any chance you’re pregnant?

Me: Haha, I guess anything is possible.  Hasn’t happened in seven years, but we sure would welcome it!

just to be silly, I went to the bathroom and dusted off a dollar store pregnancy from the cabinet.  I intended to take the test and then send her a picture of the negative result…just to say SEE?

Imagine my COMPLETE AND UTTER SHOCK when the test turned positive in about 10 seconds!?!

Me: I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!  THIS JUST HAPPENED!!! <insert positive pregnancy test…I’ll spare you that picture!>

Of course the rest of the conversation was pretty hysterical and resembled that of two middle school girls squealing over the latest breaking news.

I was in absolute shock.  This was not even on my radar.  IT’S BEEN SEVEN YEARS!!  Seven years of not preventing pregnancy.  Seven years of trying, off and on, to get pregnant with no success whatsoever.  I truly never thought it would happen again.  I haven’t even kept track of my cycle in ages.  Who knows WHEN I would’ve realized I was late if it hadn’t been for Ashley.  It was a precious moment for the two of us and it was so sweet of the Lord to use her to surprise me with this news.

I’m now almost 14 weeks.  The first trimester was, um, horrific.  I was terribly sick, in the bed, unable to function for weeks.  I also had several scares with spotting.  The first few times were small and normal, but the last time it happened was quite scary.  As a result, I had several ultrasounds during the first trimester and baby is alive and well!  It was absolutely amazing to see how much baby would grow, sometimes double or triple in size from week to week.  The picture below contains ultrasound pictures taken only three weeks apart.  On the left, you can still see the yolk sac, basically as big as baby’s head.  The picture on the right was at about 11 weeks (sorry, that one is upside down).

This is one of my favorites.  You can see baby’s belly and it’s legs are crossed at the ankles.  SO CUTE!


We’ll find out what we’re having in less than three weeks (if baby cooperates).  We’re all very excited to find out if the boys will continue their reign or if the girls will finally outnumber the boys!

We’ve been overwhelmed by the excitement of all our friends and family.  We’re so blessed to be surrounded by people who see children as we do; as an incredible blessing from God–each and every one of them.  Now that the extreme nausea has passed, sometimes I find myself forgetting that I’m pregnant…until I try to button my jeans.  I can’t believe we’ll have SEVEN children by the fall!!  Will you please continue to pray for our girls, that we would be able to bring them home before I’m too pregnant to travel that far?

More updates soon!

 

~audrey

Bootcamp

December 2nd, 2013

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.  Philippians 2:14-16

…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5: 18b-20

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare your lovingkindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night.  Psalm 92:1-2

I was talking with a friend at church yesterday.  She has three young children and she asked if I had any advice for cultivating thankfulness in our children.  I think I might have jokingly said, No, do you?? The truth is, I think most of us (Americans in general) struggle with discontentment.

Discontentment is the condition of being dissatisfied with one’s life or current situation; a restless longing for better circumstances.

We’ve been on a journey to living a simpler life over the last several years.  It has brought about great joy and peace.  I am richly and abundantly blessed to have a strong, godly husband who desires to be the spiritual leader in our home, to have six children (albeit three of them are stuck in Africa) and to be able to stay home and educate them myself.  The last ten years have gone by so fast, I can’t even imagine sending them to school for 40 hours each week.  We serve together, work together, cook together, read and learn together, travel together, spend time with family and friends, and of course worship together.  Even with all of this, we still find things to complain and dispute about.

Discontentment is a heart issue.  When we complain we are telling God, Your best isn’t good enough.  Your provision isn’t quite enough.  Your sacrifice on the cross for our freedom and salvation just wasn’t enough. But we forget about those things when we don’t get the results we’ve worked hard for, maybe the money runs out before the end of the month, or how about when God says wait and your 9-12 month adoption turns into a two year, $100,000 adoption.

What if we eliminated complaining from our lives?  What if our homes were void of whining and disputing?  Would we automatically become more thankful with the absence of complaining?

I am on a mission to find out!

The boys and I sat around the breakfast table this morning and I introduced Thankfulness Bootcamp”.

For the next seven days we’re going to work hard toward complete elimination of complaints in hopes of cultivating thankfulness in our home and in our hearts.  We’re also going to work toward memorizing the scripture verses at the beginning of the post.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Praise in, praise out.  If we fill our hearts with the truth of His word and His commands to be thankful and content in all things, then out of the overflow of our hearts our mouths will speak!

Today is day one.  Day one is Discontentment Detox.  We are encouraging one another by using a code word anytime someone slips up and complains or whines about something.  This includes a discontent attitude.  I reminded the boys that a proper response is not just in your words, but your attitude as well.  Our code word is “camp.”  So far, so good.  However, tomorrow and for the rest of the week we will all wear a rubber band around our wrists.  Any time we slip, we’ll snap our rubber band.  It’s not meant to be painful or punishment, but a reminder of the goal we’re working toward.  We really are having to retrain our brains not to complain.  Unfortunately, it has become a very normal reaction.

Can you imagine your home being 100% complaint-free? What a difference that will make in our family.

Matthew 5:14-16 says, You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven!