Thursday, February 21, 2013

His Story......

I am always amazed at how God's story plays out in the life of our family.

For Christmas this year my mom had our family blog printed into book form. For the past several weeks at bedtime I have been reading our blog to the kids. For some of them they remember living the pages of this book very well. Several of our kids have had no idea what our family thought, felt, or struggle with while we were waiting for our forever family to be complete.

It is always with tear filled eyes (as Garrett rolls his eyes yet is so interested) that I read the words that I had written during the long and painful wait to make our forever family complete. I can barely speak as I read the notes at the end of each blog that I had written to Tia and Garrett each day during the wait to bring them home. Each night I see Tia and Garrett light up with joy as they listen to the love and desire we had to bring them home.

A few weeks ago when we finished reading Garrett questioned me about this book, "Mom, Can other people buy this book at the book store?" I explained to him that this was a special book for our family and that it wasn't a book that anyone else could purchase at the book store. He got very quiet and then he said, "You know I think it should be at the book store. Mom, if other people could read about our story I think more kids would be adopted. I can help you write the book so we can sell it at the book store." I told Garrett that I would love for him to write a book with me but that writing a book takes a lot of time and for now we are just keeping a blog of all that God is doing in our life. I also told him to start praying that God would allow us the time and resources to write a book if that is how God wanted to use our adoption story. Before I tucked Garrett in he prayed the sweetest prayer that God would help others to get to read about our story so that other orphaned kids could have a home.

For many months I had felt the need to share our story but this conversation with Garrett prompted my heart and I had a very hard time going to sleep that night. I hear over and over from others that I need to write our story in book form (Yes, Laura I know you will be the first to buy one) yet I am not a writer. Most of the time the keys are wet from tears as I try to type my emotions of the story that God is having us live out. I went to sleep praying that God would give me wisdom on leading Garrett to share our story. 

Honestly, I should not be surprised but God's timing still always amazes me. The very next morning I had a message from Daniel who is with the Abba Fund. The message said,

"Dave & Mendy, Just touching base to make sure my emails got through to you and didn't end up in a junk email folder (see below).
Willie Mangum, the creator and producer of the show, has a team interviewing people in Charlotte in the coming week and was hoping to connect with y'all if you're open to the idea. Let me know and I'll make an introduction, or steer him in a different direction ...

Daniel LaBry
Jan 28 (2 days ago)

to Dave, Mendy, Eugene, Dwain
Dave and Mendy,
I hope all is well -- love seeing all the adventures of the family on Facebook. And Dave, love the sermon series you've been doing -- God must have really filled you up during that sabbatical time
I wanted to touch base with y'all to see if you would be open to talking to a friend of ABBA Fund's, Willie Mangum, who is working on a pilot TV program for Inspiration Network (more explanation below). He is right in the Charlotte area and asked us to help find an adoptive family with an inspiring story. When I shared a little about y'alls adoption journey, the missional impact y'all helped spark for the Zay people, the adoption culture that has developed in y'alls church, and the 1+1+1=0 initiative that was birthed for North Carolina... not to mention your history with ABBA Fund -- well, let's just say Willie asked that we bump his getting to meet y'all to the top of the list."

As I read these words again tears poured down my face. I think I read this four or five times in amazement. In God's perfect timing we didn't receive this note on the first attempt of Daniel sending it to us but the day after my conversation with Garrett. We of course said that we would love to share God's story being lived out in our family. I could not wait for Garrett to get off of the school bus that afternoon so that I could read this email to him.

Fast forward to today, here in our home. We all got up earlier than usual this morning as the crew had to get here early to set up.  All nine of us had our hair and make-up done (The boys LOVED that part as they teased each other about the bright red lipstick) as our home was transformed with lights, cameras and sound equipment. It was neat to experience such a thing in our home.

We all nine had a personal interview time and I was first. As I sat in the chair with the camera inches from my face tears began to fall. We hadn't even started and I had to ask for a box of tissue. I was once again overwhelmed with God's faithfulness to us when we say yes to Him. I thought back to the journey that He has had our family on and to the night where Garrett and I knelt in his floor and asked God to help us share His story being lived out in life of our family.

A small side note- It was very strange to be sitting inches from a camera, someone fixing your hair and having someone that you watched (and voted for) on American Idol (Chris Sligh) snapping pictures of  me. I would think that I should have been taking pictures of him........

Today we took another step on this journey. A step that we couldn't begin to imagine but one that we know He had us take. The step of making our story a little more public in hopes that lives will be changed. Our prayer is that by sharing our story many other families will step onto the journey of adding the fatherless to their home- We are praying that more Forever Families will be established!

Humbled that He has called us and looking forward to the ever changing journey up ahead-

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Tonight is one of those nights where I have been reminded that in God's perfect plan life would look very different for our family. The tears that were shed tonight by one of my boys in a perfect world would not have fallen from his eyes. I don't think the pain that my son feels in his heart was what God intended when He formed a perfect world, however this is where we find ourselves.
Our smiling Lemi had a hard time at bedtime tonight. Garrett was already asleep due to a headache and so as I tucked Lemi in I had some one on one time with him. As we talked I noticed tears forming in the corners of his eyes. I gently questioned if he was ok. He shook his head no and tears started to fall down his cheeks. He then shared with me how much he misses his family in Ethiopia. My heart broke for him. There are no words to comfort my son and so I wrapped my arms around him and cried with him.
How my heart breaks that at such a young age he has had to endure so much. The loss of family, culture and security all by the time he was 4 or 5 years old. The years of watching other children be "chosen" by a family while he waited feeling as if he wasn't wanted.
Tonight there is an ache in my heart but it is joined with thanksgiving that our son is here- He is loved, cared for, accepted and will never be alone. Praying for healing in his precious heart that only God can give- Loving the best I know how and praising God that He chose me to be Lemi's adoptive mom!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You never know.....

Sunday night as I sat watching the Super Bowl, I was reminded that God can do some pretty amazing things with our life if we allow him. I was somewhat distracted as I watched the game by my thoughts. I had read numerous articles last week about players in the Super Bowl, the coaches being brothers, and the sex industry that comes along with such an event. My thoughts were on these things more than they were on the real game as the lights in the stadium went out.

I found myself glancing over at my boys from time to time and thinking about what they would become someday. It may not be that God wants them to become NFL players but He has something big lined up for them. Every once in a while Tia or one of the other four adopted children who were watching the game with us would come into the room and I would think the same.

Years ago, Leigh Anne Tuohy had no idea when she saw a needy teenage boy that someday she would be be standing on a football field celebrating the fact that her son had won the Super Bowl. Instead she saw a broken teenager that needed love, guidance and to have his physical needs met. She took a risk when others said she shouldn't to give him love, discipline and care.

I do not know Leigh Anne Tuohy and I will probably never meet her but as I watched the interaction of her and Michael Oher after the game I was filled with emotion. I know the deep love of an adoptive mom and how desperately hard the steps were for her to walk with her son from his teenage years to the present. How many times she wondered if she had made the wrong choice for her family, how many tears she had shed for him, and how many days she rejoiced as she watched him progress. I am sure there were moments where she longed for him to truly feel loved and for him to be able to give love back. There were maybe sleepless nights as she prayed for God to do what only He could do in healing the hurt that life had brought to him.

Why do I know these things? I know because I have adopted kids. Kids who didn't choose to need a family other than their biological one. Kids who always will look back and in some ways wonder why it had to be this way. Children who do not know how to receive love because they haven't really experienced true, unconditional love. Then comes the joy when you see them grow into what God has formed them to be. The moments where they begin to get it-

In the case of Michael Oher he has a huge platform to show what can be if others are willing to step up and invest even when others say you shouldn't.  I am sure as a young teenage boy he couldn't even begin to dream of what his life would be today. He couldn't imagine even finishing high school much less winning the Super Bowl. He couldn't imagine it until the Tuohy family took a risk and loved him.

I love what Mrs. Tuohy said, "Families do not have to match. You do not have to look like someone else to love them. There are wonderful kids all over this country and the world who want a forever family. We believe there are no unwanted kids, just unfound families."

Now I have no idea what the 7 adopted kids that I watched the Super Bowl with will become one day but I do know one thing- They will know that they are loved, cared for and accepted. When they know these things they will be able to be whatever He has created them to be..........

I am challenging you to take a risk with a child- You (and they)  will be so glad that you did! Are you an unfound family?