John 14:18

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. " John 14:18

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adoption Shower

Our family had the priviledge of attending our first  "Adoption Shower" last night.  As many of you already know, we have received a matching funds grant of $5000 dollars from Micah's Hope.  Many of Rod's co-workers from the Alabama Baptist Children's Home gave our family a shower and made donations toward our adoption!  It was such a blessing to share our adoption journey thus far with our friends and receive their encouragement and support.  I was humbled by their outpouring of love!  We enjoyed Ethiopian food and Rod was able to give our adoption testimony.  Thanks to everyone involved for making it such a special evening!

We appreciate your continued prayers as we wait for our referral.  If anyone is willing and able to help us out financially, you can double your donation by sending it to Lifesong for Orphans (the administrators of our matching grant from Micah's Hope).  Our goal is to try to raise as much of the $5,000 as possible by October 18th.  This is a tax deductible contribution.  Just click on the donation link on this blog page and you can make a donation electronically. 

If you would rather write a check, you can mail it to :

Lifesong for Orphans
P.O. Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744. 
*In the memo section please write: Preference: Campbell, Rod/2166 Adoption.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Prayer Requests

We've been asked a number of times lately for specific prayer requests concerning the adoption process.  we are so thankful to have friends and family who care enough to proactively ask and then to follow up with Prayer!  Here are the specific ways you can pray for us at this time:

1- Pray for our little boy. We do not have a referral yet. This means that we do not know his name, age, or anything else about him specifically. But we know he has needs. Because we will likely adopt a boy of around 3-4 years old, we know he is already born, is living somewhere in Ethiopia, possibly in an orphanage. Foreign orphanages vary widely in how they provide care to the children in their charge. Please pray that he will find favor in the eyes of his caregivers, and someone there will love him, smile at him, sing to him, hold him, and nurture his little heart.

2-  Pray for our family as we prepare our hearts and home for his arrival. There is no doubt that this will be a big adjustment for us all. We are so excited about how Ellen, Liv, and Cash have responded to the idea of adoption. We talk about it almost every day in some way. But the idea of adoption will eventually give way to the reality of adoption. Pray that our hearts will be prepared for the multitude of changes coming our way.

3- We thought the paperwork portion of the process was tough, but in many ways this current phase is tougher.  We are now  – WAITING! Ethiopia recently made drastic cuts in the number of adoptions it is processing each day. This means we may still yet be a year or more from having our little one at home with us. Pray that we would wait well; that we will trust God in the waiting.

I just can't say enough about the importance of the first prayer request.  I've spent the majority of the past year studying about attachment in children, receiving specialized training in working with children with attachment issues, and then putting that training into practice as a counselor.  The more I work with these wonderful, wounded children, the more it drives me to pray for my little boy.  Please join us in lifting him up before the Father. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 turns out that Rod and I (Jenn) are quite possibly the worst bloggers in the history of the world. I could offer multiple excuses for this, but the truth is I don't really enjoy blogging. However, I have come to the realization that I have to get past this because (and this does come as somewhat of a surprise to me) some of you are actually interested in our adoption process. I tend to think that most people ask to be polite - and that's nice too. Afterall, I can't expect everybody to be as excited and wound up about adoption as I am. My 13 year old Ellen put it this way...."Mom, when anything about adoption comes up, you become like a teen-age girl who just had a Jonas Brother's sighting." Never have truer words been spoken. But a couple of you have said you wished we would blog more about our process, so here is where we are......

We are currently finished with all our paper work (that had become like a small part-time job!) and as of a couple of weeks ago we are number 66 on the boy waiting list at our adoption agency. It is wonderful to be done with the paperwork - but now the hard work of waiting has begun. When people ask where we are in the process, I reply, "We're waiting." When someone asks next month, and the month after that, and the one after that, my reply will most likely be the same. Don't get me wrong, expecting a child through adoption is great in that there is no nausea (except when you have to revise some document for the third time) and no significant weight gain. But at least with pregnancy, I know that I will give birth in approximately 9 months. There is an end in sight. I have no idea how long I will wait to bring my son home from Ethiopia. We spent nearly a year just doing paper work before we could even be put on the waiting list! As it turns out, this adoption process has become more than giving a little boy a home. It has become a tool in the hand of God to mold us and make us more like Him. It's easy to talk about the soveriegnty of God when my life is running fairly smoothly - but when I'm ready to have my son at home with the rest of our family (right now!) it becomes much more difficult- I still believe it though. God is so wonderful! Not only is he working on our behalf to bring our boy home at the perfect time, but he is also sanctifying us in the process. I only know a tiny part of God's plan in our adoption process - but the reality of all He is accomplishing is bigger than I can imagine.

So thank you for coming along with us on this crazy journey! We will try to do a better job of keeping all of you updated as we wait. The next time you hear a crazy woman screaming, don't's probably only me experiencing some adoption related moment. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One realizes when one is already neck deep in the adoption process that it is scary business. In the beginning, I (Jenn) thought a lot about the good parts of adoption - the parts that gave me "warm fuzzies". Now, after much "adoption education", my response seems to be more along the lines of "oh crap!" You see, my heart has been set on a little boy in Ethiopia for quite some time now. I already love him, I am planning for him, I am asking my children to make sacrifices in order to bring him home, I'm spending a lot of money in different adoption related fees. He,on the other hand, has no idea I'm coming for him. He has likely been traumatized in some way. He has probably been living in poverty. His life is not great - but it is the only life he has ever known. He most likely will not walk into our home and think, "I'm such a fortunate kid. I was living in poverty with no family and now I get to live here!" No. He will be scared. He will be unsure of our love. He will be overwhelmed with new sights, smells, tastes, people. He will very likely act out. He will not immediatly understand that adoption is for his good.

Now people who are adopting are all about adoption. We are an annoying group sometimes. Everything we read, watch, etc. seems related to adoption. So please indulge me once again....I have just finished reading Surprised by Joy (by C.S. Lewis). It is a wonderful book about Lewis' journey to Christ. The following is a quote from that book:

"I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them: but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.".

It's not a perfect analogy. But there are so many similarities between earthly adoption and spiritual adoption. God pursued me relentlessly, for His glory and my good. I did not initially welcome this. But His compulsion was my liberation! Praise God!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jenn -
I didn't even know what a "dossier" was until about a month ago - much less how to spell it. But now I live in a whole new world - a world with a whole new language that includes words like "dossier", "home study", "conspicuous family", "attachment disorder" - I live in adoption world.

Now I look at someone driving a new car and think, "The money it took to pay for that car could totally pay for our adoption." I've revised our household fire safety plan to include grabbing the two adoption binders on the way out of the house (I would lock them in the fire proof safe if I didn't use them almost daily!) I find myself looking forward to a week away during Thanksgiving break because it will give us a chance to catch up on our adoption education credits. I now say crazy things like, "The notary's commission expiration date must be at least 18 months into the future." Who talks like this? Who thinks like this? The answer is simple: a mother who dreams about bringing home her little boy every day. A mother who will do whatever it takes (including TB tests, home studies, criminal background checks, and making sure the notary's commission doesn't expire before the appropriate amount of time) to bring her boy home.

Rod -
I cannot help but be blown away with Jenn's commitment! She even said the other day that she'd gladly trade away the paperwork in exchange for the nausea! But do not be mistaken, she is singular in her focus, and God willing, that boy, whoever he is, WILL be coming home with us one day, come Hell or high water, as they say. Isn't this such a great mirror of the Gospel? That we are lost in sin, dead spiritually, and without hope until God sends His son to die for us to pay the cost of our sin so we can be reconciled to Him! In the same way our little boy is currently clueless - he has no idea that this southern, middle class, white family is spending hours working, praying, crying, laughing, and raising money to come to where he is and bring him home to his forever family. He is not searching for us. He is not calling out to us, begging to come here. He is simply going about his day, whatever that entails. I am sharing the Gospel with others now more than ever because in being an adoptive father, I'm getting a whole new picture of God's great love and sacrifice for us. What we are doing, tough as it is for us some days, is so tiny compared to God's great care. That he planned before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1) to love us while we were yet sinners and send His son for us so we would be reconciled to Him (Romans 5). What a Glorious Father we have!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"If the people in our congregation become other-directed instead of self-directed in the adoption of unwanted children, they are going to be other-directed instead of self-directed in their verbal witness to people in their community....The numbness to earthly adoption is easily translated to numbness to spriritual adoption. But if people in our churches learn not to grumble at the blessing of mini-vans filled with children-some of whom don't look anything alike-they're going to learn not to grumble at the blessing of a congregation filling with new people, some of whom don't look anything alike. If our churches learn to rejoice in newness of life in the church nursery, they'll more easily rejoice at newness of life in the church baptistry, and vice versa." - Russell D. Moore Adopted for Life

"In love he predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ,according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:5-6

If we are believers, then we have every reason to be passionate about adoption! We once were orphans and God adopted us into His family. Now we are heirs together with Christ! Adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

(Rod) I still remember a lot about the first time I encountered international adoption. I was a youth pastor and Jenn & I were leading a youth retreat between Christmas and New Year's to Gatlinburg, probably for a Good Stuff conference. We had 18 teenagers and a couple of additional chaperones at Ober doing some ice skating during one of the breaks in the conference schedule. It was crazy cold that year, with real snow on the ground and Ober was packed like a sardine can. Just as we were gathering to head back down the mountain on the “Aerial Tramway” it broke down or had some complication and we ended up standing in line for more than an hour just to get off the mountain.

Just as we got into line, a family fell into place behind us. They were young-ish, probably late 20's if my memory serves me well, and had a 3-year-old daughter they had adopted from China. Keep in mind this was 1993, back when I was skinny and still had hair. (Jennifer, of course, still looks exactly the same as she did back then!) I'd never heard of anything like this! God was so gracious to Jenn & I to allow us a couple of hours to spend with this wonderful family who told us all about their desire to spread the Gospel through adoption. (The revisionist part of me is sure they were Reformed.) All the while we talked, this little girl became very curious about my red hair, my red goatee, and my freckles. I ended up holding her for a long time and we all got a kick out of how she seemed mesmerized by the fact that my hair was different from everyone else. We had a really sweet time with the family, and then went our separate ways.

That encounter started a conversation between Jenn & I, and though we would not be married for more than a year, we spoke seriously of our belief that God had awakened in us the desire to intentionally adopt internationally at some point in the future. We even came up with a plan. We would be married a couple of years, have a biological child, a boy, and then we would adopt, probably a little girl from China. As most of you know, very little of our plan has worked out the way we envisioned it. The words of Proverbs 16:9 have proven true: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” There have been twists and turns and at least one big surprise in the 17 years since that first encounter with adoption. But through the whole process, we've continued to talk, pray, plan, and wish that one day God would direct us toward His plan for us to adopt. We couldn't speak to our motivations as eloquently then as we can now – thanks to the education we've received at Grace Fellowship, but as we've grown the past 7 years, we've come to believe that now is the time.

Our main goal of this blog is to let you all come along on the journey with us. We desperately need your prayers, and we want a forum to share all the ways we see God at work in the process. We are absolutely certain that God has prepared the way beforehand; that before the foundation of the world He prepared a little boy and placed him, by His Sovereign will, in Ethiopia and then placed in our hearts the desire to bring him into our family. We don't know all, or even much about what God is up to, but we believe that we are given a clue in Ezekiel 36:26. “Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name...” We are so blessed to part of what God is up to, and we are sure to be blessed by the process and by the little one He is bringing to us, but we want to never lose sight of the fact that this is a work of God that HE started, and HE will finish, according to HIS plan, for HIS Glory!