and the journey finally began {a miracle}

It is 11:45 on Sunday night. I basically never stay up this late writing a post for the next day. All weekend I have been going back and forth about what to share (or more honestly, what not to share) today. You see, most people think if you have a blog you are pretty much an open book. I’d say that is true for some areas, but the reality is I share a bunch of crafts, some decorating and random tidbits of my days. There is a lot I don’t share. So that brings me to today’s post…it is going to be a long one. There is a lot I wasn’t going to share until a later date, but I have a story to tell. It isn’t really my story, but if you hear it…I want you to hear it from me.

Let me start by saying, I know people from all walks of life, all kinds of backgrounds, all kinds of personalities and all kinds of beliefs read this blog. We are all so different. This post will completely resonate with some of you and for others of you…this post might be baffling. Nonetheless, thanks for reading this blog…I have a story to share.

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On April 9th, I downloaded an application from the internet.

I found a quiet spot in FireCracker’s room with a cup of coffee began filling it out.
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Part of the application needed Chris to work on. You can tell this was several months ago, based on the open windows. It is way too hot here for that now. (108, 110, 111, 110, 108, 107, 108 – forecast for the next 7 days!)
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Later that night we ended up in the hospital. We stayed for the rest of April. I finished that application sitting next to her hospital bed with more coffee.
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Once we got home, I got back in project mode…and moved on to the next application….with more coffee. Honestly, I didn’t realize there was coffee in all these pictures until I started writing this post. I only drink one cup a day and half of it is milk, but I look like an addict in these pics! I will say this picture is such a reflection of me right now. There is paint on my hand from a project, my son’s Phonics book near me, a cup of coffee, tank top & ponytail.

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My dirty mailbox on the day those applications got mailed.
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Not so long after, I found myself driving 13 hours to Colorado. Chris turned my phone into a “hot spot” and I was able to start and complete 12 hours of online training. It was actually more like 18 hours because I failed one class 3 times. Don’t ask.
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More answers to more questions, while I enjoyed the Colorado air. Evidently, I traded my coffee mug in for a pink sippy cup.
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In 2005, we first began the process of looking into adoption. We began the process 2 other times after that, but each time something made us stop. We have always known our family would be built through adoption. It was always just a matter of time. 7 years ago we began an “adoption fund”. It was a little bit of money we would set aside for our adoption. However, every time we’d have something we could put in it…we’d feel God asking us to give it to someone else in support of their adoption. I am passionate about caring for the fatherless and being an advocate for children who do not have a voice. Though my personal longing has been for adoption, in recent years I’ve felt God place me in the role of advocating and supporting others in their adoption journeys. As much as I have loved supporting others, that longing to be on the journey myself remained.  After years of waiting, in April we felt the “go ahead” and we finally got to begin the journey to bring our little one home.

The initial paperwork wasn’t a big deal. What was a big deal was the $20,000+ we would need to come up with to make the adoption possible. That was a daunting number. Just a few short weeks after our journey began, some of our very dear friends The Ws began the same journey…with the same agency…from the same place. While we were both working on paperwork, I sensed God leading me to tell them He would fund part of their adoption through my blog. I called my friend and told her. At the time I guessed it would be around $1,000….afterall it isn’t like I have 50 sponsors paying tons each month, and we needed our adoption funded too.

A few weeks later, I found myself going from coffee shop to coffee shop writing the curriculum for the online version of SnapShops (which starts today!).

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As I prepared the course, I prayed that it would fund our adoption. Then, I read Eph. 3:20 about God doing more than we could imagine. I began to think “what would be the craziest thing I could ask God to do in this situation?” So, I began dreaming and asking Him to provide $40,000 by December ($20,000 for our adoption, $20,000 for the W’s adoption) through SnapShops online. I’ve never made $40,000 in a year…or even remotely close to that. I can’t explain it, but I clearly knew He was going to do it. I told my friend to be prepared because by December they’d have $20,000 towards their adoption. She, naturally, thought I was crazy and took it with a grain of salt.

I went on working on the class and doing what little we could at this stage in our adoption process…things like taking the older boys for passport pictures.

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On Saturday, July 23rd I sent my friend a text, “God is providing for your adoption on Monday.”

On Monday, July 25th, I woke up with nothing in our adoption fund and opened registration for the online course. Then I clicked over to my friend Angie’s blog. She is in China meeting her daughter. Last year I had the opportunity to be an advocate for her adoption (it is a fun post to read). What a gift it was to wake up that morning and see her daughter in her arms for the first time. My heart soared in happiness for Angie and hope that soon I’d be on that side of the story. I started my normal morning routine with the kids and started hearing my iPad “ding”. It started “ding”ing ALOT, which meant I was getting a bunch of emails. A quick check showed me they were coming from PayPal…you all were registering for the SnapShop course. I told a friend it was like in It’s A Wonderful Life where everytime a bell rings and angel gets its wings. Well, everytime the iPad dings…my child gets closer to home!

Throughout the day Monday, my oldest and I watched the numbers on PayPal grow. He knew the goal and when it reached $20,000 he was thrilled that we could “go get his sister and now start saving for the Ws”. It was a priceless moment to teach him that we would be obedient with what we felt God had led us to do and we would give to the Ws first knowing He would provide for our needs too. Big concept for a 7 year old…or any age for that matter. Monday morning I had about $180.00 in my PayPal account. On Wednesday night I closed registration with about $40,500 in my PayPal account! Amazing and miraculous – yes! Shocking and surprising – not with God. And the whole time I watched Him provide in a miraculous way, He let me watch Angie in China..and gave me a glimpse that it is finally time for Him to bring my child home and He would remove all the obstacles I thought were in the way of that.

As soon as I closed registration, I wiped pizza off my kid’s faces and took a pic to text to my friends.

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So to all of you that are logging into the course today…thank you! Thank you for helping me bring my child home. Thank you for being a part of this story. We still have a bit to go on our own adoption, but my dream is to see a portion of every online SnapShop go towards adoptions, orphan care, child advocacy. As I get to teach others how to capture the beauty in their day to day lives, I’m excited that their investment can help create beauty in the day to day lives of children. This is all so exciting!

So, my little family of 6 will be a family of 7 sometime next year. I am sure many of you have so many questions about our process and where we are at. I’ll share all that eventually. We have a good wait ahead of us. All I know now is 4 of my kids are under my roof and one is on the other side of the globe. After years of waiting…now we only have months of waiting.

Thanks for letting me share my story…really it is His story.

SnapShop Online Photography School exists to help others gain the tools they need to be able to capture the beauty if their days through photography. Whether you recently purchased your very first DSLR and aren't even sure how to turn it on or if you have a little bit of a grasp on terms like aperture and shutter speed - SnapShop courses and lessons will propel you forward on your photography journey.

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