Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I wasn't born to trust the Lord...

Today has been such an odd day of emotions so far. The worst part of it all is that its only 10:55. Brooke and I are meeting today with the birth parents of Baby Thunder, our Lawyer, and the Robinson Family to hopefully finalize some of the legal stuff for our adoption. My stomach is in a weird place this morning (which isn't really that different for most mornings) and I am very anxious about this meeting. We have been under such a time crunch through most of this adoption process, and again, God is reminding me that my Casio G-Shock watch doesn't stand for GOD-Shock. My timing is not his, and I will confess, that scares me.

I realized this morning that I wasn't born to trust the Lord. It has to be a choice. I am realizing that is has to be a daily choice for me. Got a text this morning from a friend of mine. His daughter was having an operation on her ears and having her adenoids removed. Instantly, I began to pray. My prayers lately have been so sincere, and it is so refreshing to me. God has burdened my heart so much for prayer, even more so, prayers for our children. After I prayed, it was so odd how easy it was for me to go back into this world of anxiousness for our meeting today. For most of the morning, I have beat myself up about my fears and disbelief. Why wasn't I born to trust the Lord?

The more and more that I have wrestled today with my lack of faith, God has done some cool things in my heart despite my disbelief. I can imagine the fear of an army of men behind me, knowing that the guy up ahead leading us, was an idiot. I know that he had done some pretty cool stuff already and all, but still, I wasn't born to trust the Lord. A huge oh CRAP moment was when he led us to a dead end, and that dead end was the Red Sea. I was right, they called me a skeptic, but there is no way that we would make it out alive now. My prayer at that moment is that the the Egyptian Army would have mercy on us, well me, and that I could at least go back to Egypt into my life of Slavery. At that moment, one of the most amazing things happened and I don't expect you to believe me. The Red Sea split in two. It was the most amazing thing that I have experienced in my entire life. Somehow, some way, God allowed us to cross the Red Sea on foot. I remember reaching out and touching the wall of water. It was as tall as the sky. I could see fish swimming beside me, and what was odd, there was no look of fear in their eyes. I would think they had never seen this before, or ever experienced something like this. It was if they were expecting it. It was a long walk, but we made it to the other side. Standing there on the shore, I watched as the Egyptian army began to make their way through the opening in the sea to come after us. They would surely catch us now. We began to run and in fear I turned to look back to see how much closer they were. At that moment, the walls of the sea came crashing down! The rage of the sea spared no life, and we were no longer being chased by an Army. We were now safe? I stood there in Awe! Could my God love me enough to save me despite my fear and my lack of faith? What an incredible day, what and incredible God. The guy up front, leading us, he isn't as crazy as I thought. That night we made it to a quiet place to make camp for the evening. Sitting by the fire, I looked up into the starry night and thanked Yahweh for his mercy on me. That morning, I woke up early. I stood up to see the rising sun. What would God have in store for us today? Would we make it to where we were going? Will he lead us to safety and to this promised land of ours? I began feel the fear well up inside of me. Its funny how quickly I forgot what the Lord had done yesterday. Today was another day, and my fears were getting the best of me. What else is new, its not like I was born to trust the Lord...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Helpless does not have to be Hopeless

The last few months have been such a blur for us. Of course while we were in the moment, it seemed as if some days had 100 hours to them. God is so good. Maybe for the first time in my life, I believe this statement to be true, and much more than a catchy cliché coin phrase that we (I) toss around. What seemed to me impossible for our family seems to be happening right before our very eyes. I guess that it’s in moments like these, that I find God the most. You see, I am such a do-er and a fixer. I am wired to see a problem and attack it. I want to solve and do everything that I can to fix the problem or resolve the issue. I can only assume that God is laughing as I type this.

We are not out of the woods yet, but I refuse to lose hope at this point. I am realizing that I can feel helpless, but I never have to be hopeless. I know it’s a choice, and I pray that I never lose hope. A little over two weeks ago, we had to say goodbye to baby Thunder. As I have shared in previous Facebook and Blog posts ( http://neilpickford.blogspot.com ) , it was one of the most difficult things that we had to do as a family. It didn’t just impact me, or Brooke; it was a loss to us all. I will confess to you, that I have wrestled with the Lord over why he would put this calling on our life to adopt a Native American child if it was impossible for us to accomplish. What an idiot I have been. It has been so easy for me to think that we were in this alone. Not only did God put this on our hearts, I think He wanted to make sure that we knew that it wasn’t something that we could do on our own.. but He can. I know I know, it sounds churchy, but in truth, it is what it is. God knew that I would try and figure a way on my own. Likewise, He also knew that I would also fail on my own. He also knew that people like you would rally around us, and we are truly grateful.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support during this time. Your prayers have been strong pillars of faith for us to lean on during times of doubt and weakness. I have never felt so much support from the body, like I have through this journey. Your prayers have been working, and for us, the time has come for the rubber to meet the road. When we started the official process of adoption, Brooke and I “knew” that it was going to be a long and expensive road ahead. We believed that it would take us a year or two to complete the necessary paperwork and pay for the different costs involved. We thought that we would have the “perfect” amount of time to plan when would be the most “perfect” and convenient time for our new Son to come and live with us. Again, one word, Idiots!

While on the road while on vacation with my family, I received yet another call from the Robinson Family! “Chris, they (Thunder’s birth parents) are ready for you and Brooke to bring Thunder home.” My heart sank, and my stomach did some weird things (just ask Dad). Could all of this really be happening? God is so much bigger than my timetable, and definitely bigger than my inadequacies. We have had to switch into fast gear! We have contacted a Lawyer who will take care of the legal process. We had hoped to have time to do several key fundraising opportunities over the next 6-8 months to raise support for the costs involved in the adoption.

Please do not think that this is about asking for your money. We have struggled through this process of knowing that we would have to ask for help. It has been a struggle because I know that I am not a huge fan of support letters and I know that this time of the year is tough on our wallets and that the economy that we are in has been hard for us all. A good friend of mine asked me not to keep people out of our needs. “Let them decide”, he said. I do not want you to feel any pressure at all to give, however we are asking that you pray that the Lord would help us with the funds needed to make this happen. Through this process, we have come to really value prayer more than anything. Here are some of the financial needs that we have to cover:

• Homestudy (We have to get this done ASAP. We were under the impression that we didn’t have to get a homestudy since this is a private adoption and not through an agency.)
• Adoption Attorney fees
• Court Costs and filing fees.
• Some medical needs for baby Thunder
• Some practical items like clothing, diapers, wipes, a car seat, etc…

Our church, Fellowship Bible Church, has a special fund to help families who are trying to adopt. The I Choose You Adoption Fund has been established to encourage people to become generously involved in the adoption adventure of others. Monetary donations for adoptive families should be made payable to “Fellowship Bible Church” with “I Choose You” identified on the memo line. Donations should also be accompanied by a separate note, which gives our name (Chris and Brooke Byers) as the intended recipients.

Fellowship Bible Church: 1210 Franklin Road, Brentwood, TN 37027

What we do know is that this private adoption will cost significantly less than going through an agency. As a guess, we imagine that the cost of this adoption, and the medical and practical needs should not exceed $10,000. There will be financial accountability with the church. As needs arise, we have to turn in receipts and/or invoices to the church in order to request the funds. This keeps us honest and from taking your money to buy me a new iPhone and a matching scooter for Brooke. ☺

It is also important for you to know, that if more funds come in than are needed for this adoption, the remaining balance will be placed into a general adoption fund for other families wanting to adopt. In addition, you need to know that according to IRS regulations, the church is under no obligation to disburse your gifts to us as directed; otherwise your gifts would not be tax deductible. If you prefer, you may send donations directly to us, but then they obviously would not be tax deductible. If you prefer, you can send a check or gift card (for some of the practical needs). Please email me at chris@offstageministries.com for info on how to do so.

Please continue to pray for the biological parents of baby Thunder. This decision has been a tough one for them, and has not been an easy process. The birth mom has met with our Lawyer and is ready to move forward in this process. She is amazing and we have grown to lover her so much. Thunder’s Dad is having a really tough time with this. Please pray that God would give him a peace about this if it is indeed His will. We also pray for Wisdom for our attorney as we proceed and for favor with the TN Judicial system and Lakota Sioux tribal Government. Thank you for partnering with us and loving us so well by your prayers and support. If this is the first time you have heard about this, and have a ton of time to read my ramblings, feel free to catch up on our story at: http://neilpickford.blogspot.com/2008/11/isnt-it-funny-how-your-perspective.html or http://neilpickford.blogspot.com/2008/11/week-later-and-i-miss-thunder.html and http://neilpickford.blogspot.com/2008/11/what-do-you-say.html

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I have kept my mouth shut long enough, and wanted to get some thoughts down.  I have been so encouraged to see the turnout of voters (for both sides) this time around.  We have a freedom that so many of us have taken for granted.  I have also been discouraged a bit.  I have seen the church respond in a way that frustrates me.  I am sure that this won't make me popular, but I wonder if God gives a rip about this Election?  We seem to think that this election is the center of the Universe.  Tomorrow, the decision will be final, and our country will have a new President and the same issues that have frustrated us, haunted us, scared us, and even encouraged us, will be waiting for us.  I think that its important for the Church, and I preach to myself, to step up.  There is nothing to fear for us who believe in Christ.  God can use Obama and God can use McCain to lead this country and its politics, but God has been calling us, the Church. to lead.  Tomorrow, I commit to my current President to continue to pray for wisdom for him and that he can finish well, and that we as a country would allow him to.  In addition, I will 100% support my new President whomever it shall be.  God is still in control, and as he looks down on mother Earth, his heart doesn't beat any harder for America more than it does for Iraq.  I feel like we have gotten too big for our britches as a country.  We keep saying God bless America....when will America bless God?  Church, its time for us to stand in the gap and not expect our President or Government to do what the Lord has placed at our hands and feet to do.  I thank the men and women who have fought and died for this freedom, and for those still serving our Country.   What a great time in our history.  Let us sit together tonight for these last few hours, and sit in Unity.  

Monday, November 3, 2008

What do you say?

Words fail me right now, and I struggle to even write.  I have found this to be very therapeutic, to just get it out, so I will do my best.  First, I must say thank you so much to all of you who have been in prayer for our family.  I never thought that we would experience what we did tonight. Brooke and I were sitting at our dining room table this evening when I got a call.  Charles called me to let me know that Thunder's Mom wanted to meet us tonight.  God has had us on such a roller coaster ride.  Around 6pm tonight, the time had finally come, it was time to meet Thunder's mom.  Anxious, Brooke, Brit and I made our way to the Robinson home.  Before we knew it, we were sitting in a circle together to discuss the option of us becoming Thunder's new parents.  What do you say in a moment like this?  My heart went out to this young Mom as she quietly sat before two complete strangers who are in love with her son.  She was very shy and had little to say.  She did share that she thought it was the right thing to do to allow him to become our Son.  What a tough place for her.  Our hearts were broken for her as we knew this was probably the hardest and most awkward thing that she has had to do in her entire life.   As awkward as it was, it was also sweet.  She quickly came to the decision that the next step was to talk to Thunder's Dad.  And when I say, next step, I literally mean, the next step.  Before we knew it, we were left to watch 7 kids as they left to go and meet with him. Brooke and I were completely surprised that this was even happening.  As it would happen, the Dad was very taken back as to what he was asked to do.  Once again, the phone rang!  Charles called to let us know that the father wanted to meet us!  What in the world.  Before we knew it, we were in the same room with the parents of baby Thunder, Charles and his wife, and even Thunder himself.  Thunder's eyes speak of such sadness.  Not just sadness of his own story, but the story of his people.  Face to face with his Father, I know where Thunder's eyes came from.  

Our time was sweet, our time was hard, our time was awkward.  But, I felt Jesus in our midst. We have to trust that He is in this.  As we left it, it is now in the Dad's court.  He has a lot to wrestle with.  A lot of thoughts and emotions are weighing heavy on this man tonight.  Please pray that God would meet him right where he is at, and that He would give Thunder's dad peace.  Pray that He would give him a radical peace!  Pray that the Lord's will would be done in the life of this family.  In addition, please pray for us.  Our hearts are deceitful.  It is hard to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts... and to lean not on my own understanding.  How hard it is to feel my flesh and His spirit at war within me.  Brooke and I are both emotionally and physically tired through all of this.  It was so hard to leave Baby Thunder again.  Please pray for his health right now.  He is not doing so well, and I believe that he senses the weight of this situation, even at his young age.   Thank you family...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A week later and I miss the Thunder..

It is amazing how things can change in a week.  The house is quiet tonight and I hate it!  As I sit here on the couch, tears come to my eyes.  I miss him terribly.  Tonight, there is no monitor on with the sound of the sleep machine, humidifier, and my U2 Lullaby CD playing (You can never start them too early).  In the corner of the living room, lies all of his toys like a Fisher Price graveyard, untouched, just how he left them.  We knew the day would come, but had no clue how it would impact us.   

Yesterday around 1 pm, the grey Honda minivan pulled into our driveway.  Normally, its a race to the door when the Robinson family comes to our house.  It felt like we were all glued in place, with the exception of little Brit of course.  She was excited to see her girl friends.  At the moment, she didn't fully understand what was happening.  I'm not exactly sure how long it takes to fall in love with someone, but I can say that it takes approximately 13 days for it to feel like a death in the family when I had to strap him into his carseat and watch them pull away! Having lived on this earth for 32 years, I have never felt the way I do these past two days.  The closest that I have come to this feeling is when Brooke and I lost a child in 2006.  The hard thing about this time around is that there is a face to our loss.  

13 days with baby Thunder has changed our lives.  I have a new perspective on prayer, that's for sure.  I also have a new respect for parents with multiple children.  What a tough day.  We thank the Lord for having the opportunity to see our own Hannah Montana in action with her buddies last night!  There is a proud feeing inside a parents heart, when your 3 year old figures out that lights on at a house equals candy!  She was a true Trick or Treat champion!  It helped us to have something else to focus on.

Brooke, Brit, and I spent 13 days with a child that we continue to pray that will be a permanent member of our family one day.  We will continue to pray for his family as well.  It has been a hard process on them with his re-entry back into their lives.  For some reason, it has been easier on me to keep the door closed to his room.  Before his arrival, it was fun spending time in there imagining what life will be like with him in our life.  Now its hard for us to imagine him not in our lives.  

Prior to his arrival 2 weeks ago, we as a family have been praying every night with Brit that God would bring home baby Tusie.  Tatanka, is the Lakota word for Buffalo.  Sadly, how rare is the Buffalo?  We knew that this vision/calling to adopt a Lakota boy wasn't your everyday normal adoption for a white Williamson county family and how fitting it was to nickname him Tatanka.  So, we put a name to the boy for us to pray for.  Brit had a hard time with Tatanka, so it eventually morphed into baby Tusie!  After time, Brit became pretty territorial about Tusie's room, and his likeness.  As the possibility of Baby Thunder coming to stay for us for a while became a reality, Brooke and I talked to Brit about what her thoughts were if Baby Thunder could be Baby Tusie.  She was not having it for a second.  She made it very clear that baby Thunder could come and stay with us for a couple of weeks, and that it was even ok if he stayed in Tusie's room, but we have been praying for a long-term brother, and baby Tusie was a brother that was gonna stay!   It has been  so sweet watching her fall in love with a little boy that she hadn't met yet.  This morning, as we are all feeling the loss of Thunder, Brit informed her mommy that she wanted wanted Thunder to come back home, and that she wanted Thunder to be Tusie!  As weird or funny it may sound to you, it was such a miracle for Brooke and I.  To see the Lord change Brit's heart.  To see her fall so in love with the little guy, makes my day and breaks my heart all the same.

I am not the best at sitting in the moment.  It is easier for me to keep busy and try and escape my feelings.  I convinced myself that our yard was getting way out of control and it needed to be cut.  After lunch at Merridee's, Brooke and Brit took a nap and I hit the yard.  Armed with my ipod, I did my best to drown out the sadness by loud music and the growl of our trusty push mower!  I am sure that my neighbors think that I am crazy as I spent most of the two hours with tears running down my face.  Since my neighbor's husband is out on the road, it was easy to talk myself into cutting their yard too.  An extra yard meant more time, more time outside meant less time in the house with the constant reminder that Thunder is gone.  It is so funny how God uses children to teach you a lesson.  Mowing, crying, and feeling like crap, out of the corner of my eye stood a little 3 year old boy looking up at me with something obvious to say.  I turned the mower off, and took my ear buds out to see what he had to say.  "Mr. Chris, is it ok if I pray for you?" A freakin 3 year old asked me if he could pray for me, and it took all the strength that I had to not fall on the ground into a pile of mush and cry like a baby.  He prayed the sweetest prayer for me, my family, and for Baby Thunder.  What an incredible example for me.  Through tears I thanked him, his Mom, and his baby sis who joined him in prayer.  I have been talking, and writing so much about prayer lately.  How quickly do we forget.  Practice what you preach right?  The rest of the yard went a lot better as the hurt in my heart was replaced with a peace I can't describe.  

Thanks to all of you who have prayed for us, and continue to pray.  We are doing well, and we are not doing so well (those who go to FBC will understand that more).  We still have hope that Thunder will come back to us.  We believe that God is not done with this story and is up to something special.   Please continue to pray for his Mom and Dad as well.  Stay tuned, we love you family!

Isn’t it funny how your perspective changes when things happen to you?

Is it strange to start this with I’m Sorry? Who cares, I’m sorry. I would like to apologize to each of you for not always taking your needs seriously. Isn’t it funny how things can get really important when it happens to you? It seems that I am so guilty of living in my own world, saying with my mouth that I love people and want to serve them, but does my actions always match up to this big mouth of mine? 

As some of you know and have seen via our Facebook statuses, Brooke and I have been asking for your prayers. It has been an interesting season of our life (once again), and you have been faithful to keep us in your prayers. Until my Uncle Frank House died of cancer, I never took cancer as serious as I should. Until, my daughter Britain had to have tubes put in her ears, I never knew what its like for a parent to sit in wait with a desperate need to hear, “She made it through ok.” In July of this year, I wrestled with my own fear of going under the knife (Laser) to have my Gall bladder removed. Facing my own mortality, I asked for your prayers to make it through ok. Why must I have to experience something before I understand the fact that there are needs in my life, and most importantly, needs in others lives that need prayer? Trust me, God is bringing me to a place where I am realizing the need and power of prayer, again not just for my needs, but for the needs of others, and for the needs of our community (community is not equal to just Franklin, TN). 

To better understand where Brooke and I are in this season, it may be helpful for you to know some history of how we got to today, October 26, 2008. This summer, my family and I attended our Saturday night services where Brooke and I knew that our life was about to change. That night was the first of a two-week series on Adoption. The first night talked more about our need to understand the concept of Vertical adoption. How God has adopted us as Son’s and Daughter’s into His family. The Next week was to focus on Horizontal adoption. It was amazing to find that Brooke and I walked out of that first service completely on the same page without even discussing it. We always go to church with Mom and Dad, and after we usually head to diner together to a venue of Britain’s choice. Not that Brooke and I didn’t want to have a discussion on what we had just heard in front of Mom and Dad, it was just easier to wait to download when we got home and got Brit in bed. Well, like I said, it was this summer when all of this went down and that can only mean one thing. Britain’s programming for the summer meant only 3 options. Sleep, Eat, and Swim! Not sure that any of us really wanted to go to the pool that night, but after dinner, much to a persistent Britain, we found ourselves at Mimi and Papa’s pool.

I am not sure why Britain wasn’t born with gills because I know she would love to just live in the water. However, it was in that water that God put a special family into our life that would eventually be a huge part of revealing so much to us! Stunned, I found myself amazed that God wasn’t done with my heart that evening. Church would continue for the Byers family in the choppy 5-foot waters of the Hardison Hills community pool. 
In walks in what we would find out as the Robinson family. It wasn’t the fact that they had a 2-year-old child that could swim like Michael Phelps (ok, that’s an exaggeration). For me, it was because they were Indian. When I mean Indian, I really mean, Native American, and when I say Native American, I mean that they just don’t have olive skin and dark hair; I mean this family looked like they were straight out of Dances with Wolves! (Ok, maybe another exaggeration). Anybody who knows me well, will know that I have always had a huge love for the Native American Culture, and even was an American Indian Studies Major in college, and danced all over the Southeast at Pow-Wows. A year or so prior to this evening, Brooke and I walked through a season in pursuit of adopting a Native American child. As we soon found, there are not a ton of agencies out there that specialize in Native American adoptions mainly due to a federal act that prohibits white families from adopting Native children in fear of assimilation and a loss of a very rich and beautiful culture. It seemed like a dead end for us, so we gave up on our pursuit. 

Meet the Robinson’s! This family was amazing in that there was something very powerful about this family. More than the fact that there were real Indians living in Williamson County, there was something more. Although Brit loves the water, she can’t swim yet. Since one of the Robinson children, no more than 2 years old was a champion swimmer, it was a natural open door for my wife to suggest that I start up a conversation with the gentleman. Again, anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t know a stranger, but I was SUPER reluctant and almost in awe that their were real Indians swimming in the same pool as us! Fearfully, I made my way over and started a dialogue with the man, who I found out was named Charles. Charles is very tall, at least 6’2” and has long black hair. He has a very gentle way about him though despite his appearance. He explained how their youngest child at the time, now Britain’s age, fell in some water and his wife, Siouxsan (pronounced Susan) was pretty far along in her pregnancy with their youngest. In panic she searched around the muddy bottom to rescue her child, finally able to pull her to the surface. They said that never again, would their children not be in a place where they can’t survive if they fell in. They enrolled them in a class here in Franklin that teaches young children how to survive if they fall in. It is truly amazing. 

Still bewildered by the fact that there were real Indians in the same pool (which will make more sense in a bit), I was quickly amazed, more shocked, to find out that Charles was a minister, and that he and his family has a ministry of going out to Reservations during the summer to do Ministry! Again, I think my mouth was open the entire time, a real Indian in this pool who happens to love Jesus? Am I dreaming?

I by no means am saying that Native people don’t love Jesus, it is just that God himself placed this family in the same pool as us just a couple hours after a message that confirmed that Brooke and I are not to give up on adopting a Native American child. After sharing with Charles all that had transpired that evening and my history with the culture, he himself was blown away and was committed to helping Brooke and I find our future son! That next week his family embarked on their 2-month journey out west to do ministry. I was confident that their mission would be to find our son! Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into two months and we heard very little from the Robinson family due to the lack of communication in the areas that they were in. Discouraged, Brooke and I wondered if this was just another dead end. Towards the end of the summer, I was cleaning out a filing cabinet and found a business card that I had put in there almost a year prior. I used to work at a booking agency here in Nashville, called GOA. There, we booked a lot of today’s top Christian artists. One of which was Mark Schulz. Mark, having been adopted, was and still is a huge advocate for adoption. He does a number of events throughout the year to help various agencies, particularly Bethany Christian Services. Bethany has agencies all over the US and one in particular called in one day while I was still at GOA to book an event with Mark. 
Over the weeks following the first message on adoption, the night we met the Robinson family, God began to give Brooke and I a clearer vision for who we were looking for. There have only been a few times in my life that I felt God speak to me, and this was one of them. Lakota Sioux, a boy, from an unwed younger mother, was what God put on our heart. God used the movie Juno to really drive home the single Mom factor. Not hearing from the Robinson family for so long and me stumbling upon this business card from a lady named Judee Howard, an Adoption specialist in South Dakota (Lakota Sioux country) was in my mind, not a coincidence. I made contact with Judee. She had remembered me from booking the date with Mark, and also remembered that I had shared that Brooke and I felt led to adopt a Native American child over the phone. I shared with Judee all that had happened to us over the past few weeks and she was inspired to help us. She said that it would be a tough process, but to not give up hope. They had just placed an Indian child with a white family the month before, so we knew it wasn’t completely impossible. What a breath of fresh air, this call was. At this point, Brooke and I started the “official” process of adoption by getting our application together. There is a LOT of paperwork, and lots of details that we have to cover, not to mention it’s very expensive. 

Fast forward a few weeks and we have made some progress on some of the things on our adoption to do list. One Tuesday night, which is family night with my family, I got a call that would change my life. Charles called, much to my surprise, to let me know of a situation. He knew of a mother that was young and in need of some help. To protect her privacy, I will use an alias going forward. Sarah is a young mother who has had some difficulties over the last few years. In need of some time to figure a few things out in her life, Charles asked Brooke and I to consider fostering a little boy for a while with the small potential to adopt him. While it was a tough decision, Brooke and I wrestled for several days about the decision to foster the little boy. The tough part of this has been how this will affect our daughter Britain. Since that night, that we heard that first sermon, Brooke, Britain, and I have been praying fervently every night, that God would send us a little boy/a brother to Brit, who was Lakota, and from a young unwed mother. We knew that it would be a long time since; the adoption process takes a lot of time (which we have) and a lot of money (which we don’t have). We have always known that God put this desire in us, and that He would provide a way financially for us to afford the $20k to adopt Baby Tusie, as Brit calls him. We didn’t know how a little boy coming into the home and then at some point see him leave, how that would affect Britain. It was the toughest decision that we have made in a while. It felt as if we were closing the door on a family in need, who was standing out in the cold, soaking wet from the rain. I dreaded the meeting with Charles and his wife Siouxsan to let them know that we were not able to foster the little boy.

I have been working with World Vision on and off since February of this year. Last weekend, I was out with an artist named Angela Thomas. She is a wonderful women’s speaker and has a huge heart for the orphan. We saw almost 50 kids sponsored at the Women’s Conference in Midland, TX. It was a 2-day event, and I was able to fly out of Midland, to be back in Nashville last Saturday night. As soon as my plane landed, my girls greeted me. We got loaded up in the family nerd mobile (our minivan) and headed back towards Franklin. Not 5 minutes into the drive, my cell phone rang, and it was Charles on the phone. I knew something was up because it was after 9 when he called. “Hey Chris, I have something that I want you and Brooke to pray about,” Charles said. My heart hit the floor. He told me that his friend, with the little boy, had lost a family member and that she needed to go home to the funeral. It was a 30-hour bus drive back home to SD, and it wasn’t something that would be a good trip for a baby, or his mother for that fact. He asked us if we would be willing to keep the little boy, for a little while. Being that it was the same child that he asked us to consider fostering before, now this decision was back on our plate.

As I shared, I had just got off the plane from a weekend encouraging people to take care of orphans. How could I spend so much time encouraging others to do something that I am not willing to do myself? Charles asked me to pray about it with Brooke and let him know by 7am the next morning. Sarah, the mom, would have to get an early start on her 30-hour bus ride. Brooke and I asked Charles and his family to pray for us. We asked them to pray that if this was a decision that we were not supposed to do, that we would be restless and unable to sleep. Needless to say, Brooke and I slept like babies! Without blinking, I called Charles promptly at 7am last Sunday morning, and said, “Sign us up!” 

Last Sunday, Nashville hosted the TN State Pow-Wow. Charles and his family were competing and asked that we drive out to meet the baby boy and make sure we were up to the task. I would hope to say that we were the only ones that left the Pow-wow with more than we came with. We instantly fell in love with little man. He was hesitant maybe for a second, but soon seemed to be ok with us pushing him around the Pow-wow grounds in his stroller. 

Here we are, one week later, and as I type this note, he is sound asleep in his crib. We have had the baby’s room ready for a while now. We figured that if we didn’t have a daily reminder of what we were praying/working towards; it would be easy to put on the back burner and just go on living life. Brooke and I both have been on a huge roller coaster ride of emotions this week, as we have fallen in love with this little boy. He is so precious and has melted our hearts! Britain has been so incredible with him. We have loved on him as if he was one of ours. We have prayed more this week than I think we ever have. We have sought your prayers and have hoped more than ever before.

Again, I find myself asking for your forgiveness. It’s happened to me, and now I believe all the more in prayer. I know that people have been faithful to pray for this sweet little boy and us. I beg you to partner with us in prayer about what the Lord would have in store for us, and this beautiful little boy. I failed to mention that it has been incredibly hard to decipher why the Lord would put a Lakota Sioux, baby boy, from a young unwed mother literally into our arms. As some of his friends have seen him interact with us, there has been a mention of how peaceful he is with us, and how they have never seen him this happy. He and I have become super close this week, as I have had the privilege of taking care of him while Brooke is at work! He has made it so hard for me knowing that he is potentially going to leave us. He cries when I leave the room, and it breaks my heart. His smile sticks to me, much more than I ever thought possible! His giggle is one of the best sounds I could ever hear in the whole world. I love him!

Please pray for the Lord’s will to be done. As super spiritual as it sounds, it truly is our desire through this process. Brooke and I have been praying this hard prayer this week. It is so difficult for us, because our will is that he be our son and this have a fairytale ending. Although this child isn’t mine to give, I can almost relate to Abraham. He knew that God was asking him to do something very difficult. He had to trust that God was in control and that Isaac was in good hands. It is going to be extremely hard for us to give little man back. It will require us to trust that the Lord is much bigger than us and that He doesn’t need us to take care of him! We truly want what is best for this child. What a passion and burden we have. Not just for this little boy, but also for Sarah and his Dad. Please pray that Jesus would have a profound impact on her as she is away. Please pray that she would allow Him to move in her life and that the impact would motivate her to grow and mature in her faith and in general. How amazing would it be, if a miracle can take place in their life and us witness God unite a family, bringing his biological father back into the picture and have them reconcile and fall in love with Jesus as a family? I confess that the Spirit that lives within me is doing the typing at this point. There is nothing in my flesh that wants to let go of this child. It has been very difficult for me (us) to see the Lord bring him into our lives, knowing he will soon leave. 

We have been so amazed to see the Lord’s provision during this time. There are too many stories to share of how the Lord has used people and circumstances to affirm this decision. Please continue to pray that we will have the strength to endure this season of the unknown. Pray that our hope will remain in Jesus alone and that we can trust in God’s providence. We have to trust that God gave us this passion and desire to adopt. If we remain faithful, he can be glorified even through the hard times. As I mentioned, the adoption process is very expensive. Regardless of what type of adoption we end up going through (private or through an Agency), it will cost us a lot of money. It has been a tough year on our finances, but again, we believe that He will provide for this adoption. In the short term, we have all had the sniffles, and have had our share of health issues this year. Please pray that we will stay healthy. Lastly, there are a couple of obstacles that stand in the way of this little child becoming our son. If this is what God wants for our family, and if it is best for him to join our family, God will have to ensure that these things happen. Sarah and the baby’s father will have to mutually agree to allow us to adopt their child. The biggest obstacle that we face is the Indian Child Welfare Act. Even with consent of both birth parents, there still remains a lot of red tape for us to work through to adopt him. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. If you have any questions or would like to support us in anyway, please feel free to send me an email to chris@offstageministries.com Brooke and I will do our best to answer your questions. Again, thank you for your prayers for our family. What a learning experience this has been.

The guy who hates to read, loves to write.

So here I am, starting a blog.  I'm the guy that hates to read but loves to write.  How ironic?  I decided to start this blog after a few friends have encouraged me to write more.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have found some comfort in writing.  I have always had a desire to get my thoughts or feelings down on paper, but my handwriting is bad enough that I can barely read it and my spelling is horrible.  Most of my writing lately has been focussed on this season of life that my wife and I are in.  We are trying to adopt and have been through an interesting process. Will anybody read my ramblings?  Will they be profound?  Will you agree with everything that I have to say? Will the grammar always be correct? Most likely, no is the best answer to most of these.  However, I will do my very best to write from my heart and be as authentic as possible. Welcome to my open door...