"And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them." (Mark 10:16)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nothing Is Impossible

Laura here.  Todd has informed me that it's best to keep blogs short and sweet.  I hope to do that, but at the same time, I don't know how to summarize what God has been laying on my heart.

As 2010 draws to a close, I am amazed at everything that happened in my life and family.   On January 12, the Haiti earthquake happened.  The morning of January 14, Todd woke up early and went to his usual Thursday morning Men's Bible study group. I awoke enough to kiss goodbye and say "I love you."  And then the most incredible thing happened.  I thought I heard Todd come back in.  I heard the door open and close.  I called out for Todd, but he didn't answer.  I was startled, but not scared.  It was so weird. I even thought to myself, "if this isn't Todd, I feel like I should be a little more concerned than I am right now." But I wasn't...I was totally peaceful. I looked over and saw a very bright light in my bedroom doorway.  I watched it move toward me and into the chair in the corner of our bedroom. Still I had no fear...I cannot explain the complete serenity I felt.  I reached out my right hand, and I felt (physically FELT) a hand in mine.  I squeezed it. I smiled. And then I went to sleep.

Later in the day I kept thinking about what happened.  Was I crazy?  Should I tell anyone?  No way...that was nuts...people will think I'm nuts.  Maybe I'll just tell Todd.  The phone call went like this:

Laura:  Honey, so, Jesus was in our room this morning
Todd:  What?
Laura: Well, after you left I heard the door open again,  and then there was a light in our doorway, but I wasn't scared...and then He sat in the chair in our room (now called the "Jesus Chair" aka "don't put your dirty clothes there."
Todd:  (silence)
Laura:   so, this is crazy, right? maybe I was dreaming?  But no, I wasn't asleep. I had just said goodbye to you. Todd, it was so real. It was so real.  I felt Jesus hold my hand.  It sounds crazy just saying it.
Todd:  (more silence  - Todd is good at waiting and speaking at just the right moment)
Laura:  and then this afternoon I read this verse in my daily devotion:  Psalm 139:10 "Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."
Todd: (more silence)
Laura:  Todd, Jesus was in our room this morning. He held my hand!  It was like he was telling me to just trust Him.  I'm so stubborn that I needed a physical reminder that He's got me.  You think this is crazy, huh?
Todd:  It's not crazy, baby.  I BELIEVE you.  

I marked the passage and day in my Bible...more on that later.  The following Sunday in church, I heard Jen Gash speak about Sweet Sleep and Brentwood Baptist Church taking a mission journey to Haiti to do post-quake relief. Kim Cox, a friend and past coworker, walked up to me and said, "hey, you wanna go with us to Haiti? We could use a counselor on this trip."  Thanks, Kim.  It has been an honor to serve alongside someone so dedicated to her calling.

So, on Feb 25, I left with a Sweet Sleep (www.sweetsleep.org) team for Haiti.  So many more stories about this trip are on my other blog - www.newsongcounseling.blogspot.com. But long story short, I met Wendy, Woody, and Wilnes on this trip. I questioned, even fought, what God was showing me during my time there.  Their faces became deeply ingrained in my heart and mind, and I just knew God was opening me up to "mommyhood." Yuk!  Yes, I said it...YUK!  I was not ready for this stage.  In fact, I couldn't understand why at baby showers for my very dear friends, I still found myself having no sense of that supposedly "natural woman instinct." I wasn't ready for kids.  I love kids...don't get me wrong...LOVE them....just not ready for any that I'm fully responsible for.  So, when those 3 boys showed up in my life, wow, I was fighting with God.

While in church in Haiti, a little boy sitting next to me asked to hold my Bible, he opened up to a page and held it there with his little finger for a long time...it was open to Psalm 139...the passage I read the day Jesus held my hand.  Okay, God, I get it.  What do I do next?

After another trip to Haiti in April, and then another with Todd in July, and another in October, and many tears and "serious meetings" with God, here we are...in the adoption process.  Todd and I still question what we are doing, like many of you probably do.  Are we crazy?  Well, yes.

This Sunday at BBC, there was a scripture reading at the beginning of the service.  I kept hearing the reader say, "nothing is impossible, nothing is impossible."  It was the voice of God telling Mary she would bare a son.  I gotta say, I side with Mary on this.  Are you sure, God? Me?   But I'm just a woman who does not fit the criteria.  Are you sure I can do this? 

"For nothing will be impossible with God."  (Luke 1:37)

I get it.  This isn't about me.

BELIEVE in what God can do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks

Good news from our Haitian attorney - Wendy, Woody, Wilnes and their friends at the orphanage made it through Hurricane Tomas with no trouble.  By the time it was passing by Haiti, the winds and rain had dissipated.  He did ask for continued prayer for all the people of Haiti as cholera continues to spread through the country. 
The first phase of our adoption process is almost done!  Our home visit for our homestudy is Dec 1, and then we begin the dossier process.  The word “dossier” has got be one of the most annoying words, mainly because it’s used non-stop in the adoption process.  It means “a file of documents containing detailed information”…and wow, what a file it is.  After signatures, tax documents, fingerprints, birth certificates, etc, etc. are notarized, the dossier is sent to Haiti, and then…we wait.   

We continue to trust God’s sovereignty and provision, as He has given us exactly what we needed at just the times we needed it.  For example, we needed $1000 to pay off our homestudy fees – and we raised just a little over $1000 at our yard sale!  THANK YOU to all of you who donated or came to buy – it all meant so much to us.  (Picture of us at the sale above) We will be posting a link soon for a t-shirt fundraiser.  They will be themed “Believe” in honor of our boys.  Hope to have it up soon!

We continue to be humbled by your support.  Because of your generosity, we recognized the need to setup a tax deductible account as a way for those making financial contributions.  They can be sent to RockBridge Foundation at the address below with “Ramey adoption” in the memo.

RockBridge Foundation
7777 Concord Rd.
Brentwood, TN 37027

To hear about other ways to support orphans, check out our friends at www.sweetleep.org.  They minister to orphans in Haiti, Uganda, and Moldova.  They are an organization very dear to our hearts.

As we continue in this process, it’s very easy for us to stop and think, “How will we do all this?  Can we really handle it?”  We are always asking for strength and the reminder it is not us who does everything.  If you get a chance to read the whole passage, check out what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 3:14-21.  Verse 20 says “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to HIM be the glory…”

Friday, October 29, 2010

Yard Sale tomorrow!

We are having our yard sale tomorrow! We are completely blown away by the outpouring of donated items, encouragement, and prayers.  There is almost no room to walk around our house with all the stuff sitting here ready to hit the yard tomorrow! 

Some of you have asked about contributing money to the adoption expenses.  We are continually amazed by you!!  Below is an address to the Rockbridge Foundation of Brentwood Baptist Church (our home church in Nashville, TN).  They have setup a specific account for our adoption fees if you feel led to support in this way.  Please be sure you put "Ramey Adoption" in the memo line of your check so they know to allocate it to our adoption account.

RockBridge Foundation
7777 Concord Rd
Brentwood, TN 37027

Our prayer through this entire process is that each step on the journey will minister to others about God and His love, provision, and goodness. 

We believe!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Surprise Visit

Update from Laura...

We continue to be amazed at the steps on this journey.  There's nothing like getting a call one day from the lawyer in Port-au-Prince asking, "how soon can you come to Haiti?"  Well, it wasn't exactly on the calendar or in the budget, but we learned that a sit-down face to face meeting with the lawyer, pastor of the orphanage, and one of us (future parents), was imperative in order to move forward with the adoption. After prayerful conversations and many more times asking ourselves, "are we crazy?," we felt God asking us to obey just this one step and He would keep taking us to the next...as He has promised.  So, I booked the flight a few days later, and isn't it funny how God provided a travel partner?  Thanks, Jen Gash!  Jen needed to make contact with orphanages who needed beds from "Sweet Sleep," and she met some precious children and partners.  (Find out how you can help those efforts at www.sweetsleep.org).

So, Jen and I booked our flight on a Wednesday and headed out the next day.  This was my first time to travel "alone."  Since Jen and I had separate meetings to take, we had to have separate drivers and translators, so at several points on the trip, I would look around my car and realize I was the only white, female, English speaking person.  And one time the guy next to me was holding a chicken.  What?!  Again, that "am I crazy?" question popped up.

I will spare details of the meeting...mostly because it is confidential and not to be discussed out of the lawyer's office, but what I can say is that I continue to experience the most amazing presence of the Holy Spirit through this process.  He has been more real to me than ever.  At one point during the meeting, I heard music coming from another room.  As tears flowed down my face, and I kept asking God to help me understand, the laywer said, "we must take a break for afternoon prayer time."  So, we all walked into the next room, joined hands, read scripture, sang, and prayed...all in Haitian Creole.  I have no idea what was said or sung...but I felt it just as sure as if I was in my American church...maybe more.  When we went back into the office and began our meeting again, there was a peace that had not been there before.  Details began to flow, and I found myself right in the midst of beginning the adoption process for these beautiful boys.

I got to go visit them that afternoon (pictured).  Their smiles and laughter are so close to my heart that I'm pretty sure I can hear them now.  Before I left I asked if they had any questions for me.  Wilnes, the oldest, said, "yes, where is your husband?" I explained Todd had to work and was so sorry he couldn't come with me this time, and I asked if I could send him a message for him.  In response he said, "yes, please tell him I'm praying for him."  Thank you, Lord, for the reminder we aren't crazy. 

So, we will hold our first fundraising event this coming Sat, Oct 30.  We are having a community yard sale.  We are already amazed at those who have offered their support and donations.  We keep trusting God will provide for the call He has placed in our lives. We don't know how, but we just remember it's not for us to know...but to trust.    There are still many documents to complete, dotted lines to sign, and legal procedures to pass, so we just can't be sure how long it will all take.   But we keep trusting.

We Believe In You, Wendy, Woody, and Wilnes.  We love you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So far...

Four years ago today, Todd and I wandered into a Nashville courthouse to apply for a marriage license.  Today we turned in an application for a homestudy in order to be found eligible for adoption.  We had no idea what our first four years would hold, and we certainly would not have guessed it...or dared ask for it. 

We decided to start this blog as an answer to questions, prayers, updates, chaos, more prayers, ulcers, headaches, more prayers, and all other things that go along with long drawn out processes like adoption.  We know some of you may want lots of details, while others of you may just want the highlights, so we've created this as a place to serve all the needs. 

Laura is so excited she has already begun to share with complete strangers (rapper 50 Cent and comedian Chelsea Handler were "lucky" recipients of the "these are my Haitian children" speech backstage after a recent show in Nashville).  Their faces are just so darn cute, she couldn't help it.  However, we realize there are still many hoops to jump through and many papers to sign, notarize, and seal with hugs and kisses.

A couple things that have happened recently that have proved God's incredible direction and provision...

1.  A woman whom Laura had just met at an adoption conference asked if she could pray over our family and the boys.  She said she was leaving when God prompted her to come back in and pray for us. After many tears and perfectly voiced requests (as if she knew us and exactly what we are asking on our journey), we made a new friend and further experienced God's calling and the people He has strategically placed in our path.  PS...she is adopting a sweet little girl from China.

2. After we shared our story in our lifegroup at church, an amazing couple, without reservation, wrote a check for our homestudy deposit.  What?  Yes!  God uses His people to do His will and carry out His plan.  We almost would not take it out of guilt and pride, but we recognize God requires us to ACCEPT the gifts He puts right in front of us on this path.

There are many, many, many, many things that led us to this point.  If you visit www.newsongcounseling.blogspot.com, you can learn more about our recent trips to Haiti and how God has directed our steps to this part of the journey.  It's been a crazy beautiful trip.  We know we have so much ahead of us.  No matter what happens, we know God can and will complete His work in us.  We remain faithful, even though we are still admittedly not sure what that even requires of us.

We decided to name this blog, "I Believe In You" (the "www" at the end are their initials").  It was our first dance at our wedding almost 4 years ago on 10-7-06.  Don Williams is one of our favorites, and the song is legendary.  Todd and I began our marriage knowing our belief and commitment to love would bring crazy adventures.  We end this post quoting Todd when something is absolutely beyond belief, "you don't even know."  So, here we go...off on one of many crazy adventures love finds us on.  "I believe in love, and I believe in you."