Thursday, August 28, 2008

Laughter AND Peace

Those two words describe our house. Every evening there are so many giggles to be heard from my two boys : ) They love interacting with their sisters and think these two girls are hilarious!... well mostly Sarah : ) But even more interesting is the word peace.

Someone recently complemented me saying, "You look really good, Marianne!" Well I'm quite sure it wasn't me physically looking good (my hair hasn't even been trimmed since Emily was born : )

My immediate response was "I feel like a 1000 lbs. has been lifted off my shoulders since Sarah has come home!" My friend Deidre(who just left to pick up her daughter FOREVER, PTL!) posted how she hadn't realized how much the adoption was taking it's toll on her until she was in the airplane to Guatemala and was overcome with a sense of peace. Oh, how that rings true!

Ah, peace... something that scholars search for, the wealthy try to purchase, and battles are often fought in the attempt to attain it. And yet only ONE who died so that all who believe may have it!

So why then do we(believers) seem to lack peace in our lives? Fear? Pride? Control?... just to name a few. Our own flesh can be our worst enemy. The TRUTH is peace that passes all understanding is accessible to us ALL the time through His Spirit.

Instead of giving my thoughts on how to have peace rule your life, I thought I'd end with a few scriptures, Words that can give life. I know I am not alone in the journey of life to continually allow peace to reign :)

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Pr. 14:30

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body your were called to peace. And be thankful." Col. 3:15

And finally my dear friends... "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. " 2 Thess. 3:16

May you find peace today!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Definitely Worth the Wait!

There is no question to the hardest part of adoption... WAITING! From start to finish, our adoption took 19 months! We waited 9 months for a referral and 10 months after we found out Sarah was our daughter.

However, Emily's arrival was no less dramatic. After 2.5 yrs. of infertility and loss, I had a high-risk pregnancy almost from the beginning with spotting and then bedrest beginning at 22 weeks.

As every Guatemala adopting family remembers, November and December of last year were very dark and scary times during our adoption process with what seemed like a power struggle between the U.S. and Guatemala. Simultaneously, November 18, I went into the hospital with hard labor 4 months too soon. The fear of losing BOTH our daughters was very real. Those couple months were beyond my ability to cope emotionally and the Lord mercifully sustained me and my husband with HIS strength and grace.

I recount these hard days simply to REMEMBER the glories of God and the amazing things He has done! True, I fall into bed every night completely exhausted but the only tears I shed these days are ones of joy as I behold my two beautiful MIRACLES from God!

If you've read this far, I encourage you to read the very meaningful poem I've pasted below the girls' "out-takes". Found it a couple years ago and it's sentiment has been the "rock" behind my waiting! Oh yeah, I PROMISE to post pics of the girls' room soon... thanks for the requests : )

I could NOT get them both to smile at the same time!

Sisterly love : )

Naptime already?!?


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, He replied.
I pleaded, and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait? Your say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why.
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.
“My future, and all to which I can relate
Hangs in balance, and you tell me ‘wait’?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’, to which I can resign.

“And Lord, you have promised that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking: I need a reply!”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”

So I slumped in my chair; defeated and taut
And grumbled to God; “So I’m waiting, for what?”
He seemed then to kneel and His eyes met with mine
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, darken the sun,
Raise the dead, cause the mountains to run.

“All you see I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust, just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence was all you could see.

“You would never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

“The glow of My comfort late in the night;
The faith that I give when you walk without sight;
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

“And you never would know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’.
Yes, your dreams for that loved one o’ernight could come true,
But the loss! If you lost what I’m doing in you.

“So be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of still...wait.”
-Russel Kelfer

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just 2 weeks of lovin'.... big brothers have taught me crawl
...and to stand all by myself : )

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The face of Grace

Every time I look at this precious girl's face I am struck by the grace of God! I told some ladies at church this morning that I feel as though I am carrying on my hip throughout each day a picture of the living GOSPEL. It is a mystery and a revelation all at the same time to me! We continue to pray for the fatherless and are more passionate than ever to be a voice for the orphan! It is our prayer even for those following our story to be so moved in accordance with God's Word to be obedient in taking care of those without a defender.

All my sweet babes...
the boys jumped in with their swimtrunks while I was bathing the girls.

I often get asked what the girls think of each other... check it out for yourself : )

Sarah definitely wins in our family for funniest expressions!

So Dave thinks they look ridiculous, but I think they are ADORABLE in their shades : )

Sarah was amazed by one of the water fountains... this was the best we got after MANY attempts at a picture of the kids!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Welcome to the Family!

And then there were SIX!!! Our first family picture.... with ALL of us!!

Cousin Abby is so excited to have another girl cousin around : )

Cousins Sam and Alex are GREAT at entertaining Sarah!

Aunt Christine gets her 1st turn holding Sarah

Aunt Jen giving some lovin' to Sarah

Sarah tends to fall asleep in places not intended for sleeping : )

I had no idea what she would think of sand but this girl LOVES it!! A good thing since the Stanton side of the family spends summers on the beach or in the boat : )

Another pose with cousin Sydney

Oh yeah, not only does she love the sand... she likes to eat it too : )

Sarah is doing great so far and she also is feeling MUCH better, which definitely helps : ) I'm doing ok too... I won't lie, I've been a very busy mommy taking care of my four little blessings. But the Lord is merciful in giving me two VERY easy babies and two VERY sweet boys. I couldn't have more love for each of my kids! Thanks for staying on this journey with us... as I conclude my "part-time" job of advocating for the life of my daughter, Dave and I realize this is only the beginning!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home!!

We're HOME... oh does it feel so good : ) Sorry we've made you wait... we've been making a lot of memories! Our flight was delayed in Atlanta over 4hrs. which meant a new arrival time of 1:30"ish" am. We were pretty disappointed, knowing that many of you were waiting at the airport or were at least planning to be there... especially our boys. But here's a pic of our little princess all dolled up in her coming home outfit that most of you didn't get to see!

Finally home after a LONG day of travelling... we were so tired but so happy!

We made the call about 11 that night to tell my parents to just keep the kids at their house since it was going to be terribly late but we were so excited that at least some of our family was there when we arrived... Dave's sister, husband and 3 very excited nephews and niece : )

A very brave and faithful little troop of friends and family stayed up late to welcome us home... it meant SO much to us. Even if we looked too tired to show it : )

And then the brothers got to meet their newest sister!

Caleb's so excited cause he gets to hold this sister when he's standing up.

Zach finally gets his turn : )

An emotional moment with Grandma Laurie and a smile from Great-grandma "mom".

My two girls... just the beginning!

A very happy Grandma Linda with her newest grandaughters!
Thanks again for all your prayers and support.... God is so good!