When I was in elementary school, I wore ugly blue tight jeans that were rolled up to reveal rolled-down socks. Pair those with a huge tie-dye shirt and some enormous bangs, and you get a girl who entered the awkward phase of junior high a few years early (although I blame part of that mess on the 80s). That girl also listened to Steven Curtis Chapman. A lot. And this was back when Christian music was comparable to a B movie. But I was rockin' that look, lovin' those songs.

I did eventually grow out of the awkwardness that defined me for a good four years. And I left Mr. Chapman far behind. So it wasn't until we attended the Christian Alliance for Orphan's Summit VI in Minneapolis that I realized I'd thrown the baby out with the bathwater - or, more appropriately, I'd thrown a really amazing Christian singer out with the big bangs.

We had the privilege of hearing Mary Beth Chapman tell the story of adopting - three times - and then losing one of their daughters through a tragic accident. I saw Steven Curtis and Mary Beth with grownup eyes, heard his songs with grownup ears, and cried many tears for their loss, but also tears of joy for the work that God has done through tragedy. Show Hope is a big part of that work. (Read Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman to hear the rest of their story.)

Last week, Dustin and I opened a letter from Show Hope and shed tears together again.

Show Hope has awarded our family a $4,000 grant in our adoption of Jeremiah.

Exactly what we need to finish our adoption expenses.

The financial portion of our journey started with a grant from Lifesong for Orphans and ended with a grant from Show Hope. The in-between was filled to the brim with support from our family, friends, and our church. God is good, my friends. He is so, so good.

While we can't say we're done, we're on a different phase now than we were in February, when we first saw our son's face. I guess you could say we've traveled in faith, we've finished that part of our journey, and now we can get off the bus.

We'd love for you to pray with us that we can get on the plane in the fall of  2012 to bring Jeremiah home. God is faithful, and will complete what He has begun in His good, good time. What an amazing privilege to hold our great Father's hand as He takes us to Korea.

Two years ago, almost to the day, we learned about Both Hands at the first Summit  we attended. We knew right away that, if we ever needed to raise funds for an adoption, we wanted to do that through Both Hands.

Summit VI, Minneapolis

A year later,  we sent off our application requesting to do a Both Hands project to raise the funds needed to bring Jeremiah home. A few weeks later, we received a call from Aimee and JT from the Both Hands Foundation.

And last weekend,
with 25 volunteers, 13 gallons of paint, and tons of love, we completed our Both Hands project.

The Both Hands Foundation staff watched the above video in their staff meeting this morning, with tears in their eyes. Their tireless work to help bring orphans into families and to meet the needs of widows has gone far beyond their reach, through the outstretched arm of our Father.

Tomorrow, we leave to attend our third Summit. To be refreshed, encouraged, and strengthened to continue in the work God has called us to, both through our family's adoption of Jeremiah and through Adopted by Grace, our church's orphan care/adoption ministry. There, we will receive required training for our journey to adoption and beyond; and we will have the opportunity to thank JT and Aimee in person for all of their support, prayer, and encouragement.

Another chapter has ended.

We are now officially less than a week away from our Both Hands project - hold me back! I am so ready to knock the socks off of this work day (and thankful that the weather forecast is calling for cooler temperatures; I tend to wilt in the heat) and believe with all my heart that everyone involved will be incredibly blessed through this endeavor. I'm not the most organized person in the world, so while I'd like to say that I've got everything figured out to make Saturday's project go smoothly, I mostly have visions of paint rollers and potted plants floating around in my head. But they make me feel like I can do this! (This type of strategy usually works for me, so I'll continue to work with it.)

(The above topic is taking up a good 60% of my brain)

On a separate note, we were alarmed today when we learned that South Korea's crazy neighbor to the north is threatening
to reduce Seoul to "a pile of ashes." We emailed Regina, but she told us that there isno earthly way possible to speed up the process, and so we'll continue waiting and hoping that this is yet more propaganda from the North, and that God will protect our son and all those in Korea.

(The above topic is taking up a separate 35% of my brain)

And on a separate separate note, we learned today that we'll soon be receiving a video of Jeremiah! Some of the caseworkers from our adoption agency went to Korea and were able to meet, spend time with, and video the children their families will be adopting!
I am beyond excited about this. I treasure the three pictures we have of our son; to have a video...well, we'd better put it on our computer because I plan on wearing out that disc!

Here are the notes that were taken during the visit with Jeremiah:
  • sits well
  • stands with support
  • moves holding onto furniture
  • crawls fast
  • good baby
  • "Mama"
  • likes cellular phones
  • easy baby :)   (happy face mine)
  • foster sister loves him
(The above topic is taking up a completely separate 85% of my brain. I'm a little overloaded right now.)

My brain is busy these days, but in spite of that we managed to finish up 2nd grade science for the year - the beginning of the end of this year's homeschooling! The kids and I continue to have a blast working through school and spending every day together. It hit home with me in a new way recently that this phase of our lives is quickly coming to an end, as Derrick will be going to a private school next year. I'm reminded to truly treasure these days. We are all so blessed to have each other. I can't wait until all four of our kids are home.