Thanks for your support of our adoption journey. We would love for you to join us in praying that God would give us wisdom, patience and perseverance as we go through the process to adopt our children! We appreciate the many people walking this adoption journey with us in prayer! ~Jon & Bethany

December 3, 2012

the HOPE we have amidst our crazy story

Hello out there to anyone who is still following our adoption journey! Thanks for sticking with us these past two years! We started this adoption process thinking it was going to be a sprint to get done quickly, but it has certainly turned out to be a marathon, no maybe a triathalon! Either way, we couldn't have persevered in running this race without two things: the Holy Spirit of God that dwells inside every believer and the faithful friends who have encouraged us and cheered us on when we felt like laying down and giving up. We thank God for the countless friends & family who have lifted us and our children up in prayer along the way!! I hope you know how truly grateful we are for you!
Today I am going to share a blog post I wrote as a "guest post" for my friend (and fellow adoptive momma) Sarah's blog, as part of a month-long guest post series she is hosting about many lives touched by adoption. You can see the post on her blog here. 

My name is Bethany. Sarah asked me to share a little bit of the story of how God has been at work in my life and my family’s adoption story, so here it is goes...

I grew up in a very loving, very Roman Catholic home here in Louisville. I went to Catholic schools from 4th grade through high school, and basically lived in a catholic “bubble”.  I was the oldest child and was definitely the “rule follower” of the family. I went to every Youth Group event & mission trips every summer to help the poor. I had also created my own set of moral standards for myself, when many of the kids around me were rebelling in high school: I will not drink until I’m 21, I will never smoke, and I will NOT have sex until I’m married. As long as I stuck to these things, I thought I was a very good person and that God would be pleased with me. However, after graduating from high school I decided that I was tired of being the “good little girl” and trying so hard to be “perfect” and please my parents, I wanted to have fun. So I left for college and pursued all kinds of “fun” that I thought would make me happy. I jumped headlong into the party scene from day one on campus. This went on my entire freshman year at UK. If there was a party, I was at it. And boy, did I LOVE my sin. I had no conviction whatsoever. Until it caught up with me and I began to reap what I had been sowing (Galatians 6:7-9).
I returned for my sophomore year hurt, depressed and desperate for healing & forgiveness. So when my new roommate in my sorority house invited me to go to a Christian church with her, which was SO against my upbringing, I said yes. I was searching for answers and willing to try anything at that point.

For the first time in my entire life I heard the good news of the gospel: that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ had fully paid the debt that my sins deserve on the cross. And that I could never be “good enough.” I could never EARN my salvation. “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I cried my eyes out every Sunday for months as Danielle faithfully brought me back with her week after week. Finally I had found a source of hope: the Jesus of the Bible that I’d always known about, but never really known. Danielle continued to be my friend and ask me hard questions. One question especially stuck with me and pricked my heart. Danielle asked me, “how sure are you that you would go to Heaven if you died tonight?” I thought I was about 85% sure. I had been very “good” growing up and I thought that would outweigh all the “bad” stuff I had been doing for the past year. Danielle explained that it wasn’t based on me at all- it was based on Jesus alone. She shared Ephesians 2:8-9 with me, “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.”  I began reading my Bible for the first time in my life and slowly became convinced by scripture that the gospel was truth and that a lot of what I’d been taught growing up wasn’t based on the word of God.

Eventually I decided that Jesus was far more precious than pleasing my parents & following the Catholic tradition of my family. And in February of my junior year, at a Campus Crusade conference for Greek students, I surrendered my whole life to Christ. I finally let go of the idols I had been holding so tightly onto, my drunken social life and my immoral relationships, and I placed my faith in Christ alone for my salvation. I memorized 2 Corinthians 5:17 and had to constantly remind myself that I was “a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away and the new has come.” God was so kind and merciful in immediately giving me fellowship with believers who encouraged me in my new walk with the Lord at Campus Crusade. The believers I met helped me grow in my walk with the Lord, study my Bible, and eventually introduced me to the godly man who is now my husband!

My husband, Jon, and I had always talked about adopting “one day,” but around our son’s first birthday we decided to officially start the process to adopt internationally after praying about it for years. That was almost 2 years ago. We’ve been humbly reminded many times throughout our adoption process that WE are not the ones writing our adoption story. Our Sovereign God is the one in control; He is the author of our story and only He knows the twists & turns and how it will end. We would never have dreamed that we would lose our first referral, that the precious 9 month old baby girl who we were in the process of adopting would die, or that we would have two legally adopted children in the DRC who are both “missing.” But that is all part of our story.

 And here’s what I want to share with you: if you are a Christian and you desire to care for orphans through adoption- DO IT! But don’t go into the process all na├»ve and dreamy the way I did. I thought that because we were doing a good thing, by rescuing orphans, that it would be easy. Oh was I wrong! God has NOT promised that caring for the fatherless would be easy. But it is WORTH IT. Every single orphaned child on this earth is worth fighting for. They are worth mounds of paperwork, many fundraising events, months years of waiting and constant prayer. They are precious children made in the image of God, just like you and me! So by all means, please consider showing a child the love of Christ through adoption! But please, come prepared with the full armor of God on, ready to fight for them and advocate for them if and when Satan attacks. I have learned that adoption is not simply a “process,” it is a battle. Do not fear the battle. No one can know how the process will go for them. Every single adoption story is different, but the Author is the same. And He will not abandon you when the trials and the suffering comes. I was greatly encouraged by our friend, Matthew Delaughter’s, recent sermon at Immanuel. The text he preached from was Romans 5:1-11; my heart was especially encouraged by verses 3 through 5: Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Matthew reminded me that all the suffering weaved into our adoption story is not in vain. It is producing endurance, character, and hope as we have never known it before. The fact that we have been able to persevere thus far is encouraging to me. Why? Because I know without a doubt that my flesh would have given up a long time ago, and therefore, the Spirit of God truly is dwelling inside of me equipping me with the fruit of the Spirit to help me persevere and not give up!! Further proof that God’s word IS trustworthy and true. And I have HOPE in the midst of all the unknown because of the gospel of Christ.

 I do not know how our story will end, when it will end, or even what chapter we are in! But I don’t have to have it all figured out, I just have to hope and trust in my Creator, my heavenly Father, who went through far more than Jon and I have gone through, just to rescue me to be His daughter! Afterall, he sacrificed His only son for me.

“ But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7

We wish you a Merry CHRISTmas! Believers have so much to celebrate this time of year in the ultimate gift God gave the world: His only Son, Jesus!

PS- You can LISTEN ONLINE to the Excellent sermon by our friend, Matthew Delaughter, on suffering & the HOPE we have in Christ! If you are in the midst of trials and suffering, do yourself a favor & LISTEN to this sermon. It GREATLY encouraged me & spurred me on to want to suffer well through this 2-year-long & no-end-in-sight adoption process. Thank you again, brother! You & your family are such a gift to Immanuel Baptist Church! Click here to go listen for free:

November 25, 2012

august 24th

On August 24th, 2012 I was scheduled to speak, alongside one of my best friends, at our church's women's fellowship night. We were asked to share about how we met, how she shared the gospel with me, and how God used our friendship for his glory and how I came to be a born-again believer in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation.
As I was in my van, about 5 minutes away from church, I got a call from Jon. He told me he had some bad news he had to tell me & asked if I was ready to hear it.
"What is it?! Is Josephine dead???"
"Then what is it?!?! Wait, don't tell me. I'm almost at church. I will call you back."

So 15 minutes before I was about to share my testimony with a room full of 100 ladies, I called him back and heard the news,
"Josephine is missing now too. She is gone. She's not at the orphanage. Either she's missing or we adopted a little girl who never existed."

It was a Friday night. Jon was packed & ready to fly to DRC to get our daughter on Sunday. How could this really be happening?? I sobbed with my friend, Danielle for a few minutes, not understanding how God could really let this be happening to our sweet little girl. Danielle prayed for me. Then I took a deep breath, regained my composure and took the stage with her.
I remember someone said they would totally understand if I didn't want to speak that night, but I knew that was exactly what Satan wanted and there was no way I was going to let him win this battle.
By God's grace, and with the help of the indwelling Spirit, Danielle and I were able to tell our stories, how God used a room in a sorority house to show me the good news of the gospel & that I could never be good enough on my own to please Him or "earn" my way to Heaven. He called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light. And now, by grace I am saved through faith in Jesus Christ! I am so thankful that the Lord gave me that Philippians 4 peace that surpasses understanding so that I could share my story for the glory of God & so the gospel may go forth and save others who are lost in their sin just like I was.

 Soli deo gloria. {To God alone be the glory.}

November 8, 2012

breaking the silence

Wow. I can't believe it is already November. I cannot believe that we started the adoption process a few months before our firstborn turned 1 and he is now over 2 and a half. I cannot believe that in a little over a month we will hit the milestone of being "in the adoption process" for two years. And most days I cannot believe that we have 2 legally adopted children in the DRC who have both been missing for months.

But all of these things are true, no matter how hard they are for me to believe. Yet I also know that God's word is true. And although I have no idea what He is doing right now, I trust that His ways are higher than our ways & I just simply couldn't comprehend it even if He did try to explain it all to me. So I trust Him. And I trust that His word is true when it says,
"I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to seperate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:37-39
 "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12
"For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." 2 Corinthians 4:17
"The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin." Psalm 146:9

Trusting the Lord & fighting for joy in the midst of this trial,