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

August 27, 2011

Finding Comfort in Romans

After one of my sweet friends encouraged my hurting heart with Romans 8:38 just the other day, I sat down this morning to read all of Romans 8, and I am oh so glad I did. The Lord met me here in His word, as he always does. I am finding so much comfort in Paul's (and ultimately God's) words to the believers in Rome.

"For God has done what the law.. could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,... in order that that righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled.." Romans 8:3-4

"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of ADOPTION as SONS, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." Romans 8:15-17
   Wow. I have read these verses so many times, rejoicing in my adoption and being astounded that I am a fellow heir with Christ, but completley IGNORING the last part of the verse! "...provided we SUFFER with him (Christ) in order that we may also be glorified. So humbling.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the GLORY that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18  THAT IS A GLORIOUS REMINDER. The suffering we are going through now of mourning the death of a beautiful baby girl that we already loved so much is nothing compared to the GLORY that will be revealed to us in the future because we are Christians!!! I wish I had this heaven-ward perspective all the time!

I am so thankful that we have a personal, loving God who in His infinite love and mercy gave us His word to guide us and instruct us!!

Clinging to Christ,

August 25, 2011

From Despair to Hope

Where do I begin? I have so many thoughts swirling around my head, so I apologize now if this post is all over the place, but that is how the past few days have been. I've been all over the place- emotionally and spiritually.

I confess that the first 24 hours after getting the news that our baby girl had died I was overwhelmed with feelings of DESPAIR. I kept looking at her picture and telling her, "I'm so sorry baby. Mommy loves you. I'm sorry I didn't get there in time." I felt like I had let her down. Like I didn't rescue her in time. And that is a gut-wrenching, despair-inducing way to think.

I kept questioning WHY GOD?? WHY??? WHY would You let this happen? When we were just months from bringing her home... when she would FINALLY experience the LOVE of Christ through our family. WHY would He let her die just days before our director got to Congo?? WHY would God let her die an orphan?? WHY did He not UPHOLD her as He promises to do throughout His word, especially in Psalm 146 that I've been praying through so often recently. WHY did you let this happen to our beautiful little girl, who is made in Your image???

I burst into tears every time I looked at her picture or thought about her all alone in an orphanage with NOONE to love on her & care for her. I burst into tears as I thought about our director showing up at her orphanage to give her our care package, only to find that she wasn't there. I burst into tears as our 18 month old son kept making silly faces at me, obviously trying in his little 18 month old way to "cheer mommy up." I burst into tears even when I learned the following day that she died in a Congolese hospital. It was somewhat comforting to know that she did receive medical attention, but broke my heart that they couldn't figure out what was wrong and HELP her. Basically, I've been bursting into tears a lot.

But I praise the Lord that He has not left me there, in my depair. He has surrounded us with our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been pointing us to Christ & truth while Satan has been trying to tempt me to believe his lies. Satan wants me to despair. He doesn't want me to have hope or believe that God is really good. {Sound familiar? Remember that the great deceiver used this same lie to coax Adam & Eve to sin & rebel against God's one rule in the garden... "God is withholding a good gift from you. He doesn't have your good in mind." See Genesis 3, and the outcome... and now ALL SIN and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).}

 So we are SO, SO thankful for the many faithful believers who have been pouring out their love to us, grieving with us, and encouraging us with the word of God. One of the pastors of our wonderful church, Immanuel, and a good friend of ours, Dom, called us Tuesday evening. His words to Jon were so encouraging and MUCH NEEDED that evening. Jon told him how we were struggling to understand Leseli's death in light of Psalm 146, "[the Lord] executes justice for the oppressed, food to the hungry... The Lord watches over the sojourners; He UPHOLDS the widow and the FATHERLESS, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin." As Jon mentioned in his post on Wednesday, Dom said to him, "She is no longer fatherless; she is face to face right now with her heavenly father. However she was suffering, God heard her cry and had mercy on her."
This hit me like a ton of bricks. Why had I not once considered this all evening? My reaction was so self-focused that I failed to realize the great MERCY God has shown her. Because she was just an infant and had not yet reached the age where she had chosen to rebel away from God, we can trust that she is in Heaven, face to face with her Heavenly Father. As much as I yearned to hold her and love her, God's arms are infinitely more loving and perfect than mine would ever be. She's in a place where, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).

Jon read this as we prayed together that night. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways" (Isaiah 55:8-9). Who am I a sinful, imperfect human to try to understand the ways of God? He is infinite, eternal, and created the heavens & earth and everything in them, including ME. Of course I cannot understand WHY everything happens. I am not God. (Thank God for that.)

While I am still VERY, VERY SAD that Leselie Joyce had to die an orphan, that I will never get to know her, show her unconditional love, do mother-daughter things with her, or teach her about my loving Savior Jesus... I can find comfort in knowing that she is with our perfectly loving Heavenly Father and I will meet her one day and spend eternity with her because I am His child too. He adopted me when I was 20 years old when I placed my faith in Christ ALONE for my salvation & gave my life to Him. I now have full assurance that His only biological son, Jesus, paid the penalty of God's wrath that my own sins deserve ("For the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23) so that I can be washed white as snow & so that I don't have to spend eternity seperated from God by my sin in hell.

Another sweet friend reminded me of Romans 8:38, that although I mourn the loss of our baby girl, "I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present not things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor ANYTHING ELSE in all creation, will be able to seperate us form the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Praise the Lord!
In fact, not only can nothing seperate God's chosen children from Him, but He is actually using this trial and this suffering to test the genuineness of my faith & draw me closer to Him. "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Though it has taken me a couple days to say this, I can now say with certainty that I am trusting that God has good plans for our family, plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We would still appreciate the prayers of believers!! This journey is far from over. Our mourning and missing our baby girl is far from over. She will always be missed. 

*You can PRAY that "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts & minds in Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 4:7).

*You can pray that like Paul, we would learn to be content in every circumstance (Phil. 4:11) and trust that God is working all things together for good & making us more like Christ through our suffering (Romans 8:28).

*You can PRAY for us as we continue down this emotional rollercoaster of rescuing orphans. Leseli's death has reminded us just how badly the 4 million orphans in Congo (and 147 million in the world) need a family to RESCUE, love & care for them and protect them. We continue down this road in faith that this is what God is calling us to do, but we know that we are not promised a smooth ride with no heartache. Pray that God would guard our hearts and that the next referrals we get, whenever we get them, would be the children that we get to bring home and that God would knit into our family forever!

Thank you for walking this long, windy, uphill-downhill, crazy journey with us. It would be a lonely road without the encouragement and support of so many friends and family spurring us on!

August 24, 2011

We Love You Baby Girl.

This will officially be my first blog post…a tough place to start, but a good outlet for what’s going on in my heart and mind right now…
This week the director from our agency is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her main goal while over there: visit the children in line to be adopted, take new pictures and video of the children and bring them care packages put together by their new families.
We were so excited to get to put together a care package specifically for our little girl a couple of weeks ago; the adoption process can drag out and seem like it’s never going to end and sending this package to her allowed us to feel more connected with this sweet little girl! You can imagine the excitement and anticipation we were experiencing the past couple of days. I found myself checking my email more regularly throughout the day hoping to see new pictures of my daughter and get an update of how she was doing.
A couple of nights ago Bethany and I were just talking about how much we loved this little girl that we knew so little about. We talked about how it didn’t even matter to us what potential illnesses, disabilities or delays she could have, we loved her no less and couldn’t wait to meet her and bring her home.
Tuesday evening we finally got some news…
I was driving home from work and got a text message from Bethany, “Hurry home. I just got a call from CCI.” I hoped this would be good news but feared what that message might mean.
When I walked in the door Bethany was sitting at the kitchen table with a picture of our little girl in front of her and tears in her eyes. It was written on a piece of paper so she didn’t have to say it, “Our little girl died four days ago.”
We’ve been told that the adoption process can be a rollercoaster of emotions and to expect the unexpected, but man……………….…this really blindsided us.
After several hours to think about things and some encouragement from friends and family, I just want to share a few thoughts…
God is Sovereign. That phrase is thrown around a lot, and can sometimes seem like nothing more than a hard reality; just deal with it and move on. But if understood correctly, it is a glorious and comforting truth! It is helpful for me to think about what it would mean if God is not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then God does not reign over evil, God does not work all things together for our good and we can have no hope in the midst of suffering. What good would it do to pray to a God that is powerless to sovereignly answer prayer? As R.C. Sproul put it, “…if God is not Sovereign, God is not God.” With this in mind, how awesome and powerful are these truths:
“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” – Psalm 97:1

"Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." – Psalm 115:3

"But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind." – Job 23:13-14

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” – Romans 5:3-4

It is comforting for us to know that God is sovereign. We may have felt blindsided by this, but God was not. This was God’s providence. “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father (Matthew 10:29)” The answers to our questions of why may not be completely answered on this side of heaven, and we are ok with that because we know that God has purposed this trial specifically for us in order to conform us to the image of his Son and glorify his name!
One verse that I was struggling to understand last night was from Psalm 146:9, “The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” I couldn’t help but think about how she probably suffered and died from something that would have been preventable here in the States, how our director arrived in the Congo four days too late and how in just a few more months we would have traveled to pick her up and take care of her. How is the LORD upholding the fatherless here?!
I was helped when a friend called last night and prayed with me. On the phone he said, “She is no longer fatherless; she is face to face right now with her heavenly father. However she was suffering, God heard her cry and had mercy on her.”
As sad as it may be for us right now, God had mercy on this little girl and brought her home. Praise God, who in His sovereignty and mercy upholds the widow and the fatherless!
Now that she is deceased, we are allowed to share her beautiful face with you.
Her name was Leseli Joyce. We had already decided and filled out the paper work to change her name to Audrey Joy Meacham, named after my Dad’s Father, her great-grandfather, Audrey L. Meacham.
If you would consider, here are some ways you can be praying with us:
Pray that God would give us a peace that surpasses all understanding, knowing that God is a sovereign and merciful God.
Pray that we would not grow weary in the adoption process, which can at times seem like there is no end in sight.
Pray that God would uphold the fatherless in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (and throughout the world) and that many children would be able to be adopted by Christ-centered families.
In Christ,

August 22, 2011

baby steps

We have taken one baby step closer to bringing our children home! Last Friday we mailed all but 2 of our notarized "child specific" documents to our agency to complete our dossier! We are waiting to send the last 2 until we find out if we are getting our referral for our baby boy this week. (!!!!!)

Some exciting news...
We did get to chat with our director Sue last night online. She will be arriving in Congo TODAY!!!! Please pray with us that she & her daughter would have a safe, productive trip! She said she will try to email us any new pictures of our soon-to-be daughter while she is there!! {We weren't expecting any until she gets back this coming weekend, so that pretty much makes my heart soar!} I cannot wait to see more pictures of her! It is strange that in the first 24 hours after our son, Jonah, was born we had taken probably 100 pictures.... and our little girl is around 9 months old and all we have is ONE picture of her! ONE!

We are SOOOO thankful that Sue is going to see her and check up on her and take lots of pictures, and maybe even some VIDEO!!! She is also going to be delivering our care package to Little Sister!!! I'm really hoping she gets a chance to put one of the outfits on her so we can get a better idea of how big she is! (Her medical didn't include weight or length, so we have no idea how tiny she might be!) No matter what happens this trip, if we get any new pictures or any video, we continue to pray for and love Little Sister more and more everyday!!

Oh, Sue also said that our Attorney does have some referrals to give her once she arrives, but she doesn't know age/gender yet. We are PRAYING that one of those children is our SON and that we will get to see his face THIS WEEK!!!! And that Sue would be able to see him & take some pictures/video as well!!

August 18, 2011

Drawn to the Psalms

Lately, in this season of waiting I have been drawn to the Psalms over and over. We are in a season of waiting. We wait for a referral for our little boy, wait for new pictures/video of Little Sister, wait for any new information, wait for their adoptions to be official, wait for a travel date, wait to bring them home, wait to begin life together as a family of 5.

In the midst of all of this waiting, some days I feel like we are becoming stagnant. I fear that we may never move forward, onto the next step that brings us closer to bringing these children home. I fear the journey may go on forever with no rejoicing at the end. It just doesn't feel REAL some days. Are we REALLY ever going to bring these 2 orphans home? Are we REALLY ever going to be able to hold them and show them how much we love them already, even though we have never met? Are we REALLY going to travel to the poorest country in Africa for up to 2 weeks? Are we REALLY going to see the orphanage they have lived in for the first 6,8, 12 months of their lives? Are we ever REALLY going to be a family? Will they ever REALLY look at me and call me mommy? Will they ever REALLY be here playing with their big brother Jonah?
It would be easy to be overwhelmed and consumed with all these questions and uncertainties if I let myself. So what do I do to "renew my mind" daily?

I have been reading, meditating on, and praying through Psalm 145 and 146 for weeks now. I won't write out the whole thing, but some of my favorite verses currently are:

"The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
He also hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy."
-Psalm 145:17-20

"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob...
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin."
-Psalm 146:5a,6-7a,8-9

I hope these Psalms will be an encouragement to you too, whether you're adopting or going through some other trial. He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28), and that ultimate GOOD is to make us more like Christ through sanctification.

Praying and waiting expectantly, for my help is the God of Jacob,

August 17, 2011


No referral for our little guy yet. Nothing too exciting on our adoption front yet... but our Director, Sue, from Celebrate Children is in Ethiopia right now!!! And we are praying that while she is there, she will be given the letter she needs to get many newly adopted children out of UNICEF's custody and into CCI's Transition house so their parents can come pick them up SOON!!
{If you aren't aware of how ANTI-ADOPTION UNICEF is, just read this article! It will help you think twice about EVER giving any money to them ever again!! As she says in the article,"Somehow in the process of developing a system to eradicate child suffering the very people that system is designed to help—orphaned children—have been forgotten." Go read it!!}

Please pray with us specifically for our friends Justin & Bonnie and the 4 other couples they traveled with just weeks ago!! They passed court and are officially the PARENTS of these precious children made in the image of God!! PRAY that they would get an embassy date soon and and be able to return to Ethiopia to bring their children HOME sweet HOME forever very soon!!!

We are also PRAYING for Sue's trip to Congo next week! She will be going from Ethiopia to Congo to meet with our Attorney, check on our children, and hopefully get lots of pictures and even VIDEO!!! We are PRAYING that we would get a referral for our little boy BEFORE she leaves CONGO so we will be able to get pictures & video of him too!! She'll also be giving our care package to "Little Sister"!!! {We went ahead and sent one to "Baby Brother" too, just in case!!}

Thank you for praying with us and for helping us bear one another's burdens as Christ-centered families labor to rescue orphans!

August 12, 2011

Beautiful Adoption video

I just watched this beautiful adoption video on Filled With Praise and wanted to post it so you can watch it too! I LOVE watching Gotcha Day/ Adoption videos... and I can hardly wait to be on THAT SIDE of our adoption journey & be able to look back & praise the Lord for His perfect timing!!
For now, we will continue to pray for protection for our "Little sister" and pray that we will get a referral for "Baby Brother" VERY SOON!!

Without further ado... Bringing Home Mareto...


August 8, 2011

Shoes for Orphans

We have not started collecting donations to take to the Congo with us yet, but one of my favorite local consignment shops for kids stuff was having an "end of summer sale" and all the shoes were marked down to $1.00!!! So... I cleared them out! I tried to get all the sturdiest, well made shoes I could find so they will last!
Many are stride-rite and other quality brands! Oh, and the best part is when I was checking out I realized my punch card got it's final punch & I got $10 off my purchase!! So I got all 18 pairs of shoes for under $10.00!!!!

{I found this on TOMS website (the shoe company that donates 1 pair of shoes to a child in need for every 1 pair sold)}

Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:

•A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.
•Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.
•Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school.


August 4, 2011

Kisses from Katie

This young girl's life speaks for itself. She is an all-in follower of Christ, a 21 year old mother of 14 former orphans. She is radically living out the gospel in service to the orphaned and impoverished of Uganda & she spurs me on to die to self and life for Christ alone & HIS glory! You can read more of her blog about her life in Uganda at

August 1, 2011

Finally Something Tangible!

We found out last week that we were going to be able to send a CARE PACKAGE to "Little Sister"!!!!! Our director is going to the DRC next week and is going to personally hand deliver the care packaging to the children!
I don't know why exactly, but I got all giddy inside just thinking about actually being able to allow myself to buy something for this little girl that we are PRAYING and PRAYING will  be our daughter. I think it is finally something tangible that makes this adoption feel more REAL! We will finally be connected by something physical. The outfits that I bought and washed for her, she will wear. The books and toys that we got for her she will touch & play with. The stuffed animals and blankets we slept with will (hopefully) have our scent on them and she will smell the scent of her new home for the first time as she cuddles and plays with them.
I'm SO thankful to our director, Sue, for giving families this opportunity! The hardest part was deciding what to put inside, how to pack all the love we have for her in a 2.5 gallon ziploc!! Here's what made the final cut:
Her first of many "Little Sister" shirts!
 I'm really hoping that Sue will get a picture of her wearing this while she is in DRC!
It would be such a cool thing to have for her adoption book!

Cute girly clothes for her very hot climate!

I hope she feels all the love packed in that ziploc bag & that we will have her home with us soon so we can show her that there's A LOT MORE where that come from! =)

*Praying Sue will have a safe, productive trip & get to take lots of pictures & video!!
PS- Here's how many Adoption Fundraising shirts we have left:
GRAY: 1 Small, 8 Medium, 8 Large, 2 XL, 1 XXL
NAVY: 2 Small, 1 Medium, 2 Large, 2 XL
email me @ if you want one!