Any News???

Any news?  This is the question we often get asked on a daily basis.  It is the BEST and the HARDEST question right now.

It is the BEST because it reminds us we have a village of people loving us, supporting us, praying for us, fighting for us, and rallying behind us as we wait for our dear children to be made known and come home.  It also reminds us that you too are waiting and love and care for our Ticos, whom you have never met.  Truly, we thank you for caring and being on our team!  Please don’t stop asking….but also know this-

It is the HARDEST because it reminds us that we have no new news.  It is a reminder that we have two beds that are made and have no one sleeping in them.  It reminds us that two children we are praying for, preparing for, losing sleep for, crying for, longing for, and dreaming of are still not with us.  I (Kari) so badly want to have news to share with all of you.  Honestly, part of me doesn’t want to disappoint anyone when I have to again say, “no, we are still waiting”.  In the waiting God has showered us with many blessings, but there has also been much heartache.

Often in this waiting season, I pray that God will meet me and provide my heart with hope and encouragement.  Many days, God has shown up in verses, in provision, in dreams, while praying and through people.  Some days, He has been silent. However, through it all, He continues to remind me He is all I need!!  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

So keep on asking if we have “ANY NEWS”?  This good and difficult question helps us remember who and what He has provided for us in this journey and that He continues to be our hope in the wait.

Much love to you,

Kari for the crew

Difficult but beautiful journey of adoption.

This morning I read an awesome blog post from our adoption agency, Lifeline.  I love it when I read something that articulates things better than I ever could!!  I have heard many of these same things from my fellow mama friends who have already adopted or are in the process of adopting.  So, today I am sharing some excerpts that I hope let our family and friends have insight into what we are learning, and experiencing now and possibly in the future.

“Adoption – It is both messy and beautiful.  It is both unnatural and, yet, very natural.  It is difficult and it is rewarding.  Unfortunately unlike other things in life, it is not an “or.”  Adoption is an “and.”

Adoption is messy.  Adoption always begins in tragedy for a child.  There is no child who has ever been adopted or who currently waits to be adopted who has not personally experienced loss, tragedy, and the depravity of man.  Children are neglected, abandoned, and abused.  Children are born into situations where even loving parents don’t feel they have the resources or ability to parent.  Children have lost one or both parents to death.  This is tragedy and this is messy.  It is because we live in a sin-sick world that the words “orphan” and “adoption” exist.  Because we live in a sin-sick world, we desperately need a Savior.

Adoption is beautiful.  Adoption is a beautiful picture of grace and mercy.  It is the restoration of a family and the restoration from brokenness caused by the loss of relationships.  For sinners, Christ adopts us when we follow Him and that is the most beautiful adoption of all.

Adoption can be unnatural.  It is never best for a child to lose his or her parents to tragedy.  It is never the natural way that children should be raised.  Our prayer is for the restoration of birth families and for indigenous adoption when and where possible.

Simultaneously, adoption is also very natural.  Physical adoption can be very natural and is a majestic picture of love that transcends race, culture, and blood.  Spiritual adoption is always natural as it is a return to our Creator whom we have rebelled against.  It is reconciling with the true Lord not the pseudo idols we create as a result of our sin.

Adoption is difficult.  It is costly; it is laborious; it is complicated; and it is a pursuit.  It is hard to navigate between the truth and the fiction of adoption.  It is complicated for a child to assimilate into a new family, a new culture, and a new identity.  Our spiritual adoption cost Jesus his life and caused the weight and burden of our sin to be placed on his back.  Adoption is always challenging and costly.

Adoption is rewarding.  Even through the hardships, difficulties, and sleepless nights – physical adoption is rewarding.  Spiritual adoption by our Heavenly Father is the greatest reward of all.”

Thanks for walking with us on this beautiful and messy journey of adoption!

Our love to each of you~

Kari

PS-Here is a fun side of the adoption right now…both the boys’ and girls’ rooms are ready for the Ticos.  Can I just say my man is a rock star?!!!

YOU are a piece of our puzzle…..take a look

The puzzle is finished!!!  All 500 hundred pieces have names of people who are praying for us, have participated in fundraisers, and those who specifically sponsored pieces.  It is framed and ready to hang up in the boys’ room.  It was so special to put the puzzle together with family.  It was also a sentimental time writing individual and family names, reflecting on who have journeyed with us so far and taking time to pray blessings over each person.  Thank you all for your love and support!  God has used each of you to show us His love and teach us so much about what it means to be part of the body of Christ.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it”.  1 Cor. 12:27

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HOPE

Lately, God has been teaching me so much about HOPE….He has shown me this word or theme around our home, in verses, conversations, in songs, and in sermons.  As I seek Him and ask Him for Hope (often specifically with our adoption), He has brought me Hope through spending time with Him praying and hearing His voice, texts/emails from friends and family, surprise gifts received in the mail, momentos I found from when I lived in Costa Rica, donations for our adoption, reading books, and being in His word.  The kids even asked to buy an ornament for the Ticos this year, which is now hanging on our tree, bringing me Hope.

As we wait for God to reveal to us who our precious Ticos are, God is allowing me to experience Hope in a whole new way, and it has been extra special to me as we celebrate Christmas, Jesus’ birth, the true reason we have Hope.

He is teaching me to be hopeful as we wait, expectantly watching for Him.  To watch and experience His promises and truth-knowing He is good, His plans and timing are perfect, nothing is impossible for Him, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He does immeasurably more than I could imagine .

Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord”.

Days became weeks and now it has been over 4 months since Costa Rica approved the Lovely family to adopt a sibling set-little boy age 5-8 along with his younger sister.  (Originally, we thought we would have a referral after a few weeks after being approved, since that was what happened previously for the 3 families that adopted with Lifeline).  God had a different plan for us, and we have a different timeline.  There has been no new news from Costa Rica on our adoption.  No activity….yet I know that God is at work.  He gives us Hope as I watch and see His work in me, through me, and around me.  What He is doing during this “wait season” is just as important as what we are hoping and waiting for with our Ticos.

As we wait for that life changing phone call that says we have a referral for our children-on the days that my heart physically aches to have those children in my arms, on the days it feels like we will be in this wait phase forever and nothing will or has changed, on the days where I weep thinking about our children (and all orphans) who sit in the orphanage longing for a family, on the sleepless nights….I can have Hope because I have trust in our great God who loves me, and He is at work and is fighting for me and those children.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. (Our family theme verse during our adoption journey).

  • Please pray that our Ticos will have people loving on them and sharing God’s love and truth with them…especially during this Christmas season.
  • Continue to pray for each of our hearts to be prepared.
  • Pray that we will continue to expectantly watch for God as we wait.

Wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas,

Kari for the Lovely crew

Psalm 130:5-7 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption”.

Nerium Fundraiser

I LOVE the creative and generous ways God provides and has provided for our adoption!!

Have you heard of the amazing skin care products by Nerium International (I am on my first bottles of day and night cream and loving it!)?  If you are interested in buying NeruimAD skin care for yourself or as a gift, you would also be able to support our adoption.  We are thankful for the generosity of our friend Libby….now until the end of the year, any new customers that purchase through her website, will benefit our adoption 100%. She says that holiday gift tins are available and there is a no questions asked 30 day money back guarantee. Libby is happy to answer any questions, you can contact her via email: libbysanders@yahoo.com.images

We are excited for another opportunity to see God at work and experience His love for us and our ticos!!  James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change“.

With much love and thanks,

Kari for the crew

 

Oak trees

It has officially been over a year since our lives were forever changed, and we began the journey of adoption with our placing agency, Lifeline. (Have we mentioned how great Iris and our team are?!! Seriously, the best!)

What a journey it has been!!  As I (Kari) sit here and reflect on what God has done in the past year, my heart is BURSTING!!!-anyone who knows me well, knows this means right now I have tears and it is hard to take a full breath.  We have seen God’s hand and His LOVE in abundance for us in such tangible ways-His PROVISION and His PURSUIT of us.

His PROVISION-God has brought in over $35,000 for our adoption in just.one.year! Again, so much more than we could have ever imagined.  He is a God of creativity and miracles-We had no idea the ways He would provide for us to save and earn money (extra jobs, crafting, selling items, appliances/items being fixed for free, free vacations, bundling and changing insurance companies, and re-financing our home).  Blessing us with the Show Hope and Lifesong grant.  The amount of people He would use to bless us with their talents, service, and financial gifts is humbling and has taught us so much about generosity and sharing His love.  It has been fun to go back and soak in all that He had for us in each of the Share the Love fundraisers:

His PURSUIT of Us-This year we have felt His pursuit of us in such a deep way.  God has revealed Himself and poured out His love in new ways- challenging us, encouraging us, growing us and providing healing and freedom to our lives. (We are so thankful for the people, our adoption & couples groups, books, classes and conferences He has put in our path to help in this process too). This “picture” of a tree and its roots continues to be a theme He has for us.  It symbolizes growth in our faith, marriage and relationships with our kids, family and friends; with our faith being strong and well rooted, bringing fruit wherever we are planted.  I have even received gifts of this Oak tree from people, without me even telling them about this theme.  Often during this adoption process, we have seen His pursuit of us in a similar way of our pursuit of our Ticos, and are also reminded of how we too have been adopted into His family.  He longs for us to be in His family, the same way we long for our Ticos to be home.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (this is a verse He continues to show us)

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called OAKS of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor”.

We are grateful and trust God for all He is doing in this sacred waiting season-it truly is a time of purpose and perseverance.   We are soaking in this time together in our marriage and our family of 5.

We would love for you to pray the following with us and for our Ticos:

HOPE in the waiting.  This verse Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”  is one we cling to.

PEACE in the unknown timeline, circumstances, and finances.

JOY in our Father’s love.

With much thanks and love,

DSCN0049The Lovely crew

PS. We are still waiting for a referral and the wait time is unknown.  Meaning…we could get a call this week, or a year from now.  Thanks for being so faithful on our journey with us.

Did y’all hear about the Hoe-Down???

It was such a fun and memorable night!!  Wow!  God’s love was so evident in the Schilling Barn.  Just looking in at the barn, noticing all the details people did to make the event happen (thanks again Browns, MaryAnne, Schillings, our event team, volunteers, those who brought cookies, and Odd Moe’s pizza), and seeing each person He brought to the event-His LOVE truly felt tangible and it is a night our family will never forget…..and one our Ticos won’t either, as people generously gave over $2500 to help bring them home.  THANK YOU!!  As we have said before, we thank God every time we remember you!!

Since a picture is worth a thousand words….we thought we would share a few of our favorites (thanks Christi).  Our love to each of you- The Lovelys

Updates-We had to share a few more ways God showed up and provided…do you remember hearing about our leaking refrigerator?  Well, it got fixed for free!  Yep for free.  The repairman and his family said they couldn’t make it to the Hoe-Down, and so he wanted to repair it for us for free. What an answer to prayer!

It was so great to see many Corban University (this is where Mike is the strength and conditioning coach) students at the Hoe-Down. The next few days after the Hoe-Down, students continued to come up to Mike and hand him money for our adoption, saying sorry they couldn’t make it to the Hoe-Down.  One team even took an “offering” because they had an away meet.  These college students have been such a blessing!

Share the LOVE shirts and hoodies available again….

Hello Lovely friends, we decided to do a round 2 of ordering shirts and hoodies at the Hoe-Down fundraiser this Friday, but also realize that not all will be able to attend.  So, if you would still like a shirt or hoodie, we will be taking orders until Friday 9/27.

shirts 2

All t-shirts are $20.  All sweatshirts are $35.

Styles: Traditional (adult sizes/youth), V-neck (ladies sizes), or pullover hoodie sweatshirt (adult sizes/youth)

Sizes: adult (S up to 4XL), youth (XS (4), S(6-8), M(10-12), L(14-16), XL(18-20), or ladies (only available for v-neck, S up to 2XL)

***update-if ordering a youth size, last time we ordered, they ran about one size small.  (so if your child normally wears a size small, go one size bigger and get a medium)

Here is the sizing chart (click on it to get a better view)-so gals if you are ordering a traditional shirt or a hoodie, look to see what size would fit you best.  (ie: if you normally order a Lg in Women’s size, then you may want a Med in “adult size”).  The v-neck is only available in ladies sizes (and sizing is below too)

sizes

Please let me know if you have any questions.

How to Order: In person at the Hoe-Down.  You can order through paypal (you can also use your Credit Card via PayPal)-when ordering, in a “message to the seller” please let us know sizes and style you would like  (ie: 1 traditional shirt size L, 1 hoodie size M, 1 v-neck size S, 1 traditional shirt youth L). 

You can also order in person, by email (kari@spu.edu), FB message, or in comments below.  You can pay cash/check at time of pick up/delivery or by mail.  Out of town folks: We will ship you the shirts, so make sure we have your address too.

It has blessed and encouraged us so much to see friends and family wearing our shirts.  If you get a chance, send us a photo.  I am starting to make our Ticos a scrapbook album, and I would LOVE to have as many photos of friends/family wearing these LOVE shirts.  That makes me tear up just thinking about them seeing those photos!!

Much love to each of you!!

Kari

When life gets messy…

Literally!!  In less than 24 hours, the following has taken place:

  • Discovered that our cat has been using our living room curtains as his litter box.  Yuck!  FYI-did you know that dry cleaning won’t even get that nastiness out??
  • Discovered a wet puddle on our basement carpet-looked up and find that our ceiling is dripping….run upstairs, and discover that our fridge has water coming out all around it.
  • Toliet is not working- the handle is broke and something else in the tank, and now picture water shooting up at you and your walls…yep, another not so clean moment.
  • Okay, time to regroup and enjoy a little story time at the library with my girl….guess we were enjoying ourselves too much.  Walked out to our car 5 min after meter was up and have a fatty parking ticket on it.

This is when I start to feel myself fighting the tears.  I felt God had given me a good sense of humor with all the messes, but this one brought on the fear of how can we afford all of these unexpected expenses.  I know my friends are praying on our behalf and I begin to ask God once again for His eyes and perspective, His strength, and His patience.

When I got home, I got a bill in the mail from our insurance company detailing the costs of the minor surgery Mike just had on his head (he had a benign cyst removed-all is good)…..the surgery came to roughly $1,400.  How much did we owe??  The same cost as the parking ticket-$30.  It was again in that moment that I knew God had answered my prayer.  He had given me a new perspective, His.  He gave me the sweet reminder that He is good all of the time, even in the messes.  That He is my provider and His grace is enough.  I can not do anything in my own strength, but He wants me to lean in, trust and depend on His sovereignty.  He WILL and IS sustaining me.  I am so thankful that I can cry out “Lord I need thee, I need thee every hour minute”.  It is also in these moments that He reminds me He is preparing and equipping me to be mama to not only the children under our roof, but our new Ticos.

Praying today that you too will “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:2) Because, “surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me!” (Psalm 54:4)

Much love ,

Kari

PS.  HA!  As I was typing this blog post, Kate was having her “quiet time” where she often reads or falls asleep.  This is what I just discovered….

…..a little girl who wanted to take all her dresses off the hangers (I guess the dolls were going to a party, and they also needed hundreds of little rubber bands scattered across the room)…just another chance for me to practice, right?!
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