Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Best of Facebook: March 2015

3/1/15: Click here to see video on FB:

AMEN x20!!!! This is such an overlooked subject when dealing with the church and adoption. Praise God for a little more light shed on this subject. Please watch and share if you have or know someone who has adopted! It is a lonely road parenting RAD especially when you don't know what RAD is or why this child you love dearly hates you!

We watch Wretched often although Todd (the show host) drives me crazy sometimes with his antics. I do not believe that Todd is saying that 100% of children have RAD, I think he is saying that potentially you can adopt a child with 100% RAD. Not only did our first 3 have RAD to varying degrees but last year we specifically adopted a child diagnosed with RAD from an adoption disruption. RAD behaviors are REAL! Yet let me point out that Jesus can heal and release the bondage of even RAD!!!

The hardest part of adoption and RAD is loving a child that does not reciprocate any form of love, but isn’t that the gospel! Jesus loved us, a people that did not reciprocate His love yet He filed for our adoption anyway! We then love Him because He first loved us! That is the story of RAD, we as parents get to live on the front lines of the gospel and sacrifice our lives and love with sometimes no reward. We do have hope even with RAD, we have Jesus. Also, the best biblical resource we have found for parenting children with these symptoms is “Parenting the Difficult Child” by Linda Rice.

Let me present an adoption scenario: Twins are born, mom decides that she isnt ready for this and begins looking for an adoption plan for her babies. She needs an immediate family for these 6 week old baby boy twins. Question, would you be willing to adopt them?

I do believe that most of you are so willing to adopt that you are about to comment or message me to ask if this is real. But are you ready to appear in front of an attorney and adopt today? In an hour? In your willingness to adopt did you prepare for adoption ahead of time? Have you completed your adoption homestudy? If God has laid adoption on your heart, if at any point in your walk you have said, "I would love to adopt one day" then step out in faith and get prepared! God could call on you at any moment. You could talk to a woman tomorrow at the grocery store or hear a need from a friend. There may not be time to say, "I am willing but give me 3 months to get my homestudy completed." Adoption needs tend to be immediate and almost never are you going to have 9 months to prepare! I you are not ready you may miss out on a unique opportunity to be surprisingly blessed!

Willingness is great, but are you prepared to say "I am ready. Lord, send me," with homestudy in hand, if you were offered twins today?

Just got home very late from dancing the night away! We were invited to a English Country Dance event with a purpose to fundraise money to help our friend Dima, an orphan from Ukraine who came here on a medical visa, apply for Asylum to stay in the country! So today we spent 2 hours of last minute thrift store shopping in hopes of finding some old english costumes. After prayer, three thrift stores and $25 our goal was accomplished! We loved learning so many old dances including our new favorite, the Virginia Reel. Here are some pictures of our fun!

Let me tell you a story of blessings!

Our tax return just came in (woohoo!) and we have budgeted all the money to fulfill our final needs for our new home. One of those budgeted needs was an AC/heat system. The house is set up for central air but the AC system was old and broken when we bought the house. We budgeted $1500 for a good, used one and called an AC guy that a good friend recommended. He came out discussed our budget, looked over everything and said he would call with a quote. His call later that day blew me away!

Now let me set the stage a little bit. That morning we got a late start, it was a plain old rough morning. It was 10:30am by the time we finally got farm chores done and breakfast on the table. Here I am in a old t-shirt and had kinda skipped the hair brushing and make-up in my usual morning routine when the scheduled AC guy shows up. He was just here to do get a quick quote for a paid job so I let it go that I appeared so unorganized and frazzled. He left after about 30min of gathering all the information he needed to write up a quote and promised to call later. Around 3pm the same day the phone rang.

"Mrs. Carroll this is _____, the AC guy. I wanted to let you know that I have never met a sweet and well-mannered bunch of kids as your own. I was so thoroughly impressed with your home and felt an overwhelming peace of God while I was there. The presence of Holy Spirit is so evident all over your home and family. I could barely make it out your driveway without tears streaming down my face. Because of the amazing work you guys are doing I want to donate a AC/heating system, all new duct work, the wiring and installation. You will have the whole package and won't pay a thing. I want to do this for your family. God has been so good to my business and my family and He has placed it on my heart to bless yours. You have other places that budgeted money can be well spent I am sure!

When I picked up my jaw off the floor and wiped away tears I called my hubby and fell in awe of our amazing God who is so big and so evidently seen through our weaknesses, flaws and imperfections!

Today, four guys for six hours worked hard and fully installed and set up our brand new system! God is good all the time, all the time God is GOOD!

Our garden is done! Seeds planted and baby seedlings are a sprouting. It took a lot of work for 3 days straight but we will see what God does as we venture to grow our own produce. It is as big as our house at 2000sqft! A huge thank you to my hubby for tilling the land, it was way harder than one would imagine with all the roots and compacted soil. A shout out to my awesome kiddos, Anthony who cut down every tree that made our garden boxes and Mirabel, Risa and Sam who moved trees and raked and spread lots of old hay! Yay!

Our visit to Orlando to see Brittany this past Mon-Wed went part very well and part frustrating. Due to some hiccups we didn't get to participate in all the stuff we planned on, like our CMS medical training or a visit with her school nurse and teacher. But we did get to be a part of a doctor's visit with Brittany and speak with her doctor at length about her aHUS condition. She was all smiles once we were out of the hospital and talking in the parking lot. We also were able to see her later that day briefly at her foster parent's house.

Brittany was much more interactive and talkative and again smiled up a storm around the kids. Little Maggie is so sweet around her. Maggie gently placed her hand on Brittany's leg, "We have yours bed for you in ours room. You will live with us. You can play with my Minnie Mouse kitchen." As we were leaving and promised to come back, Brittany reached out and grabbed my hand with both of hers, she held tight and began repeating, "I want you to stay, I want you to stay." To say the least, it was very hard to leave. The kids already love her and talk about her all the time. We are working on our schedule and budget for the next time we can travel and visit with her. Next visit we should be able to do an overnight visit with her in Orlando.

We have such a wonderful host family in Orlando to stay with and have so much fun visiting even when frustrations arise. Also it has been a blessing to see my family more often and for them to get to know the kiddos, who are pretty fun and awesome!

Our guest post "with open arms" about adoption disruption was published yesterday on the blog "No Hands But Ours."

It is about the little known world of adoption disruption. Adoption disruption is a real dilemma in our culture, even in our churches. There are orphaned and children waiting to made family have their adoptions disrupted or dissolved daily. It is a much bigger reality than any of us wish to admit or recognize. Our culture is one of shallow commitments, we see that through the stats on our nation's divorce rate. And to think married people fell in love and both willingly chose each other for life. Often when adopting a child it feels more like an arranged marriage, one in which only one party is making a commitment to love. First comes commitment, then comes adoption then, sometimes much later, comes the moment when we fall in love.

"Attachment takes both parties. A child struggling with attachment needs us, as the parent, to show them a love that they cannot resist. A love that says, “I am going to love you no matter what you do or say to me!” A love that says, “I am going to be here for you whether you want me to be or not, because I love you!” A love that says, “I am not going to let you hurt yourself, me or others because you mean too much to me!” A love that has nothing to do with how we, as parents, feel. We are not toddlers controlled by emotions, but adults who can and must control our emotions.

These children need a love that isn’t a passing warm feeling, but an unwavering commitment. A love that is a daily choice, sometimes a daily battle, but these kids are worth the battle. A love that cannot be shaken by the hard behaviors born in their history of loss and rejection. A love that does not fade or diminish when it is not reciprocated. A love that does not look like any other “love” this world tries to sell us." - Me ;)

Read whole post here:

Easter Egg Hunt at the FL Governor's Mansion. So glad we were invited again this year as the kids look forward to this event every year!

This is where a bleeding heart will you! ;) Sunday night we went to pick up a rescue Great Pyrenees girl who had been living under a shed and needed a home. Apparently she had 6 little puppies who were very sick and we knew they needed to see a vet right away. Mama was sick too and all her milk had dried up, now we have an unexpected $200 vet bill and 6 three-week old puppies that we are bottle feeding.

But aren't they ADORABLE!!! And mama is sweet as pie and is more of a blessing to us then we are to her! Some things in life are about making it a priority to do what is right, not what we have time or money for. Good thing I have some awesome kiddos to help with constant feedings and God's amazing strength to continue to add to our life of busy chaos!

Posted by Shannon

Friday, March 20, 2015

With Open Arms: Adopting From Disruption

Yesterday an awesome blog, "No Hands But Ours" published a guest post we wrote on adoption disruption.
"We have no secret recipe for healing. But we do have a commitment to love these kids the way Jesus loves us. And when we fail and just cannot muster up the strength or feeling to show that love, Jesus supernaturally loves them through us. My goal as mom isn’t for my kids to love me, but for them to love Jesus who is real and lives in me!"- Me 
To see post click here: "with open arms: adopting from disruption"

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Is Adoption a Calling?

We dreamed of our future family. Our perfectly planned two child family. One boy and one girl, in that order. Well, maybe a third, but only if we didn’t get our two genders on the first two tries. We had our two baby names picked out. One boy and one girl. We were already following the American Dream step by step. Nice apartment as newlyweds. Two brand new cars. Then a big mortgage on a big beautiful house. Add in our credit cards, beautiful financed furniture, stylish, new clothing that we never had time to wear because we were always working in our uniforms, nice dinners out every other night and big, expensive vacations. Isn’t two kids, a 50 hour work week, a truck load of debt and a life of living far above our means the normal American Dream? We were normal. We were happy.

But then we were hit by a whirlwind. We were pursued and our hearts were captured. The desire to live a life of the American Dream was torn from our minds and replaced with a new desire. A desire to lose our lives. A desire to give up our lives to serve. A desire to serve others until the end of our lives. A desire to please, honor and obey the One who laid down His life as a ransom for ours. A desire to be willing to be used in any way that He would chose to use us to further His kingdom and for His glory.
"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 
We gave our perfect future family to God. We asked God to choose for us how many children we would have and asked Him to build our family in any way He chose, through birth or adoption. We put our life spent chasing the American Dream on the altar. We sold our cars and bought ones we could afford with cash. We sold our house and bought one we could afford with cash. We gave up one income so we could best care for the blessings God gave to us through adoption. We live within our means and by God’s provision through tight budgeting, growing and raising much of our own food, buying used clothing, items and furniture from second hand and thrift stores. God changed all aspects of our dreams, our desires, and our lives.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present you bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
When we are born again we truly are new creatures. We serve a new King, in a new community. We are no longer part of this world but aliens from a distant land just passing through. While we are here we serve our King through serving others. But how do we know our calling? How do we know God’s will for this new life?
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification;” 1 Thessalonians 4:3a
When God saved us we were instantly justified. We were forgiven, washed clean and made new creatures in Christ. Our justification was like standing in front of the judge as Christ petitioned to adopt us as His own. We were adopted in that moment. Justification says “you are My child,” sanctification says “now live like you are My child.” Sanctification is the life long process of our lives becoming more and more like Christ. One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 1:6-9 where God compares this process of the testing and building of our faith to that of a blacksmith as he plunges the gray stone into the fire. As the flames lick this stone slowly the dross melts away into the heat and revealed is a brilliant, shimmering yellow malleable liquid that we call gold. That is us. What a picture. But do we step in the fire willingly? Do we kick and scream and fight when it gets too hot? Are we keeping our eyes glued to our future hope? To Jesus who is more precious than gold and whose image we are conforming to?

Sanctification hurts. It is like being thrust into fire. It burns. But sanctification comes with a great promise! That we will one day be as precious and shining as gold. A promise that one day we will see glorification. A day when we will be finished, given and new imperishable body and taken to our permanent, eternal home. Oh, how there are days I am so homesick and long earnestly for that day. Lord, Your will be done, Your kingdom come.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to becomes conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:28-31
As we walk through this Christian life, as we walk through our sanctification God will continue to work on us by putting His Word into our mind (“cognition”). He will then plant seeds of “conviction” that will one day bear the fruit of “affection.” Terms were taken from this article, The Steps of Biblical Sanctificaion by John MacArthur.

To turn this post to our heart for adoption, let me say that as we allowed God’s Word to sink deep into our hearts our cognition of God’s character deepened. We see that God loves and cares for the orphan. Because we are being conformed to Jesus’ likeness we therefore will also love and care for the orphan. We see that God created all humans in His image and put an intrinsic value on every child regardless of their physical, emotional or mental capabilities. We value life, all life, because God does. We truly believe that God will place this same cognition in the minds of all His people at some point in their sanctification. That cognition is the seed that grows into a plant of conviction. Because God values all life and loves the orphan we grow a conviction as God’s people to step up and put those words into action.

That conviction will come in many ways but often is in the form of adoption. Everyone we talk to about our family always says something like, “we have thought about adoption one day.” I have never met a Christian that didn’t mention their personal love for adoption. Because, we believe, God has written His love for adoption on all of our hearts when He adopted us.

This may rub some wrong but we do not believe that adoption itself is a “calling” from God.


If God picked and chose certain Christians to adopt then I am the last qualified for this calling of taking care of His children! I love clean, quiet, order and normal. I am introverted and really don’t like attention or touch. I am not a very fun or huggy or soft, motherly natured type person. I am all business and structure, a “let’s get her done” kind of gal. I am more equipped to climb a corporate ladder than kiss boo-boos and counsel young hearts. Did I hear the call of God wrong? Maybe He meant for me to lead a Christian business from behind a computer in my quiet of my childless house.

God doesn’t call the equipped, but I promise He equips who He calls!

We definitely don’t feel we were audibly “called” by God to adopt children. We were called to follow God and sacrifice all for Him. As we surrendered we followed God where His heart is. His heart is with the poor, the needy and the orphaned, therefore that is where we followed Him. Are we “called?” Yes, called to love others as ourselves. We don’t want to be poor, hungry or without parents so why would we leave others in that condition? Did we always want to adopt? Absolutely not. We wanted what we viewed as the easy road, birth children. But we had that still, small voice, that passing thought that said, “we will adopt one day because we were adopted.” Slowly, as we stepped out in faith and willingly obeyed that conviction deep in our hearts. God grew that conviction into a tree that bore fruit of affection for adoption, that affection turned “one day” into TODAY. God today we will adopt. We won’t make them who you love suffer any longer as orphans. We will take on Your heart for the orphan and cure their plight today. We surrendered our lives when we submitted, just as Isaiah the prophet did before us (Isaiah 6:8), “Here we are Lord, send us.” In that surrender God did an amazing work tilling our hearts, changing our desires and equipping us for this road of adoption He “called” us to.

This past week we tilled up a 2000sqft area that will prayerfully be a plentiful garden. Brian did most of the tilling as it was quite the difficult task. A small but powerful machine with rotating blades designed to dig deep into the hard earth and make it soft and ready for seeds. Our dirt was compacted and hard after having much heavy machinery drive on it while moving our mobile home onto the property. The tiller had its work cut out for it. It took several rounds going over and over the hard soil. Each time the tiller passed over an area of dirt it dug deeper and deeper cutting up huge roots and digging up large rocks and stone that couldn’t be seen on the surface. Slowly the soil began flowing freely and easily through the blades as it stirred a black living substance that will miraculously grow our food. Holding onto that tiller as it fought and leaped against the hard ground it gave me a picture of my own heart. A hard heart that God forced His perfect tiller over. He tore through the surface of selfishness and continues to dig deep, cut roots of anger and bitterness and throw out stones of pride. Until more of my soil begins to resemble that perfect, rich and soft magic that will grow great fruit for Him. What a picture Jesus paints in the parable of the soils in Matthew 13.

We are told all the time how AMAZING we are. How awesome what we are doing is. How great it is that we “found” our calling in this life. I cannot tell you how incorrect this is! We are the furthest people from amazing. We don’t always walk willingly or immediately. We don’t always want to follow the convictions God puts in our hearts. Why? Because this road is hard, tiring and at times lonely. We are human, weak and fearful. We don’t feel ready or equipped when we take the leap of faith and say, “yes” once again. We walk in faith (“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1) and then pray and pray that God would give us an affection for this conviction. He always does. Each time He calls us again to this road of adoption through conviction He always grows that affection within us later. So even when we are scared to walk this road again we can remember that God has proven faithful in the past. He will grow in us that affection if we will walk in faith now.

Do we feel supernaturally "called" as adoptive parents?
No, this is just the way the universal "call to sacrifice" has played out in our personal life.

Let me leave you with this quote that is stuck deep in my heart.    
“No generous impulse is from Satan. All good and generous impulses are from God!” - Jodi Ware, wife of Bruce Ware from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Satan isn’t out there tempting people to care for the orphan. He is against all things good and holy. He wants you to give you 1000 reasons why you can’t possibly be called to do God’s will.

If you have ever thought that adoption would be something you could see yourself doing one day then maybe, just maybe YOU have been “called” by God.

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone