I cried when I realized the tree we bought for our front yard was a weeping fruitless cherry tree. Of course I had picked a tree just like me, fruitless and weeping as my husband and I struggled with infertility. We had chosen that tree to plant in our front yard to celebrate the close of escrow of the house we now could say we “owned”. Each day, as I watered it by hand, I saw lacy pink blossoms pop from the tree’s seemingly lifeless twigs. Beautiful but barren, I wondered, with inconsolable longing.
Then, weeks later, I discovered a tiny package of promise – sent just for me. As I examined the fading blossoms of my little cherry tree, something new caught my eyes. From a single shriveled blossom, grew a tiny green lump like a pea….or…was it a cherry?! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I cried out with amazement and a strange new hope hovered inside me. How could it be? What could it mean? Could a fruitless tree really grow a cherry? What could God be telling me through this?! In the crossroads of despair and hope, I chose to embrace hope. I laughed, I cried some more, then I called my husband at work and told him through my tears. He loved me enough to agree with me that it must indeed be a sign of hope from God!
Every morning that followed that summer, I tiptoed barefoot through the muddy grass to our tree, to look at my little cherry. Day after day the cherry grew bigger and bigger. Later, it began to ripen and turn red, and I delighted in this visible sign of fertility and life. With fresh hope I began to believe it must be a sign I would someday have a baby to love. I couldn’t stop looking at that cherry for the joy it gave me was like nothing else before. Only God would have known what that small miracle of life on a simple fruitless tree would mean to me.
Even though it was the only cherry ever to grow on our tree, my hope persevered whenever I remembered it. After 2 more years of active waiting and praying, at last God answered our hearts’ desire by grafting life into our barren family tree through the gift of adoption. It was the moment I had waited for all my life!
As I held our beautiful infant daughter close in my arms I showed her the miracle tree that had renewed my hope 2 years earlier. I thought of the tears I had cried, and of all my days of despair, and I marveled in the miracle of God’s gift of life to us. It wasn’t the timing or the way I had imagined we would become a family, but it happened exactly the way God knew we would appreciate best.
With a single cherry, God brought refreshment and promise back into my heartsick spirit, and in His perfect timing, brought the gift of our precious daughter, and eventually, the treasure of our son, to the branches of our waiting arms.
It is hard to believe twenty years have passed since that cherry of hope lifted my heart. Our home buzzes with the busy lives of our highschool senior daughter and third grade son, and I am grateful beyond words for the gifts of our children, and for their beautiful birth families. God truly answered the desires of my heart, beyond my wildest dreams. And it’s my time to pray for others.
Today, our cherry tree’s branches are once again bare and scraggly, dormant in winter. I think of those I know for whom this season is filled with the heartbreak of infertility: the hollow longing for children to love. But I am convinced that hope, like spring is just around the corner. And this year, as I watch for signs of life on our tree, as I’ve done every year for two decades, I will pray God restores hope anew with the gift of a cherry on a fruitless branch in someone else’s yard. May God’s hope be yours this year. Truly, all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27)
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12).
After many years of infertility, Colleen and her husband Mickey are the grateful parents of two beautiful children aged 18 and 9 given to them by God through the loving arms of their birthparents. They live in the Bay Area, California. Colleen’s first children’s book, A Gift for Little Tree – a parable about apples, adoption, and love hopefully will be published in Fall 2013 if it gets the funding needed via the Kickstarter campaign that ends in May!
I received a lot of emails and phone calls over my “Mom” post a few weeks ago. I was a little surprised to hear that so many people were surprised that I was okay with Ty calling Rebekah, Mom. One reader wrote an extremely honest email and admitted that she would be crushed if her adopted son called his birth mom, Mom. She was writing for pointers on how to be more secure in that relationship.
We were at church, last week, and someone was admiring the boys and said, “Now, Ty is your real son, right?” I smiled and launched into our story on how both of our boys came to be. I love telling it.
I know that many adoptive parents equate adoption ignorance to cruel and intentional insults…I just don’t see it that way. I take ignorance for what it is and understand that it is usually bred by curiosity.
Overall, I would say our adoption community is hyper-sensitive when it comes to talking about adoption. Parents spend more time than is necessary trying to prove their place and position…while the child never questions it.
Before Ty was born, God gave me a revelation that has never left my mind. It was like a bright light turned on the day I realized Tyrus belongs to him. Not Rebekah. Not me.
God privileged us with the opportunity to mother him, but possession belongs to God alone. That really helped me in the early days of getting to know Rebekah. It removed the pressure of having to define our roles in ways that seemed unnatural.
Love is not finite. There is no limit to the amount you can give – or get. We always approached Ty’s adoption with this attitude because we knew he could never get his “fill” of love. Rebekah’s presence in Ty’s life doesn’t diminish mine. The same goes for her sister and mother and grandmother. Those relationships don’t take away from the ones he has on our side of the family…they just add to it.
I look at Ty calling Rebekah, “Mom”, the same way. He wants to call her mom because he understands the breadth of what she did for him. He understands her love and affection and wants to return it in a way that makes sense to him. It’s kind of like me calling Ben’s mom, mom. She’s not the mother that stressed and sacrificed and poured into me for the 20 years I had before marrying Ben, but she has enriched my life in countless ways over the last 11. I call her mom because I want to show her respect, love, and admiration. My mom doesn’t feel jealous, insecure, or out of place because of my acknowledgement of Ben’s mom. She knows her place. She will always be my mom.
I know that not everyone has that type of relationship with their mother-in-law, but I hope it helps explain why Ty’s recent choice of words doesn’t bother me.
Ultimately, it comes down to my security in the Lord. I know who I am in Christ, so it’s pretty easy to let insecurities roll down my back. When people use the word “real” when referring to my boys or their moms, it doesn’t offend me because I know who they are to me and who I am to them. Most of the people we run into have no adoption experience. They just ask the first thing that pops into their head. I don’t feel the need to make it a teaching opportunity because most of them will never run into adoption, again. Instead, I use their curiosity as a platform to tell our story and praise God for his goodness!
In just a few short days, Ty will have the opportunity to be with both of his moms and the rest of his extended Colorado family. What a wonderful reunion it will be. I can’t wait to get home and tell you all about it!
Next to my faith walk, I am a wife and mother first. My husband and I have been married ten years and have two incredibly, tender sons, Tyrus and LJ. Our boys are essentially twins, yet neither boy was born from my belly. We adopted sweet Ty (domestically) in 2009 and have a wide-open relationship with his birth family. LJ was also born in the summer of 2009, but came to our family, this year, as a ward of the state (via foster care). Our hearts and abilities have been stretched to capacity, but God is moving, filling, and redefining family for all of us. Follow along on our journey.
Sometimes Lily talks about wanting to go back to her “old place,” as she calls her orphanage – her home for 4 years. She was loved there. She was a sick little baby who against the odds grew to be a sick little girl, sick but spunky. Her referral described her as “stubborn and coquettish” and it was all too true. We’ve been learning a lot from this little firecracker.
It was one of those moments when discipline seems unfair and being the littlest and having to follow rules is simply no fun anymore… “I want go back my old place.” she said, chin quivering a little bit.
Wrapping her arms tightly around Lily, my mom told her about how sad we all would be if Lily left. She was in our family now, she was our special. Lily squinted her eyes, pursed up her lips and blushed the way only she can when she feels loved and wanted. “I stuck,” she said.
Since that day, the word “stuck” has earned itself a new meaning in our family. “I stuck with you,” Lily says as she snuggles close – knowing that she’s safe and wanted and that the love of a mama and daddy won’t ever run out. “I stuck” she’ll sullenly announce when the little responsibilities of being in a family get tiresome. “We all stuck…” she’ll figure, naming each of her big brothers and sisters – all of us part of a big stuck-together-family.
She was sitting on her bed, ready to turn off the lights and go to sleep when she started remembering. “You meet my friend?” she asked. “At my old place?” Oh, yes, we did meet her old roommates when we visited her orphanage at the time of her adoption. There were three bunk beds, so six girls to a room. She had been the littlest, and three of the girls still in her room had been her friends. They remembered her, even though it had been over a year since she had slept on her bottom bunk. They called her name and she introduce her family. Her family.
“On my friends,” she continued, “she not stuck. I think… probably… she want be stuck.”
“Can we pray for her?”
This was the first time that we heard Lily express and acknowledge the fact that the friends from her “old place” are still orphans, waiting for a mommy and daddy of their own. They’re waiting to be stuck.
“Claire stuck. Levi stuck. Joshua stuck. Yanyin stuck.” Lily goes down the list of her friends. “Ohh… (she remembers other close friends who have yet to be matched with families)… they stuck? We pray for them.”
Let’s join Lily in hoping and praying that one day, every child knows what it is to be wanted, chosen and stuck.
When Hannah traveled to China in 2002 with her parents to adopt her sister Elisabeth, she fell in love with the country and people. In 2004, when her other sister Naomi was adopted, she started dreaming of going back. It took 5 years for that dream to come true. She now serves in a foster home for special needs orphans in China. Hannah spends her days studying, writing for the foster home and on her personal blog, Loving Dangerously, and most importantly, holding babies. Hannah loves the adventure of living overseas with her family. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.
i try to remember and can’t. i try really, really hard. but when i go back in my mind, it’s not there. i then i remember it didn’t happen that way. all it takes is a clip of a commercial…the one with the mothers holding their new born babies, and my mind goes racing back to the day when i gave birth to Sophia. but i didn’t. and it’s one of the the strangest feelings i’ve ever had. the first time it happened, i kind of freaked out. i was watching some movie on tv, and there she was, a new mommy holding that precious little baby, and in my mind i thought, “oh, how sweet…i remember how i felt when i…” and then i froze. no, i don’t remember that, but oh how it feels like i should! we’ve been home with sophia for over a year now and God has sealed us together so tightly as a family, that i forget we went to China! i feel as if i gave birth to her…i feel as if it should’ve have happened! the first time i had that realization, i cried. i guess i was grieveing what didn’t happen, but i was also just plain feeling sorry for myself because one day i would so love to tell sophia about the day i gave birth to her. and on top f that, i never want her to feel as if she is different than any other little boy or girl whose mommy and daddy love them and brought them home a few days after entering the world. so, i did what i always do…i turned to Him. and He did what He always does… He gently reminded me of His perfect plan. His plan of how He brought our family together that day in China… the way He wanted to. He reminded me that i need to trust in Him when the time comes to explain those things to her, and that giving birth is miraculous. whether it’s natural or supernatural, like ours was. after the initital shock of trying to conjure up a memeory that was not there, i realized how blessed i was to feel that way. she IS my daughter, and yes, I am her real mommy. nothing will ever change that. our circumstances are different, but boy are they incredible! today we celebrate her birthday. and even though i may not remember the day she was born, there is someone who does. a nameless woman, halfway around the world, who, today, i’m sure, is remembering the day she walked into a hospital in Nanjing three years ago and gave birth to the sweetest little girl on earth. her memories, i’m sure, are filled with pain. i can’t even imagine what she may be feeling. i pray for her today. i pray that God somehow will let her know that the child she gave birth to is with a family (and i mean a great big family!) that loves her beyond the moon and back. i wish i could thank her. thank her for loving her enough to risk going into a hospital to give birth. to thank her for choosing a better life for her. to thank her for following God’s plan…even if she didn’t know what she was doing. one day i may be able to do that. only God knows…but for right now, i pray that today will bring peace to her. we have such a beautiful story of love to share with our daughter one day. and although our memories with her start at 21 months old, i think we are doin a pretty good job of making some wonderful memories with her. today is her day. and we will celebrate the joy of who she is in our lives. a daughter we can’t imagine never not having. and it really doesn’t matter how God did it. i’m just so glad He DID!
Margy and her husband, Darren, traveled to China in November 2011 to bring their daughter home. Sophia Li was 21 months old at the time and has been helping Margy burn lots of calories ever since. The three live in southeastern NC and enjoy ice cream, visiting Disney World whenever possible, and being a forever family that God brought together by His perfect design. You can follow their story on her blog, Hughes House.
Paul has been delving deeper into his life story as of late. Partly because I finally got it together enough to transfer his story from “out of my mouth” (his phrase for the paperless storytelling that sometimes happens in those dark and dreamy moments before sleep) and onto the printed page. And while I love “out of my mouth” stories, there is something solid and substantial about holding a story, with its heft and crackle and smells of ink, firmly in one’s hand.
We are a people of story. We need stories to learn, to grow, to make sense of the world around us. Stories connect us to our past, give us roots, a sense of place and permanency, fill us with resolve to spread our wings and seek new adventure. Stories give us hope.
No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place. – Maya Angelou
Children from hard places especially need story, need to tell and retell story in part to answer the big questions that comprise their past: Who am I? What happened to me? Is what happened to me my fault? What will happen to me now?
These life stories can be difficult because they contain such sadness and tragedy and loss. There are unanswered questions – unanswerable questions. Paul’s story, which is his own private story and only his to tell when he is ready, contains many such questions. There are huge gaps about which we know nothing. It’s a many-piece puzzle with no picture reference and no way of knowing how many pieces might be missing. It’s easy to want to fill in the gaps with wishful, loving platitudes “Your first mother and father loved you so much that…” or with what-might-have-beens or with outright untruths. But this is something we cannot do. We cannot lie or platitude or wish away those hard gaps.
I naturally use story in my counseling work (where it is sometimes called narrative therapy or metaphor therapy, which you really only need to know if you’re preparing for the board exam). My office is stuffed with folktales and fables and “Tell a Story” games and personal narratives littered on scraps of paper, complete with childish illustrations.
Sometimes I get calls or emails from teachers whose students have written such a story with a bit more…darkness…than they are used to seeing. One student with a hard, hard past, after months of games and metaphors and play both in my office and in family therapy, finally penned his story to paper. Penned it for a class essay project, which after reading the teacher quickly escorted to me.
The student entered my office warily, and when he saw the story on the table his eyes blazed and his arms crossed.
“You’re not in trouble,” I said. (They never are in trouble with the “upstairs Mrs. Thompson.” That role is completely out of my giftedness. They may have to engage in some natural consequences or “energy renewers” when they are with me, and I have been known to encourage students whose poor choices left havoc in their wake to get busy cleaning up said havoc, but never “in trouble”.)
He didn’t look convinced. “This is Powerful.” I looked him in the eye, placed my hand on the story. “Powerful.”
“It is?” He seemed to consider this. He knew full well that the story he’d written wasn’t “good” or “neat” or “lovely”, knew it wasn’t written with the only goal an A at the end, knew the language contained therein wasn’t much tolerated at this private Christian school. But powerful? Yes.
We sat at the table and read the story and acknowledged its pain and considered it in the objective sunlight streaming from my brilliant window and both knew something had changed, something had healed.
“It isn’t finished,” he said finally, with that twinkle in his eye I’d learned to recognize.
“No,” I agreed. “It isn’t finished.”
And he went on to write more of his story, and he is still writing, and now the stories reach beyond himself to others, to my own little guy, from healing his own hurt to understanding and empathizing with the hurt of those who’ve walked a similar path.
And so we help Paul tell his story with those same goals of understanding, healing, growing, with those same goals of hope. Patty Cogen, in Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child, recommends using the wording Big Change in the child’s life story to note those life altering losses and transitions surrounding first family, caregivers, orphanages, adoption, moves. So much out of their control. So many Big Changes.
Paul has questions. “But how did you know to find me MIS?” he asked one evening after pouring over the pictures of one such Big Change, the day we met, May 7, 2012.
So many thoughts whirled through my head. How had we known how to find him? How had our little family connected with this one particular little boy half a world away? International adoption laws and adoption agencies and missionaries and matching meetings that seem on the surface so random yet are anything but. “We prayed for a little boy and God used our adoption agency to help us find you,” I finally answered.
He considered this. “But how did God even talk?” he wondered. Then, brightening. “I know! In you’s heart.”
In my heart. Absolutely in my heart. That is where his story and my story connect, where his part one ends and part two begins, the day his name flashed across my email, the day I saw his pictures, the day I read what little I know of the first part of his story – joyfully and fiercely in my heart.
Kristi and her husband of 19 years stay busy loving, laughing and chauffeuring their teenage daughter (biological) and kindergarten son (home six months from Lesotho) around their Kentucky home. Kristi works part-time as an elementary school counselor (and as such knows parenting advice is easier said than done and that all of parenting is an on-your-knees-with-God proposition) and part-time as a writing instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature (as an excuse to read really great books before anyone else) and any-other-spare-minute (none) writing children’s books. Since she “thinks through her fingers” she shares their adoption journey as a coping mechanism on her personal blog.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”
The sun is shining through my window this morning as I wake. The faithfulness of God is more evident to me this morning than I have noticed in past mornings. I get up and breathe… “Lord, help me finish well…”
Today is the day before I leave to visit my son in Haiti. Today is the day that ends the “Week before I leave”. Tomorrow will be my ninth trip to visit my son. The “week before we leave” has been faithfully painful in different ways since we began our journey between these two countries 2 years ago. Tomorrow will be my 9th trip to see my son who I long for daily, but also to leave him again. Tomorrow will be my 9th trip to bring my son a part of his future, but also to speak of the future that is not fully clear yet. Tomorrow will be my 9th trip to leave my worries here alone, but also to leave my 3 other children behind. Tomorrow I will walk ahead into this journey that has been both glorious and devastating all at the same time.
The “week before I leave” has always given me a fight. I am one that will make lists and plan…take notice of what is ahead and anticipate all of my needs! What I can not do is anticipate everything that will interrupt those plans to sabotage my entire goals of finishing the way I wanted to. I have many things lined out in my mind that that tell me, “Once this happens, you will be okay to go…okay to leave.”
Leaving is never something my mind, heart or body can fully embrace without concerns. Fears and anxiety come from the underlying knowledge that it’s impossible for everything to be ‘okay’ when it comes to leaving. I have a list: for the grocery store, for the packing bag, for the time with kids before we leave, for the things to do before we leave, for the bills to pay and the mail to send off. I think if these lists get done, then I will be okay.
But every day of that “week before we leave”, I am shaken. Every list, every need within my family, every road to accomplishment meets an obstacle that shakes my trust that things will “be okay”. I am like a soda can that is shaken causing bubbles to erupt and give pressure…leaving me to spew everything that has risen up in me due to the shaking of these obstacles.
Almost always I yield to arrogance and attempt to control my week. The irony is that this attempt almost kills me every time. I go into distress because I can’t get to the store because someone gets sick or our car breaks down. I don’t account for the normal emotional drama and parenting that has to continue despite my stress or to do lists. My attempt to control only yields fruit of anger, bitterness and blaming everyone.
As I am shaken by this “week before leaving”, I am reminded that I am not all knowing. I do not hold all things together. I do not rule time and providences. I do not know what I need. I cannot live on my own. I am broken, meant to be shaken, so that I can see that I need my faithful and loving Father who is God of all of these things.
My God is at work. And I have been adopted into His kingdom that cannot be shaken to destruction. He says that He will work all things for my good, to His glory even when I don’t know what that practically looks like.
I begin this last day of this “week before leaving”, that has been one of the hardest weeks out of the 9 times leaving, taking a new breath. I see Him. Despite all of the darkness that the week has seemed to give, the sun still comes up. My God is faithful and is my help. Nothing will be okay if I act as god and seek to help myself. But I know that everything will be okay because my God is indeed my help and it is my prayer that I will finish in this truth today.
So as we walk in this month of thanksgiving, I am thankful for the shaking that happens to me in my adoption journey. It testifies that I am not God, but that I need Him desperately. It testifies that I am a part of a kingdom that cannot be shaken and for that I am thankful and in awe of my LORD who has once again shown himself faithful. I will leave tomorrow and everything will be okay.
I am married to Michael Stewart. We live in Austin, TX with our 3 children, Wesley-Grant (7 yrs), Sally (6 yrs) and Karis (4 yrs) while waiting on our son, Kelly who is 5 yrs old, to come home from Haiti. We have been in the process of adoption for almost 2 years. We are imperfect people but loved perfectly by a gracious and loving God. Follow our journey on our family blog.
The anticipation that builds as you wait to meet your child for the first time is hard to express in words. It reminds me a little of waiting to walk down to the aisle on my wedding day. As we signed paper after paper, it was truly difficult to concentrate on what I was doing! Our lives were about to change forever!
|On our way to get Anthony!|
AND THEN HE WALKED IN THE ROOM . . . our precious, precious boy. It was the meeting I had imagined, quite unlike our experience with Grace (but she was 18 months so you can imagine she was scared and didn’t know what to think). He ran to us and hugged us and said, “I love you, Mother” and “I love you, Father” and “I love you, sister.” It was sweet music to our ears, and I feel tears welling up in my tired eyes as I write this.
|First of many!|
He came to us with a backpack filled with candy and snacks and the items we sent him in the care package. The Shanghai Children’s home also gave us a beautiful photo album and a chop (a traditional Chinese name stamp). They were so sweet and generous.
The language barrier is pretty significant, but we will trust God and speak lots of English. God put homeschooling on my heart for a reason! Exciting times ahead.
|FIRST FAMILY PHOTO! Someone got mad at me for being behind her. Can you guess who needs a nap?|
Grace is napping now, and we are playing with Anthony. Please pray that our bodies would adjust to the time here. Grace keeps waking up at 2:30 AM and is thus very tired and hits the grumpy stage pretty fast. Please continue to pray for the bonding process and for the language barrier. We are so happy with our precious son and can’t thank God enough for the amazing ways He is working in our lives!
After struggling with infertility for five years, God led Suzanne and her husband, Adam, to His Plan A for their lives, adoption! Their three year old daughter, Grace Lihua, came into their lives on May 8, 2011 (Mother’s Day) from Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China, and they are currently in Shanghai bringing home their second child, He Jianyou, an 8 year old boy. After a career in politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to serve on the We Are Grafted In admin team and work part time as a Pilates Instructor while spending time with Grace and preparing for the home schooling of their boy. You can follow their adoption journey and life once they get home on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.
Come back tomorrow to link up your own blog posts about the day you met your child! Let’s celebrate together!
I’ve been called a lot of words I don’t deserve in the past week: beautiful and obedient and gracious and grace-filled and sweet and honorable and passionate and amazing and courageous and inspiring.
You want to know the word that best described me the night before I posted our adoption news?
The week before, I sat trembling in my Bible study group because I knew God was moving in us to do something about this orphan named Jesse who would be renamed Zoe Amanda. I just didn’t know how to tell anyone. I didn’t know how to explain myself.
I thought we would be called crazy. (And a little part of me thought that we’d deserve that.)
I thought our friends wouldn’t stand by us. (How I misjudged you!)
I thought our choice would be considered reckless, when we already had two young children and when I was still recovering from knee surgery and when I seem to collect chronic health problems. (No one brought up any of that.)
Friends knew we planned to adopt someday, but we had no homestudy started yet, we weren’t on any waitlist, and we hadn’t narrowed down a country or special need or age or anything else yet. We were caught by surprise, so we knew other people would be too.
I’m smiling in this picture, but I was so scared of how y’all would respond to the news.
A little blond girl who is wise beyond her years was the one who gave me the words, days after our announcement.
We sat with my brother-in-law’s family, and they asked why we were doing this. I tried to answer, and I stumbled over my words: “Well, this wasn’t the country we expected, or the special needs we expected, or the age of child we expected, or the timing we expected, but…” I couldn’t find the words to finish that sentence.
Jocelyn, who now dotes on her sister with more love than I thought she was capable of, jumped in.”But God said to do it, so we’re doing it.”
You see, the reason I don’t deserve any of the words at the beginning of this post is that I know myself. I know that I am as damaged and weird and hopeless as any of the orphans Pat Robertson dismissed last week. I, too, am broken by life in a fallen world, fractured by my own sin and by the sins of others along the way. I know my sin too well to boast of any of the words used to describe me since my post went live in the wee hours of Friday morning.
I can boast of the Savior who rescued and redeemed me, turning my broken places into cracks through which His light can shine. He does make all things beautiful in His time, in the words of Ecclesiastes 3:11, and I’m both humbled and thankful that He has allowed us to be part of His plan for bringing beauty out of the brokenness that began Zoe’s life.
Oh, how I love being her mom!
Shannon and her husband Lee have been married for 7 years, with three children Jocelyn (5), Robbie (3), and Zoe (9 mo). The oldest two are homegrown, and Zoe joined the family via adoption from Taiwan in July 2012. Shannon is a stay-at-home mom, writing about family and faith and whatnot at Dinglefest, who also serves as her church’s special needs ministry coordinator, blogging about that to equip and encourage other churches at The Works of God Displayed. Their adoption of Zoe – including the picture to the left – was documented by The Archibald Project; all the pictures are on Facebook here. The Dingles love to call Raleigh home, and they hope to adopt again in a few years.