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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Meet the Stevens Family

I love how God burdens our hearts with new things as He writes our stories and our seasons change. I have always admired families who adopt children.  And I've always thought women who choose life for their babies and make the ultimate sacrifice to give them up for adoption are the most courageous women on earth. But I've never been involved or would consider myself an advocate for the orphan or the families who have been called to adopt them.  

Until now.

In the last several years, the community of friends the Lord has surrounded me with is saturated with the call to adopt.  I went from only having a few friends in my life who had adopted or were adopted to having dozens and dozens.  And that is awesome. I began to support these friends as often as I could. I mean, it was the right thing to do. And I'm a nice person.

And then He crossed my path with Tyler and Erica and sweet Evie Joy and my life was forever changed.  I saw first hand the beauty of adoption.  The process of what all these families go through.  The sacrifices, the blessings, the scary stuff, the hard stuff and the WONDERFUL stuff.  Nick and I both know that the Lord has not called us to adopt a child ourselves but He HAS called us to advocate for the orphan and the families who are adopting them.

This is why I have an extensive t-shirt collection.  hashtag... adoption fundraiser favorite.  And this is ONE of the reasons I love hosting Noonday trunk shows.  Noonday Collection's very foundation is built on the love for adoption. You can read about the founder, Jessica and her family here.

But Noonday not only supports families who are adopting, they support families all around the world by creating jobs for artisans who make the jewelry itself.   It's such an incredible company with whom I am so proud to stand beside and lock arms with and give my support. You can a little taste of what they are about here.

So with all of that said.... I want to introduce you to The Stevens...Casey and Chesney. 

  Chesney is young enough to be my daughter.  In fact the reason I know Chesney is because she is friends with Lydia and Marcus (my daughter and son-in-law).  I was so tickled when I discovered they were adopting and knew I wanted to help them in any way I can.  (By the way, When you purchase anything through our Noonday Trunk show, 20% of all sales will go directly to their adoption fund.  It's such a blessing and easy way to support them.)

I asked her  to share a little bit of her heart as to how they knew the Lord had called them to adopt.  Here is what she shared.....  

The journey of adoption is exhausting, joyful, frustrating, uplifting, hard, and whatever other words you want to throw in there. It’s a lot like your story, I am sure. Different, yes of course, but in so many ways its the same. That is one of the most valuable things I’ve been learning in this - that me and you, we are a lot more connected than the world wants us to believe.

Yes, we may from the outside have completely different lives. You may be the mother of five children and I am struggling to have one, or you may be 18 and marriage/children are the furtherest thing from your mind, or well you may be well past the child bearing years & you are still searching for so many answers. But in each of these stories lies so much goodness. So much to learn for each of us. Because struggling and waiting, though they are hard, are two common threads that the Lord ties us together with.

But for now, though I long to know your story, honestly, here in these moments I am going to let you in on my journey and where we are in bringing home our child from Kyrgyzstan.

First off, let me tell you about how we began this adoption process & why Kyrgyzstan. (read more about it here)

I don’t remember this one moment in my life where I was drawn to adoption, rather it seems as if the desire to adopt has always been there, like a fundamental part of who I am. Of course, a desire like that can’t come from myself, but only from the Lord. I believe He has written adoption into the hearts of his children. Ephesians tells us, “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons, through Jesus Christ..” As his children, I believe both Casey’s & my desire to adopt comes from being adopted into His family.

So, why Kyrgyzstan? (Go, look at a map, its over there squeezed under Kazakhstan & beside China).

Sometime around 3 years ago our church “adopted” a UUPG (unengaged, unreached people group) through the IMB. Our church chose a people group of Central Asia that has close ties with Kyrgyzstan. In these years of supporting this effort to engage & reach these people we have been drawn to them. Praying for these people to know Christ, learning about their culture, and sending members of our church to live among them.

When we began to research countries to adopt from and Kyrgyzstan came up, we quickly knew where the Lord would have us bring our child home from.

We are currently two months shy of a year of being fully immersed in adoption - paperwork, approvals, homestudy, fundraising, dossier, and more fingerprinting than any law abiding citizen should have.

May - December of this past year was a “hurry-up and wait” season of life for us. Then January came and a season of full on waiting came - and well, we are still sitting in that season. There is no more paperwork, there are no more approvals needed, we are waiting to be matched with a child! There isn’t much of a timeline of when we will be matched. Actually, there is no timeline at all. We simply wait, eagerly anticipating the day we receive an email with the picture of a face that will change our lives forever. Whether that is in six weeks or six months, is in the Lord’s plan.

When we first announced our adoption I talked a lot about adoption and its direct relation to the gospel. How nothing that I have ever done deserves the love and affection of God. Yet each and every day He shows me grace, He provides every need, & I remain adopted. How beautiful it is and will be when we have our child home, fully ours - no matter what he/she does, he will be our child. Just as I am Gods, he will be ours.

How my heart longs already that this child will know their Creator. My most fervent prayer for our child is that his/her heart is being drawn towards our Savior. That they will know even in all of the chaos of their present life, there is a God who loves and cares deeply about him/her. A God who will provide family, a mom & dad (us!), at just the right time.

I pray that for our child & I pray that for myself. That I will trust the sovereignty of my Savior to provide for us our child at just the right time. But until then, we hold fast to our own adoption through Jesus Christ as we seek to glorify the Father in our waiting.

“Rejoice in hope,  be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Thank you for letting me share a glimpse of our story. More than anything we need your prayers. We have been so very encouraged by the prayers & words of so many - thank God for the gift of His church!

Thank YOU Casey for giving us a glimpse of what the Lord is up to in your lives!  He's writing a beautiful story and it's a blessing watching it unfold. And thank you for allowing us an opportunity to have a small part of what God is doing.  

If you would like to support her adoption AND support families in other parts of the world through fair trade and incredible unique jewelry, then please use click HERE and go get ya some Noonday. 20% of all sales will go directly to their adoption fund. 

Also, we've created a FaceBook page where I am sharing daily pics and ideas of all the ways I wear and style my own collection of Noonday...(which has unashamedly grown to be a pretty extensive collection over the last few years.)  If you'd like an invite,  please friend me on Facebook (Stephanie Cooper Holden) and send me a DM letting me know you would like an invitation)

Thank YOU!! 

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