Wednesday, July 27, 2016

For we live by faith

I haven't written a blog in over a month now.

Partly because raising a newborn takes a lot of time on less than normal sleep.
(Although Judah is actually a great sleeper so maybe I've just been lazy.)

And partly because I have absolutely NO idea where to start or how to fully wrap my head around this beautiful story that God has written in our lives.

But at some point I must try.  So as I sit here now, I'm praying that I can do a small justice to our adoption process, the lessons we've learned, how our faith was stretched and to honor God's goodness and faithfulness in our lives.

A lot has happened since our last update. Judah has settled into his new home, his room has come together, and the other two kids are ALL about him. We had our first doctor's visit...and he is healthy and measures with a big head, just like the rest of our crew! I have seen his first smile and listened to his first baby coo's and we have had the pieces all fall into place with the legal and financial side of this journey.

We are still a bit of paperwork and a court date away from Judah being recognized fully as our son, although we know he is in our hearts already. We would appreciate the prayers while we wait, and look forward to celebrating with everyone who has journeyed with us when the process finally closes and we simply get to love and parent this beautiful child.

As I get closer to that moment, it has made me reflect on all that has happened. All God has done. All I have learned. All I have struggled with.

I think the phrase that best sums up the journey is actually a question.

Faith or fear?

Can we follow this desire that God has placed on our hearts or will it be too hard?
Faith or fear?

But I just had childcare figured out and how will a newborn change that?
Faith or fear?

I don't know if we can afford this.
Faith or fear?

What if the process takes forever?  Do I have the endurance for this?
Faith or fear?

What if we never get a "yes"?
Faith or fear?

Can we afford another child's expenses?
Faith or fear?

How will our family and friends respond?
Faith or fear?

Can I love another baby like my biological baby?
Faith or fear?

Can I love a birth mother well despite her life choices?
Faith or fear?

What about genetics vs upbringing?
Faith or fear?

What if the baby grows up and wishes it wasn't us.
Faith or fear?

As a wife, mommy, daughter, friend and co-worker, my tendencies in life tend to sway towards fear.  You can ask my husband or close friends about my "worst case scenario" mindset.  It might actually be entertaining to hear.  It's not my favorite attribute of myself.  But it is something God has taught me about so much these past 9 months.

I have the choice to look at each day and decide if I will live in fear or walk in faith.  I have had to evaluate my view of how big my God is instead of trying to figure out how big I think I am.

I still have fears.  Some adoption related.  Some just life related.  And I can't say that I have it figured out or that I have arrived.

But I can say this.

That if I wouldn't have put my fears aside for the above questions (and many more), then I wouldn't have received precious Judah.  He is beautiful and oh so sweet.  And when I look at him, I know he was always supposed to be with us.  He was meant to be baby Brumley #3.

And to walk in fear alone...
To say no to continuing because of that fear...

means I would have missed that.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It Can All Change in 24 Hours

Oh how life can change in just twenty-four hours!

It was a typical Monday morning.

Early morning wake-up time.
Back home with family.
Ready for work.
Out the door.
Morning patients.
Quick lunch and coffee run.

I'm in line at Starbucks when Cody calls me.

"Do you have a minute?"

"Uh yeah sure, why?"

"Because I just got a call from a local attorney about a baby boy...."

Silent on the other end....

"And he's already here.  He's three weeks old.  They want to send us more information because the birth family has seen our profile book and want us to adopt this baby."

More silence on my end.

"So...what do you want me to tell her? Babe.  Are you there?"

"Uh yeah, I'm here.  Just give me a minute.  I'll call you back in a few."

When you start the adoption process, you know that there's really no way of knowing how God is going to write your story.  But for some silly reason I still had thoughts on the way it would most likely go.  Including knowing all the birth parent and baby info possible on the front in, being matched, waiting months for delivery...time to prepare my house and my heart.

As I drove back to work I literally started laughing.  This wasn't at all like I'd planned, but I had enough confidence to say YES to the next step.

I called Cody back to say "okay, I'm in...what's next?"

"Can we be at the attorney's office at 3:30?"

"3:30 today?"

It's 1:30...I have more patients to see.  I say yes and frantically rush to get through all I can and get out the door.

A couple of hours later, we meet with the sweet birth mother of a young boy and another dear lady who has helped care for him his first three weeks of life.

I don't remember all of the conversation from there.  I know there were questions about why we wanted to adopt, parenting techniques, our love for God.

Then the lady said something I'll never forget....

We picked you because of your faith and we loved that Cody is a pastor!

(Remember the blog a few weeks ago about how we had considered changing our book and then had a clear calling not to?  The thing we had wondered might be pushing people away from us was how open we were about our faith and that Cody was a pastor!  Thank you God for the little confirmations!)

As we wrapped up our time together, the birth mother asked me if I'd like to hold this little boy. Of course I said yes!

We left to another room with the little boy for the attorney to talk to precious birth family.

She came in to confirm that we were chosen to raise this little boy.  We cried.  We prayed over him.  Then the hard part...

"Birth mother would like one more night with this little guy.  But if you're willing...can you come back tomorrow at noon to take him home?"

We graciously said yes!  We called our family to fill them in on this sudden turn of events, and we stopped at Target to buy the essentials because we were NOT prepared for this!

Diapers, wipes, blankets, burp clothes, formula, bottles, pajamas...and we're good!

(While we were there, we messaged the attorney to see what kind of formula the little guy liked.  However, we didn't get a response so we just grabbed one of the FIFTY options and headed home.  She messaged back an hour later with a picture of the formula that had worked great so far.  Guess which one it was?  Thank you God!")

Did we sleep last night?  Some.  Mainly tossed and turned and prayed.  I told God over and over that I felt a peace about this and that if it was His plan that all doors would be wide open.  If not, that the birth mother would change her mind.  We woke up a little less crazy than when we went to bed, but overall at peace with the day. 


This was all earlier today.  It seems like a week of time has passed and it all happened in 24 hours!

We went back today at 11:30.

We left at 2:00.


We are happy to introduce you to our son JUDAH CHASE ADAM BRUMLEY.
(His name has a story in itself that we may share one day.)

We can't wait to share our joy with each of you.  At some point we will share more.  There are parts of his story that will stay with just us, so please know that there are some details that we just won't share.

But can I just say Praise God for His Answered Prayer in His Timing?!!!

Psalm 139:13-16
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfly and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

God has ordained sweet Judah's days.  He knew this was our son long before we did.  He establishes our steps and lines things up in His timing. 

And we are forever grateful. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

An Empty Room

There's a room in my house that I don't go in to.  A room where the door stays closed hoping that I won't be reminded as often that we are still waiting to fill it.  To try to ignore the fact that it's empty.

When we finalized our home study, we emptied out the guest room, sold the guest bed, moved the crib into it, and cleaned out the closet.  We wanted to be ready.  We had heard the stories of some who had a fast placement.  We heard the stories of being "matched" with the first situation.  I wanted this to be our story.  I wanted to be ready.  I mean after all, this was the desire of our heart and something we know makes God happy, so why shouldn't it be a quick process? 

For six months now, I've ignored that the room is even part of our house.  Because I want to ignore the fact that a part of me feels empty too.  Because it stinks to let my heart even go there.

With each "no" I hope that the process will get easier...that I'll get less attached...that it won't hurt as much.  But of course, the opposite has happened.  And my attitude has resulted in negativity in my life, and sadly in my view of God.

I know all the right phrases. 

"That wasn't our baby." 
"God's not done yet."
"God has different plans." 
"God is faithful."
"Your baby is coming."

But it doesn't heal my angered heart.  Am I allowed to say that?  That I'm angry with God?

Sometimes I hurt and sometimes I'm flat out mad.
Why does it have to take time if there are babies needing a home and we have a home with an empty room and a desire to have a baby join our family?
Why did I feel like we should present to that situation if the answer was going to be a no?
What's wrong with us that some families get picked right away and we are six months in and don't feel a single step closer?

A week ago I was preparing a Sunday School lesson for our 11th and 12th grade girls at church.  I was reading in Romans and a verse jumped out to me that I needed to be reminded of, but didn't want to be reminded of.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope.
Am I joyful?  Nope. 

Be patient in affliction.
Am I patient?  More like the opposite.

Be faithful in prayer.
Am I praying?  Only with frustrated words and an angry heart.

This....this is my answer?  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer?
That doesn't sound like what I want to do at all.  I want to pray with good intention.  And I want God to answer.  I want things to happen in my timing.
I want things to happen my way.
My will, not God's.

On Tuesday, the morning after our last no, I woke up in a bad mood.  I was talking to God on my drive to work and sharing all of my angry thoughts and the song "Thy Will" came on the radio.

I heard it with fresh ears and I didn't like what I heard because it was so close to what I was feeling and it hurt.  I didn't want to cry because I'm too angry to cry.  I say out loud that I'm okay all the time.  I tell myself and others that we are doing fine with this wait.  I want it to be true and I feel like my tears betray that desire to be okay.  I'm going to type out the lyrics below because it does a better job than I can at explaining where I'm at right now.  When the song got to the bridge with the words, "I know you see me.  I know you hear me, Lord.  Your plans are for me.  Goodness you have in store" I had to acknowledge again that God is good, that He is present and that He cares.  That He's not the distant God I've made him in my mind over the past few months.  He's not an uncaring, distant figure, hanging out somewhere in a rocking chair watching my life unfold without any input or care.

But He is present.
He sees me.
He hears me.
He has a plan for me.
And He has goodness in store.

And that I've been saying with my lips that it's about God's will, but my heart is still desiring my own will.
And just so you know, it stinks to write my feelings out like this.  To read them.  To admit to them.  But this is where I've been and I promised I'd share the process.  I hope that maybe in some way there may be someone else in a similar spot in their journey.  Where you are waiting on the Lord and it just stinks right now.  That maybe you needed to be reminded of this too.

If so, please listen to my new favorite song.

Thy Will by Hillary Scott and The Scott Family

I'm so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don't wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I've got is hurt and these four words
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you're good
But this don't feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It's hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you're God
And I am not
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store
So, thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Because God is Awesome

No new news in terms of situations.  No families we are currently presenting to.

But that doesn't mean that we aren't seeing God answer prayers and reminding us that He is in this.

A couple of weeks ago, Cody and I had been talking about changing up our profile book.  This is the book that the expectant mother and family looks at when deciding which family they would like to place their baby with for adoption.  After we got a few "no's", it made us question what is wrong with us?

Should we put in more action pictures?  Do we look like a fun family?  Are we coming across as loving?

What could we change to make us more appealing to the birth families?

We had discussed this with each other, but hadn't shared it with others.

I had also been praying that God would send me an encouragement of some sort to remind me that He is with us.  Because let's face it, I was just feeling a little down.

On May 4th, we were pulling out of the church parking lot and I noticed a new Facebook message on my phone from a friend who knew nothing of our thoughts on changing our profile book.

Hey Breanna - I'm sharing a video with you from a mom who attends our MOPS group.  Her story is so hard and so beautiful all at the same time and I hope it will give you hope as you continue through your adoption journey.

I talked to her yesterday and was telling her about you.  Se asked if you had presented your book yet and I told her several times.  She said "I know she (you) may be feeling like you've done something wrong, that maybe there is something in your book that needs to be changed."   But she wanted me to tell you "not to change a thing, because the thing you think you should change might be the one thing that connects with the mother that God has been preparing for your family."  I don't know if you've struggled with those thoughts at all, but if so I hope her testimony will give hope.

I'm praying for your journey.

Seriously, how awesome is that?!

I am writing this blog partly to journal our story and partly as a hope that it is an encouragement to others that God answers prayers.  He is not a distant grandpa hanging out in a rocking chair watching our lives pass by like we watch a movie.  He is ever present and ever faithful to finish the plan He has started for us.  I read this verse this morning and thought the timing was perfect to wrap up this blog post.

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 and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Testing of Faith

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."
James 1:2-7

I have a love/hate relationship with the book of James.  It is such a challenge to me personally each time I read its pages. When we began the adoption journey, the biggest "trial" we could see in front of us was MONEY. I want to share how God has been using this overwhelming hurdle to grow our faith and show His goodness. Let's start at the beginning, which wasn't pretty...

"God, I'd be willing to adopt, but you know we can't.  You know our bank account and we don't have that kind of money.  It would take us years to save up even close to that amount.  So I think this tug at my heart has been a mistake that you didn't mean to send, because surely you can't be asking me to do this.  I know that we've had thoughts of adoption for a while now, but that was probably just based off emotions.  Because based off logic, it just doesn't make sense.  Thanks but no thanks."

I'm so grateful God is patient with me.  That He doesn't give up on me the first, second, or numerous other time that I just don't "get it".  That as I went back to God's word to read James 1:27 where it talks about looking after orphans as a pure and faultless religion, I had to read through the beginning of the chapter again and read about trials and the testing of faith.

How I had wished we could skip the in between and go straight from trial to God's outcome.

But, as we have moved through the in between in our adoption journey, I've changed my mind on that statement.

Because to skip the wait, would skip seeing God's provision along the way.

When Cody and I finally said our yes out loud to each other in November 2015, we had a savings account that was minimal and a credit card with a balance on it!  I hate credit cards and kept asking myself how we had let ourselves let the credit card get ahead of us.  We knew we didn't want to start behind so we began to work hard at saving to pay it off.  We felt strongly that we had to give our all and our best and that God would do the rest.  Thank you God for the extra discipline and extra money.

That was great and all, but then we were looking at a $600 home study cost and $2,000 consultant cost before we could really even get started.  At this point, we began to look around our home and sell some things for extra money.  We also used Christmas money and bonuses and soon we were getting closer and closer.  We took out an interest-free (for a year) credit card and had planned to put the rest of the consultant cost on it, when we had a generous gift card given and suddenly my eyes were opened to the fact that God was multiplying our efforts.  I knew then that it would take a sacrifice on our part, but that God would come through.

So less than six weeks after our yes, we were out of debt (thankfully it was a small amount), had paid for a home study, and had paid our consultant fee.  And can I just say that we NEVER just happen to have a few thousand dollars around.  We don't even have a few hundred dollars.  Our paychecks are predetermined and we have a budget.  Yet somehow we had extra money we hadn't expected.  And we were ready to get started.  My faith was growing slowly.

We received the information packet from our consultant with more details than I knew what to do with.  I skimmed the info for the financial page.  I had thought domestic adoption cost around $25,000.  I don't remember now where I came up with the number.  I think I read it somewhere.  But then I read in our packet the range was anywhere from $25,000-$45,000!

I wonder if God smiled at me as I wanted to take another step back and run and hide.  In my planning of how "we" were going to do this, I had thought that the $25,000 would be a huge stretch and maybe impossible, and now a BIGGER number?

But we pressed forward.  We decided it was time to share with our friends.  It was humbling to say the least because I knew at some point, I might have to consider "fundraising".

Does that word give anyone else an uneasy feeling or just me?  Coming from the girl who hated selling girl scout cookies! (But at the same time I buy from anyone who comes to my door to sell anything because I feel for them and the fact that they are making an effort to raise funds.  Don't take advantage of my inability to say no.)  ;)

This is so not in my comfort zone God.

We continued to pray.  We prayed on how we could raise funds.  We prayed about if we should ask for help.  We prayed we could save with our own money.  We prayed for a good tax return.  We prayed through the ideas on "How to Adopt Without Debt".  We prayed for the wisdom it talked about in James 1:5-6.

And slowly, God changed my fear to faith because I was finally willing to follow him even if I only knew one step at a time. We were willing to borrow, raise or sell whatever it took to bring home our baby.

What better opportunity to walk by faith, than to take the step God is asking you to take without knowing the next step after that?  Do I have any other type A people in the group?  Yet, this faith that I long for is available for me and God is asking me to just trust Him.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

So this is the part of the blog where I know I'm going to do an injustice to all God has done for us.  This is the part where I wish I could sit across from you with a cup of coffee and tell you how He came through beyond our biggest hopes.  But instead I will attempt to give it words here and probably re-write this section 10 times over.  Each thing listed has a full story of its own.  But if I wrote it all down you probably wouldn't have time to read it all in one setting, so here we go.

We designed a shirt with a verse we were passionate about with a hope of selling 75.  We had 125 t-shirts ordered.  Several paid even more than we were asking.  We've been told stories about opportunities for our friends to share their faith and answer questions when wearing the t-shirt.  It makes us happy to see our friends and family in t-shirts that mean so much to us.

We had a garage sale where we had a goal of making $500.  We made $1,300! Charlotte made a sign that we put up showing we were doing this to save money for our adoption.  It was another opportunity to share with neighbors and strangers the desire God has placed on our heart to adopt.  My favorite story of the day was a complete stranger paying over $100 more for her items and just said "you guys are doing a good thing".  I was in complete shock and didn't even get her name.  As she drove away, her little girl waved to us out the window with the biggest smile.  I wish I could tell them how much it meant to us.

We had considered a Noonday fundraiser but because we had just sold t-shirts, I had told my friend, Tracy who is a Noonday Ambassador that I didn't think the timing was right.  A week or two later, another friend, Julie, called and said that "out of the blue" she had a call from a Noonday Ambassador asking if she'd like to host a party and that the proceeds could go toward an adoption and Julie thought of us!  With Julie offering to host, I didn't want to say no, but felt bad that I would be using a different Noonday Ambassador other than Tracy only to realize that Tracy was Julie's friend too.  It's neat to see God's plan unfold.  We had work friends and church friends come and not only support our adoption, but also artisan entrepreneurs in some of the world's most vulnerable communities.

My sister offered to have a Thirty One party for us in Stilwell.  We had several ladies attend and again Cody and I shared about adoption and our journey.  Above the cost raised from the party sales, we had over $200 given in cash offered with prayers and hugs.

We shared the story of a quilt made for us HERE. What we didn't share was that the highest bidder paid MORE than their highest bid AND another family who did not win the auction still gave the highest amount they had bid just to support our efforts.  Talk about tears!

Our Chick-fil-A fundraiser was a huge success.  Besides the financial outcome, we felt so loved and supported from all who gave up their Thursday night to join us.  I know that many had to drive across town.  I know it's not always the easiest thing to do as a parent with young kids on a school night.  I know many came for a second dinner.  It meant so much.  A young gentleman stopped at our table to ask about who we were and why we were there.  He said, "there's something different about you guys, like a light that shines."  We were happy to say that the "light" in us is not of us but because of Jesus.  When we received the total of the fundraiser, the lady also told us that someone had offered to match what we made, doubling our funds!  We do not know who it was, but another blessing above and beyond our hopes for the fundraiser. 

I could go on and on about stories.... the older gentleman who passed us a donation check for the second time, the church member's generous donation with their employer who would match that, the young mother who sent a card and some money because God had led her to give, old friends, new friends and complete strangers who see the value in the life of an unborn child and have supported us with hugs, encouragement, money and prayers.

You know what else I love? 

That during the wait...
During the trial...
During the perseverance...

We are growing to be more like Christ and more dependent on Christ.


I know from the stories of others that one day sweet baby Brumley #3 may go through their own trials in life with questions of their adoption and quite possibly questions of self worth...

And I will pull up this blog along with other records of the countless stories of God's provision and say...

You are worth it.

God saw your worth from the very beginning and so did we.

All of us.

And I will share these stories.

So thank you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I Need Thee Every Hour

It's a good day to write a blog.

It has been a while since we've given an update other than a sentence or two here and there.  The third mom we presented to was due any day when we agreed to present.  Before she was able to make a decision on an adoptive family, she had her baby girl.  She wanted some time to make a decision and wanted the birth father's input.  He was out of town.  So we were in a state of this could be our baby....and knew we would hear any day....we may go pick up our baby girl tomorrow...this could be it...

It's weird wondering if you should buy diapers yet, try to keep up with the laundry in case you need to pack fast, and make childcare plans all while not knowing if the birth family would choose us.  There was a week wait before the father made it home and then three more days in a row of "you will hear today", followed by a "never mind, you will hear tomorrow".  It was a very, VERY long Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

In the meantime, we received another situation on a baby due in July.  It was one we were willing to present to, so we sent our info and asked them to have it on hold in case we received a "no" from the first situation.

After three days of nothing, we got two no's in one day.

And that came at the end of a very hard week for other reasons that were not adoption related.  This blog isn't the place to share that and this isn't a blog to make you feel sorry for us.

Far from it.

The point is, we were in prayer constantly.

Going to God saying, we need you.

We need you to get through these hard situations.  We need you to remind us we are called to adopt.  We need you to take our burdens and our heavy hearts.  We need you to fill us up so we can minister to others.  We need you to remind us that you know all of our days, not just today.  We need you to remind us that your timing is perfect.  We need the reminder that our obedience is enough.  We need you to help us just get up and face this day, and the next.

We need you.

Have you had one of those weeks when you couldn't turn on the TV or unwind from your normal work day, because your heart was so burdened for yourself and others that you just needed God? An ache that comes from a hurting world?

I love the hymn I Need Thee Every Hour.  I always have.  And lately, I've been singing it every day, multiple times a day.  Why?  Because it's true.

And after the smoke cleared and we came up for a deep breath, instead of feeling exhausted and angry, I felt joy...

BECAUSE I knew we were smack dab in the middle of doing what we were called to do and TOTALLY dependent on the One who will make it happen.

I know how to try to do life on my own.  I know how to live an "easy" life independent of God all while singing "I Need Thee Every Hour" just because I like the sound of it.

But to live a life where I mean it?  Now that's an exciting place to be.

Deuteronomy 13:4
Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone.  
Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

From here we continue to wait on another situation.  The process takes time no matter how badly I want to speed things up.  Some weeks we don't see any situations at all.  And then if we do present, it can take weeks to hear our answer.  On a good month, that typically gives us a chance to see one situation, present and wait for an answer.  We know we will likely go through some more no's too.  But what a glorious day it will be when we get our YES!

Until then...I will continue to say, pray and sing this song.  And instead of sharing my own alone-in-my-car or in-the-shower version, you should listen to Selah's.  It's my favorite and a lot more enjoyable for your ears!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Power in Jesus

I have fought writing this blog.

I didn't want to tell others that we are presenting to another expectant mother today.

Because if I say it out loud to the world, then I also have to follow it up with another possible "no".

I didn't even want to present again this soon after our last no.  I want to curl up in a ball and not present and just pray God will send a baby to my doorstep.

My literal doorstep.

Because presenting is hard.  It's hard to know the details and dream of the future again each time.  It's hard not to want to put a wall of protection up so that I don't feel this time around.

When we got an email about a baby girl that is expected soon, God stirred in my heart again.  I called Cody to tell him about the email and we both instantly felt the need to respond with a yes to this family.  A yes that they could present us.

A yes that we would once again feel.

A yes that we would once again dream.

A yes that we were all in.

A yes that we would put ourselves in another situation where we may hear a no.

I know that God has called us to this.  I know that God has a plan.  Sometimes I wonder why He calls us to present, knowing the answer already.  It is so much easier to love big when we have the outcome we want.  I like to think that maybe God knew that the other birth mothers needed to see another family who saw value in her baby.  That makes the thought a little easier.

Last night, I told Cody that I didn't want to blog again.  I think it is partly from pride...
Knowing that we may be told no again and again over the coming months before we are matched.

Wouldn't it be easier to just share a post after we are matched?  Wouldn't it be easier to just show the good part? I want to just show the picture of our WHOLE family one day.  Can't we just crop out the rest...crop out the hard...photoshop out the tears...brighten up the we often do with our own social media post?

This morning when I left for work, I had decided not to share about our decision to present this time.

By the time I made it to work, I knew God was calling me to share the hard as well.

As I was driving, I was praying out loud...

God, I don't know how many times I can do this.  I know it's just three.  I know people present dozens of times.  I know people wait years....YEARS to adopt.  But I don't know if I can do this. How can I love fully again and again?  I. CAN'T. DO. IT.

Then, one of my favorite songs started to play on the radio.

There is power 
In the name of Jesus 
There is power 
Power in His name

And since I've decided to put myself out there again and share the feelings and the hurt, I might as well tell you that I cried.  I cried hearing my answer.  I can't do this, but there is POWER in the name of JESUS.  And through Him, I CAN.  

I can love big.  
I can love fully
I can hurt.  

But He,
He can heal.

One name breaks every chain
One name, always
One name, Jesus
One name, one name remains
One name, we will proclaim
One name, always
One name

One name, one name can save

Pray for us today as we await the news. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

More Than A Quilt

I (Cody) walked up and she said, "I would like to make your family a quilt for your adoption."


Yes the quilt is beautiful, but I was referring to the thought. We were so humbled to see yet another person offer their time and talent to  help us bring home baby Brumley #3. To do their part in orphan care. To partner with us on this journey as many of you have through prayer, gifts, hugs, encouragement and more.

But a quilt?! Never saw that coming. So unique...and so fitting for how God works. In ways you never see coming but are EXACTLY the right thing.

Let me explain.

Dana Cantrell works at First Baptist Jenks with me. She has more than a knack for quilting. She's a straight artist. And would be mad that I'm bragging on her (don't worry Dana, this is about how amazing it is when we are obedient to God...wether adopting or making a quilt...and how God gets the glory). She offered to make a quilt to help us raise funds.

God's Church.

This is it! People offering what they have to help others be obedient to what God is calling them to. To help a child be raised, a birth mom be loved and God get the glory.

She asked what we had in mind and we told her we love God's word, so scripture would be great. And maybe something with a cross because that's what it's about. We are all spiritual orphans adopted in to Gods family by the sacrifice of Jesus. The cross is where that transaction happened. We loved the idea of a family being able to cuddle up under God's word and the cross.

God's Timing.

So Dana comes across a cross idea that is mezmorizing and she thinks she could bring it to life. Then while walking through Wal-Mart, where she always walks through the fabrics just to see if there's anything she might need for a project, she sees the perfect fabric. A roll filled with scripture and quotes about family. She had never seen it before, yet it was right where she couldn't miss it.

Just like God to provide the perfect pieces at the perfect time in the perfect place.

God's Redemption.

Dana began beautifully matching square after square to create the cross and the reminder that the gospel dispels darkness. Where did these squares come from? Most came from unused fabrics of previous projects. Mainly quilts she or her mom had made.

The ones that didn't fit in one place were exactly what was needed for this project. Cast aside for whatever reason and then redeemed to be precisely where they should be to tell the story of the cross.

I can relate.

Cast aside because of my sin. Separated from the relationship with God I was designed for. But then God redeemed me. Took care of the penalty of sin by placing it on Jesus. Now I get to be sewn in to a story that matters.

God's Adoption.

A quilt is many parts of fabrics combined to be one item. Not accidentally created but artistically orchestrated. Each piece cut, crafted and stitched with others until completion.

Our family has been stitched together perfectly in God's plan and now another piece will be crafted just for us. Stitched to us. Not an extra piece, but a piece that has always belonged. What we experience in adoption through salvation, our family will physically experience. (Imagine me making a hand signal like my brain is exploding and saying "boooom"...mind blowing)

God's Provision

Dana has it all organized and is sharing the story of how a quilt will be a symbol of God's heart for the Fatherless, when someone surprises her by sharing they would pay to have the stitching done. The stitching is intricate and strategic. It had to be done right and would cost extra. God once again supplied.

Since giving God our "yes" He has provided over and over. Dana has seen this as well. And it is amazing every time.

God's Story

The quilt is now complete. Immaculate. Moving. More than a quilt.

She brought it to the office to give to me The staff there at the time prayed over the quilt. More so, they prayed over my family, the baby we believe God will bring us, and the GENERATIONS this quilt will impact. Yes, generations. Made to last and made to tell of God's story for years to come.

God is good.

I tell you the story because it deserves to be told. How it will end we don't know yet. We will auction the quilt off through this Facebook group here:
Adoption Quilt Silent Auction

(The group is open now and the auction will actually take place April 4 through April 9. Details are on the group page if you are interested in following along or being a part of this event.)

Regardless of amount raised, the quilt has accomplished its purpose. It has displayed the gospel. Displayed the church. Displayed the beauty of adoption. Blessed our family to just be a part of its story. It is more than a quilt.

Now to find and stitch in our missing piece.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's a No

Have you had a time in your life when you wanted the answer "yes" so badly only to have a "no" in return?  Surely I'm not the only one.

With this most recent situation, a YES is exactly what I wanted, but a NO is what we got.

When we receive a situation by email, there's a lot to process.  It is more than just a gender, race and due date to consider.  There are intimate details that are shared with you.  You can't help but feel when you read it.  Hurt.  Hope.  Love.

We don't want to make decisions based on emotions so we pray and we talk through what we know to be true, and we pray some more.  We always go to sleep unsure and praying, and then wake in the morning to talk it through again and see if we have a peace on presenting or not.  Each time (twice) we have presented, we have both had a peace that it was the direction we were supposed to go.

I know that it may not make sense without being in our shoes, but to present and then receive a no, it hurts.  I had been told this...I had read this...but I could not fully understand this before this point.

I know logically that these are people I've never met and that ultimately, this is not the child God has planned to join our family. I can recite all the right things to say to myself...things I know to be true.

But in the moment, it is not easy.

Before we present, we want to be 100% sure that we will follow through if the expectant mother chooses us.  I can't imagine how hard it would be for an expectant mother to fall in love with a family, only to have that family back out and change their minds.  Because we want to be all in, we have to allow ourselves to care...

to feel...

Even knowing that in the end of this journey, there's a great chance that a baby will join our family forever...

Even knowing that we will look at each other that day and say "it was worth it"...

Even knowing it takes most families lots of "no's" before they year "yes"....

It is hard.

I love to read.  I love to read suspense books.  But, I hate suspense.  I know.  I'm strange.

When I read, I often will skip ahead to the end of the chapter (or even the end of the book) and read what happens just because the suspense is killing me.  Then, knowing the ending, I go back and read the details.

(If someone else wants to admit that they do this too, I would be forever grateful.)

I want to skip to the end of the chapter.
I want to read ahead and know that it all works out.
I want to see for myself that we make it.
That we were strong enough.
To see that beautiful moment when we hold Brumley #3 in our arms.

I had to remind myself today that I am not the author of our story, but that I know the author of our story.

"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

God writes our story.  He knows the ending.  He knows the details.

He knows the hurts.  He knows the trials.  He knows and He cares.

He cares...which will allow us to continue to care deeply.
He loves...therefore we will continue to love fully.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Along our journey, we've read and heard the stories of others who have adopted.  So many times I think, "Wow...only God can write that.  Only God writes stories that beautiful."  And again and again I've prayed that we would be patient for God to write ours.

So we press forward.  We know today was the end of this specific chapter.  We don't know how many more pages we will turn in this book.  We don't know how many no's it will take.  But we know the One who writes it, has called us to it.

Thank you for your kind words, prayers and encouragement.  It means so much.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Call It Grace

I haven't updated with a blog in a little while.  I've wondered what the next topic would be.  There's only so many ways to say "we are in the waiting".  But, in a lot of ways I'm thankful for this time as God has used it to mold us to be more like Him.

First, a few adoption terms we've learned along the way.  One of the first things we learned about domestic adoption is that very few are closed adoptions.  A closed adoption is when the birth parents and adoptive couple remain completely anonymous.  The birth parents do not meet or even know the names of the adoptive parents.  This used to be the most common type of adoption, but is now considered rare.

Most adoptions fall into the category of open adoption or semi-open adoption.  A semi-open adoption allows the adoptive parents' contact information to remain confidential, but often the adoptive parents meet the birth parents prior to or at birth.  It involves updates sent periodically through email or private blogs while not sharing your general contact information. The situations we have considered so far fall into this category

Open adoption has a wide variation of what it might look like.  Often there is an exchange of first and last names and you may contact each other through telephone, personal email or social media site, or face to face encounters. 

Now back to how God is molding us...

Just to be vulnerable, the thought of anything but a closed adoption was terrifying to me when we first started to consider adoption.  I had lifetime shows running through my head where the birth family comes to the adoptive family's front door demanding their child back.  But real life doesn't play out like Hollywood drama.

I could go on and on about this topic and if you want to know more, I'd love to have a conversation with you about it!  With healthy boundaries, no one has to forfeit their right to privacy.  But that's not what I have in mind for this blog.  Instead, I want to show you how God is using this specific topic to challenge us.  And hopefully change us forever, for the better.

The truth is, when it comes to loving a new baby, the decision is easy.

Think about it.  Babies are...
Innocent. Precious. Cute. Loveable.

We entered into this to have a baby. But could God really be asking us to love on the birth family as well?  Wouldn't it be easier to ignore the fact that with adoption there can be brokenness, shortcomings, and mistakes?

Someone challenged me a long time ago to ask God to help me "love like He loves us".  I've said it before.  But how often do I do it?  To love like God loves us.  To love with grace.

To love someone who hasn't earned it.
To love without expectations of return.
To love for who they are and not what they've done.
To love fully, giving all and not just a part.
To love patiently, intentionally and unconditionally.

I love applying His unconditional love to me.  I am slow to apply it to others when it does not benefit me, and especially when it may even hurt me.  But scripture cannot be ignored.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved.

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So I had to ask myself and take a hard look at my life and think, "Am I really loving people like God loves me?"  I have Jesus with me, but do I let him live through me?

Through time and conviction, God has changed my heart.  While there is still an unknown in how much of a relationship the birth mother may want to have with us, I am open and excited about the opportunity to LOVE this precious woman as Christ loves her and loves me.

There's a good chance that during this time in her life love has not been displayed to her by those surrounding her.  I'm excited when I read a situation where she has friends or family that are supportive, but sometimes that's not the case.  Sometimes, she's been encouraged to have an abortion from those closest to her.  Often times, her reason for considering adoption is that they "want a life for the baby full of love that they have not experienced". To say many of these women feel more broken than loved would be an understatement.

In a world of brokenness, shouldn't we as Christians look vastly different?  Instead of being those that abandon the broken, shouldn't we draw close and speak of the grace that defines us?

I heard this song on the radio this morning and I don't think it's a coincidence knowing I was about to type this blog.  I think it's the perfect way to close us out today.

Unspoken- Call It Grace

It's the light that pierces through you
To the darkest hidden place
It knows your deepest secrets
But it never looks away
It's the gentle hand that pulls you
From the judgement of the crowd
When you stand before them guilty
And you got no way out

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle
It's nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Call it grace

It's the breath that's breathing new life
Into what we thought was dead
It's the favor that takes orphans
Placing crowns upon their heads
It's the hope for our tomorrows
The rock on which we stand
It's a strong and mighty fortress
Even Hell can't stand against

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle
It's nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Call it grace
Call it grace

Amazing, unshaking
This is grace, this is grace
Unchanging, unfailing
This is grace, this is grace

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle
It's nothing less than scandalous
That Jesus took our place
Oh call it what it is, just call it what it is
Call it grace 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Waiting on the Lord

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31

This passage has been on our minds lately.

God creates, works, understands, helps, renews, strengthens, and so much more.

And what role do we have while God does all of this?

We wait.

It’s right there in the scripture…”but they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength”.

Am I the only one that finds this odd?

I don't know about you, but typically in my life waiting is never associated with a renewal of strength. 

Yesterday, I was waiting to check out at Wal-Mart while watching my kiddos trying to make sure Walker didn't open the candy I'd already told him to put back. Holding items I needed to buy while also trying to avoid toddler breakdowns and asking myself why I didn't go Wal-Mart alone and leave the kids with daddy. Yeah, I never leave that wait in line feeling renewed. 

When I was in PA school, there was a particular library that I liked to study in because of these small "study rooms".  However, other nerds like me liked them too, so if you wanted one, you had to be in line when the doors opened. Cody made a comment that he had waited in line for a lot of things in his life like concerts, sports games and midnight premiers, but never before me had he waited for a library to open. I don't think he found the waiting renewing either. 

Waiting isn’t fun.

After waiting five days recently to learn if a certain expected baby girl would be joining our family, I didn't exactly know what to do with the wait. And Isaiah 40 came to mind. I knew it had the word wait in it. I found that other translations use the word "hope". 

Those who wait...

...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 

I want that. 

And I know what the difference is between many other "waits" in life and the "wait" this verse describes. I'm sure you do too. In between the wait and the renewal of strength is the word Lord

Doesn't He make all the difference?

As emotionally tolling as this road has been, it has also been spiritually renewing. We are dependent on Him. We hope in Him. We trust Him. We wait for Him.

I wanted to give an update for those following our story, and for this season...we are waiting

We wait for the next situation to be emailed to us so we can see if this is a family we will present to. We wait to see how loved ones and family will respond to us as we travel the long road of adoption. We wait to see if funds will arrive which would allow us to move forward with a family. All the while knowing once we present, we will be waiting again for an answer…then likely again for that child’s birth.

With all this, we know what we truly wait on is the Lord. We wait for His timing.

While we wait, God continues to show Himself faithful.  We have had an overwhelming sense of peace at each step, even when emotions tell us to feel differently.  The peace of God which passes all understanding comes again to remind us of His sovereignty.

Last week, we said no to one situation not fully knowing why other than that we didn't feel the Holy Spirit leading us forward.  After the fact, Cody was able to talk to the attorney again and we found out that the birth mother met with one family and that the match was perfect!  She said even if another family would have presented, the birth mother was so confident in that family that she wouldn't have even met the other families after that.  We won't always get to know specifics with each situation, but I was grateful that in this case, God reminded us that our no may be someone's yes! That His plan is so much bigger than ours.  He is working out many beautiful stories, not just our story. 

We have been confident that we are called to adopt.  We haven't always known where the money would come from, but through the blessing of family, we found a way to borrow a large amount without interest.  How awesome is that?

In the same week, we were gifted a large donation that will allow us to borrow a significantly smaller portion when we do match!  I had a chance to say thank you to this family today.  They said, "though we have not felt called to adopt personally, we do feel called to help those that do. This is all of our story. God adopted each of us." They simply wanted to be a part of the gospel fleshed out through adoption. Not because of us, but because of God.

I've been reminded that the money part that loomed over me for so long has no power over us.  Our God is bigger than finances.  He's bigger than unknowns.  He's bigger than my biggest concern and cares for my smallest concern.  He is faithful. And as scripture said earlier, we get to see Him be faithful when we wait.

So back to the waiting.

Yes we are still waiting, but we see God active in our waiting.

And although it's a new stress at times... 
And there are new emotions we are working through...
Although there are unknowns...
Although we are anxious...

We are being renewed. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentines, God's Timing and Rustic Cuff

On this blog we have shared the story that began us down the road to adoption. We have shared information about the process of adoption. We have shared ways to partner with us through buying shirts, prayer, direct donations and other support that will help us move closer to bringing home a baby.

Today, I (Cody) am happy to share a moment that will forever be a fond memory of mine. A story that would not have happened if we had not accepted the call to adopt. A story…well…you just have to hear.

Cue flashback.

Two weeks ago I saw this image on my wife’s newsfeed:

It clearly caught her eye, but we are saving money. She looked, smiled, and scrolled on.
I don’t know what she saw when these bracelets crossed her screen, but I know what I saw.

I saw a cuff with an arrow and heart on it. Where others may think cupid, all I could think was Psalm 127:4, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” I thought about the arrow God was already shaping for us, but is not yet ours. The arrow God would bring us in His timing. The arrow that has already stolen our hearts and we haven’t even met yet. I thought about my bride being able to look at her wrist and be reminded God was shaping this arrow and would be faithful to bring it to us.

I thought…Valentine’s Gift!

We have been saving every penny, but I still had hoped to surprise Breanna with a little gift. This would be perfect. Especially if I could just buy one part of the stack. So I called first to see if they would sell just one part of this stack. I talked to a super sweet person who informed me they don’t, you have to purchase the whole stack.

But don’t worry, it gets worse.

She then proceeded to tell me they were sold out. That if she had one she would sell me hers, but she didn’t even get one. She recommended I try a store and then we hung up.

Bummer. But…it gets worse.

The next day I thought I’d swing by a Rustic Cuff store to find out if they had one and find out how much it cost. For those familiar with Rustic Cuff, you are now laughing because you don’t “swing by” Rustic Cuff stores. You carve out an hour to wait outside in a line to get into a store and then you don’t leave empty handed because you actually got in! After driving by the old location to find out that place was closed, I headed to another location close to a meeting I had downtown. I stood outside in line for 20 minutes before I had to give up. I had a meeting to get to, so I left without even gracing the door. But this would be the perfect gift…so I wouldn’t give up.

It gets worse.

The next day I decided to arrive at a store when it opened. So 5 minutes before it opened I pulled in to see 50 people waiting for the doors to open. Again, I couldn’t afford to wait that long. So I drove away. Decided I would go back to Cherry Street and see if I could get in and get this perfect valentines gift.

On the way I am getting real with God. “This isn’t how this is supposed to go!” I tell Him. I had it all planned and just knew it would be perfect. Doesn’t God want me to make my wife smile with a gift that reminds us of Him? Shouldn’t it be easy to buy a bracelet? It’s not like we are asking for a kid! That’s a different prayer…this one should be no big deal. I was frustrated. My timing, my gift, my plan…all falling through. And my expectations of my next stop were minuscule to say the least.

So I arrive and I get in the door just before the security guard starts making people wait outside. WIN!

I bob and weave through shoppers looking for the cuff. Man on a mission. A mission that seemed to be failing. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Confused I headed to the front desk to ask for help when I spotted it. That perfect gift to remind us of God’s timing and provision. And it was in a box marked “Display Only”. So inserting the question to the worker between other customers, I asked where those cuffs were. Her answer, “Online only."

It gets worse.

I pull up their website thinking no big deal. Except I was quickly reminded it was SOLD OUT! And I saw the price for the first time. Both things disheartening. But I was hopeful…and perhaps now entering that mindset of a “I am man and refuse to go down without a fight because I want my girl to swoon.”

So I did the only thing I could do. I asked the woman if I could buy the display. She frowned and told me they couldn’t sell those, but said she would ask just in case they could make an exception. I then watched her walk over to the woman in charge of this store to get confirmation. I saw the woman’s head shake no, make eye contact with me, and then go back to work.

Mission. Failed.

As the original lady came back to inform me they couldn’t do it, the other woman startled us by stepping in and said, “Let me ask the woman in charge. We aren’t supposed to sell these, but I don’t know. Maybe she will let us.”

It gets better.

I stood on the wall and prayed. How ridiculous! I am asking God to let me buy a bracelet. But at the moment, it was bigger than a bracelet. IT was about God caring for the little things like Breanna’s smile and a reminder to have on her wrist that our arrow is coming. I just knew the beauty in the meaning of  this bracelet and wanted to share that with my bride. So I prayed for favor. For a gift. For a surprise. And I got one.

She came back and said I could buy it! The owner of the company told her if she “deemed me worthy” then I could have it. She told me “For whatever reason I just looked at you and thought…he needs this.”

It gets better.

I had hand her the cash I had been setting aside since Christmas. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. And overwhelmed with the conviction to share why this mattered so much. To let these ladies know they were now part of a story much bigger than a cuff. I asked if I could share with her why this was such a big deal to me. I told her why the cuff caught my eye. The crazy journey to end up in this room. The meaning associated with that arrow. And I was stopped mid-sentence.

The woman put the cash I had given her back in my hand.

She said she would not take my money.

It gets better.

She went on to tell me her husband was adopted. That if his mother had not chosen life, she would not have her family. If he had not had someone to adopt him, she would not have him. She said she would be praying for us every step of the way and said, “God is going to give you that baby.”

And then the first woman I had spoken to leaned over to inform me every one of her nieces and nephews are adopted. She affirmed the beauty of adoption and how thankful she is that it happens.

And there I stood.

With my plans and my timing and my frustrations and my money all in my pocket because God had a better plan. Not only did I walk away with money I had saved for a gift that would now go into the adoption fund, I walked away having seen our adoption support family grow by a store full of people who witnessed God’s provision and timing. I walked away reaffirmed that the God who takes us through crazy frustrating times so we can get a free gift would also deliver to us a child He has already set aside for us. My God is faithful in little…and will be faithful in much. And somewhat like the Grinch, it was not my heart, but my faith that grew that day.

One day we will go (and wait in line) and walk inside that store to introduce a precious baby to a room full of women who prayed for that child. And for all the waiting, and questioning, and praying, and “it gets worse” struggles of doing what we know God has called us to do...we will be able to hold a child, surrounded by a community of friends and family and tell that precious baby, “it gets better”.

- Cody Brumley

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Growing Faith

In God's timing...

Isn't it such an easy thing to say when you're saying it to encourage someone else in their waiting?
I know I've said it hundreds of times I'm sure.  But when you are saying it yourself, more to remind yourself than to tell the person asking, it's just a little bit harder.

However, God is moving in our waiting.  He is preparing the way on our side by continually providing towards our finances.  We have been so touched by people who choose to sacrifice to help us.  We are confident that we will soon be able to present to expectant families.

We've finished our t-shirt fundraiser and had a great response!
Thank you to all who ordered one.  We expect them in within the next week.  
We've had money donations to our Adopt Together account and to us directly.
My sister has offered to host a Thirty-One party for us in Stilwell with part of proceeds towards our adoption.
My friend has offered to host a Noonday Jewelry party for us here in Tulsa.
Our friend from church is making us a BEAUTIFUL quilt for us to auction off for a donation.

Isn't that all so exciting?!

And suddenly the impossible, doesn't seem so impossible.  Thank you for walking aside us to encourage and support us along the way.

And as always, God continues to challenge me and stretch me.  This week it has been specifically with the word FAITH.

Cody and I had a late night chat one night about just that.
As we discussed the process, it was very evident to me that he was doing better than me with the unknowns.

I know this because he was calm and I was tearful...
...actually...crying...I was crying...
I do this a lot.  You can ask my closest friends and my Sunday School class of youth girls...
Really good day. I may cry.
Hard day. Yep, I cry.
Stressful day.  You better believe it.

Anyways, back to the story.
I could tell that emotionally, I was worn.

I wanted to have the faith that Cody had.  The faith that allows you to rest well knowing God has got this.  The faith of the woman in Luke 8:43-48 who reached out and touched Jesus to be healed.

"And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?"  When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!"  But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.  And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

I have always loved that story.  Don't you just want a faith like that?  To just reach toward Jesus knowing and BELIEVING in His power?  And not just knowing that He's powerful, but remembering that He cares for you? 

Our pastor and friend, Rick Frie, shared with us this week something that really stuck with me.  He said,

"Our focus shouldn't be on the size of the challenge, but on the size of our God."

This has been a beautiful lesson for me this week.  The reminder that the same God who healed the woman in Luke loves ME, cares for ME and is much bigger than my challenge.

The same God who healed the centurion servant from a distance because of the faith of the centurion.

The same God.  The challenge isn't bigger than what God has done before and what God can do.
The difference is my faith.

And so, the last few days have been better. 


As I learn to rest in God.

I'm not at a place yet where I have the faith of those spiritual giants in the Bible that I admire.

But you know's growing.

Friday, January 29, 2016

He Makes Me Brave

It's not fun to be vulnerable.  Sometimes it's needed, but it's not fun. 

I want to type that I've got it together and that things are moving smoothly... and they are to an extent.  But the truth is, things are also hard.

In the last two weeks, we've been presented 8 different situations.  That means 8 birth mothers looking for homes for their future child.  With each situation, we are given quite a bit of background information on the birth family.  After reading the first one, I cried.  It hasn't gotten much easier with each one since. 

I'm reminded that we live in a broken world. 

A world of spouse abuse.  
A world of poverty.  
A world of drug addiction.  
A world of split families.  
A world of imprisonment.  
A world of disease.  

And each of these affect a birth mother, trying to make the best decision with the world she's living in...sacrificing to give best to her baby.  I've read letters from birth mothers wanting to offer their unborn child a "better life" than what they had, but also torn to give their child to another.  Can you imagine the heartache? 

And then there's an unborn child.  A baby. Caught in the middle of the chaos.  A baby that has been dealt an unfair hand before they even take their first breath.

We read over each situation and we pray.  It's hard to know when to present.  If you present, and the birth mother chooses you, then a sum of money is due at match.  This is often half the cost of the total adoption.  When the baby is born, the rest is due.  We've discussed the cost already and I won't go into it all again, but for now...we wait.  We wait on tax returns.  We wait on t-shirt fundraisers.  We wait on grants.  We wait on loans.  We save...and we wait. 

And we pray.  We pray for women we only know by their first name.  We pray for the baby.  We pray God would find the perfect family for that baby whether that's an adoptive family or the birth family.

And sometimes we cry....

We cry because we hurt over the brokenness of the world that I had somehow shielded myself from. 
Or maybe ignored. 
I'm not sure which.

I have days where I feel like we have a peace on the process and a peace in the waiting. 
And days when I hurt and doubt.  I want to be brave.  But I'm not.  I don't know if we can do it.  Can we raise a baby in spite of addiction.  In spite of the possibility of attachment issues.  In spite of transracial challanges.  In spite of brokenness.

And even if we can do all that, can we even get to the starting line?  Can we save/raise/borrow the money needed? Will we even get the opportunity?

I am thankful for a God who cares about me individually.  Who cares when I'm hurting and unsure.  Whose timing is perfect.  Who shared a song I have heard a hundred times, but today it served as the reminder I needed.

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

And that's it. 

Alone I am scared. 
Alone I am doubtful. 
Alone I am inadequate. 
Alone it is impossible.

But with God. With God I am brave.

With God I can go beyond the shore into the waves.
With God...

I am learning that on the harder days, I have to evaluate where I'm looking for help.
Am I looking to myself, husband, family and friends?

Or am I looking to the One...

the only One....

who can make me brave.

 Lyrics from You Make Me Brave by Amanda Cook/Bethel Music

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Cost

I have wanted to write about the financial cost of adoption for a while now because it's worth sharing for those wanting to know.  At the same time, I haven't wanted to because the truth is I find it awkward to share about the "cost" of my future child. 

When we were pregnant with Charlotte and Walker, we would share the exciting news, reveal the gender of the child, announce the arrival date and overload you with pictures once they arrived.  But no where along the way do we share the cost of the hospital bills.  No where along the process of sharing is there ever a dollar bill sign.  And with good insurance, there really wasn't much trouble paying it off.  I don't think many would label it as a "financial burden".


A word no child should have to hear in association with themselves.  Future Brumley #3 will be one of the most amazing blessings into our family.  While this baby may arrive into our lives differently than the first two, in no way will they be anything less of a miracle.  And that's what I want them to grow up knowing.  So by sharing that our adoption will have a significant cost, could we be putting our child at the risk of somehow hearing that in the future and feel that they were a burden to us.  It brings this Momma to tears just thinking about it.

Cody and I have gone round and round trying to decide the best way to move forward.  We legally can adopt now.  We are receiving adoptive situations each week.  But at match and then again after the birth, there's a large amount of money that we need to have a plan to give.  Somewhere between $25,000-$40,000.

We've read books on the best ways to save.  We've stopped eating out.  Our goal is to feed the four of us on $100 a week.  We've significantly changed our spending budget.  We've sold tickets to Thunder games we bought last fall.  I've parted with Rustic Cuff bracelets that I previously bought.  Cody has sold pedals among other guitar parts.  We have a garage sale planned for the spring.  We've signed up for a interest free for a year credit card.  We are anxiously awaiting a hopefully good tax return.  We've applied to grants and adoption free loans.  So when do we take the next step? When do we say yes to being presented?  Do we wait until we have half the expected cost in savings?  Do we say yes now and trust that God will find a way to supply?

We've read books on how to "Adopt Without Debt".
We've read blogs on best ways to fundraise.
We've read blogs on why people chose not to fundraise.
We've read where people sell a car in order to finish an adoption...

Anyone want to give Cody a ride to church for the next year or so????

To be honest, I haven't written about this subject yet because it's overwhelmed me.  I don't know what the "right" thing to do is. Do we share and fundraise? Do we borrow and pay back?  And I'm looking at something that seems impossible to do.  To come up with a lot of money in a short amount of time.  We need a miracle.

You know what I love about God?  There is nothing that is new to Him.  Nothing surprises Him.  And nothing is too big for Him.

Matthew 14:13-21 shares the story of feeding the five thousand.  And that was just men.  With women and children, we know that number was even bigger!

"Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves."

I know what a desolate place feels like.

"But Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."

Yes Jesus. Please.

"They said to him, "we have only five loaves here and two fish."

Jesus this is all I have.  I'll give you all we have.

"And he said, "Bring them here to me."

Here it is Jesus.

Not only did Jesus provide enough, He provided abundantly.

"And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over."

When Cody and I were talking last week, I shared that this passage came to mind again and again.  If we are being obedient to a calling on our lives, then I must have faith that God will do what only God can do.  And we are already seeing it.  He is multiplying our efforts.

Cody sold a guitar pedal and the young man paid him $5 extra.  "It's for the adoption.  Just do me a favor and name the kid after me."  Another pedal, $10 extra.  "Good luck in the adoption."

I sold a sewing machine and the family paid $20 extra.  "It's for your adoption.  It's not much."

I cried.  No, it was so much more than not much.

This weekend a family member handed us some money.  "This is the first of what we can give. "

And just like that, we realized God was multiplying our efforts just like he multiplied the fish and the loaves.

God this is all I have.  Thank you that you provide abundantly.

We will continue to take things one day at a time.  We have prayed about it and have decided to do a t-shirt fundraiser.  If you like t-shirts, then we would be honored for you to order one.  If it is odd to you that someone would have a fundraiser for something like adopting a child, then that's okay too.  I understand.   But please don't share it with us if you find disdain in our decision, because it's been a tough decision and if I know, I might cry. And that would just be awkward for all of us.

Please pray for us as we move forward.  Pray for our hearts.  Pray for our future baby.  Pray for the birth family of our future baby.  

And thank you for joining us for the journey.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Guest Post by Thor and Kristen Rooks

Foster care. It's something that had always been on my heart. I knew it would always be part of my life but I didn't know how. Thor and I had been married for 3 years when it became an overwhelming calling in my life. I knew I needed to answer that call but Thor didn't exactly feel the same way. I respected that and began figuring out other ways that I could be involved. I applied for a job with DHS to be a caseworker. I got the job and ended up turning it down because I just didn't have peace about it. Thor started to pray more about foster care and God started working in his heart. We had decided that we would become foster parents but that it would make more sense to wait until we were older, wiser and our kids were grown. Again WE were standing in the way of our calling. 

I always tell people if God is calling you to foster care you will know and He won't stop until you answer. There were so many flashing neon signs telling us that the time is now so we finally stopped fighting God. We surrendered our life and followed the plans he had for us. God has orchestrated every step of our fostering journey, which has been reassuring to us that we are following His plans, not ours. There have been some very physically and emotionally hard times during our journey. There have also been times that the sound of laughter in our home is so pure and beautiful that we want to build more bedrooms in our home. The thing about these kids that people don't realize is that they are good kids that have had bad things happen to them. They aren't bad kids. Most of them have been through more in their young lives than many adults. 

Seeing kids grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually in just a few months is beyond amazing. It's a miracle! Jesus told us that the most important thing we can do is love. Showing these kids love means you will fight for them, you will show them you care for them even when they spit in your face (literally), you show them they are family no matter what crazy thing they say to a stranger at the supermarket, and you will tuck them in at night and pray with them and tell them you love them and God loves them no matter what happens in their life. Love is not just words which many of these kids have heard over and over. Love is action which many of these good kids have never seen Love and God has blessed us to take action and show these kids His love for them.  

Many people tell us that we are such a blessing to these kids. I would argue that point, these young kids have shown us toughness, resilience, and that God is alive in us. So I ask you, will you challenge yourself to become uncomfortable? To become emotionally and physically drained? To surrender "your plans" for His plans? While you think about it there are 1,200 Oklahoma kids waiting to have a home. To be loved. Pray often and open heartedly because God does want to use you and he will guide you to where he wants you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How long will it take?

Now that you are home study approved, how long will it take?  

It’s hard to answer this question, because there are several factors to take into consideration.  The first is how long it takes to be matched with a birth mother.  In order to broaden our reach, we decided to sign up with an adoption consultant.  The group we are using is called Christian Adoption Consultants.  They offer support at each step of adoption.  We were assigned to Susan and she has been so much help!  I email her multiple times a week.  We ask questions about the matching and placement process, how to best design our family profile books, financial questions concerning grants and loans, ask for explanations about adoption costs, and much more! 

After signing up and asking tons of questions, we were given a list of agencies across the U.S. that our consultant group had worked with before and highly recommended.   This gave us assurance that we could partner with groups who are ethical, care greatly for the birth mothers and families, and are working hard as the go between for birth families and adoptive families.  There were several agencies recommended.  So far, we have applied to three.  Each agency has their own set of guidelines, paperwork and many have an additional fee just to sign up.  We chose to sign up with those who have lower fees or no sign up fees to start.  It’s been a hard step for us because we are working diligently to save money and about the time we feel we are making a dent, there’s something else to pay for just to get started.

So now that we are home study approved, have a consultant and are working with different agencies, we begin to see what the adoptive world calls “situations” presented to us by email.  These situations give us the opportunity to know as much as possible and can include important birth parent information, social and medical issues.  It also gives us the expected cost of the adoption and how much money would be due at the time of match.  We then have the chance to pray over if we would like to be “presented” to the birth family.

One of the beginning steps of our adoption was to create a “profile”.  This is a book that they use to “present” us to the birth family.  This is a way to tell the expectant mother about our family, our thoughts on adoption and our future plans.  It was an interesting process as we sought to give an honest look at our family instead of trying to “sell” our family.  We have prayed over this book, that it would make its way to the hands of an expectant birth mother of our future child and that she would be comforted by it in some way and encouraged as she makes one of the most difficult decisions for her baby.

So, if we choose to be presented, the birth mom is given our profile book along with other adoptive families and she is given several days to choose which family she feels is best for her child.  If she were to pick our family, that is considered a “match”.

While we are already receiving emails of situations, we still have some time before we will be able to present to a family due to the cost due at match.  Sometimes this is half the cost, or if the mother is due any day, it could be up to the full cost of adoption.  I’m so not ready to talk about all that goes into the finances of adoption, although I will try to tackle the subject in other blog soon.  But for now, I will tell you that the average cost is $30,000-$35,000 but can range from $25,000-$40,000. So even if only half the cost is due at match, it is still a significant amount.  But, we will come back to this topic at a later date.

For now, I’d like to share what God is teaching me.  

The story of Abraham and Sarah has come up through my own quiet time and in conversations with others.  I love God's timing in me revisiting this story and I love this verse.

By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.” Hebrews 11:8

Abraham did not know where he was going when he was called to go, but he went.  

He didn’t know how to get there, but he went.  

Without sight and without a plan.

He went in faith.  

Psalm 127:3 says “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord” and some versions use the word “inheritance” from the Lord.  I can’t help but come back to these verses in my times of doubt. 

My family will walk by faith to follow God’s calling to receive our inheritance….

Baby Brumley #3.