Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eternal Family Program

On another note, we have been accepted into the Eternal Family Program through AWAA our adoption agency. So, now if anyone contributes towards our adoption, their dontation can be tax deductable. If you are interested in making a tax deductable donation to our adoption, please email us at brakefieldadoption@yahoo.com so that I can email you the form that you will need to complete with your donation.

Four Months and Counting




Well, we have now been on the waiting list for 4 months. We are unofficially around 26th on the waiting list to receive a referral for a child. We are hoping that we will receive a referral sometime in the fall, however, we know that it is all in His timing and we are trying very hard to have no expectations. We have been very busy working on the baby's room, getting the house ready, etc. We are gearing up getting ready for our walk a thon and also working on gathering things for our yard sale. So, if any of you have anything that you would like to get rid of and would like to donate for our yard sale, please let us know. Last year we were able to raise all the money that we needed for our homestudy from our 3 yard sales. Baby Brakefield we are one month closer to holding you in our arms and can't wait to meet you, hug you, and kiss you!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Life Is Not My Own

As I was stalking blogs from some families adopting children from Ethiopia, I came across this post from Heidi Weimer at http://blessingsfromethiopia.blogspot.com. It really touched me and hit home and I wanted to share it with you. Heidi and her husband currently have 6 children, 3 biological, 3 adopted and they will be traveling soon to pick up 3 more adopted children from Ethiopia for a whopping total of 9. They have definately embraced the fact that their lives are not their own and have put aside many of their wants to follow the lord, but have received many blessings, too, namely 9 beautiful children.

"I wish I could tell you...
that the sacrificial life of following after Jesus and being His actual hands and feet on this Planet Earth would bring rewards on this planet. But I can't. Because it probably won't.

I wish I could tell you that if you take in an orphan and love that child as your own flesh and blood, that you will be blessed in this life in more ways than just spiritual. But I can't. Because you might not be.

I wish I could tell you that it's easy to adopt. That it's effortless and glamorous and always beautiful. But I can't. Because it isn't.

I wish I could tell you that it's easy after you adopt. But I can't. Because it's tougher than tough some days.

I wish I could tell you that this life of sacrifice is painless and prosperous. But I can't. Because it's often painful and rarely prosperous in the earthly.

I wish I could tell you all of those warm and comforting platitudes, but I can't. Because they're not true.

What I CAN tell you, though, is that this life is not your own. So none of the above matter anyway.

When I stepped off of the cliff in full recognition of that reality, I have had no control over my life since. Yes, I have choices. I realize that I chose this road. I said yes to this calling. I agreed to take in 6 kids that I did not have to call my own. But once I said yes the first time, I could never say no after. Once I took Jesus seriously, Jesus took me seriously. I was wrecked for Him and for this life and could never tell Him no. Never again. If I say no to a child who needs me, I'm saying no to the Child Jesus. If I say no to an abandoned baby who needs me, I'm saying no to Baby Jesus. If I say no to a sibling group who needs a family, I'm saying no to Jesus and his brothers and sisters. Think I'm exaggerating?

Matthew 25:44-46 (The Message)
44"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

45"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'

46"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."


I mean, it doesn't get more blatant than that. But alas there it is for us so-called Jesus followers.


And, here's a little warning: Once you utter that initial walking-off-the-cliff YES to Him, it doesn't get any easier. In fact, it gets more painful and far more difficult. Saying YES the first time was the easy part for us, even though that certainly was not easy. Because--the fact is--every single day I see the reality of my choice to say YES to Jesus in need. I see the white picket fences, the new cars, the private schools, the suburban "dream," the picture perfect families. I see that. I know what I'm saying no to. I am fully aware that I had a choice to embrace "that" life, but that I chose to embrace His instead.


It's often painful. Usually not easy. Typically lonely. Generally overwhelming. But I know that this life is not my own. The reward for me is most likely not on this planet. In fact, it most certainly isn't. Most probably I will never live in a fat house (by American standards) and drive a fancy car and have any spare cash to sit on. I realize that. I know that. And I also know that I could have sought those things for myself and could have had them. I absolutely know that that life is within my reach. Every time I encounter someone who has embraced fulfillment in the temporary, I am reminded like a big banner (or a slap in the face) that I chose this road instead. And every time I am reminded, I hear God asking me (practically audibly sometimes), "So, you still want to follow the narrow road?" [YES, Lord. Here am I. Send me.]


Loving the fatherless. Loving the abandoned. Loving the seemingly hopeless. The narrow road requires sacrifice.The narrow road. It's lonely. It's long. It's difficult. It's full of suffering and struggle and sacrifice. But isn't that what following our Jesus is all about? If you're following a Jesus that doesn't demand sacrifice of all earthly endeavors, than I don't know what Jesus you're following. Didn't Jesus, after all, sacrifice all earthly endeavors for us? What did He sacrifice so that He could love YOU? How much more, then, should we sacrifice in order to love Him? And if loving HIM means loving the unlovely and the unloved, then what does it mean if we live in comfort while the unloved go on unloved? While the orphaned stay orphaned? While the street kids still roam the streets?


I don't know how we can really claim to love Jesus if we don't love Jesus the Street Child. If we don't love Jesus the Orphan. Jesus the Prostitute. Jesus the Abandoned.

But what does it mean to LOVE Jesus the Orphan? What does it mean to love Jesus the Abandoned? It means that you do for Jesus the Orphan what you would want done to your own child.


Matthew 7:12 (New International Version)
12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

In a world that seems so complicated and chaotic, it really is as simple as that. It's what led me to see my own children in the faces of Ethiopia's orphans in the first place. It's what led me to say yes to children who simply needed a family. Who needed me. Who needed someone to see Jesus the Orphan in them.

Matthew 16:23-25 (The Message)
23But Jesus didn't swerve. "Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works."

24-26Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?


Matthew 16:23-25 (New International Version)

23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Where is your cross? What is your suffering? Go seek out Jesus the Orphan. You'll find your cross and suffering there. And there you will finally find Jesus. The One you did not see before and the One you did not know to love.


And then and only then, Great Will Be Your Reward. I can't count on much, but I can count on that.

Luke 6:34-36 (New International Version)
34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:34-36 (The Message)
31-34"Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that's charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

35-36"I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

I know my family is not the so-called American Dream. I know that having 9 kids is certainly not the goal for most sane and ordinary people. I know that having a multi-racial family can really mar some people's plans for a supposedly picture-perfect family. But so what? This life is not your own. Don't live a lie believing that it is. Whose plans are those, anyway, for the picture-perfect home? the picture-perfect family? the American dream? I don't remember Jesus standing on the mountainside preaching in favor of any of those, so whatever you do, make sure your plans aren't just that...YOUR plans.

My life is not my own. And if you claim to follow Jesus, your life is not yours, either.

Galatians 2:20 (New International Version)
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Go. Leave behind the life you planned. SEEK OUT the orphan. Don't ask God one more time if He wants you to adopt. Because...HE'S been asking YOU, who WILL?"

Monday, June 15, 2009

1/15

Yesterday, I wrote up this great post and lost it at the end. I got so mad, I had to go to bed, so today, I am attempting to rewrite it. Interestingly enough, it was about perserverance! Anyway, last week I was driving to a clients home and saw a sign outside a church. It said that "Faith is not a one time event". For some reason this really stuck in my head and I felt the truth of that simple statement. Then I went to church on Sunday and what do you think our pastor was talking about? Our scripture was James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance. Perservarance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything". And what do you know one of the first things Pastor Tim said was "Faith is not a one time event"! He spoke about how God uses trials in our lives because He loves us so much that He wants to bring us to where we need to be in our faith. He wants us to have a faith of character, authenticity, and integrity and everytime we face a trial in our lives we grow and mature and develop a closer relationship with God. God is always with us along these trials and these trials allow perserverance to do its job. I know that I am probably not sayint all this correctly, however, I think you probably get the point. Anyway, I was thinking about all of this and especially about our adoption journey and what a journey of faith it is. Tim and I have grown as individuals, as a couple, and in our faith and relationship with God. One of the things that we are learning to do better is to rely on God for everything and give it all up to Him. We trust that God has it all under control and has a plan to bring our child home in His timing. We have been able to (at least most of the time!) give all our worries to Him and allow Him to take care of them. The biggest area of worry is about being able to pay for the adoption, as it is so expensive. However, everytime we start to think about this and worry, we have been able to step back and give it to God and He has brought us peace. So, much so that my mom worries about this more than I do! We know that God is great and He can do anything and He will help us to complete this adoption journey. Tim is leaving at 4am this morning to take a group of Sr. High kids to a conference in Orange Beach, Al. Please pray for them to have a safe journey and to grow in their relationship with our Lord. Also, on another note, this marks the one year anniversary of the begining of our adoption journey. When Tim came home from the same conference last year, God placed adoption on his heart and here we are!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Red Thread Walk-A-Thon



Everyone get out those walking shoes. Tim and I are having a Red Thread Walk-A-Thon.

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.
- Chinese proverb

The red thread is a tradition that all the people of consequence in your life have an invisible red thread that connects them to you. It is a clear symbolic image for relationships that cannot be denied ... husbands and wives, friends and soulmates, and of course, parents to children. Even though we are adopting from Africa this proverb has real meaning to us as even now we are connected to a child that we have never seen but love nonetheless. Please help us raise the needed funds to bring our child home.

We are having a walk-a-thon on July 11, 2009 starting at 10 am at the bike trail at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon and are walking 3 miles. The address for the Y is 1699 Deerfield Rd, Lebanon, OH 45036. You can help us by volunteering to walk and raising money from your circle of friends, family, and co-workers. All moneys raised from the walk-a-thon are strictly used towards our adoption related expenses. If you are not able or do not want to walk you can still help us raise funds. Walking is great exercise and this is for a wonderful cause, so please help. Email us for more information at brakefieldadoption@yahoo.com.

We are also planning a birthday extravaganza after the walk for my 30th b-day. Be there or be square!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pics from the skate party








Here are some pics from our skating party last Sat. We had a great time. Thanks to all who came and fell along with us!! Or at least fell along with me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To all families in the adoption process

One of the families that adopted a child through our agency is creating a coffee fundraiser to help families with the expense of adoption. If you are in the process of adopting, consider signing up with this fundraiser. Here is a copy of an email he sent regarding this:

My name is Rob Webb. My wife and I adopted two girls 10 & 4 about a
month ago (The April 25-May 2 travel group). While I realize that many
of you in this group are pretty far along in your adoption process I
wanted to let you know about a company that I am starting. It is called
One Love Coffee Roasters and its primary focus is fund raising for
adopting families and helping the AWAA transition home in Addis Ababa
through the sale of Fair Trade coffees. While I will not be open until
September 2009 (facility is being constructed, website is being
designed, coffees are being cupped, etc.) I wanted to let you guys know
what I was doing. You can go to the temporary website while the actual
website is being built at http://www.onelovecoffees.com to find out more
about what I am trying to do. It is a turnkey fundraiser program. Each
family will have their own dedicated page in the store (i.e.
www.onelovecoffees. com/jonesfamily) to sell their coffees. There is NO
product to be purchased by the adopting family. All that is required of
the family is to sign up and get the word out about their coffee. We
handle the product, inventory, order processing, shipping, etc and at
the end of the month we send you your proceeds ($5 per bag). That's all
there is to it. I've tried to make it as easy and risk free for the
families as possible. If you or a family that you know of can make use
of this please visit the site and fill out the pre-application so that I
can get you started as soon as we're up and running. Thanks so much and
I will continue to keep all of you and your children in my prayers.

Rob Webb

So, please take a look at the website and sign up. This is a great opportunity for some fundraising help.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New info from the Dept. of State

Adoption Alert

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues

May 26, 2009

Adoptions of Abandoned Children Halted by Ethiopian Court

On May 4, 2009 the Ethiopian First Instance Court temporarily stopped accepting cases involving abandoned children referred by orphanages in Addis Ababa, citing a substantial increase in the number of children being brought for adoption. The number of abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa has grown dramatically in recent months and Ethiopian authorities have become aware of possible cases of unethical practices associated with some of them.

Neither the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) nor the First Instance Court had been accepting abandonment cases from any orphanage in Addis Ababa pending an inquiry. However, on May 23 the Court confirmed that while the investigation into cases of abandoned children continues, it has begun accepting cases of abandoned children referred from Addis Ababa government orphanages. These include the following orphanages:

Kebebe Tsehay Orphanage
Ketchene Orphanage
Kolfe Youth Center

This is good news. Hopefully, the investigation will be completed soon and they will open up adoptions for abandoned children again.