3.

My girl is 2 today ( it’s after midnight ūüėä)

No amount of “thank you’s” to Jesus could be enough for the gratitude in my heart that we are spending this birthday with our girl.

I was praying with Eisley tonight before I put her to bed and thanking Jesus over and over for her sweet life and it made me realize how blessed Eisley really is. Moms are a wonderful thing to have, and Eisley has 3. Three moms that love her; each love unique and perfect in its very own way that have gotten us to this point. Each mom has now spent 1 birthday with my Eisley.

I am thankful for her birth mom. She got the very first birthday with her. Thankful that in what may have been a scary, inconvenient, lonely or confusing season for her, she chose LIFE for my girl. She chose love. I will never be jealous of that birthday she spent with her. There is so much joy in my heart knowing that they had that first one, just the 2 of them. I will forever be grateful for Eisley’s birth mom and the gift she gave me.

eisley-newborn

I am thankful for her foster mom. She got the second birthday with her, when our girl turned 1! She celebrated in traditional Korean fashion with a Korean Dol celebration, wearing a beautiful Hanbok, and participating in a Doljabi (Eisley chose the gavel). I am thankful that on her first birthday she celebrated in a manner that was honoring to her heritage and the beauty of the Korean culture. I will never be jealous of that birthday she spent with her. I know Eisley’s foster mom loved her like one of her own and I know that because Eisley was loved so well in her care, I am reaping the benefits of an emotionally healthy baby that loves her mommy and daddy, and has adjusted to her new home so well. I will forever be grateful for Eisley’s foster mom.

eisley-dol

I am thankful that I get to be her forever mommy. I’m so thankful that when my Eisley wakes up as a 2 year old, she will be laying next to her mommy that went through tremendous lengths to bring her home (and would do it all again). I am thankful that I have the honor to be loved by her. She is the sweetest, squishiest, most lovey baby I have ever known, and she’s mine. There is a twinge of sadness that this is the first birthday I have ever spent with my girl, but only because it means I missed days that could have been spent with my daughter. But this second birthday means so much to me as I look back at her life. This one seems special. Maybe it’s because it’s the first one that we have been together for, but I think it’s because it seems to finish this journey. From here, all the rest of her birthdays will be spent with her forever family.

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I am so thankful that her first 3 birthdays were spent in such special ways with each special mother in her life. Thankful that through each one, I know God has watched over her and protected her little heart.

Happy birthday, my darling daughter. You are my most special gift and I love you with all of my heart. I pray that as you grow, you will grow in love, understanding, compassion, strength, and wisdom. May you always know you are valued, loved, and chosen! Your daddy and I are the blessed ones and we can’t imagine our life without you in it.
“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things (YOU!) and then I don’t feel so bad!”   -Mommy

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2017.

2016 was the best year to date. It was the year our daughter finally came home. This whirlwind of a few weeks has left us feeling a little out of sorts. We almost forgot Christmas, didn’t realize that yesterday was New Year’s Eve, and haven’t know the day of the week since we took custody. We have been trying to stay fairly well contained in our home the last couple of weeks to give our sweet girl some stability after all the change she has had to process recently and she has done so well learning to trust me and Isaiah and be her comfort when she needs it.

People keep asking me how it feels to finally have my girl home and it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to put in to words…It feels new, exciting, like a dream finally come to pass, like the answer to thousands of prayers; but at the same time, I feel like she has always been mine. Like I haven’t ever known a day without her. We have only had her in our arms for 3 weeks but I know she has been my daughter since the moment she was born. It’s the craziest thing how God can redeem so much when we allow Him to write our story. For us, He has redeemed those 2 years where she wasn’t in our home and has bonded our hearts with hers as if she was ours from the second she entered the world. For her, He has redeemed a seemingly broken past and brought her into a family where love abounds, where she will always be cherished, loved, adored, and valued. He makes all things new.

I love New Year’s Day! It feels so fresh and new. I love that this year, New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. It felt so right having the first thing our family did in 2017 was go to God’s house. I knew walking in to that sanctuary would be an emotional experience for me. I can’t count how many prayers have been lifted up in that very room for the miracle I was holding in my arms today. So many tears have been cried as I longed for my baby who was half way across the world from her mommy. But today, I was holding that miracle in my arms as we sang about the greatness of God, and my eyes filled with tears as I stood there in this sanctuary I have called home for 15 years holding tangible evidence of God’s faithfulness, goodness, and grace worshipping with my little family.

Today I was reminded that He hears us, He knows the longings of our hearts, He will make a way where there seems to be none, His plans are greater and HE IS FAITHFUL!

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Give us this day.

I was talking to a long-time friend this morning about a new season Isaiah and I are walking into and a season we are finally walking out of. Talking about our adoption and how in love I am with my daughter. She has completely changed my life already, and she isn’t even home yet.

I long to experience carrying a child, long to experience being pregnant, but I know I am at a place of such peace and if we don’t ever conceive a child biologically, He is good and my heart is full knowing He brought me this unbelievable gift, my Eisley.

Our conversation this morning reminded me of God’s goodness to His people.

I don’t know about you, but I have prayed so many times, desperately asking God to reveal His plans for my life. Hindsight is always 20/20 and knowing what I know now, I am thankful that He is good, thankful that I wasn’t given what I asked for.

Flashback to September 2012. Isaiah and I were getting married, and I know that if I had known all that we would walk through in just 4 years of marriage, I would have had a meltdown. A mental, physical, and emotional meltdown. If I had known then that we would struggle with getting pregnant, or that when God laid adoption on our hearts, we would be forced to stop trying to get pregnant for 2 years, or after longing for a child for 3 years, we still wouldn’t have our daughter home, or that we would have known our daughter and seen pictures of her for over a year before she was in our arms. If God had showed me all of that 4 years ago, overwhelmed wouldn’t even begin to describe how I would have felt.

But He is good.

He knew I couldn’t handle all of that then. So instead of revealing His grand plan to me all at once, He did what any good father would do. He walked me through each day as it came. Through each joy, each sorrow, each worry, each celebration, He walked me through it. And with each day’s victory, my faith and trust in the Lord grew. My relationship with Him deepened as I saw His faithfulness daily in my life.

The verse in The Lord’s Prayer, “give us this day our daily bread”-I have always known it was asking God for our physical provision, but now, I know it means so much more. That prayer, looking back over our 4 year marriage journey, sounds a lot more like, “Lord, please just give me what I can handle for this day and sustain me with your word. Walk me through today and I will trust that you know the big picture.”

Whatever season you are walking through today, know that as you seek the Lord for answers, for revelation, for clarity-He is good to his children and gives us this day, our daily bread.

‚ÄúGive your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don‚Äôt get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 MSG

The teens.

Nineteen. People….today we hit the teens! 19 days until Isaiah and I get on a plane to fly half way around the world to meet 2 VIPs.

I have 3 countdowns on my phone going right now. 19 days until we get on our plane. 22 days until we meet our daughter and a woman that I so dearly love-the woman that has cared for our baby girl for the last 2 years. Both of those people Isaiah and I have never met, but love with our whole hearts. Then the third countdown is 28. 28 days until we stand before a judge in the Korean court to make this adoption happen!

Recently I have been reviewing this whole process in my mind and how we have seriously gotten to this point. I remember that January almost 2 years ago when we knew adoption was our calling and how far away 2 years felt. Man…I’m so thankful that we didn’t allow that timeline to keep us from this. I am so thankful we were called to adopt. I am so glad we didn’t allow fear to stop us from the best thing we have ever done.

In these next 22 days until we meet our Eisley, we will be preparing our hearts for that moment when she comes in with her foster momma. I am preparing my heart to know that even though we have known her for over a year now, even though we have fallen head over heels in love with this baby girl, even though we have spent months and months preparing our hearts and our home for her, we will be strangers to her. I am prepared to use any means necessary to get some hugs out of my girl. I mean…I bought 100 lollipops and I’m not afraid to use every. single. one. I have bubbles and stickers and crayons and stuffed animals and Minnie mouse cars. The bribe arsenal is ready.

Friends…thank you. For those that have donated, prayed, congratulated, read my blog, texted, or any other way¬†you have supported us…we thank you. From the bottom of our hearts. It’s because of all of you that we have walked 2 years of this process and are now 19 days from leaving to meet her. Thank you for being the body of Christ. For bearing our burden when it was too great for us to bear. We can never thank you all enough for helping us grow our family. We have always known we have the best friends, but through all of this, we have learned that what we really have, is a really HUGE family! We can’t wait to show off our girl to all of you!

KOREA OR BUST!

 

While I wait.


This is what waiting looks like for us. Brown boxes packed SOOO tightly with goodies for our baby girl being shipped off to Korea; hoping that she finds joy in the bath toys and stuffed animals we send, praying that the pictures we send her help her transition that is coming in the next couple of months. This is what the last 8 months have looked like as we wait for our beautiful, (almost) 20 month old girl to come home.

I was on Facebook about a week ago and stumbled across a quote by John Ortberg that really has had me thinking. “What God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.”

As I read that, I thought to myself, “there is no way that this waiting period can hold as much value as when I finally get to my daughter,” but as I was thinking on this, I began to list in my head all the things I have seen God do in this waiting period. The following list is extremely transparent and probably, entirely too open; but this is my testimony in this waiting season.

While I wait for my girl, God has taught me, revealed to me, and changed me.

  • I have seen God provide financially in a way I never could have imagined. When we decided to adopt, one of¬†our biggest hurdles was finances. We didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars laying around. A dear friend and fellow adoptive momma encouraged me as she had seen God provide for them as well, that if¬†money was the only thing keeping us from pursuing adoption, then move forward and wait on God to amaze us. And He has.
  • Marriage has been hard. While Facebook and Instagram seem to highlight the mountain tops of marriage, walking the low points of marriage is real life and they can be long and lonely. The last year of our marriage has been tested and tried just like the 3 before it, but God has shown me so much about leaning on, trusting, and appreciating the man He gave me, while we walk out this season. I have seen my sweet husband love our Eisley from across the world and love me so well while my impatience and frustration were ugly. I know I could not have done this wait without him.
  • God has had to work so much ungodliness out of me during this time. I have struggled with jealousy, impatience, fear, and doubt through this long process, and while I can’t say that I never deal with these things anymore, I can say, God has revealed areas in my life where I so desperately need Him and is teaching me that He’s writing¬†our story, not me. Our story won’t look like everyone else’s, and that’s okay. Our story is unique to us, and tailor-made to the gifts, talents, and character he has instilled in me and Isaiah.
  • He has shown me that by His grace, we are capable of loving others more than we thought we could. I have never loved anyone the way I love my Eisley and I haven’t even met her yet. Only God’s grace could do that.
  • He has given me a heart for the orphan. This one “yes” we made to God almost 2 years ago, has begun to spark dreams and desires in our hearts for our family that I know have come from God’s heart.

There are countless things that I have learned through the waiting, there’s no way I could list them all, but what I do know, is that He is changing me, He is changing our marriage, He is changing our future.

 

One step closer.

We are in the final leg of this process.

In the past, every time progress was made, it didn’t feel like we were making REAL progress. In the past, every step was “your ____ (fill in the blank with every form imaginable) was approved….now wait some more”. In the past, we were waiting just to keep waiting. Not this time.

This time, our next progress email will be telling me the date that I get to meet my daughter. This is the fun wait. This wait finally brings something tangible to this waiting momma’s heart. I will finally get to see her face, hold her tiny hand, kiss those chubby cheeks. AH! It doesn’t seem real.

Process so far:
September 2015-Matched with our girl
October 2015-Home study completed
December 2015-Home study to Korea
January 2016-Formal acceptance for our baby (Her 1st birthday)
March 2016-Dossier (compilation of hundreds of signed/notarized papers) to Korea
June 2016-Submitted for Eisley’s Emigration Permit & Her legal paperwork sent to US Immigration
August 2016-Eisley’s Emigration Permit was approved and her legal docs were sent from US Immigration to Korea for final approval
NOW-Waiting on our court date (the trip where we meet our daughter)
AFTER COURT-We will come home without our girl and wait for Korea to issue a custody date. Once we receive that date, that’s when we will take full custody of Eisley.

Short blog post, just to fill everyone in on what all my Facebook statuses have been about, as most of my friends when they read them are SUPER excited for us, but have no clue what most of it means, or where that puts us in our process.

PRAYER REQUESTS:
1. Please pray with us that we get a court date either in late September or October.
2. We receive a custody date in 2016!!!
3. Eisley will supernaturally feel a connection to me and Isaiah. We are prepared for her to grieve losing her amazing foster mom, but are praying that she can find comfort in our love for her and recognize us as a safe place.
4. Peace for my anxious heart. As much as I love that this process is ending, it brings with it some anxieties. We still have things in our home that need to be done before baby girl joins our family. Also, I have recently felt such a sadness for my girl knowing what she will go through in a few short months and that brings on so many unexpected emotions with it.

 

Change.

I have found that as this adoption journey gets closer and closer to ending, I hear myself saying this phrase a lot: “This time next year, Eisley will be here for this!” It’s been so fun getting to a place of “lasts” for me and Isaiah, and starting in on a season of “firsts” for our family of 3.

Everything we do, I imagine that same activity, but with a 2-year-old in tow. And while some may say, “just enjoy these last few months¬†together,¬†because once she gets here, life will¬†look so different”,¬†of course we are enjoying our life together, but we both will¬†welcome these changes. Our weekends at the lake may have¬†less sleep, our vacations will have less “alone” time, our Saturdays will result in a much earlier morning, but I wouldn’t trade those things. I long for sleepless nights because my girl needs cuddles, my arms ache to hold her all through Deanna Rose because she just doesn’t want to walk anymore, I am counting on my chubby little girl keeping us awake at night sleeping¬†right between me and her dad. Those things don’t feel like sacrifices when you have waited so long for a child you fell in love with from day 1.

I know that in 6 months {ish} our lives will be almost unrecognizable. I know that we will have hard days, but I also know that we have prayed for our Eisley long before we knew she was ours. I know that she is the answer to prayers that I was praying every month when we weren’t getting those 2 pink lines on the pregnancy tests. She is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. So bring on this new life of parenthood.

If you have been following our journey, or even if this is the first of my blogs that you have read, would you please pray with us for the following:
1. FAST approval for Eisley’s emigration permit
2. That God would begin to prepare her heart for me and Isaiah. That she would feel the instant love and connection we felt with her.
3. That God would give me and Isaiah insight and wisdom as she grieves the loss of her foster family, who have been so amazing the last year and a half, when she is home with us.

What I love about you.

My beautiful girl,

I haven’t met you yet, but I love you more than I ever knew I could love someone. I know that once you are home, once I have held you, once I have heard your tiny voice, I will learn new things about you that I will love. But for now, here are some things I love about you:

  1. Your sweet smile. The first couple months of receiving your pictures, we still hadn’t seen a smile. All your pictures were so serious. First smile that we saw was in a video of you in a yellow rain coat at a coffee shop. Your daddy and I watched that video so many times to see you smile.
  2. Your fingers and toes. They are perfect. Every time I get a picture of you without socks on, I zoom in to see those cute toes!
  3. Something about you stole my heart from day 1. I knew the second I saw your picture, you were going to be my daughter. I had an instant heart connection to you, my girl. Ever since that day, I feel a constant ache in my chest. I don’t know if that ache will go away once I have you, or if that ache is just because my love for you is too much for this heart to contain; but the ache is real, it’s tangible.
  4. You are thoughtful. I see it in every video of you. You’re always thinking, always taking things in around you. You are so smart, little one.
  5. Lately, your sweet foster mom has been putting your hair in 3 pig tails. One on top, and 2 on the side. Your hair just isn’t long enough for 2,¬†¬†and I think that’s cute!
  6. You love baby dolls. I can’t wait to play with you, Eisley. To play dolls, and Barbies, and have tea parties. I almost bought you a princess¬†bike the other day…you aren’t even 2 yet. Mommy is getting anxious to have you home, obviously!
  7. You are strong. You pushed a little boy down on the trampoline and clapped for yourself ūüôā {I laughed when I saw that video} But in all seriousness, you will have a story to tell and it will always speak of His goodness and faithfulness. There may be days where that story will be heavy, but you are strong. Other people that have met you have told us what a strong girl you are, and I know it’s because God has written a beautiful story for you that you will walk out with that strength to point others to Him.
  8. You are a lover. In every report we have gotten about you, it speaks of how tender and sweet you are with your foster mom. I love that about you, baby girl. I can’t wait to be the recipient of that love!

I could go on for days about you. I love you, Eisley.

 

All my love,

Mommy

Resurrection life.

The last couple of months have been so difficult in the Britt home. You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours?” That has been the last couple of months for us.

We submitted our Dossier to Korea on March 4, and for the last 3 months have heard nothing. Just waiting for my baby girl.
Our lawnmower stopped working, and my sweet husband has been doing everything to fix it…in the meantime, push mowing the acre of land we live on every week {when it isn’t pouring rain!}
Our basement flooded last week.
Our garage flooded the next day.
We just found out that we owe back taxes to the IRS {again}.
Our shower is out of commission {and has been for the last 5 weeks}. So I’ve been showering at the gym. {The gym has been my saving grace}

It’s been a rough couple of months. And I know that some people would kill for that list to be their “rough couple of months”, so I say this for anyone walking through a hard season right now.

On Sunday, at church we sang, “When You Walk Into the Room”. There’s a particular line in the song that just made me stop and reflect on who God is and who He is in these disappointing seasons of our lives.

“…there is resurrection life in all you do.”

It is in His nature to bring life back to dead places. In everything He does, he brings life. In order to witness His resurrection power, we must face dead seasons. What gets us through the death valley? The promise of His resurrection power.

Jesus could have healed the dying Lazarus, and it still would have been a miracle. But Mary and Martha were able to witness his resurrection power. They saw him bring life back into death.

What makes waiting for my daughter possible? The¬†hope that he is bringing life to this dead, waiting season. That when I have my daughter home with me, my hopeless situation and hers will have been brought to life because, in all He does He brings life. So for you, reading this, if you’re in the midst of a dead season, lift your eyes to the one who brings resurrection life in ALL He does.

When You Walk Into the Room-YouTube Link

 

 

 

Broccoli and chocolate milk.

When I was a nanny, if I ever had to get the kiddos to eat a vegetable they didn’t like, I always promised something really tasty after. One of the little boys I nannied HATED when I made him eat broccoli. So I would have to get chocolate milk ready for him after he swallowed the broccoli. He would put the broccoli in his mouth, chew it up and swallow SUPER fast, then drink his chocolate milk like it was the sweetest, tastiest thing he’d ever experienced. This was not his first time to drink chocolate milk. I made it for him frequently. But, do you know when he appreciated it the most? After eating something he disliked.

Jesus is good. I’ve always known it, but this last year and a half, I have truly experienced {tasted} his goodness.

January 2014, we decided to start trying for a baby. I dreaded the passing months as January 2015 slowly crept up…that marked 1 year. I knew January was going to feel bleak. He {Jesus} knew better than I did. January 11, 2015, he laid a call so heavy on our hearts, we couldn’t shake it. We applied to Holt International just 3 days later. Imagine my surprise, when we were matched with our sweet daughter in September and I found out that her birthday is January 8th! {Just 3 days before we applied to Holt} Only God could orchestrate something so beautiful. Now, EVERY JANUARY I get to celebrate His faithfulness as I celebrate my daughter’s birthday. He turned my hurt¬†into HOPE. Beauty for ashes.

Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” OH! How thankful this verse makes me! I am thankful that after a year of disappointment, {just like eating broccoli} I am now able to see and taste the goodness of His ways. And that season makes his goodness even sweeter!

Jesus is good. I’ve always known it, but this last year and a half, I have tasted His goodness.