Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tent Streching

"Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes."

It's been a while since we posted...Zeke is more fun than working on our blog.  We are still waiting for the finalization of Zeke's adoption (which is why we aren't allowed to post pics yet, but hopefully in the next few months).  If there is one word that could describe the last 10 months of our lives it would be JOY.  Zeke is an absolute joy and delight.  Sarah Young says this in regards to Abraham and Sarah, "[They] had to wait many years for the fulfillment of [God's] promise, a son.  How their long wait intensified their enjoyment of this child!"  We're thankful we didn't have to wait as long as they did, but even in our 7+ years of waiting we find ourselves experiencing the same intense joy.  Children TRULY are a blessing from the Lord.

Zeke is now 10 months old and we feel God's stirring us to "enlarge the place of our tent" (to begin the adoption process again).  We've secretly been having this conversation since the day after we brought Zeke home.   The beginning stages of adoption are like any new endeavor; more unknowns than knowns and more questions than answers.   The few things we do know are the following:
  • God is calling us to adopt again
  • He's leading us to adopt from South Africa
  • We will work with Bethany Christian Services
  • Our child will most likely be 1-3 years old
  • This will be a 2-3 year process
  • Upon referral we will be in South Africa for 5-6 weeks (w/ Zeke)
  • God will PROVIDE again for every need!
Again we find ourselves at a place where God has to come through because we cannot do this on our own.  We look at the task before us and are COMPLETELY UNABLE to accomplish this on our own.  As with the last adoption, we find ourselves stepping out in faith knowing that if God isn't in this, it simply won't happen.  We are encouraged by the words "what is impossible with men is possible with God" (Luke 18:27) and by the facts that the Lord cares for the orphans and He funds what He favors.  This actually isn't about Kat and Isaiah building a larger family...it's about the Lord being glorified and ultimately showing a picture of the way He went through great lengths and paid a great price to bring humanity into His family.  Now that we have Zeke we know that NO PRICE is TOO GREAT, no paperwork is too cumbersome, no wait is too long, and we would do it all over again to have him as our son.  If we, as faulty humans, can love this much, how much greater is the Father's perfect love for us, His children!?

 So we would love your prayers for the next steps:
  • Second application
  • Home-study
  • Raising funds ($40,000-$44,000)
  • The birth mom
  • Protection for our child in the midst of their circumstances
Our community has been so consistent in caring for us and being so generous...we're SO thankful and overwhelmed by your love.  Be on the lookout for the new South African Minus One logo, new t-shirts, and more opportunities to support and pray. 

With much love and great anticipation,
The Whelpleys

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shouts of Joy


This is the first time we are writing a post as parents!  Let us just say it one more time, “THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE WRITE AS PARENTS!”  Wow...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, we became Ezekiel Jackson’s parents.  It will forever be known as his “Gotcha Day”.  There are so many things we want to share right now but those things will have to wait since we are soaking up as much Zeke time as possible.  For now we will just give a few updates:

  • Amazing Grace Adoptions made Tuesday so special for us.  They videoed the moment we first laid eyes on him, had a time of prayer and a small ceremony, and walked us through pages of documents to sign with much love and excitement for for our new family (all the while Zeke slept in our arms).
  • Yesterday we took Ezekiel to a doctors appointment (btw...the way we found our pediatrician was such a divine appt.) and after looking him over, the exact words out of her mouth were, “He’s perfect!”  Glad we aren’t the only ones who think so! :)
  • We also went for our first family walk around our neighborhood.  It was the warmest day we’ve had in months.
  • Today, he had his first blow-out, followed by his first bath and a little photo shoot.
  • Right now he’s snoozin‘ away and has been a DREAM for us!!  Both nights he has only woken up twice to feed and went straight back to sleep. 
  • We are loving EVERY moment of this!

We have been so overwhelmed at the Lord’s provision in this whole process especially in the past two days.  Our community has surrounded us in every step of this adoption but recently they have by cleaning dirty dishes (the day before we got Zeke), taking our car to be cleaned, dropping off meals, diapers and clothes, and any other item we might need (i.e. toilet paper...thank you Dietz’).  We are overwhelmed with gratitude by your generosity!  

This morning Isaiah fed Zeke while Kat looked through her Bible finding places she wrote any notes about this adoption.  We were amazed as we read through them (mostly in Psalms).  We came across this particular verse from Psalm 126:5-6 that has been a constant tide of truth and encouragement through our journey.  It says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall come home (with Ezekiel and) SHOUTS OF JOY...!”

The moment he was in our arms all the tears and years of longing faded into overflowing JOY!  We cannot wait to share our boy’s sweet face with the world, but that will have to wait until the adoption is finalized.  We so appreciate your continued prayers and support as we adjust to our “new normal”. Thank you for being part of the puzzle in making our family complete.

Love to you all,
The Whelpleys

Monday, February 17, 2014

PROVISION


The Lord has been gracious to provide... a phrase that we believe has marked our adoption journey.  It is with GREAT JOY and an OVERWHELMING sense of AWE that we share the following news...

Saturday evening we received a call from our adoption agency telling us about a little boy in need of placement.  The agency director began to tell us the story of OUR SON.  We listened eagerly and felt a peace that he was the one we’ve been waiting for.  We were asked to take some time praying through the situation, in which we completely agreed.  We were absolutely shocked, excited, terrified, and at peace all at the same time.  That night we prayed, telling no one but our Father, and as we did, that peace remained.  Before going to bed we prayed that the Lord would make it clear if this precious boy would be our son and specifically asked God to give us a dream to confirm this.  Well God is faithful to answer the prayers of His children...that night Isaiah had a dream of God stamping (much like in a court case stamping approved) the word “PROVISION”.  He felt God was saying this is my way of providing.  In the morning we looked up names that meant “the Lord will provide” and wouldn’t you guess a name came together that we would never have expected...

So this Tuesday we have the privilege of bringing our son home: Ezekiel Jackson (which together means: the Lord has been gracious to provide).  God has ordered each step in this long process and we marvel at His careful attention to details (i.e. flooding of our house a month ago and everything being finished and put back into place literally 10 minutes before we got the call:)).  

We have been overwhelmed by the community God has surrounded us with and we are SO EXCITED to add Ezekiel into the mix.

We covet your prayers as we adjust to loving, nurturing, and caring for our new son!  Although we cannot wait for you all to see him, we will not be able to post pictures over email or internet until the adoption is finalized. 

With grateful hearts,
The Whelpleys

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Wisdom of Fools


fel1x.deviantart.com
In our own wisdom, we were hoping to boast of a new baby in our next post.  God evidently has something else in mind for us.  Since May we have received three calls about possible babies.  These possibilities brought much excitement and dreams that were left unfulfilled, and each time, our excitement was a little more guarded.

The first 2 situations the birthmoms chose us and then in some way or another changed their minds and went with other options.  The third opportunity came unexpectedly through a friend of a friend of a friend, and it was about twin girls that were already born!  That possibility rocked our world for a few days, (in a good way).  The excitement with this one was short-lived, which we are thankful for since it’s harder when it drags on.  We are grateful for God’s grace in each of these situations.  His grace never runs out and always gives us what we need, even in times of sorrow.  We are also thankful that God is sovereign and wise, and that these closed doors are actually bringing us closer to the plan God has established for our family; although, this truth is not an easy one to swallow.  

We have been surrounded by an incredible community that lovingly and boldly affirms this call to adopt, even in the midst of deep sadness.  We are so thankful for those of you who are praying and asking us how things are going with our adoption journey.  Some of you would or have shied away from asking for our sake, but we LOVE being asked because it reminds us we’re not in this alone.  Just be ready for the ‘real’ answer whatever it may be in the moment. :)

We would like to take a moment and encourage you with Romans 12:9-16:

“Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.”

God has especially been teaching us about the bolded section.  Through the past several months we have learned to be more aware and sensitive to those around us who are hurting and dealing with sadness.  Sometimes our padded reactions to other’s pain can be more discouraging than encouraging, especially when they downplay the heartache that people are going through.  We have found that the most encouraging response to our hurt is a sincere, “I’m sorry…”  Thank you to those of you who have responded to our disappointments and tears by just saying, “I’m sorry”.  Thank you to those of you who have rejoiced with us as opportunities have come and mourned with us in our disappointments.  This is part of being in community and we are so thankful for the community, far and near, that God has set us in.  

    This process has certainly been a PROCESS!  Though we thought, hoped and prayed that we would have news of a baby before our next post we have come to realize that this was our own wisdom.  Our wisdom is foolishness, because we plan with our desires being the loudest voice, but God sees the bigger picture which is for our ultimate good.  Isaiah 53:12 says, “Behold, my servant (Jesus) shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.”  God is showing us His wisdom in our waiting.  He already knows our children and knows who He has determined to be in our family.  So we wait, but not alone.  We wait in a Wisdom that reveals the character of the King we trust implicitly.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Peace in Change


vi.sualize.us
We were hoping our next blog update would tell all about our meeting with the birthparents.  However, like so many times in our life, our plans are different than God’s.  We had planned on meeting the parents June 2nd, but when our agency tried contacting the birth-mom to set up a time, they could never get ahold of her.  She just isn’t responding.  We don’t know if she has changed her mind, or just does not want to face this heart-wrenching decision of giving up her baby.  

Either way, instead of sitting around waiting for a response, we are here in the beautiful Colorado Rockies at the N-X Ranch (n-xranch.org), which is the boy’s ranch that our family started 3 years ago and that we have been a part of each summer.  This summer, God has sent us 5 boys who are either fatherless or don’t have a healthy father-figure in their life.  Our prayer is that each of these boys would have a revelation of their faithful Heavenly Father who will never leave them nor forsake them.  They will be here 3 weeks, starting Saturday.  Our days will be full of outdoor adventures, campfires, work projects, mentoring, and spending time with family.  We are so thankful that God has provided this opportunity for us.  He has given us a burden for orphans and the fatherless, and although we envisioned our summer full of changing diapers and holding our child, we know that our God is FAITHFUL and is continuing to work out His perfect plan to establish our family for His glory.  

Back home our nursery is ready and we recently registered in case we get to fly home earlier than expected. ;)  But either way, God has given us an indescribable peace and joy.  “[We] know that [He] can do ALL THINGS; no plan of [His] can be thwarted.” -Job 42:2  We know that if this is our child NOTHING will thwart God’s plan, and if this isn’t our child, God will close this door and open another.  He is completely in control and we REST in that knowledge.  

“For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.  The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord STAND FIRM FOREVER, the purposes of His heart through all generations...We wait in HOPE for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts REJOICE, for we TRUST in His holy name.  May Your UNFAILING LOVE rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.”  -Psalm 33:9-11; 20-22

Thank you for your continued prayer and support!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Value of Waiting


Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we're waiting for.
-Charles Stanley

A close friend recently shared this quote with us as an encouragement in our adoption process.  The past month has definitely been the hardest part of the waiting.  Have you ever heard someone say, "Once you stop wanting 'it' so badly, that's when 'it' will happen?"  We've heard people say this about us wanting children, to single friends who want to be married, to people looking for the ideal job, and we are sure the "it" can be replaced by a number of things.  Although said by well-meaning people, it is poor theology.  God does not punish us for the desires He places in our hearts.  We have never wanted a child more than this past month...we've shed many tears in our longing, had several "crying out to God" sessions, and wouldn't you know...we received a call from our agency!!!  WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY A BIRTH FAMILY!

We have jumped up and down, cried in gratitude, pinched ourselves, only to realize, yes this IS really happening...the call we have waited for!  In the same breath, we rejoice with a guarded heart as the question floods our minds...WHAT IF THE BIRTH PARENTS CHANGE THEIR MINDS???

This is one of those differences that is unique to domestic adoption.  This is COMPLETELY OUT OF OUR HANDS. The birth family can change their minds even up to 7 days after the baby is in our custody (NC law).  WHAT IF???

What can you do to support and encourage us during this time?  PRAY!  Don't ask us too many questions, because there are A LOT of the details that we just DON'T KNOW.

We don't know if the birth parents will change their minds.  We don't know the baby's gender.  We don't know if they have someone else- a grandma, a parent, a sibling, waiting in the wings to raise this baby if they change their minds.  We don't know a lot of things.

We cannot dwell on the unknowns, all we can do is rest in what we  know IS true right now.  For now, we KNOW this family has chosen us.  We KNOW the baby is due June 25th (which is also our anniversary!!!).  We KNOW the mom is multi-racial and the dad is caucasian.  We KNOW the birth mom AND dad want to meet us before the baby is born.  We KNOW God is SOVEREIGN and HE is bringing our children to us.  We KNOW He is opening and closing doors according to His perfect will.  We KNOW He is working this for our ultimate good and His glory.  We KNOW God is bringing our children to us!

So our conclusion...WE don't know, but HE does.  We rest in Him when the "what if...?" comes!

Specific ways to pray...

  • baby (protection, development, and cool hair ;))
  • birth parents to be united in heart, receive wise counsel, clarity, comfort, and to be drawn to Jesus
  • meeting with the birth parents to go smoothly
  • and however else you feel led

Friday, March 15, 2013

God's Sleeve

crimeandoodler.deviantart.com 
Its been another one of those seasons.  You know, the kind in which babies are on the brain, heart, and in the womb.  In the past two months more than 7 of our friends just had babies or announced they are pregnant.  It truly is a season of joy as God is authoring, shaping, and purposing the lives of little ones.  Just the other day we had another couple "spill the beans" that they are expecting, and as delighted as we are, the news drives our longing for children even deeper.  We certainly believe life is ALWAYS to be celebrated since it's a direct reflection of God's power and mystery.

The other morning as I (Isaiah) sat down to read and reflect, I began praying for these friends, new babies, and those still being formed.  Praying for others is healing for me because it takes the focus off of me, and what I don't have, and moves my gaze beyond the emotions.  As my prayers began to shift from others to our situation I was reminded of a phrase that jumped into my mind at the beginning of this adoption process: "God has something up His sleeve".  This morning, these same words surfaced.  They are a random set of words, especially if your mind immediately went to a magician pulling a ten food handkerchief out of his sleeve, but for me they bring truth.  The truth that God hasn't forgotten!  The truth that He's not punishing us!  The truth that God is our Provider!  The apostle Paul speaks to this in Ephesians 3:20-21 which says, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within in us, to Him be glory in the church (believers) and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."  I can't help but dream after reading these verses.  God IS able to do more abundantly than all we ask or think!  For some reason dreaming has been pretty easy in this adoption.  We dream of ALL the possibilities that can take shape.  I dream of what God might "have up His sleeve".  Regardless, it will be a demonstration of His righteousness, justice, and mercy.

If I'm honest with myself, and you, this part of the adoption process (the waiting...waiting...waiting part) has been the most difficult.  It's due partly because it's towards the end and we could get a call any time, but also because we have a baby room all done up with no sheets on the crib, no smelly diapers in the trash can, no unique baby sounds thundering through our house, and no toys out of their place.  It's this time that those random words "God has something up His sleeve" bring hope and truth to my "poor me" attitude and mindset.       

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wonderful Works

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ifincher
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.  I know that full well.” 

-Psalm 139:13-14

I repeated these words over and over in my heart and in my head as I was going through testing and procedures to figure out what was “wrong” with me...what was keeping me from getting pregnant.  There were (are) moments when I would despise my body because it couldn’t do the thing that women are supposed to do.  What was wrong with my body?  Over and over the Lord would reassure me, “Kat, I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother’s womb.  You ARE fearfully and wonderfully made; My works are wonderful!” 

Last weekend Isaiah and I were at a craft fair called the Giving Market at Apex Baptist Church.  As we approached one of the booths, there they were...those words, printed beautifully and matted.  Isaiah and I saw it at the same time, looked at one another and nodded, one of us said, “For the baby’s room.”  We both teared up.  Isaiah knew this verse had been so significant to me, and we also knew that it would be amazing truth for our child.  The vendor, a precious woman around my age, saw us getting emotional and Isaiah actually had to walk away for a moment to gather himself.  I looked at her tearfully and said, “We’d like to get this for our baby’s room.”  Her gaze held question, so I said, “We are adopting, and this verse is very significant to us.”  At this point Isaiah came back and we chatted a little more with the woman.  As she got our print ready, she handed it to us and said, “I want to give this to you.”  As the words came out of her mouth, she began to cry...and not just a little bit, she actually started sobbing.  Of course we began to lose it too.  We waited a little bit thinking she may share more with us, but she was too emotional to speak.  Even though there were no words, we felt her grieving with us.  Her tears said, “I see the pain you’ve endured.  I see the longing of your hearts.”  Her generosity to give us the print reminded us of God’s goodness and faithfulness.  We walked away teary-eyed, but once again reminded that God’s hand is in this adoption.  He may be knitting our child together as I write this blog, and like Mary, I am pondering all these things in my heart and full of gratitude that God leads us tenderly.  His works are wonderful!



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our Adoption Profile



video


Our agency asks each adopting family to make an "Adoption Profile" (scrapbook) for the birthparents to see.  These books provide information for the birthparents about the adoptive parents; giving them a glimpse into the daily routines, families, friends, and activities.  Our agency only works with 20 adoptive couples at a time so when birthparents come in they are given these books to look through to help them choose a family for their child.  Since there are so many who have supported us on this journey who live far way we thought we would post our's here for everyone to see.  The resolution isn't great (and you probably won't be able to read our writing) but you at least have an idea of what we've been working on for about two months.

You can also download the video here to see it up close!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pregnant with No Due Date

Praise God for His FAITHFUL provision!  We reached our financial goal!  Thank you to all of you who bought a t-shirt, came to our benefit, helped with garage sales, donated money, and supported us through prayer and friendship.  We are amazed that the part that seemed the most daunting...the finances...has actually been the least of our worries thus far.  We have seen the money not just trickle in, but flood in!  Continually we are filled with gratitude and reminded once again that God funds what He favors!!  Adoption is at the center of His heart! 

Any day now we should hear word from our social worker that we are on the waiting list.  Last night we finished and ordered our profile book which is a scrapbook that the birth-parents look through to help choose the adoptive parents.  Now we are finished with all paperwork, scrapbooks, interviews, fund-raising, etc, and we just wait, hope, and TRUST that God is bringing our child(ren) to us. 

If the birth mom wants to meet us, we will be able to walk along side her in her pregnancy.  But if she'd rather not meet us, we could literally find out the day of, or day before we go to get our baby.  In the meantime we will begin to prepare our hearts, prepare the room, and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!  In a way we are pregnant, but just don't know when we are expecting.  Since there are no physical signs, there is no acknowledgement of us being "pregnant", but our hearts are pregnant with anticipation to meet our precious child.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brushstrokes & Lyrics Recap

Brushstrokes & Lyrics Recap
If you were able to attend Brushstrokes and Lyrics you were part of an amazing evening in which Jesus was magnified, truth was revealed, and the heart of the Father was present.  Thank you to ALL those who played a part through attending, helping, and prayer.  You helped us raise over $6,000! WOW!  We have almost reached our goal of $24,000...another WOW!  It was less than a year ago that God made it clear He wanted us to adopt.  At that point we had $0 saved to pay for an adoption.  In less than 12 months we have seen over $20,000 come in through the generosity firstly of God (He owns the cattle on a thousand hills) and secondly through our friends and family.  Tonight was so much fun!  We couldn't believe how many people came through...we estimate there were around 200+.

If you weren't able to make it here's a snapshot of what went down:
-raffles from an ipod touch, jewelry, exercise classes, lawn       services, etc.
-silent auction (3 night, 4 day stay at a cabin in Beech Mountain)
-bake goods sale
-puzzle...donations to purchase a piece of the puzzle that helps place our baby in our family
-custom made t-shirts (there are more left so you can order online...see info below)
-food plate (hot dogs)
-local artwork
-homemade accessories
-Thirty-One items (25% of the proceeds goes towards our adoption). Click here for website.
-children's art lesson by Lara & Jill's Art.  For more info and summer camp info click here.
-live music
-adoption video (interviews with adopted children)
-around 200 people laughing, talking, eating, and hearing about our Adoption into God's family

A verse that has been highlighted for us in the last week is Matthew 6:33 that says, "But seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  As we focus our attention on the great King things fall in place in their proper order.  The money that has come in throughout this year is a direct testimony of this.  We are so underserving and easily distracted but God in His great kindness has purposed in His will to provide for us not only monetarily, but through deep and intentional community.  We are so humbled! 

:t-Shirts:

You can now order your t-shirts for $25 (includes shipping) online.  Click here, designate your payment as Whelpley Adoption T-Shirt, fill out the required fields, and we will contact you for sizes and shipping address.  

so what does the shirt mean?
We have been getting this question a lot...which is what we were hoping for!  The numbers in each state identify how many orphans are available to be adopted (meaning parental rights have been signed over to the state).  Since we are adopting from North Carolina we have colored it in showing there will be one less child in our state through our adoption.  People are also asking, so how many are in North Carolina...another great question.  There over 2,700 children waiting for the call to be placed in a family.  Just in Wake County alone there are about 80.  We are praying and trusting the Lord that these shirts will help raise awareness of the plight of orphans whether domestically or internationally.  If you'd like more information on orphan care please go to our resource page.  It's limited info, but it will point in the right direction.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Minus One T-Shirts

Minus One shirts will go on sale at Brush Strokes & Lyrics.  Brush Strokes & Lyrics is an adoption benefit hosted by Freeway Church. They are $20 each ($5 extra if outside of NC for shipping).  If you're outside of NC and want to order a shirt email me at isaiah.whelpley@gmail.com.  We have adult men, adult women cuts, and kids sizes!  See invitation below for more information on this great family event!

Brush Strokes & Lyrics Adoption Benefit

Brush Strokes & Lyrics is an adoption benefit hosted by Freeway Church.  It is a family event focused on adoption through the arts.  Come and support a cause close to the Father's heart.