Saturday, October 30, 2010

In the beginning......



In the beginning.... I am at a total loss for how to put all of my thoughts and feelings down on this introduction post of our blog. I don't even know how to blog and am not a great speller. From here on it will be about happenings, thought, feelings and the actual goings ons of our adventure to our Baby E from Ethiopia Africa. I wish I could tell you that I have always wanted to adopt, or we have always had a heart for orphans or that we were even aware of the statistics of orphans or we always knew this would happen we just didn't know when. But I CAN'T, we CAN'T. I have never even considered adoption even in the 5 years it took me to have Cole. Bryan has never even considered it either. What I can tell you is that God softened our hearts towards Africa about 7 or so years ago. We sponsored 2 children, who I now know were a part of God's plan to land us here, more on that later. We have exchanged pictures and letters from these 2 precious girls for the past how ever many years. About 3 years ago, Bryan had an opportunity to go on a mission trip to Uganda, Africa with our church, Lakeside Baptist Church. It was a wonderful experience for him to see that land and to share our Jesus with them. Our hearts were so very grateful that we had won the "birth lottery" and were born here in the great United States of America. ( As bad as it seems sometimes, we live in the best country ever) Still no adoption thoughts - I mean NONE. Fast forward to about February or March of this year. I was reading a friends blog and she had a a link to a post called "I don't want my kids to be happy" (see the exact link at the bottom right on my blog) As a mom who spends a great portion of my life doing flips to make my kids happy, I just had to see what this lady was saying. Well here is where is begins. I read the post and I want you to read it too, but I read it outloud to Bryan. The lady is adopting a baby from Ethiopia. Bryan asked me if I thought we could ever do that. I said, "NO!" he said, "Me either!" and we moved on. We both could not get "over it". We agreed to continue to pray about it because we were in the middle of building our own home and couldn't make any decisions. We both tried to just tell God that we would sponsor more kids. (It is easier to just send money afterall.) Months past and I kept being led to additional posts and videos of people just like us, who thought we had our family complete and were not expecting God to call them to adoption. I watched a video, also linked to the bottom of my blog. I balled my eyes out. I cried in the shower almost everyday, I was overwhemed with emotion anytime I had time to think about it. I later found out that Bryan was also overwhelmed with emotion especially in the shower. Weird - I know. We prayed for signs, even though we aren't suppose to and WE GOT THEM --EVERYTIME. I even got letters from the 2 different organizations that we sponsored through both telling us that "this child is no longer available/elgible to be in this program!!" Those children fulfilled their purpose in our lives and we in theirs. We finally agreed we would follow God's very clear leading in our lives, but when? We couldn't resist much longer- we had thought of every possible scenerio, the good, the bad and the worst but the only reasons we could come up with not to adopt were selfish! And looked a lot like this - TIME, MONEY, TIME, MONEY, the UNEXPECTED, TIME, MONEY, OUR KIDS, TIME, MONEY. We want our hearts to be broken by what breaks Jesus' heart and it is very clear in scripture that the fatherless/orphans, and widows are IT. We spent weeks praying over different agencies, talking to agencies, and talking to people who are using those agencies and already have there children home. We are into full blown paperwork at this time. We have absolutely no idea what the next 12-15 months look like but we are hoping that you will follow us on this journey. A journey that I am most positive that we , Bryan, Averie, Cole and I, will be the ones being blessed by this precious little one God picked for us to raise, probably more than the child will be blessed by us. Right now as I am writing this, I believe there is a woman/family praying that just found out they are pregnant -that someones heart will be softened to the point of bringing their child, who would have no chance at life, home and loving it like our own and raising them to love Jesus so that one day WE will ALL have a glorious reunion in Heaven. Because you see in Ethiopia these families give up their kids so that they can "live" - because the odds of the child living to be even 5 are not so hot. I am just overwhelmed with emotion (even as I write this) that God has chosen us, the Cantrell family, to be that family. My prayer is that God would use us and the real life feelings we have and would use our journey to soften hearts towards the orphan crisis. Please join us on this awesome/scary/excited/blessed/overwhelming/uncertain/God ordained/God inspired journey and please share our story and blog with everyone you know. Because someone shared a blog with me there will be ONE LESS!! One less orphan and we will become a family of 5.

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13 comments:

Debbie said...

Our family is so blessed and excited to have Baby "E" come into our lives. Mart and I couldn't be more proud of you for opening your hearts. You are the perfect family to give Baby "E" a wonderful life.

Karen said...

I can't even tell you how excited I am to read this post and to be a small observer to this miracle God is working in your lives!! I'm so excited to follow your journey and see all that God has in store for you. We need to talk!! :)

Janice said...

That is so wonderful! You guys will be awesome 3rd time parents! Can't wait to read more about it! Take care! - Janice

See Jamie blog said...

What an exciting journey you are on!

Mainline Mom said...

So wonderful. It encourages me that your husband initially said no but changed his mind. I feel called by the Lord to adopt, but my husband says he does not. All the reasons are totally selfish. But we are in an adoption/orphan care life group and I am praying like crazy that his heart will be touched. It thrills me to hear a story like yours.

starrchasers said...

Missy told me about your blog (and your email to her). We got knocked upside the head by God through one of her posts last fall... and I see she got to you, too. :) God is working mightily to save His children! Our prayers and best wishes to you as you begin this amazing process.

-Nikki

Kristi J said...

yayyyy, what a beautiful post!!! Congrats on your decision. It was the most amazing , best decision we ever made....and we're so grateful to God each and every day for taking us down this road!!! So happy for you all...and may you inspire hundreds more to adopt God's children too :) kristi

Jenna said...

Awesome! It's great to hear how God is working through you guys!

Gretchen said...

I am excited for your family, and thrilled to watch Him work. Thanks for sharing.

Jenny said...

I'll be following your journey as well. I am still praying that my husband will one day say yes he's ready to adopt, but until that day comes...

Jennifer said...

Great start, Mandie! Can't wait to keep up and will continue to pray for you guys. I see it as a blessing that the link took a part in the softening of your hearts and a friend of mine said..."maybe that's God's plan for you right now...to make others think about it!" Who knows but whatever His plan is...I'm grateful to be able to take part in praying for your family.

Peter and Nancy said...

Congratulations on taking a very real leap of faith! We can't believe we're doing it again -- we had two bio sons like you, and adopted one daughter from India after hearing about how baby girls are left to die in some parts of that country. Now, we're waiting for another daughter from India . . . never thought in a million years this would be my life! You're right -- you will be just as blessed (if not more) as your Baby E.
Nancy in WI

so many things to love... said...

I followed a link on Missy's blog here and I loved your post! What a big leap of faith. I hope your blog gets picked and read by many who need to see it!

Blessings,
Amy