Second Annual Adoption Update

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Thank you to everyone supporting our adoption journey. Your continued prayers and shares are appreciated. I’m going to collect our past updates in this post.

20 months ago
We had our next visit with the home study social worker today, it went well! Praise God, I’ve been praying the Lord would give us grace/undeserved favor with the agency, and God did! The home inspection is Thursday, nervous and excited! Thank you to all of our supporters!

17 months ago
For those of you who pray, please keep Adam and I in your prayers, on any regular list you have, we need prayer cover nigh continually during this season of adoption. The enemy is fighting us hard. God is bigger and he’s got our back; he has, is, and will move on our behalf in awesome ways, but he often moves through his people. I can feel the difference when God’s people are praying. Thank you so much!

12 months ago
Christmas Adoption Update (Discusses the failed home inspections, the battle to get caught up and to master homemaking with ADHD, and spiritual/emotional battles I faced)

We passed our home inspection! Only two more to go! Oh, we need to get a couple smoke detectors mounted if anyone knows anyone who can help.

(Note over the next several months we passed two more home inspections and jumped through more hoops involving
psych-evals and mandated counseling as we had to overcome the agency’s fears to prove I am capable of being a fit parent despite my social background and ADHD.)

5 months ago
After much intense spiritual warfare, God did a miracle and we are looking at an approved home study finally and got to begin making our adoption family book while the paperwork is wrapped up and we transition to the matching with prospective birth moms and the next big payment (the $4000 goal we set) most of our existing funds ended up spent on an emergency paint job the home study required (Murphy’s law nearly kicked our butts–but our God is bigger and stronger!) If I forgot, Adam got a big promotion and a significant pay raise, thank you to the Lord for his donation. Adam deserved it, he’s a tireless hard worker with such a big, giving heart. He gives to charity and to friends in need, donates blood, and even is practicing to run 4 half marathons to raise money for AIDS orphans in India.  (Note he completed all four races last fall.)

3 months ago
Our family books got approved! We get to print them and move forward to matching!

1 month ago
We are still in the matching process. Please pray for us, the other waiting parents, and for the prospective birth moms at the agency, that God will lead us all to good matches and show the prospective birth moms the right families for them to give to their precious babies. Thank you for all of your support.

If you’re either curious, your family is considering making an adoption plan for your child, or you’d like to share it with a friend, you can check out Andrea and Adam’s public family profile. 

Home to Glory

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photo credit: MashrikFaiyaz Road to Heaven II via photopin (license)

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”

–Rev 21:4

I slipped into my grandpa’s room,
Eyes swollen from crying,
Fear gripping my heart,
Expecting to see a shriveled-up skeleton
With sunken eyes filled with despair.
Imagine to my surprise, I found
Just my grandpa, looking small in the bed,
Shriveled up yes, but my, there’s that same sparkle
In his eyes, and smile on his lips!

“Grandpa,” cried I, “What’s this joy I see?
How can you be so glad?
You’re dying! How can you smile?”

Grandpa laughed and, as he swung his legs to the floor,
He said, “Because there isn’t any loneliness in heaven,
And there isn’t any pain.
When I die, I’ll be free from this body of decay,
I’ll put on Glory and run to my Jesus,
And Jesus will take me up to the mansion he’s built for me,
To live where my Gladys lives and never be alone.”

And again, he cried, “Glory, child, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!”

Seeing the disbelieving look in my eyes,
And knowing the doubt in my heart,
Grandpa said to me, “Bring me my walker,
I’d like to take you to see a couple friends of mine.”

When Grandpa had his walker and we were going down the hall,
He said, “Now first is Brother Larry. He was redeemed
Seven years ago from wild, riotous livin’,
But is reaping the fruits of his sin in his flesh still yet,
This is his twelfth trip to the hospital this year,
And it looks like it is gonna be his last.”

“Wow,” said I, “Now he has to be upset.”

Grandpa just smiled at me and introduced me to Larry.
Larry was wasted in the flesh as I’d expected,
But imagine my surprise, instead of fear in his eyes
And a frown etched on his face, there was the same twinkle
In the eye and smile on the lips!

“Larry,” said I, “What’s this joy I see?
How can you be so glad? You’re dying!
Why this cheerful countenance?”

And Larry cried, “Because there ain’t no devil in Heaven!
Nor is there any tempter in Glory,
When I die, I’ll go to heaven and be free from this body of sin.
I’ll run to Jesus and put on His righteousness.
Jesus will take me up to live with him in the mansion he’s built for me,
Free from the tormentor forever in Glory.”

And again, he cried, “Glory, Darlin’, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!”

Now that was impressive, but Grandpa had still another friend
To introduce me to.

“Now, next we have Sister Lisa. She’s about your age.
Never had a boyfriend.
Never been kissed.
There’s a tumor in her brain,
Which is slowly snuffing out her light.”

Having not yet learned my lesson, I entered Lisa’s room
Expecting to see a pain-wracked body,
Filled with anger and hate,
Trying to mask the fear in her eyes,
This time I was still yet more surprised
To find yet again the exact same twinkle
In the eye and smile on the lips!

“Lisa,” said I, “How can you be so glad? You’re dying!
Before you’ve even had a chance to live!”
What’s this joy I see?

Lisa clapped her hands and said, “Because there ain’t no pain in Heaven!
Nor is there any Sorrow in Glory,
When I die, I’ll go to heaven and be free from this body of death,
I’ll put on my bridal gown and go meet the Bridegroom,
Jesus will be my escort to the Great Wedding Feast,
Where I will live life abundantly, forever in Glory.”

And again, she cried, “Glory, Friend, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!”

This time, my heart too welled up,
Having been moved by these three testimonies,
And the Hope Grandpa and his friends had in Jesus,
I went down on my knees,
And choose this Christ who gives joy in the face of death.
So now someday I shall also sing:

Glory, child, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory Hallelujah!”

—Andrea J. Graham

[tweetthis]“Glory, Friend, Glory makes me glad. Come death, as it may, But I’m going home to glory!”[/tweetthis]

 

Everyday Miracles: Your Turn

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photo credit: Ajithpoison Northern lights via photopin (license)

Last week, I told you about a time when I was questioning and doubting God, over a petty quibble, in retrospect, and all worked up in a tizzy, praying for answers. When before I prayed, God had already answered with a miracle. Not a big flashy display. God didn’t snap his fingers and straighten out my scoliosis-twisted spine or anything like that. Simply, one moment, a frying pan was right-side-up in my sink and disgusting. The next I looked, it had been turned upside down and was spotless.

Such a small “huh,” inducing moment, a change in an everyday situation that I might not have realized was a God thing if my husband hadn’t confirmed he’d ever left me the mess that I thought I’d imagined after everything suddenly changed.

God has a frequent habit of turning things upside down and cleaning them up. Usually he works on hearts, not dishes.

But now it’s your turn. I am looking for your stories, not the big flashy, exciting testimonies. The common ones, the ordinary, every day moves of God, the ones we are tempted to explain away. Whether it is a dish or your heart, doesn’t matter. A few more examples:

  • A very slow “runner” participated in a 10 kilometers (six miles) long race held at four, that took her two hours to finish when sunset was at five-thirty. She happens to also be afraid of the dark, and the race venue was in a system of public parks that close after sunset. So it was also illegal and she is also afraid of breaking the law. Scared and alone in the dark, adrenaline drove her faster than she normally can go, for longer than normal. It happened to be a supermoon that night. She was grateful to God for his having planned all these things ages past and blessed her along with who knows many other via natural phenomena of his design.
  • A bullied high school freshman got shoved down nearly an entire case of stairs to a hard concrete landing. The girl’s experience was one millisecond she was falling face forward, the next she was flat on her back. Her first instinct was to immediately get up and continue on to class like nothing had happened. To her slight confusion, an adult witness rushed over in a near panic and held her down, not allowing her to move. The girl gathered, eventually, to the adult, it looked like the fall should have resulted in serious head and/or neck injuries. But her head and neck were perfectly fine. The school still insisted on sending her home, but she limped away with only a mild sprain in her knee that healed fast. As an adult, she remembered this and realized God had protected her from a more serious injury that day for whatever reason. The incident brings to mind Ps 91:11-12, the verses the enemy twisted.
  • A young married couple, headed out on a snowy highway one hard winter, and hit a patch of black ice at around 60 miles an hour. The husband, driving, lost control of the vehicle and it spun a full 180 degrees until it came to a stop, facing the wrong way on the highway. This was in an area where people don’t know how to drive on snow and it is common place for in storms for people to not leave enough following distance to stop safely and avoid an accident in such emergencies. They could have easily been killed. Instead, God had timed things so the traffic behind them was far enough away for them to get turned around and going in the right direction again before anyone hit them.
  • A college student was focused on dressing to fit in and to please the world, who had argued in favor of women wearing pants against a boyfriend taught against it. She won the argument, the boyfriend had always been leaving the matter in God’s hands, she had been the one pressing it. God reached down and touched this tomboy who hated skirts and suddenly she found herself loving the pretty garments and how she felt in them to the point where she wanted to wear them all the time, a personal preference from early childhood that had been snuffed out. As an adult, when she is struggling in her faith, feeling insecure in her relationship with God, etc. God often points to this personal sign of her covenant with him and reminds her of how God changed her heart.

Note I also would welcome testimonies about grief, any painful thing God has for whatever reason not protected you from, and how the Lord has worked to bring you through it and change you rather than the painful circumstance. You can share in the comments or email your guest post to me. You do not have to be a professional writer; I’ll help you clean up your post, if needed. If you are a pro, though, please include a photo and a short bio with only one link to your works, please. Regular readers may share anonymously if desired.

[tweetthis]God turns things upside down and cleans them up, but usually he does our hearts.[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Everyday Miracles: Your Turn #callforsubmissions #guestpostswanted #faithbloggers[/tweetthis]

YHWH Jireh Cares For Me (For me, for me)

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Or, as Adam Graham would’ve titled this, “The Realm Makers After Action Report.”

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

This year, Adam Graham determined to send me to Realm Makers, to keep his promise that it was my turn next time, so he could go next year. After being persuaded he had just enough money on our tight budget squirreled away, I let myself get excited. Made my plans, carefully prepared everything I thought I’d need at the conference, packed a big suitcase with my laptop, professional clothing, night clothing, exercise clothing, my costume party gear, and multiple folders worth of conference materials, including one for taking notes and three to give to perspective publishers for the Argevane Saga novels. For my carry-on, I selected my backpack and stuffed it with one emergency change of clothes, healthy munchies, a sleep mask, ear plugs, neck pillow, and sarong to be used as a blanket, cell phone, kindle fire tablet, MP3 player, the outlet chargers for the phone and the tablet, business cards, one small folder with my most vital travel documents in it, twenty dollars, and a few other small items dumped in the bag straight out of my purse, which I packed in the big suitcase.

God decided to reduce me down to only my carry-on.

Now, in fairness to the Lord, I got into Philadelphia on an overnight flight, booked through one airline and carried by two different ones, while the Democratic convention was also in town and the airport staff were apparently overwhelmed and plain didn’t care enough to keep track of my bag. I got several conflicting reports and finally gathered they really didn’t know where it was at all. Most likely, my checked suitcase came in no later than six hours after I did, and they couldn’t be bothered to identify it and deliver it to me in a timely manner like they promised. The Lord probably didn’t directly inflict this on me, he simply used it for his glory.

God, well aware this was coming, had checked my spirit about it–for one, it is not normal for me to have even one emergency change of clothes in my carry-on. What is interesting is the thoughts that in hindsight must’ve been God, like the “silly” suggestion I waste space on an umbrella–it rarely rains at this time of year in Idaho. It rained most of the time I was in Philadelphia. I was better off for the promptings I obeyed, and would’ve been better off still if I’d listened even better. For instance, I was told to pack toiletries in my carryon as well as my laptop, but it was heavy and I couldn’t fit my entire toiletry bag in, so I took only what I might realistically use on the road, my hair pick.

Oh how I missed that toiletry bag. Thankfully, I was meeting a friend from Facebook, Deanna Fuggett , whose flight came in at the same time in a coincidence of God showing off that he can already manipulate stuff scheduled by computers as easily as Sander does in my Web Surfer Series. Deanna had another friend with a car who agreed to pick up both of us, getting us out of having to figure out the rail system in Philadelphia. Now, it was 4 AM in the time zone we’d come from, and she also helped my sleepy brain figure out what to do when my flight’s baggage carousel was empty and everyone had left. I truly needed someone with me while dealing with an uncaring lost baggage office on insufficient sleep–I don’t handle sleep deprivation well at all, and God ensured she was there then, and at several other times during the conference where I needed someone. She also helped me whip together a replacement costume for the costume party with two loaner items and connected me to Pam Halter, who had the courtesy bags of toiletries for those of us with lost luggage and for folks who’d forgotten something.

Deanna wasn’t the only helper God positioned perfectly during the business conference I spent living out of a backpack with slightly less than the bare essentials in it due to my, er, imperfect obedience. Dawn Ford, who works for Splickety, heard about my situation (since I was lamenting it to anyone who would listen) and loaned me appropriate clothes to wear to my pitching sessions with editors and reassured me if I explained about the lost luggage they’d be understanding of my lack of materials.

In fact, I learned to be grateful for what I did have–this short list included my business cards, my memorized one-sentence summary of Daughter of Eve (Verity’s trapped on a matriarchal Earth where she’ll be fed to the dragons–unless she becomes the prophesied royal bride) and three copies of four author/reviewer blurbs I’d collected years ago that I’d slipped into my carryon vital documents folder by accident. They turned out to be just enough, along with my knowledge of the series and my improvisation skills from my days as a stage actress in high school and middle school.

Pretty much the theme the whole long weekend was God moving through his people to provide just enough to cover fundamental needs, with a little work from me involved, and God moving just in time. Despite an airport that plain didn’t care, my bag was eventually identified and sent out for delivery and showed up at eleven o’clock the night before I had to get up insanely early to be at the airport by 4 AM for a 6 AM flight home. After I’d returned my loaned clothes and couldn’t borrow anything else. After I’d given up on getting through to the airport. After my husband had taken over that for me and given up, too, the call I’d been waiting for came, right as I was preparing to go shower, staring at my insufficient things, trying to figure out what to wear to bed, the call came. And God met my immediate need that night out of my own missing luggage.

To crown it all, I should’ve ended up alone in a triple, instead God directed a praying housing coordinator to put me in a quad’s empty room, and I ended up across the hall from a roommate with a car who shared my habit of going to bed “early” and while chatting my most concerning plight came up–having to navigate downtown Philadelphia partially on foot, in the dead of night, to get back to the airport, and she didn’t want me to be in such a dangerous position badly enough to get up in the middle of the night to drive me to the airport herself. Only God could’ve set that up.

All of it came together with my dad having been texting me to check if I were okay and had gotten things sorted out almost as much as my husband–and Dad waited until the day after I’d gotten home safely with all my baggage in check to ask how I’d feel about his birthday present to me this year being him paying my way out to Ohio for a family vacation at the cabins. Just me, he can’t afford both of us, either, and Adam can’t get the time out.

While a plane trip doesn’t sound fun right now, I said yes pretty much at once. God took care of me this time. He’ll be with me next time, too. We’ll see what the Lord wants to do on that family vacation Dad always promised Mom that we’d do again, a promise he’s paying quite a bit to belatedly keep.

Finally, I’ve learned I need far less than I had thought I did. And, while there are people in this world who plain don’t care, it’s not true that we can only count on family as mine has thought for generations. God does have many people that he can move through. I pray that I will more often be someone attentive to God’s voice, willing, available, and obedient myself.

[tweetthis]YHWH Jireh cares for me! #testimony  #faith #Godprovides #enough “The #RealmMakers After Action Report.”[/tweetthis]

 

Journey to Web Surfer Part IV (Final)

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Excerpt from my testimony on the Helping Hands’ Press Blog.

First if you need to catch up and read the first three parts just click and read. Tweets you can share on Twitter are at the end.

A concussion stole @andreajgraham’s story and launched the Journey to the #WebSurfer Series as it is today.

Journey to #WebSurfer PT2: How God challenged @andreajgraham to rely more on God in the writing process.

Journey to #WebSurfer PT3: Eye-opening lessons from an unexpected, challenging answer to #sci-fi author @andreajgraham’s prayer.

After God challenged me to write about a character I feared would be too controversial, I wrote a brief sample and showed it to several of my fellow Christian sci-fi authors. To my surprise, they all encouraged me to keep writing. That encouragement led me to decide to give Elisha his own 12,000 word novelette. It ended up needing a 7,500 word sequel that still didn’t tie up all the loose ends. Those stories were such fun, gave such a wider view of King Sander and his users’ world, I decided to do ten more short works depicting the Man-AI from his users’ perspectives, with a different one in each of those ten. (Some of them feature the AI-Girl, Sander’s sister.)
regeneration
To make the users’ voices and their corners of the globe more authentically diverse, I asked some of my author friends to write stories set in Sander’s world, written from the POV of a Web Surfer user who gets to customize either Sander or Lexus on each of their Web Surfer devices via a plethora of personas.

To this project, H. A. Titus and Travis Perry each contributed one story about 5,000 words long and Cindy Koepp playing with three novelettes and another story in the “5,000 words or less” category. I wrote three stories in that category plus another novelette myself and pulled the stories and novelettes together as episodes of an in-world “reality” show. They’re part of an e-serial split in two in reality. Most of them are earlier in time than the first novel, so Helping Hands Press is releasing the serials first.

 

Read the rest of the final part of “Journey to Web Surfer at the Helping Hands Press Blog.[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_url=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]Check out the last installment of @andreajgraham’s Journey to “The Web Surfer Series”! #Fantasy #AI #SciFi #testimony http://ow.ly/R9Zvc [/tweetthis]

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_url=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]Journey to #WebSurfer PT3: Eye-opening lessons from an unexpected, challenging answer to #sci-fi author @andreajgraham’s prayer. ow.ly/Qiq5A [/tweetthis]

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_url=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Journey to #WebSurfer PT2: How God challenged @andreajgraham to rely more on God in the writing process. http://ow.ly/Qlc69[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_url=”true”]A concussion stole @andreajgraham’s story and launched the Journey to the #WebSurfer Series as it is today. ow.ly/OKaph [/tweetthis]