donny + jennifer + wayne dawson + fox 8 news + the word church = shocked and humbled josh & kirsten

from donny, on monday sept 16th:

“good morning!  jennifer and i have a pretty big surprise God is allowing us to give you.  the thing is we have to give it to you this thursday at around 11:30.  would you two PLEASE be able to be home then?  i know it’s A LOT to ask especially this week with so much going on.  but i do promise if you could please trust us and do this for us you will not be disappointed.”

we had our fire inspection that tuesday and our final homestudy visit that thursday night.  we were busy and exhausted.  but, we’ve been friends with donny and jennifer for 12 years.  we know them.  they know us.  when they send a text like that, there’s no hesitation to follow through with their request.  there is no hesitation, but there is wonder.  there are nerves.

at 11:30 last thursday morning, josh and i sat anxiously in our living room.  then i saw a news camera coming up our front walkway.  then i saw a news guy on our front porch.  what in the world was happening?  we were in complete shock.

turns out a local news station, fox 8, hosts a segment called pay it forward where their anchor wayne dawson partners with the word church to pay it forward to “unsung heroes”.  donny and jennifer wanted to pay it forward to us for reasons i’m still not totally sure about.

so there we were, on our front porch with donny and jennifer and the camera lady and wayne dawson.  i’m pretty sure i looked like this most of the time because i was in shock.


i don’t actually know what all was said and done while all this was going on.  did i mention i was in shock?  because, i was in shock.  i do remember donny saying something very meaningful and wonderful to us,but i don’t remember exactly what he said.

i do remember jennifer asking me to hold out my hands so she could pay it forward to us.  i also remember telling her i have a hard time receiving things.  i wonder if that will be aired!

i do remember wayne asking us why we do what we do re: adoption and foster care.  i do remember josh answering with something about the Lord.  and something about commands in scripture to care for widows and orphans and that at this point in our lives it’s orphans.  and something about being obedient.

i do remember filming some in the bedroom we’ve been preparing for our 2nd adoption.  they wanted us on camera preparing the room for our newest little ones.

i do remember my mother and father in law arriving and hearing my mother in law’s excitement as she realized what was going on.  her joy for us said so much.

i do remember wondering what exactly was going on.

and i do remember feeling extremely grateful.  and i still do.

our segment of pay it forward airs for the first time tomorrow night at 6:30. it airs again friday at 6:30am.  it airs again sometime on saturday and sometime on Sunday. and it airs once again on monday the 30th(also josh’s birthday!) at noon.

i am excited to watch it so i can see what was actually happening and actually being said.  and i am excited that the Lord will be proclaimed by my husband on the news!


here we are!  jennifer, donny, wayne dawson, josh, and myself.

here’s another one with josh’s parents, todd and candy.


we hope you can tune in and watch.  know i’m slightly nervous because i bet i did look completely shocked the whole time.  and know that squirrels like to chew on our front porch columns.  and know that we know that our siding needs power washed.

most importantly know that we are shocked and humbled and grateful.

camping out in His hand

9 years or so ago, when josh and i came face to face with our infertility, we asked God what He wanted us to do, where He wanted us to be.  believing we were receiving the call to adoption, we wanted to share with our family where we had been and where it seemed we were headed.

josh’s parents’ home was a very special place to us, to his family, so we didn’t want to tell them there.  we didn’t want to share the difficult news, that we wouldn’t be able to give them a biological grandchild, in their living room where we had lived in so much happiness together.  we didn’t want that memory to reside there.  so, we went to visit them while they were camping.

they camped frequently those days and after talking several times about joining them sometime, we decided we’d do it.  and that’s where we’d share.  the news could stay there, and also in our hearts, but it would reside in a place where we’d likely never be again.

we made our plans.  we took the drive.  they showed us around.  we talked about work, the weather, some other things.  we talked about the home they were building.  they had kitchen blue prints on hand, i believe, and showed us the details.  we looked through pictures too, of ideas for cabinets, colors, appliances, etc.  and then josh shared with them the real reason why we came.

he shared that we had been “trying” to conceive.  he shared that it wasn’t happening.  he shared about the doctors visits.  he shared about my surgery.  he shared about the dreams.  he shared that they were dying.  he shared that we had asked God of His desire for our lives.  he shared of a dream resurrecting in a new way.  he shared of God’s call to adopt.  he shared of our plan to follow God’s call on our lives.  he shared through tears, through the raw emotion of a broken, stretched, and changing heart.

josh’s parents listened intently.  they shed tears.  they nodded in agreement.  and then his mother spoke.  through her tears and with a shaky voice she said, “this tells me God has you right in the palm of His hand, and as your mother, there’s no place i’d rather have you be.”

9 years later, we’re still there, camping out in our Heavenly Father’s hand.  right in it.  all up in His palm.  burrowing in, getting closer, making a nest.  we are not coming out.

9 years ago we had no idea where saying ‘yes’ to His plans would take us.  we didn’t know what living in the palm of His hand would do to our lives, to our hearts.  we didn’t know that though our lives would look radically different than what we had imagined, they’d look better than we could have ever dared to dream.

we didn’t know we’d adopt three amazing kids.  we didn’t know He’d call us to adopt more.  we didn’t know that we’d get so comfortable in His hand that the big scary craziness of abuse and neglect and foster care and adoption wouldn’t seem so big scary crazy.  we’d didn’t know we’d be so in love with camping out in His hand that we’d be asking Him “what’s next?”, “how many more can we help?”, “can we keep going?”.

as we rest in His palm today, we believe we are getting closer and closer to the “what’s next”.  He knows what’s coming.  He knows who will join our family and when.  we have one home study visit left and then we’re told it will take about 30 days to process our file before we are officially licensed.  we could, and we’re hoping we do, have more kiddos before the end of the year.  and we can’t wait to have them join us in His hand!


my little ones, helping get the campfire ready, summer 2006.



one down, two to go

we had our first home study visit tonight.  our first of three.  and it was good.

we were finishing dinner when she, the adoption assessor, arrived.  i invited her to join us at the table.  she did.  we were mostly finished so in just a few minutes, the kids were asking to be dismissed and we adults settled in for a long question and answer session.

lots of questions.

how did you meet?

what’s your relationship like?

what are your strengths as a couple?

what are some of your common interests?

how do you handle conflict?

what roles do you each play in your relationship?

what are some difficulties you’ve faced in your relationship?

how do you think adding more children to your family will change your relationship?

describe your children~their personalities.

how do you talk about adoption with them?

what are some difficulties your children have faced?

are any of them diagnosed with anything?

how have you helped them understand their adoption?

how do you feel about open adoption?

how do you feel about maintaining contact with a birth family?

how do you feel about the possibility of reunification?

how would you help facilitate reunification?

and many, many more.

a few tears, a few laughs, a few smiles at my partner in all of this.

several times of recognizing God’s sovereignty over it all.

i’m broken and grateful.

i’m humbled and honored.

i’m excited.

so much of me wants to know who they are and where they are.  so much of me wants to tell them that even though life has been crazy, it will all one day be okay.

in two weeks, the adoption assessor will be back.  there will be many more questions, for us and the kiddos too.  and then we’re one step closer.


prayer requests~

~that we’d be able to quickly and easily finish up the projects that need completed to have our home ready for more littles
~that our hearts and minds would be being prepared for the little ones





for you

whoever you are.

wherever you are.

this summer’s for you.

we’re preparing our home,

preparing our hearts,

trying to wrap our minds around(which we can’t) your arrival.

no lazy summer days here.

we’re painting,




because we’re getting ready for you.

we’re waiting for you.

our home is changing.

our lives are changing.

our five is getting ready to grow into we don’t know how many.

but it will grow because of you.

and we’re open.

and we’re excited.

and we’re uncertain.

and we’re hopeful.

and we’re trusting.

trusting in the One who has a great plan for us all.

and it’s all for Him.

and it’s all for you.

whoever you are.

wherever you are.

it’s all for you.

on father’s day

i’m struck with these thoughts almost every day.

who does this?

who says yes to adoption?

to forgoing trying to have his own?

his own offspring.  to carry on his name.   his looks.  his lineage.

who says yes to a different color?

who says yes to one child?

to two?

to three?

who says yes to three children?

at one time?

the father of my children.

he said yes.

he says yes, every day.

yes to a different path, a different plan.

yes to a different color.

yes to older.

yes to more than one.

he skipped the middle of the night feedings and went straight into 3am seizures with a 5 year old.

he taught bike riding and soccer skills and is now teaching how to cope with generalized anxiety.

he disciplines, loves, encourages and then agonizes over a child with post traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD because of things that happened before his time with his kiddos, before he became the father.

and it breaks his heart.

and he loves.

and when God calls for more, he says yes.

yes to more children.

yes to more pain.

yes to more before he was the father.

because his Father orders his steps.

and he follows.

and they benefit.

they grow.

they learn.

they understand God adopting us because their daddy adopted them.

and they cherish him.

his not~so~little~anymore girl melts in his arms.


and his boys bask in his laughter and his strength.




and they watch him.

they study him.

so they can learn how to be a father.

so they can learn how to love.

when it’s painful.

when it’s hard.

when it’s confusing.

when it doesn’t look like what he thought it would look like.


and it is good.

and it is what our heavenly Father does for us.