Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jesus Our Manna


Another year has come and gone and who can fathom this great wonder of time flown by. 365 days passed yet again and countless times we (sometimes unknowingly) experience God’s mercy and grace. And what a year it has been. In our last Christmas letter we “ended” with the “beginnings” of building a new house. With mom’s move from Texas into our prior home, we needed a little more room and this year we have it! How very thankful we are for this huge blessing. We love our new house! The house has met all our needs as a growing family. More room to give mom space of her own. She now has her own “house” in the basement and she loves it! We also needed more room upstairs so we can bring those precious babies home that God has called us to through adoption. God has provided for what He has called us to and we so grateful.

We really had no idea of what we were getting ourselves into with building a new house. It nearly consumed our lives. It was however so much fun picking out all the things “we wanted” for it like colors, styles, flooring and cabinets etc. And we definitely tailored it to our liking…Texas style! How could we not? But between finishing the house (which we did a good bit ourselves) and moving into the house in early July, we really spent every waking minute for months getting things done and settled. We keep calling our summer, “the lost summer”. And it really was. We totally missed out on all the fun the summer brings. But outside of our house consumption…we actually did experience some unforgettable times that the LORD allowed us to have as “makeup” for our lost time. A grace-covering if you will.

One of those times was the LORD calling Jeff and providing for him to go to Africa. He spent two weeks in Uganda with a mission team to help orphaned children. Whoa. What an experience for us all. He had some incredible opportunities to feed children, help build a new walk-in cooler and freezer and even tie in some electricity for a couple of people to have a light bulb for the very first time. Can you imagine? How we take our blessed lives for granted. By far, opportunities to share the gospel to a people who have never heard were highlights. But witnessing extreme poverty firsthand was definitely eye opening to say the least. How all of our hearts have been changed. Another covering of God’s grace was the day our sweet Jadon gave his life to Jesus. With grateful hearts we praise the LORD for answering prayers that we have prayed for our children since their time in the womb.

Those were some definite highlights of our year. But, It would not be “real life” if I shared only our joys and the good times if I did not come transparent before you to show you our life’s sorrows and pains. Nothing hidden here. Just our lives sliced open wide for others to see that we get cut and we bleed like all humanity. And we have bled while we continue to wait for our Bella. I can’t believe an entire year has passed by and we still don’t have her. It’s truly heartbreaking to wait such a long time to bring home a little girl who desperately needs a family. Though, I guess waiting could have been more painful if we were sitting around twiddling our thumbs. But, this year’s busyness with the house has helped ease the pain a bit in our wait. We actually were so close to getting a little girl just a few weeks ago when we accepted a referral match….only to lose her at our saying “yes” and waiting to hear back to proceed. She went to another family who got in a “yes” before we could. So now we wait again trusting God to deliver our child at the right time. He knows what’s best.

Along with all the good that came with the move into a new house…. there was some not so good. There were particular situations that came about during the building of this house that caught us completely off guard. Never have we experience such hardship. The unforeseen challenges tested us in every way physically, emotionally and spiritually. With those challenges came also the difficulty of carrying two mortgages (which we knew was a great probability). Our old house has still not sold in this crazy economy and we continue to foot the bill for two houses. I think it goes with out saying that this has left huge financial burdens. I have said on numerous occasions that this year we are just trusting God for daily bread. Truly we have depended on Him daily for our every need. And over and over He has provided. It has caused me to focus on these particular verses here recently. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.” John 6:48-50

This particular verse refers back to a period of time in the Old Testament where God’s people were in the wilderness after having just been delivered from slavery in Egypt. God brought them to a desert land where they literally had to trust God for daily bread. It was total dependence and God was faithful to provide daily through a honey wafer called manna. His provisions are most certainly sweet. Clearly, it’s the times in the wilderness when we see God’s hand of provision most clearly. This has been true of us…to be able to watch as He shows up at the right time and place to provide for our every need. To witness firsthand how He very clearly makes Himself known as Jehovah Jireh. (The LORD provides) We praise Him for His goodness. But, if we were left with just temporal earthly blessings alone, this indeed would not be sweet. Even the Israelites died in the wilderness after eating the “mystery bread.” Even it did not preserve life then and it does not preserve it now. We need something more.

We are in desperate need of another “manna,” the true bread that comes down from heaven to give us eternal life. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” and anyone who eats of this bread will not die. Praise God that He does more than provide for our earthly needs.... He provides for our eternal ones. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3 This is truly the mystery. That God would step out of Heaven and come down to us as manna. Real food. Real Life. Is this not the real meaning of Christmas? This is why we celebrate this time of year. If we fall short of just looking forward to getting life’s earthly temporal pleasures and possessions during this Holiday, we would still go hungry. But we now no longer have to be starved from the only thing that can satisfy. We now have all we need. We have the bread that comes down from heaven. Jesus our manna. Will you partake of this bread with us this Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

The Wilbanks

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A long Over-Due Update!

Well, let's see....50 blog posts in 2009 and only 6 in 2010. I think there is something wrong with this picture. Between late April until now we have been extremely busy. We were finishing up the building of a new house ourselves, moving in this summer, and we are still painting, staining, etc to make this house complete. Not to mention there has really not been much to report. So, needless, I'm lacking on blogging.

BUT I am going to catch you up to speed. Thankfully, we do have a new larger home to bring home babies in. For that...I am so grateful. But, it still could be some time before we get them home. Our agency has been working on solidifying partnerships with orphanages in India for many months. Currently there have been two partnerships made which is a very good thing! However, one orphanage is in the process of getting licensed in order to actually "do" adoptions. The other is complicated. (i might blog about that some other time)

Our best bet at this moment is the orphanage that is working on getting licensed. We are told it could be another 6 months before they are approved to make referrals. So, this is looking like the one we are waiting for. We are still also waiting for CARA (Central Adoption Resource Agency) to pass their newest adoption guidelines that might also allow us to have a quicker referral. BUT...we've been waiting on them to push those guidelines through since we began this process in April of 09. So, I'm not banking anything on that option.

The other twist in this story is that it is becoming increasingly harder to adopt an infant from India. Adoption agencies are finding that India is really allowing less adoption of infants and more adoptions of older children and children that are severely special needs. The more we hold out for an infant....the even longer it will be to receive a referral. So, we have been doing some serious thinking and praying! And to our surprise...the LORD really did a number on our hearts! (hoping to blog on this NEXT!)

We realize that this adoption is NOT about us. It has nothing to do with us. But it has everything to do with God's heart for ALL the children out there that do not have homes. It's about Him setting the lonely in families!(Ps. 68:6) Who are WE to say, what, where when and how old? Right? Especially after being reminded that it is the older children that are often over looked because more people want infants and these older children age out of the system and are left out on the streets to try to make it on their own. You can only imagine what that might entail.

So, with all that said, we have decided to be willing to receive a referral of a child age 6 and under. This will help us out with a lesser wait and it allows for God to have His way with us. We also are willing to receive a sibling group if available. So, who knows what the LORD has in store for us. But we are open to what ever He wants and have cast aside what it is that we think we want. We will be blessed with whom ever the LORD chooses.

So, lastly...there is somewhat of a glitch in this whole process. Since our moving into the new house...we've yet to sell the old one. It has been on the market now for over a year and since moving to the new house in July...this has put us under a pretty tough financial strain. AND to make matters more interesting...our immigration papers are expiring (it's already been almost 18 months!)and need to be renewed. So, we begin the journey of starting over, getting all new finger prints done, backgrounds, police clearance, updated home study, DHR approval, Immigration approval and consulate approval etc. And hoping that we will even be approved.... given our current financial status.

We are trusting in God alone to work all this out for us. To me it seems impossible. But, I know the ONE who says nothing is impossible with HIM. So, there we place our trust. Knowing that He will work all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

We truly covet your prayers at this time.
To God alone be all glory.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hope for Orphans

Cry of the Orphan

A special message from Show Hope,
Focus on the Family, and FamilyLife

YOU are God's Plan for the Orphan

The United Nations reports that the number of orphans around the world waiting for help is more than 140 million.

This global crisis is present even in the United States where over 120,000 children now wait to be adopted from the foster care system.

But God commands every Christian to act and to care for orphans and we would like you to join us this fall as we serve the orphan.

To help raise awareness of today's orphan crisis, we, along with our friends at Focus on the Family, and Hope for Orphans (a ministry of FamilyLife), worked together to produce Answer the Cry, a special video program hosted by bestselling author Francis Chan. Answer the Cry features musical performances by award winning artists Steven Curtis Chapman and Mark Schultz. Answer the Cry also addresses ways that every Christian can have an impact on the life of an orphan.

This special program is available to you at no cost--visit to learn more about the video and how you can utilize it for an orphan awareness event in your community. You can help us promote Answer the Cry by sharing this page with your friends!

Will you also consider joining us on Orphan Sunday (November 7) to stand for orphans, to defend the fatherless and care for the least of these? More details on how to get involved are at

Here's How You Can Help
Find ways to help orphans
Find more Orphan Sunday ideas
Inform your family and friends by forwarding this message

More than 46 million orphans in Africa.
More than 71 million orphans in Asia.
More than 10 million orphans in Latin America.
More than 120,000 orphans in the United States.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27 (NIV)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Isaiah's Story

From the "Together for Adoption" conference this past weekend.

Isaiah's Story from 31Films on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

1 year ago and prayer

One year ago today we dove into a mound of paperwork and started on our journey to see our Bella! It's crazy that it has already been a year!

Would you all continue to lift us up in prayer as we are waiting on God's timing to bring us our daughter? We are so anxious to see her face.

Also, please continue to pray for the LORD to provide all the money we need to finish the adoption. We have already seen an out pour of love from so many in the last year to allow us to come to this point.

As of now we are about half way there financially..... and so far the grant money has not happened. With the economy there is a shortage of grant money and the number of families applying far out weight the money available.

We proceed with confidence that the LORD will provide for us as needed....but we do covet your prayers at this time.

In the meantime we are getting so close to moving into our new house so that we can welcome our daughter into a new home and her own room!

Give Him some praise! He is so worthy.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Next Step......Referral!!

Hey everyone!

It has been entirely too long since I have posted a blog and I have missed it! We were in an very long waiting process for a few different things....and rather then bore you with all the details, I chose to hold off. have some updated news and can't wait to share it with you!

We FINALLY received our Indian Consulate approval. Yea! Now our Dossier is off to India! However, even though we have been waiting on consulate approval, the exciting news is that we have a representative that has been actively seeking our Bella!

Now that our Dossier is on it's way to India it is indeed official that we are currently JUST waiting on our baby referral. We are the pilot family for our Agency and so there is no waiting list. We are first in line. So, now it's just the waiting game.....waiting for them to call us with a referral. I am beside myself with excitement of course....but realize that we may wait any where from a month or two....or many months to receive this news!

Please being praying for us and that we will have that referral soon. Can't wait to see her sweet face!


Monday, February 1, 2010

1 Year Adoption Blogiversary!

Hey everyone!

It just dawned on me today that it has already been a year since we began our adoption journey and made the first post on our adoption blog! Wow! So Happy Adoption Blogiversary to us!

So much has happened in that time frame already. We've had ups and downs, acceptances, approvals, road blocks, speed bumps, set backs, filled out mounds of paper work and had our lives evaluated by so many people. God has changed me...and the way I think about adoption and the orphan. In a good way of course. I have learned so much that I don't think that I am the same person that I was a year ago.

As of right now, we know nothing. We are still waiting for consulate approval and I have heard nothing from our agency. Please pray for us with this next approval so we can move toward a baby referral. I am so anxious to be in that place of anticipating a call about a baby!

Thanks so much.

As a way of celebrating our one year blogiversary....please leave a comment and give me a shout out! I would love to know if you are following us. Would also love to know whether or not you have already adopted, in the process or even thinking about it. Would love to connect more with all of you out there!!