Saturday, December 24, 2011

Waiting on Jesus

Waiting on Jesus
December 24, 2011


This year has been a big blur. It seems as if it’s only been a few weeks long, yet I hardly remember any of it. How can time past this fast without me knowing it? Does this have to do with my age? Is this what I have to look forward to from now on?...years passing by in a matter of minutes? I woke up this morning and realized that I have been living with a teenager for almost a year now. (This could explain some of the blur?) This year we celebrated our firstborns 13th birthday! Is this possible? And my baby? Well, the last time I gave birth was 10 years ago. So, there is no longer a baby in this house. What in the world has happened here? This just can’t be right. And both these boys cause us to be filled with wonder and swell full of proud joy and I hold tight to the precious moments flying by. Savoring every moment I can.

A friend said to me at the beginning of this year, “2011 has got to be better for your family than 2010. And a couple of days later, I got a terrifying phone call from Jeff- breathless and voice waning, I heard the words, “I crashed and it’s bad”. Knowing that he was at a motocross track that day with a friend and aware of his history of making jumps on his motorcycle that take my breath away, I imagined the worse. After hospitals, surgery and weeks of rehab, though it was tough, I’m so thankful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But this was only January. What would February bring? To my shock and surprise, just shortly after Jeff’s accident, I got another phone call. This time, a phone call bringing the best news ever! Now I was hearing the words, “you have a daughter!" These are words we had waited to hear for a couple of years now. We finally have our Bella. Little did we know what was in store for us next.

After receiving an estimated time-frame of when paper work would be approved and travel would be possible we braced ourselves for a wild summer including a trip to India to bring our long awaited child home. In the meantime, we watched miracle after miracle unfold. The LORD began weaving different people into our story and we watched prayers being answered left and right. From bringing long sought out translators for Bella’s specific language that no one had heard about around here… to friends taking trips to visit our daughter with updates, pictures and videos...to God bringing in over $30,000 to meet our outrageous adoption costs to travel to pick up our girl. He was moving mountains and we were getting excited! Sweet friends showered us in June to help us with the many needed things to bring home a daughter while mom and I prepared a wonderland of a pink room for her and a place to forever call home.

And it all came to a screeching halt when summer came and went and we still had no daughter at home. We were given news that there were delays in India and paper work was not moving and it could be months. So, beginning in August we walked into a different kind of season of waiting. One that would bring so much heartache and hurt, one that would bring me to the end of myself and force to me to fix my eyes on Jesus alone. Waiting day after day, month after month, now no longer to hear words that speak, “we have a daughter”, but ones that bear news that we can “go get our daughter”. Knowing that we weren’t the only ones now waiting on this news, but that on the other side of the world waited another who longed for her mama and daddy to bring her home. This is now a longing and yearning so strong, that I eagerly awake every morning- before eyes even open - and reach for my phone to check for news that will bring two worlds together.

Yet we still we wait. But I know waiting is never in vain. God is teaching me even now as our family has transitioned into this Advent season and we have been reflecting on biblical History. “Advent.” The word comes from a Latin term that means “ toward the coming." I’ve been reminded of many others who long waited, yet did not wait in vain. Noah waited for the rains of salvation, Abraham waited to be the father of many nations, the Israelites waited for the Promise Land, David for a kingly throne as a young man and the list goes on and on. Ultimately they were all a part of a people who waited generation after generation for a LONG awaited and prophesied Messiah. A lineage of people who’s longing and yearning gave birth to the One who was to come. Jesus, the one in whom we now rejoice. Let’s face it…. waiting is very hard, and in a culture that has no patience to wait on anything, we as the Bride of Christ, now find ourselves waiting like the saints of old once again. Paul tells us, we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons. Romans 8:23

It’s no coincidence this time of observing Advent has caused me to shift my focus of waiting on Bella, to a focus on my waiting of my own adoption. So many similarities. Am I just as eager each morning that I wake up to hear news of our daughter to anticipate also the coming of the One who will soon come back for me? Even now He too is preparing a home for us. Jesus says, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:3 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:20. It’s so easy to eagerly anticipate the glittery things this season brings. But I wonder if we are eagerly waiting on Jesus for His return? He is coming again…..and this begs the question, “are we ready”? What if each morning we awake with eager expectation of a new day with the possible coming of a returning King? To be sure, some have grown weary and have even fallen asleep and we may question why He delays. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Waiting on the Lord is never in vain. Our waiting on Bella has not been in vain. As the end of this year draws to a close, I’ll not only be eagerly waiting on our daughter, I’ll be eagerly anticipating the One “toward the coming”. I’ll be waiting on Jesus. Ready for His return.


Merry Christmas!

The Wilbanks

Waiting on Bella to come HOME!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nothing

No updates
No changes
No Bella
Nothing

So many of you continue to ask about updates on our approval to go and get Bella. And we don't have any. In Sept, CARA in India asked for another 3 months to finish backlogged paper work for 550 families and they told us they would have them all completed by Dec. 31st. We were hopeful we'd know something by Thanksgiving and as that time quickly disappeared I have been clinging on to a Christmas surprise. But as of today, we've been told that there has been no updates from CARA to our orphanage on our paperwork.

We know that God won't be one second late on His plan for our daughter to come home. However, honestly, that just flat out doesn't erase the hurt and the ache I feel in my heart over my little girl. As if the first two years waiting on a referral weren't hard enough....it's almost been a whole year since we were matched with our precious girl.... and it's almost unbearable that we've still not gotten approval so that we can bring her home.

So, until then, we continue to eagerly and expectantly WAIT.... and PRAY.... and HOPE daily that some good news will come soon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An UPDATE!!!

Friends,

We have waited for for 4 months to even get word that India has received our paper work and today that was confirmed! I believe this is evidence of answered prayers! So, the good news is, they have received our paper work and have reviewed it! But there is also bad news. They are requesting 3 additional documents. I can put those together fairly quickly, run them down to Montgomery to have them apostilled and mail them off for India by Wednesday. But these are more delays that can affect us by weeks!

Although India wants hard copies of these documents.....a copy of them can also be received via email in the mean time. (hoping that is a benefit to us!) So, at this point when India receives our additional paper this could go a couple of different ways. We could go back to the bottom of the 550 cases, or be at the top waiting to be approved.....or some other weirdness in between those two options. But, I'm so encouraged that there is some movement here! At the same time, the enemy is still hard at work on our family and has still not let up on me in regards to my health. So, I'm asking you....for those of you that have entered into the battle with us, to keep fighting for us in prayer! Keep asking God for the things that seem impossible and the miracles we need to get this baby girl home!

Lastly, another blogger friend sent this post to me as a way of encouragement tonight and I can't tell you just how much of an encouragement it was. (thank YOU Meredith!!) It documents my EXACT THOUGHTS and FEELINGS on this adoption and the battle that we are in and our desire to fight for our child to come home. Please consider reading this. It is SO SO good!

Till she comes home,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Warfare Prayers and a Miracle

Friends,

We are in need of your prayers. Let me update you and tell you why.

Our papers for Bella went for approval to New Delhi in June this summer. At that time we were told we would received approval in about 15-30 days to which the papers would then be forwarded on to the state courts and spend another 30 days and then we would apply for passport and bring Bella home by the end of the summer.

Obviously, none of that has happened. In fact, our papers are still in New Delhi and going on 100+ days now. The last several weeks we were notified of back log in paperwork in Delhi that was causing delays but that they would complete all backlogs by September 3oth and we remained hopeful as that day was quickly approaching... that our papers would be approved and we would move on to the next step.

But, September 30th had come and gone and we still had no approval. We've been notified of a remaining backlog of 550 adoption cases and they have now indicated that the pending adoption cases are projected to be cleared by December 31st 2011. We don't know where we stand in that 500+ adoption cases....but we are in there somewhere and now have no idea just how much longer this will take. Regardless, bringing Bella home by the years-end is fading quickly. It's looking more like it will be next year sometime. We are extremely disappointed to say the least.

On another note, over the course of the last couple of weeks I've been experiencing some serious difficulties (medical in nature) that by all means have proven to be nothing but spiritual warfare.
This attack from the enemy has drained me both physically and mentally to where at the end of the day I am weak and exhausted. I have been clinging to the LORD just to get through each day. I have experienced some extreme opposition to say the least.

This experience has me gathering thoughts on how these continued adoption delays could also be warfare related. It wouldn't surprise me. We've had all kinds of difficulties, road blocks and set backs along the way, but this time it just feels offensive. I was reading just last night a few other adoption blogs about how the enemy brought on extreme attacks during the home stretch of their adoptions. Similar situations such as ours were mentioned. I was even reminded of Russell Moore's statement,


Adoption and orphan care is not charity; adoption and orphan care is not another denominational program. Adoption and orphan care is spiritual warfare, because adoption and orphan care is about Gospel and about mission.”


And that just about sums it all up. The enemy would like nothing more than to try and put an end to this adoption....or delay or discourage or distract. With all that said, I am asking you to please consider entering into some warfare praying for us and our Bella. At this point, there is no reason why she could not come home! We are ready, she is ready, her room is ready.....and travel expenses have been fully funded. (PTL) We just lack one thing......our DAUGHTER!


This is not to say that we think we know the best time for Bella's homecoming or that we are doubting God's perfect timing and sovereignty. By all means....HE KNOWS BEST! and we trust Him completely and know His plans and timing will not be thwarted or delayed. But at the same time we have a real enemy that would love to opposed us in every way with the Bringing Home of our "orphaned no more" daughter. SO.....I'm sensing the need to call on prayer warriors to join us in this battle to get our Bella HOME. And SOON!


This is going to take a miracle to make all this happen by the end of the year....but that is what we are hoping and praying for. And we KNOW that our BIG GOD is capable of the impossible. So, will you join us?


We desperately covet your prayers.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some Bloggy-Changes

As we round the corner of this adoption and make our way to our sweet daughter Bella, I decided to update the blog a little..... and give it a new look!! I have also created a new blog "button". I would love it if you would grab the html code for our button and share it on your blog or website. We would love to invite as many that would like to join us on our journey and watch God continue to do AMAZING things as we bring our Bella HOME!!!

If you are receiving this post as an email you can click here to go to my updated blog. Bringing Justice Blog

**update**
We received news that "they" are still behind in processing adoption paper work. What should take about 15-30 days to process is taking 90+ days for us. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we wait for God's perfect timing to bring Bella home

Some really exciting news about what God is doing in the waiting and some new pictures of our girl to come SOON!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Football and Bella?

******Extension on sale is now Wednesday Sept. 21st!

Yeah...well this is the only time you'll see me blogging anything about football. :-) Thanks to some dear friends of ours.....they are helping us with our remaining adoption expenses. See info below.

Smoked Boston Butts for SALE
just in time for Football!


BIG FOOTBALL Weekend 9/24/11with 2 HOME games!

Alabama vs. Arkansas at Tuscaloosa

Auburn vs. Florida Atlantic at Auburn


Get game ready and pre-order a Smoked Boston Butt for your gathering or tailgate party!


$35 each or 2/$60

3-5 pounds after cooking

All proceeds will benefit the Wilbanks adoption of Bella

Jeff and Brittnie Wilbanks have been in the process of adopting their little girl, Bella, from India for 2 years. Please help them raise the remaining funds to bring her “little butt” home to Alabama. You can read more about their journey at www.bringingjustice.blogspot.com


Pickup times are Friday, September 23 at 6 pm or

Saturday, September 24 at noon at

Hoover Regions (the Met) RV Park


Contact Romin to order at romin@securethinking.com or 321-231-3364.


Cash or checks accepted at pickup


Plan your football weekend now!

Deadline to order is Wednesday, September 21st at Noon

Hosted by Romin and Audrey Hirschy/Travis and Anne Diggs


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The New Site is up and "Running"!!

Friends,

I wanted to report that our turn out for our Charming Charlies fundraiser was a HUGE success. There are some ladies that are some SERIOUS accessory shoppers! What a fun day we had!! Thank you to all who came out to support us!

Also, I spoke again with our agency today and there is still "No News" on our paper work. We are all at a loss over this HUGE delay! At this point clearly the possibility of travel this summer is over. Now we are hoping at this point just to be there before Christmas. Disappointing, but we are still completely confident in God's plans for our family. They are GOOD plans!!

Lastly, In my last post, "Running for a Cause", I mentioned that I was working on a website to help get this "Runners for Bella" thing going. Well, the website is finally finished and up and "running"! You can click on the link and take a look around at the new site here. Runners for Bella

Also, you can find out those who are running for Bella. :-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Running For A Cause

Calling all Runners:

Friends and family.....if you are a runner and/or know someone who is and would be interested in running for a cause.....then this info might be for you.

I'm looking for runners who are preparing to run in a upcoming fun-run, race or 1/2 marathon etc that would be willing to run for Bella. The plan would be simple. Share with your friends and family why you are running and call on them to donate toward your cause (Bella). Money would go directly to helping get the remaining funds in to bring our daughter home!

I'm currently working on a website that will allow you to have your own web link to share with friends so they can find out what you are doing and will allow them to donate directly on that page.

If you are interested in this or interested in putting together a "team" of runners that would like to run for Bella....please let me know. Please also send this blog to anyone that you know that might be interested.

Hoping to hold her soon,




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is going to be fun!

Friends,

So many of you continue to ask about where we stand with getting our sweet Bella home. As most of you know, we should have been to India and back already with our daughter. BUT...obviously that has not happened. There are some changes in India's adoption process and the changes are causing delays and backlogs in paper work. Well our paperwork is caught right in the middle of it all. We have NO idea at this point when our paperwork will be approved. So, we continue to wait. Honestly, I am at complete peace with this. God has just covered me in peace while we wait and I'm trusting in His sovereignty 100%. He knows what He is doing and when our little girl needs to be home for her benefit and ours. He LOVES her SO! I know He is holding her in complete peace as well. I just praise Him for His loving kindness.

In the mean time....we still continue to try and raise the remaining funds needed to bring our darling home. Still about $4,500 left to raise. We still have some adopted shirts left if you want one. But let me tell you about an exciting event coming this Saturday August 20th!! This is going to be fun! Charming Charlies in Bham is helping us raise money for Bella! Here are the details.

When: Saturday, August 20th

10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Where: Charming Charlies

216 Summit Blvd. Suite 130,

Birmingham, AL 35243



Come in and shop anytime on Saturday August 20th from 10am-9pm and tell them you are with the Wilbanks Adoption social. You will sign in and receive a bracelet indicating you are there to shop for our fundraiser and when you checkout 10% of your purchase will go toward bringing Bella home!


Haven’t heard of Charming Charlies? It's a ladies fashion accessory boutique. Go here for more info: http://www.charmingcharlie.com/home\


Isn't that neat?


Come out and see us Saturday.....and please help us spread the word. EVERYONE is invited!! The more the better!




Till she comes home,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Orphan Sunday 2011

I LOVE this video for Orphan Sunday!!! You gotta see it. Orphan Sunday is right around the corner.....coming Sunday November 6th. How can you serve the orphan? What is God calling YOU to do?

Orphan Sunday 2011 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why India?

About 10 years or more ago and without any rhyme or reason I fell in love with the people and place of India. I can’t explain exactly how it actually happened. It wasn’t over night but with in a short amount of time some how God birthed a love in my heart for India and it’s people.


As this love began to grow it just so happened that the church we were members of at the time had partnered with some mission teams in Karnataka, India. The staff and members of our church began to meet and learn about the people of Karnataka and the work that was to be done there and my love for India began to take shape. At the time I had little ones at home and did not feel led to actually travel at this point but stayed totally enthralled and connected through the work that was taking place.


Around the same time I had found an amazing ministry led by KP Yohannan, called GFA (Gospel for Asia). As I read what KP had to say about the people of his homeland and the statistics of India I began to get more of a glimpse of the vast lostness and darkness of this nation and how desperately they needed to hear about our Savior! In those moments, my heart was pierced and my love deepened.


When we moved to Alabama 5 years ago, Jeff connected with an old buddy from where he grew up and to our surprise, he was a missionary that traveled world wide and had been to India several times. Anxious and hopeful God would define my passion for India we had him over for a weekend visit. Our friend’s gifting and purpose for his mission trips was videography. So he brought to us not only stories and experiences of God’s work in India. He brought to us faces. Faces of the people who were so desperately seeking the ONE who created them in His image. Faces, so beautiful yet so empty and full of hopelessness.


This changed the whole thing for me. After our friend left, I watched the videos all over again and then wept for hours. I wept for the nation, I wept for the people… for the children….the many children on the streets, naked and rummaging though trash and living in slums. I wept over the look of brokenness and hopelessness. I just wept. I hadn’t’ known a hurt in my heart like that before. God’s heart. This is how He felt too.


So, how do I get there? And when? I tried to get to India by taking our missionary friends suggestion and jumping in with a group who were going back to India soon. I tried seeking out a couple of other opportunities to make a trip. But, no. God said not now. So I pushed the hold button. During that same time of heart ache I began to have dreams. Dreams about the people of India and the huge harvest out there and the workers who were so very few. All I could do was pray and ask God to show me why He had put this love in my heart and what He would have me do.


And then….exactly 2 years later….the LORD sent me a HUGE message. He flat out called us to “Bring Justice” to the orphan and oppressed and He showed us what do to. “Adopt”. "Adoption", such a simple word, but an enormous world. Where would we begin? From where would we adopt? We began to think and pray. So much need...how would we know? Where has God shown us the most need lately? God whispered, India. Yes....this is it!


After all these years….my hearts passion finally made sense. After years of a growing love for a people and a country….it was all coming together. We have a daughter in India. No, not a daughter. OUR daughter! God put a love in my heart for India because our daughter was there. This was ordained for us before the foundation of the world and He was revealing it to us now. Who can fathom this?


I don’t believe the story ends here. In fact, I know it doesn’t. So many other things we hope will come out of this for the people of India. Some things that are happening even now that will leave our hearts in India for quite some time….and some things that will come later. I can’t wait to share it with you all soon.


What has God put in your heart? Be patient and wait for it. He has great plans in store for you. All for your good and His great Name and Glory.


For the Fatherless,




Don’t miss these fun opportunities to win!
A Chance to Win.

Let's have some Fun!

and our Tshirt is still available here:
"Adopted" Tshirt

All helps us get our sweet girl home!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Chance To Win!!!

UPDATE!!!!!
These "Out of the Box Framed Hymn Cross" art pieces are now selling for $40. If you enter for the contest to WIN one of these, We'll give you a $10 discount on buying one! TODAY (7.15.11) is the LAST CHANCE to enter!

This is so exciting! Here is another offer to win fun stuff!
Would you like to win a beautiful framed hymn cross like this?

A very talented friend of mine who has her own business called "Out of the Box" is offering a piece similar to the winner. For a chance to win....this is what you do:

Go to the top right side of this blog and find the donate button named "Out of the Box Framed Hymn Cross" and follow the instructions to make your $10 donation.

For every $10 you donate you will be entered into the raffle. So, if you enter $20 you will be entered twice or $30 for three entries etc.

Deadline is July 15th! We'll announce the winner by July 18. :)

Sound Fun?

Let's bring this baby home!

Let's Have Some Fun!!

Hey Friends-

Why don't we have a little bloggy fun while we wait for Bella to come home! Take a guess at what our travel date to India will be and I'll give away a Stabucks gift card or Yogurt Mountain (or something like that) for two!! One guess per person and make your guess in the comments section only. I'll announce the winner (who ever gets the closest) once we get the info and I'll mail you your prize!!

Thanks for joining the fun!

For all those precious children,

Brittnie

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bella's Big Girl Tea

My dear friend Polly offered to put together a very special day of showering for Bella. We obviously didn't need a baby shower....but we certainly needed some girly PINK in the house! So Polly along with some other of my sweetest friends put together "A Big Girl Tea" to celebrate Bella's coming home and to shower her with gifts. I thought that I would share some snippets of the day.


Here is the precious invitation that went out.

The DELICIOUS food that was provided.
Some beautiful pink embellishments

This tree was so special. It had pictures of Bella all over it along with some very precious scripture about orphans.
The opening of gifts


The pink girly things that Bella received!

I LOVE this gift. Bella is going to need to learn how to ride a bike so she can keep up with her big brothers!

The ladies that made it all happen.

What a beautiful day to celebrate our precious girl....and one I can't wait to share with her when she finally makes it HOME.

Praying Bella home SOON,


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Exciting Updates on Bella!

We have some exciting updates on Bella!

A couple of weeks ago our Adoption Agency flew to India to work on the partnership they have with our orphanage and to solidify some other adoption processes as well. In that process they were going to be able to meet our Bella and spend some time with her and the other children in the orphanage. We were so excited about this trip because that meant that we could not only get some new pictures and updates on her, we could also send her some gifts and letters from us!


We were told that she did not know anything about us and that she probably wouldn’t until we received more approvals for her. Also, we were encouraged that our gifts needed to be a little less personal and that the letters would obviously need to wait until she understood she had a family coming for her. So, we went and purchased some girly gifts, got some family pictures of us together and poured our hearts out in letters and put them in the mail to go with our Agency to India.


We had been out of town the same week that our agency was in India. I checked my email nearly every hour in hopes of finding some updates on their visit there. The night that we returned home and we were all together on the couch together unwinding a bit…. the email came! Our Agency had spent the day with Bella! We got some fun pieces of info about her current height and weight and her favorite color. Pink! I was thrilled about this. But the shocker to us came when we read that she did in fact already know about us! Taking that info in changed the way we thought about her entirely. Wow. She knew she had a family. How exciting!


The next day came and we received a couple of new photos of her and a teaser video. She had changed so much already! She looked beautiful….bigger of course and her hair quite a bit longer! But then finally a couple more days later and the long video came of an interview of her. Our Agency asked her questions about things that she liked. It was so cute to see her thinking of the answers. And to our sheer excitement, the orphanage staff translated our letters to her right there all on video. Whoa. It was truly amazing watching her taking it all in, looking at our photos and listening to our words of love. It didn’t take long for her to get very emotional. And of course…..we did too.


When we set out on this journey of adoption our hearts were set on an infant. A baby we thought….we’d love to have a baby! But, we never thought that God would do a number on our hearts and break us over those precious older children….most who don’t have a chance of getting adopted. And now….watching our daughter who is able to take in every word we were saying to her and for her to understand what it meant that she had a family who loved her and would come and bring her home soon just took things to a whole new level for us emotionally. Wow. What an awesome and holy moment.


When our agency returned home, we also received Bella’s sweet birth certificate and her report cards! Our daughter is a straight A student! How cool is that? She is really a smart little girl. We got tickled to know that one of her favorite subjects is Math. Yeah….well maybe she can teach us Wilbanks a thing or two in that subject. That is definitely not our strong point. :-) She is also learning English in school, which is such a blessing for us and her for when she gets home. We’ll all have lots of learning to do.


Remember our cool story (a previous blog) about “Translating and a Big God?” Well our new friends will be traveling to India in a short couple of weeks….and they have already received permission from the orphanage that they can go and meet Bella! Isn’t that neat? So we are in the midst of putting together some more gifts (personalized this time), letters and pictures. We are so thrilled that God would allow this trip for our friends and for us to see pictures of Bella one more time while we wait. Speaking of waiting. We are in need of just a couple more approvals before we travel. We are told that it is still possible to travel this summer. That’s means we are just a few weeks away! We can’t wait to get her in our arms.


Lastly, since we started our fundraising just a couple of months ago, we lack just about half the amount that we set out to receive the estimated $15,000 before we travel and finalize this adoption. We are just about $7,500 away from what we need to get to get this precious girl home. Please continue to pray for us that the LORD would provide the remaining amount needed to get her home and that He would get her home real soon.


I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18



For the Fatherless,


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Adopted Shirts

We have designed a shirt to sell to raise some money to bring Bella home. Cost is $20 per shirt.

The idea of this shirt is this: If you are in Christ....you have been adopted. And we are now children of God!

"adopted" is on the front of the shirt
1 John 3:1 is on the back of the shirt.


****Currently we only have 1 adult small left in this shirt!!!! ******

We also have a women's shirt that has pink writing instead of white.
****WE HAVE ONLY 2 Ladies Small's left in the pink!*****

Let us know if you would like to buy one by leaving a comment with your contact info. And please...feel free to share this shirt/blog with anyone who would be interested in buying a shirt!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Translating and a BIG God!

Shortly after receiving Bella’s referral we started processing all the things that would be needed for her when she got home. My dear friend Jennifer, who adopted her 6 year old son (at the time) from Guatemala informed me that we would greatly benefit from having a translator the first few days we arrive back home in order to help us all get adjusted. I am so thankful for that piece of advice from another adoptive mom in a very similar situation. I'm not sure I would have thought of that.

Because of the location of our daughter and a special language she spoke we knew it would be difficult to find someone to help us. Jennifer and I began a journey of prayer and searching out the person that might possibly be able to translate for us. We began talking with every Indian friend, neighbor and family at local schools to see if anyone spoke this particular language. Jennifer even put flyers together for us to post on the International students board at UAB hoping that out of all those international students….someone might possibly know about Bella’s language. But…..nothing.

Confident that God would provide exactly what we needed….we just continued to pray. In the mean time, I began to research this particular language and area in India. To my discovery, I found that only a small number of people with this same language were actually living in the United States and they were pretty much all living in one particular state. And no….it was not our state. Our chances of a translator seemed small. But we knew that certainly would not hinder our BIG God!

One evening about a month ago while in an "adoption" meeting that we were having at our church, a friend of mine was asking me some questions about Bella. Then she asked me, “which part of India is she from? She went on to say….”because I have a friend that just married a guy from an area in India that I have never heard of and speaks a language that starts with a…….” In my mind I'm thinking, “Yeah right….there is no possible way in ALL of India that your friend married a guy that is from the same place my daughter is from OR speaks the language she speaks.” Hesitant, Jeff pokes me and says….. “tell her!”

So I share with her the name of the place and language that Bella speaks and guess what? Y E P!!! (I told you-- He's BIG!!) Stunned I could barely find the words to say and try to communicate to my friend that this is a near impossible thing and that through her at that very moment….she had the answer to a prayer we had been asking the LORD for quite some time. Can you just take this in with me? That is just amazing, friends!!!

So, I begin to learn more about this friend of hers. She used to live in Birmingham and had been members of our church for a long time, but recently married this guy from India and they currently lived in……yep……the state that I mentioned above. (I am having to keep all this specific info private for the safety of our daughter…so please just bare with me here) How would I have found that kind of a connection other wise?

Now I’ve got a number to call and someone to talk to about possibly translating for us when our daughter gets home. So, anxiously I connect with this girl on the phone and talk to her about her husband and the language and if they’d be willing to help us. They were thrilled to help! It actually turns out that they are also interested in adopting from the same place as well and were so happy to be able have a part in our adoption. oh, BUT….the story grows!!

I found out in that conversation that not only is her husband from the same state that Bella is currently living…..that some of his immediate family still lives there!! Guess what??….not just the same state, but the exact same town and that they also work in some of the local orphanages. ARE YOU CATCHING THIS!?? There is NO way this is a coincidence. This is a BIG BIG God and one that has shown us a glimpse of how beautifully and carefully He has woven in all the personal little details of this adoption.

Now, though I can not say at the moment…..I believe there are much bigger reasons of the significance of the family living in the very same little town….and I will hopefully share those later….but for now…. what it means for us is that in all of these wonders shown us by God….my new friend and her husband are also traveling back to his home to see his family (for the first time as a married couple) in July through the beginning of August. Again...just more awe! Our hope and prayer is that we will be there at the same time with them to introduce Bella to the guy who will be helping her to get adjusted when she gets home and to possibly help us some while there. At the very least they can take her some gifts and things from us on their trip when they travel. We will see what all the LORD has in store.

As far as translation goes with them living in a different state….we’ve actually been told by Bella’s international medical team that this is a good thing so that she doesn’t form an parental type attachment to someone so similar to her. We’ll just plan on phones calls and Skype to get us through our language barriers! And WHO knows what all will happen down the road with this amazing connection. But for now…we just rejoice and marvel in a God who just never ceases to amaze us. Time and time again He shows Himself in this process, affirming our path to Bella. Let’s give Him some PRAISE!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

***Updated!!****Photo Session Fundraiser for my Home Town Peeps!

*****this has been updated 5.11.11!! Don't miss out on this great deal!!


Check out what a friend of mine from my home town has put together for us to help us Bring Bella home! So for all you Alvin and surrounding area folks...this is for you!


Bringing Bella Home


A Photography Fundraiser

by Melissa Rose Crowder


Jeff and Brittnie Wilbanks, being called on by the Lord, began an adoption process 2 years ago. They are happy to announce that they will soon be parents to a beautiful 7 yr old daughter from India.

Adoption is a big financial journey as well. I have teamed up with The Wilbanks by holding a Family Portrait Fundraiser. All proceeds from this event will go towards bringing Bella home.

For a $100 donation now you can set up a session with me up to 6 months. 1/2 hr session gets you 10 images FREE on a CD ...that's a $200 value! (postage is $5 if I can't hand deliver).
If you would like to participate, please contact me at mkcrowder@sbcglobal.net to set up your own session.

You can also contact me at 832-689-5241.

You can view my photography website here.


God Bless, Melissa Rose Crowder

If you choose not to do pictures, you can still donate, no amount is too small.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Painting Success!

The last two weekends we've been painting up a storm over here! Why? A friend of mine approached me months ago about having a painting fundraiser to help us raise some money for our adoption. Not being the artsy type AT ALL, I agreed not knowing if anyone would be interested in that kind of thing in the slightest and honestly put it off awhile.

Since we received our referral in February I knew I better get a move on SOMETHING to help us get the funds we need to bring this darling home. So, off we went to planning some painting sessions (kind of like Sips n Strokes but minus the sips) :-) We called it "Brush Strokes for Bella" The minute I sent out the email invitations I was floored at the interest and excitement! We had people that wanted to bring their friends, their Sunday School members and even their children for mommy/son/daughter dates!

And I am so happy to say that these couple of classes raised a little over $1,500! We were so overwhelmed! The LORD really surprised us with this one! And I have to say that I never knew I'd love this kind of painting so much. I think the other ladies would agree with me as well. It was truly a blast and a blessing all at the same time. I can't wait to show our Bella the precious pictures of all the ladies that painted to help bring her home.

I want to share a couple of pictures with you so you can see how fun it was.

Our first session we painted crosses.
This was mine that I painted for Bella's room!

Precious!
2nd session receiving their instructions for our floral painting!

The master artist showing us how it's done!





Finished products! Simply beautiful!

If you'll take a look over on the right hand side of this blog you'll see the remaining funds needed to travel to pick up our little girl on our financial tracker! $15,000 is A LOT of money.....but already with only a couple of painting classes we knocked a bit of a chunk out it. We trust the LORD will provide the remaining funds in time.....since He is the one that called us to this journey.

If you are interested in helping us bring in the remaining funds to get our daughter home....here are some of the ways you can do that.

1. If you love coffee....we have a coffee store. Click here for store. $5 per bag goes toward our adoption.

2. A friend of mine is offering a Spanish Class one afternoon or evening and the cost of the class will go directly to our adoption. Date and time forthcoming. Let me know if you are interested.

3. My friend Heather is donating 40% of all the money she makes this month (the entire month of April) on her Mary Kay website to our adoption. Shipping is entirely free! Click here for her site. So, if you interested in any MK products of any kind at all....go check out her link. Feel free to pass this link on to others. (***Also, Mother's Day is fast approaching...might be a good gift idea?)

4. Of course....you can donate money via check or (credit card through our PayPal link) on this blog. Simply click the donate button on the right hand side of the page.

Lastly....we truly need your prayers. That is what it is going to take to get this sweet one home.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

We Have A Daughter!!

We have a daughter!

The time has finally come! It has been 2 LONG years and I am so thrilled that the LORD has finally revealed the daughter that He has chosen for us. In my last blog called, “Glimpses from God?” I shared with you some instances that would indicate perhaps that God was about to make His move and bring forth that referral. Well, believe it or not…we received that referral the very next morning! The phone call came completely unexpected. I had no idea the LORD would act that quickly!

Our agency sent the referral via email that very next day and we said “yes” to her verbally, but it actually took over a month to get those papers to our house from India so that we could put pen to paper to make it official! We got those papers this past Tuesday and couldn’t wait to get our signatures on them!





And now we are getting a tad bit silly. But it's such a fun occasion!

We excitedly wrote our names in those blanks that asked if we would take her as our daughter and sent them back to India that very same day! Praise the LORD! So, this is why I am just now sharing the news via the blog world! If all goes well with the necessary approvals in India we are on a fast track to bring our daughter home in possibly 3-5 months. We shall see.

I am very limited on what I can say about her and the circumstances right now but I can tell you that she is 7 years old and PRECIOUS! When we started this journey 2 years ago we had an infant on the brain and over the last several months the LORD has done a number on our hearts over the older children. (still plan to blog about this topic soon) And even though we initially said we would prefer a child 6 years old and under, who in the world could say no to this face?
Please meet our sweet Bella.

So many more details to come in the days ahead of God’s hand in this whole process. Only Him. He is so worthy of all our praise.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Children of God

Love this new video by Third Day!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Glimpses from God?

In the last couple of weeks a few things have happened that have perhaps been little glimpses of God that our Bella will hopefully be here soon? First....I had my first dream of her. Jeff and I took one look at her and said....that's our girl! A sweet friend messaged me a couple of days ago where she also had a dream that we got her.

And then....just Friday night....I was packing a weekend bag for our oldest son and ran to get him a towel for his suitcase. I grabbed a towel out of "Bella's Bathroom" and walked downstairs to put his name on the tag. Just before I put the pen to the tag...I noticed the name, "BELLA". What? Wow! Looked again and just below the name was the coolest thing. "Made in India". I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. So exciting!

It may sound a bit silly....but what are the odds? Right? Those were some of mom's towels from her house in Texas that she gave me when she moved in with us. With out thinking I just placed them in Bella's bathroom. No one had any idea what precious words were written on that towel. Until now. Such a sweet moment.

Lastly, there are finally some changes happening in India right now in the adoption world. And hopefully they will have some very positive affects on our adoption...and we are praying this will cause things to happen much quicker than anticipated.

Glimpses? I sure hope so.

We are so ready.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lead me to the Rock....Revisited

I've been trying to ignore it since yesterday. But it still sits there making itself known. The lump of grief.....it's there....right in the middle of my throat sitting there so thick and heavy. Even forcing its way up in the middle of the night while I lay trying to sleep. I try to shove it back down. With force I keep it at bay so it won't turn into the ugly cry. You know what I mean....the one you can't control.

Stopping my mind over and over from thinking of the details that happened on January 13th 2008 that led to my father's death. 3 years ago today. So long ago...yet so fresh on my mind it feels like yesterday. So, rather than recalling raw and painful memories ....I am choosing to reflect on the precious ones today. I am resurrecting some words (below) I typed 2 years ago in memory of my sweet daddy. *Sigh*. How I miss him so.

Psalm 61:1-2
Lead Me to the Rock
A Psalm of David.


1Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 2from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61 was a similar prayer my father had been offering up to God for about five months. At the news of his cancer, he began calling on the only one who could rescue him. All of us were crying out to God for deliverance from that evil disease. However, God didn’t answer quite how we expected. As I type this letter, a year ago today, this very minute my father left us and was delivered home to be with the LORD.

In his last few days, the cancer had taken its toll on my dad’s body and left him bed ridden and very incoherent. While watching him slowly slip away from us, my mom and I received a precious gift from the LORD the day before my father’s death. We witnessed miraculous things and experienced incomparable joys!

Dad had woken up from a deep sleep and began carrying on coherent conversations with us. His personality came to life as he began his joking and playing pranks on my mom which brought us sweet laughter. We got to huddle and love on one another and talk for long periods of time. We were able to express fears as well as provide assurance of provisions for mom once dad was no longer with us. We spoke of the difficult situation at hand and of how much he would be dearly missed. Precious conversations!

Later, to our surprise, dad sat up in bed and requested his glasses and the news paper, not hesitating for a second to go straight to the sports page. We even enjoyed a playoff football game together where he was happy to share his thoughts and opinions on players and teams as he always did. To our delight, dad didn’t waste a minute to ask to enjoy the sheer pleasure of swigging down 2 chocolate (milk chocolate Bluebell of course) milk shakes. Don’t think for a minute that he didn’t exclaim, “Mmmm, that’s so good!” one more time.

We laughed, we cried, we reminisced, we prayed together, confessed, forgave, loved deeply and reconciled all things. All of life’s earthly pleasures were enjoyed to the fullest one last time. As well, all eternal questions and decisions were completely squared away as we thoroughly discussed salvation in Christ alone, by faith alone. Dad reaffirmed his trust and hope in the LORD as he uttered the sweetest words, “who else do I have?” God demonstrated great mercy and grace to us. Never had we experienced such loving presence from the Father.

But, one thing left mom and I stunned that day. Dad spoke of a dream he just had that morning. As he described the dream, he told us he found himself walking down a long path. At the end of the path he sat on a rock and there he began talking to God. At the time it didn’t make any sense to either mom or I. We pondered it, then accepted it and moved on.

Today we fully know what was happening in what seemed to dad as a dream. It was the answer to the prayer he had been praying all along. “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I”. It was not an answer of temporary deliverance. Jesus led dad down the path to The ROCK of his salvation, where he would find himself just the next morning, talking with God face to face, permanently. I praise you FATHER for letting us enjoy him one more day before you delivered him home.

Dad, I love you and miss you dearly.
With love always,
Your daughter, BB

Tuesday, January 13, 2009