Tag Archive Colombia

Pour.

In His goodness & in His perfect timing – He made it pour. And, as always, it was unstoppable.

A month ago, almost, we had what I would consider to be a very successful fundraising yard sale to benefit our adoption. Honestly, the whole experience (and I say experience specifically) left me speechless. But I believe words are required. Basically, He made it rain.

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The whole production was laden with abundant blessing. We were lavished with donations. By the truckload. Our two car garage, den, studio, and attic were mounding with things. People were so gracious to us. I hope one day our daughter can understand how deeply her family and friends wanted her here. I hope baby girl knows people lined up to shop her fundraiser. I hope she knows we worked hard to make this fundraiser successful. And also that there are other people who love her that worked harder still. But He pulled it off. No one else could.

I hope one day our daughter can understand how deeply her family and friends wanted her here

Financially, the yard sale far surpassed my expectation. I was hoping for $2,000. Which was made by noon the first day. Our final total of approximately $4,700 more than doubled anything I could have hoped for. So, obviously we were ecstatic about the results. After all, we must have money in order for her to be “us.”

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But there were so many other magnificently simple and profound unexpecteds. The friends who volunteered their help because they “love yard sales” (love us). Our neighbors’ kiddos who cheerfully brought over their piggy bank money without prompting. The generous family who bought a couple 25 cent toys and handed us a $100 bill (there were many of those families). The little girl who said so sweetly that she was praying for our daughter. The woman who hugs the handsome boy beside her as she says, “We got our first grandson through adoption.” The message we received from a woman about a revival of Joy swelling in her heart. The man who proclaimed “I was adopted” before he donated to our own adoption. Even the little finds that were found when sorting through the donations, things that were just what so-&-so was looking for.

I was hoping for $2,000. Which was made by noon the first day.

And the kindest lady (let’s call her “Jillian”) you could imagine stopping by to purchase donations for the multitude of charities she’s involved with. Her number is now saved in my phone. She’s already brought us over brownies.

And the professional organizer who literally knocked on our door the week of volunteering her time. We had never met before. She dominated. So thankful for her. Beyond words. Strangers forging a team to rally for a daughter we don’t yet know.

Our bones ached from constant motion. There was fellowship. And celebration. We were living.

I still haven’t gotten to the best part. I surely will weep (again) just at the thought. Saturday afternoon we were sitting in the heat just hoping the rain would pass right by, maybe close enough that we could catch a breeze. There was a light mist, a drizzle. We rejoiced at the relief, and I casually started covering up the tables with small tarps. The rain picked up. People started shuffling to keep dry (except one father and daughter who got caught up in the moment). Then it came down, full force. And just. Kept. Coming. There weren’t enough tarps. The cups left uncovered experienced fullness.  The tents covering up the donated clothing and toys began to buckle. And break. A handful of true blues (and completely kind strangers) were stranded trying to hold it together. All soaked. And there was so much joy. Real joy. Real laughter. Real appreciation. He made it rain.

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And once it was all semi-cleaned up, we counted the money. We could have easily made more if it hadn’t rained when it did. But gathered around our living room, soggy and exhausted (but yet not at all), counting what was raised…the excitement couldn’t have been any bigger.

All soaked. And there was so much joy. Real joy. Real laughter. Real appreciation. He made it rain.

Those two days were packed. If I wasn’t promoting on social media, my “feeds” went unfed; they were not habitually scrolled through (and the world kept turning). Our bones ached from constant motion. There was fellowship. And celebration. We were living. Not something I would have imagined resulting from rummage. But this adoption has been strewn with hidden pockets of goodness. Affirmation.

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When it’s time, you sweat. You get that sunburn. You throw your hands up in the rain. You meet your neighbors. You graciously accept your free coffee (and thoughtfully delivered dinner). You give that dollhouse away for a steal because those little girls see it. You pick up those underwear that somehow got mixed in with the sweaters. You praise the treasures found and presented to you by sweet little old ladies. You worship under that tent. You feel those drops. You see what cannot be seen.

Basically, He made it rain.

If you donated to our sale, thank you. If you shopped our sale, thank you. If you threw on an apron and haggled with the best of them, thank you. If you watched our kids, thank you (thank you!). If you promoted our fundraiser, thank you. If you prayed for us, thank you. If you, in any way contributed, thank you. Do I expect every fundraiser to turn out so amazingly? Nope. But they could. And this one was beautiful.

In His goodness & in His perfect timing – He made it pour. And, as always, it was unstoppable.

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Take Me Home | West Virginia | T-Shirt Fundraiser

Happy West Virginia Day! The Mountain State turned 152 on June 20th and to celebrate we are releasing a special t-shirt.

Home. As our beloved daughter, this beautiful state will become her new home. She will grow roots here. She’ll taste the sunshine and chase the fog. She’ll experience white winters and blazing autumns. She’ll find summertime lakes and wild flowers and county roads. She wasn’t born here, but this will be her home. Here. With us.

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All the profit from these shirts will go to help us help us take our little señorita home on down a country road! The shirts are soft and vintage looking and are sure to become one of your go-to articles of clothing (toddler and infant shirts are slightly different in shade and not as vintage looking).

Pricing:

  • All shirts in all sizes are $25 each.

Styles and Sizes:

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Adult Unisex T-Shirt ($25): Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, and 2XL

How To Order:

  1. Go to etsy.com/shop/boekelladoption and place your order

Thank you so much for your love and support!
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Video by McComas Video Productions | Facebook and Website

I Am Literally Afraid.

I’m scared. I am literally afraid.

Fear and anxiety are not brand new feelings for me, but they are overwhelming me more than ever before. The chair in my study will soon be stained from all the tears I cry with my face buried in its lime green upholstery. I’ve been scared before but I’ve never been this scared and certainly not with this much frequency.

Life has never been this busy. It has never been this tiring. The stakes have never been this high. And I look in the mirror at a desperate man.

Ten years ago when people described to me what it meant to feel anxiety and debilitating fear, I just nodded my head as if I understood. They would speak of shortness of breath and increased heartbeat and knots in the stomach. They would speak of feeling paralyzed or exhausted or hopeless. People would explain to me how fear and anxiety can grip the very depths of your soul and literally impact your body and I just didn’t get it. I had sympathy and no problem believing it was real, but I couldn’t grasp it.

Then I started my own photography business, married the love of my life, and soon after we were pregnant with our first boy. This all happened in a span of less than 4 years.

Suddenly I knew what it meant to feel anxiety. If you’ve ever looked at a fledgling photography business’s profit & loss statement, you might begin to understand. Now imagine looking at the profit & loss statement at the end of a 70 hour work week, knowing that your pregnant wife is waiting for you in the downstairs of your gracious mother-in-law’s house, which is your own temporary home. And no matter how you crunch the numbers, they don’t add up to comfortable or anything within shouting distance of that place.

That’s when I felt it for the first time. That’s when I curled up in a ball in the middle of my photography studio in Barboursville and wept and shook with anxiousness I had never known. My heart was racing. I couldn’t breath. My stomach was in knots and my prayers were desperate!

And we made it through. God was faithful even when I wasn’t. He slapped me around a little bit in His mercy. My wife was patient, strong, gracious, and forgiving. We moved into our own home. Isaiah was born. The business accelerated. We made it through. But for a season I battled fear and anxiety on a daily basis.

And it scares me, because I know I don’t have what it takes.

It has struck again several times over the years. As I grow older I am faced more frequently with my inadequacies as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a pastor, as a bread-winner, as a photographer, as a friend, as a strawberry grower, as a golfer, as a pancake flipper… and now as an adoptive parent-to-be. And it scares me, because I know I don’t have what it takes.

And when you fast forward to now: loving bride, three wonderful little men in the house, a steady and healthy (not huge but healthy) income with a little over a hair’s width of padding, a nicer-than-needed home, job security, food on the table, etc. And now we’ve started the adoption process. Fundraising is going gangbusters, people are pouring out unimaginable amounts of help and encouragement, and everything seems to be falling into place with a fair amount of ease and perfection. You would look at the circumstances and situations surrounding me and think that fear and anxiety would be the last emotions threatening to steal my joy.

And I have never been so scared in my entire life.

Weekly… at least, and often times, several times a week, I find myself struggling to breath… heart racing, face hot, stomach churning… Scared. Out . Of. My. Mind!

Life has never been this busy. It has never been this tiring. The stakes have never been this high. And I look in the mirror at a desperate man.

You would look at the circumstances and situations surrounding me and think that fear and anxiety would be the last emotions threatening to steal my joy.

Listen, all the things I thought would calm my fears and squelch my anxiety feel like sand slipping through my fingers. It all feels so fragile and temporary (it is). And everything about the “man that I have become” that I thought would destroy fright and vanquish doubt isn’t enough. I have nothing left to give. This is all of me. And all of me adds up to inadequate. Grossly inadequate. And that lime green chair in my study is getting a workout and a saline bath on the regular. The tears are hot and the prayers are desperate.

And so I run to Him. I believe that the stories are true. I believe that barren women conceive and that water comes out of rocks and sea’s can be parted. I literally and as a combined result of logic, reason, and faith (all God’s gracious gift), believe that the sun can stand still and dead people can come back to life and people named Saul can have their name changed to Paul and find themselves ready to die for the same message they once sought to kill.

I trust Him more than I trust myself. And He loves me more than I love myself. And so when I bury my face in the battlefield of that lime green chair, I cry out for eyes to see the promises and for peace to calm my troubled heart.

He has already won the battle for my joy. For our family’s joy. He already wrote our story. Our daughter’s story. The final chapter is infinite joy. Adoption was His idea to begin with. We’re in good hands.

And when I bury my face in that green chair later this week, I’ll be desperate to remember that.

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do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

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You’ll call her “mom”.

You’ll call her “mom”. Maybe “mamma” at first. Maybe “mommy” or like your oldest brother, maybe you will call her “mom-mom”. And i can promise you this, she’ll hear you. She already does.

She’ll wake from sleep and hold you in her arms. She’ll stop to watch you spin across the living room. She’ll defend you from enemies. She’ll engage all your fears. She’ll share all your joys. She’ll read you one more page. She’ll meet your needs. She’ll take special note of your wants. She’ll find you. Pursue you. Embrace you. Educate you. Kiss you. Chase you. Wait for you. Cry with you. Help you. Feed you. Clothe you. Inspire you. Admire you. Miss you. Want you. Laugh with you. Trust you. Pray for you. Work for you. Fight for you. Live for you. If need be die for you… She will love you… She already loves you!

Happy Mother’s Day to a woman that does not share your DNA, but loves you more than life or blood or biology could ever explain.

You don’t know it yet, but your mother has a place in her heart for you that is bigger than you can grasp. A hope that is indestructible. A love that defies logic.

You’re going to love her. She’s more loving than words can say. She’s creative. She sees beauty everywhere. She inspires a sense of wonder in life. She’s beautiful. Her eyes are peace. Her smile is flight. Her laugh is made of pure sugar. She’s smart. She’s side-splittingly funny. She’s courageous. She’s tender. She’s forgiving. She’s witty. She’s intoxicating. She’s gracious. She’s steady. She’s surprising. She’s more than words. She’s going to blow your mind and steal your heart. She’s your’s. She’s waiting. She loves you.

Today I will wish her a Happy Mother’s Day on your behalf. And on a Mother’s Day in the not so distant future you will wish a Happy Mother’s Day to her yourself. Happy Mother’s Day to a woman that does not share your DNA, but loves you more than life or blood or biology could ever explain.

You’ll be in good hands, my sweet lady. Mama knows how to love like the sun knows how to shine and the rain brings life to the spring. So come home soon… not to any set of walls… but to your mamma’s open arms.

Her heart beats for you.

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Love. Acting a Little Bit Stupid.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
(Matthew 13:44 ESV)

I was having a phone conversation with a dear friend a few days after we applied to adopt through our agency. He asked how we were doing and I had a really long answer to that question. Lots of words and lots of heart. I told him of the application process. I told him our daughter would be from Colombia and how much it would cost from start to finish. I told him our estimated timeline and the potential of multiple trips to Colombia (one of them quite long). I told him everything I was so happy and nervous about. And he listened. He’s good at that. I should take notes.

And he knows how many kids we already have and how old they are, and he knows what I do for a living, and he knows how expensive kids can be week-to-week (he has four beauties of his own), and he just knows who we are and where we’re at, etc. He gets it.

“I love it”, he said, “because it is so stupid.”…

When I finally finished emotionally vomiting in his ear, when I finished explaining where we were and where we were headed he finally got a chance to talk. He spoke to me bluntly like someone can only when you are assured of his love and care for you. And a good friend’s bluntness is almost always good for the soul even if you find yourself taken back by it at first.

I’m paraphrasing a tad (but only in the simple fact that this isn’t verbatim. But it’s close).

“I love it”, he said, “because it is so stupid.” He meant only blessing and encouragement in his words and I knew this as he continued, “It doesn’t make any sense financially. It doesn’t make any sense for where your family is right now. It doesn’t make any sense from a standpoint of comfort or safety or practicality. And I love it because in light of what many people value in this culture… It’s pretty stupid.”

You start tossing around terms like “transracial-adoption”, “adoption out of birth order”, “Reactive Attachment Disorder”, “open to special needs”, ETC, and ETC… and it rapidly becomes apparent, that we are biting off way more than we can chew.

He’s right. Beautifully right. We don’t have the time to do this or the money to do this or the parental expertise to do this. Are we ready? Probably not. Are our current children ready? They say they are (the ones who can actually talk). They’re not ready. But quite frankly… I wasn’t ready to be a husband on October 17th 2008, but I became on the very next day. I wasn’t ready to be a father to one. Or a father of two. I certainly wasn’t ready for three. We’re not qualified. We’re not at the right season in our life. We’re not rolling in benjamins. We’re not clicking on all cylinders. We’re certainly not on the verge of writing any books titled, “How To Successfully Parent Three Boys”. But yet, we’re about to add a fourth child to our family, drain our “savings”, and invest time in amounts we don’t have budgeted… yea… that’s only scratching the surface of how stupid this is. You start tossing around terms like “transracial-adoption”, “adoption out of birth order”, “Reactive Attachment Disorder”, “open to special needs” ETC, and ETC… and it rapidly becomes apparent, that we are biting off way more than we can chew.

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It’s going to be expensive and uncomfortable and time consuming and difficult. It will hurt at times. There will be times it will wound my wife and my children. It’s going upset our apple cart and stretch our budget and break our rhythms and require more than we have the capacity to give. It’s going to push us past the very limits of who we are as individuals and as a family. It’s going to be brutal… And it’s going to be beautiful.

It already is.

Imagine the deep sacrifices or risks people have taken in your life for your welfare. Stop and think about how illogical many of their actions were. And then you try to tell me, with a straight face, that love always takes root primarily in logic… I don’t think so. My parents scraped the bottom financially on countless occasions so I could have things I would never be able to pay them back for. My big sister used to stand up for me at risk to her own reputation (and once or twice her own health) against people bigger than the both of us put together. My mentors have given away time to me by the bucket loads even when it looked like I would never amount to anything. My wife has given me forgiveness even when it looked like I would never stop hurting her. My friends have given me friendship even when I was not offering it in return. Professors and teachers and pastors and strangers have given to me even if it meant loosing a little bit and sometimes a lot in the process. And Jesus at unimaginable cost purchased my adoption as a child of God.

Love can be a little illogical sometimes. A little risky sometimes. A little countercultural. A little expensive. A little painful. Uncomfortable. Time Consuming. Brutal. And yes, sometimes love might even be a little bit stupid.

Love can be a little illogical sometimes. A little risky sometimes. A little countercultural. A little expensive. A little painful. Uncomfortable. Time Consuming. Brutal. And yes, sometimes love might even be a little bit stupid. At least to those who cannot see the unfathomable worth of the reward and unimaginable depth of the joy.

And that’s what makes it beautiful.

We love somebody we have never met and have never seen. And that love making us act a little bit stupid.

And we want you to do some stupid things with us… Because wouldn’t that be beautiful!

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PUZZLE

Doubt.

Can I be real with whoever decides to take the time to read this?

Gulp.

Do I believe we are called to adopt? Absolutely. Am I excited about this? To the point I could burst. Do I daydream about our life with her in it? Cars and trains…and doll babies?? Constantly. Do I believe this is really going to happen? I do.

While this journey is anything but predictable, I am choosing to sell out to the here and now.

I believe He equips those whom He has called according to His purpose.

But. So. Here’s the catch. I’m a doubter, among other things. I have this natural inclination to believe The Worst Case Scenario is looming around the bend. This is a struggle that needs recognition as it colors the way I do life. What does that have to do with the adoption process? Well, turns out, a lot.

Declarations like “we’re adopting” and “from Colombia” and “a daughter”…are very scary for me. Because in all reality, while I do believe these things to be true, I don’t really know what this is going to look like. What if we say these things and prepare in this way, and then it doesn’t happen? What if we don’t pass the next step? What if we don’t qualify? What if the funds don’t come in? What if…

These thoughts and doubts are nothing new, of course. I have experienced them with my other children. I have not celebrated things fully in the past because I was timid, and the notions seemed fragile. Maybe too good to be true. Or maybe I didn’t want to be embarrassed and look like a fool when my dreams didn’t quite pan out. Like I ever had any control over them.

These past few months have broken my heart. Held a mirror to my nose causing me look deep into my own sin. Brought me to tears…

So. In this process, just like anything else in life, I have no real prediction of what lies ahead. All I know is what’s in front of me today and the direction I feel lead to go. And I’m not missing anything this time. While this journey is anything but predictable, I am choosing to sell out to the here and now. If the plans change, so be it. I will love our newest one regardless of geography or need or…or…

And if God closes this door all together, He is still good and worthy to be praised. If He called us here solely to stir in our hearts an openness, an exposure, a vulnerability…and we come out of this with no baby to show for it, so be it. These past few months have broken my heart. Held a mirror to my nose causing me look deep into my own sin. Brought me to tears (hopeful, happy, and heavy). Stretched me out of my comfort zone (and over again). Connected me with friends, new and old. And given me new breathe to read and write and create. I am thankful.

But. I DO BELIEVE WE HAVE A CHILD OUT THERE, and that He is working it out to bring us together as a family.

Now, excuse me, I’m off to Pinterest to finish decorating her room.

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