Tag Archive Colombian Adoption

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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PUZZLE

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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PUZZLE

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.

PUZZLE

It Feels Like A Battle Cry

This post was originally written on March 11th, 2015
We went to war today.

By every single visible sign, it was subtle, except the tears streaming down my face. I have a feeling tears will be the war-paint of choice in this battle. Right now, I have saline smeared on my face like William Wallace, but maybe with a little less courage than him (maybe). This will forever be remembered as the day we printed out (and filled in) the adoption application and contract from our desired agency. My bride was walking out of my study as I pulled it off the printer, and snapped a photo of the header where it said, “adoption application”. “Are you smiling?” she asked before she exited the room. I shook my head back-and-forth to signal an answer of “no” but the smile on my face could have been seen from space. She added, “does this feel like a battle-cry to you?” Again I shook my head “no”, but she could read the “yes” on my face because it was as clear as day. I held it together as she walked down the stairs. When I heard the baby gate latch at the foot of the stairs, I quickly pulled up the phone numbers of two dear friends and texted them the adoption application photo I had just snapped (both of them know what it’s like to adopt and both of them know what it’s like to be adopted). As I typed the words “make war” to my brothers-in-arms, I lost it. Painting my face with the war-paint of salty tasting moisture. When I weep, it’s with every part of my body.

It’s a war within, if nothing else. I know this adoption journey will be no different. It will be a long line of battles until this life is done. After all, adoption doesn’t end with a plane ride home. 
I’m a firm believer that if you’re doing it right, life is war. At least for me it is. I am constantly battling selfishness and killing sin and honing the disciplines of righteousness. When my son interrupts me in the midst of a busy work day to show me his newest Lego creation, I’m thrust into a battle against my flesh and my desire for control and need for “to-do-list-accomplishment”. It’s a battle for gentleness and control. A battle for his joy. For my joy. When I’m called to place my bride’s interest above my own, I am thrust into a battle against selfishness and laziness and apathy. Speaking of my bride, she goes to battle almost every night as our youngest screams from his nursery. He is hungry and needy and she fights for his life. She is a warrior. I have a friend who goes to war every weekday earning his teaching degree so he can follow a calling to teach in the inner city and play some role in turning lives around. Another who works more doubles than I can count so his wife can follow her heart and be home with the kids. I know a woman who’s husband betrayed her, leaving her alone. Some days she finds herself in an all out battle for joy. I have hundreds of examples of people entering the trenches day after day after bloody day. Life is war.
 
For me, life is battle after battle of my flesh making war against the Spirit. The old man squaring off against the new man. It’s a war within, if nothing else. I know this adoption journey will be no different. It will be a long line of battles until this life is done. After all, adoption doesn’t end with a plane ride home. And as I ponder this, I am reminded of the words of Russell Moore:
 
“But adoption is contested, both in its cosmic and missional aspects. The Scriptures tell us there are unseen beings in the air around us who would rather we not think about what it means to be who we are in Christ. These rulers of the age would rather we ignore both the eternal reality and the earthly icon of it. They would rather we find our identity, our inheritance, and our mission according to what we can see and verify as ours – according to what the Bible calls “the flesh” – rather than according to the veiled rhythms of the Spirit of life. That’s why adoption isn’t charity – it’s war.”
( Russell D. Moore, Adopted for Life, 18)
 
And so as we strap our boots on for this war called adoption. My heart is racing. My eyes are hot with tears water. My breath is caught in my lungs and fear threatens to undo me in a million ways. But I am reminded of God’s word to King Jehoshaphat in the face of insurmountable odds on the battle field:
 
And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
(2 Chronicles 20:15-17)
 
The hard truth is we’re not battle ready. We never have been. But in Christ we are ready for battle. God has a long history of winning battles. Winning the war on behalf of His children. So here we go. We’re strapping our boots on, gripping our weapons, and marching right into the battle! We’ve got our war-paint on. We’re scared to death. We’re confident. We feel vulnerable. We are invincible. And we have ourselves a front row seat to watch God’s victorious power on display time and time and time again. Won’t you pull up a chair and sit a spell. It’s going to be bloody and it going to be beautiful.

It’s time for battle. Make war.

“… I will come to you.”

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I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

(John 14:18-20 ESV)

(Photo Credit: Ricki Smith)

Taking On A Home Study (Together)

The need is great and the opportunity is greater. The cost is high but the return on investment is immeasurable. Link arms with us now, let’s whip this home study together and get busy bringing our little lady home.

Over the last 10 days, we’ve written individual autobiography papers, we’ve been fingerprinted, we’ve listed references, and we’ve filled in countless blanks on dozens of papers and signed our names like it’s our job (it kind of is). We’ve hunted down birth certificates and pay stubs and checking account statements. And I could bore you to death with a list about four times longer than this.

If paperwork is what it takes to bring her home, than bring it on. We’ll sign our name and fill in blanks until our hands bleed.

Right now we are in the midst of the home study application. After applying and being accepted by our adoption agency, the home study is basically the first big thing we’ve taken on in our the adoption journey. Our first step is to complete the application which involves everything from psych evaluations to FBI background checks and lots of signed and notarized paperwork. After the application is submitted and processed, there will be several in home visits, spaced out over several weeks, conducted by our home study agency. Finally, all of the information and paperwork will be compiled and our home study finalized. After that there will still be lots of work to do (ever heard of a dossier?). But one of the larger hurdles will have been cleared.

From start to finish, this process will take several months and cost several thousand dollars. Ouch! But with every stroke of the pen and phone call made and appointment required, we just keep wondering where our daughter is and what she is doing right now. If paperwork is what it takes to bring her home, than bring it on. We’ll sign our name and fill in blanks until our hands bleed. And every time we write the name Boekell on any of the forms, we think about writing her name on the paperwork when we bring her home. We’ll write the name Boekell then, too, and we know we’ll weep then just like we do now.

No matter how a family is brought together, there is always a cost. But it’s worth every penny.

And if it takes several thousand dollars for a home study and tens of thousands more by the time it’s all said and done, so be it. No matter how a family is brought together, there is always a cost. But it’s worth every penny.

And speaking of pennies… would you please thoughtfully consider giving some of your hard earned pennies (or maybe even dollars) to bring our daughter home? This can be your story too and we don’t think you will regret it. The need is great and the opportunity is greater. The cost is high but the return on investment is immeasurable. Link arms with us now, let’s whip this home study together and get busy bringing our little lady home.

If you would like to invest financially, but NOT online, click here for more info.

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