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Saturday, October 29, 2011


Sometimes I'd like to
ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something
about it. But I'm afraid He might ask me the same question.
-Author Unknown

How well will you sleep tonight?

Does this strike you as unfair?

Does this hurt your heart?
Can you turn your back and ignore this face?
Does this break your heart?

I can't ignore this. I can't imagine. It hurts. Tears sting my eyes. I asked for it. I prayed for passion. I prayed for compassion. I prayed for a broken heart.
I got much more than I bargained for.

I recently came across this blog. I didn't want to read it but yet I couldn't turn my eyes away...
Here are some excerpts. Read if you dare...

We are wealthier than 99 percent of the world. Did you know that if you make $50,000per year you are wealthier than 99 percent of the world? Yet how many times have I flippantly uttered the words that we are "broke". Or claimed that I couldn't "afford" to give anymore right now? Did you know that 93 percent of the world's people don't own a car? I have 2.

Richard Stearns says in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, that "we don't believe we are wealthy, so we don't see it as our responsibility to help the poor. We are deceived."

Look at that first photo again and tell me if these numbers don't make you uncomfortable:
Americans spend $705 billion a year on entertainment and recreation, $65 billion on jewelry, $31 billion on pets, and $13 billion on cosmetic surgery. Not Millions. Billions.

Do you know what it would cost to bring basic health and nutrition to everyone in the world?

$13 billion. Yep. Just $13 of those $814 I just mentioned.

Here's what I know deep inside of me.
The bones of that 7 month old baby are not visible because of a lack of resources in our world -
famine or no famine.
That 7 month old baby weighs 7 1/2 pounds because of me.
You might think that sounds harsh or even ridiculous. The truth is harsh and often even ridiculous. The even harder thing to say is this: That baby is starving because of my sin. Ezekiel wrote that Sodom's sin was that she was "arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." Maybe you would be appalled at anyone suggesting that you are arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned.
I am quite ashamedly all three. This is why I sob.

It is so very easy here on our American island to forget that we are a part of a GREAT BIG WORLD. Americans make up less than 5 % of the world's population. How did we become so arrogant?

Nearly 9 million people a year die from hunger or hunger related causes.
I can often be heard whining about my pudgy waist.


Nobody likes being deceived. World Hunger is often presented as a problem with no real solution. I think that's a lie. Maybe I'm crazy, but is it possible that a good start to the solution would be for those of us who are overfed and unconcerned to become concerned and start eating less? I'm not trying to be funny. I'm serious. We have so complicated things that we can't see what is right in front of our faces. $13 billion dollars. It's estimated that the total income of American churchgoers is $5.2 trillion. And again the tears flow.

Changes are coming to this house. I wonder how much money we could save and therefore share if we limited ourselves to dessert only once a week? If we shared more meals in restaurants? If we just cooked less and ate smaller portions? It sounds so incredibly ridiculous even as I type it. That's not even a sacrifice! We eat dessert pretty much every day. While people die. I'm tired of pretending that's not a problem.

For the record, I am not suggesting that we shouldn't be able to enjoy our food. I am merely suggesting we need to stop enjoying more than our share of it. The truth is, I love to cook and I love to eat. I know that for many people it's a gift and for many an art. Sharing a meal at a table with family and friends brings us all great joy. I have no intention of drowning in guilt every time I put a bite of food in my mouth. I will thank God for what he has given me... but I will also acknowledge the great responsibility he placed upon me - the wealthiest 1 percent. I intend to stop thanking Him for how richly he has blessed my family while simply pitying those He hasn't chosen to bless as richly as me. That's just another lie. I don't believe He withheld his blessing from the 9 million who died last year. I believe he entrusted it to us and we withheld it.

Through this amazing journey, I have come across some websites that have brought me to tears and down to my knees. Little ways to help. We can't all adopt or travel to 3rd world countries and do mission work.

But we can do SOMETHING.

One thing Lee and I learned about was the unfair trade coffee crisis. Companies here in the US are buying coffee from Ethiopia (known for their unique beans and wonderful flavors). The problem is that they are paying the poor Ethiopian farmer pennies for a cup of coffee they charge 4+ bucks for in America. Companies like Starbucks and Nestle (Kraft) have monopolized the coffee industry. They have directly contributing to the poverty crisis in Ethiopia. This has led fathers to give up their children. This has exacerbated the orphan crisis. Don't believe me? Check out this documentary. It will change your perception on coffee.

So what can you do about it?

Watch the movie.

Join their mailing list.

Boycott Starbucks. (I haven't set a foot in there since I watched this. And if I do, I'll not be purchasing anything).

Buy fair trade coffee.

A good website to order from is:

Another really cool website I've discovered is one that sells hand crocheted hats. Two crochet-loving guys began to educate women in Africa how to crochet hats to make a living. Their stuff is hand signed and proceeds go to them. What a novel idea. Teach someone a skill that will bring them out of poverty. I can't wait to get my hat. :)

Another similar site:

And lest we not forget Tom. Tom began to make and sell shoes, promising to donate a pair for every pair purchased. My pair is truly my absolute favorite pair of shoes I own. Not only are they comfortable but wearing them reminds me that a poverty stricken child in the world is also wearing a new pair of shoes.

This incredible site asks only for a dollar and helps to fund African adoption.

And then there is Katie. The girl who left her life in America to run an orphanage in Uganda. And adopt 14 kids. As a single girl. And write books and create and organization called Amazima. You too can buy some handmade jewelry or sponsor a child.

Katie's blog:

And then there are the regular contenders. Ways to sponsor a child, provide education, nutrition, and sharing of the Gospel.

And of course Compassion International

And my personal fave (partly b/c the organization is in Colorado Springs and my dear friend Sarah works for them).

And then there are the books I've read.

And this one about the AIDS epidemic and adoption
And this one by a fellow adoption couple who realized God's Plan A for their families.
And my favorite...Stepping out of the boat and taking a risk for family.

And then there are the messages I've heard. Countless sermons, talks and lessons about adoption.

Here is one:
And songs...
Like this one about imagining our future children.
"Thought You'd Be Here By Now"
Or this one by Matthew West about there being "One Less" when we adopt.
Or countless adoption songs by Steven Curtis Chapman
"When Love Takes You In"
Or "All I Really Want for Christmas"
And so now, I will hush. Thanks for letting me waddle up on my soapbox for awhile. Thanks for letting me preach a little. :) It helps me to sleep at night with the mere thought that maybe we'll all think a little more about these poor children.
I have a long way to go. God will continue to bring me stories, websites, causes, sermons, songs and friends who break my heart over and over and over and over again. I need to do more. Everyday. Sacrifice more. I'm so blessed.
I hope that we can make some sort of difference.
Isn't this image much better?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Another question...

Do you remember a post I made many months ago about “interesting” questions we are often asked about adoption? Well, there is a new one. I think this one is the HARDEST to bear. It goes something like this:

Person: Wow, congrats on your pregnancy! So did you drop out of your adoption?

Me: No, We’re definitely still adopting.

Person: Oh really? I thought you might “drop out” since you are having one of your “own.”

Me: Nope. Adoption is still God’s will for us. I’ve wanted to adopt since I was 9. We are doing both.

Person: Oh wow, well “good for you.” Are you sure you can handle two that close together?

Me: It’s no different than having twins or having children close in age. Plus, I know God will work out the timing perfectly and give me the strength to handle it so I’m not at all worried.

Person: Well that seems to ALWAYS happen. People adopt and then they “relax” and get pregnant. So funny.

****This one hurts me to my CORE.

Me: Well actually, that does NOT usually happen. Only in 5% of cases. It’s just that you hear about those 5% of stories more than the other 95% that DON’T get pregnant.

Person: Oh really?

Me: Yep. So we are especially blessed. We get to experience BOTH.

Person: Uh. Wow. Good for you.

Ok, so this is how the conversation SHOULD go. Typically I laugh and say “yeah” and “we’re still adopting” and that’s about it. This conversation is what I wish I would have said AFTER the fact but was too in shock and appalled to say at the time.

I have MANY friends that have suffered infertility as we have. Do I pray that God would give them the SAME Amazing blessing he has given us? OF COURSE! Do I think they adopt because they can’t have children? NOPE. I believe they adopt as God’s PLAN A for their lives, as ours as well. Adoption is still PLAN A for us. It was never PLAN B. Will I go up to bat for them, us and GOD time and time again? YEP.

I share this because I have to illustrate how my adoption friends “get” me. My friend Debb said it so very eloquently tonight on the phone when I shared with her this latest question of “Why are you still adopting if you can have your ‘own’ child?” Her response was so beautiful and read my heart. She said that one child does not replace the other. Our Ethiopian child has grown in our hearts for 2.5 years just as our biological child has grown in my womb for 7.5 months. Both are different children. I have bonded with both of them. I love them both EQUALLY.


I have shared before how I can’t imagine one without the other. Our little Toone family is not complete unless BOTH of them are here. As long as I am holding my baby girl in my arms I will be longing for my baby boy. One is not void of the other. EVER. That is just not God’s plan. I realized one day that I have always pictured TWO and that is simply precious to me.

So when asked why we are still adopting, the answer is easy. It is not because we spent a great deal of money. It’s not because we came so far in paperwork. It’s not because we want to “save” a child. It’s not because we feel obligated. Do you want to know why we are still doing it? It’s because God has shown us that having a biological baby does not subtract an orphan from the world. There are still 147 million of them. Will physically having a baby make the wait to our other child easier? Maybe. Or will it make the agonizing wait all the harder knowing what we’re missing? More likely.

Our pregnancy has only strengthened our resolve to adopt. Our adoption friends have only encouraged us all the more. Our biological pregnancy has only caused us to love our Ethiopian angel more and more. Our journey has only heightened our faith. Our love has only multiplied, but the best part is, the love we’ve been saving up our entire lives gets to flourish for TWO.

Friends are Friends Forever...If the Lord's the Lord of Them...

I know that I’ve said it before, but I simply cannot emphasize the AMAZING bond that occurs between adoptive families… Truly, there is nothing like the connection that transcends across time and distance. Since the beginning of this process, I have met adoptive families and have felt an instant comradely and understanding. We have been SO blessed to meet two local families, here in Utah and have been able to spend time with them. The Blair Family just returned from Ethiopia and meeting their kids! Even better, they passed court on the first try! Abriha and Tariku are theirs! The Autrys just returned from Ethiopia, attending their Embassy appointment and bringing their FOUR children home! Can’t wait to love on these kiddos!

Visit their blogs to see pics of their kiddos and read their journeys!

Even though not all of the families we’ve met are local, that doesn’t matter. AT. ALL. Despite the distance, I have made some of my very closest friends through adoption. They GET IT. They share our passion. Their hearts break with ours, over the cause of the orphan. They read the scripture and KNOW that God commands us all to help the less fortunate. They pray, encourage, text, write, call and keep us going. They rejoice in the triumphs like getting our fingerprints done, getting a form back from Uncle Sam, turning in our paper “baby” as if it was their own victory! They wait anxiously to hear updates, pray daily, ache deeply, and share the greatest empathy I’ve ever known.

Let me share a couple of stories that will illustrate this connection clearly. A high school friend shared about a family she knows who had just adopted their baby boy. She shared their blog with me and I began to follow. Turns out, this couple is part of our agency, brought their baby home and lives in WICHITA---5 minutes from my parents! Ummmm, could I have planned that? NO! But God could! I can’t wait to sit and talk with Brenda and Chad Fleming and meet their little guy Elias when back in Wichita! What a small world!!!

And then, there is Debbie Marquez. Can I just tell you ALL about her? I met Debb through the online group as well. I first noticed that she was THE encourager on the online posts and facebook. She always does a spectacular job to check in with people and pray and encourage! Definitely one of her STRONG spiritual gifts. And so, we began to chat and realized our blogs share the same address (except for our last names). I have followed Debb and Jeff’s journey and watched as they became DTE. They waited almost a YEAR until they got their referral for sweet, Baby “K.” Then, they became stuck in the court closures after traveling to Ethiopia and falling deeper in love with their precious angel. Baby K was 2.5 months at referral and now he is 7 months. Can you imagine missing those many months of growth and development and bonding with YOUR child? I can’t. I have been utterly GLUED to Debb’s blog and facebook everyday to find out updates. Lee and I have prayed for the missing piece of the court puzzle (which is a “simple” letter from the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s, and Youth Affairs) so they may pass court and proceed to an Embassy appointment. He even said to me that their pain would be like someone taking away our biological child after we spent a week with her and not knowing when we’d hold her again. That notion brings my heart the greatest pain I’ve ever known. It’s the only semblance of an idea of what she is going through. The difference? She has MET, HELD, FED, LOVED and PRAYED over her child. She knows him and began bonding and now is waiting in the agonizing wait to get him home! It is heart wrenching to know that Debb’s momma’s heart LONGs for her child, and her arms ACHE to hold him again and bring him to his forever home. Do you know why I am SO engrossed in their story? Well for one, this is the first journey I have followed completely from paperchase to the agonizing daily battle of waiting. All that said, we have some updates. Although the Marquez family has not received their letter as yet, God was working behind the scenes. While in Ethiopia, they met a 10 year old boy that they instantly connected with. Long story short, he came up as adoptable on our agency’s Waiting Child List. Skipping to present day….Debb and Jeff have accepted the referral for “Jacob!” They will have TWO boys! God has prolonged the wait so that they would know that they should have BOTH boys! In the beginning they felt there were TWO. I felt it too and shared that with Debb. They were elated all the while to receive a referral for Baby K, but turns out God was weaving the fibers of their family together their entire wait. Can’t you BELIEVE this? I can’t! They are blessed double!

Debb and I have spoken on the phone and she has become my dearest adoption friend. We have laughed and cried and prayed and ached together. She “gets” me and can utter the words that my heart and head are already thinking and sometimes afraid to admit. She is SAFE to me and I can be me. So, I can empathize right with her. Read her blog and you’ll get it. Her experience in Ethiopia was like a book I couldn’t put down and couldn’t wait to pick back up. Her friendship is dear and pure. Her heart is faithful and true. Her joy and genuineness is refreshing. Her faith is an example and her steadfast perseverance is enviable. And to think we have never met FACE TO FACE! (SOON!) So why do I feel so close to her? Because God brought us together. I feel we are kindred spirits. I feel I have known her for years. I cannot fathom this life without her and I couldn’t make it on this long agonizing journey void of her presence.

Check out their AMAZING story!

So there you have it. Maybe this post will give you an inkling of the miracles we experience on a daily basis. It is mind blowing and incredible! Because of these people, I now know that this journey is not only about the end result: a child. It is also about the growth, trust, faith and friendship that is formed along the path. It is about the community that pulls us through.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

30 weeks!

Well the reality of being pregnant has truly set in. No longer can I pretend to do everything I desire. Well, I haven't been able to do everything for the entire 7 months, but now I truly can't fake it. It has become nearly impossible to do simple things like tie my gym shoes, bend over to pick up a pen at work, and well, workouts, that's another thing entirely.

Symptoms I've experienced in this journey are textbook. Morning sickness, heartburn, back pain, CONSTANTLY itchy skin, the dreaded "mask" which consists of dark pigmentation across my upper lip (HELLOOOO stache!) and forehead (make up doesn't cover), shortness of breath, slight swelling of my feet, puffy face...But like I said before, I choose not to complain. Every kick and flutter that I feel, makes me smile and my growing belly is worth every ache, pain and symptom. :) I can't say that I'd be the first in line to do this again...but I am reminded constantly that this baby inside me is God's greatest gift to me in this life...Unexpected, welcomed, and adored.

The nursery is coming along nicely, after Daddy painted the top portion of the walls not once....not twice, but THREE times, till Mommy was absolutely certain it matched her desired bedding (which we don't have...yet). Mommy is working on the intricate details of the design, accessories, a white furry rug, baby chandelier and more...I'm no designer but it sure is fun. Yep, its gonna be a little blingy. :)

We also began our birthing class. We decided to try Hypnobirthing. With my graduate background in biofeedback, relaxation training and hypnotherapy, I felt it was the perfect marriage between a childbirth education class and my belief that we do have a mind/body connection. I perform breathing and Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercises on my clients at work almost daily, and truly believe the extensive research on its healing benefits and power to reverse the stress/flight/fight response we all experience. I tend to be an anxious gal, so this will help me relax during labor. Now, I didn't say I was going natural, but the idea of working with my body, allowing it to do what God designed, and trusting in it and in God is appealing to my soul. So, we attended our first 4 hour class and LOVED It. :) I can't wait for week 2. :) We'll also take a breastfeeding class and a hospital one day birthing class, just to get different perspectives.

Another thing we are on the fence about, which lots of you have asked, is Baby Girl's name. We have been telling people we have to see her to decide, but to be perfectly honest, we have a name already. :) We'll confirm when we see her precious, squishy little face, but its a name that we love, and its meaning describes our journey to her with perfection. :) All that said, we're not into blabbing it or sharing...So if you ask, you'll most likely get a "We're gonna wait and see her to make sure" and that's about it. So expect us to be annoyingly private about it. :) Sorry. :)25 weeks
Why do we always take these pics in the bathroom?
Ok, so I had to throw this in...I splurged. I bought a pair of Tom's shoes I'd been eyeing for months... The good news is that I know that with the purchase, another pair of shoes is being donated to an orphan. I love it.
Check it out:

Love at first sight!
30 weeks. Baby Girl's room. The bedding is back up, our desired bedding isn't here yet.
Big ole' bump!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fun Adoption Things!!!

Many of you have asked how things are going in the world of adoption. The next two posts will be about adoption. Since I have been pregnant, this blog has shifted gears a bit and focused on our coming miracle (biologically) but we have NOT forgotten or de-emphasized our little Ethiopian miracle that is still alive and well in our hearts. In fact, through this journey of pregnancy, I have sought God's heart for that of the less fortunate, continually asking Him over and over again not to let me forget the plight of the orphan. He has only confirmed our desire to adopt more and more through our biological pregnancy. The next blog post will be about my heart that continually breaks for adoption and the things that have continued to strengthen my passion for the orphans of this world. Our precious baby boy is still out there, still waiting as we too wait with outstretched and aching arms.

The other day I had a realization. When I have pictured my complete family, I have never once pictured it without BOTH of our children. Even when we weren't sure we could have one biologically, I ALWAYS pictured TWO children. A girl. A boy. One Caucasian. One African. Never once has that mental image been void of one or both of those children. Even when waiting during this pregnancy, there have ALWAYS BEEN TWO. This realization slapped me across the face one day. And further confirmed what I already knew to be true. God's blessings are aligning with our desires.

Ok, enough serious stuff, more of that later. Now, to the FUNNNNN Adoption stuff! :)
On September 1, I was blessed to attend my dear friend Tracy's adoption baby shower! She and her husband are adopting FOUR children from Ethiopia. I met Tracy through our online AWAA agency adoption support group when seeking out someone from Utah. Tracy's family is wonderful, they already have 5 children. It has been sooooo amazing to have Tracy here as a support during our adoption! We began our processes at the same stage and she sped ahead when she and her husband decided to bring home these FOUR precious children off our agency's waiting child list. Tracy is also a Christian so its been amazing to have her literally a 5 minute drive from my house!!! :)

This shower was one of the COOLEST things I've EVER attended. These two Ethiopian girls danced for our entertainment! It was so awesome! In this photo they are talking to Tracy about the region where her kids are coming from.

Dancing with the girls!
SOOOOO cool!
Tracy giving her testimony of how God brought her family to these 4 children in Ethiopia...What a tearjerker! Not a dry eye in the house! Check out the Autry's blog here:

Ethiopia Colors-Red, yellow, green
Centerpieces matched as well!
Me and my dear friend Tracy...
Had to share. As we are accustomed to do, Lee and I often play "Chutes and Ladders." On one particular evening we started to play. Lee set up the board and I noticed he picked different characters than we normally use. I cried. So symbolic of our little biological baby girl, and our precious Ethiopian boy. Oh, I'm soooo emotional.
I ordered this from a fellow adoptive family. When I got pregnant I could no longer drink bottled water. I had to start sipping ICE COLD, filtered, clean water. I still can only drink it this way. :) So, this cup keeps my water ice cold and sends a very clear message. I LOVE IT!