Friday, March 29, 2013

A Great {Good} Friday

What a wonderful Good Friday.  

Beautiful weather and time with my family.
And remembrance of what Christ did for me and you on Calvary's Cross.  

So blessed to be adopted by Jesus!

the long road

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ruby's Slippers

A little back story to a new super exciting campaign:

I was lying in bed a month or so ago, bummed about this terrible wait for our daughter, and the song "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller came on and really convicted me.  I felt that it was a direct 'wake up' call from God that I could either continue being sad and "waller" in self pity about this excruciatingly long wait for our Ruby-Grace OR I could come up with a way to serve those that I'm so passionate about-those that are also tired of waiting and some that may wait forever on families that will never come.  

And almost instantly, I thought of doing a shoe campaign for orphans, and being the "teacher" that I am, of course needed a catchy name for it.  So, we lovingly named it "Ruby's Slippers" in honor of our sweet Ruby-Grace that we can't wait to meet!!  

My plan is to take donations of new or excellent used condition shoes until May 31st, and then ship them to an orphanage in both China and South Korea (Ilsan!) the first week of June.  Thank you SO much for considering to join us in this campaign and for making the difference in the lives of these precious children!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Created for Care {Photo Gallery}

I took my big camera with the intentions of getting all these nice beautiful photos of the retreat and the beautiful lodge setting.... but I was SO busy having SO much fun that my camera never left its snuggly bag.  All these are Iphone photos, but still show how AWESOME the retreat was!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Created for {Care} Day 3

Over the course of the past twoish months, I have been participating in a Bible Study called Fingerprints of God by Jennifer Rothschild.  The main gist of the study is that God sees us.  He knows us.  He hears us when we call.  And he loves us BIG!

But when Tona Ottinger stepped up to the podium, I had no idea how wide she would open my eyes.  She spoke from the story of Hagar and Ishmael.  Abram and Sarai were a beautiful couple who had it all together, yet they longed and prayed for a baby.  When said baby didn’t show up on their doorstep, Sarai took matters into her own hands and offered her Egyptian slave, Hagar, to be a surrogate with Abram.   However, when Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s (and consequently Sarai’s) son, she became-surprise surprise-extremely jealous.  And frankly, Hagar was ticked.

So- a cat fight so-to-speak ensued and Hagar fled.  And for the very first time in the Bible, God spoke to Hagar as an angel of the Lord and called her by name.  Big stuff.  He knows our name.

God smoothes things over with Hagar, and she returns to her master.  Hagar births Ishmael and one hopes all is happy once again.  However, Hagar and Sarai still have beef.  God later actually fulfills his original promise to (now I believe) Sarah and Abraham, making them the parents of nations, and blessing them with a biological child, Isaac.  Ishmael, for whatever reason makes fun of Isaac at his weaning party and Sarah has taken all she could take and kicks them out of the house.

Alone.  In the woods.  With no possessions.  Nothing to feed her child.  And nothing to give him to drink.  She was hopeless.  So, she sat away from her child and turned her head because she couldn’t bear to watch him die.  And the boy cried.

And God heard him.  Not only did He hear Hagar, but He heard her child, Ishmael.  And upon that hearing, He opened her eyes to see a well of water that had been there all along.

Now, of course, this is not the NIV version or probably even worthy of Cliff’s Notes Quality of the story, but I felt you needed to hear what I was taught.

I often cry out to God that not only He be with us through this wait and to guide the birth family and to give them peace and comfort in Him, but I also beg him to be with my sweet Ruby Grace.  Taking care of her, making sure she is safe, squeezing her with His love and tenderness until I can physically get to her.  And you know what?  Not only does he hear my prayers as her Mommy, but he hears her.  As my child.  And not only does He hear her, but He is with her.

And to realize this was so heartwarming to me.  It doesn’t make this process easier, but I can trust in knowing that He loves my Ruby Grace and He is with her through everyday that she is here on Earth. 

So thankful for a mighty God who loves us BIG and equips us to do the same. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Created for {Care} Day 2

Day Two was a real eye opener for me.  It was comprised of two main sessions, both of which spoke volumes to me.  Carissa Woodwyk is a Korean adoptee in her late thirties, who so selflessly shared her personal adoption story and testimony.  To see such raw emotion as she spoke about her adoption story-even after 38 years of life was really eye opening.  Her passion, is that adoptive parents remember that the voice of the adoptee is often not heard, but is the most important and special voice in the adoption trilogy because they are the only one who doesn’t have a choice in the matter.  (birth family, adoptive family, adoptee). 

Carissa talked about the studies done of the brain and the unborn child in utero and how even in the womb, the circle of trust can start to break for a child that is being put up for adoption (or who’s mother is going through something tragic in general).

As I listened to her, my heart just kept stinging over and over and over again.  I realized that as much as I am crying and longing for a child to call my own, the moment of pure elation I will have upon receiving Ruby Grace will most likely be one of the most heartbreaking and tragic moments for both her and her birth family.  It really put my heart into place.  As I am sitting here longing for my child and wishing that moment would happen, ummmm, like yesteryear, I’m also (inadvertently) wishing for another Mommy to do the unthinkable.  To make one of the hardest and most life changing decisions for both her and her baby.  Uhg.  It was really really deep.  Extremely thought provoking.

But through Carissa’s openness and transparency, I have learned more than ever that “the voice of the heart matters most.”  Ahhh.  LOVED Carissa.  She gave me so much to meditate on.   I bought her book and cannot wait to dive into all she has to teach me.  (She was also precious to talk to one-on-one and graciously signed my book-though I think it was slightly embarrassing for her how star struck I was by her.)

Then, I had my Date with God.  It is a room they had set up with many different stations: A soaking tent-to soak up God’s presence, a cross and Bibles-to read His word at His feet, a prayer/blessing station- to choose a verse of encouragement that had been prayed over for us and to receive a prayer from someone who was there to encourage us, a prayer wall to write our prayers down and to pray for at least three others, a painting station- to paint what God was saying to you, a clay (play dough) modeling station-to mold what God was speaking to you, and a station where someone could pray over you. 

Initially, I thought an hour was an extreme amount of time to do all of those stations, but then, I was beyond surprised at how few I actually got to.  I went to a few stations, but spent the majority of my time at the painting and modeling stations.  And I painted a picture of what I thought God was telling me my family would look like after our adoption. 
I’ve really been struggling lately with whether or not we should look at other adoption programs.  My heart is set on Asia, but I’ve always been nervous that my heart is deceiving me.  (The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9) So, my main prayer was that God make known to me His path for our adoption..  Do we stick out this major issue with Korea or do we try a different path?  Should we consider domestic?  Africa?  Europe?  And as I prayed and prayed that God make His plan for us the desires of our hearts, I found myself painting our family, with the addition of a precious Asian daughter.  I don’t know if she’s Korean, Taiwanese, Hong Kongian, (is this a word?!), Chinese, etc, but at least in this very moment, I feel 110% that our daughter is in Asia. 

He also kept laying on my heart Ecclisiastes 3:11 He has made EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL in HIS TIME.  I found myself painting this scripture reference on my picture as well.  It was a breath of fresh air cooling me off.  Renewing me and reminding me that Faith in God includes faith in His timing. ~Neal A. Maxwell I found it odd that this verse was speaking so loudly to me during our date.  It’s a verse I’ve heard often and have always thought it was pretty, but had never really felt God speak through it the way He was.  It was one of the most prominent times I have heard God speak.  Enjoy this time in your life.  Because even though it isn’t going the way you thought it would, I am making EVERYTHING, not just the fun, not just the glamorous, not just the easy, but EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL and I’m doing it in MY TIME. 

I am currently looking for a frame to put my painting in.  It’s not a masterpiece by any standards, but I feel like it’s my own little ‘text message’ from God giving me a little squeeze of encouragement. 

And then?  In the next session, Andrea spoke and gave a testimony about…..God’s perfect timing.  All right, all right- I get it.  Boy can we say when God speaks, He speaks clearly??! She shared how through a hosting/adoption opportunity she was so upset by God because He was CLEARLY ‘late.’  And yet, in the end He blessed her and this precious child with a family through miracles only He can perform.  He blessed everyone involved more than they could ask for or imagine. Ephesians 3:20.  It was powerful.  And a total confirmation for us to just chill in His presence.  Because He’s got this.   And if He’s going to change the path that we are on, we will hear Him telling us to do so-in His time.  And if we are just supposed to sit back and wait-which currently we do- He will keep reaffirming that-which He is doing.  

(And I know that I’m not doing any of these stories justice-I mainly just want to jot down the major points so that I can go back and review my weekend.  It was sooooo busy, and frankly a lot of a blur, but SO moving.)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Created for {Care} Day 1

So, I thought I'd pop in and give a quick "what's up" since I've so rightfully earned Worst Blogger of the Year Award lately and let you know what's going on in my life.  Now.  At 1:00am.... Please pardon any typos to follow.

So, I'm at this SUPER awesome adoption retreat called Created for Care.  That you had to sign up for like a looooong time ago.  And truthfully, if I had of known way back then that we would stiiiiilllll be waiting on our referral, I probably definitely wouldn't have signed up.  But I didn't know and at the time (for the past 12 months) our agency has been saying 'any day now,' and long story short- I did.

And this conference has been SO hard so far.  We're talking A-L-O-T of tears.  It's really hard being (I'm pretty sure) the only Korean Mommy here not matched.  And its hard not knowing the tried and true Korean Adoption Process anymore.  And its hard knowing how crazy and happy and heartbreaking our adoption road has already been.  And its hard knowing how long the road is ahead.  And its hard longing to love another child.


God knew that this was EXACTLY where I needed to be this weekend.  I am in a room with three other beautiful women who are seasoned with adoption and have brought me the most comfort and love.  I lovingly have dubbed them my Adoption Mommies (while they also refer to me as their little child) as I am also a decent amount younger than any other adoptive Mommy here too.

We've listened to some AMAZING worship music and have had the awesome opportunity to watch the new documentary Stuck.  I've heard testimony after testimony of the coolest adoption stories, and I've already met some absolutely fantastic new friends.

We also got to listen to the most amazing woman tonight (Adrienne) and to hear her testimony of how sometimes God calls us to love {Big} for just a short amount of time.  I couldn't help but know that God was speaking directly to me telling me that He had a purpose for our earlier referral and the process of having to let go.  I think I've finally realized that He had in His will for the Murphree family a season to love big last winter.  And I'm thankful that I'm finally, truly seeing even the tiniest inkling of His amazing plan unfold.

She went on to speak about God's most perfect timing.  How he's never early, certainly not late, but right on time-every time.  Ahhhh.  Thank you God for that sweet hug of reassurance that you know me, love me, love my family and my precious children, and that You're ALWAYS on time.

And more than ever, I feel like Justin and I are still exactly where God wants us to be.  Waiting and willing to love our precious Ruby-big.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I know I say this about all of our FUNdraisers, but this one maaaaay be my favorite yet!  (Pocket Tees are available from now untill we bring Ruby home!!)  

I ran across this blog a few weeks ago and went NUTS for these amazing bracelets.  They are adorable and are equipped with the truth of God!  I immediately contacted the creator and she said she would be more than happy to help me with a FUNdraiser!  And I went giddy when they arrived last week!!!

She did a few custom bracelets for me with Miss Ruby's adoption verse: "She is more precious than rubies:  nothing you desire can compare with her." Proverbs 3:15.  The rest of them are beautiful colors with chosen verses by Steph.  There are sooooo many combinations but they are all super fabulous!!  

If you would like one, they are $15 or $17 if you need it shipped.  I will choose one that I think will be perfect for you, and your Truthlet will arrive on your door step for you to love!!  (I have already prayed over all the Truthlets and have asked God to help me choose the perfect Truthlet for each person that orders one.  I know He has a precious Bible verse waiting specifically for you!!)

As always, I cannot thank each one of you enough for helping to bring home our daughter-a child that none of us have yet to lay our eyes on.  Each time I think of all you are doing for my family, it humbles me to no end.  We truly could not do this without you.  YOU are making the difference in the life of a child.  We cannot wait to share with Ruby Grace all the friends and family that have so deeply touched and blessed our lives.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Prayer and Fasting

I promise I'm still alive.

Barely. ;)

I'm not sure I have EVER been so busy in my life.

Part of it is life.  And part of it is that I have over committed myself BIG time this new year.

I have obligations I've committed to through the end of March, but come April I am s-l-o-w-i-n-g down.

I have to.  I'm exhausted.  I'm snippy.  And I'm hanging on by a thread.

In the mean time, will you puh-leez join me in prayer and fasting for our (and all my sweet Korean adoptive friends') adoption process?

The new adoption law implemented in August 2012 has cause some MAJOR issues in Korea, and we are praying for a modern day miracle.  We know there is power in prayer and we want an army storming the gates of heaven on behalf of these precious children and all involved with the Korean Adoption Process.

To see more Sunday Snapshots, visit Stephanie's blog at NiHaoYall!

Our Adoption Timeline

  • June 19, 2011- We are officially "Paper Pregnant!" We have submitted our Waiting Child Application to Holt!
  • July 5, 2011- Submitted our formal Home Study Application to Villa Hope
  • September 6, 2011- Submitted all of our paperwork for our Home Study
  • October 8, 2011- Completed our First Home Visit
  • October 17, 2011- Completed our Second Home Visit
  • November 14, 2011- Home Study Approved
  • December 1, 2011- Filed our I600a
  • February 1, 2012- I600a Approval Letter
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