Our crew

Our crew

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Looking back

It's fun to look back at the family Christmas photos from the last 9 years of our marriage.  With our 10th anniversary in January, we are hopeful that once again this year's family photo will look a little different.  Here's a look back at the last 9 years.

2004, the Christmas before we got married

2005, Christmas as first time parents with a 2 week old

2006, expecting #2

2007, Family of Four

2008, expecting #3

2009, family of five AND expecting #4

2010, family of six

2011, expecting #5!

2012, family of seven

2013, still a family of seven!

Monday, October 20, 2014

7 months later

It's been a year since we started our adoption journey.

It's been 7 months since we've been licensed.

I really thought we would have a placement by now.

I remember last year before Christmas being a little sad that all of our kids weren't going to be "home for the holidays."  I knew even then that our missing kids were out there somewhere.  I wanted to be careful all summer with planning trips and activities.  I was constantly wondering what we would do or how plans would change if we got more kids.  We were licensed March 8th and I had hopeful expectations of having a placement by summer.

Now summer has come and gone.  And what a wonderful summer it was!   I knew in the back of my head though that as much fun as we were having and as enjoyable as it was with our kids at the ages and stages they were at that our family just wasn't complete.  Now, I admit that it would probably have been a little easier without a toddler, but most things are.

Each time our caseworker has a potential match for us we are shown a picture of a sibling group and told minimal details about them such as age, gender, basic reason for removal from their birth parents, and a few personal details.  The first few times this happened we would plan it all out in our heads.  Well, maybe Andrew didn't go that far, but I did.  I would imagine where they would sleep in our home, what we would need to get for a 2 and 4 year old girl or for 3 and 5 year old boys.  I would try to plan out as much as I could.  I would pray for them by name and think longingly of the day they would come home to us.  But that gets hard!  It gets very emotional to be told we weren't the right match for this sibling group or that.  It seems that just before we find out it's a "no" on one set we are shown another.  Then we find out we didn't get matched with the first set and we wait another month to hear on the second set, only to then be shown a third.

I'm not sure exactly how many kids we've been shown a photo of.  Maybe we are at 8 or 9 sets now. Now I try not to plan too much though.  I pray for them constantly.  But I can't plan.  And really I don't need to.  I know that we will have more warning still.  Even if we are told that we were selected in the top three we would still have time to read through the kids' case file and decide if we are personally ready for that particular commitment.  Then we would have more time as we wait to see if we are the #1 family.  That's plenty of time for planning and making the proper arrangements.  Plenty of time for more prayer!

We've recently been blessed to be part of the Foster Family Association for our county.  We enjoyed getting to meet some other local foster and adoptive parents and are looking forward to being involved with them.  I may have raised my hand to volunteer for something...

We continue to be blessed by this journey to adoption.  We love meeting new people that are doing the same thing or going about it a little differently.  I love learning about their experiences and their families.  I even struck up a conversation at Chick-fil-A with an adoptive mom I'd never met before.  A friend in my Bible study small group at another church is currently waiting for a match for domestic infant adoption.  Another family friend is searching for a sibling in an African country.  All of these people bless us.  And so do you.  Thanks for your continued prayers for our family.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Buckner Camp

Reading this blog post from Jason Johnson reminded me that I never followed up on camp. It seems like it's been much longer than two weeks since camp but hopefully I can remember everything I wanted to tell.

The number one thing that I took away from camp is similar to the point of the linked blog post.  

They're all human.

The foster parents, adoptive parents, foster kids, and adopted kids are just people.  They don't stand out in a crowd.  They're just kids and parents.  Kids that do things for attention, that need love and correction.  Parents that love, that get frustrated, that correct, and then love some more.  It was very eye opening for me to look around and just see people. There are no super-powers needed to be a foster/adoptive parent!

On our drive to camp (about 4 hours) I told Andrew that if the camp wasn't nice enough we would have to go stay in a hotel.  I wasn't going to spend 3 days without air conditioning.  I'm a sissy, I know.  I was impressed though and we had a blast.

The camp itself was wonderful.  The facilities were clean and beyond my expectations.  The camp grounds were beautiful and offered much.  The staff was friendly and interacted well with adults and children alike.  Our cabin was a large one with two sides. On our side there were 9 sets of bunk beds and a large bathroom with multiple showers and stalls.  The A/C unit worked really well too!  On the other side of our cabin was another large family.  

Each day started with breakfast at the cafeteria.  The food was good (for camp food).  Then there was a "pump it up rally" in which they tried to get everybody moving and dancing.  For any of you that know the Shipps remotely well you know that this is not our thing.  I actually offered the kids $1 each to dance.  Gabe was the only taker at first but eventually a few others joined in.  This may have been the furthest out of our comfort zone that we got the whole time.  After that we had activities.  We signed up for crafts one day and archery the next.  We also spent a lot of time at the covered sandbox with the little ones.  After lunch there was a short rest time.  Both days we took a little drive so that AnnaMae would actually nap.  After that was swim time.  We had the choice of the nice big pool or the lake with a water slide.  There was also a blob and kayaking but our kids were too young for that.  They were also too young for the ropes course and zip line.
After a little time for cleaning up we had dinner and then a short worship time all together. After that there was more time for pool swimming.  The last night they had "Buckner State Fair."  There were carnival games and prizes and a few "rides".  Ok.  Maybe THIS was the thing that made me most uncomfortable.  8-10 men on motor cycles taking the kids for a short SLOW ride around the circle and a big all-terrain type truck for kids to ride in the back.  These were both terrifying to me!

We met some wonderful people.  Everyone there was of course a foster or adoptive family.  We were definitely the odd ones out since we don't have a placement yet.  We were so glad we went though.  Aside from the sheer fun of it all, we were able to talk to and connect with parents that have done what we're trying to do.  Of course I met more people and talked more than Andrew did...

There was a lady that has been a foster mom for 40 years!  I can't even begin to imagine the number of lives she has touched!
There were families that went straight to adoption.  One that just finalized with their 5 year old a few weeks before.  You could see how much they were delighting in being parents for the first time.
There were families that have fostered-to-adopt and added to their biological families to make one BIG happy family.
There were many older couples that were doing foster care only.  One couple was there with their 25 year old son with Cerebral Palsy and their 2 or 3 young foster daughters.  And a few other older couples that had adult children but were fostering babies and young children.
There were group homes represented and one little boy that kept flirting with AnnaMae, playing with Gabe, and generally giving his foster mom a handful.  I could all too easily imagine him in our family.
There were other large families with older high-school and college aged kids that were fostering and adopting younger children.  We loved seeing these older kids tote around their younger siblings lovingly.

There were many more too.  I think there were somewhere around 200 people there.  It was a wonderful experience.  The kids can't wait to go back next year and neither can I.  But hopefully by camp next year we will have added to our family.

We continue to wait patiently for what the Lord has in store for our family.  I constantly remind myself that us not being chosen by a caseworker isn't just because the caseworker flipped past our already large family.  It wasn't that they just didn't like us on paper.  It's because God knows the right children and the perfect timing for us.  His plans are perfect.

We are blessed by all those we met and by this whole process.  Our eyes have already been opened to new things and we wait with excitement and anxiousness to see what else we will learn along the way.

Friday, July 25, 2014

What's Happening

We've had a very busy summer with travel, moving, a snake bite, and much more.  And things aren't slowing down yet.  Tomorrow we are headed to Camp Buckner with many other foster and adoptive families.  We are really looking forward to this time of connecting with other families and the time together with our own family.  I am particularly interested to see how our kids interact with the other children there.

We also just submitted our home study on another sibling set.  Please pray that the Lord would guide their caseworker to just the right family for them.

When we get back from camp we've got some work to do to get our new house ready to be inspected but it shouldn't be too bad.  It's a whole lot easier going into it when we know exactly what to expect.  We also owe our caseworker a book report to show that we are continuing our foster/adoptive education while we wait for a placement.

So, in a nutshell, that's what's going on with us.  I'll update more after camp.  Also, please check in with our facebook page to pray along with us for the foster kids in Texas.  www.facebook.com/shippadoption

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Praying for Foster Kids

If you've been following our facebook page you'll know that we've been sharing a link each day to a foster child in this area.  The goal is to raise awareness of these kids and to pray for them by name.   So far we have shared 14 kids.  There is one photo left on the Heart Gallery of Deep East Texas page.  This is just barely scratching the surface!  Next we will move to a different area of the Heart Gallery.  There are also more children listed on the DFPS website.  On that website you can see sibling groups of 4, 5, or even more.  Here's a listing for a sibling set of five that need a forever family.

Please continue to follow along and pray with us that the love of Christ would be poured out on them.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let's Pray

I've been overwhelmed by how little I can actually do for these kids.  I can't take them all in.  I can't fix their problems, the "system", or help their biological parents get back on their feet.  What I can do though is pray for them.  And when it comes down to it that's the most important thing anyone can do.
Starting today, I'll be praying through the Texas Heart Gallery listings, beginning with Deep East Texas.  Each day I'll go down the list to the next child and pray for that child by name.  I'll be listing them on my FaceBook page.  Please join me in praying for these kids.

I know adoption isn't for everyone and I don't presume to imply that every Christian should adopt.  But we are all called to care for them.  And we can care for them by praying.  It's a great start.
James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

If you're joining me in prayer, let's start here, with Lee. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The system is flawed

I can't help but think we (Christians) are not doing enough.

Look through the Texas Heart Gallery and see their faces.  Glimpse into their lives.  You won't know their stories, but you can see their heartbreak in their eyes.

We recently told our caseworker that we were interested in a little boy we found on the Heart Gallery website.  He was a little older than we initially had been interested in, but something about this little boy drew us in.  There was a photo and a video clip about him.  Our oldest especially loved that this little boy's favorite foods are the same as his - pizza and pancakes.
When we heard back from his caseworker and ours we found out that this little boy is considered very aggressive and has been in a residential treatment center for two years.  My heart sunk.  I am sad and angry.  I don't have those feelings for myself, but for him and so many others like him.  Of course I can't bring a "very aggressive" child into my home.  I'm not equipped to help him or handle him and put the rest of my kids at risk in that way.  But there's got to be more for him.

The way things are now, this boy is unlikely to ever get adopted.  No doubt his is on high doses of medications to "moderate" his behavior.  Whatever trauma was in his early life likely caused him to start acting out in a foster home.  He wasn't stable or secure and things just got worse from there.  They started medicating him and things continued to escalate.  (This is all speculation of course.)  Now he is in a place that he is unlikely to come back from.  He's dependent on drugs, legal though they may be.  And what happens when he ages out of the system?  He's let go with no familial attachments, no experience for what a real relationship with a family (or Christ) can be like, no job skills, no income, no support.  He can't pay for his drugs that he's become dependent on after years of subduing his symptoms instead of healing him from the inside out.  What happens to this young man?

There's got to be a better way.  Christians have got to step in and help.  Do more.  Do SOMETHING.  If this boy had been given a chance by an older Christian couple with parenting experience but no other children at home, he could have been directed on the right path.  He could have been LOVED instead of drugged.  He could have been parented instead of "treated."  My heart breaks for him.  I wish I could do more for him.

I know I don't have any personal experience with mood altering medications.  I know I don't have first hand experience with these traumatized kids.  But I do think that kids in general are being medicated FAR too much instead of parented and loved.  (And not just kids in foster care.)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Experiences?  If we can't fix this, how can we at least improve it?  How can we, as Christians, help kids like this little boy now and in their future?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Life as we know it

It's been a while since I've posted.  I haven't really had much to say.  (Shocking, I know.)  You probably know by now that we were not selected for the most recent sibling group that we had submitted our home study for.  I didn't take it as hard as I expected to but it was still difficult.  If waiting for children is this hard I can only imagine how difficult it is for the children waiting for a family.

When we first submitted our home study and then shortly thereafter submitted again I had a hard time with the planning part.  I want to plan and be as prepared as we possibly can be but there's really only a tiny bit I can plan.  I also wanted to put everything else on hold.  I had a hard time planning for family trips or events not knowing if we would have more children or not.  I think I've finally let go of that.

Life is continuing for us.  Life is good.  The big boys are out of school for summer and we've made it a full week into summer vacation.  We have lots of activities and trips planned and it's really nice that the kids are at a point that we can go, go, go and they don't fall apart quite so much.  Last weekend we attended six parties in four days and nobody completely melted down!  Now, if you're reading this and you know me even a little bit, you know how much I enjoy social events.  Even with a hefty 21 month old on my back sneaking in a 20 minute nap here and there, it was w wonderful weekend.  The other four kids did their own things, checking in with me here and there and enjoying their friends and activities.  Did I mention how delightful it all was?

When we're doing all these fun things I often think about what it's going to be like when we add to our family.  Will we get a six year old boy to even things out with the boys?  He can bunk with the boys and play legos and ride bikes and go on camping trips.  Or will we get 3 and 4 year old girls that will keep us all on our toes and play dress up with the girls and squeal and giggle?  Or will we rock the boat and add a boy at the bottom and a girl at the top?  See what I mean?  The possibilities are kind of crazy.  It's so much easier giving birth!

I wish I could take a peek at God's chapter on the Shipp family.  I want to know what He has in store for us!  Should we go ahead and get licensed for foster care and welcome and embrace one child (since there's a limit of six children in the home for foster care)?  We would likely have a placement much sooner, but it wouldn't likely be a forever thing.  We could specify a very young child and give that child as much love and stability as we possibly can and wait to see what happens.  Should we look at other adoption resource sights and look at children all over the country?  Should we just sit back and wait for the right child/children to fall into our lap?  I know that whatever we do God will use it for our good and His glory.  But I just want to do the right thing.

As you can see, I'm full of questions today.  But I'm content with where we are right this minute.  (And that's not just because the little one is napping.)  It's still so weird having a 21 month old baby of the family.  Any other time I've had a 21 month old I've either had a newborn or been very near to delivery.  I don't know if this toddler is busier than all the rest were or if I'm just more aware of it.  She's definitely busy though!

Would you continue to pray for us as we seek to discern God's direction and will for our family?  And as we try for patience and peace with His perfect plan?  And pray for our future child/children to know the love of the Father, and to be well connected and safe with their current foster family.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New Dear Caseworker letter

I needed to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING during this waiting period so I wrote a new "Dear Caseworker" letter.  I'm hoping to grab their attention a little more.  This will be laid out with our family photo like the last one.  Please, tell me what you think.

Dear Caseworker,

Yes, you counted correctly.  There are 7 people in our family.  Before you put this letter away though, I want you to know how much love our family has and how much more we have to offer.  If you cant imagine having this many (or more!) children, please consider our family experience as on-the-job training. We have a lot of it!  We deeply desire to add to our family and to help provide children in need with a loving, safe, and secure forever family. 

Im Rachel, the mom of this crew. Im 32 years old and have a BA in photography.  I currently use that degree taking pictures of my children in their day-to-day lives as I stay home with them and am constantly entertained.  I am so thankful that I get the opportunity to stay home and care for my children and my home and manage our household.  Im living my childhood dream of being a wife and mother.

My husband Andrew is 30, and has a law degree from Baylor University. In his practice as an attorney in Nacogdoches he does work for the Attorney Generals Child Support Office, takes court appointed criminal cases, does business planning, estate planning and probate.  While he keeps busy with work, he always has time for the family.  Eating dinner together each night is a priority for us both.

We have been married for nine years and have known since we were dating that we wanted to adopt.  We werent sure what that would look like for us, but we knew we wanted a big family. We have several friends that have adopted through the foster care system that have lead us and turned our hearts towards these children. We have spent many years in thoughtful consideration and prayer over this decision. In October of 2013 we began our journey to adoption, were licensed in March of 2014, and now we eagerly wait to add to our family.  Our children are anxious, too.  Each day they pray for and ask about their future siblings.  They are excited to welcome new brothers and sisters and share their lives with them.  They already know what its like to share and love and will sincerely welcome more children into our home.

Gabe is our 9 year-old athlete, musician, and best big brother.  Jonah is our affectionate, tenderhearted, helpful 7 year-old.  Liam, the constant entertainer, is 5.  Our first little princess, Maggie, is 3 and full of spunk.  And little AnnaMae, the dare-devil, is almost 2.  I know it sounds like we already have our hands full, but I like to tell people, we really only have one hand full!  Sure, more children would be more mouths to feed, more to educate and clothe.  But more importantly, its more to love, more to share life with, more to grow old with. 

We hope that you will consider placing children with our family.  We would love to share our hearts, our home, our faith, and our lives.


Andrew and Rachel Shipp

Monday, May 12, 2014

30 Days of Prayer

May is National Foster Care Month and Buckner has been sending out a daily prayer guide along with a short devotional each day.  Today's message was powerful for me.

Should the Right Thing Be the Easy Thing?

Scripture: Isaiah 51:7
Recently I've been learning that just because something is hard, it does not mean it is wrong and just because something is easy, it does not mean it is right. Like many Christians, I determined the will of God through circumstances alone. God has been consistently showing me in His Word, however, that there are more scenarios where the easy thing was not the right thing, but the right thing was the hardest thing ever.
God's Word is full of examples of people doing the right thing no matter the cost and no matter how it appeared to those around them. My favorite is that of Joseph and Mary. Joseph could have walked away. But instead, he and Mary chose to do the hardest thing for them in their culture. They chose to stay in their hometown, in their small community of family, friends and neighbors, and to raise a child that appeared to be born out of wedlock. Certainly not everyone in the community was accepting and supportive of their choice. I wonder how many times Mary and Joseph had to listen to comments or endure looks? It would have been so much easier to move to a place where no one knew them or their past. I would have been tempted to follow this path.
During our first adoption journey, I was initially surprised, shocked and disappointed that not everyone shared our enthusiasm for adoption. It was difficult to understand why others were not excited and supportive of our decision, especially those within our own family. Even church acquaintances and people who we thought were friends surprised us with their reaction. Many of them looked at us like we were crazy; some even said so out loud. This was so hurtful and shocking.
If you ever experience something similar, please take heart. There may be people who will not congratulate you for making what seems to them like a very unwise or illogical decision. Always keep in mind the words from Isaiah 51:7, "Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults."
When you care for the fatherless ---- whether it is for a day, a week, or for a lifetime ---- it is simply the RIGHT THING to do no matter how hard it is. May He give you the strength to do the right thing, the hard thing and the best thing ever.
Cheri Walroad and her husband, Paul are parents to six children. Their youngest three children were adopted in 2003, 2006 and 2008. Cheri works to help other adoptive families find the financing options they need to realize their dream of adoption through her website Resources4adoption.com 
Prayer Guide: 
Pray that the Lord would give strength and courage to those called to adopt. May they endure the journey, though it may not be easy, and friends and family won't always understand.
Pray that children in foster care would know the love and protection of the Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Post adoptive conversations

I've been following several other adoptive family blogs and a common discussion among adoptive parents is fielding the post adoptive questions.  Where did you get them? What happened to their real mom? How much did it cost? Etc.

These posts have got me thinking.  The general consensus I've read and heard from other adoptive parents is that they are happy to answer your questions, just not in front of the children.  I think this will be particularly hard for me because I'm typically a pretty open book.  I like to talk. (I'm sure you're shocked by this revelation!)  My tendency is to share too much.  So when it comes time to deal with my adopted children's stories, I'm going to have to really restrain myself.  I don't want to make them uncomfortable or feel any different than they already will.  It will definitely be a challenge for me.

I'd love to hear your input on this topic.  What do you adoptive parents think is ok or not ok?  What about those that haven't adopted?  Do you have opinions or thoughts on this subject?

I hope that one day soon we will be figuring this all out first hand, but for now we're reading, talking, and praying.

Please continue to pray with us and for us.  Our children are out there somewhere without us.  We are ready to bring them home and begin life as a whole family.  The waiting game is hard on us and I can only imagine how difficult it is for them.


Liam's birthday is tomorrow.  I was talking with him today and teasing him about not letting him turn 5 because I like 4 year olds so much.  He replied, "well then I guess we need to adopt a 4 year old!"

Monday, April 14, 2014

On Faith and Why some still disagree with our decision

I know there are some out there that still don't get why we are taking this on.  Answering a calling isn't enough.  Why would we do this when we already have a hand full of children.  Why now and not later?  Or those that support the idea of adoption and think it's a noble or ambitious thing to do, but that we in particular shouldn't be doing it because of the aforementioned children we already have.  Someone that barely knows us said, "you must have a lot of faith to be doing this."  I didn't know exactly how they meant that, but my answer is "yes."

 Adopting does take faith.  Lots of faith.  It takes faith for God to adopt us as His children.  It takes faith in knowing what's important to God and how we should make those things important to us.  We are told:

correct oppression and bring justice to the fatherless.                Is. 1:16-17  
give justice to the weak and fatherless.   Ps. 82:1 
He sets the lonely in families.      Ps. 68:6 
He is father to the fatherless.       Ps. 68:5
 This is the faith that we are living through adoption.  Our adoption, passed down to the next generation.  We don't need to wait to be faithful.

In 2012 there were 101,719 orphans in foster care in the US waiting to be adopted.  In 2012, 23,439 children aged out of foster care, entering their adult life with no parents, no help.  There were 52.039 adoptions in 2012.  There are an estimated 17.8 MILLION orphans world wide.   I can't help them all, but I can help one...or two...or three.

I think every Christian I've talked to about adoption says that they would instantly take a child (infant) that was laid in their lap.  If it meant stopping one abortion, they would absolutely take that child and save their life.  And I admit, I thought the same too.  I thought that some day God would place a child in my path in this way.  But then I thought again.  There are thousands of children, right here in the state of Texas, whose birth parents did choose life but due to so many other reasons, can't or don't love and care for those children now. (I encourage you to read this post.  Really.  Go read it.)  God doesn't call us to only care for infant orphans.

It will be hard.  These kids are coming from seriously messed up places.  They'll have baggage.  They'll still be hurting.  And their lives will never be "normal" because of their history.  But we can bring them into our fold.  Love them.  Raise them in a Christian home.  Give them a future to help overcome their past.

My comfort this week has been this verse.

God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way to escape also, that you may be able to endure it.  I Cor. 10:13b

Another concern that has been voiced is the money aspect of taking in more kids.  "How will you pay for it?" "How will you pay for college?" etc.  The answer to these questions and others like them is, "With sacrifice, with joy and thanksgiving."   Even the most financially secure person has hardships, surprises, and challenges.  But we are at peace with where we are financially and what our future looks like from our vantage point.  We will cut back on this to pay for that.  We won't go on big vacations so that we can afford private education.  We don't have to pay for college and likely won't.  We'll do the same things most big families do: hand me downs, share everything, not eat fancy foods all the time, not eat out often, drive used vehicles, and so on.  We are willing to make the sacrifices it takes to raise and love more kids.  Earthly possessions and experiences aren't what matter.  Eternal life and salvation are.

And if you still doubt our ability to do this, think about this.  You may not know our financial situation, but our adoption agency does.  They know our numbers, nothing held back, and they still say we can reasonably take in up to three more children.  They have experience in this and they've said we're fine.

Another concern comes from people who don't have large families.  This is a question we get all the time anyway with five kids and we got it every time we announced a pregnancy.  "How can you manage so many people and stay sane?"  I'll say this, not everyone can.  I've always thought that having a large family is a calling.  Not every couple manages children the same.  Some are completely overwhelmed by two, or five, or fifteen.  I think personality has a huge role in this.  But also, big families just operate differently than small or average size families.  That's not a bad thing.  My kids certainly know that they are loved.  They have my attention when they need it.  They are each a very important part of our family and add something special to our whole.  And each adopted child will have all the joys and privileges of being part of this family.

If only the wealthy adopted we'd have an even bigger orphan problem.  If only those without children adopted, we'd have a bigger problem.  Sure, wealthy people with no children can give an adopted child everything.  They can buy them anything they want, take them on trips, never require anything of them.  But if you could ask an orphaned child what they long for, what do you think they would say?

We have been blessed by so many supportive friends and family members.  I know that when we bring more children into our home, they will be loved and embraced by our community.  These kids will have more than two parents and siblings that love them and are part of their lives.  Their little worlds will be changed.
Those few unsupportive people make it difficult though.  They make an already difficult situation harder.  But we still have great joy in the Lord as we seek to live out His gospel through adoption.  I wish that everyone could see our hearts and know what drives us.  But ultimately that doesn't matter.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  James 1:2-3

We don't adopt because we want more kids.
We do want more kids, but that's not the driving force.

We don't adopt because we think it's a nice thing to do.
It is nice, but that's not why.

We don't adopt because we will be the best parents in the world.
We adopt because HE is the best parent and HE adopted us.

We adopt because of the gospel.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's going on

Want to know what's going on in our little world? Not a whole lot.  Or at least nothing huge.  I'm trying to be a little more orderly in my day to day life.  I even went so far as to create a daily schedule for me and the little ones.  We haven't really stuck to it, but it gives us a place to look when we're bored.  I'm also trying to be more intentional with one on one time with the kids.  I know that when we do get an adoptive placement it's going to disrupt EVERYTHING so it would be nice if we already have a good routine to fall back into.  I know that routine will be even more important for the future little Shipps.

Our current system is that each kid has their own day of the week.  G is Monday, J is Tuesday, L is Wednesday, and M is Thursday.  AM doesn't get one yet but she will when she starts noticing or when she moves out of the baby bed.

Privileges on each child's given day are:
* Sit by mama at dinner
* Say the prayer over dinner
* Run errands with a parent if they're happening that night
* Mom or dad snuggle in their bed for a few minutes chatting and visiting at bed time

I know it doesn't seem like much, but for now it makes a difference.  Each child really looks forward to their own day.  I also like having the weekends open since we tend to have people over on the weekends and I'm not as available at bed time, etc.  I suppose when AM moves up and when we have more children that we'll have to double up and split some of those privileges a little.  Even though we have a big-ish family, this little bit of one on one really makes a difference.

Another change we've made in anticipation of adoption is changing up discipline a little bit.  Spanking is a taboo subject, so I won't go into that too much other than to say that when kids are in foster care you can't spank them.  When we get a placement, the kids will still be considered to be in foster care until the adoption is finalized around 6 months later.  So no spanking.  And even once the adoption is consummated, that may not be the best idea anyway.  It's also discouraged to spank biological children in front of the foster children (for obvious reasons).  And we don't want to confuse anybody or make one child feel like they're different than the other.  So this is where Daddy Dollars come in.

Another adoptive mom turned us on to this.  It's a reward and consequence system.  The kids earn daddy dollars for doing their daily chores.  We often offer extras for extra chores or for helping a sibling.  The kids that are in school also get daddy dollars for exceptional grades.  They can also lose daddy dollars for disobedience, disrespect, bad attitude, etc.  We even have one kiddo who constantly forgets to put his name on his school work (and loses points at school for it) and so we've started deducting daddy dollars for that too (a little extra incentive.)  We typically pay out once a week.  If any daddy dollars are owed though that is done immediately. They each keep up with their own dollars.

Roughly every two weeks the Mommy Market opens.  (Catchy, isn't it?)  The mommy market contains various things.  We've currently got an assortment of dollar tree toys, decks of cards, batteries, candy, mechanical pencils and mini note pads.  In the past we've also had things like gloves, fun socks, toy baby bottles, finger paint (bad idea!), erasers, nun-chucks (also a bad idea), and lego men.  In addition to these items, we also have "gift certificates" for a dinner date with one parent, a movie date with one parent, and i-tunes credit.  Prices vary on these items from 2 for 1 daddy dollar to 25 daddy dollars.  Sometimes they spend it all and sometimes they save it up to buy a big ticket item.  (And the prices may change at any time!) They all love going to the mommy market.  It's exciting every time.  They also have some input on what items we put in the mommy market.  Sometimes they'll ask for something at the store and I can't just buy every little thing they want, but I can buy it and they can work for it.
I must admit, this system has been better for rewards than for discipline.  That's my own fault though because I forget to take them away.  I need to get more on top of that.  (For those readers that don't know me, my kids range from 1.5 to 8.  The youngest doesn't participate in this, but the 3 yr old does and loves it.)
You can make your own daddy dollars here in any denomination or type of money.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Not This Time

Our case worker called this morning and told me what I expected to hear.  We did not get the girls.  I'm surprisingly not that upset about it.  When we first submitted our home study for them I thought about them constantly and didn't sleep well because I was thinking about them.  Then, after we got info on another sibling set, my mind was filled with both of them.  It's been so nice to be able to pray for these children and to associate a name with a face.  But out prayers have been that these children would be blessed with loving parents and a forever home.  I am happy to report that these two little girls now have a forever home.  I presume that it will be a loving one.

It was almost too good to be true anyway.  What are the odds of being licensed in three months and getting an adoptive placement immediately?  We also learned through this that our older boys would really like another brother.  We wait to see what the Lord has in store for us and we know that His timing is perfect and His plan for our family is perfect.  We didn't get these two girls, but they did get a home.  That's the point of adoption.  It's not about finding kids for families.  It's about finding families for kids.

I'm not sure if we will report here each time that we submit and are not chosen.  I'm sure I'll have an idea of how long it takes and how many submissions.  I'm a little afraid that our family size will deter the case workers, but again, that is all in the Lord's hands.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I love our case worker

Have I told you how great our case worker is?  And how wonderful it has been working with Buckner?  I must admit that I was a little less than excited about being somewhat forced to go with a private agency.  (You can read about that in some of my earlier posts.)  But now that we are where we are, I couldn't be happier.  I know that the private agency case workers end up with a much smaller case load and can give more attention to each family.  I had heard that and was afraid of that too.  I didn't think that more attention from CPS was a good thing.  I was wrong.  I love having a case worker that thinks about me, even when I'm not right in front of her.  She emails me to tell me things even when I haven't asked.  Just today she sent an email to check in with us and to let me know she had sent an email to the little girls' case worker to see what's happening on that case.  We both knew that their case worker said she hoped to make a decision by last Friday.  As much as I wanted to, I didn't even have to call and bug her about finding out.  She did it all on her own.  And she let me know!  In a time when good customer service is pretty hard to find, I didn't expect to have such a caring and thoughtful case worker.  We definitely won the lottery on this one.

She hasn't been doing this for very long.  I'm guessing she's early to mid twenties and pretty fresh out of college.  She has told us we are the first family that she has gone through the whole process with.  She was my first point of contact with Buckner, did our first informational meeting, and all the training classes.  I know she's done some of those things with other families, but we are the first family she will see start to finish.  I think she's pretty proud of how quickly we've gotten licensed.  (That took effort on both parts and of course, God's perfect timing.)

We've also been blessed to connect with the adoption case manager at our local CPS office.  He is the one we met at our first CPS informational meeting.  We clicked with him right away too and he is actually the one that helped point us in the direction of Buckner.  He and his wife adopted through Buckner a few years ago since CPS workers can't adopt directly through CPS.  We met back up with him a few weeks ago at the adoption event and enjoyed our visit.  Andrew also met with him today as he was doing some paper work to get on the list of adoption attorneys for CPS.  What a blessing it has been to work with these two fine, caring, Christian people.

The are also thankful to have met the little girls' case worker.  She was very kind and easy to talk to.  I hope that meeting her and talking to her face to face was advantageous for us.  I've been afraid that having a large family to begin with would be a deterrent to other case workers.  A friend pointed out though just how subjective the whole system can be.  It's really up to the kids' case workers.  If they've had good experiences with big families, they will work in our favor.  If they've had bad experiences with big families, they'll scratch us off the list quickly.  I hope that they are intrigued enough by our Dear Case worker letter to at least look into us more.

We are still waiting to hear anything.  We are trying not to get our hopes up.  Our kids are asking and anxious. They are all excited about new siblings. We pray for them daily.  We are already a big happy family, but hope to soon be an even bigger happy family.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I'm asking again in case anyone missed this. We are selling t-shirts to raiser awareness for adoption and to help fund some of our adoption related expenses. The pre-order closes on Friday. You can click the link in the comments to order or you can send me a message and I'll take down your info. They're $20 for local pick up and $25 shipped. 
The link to the order spread sheet is (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkTJTWgNwnvydGhsbTZvQnFJczdzUUxBWkJCVUtlUUE&usp=sharing#gid=0)

Find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ShippAdoption

Friday, March 7, 2014

Busy Bee

I'm trying to keep myself busy with projects so that I can keep my mind off the possibilities.  Since we've submitted our home study on the two little girls, we have been notified about another adorable sibling group.  (I really wish I could share pictures with you all!)  Seeing their pictures makes it all very real.  I like knowing their names and being able to pray for them specifically, even if they aren't meant to be in our family.  In the mean time though, my mind is racing.

In case you don't know this about me, I'm a planner.  I want a plan A, B, and C at the very least.  I want to know where our potential kids are going to sit in the car, around the table, and at church.  I want to plan their birthday parties.  I want to think up fun nick names for them.  I want to plan our future photo shoots so that one day I can share them with everyone.  But I can't.  Not only do I not know when or if we will get the call on these little girls.  I don't know when we'll get a call on anyone.  And if we get a call, I don't know how long it will take or when we will get whomever they are. I can't plan.  And it's driving me nuts.

Today I busied myself with a couple of sewing projects for the girls.  When I told Andrew that I had fabric for the girls he gave me the look.  He suspected I was already sewing for new kids.  I wasn't.  But that doesn't mean I didn't think about it.  And besides, I can always get more and make them matching outfits too!

It's comforting knowing that our great God has had our family planned from before time began.  I don't know who will be in our family, what they will look like, their age, or gender, or anything.  But the Lord knows.  And it's a perfect plan.

In the mean time, I'm making lots of lists and crossing many things off.  Next up, cleaning out the freezers.  I'm making as many plans as I can. I'll probably have a whole alphabet of scenarios figured out before we know anything.  And then none of them will work.  It's fun to dream though.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Adoption Event

The event went well.  At least from our perspective.  There were about 12 couples there, mostly from out of town.  I think there was one other local couple.  The first hour was without the kids there.  The CPS workers told us what to expect, what kind of questions were off limits, and generally how to interact with the kids.  We also all introduced ourselves to one another and the CPS workers.  Danielle, our case worker, came too.  Only private agency workers came with their prospective adoptive parents.  We were so glad to have Danielle there with us.

During the orientation there were pictures around the room of many of the kids that would be present, including a sibling set of two little girls.  From the moment I saw it, I knew that was what we were there for.  I jokingly asked the case worker if we could hide that picture so that no one else would see.  We quickly identified the girls' case worker and made it a point to talk to her at length since these little girls weren't present.  (No kids under age 5 were there.)

There were about 12-15 kids there.  They had activities spread out for the kids to do and the prospective adoptive parents to participate in with the kids.  The petting zoo was the biggest hit.  We only actually interacted with one teenage girl.  I can't imagine how hard that was for her!

We were able to meet several CPS workers that will be great contacts.  Hopefully they will advocate for us as well.  (I think they will.)  At the end of the day we were able to submit our home study for those two little girls.  They are here in town and their case worker said that they really want to find a local family for the girls.  I can't give much information about them (I wish I could share their picture with you all!), but please be praying for them and for us during this waiting period.  The case worker said that she hopes to have the home studies reviewed and narrowed down to three families within two weeks.

This may or may not be it for us, but we are so glad we went to the event.  Please pray for all that are involved in this case.  We know that the Lord will accomplish His will.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Orders will open on Friday for t-shirts.  Check back here or at our facebook page for details on ordering.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Adoption Fair

I just got the call from the caseworker saying that she has completed our home study and sent in our registration for the adoption fair.  Nervousness and excitement commence now.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Facebook Page

In case you wanted another way to keep up with us, we have a new facebook page. You can find us here.
This will be the place to order t-shirts.

Monday, February 17, 2014

T-shirt fundraiser

We are selling adoption t-shirts to raise money for adoption related expenses.  They will be soft gray t-shirts with the artwork pictured below.  We are doing a pre-order, so if you would like to get one (or 10), send me an email and let me know sizes.  You can give me cash, check, or paypal.  They are $20 each, plus actual shipping if you're not local.  I'll let you know soon what the deadline is.

Here's the front.  Remember, this will be on a gray T-shirt.

And the back.  This will be across the shoulder blades.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

We passed!

The home study went well.  Danielle spent about 3.5 hours in our home talking and asking many questions.  It was a much more pleasant experience than I expected.  The kids even spoke to her.  Before she left we were chit-chatting and she casually said, "well, you passed."  I'm not sure if she heard my sigh of relief, but it was definitely a big one.      

She said that she is allowed 30 days to get everything complete and put together, but she is planning to get it done by the 21st since she will be out of town the last week of the month.  Then she will hand it over to her supervisor to make sure everything is clean and clear.  Then we will be licensed.  She said her goal is for us to have our license in hand by the beginning of March so we can attend an adoption fair here in town.  (More on this later, I'm sure.)

So now comes the real hard part.  Waiting.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Home Study

When I got the final email scheduling the home study I got very emotional.  It surprised me really.  I wasn't expecting to feel that way.  I described it to a friend as the feeling I get when I find out I'm pregnant.  A little shock and disbelief mixed with pure joy.  Later, when talking with Andrew, he said he felt more like it was the "ultra-sound".  It didn't make sense to me until he explained.  For me, the ultra-sound is so much less of a moment than the initial knowledge that there is in fact a baby.  Andrew pointed out though that for him, starting the classes was the "finding out".  It was still a foggy idea.  Nothing  he could see or feel.   The home study though, he can see.   I get it.  Emotional.  And this is likely to be a very long pregnancy.

Today is the day.  In about 4 hours our caseworker will be here.  This is really happening!  I'm not really nervous, but a little anxious.   I woke up after a night full of dreams.  Dreams that the house was a wreck.  Dreams that the kids were crazy.  Dreams that I was crazy. Dreams that something went wrong.  And then came dreams of our future children.

My friendly reminder:

Do not be anxious about anything,but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.-Philippians 4:6

We are all ready though.  My house is probably cleaner than it should be (to look normal).  Every outlet is covered, medicines locked, etc.  We are prepared to answer a million questions.  The kids know what's coming and I know they will do just fine.  The biggest concern there is that they just wont talk.  The bedrooms are all laid out and dressers are waiting.     The only thing I'm afraid won't "pass" is the kids fort outside :)

The last few days things have been a bit hectic as we prepare.  Some wonderful friends have come alongside us and helped us prepare.  We've gotten texts and emails letting us know they're praying for us.  It all means so much.  Thank you!  Aside from those friends and family, this verse has been my comfort this week:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him,and He shall direct your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.  Today is a big day, but it's really still the beginning. There will be many more hurdles and bridges to come along this journey.    Thank you for walking beside us.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Home Study Time

We have officially scheduled our home study.  Danielle, the caseworker I was hoping for, will be at our house Wednesday, February 5th to do our health inspection and home study.  I'm so excited!

She said we first met with her at the end of October.  It was taken us 3 months to complete everything.  She said she doesn't know if there is such a thing, but she's pretty sure we set a Buckner record.  This makes me happy too.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A calling to adopt

I've known since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a mother.  I was probably the only 13 year old playing with baby dolls.  I loved playing with younger kids because I could pretend to be their mom, and they would listen to me!  I loved to babysit and spent as much time as I could with small children.  I knew I wanted a big family and I knew what my life long job would be.  When I met Andrew and we discussed children, we quickly got on the same page.  He originally said 4 kids and I was saying 6.  (My, how hearts change!) And we both talked of a love for and calling to adoption.

Many people feel a "calling" to a particular field.  Andrew has known he wanted to be a lawyer since he was young.  Many are called into teaching, medicine, engineering,etc.   It's never looked down on to have a passion for a career...unless it's mothering.  In our culture, being a mother is minimized.  Being a stay at home mom is even more absurd.  Being a mother to many is just down right ridiculous.  (Why would anyone want more than 2 kids?  Ok, MAYBE 3.  But that's going a bit far, don't you think?)  So now, as a stay at home mother to 5 kids and trying to become a mother to more, motherless children,*I* am the freak that people stare at and talk about.  (Not in my own circle of course, but in the public eye.)  I can only imagine what it's going to be like when I'm carting around a crew that doesn't look just like me.

I am delighted to be where I am right now.  I have 5 wonderful children.  I get to spend my days and nights with them.  I get to meet their needs, nurture them, love them, teach them to love the Lord.  Yes, it's a privilege!  I get to be the one they cry for when they scrape their knee.  Only my kisses will do to restore them.  They need me.  What they don't know though, is that I need them too.  Without them, I can't fulfill my calling.  Without them, I'm not a mom.

I don't have to adopt to be "fulfilled."  Many people don't understand why someone that can have biological kids would want to adopt.  Why would I want kids when I already have 5 that look just like me?  Why take on such a big responsibility of caring for more little people that are going to need, need , need.  It's such demanding work!  It's glorious work though!  I want to adopt because I can.  I can be their mother.  I can love them, provide for them, and most importantly,teach them to love the Lord.  I can be their REAL mom.  I can kiss their hurt finger.  I can sing "Jesus Loves Me" and 7 other songs that they request before bed.  I can feed them dinner, bake them cookies, take them to the park, and discipline them when it's needed.  I can provide stability for them and help them grow into mature adulthood as followers of Jesus Christ.  I can do all this by the grace of God and with His help.  The real question to me is, Why wouldn't I adopt?

Today's sermon was on adoption.  I'll be sharing it with you later this week.  My beloved Pastor/Father was talking about how we are all adopted through Christ, as God's children. Jesus himself was adopted by his earthly father, Joseph.  Joseph was His REAL dad.  Jesus,the King of Kings,was adopted!!

Jesus is the original adoption agency.  For it is through Him that we are brought into God's family.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
I John 3:1

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Here are some miscellaneous updates and musings.

We haven't gone back to have our TB tests read, but I'm assuming by the lack of anything on our arms that we are all good to go.  We will go this afternoon to get the paper work.  


I'm planning to go turn everything in on Friday and write our first check to Buckner.  We will schedule our home study that day!


I asked Danielle, our case worker, if we needed to have the kids' dressers in place before the home study and she said that we do.  Each child needs their own designated sleep space and storage space.  We can move these things around when the time comes, but they need to know that we're really ready.  We were expecting to have to buy these, but thanks to some very kind and generous friends, we will be picking up some used dressers this weekend.  What a blessing!


Our friends have been so kind and gracious to us.  It is such a blessing to be surrounded by a Christian community that loves us and supports us.


Gabe has decided he would like to adopt someone older than Jonah, but younger than him.  He doesn't want to lose his status as the oldest, but he thinks that someone closer to his age won't be "so obnoxious."  Little does he know :)  (There's only 18 months between Gabe and Jonah.)


Andrew and I were up many times last night with a sick child.  We were changing sheets, bathing the child, running more laundry, and then lying in bed listening for more flies to drop and waiting for the same pains in our own stomachs.  As I lay there praying that no one else would fall victim to this bug, I was also praying for our other children.  The ones we don't know yet.  It's still so hard to imagine their lives right now.  I pray that they know what love is.  That they are being well cared for right now.  I pray that the Lord is protecting them, body and soul, and preparing them for our family.  


We have found the perfect van for us and it's not that far  from us.  It is far from being a reality though.  MY VAN has 14 captains chairs!


We are working with a friend and designer on a t-shirt fundraiser.  I'm hoping we can share the details with you all soon.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Official Dear Caseworker Letter

Thanks to a wonderful friend for helping with the layout of our "Dear Caseworker" letter.  Hopefully the caseworkers wont be turned off by our big family but rather intrigued.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Almost ready!

The last thing we have to do before scheduling the home study is go get our TB tests done.  Thanks to some very generous donors, we are going to do that this week.  Hopefully my children won't act like maniacs when we all go strolling in for a shot.  (Don't tell my kids it's actually a shot.  I told them they were going to get a bubble on their skin.)  I also may need to spend a little extra on prizes IF they don't act ridiculous.  Thankfully daddy will be going along for this.  He can finally see what all the fuss (and headache) is about!

Assuming we are all TB free....we can go turn in all the remaining paperwork later in the week,write a nice check to Buckner,and get scheduled for our home study!

There was one other couple in most of our classes and we're trying to get everything turned in before them.  Apparently whoever gets there first get's Danielle (the lady we've been working with) for their home study.  Buckner only lets each caseworker work on one home study at a time.  And since that can take as long as a month for them to get everything completed on their end, we don't want to miss out on Danielle.  Here's hoping we've been quick enough!  (Danielle also wants to work with us.  Apparently we are the first couple that she has worked with from the very beginning of the journey. She's only been with Buckner 6 months or so and she would like to see us all the way through.  We would like that too.)

We still have a few things to do around the house to get ready, but nothing too big.

1. Make a designated sleeping space for future children.

2. Build a loft bed for additional sleep space in the boys' room.

3. Buy dressers and car seats.  (I need to find out if we've got to have the dressers before the home study.)

4. Get a bigger vehicle.  (ok, so this one is kind of a big deal.)

We are trying to figure out the best way to go about selling our Expedition and purchasing a big van.  We would like to buy one from Enterprise ride-share (in CA).  They have pretty good prices and all the seats are captains chairs.  The tricky part is the juggling between one car and the next.  Please pray for wisdom in this and reasonable means to do so.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hurtful words

I feel like I should start this post with a "dear diary".  But it's more of a "dear friends" in a very dear way.

Someone said something.  Something that hurt.  It's been nagging me and stealing my joy.    I know I should let it go, and my dear husband has said as much.  This person has no standing to make negative comments about me or my family.  They don't even really know us.  They're more of an acquaintance really.  I've run it around in my head over and over and just can't get it out.

Here's what happened.  Someone posted a status on Facebook (knowing that I would see it), complaining about every time they gets on facebook they're bombarded with people "begging for money" and how they should just get a job and pay for their own family.  I ignored it but knew that I was likely included in that remark.  I wanted to respond, but I didn't.  I held my tongue.  Then later that day it popped back up in my news feed with more comments.  One of this person's comments, clarifying the post, was that "someone" on their friend list who has lots of kids is 'begging" for money to get more kids.  They said that while they would love to stay at home with their kids, they had a job and took care of their own kids instead of begging everyone else to do it.  Then demanded that others "get a job" and stop begging.

Again, I didn't respond.  I figured that responding would do no good.  Then this morning I read this verse.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly. Proverbs 14:1-2

I do want to answer those accusations.  They've been nagging me in my own head.  So here, dear friends, is my rebuttal.

1.  I am begging.  But I am not a begar 

Here are the Webster definitions:
          : to ask people for money or food
: to ask (someone) in a very serious and emotional way for something needed or wanted very much
: to ask for (something needed or wanted very much) in a very serious and emotional way

: a person who lives by begging for money, food, etc. 

I am asking for money. It is serious to me, and I am very emotional  about it. But I am not a beggar. I am asking for help in something that WILL help me, but I'm not the only one that will benefit from this. I am asking for help for a real cause, not because I can't pay my bills. 

I'm not BOMBARDING anyone or getting in anyone's face pleading and asking for money or support. I'm sharing with my friends and family a way that they can help support our efforts to rescue orphans and give them a loving home. Christians are called to this. Not all Christians feel a call to actually adopt, but Christians are called to care for widows and orphans (James 1:27). All I'm asking for is support in following this calling. 

And let me set the record straight. We can afford this. If we need to come up with all the money to cover the financial costs, we can. We do that by selling things, working, having good old-fashioned fund raisers, etc. People raise money for all sorts of things. Medical expenses, summer camp, moving, mission trips  etc. The reason for posting a way to donate is so that those who WANT to give know how to do it.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2
We have been immeasurably blessed by old friends, new friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers as they have donated to our cause, bought from our bake sale, and prayed for us.  The financial burden has been lifted by the love (and money) from each person that has given.  Each gift on that donation page brings me to tears.  It encourages me in this often difficult calling.

2.  I have a job.

I have a very important job, raising my children to the glory of God.  I am greatly blessed to stay home with them and nurture them constantly.  I am doing important work here!  And it never stops.  I know many moms that don't have that luxury.  Our economy and our culture have made it near impossible for a woman to stay home and do the dirty, difficult, joyful task of raising children.  But I am abundantly blessed to be one of the few.  Even if I did work outside the home, no job I could get would offset the cost of child care.  Anyone with more than 2 children can attest to that.  I see no reason to get a job and use every penny I make (and then some) to pay for someone else to raise my children.  Yes, we chose to have this many children and we're choosing to have more.  My husband also chose a career path that would allow for that.  Thanks be to God for providing the means to care for such a large family, for blessing us with these children (and more), for giving me the ability and pleasure of staying home to raise them, and for putting us in a family and community of people who encourage and help us along the way.

3. Our adoption isn't just about our family.

As members of the body of Christ, we are all adopted.  We became HIS.  Not just kind of His.  We really are HIS children.  There's no looking back.  When we were baptized into Christ, we became His children.  Really and truly!  We were taken out of a dark pit of sin and our own path of destruction.  We were "throw away kids" and He rescued us!  He took our burdens and gave us a bright future.  We get to spend all of eternity in Glory!

When we adopt children here on earth, it is a picture of what Christ has done for us.  We don't do it perfectly as He has done for us, but we seek to imitate the perfection that he created.  When we (the Shipps) adopt fatherless children and give them our name, they not only take on the name of Shipp, but they take on all that that encompasses.  Shipps are Christians.  Shipps go to church.  Shipps are hospitable.  Shipps are respectful to others. Shipps don't lie.  And the list goes on.  We don't do any of these perfectly or without error.  We slip up.  We are corrected and encouraged by the body of believers we are surrounded by.  When we adopt, those children will not only be a part of the Shipp family, they will be a part of God's family.  They will be part of our extended family of Shipps, Booths, Doepkes, Abramovits and so on.  They will be part of the family of believers at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church.  As I've said before, they won't just change our lives.  They will change the world.  Adoption changes everything.

That's why we ask for support.  That's why we are comfortable asking for support.  We are not adopting a puppy.  We are not asking for someone to pay for our vacation.  We aren't asking for a free place to live or for "hand outs."  We are asking our beloved family and friends to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

It's hard to ask for money.  It's hard to point a finger at the church (broadly) and say that we "should be" giving to orphans and widows.  That the church "should be" adopting and financially supporting adoption.  It's especially hard to stand up and say that when it looks like we are the ones benefiting from it.  But it's the Biblical truth.  Christians should be caring for the fatherless.  Praying for them.  Providing for their needs.  Opening their hearts and homes to them.  Not everyone can do all of those.  But we (the church) can do a whole lot more than we're doing now.

In the state of Texas right now, there are an estimated 13,481 orphans.  

There are 27,505 churches in Texas.  

Do you see a solution?