Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bulldog is better!

I just wanted to send a quick update.....he is a different person today!! He is ALIVE and back to himself....praise the Lord. Chris will write about it tomorrow. Thank you for praying for our brother.

Love, Lindsey

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pray for our Brother!!!!!!!!




Chris and I got to LR on Thursday to celebrate Christmas with my family. Yesterday, Chris's mom, dad and Brother (we call him the Bulldog) drove in from Tulsa, OK to join the fun. John Jr. (aka Bulldog) is one of the greatest people on the planet. He is ten years older than Chris....and it partially mentally retarded. He is one of the funniest people I know.....and has a HUGE heart. One of his greatest joys is playing Connect Four. Yesterday, we played so many rounds.....my sisters and I took turns trying to beat him. He is so good at it.

Well, this morning we got a call from Chris's parents letting us know that they found John in his hotel room (he likes his own room) unresponsive and very, very sick. Chris and I drove straight to the hotel.....and when we got there he was stretched out on the floor having seizures. It was one of the worst things I have seen in my life. We immediately called 911....and he was taken to the emergency room. We are still waiting for test results. He does not recognize any of us....he is in a weird fog right now. Please be praying for a miracle!!! Pray for the doctors to have wisdom. Chris is really broken right now. I will update you all soon.

Love,
Lindsey

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our 1st Annual Guatemalan Christmas Eve!







The last few days have been very unexpected....fun! My mom, sister Leah, and grandmother came for Christmas....and we spent most of the time with the Moore family! Christmas Eve, Scott and Amelia had us over for the 1st Annual Guatemalan Christmas Eve! In Guatemala, Christmas Eve is a time to spend with family and friends....eating tamales....celebrating the birth of Jesus....and at midnight fireworks (oops, we couldn't find them). Look at the menu below....it was a traditional feast:

Menu:
Tamales
Jocon (traditional Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)
Black Beans
Rice
Yucca
Plantains with Mole Sauce

Drinks:
Horchata
Sangria
Spicy Hot Chocolate

After dinner, we all played games....and laughed a lot (and we all wore our pajamas). Once little Micah went to bed, we got to spend time reading about the birth of our King. It was so good to share with each other what it means to us. We then spent a long time praying for our families....for their little Elliot (they go to Guatemala on Saturday to bring him home...YIPPEE)....and for Eliana and Xiomara. It was such a sweet time! Thank you Lord for coming as a baby....but more importantly, for knowing what was to come. Thank you for loving me so much....I don't deserve it!

I love you all,
Lindsey

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve!!





It is hard for you to see our tree because my sweet husband put four times the normal amount of Christmas lights on it. I'm pretty sure our entire neighborhood can see the lights from miles away! But, we love it. This year we added some picture frames on the tree with Eliana's pictures.

Last night we went to a Christmas service at our church and a family sat in front of us with their four kiddos, one of them from Guatemala (they got him 6 months ago). All I could do was stare at him the entire time. It was another little blessing from the Lord. I want Eliana (and Xio) with us for Christmas....but it is fun to dream what it could like like next year.

We still have not received our approval. I am really trying so hard to trust the Lord....He knows when we will get it in the mail. It is not a surprise to Him. Keep praying! Your comments are the highlight of our day....thank you for being the most encouraging community of bloggers in the world!! Merry Christmas.

I love you all,
Lindsey

P.S. My favorite ornaments are from Erin...who made them in Guatemala!! It makes me miss Antigua so much. Thanks Erin!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Worth the fight!!



I wish you I could hug every single one of you. Chris and I are blown away by your encouragement, prayers, and comments!! They mean so much to us. Each comment was exactly what we needed. Well, the Lord heard your prayers and sent us the best gift last night through our amazing Lisa at our agency....some new pics of our sweet girl! Is she not beautiful??!!! Chris and I just prayed thanking God for giving us these...and he said, "Lord thank you for creating Eliana...she is just so beautiful." We love her so much. Chris went and bought her the cutest monkey stuffed animal on his way home from Memphis yesterday, so that it would remind her of the day her daddy fought for her. Keep praying!! We are trusting God for a miracle.

We love you all,
Lindsey

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not what we wanted to hear....

"I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer." Psalm 6:6-9

My husband is my hero. Today, proved that over and over again. I will let him write about his time in Memphis later. But, I wanted to let you all know that we did not get approval....far from it. We are at the bottom of a big stack on a lady's desk! Keep praying for a miracle. Chris just called me bawling telling me he did everything he could....he cried and shared our story with three different people. How discouraging! Right now I miss little Eliana....and Xiomara so much.

Most of you don't know the story of the last four years of my life, but it has been crazy painful. Someday I will share it....just not now. So, Chris and I got married (which let me say it again...GIFT)....then we hit a time of grieving and pain unlike anything I have even seen. The Lord has been so good to my family and me even in the midst of the pain. I have walked through depression, and I am now realizing that God WANTS to use my pain and my story for good. EVEN THIS!!! Thank you for all of your comments....I just sat and wept reading each and every one of them. The loss of Xiomara hurt so deeply....and I can't even begin to imagine life without Eliana. Pray that we are "grandfathered" in by our Power of Attorney. Pray for my husband...he is hurting deeply right now.

Love you all,
Lindsey

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Look out immigration....here comes my hubsband!


"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation." Psalm 68:5

One thing you should know about Chris is that he has a heart for the orphan and poor like I have never seen in a person! Anytime he sees a video or they talk about other countries at our church, I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is crying. I love that about him. His heart literally aches for the nations!! He cries praying for our little girls....but he also loves to play and have fun with these kids. He is so much like Jesus....I wish each of you could get to know him personally. He is God's greatest gift to me!

So, speaking of defending the orphans.....that is what he is doing at 11:30am tomorrow (Wednesday). He is driving by himself (I have to work) to Memphis to meet with an immigration officer. I am so proud of him. It is a cool story how this all happened, but it is too long to write. Let's just say....God brought all of this together. Please be praying that he will walk out of the doors with immigration approval in hand!! Pray that he will get a kind, understanding officer. This could be HUGE!! He is fighting for our daughter(s)!!!

We will post more tomorrow night....stay tuned.

Love you all,
Lindsey

Monday, December 17, 2007

I miss Guatemala...



Don't get me wrong, I love my home in Franklin. I love the comforts of living in the United States. But, there is something magical that happens when I step foot in Guatemala. It is where I am most ALIVE! I am so drawn to the kids. I love to love and hug on them. I love to pray over them even though they don't understand my language. I love singing with them. The Lord reveals Himself to me in ways that astound me every time I'm there.

I am really trying to focus on what the Lord has given to me tonight, rather than on the things that seem impossible. We have still heard nothing from immigration. I will admit, my spirit is low....very low. There is always going to be a struggle in my heart. Faith requires a lot. We have jumped and are not looking back. It is painful....it feels like you can't breathe at times. But, it is defining who we are. So, right now I am choosing to be thankful. Lord, thank you for giving us the privilege of fighting for and pursuing Xiomara and Eliana. You know our hearts. You know how we would LOVE to bring both of them home. They are your kids....You loved them first. Thank you Jesus!

Love you guys,
Lindsey

Friday, December 14, 2007

We are ALL sad!!




Eliana is sad that we have still heard NOTHING from immigration!!

Keep praying.....we have one week until our documents have to be to Guatemala!

Love,
Lindsey

* We have gotten our congressmen and senators involved, but Memphis is not telling them anything either! They are saying they are short on staff. The one good thing is that we DO have our POA....we flew to Guatemala a month and a half ago to take care of that detail.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

STILL NOTHING......KEEP PRAYING!

Be praying for immigration approval for us. We can't get any answers. The human side of me is really anxious and sad. But, I do know the Lord knows ALL....it is hard to keep perspective sometimes. Pray for our sweet Eliana....and for our other little love, Xiomara. What a journey we are on....sometimes it feels like a dream. I will let you all know when we hear something.

The Ortega Law was passed on December the 11th. We are still waiting on answers there too....they said that they will grandfather pending adoptions. Who is actually considered a "pending" adoption....are we?? PLEASE LORD LET US BE PENDING!!!!

Keep spreading the word about elliedub.com!!! WEAR YOUR T-SHIRTS AND PRAY FOR THE KIDS IN GUATEMALA (and all over the world)!!

Love you all,
Lindsey

Monday, December 10, 2007

Biblical Hope



"Biblical Hope is the belief that God has not forsaken us."
-Lloyd Shadrach

That's what I'm clutching today...Biblical hope. It's more than just wishing and crossing our fingers. Lindsey found out late last night that TOMORROW (Tues Dec 11) Guatemala is planning to make a statement about who gets to be grandfathered-in and continue in the adoption process. The predominant rumor is that only those cases who are in PGN (a Guatemala specific stage in the process) will be allowed to continue. We are not yet in PGN. We don't know what this might mean. PLEASE PRAY. I just pray "Jesus have mercy." I am confident that we've been following His call in obedience. Our sermon yesterday at church was all about how Risk is involved in Faith- man how we have seen that! If you've read much of our blog you've heard us talk about that! Hope...Risk...Faith...Prayer

I keep thinking of this quote by Brennan Manning
"To live without risk is to risk not living."

And to further quote our pastor Lloyd Shadrach:
“It turns out, living with Biblical hope y'all is riskier than we’ve been thinking about. It will get us into predicaments that we would not choose for ourselves in a million years. It may cost us dearly, in ways that quite frankly we may not be ready to pay...Biblical hope compels us to make risky plans.”

Thank you for praying for Eliana, the many other orphans in peril in Guatemala right now, and for Lindsey and I- that we keep Biblical hope.

-Chris

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy 5 Months Old Eliana!!




Eliana,

All day today I have missed you so much! Happy 5 month birthday baby girl!! I wish I could be there to kiss and hug you non-stop....and to celebrate you. Know that I am praying and missing you like crazy. I am praying that I can hold you and sing to you soon. I love you. I love you. I love you. You are the most beautiful creation! I love your eyes....they sparkle. I love your smile....it is contagious! I love your personality....I can't wait to watch you grow up. Know that your mommy and daddy are so proud of you. We love you with all of our hearts!!

Love,
Your momma

P.S. This is the picture I fell in love with...your cheeks are the cutest things ever!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Grateful


"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17

My heart is so full right now! We had no idea what kind of response we would get to Elliedub....but it has blown us away. The Lord is so good....He is the reason we are doing this. The proceeds from the shirt sales are going to our little Eliana's adoption (and we still pray that maybe it will be for Xiomara too). Each shirt that is being bought makes me want to cry because it means that we are that much closer to bringing our precious baby home. Keep spreading the word about the site....post it on your blog! I can't wait until we are able to walk alongside other families going through this process.....creating shirts for their specific countries....and seeing how the Lord will provide for their adoption!

I haven't posted a lot on Eliana's adoption, but I am asking for each of you to PLEASE PRAY for us to hear TOMORROW from immigration. We feel desperate....but I realize that we have no control. I loved what one of my blogger friends said....she pictured Jesus holding her baby in one hand and her paper work in the other. I am really trying to give this to the Lord. Also, please pray for our friends (and partners in Elliedub)....they were supposed to go and pick up their little boy from Guatemala.....and there has been a delay in his birth certificate. I want them to be with him for Christmas....so pray for another miracle.

Love you all,
Lindsey

P.S. The picture is when we were flying into Guatemala City....I love it! I pray I will be sitting on a seat in the airplane soon to pick up or visit Eliana!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Drum roll please.....

We are so excited to tell you all that elliedub.com is officially up and running!!! YEAH!!! I feel so overwhelmed with a thousand emotions right now. I want to thank Scott and Amelia (our partners in this venture).....for working non-stop to make this happen. They are seriously two of the most creative, talented and humble people I know! Thank you Lord for crossing our paths with both of them. They took our vision and made it their own....and ran with it. We are so excited for our site to bring hope to families that are adopting....and to spread the plight of the orphan.

There will be many more t-shirts and new countries to come!!

A side note: The girl's t-shirts are so cute and fitted. A medium is like a small, a large is like a medium, etc... Soon we will be adding cute little kids t-shirts! Each t-shirt has a quote in Spanish.

Please pass this information on to others....spread the word!!!

Love you all,
Lindsey (and Chris)

P.S. There is a lot of updating to do about Eliana. But, would you please pray for a miracle with paperwork. We are fighting being discouraged and fearful!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Elliedub.com


The t-shirts will be on the web-site in the next two days! Thanks for all of your "excited" comments!! Check out a sneak preview at elliedub.com (on the right side of our blog).

On another note, please keep praying for our paperwork to be completed. I can't exlain how much I miss Eliana (and Xio...but hopefully that goes without saying)! It is hard to think about not being with her over Christmas. I am so thankful that she has such an amazing foster family though.....I have never seen one woman smile as much or as big as her foster mom! It makes me smile to watch the video of her smiling at Eliana.

I love you all,

Lindsey

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

THE T-SHIRTS ARE IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, get ready..........because the first round of EllieDub t-shirts came in yesterday!!! THEY ARE AWESOME!!!! I can't wait to post pictures. We will hopefully have www.elliedub.com up and running by the weekend. You can then see the pics of the shirts and order them through paypal or check. Our friends, Amelia and Scott, did an UNBELIEVABLE job on the designs. They are our partners in this new venture. I can't wait to see people wearing the shirts (they would make fun Christmas gifts)!

Love ya'll,
Lindsey

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Wheeler Story (pre-Eliana)

video
Here's the video that was shown at our church this weekend!
Our good friend Scott Moore made it (shout out)!

P.S. We will post the interview from church soon....it picks up where the video left off.

What a weekend!!!

How much do I love my mom and sisters??!!! They sat through 4 church services, so that they could watch our video and interview....they are amazing!! Thank you mom, Lauren and Leah for loving us and for getting so excited to hold little Eliana. I love the picture frames (our first gifts for her room!!).

Okay, I think I have the cutest husband ever! I love him more and more every single day. I love his tender heart. Every year at the Shaohannah's Hope (check out their web-site...it is amazing what they are doing for families) fundraiser dinner....we both cry our eyes out. It is so inspiring....and challenging. This is literally our FAVORITE night of the year!! This year was even more special....because we kept picturing sweet Eliana.

Here are five of my favorite people at the dinner (my familiy, Amelia, and Mitzi)!!


Thank you to the people that came to Fellowship to watch our video....you don't understand how much it meant to us. For those of you that weren't able to come....we will post the video in the next few days. Thank you for your prayers....we both felt like the Lord was able to use our story to encourage others on the adoption journey.....actually it is His story! We love you all.

Love,
Lindsey

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I miss her so much tonight...


Have you seen anything cuter???!! She would fall asleep with a huge grin on her face. I wonder what dreams she is having....hopefully she is smiling now thinking about her mommy and daddy.



I could just stare at her sweet face for hours! Today has been one of those days that nothing really feels right. I have been pretty down....praying for answers.....and begging God to bring her home to us soon. My heart is also heavy for sweet Xio. I have no idea when her next court date is, but I know the Lord does. Please keep praying for a miracle.


She is in the middle of talking to us during this picture (and she was definitely too tiny for 3-6 month clothes)! I don't think I have officially posted her name.....it is Eliana ("the Lord has answered") Hope Wheeler! Thank you for your continued encouragement and support. We are so grateful to everyone.....and couldn't it make it without you.

Love, Lindsey (and Chris)

P.S. If you have questions about how to get to our church this weekend, e-mail me at lindseyewheeler@hotmail.com. Also, PLEASE PLEASE keep lifting up Sandi and baby Hannah in China. They have been told that she will not be able to bring Hannah home. We have been fighting this for her....calling senators and congress. She has lost her husband...she needs her daughter Hannah soon. Pray for officials hearts to change and for her to be able to come home soon. She needs to be around friends and family.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our video debut.....


Hey friends,

I wanted to give ya'll a little heads up on what is happening this weekend. Our church (Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN) is showing a video on our process through adoption and our love for Guatemala. We will then be interviewed on-stage so people can hear the latest updates. They wanted to show a couple's journey that is still in process. As most of you know, our journey has had its ups and downs already......and we are just beginning. So, we would love for anyone that reads this and lives close.....to come meet us in person!! There is a Saturday night service at 5. Sunday services are at 8, 9:30, and 11:10. We are excited to see how God wants to use this and us!!

Love ya'll, Lindsey

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm aching for this family!

I just got an e-mail from one of my friends who is in China right now. One of the families in her group has experienced a tragedy that is so hard to comprehend. The wife Sandi and her husband Dennis have been married 18 or 19 years, and this is their first child. Hannah (who is being adopted in China) is their daughter, and they were preparing to return to the States when Dennis fell ill.

Dennis was struggling to keep his blood glucose levels in check while in China and fell in to a diabetic coma yesterday. He died in Guangzhou two nights ago.

Sandi’s mother and brother are trying to get emergency visas to get to China to help out, and now there is concern that the US government (via the Consulate in Guangzhou) would deny Hannah’s visa to return to the States with her mother, as her father’s death affects the status of her adoption (on paper only, though).

Please pray for Sandi, Hannah, and their shock & grief. Please pray that the Consulate would not deny Hannah’s visa and that they would be able to return home unhindered, and for all arrangements for Dennis’ body. I ache for them....this just seems unfathomable! PLEASE PRAY!

Friday, November 9, 2007

NEW PICTURES!!!! YEAH!



She will probably be so mad at me someday that I put a diaper picture of her on our blog...but I had to show ya'll her new pics that our AWESOME agency sent to us!! IS SHE NOT A DOLL??!! How could she have grown so much in two weeks? Her hair is even longer! I love this little girl so much. I think I will look through her new pictures a thousand times this weekend.

Keep praying for a miracle in our adoption,
Lindsey

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We need prayer....

Hey friends,

Below is an update from JCICS....please join us in praying for all of the kids and the adoption system in Guatemala (and around the world)! I am trying to not get too excited, but it is pushing me to pray even harder!!

People keep asking me how I am feeling....honestly, I'm not sure. Chris and I are moving forward....trusting the Lord! We have hit road blocks....and people that really don't understand adoption and the true battle that we are in to save their precious lives. It is amazing how opposition comes when and where you least expect it. Be praying for both of us to have strength to persevere.....to look only to Jesus. He ALONE knows our hearts! What comfort that brings to our souls.

Today, I am praising God for sweet little Maggie and the Oatsvalls!! Pray that she makes it smoothly home to the U.S. from China. AND PRAISE GOD FOR ELLIOT GETTING OUT OF PGN!!!!!!!!!!!! I CAN'T WAIT TO HOLD THE LITTLE MAYAN KING...We love you Scott and Amelia! Also, be praying for our friends Mike and Suzanne...they are meeting their new little man today. Pray for things to go smoothly...and I am keeping their kiddos....they are the best! How fun.....we are praying and thanking God for a Chinese adoption, a Guatemalan adoption and a domestic adoption!! LOVE IT!

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Romans 8:31

Love you all,
Lindsey



November 7, 2
007

Joint Council has continued to advocate for a rational and child centric transition to the Hague Convention in Guatemala. During our recent presentation at the Adoption Ethics & Accountability Conference in Washington, D.C., Joint Council called for the completion of adoptions in-process, the implementation of the Conventions core elements, an effective implementation date of April 2008 and funding for capacity building. We have continued to work with our colleagues in Guatemala along with members of the Guatemalan Congress in developing a functional child welfare system.

We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted a new legislative proposal which;
- I
ncludes a strong ‘grandfather’ clause,
- Designates April 30, 2008 as the effective implementation date of the Convention,
-
Allocates $5 million Quetzales ($650,000 USD) for the creation of the Central Authority
- Allocates a percentage of the total government budget for child welfare services
- Creates a new government entity to act as the Central Authority in Guatemala,
- Provides for private non-profit accredited entities to provide services to children,
- Allows single potential adoptive parents to apply for adoption,
-
Creates a functional process by which children can find a permanent, safe and loving family.

The new legislation is scheduled to be introduced to Congress early next week. In line with our mission of advocating for the right of each child to a permanent family, Joint Council will continue to work with our colleagues in Guatemala towards a positive and child centric implementation of the Convention.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

WE MISS YOU!

Eliana will be four months old tomorrow......keep praying for our sweet little girl! Here are some of my favorite pictures of her. Isn't she the cutest??!!




My favorite thing.....her falling asleep in my arms!!



Check out her smile behind that bottle!!!



We heard about the "Bumbo" recall right before we boarded our plane to Guatemala. We still wanted to see what she looked like in it....of course, cute!





Eliana is giving a peace sign for the "RED" campaign at Gap....she is supporting Africa!




We will post more later!

Love you,
Lindsey

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Reflections from Antigua...







Melissa is one of our favorite heroes of the faith! Her heart for the fatherless and forgotten inspires Chris and I to live a life beyond belief....to walk the road less traveled. Spending last Friday and Saturday morning with her in Antigua was more than a gift....it was God weaving our stories together even further. Chris called her St. Melissa of Antigua. You should have seen how people responded to her....they LOVE her...and the feel loved by her. Two precious little chicas followed us all over Antigua just to stand by her. They walked with us to Hermano Pedro and then to dinner. If I could be like anyone, it would be her!! Thank you Melissa for loving us, for praying for us, and for encouraging us on this journey. We love you!

We got to experience so many things in such a short amount of time. Spending time at Hermano Pedro (the state hospital in Antigua) will forever leave an imprint on my heart. There are so many things to say about those kiddos. The second I walked in to the room, my heart sunk....and I really felt sick. Many of the older children with disabilities or sicknesses were just left in their beds....pretty much comatose. A few would be crying but most were just staring off blankly. All you could do is touch them....reach your hands through their cribs (which seemed a lot like cages) and touch them. It was amazing the response....the beautiful smiles. They need love, like every other person on this earth. They need to know that they are not abandoned....that someone loves them. It broke my heart. It felt wrong to spend a few minutes singing and loving on them and then have to move to the next person. Hopefully this will be the first of many trips to visit these precious children at Hermano Pedro!

We will keep sending updates from our trip last weekend....it is hard to believe that we were with "Sweet Girl" this time last week. I miss her more every single day!! Pray for our paper work to happen quickly. We love you all.

Love,
Lindsey

P.S. Chris and I had an amazing day yesterday meeting quite a few "friends" that we have met through blogging....we will tell you about it soon!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Love At First Sight!

video

As cliche as that sounds, it's exactly what happened! We fell immediately in love with this teeny little thang! We got to spend 2 and a half amazing days with Sweet Girl and it already feels like perhaps we've always known her! We loved feeding her, listening to her jabbering, and dancing with her all over the apartment! We've never seen a child laugh and smile like her at 3 months old before! She has this adorable habit of smiling right after she falls asleep which just melts your heart! We love how she smells...this sweet soft baby smell that is pretty much intoxicating! (We really hoped that our clothes or blankets would smell like her when we got home, but not so much.)

We couldn't leave the apartment while we had her and we had no internet or cable TV so we just played with her and watched movies and tried to make the time last as long as possible! When she fell asleep we just stared at her...when she was awake we took turns holding and playing with her!

Lindsey by the way became an instant MOM! I was literally amazed...this maternal instinct clicked in and she had this ability to soothe, and patiently handle the whole crying in the night no sleep deal! Fussy was just cuteness intensified for Linds. Unbelievable...she had way more energy than me too! Normally I'm Mr. late night hyper guy, but on this trip I was about to slip into a coma of sleepiness and she was just playing and laughing with Sweet Girl at like 4:15 in the morning!

By the way so sorry it's taken so long to get these updates out- life's been nuts you know!
Keep reading
keep praying
God is up to something HUGE in all this!

-Chris

PS More details later but BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE GENEROSITY OF HIS FAITHFUL PEOPLE WE'VE MADE IT TO OUR FIRST FINANCIAL GOAL! We are so grateful! Just more confirmation from all of you that this is a work of God and not anything we could've done on our own! Hip Hip Hooray! Thank you thank you thank you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I miss you so much!



Sweet Girl,
I didn't realize I could miss you this much! This morning was one of the hardest things...to walk away from you and leave you in the car while we went into the airport. I left part of my heart in that car....it is you. I miss you precious one. I miss your smell....Chris and I selfishly brought some of your blankets home, so that we could maybe smell you. I miss kissing you all over. I miss talking to you (I still have never heard a three month old talk as much as you...guess you got that from your daddy)! I miss your smile.....especially the one that you do every time you fall asleep. I am going to miss not bolting out of bed every time I hear you cough just so that I can rock you back to sleep. I miss your little sweet hands. You make not getting any sleep that best thing ever!! You are my little Mayan diva. I love your laugh. I love the way you already trust us. I am praying for you constantly. We will be back to see you soon baby girl....I can't wait!!

Love,
Your Mommy

A Sneak Peek...


There is so much to say and so many stories to tell.....but we have one hour until we board the plane back to Nashville. As you might have all guessed....NO INTERNET where we were staying!! It was painful to not be able to share some of the 700 pictures and and hour and a half of video that we captured of "Sweet Girl"!!! Here are a few pics of the cutest Mayan Diva in the world (will share more on that later)!

We will post more blogs tomorrow with stories and more pictures!! Keep praying!!

We love you all....thank you for the comments!

Love,
Lindsey and Chris

P.S. A shout out of congrats to Jeff, Amanda and Bella!!! They recognized us on the airplane back to the states....from reading the blog!! THEY FINALLY GET TO BRING SWEET BELLA HOME!!! Praise the Lord!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Surprise....we are in Guatemala!

Okay, Chris and I have been trying to post a blog from an internet cafe for about two hours...we are obviously not very savvy. We have some great pics....and some great stories! We will try again tomorrow.

Be praying....we love you all! SWEET GIRL....HERE WE COME!!! We are signing the Power of Attorney tomorrow...and then we get to spend three incredible days with her.

Love,
Lindsey and Chris

Monday, October 22, 2007

Balloons Babies & Finances


Well there's much to say to say the least!

We're still pursuing Xiomara, but lately the pursuit is in prayer and in waiting patiently. It will probably be some time before we know more about the possibility of adopting Xio. In the mean time we've been filling out paper work feverishly, trying to get as far along in the adoption process as possible before the country closes so that our case could be "grandfathered" in.

As we've been waiting and praying and filing, God has brought along another unexpected joy into our lives! We came upon another little girl in need of a home! She was abandoned and then taken in by an adoption agency. As we prayed, we mysteriously felt God calling us to pursue this baby girl as well. When we inquired about her we were told that another family was adopting her. Three days later the agency called us back to report that the family had backed out, and to ask if we were still interested. The answer is Yes! Around our house we refer to this new little girl as "sweet girl."

So here we are...now pursuing the adoption of two beautiful Guatemalan girls!

If God gives us both girls- praise God! If He gives us one girl, praise God! The hardest to write, but none the less true, if He gives us no girls, praise God. We literally feel what Job states in 1.21 and what we sing so often in church

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord blessed be your name


Ready for more news?
We found out today that we need $12,750 by the end of this week in order for our adoption process to continue!

That sounds like a lot, but we believe that God has called us to this therefore He's going to fund it. All along money has honestly been the last thing on our minds. It seems like a no-brainer...He's going to provide for it. I don't mind telling people about the need either, because really it's a privilege! The people that give are getting to be a part of an answer to much prayer! If you're a part of the financial answer to prayer see the info on the right side of our blog for who to write checks to!

One of our mentors and dear friends encouraged Lindsey and I to do an exercise that at first seemed really silly. Per her instruction, we went to Party City and bought 5 helium balloons. We then wrote on them all of our fears and desperate prayers. Lindsey and I had a little ceremony in the Party City parking lot as we prayed through these things we'd written and then together let go of the balloons. Through tears we stood there holding each other and watched as the balloons drifted away into the evening sky and pictured God receiving our requests and concerns. We walked away feeling more peace as we once again presented all our hopes and fears before God and chose yet once again to Trust Him with all this!

-Chris

Friday, October 19, 2007

Still trusting...







Here we are.....smiling happily when things weren't so hectic and crazy!! Even though I love this picture of me and my cute hubby.....I can't wait until a little cute chica is in the picture with us!! What a day of celebration that will be. I'm sure that many of you are wondering if we have heard anything or wondered why we haven't updated you on sweet Xio in a while. This is what we know. The Lord is calling us into deep, hard places of faith right now. He is also drawing us into a bigger picture....one we didn't even know how to dream. The bottom line is....God has called us to adopt. We still long, hope and pray that God allow us to adopt, Xio, but we are not holding on to that hope with a closed fist. We pray, plead and beg...but we don't demand. If God has another little one for us in addition to Xio or instead of Xio...we trust Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He is up to something big in all this, we're hanging on tight to Him and looking forward to what this might all mean!

Your comments have been some of God's most precious gifts to us in this season.
Love,
Lindsey (and Chris too- He's sitting right here!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Glimpse of Things to Come....EllieDub!!



















I finally get to post something fun!! A few of you know that we are doing this....but probably most of you don't. Chris, Amelia and Scott Moore and I are beginning a new company to raise orphan awareness and help families financially with the costs of adoptions. Our site is called EllieDub!

Our vision is to create ec0-friendly shirts that are super cool....this particular design will be on a vintage style t-shirt. We want to take elements from each adoptive country and incorporate those themes into the t-shirts....plus each shirt will have a quote written in the specific language!

Our web-site will be up and running (cross your fingers) by November the 18th. Chris and I are going to be the guinea pigs for our own project....and we are beyond excited! We will keep you posted!! This is one of our AWESOME Guatemalan guy t-shirts.

Love you all, Lindsey

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"I CHOOSE YOU" CAMPAIGN!!


















Chris and I have had an incredibly restful weekend...full of peace. Thank you for praying for us....we feel it in EVERY way! We ALSO feel that we are to press forward.....to keep fighting.....to keep our eyes and ears open to God's possibilities. Our last home study was so good. We have the best home study lady ever (We love you Lisa!)......we got to look through her album of all the sweet kids that have been adopted through her ministry of Adoption Assistance!! I could have cried my eyes out (Chris kind of did). I can't shake their faces....their joy. Chris and I walked out of her house with a new heart.....we are ready to be parents. We are ready to love a child (or two)! We are ready to start this phase of life.

So, we are moving forward.....the battle continues. This is the easiest part of the fight to me because the Lord knows how much all of the costs will be. But, we need ya'll to partner with us to bring our child or children home to us!!

An account has been set-up at our church called the "I Choose You" fund. It is 100% tax-deductible!! You can send a check (write it to Fellowship Bible Church and write in the memo line...."I Choose You"- Wheeler) to:

Fellowship Bible Church
"I Choose You"-Wheeler fund
1210 Franklin Road
Brentwood, TN 37027

Thank you in advance for partnering with us!! We can't wait to see God work through this!!!

We love you all, Lindsey

Friday, October 12, 2007

His Mercies Are Truly New Daily


I can confidently say I've never been here before. I've never had a week of emotion quite like this last one. I would never dare say that I have a "corner on Faith" or that I "get" Faith, but I am learning that it is a daily deal, more than I ever dreamed it was. Faith is clearly not a one time decision that then governs all decisions after...it's much more of a moment by moment -eeking forward- kind of thing. NONE of this is on our strength- that much is clear as well. It is incredible that God loves us in the first place...then more incredible that He is deeply involved and interested in the intimate details of our hearts...then even more remarkable that He daily gives us just the amount of Mercy we need for that day. As I'm writing this, I'm suddenly reminded of something Jesus said in Matthew 6...

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The "What Ifs" can literally drive you mad. Anxious thoughts are also quite contagious and seem to spread quickly. The LORD knows what we need for each day and I've personally seen Him provide for every day this last week. The perfect word of encouragement from some of the most random people, or the funniest moment occurring right when all seems hopeless. The Lord is good like that.

I still feel fragile emotionally. I feel tender inside...like it wouldn't take much to hurt me right now. At the same time I feel quite strong- like I've just slayed several dragons and I'm ready for more! It's a all a paradox of feelings really. Very sad yet happy, scared yet hopeful, battle worn yet battle ready. Not to seem overly spiritual but it again reminds me of scripture...one of our favorites:

Proverbs 14.13 "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief."
These things just go hand in hand.

Thanks for all the prayers- we feel them and the King of Kings hears them! (So keep it up!)
Thanks for standing with and behind us.
Love you guys,
Chris

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Trusting

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

Psalm 56:8-11

Every day has been so different....actually, every hour we have different emotions. But, what an encouragement this verse is to me this morning. He is for me!! He is for Chris!! He is for Xiomara!! There are people that I love that have different opinions and think we are crazy for loving Xio like this. I am learning to be okay whether people agree with us or not. It is a funny place to be in. We don't know the outcome.....but we KNOW that our Savior is calling us forward. We are putting Xio at the feet of Jesus.....and today I am begging the Lord to help me overcome my fear. He knows what is best for her.....and that is what we want. Today I am praising Jesus that He is growing us through this pain and suffering. I love the verse, "what can man do to me?"......I do not want to give into depression, bitterness or anger.....I want to praise Jesus today! Thank you Lord for loving me.....for sending your Son to save us. I need You!

-Lindsey

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

confusion....

That is where we are today.....so confused. Please pray for strength....especially for Chris.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Defending Xiomara...the battle for her life


I have no idea how to write this. I've put it off as long as I can...

My heart aches in ways I've never known pain before. I feel very scared...afraid that God might say no. I'm literally desperate for Him to say Yes...to our thousands of prayers. I'm not sure if I've ever shouted prayers before. Sometimes my prayers are indistinguishable between my sobs. I'm continually shifting from anger to deep sorrow back to anger. It's like my insides are bleeding.

I feel militant. I will do whatever Faith requires...honestly whatever it takes to rescue Xiomara. I would quit my job, sell this house and move to Guatemala in a heartbeat if it would help us bring her home. I'm not kidding or exaggerating. We are in the battle for Xiomara's very life. I will never stop fighting for her...I can't. Nothing else in my life seems to matter anymore. Everything seems to either be aiding us in this battle, or simply a distraction in our way. My language may sound a bit dramatic but that's fine. Christianity is not about insulating ourselves from pain. I'm not into playing it safe, and there's certainly no room for that in this situation anymore.

I pray that God would change the judges heart, change the birth mother's heart, send an incredibly skilled and persuasive Guatemalan lawyer, that He would have mercy...that in the same instance He would bring justice. Mercy on Xiomara and Justice for Xiomara. Mostly, I just say please please let us adopt her.

Jason Swain, my dear brother, told me to "...surround myself with a team of people that believe that God is big enough to do this." That is exactly what we need- believers who actually believe. If your believing with us, thank you for being on our team. Faith feels lonely sometimes. We need you and every member of the Body that you know to be on your face pleading that God defend the fatherless...that he defend Xiomara.

-Chris
P.S. Our Home Study visit is tomorrow morning...we're moving forward by Faith.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Our Hearts are Broken....(we love you baby girl)


How do I even begin to express the sorrow Chris and I are feeling right now. We woke up thinking this was any normal Friday....but it has turned out to be the most painful day we have experienced to date. We received an e-mail from Steve in Guatemala telling us that precious Xio's court date was yesterday.....we had no idea! And, needless to say, it did not go well at all. Our precious girl is actually not even from Guatemala.....she is from El Salvador. Her mother came to Guatemala from El Salvador to sell her illegally. She was offered a sum of money....and ended up getting less than she wanted. At court yesterday, the birth mother, foster mother, Xiomara, lawyer and Shyrel were there. There was obviously a lot of lying going on.....and the end result is not good at all. The judge did not trust any of the ladies, but for some reason is giving Xio back. We are trying to reach Steve. But, it seems as if she is headed back to El Salvador with a woman that does not even want her. Steve stated in the e-mail that she would be going back to a bad situation. Money is a shady thing.....and more than likely, she will be selling her again soon. We have more questions.....and will not give up.

I have wept and wept. Chris fluctuates between anger and deep sadness. Our hearts have been broken into a thousand pieces. We are grieving....we are hurting....we are desperately crying out to Jesus. All I could keep saying all morning through my tears is "JESUS PLEASE". I repeated it a thousand times. I know He alone is the Redeemer! I know that he loves Xio so much. I am begging Him to hold her.....to rescue her....to bring justice.....to allow a miracle to happen. I know this doesn't make sense to some.....but to us, she is our little girl. It is an incomprehensible pain.

Chris and I will fight for her! It is not a coincidence that our blog says "The Lord, Mighty in Battle"!! The Lord is fighting for her and for the fatherless! We have no idea what our next step is going to be. But, we both feel the Lord urging us to move forward. Chris said we might pack up and fly to El Salvador......or go be with her one last time in Guatemala. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for both of us.

Our wise doctor and elder told us today, "Adoption is very hard! It's the center of God's heart, but it will rip yours out!" We are broken. We are desperately trusting our Father in heaven to take care of our sweet baby. Please join us in praying....get everyone you know to pray.

We love you all,
Lindsey (and Chris)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

She's a T.V. star!


Well, today started out as one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days (a book my mom read to me when I was little). Chris and I have each experienced major spiritual attacks from the enemy, especially in the last two weeks. We have felt so exhausted emotionally and mentally. But, the Lord continues to give us little glimmers of hope. He is still good and always trustworthy. It is amazing what you learn about the Lord in times of waiting. It is never easy but always worth it.

So, I walk in tonight at 10 pm for the first time all day.....and finally sit down! I turn on the t.v. because our friends at Amor del Nino were interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN concerning the adoption crisis in Guatemala. I missed most of the interview, but happened to catch the last 15 minutes. WHO DO I SEE ON THE T.V???!!!! XIOMARA!!!!!!!! I literally screamed at the top of my lungs (and I was totally by myself).....then, I started crying and immediately called my mom.....and she saw it and was doing the same thing. She is beautiful. Just getting to see her precious face for 1 second made everything about my bad day just disappear. She was sitting in the little pink Boppy with her little pigtails, drinking her bottle.....and her eyes were as big and gorgeous as ever! Oh, I miss her.

Thank you Lord,
Lindsey

Here is part of the CNN story (look closely for the cutest baby in the world):
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/10/03/guatemala.adoption/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy Birthday Leah!


Leah, It is hard to believe that you are 20 years old today!! How do I express in words what I feel about you. I have told you a thousand times, but I am going to repeat it again. You are one of the strongest people I have ever met. You have gone through things that no one your age should ever have to experience....but you have walked through it with grace and wisdom. I am so proud of you sister!! Lauren and I are amazed at what God is doing in your heart and life. You are so alive!! You are a people-magnet....all of the girls in Fayetteville are so blessed to have you as their friend! You are beautiful in every way (just look at your smile)!! You are compassionate and care deeply for others....I can't wait for you to go to Guatemala with us. Thank you for your encouragement! I could not do this without you. I love you sister!

Love,
Lindsey

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The week we met Xio (she was small but still cute)...





I wanted to show you a few pictures of our trip to Amor Del Nino in June of this year. Mitzi and Shane (our dear friends that have started a ministry to the orphans of Guat called Abba's Children) and Chris and I began dreaming about taking a group of people to Amor Del Nino. God completely put the team together. Most of us did not know each other, but by the end of the trip....they felt like family. We were the first "official" team to stay in the mission house (an amazing place for the teams to stay)....and we spent the week serving Steve and Shyrel and playing with the kiddos whenever we got the time. One of the cutest moms ever, Suzanne, came up to me on day two of the trip. She said, "I think I found your baby (in the greatest Southern accent)!" Suzanne had spent the day at casa #1 while I was working on landscaping at casa #2 (kind of funny....I actually jumped on the trampoline with the kids most of the time). So, I walked into casa #1 and Corinne and Suzanne immediately took me to precious Xiomara. WOW! My heart was so full.....so overwhelmed....and so confused. I had studied every child's face on the web-site before leaving for Guatemala....so that I would know them all by name. She was not on there. Come to find out, Xio had been brought to the orphanage the week before. To make a long story short, God continued to grow our love for this little baby. Chris spent the little bit of time he had with her....singing a song he made for her. He said it was the first time in his life he saw a child that he could not stop looking at.

So, the day we left in June was heart-wrenching!! We kissed her and prayed with her....and told Steve and Shyrel that we would be praying about possibly adopting her. Well, that's all it took. We are in love with her!! There are a lot of obstacles ahead of us. #1 She has to be considered legally abandoned. #2 The courts need to give full custody of her to Steve and Shyrel. #3 Somehow, pray that the Lord will provide a way for us to complete this adoption in the midst of the chaos going on in Guat.

We love you all!! Thanks for posting comments.....we love the encouragement!!! It is so fun to hear from people that we have never met before.

Love, Lindsey

P.S. My incredible, beautiful mom (Kay) is the one holding Xio on the last picture!! What an amazing thing to have my mom there to share this with us!!!!! Thank you Lord.