Monday, May 9, 2016

A weekend of celebration

Wow! What a weekend!

I am writing a blog post because there is just too much to say in a short facebook post! This weekend was one of great joy for me! This was a weekend of celebrating some very important people that God has placed in my life! I am so overwhelmed with joy as I dwell on the goodness of my Lord through my family.

On Saturday, I celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary to a loving, kindhearted, faithful, hardworking man! While the past 5 years have been NO fairy tale, I would not and could not imagine walking through this life with anyone else by my side!  Now, I get the great joy of watching Phillip walk in the role of "daddy"! . These past 3 months have been so fun as we figure this whole parenting thing out together! So again, Happy 5th Anniversary, my love! You will always be "the one"!

...then came Sunday and Mother's Day- a day that was always celebrated for others- until now. Oh, the joy it brought me to hear "you're a mother!"or "Happy Mother's Day, Colleen!" and all I could do was lift my hands and say "Thank you Jesus for making me a mother!" All I wanted to do was hold my sweet baby all day and Praise God for the work that He had done in bringing her into my world!

 Not only did I get to celebrate being a mom this year, but Phillip and I are still blessed to have young, healthy mothers who are constantly a part of our lives! Thank you Lord for our Mothers who we love and Cherish!!

Mom, me and Addie

mother-in-love Kim & Addie
 So, as you can see, I have a lot to be thankful for and my heart is absolutely full with love for these and many others that I call my family! I definitely understand the expression "my heart could just explode"! As I think of how much I love these people, I can't help but think of the love my Lord Jesus has for me. If an imperfect, self-centered, self-seeking, created person such as I, can love this much, how much more does a Perfect, Self-less, self-denying, creator love me? I just can't even fathom it because I don't deserve that kind of love, yet, He continually gives it to me! oh, how this weekend has caused me to hit my knees in gratitude for what The Lord has given me! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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

One final thought, If anyone is reading this and you are not yet a mother or find that Mother's Day brings sadness and pain. God sees you! He hears you when you call out to Him. Have hope and "cast your cares on Him for He cares for you" (1Peter5:7). I was there. I know that longing for motherhood and if it weren't for The Lord working in my life and His irresistible grace, I would still be there!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Unexpected timing

I have been trying to sit down and write a blog post about this past month for several days now. Each time I thought about writing, I just did not know where to begin. I guess I was still processing and adjusting to all that has been going on. As most of you already know, we had some BIG news to share. Here is a little bit of what has been on my mind as of late...

In September of 2014, Phillip and I made a phone call that would change our lives as we knew it. After heavy discussion and prayer, we decided to take a leap of faith and pursue adoption; 16 months later, this is God's answer to those prayers.
                                                         Adeline Marie      born 2/16/16

First and foremost, I want to publicly and unashamedly give ALL the glory and praise to the one true God for this little life! He orchestrated every detail of this adoption journey and looking back, I can see that more clearly than I ever could before!

Now, I know there are some of you out there that would say to me..."Colleen, that's great and all, but I just don't believe in God". I would say to you, let me tell you the story of Adeline and how she came to be in our family. Let me share the details with you (it's too much to do here). Let me share with you how the timing was unbelievably perfect and how her sweet birth mother had the strength and courage to do what she did. Let me tell you what was said, and events that took place. Let me tell you about her name. There is no other explanation but GOD!!

I have been an emotional wreck for a couple of weeks now (and no, not because I am a female). I have experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God these past months and not just in receiving this baby, but in the lessons learned along the way. Having to trust, having to be patient, having to be without fear and worry are hard things to overcome. Did I do that perfectly? No, but by God's grace He gave me the ability to do each of those when I needed to, which in turn, only enhanced my worship of Him! His presence was felt and known by both Phillip and myself. We even saw glimpses of His work through interaction with Adeline's birth parents. I often found myself saying "this just doesn't happen naturally". What I mean by that is conversations that we had were inexplicable to the natural, sinful man.

 I also fell more in love with my husband over the past month! He is absolutely the man I need to walk this life with! It's difficult to describe how much of a blessing He was to me during the trying time we had at the end of this journey. All the emotion, traveling, lack of sleep and new responsibilities wore me down and I ended up getting sick the day we brought her home with us. Phillip stepped up and took on 90% of daily life that first week so I could rest. He stayed up for late feedings, ran errands, made sure we were fed and had everything we needed. He was and is my rock. I am eternally grateful for this man!! We spent 9 days in Nevada by ourselves before bringing Adeline home to Georgia. We only had each other. That was one of the toughest weeks of our life, but also one of great joy at the same time! God used that time to bring us closer together as a couple and as a family!

                                                               our very first family picture

 As I wrap up this blog post with my sweet little daughter wrapped to my chest, I want to share one final thought with you all. Many people told me that adoption is beautiful in that it represents the gospel. It is a tangible picture of how God adopts undeserving, sinful and selfish people into His family; Adoption is that and I know first hand the love I immediately felt for this child when she was placed into my arms. I get a glimpse of the love my Jesus has for me as His child and a member of His family. What I did not expect is the love that I have for her birth parents, especially Adeline's birth mother. Despite what choices she makes, or how she lives her life, I have been given an undeniable love and heart for her! I have been given another glimpse of how God could love an undeserving and selfish sinner such as I, despite how many times I fall and fail! What an awesome God we have!!

If you are interested to hear the details of Adeline's story, I'd love to grab coffee and fill you in on the tiny details that point back to the amazing God I serve!

If you are interested in Adoption, come talk to us. We can help point you in the direction to get started. And do not let finances be your excuse... Let me be cliche for a sec- If there is a will, there is a way!!

Thank you for following and reading my blog and a big thank you to all of our family, friends and supporters who have walked this with us! What a testimony to God's goodness it has been.

Was adoption easy? heck no! Was it worth it? absolutely!

With a grateful heart,

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

an unexpected surprise

Dear readers,

Where do I start? It has been 2 months since my last post/update. I have been wanting to post again, but, kept putting it off because I could not put into words what has been going on lately. It wasn't until recently that I even knew myself what has been evolving over the last 2 months. I will do my best to fill you in...

Since my last post, I thought I was in a place where I was completely surrendering my trust to The Lord during this adoption process. I believe I was there in my last post but, as usual, it is hard for my sinful heart to stay there. As things went silent for about 2 weeks, I found myself once again trying to take control by "doing" something. If I pray more, if I give up something (fast), If I serve more- then maybe The Lord will answer my prayer. The very next situation we got seemed absolutely perfect...we had a really good feeling that "this is it". We were so drawn to this particular birth mom and the baby she was carrying that we couldn't wait to hear her decision. My thoughts were, if we really pray for this and are "doing" everything right, then surely the Lord would allow this to be it. Funny thing is, it's not the "doing" that the Lord wants from's my heart-my complete and utter dependence on Him. I was not doing that. I was depending on my actions, my thoughts, my prayers, in hopes that the Lord would hear. We were not chosen. I was devastated. I struggled with "why not". I struggled with "Is this ever going to happen". It's been 9 months of waiting. I cried for 2 days in disappointment...then it hit me! Why am I so upset? Why am I so consumed with adoption? -because I did not get what I wanted and what I thought would make me happy... because I was looking for this "yes" to be my joy. Then I cried some more because in that moment, The Lord "broke me" again and revealed to me that I was NOT trusting Him. I was NOT content because I was still trying to make things happen. I immediately felt the weight of what I was doing. I had gone back to saying " I am trusting the Lord to work this out" but in reality, I was not and I was being consumed by the idol that I had made of adoption. Praise to Jesus however, that He did not leave me there! Once again, He changed my way of thinking and I was no longer upset that we didn't get chosen; I was thankful that my Lord was still working on me and changing me into the person He created me to who desires His will alone.
You see, I am learning time and time again what Sanctification really is. If you call yourself a believer, there is a moment in time that you "become saved"; however, the rest of your life is an ongoing process of growth and change to become more like Jesus. It usually comes with pain and hardships. It is a constant fight between sin and holiness. The Lord uses different circumstances to accomplish this change in us. For me, right now, my circumstance is adoption. 

Another week passes and there is silence again on the adoption front. I have been able to remain (with the help of the Lord) content. I was so rocked by the last one, that I seriously learned to "give it all to God" this time. The next situation we received, we were all in-except this time, I did not dwell on it. We really didn't think much about it at all after we notified our consultant that we were interested. We kept saying and believing, "if this is The Lord's will then we will hear a yes and that is that".

To our absolute surprise, we finally received that coveted phone call Sunday afternoon on November 8th. We had been chosen! We were matched to a birth mother who is expecting a baby girl in March. Ahhh! The Lord has been 100% faithful and generous to us and we could not be more thankful- not because we "got what we wanted", but because He showed us himself during this period of waiting and learning- even though it was a time of grief and difficulty.

Another important truth that I recently discovered is that just because we are matched, this is not the end. We are not finished and the Lord is not finished with me. Just because The Lord was gracious enough to grant this desire does not mean that I have arrived at what He is teaching me. There will always be something that the Father uses to draw His children in and when one circumstance closes, another will open. I thought the last 9 months were hard; that was only the beginning, the next few will be even more difficult as we wait the arrival of this little one and intertwine our lives with her birth parents. Even when she arrives, there is tragedy on the way-either for us or her biological parents. Adoption is costly and will continue to require complete and utter dependence on The Lord.

We are "over the moon" excited and especially thankful during this season; however, we know there is much to come and would love your continued prayers! We know that our hearts are tainted with sin. We will be tempted to believe that we are in control and can change and affect the outcome. Please, if you agree and believe what I have written in this blog, check in and remind us to believe it again!

Monday, September 21, 2015

unexpected changes

People ask us all the time "how is the adoption process going?" Our answer is often "well, there really isn't much to tell, we're still waiting". The truth is, there IS much to tell.  The answer may not be what everyone is looking for and most of the time, I can't even put in to words what is going on, but we do know that Phillip and I are daily being changed through this adoption process. Every day is either a struggle, a battle, a test or a victory in our thoughts and understanding of our calling to adopt.

For those of you who care to know, this blog post is more about the personal changes and convictions that I have been experiencing lately. I want to share the joy and struggles so that you have a better understanding of the whole process that comes with adoption.

Last week was the most difficult of times (for me) since we started in adoption. I'm pretty sure I experienced every form of emotion humanly possible in those 6 days. It all started on Monday with the email of a potential situation involving a "baby already born". We got a glimpse first hand on how fast everything could change...4 hours to be exact. That's how much time we had to make a decision that could potentially change our lives-all while I was working in the busy pediatric ER. Feelings of hope, excitement, uncertainty, anxiety and fear (in that order) consumed me. Thankfully, I have a partner that had the same feelings and so we made a decision that we felt we needed to make. It didn't stop there, however; over the next couple days I experienced news about babies born, babies on the way, baby showers and all of the emotions that come with that, including a constant reminder of what I desire but do not have. I have learned how to be joyful and broken-AT THE SAME TIME!

 I tell you all of this because I do not, by any means, think these turn-of-events were by coincidence. It is also not a coincidence that I am reading a book on "idols of the heart" and it is not a coincidence that last week the chapter was on "learning to desire God alone". Last week was intentional and I can look back and see the beauty and purpose of it all. The events last week were small "battles" that I needed to learn from in those moments. Those little "battles", with the help of the Spirit, showed me what I struggle with often in this process- my own desires. Desires are not a bad thing, they are a God-given part of our image to reflect God's image. Since the fall, these desires are now tainted by sin and so they are self-centered instead of God-centered. I have been battling against my own selfish desires. The battles this past week have caused me to ask myself "why are you anxious, why are you upset, why does this bother you? my answer is, "because I am focusing on my self and what I want to happen and how I want it to play out". Let me tell you, it is never easy to admit fault. It is not easy to be transparent, but you see, in my weakness, The Lord is made strong. He has shown me that I cannot control my circumstances but I can control my response.

The most beautiful reminder that came out of the craziness of last week was that these little "battles" are meant to point me to a bigger battle that has already been won. The perfect sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf. The life and death of Jesus Christ is sufficient for me. He perfectly fulfilled His Father's will and paid for all my failures. I finally understand what it means to say "Jesus is enough". If we never get a baby, if we never become parents, if nothing I desire comes to pass (no matter how good the desire might be)...knowing that I will spend eternity with Jesus who is the source and satisfaction of all happiness... is enough!

With this understanding, I can go to the baby showers, I can hear the birth announcements, I can answer the questions at work on "why I don't have kids yet" because having a child will not be my greatest joy...knowing Jesus is!!

 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sanctification through adoption

It has been awhile since I posted  an update to the blog on where we are in the process. For those of you following our story, I wanted to inform you that we are still in the wait; however, I'd like to be transparent for a minute and share what The Lord is doing while we wait!

For several months now, we have been receiving "situations" about potential birth mothers and baby that she is carrying. We receive these notifications by email from our consultant and the agencies that we are working with. These emails are very hard to read through as we learn the stories of these mothers and what brought them to the road of adoption. We then have to decide if we want to be a potential family for these birth mothers. Once we decide "yes", our family information book is given to them (along with several other families) for them to choose who best fits their desires. This ongoing process has been quite the learning experience for Phillip and I as God is revealing to us how He is sanctifying us on this journey.

I was telling a dear friend the other day how funny it is that we, as Christians, often ask God to make us more like Jesus, to work in us and change us to who He created us to be. Often times when those requests are answered, we find ourselves not liking the change...saying things like "this is too hard", "I don't want to go through this", "why can't my circumstances be different?", "why are you bringing me through this Lord?" - or am I the only one who does this? God is so merciful to us. Even when we doubt his goodness and when we can't see what He is doing, He continues to show us grace and reveal to us that He is ever present by teaching and changing the way we think. It has become so evident to us how much we like comfort. Comfort is familiar. Comfort is easy. Adoption is NOT comfortable. Truly following Christ is NOT comfortable! Oh, how we are learning what this means. We say we trust The Lord to bring this child into our lives, yet, we were finding ourselves looking for the comfortable situations...the easy ones where the mother's are perfect and living the way we think they should. We struggled with whether or not we were using wisdom in our decision making or lack of genuine trust in The Lord's providence. As we kept seeing so many situations that were "uncomfortable" and not considering them, we started to feel the conviction of The Spirit and ask ourselves "Is this right?", "Is this the point of adoption?" If we truly believe adoption to be a tangible example of the gospel, then our thought process must change. The gospel is not comfortable. God did not wait for us to be perfect before bringing us into His family. The gospel is redemption- loving the undesirable to the point of death. Adoption is redemption-buying back a life and quite possibly changing the life of a mother-this is the point and purpose of adoption- to reflect the gospel.

 We have been stewing over these truths lately. The Lord is graciously changing our thought process. We are being sanctified more and more as we continue through the adoption process. The Lord is causing us to depend entirely on Him. We have not been chosen for the easy situations. We are learning that maybe there is a reason for that! We have come to the place of resting in the Sovereignty of God which allows us to be more open to the uncomfortable situations. Sure, the birth mother who has been using Heroin throughout her pregnancy; the mother who doesn't know the birth father; or, the mother who has a mental health disorder that could be passed on to the baby are all fearful situations-they are not comfortable; however, we have been reminded that our King is still on the thrown! He is in control of our adoption and will give us whatever baby He has created and designed to become a Merritt according to His will-no matter the circumstances. It is in this knowledge that the Lord is sanctifying us to himself for. our. good. Praise be to God!

I borrowed this photo from a friend (Kaleigh Perry) and have it as the wallpaper on my phone- what a great reminder that our God knows all things: past, present and future!

 So, we have come to understand that we will walk through this adoption process and all that it involves until we reflect Christ and be who we are called to be- and even then, when we reach the end result we will look to whatever The Lord leads us to next that will continue to sanctify us to Himself until Christ returns.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

FUNdraiser Results

WOW!! I am still blown away as I write this blog to summarize an incredible day with a large group of incredible people!!

On Saturday, June 6th, we woke up and started our day at the ballpark around 7am. We returned home around 6pm exhausted, but, OVERWHELMED by the outcome of the kickball tournament! We had 10 teams enter into the tournament and a large group of volunteers help make this day a HUGE success! I want to first and foremost, thank again, ALL the people who had a hand in this event! We absolutely could not have done this without you! Those of you who helped in the planning (you know who you are), we thank The Lord for your friendships and giving hearts! We are blessed beyond measure to know each one of you! We will never be able to thank you enough so we ask the Lord to return to you the blessing you have so graciously given to us!

It has taken me several days just to process the events of the day! Before I get to the outcome raised, I want to share what I experienced and learned from this day! First, we were overjoyed with the love and support from our friends and family that showed up early to set up, who sat out in the heat all day, who worked to the point of exhaustion and even sat in the torrential downpour that occurred in the afternoon with out a single complaint or sign of bailing out- loyal rock stars!

 Here are just a handful of our wonderful volunteers at the end of the day

snow cones on a hot summer afternoon

concession stand

 The face painting was impressive! What talent she has!

We were so encouraged by the 10 teams who sacrificed their time to come out and support our cause! We were amazed to see so many people out on the fields duking it out for "tournament champ". People who haven't played kickball since the playground days, were out there giving it their best and the results were so fun to watch!

Planning a fundraiser is a lot like planning a wedding (for those of us who were brides); something is bound to not go as planned. I want to talk about the hiccups that we had because in those, God opened our eyes to His faithfulness and sovereignty. Everything happened that day exactly as it was supposed to. The food truck that was supposed to be out to feed everyone lunch had an unexpected family emergency and at last minute could not make it out. Here is the moment that we have a brief panic attack, but, our lovely support system jumped right on it with an on the fly plan B! We didn't have to do a thing! What a beautiful example of community! Lunch is covered, our players are able to get some food to re-energize for the remainder of the tournament...then the clouds roll in! We think, "this will just pass over"...wrong! It was a torrential down pour for about 30 minutes! The kids loved it, but for me, another panic attack! The fields are under water, everything is soaked, games over, there's no way we can still play on the fields, we won't have a winner...the discouraging thoughts kept coming as I stood by myself  guarding a speaker under the pavilion... and then out of nowhere, one of the guys walks over and says..."If we don't play another game today, this tournament was a huge success" you know what, he was exactly right! Thank you Lord for sending that reminder to me! I so needed to hear that in that exact moment! It's amazing to me, how the Lord I was pondering the success of the day up until this point, the sun came out, the fields drained/absorbed a good bit of the water and some of the guys grabbed rakes and started preparing the fields for play again. Due to the delay, a few teams did have to exit early but enough remained to complete the tournament and so we DID! Praise God for those little reminders that He is in control of all things and we are not no matter how much we plan for things to happen! It could not have ended any better than it did!
CONGRATULATIONS to the undefeated tournament champions

Oh, and you probably want to know how we did in meeting our goal of $10,000 for this fundraiser...

With teams, sponsors, concessions, silent auction, face painting and donations we raised a total of...........

$9, 610

Amazing! Unbelievable!!! We could not be more excited and thankful! We want you all to know that YOU are contributing to bringing this baby into our lives...we don't know a name or have a face yet, but we KNOW, He/She is coming...

One last acknowledgement and  thank you to all of our sponsors!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Kickball time!!

 I talked a little in my last post about the average cost of adoption and the purpose for fundraising. I posted that I would share details of the fundraiser that we are planning and so, here it goes...

First, I'd like to share a little bit on the need for a fundraiser.
I read a post online from an adoptive family that was discouraged because someone had asked them why they felt others should give them money for their adoption, when it was their desire to adopt in the first place?...seemed like a harsh question at a selfish question. Wow! how could they ask that? Truth is, it's a very honest question. Why should anyone give us money to help pay for our adoption; after all, we made the decision to do this, shouldn't we make sure we have the money first?

I want to answer these questions as follows- first of all, we believe The Lord will provide the monetary means for this adoption if it is in fact, His will that we adopt and we fully believe it is. This fundraiser is merely an opportunity  (we pray) that The Lord uses to show His faithfulness in giving us what is needed-through the means of His people. James 1:27 is not just a command to visit orphans in their time of need, it is a showing of true sacrificial christian love. Caring for the orphan may not mean that you physically bring one into your family, but, it may mean caring in the way of helping a family with the means to bring an orphan into their home.

Another example of the need for support in adoption is to imagine every couple that was to have a child had to pay "out of pocket" for everything...if that were the case, there wouldn't be many babies born...most people can't imagine that because they have insurance that covers everything; appointments, testing, and time off of work. Adoption doesn't come with an insurance plan or a payment plan. It all has to be paid in full. With every adoption, there is the potential to lose funds and not get them back- this money is labeled "at risk" costs. Our goal in this fundraiser is to raise enough that would cover this cost in the event that the birth mother changes her mind. To lose between $7-10,000 (which has been the average "at risk" cost), would devastate our efforts in the pursuit of adoption....and so the need to raise the funds. We are not just asking for your money, but your compassion for a child who needs a family and the love to help them get one!

There are so many ways to have a fundraiser. We wanted to come up with something fun and exiting that the whole family could enjoy. It's not just about receiving money, but about building relationships, laughing, eating, cheering, and some clean, healthy competition. We don't want a fundraiser where folks feel obligated to come and participate, but rather, where they would find joy in supporting the cause!

So as some of you already know, our fundraiser to raise awareness and support for our adoption is a...

 If you'd like to play, volunteer or just come out and watch or for more information and to sign up! visit our website at

See ya on the field!