About Me

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I'm originally a Kentucky girl who transplanted to Texas. I feel like a Texan I guess bc I have one baby born in Texas. It just feels like home here! A wife to Donald and mother of 3 beautiful kids who are full of life and keep me on my toes at all times. We serve at Community of Faith Church in Houston, TX.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Change in Direction

If I have learned anything on this adoption journey, it is to be flexible and keep your eyes open because the direction can change at any time. This brings me to an update that I never thought I would write, but I am super excited about it.

We were almost ready to send our dossier in to our agency so it could be translated and sent to Burundi. We received word from our mission partner on the ground in Burundi that the President was not going to step down from his second term as president and there was concern that civil war could break out. This was discouraging and heart breaking on so many levels. We love the people of Burundi and all that God has done through them. So much progress has been made. The other part was wondering how this would affect our adoption process. We decided to put on the brakes and pray. We had been moving at lightning speed, but felt a peace about pausing and praying for direction and clarity. There were lots of tears on my part and grieving I think because I knew in my heart that God was changing our path. We took the rest of the week and prayed and then attended The Empower to Connect Conference in San Antonio, TX. It was an amazing conference and we learned so much. It was also great to be away and process together with no interruptions. I cried most of the time because I could feel the Lord loosening my heart strings with Burundi.

On our way back to Houston, it was clear to us that we were to go in a different direction regarding adoption. So after contacting our agency and also looking into Arrow Child and Family Services, it was clear to us that we were to go the Foster to Adopt route. So, we decided to go ahead and get our certification classes out of the way in May. We have one more class in June and then our certification will be completed. We could get a foster child as soon as the fall but we are going to wait until January because we have a very busy fall with the girls cheering and me coaching cheer for Reagan's cheer squad. I'm trying to know my limitations and how adding a traumatic child to the mix wouldn't be a good move. So, this fall we are hoping to be a respite family which is when foster families need a break or need to go out of town, they can't leave their foster child with just anyone, they have to be licensed. We will be able to take children on a case by case basis depending on our schedule. We think this will be great way to introduce fostering to our kids and us as well.

So, there you have it! God is so good because we have so much peace about this next step and are looking forward to see how He works through our family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for how you have prayed and loved on us. Please don't stop. There will much more to do in the future.

Please continue to pray for the people of Burundi. You can search the news for the latest updates. It's not good.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dossier - Light at the End of the Tunnel

I feel like there is so much to catch everyone up on. I am a little overwhelmed so I'm just going to type and see where this goes. LOL!

We completed fingerprints for our Federal Background check. Awaiting results for that to go in our Dossier.

We completed fingerprints for Homeland Security which we should have approval in a couple of weeks.

We have received all documents including birth certificates, marriage license and 4 letters of recommendation apostilled (state seal depending on its origin). We are waiting on one more letter of recommendation to be apostilled and then we are good. We completed our psychological portion, which is nerve wracking to say the least. That will take a couple of weeks to complete. I'm now cleaning each room of the house and taking pictures. You would think that this wouldn't be difficult but with a house of 5 people it can definitely be a chore so hence one room at a time. There is a method to the madness. Lesson learned is when you clean your house for the home study take a picture of each room because you will need it for your dossier. So, once everything is completed then I will send it all to our agency and they will have it translated and then off to Burundi!

I went to an Unwrap the Bible conference by Women of Faith several weeks ago and I really felt like the Lord pressed upon me to pray for urgency. I have been praying for every aspect of this process from the protection of the mother and child, development of the child, nutrition, caretakers, paperwork wouldn't get lost or delayed, political issues in this country as well as Burundi, attachment, how this would affect our kids and extended family, but the one thing the Lord showed me was I haven't been praying for urgency. Sure, our wonderful agency gives us a timeline as to how long the process should take but the Lord made it clear that He is not bound by time or politics and that He can have this child to us whenever He sees fit. So, don't you know that I have been asking people to start praying for that. Urgency!

Lord, please bring our little one home to us quickly and swiftly. You are not worried with the election in Burundi or who is in power or where the paperwork ends up. That is nothing to the creator of the universe. You are the author of life. You have called us to this and have a child in Burundi who will very soon become a part of our family so I'm asking for what you put on my heart. Show yourself faithful and just.

Thanks so much for all your love and support for our family. We are super excited to see God provide.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Adoption Update

Well, our I-800 form is complete and has been mailed to Homeland Security. We should hear something in about 8 weeks as far as approval. Now, I am working on the dossier that will go to Burundi. This includes our home study, background checks, references, fingerprints, medical exams, birth certificates, and marriage license. So far so good. I have a lot of it completed and just waiting on some of it to come in the mail. Once that is all compiled, then I think it has to go to the State of Texas for it to be stamped then our agency will translate it and send it over to Burundi. Then, another stage of waiting on approval will happen. 

Please pray for the election that will be happening this summer in Burundi. This could affect our process. I pray that it doesn't but it doesn't hurt to pray for it. 

Once we are approved, the matching process will take place. Hopefully, our child is waiting to be matched with us so that will happen quickly. Then it takes about 8 months to get the paperwork together and then we go pick up our child. Long process but it will be so worth it. Ideally, I would think we would be traveling to Burundi Summer of 2016. We will see! It would be awesome if it was sooner but God is in charge of the timing. So until then, I will try and wait patiently.

I have been attending some adoption seminars and Donald and I are scheduled to attend Empower to Connect in San Antonio in April. I am feeling more equipped but there is still so much that just has to be experienced, just like parenting biological children. 

Thank you for your continue prayers and support. We could not do this without such a wonderful support system. The kids are excited. Every time we sit down and pray at dinner time, Riley Kate says please bring our baby boy home soon. Bless her heart. I keep telling her it's going to be a while but she insists on asking God. So sweet. We feel like it's a boy but didn't specify on our documents. 

Monday, November 17, 2014


Adoption…I have to say it began after our miscarriage in 2007. I told Donald that there was no way that I could go through a miscarriage multiple times. Of course, there was no reason to think I would have another miscarriage, but that was the emotion I felt at the time. Several months later we were pregnant with Reagan, our first Texas baby, third child. Needless to say, the adoption convo was put on hold.

There had been conversations off and on about adoption but Donald never seemed totally on board or ready. After discussing local foster to adopt with Arrow Family Ministries several times and not getting the green light from Donald, I totally dropped the subject and just prayed. Anyone else do that? Stop talking about it and just pray. I just prayed that the Lord would do a work in Donald’s heart or change mine. The desire was not going away but I knew from experience that once God puts something on my heart that He will fulfill it just maybe not in my timing.

So now it’s June 2014 and we are headed to Burundi, Africa to celebrate a 5-year friendship with the Batwa people. There was a group of us from our church, Community of Faith (www.cof.tv), going to spend some time there. It was Donald’s second time and my first. Many of you saw the pictures on Facebook. It was an emotional experience to say the least because for the past 5 years I had been hearing of the amazing things the Lord had been doing in their lives from providing land, birth certificates, marriage licenses, education, food, children, and them even coming into relationship with the Lord. Amazing is an understatement. When I met these people, they were so grateful that I was in friendship with them. They hugged me like family. I literally was in tears most of the trip because the videos and photos brought back to the US don’t do it justice.

On the plane over to Burundi, Sarah Shook May, said, “Did you hear that Burundi is open to adoption to the US?” Surprisingly, we said no and then moved on to something else. Donald and I never talked about it again. Then on the Friday before we were leaving Mark and Laura gave a devotion to the staff at the bank where they do micro financing. Mark was talking about how he was walking the lake one day and how he came upon a struggling duckling. A lady walked up and asked what he was doing and he said this poor little duckling doesn’t look like it’s going to make it. She said, “We will see about that,” and scooped it up and walked off. He said that really impacted him because as Christians are we going to say we care for the orphans and the widows or are we really going to do something about it and make a difference in their lives. He was encouraging them to take an active part in being in people’s lives. That was the moment Donald said that Lord impressed upon him that it was time to adopt and Burundi was the place. Are we just going to come visit Burundi every couple of years and send them money through the church or are we going to take an active part in their culture and provide an education and equip one of their very own to come back to their culture and make a difference? Wow! Trust me, that is God not us! It seems too big of a task and a costly one at that.

We met with an attorney while we were in Burundi and arrived at no answers really. So, we decided to head home and do some research. While in the Nairobi, Kenya airport, we saw a white couple with a black child. I immediately said to Donald that they just adopted. He encouraged me to go speak to them of which I refused. Then they ended up at our gate so then it was clear that I needed to go talk to them. As soon as I approached them, they nearly came out of their skin with excitement. They had been in a country for three weeks not knowing anyone and not many people speaking English. I asked them if they just adopted and they said yes. I asked them from where and they said Burundi. What?!?!? “Burundi just opened,” I said. They said, “We are the very first couple to come home to the US with a Burundi child.” Are you kidding me? I couldn’t have orchestrated that if I tried. What a gift that the Lord placed in front of us. We were able to talk to them and ask questions and ask about agencies. What a blessing!

We arrived home and decided to really pray about this because the last thing we wanted was this to be a Mission Trip high. This was a huge change and task ahead of us. So, we took the next two months to interview agencies and get more information. We decided on an agency in August and started the massive amounts of paperwork needed for the home study. As of Friday, November 14, we passed our home inspection and we will meet after Thanksgiving to go over training materials. I hesitate as I type this but at this moment I am actually ready for the waiting period. I’m sure I will not feel this way long but I’m thankful this hurdle is behind us.

How long will it take you say? Well, it could take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. We are hoping sooner than 3 years. We feel like the child is a boy and the age is 1-4 years old. And, that’s about all we know for the moment.

We would covet your prayers for our child. The child is called Bebe in Kirundi until the father gives the child a name which could be up to a year. I don’t think we will wait that long but for now we will call him Bebe. Pray for his safety and development. Pray for his family and care givers. He may not even be born yet. Pray for us as we prepare ourselves for a new child and all that comes with that. I’m learning it’s totally different from having biological children. Pray for our biological kids and the transition they will be going through. Pray for anything else the Lord puts on your heart to pray and I would love it if you would tell me what you are praying for.

We are excited to see God move. He already has in many ways. So, it’s official! We are adopting a boy from Burundi, Africa. All glory and honor be to God!

“I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.” John 14:18

Much love,

Gretchen, Donald, Cole, Riley Kate, and Reagan