Our Story

**Recently Updated on 2/7/15**
Click here to see a timeline of our one-of-a-kind adoption story (still in progress)!

Collier Family Adoption Update

Collier Family Adoption Update:


Monday, June 6, 2016

To My Son's First Crush

Could you tell? 

I wasn’t sure.  It was so obvious to me. 

Not at first, I must admit. 

He loved school.

But he’d always loved school. 

However, there seemed to be a special gleam in his eye this year, when he talked about what he was learning from his teacher. 

Our conversations were mostly about what the teacher said and how she said it and how she looked and the amazing way that her mind seemed to work just like his in processing information.  He rarely mentioned his friends or his favorite subjects. 

And I started to wonder. 

Then we saw you at church. 

“Should I go and say hi!?”

Sure, I answered. 

“I don’t know.  I mean, we’re not at school.”

But he couldn’t take his eyes off of you. 

And then you came over to say hi to him. 

And his smile was wide.  His eyes were sparkling, though he turned them down slightly, a little sheepish. 

My first thought was concern. 

He was too young for a crush. 

But as I watched and listened, I realized that, in a world that pushes our children into sexuality at an alarmingly early age, there was nothing sexual about his feelings. 

He was a young boy, responding to the God-given desire inside of him to search for a helpmate.  And in you, he saw so many good things. 

He saw your intelligence. 

He saw your kindness. 

He saw your enthusiasm.

He saw your gentleness.

He saw your capability.

He saw your patience. 

He saw your strength. 

He saw your goodness. 

He saw your selflessness. 

He saw your honesty.

He saw your wisdom.

He saw your love for God. 

These were the things that caught his eye.

Or, I guess I should say, caught his heart. 

I watched him watch you; I watched him glow under your praise, and I held him the day he cried because you had corrected his behavior.  It broke his heart—not because you were unkind or unreasonable—but because your opinion mattered to him more than just about anybody else’s. 

And I realized that, though I didn’t feel ready for my son to have his first crush, his choosing you for such an honor was a really good thing.  It meant that his mind was focusing on the qualities in a woman that would enhance and enrich his life, and ultimately bring him closer to God.  He hadn’t allowed himself to be distracted by the short lived, shallow amenities that the world inflates and overemphasizes.  It gave me great hope as I imagined him in twenty years, finding a woman to be his wife. 

He cried again, on the last day of school—the realization that his days in your classroom were over was too much for him to handle on that tired afternoon. 

But today, we started a summer of healing. 

And yet, no matter how much he heals, I pray that he never forgets you. 

Because I pray that, someday, he finds someone just like you. 

Proverbs 31:10-31, NLT

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?  She is worth more than precious rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She will not hinder him but help him all her life.  She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.  She is like a merchant ship.  She brings her food from afar.  She gets up each morning before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.  She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings, she plants a vineyard.  She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.  She watches for bargains; her lights burn late into the night.  Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.  She extends a helping hand to the poor, and opens her arms to the needy.  She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm clothes.  She quilts her own bedspreads.  She dresses like royalty in gowns of finest cloth.  Her husband is well known, for he sits in the council meeting with the other civic leaders.  She makes belted linen sashes to sell to the merchants.  She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future.  When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions.  She carefully watches all that goes on in her household, and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.  Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her:  There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  Reward her for all she has done.  Let her deeds publicly declare her  praise.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

It Takes a Village

Dear Village,

Some of you reading this may someday be able to use the information in order to help friends who are adopting.  Some of you will be able to use the information to help US!  Some of you will be getting this in letter form because we count on you to be near while we go through the process of bringing our girls home, and we feel it only fair to equip you with the knowledge we’ve gained! 

It is going to be a PROCESS of ADJUSTMENT, let me tell you!  For all of us!  And our goal is to make it smooth and beneficial for our girls and our boys.  And above all, we want to honor God. 

So, I thought it would be fun to put together some silly paradoxes to help you remember what we need…and don’t need…as we go forward with this process! 

#1.  We need your help! … But we don’t need your help.

We do need your help.  Drastically.  It is going to be difficult to work and to cook and to clean and to run kids to school and to survive all while trying to assimilate these girls to our language, our lifestyle, our family dynamics, and our faith.  So bring us a meal.  Offer to help around the house.  Ask if the boys could use a ride to school.  Even offer to babysit!  And don’t be afraid to offer to help with the girls.  Those things would be so wonderful.  There aren’t words for how wonderful those would be! 

But please don’t be offended if we say no.  I doubt I’ll say no to meals or house cleaning, although my pride may get in the way in the beginning.  But there may be other things we need to say no to.  We believe very firmly that our girls need to bond with us (Marc and Becky) first, then with the boys, then with our family and friends.  The reason for this is because they have lived a life of constant flux when it comes to caregivers.  They feel comfortable taking assistance from anyone.  Even complete strangers. And that means that they don’t understand that Marc and I are here to STAY.  Forever.  They need to get that. 

So please don’t help by feeding our girls.  Or changing their diapers.  Or kissing their boo-boos.  If they ask you for these things, please refer them to Marc or me.  Also, please understand if we don’t ask you to babysit right away.  Marc and I are prepared to stay home (at least one of us here at all times) for the first six months in order to make life as normal and predictable and comforting for the girls as possible.  It will be hard!  But we feel it will be important.  Therefore, date night for us may be finding someone to come and sit on our couch for an hour or two after the kids have gone to bed.  And we might call home fifty-seven times.  Or it could be coming over and being here with our family while we work around the house.  Or take a nap.  It could be going with us to the grocery store to help wrangle the kids.  Know that not leaving you alone with our children while they are awake isn’t a sign that we don’t trust you.  It just means we want to be sure we have a firm bond with them before we say, “Mommy and Daddy are going away but we’ll be back.”  We want them to trust us enough to believe it. 

**Haha!  The girls weren’t even home yet, and we had to edit our plan!  Surprise, surprise!  Wonderful, caring, insightful friends pointed out to Marc and I how long six months would be.  And if Marc, as the President of the North Carolinian Collier family, and me, as the Executive Vice President, are going to stay connected and on point and together and sane, we are going to need to be able to have time away during those first six months.  So we have introduced a third person into our “one of us here at all times” strategy:  Carolyn Cerrito.**

#2.  Don’t be a stranger! … But be a stranger.

Please stay close, even if it is hard!  Our kids are going to be needy, so a good conversation may now be interrupted ninety-two times.   Phone calls might be hard.  But make them.  Visit.  Because chances are we won’t be going anywhere for a while.  So we can’t come to you.  Our girls have lived their entire lives in two buildings…one for six years and one for two years.  So our house alone will be overwhelming.  Our back yard will be intimidating.  Your house would be terrifying. We have to take it slow, but we want to take it slow WITH YOU!  

However, please call before you come.  There may be tough days, hard days, or good days that need to be just family.  Don’t call because you’re afraid you’ll interrupt, but call and be okay if we say not today, maybe next week. 

Also, please talk to our girls.  Smile at them, tease them, play with them.  But until Marc and I feel confident in the strength of our bond, please don’t hug them.  Please don’t hold them on your lap.  Please don’t tell them you love them.  This seems harsh, I know, but we want to make sure that they see a clear difference between Mama and Papa and everybody else.  They need to see us as their primary caregivers in order for us to form an appropriate parent-child bond.  That doesn’t mean you can’t show them affection.  High-five them.  Tickle them.  Swing them around.  Carry them on your shoulders.  Just be aware of getting too close too soon.  Another reason for this is because it may be awhile before we are able to tell just how much and in what ways our girls have been abused.  We want to make sure they don’t misinterpret actions and that they learn appropriateness with others, especially those of the opposite sex.  Also, they will most likely call you Mama and Papa.  Please correct them.  Just say, “That’s Mama! I’m _______!” 

#3.  Please listen!  … But don’t listen. 

This is going to be BEAUTIFUL!  But it is going to be HARD.  There may be days where Marc and I want to send them back.  There may be days where we don’t see how tomorrow is possible.  We may need to talk.  To cry.  To scream.  To wail.  To beg.  Please listen.  We need your ears and your arms and your love. 

But please don’t just listen.  We need you to keep us accountable.  Do our actions or words concern you?  Are we doing something that you feel is inappropriate?  Please come to us.  You are our village, and we need you to raise our children.  And this doesn’t just mean that we want you to approach us about our relationships with our girls.  This means with our relationships with our boys and with each other.  We give you full permission to confront us.  But we do ask this:  that before you approach us, you pray diligently and ask for wisdom both in words and in timing.  We know that we will be fragile, and we trust God to give you the knowledge to handle each situation appropriately. 

We are going to be very close to the situation, so there’s a good chance we won’t always be able to be objective.  We count on you to be our eyes and ears.  If you see a behavior in any of our children that is concerning, and you don’t see us confront it or hear us mention it, please let us know gently.  That goes for patterns of behavior as well.  If you see something in the girls that you think may be a clue to something from their past or that may be a clue to what they are thinking or feeling, let us know!  We want to become experts in understanding how they think and respond so that we can accurately read their hearts. 

Ask questions!  Anything!  We are new at this…too new to know when to be embarrassed or offended.  So we really can’t be embarrassed or offended.  If you have a desire to know, ASK!  And, though I am sure it goes without saying, be ready to accept our answer with an open mind.  We may have to say, “Gee, we haven’t thought about that yet.”  Or “We aren’t okay with that, but we would be okay with this.”  Understand that, as parents, we are primarily responsible for the well being of our kids.  We are also going to screw up.  We need your grace and your guidance. 

Also, give us encouragement!  Pray WITH us!  Send us Bible verses!  Every day!  Ten times a day!  You can’t do these things enough.  We need you to be loud in our ears, to be the voice of Christ drowning out the lies of Satan and the sinful self doubt that will creep in when we least expect it. 

#4.  Be Flexible! …But don’t be Flexible. 

As you can see above in point #1, our plans and methods are going to be constantly in flux!  We are going to be adapting to our girls, in a lot of ways, and so it may feel, especially at the beginning, like a whirl wind of “don’t!”  but “do!”  but “don’t again!”  WE ARE SORRY!  Please roll with us.  Give us lots of grace.

But don’t let us lose sight of our purpose.  We are to glorify God.  We are to honor him with our words and our actions.  Call us on it if you hear us talk negatively about our girls.  That kind of attitude will get us nowhere.  Call us on it if we talk negatively about our boys or about each other.  Don’t let us get away with taking shortcuts or being selfish.  We are going to need breaks sometimes, but we can’t “check out” when our kids need us.  Hold us to that. 

There are a billion things I could probably add that would be helpful, but I think for starters, these are most important. 

We have been learning that we are not saving or fixing or changing Leily and Lilly.  That is not our purpose or our mission.  That is God’s purpose, and God’s mission.  We are merely weak and empty vessels.  The work that must be done is work within us.  We are to be sanctified.  Changed.  Made raw and ground down and built up new, so that we may be worthy to walk the journey with Leily and Lilly.  Their lives may never get easy.  And we understand that in order to walk with them, our lives may never get easy again, either.  Same for Will and Mike.  That’s okay.  Because we are walking the path to God, and when viewed through the lens of eternity, this earthly path will last but a moment. 

God did a beautiful thing when he designed the body of Christ.  He made all parts to work together and to support and help and encourage one another.  He also made it so that suffering is shared, which is quite possibly the only thing that makes it possible to endure.  For each of you receiving this letter, the arrival of our girls may mean that in some way, your life and the lives of your children may never be the same.  Please understand that Marc and I are aware of the weight that we are laying on your shoulders.  And please understand that we could never proceed unless we were 100% confident that this is God’s will for our lives.  And for your life. 

Take a time out if you need to.  Find someone who will be your support.  Or a group of people.  Make sure that you are being held up and encouraged so that you have strength to help us when we need it. 

Lastly, know that WE LOVE YOU.  We cherish your friendship.  We value your wisdom.  And we are so thankful that you are walking this road with us. 

1 Corinthians 12:  12-28   The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.  Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.  If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.  How strange a body would be if it had only one part!  Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.  The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.  And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen,  while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.  This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 

Thank you for loving us so well. 


Marc, Becky, Will, Mike, Leily, and Lilly

Monday, January 19, 2015

Legacy Part 3: Grandma-Granny: A Lesson in Kindness

My great-grandmother, Cora Lee Fox-Ogle, could not wait to be a great-grandmother.  In her culture, being a great-grandma meant being a granny.  And she wanted that badly.

The problem was, my sister and I could never remember to call her granny; it always came out grandma.  So we invented the name Grandma-granny.

Trips to her apartment meant listening to her birds sing and playing with her underwater rings game.  Later, when she was in the nursing home, visiting her meant bouquets of purple flowers that we shared with all in attendance.  My cousin Mary, whose kind heart would make Grandma-granny proud, once divided a single stalk in two so she would have enough for everyone.

My grandma-granny was no stranger to adoption.  When family was unable to care for her young niece, Grandma-granny took her in and raised her as one of her own.  Grandma-granny didn't do it because it was easy; she had quite a few children of her own, including my grandpa Ogle and his twin brother, and life was hard work.  Kids were hard work.  But Grandma-granny knew that God's law is one of kindness.

It is something I have seen my grandpa Ogle practice every day of my life.

Quite possibly my favorite story about my grandpa Ogle I just heard recently.  When they were young, they ran across a couple who had run out of gas.  My grandpa and grandma Ogle didn't just stop and help them with gas; they invited them to come and stay at their house.  Complete strangers.  Strangers who were dirty, poor, with nothing to offer in return.  Strangers who could have taken my grandpa and grandma for everything they had.  But they did it anyways.

When I heard the story, I can't say I was surprised.  Because this is the kind of heart with which my grandpa Ogle has led his family his entire life.

He and my husband love to sit and talk, and I am so pleased to say that their biggest commonality is their open hearts.  And I am so thankful to say that I found a man who will lead our family just like my grandpa does his, a man who understands the value of kindness.

Luke 10:25-37:   One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”  The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.  A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.  Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.  The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”  Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Friday, December 5, 2014

WE GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, friends,

God is good.

God is sovereign.

God is mighty.

We wanted our girls home for Christmas.

God said no.

We wanted to be submitted to Ukraine's government by the end of the year.

God said no.

It was SO. HARD.

I lost my battle with sin SO MANY TIMES.

I had to ask forgiveness SO OFTEN.

But God does not want to be done with me yet!

We got word that we have been USCIS APPROVED!!!!!!!!

We have had problem after problem with this step of the process, but we made it!  We did not walk this leg of the journey.  God carried us.  Some days, it felt as though we were being dragged along the stony ground on our faces, but that was only because of the struggles our hard hearts brought along with us.

And we have made it.

Not made it, made it.

The next step will be Ukraine's government.

And that is a doozie.

But, friends...

God has been here EVERY STEP.

He is working.

He is powerful.

He is saying I STILL LOVE YOU.


Trust me.

Obey Me.

Let me carry you.

Celebrate with us!

We are one step closer to our girls today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Legacy: Part 2: Finding Faith

Lillian Steiger did not have an easy life.  Circumstances, some self-inflicted, caused her to be often looked down upon by society, and, I think, she sometimes felt desperate for love and acceptance.  I have a feeling she often struggled with doubt.  I don't know if she ever found faith, but I do know that that somehow, either through watching her own mother struggle or through watching her mother climb out of her doubt, Lillian's youngest daughter, Bernice, became a woman of great faith.  And THAT is the legacy I wish to pass to my children.

Bernice Hepner was my grandmother.  Although, for 20-some years, she always told me that I was her daughter twice--once through genealogy and once through Christ's family, because it was my grandma Hepner who held me on her lap and led me to Christ when I was four years old.  

Several years ago, when reminiscing about my childhood with my grandma, she said that she couldn't remember leading me to Christ.  It made me sad.  

But I can't say I was surprised.  

Grandma forgot everything.  

How to drive.  Where her glasses were.  Who she was talking to.  What she was doing.  How to play Oh No 99.  Who she was mad at.  What she was laughing at.  Where she parked the car.  How to use the computer.  

Oh, wait.  She never knew how to do that.  

I think I've figured out why Grandma forgot things so easily:  Her mental files were too full of her knowledge of God.  

See, to have faith in God, one must know intimately who He is.  And Grandma knew, because Grandma had faith.  

Grandma's faith in God was most evident in her prayer life.  She prayed for everybody.  Even the mayor.  She prayed for the local bar, the Mad Bull, to burn down.  And it did.  Twice.  

And most of all, she prayed for her family.  

Jesus says, "Ask, and it will be given to you.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock and the door will be open to you."  Matthew 7:7

When we get to heaven, i think we are going to see that grandma prayed us through a lot of things.  

One gift for which I will always be indebted to my grandmother is the gift of my husband's salvation.  

From the moment I was born, Grandma told me she was praying for my future spouse.  At eight, I told her to give it up; I was never going to like boys.  She made me state it in writing and gave me this "contract" for a wedding present!

Marc, my main squeeze, was five years old when I was born.

And at age five, right when my grandma started praying for my future husband, Marc felt led, though raised in a spiritual void, to go to church.  He bravely walked next door and asked the neighbors if he could attend church with them.  At five.  Seriously.

Talk about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Talk about an answer to prayer.

Jesus also said, "You don't have enough faith...I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say  to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move.  Nothing would be impossible."  Matthew 17:20

Grandma had enough faith.

And I want to have enough faith.

So I can teach my children to have enough faith.

So that they can teach their children to have enough faith.

A legacy.

Hebrews 11:1  Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Legacy Part 1: Anna's Son


Luke 6:45:  A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  What you say flows from what is in your heart.  

My MOMS small group leader, Julie, talks a lot about leaving a legacy.  

It's a concept I am beginning to truly understand and a blessing for which I am learning to be immeasurably grateful.  

One thing I've learned is that a meaningful, lasting legacy must be one built solidly on God and His Word.  It is truly the only thing that matters.  When that is the case, a family can leave for its descendants all kinds of lasting legacies:  love, faith, grace, compassion, peace, etc.  

When choosing names for our girls, Marc and I felt very strongly that we wanted their names to symbolize the blessing of legacy we've received.  We wanted to intentionally choose names that represent the people who have gifted us with Godly characteristics that we want to pass down to our children.  

So here they are...

Lilly Ann Sue  


Emma Lee Ayla

Now, believe it or not, those names honor 8 special people in our lives, and over the next few weeks, I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to each of them and to share with you the legacy they've left for their loved ones.  

First up:  Anna Hepner

Now, I will tell you this...I don't know much about my great grandmother.  I honestly can't recall too many stories that I was told about her, but I did know her son.  And I think that we can learn a lot of people by studying their children.  So let me tell you about Anna's son.  

Grandpa Hepner with his arm around his mother, Anna Hepner

For most of my life, my grandpa, Charles Hepner, was strong, hard working, physically fit, intelligent, witty, wise, fun loving, and a lover of all things classic:  music, movies, and fashion styles.  He listened to Benny Goodman, watched Meet Me in St. Louis, and wore neatly press slacks belted snugly over tucked-in collared shirts.  He also wore socks with his sandals.  Grandpa Hepner loved Worther's candy, and was more than willing to share as long as you were more than willing to learn a lesson in being polite.  He loved jokes, he loved the Lawrence Welk show, and he loved my grandma.  They didn't have a perfect relationship, but they worked hard at honoring God and loving each other.  Grandpa's handshake was firm, and his hands were open.  Always.  He gave to anyone in need, and in his nineties and on a fixed income, he tithed 17% of his earnings to the church.  My grandpa wasn't flowery.  His hugs were gruff, his whiskers were scratchy, and his words were firm.  

I said goodbye to this grandpa in March of 2009.  At the age of 92, he had a stroke that left him weak and unable to speak clearly.  The stroke turned him inside out.  All of the things that I had known about him were now trapped inside a body and a brain that refused to work properly.  I believed he was still strong, still hard working, still intelligent, witty, wise, and fun loving, but he couldn't show those things to the world anymore.  Instead, what he wore outwardly in its place was everything he had been hiding in his heart for 92 years.  

Psalm 119:11:  I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  

He became vulnerable.  Emotional.  Physically affectionate.  Grateful.  Overflowing with praise for God and thanks for his family and friends.  It was sometimes hard for him to control his emotions, which made me realize that even though he presented a calm front all those years, inside life must have been much harder than he always made it seem.  Most beautiful of all, he could not stop expressing his love. 

He and my grandma went to live in an assisted living facility, and due to their complex physical needs, they staff was forced to rearrange their room several times.  My grandpa and grandma gave the nurses and aids fits with this because their chairs JUST HAD to be close enough so that they could hold hands. :)  

When my grandpa was injured in a fall, he was required to go to a hospital and then a nursing home.  He was close to 94 at that time.  Grandpa single handedly put a security guard on the ground because, in his confused state, he couldn't understand why he couldn't leave and see to my grandma.  And our family had to transport Grandma to see Grandpa every few days during the length of his stay because he couldn't stand to be without her.  

After receiving some income that had to be spent immediately, Grandpa and Grandma, of course, wanted to give it away.  But the government wouldn't let them.  So, instead, my mother got the privilege of taking her parents engagement ring shopping--my grandpa insisted that he get my grandma a new diamond.  She was the talk of the facility, let me tell you!  

My grandpa would get so excited when we came to visit.  He made us feel so welcome.  And in his broken, beautiful way, he would never hesitate to say to us, "Thank you, thank you, thank you" or "I love you, I love you, I love you."  

As I got to know this man, I realized that God was giving all of us a wonderful gift.  My grandpa was not perfect, and perhaps his biggest flaw was pride.  That pride had kept him from being able to show all of us the true measure of his heart.  But God made life so that we could see it anyways.  And this second grandpa, the one that was only with me for four years, left just as big of an imprint on my life as the one I had known for twenty-four years.  

I am finding that strokes aren't the only things that turn people inside out.  Loss.  Hardships.  Trials.  Financial struggles.  All of these things have the power to incapacitate a person's outside character and highlight the inner workings of their heart, good and bad.  

Adoption is no different.  

And so, as we face the WAIT, which is so much more painful than the paperwork, I am reminded of the legacy my great-grandma gave to me through her son--my grandpa.  When he was turned inside out, all we saw was love.  Let it be the same for me through this process, so that one day, Will, Mike, Lilly, and Leily may say, our mom left us a legacy of love.  

1 Corinthians 13
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!  But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.  Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.