Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thank Yous and an Update!

Adoption has refined me more than I ever knew I needed to be refined. I never knew the amount of pride in my heart or how hard it is for me to accept gifts. God has opened my eyes to these things in the wildest ways.

We have been SO blessed. I could list every single person or family who has given to us financially over the last 43 months. Y'all. I have tears in my eyes typing this. It's overwhelming. When we began this journey, I knew without a doubt that God had lead us to adopt. And more specifically internationally. In the beginning, I will admit, my husband definitely had loads more faith that God would provide financially than I did. Adoption is expensive. Too expensive. (but that's another day's conversation) With that said, we should never have been able to afford it without saving for many many more years. But I'm here to tell you today that God has funded every single dollar we've had to pay through His people. We've sold hundreds and hundreds of t-shirts. We've done a yardsale. We've done a dinner fundraiser. We've done many many fundraisers. We've had many families write us checks that were truly sacrificial. Like.. BIG checks. The kind of checks that don't come from anyone but God. Not only have these blessings been provided to us, but time after time they've been provided before the next payment is due. I wish I could tell you each and every God story. You'd be blown away.

I don't think we could ever say thank you enough. But.. here goes. To every family that has donated to us, has prayed for us, and has helped us get our girl home, you are a gift from the Lord. You have shown us humility and sacrifice. You have empowered us to be able to bring a daughter home that God led us to. You have given us hope on many days when the pains that come along with adoption have had us down. You have been an example to us in sacrificial giving and thinking of other's higher than yourself. You have shown us how to listen to God when His Spirit prompts you to give more than your flesh desires. You have been an answered prayer and a true blessing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now for the update...

Here's the most important part of our update: When we received our referral for Jannie Rose, we got her medical report and knew we had some challenges to face. We still do, but we were open to that. One of the things we weren't sure about was if she was sitting up. Even with "healthy" children, milestones are expected to be delayed due to being institutionalized. We were expecting several months of therapy to address these needs along with her other care. Y'all...God is GOOD... we got an update about 2 weeks ago. OUR GIRL IS WALKING!!! Looking at those tiny little feet standing did this mommy SO much good!! After seeing a HUGE decline with Matsy Grace's update, to see Jannie Rose progressing so well was a blessing from the Lord to my soul.

I promised on the last post to try my hardest to keep you more up to date on the actual process of our adoption. If you follow either of us on social media, you've probably seen our posts this week about getting loads of paperwork sent off! If you know anyone in the international adoption community, you've heard the term dossier. Well... the process in Ethiopia is much different than the adoption process in India. In Ethiopia, you send your dossier off prior to receiving a referral. In India, you send it off after your referral. I say that to say... this is the SECOND dossier we have put together.

Ok..... I have come to hate paperwork. There's a huge reason I chose the medical field.... sitting behind a desk all day + paperwork=the most miserable thing. Some people love it. I don't. Please avoid saying the words notarized, county certified and apostilled around me for the next few weeks.

I may be over-exaggerating a wee bit, but seriously, I rejoiced big time when I left the FedEx store this week.

I have put together a little flow chart so you can know where we are in the process and pray along with us. Before you look at the chart, you should know what we are praying for.

We are a praying for a miracle.

Our prayer that each "next step" will be completed in miraculous timing. God has answered this prayer twice in BIG WAYS, so if you want to pray along with us, we are praying BIG to get Jannie Rose home in miraculously speedy timing!! 16 months in an orphanage or hospital is too long. We are ready for her to know her family!!

So here's the flow chart (the India heart shows where we are!):

There are things going on in the U.S. and things going on in India that have to be done before we travel. So... I know the chart can be confusing, but just know that we basically have 3 steps to be completed in India and 3 steps in the U.S. before we can travel! We have a general timeline of each step, but from everyone we know in the process, those timelines don't mean much of anything.

So... there's the update.

Pray BIG to bring our girl home as God continues writing her story!!

"God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy..." Psalm 68:6

Friday, August 12, 2016

What's In a Name?

Well, the last post most of you read here was pretty hard for me to write. I haven't posted since that time, even though a lot has happened! It's been a time full of grieving and excitement. A time of praising and mourning.

One of the hardest things for me to come to grips with when our Lovely Matsy Grace went to meet Jesus was the fact that she passed away without ever experiencing the love of a family. It was very hard for me initially to come to terms that she was never given a traditional "Hindi" name. So, when we saw her face, she was Matsy Grace to us. It was the name we had picked out over 5 years ago to give our first daughter. Matsy is Frank's precious grandmother's name. She is so special to us and we were so excited about having a child with her name. She's compassionate and has a love for her family like no other! If she's not calling and checking in on her family, she's in the kitchen whipping up some tasty meal for someone else! She's such a giver! When our girl passed away, it meant so much to me that she was given such a special name by us. Matsy Grace didn't pass from this earth without love or without a family. Even though we never were blessed with the opportunity to physically love on her, the moment we saw her big, beautiful brown eyes, she was ours. The name will always hold a special place in our hearts when we think about our sweet angel.

Fast forward to a little less than three weeks ago. We got "the call" again. Because of a hiccup in paperwork due to us still being "matched" with Matsy Grace in the system, we are just now able to share!

The details? We got the call on a Monday afternoon. We had to wait an hour or so to get her information with pictures and videos. (Yes, I pushed my notifications through and still checked every 30 seconds.) She's absolutely precious. She's 14 months old and so beautiful! And she has a traditional "Hindi" name! I was definitely a LOT more cautious with this match. If I'm being honest, I'm still trying to let myself fully attach to her. There's something about grieving that has made me a little fearful. With that being said, I'm significantly more motivated to do everything in my ability to get this girl home!! It's going to take A LOT of prayers for all of us!

While I don't think it's my place to share our girl's story on the internet for everyone to read, I will say that she's already overcome so much in her short little life! There's also another special person to us that is an overcomer. My grandmother has experienced loss after loss in her life. If you know her or if you met her, you wouldn't have a clue. She can run laps around me. At 80 years old, she still has the energy to keep our two boys, cut her own grass and drive a driving camper like a champ! Not to mention, she's always got a smile on her face. (And our boys would add- she always gives us gummies!!..and cookies.. and ice cream.. and toys...and...) We call her Mamaw, but her name is Jannie. So... we'd like to introduce you to our newest love... JANNIE ROSE. (We will also keep her given name!)

A name makes someone a person. It gives them an identity and connects them to their family. We are so blessed by these special names!

So, now, we are waiting to receive her original documents. I will try to post soon about the steps we have to go through before traveling! It will still be several months until then, so please pray that we use this time wisely to prepare for our growing family! Blessings!

-the Powells

Sunday, July 10, 2016

In Memory of You Baby Girl: Lovely Matsy Grace

Forty One months had passed since we began the adoption journey. We finally got "the call." It's the call you wait for. It's the start to "the real wait" of bringing your child to their forever family. You dream up how it will go, and though it's rarely the scenario you thought-- it's perfect. It's perfect because it's your child.

That call for us happened June 16. I thought we would wait and tell our families, but we were both too ecstatic. FaceTime sufficed to share the news. A few days later, we shared it on our blog. It was perfect-- the real wait finally had a face. 

She was beautiful. She had big brown eyes and thick hair. Her name was "Lovely." We planned to call her "Matsy Grace." In his prayers, Noah called her "Lovely Matsy Grace." We knew it was a long shot, but we were praying she would be home for the holidays. 

The days that followed were very strange because the weight of  thinking of her birth parents, her less than ideal situation in her orphanage in Bihar, India, and just the whole adoption process in general set in. The first few nights were pretty restless. We continued with loads of paperwork daily. Once you can look at her face, it makes the paperwork a little easier. 

On July 3, our agency's in country rep sent a few videos of our daughter. We immediately realized her health was a lot poorer than we originally thought. We began trying to determine how to get her the best healthcare possible when she got home. 

On July 4, my mommy heart thought ok, what can we do? I knew it was a long shot, but surely Patna, Bihar needed English speaking Speech Therapists. When not a single job could be found, I knew we probably had no way to go help her immediately. Besides the fact that we still were a few steps away from having the document we needed to be able to see her. This was also an American holiday, so our agency's office was closed. 

On July 5, our agency's director so kindly called and walked me through her medical exam. It wasn't what any parent wants to see a child face, but we didn't exactly realize the severity of it either. Unfortunately, I don't think they did either. 

Our director called back around 30 minutes later very upset. His words "I have the worst news. She didn't make it" were to follow. Within a short bit, we received her death information from the hospital. 

All of this happened while I was at work. I'm grateful for awesome co-workers. They surrounded me and loved on me until I could get home and begin grieving with our family. The next few days were very emotional for our family. It's definitely not how we planned our adoption journey to play out. We never wanted to tell our boys that they will never play with the sister they talk about and pray for constantly.

While we have complete peace that our Lovely Matsy Grace now has the home we could have never provided, we have experienced the pain of a child passing from this earth never getting to experience the love of a family. 

God blessed us with the most beautiful family and friends. They helped us pull together a memorial celebration for the NEW LIFE of our Lovely Matsy Grace. My parents bought a tree and perfect stone for us to plant at their home in Mississippi. We released balloons in the colors we had planned to decorate her room and shared a meal together. My husband struggled through his words and my oldest son said the most beautiful prayer. It was a precious time. A life should never be gone from this earth without being celebrated, so even if it was from half way around the globe, her life did not go unnoticed. Surrounded by our family and a precious surprise from our sweet friends, we chose to celebrate the hope we have when we all pass from this temporary home.


And I don't think the day could have ended any more beautifully... 

So.. Where do we go from here? We continue to wait for another referral. While we in no way want to forget our Lovely Matsy Grace, we are more motivated than ever to adopt and be a forever family to our next child. While we hope that will come sooner than later, international adoption is international adoption and you know that God doesn't always write our story in the ways we plan. So, we are choosing joy today and trusting that God is continuing to write our story! 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

It Takes a Village

Well, it's 16 days since we saw our daughter's face for the first time! We've been deep in paperwork and are currently waiting {completely impatiently... I'm not even going to lie about how many times I've checked my email} for her full medical examination that comes with more pictures and videos of our girl!!

As exciting as this time is of preparing for her arrival, there are multiple nights I haven't been able to sleep since her referral thinking about what she's doing at those very moments in an orphanage 10.5 hours ahead of our time zone, thinking about her biological parents, and dreaming about having her home as quickly as possible.

We haven't done any fundraisers in a while and had continued to save. We were really hopeful that we were fully funded to complete this adoption. Unfortunately, the fees in India are a little more expensive than Ethiopia and the travel time is longer. So... We have 2 fundraisers coming up!! God has used the most precious people to help us financially along this journey. They have come in the form of small amounts and HUGE amounts! We will never be able to thank you all enough. It's amazing how much less stressful the financial aspect of adoption has become since we have seen her face. I have confidence that God is going to provide just what we need to

We had so much fun over the past few years with LOTS of LOVEethiopia t-shirt orders! We are so grateful for those t-shirts!! We shipped to 48 states!! We are excited to introduce our first fundraiser... T-shirts!!


- We will be taking preorders until July 13!! The shirts are Comfort Colors Pocket Tees. The front says the word "chosen" next to India and the back says "It Takes a Village." We couldn't come up with truer phrases for our journey to our girl!!

- you can buy at this link:

- SHIRTS are $20. {$22 for XXL & XXXL. 3XL is the largest size.} SHIPPING is $4.


- You can pay via the PAYPAL link on the side of this page {Make sure you leave your size and color preference!!} OR you can send me your e-mail with size & t-shirt preference and I will send you an invoice via e-mail! ALL INVOICES SHOULD BE PAID BY JULY 13 FOR SHIRTS TO BE ORDERED!

- You can send a check to 345 Westwood Ave., Jackson, TN 38301. Must be received by JULY 13 for order to be placed!

- Shirt will be in around 10 BUSINESS days after order is placed!!

We are so grateful for all the prayers, financial support, and help throughout the last 41 months! We don't know exactly when our girl will be home. We are praying hard that she will be home by the holidays! It's going to take a lot of prayers and a LOT of paperwork miracles, so please join us in praying her home for the holidays!!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Our Story He is Writing..

40 months ago, we sent off our initial application to begin the process of adopting a little girl-- our Matsy Grace-- from Ethiopia. We could not WAIT! We were 7 months pregnant and had a 1 year old. We would sit around and watch "Gotcha Day" videos and dream of life with 3 kids.

Fast forward over three years. We no longer watch "Gotcha Day" videos. We pray for our child, but rarely bring up our adoption in conversation. With every passing month, we realize that our dream of bringing home a child through adoption hasn't happened. We are a little more aware of the difficulty that adopting parents and adopted children go through. We see first hand the ways the system is broken.. ultimately because we live in a broken world.

Our story hasn't been written the way we would have planned. God has written it in ways we would have never imagined. We've experienced heartache, moves, pain, loss. For multiple reasons, we've been treading through the waters of the hardest season of our life.

Through every turn, we've been asked the same questions--- Are you are still adopting?... When are you bringing your child home?... What's the update with your adoption?

When you've waited 40 months, the questions become just a little more painful. They are just a little deeper reminder that your child is still not home. We thought we would be home in 18-24 months from the beginning. Who knew that 40 months in, we would have still never seen the face of our child.

So... Ethiopia adoption. Since we began, things have been steadily slowing. First the wait for a referral. Now there's not only significantly increased wait for referral, but also post referral. We are praying with our Ethiopian adoption community as it is taking 12-24 months to bring these babies home after their referrals.

Knowing this has been the pattern and not seeing any reversal in the pattern at this point, we made a decision a few months ago to purse an adoption from INDIA! We didn't tell anyone because honestly, we still didn't know anything. We still couldn't answer any questions...And we still had a lot to learn! After all the ways we had fallen in love with Ethiopia, we knew that God could still lead us down new paths that may not look as we had planned.

The process in India looks TOTALLY different than the process in Ethiopia. We chose India because their government put several laws into practice last year that have lead to more ethical and timely adoptions. We began the paperwork process and just got *cautiously* excited.

There are 2 ways to receive referrals in India. One way is through CARA, their government agency that issues referrals. They typically provide 2 referrals and the family choses 1. Another is through CARINGS, in which special needs children can be reviewed and accepted as referrals. We decided that we were open to minor special needs and would wait for a referral for CARA, but would also review any children provided to us from CARINGS. We knew a referral from CARINGS could come at any point.

Well, last week started out rough. Last Monday was one of those days that you want to just push the re-do button and hope things turn out differently. So.. once again, God hasn't written our story the way we thought it would be written. In these times, we trust God is sovereign and choose to remain faithful, even though our flesh still feels pain.

When Thursday rolled around, it was time to regroup. We planned individual date nights with our kids. I had planned to wear a dress and let my 4 year old take me on a real "dinner" date. So.. I begin getting dressed. I put on a dress, walked out of the closet and my son said, "Mommy, you look like a princess! You're beautiful!" It wasn't that I at all looked like a princess, but it was the sweetest reminder in a hard place that I am still loved. And God still looks down on us with favor, even when our story isn't written the way we planned.

I'm finishing getting dressed and my phone rings. Everyone is just running around the house. My husband is giving Noah all the tips about how to treat a girl on a date and slipping a $20 in his pocket to pay for my dinner. Micah is excited about a bowling outing with his daddy. I ignore the call. I'm passing by my phone when I get a text message from a lady that works with our adoption agency saying "Call me ASAP."

When I call her she answers the phone with, "Have you checked your e-mail in the last couple of minutes?" I said "no."

The words came out quickly..."Go check it. You have a REFERRAL!!"


I immediately started crying and called my husband in the room! He said "Where are they from!?" Since the sweet woman who called me typically works with the Ethiopia program (and as I couldn't get the attachments open fast enough), I said "I bet it's an Ethiopian BOY!"

Well.... it was a BEAUTIFUL little 13 month old GIRL from Bihar, India!!!

I wish I could share the sweetness of her eyes with you all!

{After the shock and tears, we continued with our dates and celebrated our sweet daughter! Noah decided she was a great excuse to treat me to ice cream after dinner, too! }

So what now?... we now begin a whole lot of paperwork to get this girl home to us! I don't know the timeline at this point. I hope to get better at updating our blog to keep you all updated on specific timelines and prayer requests.

We need 1 thing from you all...  A LOT OF PRAYER for things to go seamlessly to get this sweet girl home to us ASAP! In the meantime, we will be learning about Indian culture, catching up on adoption books and trying to prepare our boys for a little softer, more feminine side to our home. :) 

Thank you for all the prayers for the last 40 months! We can't wait to have our girl home and officially become a family of 5!!!

And yes... God is STILL writing our story!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Night in Ethiopia SUCCESS!

6 days ago, we had our largest fundraiser yet. I wish I could say this all makes sense and that I understand the way the Lord provides. Even more so, I wish I could say I always believe the Lord will provide.

We've never been unable to pay an adoption fee. If you know and understand some of these fee amounts, you know that this is miraculous in and of itself.

With all that being said, we've spent the last week in shock at the way the Lord provides!!

Our day started EARLY EARLY EARLY with icing and bagging Africa shaped cookies! From there, the decorations at The Barn at Snider Farms began. Within 5 minutes of walking into the Barn, my husband FaceTimed me. Since he had been sick the previous 24 hours and had gone to the doctor that morning to get a shot, I assumed he would be calling me from the bed saying he wasn't going to work. BUT... of course, God knew that I needed a reminder that He provides more than we could ask or imagine. So... the call began with a picture of a check. Unknown to the ones who wrote this overly generous check, it was EXACTLY the amount of our next fee...for our referral!!! At that point, I knew that all the doubt and fear I had experienced over the prior 6 weeks were straight from Satan. God had this night in His control and would provide MORE than we could ask or imagine!!

So... the day went on and thanks to my parents, my sister and my precious friends Miriam and Melody, we had such a fun day prepping knowing that God was in control.

Ok.. get ready for picture overload. The evening was beautiful....

Well... there's the night in pictures. It couldn't have been more perfect. It was SUCH a special night spent with special friends and we even got to meet a few new friends!!

Now... you've all been waiting..... Drumroll please............. Over the course of the day and night, we raised a total of MORE THAN


If you understood the amount of time we've spent over the past 2 years trying to figure out how in the world we would save/raise the funds to bring our child home and how many small fundraisers we have had, you would know that this amount was only provided because of God!! 

You see, there's one thing that our family understands. Not a single person has to donate a single dollar to our adoption. No one is required to give us anything. Every time a new donation comes in or every time we complete a fundraiser, I'm just blown away at how generous people are. Seriously!! God has done so much refining in me on this journey. I never knew my heart was filled with so much fear and doubt. He has slowly {and it's STILL a work in progress} chiseled away at the fear, doubt and pride that has filled my heart and replaced them with a content heart knowing that I am not in control of any of this!

So... In my book, A Night in Ethiopia was a success!! There are A LOT of people that made this night possible!! My parents, my mother in law, my sister, Mark and Melody Benton, Miriam Parrish, Karl and Angela Snider, Bryan and Bethany Welborn, Rheagan Lovelace... We are more than grateful for all your work to make our fundraiser possible! AND... to all our donors, we can't tell you how you have blessed us! God has been so faithful and used each of you in beautiful ways! 

{Exhausted from the past week Frozen Yogurt trip with the Grandparents! Excuse the fact that Noah is picking his nose!}