Willis Party of 5... or 6

By faith, we will be a family of 5 or 6 on this Earth in the coming days. We are adopting a child or children out of the foster care system of Georgia. We are not fostering. We are not adopting a specific child. We are just going to adopt a child or sibling set that comes up in the system in foster care that is in need of a mom and dad. We are waiting. We are not raising money. These children are free. Dear Jesus no child should be free. The price of a child is priceless, these are simply children that are "unwanted." The risk involved is that when the children are placed in your family, there is a 6 month wait until the finalization court hearing when they become legally yours. In that time, there is about 1 family out of every 40 families that the child goes back into the system because the birth parents re-gained their rights. The children in foster care that are up for adoption already have parental rights in termination. Either because the parents gave up their rights for stories you don't want to hear about or the parents are deceased. It is messy and complicated, thus a huge need.

Adoption comes out of broken-ness. A sad story. We see it as a picture of our own lives saved by Gods grace through Christ. We were all broken. And Christ came to restore. One of my favorite articles is by David Platt and he says, "It’s important to realize, then, that we adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are the rescued."

There is something so simple, yet so complicated about what we are doing. We started this commitment in September. We fell in love 13 years ago, married almost 10 years ago. We started having our family 8 years ago. We became a family of 9 in 2010, 3 years ago, after losing 5 babies and welcoming 2 into this world. It was 2 years ago I felt the desire to grow our family in a different way.   Not because we couldn't, but because we could. It was a simple thought of "well why would I create more lives (at this point 7 lives) when there are so many already out there that don't have a mom or dad?" I know God blesses families either way, but we knew for us that adoption was what we were called to. You only have to spend about 30 seconds in the Bible to know orphans and widows are some of the people groups nearest to God's heart.

So, I was close to never really letting a lot of people "in" on this journey. It felt so safe to keep it close. No one would know. We could just one day be walking around with another kid and then I could tell people! If no one knows your dreams, no one will know when you fail. And when those dreams aren't achieved. People will see failure.  Well, after a long time I realized... who cares. We have had so many failures and also so many dreams come true. Life is both. Failure and success have to co-exist. Some of the most successful people have had the biggest failures. You can succeed in light of failure.

So we are waiting. Our table is set. We have done the paperwork, finished the training, done the Home Study, received our certifications as an adoptive parent and foster parent, interviews, our kids gave testimonials to DFCS (Dept of Family and Children Services), locked up medicines/cleaners, updated smoke detectors, have a fire extinguisher, prepared our children, prepared ourselves, prepared our home, and prepared our hearts.

As we wait in our home with our table set, would you pray that we would know when the phone rings if it is the right child or children? That we would know. That it would be clear. The agency could call tonight, in a week, or in a month, or whenever they have a match for us. And also, that our phone would ring. You go into this knowing it does not guarantee anything.

But faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. We did college ministry for a long time. For 4 years of being students we were sold out on a vision to make Christ known. For 2 years on staff we did it full time and it was transformational. The church we were partnered with had a vision of  this statement: Attempt something so great for God that it is doomed to failure, lest He be in it.  That is how we want to live all the time. Trusting God for big things. The people around us to know Him in an intimate way. For peace in relationships. For God to break chains and walls people have put up. To find homes for orphans. And that is what a blessing is, when we get to see God act and move in those things and be involved with it. He is the blessing. We, are not.

We are very excited. I would not trade our journey for anything. And I would walk it a 1,000 times again to see Christ how I have seen Him and know the things I know. So. Our table is set. We are waiting for God to show up.  The preparation is finished. I keep having visions about the below picture. When I showed Tim he said he was a little nervous about how many seats were at the table, ha! It is just a picture or all the planning and prep and the anticipation of an event. We can't wait.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21



Our goal and bucket list for the summer is to do a lot of local stuff, but we also had a few getaways in mind to GET AWAY! It is so good for your family to take a break and change the scenery. Our kids are almost 7 and 5 so traveling is so much easier than when they were younger! It would have taken so much effort to pull off just a weekend trip when they were very small, but now we just all pile in and go! I still keep our trips simple though and avoid "over planning". When you over plan a vacation, it takes the relaxation out of it. The great thing about raising your family is that you set the tone for what vacation is. We have always set the pace of the trip to be chill since they were little so they enjoy being at a different place with our family and sight seeing!

We had a great time in Chattanooga! It takes barely over an hour to get there and there is so much to do..... over the years we have driven up for weekend stays to do Lookout Mtn, Rock City, Ruby Falls, ride the Tennesee Valley Railway, see fireworks on the river over the 4th, antiquing, hiking, and leaf drives in the fall. There is a great aquarium, tons of stuff to do downtown, and an extremely family friendly area. Its easy enough to just make a day trip, but if you call the hotel they constantly have specials going on.

This was our Choo Choo trip. The hotel has an awesome deal for a family pack at $189 that includes your hotel room at the old famous Chattanooga choo choo, a train ride on the railway, conductors hats for the kids, museum tickets for the model trains, and a $25 voucher to eat at the hotel. The hotel also had a great pool! Either way, with it being a little over an hour away.... we made the absolute most of our weekend and we made some really fun memories as a family! One of my favorite things is at night, there are gas torches all over the hotel grounds and through the gardens.... we spent so much time back there! Everything about the hotel was fun, including the coy pond with huge fish and frogs :)
David at his favorite pool with the waterfall
Mackenzie and the fish

Downtown with the fountains and waterfall on the stairs

We love trying new coffee shops on our trips and this was was great! It is called Stone Cup downtown.
Hanging out on the Tennessee River
We ate pizza inside a train car one night
Right after we boarded the train! Kids and their conductors hats!!

The gardens at the back of the hotel

We had so much fun on this trip and can't wait to come back and keep exploring Chattanooga! See you soon Tennessee!

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