Monday, December 8, 2008

Another "Thank You" to add...

Our town had their Christmas Parade this past weekend. During the parade two ladies from our church were selling blankets. At their booth they raffled off a blanket and the money from the raffle was given to us for our adoption fund. Benji and I can't thank Carol J. and Deborah P. enough. It really meant a lot to us for them to do this and we are so thankful to have them in our lives. I always say that I have no idea how this adoption is going to happen but it is people like this and our wonderful family that is going to help make this adoption happen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A family Catering job to help fund our adoption.

We had another opportunity to make a little extra money to apply to our adoption fund. Before I go any further I must give a huge thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, Staci and Dwayne. Staci set us up with a catering job (really our first) and it gave me the opportunity to do the wedding and grooms cake too. Everyone worked very hard as you can see below. Benji and Dwayne really put in a lot of effort to help us girls. Then mama and daddy came up to pitch in and help us out too. It was a ton of work but we all had a blast (at least I did anyway, Ha!) Benji and I can't thank y'all enough for all your hard work. Staci and Dwayne worked so hard and then gave the entire profit to our adoption fund. We are once again very humbled and words can't express our gratitude. We love you guys!!!!

Staci and Dwayne
It's a monkey in a tree! No it's really just my hubby goofing off. HA!

Mama helping with the punch fountain.

Daddy frying chicken strips.

The fruit display...great job Staci!
Dwayne and Benji working hard to pipe cheesestraws.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yard Sale Day!!!

We had our yardsale this past weekend. As hard of work as it was, we had a blast. Plus we got a good jump on our adoption fund. Benji and I were so blessed to have such supportive friends and family who donated and worked so hard to help get this yardsale together. Mama, Daddy, Shasha, Erin, Melynda, Kathryn, Tal, Mema and Papa: we can't thank you guys enough for all the hard work that you guys put in. There is no way that we could have pulled this off without all of you. Shasha (my aunt) and Erin (my cousin) came up Friday night and spent the night to help us out. Melynda, Tal, Kathryn and Adam (Benji's cousin, her huband and their kids) came Friday night to help get things out then were back with us bright and early to help us get things together. Thank you Melynda for the sausage biscuits, they were awesome! Mema and Papa (my grandparents) came up Friday night to help us set up for the yard sale. Last but not least, my parents. They were behind the whole yardsale. Thank you so much for everything that y'all did. To each and everyone of you: We are so blessed to have you guys as family and hopefully one day we can pay you all back for all your hard work. Also there were numerous people who donated items to the yard sale: Sonny (my father-in-law) thanks for donating all but your kitchen sink. HA! To everyone else that donated: Mary and Jerry (Benji's mama and step father), Aunt Peggy and Uncle Charles (Benji's aunt and uncle), Joe and Mary, Donald, Martha, Dana, Penny...thank you guys, your donations were truly a blessing to us! To Staci and Ashley: Thanks for your text messages to check in and send your "text" support, HA! Thank you guys for thinking about us. We know that you would have both been there if you could have.

Here a a few pics to share of everyone who help us with the yard sale:

My mama with her cart hauling stuff from her house to mine.

Papa hauling stuff with daddy's lawnmower.

Mema and Papa, sharing a moment.

Shasha and Erin

Melynda trying to con Erin into buying some of Benji's grandma's lingerie.

Melynda cooking everyone sausage biscuits. Thanks for taking care of breakfast Melynda. It was much appreciated and enjoyed by everyone....especially your cuz. You have now set the standard for sausage biscuits in my house.

Kathryn trying some of Grandma B's lingerie herself. Daddy and Benji in the back. Thank you daddy for the fried oreos and the funnel cakes!

Mama and Aunt Peggy chatting.

Last but not least...Shasha getting her workout for the day. Erin and I will forever be haunted of this moment. HA!

Again, Benji and I can't thank all of you that helped and donated enough. Our child/children will forever know of your hard work and your generosity! You guys mean the world to us and we love you all very much!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A few exciting tidbits!

I just have a few things to note. Not much new going on in the process but the other day I went home for lunch and there was a box by my back door. I knew that I had not ordered anything so I had no idea what it was. As I opened it it was filled with baby items! My dear and wonderful friend Ashley had sent me a "box of fun" in her words. She had sent us a box of goodies to add to our baby box. It made my day and was just so encouraging. Thanks Ashley, you are truly the best and I love ya! That meant so much to me.

Also we are having an adoption fund yardsale in 2 weeks. We have been so blessed to have people that have already donated to the yardsale. My mama wrote a poem for the newspaper advertisement:


Saturday, Nov. 8
Rentz family home
437 Sunrise Dr.

We're trying to raise funds
to adopt a "bundle of joy".
To us it does not matter
if it is a girl or a boy.
Stop by and see us...
buy something to own.
Every single dollar made
will help bring our child home!
We are praying and thanking God in advance for a good turnout at the yardsale because it could really help jumpstart the adoption process.
Last, Benji applied for Family Medical Leave today. He has been granted FML for a year. That means that anything to do with the adoption is excused at work. That doesn't not mean that it's paid but it is an excused absence.
So not much going on but a few exciting tid bits that needed to be noted.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Tea Cup Story

I came across this story a short while back. This story really touched me and gave me such peace about the adoption process. I'm posting it here because it personlly brought me a great deal of peace and understanding, and hopefully it can touch someone else's heart as it did mine.

The Teacup

A couple vacationing in Europe went strolling down a little street and saw a quaint little gift shop with a beautiful teacup in the window. The lady collected teacups and she wanted this one for her collection, so she went inside to buy the teacup, and as the story goes the teacup spoke and said: "I want you to know that I have not always looked like this. It took the process of pain to bring me to this point. You see, there was a time when I was just clay and the Master came and he pounded me and he squeezed me and he kneaded me and I screamed: "STOP THAT!". But he just smiled and said, "Not yet". Then he took me and put me on the shelf and I went round and round and round and round... and while I was spinning and getting dizzier and dizzier I screamed again and I said, "Please get me off this thing... please get me off!!!" And the Master was looking at me and he was smiling, as he said, "Not yet". Then he took me and walked toward the oven and shut the door and turned up the heat and I could see him through the window of the oven and it was getting hotter and hotter and I thought, "He's going to burn me to death!". And I started pounding on the inside of the oven and I said, "Master, let me out, let me out, let me out!", and I could see that he was smiling as he said "Not yet". Then he opened the door and I was fresh and free and he took me out of the oven and he put me on the table and then he got some paint and a paintbrush. He started dabbing me and making swirls all over me and I started to gag and I said: "Master, stop it... stop it... stop it please... you're making me gag". He just smiled as he said "not yet". Then very gently he picked me up again and he started walking toward the oven and I said, "Master, NO!! Not again, pleeeease!!". He opened the oven door and he slipped me inside and he shut the door and this time he turned the heat up twice as hot as before and I thought, "He's going to kill me!!", and I looked through the window of the oven and I started to pound on it, saying, "Master... Master, please let me out... please let me out... let me out!". I could see that he was smiling but I also noticed a tear trickle down his cheek as I watched him mouth the words, "Not yet!" Just as I thought I was about to die, the door opened and he reached in ever so gently and took me out, fresh and free and he went and placed me on a high shelf and he said: "There, I have created what I intended. Would you like to see yourself?" I said, "Yes". He handed me a mirror and I looked and I looked again and I said, "That's not me, I'm just a lump of clay". He said, "Yes, that IS you, but it took the process of pain to bring you to this place. You see, had I not worked you when you were clay, then you would have dried up. If I had not subjected you to the stress of the wheel you would have crumbled. If I had not put you into the heat of the oven you would have cracked. If I had not painted you there would be no color in your life. But, it was the second oven that gave you the strength to endure. Now you are everything I intended you to be - from the beginning." And I, the teacup, heard myself saying something I never thought I would hear myself saying, "Master, forgive me, I did not trust you. I thought you were going to harm me, I did not know you had a glorious future and a hope for me. I was too shortsighted, but I want to thank you. I want to thank you for the suffering. I want to thank you for the process of pain. Here I am! I give you myself - fill me; pour from me, use me as you see fit. I really want to be a vessel that brings you glory within my life."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Beginning of our "Leap of Faith"

This first entry may be pretty long but I'm going to cram a few months into one blog. So just bear with me. I have several reasons for starting this blog: A) so that family and friends can keep up with what's going on, especially when we are overseas B) to chronicle this experience so that one day my child/children can have a good understanding of how they came to our family C) the most important, I want for anyone reading this to see how much that God is and has been in this whole experience. I want this blog to be my testimony and I want anyone reading to see and know that we are not in this alone, God had guided this whole process.
Let me begin by introducing myself. I am Shanon. I am 26 years old and am married to the best man that God could have ever paired me with....Benji. We met in December of 1997, we officially began dating in January 1998, then I was blessed to marry my best friend in January 2002.
We were married for about 2 years when we decided that we were about ready to start a family. When dating we had discussed that we wanted to adopt at some point. It was always my thought that I have a baby naturally then down the road we would adopt. Well, God clearly had a different plan for us. Things never progressed with having children naturally so we looked into adopting. Our first thought was definitely a domestic adoption. I just always thought that we have so many children here in the U.S. that need homes, why go over seas? Either way, adoption was just too expensive for us. Money is tighter than ever so I just thought that if this is what God wanted from us then he'd put the money in my account and then I'd know he wanted us to adopt. He had to make it happen first.
Now to whole the taking a "leap of faith" began. Back in May (2008), Steven Curtis Chapman's adopted daughter was killed on a tragic accident. Then next day, my mama called to tell me what happened and that she had seen that he had an adoption fund set up "Shaohannah Hope". She just asked me to get online and check it out. Okay, sure, whatever, I thought. Then, within the hour my friend Melanie called and told me that she was reading about the death of Maria Sue Chapman and came across an adoption fund that the Chapman's had started "Shaohannah Hope". She said, "I thought that it may be something that you need to looking into." So I thought to myself, okay, that's two people in an hour calling to tell me the same thing, maybe I should just look at it. So, I get online and look up this sight and in it I came across the scripture Ephesians 1:5. I never saw exactly what it said so I thought that I'd just look it up later. I was quite interested but know that there is simply no way that we can afford this. Needless to say I never looked up the scripture when I got home. I just thought that we can't afford it so why bother looking into it anyways.
Two days later, my papa suffered a stroke. My mama and I took off to the hospital with my nephew, Nathan. We were in a hurry so I just grabbed some books out of my mama's car and took them into the hospital with us to keep Nathan entertained. At one point all the family was in the ER with my papa, so just Nathan and I were in the waiting room. I pulled out the books to read to him and the book was titled "A Gift From Above". I didn't think much of it. Then as we got to reading the book was about a kangaroo that wanted a baby so bad and couldn't have one. One day a baby bird fell out of it's nest in into her pouch because there wasn't enough room in the nest for the baby bird. The kangaroo adopted the baby bird and they lived happily ever after. I'm already thinking to myself "Man this is weird". Then the very last page of the book had written: Having predestined us into adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Ephesians 1:5. I was utterly speechless. Even more, mama had never seen the book before. She didn't know where it came from. God is telling me something, I am just going to have to listen.
The next few days, I was glued to the internet researching. The more that I looked the more that I was drawn to international adoption. Then I really began to feel in my heart that God is not country specific. We are all God's children. If it's his heart to adopt, he doesn't care where you go to adopt. I felt a strong pull towards Russia, but Russia is the most expensive. The whole time I just kept thinking "There's no way we can ever afford that, this is just never going to happen". Over the next few days I just kept feeling in my heart "Trust him". I felt like God was speaking to my heart and saying "Take this leap if faith, you show me that you trust in me and I will provide". I felt this very strongly in my heart. However, because my ears didn't hear the words spoken I was having trouble believing it. For days I just kept feeling in my heart that God wanted me to trust in him. I felt like he really was wanting me to take this huge leap of faith. So, Benji and I decided to just send off to an agency and just see what happens. If God was wanting us to trust him then trust him we will do.
On June 30,2008 we sent our application to the adoption agency that we chose. I thought, if this is right and if this is God's will then we will be approved. On July 9 the agency called and said that we will more then likely be declined because I take blood pressure medication. I was devistated. I didn't understand how I could feel something so strong and be wrong. So we sent info on my meds to the agency and they said that they double check and get back with us. I was crushed. I told God, "If this is really what you want for us, if this is really your will, then get us approved. If we get an approval then I know that we are following God's will and I will stop at nothing until I get my child." Then on July 14 we got approved! I knew right then that I was following God's plan. Just a little tidbit to show how God works....I talked to my mema, she told me that she and a friend of hers were at the mall walking and she asked her friend, Gloria, to please pray for us. Gloria stopped right there in the mall and she and mema shared a prayer for this adoption approval. I asked her when that was because I knew that mema and papa were at the mall pretty early. She said that they had said the prayer between 10:45 and 11:00. We got the phone call from the agency with the approval at 11:06. Is that not just amazing??
Now here we are in late September and the money just is not there to begin this adoption. I have had some days were doubt has almost consumed me. Benji constantly reassures me that God is going to provide (he does real estate on the side so just a couple of real estate closings and we can be where we need to be). None the less the past month has been really hard. I have really let doubt almost destroy my vision. I began to pray for another sign (or confirmation) that we are on the right path. Then one day it hit me. God has done enough confirmation that we are doing the right thing. So I changed my prayer to this, "God, I'm going to continue this adoption process because I feel that this is what you want for us and I feel that we are following you. Instead of you sending me confirmation that I am doing the right thing then please send me confirmation only if I am NOT doing the right thing." So basically I decided that I'm not going to doubt anymore, when the timing is right, God will provide! So until he stops me I will keep pushing forward!! With this attitude, I have been feeling so much better. My spirits have been lifted.
This is where we are today and how we got here. I hope that soon things will start happening and I will post frequently. But until then I am faithfully waiting on God to get us to our next step.