"I will not leave you as orphans..." - John 14:18

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bringing Joy HOME!!!

For those of you who haven't seen this yet, I pray it blesses you and helps you to know and see that our God is FAITHFUL!!!! Thank you all for the YEARS of love and prayers and support.

What a crazy long, wonderfully messy, immensely beautiful and difficult journey it was!! We are super blessed to finally have our baby girl HOME!

 Having trouble viewing the video? Watch it on YouTube instead!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

An Unexpected Twist

The Coombs family adoption has taken a bit of a twist.

It's been a while since we posted on here. Both Travis and I couldn't get ourselves to write about what was happening with our adoption. We were disheartened and confused, to be quite honest. Bringing our questions to God and not to the world was just about all we could do. I'm sure most of you already know that we lost our referral for our Ethiopian kids. It was very much bitter sweet when we learned they had been returned to their biological father, which of course, meant they would not be coming to us. We've spent the summer and early fall wrestling with this loss, praying for answers.

Just under a month ago, my husband Travis said, “If God wants us to adopt, He’s gonna have to drop something in our lap.” Famous last words, it seems. Not more than a few days later, it happened. A wonderful little bundle of joy was dropped in our lap. A baby girl, only a few weeks old, in Uganda. As most of you know, we’ve been pursuing an adoption in Ethiopia for the past five years, not Uganda. Hence, the twist of this incredibly wonderful, yet immensely difficult, faith-testing journey.

The last several weeks have been ones marked by wrestling and seeking Jesus with all we have. At the beginning of September, both Travis and I had the distinct impression that God was saying, "Wait on Me." But for what? We wondered. The door in Ethiopia had shut altogether after having lost the two children we were once given. And we found ourselves at a crossroads, not knowing what to do, praying and fasting and wondering if we were to pursue another country or give up or simply wait.

The Uganda door opened a few weeks later. And despite our fears, we prayerfully walked through it. We’re pursuing this baby girl and hope to have her home in the coming months!!! (We’d love to share pictures and other details, but we can’t yet! Rules, you know wink emoticon).

Our story is not yet over. Far from it, in fact. Only God knows how it will end, but regardless of what happens, we know Jesus is faithful and good.

We have an adoption fundraiser scheduled for December 4th from 6-9pm at Reno Provisions!! Stay tuned for more information!

Thank you to all of you who have prayed and given us support along this long crazy messy joy-filled path!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Would You Consider Helping Us Bring Our Children Home?

Dear friends and family,
In September 2010, Laurie and I set our hearts on completing our family through adoption. God made it abundantly clear to us that He had one or maybe two children for us half a world away in Ethiopia. We set off on this journey that we thought would take no more than two years with full hearts. Nothing could hamper our spirits or get in our way.
Shortly after we committed to our adoption agency (www.allgodschildren.org), however, governmental procedures in Ethiopia were revamped in an effort to curb corruption that was evident in the international adoption community. Tragically, child trafficking was and still is a serious problem in Ethiopia. Children who were not legitimate orphans were being plucked off the streets and pawned off as orphaned children. The new procedures were intended to provide additional oversight and validation of the legitimate orphan status of the children. Our family understood the positive intentions of this delay, and we did our best to settle in and wait for God's perfect timing.
Four and a half years after we started our journey, our hearts were running on empty, our spirits were hampered, and we wondered if our adoption journey was destined for a desolate dead end. We wondered if we had misunderstood God's call for us.
Somewhere toward the end of January, I (Travis) was on the verge of writing our adoption off as a failure. I was ready to quit and be content with the wonderful family God has blessed me with in my wife and two beautiful daughters. But then God started speaking to Laurie. He impressed upon her the incredible truth that there is absolutely nothing that is too difficult for Him. "All it takes is one word from God, and it is so," she said. We prayed and fasted every Monday for three weeks. And then God did the IMPOSSIBLE!
On Monday, February 16th, we received the call we had been waiting YEARS for. We had received a referral for TWO BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN! Big sister Abeng turned 5 on March 28th and little brother Judiber who is 3!
Colossians 1:11-12 says, "May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."
Just when our endurance and patience diminished, God once again proved to us that He was and is with us. Our faith tank was immediately filled to the brim, overflowing with evidence of His glory, grace, and power. We were reaffirmed that we did indeed hear God calling us to this adoption, and we are moving full steam ahead!
We are now on the home stretch of our journey of bringing these children into their forever home, and we're asking for help. Laurie and I need to raise over $25,000 for expenses including costs for our agency to care for our children before we bring them home, agency fee's, immigration fee's, travel expenses, etc. Our pastor recently told me, "$25,000 isn't a lot of money to God." We know without a shadow of a doubt that God will  provide for his children, and we are seeking every possible source for that provision. With much prayer and consideration, we feel led to reach out to our friends and family. If you have a heart for orphans and feel called to donate to our adoption fund, we would be truly and forever grateful. Any contribution, large or small will go a long way.
Thank you in advance from my family and me for your thoughtful consideration. We wouldn't be here without the incredible support of our friends and family, a blessing we are humbled by and immensely thankfuul for.
With love and thanks,
The Coombs Family

All donations are made via Ordinary Hero which is a 501c3 (click here to view fundraising site). This makes the donations tax deductible to you. Funds donated will be sent directly to our agency to cover adoption expenses only and you can donate anonymously if you would like.
In addition, contributions can be made via check to "Coombs Family Adoption" that will be routed through our church (www.lifechurchreno.com) as a tax deductible donation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

All It Took Was One Word!

One WordThis post is going to be extremely informal. Quite honestly, my plate this week and next is incredibly full (for good reason!), but I just had to get on here briefly to share some amazing news––news I hope will strengthen you in your faith as it has me in mine. If you have yet to read last week's post, Fully Convinced, I'd encourage you to do so. God's timing of that post is just beyond words. In that post, I wrote briefly of the challenges my family and I have faced in our Ethiopian adoption. Our adoption had gotten to the point where it did not just seem impossible, but by all accounts, it was.

But once again, we have seen God do the impossible!

I received a call Monday, a call we have been waiting for for four and a half years, telling us of two amazing little people who live half a world away. Two little ones who will be ours. A little girl, four years old. And a little boy, three. It's almost too wonderful to believe, and quite honestly, I think my husband and girls and I are all still a bit shell shocked by what the Lord has done.

I mean, He did it! All it took was one word. And He has spoken that word, and fulfilled the promise.

When we set out on this journey to adopt, we fully expected to have our child(ren) home in one to two years. That was back in 2010. Roadblock after roadblock was placed in our way, which converted this one to two year journey into a four and a half year journey of faith. It seemed, many times along the way, that it wasn't going to happen, but each time, I prayed and distinctly heard God tell me, "Do not give up!" Over and over again, "Do not give up!" And so we didn't. We chose to believe.

Last week, I wrote about Abraham's faith. That He believed God would fulfill His promise despite what He saw––despite the impossible challenges before him. Scripture says His faith was counted to Him as righteousness. Now, I wish I could say that I had great faith all along, but I can't. Doubt crept in about one year ago, and I began to wonder whether or not God was going to pull through. I wondered if I had heard right. I wondered if we were on the right path. But each time, I felt deep in my heart that we needed to press on. We needed to believe despite what we saw. I mean after all, that's the definition of faith. Faith is the assurance of things not seen, before they happen. Faith is not an "I'll believe it when I see it" ideology. It's an "I'll believe it despite what I see" kind of thing.

I'll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, and I can't wait to share it with you, but I'm going to have to take next week off to complete a ridiculous amount of paperwork! Until then, I'll leave you with these thoughts:
  • We must always seek godly wisdom to assure we're pursing God's will and are not chasing after our own desires.
  • The path God sets before us will have obstacles.
  • If you believe (after prayer and counsel) that you are on God's chosen path, do not give up. Far too many people quite before they see God's promise come to fruition.
  • Always remain teachable, humble, and open to the Spirit's leading. He may direct you in ways you do not anticipate.
  • And always, always REMEMBER that we serve a God who does the impossible. Do not base your belief on your circumstances, but rather, base your belief on who God is.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fully Convinced

Fully ConvincedI held my Bible as I sat with one of my girls on each side of me in bed. "Do you see a pattern?" I asked.

They looked at the passage and said, "What pattern?"

"Look at what I've circled and highlighted."

Almost in unison, they read, "'And God said...'" Pause. "'And it was so.'"

Fingers ran down the page, "'And God said,'" they read. "'And it was so.'"

Over and over, their little fingers stopped on each of my markings. "'And God said... And it was so.'"

"Do you see it?"

"I think so," Avery said.

"What do you think it means?"

"It's like God says something, and then it happens."

"Yes!" I said, with perhaps a bit too much enthusiasm. "Nothing is too difficult for our God. He speaks, and it is so! Just like He did in the beginning here in Genesis. Isn't that amazing?"

Both girls nodded.

"The book of Romans tells us that God calls into existence things that do not exist," I continued. "He creates out of nothing, simply by speaking it forth. All it takes is a word from God, and it is so."

My family and I have been on a long journey together, a journey we believe God set us on. We have been waiting four and a half years for God to say the word, for Him to bring us our child(ren) from Ethiopia, and at this point, it'll take a miracle. But in Isaiah 55:11, we read, "so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." God does what He says. He is just as active today as ever. His Word does not return void, but does what it is purposed to do.

What an incredible truth that is!!!

Like many of you, I have some things I believe God has promised to me. Some things that I cannot yet see. In the natural, these things do not look possible, but we press on in faith. Hebrews 11:1 says "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." The rest of the chapter goes on to chronicalize the faith of those who have gone before us. The faith of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and many more.

Romans 4:18-21 tells us that Abraham believed God's promise despite what he saw with his eyes. It says, " In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told... He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."

This is faith––great faith. The kind of faith that I want. The kind of faith that tells us to believe despite what we see. Faith that tells us to trust despite what we're told. Faith in a loving all knowing, doting Father despite our temptation to doubt.

We serve a God who knows. A God who loves. A God who takes delight in every one of us. A Father who wants to give.

But we must believe.

We must believe in who God is and our position before Him. We must believe that He is in fact the God who calls all things into existence to the extent that we come before Him, praise His name, and whisper, "Only say a word..."

All it takes is a word. And it is so.

When God speaks, things happen.

That hope that seems dead will come alive the moment He speaks.

That promise will be fulfilled.

And we will give glory when, yet again, we see the impossible materialize before our eyes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Do NOT Give Up

The following was written for my ministry blog, LaurieCoombs.org.

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Have you ever had a moment (or many) when you wonder whether or not God will deliver what you believe He’s promised?

I sure have.

For the last three and a half years, I have heard God tell me, “Do not give up!” Over and over, “Do not give up! Keep moving forward. Keep moving toward your adoption.”

But nothing has happened. We’re still waiting.

Travis and I began our adoption with nothing but faith, a desire for more children, and confidence in God’s call to adopt. With no money saved and little to devote to such an endeavor, we took the leap, believing God would provide for what He was calling us to do. And He has. Time and time again, provision has come in one form or another usually at the very hour we needed it. This may be too much information to share, but we’re over $20,000 in, yet we carry no debt as a result of our adoption.

One thing I can never call into question––God is good.

Our adoption has been quite a process. It’s been three and a half years since we first took that leap and followed God’s call to Ethiopia, and at this point, it doesn’t seem like our wait will ever end. It’s a struggle––one that my entire family is going through. Each of us, in turn, have had our moments of great faith and our moments of despair, including our children. There are times I am able to rest completely in trust that God will bring us our baby(ies), and there are times of doubt––times that I cry out to our God and ask if we’re just fooling ourselves, if we’ve somehow misread His will.

Our adoption was supposed to take one to two years. This is what we signed up for––not this epic wait that never seems to end. About six months into our adoption, the adoption climate in Ethiopia took a drastic turn as Ethiopian officials began to crack down on the corrupt practices at work within their adoption system. This was a good thing, in our estimation. Travis and I were glad to see the country step up to see to the welfare of its children and birth families. Neither one of us is interested in receiving our child(ren) through corruption, but instead, we seek to adopt one (or two) of the over 4 million legitimate orphans within the country.

When the government announced its plan to crack down on corruption, no one knew the impact it would have on adoption. Some thought the country might close international adoption altogether, while others predicted these changes would simply result in the processing of fewer adoptions. But in any case, the news was not good for our family. Hundreds of families would need to bring their children home before we would (as we had really just begun), and so we began to question whether or not we were on the right path.

We felt God lead us to Ethiopia, we felt Him tell us this is where your children are, but now, we appeared to have hit a significant roadblock.

Is it all over? We thought. What do we do?

Perhaps we heard God wrong.

Both Travis and I were extremely discouraged. To me, it felt as if I were having a miscarriage, and I began to mourn the loss of these children I had yet to see, or hold, or know. But they were mine. In my heart, they were mine. Created for me to love and raise as my own.

I sat down and began to fold laundry, while my two girls took a nap. We had just heard the news, and my heart ached with loss. Wanting desperately to hear a word from God, I listened to the next sermon in a long series I had been listening to as I folded. The pastor began by shouting, “Do not give up!” Tears stung my eyes, and I sat motionless. The pastor continued, “Just because something’s hard. Just because you’ve come to an obstacle on your path does not mean you’re on the wrong path. Everything God calls us to is difficult. Keep going.”

In a not-so-subtle way, God told us to press on.

Two and a half years followed. Two and a half years of waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for God to bring our baby(ies) home. Each night, we prayed for them. Each night between then and now, Travis and I listened as our little girls begged God to, “Bring our babies home soon!” I prayed, not unlike Hannah, for God to grant us our petition. To bring us our children.

But adoption in Ethiopia remained slow. After this initial setback, the reforms seemed to have curbed the corruption, and for a long time everything seemed to be going well (though very slowly). We certainly had not reached our destination when we had intended, but we figured God had a plan, so we settled in.

But recently, we’ve hit yet another significant roadblock.

Two days after this last Christmas, we received an email from our adoption agency telling us that certain high-ranking Ethiopian politicians were urging the government to close down adoption altogether. On Christmas, however––only two days before––I sat next to our tree Christmas morning, after the girls had torn through all the wrapping paper and wept as Travis revealed to me that he had received an unexpected bonus. A bonus large enough to pay for our next homestudy ($1200!) with enough left over for Travis to buy a couple unexpected Christmas gifts. Once again, God had provided for our adoption.

But two days later, our adoption once again seemed to be slipping through our fingers like sand, while Travis and I desperately tried to hold on to it.

We questioned what we were to do. Should we move forward in trust, paying the $1,200 to keep us in the game, or should we quit? Nothing inside of us wanted to quit, but $1200 is quite a bit of money––money that would simply go down the drain if Ethiopia closed, and at this point, it’s closure could happen any day.

But as I listened to yet another sermon on podcast, the pastor preached the same message I had heard three years prior, “Do not quit!” I’m not kidding you. I heard the same exact words as I had the first time we hit that roadblock through a different pastor within days of hearing this news. According to conventional wisdom, now would be a good time to quit. To simply cut our losses and say we gave it our best try.

But neither Travis nor I can quit. God is clearly telling us to press on. And so we are. We wrote that check, met with our social worker, and committed to seeing this road to the end.

I don’t know what’s in store for us. Other families adopting from Ethiopia are jumping ship in droves, and I don’t blame them. It doesn’t look good. Currently, it seems the country might not close, but adoption in Ethiopia has all but stopped. There are still some children coming to their forever families, but not many. Because of this, it would be so easy to abandon this endeavor, but we can’t. This is not what God is calling us to.

Our journey to bring our children home has been anything but smooth sailing. It seems we’re more like a ship at sea during a storm, fighting the waves toward our final destination than a ship sailing calm waters. But I believe God will bring us to the shore. I’m not going to lie to you. I have moments of doubt. I question whether or not we’ll ever get there, but here’s the thing––I know God is telling us, “Do not give up!” And so, Travis and I are choosing to press on. To fight through this storm until one of two things happen. Either we come to see our endeavor come to fruition and are finally able to bring our children home. Or we come, not to a mere roadblock, but a dead end. To us, a dead end is closure. Ethiopia is going to have to close for us to stop fighting.

And so, this is where we stand. At times, it feels like we’re standing on shifting sand. But in all actuality, it’s not sand we stand on, but a rock. The Rock. And when we stand on the Rock, though the world and our circumstances rage around us in the troughs of a storm, we remain secure. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Much Delayed Adoption Update

It's been a long time, I realize. A really long time.

Travis and I began this blog in an attempt to try to keep you all up-to-date on where we are in our adoption journey, and while that still remains the goal, we're finding we don't have as many updates as we once did––especially since our agency decided to do away with waitlist numbers.

But it's more than that. Honestly, sometimes it's simply difficult to have to say the same thing time after time, yearning to be able to give a different answer. "Still waiting," we say over and over. "Still waiting."

We are happy and so blessed to have so many people care about our adoption, and honestly we love when you ask for an update. So, keep asking! In your questions, we hear your heart and are unbelievable blessed to know our journey has impacted many of you so deeply. Many have become vested in what we're doing, and honestly, if this were an easy road for us, I'm not sure that would have happened to the same extent. God sure does beautiful things through difficulty and trials.

Still, giving updates can become tiresome.

We see people at the grocery store–– "Still waiting."
At our girls' school–– "Still waiting."
At family gatherings–– "Still waiting."
Children's birthday parties–– "Still waiting."
Around town–– "Still waiting."

Oh, how we wish we could have a different response for you all––for us, for our babies––but the fact of the matter is, we're still waiting. And honestly, we don't have any idea when our wait will stop.

Waiting can be very difficult, and in a wait like ours––a wait that seems to last for eternity––it's easy to fall into moments of frustration. Still, our faith tells us to hold on. We know our babies are coming. We know the One who promised is faithful. During each and every dark moment we face in this thing––each time we begin to question Is this ever going to happen?––God faithfully shows up, spurring us on toward His goal for us. Honestly, I believe this journey is just as much about our spiritual growth as it is about having more children to love and call our own.

But it has been tough––let me tell you––this has been a very difficult, long journey, one that is far from over. Still, we are thankful for all its fruit. The compassion we've seen take root and grow in our girls. The patience grown in us all. The faith God is carefully cultivating and growing. It's a beautiful thing, this process of sanctification. Blessing upon blessing has been poured out upon us, and for this we're beyond thankful to a God who knows what we need, even more than we do.

So please, still ask. Ask us where we're at. Ask us if there's any news. We really do appreciate talking to you about it. Honestly, I think it does drive us forward by way of having a constant reminder of what we have to look forward to. And until the day we bring our children home––the day that has been ordained since the beginning of time by our amazing God––we will be "still waiting..."

Here's what we've been up to the last FIVE months (Can you believe it's been so long!):

Avery was in the talent show!


The Reno Rodeo

Horseback Riding Lessons!

Beach Day! Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe

The kids first backpacking trip (Overnight!) with the Owens

The First Day of School!
(Ella––second grade, Avery––first grade)

Avery's Birthday! She's 6!

"Sisters Necklace"

Look at that amazing daddy!

Fall Soccer

Ella's Birthday Party! She's 8! (How did that happen?!?)

And that about does it. Until next time...