Thursday, November 12, 2015

Finalization, Here We Come!

The Lord has honored our prayer that Beautiful Girl's adoption finalization process would proceed smoothly and quickly -- specifically before we move out of the state!  We are on track to finalize her adoption next Saturday, November 21!!!!  It will take place at a hands-on science center as part of a National Adoption Day event.  When I found out, I enthusiastically told BG that she would officially be part of the family.  She looked at me and matter-of-factly stated, "I'm already officially part of the family."  I chuckled inside because yes, she IS so much part of our family.

I know so many of you have been praying for us.  THANK YOU!!!!!!!  I am so grateful for your prayers and ask that you please continue to pray as we finalize the adoption, continue to adjust as a family, prepare to move 1000 miles away, and transition to a new state.  Whew!  That's a lot for us to handle, but God can handle all of it as we surrender our fears, anxieties and doubts to Him.  ~In Christ, Talya

  "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Months of Transition

BG and Arielle standing for life

This update is mainly for people to whom I have not spoken in the past several months.

BG did indeed move in on June 5.  While we were blessed to have the summer to work on the adjustment and build relationships, the journey continues and will continue for a while.  I'm thinking it takes a year or more to really hit the stride of being a cohesive family, depending on the people and the circumstances.  Nonetheless, the Lord has shown us so much grace so far.

BG fits so well into our family.  For the most part, the children are getting along the way most siblings do.  They like spending time together.  Every night the girls' room (all three sleep in the same room) is still like a slumber party.  Many nights involve stern reminders to "GO TO SLEEP!!!!!"

Are there tough times?  Yes, there are.  I can only imagine what it's like for BG to have to find her place in an already-established family, with its own rules, values, dynamics, expectations.  She's once again had to leave behind the people, places, and things she had come to know.  She's had to change her way of doing some things.  By far, she has had to make the most adjustment.  The other children experience their own growing pains as well.  They sometimes don't understand why BG is given latitude in some areas.  They have struggled with how to deal with conflict with BG.

As parents, Sean and I have had to choose our battles, acknowledging that some things aren't all that important.  On the other hand, we've had to learn what our non-negotiables are and stick with them.  Only over time have I gotten to know that BG actually likes rules and boundaries.  She likes to know explicitly what is expected of her.  She sometimes struggles with expressing herself, but she understands the need to do so and is working hard to communicate even when she doesn't really want to.

One of the most wonderful things about BG is that she loves the Lord and wants to please Him.  She was saved while with her foster mother.  It's a joy to see her reading her Bible.  She soaks it all in when Sean talks about Scripture during our Bible time.  In August, she decided she wanted to be baptized out of obedience to the Lord.  It was a precious moment to share with her.

BG's caseworker comes out every month for a home visit.  I think we are still on track to finalize in late November/early December.  They were supposed to file the Consent to Adopt at the end of September, but they realized they did not have BG's birth records, which are necessary for the filing.  They now need to request them.  This will delay things.  How much?  I have no idea.  We are planning to move back East late December or very early January, so I hope finalization comes before then.  Please join us in prayer that it will be so.  Trying to move before finalization has its own complexities that we would like to avoid, if possible.  ~In Christ, Talya

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."  ~John 14:18

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Move-In Day is Coming!

We just learned that Beautiful Girl (BG) will be moving in this Friday, June 5.   I am thrilled and slightly overwhelmed.  Yes, we'd been looking forward to move-in and had a ballpark time frame, but we thought we would have more than two days' notice of the exact date.  In fact, BG just left our house this afternoon after an extended weekend visit.  She won't learn of the move date until she gets back home in an hour or so.

We just completed our eighth weekend visit.  All the visits have gone better than I anticipated.  The Lord is definitely orchestrating this transition and our adjustment.  I still have some parenting issues to work out.  I've let some small things slide with BG.  This past weekend, I had to apologize for presenting a false, more laid back view of myself.  I had been treating her more like a weekend visitor than the daughter that she is.

BG and the other children have been getting along well.  She, Arielle, and Rachel have a lot in common and could stay up late every night talking and laughing.  BG loves taking care of Isaiah.  She and Josiah sometimes butt heads, but in the end, I think there's affection there.  It's a work in progress.

This is just the beginning of our family's journey together.  The journey is a complex one.  Please continue to pray for us.  We anticipate to finalize BG's adoption at the end of the year.  ~In Christ, Talya

"We love because he first loved us."  ~1 John 4:19

Friday, April 3, 2015

Overdue Update

Thank you for your prayers, friends!  The Lord certainly honored them and worked in ways only He could.

Our meeting with Beautiful Girl (BG) on Saturday went very well -- way beyond our expectations.  When we were getting out of the van, she and her foster mother burst out the front door, yelling "HI!!!!!!!"  I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.  By all accounts, BG is extremely reserved - polite, but reserved and quiet.  She is just so, but she smiled, responded to questions, and even asked a few of her own.

Her foster mother (FM), a godly woman, was such a blessing in that she bridged the gap between BG and us.  Her FM reminds me of Sean in that she's friendly, vocal, and outspoken for the Lord.  She instantly put us at ease and undoubtedly helped give BG greater comfort.  

We were blessed to meet BG's brother near the end of our visit.  It was a joy to see BG light up when he arrived.  Their bond was undeniable as she jumped on his back, laughed, and passed notes back and forth.  :-)   Her brother is a very nice young man that we look forward to getting to know better.

More praises:  On Friday, when we read BG's file for 5 hours (with a lunch break in between), the Lord was at work in keeping Isaiah contented and occupied.  This had been a big concern of mine.  First, we were in a conference room with a big table and audio-visual equipment.  Although Isaiah could walk around, there wasn't much more for him to do, so it was looking like Sean would probably have to take him outside.  About 35 minutes into the file read, someone advised the caseworker that there had been an error in the conference room reservation and we would have to move to another room -- a visitation room!  The unanticipated room change was an answer to prayer because the visitation room contained lots of toys.  It was the perfect place to keep Isaiah busy while we read.

Finally, an ultimate praise goes to the Lord for the beautiful baptisms of Arielle, Rachel & Josiah on Sunday.  It's always a blessing to witness this act of obedience to the Lord.

Please continue to pray, as we will have day visits with BG in her hometown, tomorrow and Sunday.  This will be her first time meeting the three older children and her first time alone with our family.  Thank you!

Arielle, Josiah, & Rachel with their certificates of baptism

 "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."  ~Romans 6:4
In Christ, Talya 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Readings, Meetings, & Baptisms, Oh My!

So many exciting things are going on for us this weekend!

First, we will read Beautiful Girl's (BG) file at the agency tomorrow.  We'll be able to see everything the agency has about her since she entered care -- i.e. reasons for entering care, biological family history, medical history, placement history, etc. Sean and I will be note-taking crazy-people, since we can't make copies of anything, and this is several hour event.

Second, on Saturday morning, we will finally get to meet BG face-to-face!!!!  I am so excited and really nervous.  I want to say the right thing and do the right thing.  BG is already anxious and afraid, and we don't want to make it worse.  We'll get to spend a couple hours with her at her foster home, and we'll meet one of her brothers.  I want BG to love us, but love takes time, and it may never manifest in the way I would like it to.  What matters most is that we love her with no expectation of reciprocity.  We must love her with a supernatural love that comes only through Christ.

Third, Arielle, Rachel, and Josiah are being baptized on Sunday!  I praise the Lord that they have all made professions of faith over the past few years.  In the past, Sean and I have been cautious about moving forward with baptism.  We somehow felt it was our place to ferret out false conversion by seeking some unknown number of fruits of repentance in our children.  We've learned that our approach was promoting a works-based righteousness -- the opposite of what we find in scripture (see Ephesians 2:8-9).  God knows the heart and who truly belongs to Him and who doesn't; He doesn't need my help to figure it all out.

If you think of us in the next few days, please pray for us:

  • safety as we travel out-of-town 
  • peace in the home of the sweet family that is caring for Arielle, Rachel, & Josiah
  • that we will be able to take notes on the critical information in BG's file
  • that Isaiah will be in good spirits and that we're able to find ways to keep him occupied while we are at the agency
  • that the Lord would give BG and her brother peace and that BG would cast her anxieties on the Lord
  • that Arielle, Rachel, & Josiah's act of obedience in being baptized would bring glory to the Lord and that they would be more conformed to Christ each day
Thank you!  ~In Christ, Talya

"For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

Monday, March 16, 2015


This afternoon we got THE CALL -- the call that told us we have been officially approved to move forward in pursuing the adoption of Beautiful Girl (BG)!!!!!!  We are so excited!!!

So what happens next?  Sean and I will travel to the agency next week and read their file on BG.  It contains all the information they have about her since she entered foster care.  Sometime thereafter, we will get to meet her for the first time.  We are hoping we can stay in the area overnight and meet her the day after the file read.  It would be much more convenient to do it that way, since the agency, although located in our state, is a few hours away.  If that doesn't work out, then we think we will be able to meet her at the very end of the month.  Arielle, Rachel, & Josiah won't be present, but we may have Isaiah with us.

We will then have a series of visits with BG over a period 30-45 days or so.  Much of this will be based on BG's adjustment and her particular needs during the transition period.  First, we will meet with her in settings that are familiar to her -- e.g. her foster home, local park, etc., then we will have weekend visits.

I didn't want this day to pass without posting this brief update.  We are so grateful for what the Lord has done and is doing.  I am praying that I trust Him with the details.  Please pray for us as we work out the logistics and prepare to meet our new daughter!  Thank you.  ~In Christ, Talya

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, February 20, 2015

Staffing Update

The staffing for Beautiful Girl (BG) was today.  You know I was checking email all day, right?  Honestly, I didn't expect to learn anything today, but I did.

I was called this afternoon and told the committee had a few additional questions for us.  They asked questions about home schooling, our plan for future adoptions, and our willingness to help BG maintain connections with important people in her life.  

I called Sean to discuss everything and typed up a statement with our honest answers.  

I wasn't told their recommendation, but I think the signs look good.  We have a few weeks to wait for an official answer.  Please continue to pray for us and BG.  ~In Christ, Talya

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Humbled by His Grace

Over a week ago, I got a call from the adoption recruiter (she never calls me, only emails) telling us that the staffing to determine BG's forever family has been scheduled for February 20!!!  That's a month earlier than we had last been told and two weeks from the day of her call.  I was elated.  It got even better when I was told we were the only family left for consideration.  The other two families had dropped from the process.  WHAT!!!!????  With that piece of news, our chances of welcoming BG into our family increased significantly.  Now, it's still not a done deal, as formal recommendations and approvals must be made, but we are super-hopeful!

Once again, the Lord has shown and continues to show us His infinite grace throughout this circumstance, and I have been seriously humbled by it.  As I prayed and thanked the Lord for this news, I had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness for my lack of faith throughout this process.  I am humbled that He continues to bless us with His grace when we are so undeserving.

Believe me, I have gone through waves of anxiety, doubt and impatience as dates were pushed further and further back (see this post).  When we were told in January that the staffing would not take place until late March, we even thought of withdrawing our consideration of BG and looking at other children in the hopes the process would move faster.  We prayed... we sought counsel... we listened to sermons -- Charles Stanley has a great sermon on waiting on the Lord and trusting in His timing, found here.  Our faithfulness ebbed and flowed, but God's faithfulness never wavered.

Ultimately, the Lord pressed upon our hearts a commitment to BG until He closes that door, if it is His will.  I love her without knowing her.  We decided we needed to stay the course.  The Lord's plan and His timing are perfect.

When I trust Him, the Lord gives me a peace that reminds me that He is sovereign.  He's always working behind the scenes in ways I may never know.  There are even those sweet times when He makes the "big reveal"of something awesome that surpasses what we could have imagined.  Is He bringing us to His "big reveal"?  Yes, if we remain faithful.  His "big reveal" may not be what I hope it to be, i.e. BG joining our family, but it will be something that brings Him glory.  In the end, that's what we want.

Friends, please pray for us as we continue on this path:

  • The staffing is scheduled to take place at 10:30 AM (central time) on Friday, 2/20.  
  • Pray for wisdom for the professionals who are making the decision.
  • Pray that we would trust the Lord and walk in obedience no matter the outcome.
  • Pray for protection for our family's hearts and BG's heart.

"Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!"  ~Psalm 27:14
"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."  ~2 Peter 1:2

Thank you!  ~In Christ, Talya

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy 11th Birthday, Rachel... In Pictures

Today, the Hooker family celebrates another wonderful January event -- Rachel's 11th birthday!  I am grateful to the Lord for my Pooty Tooty and her sensitive, affectionate ways.  I feel truly blessed to be chosen to be her mommy.

At birth

10 1/2 months

4 years

6 years

8 years

11 years TODAY!!
In Christ, Talya

Psalm 127:3a  "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord..."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Isaiah's Family Day!!!! & Thanks

I can hardly believe it's been a year since we met our son and held him in our arms for the first time.  We tirelessly spent two days driving and hadn't even checked into our hotel when we arrived at Covenant Care for the paperwork and placement ceremony.  I can tell you I was so nervous that I had to keep running to the... well, I'll spare you the details.  It amazes me how the Lord has joined our hearts together in love for this little boy, who brings such joy to each one of us.  Please enjoy our placement video: 

I would like to once again thank our local church family who loved us, cared for us, and prayed for us a year ago and throughout this past year.  The love you have shown our family, and especially Isaiah, has far exceeded anything we could have imagined.

I would like to thank family and friends who prayed for us, sent encouraging messages and gifts, and opened your homes to us in fellowship.

Thanks to all the staff at Christian Family Services and Covenant Care, you too Jill :-) , who had a hand in Isaiah's adoption.  I can't forget to thank our attorney and the judge who signed off on the adoption decree.

A most special and heartfelt gratitude to P, Isaiah's birth mother.  She chose life for him in a world that would encourage her to do otherwise.  I hope one day to get to meet her and give her a hug for choosing us to receive one of our biggest, most precious blessings.

We love you!

To God be the glory!!!!  ~In Christ, Talya

It's Her Birthday... In Pictures!

Happy 14th birthday to our precious, Arielle, who describes herself as our "great, wonderful, sweet, obedient, best first born".  Can you sense the humility?  She's been my "little buddy" from day one, even though she's not so little anymore.  I am grateful that the Lord blessed me to be her mommy.

4 months

16 months

4 years

7 years

10 years

December 2014

In Christ, Talya

15 Years Ago...

I am grateful for 15 years with my love... Yesterday, today, and years to come...

Our Wedding Day -- January 14, 2000


In Christ, Talya (This was posted a day after our actual anniversary)