Friday, February 10, 2012

Numb and confused.

Today I sit here so numb and so confused. Do I let my mind take me down that dark, devastating road of the possibility of our daughter not coming home? It felt so right when we started, God so clearly called and we responded. I will not question that, even though a little voice keeps telling me to. I look back on our journey and remember the excitement the start of this journey brought. I remember how hard the waiting was/is... the tears, the anger and the confusion. I remember being so discontent with life because my little girl was not coming home in my timing...but His. I became consumed. I became consumed by the adoption verses the ONE who has adopted you and little girl. I missed the point of adoption, it became about me and how I was not getting what I wanted and when I wanted it, even though what I wanted was a good thing. I loss track of who placed this little girl in my life and just how amazing and beautiful it is that God was allowing insignificant me to be apart of His plan of redemption. What an honor that is and yet I completely missed the blessing in it all. It saddens me that during the time that I was so sure of my daughter coming home, that I was not joyful...that I was complaining. Complaining of it taking too long, of her not coming home sooner. My heart breaks today at the thought of my daughter not coming home to me but I plead with the Lord to give me strength so that I wont make the mistake, again, of allowing something other than my Lord and Savior to consume me. Not an adoption. Not finances. Not grief. Not family. Not worry...i could go on and on. I am choosing from this moment on to put my full trust in God. To reach out to my Father and to be consumed in His loving embrace. To allow Him to share in my suffering and carry me through this life. I refuse to allow myself to get in the way of the many blessing He has in store. I refuse to turn my face away from Him and turn it towards my own self pitty. Today, I will consume myself in the God who gives and takes away. My God suffered to bring good and I trust He will do the same with mine.

We ask for your prayers during this uncertain time. That God would open hearts for all to see just how much we love this little girl. To God be the Glory.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More than just a picture...

WOW! Where do I even begin. Such an amazing eye opening experience my trip to Ghana, my trip to see my girl, was. As an adoptive parent, not yet having met your child, only having a beautiful picture to stare at, to dream about, to wonder, to cry over, to pray over and plead with our ALL KNOWING Father to bring them home now, you can only imagine the thoughts that race through your head when this tiny face in a picture will become reality and be in your arms. SO many fears race through your mind as you prepare to make that trip to see your child. BUT OH how extciting it all is!

After I landed in Ghana and was on my way to the orphanage I was filled with anticipation, my heart was racing, I could not wait to meet my little girl. Once we arrived and saw ALL of the children that I have come to know through pictures over this past year it was so surreal, I could not believe I was finally there. And then my beautiful girl made her way out of the crowd, smiled so beautifully at me, came to me and wrapped her arms around my neck. Finally!!! We were together!!! It felt right, she was mine and all I could do was hold tight as tears of joy streamed down my face. If only I could describe to you what my heart was feeling at that moment. How precious. How priceless. How thankful I was to hold this amazing, beautiful child and know that the Lord, in all of his goodness, picked me to bless with this little girl. In the short week that I was there, I saw my little one blossom right before my eyes. So shy and quiet when I first arrived, to this silly, unique, awesomely quirky, sweet as sugar, talkative little girl!! How amazing to see the transformation of a child when they feel loved and wanted. When they know they have a mommy and daddy. I had my expectations from staring at that photo and they were all wrong. Seeing her face to was real, this little life was so much more than anything I could have came up with staring at that photo. She has hopes, she has scars, she has fears and tears that follow close behind. She has a story. She is real and she is mine. I know that this is just the beginning of our journey together and so many memories are yet to be made, so many struggles are yet to be walked but what I do know is when she does finally come home, in God's perfect timing, hand in hand, we will begin to write the rest of her story...our story. A story of trust. A story of love. A story of joy and of tears. We will show her and constantly remind her that we are forever....a word she does not "know". We will teach her of our Saviors perfect, unfailing love. And that while she is the apple of our eyes...Jesus's love for her goes above and beyond ours. When I left Ghana, I praised the Lord for redeeming my little girl's life. For allowing me to leave knowing that this little girl, my little girl, has a family, a mommy and daddy who adore her. I can't wait for her to come home BUT my heart breaks for the rest of those "beautiful faces" you see in the pictures who do not have a family, a mommy and daddy, a home. You see, these children are so much more than what you see in the pictures. They have a depth to them, they have hopes. A hope to be loved. A hope to be wanted, to have someone to call them "mine". To have a mommy and daddy. My heart breaks for these "beautiful faces" that long to be known and loved. In one short week, I saw the beauty these kids bring to life, the joy that the Lord has given them despite their circumstances. Their smiles and laughter are enough to light the world. So beautiful, so precious, so much more than a "beautiful face" in a picture. It's at times like this that I am beyond grateful for having a God who at all times has our best interests at heart. Who loves and adores us right where we are. Who gives love, peace and joy to these children who have no one else. So while too many of these children will remain just a "beautiful face" Him they are sooo much more. They are real. They are His and that is amazing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Adoption T-Shirts!!!

We are selling adoption t-shirts in order to raise the last portion of funds needed to bring home our little girl from Africa. Shirts are $20.00 per shirt and 100% of the money goes to our adoption. 150 shirts sold will help us meet the last of our fundraising needs. The T-Shirts are light blue with designs (see images) on the front and the back. The shirts are a soft cotton heathered materials and are very lightweight. We are asking that any order outside of the Chicagoland are include a $2.00 per household contribution to help with shipping costs.

If you would like to order a T-Shirt(s) you can do so in one of a few ways. You can send a check to:

Michael and Rachael Collins

416 Valentine Way

Oswego, IL 60543

Along with the number of T-Shirts and sizes you would like. Or, you can send us an email ( or Facebook message (Collins Family) noting the number and sizes you would like and then mail us a check or pay on the PayPal link here on our blog. Shirts will be made at the end of September and shipped out immediately upon reciept from the printing company.

Sizes of the shirts are:

Youth: Small, Medium, Large

Adult: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large

We are so appreciative of all of your support and prayers and can't wait to share in the joy of having our little girl with you all!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Second Girl Who Stole My Heart

It’s been quite a while since we have posted on our blog, but in that span of time a lot has happened, yet much has still stayed the same. Last time we wrote we were sitting and waiting, and as it turns out we are still doing very much the same. Papers and reports are now out of our hands and in the hands of others with so many other things to do than to dedicate sole focus to our adoption. For that we turn to the only leverage we have… prayer! We pray daily for our little girl and that God would put in the hearts of those who come in contact with our adoption the same feelings we have for completing the adoption and bringing this girl home to where she belongs as soon as possible.

In between the sitting and waiting though, I had the amazing privilege of traveling over to Ghana and meeting my little girl!!! I could never anticipate the entirety of that one week trip to Ghana, but the time I spent with Clara was a week of my life I will never forget. So far in my life there has been one girl who has completely stolen my heart never to give it back, and she is the wonderful woman with whom I am adopting Clara. There is now officially s second girl in my life who owns my heart. Clara was incredibly sweet and shy when we first met face to face. She slowly walked up to me and wrapped her skinny little frame around my frame as if to say “I know we haven’t met but I also know that you are MINE, and now I am yours.” From that moment when we arrived Clara almost never left my side; partly because she always wanted to be close and hold my hand, and partly because her dad knew he had a very short time to spend with her.

As the days went by Clara opened up more and more. She is reserved with new people and very emotional (remember I have 2 boys so this is completely new to me). She is also hilarious and goofy which melted my heart and made me think even more that God designed her knowing full well that she was going to end up as Rachael and I’s daughter. She is also so much more beautiful in person than I could have imagined. Now this might be a doting father speaking, but even the pictures in which you think wow she is soo cute, do not do her justice. And though she may not be the same skin color I have to tell you that there are some very distinct characteristics about her that make me feel like she is the exact type of daughter Rachael and I would have wound up with if we conceived her ourselves. In so many ways from looks, to personality, to her big brown eyes Clara is a mini version of Rachael , which as you can imagine makes me a very happy man. She can be shy one moment and then rolling on the floor laughing and making faces the next.

Coming back from that excitement and love was extremely difficult. Not because I wasn’t thrilled to be back with Rachael and Noah and Henry, but because at that point it became very real to me that I was coming back to a family who was missing one of its own. Talking with Rachael after I got back, it was wonderful to see her face as I told her all about Clara and showed her the thousands (literally thousands) of pictures I took while I was over there. I could also see how badly she wanted to go over and have the very same experiences I did. And for that I can certainly not blame her. It is incredibly difficult knowing Clara has already lived 6 years of her life without us and now its tough to swallow as more days and months tick by.


We decided that because paperwork was going slowly, and we didn’t want Clara to have to go too long in between me coming over there and her seeing at least one of us again, and because it seems a mother just can only be separated from her child for so long, we are raising funds to send Rachael over in the very near future. The trip will also serve the adoption process as we will need someone to deliver our dossier as well, but the trip will none the less be expensive. We fully trust that God will provide us with the resources we need to complete this process, but that certainly doesn’t mean he has or will give us more than we need. We have found out of the last few months that there are some additional costs that we will need to fund in order to complete the adoption, but we have had some amazingly generous family and friends that have helped us so far and we are praying God will continue to send people and resources our way.

Right now we are selling hemp bracelets that Rachael is making for $10 each to fund our next trip and then later this summer we will be selling T shirts locally and to anyone else who is interested. You can use the paypal button on the side bar of this blog to donate the $10 for a bracelet and you will be able to use the same process once we get t shirt sup and running. Thanks for all the support and prayers!!

The shirts will look something like this. (Rachael designed them)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

And now that that the emotional high has begun to fade and the daily grind of paperwork and waiting have set in, all we can do is sit and think about her and pray that God continues to shower her in his love and ours.

It has now been two full months since we started this adoption process and in some ways we feel a bit further from brining our little girl home than we did a week into it. The mountains of paperwork that Rachael has sifted through continuously seems to hold additional pieces we haven’t filled out or we still need copies of….. and for a decidedly unorganized family (like we are) the process has certainly turned into a challenging one. On the other hand, even in this time of waiting, God as continued to be unshakingly faithful and has allowed us to continue to grow in our faith. Now more than a week ago, or a month ago, or certainly 6 months ago we understand that leaning on our understanding, attempting to overcome obstacles with our own might is laughable at best and detrimental at worst. I truly believe that beyond the amazing blessing of bringing this precious girl home God has chosen to use this process to help bring us ever close to Him and lead us into a place of complete trust in his goodness and faithfulness. For once in our lives I think we can full say that in this moment of personal helplessness where neither Rachael nor I can do much of anything to ensure we get our little girl home and in an expedient manor, there is no other way we would want it. Who better to set our course of direction, to ensure that we end up where we are supposed to be, than the creator of the universe; a God that loves us so much that he adopted us when we certainly did not deserve for him to do so.

So we work and wait and pray and anticipate the day we get to first fly over and see her smiling face in person. The day I can pick her up and wrap her in my arms. The day I get to see Rachael with the daughter she’s always dreamt of. Even waiting and working is such an amazing gift knowing that we are doing it because it’s exactly where God wants us to be and its exactly how we are going to bring our little Girl home.

And so we’ll wait some more….

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Apple of Our Eyes

And now it is our greatest joy to introduce you to the little girl that has stolen her new mom and dad’s hearts and will be your new grandchild, or niece or cousin or friend (depending on who is reading this). We have been matched to an incredible 6 year old girl with beautiful big brown eyes and a smile that could melt the 4 feet of snow outside of our windows in a moment. She speaks with a precious accent that sounds like a mix of English, French and Hatian.

We prayed long and hard for God to make it exceedingly clear to us who he had chosen for us to bring home into our lives. The decision for us was not overly easy. Rather than being matched with a single child we were presented with multiple children and asked to pray for discernment about which child we were meant to adopt. All of the little girls we were presented with were adorable and precious and all in need of a mother who could present a wonderful example of a godly woman and care for their daughter like they had never been cared for, and also in need of a father who would show them the way men ought, or perhaps must, treat women and demonstrate the kind of protection and shelter that God offers us each day. It was terribly difficult deciding which little girl we would offer our hearts and home and lives, and which of the others we would have to simply pray would be adopted by a different loving family. And so we didn’t decide…… we let God do the choosing. After a few days of prayer God may it clear that exactly who our little girl would be.

Rachael and I are still praying about the name we will give her. We have been told the little ones often prefer their new moms and dads to give them a new name, one that represents that they are now no longer orphans but a child of ours and their name has been chosen by us just as the names of our boys were chosen by us. Right now we are leaning toward the name Zoey. We are still praying over it, but every time we see pictures of her smiling face she becomes more and more, Zoey, my little girl.

Zoey (as we will call her tentatively until we are sure of the name and we tell her of our intention to name her that), is sugar sweet and super shy. She is often in photos wrapped around someone’s leg or grinning shyly at the camera. However in the rare photos where she is surrounded by friends, you can see the pure joy pouring out of her. She seems to be rapidly learning the English language which as you can imagine will be a big help to her new mom and dad. Every day she gets a little older and every day her new mom and dad can’t wait to have her in our home so we can witness all of her joys and sorrows and live every moment of life with her.

We would love to talk more with all of you about our little girl and can’t wait for her to meet you all. It is such an amazing feeling to think God has had this little girl picked out for us long before she was born our either of us were even thought about by our parents. God has blessed us with such an amazing opportunity and stand in awe of what He is doing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Little Girl Will Change Everything....

Now, comes the difficult part. After praying and praying and wrestling and talking and finally deciding to take the leap of faith and adopt, now comes the point of waiting. Now comes the point of papers, upon papers, upon papers, all of which need to be stamped, copied, sorted, sealed and mailed out along with a large portion of our savings account. However, even with the endless work and monotony, and not knowing when it is we will finally be able to bring our little girl home is nothing compared to knowing WE HAVE a little beautiful wonderful girl that we will have the unimaginable privilege to care for.

The process we find ourselves in is different from a lot of international adoptions stories. The orphanage from which we feel called to adopt from is in some ways an orphanage in name only. Perhaps it is better described as the home of a pastor and Godly man who has chosen to open his doors to care for children around his country who have no one else to care for them. He daily loves on the children, leading them through schooling and teaching them about the love of God and his Son which he sent to earth for us. The love of this man for each of the kids, and his commitment to caring for them while they are with him, and searching for permanent parents for them, makes this experience not one of calling or emailing an unnamed agency representative and then waiting for days for them to get back in touch. He has truly been a blessing to us even in the short time since our decision to adopt. John (the pastor) and the wonderful woman here in the states he works through are so incredibly invested in the lives of the children in the orphanage but also the parents that are matched to them. They pray for and over each couple and child asking God to show the parents exactly which Child he has chosen for them. How often can one claim that sort of Godly interaction in an adoption process?

However, the amazing pieces of this adoption process also bring challenges. Adopting internationally independently can be a struggle. Many of the automatic steps that are taken for granted with international adoption through an established international agency are not and are instead arduous and time consuming. Additionally, adopting internationally from Ghana is a new experience, for almost anyone, as Ghana has only recently opened its doors to international adoption. This means that rules and regulations can be fluid and that nothing is ever a given until the child is home in the U.S. with his or her parents. But these struggles and challenges are also a blessing. They are simply another opportunity to trust wholly and completely in God. This adoption experience has been and will be a very humbling one for me especially. As many women around the country and I’m sure the world know, men enjoy being in control and where a problem exists something deep inside us stirs us to fix it….. even if you don’t want us to. In this process though, Rachael and I will be helpless, unable to fix things if and when they go wrong. But luckily for us we are following the path of a God who is so much greater than any struggle we might face. And so we look to Him to provide us with things we do not yet have and to remove obstacles where one might appear. What an amazing God we get to call father. He adopted all of us, and refused to leave us as orphans and now Rachael and I get to live out his heart in this very process.

All of this is to say that we are so very excited for what God has already done and what he will do in the near future. He pointed us to an orphanage filled with amazing and beautiful children, run by a man of God who is sincerely invested in our adoption journey, and now…….. He has lead us to a beautiful 6 year old girl who has already stolen her new mom and dad’s heart.

More to come soon, on our unbelievable new addition.

“If you look at me I will fly like a butterfly…”