One family's journey to hear God's calling, overcome our fears, and be obedient to Him!

Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year Like No Other

Well, I'm off to Haiti to see my girls!!! What better way to start a new year? I can't think of any. I will have a lot to share when I get back.



I am so excited about 2011. It is going to be year like no other!!!

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not feel faint. Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's a God Thing

For the past few weeks I have been pondering the reality that many of the people that know me, think I have completely lost my mind. No, it's true. You know it, and I know it. I completely understand why anyone would think that way. There are endless reasons to think adopting not just one, but two little girls from Haiti, is just crazy. At the same time, it’s not like I’m building a 450 foot x 75 foot x 3 story high Ark!

As adoptive parents, we become dreadful of comments and questions. I know people don’t intend to be mean, but some comments and questions come across as insensitive and even hurtful. Being new to this adoption stuff, I find myself desiring to stay close to home, or with a few outwardly supportive family and friends. I long for the comfort of not having to be on constant lookout for negative comments or hard questions. Here are just a few examples of questions I’ve heard:

• Why don’t you just donate all the money this adoption will cost to some local charity? Well, that would be very noble and Godly. But that's not what God led me to do.

• How will you ever pay for their college? Honestly, I don't know, but I am not worried about sending them to college right now. Right now I am worried for their safety and well-being. God has not revealed to me the ending to His Story, but I trust Him on that.

• Can you love an adopted child in the same way as your biological children? I love my wife more than anyone on the planet. I love my in-laws, and I assure you we are not biologically connected. Jesula and Redjina are our children. God gave them to us just like He gave us Ashley and Matthew. He planned our family of six, perhaps even before He created the earth.

Let me say, I can usually tell where a person’s heart is when they are asking me questions about our adoption. I can also tell from their demeanor. I know there are also some who have wanted to ask questions and have not known what's appropriate. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I want people to ask questions. But, before you ask a question, ask yourself, "Why do I want to know this?" If you want this information so that you can judge the situation, or to try and convince us not to do this, then you probably should not ask. You might also run the question by God and see what He thinks about the matter. Finally, please understand that sometimes our best response to your question may be, "It’s a God Thing"!

Walking down this path I have learned a lot, and my own perspective on adoption has changed very much. I have learned first-hand that when you are obedient it really agitates the devil. The devil knows that something as Godly as loving orphans can have a huge ripple effect of people glorifying God. The devil will work overtime to create doubt and derail Godly things from happening. I challenge everyone to not let the devil use them as a means to discourage Kingdom work. If you can't be positive, uplifting and encouraging, then by all means just be silent.

Adoption is a calling in life. It is not for everyone. Honestly, foreign adoption is very, very hard. Close your eyes and imagine having a child that you love with all your heart, yet you are only able to talk to them on the phone a few minutes a week, and are only able to see them once every few months. Imagine 24/7 wondering what they are doing and if they are safe. Everyone in life has their own calling. Discerning God’s calling is a matter of really seeking Him, and listening to what He calls you to do. And when He calls, you answer. He has called us to adopt two beautiful girls, Jesula and Redjina from Haiti.

Our family wants to share how God has blessed us through adoption. We think this is a miracle and we want all of our family and friends to be able to experience it too. We love you all. Thank you for loving all Six Cunninghams. Thank you, to all of you who have helped us financially, with clothes and gifts for the girls, through words of encouragement, and through prayer.

Be strong. Take courage. Don't be afraid or terrified by others, because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you, family and friends.

I pray that God answers your prayers and blesses you abundantly this season. I pray that if you do not know Him, that you will come to know Him as your best friend. For God to come down and be born of the flesh, and to save us for our sakes, is an honor that we don't deserve. Our need for a Savior does not make us weak but stronger. So richly blessed are we that choose to follow the One whose name means "God With Us".

One night shepherds were camping in the fields, watching over their flocks. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared amung them and the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring good news for all the people of the world. Just now in the town of David a Savior has been born for you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:9-11

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Christmas Wish

Well, I know what I need for Christmas. Wait, I don't really need anything. Actually, I have more than I could ever possibly need. All I really need is to be thankful for what I have.

I have a wonderful family. I can't imagine anyone being surrounded by a better family. The Walton’s have nothing on us. I have the most beautiful and caring wife any man could ever want. I have four children, and a soon to be son-in-law, that are all truly unique gifts from God. They are the joy of my life on this earth. I have supportive parents that have taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I have four awesome siblings, with loving spouses. I have nine perfectly huggable nieces and nephews. I have a wonderful Church home that continually equips my family with the tools we need to grow spiritually. I have a comfortable home with more than enough food, water and clothing. I have a job that I look forward to every day, and I truly love the people I work with. What more could anyone expect?

Yet I, we, take so many things for granted every day. We have easy access to health care. God please humble me so that I never complain for having to wait an hour to see a doctor that will cure my child. I have seen people that have lived for years with routine infections because they don’t have access to a doctor or antibiotics. We have clean water to drink. Not only that, we have water at the touch of a button, right on the front of a refrigerator full of fresh food, while people die every day because they don’t have access to clean water. We have cabinets stocked full of food. I have a grocery store right around the corner, with aisle after aisle of food, while people are starving all over this tiny planet. God please humble me so that I, nor anyone else in my family ever again says “there is nothing to eat in this house.” We have carpet under our feet, in our humble 2,300 square foot home with heat and air condition, while just a four hour flight away there are many thousands of people that live in tents.

So, what do I need for Christmas? I don't need anything. Sure, I have wants. I want Jesula and Redjina here more than anything I have ever wanted in my life. But, no matter how much I want them here, or how little I sleep I get thinking about them, that will happen in God's time, as He has planned.

My wish for Christmas is to be thankful for all the blessings that God has provided, and to share God’s blessings with those in need.

God will bless you with riches in every way. Being thankful you should always give freely. And through your generosity many people will praise God. 2 Corinthians 9:11

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dossier Update

Dossier in Haitian Creole simply means "file". But, there is nothing simple about it! The Dossier contains everything that has to be presented to the Haitian government for the adoption process.

Our birth certificates, marriage certificate, letters of employment, local criminal record clearance letter, home study report, psychological exam report, medical recommendation letters, bank reference letter, letter to the Director of the IBESR, power of attorney, three letters of reference, are all currently being translated into French. Once that is done they will all need to be legalized.

These legalized documents combined with our already completed medical lab results for negative HIV, syphilis, and TB tests, three months of bank statements, three years of tax returns, individual photos, home photos, and copies of photo ID's, will make up our complete and final Dossier.

In the mean time, we are also working with the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. We have submitted our I-600A application along with our completed home study. We are scheduled to complete federal finger-printing next week in Nashville. Then we should be done with the United States requirements.

We hope to hand deliver our Dossier to our Attorney in Haiti in January. We have been told that it will take 8 months, "give or take", from the time we submit our Dossier, to get our girls home!


Anyone who welcomes a child like this also welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me, also welcomes my Father who sent me. Mark 9:37

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Phone Calls aren't Hugs, but they'll have to do!

We called and talked to both of our girls in Haiti last night. It's amazing how they can be so different, yet so much alike.

The first call was to Jesula at the orphanage in Camatin. Jesula is so energetic and full of life. She was so excited to hear from us. She was talking so fast and would change between English and Creole in the same sentence. Every time I said "good night Jesula", she would yell, "Popi, Popi" and then say a long, fast sentence in Creole. She did not want to hang up. We could hear some of the other girls at the orphanage in the background. It is sometimes hard to hear her with all the background noise. She is a little fireball.

The next call was to Redjina in Port au Prince. Redjina is the definition of sweet. She has such a loving tone to her voice. She also has a soft little giggle of a laugh. She giggles when I say something in Creole and don't sound it out just right. She is such a happy child. When she says "I love you", it clearly comes from the heart!

Redjina said she did not have school yesterday because of the ongoing post election riots. She said she didn't think she would have school today either. I was thinking last night, here we hope for "snow days", while in Haiti they live with fear of "riot days".

I count the minutes between bi-weekly phone calls to our girls. But each phone call makes the waiting to get them here more painful.

God himself has prepared us for this and He has given us His spirit to make us certain of what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:5

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our Angel Redjina

As I mentioned previsouly, we met Redjina during our October trip to Haiti. Instead of going straight to the orphanage on this trip, we spent the first day in Tabarre at the home of our dear friend Mona Juste. Jesula was brought down from the orphanage to be with us there. Redjina, who is extremely smart, is currently staying there with Mona so she can attend a much better school. Looking back, I know God brought us all together with good reason.

We were able to spend some real quality time with Redjina that day. I was struck by Redjina's sweet and loving nature. We had brought and given Jesula several gifts when we arrived. Without our knowing, Jesula gave some lip gloss we had given her to Redjina. Later Redjina came to us and said Jesula had given her some lip gloss and she wanted to make sure it was okay with us that she have it. Redjina helped us so much with Jesula by interpreting English and Creole back and forth. Redjina made what normally would have been a challenging time feel so easy. We got a close glimpse of Redjina's heart and she made a profound impression on us.


A couple of weeks after our trip I mentioned to Shawna that Redjina had been on my mind ever since we left Haiti. Shawna responded that Redjina had been on her mind as well. We began to talk and pray about Redjina daily. We began to ask questions about her to others that know her. Every person we talked to, everything we learned, made us feel more and more drawn to her. We have also been fortunate to share some special phone time getting to know Redjina as well.

So last night we called and spoke with Redjina on the phone. I told Redjina we wanted to adopt her and wanted her to be a part of our family. After a long silence that honestly scared us, Mona who was with her said Redjina was very happy but was not able to speak. Finally, Redjina's sweet but shaken voice came and she said, "when can I come". We had an indescribably sweet conversation after that. Redjina said to Matt, "I am going to be your sister", and she told Ashley. "I can't wait to meet you". We exchanged I love you's, and just like that she is ours!

So it's official, we are adopting Jesula and Redjina. Two sweet Angels. God is just so awesome and we praise Him!!!

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome. Deuteronomy 10:17

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One of God's precious Angels

During our October trip to Haiti to visit with Jesula, my wife and I spent some time with another one of God's precious Angels. Her name is Redjina Jean Simon. Redjina is basically pronounced the same way we pronounce Regina in English. She is a very special young lady.


Redjina has endured more in her life than any of us could even imagine. Yet, she loves Jesus with all her heart. And it shows, as she is very kind and loving. She is also very smart. She can speak four different lanquages, one of which is English. She is truly beautiful inside and out.

Redjina made a profound impression on us. She has been on our hearts ever since. I think God sent her to us to help us on our journey with Jesula. We are praying for Redjina and for God to work miracles in and through her life.

God will command His angels to protect you wherever you go. Psalms 91:11