OUR LITTLE NOODLES: The Stever Family Adoption

Welcome to our adoption journey. We are so blessed with our five daughters. Now we embark on the worldwide journey of a lifetime - adopting a special needs child. Please join us for this adventure!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Still On Our Journey

We are still still on our adoption journey! Now that Braylon has been placed with us since October, we are in the process of finalizing his adoption - making it legal. Our family has settled in to doctor appointments, therapy appointments, feeding issues, medical equipment, and changing personalities. We are all doing a good job in my opinion. It is not what we expected really, but we had no idea what to expect, so.........

The beginning of our time together consisted mainly of caretaking. I think that was harder on me as a mother than it was for my husband. He opened my eyes one day by telling me, "Welcome to a father's world honey!" And he could not have been more right! Coming from a first-time adoptive mother who already had five biological daughters, this was a totally new experience. I am having to CREATE a bond with my new son. This has not been a simple task, especially with Braylon's special needs. He has Retinopathy of Prematurity (vision loss) and Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (chronic lung disease). (Braylon was born very premature.) So our bonding does not particularly involve sight. We must find other ways to form attachments.

The wonderful part is that this is going so well. We are blessed to have great resources to tap into here in Alabama. The Institute for the Deaf and Blind has been key in providing us with the tools to help Braylon achieve everything he possibly can in life. The PT has also been wonderful to work with so far. Our Children's Hospital in Birmingham has a phenomenal clinic that has been instrumental in giving our son the best care available. We have also found some wonderful friends in our area (even down the street!) who have children with similar needs.

After having our first post placement visit, we are feeling pretty good about things. We have a wonderful, supportive social worker who has been so good to us. She continues to help us with every step along the way. Overall, this experience has been like no other. Adoption has felt this way to me: very unnatural sometimes but in the very best way. I know that sounds crazy or even negative, but I do not mean it that way at all. It is truly the work of God. Simply that. No way around it. We would not trade one day during this journey. We have grown closer to each other as a family and closer to God. We are so grateful and honored that He blessed us with Braylon.

On a final note to this post, we wanted to share another miracle and blessing that God has chosen to bestow on our family during this Christmas season. We are expecting a new baby in June of 2011. We are so happy that God has graciously blessed us with another child. We are joining the elite club of the "large family" quickly! A club we have prayed to be a part of since we married. Thank you for continuing to pray for us. We know that our lives will not be without hardship and trials, but we would not trade it for the world.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Stever Family!

We are so very blessed. Thank you to all of the people who have supported us and loved us. We are grateful for all of you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Journey to Our Son - Part II

When does a mother of six who also works outside of the home full-time find time to blog? I want a solution! And it cannot involve staying up until 2:00 am to write!

This will be yet another part of our adoption story in a nutshell. We finally completed our home study and were planning on forwarding it to two different organizations who helped children with special needs find families. One even specifically works with children with Down Syndrome. We actually thought that we were specifically being called to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. We began to plan more fundraisers while we waited for a while (a year or more) to be contacted. We knew that we were approved to adopt a child with minimum / mild needs.

Our home study agency primarily works with international adoptions and domestic infant adoptions for infertile couples. They really do not have a "special needs adoption" program to speak of. They do have children become available from time to time who have very severe needs, but these children are usually cared for by experienced parents who have adopted before.

This is when we believe (including our wonderful social worker and staff) that God had His hands all over this adoption from the beginning! A child became available that was 18 months old with fairly manageable special needs. We were all very shocked, excited and cautious. Everything began to happen in a whirlwind! We met with this little boy and his foster mother at our agency. We read all of his medical and history that we could. We were counseled by our social worker and went home to talk together and pray for guidance.

We researched hundreds of websites, organizations, blogs, and resources which had information about his needs. Finally, my husband calmly and quietly stated this to me one day, "I just do not see one single reason that we should not adopt this child. I am strangely at peace after meeting him, discussing his needs and background, and praying about this. I think this is what we are meant to do." It was exactly what I was feeling.

So, we signed a mound of paperwork and received a mound of blessed information from his foster family, and we took our son home! We are in the process of finalizing his adoption. And.....this journey is far from over. I will chronicle some of the many challenges we have faced so far. These are not "negatives" by any means. But - I would like to say that there are many challenges and obstacles and a range of emotions that we never expected. I believe that the adoption of a special needs child is so unique. You can never really plan or prepare yourself for all that will happen or for all the things you will feel. I have experienced the birth of five children but am still amazed at the new, wonderful, blessed, painful, challenging things that I am experiencing. It is a journey like no other I have ever travelled.

God has been so good to our family. I am still so humbled and thankful to Him for all of my children. My husband and my children are truly the greatest people in my life. They are what makes me rich - rich in heritage, glory, and love. They are why I strive every day to become a little bit better. Thank you for following along with us. Part III is coming as soon as I can find time and words to write.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Journey to Our Son - Part I

I am going to attempt to take you along our personal adoption journey. This post has been a work in progress for so long. I will begin with how God moved the hearts of my husband Matthew and I. He burdened our hearts for adoption through a picture of a Miss Corinna from Reece's Rainbow. Her beauty and the plight of the Ukrainian orphans pierced our very souls. We committed ourselves to God and answered His call to adopt. This began back in late summer/ early fall of 2009.

Along this journey, we have had the honor of meeting so many families - adopting both internationally and domestically. We began attending our local Down Syndrome Outreach Group and made several friends there who had adopted. We found an agency in Birmingham who would help us complete our home study. We then began our search for a placement agency. We learned that the Ukraine was quite concerned with the adoptive parents' mental illness history. This would prove to be a challenge as we have had some mild bouts with depression and such in our past. We were also very concerned about cost and the travel time / waiting periods that were involved in an adoption from the Ukraine. Having three children under the age of 5 at home would prove to be a difficult obstacle to travelling.

We began the daunting task of fundraising next. This was not an easy task and it would end up being a very challenging issue. Matthew and I are very independent and stubborn. We take care of our family together - most often only relying on each other for help. We do not ask for money. Period. But - as we learned, "God's Will, God's Bill." We swallowed that sinful pride, and told everyone about our desire to follow God's calling to adopt. We received a variety of responses. Some responded very warmly, some negatively, and some never replied at all. The most heartfelt responses we had were from total strangers - those adoptive families we had never even met. They embraced us and supported us both financially and through prayer and friendship.

To those of you that supported us and believed in us during this journey - we will never be able to thank you enough. Your generosity and kindness will always be remembered whenever we look at our son. You had somewhat blind faith in our family, and we will forever be in your debt. Thank you friends - we love you.

Our family worked very hard to fundraise - we sold t-shirts and children's books and coffee products. We also tried several other creative ideas. Throughout the entire adoption journey, we were concerned about travel. We always travel as an entire family but that seemed unrealistic when looking at the Ukraine. Not only did we lack a full-proof, long-term, reliable babysitter - we also were not comfortable leaving our young children for a long period of time. I believe that we began to reconsider our decision to adopt internationally during this time. We also believe that God - our Navigator - was steering us in the right direction - His direction for our family.

It boils down to this for us: all children, both domestically and abroad, are orphans if they are without a permanent family to care for them. We were never interested in adopting a "healthy, Caucasian infant" - indeed, we have 5 healthy, biological daughters. We have always been interested in adopting a child with special needs. This is what we believe God is calling us to do. For those of you who do not understand our calling to adopt, or who resent us and disagree with our calling - you are entitled to your opinions. However, please do not judge us for trying to follow God as His servants. We pray that we will be able to adopt again in the future for this has been one of the most meaningful, joyous, difficult, painful, extraordinary, blessed things we have ever done. We will always support our friends and fellow adoptive families in any way we can.

More in our next post about the specific road to our son, Braylon Matthew Stever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day of Celebration

32 years ago, a bouncing baby boy was born that would change my life forever. No, I am not speaking about one of my children. Matthew Allen Stever entered the world crying and making a fuss! Oh, what a beautiful day! I would not find out until years later that this would be the light of my life - my closest friend, my partner in crime, my husband, & father of my children. Several things come to mind:

"Love is first friendship and then commitment." --Jacques Pierre Ribault

Even though this is quoted all of the time, it truly explains our relationship.

"No, I don't understand my husband's theory of relativity, but I know my husband, and I know he can be trusted."
Elsa Einstein

If there is anything I know with 100% certainty, it is that my husband is trustworthy. Trust is a must for my husband - he must trust you in a relationship. He will always tell you the truth.

"Opening her eyes again, and seeing her husband's face across the table, she leaned forward to give it a pat on the cheek, and sat down to supper, declaring it to be the best face in the world."- Charles Dickens

This is too sweet for some, but it is really how I feel about him. He does have the best face in the world to me!

"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Again, may be corny to some, but this summarizes the effect my husband has on me. I AM a better woman, better wife, and better mother because of him. He holds me up, stands beside me and behind me, stands in front of me when he needs to, and carries me when I need him to do so. He lets me be myself ALWAYS.

Thank you God for blessing this world with Matthew Stever - my forever love. Our lives are richer and fuller because you are here with us. I love you.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wedding Day Pictures June 2010


A & M

Family including new Son-in-law


K & A
Blessings to You!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Talking the Talk - Time to Walk

It has been way too long since I blogged about anything! I guess there has been so much going on in our household that I just couldn't find time. Really though, we have been going through so many changes that once I begin a post, I have to erase it and begin another. Then, more of the same. These are good changes and are more like growing pains I guess.

God really has worked with our family. He has been with us the whole time on this journey - for almost a year! We have completed our home study and are waiting on an official approved copy. Can you believe that? We have a situation that has arisen that we are not ready to share yet. We are in the midst of a frenzy of prayers right now, and we ask you - our friends and family - to join with us and pray to our Father on our behalf. Pray for clear heads, open hearts, loving arms, adequate funds, unconditional acceptance, and smooth processes.

Sorry to be vague, but we are not at our point of clarity just yet. God is working out the details for us. So, we will give you an update on where the Stever Family is heading as soon as we know! Thank you all for your support this last year. It means everything to us and we still need it more than ever! Please continue to share our fundraisers listed on our blog with others as well.

I would like to close with an expression of my love, respect, grief, and celebration for a little angel named Selah. Her family's blog is called His hands His Feet Today. If you visit, remember to offer encouraging words - no negative comments should come near this family as I am very protective of them! They are another family similar to the Pattersons that truly inspire me and make me want to be better. They live the example of unconditional love. They truly believe that all life is precious and that all children deserve to live and die in the arms of a family. Thank you to them for showing us how God wants us to love. Bless little Selah for touching the hearts of so many.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Family Who Needs Us


I was fortunate enough to run across a blog that has captured my heart. This family has the strength of a million soldiers. They are fighting a war for their daughter Ashley's life and the battle is bloody and difficult and ugly. I have been praying for this little girl and her family and thinking about what I can do for them. They do not know me and I have never met them. I have only become acquainted with their lives through this blog.

The parents have tremendous faith and strength. They will never give up on their beautiful little girl's life. They are a shining example of the power of love and family for us all. I am humbled by their struggles and feel so honored that they would share the intimate details of their horribly painful battle with us. Yet - they hold up hope and faith that their daughter will live. They will not entertain the idea of giving up.

Please I implore you to pray Ashley's family. Pray for continued strength to endure this pain. Pray for their precious daughter as she fights for life. They are a hard-working family that will do whatever it takes to sustain her life.

I am forever changed by having known about their lives. Dear Lord, please give this family strength and healing and surround them with Your love.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stepping Forward in Faith

I have been experiencing a true "inner struggle" for a while now. I have happened upon several really inspirational blogs of families who are dealing with special needs. They are shining examples of the family I want be. They accepted God's call to parent their children NO MATTER WHAT. NO IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS. They did not place limits on what they would accept. They did not question for one minute what God was asking of them. They faced their fears of the unknown head-on.

I am ashamed to admit that every now and then something bad tempts me to question what special needs our family can handle. Can I truly handle parenting a child that has a terminal illness? Or don't all of us as God's children have an expiration date on our bodies? Deep stuff for me to ponder! I think it is putting my faith to the test - the test of a lifetime.

I'm sure that no one in their right mind wants to say goodbye to a young child. Death is difficult and painful enough right? But the death of our child......well - really God's child. We are here to parent and love and support and care for our children. But they are all our adopted children, aren't they? This is really really hard for me to grasp because the experience of growing a baby in your womb, carrying that baby, nourishing them and giving birth to them - life! Well, let me tell you it is like nothing else. It truly is MIRACULOUS.

Since I was 18 years old, I have spent my life protecting my children and keeping them from harm, sickness, danger, and meanness. Knowingly accepting a child into our family (whether by adoption or birth) that has life-threatening, or at the least, life challenging medical needs is quite terrifying to me. I know it is selfish and weak - believe me I pray for strength every night.

I just wanted to share these fears with all of my blog friends because I hope that you have felt something similar and understand me. I need your prayers to give me strength of body, mind, and spirit. I know that God has big wonderful things in store for us! I pray that we will be worthy of His plans and take that step forward even though there is risk involved.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Better Than A New Car!

Okay - If this doesn't bring me out of hiding to blog, then nothing will! What better way to spend $20,000 than to save a child from death! Join me in a prayer of thanks for the donor who decided that this precious and beautiful little boy deserved life more than he/she needed some material "thing." God bless you!
Look at that face! Please step up if you are able and bring this baby home!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Prayer Request

Yes - I am still blogging and we are still on our adoption journey! I have been spending some quiet time in prayer with God for the last couple of weeks.I have been feeling that His plans for our family are taking a turn. He is showing me the path and I am seeking advice and assistance from our social worker on this. We are at a cross road right now - not a bad one though. Just a detour or a different view.

Would you please pray for our family? We need for you to pray that we will receive the guidance and trust in God that we need to continue on our adoption journey. We have been called to be the family to a special needs child. Please pray that our Lord will provide all the means needed to do just that!

Blessings to you all - your prayers mean the world to us!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Time for Reflection

Haven't posted in a while. God has been calling me to reflect recently. After praying for several families losing their precious children and enduring so much hardship, I have been turning inward to reflect on my blessings. I also feel that God is building up to show our family something very BIG and DIFFERENT somehow. Do you ever receive feelings like this after prayers and talks with God? The more I really talk to Him and the more I become quiet and listen (okay, this is a tough one for me), the more He reveals to me. I am unsure what twists and turns He has in store just yet, but I am eagerly awaiting.

All I can explain is this: We are moving towards a big change. Don't have a clue what kind of change. I still know that we are called to adopt. I just think that God is about to shake things up a bit. Even though it scares me to death, I am so excited! We began on a journey, but we are in for an adventure...........of a lifetime! I will blog about whatever happens when or if it happens. I do feel changes inside of me. I feel like I am preparing to be used for something great!

Thank you Father for using me! I am so blessed and honored to serve as Your daughter, a mother, and a wife. Please show me how to do what You need me to do. As always, we appreciate all of your prayers for our family! Be blessed!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Stepping Up To the Plate

From my devotional prayer :

"In this spiritual journey, God wants to know whether you'll trust Him when He calls you to do the impossible. It's easy to make trust an easy word to utter, but when your name is called and your assignment is given, what will you do then? What if God called you into something that wasn't glamorous? What if you were called to leave your comfortable salary and position and start an outreach ministry? Whatever God's called you to do, I hope you'll listen to Him and go for it. If you're wrestling with your call, you need to know God will provide. You may have to make some sacrifices and compromises, but I assure you, God will take care of you. Here's a little hint for you. When you show God how faithful and committed you are to Him, that's when He'll open up the windows of heaven and pour you down some blessings."

Here we are Lord. Ready to serve You. Ready to carry out Your plans for us. We accept our assignment and will do our very best for You. While we are not perfect, we were made in Your image so we are good. Please help us along the way - we really need you. Hear our cries for mercy and endurance. We have hearts that are burdened by Your children - especially the orphans of the Ukraine. Help us help them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Princess Dancing

I think we are all grieving the loss of "our" Serbian Princess Chrissie. I cannot help but feel distraught because I am only human. I cry for her mother, Lorraine, because I am a mother too. I cry for her short life because she just received her chance of a "real" life with a loving family here in the US. I cry because she fought and fought and suffered - all with that tiny little body. A body not unlike my 4 year old's body - I cry selfishly because it could be my child one day.

Then, I try to hang on for dear life to my faith - my unsteady, faltering, imperfect-but-still-here faith. I know that her life was worth far more than anyone will really ever know. Chrissie touched thousands of families all over the world. The Pattersons are an example of the kind of family that I want to surround my children with. This is it my fellow daughters and sons of God! It doesn't get more real than this, does it?

Deep inside, this is why adoption terrifies me. I am so weak and so human. I am afraid that adopting a special needs child may place our family in the exact position that the Pattersons are in. I may have to let go of my child before I am ready! However, isn't this a possibility every day with every single member of our families? We do not know what the future holds here on earth. We MUST have faith in something more.

The really important things in life, the greatest battles, the greatest victories, the greatest and deepest love is found when we let go and take that chance. So, our family will do just that. Thanks be to our Father for placing families such as the Pattersons in our paths. Hug your children and hold on for dear life! Every moment with our loved ones is pure gold and so precious! Please join with us in praying for the Patterson Family.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Show Your Support NOW!

Dear friends and family:

If we are indeed Christians, we cannot close our eyes. The vast number of homeless children is just too apparent. Wake up everyone! Stand up and make a difference! If you cannot or will not adopt, then support a family that can! It takes all of us - God's Body of Christ - to rescue the innocent and give them homes and love.

My dear friend Tina Kacirek has rekindled a fire inside of me! The Kacirek Family is such a beautiful example of being obedient and following God's plans for His people. I am inspired by their example every day - they amaze me! Thank you Tina for reminding me again (when I needed it most) that what we are doing is saving lives!

So please - I implore you and beg you to search your hearts for God's Spirit. Help an adoptive family TODAY! Do not wait for His children live on borrowed time. They are alone, cold, hungry, and our responsibility. Do not turn away! Support adoption! If you feel inspired to help our family adoption, we will be forever grateful and pray for all of you. If not us, then choose one of the hundreds of families who need your donations.

Pray for all of the families who are being obedient to God's calling to rescue His children. Do not ask "Why?" and do not recommend "Let someone else do it!" Give them your unconditional love and support - step out in faith today!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Handing It Over In Prayer

A friend sent me the following song lyrics:

Don't Pray and Worry

(Recorded by J. Moss)(Written by James Moss)

He knows all that's before you

He will never neglect His child

Nor will ignore tears in your eyes

Lay your cares to rest


The righteous won't be forsaken

Just hold to your faith

And His word will be manifested

Be steadfast and don't fear

Don't pray and worry

Why is it that we will spend time

going to church but don't understand why

Why we must pray

And then believe things we pray for will soon be received

The prayers of the righteous availeth much

Be not weary in well doing

God of Heaven can do anything

Lay your cares to rest

For the righteous


He who holds the future

Also rules this land

And responsible for each breath we take

Just pray and then leave it there

Pray and then leave it there

Maybe you've lost all hope

And can't see past tomorrow

Speak His word into your life

And stand on His promise to you

This is a beautiful song, isn't it? I love the idea of "praying and leaving it there!" Our family is going through a time of waiting - waiting on the adoption process, waiting on our daughter's wedding, waiting on a possible job opportunity. It is the most difficult thing for me personally. I can pray for others - no problem. But trying to pray for God's will for our family and our needs is so difficult for me! I always try to be in control even when I know that I have NO control at all. It is all up to God - He knows what is best for our family and He has a divine plan for us.

Please continue to pray for our family - we appreciate all of your support so much! May God bless you as well especially if you are experiencing the same kind of waiting in your prayers.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

Quoted by Dr William Sears MD (one of my favorites):

"Having dedicated over 40 years of my life to working with and helping moms, I’m still in awe of one special mother, my wife Martha. I personally wish each of you a blessed Mother’s Day and thought I’d share a Mother’s Day story that has stuck with me through the years. One of my favorite Mother’s Day memories involves a situation when a person once challenged my wife Martha about about having so many kids and contributing to the world’s overpopulation, Martha quipped: 'the world needs my children!' The world needs your children too! Love, nourish and cherish them. "

I love this! What will society become if there are no families? No children? The family unit is the core of all existence. Within the heart of the family lives God our Father. I, for one, cherish each and every one of my children and those that God has chosen for me in the future! Give thanks to God Almighty for big families with loving members!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

If you visit the blog A Place Called Simplicity - link below - they are having a Crazy Love challenge to help adopting families bring their children home. There are a variety of fundraisers listed there where you can find all kinds of meaningful things to purchase. Better yet, you will be helping an orphaned child find a family!


We have all of our fundraisers listed on our blog :

Just Love Coffee - Stever Adoption Family Page
Adoption Bug T-shirts - Stever Family Page
Barefoot Books - Kelli-Stever Page

Thank you so much for supporting our family adoption of a special needs child from the Ukraine. We appreciate your prayers, purchases, and donations! May God bless you and your family!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rescue those being led away to death; Hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

Proverbs 24:11

This scripture passage may seem over the top to some, but to an adoptive family, it seems right on target. This is how I feel when asked why we rush and fundraise and tell our story and save and give every penny we can to our adoption and the adoptions of other families. We are not calling ourselves "saviors" or "saints" by any means. Far from it. We are simply putting things in proper perspective for those who do not understand our urgency and passion.

We are trying so hard to do God's will. We are presenting our family as His servants - we wish to serve Him by doing whatever it takes to adopt a special needs child from the Ukraine. Please continue to pray for us. We appreciate your prayers so much. If you wish, prayerfully consider making a donation to our adoption. We would love to have you join our family in making a difference in the life of one of God's forgotten children.

Friday, April 23, 2010

If you have a family, I would like to suggest you visit the blog above for a mixture of reality and Christian example.

Before we began this adoption journey last year, I was quite far away from my Lord. I mean, we are still searching for a "home church" where we may worship. We are not shining examples of steadfast Christianity - I was raised Catholic and my husband was raised a mixture of Baptist and Church of Christ. We both come from troubled backgrounds - whatever the heck that is! We are a "blended" family with children from my previous marriage. The list could go on and on I promise you.

BUT - If there is one thing that I can say about this adoption journey (and I can say several), it is that my Lord called me. He summoned me. And He summoned my husband as well. We had no choice but to follow. It is that simple. It did not matter what our Christian "status" was or where we were in life because He led us down the appropriate paths to find our way to Him. When I find a family like the Pattersons above, I feel like I have been electrocuted with His spirit! Even though I am suffering and praying for them, I am so glad that God placed them right in my path! This family is what it is all about my friends.

My heart has been so burdened by their story. Their beautiful adopted daughter from Serbia (Chrissie) has only been home for a short time. Now her parents must find the strength and courage and FAITH to allow her come home with them one day or go home to be with her Heavenly Father. The ultimate sacrifice - our children are not ours. We have the privilege and honor of carrying them in our wombs, flying to foreign lands to rescue them, raising them in our homes, and loving them unconditionally. But in the end, we are all God's children. We cannot control life or death. This is what the Patterson family has taught me.

I will continue to pray for Chrissie's heart, lungs and body in general. I will also pray for the Patterson family during this difficult time. They are a testament to parents' love for their children.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lord, Make Me Uncomfortable

The following excerpt is from a Lifeline Children's Services newsletter. It is worth reading:

"As I think of "comfort" I think of the 143 million orphans in our world - whether in US foster care, in orphanages overseas, on the streets, or squatting in abandoned buildings. To save, rescue, and reach orphans God does not call us to be comfortable, but to go through the lack of some comfort. To save, rescue, and reach orphans many times means entering into hostile lands or parts of our world that know nothing but poverty, it many times means leaving behind the modern "comfort" of home, and many times if called to adopt it means risking the "comfort" of your family and spending the "comfort" of your vacation time to spend weeks in another land.

Rejoice today beloved that Jesus was willing to risk all "comfort" for our sake... Oh beloved, will you allow God to use you to impact the life of a child?"


What "comfort" are we willing to sacrifice for the life of an orphan? What is the life of a child worth? My friends, our family is praying for the strength and courage to sacrifice our comforts. We hope that God allows us to endure discomfort so that we may offer one of His precious little children a loving home with us. Please pray for our family as well.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just A Great Quote

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa

Doesn't get much better or more real than this, does it? As we try to prepare for our home visit, I am reminded of the reasons why we began this journey in the first place. Yes, we are out of our comfort zone. Yes, we are crazy. (Ha Ha - not dangerous though!) Yes, we are sacrificing material things to adopt. Yes, we are frightened of the unknown. Yes, we are relying on God to provide the funds and are working on fundraisers to help.

Yes, it is all worth it. We are called to serve Him. He has called us to serve the orphans of the world. This is our small way to make a difference. We have a lot of love to give a child. We are giving it to our 5 biological children also. We will always have room in our hearts and home for God's precious children.

Thank you for supporting us.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Birthday and Easter Wish

Thank you to Grandma! She has been the best support person during this adoption journey! Thanks to a generous Birthday Wish donation via Facebook, we are closer to paying for our entire home study! We are trying to get ready for the visit coming up in 2 weeks now! Cleaning, straightening, building, mending, etc.....

I was reminded again this weekend how special my family is - my husband, beautiful girls (older and younger) and my in-laws! The girls loved their Easter egg hunt with their adopted "Maw Maw" and their visit with Aunt Melanie in Birmingham!

My prayer for our family and each one of you is to come out of our "comfort zones." This is what Jesus did for all of us - He even died on the cross for us! Blessings to all!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Moving Along

Our first appointment with our social worker for our home study went great! We took the whole family to Birmingham and made a day of it! The kids visited with their Grandma and Aunt Melanie and we answered questions and discussed the home study process. We have now scheduled our home tour/visit for April 16 - please mark this date on your calendars to lift prayers up to the Lord! We need all the support we can get! We are so excited about this! We cannot wait to see the child that God has chosen for us to add to our family. Our children are so important to us.
For any family or friends out there: If you receive a reference letter, please pray over it and support us with your answers. We appreciate all of your help and love and prayers right now!

Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Giving Thanks

I always reflect on my blessings on my birthday each year. Tomorrow is my 41st birthday, so the time has come again. I am overwhelmed by the multitude of blessings that God has poured into my life! I have the most loving partner in life - my husband Matthew and our five beautiful daughters. They give me reason to breath every single day! I have been truly blessed by many new friends through the Internet and blog world. These families inspire me and strengthen me with their devotion to orphans and adoption. I also have my basic needs met - food, water, shelter, etc. God has been so good to me during my 41 years! He stood beside me during some troubled times and He never gave up on His child!

To all the blessings in my life: please accept my heartfelt thanks for all that you are, all that you have done, and all that you continue to do for me and my family. This journey that is being led by God is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult and emotional. With your support, we will complete it and have many new adventures to come. Thank you friends and God bless all of you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


We have been blessed with a donation from a wonderful non-profit ministry that supports adopting families! This will help us cover the next installment due to our home study agency! WOW! We continue to be amazed and inspired by the generosity of those who have never even met our family. We are humbled and thankful beyond words. Thank you for believing in us and lifting us up in prayer. Continue to pray for our home study appointment in Birmingham next week. We are blessed!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Puzzle Fundraiser

Quick reminder: Our Puzzle Fundraiser is a great way to support our adoption and become part of our future child's life forever! It is a very affordable way to donate to our cause - saving the life of a Ukrainian child. $5 per piece - the cost of a fast food value meal. Please prayerfully consider this fundraiser as a special way to join with us on our journey. Click the link below:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fundraising Mania!!!

In case you haven't heard, we are fundraising like crazy for our adoption of a special needs child/children from the Ukraine! I thought that I would list all of our links to these in one post today. These are all available on the left of our blog as well. We have:

Puzzle Fundraiser: $5 donation for a puzzle piece with your family name on the back

Adoption Bug T-shirts: 6 designs to choose from on our Stever Family page

Just Love Coffee Fundraiser: Variety of coffees & other items on our family page

Barefoot Books Fundraiser: Multicultural children's books from our adoption event page

We are also so blessed to part of the Kingdom Kids Fundraising/Grant Program! You may visit their website and make a tax-deductible donation to our adoption. Just go to Family Grant Donations and type "Matthew & Kelli Stever" in the Designation box.

Thank you for reading this post and sharing it with everyone you can! We have been so very blessed to have the support of our immediate family and close friends. We would be additionally honored, blessed & fortunate to have your help! Please prayerfully consider a donation to our family adoption and help us spread the word!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Adoption Bug T-shirts!

We are so excited about our new t-shirt fundraiser! Please visit our Stever Adoption Family Page and support us! Let everyone know about these shirts because they are a great way to show your support of our adoption and adoption in general!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Families to Pray For - Part III

I will never be able to list everyone that I would like to, but here are a few more families that need your love and support!

Davis Family

Lorenz Family

Sisemore Family

Burman Family

Join with me to pray for these wonderful families! They need our help! I am again humbled and honored that my family is in their company. Let us pray all of these children home!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Families In Need - Part II

I would like to recognize several more families that need our help. They need prayers, support, and donations to bring home their children. I have been so honored to have read their stories and even corresponded with some of them. Please take some time from your day to visit their blogs and read about their journeys. I am blessed to be in their company!

Basile Family

Statz Family

Harper Family

Lewandoski Family

Kacirek Family

Toomey Family

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Families In Need

I want to dedicate the next few posts to other families that I have met through emails, blogs, Face Book, Reece's Rainbow and such. I consider all of them wonderful, loving families who have a heart for adoption and are answering God's call. I will never be able to mention all of these good people that I have been so fortunate and blessed to meet. I will try to post about as many as I can. Please visit their blogs and find them on Face book and read their heartwarming stories. Pray for them, support them, and if you feel so inclined - donate to their adoptions. I have been inspired and lifted up by every one of them. May God bless them and lead them in a straight path to their future sons and daughters.

The Enskat Family

The Sanchez Family

The White Family

The Land family

The Parker Family

The Salem Family

Stay tuned for more terrific families in future posts!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Large Families

I was reading posts on Face Book and came across a great blog post that you must read! That is - if you love large, multicultural, biological/adoptive families!


I absolutely love this way of thinking! What a refreshing view of the large family! People should always think before they speak. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. It is a definite reread!

Blessings for a spectacular day!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Good Attitude

I have not posted in several days because I have not had a very good attitude. I have been a little bit down due to numerous things going on around me. I decided that rather than whining or posting about empty, boring subjects, I would just sit back and chill for a few days. Then, I read a daily devotional entitled, " Begin Your Day with a Good Attitude." I had to hang my head in shame! This is NOT the way I have been starting each day.

I am learning a few things during this unique adoption journey. I cannot allow money or the lack of it bring me down. I must have faith - not during the good times! Too easy! During the worst of times. Sometimes I have to sit back and be content with the small things. I must look at the problems and snags along the way as "challenges to my faith." Is this unknown orphan in the Ukraine worth some discomfort? Some pain? Some hard times? Some headaches and difficult decisions?


I need a wake up call now and then! Therefore, we will continue to fundraise, sell, network, refinance, & brainstorm every minute of the day so that we can make a difference in the life of one of the special children in a Ukrainian orphanage. Please pray for our family. We need this more than anything!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Special Note to Our Children

I came across this blog from another blog! It has crossed my path twice now so I must share it with you!

You must read this blog! http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-dont-want-my-children-to-be-happy.html

What a perfect and beautiful way to explain adoption to our families! Thank you for sharing this with us! God bless you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quit Faking It

I would like to join Courtney at www.storinguptreasures.com with her campaign! Amen! She has a lot of nerve and I admire her for her candid post! I would like to attempt to share a little bit of my real life with you.

First of all, I will share a quote from her blog here:

"I am really screwed up. I need Jesus something fierce."

I also fake my faith sometimes. I try to pray the "right way" but many times I do not even know if I mean what I say. I know that God is very disappointed in me.

I am not always real when it comes to my precious children. Sometimes I even fake with them. I pretend to be Mother of the Year and work full time and look forward to weekends of zoo outings, playgrounds, book reading, etc. when all I really want to do is sleep the weekend away.

We go out for fast food - there - I said it. I wish we ate home cooked delicious meals that take all day to prepare and are filled with fresh, organic ingredients. But we do not. In fact, we very rarely eat true home cooked meals. We eat what is easy and quick to prepare. I am even faking the fact that I wish we ate home cooked meals more often. What a pain! I like the easy meals!

My home is a total wreck 90% of the time. We pick up more than clean up. I wipe off things with Clorox wipes more than thoroughly clean them. My kids eat crumbs off the floor sometimes.

I read all the articles on child rearing including time outs, time ins, creative discipline, no yelling, etc..... I yell at my kids. Yes - I yell at my kids. Sometimes I even throw a temper tantrum myself that is far more juvenile than theirs.

As I share some of the things I fake every day, I hope that you appreciate my honesty and start your own mini revolution too! I think what is most important is that we all admit our faults and try to be as real as we can. God forgives us and accepts us as we are. He is not a fake. He is EVERYTHING. I am nothing if not His daughter. And I love all of you as the fakers that you are too! : )

Monday, March 1, 2010

Overwhelming Support from a Friend

I have had the privilege of meeting a wonderful mother online. We met by God's plan through blogs and email. We both have a heart burdened by an orphan known as "Corinna" in the Torez facility in the Ukraine. We also both love coffee and coffee creamer and both live in Alabama! Josette has been such a sweet special friend to me and she is going 100% on faith! We will meet some day soon, but until then, I want everyone who follows our story to realize what a faithful, generous woman she is.

She parted with several items that were very special to her. They held dear memories for her and could have been sold for numerous other better causes than ours. However, she chose to donate the proceeds to our family adoption. We have not even been matched with a particular child/children yet. But - she believes in our heart for adoption and stands beside us on this journey.

I will never be able to show you the extent of my gratitude, my dear friend. Please know that you and your family have become a part of our family - you are a part of our future child's life forever. May God continue to bless your family and keep you safe and happy. I hope that one day I can give to you some of what you have given to us! Maybe our families can share a meal & fellowship together in the near future! I love you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Prayers & Support

This family really struck a chord with me. They really do set an example for all of us - an example of faith, love, nurturing, and answering God's calls - all of them! They are a wonderful family with 10 children from age 13 down to newborn. Their family blog is as gorgeous as their children! Courtney, the mother, is a talented photographer. Just like many of us, they are facing tough times; however, they are very positive and trust in God to bring them through all hardship.

Would you all please take a look at their blog and at Courtney's Etsy Shop? The links are below:


I love how this community of adoptive families pulls together to support one another. I hope we can put our arms around this family as well and pray for them. Thank you Courtney for your inspirational posts about your wonderful family. We continue to follow along with you with hope and support.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big Family Benefits

I visited a family blog today that I follow. She had an article from Matthew Archbold. Here is a copy of it:

Why big families are easier:

Patience. I never have to teach patience. My children know that I can’t drop everything for them if I have a baby in my arms.

Work Ethic. My children have learned to work because there are always chores to do in a small house packed with little messy lunatics. And they all learn quickly that sometimes they have to clean up a mess even though they didn’t make it.

Humility. My children have learned it’s not always their turn. They’ve accepted they can’t always get their way because other people have to get their way sometimes. They’ve learned that some children are better at certain things than they are.

Foreign language skills. You can learn a lot of Spanish by watching ten years of Dora the Explorer that you just can’t pick up in two. And now with the Diego spin off I’m practically fluent.

Laughter. The children have learned to laugh at the insane non sequiturs of younger siblings. They’ve learned that laughing just feels better when seven people are doing it along with you.

Competition. Do I really need to go into this? Everything is a competition in big families. The children compete over who reads faster, who drinks their milk faster, who gets to the bathroom first…etc. Everything is a competition and they’re all keeping score.

Balance. The floor of the front room of my home is a minefield of toys and childhood paraphernalia. Just walking through the room requires great skill and balance. I’m absolutely convinced my two year old will be a favorite for Gold on the balance beam in the 2016 Olympics. (She might have to lay off the cookies a little but I’ll deal with that later.)

Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you just give it to the baby because you want a little quiet. Not all the time. But sometimes.

Just say “No.” Being able to say “no” may be the most undervalued skill in this world. The need to be liked is pervasive. The need to be cool even more so. Having brothers and sisters teaches children to say “no” about 143 times a day. It’s a good skill.

Praying. They learn that nothing beats praying together as a family.

Nature/Nurture. Having many children has taught me that nature has a lot more to do with who my kids are than nurture. This is helpful, especially when your children misbehave you don’t have to feel bad about it. Just say “Stupid nature!!!” and blame your spouse’s genes.

Namecalling. You can occasionally call your child by the wrong name and still not be considered a terrible parent. They know who you mean just from your tone. Sometimes if you need something done you can call the wrong name and someone will still show up. That helps.

Spying. My children have learned that they can’t get away with anything. I have spies who look a lot like them who are willing to drop the dime on them for anything. Even at school I’ve got a child in just about every grade. If they do something I’ll hear. That keeps them nervous. And I like keeping my kids a little nervous.

Friendship. The children have many friends. They’ve got girly friends, crying friends, fun loving friends, consoling friends, and crazy friends. And they all have the same last name. And they’ll be there forever for each other. No matter what.

Love. I think my children have learned to love because there are others around them to love and who love them. I honestly can think of no better way to teach children to love than siblings.

I could not have said it all better myself. This is so true. The link is here:

The Boyd Family blog is a great one! They are a big family! I have learned more from their blog than any adoption class yet! Visit it here:
Blessings to all the Big Families out there!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Adoption - Not Abortion

I am issuing a challenge to all Christians! I was raised hearing mottoes like these! As Pro-Life advocates, we have all advocated picketing abortion clinics, holding rallies, adopting rather than aborting, and organizing events to promote saving the unborn child. As Christians, this is an important ministry. However, I am finding that many people have no problems doing all of the above. The problem arises when we are called to ACT on our beliefs. For example, if you believe that adoption should be an option to an unwanted pregnancy because abortion is wrong, then are you actively supporting adoption? By this I mean are you actively supporting a family's adoption journey? Are you donating to this family? Are you praying specifically for them and their child? Are you helping with fundraising efforts? You see, it is fairly easy to state one's belief in something. I am urging you as a fellow Christian to ACT! Let's stand up and stand out! Let's do more than simply state, "We are against abortion. We believe in adoption as an alternative." Let's put our money and our support where our mouth is! I am challenging all Christians to actively support an adoptive family TODAY! You decide how you will accomplish that goal - by donations, prayer, fundraising, networking....whatever. Be an example - not just a mouthpiece - for adoption.

Note: I am taking on this challenge as well. Even though we are on our own adoption journey, I am becoming a stronger advocate for adoption. I am supporting my fellow adoptive families in every way possible. I am taking on more responsibility for promoting adoption in several different ways. I refuse to stand quietly behind a statement of belief any longer! I am going to ACT because isn't that what God calls us to do? I know that He is not satisfied with my actions yet! Please pray for me as I continue to pray for all of you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Positively Soaring!

I read this from my daily prayers. It goes something like this: "The concept of positive thinking is something that many people fail to do regularly. When things are going well, it is easy to think and act positive. However, when situations occur that are unfavorable, the idea of positive thinking has been replaced with doubt, confusion, and negativity. It is a shame that so many people allow situations and circumstances to dictate whether they will be happy, secure, and successful. In order for people to overcome this feeling, there must be a liberating of the mind.
Let us stop thinking negatively and start reflecting on what God has done and continues to do in our lives. Now this is a positive thought."

I lecture myself every day on this concept. I even say it out loud - BE POSITIVE. It is not for the faint of heart - being positive takes action and it is quite exhausting sometimes. BUT - it is so worth it! We are going to continue on our journey of adoption no matter what is thrown in our path. This typically manifests itself in negativity from outside sources - friends, family, colleagues. We just fight the battles one at a time. We will be victorious because of one thing: GOD. God is on our side.

A scripture for today because I just like it! "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
(Matthew 7:7-8 -NIV)
I like this because if you never knock, or ask, or search, or put yourself out there - you will never succeed. You will never know what huge, cool things God had in store! We were in our safety net - comfortable and complacent. What a bore! Now we are soaring because we have answered a calling to serve and it feels so good!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Unconditional Love & Friendship

Something very special happened today - something that I was not ready for. We received a donation from one of our dear friends. This young military family has five children. They are a faithful, Christian family that we admire very much. They live in another state, yet they have kept in touch with us much better than we have with them. They are truly an example for our family, and they have taught me what real, unconditional love means. They took that chance on us - that risk. They are like most average middle-income families these days. That makes their donation even more heartfelt to us. We do not deserve their friendship, but we accept it and ask them to pray for us.

This donation evoked strong emotions from me that were very unexpected. I had feelings of unworthiness, guilt, happiness, relief, and fear. It has made me look at the things in our life that are really, really important. Not money - but rather friends and supporters and children and our Almighty Father. He graciously showed me a sign - a sign of faith. It is so comforting to feel that we are supported. We know that we are following God's call to adopt one of His precious children. Not everyone understands this call and that is okay. We just have one request: please pray for us and support us in this journey.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another New Fundraiser!

Yes - you read it correctly! We are starting a new fundraising program that I read about from another adopting family. It is Just Love Coffee and I DO! This is a wonderful opportunity! The company is set up to give $5 profit for every bag of coffee we sell by order or online from our personalized web store. There are other products that pay commissions also such as T-shirts, mugs, etc. This company was started by a family adopting from Ethiopia. It is a truly amazing story that I invite all of you to read about. Just click on my link to the left of the blog! I really do think these people are the greatest! I am truly blessed to have found out about them. They also have a Fan Page on Facebook that you can check out! As always, thank you for your support during this adoption process. We could not do this without the support of all of you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making Time

Today has been stressed-filled to the max! Then, I read my daily devotional and had an , "AH HA!" moment.

"Do you ever find yourself slipping up in your prayer life? God knows you're busy, but He wants you to carve out some meaningful time with Him. A powerful prayer life equates to a life full of blessings. Sincere prayer will cause God to move in your life and in the lives of those around you. Prayer that is not all about you will permit you to rise above thinking about yourself and placing the needs of others before your own. Prayer will give you peace in the midst of any storm. If you refuse to set aside devoted prayer time to God, how do you expect God to speak to you? "

These words really affected me. I have not given God the time He deserves from me. Yet I have been moaning about fundraising being a slow process and other everyday stresses. I can do much better than this. Today I pray for all of the orphans who are without families and for all of the families who are struggling along beside me trying to bring their children home too. May God bless each one of you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Preparation For What Is Coming

In order for us to get out of our problem, situation, and/or circumstance, we need to move and allow God to take over. God knows what to do, but we must allow Him to do what He needs to do. Whenever we are about to go through something uncomfortable, God equips us with what we need to endure it. Whenever we go through discomfort, it's to help us, not kill us. Our trial is preparing us for what is ahead.

I have to reread these thoughts over and over again lately! We are "stuck" in our adoption process. It is hard to swallow because it is simply a lack of funds. It is so hard to sit idly by while children are suffering! I know that God's plan is perfect, but it is so difficult to wait. Please pray for our adoption process to MOVE forward! Or just to MOVE! We have lively spirits that do not want to be still! We are continuing to fundraise and network with everyone we encounter!

I am so pleased to read about all of the families who are successfully moving forward in their adoptions. We pray every day for these families because they are part of our families too! Bless all of you who are on this journey with us!