Sunday, November 15, 2015

too many cooks in the kitchen? (not at all)

i've heard a lot of adoption stories, but the cooks have always had one of my favorites.

it was years ago, our connor and bobby cook were in preschool together at peachtree corners baptist. bobby's parents, martha and andy, were preparing to adopt a little girl from ethiopia. they had two biological boys and were adding this third child.

"wow," i thought. "so cool."
this was before our own adoption. but, you know how it is, when God is working on something in our hearts, He draws us to the stories of others. 

as the cooks were getting close to their travel date, martha told andy, "someday, i would really love to go back to ethiopia and adopt a second child from that country as well." 
andy, in typical husband fashion, answered, "we have YET to go for the first one. one thing at a time, martha. one child at a time." 

a few days later, andy was home and a call came from the adoption agency. it had been discovered that the baby girl they were matched with had an older sibling. would they take him as well? 
andy quickly told the woman, "yes, yes we will!" 
the agency woman hesitated and then (strongly) suggested he might want to speak with his wife about it first. 
"don't worry, we've already talked about it." andy replied.

and so came home sydney and andrew.

in the past couple of years this sibling group of 4 became 5 when little michael was born. the cooks' nest was full. as a fellow mom of five, i can assure you, no mother with this many children is looking around wishing she had more. i mean it happens. and it's good. but, typically, there's no time to be drumming our fingers at the kitchen counter and pining away for more small people under our roof.

but the cook-kid story continues.

this year, sydney cook and our bella are in 2nd grade together. several weeks ago bella came home from school with a prayer request. "mom, we really have to pray for the cooks. they are going to adopt five more kids... and soon! mom, that means they are going to have ten kids. isn't that awesome? wouldn't that be so much fun? i'm so jealous!"  
umm ... yes, fun. uh-huh. jealous. i wasn't sure i heard her correctly. "oh, honey, i'll have to ask mr. or mrs. cook about that. but, yes, we will pray."

i almost wrote it off as the outlandish tale of a couple of second grade girls.

andy is the director of Promise686 -- our adoption/foster care ministry. he and i were working together on the concert/fundraiser this past october. so, in one of our meetings, i asked him and he confirmed sydney's news ---- yes, indeed, God had crossed their path with a sibling group whose mother was dying of cancer. there was no father and these children would need a home.  

the children were part of a wonderful church community which was helping to care for them, but after the mom passed away (about 6 weeks ago), there wasn't one family who was able to bring all five under their roof. the children would have to be split up. (ages: 17, 14, 12, 10 and 2).

as director of Promise686, andy hears lots and lots of stories of kids in need. as martha wrote in her blog post, "typically when a family like this crosses our path through Promise686, we share with many others and watch it unfold for various people." but this time, this sibling group and their situation captured the cooks' attention ... took hold of their hearts. and the Holy Spirit began whispering into them ... "what if?" 

i think this would be a good time to tell you that andy and martha are two of the sanest, calmest, coolest people i know. they weren't drawn to the drama or the desire for attention ... not at all. they are just people drawn to Jesus who could not and cannot ignore His voice.

and in a just a few quick weeks the cooks have prayerfully come to the decision that Jesus was calling them to welcome five more children into their family. 

simple 2nd grade math: 5+5=10. kind of gives the saying, "too many cooks in the kitchen," a whole new meaning, right? yes, it's a lot, but it's not too many. martha and andy have been repeatedly reminded by their God that there is nothing too much or too many or too mountainous for Him. He has continued to give them an incredible peace in this situation and they know He's got this. He knows exactly the right number of kids for this family. writing this, i'm reminded,

"but even the hairs of your head are all numbered." 
~ matthew 10:30

"He determines the number of the stars; 
He gives to all of them their names." ~ psalm 147:4

and God also knows the exact number of cook kids in the kitchen!

i know some of you are reading this and feeling like that lady on the phone from the adoption agency years ago  --- "are you sure? don't you want to talk about this further? ask your wife (again)? put it all out on paper? process it? plan for it? prepare?"

i know all of your questions are good and logical and prudent, but andy and martha have given their answer, "yes, yes we will!" 

they aren't doing this to be heroic.
they aren't doing this because they think they can handle it.
they aren't doing this because they are currently holding it all together. 
they have said yes, because they've heard God's whisper and they know it is He who holds and handles and has it all. 

HOWEVER, that doesn't mean they don't need our help. 

andy is the director of a not-for-profit ministry and martha, is home caring for her kids full time, consider what that might mean financially. this isn't a family who is doubling in size because they happen to have excess funds squirreled away. not at all.
for just a minute, consider also what it might take/cost/require in your own home to bring in an additional five kids. i have been part of a team helping the cooks in the past couple of weeks and i assure you, it is monumental. 

it is also incredibly cool. i was at martha's a couple of days ago and i don't even know how to describe the scene. there's this amazing community of people coming around them: quick home renovations, new rooms for kids, walls down, walls up, meals made, appliances swapped out, babies watched, items donated, carpools driven. so much is being done ...

 --- and there's so much more to do.

these precious children arrive THIS COMING FRIDAY. 

how can you help?

below i am attaching a couple of links -- martha's blog, care calendars, needs, etc...)
please click on the cooks' blog below to find the "donate" button!

it's a wonderful opportunity to support this family who is trusting God for daily provision. i rarely use my blog to ask anyone for money, but i am going to blatantly do so now. if you've got a few dollars to donate ... this is, most certainly, the time and the family!

i'd also love to ask you to please SHARE this blogpost and/or martha's blog! 

the cooks' blog: surrendering to the unknown

all the information you need to pitch in!
CHILDCARE / ERRANDS : For those of you who wish to give your TIME: 
Point of Contact for this area:  Mary Michael Massie
Care Calendar #223725 code 3660

MEALS: For those who wish to use your TALENTS:
Point of Contact for MEALS:  Katie Gettman
Care Calendar #223753 code 3410

DONATIONS: For those who have the ability to give of their RESOURCES:
Point of Contact for Donations: Jen Style,
**link yet to be determined and accompanied with a list of items that need to be donated or bought.**

the cooks at christmas last year! can't wait to see the 2015 picture!
first time all the kids got together!