Wednesday, December 7, 2011

They're Here! They're Finally Here!!!!!

Yes, we're still here. Thanks for being so patient. It's been too long since we last posted, and there are several things we need to post.

First: the showing. The showing was a success with a great turnout. Thank you everyone for coming and showing your support of this film. We had some very kind and encouraging comments afterwards, and we are grateful. We owe special thank you's to everyone who helped with the evening: JR Haas and Jeff Malott for help with A/V and to the Naquin family for help with setting up, and taking care of refreshments. Thank you to everyone who brought a snack to share. You can always count on our church to share good eats!

We've been working on preparing the DVD for release, which takes more work than you would guess. There's compressing the movie to fit on a single layer DVD without losing the quality that you gained by using an HD camera, then there's cover art, disk design, blurbs to write, layouts to go over... and the list goes on. Who knew there was so much involved in duplicating a simple DVD? Anyway, for those of you who have asked about a DVD, that's why it has taken so long.

But the wait is OVER! They arrived today from our new friend, Cheryl Bagby, at Creative Media Resources. She was so very patient throughout the entire process with us newbies. We really appreciate her diligence, patience, and especially her quality work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Please Save the Date! 7 p.m., November 9, 2011

Yeah! It's scheduled! It's actually on the calendar. Now, we (that's the royal "we"; in reality, it's just Caleb and Lisa) just have to finish the tweaking of Grafted. Since September 30, they have been working on color and sound correction, which we weren't able to squeeze in before last month's deadline. We've also added a couple of extra clips.

We have given ourselves a deadline and scheduled a showing for 7 pm Wednesday, November 9, at our church. Everyone is invited and there's no cost, so please feel free to tell others, especially those who have been affected by adoption or might be interested in adopting in the future.

Thank you to all those who have been praying for and encouraging us. We are so blessed to be a part of our church family (and "extended" church family). We hope you will be able to share the evening with us.

Premier of
Wednesday, 7 pm, 
November 9, 2011
Our Church

Friday, October 7, 2011

We Made It!!!

Just wanted to let everyone know: We received an email from the SAICFF Team saying they had received our DVDs and we would find out the results on 1/13/12. So, we assume this means they've accepted our entry into the competition, and now we wait to see if they will accept it to be shown as part of the Film Festival. We will be notified on 1/13/12, but the Film Festival will be 2/23/12 - 2/25/12. We are praising God for His mercy and grace, still resting in His Providence. Thank you for your prayers, and we would appreciate your continued prayers that the gospel and the message of adoption would be spread. Also, Emily Frye told me that November is Adoption Awareness Month.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Last but not least... the Greens

The Greens are long time members of our church and the last couple we interviewed for Grafted. They are the proud parents of Justin and Peterson, who arrived home from Haiti the week after Mother's Day.

Greg and Cara were one of the couples at church when it was founded in April, 2006. In December, 2006, they moved to Florida so Greg could attend chiropractic college. While in Florida, they began the long adoption process. During the > 2 year process, they were able to visit the boys in Haiti, but due to bureaucratic red tape and logistical nightmares, they weren't able to bring Justin and "Petey" home until May of 2009. Since their homecoming, Greg completed school, then a 10 week internship in Rhode Island, where the boys experienced snow for the first time. Finally, Greg became Dr. Greg in March 2010, and they moved home to Texas.

Since then Dr. Greg has been starting up his practice, which is growing. He shares his health and wellness tips here. Both Greg and Cara are also wonderful chefs, and their famous "green" pot is usually one of the first ones emptied at our Sunday fellowship meal. They also love organic, and have a small garden in their backyard. The Green family loves cats and they have given a home to 3 of them. While Greg is busy helping his clients, Cara is busy educating their boys and caring for their home.

Here are some of photos of our day with the Greens:

Petey and Justin on their bikes.

Greg answers questions during filming.

The boys help with their yummy garden.

Thank you, Greens, for spending your day with us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meet the Bauchams

Dr. Voddie and Bridget Baucham were the next adoptive parents we interviewed. Since they were having some work done on their home, we interviewed them in our home. Voddie and Bridget are the proud parents of 7 children: Jasmine, Trey, Elijah, Asher, Judah, Micah, and Safya. The last five are all under 7. To say that the Bauchams have a busy household is an understatement!

We are blessed to have Pastor Voddie as one of the pastors of our church. Not only does he preach, but he also preaches at other churches and speaks at conferences all over the world. In his "spare time", he also writes books: The Ever-Loving Truth, Family Driven Faith, and What He Must Be. He is working on others at this time, as well. Bridget home educates the youngest five, while Jasmine and Trey pursue continuing education in areas of interest. In addition, Trey works outside the home, while Jasmine is Bridget's "right hand girl," helping Bridget care for the younger children and the Baucham home. The Bauchams also manage to fit in hospitality, teaching home Bible study groups (Pastor Voddie does this one) and hosting New Members' classes. I'm just not sure when they find time to sleep.

Pastor Voddie and Bridget bring a unique perspective to Grafted. They are the only family interviewed who have adopted domestically, and they are the only family who has gone through the adoption process not just once, but 5 times! Along their adoption journey, they have studied and learned about marriage, family, children, and especially about adoption. They bring not only their vast experience to the film, but also Pastor Voddie's theological understanding of the doctrine of adoption. Pastor Voddie, like Pastor David Shiflet, fills the dual role in the film of both theological expert on adoption AND battle tested adopted father.

Thank you Pastor Voddie and Bridget for spending your day with us, and Pastor Voddie for a second day of interviewing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mourning into Dancing

Driving home after midnight on Friday night, knowing we were only able to finish burning and mailing half the required DVDs, we all assumed this meant our entry would not be accepted. We still don't know if it will be allowed to enter the competition. You can imagine how easy it was to be discouraged. We all worked so hard, especially Lisa and Caleb who did the computer part of the editing. There had been so many obstacles, yet it seemed God allowed us to overcome every one. I felt so confused. God could have kept us in the dark about the September 30 deadline, but He did not. He could have prevented us from finishing the film, but He did not. He could have kept Richard Rector from finishing his music, but He did not. He could have not brought the Horners to us at the eleventh hour to help finish the music, but He did. Is it ironic to anyone else that a burning wildfire didn't derail us, but a burning computer disk did? So why were we not able to burn a DVD?  I don't know, and that's what confused me. We kept taking the next step, until midnight. So, what now?

By the grace of God, we prayed. Weary, disappointed, and confused, we prayed. As Randy was praying, he quoted something Pastor Voddie said that we used in the film (It was so hard to limit 30 hours of film to 81 minutes!) Pastor Voddie reminds us that the adoption is about the child, that adoptive parents are making themselves "available" to adopt a child. But if, in the providence of God, He chooses for that child to stay with his birth mother, or to go to another adoptive family, then we have to "celebrate God's Providence", even when it doesn't feel good. "If you can't say "Amen!", you oughta say, "Ouch!."

And that's when it happened. Who are we to say what's best for this film? Who are we to say what needs to happen next? What if God has other plans for this film? Other venues where it will be seen? What if the process we went through to finish the film and the sanctification God has wrought was the goal? Who are we to question? One of the things that grieved me (Pat) most was that God's grace enabled me to trust Him with my mother's eternity last February, but somehow I didn't want to trust His decision about this film. That's when God turned our mourning into dancing. I just started weeping. Not because of sadness or disappointment, but rejoicing, because God turned my heart from confusion and disappointment to peaceful trust in His plan. God's loving kindness is everlasting.

And here we rest, confidant that God will do what is best. We will wait to see if SAICFF accepts our entry into the competition. Caleb and Lisa will begin making some sound and color edits that they weren't able to finish before the deadline, and we hope to have a showing for family and friends, maybe next month. We will try other avenues to share this message with others. And we will wait on Him and what He will do.

Oh, and look to our next film project, Lord willing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Already and the Not Yet...

I promise I am not making any of this up. I couldn't. I'm guessing if you're reading our blog, you want to know the answer to the question, "Did we make it?" Well, the answer is: Already and Not yet. Yes and no. We're not sure. How can we be "Not sure"? I am so glad you asked, because it's a rather long story.

As you know, Richard Rector was composing our music, and doing a wonderful job. Well his time got cut (WAY) short because of our mistakes. He worked so hard to get as much done as possible, then he asked the Horners from our sister church to help with the editing and electronically adding more instruments. Zachary Horner is a gifted composer, so we were going to use some of his music and John Urback's as well. They worked so hard, up until the wee hours on several nights. On Thursday, we had much of the soundtrack and began to add it to the movie. We went to bed about 3 am on Friday morning, having a "finished product" that we weren't quite happy with, so we went over to the H's house on Friday for a final run through, and possibly a little editing. We finish editing (we want to do a little more fine tuning in color and sound, but the movie is edited) about 4:00 pm, plenty of time to get it to the post office, right?

Yes and no... First, our movie is 50GB, and our DVDs were 8GB, so we had to compress the files. That took over 2 hours. Finally, we're done compressing; now we can burn the DVDs. No problem, right? Before you burn the DVDs, they have to be formatted. Who knew that formatting a DVD would take another 2 hours? Meanwhile, we've downloaded the compressed file to a second computer to start it burning a DVD as well. Guess how long it takes to format? Over 3 hours! By now we're at 9:00, with only one DVD burned. You have to have 6 DVDs to enter the festival, and we have one. We continue to pray through this whole thing that God would somehow work this out. Our tech-savvy children tell us that once a DVD is formatted, it doesn't take as long the second time. I'm used to 5 minutes to burn a CD, so I think there's still hope... We put the second DVD in the computer estimates 19 minutes to burn. Great. The Post Office is about 30 minutes away. We think, we'll get 2 done, the men can go to the post office and get in line, while the women stay at the house, burn another DVD; the second computer will keep burning its DVD. Then the women will follow in a second car to the post office, with the desk top (plugged into a converter for power) and the laptop in the car, with the desk top, so we can burn DVDs on the trip to the post office. Armed with another burned DVD, the women get into the car and plug in not one , but 2 converter boxes, both of which worked 5 minutes ago when Jenny Horner started her car. Neither one of them will work with the computer plugged in. But by this time, we're already driving. Jenny is driving, I have a powerless desk top on my lap in the front seat, and the girls are in the back seat of the truck with the lap top, running on quickly dwindling battery power. While we're racing (well, our hearts were, anyway) to the post office we get a call from the men: They were able to mail 2 copies of our DVD and the soundtrack CD. YEAH!!!!! But, it's 10 pm and the post office workers won't wait for us to bring any more DVDs, but Randy has another idea.

Some businesses have their own mail meters, so they can stamp their own outgoing mail, which includes a postmark. Randy knows someone who has one of these meters. SO, we all head back to the house hoping to finish burning the DVDs and get to this friend's by 12 MN (Thank you Mrs. C for being willing to meet us!!), then send these other DVDs in a separate package. Are you getting tired yet?

 We get back to the house, plug the laptop in as it's dying to keep that burn going. We plug the desktop in to burn 2 more DVDs, only to find out that, since we turned off the computer, we now have to reformat the disk. Another 2-3 hours! The laptop is almost finished formatting and burning its first DVD , and we're getting close to midnight, so we have to leave to try to get the envelope stamped. We figured we'd send what we could with a letter explaining that the others would follow, and hope that they would accept the entry. We were hoping that it would at least be accepted to be considered for a showing at the festival even if it wasn't accepted to be in competition for a Jubilee award. For us, to glorify God through sharing the message about adoption has always been our goal. Earthly awards are affirmation, and certainly a great encouragement, especially to young film makers, but they are hay and stubble (pretty cool hay and stubble, but still...).

While we are driving to the friend's, at 11:50, the laptop comes up with an error message: "Formatting error." So we start another disk burning. We arrive at the friend's and get the precious timed postmark. It is five minutes until midnight; we have 2 DVDs and the soundtrack mailed in, and another DVD that can go into our envelope with the postmark. That is the best that could be done. We could not control the computer time. Next time we will know, and Lord willing, not cut it so close, but, providentially, we were only able to get 3 DVDs burned. Since then, we've tried to burn 3 more DVDs, 1 on the laptop and 2 on the same desk top that successfully burned the first 3. ALL had formatting errors. How does that happen? In the providence of God, we didn't start earlier, and even late, we haven't yet been able to get more DVDs burned. so God obviously has other plans that have not yet been revealed. We wait on His will in His timing, and we praise Him for His sovereignty.

So, did we make the deadline? Yes and no. The already and not yet... We don't know. Will they accept the entry because some of the DVDs and the application were on time, and the rest follow? We'll keep you posted. But the next post, after we all wake up for real (I couldn't sleep while this story was rattling in my head), AND after we go see Courageous, which we've been waiting to see since we saw sneak clips at last year's SAICFF academy, I'll write about how God changed our mourning into dancing over how all this turned out.

God is good, especially when His plan differ from ours, because it reminds us that we are adopted and our heavenly Father is He is doing what's best for us, because we can't see what's best for us.

We don't know what we don't know - Part II

We left off yesterday with the contract on our house. Now to August:

August was spent editing, preparing for our move and trying to make sure we wouldn't be homeless. We had done a little bit of looking, but, since our house hadn't sold in 3 years, and this was the worst market yet (road widening was going on right behind our home to make a 4-lane road that would lead to brand new homes across the street from our 5 year old home), we hadn't settled on anything. We found our home, asked the sellers to be ready to move out in less than 3 weeks, and they said, "Yes." So we packed up and moved to our own "Green Acres." Well, they're brown now, but we're praying for rain. 

So now we live in a county where 2 towns in 2 other counties are closer than any town in our own county, and we love it. But I digress; I was talking about our film making adventures. During our brief stay in our new home, it rained for the first time in months. Yeah! And our power goes out. Not so Yeah! Computers need electricity. Oh, well, Mom gets a night off from cooking; let's go "to town." The power goes off another 2 times, then come the Texas Wildfires. We're out of house for 9 days. We got back in our home, then a week later realized when our film is due. You know, I think they actually changed the SAICFF website because of my question. And now we're  praying and asking God to give us strength, wisdom, and everything else we need to finish. So far, He has supplied, so we're continuing to move forward.

I ask you, would you have started this project if you knew all that when you started? Honestly, I hope, after seeing all God has allowed to be done to pull this film together, I hope I would trust Him enough to try. God always knows how much I need to know. When will I ever learn to completely trust Him, that I don't need to know any more than His Providence has already revealed?

So why did I share our long saga? Because through it al,l God has supplied our needs, whether it be encouragement, photos, editing knowledge, or music.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We don't know what we don't know - Part I and am I glad!

I am so glad that I had no idea what this project would entail when we first had the idea in early June. I confess if I had known then all I know now, I'm certain I would have been too scared to try it. I wouldn't recommend going in with your eyes wide shut, but I think that's often how things end up. We plan, we organize, and we imagine how it will be, and then everything turns out differently. That's what happened with this project.

When we first had the idea, we spent several weeks praying about it, so we didn't contact anyone until end of June. At the time, we thought the due date was November 30. Silly us. Our first interviews were the first weekend in July.  We found out a month later that our due was October 31, or so we thought. Then last week, we realized our true due date is tomorrow. 

We didn't even get our editing software until late July. Our frugal children wanted to spend their money on the newest edition of Final Cut Pro, and we heard FCP X would soon be out, so we waited. FCP X is a dud and a giant step back in editing software, which is an unusual event for Apple. By that time, Apple had stopped making FCP 7, the previous version. You could find it used, but the resale community now had a much desired commodity, so the price of a used FCP 7 doubled over original retail price. Through some patient searching, we were able to find a used version of FCP 7 for its original new retail price. Finally, we're going to have editing software! We can begin post production. Everything's going to be smooth sailing now...

Then, on my 50th birthday, we got that looonnngg awaited phone call. We have tried to sell our house every year for the last 3 years. We'd had over 70 showings, and nary an offer. But on my 50th birthday, we got an offer on our home. We were thrilled to be able to sell, but... so much for smooth sailing. Our buyers wanted to close in a month, so now we had to divide and conquer. Randy always handles the paperwork aspect of the move. I'm usually the packer and organizer. Caleb and Lisa are usually my helpers, but this time, they had their own To Do list: begin cataloging about 30 hours of interview clips and B-roll film. 

Tomorrow... the rest of the story.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Can we talk?

 OK. I confess, there's so much I've wanted to write about, but no time because of trying to finish Grafted. This day started miserably: I was physically tired, staying up late, getting up early, not sleeping well in between. In our recent wildfire adventure, a dear friend asked how I was sleeping. "Like a baby," I replied and I really was. Now I go to sleep thinking about Grafted and wake up right where I left off, usually at dark:30 in the morning. Waking up sleepy usually makes this girl grumpy, and today was no exception. After sharing my grumpies for breakfast, Lisa and I started working, while Randy and Caleb went to the Apple store for a One-to-One appointment, hoping to solve a particular film issue we're having.

When we went to church yesterday morning, we thought we had just one more section and some B-roll (the footage that overlays the speaker and adds visual interest to the film). People asked us if we thought we could finish; to which we replied, "If the Lord allows us to keep up this pace." We watched the film last night; I think we were all assuming we'd all be pleased. Not so much.

Today, we awoke with a LONG list of repairs, as well as the plan to completely rework at least 1-3 sections. ACK! That's why today started so miserably. But wait! There's more! Nothing was working; creative juices were not flowing, one computer went on strike and our film software stopped importing pictures properly. All this after a quiet time! What's a girl to do? We stopped to pray again (and again later), about the software issue, and it finally finished importing the photo, but only by the long way. So we got back to work, but still those creative juices were flowing like syrup in January-- in Alaska, because it will probably still be summer here in Texas next January.

Would you like a little whine with your dinner? It's probably a good thing you can't hear my voice. This has been much harder than we anticipated, more involved than we could imagine, more technically demanding, and more draining on the brain.

I confess, I debated over writing this post. My attitude today has not been honoring to God, and I don't want to glorify sin in any fashion. But the sin is not the end of the story. It never is, when you're a child of God.
But, God ...  Pastor Voddie says that's one of his favorite phrases in the Bible, and I'm inclined to agree with him. So here's the way we finished that sentence today: But God always provides, and today is no exception.

The highlight of today was listening to one of Pastor David's clips, one that was completely new to me. How I didn't hear it when I was sitting in that study interviewing him, I will never know. But tonight, I heard that clip for the first time. It was exactly the encouragement we all needed. He was talking to prospective adoptive parents in the clip, but tonight, he was talking to a family who needed the encouragement. I wish I was technically capable of figuring out how to upload clips to this blog, but I haven't figured it out yet, and I won't have time until next week. So I'm afraid you'll have to wait, but we plan to post some of the clips that have kept us going through this project. You don't have to be an adoptive parent to be encouraged by his words.

Honestly, it has been an amazing privilege to travel with these families on their adoption journeys; we have learned so much. We have laughed and cried and everything in between. We have learned deep lessons about the love and faithfulness of God and the sufficiency of Scripture.  Our primary goal has always been to glorify God, but in doing that, we desire to be honoring to these families: to tell their stories faithfully, to share their triumphs and their cloudy days, and ultimately their victory in Christ. We pray that we will accomplish these goals with Grafted.

Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

God is good... still

Just wanted to share what was my morning reading this morning from my Bible reading plan:

2"Behold, God is my salvation;
   I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
   and he has become my salvation."

 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day:

    "Give thanks to the LORD,
   call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
   proclaim that his name is exalted.

 5 "Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously;
   let this be made known in all the earth.
6Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
   for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."

He comforts us with His Word and with His people. Thank you to all who have told us you are praying, as well as those who are helping at the last minute. We really appreciate your prayers, your encouraging words, and your help. 

Things are progressing, faster than before, so we continue to press forward.

God is good, all the time. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 30...

Yes, our film is due September 30. That's 8 days. It is only His grace that allowed us to find out so we could try to finish Grafted on time.

We desperately need your prayers:
1) To edit in a timely fashion.
2) To be able to add the music. It wasn't bad enough that all our issues put us 2 weeks behind; now we're WAY behind. Please pray for Richard Rector; he has been working so hard on this score and his music is beautiful. But, it's not finished. So this would be God working for this to be completed.
3) To work more efficiently than we currently have been.
4) To be able to work on less sleep and still maintain our Christian character (none of us does really well on little sleep).
5) That this film glorify God. If it doesn't do that, it's not worth doing.
6) To do all those little things that need to be done that we haven't even thought of yet.

We'll try to keep you updated, but the posts will be short. Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gulp! When exactly is our film due?

When I started this post, we wanted to ask you to pray for us to finish by the 10/31 deadline for entering this film into the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF). In the process of writing the post, I added the link to the film festival site. While I was checking that the link worked, I also re-read the entry rules, which state feature films are due 10/31, but ALL other films are due 9/30. Since Grafted, a documentary, will be longer than the required 80 minutes, we assumed it would meet the criteria for "feature film". However, now we're not sure if we've misunderstood the rule. Hence the GULP! Then the need to change the post to say we need prayer even more than we knew.

SO... at least one (or more) of us is a little freaked out that our deadline may have just moved up by 31 days, a deadline we do not see any way we can meet. We have called and sent an e-mail to SAICFF and we're waiting for an answer to when our film is actually due.

During the making of this film, there have been so many hindrances beyond our control: our house sold, after being on the market for 3 years in a row, with never an offer, our house sold. As we got ready to move to a rental house for 6-12 months, we found that there weren't any available as soon as we needed one. So we bought a house in less time than we could rent one; go figure. After we moved here, our power has gone out not once, not twice, but three times, if you don't count the time the power was turned off because of the wildfires. Then that would be four times. Did I mention we were out of our home for 9 days because of those wildfires? We were, however, able to get some work done during the evacuation, because of the generosity of our friends. I confess, I was more at peace waiting to find out if I still had a home than I am waiting to find out this deadline. Why is it that I have trouble remembering that the same God who controlled the wildfires and the safety of our home controls the destiny of Grafted?

We have believed that this is a project worthy of making, and we still do. Adoption is a godly endeavor and we would like to encourage others to be part of adoption whether through being an adoptive family, or praying, giving to or encouraging an adoptive family. We also hope that as believers, we will be encouraged by better understanding our own adoption in Christ. We have known all along that without His enabling us to complete Grafted, we would not be able to do it on our own. We don't have the skills or the expertise; we've been learning everything as we go.

Throughout this project, we have been praying for God's wisdom and grace. God is sovereign over all things and may have plans other than the ones we have made. Please pray for our peace as we work hard to find ways to speed up the process while trying to keep the quality consistent. And pray that we want God's will more than our own.

Now, we get to see if we really believe that it is God who is in control of this film's destiny and if we will be content with His choice.

Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Introducing: The Loyds

Our fourth family is a wonderful young family who also has a mix of biological and adopted children. They are the Loyds: Dr. Josh and Janiece, Aiden, Isaac, Rishona, Nathan, Malachi, and Michaela. Josh is an ER physician and works at various local hospitals, while Janiece has a more than full-time job being a wife, mother and home school mom to 6 young children. In addition to their their own family, Josh's sister-in-law, Becky, and her three children are staying with them while Josh's brother, Jacob, is deployed in Afghanistan. Did I mention that Becky will soon give birth to their fourth child?

Josh and Janiece have quite a story of God's providence in their adoption. I don't want to give away all the details, but I will say they had to fly to Vietnam from Dallas instead of Houston, because their scheduled travel date happened to coincide with Hurricane Ike. When they adopted Nathan, they already had three biological children. Aiden and Isaac went with Dad and Mom to bring Nathan home, while Rishona stayed with family.

Another facet of their story is that, even before they were married, Josh and Janiece had discussed and decided they wanted to adopt children. They always knew that there is no difference between children who come into the home through the womb, and children who come into the home through adoption. Since their adoption of Nathan, their family has grown again twice through birth: first with Malachi, and then with Michaela.

Here are some pictures of the Loyds, shortly after their adoption:

Janiece and Nathan in the airplane home.
The whole family (then) reunited back in the States.

Here are some photos of their family now:

Josh and Janiece tell their story.

Family game time.

More family time.
 We spent the day filming at their home, including family worship time. It looks a little different in every home as the fathers tailor the worship time to the ages and capabilities of their growing families. We also filmed at a local Chick-Fil-A®, courtesy of the manager, which was a lot of fun. Thank you, Loyd family for hosting us in your home for the day!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Beach Life:

The third family we were blessed to interview is the Beaches: Chris, Amy, Ethan, Hannah, Ben, and Ellie. While the Fryes had the shortest adoption, the Beaches had the longest: four years. Their faithfulness throughout the journey, despite the various hardships (and they had several along the way), was an inspiration to those around them. Usually around Chris and Amy, you will spend most of the time in laughter; their family is very funny. However, their interview is a different story. It is so touching and emotional as they share the ups and downs, culminating in the homecoming of sweet Ellie in May of 2010. It is so precious to hear how the whole family, especially the children, was willing to make personal sacrifices to prepare a place for their then unknown sister from China.

We were blessed to be at the airport when they arrived, and it was a beautiful sight to see the whole Beach family united for the first time, as the three American-born Beach children met their Chinese born sister and welcomed their parents back home. If you've never been to a homecoming of a child, I highly recommend it. You will bless and encourage the family, and you will share in an unforgettable memory.

The Beach family together at last (plus a little boy with a yellow sign)
The Beaches have a family blog at The Beach Life. In the mean time, here are some behind the scenes photos:

 Hannah, Ben and Ethan being interviewed.

 Ellie, the big girl, getting her own water.

Amy and Chris during the interview.

Ellie has a variety of faces she can demonstrate for you.

Ethan Beach is also interested in film making, so you'll usually find him behind the camera instead of in front of it. His brother and sisters are his usual film crew and actors, but he's also been known to invite others to join their productions. 

Here is Ellie in costume:

And Ellie in Ben's costume

While we were at the Beaches, we were also in the middle of selling our home. We got a phone call at 5 pm for a showing at 6:30. I (Pat) left to prepare the house while the rest of the family and John Urback stayed to finish B-roll filming. Amy also insisted on feeding us. Since I wasn't there for dinner, she actually sent dinner for me home with my family. We invade their home for a day and completely disrupt their schedule and they feed us. We really do have a very hospitable church. Thank you Beaches, for a great day at your home!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Finally, Meet the Fryes:

They are: Erin (yes, that's the correct spelling of the father's name), Emily, Lizzie, Mary, Charlotte (aka "Charlie"), Tom, Henry, Alice Faith, and baby on the way. Erin is one of our deacons, and he and his whole family are such a blessing to our church. They are one of the most hospitable families you will ever meet. If you drop by their home near dinner time, you might get an invitation; not recommending it, just saying it's been known to happen. 

They have one of the fastest adoptions I've ever heard of-- five months from start to finish. They brought sweet Alice Faith home from Ukraine January, 2011. They demonstrated their love for Alice by taking not one but TWO trips to Ukraine in the middle of winter. Who goes to the Ukraine in the dead of winter? People who passionately love their Ukrainian-born daughter who is waiting there for her parents. 

Shortly after Erin and Emily arrived home with Alice, Emily began to feel really tired. At first, she put it down to having a baby in the house again. Then, with some other tell-tale signs, Emily knew that they would soon be blessed with another child. The baby is due around Thanksgiving time. Can't wait to meet Baby Frye. Don't know if it's a boy or girl; Erin and Emily want to wait to find out, so we wait too. 

You'll want to catch up with their whole story here. Here are some pictures:

Dinner time at the Fryes

Family worship

Before I close, I have to include a story about Tom. Yesterday, we stopped by the Fryes to pick something up and visited for a short while. Caleb went with Tom to build with Legos. As they were building, Tom showed Caleb a cross he had created out of Legos. He then put the cross on the airplane he was flying, telling Caleb, "I like to put the cross on my plane, because it reminds me of God while I'm playing." That's Tom. But Tom is also the one who wanted to make sure he made it to our "blooper" reel. Don't worry, Tom, you made it. 

P.S. This was the post that was 90% written prior to our temporary relocation, but I just had to let you know that the Fryes called within minutes of our evacuation to offer a place to stay. Keep in mind that their house is wonderfully full now with the blessings that God has given them and they were still willing to find room for 4 more. I told you they were hospitable. 

Friday, September 16, 2011


Praise God! Our home and our land are completely intact. We are so thankful for all He has done since this began on Sept. 5. He has given us perfect peace as we waited for news. We were blessed by the generosity of our friends; our children said they did not even feel displaced because they felt so comfortable in our friends' homes.We also had  friends and family who prayed for us, checked on us, and provided meals for us. We cannot begin to thank you enough. 

We also need to say thank you to all the local firefighters, police officers, local officials, and all the volunteers who worked so hard during this time, often with very little sleep (i.e. 2-3 hrs/ night). According to county officials, 98% of the fire fighters were volunteers. 

Driving around our area, the devastation is beyond description. Homes that were busy with activity 2 weeks ago were melted by the fire, while another house stands next door as if nothing had happened. We cannot understand why one house was saved, but another lost in the fire. Brick homes and mobile homes alike were destroyed. Trees were charred and the ground blackened with soot. Some trees were completely stripped of branches and bark and only the trunk was left, but others were brown from the drought. Still other trees were completely untouched.

Here are some photos:

Burned tree right next to living trees.

Devastation from the fire

An interesting casualty... (It's a mailbox)
Here's another:

Green... right next to charred trees.

Brick home...

Mobile home...
God alone is our security. (Not that brick isn't smart, just not fireproof.)
We are praying for the families who were affected by the fires.

This may seem like a depressing post, but it is not meant to be. At times like this, our family takes comfort in the sovereignty, loving kindness, and providence of God. This time, in God's providence, our home was untouched; however, even when we did not know the outcome, He gave us the grace to trust that He knew best. If we had not gone through this experience, we would not have the blessing of this peace that passes all understanding. There is so much for which to be grateful: our family was safe and together from the very beginning, we always had food and clothing, and we were surrounded by beloved friends and family. Most importantly, God gave us the grace to trust Him throughout this time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

God is good... all the time

Yesterday, I caught you up on why we hadn’t been blogging much. Today, I wanted to add a little more of the story. People have been checking on us and offering help throughout this time, and we are grateful. We have been so blessed by God’s provision through our church, but even more through the things we are learning through this experience. 
Just for the record, some things that were easily accessible that I wish I had taken when we evacuated: Social Security cards, and our paper work from the recent home closing since we had no other proof that we owned our home. 
Every week, our church prays for the different families in our local body. We pray for 5 families a week, going through our membership roll alphabetically. Guess who's on the prayer list this week? Not too hard to guess. Sad thing is I wasn’t even thinking about that until we had 2 families come to bring lunch yesterday. After they left, I found a church bulletin, presumably from one of the cars, on the grass. No wonder there has been a peace that's passed all understanding. Praise God for His providential hand in our lives that guides every step we take. 
Wednesday, as my husband and I were driving for the second time trying to get back home, I was reading out loud from Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. Even this apparent day of adversity was made and ordained by Him; another demonstration of His everlasting loving kindness. 
One last lesson for us: one of the reasons we moved to the country was for safety reasons. In our heads, we knew that our security and provision is in God alone; now we are getting to experience these truths in real life. What an awesome God we serve.
P.S. Still no news on our home, and we will be out for at least another 48 hours . 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We interrupt this blog to bring you Breaking News:

WARNING: This is a long post, written by a woman apparently in need of talking even more about the events of the last few days....
Well, on Monday, September 5, you should have been reading about our dear friends, the Fryes. In fact, I had the post 90% written, when my husband asked me to go with him on an errand. As we left the house, we noticed some dark clouds, which we soon realized were actually plumes of smoke from some kind of fire. Being newly transplanted city folk, we assumed it was a house fire, which would soon be taken care of by our local fire department. The fire looked at least 10 miles away, so we assumed everything was okay for us to go. 
As we went into the grocery store, our last stop, we  looked over our shoulder and saw huge billows of smoke, northeast of the store, but far south east of our home. It certainly looked bad, but it still didn't look like anything that would affect our land. We called our children to let them know we would be later than expected, since the road to our home was now closed because of the fire. They had been at home, blissfully unaware of the growing inferno a few miles away. 
As I finished cooking dinner, my husband, who had been watching the growing cloud of smoke, said we should get ready to evacuate. I confess, the smoke looked so far away, I couldn't imagine us needing to leave. He said there was enough time to eat dinner, then we needed to pack. I actually washed my dishes, put them in the dishwasher, then started it, so the dishes would be clean when I got home in a couple of hours. What was I thinking?
We began to pack, asking, “What do you take when you're leaving your home, possibly for the last time?” Honestly, I continued to think we were completely safe, and this was just a precaution; nevertheless, I tried to gather those things which were irreplaceable, necessary, or had great personal value: Bibles, some clothes, toiletries, medications, computers & hard drives (the info on them was irreplaceable, because Grafted, family photos, AND all my husband's work files are on them), and a few other things. 
Randy was wondering how we would know if there was an official evacuation and we soon found out. Soon, a sheriff pulled up with lights flashing and sirens blaring; apparently, that's how it happens in our small town. We continued to pack our car, and within 10 minutes another sheriff's car came up our driveway to let us know about the evacuation. We left just a few minutes later, not even bothering to look over our shoulder at our home. 
The Urbacks graciously opened their home, put us up, and fed us. We assumed we'd return home in the morning, as soon as we got the all-clear. Tuesday morning, growing fires and extended evacuations were reported, but some people were allowed to return home. There were no fires in our immediate area, so we attempted to drive home. Very polite police officers and sheriff's deputies stopped us at every road. So, back to our friends home for another day of their kind hospitality. 
On Wednesday, the news got even worse. By Wednesday, thousands of acres had been burned. Structures had been lost, and worse, there had been loss of life. Also, the fire was moving even northwest, so we still couldn’t get home. However, God, in His wonderful providence had already provided for us. A vacationing family offered us the use of their home while they were away. Thank you for your hospitality!

We haven't yet answered your question yet, have we? Well, believe me, I would if I could. The truth is, we don't know if our house has been touched by the fire or not. As of Wednesday morning, we have a report that everything was fine, but that was shortly before the fires began to get worse in that area. We'll let you know as soon as we do. In the mean time, we would definitely appreciate your prayers for the protection of our home, but more importantly, that we will glorify Him, whatever the outcome. 
Tomorrow, Lord willing, I’ll update our situation, and share some of the many blessings we’ve had as well as the lessons we’ve learned and are learning through this.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Home From Russia with Love...

Have you ever heard of Archangel'sk, Russia? Well, neither had we until we met 2 beautiful children who were living there when their parents, sister, and brother came to bring them home.

Meet the Shiflets: Pastor David, Gina, Emily, J. Michael, Andrew, Kathlena, Calvin, and baby Isabella. Pastor David helped plant and now is one of the pastors at what has now become our "sister church." He and Gina were blessed with Emily and J. Michael. Then, they wanted to grow their family through adoption. So Andrew and Kathlena came home in 2008. A few months after they came home, David and Gina found out they were expecting another blessing. Calvin was born in 2009, and then Isabella was born just a few weeks ago. Gina was such a trooper during filming! She was 37 weeks pregnant in the heat one of of the hottest Texas summers on record. Thank you, Gina, for your patience. They kept an adoption blog if you want to find out more about them: Shiflet Family Adoption blog.

This past May marked a very important moment in Kathlens's life. She was 3 yrs. old when she came to her family, and this May she turned 6. This means she has now spent more time with her family than before she knew them. To commemorate the occasion, Emily, a gifted writer, wrote and printed a very special book for Kathlena:

Emily reading the book to Andrew, Kathlena, and Calvin:

They are very passionate about adoption, but more importantly God and His Word, especially how the Word is relevant to everything in life. This will be evident when you see their clips in the film. Here are some sneak peeks at the filming at the Shiflets:

Emily and J. Michael ready for their interview:

In the shop with Dad:

We finished the interview with the family with family worship (Andrew and Calvin are off to your left, facing their parents):

Thanks, Shiflets for a great day of filming at your home.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Our Wonderful and Talented Friends!

Instead of introducing everyone, we decided to introduce you to the other people working on the film today, then over the next few days, you'll meet our experts (the pastors), and all the families that are sharing their stories. Keep in mind, our experts are not just experts, they are also adoptive parents. They know what they're talking about, not only from biblical knowledge, but knowledge tested in and proven out in real life. Can't wait to share some of what we've learned, just from interviewing them!

Now to the introductions:

First, there is Richard Rector. He leads the congregation in music worship at our church. But he does so much more than that! He is married to his beautiful wife, Laura, and they have four adorable children: Ethan, Emma, Noah, and Luke. He also has a full time non-musical job AND he is a great piano teacher (we know this from experience). In addition to all this, he has agreed to compose the music for this documentary! He has an interest in composing music for movies, and is willing to let Grafted be his first film credit. We are blessed to know this family personally as well as to have him on our team. Thank you, Richard! And thank you, Laura and your children for sharing some of your husband's / father's time with us. 

Next is John Urback: aspiring film maker/ composer, blog writer, and best friend. As part of our moving crew (see yesterday's post), he is affectionately called "the camel." John has been on generous loan from his parents, Mark and Lynn Urback, to help with many aspects of the film. Caleb, Lisa, and John have been the film crew, the sound crew, the lighting crew, the make-up crew, behind the scenes crew, and whatever other crew I can't remember. 

John's most important assignment was sound: making sure the men were miked properly and listening for random house noises that would disturb the film's sound quality. It sure gets hot with all those lights and no fans; we had to turn off the fans during filming, because you can hear the whir of the fans on film. This truly has been a young film makers' effort! 

Thank you to our dear friends, the Urbacks for sharing John with us, and thank you, John, for your hard work.

As we introduce the families, we'll meet them in the order we filmed. Tomorrow, you'll meet the Shiflets: David, Gina, Emily, J. Michael, Andrew, Kathlena, Calvin, and baby Isabella (she'll be 6 weeks old tomorrow).

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Welcome to Grafted! We are the Scott family: Randy (Dad), Pat (Mom), Caleb (16) and Lisa (15--well, almost). For several months, we have been praying about, planning, and beginning the process of filming our full length documentary, GraftedAs the name implies, the film is about adoption, but more than just physical adoption. This earthly adoption mirrors what God has done for us through salvation and His adoption of us as His children. 

We started this blog to get the word out about Grafted for many reasons. Most importantly, we desire that God be glorified in all that we do, and this extends to film making. In particular, because of God’s adoption of us and His love for orphans, we believe a film about adoption can bring Him glory. So we began this journey; and named our production company Journey Pictures
We are WAY behind in getting our blog started, but a funny thing happened on our way to the filming and editing. In May, we decided to put our very suburban home on the market, hoping to move to the country where we can have a little more land, and a lot more freedom. But that process is a story for another post, and I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Well, we are now moved in (mostly) and have gotten back on the editing train. Now that we’ve finally written our first post, we hope to be more regular in our posts. First, we’ll have to catch you up on what’s been happening since we started the actual work of the film, then keep you up to date as we work to finish the project in time to enter it into the San Antonio Independent Christian Film FestivalI say “we”, but that will mostly mean “me”, Pat. Caleb and Lisa are our editors, our own personal “Mac” geniuses, or is that “creatives”? Randy, of course, has a full time job, in addition to supervising the ongoing work on the film. SO...I was unanimously nominated to be the blogger. 

In the future, we'll include stories of adoption, of our filming and editing, behind the scenes footage, and some sneak peeks at the film. Tomorrow, we'll introduce you to the other people working on the film as well as the families who'll be sharing their adoption journeys. So, follow our blog, watch the stories unfold,  and share this blog with your friends.