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The Legacy of our Family Link

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FC: Link | The Legacy of Our

1: Sweet, Josiah, The following pages I hope to capture some of your story so that you can always know how the Lord brought you to us. It is a story that brings us much joy and it is our prayer that when you think of how God has worked in your life that you only feel that same joy! I'm going to start with how God brought us your brother. That crazy, Jordan. It was August 28, 2009 that we met Jordan and brought him home. Our world has been so full of laughter and joy since his arrival. We have always known, however, that he would not be the only little Hamilton. The past 3 years we have continued to submit interest through the state for other children. Two times we were given staffing dates where 3 families were being looked at for a child(ren). And two times other families were chosen. | The past 3 years we have heard the Lord clearly say “Wait”. Those came through e-mails and phone calls that children had been placed in other homes, and also in 2 phone calls saying that we were considered but not chosen. There are so many things that race through your head when you are not chosen to bring home children when your heart is ready to love on them. Many involve rejection, inadequacy, jealousy, resentment, and ungratefulness of what we already have. The Lord has taught us so much about His bigger picture in the last 3 years. The second case where we were considered out of 3 total couple we knew one of the other families. We did not just know them. We love them. I had handed them the Family Link information, had been in trainings with them, and the husband was our Sunday school teacher. We attended Grace Bible Church together, learned together, prayed together, and followed up with each other on where we were at in adopting again. (They too had another child they had previously adopted) When we got the call that we would be being considered we also found out the Cravens were one of the other families. The whole process of knowing the other person really allowed us to see that God does have other families out there that love Him and who also long to love on these sweet friends in unfortunate situations. Although our heart ached when we found out we were not chosen, at the same time the Lord comforted us in knowing that the Cravens would be their family. I felt like maybe we got it wrong. We knew we had a role in their lives, but it was not to be their parents, but rather to be part of what led them to their parents. God showed favor on us in the waiting. He truly was having us wait for HIS best and we are ever grateful for it. His best for us was YOU! Our Josiah Nathaniel Hamilton... Here is more of your story....

2: On September 11th we got an e-mail about a precious baby boy who need a forever family. We quickly replied that we wanted to be considered! Then we waited....

3: That fall a friend of mine was organizing a group of women to go to the Women of Faith Conference. I am not a conference goer but she needed some extra hands so I jumped in on it. October 12, 2012 I drove down to San Antonio with a van full of ladies. Although my heart was reluctant to hear a word from the Lord through this forum I did. He spoke through every song and through the one speaker that was really not a favorite. She showed us 4 things on an overhead that we many times long for. I forget the other 3 because mine was CONTROL. There are so many things in my life I try to control. I do not like the unknown and will do all I can to plan for any thing that may happen. I knew that there was a specific area I needed to give back to the Lord | You see, every Monday I had been e-mailing our Family Link case manager to ask her how our cases were going? Had kids been placed? Had she heard anything? Were we being considered? I guised it as “just checking in”. But, the reality is I think it was my way of trying to move God along Like I thought if I e-mailed then things will move faster And, well, it was not not right. It was something that needed to stop. Sunday afternoon I e-mailed Nikki the same thing. I apologized because I did not want her to every feel like she was not doing what she was supposed to. I acknowledged to her that the reality is that God is in control NOT ME. And He has a plan. When He is ready to reveal it to me He will. But that I could not continue to e-mail on Mondays and did not want her to think my silence was anything but just being obedient to what I felt the Lord was calling me to do. She was so gracious in her response. Monday came No e-mail but her wonderful response. However, that night at a women’s Bible study the Lord convicted me of another area of my life that needed attention. Scripture reading. With two other ladies we committed to setting our alarm clock 15 minutes earlier in the morning to be in His word. I went home and found a One Year Bible I had started before and had ended in March. I opened it to the page where I left off, went to bed and woke up the next morning to read the story of Hannah. Hannah who was blessed with Samuel though she was barren. My heart was full. God had remembered Hannah and I knew He’d remember me!

4: Tuesday night Jordan and I ready from his Jesus Story Book Bible. The story of Isaac, Leah, and Rachel! Though Leah was not the desired one God blessed her with a child. He loved her so even though she did not see beauty in herself. He remembered her too. | On Wednesday my mom sent the following devotional in her morning e-mail: The Proper Perspective by Oswald Chambers 'Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ . . .' —2 Corinthians 2:14 The proper perspective of a servant of God must not simply be as near to the highest as he can get, but it must be the highest. Be careful that you vigorously maintain God’s perspective, and remember that it must be done every day, little by little. Don’t think on a finite level. No outside power can touch the proper perspective. The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37). “We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God. Romans 8:31-39

5: October 21 we were cuddling in bed and Jordan said, “When will I get a brother?” I said, “I don’t know. Have you asked God?” He closed his eyes, and said, “Jesus, please give me a brother”. After opening his eyes for a few seconds he closed them again and said, “And a sister too”. Then he went to sleep. | November 3rd we had Family Link Training where we updated our license so we could adopt again. Even in the drive to Gonzales I KNEW God was reminding me He was with us and in control. Every song on the radio confirmed it. I was overwhelmed with comfort and peace. | Sunday morning’s Sunday school lesson was about waiting patiently. I can’t say my heart was patient Sunday morning. I did cry out to God that we would hear sooner than later. I did tell Him my heart’s desire to have more kids. To add to our family Tuesday morning on the way to school again Jordan asked if God had said “no” regarding his request for a brother and sister. It’s so hard when you don’t hear a “yes” or a “no” to be able to discern whether it’s a “wait” or a “no”. I told him that we need to continue to be patient and trust the God has plan for us. | Friday morning we prayed as a family that we would hear whether or not God wanted to grow our family now or if we were to wait. At the end of the day while on our way home out of the blue Jordan asked, “Did God say ‘no’ to having a brother and sister?” My sweet boy, prayed and remembered that God would answer. And he knew “no” was a possibility. Because we had not heard one way or another I explained that some times God tell us to wait. So this may be God saying “Wait”.

6: It had been over 2 months since we had submitted our home study for the sweet baby boy. We thought for sure he had already been given a forever family. But, on Thursday, November 15th we got a phone call from Nikki Meddars from Family Link. She asked if we had recalled a sweet little baby boy that we had said we were interested in adopting. We assured her we remembered. The next words brought such joy to our hearts. WE WERE GOING TO GO TO STAFFING! The City of Houston was deciding between us and one other family to be this child's forever family. The staffing was scheduled for 3PM, Wednesday, November 28th. | At about 4:15 on November 28th Nikki, from Family Link... The next step was the announcement below!!

8: It was YOU, Josiah! Our hearts were full! We began to prepare for your coming. We got your room read, a HUGE welcome home sign, and even got some friends to help with the details... Like Mr. Fox helping to put in your car seat. Sweet friends at church and school buzzed with joy with us! All wanting to shower you with gifts and love before they even met you!

9: Miranda and Sandra threw a baby shower for you on December 5, 2012. Our sweet friends from Grace Bible Church surely did spoil us.

13: Sweet friends at work celebrated my joy with me! | Jordan picked out a cake and some toys for his new baby brother! We began decorating the house and soon every where we looked there was evidence that a baby would be arriving soon! | The e-mail from Shanette saying she would bring you to US.

14: December 10, 2012 Josiah's 1st Homecoming Day | Josiah, you and your case worker, Shanette McBride FLEW from Houston to Killeen. There were a lot of delays and a lot of waiting. Our excitement only got bigger! | Finally.... the wait was over!

16: You were barely in the door and we scooped you up and loved on you! Jordan wanted to show you around the house and get you settled right away. He also wanted to help you dive into the cake!

18: You had a long day of traveling and were so tired. Yet you continued to let us snap pictures and give you cuddles.

19: Grandma and Grandpa came over right after Shanette left to go back to Houston. Within a few short minutes you found a comfy spot in Grandpa's arms to catch a little nap.

20: The next day it was back to school for Jordan so we made sure to go and meet the other longhorns at Montague. You got some major lovings.

21: Josiah you and Jordan made a quick bond. Wherever he was you were right there. He is a wonderful big brother to you and has been since the first day you came into our lives. You are both so precious to Daddy and I.

22: December 12th I had to take you to see the doctor for a regular check up. He said we needed to fluff you up a little and get you sitting up on your own. I got to ask a lot of questions on how to take care of you as I have never had such a small precious bundle before. He was very helpful. | After your doctor appointment I called your case worker to let her know how you did. It was that day we found out that your uncle wanted custody of you. Our hearts became heavy that day at even the thought of giving you up...

23: Our Montague family loving you up and spoiling you well!

24: Our first Christmas together we went to Florida and spent it with Grandma G and Grandpop and Uncle Scott, Aunt Andrea, and your cousins. It was a sweet time with family.

25: E-mails, court summons, meetings, and court dates share a lot of your story. I pray you always know how much you are wanted and loved.

26: It was decided that March 22, 2013 that you would go back to live with your uncle... Our hearts were so broken but we had to trust that this was part of God's plan. I woke up that morning to drive you to Houston. A dear friend, Miranda Lehmann, made the trip with us. We put everything that was given to us for you, sweet boy, into the back of our minivan so that your transition would be smooth. The only things we kept were personalized items with your sweet name... Josiah. It was the hardest thing we've ever done. But it was a day that I will ever remember feeling a physical comfort from the Lord like no other. I knew that friends and family were covering us in prayer. | Children's Treehouse is where you went to daycare. They created a gift basket and diaper cake for you to take with you. And we all gave you extra cuddles and kisses to take with you. We thought this was "goodbye" forever...

27: Josiah, when you left a piece of our hearts went with you. There was definitely a void that we felt. We closed the door of your room and trusted that one day God would fill it if he saw fit to do so. We had NO IDEA he would bring you back to us. We didn't even know we could ask for that. He truly saw the desires of our hearts that we tried to keep down inside for no one to see. We didn't want to selfishly ask for you back... We tried our best to move on as a family of 3 again... Though a part of our family was gone... | Friends and family knew our hearts were hurting and covered us and you in prayer. That your transition would go well and that the Lord would calm our hearts as we were missing you so much. Our friends, the Smiths, even sent us a box of sunshine to try to cheer us up... | What God did next is hard to make a short story... So the next few pages tells how mighty He is!! Read it and be amazed and overwhelmed at His love for you, my sweet boy.

28: Immeasurably More There are so many times I think I lose sight of what God is up to because I don’t see His hand at work. I don’t think we realize how much He is doing that cannot be seen. But,still for our good. He gives us things we don’t even think to ask for! We welcomed sweet Josiah home December 10, 2012. A very happy day for our whole family! Jordan became a big brother that day!! He was over-joyed! In our eyes it was like bringing home a child from the hospital after being born. He was OURS! The intent was to move straight on to adoption. On December 13th I took Josiah to his initial doctor's appointment that has to be done within the first few days of placement. As I was leaving I called Josiah’s case worker to be told that Josiah’s uncle wanted custody of him. He had been given many opportunities before he was placed with us to take custody of Josiah but it wasn’t until that day that he came forward Starting that day there was a little cloud over our heads that was stealing some of the joy that had just been brought into our lives. Always in the back of our mind we wondered if our time with Josiah would be for only a little while In January there was a court hearing where it was determined that the uncle would have a home study conducted and reviewed to be considered for placement. Then again in February I traveled to Houston to meet with the caseworker, uncle, his girlfriend, and his grandmother. If there is one thing I learned is that the system is broken, people don’t answer e-mails or return phone calls, yet God still gets things accomplished. It’s amazing with what He has to work. He is not limited by the incompetence of those of us He choses to use for His purposes and His ways. Praise Him! March 18th we got the call that Josiah would return to his uncle. That week was the darkest week of my life. There has never been a time in my life where my heart has hurt so much. I continued to ask the Lord if this was His will or if I was supposed to fight the state. I called the head of CPS in both Austin and Houston and was told by both that the state will always err on the side of keeping family together. It was the director of CPS in Houston that said to me.. “Ma’am, I don’t know if you have a relationship with the Lord. But you have to trust that He has a plan for this little boy. And, part of His plan was to use you to love him while he was in your home. You have done that and I can tell by your voice and your concern you have done that well.” The next morning Jordan and I took Josiah to daycare and out of the blue Jordan said, “Mommy, Josiah said I need to be brave. He said he is going to be brave when he goes to meet his uncle. Even though he is nervous. Mommy, I am going to be brave like my brother, Josiah”. I truly felt the Lord speak through this CPS worker and Jordan telling me to be at peace that this was all part of His plan.

29: On Friday, March 22nd , I drove Josiah to a CPS office where I had to drop him off with a caseworker that wasn’t even his. I took with him all of his stuff. Clothing, food, bottles, diapers, wipes, his favorite toys I wanted him to feel at home in his new home. That day it was evident beyond any description how much I felt the prayers of my family and friends. I felt a physical comfort wrapped around my heart as we drove to Houston. I prayed with Josiah before we left and then we returned The next few weeks were tearful but I felt the Lord reminding me over and over that He was in control. That Josiah would be fine. That we would be fine. Tony and I wondered if the Lord was telling us we needed to be open to other kids. Older kids. Sibling groups. Kids that were harder to place into homes. We told the Lord we were willing and we began to submit for other cases. May 12th, Mother’s Day, I put on a necklace that my friend and coworker, Jenny gave me It has been the gift I have held close to my heart since the day we got Josiah. It has both of my boys’ names on charms and their birthstones. That morning I took Josiah’s name off the necklace. I felt the Lord wanted me to celebrate the gift He had given me in Jordan and be content. To not long for what was not to be, or what was not mine to long for The very next day I got a called Josiah’s caseworker. The day I had dropped of Josiah I met a little girl and spoke to her and her caseworker. It was a huge confirmation that the Lord would grow our family again. That there were more children who needed homes. I called specifically to ask about her. After talking for awhile she asked if that was the only reason I had called. She then asked, “Heather, do you have any other kids in your home?” I said, “No, just Jordan”. She then said the most beautiful and sad words I have heard. “We may need to take Josiah out of the uncle's care”. My heart leapt then sunk. I immediately asked if he was okay and what was going on. She shared that uncle had put Josiah in danger by drinking and driving and asked if we wanted him back. I reminded her that we did not give up, but that the state had taken him and put him with the uncle. That OF COURSE we wanted him. At that point Josiah was staying with the uncle’s girlfriend. She had hopes as well that she would be able to keep Josiah. Everything at that time was just in the talks. There are so many working parts. The CPS worker’s supervisor needed to approve the move, the lawyer who represents Josiah had to talk to the girlfriend and agree as well. The very next day I got a call from Josiah’s lawyer. The best news I could have heard. “We are moving Josiah back into your home if you will take him. This will be forever. We are not going to move him again. He is not a piece of property to be had! We did what the state required by placing him with uncle and he blew it”. I could hear her frustration as an advocate for my sweet boy. I told her we’d take him in a blink of an eye and to tell me the when and where. Wednesday I was told that we would get our Josiah back the next day. Tony and I took Jordan to Tony’s parents’ house and he and I drove to Giddings, Texas, which is half way between Killeen and Houston. It was a sweet reunion. As the caseworker pulled him out of his car seat his eyes caught Tony. From that point he never took his eyes off of him. It was as though he was thinking “Hey, where did you go? It’s so good to see you”. The drive home was full of giggles from the back seat coming from Tony and Josiah both. Then simultaneous snores.

30: When we got home we called Tony’s parents to bring Jordan over. All he knew was that there was a surprise waiting for him. He walked into the living room, and said, “JOSIAH IS HERE?! Hi, Josiah! How are you? What are you doing here?” He then came over to where I was sitting and with a sincere look of concern he said, “Where is Josiah’s family? Where is his uncle?” I explained that the Lord gave his uncle another chance to take care of Josiah but that he was not doing a good job and that God knew we would love him and love him well so he brought Josiah back. Jordan’s face looked so sad. I could tell he was sad for the choices Josiah’s uncle was making. I told him that the Lord has given us a gift by bringing Josiah home to us and that He wants us to be happy about his return. His countenance completely changed and the reunion resumed as a joyous occasion. It was later that night that Jordan asked more about Josiah’s uncle. Does he love God? Why did he make bad choices? We determined that we would pray for his uncle to turn his life around and give it to the Lord. My heart had been hardened toward the uncle but my son reminded me of the grace that has been given to me and that I should pray for that also to be given and received by the uncle. It’s now the day after reunion. Josiah is taking a nap and I am trying to capture all that the Lord has done. He’s truly blown us away with His grace and love for our family and for this sweet baby boy. Some neat things: 1. Josiah was in a home this past month and a half where he wasn’t treated as true family He was put in positions where he was not safe. The Lord truly put a hedge of protection around this little boy and brought him home with an open heart to receive our love in his life. 2. We have just begun logging the stories and books we read to Jordan at bedtime. The day after we heard that Josiah might be coming home Tony read about the parting of the Red Sea from the Jesus Story Book Bible. The title “God Makes a Way”. The message That God can make a way when there seems to be no way! 3. When Josiah came to us December 10th he had a diaper bag with a few diapers, some ill-fitting clothes, and an almost empty package of wipes. Thankfully my church and school had completely readied us for his homecoming. When he left us I made sure that he had everything that was his. Clothes, diapers, wipes, his favorite toys, food, bottles Yesterday I felt the girlfriend doing the same thing for us. There were 7 boxes of diapers, large boxes of wipes, and several brand new outfits in sizes 12 months and 18 months. All this was given to her after the uncle had left her with nothing but Josiah. Yesterday it took an hour to unload the car then another to put everything away for him. 4. We had truly come to terms with the realization that Josiah leaving us was God’s will. I struggled back and forth as to the why of it all but in my mind and heart I felt to say it wasn’t His will would mean I didn’t trust His sovereignty. Truly He is in control and sovereign. I still believe it was His will to leave us for a short time. See, Josiah has an almost 3-year-old half brother. There is now an open CPS case on that sweet boy. The state of Texas will be watching him closely to make sure he is safe. That would not have happened had Josiah not been returned and all the other events had not taken place. God is watching out for these little children. He cares for these children and their safety. We have told the state we would take him in a heartbeat as well. At this point they are not looking at removing him. 5. Within 24 hours of greeting Josiah again he called me “Momma”. Before he left he had not been able to say it. Today he said it and it was for me.

31: Because of how the process works it will be another 6 months before we move to adoption. But I have been assured there is no fear of him being moved again. Though his name has not legally been changed to Josiah Nathaniel Hamilton, that is who has come into our lives to live FOREVER! We praise the Lord for His plan for our family. He is into the details of our lives. I’m so thankful to know, love and serve a personal Savior. Jesus, thank you!!! “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” ~Ephesians 3:20-21

32: May 16, 2013 Josiah's Final Homecoming Day! | The day we found out you would return to us I put your name right back onto my necklace. Our sweet boy we had lost was coming back to us! The joy can truly not be described in adequate words.

33: <-------------We sent you to Houston with a lot. But, Josiah, you came back with even more. Brand new clothes of all sizes. Boxes and boxes of diapers and wipes. While you were away God provided you with protection and the love of Laura Marubio. We are ever grateful. | We met Shanette in a Taco Bell parking lot in Giddings, TX. It wasn't a formal setting but the joy could not be matched no matter where we were! You looked at Daddy is if to say, "Where have you been?" And, your eyes didn't leave his face until they were fast asleep.

34: We didn't tell Jordan we were going to get you! So when he came home from school he was over the moon excited to see you!!! The whole time you were gone he asked when we could visit you. During that time we truly thought we'd never see you again. We are so thankful God has other plans! | Welcome Home!

35: Josiah, it was as though you had never left. We had kept your name plaque in your room and everything that we had personalized. Thankfully we had just closed the door and left what was still there as is. The second day you were home you called me Momma!

36: August 26th Adoptive Placement Papers signed with Doris Spencer. | Jordan loved making family pictures, I enjoyed watching you in the video monitor, and we all enjoyed getting family pictures taken and up on the wall. A treasure was a piece of artwork I had done with all of our hands the month you came to us. Many times in the time you were gone I thought about throwing it away... I am so thankful we didn't. I had it framed and it's a constant reminder of God's favor on our family. | Fun fact: You and Jordan were born at the same hospital in Houston! <------------------------------

37: As we waited for our adoption day to be set we celebrated the adoption day of sweet friends, The Fox Family!

38: And then a date was given... NOVEMBER 21, 2013 would be ADOPTION DAY!!!!

39: Our dinosaur friends from Dinovember wished us well and safe travels! And November 20th we got on the road to Houston! | We decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving because Grandma G and Grandpop were coming for Josiah's adoption. As we pulled out the ornaments we found a treasure from our first Christmas together as a family of 4. | We met Grandma G and Grandpop at a hotel near he airport and settled in for a good night's rest. In our room waiting was an Edible Arrangement from Uncle Scott, Aunt Andi and cousins. They did the same thing for Jordan's adoption 3 years earlier.

40: The morning of November 21st we drove to the same court house where we made Jordan's adoption final. Such a wave of emotions swept over us. We were about to make official what God had planned before the foundations of the Earth. You were to officially become Josiah Nathaniel Hamilton!

41: While we waited to enter the courtroom we took lots of pictures and also signed important papers with Mr. Royalle, the lawyer who had also facilitated Jordan's adoption. It was precious to have him there to celebrate with us again what God was doing in our family!

42: 7th Floor, same courtroom, and an answer to prayer as Judge Ellis presided over the adoption like she had Jordan's! All had come together and God's hand was all over it. He was in every detail! | Mrs. Escebedo was your lawyer and Mr. Royalle was ours. All present agreed that the great state of Texas should allow us to be a forever family! You are so loved and wanted, my sweet Josiah. We are blessed and had many people there to celebrate with us!

43: You woke up the morning of November 21st still Kylen Hart. We left the courtroom with Josiah Hamilton. A tired Josiah Hamilton. We left Houston and headed home to gifts, play, cuddles, treats, baths and peaceful sleep!

44: Sunday, November 24, 2013 you were dedicated at Grace Bible Church by Grandpa G. A precious time to celebrate God's hand in your life. May you always know that He has a mighty plan for you! We pray for you daily to know and trust the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Josiah, you were an answer to prayer. We prayed that the Lord would bring us another child... A sibling for Jordan. God does not make mistakes. There is a purpose in you being placed in our family as a Hamilton. There was a purpose in your return to your uncle and then your return to us. God's hand of protection is evident in your life from the very beginning. We are excited to see what God has for you! You are loved! | When you returned to live with your uncle for the month and a half we sent everything with you. All of your toys, clothes, blankets, bottles... Everything you would need. Laura Marubio let us know that all was received and that you were settling in. You do have a bother, JayVion. We had hoped to also bring him into the fold as well but that was not in God's plan for him. We commit to praying for them daily. That they would know and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and that one day you could meet them.

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  • By: Heather H.
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  • Title: The Legacy of our Family Link
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