Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Family of Five

First, please excuse the writing if there are any mistakes. Robin Roberts and I are at an internet cafe in Panahachel, and the computer keyboards are different. In order to get the amperstand sign, I had to hold down the ALT key and type the numbers 64 and then the Q button. Forgive me, but I don´t understand.

We will post more pictures later...probably Tuesday when we return here. We must find the internet cafe from the other night first.....So, no pictures today.

We took Jett back to the orphanage yesterday, and he cried profusely. He saw his nanny....also called a momma here....and hugged her. We all cried for him as we thought he missed her greatly and did not want to leave. However, today we were going back to the orphanage so he could say goodbye to his friends. He immediately teared up and clung tightly to me. I asked him if he wanted to go, and he did not. He wanted to go back to our room and go back quickly. So, the translator talked to the nanny inside and allowed JT to be part of the conversation.

We learned that Jett thought we were taking him back to the sad. It made my heart break for him. Our totally compassionate Madison cried for almost 3 hours for Jett.....she was still upset this morning over the situation. This will be a journey for him, and we are prepared to walk it with him every step of the way. May God mold his heart and mind to be the man that God purposed him to be.

Jett is continuing to bond well, now giving hugs and kisses to our family. He wants JT and I to carry him everywhere. He reaches up for one of us everywhere we go and says levo....pick me up or hold me! It warms my heart.

Jett is a great eater and sleeper. He takes a 2 hour nap daily and sleeps from 8 at night until 6 in the morning. He eats well too and loves water. He makes a game out of everything, and we are all madly in love with him. That is all for now. We will definitely post some of the cutest pictures you have ever seen next week!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gotcha Day! was harder than I thought to get internet service at Eagle's Nest. So, tonight my new friend Patty brought me down to Panajachel and we are at a local internet cafe (more like an open air cafe with just computers). So, here's the update...

We made our way around Guatemala City yesterday and learned many new helpful Spanish phrases. Then, after lunch, we took the hotel shuttle back to the airport. Somehow, we were able to communicate to the driver that we needed to go the departures instead of the arrivals. Everyone else got off the shuttle, and I think he thought we were mistaken or crazy, but he took us anyway. We, of course, were the only Americans with luggage at the arrival area. We got many “crazy Americans!” looks and some people even tried to help us get to the right place. After waiting only 10 minutes, we saw Jim Houston and the crew from The Church at Brook Hills arriving right on time! Finally, everyone realized that we were meeting another group and not leaving!

The ride up the mountain in a school bus took about 3 hours the last time I came, but it seemed to drag on for another day…..I told Lisa Mitchell (aka Lala) that I thought the road had gotten 100 miles longer. The last 15 minutes were the longest of my life! I couldn’t believe the emotional turmoil my head and heart were in…..excitement, overwhelming love, “what have I gotten myself into this time” questions, nervousness, eagerness, joy, elation….so much that I can’t even describe it. God had been preparing my heart and mind for this moment, and I could scarcely sort it all out. Oh, the joy.

The videographer and photographers got off the bus and took our last picture as a family of four. Then, we walked into the orphanage, and everything was just as I remembered it. Babies everywhere….oh, the joy of knowing those children would be going to forever families soon. Now, where’s my son? We were led to a bedroom on the right side of the hall where there was no pomp and circumstance. My son was on the floor in a room with about 10 other children. One little girl was crying and another was working on changing her clothes. No bells, no whistles…only tears of joy. The nanny was putting Jett’s shoes on his feet. He looked like he’d been playing hard all day. He looked at us and the nanny said something in Spanish (I think I heard Momma and Papa)…he looked at us with those big brown eyes and came straight to me. He hugged me and I cried….two years, and I cry like a baby. I’m sure he was super confused and wondered what kind of Momma he was getting. She’s hugging me and crying like a baby…do I even like this woman? Then, he saw JT. He locked eyes and hugged him tight. Jett immediately took to JT – rubbing his bald head and running his hands through JT’s gotee. Lots of photos were taken and we were a family of 5! To God be the glory for His plan and His timing.

We walked down the hallway and took Jett out of the orphanage for the first time. He was out of the confines of waiting and had his forever family FOREVER! No going back…..what is this world, and what I am supposed to do in it? May God use this child to change the nations for His glory!

It was a day of “Firsts” for all of us….for Jett it was the first time to stay in an apartment, to sleep in the bedroom with his family, to get a present that he could keep forever, to change into new pajamas, to take a hot bath in a big bathtub, to eat with his family, to pray with his faith family. And for us, it was the first time to hear our son sleep soundly, to watch him learn what having a sister meant (not sure if he’s liking this notion yet), to watch him play with new toys, to put on our son’s shoes, to brush his hair…..Oh, the days of firsts are just beginning. Thank you Father for a day of firsts.

JT and I took Jett to the supermarket today by ourselves. The girls stayed at Eagle’s Nest with Lala, and we were able to spend some time with Jett alone. As we began our walk into town, Jett was holding both of our hands. He looked up to the workers on the side of the hill and said “My Papa is taking me to the store.” Oh, we were SO proud.

We are eternally grateful for the Father’s plan for our family. Right now, we are watching Madison play hide and seek with her brother. He is fully tangled in the curtains of the apartment waiting for someone to find him….what a humorous child. We can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

This Day!

This is the day we have been waiting on for almost two years. As I lay sleepless last night I could not help but reflect on the many nights and days of work Sheryl has completed to get us to this point. The work to this point has all been leading up to this day! This is the day the Lord has made for our family. I know that this day has been in His plan since the beginning. I know that this day has been orchestrated by the Father to bring about a new chapter in the Turner family journey. I know that this day has been a part of the plan all along in His master plan.

We are sitting in the hotel room waiting...just waiting again for the team to arrive and for our long journey up the mountain. As we wait I am thinking about the past months and the journey to here. What was I thinking? Did I really think I would be able to handle all of this? Well here I am. Here we sit and in just a half day, we will be face to face with a son who has never seen us nor have we seen him. We will stand face to face with the son that God the Father has chosen for us to bring into our family as one of us. We will be in the very place we have been anticipating and working toward since January 2006.

I realize that at this moment it is me that the Father is working on to change. Jett will have many changes in his life and the future is so different than where he is at this moment. Yet, it is my life that has been changing during this time. I have begun to realize the purpose in reaching the children in this world. I have begun to learn how to love more like the Father loves. I have begun to understand the role I play in the Father's plan to reach the world.

This day I will see the next challenge for my relationship with the Father rest in arms as I sit with my son! This day I will see the face that has captured my heart and mind so many hours of so many days. This day I will see the life that has been given to me to further the growth of the Kingdom! This day life will change and God the Father will open our eyes to the real story of adoption as we begin this day to understand His love for us!

Oh Father show us your way and help us to follow you in every step of this journey today. Open our hearts wide. Lord, today use us as a real hand and heart of yours to wrap up this precious child in your love as we lead him to the truth of who you are and Whose he is. Father this day, lead us into Your path as we follow You into this next chapter of our journey!

In His Grip,
JT / Big Daddy

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Twas the Night Before Gotcha Day.....

Here we are in Guatemala City…what excitement has built in our family since our departure at 4:00 am from our home in Alabaster this morning. We landed in GC at 12:30 today and only had a slight panic…..our luggage (all six bags) were some of the last ones on the conveyor belt. After about 25 minutes of watching many other passengers collect their baggage, we were beginning to get concerned. Then, we saw our luggage arrive, and we were ecstatic. We had the privilege of going through customs…’s not like other countries we’ve been to and not like the last time I was here either. The uniformed official-looking customs agent looked at our form, looked at us and showed us to the door. That was it….amazing!

We made it to our Holiday Inn with very little effort. We are only a mile or so from the airport and can even get back there tomorrow by ourselves. We’ve learned enough Spanish to get by with the major things and are learning more by the minute! We even ordered our dinner tonight in Spanish and got exactly what we wanted…it was delicious by the way!

I’m posting a few pictures from our excursion outside of the hotel today. We walked for several blocks around the hotel and found a local McDonalds. Those of you who know us well know that we wouldn’t normally eat in a McDonalds and haven’t in almost a year. But, we went in and found a McCafe (that was the name of it) inside the McDonald’s. It was a coffee shop. They had the most amazing coffee and desserts….we sat on couches and enjoyed our time together as a family.

Speaking of family, this is our last night as the foursome we’ve been for over eight years. We are so eager to meet our son tomorrow. Here’s the plan so far….we will go back to the airport around noon tomorrow and meet Larry Boggs (he’s the missionary who runs Eagle’s Nest along with his wife Claire) and the team from The Church at Brook Hills. We will travel from GC to Solola up in the mountains. This is a grueling 2-3 hour drive and tends to lend itself to promoting carsickness. I’d like to meet my son without getting sick right in front of him.

Our family is thrilled that we will become 5 tomorrow. Jett Turner is officially ours, and tonight will be his last night to sleep without his Daddy, Mommy and sisters nearby. It will be his last night not to know his forever family. Sleep well Jett…we’re coming!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Getting Ready!

Today will be Christmas at our house....we will open presents as a family of four for the last time. What a joy and privilege to watch as our girls celebrate the birth of Jesus and anticipate getting a brother in just a few days.

As you can imagine, things are hectic here....trying to get the house ready for us to be gone 2 weeks, taking care of last minute ministry stuff (JT will be leaving to lead a trip in Arizona one day after we get home) and enjoying the Christmas holiday! So, we covet your prayers during this time.

By Sunday night, we will have everything packed and ready to go. On Monday, we're going to a Christmas Eve Birthday Party for Jesus at Rich and Angelia Stewart's house. Then, off to The Church at Brook Hills for the Christmas Eve Communion Service. What a sweet time of fellowship that will be with our family and close friends. Our last official meal will be an ode to Waffle House with our friends Bo and Alice Hardy.

Excitement is mounting, and we can all hardly contain ourselves. Thank you all so much for your emails of encouragement and support. We love you and can't wait to see you all when we get home!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Travel Plans Made!

It's official - we're traveling to Guatemala! Praise be to the Father of all good things!

We are flying out on Christmas Day and will make our way to Eagle's Nest on Dec. 26th with a group from our home church, The Church at Brook Hills! The very people who introduced us to Jett will witness our family reunion for the first time! Isn't God's timing amazing!

Then, we will go to the US Embassy in Guatemala City on Jan. 4th, pick up Jett's visa on the 7th, and we will return home on January 8th! We will be flying Delta 1607 and arriving at 8:03 pm. We are overjoyed right now. Our son is waiting and we are going to get him.


It's 2:00 am but a great sense of peace has filled our home. God has brought peace where there was worry. He has stilled our hearts and minds in Him. Thank you Father for your unfathomable plan, and thank you that we get to be a part of it!

If we do not receive a new date today, we'll be traveling to Guatemala the week of Christmas. While the original plan was for the girls not to go with us, they will now be going! We will stay in Guatemala until January 8th. Then, all five of us will come HOME!

We will begin making arrangements soon for travel and covet your prayers. We're staying longer than we originally planned but it will be a good time for our family. God is working all of this together in a miraculous way.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Waiting for a Miracle

I am so overwhelmed right now with the rush of emotions. The news has come from Guatemala and a date is set, but it is not what I wanted it to be. I know the Father is in control and I trust His heart. I also know that the people in the process make choices that impact the lives of children and families. As I have processed the news and the flurry of phone calls to the embassy, I have reached a point of waiting on Him!

In Is. 40:31 we hear the words, "they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength..." I recall my first sermon God gave me back in my early days of my faith journey was on this very passage. The Hebrew word for wait is "quavah" and means to literally weave together the strnds of a rope in order to hold on in a struggle for life. Today I am reminded of our need to weave together, actively pursue the grace and mercy while wrestling with the emotions and lessons of patience and faith of the issue.

Today I pray for a miracle! Today Father, I ask for you to step into the circumstances of this life we are involved in during this day and provide an opportunity for us to go next week to bring Jett home. Lord I ask on behalf of our son to move among the papers and processes in Guatemala to allow a new date to become available and details worked out for our travel. Lord today I ask for your strength to wait on you to move and trust you will do what is best! Lord give me the faith I need to trust you in this process.

Thank you all who are keeping up with our journey and thank you for your amazing prayer support. We feel your support and eagerly await the incredible burst of energy and peace that comes with each prayer that is lifted and each moment we trust. Join us in prayer as we seek His will and His timing.

Good News and Bad News!

The bad news first...the date is January 4, 2008. Good news...we have our pink slip! We were seriously hoping for a date next week, but it doesn't look good for that right now. We have called the US Embassy several times, and our only option is to have our date moved up if someone else cancels.

Please pray with us right now that someone will cancel and our date will be moved up. JT leaves for Arizona on January 10th, and we would love for us as a family to spend several weeks together before that. Please pray intensely!

Crying Again and Photos

Here are some new photos that Ashley took back in the summer of Jett. Do you think he's a drama king? Ashley said that she would come into a room, and Jett would point to her camera and say "Foto de me! Foto de mi!" I think he and Madison will have to fight for camera time!
We were supposed to hear about our date yesterday but never did. I went to bed in tears and woke up this morning with tears. I read another's mom's blog whose paperwork went to the US Embassy after ours. They received their pink slip yesterday and will be home on the 22nd. I'm so happy for them and sad for us. I cried again....
We are down in the dumps right now and do NOT understand why this is taking so long. We just want our baby home for Christmas, and right now, we don't know if that will happen. This is breaking our hearts and wearing on all of us. We would use your prayer intensely today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Did we pray for patience?

Today's the day when we should (I emphasize that word as nothing as gone according to the Guatemalaen timeline these days) get our pink slip today. The US Embassy confirmed our paperwork last Thursday and indicated that it would take 4 days not including Fridays, holidays, weekends or days that end in "y" (just kidding on the last one). They are fairly accurate with their timetables, but we'll see.

I'm checking our AOL email account (this is our secondary account that we generally don't check but once a week but was used when we first filed for adoption 2 years ago) every 5 minutes. It's driving me crazy (and I'm sure it's getting on JT's nerves). I'm constantly looking for projects to do but not wanting to do them.

I think I'll go to the bathroom and counsel myself in the mirror. I might have to diagnose myself with dissociative disorder then. Seriously, we could use your prayers today.....specifically for patience. We want all of this to be God's timing.

We'll post as soon as we know anything!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Photos

Here are a few Christmas photos we received from Lifeline. Jett looks like he's enjoying the season. We can't wait to get him home and begin teaching him the reason for Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Paperwork is at US Embassy

We received great confirmation today that our birth certificate, passport and paperwork were submitted to the Embassy yesterday (this news came from our social worker Lauren and the US Embassy in Guatemala). Yeah!!! Their wording indicated that it would take 2-4 days to issue the pink slip with our embassy appointment on it. Of course, those days don't include Fridays, holidays or weekends.

We hope to get our email notification by next Wednesday! When time allows I'll share a story about December 12th!

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement and for walking this journey with us. We can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel. May God receive all the glory!

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Pink's" Turn

As you can see, this is our sassy eight year old, Madison, who loves pink. Notice all of the items (except the hat) are pink.....this is a frequent look at our house. Anyway, Madison wanted to post on the blog, so I'll type as she dictates:

"I'm really excited about getting Jett. But, I'm kinda nervous. It's going to be hard to get used to a boy." (So, I ask, "what's different about a boy?") He likes outside, he plays different things like tools and cars and trains and building things. And I like baby dolls, American girl dolls, dress-up, cooking. I'm excited because I'm going to have a brother. I'll finally be a big sister. I'll play cars and transformers with him."

That's all she had to say about that. Words of wisdom....

Saturday, December 1, 2007

5 Stockings

Yes, we have hung 5 stockings on the mantle. Each one has a name on it, and it's the fifth one that I'm waiting for.....Jett Turner! As we near the day, we are eagerly anticipating bringing our son home for Christmas.
God, as you constantly remind me, You are in control. May Your name be glorified. May this process bring glory to You. May Your glory be shown to the nations.

Friday, November 30, 2007

More News!

Today came even more news from Lauren. She originally thought our paperwork (passport included) would be submitted to the US Embassy on Wednesday. Now, she got a legal update saying it would be Monday or Tuesday (of this next week, yep, that's the 3rd or 4th). Okay, breathe, Sheryl, breathe.....

That means the US Embassy will issue pink within 1-4 days. Yikes.....after waiting so long, everything is clicking into place and flying past me. We will likely be traveling the week of the 10th or 17th. Not sure which one yet. My Dad's birthday is the 12th, so that would be an awesome time!

We have packed Jett's bag and finished most of our Christmas shopping today.....we are working on getting all of our paperwork in order and being ready to go at a moment's notice. Thank you to all who are standing by for the call!

We also found out that our "pink slip" will be issued via email to US personally. This is not the way this was done prior to Nov. 19th of this year. The Embassy used to notify the lawyer and agency with a hard copy of the document. So, we'll be the FIRST to know! Hallelujah!
Thank you all again for your prayers. We covet them daily!
Well I guess it is time for me to chime in on the whole issue on the blog. Sheryl has done such an amazing job of keeping us all on top of things with the adoption. I have kind of remained in the background and allowed her to handle the administration and paperwork. The details are overwhelming at times and yet, we find ourselves at this point. Thank you to my awesome and loving wife and partner in this journey, Sheryl for all the work and many hours of paperwork and calls and more calls and more paperwork and etc.

Two years ago this journey began with a comment from our friend Jason Waltman. As Sheryl, Kaitlyn, Madison, Jason, and I sat in the almost finished back bedroom in the house Jason asked so when are you guys going to adopt? This somewhat coaught us off guard, except the fact that God had provided way more house than we needed after our house burned in January 2005. Jason and Jenny Waltman became some of our closet frineds as a result of the incredible work they did to get us back in our house and then continued to support and encourage us.

Soon after this conversation the possibility of being a foster family for children from Eagle's Nest who needed medical care here in the states was a reality. After the opportunity passed and there was no need for a foster family, Jim and Donna Houston from our church brought us word that they had found a little boy for us to adopt. We were not even really thinking about adoption. Although I must confess the thought had crossed my mind a few times on the field with little children I had met. Now with a real possibility of adoption looking us right in the heart we committed it all to prayer and received different answers. Sheryls word from the Father was yes adopt this little boy the team in Guatemala had nicknamed "Jet" after my intials. My answer was somewhat different and has changed my life forever!

The Father responded to me with a question, "Why not bring this little boy home into your family?" Wow! What an overwhelming question to try and come up with a real answer to God. There are no good answers to that question except, "Here am I Lord use me!" I began this journey with my face to the ground asking for wisdom and understanding. I have come to this point with an overwhelming sense of humility and thankfulness.

God the creator of it all has chosen to bless me with two beautiful girls that have literally rocked my world. They are the most amazing creations in the world and precious to my heart. I have been amazingly blessed. However, God the Father has chosen to sculpt my heart in a way I never dreamed with a hole that only will be filled by Jett! By the way my dad's nickname at work when he was alive was "JET" which are the intials in my legal name...the team in Guatemala at the time had no idea! Since then my heart and life have been worked on very much by the Father.

Today I find myself having found an awesome desire to be a father to the fatherless. With the two children God has blessed us with our hearts are opening up to the world. My heart is now ready, at least as much as it can be, for the exposion that is about to happen through the addition of a child whom the Father is placing in our lives to change the world! I have no doubt that the time we have endured waiting and struggling through the adoption process has produced an endurance and strength in Him that will carry us into the future with extreme faith. I pray for wisdom and discernment to lead and love like the Father. I also pray that God will allow me to bring home the nations! At this point why not! Why wouldI not trust His heart and be His hands? Why would I not allow Him to bless and all I need to do is love His children and teach them His words.

Please pray with us as we go very soon to bring Jett to our home. Pray for Sheryl's sleepless nights that have already begun as she commits his life to prayer and diligent teaching. Pray for Kaitlyn as she steps into the role of the oldest child and teacher's helper. Pray for Madison as she learns what it is like to become a big sister. And pray for me as I seek the Father's heart to build a family after His heart with a passion for His World and a passion for His Word!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

JT's Rotator Cuff Surgery

JT had surgery 2 weeks ago tomorrow for a torn rotator cuff surgery. He is recovering very quickly say the doctors! Yesterday, he went for his follow-up appointment, and his recovery was much further along than his counterparts nearby. In fact, the physical therapist asked him to slow down the process a little. Nope...we've got a little boy coming, and we're sticking with the plan!

The pictures above (from Venezuela in May) explain how JT's shoulder got to this point! To God be the glory for doctors who can repair these things!

News on Passport

We JUST got an email from our social worker, Lauren. She said that the paperwork on the passport for Jett would be submitted on Saturday..yep, THIS Saturday. That means that they either have or will have the new birth certificate before then. The passport takes 3-4 days to process. Then, the lawyers submit the b.c. and passport to the US Embassy. Time is passing quickly, and we love it! Thank you all for your encouragement. Keep praying!

So Much Encouragement!

In Acts 2, we find a beautiful picture of the a community! We weren't made for isolation...we were made to be together as a family in Christ. Isn't that amazing? When we spent some time in South Africa in August, we experienced "community" as never before. Our team had spent hours in team building exercises to prepare for such a time. We lived together, ate together, prayed together and ministered together daily. It was an intensive time of community that will forever be etched in my memory.

In the same way, our friends have been a major part of our community here in Birmingham. Since we posted our good news about getting out of PGN, I have gotten dozens and dozens of emails not to speak of phone calls and hugs along the way. I am so blessed by all the encouragement! Thank you all!

Speaking of encouragement, I received an email from another mom who is adopting from Eagle's Nest in Guatemala. She just went to visit her sweet little girl Kendall (you can see her blog at and was able to see Jett too. At the orphanage, the nannies call him Enrique. Apparently, he crawled right up in Deidre's lap and wanted her to tickle him. She even sent me a few pictures of the occasion! I was so thrilled. Although I don't know Deidre personally, she took the time to encourage me in my journey. Now, that's community. Thank you Deidre!

Please continue to pray that the process will run smoothly and according to God's timeline. We love you all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Out of PGN!!!!!

It's official....WE ARE OUT OF PGN!!! Josiah Jett Turner (aka Edwin Enrique Bautiste) is now OURS! We are all so excited and so thankful to the Sovereign Father who's timing is perfect.

On Sunday, our community group at church prayed for the adoption and many friends and family members have been intensely praying on our behalf. We have begged and pleaded for God to get this paperwork signed. We have been increasingly impatient in the process. Just yesterday, our friend Jim Merriwether pointed us back to the account of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible. Abraham, without hesitation, was willing to give up his son as an act of obedience to God.

So, I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I gave Jett up to the Father and His timing, His control. I even emailed Jim back and said that this is NOT what I WANTED to hear but it is what I NEEDED to hear. Thank you Father for using Jim to speak to our hearts. What a blessing.

It was indeed difficult to give up our plans for Jett. I continually gave him up before the throne all day yesterday. Then, we get the good awesome is our God!!!

Now, here's what happens (to the best of our knowledge):

1. Lawyer obtains a new birth certificate from Jett's city of birth. This will have our last name and his current first name (Edwin Turner). We will be listed as the parents. The birth certificate usually takes 2-3 days.
2. Lawyer uses the new birth certificate to apply for a temporary passport for Jett. We are unsure about where this takes place and how long it takes but it seems to take 1 week or so.
3. Lawyer submits birth certificate, passport and other documentation to the US Embassy in Guatemala.
4. Several days later the US Embassy issues a pink slip (noted for the color paper it is on). The pink slip gives us a date to appear before them with Jett. Generally, people are given 1 - 1 1/2 weeks notice before their appearance but lately, we've seen people get 48 hours notice to 5 days. Yikes!!!
5. We start packing, get our girls taken care of here and make airline arrangements.

Whew! God is so good, and we give Him all the glory!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Health Update

Here's the latest photos of our son. We get a health update monthly from our adoption agency, and this month, he weights in at a staggering 31 pounds. Okay, he's small. He's also 39 inches - growing well in that area.
We have used his measurements to figure his size to be 4T although we'll have to use a belt to keep the pants on him! He wears a size 8 shoe, so they say right now. We may get to Guatemala and find out differently. Our plan is to take a measuring tape with us just to verify his height and weight. We've bought all 4T sizes for the trip so hopefully, they'll fit.
Our community group at church held a prayer shower for us last night. It was a beautiful time with our adopted family. We are so grateful for each and every one of them. We'll count the ways.....
-we are overwhelmed that God gave Jason Waltman the foresight and wisdom to ask us when we were going to adopt as we moved into our new home (at the time, we had no plan to adopt....this was 4 months prior to beginning the process).
-we were struck with unconditional love as Pansy Merriwether prayed for their new grandson (Jett).
-we were reminded through Jason's prayer and JT's words that Jett will be brought out of Guatemala so that he can reach the nations for Christ.
-my friend Laura's prayer that we would bond and attach smoothly and swiftly .....please Lord!
-we are daily thankful for friends who email and call just to say they are thinking of us and praying for us....Katchuks, Robersons, Waltmans, Stewarts, Hardys, Merriwethers, etc, etc, etc.
-for our adopted family at Brook Hills who has surrounded us with their love, support and encouragement.
Father, as I approach your throne this morning, I am humbled and absolutely filled to capacity with the love you have given to us. When our house burned down almost three years ago, you were preparing our hearts and our home for this time. At that very time, you had a little boy in Guatemala being handed over to an orphanage, so that one day he could join our family. I am in awe of YOUR timing and YOUR plan. Thank you that I'm not in charge....thank you for YOUR perfect will. Thank you for surrounding us with family and friends who lift us up in prayer.
Lord, use Jett Turner to shake the nations for your glory. As he comes out of what is familiar....Guatemala, his nanny, Eagle's Nest, his what is unknown....Alabaster, Alabama, The Church at Brook Hills, mission trips around the world.....may You and You alone guide His every step. We know that You have a special plan for our son, and we give him back to You so that he may glorify You in all that he does. May his life reflect You as he goes to the nations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Traveling soon????

We were able to talk to Lauren yesterday, and our adoption agency has spoken with our lawyer Pedro. He indicated that, because of our abandonment case, we should travel to Guatemala within 2-3 weeks of getting out of PGN. We are eagerly anticipating getting out of PGN this week! is finally getting closer!

This was GREAT news for us and confirmed in our hearts that we WILL be bringing our son home by Christmas! So, his room is ready and we are making a photo album to show him the house and family before he gets ambushed at the airport. We're writing the details in English and Spanish so he'll have some idea of what's going on. Here are a few pictures we're showing him SOON!!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

On the Director's Desk.......

Today, our social worker called to let us know that all of our paperwork is sitting on the director's desk waiting to be signed. From this point, it generally only takes another week!!! Hallelujah - we are NOT going to get kicked out!!!
Our only concern at the moment is the timing of the trip to Guatemala and JT's surgery next Friday. As many of you know, he has a torn rotator cuff, and he needs this surgery in order for his shoulder to heal and rehabilitate. We are so grateful for Kim Tyler who works at St. Vincents and has helped us tremendously throughout the process!
JT will have to be immobile (his shoulder anyway) for 2 weeks. Those of you who know JT know that this will be my main job....and it will NOT be easy. He is determined to work hard and get his shoulder back to work as soon as possible. We are hoping that the call to go to Guatemala will come after the 2 week period. Even if it does not, JT will just go in a sling! Oh joy!
We will continue to update the site as we get news. We know that these are the next steps:
1. Out of PGN (official news that we are OUT). This means Jett is officially OURS.
2. New birth certificate issued in his town of birth with our names listed as parents and his last name changed (so, he'll officially be Edwin Turner). This should take only 3-4 days.
3. DNA - now, since we don't have DNA (we went through the 2 year abandonment process), we don't know what the Embassy will interview, just documentation, etc.....???? This will probably only take 1 week but could be sooner or longer.
4. Issuance of Pink Slip - this is a BIG deal. It will give us our date to travel to Guatemala to pick up our son! Many people have had a week to 1 1/2 weeks to travel; however, 2 families recently had 2-5 days notice!!!
Thank you all for your prayers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Still in PGN

We just got an email this morning saying that we are STILL IN PGN!!! We are so grateful as this means we haven't been kicked out! Praise God.
If we don't receive word by Thursday of being out of PGN, our social worker will call and see where we are in the process. That will give us an idea of how much longer we have. We are just SO grateful right now for the news!
This morning we read that another couple in our Guatemalan adoption group just got their pink slip. They have been out of PGN for one month, and they received their pink slip today which says they have to be in Guatemala THIS Friday. Okay, I may have panicked a little....that's short notice considering we all thought it would be at least one week's notice. But, we're ready!!!
We're clinging tight to God's promises and know that He is in control. JT has finished working on an addition to the playground and we've started buying Christmas presents so that we are fully ready. We love you all!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Birth Certificate News

On Friday, we met with our social worker Lauren at Lifeline to update our home study and ask questions about traveling to Guatemala. We found out that one of the critical points in the adoption is getting the new birth certificate. The new certificate can take a while depending on which city our little boy was born in.
The first orphanage Jett was in was located in Guatemala City. They had told us that his birthday was Nov. 25, 2002 and that he was born in Guatemala City. However, according to our new birth certificate (we received it this summer), Jett was born in Escuintla on February 10, 2004.
We're so thankful that he wasn't born in Guatemala City as that would slow down the new birth certificate significantly. The younger age was a huge blessing as well.
God is in total control, and we are not. Thank you Father!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

7 Weeks in PGN

Today is the 7 week mark in PGN...okay, it's 5:47 am and there's no way Lauren would call this early, so I'm affirming that we're still in PGN. I did talk to Lauren yesterday about updating some paperwork, and she informed me that we should receive a legal update either today or tomorrow.
So, now we wait.....I would love for her to call and say "You're out of PGN!!!!" But the reality is that she may say that we've been kicked out. I dread that...I worry about that....I'm sick to my stomach just thinking about it. I know that it's an hourly process of giving over my worries to God. He alone is in control, and nothing I can do will change the perfect plan He has for us. I am one who totally accepts His's His timing I'm often arguing with Him if I know better. Oh, dear Lord, please help me to accept Your timing with a grateful and cheerful heart!
Please pray intently with us over the next week for good news...once we're out of PGN, Josiah Jett Turner is offically OURS. He will get a new birth certificate within weeks with his new name: Edwin Turner (they only change the last name) and our names will be listed as the mother and father...isn't that awesome!!!
We've begun the process of buying a few things...clothes and small take with us to Guatemala. We're excited and guarded all at the same time. We appreciate your prayers and encouragement now more than ever!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Six Weeks in PGN

Today marks the six week point in PGN. We are supposed to get another legal update from Lauren in the next week, and we are praying that we are still in PGN and haven't been kicked out. I realize that my concern, worry and eagerness play NO part in whether we are in or out. God is sovereign and He's in control.
On Wednesday nights, I teach 3rd graders at our church. Right now, our curriculum is based on to pray. The kids amaze me every week and last night was no different. One of the girls in my class proclaimed, "Satan is just always trying to distract us from hearing God's word, so if we want to listen to God, we need to pray!" Oh, she was right. I must pray daily and remain in the spirit of prayer in order that my focus will remain on Him and not on me! It is a constant fight against the flesh.
Each day as I count down the days (I promised I was not going to be one of those people, and now I am), I hand our situation over to Almighty God. I know He is in control, and His timing is perfect. I'm so thankful that He refreshes my sould daily and takes my worries away.
We'll keep updating the journal weekly until we have some more definitive news. Now, we've added new pictures and will continue to do so as we get them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

5 Weeks and Counting!

Yesterday marked the five week point in PGN for us. We are prayerful that we won't be kicked out and have to begin the 8 week process all over again. I emailed our Social Worker, Lauren, yesterday and said that I can't wait to get the call from her (that we're out of PGN for good) but I'm anxious that she'll call and give us bad news (e.g. that we've been kicked out of PGN). So, I want her to call....I don't want her to call....I want her to call....
We have compared Jett's measurements to other little boys of his approximate size, and we are estimating that he wears a 3T for his weight and a 4T for his, how is that going to work??? We'll just have to see I guess. When we go to Guatemala, we will be taking all of his clothes, some toys and some books for us to use. We've never had a boy before so any helpful hints here would be great. My friend Beth Roberson gave me some good ideas last week that I plan to use!
Our eight week point in PGN will be on November 8th. Several other Lifeline couples have recently gone 9 weeks so it could be longer. Once we're out of PGN, we'll be issued a pink slip that lists the date that we have to be at the Embassy to pick up all of our paperwork. We are eager to get that date and will pass it along VERY quickly to all of you.
Thank you all for your prayers, encouragement and support - we love you. Please continue to pray for Jett's health, strength and the adjustment process as he meets us!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Time in Arizona

This week marks the 2 week mark in our three week mission trip journey in Arizona. Last week, we were blessed to have groups from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL (our home church), FBC Alpharetta, and Masonville Baptist Church out of KY. What a HUGE blessing they were to us! When we return home, I'll post some pictures of these weeks here.
This week we have several families from The Church at Brook Hills as well. We are working on replacing a roof in the sanctuary of the church, putting up a fence around the property, painting a great deal of the church and more. God is using this time to allow us to serve the local church body.
We will be going home next Tuesday, and we are all eager to sleep in our own beds. As I think about my bed at home, I'm reminded of how Jett sleeps in Guatemala. He has a bunkbed in the boys he'll have a bunkbed (to himself) at his new home.
For the first time last time, I dreamed about the day we saw him face to face. In my dream, he was crying and so were we.....both for different reasons. We can't wait to see him and to hold him close.
With all of the turmoil in Guatemala right now, many agencies are even opening their Guatemalan programs or providing referrals. The politics and The Hague Convention compliance issues are HUGE and could dramatically affect all of us in the process. The Hague Convention is supposed to be implemented FULLY in Guatemala in January of 2008.
We covet your prayers as our hearts are eagerly awaiting news from Lauren. We've jokingly told her not to call us until she has good news. Honestly, we don't want a call saying that we've been kicked out of family court only to have to go through the entire process (8 weeks) again. Our hearts are so ready to have our son home.
Last week, JT played John Waller's son "Called Me Son" about the prodigal son from the Bible. It also talks about the time when Christ-followers will meet Christ face to face and still be called sons. What a day! We long for the day when Jett runs to JT and calls him "Papa!" Oh, the privilege of being able to call him son! Thank you Jesus for the honor of being his forever family.

Monday, October 15, 2007


For two weeks this past August, we invested our lives in South Africa. What an awesome time....we had no idea what we would be doing, where we would sleep, or what we would eat. It was awesome to see God pull together a team of 18 people to do His work with such passion and flexibility.
There are no words to describe the time....but here are a few observations:
-Watching JT give his beloved Bible to Jonathan, the new leader of a house church in Atteridgeville
-Janie showing a mom how to exercise her baby's legs
-Yolanda talking to community moms as she handed out blankets
-Sam picking up 5 boys at one at a local daycare
-Kim holding a baby close to her heart
-Alice providing more than just medical care as she listened intentively to patients
-Jason talking to Jacob for hours in a nearby township
-Rick playing with Nondu in the yard of Alabanza
-Jenny spending time with a young mother just listening to her cries
-Kaitlyn, Madison and Regan playing with kids they had never met
-Lala (Lisa) rocking a baby as she talked to his mom
-Jonathan investing his time into a new believer to teach him the Word of God.
I've attached a few pictures that reflect our time there. We'll be going back in March as well as next June to lead medical clinics, discipleship training and whatever else God provides for us.

Friday, October 12, 2007


God has definitely given all of us different gifts and abilities. Oh, how we are grateful for His divine and sovereign plan....wouldn't life be boring without those differences. As a family, our passion is to reach the lost world for Christ. Our desire is to live our lives in such a way that His glory would be made known around the globe. This past year, we have led trips to the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation in Sells, Arizona (15 weeks) and South Africa (2 weeks). Next year, we will lead these same trips plus more. Additional information can be found on the website,
We thought we'd post a few of our favorite pictures from recent trips. To God be the glory!

4 Weeks in PGN

Since we've been at this adoption process, we knew that one of the final phases would be the family court in Guatemala. Right now, most families are taking the entire 8 weeks without being kicked out for various paperwork reasons. If someone does get kicked out, they must redo whatever paperwork is required and restart the 8 week process.
As of yesterday, when we received our legal update, we have not been kicked out. We have been in PGN for 4 weeks now. We are sincerely praying that ours will take less than the 8 week process so that we can bring Jett home before Christmas. We are unsure of the timing, but we release all control to the Father. He is in control, and He knows what is best for us. Please pray with us that God would show off in this situation and that He would get ALL of the praise.
We can't say enough about the encouragement and support we've gotten from so many friends and family during this time. We especially want to thank our families including JT's mom, my dad and brothers, and our family friends (Waltmans, Hardys, Stewarts) for all of their love! We would also like to thank our social worker, Lauren Roberts, who has stood with us during times of great disappointment, sadness, overwhelming joy and so much have been our friend and we adore you.
We are currently in Arizona leading mission trips but will post more photos when we return home! Thank you all again for your prayers.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Learning to Wait....

We are at the 3 1/2 week point in the family court process. We are learning to rely on God for strength each day and to wait patiently. Our family is in Arizona right now leading mission trips fot three weeks so our minds are focused here. That certainly provides a necessary refocusing for all of us. We did get our monthly health report for Jett. He is over 3 feet tall and weighs 30 lbs! We just get so excited thinking about holding him SOON!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


This is the first of many journal entries about our adoption process. We have delayed writing about the adoption process as it has taken almost 2 years to get to this point. Right now, we are in PGN, the family court of Guatemala. We've been in since September 13 (JT's 40th birthday), and are approaching the 3 week mark tomorrow. We've never been in "countdown" mode so this is exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
I told our social worker Lauren that I didn't want to hear from her again, jokingly, of course, until she had some good news for me. We expect and anticipate the family court to take 8 weeks to complete our process. Then, Lauren will call with the good news and we will travel within 2-4 weeks.
We are praying intensely that Jett comes home before Christmas. It is our hope that he would be here to celebrate Christ's birth with his family. Please pray that God works a miracle in family court and that we would get the call soon!


This is the first of many journal entries about our adoption process. We have delayed writing about the adoption process as it has taken almost 2 years to get to this point. Right now, we are in PGN, the family court of Guatemala. We've been in since September 13 (JT's 40th birthday), and are approaching the 3 week mark tomorrow. We've never been in "countdown" mode so this is exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
I told our social worker Lauren that I didn't want to hear from her again, jokingly, of course, until she had some good news for me. We expect and anticipate the family court to take 8 weeks to complete our process. Then, Lauren will call with the good news and we will travel within 2-4 weeks.
We are praying intensely that Jett comes home before Christmas. It is our hope that he would be here to celebrate Christ's birth with his family. Please pray that God works a miracle in family court and that we would get the call soon!

First Pictures

I thought I would post a few of the early pictures of Jett. He has grown so much since we first got our referral. So, here they are!
All of these pictures were taken at an orphanage in Guatemala City. Originally, Jett's birthmother left him at this orphange because she worked in the city. She was told that she could keep her job and give up her child or lose her job and keep her child. She chose work.
Since that time, Jett was moved to Eagle's Nest in Solala. What a blessing! I (Sheryl) worked at this same orphanage in August of 2005. At the time, God was already stirring the idea of adoption in my heart, but I held those thoughts close and didn't talk to anyone about them. I worked on the very room where my son now sleeps. I cleaned the floors where he now walks, and I organized the bathrooms and closets that he now uses. God works in mysterious ways. Thank you God for your perfect timing!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Our Family

We are currently a family of four waiting on our son, Jett, soon. JT and I met in college at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. We were married in May of 1990 in my hometown of Thomasville, AL. Since that time, we have lived in East Point, GA, Stockbridge, GA, Douglasville, GA, Anniston, AL, Canton, GA, Pleasant Grove, AL and Alabaster, AL. We currently reside in Alabaster, AL and have made our home there since 2003.
We run a mission organization and are members of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. Our family loves to go on mission trips to spread the Gospel message. We also enjoying hanging out with our great friends and family. There's nothing better than a Friday night with a house full of people!
JT is the world's best husband, Dad, and leader of our household. JT is the founder and president of 1 Way Ministries), a 501c3 organization leading mission trips to impoverished, desperate , and forgotten people groups around the world. He is passionate about sharing the Gospel and the discipleship process. JT is our handyman and fixes all the necessary items around our house while taking some time to enjoy reading and anything outdoors!
Sheryl (that'd be me) is the wife, Mom and manager of the Turner clan. She homeschools their children and works with JT for the ministry. In my overwhelming spare time (okay, there's little of that), I enjoy getting together with my friends, teaching Bible study, and exercising (for those who know me, this has been a lifelong struggle). Sheryl loves 2 Timothy 2:13!
Kaitlyn is our 10 year old daughter who will be 11 later this year. She enjoys math and reading as well as art. Kaitlyn is an encourager and loves to care for children. What we love most about Kaitlyn is her creativity in helping others...she will go way beyond the call of duty to help a Mom in need or a baby who needs extra attention. She has a huge heart and a compassion for others.
Madison is our 8 year old drama queen. She adores science, reading, and ballet. Madison loves to take care of others and ALWAYS has a song in her heart! We love Madison's intrigue and natural curiosity about EVERYTHING! She asks LOTS of questions and is insistent on answers. We adore Madison's empathy for others and her desire to please God in what she does.
Our hearts' desire in all of this is that Christ would be glorified. May His name be lifted up and magnified among the nations!