We have been forever changed by experiencing a faith-filled journey that first brought us our sweet Caitlin, then an adoption that ended in disappointment, and now one that placed us in the NICU with a sweet little baby boy. Never would we have chosen the disappointment and grief of losing children we had come to love and now worrying about the health of our new little addition, but God's plan has been to forever leave His mark of grace, brokenness, and freedom to obey even when we don’t understand. To Him be the glory for what He has done, and is doing, and will do!

With love and gratefulness to our Heavenly Father who has adopted us into His forever family, and to you, our family and friends,

Robert, Carlene and Caitlin Belue

Friday, December 2, 2011

No Short-cuts

It’s been a long road of obedience filled with lots of waiting, lots of paperwork,  some fear, discouragement,  and grief, mixed with hope and miracles. I would have chosen the short cut, but it would not have accomplished Christ’s purposes for me and my family. Walking with Jesus on the long road, letting Him carry us and lift our burdens along  the way, has produced different results than my short-cut would have. The long road has made all the difference!
Nearing the end of this long adoption road, and awaiting the birth of a new life that will join our family feels almost surreal; could this really be happening? Then a gentle whisper in my soul reminds me of God’s faithful love, His pleasure in giving us the desires of our heart, and His way of changing us for His purposes. I’m grateful that on the long road, I have had to lean more on my Savior, trust without seeing the end, and see that God’s ways won’t always make sense here on earth. He doesn’t deal randomly or unkindly, but is quick to offer comfort, peace and grace that covers any need in the midst of seeming disaster.  I’m so looking forward to the sounds of a little baby once again in our home, and thankful for what God has chosen for us. He is my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

God's story for us continues!

We are grateful for a mighty God Who we cannot explain or contain, but we know loves us, protects us, and has specific plans for each of us in His kingdom. God’s grace has been sufficient, His healing deep, His peace like a blanket over our family, His joy complete even in sadness, and His mercies new every single day.
We have been forever changed by experiencing a faith-filled journey that ended in a disrupted adoption. Never would we have chosen the disappointment and grief of losing children we had come to love, but God had a different plan; one that has forever left His mark of grace, brokenness, and freedom to obey even when we don’t understand. We have entrusted Him with Laura, Oscar and Daniela and are praying that they will be taught about Jesus, and we will one day see them heaven.
We are grateful for the chance to love again as we were recently called about adopting a baby boy in the Memphis area due on Feb. 2, 2012. We had prepared ourselves for another long wait in the adoption process, but God has again chosen differently than what we expected , and in so doing, Caitlin’s prayer of the “littlest baby possible” has been answered!

Friday, November 11, 2011

When God Heals

When we allow the sweet work of the Holy Spirit to reach deep into our hearts and bring peace, healing and joy from disaster, we win! We gain compassion and tenderness, and humility before a great God. We gain freedom from having to know the "why," and freedom from our attempts to control , figure out, and question God's work. There is more room for grace, hope, peace; even enough to share! When God heals, He gives  courage to keep trusting, to keep obeying! I'm grateful for the Spirit, my wonderful Counselor!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our eyes are upon You

In 2 Chronicles 20, there is a powerful lesson of God's faithfulness in times of trouble. Jehoshaphat leads the people to prayer and in verse 9 cries out "nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You." The Spirit of the Lord answers and says to them."the battle is not yours...position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord...do not fear or be discouraged." What did they do while they stood still and did not know what to do next? They stood up and praised the Lord! When we do not know what to do next, we can position ourselves in thanking and praising God for who He is and what He has done in the past, and for the battles He will fight for us. His Spirit still speaks to us (are we listening?), and God still fights for us (are we praising Him while we wait?)! So, in the "now what" times of our lives (which is where I am) we know we can be obedient in what we already know He is calling us to do, and praise Him while we wait for God to speak and act about what we don't know what to do.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Still Growing

While we may not be growing numerically at this exact season of our lives (although we hope adoption will still be a part of the very near future for us), God is faithfully using our disappointment and grief to continue to grow us toward what He wants us to look like as individuals and as a family. I am so grateful that grief does not have to destroy us nor can it permanently take our joy and hope in what God has planned for those who love Him. We are taking time to be grateful, for each other, for our health and too many other blessings to count (although I have thought about making a list to visually see my blessings when I'm feeling sorry for myself). And, as we looked at reducing a budget item and the media intake in our home, the TV has been cancelled for a time. It's been two weeks and we are really not missing it much; finding more time for games and reading, which seem to also have a healing effect. Psalms 100:5 "For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Divine Interruption and Growing by Grace

We got back Friday from Colombia, and on Sunday I realized that the fall Bible studies were starting up this week. I quickly determined that I would attend, as I have since we moved to Mississippi, and have always found God to speak to me exactly what was needed for the season of life I found myself in. First question of the Bible study today: " How has your life been interrupted lately?" Hmmm...must have been written specifically for me. :) "The interrupted life, Divine intervention, is the privileged and significant life, where eternally significant events become the story that God uses for His kingdom purposes and to bless others for generations to come." That's the kind of life I want! Not that I would have ever chosen to go through the pain and disappointments we just experienced, but knowing that God most certainly guided us and directed us that far, and gave us the grace and peace to accept His divine intervention, helps me be that much more confident in His plans for the future (even though we don't know them yet). We do know we can trust Him, and His interruptions are always for a purpose, for good! We are still growing by grace, just in ways we didn't know we would have to.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Only God Knows

God has lead us to Colombia, and after a difficult 8 days with Laura, Oscar and Daniela, we have had to make the difficult decision to not continue in the process due to significant concerns about the safety and well-being of each individual child, including Caitlin, living together in a family setting. Our hearts are breaking, but we have the peace only God could give at a time like this. It's difficult to understand the "why" but we trust God's heart for our family and the kids. We are praying about remaining in the Colombia program so as not to lose too much ground with fees already paid, as many of you have so generously given toward expenses. We humbly ask that you let us know if you would like your donation returned. Thank you for continuing to pray for us as we grieve this loss.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Journey Begins Tomorrow

We drove to Atlanta Monday afternoon, applied for our visas Tuesday morning, drove back home, got our visas the next day, and packed the rest of the week! Wheeww! Ready for travel tomorrow! My heart is grateful for being chosen to be an adoptive mom; I've learned so much about my great God, and have been forever changed!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Colombia Here We Come!

Yesterday, we were given our presentation date (the date we will meet our kids)! August 23, 2011! Which means we need to be in Colombia on the 21st, meet with the orphanage on the 22nd and then our kids the next day. So, now we have 7 days to travel and still need to get the required documents to drive the 7 hours to Atlanta for our visas, plus pack, arrange things at home, get medicines and paperwork together, etc....! Exciting!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

God Answers Prayer....Again!

Got a call from the FBI today (so grateful they took the time to call!). My fingerprints were legible, they have been processed, and the clearance was mailed out yesterday! Thank you, Lord, for looking after us, and for answering our prayers! Psalm 106:1 "Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

Monday, August 1, 2011

God Answers Prayer

Immigration approval for our kids came today!  We praise the Lord that all requirements were met the first time around, and that paperwork is done!
A call to the FBI today went well as my fingerprints have been marked to process quicker than the usual 8 weeks. He said it could be a few days or a week or two but not 8 weeks!
Please still pray that they will be legible this time, and will be returned within a week so we can proceed with getting a travel date.
We thank you for your prayers and we are so grateful for God watching over us and moving things along!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Needing a miracle and knowing God can do anything!

  We've been thinking for awhile now that we've only got a month to travel; but, with 3 documents needing correction and longer processing times for U.S. immigration, that month hasn't gotten any shorter.
    Our fingerprint clearance cannot be older than 6 months at the time we appear in court in Colombia. They take 8 weeks (alnost on the dot) to get back. We had them done in Dec. so needed to send them in again in the spring, which we did. After 7 weeks, they were returned to us saying they were not clear enough to read. So, we sent in another set at the end of May. We just got back the notice saying that Robert's were clear enough (so he has clearance for another 6 months) but that mine were not, and need to be re-submitted (of, course with a separate fee involved and a wait of 8 more weeks).
The customer service at the FBI office said there was no way to expedite the fingerprint process because it's first-come, first-serve in the data base, and to expect the 8 weeks processing time once again.
So, we need a miracle! Please pray that my prints will be able to be processed in half the normal time, so as not to hold up travel once the other documents are complete!
 Although we are discouraged, we know without a doubt that God can do anything He pleases (no matter what the 'normal" processing times may be) and He continues to have His hand on every detail in this very long adoption, and on our kids who are having a hard time understanding why we are taking so long to come!
 We so appreciate your prayers for them, for encouragement for us, and for the financial needs still to be met (as we received 1 out of 3 grants applied for, so are a bit behind where we were expecting to be at this point).
We sure are grateful we have such great prayer support, and we know that God is doing a work beyond what we can see or imagine and He has the eternal perspective. 
A friend posted this recently: "Waiting times are not an excuse for spiritual laziness but a season for gaining His strength & seeking His wisdom for the days ahead, while continuing to proclaim His name!"  May we continue to proclaim His name while we wait! because He knows all things and can do all things, and has good things planned for those who love Him.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Psalm 68:6 "God sets the solitary in families." We are so excited and thankful that God is setting Laura, Oscar and Daniela in our family. This week, we hope to get back immigration approval for the three of them and receive our updated fingerprint clearances. Then, we can be assigned a travel date. We appreciate your prayers, especially for our kids who are getting anxious!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time is in His hands

Psalms 66: 5,6 "Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot." Two documents with mistakes were corrected two weeks ago, however one was still needing correction (by the way, it's my name misspelled Marlene) and it will be another two weeks on Monday waiting for that correction to be made. Although, it's hard to understand why changing one letter (literally) could take so long, we know that this time of waiting on something out of our control, is ultimately in the same hands that faithfully parted the Red Sea so long ago.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Which God prepared beforehand

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." It's been 8 days and we are still waiting for the corrected letter so we can send in the reports to immigration. Wow, what a test of patience and trust in the fact that God indeed has prepared the way before us, including these long days of waiting. Only He can see the road ahead and plan exactly for the best dates to travel to see our kids. In the meantime, His grace is sufficient!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Reports Completed

The kids' reports are ready to review and sign today! We are waiting for one letter to accompany the reports for the immigration approval, then we will send them in and wait 10 days for approval. After that, we will be ready to travel to Atlanta to obtain our special adoption visas, then we'll be headed to Colombia to meet our kids! Thanks for praying!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Lord's Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-24 "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not; they are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!" We have had to rely on God's strength and hope, as the reports still are not completed for our kids (due to a conference and illness of our social worker). Whatever the circumstances, we continually have to remind ourselves that God is overseeing this whole process and is not surprised or disappointed by delays like we are. He has it under control! We have so enjoyed our weekly skype calls with the kids; they ask every time when are we coming to get them.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

God is at work

Waiting....and waiting some more; sometimes with nothing visibly happening. However, we are confident of one thing; God is at work, accomplishing His purposes on our behalf, to bless us and grow us, and bring Him all the glory, and to place us in Colombia at just the right time. We are enjoying our weekly skype calls with the kids, and waiting on some reports to be completed so we can file for their immigration approval which should be about a 10 day process. Keep praying! We appreciate you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Skype Call

We were able to Skype with our kids in Colombia yesterday morning! :) They were very excited and so cute! We learned that Oscar likes the colors blue and green and likes to eat chicken and rice, Laura is excited about having a pool and wanted to make sure we knew she is almost 8, :) and Daniela likes the color red and likes to eat salad (she also kept saying "mama")! Caitlin enjoyed seeing them!
We are set up to talk to them every Monday afternoon so we are so grateful!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Translation Complete

The 109 pages of our kids' report has been translated and is ready to send with the next documents for their immigration approval! Thanks for praying! We also should soon be able to Skype with the kids which will be exciting!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LifeSong for Orphans Partnership

On April 14th, we were approved to partner with Lifesong for Orphans! This ministry serves adoptive families by accepting tax-deductible donations on our behalf and issueing a grant of 100% of the money donated for our adoption expenses. There are two ways to do this: by using the "donate" button on our blog, or by sending a check to Lifesong for Orphans at P.O Box 40/202 N. Ford St., Gridley IL 61744. Checks should be made payable to Lifesong for Orphans with this phrase written in the memo section: preference Belue/#1938 adoption. (In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor's suggested use.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Immigration Approval

On April 7th, we received our immigration approval! It is notarized, being apostilled, and will be sent to Colombia to join our dossier. Next, the children's reports have to be translated, then we have to include those reports and apply for their immigration approval. The translation could be the lengthy part, so please pray that they have already begun that process since there are 3 long reports to complete. We praise the Lord for His faithfulness in carefully overseeing the whole process and time frame! and we thank God for you, our prayer partners and friends!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Renewed Strength

It's been a long month of waiting on our fingerprint appointment, which is in four days! We have come to appreciate more, and rely on consistently, God's promise in Isaiah 40:31; if we wait upon Him our strength will be renewed. Some days the wait seems endless, some days discouraging, and yet other days refreshing as we get needed projects accomplished.  He whispers His words of encouragement as we look ahead to many more weeks before traveling, and reminds us that He has always had the time in His hand; the authority is His alone to decide when paperwork gets signed and when we get our permission to go get our kids. He knows what time is best and we are grateful He has our best interest, and our kids' best interest, at the center of His heart and plan.

Friday, February 25, 2011

God's Way is the Best Way

This encouragement for the day came straight from Caitlin's Veggie Tales CD. Who knew?! What a great reminder that "God's way is the best way, now that I know He loves me so. His way is the best way...and that's the way for me." After the song was over, I looked into the rearview mirror to say, "You know Caitlin, God's way is always the best way." To which she responded, "Like our 3 children." Yes, indeed. Great lessons being learned for all of us!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Looking to Jesus

Have you ever taken steps of obedience, by faith, and then wondered if you have the faith to finish the path where those steps are taking you? That's where I am today. Knowing full well, and confident that God's plan is being perfectly crafted through this adoption, but not having the strength in myself to keep up that faith that got me here. That's why Jesus took me to Hebrews 12:1,2 yesterday, knowing I needed to hear Him say,"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." I am so grateful that Jesus will "finish" my faith and give me the daily strength to run this particular race. May we all continue to "Look unto Jesus" until He comes or calls us home!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The paperwork trail

As we wait, February is becoming our fundraiser month. See the new button for T-shirts that Robert's sister helped us set up. ;)We thank God for His plan in providing for all our needs! Paperwork is getting "authenticated, translated, stamped, sent to various places...and anything else that paperwork has to do. ;) And God is still in control!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Waiting...on the Lord

Psalm 27: 13-14 says "I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord." In my Bible, the date 9-24-08, is written beside this verse. It was obviously a day that I was having a hard time waiting for the plan of the next adoption to unfold, and God had encouraged me through His Word. Over the last 2 years (or more) I have found myself waiting on what I felt were other people, paperwork, etc., but what God has begun to teach me is that I am actually to be waiting on Him. He has been using the circumstances of waiting to make His plan complete, in the time that He has set from before I was born. It is often in the waiting, that we have the most opportunity to learn and grow and be strengthened for the task ahead! Let's not waste the wait!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The kids are excited!

We got news today that our kids got the Christmas presents we sent and the news about us, their new family, and they are "very happy and excited." Makes us just want to jump on a plane today! Still have one home visit to complete, an application to fill out, and immigration papers to file. Pray that the Lord will move everything along exactly as it should, according to His timing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

God Knows the Plan

I am so grateful for the reminder this morning of Jeremiah 29:11 and of God's plan for hope and a future; both for us and for our kids in Colombia. While we are anxious to travel to meet them, we found out today that we still have another interview and a second home visit (since a year has passed since the first one) for the update to our homestudy. We should be able to complete those two things in the next two weeks. After that, we think we can apply for our immigration papers which usually takes about 6 weeks. As we wait and walk through the steps as they come, we know God has already determined when we travel and how He will provide all the necessary funds. Great is His faithfulness!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Year of Faith and Change

     God's ways are perfect, His resources unlimited, and His love unending! We are counting on His power and love as we begin 2011, and continue to make many preparations for the three new additions to our family.
     In December, we turned in a packet of paperwork (what a relief), made photo books that were sent to Laura, Oscar and Daniela, and sent them Christmas gifts as well.
     We are grateful for a restful time with Carlene's family in Guatemala for Christmas before getting back to work on arranging our home for 3 more kids, applying for grants and planning other fundraisers, and working on the next phase of paperwork.
      In Guatemala, we enjoyed lots of family time, going to the zoo, eating at our favorite places, attending the church Carlene grew up in, eating lots of yummy black beans and freshly-made tortillas, and even doing a fun zip-line course through a natural reserve overlooking Lake Atitlan which is surrounded by beautiful volcanoes.
     Now, it's back to work getting ready to travel to Colombia to meet our new kids! Keep praying!