Just Enough Light for The Step I’m Taking

Thank you for your prayers and notes. God used your Words to calm my heart and love on me! I read each verse and heeded your encouragement. My heart found such comfort in them.After I blogged Monday, and asked for prayers, I decided to trace God’s fingerprints over the past week and look for His confirmations or lack thereof. I just have to share with you all that He has done:

We found out last week that our fingerprints had expired. This could stop the whole referral process and put our adoption on hold. So JJ and I both went last Wednesday to get our fingerprints done again – without an appointment. It was a crazy day because Andrew also had his elementary school graduation and lunch. But we got in and got our prints done!Wednesday night we emailed USCIS to request expedited processing. Thursday morning we got an email from the USCIS that our fingerprints were approved – in less than 24 HOURS!! That is incredible. The director of adoptions told us she’d send notification to some the Embassy in Addis that our records are now valid. Seriously, that is some God moving progress!

I went by our Pediatrician’s office Wednesday on my way to the fingerprinting office. Our Dr was swamped with patients and meetings all afternoon so I didn’t get to see him. I left Baby Aster’s health records, photos and paperwork and prayed Dr. Glass would see them and call us that night so we’d know what step to take next.

Dr. Glass called Weds night at 8:30pm. He spent over 20 mins asking questions and explaining what he could read on the baby’s medical report. He felt good about her health but wanted to know more about her progress in the last month – socially and developmentally. He requested to talk to the Dr in Ethiopia to ask more questions. We were blown away by the personal interest he was taking in us.

On Thursday morning, before we could even send his request to our agency, the agency emailed us an update on Baby Aster’s healt that came to them overnight from the Ethiopian Dr. It had almost every single one of our Drs questions answered in a progress report. Baby Aster has almost doubled her weight in a month and is growing in length and head circumference.

We couldn’t set up a conf call so we emailed questions to the Dr. in Ethiopia. Then we waited all of Thurs and Friday for our Dr. to look over the new progress report. The biggest thing we wanted to know is if Baby Aster makes eye contact and interacts with people, so we could see if there were any neurological defects from her malnutrition.

In the midst of all of this we were praying for Joshua to feel called to this huge change in plans b/c he’s been hesitant about getting a baby. Thurs morning I read Aster’s background to him, why she was orphaned and talked about what babies are like since he’s been around so few. We have said all along this is a family decision and we all have to be 100% sure it’s God’s plan. During my prayer and journaling time I asked God to please move in Joshua’s heart as a confirmation for us.

Joshua came to me a later that day and said, “Mom, I’m okay now with getting a baby.” I asked what had changed and he said, “I don’t know but I feel like this is what we are SUPPOSED to do. I am actually excited now. I don’t know what happened but I am more excited than I was about getting older girls.” Well, I knew what happened. God had moved – way faster than I expected!

We left Thurs night for New York. On Friday, our Dr called to say he was pleased with Baby Aster’s growth but still wanted to know how she was doing socially and neurologically. No word from Ethiopia so we knew we would not hear or know anything until Monday.

Monday came and so did the Dr’s report, stating Baby Aster is very playful and shows no more signs of malnutrition and no sign of any neuroligical delays or concerns. All our questions had been answered. But I was not in a good place. I had had a ton of time to think about the reality of having a baby. As I shared on Weds, my imagination and concerns were running wild!

I had been praying continually about my concern, and all the changes a baby will bring. I’d told God I needed to know how He’d provide help. I’d been praying He would bring someone to us. Someone we know, love and trust. I’m not sure how much help I’ll need; I just needed to know it would be there. Friday morning, I’d called LeAnn at work and shared with her my junk. She was so sweet and assured me that we’d figure it all out in the office and offload whatever I needed.

Wednesday after I blogged and journaled all the ways God had smoothed out these rough places in our path, I told JJ I needed us to talk alone and pray. He knew I was struggling. We went for a drive and he reminded me of promises God has fulfilled in our lives over the past 15 years. Ways He has lead us down paths we have not known, and turned our darkness into light. Rough places He has smoothed and impossible mountains He had moved. ( Isaiah 42:16-17)

He reminded me that

sometimes God provides just enough light for the step we are on right now. And when we take that step, He gives light for the next step. Then he assured me that God and he will stand in all the gaps for me. We prayed and I cried.I thanked God for all that He had done but told God again that I wanted a big confirmation from Him. Something clear and bold printed. I opened my cell phone to check to see if the agency had emailed us about our deadline to decide and there was an email from my friend Bev.

I wept as I read it. She’d read my blog and shared how she could only imagine how hard it must be to think of starting over with a baby. She wanted me to know that she woud be “honored” to help me in any way, and would be there if I needed childcare or just relief on days when I feel overwhelmed. I hadn’t even thought of asking Bev. God wanted it to be HIS idea. This was my BIG confirmation. A huge peace came over me. God had provided what I told Him I needed – someone we know, love and trust who will be there if I need her. My Elizabeth!

Were my fears all gone? No. Were my questions all answered? No. Did I have peace? Yes, and nervous excitement. I knew God was telling me to walk in faith and trust Him in every way to provide every bit of what we need. I sensed He wants me to expect His sweetest blessings in ways we have not known because we are walking along paths we have not known and trusting Him to light the way.

So my friends, we are GETTING A BABY!!!!

I’ll tell you more about the process when we get home next week. For now, I have more vacation to enjoy with my wonderful family of boys which will be transformed by pink precious girly sweetness sometimes very soon!

We drove all day yesterday from Lake Placid to NYC. Today through Friday we’re spending in the city!

On Friday, I have a devo running about respecting our husbands so be sure to stop by to see what He’s teaching me about that, too! He’s always working on this heart of mine.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. LOVE reading the minute by minute updates of God's journey for you and your family! Such a special season for you guys and it's so neat to hear your heart and delve into God's heart. Thank you for sharing this path with us! We're here for you and will help with P31office things and Baby Aster however we can 🙂
    Love, Samantha

  2. I have been following your site off and on over the last year. Thank you for sharing this life experience. I can very much relate to your feelings of wanting God to show you the right path. I have gone a year of the pains of not getting pregnant. My doctor told me last week that she cannot find a reason we aren't getting pregnant and that was just more light that is leading us to explore adoption; something I have always been drawn to. It is like my heart grew and a feeling of peace in His plan like I haven't all year.

  3. Renee,

    What a wonderful testimony of God's faithfulness and love for all concerned. Baby Aster will be so blessed with her new family. It will be such an excited time as this unfolds. Your lives will new be the same, amen.

    We did foster care for a 10 year old girl about 8 years ago. It was a family decision as well. I was so proud of my boys for making the sacrifices needed for her. It wasn't easy, but hearts and lives were changed for eternity. You must be so proud of your sons!

    My friends threw me a surprise baby shower when she came to live with us. 🙂 It was so amazing, I didn't even have to go through 9 months of weight gain.

    May God bless your family including Aster and unite you soon and safe.
    Much love and praise to the Father,


    Congratulations and God bless you…He indeed gives us just enough light for the step we're taking and it's PERFECT!

    Blessings and peace!

  5. Wow Renee! I'm so excited and prayerful for you guys. God is totally going to amaze and be glorified even further through this process.

    I loved what JJ said about God shining the light on the steps. My husband just quit his job yesterday to start his own business. Scary stuff in this world's economy but we know that God's economy is not broke! We are taking that first huge step and trusting God to shine the light on the rest of the path. Wowzers, I'm pumped!

    Paula G.

  6. God has been so good with His confirmations to you, JJ and the boys. As I read through your minute by minute updates I kept sensing the word yes, yes, yes. All of God's promises are yes and amen through Christ Jesus!

  7. I am so excited for you. I cannot wait for you to post pictures. I will pray for you and the adjustment for your whole family. How old is she? Did I miss that?

    Consider yourself hugged!

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  8. Oh, I am so happy to read this! Praise God! I'll keep praying.


  9. Wow, Renee, Wow! This is SO exciting! To think that a precious baby in Africa has been hand-picked by God for you and your family is utterly amazing.

    I can only imagine your excitement. ANd I praise God for his goodness and provision, and most of all, for His peace.

    Woo-hoo! 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    The news about baby Aster is so exciting and wonderful. How blessed she will be to have you for her mommy.:0) Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It is so important to see God working in the lives of others. It seems quite evident that He is saying yes to all of your questions. I am happy for your family. Looking forward to continuing on the journey with you through your blog. God's blessings to you…

    ~ Leanna

  11. All I can truly say is… I cried! Thank You God for being YOU!!!

  12. WOW! WOW! WOW! How awesome! How God!

    The other day – cried tears of compassion for you. Today – tears of joy!

    Streams of Mercy never ceasing call for songs of highest praise!

  13. I appreciate your analysis of God's provision in your decision making process. This encourages me to journal more so that I can go back and look for the confirmations or no confirmations to my request. Thank you for sharing your story.

  14. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Congrats! Thank you for sharing your journey!

  15. WOW! Just wow! God is so Great!!!

    Can't wait to hear all about it!

  16. I am so excited for you guys I could just bust! God is so good, and so wonderfully unpredictable. How fun His sense of adventure is! I can hardly wait for the day this sweet little girl gets to meet her Momma! Congrats!

  17. The adventure never ends, does it friend?

    Congrats to you all!

    Your P31 girls love you and those of us who have girls will teach you how to tie bows and match socks with the outfit. Smile

  18. Wow, Renee, your words bring tears! What an amazing story and how wonderful to see God at work in so many ways. I have no doubt you will all be blessed! The God we serve is mighty – what an example your obedience and seeking Him are for all of us. The prayers will continue! I hope you enjoy the vacation – there will never be another the same, but that's a good thing!
    Blessings, Jill

  19. Janie Graves says:

    Hallelujah! God is so good and ever so faithful to meet us where we are. Reading the "play by play" orchestration God presented gave me 'holy bumps.' That is always my personal confirmation of His presence and His "yes."

    And what a wonderful Godly husband you have…you are so trully blessed!

    Thank you for your ministry to all us women out here…sharing what God is doing in your own life blesses ours. I'm so thankful I've come across your site. You have a faithful follower now and little Aster will have an awesome Prov. 31 mother.

    Rejoice and Lift Him Up for his Peace will continue to shower over you.
    Ps 29:10-11

  20. Wowzie! Congratulations. We are rejoicing with you! Can't wait to see her sweet little face! 🙂

    Enjoy NYC! We are going there this Friday….perhaps we'll cross paths. 🙂


  21. Thank You Renee for living out a Journey and sharing what it looks like in your heart. It's beautiful my friend. You and your family will continue to be lifted up in prayer! Enjoy your vaction and remember you are loved!

  22. Leanne Anderson says:

    Your story is so inspiring and I will pray for God's continued guidance in your decisions. I am a friend of Jill's who you have corresponded with from Iowa. We are setting up the Rise and Shine conference here in Iowa. Your story is such an inspiration, one in which I will have to say that little Aster is a lucky little girl to have you and your family looking to adopt her. God is so good, He knows what you need and who needs you, isn't it amazing to know that she was picked out for you. I have a good friend who is in the process of adopting 4 children from Poland. They are a young couple unable to have their own children and so they wanted to adopt from Poland. What an amazing God we serve as they wanted 2 siblings and God presented them with 4. They are 2,3,4 and 5. Please pray for them as they are entering parenthood with no previous instruction or experience. I know God has chosen them as they will be wonderful parents. They have amazing parents and family who will support and help. It sounds like you do too.
    Thank you for sharing yourself, your life and your experiences for the rest of us to learn from. I am so looking forward to meeting you here in Iowa…Iowa will be a better place for having you here.
    God's blessings on your new little addition!

  23. Oh Friend! I continue to pray!!
    I can't wait to tell to tell you about my very same prayer as yours and MY ELIZABETH!
    Better Yet, I will let Julianna tell you in a few weeks!

  24. My husband and I adopted a 3 month old boy when our youngest was 14 years old. Yes, it does take quite a bit of adjusting but so worth it. We have learned so much about God's wonderful love for us and about leaning on Him when we don't have enough sleep or wisdom or strength. Just trust God for each step of the way. This is an exciting journey.

  25. I am so excited and happy for you! I'll bet she's a dollbaby!!! Congrats to all of you and that little girl is so blessed to be in your family, and to have you as her mommy. love you!!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Praise God that everything is working out so smoothly. As an adoptive mother myself, the one thing I learned and had to accept was to expect glitches to happen. That just the way it is with foreign adoptions. I also learned, and fortunately, earlier than later, that God has perfect timing. All the hurdles we go through are just part of God perfect plan and his perfect timing. You will bring your baby home at the perfect time that God has planned for you. What a relief that we don't have to worry about that. That he takes such good care of us and brings a very special child that is so loved by God into our lives. What a special gift from God. It really doesn't get any better than this. May God watch over your baby and bless this beautiful child.

  27. Anonymous says:


    Thanks for sharing the path you have walked the past few days. How blessed you must be to know that God has His mighty hand in this. How awesome it must feel to know that God chose you to be Aster's mother. Blessings to your family.


  28. Girlfriend, I'm raising the pink roof with you!

    Can't wait to hold her. Can't wait to tell her that God loves her. Can't wait to whisper how blessed she is to have you for her mom.

    Hugs ~ Rachel

  29. I am so excited for you! Looking forward to this journey of praying for you guys-all 5 of you!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Awwww Renee that is incredible thank you for sharing. Congratulations on your little Pink Bundle of Joy. What a blessed life that child shall have, God is sooooo Good. Amen


  31. What a blessing it is to read how God has softened the heart of your whole family toward baby Aster! Your daughter has a very special family…for sure! Blessings, Terry

  32. I have been reading your story about adoption. I have a very special place for adoption as I was adopted as an infant plus our church is HUGE on adoption! I love the way people think so differently about adoption in regards to 40 years ago. I have heard life changing stories (and lived it myself)that have literally saved families by opening hearts to bring an adopted child into thier families. You know, children can just touch hearts no matter how hard the heart may be. I deeply encourage you to embrace this opportunity for your family to love a child who may have never been loved before! What a blessing! I wish you all the best with the process and pray it goes very smooth. If I lived near you- I would help you out!! If you ever bring the baby to Nashville, I'll babysit! I just have to say that I want to adopt a daughter (I have three boys) but my husband doesn't feel called to do this. I can love on other adoptees and am praying one of my children adopt someday! I am praying for you and can't wait to read the next post of your story.


  33. Tears filled my eyes and ran down my face as I read your words. Thank you so much for taking us on the journey that The Lord took you and your family on. It is such an encouragement to see God working…especially now when so many of my friends are struggling to see His hand.

    I only wish I lived closer so I could help take care of the little one, drive the boys from one place to another, made dinner…something. I may not be able to do those things, but I can and will be praying!

    Thanks again, Renee!

  34. Renee, woohoo! What an amazing adventure God has in store for you and your family! What miracles you are already witnessing!

    Thank you for also reassuring me through your words of God's faithfulness. I am reading Stormie O'Martian's book "Just Enough Light for the Step I Am On." You might want to check it out for some additional reassurance!

    Happy Day!!!

  35. Congratulations!!!! Thank you for sharing your God Sightings along the path and your struggle with doing what is His will. As your sister in Christ, I enjoy being able to celebrate God's miracles with you. I am excited to learn more about Aster.
    God Bless

  36. Anonymous says:

    God bless you you all. You are such a blessing.

  37. Girl, I am almost in tears over here for you. I can't wait to hear more about your new daughter. We've adopted once as well as having two biological sons. We still dream of one more some day through adoption, and your journey inspires me not to give up hope that God will bring us our daughter at the right time.

    And if you need an extra shoulder, hand, or just some time out of the house, we're just on the other side of town.

  38. What a beautiful story! Yet, I know the doubts and the fears are still there…I pray that God will remove them one by one as you get closer to uniting with Aster. I trust that soon your hearts will grow together, melding into something new and precious. Thank you for sharing this journey.

  39. Thanks for sharing this leg of your journey with all of us!

    Our family also felt a calling to adopt – for us, it was a callling to adopt a special needs baby from the States. Reading your story today reminded me of the concerns of my heart, wondering how it would all work…

    For us, we felt that God was calling us to start the adoption process soon after our youngest biological child, Tobias was born. That seemed to make sense since adoption often takes so long – we'd have plenty of time to get ready, and the youngest of our children would have a good spacing between them… Well, God's plans weren't ours – they were better! The very same week that we finished our paperwork (the paperwork that we in our humanness thought would be followed by a long period of waiting), we learned about Ishmael, a little baby in foster care, waiting for a home. There was no doubt that we were to say yes to Ish.

    We had just a few days to get ready before driving many miles to meet him and start life as a family of five, and yet there were so many unknowns! We still have many unknowns now – mostly in the life-changing medical decisions we must make for Ish – but we can testify to God's all-knowing greatness through this journey!

    All this to say – going from a family with older boys to a family with older boys and a baby is hard to visualize right now, but from the moment Aster is in your arms, it will be hard to feel like your family was ever supposed to be anything else.

    Thanks for shining for Jesus.


  40. Praise God and congratulations! I’m so excited for ya’ll 🙂 I don’t know what size clothes you’ll need but our girls were born in the spring so we have lots of clothes 😉 We live in Waxhaw so I’d love to help out with anything you need 🙂

  41. Dear Renee,

    Proverbs 31 is a very important ministry to women and their families. Now, I ask you to think and pray about this: the ministry to Jesus and His family.

    Through Romans 6, everything that a believer does and thinks and says leads a person to Jesus' Father: the God of love.

    As one who 'believes in Jesus' a person's life must be according to Romans 6, which is also the Way that Jesus leads us to be the answer to His prayer in John 17. Without John 17, the power of the Cross, the Resurrection and the Ascension into heaven where the King of Glory now sits, making intercession for the saints, is NULL AND VOID. (Please also read Mark 7)

    I speak to you as a leader: Matthew 23 was spoken to leaders too.

    Your blog quotes Jeremiah: do you remember that the people of God also stoned this prophet? Today, the people of God do not want to hear from people like me, and prefer to delete my messages, or when I attend the conferences (of Matthew 23: 13) they say, 'Our service is all planned' or, simply post 'guards' at the doorways and declare that the Scriptures I have used to you today are 'out of context' or simply do not apply.

    Adjuring one another to the admonition of Ephesians 4: 11-13, I do write to 'leaders'.

    Without John 17, without Romans 6 in their lives, they have another Jesus who allows such meetings with protocols that are not according to the Word of God.
    He sends apostles and angels among you and you did not take notice.

    Jesus came to His own, and His own knew Him not.

    Please welcome me when I am there, and pray about why I have written.

    Let there not be named once among you any fornicators, (Paul's admonition) or any follower of any practice of witches, (observing hallowe'en, zodiacs, necromancy, etc.)

    I am luvin Jesus 2: Trish O'Connor

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