Preparing for my Happily-Ever-Aster!
There once was a baby on the other side of the world
with a mommy who had to give up her little girl.
As she knelt on her hard dirt floor each night and day,
she noticed how her tears turned the dust into clay.
Reminded that her child was in the Potter's loving hands,
she prayed and trusted in the kindness of His plans.

There once was a mother on the other side of the world
who prayed and dreamed about her "soon-to-be-little-girl"
Wondering what she looked like; how her story would unfold,
She asked God to surround her with loving arms to hold.

Never imagining God would send someone she already knew,
The second mommy rejoiced - God had given
her child a future and a Hope (TerKeurst), too!
As the baby nestled in a teenage girl's loving embrace, both
mother's prayers were answered by a touch of God's grace.

A few weeks later, God gathered His P31 girls in pink
To celebrate a miracle no eye had seen nor mind could think
The story of a little girl soon to be Aster Swope
whose life would be defined by God's grace, redemption and hope!

Aster: a daisy-like, star-shaped flower with
petals radiating from a center disc.

A friend's prayer: May Aster be one who radiates the
love of Christ, to all around her, because her life
is centered on Him.


Wednesday night before She Speaks, my very precious friends surprised me with the most beautiful baby shower I've ever seen. It was breath-taking! The decorations were flowing, frilly and all things girly! I was shocked and blessed beyond words as I discovered my friends, all dressed in pink, lining the walls of a huge conference room.

Funny how I hadn't noticed Leah, Holly and Lysa were all wearing pink to dinner that night.

That's LeAnn to the right. She's the mastermind behind the most beautiful baby shower I have ever been to!

LeAnn had each person write a prayer for Aster and then string prayer beads that will be her's forever!
This was one of the first gifts I opened. I laughed as I looked at this photo because my face shows that I was in shock. I couldn't process that we are actually going to have a baby who needs a teddy bear and maybe a harness tied to it.

At this point, we have gotten to cute clothes and I am doing much better mentally.

Oh, and cute purses. Now I can handle cute purses!
I love me some pink and chocolate brown onesies that say Little Sister!

The sweetest gift of all is the love and prayers of my friends!And their beautiful smiles, too!!
Tracie and Wendy P.

Sharon, Me, Van and Susanne

Micca and Wendy B.

Even my friend Cris from California got here in time. That's Suzie on the left and Ashley Whalen.

Look at that cute cake! A baby's bottom under a blanket with little feet poking out. Andrew had fun serving cake to all those beautiful women! (Joshua was in Florida and very glad he missed all the girly fun!)

The centerpieces (created by Samantha) had themes.

Bed time.

Bath time.
Meal time.
Holly, me, Van, Andrew and JJ

Glynnis, Charlene, Melanie, Me, Karen, Amy

Marybeth, Luann, Leah and Suzie.

Today is the day Aster's adoption paperwork will be reviewed in court in Ethiopia. Please pray with us that everything goes miraculously smooth and that if there are any obstacle they will be easily overcome before the courts close August 21st. We may not hear anything right away but we promise to keep our blog updated as soon as we do! Thanks ya'll!!


Blogger My Journey to Hope said...

Congratulations! How wonderful to have so many friends celebrate and pray with you about your new blessing. And I love the name Aster. God bless you and your family!

:) Michelle

Praying along with you today for Aster.

The shower looks lovely! The love is felt through looking at the pix! What a blessing!

I love the cake...and the picture of Andrew cute!

Now, that Leann amazes me that she could plan a shower in the midst of She Speaks! Wowzie! What a gal!

Be warmed and encouraged by His blessings of family and friends!

Will look forward to checking back and hearing the news from court.

Psalm 92:12-13
"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God."

Blogger Kimberly said...

I am sitting here like such a goose! Tears pooled up in my eyes! I don't even really "know" you...but I feel like I know your heart...and so it blesses my heart to see how God used your friends to FLOOD you with His love.

And your beautiful poem (which I KNOW you will keep as a treasure for Aster) is such a perfect picture of the love He is pouring out on her by sending her to your family.

And that prayer about her name...sweet, sweet, sweet.

Sigh. Wipe a tear away. :)

Praying today. For you, for Aster, for all things paperwork, and (one had I not thought before you wrote so beautifullly) for the mother who placed sweet Aster fully in the Father's hands.

Love to you, sweet momma-of-a-girlie-to be!
:) K

Blogger Jill said...

Renee, You, Aster, your family and all this involves continues to be in my prayers. Thanks for sharing the pics and story with all of us - what a blessing. And like Lysa closed on Sunday of She Speaks, P31 is obviously a family. I'm touched to know you all more. I pray your heart is at peace today as decisions are made - His ways are perfect and His timing is too. Blessings to you, Jill

Father, as an adopted girl myself placed a long time ago in my forever family, I pray for your covering over all the people that are involved in this process, that you would show favor to Renee and her family. That you would open up doors that humanly seem closed. God nothing is impossible with you. You are an amazing and faithful father. Just cover little Miss Aster right now too father, comfort her heart as she waits.

Oh, I'm soooo praying for you, girl!

Love you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... thank you for sharing this journey with us. Prayers for you, your family and that sweet little Aster. Can't wait for the updates! God Bless you!

Anonymous Lindsay said...

I am praying my heart out for you today!!

Blogger Proverbs 27:19 said...

I love that you all are not just co-workers. Y'all are Sisters in Christ, family and friends.

You are so loved. Congrats Renee!


Blogger lslindsey said...

I am just a blog friend and P31 Fan but feel as though you guys are good friends. Thanks for sharing your life and testimony with us. Isn't it just like our loving and awesome God to have Hope see your precious Aster? What are the odds of that happening? I have been praying for your adoption process from the beginning and I am thrilled with you that you are getting your baby girl!Congrats and God bless your family.

Lynette Lindsey

Blogger Angie said...

Praying for you all today!!!

Don't you just love the girly stuff??

Love, hugs and blessings to you all!


Blogger Danielle said...

Looking at all those cute baby girl things gives me a pang... makes me want another one. But, I think what I'll do instead is go borrow a friends little one, spoil her and then send her

Until God blesses me with my own little Aster, I have no other choice.


Blogger Lindsey said...


What a beautiful poem and story. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us.

Blogger Everyday Becky said...

What a beautiful shower! And your poem brought tears to my eyes. I'm off for my coffee and prayer time. Your family will be in my prayers. : )

Blogger O'Nealya Gronstal said...

Yes, Lord, may Aster's life reflect your love, radiance, hope and grace.

I pray that today, this very minute, whoever is holding her paperwork will be moved by You for they are not just holding mundane paperwork, they are holding our precious little girl we have fallen in love with over the last few weeks.

We pray for peace for Renee, JJ and the boys. We pray Lord that you would be glorified during this adoption. We pray for the courts -that they would feel Your spirit in this one Lord. We pray that You would minister to those involved - all the people that have already come into contact with this precious child. We pray Father that you would protect and shield this process with Your mighty hand.

Fill my sister Renee with your peace. Give her sweet rest and clarity of mind. Calm her heart. We love her Lord and know you are working a mighty work through Renee.

In the Name of the One who made our Adoption Possible - Amen!

Blogger Wendy said...

Oh Renee, what fun! And how sweet in all that pre-Speaks chaos that your and your friends were able to share such a tender memory...wait until Aster is old enough to look at those photos and understand the love that waited in a room half-way around the world! Blessed indeed!

Your poem touched my heart. As a birthmother myself, I rejoice at an adoptive mom's heart. To be made complete in the hopes and sacrifice made by a brokenheart. May God whisper in Aster's birthmother's ear, She is well and loved.

I'm so happy for you and your family! And can't wait to see pictures of you holding that precious baby girl at home. :)

Anonymous Kristen Myers said...

Renee and family, God's glory is sure shining brightly through your story of redemption of a beautiful little girl who God knew before time began.

Thank you for sharing your miracle with us and encouraging us all to believe too!

Praying Aster home!

Blogger Mary said...

God is Good!

I am praying for all of you and for little Aster! My Mom was a missionary in Ethiopia for 3 years and my husband has a cousin who has adopted 2 children from Ethiopia! I will pray that you will have your little girl in your arms very soon!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for sharing your story. Please keep us updated as to how you little girl is adjusting. god bless you

Blogger Karla said...

Absolutely wonderful!! International adoption has always been big on my and my husband's heart. She's precious! Can't wait to continue your journey with you guys as you bring her home! I'll keep you in my prayers that everything continues to go smoothly. Congratulations!! :)

Anonymous Andrea said...

How wonderful, Renee, that on the very day we all prayed, Aster's adoption was made official in the courts! The Lord truly is to be praised for such a wonderful answer to prayer! Congratulations to you and your family! Will keep praying and checking your updates on bringing her home.
Love, Andrea

Blogger Oh Dear said...

WOW!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful shower indeed! Don't even think you won't use that little harness---then you will for sure! Great for the airport!

Blogger Jules said...

This made me cry!! How great is our God!!
Watching and praying daily,

Blogger Laurie said...

Praise the Lord! Your sweet little Aster is absolutely gorgeous!

How Great is Our God!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aster is absolutely beautiful! What a beautiful family you have. You my dear, look absolutely radiant. Congratulations!

Blogger Mari said...

Congrats and Praise the Lord! He is always SO good! I'm so happy for you and your precious Aster. What a blessed baby girl :)

Blogger MarLo Huffington said...

Oh Renee my heart rejoices for you and JJ and the boys. How wonderful to have received incredible news today! May God continue to smooth out the process!

Anonymous Hope TerKeurst said...

:) I am so excited!!! I can't wait to see her again!!

Blogger Wendy Pope said...

I can't keep the tears from my eyes! I am thrilled for you all. Yes, the life of the Swope Family was changed in a day. (read my post for 8/14)
I can't wait to squeeze that precious baby girl.
Praise Your God!!!!
P.S. What a beautifully written post.
I love you friend.
Wendy P>

Anonymous Alicia said...

Tears are rolling....from joy & the confirmation that God put in my heart & His sweet words when I prayed for you "I'll take good care of them - just watch!" and to see how compassionate he was makes me melt!

Congratulations! My joy for u reaches the heavens!

God bless u sister!


OpenID gailbhyatt said...

Thank you so much for posting all the photos, etc. It's the "next best thing to being there."

Aster will not only bring joy to you, but it's obvious that she's going to lighten up LOTS of lives!!

So excited for you.

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