The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

He Created Color

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I’ll admit it: for much of my life the issue of race / civil rights was just a textbook page to me.

I wouldn’t have gotten into a heated debate about black skin vs. white skin, except to insist that people of all skin colors were made valuable by their Creator, as they were ALL made in His image.

But now I have a black son.

I can see my son’s face in place of those who have been murdered just for the color (the beautiful, dark, rich color) of their skin.

It’s not an academic issue anymore.

It’s a heart issue, and it’s tearing our country (and my mama heart) apart.

I can’t tell you how often strangers comment about how adorable Malachi is. It’s true – not only does he have big eyes, curly hair, and a killer dimple, but he has a sweet and hilarious personality, too. He’s so stinking cute. And for the most part, white people tend to love black babies.

So why is it that when Malachi gets bigger, manlier, more muscular…when he loses his little pot belly and gains a mustache…that he’ll suddenly become a “threat” to those who once called him “adorable?”

Why are black men scary to white people?

And what in the world can I do to prepare my son for the day that people treat him not as the star of the show like they do now, but as less human because of his skin color?

How can I explain that to a little boy who only knows that he’s dearly loved?

When he’s 8, or 10, or 12, I’ll have to tell him that some people hate him. Because he’s black.

I have never had to sit my biological (white) children down and give them a talk like that. Because in our everday existence, no one feels that way about them.

I’m so thankful that Jesus, in His amazing creativity, created skin colors of all shades. The variety is beautiful. His Creation is amazing. And I long for the day that everyone bows the knee to Him and acknowledges the beauty and wonder of it all.

He’s our hope.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

A Letter on Adoption Day

Our adoption of our sweet little Malachi was finalized on June 15, and this is the letter I read in court. I wanted to share it with you, because this is the story God has given me.

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My story began in 2001, when I spent 10 days in Romania with a group from Cornerstone University loving on a bunch of abandoned babies in a hospital there. My eyes were opened not only to the big world outside of Michigan, but also to the brokenness in this world. I wanted to bring all those orphans home with me. At age 18, with 3-1/2 years of college ahead of me, it just wasn’t practical. But it planted a seed way down in my heart, a little thought that said, “One day, maybe I’ll adopt.”

Life went on. Luke and I got married. We had babies. We loved our church and our life together. It was good.

But during my first year of BSF, studying the life of Moses, I felt a tugging in my spirit. I didn’t know what was in store for us. I didn’t know what this uncomfortable prodding of the Spirit meant. But I told God that I was willing to do what He asked of me. And then began a period of waiting to see what He would do.

And we all know what He was preparing us for. He started tilling the soil of my heart in 2001 and again in September 2014 in preparation for the birth of a tiny little boy on November 7, 2014.

Malachi Charles, I wanted to adopt a baby from Romania in 2001…but I didn’t know at that time that God had my sweet son in mind to be born much later. You were worth the 15 years’ wait!

Today as you become officially ours, I have to give all praise and glory to God, who created you and blessed our family with you. His plans are so much richer and more beautiful than ours, if only we’ll step out in faith.

I can’t imagine our family without you – your sweet smile and infectious laugh. It is my heartfelt desire that someday soon you will learn about the awesome God who created you, and about His Son, Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for our sins. I pray that you will grow to be a man who loves Jesus and serves Him with his whole heart. Your name – Malachi – means “messenger of God,” and it’s my prayer that you will have a beautiful testimony of His grace in your life to share with others.

On this special day, I have some people to acknowledge. First, my family. Luke, it has been so amazing to see the way God took your steps of obedience and turned them into a true, deep love of a father for his son. It’s such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us…and I get to see it played out before my eyes every day.

Grace, Caleb, Ava, and Jaden…I love you. You are awesome kids. It has been so fun to watch you with Kai – the way you loved on him from the very beginning and always treated him like your baby brother. You are such great helpers with him, and I know you’ll continue to help teach him how to be a godly boy. I hope you 5 will someday realize how blessed you are to have each other.

To our extended family – thank you. Thanks for praying for Kai and the rest of us throughout this long process. You’ve prayed for this for over a year, and I want you to know that we don’t take that for granted. And thank you for treating him as part of the family from the very beginning. We’ve been blessed with some pretty stellar family members.

Dana…you were the one to bring Kai home from the hospital and love on him through seemingly endless hours of crying. You sacrificed your Christmas with the girls to snuggle him in the hospital for 2 weeks when he was very, very sick. You endured my not-so-subtle attempts at seeing his sweet self after I’d fallen in love with him, but before I had the courage to say it. You loved him with a mama’s love for 7 months before he came home to us, and for that I will always be grateful. Thank you for being a living example of Christ’s love for the orphans for the last 9 years, so that when it was our turn to step up to the task of orphan care, it was much less scary.

To our other friends who have gone before us into foster care and adoption – thank you. The Simonises, Sturmans, Perrons, and Perrys…your steps of faith and godly examples gave us courage to obey God’s leading. When you chose to love the orphans, you didn’t just change the lives of your children. You’ve impacted the lives of those around you, including us. Thank you!

And last, thank you, God, for adopting us into Your family when we were unlovable. While we were still Your enemies, Christ gave His life for us so we could become your sons and daughters. What’s happening here today is just a picture of the beautiful thing you’ve already done for us. May we bring you glory as we strive to live for you.

To My Son’s Biological Mom on Mother’s Day

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“Children born to another woman call me ‘Mom.’ The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” -Jody R. Landers

I think of you often.

Our lives are so very different.
I grew up in a loving, stable, Christian home. You didn’t.
I have an amazing husband “to have and to hold.” You face yours days without that blessing.
I live in a part of our town that’s considered wealthy. You don’t.

Sometimes I think I should be angry for the way you conducted your life that led this sweet baby boy into foster care. Shouldn’t I be righteously indignant? Don’t you realize that your misconduct left lasting consequences for him? And yet, the prevailing emotion when I think of you is sadness. Sadness for you.

Your baby boy is simply amazing.

He looks like you, you know. The way his face is shaped. His eyes and eyebrows. His lips. He looks like his birth mama. I will tell him that he looks like you, with a little bit of his biological daddy mixed in.

He’s SO smart. Just a couple of days ago, he started to learn sign language for the chorus of “Jesus Loves Me,” complete with blowing a big kiss at the very end. He keeps us laughing, that’s for sure.

He can also be quite sassy and opinionated, and I wonder if that’s a trait you share?

I’m sad that you’re missing it. You miss out on all of his milestones, his moments of discovery and learning, his developing humor and wit. If your life had been different…you would have loved these moments. You would have savored your time with him. You would have delighted in him.

I’m sorry you can’t now.

But I promise to do my very best to raise your boy to be the very thing that God created him to be. I can already imagine the way he will change the world for God’s glory, and I can’t wait to see it play out.

It’s my heartfelt prayer that you will both come to realize your need for Christ, so that even though you can’t spend these special moments with your boy in this lifetime, you would be able to spend an eternity next to him, praising God.

And may that gracious, loving God hold you close this Mother’s Day.

Twelve.

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I still remember the first time I saw you. You didn’t know I was out in the audience at your improv comedy show. But I was there, a brand new freshman at college, still 17 years old. I thought you were really cute. And you made me laugh. I loved that.

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As we got to know each other that year, I told my mom and dad little snippets about you. I called you “Cute Luke” when I was talking to my parents.

“Yeah, I’m going to marry Cute Luke someday,” I said once, jokingly.

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If I didn’t believe in the sovereignty of our great God, I would say that I got really lucky when you asked me to date you…and later, to marry you.

I know there are other girls out there that thought they were marrying quality Christian guys, only to later discover they married creeps. But not me. I thought I was marrying a pretty great Christian guy, only to later discover I married a really, really, really amazing and wonderful Christian man.

We weren’t much older than kids when we started dating. But despite our young ages, you had character – a strong work ethic, a desire to serve in the church, goals for your life…And you loved Jesus, with your whole heart.

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As we’ve grown older and more mature, you’ve been sanctified and refined. You’ve allowed difficult circumstances in life to draw you closer to Jesus and make you more like Him.

You still make me laugh with your silliness and antics and ridiculousness…and yet at the end of the day, you treat me like something precious.

I don’t deserve you.

But I promise to love you. Every day. No matter what. Just like I promised 12 years ago.

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Happy anniversary, Love.

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(These beautiful images were taken by our dear friends at DaveTree Photography.)

Rumley Renovation: The Process, Part 2

We simply could not have done this project without the help of some really talented, generous friends. I can’t express my thankfulness for them!

Like my brother-in-law Karl, who helped us build (i.e. built himself, while we did really important things like sanding rough edges and vacuuming up the sawdust) two beautiful, custom vanities for our bathrooms.

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They even fit into the back of our van…Of course, we had to pawn off some kids into Alonna’s car for the trip home…but it worked! 🙂

And our friend Rusty. He helped us cut can lights into the main floor and relocate some electrical boxes. He probably did other things, too, that I don’t even remember. 🙂 He’s super handy to have around. And I can’t tell you how much I love that we now have lights in our main floor living room. (I will never understand why people build houses without ceiling lights!)

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I could give you the long list of people who we’re indebted to for their help, but I won’t. Suffice it to know that we have a really amazing group of people in our lives.

I’m going to take credit for all of the wallpaper removal. My friend Dana gave me the hint to use Windex to soften the glue, and then I scraped it off with a little putty knife. Upside: it developed my arm muscles.

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When the demolition was done, our friend Jason retrimmed the entire house. All of it. Every single piece of trim was touched by his hands (and his saw). Every door was hung by him. He did a great job.

Then our friend Terry used his mad paint-spraying skills to spray all that trim, as well as the closets, doors, and ceilings. He saved us countless hours of hand-painting those things.

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(See how sneaky I had to be to get pictures of our friends?) 🙂

Next, I painted all of the walls. My sister-in-law Emily and friend Sommer painted the upstairs bathroom. Otherwise, my arms were busy gaining more muscles.

Here’s Emily: 🙂
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“Slow and steady wins the race.” That’s my motto for painting. It takes forever, but the results are worth it!

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Our friend Dave was our go-to for the plumbing challenges we had…like setting new toilets, new sinks, etc.

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And though we are not handy people, Luke installed nearly all of the vinyl flooring himself! (Our friend Craig helped, and I helped as well.)

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There was more…Oh, so much more that happened in the renovation process. If you ever want to hear it, just come over for coffee. 🙂

In the next post, the pictures will speak for themselves. I can’t wait to show you the end results!

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