Sarah Kathryn

After we’d waited a year to bring our son home you’d think I’d be prepared for when we finally got travel approval, however that was not the case. The day after we received approval I was flying to Houston for three days for a heart cath. Cole and I were busy searching for flights, changing appointments, rearranging his work schedule, making childcare plans, not to mention school beginning the following week. It was a CRAZY week filling out 2 million back to school papers for 9 kids, packing, worrying about my mom coming to stay with our 3 littles and two foster daughters, arranging some help for her and having a few surprises thrown in like car trouble and Traye having to have his two front teeth removed due to an accident and all of that left me staying up way too late packing last night but I got about 2 hours of sleep before the alarm went off. Who cares… I’m gong to get my son!

We left home about 4:45 headed to Birmingham. We had an 8am fight to Detroit then on to Beijing. About half way to Birmingham my mom called to say that Delta had called and delayed our flight 2 hours to Detroit which would cause us to miss the flight to Beijing. We immediately got on the phone, actually 3 phones calling Delta. We arrived at the airport and still had not had an agency representative answer. We stayed on the phone and waited in line at the gate. We finally made it to the front of the line ( over 90 minutes on hold and still no agent)> He tells us the system has automatically rebooked us for a similar schedule the following day. Well, if you’ve ever been in the path of a mama trying to get to her child then you can only imagine my feelings. He said that was really the only option so we decided to wait for a ‘Red Coat” to see if he might could help further because mama bear was about to go cray cray on this man telling me to come back tomorrow when I was sure tomorrow would have brought the same delays. I was adamant that we were getting somewhere today that would allow us to be where a flight to Beijing departed.

After waiting over an hour the Red Coat finally showed up. Cole was telling me to be salt and light and how kindness gets you further. I thought he had that covered pretty well so I went forward with the mama passionate about getting to my kids and positive that there was a way to get us somewhere today. When he walked off to see what options he could find I assured my kids we had shown him the best of both world: kind, patient and cooperative as well as making the urgency clear in getting to my son! In the end it seemed to be my mama’s passion that motivated him the most :-) and he came back with a plan for us to leave for Atlanta, catch a flight to Tokyo ( at least it’s Asian), then Beijing then on to Zhengzhou, Henan. We were originally scheduled to get into Zhengzhou after Midnight and then get Jim that morning at 9:30. Due to the delays and flight changes we knew we’d miss the last flight out go Beijing for Zhengzhou that we had been scheduled for but off we went, and figured we’d figure out a plan when we get there.

Our flights were pretty uneventful. We originally and all the kids lined up in a row all with wind seats so they could have a place to rest their head on the 15 hour flight but that was no more, but WHO CARES…. we were on a plane getting closer to my son!

The Graduate

by Joy Portis on August 16, 2012

Where oh where have the years gone?  It seems like only yesterday I was walking you into Kindergarten.  You have grown into a beautiful young woman both inside and out and we are so very proud of you and love you dearly!  You will be greatly missed around the house on a daily basis but we are excited for the journey that is ahead and all that the Lord has planned for your life!  Keep your eyes on Christ above all else and everything will fall into place!  We love you!!!  Covenant is blessed to have you!!!

Remember What You Have Been Taught

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psalms 119:105 How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your word.  With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

Proverbs 1:8-9 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Proverbs 9:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Proverbs 23:18-19 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.  Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.

Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Be Happy in the Lord

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalms 126:3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes,  for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought,  for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Walk Forward in the Lord

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 19:21  Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

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.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:9-10 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:9-10 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Some graduation festivities and going away fiesta:

Move in day arrived too quickly!    

by Joy Portis on January 26, 2007

On December 28, 1993 Cole and Tina Portis anxiously awaited the arrival of their baby girl.  The joyous moment arrived and they held their precous blessing in their arms.  That night Cole returned home to get some rest and Tinas mom remained at the hospital with her because she was not feeling well.  In the wee hours of the morning Cole received a phone call that would change their li ves drastically.  Tina had experienced a brain aneurysm.  He rushed to be by her side as she went to be with the Lord.  The Lord blessed Cole with wonderful friends and family who came around him with with prayers and support of every kind.  After some quiet time spent with the Lord he returned home ready to tackle the journey ahead and trusting in the Lords perfect plan.  God provided a wonderful nanny who moved in and loved and card for SK as her own.  Shortly after SK turned 2 I interviewed for a part time job keeping SK  2-3 days a week while I was in college.  During the next 2 years we developed a close bond as she got to know my family and I got to know her extended family.  She spent many nights at my home with me and my parents and went on many dates with me and my boyfriend at the time.  She was even with me the night I got engaged to that previous boyfriend.  Cole worked long hours and was dating a woman out of town so we really never even had a conversation about anything other than information about SK and how much he owed me.  After two years I transferred to Auburn to get my masters degree and a friend of mine took over caring for SK.  Since she was such a big part of my life I would still get her on weekends when I would come home.  During that time I was doing a Bible study called Experiencing God and the Lord really convicted me about changes I needed to make in my life to be obedient to Him.  I discussed the changes I was making with my fiance and he was not on the same page.  The engagement ended.  A few months later I was at the beach with Cole’s mom & SK working on decorating and cleaning a beach house he had purchased.  Cole came down later in the week and one night we just began to talk.  Really have our first conversation outside SK and work.  It was almost like 100 questions, get to know you questions, and that night our eyes opened to each other in a totally new light.  We went on a dinner date the following week and I knew then that he would be my husband.  We dated exactly one year before we got engaged and then married three months later.  Since The Lord allowed me to develope such a close relationship with SK and Tina’s parents prior to one with her dad, our marriage was an easy transition.  After we wed I was blessed to get to leagally adopt Sarah Kathryn as my daughter. We didn’t realize it at the time, but that was just beginning of the of our adoption journey.