Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good Byes

I just returned from a spirit filled weekend. It began with an overnight women's retreat. Then off to the cities with some friends to see Chris Tomlin in concert. But not before attending a church service at Church of the Open Doors where Joel Hanson leads the worship music. Wow! My cup is overflowing!!

Between my retreat and trip out of town, I only got 10 minutes to say "good bye" to my girls before Steve shuffled them off to grandmas for the night.

We don't leave our girls overnight often but when we do, my girls grieve over us leaving. All three of them clung to me. They cried real tears of grief, not wanting to say 'good-bye'. My heart also pulled as I promise them that I will pray for each one of them and their time with their grandparents. We also promised them that we would return.

This experience was a good way to explain to my oldest daughter Lauren that we will soon be grieving for the loss of her brother's first family. The feeling she felt when we left for one night will be similar to what her brother will experience when he is relinquished by his first family. Only his family will not be coming back to get him.

I explained to Lauren that his loss will touch our family deeply and that we will most likely grieve right along with him. I knew I could talk about this with Lauren because she is old enough to understand and strong enough to handle the pain of this reality.

Olivia and Avery are aware of the potential circumstances around their brother, which will lead him to join our family. We have talked about the pain of this loss as a whole family. So, I know they can feel the pain of this loss. I just don't know how deep this touches their hearts. They are young and a little more fragile. Not that I want to make light of the circumstances, but for now, I would like to protect their hearts and comfort them when this reality does go deeper for them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Red Letters

My heart is heavy today after reading this book by Tom Davis over the weekend. The subtitle is "Living a Faith that Bleeds". He writes about the orphans, the sick, the poor and the suffering all over the world.

The statistics are shocking. Just to name a few:

26 million children will die each year to CURABLE diseases!

2.9 million people died of AIDS in 2006 alone! Death from AIDS is preventable!

4500 children will die EACH DAY due to illnesses from unclean drinking water!

Davis challenges us to do more to help the suffering. If we all did our part, there would not be human trafficking. If we all did our part there wouldn't need to be such a thing as orphanages. if we all did our part, each person should have access to clean drinking water.

Despite the staggering statistics, there are good efforts put forward all over the world to help those less fortunate. One area of need that has been on my heart lately, is the need for more clean drinking water.

There are amazing efforts being put forth to bring water to the thirsty all over our world. Charity Water, for one is an organization set up to dig wells where there is not any clean running water in villages all over the world. Yesterday was World Water Day and in honor of this day, let me share how my 8 year old niece has made a difference:

My 8 year old niece, E felt a tug at her heart when she read about the 1.1 billion people in the world without clean drinking water. She didn't let her age hold her back from making a difference. She acted and invited her girl scouts group over for a fun spa party. Each girl could give a free will donation that would go directly towards Charity Water. What meant more than the money she raised for her party was the awareness to several families about an organization and a need that is unknown to many. E may not ever know the larger impact she has made with this simple gesture.

I'm grieving for those who are hurting in our world. Last night I even cried myself to sleep thinking about all the needless suffering. I feel ashamed to have so much with almost half the population of the world not having access to clean drinking water, something we take for granted each day.

Tom Davis sets up a challenge at the end of his book for us to help end suffering in our world. If your heart is calling you to help, please pray and then read his book.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Still Waiting

I have a confession to make. Our extended wait time for referral has discouraged me greatly over the past few weeks.

My discouragement has led to much doubt. I've started to question the journey we have chosen to follow.

We have watched families with our agency who were waiting just weeks before us and in some cases waiting after us receive their referrals for toddler boys. Some of these families have become friends of mine through blogging and the forum. They have sent us words of encouragement and have written about us on their blogs, expressing disbelief that our family is still waiting. These families have had their sons home with them for several months.

It doesn't add up. It doesn't make sense. When I communicate with our specialist, she offers very little encouragement, like, "hang in there" or there are "several families still in front of you". How could there be several families still in front of us??!!

It seems like God has been quiet in this adoption process the past few weeks. I have been overwhelmed with doubt. I don't feel very proud of these feelings because God has confirmed many steps of this journey along the way. But now I'm questioning, "Why is it taking so long God?"

It's a long story as to how I happened upon Isaiah 55 one day, but I will tell you that I know without a doubt that God directed me to this particular chapter several months ago for a reason. When I first read this chapter, I understood it to tell me that I need to do something more to help the thirsty, (hence the title of the chapter - "Invitation to the Thirsty").

However, I have always felt like it was telling me something even more than this. Over the past several months, I have read this chapter over and over, looking for answers to why we haven't received our referral. At one time I wondered if this scripture would shed more light on the timing of our referral. Recently, I sat up late in bed one night, trying to read into the verses, hoping for something more to be revealed to me.

Then I picked up the book, Red Letters by Tom Davis. This has been an eye opening book written about the AIDS and orphan crisis's in the world, particularly in Africa. In his first chapter he talks about how "our God is indeed a God of mystery." Then he quotes Isaiah 55: 8 - 9:

"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."
God's Decree.

"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think."

After reading these verses for about the 50th time, it finally spoke to me. I don't know why I finally got it, maybe because this is a different Bible version than mine, but all of a sudden, I knew what God was trying to tell me.

God was not revealing any kind of timing for our referral. He was telling me that this journey will be perfectly carried out His way. He does not orchestrate journeys in a predictable way. His way will always be a mystery because he doesn't think the way we do.

Here I am thinking, if someone waiting just 10 days before me for a referral can have their child home already, we should have our child home already also. But God does not work this way.

To add to this, I was reminded by Beth Moore during my Bible Study this morning that God is in everything, even during mundane times. I've been guilty of thinking that maybe God is not in this adoption anymore because of inactivity, when in fact He may be directing a lot of details "behind the scenes", details that may remain a mystery to me, for the way God "works, isn't the way I work". There is activity going on - we just don't always see it.

God's timing does make sense to Him because He sees the whole picture. I only know what I see, not what I don't see. You would think that this far in the journey I would know better than not to trust God. Isaiah 55 to me is about trusting God and not about trying to figure everything out.

On a side note, we have chosen a name for our son, which is another amazing story that I will post about once we are ready to make it public.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Birthday Celebration!!

Our little artist Olivia designed this poster (above)
and this card (below)

They LOVE their Daddy!

We had a fun day celebrating Steve's 42nd Birthday. I started the day rising at 5:30 to make homemade caramel rolls. I worked hard on these rolls but became impatient when they didn't seem to be rising. Well, we didn't have more time to watch them rise, so I baked them anyway. Three hours after I began laboring over these rolls, we sat down to have our breakfast. I don't know where I went wrong, other than maybe not allowing them to raise long enough but the rolls were um not good. Next time, I think the bakery kind will taste just fine.
Then I threw together an egg bake, made a fruit salad and went to church with the family. After church we had Steve's family over for brunch, which turned out much better than the caramel rolls.
We enjoyed spring temperature weather today. After our company left, we headed out to the local ski hill and the girls skied while Steve and I had fun hanging out in the chalet with friends. It was a beautiful evening to ski.
The girls slept good last night and had a hard time getting up for school. I felt sorry for them. I would not want to go to school today either.

Hope you had a fun day Honey! Your family loves you so much!! Thanks for being such a good husband and daddy and taking care of us!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Stupid Wish"

Today Avery came home from Grandma's house with half a wishbone. She was so excited because she won the pull with Grandma. I asked her if she made a wish and she said, "Yes I did but I'm going to tell you my wish because I don't want it to come true anymore.

Me: "Oh, you don't have to tell me your wish."
Avery: "Yes, I'm going to because it is stupid anyway."
Me: "What do you mean? It can't be that bad."
Avery: "Yes it is bad. It's really stupid!"
Me: "Do you want it to come true?"
Avery: "NO! I don't want it to come true anymore! I'm too scared!"
Me: "What could you have possibly wished for that you no longer want to come true?"
Avery: "I wished that I could go into outer space. There! I'm glad I told you because now my wish will not come true. I'm too scared to go into outer space."

Then she picked up the wishbone and threw it in the garbage.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Paper pregnancy

Like I mentioned in a previous post, we are doing relatively well with the extended wait. However, I have been thinking a lot lately about my three pregnancies and deliveries.

I'm beginning to see some parallels to our adoption journey. I was terribly uncomfortable for all three of my pregnancies. I remember thinking with each of them that I could not be pregnant one more day and when I was in labor, there came a point when I felt like I just could not go on for even one more contraction.

Our wait for a referral is similar in that we have waited over 9 months already. When we started the process, we were told the wait would be 6 -9 months and maybe less because we are adopting an older child.

I went two weeks past my due date with each girl, so in a way, this feels like we are way past our due date. This time around, I'm starting to have some of the same feelings of not wanting to go one more day without knowing my child. There have been many days when I have felt discouraged and have wondered if it will ever happen.

But what keeps me going is remembering the joy and relief that comes after each delivery. These feelings are almost indescribable. The pains and struggles are well worth it in the end.