Saturday, January 30, 2010

Exactly one year ago tonight, our lives changed forever. It was a normal day, getting home from school, making dinner, putting Aiden and Alyson to bed, looking over what we still needed to get finished for our adoption homestudy. There was no anticipation, no expectation that this was THE night. I sat down in front of the computer to look something up in our agency's handbook, and thought, "I'll just take a quick look at the Waiting Child page." I typed in the password, scanned for any new postings, and gasped. Seriously, my breath was taken away. I was staring into the deep, soulful, glorious dark brown eyes of my new daughter. I knew it, I truly did. I stared, and I stared, and I stared. I cried. I tried to talk myself out of it. I cried some more. I tried to get up the nerve to go tell Matt about her. All the while, he thinks I'm just goofing around on the computer. :)

Around Christmas of '08, I'd had a dream. It was time for us to go pick up our little baby boy from Ethiopia. Matt couldn't go-he was staying home with Aiden and Alyson. I headed over to Ethiopia with my Dad and step-mom. We got to the orphanage. We were ushered into a room. I sat down on a chair and waited for my baby boy. Finally, the door opened and in walked the nanny. She carried this two year old little girl in, and placed her on my lap. This two year old little girl in a frilly light blue dress, with deep, soulful, glorious dark brown eyes. I tried to tell them this was not the baby of ours. But, they assured me over and over that it indeed was. And, when I saw that picture just a few short weeks later, I knew they were right. Now, I'm not going to say it was really HER in my dream, necessarily. But, I will forever attest that they were HER eyes. I knew those eyes before I saw that picture on my computer screen!

Finally, I got up the nerve to walk into the living room. I don't really remember what exactly I said to Matt-something like, "So, uh, I was just kind of looking around and just happened upon this picture of this little girl, and, I wonder if maybe we should just maybe, uh... ask our agency for some more information?????"

Needless to say, he said, "OK." There were probably other words involved, but that was all I really needed to hear. The next thing I remember is running through the hallway at the end of the school day the next week to see more pictures on our email, when I found out they'd sent her information. Thus began the year that taught me more than I've ever learned in any year of my life. Things like God's provision, patience, the resilience of children, peace, the beauty that is Ethiopia, that we're not the only ones out there crazy enough to go on this adventure, doubt (and its resolution), more scripture memorized than in several years before. One, in particular, that strikes me right now after spending a few fun and amazing hours alone with this sweet baby girl from the other side of the world: God sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). As I hear that verse in my heart, and remember her belly laughs and ear to ear grins this evening, I know that God definitely does that, indeed. But, before one year ago tonight, I had no idea how lonely WE were without her, and I'm so thankful God saw fit to set her into OUR family.

Monday, March 23, 2009

This is our day!!!!!

Wow! It's our day, all of a sudden! We have a new daughter-oh my goodness! They called tonight to tell us that we are her family! Matt had to tell me what they actually said-after "congratulations," I didn't hear anything else. It's the day I've personally been waiting for for 23 years! We'll definitely post more later. I am going to attempt to sleep!
We can't post names and pictures yet, but she is a beautiful 17 month old little girl (which by the way is her nickname!). We're in love (have been for weeks, now!). Can't wait until we can post more.
Still several months until we can hold her, so pray that she's safe and protected-we know He has been holding her in His hands until now-we know He will keep her there!

Friday, March 20, 2009

More waiting.

Well, we still don't know. Not knowing is not one of my strong spiritual gifts! The committee couldn't decide today-they need more information (no, I don't know what!). They will meet again on Monday, and make a decision then. It could be a positive-after the first committee meeting, we're still in the running! It could be negative-after the committee meeting, we didn't stand out as the obvious choice of a family!
And, I was so peaceful ALL DAY LONG! I was so patient ALL DAY LONG! But, my patience was supposed to be done at about 5:00 p.m! And, now it somehow has to last for 3 whole more days-I'm not sure if I have it.
I've been thinking since we found this out-what in the world could we possibly learn from this whole experience???? I sure hope we find out!
One thing that's crossed my mind so far is this: we have been kind of using a verse from Habakkuk (Thanks, Cindy!) as the theme, I guess you could say, for our adoption journey. Habakkuk 2:3 says: "But, these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems, SLOW, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." So, I'm wondering-is God asking us if we really believe this? Is it something we're just using to make us FEEL better as we wait... OR do we REALLY believe it? Are we willing to put our whole life on those words of HIS?
I hope we do!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Unexplainable emotions

I haven't posted for so long. Honestly, maybe I never thought this whole adoption thing would really happen! We are now 99.9% finished with our homestudy! Only 1 more document to send to our social worker, and we've been waiting FOREVER for our state background checks! Then, we are finished! Yay!

So, for our latest news. We expected that we would have a long wait in front of us. We expected that we'd be bringing a baby home at the end of next school year (if we were lucky!). But, on January 30th, we saw HER! On February 2nd, we emailed our agency to ask for more information about HER! The next day, we were told that another family was also interested in more information, and that we needed to decide within 2 weeks if we wanted to officially pursue her adoption. Well, after really searching, researching, thinking, praying, worrying, and searching some more, we said we wanted to move forward. (By the way, so did the other family-more on that in a second!)

So, here's where we are: We will be talking with the waiting child committee from our agency on Monday afternoon. We're told they just want to make sure we are understanding any needs she may have and that we have access to the resources she needs.

Then, THURSDAY (March 19) is the day. This is how our agency arranges waiting child referrals: If there is more than one family interested in adopting a waiting child, they meet in a committee. They gather info. of each family, questionnaires from each family, phone interview info. from each family, and all the info. they have about the baby. Then, they meet in committee and decide which family they believe would be the best match for the baby. That will occur on Thursday. So far, it's been a month and a half long process, but it all comes down to Thursday. Once we got the date of the committee, I became a nervous wreck! (I truly was fine before that! Really!) It's very nerve-wracking to imagine a committee sitting around and deciding something so big regarding your future! We fully trust our agency-we truly believe they have the best interest at heart of every child in their care. We know that they are an agency that look to God for guidance in these kinds of decisions. We know they know more of the big picture than we do (and God knows even more of the picture-so we're glad they let God in on the decision!). We are trusting that if God knows something we don't about something that would make us not the optimal choice for this little girl, he'll guide the committee's decisions. This little one belongs to Him, first and foremost, and we want what He wants for her.

That being said, we really don't know how we will feel if the answer is "no." How could we, after all-this is such a weird, weird situation to be in! We have tried to guard our hearts a little-it's such a strange balance. As the past few weeks have gone by, we've changed our outlook on this whole situation so often, and so drastically. How can you not fall in love with such a beautiful face, how can you not want to hold and protect and nurture such a sweet little life that needs a family to blossom into who she should be. At the beginning, it was a matter of how beautiful and sweet and fragile she was. Lately, it has turned into so much more. We look at her now and think, "Little girl, we would do ANYTHING for you!" We don't know if God is preparing our hearts for a "yes" answer through that, or if there is something else He wants us to discover through this process. We know it will be a difficult and painful process if we find out we are not bringing her home. We HAVE fallen in love with her, whether we should have or not! We decided we'd just keep going until God said "Stop," and finally on Thursday we will know if we will be hitting the open road or coming to that big red sign! We want what God wants for her, and we'll at least be able to be at peace knowing she's where she should be, whatever Thursday's decision.

Please pray this week for us, for the other family involved in this process, and for the committee making the decision. Please pray for wisdom, peace, and comfort for all of us involved. Please pray that she will get the family who will best meet all of her needs-maybe even the family who can get to her more quickly (even if it's not us!). She needs some quick intervention for her malnutrition and motor delays-we want that for her first and foremost. Pray she stays healthy throughout this whole process until she can make it home. Especially, please pray for peace for me on Thursday-I honestly don't know how I will function all day until we hear something from them!

Of course, we'll post either way on Thursday night!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

God is at home. We are in the far country. -Meister Eckhart

Well, when we began this journey, I knew that we would see many things in a new way. We've heard how people learned so much about themselves through the process. We've talked to many and read about many who have a deeper understanding of God, and of how this process so closely reflects our relationships to God himself. Of course, I long to see God in new ways-to understand more of Him each day, each week, and each year that I've known Him. I expected God to reveal new things about Himself to me during this long year and a half. Mostly I expected Him to teach me patience. I am not very patient-instead of being patient I decide to worry. I expected to learn some things about faith, as I know this adoption will not be possible-funding wise-without it coming from Him in some way. I have already seen some of that happen, and my faith has indeed grown already in that area. So, that's where I expected some work to happen in my life.
But, I knew He would teach me something. We are following His command in James 1:27 to care for the orphans in this world. We are mirroring what God did for us in Ephesians 1:5-6, having adopted us as his own child when He very well could have just left us as we are. And, He says He will care for and bless those who's hope and desire is in and for Him. But, I wasn't prepared for the blessing he poured out last night!
Last night, as I was doing dishes I was yearning in a new and different way to see our child. Maybe it was the promise of the New Year coming, knowing that most likely we WILL see his or her face this year! I felt like my heart was literally breaking because I could not yet see this face and hold this child. I was literally aching for this child who I have yet to know. I was thinking about how much I am aching, standing here in my home, while this baby-already created or not-is just so oblivious to my yearning for them. And then, those words ran through my head: "God is at home. We are in the far country."
Earlier that day, I was going through some CD's and I had seen Andrew Peterson's CD The Far Country. I haven't listened to that CD for ages. But, I put it away to move on to other organizing tasks. As I stood there in the kitchen, thinking of that quote I knew God placed it in my head to teach me an amazing truth. That quote is on the inside of the CD-I hadn't opened the case-it's been several years since I read that quote. But, as it popped into my head I was floored.
Have you ever thought about God sitting on His throne, literally yearning for you? Have you ever thought about God pining for you, wishing he could just see you face to face and counting down the days until he can finally touch you and hold you in His arms. Honestly, I haven't. After all of these years of being His and thinking about what it will be like for ME to see Him when I'm in heaven, it never occurred to me that He is exponentially more excited about that moment than I am! My experience waiting and hoping and yearning for this baby of mine in a far-off land is just a small reflection and a tiny peek into my Father's amazing and awesome love for me as He waits for me to finally join Him in my true home. Wow! If there is nothing more that I learn from this journey I am on to our baby-that will be enough. I truly believe that glimpse into who God is as a parent has changed who I am-as a parent, for sure. But, more importantly as who I am in Him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hmmm, perhaps I should re-introduce myself!

Wow-I can't believe that 2 months have gone by since I last posted! It's not that nothing has happened-so, so much has happened in this process!
To get right down to it, the past 2 months have been a huge struggle with the adoption. Fear, disbelief, awe, excitement, sorrow, learning, peace, and joy (along with much more!) have all been a part of my experience thus far on this journey to our sweet baby. The only way to sum is up is one at a time, so here goes:
Fear: We've talked about this for so long. I've dreamed about this for years. I believe with all my heart that my life has led up to this journey. But, the past couple of months, the doubts have at times entered my head: What if it doesn't work out? What if "they" say "No, you cannot adopt right now?" What if I can't handle this whole process? Where in the world is this money going to come from? What is it going to be like as an interracial family? Am I really going to fly to ETHIOPIA? How long will we wait? Will I love this baby like A and A? Is this whole process fair to A and A? As you can see, the past couple of months have been a little emotional. I've often felt all of the emotion of my pregnancies, to be honest! One second, so excited-the next bawling my eyes out over a myriad of things (or sometimes nothing really at all!). The past couple of months have been a roller coaster of emotions for me personally. The reality of it all is sinking in.
Along with that, disbelief-it is so difficult to really believe it's real when there isn't tangible evidence. That is why the homestudy was so exciting! It went great, and we got our hands on so much paperwork! It made it more real. I got my vaccinations. I know this sounds a little weird, but it made it more real to get those and feel it. We've been starting to tell friends/family/church about the adoption, and sometimes I wonder if some of them are thinking "Uhh, yeah, sure-where's the baby?" It's such a long process that from the outside I'm sure it seems like nothing is happening, and they're not really sure it ever will. I've heard if you can correlate the steps of an adoption to the stages of pregnancy, it's easier for friends and family to get it and get on board with you. I'm still working through how that would all correlate!
I'll stop there for now and visit the other experiences in the next few days. I know the above does not sound so wonderful and promising to read-but rest assured, it is not just that-in fact we're on a roll right now, and things are starting to become more real and more comfortable along the journey. But, more on that in the next couple of days!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The day we've been waiting for...

Nothing spectacular is going to happen tomorrow, really. We have our first informational meeting with our homestudy agency tomorrow, so we will get to soak in lots of new information, ask lots of questions, and have (hopefully) a clearer picture of where this road will take us. I hear we will also get to see a wonderful video of the adoption center/orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where our agency works to place children.

We've had to explain to our other two kids a few times that we are NOT dropping them off at their Aunt and Uncle's house to travel to ADOPT, just to go to a meeting. They kept asking how many days we were going to be gone when I finally figured out they thought we were actually going to Ethiopia (they know it won't be until they are in 2/3rd or 3rd/4th grade before we have a new baby-they just thought we were going over there to check it out, I think!) :)

Our agency also sent us lots of information on Ethiopia that we got in the mail today. The people, the history, the land, the food, the language, etc. Don't be surprised if you come to visit, and we have Doro Wat or Dabo Kolo with a little Tej to wash it down!