Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the Meantime

Well, just five more days, and we will know if Baby Opia is ours. After our first failed court attempt, we are trusting God is going before us and making the way for this next step. I don't have any reservations about this appearance. We know all of the appropriate steps have been taken, relinquishment occurred, and all of our paperwork is prepared! However, our updated prints have yet to arrive at the embassy in ET? Apparently, they are transmitted electronically to them and snail mailed to us. This means they should have them before we receive them. Then our caseworker, who knows to check with them daily for the sake of the neurotic mom on this end, notifies us. We can't get an embassy appt. without the prints. I'm sure they are on their way...somewhere.

In the meantime, I'm busying myself with trip planning and coordinating humanitarian aide for our trip. It's proven much more difficult to get a list of approved item to distribute (at orphanages and care centers apart from our agency) than expected. We had resolved to travel a week + before placement to see the country and serve the people. In my mind, this just fell into place. I could see that someone on the other side of the world would have a spreadsheet of organizations and needs just waiting to match the traveling couples. *Note to self, when you begin your next adoption start orchestrating this portion immediately.* Actually, God must be trying to impress on me the need to rest and wait and relationship and trust, in lieu of striving...again. I know there's nothing I can take to distribute, which would replace the love and interaction of a mother and father for children wishing for their own. BUT, Martha keeps jumping out and taking Mary's spot no matter how hard I try to beat her into her assigned place. Oh, the joys of being a spiritually-schizophrenic woman.

I'm still looking at the accommodation options while in country. With such a big party there aren't near as many (which is nice). We will stay at one of the guest houses, once we take placement of our son. Prior to placement, we are traveling to outlying areas. We will see the city in which he was born and travel from there. We are also hoping to see the natural beauty of the country side, the amazing history, and national park in the southern region. I think we might need a month to accomplish what we'd like. In any case, we will know more of the land of our son's birth, take pics of the place he was born, and the center where he was placed by his wonderful birth-mother.

We'll keep you posted! Pray for court and prints...we are ready!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saturday... A Day for Nothing or Something?

Saturdays are great days to do nothing! Instead of filling your day with nothing, do something that matters. What will you do today? This doesn't take long.

Do Something Now from Children's HopeChest on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today, a beautiful little boy celebrates his 5 month birthday in an orphanage in Addis Ababa. No one sings him happy birthday, recognizes the milestones he has met, takes a picture of him, or marked his growth and weight to remind them of this day. This little boy has a family waiting for him. But an estimate 146,999,999 more do not. In celebration of his life, and the impact he's had on ours, we are promoting 147 million. 147 million is an organization who wants to help as many people as possible to see the 147 million orphans worldwide as their brothers and sisters in Christ. Support the needs of an orphan by purchasing on of these stellar, cute shirts by clicking the link below. Happy birthday, "Baby Opia"! All our love and wishes to you on your birthday!

Just click the link below:


I've hesitated to update...I had a post-court celebration blog ready to post. BUT, we didn't pass court. Deferred to a new court date of March 4th, I've been overwhelmed by the storm of grief and disappointment, which held my celebration at bay. My tears continue litter the throne room of God, who is so gracious and patient with me. Friends and family have been dear to remind me of God's unfailing faithfulness, of His perfect timing, of His greater purpose, and of His ways, which none of us can comprehend. I'm so grateful for HIS TRUTH. My problem isn't knowing the truth. My problem is choosing to live in truth as opposed to allowing myself to let feelings dictate truth. Not having our son home (or one step closer) creates holes that mimic loss. This loss creates such a storm in my soul. This isn't a storm of doubt, rather it's a storm of trouble and distress, and this storm does demand my joy and peace. It's obvious this isn't what God intends for me in the midst of what He's orchestrated. I need to know Him in the fullness of who HE is, not just the God, who orchestrates the good, but also my God, who allows me to join Him in suffering and provides comfort. It drives me to my knees and into a dependency on the only One in control. When I seek God, He is always faithful to calm my soul. David scripted this best when he said, "I cried out to the Lord in (my) trouble, and he brought (me) out of (my) distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. (I) was glad when it grew calm, and He guided (me) to my desired haven." (Psalms 107:28-30) The haven I seek isn't the haven of a successful court date, an embassy appt., or holding my son in my arms (although I am desperate for those). My haven is knowing my Father more intimately and resting on Him and His truths.

The journey of adoption is transforming for all the parties involved. I began the journey fooled into believing my son's life would be impacted in a greater degree than mine. Adoption causes a child come to know their parent. Walking through our adoption, I feel like I am experiencing the miracle of spiritual adoption again, and again, and again. At each juncture of disappointment, trial, joy, or promise, God's revealing himself to me in new, more intimate ways. The God I know hasn't changed. But my walk with Him, the experience of dependency, demands I seek Him, know Him, and trust Him in ways I haven't before. I am coming to know Him, my Abba Father, my Savior Redeemer in new ways.

Knowing Him only in the ease of life doesn't allow full revelation. When we know Him in our suffering, our fear, our defeat, we know more of Him. I do celebrate even today, with a failed court date, because I can share with Him in my suffering. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11 says, "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." I pray the process of pain, loss, fear, and defeat followed by promise is a living example of this. I take joy in the fact that I'm being renewed and refined daily..."For (my) momentary troubles are achieving for (me) an eternal glory that far out weighs them all." (2 Cor. 4:17) God has quieted my storm to a whisper, and in that I celebrate. He loves me enough to continue to reveal Himself to me...celebrate. I celebrate you, who have joined us to pray for God's perfect time, peace, and His will to be seen at each juncture. I celebrate and say, "On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many" (2 Cor. 1:10b&11) Truly, God deserves to be celebrated, not just in our moments of triumph, when He shows Himself faithful in our desires, but in the pain and suffering, and when he binds up our brokenness and comforts our pains.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Update, Update...Read all about it!

We live knowing one day our son will be home! BUT we love the glimpses Gladney gives us into who he is and what's going on in his world! So, enjoy the update Gladney shared with us:

"__________________ was pretty chill today. He quietly observed me as I
held him and talked with him for a while. However, his quiet manner
today didn't prevent the smiles from spreading across his face from
time to time. If you can say anything about this baby, you can say he seems to take
things in stride and to have an easy-going manner. He's a delight to
visit with and the caregivers love to "oo" and "ahh" over him."

Seriously, can you believe they gifted us with the best baby in all of Ethiopia? If Josh and I had dreamt up a baby, he wouldn't have been this perfect. We love you little Guy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The righteous will live by faith

There are those moments I appreciate the Lord's teaching and growth more than others. Today, I struggled to embrace his opportunity to live by His faith. I continue to revert to trying to live by my faith or faith in my own efforts. Note to reader: IT'S NOT WORKING!!!

SO, in December we received notice Josh's fingerprints would expire with the USCIS March 3rd. (For those of you who have not adopted internationally, this document is vital for all international adoptions.) USCIS only allows application of re-printing 60 days prior to expiration. We applied for a re-print January 3rd according to protocol. Yesterday, Josh received his ASC appt. for Feb. 18th. On an average, USCIS spends 6 weeks on processing. This seemed okay, until we spoke with our caseworker. We are scheduled for court in ET on the 16th of Feb. Should we pass on the 16th, Gladney would then immediately schedule our travel date for 2 to 4 weeks out. Gladney, however, cannot schedule our travel until they have the updated prints in hand. Grrrrr! Can't we just get a break.

I set out to fix the problem. We contacted our senator and congressman. We spoke with the head of the Africa program for Gladney. I called and spoke with the USCIS personnel. I asked our other international adoptive friends if they could help. I emailed our adoption groups. NOTHING WAS PRODUCTIVE! I emailed the USCIS office, and the address didn't work. We loaded up and headed 2 1/2 hours to Dallas for a fun filled afternoon in a government waiting room with two children. Yippee!!! Praying friends hit their knees...they asked God to place the perfect person at the entrance desk for USCIS. They asked God allow him to show favor on us and print Josh today.

God is faithful. The gentleman at the USCIS desk was kind and gracious. He didn't bat an eye before sending us BOTH to be printed right then. There was no line, no wait, no problem. Praise be to God! Truth is this doesn't solve the problem.

We are praying Josh's prints clear without any problems and immediately, imparticular, in 2 weeks. We would love to see God work this out according to His glorious ways. He alone is able to orchestrate all of our details and needs. He will be our advocate. He is the One, who is our victorious warrior in our midst (Zephaniah 3:17). So we will trust him..."the righteous will live by HIS faith." Habakkuk 2:4

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Court Date!!!!

After 2 months, almost to the day, of waiting we have received a court date. Our court date is scheduled for February 16th. Since our court date has been received, the court will issue a court summons to our in-country Gladney representatives to submit to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA) to notify MOWA of the court date. Gladney's in-country representatives then submit the court summons and the files to MOWA 10 business days before the court date, in order for MOWA to review the files and to write an opinion regarding the adoption case. Typically, MOWA writes the opinion the day before the court date and submits the opinion to the courts on the day of the court date. It is our hope and prayer that God will show His favor on our court date, that He will orchestrate all of the details, and that He will give us peace in the midst of waiting. We know He has scripted each day of our lives and our son's life. We know His timing is perfect. We do trust His timing, but we have a difficulty making our desires align with His ways! And we count it a privilege to take our requests before His throne. So, please, join us praying!

Monday, February 1, 2010

It IS well!

I teared up in church today. Who am I kidding. I've turned into "that person", who tears up over the simplest happenings. I carry a heaviness in my heart, which is normal for the loneliness of your child...I guess. Frequently, I struggle between hope and despair. But in the midst of my despairing cries, God's words are perfect. Today our less than traditional church sang one of my favorite hymns. It was salve for my soul. I could rejoice. It delivered peace. When God, in his faithfulness, shifts my view from life's sorrows and trials, instead, to a focus on the redemptive work of Christ and anticipation of His glorious second coming, rightly, we rejoice. In the midst of my trials and pain, I will sing that it IS well with my soul.

Enjoy the words of Horatio Spafford, who was well acquainted with suffering, as he wrote in the hymn, It Is Well with My Soul.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, It is well,
With my soul, with my soul,
It is well, It is well with my soul!