Friday, March 30, 2012

To Love One Another

Regardless of how tired I am when night falls, each time I look at these faces God girds me up with more strength to pray for each of my children by name and with very specific requests in mind.  I’d love for you to share in those with me.

My heart is smitten with these small people:

And with these small people (plus Mez):

I ache for our children to love one another.  Bringing two sets of sibling together, asking children with no history to quickly and fully embrace each other is not likely.  Please, God, allow that they meld together perfectly in a way that only the You can foster.  Lord, please, soften the hearts of each of our children to love and accept love.  Allow them to feel the safety found only when we abide in You.  Build a kinship between these kiddos with You as the foundation, Lord.  We praise and offer "glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."  (Ephesians 3:20)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Are We There Yet?

I wish you could hear Tiger's squeaky voice chiming daily in excitement, "Mom, are we there yet? Are we to our adoption and my family coming home?"  Sadly, friends, no...we aren't. BUT we are closer each day. 

We still await Embassy.  The following is a boring but basic overview of our next step toward the trio:

Gladney, our adoption agency, collects the trio's documents for Embassy, things like letters from MOWA, background info on the trio's relinquishment, court papers, birth certificates (which must be issued), passports, Embassy medical reports... (We have been told this step is currently taking an average of 4-8 weeks.) The adoption agency will then submit our completed file on the first possible Thursday, the only day the Embassy allows them to advance files. Embassy will review our case, and we HOPE they will give clearance for our family to receive an immigrant visa interview. (The typical first response from Embassy is within 2 weeks.) There is a possibility that at this point the Embassy can request addition information, which would mean recollecting and resubmitting documents and new reviews and new visa appointments. (I KNOW, right???) Once we do receive clearance for a visa appointment, we will FINALLY be able to schedule our return trip to Ethiopia to Be a FAMILY OF 9! 

I feel a lot like Tiger. I am like a 5 year old girl again in the back of my parents big suburban traveling to the beach and looking hard for the coast line. But this time I know waiting makes arrival all the sweeter. Aren't we there yet?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Introducing The Terrific Trio

Two years ago, these sweet faces first appeared in our lives.  A dear friend (INSERT FACT:  I have never met this friend face-to-face, but I love Janet.  God has knit our hearts together on many levels.), Janet Belleme, emailed asking for us to pray for and advocate for the terrific trio.

The Trio Early 2010
The adoption of the trio never really crossed our minds.  Instead, we believed we were called to pray daily for them and their “family-to-be.”  In earnest, Josh accidentally saved their photo to his phone.  God used that serendipitous event (as if it were a fluke) to lay the groundwork for the trio to enter our hearts and eventually our lives. 

We embarked this adoption journey believing we would adopt a child/children with special medical needs.  Often, we laid our hearts at His throne submitting ourselves to whatever HIS desire might be,   “Lord, your will, not ours.  You lead this path where you would.  We are at your disposal.”  Never once did we fully consider the implication.  (Hear me right, we desperately WANT TO ADOPT OUR TRIO, we simply never considered it.  NEVER… 7 children seemed so many.)

The trio has grown over the last 2 years. 

The Trio Summer 2011

Summer 2011 in Ethiopia, Gladney allowed us to be part of a reading program to the older children in their care.  Little did we know the trio set, ears perched, as we read to them.  That moment was THE moment our adoption path God’s path for our adoption commenced to unroll. 

A set of 3 siblings, older in age, is amongst the hardest to place.  Harder than HIV+.  Harder than HEP B.  Harder than EEC.  HARD.  “Your will, not ours” revealed we would be pursing the trio, and the truth is His will has totally become ours.  Since then, we’ve moved with reckless abandon, full on fear at moments, hope beyond hopes, and an excitement and trust in His ultimate plan for our future that fuels the motor. 

Finally, after a few years of preparing our hearts, some unexpected snags, and innumerable prayers, here they are, the terrific trio, our precious children, the newest Knights.  
Referral Pic Dec. 2011

Nigsom (Nuke-some), Hewon (Hey Juan), and Tshaye (Ts-hi-yay)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gratitude for the Fortitude

Ladies and Gentlemen, we received official word from our agency:  Tomorrow, YES TOMORROW,  is our new court date!  Please, pray for the MOWA official reviewing our case to be Spirit lead as he ultimately decides the future of our family.  I think it necessary to say I will praise the Lord for fixing our eyes on Him while we waited for the unknown to take shape.  My gratitude for the fortitude He supplies.

Psalms 27:13-14 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Never Once

Not all days are as easy as others to hold tight to hope and faith. The last two days, the aching of my heart has swelled to epic proportion with a longing and sadness for the trio.  The station of this pain is so different than before. It's not the longing to hold and hug and kiss and assure them, fill-my-mama-tank-ache, although that's a for sure. I'm feeling pain for them. I've envisioned them broken and hurt, lonely and filleted, waiting for a new family, their family. All of their past losses, family deaths, and personal hurts are the enemy's ammunition for attack on my faith.  I'm having a hard time seeing God's faithfulness to them. This, too, sits at the foot of the cross. The ache though, it remains.

Sunday morning in church, we sang Matt Redman's "Never Once" (lyrics below). It hit me. These words. They are not just promises made to me; they are promises dually meant for all. For my children, my trio. I was reminded of Isaiah 43-  " But now, this is what the LORD says..."Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;... Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you... Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I love how Redman's verses echo the exact sentiments of the truth of HIS scriptures. That song and this scripture are the provision needed for this exact struggle. How faithful He is to remind me that He is Lord, creator of the trio, protector of the trio, redeemer of lives, faithful to the end. Eucharisteo. 

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful


Friday, March 16, 2012

Wait for It

With no new news of our adoption, questions fly. Fairly enough, some are asking if we have considered that God is closing the door and we misheard the calling. You might think those question could shake even the sturdy, but strangely we are more sure than ever the Lord scripted this path to the trio. The timing is not what we have hoped for, but we are reminded his timing is always perfect. Gratitude is wrapped up beautifully as we take heart in His assurance that the trio will, in His perfect time, come home.

"Then the LORD answered me and said, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay." Habakkuk 2:2-3

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Empty and Broken, It's a Lovely Thing

I’m empty and thankful.  I’m poured out and broken waiting for some word, any word, from the courts regarding our case.  Eucharisteo is God filling my void with Himself.  What joy I have found as I come to the end of myself (and, oh, it happens often) and He replaces my weakness with His perfect strength, which never fails.  Again I find my weakness offers more opportunity to profess His strength, so I rejoice.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Monday, March 12, 2012

We Wait

The airways remain silent.  No word on our adoption.  Still we trust “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”   
If pictures are worth a thousand words, then these should speak volumes as to why our praises pour forward while we continue to wait.
3 kids, spring sun

sliding sibs

pure D fun

only 2 of these are mine... I can't imagine when all 7 and friends are home

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peace from Power

Today, the air boomed with thunder, and the fullness of the clouds spilled out onto the ground. At moments, the thunder literally felt as though it hung in the air surrounding us and echoed in our ears. On days like today, it is simple to find praise for the Lord. Surely, the God who pours forth his glory with ease in thunder and rain, knows and controls our court case in Ethiopia. No. I cannot fathom a reason He would prolong our children coming home, but I can trust a Lord with such profound power. This rainy Sunday, I praise Him for revealing but a fraction of His great power which gives me immeasurable peace.

"Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand." Job 26:14

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Rhythm of 6

Sometimes, gratitude’s game of hide-and-seek proves more efficient than others.  Enter no post Friday.  I’ve been looking for that tricky, treasured practicum (finding joy in all circumstances) high and low the last 48 hours.  At last, FOUND.   As the children and I blessed our lunch, beseeched the Lord to fill the three empty seats at the table, and praised HIM for each moment of this journey, I found it.  Eucaristeo:  Our family shares a common desire, which is unceasingly taken before the Lord, and a commitment to praise Him.  Our hearts and prayers align as we pray home our terrific trio, whose presence seems long overdue, and trust Him along the way.  It is no small thing that the Lord has given a mutual rhythm to 6 very distinct people.

We persist together on common ground:  "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Provision Unknown

Eucharist: How grateful I am for the moments of unknown. They are provision. They birth a heaping dose of grief. That grief is proof of an unfailing love and desire for these children, proof they are mine. Gratitude that when these children are home and times are tough and I'm tired and crying for relief, I can remember the moments apart, the unknown, and the prayers to be united. This wait is God's grace. Taking the tears, storing up, shaken out at the perfect time for a future only He knows.

James 1:2 "Consider it pure joy, brothers, whenever you face trials of any kind..."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Atheist, Eucharist, and Ebenezer

“Am I always the atheist in Arms, me the believer who doesn’t believe?” Ann Voskamp questions.  Whew, can I relate to that thought!  The quiet of the phone lines (still NO word) regarding our adoption takes me back to my natural habitat, my natural posture, and my default system…anxiety.  Please, don’t mistake me.  I pray.  I remember His mighty acts.  I trust.  I even speak it aloud; but while in my mind and daily practice I recall all God has done to bring us to our children in Ethiopia, all the confirmations, all the hurdles removed, still HERE and NOW I wake with aching jaws from clinching teeth through another night of “not knowing”, my back and shoulders boast the signs of stress related stiffness, and my brow’s constant furrow proves my practical belief wanes.  Ugh, why must I, subconsciously, choose worry?  It is a fruitless action.   I am aware it’s only a sign that my belief is laced with doubts of Him.  SO…we are taking up a daily practice of offsetting perturbation with joy and thanks.  As we wait for word on our adoption, we choose to embrace these moments like manna from the Old Testament.  Manna, his provision and opportunity to give thanks.  We know thanksgiving will allow our gratitude to feed our trust in HIM. 

Today, I am thankful that HE has given us another opportunity to exercise intentional gratitude as the proof that HE is a trustworthy God, who will complete what HE began.  Scratch the believer who doesn’t believe.  Exit atheist in His arm.  Enter eucharisteo.  Feel free to leave your thanksgiving here as an Ebenezer of His faithfulness (I Samuel).  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Limbo Land and Court Hormones

Have you ever peed on a stick and had an ambiguous line appear?  Not a positive.  Positively, not a negative.  Decisively inconclusive, though.  For all practical purposes, that’s where we are today.  I’m sure we are pregnant, but court, the litmus test for adoption, reads a faint pink line.  Two reds are required for confirmed pregnancy.  No lines present reads, “Not Pregnant.”   Then there is us:  one red line, one faint pink line.  Check back tomorrow.  Maybe our "court hormones" will be strong enough for a clear read.  Until then, it’s limbo for another day.