Waiting is the Theme

Psalm 37
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land,
And feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of Your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass...
Rest in the Lord, and
Wait patiently for Him...
The steps of a good man are ordered
By the Lord
And he delights in His way.
Though he fall,
He shall not be utterly cast down,
For the Lord upholds him
With His hand.
Wait on the Lord,
Keep His way
He shall exalt you to inherit the land.
Mark the blameless man
Observe the upright
For the future of that man is peace.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord
He is their strength in the time of trouble
The Lord shall help them
And deliver them
He shall deliver them from the wicked
And save them
Because they trust in Him.

More waiting.  Those who have gone through adoption know about waiting. 

Waiting at doctor's appointments.  Waiting for test results. Waiting through years of infertility to suddenly becoming a parent literally in a 2-day period. 

Waiting for the "call-back" from this agency, or an email from that person.  Waiting for paperwork to come in the mail.  Waiting for a response to an email. (Checking your phone at the bottom of your email that says "updated 5 minutes ago.") Waiting for government officials to process forms.

Those who have not gone through adoption know about waiting.
Waiting for the report from the spot on the scan.
Waiting for people to make amends.
Waiting for the work-day to end.
Waiting for (you fill in the blank).

The waiting process seems endless. We wait. We wait.  We have things to do (see previous post). We make dinner.  We fold clothes.  We vacuum.  We go to the store.  We live our lives.  We do those things.  But in our hearts, we are still waiting.  We have an uneasiness because it seems as if all is not resolved.  We are waiting because something needs to happen.
The job.
The person.
The (fill in the blank).
Something needs to move forward.
Yet, we are moving forward.  Waiting is not sitting still. Waiting can be such a growing time.  Our hearts may feel uneasy, but we can do two things according to Psalm 37
Rest in the Lord
We can take comfort, feel at home, abide, rest, relax, release our stress, and just find peace in God.  This waiting period could cause unrest, no peace, stress, fear, or anxiety.  Yet, God commands us to rest in Him.
Keep His ways
We can do, obey, and keep His ways (or commandments, testimonies, i.e. GOD'S WORD). Our "things to do" should be to obey God's commandments.  For me, that is being a good wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. For all of us, that is choosing joy, loving others, serving others, and living godly lives.

We have more waiting now.  I asked you to pray for this "waiting child" and please PLEASE pray about her.  We have spoken with our doctor and her opinion is a positive one.  She feels that this child would require very little help (if any). But we are not the only family interested in her.  The general policy with our agency is that if more than one family is interested in a waiting child, that the agency chooses the family that is the farthest along in the process.  We are five months away from being about to start the traveling paperwork.  We might (and probably are) the last in line for her.  More information was requested (by another family) concerning her.  They plan to have more updated informationon her development in about two weeks.  They will share that information with all the families interested.  At that point, hopefully, we will know if we will move forward with this particular little girl or not.


Please pray for
1. Patience as we wait.
2. Our hearts to not get too attached to her little face.
3. Wisdom to evaluate her new information when it comes in.

Thank for for sharing in this journey with us!


Learn to Do

I was looking ahead in my calendar and came across something in April - there is a quote from Oswald Chambers (one of my favorite authors):

"To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told."

So appropriate right now.  We are taking the online classes for the home study.  We also have three books to read.  It seems like a lot to us, but we are still really excited about this - that we don't mind at all.  We are trying to use this waiting time to learn all that we can.  There are so many things to learn.  During this home study process, we have been learning about some challenges that we will face bringing home a child.  Not just a child who is from another culture, but a child who has gone through so much already.  We are learning tools and techniques to help us with these challenges.  We are learning how to be better parents, even to the children we have now.

This home study process has a light at the end of the tunnel as well! We have our third meeting this Saturday (March 1) and we just scheduled our last meeting for March 29! By our last meeting, all of our paperwork must be turned in.  That includes medical exams, tax forms, health insurance forms - all of which are a little trickier because of Jason's recent unemployment.  The social worker will have two weeks after our last meeting to write our home study.  So, the latest our home study will be completed will be by the middle of April!!

That is so exciting! We can then start on our dossier, which takes about 3 months.  These two things: the home study and dossier are the main things that need to be done. 

The last step is the "referral" - this step (I recently found out) can be "skipped" by choosing what is considered a "Waiting Child."  We have periodically been looking at the "Waiting Child" list on our agency's website.  Most of the children are either very seriously disabled (down syndrome or CP), or are older children (ages 10-15).  Most of these children we would not be able to adopt. But about a week ago, we saw a little girl that might be a good match.  She is about the right age.  She has a mild problem that would be fairly easy to correct.  We requested more information about her.  They sent some pictures and some reports about her development.  We have decided to pray about her.  There is not a lot of information they can offer us at this point and we need to do some serious praying!  Some of the things we need to consider are:
1. Her age. She is two months older than Emmalia. We were originally wanting a child younger than Emmalia. 
2. Her condition.  We need to speak with specialists and show them her pictures and reports to make sure we will be able to give her the medical care she needs.

It is so hard to look at a cute (ok, an adorable) little picture and not want to say YES based upon an emotionally mind-set. But we know that this decision is so important and needs so much prayer! So please pray with us.  We will not need to make the decision soon - but is it ever too early to start praying?

If we do choose a waiting child, that means that the time-frame changes.  It means that once our dossier is logged in (which I do not know what that specifically means) we could travel as early as 3 months.  With everything considered, the decision can be made in about six months.  Either way, the next step is still....waiting.

As we wait, our prayer is to "do." That means:
Filling out forms
Taking classes
Reading books

We want to wait not with "folded hands" but doing "what we are told."  This lesson is not just for me. It is for you too. All of us go through periods of life when we "wait." Maybe for a biological child to be born.
Maybe for just the right job.
Maybe for just the right "person."
Maybe for the next step in life.
If you are in a waiting period in your life, there are things to do.  Find out what to do! Find out what you can do.  There is ALWAYS something to do.  Even if that is just praying - which by the way is a VERY powerful thing indeed! 

Photo credit to Johnson Photography

When the Answer is No (Part 2)

When the answer is no....update!
We shared a couple of weeks ago that Jason got a big fat NO with his job situation.  You can check it out here.
Because our God is so good and faithful, Jason was offered a job this past weekend!  He will not be starting until April - so it will be a very different 4-6 weeks having him home all the time!  The hardest part of this new job will be the schedule. He will no longer be working the typical Monday-Friday job.  It will be 7 days on and 7 days off.  The 7 days on will be hard - 7 am -7 pm.  But then he will have 7 days off!  Adjusting our family to that will be different, but oh so good!  Good because we know that God is working in our family.  Good because God is good.

God is so faithful as well.  We have seen it in so many ways during these past three weeks!

We have seen His faithfulness with provisions. He has provided for all of our needs.  A few months back God led us to start saving more and spending less.  Because of HIS faithfulness, our needs are met and will continue to be met until he starts in April.  We also have enough to continue with the adoption! Praise be to God!!

We have seen His faithfulness with timing. We did NOT understand His timing three weeks ago.  We were baffled and left stunned and unaware of what He was doing. We were thrown into the midst of a "Trust Me" moment with God. The timing could not have been more perfect though.  It was the perfect time with the adoption financially because at this point we owe the least (we will owe more towards the end of the adoption). It was the perfect time with allowing Jason to be off.  We questioned "why this way" at first. If we had been informed ahead of time that the partnership was not going to work out, then he could have had another job lined up - but GOD KNEW.  Jason has been able to help with Titus and Emmalia during a difficult time with Jack in school.  Jason has also been able to have time to read and take the necessary classes for the home study.  If he were working, he would not have had time for any for that. A bonus has been all the nice "fix-it" projects that are getting done!  I love having a hard-working husband!!

God knew that we needed it this way.  God is faithful to direct! Almost all of God's "No" answers are really a question:

"Will you trust Me?"

Say "yes" when God hands you a "no."
Say "yes" when He asks you to trust Him.
Say "yes" because His is worthy of our faith - He is faithful!

If my own little story of God's faithfulness is not enough for you:
Look in the Bible.  Evidence of His faithfulness is everywhere!


Ellie Holcomb

Check out her album out now!
I have fallen in love with this beautiful voice and artist. 

Check out her Facebook Page

Or website: Ellie Holcomb

or ITunes

Honest Mom Question

Honest Mom Question:  How long do we have to suffer through dinnertime?  It seems that no matter the meal (either something they like or don't like), we end up having to almost force-feed our kids their food!

It literally took an HOUR to choke down pasta last night.  Mind you - they love pasta, even with the sauce.  I even made it spiral pasta (which is easier to stab with a fork).   HOWEVER, I put a TEENY-TINY amount of zucchini and green peppers in the pasta-bake and it was like the end of the world.  The color green freaked them out like nothing else.  It was if the presence of the green things were actually living monsters come to take over and kill them.  They spotted them right away. No amount of Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, or spaghetti sauce was going to disguise them.  The presence of the green vegetables were immediately the cause of a major break down.

We had tears.  We had crying.  We had moaning, groaning, and wailing.  We had gagging.  We had (literal) running away from the table.  We had pouting.  We had pushing the plate away.  We had it all.  No amount of cheese would make it better.  No amount of bribing with delicious garlic/cheddar biscuits would do it. It finally took the threat of a spanking to get the job done. Literally one hour later, they had choked down about 3/4 of the bowl.  Mind you, it probably counted for about 10 bites.

I've heard that boys are great eaters, that they will eat us out of house and home - but WHEN does this happen?  I fear there is no end in sight to this HORRIBLE dinnertime dilemma. 

SIDE NOTE: This will occasionally happen at breakfast and lunch.  Even though at those meals I pretty much only fix things they like.  **SIGH**

This was on my mind as I read my devotional today.  It was about  Job.  After Job had begged and pleaded God for an answer to why all these terrible things were happening to him, God answers.  But God doesn't tell Job why (sort of).  God tells Job Who He is. 

Job 38
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
 Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Some Mom Questions are hard.
How long will dinnertime be torture-time?
How long before my child sleeps through the night?
How long will they continue to throw tantrums in the middle of the store?
When will I have to stop saying "Don't lick that"?
How long before my child stops arguing with me over everything?
How long before my child respects me?
How long before my child can feed themselves without making a mess?
The list could literally go on forever.  Motherhood has no manual.
Other mom's can answer our questions, give us encouragement, and provide wisdom when it comes to those questions.

When we look at God and start asking HIM the hard life questions, we come back to God's answer to Job: I AM GOD.
Why do the innocent suffer?
Why do bad people prosper?
Why do You allow sin, sickness, sadness, darkness, etc.?
The Bible (Life's Manual) is there to show us the answers to life's hard questions.  God answers our questions, but usually it is with:
I am God so....
Trust Me.
Lean on Me.
Have Faith in Me.
Believe Me.
Rest in Me.
Love Me.
Worship Me.

Although I might not know the answer to the hard mom questions, I know the God who answers all of life's hard questions.


A New Kind of Family

So the stack of paperwork is shrinking. With our second meeting under our belt, we are slowly getting things filled out and turned in to our social worker. We still have a few forms to fill out and other things to do (medical exams, health insurance affidavits, etc.).  We are moving steadily on. I have tried to stop putting a time frame on this as well.  Everything I have read says not to do that.  I will say though that my mind wonders from looking at the big picture to what the next step is.

I sometimes think of all that we have left to do.  I get overwhelmed.  We have yet to finish our home study....then we work on our dossier....then we wait for a referral....then we have to gather even more paperwork after being matched with a child...then we travel...then....well, you get the picture - the Big Picture can be overwhelming and long.

Most days I am focusing on just the next step.  When the path is foggy and there are too many curves in the road, you can only focus on the next step.  Our next step is meeting number 3 on March 1. It will be another interview meeting, much like the one we had a few days ago.  Instead of being interviewed together we will be interviewed separately.  Most of the questions are just to get to know us.  Ms. Roman must have an accurate picture of who we are - as a couple and as individuals.

We watched "Somewhere Between" last night.  It is a documentary about girls who were adopted from China. It follows their journey as teenagers trying to answer the question "who am I?".  Some go back to China.  Some do not.  Some search for their birth parents and some do not.  Most all of them see themselves as between two worlds.  They are not quite Americans, but not quite Chinese as well.  It was so interesting for Jason and I to watch.  It gave us some really hard but good things to think about.

I have been reading some required readings for our home study.  I've been thinking a lot about the movie. One thing that has really come to the surface of my heart and mind during all of this is the idea that this adoption is for life. I've always known of course that once we brought her home we would always be her parents and parenting would last a lifetime.  I am not talking about this in terms of parenting.  I have that sense of a lifetime of parenting from my biological children.

I am saying that I really didn't realize that this adoption would place us in a different culture for the rest of our lives.  I think I saw the act of adoption as a one-time event and then parenting would start.  This adoption will change what kind of family we are. Neither Jason nor I grew up in the adoption culture.  We do not fully grasp what this means, and we probably won't until she comes home with us.

For now, a few thoughts about being an adoptive family for life:

1. It means that we are opening our hearts and home to another culture. We are so excited now, after seeing that documentary and filling out some questionnaires related to our home study, to begin researching Chinese culture, history, and language.  We want to learn some Mandarin, seek out the Chinese culture here in the area, and study the cultural differences of China and the United States.

2. It means that we are opening our hearts to another family - the birth family.  This mysterious family will forever be a part of us.  Just because we will probably never meet this family, does not make their existence any less important.  Our daughter may or may not want to meet  them.  Our daughter will think about them.  Our daughter will wonder about them.  She will keep them close to her heart. They will always be a part of her, so they will always be a part of us as well. For a lifetime.

3. It means that we will forever be a trans-racial family. This means something different because we will be identified immediately as a trans-racial family. If we were adopting from another country where the child would look like us, it would not be such a big issue.  But in this case, we will be seen instantly as an adoptive family. We will get glances and questions. This will put our adoption on display each time we leave the house.

All of this is something we have been talking about and have come to expect. We may not be completely prepared for it all, but we are learning how to handle it and trusting God along the way.  We are trusting that He will guide us along this path that does not end in 12-16 months when we bring her home.


When the Answer is No

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  A whirlwind with a change in direction.  God has closed a door in our life. (No, not the adoption.) This door concerns Jason's job and the future for our family.  We are still trying to process this very difficult and challenging change.

We have come to the conclusion that this is an answer to prayer. We thought we knew that God wanted us to be on this path.  We were certain that it was HE who had opened the door for the job change back in April of 2013.  We were certain that this would be good for our family.  From April-November it seemed like the "dream job." In November, I began to have doubts.  Jason was upset at first that I began to voice doubts, but He agreed to pray with me about this for one month.  We prayed....earnestly seeking.  We never have prayed about a matter before like we prayed about this.  We asked the Lord if this was TRULY what He wanted for us. But in all honesty, we thought we knew the answer.  Have you ever prayed for something and already had in your mind what God's answer was going to be or what you wanted the answer to be?  That was us. We wanted the answer to be yes - we truly thought at the end of November that the answer was yes.  We were so convinced that the answer was yes, that we were in shock when God's answer came three months later. Oh my....God's timing is not like ours! He waited to answer our prayer.  He waited until now.  And the answer is a clear no.

Of course, we did not see this as an answer to prayer right away. We were upset (I began crying on the phone). We were mad and angry. We were sad, disappointed, and grieving.  For anyone who has lost a job (a job that they really enjoyed and thought would be great), you know what it is like to grieve like this. We were in shock for about 2-3 days.  All that time, we sought the Lord.  We determined two things from the beginning:
1. This was Satan's direct attack on the adoption process (see Spiritual Warfare Over a Meeting).
2. This was a clear answer from God.

We are still a little in shock.  We still fight the urge to be mad (not at God, but how the situation was handled).  We are trying to trust.  Although we do have a no, we have yet to find God's yes.
We are thankful for
1. God's care and concern.  He closed a door.  Although at first it seemed unfair, we see it as a true blessing.  We are so thankful and in awe really of God's love for us.  He has this whole big world to think about and manage, and yet He cares enough to direct our steps.  We are nobody special.  We do not change the course of history with our simple lives.  Yet God cares enough to close a door and direct us.
2. God's Glory. We want to give God glory in our lives. We want our lives to be a picture of how GREAT and GLORIOUS and WONDERFUL our God is. We are so thankful that God loves us enough to give us His best and what will give Him the most glory.
3. Provision. We are so thankful for God meeting our needs. 
4. His Word. We cannot do this without His Word.  It is living. It is breathing. It is alive and speaking to us daily.  We are thankful that He still speaks to those He loves in His Word.  On the days I struggle, it is most often connected to my lack of reading His Word.  On the days I have faith, it is most definitely connected to His Word. Each day He gives us hope and encouragement. No matter what or where I read - it seems He is speaking hope, joy, and encouragement to us.
5. Job opportunities.  We are so blessed to already have several job opportunities.  Two days after losing his job, he was able to have an interview (God's work, not ours).  Today, he is waiting to hear from a few people before we make the final decision on his next job, but we are confident that God will show us the right path.  He has lead us thus far, how can we doubt Him now?

Even when the answer is no - God is in control. 
Even when the answer is no - God loves just as much.
Even when the answer is no - God is directing.
Even when the answer is no - joy can be found.
Even when the answer is no - peace is present.
Even when the answer is no - God's Word will guide and encourage.


Spiritual Warfare over a Meeting

We had a great meeting with the social worker.  She was very nice and friendly. We showed her around the house and then went through the large packet of paperwork.  We still have a lot to do, but we have gotten a good start.  She needs to make three more visits.  The next visit will be on February 11. 

We know the Lord is in this.  While talking with some friends just yesterday, they made the comment that Satan was really going to attack me.  Because we are doing such a good thing, we can expect Satan to attack.  They said the kids will be bad and it will be a hard morning.

Russell Moore pointed out in his book the exact same thing.  Satan, over the course of history, has always been against children.  Moore does a great job pointing out that adoption brings out intense spiritual warfare.

Think back to certain times in history:
How did Pharaoh want to destroy God's chosen people?
By killing babies.
How did Satan blind the hearts of the Israelites with false gods?
By creating the false god Molech - a god who desired child sacrifice.
How did Herod, a pawn of Satan for sure, want to kill the King and Messiah?
By killing children in Bethlehem.

Satan is against children.

Look at the world around us today:
Child Trafficking
All aimed at destroying children. Satan has always (and will always) be against children.

The good news? God is always for children!

Psalm 10:14
But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.
Psalm 68:5
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.
Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
John 14:18
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
He speaks over and over and over again in the Old Testament about being a God for the fatherless. Jesus Himself did not keep the children away.  He welcomed and blessed them.
We saw a tiny glimpse today of the spiritual warfare against this adoption.  It was probably the first of many attacks to come. We received some very bad news just 2 hours before our meeting.  This news could devastate this adoption process.  At the most, we would have to give up completely.  At the very least, it could distract us and make us question and rethink whether we should adopt or not.  I was very tempted (and still am tempted) to worry and stress over this adoption.  We know this is a direct attack because this news could have come at any time.  It was going to happen.  I do not believe it was just coincidence that it happened only 2 hours from our first meeting.

I am praying for peace.  After the meeting, we feel a peace and know that this is what God has for us.  I have never felt so sure about something like this in my life.  The spiritual attack has strengthened my resolve.  It has caused me to be on guard and realize that the attacks are going to come.
Honestly, at this point, I do not see how it is all going to work out - but we know that God is for this.  His Word has reassured us that He will fight for the fatherless and orphans.  His peace has made it sure in our hearts.