Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm waiting. But eventually....

{God kept me in the waiting. And while I am waiting, He keeps me.

He holds me back and He holds me close.

He keeps me from running ahead of His plan and His plan is to keep me near to His heart.

It all feels better when I think about Him waiting with me, arms wrapped tightly around me, whispering something in His Father voice about how the wait will be worth it, how He is here, and how He won’t let me go.}

Gosh how this resonated in my heart. He is keeping me waiting. He is holding me close, trying to quell my trembling spirit. The theme of what He is whispering to me this week? Find joy in the now, in this wait. I don't think this devotional could have hit the nail on the head any harder. This, in conjunction with our class on Sunday night has just jolted me into awareness. Rest. Take a step back. Don't allow this to steal your joy. All things easier said than done.

There is absolutely nothing easy about adoption or choosing Him. But oh the rewards. I'm sure by now you're thinking, this all seems to echo the same theme. Well, I'm human. And I forget. A lot. :) He has to remind me constantly. I need those reminders because some weeks, I can't see the forest for all the trees.

I need to appreciate the gift of now, while I'm waiting. My boys…. they're not getting any smaller. Unfortunately it feels like they're mutantly growing in leaps and bounds before my own two eyes. I'm getting so caught up in worrying about waiting, I'm going to miss it. Effie will be a part of our family sooner or later, but I won't get this time back with my boys. I need to wait, hold them close to me while I still can. I won't let them go, but just like I run away from God's loving arms, they'll eventually do the same. They'll come back for a bit, but they're growing boys. Just today, Caedmon kissed my goodbye on the cheek - not on my lips like he's done before.

Time slips away so quickly. And if I'm not careful, I'm going to miss it. I need to take joy in the now. Because we won't be a family of 4 much longer. And if the adoption is any indication of what KC and I feel like our life will be, I need to learn to live in the moment. <3 data-blogger-escaped-br="br">



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm not sleeping.

No new news yet in regards to the adoption. We're waiting on our new birth certificates and marriage license to get here so we can overnight them to USCIS. Once they receive them, they'll be able to approve our I-600 form. Then, we will be sending that to Little Rock to be state sealed with the rest of our dossier. After that, it'll be headed off to Ethiopia! I'm giving myself lots of time and am praying we get our dossier sent off by the end of the year. Hopefully it won't take another 2 months, but ya never know; especially with our track record. Haha!  ;-) 
Well, other than that little adoption related tidbit, I thought I'd share something else I came across last night that got me thinking:

If you are even attempting to be faithful to James 1:27, you will experience weariness, stress, fear, doubt, anger, attacks from the Evil One, and sometimes even bone-deep despondency or despair. There is absolutely no such thing as orphan care and adoption without suffering. Period. If you are involved in caring for orphaned and vulnerable children, or in fostering or adopting a child, you will find yourself in great need of refreshment and renewal many times over.
                        -Together for Adoption website

This was actually refreshing to read. As Christians, we try our hardest to stay positive and upbeat through the good times and the bad. But wouldn't it be so much better if we just admitted that things are "kinda crappy" right now and we could really use some encouragement and uplifting? This isn't just for people going through adoption, but just any tough situation in general. (I know why I try to give a positive spin on everything adoption related: I don’t want to scare anyone away from adopting or fostering. Lol.) Yes, sometimes it's hard, darn near unbearable, but can you even try to imagine the end result? The end result is what keeps me going. This goes for those experiencing adoption, break-ups, divorce, loss… LIFE in general. It's hard, and sometimes it's only His tight grasp that keeps me hanging on. But when I think about the end result, it makes it all worth it.

One day, I'll be holding her in my arms and we'll be a family of 5. One day, we'll be making pancakes and hanging out at home all day on a Saturday. One day, I'll have my little girl. And that day can't get here soon enough.

But until then, I have to push my pride aside and ask for prayer - in everything. We have to have a support system. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, we are told to encourage and build each other up daily; not once a week, not when things are crazy difficult - but every single day. We've grown so accustomed to thinking that we have to be strong/bear the load ourselves/be independent/pull ourselves out of the muck by our bootstraps/be a man, rub some dirt in it! We don't! As Christ continually encourages and uplifts us, we need to do the same for others.

I've found that on days that I can't do anything but fret, KC is in a great, pumped up mood and it's easy for him to help me out of my slump. And on days that he's sulking, I've found myself in a fantastic mood and can pull him out. But then, there are those rare days when he and I are both in a funk. Those days are no fun. They're rare, but we have them. Those days, we just have to grit our teeth so we don't set each other off. Yet all we'd need to do is ask for a bit of encouragement or prayer.

It's not even pride really. I guess it's almost - shame that we feel. Shame that, as Christ followers, we shouldn't have "off" days. It's silly to think that though. I'm sure Christ had those days. He experienced every human emotion on the spectrum - He felt weariness and despair too. The whole time He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion, He was praying for strength.  In the telling of the story in Luke, it says "An angel appeared from heaven and strengthened Him… He prayed fervently and was in such agony….".

He knew that what He had to do was going to be beyond difficult, and He needed to take the time to pray for confirmation and strength. He needed encouragement from God - and God responded. He sent down an angel. I'm sure had the disciples not been sleeping, they could have offered some words of encouragement. He was "overwhelmed with sorrow" and just wanted the disciples to be with Him, near Him as He prayed for strength. He even told them to watch and pray, and when He caught them sleeping again, they didn't even know what to say.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel shamed because you posted on someone's status or tweet 'Praying for you!' and you never found the time to? I'll be the first to say that I don't pray for others nearly as much as I should. And knowing how much I could use prayer, I should be praying for others every hour! It's not easy to do, we get caught up. But if we just made a conscious effort to look to God for guidance on who to uplift, do you know how big of a blessing that is? Do you know how huge it was to have a few friends from high school message me just to uplift me and send prayers my way? It was GINORMOUS! Seriously, thank you Lydia and Haley. You both deserve a public shout out for obeying God no matter how "cheesy" it might have been.  ;-)   I needed cheesy right at that moment.

S don't decide not to reach out to someone because you're afraid of rejection. They may not respond the way you want them to, but it's likely because they're still in the midst of a huge battle. I challenge you today to find one person to give some encouragement to or pray for. You don't even have to let them know you're praying for them - we're taking baby steps here okay? Any small gesture - sharing your devotional or verse of the day with someone, or maybe a song you heard on the radio that was uplifting - might be a BIG gesture to them.

…………..Just do something for someone to let them know you're not sleeping………….


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Well.... Shootie Patootie.

We received an email from Lifesong today in regards to the adoption gran/loan we applied for. We're sorry to say that due to the high number of applicants and limited amount of financial resources, we were not awarded the grant. This was the larger one we applied for and it could have potentially taken care of a BIG chunk of our remaining fees. So, yes, it (for lack of a better word) sucks. It's not that we had all of our hopes resting on this grant, we were just getting a tad weary and would have been elated to get this because it would mean that this battle was over. As much as it "sucks", we're not brooding about it. Because all that will lead to is bitterness and resentment. And there is no way I'm letting those guys back into my heart.  :)

This just means that God is going about this COMPLETELY differently for us than he has for other families we've known. I don't know how He's going to do it, but He is. We're in this rough patch right now, a dry spell if you will. And it has nothing to do with anything we have done. God is stretching us, pulling us. There can be no growth without some discomfort.

You know, if I hadn't made a decision yesterday to pull myself out of this funk, I don’t know how I would've handled that email today. Actually, yes I do. I would've been having myself a big little pity party right about now. Complete with lots of ice cream and scenes of the wonderful Mr. Darcy. But KC and I promised each other to just move on. Let it go. No talking about it, no dwelling on it, no fuming about it. Because - again - it's out of our hands. So chin up, chest out, and keep trucking on. He has brought us TOO far for us to give up now.

And let me tell you, I'm actually pretty excited about the fact that He is stretching us. It means He is preparing us for something, something grand, something adventurous! So if I have to trudge through the quicksand of the Fire Swamp to come out on the other side, by golly I'm going to do it! I've dreamt of adventure! And here I am, smack dab in the middle of it. Silly me. And you know where this adventure is going to lead me? To a spiritual place of trusting God with my life. To a mental place of being happy with who I am and what I am. To the physical place of AFRICA. C'mon now?! How much more adventure do you need?? Walking hand in hand with God! A path of self-discovery and acceptance! Waking up one morning to foreign sights and smells and sounds. Gosh! Do you feel it? Do you feel the stirring in your own spirit? What grand adventure is He calling you on? And more importantly, are you brave enough to dare it?


Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog Layout and USCIS

Yay! It looks all nice like now! Haha! I've updated my blog layout. Now, you can see tabs at the top that say Home, Our Adoption Story, Adoption Timeline, and About Us. I thought it would be easier to have quick access to those stories and tidbits. I'll be sure to update our timeline as soon as anything happens. I also added some new family pictures, and the Popular Posts column. I'm pretty excited about it! I feel all knowledged now that I figured it out. *wink wink*

Anyway, just a quick update about our immigration approval: We received a letter on Friday from USCIS stating that they needed copies of our marriage license and our birth certificates. Um, say what?! See, I'm a bit confused by the letter for "Evidence", because I sent those in along with our I-600 form AND our home study. So, according to the office that only handles the adoption cases, they never made it to them. So somewhere between the Dallas office and the adoption office, they've been lost. Go ahead, I know you wanna go "Say whaaaa?!" too.

So instead of instanly going to the Vital Records website and ordering new forms (costing close to 50 bucks including rush shipping), I called them. They were all pretty nice but not helpful what-so-ever. They had no idea where our certificates were nor did they know who to contact to find out! Needless to say, I was irked.

It just has been a hard battle you know? I mean, not only since we first started this process, but ESPECIALLY the last few weeks. It feels like we're being fought and fought hard. And I've been getting battle weary. I don't want this to scare you away from my blog OR from adopting if you've been thinking about it. But I want to be honest. Yes, it's gotten hard. No, I'm NOT giving up or blaming God.

Today was the turning point. I knew I HAD to do something differently. Otherwise, it'd just be a downward spiral. I then saw this on a blog. It was talking about a little girl who didn't realize that she was already adopted.


God is working right now. I don't see it, but I know He is! HE IS! And when I am finally in Africa holding her in my arms, I know I'll see it. And THAT is what keeps me going. I'll be able to see that He has been working on this for a very, very long time - and all the while, I. Had. No. Clue.