Living in the In-Between

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Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord Psalm 27:14

And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him. Isaiah 8:17

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Waiting. These in-between days. They are hard.
We are waiting for so much. We left a home that wasn’t being taken care of. We’re waiting for a new place to make our home. To build our haven. I firmly believe that a home should be the safest haven for our children. A place where they are loved unconditionally, celebrated for who they are and trained to follow Jesus and serve others. I love putting our touches on everything. Our plates in the cupboard. Her art on the wall. We can hardly wait for a home to call our own.
And we are waiting for Sissy. We spent 7 months filling out paperwork, getting signatures, jumping over hurdles. Now we have been on the waiting list to be matched with a little girl from Ethiopia for 7 months. With almost no movement in referrals in the last 4 months. We sit and wait. With absolutely nothing we can do about it.
This waiting is hard. It’s hard to not be able to work towards something and easy to get caught up in the not-yet. Easy to feel stuck and just let time pass. Easy to spend too much time waiting and not enough time living.
We must remember that the waiting is our work for the moment. God has called us and directed us and we are following Him. Sometimes that means standing still and waiting for His perfect timing.
And while we wait, we have a great opportunity to trust. To learn to rest in Him and His faithfulness. To choose joy in the in-between. To play and laugh and go swimming and take a vacation and make pancakes for breakfast on a weekday. To celebrate everyday accomplishments and look for joy all around us. To dream of the future and know that it is in God’s hands. But to spend our energy on the present.
If you are in the waiting with us, may you find joy in your wait. May He strengthen your heart for the journey as you trust in Him.

Helpless

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I heard from a fellow adoptive momma that the orphanage in Ethiopia where her son is living, is almost out of food.

OUT OF FOOD.

As I understand it, referral fees (the fees we pay when matched with our children) are huge because they don’t just pay for our child’s care. It doesn’t cost $6,600 to care for one child for 3-6 months in the orphanage. Those fees support the orphanage as a whole. EVERY child there gets food through my fees. So I am thrilled to pay the fees. I want those kids to get fed. Not just my daughter, whoever she may be. I want them all to eat.

When the referrals dramatically slow down, so does the flow of money. And the kids don’t get fed.

It’s almost more than a momma’s heart can take.

So many tummy’s are empty right now. And they’ll still be empty tomorrow. Yet here I sit. In my comfortable home. With my cupboards full.

Helpless.

Almost.

What I can do, is bigger than I give it credit for. I can pray.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
My Father in Heaven loves those kids even more than I do. And He aches with their hunger even more than I do. And He can do something about it. Please, Lord. Act quickly. Bring them home to families waiting for them. With full cupboards and full hearts, just waiting for another one to love. And in the meantime, He is sending other adoptive moms on their first trips to Ethiopia to meet their children, with suitcases full of formula. Hold on, little ones. Help is on the way.

Adoption Loss

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I remember the first time I heard the term “adoption loss”. I had never, in all my years of wanting to adopt, truly stopped to consider the loss that comes with it. I knew there were orphans in the world, kids who needed forever families. But I hadn’t stopped to think about the past that brought them to that point. Maybe I wasn’t ready to face it.

I am now.

When I receive my referral for a little girl, I will probably learn some of her story. She will have had a first family. She will have lost them to death, abandonment or simply because they were unable to care for her. It will be her story to tell, not mine. But it will be very real. And it will always be a part of her story.

Aaron Ivey, gave a sermon at the Austin Stone Church that I saw on youtube, called “Adopted: the Cost of Love“. In it, he spoke of orphan care as actually joining in the suffering of the orphan. That bringing an orphan home and parenting them, requires a person to join in the orphan’s suffering and feel it with them. I know I will never fully grasp how much my child’s heart will hurt over this. But I also know that God can heal. And that God is already bringing me closer to my child. Not knowing who she is doesn’t matter. I love her. And my heart hurts to know all she has been through and is going through now. Yes, it may seem crazy. But maybe crazy love is how God heals us.

This scripture keeps coming to me:

“This is what the Lord says — he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: Forget the former things; do not
dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and
streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:16-19

He parted the seas once. He will do it again. He will part the seas and bring orphans to the forever families that are waiting for them. We will acknowledge the past, but not live in it. And we will see God doing a new thing. In us. In our family. For His glory.


Perfect Provision

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Sometimes I wonder how God does it. Only briefly, because I know I’ll never understand. But He knows ahead of time what we will need, when we will need it and how He will provide it.

Case in point:

We held a fundraising concert for our adoption a couple of weeks ago. Not a huge crowd, but those who came were very generous. Some even gave us money for “tickets” days after the concert, because they hadn’t been able to make it that night.

Two days ago, I got the invoice for the next small supplemental fee for my agency. It was a little less than I thought. Yesterday, I got the invoice from the venue for our concert. Again somewhat less than I thought. And guess what. The concert raised enough to cover the venue fees and our supplemental fee, with $20 left over.

Exactly what we needed, when we needed it. I don’t expect God to provide for the adoption all at once. I think He takes great joy in showing us that He has this. I don’t need to worry for a moment.

He so has this.


The List

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It’s official. We have dotted every “i” and crossed every “t”. We have been through 7 months of interviews and paperwork and approvals and fingerprints and government seals. And we are finally on the list. The elusive list of waiting families who have conquered a mountain of paperwork are rewarded with. The list that lets us take a break from paperwork (for the time being). The list that lets us rest in the goodness of God and how He has already brought us this far.

Now we get to wait. We get to plan and prepare. We get to dream about the day our little one is finally home with us. We won’t know her name or see her precious face possibly for many months. But we have overcome such hurdles already.

My daughter and I climbed a mountain together when she was 5. I can hardly believe we made it, but we did. Clingman’s Dome in Smoky Mountain National Park. It was a long, hard climb. And we took many breaks. We would catch our breath for a few moments, look at the road we had already traveled, then look ahead at where we were going. And we would start climbing again. It was so important to me that we make it to the top.

ClingmansDome

And we finally did. We took pictures. We laughed. We cheered. The view was great, but the best part was really accomplishing it together.

So here we are with another mountain to climb. We have been walking diligently, faithfully. We have made amazing progress and can look back at the path we have covered so far and how God has walked with us every step of the way. And we get to look ahead to the great adventure before us, knowing He will continue to be with us, every step of the way.

But for the moment, we get to rest and celebrate.


The Wait to Wait

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The adoption process is a struggle. Sometimes it feels like continually walking uphill through mud. I am trying so hard to rest and trust in God’s timing. And He is constantly showing Himself faithful.

I am part of a facebook group of moms and dads adopting through my agency. People post about the wait. How long they have been on the waitlist, how long it is since they were matched with their children, when they might get to bring them home. I am still waiting to get on the waitlist. This must be how patience and trust are built.

I have been working on the adoption officially since July. But in my heart I have been waiting for this little girl for 35 years. I wear my Love Africa necklace so she can be with me in spirit, even while we are waiting for her. Every day, I do something for the adoption. Make another necklace, promote our upcoming benefit concert, check on paperwork, search for grants.

There was a mistake on some paperwork last week and I am waiting for it to be corrected and our journey to be unpaused. Each day that goes by looks like one more day without her. When in reality, God controls it all. It will happen in His timing, whether it’s by paperwork needing correction, or the court being slow or fast. It’s hard to release the control. (even when I don’t really have it!)

But God is faithful. He has shown Himself in our lives in such huge ways over the last few weeks. 3 weeks ago, I was doing paperwork, praying every morning. Telling God that I would keep walking forward, filling out one more form and trusting Him to provide financially. AND HE DID. Big time. Enough money has been raised for our next payment. When the paperwork is done, the money will be on its way to my agency. I can hardly believe it. And yet, I’m not entirely surprised. After all, it’s what I have been asking Him for.

So wait list, here I come. A few more weeks and everything should be straightened out and submitted. Until then, I will keep trusting, keep praying. And I will keep telling everyone who will listen about God’s faithfulness and provision.

 


Fingerprinting

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Today was a big day. I had my appointment with immigration to get my fingerprints done for the adoption. I have been sick for three weeks now and was hoping the medicine would kick in and allow me to keep the appointment. Not sure how they reschedule these things, but since the government gave me the appointment, I really didn’t want to mess with it! I wanted to check one more thing off my list. And by the grace of God (and the wonder of medicine), I was well enough to go.

I drove to Milwaukee and found the office. It seemed to be just kind of placed randomly. Not right downtown, not where I would have expected. It did look very official, but on a plain, rather rundown street. The workers were efficient and polite. After filling out yet another form, I waited for my turn and then got my fingerprints done. It was pretty cool to see the details of my fingerprints show up on the screen.

I practically skipped out the door.

One more thing done. The list of steps for an international adoption is long. And I get to check one more thing off that list. Another 5-6 weeks and my dossier will be complete and waiting at my agency. Then I need to pay my next big payment and we will officially be on the waiting family list.

5-6 weeks. I am so excited. I know it could be many months more before we get matched. This is not a process for the timid or impatient. We certainly can’t see the finish line from here. But getting on that list is a major hurdle we are climbing as we make our way up this mountain.

Some days it’s hard to see people ahead of me finishing their dossiers and getting on the list. Another family in front of us. Then I remember that this is all God. This isn’t about us. This is about God placing a little orphan into a forever family. In His timing. In His way. He already knows who she is, where she is and how He will get her here. My job is to keep taking each step in obedience and trusting Him to complete the work He started.

 

 


Steps of Faith

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I have no question that God called me to adopt. His fingerprints are all over this. And in the end, a little girl will have a forever family. But God is doing more than just that one great work. He is growing my faith. He is growing me. And He is growing my daughter, too. He is showing her the world beyond our home and how much He desires for us to make a difference in it for Him. I look back over the last few years and am amazed at how much He has changed me. And I get excited at how much I’ve grown in my faith and trust and relationship with God. Then I see Him working to build my faith again and imagine how much farther I must have to go.

I am finding that every day is a step of faith. One more paper to fill out, one more item checked off. My home study is done, I have submitted to Immigration and will be getting fingerprinted soon. I keep moving forward with the paperwork, trusting God to provide. Adoption costs so much. That is one of the main things that prevents people from adopting who have a heart for it. And I can see why. It’s daunting to look at the numbers. International adoptions cost around $30,000.

But then I read stories from families who have already adopted. Some of them, multiple times. And I read again and again how God has provided. How the very day the money was needed to keep moving forward, it showed up. God has a heart for adoption. He adopted us into His family and promises to put the lonely into families. He commands us to care for orphans.

So, I keep filling out one more form, collecting one more piece of information. And every morning, I tell God that I will keep walking forward, and that I am counting on Him to provide to bring her home. I choose to trust. And I cannot wait to see how He will provide.

I can’t wait until my blog is one that adoptive parents look to for encouragement on the adoption journey. Until we can be one more family proving that God provides when we follow Him. And He gets all the glory.

If you feel led to help us on this journey, please visit the adoption page on my blog.

 


Linking Arms

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Our pastor told a story in church on Sunday about a tribe in Africa that spread out to find a missing little boy and couldn’t. The next day, they linked arms and tried again. This time they found the boy, but it was too late. The mom cried out “why didn’t we link arms sooner?”.

It’s an incredibly sad story. But the image of everyone walking arm-in-arm, looking together, has stuck with me. As I sat and heard this story, I suddenly saw all the people linking arms with us to get our little girl home. Just me and my daughter for a moment, then so many others joined us.

I have taken part in some projects lately to give hope in Africa. inCourage, an amazing group of women, got together to fund Mercy House in Kenya. So far, they bought a van, built school rooms, bought a generator and a computer lab and are working on building an additional home. This is for single moms in Kenya, so they can keep moms and babies together. It’s a beautiful thing.

Last week, Lisa Jo Baker asked her followers to help build a community water project in South Africa. In less than 12 hours, it was fully funded.

And it got me thinking. I played an incredibly small part in both of those things. I am saving most of my pennies for our adoption, but felt so moved to help out in whatever small way I could. So I linked arms with all the other ladies and we got it done.

I can’t get the image out of my head. And I am so grateful for those who have already linked arms with us on our mission to bring an orphan home. My friend who told me I could sew bags (even though I don’t really know how to sew). She then figured out a pattern, sewed some samples, taught me to sew them and made about 20 bags for me to sell.

My friends who surprised me with what they called “a very small amount” to help with the adoption, that really isn’t small to me at all. Every single dollar counts.

The couple who told me last week that they support me and want to help with the adoption.

The people who have purchased necklaces and coffee.

My sister who is going to sit with me at a craft fair next week.

My mom who cut the strings on at least 25 bags, so far.

My little one who puts every single coin she gets into the fund for “Sissy”.

There is such a long way to go. But it means the world to me to have so many standing by us, linking arms to rescue an orphan and bring her home. One day soon, she will have a loving haven of a home. And I am so grateful to each and every person who will help get us there. Linking arms in prayer. Linking arms in support. Linking arms with a hug that makes the waiting bearable.

 

 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

 

 


Five Minute Friday – Together

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People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Together.

Five Minute Friday

 

Together

GO.

Together. What a beautiful word.

Lately my 7 year old had been drawing a lot of pictures of us together with her adopted sister-to-come.

I am pushing through tons of paperwork. I am working on fundraising. I am making crafts like crazy, getting ready for craft fairs to help raise the money to get our girl home from Ethiopia.

It’s hard to know she is there waiting and we are here waiting and I can’t make this go any faster. All I can do is keep doing the next thing and trusting God to provide and bring her home in His perfect time. When I lose sight of the final goal, being consumed by the minute details of today, my daughter shows up with another drawing. It’s always me in the middle holding hands with one little girl on each side.

And I get a beautiful glimpse of the future. The future where we are finally united. Holding hands, walking through life.

It’s a breath of fresh air to me. Joy flows into me and I can’t stop smiling. I can hardly wait until these drawings are reality. Until then, I’ll keep looking at the someday of togetherness, and holding on to hope.

We’re coming, little one.

 

STOP.