Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This Is Our God

The Lord has really been stirring my heart this week, and I have been struggling with how to get it all down in writing. Not because it is something bad or even something difficult, but because what He has been revealing to me is so important, and I am afraid that if I try to write it down I will mess it up or not do Him justice (like I really could anyway...). But my mind has been going ninety miles an hour with all of this, so I am at least going to give it a whirl and ask for your grace as I try to stumble through this.

To begin, I need to back it up a little. As you probably know, there have been some rough times over the last several weeks with timelines extending, rushing for last minute paperwork and the like. A few weeks ago, right around the time we got the news about the timeline, I was feeling really bogged down and pretty much just at the end of myself. I am so ready to be a mom, and at that point I really felt like motherhood just kept moving farther and farther away. So I reached out to some friends of ours for help and asked to have a meeting with a sister in Christ in our faith family who has walked a path with her husband very similar to what Adam and I are going through right now. We ended up meeting this past Sunday before church, and it was an incredible hour. I was able to really share my heart with her and voice some struggles (deep ones) that I have not really been able to talk about with many people. And the best part? She understood exactly what I was saying. I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to the Lord for allowing me to talk with this precious new friend, for prompting her heart to meet with me on a very personal matter when she did not even know who I was. As I was sharing with her, she reassured me that what I am feeling is OK, that she had struggled through the same things and reminding me that were are truly just in a season of waiting and that this season will not last forever. The power of hearing those things from the mouth of someone who has lived it...well...words fail me here. I left our time together feeling as though a weight had been lifted from me and with a very fresh reminder of Who our God really is.

I met up with Adam right away and we went to the 11 o'clock service at our church. Our pastor is currently teaching on the Book of Revelation. Heavy stuff. This Sunday, we covered chapters 4-5. And God is so sovereign here (everywhere really, but especially here). Those chapters are a picture of what Heaven will look like when we all get there. God at the center, cloaked in glory, surrounded by the saints and angels and everyone, at all times, falling down and praising His name, giving Him the glory that He is due. And then Jesus arrives on the scene. The Slain Lamb of God and the Risen Lion. The only One who can take away the sins of the world. And He did. He does.

I am not super familiar with Revelation, and this picture of God the Father and God the Son on the throne surrounded by all of creation worshipping Them together has really stuck with me. I cannot get it out of my head. I think it is because this scene shows us the Lord as He is meant to be seen. A lot of times (I know this is true for me at least), it is easy to forget Who God really and truly is. It is easy to take Him almost casually. My friend LC put it really well: "Sometimes I think we feel like we are praying to the corner of the room instead of the God of universe." I think she hit it on the head. I do forget Who God is when I pray or when I sing to Him. And that is dangerous. And I think that is what God has been placing so firmly in my heart since Sunday. That He is God. He is Who He says He is. God has allowed this truth to just wash over me this week. There is no other way for me to describe it. You know what I mean. When you are in the ocean and the waves keep coming and coming and just covering you. That is what God is doing. He is covering me with this realization, this revelation that when I pray, I am praying to the One on the throne. The One who gave me the ability to speak, the One who sustains my life. And this same One, He loves me. And this One on the throne is the One who holds my very life, including our adoption, in His hands. Oh. My. Gracious. That is such an incredible, awe-inspiring, humbling truth. When I see God like this, when I look at Him like this, the way He is supposed to be seen, I see that I have nothing to fear. No reason whatsoever to be afraid. In fact, I have great reason to rejoice. The King and Lord of all is sovereign over our life and the lives of our children.

I see the saints and the angels and all of creation in Revelation 4-5 surrounding God and praising His name, and I want to be there! I want that to be my job! I mean, seriously. I think about that day, and I am overcome with such joy. But then I realized something. I don't have to wait for that day. Yes, I have to wait to see God face to face, but I do not have to wait to worship Him and proclaim His holiness. I can do that now. And so this week, I have been listening (virtually nonstop) to one of the songs we sang in church this week. I put it on a CD and play it on my way to and from work and to meet Adam at the park to run. I have been listening to it so much that when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I am singing it in my head as soon as I am conscious. That is serious. I want to always have God's holiness on my mind and in my heart. I want to see Him in my life. The song is called "Holy" and it is by Matt Redman (listen to it here). Listen to it and pay close attention to the lyrics, especially compared with the text from Revelation. Let it wash over you. I know it is hard to give up pretense and churchy routine, but God is so much bigger than that. He is the Most High and the Most Worthy, and He deserves all of our praise for all of our lives and all of eternity. This is what we will be singing at the tops of our lungs forever and ever. And I cannot wait.

So I hope that made sense. Sorry if it did not, but the Lord has just been revealing Himself to me in an incredible way this week. I feel like my eyes have been opened, and if this is any indication of what He is going to do while we wait to bring our little one home, then I am ready for the upcoming months.

"Day and night they never stop saying 'Holy, holy holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.' Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say, 'You are worthy, our Lord God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.'" Revelation 4:8-11

"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them saying, 'To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever.'" Revelation 5:13


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Adios, Paperwork. Hola, Waiting.

So our complete, whole, totally finished dossier is officially in the mail! It should arrive in Ethiopia in approximately four weeks. I know that might seem like a long time, but it is not going straight there. Our little dossier will make several stops along the way. Right now it is on its way to Utah to our placing agency, West Sands Adoption. Once it has been approved by West Sands, it will take a little trip to Washington D.C. While in D.C. it will stop by the Ethiopian Embassy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (I might actually be the State Department...not sure) for approval. After spending some time in D.C. it will head back to West Sands, and then finally hop the pond and land in Ethiopia safe and sound. So, when you realize how many different steps are involved, four weeks really does not seem like too terribly long.

Of course, Adam and I are beyond excited to be at this stage of the process. I still can't fully believe that we have sent our dossier off. Now we just wait. Hopefully, our dossier will arrive in Ethiopia in September. As soon as it arrives, we will be placed on the waiting list (oh my!). Even though we will be officially on the list as soon as our paperwork gets there, we will not get our first official waiting list number until the first week of October. Our agency does waiting list updates at the beginning of each month, so we will be waiting anxiously, staring at our phones and obsessively checking our email during that first week of October. :) And we will update you all with our numbers as we get them.

I know I just said it, but I really can't believe we are here. We are about to be a waiting family. What a blessing; what a sweet relief. Thank you, Lord, for bringing us to this point. Use this time to grow our faith in You. 


P.S. We got one more surprise later in the day today. We received notice of our biometric fingerprint appointments from USCIS! This is happening!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Old Song

The adoption roller coaster really does go up and down...a lot. We have been worried for the last several days that our state police clearance would not arrive in time for us to make the September 1 deadline for filing our dossier without prior immigration approval. I really let this worry just gnaw away at me; apparently I am getting really good at letting things get to me. I know I need to work on that. So that was the roller coaster dipping down. If we did not get our police clearance in by September 1, then we would have to wait to be cleared by USCIS (probably an additional two months) before we could even be placed on the waiting list. So over the weekend, I was doing a fabulous job of fretting over this. Thankfully, Adam and I were visiting his mom and her new husband. My mother-in-law is an enormous blessing that I inherited when I married my sweet husband. I know people love to joke about how difficult mothers-in-law are, but that is a conversation I literally cannot participate in. My mother-in-law is one of the sweetest and most God-fearing women I know. I love her. I love knowing that our kids will have her to look up to and spend time with. She is such a steady force in my life, and, as usual, she was there for me this weekend. I was sharing with her some of the things that Adam and I have been struggling with lately regarding our adoption and also just life in general. And she was full of Godly advice and wisdom for me. She reminded me that God is who He says He is and He will do what brings Him glory and is for our good. We laughed and we cried, and she made me feel so much better.

After talking with her, I went outside for some time alone with the Lord. Adam grew up on a farm, so I was surrounded by a LOT of open space and a LOT of cows. I was grateful for the open space, but the cows were all staring at me (making city girl over here a little nervous). I was praying that the Lord would just calm my heart and fill me with His peace. I told Him that I needed Him to do this for me, because it was glaringly obvious that I could not do it for myself. I told Him that I felt like my prayers were being answered with silence, and finally, I asked Him to just say something, anything. To be totally honest here, I was half-expecting God to straight up thunder out of the sky and tell me that everything was going to be wonderful. Alas, that did not happen.

We ate dinner with the in-laws and then packed up to head home. By the time we got in the car, I was more or less and emotional wreck. As a side note, this is something adoption will do to you. The whole thing is such an overwhelmingly emotional experience, and while that is a good and beautiful thing, it can really take toll on your heart. Simply because you are just trying to get to your baby, the baby God created for you to love, and there are days when the process seems to move at a snail's pace. So it is a good thing to be emotionally invested, but there are days when it just wears a girl out. Anyway, we were in the car with our pup, heading back home, and I, of course, am starting to cry. So Adam puts in a CD. One of my favorites, but one I have not heard in a long time. Any Third Day fans out there? For the first few miles, I was just crying, but around the time I tuned in, this is the song that came on: 

Thought that I was all alone
Broken and afraid
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me

And I didn't even know
That I had lost my way
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me

'Til You opened up my eyes
I never knew
That I couldn't ever make it
Without You

Even though the journey's long
And I know the road is hard
Well, the One who's gone before me
He will help me carry on
After all that I've been through
Now I realize the truth
That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

As I travel on the road
That You have lead me down
You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me
I have need for nothing more
Oh, now that I have found
That You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me

I confess from time to time
I lose my way
But You are always there
To bring me back again

Sometimes I think of where it is I've come from
And the things I've left behind
But of all I've had, what I possessed
Nothing can quite compare
With what's in front of me
With what's in front of me

Even though the journey's long
And I know the road is hard
Well, the One who's gone before me
He will help me carry on
After all that I've been through
Now I realize the truth
That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

The song is called "Mountain of God." I have known it for years, but I am now officially claiming it as our adoption song. It is perfect. Remember when I asked God to just say something? Well, He did not thunder out of the sky, but He sure boomed out of the speakers in our tiny little Eclipse. The Biblical truth behind the words of this song shot straight into my heart, and it is there to stay. It is SO ridiculously easy to become overwhelmed with everything that goes in to an international adoption, but I have to remember that God, my gracious and loving Heavenly Father, has gone before me. He has gone before me, and somehow, He simultaneously goes with me. He is with me, with us, right now. I can rest in that glorious truth. 

So as we were buzzing up 65 back home, I slowly stopped crying, and a peace settled on me. A peace that I absolutely know came from the Lord. And I was reminded (yet again) that He loves us, and He loves our precious little one, and He only wants and plans the best for us. So while it feels like things are crawling sometimes, I know that we are right in His hands, His beautiful, nail-scarred hands. I asked for His peace, and He gave it to me. I asked Him to speak, and He did. This is the God we serve. 

As far as the adoption roller coaster goes, that was a HUGE up. Now, normally after an up there is a down. Such was not the case for us this week. Why? Because our state police clearance letters came in yesterday!! That means our paperwork will be submitted in time to meet the September 1 deadline for filing without USCIS approval. Woot! I FedExed our letters to Kentucky this afternoon, so our dossier will hopefully be sent off soon, and then we can start the waiting list countdown. Smile. 

The Knotts have been getting quite the spiritual workout lately. And while it is difficult in the midst, we know it is for our good and God's glory in the long run. Thank you so much for keeping up with our story and for praying for us and we walk this road. As you can tell, there are rough days and awesome days, but we are so honored to be on this path, and we cannot wait to reach the end and have our little bird home with us for good! 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Day of Good Things (yay!)

As the title suggests, today was a day in which good things happened. And before I go into any details, I first have to thank God for today, because I know that the blessings that came my way today were straight from Him. I asked (ok, begged), and He answered. For that, I am so grateful. If you have been reading along with us, then you know that the last few weeks have been difficult. Yesterday, I told my husband, "I just need something good to happen relating to our adoption." And today, I got TWO good somethings. :)

First, our dossier arrived at the Lifeline office in Kentucky! And let me pause to give an enormous shout out to the incredible Ethiopia staff at the Kentucky office. These wonderful people have been so patient with me and have helped us so much throughout this process so far. I am so grateful to the Lord that He created and placed such wonderful God-seeking people in this office, because I am sure they deal with some crazies (like me, for example) on a regular basis. Anyway, I got an email this morning that our dossier had arrived safe and sound (BIG sigh of relief). Shortly thereafter, my phone rang, and it was a KY area code. I knew it was Lifeline, but I was in a meeting at work. With great pain and a lot of self-control, I did not answer (didn't want to be rude to the person giving our professional development at work today). But then the voicemail rang in. And the little notification was staring at me, taunting me. I lasted about thirty more minutes, all the while wondering which critical piece of paper I had forgotten to include. I managed to sneak out when there was a lull. I called our Ethiopia representative...voicemail! Ahh! So, I left her a message. We finally got in touch, and...our dossier is perfect! Nothing is missing; everything is in order. Wahooo!!! The only problem was that I accidentally sent two copies of our marriage license instead of just one. I guess I wanted the judge in Ethiopia to know that Adam and I seriously married. :) So that was blessing number one today. Now all we have to do is wait for our state police clearance to come in, and our dossier will be 100% complete and on its way across the Atlantic.

I am super excited about blessing number two. There is a retreat held twice a year in the Atlanta area for adoptive/adopting women. It is called Created for Care. I have been reading about it online for a long time, and I have read several blog posts about the retreat by women who have gone. Well, my mom and I are going together this coming year, and I am so, so, so excited that I will not only get to go and meet other women who are walking this same path, but that I will get to share this incredible experience with my mom, a woman who will be such an important figure in the life of our little one. This is such a big blessing for me, especially right now. With the timeline increasing for our adoption and the uncertainty of when we will get to bring our little bird home, it is SO nice to have something actually on the calendar that is adoption related.

Today is the kind of day where I am reminded that the Lord knows us so much better than we know ourselves, and I am so grateful that I serve a God who knows me and loves me right where I am.

"You have searched me Lord, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all of my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and You lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." Psalm 139:1-6


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bye Bye, Dossier

Today was the day. I mailed our dossier (unintentional rhyme). We have worked for a loooong time on the paperwork for our dossier--getting things signed, getting things notarized, going to the doctor, contacting our insurance company, asking for reference letters, finding old tax returns, copying passports, getting new passport photos, writing a letter (maximum one ridiculous!) explaining why we want to adopt from Ethiopia, getting certified copies of birth certificates and our marriage license...Well, you get the idea. I was nervous to even put it in the mail. On more than one occasion I tried to rationalize driving to Kentucky to drop it off in person. But I went to FedEx today and boldly asked for an envelope and put all of that hard work (original copies!!!) in the mail.
                                                                   Our life on paper
                                                                       Bye Bye, Dossier!

The woman who helped me was so, so sweet. She asked me if I wanted to place a monetary value on the parcel. I responded, "Priceless." She gave me a funny look, and I quickly explained that we are adopting from Ethiopia and what the parcel actually was. As soon as I explained it, she was all smiles and said, "Well, that is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard." And she was RIGHT! And not because Adam and I are beautiful, but because God is. He is perfectly beautiful, and adoption is a beautiful picture of the Gospel, of what Jesus Christ did for us by willingly laying down His own life so that we could spend an eternity with our Heavenly Father, the One who created us and the One who loves us unconditionally.

So today was another step closer to our little baby bird. And while I am anxious about all of that paperwork being out of my sight (you know I am calling Lifeline tomorrow to make sure it got there), I know that the Lord is in control, and He is bringing us ever closer to our little one.

Please pray that our dossier is in working order and that the one piece we are missing (state police clearances for both of us) arrives soon so that we can send everything off to Ethiopia.

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8


Friday, August 10, 2012

We Made It

I am heading back to work on Monday, and I cannot believe that today is that last real day of my summer break. More than that, I cannot believe that the paper chase of 2012 is over. We filed with immigration today and will (hopefully) be mailing our dossier tomorrow. Wow. It is a crazy feeling to even be typing those words. When we started this whole process, terms like "dossier" and "USCIS filing" seemed so incredibly far away, yet here we are. We have made it through the interviews, the home inspection, the paper gathering, the reference letters, the birth and marriage certificates, the autobiographies, the classes, the online trainings, the readings, the hundreds of copies of everything. We made it!

But we did not make it alone. Adam and I both know, beyond all doubt or second-guessing, that the Lord has been with us, right next to us, for every little step we have taken since April 10 when we first applied to Lifeline's Ethiopia program. It is unreal to think that it is four months to the day since we began our adoption journey, this beautiful that path that will ultimately lead us to our precious child. In some ways it seems like we have been on this ride forever, and in others it really feels like we have just started. But when we look back at all of the progress we have made over the past four months, one thing we know for sure is that God's hand has been (and will continue to be) all over this.

As we enter into this time of waiting--only waiting--it is my prayer that God will reveal Himself to us in ways we have not yet experienced. I imagine that these months of waiting will be both exciting and difficult. We have reached the point where there is quite literally nothing else we can do, which relieves me and fills me with anxiety at the same time. I am relieved because I know I have done every little thing that has been asked of my by our agency, our government and the Ethiopian government. We have jumped through every hoop, and our legs are tired! But I am also feeling anxious, because, up until this point, we have had some control over our timeline. We could determine the speed of the home study and the assembling of our dossier, but now, it is all in someone else's hands. And I don't know that someone, which is probably pretty lucky for that person because we all know I would be calling and emailing like a crazy person everyday to see how things are going. :) Anyway, I think that this is the part of adopting that will grow our faith exponentially. And to that I say: Bring it.

I am ready to know my God more personally. To love Him more fully. To trust Him more deeply. I don't always do a great job at these things, and I believe that the Lord is going to use this time of waiting to mold me. And I know that the molding process is not always pleasant. In fact, there are days when it is just plain old painful. But God is always right there, and He always has a purpose. And right here, I am reminded of a story that my mom used to tell me when I was younger.

A husband and wife were on vacation together in a small town and were passing the day looking inside various antique stores. The wife loved antiques and was hoping to find something beautiful to commemorate their trip together. They stopped at an old store and began to browse around. The husband found the most beautiful hand-painted teacup he had ever seen and immediately knew his wife would love it. He called her over. She did love the teacup with its dainty handle and beautifully painted flowers, and right as she was about to pick it up, the teacup turned to them and spoke, "You know, I haven't always been this beautiful." Needless to say, the couple was startled. "What do you mean?" asked the wife. "Well, I started out as just a lump of clay. Pretty ugly, actually. And I just sat for a long time on a table at the Master's house. He seemed to have a plan for me, so I waited to see what He was going to do. One day, He grabbed me and started kneading me, reshaping me over and over again. It hurt so much that I cried. I wanted Him to stop because the pain was unbearable, but He just kept going. As He was kneading me, He kept saying that I was going to be something beautiful, something spectacular. Finally, He finished molding me and set me down on a table. I realized that I was a teacup. I know teacup are useful, but I certainly wasn't beautiful. I was just ugly clay in the shape of a teacup. Like I said, useful, but nothing spectacular like He promised. Regardless, I was happy that I wasn't in pain anymore. He left me on the table for the night, and I woke up the next morning to Him stoking the furnace. I watched Him, wondering what was going on. Then, when the fire was good and hot, the Master walked over to me and picked me up. "This is going to be the worst part," He said, "But don't worry; I have plans for you, and you will be beautiful." Then He set me down on a tray and slid me in to the furnace. I was scared, and I felt like I was being burned alive. The fire kept getting hotter and hotter. I couldn't stand it. And the whole time I was in there, I could see the Master watching me, tending to the fire. He never left, but He didn't take me out. I begged Him to make it stop, but He didn't. I didn't understand why He was letting this happen to me, how He could just sit there and watch me burn up in this furnace. Time kept passing and the fire never died down, but I started to notice something. I was getting harder, more durable. Before the furnace, you could just pinch me, and I would change shape. Not any more. Finally, He took me out, and I began to cool down. I couldn't believe I was still alive. The Master let me cool over night, but He was back the next morning. He picked me up right away and told me that He was almost finished. I couldn't even begin to imagine what would be coming next after the molding and the furnace. I was scared. Of course, I wanted to be beautiful, but I didn't want to hurt anymore. The Master walked me over to the other side of the room. He picked up a paintbrush and began to paint me. He painted my beautiful flowers, taking time to make sure each brushstroke was just right. And after a long time, He set me down in front of a mirror. And what I saw when I looked in that mirror is what you see today, a strong and beautiful teacup. The Master had taken me, just an ugly lump of clay, and He had made me beautiful. It was so hard and so very painful, and there were a lot of moments when I wanted Him to stop. But if He had stopped, I never would have become what I am today, and this is what I was created to be." The man and his wife were amazed by the little teacup's story, so they decided to purchase the cup and bring her home. Now she sits on their mantle as a reminder of God's love and purpose in their lives, even during the hardest times. 

I have always loved that story. We are the teacup! You are the teacup! Our gracious God, the Master, takes us and He molds us and strengthens us until we are stronger and more beautiful than we ever could have been on our own. Yes, the molding process and the strengthening process can hurt, but we are never alone. God is right there with us. I am going to keep this beautiful story in mind as we enter the waiting process. I know that there will be (already have been) days when I feel like it is all just too much, but we have to remember that nothing, absolutely nothing, in our lives is outside of God's perfect plan for us. So even in the midst of the hard days, I can rest in my good and perfect God. I can trust Him and know that I am right in the Master's hand. And I know that at the end of this adoption process, Adam and I will be stronger and more beautiful than we were when we went in, and none of that will be our doing.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion, therefore, I will wait for Him." Lamentations 3:22-24


Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's OK To Feel This Way

So, I am feeling the need for a little honesty time. Not that I have been dishonest, but I do want to share a little bit about what my heart has been feeling over the last few days, mostly because I think it is important to be very transparent during this adoption process so that others who are adopting or contemplating adopting will know that we are not above the hurt and frustration that sometimes accompanies international adoption and that there are going to be things that hurt and frustrate along the way and that it is OK to feel these things.

As you know from our last post, we are at the end of our home study (Praise the Lord!), which is an enormous step. I also mentioned in our last post that the wait time for adopting from Ethiopia has increased. When we began the process, the average wait for a referral (adoption lingo for being matched with your child) was 6-9 months; now, however, the wait has increased to 11-12 months. And if I am 100% honest, this news has really upset me. I know that there will be some people who think, "That's just a few months. What's the big deal?"And it is just a few months, but when you are waiting for your child, your baby, to come home, every day of waiting is forever long. Every day is one more day that your child lives without you and you without them.

I think the reason that this news has shaken me so much is that I was totally mentally ready for the initial time frame. Even if it took the full nine months to be matched, I was ready. That, coupled with timing of this news makes it difficult. What I mean by that is we are on the brink of being a "waiting family," a family who has done all of the paperwork and is now just waiting for a phone call with good news. And right as we are about to enter into our time of waiting, we find out that the wait is going to be longer.

I tried so hard to be strong and just say, "Well, that's international adoption for you!" I tried, but I have failed. Adam and I were apart when we got the email with the updated time frame, and I am sure he was up here in Birmingham thinking, "Please don't let her read it! Please don't let her read it!" I held it together OK-ish until I got back to Adam, and then I let it out. Poor fellow. I cried and cried about how unfair it was (very mature, right?) and about how the timing couldn't be worse and how tired I am of waiting to be a mom. And the truth is, while I know that everything will work out exactly as the Lord intends, I do feel these things right now. I feel like it is unfair, and I feel like the timing is terrible and I am so, so, so incredibly tired of waiting to be a mom. And as I wrestle through these feelings and the random tears in movie theaters, restaurants and our home, I realize that it is OK to feel these things, as long as I don't only ever feel this way.

I believe it is OK for me to be sad right now as long as I remember that all of this is happening in God's perfectly beautiful timing. I believe it is OK for me to be tired of waiting, as long as I remember that I am waiting on the precious child He has planned for us. There have been lots of tears, but I know that there will not only ever be tears. There will be rejoicing. There will be love. There will be laughing. There will be a beautiful child sleeping in the room I am sitting in right now. Just not yet.

So if you are adopting and waiting on your precious one, or thinking about adopting, or really just waiting on anything that you feel is loooooooong overdue, please take comfort in the profound truth that absolutely nothing in this world takes place outside of the Lord's perfect timing. He has not forgotten about me, and He has most certainly not forgotten about you.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11


Friday, August 3, 2012

Back In The Game!

After two weeks of being on the move, we are finally back in the game! God has been doing so many wonderful things in our lives over the last two weeks, so bear with me if this post is a little longer than usual.

Two weeks ago today, we left Birmingham to head down to Honduras for 7 days. My family has been working with a children's home in Honduras since 2002, and we always love getting to spend time with  our sweet Honduran family. This year, we did a pretty intense Bible study of the book of James with the older boys and girls and the girls from a special project called Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd). The focus of the study was on persevering through trials and having actions in our lives that match up with the faith we claim to have. I always get a little nervous going into these Bible studies, mostly because the entire thing is in Spanish, and I get worried that I will not know all the right words or that someone will ask a question that I do not completely understand. God is so good, though, and He was definitely right there in the room with us, smashing the language barrier and allowing some true learning and understanding to take place. I know that we are the ones going down to do the teaching, but I am always so blown away and truly humbled by what the Lord teaches me in the midst of me trying to teach others. We really tried to focus on the truth and importance of the Gospel and what Christ did for each of us on the cross, because that is the first step that we have to take before we can even begin have a relationship with God and understand what He asks of us. While preparing the study, God revealed more of His beautiful self to me, and I am trying now to live in the light of what I have learned. Spending time in the Word with our precious Honduran sisters was such a beautiful thing and an incredible picture of God's goodness and love for all the people in this world. He loves each of us, no matter our origin, language or circumstance. He loves us, loves you, just as you are.
                                     Buen Pastor girls with us on the last day of our Bible study

We also had a construction project going on during our week in Honduras. And when I say "we," I mean the super strong menfolk in our group. The construction project took place at another one of the children's home projects called Misericordia (Mercy House), a home for girls with special needs. As you can imagine, it is rather warm and toasty down in Honduras, and in the summer, it is alost too hot to even be outside. So, the assignment for the week was to build an outdoor shaded area for the girls to play in while still being protected from the sun. To help make the area even more welcoming and calming, the ladies from our group painted the walls with flowers and trees. It was a lot of hard work (mostly for the men), but the end result was beautiful, and the Misericordia girls absolutely loved it.

                                                     Some of the new artwork on the walls
                                                            The "kiosko" in progress
                                                 Some of our guys with their handiwork
                                      And some very happy girls already enjoying the shade

It was an incredible week, and I know that the Lord moved in a lot of people's hearts as His Word was shared with the children He loves so much. Scripture promises us that when God's Word goes out, it never comes back empty, and this week was a perfect picture of that truth. Here are some more photos of some of God's most beautiful creation and most precious children.
                                                    Beautiful Honduran mountain view
                                                 Adam, Baylor, LC, Bob, Ashley, Chris
                                                              Hermanas with Henri
                                                       Escarlet, Candy, Ashley, Jeny
                                                            Adam, Marcos, Baylor
                   Buen Pastor girls singing the most beautiful song at the anniversary celebration
                                                         The Brewsters with Sarai
                                                   Adam and Baylor with Yolanda
                       Alphabet wall for Escuela Jery (a special needs school within the children's home)
                                    Boys from the farm singing at the anniversary celebration
                                                Little Gabby taking care of a sweet friend
                                              Honduras sunsets are in a class of their own.
                                                          Truly a beautiful country
                                                         Adam and Amilcar, old friends
                                                       LC and Pamela reading in English
                                                         View from the top of the bakery
                                            My sweet, beautiful, precious goddaughter, Daniela.

So as you can see, it was a quite a busy week! We got back to the U.S. on Saturday, July 28. Adam, Bob and LC left the next morning to head back to Alabama, and I stayed down in Florida with the fam for a few more days. It was so good to spend extra time with my family, especially because I probably won't be seeing them again until November. On Monday, we ran some errands and spent some time at my mom's store. I was also able to catch up with Leslie, my high school Bible study leader and one of my favorite people on the planet. Then, on Tuesday, mom, Christina and I packed it up and headed over to the West coast...of Florida. We spent a few days on Marco Island soaking up the sun, swimming, gathering seashells and parasailing...well, Christina and I went parasailing; Mother Dearest refused. Behold the photographic evidence of our adventure.

So after all of that, I finally arrived home last night and got right back to work on adoption stuff. Our social worker had completed our home study while we were gone, so when we got back to Florida from Honduras, we printed it out and reviewed it. Then we sent in our corrections, which were made right away, and today I dropped off our accuracy confirmation (a document which states that we approve of our home study) along with our second agency payment to Lifeline. This morning, I filled out our I600A form and sent it to our Ethiopia program representative for review; she got back to me right away that it looked good. So, hopefully on Monday I will be able to pick up the official notarized copy of our home study and we can file with immigration. Yikes! Once we do that, we wait to be cleared and then we can send our dossier off to Ethiopia. Wahoooooo!

In the midst of all of this end-of-paperwork excitement, we received an email from the Ethiopia program director for our agency that the wait time has increased from 6-9 months to 11-12 months. Obviously, this is not the kind of news we want to get, and, at first, it was a little tough. I think mostly because we were so close to being a waiting family and then to get the news that the wait will be even longer...well, that is just hard. But then I realized that, though it doesn't feel like it at all right now, nothing has actually changed. We are still going to be parents to the child that God has had planned for us all along. It's not like God is sitting up in heaven going, "Oh no! The Ethiopia program is growing. That really messes things up!" No, no. Thankfully, graciously, this has been part of God's plan all along; it is just new to us.

Still, we would ask for your prayers as we begin the true waiting process. We are about to enter into a time where there will not be any more forms to fill out or interviews to be done. And while this is somewhat of a relief, it also means that there will be absolutely nothing more we can do to get ourselves closer to our sweet little one. So, please, please pray for us, that God would use this time in our lives to grow our faith and trust in Him and that our sweet babe would be safe until we can get there.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...