Nov 7, 2010

Those who come along side us..

It wouldn’t be fitting to continue Hope’s story without introducing the Dollyhigh family. They’ve played a big role in her adoption story, and yet, we’ve never met them. When we were moving into our log home back in September of 2009, we decided that our white wicker furniture just wasn’t going to work in our new master bedroom. In the house on Baskins Circle, we had a beach themed master bedroom with large paintings of the beach, and white wicker furniture. Not exactly the rugged lodge look that a log home requires. I found all of our wicker furniture in second hand stores, and on craigslist. We found a “new to us” king size log furniture set that was perfect for our new mater bedroom at our new house. So, I listed our wicker furniture on craigslist.
I received a few calls on it, but one call in particular was a divine appointment. A lady called me asking if I’d be willing to split up the dressers as they couldn’t afford to purchase all of them. We began to talk and one thing led to another. We found that we both homeschooled our children, and I learned that her husband was a pastor of a small church about an hour away from where we lived. I happened to mention that we were in the process of adopting a little girl from Thailand, and that really was interesting to her. She confessed that she had been really praying about adoption, but had no idea where the money would come from to complete the adoption.
At that point, we believed we were close to travel. Of course, I had no idea we were still over a year away from actually bringing Hope home. However, I was able to share with Marianna how God had met our every need up until that point, and how I had every confidence that He was going to continue to do so.
Chris and I prayed about it, and decided that the wicker furniture needed to be given to this family as a blessing from the Lord. We were not at our old house the day they came to pick up the wicker furniture, so our neighbor had to show them the rurniture, and so we actually never met them.
Today, Trent Dollyhigh is landing in Atlanta with their son from Africa! They are bringing their daughter home shortly. Marianna will make the trip to bring their daughter home. They both went to appear in court and meet their children. They had to leave them in Africa while their paperwork was being processed. These children are not biological siblings, but God is much bigger than biology. We have been so blessed to be a part of their story, as they have been a part of ours!
We do plan to meet sometime soon. After the holidays and all the kiddos are home, and settled. God is so AMAZING!!

Oct 25, 2010

Our Journey to Hope!

Eph. 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,
We are traveling to Bangkok from Nov. 21-Dec. 03!
As many of you know, we have been on a journey to adopt a little girl from Thailand. She was left at the hospital when she was born by a young mother who said she couldn’t care for her. She has spent her entire life in an orphanage for children with disabilities, but attends a special school for children who are blind. God placed the call on our hearts to adopt her after we received an email about her a few years ago.
We praise God that we have reached the end of one part of our journey, and are preparing to make the trip to Bangkok, to bring our daughter home! Though we thought this time would come much sooner, we are thankful that God has been with us throughout the long months of waiting. Thailand is notorious for unexplained delays in the adoption process, and we are not the only family that has experienced such a long wait. In fact, there are 3 other families who have been waiting longer than we have, and they are not ready to travel yet. We continue to pray for them to stay strong as they wait. So, we are so thankful to have Hope home by Christmas!! What a wonderful Christmas present! God is so good!
We chose the name her “Hope” because it means “confident expectation”, and that sums up our prayer for this little girl as she joins our family. We continue to pray that she will have the peace of God as she makes this transition, and that it will be better than we can think or imagine. We pray that God has prepared her heart to know us as her parents just as an infant knows the sounds, smells, and comfort of its parents. We pray for total peace for her, for the boys, and for us as her parents. Most of all we pray for her salvation. We know that God is holding her heart in His hands. We pray that He will draw her to Himself and show her how much He loves her. We pray that you will join us in praying for her and for us as we bring her home.
Throughout this process, God has done wonders for us financially! There has never been a time that we have not had the money to pay a fee when it came due. As we prepare for this trip, it is the most costly part of the process. Airfare is running around $1,600 per ticket, and that is the bulk of the expense we are still trying to cover. We are planning to take Nick with us because we will need his help, and he wants to go. JC doesn’t want to go, and this works out well because we would have concerns about his health due to the smog, and danger of picking up another illness that could complicate his CF.
We have been blessed with the opportunity to raise funds through a matching grant program through a wonderful ministry called Lifesong for Orphans. We have a grant amount of $3,000, which means that every dollar we raise up to $3,000 is matched dollar for dollar. This gives us the opportunity to raise $6,000 for our adoption! All gifts are tax deductable, and every dollar counts! So, please prayerfully consider supporting us and helping us meet our goal!
Below are the details for how to contribute in a tax deductible way.

Lifesong for Orphans ( is a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to help meet the needs of orphan children around the world, and obey God’s call to “visit the fatherless…in their affliction” (James 1:27).
The number of children worldwide without families to love and care for them is astounding… there are over 1.5 million orphans in Eastern Europe alone!
God tells us in His word He has heard the cry of the orphaned and abandoned children (Psalm 10:17, 18) and He has made a way for them to be cared for – through adoption. As believers, He adopted us into His family through Jesus Christ, and did not leave us as spiritual orphans!
We believe adoption at its core is evangelism--a vital part of the Great Commission is bringing the mission field home. God desires orphans from all nations to be adopted into Christ-honoring families so they may ultimately be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ. God calls us to fulfill James 1:27, “visit the fatherless…” but not all are called to adopt. Some are called to pray, some to give financially, some to go on mission trips, and some to adopt.
Chris and Melissa have sensed God’s call . . . and have joyfully stepped out in faith and obedience to adopt Wanida from Thailand. As you may already know, international adoption can cost around $25,000 and prevents many godly families from adopting. We believe God has raised up the McMann family “for such a time as this…”. Lifesong has partnered with a local adoption ministry close to the McMann’s home called Promise686 ( to extend an Adoption Matching Grant of $3000. This grant will help raise the funds necessary to complete the adoption of this young girl. This means Promise686 partnered with Lifesong for Orphans will match “dollar-for-dollar” everything the McMann’s raise from their church, family, and friends between now and December 1, 2010, up to $3000. We invite you to support them financially to make this adoption possible. Your gift is tax deductible and you will receive a tax-deductible receipt. *100% of all funds raised will go directly to cover adoption costs--nothing will be taken out for administrative costs.Will you invest financially in the life of this little girl? . . . It will be an investment with eternal return.Questions?: contact Leah at 309-747-4517 or email her at
Online donations may be accepted through the Lifesong paypal account:
Check and Money Orders may be mailed to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St
Gridley, IL 61744
NOTE:***Please write “MCMANN 1515 ADOPTION” in the memo section of the check, so the funds will be properly credited.***

Aug 20, 2010

Play All

You might have to be visually impaired or just quirky brained like me to understand how God spoke to me today. I’ve really been struggling with fear regarding bringing *W* home. This process has been so long, and now things are moving so fast. Our agency was involved in the adoption of the Russian boy, whose adoptive “mom” put him on a plane back to Russia. She didn’t inform the agency, Russia, her local agency, or her social worker. She put this 8 year old boy on a plane, alone, with a note pinned to his jacket.

So, now parents of older children are required to watch a webinar specifically geared towards the adoption of older children. Along with that has been a thread on an email list for parents of older adopted children. The topic was discipline issues including hitting, screaming, kicking, pinching, and other issues associated with severe attachment disorders. I also spoke to a friend whose 9 year old little girl has been home for a little over a year. Her daughter has been acting out sexually, which would be indicative of some sort of abuse. All of this has added up to me thinking “WHAT HAVE WE DONE!!”

I have to confess that I have allowed this to rob me of sleep and create total panic in my heart. So, in my heart I also know that God is much greater than fear. Nor, is fear from God. He doesn’t send us fear, but power, love, and a sound mind. My mind has been far from sound these past few days. The stories and “worldly philosophies” are frightening and hopeless. I felt paralyzed and overwhelmed. I was lost in a sea of doubt: what if she acts like that?, how will it affect the boys?, how will it affect our marriage?, will I know what to do if she acts like that?, do I have the patience for that?. People already think we’re crazy.. Well, at least some people do anyway. So, is she going to come home and just confirm that? I have actually either cried, or sat frozen with fear, for the past few days.

Nothing like selling God short after all this time. I’m really good about talking my way out of how God has worked in this process and twisting the whole thing around in my head. I can convince myself that we have a pretty “dramatic” story. Mom is visually impaired, oldest kiddo has CF, adopting a blind child, it stands to reason that we would get a grant from Show Hope.. I can go on and on like this.. The point is that I can tell myself that maybe I totally missed it. That maybe God was trying to get us to go the opposite direction.

God and I have always had this “bargain”. Despite the fact that I’ve been legally blind my entire life, I still lose stuff all the time. Often, I say out loud.. “Lord, please show me where my….is.” Sure enough, whatever it is, always shows up shortly thereafter. When I get into these panicky moods, I like to watch old “happy” tv shows. Sort of lightens my mood. So, this morning I put in a disc from season 1 of The Andy Griffith Show. I can’t see the menu, so I just pushed play. Something immediately popped into my mind.. I thought that perhaps the “play all” button wasn’t first on the list. So, I figured I should put the menu back on and have Chris check. It turns out that the “play all” selection was the very last one. Now, I know this may sound very strange to some of you, but I felt God say in my heart “If I can take care of this, so you can watch this DVD without a problem, I think you can depend on Me in this adoption”. Play all.. God didn’t intend for us to get half way, or even 9/10 of the way through this adoption. He wants us to select “play all” and finish with courage and faith. We are praying and believing that God will give her peace and help her bond with us. We love her, but we know God loves her even more. The journey continues, and what a grace and mercy filled journey it has been!

Aug 8, 2010

Out of the Ashes, Beauty Will Rise!

So, it’s really happening now. Our lives are changing forever. It’s a change that will make us a family of 5, and make Chris and me the parents of 3 kids! It will forever change the life of a little girl who has grown up never knowing the love of a family, or the safety and security of parents who love her unconditionally.

We aren’t looking at this situation through rose colored glasses though. We do realize that there will be challenges ahead. God doesn’t promise us that life will be free of problems. He only promises that He will be there to walk with us through the problems. God has carried us the entire way through this process despite how difficult it has been. The waiting has been long, the paperwork has been ridiculous, and the overall stress has been crushing at times. However, God has been with us, and carried us through the process. He has made a way in the most difficult of circumstances. The money has been there whenever it has been needed, and every obligation has been met. The long months that have turned to years, have been heartbreaking, but we have always had peace that God was in control. That is something that is priceless.

As we wind down this process and prepare for our daughter’s homecoming, I’m reminded of some past emotions that I have not dealt with. I really thought I had dealt with all the anger I had towards Chris’s family, but I obviously have not.

Chris was given up for adoption by a teenage mother, and was adopted by his adoptive parents when he was 10 months old. His adoptive father divorced his adoptive mother when Chris was 18 months old, and has had very little to do with Chris ever since. Chris hasn’t seen him since he was about 15 years old. His adoptive mother was mentally and physically ill all during his childhood. They had very little money, and Chris often went without essentials like food. His mother was verbally abusive, and very controlling. She was ugly and hateful, and very self serving. She made the lives of everyone around her miserable.

To make matter worse for Chris, his mother’s sister, brother, and parents expected him to bare the brunt of the responsibility for his mother’s care. Her uncontrolled diabetes led to her having her leg amputated, and months in and out of the hospital. Chris bore the brunt of her care, both at home and in the hospital. He was responsible for going to work, school, and caring for her. She refused to follow doctor’s orders, so her health only worsened.

After Chris and I met, her control became more bizarre and excessive. She would face illness, and make ridiculous and unreasonable demands . She made every attempt to break us up by calling me every name in the book. She told our entire church that I was trying to get Chris to sleep with me before we were married. She told me that if Chris and I ever did marry, we would surely end up divorcing. I still carry the pain of some of those professions to this day. What was supposed to be a very joyful time for us, was, in reality, a nightmare.

As we prepared for our wedding, Chris’s aunt joined in the cause of the nightmare. She felt that, if we married, the responsibility for Chris’s mother (her sister) would fall on her and her husband. This was something she definitely didn’t want. She would have rather seen Chris sacrifice his life and future to ensure that she was not stuck with any responsibilities that she didn’t want. She made her feeling about our marriage quite clear. She was the most miserable person you would have ever wanted to meet on our wedding day. So much so, that her husband actually apologized to me, saying she is just worried about who was going to care for Chris’s mom now. They are all fortunate we didn’t just tell them where they could shove it, and disappear off the face of the earth, after the wedding.
Chris’s mother’s health deteriorated to the point that she ended up in a nursing home shortly after we were married. She died within about 5 years of our wedding. By that time, both the boys had been born, and we had been transferred to Georgia. When she became very ill, Chris was left to make all the decisions, and the family stepped back. We also were responsible for the funeral arrangements and costs. Once all the arrangements were made, then the family chipped in some money towards the costs. She had no life insurance, and no money whatsoever. We had to borrow money from my parents to pay for her funeral.
Since her death, Chris’s “family” has made no effort to keep in contact with him. They don’t even send him a card on his birthday. When we travel to Ohio, we call his aunt and uncle, and we usually meet them for dinner somewhere. They tell him he’s just like a son to them, but they don’t even send him a birthday card. We only see them because we initiate the visit. Now that my parents are selling their house in Ohio, we won’t be traveling back there anymore. So, I’m sure we will lose contact with them altogether.
Chris is fairly indifferent about the whole thing because he said he has always been treated different by the “family”. So, now that his mom is gone, their true feelings are just showing through. It makes me angry though. I just can’t imagine that anyone could treat my husband that way. They’ve missed the opportunity to get to know a wonderful man. His life wasn’t a mistake, and it wasn’t disposable. He wasn’t around just for the convenience of others. He did have a right to a life and a future. He should have been treated as if he were born into the family.
As parents, it is very important to both of us that our daughter be treated as just exactly that.. our daughter. We have already stressed that to everyone in the family. It is critical that she be treated no differently than the boys regarding gifts, and family privileges. Chris is the first one to say that she isn’t going to feel like the odd “man” out.

Part of what God is showing me right now, is that I have to forgive Chris’s family for the hurt that they caused us both all those years ago, and thank God for what it has taught me. We have learned so much of what not to do to an adopted child through the experiences that Chris went through growing up. God has used those painful experiences to mold us into the perfect parents for this sweet little girl that God has always planned to be our daughter. I pray that God will help me to forgive the hurt, and turn it into strength.

God has a marvelous way of turning the ashes of our lives into something beautiful!

Jul 19, 2010

Oh me of little faith!

There are times in our lives when we are given a glimpse of the reasons why we have to travel the rough roads, to get to where God wants us to go. This adoption has been. For us, a very rough road. It has been filled with frustration, doubt, and hardest of all, waiting. When God gives us a directive, and we proceed forward, despite what others may say, somehow we feel as though we are standing alone when God doesn’t seem to back us up as quickly as we, or our critics think He should. We begin to question whether we really did hear from the Lord, or if we somehow dreamed the entire thing up for selfish gain and impure motives.

That is where I was last week at this time. So unsure about what God was trying to tell me to do regarding the adoption. I felt very strongly, and Chris agreed, that we were not to update our home study, but why? It didn’t really make sense if I really thought about it. Was it worth the risk of losing her after all these months of waiting? What about those who had donated financially to help us bring her home? Didn’t we owe it to them to continue? Do whatever it takes to get her home? Lord, what are you trying to say here? I knew though, that He was speaking very clearly about this, and from past experience, I knew better than to be disobedient.

To make a long and extremely complicated situation very short, there was a critical error in our United States Immigration Adoption paperwork that no one had discovered. It enabled us to adopt a child, but not a child with special needs. *W* is blind, and has always been blind. When we went to file for permission to adopt her specifically, it would have been denied. This denial would have been catastrophic for our adoption process. It would have literally sent us back to square one. If I had not refused to update our home study, our adoption agency social worker wouldn’t have found the error. She discovered it when she was looking through our file and researching whether we needed to update or not.

Now, there is no question. We most certainly do have to update the homestudy to correct the error and add the special needs provision. Of course, we now know that God was prompting this so the error would be found, and the adoption could proceed without any delay. If we had just gone ahead and updated, the error would have not been discovered, our application would have been denied, and we would have been forced to start again.

The Lord knew that we would take that denial, if it had happened, as a closed door, and would not pursue the adoption any further. We would have taken it as a sign that God was closing the door. A perfect example of God not testing us beyond what we can stand. The other thing to consider here is, if her paperwork would have come any sooner, the application would have been denied because the initial immigration paperwork, with the error, was not ready to expire. So, no one would have even looked at it before it was sent in. Again, it would have been rejected and we would have been back to square one.

Aside from no error whatsoever, this is the best possible scenario. It involves the least amount of money for us, and will take very little time to correct. Thankfully, we have a new social worker at our agency who is very on top of things. She makes sure things get done right. She is very careful, and exact. She is wonderful!!

I can only say that God has His hands all over this process, and I am amazed and humbled at His grace and love for us and our daughter! May we never forget how God has been faithful through this entire process, and may it be a precious treasure to *W*. That she may know always that she was chosen, not just by us, but by God.

Jul 14, 2010

Fish or cut bait

After much prayer and struggle, we have made a difficult decision. We have decided not to renew our homstudy, which probably doesn’t mean much to some of you. We’ve already renewed our homestudy once, and we really don’t want to go through it again. The homestudy is a collection of documents including criminal background checks, medical history, drug tests, police clearances, 911 records, and home visits from a social worker. Most of the process is just paperwork and time consuming. The biggest issue we have with renewing it again is the cost. It runs about $1,300 for each renewal plus the processing of the background checks, etc. This is money we really need to pay for the trip to Thailand.
The part that is most frustrating for us, is that the paperwork we need from Thailand is probably sitting on someone’s desk, just being ignored. We feel that, as adoptive parents, we get no respect whatsoever, from Thailand. Who cares if the family has to spent thousands of extra dollars… Who cares if it takes years until we get the paperwork together fo the family to travel. After all, we’re giving them a child, right? Well, I’m fed up with the total disregard that the DSDW has for us and our feelings.
The bottom line is this.. Our USCIS I-800A approval expires in November. In order to renew it, we would need an updated homestudy. If we receive our “To Whom It May Concern Letter” and updated background, we can apply for our I-800 and we won’t need to update our homestudy. If we don’t receive those documents, and we don’t update our homestudy, our I-800A will expire. The bottom line is that we have waited 14 months for this paperwork, and if it doesn’t show up by the time our I-800A is due to expire, we are going to let it expire.
We have invested so much time, money, and emotional energy into this adoption, and it breaks my heart to think that it might end this way. However, we can’t and won’t keep going indefinitely. What was supposed to be a short process has turned into a nightmare. If God is in this, and if it is His will, then He will make it happen before the paperwork expires.
We are praying that God will open doors that no man can close, and close doors no man can open. It’s in God’s hands now. What a nightmare this process has been!! If I could say one thing to couples thinking of entering the Thai program, I would say…RUN!! Don’t do it!! Adopt from a country that actually wants to see the kids get into their adoptive homes. Either way, the journey will come to an end by the end of the year.

Jun 6, 2010

Trial by Fire.

JOB 23:10
But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.

The Lord brought this verse to my mind this week as I was reflecting on the long wait we’ve endured, and how I felt about it. I belong to an email support group for parents who are adopting from Thailand, so emails come in my inbox from people who are in all different phases of the adoption process. Honestly, when people join the group and introduce themselves, part of me wants to scream “Stop! Turn back! Don’t do it!” I want to tell them that the wait will be longer than they ever expected. That once you get attached to a child, there’s no turning back. I want to say that it may seem easy at the beginning, when you are busy with paperwork, but it becomes so much harder than you can imagine when the real waiting starts. Then I’m reminded of why we started this process in the first place…

The reality is, that God has called us to this adoption. God’s callings are not always easy, in fact, most often far from it. In the midst of this process, God is trying to teach me several things. First, it’s not all about me. The waiting has been hard…for me. I spent too much time focusing on how hard it was on me, and not enough time trusting God. The waiting is a time of testing, and I want to come out as pure as gold! I want to learn what God wants me to learn. I know I’ve fallen short so many times. Every time things looked grim, I fell apart just like an Israelite. Thankfully, God is forgiving and patient!

People ask us all the time if we will adopt from Thailand again (which is odd because we haven’t even retrieved #1 yet!). My first reaction to that question was…NO WAY!!.. God has really convicted me about that. All my reasons for saying “NEVER AGAIN” are totally selfish. They have to do with me not wanting to go through the wait and uncertainty again. Again, this brings me back to being willing to do whatever God asks me to do, no matter what. I’m not saying God is asking us to adopt again. I’m just saying that God is telling me not to rule anything out. Allow Him to be in charge, and all will work together for good.

In the mean time, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the realness of our daughter. I know it must sound so weird to those of you who have not adopted before, but there is this disconnect of sorts from the fact that we are dealing with a real child. So, I’m starting to buy clothes and toys, and things that make this feel more real to me. Even if it’s just garage Sale items that are inexpensive, that helps me feel more connected to her. We’re collecting books that make noise, and books that have textured pictures. I’m also collecting children’s read along books on tape and CD. All of these little projects help me stay focused, and give me something to do during this final stretch. Getting ready for her to come home sure helps make things feel a lot less like playing house!

May 28, 2010

Moving Forward...Now What??

We’re moving forward now, and while that’s so exciting, it’s frightening too. I guess that sounds strange to most of you. We’ve been in this state of limbo for so long where absolutely nothing was moving forward. It became very easy to sort of disconnect from the reality of the situation and get lost in the long months of waiting. When you get stuck in the quagmire of a lengthy adoption process, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the process, and forget about the product.

So, here we are actually moving forward! So, my thoughts start moving towards the practicalities of bringing *W* home, and the simple logistics that will be involved in our daily life. I use a guide dog for mobility. As far as we know, *W* has had no formal mobility training in Thailand. We plan to bring her a cane when we go get her. However, I haven’t quite worked out how we’re going to move from place to place effectively, as a family, yet. We’re taking a jog stroller to Thailand as well, because from what I’ve heard the streets are very dangerous and chaotic. People drive wildly, and we don’t want to lose her before we leave the country!

The boys and I have been visiting my parents at their home in Venice, Florida. We’ve been going to the beach, and swimming in the pool. We’ve also been shopping and going out to eat quite a bit. So, this again brings up the thought of how exactly are we going to pull this off smoothly once *W* gets here. I must admit that, at this moment, I’m not sure how it’s all going to work. I’m glad both my boys are older and don’t mind helping out. When I was her age, I went everywhere sighted guide, so that may be the option that works best until she gets older. She can hold onto carts in stores, and she can start using her cane in areas that will be easy for her to navigate. She’s still a tiny little thing, so we’ll use a stroller at times too.

Of course, our other big concern is her emotional well being during the transition time. I can’t imagine how hard it is for these kids to be uprooted from everything they’ve ever known. We see it as a life with no future, and it is that for certain. These kids don’t think in those terms though. They just think like every other child. They are used to their life as it is, and they are attached to those who care for them. The way these adoptions are handled make things very traumatic and difficult on the kids. We will essentially show up at the children’s home, be introduced to *W* as her parents, and we will leave with her. We may take her back to say goodbye one more time. Otherwise, that’s all there is to it. She will be prepared in advance for our arrival, but nothing can really prepare a child for the huge change that is about to come.

We are praying and believe that God will give her peace beyond understanding during this difficult time. We are praying that she will bond with us immediately, and that she will rest knowing that she is safe, protected and loved. We are praying for grace and love and patience as we undertake this next part of our lives. We will need wisdom and guidance as we love this little girl and lead her to Jesus.


May 23, 2010

The Good News!!

T have to apologize because you didn’t get the full story yesterday. I always write my blogs on Word then coy and paste them to Blogspot. Well, the entire blog didn’t make it, so you missed the best part! I can only assume that God intended for this news to have a blog entry all it’s own.
I had my hopes pinned on this trip that our agency was making to Thailand because we were waiting for specific paperwork from Thailand. To make it easy for you, so you aren’t bored to tears, don’t fall asleep, and so I don’t have to write a novel; I’m just going to number the steps. We were waiting for step one of 3. We received news on Thursday evening that Thailand basically skipped over step 1, went on to 2, and that will generate step 3. They will include the paperwork from step 1 with step 3. Our agency social workers were baffled by this sudden disregard for the order in which things “must” be done. Thailand NEVER does things out of order or in a combined manner as they have done in our case. This is confusing, but it is GOOD news! The cancellation of our agency’s trip in early June may work out perfectly for us. They will then be able to pick up all of our paperwork including our “To Whom it May Concern” letter. This is the last piece of paperwork we need from Thailand, before we travel. I’m not sure if I can stress enough how miraculous this is!!

May 22, 2010

Not for one minute....

I suppose that in the case of the violence in Bangkok, I was taking “if I ignore it, it will go away” approach. I’m sure, as I look back on it, I just couldn’t face that big of a challenge when we were so close. On Thursday morning, I opened my email and my whole world came crashing down around me. Simply stated.. the trip that I thought our adoption social workers were to make to Bangkok was cancelled indefinitely. It was at that point that I hit an emotional wall. That trip was supposed to be “the trip”. We were to receive paperwork from Thailand on the trip. Paperwork that we have been waiting an eternity for, and then some.
So, I called Chris looking for some support and sympathy, and he says. “I expected them to cancel their trip. Blah, blah, blah”. Not exactly what I was looking for babe, but thanks anyway. Now you have to realize that I didn’t want anyone to risk their lives, I was just so angry at the whole situation. I was angry at our agency for not putting more pressure on Thailand to get things done faster. I was angry at Thailand for taking so long. After all, she should have been here months ago, and then we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. I was angry at my husband for being too calm and together about the whole thing. Most of all though, I had finally “had I”t with God. Don’t bother going back to reread it, you read it correctly, and it’s not a mistake. How could He lit this happen now? Hadn’t we been put through enough?
I’m the sinner, and God is perfect, so that only leaves me with one option regarding who is at fault here… When we get angry with God, it’s hard to confront that issue, but it’s true. The Bible says “God is not a man, that He should lie”. So, God can’t lie. So, when I read in Romans that all things work together for good for those who love God, and are CALLED according to HIS purpose. That is true.
So, the conclusion I have to come to is that the cancelation of this trip will work for our GOOD. What He is showing me, during this process, is that I am not in charge. I put my faith in that trip. For me, it became our ticket to Thailand. God is laying this out for His glory. She is coming home by Christmas, I have no doubt. God is going to have to restore peace to an entire nation to make that happen.

May 17, 2010

Finally!! Some GOOD NEWS!!

We have received word from our agency that they expect our paperwork when they travel to Thailand the first week in June! We also have learned that we have been "officially approved" for adoption. This was a technicallity, but we'll take anything at this point. This is all good news because it means we're actually moving!!

This journey towards adoption has been the longest, and one of the hardest journeys we’ve every traveled. It has tested and stretched our faith in ways we never thought we could withstand, and it has taught us that God is really the only one in control of our lives. Those words are so easy to say, but living them day by day, when your child is on the other side of the world, is another story.
There were many times I envisioned myself as Jacob wrestling with the angel. Yet, deep inside I knew God had everything under control. I had an overwhelming peace that His timing was right, and He had a plan. I was more wrestling against the fact that I didn’t like that answer. I never once questioned His call for us to adopt, no matter the wait, or delays that came our way. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He had her in His arms and was holding her for us. I may never understand why we had to wait, but I know that I trust God, and I am firm in my conviction that this is our daughter and God has called us to be her parents.
Before I begin the next part, let me say that I am not suggesting that everyone should run out and adopt a child!! It is certainly not God’s call for everyone to do that, and I would not presume to know what God’s call is on anyone else’s life. I am certain, as is Chris, that it is God’s call on our lives. So, what I am about to say is meant to sort of back that up. This has become a passionate issue for, and it is something I believe in very strongly.
First, the Bible doesn’t make a definitive statement on adoption, either negative or positive. However, we are given several examples, in scripture of adoption. Moses is probably the one that comes to everyone’s mind firs,t when cases of Biblical adoption are discussed. He, of course, was adopted by the Princess. God used this situation to raise up a leader to lead His people out of Egyptian slavery. However, as I was researching I found that Esther was actually adopted by Mordecai. She later became Queen and saved God’s people, including Mordecai from the king’s evil henchman who was scheming to kill them all.
Then, of course we have Jesus and His relationship with His earthly father Joseph. Imagine having that job…raising God. Jesus was perfect, so the need for an earthy father wasn’t so much for Jesus’ benefit as much as ours. Could it be a model perhaps to show us how things should be? God Himself was adopted by an earthly father.
In the broader picture, there is the redemption story itself, and how we are all adopted by God. So, God seems to set an example for us that His heart is for the lost and broken. We are clearly told to spread the gospel to all the world, and God looks on the heart. So, does it seem possible that God might have an issue with white Christians who won’t adopt a child from another race? Do you think we might stand accountable one day for our kids having to have their own bedrooms and a closet full of clothes; when there is such overcrowding in orphanages, that kids basic nutritional needs are not met? Are we hypocritical when we tell women not to get abortions, yet refuse to adopt their babies?
I think the primary reason that people don’t adopt is FEAR. It may manifest itself in many different excuses, but the bottom line is fear. Where there is fear, there is a lack of faith because fear and faith can’t co-exist. Scripture is clear” God doesn’t give us fear”. So, if it doesn’t come from God, there’s only one other logical choice…Satan. Why would he be so interested in stopping Christians from adopting? Well, in theory this helps spread the gospel and Satan isn’t in the business of spreading the good news of Jesus. Also, these kids may grow up and adopt more kids, or become missionaries…This could spin out of control very quickly.
Fear can range from financial concerns regarding the costs associated with adoption, to the unfamiliarity of what you may end up with in the end. The financial part is one of those things that is part of the walk of faith. We have seen God provide for every expense along the way, exactly when the money was needed. When we looked at the “big picture” it seemed far to large for us! With God all things are possible! We have received donations, had a fund raiser garage sale, rented out our pop up camper, and been blessed with a grant from Show Hope!
The other issues regarding behavior challenges, health issues, mental issues, and racial issues, there are a lot of fear related excuse that people hide behind. I find it very interesting that people want a guarantee that nothing will go wrong in adoption that they could never get when they have their own children. Yet, because they can’t get some sort of security they use that as an excuse not to adopt. We all want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy, well adjusted adults. Most of all though, I want my children to love God first, and in today’s world, that may mean they aren’t so well adjusted, according to the world’s standards. God gives us no guarantees, not even our next breath. I am guaranteed that He will not give me more than I can handle, and I’m never alone.
So, does that make the horror stories irrelevant? No, it did not make the horror stories irrelevant for us as we made our decision to adopt. What it did was made prayer very much more relevant. It also made the success stories so encouraging! We read books, took the internet classes, and listened to our social worker talk about the “what ifs”. Again, God is calling the shots here, and we are fervently praying for our daughter to have incredible pace as we bring her home. We are asking God for the impossible, and expecting it. We are not looking for the worst, because we believe that’s what we’ll get. “He is able to do exceedingly above all that we could ever ask or imagine”!

As we’re wrapping things up and preparing to travel sometime in the next 6 months or so, God keeps bringing these lyrics to my mind: “I have leaned on the wisdom of men, oh Lord, forgive me. And I have responded to them instead of Your grace and Your mercy”. As we work through the process of becoming a family of 5, I do expect that we will have days that will cause us pain. Life isn’t easy and bring our daughter home isn’t going to be the magic pill that’s going to make everything just fabulous. There will be days that it will all fall apart. She will hurt and miss her life in Thailand. As her family, we will hurt for her. There will be days when I will lose it and wonder if I had a long lapse of sanity when I signed up for this. However, that’s no different than how I felt after both boys were born, and after I took my first teaching job. When JC was born, we heard every horror story about CF aht there was to hear, but God has written JC’s story. Her story will be written by God as well, and it will be rough at times. We just have to remember who is here with us and who has called us in the first place. I want to know, when it’s all said and done, that I did whatever God asked me to do… no matter how difficult it was. After all, He died for me.
Most of all, I want this child to know God. I want her to know Him in a very personal way. I want her to know how much He loves her. How He chose her to be ours and how He held her until we came for her. How He wants her to love Him and spend eternity in heaven. I want her to know the love of God who will never leave or forsake her, and will heal her scars. I want her to understand, as I have, that His grace is sufficient and it’s always enough. I want her to grow up to be strong, assertive, fall in love with a wonderful man, have babies, and do whatever God has planned for her. I want her to know that she can do this with, or without sight, and I want her to confident in who she is blind or sighted. I want her to be confident enough to dismiss any man who dismisses her because of her blindness, knowing that he wasn’t worthy or her. I want her relationships to be precious, positive, and life-long. I pray that when this is all said and done, her life is blessed by the choices that are being made on her behalf.
We hope that you will continue to pray for us as we wrap up the waiting phase of this eternally long process. We pray that all those we come in contact with will be encouraging and uplifting . If you have concerns or opinions, take them to the Lord, I’m sure He has a much better answer than I do. In closing, I’d like to suggest the advice that Thumper’s Father gave him in the movie “Bambi” If you can’t say something nice…Don’t say anything at all.

Mar 18, 2010

lil' lambs

Lambing season 2010 has been an emotional roller coaster for us. We purchased a small flock of sheep from the previous property owner, and they ere already bred at the time we took over ownership. So, we had no control of who was going to have babies, and how many babies they were going to have.
The first ewe to give birth had twins, and made it look easy. She took care of both of her babies right away, and they grew healthy and strong. It certainly wasn’t a sign of things to come. The second ewe became very ill with toxemia, which is similar to diabetes in pregnant women. We lost both her and her twins. Each eve that gave birth from that point forward either rejected one of their babies, if they had twins, or had health problems. In the end, we lost four ewes, had four stillborns, and lost one newborn at two days old.
The two day old we lost was one we were attempting to bottle raise because it’s mother had rejected it. It was our first experience with a rejected baby and we probably steppen in too late to help the little guy. When he died, I took it very hard and blamed myself for not intervening sooner, but we didn’t know to do that at the time. I was so upset that I said I was never going to attempt to bottle raise anther one. Sure enough, Chris comes in the next morning with this little guy that no will claim. He was just out in the middle of the pasture all alone. I was thinking “Funny Lord..real funny.. I don’t want to do this again!!”. I had no choice though because we weren’t even sure who his mom was. Ironically, I seemed to have the “magic touch” to get them started sucking on the bottle, so not getting attached wasn’t an option for me. So many prayers were spoken right out loud over that little guy. Lambs have to be fed every 2 hours during the first week of life, so we watched the old Daniel Boone TV series on DVD to entertain ourselves as we cared for the lambs, and that’s where Mingo got his name. Mingo was the Indian friend of Daniel Boone, and that was the name we chose for our new lamb.
`Twelve hours later we had another very ill ewe give birth to twins. The first was stillborn, but the second was alive. She was very wek though, and again, would need to be bottle fed. Again, I was very fearful that we would lose her because she was so weak, and she took a lot longer to learn to walk than the other lambs did. A ton of praying and turning her over to the Lord and surrendering my will to Him, and learing how to let Him handle it. Her name is Izzie, and it came from the Daniel Boone series too. We named her after his son Israel. So, now God had given me two lambs to raise, and what a job it was!
We keep our bootle lambs in the house because we don’t really have a proper barn yet. So, we put diapers on them, and we feed them with baby bottles. So, it’s a lot like having babies again!
We weren’t quite done yet though. We still had another baby to ad to the crew. Four days later, a set of twins were born, but the ewe didn’t want the second baby, so bottle baby number three joined our nursery. Bella was our largest baby, and she took to the bottle the fastest. She was, by far, the easiest of the three to bottle raise because she loves to eat. I have never had to worry about her not eating enough!
The babies are about a month old now, and still inside with us. We’re working on introducing grain, but they much prefer their bottles of milk. We’ve spent may nice afternoons outdoors, but they prefer a blanket and pillow to hay, hooves down. They are very attached to us, and think their world is coming to an end if we’re not in their sight. They like to be massaged before they go to sleep at night in their playpen.
What does this have to do with the adoption process? Well, more than you might think. This was an ominous task that I was afraid of because of the loss of the first lamb. I can’t do something like this half way, that’s just not me. So, God pushing me back into the pool forced me to rely on Him and just go for it. We just jumped in and did it, and we’ve all survived.
It’s going to be the same with the adoption. There will be hurts, frustrations, and tears. I’m sure I’m going to feel like I’ve failed and want to give up and God’s going to have to push me right back in the pool again. I will remember and lean on this experience as inspiration when times are touch. The bottom line is this though… Without God’s help I can’t do it, and that’s a fact!

Feb 1, 2010

Unworn Clothes.

With all this seemingly endless waiting discouragement has a way of creeping in when I least expect it. Today, it found its way into my heart through some used clothes.
Cleaning out the kid’s clothes is a yearly chore I dread. It seems to come up so fast! Before I know it, another year has gone by and the revolting prospect of cleaning out closets is again nagging at me. As I sort through the boy’s clothes, I see stains, holes, wrinkles, and maybe a few forgotten shirts that still have tags stuffed in the back of the closet. There are the usual moans and groans when they are made to try on pants and shirts to see what still fits and what is to be discarded. There are the negotiations and pleading when a favorite shirt is so worn out that it is declared fit for nothing but a rag. Half way through, I am tempted to take an overdose on Niquil and go to bed. My strategy to combat this is to empty the contents of their closet on my bed. Thus, the project must be finished that day. What a relief when it’s done!! Though I did find that JC snuck a sweatshirt declared “too small” for him back into his closet after all was said and done. He said “Grandma bought if for me and I had to rescue it from the horrible fate of going to the Good Will!” So, I pick my battles and chose not to die on that hill. At least not this year anyway.
Today however, the task of cleaning out *W*s clothes was very discouraging for me. She didn’t have too many clothes. Most of the clothes we had for her were given to us, or were purchased at garage sales. What she did have was special to me though. She outgrew an entire size of clothes and she wasn’t even here to wear them. I was trying to feel detached from this chore, like it didn’t matter. After all, they are just clothes. Nothing super special about them, but packing them up made me feel sick inside. It made me feel hopeless and very frustrated. It made me feel like I’m playing house. Am I waiting for a child who is never going to come. As I was sorting through the current size clothes and hanging them up I was wondering if next year I’d find myself doing this very same thing again. Did I have what it takes to withstand that long of a wait?
I get so tired of answering the questions about why she isn’t here and what is taking so long. Then there are the insinuation that we (meaning me) might be the problem. Despite what everyone says, deep down inside I know they wonder about my vision being the issue that is holding things up. No matter how oftern I say that it’s not just us, I’m not sure that really sinks in.
I’m really angry at Thailand for holding up this process and being lazy and not working hard to help get these kids adopted as quickly as possible. I’m frustrated with our agency for not advocating as much as I think they should on our behalf. I’m also feeling abandoned by God right now. I know it’s me. I’ve really slacked off on praying about the adoption because I’ve tried to protect myself from any more pain. I’ve questioned everything we thought we heard from God going into this whole process. Did we misunderstand? Were we wrong? In our eagerness to do what we thought was a great thing for God, did we miss Him altogether?
I wish I could think of something clever and cheery to say to end this post, but it’s not in me tonight. I have a very heavy heart, and that’s where it’s going to have to stay for now.

Jan 12, 2010

Feeling Encouraged!

I spoke with one of the social workers at WACAP yesterday, and it was a very encouraging conversation! She said that the Thai social worker had stated that our case, along with 2 other families were on the top of her priority list! This may not seem like much, but to us it is HUGE!! It is the most specific indication we have had that she is working on updating *W*s paperwork. We have no specific time frames, and we are still very open ended time wise. This news is better than no news though, so we'll take it and be thrilled!