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.