Friday, December 26, 2014

a year later...

As I sat down to post to the blog this morning, a dear friend shared the following with me.

"When things don't go as you would like, accept the situation immediately. If you indulge in feelings of regret, they can easily spill over the line into resentment. Remember that I am sovereign over your circumstances, and humble yourself under My mighty hand. Rejoice in what I am doing in your life, even though it is beyond your understanding . I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. In me you have everything you need, both for this life and for the life yet to come. Don't let the impact of the world shatter your thinking or draw you away from focusing on Me. The ultimate challenge is to keep fixing your eyes on Me, no matter what is going on around you. When I am central in your thinking, you are able to view circumstances from My perspective.(1 Peter 5:6)"

Little did she know it ties so well in with what God was showing me this morning. You see today I could be angry and focused on what I do not have or rather what I am missing. To be honest all year I have lived with a regretting heart, and a little angry that the last moments shared with my dear friend, Lillian, were moments I was in the deepest cloud of grief over losing my son. Frankly it is frustrating to not remembering a lot about that time in my life. Grieving two of the most beloved people in my life at the same time was definitely NOT my plan.So today like every other day I have a choice. I can choose to focus on what did not go my way, or choose to focus my heart on the one who is The Way.
"The decision must be deep in our (my) heart- not our physical heart but our inner self as a whole. Our thoughts, emotions, intellect and spirit all combine to form this beautiful spiritual heart within us. To make the decision to experience God, you must have a heart that is open to Him. When we forget to be renewed day by day by looking, and listening for God, we loose our eternal perspective, get entangled in the troubles of today, and close our heart to Him. A closed heart, tragically forgets God."*

Though many times I completely fall short I have chosen to refuse to close my heart to God. He has proven Himself faithful. I will choose to remember His goodness when things go 'my way' and His goodness when they don't. I will have joy, believing in Him. He is too real to deny. I made the decision over a year ago to choose joy, not because it sounded like a good blog title, or because it made me sound like a good Christ follower. I decided to follow. To follow wherever this journey took us. To have an open heart to the changes that would take place. Why? Because I know God has my best in mind. I choose to believe that. Past all reasoning, all proving based  data and research, all the black and white. I chose to trust the heart of my heavenly Father.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future"

Today I choose joy.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Where do I begin?

 Where do I begin this post? To be honest, posting on this blog has haunted me for the past several months. I have worked to compose an update that would sound appropriate. Struggling to find the words. What do I say? How do I even begin to explain the battles faced when adopting internationally, without sounding like I am complaining? How do I explain where we are at in the process?
 This is hard. Actually, its like labor but much longer.  From the outside looking in, to hear words like "Paper pregnant" was something I thought to be a horrible explanation of adoption (oh yes, all before the giant mound of papers). Amazing how as human beings when we have the slightest knowledge, or rather think we do, about a subject, we often "think" we know what something is like.  This is something that I am surely guilty of. While 'Paper pregnant' isn't a phrase I would likely post anytime on a card or picture, it may help those who are not in the shoes of adopting parents.
   Adopting is so much like being pregnant, having been pregnant and experienced loss, this is  my edit of that phrase..."Paper pregnant, for a child that might not end up being mine" is really what that phrase says behind the scenes. It is most for me like pregnancy after a miscarriage.  You know through out this process that at any moment things could change. This child you love and long to be in your home, safe and loved, could just end up not being yours. That, itself, is a heavy labor pain.

  Just like the joys of pregnancy, the adoption process has its own joys. For us, the joys have been watching God provide financially, spiritually, and physically. Those joys, at times, seem brief in the view of this large mountain of paperwork and to-dos. But, I am thankful for the joys and the burdens that each day brings. We are thankful that we can see, that we can go back to prove, the faithfulness of God.
 Let us share a few with you!
First, who would have thought that we would be in the midst of adoption, getting ready for our home study almost exactly a year after loosing Lliam? Really?! We certainly could not have ever imagined or planned that. Let us add, adopting from one of the two countries our hearts love, China! I have always loved the country of China. My heart nearly bursts with excitement  every time I think that we will be going there soon. (I may not want to come home, just being honest.)
 Then, lets back up and add the fact that we were NOT looking to host an orphan.. but God had other plans (thanks to our friend Linda for being used to open our eyes and hearts). From the timeline for matching, the day we were matched with Ming (yu ming), to the financial side of it.
  Finally, how God moved. I can not believe that I had a time where I actually thought I didn't really want to adopt, but I did. There, I admitted it and you all can know. Going into hosting, I only wanted that. I tried to be open, but just had a hard time opening up to the potential hurt of things not going well. It was at our hosting training that the Lord moved both Darrell and I to adopt Ming. Before we held him, before we knew him, we knew God meant him for our family. So many things from that point have been beautiful confirmations.
We did not go into adopting to replace something or rather the someone, Lliam. We said yes to adopting because we were called to it. I know that we needed to go through losing our son, to prepare us for this next step of faith. It does not mean that we aren't still grieving, we are. So is our Ming. How much more my children understand, in a very small way, what loss feels like, to be able to feel sympathy for orphans. They feel just as called to this as we do. The sympathy they feel for orphans could not have been taught.

Now the facts: Right now we are in the home study phase. Almost all of our funds have gone to the payments for the agency and training needed. Our next big expenses are for the home study completion($1900) and our fees to send the dossier- big pile of papers- to China to be translated and submitted ($3900).  God is faithful and has provided as the payments have come. We continue to change our budget, take out luxuries and give sacrificially to our adoption fund. But this is not about us, and adoption is not something you go into because you have $35,000 in your savings. When God called us to adoption, He called us to a  grander walk of faith than we could ever imagine. The following quote has been a blessing to my heart and is truly our heart.

“When a family seeks help in raising funds for an adoption, it’s not like asking people to pitch in toward a new boat, or help pay for a vacation. What they are doing is committing to heal, with God’s help, a child who has suffered the profound damage of being unwanted and unloved. They are obediently living out the command given in James 1:27 to care for the orphan, clothing the gospel of Christ’s redemption in flesh and blood and now. When they ask for the body of Christ to come alongside them financially and prayerfully, they are giving us the opportunity to be a part of the miracles God works through obedience.” -Ashley Paradis Moreno