Thursday, August 29, 2013

intentional week of prayer

  "Well, maybe God's telling you that it's not meant to be right now.  Maybe He's saying several years from now.  Maybe when your kids are out of the house."
  The words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don't think the wielder knew what a blow she threw, or how I sat in my car for several minutes deep in thought.  It was a well-meaning comment, and not altogether a horrible suggestion.  However, it was like one of my fears peeking into my reality and it made me not a little uncomfortable.  "What if we are supposed to wait?"
  The comment was referencing some small setbacks that had happened shortly prior.  A prayer for provision was met with a job interview and an interest in buying some land we own.  The job interview ended with no job, and the interest in the land fizzled.  Also, the first home study agency we went with was our choice because the representative I talked to thought that our small house would work fine, even though our boys' space wouldn't have a door.  An application was filed, $1,000 paid, and this was met by a phone call even before the application was approved that the house situation just wasn't going to work. "But I had talked to K-- and she had informed me that it wouldn't be a problem."  "Oh, K-- doesn't work here any more.  I replaced her, and your house just isn't going to work.  You could wait until you live somewhere else, or find another agency."  Ouch.  I was discussing this with a friend and she was unafraid to bring up the aforementioned possibility.  She was saying the comment partly out of love, and partly to make conversation.  I really don't think she realized how much it stirred me.
  It stirred me enough to mention to Zack that we needed to fast and pray again.  Quickly.  And a lot.  So this sent us into a week-long discernment process (again? how often do we need to do this?  answer - as often as it takes).  Two verses came out of that intentional prayer week, which I will share with you.  Zack and I were in total unity even though we reported back at the end of each day what the other had heard.  Our thoughts were strikingly similar each day.  That encouraged me that we were working together with the Holy Spirit speaking to us both.
  Romans 12:12: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  Joyful in hope.  Joyful.  In hope.  Patient in affliction.  Patient.  Faithful in prayer.  Faithful.  The words rung in my head day after day after day.  Joyful, hopeful, patient, faithful, praying.  It spoke a message that God is leading us - and we must follow.
  And here it is: Hebrews 10.  Verses 32-39 convinced me that we must press on.  Hey, if it does indeed take several years to adopt this child (or children), it won't be because we did not persist in our call.  We pray that God continues to take the reigns even if that looks very different from our expected timeline.  His timing is always perfect.  Zack and I are ready to endure and persevere and continue on in our call.

"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, 
when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.
Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution;
at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
'In just a little while,
he who is coming will come and will not delay'
'But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.'
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed,
but to those who have faith and are saved."

P.S. The story is not over with the job interview, the selling of our piece of land, and the home study.  More to come on all that!

Monday, August 5, 2013


I'd like to do a brutally honest post here.  I'm talking, depth of my gut, big time honesty.  I am fairly confident that I have a pretty low readership, and so those of you who are visiting this post, I implore you to be gracious.  I'd like to lay it all out and humbly walk through the fears that we have been wrestling with here in the beginning of our adoption process.  Walking into the unknown can be scary territory.  What you'll see is the fearful spirit on one shoulder talking to the confident spirit on the other.  I want it said at the outset, these are fears that we have prayed and fasted over, have handled carefully, and have kept a Godly perspective about.  These are not fears I came up with yesterday.  Zack and I have been addressing them from the very beginning, but also keeping them in submission to God's promises and what he speaks to us.  I'm posting them so people know how to pray, and also I'm posting them so that I may have an opportunity to revisit them and see how they were or were not resolved.  Maybe how they were placed into reality.  Maybe there's someone out there who is considering going through an adoption, and maybe it will help them feel ok about having fears.  That they are not alone.  In any case, here goes.

1. What do we really have to offer?  I know even kids in orphanages know some of what they are missing.  Will they think we are perfectly fashionable people living in L.A. (cuz, what American doesn't come from L.A., hello?) who have a big suburban home with huge rooms and granite countertops and waxed floors and a big bedroom with a canopy bed and frilly stuffed animals adorning the laced pillows?  What will they think when they find out that that is not how things are?  If you didn't get the drift - our house is nothing like that.  We are nothing like that.  We shop at garage sales and our house has something of a poison ivy problem and it takes literally 12 steps to walk across the widest part of our house and I can't remember the last time I shopped at a traditional clothing store.    You know what's really cool about us?  We have got so much love just overflowing in our hearts for our children I think our kids are overwhelmed at times.  We are going through this because we feel like we have so much love to give and to offer up to children in desperate need of it.  Our prayer is that all of our children will see through our humble material possessions and see the joy that we have in having each one in our family.  They are worth more than all the sparkly shoes and lifesize princess unicorns and video game systems in the world.  

2. Will I truly love them like my biological kids?  Will I always be trying to please/ impress them (see above) or trying to prove we are a good, put-together, non-dysfunctional family?  Do I love Kian more than Logan?  No.  Do I love my children more than I love Zack?  No.  Do I love them all with a crazy depth that surpasses all understanding?  Yes.  I have confidence that I will keep my expectations real about the first meeting of these children and not expect to "fall in love with them at first sight", and grow to the feelings I have for my bio kids.  I hear it time and time again.  The loving actions blossom into loving feelings.  Also, perfection is boring.  And we are good, which is better than perfect.

3. What if they are complete toots?  What if raising them is hell?  What if they scream all day and night and spread poop on the walls and terrorize Kian and Logan?  I absolutely love my awesome family, it's so cute and fun and we have so much fun together!  Why ruin it?  Why not quit while we're ahead!  Also, what makes me think I can handle a child like this?  I can get very frustrated with my 2 very good (generally), healthy children!!! What must I be thinking?  Every. Child. Is. Worth it.  We are determined to keep our children safe from each other, bio or otherwise, and we are preparing ourselves to deal with difficult behaviour and get help if we need it.  Even if things go sour, any love we can give them, I believe, will be worth the effort.  Mary Hopkins-Best states in various places in her book "Toddler Adoption" : "The family who makes an informed adoption decision, has realistic expectations, who came to their decision as a result of a careful refining process, and are willing to accept imperfection has an increased likelihood of a positive and successful outcome."  I could give you a list of the books I have read or am reading about behaviour management and adoption attachment and it would likely fill multiple pages.  We have spoken to real people who have done this (and a few more yet to talk to), and followed countless blogs.  We haven't even gone through the home study and official training yet!  We are doing our best to learn the realities of what we are doing and keep our minds focused on God and his calling.  Even with all the potentially difficult realities we have heard, we have not lost our momentum for our desire to go through this adoption.  Also, who says these kids will have difficult behaviours?  Or that our biological kids would NOT have difficult behaviours?  Who was it that gave those guarantees?  Oh, no one, that's right now I remember.

4. What if we can't afford their meds or medical treatments?  Will people say, "I told you so!"  Will they whisper, "They said they were 'trusting God.' *eye roll*"?  Will I be strong enough to rest in the fact that we followed a call?  These are scary things.  All I can say is, we are being blown away day after day at God's provision for our adoption expenses.  How can we think he is going to stop once the children are home?  God is giving us just what we need just when we need it.  I believe that's how he operates many times.  It keeps our focus in trusting in him.  Also, because we believe God gifted us with brains that operate and that we ought to use them in a spirit of gratitude, we have made a plan A, B, C and D.  Fun?  No.  Healthy?  Yes.

6.  What about surprises or delays?  Welcome to the adoption process.  Glad to have you on board.  No birth is absolutely perfect (we don't have to go into details).  No adoption is either.

Friday, August 2, 2013

PAPERWORK - update

So last we talked we were not sure about our house being approved for a home study.  We think we have found an agency that will work with our house, so the process had begin with them.  Finally!   If we didn't live in such a teensy house we could have been so much further in the process by now, but I'm happy that things are still moving.