In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Big Week

My post last Thursday was pretty pathetic sounding, I know. I wish I could say that I wasn't as pathetic as I sounded, but that would have been a lie. Anyway, thanks for letting me unload that day. I was able to move on from there and actually have quite an enjoyable weekend of doing pretty much nothing productive. My goal was to get my laundry all put away, but when it is in the mid 70's and there is a snowstorm coming in a couple of days, I figure the laundry can wait, right? We just had to be outside this weekend. I'll post a couple of pictures.

Part of the reason this weekend was not too shabby is because of the hope that I have for the next couple of days. I hope this hope isn't misplaced! On Friday, we were told that the regional MOWA that has had our paperwork on hold for almost 5 months now, has been told by the regional government (at least that is what I have understood, so don't quote me on that), to sign off on all completed paperwork. That is us!!! Our paperwork is there . . . it is compleetoe . . . now somebody, please, just take a pen and sign it. Two members of the ET staff should be there now, ensuring that this step will be done, so we can move on to the next (and welcome) step of waiting.

I can't help thinking that this will be it. This will be the week that we have been waiting for, for so long. I have admittedly said that if it doesn't happen on Monday or Tuesday of this week, it will be a new low and after last week, I'm not sure how low that low will be. We have heard many a time, that our paperwork is going to be signed, but this just has to be the actual time. I can see some of you cringing as I may be setting myself up for utter disappointment and trust YOU ME, I'm scared to even find out the fate of the next two days.

Well, it is late, so I won't drivel any more. I have enjoyed the weekend, knowing that I won't find out anything, but tomorrow the clock starts on finding out if we will indeed graduate to the next level. Feel free to throw out a prayer or two or twenty for the next two big days even if it is just right now and for 5 seconds. I'd really love it
A trip to the Penny Arcade
Leah Getting in the Spirit of Halloween
Spence and Leah at Happy Apple where we picked out the pumpkin we carved this weekend.

Spencer lounging on the hike we took on Saturday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blessed in a Non Happy Way

I have been hanging on to a rope with this adoption lately. I haven't been swinging on it, and I haven't been climbing it, I've just been hanging on it. I just let go, though. I'm swimming in the mud. It has been a very tough week, to say the very least. Back in August, we were told that our adoption may not ever be completed, due to the southern region of ET closing themselves off to adoption. At that time, we were told that we could move forward with another referral if we wanted. We were also told that we could move forward with another referral and have the option to continue the adoption with N if he ever became available. The 3 families in this position all opted to stay the course with our referrals until we were certain that things looked ultimately hopeless to continue. Then in September, we were told that things were moving forward again in the South and they were going to start signing paperwork. They said they would finish signing paperwork by the end of September. And here we sit, with no paperwork signed, STILL.

What makes this week so difficult is two things. First, the option to move forward with another referral is now off the table, as of yesterday. The thought that maybe God wanted us to have a couple of kids from ET and that this is the route he was going to choose is what has made this extra wait palatable. I will say, there is some relief in that option being taken away from us. I don't have to be thinking of what car to upsize to, or paying for preschool (or college for that matter) for 3 more kids or how large the laundry pile and grocery bill would grow to be. But it still feels like a loss.

The second reason for this week being so emotionally difficult is very selfish and I know this. It feels like there were a lot of people hanging on the rope with me for the last couple of months, but now all, but the other 2 in my same position, have just scampered up the rope and are now swinging in the trees. Court dates have been handed out, families have passed court, and families that got their referrals at the same exact time as us have brought home their babies already. And the clincher, new referrals are ready to hand out and we are going to have to watch them fly past us while our child is still hungry in an orphanage millions of miles away. I am happy for them and that is the honest truth, but with all the swinging in the trees, it has shaken me off my rope.

If I were to end my post here, I would name it, "In the Mud," but I'm not done yet. As I mentioned in my last post, it has been difficult for me to even pray or to look for comfort and encouragement from God on my own. But from time to time, I'll hear something that allows me to catch a breath of fresh air or two, even if I'm in the mud. Two Sunday's ago, our sermon was on the beatitudes. Because God's word is living and active, it can hit you right where you are in a way you have never experienced.

Matthew 5:3 says, "Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" Our pastor described the translation of this "blessed" as "heading in the right direction." It means something much different than the typical "happy" that we usually associate with being blessed. The gist was that we know when we are on the right path that God has for us when we are poor in spirit and I can tell you, that is where I am. I am out of spirit, in fact. We think that God wants us when we look and feel our best, but it is totally opposite of that.

Matthew 5:4 says "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Usually, I think of mourning as in someone dying, but in this case, it is talking about mourning for the brokenness of the world. I feel like I have been awakened to a bigger picture of brokenness, through this process. The political systems, the corruption, the very picture of my baby being left somewhere, because his mother and father couldn't take care of him is just pure brokenness. I wish there wasn't a need for adoption and I wish that adoption was so much easier than this, but it is because this world is full of brokenness. The next part of the verse, says that I will be comforted. So I trust that I will make it through this day and through this week and the next.

Well, I'm not sure that my kids actually want to watch another cartoon, so I guess I better get going. I've got my adoption portion of my day over with early. Now it is time to push it back, and have a normal day. I hope it will be a good one for all of you who read this today.

P.S. - If you have ever tried to comment and it didn't work, I think I fixed that setting. I know that reading anonymously is sometimes nice, but if you ever want to comment, you should be able to now.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dave has Returned from Ethiopia

Where to begin. I feel like I'm sitting in front of my budget that I threw out long ago and am attacking it again. Surely, many of you have been there before, right? I'm overwhelmed by all the things I have to say and I have kind of dreaded writing, because I don't even know where to begin. Some of if is because I don't know how much to share. What will come back to haunt me? What will my agency not be pleased with if I write it here? How many readers will think that all I do in life is think, dream, cry and live adoption, thus live a depressing life? So, know that while the adoption world is VERY depressing, our lives are still full, by the grace of God. I mean, Spence, at this very moment is in his room, singing at the top of his lungs, "I'm gonna jump, jump, jump, jump, jump for joy." Even the first part of that sentence brings me joy . . . "he's in his room," while I'm out here with some free minutes.

So, my last post was about Dave traveling to meet N and what a trip it was! It accomplished everything that we wanted (at least all the things within reason) and he had a great time doing it:

1. We feel like we got a clearer picture of why we still don't have our paperwork signed after 4 months of waiting (it should take a week) and he was able to talk to the orphanage director who was going to TRY and talk to MOWA and convince them to move our cases to the top of the list.

2. It was confirmed that paperwork in his region IS moving again - Praise God!

3. He brought much needed formula, vitamins, medicine, and food for N's orphanage. It is here that I would like to literally pour out my gratitude for those of you who donated formula, vitamins and anyone who has donated money along the way. I can't thank you enough. Truly, truly truly. Even if I don't ever get you a personal thank you note, I am beyond appreciative and grateful!!!!! He brought literally hundreds of dollars worth of formula and he bought hundreds more dollars of food while he were there and it still doesn't feel like it was enough. If you saw how little our 6 month old baby is, you would know why.

4. Dave got to see where our little boy is living. N is seriously loved there. All the kids are!

5. Lastly and most importantly, Dave got to meet N. He is so amazing!!!!! You would just die if you saw his huge smile. It literally takes up his whole face. I wish I could post it here. He is so so so tiny and he doesn't want to put any weight on his legs. However, by the third day there, he was already starting to put a little weight on them, thanks to Dave's PT work. This part is the very VERY hard part, obviously. N needs to be in therapy already, he needs to be seeing a Dr. to figure out why he is not gaining any weight, he is hungry, he has a yucky cough and the list goes on.

To feel like you can't speed up the process and to know that the process from here on out is just getting more difficult and lengthened, is enough to literally take away my breath if I think about it for more than about 10 seconds. I'm shocked at how adept I have become at stuffing my emotions. When I was only a month into this drama, people were probably petrified to even look my direction for fear of needing a case of kleenex on hand. Now I just feel like I need to let it out once in a while, and then from there I can pack up the kleenex and move on. I'm not saying that is a good thing, I'm just sayin' . . . . .

You would think that this would be a time of great spiritual growth in my life. I think it is a time of growth, but not because of anything I am doing. I am not tearing through the Bible understanding new facets of God each day. I am not going to bed listening to the words of wise spiritual leaders that shed eternal light on my situation. In fact, a gymnastics teen drama, named "Make it or Break It," has been successfully distracting me at bedtime, so that I can push aside adoption and actually fall asleep. That is just how spiritual I have been lately. I pray many times a day, but usually I have to add at the end of the prayer, "Lord please pretend that my heart is in this prayer." It goes back to wanting to not feel pain, so I just don't. If I enter into prayer too deeply, it just hurts a little too much. What I AM doing is holding on to my faith. Holding on to knowing that God set us on this path and he will see it through to the end. And I do believe that I WILL be able to say, when all is said and done, "Look at what God has done." But I'm too much in the middle of it right now. I can't say that . . . YET.

So, those of you who are pray-ers and good thought senders . . . We still need some serious prayer and good thoughts for N and for this process. I am so blessed to have supporters around us and I know that it feels like this process is long, that maybe your prayers should be portioned out to others by this time, but we still really need them. If you see us around, please indulge us by letting us show you how beautiful he is. That smile of his and all of you is what will get us through the next grueling year!