Thursday, September 11, 2014

china just got a huge stack of papers!


this. 

we conquered. 
we're still married (and in love).
i'm not completely gray (yet).

our dossier is in china!
***dossier is a fancy word for those eleventy-quadrillion sheets of papers, notarizations, certifications, and authentications you have to have.

now, they will meticulously look at all these (well, after they're translated) and it's a bunch more acronyms from here: 
OOT (out of translation)
LID (log in date)
LOA (letter of acceptance)
TA (travel approval)

it takes much longer than those acronyms would have you believe. 

we are just ready for our sweet lucy-girl to be home, with her forever family, the one she was born in the hearts of.  
i am always astounded at the resilient spirit of these children, their forgiving hearts, the trust and bravery they have to travel to the other side of the world with "parents" they have never met. everything about them is so much braver, stronger, and more loving than any of us! we are the blessed ones and we are the honored ones. 
we mustn't have any expectation, we mustn't believe that we are coming back to america sliding down rainbow, on a unicorn, and into a pile of pillows and soft puppies. (well, there's a puppy, but, he's not soft anymore). 
it's okay for it to be a 90/10, 95/5, or 98/2 give. she's the one with the trauma to overcome, the frustration of the language to learn, sites to familiarize with, etc. 
He is faithful, not only to us, but first and foremost, to her, our sweet daughter. our lucy-girl.




up next: 
fees due at LOA/TA time: approximately $8,000
fees we have to carry on us during travel: a lot, as in 5 digits/walking targets a lot.

we have $3,900 in our reece's rainbow account (that's a lot of love for our lucy-girl), and are counting on about $5,000 between the hubs' next bonus and a few paychecks (total of $8,800). but, God is not a God of half-provision: He can lower bills, motivate raises, bless with success on ebay and etsty, etc. there was also a story in the bible of someone being told to catch a fish and pull a coin from it's mouth. that sounds like a really cool way of His provision, i'm going fishing! :) 

i'm selling some vintage-y jewelry on my etsy shop: 

i'm also making doggie tutus and necklaces on this one:

oh, and my ebay name is: carpre2, i have neat and pretty clothes i sell on it!

or, i can just bake you cookies, if you prefer that.  :) 







Friday, August 29, 2014

the marathon roller coaster

we've been waiting for our agency to receive one piece of paper back from the chinese consulate.

one piece.

then they can ship the 1,000,000,000 pieces of paper (otherwise known as the dossier) to china (this is called DTC: dossier to china), so we can eventually have our log in date (LID) and then our letter of acceptance (LOA) and then our prized travel approval (TA). and then of course, "gotcha day.

until then, honestly, there are days you feel like this:




everything at this point is pretty much out of our control. we're at the mercy of the work ethic, schedule, mood, motivation, official processes of whomever our packet of paper lands on the desk of.

it wears on your heart: the time, the money, the wait, the helplessness of knowing that you would walk on water to cross the ocean to get to them if you could, but you must wait, and this child, this daughter of ours, who has waited 10 years for a family, must continue to wait.

it's a hard wait. a heart wrenching one. if you know someone whom is adopting, and you ask them how the process is going (which is a very common question, and welcome (depending on the mood)), and they reply back they've been waiting "x" number of days for this, and they just want it to be over or to the next step; please, please, please do not respond "it's all in God's perfect timing".

to speak of God's perfect anything would first begin with His perfect will, and His perfect will is NEVER for a child to be orphaned. His perfect will is NEVER for the cultural climate of a country, a race, a people group, a religion to push a mother to abandon her child, abuse her child and them be taken away, etc. His perfect will is NEVER for a woman to be raped and become pregnant from that, or for a child to be born with such special needs the mother knows she can not care for them and thus abandons them or surrenders them to there country/region's child welfare system. all of this is the result of a fallen world where sin and brokenness reign.



His perfect will is for sin of man or scheme of man to be unable to break apart biological families.

we are given biblical mandates to care for the orphan, the oppressed, the widow, the needy, the sick and suffering because we are waiting on Him to restore us to the garden, we are waiting on Him to defeat the enemy once and for all.

the roller coaster of emotions you experience in this process is unmatched: you are always waiting for a exhilarating rush-fall, waiting nervously on the climb, or irritated by the basic chug-along (no one rides roller coaster for those short moments of steady chugging). right now, we are chugging...not even climbing up knowing that exhilarating rush-fall is ahead.

right now i'd settle for a wagon ride down hill. we're coming sweet girl. if i have to walk on water to get to you.


also, we have a new fundraiser page set up; it's humbling to do that. 

i now understand all those mothers who resort to less than desirable profession to provide for their child.  it's so easy to judge them "if they really loved their child(ren), how could they do that?!" "is that the influence they want to be on them?!" "it's their fault they are in that situation, gross."....etc 

trust me, there is no more desperate place that those women are in, who resort to dancing for men to feed their children, out of their love for their child.  (simmer down, i'm not doing that). those women don't want to do that to feed their children, buy them school supplies, pay their bills, etc. and we don't want to have to ask for help to bring our daughter home. but that's where we are at. i love her more than i love my pride. i love her more than any fame and honor in being able to say we did it ourself, because we can't do it ourself. 

i love her more than my fear of rejection, scolding, and helplessness, so i am sharing this here. 
listen to our story presented in this beautiful video, pray with us, pray for us. we have attached incentives/gifts with each donation as well.  

from our humbled hearts, thank you for loving our daughter with us, for the encouragement, for the support, and prayers. 


thank you for helping bring love and freedom to our lucy-girl





Friday, August 8, 2014

alabaster jar

it's a jar i've always kept with me
i've held it close
i've guarded it
i've placed my worthiest treasures in it
i've pretend it's value immeasurable





















the more i cling to it, the less i can cling to His feet though



in these days, my spirit has been crushed, i've wept, crippled on my knees for the sweet lives lost-taken...no, stolen, in violent manners.  they were children. and now they are children worshipping in His presence.











my "alabaster jar" seems just ridiculous now. what filled mine was not a sweet fragrance or prized oils. doubt and fear is neither sweet smelling nor valuable.

i can't focus on "me" right now. i mustn't deter slobbering, exhausting, knee prints in the carpet prayers for those whom at the moment are passing from our presence to His.

relinquishing the control: fear of provision for our adoption, fundraising, the focus on "me". it's all so silly in comparison to the pain no words can even touch in description families and children are facing right now in a distant land.

i'm going deep in to my prayer closet. the fundraiser auction that ends this saturday will be the last, for a while. He loves these innocent children and their families who exiled themselves just to survive to mountaintops just to await uncertain starvation, and He loves our daughter who is waiting on us to bring her home. He is preparing a home for the children whose lives are lost, and He is preparing our home for our daughter. i can strive and strive to bring her home, but ultimately, it's going to be Him doing it. it takes too much of my focus, which turns into insecurity, which turns into doubt.  when in reality, His love for me, you, my lucy-girl, your child, and these children waiting (un)certain death on mountain tops is great enough to continue on without my fervent attempts.













it's too much to hear.

i will emerge with bruised knees, tear-stained cheeks, and a throat sore from impassioned plea filled screams, and my lucy-girl will still be coming home; but at least i would have devoted the same passion to persecuted children and families exiled for survival.



Saturday, August 2, 2014

fundraiser to bring lucy home!

to help raise the final cost to bring ours sweet lucy girl home, we've organized this little fundraiser:

so many lovely items have been donated by generous people loving lucy with us, take a look, see if you like something and claim it by bidding on it!

rules:
1) opening bid is listed in the description
2) please increase bids by $1
3) when bidding, leave your contact email address for us to notify you :)
4) you may bid on as many items as you'd like!
5) bidding wars are fun
6) we will try to get these items out aasap, but some items may be shipped by different individuals, we'll put you in contact with them if needed :)
7) AUCTION ENDS SATURDAY, AUGUST 9TH AT MIDNIGHT CENTRAL TIME (1 a.m. eastern, 11 p.m. mountain, 10 pacific...i think that's all right ;))

CLINCK ON THE PICTURE OF THE ITEM YOU'D LIKE TO BID ON AND LEAVE A COMMENT ON THE NEW PAGE IT TAKES YOU TO-EACH ITEM HAS IT'S ON PAGE FOR BIDS (COMMENTS).


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matilda jane size 12 tunic, bid here
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Friday, July 25, 2014

why

"we live in a perpetual and hopeless struggle to satisfy our longing on trifles.  so our soul shrivels. our lives become trivial. and our capacity for magnificent causes and great worship dies".  --john piper: ruth, a sweet an bitter providence

what do you live for?

most my life, i had convinced myself i lived for God. that wasn't the complete truth. i had been living for acceptance, approval, validation and assurance.

so much i wanted to be:
i wanted to look like my sister: beautiful and captivating
i wanted to speak clearly: instead i had a speech impediment and was in speech therapy from 3 yrs old to high school
i wanted to just be "happy": instead i was bitter at myself for everything i wasn't

my whole existence consisted of my thoughts focusing on what perception others had of me. what value i had to THEM.

i not willing to be satisfied and assured through His love for me, His design in me, and His calling on me.

but then that changed. with this sermon. technically, i was 2 when he first gave it, but i heard it when i was 27/28.

specifically, i was hiking when he said this:

"Christian Hedonism teaches that the desire to be happy is God-given and should not be denied or resisted but directed to God for satisfaction. Christian Hedonism does not say that whatever you enjoy is good. It says that God has shown youwhat is good and doing it ought to bring you joy (Micah 6:8). And since doing the will of God ought to bring you joy, the pursuit of joy is an essential part of all moral effort. If you abandon the pursuit of joy (and thus refuse to be a Hedonist, as I use the term), you cannot fulfill the will of God."

i stopped in my tracks and i wept.
ugly cried. lips quivering. and i apologized to God.
i apologized for telling Him, all these years, He was not enough, there were more "valued" opinions.
i told Him that i wanted to delight in Him, and Him alone. everything else in life was like that useless parsley used as garnishes on plates ordered at restaurants: you don't eat it, it doesn't season your meal, it's there for a split second and then you brush it mindlessly out of the way to nosh on the steak and potatoes.

you can ask (adoptive) families, and most every one will have a story to tell of a family member questioning their decision to adopt. oh my, add on to that, making a conscious decision to adopt a child "with special needs" and people look at you as if you've lost your mind. i've mentioned some of the heinous comments in previous posts, so i won't relive them here, but they're ugly.

here's the thing: WE DON'T WANT "THAT" LIFE.  we don't want a life lived so comfortably we never have to press into God. we want our life to scream His story. we want our life to be one that shows the greatest joy is found in Him. we want lucy to be loved. we want lucy to know her value is infinite, that her name was written on His hands, and pressed through His heart.

this process has stretched and grown our souls, it's pressed us firmly against the cross.

there are times where i cling to it, as one lost at sea would a life raft that has floated toward them. there are times where i'm sure i've gone under and His cross has drifted in the vast ocean toward me, just in time for me to grab, and Him to breath new life into me. then i have been made stronger by His breath, and those two pieces of wood.

i will swim the ocean toward our daughter, because i know she is mine. i know she is His. i know that in the long and treacherous swim, that each time i go under, His cross will keep me afloat, and breath make me stronger should i lose mine.

having made the tragic mistake of looking for my acceptance and affirmation elsewhere, but in His grace having been shown where true joy comes from, i am here, on the other side, to hopefully shield our sweet girl from that.

we adopt because we love our daughter, lucy.
we adopt because our lives are worship, not just sunday mornings, but each moment.
we adopt because we can and our daughter deserves a mommy, a daddy, breakfast in bed on her birthdays, surprise mommy/daughter dates, and so much more.

we adopt because our lives are centered in Him, and we don't want anyone else's idea of "normal"
there is nothing normal about a life sunk in Him.

<3

Thursday, July 17, 2014

the hardest word to say

it was a word i tried to force out on my drive home
each time i mentally prepared myself to say it, my throat closed and a lump arose. i tried to force it out, but tears came instead. 

white knuckles gripped the steering wheel as i thought of her broken heart and languishing away, without a family. i thought of the joy that she held for so long despite, and i prayed He would maintain it.

i told myself all my go-to lines and reference passages-the ones i dole out to others when they are hurting, the reassurances i give them affirming God's promises when THEY feel as if their heart is wrenched. 
this only made my eyes sting.

my spirit whispered to Him: 
You are good
You are good
You are good
nothing passes before You without You allowing it to pass
i wanted those to be the words of my flesh
instead, it was the Spirit interceding in my weakness

You love them more
You love them more
You love them more

i thought of Him hardening pharaoh's heart
and i pleaded with Him to change another's heart, "soften" it to this

they love too
their hearts are good and pure
this makes my anger, bitterness, and hurt even more difficult to hold onto

i think of the mountains He moved, the hearts He spoke to
the ones that originally doubted
when two newly married individuals, with no children prior
stepped up and said ""lucy" is our daughter!" 
the ability of us to parent an older child with special needs was questioned, but He moved in their hearts then too, and now we are months away from bringing our sweet girl home

all our circumstances defy logic
our dreams and visions don't match up with the majority of other families

we want the kind of faith that makes people do a double-take
we want the kind trust that can leave our cares, fears, worries, and heartbreaks in His hand
--and do just that, leave them there
and then say
"hallelujah"

but i still weep
yet He holds my tears in a bottle
He was a man of sorrows and too was acquainted with grief

He has my grieving heart in His hand
and as He comforts it back to health, 
with it's pitiful beats, it will cry out: "hallelujah" 






Sunday, July 13, 2014

i'll become even more undignified than this

something happens when you go from being "just a christian" to a "christian that is adopting a child with special needs".  it's as if you change species. you go from being, "oh, yeah, they're a christian" to  someone transposing you into dana carvey/"church lady" in their mind. i wonder if it's an optical nerve issue with them? weird how it happens....

i am NOT an exemplary christian. especially in traffic. and when i'm hangry. and when i let a pedestrian cross the parking lot in front of my car, and then they walk dead center of the aisle, in front of my car, not hurrying, and not moving to walk on the side....those times.

we live in a world where it's okay to talk about shenanigans and exploits, but when you bring up biblical matters and more specifically the orphan crisis and our role in being the hands and feet Jesus, people think you have gone off the deep end, and suddenly, you look like this:


isn't that special? 

when you protest the phrase "adoptive mom", because there's no difference in "adoptive mom" and "mom" (except for our "labor" takes at least a year). why is there a need to differentiate. you don't see the similarity in features of my daughter and i? your issue, not mine. :) we are looked at with expressions to "chill" and "don't take it so seriously". but we do, because we are passionate about our children. 

they don't understand. i will say it again and again. i will say it when i am dying with a smile and peace resting on my face: 
the Gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God.--1 corinthians 1:18

when we rejoice and cry tears of joy over a piece of paper stating: our waiver has been approved, we have PA, we have our i800a approval, our dossier is being submitted (DTC), it is out of translation (OOT), we have letter of approval (LOA), and finally we have travel approval (TA), of course it seems silly to so many! of course when we share our beloved pictures of our precious and beautiful children, we don't see the same joy on the faces of others (and they even think we're just a little bit crazy when we fall to our knees and weep when we find a young picture of our older child--because they just weren't valued and cherished before they came home to us, and the same way parent who bore their child in their womb). those are priceless treasures. 

when our "fall to our knees and weep" reactions are observed, and judged as being "over-board" and "unnecessary", our response should be that of david's as he danced (partially naked) before the ark and was judged by michal: "I WILL BECOME EVEN MORE UNDIGNIFIED THAN THIS! and i will be humiliated in my own eyes; but by these slave girls you spoke of, i will be held in honor"--2 samuel 6:22. 



there is a potential "God showing His grace and power" miracle in the working, and i will unashamedly dance naked before Him if these prayer pleas are answered. no concern except glorifying and praising Him, because He is God, and He has shown us how much he loves these children! 


side note:
what are we waiting on now?:
our biometric fingerprinting appointment is july 31st at 3:00
it takes about 10ish days for approval to come after that
once we get our i800a approval, we get that notarized, certified, and authenticated
then we send it (to catch up with the rest of our dossier packet) to the china embassy
then our dossier is sent for translation and to china
then it is accepted or additional changed requested
then we receive a log in date (LID)
then we receive a letter of approval (LOA)
then we receive travel approval (TA)
then we go get our sweet girl and bring her home! 
oh, and money too, that's a minor detail. :)