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. :) 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

(it could be) a paralyzing fear

every day i want to punch satan in the face.

so much pain in the world.
so many lonely, abandoned, those who feel unloved.

(i will tie this story into adoption):
i once dated a jerk. and my heart was broken. wrenched. destroyed.
like a many songs state: "i wasn't sure i'd ever trust again".
(but i did, and am married to a magnificently splendid dude).
on our first few dates i hid my fears. i remained reserved in my mind, waiting for him to change his mind, turn, change his persona. but he didn't (and decided he actually couldn't contain himself and proposed like 5 weeks after our first date). we sprinted to the altar.
there are still times though, where those wounds peak up in my mind and heart and tell me "just wait, he's going to do the same thing". he hasn't, and won't (maybe beacaue he's afraid of my brother--he's crazy) (just kidding). the hubs has a pure heart for me. we work toward Christ, not each other (but it's that triangle thing, with Christ at the top...remember that from youth group?).
but the fear remains. because there is still a slight wound. the magnificent husband did nothing to cause the wound, he just happened to come along after it was dug deep.

imagine your similar broken heart/will i ever trust again story: and now think of our children we are bringing home through adoption.
abandoned in outhouse-toilets, train stations, sides of the road, in front of churches, left in hospitals, etc.
think of the bouncing around from foster home to foster home. orphanage to orphanage. the days filled with hunger. the nightmares not followed up by a comforting embrace. think of the lack of a consistently loving adult. the adult that was "there" but that's it, not really THERE.
we have all these fears:
"what if they hate me"
"what if they don't bond to me"
"what if they never tell me they love me"
"what if they never trust me"
"what if they aren't comforted by me"
"what if....."

it's okay and understandable if those fears are actually played out and real when our children come home! it's not about us. it's about them. it's about redemption.
we give it to God.
we leave them in His hands.
we work through that grieving process with them. they are not responsible for our happiness loving us back. we want their hearts to heal and be open to being loved and experiencing it, but ultimately that's where God steps in. He heals and restores what satan tried to destroy.

when hugs are pushed away.
when screams fill the house instead of giggles.
when doors slam in stead of open.
hate satan. love God and give it to Him.

there is a cross begging to receive our troubles, worries, and pain.
we mustn't carry them with us. we mustn't let satan have a double-victory in destroying our children's lives and our hearts through that.

this world began to break the minute eve took the fruit off the tree.
it continued to crumble when mommies had to leave their babies, "forgetting" them (isaiah 49:15);
but it was restored when Christ hung upon the tree, taking the curse for us (deuteronomy 21:23)
and continues to be restored through the redemption of adoption (james 1:27; psalm 68:6; isaiah 1:27...)

it began with a tree and it ended with a tree

everything horrible, terrible, sad, and heart-wrenchign that occurs after the redemptive tree is begging to be laid at it.
including our children and their hearts.



Friday, June 27, 2014

the final countdown and a rat race. also, holiness.

this is how i feel right now.

i went to bed at 6:30 last night, after: 
8 hours
4 counties
3 county clerk offices
one state capitol/secretary of state office

also there was a car that exploded (not ours)
and we had to walk a mile in the rain
and i had a gas station hot dog (because i was getting hangry)

we finally accumulated all of the documents which make up the dossier packet: official copies of birth certificates, an official copy of our marriage certificate, really detailed physicals, verification of employment (letter from a boss), a detailed financial statement/breakdown, our letter of intent (to adopt our daughter), and final home study (well, the i-800a approval is part of the dossier too, but it takes a while, so we proceeded with what we had and will do that one later). all of these have to have been issued in the last 6 months and then be notarized. if they aren't notarized on the day they were issued, you have to attach a letter of authentic to them and have that notarized. then you have to go to the county clerk's office (of the county the notary was commissioned in) and have the notarization certified (a piece of paper attached that says the notary is legit and all that), then you have to go to the state capitol/secrety of state and have all that authenticated (verifying that the person at the county clerk office (who verified the notary) which is also a piece of paper with a fancy sticker seal on it. 

after almost 6 hours, 3 counties, passing a car engulfed in flames that shut down the other side of the highway, and having to eat a gas station hot dog (because i was hangry,) we finally were able to have the authentication done...but had to park over a mile away. as soon as we park our car (over a mile away), it began to rain. i can't even make this stuff up. at this point, i was not the virtuous wife. if anyone tells you this process is fun and they never felt stress, they're lying. or a masochist. 

it felt like this: 

but we won and are still married. 

this process is also a litmus test for your marriage. 
so are puppies. raise a puppy together before you raise a child together. 


we are mailing in our dossier packet today with a $7,000 check. pocket change. --not really, we're kind of at the stress out point right now. (if you want some pretties and fun things, you should "buy an envelope" as a part of our fundraiser, every envelope comes with a neat thing! :)

after a few tears yesterday (and eye rolls, not going to lie), when we were handed back our 8,000 sheets of paper, notarizations, certifications, and authentifications, i felt a relief, a lightness, and silly for stressing. there's a really neat vision described in isaiah 6:2-
seraphim is flying the Lord God on His throne, each has 6 wings, two covered his eyes, two covered his feet and he flew with the other two singing to one another, "Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord God Almighty! the whole earth is full of His glory!"

the Holiness of the Lord was so great, so beautiful, so powerful, even the angels-seraphim couldn't gaze upon him or show their feet. that's how i feel right now.
i think of all the stress, the worry, the frets, and now we are almost at the "waiting point", i think "how silly! how silly of me, what little faith i have!" would not a God with such might, power, and Holiness have control over our adoption, isn't He sovereign over a silly paper work process? the same Lord whose Holiness is blinding, He loves our daughter! the same Lord whose Holiness is too much for moses to directly see, who the seraphim couldn't bare his feet in front of loves our daughter, He has written her days and her name on the palm of His hand (isaiah 49:16).

when i stress, or fret, or fear, i think of His Holiness, and His love for us and our daughter. i think of how He wants to draw us near Him, the veil was torn from top to bottom (matthew 27:51)--He tore it! to draw us closer to him. all these stresses and frets seem just silly in comparison.

WE MUST ALLOW OUR CHILDREN TO STAY IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND! that is where they, and we, are safest. that is how He can do His greatest work. i want that kind of faith.

Friday, June 20, 2014

waiting.

think you grow impatient while waiting in a doctor's office, that is a vacation compared to the wait you must endure between  your home study being submitted to the official government people, then the wait from your super-duper biometric fingerprinting appointment, to approval, to getting all those official seals and what nots on your dossier documents to sending it off, to translation, to it being sent to your child's birth country.

it's kind of like getting a root canal, with no novocain, while having to listen to backstret boys, and watch teletubbies on the t.v. and then the dentist coughs in your mouth. but times 10. 

we're applying for a show hope grant. if that doesn't work out, we'll have to become part of the breatharian movement to save on food cost. (not really trolls, chill out :)) 

i had been praying that God would give our sweet girl dreams and visions of us, so she would begin to feel connected to us, see us, etc. i totally believe in miracles and works of the Spirit. (story to follow).  we found a nifty deal on amazon local for a discount on a picabo photo album, and just made one, once we receive it, we'll be able to include it in a love package we've put together for her. 

here's a story of the way the Holy Spirt can totally act as a message-sender: 
this one time, i was in a secret off-limits country working to love and provide medical care for a persecuted people group. there were lots of military junta guys there that could/would kill us. or take us hostage to prove a point. we had this wonderful native man as our guide, he was our connection, the one who knew how to keep us alive and get us from point a to point b to point c and then d, e, f, g....
anyhow, he had been having some health issues and while we were there, he became VERY ill. so ill, we weren't sure he'd recover. without him, we'd be taken and imprisioned. and then probably die. or be maimed. it was real guys. and we didn't have rambo to save us. my friend and i (we were with a team of 8) began to pray. we had no way to contact anyone to get a prayer chain going, so we prayed that the Holy Spirit would act as a "text message" of sorts, put a word on someone's heart to pray, pray, pray. we prayed fervently. we recited st. patricks breastplate and prayed some more. well, this guy made a recovery and continued to lead us through military check-points, paying off the appropriate machine-gun holding guys to let us to our next village. when we returned home, that sunday at church, one of the leaders in our church approached my friend and i, asking about the trip. we told him of all the miracles, decisions to follow Christ, and about the golden retriever we say in a "zoo" there.  he asked if we encountered any trouble and we told him our story. he laughed and stated that morning he was headed into walmart and he was stopped, held in place by the Spirit of God, and an incredible burden placed on his heart to pray for us, for safety and protection. after he prayed, he was released and continued on. the mooring he told us that this occurred...would have been the exact time we were praying fervently for our guide/safety ensurerer's healing! 

her room has become my prayer closet. i try to visit it daily and pray in it for her. for her heart. for her healing and peace when she comes home. 

i can pretend this whole process is pretty and fun and perfect. i can pretend ugly things are not said to us. or i can be upfront about the ugly things said through "anonymous" comments or ignorant family members and strangers and be the "angry christian" in my response. but i'm working on the peace maker thing (see my last post). the angry christian may be great for blog traffic, but it misrepresents His power that comes over us when our flesh wants to rule. it misrepresents the peace He puts in our hearts, and it misrepresents the message of "it's not about me".  the angry christian may get me lots of one word comments like "truth!" and "preach!" and so on,  i'm pretty sure more masses a'mened and cheered with saul as he was over-seeing the stoning of stephen than did when he was bring the actual Word of God. i'll take less attention with more the Peace of God, because the angry christian just isn't becoming any more, not for this mommy's heart that is begging to be purified. :) <3



Thursday, May 29, 2014

foolishness and the peacemakers

a dear sweet friend, who is much more wise and grace-filled than i once pointed out the exact phrasing in "blessed are the peaceMAKERS, for they will be called children of God"--matthew 5:9

it doesn't say "peaceKEEPERS" it says "...MAKERS"
KEEP--maintain what already is
MAKER--create/facilitate where there is a lack of
(how much more humility does it take, and a doing away with our own pride to walk into a life, situation, group where there is hate, strife, anger, and judgement and say "Jesus, show us how, show us how to love and help make peace, help mend!") 

after reading (ashamedly for the first time) The Hiding Place, that seed has grown into something i didn't really expect:
forgiveness. joy. 

of all the horrible things i've heard since we began the adoption of our sweet girl, the most awful has pushed me away form a family member that said it. our daughter was called a "punishment". it was phrased as this, "i just don't understand why you want to punish yourself for the rest of your life". 

i've been filled with anger toward this family member. i refuse to let them even be around our daughter when she's home at this point. our daughter is not a punishment, she is the one that has suffered for the last 10 years without a family coming for her. she is a blessing. a sweet whisper from God. 

between reading of the incredible joyful spirit in the midst of awful circumstances that betsie ten boom showed, it reminded me i had not changed my mindset of the peaceMAKER vs. peaceKEEPER verse. in the midst of beatings, starvation, and hate-filled environments, betsie ten boom announced she felt sorry for the concentration camp guards/tormentors; she was filled with sorrow because they were filled with hate, not with love. she was always encouraging her sister (corrie ten boom) to seek Jesus, ask for His help, feel sorrow instead of anger and bitterness when assaulted and cursed at. upon reading those powerful stories, i had to offer up my heart, feelings, and emotions. i had to offer up my offendable spirit. 

"for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God" --1 corinthians 1:18. 

of course they do not "get it"! of course it is foolishness to them! the secret of love, hope, and joy has not yet been revealed to them! we should weep for them, not because of what they say!-but because they are not yet able to feel this kind of love and joy! i find myself here now. thanking Him for the wonders of His word He has chosen to reveal to my heart, and praying that He would have mercy and reveal those same wonders to the hearts of others. 

how can i be a peaceMAKER to someone who called my daughter a punishment?! 
i can wait. i can wait until the Spirit moves, and then i can show love. i can show the blessing that she is. i can show the blessing this adoption is. i can show how He whispers His love to us through her. i can show HIM! because it's not about me. we are walking embodiments of His Word. we carry it in our hearts and it lights our way. oh, please! let asking for His help become as natural as breathing. LET US NO LONGER BE ABLE TO TELL WHERE HE ENDS AND I BEGIN! 

let us etch His word upon our heart so that there is no room for bitterness and offense in it, only love. 

proverbs 7:1-4
My son, keep my words
And treasure my commandments within you.
Keep my commandments and live,
And my teaching as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your intimate friend


*paperwork update: home study has been sent to our agency and government people for approval. next step is this super expensive biometric fingerprinting. after that, we'll get an approval that we are not bad people. we then add this official "you're not bad/crazy people" certificate to our dossier (dos-e-a) packet, get all of it notarized, something else stamp, something else stamp, and then send all of that off to the chinese consulate people. then all we have to do is wait. 



Monday, May 19, 2014

when i reach over...

there are times, which increase in frequency with each passing day, where i reach over to grab her hand as i cross the road and have to remind myself she's not here yet.

in the mornings when i stumble around with my cup of coffee and wait to hear her clopping down the stairs, and i then remind myself her precious footsteps are on the other side of the world.

i carry her heart with me. i'll borrow e.e. cummings' words: (copied exactly in his weird styling and literal arrangement:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


moving on: 

we are still neck deep i paper work, notarizations, officiations, authentifications, etc. but it's a 
necessity. so many terrible things happen to children, via adoption and otherwise.

part of the process is keeping up with these blogs and status updates, and there are times i'm not even 
sure how to articulate what we're feeling or in the midst of, or even thinking (so i may copy e.e. 
cummings--but at least i properly attribute it). if i'm asked a question i don't really know how to 
answer by well-intentioned, or just plain nosey, people, i usually resort to an 
exhale and a "it's going". i wish i could go into detail with everyone who asks, but honestly, i don't 
feel we have to anyway. it's okay for us to keep our hearts, and our sweet girl's life, guarded. we 
actually owe it to her to not treat her as a "story to tell" or promotion for a fundraiser. 

you can read all the fluffy words adoptive parents have to share, you can "wow" at us (adoptive 
families) all you want (or curse us and judge us if that's your m.o. for life), but it's about these 
children. who were created in His image, who didn't have a choice what womb carried them, what 
drugs invaded their systems at their most vulnerable and helpless time, who had no say in what 
culture they were born in (scorning females, viewing birth defects as "curses", etc.), and could do 
nothing but lay helpless as they were abandoned (or abused and neglected).  what we are called to do 
is step in and be a part of this story of redemption. we are to say "it's not about me", it's not about 
blog views and donations, it's not about t-shirt sales, it's not about shares, it's not about rather or not 
people "get it". it's about our children, our children who were carried in someone else's womb, but we
carry in our hearts. as angry as we can become (righteously or indigently) regarding their treatment, 
abandonment, etc. we must remain thankful that their birthmother chose life. our sweet girl's mommy 
loved her enough to choose life, and then wrap her in a blanket and leave her with a bag of milk, and 
for that, we are forever grateful. 

i can't even be angry at those anonymous comments left here either (i moderate, so i probably won't 
post them...or i'll save them all and do one "ha! look at what people say to us hiding behind a 
computer screen" post).  the people that you encounter face-to-face and have ugly things to say, i 
usually respond "okay, well, you don't have to do an international adoption then" (that's one of my 
more kind responses, i'm really working on my grace thing). the minute we start letting outsiders 
dictate our joy, our heart, and our mindset, is the minute we allow other's to take a leading role over 
our children. 

other's don't have to understand our hearts either. i can share the story of sadness that overtakes me in 
moments like the ones i first mentioned in this post, and people can stare blankly at me or deliver a 
"oh, she'll be home soon enough" without real love behind it, and that's okay too. our hearts, our 
family. we don't need understanding from acquaintances, friends, or even family to validate those 
things we feel deep in our hearts. 

besides, it's not about me anyway. ;)