We started as a boy and a girl pursuing our love and our God....here is the story of our journey to become the family we were intended to be.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Fight

Here's the thing. I have realized that as a follower of Christ, I oftentimes wish that being obedient would be easy. I think that if I am called to something and step out in faith and obedience....then the details should fall into place. It should be easy. It should go well. I should be blessed with the ease of the process. But here's the thing....David still had to face the giant even though he had the faith to step onto the battlefield. Being obedient and leaving the tent was not enough....he still had to step into the war....still had to battle the giant....and still had to keep the faith that the Lord was behind him. I was told a couple of weeks ago by a woman I met in passing (who I liked very much, lest this sound like a judgment) that she would love to adopt if it were easier. I know where she is coming from.....I wish that it were easier. Wish it alot actually :) But the truth is that the battle for children's lives is just that....a battle. I read a quote on a friend's blog recently from "Adopted for Life" by Russell Moore. He said "Adoption is not charity, it is war". Amen. We are engaged in a battle. We are fighting a war. And as much as I wish that this were easy....as much as I wish I could sleep well....as much as I wish that my heart were not on the line....and as much as I wish less time and less energy and far fewer tears were involved in this process....that is not the way it goes.
The lives and hearts and futures of children are on the line. Living, breathing, beautiful children. And the devil wants them. He wants to win. He wants for me to roll over and decide that it is too hard. He wants for us to decide that it isn't worth it. He wants for us to question our calling because it isn't easy. And sometimes he almost wins. Almost. For we hold knowledge ....knowledge that the saints who have gone before us fought. The Bible and history books are full of stories of anguish and sacrifice coupled with faith. I have the benefit of seeing the battles fought in the past. We hold faith. Faith that we will not be abandoned. Faith that we do not fight alone. Faith that sometimes we are called to peace and sometimes we are called to do battle.
And I hear it...the voice of truth. Lyrics that resonate with me: "For the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says do not be afraid. The voice of truth says this is for My glory." So when the devil sneaks in and says "The calling isn't true. You shouldn't have to do battle....it is too hard. His life isn't worth the fight....maybe he isn't meant to be yours"......I will tell the devil that I will fight.....and I will fight long and hard so I hope he is ready. It is my son he wants to take....and that simply is not an option.
It has been a tough week. You may have gleaned that from this post so far :) Last week I got the news that my fingerprints had been rejected by the FB!...again....for the second time. Before you can ask...no, I do not work with concrete and no, I am not 100 years old. For some reason my fingerprints just suck. So today I drove all the way to Denver to have them done for the 3rd time. The impact of this little delay on our adoption, you may ask? Nathan's fingerprints have been done for 5 weeks now and mine will be at least 1 more week if everything goes perfectly. So this has been a 6 week delay. A 6 week delay is not the end of the world....the major problem? 6 weeks most likely means the difference between a court-date in July (before courts close) and having to wait until late October (at the earliest) when courts re-open. And that, my friends, feels like an eternity when your child is living in an orphanage. On top of it, Ethiopia has announced some slow downs in the court date realm in the last 2 weeks....and we can't even get in line. I am frustrated and I am tired and I have shed alot of tears and done alot of tossing and turning. But the first 2 paragraphs of this post reflect where I have arrived. The above words describe where I have landed. We have been encouraged by sweet words from friends in the last week and they have meant so much. We will stand and we will fight.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The boy....

For those of you who have not been here for the day-to-day, nitty-gritty, I want to share some of the details about what God has done the last two months! First, I should explain that I am not allowed to share any pictures or identifying details..."T" isn't officially ours and there are rules about sharing set up to protect the kiddos! I can't show you his picture (yet!) but his story has already begun to be interwoven with ours...and THAT I don't have to wait to share!
At the end of November, I felt, for the first time in a year, the urge to look at the waiting children's portion of our agency's website. I had not looked at the waiting list or even thought about it for almost a year....since Mia came home. The list came to the forefront of my mind and heart and I looked and I prayed...and that was that. I looked everyday for a week or two. There was one face that struck me everyday. There were probably a dozen or so beautiful faces on that page at the time....but everyday my eyes were drawn to the face of the little boy who was the third from the left on the top row. Every time I looked, I would scroll thru all 6 of his pictures a dozen times.
A couple of weeks before Christmas, I did 2 things to quiet my spirit. I emailed our coordinator at IAN and asked about him and then (notice the order :)?) I mentioned to Nathan that I had asked about him. I got a quick reply back from IAN that told me he had not been referred and no one had even looked at his file....and I got a quick reply back from Nathan that was something along the lines of "no way, no how, not now....you are crazy". I am paraphrasing, but that is the general gist!
The truth is that there was a tug in my spirit at that point, but it had not transferred to my head or to my heart. My faith had been stretched to the max when we adopted Mia....an infant, a baby, a child with no memory of where she had been or what she had been thru. All of the questions about time and money and disruptions came rushing back and I reassured myself that Nathan was right....we were good....we were comfortable....we would NOT go there.
And yet, as discomforted as my heart and mind were, my spirit was more so....it would not rest, it would not let me find peace, it would not be quieted. At the beginning of January (3 weeks or so after our initial conversation) I told Nathan that I thought we were supposed to be praying about adopting again. I could not rest and I could not fight it anymore....so I asked him to pray....I told him that I thought we were supposed to be seeking. And my sweet husband (probably already knowing what was coming) smiled at me, sighed, and agreed. It took about 2 weeks....maybe not even that long. I can't remember what precipitated the moment. I can't remember if it was a sermon or a song or a book quote. But I do remember the moment. I looked at him and I said, "You know we are supposed to adopt again, right?" His reply? "I know." That was it..."I know" and our fate was sealed. We had a brief discussion where we decided to start saving and praying and to move forward "in a year or so". That was the timing that worked for us, we figured :) My spirit was comforted and quieted and at peace......for about 5 days. 5 days is how long it took for the Lord to overwhelm me.
My passion....it is what He uses to get us there, remember? This time was no different. His face was everywhere. I saw it when I closed my eyes. I saw it in the faces of my biological sons. I saw him all day long as I tried to go about my day. The specific face of that little boy who was the third from the left on the top row was everywhere I went, all day long. I had put that face out of my mind for more than a month and suddenly, it was everywhere. I went to the computer and tried to pull up the waiting child page. The password had changed and I panicked. That was Saturday, January 15th. On Monday I called IAN and asked for the password....and there he was. I called back and asked about him and was told that somebody had been reviewing his file but that they had had it for 2 weeks and hadn't acted. They would check into it and let me know.
Nathan had told me I could call and ask for the file but "T's" face wasn't on his mind constantly...he was going along with it because he recognizes when I am half-hearted about something and when I will probably let it go. This didn't strike him as a "letting-go" moment in our lives, so he let me run. For 2 days we talked and discussed and prayed and wrestled about a decision we may or may not have to make. I told myself it would be so much easier if the referral had already been accepted. The answers to my questions would be taken care of. I wouldn't have to decide: Could we handle 4 children? Would changing our birth order be ok? Would an older child disrupt our family too much? Would we be able to handle the financial burden? Would our time be stretched too thin? None of them would matter....it would be over and I could rest and be free and go back to my simple life.
And then, on Wednesday afternoon, I got a call from our coordinator and she said "I have a file for you to review". My reaction???? Tears of relief. Tears filled my eyes and spilled over and the tension I did not know I had been holding in my heart broke. Relief washed over me with coolness and cleansing.....and I was shocked. I was relieved?!?!?!?! There was no doubt in my mind what my emotions were....everything was clear....the questions did not matter....he could be mine....and I was relieved.
I came home to talk to Nathan and he told me to give him 2 days to think and pray without pestering him. As if I would ever pester. That night he asked me several questions about "T" and each time he asked me about "our son" :)
By Thursday we decided we needed to talk to our families. We were going to blind-side them. This had all been private, and fast, and passionate. We could feel the calling. We could feel the rightness. We could feel the peace. But we knew that our families would be caught off guard and at square one. We braced ourselves. We fielded questions. We talked and we listened. We were reminded once again of how we have been blessed. Although there were lots of questions and surprised reactions and some bafflement involved.....we never felt unsupported or unloved. We are so blessed to have family and friends who understand us and understand our God and who are willing to walk beside us. They will also choose "T". They will love him and protect him and he will be part of them because he will be part of us. There is no greater gift on this earth.
We prayed over the weekend....but we also plotted how to add a bed:) and on Monday, January 24th, we officially accepted the referral of "T". He will be our son and a co-heir with his brothers and sister. He will become a part of our lives and our hearts and our journey.
Who is he? On paper he will be 6 in April, but he is probably older. This makes him our oldest child by 8 months. He is beautiful. His hair is cut short and he has a scar on his forehead and 2 on his head. His eyes shine. His smile is genuine. In the first pictures we have of him he had just lost his 2 front teeth....now they have come in. He is the same height as Eli, but lankier. He has long fingers and knobby knees. He has his arm around another kid in most pictures we see. He has candy or a balloon or a toy in his mouth in 2/3 of the pictures we have of him! In the videos of him singing, he seems to be attentive but quiet. He has experienced more in his little lifetime than I can imagine. He is a child who deserves to be loved and protected. His life deserves to be defended and fought for.
Our journey will be long and we will try to show faith and steadfastness at every turn....but those things will be easier said than done. This adoption, like all adoptions, is not all sunshine and rainbows. I will share the murky parts as we go...because we want to be honest. Thank you for caring and thank you for listening.