Here we go again!

We are crazy people with a crazy life. It is hard to keep up with the constant, major life changes that seem to come our way. However, we are embracing this newest change! We are overjoyed and thrilled to announce that we received another referral!!!

What? You guys are trying this again? Yes, yes we are. The desire to grow our family through adoption has never faded, despite numerous obstacles. We have been discouraged – for sure, heartbroken – most definitely, but hopeful all the while.

When our agency called with a file for us to review. We took a deep breath, prayed for God to be honored no matter what, and answered the call.

Meet our precious GIRL!

IMG_9038.JPG

We could not be happier. We love her already. Her name means ‘Beloved’. We are so thankful that God has known her and loved her before she was born, that she has been loved so well at her orphanage by the director and nannies, and that we will get the opportunity to love her forever.

What’s next?

We are waiting on a few more pieces of paperwork to fall into place including her visa papers, Travel Approval from her country, and official travel dates. We estimate we will travel in 6-8 weeks. We know that time will fly by with the holidays and everything we need to do to get ready to travel and welcome home our girl!

What do we need?

We are in need of girl items. We never, ever imagined we would have a girl!! All along we have saved boy items, but did not save any girl items.

We need: size 2t-3t clothes, pajamas, swimsuit, winter coat, underwear, socks, etc. and size 6 toddler shoes, bibs, baby carrier/sling (Ergo?), sippy cups, snack cups, small toys/books to take with us, toddler backpack, etc.

If you have any of those items that you would be willing to give or lend to us, that would be amazing! We love hand-me-downs :)

We have also created a Target Registry of items we need before we travel. We will keep it updated as we find/borrow/buy the things we need.

We also need prayer.

It is easy to feel fearful after all that we have been through. My mind quickly goes to worst case scenario. Would you pray that God protects our hearts and provides his peace as we wait, prepare, and hope for the future? Would you pray for our children? They have been through a lot these past years, too. Their excitement of welcoming a new sibling is also dampened by fear. Please pray for our girl. We are about to rock her world. Pray that she is not too scared of us when we first meet! Pray that she would bond to us as a family over time and believe and trust she is loved.

Our girl’s given middle name means GRACE. When I called a dear friend to share the news she said, “It reminds me of that song, His Grace Finds Me! His grace has found you!” That song just happens to have been my theme song for this past year. His grace has found me, time and time again. No matter the circumstances, no matter the past, no matter our future; His grace has found me. In sorrow and joy, in sickness and health, in riches and poverty, his grace has and always will be…enough. Enough for this whole wide world.

 

 

Thank you for loving us so well on this crazy journey! Encouraging us when we most needed it. Praying for us even when you had no idea what was going on! Your support has been a deep blessing and we hope you can share in our JOY now of preparing to bring home our girl! 

 

 

Thankful Thursday: One Year!

So, yesterday marked one year on the Honduras wait list. I allowed myself a sad day. It’s okay to be sad, people. Now the sad day is over and today I’m listening to praise music and giving thanks for all the ways God has moved in the past 12 months.

We mailed off our dossier in September 2011 and by March 2012 we still had not heard anything. Those were some LONG months. We knew of others having do re-do paperwork and mail in more pictures. I knew at least one of our documents lacked something and I was sure we would need to re-do it. I worried about how long it was taking and was convinced our paperwork had been lost in the shuffle (this did happen to another family!).

On March 13, 2012 I went to bible study and my friends prayed for me. You can read all about it hear. I came home and received an email saying our paperwork was approved (no corrections needed) and we had our first waiting number!

Thank you, God, for allowing our paperwork to be approved as it was and for answering prayer that day! Thank you for using friends to pray for me and encourage me that day and allowing them the joy in celebrating in an immediately answered prayer.

 

In the coming weeks we learned that our program fees were going up by a large amount. We had scrimped to pay for all of our fees to that point and had no idea of how we would pay the remainder, let alone the increase. Over the summer our friends and family came around us in a HUGE way. Garage sale, t-shirt sales, sponsored miles, and a Carnival all helped cover the increased amount and provided the funds we needed to complete this adoption.

Thank you, Jesus, for touching people’s hearts and providing the finances needed to bring this child home! Thank you for the encouragement that came from such sweet and generous souls!

 

It’s hard to explain, but a year ago I felt so alone in this process. It was difficult to talk to people about adoption and how the whole program works. I often felt misunderstood and more or less that people were apathetic in response. Some people, probably not any of you that read this blog :). Through fundraising, God really changed that for me. We had such a great response from family, friends, and even strangers. I felt like people really caught the vision for adoption and could understand our hearts. Through this time our small group was formed and they have been and continue to be an enormous blessing in our lives.

Thank you, Jesus, for providing a community that supports us and loves adoption like you do! Thank you for surrounding us with people that love you. Thank you for the joy it is to walk this life with those individuals!

 

A while ago God really impressed on my heart to pray for other families to answer the call to adopt. Now, I already had experienced the hard work that is adoption and so I prayed earnestly that God would give people a heart for adoption and also a tenacity to fight for children. I started praying for a certain number of families to start the adoption process. God has answered that prayer and some. We keep hearing of friends from all over that have decided to step out in significant faith and pursue adoption or foster care. I see these families as an answer to my prayer.

Thank you, God, for calling others to adopt. Thank you for inspiring hearts to care for orphans. Thank you for providing what each of these families need for this journey and for continuing to care for these children while we all wait.

 

As our wait list number got lower, we started to think more realistically of what it would look like to add a third child to our little home. We prayed that if God would see fit, he would provide a larger home for us. Little did we expect the house God had for us. After an unexpected email from our realtor and a lot of waiting, we moved into a lovely home all ready for more kids!

Thank you, Jesus, for providing for our needs (the money needed to complete the adoption) and our wants (the space needed to add another family member). We ask that our home would be filled with your love and with people to share it with.

 

For some people 12 months feels like an eternity and for others it is just another year that flew by. For us, this past year has been significant. God has used this time to build up our faith, equip us for adoption, show us his provision, and surround us with a community that loves him. I have no idea what the next year holds, but I know God does. Today I am thanking him for that and trusting him for what lies ahead.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”

Isaiah 55:8-12

Today I water my prayer plant (it’s still alive and well) and thank God for all he has done and will continue to do! I might even go ahead and do an un-Swedish thing and burst into song and clap my hands.

 

 

PS: Last night we celebrated and remembered this past year at Chuck E Cheeeeeese. What kid wouldn’t want to join our clan?!

20130314-164300.jpg

One Year

Today marks one year for us on the Honduras adoption list. I have a range of emotions and I’m hesitant to write about it because I feel like I don’t have the perspective yet that I need. I’m confident that in a year or two I will look back at this day and have deep, insightful thoughts about purpose and meaning and timing.

But, today is today and my perspective is this moment.

They told us a year ago that the goal was to match families within a year of being put on the list. I was so optimistically hopeful that by today we would be a family of five sitting around the dinner table. At the very least I was hopeful we would know the name, face, and gender of our soon to be 5th family member.

365 days later, we sit at #31, with an empty bed that longs to be filled.

Tomorrow I’ll write about all the ways God has answered our prayers over these past 12 months, but today I am sad. I am sad to still be waiting when my heart has said all along, ‘go!’

We have had to walk through some tough stuff this year, and it wasn’t the tough stuff I pictured. I envisioned attachment issues and sleep problems and cultural differences. Instead we faced cancer and friends moving away and transition at church and leaking pipes.

I have felt adrift these past months, like being tossed here and there by waves. It’s hard to find my footing when the biggest waves come unseen. I want to be on dry land, on the other side of this all, but truth be told I’m not sure where the dry land is and all I see is sea.

We have been memorizing James 1 as a family. Last week’s verse was

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

 

This week’s verse is even more fitting.

20130313-140807.jpg

 

It’s hard to be waiting and longing for that next little person to join our family. It’s difficult to lack a clear time frame. It puts my stomach in knots to know about the global orphan crisis and to sit and wait. It’s sweet to hear the kids pray for their sibling, but heartbreaking to not have that child near. Today I am sad.

Even still, I believe that God hears our prayers and that he wants to give generously. I believe he loves children and desires for them to be in families not stuck in orphanages.  I believe that he will grow our family through adoption (in his timing). I believe that this sea around us is for a purpose and that this season has significance. I believe we will touch dry ground. I don’t know when or why or how just yet, but give me a year or two and I’ll let you know.

Until then, pray for us. Pray that today, we would feel God’s comfort and tomorrow we would feel his hope.

Thanks for following us on this journey and allowing me a sad day.

futuristic depth perception

It has been a tough season of waiting on our adoption. It is hard to explain, but more and more my heart grieves for the moments lost with the child that will someday join our family. I watch new mothers with itty bitty babies and my heart hurts knowing I will never know our child as an itty bitty baby. I won’t be there for the midnight feedings or the snuggles or the first smiles. I can only hope and pray that someone is there for those moments and that our child is experiencing necessary care and nurture.

I think moving into a bigger home has also made the ache for more children seem bigger. It is hard to walk by empty rooms and not ask God why this is taking so long. We have space now. We have rooms to fill. Why must we still wait?

When we met with our social worker last month she asked us point blank, “Are you making decisions in order to try and speed up the process?”

Busted.

Yes, I want to hurry things along. Who wouldn’t in this situation?

This is one of the reasons why I really like our social worker. She talked to us about making decisions that are best for our family and trusting God for his timing. She encouraged us to really pray about what we should do in the future and not just make changes to try and hurry along the time frame.

This waiting thing, though, is a hard concept for me to fully grasp and accept.

Today I was reading in Micah. He was one of those old testament prophet guys. If you ever read the prophets then you might be like me, and be left a bit confused. Half the time they talk about judgement on Israel (or Israel’s enemies) and the other half they talk about the coming Messiah. Sometimes they transition from one topic to the other with little to no warning, leaving the reader wondering what in the world they are talking about.

So, today, reading Micah, I was scratching my head at how one moment he is promising destruction of Jerusalem and another moment predicting Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (both came true). The little cliff note in my bible mentioned the scattered time frames of the prophesies and it said that prophets suffered from a problem with futuristic depth perception. They were given visions of the future, but without a timetable. They knew what they were foretelling would be true, but they didn’t know when. So, Micah spoke with urgency even though he didn’t know when Jerusalem would crumble (100 years later) or when Jesus would be born (700 years later).

It got me all a thinking about waiting and God’s timing. Apparently God doesn’t work on Central Standard Time. Or any earthly timetable for that matter. My adoption waiting and longing isn’t looking so bad compared to 100-700 years.

I have been really struggling to pray for our adoption. Gasp. I know, it sounds horrible. But, by praying about it I am reminded about it and then it hurts. So, I just don’t think about. Realizing this avoidance tendency is not such a great idea, I decided to make a conscious effort to pray for our child and adoption process once a day. In order to ‘hold myself accountable‘, I decided to draw a circle around my written request each time I prayed about it as a visual reminder.

I’ll cut to the chase. I was praying that God would bring us our child (through a referral) in 2013.

I went to draw my circle after reading Micah and just couldn’t do it. God doesn’t work within my time limits. I genuinely do want his timing. Even if that means waiting some more. So, I adjusted my request.

 photo

 

It actually felt really freeing to release my expectations.

I was also been reminded that while God has called us to care for orphans, there are many ways to do that without adopting. We may not be at the point of bringing a child into our home, but we can still be actively loving orphans. As the year drew to a close, James and I sat together and picked out several ministries to support that actively and daily do just that. It isn’t the same, for sure, but we can be faithful to what God has called us to do in little ways while we wait and prepare for the bigger ways to come.

 

I will come to you

My sweet friend, Kelly, just gave me this glass ornament (with the map of Honduras of course). It was so nice of her to think of me and really encouraging to me in this long waiting phase. I can’t wait to get our tree up and have this reminder hanging there. I fully believe that God called us to adopt and also fully believe that he will one day bring a child into our home.

Is McDs worth the wait?

We met friends at a park today to catch up one last time before they officially move away.

tear. another friend. moved away.

She was talking about God’s timing in their lives and how now looking back they can see how God orchestrated a job change, house sold, move, and pregnancy all in his perfect timing. If any of the events had occurred out of order there would have been less, well, order.

It made me laugh because just yesterday I was contemplating the cliche phrase, ‘worth the wait’.

There are a lot of things ‘worth the wait’ (marriage, children, etc.), but in general the people that are quoting that phrase are usually the ones that have already finished the wait. I would argue it is much easier to claim things are ‘worth the wait’ once you are no longer waiting.

The challenge comes in believing the wait is worth it while you are still waiting.

This is especially difficult considering the culture in which we live. Instant gratification is a top value (think fast food). Have you ever eaten at McDonalds and said, ‘that was worth the wait’? No way! McDonalds is gross. Everyone knows it is not real food, but it is instant and cheap and everywhere.

I buy groceries at our gas station because I don’t want to drive the five minutes to Target and then have to walk to the back of the store to find my items. At the gas station I am in and out under three minutes. I do love Kwik Trip. It is kwik, I mean quick.

All that to say, we are waiting and at moments it feels like there is absolutely no end in sight. Everything within me says to pull over, stop at Kwik Trip. I have to fight the urge almost everyday, not knowing if the wait is truly worth it until we get there. I am hungry and I want to eat and those golden arches are calling my name. Instead, I am passing by McDs and fixing my eyes on something I can’t see.

 

       Do not lose heart.

Though outwardly we are wasting away,

yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

       For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

So we fix our eyes not on what is see, but what is unseen.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

So, I fix my eyes on Jesus and follow hard after him. Trusting that this is the path he wants us on and until he tells us different, to stop drooling over french fries.

Did you follow? Or do you just want to go eat at McD’s? Funny how the mind works.

PS – those verses come from our friend, Paul, the guy who walked away from a nice respected lifestyle to radically follow Christ. He was beaten, imprisoned, and ridiculed. In perspective our wait doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Trusting God’s way

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.

Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25: 1, 4-5

I found comfort for our long wait in these verses today. More than anything, I desire to be following God’s way and trusting his truth. My hope is in him all day, everyday.

Waiting and Preparing

Just when I am starting to feel all warm and cozy about adoption, Jen Hatmaker goes and posts the Truth About Adoption.

I was scared to read it because we are still in the pre-stage (waiting, waiting, waiting). It was good, though, because I am reminded that 1) waiting is not wasteful and 2) Every season has a purpose and 3) I should probably go on more dates with my husband and enjoy these moments with our kids before our lives are forever changed.

Adoption is born out of tragedy and we can’t make little of that. Part of loving adoption is loving children through the spaz out, triage, and rehab stages. Don’t know what stages I am referring to? Read the post.

These past months have been some of the best in terms of feeling like people are supporting us, loving our child-to-be, and praying us forward. But, the truth is this is just the beginning. The real work comes after the airport. I have no idea when that time will be and what that season will look like, but I anticipate we will need the village more than ever.

Our Agency posted this family’s story about waiting today. I loved that she said, “It sounds so simple, but the way we waited was to just accept that we would wait. Deep down acceptance. Accepting what you cannot change. It is something Chris does so well and I have learned through this process. Don’t let waiting steal your joy. It is one of the many lessons that adopting has taught me.

All that to say, we are doing our best to wait, prepare, trust, hope, and pray. Thanks for walking this journey alongside us. Now go read all the links I just posted above. :)

 

Waiting in the Land Between

I don’t like waiting.

I thought for sure we would receive our new waitlist number this week, but alas, we have not.

The waitlist number doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is that monthly/every six week encouragement that I have come to need. It tells me that this process is still happening and that there is forward motion.

Forward. Oh, how I desire to move forward.

I try not to check my email obsessively, but all too quickly I fail. And since my email disappoints me than I might as well lurk on blogs/facebook for awhile. And then refresh my email one more time for good measure.

One of the adopting mom blogs I follow is doing a series on the book, ‘The Land Between‘. I totally resonate with what she has written and the premise of the book. I feel in between in waiting/preparing for this huge event to take place in our family, yet being completely out of control in the time frame of it happening.

 

You can pray that I would be patient and trusting during this time between of waiting. I am speaking briefly on Saturday at our church’s women’s tea and I have lacked inspiration on what to share (so unlike me). Finally this morning I felt like God gave me a message and I’ll hopefully post about it later.

In the meantime I wait, hope, pray, trust in God’s promises, stay up late watching chick-flicks (Thanks, Becky!), binge on trifle, and waste time on the computer.

I should probably eliminate those last two.

 

 

ps ~ I am super proud of our t-shirts. My fave is the brown v-neck (with the navy blue a close runner up). I would totally wear it everyday if I someone magically did my laundry at night. You should buy one. It supports our adoption and is a great conversation starter to share your faith.

 

Lilies of the Field

And why do you worry about clothes?

See how the lilies of the field grow.

They do not labor or spin.

Yet I tell you that NOT even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,

and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:28-33

We are believing that God is caring for our child while we are far away, knowing how precious our baby is to him. We are also trusting that God will provide for all of our financial needs to bring this little one safely home.

These miles were sponsored by my loving aunt Margaret. Thank you!!

Sponsor a mile today!