Thursday, April 25, 2013

1, 3, 4, 2, 3, 4, 1

That's what we've been through in the past two weeks.  We initially wanted to adopt one little princess and when that came to a halt, we found three precious princesses we would love to call ours.  Then we were presented with a handsome prince of a brother about the same time our home study agency said, but wait, we only want to approve you for two.  So, we said ok, knowing they have been doing this even longer than we have and therefore have wisdom gained from that experience.  However, we thought that perhaps we could reason together and possible still adopt the three, so we requested and it was discussed among those in authority with a possible maybe, but yet to be determined.  Then, come to find out, that our home study agency was actually asking DSS of South Carolina, who has to approve all home studies, if we could be approved for up to four additional children as long as those children had no severe mental or physical needs.  For the past two, three days that's where we've been - waiting on the verdict from South Carolina DSS . . . until this morning.

I started my day with an email time stamped 7:30 from our home study agency which said "Can I call you?".  I replied at 8:15 saying I was at my desk (I work from home) if she wanted to call.  At 9:30 we received a call that stopped me in my tracks and has had me in tears much of the day.  But before I tell you about that phone call, let me tell you about Saturday. 

I was resting around here still feeling what I thought were the affects of last weeks stomach virus from hell still feeling nauseas, dizzy and exhausted.  Jode was sweet and had the older two with him while Ian was taking his morning nap.  I gave myself a break and decided to lay on the sunroom sofa and just rest.  I remember thinking "If I didn't know better, one would think I was expecting!" But that's not a possibility so sickness it was.  I laid there talking to God about our family and how thankful I am for all the precious babies we have.  Each one of our children came to us as infants with Ian being only 13 days old, Gavin was only 2 months old and Flora was 10 months old.  In the domestic would of foster adoption, according to our social workers, "that just doesn't happen".  Thus our being even more thankful.  But in my thankfulness and planning ahead for our possible adoptions by putting away all the baby paraphernalia that Ian has out grown, taking down the extra crib we always kept up and trying to figure out whether to have a yard sale or . . . what, I remember thinking "God, I sure am ready for another baby."  I told no one else, didn't even speak it out loud, but I know He heard me.  Now for today's phone call.

Our agent said that she got an email from their California office last night regarding a baby which was born this past Sunday.  He's Hispanic, weighed 5'7oz and has a special need not unlike the one our precious Mariana was diagnosed with and one that another child of mine was diagnosed with.  His back ground is much the same as our three children and two of my older children so nothing new there.  She said when she got the email we came to mind, and all last night and this morning she could not stop thinking about us being his parents.  She asked us to pray.  We have been, and have asked our mother's to pray as well.  All of us are not alarmed with his special needs and feel that it would be a very good thing.  It's still very uncertain, and as usual we are waiting for updated information and next steps.  That's nothing new for adoptions - domestic or international. 

Can I ask you to pray too?  If you've read this far, you're following us on this journey and in a sense going with us.  Please help us pray for him first and foremost.  His doctors, nurses and all those involved in his care need wisdom.  Help us pray that God would surround him with comfort, and calm and with His wonderful presence.  And then help us all pray, the agency and us, for wisdom and God's perfect will in this situation.

Thank you and God bless,

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Peace that passes all understanding

Have you noticed how many of us going through the adoption process are asking for peace and expressing anxiety about the timing, the process, the government, the agency and so much more?  Many of us are Christians who have accepted what we know in our hearts to be the James 1:27 calling to adopt, yet we are plagued with anxieties through the entire process. 

Over twenty years ago, when I first became a foster/adoptive parent, I had the blessing of being given two beautiful little girls to foster.  Having two bio-sons, then 12 and 8, made having two little girls that much more thrilling.  This time I could buy little dresses and matching bows and sock and anything else cute and frilly. 

In the first four years of fostering them, I went through so many stages.  At first, they were just foster children.  I loved them very much, but also wanted very much for them to be able to return to their bio-mother.  After working with her for two years, DSS realized that was not going to be in their best interest.  And, after the older one was diagnosed with many special needs, DSS began to look to me as a possible adoptive placement. 

So for the next couple years we battle time, and the court system, for termination, and then their was the inevitable appeal, and another 18 months of waiting for the court system.  By this time, I knew they were mine no matter what possibilities there were, and I had a peace that no one could take them.  Of course this was developed over seven years; nothing quick about that.

So skip ahead to the past five years, and learning those lessons over again.  Jode and I have had 24 precious kids come through our home from ages 0 - 16.  Many times, we thought we were going to get to keep them only to have them returned to a not-so-wonderful situation.  Our hearts have been broken, we have asked God "why?", but finally have learned, again, that if it is not His perfect will, we do not want it for us, or them, because only in that will can there be His perfect peace that passes all understanding. 

Now that we are going through international adoption, we are again hearing "you need to hurry", and at first, I fell for it, but thankfully had a check in my heart to slow down.  Had I fallen for the rush, rush, rush of our initial agency, I would have been out over $10,000 when they came to us four months later and said "oh, by the way, we regret to inform you we are not going to proceed."  And of course, that contract said all monies are non-refundable.  That check in my heart to slow down, meant we only lost $1300, instead.  The second, third, forth and fifth agencies we interviewed all said the same thing basically "You need to hurry because I got a special clearance for you" or something like that.  I was surprised at how many said the same thing.  I wondered, do they teach them that in SW school? International Adoption 101 - how to motivate someone whose heart is already on their sleeve.  Not cool.  I did meet two social worker who did not do that, and one who actually kept asking me if I was sure this is what we wanted to do.  Now her, I would recommend in a heartbeat. 

So I'm asking you, is this your calling and if so, are you trusting the One who called to truly work all things for your, and your child's, good?  Have you laid all your endeavors at the foot of the cross, and if so, are you leaving them there for Him to work out?  Like the story of the little boy with the broken toy who gave it to his dad to fix only to keep taking it back before his father was done, God can't fix it, if you keep taking it up.  Ask Him what it is that you are to be doing, but also realize that sometimes, it is just to be still and wait. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

That Your Hand Would Be With Us

. . . that Your hand would be with me . . . I Chron 4

Five months ago we fell in love with a precious little baby in the country of Colombia.  No, not South Carolina, but South America.  For five months we worked hard to bring her home, but through tears and prayer we made the decision to not continue that pursuit. 

As we were drawing to the end of that endeavor, moving on emotionally as we made the decision to move on literally, we became aware of a sibling group of girls in the DRCongo.  They are beautiful little girls ages 4, 3 and 2 whose mother is deceased and whose father relinquished them because he is in the military and can no longer take care of them.  That had to be an agonizing decision, but the most amazing display of sacrificial love.  His request before he left was to have the girls adopted by a "foreign family" to get them out of the country and ravages of the African World War which is being waged all around them.  I cried when I found this out, and so did Jode.  His father's heart was broken.  After reading their back ground story and reviewing their medical reports, we said yes, we would like to pursue them so with a vengeance we have been.  Much of our home study was complete and will be in the next week.  Our dossier had already begun for Colombia and with DRCongo not being part of the Hague Convention, we should be able to move forward quickly.  We finally feel like we're making headway and we feel like God is showing us in His way that this is the way.  His hand is with us and it seems that with each step he keeps saying more and more "yes, but do you really trust Me?"  One little Latina, to three African daughters and then came Thursday night. 

Thursday night I received an apologetic email from our agency saying the biological father came in that day and relinquished his son as well.  Of course I sat there with my mouth open thinking "REALLY!?"  She asked if we would be interested and I said we would be interested in knowing more about him.  He's a handsome thing.  At 6 years old he would be older than Flora, which is something we have tried to avoid, but then we had not considered adopting a boy either.  So there is much to consider.  The bio father's instructions were that should the children need to be split up, they could adopt them out two and two.  At first I though, ok, we can just adopt the younger two but then, it horrifies me to think they would never see each other again.  Jode and Jane felt the same way.  No final decisions have been made, but we're leaning that way.  Of course his medicals will have to be reviewed.  We decided not to adopt a child with special needs if we are going to have a big family.  So much . . .  so much to be considered.  

And so we continue to pray for wisdom, for favor and of course we continue with the mounds of paperwork, but at least now we are making progress.

Thank you, Father, that as You bless us and expand our territory, You will also ever be with us to guide us through that which you've called us to do. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oh, that You would bless us INDEED and expand our territory, that Your hand would ever be with us and that You would keep us from evil that we might not cause pain.  1 Chron 4:10

When we began praying the prayer of Jabez, we expected great things from God, but heading to Africa to follow His call upon our lives is beyond that which we imagined.  We are humbled, excited and in awe that He would deem us worthy of this calling.  This blog will be our journey to Africa and from there . . . only God knows what He has planned!