December 4, 2014

praying for kisses.

Some days are harder than others.  Many days it is so easy for me to go about my life without recognizing that there is a third child out there somewhere.  The busy monotony of mothering a two and three-year-old make that easy.  But other days, like today, oh how I long for that child.  I long for her.  My heart aches for her.  To hold her, and love her, and bring her home.

Everything in me is ready for our family to grow.  And sometimes I wonder why God has us on this journey.  I love adoption and I am so thrilled to grow our family in this way.  But even now, it is hard.  Right from the beginning, it starts in the hard places.  A daughter somewhere on the other side of the world and I cannot love and kiss when I feel so compelled.  I feel pregnant with anticipation, yet, still so disconnected.  So different from bringing my other children into the world.  The same longing and love and eagerness to meet, but overshadowed by the dark circumstances that surround her current life.  My daughter doesn't know her mother.  She doesn't know that she will be forever loved.  I can't wait to tell her this, but right now it breaks my heart.

I often sit behind a family in church who recently brought a baby boy into their home.  Fostering him since he was days old, and I do hope he can stay with them forever.  I watch their whole family, parents and children alike, just shower him with kisses.  And I feel like I am watching the kingdom at work right before my eyes.  A holy love that cannot be explained by anything but an overflowing of the love of the Creator.  It is beautiful to watch.  But my heart still breaks that it has to be that way.  As heart-warming as it is to watch, I know that there will be no need for adoption and foster families in heaven.  We will all be perfectly loved and love perfectly in the presence of God.  But until then, we live it out the best we can on earth.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting behind that same family, with their beautiful child and watched this baby be doted on by the older children.  But the heart-warming feelings I had suddenly turned to sadness for me as I recognized, that, like this family, I have a child somewhere whose genes I do not share.  But my daughter is probably not being doted on and kissed and smothered and loved properly.  I don't even know if she is picked up when she cries.  My heart broke in an instant.  This reality hits me like a ton of bricks every now and then.  I found myself praying that she would be kissed.  Wherever she is, whoever cares for her.  Just kisses.  So now, when I am hit with the reality of the brokenness that she lives in now, I pray that she would still be receiving affection and kisses from those around her.

I just can't wait until it is me.  

If you happen to think of us and this crazy journey that we're on, we truly covet your prayers.  For us, yes, and our patience and sanity, but even more so, for our daughter.  She is somewhere in China, maybe or maybe not getting kisses and affection.  Her world is going to be rocked, and it is going to hurt.  Pray for her heart.  And pray that she would be kissed by someone who loves her, until it can be from her forever family.

November 20, 2014

DTC and a little fundraiser

I sat Jordan down the other day and said, "let's talk about what we're going to quit!!"

I only half meant it.  Truth is, this season has been overwhelming and I clearly see that I have taken too much on my plate.  Thus, the lack of updating here.  But, the good news is that many of the projects I have had going on are ending, and so I am looking forward to a much more relaxed holiday season!

The most exciting news I have... we are finally DTC (dossier to China)!!!!  Our LID (Log In Date) was officially two days ago on the 18th, which basically means we are completely eligible to be matched with a child.  We are only waiting for our time to come.

The waiting is a hard lesson for me.  It reminds me of the 2 week wait while trying to get pregnant... month after month, wondering if I'll get that positive test (or phone call!).  The difference here is that I KNOW I will get that phone call some day.  It just probably won't be for another 4-7 (or more) months.  (That is the timeline we are looking at.)  I feel in limbo and out of control, which is a common theme in adoption and parenting in general.  But that waiting feeling makes me all squirmy and want to fight it.  I keep finding things to be anxious about or things that I must want to change, because simply WAITING and being still, well, that's just too hard.  But... just like I believe with all my heart that God allowed me to get pregnant and give birth to just the right boys he picked out for me, the same goes with our China baby.  At just the right time, I will get that phone call about just the right baby for our family.  I believe that.  But patience is hard.  

What's hard about waiting is that I forget that I am HERE and NOW.  I am looking forward to the next thing, the next season, the next change.  I can become obsessed with it to the point where I am not grateful for today.  I'm conscious of this, and actively trying to change this.  Being more present, and being intentional to remember and write down what I loved about today.  I always want to be hopeful for the future, but live my today.  Because, really, that is all that I am guaranteed.

In the meantime - we are having an auction to raise funds to bring our baby girl home!!  Unfortunately, unlike giving birth, there is no health insurance that will cover the many expenses that come along with adoption. We are looking at a bill of over $30,000 to cover agency fees, home study fees, government processing fees, education fees, travel expenses, and more. We have saved up as much money as we can, but we still realize that we will not meet that $30,000 mark without help. We see this auction as a way to let our friends and family get involved in a fun, tangible way.  It starts in a week, so go ahead and take a peak at what has been donated so far!  We've been so blessed by so many friends stepping up and helping out.

If any of you are interested in donating, please email me (link should be to the right)!  Otherwise, have fun shopping!!

September 18, 2014

about those bumps in the road.

I suppose no adoption process is complete without ending up in tears at the secretary of state's office.  This week has been a struggle.  We've had some major paperwork drama in the adoption department and I've just found myself extremely frustrated.  And exhausted.

I knew this process was most likely not going to be a smooth and easy ride.  Everyone told me to expect bumps.  Expect resistance.  Expect battle.

I have a little one in China somewhere, and even though I don't know what she looks like or her name, I have a Mama Bear instinct that is already kicking in.  And it feels like I am fighting for my child.

While I am most definitely frustrated with having to deal with the consequences of issues that arise, I'm mostly frustrated by the lack of peace I have when I get all worked up like this.

There is so much more to this battle than what is on the surface.  There is a battle of flesh, but there is a battle of spirit.  I know that Satan hates redemption.  He hates adoption.  And he thrives in chaos.  Oh, how often I forget that my God is about peace.  And that HE is sovereign.

That doesn't mean that I have to like what is going on.  But it does mean that in everything, I can present my requests to the one true God, and claim a peace that passes understanding.

It is still a choice to surrender.  The Lord wants our daughter home.  I believe it.  I don't believe it is for no reason that he called us to this.  So, I'll trust in His ultimate plan and His timing.  And if that means that it takes longer than I would like, so be it.  Cuz, Lord knows I would have had her home yesterday.  And if not, I still am so so very blessed.  No matter what, I have every reason to live in gratitude.  Heart, please don't forget that.

I posted something on instagram about this battle of paperwork I was dealing with, and one friend encouraged me, write it all down.  Your daughter will want to hear about the battle for her soul one day.

It felt like a word from the Lord.  Maybe not.  But I need to hash this out instead of bottling it up.  I'm an external processor and this is my online abode.  So, my journey will be documented here.  And as you read, I ask you to please pray.  Pray for peace for my worried Mama heart.

Pray that the officer at the USCIS that we are assigned is gracious and has a passion for uniting families and will not be nit-picky about minor issues in our home study.

Pray that I'd remember to fight frustration with gratitude.

Pray for the health and safety and heart of our sweet China girl, who I believe has a beating heart somewhere on the other side of the world.

Adoption Timeline Update:

Home Study Approved - August 7, 2014
I800A mailed - August 25, 2014
Michigan Documents Certified - Sept 16, 2014
Discovered Home Study was a rough draft and contained no edits, so new home study printed and overnighted to USCIS (yes, this happened) - Sept 17, 2014

June 16, 2014

he already sees

The other day, I was driving to somewhere with a new kid's album on, purchased at the recommendation of a friend.  This one is my new favorite, with simple Bible songs over really pleasant folky guitar.  A nice change over the sometimes-obnoxious Pandora Toddler Radio that often plays.

The third song started singing about Moses.  And something about this song struck a cord in my heart.  I felt a lump in my throat as I pondered the words.

Who saved a baby in a boat? 
Who kept that baby’s boat afloat? 
Who loved that baby in the reeds? 
Who knows just what a baby needs? 

Who cares for you in just that way? 
And gives you all you need today? 
Yes, God’s the one who, day by day 
Will care for you in every way.

We are two months deep into the adoption paperwork, and I still have a difficult time wrapping my mind around how this is going to flesh out in real life.  I do feel like I have a daughter with a beating heart, somewhere, half-way around this world.  When I dwell on it I feel a huge urgency in my spirit to bring her home.  But much of the time, it still seems so far away.  Without a face attached to my somewhere-daughter, it's easy to forget that she even exists yet.  That sounds horrible, but it's true.  But truth is, she probably needs my prayers more than ever now, before she is home.

As I listened to this song, my mind was stuck on her.  My sweet baby girl, somewhere.  Being kept afloat by the only one who holds life in his hands.  Loved already.  Her needs known already.  Cared for, and given what she needs in a way I simply can't yet.

Man.  A mixture of heartbreak and complete gratitude as I pondered that God cares for our baby girl just as he cared for Moses.  An orphan baby just floating about, wondering who is going to put a roof over her head.  And one more picture for me of how deeply God loves and cares for the orphan.  Over and over again in His story, he has used the fatherless to bring forth his great plan.  How easily I forget that the God of the universe already sees and loves her.

As I'm driving, I hit repeat on the song a time or two, using as a prayer for the face I have yet to see.  And then it hits me again.

Do I not believe that the same is also already true for me?

I struggle with striving.  Trying to do it on my own instead of surrendering.  Living as if I need to prove my worth or something , when really God already cares and gives me what I need.  And even, feeling like who am I to be on this journey.  How often I need to rest in his truth, as a mom especially.  With a two-year-old and a three-year-old I feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants.  My kids don't always buy into my plans for good behavior.  My method of discipline often seems to fall short when two tantruming boys seem to result in only more ugly behavior... often from me.

Still.  I am seen.  My needs are known.  And I only need to abide.  Fill my mind with truth, instead of the lies that I'm unworthy.  Rest in Him.

Now this song has become my prayer for my baby girl, wherever she is, that she find His love covering her already.  That she would feel seen.  Cared for.  Known.  Peace beyond understanding.  Despite whatever chaos may be in her world right now.

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