Friday, January 30, 2009

What We Are Doing Today

Thanks so much to so many of you who have agreed to stand with us in prayer for the deliverance of our children. We've been through the spectrum of emotions in the last 24 hours (again) but here is where we are today:

1. We have plane tickets purchased for next weekend (we've had these for a few weeks and God provided donated frequent flyer miles to help defray the cost) and bags packed to go. We are not changing these tickets or unpacking yet. In the anticipation of a miraculous work of God, we are going to be ready to leave. There is not one thing that remains to be done for us to get on that plane. I was reminded today of the Israelites who were instructed by God to eat with their belts and shoes on, staffs in hand (Ex. 12), so they were ready to leave when God moved. We are trying to do the same. It feels a little nutty doing that because we have been let down so often in this process but that's our plan for today. I imagine Noah felt pretty nutty building his ark too.

2. We are clinging to the scriptures we feel the Lord has given us.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it [a] will certainly come and will not delay. (Hab. 2:3)

We are praying that what happened yesterday is an example of "lingering" and that God will still be true to His promise not to delay.

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland (Is. 43: 18-19)

We are seeking to not dwell on past let-downs in this process and to believe God that He is making a way right now for the girls to come home.

I will also do this thing that you have spoken;
for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.
(Ex. 33:17)

We know that if God is moving, nothing can impede His will. We are asking the God who knows our daughters' names to bring them home and remove any obstacles the enemy would try to put in our path. It may be that God desires us to wait several more months and if so, then so be it. But it may also be that an army of prayer warriors can intercede for our girls and pray them home now.

If you are praying with us, would you join us in praying these truths over our family? Please also pray for strength for the journey ahead. Sometimes I think curling up in a ball on the side of road is more attractive and plausible for me than taking even one more step on this journey.

Thanks for believing with us that God is bigger than this.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not Good News - Again.

So we just got word that we did not pass through court - again. Our birthmother was there and the relinquishment has taken place. All of our paperwork was there and approved. There was only one catch. The judge ruled that a new decision must be issued from MOWA (the agency that is closed this week for moving!) for every court date, even though we already had prior MOWA approval from our last court date! Our new court date is not until the end of March which means we won't be getting the girls until April, unless a miracle happens. Our Gladney rep thinks that because our case is basically done (it just needs ANOTHER MOWA rubber stamp) that they may be able to get our case heard sooner - perhaps next week when MOWA opens up again.

We need you to help us harness all of the power of heaven on this one. Would you pray for a miracle that our case gets heard next week? Would you ask everyone you know to do the same and stand in gap with us for the lives of these little girls? We will not be defeated by the enemy.

We are believing God that He will not delay and "bring [our] daughters from the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 43:6) home to us as He has promised.

"Get up! Cry out at night, every hour on the hour. Pour your heart out like water in the presence of the LORD. Lift up your hands to him [in prayer] for the life of your little children." Lamentations 2:19

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Please Pray for Tomorrow's Court Date - 1/29

Our hearts our with so many families across agencies that were reassigned new court dates in March due to a delay in court proceedings this week. We know how broken-hearted you are feeling right now. We've been through that fire once already. You will be in our prayers in these difficult weeks ahead.

We learned today that our case may be an exception to the many that were reassigned today because our case is not affected by the agency that is delaying other families. That agency already ruled favorably on our case at our first court date. Our case will be heard tomorrow, Gladney reps have the needed documents the court is requesting and our birthmother will be in court to relinquish custody. We have reason to be hopefully optimistic at this point but as we have learned things are very unpredictable.

Would you please pray that God will move tomorrow to pass our case through court so that our girls can come home? It's been a long haul. We believe He has promised us that He will not delay (Hab. 2:3) and we are standing on that.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Be Not Afraid

We saw Slumdog Millionaire this weekend. If you haven't seen it, it's an absolutely beautiful film and that tells the story of the lives of two orphan boys who grow up to make very different choices. There is a scene in the movie where a group of young orphan children is shown living in a city dump. They are then "rescued" by a less than noble man who uses them for his own ends. That part of the film is almost unbearable to watch - in part because in this case art is truly imitating life.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how easily distracted we are as human beings. Recently someone who read by last blog post commented that she thought I had "lost my focus" on what was most important in this entire situation. She was right. That's a big part of why I wrote what I did. I think that we need to be transparent with one another as we journey together and take on the work of the Kingdom. I've tripped and stumbled at various points in this process and it was important for me to share that. It's easy to romanticize anything - and adoption, the entire process of adoption, is no exception. Adoption is going be a great joy, of that I am sure. But, it will also be a lot of work and a work that will require the sacrifice of self. I was recently reading a great translation of Luke 10:27 that says, "Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence. " You sense in the way the verse is translated that loving God is an active experience - one that requires us to press on with everything we have, even when obstacles - including ones in our own hearts - dare us to be anything but faithful. That was what happened to me. Ultimately, the fear in my own heart, of so many things, called to me to choose the easier road. Fear is powerful and seductive. As Tom Davis writes, "Fear brings all of the 'what if's' to the surface. What if I become too involved in someone else's life and I lose something from my own life? What if it costs me money? What if it costs me my life? A what if life is a paralyzed life, an imprisoned life. Fear keeps us from acting on the compassion in our hearts."

Eleanor Roosevelt said that evil triumphs when good people do nothing. Isn't that ultimately what Satan wants from us - nothing? He wants us to be lulled into the self-indulged laziness of our culture and just not take on much of anything - outside of those things that serve the god of self interest. Tom Davis of Red Letters elaborates on Roosevelt's quote in saying that "Evil triumphs when good men and women sit on the sidelines while Africa burns and crumbles. "
Recently, I found myself frustrated with a situation at church. I said to Davis "How can people be so stagnant, stale, self-indulgent and selfish?" The hard thing about making comments like that is that you then have to turn the mirror on yourself and say how am I that person? How am I being tempted to choose a life of self indulgence while Africa burns?

I think part of why we had to wait was that I needed some time to recommit my own heart to a life of service. Isn't that what mothers do? They serve. But in serving, they are blessed. Once again to quote Tom Davis, "Give away your life and you'll find life given back - but not merely given back - given back with bonus and blessing."

Our court date is just 3 days away. Would you please pray that every last detail would be taken care of so we can bring E and J home? Our prayers are also with all of you who are going to court tomorrow - on my birthday! The best gift of all would be lots of kids heading home to forever families.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why I've Been the Worst Blogger Ever Lately

I have been a total blogging slouch lately which is unusual for me given my VERY Type A personality. There are a few reasons for this. They are: 1.) I discovered the Twilight series and 2.) I've been having a 1/3 life crisis as the thought of MOTHERHOOD looms on the horizon. Our second court date is in just 9 days - just a few days from my birthday. If all goes well, we plan to get on a plane February 7th bound for Ethiopia. We will spend a week seeing some of the country and fly to meet Baby E's birthmother (if possible) who lives quite a distance from Addis. We have actually booked our airline tickets in faith. I recently read a quote that said "When faith goes to market, it always takes a basket." So, we are trying to act on our expectation of God moving on 1/29. If faith is the "assurance of things hoped for", then we are just going to have to believe God that He will not delay in bringing our girls home. We have been especially comforted by a verse from Habakkuk that says "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay" (Hab. 2:3). Thanks to several of you for bringing this great word to our attention after Big Bad Wednesday. I have been trying to stand on that promise over these last few weeks and claim it as ours.

Now - to the other stuff. I was turned on to the Twilight series by my friend Cheryl who dragged me to see the movie. Since that day, I have read all four books in about a week and half. Is anyone else out there a total Twilight nerd embarrassed at how much time you have wasted living in teen-angst land and wishing your husband was a vampire? If so, please contact me. There must be a support group out there somewhere... If you are on wait list (or delayed waiting for a follow-up court date) and need a delicious and campy distraction, go pick those books up! You can then waste additional time on YouTube finding videos of the cast from the movie. You can literally lose hours in the Twilight time warp (which is good if your days of waiting are passing slowly and you are off work!). I'm telling you, there is a total dorkathon going on at our house right now (just ask Davis).

Twilight seemed to have factored into the other reason I've been off the blog lately. Put simply - I've been freaking out about the real prospect of being a mom and how that will radically change our lives. I've always been a bit freaked out about this in the general sense, but booking the airline tickets kind of put me over the edge because it started to feel REAL for the first time. For some reason, the thought of taking on the M O M title makes me feel really O L D (finding out that the Twilight actors were born in 1986 and 1990 - OUCH! - didn't help either). I know that motherhood will mandate self-sacrifice and I guess I didn't realize how much the selfish, fleshly side of me was going to fight that. I know we want this - and are called to this - but there is a part of me that is screaming "no! No! NO!" on the inside because that part of me would just rather continue having myself as the center of the universe. I feel like there's a war going on in my head, a war for who will have control of my life. I am certain that on the spiritual side of this we will face our greatest opposition when taking our greatest step of faith. Given that, it's no surprise that I feel strangely conflicted about something I have been so certain about for so long. I've also talked to some of my dearest girlfriends about this in the last week or so and they have all said that something like this happened right before their kids were born. I'm hoping this may also be a natural part of the process of this huge life change. Looking at things now, I honestly wonder if part of why we got delayed had to do with the fact that I had some pouty adolescence that God knew needed to be dealt with in order for me to truly take on the task of being the mother these little girls will need. I have been praying all along that God would make our hearts and our home ready for these girls. My home is looking pretty good. My heart seems to need a bit more work.

The thing we have both learned during this season of waiting is that the most important thing you can do for your children is to pray for them. You can plan and prepare and purchase but God needs you - more than anything else- to surrender your children to Him. This season has forced us to learn that. We were given a great book at our last shower called Power of a Praying Parent (I'm not normally into the big Christian franchise products - but this one is actually great) that helped us to see how critical prayer is as a parent. The author begins the book with a verse from Lamentations 2:19: "Pour out your heart like water before the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children." That's what we have been doing these last six weeks - lifting up our young children to God since we can't be with them. Along with that, I have seen in my recent "Do I really even want to be a mom?" meltdown(s) that we must lift our own hearts up to God and ask Him to fill them with the love and strength to raise our children - a love that we will not have on our own because we are innately selfishness.

So that's what we've been up to. We would ask that you stand with us in prayer these next few days as we wait for what we hope will be our last court date. Please pray that 1.) Baby E's birthmother has no complications with getting to court, 2.) Needed documents (2 of them) are available and sufficient, 3.) God make our hearts (and particularly mine) ready and willing to take on this huge change and challenge. Thanks so much!

Here's a few recent pics just for fun.

My patient and compassionate husband took me to San Francisco this past weekend for a last hurrah - no kid weekend. Late nights out in the city helped a bit with that pent up adolescence that's been making me crazy!

Where is that support group?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back from Blogging Hiatus!

We are officially back from our blogging hiatus. After Big Bad Wednesday, we pretty much dropped off the radar for a spell. We realized we just needed to get out of town for a change of scenery. We needed get away from being in our home over Christmas with no girlies with whom to share it. Very last minute, we decided to load up the car (including the dog!) and drive 17 hours to Colorado for Christmas with Davis' family. We ended up having an absolutely great time. It was so fun to share a white Christmas holiday with the whole clan. The girls were even lucky enough to have presents under the family Christmas tree! We got to spend lots of time with our niece and nephew who are way too cute. They have tons of energy so this was good "parent practice". Davis did LOTS of building with Legos (he successfully helped put together the Star Wars X Wing Fighter) and I did lots of coloring! We also got to experience how fast germs spread within a family (also good parenting prep!) when almost the entire family got the flu - starting on Christmas day of course. Good times were had by all. I somehow managed to escape the Christmas barf-o-rama but picked up some nasty bug a few days later after a day of skiing in minus 6 degree weather. Let me just say that there is NOTHING fun about doing ANYTHING in minus 6 degrees. I made it a half day on the slopes and then chose hot cocoa in the lodge over frostbite. I still walked away with the quite the cold though. Hence, my lack of blogging lately. I am only now able to actually breathe through my nostrils. Once again - good times. Other highlights from our Rocky Mountain holiday adventure included some killer after-Christmas shopping. It's a great time to be adopting because everything seems to be on sale right now. Check out the princess dresses and the rainbow rocker jeans from Lucky. I never realized how much fun shopping for girls' clothes (x2) was going to be! I also love not paying full price. We ended our Colorado trip with a family dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant. This was the first time eating Ethiopian food for many in the family. It was a really fun night. Davis tried Ethiopian beer and we all tried some really spicy cottage cheese that was very different from anything I had ever tasted. Our four year old niece declared that she "loved it all" when asked which type of food she liked best. She must be Ethiopian at heart!

On our drive home we detoured through Death Valley National Park. Death Valley was unexpectedly lovely and we really enjoyed our time in the Badlands even if National Parks are ridiculously unfriendly to canine citizens. A few other highlights from the last few weeks included getting another Gladney update with some cute pics and some pics/video from Rebecca and Ben who just returned with their son, Eli. They delivered our first care package. The video of Little Miss J that they sent was precious. She was sleeping when they arrived so they covered her with the blanket we had sent and put our little gifts next to her. She looked like Sleeping Beauty. It was neat to see her touching something I had touched (and prayed over). It made her seem more real to me for some reason. Our other blog friends Christina and Jeremy are in Ethiopia now and they too were kind enough to take some goodies to the ladies for us. We look forward to a few more pics from them in the next few weeks.

We are now less than a month from court date # 2. We are feeling really good about this one and can already see how God is working. We've also had some encouraging news from Gladney that sounds like the necessary pieces are all coming together. To bide my time, I have become way too excited about finding kids' stuff on Craigslist. There is SO MUCH STUFF on there for SO CHEAP. My "Mother Lode Score" this week was BAGS of Melissa and Doug wooden food (including a sushi set!) for a fraction of what just one or two sets would have cost full price. That was cool. The food will help to stock the big pink kitchen in the playroom. I also scored a Fisher Price grocery store. It has a talking cash register that I will probably want to take a hammer to a some point but the girls will love it.

So - we are surviving this season of waiting - again. We are learning to trust God more and thank Him for His faithfulness even in the midst of trials. I feel like I have learned a lot. More on that in my next post.