23 March 2015

Romans 5 and Suffering

I was thinking the other day about how Judah is now older than Ezra was when the need for families to adopt orphans burst onto my horizon & into my heart. It's been three and a half years since I first longed to add to our family a child who didn't have one. In a month, it will be three & a half years since I got Stephen on board with the logic of the two-birds-one-stone approach: we want more kids; kids deserve families; instead of making another child to increase our family, we can adopt one. [I have my brilliant moments.]

That isn't a long time in light of eternity, but it has been a long time in my heart. We have lost a referral due to the sins of her country's governors (I'll love you forever, little H). We have declined a referral in obedience to God (I pray for you often, precious girl, and for your family). There have been months where I have felt my heart was put in a meat grinder - pulpy, hemorrhaging. There have been months I have been so angry at God I could barely speak to him, and yet there was the hard (at the time) truth that He alone has the words of life. There have been times I thought I was seeing the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel, only to have it be a match, blown out in my face.

I reiterate those thing because I can understand why it would seem super emo/dramatic to talk about my suffering. Ugh, I even want to put it in quotes, but I'm not going to. I have suffered through this process. There has been an abundance of pain, loss, confusion, and the peculiar pain of waiting, just waiting and waiting with no assurance of its stopping.

It is hard to fathom that there is every reason to believe we will be done with this adoption in a year.

That our daughter will be home with us. That we will be knitting ourselves together as a family.

So it was sweet when I read Romans 5 again, with its well-known "suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." I know I've suffered because I do have more perseverance, character, and hope. And I know I won't be disappointed. When I see Jesus face to face, I will thank him for this process, because it has made me more like him, and that is what I want more than anything. More even than bringing our daughter home, I want to BE Jesus, be just like him.




21 March 2015

Important Adoption Update

Again, again, sorry for the quiet. I've been waiting for like six weeks for news to share. It's not the news I personally want, but I have accepted it as God's best for me and am hopeful.

In January, I clicked on the picture of a waiting child, a little Treasure, and felt hope for our adoption spring to life within me. I approached Stephen and we took some time before deciding to ask for more information. When we got it, we took some time to pray over whether we should adopt her or not. Then we submitted a document detailing how we would care for her special need (she is blind in both eyes). I went to doctors; I spoke with our regional and state visual impairment specialists. I spent quite a few hours thinking over and planning first steps for us to accommodate this treasure. So we hear back last week that we have no way of knowing if we can adopt her until Stephen turns 30 at the end of July.

You see, she's in China, this precious little spark, and China requires both parents to be 30 years old before they will allow a child to be referred to the couple. And our agency only has her file until April 30th, after which her file will go back into the shared files of China's Special Focus program.

We had 3 options, essentially: wait until Stephen turns 30 and see if she's still available, then begin our adoption again; decide that the timing was wrong and suspend our adoption again; or begin our adoption again in the hopes that she still will be available in July.

I can tell that the trial of our adoption is bearing fruit in that Stephen and I both agreed to continue this process of adopting from China, knowing that we may have a very disappointing July-August. I trust that, if she's supposed to be our daughter, God will allow us to adopt her. And if she isn't, that means she will have been adopted already, which is a big praise, because kiddos with visual impairment don't often get adopted.

And if she isn't supposed to be our daughter, God will bring our daughter to us, and I will look back and bless this long, painful process for the joy added to our family. Still, I'm holding onto hope that we'll bring this little treasure home around Christmas.

28 January 2015

Adoption Update? Embryo Adoption Awareness

About a week ago I posted a Facebook update asking for prayer about making a decision concerning our adoption. We were seriously considering adopting embryos.

Was there a record scratch or a say whaaa in your brain just now? Embryo adoption is totally a thing. There are many, many families who have frozen embryos left over from cycles of IVF that they are unwilling/unable to add to their families. These embryos can be donated to science (where they will die), disposed of (where they will die), or donated/adopted by another family (where they have a chance to be born).

The idea of giving birth to your adopted child is beautiful, and giving life to these lil snowflakes is sweet and precious. And I really wanted another baby. So we were seriously considering it.

Notice I'm using the past tense. I realized over the weekend that, while I think adopting embryos is wonderful and important, I just don't have a conviction that it's what we should do for this adoption. I think I was considering it so seriously was a result of not having much hope that we could adopt internationally. Also known as not a great reason to bring a child into our family.

We are seriously considering adopting a little girl with a special need from China (why China? Well this is pretty much the earliest we could adopt from China, since Stephen turns 30 in July). Please be praying with us that God would give us clarity in our decision.

Want to know more about embryo adoption? Click here! This was not in any way sponsored or something. I just think it's a great thing.

02 January 2015

When God doesn't bless your godly decisions

Happy New Year!

Our Christmas break has felt quite full, but a pretty good kind of full - family, preparations to eventually sell our house, and lots of processing for both Stephen and me.

I have been mulling over the title up there for the past week, after a prayer prayed by a family member for another family member. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law-in-law are in the process of becoming licensed foster-to-adopt parents, and received an unexpected bonus that will cover the rest of the costs for their preparations. The family member thanked God for blessing them because their desires are godly.

And it's true, and I'm so glad for them. There's no denying that their hearts are turned toward the fatherless, and they are preparing to love and parent a child (or children) who has undergone trauma and who needs a safe place. It is godly, and God, I'm certain, is pleased with them.

But the lump in my throat wonders about us. Are my desires to adopt not from a godly place? Am I just not ready in some way? in many ways? Do I lack a quality that will make me a good adoptive parent? Is God frustrating our adoption plans because He knows we wouldn't be a safe place for a hurt child?

Before you (well some of you) rush to the comments to leave sweet remarks, it is definitely possible that I am not ready. That it is me that's the hold up in this situation. And I'm trying to be okay with whatever the reason is, even though it really hurts a part of me to see others get to do what I really want to do but have not been allowed to yet. I feel left out, yes, but also a little less than. Maybe a little exposed? Afraid others see me as a phony, and afraid maybe I am a phony and don't realize it. Id God not honoring my desires because they aren't godly? How would I know?

Those are the things I'm pondering, bringing to the Lord, and hoping for answers at some unforeseen point in the road.

Now that it's 2015, and I feel fairly assured in my spirit that I won't get to adopt this year either, I'm trusting God that it can still be a really good year. I have at least enough faith to believe I will look back one year from now and see his goodness pursuing me the whole time.

05 December 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

Y'all, I know what you're thinking: just another cookie recipe. But these are the BEST gingerbread cookies evvvaaaaah. I would eat them for dinner if I didn't have a child to feed and a husband who wouldn't really appreciate eating cookies as a meal. #ughgrownups

They are perfect for decorating because they are not very sweet themselves, so you won't feel sick from sugar overload. But I also like them without decoration, because they can stand on their own little delicious feet. Until I eat those feet off.

I'm your worst nightmare, Gingy.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 C flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

9 Tablespoons melted butter (that's 1 stick and 1 T)
2/3 C brown sugar
3/4 C molasses
1 egg

Mix all those dry ingredients together in a bowl (not your big bowl, some other random bowl). Enjoy the smell of Christmas and set aside.

Melt the butter (just do it ok), add it to your big bowl, then add brown sugar and molasses. Beat those together, then add your egg. Make sure they are thoroughly creamed together.

Add your dry ingredients in 2 parts; mix until combined (but no more than that; you don't want to overbeat your dough). Divide into two parts, pinch off a bite to eat, then wrap each part in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (preferably all day or overnight).

After that you can shape your dough in whatever way you'd like. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 6-8 minutes.