Monday, September 25, 2006

It looks like our wait might be longer than we thought…

On Thursday we received a letter from our adoption agency that indicated we might not know who our Savannah is for quite some time. They originally said we could expect to wait 1-3 months for a referral (adoption-ese for matching us with a child). However, our agency now expects that it could be as long as 6-9 months, with another 3-6 months on top of that before we can travel. So, my dreams of having her home before Alyssa’s birthday in November are definitely gone – we’ll be lucky to have her home by Parker’s birthday in June! Of course all of this is just a guess. Since Vietnam has only recently re-opened adoptions with the U.S., even our agency is in the dark about when referrals will be coming in. I’m hoping they are dead wrong and that they’ll get at least a few babies soon. We’re 3rd on the list for a girl, one of which is waiting for a baby under 12 months, so if two toddler girls became available we’d presumably get one. Needless to say I’m hopeful, but more than a little bummed. All of this just highlights one of the things I’ve found to be most difficult about this process: the total lack of control. At least when you’re pregnant you can eat right, see your doctor, see the baby through ultrasounds, take your vitamins, etc. Even when you’re trying to get pregnant you can take your temperature, monitor your body’s signs, and all the other fun things that those of you who have experienced even temporary infertility can relate to. But with adoption, once all of your paperwork is complete, it’s entirely in someone else’s hands. Even worse, those hands are often attached to the arms of our woefully inefficient government or a foreign, communist government. Now, I don’t intend to say that I have actually had any more control over the safe arrival of my two biological kids. I just felt like I had more control. So in that way it is good for me to be forced to more consciously depend on God. It’s also God’s great providence that I studied Romans all summer. In chapter 13 verse 1 He reminds us that there is “no authority except from God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). God can certainly orchestrate all of the issues standing between us and our daughter, and He will bring her to us in His perfect time. He’s promised in Psalm 84:11 that “no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” So the fact that Savannah is not home yet means that her presence is not the best thing for us right now. I’m just hoping and praying that she will be the best thing for us SOON!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Have I mentioned how spoiled we are?

Some dear friends have a beautiful ski boat they insist we use with them far more often than we deserve. This weekend we all went up to the Sacramento River Deltas, a pretty remarkable maze of waterways, some of which are large enough for ocean-going vessels (see the tanker in the background). We had great weather, even better water, and a lot of fun. As you can see, I'm finally getting a little more comfortable on a single ski. The best part was that Dan couldn't even get up on one! He'll kill me for mentioning that, but you must understand that I am NOT athletic and he most definitely IS... so this is a major victory! In his defense, he has only wakeboarded the last few summers, and it is a totally different feel, but it's still fun to gloat. The kids were just angels. We truly abused them, cutting out all but the shortest of naps and keeping them up quite late, but they seem to love the boat too. They never fall asleep on us anymore, so it was a real treat to have them cuddle on us so much. This will probably be the last trip of the season, but then we do have wetsuits, so who knows?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

I was planning on writing tonight about cute my new nephew is and how much my children adore him. But then I saw this picture on the website of a woman from our agency who is in Vietnam right now picking up her second daughter. This is the bed little Ella slept in up until last night. The new parents report that most of the children’s heads are completely flat in the back. They sleep with no padding, no blankets, no pillows, no teddy bears. There are no doors and no glass in the windows. There is no air conditioning and no real protection from the elements. Some of the kids were covered with bites from a recent flying ant infestation. Now, I must also say that the parents report that the children appear to be relatively healthy and well-loved. In fact, one has complained that their daughter was quite spoiled from being held almost constantly by either her caretaker or one of the teenagers in the orphanage. From the pictures I’ve seen, the kids look happy. It’s actually quite normal for those who are adopted to grieve the loss of their “home” and nannies. But it truly is heartbreaking for me to see how much our daughter is doing without. Of course, material possessions are not everything, but the lack thereof is even more evidence of how little anyone cares for these precious lives. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to take only one. Unfortunately, they won’t let us take more than one unless they’re twins (which I’m still praying for!). So consider this my plea to each of you, my readers. Adoption is certainly not easy - I personally think it’s much more difficult than pregnancy/labor/all of that – but God has called every believer to care for the fatherless. The sheer volume of instruction in Scripture regarding their plight, as well as His model of the institution of adoption when He called us His children (see Ephesians 1: 4-5), ought to be enough to convince us that we have to do something. In my mind, it’s comparable to our responsibilities regarding foreign missions: go, or support those that do. Okay, please don’t take this as a solicitation for donations to our cause – God has graciously provided for the financial aspect of our adoption – but there are families who want to adopt, but who simply can’t swing the fees. There are organizations out there that would turn your donation into a grant for a Christian adoptive family in need. Even better though: consider adopting a child yourself. Already I can tell you, it’s worth it! We get to be a part of God’s plan, but we also will soon (I hope!) get to enjoy the blessing of the love of a sweet little girl. It’s not just about her you know =). So think about it. Pray about it. Don’t just dismiss this as something for other people. Maybe a little Asian baby, or African baby, or Eastern European baby is in God’s plan for you too!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A few thoughts from Bible Study:

  • A song that really touched me:

    Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
    Would look on me with love, and watch me rise again
    Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done
    Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are
    I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow
    A wave tossed in the ocean, vapor in the wind
    Still You hear me when I’m calling
    Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
    And You’ve told me who I am, I am yours…

    I’m not sure who wrote it, or where to give the credit, but I’ve quickly grown to love it. It has a great melody, but the best part for me is the last line of the chorus: “I am Yours.” I’ve often thought about belonging to God in the sense that I am His servant and I owe Him my life. While that is true, this song really emphasizes God’s gracious choice of me as the object of His affection. It actually reminded me of how I felt before I met and fell in love with Dan: I wanted to be loved in spite of my faults. Of course Dan has and does do that, but God does it perfectly! He knows my deficiencies even better than Danny does, and each of them is an assault on His holy character, yet He still loves me. Ephesians 1: 4 says “He choose [me] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [I] should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (emphasis mine). In the same way, God chose Israel. Deuteronomy 7:7-8a explains “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples, but because the LORD loves you”. What a gracious and loving God we serve!

  • A verse that jumped out: Deuteronomy 10:18 “He administers justice for the fatherless…” I think maybe only an adoptive mom could be brought nearly to tears at this passage. God knew I would need to be reminded that He is in control of this adoption process. Today I spoke with Jynger, the program director at our agency, and she confirmed that we’re not any closer to being matched with a child than we were last month. There are still two families in front of us who are waiting for a girl – though one of them has requested a baby under 12 months, so we would be second in line for an older baby. The other one has already been waiting 3 months, so I’m trying to prepare myself for the fact that we could be waiting longer than the original 1-3 month quote. How great it is to know, though, that God cares for our orphan even more than we do. He knows who she is, where she is, who’s feeding her, changing her diapers, giving her hugs. He’ll bring her to us at exactly the right time, and until then, will literally administer the justice that stand between us.

  • A student who always makes me laugh: our friend Shannon. She’s writing a book. Who knows if it will ever actually be published, but the title is priceless. I’ll share it here… hopefully she won’t mind. “99 Reasons Not to Go In the Ocean: the ocean is a beautiful and powerful thing, but so are volcanoes – that doesn’t mean you should go in them” She’s considering a second sub-title, which I also think is hilarious “Why would you keep going in something that’s just trying to throw you out?”

Friday, September 01, 2006

The scariest word in Christendom for me: evangelism. So how excited was I when our Bible study shepherd, Joey, announced he was preaching on the subject last Tuesday? Not very. His text was II Timothy 1:7-8a “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” This is a passage I’ve memorized many times over the years, but it’s just amazing to me how God’s Word can reveal new truth through the same “old” text. Not that the meaning changes or is intended to mean something different for each person. The Holy Spirit just has a way of helping us understand it better every time we apply ourselves to the truth. So Tuesday, God used Joey to convict me of my cowardice when it comes to sharing what I believe. First of all, the word translated “fear” really means timidity – God doesn’t want me to be timid, but bold. Secondly, the message of the gospel is “power”-ful. It alone holds the power to convince the lost of its truth, and He has equipped me with the power to accomplish His will. Finally, “sound mind” speaks to the fact that the Christian ought to be disciplined in thought and life, with each aspect of life properly prioritized. Now here is where my thinking was really changed on Tuesday: the context is evangelism. I know… not earth-shattering news… all you have to do is read verse 8 to figure that out. But I had never before thought about how my priorities affect my evangelism. We talk about what we know about, whether it be the latest reality show, our jobs, our families, or Christ. We also talk about what is important to us. If God really is first in my life and I’m continually learning more about Him as He’s revealed in Scripture, He will be on my mind and on my lips. Evangelism will be the natural overflow of a life devoted to Him. Not something that I have to manufacture or set out to do as if it were a separate, exclusive activity. So, to those of you that know me, listen to what I say and let me know where my priorities are. Ask me if I’ve been willing to talk to those around me about the Truth. You can then tell me how much I really learned on Tuesday.