Waiting and Grieving

Last year we were anxiously waiting for July 11th because we were supposed to find out if S, a waiting child we applied for, could be adopted by us (if our agency got her file). We felt hopeful and near the end of the adoption process, so I never would have guessed that a year later we would still be waiting and we would be no closer to bringing our daughter home than we were then. It is a discouraging thought.

The grief I have felt during this process– for the girls who we tried to adopt who were matched before us, for the girls I have wanted to adopt who had health needs beyond what we can realistically handle being overseas, over knowing our daughter is family-less and not being able to DO anything to make this move faster. It’s heart-wrenching and often churning only inside me. It’s not visible as I keep taking my kids to swim lessons and digging the Legos out of the couch cushions and cutting the crusts off PB&J sandwiches. Grief is funny like that.

I still pray over the faces I’ve seen. I pray for A and B and T and H and S and P and C, who we pursued adopting to some degree or another. I still grieve for their losses of biological parents and siblings and beseech Almighty God to place them in loving forever families. I still think about them and wonder where they are (most of them are home or on their way!) I am still changed by encountering their stories and their realities. I am forever changed by orphan girls who I will never meet or hold.

People don’t understand. Someone wrote to me recently that Jesus doesn’t want us to adopt as shown by our lack of a match and we are disobeying Him to continue in the process. That made me super mad! Who the heck do you think you are? And why would God give you special insight into our life and our calling as a family? And how did you come by information about His sovereign will? We live in a world that glorifies instant gratification. We have even spiritualized that “fast food culture” and tell each other if something’s not happening, it’s not God’s will. It must be a “closed door”, so He can open a window. What a bunch of cheesy Christian-ese baloney.

Of course I have questioned this calling (is calling synonymous with burden?!) and wondered if we heard wrong? How easy it would be to just ignore those promptings we first felt in 2011? And the knowledge of the global orphan crisis? And the mandates from God’s Word about the fatherless?… But it’s all true and I know what He asked us to do and I can’t call a cease and desist. I just can’t.

I serve a God who calls His people to hard things. He doesn’t value their happiness, He values their holiness. And do you know when we are made holy? When we can’t put down His Word because we want to know what He says… When we’re on our knees begging Him for more of Himself… When we don’t feel like we can handle it on our own… When we’re in the middle of HARD THINGS.

So last July 11 came and passed. This July 11 is passing as well, with no news, no match, no end in sight. But I continue to believe that God is in control and His plans for my family will not be thwarted. We will endure the hard work of waiting by His grace, and in His timing our wait will (finally) be over.

Dearest Lovebug

I wrote this post a year ago in April 2013. The words– and the heart behind them– are as true today as they were then. 

It is starting to drive us absolutely crazy that you aren’t here with us, baby girl! We had a few weeks recently of thinking we had found you, and our hearts quickly tumbled ahead of us with dreams and plans and excitement and joy and preparations… but alas, it wasn’t you. And so we came back to earth and we continue to wait.

Your brother (Stinkbug) and your sister (Ladybug) are tremendously anxious to meet you. Stinkbug points out the empty chair at our table and says that it’s where you’ll sit when you get here. He asks when you’re coming. Your sister prayed such sweet words at bedtime tonight, pleading with Jesus to bring you home quickly because she “doesn’t know what it’s like to have a sister and already has you in her heart”.

(Your smallest brother, Doodlebug, is two and a half and calls you “baby sister”, but has many other things to worry about right now like how to smear as much red mud on his jeans as possible before I make him come inside, and how to avoid big boy underwear at all costs. He’s kind of a handful. You’ll love him, I promise.)

I also find myself wondering about you. Each morning I wake up wondering if this will be the day your picture pops up on my screen and my heart shouts YES! THAT’S HER! ???? As full and messy and joyful as my life is now with three kids, I feel your absence constantly.

I wanted you to be with us last week when we went on vacation and were swimming indoors and stayed in a hotel all smooshed into two beds (It soundsmore picturesque than it was, thank goodness it was only two nights!) And we ate donuts for dinner one night (I know, baby girl! We are crazy sometimes, you’d better get used to it!) and I wondered– would you have picked the jelly-filled donut like your sister? Would you like chocolate milk or white milk to wash that donut down? Or maybe you don’t like milk at all?

When we hunted for Easter eggs a couple weeks ago, I wanted to see you chasing after your brothers and laughing with glee when you spotted a colorful treasure hidden in the grass. I wanted to see you in an Easter dress, spinning and twirling like all princesses should. I wanted to have a picture of us all dressed up and ready for church. I wanted you with us.

At dinner each night I wish I was setting another plate. Another cup. Another fork. Instead one chair stands empty.

I don’t know where you are now, and that’s almost too much for my heart to bear. I need you here beside me. In my arms. In your sister’s room. In our bathtub. At our table. In your Daddy’s lap during family worship each evening.

We love you, Ladybug. We pray for you every day– that God would protect you and provide all your needs and that He would bring you home quickly.

Because your family is waiting.

Birth Stories in Haiku

Ladybug ~ June 29, 2007

Nervous first time mom

Labor induced feeling scared

Nine pound baby girl 

Doodlebug ~ November 14, 2008

Very cold O.R.

Tugging– baby boy is born!

Yellow fuzzy hair

Stinkbug ~ October 7, 2012

Water breaks early

The nearness of God feels good

Precious dark-haired boy

Lovebug ~ Coming Soon!

Waiting is so hard

Wondering who, where you are

Praying you come soon

I saw this idea today– birth stories in Haiku (via Making Home via Conversion Diary) and I love writing Haiku poetry, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Can you Haiku?

Adoption Update

journeytolovebug

I know I haven’t updated in awhile about the status of our adoption. There is not a lot noticeably happening in our process, but there is much happening under the surface.

I have always harbored a desire to adopt so when we jumped into this journey… OK, we actually carefully and slowly waded into the pool… I feel like I was naive. Well-intention-ed but naive.

As I have learned about adoption ethics, the terrible state of the adoption process in a lot of countries, and orphan care as a whole– adoption is not the only answer of how Christians could and should be caring for the orphan– it’s like scales have fallen from my eyes. This journey is painful and messy. It’s hard and long and sanctifying and worth it.

I have a lot to say, but I’m not ready to say it yet.

Just know, my heart has been broken and changed and reformed and God is doing something miraculous inside of me. If anything, I have realized that this adoption will not only change the life of one orphan girl who finds a forever family and a forever home with us– it is irreversibly changing her mother as well. And for this I am grateful.

 

Dearest Lovebug,

journeytolovebugIt is starting to drive us absolutely crazy that you aren’t here with us, baby girl! We had a few weeks recently of thinking we had found you, and our hearts quickly tumbled ahead of us with dreams and plans and excitement and joy and preparations… but alas, it wasn’t you. And so we came back to earth and we continue to wait.

Your brother (Stinkbug) and your sister (Ladybug) are tremendously anxious to meet you. Stinkbug points out the empty chair at our table and says that it’s where you’ll sit when you get here. He asks when you’re coming. Your sister prayed such sweet words at bedtime tonight, pleading with Jesus to bring you home quickly because she “doesn’t know what it’s like to have a sister and already has you in her heart”.

(Your smallest brother, Doodlebug, is two and a half and calls you “baby sister”, but has many other things to worry about right now like how to smear as much red mud on his jeans as possible before I make him come inside, and how to avoid big boy underwear at all costs. He’s kind of a handful. You’ll love him, I promise.)

I also find myself wondering about you. Each morning I wake up wondering if this will be the day your picture pops up on my screen and my heart shouts YES! THAT’S HER! ???? As full and messy and joyful as my life is now with three kids, I feel your absence constantly.

I wanted you to be with us last week when we went on vacation and were swimming indoors and stayed in a hotel all smooshed into two beds (It sounds more picturesque than it was, thank goodness it was only two nights!) And we ate donuts for dinner one night (I know, baby girl! We are crazy sometimes, you’d better get used to it!) and I wondered– would you have picked the jelly-filled donut like your sister? Would you like chocolate milk or white milk to wash that donut down? Or maybe you don’t like milk at all?

When we hunted for Easter eggs a couple weeks ago, I wanted to see you chasing after your brothers and laughing with glee when you spotted a colorful treasure hidden in the grass. I wanted to see you in an Easter dress, spinning and twirling like all princesses should. I wanted to have a picture of us all dressed up and ready for church. I wanted you with us.

At dinner each night I wish I was setting another plate. Another cup. Another fork. Instead one chair stands empty.

I don’t know where you are now, and that’s almost too much for my heart to bear. I need you here beside me. In my arms. In your sister’s room. In our bathtub. At our table. In your Daddy’s lap during family worship each evening.

We love you, Ladybug. We pray for you every day– that God would protect you and provide all your needs and that He would bring you home quickly.

Because your family is waiting.

The Big Sister

We’ve had some dramatic outbursts with Ladybug around here lately as we talk and pray about Little Sister coming via adoption. Today she cried about us loving her less when her new sister comes. We calmly tried to explain that as mommies and daddies our love grows with each new child God adds to our family, and our love for her won’t change. She wept as she told her daddy, “But your love for me will have to move over in your heart to make room for her.”

After some time alone in her room crying and talking to herself (not so quietly), she came out with some scribbles on a yellow legal page and asked if she could read me what she “wrote”. Of course, Ladybug!

Dear Little Sister,

Please feel welcome into our family. Please feel welcome and comfortable.

Love,

Your Dramatic Sister

 

::2013::

I realize it’s not a novel idea to choose a word as a theme for the new year, but I never claimed to be novel anyway.

As we move forward in our adoption process (please, Lord, let our daughter come home this year!), as we live between our two homes (January through June in America and June through December in Turkey), and as I continue to seek the Lord in my roles as wife, mother, and cross-cultural worker, I have chosen FAITH to be my word for 2013.

The verse that keeps coming to mind and heart on the topic of faith is Hebrews 11:6, ” And without faith, it is impossible to please God…”

I feel so lost in my own life sometimes:

  • Adoption is slow and each step brings up 1,000 more questions. We don’t know where the money will come from and can’t fund raise like others do.
  • Living between two continents is hard. We know this is what God has called us to, but we’re always saying goodbye to someone and we’re always missing one home while we enjoy the other.
  • I am still so unsure about day-to-day parenting as new issues and conflicts arise every day, and I constantly feel like I could be doing more to keep our home and serve my family.
  • Pssssst… I could go on, but I’ll stop here since these are the “biggies”.

From the beginning of 2013, looking ahead, I need faith because I want to please God in all these areas. So I’m asking God to work in my heart and grow my faith this year. And I don’t want it to be quiet, unmeasurable faith. I want to have the kind of active faith James writes about in his second chapter:

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Do you have a word for 2013? Where do you hope to grow and learn this year?

Adoption Momfession

Our home study is tomorrow and I have bitten all the white off my finger nails.

Anxious (and gross) much?!
It’s like I’m fully expecting him to say, “You people do not deserve another precious baby– you aren’t even good parents to the three you have!” ‘Cause I know the truth– this is a tough job, and I’m not a perfect parent. By a long stretch.
Sometimes (more than I would like to admit) I yell at my kids. And I set bad behavior examples for them all the time (being selfish, being proud, gossiping, judging, being jealous…) And I feed them more peanut butter and jelly and hot dogs than any human should consume. And sometimes I let them skip taking a bath (I do make them change their underwear though.) And I don’t make them wear matching clothes out of the house. And some days I play on Facebook instead of playing with them. And I let them eat ice cream more than they should because then I can eat ice cream without having to share mine.
I guess my deepest fear is that our social worker will call out my junk and say we aren’t worthy of adoption. I know I don’t deserve the honor of raising another kid– heck, I don’t deserve the honor of raising the three I have now!
So, here we go. We’re jumping into the great deep unknown of home studies and dossiers and international mail. And I don’t even have any fingernails to claw my way out.

He Will surely Do It!

A few weeks ago I was tucking my three-year-old son into bed. After brushing my lips against his baby soft forehead and turning toward the door, I heard his sweet voice, “Mommy, when is Baby Sister coming?” My heart skipped a beat at the precious question—there is not a baby in my belly as one might assume from his question. He was asking about Baby Sister who we’ve been talking about for over a year now. Baby Sister won’t have my husband’s eye color or my same skin tone. She won’t be mistaken for a “twin” like our three biological back-to-back, look-alike kids are… Continue reading at Prayer of Hannah