Friday, October 27, 2017

What a year can bring



Today marks 1 year since we came home without our baby boy. His birthday was two days ago....it has been the hardest year of my life and also one that has grown me more in depth and understanding. To truly know what it means to trust. Let me just say, God knows exactly what we need. Today I had a very unexpected conversation with a brand new friend. Let's just say that she GETS IT! She understands all I have felt and today, on the 1 year anniversary, we happened to connect. I am grateful. I don't think I knew that I needed to cry and share our story, but I did. God knew. I needed to hear her story too! God knew!
In this past year I have felt pain I never knew possible. I lost multiple people that I loved so much. I learned what anxiety felt like. I struggled to trust and believe in God's goodness. I was buried, overwhelmed and weary. I received counseling from a beautiful woman who knows how to tend to grieving hearts. I learned that things aren't all sunshine and rainbows when walking in obedience to the Lord. I learned that I have exactly zero control (and that's ok). I learned that I don't always get what I want and desire (and that's ok too). I learned what it truly means to trust in the Lord and pray for what He wants, not what I want. I learned what it means to have a true eternal perspective. I learned what faith means and how it can continually get deeper. And I learned that EVEN IF this life brings unimaginable pain, I will be ok. Those two words...."EVEN IF".... The Lord has used those very words to bring me peace and healing. Even if the worst happens, He is still God. He still wins. He is still my eternity. He will walk with me and bring me peace and hope. Even if..........I will be ok and I still believe in all He says in His word.
I will follow (Listen to this. It's so good.)
At the end of this year I have healed up some. I trust in His will and His way. I know that no matter what I will be ok. And I have joy and peace that can only come from the Lord. Thank you Lord, that "even if" we are more than ok.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Never Let Go



The past number of months have been pretty rough for me. I started to realize that I was living in fear. Fear of loss. We've lost so much over the past number of years and I started to feel buried under the weight of grief. The grief caused fear for me. Fear of loss. Fear of being hurt again.
Through the past months, I have found that I let go of my trust in the Lord. Loss after loss caused me to fear that if I trusted God I would get punched in the gut yet again. Let down. Disappointed. Hurt. I feared I couldn't handle another blow. It think I was even mad at God. "Why would you allow this...or that... if you truly love me?" I doubted His love and goodness. All things I have trusted in and leaned on for as long as I can remember. I even felt guilty for struggling. I felt guilty for doubting. I felt shame for not being able to handle it all on my own. "I am strong, and I've been grounded for such a long time. Why can't I get a grip on this?" Grief. That's why. Grief. I've learned that grief is a big deal. Everyone grieves differently and everyone needs the grace to walk through that grief in their own way. Not only do they need grace, but they need love and support while they journey through it. I have had that, thank the Lord. Andy has been my rock as I struggled. He had the faith and peace when I didn't. He prayed with me in the middle of the night when I woke him up drowning under another wave. I had friends that noticed when I wasn't myself and prayed for me. I had friends drop off my favorite soup just to show me love. I had family members check in on me or text me a song at just the right time.
I have also learned that when you are gasping for breath between the waves of grief you need someone to throw you a lifeline to help reel you in. I found that in my new friend Loretta. Once I realized I couldn't get my head above water on my own I reached out for some counseling. Hear me loud and clear. THERE IS NO SHAME IN COUNSELING! That is what counselors are trained for!! We are not meant to navigate life alone. I needed someone to help me sort through what I was feeling and help point me towards truth. After a number of weeks of feeling overwhelemd, I decided it would be best for me to talk to someone who could help me get some clarity. Through a month of meeting with her, I found my hope in the Lord again. I got my focus back on the Lord and not on my circumstances. I've come to realize that we are resilient when we are anchored in the Lord. Though the storm may come and we may get roughed up in the waves, we are never blown away. We are still tied down and the anchor never lets us go.
I feel like we are more than ok now. We are good. We are hopeful and we are trusting in the hand of the creator. Not to say I don't still feel pain because I do! I even still cry sometimes. But, I know that is ok. Life will not be easy and I will experience more loss throughout my years. I will be sad and I will experience more pain. There will even be things that I don't understand and things I will want to wish away. But, I know that no matter what, because I am tied to the anchor I will always be ok. I will always make it through and I will always find hope.
Even though we are still waiting nearly 6 years into this adoption. Even though we have seen family after family adopt and even adopt a second time. Even though we have had multiple birth moms chose other families. Even though we have lost family members to death. Even though we lost an Ethiopian adoption. Even though we didn't get to keep Malachi.....Even though....my anchor holds.
Thank you for your prayers and support. I've needed it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM14VZVu0og

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On My Side



Healing and grief seem to peel away in layers. Like an onion. And it comes in waves. Big, giant, crashing waves. And, you never know when the next crashing wave is gonna hit or when the next layer is going to peel away. For example; At the kids Christmas program at the elementary school. In a room full of hundreds of kids and parents, I couldn't stop myself from crying for at least 20 minutes. I didn't expect it and I couldn't stop it. I am fairly certain people thought I was crazy. Or, like yesterday, when I was at the Dr.... God bless that man and his sweet, precious nurse. I couldn't stop crying. Dealing with loss does a lot to a person. My family has experienced a lot of loss, through death, the past couple of years. A number of my friends have experienced loss the past year or so, and, we as an immediate family have experienced the loss of a child through a failed adoption.
I have found that all of this loss has stirred up fear, anxiety and a lack of hope that I have never experienced before. I am grateful that the Lord has been faithful to bring these things to light for me. So I can walk through it and continue to heal and grow day by day.
I have found that my anxiety comes from the fact that these losses are completely out of my control. Anyone else struggle with wanting to control everything? No? Just me? Mmmm k.....well I struggle with wanting to control everything. Which then takes my trust and eyes off of the Lord. Crap. When I take my trust and eyes off of the Lord, I then become fearful. When I have no trust and I am afraid, I then lose hope. What an ugly vicious cycle. I am grateful to recognize the cycle so I can choose surrender. Daily. Daily I have to surrender.
MLK had a sermon about being strong of mind and soft in heart. (https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/)
I have to daily be of strong mind to make the choice to have a soft heart. The truth is, all I want to do is build a huge, giant, strong wall around my heart. Because somehow that seems safer to me. To make it so hard nothing can disappoint or hurt me. But, the TRUTH is this. If I build that wall I am keeping it from the Lord, from being loved and from ultimately being protected.  Not only that, but I am finding that it physically takes a toll on your body. Stress is a crazy thing full of self-destruction. I am learning too, that it is ok to take care of yourself. To say no when you need to. To take care of yourself and to take moments to be quiet and alone. To let the laundry go, eat leftovers and spend full weekends in your pj's. To realize that everyone grieves differently and in order to heal we have to let go of what others think and do what helps us heal. I've needed these moments. To be quiet and allow the Lord to show me how to heal moment by moment. To learn to let go of control. To chose to be hopeful by trusting in HIM with EVERYTHING even when it feels terrifying. If you think about grief as a huge physical wound it makes more sense to people. If you have a giant hole in your heart you don't try to fix it on your own. You don't just move forward and pretend like it isn't there. If you do, you'll die! You go to the Dr., the one who can heal you and teach you how to take care of the wound until it's fully rehabilitated. It is the same with an emotional wound. You have to take it to the one who heals. Who can then teach you how to care for your wound and walk you through rehabilitation. Right? We have to take that time to take ourselves to the Lord and stop trying to do it on our own or we will emotionally die inside. You can't stop the world from hurting you. But you most certainly know where to go for healing and hope!
People often say that life as Christians is easy because God is on our side. WHHAAAATTT??? I have come to find that life is hard as hell. Life on this earth holds no promise of ease. God doesn't promise an easy life. Not. One. Single. Bit. What He promises is that He is on our side. This means that He will love us perfectly. He will comfort us perfectly. He will guide us perfectly, and He will work all things for our good and His glory. When I remember that, it makes it much more bearable to walk through the trials. It even gives me hope and peace even when there seems to be no reason to have either.
These two songs have been breath to my lungs.


https://youtu.be/R-cVRxhnrY0

This week as I still get hit by crashing waves of grief from the loss of a child that was never mine..... This week as I approach the anniversaries of losing my grandpa and 10-month-old cousin....I will take away some wisdom from the legacy my grandpa left and my grandma is still living out. I will follow the example of my cousin who unfairly lost his son. I will choose hope. I choose hope by trusting God. I choose peace by being strong in my mind and soft in my heart. I choose joy by letting go of the reigns and letting the Lord lead.  Hear me loud and clear. Choosing these things doesn't remove grief or the need to cry it out. Choosing these things doesn't make pain go away or make it easy. But, it brings breath to my lungs and hope and peace to my spirit. It brings endurance to finish the race.
If God is in it, then I am in it.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Louder than I'll sing your praise

God has taught me a lot about praising, healing and hope the past week and a half. You see, we have choices to make. When we have been wounded, hurt and broken we have choices to make.  Scripture warns us about unforgiveness and gives us a tangible picture of what it can do in our hearts. We can choose to torture ourselves by sitting in unforgiveness!
 
Matthew 18:23-35 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all. Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

And I truly think healing has been coming for us (Not to say it doesn't still hurt...) because we have chosen the way of love and forgiveness. Hear me now....I am not perfect and this has not been easy for me, but I have still chosen it. I have to! I have had moments where anger, fear or doubt have overcome me. But, in each of those moments, God has been faithful to gently nudge my heart. "Let it go Erin. Forgive Erin. Don't allow bitterness to take root...." You see, God has forgiven me my debt. He has forgiven my sin, my wrong doing, and my bad judgments. I've hurt people. But, God still chose the way of love and forgiveness over me. He sets the example and it isn't just for the good of the offender, but even more so it is for the good and HEALING of the wounded. I tell my kids all of the time. "I don't ask you to obey me just to get my way! I ask you to obey me so you don't get hurt and so you don't hurt someone else. The same is true with the Lord. He asks us to be obedient in our daily choices not just for himself, but for the good of the whole!

This song has been one of my favorites since this summer. However the past week and a half, it has been my anthem.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByM53v4JauY


EVEN WHEN IT HURTS

Take this fainted heart
Take these tainted hands
Wash me in Your love
Come like grace again

Even when my strength is lost
I'll praise You
Even when I have no song
I'll praise You
Even when it's hard to find the words
Louder then I'll sing Your praise

I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial
Come like hope again

Even when the fight seems lost
I'll praise You
Even when it hurts like hell
I'll praise You
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I'll sing Your praise

I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

And my heart burns only for You
You are all You are all I want
And my soul waits only for You
And I will sing till the morning has come

Lord my heart burns only for You
You are all You are all I want
And my soul waits only for You
And I will sing till the miracle comes

I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

Even when the morning comes
I'll praise You
Even when the fight is won
I'll praise You
Even when my time on earth is done
Louder then I'll sing your praise

I will only sing Your praise

I have found that praising a faithful God in a situation that seems beyond redemption saves me. That believing in His goodness saves me. You see, John 16:33 says that we are going to have trouble in this world. He never promises us an easy walk. Never. What he does say is "take heart....Be confident, Be courageous....." We can be confident and courageous because we know who He is. We know He is God, He wins in the end. Even though life feels impossible right now, he doesn't ask us to hold back. He doesn't ask us to protect ourselves and refrain from love. He asks us to be courageous and put our love out there!

Something else that I have found through choosing to take heart  and choosing to forgive is another level of love. I'm telling you guys it's unreal. I've always loved Malachi's parents. From the moment I met them. But the deep love for this young couple has grown. I am so on their team. I feel like Andy and I have become their biggest fans. I have even learned to be happy for them and their new little family in the middle of my grief of losing a little guy that I thought was going to be my son. I feel a little bit like a protective big sister. Mama and I have been in some communication. I've been able to send Malachi all of his clothes. I've been able to have some light hearted conversation with his mama. I've been able to cheer her on in motherhood. I've been able to, because God has done the same for me! I feel like God has allowed me to see that even though I didn't get what I want, and what I thought was best, I am only human. I can't see the big picture. I can't chose how God uses me. I can't control everything. (Even though I'd like to!) Nope. All I can control is what I chose to do. I find strength in choosing love and compassion. I am finding step after step of healing through not protecting myself and giving love no holds barred. I am finding hope for a BIG redemption story in letting go of control. I am finding joy in letting go.....

Even when it hurts like hell, I'll praise you. Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder than I'll sing your praise.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

When I don't understand

The reality is.....not all adoption is easy. Some people fill out their papers and boom, they have a baby. Some people meet their child in another country and wait years to bring them home.  Some people are chosen by birth mom's and don't actually get a child until they have met their 3rd birth mom. The reality is....adoption isn't always easy.
This is a truth and pain we are feeling in the depths of our core. A pain we are walking through on a minute by minute basis. September 27th we got the call we have been waiting over 5 years for. A birth mom chose us to parent her child. Less than a week later we met both birth parents. We loved them immediately. The birth father had this sweet, quiet, tenderness about him and the birth mom was mature for her age. She took the decision very seriously and she had a great sense of humor. I loved them. We found out we had only weeks until our soon to be son was going to be born. I began texting with our birth mom fairly often. The communication was good for me. I knew she was serious about her decision and she wanted to keep me included. I really enjoyed getting to know her.
At 1:40 am on Oct. 25 we got the call that she was in labor. We dropped the kids off at a friends house and rushed down to Indianapolis. I was a hot mess of emotion. Our wait was almost over and the whole situation was exactly as I had hoped. An open adoption with birth parents we connected with. Everything lined up. Right down to baby names and what we were hoping for in each other. A little after 3:00 pm Oct. 25 Malachi Theodore was born.
Out of respect for his family I am not showing pictures of his face.



I cried the moment I looked into his tiny face. I loved him fiercely with every ounce of my being. My son. We took pictures and videos and sent them to our boys at home. They couldn't wait to meet him in person.
The next day we got to keep him in a hospital room all to ourselves. The pediatricians came in and asked questions. We were making medical decisions. We snuggled him to pieces. Fed him. Changed him. Kissed his crazy cute lips. We talked to him about his brothers and how much we would love him forever. There was no holding back the love.
The next morning, the 27th, we got the call that shattered us to our core. She changed her mind. Our birth parents changed their minds.......I remember yelling "God no!" and the pain overtook me. I didn't know how to go on from there. I thought I was going to vomit. "How do I move forward? Lord, how do I tell my boys?! How do I break their hearts? " The pain I felt was unbearable. I had a son for 2 days and now he's gone. I didn't even get to say goodbye. He was just gone.
I know the itty bitty details about him. Like his sweet ears are a little darker at the top than the bottom. He needs to be snuggled tight in order to sleep. He scratches at his face if he isn't holding your finger or swaddled. He wants his pointer finger in his mouth to soothe. He has the cutest, squeakiest cry. I know that he sucks down a bottle in seconds and he's so strong he can control his head. I know him.....I miss him.
The drive home that day from Indy was quiet. I don't think the tears ever stopped rolling. We pulled into the garage with an empty car seat on the same day we were suppose to be bringing him home. A pain unfathomable. Andy and I both sobbed. We have done a lot of crying and holding each other. I am so thankful for him. I need him.
When the boys got home from school, we had to tell them. I've never heard my son wail the way he did at that moment. He cried so hard he screamed at one point. They were both devastated and I didn't know how to fix it. I couldn't take the pain away and I couldn't control anything. We just all had to feel it. My family felt it. My friends felt it. It sucked....it still sucks.
Through all of the uncontrollable pain and unknowns I had to make a decision. I had to make the choice to lean into the only one I know can carry me through this. I had to lean into the Lord. We decided we needed to take a few days off and just be together as a family. The first night, Nahum and I snuck out to Walmart and bought the Pie Face game. That brought some much needed humor and laughter between the waves of pain.

The next day we went to a pumpkin farm and spent the whole day. Rides, games, food....everything. I cried on and off throughout that day, but the time together as a family helped us all. Spending time being grateful for my husband, my boys...my mom....I was thankful she was here. I am thankful for what I have and remembering that helps me. It doesn't remove the pain but it redirects my focus to a heart of thankfulness and appreciation. Creating moments where laughter comes easily helps too. Pulling ourselves out of the pit and allowing ourselves to have some fun helps.






















The truth is......Even though the birth parents decision broke us and brought us unbearable pain......I get it. I totally get it. They love him. They created him. They gave birth to him. They love him. Even though they are young, I think they can do it. I saw an 18 year old boy act out of fatherly instinct after he was born. He became a man in a moment he didn't expect and I saw it with my own eyes. I saw a young woman in turmoil over a son she wanted but wasn't sure she could parent. We got to know them well enough to know that they can do it. They are strong and they love him.
I emailed our birth mom today. I felt like I needed to release her from guilt or at least for myself to get some closure. I needed her to know that we still love them and that we understand. That we are in their court and that we believe in them. I want them to have his clothes and I wanted them to have the pictures that we took of them. I think it's important that they know that we will be ok. Only by the grace, mercy and goodness of God....but we will be ok. Andy said we have to chose one of two camps. Either we stay angry and harbor unforgiveness. Or, we love them and stand in support of them. We get to chose that. We chose love.
Rather than asking the question "why" I am asking that God use this. That our pain not be wasted. My prayer is that this young couple has seen the love of Jesus through us. Through our love for them and their son. (It's so hard to call him their son even though he is.) That our actions and our words and encouragement can shine the light of Jesus. The pain they caused us is forgiven. That our forgiveness can breakdown barriers.
Not only that, but this sweet African American couple can see walls breaking down in the world of racism. That this little white family loved their dark skinned son as their own. No holds barred. That the barriers that still exist between white and black have been shattered at least in this one moment of time. That love is bigger than the skin we are born with.
I wanted that boy. I love that boy. My heart hurts more than I have ever felt before and I am so tired of crying. But, I have to hold on to hope. Hope that Malachi will have a good life and know Jesus. Hope that we will have an adoption that doesn't fall through. Hope that my boys will be big brothers someday soon. I have to chose to trust. I have to trust that God can move and work in this. That even when I don't understand and even when it hurts like hell God is still God. That he still is a good God. That he is a righteous and faithful God.
As I was getting ready yesterday the song "I Breathe You In, God" came on. I feel like it's where I'm at and what I am choosing. I have to. I need to.

I BREATHE YOU IN, GOD
The presence of the Living God Satisfies the depths of my heart And all of me I change when you came
And I'm led free by Your glory and grace And I breathe You in, God Cause You are there all around me (repeat) The kindness of Your loves pure light Pierces through the darkest of all night And everything is possible now For God is here And God is good And You are good, God For You are good to me (repeat) And when I don't understand I will choose You (repeat) And when I don't understand I will choose to love You, God And when I don't understand I will choose You (repeat) And when I don't understand I will choose to love You, God And You are good, God For You are good to me (repeat) Its my privilege To worship You To worship For You are good, God For You are good to me (repeat)

When I don't understand, I choose to love you God.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvFTgNd6Iko
I also want to thank all of you who have been a support to us. We have felt your prayers, we're thankful for your gifts and your love. I can feel that people are praying for us. And the things that have shown up at my doorstep over the last couple of days are reminders of God's goodness.

 All of you who have gone out of your way to help us out......Thank you. For the people who are willing to keep an eye on my kids if they need a hug...thank you. For all of the texts and voxers full of love and encouragement.....thank you. For those of you who have donated financially to our adoption......thank you. We are still going to use every penny for whatever adoption finally sticks. It is still hanging out in our adoption fund until we finally get to use it....thank you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Adoption Journey Conference

Hey guys, me again. I know my updates are few and far between, but that is usually because there is nothing to report on. I've been chewing on this update for a couple of weeks because I have been deep in processing mode and busy investigating some new avenues. 
I will try to make this extremely long story as short as possible. Otherwise I fear you would be reading for days. There is a bit more behind the scenes of the story, but for your sake, I will start here;
A while back, some friends from our church invited us to attend an adoption conference with them. We never would have known about it had they not invited us. (Thanks Matt and Dawn!....And to my mom for being here to watch the kids!) So, Feb 27 we headed to the Adoption Journey Conference at County Line Church of God. The first group session the pastor from the church spoke. GUYS.......His story was so similar to ours I could hardly believe it. Granted they ended up adopting from China and we are now domestic, but seriously, other than that crazy similar. I somewhat quietly cried through most of his message titled "Trust the timing of the one who created time". Then, he said "At the 4 year marker we asked God Why? God you called us to this and we desire this why is it taking so long?!" Insert ugly cry here. Of course there were no tissues. At least Dawn had one she so kindly passed down the row. This was the start of the tears for me. Tears that pretty much lasted all day with a few brief intermissions here and there. The conference was amazing. It felt tailored to us. Almost as if God ordained it just for Andy and I. I mean I know there were a ton of other people that gleaned from it, but the capacity at which it touched me was huge! The last speaker of the day asked if we felt like we drank information in through a fire hose. Uh yes! That was exactly right. Too much to take in!
Throughout the day we had moments to visit random booths set up in an auditorium. We met a social worker, Jan, from Gateway Woods. **ahem, if you are considering fostering CALL THEM!** Anyhow, Jan asked us about our process. Our struggles, what we are needing etc.... Even though we couldn't at this point adopt through them, she took her time to help us. She gave me her info to call her the next week and talk things over. So, I did. 
The week after the conference I called her and she mailed us a list of agencies that are willing to take a home study from another agency and will allow you into their program. From all we had looked into we couldn't find one that was willing to take our home study from our current agency or one that was willing to work along side them! This was huge news to us.
Sunday I started scrolling through the list and one specific one caught my eye. Ok, if I am being honest it made me cry. I'm not totally sure why. All I can say is it gave me hope. I've been pretty raw with emotion since the conference and it doesn't take much to get the tears flowing. So, Monday I called G.L.A.D adoption agency. Just that one. And I am so glad I did. I spoke with a woman named Julie who gave me such hope and encouragement. I cried on the phone with her too....go figure. Anyhow, GLAD is willing to work alongside SEC who we have been working with the past number of years. She emailed me some papers to fill out and told me what else I needed to send in. Wouldn't ya know I already had an extra book to mail in and everything else we needed too. So, last night Andy and I spent a couple of hours filling out the paper work and today I mailed it in. 

This means that as soon as they get our package we will be available for birth moms at their agency as well! Double the exposure..... A huge answer to prayer and a giant dose of hope! 
To most of you I know this won't mean a whole lot. But for those who have walked through the past 4 1/2 years of heart ache with us and have seen our weary hearts rub very raw it will mean a lot. It means hope. We needed hope in a huge way and God provided. Keep the prayers coming friends. We need it. Our boys need it. Our future kids need it. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Time Lines

I know I don't post often. I feel like I don't post because it gets redundant. There is never anything to share other than the fact that more time has passed. I go through moments of huge discouragement and moments of hope. I realized today that it has been 10 months since I have updated the blog so I figured I would give you all a run down of where we're at, how we are feeling and what has happened over the past 10 months.
18 months ago we decided to add domestic adoption on top of our Ethiopian adoption. In January the Ethiopian adoption fell through and we had to walk through dealing with hurt, disappointment, loss and discouragement. That was one moment where I cried out to God that I needed something tangible from Him to let me know that we were still in His will and on the right track. Last January I feel like he came through in a big way for us with that. (See post from last Jan. "More Changes Coming Our Way".) We felt God's direction and trusted His plan.
On to now.....nearly a year later. We basically have had no updates, and minimal communication with our agency. It has been very silent. Very hard and very lonely at times. The silence has been suffocating and very discouraging. I have reached out at moments hoping for some encouragement or an update only to get a generic response or silence. I even got to the point a couple of months ago where I thought about looking into another agency where there was more care and more communication. I had my email all typed up and I felt a strong "No" in my spirit. So, I shut the computer and again had a moment of "God I need you, I need something from you to remind me that we are on the right track and with the right agency for your plan to succeed." And again, I felt God come through in a big way in the form of communication from our agency in reference to a potential birth mom. It wasn't by any means a guarantee or even of high percentage that we would be chosen, but it was something. I needed something. Nothing ever came of that situation, but I remember telling God that I would be fine with nothing coming of it. That I just so appreciated the much needed hope, that bit of communication brought. Since that one smidge of communication we are back to silence. Back to waiting in the vast unknown.
Yesterday was Orphan Sunday and we had the opportunity to share a little bit of our heart for adoption with our church family. Facebook was flooded with orphan related images and updates with a call to adoption. It fueled the fire that burns inside of me for adoption. I have no idea why it is taking so long. Especially when I see the statistics every year with the number of children needing families. I just have to cling to the hope that it is God's will and God's way. I recently became friends with Olie's, classmates, mom.  She sent me the most precious text message yesterday reminding me that we are not forgotten. Then today I got a text from a friend I haven't seen in ages. She was asking about financially supporting us. .....These friends, are touches from God. Tangible reminders that there is a plan, God cares and we are not alone. If you have ever text, emailed, called or financially supported us.........if you have ever been one of those tangible touches from the Lord for me, THANK YOU! I have needed each and every one of those. God uses you to encourage my heart and bring me hope. If you know others in this same place, or fostering and God brings them to your mind. Check in! There is a reason God prompts you. You are the hands and feet of Christ speaking hope to someone. I am eternally grateful for every single person God has used to speak hope to me.
If I am being honest, I know these moments are coming more frequently for me because we are coming up on another Christmas. Christmas without a family member is really hard for some reason. The past two have been really hard on me especially. The past two Christmases, I have begged God to not make me go another Christmas feeling like our family is incomplete. This year I'm not. I have ask daily for a child, but I have stopped with my time lines. His word says " Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.....HIS kingdom come, HIS will be done. That is how I pray. Time lines and begging leave me introspective, discouraged and disappointed. Asking for His will to be done leaves me outward focused, hopeful and reliant on Him. It's where I have to stay.
Pray with me for our family to include exactly who it should. That we will be connected with a birth mom that God has chosen. That our life and choices would be a light for those considering to foster or adopt. And that God would continue to pursue us, encourage us and lead us as He has thus far. Pray for the future children my heart longs so deeply for. Pray for my boys as they navigate the waters of waiting for their sibling(s).
If/when there is anything to update, I promise I will fill you in. If we are somewhat absent from blogging it is because there is nothing to say. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. You'll never know how much it means.