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.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Embracing The New Plan

So, with all of the changes, frustrations, disappointments etc we have been challenged with lately, it has been nice to breathe a bit of fresh air. I feel like I am getting my feet back under me. Getting more and more excited for what is to come. I went and bought paint today to paint the new kiddo's room. (It may or may not have taken the paint lady at Menards 3 attempts at getting it right. But hey, it's right and that is all that counts right? :) ) I bought a bunch of cloth diapers from my wholesalers before we sold our cloth diapering company on Saturday too. It was fun to start planning more and embrace the new plan.
From the start of the domestic process I have said that I have a huge passion for the birth mom as well as the child. Through some conversations with a friend in the past week that fire has stirred back up in me more and more. The more I think about it, talk about it and pray about it the more my heart loves this precious woman I don't even know. I really hope she can be a presence in our lives and that we can love her and show grace to her in the same way our Heavenly Father has to us. I'm just excited to see what comes next in our story. God is writing it....He has been, even when things take a sharp turn.
I also had a friend introduce me to a fun and new form of fundraising. I am super excited about this because it is tasty and I get to partake in it along side anyone else who wants to. It's coffee....seriously, coffee...can't go a day without it. (Yes, I'm addicted to coffee, I admit it.) Anyhow, there is this super cool organization called "Just Love Coffee". They sell fair trade, organic coffee, in every form possible and we get a kick back from every order that goes directly to our adoption fund. And we actually get a good percentage too! So, if you are coffee snobs like most of my friends and family, you will enjoy this. Great coffee, great price, great company! If you are curious, check it out here or you can just click on the button on the top right corner of this page. Even if you don't like coffee or want to buy, you should really browse around. It's pretty cool!
Thanks again for all of your prayers and support. We couldn't do this without you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More changes coming our way....

November and December have brought more changes and some really tough decisions our way. It has been a very hard 6 weeks for us.
Through various emails from our International adoption agency we started getting the idea that things were not going well for Ethiopia adoptions. Times were yet again increasing. Cost increased.  (Bare in mind that we have a highly respected and known agency. A really good one. This is not a rip off, but the reality of what is happening right now over in Ethiopia.)The agency was making multiple ways for Ethiopia families to transfer out of Ethiopia into other country a reduced rate or at no cost at all. I finally got the nerve to call and ask what was going on. Things aren't great. No one knows how long it will be until we would get a referral (We're talking probably 4-6 more years) let alone if the country will even remain open for adoptions. We were basically confronted with an ugly "Y" in the road. Continue to walk towards Ethiopia knowing full well it is highly likely we will lose money with very little chance of ever seeing a child. Or, continue down the road of the domestic adoption and in time pursue a second domestic adoption and let Ethiopia go.
Ethiopia adoption has been at the forefront of everything we have done for the past 3 1/2 years. The thought of that not happening made me sick. Broken. Sad. Andy and I took some time to really pray and seek God on it. Is this something we just need to press on and persevere through? Or, is this something He used to get us going and is now changing up the direction? Through prayer and upon the advice of our Ethiopia social worker we decided it was best to let go. We both fully have a peace about it, however nothing can really describe the grief we (especially me) are feeling over it. It took me a week before I could even start letting family know. It hurt too bad.
The loss of a beautiful Ethiopian daughter that I've never met or even set eyes on is painful. Not only does it hurt, but made me question so much. What is going on God? Why? WHY did we start down this road if it was just going to close? WHAT was the purpose? I am so glad we already have our domestic adoption process going because the 3 1/2 year wait has become nearly unbearable. Another Christmas feeling incomplete without a member of our family. 
While I was asking God my WHAT and my WHY I feel like he answered in a big way that restored my joy and breathed hope back into me. 
Let me first give you a bit of a background on our domestic agency. They are a very small agency called St. Elizabeth/Coleman in Indianapolis. I had never heard of them before our International agency sent us there for our home study. (Keep in mind that we never would have heard of them had we not started with Ethiopia first and been referred to them.) When we were looking to start the domestic process alongside our Ethiopia adoption we looked into a number of larger and more well known agencies. The cost was significantly more because we would have to start over. However if we used St. Elizabeth/Coleman we would be able to jump right in with no additional work or fee since they had already done our home study etc... So, we stuck with them.
Ok, so on to the WHAT and WHY. As I was in the middle of a broken and grieved place, I asked God these questions. WHY did you start us down this path just to allow my heart to hurt so badly? And, WHAT is the purpose? I trust your plan, but what is the point? My answer came in two parts.
First, our social worker for Ethiopia told me "Things like this happen and families hurt so badly. But, the moment they get their child in their arms (wherever he or she may come from) they understand. They know why. They were to have that specific child from that specific place at that specific time. And God's plan just looks different than we think and plan for." (Insert a little bit of hope here.)
Then, upon suggestion of a friend, I notified someone who is very present in Nahum's daily life of the changes going on. Nahum is a sensitive kid and sometimes it can come out in behavior. I wanted her to be aware. So, after hearing from me about it she talked to him. She told him it was ok to be sad and she would be there to talk to about it if he needed to. But, even though this is sad, there is something to look forward to since he will still get a sibling from around here. Then she told him that she herself had been adopted. (Nahum thought that was really cool and special. You could tell he felt proud that she told him something so special.) Then, through some corresponding back and forth with her we found that not only had she been adopted, but she had been adopted from THE SAME AGENCY IN INDIANAPOLIS!! THE SAME TINY, SOMEWHAT UNKNOWN AGENCY! WHAAAAT??? WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! The timing of it was perfect. It just felt like God was saying "I got you here, where I wanted you. With the agency I wanted you at. For the timing that I have planned...I've got this! It was planned!"  (Insert hope and joy here.
I'll tell ya, over the past 6 weeks I have cried and prayed about this. Over the past 2 I have wept and sobbed and questioned. I grew weary. At just the point I needed I feel like God used these two women to reaffirm his plan and sweep over me with a new hope and a new joy as for what is to come. While I am still really grieving the loss of Ethiopia in a big way, I have the JOY of knowing HIS plan is better than mine and the HOPE of knowing HE will complete it in HIS timing for HIS glory and our good.
Here is how you can pray. Pray that we can really process through and grieve the loss of an Ethiopian daughter. That our boys can process through and grieve the loss as well. Especially sweet Nahum who has been so sensitive to this from the beginning. That we would continue to follow the leading of God's peace and trust His leading. And, that we don't have to see another Christmas without a child we love so much and have never met.
OH!! One last really great thing. Because of the way everything worked out between Ethiopia and domestic we aren't really losing a whole ton of money. The initial start up fee Andy and I paid and our dossier fee is gone. However that is pretty much it! We have money transferring back to us that we will be able to put towards our domestic adoption decreasing how much we owe there. On top of that we are getting a partial refund since we never had a child placed with us from Ethiopia. That money will go into our domestic fund as well. That was an added bonus! :)
Thanks for the prayers. Well keep you all updated as things change and progress.