Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Favorites

Remember the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music? Well here are a few of my favorite things. Or actually just two of my favorite things, and just for today. (I'll have another favorite or two by next week!)

The first is an old favorite that I've re-visited this week: History and Literature Pockets by Evan-Moor. These are the two we're using this week:

And here are the happy faces:

My other favorite thing this Friday is this book:

It's already on the sidebar, but I've almost finished reading/devouring it, and it's just too good. If you're adopting; read this book. If you've ever considered adoption; read this book. If you know and love someone who's adopting (and maybe just don't get it!); read this book. And most importantly, if you want to have a deeper, richer grasp of just what it means to be adopted as full sons and heirs of God through Jesus Christ; you might just try reading this book. Can you tell I sorta like it? I have kept looking ahead the whole time I've been reading it because every chapter has been so rich that I can't wait to see what's coming. And I haven't been disappointed yet. (Only one more chapter to go).

And I just remembered one more favorite thing. A sweet friend will be here in a few minutes for a visit, and I'm so glad. (Thanks Sarah!)

I love Friday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Anonymous Comments and a Countdown

For those who have asked about commenting, I changed the settings of this blog so that you can now comment as "Anonymous." (You don't need a Google account to leave a comment). Thanks for letting me know about that problem.

And while I'm here I'll just mention that today it's been exactly four weeks since we applied for our I-171H (immigration approval). We need that golden document in order to submit our Dossier to Ethiopia. In Virginia it's typical to get it back in nine weeks, so that means five more weeks at most. (But who's counting?)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sometimes I'm scared

I'm sure everyone who's in the process of adopting, or considering adoption, or probably even after they've adopted, has experienced fear. There are a lot of scary things about adoption. One of the things I fear is that one day our son, in a state of rebellion, will cry out to me, "You're not my REAL MOM!"

Now I realize that the heart of the child who might cry out these words is really no different than that of any child (adopted or not) trying to find an expression for anger or frustration. And if he says it he probably won't mean it. But I have still tried to prepare myself for how I might react when there's a moment one day when our son questions our role as his parents. The reason this all came into my heart this morning, though, is because I read the lyrics to a hymn (written in 1664 by Samuel Crossman). It pointed me to this truth: I am just like that adopted child who, out of anger, or frustration, or fear, or just plain sin, at some point (or many) rejects my adoptive Father. Read this:

My Song is Love Unknown

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed-for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they save,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

(You can listen to part of this hymn here.)

So what do I have to fear? Over and over we reject our Father because of doubt, fear, pride, etc. Or because we're turning to any number of "idols that we don't think are idols." But He is grace upon grace. I know that I will fail sometimes as our son's Mom (I do with the four I have now). But I want to be like my adoptive Father, and love unconditionally. (I know, I know...I can't do it right). But I'm going to try to pursue it without fear. To cling to the JOY that is in it instead. Knowing that my Father loves me, and he loves my son. Through this adoption process God is revealing the depth of His love for me as I have never grasped it before.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. I John 4:18.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Catching you up

Today I sent the link to this blog to a few far away friends, then realized that some of them didn't even know we were adopting until I sent them the e-mail with this link. I thought I'd better give just a bit of background, as well as explaining where we are in the process.

Jim and I have dreamed of adopting for about fifteen years, but for various reasons (including four children coming along!) the time was never right. About two years ago we started talking more seriously. We were convinced of God's heart for orphans, and knew that we wanted to adopt, but we weren't sure exactly what to do about it. As we were sort of just thinking and praying, some friends of ours (who you can read about here)began the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia. At some point they sent us the link to their blog, which included a video of a family uniting with their adopted son in Ethiopia. Tiger (six years old at the time)came and watched the video over my shoulder, and when it was done he had tears streaming down his face. From that day on, he began to storm the gates of heaven for an Ethiopian brother. That boy prayed almost daily for months that God would let us adopt from Ethiopia, and as the weeks went by we all caught the bug. When people ask us now why we chose Ethiopia, I still have to say that God just chose it for us, through Tiger. (By the way, we have "renamed" our kids on the blog in order to protect their anonymity out in cyberspace. I'll try to get pictures of them on the sidebar soon, with their pseudonyms!)

Due to various situations in our family, we delayed starting the process until this year. On Christmas day we told that kids that it was really going to happen. We started the paperwork in January. If you're at all familiar with the adoption process, we've finished our homestudy, applied to USCIS, and are waiting for immigration approval. We hope it will come in late June, and then our dossier will go to Ethiopia, at which point we will be waiting for a referral. If you're not familiar with the process, we've been filling out lots of papers, waiting, filling out more papers, waiting some more, and we really have very little idea how long it will take. We do know that at the end there is a little boy who will be a son and a brother in our family, and we do know that we are incredibly blessed to have this privilege. We don't know yet who this little guy is, but God knows and is preparing us for him every day.

We'll definitely keep you posted!

"Nine is an odd number"

That's what I heard from behind my back a little while ago. "Mommy, nine is an odd number," said a very matter of fact voice. I froze for a minute, then spun around just to make sure I wasn't hearing things. Because it couldn't have been that my six year old had just spoken those words. My six year old who has struggled so much with math this year. The child who spent two long months last winter trying to recognize the number 13. But there she was, looking up at me expectantly.

"Um, how did you know that?"

"Look." She points to the word "Babies-R-Us" in the newspaper on the table. "I counted off two-by-two-by-two-by-two, and there was one left over. And ten is an even number. And six plus six is twelve."

There just might be ice cream for dessert tonight.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This is worth a few minutes of your time.

What on earth am I thinking?

I have already written two rather lengthy (okay…wordy) posts about why I’m starting a blog. (Something I never thought I would do). But finally I have narrowed it down to this (hate to admit it, but this came to me in church this morning. I really did listen to the sermon, but this worked into my head during the service):
Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonder.
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.
Remember His wonders which He has done. (Psalm 105:1-5)

I want to “make known His deeds” among all the peoples who might read this blog (both of you!), particularly in these areas:

1. His deeds in my own heart. I am trying to walk in thankfulness and amazement at any good at all that I am able to do, knowing that anything good in me comes directly from Him.

2. His deeds in my family, knowing that every loving, or creative, or generous, or joyful thing that occurs in or through our family is directly from Him.

3. His deeds in and through our adoption. The gospel is fleshed out so clearly and beautifully through adoption, and it is only through God’s direction and help that we are able to do it, and that we have been given the incredible blessing of it. I so want to share this!

It used to bug me that blogs generally seem to present a pretty rosy view of people (you don't usually blog about your marital problems, the times when you lose your temper with your kids, etc.)But, really, those aren't the things we're supposed to focus on. So I'm going to try to fix my eyes on Him, and "blog" away about whatever He does.

So there it is. I’ve finally got the first blog post over with.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my ROCK and my REDEEMER.