Saturday, July 25, 2009

Freed to Visit Orphans

From Together for Adoption:

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Thirteen weeks ago we mailed (overnight, of course!) our application for immigration approval from the US Department of Homeland Security. The form we need (I-171H) is required for an international adoption, and we have to have it before we can send our paperwork to Ethiopia. We were met with some unusual challenges in getting our approval, and it took longer than we expected (really only about a month longer, but it felt like a year!), but today we received this one line e-mail:

"Form I-171H (approval notice) will be issued shortly with an approval
date of 7/15/09."

When I saw the source of the e-mail I was afraid to open it. We've had so much frustration with this part of our adoption process, and I confess I have struggled to keep it in perspective. I know that my anger/frustration/anxiety is just a symptom of my failure to trust that God will do what is best. Every time.
I am longing for God to refine me through all of this, and hopeful that because of it I will be more prepared to face all that God has to come for us with faith and with joy. But for this day I am just so happy for this one victory!!

So this is what happens next. First, we wait (hopefully only a few days) until we actually receive the form in the mail. (Which means that I will continue my recent daily races to the mailbox for just a few more days). Then, we'll take the form to the state capital to have it "sealed" so that it will look like all of these other beautiful documents (they actually authenticate the notaries on all of the documents and place the state seal on them):

Jim jokes that I ought to have a safe for these documents, because I don't like anyone to get too close to them, let alone touch them!

Next, we bundle the new document with all of the others and send it off on a long and somewhat confusing journey from here to Washington D.C. to Michigan, and finally to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There's a good chance that our documents will be in Ethiopia within the next 1-2 weeks. And then the real wait begins. And so we learn to trust God more and more with details large and small. And we pray over each step along the way. We have prayed in the van on the way to the post office, in the post office, and on the way home from the post office. We want the kids to know that God's hand is over every single detail of this process, and there is none of it that we can accomplish (or would want to) without Him.

I'm also realizing how important it is for the kids that we celebrate God's goodness at every stage of this journey. Shhhh; don't tell them, but we'll be having a little party at our house tomorrow evening, and there will be cake and ice cream!

And thank you so much for your prayers; we'll eat some extra cake for you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just a Little Fun

Today is Chick-Fil-A Cow Appreciation Day, and it's not too late! Anyone who goes to Chick-Fil-A dressed like this:

will get a free meal at Chick-Fil-A. (If you try to cheat a bit and just wear a cow hat, or paste a spot or two on your shirt, you might only get a chicken sandwich, not the whole meal.)

And while we're at it, if you're in the mood for a laugh (and you didn't get it looking at those pictures), watch this:

Byt the way, Tiger missed out on the fun while having some fun of his own; he was having lunch with Grandma. And you might guess from the pictures that Sweet Pea participated somewhat reluctantly, as she wasn't sure someone of her mature age should be dressing like a cow. This provoked one of the stranger statements I've made as a mom: "That's fine if you don't want to do it, but I'm not buying your lunch just because you're too proud to be a cow!"

Now, go out and have some FUN!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wait Quietly

From Elisabeth Elliot:

"Few of us enjoy having to wait for something we want. It is human nature
to desire instant gratification, and it is divine nature to do many things
very, very slowly. Growth is always imperceptible. But the farmer
exercises long patience in waiting for his crop. He has done his work and
is assured of the result, hence he waits quietly. He is at rest because
the outcome (barring disastrous "acts of God") is certain. If we could
simply remember that this is true of everything--that God's purposes are
slowly being worked out for his glory and our good--we would, like the
farmer, keep faith and wait quietly.

Lord, take from us all fretting and hurrying and teach us to rest our
hearts in the "ultimate certainty" (Jas 5:7 JBP)."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

For Nate and Sara

Currently there are an estimated 143 million orphans in the world. I read a statistic recently that if 7% of professing Christians in America alone would adopt, there would be no orphans. Realistically, adoption is not the solution to the world's "orphan problem". But for a tiny percentage of those children, adoption is God's solution. Sometimes I am overwhelmed that God is allowing our family to be part of that. Today, though, I am overwhelmed by my emotions as I consider that our friends Nate and Sara will be leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow, and that their children are no longer orphans. In a sense, I guess they never really have been true orphans, since God knit this family together before those babies were ever born. To hear their story, and to see the way that God has paved this road for Nate, Sara, Eden, and Caleb over many years, is to get a bigger view of a giant God. I feel privileged to watch and pray.

For anyone reading this, please pray for God's clear direction in every detail for this family over the next two weeks (and beyond). And specifically pray for Eden's TB test to be negative so that she can come home(they will find out the results on the way to the airport!)

Nate and Sara (whenever you see this), we love you, and I wish you could have seen the size of Tiger's grin when I got home tonight and reminded him that you will be leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow. You know that he (and all of us) will be praying every day.