Archives for March 2014

When Words Cannot Express…

When words cannot express how precious…

Janna

Amazing…

janna 6 (1)

Delightful…

Janna 2

Cherished…

 Janna

When words cannot express how loved a person is, we must act.  Meet Janna.  She is incredibly loved.  She is a daughter.  A precious, amazing, delightful, cherished child of God.  Who will tell her?  Who will whisper in her ear that she is a beautiful, beloved princess?  Who will show her what truly living feels like?

We will.  Meet Janna, our daughter.  Our words will not keep her warm at night, keep food in her belly, snuggle her when she’s sick, or cherish her like she deserves… but our prayers, our clothes, our food, our arms and our hearts will.  Our family will.  Welcome to the family sweet girl, your family.  We cannot wait to meet you and finally bring you home, where you belong.

Love,
Mommy

 

The Great and Humbling Gift

This is my fourth post in the series about our adoption journey.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the first three parts of our story here:

Our Adoption Story
I Waited Ten
The Long Wait

The Great and Humbling Gift

After the door was slammed shut to adopting Heath, I spent a few weeks just mourning him.  I was crushed and heartbroken, but I knew that this was not the end of our story.  God did have a child out there for our family.  I didn’t know who and I didn’t know where, but I knew that He had someone in mind for us.  I was talking to one of my dear adoption friends who had been walking with me on this journey, as they were also in process to adopt a sweet boy from Bulgaria.  She sent me the picture of a most precious little girl.

She was about four years old, olive skin, dark hair… gorgeous.  Sound familiar?  She was not the girl from my dream, but she did resemble her in a way I couldn’t deny.  Again, on my own, I made up my mind that we should pursue her adoption.  She had Cerebral palsy, which was a special need both my husband and I felt drawn to.  Jake was reluctant, of course he was!  He didn’t want to see me go through this all over again.  But our circumstances had changed.  The tiny little window of opportunity we had to adopt at that time had passed.  He let me dream and promised we would look into committing when we could.  But it would be a while.

In the meantime another family swooped in and began pursuing her adoption.  It was hard, but not nearly as hard as losing Heath.  I began to wonder if any child would tug on my heartstrings the same way that he had.  By the time Spring came around I had some new life and new hope for our family’s dream of adoption.  Jake would be receiving his first call very soon and we wouldn’t be in school anymore.  I convinced him to start looking at the waiting child lists with me.  “If we do have a child out there, we could be  starting the process soon, we should know who it is so we can pray for them!”, was my argument.  How could he say no to that?

So he very generously sat down and looked through a page of faces.  We had done this several times… always the same, “I feel bad for all of them and I wish I could help all of them, but I don’t feel like any of those children are mine,” was the common refrain.  I, on the other hand, felt like I could bring any of them home!  But during the last of these “scrolling sessions” as I liked to call them, one child did stand out.  One child did touch his heart.  He forgot about this incident later on, but I didn’t.  I knew from then on, that was our son!  It had to be!

I didn’t want to push it though, Jake still needed some time.  We weren’t ready to adopt yet anyway, so I held my tongue for a while and tried something new, revolutionary even.  I just prayed.  I prayed that God would make it 100% crystal clear.  We focused on preparing for graduation and another move.  Jake received his call, we were to go to a congregation in Missouri.  We began packing, preparing… and then on Mother’s Day morning God surprised us both with a great and humbling gift.  I woke up to sick children, we were going to have to skip Church, but Jake worked with a congregation so he still had to go.

There were no flowers or chocolates for the occasion, but before he left he told me that he had a Mother’s Day present for me and that after he left I could check my email.  Off he went and I logged on to see what on Earth this could be.  What I read next still gives me goosebumps…

Dear Love of my Life,

You are an amazing wife and mother!  You sacrifice so much for our family, especially for our children whom you love so dearly.  As a little surprise for you this Mother’s Day I have to tell you about a surprise God gave me.
 
You see, I had a dream last night.  A very strange dream for me.  It was my last dream of the night and you were in it.  I don’t know where we were exactly.  There was a broad street with a one story long greyish-blue house or building.  I was sitting across the street on a long metal bench waiting for you…  Then all of the sudden you appeared with a little boy in your arms.  You said he was about 4.  He was white with dirty blonde hair and somewhat fattish cheeks.  You were holding back tears as you gave him to me.  You sat him on my lap and I was unsure about him for a couple seconds.  Then I saw how afraid and terrified this little boy looked and  I asked “What’s his name?”  You said, “His name is Jacob …”  I said, “Really?”  Then I turned to the boy who was looking even more afraid and lonely.  So I talked to him and said “Is your name Jacob?  That’s my name too!”  He smiled a little bit but didn’t say anything.  Then I said, “You know what our name means?  It means the angels in heaven are watching out for us special because God loves us even though we wrestle with him.”  Then I wanted to cry.  I asked you what his conditions were and then …….. I woke up.

I don’t know what his conditions were … just that we were supposed to take him home but I don’t know anything about him.  I wasn’t expecting a dream like this … in any way shape or form.  I think I know what it means like you do, I just don’t know where he is or if he is or what this dream was really about if not about getting this boy.Your mother’s day gift from me is to see if you can find this boy while I’m at church … I don’t know if it can be done but I believe in you!

All my love,
Jake
I could find only a few children who somewhat matched the description in Jake’s dream.  But it was obvious to both of us very quickly… the little boy who Jake had felt something for the other month was meant to be our son.  What was so great and humbling about this gift?  All along I had been wrestling with my “reluctant” husband.  It was as if we were never on the same page.  I dragged him into the adoption ring for failed attempt after failed attempt.  But if I had only listened, listened to his leading voice, the voice that God had put over to lead me!  It could have saved us both so much heartache.  It was never our time… until it was.  And when it was God made it perfectly clear to my husband.
God’s wisdom was working in Jake the entire way.  I was foolish not to listen to Christ’s wisdom in my husband’s headship.  When it finally was our time to begin, God moved Jake’s heart and mind in a way that was swift and decisive.  Learning to trust, to wait, to be still and know that He is God is such a hard lesson, and I’m still learning it.
To be continued!

The Long Wait

Today our Dossier was submitted and our wait begins!  In 5-7 weeks we should be on a plane to Eastern Europe to go meet our son!  And to celebrate this milestone on our journey I’m going to finish up the series I started forever ago about our adoption journey.  You can read the first two parts at the links below:

Our Adoption Story
I Waited Ten

Here is Part III of the series!  The Long Wait…

I was a mere fifteen years old when I was first introduced to the idea of fostering and adoption, with the accompanying dream that confirmed this calling on my life.  I knew then, that it would be a long wait before I would even be able to begin putting my new dream into reality.  So I put it in the back of my mind, and figured I would revisit it when I was 18.

But, I went to college at 17, so the lines between adolescence and adulthood were blurred and soon overtaken by all the cares of a college student.  I was overloaded, and way too busy.  My sophomore year I was taking 20 some odd credits, working 30 hours a week, and still fitting in (or not) extra-curriculars because I couldn’t seem to say no.  In all that time I do remember still having moments of pause, thinking of my sweet children who might already be born.  Were they loved now?  Were they fed? Clothed?  Cared for?  Did they know there was a God who loved them?  I would say small, silent prayers for Him to watch over my little ones… the ones I didn’t know.

I would close my eyes and remember the bouncing black curls and the deeply wounded eyes of my daughter from the dream… and I would pray that we would be together soon.  Soon Lord… please let it be soon.  But it was not to be.  I am glad I did not know then how much longer I still had to wait.  It would have pained my heart to know.  While at university, I met my dear husband.  We got married the week after graduation and I followed him to seminary.  Almost immediately after the wedding I told him we should look into fostering.

I am sure he thought I was crazy, but he humored me and allowed me to check into it.  I was about ready to sign up for the introductory classes when the inevitable happened… God blessed our marriage with a child the home-grown way, and we were no longer eligible to be foster parents until after she was born and we had settled into life as a family of three.  I understood the requirement, it made sense… but I didn’t have to like it any.

I was determined to continue preparing myself for adoption.  I knew it was in our future, and I wanted to know as much as possible.  I started googling it and found a plethora of adoption blogs to enjoy.  They became my constant companions during the next few months of morning sickness and waiting… along with the Office and Scrubs but I digress…

One of those blogs was an internationally adopting family.  I was fascinated by their journey and all the details of the process.  Along the way I got linked to a Youtube video that changed my life.  I know I’ve blogged about it before.  After I saw this, I would never be the same.  I found Reece’s Rainbow shortly thereafter and spent the next few days just pouring over the pictures of precious little souls in precarious, unimaginable situations.  I will never forget.  Almost immediately I started looking into the requirements to adopt internationally.  Our lack of income due to Jake’ being in graduate school was an immediate shut door.

No foster care.  No international adoption.  What now?  Nothing to do but wait.  I had to do something about those children though… I had to help.  I could not just sit and do nothing.  I began shouting, advocating, begging to anyone who would listen.  My sweet husband tolerated me, of course.  My heart literally was unable to continue if I wasn’t doing something.  I found a jar, we started saving our pennies.  We called it the “Baby Jar”.  Every single coin I found went into that jar.  When it was full we would roll them all and start over.  We didn’t have much, but we could save our pennies for our future adoption – and that’s what we did.

I did fundraisers for the orphans that grabbed my heart.  I did them for families who were currently in process.  I kept reading, and waiting… when would it be our turn?  In the meantime we expected to get pregnant again quickly, but the Lord had other plans.  I was impatient, but His timing was perfect.  We moved from seminary to vicarage (our internship) and we had an income – hooray!  We also were not pregnant and our daughter was a year and a half old.  We would qualify to adopt from foster care now, I mentioned it to Jake and he agreed that we could look into it.  Again, I began finding out what we would need to do to get the ball rolling.

A month before our foster care orientation… it happened.  We were expecting our second.  Well played God… well played.  I was ecstatic, but it still hurt, and I went on a fundraising/advocating kick again.  Not everyone appreciated it.  I didn’t care.  Those kids needed out; I couldn’t bring them home, but I could help someone else bring them home.  I got burned out, and stepped away from the adoption world for a few months.  With the new baby and another move coming up, I just needed a break.  I could not emotionally cope with all of it.

Heath BeforeThat autumn, no sooner had I started dabbling in the Reece’s Rainbow community again.  A little here and there… I saw him.  A small boy called “Heath”.  He was twelve years old and had Down syndrome.  He was in a mental institution, a bad one.  His eyes seemed to be searching my very soul… he was beautiful.  I loved him.  I did… I still do.  He will always have my heart.  With some fancy, shmancy number games we would qualify to adopt that year.  Heath’s adoption was fully funded.  We could technically do this.  I begged and pleaded with Jake to let us go for him.

It was a H.A.R.D. month.  The fact is, Jake knew it wasn’t our time yet, but I didn’t (or wouldn’t listen).  We got counseling from a pastor, we had some really rough nights.  Were our priorities even the same anymore?  I knew we were in school.  I knew it would be crazy hard.  I didn’t care, I loved Heath like my own son and I couldn’t just leave him there.  Jake reluctantly agreed to take the first steps, and I began contacting some social workers in our area.

We didn’t get far in the process when we were told it would not happen.  We were too young to adopt Heath.  My heart was shattered, but it was a merciful ending.  God decided, and that preserved our relationship.  We began the healing process.  I was grief stricken.  I have heard adoptive parents relate the pain of losing a child in this way to the pain of a miscarriage.  I believe it.  I had spent the last few weeks dreaming of what it would be like to have him in our family, loving this child in my heart, trying everything in my power to keep moving forward past huge, insurmountable obstacles that God kept peeling away.  Until it happened.  We hit a brick wall, he was ripped away from me and I would never be his mother.  He was still stuck in that awful place, with no way out and no one to tell him how very much he was loved.

It hurt for months, and it still hurts sometimes.  But only selfishly.  He is home now with his wonderful mother and he is thriving.  It is only me who is missing out on his wonderfulness.  I still hope to meet him some day.  He is doing so wonderfully now and I could not be happier for him or his family.  Adoption changes lives folks.  Adoption is restoration… healing… life.

Heath After Pic

But at the time it was just pain.  It wouldn’t be until months later that a family stepped up for him.  And we are forever grateful to God for that miracle.  But at the time… that was the nail in the coffin.   Adoption, again, would have to wait.  We only had a few months left of seminary, after that maybe…  we would see…

To be continued!

So close! So close!

Ahh!! All of our Dossier (adoption paperwork) is safely in Eastern Europe and we should be submitted by the end of next week!  I am so excited I can hardly stand it!!  Many people have been asking us what the next step is.  Well, nothing for a while!  Now we just have to sit tight and wait for Juri’s government to process our Dossier and give us travel dates!  I have been told that right now it is taking about 7-8 weeks from the time of submission to our DAP appointment.  The DAP is the very first thing we do when we get in-country, so that will be when we travel!  It’s looking like probably mid-May and boy is there a LOT to do before then.

I haven’t been blogging a lot, but our life is about to get a billion times more interesting, so look for some more updates as we gear up to meet the boy that will change our lives forever! (In a GOOD way!!)  Hang on Juri, Mommy and Daddy are on their way!

 

Juri in the Ball Pit

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