Our Girls are HOME!

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After 2 years…after 18 months since first seeing their beautiful faces, we are finally home with our daughters. And hey…we broke the record for the longest case our Power of Attorney in Ghana has ever had. Yay! Go us!

The Homecoming of Our Girls...a story of God's faithfulness.jpg

We left on a plane July 2nd and flew out to Ghana and we came home July 7th. A few days after our return trip, I got sick with a virus my 3-year old was carrying, and I am still sick (on day 4). So the transition isn’t going as I hoped, however, the girls seem to be adjusting well.

Since everyone’s number one question to us is, “How are they adjusting”, let’s start there.

When we saw them in Ghana for the first time in nearly 18-months, it was clear they were both happy and excited. We stayed at their foster home for a couple hours and were invited to have breakfast, so we ate.

When it was time to leave for our next destination, it began to get real for ME, because we, at that point, were going to be taking full responsibility for our daughters from this point on. I tried to remember how those moments made me feel, because as white people caring for and traveling with two Ghanaian children, clearly we would stand out. When our girls came to the U.S., the same would be true of them.

Our girls have had a unique experience with being around many white people, though. The orphanage they came from constantly has volunteers who come from Europe and remain in Ghana for 3 months to a year to serve. So they are not new to being around white people, and many of them.

Once we arrived in Cape Coast, about 3 hours from the airport, the girls began to open up more. We got settled into the beach resort for a few days of bonding with the girls.

Beach Resort Room .jpg
We had a blast hanging out on the beach, watching the girls swing and sing, having meals in an outdoor pavilion, rain or shine. Because it is warm year round, much of the Ghanaian life is built outside.

Girls Swinging.jpg
Margaret on the left, Christina on the right.
Meet Our Girls.jpg

There are always, always people walking around. It’s a common means of travel because many cannot afford to own a car. There is also an abundance of public transportation. Some can’t even afford that.

So, at the end of the weekend we gathered our things to return to the airport. The drive there was a little terrifying. We didn’t know until after we were 2 hours into our drive back to the airport that our taxi driver didn’t know where the airport was! In addition, his car kept failing to accelerate at different points throughout our trip. I was terrified we would get stranded and miss our flight. I couldn’t do anything but pray!

Once we got inside the airport, Christiana’s nerves began to kick in. She said her stomach hurt and from what we gathered from Margaret’s interpretation, Christiana was scared to get on the plane. We did what we could to comfort her and after a couple hours of being in the airport, she began to feel better. And they both did great on the flights!

We were all pretty exhausted once we landed home, but adrenaline kept us going.

All of the children were excited to meet and play right away. It truly was a wonderful homecoming!

Family Pictured: L–>My mother in law standing behind the girls, me and my husband with the rest of our children in front of us, my mom, my sister, and my brother.
Today, one week later, the girls are settling in as best as can be expected. They seem happy and comfortable here, but that doesn’t always tell a true story. It takes a lot of time to feel these issues out.

I continue to work on our schedule but since I got sick over the weekend, it has been delayed a bit. But I know they will thrive even more once that schedule is in place and they know what to expect and when.

As we spend our summer bonding as a family, we will be doing some light lessons and trying to see what level our girls are at so homeschooling can begin in late August.

I will continue to write about our transition and am currently writing a book on our adoption process, God’s faithfulness, and the girls first 3 months home.

Thank you for your prayers and continued support. It has been a long two years, but we are finally ready to begin the next chapter of our journey!

My Children

Hope Does Not Disappoint

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Hope. It does not disappoint.
It has been quite a while since I’ve shared any kind of update on my blog regarding our adoption. In fact, the last post I wrote was
back in November, when we first learned we were beginning a new season of waiting.

If you are just happening upon my blog, we have been in the adoption process two years. You can read more about it here.

We still remain in that season and I truly hope we are nearing the end of it.

Hope.

That word has such new meaning for me. It’s a peculiar thing, really. Hope is the one thing that I have clung to in order to keep breathing. Every day and every week, I cling to the hope that we will receive that news we’ve been aching to hear for a year. Still, everyday and every week goes by without word that we can move forward.

I feel like a rabbit with a carrot dangling in front of its face. You know, like in the old cartoons?

The prize sits right there, just out of grasp. I pray and hope I’m praying right. I war to keep my thoughts on God’s word and His promises and fight to not allow fear to run away with my mind.

I fight tears every time I hear their sweet voices on the other end of the phone…just across the ocean…asking, again, when we are coming back. And without a definite answer, I say, again, “We hope very soon.” For six months, it’s the same answer.

A mother’s heart cannot be tamed. No matter how hard I try and pray for my mama heart to be tamed from the pain I feel to be away from them, it simply cannot be suppressed.

Sometimes I pretend not to care in hopes of alleviating the pain. But to no avail.

And hope? What used to be a sweet aroma to me is becoming more of a stench. Hope delayed is leaving me heart-sick.

I’m beginning to feel left gasping for air by it.

Earlier this week I just poured it out on God,

“God, I don’t understand how it’s no problem to work in everyone else’s (as in, those around us) adoption case and bring their children home, even against all odds, yet ours is so complicated and horribly drug out. We are heart-sick and physically ill from holding onto hope week after week–month after month–only to be heart broken over and over and over again. No matter what I believe or how I trust or how hard I fight or pray. I’m left empty of hope fulfilled. Hope has become my enemy because it has repeatedly stabbed my heart. I have nothing left but shards.” 

And then…

…yesterday morning, after writing this just the day before, I received a phone call from my husband just minutes after he had left for work. Through sobs he blurted out, “We got approved!”

I could hardly believe it. We were approved — after 13 months of waiting — to move on to the final steps of our adoption process. 

My cries mattered to God. My pain was His pain. He is faithful…even in the darkest moments, even when we’re feeling hopeless.

God is going to finish what He started.

“He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thess. 5:24

Hope didn’t disappoint after all.

So now, we prepare to travel in the coming weeks. And we prepare our hearts to welcome home two girls who know no home or family the way we do. Whose past is a dagger for them…even if they don’t yet realize it.

Would you like to partner with us? We are still in need of travel expenses in order to fly to bring our girls home. All donations are tax deductible and your support is greatly appreciated. 

A little goes a long way. If everyone who is subscribed donated just $2, we’d be fully funded.  

Coffee Break with Christin

New Season of Waiting

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Yesterday morning, I was greeted with an email regarding our adoption. My heart leapt when I first saw it. I didn’t hesitate to open it, heart pounding so hard I could barely hear anything else.

God Stretches Our Faith...

It was not good news. It wasn’t hopeless news. But it was more waiting news. Lots more waiting. It was also confusing. Not that I didn’t understand what the circumstances were, but that I didn’t understand how we ended up there.

And then I got another email. The news was a blow, knocking the wind out of me, and it leaves everything very uncertain. There are so many things I cannot see and so many things we have HAD to trust God with.

This new season of waiting is no different. Many things are out of our control. There’s nothing we can do but trust God to do the work on our behalf. And really, isn’t that a good place to be? The best place?

And every time I try to go to a place where I want to let go and be at peace with the reality that they may NOT come home, I’m very unsettled about it. All I can think of is what will happen to them if they don’t have this opportunity. They will end up on the streets once they age out. No family. No support. No opportunity to be raised by a family who loves them and lives the Gospel with them.

That doesn’t seem like a place I could see God taking this. But I’m not God. And sometimes I wonder if all my notions and beliefs are false. Not my believing in God, but believing what I thought I knew of Him. But to me, that road would not be consistent with His character of the Bible. But is that reality for Him? Or is it my own wishful thinking? His redemption goes deeper than I could ever imagine.

And maybe? Maybe this process is a cleansing for me, too?

People keep bringing me back to the promise of Abraham. Even when God’s promise seemed laughable, He showed up. He fulfilled it.

God’s hand has been in this from the beginning. Why would I think it would just crumble beneath us? Why would He ask us to do this if He wasn’t go to see it through to completion – not just their homecoming, but beyond that?

This week I was brought to a place of greater peace with where we were and now this new season of waiting has become raw once again.

But isn’t that it? God stretched me in that last season. He stretched me, He sustained me, He strengthened me. Did He decide I was ready for the next season of waiting?

And do I want to walk down this road the same way I did last time?

Did the anxiety help me or my adoption move forward? Did it help me learn to trust God more? And who is this really about anyways?

I’m tempted to remove myself emotionally because it’s just so hard. The unknown and uncertainties are hard. And maybe that’s just it? Maybe I’m holding this adoption up to high?

The process is foggy, but when I choose to see, I can see God leading the way. And I can turn around and see how far He’s already brought us. God will only show me what I need to see. It’s how my faith is tested and stretched. Will I follow Him when I cannot see?

Would God truly lead us to a dead end? That’s not the God I know — but do I know the right God? Or have I created a god whom I want to see rather than the One who Is?

This new season of waiting is different. It carries more uncertainty then our entire process has thus far.

Will our girls even make it home?

 

Faithful God

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The last 8 weeks have been hard to endure, but some of it has been because I have had the wrong perspective and have not listened long enough to hear God speak to me on what this waiting time is for. I was buried so deep within my own pity, I couldn’t see passed myself and what I wanted. Yet He is still the faithful God.

Sunday, I spent time praying and asking God specifically for some very clear direction. My husband and I were presented with something and weren’t certain how God wanted us to proceed.

Stay in prayer until...

That day, we were going to be attending two different church services–at two different churches: our home church and a friend’s church (who was recently ordained and was preaching that afternoon). My prayer was that God would clearly speak what He wanted us to do through both pastor’s sermon’s.

He did.

We have the opportunity for someone to act on behalf of our adoption process. Nothing major. But God doesn’t always use trumpets to bring forth His will.

The first sermon was consistently laced with cooperating with others and with God. It also spoke several times of being “sent out”. This was confirmation that God was giving us the OK to send this person out on our behalf. Our pastor went on to say things like, “We make a difference together“, and “The mission isn’t all on you”.

The keyword for me throughout the whole sermon, though, was “co-op”.

Then we went to the second church service and the pastor spoke about the importance of being in prayer and how we so often try to fit God within our “schedule box”; we only give Him so much time to speak before we leave prematurely. Come to God’s courts with Thanksgiving–not a grocery list.

At this point in the sermon, I begin to wonder when God is going to confirm what our actions are going to be. But during this time,  He spoke to us about what we are to be doing while we wait. It’s no surprise we’re supposed to be praying that all our hearts are prepared for this enormous change of season and family assimilation. But there was one thing, one vital thing, that had escaped me throughout all this waiting.

We are missionaries. In both of the sermons preached that Sunday, was the message of the “Great Commission”; the mission to reach those who do not know Christ. But we need to be equipped for the task and the way to become equipped is to be in prayer. To spend more time praying and waiting on God before leaving my prayer closet. To take the time to listen for God rather than bringing Him a list of things I want and when I want them.

That’s essentially what I’ve been doing — and God invites us to lay our requests before Him. But that’s all I’ve been doing. My prayer life has been very one-sided, which is why I haven’t heard much from Him until this Sunday.

The pastor goes on in his sermon and says the word “co-laborers“. There it is! There’s the confirmation that we are to partner, cooperate (co-op) with someone to speak on our behalf! But God doesn’t stop there!

After the service, the pastor (who’s also a friend and mentor) comes back to chat with us. I tell him of my prayer that morning that God would use him and that He did, and how specifically talking about “co-laborers” was that confirmation we needed. And what does he say? “I wasn’t even planning on preaching that.” {Insert stunned face here}. At the end of the sermon, the Spirit kept him going to give me that confirmation I prayed for earlier that day.

Isn’t that just like God? To confirm His confirmation? That’s what I needed.

The highlight for me wasn’t which answer we received — whether “yes, send her out”, or “no, do not send her out”. It was that I heard from God and feel like I have direction and peace. He is a faithful God.

I still have no idea how much longer we need to wait, but rather than focus on the wait, I’m spending that time praying diligently for the souls of our girls, the family assimilation, and being equipped to handle the difficult reality that our girls have suffered loss and trauma and that it will effect them the rest of their lives. Not just a few months into becoming part of our family.

Adoption is a journey and the journey doesn’t end with the process. It begins with their homecoming and continues on for a lifetime.

Read more of our adoption journey here.

Wait, Watch, Wait

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Adoption means: Wait. Watch. Wait.

That has been the cycle these past weeks.

Wait for word. Watch as other families bring their children home. Wait on God.

Just in this part of the process it’s been: Three months. Two more months. Six more weeks {and counting}.

The whole of the process has been a journey of 17 months thus far.

M and C

All this time we continue to wait between communication on our case. And this last part? This last part is when we are supposed to get that answer so we can move to the next step. But that answer just isn’t coming. And no updates on where we stand are offered.

So we wait. I cry. I hope. I trust. I cry some more. I feel deeply disappointed and at times, forgotten. I feel forgotten. Like our girls future was shelved and we are the laughing stock in the adoption world. As if we’re mocked and powerless to do a thing about it.

My husband and I feel strongly that God does not want to us to bring in outside help at this time. So, while we watch others call their government representatives to fight for them, God calls us to wait on Him. And I feel helpless, and honestly, somewhat of a bad mother.

And I’m not saying what other families are doing is wrong. I’m saying if we did that after God specifically called us to wait, it’d be wrong for us.

My heart aches and longs to fight on behalf of our girls, but instead God is calling us to be still, and wait on Him. He’s doing the fighting.

Instead, we’re fighting battles of discouragement, hopelessness, and impatience. And quite honestly, some depression.

Sometimes I feel like this whole thing is a bad dream. You know, when you’re standing there naked and everyone’s staring at you? Maybe laughing? I feel like my weak faith is exposed and as everyone brings their children home, the joke’s on me.

The voices haunt me,

“Maybe you should step out and do something more.”

“Maybe you should fight harder.”

“Maybe you should pray for a specific date.”

“That’s what everyone else is doing, and look, they’re getting results.”

It’s so hard not to think that we’re doing everything wrong because everyone else is getting results. But I also know that because the way God has called us to is so counter to what we want to do, it must be right. When thoughts of taking action flood my mind, I grow uneasy; uncomfortable. And God whispers, “Be still and know I’m here. I have not forgotten.” It’s subtle, though, and it could easily be missed if the louder voices were given permission to take over.

And if you’re getting tired of reading different renditions of the same topic, I understand. I’m writing for those who might be coming up behind me in their adoption and need to know they aren’t alone.

Another day has passed. Another week gone. Still we wait.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Coffee Break

The Abundance is Coming {Coffee Break}

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Joy Comes in the Morning

It’s been over a week since my last coffee break, when I shared about my struggles of waiting through our adoption process. I wish I could say things are better; that we got news or I’ve learned how to cope. But it just isn’t true. I think I keep trying to pretend like I have no expectations and that I’m just done.  But I won’t give up. I just continue to wait and deal with the dagger of no news with every passing day.

My hope is hanging on by a thread.

That thread is the promise of God, and though it’s just a thread, it’s a strong thread. It’s a thread that may not give me answers up front, but still holds the answer. And right now I struggle to focus on anything but getting that answer. Because the answer should come at any time, but that time just fails to ever come.

And there are other times I think, “I have absolutely no rights to these girls. None whatsoever.” The reality is, choosing to adopt wasn’t something to fulfill some desire or hole we lacked. I even hesitate to tell you God told us to adopt, because it seems like that’s becoming a fad and we didn’t adopt because “that’s what Christians should do”. No, it was very personal. It wasn’t something our pastor told us we should do (regardless of whether God told us). It wasn’t something that guilt drove us to.

It was simply God and Him alone. Though we may be able to spout off “reason”, I cannot say with certainty those are the reasons God asked us to adopt. So, since this was His idea, who am I to try and take control of what He’s started?! The girls are HIS girls and though He has called us to be their family, never once did He ask us to run the show for Him. Never once did He hand over ownership; but stewardship.

But I still cannot focus on anything but hearing news that we can move on to the next step. That can’t be healthy. But I feel like I’m paralyzed; like I can’t breathe. I feel like our break through is so close, I’m holding my breath. But it never comes.

I’ve found myself uncomfortable when I try to push a time frame on God on when *I* want them home. I cannot pray, “Lord, I am asking and believing that we will get an answer this week.” Instead I can only pray, “Lord, sustain me.”

Sometimes I feel like a spoiled child, whining to God because I’m not getting my way. This adoption is not about me.

Last week I was reading the Bible and God spoke several things to me.

It started in Hebrews, with,

“Endure hardship as discipline” (Hebrews 12:7).

OK. Wow, Lord, so we’re being disciplined?

It goes on to say,

“We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:9-10)

That’s a lot to take in, but it surely makes sense! I need to submit and recognize that God knows what He’s doing. That He’s refining me through the fire, and yes, sometimes it hurts.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

The abundance is coming. I must rest in that. I must submit to Him. I must keeping walking, one foot in front of the other.

Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes with the morning! Psalm 30:5b

 For more Coffee Breaks, click the button below. Follow my Coffee Breaks Pinterest board to find them all in one place, and easily visible.  Coffee house interior. 3d render.

Confessions of a Waiting Adoptive Mom

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Coffee house interior. 3d render.

Today is  my first, official, Coffee Break. The goal is to just write and forget all blogging rules. It’s good to have a break from the rules once in a while. Even better if it’s over coffee with some friends. You can learn a little more about the heart behind this weekly Coffee Break here.

 

 

The wait hasn’t been easy. Though we have waited far less then some families in the whole of the process. The reality is, the part of the process we’re still waiting on should have been complete in 60 days. Two months. We are at 145 days. Nearly five months. The wait really has stretched my faith in ways I have never known.

When we first began this process, I knew God’s hand was all over it. I had no doubts. He set everything up so beautifully. It was easy to trust when everything was going smoothly.

C and M

But these past few months have been, to the core, hard. I have had so many emotions fly around, including guilt for my own impatience and distrust. And let me tell you how real heart ache really is. Seriously. It’s not just a figure of speech or some kind of notion. My heart has literally ached, hurt, felt pain, as the weeks and months have passed by and our daughter’s are left asking us when we are coming to get them.

See M up there in the picture (to the right). She’s holding a phone in her hand. Talking to me. Asking me that very question. “When are you coming back to get us?” It was so hard not to cry giving her an answer that I really didn’t have an answer to. “We are working really hard to come back very soon.” How’s that for an answer?

I have found myself glued to my email on days and weeks when I know we are expecting some kind of news. I’ve been stressed, irritated, and constantly want to eat chocolate. (Seriously).

There was one day I was genuinely angry at God and I have never been in that place before. I was angry at things that hadn’t even come to pass. I was worried everything would fall apart on us and our girls would never come home. It was irrational, honestly.

There have been times I felt like the punch line of bad joke. Or that I was in a nightmare I could not wake up from. Like God was going to break  His promise. Even though my head knows better!

To make matters harder, we have watched more then one family bring their children home who were “behind” us in the adoption process. Am I happy for them? Absolutely! It’s strange because I cry tears of joy for them and tears of sorrow for us at the same time, because here we are still waiting

“God, are we being punished? Tested? Are you not hearing our prayers because we have sin? What is it Lord? Why are we waiting so long?”

But their story is not our story.

And it’s nobody’s fault. I mean, not really. Everybody over there is doing their job. They are doing what they are supposed to do to make certain we have all the correct, legal documents, correct spellings, accurate information to ensure these precious girls are indeed orphans, and not trafficked. I am not against that at all.

It’s just that, some aspects of this process have drug on unnecessarily and some have been necessary and it’s hard either way.

One of the things I try to remind myself is that these girls are God’s children before they are ours, and He has them well cared for. He really does. It’s not ideal. But it’s working for now, while we wait.

I haven’t slept well and often find myself falling asleep praying and thinking about what life will be like when they are home.

God has truly knit our hearts together with our new girls, even an ocean apart. This time has not been in vain and that much I can see. And for that I thank God. Faith has never been so hard to walk out, I don’t think.

I am forced to trust in what I literally cannot see. It’s easy for me to trust the Gospel message. Why is it so hard to trust that God will see these girls home?

This whole thing was God’s idea. It was His plan. And here I am trying to snatch it from Him and take it over. Be in control. Act like I know better. Like I know what’s best.

So, this is some of what’s been on my heart and trying to figure out the best way to get it out was actually stifling it. So here it is, pretty much unedited. That’s what these Coffee Breaks are all about. And boy did it feel good to get out!

In addition, here is a song that has really struck me these last couple of days. Click here to view video.

Thank you for chatting with me over coffee. Feel free to leave a comment, and feel free not to as well! :)

Adoption and Child Trafficking

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Today, I see children being advertised through websites and social media avenues. While some of these methods, I know, are used simply to get the word out about a particular child, usually older or with special needs, many times that is not the case.

When we first started researching adoption, our eyes were opened to some horrifying truths.

Ecoliers sur le chemin de l'école

I speak specifically of international adoption in this case, because I am still learning the ins and outs of the American foster care system (which, to me, is looking just as ugly).

Educate Yourself

If you are looking into adoption, please, please understand what is involved beforehand. My hope is to be able to enlighten and educate people as much as possible from what I have learned. Sadly, many prospective adoptive parents (PAP’s) jump into adoption blindly. They don’t realize that trafficking can be involved which results in adoption becoming a money-making industry rather then an orphan care ministry.

And unfortunately, prospective adoptive families have [unknowingly] feed the problem of trafficking with their demands for specific types of children. They don’t realize that they are contributing to the problem.

We want to help give already orphaned children a home, not create orphans.

Adoption as a Money-Making Industry

Adoption becomes an industry when you have prospective adoptive parents lining up for the same type of child: a baby, a baby girl, a baby boy, a child two years old or younger, a specific sex. Healthy. These are very common “wants” from families interested in adoption.

So what happens is people working with/for you, often through an agency and in country, go out and they find these children who will fit these descriptions. They bribe their biological parents into giving their children up. They lie to them. They pay them. They tell them whatever they need to in order to get them to hand over their child. Some parents believe they will see them again. Some have never even heard of adoption or know their child is about to be sent to America or some other foreign country.

Is this always the case? No, of course not. But unfortunately, it’s rampant enough to know which agencies to avoid and what red flags you need to look for when going through the process or researching before you begin. It’s happening often enough to need to be thoroughly educated and proactive about avoiding its trap.

Facing Reality

Orphan care and adoption isn’t the beautiful picture I once imagined before embarking on this journey. It’s full of beauty, just of a different kind. And it automatically begins with tragedy.

And the system is broken and the more the government tries to make the system work, the more broken it becomes. Tightening the reigns may help tighten up on trafficking, but it also drastically cuts down on adoptions. This doesn’t help the children either.

It lies in the hands of the prospective adoptive parents to educate themselves on child trafficking and what red flags to look for within agencies, power of attorney’s, and individual cases–even their own. Especially their own.

The pictures advertising these children? They often serve a purpose. To pull at emotional heartstrings and cause you to “fall in love”. Once you’re captured by that face, all you can think about is getting them home. Knowing a child’s history, asking lots of questions about how they came to be an orphan, and not ignoring red flags are all important to spot trafficking.

My next post will share what these red flags look like.

The Power of Praying Specifically

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Last week I wrote about not walking into adoption lightly.

It was a very emotional weekend as it felt like our process was moving backwards instead of forward.

Ask, Seek, Knock

I won’t pretend there aren’t some real emotions involved in the process of adopting. It’s quite the roller coaster and there is definitely some uncertainty involved. It lends us the great opportunity to trust God in new ways; in deeper ways. And it’s interesting to me how we feel like we should be in control of a situation that God ordained in the first place.

But one email struck fear in my heart. Then another email set me into major overwhelmed mode. And I just grew paralyzed. I didn’t know what to do or how to pray. I kind of just froze. And cried. A lot.

Pray specifically

For months I had prayed in a very broad sense as far as our process goes, because I do want God’s timing, not my own. But, I also hadn’t considered the schemes of the enemy, or of man, for that matter. I didn’t stop to pray against these issues.

So, I grabbed a pen and my journal, and I began to pray specific prayers for signatures and correct documentation and people to do right by the law rather then coax people into bribing them with more money to do their job “quicker”.

One of the emails we received stated our home study would need to be updated. It expires after 12 months, and well, it’s coming up close to that already since we first had it done. This is an overwhelming process, including getting physicals and medical forms filled out for all the children and my husband and I. Then we also need to get new police clearance, a new background check, and give copies of new tax statements.

When I called the children’s pediatrician office, I was surprised to find they were booked for the next month. We needed to have our home study updated before that. Was there anything they could do?!

The guy on the phone says that he will comb the schedule and see what he can find. He puts me on hold. I pray. He comes back and says that he is going to try to grab our kids’ doctor before she goes in to see her next patient in order to work something out.

More prayer.

He comes back and says she will see all five kids on the same day. One of her vacation days. She is coming in JUST to see MY kids. Seriously, it was a miracle!!! Even the guy on the phone said it couldn’t have worked out better! He needed to get supervisor approval and nurse practitioner approval and everything.

The next evening, we received some other great news of movement in our case! It was the first news of movement we’d heard in 3 months! I went to bed that night smiling.

God Speaks

Then, Sunday morning church. During our time of worship, we sang “Desert Song“, and never before had that song struck me like it did that morning. The tears just fell. It was absolutely my prayer at that moment, in this season.

Our associate pastor gets up to preach, and he’s talking about prayer. Prayer. The one thing I’ve been wondering about these last few weeks, but especially that weekend when at first everything seemed it was falling apart. He opens his message talking about how Abraham prayed to God, specifically, for Sodom and Gomorrah. Very specifically. In numbers. Considered some bold praying, that was there.

 

“God, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people? What if 40 righteous people are found? What if 30? 20? 10?” Genesis 18:24-32

God wants to stretch our faith as we step out and ask Him for the desires He planted inside of us, even if we cannot see what He sees. This is a place of revealing, and at times He will answer how we pray, and other times He will show us a better way. But how will we know unless we pray? Unless we ask Him, “Lord, what if…”?

God has revealed Himself to me in a way I desperately needed, simply because I took the time to ask Him, specifically. Not only did He answer my prayers, He also spoke to me on how to pray, and that praying specifically was not only allowed, it was wanted. He proves it over and over throughout scripture.

What do you need to ask God for, specifically? He wants you to ask, friend. He’s waiting.

For further reading: James 5:13-20; Matthew 7:7-12; Psalm 34:4; Psalm 37:4; Mark 11:20-26

For another powerful testimony, check out my story of praying for my first child here.

Adoption Carries Uncertainty and Tragedy

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How Adoption Begins

Adopting isn’t like being pregnant with a healthy baby and a healthy mama.

Adoption begins with the brokenness of loss and trauma, no matter what age the child is separated from their birth parents. It is always a felt loss, even if it doesn’t come out until later in life.

Waiting

The process of waiting for our girls to come home cannot compare with what they have had to endure thus far. And while their story isn’t as tragic as some, there is still tragedy involved. Any time a child is separated from their birth mother, it is a tragedy.

As we continue to wait, my heart swells with anticipation and longing to have them home. The uncertainty of when they will be here mixed with, will they actually make it here?, is enough to drive my mama stress up a notch. I wish sometimes I could switch it off and ease the pain, but God is molding this heart of flesh.

Motives for Adopting

As a mother with 5 biological children, our heart to adopt was not for ourselves. It isn’t used as a way to expand our family and grow our numbers. It isn’t some fad we’re following, though it seems to be a popular trend among the churches right now.

I am not aiming to shoot down adoption, because there are plenty of instances when adoption is necessary, absolutely. But I fully believe that the heart behind why one wants to adopt is crucial as to how they will allow it to shape them and their adoptive children.

I cannot speak as a mother who has dealt with infertility, so I won’t. And I won’t particularly address women who are dealing with infertility.

But for families with biological children who are looking to adopt, I beg you to consider your motives for adopting.

Adoption is not meant to be self serving, and society has made the mistake of believing that the only people who adopt are those who struggle with infertility. That is absolutely not the case.

Especially in the international adoption world, that is hardly the case. Oh there are still parents who battle infertility who adopt internationally. But they are not the majority.

Aside from the issue of trafficking (which I will address in another post), adoption must be carefully considered because, even if you adopt a baby, that child has suffered tragedy and loss and the effects cannot be ignored or glazed over.

The Reality of Trauma and Loss

Children who have reactions to these traumatic effects will not fully understand or be able to communicate why they are acting a certain way–a way that may not be typical for a well-secured, fully adjusted, attached child.

A child who suffers from attachment disorder is literally missing neuronal pathways in their brain in order to function the same as a child who has successfully attached to their mother. It’s nearly out of their control how they react to certain situations.

But a loving, willing parent can help a child cope, work to build attachment, and create those neuronal pathways. A parent must help them learn to gain control.

So many parents bring their children home, and after weeks or months of being home, their child is not what they expected. They share their frustrations and disappointment wondering how this could have happened. They were simply unprepared for the realities of tragedy involved in adoption.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing can fully prepare a parent to handle very difficult and unusual behaviors in children. But the key is to know to expect it in the first place. It’s vital we educate and equip ourselves so we have some idea of what to do. Often, parents cannot discipline a child who has suffered trauma and loss the same way they do their biological children.

Adoption is Hard

Adoption is far from unicorns and rainbows. It is a beautiful, but broken piece of a child’s life. Beauty doesn’t lie within the perfect looking family; it lies within the redemption provided by a gracious God. The story of our adoptive children is the story of us. We couldn’t be adopted into the family of God without a tragedy happening first—which is the death of Christ.

To adopt is to embrace the tragedy and use it to help our children grow, not brush it under the carpet and believe that because they are in a loving home, it will just change them. It’s just not that simple.

What God has imparted to us, may we impart to our adoptive children.

Resources

I will share our own journey, as our girls make their way home in the coming months. So much has been learned by reading other adoptive family’s stories and reading extremely helpful books, such as The Connected Child and Thriving as an Adoptive Family.

Thriving as an Adoptive Family is more of an overall look of adoption. It covers many topics, but it doesn’t offer a whole lot of depth. Still, it’s an excellent resource to introduce families to how adoption can look.

The Connected Child is a much more in-depth look at specific behaviors of a child, what could be causing them, and how to practically handle the behavior.

But the stories. The stories speak more then any information in a book could.

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