Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Change in plans???

It has been weighing heavy on me lately to investigate getting another child to come home with Malachi. Our home study already states that we are open to siblings. But I wanted to take it one step further in solidifying a request for 2 children. This doesn't mean we will get 2 children, it would just mean that we are approved for that if the situation presents itself. I'm not sure what all of this means, if anything, but I will be sure to keep you posted.

I broke down in tears with the AWAA representative while speaking with her about this today. I told her that we wanted to take all 4 million of them if we were approved to do so. We aren't. As I said, I will let you know any details once we understand them. But in the meantime, I'm really struggling. I don't know where this overwhelming, heartbreaking, gut wrenching emotion came from. I'm not usually an emotional person. But this one has got me on a roll. (Aaron was glad that the tears came flowing to someone other than him - he doesn't usually know what to do with me when I cry. :) ) Since the revelation of this being bigger than me, and a true life calling .... not just growing our family ... my heart has jumped to the opposite extreme. (This Aaron is used to about me.) I don't know how to be okay with not taking in as many children as we can get our hands on. I've thought all along it would be better for Malachi to have someone that looks like him, and came from his culture ... but I didn't know it was going to turn into this burning desire to RUN after God's heart for these children. RUN, and RUN FAST and RUN HARD and RUN LONG. To what extremes? I don't know. I ask that God would show both Aaron and I what He's got in store for us, and how exactly He wants us to respond to His calling. My head spins with the possibilities. And my heart aches with the possible road blocks of those many options. Road blocks that I don't think I'm capable of overcoming. I'm a bit afraid right now -- what is He up to???

I say I don't know where this is coming from, but that's not entirely true. About 3 or 4 years ago I began praying regularly for God to break my heart for the things His heart breaks for. I realized that my life severely lacked passion for the things God is passionate about. Perhaps this all has something to do with that prayer.

I find comfort in this : Psalm 68:5 - 6 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home....

Monday, April 28, 2008

So much more than growing our family

I've struggled a lot lately as God is trying so hard to crack through my thick skull and teach me a much bigger picture of what we are doing than I had originally thought. This is a perspective that has naturally come to Aaron since the beginning. It has been easily clouded to me, however, due to my desire to grow our family.

Before we decided to respond to God's calling of adoption, I told Aaron I wanted another child. And what I meant was, I wanted to be pregnant again. (I know I've already shared this part of our story, so it is no secret that growing our family through pregnancy was a hair brained idea... what does hair brained mean??? Thus God revealed quickly that He had a different plan.) Anyway, my point is - that desire has made me minimize this from day one.

Let me share a conversation had between Aaron and I. I told Aaron that upon referral, I want to post with a title of "We had our Ultrasound Today!" Because similar to an ultrasound, you see a picture of a child yet still have no idea who they are. Makes sense to me... and be looking for that post! But it started a great conversation in talking about when it will be real to us that we are about to have another child. And in typical male fashion (no offense guys), Aaron told me it wouldn't be real until we get to Ethiopia and have Malachi in our arms. For me, because I have this mom instinct of being capable of loving a child I don't know yet, it is already real for me. My heart has made room and a decision to love Malachi already. And not that Aaron hasn't made that same decision.... it's just different how and when we can process it. Anyway, Aaron went on to try and prove this point that he's known all along about this being a "calling". Even when in Ethiopia holding our son, we will not be satisfied. We won't be satisfied because we have to leave behind 4 million more orphans. Yes, changing the life of one child is HUGE and very much worth it. And of course when Malachi is in our arms, there will be a huge relief and level of satisfaction. God is trying to show me though how much bigger it is than that - than growing our family. He has us responding to a call to care for the least of these. As I said, we will be thrilled to receive Malachi into our family (even our kids already love him). But what about Malachi's little playmates at the orphanage? What about the abandoned child in the brush? What about the child about to be born who is already destined to the orphanage? It's so much more... so much bigger than growing our family. The inward focus that my heart has taken in this process has lost sight of that. It isn't about me and my desire to hold Malachi... it is about Gods heart for these children.

God has shown me these last few weeks how "me focused" I've become. There is the endless paperwork, the endless worry about how to make it all happen (from the $ to where Malachi will sleep), to the endless waiting. All of these things narrow in on me. How I've dealt with it and responded to it has made me lose sight of the severity of what He's called us into. For some reason, one tries to glamorize a life of ministry (one being me in this case), and internally dwell on how it can make life better. I've taken adoption as purely a way to grow our family, and have missed how huge it is when He gives us a missional task. This doesn't have to be just adoption. It can be similar with any mission He gives us - marriage, kids, work, 519 (Aaron's band that I'm part of), worship team, opening my home and life to my neighbors...whatever. He's just been reminding me that I have to remain focused on spreading the gospel through my lifestyle, not trying to make to gospel better my lifestyle. This isn't about me... even the waiting - not about me.

That being said, go back a couple of posts to the John Piper video.

And yes, these posts will only get heavier and heavier until the ultrasound. kidding... I hope.


Was the sentiment that came screaming out of little Eden's mouth this morning. Out of nowhere, she yells that at the top of her lungs. My feeling exactly I thought. Maybe the wait would be easier for me if I yelled once a day out of nowhere at the top of my lungs ... I WANT MALACHI ! ! !

Sunday, April 27, 2008

This is hard

That's all. This is hard. I had no idea how much energy could go into waiting. Sundays are probably the hardest, as that is the only time during the week that I see a lot of people. And because they love me, they ask if we've heard anything. Nope, haven't heard anything. And repeating that 15 times over the course of 2 hours.... this is hard.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Psalm 139 (we'll try this again)

(Disclaimer: For those of you who actually read my blog.... I deleted the 3 crazy posts that had a similar title. Aaron called me a narcissist ... but not at all. It just bothers me when I can't understand my own thoughts, let alone plan to show it to my child one day. So this is a new post.)

Psalm 139 is probably one of the more well known Psalms. And of course it is mostly known (I would imagine) for the "You knit me in my mother's womb" verses. And while these are great verses, I feel like the first half of the chapter gets forgotten all too easily. However, this entire chapter has taken on new meaning for me over the past year. I've almost always read these verses with how God views me, or about a child growing in my womb. Only now, I have this new lens to look through as an adoptive mom. I won't type out the entire chapter, because that would be silly. Besides, you should really just get your own Bible off the shelf and read it. It's a beautiful Psalm.

Vs. 4 - 5 : Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

I love these 2 verses. This speaks many different things to me - but the whole "hemming in" concept is particularly fascinating to me. I don't know much about sewing, I've only done it a handful of times in my life. (And to be honest, someone else (Paulajane) usually completes the hard parts for me.) The one thing I do know is that a hem is placed on the front end and the back end to keep everything in the middle from coming undone. This verse tells me that God has done that for me. Aaron and I have a lot on our plates right now, the adoption being the biggest and most obvious to the world around us. And although I can't always see my hem, and I often feel like I'm coming unraveled... I can cling to this verse and know the truth. Especially in this wait - God knows it all.

Okay, now for the part that everyone knows...
vs. 13 - 16: For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.

These verses have really made me think about several different aspects of this adoption. Some happy, some sad. The fact that God knew our days, before they were to be... that is beautiful, and makes me happy. The fact that He knew that for about 4 million children (the number of Orphans in Ethiopia alone), their days would include abandonment, sickness and poverty. And while I understand that such tragedy comes as a result of the fall of man, it still makes me sad. Sad mostly because I don't think this was ever God's plan (duh). Does it bring Him joy to see so many orphaned children?? Of course not. Yet in that, He is moving. He cared enough about the least of these to instruct all through scripture for us to care for them. He cared enough to view all of mankind as orphans. He cared enough to provide a way out... to provide a way to a Daddy. So what else is there to think on then? I think of Malachi's life of course.

Malachi - It makes me so very sad to think of the loss you have to suffer to be part of our family. It makes me so very sad for the loss that your mother and father have to suffer for you to be part of our family. And while part of God working all things together for good means He is graciously going to allow our lives to be knit together, there is sadness that began the process. Even though you weren't knit together in MY womb, you were still knit together. You were still fearfully and wonderfully made. You still had all your days written for you. My prayer for you (one of the many) is that you would know, even now, in the depths of your soul - how wonderful the Lords works are... and how wonderful He made you.... the womb He formed you in is not what made you wonderful... it's the fact that He made you.

I'm sure glad that God is a better knitter, sewer, hemmer than I... after all, I was trying to knit you a blanket Malachi. I gave up after 1 1/2 dinky little squares. I made Paulajane finish it as usual. :)

We are getting closer!

Well, the April batch of referrals finally made it through yesterday. It is Holy Week in Ethiopia this week, so everyone was starting to get a little concerned that there would be no referrals this month. But alas, 2 boys and 2 girls have been matched with a family. Rumor has it that there will be one or two more on Monday or Tuesday. That puts us in the top 10 now of waiting on a boy!!! As much as I'd like to say I'm hopeful that will happen in May.... it is more likely that June or July will be it. Please please pray that it will be June at the latest so we don't have to wait until fall to travel. My heart hurts at the thought.

Just wanted to let everyone know to keep hanging in there with us through prayer and support. Trust me.... the whole world will know when we have our referral of Malachi! (Just a little tip about me and sharing things I'm excited about... I think I told all my friends and family I was pregnant w/ all 3 of our kids before I really even knew I was pregnant! :) You'll know! )

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Piper always says it best !

Another adoptive family pointed me to this video. It's a great video from John Piper on adoption. And actually, seeing how Piper is Aaron's favorite, I think this is what he's been trying to get me to listen to for a long time now. It has helped me to focus on the bigger picture of what adoption is... not what I've come to think of it as. May it do the same for those of you also going through this process.

For those of you not involved in adoption, I pray this video will have a lasting effect on your heart. May you prayerfully consider how God would have you be involved in what came to be before the universe!!