Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Garnet

We are moving down the path to Garnet. I called and talked to the social services agent at the placing agency today. It is very scary as it gets more and more real.
I am flooded with feelings of inadequacy and selfishness. Why right now? (Would I ever really NOT ask that question?)
Why me?
It's too hard! She will be, in many ways, a difficult child to care for, certainly in comparison to my perfectly healthy snuggly little son. There is a very real possibility that if we adopt Garnet, our other children will know the death of a sibling at a relatively young age. Lots of things could go wrong, and we could be hurt.

Then, of course, there is the process of adoption itself. Did you know how many phone calls to strangers you have to make? I still don't. But I have called two strangers in the past two days and I think that is a record for me.
And the elephant in the room... the money. But God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and if He needs to kill a few cows for us, that is no harder for Him than providing our daily bread, which He has always done handsomely.

Two things help to keep me on track:
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dangerous Moment

Am I going to do a good deed? Then, of all times--Father into thy hands: lest the enemy should have me now.
-George MacDonald

Monday, November 19, 2012

First-World Problems

Now, when I am annoyed at something or other (like neighbors parking too close, or delays in my bus route), I remind myself - these are such first-world problems.

My son doesn't have parasites!  We have clean water IN OUR HOUSE!  There are toilets!  My wife survived a C-section!

I know that God gives us the things He wants us to have, and it's not right or wrong to live in a rich country with so many material blessings, but it's easy to think they're important.  They're not.  Stewardship is important, whether of much or little, but it is the King who appoints the stewards; ours is to deal faithfully in all He gives us.  And if I feel like it's such a burden to back in between my neighbor's two trucks, I need to get over myself, and remember the grace that saved me, wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked, and recall that I am bidden to buy gold refined in the fire, to buy wine and milk without price, and drink of that living water that springs up pure in all lands where Jesus is loved.

Anyway, selfishness is always close at hand, but it is poison to an adoption.  Who am I to be selfish about things that were given to me for the King's use?  These are just some musings I have had while we have been praying for the kids in the P***** orphanage and hoping to adopt one.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Picture :)

I just wanted to get sweet little Garnet's picture up here.
Isn't she lovely? I think she looks so smart, and like she would do so well in a loving family!

It's time to pray for this little girl.

Garnet

I am working on tracking down Garnet's file; we will see what happens.



:)
I am excited.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Penny has a Family!

I am so thankful that this sweet girl has a family coming to her.
*
Now I need to figure out what to do next. There is a little girl, "Garnet", from the same orphanage, that I would like to pursue. The agent does not know who has her file right now; if it is another U.S. agency, or if it is in her home country. I am afraid of losing steam just because Penny has a family, which is silly. One good thing happened, and that should be a big encouragement.
We are qualified (I believe in every way) to adopt, so right now I am trying to be proactive and open to any changes in direction that God might lead us through.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Inching

Over the weekend I talked to the agent. Penny's file was indeed reassigned, and apparently several families are interested in her. It seems that we are waiting on the agency in her country to give updated information? Or something? I am still new at this.
*
*
I got to see her basic information and update from her file.
It's the sort of thing that if you heard a doctor listing these things about your baby, you might have a heart attack. Since I knew that she had severe special needs, however, her file didn't seem so bad.
She is 12 years old, the size of my 10 month old son, and apparently at the developmental level of a 3 month old. She was born with cerebral palsy, and neglected for almost 12 years. 12 YEARS. This little girl has been starving ever since I was 12 years old. This fact makes words like "microcephaly" and "severely delayed" seem like nothing to me. I know it could be worse, but more importantly, it doesn't matter how poor her health is, or how much care she needs; she needs a family. If families were only for beautiful, healthy, children, we'd still be dead in our sins. Enough said.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Scale

A few weeks back, when my wife was telling me more about Penny, she mentioned her height and weight.  Since she is not in the US or Liberia, the units were in kilograms and meters.  I'm an engineer, so I can mentally keep track of units pretty well, but my wife was not clear what those numbers meant in reality.  Our son was sprawled on the bed after a good nighttime nurse, so I got the tailor's tape and held it next to him, did a few numbers in my head, and came back:

Penny is only slightly taller than our 10-month-old.

She is 12 years of age.

Penny is only slightly taller than our 10-month-old.

This just broke my heart.

We're Reformed Presbyterians, so I didn't think I had illusions about how depraved human nature is.  Shiites blow up Sunnis, Copts are killed in Egypt, Boko Haram commits atrocities, a gunman in my adopted hometown kills six, shoots a congresswoman (and gets life in prison?!), these I have categories for.  The soft malice of neglect is so bitterly poisonous, so slowly choking, that it just made me weep.  I won't ask "how could people do this?", because I know, because without Jesus we are all capable of slouching into sin until children around us wither and die, but it hurts to see it worked out, and on a little girl that we pray for.  But God has a bottle full of tears, and each one will be addressed in His good timing.

Don't you love sentences that start with "But God..."?

James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I didn't find out today.

And I was restrained enough not to bug the agency.
I need to wait. While I wait, I pray that God will bring Penny just the right mama and just the right family to bring her the love that she has never known.
This is the first time that I have posted Penny's picture on this blog, though probably not the last. I never get tired of looking at her beautiful eyes.
Once I saw a picture of her on Reece's Rainbow, before I knew who she was. In that picture she was laying in a crib with a big smile on her face. I am glad that I remembered that picture; it is the only time that I have seen her smile.
...resting in God's good will...

Today is the day

Today is the day that I should find out if the agency has Penny's file!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nov 7

Today was the day that the adoption agency met to request Penny's file from the government of B******. That means that tomorrow we should know if Penny's file is assigned to the agency or not. I am nervous and excited. What if we are her family?

On another note, two nights ago something new happened. Until very recently, the idea of adoption had been very academic to me. I was convinced that it was the right thing to do, but I didn't have any deep feelings about the children. Two nights ago, however, I had my first dream about being in the orphanage at P*****, holding the tiny frail bodies of beautiful girls; girls who for years of their lives have been neglected and malnourished. (Incidentally, the one that I remember most vividly was not Penny, but a little girl who I have seen on Reece's Rainbow  who is not even in that country.)
After I woke up, I felt that perhaps God was preparing me to meet and love my own daughter.
I do not know what God has in store for us, but I take pleasure in resting in His will.
To God be all glory!

From "The Strength of Mercy" by Jan Beazely

"The choice to trust God isn't cushioned by deals and promises that everything will turn out the way we think it should. God's only promise is that He will work all things in our lives for our good and for His glory."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Humility v. Evasion

We have been thinking about adoption for quite some time now.  By "we", I mean, of course, my wife.  I have been thinking about adoption for probably about a month.  It was (and is) breathtakingly scary.  But one morning I had gotten up to write, started the coffee, and sat down with my Bible, and opened to the Psalms.  I read backwards, starting randomly from 29 or 30, and I got to 27 after a bit.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! - Ps. 27 (ESV)

And I was left thinking "well, what else could we do but adopt?"  God has opened His temple-city and welcomed me as His son in Christ.  Can I afford to be stingy with our two-bedroom condo?  He has set His love on me (a Gentile!) for no reason but His good pleasure.  Do I dare to reserve my love for my own biological children?

But pride is a wily foe.  Oh, no, I'm probably not good enough to be a good father to adopted special needs children.  No, it wouldn't be healthy for our family/church/work responsibilities to add that strain; they're important, too!  No, no, being a PhD student means I'm just not qualified.  Those people on the internet who adopt kids, they're the real heroes!  Much safer to admire them from a distance.

But it didn't work for Moses, and it didn't for me, either.  "Lord, I can't speak!" (says the man who is going round and round in argument with God the Creator-Lord).  You don't see Caleb and Joshua saying "It really is a big fancy land, and really, manna, quail, and this wilderness are quite good enough for the likes of us."  We don't see Jesus deferring His role as Savior because it would be, well, ostentatious to presume to be the one to crush Satan's head.  And we don't see a single apostle shrink back from the plain charge to take the world with the gospel.

No, the humble response to God's command, small or large, is "Here I am...speak Lord, for your servant hears...Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word".  Ducking a call because you feel inadequate is utterly missing the point: YOU ARE INADEQUATE!  But God is sufficient for all things: "Give what you command, and command what you will" says Augustine.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”" - 2 Cor. 12:9

So we will see where this all goes, but wherever God leads us, we want to go.  "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28


Anastacia means Resurrection

I decided that if we are able to adopt Penny, or a little girl like her, that we should name her Anastacia. I thought it would fit perfectly. This whole topic makes me sensitive, though, and I am very careful not to let my heart or feelings show too much.
Therefore I said to Mr. M: "I have a name picked out for a little girl from P*****, but I am scared to say it." Without missing a beat, he said "Anastacia?"
I was dumbfounded and said as much. He looked at me like the name was obvious and said something to the effect of "I have thought that forever".
It makes me laugh just to think of it.
God is good.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It begins.

I am beginning my adoption blog before I begin my adoption. Even in the process of talking about adoption with Mr. M, God has taught me things about Himself that are amazing.
I don't want to forget a moment of the process, so I want to start writing things down right away.
I know that even if I really hope that God leads us to an adoption (or several adoptions!), He might not. I also know that He does all things for His glory and our good, so I think this process is worth chronicling no matter the outcome.