Monday, June 24, 2013

Preparing

Right now there is not a lot we can do that directly relates to the adoption process, but there are still lots of things to do to prepare.
I have been working on my hours of education through our placing agency. Fortunately, I have seen most of the information before. I didn't realize how much I had read until I started reading and recognizing so much material. I would like to thank everyone who presents adoption issues on their blogs in such helpful ways.
Other than doing mandatory training and lots of prayer ;-) there are a few other things that I have been working on to get ready.
-getting rid of stuff! We know that Garnet will need adaptive equipment and space for therapy, not to mention all the normal stuff like a bed and a high chair, so we have been seriously using Craigslist to clear the place out. Boy, does it feel good ;-)
-gluten free cooking! (And some dairy free, too.) I don't know when Garnet will be able to sit down at the table and eat what we are eating, but I want to be prepared to cook nutritious meals that are not hard on the gut when that time comes. This has had some added perks, too... I feel better, and when we have guests who can't/don't eat wheat, I don't get scared anymore!
-learning a little bit of the language that is spoken in Garnet's country. I have a list of common phrases on my wall, and can tell you "thank you", or "good night" off the top of my head. I am working on reading the Cyrillic alphabet fluently as well, so I am not totally lost ordering off of menus :-)

All this, beside normal mom and pregnancy stuff, has been plenty to keep me busy. Now we are just praying that our home study would be approved soon!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Big things and Little things

I was formulating this blog post in my mind while I couldn't sleep early this morning, right before I heard Junior choking and vomiting and jumped out of bed to take care of him. He is napping now, and I am working on recollecting my thoughts.

I had a conversation with my mom earlier this week that reminded me of things that I have been thinking about.
A few years ago, I told a friend "I feel like God is preparing me for something." At that time, we were childless, with no real expectation of having children, and I felt that acutely. I had no idea what I thought God might be preparing me for. I proceeded to do lots of things to "fill time" and see what God had for me. 
In God's providence, I got pregnant and carried Junior to term. It was then that I realized that motherhood is NOT grand. I don't mean that it's not important, or that it isn't worth doing, but it is not grand. It is a series of little mundane things that seem to go on forever (or so it seemed to the mind of the new mom). It never occurred to me how the noble motherly feelings would be interspersed by gross diapers, a lot of spit up milk, and not a lot of sleep. I should have known, I have seven younger siblings, but the connection never got made.
I remember thinking "I wonder what God is preparing me for NOW!"

Then, one day, in one of those coveted uninterrupted showers, it dawned on me: "this is it. This is what I am prepared to do. There might not be any grand finale, or huge 'life's work' that this is all leading up to. In a sense, I have arrived. I AM DOING the big things that I will do." 

It's not that I was wrong to think that God was preparing me for something; He is! Glory. But not glory in this life; it will be glory in the next. That was where I was askew. I was living my life like I was in the wings, waiting to go on stage. 
"I can't wait for my big entrance! I hope it impresses lots of people!"
In a sense, this whole life is preparation, but in another sense, this whole life is doing. What is my big role? To do the next right thing as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, and church member. It doesn't look very glamorous. It is easy to miss the grandness of my calling for all the repetitiveness and seeming insignificance. I might never get the big part that I thought I was being "prepared for". 
God doesn't tell us to go around doing grand things. God tells us to be faithful in little things. If something grand comes from that, it was God's doing, not yours.


You might think that being in the process of adoption seems rather grand, but if you think that, try it yourself. Writing down your full name, address, and SS# for the hundredth time does NOT feel grand. It feels annoying and stupid. It's like doing your taxes 100 times over.
Once Garnet is home, I am sure I will have illusions of grandeur, and I am also sure that they will dissipate pretty quickly when I go back to a lifestyle of sleepless nights and hectic days.
So don't tell me that I contradict this post by doing something grand. I am not. I am doing the next little right thing, one step at a time, and I covet your prayers.
:-)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Closed

A lot of times when I talk to people about our EE adoption, the topic of Russia comes up. Because, y'know, Russia is close to EE. 
And then the person with whom I am having a conversation says something like "but they closed Russia." In the same sort of voice that they would say "Wal-mart closed at 10pm."

I remember my Christmas break in 2012. I remember praying for all those families in process in Russia, praying that Putin would not go through with this move, praying that there would be an exception for children marked SN.
I remember feeling absolutely sick when he signed the law.
People were outraged. People were heartbroken. 

And then the hubbub died down. Now people say "Russia is closed, right?"

Those kids are still there. They aren't on RR anymore, because they are not adoptable, but they are still there.
Families in the US are still separated from children who were so close to coming home.

What can we do? We can pray for Russia. Pray that the gospel would go forward, and that people would value life with their actions. That orphanages would be well staffed with loving people. That Russian families would want to adopt kids with SN.

There has been a lot of hubbub in the adoption community about President Obama's meeting with Putin this summer. People are hoping that this topic will be brought up.

If you have a link to the petition to get adoption on Obama's agenda, would you post it in the comments? If you have any other Russian adoption resources, or were in the middle of a Russian adoption, would you link in the comments as well?

Thanks, and pray for Russia!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Word from Papa

I'm afraid I have not been posting as much on this blog lately, but I had a few thoughts from the Psalms and I will venture to share them here.  I love the Psalms; they are a huge encouragement in my walk with God.  I'm also an engineer, and I like categories and systems.  Sometimes it can be hard to see what a particular Psalm is getting at (most notably with the cursing-Psalms, the inspiration and authenticity of which I fully uphold).  So how to think about the Psalms?

Take the time and read through Ps. 1 & 2:

    Blessed is the man
        who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
    nor stands in the way of sinners,
        nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
    but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
        and on his law he meditates day and night.
    He is like a tree
        planted by streams of water
    that yields its fruit in its season,
        and its leaf does not wither.
    In all that he does, he prospers.
    The wicked are not so,
        but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
    Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
        nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
    for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
        but the way of the wicked will perish.
-Psalm 1

    Why do the nations rage
        and the peoples plot in vain?
    The kings of the earth set themselves,
        and the rulers take counsel together,
        against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
    “Let us burst their bonds apart
        and cast away their cords from us.”
    He who sits in the heavens laughs;
        the Lord holds them in derision.
    Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
        and terrify them in his fury, saying,
    “As for me, I have set my King
        on Zion, my holy hill.”
    I will tell of the decree:
    The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
        today I have begotten you.
    Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
        and the ends of the earth your possession.
    You shall break them with a rod of iron
        and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
    Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
        be warned, O rulers of the earth.
    Serve the LORD with fear,
        and rejoice with trembling.
    Kiss the Son,
        lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
        for his wrath is quickly kindled.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
-Psalm 2

Ps.2 ends like Ps.1 began, reflecting on the blessedness of the righteous (who take refuge in him).  These are about the only psalms in Book 1 that are not superscripted with author or occasion.  They concern themselves with the righteous, the wicked (both individually and corporately), the Lord, and the Messiah.  There are two perspectives presented, that of the righteous on earth, and that of the Lord in heaven.  In both cases, the story is one of God ultimately vindicating His decrees and His people.  Perhaps you see where I'm going.

I submit that anything in the Psalter may be read as an affirmation of or an appeal to one or the other of Psalms 1 and 2.  The cursing-psalms are appealing to Ps.1 - the wicked are not supposed to thrive, God, so please do something!  The royal psalms and many of the hymn-psalms affirm Ps.2, with David or Solomon prefiguring Jesus the true Messiah.  Many of the later psalms hold out to God the injustice of the nations raging and plotting against God's people.  The laments frequently follow a path from the psalmist's affliction (caused by inversion of Ps.1) to a declaration of Ps.2-like majesty and sovereignty of God, to a Ps.1-like conclusion that the psalmist will follow righteous paths and trust God to uphold justice.

So as we see orphanages with callous, indifferent "caretakers", when we see children abandoned by parents, when we are cut to the heart and beg God for righting of wrongs, we are joining with the psalmists in longing for the restoration of the righteous. 

When a child comes home to a loving family, when God calls one of His own won people out of this world into their reward, when we see abuses corrected and justice done, we join with the psalmists and celebrate the path of the godly. 

When nations abuse their orphans, when governments separate families, we join with the psalmist in singing the praise of God in heaven who holds the nations in derision, and we beg for the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

So enter the Psalms between these beautiful pillars.  Use them as guideposts as you join with the psalmists in crying to God.  Look back to them often, and I hope that you will profit more and more as you study, learn, and trust in the Word of God, particularly the Psalms.

-Papa

Monday, June 10, 2013

Psalm 73:26

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

To my husband, on Father's Day

(Or eight days early, because I lose track of time. It still applies :-)

To the man who I have loved for many years, who has consistently put his family above his career and other concerns, who loves his children and didn't bat an eyelash at the positive pregnancy test that came at the beginning of our adoption process, who has a courageous love for orphans, and who loves Jesus above all else,
I couldn't have asked for a better husband or father for my children.

I love you.
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A jumble

Ally still hasn't shown up on Reece's Rainbow's My Family Found Me page...
Keep praying for that girl! The stats are really bad for orphans who age out of the system; it is very likely that she will end up on the street as a prostitute and die young if she is not adopted. More than that, she needs a family! It's not just about a safe future, but knowing the love of a family that is her own. She has been much on my mind.

On that note, HERE is the link on Reece's Rainbow to see all of the children who are at risk of aging out of the system. Even if they are severely mentally handicapped and the size of babies, when they hit 16 that is it. No more chance at a family. Those who are too sick or handicapped will probably die in an institution, and those like Ally... well, I already talked about that. Please think about the sweet teen-aged kids that you know and pray for these who have never known the love of a family.


The Saving Penny Giveaway over at A Perfect Lily still hasn't reached its fundraising goal, and as I mentioned, Penny's family will be needing a little more now because they are adopting Julia, too!
They are still giving away an iPad...
If you haven't stopped by to read about Penny yet, please do so!

I think that's about it; we are still chugging along slowly, praying for our girl and waiting for state approval of our home study so that we can move forward.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Love

Meet my little sister.

Let's call her Missy. Isn't she beautiful? Last night I had the privilege of watching her dance her first pas de deux part in her studio's production of Sleeping Beauty. She did such a lovely job!

Why am I introducing you to Missy? 
Because she is almost exactly a year older than my Garnet.

Look at them again. 

Shortly after my 13th birthday, I was walking into the local hospital to meet my baby sister after she was born. There was a quarantine in effect at the time and I was the only one of my siblings that got to meet Missy in the hospital. I remember holding her in my arms and thinking how sweet she was. 

A year later, almost to the date, a little girl was born in Eastern Europe. Maybe her CP was immediately evident; in any case, she was very quickly checked into the local orphanage and no one ever checked her out. 

This young lady

Will be the aunt of this young lady.

I suppose maybe lots of adoptive parents go through this phase; looking at their children/children to be and wondering what they would look like if they had been loved by a family all of their lives.

I know Garnet has CP, and she probably never would have been dancing in Sleeping Beauty even if she had grown up in a caring, loving family. That doesn't matter. I never did either! What matters is that she has never gotten to do anything. As far as many people who have cared for her were concerned, she didn't have potential for anything. You can definitely pick up a flavor of that just from reading her file description.

The good news is that love is good for even those children who have been unloved for so long! I have seen this in other children from the same orphanage.
Love and care make such a difference.

So it's time to stop wondering what things might have been like for Garnet and to prepare for what things will be like.

We are praying that we will be able to shower her (like all of our children) with unconditional love, and that we will take joy in her successes as much as we take joy in the successes of our other family members, even if they seem trivial to an outside observer. We are excited to help her blossom and become the best that she can be. We know it will be hard. But we also know it will be worth it.
:-)