As a mom, I have always been a little bit of a hoarder. I have LOTS of documents from my kids through the years, starting with when I was expecting them. I have u/s pictures, hospital forms, birth plans…not to mention their check up forms from every year of their lives. Moving on to agendas, certificates, and diplomas from each year. Finally on Friday, I got something for my newest child. I got some documents…not the all important birth certificate and other things that need to go to immigration but the first forms that I will have forever, along with two photos we had not seen before. I have her medical documents with her immunization records, which I will copy to start her file at the pediatrician’s office. I got all of her psychological and academic testing…plus HER home study which tells her whole history and evaluations made by social workers. All confidential, but all mean she is ours!!!
Her story is not a perfect one, but who of us has one of those? How an orphan came to be an orphan is often more heartbreaking than we can bear to hear. Especially when it is the story of how my child came to be an orphan. Then I have to remember that we were all orphans, and were rescued by a gracious and loving God. Looking at my life before I began walking with the Lord I see much sadness, desperation, and loneliness…my life as an orphan was sad as well. And God knew that she was to be our daughter even as she was becoming an orphan. As I ponder all of these things I keep going back in my mind to my study of Esther…the “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Beth Moore has rarely said something that has impacted me more…I am paraphrasing when I say this, but she essentially said that the “who knows” is not about God, becaue He KNOWS, it is about us…and then she looked right at the screen and said so “YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW” that God has placed you here for such a time as this. wow. It literally took my breath away when she said it and I have tears streaming down my face as I type it right now. HE KNEW, HE KNEW, HE KNEW. All of this he knew before during and after our lives began to intertwine. What a beautiful story HE is writing in my life, in my husband’s life, in my children’s lives…and hopefully in many others as a result of our story. May we never forget that He is the author of this story! May we continually point only to him when people congratulate or praise us! May YOUR day be blessed and I pray you think about the story God is writing for YOU today!
Well, as well as I can estimate, we should hear today from the Philippines that they received our funds and that our photo album has arrived. I hope they get it to her quickly! I am praying for speed in the delivery of her legal documents back to us. I am not sure if they have sent them already or were waiting for our payment to send them. Either way, I hope they are coming NOW.
This brings us to our “final” step on our side. We now have to send off her documents to immigration and get approval for HER since Chad and I have our approval. This is it friends. This is the last thing that I do prior to traveling. Please join me in praying for SPEED…speed of delivery, speed of processing once they are here and then SPEED on the other side once our part is done. I am actually calling Delta today (!) not to book flights, but to check and see what the actual adoption discount will be if we fly when we are estimating. WOW. That is huge!
It’s funny I say we are at the final step, because right now my main goal is just to get her home. Chad’s perspective is a little different. He doesn’t see this as our final step….he sees it as finally getting us to THE BEGINNING. Which is so true. It’s like planning a wedding…are you waiting for the “day” or the marriage? Or being pregnant…waiting for the birth, when the real work is the parenting. We are truly not even yet to the beginning, but I can’t wait to be there.
If you think about it, would you pray for our girl as well…I know she is missing someone very special to her that has also been adopted recently and I hope that receiving our photo album will lighten her heart a bit. She is very excited to come here, but also very sad to be without her friend at this time. God is so good, I have a great story about that as well, at a later time!
Bird Update: I saw our baby yesterday, still being fed by his parents but in a tree! He can fly, but is still only about the size of a 50 cent piece. YAY!
Way back here I mentioned how I am worth more to God than many sparrows. That has not changed. I need to remember that in regards to all areas of this adoption. God has been so gracious with his VERY tangible reminders to me lately. At our house this past week I had a “sparrow” experience where some baby sparrows kept jumping out of the nest. (Coincidence? Sparrows in my yard?) The mommy and daddy were frantically feeding them. The babies were practically bare, with very few feathers, not at all at the “fledgling” stage. As I watched the babies (and attempted to put them back in the nest only to have them jump out again) I was reminded of how God takes such good care of us. He WILL take care of us regardless of our choices, but it sure is easier when we stay in the nest. One of the babies did not survive the first night, and as I buried him underneath my strawberry plants, the daddy bird watched….I told him I was upset too, and why wouldn’t his baby just stay in the nest????
The next 2 days proved harrowing as I tried to make sure the second baby was not trampled by small children, or eaten by dogs, or run over by a lawn mower. But as I watched his mommy lead him across the yard for the last time (to our neighbors yard) I was so pleased to see that he had tripled his feather count and looked SO GOOD. It must partially be due to the boys digging up grubs for the parents to feed him (which they appreciated immensely) but mostly it was due to the diligence of his parents to care for him. It was such a good lesson for me in that God is such a good parent and understands good parenting so well, that all of his creation demonstrates good parenting. I often wonder if animals are better parents than we are =). Which then leads me to my own inadequacies…both as a parent to my own children and as a child of God. How often I jump out of the nest…how often I need God to keep hopping along beside me feeding me as I go. AND with my own children this is such a precious reminder to just stay close. They WILL jump out of the nest, it is mine and Chad’s job to stay close and keep chirping (reassuring) and feeding (especially the Word of God, not just our words.) It also reminds me that Chad and I have to stick together…and keep chirping at each other. I wish I had a TON of pictures of these babies, but I only have a few from the first day….this baby was absolutely beautiful the last time I saw him even though he couldn’t fly yet.
We were blessed this afternoon to get an official notice from the Philippines with an invoice detailing that our match was indeed official! As much as I knew this was true already, I needed the OFFICIAL go ahead. I asked my case worker if this means she is “really ours”. He said that although the adoption is not yet considered final, she is more ours than anybody elses. 🙂 I will take it! Praise God!
We were able to send her the photo album with all of our photos and letters in it as well as our funds that we owe to the Philippines. So many of you have helped through your prayers and gifts with this funding and I want you to KNOW that as I wrote the check and sent the invoice to Lifesong that I was thanking God for each one of you. We did receive a “surprise” today also. I guess it was just a misunderstanding but the final amount we owed to our adoption agency was due today also. We thought we would owe it after she had been here 6 months which would be the beginning of the year. SO, as I wrote the check for today, I also used much of the money we had intended to use for our plane tickets. Some of you have asked if we are still in need of donations…the answer today is YES. We thought we were farther along than we are, but have come SO FAR that we trust that the Lord will provide for us what we need to finish this adoption. Thank you in advance for your prayers regarding this. God is not surprised at how much I owed today and he will provide the rest.
Thank you for rejoicing with us AGAIN today as we move forward. We are now waiting on her legal documents (birth certificate, etc) so that we can send them off to immigration for final approval. Then that approval will go back to the Philippines and we will be waiting for her passport and other documents to be travel ready and then we will go! Please continue to pray for speed in processing as we wait.
Well, I seriously have no news to report. Maybe later this week or the beginning of next week. For right now, we are just enjoying the fact that we are in a very good place and things are moving along just as they should. We know our girl is happy and looking forward to coming and our kids are excited. For now, we are just going to sit in this pool full of happiness. We know full well that life often gets in the way of enjoying the goodness of God. Our busyness distracts us, our dealings with others distract us, the things of the world are very distracting. I have a good friend who mentioned the other day on her blog how being “down” or sharing your problems is actually more socially appropriate these days than when asked saying, “Everything is great!” That you must be bragging or something if you mentioin that your life is going well. I think the misconception there is that “great” means “perfect”. And in case you were wondering, nobody is living there in “perfect world”. But in keeping with my friend’s idea, we can choose to be happy and rejoice in all that God has and continues to provide us! And deal with the not so great things without giving them our emotional energy. Blessings! ♥amy
Hi friends! I am not even sure how to type this post, but I had to send this out…I want to scream from a mountaintop and lay on the floor in a puddle of tears, joyful tears….all at the same time. I received another skype call this morning from my friend in the Philippines. She had spent several hours with our girl today talking through everything. She even shared with her about us having “Hope” on our arms. What a blessing to know that our girl is excited and ready to come home. What a blessing to know that God’s timing is so incredibly perfect that he answered a YEAR long prayer of hers within 9 days of the target date she had asked for. It is so wonderful to hear that she is trusting the Lord and that he is using US to answer her prayers. Things we could not be imagining God was working out for all of us prior to my arrival in the Philippines! I think it is amazing to know that while God worked out the timing for us on this end, he was also working it out for HER on that end.
While we were first discussing the adoption and having our initial dinner at Maxwell’s, she was being met with by a social worker that asked her if she wanted to be adopted. We had sent a photo of our family with a team from our church (not knowing that we would be adopting her) and while she was talking with the social worker she said she kept thinking of the photo of our family. I believe this was God giving her assurance even then that he was in control. He had picked us to be together. He had made us a family in our hearts, months before we will be in person. Oh how we love her. So today is once again a day for JOY…JOY that she knows…JOY that she is excited…and most of all JOY for a father in heaven who is so able to work out all of our details. I have never been more astounded at how clearly he has planned all of this. It has strengthened my faith incredibly to know that if he is working out all of this right now, he has always been working it out, for all of us who trust him with our lives. I am not sure why I keep being surprised…Chad and I have joked all morning about the verse in Job 38….”Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone– 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? 8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, 11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? 12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, 13 that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?
On reading this I am not sure why I keep being surprised when God works everything out. HE alone is in charge of ALL…Lord help me not to forget!
We just returned home from Georgia this morning and had a very official looking envelope from the Department of Homeland Security. Turns out, it WAS very official. It had our approval of our I-800A form which declares Chad and I suitable to adopt from a Hague Convention country. We were a little worried this might take a few weeks more (hence our fingerprinting rush) and we were very pleased that it worked! As soon as we have her legal documents we can send them back off to Homeland Security with the I-800 form which approves HER as the child we are adopting…that is our last step on this side. WOOHOO! It feels great to be one step closer. I am so thankful that the Lord has allowed everything to move along at a quick pace!
We are still rejoicing over all of our news from last week and went out for a special celebration on Thursday night. We went to Maxwell’s Tavern here in Waxhaw which is where we went the first night we REALLY talked to the kids about the adoption. It was where we started our decision making talks. It was Lizzie’s idea that on the day she “officially” was made ours, that we should eat there again…(and it might have something to do with the awesome fried pickles as well). Anyway, it was a great evening. Thank you for all of your excitement for us and your sweet notes.