We have been very busy working on the room, purchasing pillows, a set of sheets, a mattress pad. Each item has brought her one step closer in my mind.
I saw the most precious thing, on Wednesday, that I wanted to share with you all. It might not mean as much to you as it does to me, but I need it recorded here for my sake as much as anyone else’s. Lizzie had asked me after Wednesday’s shopping if she could wash the new set of sheets we had bought. I said sure, (even though I had planned on washing them closer to travel), because I knew she was eager to get everything ready. Anyway, later on that afternoon Lizzie was sent to her room for saying something not so sweet to her brother and stomped up the stairs. A little while later, I went up and saw her down the hall….in her room, making her sister’s bed. The care she was taking with each fold and tuck and smoothing the sheets literally brought me to my knees. I watched for a moment without her knowing and then walked into my bathroom and held onto the bathroom counter with more emotion flowing through me than I have felt in a while. Why it affected me so profoundly I may never know. I do know that the image of her making that bed is permanently seared into my brain. I guess part of it is that as I watched her I was reminded that while I take on much of the emotional and practical tasks related to this adoption, we are all in this together. We are all eager and we are all scared. Each one of is playing out our excitement and fears in different ways.
Please pray for my children, all four of them, that they are processing all of this well and that we have prepared them as well as possible for the unknown things to come. Pray for our fourth daughter that someone is loving on her, talking to her, and preparing her for all the unknowns to come. Thank you for sticking with us!
To be honest, I really didn’t think I would ever reveal her name on the blog until she was home…but today I learned something that was once again God showing me something more of himself and of his perfectly interwoven plans. I was talking with another friend who is adopting a baby boy from South Korea, I was telling her that she should find an American name that means the same thing as his Korean name…babynames.com would be a great help. So a little while later I jumped on there and started looking up names for her little boy =) As I was looking, I typed in our girl’s name, just curious as to what it meant. This is what I found:
Pronounced: və-NES-ə (English) [key]
Invented by author Jonathan Swift for his poem ‘Cadenus and Vanessa’ (1726). He arrived at it by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther Vanhomrigh, his close friend. Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly. It was a rare given name until the mid-20th century, at which point it became fairly popular.
Yes, her name is Vanessa. Please take note that at the root of Vanessa is Esther. As I did the study of Esther this Spring…and was so profoundly impacted by an orphan girl who rescued all the Jews of Persia, who actually became Queen of Persia, who had an amazing reversal of destiny and was used so mightily by God…as I prayed this all for OUR Vanessa, God already knew that he had woven the name Esther into her name. Such a reminder to me that he chose her name, he knows her, she is ultimately His and he has given her to us “for such a time as this”, and more profoundly, nothing that has happened throughout this entire process, (and quite possible my entire life) is a coincidence. Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him!
We received our I-800 approval today! YAY! Of course, now we wait….for her medical and visa interviews to take place there. Our case worker again reminded me to start watching flights the first 2 weeks in August and that he will let them know on the Filipino side that this is when we are “anticipating” travel. He says when he lets them know this it speeds them up a little. I also went to IKEA today and finished the shopping for the girls’ room. We got a night stand and a lamp, plus two pillows from TJ Maxx. We are so close to being done with the room! Very exciting day for us! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! Praying that God graciously carries me (and all of us) through these last few weeks and makes everything go smoothly. 🙂
We are still waiting for the coveted I-800 approval. We are truly expecting it sometime the beginning of the week. I had hoped for a little on the early side, but it’s ok. I have not heard from them, (Homeland Security), so I am guessing that all is in order and they don’t need anything else from me.
I did talk to my case worker on Thursday morning after an email I received on Wednesday. He has sent me the phone number to the US Embassy in Manila! When I talked to him on Thursday he said that I should call them as soon as I receive my I-800 approval and start asking questions—making sure they have received our approval, is there anything they need from us, etc and they will tell us when her visa medical and interview appointments are. He says when you let them ‘get to know you’ it tends to move things faster because they will contact the adoption board in the Philippines and it REALLY has helped on his last few cases. I WILL be calling them. =) He also said when you are keeping in touch with them you have a better idea of scheduling plane tickets. He says as soon as she has had her interview and passed we can buy tickets for 2 weeks later. He is sure we are traveling in about 6 weeks so I am supposed to call his travel agent on Monday and begin having her watch flights for us for two different weeks…the first and second week in August!! Do you realize it is almost JULY? We know what days we will be traveling on for each of those weeks, so we just tell the agent our dates and she starts watching. YIKES!
I have a lot to do here still as far as final room preparations and all that, but I am leaving a few things to fill our last few weeks so that I will not go stir crazy. That’s all for now…I will let you know when something else comes up!
Chad wrote this yesterday…it has taken me this long to have a minute to sit down and post it to the blog =)
Ok, I am back for a guest appearance on the blog. On my early morning flight today I felt led
to share this with you…
While talking with a friend yesterday they asked me how old
“she” is…I said 15. They reminded me
that next Father’s Day I would be a father to 3 teenagers. It took a few minutes for the phrase to sink
in and then I began to feel a little weak in the knees. I had two thoughts…#1, I am not old enough to
have teenagers and #2, I don’t have the parenting skills to do this. Thinking about the resources needed to
support them and the patience it takes to parent teenagers I became a little
At that point I was reminded of a passage I read a few days
ago…2 Chronicles 20: 14-17…I have paraphrased below.
He said: “Listen, King
Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah
and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be
afraid or discouraged…for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not have
to fight this battle. Take up your
positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…go out to
face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”
After re-reading this verse I felt both encouraged and
challenged. God is clearly saying this
battle is not yours to fight. It is His
battle. However, He is also clearly
saying this is a contact sport! You must
take your position and stand firm. While
I still don’t have all the answers I believe He has responded to my fear and
concerns…Go out face them and the Lord will be with you.
So whatever situation you might be facing I hope you find
the same encouragement from this passage.
We all like movies where a “hero” comes in to save the day…My kids enjoy
Aragon from “Lord of the Rings” and my wife still believes a vegetarian vampire
will always pull up in his silver Volvo to save the day. For me, it’s Jimmy Chitwood in the movie
Hoosiers…in one of the final scenes of the movie Jimmy looks at the entire team
and says that he will take the last shot.
That is the God we serve…one who will storm the gate, take
on the enemy, or take the last shot. So
as you navigate the waters of your daily lives I hope you will remember the
words from 2 Chronicles…the battle is not
yours…stand firm and see the
deliverance the Lord will give you.
I wonder how celebrated Father’s Day is in the Philippines…I know they celebrate Mother’s Day, but I wonder if yesterday our girl was thinking about her dad…the one who can’t wait to bring her home. The one who is making plans for her room and plans to be away from work and praying for the transition that our family will experience. I can’t wait for her to see him as a model of manly love, of how a man loves and cares for his wife, his daughters, and his sons. I want her to see him as a representative of how much God loves her. I want her to see him as the kind of man she should choose to marry. I want her to see him as a dad, but more than anything, I want her to see him as her protector…until he passes her off at her wedding to a godly man that will then take over that role in her life.
We put a lot of weight into a mom’s job, but the job of a father in his children’s lives is highly underestimated in our society. I know many single mom’s doing a great job raising their kids, but I know that in my family there are many things that my kids get from Chad that I cannot even hope to offer them. He roughhouses, he teases, he teaches them to laugh at themselves, and he teaches them that it is ok to just let loose and act crazy sometimes. He loves sports and has passed that love and competitive spirit on to our children. He encourages and coaches them in ways I don’t know how to.
He teaches them that God is sovereign and that He is the reason we do the things we do. He strives every day to know God better, to follow God better, and to honor Him in all that he does. He is the most ethical person I know. I can’t wait for our new daughter to know him the way we all do. Happy Father’s Day Chad!
We have had such a wonderful week at the beach! I love having uninterrupted family time with nO work for Chad and time with extended family. I. Love. The. Beach. But this year I have loved it just as much but with a void…I want my other child. This week I have wanted her with a fierceness that I simply cannot explain. Chad and I have spoken of her in every private moment. We long for her to share this week with us…next year she will, but right now, it is not helping to know this. The other kids, and really all of our family have thought and talked of her constantly. I wish she knew how we are longing for her. She started school yesterday. I wish I knew how her first day was…………this waiting is not fun.
Last night I dreamed of Chad and I going to the airport, except I forgot my passport and had to race home, praying not to miss the flight and get it while Chad stayed at the airport. And then I woke up….and thought “whew!”. And went straight back to the same dream. I hate that.
So today while sitting on the beach Chad and I decided that we will put all of our fabulous shells from this trip in a bowl on her night stand. And when she arrives we will tell her how much we missed her on our summer vacation…how thankful we are that she will never miss another. How she was part of every conversation, and that we were all thinking of her with every shell we collected.