Thursday, June 23, 2011

Known by God

We applied for a grant through Show Hope - Steven Curtis Chapman's organization. After they received our application they sent us a wonderful little book that has a 14-day devotion. This book is exactly what I need. Each day when I read it, that day's devotion is exactly what I need to hear. Here is an excerpt from Day 10.

Statistics like "143 million orphans worldwide" and "every fourteen seconds another child is orphaned to HIV/AIDS" can be overwhelming and paralyzing. Yet, it is critical to remember that God knows each and every one of these children individually - knows their specific circumstances - and that He has unique plans and desires for them. Thinking that helping one child will not do much to alleviate such great suffering is a lie. It makes a profound difference in that child's life and affects those whom she touches.

Let us imagine God's perspective. When someone adopts once of these orphans, it is as though God is saying, "Little one, you are so special to me. I knew where you were, and I picked you out and placed you here - I knew you would be here from the beginning of time."

The nameless and faceless orphan found in statistics is by no means nameless or faceless to God! In the world of adoption, we can be confident that nothing surprises our God, and what looks like "Plan B' for us or our children may in fact have been God's "Plan A" all long.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It was a great week

This week I heard from two friends that are adopting from Haiti. They are in the FINAL steps of their adoption process. Within a matter of weeks (hopefully days) they will be picking their beautiful daughters up and they will finally bring them home. I look forward to the day that I hear they are leaving for Haiti, and I am even more excited about the day I learn they are all home.

Home sweet home.

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I have no updates for you, other than that I played around with my blog a little too much this morning and changed everything. I'll keep tweaking it until I like the layout. Right now I'm too frustrated to work on it.

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I've been thinking this week about the need that's out there. I'm constantly posting on Facebook, sending emails, making calls, and asking for stuff. Constantly. Bottles, clothing, hand sanitizer, money for the iPads. The list goes on and on, and the asking never stops. The need has been there for years. The need is there now. And the need will be there for years to come.

I'm quite certain that I've turned off many people. When I got back from Haiti there most likely were people in my world who were hoping this 'phase' would pass. That I'd get over this and move onto something new. The challenge is, this isn't going to go away. This has grabbed a hold of my soul and God has asked that I never stop fighting, asking, educating.

I'm seeing something bigger in this, but I don't know what it is at this point. It seems my path will long be involved in adoption. Not only continuing with our own adoptions, but helping others in their journey. (Yes, I said adoptionS! I'm planting the seeds for the next one before the first one is even done.)

In my exploring this week to come across just the right thing to share with you all to hopefully help you understand, I came across this blog. This is a post of someone else's blog. She didn't know who to give credit for it, and I don't either. All I know is that the words here are exactly what I'm feeling. (If anyone does know where this came from, please let me know so I can give the appropriate credit.)

It's not going to make you feel warm and fuzzy. It's going to touch on things most of us would rather close our eyes to. But it's something we all need to read.

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Those of us who spend our time focusing on the poor, the oppressed and those who serve them are sometimes confronted with grim realities. The fact is that there are too many problems out there...there are too many children that need help...there are too many women and children who are stuck in sex-trafficking and too many people starving. So, you read a book or you adopted a child or you went on a trip and you were overwhelmed with poverty and injustice. You never imagined that things were so bad. You couldn't believe how cheap it was to solve individual problems-medicines for less than $10, mosquito nets for $5, school fee that are less than your monthly Starbucks budget. You thought to yourself-I HAVE to do something-I am GOING to do something.

You return to America or you finish your book and your mission begins. You start telling your spouse or your best friends. This is unbelievable-we have to do something now.WE have to act. Some of them seem interested but most of them try to wait it out hoping you will get over this latest obsession. But you know in your heart this is not an obsession-its' a calling. It is a new awareness that the kingdom of God has to extend out from you and reach the least of these. You keep going.

Your friends initially tolerate you and then some just quietly phase you out but you are undeterred initially. You press on KNOWING people will want to make a difference. You start reading the Bible with fresh eyes asking yourself why you had never seen that or read that before? Why did I not hear this in church/ You listen to sermons with fresh ears and you hear the repetitive beating of a drum that seems to resound with a self=centered rhythm. It isn't supposed to be all about me is it God? Why are we only focused on making our great lives even better when kids are starving, when young children are being prepared for sexual exploitation every two minutes? I guess that will all just go away if I can truly develop the purpose driven life right? Or if I just keep doing more bible studies with my accountability group?

For some of us, the hard reality is that we simply need to move on from some of our old ways and old friends into the fullness of the gospel. The true religion that we know He is calling us to. You won't be popular but quite frankly neither was Jesus among the religious crowd. You may find yourself test the patience of some of your closest friends who would just rather plan their next big vacation and not hear about the sexual exploitation of children or starving kids or children who are alone and without love or hope. That stuff is just too hard and depressing and doesn't fit with the trajectory of my life that God is making so pleasant and easy.

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that everything we do will have an eternal impact in the lives of individual and it matters. Your small choices can make a big difference in the lives of the hurting. The bad news is that you will not be popular, it will not be easy, you will lose friends, people will tire of you constantly beating the drum for the cause of injustice. People will avoid you and criticize you and tell you to lighten up. But, I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you to be a louder voice than you have ever been. I want to challenge you to scream for those who have no voice. I want to challenge you to ask God to use you in places and in ways that others don't want to. I want to challenge you to fight against the apathy that plagues our churches and society. I challenge you to be His hands and feet to the least of these. I challenge you to allow your life to be a seed-which falls to the ground and dies and in doing so it produces much fruit. I challenge you to swim against the current of our church culture that seeks to find comfort in a personal gospel and personal salvation and passionately pursue God with a reckless abandon for those that are helpless. I pray that we would have the spirit of a warrior that has counted the cost and said with boldness-Lord I give you my life today-ALL of me-spend me extravagantly on the poor and the oppressed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When does the clock start?

When you're pregnant, you have a pretty good idea of when it happened, and when the baby will be coming. When does the clock start with an adoption? When did this 'elephant' get pregnant?

If you've looked at the blog over this weekend you've probably noticed the Lilypie ticker at the top of the page. I couldn't figure out what day to start the clock. Is it when we got approved to adopt? Is it when we accepted the referral? Or is it when the paperwork arrived in Haiti?

This morning I settled in on when we accepted the referral of Baby Haiti. If you want to know how long we've REALLY been working on this, add 8 months to what you see on the ticker. I'm an elephant mother. Gestation for a human is 9 months. Gestation for an elephant is 22 months. Please God, bring her home long before this elephant is supposed to give birth. I'm cool with a premie elephant.

Please pray for all the little ones who are waiting to go to their forever homes. I especially pray for two little girls who are in PAP right now, so close to coming home, as they endure the rainy season and the unsafe conditions there. Please get Ellie and Kate out of PAP, and home to Indiana this week. With God, all things are possible.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's a Big Day

Take a pen and put a big heart on today's date. This afternoon I got word that our dossier arrived at Children of the Promise. All of those pages. All of that effort. All of those months. Finally in Haiti.

Before getting word about the dossier, Laurie at Love Basket was pestering me about this. (I love you Laurie!!) Lo and behold - here it is in the mail. Our I-600 approval. I'm pretty sure that's only significant to someone who is adopting or has adopted before. Everything that's accomplished takes us one step closer.

I should be more excited or relieved or something. I guess I'd say I'm happy that the I-600 came two weeks early. Happy. But I'm not excited. After losing Josette and Magdaline, in two completely different ways, I'm keeping my emotions at bay on Baby Haiti. I love her. I pray for her. I can't wait to bring her home. But right now I'm numb.

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In other exciting news, we're able to purchase one iPad for COTP. Thanks to the on-line donations and our fabulous church, we've raised enough to get one. The Chip-In button is active until June 24th, so there's still time to donate towards the second one.

Thank you for giving. Thank you for loving. Thank you for praying - for the least of these.

You know, I believe we're all called to care for the orphans of the world. Stay tuned to my next post when I talk about it in greater detail.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We Know

Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about. - Unknown

I think about Haiti every single day. Every. Single. Day. It's amazing how Haiti has grabbed my soul and won't let go. Is it a calling? Or an obsession? Or a little of both?

We know. We found out a few days ago and we officially accepted the referral yesterday. I so appreciate all of your not asking for an adoption update. This has been a long road we've been down, and we still have a long way to go. But as of right now, we know who she is.

We had three girls to choose from. I prayed that God would give us the answer. I feel guilty to say this, but we actually ranked them. #1. #2. #3. I don't know how we came up with it, but we did. Surprisingly, our list was the same as what Children of the Promise had. Yet we were still very unsure. How do we choose between three very deserving little girls?

God, who is faithful, gave us our answer. One little girl is no longer available. One little girl is being adopted by another family.

One little girl was left. She was our #1. Amazing.

Is it mean of me to tell you that we know, and then follow it up with - "we aren't going to tell anyone"?? Considering what's happened, we just can't. Both Jason and I feel we need to be further down the road before we share her name. For now, she's known as Baby Haiti. Absolutely adorable, already loved, little sister Baby Haiti.

Please pray that she comes home this year. It's possible. Not highly likely, but it actually could happen.