Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Masterpiece in progress

Oh, how I would love to tell you that I feel just like a newly pregnant woman (minus the throwing up of course).

How I would love to tell you that Tony and I are skipping down this path to adoption arm in arm, singing songs like "Cinderella" or "Butterfly Kisses". But just the thought of Tony skipping kind of makes my forehead wrinkle.

But here's the real picture - misunderstandings, misconceptions, miscommunications. (I would kindly like to suggest we throw away the prefix 'mis' at this time please). Being straight with you - this is a lot harder than we thought it would be. We went into this knowing that trials develop perseverance, we just didn't realize that by trials, God kind of meant more than a sprained ankle or bounced check. He meant more like arrows being thrown at you from every direction when you least expect it.

The Bible speaks 19 times of caring for the orphan or fatherless. It's a mandate. Which means it's a big deal to Him. Which means It is His plan. This week, I finally threw up my hands in emotional exhaustion and declared that there was no way, after the ordeals of the last month, we could last another year and a half, under these pressures. That's when I finally got to the point God wanted me to be. Dependent on Him and not me. In my brokenness, I finally woke up and saw the light.

All in one evening, I cried till my eyes were red and puffy and then -

God spoke through a CD a friend gave me that night, a song by Devin Williams with the words: "I live my life for you cause you gave your life for me. At your feet I bow and worship. You are the one I love, you are the one I need. Into your hands I surrender, I surrender all to you."

He spoke through a perfectly timed email from a true Proverbs 31 woman, whose never even met me - "Satan will not be allowed access to you for the duration of every minute of this process, I promise. He's just got to try for awhile to make you doubt your decision, and he'll try some more with each major hurdle you cross. God allows it because He knows that through it you will learn to depend on Him more."

And then He spoke in a random conversation with a friend about how stupid the Israelites must have been to see the plagues hit Egypt, the Red Sea split in two, the cloud and fire following them day and night. And then for them to still - turn to something as dumb an idol as a golden calf. They had God right in front of them and still felt they needed to try to make things work on their own.

Hmmm, later I woke up and realized. I AM AN ISRAELITE. I saw God provide every dollar we needed for my trip to Ethiopia last year. I saw God provide every dollar we needed, in exact amounts and order we needed them for the first phrase of this adoption. What right do I have to set up my own idol, myself and my own performance, to put before Him? Adoption is a work of art, designed by God. To bring together children and parents designed for each other from near or far. I just have to have faith that this is His work of art, not mine. And He will work out the colors, the techniques, and the brushstrokes all in His time. I am only the paintbrush - here only as an instrument to do His perfect will. But then I am the one who gets to cherish that masterpiece in my own home, and what an amazing gift that will be.
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord. And He will give you the desires of your heart."

Friday, November 20, 2009

An American Big Sister

I just feel like bragging a little today on my amazing Ethiopian little sisters. First Eyerusalem. Whom I met on my Compassion trip. Words cannot describe how awesome this girl is, or how proud of her I am. Jerry was a Compassion child who has just graduated with her engineering degree. Amazing... Isn't she just beautiful???

Jerry used part of her small monthly stipend from Compassion to help start a ministry called Moriah. This is a picture of her with 3 of the boys from her home. Boys who were found living on the street. Stop and take that in, these boys were.... on.... the..... street. Can you even imagine? Moriah provides the boys with a safe place to live, a caretaker, clothing, food, and an education. It baffles me how when I speak to others here in America about helping a child, I so often hear "Well, maybe later. We just are too cash strapped right now." O.k., I understand. I use to think the same way. But now here is a girl, from the projects, who receives a small allowance from Compassion once a month. And used part of it to start an orphanage. Puts things in perspective, doesn't it??

Jerry helping another Compassion project. Building a youth center I think. Building a youth center??? Yeah, I would soooo be able to do that. Or not.
And my dear sis Masresha. Masresha was also a Compassion child who graduated with her degree in accounting and is now helping a mission's organization in Africa. Masresha was my translator on my trip and again, words can't describe the heart these girls have. Masresha is using her salary to help put her two younger sisters through school and eventually college. In Ethiopia, you have to pay school fees to get an education, something many families can't afford. So while Masresha's sisters were not Compassion assisted, in a way they are, through Masresha's faithfulness.

Masresha helping out at a Compassion project. Um, she graduated. So she's just sharing Christ's love with other little ones.

Former Compassion child, now accountant, and now wife!! Congrats dearest Masresha!!! So beautiful!!!

Make a difference in the life of a child. You never know how many people the ripple effect will touch. I am so blessed to know that these beautiful women are so excited about my new Ethiopian daughter. Their prayers mean so much to me. And it amazes me when I hear of all the people they have told our story to and have praying for us in Africa. I can't wait to be able to see them again in a year or so. And look forward to being able to assist Olivia in keeping in contact with her 'family' in her home country. God is so good in his amazing planning.

Psalm 68: 5-6
"A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in His holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families..."

Proverbs 22:6
"Train a child in the way he should go
and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Monday, November 16, 2009

If you can't sayin nothin' nice...

don't say nothin' at all. So that's why my blog has been so quiet. I have read several Christian fiction novels which talk about Earth being a war-zone with evil/good beings, unseen and fighting it out all around us. Waging war over our very souls and trying to upset or strengthen any work of God that we are trying to put our energies into. Let me just say that if that's so, I'm pretty sure that my guardian angel is needing a break to catch his breath.

I have one in the editing stages that served as a vent for my frustration but in the meantime, here is my lighter post for your viewing pleasure. I know I'm late for "Das Not Funny" Friday, but let's just pretend.

** Braeden was home sick from school all week last week. And with Tony having taken off an entire week 2 weeks before with Seth, it was my turn. One of the days, he tells me he has made up a new number. Oh really? What is it? "Derf". Oh, and how many make up a derf? "Two". And he starts counting without missing a beat - "One, Derf, Three, Four.... Twenty-one, Twenty-derf, twenty-three..." Where does he get this stuff? At least I know he can be successful in a career as a politician, where making up numbers has become an art form.

** Braeden absolutely, positively loves our neighbor and friend Brent who named him "Popsicle" when he was about 2 (because you never saw him walking around without one in his mouth).

#1 because Brent has a huge garage where old toys go to die. And he lets Popsicle go shopping whenever he wants in said garage. Thank you Brent.

#2 because Brent does BBQ competitions. And lets us have left-overs. I think I may just love Brent too. But it's funny now - Popsicle loves ribs. Which I have never, ever made for him. But he'll just ask his buddy "hey Brent, when you gonna make us some more ribs??" My poor child is now begging for food. Sweet.

Anyway, one day last week Braeden asks Tony - "if we don't get the money for Olivia's adoption, how are we going to pay for it?" Tony looks him over and says jokingly "well, you look kinda healthy. Maybe we could just sell you." To which Braeden breaks out in a HUGE smile and smirks "yeeaaaaah.... Misser Brent." So glad to be loved little buddy.

Also as a side on the adoption front: We have started our homestudy visits. Our first one lasted from 6:30-10. No rabbits were shot on the rabbit trails that we ran down that night. It was mainly an informative session with all the ins and outs of potential problems, paperwork, etc. Our social worker is super nice and very easy to talk to (obviously).

We also received our fingerprint appointment for our i600a. An $830 piece of paper from Citizenship and Immigration services that will give us permission to adopt an international orphan. I thought we would have to wait until the homestudy was finished until we got the appt. And I had heard it took a while to get, but we will be on our way to Charleston (closest place) next Monday to our appt.! So not only are we starting to move, but we are moving fast it seems. Hopefully all our paperwork will be on it's way to Ethiopia by March or early April at the latest. But we still have to raise about $6000 more before then to pay our international fee. The international fee pays for Olivia's care, medical needs, lawyers, court costs, etc. So if you feel led, 'chip in' now before our raffle closes on Dec. 1st to get a chance at winning the artwork.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Almost funny - but not at all

Writer's block, busy life, pessimism - call it what you want but I've had no nuggets of wisdom or things just to make you go 'ahhh' recently so I've abstained from boring posts. Until now...

I've spent the day in bed with a 101 fever so I choose today to write. Makes no sense what-so-ever. But here goes it, my life in the last two weeks:

- Two Saturdays ago, Seth has a baseball tournament 2 hours away, wakes up with a 101 fever. But even as I am telling the men of the house, "we can't take him with a fever", my child is putting his uniform on and saying he feels fine. We call the coaches who tell us "well, if he wants to play...." So we head out with him doped up on ibuprofen. Oh sweet medicine, you have become my very bestest friend. I learn that I have a lot to learn with being a sports mom. Dope 'em up and keep going. "My foot is falling off? Wrap it good, give me two aspirin, and let me get back out there! "

- Sunday morning it is up to 103. This time mom puts her foot down. Or the fact that he couldn't sit up or make cohesive sentences. So we missed the second day of tournament ball.

- Sunday night my grandfather passes after a long battle with Alzheimer's. We delay going home to N.C. until we see how Seth is doing.

- Monday I take Braeden into school and stay for his awards day. I don't even bring the camera as I figure if I do, and he doesn't win anything, I will look like a dork. Instead, he makes his mom look like a dork without a camera as he wears out a new path up and down off the stage. Here is my little smarty pants, who takes after his mom, of course:
Yes my friends, that would be every award available to a 1st grader but one. Two kids were chosen for awards out of each class. My child swept the boards! Little show-off.

- Tuesday we head to N.C. for the funeral with Seth still feverish with a nasty cough. Nebulizer in tow. We hit Rock Hill and the engine starts giving us trouble with Tony not being able to get it to go past 40 MPH. Thank goodness a Ford place was in his sights and we pay $127 to have a diagnostic run. To find out that it is only the air filter which had been shoved in too far. $127 for a $6 air filter. I credit Obama-nomics.

- Seth is sick until the following Monday (that would be nine days) when his cough sounds even more crackly and he is struggling to breath. Back to the Dr. for an antibiotic. (we are now up to $120 in co-pays)

- Tuesday Braeden's PE teacher asks me what is wrong with his finger. It's only completely blue and swelled to twice it's size. With what looks like a huge blister all around it. So, back to the Dr., who has to drain it and send off a culture as it looks like MRSA. Just FYI, the Mayo Clinic site description, first paragraph : "MRSA can be fatal." This kid - if it is not a fishhook in the eye, it is a finger ready to fall off...... that he neglects to tell me about. The test comes back positive for bacteria and he is put on a high powered antibiotic, three bottles to be completely taken over the next 10 days. Copay total now at $160.

- And today, I'm running a fever. Like I said, it's almost funny, but not really. The high point of my life is getting a call from our homestudy worker who will be coming out on Thursday for our first visit. It's sad when the high point would be that that will force us to actually clean this house, which has been sorely neglected in all the excitement. I'm almost giddy..... must be the ibuprofen.