Saturday, June 26, 2010

What you may never see

We are finishing up a fantastic week of vacation at my favorite place - the ocean. I've told Tony that I feel God the most when I'm sitting by the surf. Listening to His whispering in the waves, seeing His fingerprints on the sand and in the sun on the ocean.

We're all packed up to start home early in the morning. And I'm up after midnight feeling sorry for myself. Olivia has been on my mind so much this week. Imagining taking her down to the pool for the first time. Seeing little beautiful baby toes feeling sand for the first time.

So I sit here and cry. Why put ourselves through this? She's probably not even born yet. We have 3 wonderful, amazing children who have made us smile and laugh all week. Who have brought smiles to even strangers passing by. Children that I love more than my own life. And yet I know I am still lacking. Incomplete. Sad. It's not a side of me I show many people.

But... I know this is the path we are meant to be on. My mind tells me that I know that there is a reason for our dossier, which should have been done in February, to still be in a FedEx envelope, in my luggage, waiting for a fax of a document that never came this week, or last week, or the five weeks before. There's a reason why those that submitted their dossiers in March are now in the top 10 waiting, and I'm not even on the list yet. God had a different plan for them than he did for me. For my Olivia.

But.. even as I sit here in my own private pity party. I have reason to celebrate. I belong to a yahoo AWAA group for adoptive parents who are amazing moms and dads. These Christians pray for each other, encourage each other, and love on each other. After a month of delays, problems, slow-downs, these Christians set aside 2 hours this past Sunday to pray specifically for all the open cases, all the difficulties, all the children and families waiting.

And here's what you may never see - the miracles those prayers brought this week. Parents finally getting the word they could travel for court, parents finally getting the word they could go to pick up their children, and many parents who received their long awaited referrals for their new children. All this week. Prayer works.

And that's what you may never see - if you don't step out and say "YES" to living a life to it's fullest. You don't see how God is working in the lives of a missionary you are supporting - how prayers for health or funds were answered. You don't see how God provided funds for the many families like us that are adopting, often miraculously or right at the moment of need. You don't see how a child's life is changed, and their new desire to become a pastor, because of a small sacrifice on your part every month, or a letter telling them you love them. You don't see the widow who can now provide for her family, because of a gift equal to a dinner at a nice restaurant.

You don't see those things if you take the safe road. The comfortable road. It's so much easier on the road where you stay un-involved. I know - I stayed there for many years. Thanking God that we were so comfortable and content. But content is not what God desires for you, or for me. The enemy likes us to be content because when we are content, we are quiet. We are stagnant.

God wants you to see what His power can do. What your prayers can do. And you wont see that if you don't step out in faith and quit saying "we'll never be able to do that" "I would love to do that but...." "I wish I could help but....."

What is God calling you to do?? Even if it leaves you crying out to him?

Spend four minutes watching this video - I'm sure God will be using it to spur many of His children to action. Will you be one of them? Or would watching the video make you too uncomfortable so you'll pass it by?

Start small. You don't have to change the world. You just have to decide to make a change. Sponsor a child and know that you are letting God use you. You can never imagine where he may lead you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Since you asked..

So now what??? Many who know we have been fund-raising have asked - so NOW can you go get the baby? Well... no.

Now we have the $7700 needed to send in our paperwork (a.k.a. The Adoption Dossier) (a.k.a. every item about our life except our underwear size) (a.k.a. the paper pregnancy / nausea portion).


And what you can't really appreciate from that photo is the 2 copies under each stack. AND that some had to be notarized, some didn't, some had to be taken to the South Carolina State Department to be certified, and all have to be separated into 3 individual sets and placed in a very specific order.

With the $7700. And away to Virginia to America World Adoption Agency it shall go with my blessing...

Except for this pesky detail....

That would be the form I need from the United States Department of Citizenship and Immigration. A form that will be issued to allow us to bring an orphan in-country IF our federal fingerprints (that we had to go to Charleston to get taken) came out o.k., and IF they approve of our home study, and BECAUSE we paid them $830. It was submitted May 6th (not that I'm obsessing). And was suppose to take a minimum of 30 days. (not that I'm counting - what was today again???)

So when it gets here, we're good to go. Unless you also noticed that there are only my set of passport photos waiting. Cause the camera at Office Depot was broken and couldn't take Tony's today.. Of course. What was it I said about stumping our toes on EVERY step???

So then we're good to go. And THEN can we go get the baby? Well.... no.

Then we go on a waiting list depending on where our name falls in order on the important DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) list. If we had our paperwork in today, which we don't - we would only be #21 in line on the unofficial yahoo family list for a baby girl. ....Only....

Which means waiting 8-10 months until we are #1.

And then getting a call/email with her precious little face..
And then accepting that little face as our daughter, signing some paperwork, and sending $5250 in. (money that will be used to care for her in the orphanage)

And THEN waiting on a court date 1-2 months later.
And then both of us flying to Ethiopia to attend court and see and love on our baby for 7-10 days.
And then coming home (sigh...)
And then waiting 2-3 months for the US to give us an Embassy date to request her exit visa.
And then we travel back to bring her home!!

Simple enough, huh?

And while it seems pretty complicated, and pretty expensive, pregnancy and child-birth wasn't a walk in the park either... and I'm not puking 5 times a day, every day, like I did my last pregnancy. AND I get to include all of you on the team to support, pray, and love Olivia in our journey to bring her home. Versus puking by myself in a nasty rest area bathroom. Adoption has it's perks!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Buying" babies

In the latest email from Adoptive Families magazine, there was an article from, Jennifer Maslowski, the mother of a Chinese daughter, who wrote the following excerpts in her article : "Why Did You Buy a Foreign Child?"

To sum it up, she had a neighborhood message board where an anonymous poster (a.k.a. troll) had rudely asked in response to another adoptive mother's post -

“Can’t you just adopt a poor child in the United States? Why is it so important to buy foreign children?”

And later: “Oh, wait, some people do buy their babies. Anyway, what is the big deal? Why is it so terrible to point out that there is a financial component to adopting other people’s children? And that the U.S. dollar goes further in poor countries? The adoption purists will not be satisfied until we award them all medals for selflessly helping starving urchins from abroad.”

The author replied with the following, and I think it is so perfect that I wanted to share, as I have gotten the questions before "how much will it cost? why is it so expensive to adopt? why don't you just adopt here, it's cheaper? isn't that really just the country selling their babies?"

“Of course, there is a financial component to adopting children, just as there is a financial component to giving birth. Did you pay the doctor, hospital, or other birth-support people who helped bring your child into the world? I paid a social worker and a nonprofit adoption agency to help bring my daughter home.

“Did you pay for food, clothing, and medical care for the first 10 months of your child’s life? I paid a Chinese orphanage a nationally standardized fee, after it provided that care for the first 10 months of my child’s life.

“Did you pay filing fees for your child’s birth certificate or social security card? I paid American and Chinese government filing fees for those same papers, plus citizenship and adoption documents.

“That’s it. In total. Not a cent of compensation went to the birthparents. There were no bribes, no cash under the table. In fact, these expenses may have been lower than the costs of an uninsured pregnancy, birth, and the first 10 months of life with a child in the United States. Did you ‘buy’ your child when you paid these expenses? Neither did I.

“Adoption is about love, sb700. Just as all real families are about love. You either get this, or you don’t. But those who get it are infinitely more blessed in this world.”

Any of you have any good comebacks to ignorant questions? Whether harmless or just plain rude? Cause I'm keeping a notebook and would love to store some jewels away for future's sake..