Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another down...

So today I got a very unexpected email from our agency with some very upsetting news.  Unfortunately, I can't share any details in a public forum, but I'll be happy to fill you in personally if you want to know.  But suffice it to say that much prayer is needed!!  James is fine, and I don't forsee this situation causing us further delay, but some decisions are being made that are not in James's best interest in the long run.  We have no control over anything, and it's so frustrating.  Especially because we are going to be the ones who have to help him deal with the emotional fallout.  My heart is aching, I'm angry, and I'm sitting here helpless while someone else makes decisions that could affect the rest of my son's life.  Please pray that the visa appointments will be scheduled ASAP, that what is best for James will be done, and that I don't go crazy waiting!!!! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ups and Downs

The adoption process is such a crazy journey.  It's full of things that don't make sense, take entirely too long, and really test one's faith!  But it's also full of things that show God's awesome power, His totally sufficient provision, and His perfect timing.  Since the first things are at odds with the latter things, you can understand why it's such an up and down experience.  The last few weeks have been just that.  Since I haven't updated in a while, let me catch you up.  We finally got out I800 approval a few weeks ago, but since it was the end of October, I still was resigned to the fact that we would not be traveling this year.  And as my husband is facing possible back surgery in the near future, that was probably for the best.  Then I got an email on November 1st saying that James's passport would be ready the following week, on the 8th.  This gave us a very small chance of still being able to travel next month, as we now only need to wait on his medical exam and interview appointments for the visa.  So that was when I started emailing the US embassy in Manila, trying to get dates for these.  The medical exam is done first, and then the interview is scheduled.  Since James is so far from Manila, we are really hoping these can be done together, so they don't have to make the trip twice.  After both of those happen, we wait for the visa to be issued, typically a two week wait.  So, as you can see, this is a very small window of opportunity.  But I had given up all hope of even possibly getting him this year, so I was willing to take a small window!  And I've been praying constantly that God will make a way, like only He can.  Not only for us, but for two other families that I've "met" that are in this last phase too.
Fast forward to today.  I was waiting on a second reply from the embassy that I greatly hoped would tell me his appoinments had been scheduled and would happen very soon.  Instead, I got an email from our agency, saying that yes, the ICAB has the passport, but not to expect appointments to be scheduled soon enough to travel this year.  Apparently there are a great number of families at this point in the process, and every child being adopted must have a medical evaluation, and there is only one clinic that handles all the cases.  (Ok, really, US government??  I would understand if this was the Filipino government, but this exam is required by USCIS for entry into the country.  You would think that the United States could get a few more doctors in there to move things along!!)  And for whatever reason, things are moving slowly, and families who should have traveled last month are still waiting for their exams.  This is not good news.  But, as I said, I knew it was a long shot, so I'm not surprised.  And I didn't feel much at that moment.  Then I went to the grocery store, and while wandering the aisles trying not forget something I needed, I was texting my dear friend Kathy about our disappointing news.  She told me that she wasn't going to give up, and that until 2012 ends, she would keep praying that he could come home this year.  Right then I knew I couldn't give up either!  So while wandering I started praying, asking begging God to do what only He can do.  And then I felt guilty, thinking about the families that are ahead of us in line for the exam, and that it wouldn't be fair for us to get our child while they waited.  But then I remembered that God can do anything!! He can bring home ALL of those children this year!!  By now I'm almost to the checkout, and I'm practically in tears.  I know God can do it.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  It's completely impossible apart from him, but not even remotely difficult for Him.  I also know that He might not.  But His love for orphans is much bigger than mine, and His plan much more perfect than mine, (although I think my plan is pretty stinkin' good!) and I will trust Him no matter what He decides to do.  But, in the meantime, I'm going to keep asking!!  And listening to this song play over and over in my head, and on my spotify :) All Things Possible

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What I Really Wanted to Say...

In case you missed it, today was/is Orphan Sunday.  I have to admit, it was a rough day.  I've been looking forward to it for a few weeks, since I found out that we would be given time in the services today (for the first time!).  And I got more excited when I volunteered to introduce the video we were showing.  And then, this week we got some good news about our adoption (which I will share later), which made me even more excited!  I knew I only had about 30 seconds to introduce the video (I hope you'll watch it when you finish reading, even if you saw it this morning, since it was cut by about 3 minutes), so I spend all week going over what I was going to say, trying to fit about an hour's worth of thoughts into half a minute.  What I finally settled on was this: "Today is Orphan Sunday.  But for me, everyday is Orphan Sunday.  Because I know that right now, all over the world, millions of children wait.  They wait for a family, for a sponsor, for someone to love them.  All while most of us sit and do nothing.  If you've never thought about adopting, fostering, or sponsoring a child for less than what you pay for your cell phone, or if you've thought about it and made excuses of why you can't, then I've been praying for you.  And I believe that in the next 5 minutes, God is going to mess you up, to ruin you for normal.  And you are going to leave here, and look outside of your comfortable life, see the need, and DO SOMETHING."
Truly, it was all I could do to contain myself, to get the words out through the emotions that were overwhelming me.  Because what I really wanted to say was this: Today is Orphan Sunday.  But for me, every Sunday is Orphan Sunday, and every Monday is Orphan Monday, and every Tuesday...you get the idea.  Everything I see, hear, sing, read, think about, I do through the lens of adoption.  It's always on my mind.  Children who desperately need to be rescued, either through physical adoption, or through the adoption of child sponsorship with ministries such as Compassion International or Samaritan's Purse.  Every dollar amount I hear that people spend on unnecessary things, I think, "That could feed this many children."  Or, "Do you know how many children that could sponsor??!!"  Sometimes I even drive myself crazy with it!  But I can't help it.  I can't get away from the fact that we, as Americans, as the church, have no qualms about spending outrageous amounts of money on our own comfort, entertainment, and convenience.  But how many people balk at $40 a month to provide food, clean water, clothes, medicine, and education for a child who is otherwise going to die!!  It keeps me awake at night. 
And while I rejoice at the children who have been adopted and are being adopted, I grieve that so many people who could adopt, aren't.  I am not in the "adoption is a calling" camp.  I think that's just an excuse, and I wonder how many people who say they're "not called to adopt" have actually consulted God about it.  Now, I understand that not everyone can adopt, maybe for health reasons, age, or legitimate financial reasons.  And I understand that not everyone should adopt.  But, it is my belief that if you can, then chances are good that you should.  If you've ever (or never!) considered adopting (or fostering), and you have the ability, then please, ask God.  I don't think He's going to say no! (to paraphrase Katie Davis)  The devil is certainly not putting that idea into your head.  And it's highly unlikely that your fleshly self is either.  God loves the orphan!  He commands us to care for them.  That can happen in many different ways, yes, but I really believe adoption is God's favorite way.  Not every child can be adopted, because of laws and circumstances, which is why sponsorship is so important.  But if a child is available for adoption, they should be adopted.  But too many children wait.  And will continue to wait (in deplorable conditions you can't even begin to imagine, unless you've done some research) until someone, until YOU go and rescue them.
So please, I'm begging you, on behalf of those who can't beg for themselves, PRAY!  Ask God what He wants you to do.  And really listen.  Put aside all your excuses, all your arguments, and listen.  And then.  Do. Something."
If you're still with me, watch the video.  I dare you.