Friday, December 17, 2010

Waiting well

He says, " BE STILL!"
and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
- Psalm 46:10

This past Tuesday we received a letter informing us that our documents are officially on its way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to be translated and authenticated! Once authenticated, we will officially be on the wait list. I cried after reading the letter, I was SO EXCITED, I felt like throwing a party to celebrate the final days of our 2nd adoption trimester.  As we approach January 2011 it will be a year since we started our adoption process. It has been months, days of waiting to get to this part of our journey.  Although we will continue to wait some more, there is a lot of anticipation and excitement for what's ahead. 

Lately, Sol and I have been talking about how "waiting" is an action.  We have the option to wait impatiently with endless complaining and whining or we can wait joyfully with gratefulness and a hopeful perspective. I would much rather choose to wait joyfully.  

This year we have started the tradition of making a Jesse Tree with our boys.   
The idea of the Jesse Tree comes from Isaiah 11:1-9, where God promises a discouraged nation that the glory they remember from David’s time will come again. They will have another king from Jesse’s family, in whose reign the whole earth will know God. As a Christian, we see that promise fulfilled in Jesus, and so we use a Jesse Tree and decorate it with reminders of how God prepared the world for that kingdom.
As we've been daily reflecting on these reminders throughout scripture, I have noticed the constant theme of WAITING: from Noah waiting for the rain to stop, Abraham and Sarah waiting for God's promise of a son to be fulfilled, Joseph thrown in jail and waiting for God to rescue him, Moses who waited for Pharoah to let him take the Israelites out of Egypt and all the prophets (Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk and Nehemiah) who waited for God to answer their prayers to restore/revive the people of Judah...... then we get to Mary and Joseph who waited for Jesus to be born. 

I am SO relieved to know that God is faithful to fulfill His promises at the end of each waiting season we are in and I'm SO grateful that all we need to do sometimes is "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD."

I desire to wait joyfully and peacefully for our children. Although I know there will be moments of self-doubt and anxiety, I will remind myself of all the faithful followers of Jesus in the Bible that waited for God to deliver, rescue, answer and provide. 

Chris Tomlin's songs: "I lift my Hands" and "Faithful" have ministered greatly to me this past week. Every time I listen to these songs, I picture our kids and all the other orphans in the world singing these songs. I am so thankful that God is and will always be forever faithful to them even in their pain, brokenness and loneliness. 



Saturday, November 20, 2010

God pursues us!

I LOVE knowing that regardless of the choices I make, God is ALWAYS pursuing me. I was reminded of this when we were in China a few weeks ago visiting my sister and her family. Sol was invited by some good friends to share his personal journey with a small group of Chinese muslims of how he converted from a Muslim to a Christian.  (If you haven't heard his story, you are missing out!)  Throughout his sharing, he kept emphasizing the truth that it wasn't anything that he did but it was God pursuing him. It amazes me to think that just as God had his eyes and hands on Sol in the streets of Tehran, Iran, He has his eyes and hands on our children in Ethiopia.

This week has been an emotional week since Tuesday was the day we FINALLY completed our Dossier. I felt like we had reached another milestone in our adoption process.   My heart was pounding and tears streaming down as I drove up to Office Max with our precious documents.  I felt my hands shaking as I gave the women behind the counter my precious package. Before she threw my package on top of the other FedEx packages, I almost wanted to tell her to "PLEASE, Handle with Care!."  I walked back to my car and cried out of joy, relief and excitement.  The Lord reminded me once again that He is pursuing our children all the way in Ethiopia through us. We are just His vessels trying to fulfill what He has called us to do. What a relief to know that it's ALL in his hands.

Somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean there are 2 children waiting to come home. My heart is at rest knowing that HE knows their names, ages and their needs.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Counting our Blessings

" Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Those blessings come from the heavenly world. They belong to us because we belong to Christ. God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us. So he decided long ago to adopt us as his children. He did it because of what Jesus Christ has done. It pleased God to do it. All those things bring praise to his glorious grace. God freely gave us his grace because of the One he loves. "

What a BEAUTIFUL picture of God's OVERWHELMING love for us. As I was reading these verses to our 5 year old Ethan, I was blown away (again) that God decided long ago to adopt us as His children! Through our adoption in Christ, we have been BLESSED with every spiritual blessing. It just makes me want to give God a HUGE HUG and THANK HIM for this awesome and amazing gift.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Processing


For some reason, tonight I was overcome with emotion as I thought about our child/children and the unfathomable number of orphans in the world. I had to stop cleaning and putting toys away in order to sit down and process my thoughts.
I have to admit that I'm not so great at journaling, yet alone blogging. I would much rather read someone else's blogs then write my own. But tonight the Lord reminded me that one day our children will read this. It isn't for me, but it's for them and a written journey of His faithfulness and our commitment to them, God and His calling.

So, through prayer and confirmation from God, Sol and I have put in our request for 2 children instead of 1. There are chances that we may only get 1, but we feel that 2 is ALWAYS better than 1! So will you pray this for us? All we can do is TRUST and OBEY!

We were blessed this summer to visit my parents and join my sisters and their families in Seattle. Not only did we have a great time being with family, but we got to celebrate my Grandma's 100th birthday and my parent's 40th anniversary. It was quite a celebratory summer!

We also got to spend the day with some friends that have a total of 11 children. 6 of them adopted and 4 out of the 6 have been adopted from Ethiopia. Sol and I enjoyed our visit so much that we didn't want to leave. It was one of those days where you just want time to stop and make it last longer. As we were getting ready to leave, Elizabeth gave me a portion of scripture that has been such an encouragement.

Isaiah 43:1,5-7
" But now, this is what the Lord says
He who created you, O Jacob
He who formed you, O Israel
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.

I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth

everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
who I formed and made."

These verses ALWAYS bring tears to my eyes.


When we arrived back to the Orange County airport, we were welcomed by an Ethiopian Taxi driver. It was so fun to be able to hear him talk about his culture, his food and show excitement towards our adoption. He gladly gave us his phone number and offered to be of whatever help we may need. I smiled as I felt this was God just pouring out on us. I think He was smiling at us too!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moving forward

Our home study is finally finished! God's timing has been more than perfect for us during this 5 month waiting process. Although we hit a couple obstacles here and there prior to our home study, I have absolutely no complaints or regrets. His timing is perfect. During this time, Sol and I have felt a stronger confirmation that this is the path that God has chosen for us. We are learning not to question His ways, we just follow them and trust that He knows what He is doing.

So our latest news has been the possibility of leaving our adoption to either gender. In the beginning, we chose to adopt a baby boy because we felt a boy would blend in right along with our Ethan and Isaac. But during our home study, we were challenged to leave it open and trust God for which child He has for us.

During these past months, I have felt a stronger tug towards Ethiopia - the culture, food, language etc. I have been asking God to give our family a deeper love for the country and opportunities to learn more about the culture.

I'm dying to meet our little one, but I know He has a certain process for us prior to meeting them and I need the patience to WAIT and ENJOY the moment!

Monday, March 22, 2010

My mustard seed

"He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. " Mt. 17:20

So I went through my spice drawer and pulled out a mustard seed from my jar, went online and did my research of this peculiar seed that Jesus compared our faith to.
3mm in diameter, easy to cultivate and grows to be one of the largest plants where even birds can hide and rest in them.

The past couple weeks have been moments filled with insecurities, fears and doubts.
A few interactions with a couple people pushed me to the point where I began to question myself and our desire to adopt.
I forgot the conviction and calling God has given Sol and I and let my emotions take a hold of me.

Thankfully, a dear friend spoke some solid truth to me and reminded me of the calling God has given us to adopt. I feel so privileged and humbled that He would ask us to be part of such a beautiful journey. I don't feel equipped, but I know He will equip us. Our job is to persevere and walk with courage, completely surrender, trust, depend on Him and believe He will provide.

I suddenly realized that like any other plant, this tiny mustard seed can't grow unless it is planted with the appropriate soil and in the right climate.
Unfortunately, my mustard seed hadn't been planted in the right soil. I began this journey with my mustard seed planted in "Christine's soil" and not "God's soil" - His truth, His Word.

If I want my mustard seed to flourish and blossom to be a beautiful tree that symbolizes my faith in Him, then I have no option but to trust and believe that He will provide for every single need we have in order to bring this child home to us.
Trusting Him makes the impossible possible and with Him all the possibilities are endless. All the obstacles and expenses that have started to arrive and will continue to arrive are not impossible for Him but rather ways for Him to show us who He really is. I'm ready to plant my mustard seed in the right soil now cause I can't wait to watch Him MOVE THOSE MOUNTAINS!

"... you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. "

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

+ Positive +

If you've taken the home pregnancy test before and your result came out positive, what was YOUR immediate reaction?
Well, I cried and laughed and nearly gave my husband a heart attack both times.... and then suddenly I panicked. Because both of my pregnancies were unexpected and unplanned, I wasn't consciously taking care of my body the way I would have liked to. I didn't exercise or take all the prenatal vitamins like most doctors recommend if you plan on getting pregnant. Our pregnancies were sudden and quite a pleasant surprise. Thankfully, I didn't have high risk pregnancies, but I do believe every pregnancy is a risk. From the moment you find out you're pregnant to the moment you give birth to that beautiful little one, there is never a moment where you are not concerned about that precious life growing inside of you. You risk yourself and the baby's life with where you go, what you do, what you eat, etc. In fact, you are at one of your most vulnerable states when you are pregnant, especially the first trimester.

With adoption, you don't get the immediate results like a home pregnancy test that says "accepted, your child is on its way" or "positive." In fact, it's a long, enduring process, but so worth the wait!

So today, I felt the risk and the vulnerability of putting ourselves out there. Sol and I along with our two boys made our way to Postal Annex to get the remaining documents notarized and copied with the intention of sending all our necessary documents. As I went through my entire checklist (for the 50th time), I could feel my heart beating faster and faster.... it was 4:50, I had 10 minutes left to get everything mailed and out of my hands! I've been waiting 4 weeks for this moment!

Letter of application - check,
Birth certificate, marriage license, passports - check, check, check
reference letters - check
Will signed and dated - check
Bank reference - check, medical forms - check, autobiographies - check, financial statements signed and notarized -check.. check..check..check..check.
4 folders each completely filled with all 24 documents, signed,notarized and copied.

4:58 p.m. - ALL of our personal documents, pictures of our home inside and out and our autobiographies that contained every bit of who we are and our journey through life were packaged neatly in 4 different,beautifully designed folders. Before I knew it, they were sealed and thrown into a FedEx pile to join the rest of the packages. I felt like my heart was literally thrown in along into that pile.
Sol and I have spent 4 weeks working on retrieving every document necessary to complete this part of the adoption process. And to think, this is only the beginning! It could have been easy and tempting for us to give up and ask ourselves, is this even worth it? But we persisted and now we wait.

I expected a huge sigh of relief after completing and sending our package, but honestly, I felt even more overwhelmed and vulnerable. The reality is, we are taking a risk. In my mind, the risk isn't the challenges of what our child may bring, but it's the possibilites of our homestudy not getting approved or having to endure a longer wait than expected or not having enough money to finish our adoption process.

The risk of adoption is great, but the reward is even greater. Doesn't every child DESERVE to have someone take a RISK on them, to love and nurture them? Every child deserves it!
I love the free dictionary's definition of risk in the context of a verb: "to lay on the line, risk everything in one big effort."

RISK.

It puts in you in a place where you are most vulnerable and quite uncomfortable.
In this situation, Sol and I aren't physically taking a risk, but our hearts are.
My heart is already out there - laying on that line, loving our child and praying that God will give me the courage to persist this journey and trust that He has our child and loves this child more than we could ever love Him. It's not about us, it's about Him.

So whoever you are that is reading this, could you please lift us up in prayer? Would you pray that we would wait joyfully and patiently and that God would provide us the courage and the strength to persist through this journey of waiting and trusting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1st Trimester

From my personal experience, the first trimester of pregnancy was the hardest. There's a lot of physical challenges: nausea, bloating, migraines, exhaustion etc. Beneath all the discomfort lies the fears,unknowns and doubts of whether the baby will make it through the first trimester as well as the excitement and hope for the new life that's being formed inside the womb. In other words, you're excited and hopeful, sick and tired, nervous and fearful all at the same time.
Although I'm not physically pregnant, all the emotions of waiting for our adopted child have caused me to realize that we (Sol and I) are actually in our first trimester.

A friend reminded me today that ALL the paperwork - endless amount of papers/forms/letters to be written, filled out and notarized are like the ongoing discomforts of nausea, the fatigue and restless nights and the initial doctor visits, urine samples and ultrasounds within the first trimester. I'm actually starting to feel pregnant.

My heart aches for this birth mom that is carrying our child. I say this because our child may not even be born yet. In addition to all the pregnancy symptoms that an average pregnant mother experiences, I can imagine that she must be fearfully anticipating where her baby will go after he is born. We are excited to adopt this child and embrace him as part of our family, but what about his birth mother? My emotions are mixed.

Before we started this adoption journey, Sol and I always had a heart to open our home to another child/children that need a home. We always knew in our heart that God would someday allow us to participate in this amazing journey. And here we are.
We're ready to embrace the challenges and unknowns that lie ahead.
God is writing our story.
Ethiopia... here we come!