Monday, September 29, 2008

A Mother...

"A mother is likened unto a mountain spring that nourishes the tree at its root, but one who mothers another's child is likened unto a water that rises into a cloud and goes a long distance to nourish a lone tree in the desert."
~The Talmud~

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sesame Street, Sickness, and Sewing

WARNING: This is a very random post. There is no rhyme or reason to what is shared below...simply a post of the random things of life in our home.

Well, our home was recently hit with unknown sickness. Poor Boo got hit the hardest with an extremely high fever and small tummy upset. She was so pitiful. This was her first time being sick and she really was an easy patient. She drank her activated charcoal which quickly took care of the tummy problem. The fever has been a whole different story. It just keeps hanging on. Boo is a trooper though and dutifully takes her meds while watching copious amounts of Sesame Street. Since there are only a few songs that she likes and that we approve of...the Major and I have caught ourselves singing them throughout the day. Suffice it to say, we can now count to four while singing about chickens, penguins, and monsters.

Here are some pictures of our sweet sick girl:

Drinking her activated charcoal

Such a sweet face!

Resting on Daddy's chest...her favorite place

Watching Sesame Street on Mommy & Daddy's bed

One other random thing that I am totally stoked sewing table! I was perusing Craigslist last week as I normally do and came across a beautiful desk that would fit perfectly in our room and work as my sewing table. We got it for steal and now my sewing machine has it's own little corner and I can actually use it to my heart's delight! I can't wait to get started since I have several projects waiting for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Seeing Jesus

Every once in a while I'll have a moment where the Lord just steps in out of the blue and opens my eyes about something. I confess, it is not as often as I would like...I think some of that is my own fault for not being more aware of His presence and the multitude of lessons He has all around me. For some strange reason though, I got it this time. I heard and I am still pondering. And just to make sure I got it...He set me up with an experience last night that just emphasized what He has been saying to me. Bear with me as I try to explain it all.

I just finished reading Ted Dekker's Circle trilogy: Black, Red, & White. It's a great trilogy to read if you have the time. Anyway, one of the challenges in the book was a struggle between those in "the Circle" to see Christ's Bride in people of "the Horde". The Horde is stricken with a disease that makes them smell horribly and causes their skin to turn white and fall off. Not a pretty picture. One character in particular goes through a struggle to convince the others that their view of the Horde is wrong...they should be seeing them through the eyes of Christ as part of the Bride He is trying to woo. I won't tell you the end of the story, but I will say I was convicted that too often I allow myself to be put off by the outward appearance of those I come in contact with. I only see their "disease". I rarely view them the way Christ does. It was hard to admit to myself that in this way, I was acting very Pharisaicle. (is that a word?)

As I pondered that the last week, the Lord brought in His second lesson and it dealt with our adoption. As we initially discussed our openness to specific children and medical issues that they might have, we looked at it from a very practical view point. We're missionaries and probably won't have the ability to handle some of the special needs children like those who are HIV+ It made reasonable sense at the time. Then God...stepped in and questioned me. Why was I willing to accept any child with any challenge He might send me via my womb, but I was so quickly setting boundaries on the children He wanted to bring us via adoption? It was a smack in the face. We hadn't really taken time to ask Him what His opinion was in this situation. We just assumed He would see it our way. So, I tentatively asked Him what He thought...

"Whatever you do to the least of do to ME."

It broke my heart and even as I write this brings tears to my eyes. How did I miss Him so easily?! He was standing there in front of me all the time. Those children are His bride just like me and even more powerful...those children are my opportunity to serve Jesus. As I open my heart to them and their pain, I am opening my heart to Jesus, to embrace HIS heart and HIS pain. What an honor! I was floored. The next day, I discussed what I had been shown with the Major and we have begun a season of prayer to discern how the Lord wants us to move forward and what openness HE wants us to have...not necessarily what openness we're comfortable with.

But what about the practical side??? Yes, I can hear some of you asking that with great concern in your voices. I asked Him the same thing...and His response silenced me.

"Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Light."

He assured me He would provide. If I gave birth to a child with diabetes,there would be no doubt that we would find a way to provide the needed medicine and care wherever we were in the world...why should it be any different with a child that comes to us through adoption? God withholds NOTHING from us who have come into His family through His children, why would we act any different?

The final lesson came via an experience we had last night. We had taken a crew of the cadets contra-dancing for the first time. For those of you who haven't gone before, contra-dancing seems to draw in some pretty interesting characters...people who most of us would probably never talk to or avoid at all costs. Word got around quickly that we were from a Christian University and I was very aware of the huge witnessing opportunity the cadets had that evening. As the evening progressed, I was very disappointed in their actions. In fact, I was so disappointed that for the first time, I pulled the group aside and gave them a very harsh chastisement. They were to be Christ that night...and their actions were more like Pharisees. Where was the humility? Where was the principle of seeing past the outside? Where was Jesus? Jesus not only hung around with weird people, but HE reached out and touched the most diseased. They had not left the scent of Christ...but of judgmentalism and arrogance.

As I drove home alone that night thinking about what I had just said to the cadets, my heart became soft again as I realized I wasn't alone in the car. Jesus sat next to me with a small smile on His face.

"You're getting it daughter."

"Am I, Lord? I know what you're telling me and yet I'm still nervous. I'm still afraid to reach out and touch them. I know I will when the time comes, but I'm afraid I won't do it in love, but only out of duty and obedience to You."

What He said to me next nearly broke me right there in the car:
"You will feel love, my daughter....because you will be touching ME!"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

10 Months of Joy!

Pvt Boo just recently turned 10 months and we are amazed at how fast the time has flown by. She has changed so much from the little preemie we brought home almost a year ago. She was such a serious little baby and is turning into a joyful child whose miles light up the whole room. She is now crawling all over the place and pulling herself up on everything. She babbles alot and is definitely trying to communicate with us. She loves her Daddy and goes crazy the minute he walks in the door. We so grateful for her presence in our lives and love watching her grow into a godly woman.

We've been in touch with Boo's mom and are starting to plan her first birthday party. After alot of prayer, I decided to allow her mom to do most of the planning. In our discussions it has become really obvious that this is extremely important to her. I want this to be not only a good memory for her, but also for Boo to look back on. We won't always be in proximity to her mom and I want them to build as many moments together as possible. It will also provide a great introduction to the extended family. I am nervous about meeting them all, but I'm trusting the Lord to go ahead of us and use this time to give us more insight into Boo's history and another set of family members to love. Keep praying for this...Open Adoptions are so unique and each one is its own set of unchartered waters. I am learning as I go and praying like crazy that our decisions not only honor God, but are healthy for all parties involved.

Here are some updated pictures of Pvt Boo for those who are far away:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Paper Chase...

Well, we finally received all the necessary paperwork needed to begin our next adoption. I am always amazed at the sheer volume of things that need to be filled out, copied, ordered, and notarized. It is moments like this that I am grateful that God has blessed me with a level of organization and a husband who is also extremely organized.

Speaking of the Major...I am watching him through the window trying to study Greek and Hebrew while keeping an eye on Pvt Boo playing in her baby pool. Not sure if he's having success or not. She seems to be splashing him too much and keeping his attention. He's such an awesome Daddy!

OK...back to topic. Paper chasing. It's quite an exercise in patience and planning. It is also loads of fun for those of us who love to check off lists. I get excited when I'm able to add one more piece of paper to the pile and check it off the cover page. Once you have the whole pile assembled, there is a huge sense of accomplishment and joy as you realize what a major step you've just made towards your children.

We actually have 2 different stacks of papers that I have to assemble. One is for our new homestudy and the other is our dossier for Uganda. The homestudy paperwork isn't new to us and is actually moving along fairly quickly. There isn't nearly as much needed this time around as we did for Pvt Boo. The dossier, however, is a totally different story. Goodness! we have quite a ways to go on that one, but thankfully some of the stuff overlaps and it too shouldn't take too awefully long to complete.

Timing is everything for us right now. Our goal is to have our paperwork finished and sent to Uganda by the first part of April 2009. This would have us traveling sometime in May or June to bring our kids home.

For those of you who have asked about the process, it goes something like this:
  1. Complete Homestudy (the end of December)
  2. Submit I-600A to Homeland Security to get permission to bring the kids home. We should receive an answer from them in 60-90 days.
  3. Submit dossier to Uganda government and NGO. (Beginning of April)
  4. Once our dossier is approved, we will receive a referral (picture, names, and description of the children we're adopting) This usually only takes 1-2wks.
  5. Upon acceptance of the referral from us, they will submit the paperwork and should have a court date for us in less than 1 month.
  6. We scurry to buy tickets and head to Uganda to get our kids. The Major will have to be with me for at least the first week. I will then stay another 2-3weeks more finishing paperwork with both the Ugandan government and also the American embassy.
  7. Bring our children home for good and officially adopt them here in the States. (we are only given legal guardianship of this children while in Uganda. The adoption does not take place until we return to the States.)

So, that's a quick update/overview of where we are in the overall process. Keep in mind this is Africa and anything can happen. It will be an adventure and we are truly looking forward to it! Thanks for all the encouraging words and support.

Live Brave!