Monday, August 27, 2012

Blessings in the Midst of Discouragement

"Try not to be discouraged.  There is a big picture here, that we can't see.  Try to remember that things are going along with a perfectly orchestrated plan by the One who loves you more than you could ever know.  Your little girl is STILL coming home!"  This text message was a reply by a dear friend who was one of the first to hear our news.  On August 23 we had a conversation on the phone with our agency about the matching process.  We were upbeat, excited and enthusiastic as we shared with her how happy we were that things were moving so swiftly.  Then she delivered the news we weren't expecting. At all.  We assumed that when we were officially logged in to the Chinese system that we would automatically be matched with Mei Mei out of a list of files in their system.  We assumed wrong.  "The lists are smaller than they used to be", our agency told us.  "We have an average of a 3 month wait now". There are other factors that play into this, giving the possibility of a match much sooner, but she wanted to prepare us for the worse case scenario.  Our hearts went to our stomachs.  Kris could no longer talk and had me finish up the conversation.  Does this mean we won't be able to get Mei Mei as soon as we thought?  Her reply was "Let's just say about 7-8 months for now".  I wanted to cry.  So did Kris.  I waited until he went back to work to share the news with family and close friends.  That is when my friend texted me.  I broke down.  I ran to my room, closed the door, and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father.  This is my journal entry that day:

"Why should I be discouraged?  When things don't go to our plan, in God's "story" they are still perfectly on schedule.  I can't try to take the reins off God's timing.  One month (until matching)?  Two months?  Three? Four?  Waiting until May to travel?  Going by myself?  He has it in His hands.  He knows I must trust Him and run to only Him when I'm discouraged.  Mei Mei, God is holding you tighter than I ever could.  Why do I want to pry you out of His sovereign hand and take you home earlier than He wants?  You are His creation, treasure, and as much as I selfishly want you home with me soon, He must be trusted.  By both of us.

Since that note, we have received unexpected blessings.  This picture is of the biggest flower my flower garden has ever had.  I didn't even know this variety was growing in my flower bed this year.  Overnight on Saturday it bloomed, and as I ate breakfast I gazed at its marvelous beauty.  One large flower doesn't seem like a big deal, but to me it was as if God was reassuring me.  Be prepared for unexpected big blessings.  Today we got an email.  Our log in date was supposed to be in two weeks, but it came today!  We can officially be matched now.  However, we were again forewarned that it takes an average of 3 months to be matched with a child.  Then I received another email.  The list of new orphans registered as available for adoption comes out one night a month.  TONIGHT IS THAT NIGHT.  What could this mean?  Why were we unexpectedly logged in on this same day?  Could it mean nothing?
God is able.....
Will He?  We don't know.
Can He?  Of course!
We only want His will to be done.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Milestones From Above

July 3oth. I was watering flowers.  Kris was casually getting the mail a few yards away. As he glanced through various envelopes,  I'll never forget the tone of his voice when he looked up at me and said "Is this what I think it is?!"  It had only been 31 days since we had sent our immigration request to U.S. Homeland Security for approval to adopt our daughter from China.  The average time for approval is 2-3 months.  He and I tore into the envelope and my eyes found the words "approval notice".  We jumped up and down and cheered!  I immediately called our agency to tell our facilitator the great news.  She was shocked as well and told us to fax it immediately.  She would begin processing all of our documents that same day.  We started figuring out dates, months remaining, and embraced as we realized that our daughter may be home only 12 months after beginning the process!  That's not the end of our good news this month.  Our agency told us "It will take three weeks to process, then 3-4 weeks to get logged in through China when your documents arrive".  One week later, we received an email.  No, it won't be 6-7 weeks until you get matched.  You just had another two weeks shaved off!  God is so good.  In less than four weeks we should be getting matched with our daughter and finally lay eyes on her precious face.

What will she look like?  Will she have hair yet?  Will she be smiling in her picture or look sad?  Will she be walking yet, talking yet, have a mouth full of teeth yet?  Will she be shy or outgoing?  Will she love hugs and kisses, bedtime stories and getting into her jammies?  How will she feel in my arms?  I often notice when holding girls that they "feel" different from boys.  What will it be like to rock her to sleep, to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and kiss her forehead each night after praying over her?  Will she like hair bows, dolls, and princess dress up clothes?  

The days pass quickly as we wait.  Our lives are always in fast-forward mode as three energetic, curious boys preoccupy my daily life.  They are enthusiastic about learning in homeschool and love cuddles and story time.  I cherish those times, because soon they will be spread thinner by Mei Mei (pronounced may may, meaning little sister). And sooner than I want to admit they will no longer be little.  I won't refer to our kids in general as "the boys" anymore.  My shopping won't be just in the boys' section at Christmas time.  Matching outfits on holidays will become a little more interesting, and getting ready on Sunday morning for church will become much, much longer (whew).  

It is so apparent that God is already blessing.  We have received so much encouragement from dear friends and supportive family members.  I love affirming remarks from those close to us and opportunities in the community to share our developing adoption story and how it is similar to how God has adopted His children through Christ.  How much easier will it be to share of God's amazing goodness when Mei Mei is with us!  Nevertheless Satan tries to quench those feelings of hope with his arrows of apathy or avoidance in others.  He never gives up trying to hurt or discourage, but "...greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).  

Our next post will be when we are matched.  I will not share details about our daughter due to security, but what I know I will be sharing is the joy that will be in my heart!  Please continue to pray, please continue to encourage us and others you know who are either prospective adoptive parents or just those with a love for orphan care.  Please don't forget the need: in China alone there are over 700,000 fatherless children.  Mei Mei is just one of them.