This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Perfect Provision

When we made the decision to follow God's lead from El Salvador to Brazil, our family coordinator at AWAA let us know that there was some risk involved.  There was the risk of time that comes with not knowing exactly how long this new program will take before our children are home with us.  There was a financial risk that comes with switching from one program to another and having to update documentation and agree to a new set of costs.  He wanted to be sure that we were aware of the risks and were willing to accept them along with all the other unknowns involved in being a pilot family.  We were.  We knew that God had all the time in His hands and that His timing would be perfect.  We also knew that if He called us to adopt our children from Brazil, He would make a way.  

He is making a way and is once again blessing us to see his hand as it works for His glory and the benefit of our family.

After talking through all of the expenses associated with the Brazil adoption program with Ryan (the family coordinator) yesterday, we discovered that all of the fees we've paid to AWAA for our El Salvador adoption would indeed be transferred to the Brazil program... (here's where it gets good)... leaving us with a $1200 credit so far.  That means that when we submit our updated dossier this summer, we will only have $600 to contribute at that time. 

Today when I checked the mail, I had 2 paychecks from work.  One was for some part time hours I'd done a while back (and had forgotten about), and the other was my first summer paycheck.  Since teachers are 10-month employees, the district allows us to stretch our pay over 12 months, but does not continue to take out union dues and insurance fees.  That means that summer paychecks are always a little nicer.  

Between the two checks, God provided just exactly enough to cover the $600 program fee and the payment to our social worker for updating our homestudy.  

The point of this story is not a lesson in personal financial management or budgeting, but one about God's great grace.  He continues to open our eyes to the ways that he continually provides for us and cares for us.  What is $600 to the Lord of the Universe?  But to us, this miniscule blessing is enormous because it shows us that God is faithful and that He will bring our children to us, and that He is taking care of them even now.  

There will still be international and in-country expenses when we accept a referral and travel to Brazil, but God has already provided a grant from Shaohannah's Hope (which will pay about half of the international fee), and we are sure that He will continue to provide what we need to bring our children home.

He has it all in His hands.  

He always has.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Just missing you

Well, it's starting to settle into our minds that we've really switched programs and that we are now, officially, in uncharted waters.  I really wish I had a due-date now more than ever.  Having gone through this process to switch to Brazil has given us the most firm assurance that we are, at this very moment, in God's plan and in His Will.  Having such a confidence of being a part of God's forever-plan almost makes it harder to wait.  Our children ARE waiting for us just as we are waiting for them.  Knowing that they are most likely out of infancy and even the toddler years has ignited in my heart a real and strong yearning to mother them.  Several of our good friends (Lydia, Kristin and Michelle) often remind me that I am a parent and I do have children (Kristin even went out of her way to wish me a happy Mother's Day last month), but I am missing out on mothering them until they finally come home.  

I know God is still preparing us to be together, and with the new urgency I feel, I have been mindfully preparing myself to parent our children.  We've been reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart," we ordered Rosetta Stone Portuguese, I've talked with my principal about getting my children into my school when we return from Brazil, I've joined a Fitness Boot Camp to try to help myself create some healthy habits, Michelle and I are going to start meeting as Spiritual Sharpening Partners, and we are re-reading the Gospel of John along with our house guest, Su Jeong.

And still I don't feel ready.

Our new social worker, Mary-Beth Dobmeier, met with us to update our homestudy report.  She asked us, "What do you think your life will be like when you arrive home from Brazil with your two children?  How will you do your grocery shopping?"  What she wanted to find out, I think, was if we have done some thinking about how we will manage our everyday lives as parents.  Truly, I have no idea what our life will look like.  At this moment, all I want to do is hold my babies.  Just hold them very tightly and not let go for a long long time.  I want to hold them on my lap and snuggle during a movie or a story or the quiet evening while we learn each other's hearts.  

I don't know what it will be like to go grocery shopping, but I hope it's fun.  I took my two neighbor girls home from Drama Club practice the other day and stopped in the grocery store on the way home because I needed some fruit... and so that I could try it out.   The trip was successful, and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to handle it.  But what about if my beloveds wake up with bad dreams, or miss their home country, or express their grief by lashing out in anger, or fall and hurt their little knees, or have trouble in school, or get frustrated about not being able to communicate in our English-speaking world, or don't know how to receive our love?  Will I be able to hug it all away?  How long will it take before being held by mommy or daddy quells the cares and worries and tears?

Being so sure that we are where God wants us makes me feel that we are one step closer to our children.  And it makes me feel a little more impatient.  

And I miss them.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Suitcase musings.

My mind works best in the practical, tangible, feet-on-the-ground sort of realm.  It's hard to think concrete thoughts about our family, our children, or the way our life will be when there are still so many unknowns.  Who are our children?  Where do they live?  How old will they be when they come home with us?  What do they like and dislike?  What has their life been like so far?  What stories will I read them and what stories have they been read?  

With all these practical questions yet to be answered, my mind tends to wander to things like my suitcase.  What will I pack in a suitcase for a 6 week-long trip to meet my children for the first time?  What what size clothes to bring for them?  What toys will they enjoy playing with?  How will we keep them content and occupied on the plane on the long trip home?  These trivial, practical questions are the ones my mind keeps shifting back to.  

It doesn't matter, I tell myself.  The things I bring are not going to make a difference in the lives of my children.  

That realization brings to the foreground many more questions--somewhat harder to grasp ahold of.  How will we communicate with our children?  What will we say?  Will they be excited to meet us?  How long will it be before they love us?  Will they always lean on each other for support and strength, or will they learn to run to us their us for shelter?  How will we experience Brazil together in a meaningful way?  How will we continue to experience being Brazilian once we arrive home?  

The truth is that there is not one question on this page that I know then answer to, and if I did not know that the Lord is in control and that He alone is the creator of both the Universe and our family, I would be petrified.  This is not an easy life that we have chosen.  There are probably at least a thousand more questions that haven't even occured to me yet, and I don't know the answer to those either.  The one answer I have is that God has chosen our children to be a part of our family.  He has chosen us to be a part of their lives.  We will do our best to honor His call to love and parent those He will bring to us so that their lives will one day reflect His Love and Grace.  That will be a gift that cannot be packed into a suitcase.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

God's plan does not change

This I know to be true:  God is always moving.  Most often we don't see it, but he doesn't stop orchestrating our lives and all of Creation for His glory just because we look away.  Every so often we can see the shadow of his omnipotent hand moving through our lives in ways that reveal little bits of His glory and little bits of His sovereign plan.  

That's why this is a pivotal post.

We have known for a long time that God has called us to adopt.  For over a year, we have been on a path toward adopting our first child, trusting the Lord would bring us together with our child in His perfect timing.  We have been waiting along with other America World families in the El Salvador program.  That was the right place for us to be, and this week we found out why.  During the past year of waiting, God has grown and shaped us into who He needed us to be in the moment we were presented with the opportunity to switch from the El Salvador program to a brand new one in Brazil.  And we switched.

But God's plan for our family did not change.  It was our hearts that changed.  As of today, we are no longer waiting for a toddler from El Salvador.  No, God has more for our family.  

We are now waiting for two siblings from Brazil!  

We do not know who they are yet, but we are beginning to update all of our paperwork to submit a new dossier to Brazil.   Hopefully, within a year's time, we will be traveling to Brazil for 6 weeks and coming home as a family of 4!  

God is good at abundance, and he is good at preparing us to receive his riches.  His plan never changed.  It was the hearts of His servants that changed.  What a blessing it is to be open to the leading of the Lord.  His plans are perfect!