- I have had such a hard time focusing at work this past week. Thinking and praying about the two boys in Brazil has really preoccupied me, and I have felt so distracted from my job. I generally try to keep a healthy perspective and balance between my "work" life and my "home" life, but this feels like another thing altogether. It really puts into perspective what matters most. My passion for architecture and my enjoyment of my job are amazing gifts from God's gracious hand, but they pale in comparison to the heart He has given me for my family, my responsibility as a husband, and my desire to be a father. God, help me be a strong husband and father. Draw me closer to you so that I may be the man you have called me to be.
- I told one of my friends this week, a new father himself, that I couldn't imagine how much of a parent's day must go into thinking about their kids! I don't even know yet if these two wonderful boys in Brazil have been chosen by God to be our sons, but I can't get them off of my mind. God, you know every thought in my mind and every desire of my heart. Help me to focus on You constantly so that all my thoughts and desires will be of You, and not of my own selfish desires.
- I "miss" my children. I know, it sounds crazy, right! But I can't think of another word to use. I don't even know who they are yet, but I miss them. It's the only emotion that comes even close to expressing how my heart has been feeling. All this time, while knowing God would reveal His will in His perfect timing, I have been missing my children. And now that I have the names and faces of these two particular boys in my heart, I miss them even more. Could these be my sons? Oh Lord, I know your plan will be perfect whether these boys are my sons or not, but oh how my heart longs for them.
- I don't think I have ever prayed for any one thing so much in my life as I have for these two boys this past week. In general, I have not been the most consistent pray-er in my life, and I haven't always made a point to go daily to the Lord with my prayers. I heard someone say once, "we sing 'sweet hour of prayer,' but God's lucky if He gets even a few minutes a week." That has definitely been me most of my life. But a few weeks ago, Kim and I committed to praying daily for our children "whoever they are" each night before bed. Shortly after we started our daily prayers, we received the information about these two boys. I'm not trying to insinuate at all that our particular prayers, as an example of our own selfish works, had anything to do with the fact that shortly afterwards we received information from Brazil, but I am celebrating the fact that He frequently uses trying or difficult circumstances to draw us closer to Him. Even in the past few weeks, Kim and I have become more comfortable praying in front of each other and in going to the Lord with our thoughts--we hope and pray that, whether or not these are our sons, we will be able to keep daily prayer in our lives. Lord, help me be a strong example as a pray-er in my family, for my wife and my children. I want to have a household where prayer is a daily activity, where praising You and going to You with our joys, praises, fears, and concerns is "normal."
- At the same time I have been praying this week with very particular words at times, it has also been one of those "groans without words" praying weeks too. Romans 8:26-27 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." There have been times when all I could consciously say was, "Lord, you know my heart--please take it all." Other times, I have silently said the boys' names, held them in my heart, and lifted them to the Lord. Lord, you know my heart--please take it all.
- It's been hard to know what to pray for this week. At the same time I want to pray for the Lord's will to be done whether or not these are our sons, I also feel like it is appropriate to petition God from the deepest depths of my heart that I want to be a father to these two boys. I also know that I need to pray that God is preparing a proper home for them, whether or not it is in His plan for Kim and me to be their parents. God, not my will but thy will be done. But if You will it, oh that Kim and I could be parents to these two boys.
- Today before church, I sat down in one of the pews to pray for these boys. Afterwards, I took one of the pew Bibles out and opened it up. The first thing my eye went to was Psalm 127: "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves. Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." God, the desire of my heart is to build a household that loves and fears You. Your word tells us that children are a gift from your gracious hand. If it is in your plan that these two boys are our sons, we pray that you bring them to us without delay.
- There are a number of things in the mix that might make it seem like our petition would be denied by the Brazilian courts. As Kim mentioned, this is namely the fact that other agencies were also provided with the information about these two boys, that the referral may be quite desirable due to the children's age, and the fact that other people have been waiting longer in the system and those petitions might be given preferential treatment. It is because of all these things that, if the petition is granted, it will be all God's doing. Of course we know it's all God's doing to begin with! But He has been so faithful in sustaining us through this process because we have tried to remain focused on Him. He's led us to adopt internationally, sustained us through years of "waiting," showed us clearly it was His will that we switch countries--He was in our heart when we decided with that switch to request siblings, and He has challenged us to consider older aged referrals than we initially thought. All these things were against all odds, even "crazy"! It is for this reason that we know that, if our petition to adopt these two boys is granted, God has been using all of this waiting, this preparation, this longing in our hearts in order to glorify Himself. What a joy it would be for us to tell of this miracle! Lord, we praise you because you are a God who can work against all odds. We praise you because you are able to use imperfect people and systems and governments and actions to carry our your will. We know that your hand is in everything that goes on in this world, but when the "impossible" happens, we see your hand at work even more clearly. Regardless of the outcome of this petition, we have felt you working in our lives these past few years, and we know that you are faithful always.
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!