Monday, March 28, 2011

Waiting, Packing and Hurrying

There's alot a ridiculous amount of stuff going on around here.
We are packing for Africa.
We are packing, presumably for 4 weeks.
We are packing for a baby whose weight hasn't been measured lately, whom we have never met before.
We are preparing an entire nursery here at home simultaneously, because I feel quite certain the very last thing I will want to deal with when I arrive home bedraggled and nesting with a new baby will be decor.
We are finishing up our entire homeschool year for the same reason.
We are stocking up on medications, diapers, donations for the caregivers, baby clothes of various sizes,
 non-perishable snacks, Flagyl, fiber, and money.
We are writing notes to the boys to open while we are overseas without them.
We are making a will.
We are meeting with our Pastor to seek final counsel and stay centered.
We still have to get our last set of fingerprints done and get our I171-H from U.S. immigration.
We are making arrangements for the dog in our life.
Oh, and he needs a haircut.
Oh, and we need Andrew to buy a suit for court.
Oh, and we need formula for Rissa.
Oh, and Mylicon and Teething Tablets and oh - how do I do her hair again?
Oh, and about a million other things that swirl around fighting for first position on the To Do Lists in my brain at all times.

I think most of my dearest friends believe I have forgotten how to use the phone
since I never return calls anymore.

I think we MAY finish Luke's school by April 15.

I think we MAY be flying to Uganda on April 18.

That's TWENTY-ONE DAYS from today.


So yes - lots of things to tie up, lots to still accomplish, lots to look forward to.
The most challenging thing?
Staying in the moment.
Remaining here, mentally.
Refusing to agonize about challenges, trusting the Lord enough to let Him anticipate them for me.
Thanking Him.
Even for glitches.
It's been the theme, thanking Him.
It's the most intense mental battle of them all.
I love Jesus Calling and have needed to hear what it has had to say lately:

*March 5 = "Learn to make friends with the problems in your life."
*March 6 = "Continue on this path with Me, enjoying My Presence even in adversity."
*March 11 = "As you take steps of faith depending on Me I will show you how much I do."
*March 12 = "Waiting, trusting and hoping are intricately connected like golden strands interwoven to form a strong chain."
*March 26 = "Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in anticipation of what I will do."
 (and the kicker this week:)
*March 25 = "Let thankfulness temper all your thoughts. A thankful mind keeps you in touch with Me."

I am learning to wait, pack, hurry and wait and pack some more.
And be thankful.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Into the Dark

Okay - stay with me here.
First, we'll set the stage:
 it's 6AM. a few mornings ago. it's dark.
Ethan is up with Andrew and I.
It's almost-quiet in the house.
Coffee perking.
Troop whines around, asking someone tall to take him outside.
Daddy concedes, heading out the back sliding glass doors into the dark, humid, crickety world.
He beckons: "Ethan, want to come with me?"
Ethan is almost 4.
He has to stop first, true to form and tell me a few sentances before he can follow Daddy.
While he stammers his important words to me, his Daddy has gotten farther away into the dark.
He runs to the doorway to the open abyss of the dark morning backyard.
"Daddy? Who are you?"
"Adorable", I muse. "He said the wrong word. 'Who' instead of 'Where'."
I can barely make out Andrew's voice in the grassy distance but it's enough for Ethan.
He runs headlong into the dark.
And then I hear the Lord's whisper to me:

"Ethan didn't need to know WHERE His Daddy was.
He only needed to know WHO His Daddy is."

It's a light bulb moment.
I myself want a map for our future.
I want to know where my foot will fall is solid.
I want to know WHERE God is - WHERE we are going as we follow Him.
But God wants me to know WHO He is - WHO I am.

Why won't He just tell me, for Pete's sake?
Why can't He tell me when US Immigration will be completed?
Why won't He tell me when our court date will be?
Why won't He tell me myriad other details now?

Because...then...why would I listen for His voice in the dark?
Why would I run headlong into the dark?
I know me:
I wouldn't.

Friday, March 18, 2011


If you live near us, you are in LUCK!

 is a fund-raising arm of one of my favorite ministries for Uganda,

Sixty Feet's mission is "to bring hope and restoration to the imprisoned children of Africa."
They aren't kidding.
That should be an oxymoron, an impossibility, your basic implausible nightmare
but it isn't.

Many children in Uganda find themselves in Remand Centers there, imprisoned with almost no food, shelter, health care or adult supervision.
Please read about what Sixty Feet is doing in Uganda here.

As a family, we are going to be
selling CUPCAKES to raise awareness and moolah for Cupcake Kids on
Tuesday, March 29th
in our neighborhood.
All proceeds will go directly to Sixty Feet to help the orphans of Uganda.

We really want to participcate before we go to Uganda ourselves and bring our Rissa home.
Anyone else in?
Here, wherever you live, or another date?

Jump IN!

Start baking now!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

US Immigration? Music to my ears

This morning at 1:45AM U.S. Immigration texted me.
I heard: DING! DING!
I'm out of bed, bleary-eyed and stumbling and widely awake.
I read:

"Dear Applicant/Petitioner:
Your USCIS application/petition has been received and routed to the National Benefit Center for processing. Within 7 - 10 days by standard mail you will receive your official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with your Receipt Number."


 This means that Mama and Daddy have one more step to go! One more clearance! One more appointment! One more set of fingerprinting! And when they approve THAT we are outa here!!!!!!!! One more box to check, one more paper to wait on after this is done.
We are coming, Darling Sweet Precious Baby Girl! It's happening!
Thank you, Jesus!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Not Rescue

"She's such a lucky little girl."
"It's so cool that all these little brown babies are coming home to American christian families."
"You guys are saints."
"Better you than me, I guess."
"How great that you are rescuing her."
"She'll have such a better life now."

I hear these things daily.
Many times daily, in fact.
They are well-intentioned.
Not mailicious.
But they pinch something in my heart every time.

I also get:

"Do you know what you're getting yourselves into?"
"Don't you hear all the horror stories about how adopted kids end up?"
"But you already have three sons."
"The paperwork is so daunting."
"The process is so expensive."
"Don't you know they are just trying to get American dollars into that country?"
"What if she's not perfectly healthy?"
"What if it messes up your own kids?"
"Can't you do in vitro?"
"Can't you get a surrogate?"
"Don't you know that children are available here in the U.S.?"
"Don't you know that country has an ugly war-torn past?"
"Won't your extended family be terribly taxed because you'll ask for their help?"

As a rule, I don't answer most of these statements when they are presented for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes I don't know what to say at all.
Sometimes I am a little flabbergasted.
Sometimes, like when people differentiate between my "own kids" and "her" I realize
"They don't get it. Nevermind."
and I move on.
And sometimes it's just no one's business.
We are learning how to navigate these comments.
It's strange to argue compliments from people whose eyes glaze over as they confusedly say:
"That's great. You must be really good christians."
It's not simple to explain why we are doing what we are doing
and that's why that conference I went to in February was wonderful  -
250 women who do life like I do - all together, being weird together.

I'm not going to argue each statement up there but
I will tell you this much:
Yes, we've researched.
Yes, we've read lists of books about:
the process
conspicuous families
the trauma for adult adoptees
our child's birth nation
inter-racial adoption

Yes, we know it's expensive. But God provides. NO question.

Yes, we are thrilled just to have another of "our own" kids.

Yes, it feels like when we were pregnant with each of the boys.

Yes, I see her face and know I'd die for her.
Yes, it's great she's coming home and hopefully she'll have a happy, long, beautiful life.

But that's not the point.
Not even close.
If that were the point we wouldn't probably go to all these lengths. NO ONE would. It's hard work, the adoption process.
Adoption doesn't make your life more comfortable or more easy.
So if our lives are about the pursuit of ease and comfort, it's counter-productive to adopt children.
But our lives are NOT about the pursuit of ease and comfort,
these little lives are about the pursuit of Jesus.
We follow Him.
He leads us.
He is leading us to our baby, born in Africa.
The child we need who needs us, too.
We are not saving her.
She is not in her caregiver's home in Kampala dreaming of
White American Rescue.
I'm not going to heal her broken heart with my good intentions and money.
She's not a brown baby doll.
It's not "so cool" that we are being all inter-racial.
She's my DAUGHTER.
Given by God to the two of us, same as her 3 big brothers.
She's my daughter.
She's not charity.
Nor consolation prize.
Nor a mission.
Nor personal soapbox.
She's a baby.
My baby.
Adopting her isn't my version of doing poor Africa a favor.
Adopting her is the best idea God has ever given us.
No matter how she "turns out."
No matter what color her skin.
No matter how healthy she is.
No matter the cost: emotional, financial, physical.
She doesn't have to repay a debt; she doesn't have to feel grateful; she doesn't have to feel white; she doesn't have to act right to prove we succeded in doing a good deed; she doesn't have to earn her way into this family.
No more than her brothers do.
You know how you feel about your kids?
That's how this is for us.
She's one of MY 4 kids.

We follow Jesus.
He had our child born in Uganda.
So we are all Ugandan now.

*Need some biblical inspiration, by the way?
Thank you, John Piper, you magnificent creature.