Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Ark

Something struck me last night as I was reading to the boys out of our favorite family devotional staple,

We were reading about Noah's Ark.
This version is your basic re-telling, beautifully written ~ that's all.
But something occured to me as I read aloud.

Noah had never seen rain in his lifetime.
But he built the Ark anyhow.
He was doubted and mocked and misunderstood but he OBEYED God.
Even though he could not FATHOM what rain was, let alone imagine it covering the entire Earth.
Then he did something so tremendously simple and completely profound.
He got in the Ark.
BEFORE it started raining.

Just to be clear, it hit me that:

He built it.
And he got INTO the Ark and got closed in completely
BEFORE it even started raining.

There was no "proof" God would send water from the heavens.
This impossible, imaginary, unbelieveable fact that RAIN WAS COMING was enough to
change
 his life, his convictions, his status in the community, his reality, his family, his home and his future forever.

Noah could have refused.
Noah could have complained.
Noah could have procrastinated.
Noah could have waivered.
Noah could have doubted.
Noah could have run.
Noah could have become disillusioned.
Noah could have become discouraged.

But instead he got in. BEFORE it rained.
Imagine what he would've missed out on .

This is so profound to me because oura family is closed into our Ark.
And it's not raining yet.
There's no PROOF that all will be well from now on, endlessly perfect here in our home.
We have to look friends and family in the eye and bear a burden of PROOF that we aren't damaging our boys,
aren't risking the end of our Happy Family Life.
We then turn to our Lord, in silence and together in harmony and ask Him to answer that same
thing to us.

Here's His answer:
"Get in the Ark.
I'm sending rain."

I don't think you can consider yourself a good parent if you don't wrestle with these things.
You must.
But I will promise you this:
 Once you agree to build it, get in and watch the door close behond you?
Fear evaporates.
It's us and our big, big God.
He is PROOF.









Ethan "After"

Ethan "Before"

Graham "After"

 



Yours Truly


All the boys are fast asleep in swim trunks under those towels!



EVERYTHING's a competition

Racing with Papa


Racing


with Mimi at our beach

Classic Pose  - Using Troop for an Ottoman






Typical afternoon in our den



Our boys at EPCOT



Light-Saber fighting with Candy. Awesome.



Light-Saber fighting AND mugging for the camera. True Talent.


Faux Pouty-Face



Friday, February 18, 2011

So Here's the Deal

Sometimes when great  amazing things happen you can wrap your head around it.

Sometimes...not so much.

Sometimes you are prepared to be shocked.

aaaaaaaaaand sometimes you are knocked over the head, tumbling around in a silly daze, wondering "what just happened"???

Sometimes when you are witness to a miracle you think somehow, quietly:
"Yeah - I'm sort of not at all surprised."

aaaaaaaaaand sometimes well...you are surprised.

We have been surprised.
If a baby fell out of the clear blue sky into our living room, we couldn't BE anymore surprised.

Actually: that's almost what has happened.

Beginning of January ~ we sent papers to China.

 by Mid-January~ all of that was over. China had requirements we could not meet.
We would not be adopting from there.
We wrote about that here.

Late January~ by the time that last post was written, we had already been
invited by one of the agency's who had gone to bat for us to consider another program.
Uganda.
Uganda.
Uganda.

****Light Bulbs!****
All those blogs I loved!
All those people I had been following!
All the people I blog-stalked who had kids from Uganda!
My sister had been to Uganda and immediately I remembered all the pictures I had seen her bring back...
all the stories...
all the faces...
and we started to fall in love with it.
A place we could visit to our hearts' content in years to come.
A place that welcomed Christians to adopt.
A place hungry for the Word of God.
A place we could pour back into in years to come, where our child could retain roots.
****LightBulbs!****
Sense entered the scene.

So I went to the conference.
Feb 4-6.
It was so, so GOOD.
Fellowship, teaching, information, sweet worshipful times.
Just Wonderful.
I met tons of cool gals.
One cool gal I met was named Arlene.
Arlene lives in the same town as me.
Weird.
Arlene says: "Oh, I know Someone Else who lives in our town.
She adopted from Uganda, too."
Cool.
I get the Someone Else's name.
(We'll call her Gigi.)
I get home.
I call Gigi the next day.
"Hi", I say into her answering machine, "I'm Esty and I'm hoping to adopt from Uganda.
I heard you had adopted from there. Let's be new BFF's."
(That was the basic gist of it anyhow.)
Gigi calls me back.
She's skeptical.
Why was I calling her again?
Who had given me her name?
What about Uganda?
"Oh, ummm", I stumble, trying to keep it breezy, "You know, I met Arlene, she said to call you so..
you know, I am."
Easy Breezy.
We talk.
Gigi shares finally that she's not only an adoptive parent.
She also knows of a little girl in Uganda who needs a home.
The little girl is 2 years old.
She's available for international adoption.
She's truly orphaned.
Gigi has been waiting for God to lead this little girl's family to her for 2 weeks.
And then I called.
Gigi wants to know if we are interested.
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
(insert dumfounded look here)
"We want the child who needs us as much as we need her," we say.
Gigi tells us "Just Pray. And I will, too."
We pray.
"God? We've never had neon lights from you before but this would be a great time. Right, God?"
The next day we talk lots more with Gigi.
We tell her "Yes, we are feeling like we will want to move forward but can't see pictures, can't know details about her, are having a hard time committing to an abstract thought"
At the end of all the talking, Gigi shares:
"Oh, by the way. She's not 2 years old.
She's TWO MONTHS OLD."

DONE and DONE.
Just like that.
Done.
Suddenly I am terrified someone will get to her, scoop her up and take her away from us.
How fast can we get to her?
Who cares if she's healthy?
Who cares what she looks like?
We have found the child who needs us as much as we need her.
So, our daughter has come to us.
Out of the clear blue sky, it seems.

She is OURS
It's unorthodox.
It's literally the Fastest Home Study on the Face of the Planet.
It's Lightening Fast.
Nothing will motivate like an infant who needs you!
We have 1 excellent reason to HURRY UP.
Our little girl is waiting.
It's not a question of "if?" anymore but "when?".



...........however, here's the thing.
It also feels like being in an OB waiting room with alot of pregnant ladies who are all in their 3rd trimester and I'm about 45 minutes pregnant, surprisingly being the one rolled back to the delivery room.
It's not at all equal.
Prospective adoptive parents do alot of comparing - it's all we have to guage a "pregnancy" by since there's no growing belly.
How do you quantify "waiting"?
How do you make it "fair"?

Answers?
You just can't.

Next week 2 things will happen:
#1): Our Home Study (everything collected about our family thus far) will head>>>>>
to Texas
for US Immigration to clear us to bring home an infant from overseas.
#2): Our Dossier (fancy name for Home Study + a bunch of other stuff about us) will head>>>>>
to Uganda
for our Ugandan attorney to get our case ready and prepare our little girl's passport to come home to us.

If you are excited for us:
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Now start praying!)

If you are feeling resentful of us:
We get that. It's totally allowed. Been there ourselves.

If you are confused about all this:
That's okay, too. It's cute.


-----------------whew. That's one heck of a story. And it's the Reader's Digest version!
If you read it all, you get some sort of Blog Reader Award.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Too Much

What to say.
whattosaywhattosaywhattosay.
~~~hmmmm~~~

Well,
My Sons, My Little Girl ~ your Mama is simply at a loss.
Normally I need words to spin my thoughts into a storyline.
And right now there are too many words
and too much storyline.

So wonderful.
So very, very nourishing.
Plus, it was about a thousand lifetimes ago.

Everything has changed.
Everything is different.
There is a drumbeat in my heart rushing me forward now that can't be ignored.
I. Know. Your. Name.
I know your name now, my little girl.
I know you are ours.

Last week I was a Mama wondering where you were....
and now I know your name.

"I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me." *Isaiah 45:4

 I haven't seen you.
I haven't held you.
I haven't kissed your face.
But I know your name.

I will get to you as fast as I possibly can.

For now there are no more words because there is too much nervous joy to let me exhale it all
and there's too much work to be done  and too much to hurry to accomplish to stop and explain and too much to trust only to Jesus.

But me and your strong Daddy, your loving big Brothers, your huge waiting family:
we are racing to you, my little girl.
~~~~~~~~~~~Running.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Packing

All sorts of packing around here this week.

Packing for a wonderful girls' weekend north of Atlanta this weekend,
~~~an adoptive Mama's dream~~~
a conference devoted to all things adoptive parenting like:

*Attachment 101
*Adoption Right From the Start For the Little Ones – (Birth to Age Four)
*Post Adoption: Joys and Challenges
*African-American Girl's Haircare
etc,etc,etc

and lots of  laughing, crying, staying up late and chocolate! fellowship

or

as Andrew refers to it:
"Lots of 'Babies, babies, babies, DESTINY!, crying and Babies.'"

Either way, this weekend arrives in a timely manner.

After a rollercoastery month of disillusionment this conference is refreshment for me.

So, I have been packed for 2 days am packing and heading out in the morning.


Many folks have spoken such love to Andrew and I the last few weeks, walking through the discouragement with China with us faithfully.
MANY times people have encouraged us that our daughter is out there.
Affirmed that we will bring her home.
That God has a plan.
Yes, that's all true.
But
there are times when it has not felt true.

Some days I have felt other people were more certain than I was that she would ever come home.
That she will be a reality.
Convincing words only made me wonder.
As sure as I am that we must obey God and keep walking
one...foot...in front...of the other...
I have felt in some moments unconvinced that this would all end with
a daughter.

maybe we are just obeying to obey
maybe it's a trick
maybe obedience will not pay off
maybe this won't work


After all, In the Wilderness,
 The Promised Land was always around the bend in the road
but some Israelites never entered in.


Maybe. that's. me.
????

And THEN, I heard something wonderful.

"When you need to find faith?
PACK. IN. THE. WORD."

It's got to be willful. Intentional. Forceful, even.
 So we've been packing.
Some days every few hours, deliberately going to the Word, looking for the Lord
knowing that
*Jeremiah 29:11

So, we've been packing.
Packing bags, packing in scripture, gearing up for the Journey ahead.
Stay tuned.