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Such a confusing time

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So the last two months have been a whirlwind of emotions and experiences.

After deciding to be unmatched, I did a crazy thing and contacted the person with the most authority (over Adoption) I could think of over in India. After more than a year of silence and inactivity on our behalf/on Mercy’s behalf, I emailed a few influential people and let them know the inconsistency between what is being said/published/mandated and what is actually happening with families like ours.

Both of these influential people responded and asked us to hang on. Three weeks passed with no word. Then one morning we woke to news that we had the two approvals we were waiting on (for more than a year). We agreed to be rematched. We never heard why we had been stuck and ignored (no responses when we asked why we had not been processed). We were hopeful again that maybe things would change and that they would move things and we’d be traveling soon! But alas, a month has passed since those approvals and we are still not registered in the courts. The courts close for their summer break on June 1st for an entire month.

As of right now, the Swedish and Italian families who are currently in court in the same state that we’ve been watching have had SO MANY court dates. I think it’s around 14… and they do not have their written orders yet.

The next steps for us:

1) Get our case registered in court

2) Get verbal and written orders from the court

3) Get her passport/get our visas

4) Travel and go pick her up!

So, we could literally be SO VERY CLOSE, but I have had my hopes dashed for so long that I don’t know what to think. Initially when we got the approvals at the beginning of May, I had hopes that we could possibly travel this summer. But since we haven’t had our case registered in court, and the court closes in 2 days for a month long summer break, I don’t know if that is even possible.

I’ve been so distracted by longing and waiting. So focused on what I can do to change things (very little). I realized that my focus lately is off. You’d think I’d have this figured out by now. :) Trying to draw back to Him in my confusion.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
-Matt 6:33

Dead things alive?

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I’m shocked and pleasantly surprised to announce that after waiting more than a year, and asking to be unmatched, we have the two state-level approvals that we need to proceed with our adoption!!! So, we are rematched with Mercy and moving forward again! 6.5 years in process and we are finally past these hurdles, thanks to the involvement of Maneka Gandhi in India on our behalf.

And as I’m typing this, the song that ALWAYS PLAYS at opportune times in this process just came on the radio at the restaurant! Again!!!
‘I have died everyday waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more… All along I believed I would find you… One step closer…’

Failed adoption?

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Miscarriage at 57 weeks? Not sure what to compare it to; miscarriage, failed invitro, infertility? I’m just trying to create a picture that other people outside of the world of international adoption can understand. 

The first time we saw her face was 582 days ago. Once they finally sent paperwork back, we signed it immediately and since then we have been in process trying to adopt her for 399 days. Steve urged that I type this all out to make sense of it. So I try. 

 Its hard to explain, but the basics of it are this: The government/judges where our sweet girl lives have ignored our case, and neglected to process things for more than a year now. Lots of people have made assumptions as to why, but ultimately (since no one will actually communicate) its all conjecture. There are rumors that the decision makers are anti-adoption. My assumption is that there is also a bit of ineptitude and overall lack of belief in the sanctity of life/family as well, but again, it’s an assumption. On top of the fact that they neglected to file/process our case (which means our name has not– a year and a month after signing intent papers– even been attached to hers legally), there are several other international cases ahead of ours that are being given court date after court date with no result (since last July) with little to no explanation why. 

 So, we felt we had to make a decision. We prayed. We dug deep. And we found peace in our decision. We met with our caseworker and asked to be unmatched with this state (and therefore the child we’ve been calling our own).  We’re so grateful for our adoption agency and all they’ve put into this effort. Constant calls, emails, and an effort to act ethically in a nation where unethical actions are more the norm than we’d like to recognize. 

 But, just because we feel it’s the right decision, doesn’t make it any easier to walk through. Bear with me friends. Thanks for holding my arms up. We are continuing on with India, but we wait, again.

 

Like A Vow that Is Tested (Part two)

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So many open ends and questions about the next step.

So we looked back.

I look to see the traced lines of His faithfulness. I see how all along, we (our whole family, not just me and my hubby) have bowed our heads and said ‘Although we do not understand what You are doing, we are continuing to pursue You, and Your dream for us. We will continue. Will will honor You in our wait. You miss nothing, Lord. You see everything.’

This was not an accident.

There was nothing haphazard about how He led us in this long, arduous, winding path. We have done our best to walk faithfully with what we have been given. So there are no ‘what if’s.’ There is no question as to the path behind us, because on that path we said Yes and we went forward with open hands.

Now there remains only a question about the path ahead of us. So, we sit down after reviewing His faithfulness. After using our hindsight to call His active involvement fully into focus, we realize that to move forward with fear of any kind is pure foolishness. The path behind us is strewn with flowers of *Love, *Joy, *Family, *Peace, *Wisdom gained, *Longing fulfilled, *Financial provision, *Grace given and received.

If the path behind us is filled with such beauty, flowers blooming in the wake of obedience; why should I look forward in fear? Why should I doubt, just because there is no light cast on it, that the path ahead is just as full of beauty and faithfulness as the path behind me that is now lit? Just because the hands on my watch are not moving as quickly as I’d like? That’s what casts shadows of fear and doubt on the future? Surely not. God is bigger than that, and so is my faith.

So we move forward in the way that we feel led. He has given us wisdom and peace in the decisions that we have made in this adoption so far, so our plan is to advance in the same wisdom and peace. Even through darkness.

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Like a vow that is tested… (part one)

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As I near the 6 1/2 year mark, I’m wavering in my faith of whether or not this adoption will actually happen. I’ve found a pretty sharp disconnect between my head and my heart. My heart says ‘No way would God have carried you this far to make it all crumble into a heap.” But my head says “You signed referral papers a year ago (next week) and they have done NOTHING with it over there (except lose it and require us to re-sign and re-acquire everything).” ***Do you hear that cynicism?

Since I find myself standing in the midst of a ‘winter of the soul,’ and I’m staring at a big, vast, blurry expanse called the future, I need something to grasp. Something to hold me to keep me steady. Some way to hold on so that I don’t either crack down the middle out of anguish –or– put it all down, telling myself I didn’t sense His leading after all…

Altars. I need to look back at the altars I’ve built, and build some more (Refer to Abram in Genesis 12). I love this article that references the WHY of building altars. In my two favorite quotes in this article, he says:

There is a longing in every human heart for where we are meant to be, but we get caught up in our notion of how it’s going to be fulfilled. When Abraham was told by the Lord he had a place, he probably imagined a verdant valley, flowing stream, lovely mountains. But the Scripture says he came into the place and there were Canaanites in the land.

Abraham’s building of the altar represents his saying: “I’m accepting a promise, understanding that this is different than what I thought it was going to be, but it’s also something that I believe God can bring to pass. I trust You, Lord, that You will make it work.”

So, today I recall His truth, His faithfulness, His vows to me. Tomorrow (or whenever I can get it all written down), I go back and point-by-point recall specific instances of His leading, his promises ushered forward, and His unmistakable presence in this whole long drawn out situation that He is weaving into a beautiful story.

“Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold
Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old
Your love is enduring through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful You have been and faithful you will be
You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing”

The beginning of this beautiful song has been resounding in my spirit all week.

 

More prayers please.

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Heard yesterday that the judge over cases in the state/district where Mercy lives is anti-adoption and not hearing cases… and that he sends them to other judges but those judges are also anti adoption. The caseworkers are attempting to go over their heads but it sounds like it’s getting messy/tricky. Not sure exactly how the legal system works over there, but it doesn’t sound ethical, does it?

We are still waiting (going on 10 months now) on a certificate from the Adoption Recommendation Committee, but hearing this about the judges makes me wonder if these judges (or like minded people) are the ones comprising this committee.(?) Maybe that’s why we have had no movement in this step.

A family I’ve met through the amazing interwebs who has already gotten their ARC certificate have had 5 court dates (another one soon), with no progress. They’ve been in the court system for more than 6 months already.

Please pray. Pray for the many cases stuck in the courts. Pray for our case to be approved for ARC so we can go to court. Pray for the workers to get the ear of someone influential who can help fight for the cases of our kiddos who need homes. Pray for the judges with higher authority to catch what is going on and personally push these cases through…

Thanks all.

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Praying again for the rock to be moved!

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IMG_5163-0As I’m praying today, I’m pondering these scriptures from this morning. I thought I would include them here as much for myself later, as for Mercy to see how we bathed her homecoming in His word and longing.

Psalm 27:13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord;be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Daniel 9:17-19 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair… We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God…”

And praying for the people handling our case: Colossians 3:12-15: mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

I’m mindful today of a story that friends of ours who live in Burkina Faso, Africa told me three years ago.

The gist of the story is that our friend described an image of something that happens where they live in Africa. Often bribes are encouraged if you want your paperwork to get processed expediently… the way that this is expressed, is that the worker puts a rock on top of the papers, implying that if you want that rock moved off, you’ll need to offer some money. Will you (figuratively) pray the rock off of our papers? :)

So, today, almost 3 1/2 years after we prayed that prayer, the figurative (or literal, for all I know!) rock is still on our paperwork!

My scripture prayer for Mercy this morning: Ephesians 3:16-20 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your heart as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his (and our!) love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within you, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

We are sitting on my bed, all 4 of us, praying for this process and for Mercy. We hit play on the Bethel worship session I had paused, and asked God to use the next song (that we had not heard yet) as a prayer for this process and for Mercy… So we are singing along ‘Jesus we love you, oh how we love you, you are the one our hearts adore… (Then he sings…) … Things that we thought were dead are breathing new life again… You cause your sun to shine on darkest nights… The hopeless have found their hope, the orphans now have a home.!!!!

Amen. Bring Mercy, Lord! Thanks for holding our arms up! Your solidarity means so much to us.

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