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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.

Pray with us- January 17th

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Pray with us- January 17th

Will you pray with us? We’re designating Saturday, Jan 17th as a day of prayer for our adoption. We would love for you to agree with us in prayer that day, and perhaps fast with us if you wish.

Things we are praying about:

  • ARC (Adoption Recommendation Certificate) from Uttar Pradesh to be filed
  • NOC (No Objection Certificate) to be filed
  • Our case to go to court/to get written orders that she’s ours!
  • That Mercy is being loved and cared for in her orphanage.
  • That Mercy is attaching/being loved on by an Ayah (her nanny)
  • That Mercy grows strong and healthy. She was born prematurely and has been listed as ‘failure to thrive’ on early paperwork.
  • For our family: that our hearts would remain hopeful! For our posture in waiting to bring Him glory.

Our family word for the year is “HOPE.” It was so hard to choose that. I kept hearing it everywhere I turned the first week of the year, but my heart has been so discouraged. I feel like I’m running a race where someone keeps moving the finish line. I believe and know that God has Hand on this whole process. It is hard to understand why we are nearing 6 1/2 years waiting, but I choose HOPE. I choose FAITH in Him and in His ability to bring this to pass in a timing that will give HIM Glory. Even at the expense of my sanity, some days. Thanks for loving and supporting our family through such a wearying journey to add a longed-for child to our family.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. -Romans 5:5 (NLT)

Thanks all.

-Sarah

Those who sow in tears…

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Those who sow in tears…

Shall reap with shouts of JOY. I like this translation (English Standard) of Psalm 126:5. I like the visual of SHOUTS of joy. Can’t wait to shout with joy!!!

What are you sowing in tears right now?

Mine are falling easily today. Shedding tears as I long for my daughter to come home.

Listening to some good Jesus-focused music while I’m holed up in my room for a few quiet moments alone.

(A Little longer – Bethel/Jenn Johnson)

-and-

(Lord I need you- Matt Maher)

To be honest friends, the wait is getting harder and harder.

How long, oh Lord?

I have well- meaning people tell me that it will all be forgotten once I hold her in my arms… I don’t know about you, but I don’t forget pain and longing after the longing is fulfilled. You do look back and thank God the pain is over though. This grief is shaping me, friends. I’m mindful of a word study I did a few years ago about wadi formation.

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(Photo credit:in2jordan.com)

‘A wadi is a gully, streambed, or valley which is characterized by being extremely dry. Geologists believe that features like wadis were formed during periods when water levels on Earth were markedly different, and that these valleys were probably carved by streams and rivers which later dried up.’ (From wisegeek.com)

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(Photo credit: omantripper.com)

I feel like the tears, longing and waiting have produced a wadi in my soul. Something beautiful, but haunting, that shows clearly where the tears have flowed as I’ve prayed for and longed for Mercy to come home.

Thanks for your prayers and love on me while I walk this valley of waiting. I wish I had fun, upbeat posts to write- but for now, the agony of waiting continues. No new info. And the ARC we are waiting on is ‘supposed’ to take 5 days for special needs adoptions- according to the guidelines. We are in month 6. No word.

Believing He is GOOD in the midst of this. Just LONGING for progress and to be able to scoop her up (legally!) in my arms!

Can’t wait until I have GOOD news to shout with JOY! And I think it’s fun that I blogged on this same passage in July of 2008… A month before we applied to adopt a little girl from India!

http://unfamiliarpaths.com/2008/07/12/we-were-like-men-who-dreamed/

Paperwork is on its way back to India!

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In the timespan of 3 hours, we: received word that the paperwork had arrived, signed it, notarized it, and delivered it back to the agency!!

So, when our Indian adoption counterparts on the other side of the world arrive back at work tomorrow, our paperwork will be sitting in their inbox (and on it’s way by mail).

Yay!!!! Thank you for praying!

6 Years Pregnant

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6 Years Pregnant

Well friends, I’ve been paperwork pregnant for 6 years with our sweet Indian daughter, Mercy. 3+ Weeks ago the orphanage let our social worker here know that they need us to re-sign all of the paperwork that we signed back in February. They said they were sending it. By snail mail. It hasn’t arrived yet.  

We scrambled this summer to re-do our dossier because they lost it, and now we are waiting to re-sign the ‘we want to adopt this child paperwork.’ We don’t know if we’re back to square one with accepting her referral, have a chance of losing her referral, or what exactly the status of this process is at this point. It feels super scary, like an adoption miscarriage… like I’m bleeding and don’t know if I’m going to lose the baby or be ok. I’ve been there before with a biological baby, and I know the heartache that is miscarriage. I can’t fathom going there again after being pregnant for 6 years.

Just voicing my fears, friends. 

A sweet mama at the park asked me today if I would like to adopt more after we bring Mercy home. If she had asked me that 5 years ago, she would have gotten a resounding “YES!” But today, I hesitated and said I didn’t think I could do this again. The wait has been agonizing.

Please pray, praying people. I don’t even really know what to tell you to pray for, but the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth- so pray that He will guide you in prayer for Mercy. For our family. For her orphanage and all of the people over there with influence in our adoption case/process. We have seen God’s faithfulness and leading in so many ways, but as with everything in life, that does not mean the road is smooth, the process goes quickly, or any of it makes sense. It just means He is with us. And for that I’m grateful.

 

My practice of patience

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Practice. Not ‘to do something over and over again to get better at it.’ Instead, it’s more like ‘actively engaged in a specified career or way of life’ (like a physician’s practice). Patience is seeming more like a way of life to me now, than an isolated exercise.

We found out this week that Mercy’s orphanage is requesting that we re-sign the paperwork that we signed 6 months ago.  They already had us re-do our dossier because they lost it. Now they are asking us to re-sign the paperwork that we already signed 5 months ago (because I’m guessing that was lost too?). I was under the assumption that the paperwork was making its way through systems and desks getting the next approvals we have been waiting on. But I was wrong.

I’m having a very hard time with this. The grief is palpable. It could mean that once we get all this paperwork in, things go swimmingly and bam,bam,bam things are done and moving forward. But based on the fact that I’m 20 days away from the 6 year mark in our wait for a daughter, I’m skeptical. Very skeptical.

The verse I’m clinging to that I read this morning is “Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles ONLY at your word. I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure. Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. I long for your rescue, Lord, so I have obeyed your commands. Listen to my prayer; rescue me as you promised. Let praise flow from my lips,for you have taught me your decrees. O Lord, I have longed for your rescue,and your instructions are my delight.” -Psalm 119:161-163, 165-166, 170-171, 174

A sweet friend emailed me this very timely verse this morning: ‘And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.’- Philippians 1:6 AMPSo, He will do it. Even when I doubt. Even when I fear. Even when I can hardly lift my head to look to Him about it— AGAIN.

I have been reflecting over the last few weeks. I had a friend dedicate her sweet adopted baby boy at church, and another friend finally get to go pick up her longed-for daughter in India (a family who has been waiting alongside us for YEARS!). With the baby dedication, I KNEW I had to be there. I NEEDED to be there. So even though we had gone to a different service, I snuck in right before the prayer, bawled and prayed, then snuck out and found tissue.

I had to question the Lord about the true state of my heart. Was I jealous? Was jealousy the right word for what I was feeling?

The salty tightness of tear-stained cheeks… The joy of watching another family welcome a child through adoption is tinged with grief.

Grief, not jealousy. Its more guttural than jealousy. Not bitter like jealousy.

Longing.

Hunger, to hold her in my arms.

I felt it whispered to my heart that it’s an act of worship, to humble myself, in my sadness, and rejoice with another in their joy.Will I still weep tears that salt my cheeks and sting my heart AFTER I have her in my arms? Will I weep those tears for all of the children who do not have someone pining and longing for them? Will my heart be broken for the nameless ones who have no one to hold them, feed them, comfort their fears, clean their wounds, teach them to read, hold them ‘just because’ they want to be held?

(Sigh)

Will life always be joy mingled with sadness? Are they meant to be two sides to the same coin? Until heaven at least, I think maybe so.

We have our Article 5 letter!

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One step closer! We received notice this morning that the US immig. office wrote our Article 5 (permission to proceed) letter! So, next what we need is for the state of Uttar Pradesh to issue our SARA approval (ironic, I know… There is already SARAH approval- but we need SARA and CARA approval next). We are waiting for CARA approval followed by a paper called the No Objection Certificate (NOC). Each of these things are ‘supposed’ to happen quickly. I think the official verbage on their website says it should take 5 days… but it seems most families lately have seen it take more like 5-6 months.

Please pray with us that we get CARA and SARA approval- as well as our NOC. Lots of abbreviations! I’d love to go get this little cutie and bring her home soon!!!!

Thanks for your prayers and financial support! We have received 25% of our goal through the https://www.adopttogether.org/mercy page.  We’re also gathering stuff for another Adoption Fundraising Garage sale as well! We have some very generous friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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