Lord Willing: The Time We Didn’t Get What We Wanted

I should have been using that expression more frequently.

“Lord willing.”

But here we are, 5 days after our (host) son should have arrived and 2 days after we learned that he will not be coming this summer, barring the miraculous. It seems our plans and prayers were not in line with His will. However, (thank goodness there is a “however”) it seems we are catching glimpses of what His will may be, and we are grateful. Saddened, and frustrated, and hopeful, and PISSED. And grateful.

So, here is the story with as much detail as I can really give in such a public way, so that you can be praying alongside us for our boy:

Rather than being placed on the plane to come stay with us for the summer, he was shuttled to a camp. There is one person that caused this horribly disappointing thing (for our boy, and for us) to happen. He can potentially interfere with the adoption and we have reason to fear that outcome. Please pray that our sons’ hearts would be protected (especially our (host) son), that this person would be dealt with swiftly, that Jason and I would be ready to step up in whatever way we can, that we can protect future children and families from this person, and that the adoption would be successful. Ultimately, we are praying for good to beat evil in this battle.

This has opened our eyes (wide, WIDE) to the urgent need for advocates and families willing to defend the fatherless. We knew it existed, but now we are on fire. So, please, please, please consider how you might begin to or continue to care for orphans-

otherwise Jason and I will have to adopt roughly 200 kids and live in a shack.

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A Lot and Not a Lot – One Month Later

If this is a paper pregnancy, are these contractions?

James

A few weeks ago, we received James’ birth certificate and documents that detailed the termination of his birth parents’ rights. Reading the story and seeing in black and white that his mom had relinquished rights was very hard (even though we knew that had taken place before, it just became very real and very, very sad) and both Jason and I had a difficult time imagining all of the hurt that is wrapped up in this situation. James’ history, the details of it, are something that we won’t be sharing freely, out of respect for him. That sort of thing is his to share at some point when he is ready, and we will just keep things very general if asked.

Receiving the documents indicated that the “To Whom it May Concern” letter (AKA the letter we have been waiting on for like a year) was on its way as well, and we were informed that it arrived today! This means we can have a more firm expectation (rather than total guesswork) of traveling by/in April to pick up our boy. *big sigh of relief* Granted, the political climate is turbulent, and a lot can happen in two months, but our case worker seemed to think this would be a reasonable timeline.

Between now and then, our i800 form is being submitted to the US, the US will approve and send that to the US embassy in Bangkok, the US embassy will send that to the DSDW, some other paperwork needs to be given to someone during this time (thank goodness our case worker knows what is going on), and then, once the TRC is notified, we get to choose a travel date and go. Please be in prayer, if you choose to, that our patience tanks would be refilled, that James would be well cared for and safe in the time that remains, that the violent unrest in Bangkok would result in good progress for the Thai people and that everyone involved in the processing of orphan paperwork around the world would HUSTLE.

Bangkok, Thailand

JV

Due to the nature of Ukrainian adoption/hosting policies, we will need to share any info on JV in person. Just ask 🙂

Thank you, dear friends and family.

Kiev, Ukraine

Another Reason the Video was Awesome

There is one thing lately that has become very apparent about the adoption process; if viewed from a particular angle, it makes you desperate for heaven. ‘Desperate’ in the “on your knees, begging that today would be the day that Christ returns” sense of the word. It’s been two years for us of planning and dreaming and praying and waiting and joy and sadness and doing well and failing, and in the last few weeks, I think I’ve finally started to see things with a better perspective.

How could this adoption story not remind us of our own adoptions through Christ, by which those of us who trust in Him have been saved from the punishment we know we deserve? Out of so much brokenness, He is redeeming the situation and knitting us together with someone we haven’t physically met.

When we received the video of James, a realization brought me great excitement. I had been dreaming about what he might sound like, how he might walk, what makes him smile, and so on. I had read his paperwork and seen photos, but it isn’t quite the same, right? Hearing him and seeing him was so much better than I could have expected. It was incredible. How much more incredible will it be to touch him and talk to him and look into his eyes?

And how much more so with Jesus?

How much more incredible will that be? We read His word and talk to Him and receive leading from the Spirit; how much more to actually touch Him and walk with Him and see Him with our own eyes? I can’t really begin to fathom it, but seeing the connection in essence of waiting to meet our son and waiting to meet our Savior has made me desperate to know.  I love this renewed and expanded excitement. I’m thankful for the ways adoption has drawn us closer to God, through prayer and community and so on, but I’m also thankful for the ways that adoption provides clear parallels to our relationship with God.

Missed Birthdays, Waiting and Hope

What does one do while they wait for their son, as birthdays pass, as holidays march on, and as day after day their inbox provides no news?

Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Lamentations 3:25
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

Psalm 25:4-5
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry

Psalm 62:5-8
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God;he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Romans 5:3-4
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Hebrews 6:15
And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

It is so easy to become discouraged, but we are also so grateful to know that we don’t have to *stay* discouraged. We are able to move from that place of melting into the couch, doggedly refreshing our inbox, to a place of thanksgiving for the amazing things we have already witnessed and a place of hope for the amazing things that we will someday witness.

When James’ birthday passed, we sent him a card. It was so hard to pick one out(it is our first birthday gift! No pressure!!) but we settled on Superman because he is an outstanding orphan role model, and what little boy doesn’t like superheroes? The card came with a little wristband and we did our best to translate the words so that it would be easier for him or one of his attendants to read it. No word on whether he received it, or liked it, or hated it, or anything, but I pray that in some way receiving it helps him to feel loved by us already, and that he was able to celebrate his 6th birthday with increased joy.

photo (2)

In other news, did you see this? Our friend Sara Lucero and her husband have decided to adopt an infant domestically! We are very excited for them, and she started a blog about their process. Last week, she added a post in which she allowed me to answer a few questions for prospective adoptive moms. In the future, she will have other adoptive moms do the same! Sounds pretty great to me!

The interview

We are Plan B.

I love a little boy that I have never met. I love him with a fierceness that I never thought possible, and my thoughts are consistently turned to prayer as I wonder if he is eating well, growing well, learning well or making friends well. I am left to imagine what he looks like while he runs, what he smells like, and what he sounds like when he laughs, and I have no earthly idea what the answer to any of those things might be. He is the little person I want to meet more than any person on this earth, and yet, in a way, I so wish that that weren’t the case.

As much as I want to wrap this child in a big sandwich hug with Jason and bring him into our home and teach him all that we can about family and Christ and the world- I so wish his life hadn’t had to come to Plan B.

Many days, I find myself praying for James’ birth family. I pray that his mother is alive and well and that someday, Lord willing, he may have the chance to meet her if he chooses. I pray the same for the rest of his family. That one day, he will know them, at least in part but ideally in full, so that he might be able to fill in what will be to him a missing piece: a wide and empty space. Ideally, we will be able to learn more about his mother, her life, her background, so that James can hear stories and facts, and be able to love the mother and father who gave him life even though he has not known them. The most idyllic scenario, Plan A, would have involved him staying with those parents. Ideally, he would have grown in a loving home from birth, surrounded by people who look like him and share ancestry with him. Ideally.

But I know the futility of wishing and straining toward a thing that cannot be changed, and for that reason, each time I begin to think down this winding path, I end at a place of thankfulness. Thankfulness that, Lord willing, Jason and I will get to watch him grow in our home, surrounded by people who may not look just like him and may not share his ancestry, but who are dedicated to preserving his heritage, encouraging his pursuit of whatever is dear to him, helping him heal, and loving the heck out him. I am blessed to be able to stand in the gap, to love him as I wish his birth mother would have been able to, and I am thankful that God chose us to be the recipients of this beautiful gift. We get to be Plan B.

There is nothing “lucky” about the way James has come to be in our family and by all accounts, his experience will tell him it is quite the opposite. In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Though our son has come to be in our family after suffering great loss, I am confident that this, too, can be redeemed, and that God will be faithful to redeem it. So, although it is not ideal, and although I may wish unreasonably that this sweet boy would not have experienced the difficulties that he has faced in his life thus far, I am so blessed to be given the chance to love him with this surprising fierceness, and to pray for him daily until we are finally united.

Lord hasten the day.

Super Helpful Post from “The Kitchen is Not My Office”

Well, it’s official, so, now for the real work to begin!

The following link is to a post from The Kitchen is Not My Office, and seems like it is exactly the sort of stuff we are all going to have to deal with. At the risk of sounding like a killjoy right away, I’m sharing this because maybe you will want to read this and have time to consider how bringing home our James will be a bit different from welcoming a baby through traditional means 😉

http://www.thekitchenisnotmyoffice.com/2012/12/supporting-and-understanding-adoptive.html

A few of the points she touches on:

Our children are not necessarily grateful to have been adopted. 

Please don’t feed my kids. 

It is greatly appreciated if you choose your wording carefully, especially around our children. 

If you’d like to offer support (meal, help with house cleaning, etc) when an adopted child joins the family,  please do even if we don’t reach out and ask.

Please don’t try to get our child to like you the most.

Our adopted children had lives before they joined our family. 

Sometimes adopted children need to be parented differently than biological children. 

Please do not ask adopted children if they like their new parents/family.

Our children may be “delayed” when they join our family but often they just need time. 

Please do not tell us how amazing we (parents) are because we have chosen to adopt. 

We may discourage physical contact with our child for the first several months that they are home or until we feel like they are securely attached to us.

Even the happiest of adoptions are a result of challenging or difficult circumstances. 

 

He is Our Son!

Have you heard?

We have a son!

(insert an entire day of hyperventilating and alternating between tears and laughter, prayer and phone calls)

The TRC approved our family and now we will be waiting to receive a letter inviting us to come pick him up. This could be anytime between now and later ( 🙂 ) though we are told six months is an average wait. We would love to have him in our arms before his birthday in July. God’s timing is perfect, and today was orchestrated with such pinpoint perfection that we can’t even really begin to comprehend it. As we talked to Grandma and Grandpa Tucker on the phone today, Grandma pointed out that she had noticed we were trying hard to stay brave while we waited for the decision, and it made me realize just how scared to death I really was of rejection and just how much we were already in love with our son.

Now it is time for preparations, making a photo album to send him and really letting the reality of the whole thing sink in. Also, we will be praying that he is pleased with the news and that being part of a family is something he has already desired. He is 5 going on 6 and adorable and we are so so pleased that he is our SON.

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING. THANK YOU FOR ENCOURAGING. THANK YOU FOR BEING SO VERY, VERY WONDERFUL. We are just too thankful to find sufficient words. Seriously. Thank you so much.

Praise God.

It’s February 28th Somewhere

Whereas it is a bit after 9 in California, it is half past noon on the 28th in Thailand right now, and as you know, the 28th (our tomorrow and their today) is the day that the TRC board intends to convene to handle adoption related business. If all goes(went??) according to plan, they will hear our petition read once more, this time accompanied by several letters written by family and friends.  This is the yes or no on the little boy we have been praying for for these past few months.

Though it may take days or weeks to hear what decision they make(made??), it is strange to think that the outcome will already have been decided, and that perhaps, this child will know even before we do. While it is strange to think that something so important can be decided and still be altogether unknown by you, it is almost impossible to fathom how God has known the outcome since the foundation of the world. The process of waiting and hoping and praying so far has led Jason and I through what feels like a crash course in James chapter 1. Thinking back on our prayer requests, I realize we have asked not only for the well being of this boy but also for patience in the waiting, endurance for the process, wisdom to know what to do when, trust in God’s goodness and providence, humility, strength against the temptation to choose an easier route,  the ability to be good spouses to eachother in the stress and waiting, continued growth in our faith and understanding of Christ, and that we would be doers and not just sayers. Pretty spot on for James 1, right?

No matter the outcome, the time of waiting has been a strengthening time, just as other trials in recent years have proved to be.  No matter the outcome, we are thankful and grateful for the prayers, words of encouragement and shared excitement of family and friends. No matter the outcome, this kiddo has been prayed for and loved so much already and I truly believe that God has something special in mind for this little guy.

I’m really excited for whatever comes next.

A comfort

This blog, Bringin’ Home Baby Sister, has given me great hope today.  I was beginning to wonder where the other Thai adoptive families were and why I couldn’t find their blogs, when I stumbled upon this gem.

The lovely author, Jenn, and her husband seem to have brought home their little girl, age 4, this past June after about two years of waiting, start to finish.  As I devoured her posts, it became clear that she shares so many of our sentiments and frustrations, and that they finished the paperwork phase of their process in roughly the same amount of time that we did.

Now, obviously, this doesn’t really mean ANYTHING to what our wait time will be, but, still, to see that they have been down this road before us and the Lord moved things swiftly along for them…. I felt a swelling of hope in my chest.

All in Your timing. Not my will but Your will.

 

It’s still tough.