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.

Summer Surprise – Hosting Part 2

We had a big, last minute decision to make.

When we discussed possibly hosting JV again, Jason and I thought we were told that he would not be available during the summer. This was good for us, as we looked ahead at the prospect of another international adoption, and as we braced ourselves for the adjustment period with James. But then, we received an email from the hosting agency confirming whether we did or did not want to host JV. That’s when we realized it was actually an option and that we had a hard choice to make (in one day).

The cons, as I saw them:

  • James is still adjusting and we are all still getting to know each other.
  • Saving for the adoption(s) is already a task.
  • This could be disorienting to have James experience being an only child, brother, only child, brother in just a few short months.

But the pros:

  • Ukraine is a hot mess right now. There is the (Lord forbid it) possibility that this might be THE chance to see JV again.
  • The boys will get to meet and we will get to love them both together for at least a short while.
  • JV will get to see his friends and family over here again and not be sent to a camp for the summer.

So we prayed, and we asked you to pray, and we asked for clear discernment and leading. We are so grateful to those of you who offered your encouragement, advice and support. Your responses were answers to our prayer, and ultimately money should not stop us from doing what feels and seems to be what we are being called to. My faith is so much smaller than I would like, or would like to think. The entire story with JV has been propelled forward by choices and people beyond our control…

And so it continues. He will be joining us all again for July(ish). Now we will pray that we can see and rejoice in God’s hand in our lives, that we are as grateful as we ought to be to Him and to you for your love and kindness, that JV is as thrilled about this new development as we are, and that James would be prepared to meet him. We are also waiting to hear back from Lifesong about a possible matching grant that would be an amazing way to double the worth of folks’ donations! Thank you for joining us during this crazy, but beautiful time.

My prayer tonight:

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” 

JV Returns to Ukraine on Monday

It has been a LONG (not-even-quite-an-entire) month. Tonight, I’m just going to post happy things, but later we will definitely be sharing the ups and downs of hosting in more detail, so that you will have a better understanding of what it’s like and what it’s all about (and whether it’s for your family).

JV has become comfortable enough to behave like a child. He is goofy, more talkative, playing imaginatively, playing WITH other children, trying new food, expressing emotions, accepting affection, and picking up language skills. These accomplishments have been a blessing for us to witness, and we have been pleased to see that he is thriving in spite of the totally crazy circumstances of his situation. Reading books about the development and special needs of children from hard places definitely helped us to be ready for certain issues as they arose, but it also made us prepare for the absolute worst case scenario and helped us appreciate how wonderful JV is. He has gifted us (and hopefully you, if you’ve spent any time with him) with eye contact, checking in, affection, sharing, “please”s, “thank you”s, “bless you”s, and “you’re welcome”s. Through him, God has shined a light on our sin, and shown us (me and Jason, that is) how easily we become discouraged, how quickly our tempers flare and how much more growing we need to do in order to be more like Christ.

One particularly cool thing happened on the day we went to Disneyland.

As you may have already read, JV was sponsored to come to the U.S. by another family, and over the course of his visit we have been trying to arrange a time to meet that family with him. It wasn’t working out for various reasons and it didn’t look like it was going to happen before he left. However,  while we were riding in a horse drawn car down Main Street, that VERY FAMILY happened to recognize JV riding past and chased us down the street. Seriously, what are the odds that that family who lives an hour away would have come to Disneyland on the same day at that same time, would have recognized the little boy they’d met once, and would have even bumped into us in the first place at a busy joint like Disneyland? COME ON. So, long story short, JV’s sponsors got to meet him, and we got to meet them, and I hope that they understand they have changed our lives. So very grateful for them.

Tonight as we put JV to bed, he cried. He knows there is only one more full day left. So, Jason and I showed him the drawn out schedule for tomorrow, and let him point at the things we would be doing together, each time repeating that it would be “Papa, mama and JV,” until he laid back in bed smiling. He fell asleep holding Jason’s hands. *heavy happy/sad sighs all around*

Image

Would you please pray that Jason and I would be calm and comforting on Monday and that from our demeanor and words, JV would be able to have a sense of peace and comfort, also? I want so badly for him to know that we are advocating for him, not sending him back by any real choice of our own, and that we are confident he will be awesomely provided for in his life. If he could just come away from this month knowing that he is so loved and not alone, and that Jesus had something to do with that, our job would be done well. More soon. Thank you all.

Hosting, Ukraine and Still Waiting for James

We have some interesting and exciting news to share with you today! Let’s try out a “past”, “present”, “future” list to make sure we hit everything…

PAST

  • November was Adoption Month, and our church reserved a Sunday to discuss our call as the Church to defend the fatherless. Many other churches participated in similar events last month and we are really excited to see how folks decide to take part in caring for orphans.

    Defending the Fatherless
    Defending the Fatherless
  • Renewed home study was completed for James! We are SO ready for him to come HOOOOOOME.

PRESENT

  • We are submitting the paperwork for immigration permission for James this week. It will be a relief to have this finished.
  • The family from church that was collecting shoes to help fund their adoption of a special needs baby from Ukraine (you may have seen me post about that on FB) is in Ukraine RIGHT NOW picking up their little girl! They have to stay over there for up to 6 weeks, so we are all praying for a safe trip and a fast return.
  • Speaking of Ukraine…..

FUTURE

  • We submitted paperwork last night to host an orphaned child from mid December through mid January! One of the dear women from our church and adoption group (whose family hosted a sweet girl over the summer) sent out an email about how there was a 6 year old boy from Ukraine in need of a last minute host family.

    Our faces when God drops things in our lap
    Our faces when God drops things in our lap

To briefly explain what “host” means: In this program, children in orphanages are sent to stay with families for a limited time, during which they are loved, learn some English, are shown the culture of America, and given encouragement and hope for their future. Some children are available for adoption, while others are not (kind of like our foster care system situation), and some families who host or simply meet the children while they are out choose to pursue adoption. Once the child returns home, they are still able to have communication with the host family, who then, ideally, become a source of support in their life.  This particular boy appears to be eligible for adoption in the near future.

So, after some debate and some uncertainty about the timing of James coming home, we called the woman coordinating this little boy’s hosting and made the commitment with no small amount of excitement. Our house is ready for a 6 year old boy and we are so glad that we are being given this opportunity before James arrives. God’s timing is always so perfect, so I’m not sure why I’m surprised that this arrangement suddenly came together after recently bemoaning the fact that during the long wait for James we could have been fostering, during a break from work for the holidays when we actually didn’t have a vacation planned, and at a time when the waiting-waiting-waiting was getting really difficult.

Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.

-Isaiah 25:1

I’ve been thanking God for this encouragement and praising Him for the good gifts that He gives undeserving people like us. I hope that you will get to meet this little guy while he is staying with us!