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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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.” 

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

Ukrainian Host Child Incoming – 6 days?!

I wanted to share what we have learned about the Ukrainian boy, named V, who will be joining us for the holidays… IN 6 DAYS.

This is the bio we received:

  • “V – he is 6. Very calm and quiet. Was really shy and scared of camera. He likes cats more then dogs. Little dogs he said are ok, large are not. His favorite food are meat, cot lets, sausages, hotdog sausages. Likes snow a lot. Doesn’t like heat. Likes to play with cars. No sibs.”

How cool does he sound? “Doesn’t like heat?” Picked the right time of year, bud. “Scared of the camera?” Not for long! “Likes cats?” Got ya’ covered.

Just in case you’re interested to see how we will be structuring our days during the visit, I’ll share our tentative “schedule.” One thing we hear again and again about children coming from orphanages and hard places is that structure and predictability are necessities. To be fair, I’m sure even the most privileged among us can admit that when our routine gets thrown out of whack we have a difficult time being sanctified (read: we become major whiny douchebags), so how much more important must it be for a child who is accustomed to a strict routine back home, who is surrounded by people who are speaking a weird language, whom he doesn’t know from Adam?

This plan may or may not change depending on his temperament (Disneyland is a BIG undecided), but we are grateful to the Wright family for sharing their schedule with us (They hosted a little girl this past summer) and giving us some extremely helpful wisdom:

Vitalii Vitalii2

So, as you can see, there is quite a bit planned on the calendar, but there are also a lot of free days that we can spend playing around the house and keeping things low key. We are incredibly grateful to those of you who have been willing to let us borrow things to make his stay comfortable, encouraging us with prayer, and being available to us for help with translation. Who knew so many of you speak Ukrainian or Russian or know someone who does? That is really cool! If you are free on one of our “free” days, and would like to stop by, please just let me know and we can figure something out… Unless of course it turns out he REALLY doesn’t like new people, in which case, Jason and I might be entering hibernation for the next month. 🙂

So, a big thank you for your support. We love you guys. If you’d like specific things to pray about, here is a (brief-ish) list:

  • That the 3 full days of travel that V and the other children will undergo on their way to America will be peaceful and that they would be able to find time to sleep.
  • That the children visiting who are available for adoption (or will soon be available) would find their forever family while they are here.
  • That the parents hosting children would be able to share the love of Christ with these kids, so that they know (maybe for the first time) that they are worthwhile, loved and incredibly important, and that there are people in the world on their side.
  • That Jason and I would manage to adjust to this little person well, and that we would be able to simultaneously love him and look forward with patience to the arrival of James.
  • **Added 12/14 – Hey! Remember that time Danielle pushed a cart around Walmart and Target back-to-back during the holiday season, and then in the car on the way home couldn’t resist the bag of chips she just bought and thought that a squirt of old hand sanitizer would do the trick? No? Well, it happened and now she is sick. Please pray for health in the house… soon?

Are we needy or what? 🙂 The next time we post will probably contain photos of V’s arrival (we have signs to decorate!), so stay tuned for awesomeness.

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!