Saturday, February 22, 2014

2 Less. 2 More.

He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it.  
1 Thessalonians 5:24

For nearly 2 years this verse has been hanging on our refrigerator.  Along with Hebrews 6:19 [We have this HOPE as an anchor to our soul], this verse has brought us so much encouragement over the 3+ years we have been in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.  
We knew God called us to adopt, we knew He lead us to Ethiopia for a reason, but honestly, sometimes that reason wasn't very clear, it seemed far away and at often times  felt like our child would never come home. 

At Created for Care I tried to explain to people that while I was full of hope for our family, it was not in the adoption process but in Him.  The pain, the losses, the extended time lines left me with a guarded heart and a guarded approach to our wait.  But my hope, that was renewed in Him.  
I truly believe that was a place I needed to get too.  Do I think we were still waiting because I may not have been 'there' yet?  Absolutely not.  But I know I needed to get there.  
Where flesh and heart may fail, God never will. 

So our bucket of hope was filled, our tambourines were ready to praise him but we were ready to continue waiting. On Tuesday (February 11) I attended our agency's monthly Webinar where our continue to wait was confirmed.  A new timeline estimate of 4-6 years waiting was given by our case workers.  We were already in 29 months so my mind immediately went to the possibility of waiting 19 more months.  Ouch!  That was a lot for my heart to take in.

Matt was spending the week out of town for work so we still hadn't had the chance to really talk about what the estimated 4-6 year wait had to do with us, with our family when everything changed.

My mom had taken the day off of work to come with me and Gabe to his doctor's appointment.  We were treating him to a Valentine's Day lunch at Chick-fil-A when my phone rang.  
Portland Oregon. 
My phone read Portland Oregon but having just updated some paperwork with our agency I answered with no expectation of it being "the" call.  Our caseworker "T" introduced herself and then asked if it was a good time to call.  In that same breath she heard how loud it was on the other end of the line and commented on the volume in the background.  I told her we were eating lunch and asked "is this a good call?"  T replied, "This is the best call you are ever going to get!"  

And it was.

We had just promised Gabe he could play in the playground area at Chick-fil-A and I knew Matt was en route in an airplane at that moment so I asked if I could call her back in an hour.  I had one last question though and her answer "two brothers, ages 6 years and 8 months" rocked my world.  Hysterical screams accompanied hanging up; my mom finally realized that it was THE call and the people at CFA began giving the crazy lady a wide berth [Smile].

One hour turned to two as Matt landed at an airport and I brought him up to date.  T called, she conference called Matt in and we began the official call that would turn our family of 3 into a family of 5.  It turned our only child into a little brother AND a big brother.  That single phone call rocked our world and changed our lives forever.  

Our boys are 6 years old and 8 months old.  They are absolutely perfect (doesn't every mother think that) with the most beautiful smiles and the most captivating eyes.  In an instant they turned from orphans to beloved sons and brothers.  They are loved.  They are wanted. 
We have now begun the paper chase and a new wait; a wait to bring them home. 

Our sons! 

The red hearts that cover their BEAUTIFUL faces are part of protocol that dictates we aren't allowed to share identifying information about them publicly until we are officially their parents. However, if you see us in person we will gladly show you all the photo's we have them, probably before you even ask!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"the story is not over yet"

For the past two years I have had the privileged of going to the Created for Care conference in Atlanta. The mini sessions provided allow me to work on my skill set needed as an adoptive mom, the main sessions provided an opportunity for God to pour much needed refreshment into my soul and the camaraderie of being with like-hearted women; ones who know the song in my heart, sing it with me when I'm weary and dance alongside me when I'm rejoicing... well, that is just too precious for words.  
But this year, going to Atlanta seemed impossible.  That's where our story ended... where we left the one who would always hold part of our hearts behind.  Panic ensued when I waited to board the plane; how could I return to the place where my heart broke.  With encouragement from my fabulous husband and from friends who are all too familiar with the pain of loss, I boarded the plane, didn't create too much of a scene and the flight took off.  

On a side note, if you watch Friends you'll laugh with me.  I was completely envisioning a missing right phalange episode with how much my anxiety was overwhelming sure.  Surely the discreet airplane marshal was more than aware of my presence on that plane.  

But I made it to Atlanta and safely into the arms of friends who were waiting for me.  

This beautiful lodge was waiting for us.  You think adoption conference and think conference style hotel... but Created for Care treats us like royalty and brings us to this beautiful resort to refresh and reconnect.  

The extraordinary view I woke up to each morning.  Seriously who goes away for a conference and has such a beautiful view. 

The company is definitely a highlight of the conference.  Some of the most amazingly faithful and beautiful women in my life gathered together at one place.  The Lord has surely blessed me with magnificent friends during this adoption journey.  
Thankful that God placed these beautiful roommates in my path this year. 
My friend Marlisa; shining light of God.  

Heather gets my heart and loves me still!  

Hope is our anchor.  This girl is amazing!
My soul sister, Jen! No words necessary.
Adoption mama's always wear each other's t-shirts.

Super amazing girls who's faithfulness encourages me every day.

I could write for hours the wisdom the speakers impressed on my life and the truths God pressed on my hearts during this weekend away.  Instead I'll share something that Beth Guckenburger shared her first night speaking: the story isn't over yet.  Just the day before as I arrived in Atlanta my mind was overwhelmed by the way our story ended here in Atlanta.  And while there will always be grief over losing our girl last July, our story didn't end there.  Even when we can't see, even when we can't feel it or fathom to believe it our story is continuing on.  It is being written in ways we can't even imagine; there will be highs, lows and chapters left unfinished. 
But it is not over.  

When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the women were given no time to pack up their homes, their lives just moments to gather themselves and leave. 
But Miriam, she packed a tambourine.  
When the Pharaoh chased after them and they were greeted by the Red Sea, the story could have been over.  
But it wasn't.  
When the Red Sea parted and Moses led the Israelites across, Pharoah and his soldiers were close behind.  Safely on the other side, the walls of the sea fell back down and swept the Pharoah and his people away.  
The story could have been over then.  But it wasn't.  
Instead of being over, Miriam brought out her tambourine and began praising the Lord.  
Miriam brought her tambourine, not out of necessity but out of hope.
Hopeful expectation that the Lord would come through. 
And He does.
Every time. 
The story may not look the way you expected it.
But it's not over.
Not yet. 
So wait.  
Tambourines at the ready.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One More Day

One short day....

Just one more day until I hop on a plane to {slightly} warmer weather where I will be with these beautiful ladies.  Ladies who's hearts beat like mine; ladies who know the joy, loss, heartache and redemption adoption brings. 

I can not wait.  Let me repeat.  Can. Not Wait. 

This time together is going to be so good.  
Preparing our hearts to better love our children and our minds to better parent our children.  
We may be leaving our homes weary and worn but we will be returning renewed and strengthened.  

One Short Day from Wicked is playing in my mind as I type this... instead of the Emerald Village I'm singing about the Legacy Lodge.  

Eek!  So excited!

Be loved.
Be love.