Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NOC !!!

Here is how this evening played out. We went to our small group - (Brad and I) and Joshua went to his small group at the church. We all had a great time of sharing life and shared prayer requests. I had two personal prayer requests -- daily exercise as a habit and word on NOC. Came home, Brad went to the computer and waiting for us was an email from our adoption agency saying.....drumroll.... YES, NOC has been issued and little Miss has her case filed in court! I looked at Brad as we read out loud the email and joy covered his face, as he laughed out loud, with a huge smile, saying, "yes!" For me, I'm sortof in shock -- but so very happy and relieved to be moving to the next step.

Someone told me that for men (the prospective adoptive daddy)...the nearer to the time of travel, the more excited they get ....while us girls have been excited all along and experience the roller coaster of emotions, while the men patiently wait. My husband has been such a calming steady force in this whole process.... he is so made for me... God knew what He was doing when He matched me with my Brad. But how fun was it tonight to see him get the news and react! I won't forget the look on his face; this made me so happy. I know he already loves her too - which I certainly haven't ever doubted ...but tonight, I got to see it in full force :)

So now what, we wait for court approval and VISA (I believe), then we get travel approval and we're there! It will still be 2012 - but that is totally ok.

Thank you Jesus for giving us this call...and seeing it through.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What is Love? Love is sacrifice - tribute to orphan caregivers.

In reading a friend's adoption post I was struck by the depth of love the caregivers must have for orphan children around the world. Just think of it, these women caring for these children day in and day out - doing all they can for them - loving them, feeding them, clothing them - providing all the basic needs - sprinkled with love and nuture on top. And then one day, a forever family comes to pick up a child and the caregiver lovingly turns the child over to the family. Now that is a depth of love that we can only imagine. These women knowing the child will have a better life in a forever family instead of being raised in an orphanage, which otherwise would surely impact the child. These ladies love - and then they send love off to live their lives, like a wounded bird that is healed and allowed to fly.

I'm reminded of Abraham in the Bible when God tells him to sacrifice his son Isaac - now certainly the story isn't the same, I know! We are not sacrificing children as the story suggests in the Bible -- but really the sacrifice was a test of Abraham's love and faithfulness. I can't help but think these caregivers love these children just as Abraham loved Isaac - but they still remain faithful in their call from God to care for these orphans, and then let them go. So they live this life, loving children, raising children, to one day see them off - never or rarely to be seen again. What sacrificial love they have - it brings tears to my eyes thinking of their hearts.

I pray I can handle our trip to India - I pray I show honor and respect to the people of India - hopefully without being a bundle of pouring tears. I am a BIG crier - I cry at church when a song hits me, I often cry reading adoption blogs, I cry when people are hurting, and I cry when people experience joy. On our trip to Kenya - I cried often - sometimes out of sadness of seeing children digging through garbage for food on our trip to the village - other times when meeting people in the village or talking to the children. My emotions seem to always be "out there" -- so I'm sure I will cry in India - I pray it doesn't offend anyone.

How do we ever express gratitude to these caregivers of our orphan children? This I pray that God will give me the words, so that when I am there I can show them how much we appreciate their sacrifice and their love for our children; for this, I am ever grateful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Great Thanksgiving Day

First time ever making a turkey - and it really turned out pretty good. My mom found a recipe in a magazine that used brown sugar, apple juice, apples, onions, and carrots. It was one BIG bird, and it all got done and was very good. I watched my diet as close as possible - eating mostly turkey, but did sneak in a few bites of sweet potato - only because I've always said I didn't like it -- but these were no ordinary sweet potatoes. Also had a couple of bites of chocolate wonder - and that's it! We had our friends over from the Congo - and also a friend from our new church. It was a great time.

Our friends from the Congo have a little baby girl who is almost two -- oh my, is she adorable! She's gotten so big since we last saw her - and she was trying to do all the things her brother David, and Joshua were doing. They had a great time with trains, and played some outside. I couldn't help but think about next year when Lauren will be home - and she and Daniella will likely be about the same size - and will have so much fun together. We ended the day with Uno attack, (Joshua won 2 out of 3 games!), then he played for a good long time with his cars... I love hearing him play alone, as he talks to his objects, hums a tune, etc. He gets so into his's as if he's the only one around... I love to watch that! More than anything, I loved watching him today with little Daniella -- words can't describe how sweet they are together -- she thinks he's pretty neat and he takes such care of her during play time, teaching her, giving her turns, and watching out for her safety - as they circle the rooms with trains. He's going to be a great big brother. I pray his patience endures when Lauren is here 24/7 -- you know, sometimes I wonder if he's so good with Daniella because he knows she's a guest. Only time will tell...but I think he will have good days and bad days with Lauren, like any sibling would. He will have to give up some attention, sacrifice for her, and give her space to learn things on her own. Now for the rest of the evening, I'm thinking of getting into PJ's and looking for some light reading before bed. Tomorrow - just might do a small, easy family hike to work off today's extra calories. We are so blessed and thankful for so many things -- we try to often give thanks to our family members and friends. Meanwhile, here are my "funny" top 10 things I'm thankful for on this very day:
10.) That I was able to send most of the left overs with other people today.
9.) That it hasn't snowed yet - you know this weather has become a crazy thing, you never know.
8.) That tomorrow really isn't Sunday already (so the weekend isn't over just yet!) -- it so feels like Saturday
7.) That I don't have company planned for tomorrow - toys are everywhere and that's totally ok with me!
6.) That Joshua hasn't thought about putting up the Christmas tree just yet this weekend - I do it, but it's not my favorite thing - I'd skip decorating all together if it weren't for him.
5.) That I don't have to weigh in until Tuesday - ugh, the little food I did eat seems to be sitting right on my stomach - fasting ahead for a few days actually sounds appealing.
4.) That I have a frozen carrot cake in the freezer for Sunday's church event, meaning -- I don't have to bake anything this weekend!
3.) That gas stations were open today - so I could get my diet coke!
2.) That the store was open today so Brad could run for disposable containers -- see item 10.) above.
1.) That there is NOTHING I need so badly that I have to do any shopping tomorrow - seems so crazy to me to sleep in a tent outside Best Buy to keep your place in line, really?

oh, one thing I am seriously thankful for this an adoption blog-girlfriend being in India to pick up their little girl! Now THAT is something to be thankful for. Can't wait to meet our little one.

Have a blessed weekend!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still no news for us....but we know of someone leaving for India very soon!

No news yet on our NOC - but there is some great news for another family. A "blog-girlfriend" is leaving very soon and will spend Thanksgiving in India to pick up their daughter! This is so exciting, we can't wait to hear about it and see pictures.

We did get to meet our agency face to face at the adoption event recently. That was great fun meeting and talking about India. She just spent most of October in India. We got updated pictures of Lauren. She looks so good and healthy. She wasn't smiling in the pictures, and I'm wondering what she is thinking, is she scared to get her picture taken... what is going on in that little mind? She looked so sweet in both pictures - they had two very cute little dresses on her - and even with a slight frown on her face...she is absolutely beautiful :)

I'm trying to keep my emotion in check -- because if I allow it, they would be spinning out of control wondering when we will pass the next stage. After NOC, is court, then travel! So it feels close, but I'm preparing my heart for spring of 2012. Adoption wait is hard, that's for sure. We can handle that wait in several ways... we can ignore it and live our life as if it's not there (NOT possible for me), we can share in adoption community with friends (this helps a lot and I love it), we can prepare (but at some point, it becomes all consuming and unnecessary fear seems to creep in), or we can talk to God (settle in with Him) - allow him to lead, ask for his mercies in controlling our mind, anxiety, fears, and sense of time (I go for this option as often as I can - when I'm reminded, often when prompted from the Holy Spirit). Oh, and I forgot one more thing, we can share adoption with people we know in hopes that more children can one day find a home. This gives us great pleasure in knowing we are on a mission - one God honors - that hopefully will draw more people to adoption. We LOVE telling our adoption story, sharing what we've learned, and learning from others. It's a special kind of community, that until you are in it -- it's hard to understand. For all our adoption friends -- we are blessed to know you -- for those we discussed adoption with, remain in prayer for God's confirmation and guidance on next steps :) -- and call us anytime!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday...11/6/2011

Little Miss Lauren-
Today is orphans Sunday...and my head and heart is focused on you. In addition to you...the other 140+ million of orphans around the globe. An event today at a local church could make such a difference in the lives of some of those children. The need is so great, but we know that our God cares for "the individual"...and that each one matters. So I'm praying not only for your quick trip home into our lives....but I'm also praying that a community of orphan children continue to grow and find forever families in our midst. We are so blessed to live in a diverse community that cares for children, orphans, and foster children. Our support group is also a huge blessing in our lives.... God is ever good and faithful.

We also are building relationships with those around us. Not merely surface relationships - but real indepth relationships of sharing life together. This brings us great joy - has been a long-standing prayer, and we are finding that God is blessing us and fulfilling this desire. More than anything he wants us in relationship -- with each other as the body of Christ, but also in relationship with Him!

As we venture out in our journey today, I pray we share it humbly, boldly, and graciously. I pray all glory goes to the our Lord and I pray hearts are moved to action -- and God's plan is set in force to care for more and more orphans. We love you, little Miss beyond words.
Mommy, Daddy, and Joshua.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It was a great fall evening.....

We are so blessed to have a great church and a great neighborhood. This year Halloween covered TWO evenings! First our church had an "open to the public" chilli cookoff and trunk or treat. It was awesome to see people come for a bite to eat and experience the love of our church. It was truly an outreach to the community - and they showed up, ready for fun, dressed up, and hungry. In typical God-style.... we had just enough food to feed all that arrived. Trunk or treat was fun too... first time experienced that..we enjoyed giving out candy. Joshua made a few rounds himself in his fireman's outfit from last year, then gave out candy too.

Then last night - our neighbors had chilli, hotdogs, sides... and after everyone ate, kids went trick or treating. We are so blessed by such kind neighbors, who really enjoy being together. We had a great night. Joshua was in heaven, he got to see his "new best friend" Trey -- his neighbor boys -- AND got lots of candy. He was so sweet, he even got to spend the last 1/2 handing out candy at our house. Best of all, the weather was absolutely wonderful!!

Had a blast....but couldn't help wonder how next year will be different with our little Lauren. :)