Thursday, April 26, 2012

Joy is always on the other side of suffering

In my Bible study these days this idea of suffering and having unjust things in your life and how we respond, is a current theme. But more importantly, the joy and glory on the other side of suffering is so very amazing.... it truly reflects the heart of God.

Well, I know God cares about even the little things in our to pass a bit of time during our wait, a “little” post on what God's up to with our family.

Joshua is on a church league soccer team. He LOVES soccer - and well, he's pretty good at defense :) - offense, not so much…. he has played for 5 (I think) seasons ... about 2-3 years. It started when he was very little ... he cried and was scared so we said, no big deal, you don't have to play... but of course he loved practice, loved his coach, and was determined himself to we let him continue (he originally didn't play in the games…but his coach was so patient and amazing and continued to love on him)...eventually opened up, came out of his shell and by the end of the first season, he and his coach were great friends and he loved it...even got a goal or two....along with chasing a few butterflies and watching and occasional train pass by .... he LOVED trains more than anything at that time.

Well, seasons have passed and his beloved coach decided to move down to coach his own younger son...back to the real little kids. So this season for the first time Joshua has a new coach. We like the coach...he's just not Coach he's a bit more aggressive in his style.... and rarely ruffles the hair of these little kids in encouragement and sometimes forgets the “good job”… even when the “job” was actually so-so :) More than anything it has occurred to me, our children do really have to live in this dark, sinful world….a world of competitive sports, yelling parents, and a measurement that says, “you are only good if you win or are the star”…… My heart is breaking... I don’t want Joshua to live in this world….but I know we are all called to make a difference in this darkness too….I just wasn’t quite ready for this reality. Anyway, Joshua has had a few tough practices and remains committed to playing soccer because he loves it so much....but meanwhile, the competition is growing.

Brad and I have been praying him through this... and last weekend, at his second game... he was great at defending and they won 5-0. We took that opportunity to let Joshua know how proud we were at his defense, but most of all how he treated his friends on and off the field. He even gave team members a high-five for their success. All the prayer and talk seems to be making a difference…..More prayer, more Jesus talk, more character building. .... just pouring ourselves into his identity that we want him to find in Christ and Christ-alone. Honestly, we are not a big sports family (of course other than watching our KY Wildcats)….so really hoping he picks up an instrument or some other hobby :)  Meanwhile, we continue to pray…. For his competitive spirit – and for the day he experiences great failure…standing by, ready to wipe the knees and tears.

So last Wednesday, going to school he decided to keep his library book, because it was a chapter book about a dog “Mudge” and he wasn't he said, "I'll renew it"... well, when he got to library time at school... seemed to be a new rule, if you don't have your book, you don't get candy.... oh no.... later that evening he exploded with sadness about not getting candy.. this little guy kept it in all day... and just stewed over it. We were shocked to hear of his days events…but happy he shared……More prayer... more pouring in Jesus....

He finished his library book Thursday night and returned it Friday of last week. So yesterday in library... new line for candy... "no candy for you, Joshua, you have a “Where's Waldo?” book outstanding"... apparently Joshua replied, “I don’t have a Where’s Waldo library book at home”…. Response “well you have one checked out”… or something like that. So right there in the middle of library …. Tears grew and grew and poured out…one of his friends a sweet little girl Joselyn handed him a Kleenex and his other friend Phillip game him HIS candy. ……. These are the details I got late Wednesday night…. Sort of by accident when Joshua let it slip he cried at school. Earlier in the evening he just mentioned needing to look for this “Waldo” book, that I knew we returned weeks ago.

Well, now he doesn’t want to take library books home… this situation has provided such negative incentives… and on the candy as a reward… don’t like it, and that’s about all I’m gonna say about that :)

P.S. on another note – I ordered on Amazon a new Waldo book today to give to the school – it’s coming Saturday and I can’t wait for the teaching moment to let Joshua know, we may not always bail him out for his wrong decisions (and we know this wasn’t a wrong decision on his part this time), but we will always support him when he has a problem and he can always come and tell us. I don’t want him to hold this stuff in…. especially if he’s feeling that something happened that is unjust.

If you’ve stuck with me this far…. Here is the good part of the story, friends….. so it’s night time…and our routine is either Brad or I lay with Joshua in his bed for a minute and tell him a made up story….about his pretend pet, “Toothless the Dragon”. Tonight was my turn, so I hopped in, but instead of a made up story, I told Joshua how I LOVED that HIS friends illustrated the Heart of God today… he and I dissected the story and agreed that Joselyn illustrated “caring” and Phillip illustrated “sacrifice”… Joshua informed me that he’s “not sure if these are on their “attributes of God door” at school”… he’d have to look because the writing is cursive and he’s not real good at reading cursive writing just yet….but he’s going to check. I assured him that I’m certain these are attributes of God.

So then it gets better…. I asked if he wanted to pray to Jesus, so He would help us find this book IF we have it… he agreed… so we started off, “Jesus, Where’s Waldo?”… he giggled and we continued to ask for the Lord’s help… then we moved on to thanking Jesus for his great friends and their caring and sacrifice today… and asked Jesus to give us the same hearts of God. I closed with Amen, …. Then Joshua picked up with the following in his quiet sweet voice, “and now we will pray the prayer that our Father has taught us to pray when he said, Our Father, who art in heaven……” and he proceeded to pray the entire Lord’s Prayer…I didn’t know that he knew the entire Lord’s Prayer!!!

Now I know these are small victories in the hard work of parenting and there will be many more ups and downs….but, if I could only tell you the joy in my heart…as I listened to his Lord’s Prayer with funny sounding “R’s” …so sweet, so sincere …….so God taught me too once again, that after the suffering, after the unjust… there is sure to be great JOY for his children who follow him in obedience, in love, and in faithfulness.

Lord Jesus – you are and will always be…. Amazing

Monday, April 23, 2012

Good Morning Little Miss Sunshine

Well, it's been about a week since our daughter has become officially ours. The excitement is still lingering... as we settle in and prepare for a few more months of waiting. But I can't help but think of her at this moment, it's about 7:00 am ... and she's likely getting up for her day. Wondering what she's up to???

Well, all I can think about is the Mandisa's Good Morning song -- love that! Especially the part that says....Morning Little Miss Sunshine. Joshua can't wait to play this song for you and dance :) - and he's not really a dancing kind of kid.

On another note - we watched Amazing Race last night - and Joshua was just sure he was going to see "Lauren" when the teams traveled through India :)

You are always on our mind, Little Miss.
Momma, Daddy, and Joshua

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Answered Prayers...she's Officially ours!

I'm at work on lunch, so have to make it quick....but JUST got an email from our JOH rep in India. The judge decided to pass/approve Lauren's case today with the scanned document! (Even though the original is in route to India ... for some reason he went ahead and approved everything)!! We are thrilled. This means the following:

1.) We are officially her parents and she's our daughter!
2.) Only 1 trip to India will be needed for us (can't wait)
3.) We get to pick her up in about 3 months (she's in Mumbai and sometimes the paperwork takes a little longer there for the court documents, CARA, and US Embassy to all link up ... so a bit longer of a wait to get that all important call that we have travel approval)

Thank you so much for all your heartfelt prayers and support .... this journey would not be complete with all of you :) - now on to the pray for travel phase :)
We love you,

Friday, April 13, 2012

Court date postponed ...

As I was expecting for some reason since I hadn't heard news earlier ......just got an email from our rep.... the court date was postponed... judge wanted to see certain documents in the original form. I totally understand... a recent document we signed was scanned, because we just received it... they got the scan copy in time for court appearance but he is requesting to see the original.

So original will be on its way to India next week...and new court date rescheduled. At this point, they don't believe we will need to appear in court - but we'll wait patiently to hear the offical word.

I trust this little timing change is all in God's I trust in Him. I am just happy to hear something - and to also get word that it doesn't seem as if we have to appear in court. At the end of all the process, is a little girl and a family waiting to be joined ... and for that I am very thankful.

No news.......

this is the part of adoption that can be really hard sometimes.... expecting news ....and it doesn't come. This is when I usually tell others, "hang in there"... "don't worry"...."you will hear soon"... it's so hard to tell yourself that.

Pray for us.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The stars are aligned ....

So excited for tomorrow's court.... can hardly contain myself. On other good news today, we received our I800 and I800A - updated approvals from Homeland Security..... now that was quick! Someone is certainly looking out for us :)

It expires in 2013... you think there would be room for another adoption before then??? Just kidding! I think our family will be complete with the four of us once Little Miss gets home :)

Had a great time sorting Lauren's clothes last night while Joshua played with her new baby doll.... unpackaging her from the box, trying on the baby doll clothes, changing her diaper, and testing the bottles. Yep, a six year old little boy was actually playing with a doll, but not any doll... a beautiful brown doll... that he pretended was his sister. He might not like this post so well when he grows up... but it was too precious not to share. You all know I'm nuts over this boy, right? Oh yea, expect the same gush over Lauren too when she gets home. So in the spirit of "wordless Wednesday" that some of my blog friends do so well. See below... you know me, I can't be totally wordless :)

Check out the bottles on the night stand, "in case she needs a bottle in the middle of the night".... tee hee... but yep, look at the deep sleep.. really, I don't think he's going to be up for any nighttime feedings. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Message to our sweet Lauren

I love having India time on our blog - because it makes it so easy to think about what you might be doing at this very minute. It's Wednesday early morning in India as I write this....and tomorrow, Thursday you will be going to court - I'm not exactly sure if you actually attend, but I know that some people that love you dearly will be going on your behalf.

Sweet baby girl - are you as anxious and excited as we are? My heart is just pounding thinking of being with you in the very near future. It's been a long wait and I'm so excited to be able to share our life together and get to know each other. Today, I got your updated medical report - and you are doing great!

Joshua is often found roaming around the house doing something that I later find is "for Lauren".... and on Easter he placed your picture on your new high chair and put the chair at the dinner table .... this was a surprise to me and brought me great joy. Joshua longs for a sibling and it shows in everything he does. He's taken on a family down the street as his siblings, as they are playing together almost every day....but I know he's really just passing the time until you arrive :)

We love you baby girl .... I pray your little heart is prepared and we find an instant connection when we meet ... if not instant.. at least one of tentative trust to begin with. We have some great things planned for you for our time in India -- mainly playing, having snacks, and just being together - but based on all I know about you... I think you're going to love it.

Be a good girl - I'm sure your care givers are going to be sad at the thought of missing you ... tell them, we promise to take very good care of you - and give all our updates so they know how you are doing :)

Mommy and Daddy .... Joshua too.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Adoption Certainly Requires Flexibility ...and Prayer

For those of you that know me well, I'm a planner. I think strategically, I'm visionary, and I plan. That's what I do. I plan out several alternatives, actions, and usually land on the best overall strategic plan. So entering into the world of adoption has had a major impact on me.... and my desire to not only plan, but my need to control my circumstances. Let's face it... in the process of adoption, we as PAPs can only control very little of this process. So I'm learning each day how to be more flexible, how to adapt to changing circumstances, and along the way, picking up a little "free-spirit" in my personality. :)

We heard from our agency yesterday..... interesting turn of events has occurred. Apparently, there was a change in Judges at the court location where our case is scheduled. The new Judge actually a Judge that previously served in this is the interesting part. He typically has not made families appear in court!.... Yes, I said that correctly, in the past...for adoptions, he didn't require families to appear. So now we don't know IF we will have to make 2 trips. Lauren's case is scheduled on April 12th (which is next Thursday).... our agency rep will be in-country at that time and so we will know soon thereafter if we have to appear or not. I'm torn, because I was all set to travel for those 3 short days, just to be able to see our Little Miss.... BUT now, if we don't have to go to court, the timing is such that we will be able to likely go pick her up a little sooner than the 60 day wait period (given, there wouldn't be a 60 day wait period if we don't travel for court). Make sense?? So in the end, I'm praying that the Judge approves the case on the 12th, and the paperwork gets processed soon, so we'd be able to go pick her up as soon as possible. This would also help Brad's work situation with the new system, and would also save us the traveling costs since we'd just have the one trip.

Either way, I can't wait to hear something on the 13th .... this unknown is growing me in ways you can't imagine... :)

On another note - on prayer, in this uncertainty, Brad and I were talking recently.... and I was like, "should we book flights anyway for this certain week... because it seems like that's when it will be??"... and Brad says, "no, we wait patiently, you never know, we might not have to go to court... I've just been praying this all works out"... and my inner thought was, "are you kidding me, we've already been told we will have to go to court, just get used to the idea we will have this extra expense and you will need to leave work a few days".... of course, I didn't voice this thought... but I was like, "he's nuts".... so now, a bit of "egg on my face", what lack of faith I have. The power of prayer is certainly essential; I find myself praying for simple things... I think I limit God is ways... praying for "good timing", "obedience", "safety and health", "patience, etc... but to pray that perhaps something would happen and we wouldn't have to go to court isn't even in my thinking to pray...since we were told we would need to do the two trips. So .... now... would all of you please pray that we don't have to go to court and our paperwork flies through the process, we get travel approval soon.... and we bring our daughter home real soon! Our God is just THAT big.

p.s. - either way, though I'm fine because I feel like I'll be seeing my little one very soon. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Life Lessons from Kentucky Wildcats Team 2012

As some of you know.... we here in Kentucky LOVE our Wildcat Basketball. Its tradition, its excellence, and its winning. The pressure these young men face in front of thousands on game night is incredible... after all, a Kentucky fan EXPECTS a win. The fans and commentators can be really hard on these guys and the coach. It has been since 1998 that Kentucky has taken the prize of NCAA champion (that's the national winner of the grandest college basketball tournament) in the Big Blue Nation - that's been a long enough wait. We've had several good teams through the years, but none quite like the team of 2012! Here are some life lessons I've taken from this amazing group of guys.

1.) When you win - be humble and gracious and always complement the competition

2.) All great teams win together in community, the best team members will sacrifice for each other

3.) When you are the star, be willing to do the little things that don't bring the glory

4.) Be confident in WHO you are - don't try to be someone else

5.) Be thankful to others around you that have made sacrifices for you

6.) Find a leader and put your trust in Him

7.) Respect authority - even when things don't go your way

8.) Have poise in the struggle

9.) Live a life "off court" that is honorable, every day.

10.) And lastly, just because you are young, or others question your ability to shine in the final hour, don't let others define your abilities ....(remembering with Jesus anything is possible)....dare to dream.

I don't know these guys personally, but all that I've heard about them on and off the court .... leads me to believe they are truly a special group of young men. I pray God leads them down an amazing journey that he has designed for each and every one of them.