Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sweet, Sobbing, Sleepy Rest!

On Friday night, March 13, I was crying out to God.  I was exhausted.  I had made it two straight weeks without a day of rest and I had become sick.  My husband and I had been working extra hard toward our adoption funding, spending our Saturdays doing home improvement projects for friends an neighbors, and staying up too late to fulfill orders from my Etsy shop or planning an upcoming fundraiser.  I was too sick to fall asleep, so I sat up evaluating how to return to a state of health and balance for our family.  I turned to Scripture and God led me to the Psalms and to Psalm 127.

It is vain for you to rise up early,
to retire late,
to eat the bread of painful labors;
for he gives to his beloved even in his sleep.

Behold, children are a gift from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Psalm 127:2-3

Ha!  Vain, yes!  I had been rising early and retiring late, enduring painful labor and become sick and stressed.  But, I was doing GOOD.  I was working hard to bring Titus home.  Isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing?!  "God, I have $20,000 left to raise in about 4 months and you're telling me that it is vain and I should just go to sleep?  I've seen Your amazing provision already, so I'm not complaining, it's just that $20,000 is a lot and it is making me sleepless."  Over the course of about an hour, God revealed some priorities to me to guide the remainder of our waiting phase, giving me peace that if I keep these priorities and don't get bogged down with the things we agreed to cut out, that He will provide and I can get more sleep and be more available and productive in the most important areas.   I began to feel hopeful.

Then my cold turned into an awesome sinus/ear infection that allowed me to cuddle my kids a lot more through the weekend than usual!  I didn't do much productive, but I sure slept!  I felt like I was keeping my end of the deal pretty well.  

On Monday afternoon I came home and stopped by the mailbox to find THIS!

Sobbing-on-the-kitchen-floor, crazy disbelief, weak-kneed gratefulness.

While God and I were having our Psalm 127 conversation, this letter was ALREADY in the mail on its way to me. God knew.  I had no clue, but I was trying hard to trust in all the assurances He was giving me.  Once again, God is right.  He provides even while we sleep.  This child we are working hard to ransom, he isn't our child, but God's.  Getting to be the ones to love and raise him is a gift from the Lord.  Seeing these miracles of God's provision is a gift.  It is humbling to be on this journey, seeing God's hand in all the details.  

  We are still not fully funded, but this grant brings our earn/save/raise goal down into the teen-thousands.  That sure feels a lot better than $20,000!  Trust us, you'll know when we're fully funded by the large amounts of confetti,sobbing, and screaming.  

In the meantime, take a sneak peak at our upcoming fundraiser!  We've partnered with an adoption fundraising foundation called Both Hands.  Next month our family and a team of friends will be serving a widow by completing home repairs, improvements, and maintenance.  All the supplies will be donated and 100% of the proceeds will benefit our adoption.  (click logo below for project page link!)  If you're local and interested in joining our team, please contact me!

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Countdown Begins!

We found out today that as of last Tuesday, March 3, our dossier was logged in to "the system" in China!  In adoption lingo, this is considered the status of LID.   Hooray!
LID is significant because it means that our hard copy of all our precious papers made the long journey across the ocean and on to someone's desk.  It is also the date used to calculate the average wait until we receive our "Letter of Acceptance" (LOA), China's final approval of our match with Titus, which gets the ball rolling for our travels!  

Typically, the time frame from LID to LOA used to be about 90 days.  However, since the computer upgrade in January, the wait has been cut to an average of 50-60 days, with some people getting a freakishly quick acceptance at 28 days!  From LOA to travel is usually about 8-10 weeks.  So, we're looking at about 4-6 months until travel.  There is always a lot of language like "usually" "sometimes" "average" "about" "approximately"  when we talk about timeframes with international adoption.  So, while we now have the date that we count down FROM, we don't know the date that we are counting down TO.  So actually, I guess we are counting up instead of counting down.  Either way, each day is a day closer to the day we'll meet Titus, which will be his LAST DAY as an orphan.

Never missing a chance to make myself laugh, I thought the phrase "put a lid on it" was very fitting for this time.  The English euphemism basically means to be quiet.  Quiet is a whole lot of what we'll get during this stage of the process.  So, until we receive that prized LOA, if you ask for an update we might be able to tell you if our documents are finished being translated, but other than that there aren't a lot of little steps at this point as far as anything official.  We won't hear anything new until we suddenly BAM!  POW!  SPLAT!  have the LOA.  

We will not, however, be "keeping calm".  This will be a very busy season for us as we work hard to earn and raise and complete more grant applications for the completion of our funding.  We will also be "nesting", getting our house ready for a new little one and making sure we have everything we'll need for his arrival at home (which, right now is a lot of deep cleaning and purging unnecessary items!)  More importantly, we'll be preparing our hearts and our children's hearts to bring him into our family.  This has been happening all along and we are being very intentional about including Titus in daily conversation, talking about expectations and difficulties we may encounter, role playing situations that the kids may experience with their new little brother.  We are also spending extra intentional time enjoying our children and family as it is now, for when change comes, it will be big and fast!  We are spending time watching excellent videos that were provided to us by Show Hope, which cover topics like attachment and bonding, sensory processing disorders, caring for and disciplining children who may be coming from a background of abuse or neglect, and other important things for adoptive families to be aware of.  Once the LOA arrives, it is a frenzy of signing and overnight shipping documents, applying for visas, tracking flight prices, choosing travel arrangements, guides, and itineraries, requesting appointments, etc.  

AND, with our LID comes the privilege of requesting an update on Titus!  We get to send a list of questions to his orphanage and they'll answer what they can, as well as give us his updated sizes.  And with updates come PICTURES!!!!!!  and hopefully videos!!!!