Thursday, March 10, 2016

What Remains

Seven months ago we landed on US soil and Titus became an American citizen.  We were greeted by friends and family at the airport, along with exclamations like, "It must be so nice to have all your family together now."   At that time, most people didn't understand is that this moment, right here, where we walked away from the orphanage and were supposed to be so glad to be taking Titus away from there forever, I dragged my feet.
 A beautiful piece of our hearts, a piece of our family, remained behind.

When we disembarked our final plane and were greeted with shouts of joy for the completion of our adoption, we remained "in the process" - all the paperwork, the feelings of helplessness, the red tape of the process, and above all, the burden of the fees.  I wrote in an earlier post about how God provided all the funds we would have needed if we could have brought them home together.  All that had remained between Mei and our family was our agency's unbending policy, but it was an insurmountable obstacle at the time.

So what remains now?  What is it going to take to bring her home?  

Well, as far as paperwork is concerned, we're doing it all over again.  We don't get much of a break from either country for having just been through the process.  Nearly every piece of paper has been re-done.  This also means that every single fee must be paid again, leaving us with the full cost at around $30,000.  A large sum for us, but a small price to pay for the ransom of a life.  The wonderful news is that the funds raised to her Reece's Rainbow grant will become available for us to use at the very end of our process.  It is enough to cover the orphanage fees, which are paid at the time we travel.  That lifts a huge burden off of the end of our process!  Of the additional funds that had been pledged to help bring her home last summer, $1,500 has been given. Those gifts, along with the bit of funds that remained with our Lifesong account after Titus' adoption, have been so helpful in the fees we have already paid.  Our family also has a "Family Sponsorship Page" with Reece's Rainbow, and although we can't see who has made the donations, we are so thankful for the nearly $800 that has come in to that account!  It will be released for official expenses toward the end of our process too.  

Since our cost of travel can't be perfectly calculated yet, it is our best estimate that we will be lacking about $15,000 in order to complete Mei's adoption.  We have been working hard to put forth the expenses up to this point.   Eric has built furniture, Megan has sewn weighted blankets and sold sensory bins in our Etsy shop.  These endeavors have been profitable and allowed us to move along in our process without delays so far.  However, we've come to the end of ourselves.  

When I was an exchange student in Venezuela, I had the privilege of attending an agrotechnical school.  This was a stretch way outside of my comfort zone but provided some insightful learning experiences.  One such experience was a week spent learning about and executing the process of  grafting trees.  We learned not only about how to perform the actual graft, but also the long-term care
required to ensure that the graft remained successful without compromising the health of the base plant or the newly grafted portion.  An adoptive family is in many ways like a grafted tree, requiring careful nurture to ensure optimal health.

We have come to understand that the burden of time spent on those activities in striving to earn our adoption fees is not sustainable for the long haul with the attachment, medical, educational, and caregiving needs of our family.  Titus is still healing from his past and learning his new life, and in truth, we are ALL still healing and regrouping from the major family transition.  Our family needs my undistracted, unencumbered nurture.  After God's amazing provision of all the funds needed to adopt Titus, I think we felt a little hesitant to ask Him - to ask His people - to do something that big again.  But I had to remind myself that although God had sent miraculous signs and parted the Red Sea to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, they distrusted that he would come through for them again when it was time to take possession of Caanan.  This resulted in them wandering in the desert for 40 years due to their lack of faith.  I calculated that even if we continued building, sewing, and crafting at the rate we have been since this last fall, it would still take us more than 2 years to come up with the funds to complete Mei's adoption.  Attempting to do this in our own strength would only result in wandering from God's plan.
Jesus says in John 15:4, "No branch can bear fruit by itself.  It must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."  
It is impossible for us to fulfill this calling from God without full reliance on Him.  So we humbly choose faith again.  We choose to trust God in the face of giants, to wait eagerly as he parts the waters, moves the mountains, and filfills this promise to Mei:

And we have confidence in our God because in all the changes and transition we experience, God remains the same.  He is today the same that he was last year when he brought Titus home through the beautiful worship of his people.  This is not to say that we are giving up on our efforts completely, but we are asking you to come alongside us in it.  

As God gave his people laws for living righteously he included laws to protect and provide for orphans and widows.  

19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 

We are looking now to our "village" and asking,  "What can you leave behind for Mei?  What resources have you overlooked that you can designate for her?  What remains in your excess that can help ensure this child always has food, a home, clothes that fit, education, and a mom and dad who love her? " 

What are the best ways to find excess and donate?  The time of year is coming up when many people are filing for a tax return.  Eager to see how much they'll "get back", they lust after the newest gaming system, a larger TV, an exotic vacation.  What if, instead, they considered this to be "what remains" after their harvest?  What if it were designated for the foreigner, the fatherless, the widow?  Consider donating a portion of your tax return to help bring Mei home!  Another way to "leave what remains" is to have a garage sale for us!  Do your spring cleaning, set up a garage sale, and donate what you make from it.  I'm happy to provide pictures and posters for you to use to get the word out that your garage sale is for a cause! 

Right now, the best way to donate funds is through our account with Lifesong for Orphans.  These donations are tax-deductible and aside from Paypal fees, 100% are immediately useable by our family for official adoption expenses.  You can find information HERE on how to send in a check, or click the donate button here or on the side bar for PayPal.  We are currently facing an immediate need of $2700 to complete our dossier and send it to China.  Our goal for this is March 25 in order to continue without delay.

We have another exciting opportunity for you to give without making a monetary donation, but as this post is already pretty long, I'll save it for another!  
Thank you so very much for being part of our "village", for loving our family, and for investing in our mission to Mei!  

Titus can't wait to actually play with Mei again.  He often sets her picture next to him while he plays.  He says her name while signing "friend, sister".