Thursday, December 20, 2007
I have had a few adoptive moms who have recently returned from Liberia tell me that they saw JJ while they were there and recognized him because he is so adorable and striking. I must say I agree and these comments (Katy and Amber....THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart) have warmed my heart and made me ache to have him home soon.
It is vague when his homecoming will be. I feel pessimistic about the timing without a miraculous intervention. But I believe wholeheartedly in miraculous interventions. I will wait on the Lord to see what He has planned.
I started my injections for the pregnancy yesterday. They aren't bad at all. It is so comforting to be doing something this time instead of just trying again. Ultimately, though, I know that everything is in His hands.
I am relying on scripture a lot to deal with anxiety. Psalm 139 is a good one:
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
You know how the family photo on the right says, "Our family will soon be growing?" Well, it will be growing even more than we expected. : )
Two lines means pregnant right?
Many of you know our pregnancy history and can understand my fears. Please pray for us. This is wonderful news! I am so happy....yet so afraid. Please pray that I will have peace and joy and NO FEAR! God is good and in control. He is the giver of life and I trust Him.
We just found out, but we didn't want to keep it a secret because we know how much we need support and prayers. Thank you for loving us and praying for us. As Amy said yesterday, "Now JJ is going to be a big brother!"
I will be trying a new treatment this time around. I will be taking baby aspirin and giving myself daily injections of Lovenox, a blood thinner. The blood tests that we did never showed a cause for why the babies' hearts stopped beating, but my history is very similar to a clotting disorder, so we are hoping that this will be a helpful thing this time around. I'll keep you updated on our growing family!
Love you all.
Note added at 10 PM: Some of the comments mentioned that you were unfamiliar with my pregnancy history....so here it is: My first two pregnancies with Karissa and Amy in 2002 and 2003 were perfect and easy. When we tried for our third child, however, we lost four babies in a row. I was five months pregnant with our baby boy, David, when his heart stopped beating. After David, we had an early miscarriage, and then we had two more pregnancies, one a baby boy and the last one a baby girl, where the babies' hearts also just mysteriously stopped beating. It has been a year and a half since my last miscarriage, so I'm hoping that my body has had time to recover and that this new treatment will be a success. Thank you for praying for this baby.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I asked them, "Girls, do you know what Immanuel means?"
They answered that they didn't, so I said, "It means, 'God with us.' It is one of Jesus' names. It means that He is God with us."
The girls were quiet for awhile, and I thought they had moved on to other things until Karissa said, "Mommy, do you know what I want for Christmas?"
"No, honey, what do you want for Christmas?"
She got a sweet smile on her face and answered, "I want Immanuel."
My heart melted! Oh the faith of a child. I wish we all had this Christmas wish on our wish lists. Oh, Lord help me to have a heart that says, "Daddy, You know what I want for Christmas? You. I want You this holiday season." I was deep in thought, when Amy decided she didn't want to miss the opportunity.
"I want a Disney Princess Baby Daycare!" She said. : )
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Before I posted tonight, though, I was blog-surfing. I landed on a blog of a young woman (only two years older than me) who just lost her battle with cancer last week, leaving a loving husband and three young children under the age of five. Reading her story took all the oomph out of my self-pity. Instead, I am going to bed thankful for this day with my girls. I may be chubby and have a funky new hair-do, but I'm alive and healthy and so in love with this family Jesus gave me.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Yesterday, my girls spent time playing with friends and Karissa came home with this drawing of her family.
Happy 56th Birthday Grandpa!
Friday, December 7th, was my dad's 56th birthday. We are so many miles away from Grandpa, we were sad we couldn't celebrate with him. Not wanting to miss a chance for celebration and sugar, we decided to celebrate in honor of him. : ) Happy Birthday Dad! We love you.
The Songs I'm Singing Today:
You guide me through the dark
You calm my fearful heart
I will rest in You
You give me perfect peace
Fulfill my deepest needs
I will rest in You.
Shining like the Sun
Let your Kingdom come,
I want to be with You
In Your Presence
I'm here to give You praise
You take my breath away
And now I’m here with You
In Your Presence
Your Kindness draws me in
Now I'm with You once again
I will rest in You
My God who reigns on high
To You alone I cry
I will rest in You
I Will Offer Up My Life
I will offer up my life
In spirit and truth,
Pouring out the oil of love
As my worship to You
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive the sacrifice
Of a broken heart
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Savior, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name
For the things You have done?
Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed
By this thankful heart
You deserve my every breath
For You've paid the great cost;
Giving up Your life to death,
Even death on a cross
You took all my shame away,
There defeated my sin
Opened up the gates of heaven
And have beckoned me in
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Savior, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name
For the things You have done?
Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed
By this thankful heart
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I've been consumed with "stuff" and worries today and not getting much done, so this will be a good distraction for me. I just hope you wanted to know all of this stuff:
100 Things About Becky
1. I was born in 1976
2. I grew up in Washington State.
3. I was born blind in one eye. When I was two years old, we traveled to Memphis, Tennessee for an eye surgery that saved my eye but not my sight. It was a brand new surgical technique that they use today to save the sight of newborns. I had about 40 international doctors following me around. I feel good about being a part of something that is doing good today for babies.
4. My blind eye is smaller than my other eye and I cock my head a lot to see better. I used to be so insecure about it, but now I see it as one of those blessings in disguise.
5. I have one younger brother, Ben, who used to be my "little" brother but is now much taller than me. We don't look anything alike, he's blond, green-eyed, and very fair. I'm just all brown. : ) I love my brother and we were unusually close friends growing up. I've always known that that was a special thing.
6. I love football. I know this is rare for a girl, but my dad was a high school football coach growing up, so I started going to games in the womb. I don't know the game like someone who has played it, but I love it as a fan. I love to hear the band, the crunch of pads, the licorice ropes, all of it. Sometimes, I put games on TV that I'm not interested in, just to hear the noise.
7. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mommy. I had 22 dolls growing up that all slept with me and my dad had to kiss them all goodnight when he tucked me into bed at night.
8. I'm a people-pleaser and an approval addict.
9. I love beauty.
10. I cry during Hallmark commercials.
11. I love to dance. I did a lot of country swing dancing when I was in college and miss it.
12. I feel nature deprived. I don't get out enough. I love camping, hiking, skiing, etc. but I'm not a self-starter and kind of a homebody.
13. I can sort of draw.
14. I can sort of play the piano
15. I can sort of sew.
16. I guess you can call me a jack-of-all-trades-master-of none.
17. I didn't "discover" chocolate until college. Wow! I sure was missing something.
18. I have continually been on a diet my entire life! (Well, at least since 5th grade) No one ever wanted to trade school lunches with me. Somehow my skinny bread, measured mayonnaise, and V8 just weren't all that appealing.
19. These are some of the careers I considered being 'when I grew up": missionary, teacher to the deaf, marine biologist, journalist, author, international business saleswoman selling apples to the Japanese and Mexican markets, but what I became was a teacher and a mommy. I chose right. : )
20. I've always been a scardy-cat.
21. I'm still afraid of the dark.
22. I'm loyal
23. I'm a low-maintenance friend.
24. I hate confrontation
25. I get nervous stomach aches
26. I chew my fingernails.
27. I dream of being an author.
28. If I could go back to high school, I'd be so much less serious. I would have fun this time around.
29. I almost died when my GPA was ruined by an A- in my Junior year.
30. I'm proud that I was a friend to everyone back then.
31. I don't remember how old I was when I gave my life to Jesus.
32. My dad- who was an atheist at the time - and I would have theological discussions. (I was 5) He'd tell me that some people need God and he was glad I had God, but he didn't need him.
33. I would get so excited when I saw Daddy reading his "The Good News" Bible. I didn't know then that he was trying to disprove the Bible.
34. Some doctors and their wives shared Jesus with my parents and Dad says they couldn't have argued him into the Kingdom of Heaven, but they loved him in. He said they "put skin on Jesus" for him. He couldn't deny Jesus anymore because he could see Him in them.
35. I want to put skin on Jesus for people.
36. I was baptised when I was 8 years old. My dad baptised me. I was little, but I knew it was my way of telling the world that I loved Jesus and wanted to follow him forever.
37. I had a sweet dating relationship in high school, but after that ended I was dating-challenged until I met Pat while I was student teaching.
38. I'm glad God made me wait for my prince charming.
40. I did my student teaching in a 5th grade classroom with an amazing teacher named Mrs. Wilson. I learned so much from Mrs. Wilson!
41. I was a reading specialist assistant as my first official job.
42. I taught 6th grade for three years until my daughter was born.
43. She weighted 9 lbs. 9 oz!!!! She is such a little thing now, you'd never know.
44. My first daughter was only 4 months old when we conceived our second daughter. I was scared to death!
45. I would do it on purpose now.
46. My daughters have the sweetest relationship. I always wished I had a sister. I'm so glad they have each other.
47. I am biased, but I think I have the two most beautiful little girls in the whole wide world.
48. I am SO THANKFUL that I get to be a stay at home mom.
49. I love to learn new things.
50. I get excited about the things I study and learn and then want to tell everyone about it.
51. I'm reading the book, Epicenter, by Joel Rosenberg right now and find it fascinating! I am very interested in what is happening in the Middle East right now.
52. I am the world's WORST procrastinator.
53. I spend way too much time worrying about what other people think of me.
54. I really do love to exercise....so why don't I? : )
55. My dad and I use to try to name the different colors in a sunset. I love sunsets.
56. I really love Christmas.
57. I wished it snowed more here. It is almost always 40 degrees around here in the winter. Yuck! What a useless temperature. Too cold to play outside, too warm to have snow.
58. I get excited for each new season.
59. I like to imagine what Heaven will be like.
60. I can't make decisions to save my life. Big decisions are a torture.
61. I love to read.
62. I never have enough time in a day to do what I wish I could do.
63. My husband is my anchor. Every time I need strength, there he is.
64. I've kind of got a melancholy personality.
65. I need to be told to go to bed at night.
66. I have watched the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice four times that I can think of. Since that is a 6 hour show, I've spent 24 hours of my life watching it. I've got the hots for Mr. Darcy. Don't tell Pat. : )
67. I also love the Anne of Green Gables books and movies. I've watched and read them too many times to count.
68. Somehow I can turn on my laptop and hours disappear.
69. It is so much fun to me to read out loud to our girls. I'm reading them the Wizard of Oz books right now. We all get a kick out of the Scarecrow. He's pretty funny.
70. I can speak quite a bit of Spanish. I used to speak a lot more than I do now. It is amazing how much you can lose if you don't use it.
71. I have very fond memories of a mission trip I took to Mexico City when I was 14. It put a love for missions in my heart that I hope I can experience more someday.
72. I wish we were traveling to Liberia, but I see Pat's wisdom in the reasons why we aren't.
73. My greatest heartbreak of my lifetime has been my pregnancy losses.
74. I have four babies waiting for me in heaven: David, Micah, James, and Sarah. I'm so thankful my relationship with them is just interrupted and not lost.
75. My greatest heartbreak is being used to make me a more compassionate, stronger person who can relate to other hurting people.
76. I teach a women's bible study on Monday mornings with the greatest group of women. Most of them are older and wiser than me, so I'm not sure why I'm the leader.
77. I am writing a book, not the one I thought I'd be writing, but I'm excited about seeing it finished. It's nonfiction when I dreamt about being a novelist, but I can see God's purpose in this, and I'm excited to see what he is going to do with it.
78. I worry a lot about my family and friends who don't know Jesus. I wish I was better at introducing Him to people.
79. I have been a Christian for almost 30 years, but I am just now starting to figure out and understand grace.
These are some of the books that have changed my life:
80. The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
81. The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martian
82. Humility by Andrew Murray
83. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
84. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
85. I've said it many times on this blog before. But so much of the Bible got inside of me through Don Francisco's music.
86. I've always admired my Nana and my Grandma. Nana has a way of making things beautiful and Grandma has a way of living life to its fullest.
87. I like sending letters the old fashioned way.
88. I collect stationary.
89. I am proud of my handwriting.
90. I wish I could sing. (At least in a way that people would want to listen to) My babies were my captive audience.
91. I am so thankful for the old hymns and choruses that are still inside of me from my childhood church experiences.
92. I went to this amazing summer camp as a kid every summer called Ross Point Baptist Camp in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Some of my absolute best childhood memories are from camp and family camp there. I'd love to go there again.
93. I'm trying to learn how to "wait on the Lord."
94. I'm so thankful for this promise from God: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8
95. My favorite feeling in the world is a hug.
96. I love to laugh and be silly.
97. I need a bowl of cereal before bed.
98. I cannot wait for that day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord and when everything will be made right again. My heart aches often with the thought, "This isn't the way it is supposed to be." I'm so glad that there is hope of it being "the way it is supposed to be" again and forever.
99. I'm so excited to be Jeremiah's Mommy. I wonder who else God has planned to be our children?
100. I am so incredibly blessed and thankful for my life.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Since I couldn't email it to Missy, I thought the rest of you might enjoy seeing my little dog lover cracking up over a video that my friend Missy's kids made and posted on her blog, "It's a Wonderful Life."
Today, I learned that He is asking me to grow in my prayer life. I slept terribly last night and then this morning, my youngest daughter, Amy, crawled in bed with us at 5 AM. I couldn't sleep with all of her tossing and turning, and I felt like God was asking me to get up and pray.
I went to one of the daily devotions that I read on the computer called "Our Daily Bread." Today's devotion was on prayer and at the end of it, they offered a link for a booklet called "Jesus' Blueprint for Prayer" by Haddon Robinson. I used the booklet as my blueprint for my prayer time this morning. I learned so much about how to pray. Here is the link:
Note: If you are blind like me : ) You may find the booklet easier to read if you up the percentage you are viewing it at. The tool bar at the top of the page will have a percentage. I usually up it to about 150% (Like I said, I'm really blind) : )
As well as how to pray, I also picked out a few favorite quotes from the booklet on why we pray:
"God wants us for Himself. He desires communion with us. His
purpose in prayer is not to make us sit up and beg. He wants us to know
Him. Prayer is His method to accomplish that.
When we pray we
often concentrate on the gifts in God’s hand and ignore the hand of God
While God in His grace does give good gifts to His children, He offers
us more than that. He offers us Himself. Those who are merely
satisfied with the trinkets in the Father’s hand miss the best reward of prayer-
the reward of communicating and communing with the God of the
George MacDonald said: "What if God knows prayer to be the thing we need
first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer is a
supplying of our great, our endless need- the need of Himself?”
This adoption process isn't just about me. God has taken into account everyone involved, every minor detail and the affects of those details. I'm just seeing that in the waiting, He is drawing me closer to Himself, and I love it.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This is a picture of my front door.
I am giving thanks for you. Yes, you!!
I am so thankful for the relationships in my life.
I cherish the people I get to love and the people who love me.
I am one BLESSED and GRATEFUL woman. : )
I am thankful for the interest you have shown in our family and our adoption journey. And so, so grateful for the prayers you have lifted on our behalf.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Great Winter Morning : )
Little J.J., We had such a fun time playing in the snow this morning. It made me wonder what you will think of this cold, white stuff. You are in 80 - 90 degree weather right now. Oh boy, little boy, you will have some adjustments to make! But I hope we can help you learn to love this stuff like we do. We love you!
Amy has been sick with an awful cold all week, so I can't believe I let her outside to do this. She begged and I couldn't say no. : )
Anyone, up for a snow cream cone?
Every year, my Mom and I have a competition to be the first to call each other and say that we got the first snow. Mom lives in snowier country so I rarely win. But this year, I win!!! These were the views out my windows this morning. It isn't supposed to last, but we sure had fun playing in it this morning!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
As if that wasn't bad enough, his parents gave him a name for every letter of the alphabet. Can you IMAGINE his birth certificate?
All of my dolls had specially chosen names, and I had very definite ideas about what my children would be named when I grew up. (Hmmm...somehow I forgot that a husband would be involved in that decision process.)
Before our girls were born, as Pat and I debated names, meaning was just as important to me as the sound of the name. I love the meaning behind the girls' names:
Karissa Ann (Precious Grace)
Amy Elizabeth (Beloved, Set Apart for God)
As I've been researching the meaning of Jeremiah's name, I have been struck by how prophetic his name really is. Here are the meanings of his name:
Chosen by God
God will raise up, God will set free
God will uplift
Appointed by Jehovah
Exalted by the Lord
Wow. Even the name he was given at birth, shows that God had plans for our special little boy from the very beginning.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Here it is:
(Sounds nicer than "Comments for Dummies")
- You don't have to have a Google account anymore to leave me a comment. At the end of every post, it says something like "Posted by Becky at 10:34 3 Comments."
- Click on Comments and it will take you to a place where you can type me a message.
- When you get done typing your message, where it says "Choose Your Identity," just click "Other." You just type your name in the box. (Leaving a website address is optional but fun for me to see if you have one)
There, piece of cake. Easy for you to do. And you won't be accused of being a blog stalker! Check back, because I might comment back. : )
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I went to see the doctor about it on Friday, and we talked about ways to reduce stress, activities that need to go, lifestyle changes to make, and she is doing some blood work to see what's going on with me.
In our conversation, there was confirmation for some of the things that my husband has been asking me to do regarding our adoption for a long time. I posted awhile ago about how he said I need to just quit thinking about it and stressing about it and just wait for God and Acres of Hope to tell us it is time.
I haven't been able to "just stop thinking about it." I think a part of me feels like if I don't think about it, read about, pray about it, prepare for it, I'm less of a mother and I really don't care about my son. Being engrossed in the adoption stuff is my way of showing my love for our future son, just like a pregnant woman reads books about fetal development, paints the nursery, talks about the baby non-stop, etc.
The problem is that the adoption process is so full of ups and downs, expectations and excitement, discouragement and hopelessness, feelings like it is never really going to happen, and then good news that makes you more and more impatient for your child to be home. Now that I've seen the beautiful pictures of our Jeremiah, and read about his sweet personality, it makes the ups and downs, and discouraging news out of Liberia, all that much harder to take. I long for him to be right here! It truly is a roller coaster ride, and personally I've made somewhat of an idol of the ride
I am on my laptop several times a day reading posts on the Yahoo group, checking blogs, hitting "Check Mail" on my email inbox hoping for new news. I went a little overboard, and now I am feeling conviction that it is time to let the roller coaster come to a stop, climb out, and walk away from the ride. The Yahoo groups and blogs have allowed me to make connections with amazing, wonderful people that I truly care about, and I want to know what is going on in their lives, but for a season, I think I need to check out. I need to limit myself to scanning the Yahoo group on a weekly, or maybe even bi-weekly basis. I need to limit my blog reading and just enjoy what is true about right now, in this home, and spend more time loving on my family.
I hate that the adoption process has bottle necked in Liberia and that it could be a very long time before our son has a visa to come home. I love him already, and wish I could jump on a plane and go get him, but the fact that the process is so vague and unpredictable and stressful, makes me feel like I need to deliberately stop reading about it, and just live until that great day when the phone call or email comes with more photos or info, or the BIG one when they tell us it is finally time to get our little JJ.
I'm not writing off you wonderful friends!!! I will be praying just as much as ever. I'm just taking a break from information, if that makes sense. : )
The other day I was reading through my past blog entries, back in January, and a lot of times I would write a little note to our son. I miss doing that, so here it goes:
Jeremiah, I think about you all the time. When I look at the clock, I add the hours to mine to see where you are at in your day, and I daydream about what you might be doing. I pray for your heart and for your health. I can't wait to hold you and read to you, to pray over you and sing to you. I can't wait for you to play with your sisters and see how much love they have for you. I can't wait to see you being your Daddy's buddy. He sure needs another boy around here. He's really outnumbered! We all love you so much!
God bless you, Baby Boy! Love, Mommy
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Yesterday felt like when it rains it pours......blessings this time! : )
After we got our referral notice, we received several comments from people who have been to Liberia and have actually seen and held our JJ. It seems that he leaves quite an impression on people. : )
People who have seen him describe him with words like "precious" "will melt your heart" "sweetheart" "special little boy" "tiny as a button" "cuddler" That's my boy! : )
Then we got another email that had more pictures and an orphan report. It was amazing to get to read about Jeremiah's personality. I feel like I know him already and I want him home! We are going to have so much fun! Here it is:
Outgoing, playful, and almost always smiling, Jeremiah lights up his room at the orphanage. Jeremiah, who is called JJ, is cute, energetic, and very smart. He doesn't say a lot, but he always has the greatest expressions to accompany his feelings about a situation.
JJ has a happy, easy personality. He smiles a lot, and is quite obedient for a 1 year old. He usually only cries for a really good reason and adapts well to new situations. JJ is very outgoing, and loves to run around energetically, act silly, laugh, and smile. He has a lot of expressions and makes the cutest faces over various situations. He's not overly vocal, but his expressions tell you exactly how he's feeling! JJ really likes to be held and cuddled, but he wouldn’t be considered clingy. What he loves is the one-on-one attention so he's content in most situations where that is provided, even if he is not in someone's arms.
JJ interacts well with other children his age. He's a kind boy, who doesn't fight over toys or get short-tempered with his friends. JJ likes to play with toys of any kind, but he is entertained by a variety of things. He is naturally very creative and provides his own entertainment if nothing exciting is going on. He has a good attention span, and is able to play for extended periods of time without getting into trouble.
JJ loves to gather around his nanny with his roommates and listen to the stories. Since JJ is one of the youngest, and is the littlest in his room, he often gets the privilege of sitting on his nanny's lap during story time.
JJ is learning to talk, but is not using a whole lot of words yet. He's not overly chatty, even in baby talk, but knows how to express his needs through gestures and if necessary, crying. Though JJ is not talking, it is clear that he is exceptionally smart. His responses to what is going on around him show that he is observing a lot more than your average 18 month old.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Jeremiah James Harris
(Soon to be an Avella)
Isn't he a cutie? We don't have a lot of details to share yet, other than he is 1 and 1/2 years old. Perfect! I don't know how long we are going to have to wait to get him home. We'll know more later. I'm just so thankful to be moving forward. We are trying to be cautious with our hearts and to remember that anything can happen, but are celebrating in this next step closer to our son.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Pat let me know before we were married that he had strong convictions about not celebrating Halloween. To me, Halloween was one of my favorite memories of being a kid. We always met at Nana's house to get dressed, then Mom and Aunt Dana would walk with us as we ran through fall leaves going door to door trick-or-treating. After hitting all the houses on foot that we could, we'd jump in the car and go to Aunt Sandy's for homemade popcorn balls. It was innocent fun, and I was raised in a Christian home, so I thought Pat was making way too big a deal about it. We never could see eye to eye on this issue, so we got married knowing that we'd have to figure it out.
Every year since then, we have been trying to figure it out. I have come to really respect and admire Pat's heart in this issue. It hasn't been easy. I worried so much that our kids would grow up missing out on fun and resenting us. I also couldn't figure out how to deal with the day. I didn't think that Jesus would want us hiding in the dark, ignoring the people coming to our door.
This year, I really felt like God blessed us with a special day. It was a day that was remarkably about Him.
Pat had to work, so it ended up being a girls day. I kept Karissa home from Kindergarten because I knew the whole morning would be about Halloween and I didn't want her to have to be the only kid without a costume and have to sit in the library or something for the party. Instead, the girls and I went hiking at a local park. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS Fall day. I could not have put in an order for a better day. I had the girls pack snacks, water bottles, and nature journals that we made. We hiked and the girls stopped and sketched in their journals when they saw things that interested them. At one point while we were stopped, my four-year-old, Amy, was drawing some purple wildflowers and out of the blue she said, "He made all things beautiful." This was one of her bible verses from AWANA, and I was just blown away by the beauty of a four-year-old applying God's Word while she was enjoying His creation.
In our exploring, we discovered a little pond we called our "Peace-Loving-Spot" (Cheezy name, but a childhood tradition from my past for truly special places. We used to look for our Peace-Loving-Spots when we went camping as kids)
This PLS (a.k.a. pond) was secluded with a carpet of leaves. The trees rained leaves on us while the girls threw rocks in the water.
We ended the hike back at the park and the girls spent an hour and a half playing on the playground. I read the end of the last book in the Mitford series and then joined them on the swings.
Later that day, after visiting friends, the girls raced up the hill to home, singing at the top of their lungs a song they made up about "We love Him because He first loved us." My heart was so full as I followed behind and thought about how sweet it was that my girls had hearts for Jesus.
That evening we went to a community harvest party at the church where the girls do their AWANA. They had a blast. I talked to them about what harvest meant, so they picked out clothes that made them feel like farmers. The church fed us hot dogs and then had carnival games and inflatables set up. We came home with enough candy to feed an army.
I tucked them in, satisfied that they had a joyful day that was peaceful, innocent, God-centered, and memorable. I learned that it didn't have to be a day to dread after-all.
Thursday was wonderful because it was characterized by laughter. The morning started by watching the video I posted below. I laughed so hard I cried. It was amazing how much starting the day with a good belly-laugh and with tears rolling down my cheeks, made my day. It seriously was good medicine for me. I have been so serious and stressed these last few years. I had almost forgotten how to laugh. Once I started laughing, I didn't want to stop. I shared the video with friends and family and then they started sending me jokes and more funny videos to watch. I had such a light-hearted day. It was great.
It was also nice to have a few days where I didn't think about adoption. I just focused on my girls, my love for them, and felt such contentment. I wish I could've bottled up that contentment to use on these other days when waiting and being in limbo gets tough.
I was raised on Don Francisco's music. His albums are the sound track of my life.
I remember days of teenage angst laying across my bed listening to his music for hours on end. Many of his songs are stories from the Bible. It is amazing how much of God's Word got into my heart through Don's music.
When I lost my babies, his music was there again to point my heart to Jesus.
Like I said in my last post, I've been nostalgic lately and listening to some oldies.
Hope you enjoy this love song to you!
"I'll Never Let Go of Your Hand" By Don Francisco
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I asked her if she could imagine doing this again for a second adoption. She just laughed and said, "No way!" I think adoptive parents must experience amnesia after their child is home, just like after childbirth, that makes them willing to ride this roller coaster a second or third or more times. I'm just so weary of this ride.
That night at dinner I told this story to Pat. He said, "You just need to stop thinking about it so much." He explained how he realizes there is nothing he can do to speed up the process, so he has just put our adoption out of his mind until I call him one day and tell him we have a referral. He encouraged me to stop "worrying so much."
I don't know if I can just stop thinking about it. Is this possible? How? Is it the mom in me? I guess I just feel like it is never really going to happen. I told Pat that I'll just be blogging about it forever with no end to the story.
While I was cooking dinner tonight, I was in a nostalgic mood, so I was listening to old praise music by Maranatha singers. I got preached a sermon, let me tell you!
One song said this:
He is able, more than able, to accomplish what concerns me today.
He is able, more than able, to handle anything that comes my way
He is able, more than able, to do much more than I can ever dream
He is able, more than able, to make me what he wants me to be
He is able, more than able, to do much more than I could ever dream
He is able, more than able, to make me what he wants me to be
Another one said this:
In His time
He makes all thing beautiful
In His time.
Lord, my life to You I bring,
May each song I have to sing,
Be to You a lovely thing,
In Your time.
Lord, my life to You I bring,
May each song I have to sing,
Be to You a lovely thing,
In Your time.
In Your time, in Your time,
You make all thing beautiful in Your time.
Lord, my life to You I bring,
May each song I have to sing,
Be to You a lovely thing,
In Your time"
God's timing.......not Becky's
For other Mitford fans (Jan Karon novels).....you'll understand when I say I need to learn from Father Tim. I need to pray the prayer that never fails....
Thy will be done.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Recently, there was a post on Liberian English. It cracked me up to read this post. It may be considered English, but it seems like I would need a foreign language course to be able to speak it.
Take a look and see how you would do:
(From "The Reeds In Liberia" Oct. 1, 2007)
Liberia is classified as an “Anglophone” country. Despite its 15 active tribal languages, the official language of the country is English. This makes it easier for us to work here, obviously because we did not have to learn a completely new language upon arrival. I said it makes it easier, but understanding the Liberian version of English is not always easy, and even after two years sometimes it is impossible. Being the amateur linguist that I am, I’ve been able figure out what is behind this difficulty in understanding my native tongue when uttered by many Liberians. It is not simply a matter of accent.
First, and most obvious to the listener, is in the way Liberians pronounce many words—the end of many words are left off. “House” becomes “haw”, “dog” becomes “daw”, “serious” becomes “seria”, and so on. Sometimes even each syllable in multi syllable words are deleted, so “redlight” might become “re’li’”, “everything” is “e’ry’tin’, or ” kool aid” is “koo aye.”
To complicate matters significantly, Liberians use different English words than most North Americans choose. For example, “reaching” means “leaving” as in “I’m reaching to my hou’,” “finish” means “to be out of something,” As in “the rice is finish,” or “flog” instead of “beat,” as in “My brother tol’ me he wou’ flog me.” Finally, Liberians finish many words randomly in “O,” as in “fini-o” for “finish,” or “daw-o” to give “dog” a little more panache.
Therefore when you combine words pronounced differently with word choices that are different than what you’ve lived with all your life, you get sentences that are just a little beyond reach until you understand both the usage of the word and the pronunciation of all the words in the sentence.
So, putting these factors together, we might have the following sentences—see if you can figure them out:
1. “Trokon carry mah own sef pla’ toe to hi’ hou’.’” (Literally, “Trokon carry my own self play toy to his house,” or “Trokon took my toy to his house.”)
2. “Dea’ ca’ be sweeo.” (Literally,” Deer can be sweet-o,” or “Venison is delicious.” )
3. Leh ca’ta’ eh sleepi’ bah da’ pi’ hou’ (Literally, “the carter it sleeping by the pig house” or “The carter (a clothe pad used to cushion the head when carry things) was left out all night near the pig pen.”)
4. “De ro’ he wah a bri’ one and dryo.” (Literally, “The rogue he was a bright one and dry-o,” or “The thief was light-skinned and very thin.”)
5. “Leh pum’ eh spoi’. Le’ carry de jeep to tow’ fo’ new pah.’” (Literally, “The pump is spoiled, let’s carry the jeep to town for new part,” or “The pump is not working, so let’s take the 4wd vehicle into town for a new part.”)
6. “Boieh! Boieh! Boieh!” (Literally, “Boiled egg, boiled egg, boiled egg!” which children shout as they carry hard boiled eggs for sale on the street.)
7. “Unca Bah, I juke mah foo-o. Plea’ pu’ plasti’ on mah cuh.” (Literally, “Uncle Bob, I juke my foot. Please put plastic on my cut,” or “Uncle Bob, something jabbed or poked into my foot. Please put a band aid on my cut.”)
8. “Eneh, i’ yaw wais’ wateh on ma’ trouseh, I weh sureleh blow yaw mouf.” (Literally, “Enoch, if you waste water on my trousers, I will surely blow your mouth, “ or “Enoch, if you dump or spill that water on my pants, I will certainly punch you in the mouth.”)
9. Deh worsha’ weh fi’fi’. We gettin’ yaw puh-lenti!” (Literally, “The worshop was fine, fine. We getting you plenty,” Or “The workshop was very good. We understood you very well.”)
10. “Whi’ ma’, plea’ buy suh’ re’ oi’ fruh me. One hundreh LD.” (Literally, White Man, please buy some red oil from me. One hundred LD.” Red oil is palm nut oil; LD is Liberian Dollars—in this case about $1.80 US. )
11. “Sis Renita, I cuh’ to spe’ to yaw.” (Literally, Sis Renita, I come to speak to you,” or “Sister, Renita, I dropped by just to say hi.”) Not everybody speaks like this, but these phrases reflect a large portion of the people with whom we live and work each day. Some people, such as government or business leaders speak very similar English to me, with only what I call the attractive “African accent” distinguishing us.
Others speak a version of English so different in cadence, inflection, pronunciation, syntax and vocabulary as to require interpretation. Most children are harder to understand than adults. In our neighborhood, English is a second language to Bassa for many, and a significant minority speak virtually no English. So getting to understanding each other always takes a little extra time, even for simple things. Bu’, we ah tryin’, sma’ sma’, wid dis talkin’ ting he’. An’ soo’, we wi’sureleh be gettin’ e’rybodeh puh-lenty clea’, an den’ we ha’ a googoo ti’ togeddeh.
Friday, October 26, 2007
As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 13-foot brown bear beginning to charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could down the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw the bear rapidly closing in on him. Somehow, he ran even faster. He was so scared tears came to his eyes. He looked again and the bear was even closer. His heart pounding in his chest, he tried to run faster yet. But alas, he tripped and fell to the ground. As he rolled over to pick himself up, the bear was right over him, reaching for him with it's left paw and raising its right paw to strike him....he yelled out, "OH MY GOD!"
The bear froze.......
The forest was silent............
Even the river stopped moving. As a brilliant light shone upon the man, a thunderous voice came from all around:
"YOU HAVE DENIED MY EXISTENCE FOR ALL THESE YEARS, TAUGHT OTHERS THAT I DON'T EXIST, AND EVEN CREDIT CREATION TO SOME COSMIC ACCIDENT. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO HELP YOU OUT OF THIS PREDICAMENT? AM I TO COUNT YOU NOW AS A BELIEVER?"
Difficult as it was, the atheist looked directly into the light and said, "It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"
"VERY WELL," said GOD.
The light went out...
The river ran...
The sounds of the forest resumed..
And the bear dropped down on his knees, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke:
"Lord, thank you for this food which I am about to receive, Amen."
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This is such a miracle, that Jesus knows my name. How could I get through life without that?
The Bible says that every hair on my head is numbered. I have had a rough week this week. Not just because of the adoption roller coaster....other stuff... I just can't say enough how much it means to me to know that in it all, Jesus knows my name.
I have a Maker, who knew me even before time began. I have a future and a hope in Him.
Please let me know if you aren't sure if He knows your name, or if you long for a relationship with your Maker. It would be a joy beyond words to share with you how.
I'd like to recommend that you visit Charity Alonso's blog http://internationalmommy.blogspot.com/
(she is another Acres of Hope mom that just returned from Liberia after being there for five weeks. She has an amazing story about how God knows her name and moved in their family's lives to do a modern day miracle.
I was searching for a video of a different song. It is called "He Knows My Name" and is a song I love, but in my search I came across this one that meant a lot, so I decided to post this video instead.
(I'll do the other one later) I'm in a music zone right now. I've really been enjoying some music that I'll share over the next few days.
Love you all. Thanks for your prayers.
Friday, October 19, 2007
I keep wishing that this paper pregnancy had a due date that went along with it. I guess it is the unknowns and my lack of control over the situation that is the faith building part.
I really should have waited to post anything about a new referral until we actually had one. I got ahead of myself. We did get an email today that made me feel like we could be heading for an up part of the roller coaster. I'll keep you posted.....(but not too soon this time)
I've lost count of how many times I've come across the following quote in the last few days. I think God has been sending me a message:
I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." - Hudson Taylor
It will be so-o-o-o nice to be at the "done" part. : )
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
There have been several more families that have lost referrals this week. Please pray for them for peace and comfort. I think all of us never believe that it could happen in our case. I pray that the changes being made in the system will help prevent this in the future. It is so heartbreaking.
When it happened to us, the prayer cover was such a gift. Please pray for the Holtz, Tidwell, Krahn, and Richardson families like you prayed for ours. I am feeling their pain.
Thank you for the continued prayers on our behalf. I am excited to have happy news to post soon, instead of sad news.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I am just hovering around the phone begging it to ring, and then when it does and it is not AOH, I'm so bummed. My heart is pounding, my stomach has butterflies, and I'm having a hard time doing anything. Unfortunately, there is a lot of housework that needs doing but I'm useless today. : ) They may not call today, but just knowing they might is keeping me so distracted.
I am so ready to open my heart again. I will hold on loosely this time until my son is in my arms, but I just want so much to be on the road again, heading toward the goal of the child God has for us. It is hard to be in pause mode. Please press "PLAY" again soon, Lord.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
God has heard the many prayers offered on behalf of our family and He has moved on our hearts in a very real way. I love how He does that! Thank you so much for praying for us. The prayer cover has been so tangible, I feel like I could stand on my tip toes and touch it. It is during times like this that I know that I am serving a real God. He is not a figment of my imagination.
After weeks of wrestling with this decision, Pat and I decided yesterday that we are continuing on with adoption from Liberia. As soon as the decision was made, I felt like a TON of bricks was lifted off of my shoulders. I didn't realize until after the decision was made how much this has been weighing on me. I've been holding my breath, wondering how Pat was feeling but not wanting to push.
I've also had a fear that I heard wrong, that there never really was a "call from God" to adopt from Liberia. I worried I had made this all up, and it had been me all along trying to take matters in my own hands because I want more children so badly. I prayed Wednesday night about it. I cried out to God, saying, "Was this from You or not? Did I make it all up? Is my family following me off a cliff? How am I supposed to KNOW if You spoke to me or not?"
I was reminded of Ethan Larsen, a missionary from our church, who spoke about his decision to take his family away from America, to the Ukraine and then eventually to Hungary. He said that before you do something big for God, you need to be convinced of your call to do it because when opposition comes and things get hard, that is all you have left to rely on. You KNOW that God told you to do this so you press on through the tough stuff.
I kept asking God, was it truly a call as I believed or just a romantic idea? Thursday morning I woke up and read my daily devotion on the Proverbs 31 Ministries website. It was all about living in the "Hear and Now." Hear was misspelled on purpose which drove the teacher in me crazy : ) The point of the study was are you acting on what you hear from God. At the end of the devotion there were two key verses printed:
John 10:4, “His sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (NIV)
John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)
I felt God gently whisper to me, "Becky, you belong to Me. You know my voice."
The above quote from Beth Moore was also in this devotion, and I felt God telling me, the answers for tomorrow will flow out of your faithfulness today. It wasn't until the priest stepped into the raging Jordan River that it divided and dried up. Obey first, get your feet wet, and then watch me work.
I was also reminded of a concept I learned and have often quoted from Blackaby's "Experiencing God" study. So many times people beg God to reveal His Will to them, when really all along what they want is His plan. He tells us that we already know His will, He has told us in His Word what His Will is, we need to leave His plan to Him.
God's heart for orphans has not changed. It is very, very clear in the Bible that God has said that people who follow Him are supposed to care for widows and orphans. That didn't change when we lost Ben's referral.
By Thursday morning, I was convinced that we were supposed to move forward in faith and be cautiously excited about whatever referral we receive until our child is home. Once he is home, here in our arms, he will become our own as we give of ourselves to him. I remembered this quote from Dale Evans Rogers that I've posted on this blog many times:
"Time and experience have taught me a priceless lesson: Any child you take for your own becomes your own if you give of yourself to that child. I have borne two children and had seven others by adoption, and they are all my children, equally beloved and precious."
As Pat and I talked on Friday, I knew that God had softened the pain and frustration and anger in him. We talked about how God had blessed us so much and that it is clear in the bible that to whom much has been given, much is required. We don't want to bury what God has given us, but give it back to Him for His work, and there is no denying how much God cares about those in this world who are considered the least, the abandoned, the poor, and how it is His desire to place the lonely in families.
In our individual prayer times, we both came to the conclusion that God was calling us forward and has good plans for us, but this isn't just about us. It is just as much about the child that He puts into our family. God has great plans for that individual child and I am so thankful to be a part of watching those plans unfold.
Love always requires risk. I'd much rather risk hurt and heartache and be able to love, than to be safe and unable to love and be loved. I am so blessed.
I feel a peace and joy today that I'm so grateful for. I hope that soon we will have a son home in person to love. I can't wait to celebrate that day.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Here is an excerpt from my prayer journal tonight:
"The more time that is going by, the more I am feeling ready to let go of Ben and attach my heart to whomever You bring home to us. I surrender. You choose. You are trustworthy. I will trust You to build our family according to Your will not mine. "
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This week has been emotionally draining, but I have a stubborn peace that won't go away. I know that I am being prayed for because I can feel it.
I love this quote from a missionary from the 1800's:
“If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings.” - Adoniram Judson
I trust that to be true for me, too.
Pat and I have some big decisions to make this week about adoption. I can't share the details just yet, but I would so appreciate your prayer cover. We want to be faithful to the call we felt, but it isn't easy. Please pray for us to keep moving forward in faith and to have clear direction as we make these decisions.
The other day I opened my Word document where I've been collecting adoption quotes this past year. A lot of them spoke to me right now. I'll share them with you:
“The place God calls you,” Frederick Buechner once said, “is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger
"Sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a
Jesus said that if you receive a child in His name, you receive Him and the one who sent him. The question is not whether caring for children is easy and safe, or whether they are responsive and thankful, or whether caring is depleting. The question is whether Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and
forever, and whether we can say with the apostle Paul, 'I can do all things through Him who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13)." John Piper's "A Godward Life"(pg. 67)
"More prayer, more exercise of faith, more patient waiting, and the result will be blessing, abundant blessing. Thus I have found it many hundreds of times, and therefore I continually say to myself, "Hope thou in God."--George Mueller
"Time and experience have taught me a priceless lesson: Any child you take for your own becomes your own if you give of yourself to that child. I have borne two children and had seven
others by adoption, and they are all my children, equally beloved and precious.--Dale Evans Rogers
“If what God is calling you to do, isn’t bigger than yourself, then it isn’t God calling you.” –Stacey (story from AGCI’s e-journal)
"Oh, how happy is the woman who believes in God, for he does make his promises to her come true." – Luke 1:45
“This isn’t the family I imagined we’d have,” she says, scooping one of the twins onto her lap to share a hug with the baby. “It’s better.” – Sue Herrera Good Housekeeping article, January 2006 pg. 112
"Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest. (Luke 9:48)
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with
such sacrifices God is pleased."Hebrew 13:16
"If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:17-18 NLT
"I am convinced that God longs to put His fingerprint in our lives, to act on our behalf and surprise us with His magnificence. I am equally convinced that most of the time we do not give God a context in which to do this. The mundane is not really the best context for a miracle. When we play it safe, we squeeze God out of the formula. If we go only where we know and do what we're certain will succeed, we remove our need for God. Whenever we respond to God's invitation, our need for God becomes heightened. Whenever we take on a God-sized challenge, self-sufficiency is no longer an option." (From Seizing Your Divine Moment)
Friday, September 14, 2007
A good friend sent me an email last night. In it he wrote, “I am sure losing Benjamin is not where this will all end for you guys.” I heard God’s voice say, “It could be. It could be the end of the story for you, if you quit. You can quit right now and be done and walk away and that will be the end of the story. Or you can press on to the blessings and assignments I have for you. It’s your choice.” It was almost like He drew a line in the sand for me.
I keep hearing God ask me, “Are you a soldier or not? Get up and fight.” Will this experience strengthen our resolve to do His work, or will this disappointment be the thing that makes us quit on Him. When my brother was a plebe at the Naval Academy, I remember them talking about the huge numbers of Midshipmen who would be weeded out. I had to ask myself, are Pat and I going to be weeded out? Are we going to desert, drop out of the program and walk away? Or are we going to allow ourselves to be trained into officers.
We are tired. We have been thoroughly beat up these past two years. I have four babies in heaven. I have a little boy in Liberia who will always have a piece of my heart. He will always be my spiritual son. I think you can say I am now officially an expert in the miscarriage department. I’ve delivered my son’s little body; I’ve experienced early miscarriage, late miscarriage, and now adoption miscarriage. But have I been destroyed? No!
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
-2 Corinthians 4:7-9
I believe that because Pat and I are weak and tired and hurt, we have been marked by the enemy. He sneaks up from behind to attack us who are weak, just like the Amalekites did when the Israelites were leaving Egypt. We can sit down and say, “I deserve a break. I’m tired. I quit, someone else can take over.” That’s when we can be picked off; we need to be on guard as we are tired.
God is the defender of the weak and He has asked Pat and me to join him in taking care of the weak, defenseless, the abandoned, even if He has a different one for us then the cute little face that we decided we wanted. Another question he keeps asking me is, “Who is this about?” If you quit now you are saying, “This is about me.” If you keep going, you are saying, “This is about You, Lord, and the defenseless orphans that need us.” Are we in this to take care of orphans, and to be obedient to the Lord, or are we in it to get a prize for the pain we’ve been through, because we think we deserve it like a consolation prize. What is our motivation?
As I was writing these thoughts out, my five-year-old daughter came into the room. This was the conversation we just had:
Karissa: Mommy are you still sad because we can’t adopt Benjamin?
Me: Yes, honey, I am. How are you feeling about it?
Karissa: I’m OK. God gave his mommy enough money and food to take care of him because He knew he wasn’t the little boy for us. Can you get a picture of our new brother? What’s his name? Are we going to change his name again?
Me: I don’t know, honey, we’ll see.
The faith of a child. Karissa understands that God has our best interest, and Benjamin’s and his mother’s best interest in mind. He is good. He is love. He will work this out for our good if we will participate with him. Karissa knows to just keep moving forward, looking toward the best blessing God has for us. I need to follow her example and allow myself to keep following my Daddy.
How it will all play out for us, I don’t know, but I’m determined to not let this be the end of the story for us. Please pray for us to be strong and faithful to the plans that God has for us. As always, He is trustworthy. He didn’t change after that phone call came in on Wednesday night. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Today we learned that Benedict Aquai will not be our son. His birthmother returned to the orphanage and said that she could no longer go through with the adoption. She took him with her and removed him from the program.
I'm a wreck right now. I shouldn't have believed he was our son until he was on the airplane headed home, but I took one look at his picture and fell in love. I don't know what to think or feel, other than raw pain.
I know that God will carry me through this loss just like the others. As we've gone through losing our babies, God has given us theme songs. The first one was Tree63's "Blessed Be Your Name" and the then it was "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns. Today, my song is "Jesus Bring the Rain" by MercyMe.
I'm broken. I'm hurt, and I feel lost, but Jesus, I will praise You still!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
We accepted our referral the beginning of May and got new photos in June, but that's all that we've heard about the adoption. The silence is hard. AOH is incredibly busy trying to deal with this visa situation, several people are in Liberia right now, and they are in transition with hiring new staff. They are too busy doing everything right for the kids, so I totally understand, but its still hard and for some reason today is one of the hardest. I'm just really low in the faith and trust and optimism department.
Is our adoption process really going through? Is Ben ever really going to get a visa to get out of the country? Will he ever really be here in our home with us in person? Will he, Lord? Lord, help my unbelief.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
It started to happen gradually. One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, "Who is that with you, young fella?"
"Nobody," he shrugged.
Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, "Oh my goodness, nobody?"
I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like "Turn the TV down, please" - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, "Would someone turn the TV down?" Nothing.
Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, "I'm ready to go when you are." He just kept right on talking. I'm invisible.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going...She's going...She's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness . It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table. " That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.