Thursday, April 26, 2007

Please Pray for My Sanity

Yesterday afternoon, we received an updated list of the waiting children at our orphanage. After looking over the list, Pat and I felt strongly led to one little boy in particular. We are so hopeful that he is our son!

The problem is that we don't have what is called the Favorable Determination Letter (FDL, or I-171-H) from U.S. immigration, yet. It is a pre-approval from the government to bring an orphan into the U.S. and AOH can't give us a referral without that letter. We applied for it on March 2nd, so we have been waiting for almost 2 months. (estimated wait time is between 9 days and 3 months) Please pray that it will arrive soon.

I have never felt like this before. I have had butterflies in my stomach since yesterday. I am so antsy, I can't sit still. I just wish that I could DO something to make that letter be in our mailbox tomorrow afternoon. There is no guarantee that AOH won't give this referral to another family, and I need to be OK with that. If God closes the door for adopting this little boy, then I need to be grateful that He is saving us for the right one for our family. I need His help right now to be patient and to trust and not get too carried away.

Tomorrow, Pat and I will be gathering and sending overnight FedEx the rest of the documents that Donna needs from us. We were just laughing about how we learned the hard way by waiting for the birth certificates that we are willing to pay extra money for speed. We won't be relying on the mail to get these things to Donna! They'll be there as fast as we can possibly get them to her.

Please pray that our FDL will be in the mail, that I will have peace, and that I would trust in God's will for this situation. I believe this is THE ONE, but I don't want to meddle or interfere with the work that God has done so far and will continue to do. I need a MAJOR chill pill right now, and really appreciate your prayers!

I just wanted to add how much I have grown to love my "virtual" friends that I have met through my yahoo groups and this blog. You all are awesome and I'm so grateful for your support!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We Have Birth Certificates!!!

I only have a few minutes to quickly post this message, but I wanted to let you all know that UPS just knocked on the door this afternoon and handed me Pat's birth certificates! Now we can get our adoption process rolling again. Yipppeeee!!!!

Vital Check is definitely worth the extra money. They got us the birth certificates within a week.

I wanted to thank those of you who were praying for them to come and for my peace as we waited for them. It is so helpful to have friends who understand how hard waiting for the details can be. : )

Thursday, April 19, 2007

False Evidence Appearing Real (Fear)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

We studied fear this morning in bible study, so I started thinking about all that I fear about this adoption. It was so neat to be reminded that I have nothing to fear. Our bible study leader shared this acronym for fear today:


The things I fear are the things I imagine, not what is reality or truth. The real truth is that I can't always see why and how God is working out good, but He is working out good and he says to me, "I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (Isaiah 41:13 NIV).

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
- Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

It is such an encouragement to me to be reminded that I don't find my own way through this life, but instead I am led. The Lord himself goes before me and leads the way. No matter what lies ahead, I'm promised that "he will neither fail you nor abandon you" (NLT).

Our adoption process is being orchestrated and governed by God. And we have been put here for "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14) to be this little boy's Mom and Dad. That is amazing to me, that all of this has been ordained ahead of time and we've been led into it and we will be led throughout this child's life. How amazing is that, and if all of this is true, what do I have to fear! Nothing. : )

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My First Boy Purchase

I just had to share that I bought my first baby boy clothes today. : )

Every once in awhile, a local consignment shop has a sale where everything only costs a quarter. Even though I have no idea what size our little boy is going to be, I figured I could risk it for a quarter.

I found some cute stuff. I got a pair of PJ's that are Superman PJ's with a detachable red cape. My little brother used to have a pair of Superman PJ's with a cape. It brought back so many memories. It was so fun to buy stuff that's not pink or purple for once. I'm so excited for my little man. : )

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oprah Show Links

I was so excited today when the links to the Oprah show that featured the families in North Carolina that adopted from Liberia was shared on one of my yahoo groups today. It was such a great show. I cried through the whole thing. Here's the links if you'd like to see for yourself. Enjoy!

Oprah Show Part One:

Oprah Show Part Two:

Monday, April 9, 2007

Lessons From Esther

The leader of one of the women's bible studies at our church needs a little well-deserved break, so I'm going to be leading her study every other week throughout the summer. We are going to be studying the book of Esther, so I have been listening to some of Jon Courson's teachings on Esther to get ready. I plug speakers into my laptop and listen while I'm cleaning the kitchen.

When she told me that she wanted to do Esther, I was a little nervous because Esther is an awesome story, but I was worried that it might be a hard one to teach on. God is never mentioned by name in this book, their is no mention of prayer or heaven. I started to wonder, "What are we going to talk about for nine weeks?"

It has been really encouraging listening to these teachings on-line. One of the biggest thing that has stood out to me is the reoccurring theme of God working behind the scenes for His people. Although it appears that God is absent from this book, He really isn't. It's amazing how, as Courson puts it, "God is in the shadows, controlling the situation, and governing the circumstances."

It really encouraged me to think of God working on our behalf in our adoption process. Sometimes He feels absent, or it may feel like time is standing still and nothing is happening. But that's just because I can't see what's happening. Just because I can't see what He is doing, doesn't mean that God isn't working. He's very involved, in the shadows, controlling the situation and governing the circumstances. That's very cool to think about.

Process update: We are still waiting for our pre-approval from immigration (i-171-H form) and we set a deadline for mid-April to receive Pat's birth certificates from New Jersey, and then we are going to try a different approach. Then we can send in our dossier and be what is called "referral ready." So in other words, nothing much has changed. : ) That's OK, though. I'm feeling really peaceful about it all. But I must admit, I'm as excited as ever to see a picture and know the identity and age of our son. Thanks to all of you who are praying for us and have shown such an interest in our adoption. It is a blessing.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

He is Risen!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

I just wanted to say Happy Easter everyone! I love, love, love, Easter. It is my favorite holiday. : ) Mom and Dad are visiting this weekend and Dad has been barbecuing and cooking all day in preparation. I can't wait to eat it all tomorrow.

I'll never forget one Easter when I was in college. I had grown up a basically "good" kid with a lot of spiritual pride. I had always celebrated Easter, but never really got that it was for me, too. Then I found myself slipping into things I wasn't proud of in college life. I came home feeling gross about myself. During the Easter worship service, I was overcome with this feeling that Jesus was telling me, "I did this for you, Becky." I realized that even during my "good" years I didn't deserve Him and He was fully aware of my "bad" times and all of it was what put him on the cross, all of it was paid for and forgiven, and I had a great hope in Him.

I love that feeling of hope I have on Easter Sunday. I love that I belong to Him and I will forever. I am so grateful that He is ALIVE!!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful day worshipping Him that conquered death.

Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
- 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Resolve and Commitment Vs. Emotional High

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. - 1 Peter 5:7

God keeps showing me different reasons why He has allowed our adoption process to be stalled. This is the newest reason that I've been thinking about:

When we first began this process, I was so gung-ho. I wanted to jump in with both feet. My attitude was, "Bring it on!" We had great momentum going with the paperwork and the process, and I was so excited. I was going strong on emotion, thrilled to be following God's call on our lives.

I think God used this emotion to get the ball rolling and to convince us of His call to do this. Than the whole process came to a screeching halt and the delay made the emotion and momentum die down. All of a sudden, fear and doubt have crept in, making me anxious and afraid.

I am realizing that God has used this time of delay to strip away the emotional high and replace it with true commitment and resolve to follow Him in this call that isn't based on emotions, or good feelings, but on trust and obedience.

It seems like panic about this whole thing usually hits me right before bed. It has amazed me how every time I panic and get afraid, God responds with reassurance that we are doing the right thing. I keep a women's devotional Bible on my nightstand and it is my routine to read the day's devotion before I fall asleep. It has been pretty miraculous how every time I get in bed afraid, I get to fall asleep in peace because of the specific devotion for the day and how God uses it to speak to our situation and my fear.

Tuesday's devotion spoke of Ruth and the commitment she made to Naomi. Ruth abandoned her homeland, her former life, her family, her religion and followed her mother-in-law and her mother-in-law's God into a strange land. That commitment to Naomi was based on something stronger and more lasting than good feelings. The devotion said this:
Commitment must be fueled not merely by head knowledge but also by heart
determination. Ruth had nothing to offer to Naomi or to God but herself,
and that she gave willingly and eagerly. Every woman, whatever her
circumstances or position has at least that to give the Savior, and it is
enough! (Dorothy Patterson, Women's Devotional Bible NIV)

Last night's devotion spoke to me most of all. It reminded me of where my focus needs to lie. Not on me, not on my fears, not even on our son, it must be on God alone. The devotion was about Hannah and it contrasted the two prayers she prayed. Here's an excerpt from the devotion that really spoke to me:

Hannah's second prayer (1 Samuel 2:1-11) is far different from the pain of
her first prayer in 1 Samuel 1:11. It's an amazing song of praise to the
God whom she sees as sovereign overall of life. Reread it and notice all
that Hannah believes about God. Can we say we believe these things?

Hannah makes no mention in this second prayer of the son for whom she prayed
so fervently. The subject is not her need or her son. The subject of
this prayer is God!

Could it be that Hannah learned what we need to learn- that it is God who
makes life complete? Oh, we yearn for this and ache for that. We
concentrate on our need instead of on God. It is God who is enough.
"The LORD' Hannah says, 'is a God who knows' (1 Samuel; 2:3). No
wonder the Scripture says over and over: Wait for the Lord! Not for the
things you want, but for the Lord! (Gladys M. Hunt, Women's Devotional Bible NIV)

By slowing the process, God has taught me that this is about true love, just like marriage. It is not about me, or about making me feel good, and good feelings will not be enough to sustain me through the whole adoption process and as a mother. It is commitment, resolve, love in action, and a focus that is steadfast, locked on Jesus. It's just like when Peter walked on water. While his eyes were on Jesus he did fine, as soon as he looked away, he sunk. I'm praying that God would remind me to keep looking at Him.

I told my mom the other day that I just need people to keep encouraging me and telling me that we're doing the right thing, because I get so scared. I kept thinking about that after I said it. I don't need people to tell me this, I need God to remind me that this is all about Him. He will be perfect in my weakness.

Sorry that my posts have been so long lately....I've been thinking a lot and it takes a lot of words to get it all out. : )

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Great Documentary!

A news team from Maryland, USA flew to Maryland County, Liberia and made a documentary of Liberia's history and its connection to the United States. My mom and I just got done watching it on her laptop. I am really hoping that our friends and family will watch it to learn about the history of Liberia and to better understand where our son will be coming from. It was so well done and left me even more in love with this country. I hope you enjoy it, too. Here's the link:

You can click to enlarge the picture to full screen. My only complaint is that it is a little difficult to hear, so you'll want to turn your volume way up and watch it in a room with little background noise.

Enjoy! : )