Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wall one goes down

We got a very short, to the point e-mail from our agency yesterday.  To shorten it further, "We can proceed."  And there was much rejoicing!  My last conversation with the agency on this issue was something like, "They've never approved this before, but we can try."  And God clears a path! 

My first thought was to post this news immediately, but I didn't.  I've been trying to figure out why I'm not shouting it from the mountain tops.  I've debated (and still am) whether to share this, because this posting my very personal thoughts is putting my heart out there for all to see.  I said I would do that from the beginning of this blog, but it's proving harder than I suspected.  You see, I prayed every day many times that God would cause the answer from China to be "not a problem."  He has done exactly what I asked in this situation.  Now I find myself thinking how many of these big and small miracles God's going to have to do to make this adoption come to fruition.  I must admit to fearing that.  Yesterday, even as I was thanking God for doing this for us, I was questioning why He would keep it up?  Why would God keep working like this for me?  I know me.  So does He.  Is He absolutely sure I'm up to this?

I learned a long time ago that God is big enough for my questions.  So I've been asking them.  What He put on my heart is the story of the man in Mark 9 who brought his son to Jesus.  The boy had been demon possessed for years.  The disciples had not been able to rid the boy of the demon.  Jesus response was, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you?  How long shall I put up with you?  Bring the boy to me."  The father did that and said to Jesus, "If you can do anything..."  I think Jesus was a little offended, "If you can?  Everything is possible for him who believes." The boy's father answers, "I do believe.  Help me overcome my unbelief."

Matt & I have discussed this passage many times.  I love how the father believes, but knows part of him doesn't.  This is the conflict I'm feeling.  God just showed me yet again that He CAN and WILL provide.  I honestly have no doubts that God can do whatever God wants to do.  I struggle with letting go, realizing I'm not in control at all, and believing that God wants to and will keep working His miraculous ways in my family. 

In this whole process, I know God is going to grow me.  This adoption process is a very slow and He knows two of my biggest struggles are impatience and wanting to be in control.  My poor husband.  These are not his struggles, but He's going to have to watch the painful process of my ups and downs.  Jesus' answer to why the disciples couldn't drive out the demon?  "This kind can come out only by prayer."  So as I make that phone call to set up the home study process, my prayer is simply: I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief. 

Thank you for all the prayers.  God is answering!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Prayer please

No long post now, but our doctor's letter is on it's way to the facilitator in China.  Please pray for a favorable response. 
Thank you!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Sorry for taking so long to get a new blog post up, I seem to have myself spread pretty thin right now.
When I think of the word “wall” several images spring to mind.  The Great Wall of China is one for sure.  We went there on our trip to adopt Cassidy, and what an experience.  Standing there gazing at those ancient stones and imagining all of the labor it must’ve taken just to build the section I could see, I was dumbstruck.  Okay, so I’m dumbstruck quite often, but I’m currently building a retaining wall in my back yard, so it’s possible I might have the teeniest, tiniest inkling.  I also think of the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston.  As of yet I haven’t had the chance to see it in person, but it’s an icon in the baseball world.  I’ve always been fond of the story of Samson, and I’ve pictured myself, chained up between pillars supporting the walls of the great city and through the Lord’s strength yanking them down.  Without the part where I die, of course.

Walls support, divide, hide, commemorate and demarcate.  But it seems most often, they frustrate and/or hurt when we run into them.

Such is the situation we find ourselves in with our adoption journey.  We’ve barely taken our first steps and already we face an obstacle.  It seems that during the time since we adopted Cassidy, China had changed their rules regarding a particular medicine one of us takes.  What wasn’t an issue six-plus years ago is now a big issue – as in showstopper.

Now those who know me any at all know that my first tendency is to want to blast right through the wall.  I’m not one who quits easy, so if I can’t plow through it I’ll try to go around, climb it, or dig under.  I’d love to just reduce the wall to rubble, but it begs the question – is that what I should do even if I could?

Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.”  That’s the verse that’s been rattling around in the old noggin lately.  I’ve also been recalling the Biblical history of Joshua and how Joshua and the Israelites obediently marched around the walls of Jericho and God crumbled them.  I think maybe God is telling me “Hey, I’ve got this.  Don’t go beating your head against this one.  I led you here, I’ll see you through.”  God has to tell me these things or else I’d hurtle myself headlong into the wall – like I’ve done so many times in the past.

So, we’re taking steps with our adoption agency that we feel the Lord has led us to take.  Our family doctor has written a letter describing the medicine and why we’re on it.  He was also kind enough to recommend us for adoption even with the medicine.  We’re going to send the letter to China and see what they say.  Yikes.

This is where that word faith comes in.

I can, with all honesty, say that I haven’t been sweating it too much.  The Lord has never done anything in our lives the way we planned it, or saw it going, so why should this adventure be any different?  His plan has always been so different.  Along the way there have been trials that taught us faith and humility.  But you know, His plans are so much more awesome than our tiny dreams.  Without fail, His way may be rough and rocky at times, but it has led us to some beautiful places (thanks Wayne Watson).

Who knows what China will say?  They might say it’s all good and we’ll go rocking on our merry way.  Or they might totally reject the letter.  Either way, we will not be moved, because “greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.”

So, I guess if I were to summarize I’d say we’re waiting on God to move.  When He calls us to action we’ll be ready.  If the wall grows bigger and more formidable we’ll take a deep breath and rely on Jesus, the author of all our joy.  For we truly believe that He has led us here, and He will not abandon us.  His grace is sufficient in our weakness.

Please be with us in prayer on this matter.  Then sit back and wait, it might be fun to see what new and creative way God comes up with in dealing with this wall.

My head could sure use the break.

~ Matt

Friday, July 1, 2011

Adoption perspective

Next week, the girls and I will be attending an annual event put on by Dillon International called China Camp.  It's an opportunity for kids adopted from China to spend a few days together and learn about the Chinese culture.  I've had the privilege of teaching 4 years old at camp for the last few years.  It's been a really amazing experience. 

We receive newsletters from Dillon leading up to camp every year.  The latest has an article in it that I just have to share.  The sweet lady who penned it has been teaching Chinese cooking to the kids every year since I've been there.  She is both an adoptee and an adoptive parent.  This article gave me a whole new perspective.  Hope it does the same for you.and

Reflection of a China Camp mother and why I volunteer

Come second day of Camp and it is picture day! Yeah!

Our adorable, beautiful children from China come together as a body of campers to smile into flashing cameras, becoming celebrities for a day. All around me proud fathers and mothers click away with love swelling in their hearts at how beautiful & special each and every one of their sons and/or daughters are. There is a certain euphoria in the air, a certain kind of organized chaos masked by smiles and "cheeses" and excitement that 'my picture is being taken'.

This is the same day when I am overwhelmed. I catch myself heavy in heart. I look at 200 smiling children, 200 loved children, 200 joyous children, 200 innocent and hopeful children. I also see 200 faces of children that will deal with all the emotions that come with loss. 200 beautiful faces who left their birth country to form families and come to camp here in Tulsa OK., 200 faces that one day may ask or have asked "why'?

My heart never fails to tighten and a blanket of sorrow enfolds me. Each year, on picture day, I dread this feeling. I am totally overcome by how 200 elated children, living life to their fullest, could be the child who may feel the pain that "for this joy, I had to somehow lose a part of me".

To say I detest picture day is too harsh. But I do detest the feelings that overwhelm me, that to be here I had to become apart from someone who gave me life. I am apart from the smells, sounds, taste, language and more, a place where "little me" yearns to be.

Picture day, I am in turmoil, because it contradicts all I have come to learn, believe in my Faith. Especially to be thankful for the Grace and life I can partake.

The recurring thoughts are "look how perfect each and every child is. Look how confident they all are, look how happy they all are." But my heart also sees hearts and minds that could hunger for the unknown pieces of history.

I am totally aware that this heavy heart comes solely from my very own adoption mystery. I had often fallen deep into the water of loss and pain I feel for my unknown birth family. To say I do not miss them, mixed into this wonderfully blessed life I have, is a lie. I too have wondered who they are, who do I look like, are they still alive? Most of all, Why?

Now, a mom of 3 little miracles, I have often looked into my children's eyes and wondered who they could have become if they had not joined our family. What could have become of them?

No choice of theirs, I have taken them out of their homeland, out of their culture, selflessly they have accepted.

China camp is my only small way to return to them their history, their culture, their identity. One of many ways, I can thank my children for forming this family.

I love my Chinese culture, I love the children, I love our Chinese children. I love food, I love cooking, I love sharing the most awkward, bizarre and exotic Chinese taste with the children. I watch with amazement as their eyes open wide at strange vegetable and animal parts and see their noses wince from an unusual smell. I love to see their face cringe at that attack of their tongue when tasting something totally unlike anything they have ever tasted. Their excitement when they discovered that strange smell can be so delicious.

Most of all, I feel a deep unfathomable obligation to take the children on a journey, returning to the land of their birth. I cannot replicate the exact attacks of all 5 senses when we are in China, but if, in a tiny minute way, I can bring parts of their homeland to them I feel I may have repaid them for their unselfish hearts to make my family.

To volunteer and teach at China camp is not merely about 2½ days of being part of classes to make a chinese mythical dragon, nor use a calligraphy brush to write, nor to make yummy dumplings nor to sway and dance like a Chinese fairy nor to defend like the Kung Fu Panda.

No it is not. It emcompasses so much more. It signifies and symbolizes where words are too weak to explain.

To volunteer is to travel back in time with my children. Back to the land of their ancestors, to be able to replicate what they could have eaten, smelled, and touch; what their forefathers created, played games centuries old and create lifetime friendships.

Come second day of camp I see my past, my present and my future.
I can't wait to see Tian this year and thank her personally.