Friday, May 21, 2010

A Confession and Where We Are Going From Here....

When we began our second adoption, we thought two things- Ethiopia and a child with HIV. We also thought this adoption would be so much easier, as we knew the challenges with paperwork, waiting, etc. that lie ahead. We had also seen God's faithfulness to us financially during out last adoption, so honestly, we weren't even too concerned about that part. I think that was mistake #1- thinking, "we got this". I know God wants us to have peace, but I also know that he wants us to trust in Him and depend on Him- not on ourselves. It almost seemed like we felt we didn't need God's help this time around. That was about five months ago. A lot can change in five months, thankfully!

The last few months have been super confusing and anxious in regard to our second adoption, and most of that is due to our own indecision, self reliance, and the doubts that arise from taking things into your own hands! We could not make up our mind regarding country (remember in a previous post we had considered Thailand, then back to Ethiopia, then!). Though I realize that we just posted about being accepted into the Uganda program and beginning to pursue adoption through that country, well.....we aren't going to do it. First I want to say that Nightlight Christian Adoptions have been awesome to work with, and I would recommend them to anyone! I also think the opportunity they are giving to families with their Uganda program is amazing. What we came to realize is that our original motive for wanting to pursue this program
was really not right. When we saw that all agencies fees were going to be waived, we thought, "Wow! This is just what we need! Not having to worry about money for the adoption would be awesome!" Of course, we love Africa and I think the whole time knew our second child would come from there, but in a way, I think we saw this as the easy way. I am embarrassed to say this, but it is the truth. However, the more we began to consider certain aspects of the program, even despite the lower cost, we realized it was not in the best interest of our family. The main reason we feel we should not pursue an adoption from Uganda is the uncertainty at this point of the travel and time spent in Uganda. It can range from anywhere to 3-6 weeks in country, and in some cases, more. Besides this, there was an issue that was really was no ones fault that was going to cause us to have to begin a completely new home study- all the visits and some of the paperwork was going to have to be redone, with us paying for both home studies. And finally, while there are most certainly children with HIV in Uganda that need to adopted, it was possible that we would be offered a healthy child as well, with no time frame for a wait for a child with HIV. These factors combined, have led us away from the Uganda program.

So, where are we going from here? To Ethiopia, for sure. We promise, unless something God-sized happens :) Our dossier was sent to our agency yesterday! Do we feel at peace? Yes. Do we feel like we can do this on our own? No way :) And we are thankful for that. Really. Because we know that only when we are relying solely on Christ, do we have the strength and power to face all that may lie ahead of us. Though the ins and outs of adopting from Ethiopia are much more established than a new program like Uganda, things can still change at any time. And the reality of adopting a child that will face a chronic illness for the rest of their lives leads us to fall at the foot of the cross each and every moment of every day. I have literally experienced a mental war like none other for the last few months about the decision to adopt a child with HIV. Satan has thrown every thought, every doubt, everything he can my way. I have spent many sleepless nights wondering if we are crazy, if we undertaking "too much". I wondered if we needed our heads examined for intentionally choosing a path that will not be easy, not be comfortable, and may take a lot of sacrifice. It just so happened that my dad had recently purchased the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I can not begin to explain to you how God used this book in my life, at just the right time. Through reading what God put in the mind of Francis Chan and through the scriptures that Francis presents in this book (that every Christian should read, by the way) God has shown me that we are not crazy!

God loved me before I loved Him. He loved you before you loved Him too! When I think that he loved me, even while I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8), I know that choosing to love others, even when it might not be the most comfortable or easy decision, is what we are compelled to do, if the love of God lives in us. Does anything in life really matter, other than loving God and loving other people?

Now that we have a clear path for our second adoption, I hope to post more about HIV, living with a child who is HIV positive, etc. As far as a timeline for this adoption- We been told 2-6 months for a referral. Keep your prayers coming this way! Even now, we pray for our child, we pray that they are being given the healthcare they need, we pray that God is strengthening their body and mind, and we pray that He will give us wisdom and courage as we continue to identify resources for our new child and try to show love in this way.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday Zack!

Zack turned the big 30 this past weekend. We had a great surprise birthday party for him- great because he was really surprised! His sister came in all the way from North Carolina, and his college roommate and his wife made a surprise visit as well. We so appreciated everyone making the effort to help us celebrate such a momentous occasion. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and fun....and food :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Love my Mom....Love Being a Mom :)

Even though last year was "officially" my first Mother's Day, this year really kind of felt like the real thing :) Last year at this time, Caleb had only been home around 5 months, and though we loved him dearly, we were still getting to know each other and still bonding, he was still learning to trust us, and we were all kind of still in semi-survival mode. Now, we are just like old pals :) We have had so many good times together. Seriously, I love being this guy's mommy! He is the best. No doubt about it. And he is going to be an awesome big brother. What did we ever do without Caleb?

I have been a daughter for 27 (almost 28 years now :) so I have that role down pretty well :) And my mom definitely has the mom role down. If I could only do it as well as she does one day.....Love you mom. Oh, and you are an awesome grandma (or bobbi, as Caleb says).

I was kind of looking over my blog and realized I had not posted anything very "serious" (for lack of a better word) in quite a while. A good serious post is needed :) And God has been teaching me some serious things that I need to I look forward to doing that soon!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Destination: UGANDA!!!

Thursday evening we received a call from Nightlight Christian Adoptions, the agency offering the Uganda pilot program. We were told we were accepted into the Uganda program! Praise the Lord! This is a huge blessing and opportunity for our family! It has taken a little longer than we thought, but we finally have a clear path to pursue for our second adoption, and we are so excited. So, here are some details about the program:

-The program is through Nightlight Christian Adoption, a really wonderful agency.

-Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa- It comes sooo close to bordering Ethiopia....but not quite as you can see from the map below :)

-Over half of the population of the country lives on less than a dollar a day

-This is a pilot program.....which means expect anything! However, the timetable appears to be such that we will wait between 3-6 months for a referral after our dossier is received in Uganda. This could be much sooner, however, as we are open to a child of either gender under 2 with HIV. We also indicated that we are open to a sibling group of 2 children with HIV, under the age of 3 :)

-Most likely, we will travel within 1-2 months of receiving our referral, but this could take up to 6 months....again, it is a pilot program.

-We will stay in the capital of Uganda, Kampala, for at least 3 weeks, though this could be a bit longer too. However, one parent may come home after a few days.

So, where are we in the process? Well, our home study is complete, and we should be receiving it in a week or so. At that point, we will apply to USCIS and wait for their approval, which is reportedly taking around 90 days. During that time, we will assemble our dossier, and as soon as our USCIS approval comes, ship all our paperwork to Uganda!

We are very thankful and humbled for this opportunity. To God be the Glory!