Monday, November 26, 2012

He Longs With Me

For the past several weeks, I've been meeting with other women from church and working through Beth Moore's study on Esther.  It has been so relevant to every woman participating, on different levels and in different areas of our lives.

This past session's DVD, Beth Moore said something so simply profound, which just spoke to my heart, and I felt hot tears on my cheeks. 

She read Isaiah 30:18: "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for Him."  She said, "A wait without longing is just a passing of time."  Then she pointed out that God is longing for His plans for us to come to fruition, just as we are.

So, when I'm missing my kids, wondering why paperwork that was supposed to be here 4 weeks ago still isn't here, why people who traveled after us are already sending back to our kids' country paperwork we haven't even gotten to start on, waiting for unanswered questions to be answered (here on Earth and from Heaven), I can rest assured that God is longing for these things just as much as little itty-bitty me.  He's excited about our gotcha day, anticipating our kids being orphans no more.

Before you think I've become patient, I'm on the verge of a big cry fest.  We've been waiting 6 weeks for papers that were supposed to be here in only 2, and I don't even know when they'll be here.  At this point, I'm beginning to wonder if our paperwork was lost with the postcard that never arrived.  (We mailed a postcard to the kids while we were in-country, and haven't gotten it yet.)  There are families who traveled after us that are now over a month ahead of us, because their immigration paperwork is finished, and we can't even start ours without the missing documents.  And I can't get an answer on where the paperwork is.  So, I'm most definitely failing in the patience department.

But those words were reassuring, as Scripture always is during my frequent moments of humanness.  And I'll take every bit of reassurance I can get when I'm getting ready to take away my toddler's award of "Best Tantrum Ever." 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thank You Is Not Enough

There have been several times during our adoption where I tried to find something more eloquent to say than a simple 'thank you.'  Today is one of those days.

Yesterday, we had our first holiday after meeting the kids, after they became real, more than a picture.  While I was busy making food and spending time with several of our closest family friends, there was little time to think about missing them.  I noticed their absence in the little things; as we set up chairs at the kids' table, I told my friend, Jessica, that we'd need two more seats next year.  One of our friends asked at lunch, "What is it going to take to get them here?"

Last night, when the house was quiet and the dishes were done, I felt just how strongly my heart is aching to have them here with me.  It's so strange, a new feeling I've never experienced, to have my heart ache this way.

I smelled Denny the other night.  I was looking through pictures of our time with him, and I smelled his little scent, not freshly bathed, but also not too long past a bath.  Just his sweet scent.

I can still hear Tory's voice, remember how her chubby little fingers felt in my hand.

And I want them home.

And today, we made a big stride closer to them.  No, the paperwork we've been waiting on for over a month still isn't here.  But a dear couple came to our house this afternoon, and gave us a gift.  This couple has poured into our adoption again and again, and a simple 'thank you' does not do our gratitude justice. 

You know who you are, and you are such a blessing!  When our thanks don't seem enough, please know that you are such an encouragement to us in your selfless obedience.  I pray that more and more, our hearts are stretched like yours, and that we can be as much a blessing to others as you have been to us and to others in our community.

For those of you adopting or feeling pulled, we had no idea when we started where our funding would come from, or how it would come.  We praise GOD for every dollar that we've been able to pay, because it hasn't been from us.  I am continually amazed by how and who God moves, and I assure you, you will be amazed as well!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Recap of Our Trip: Visit 2 & 3 (Take 2)

Our second visit with Tory was actually a full day, so I'm blogging it as visits 2 and 3 (typically visits are a couple of hours each, and we were with her for 7).

We drove from our apartment to her village, excited to see her again, and looking forward to spending a full day with her!  We pulled up to the orphanage and walked through the gate, up the sidewalk that passed in front of the building, and up the stairs to the door.  Even before we made it to the door, an excited little girl was there waiting for us!  She ran to me, then Scott, giving us each hugs and announcing that her Mama and Daddy were back to see her!

She was wearing the same outfit from the day before, only she had changed her shoes to white sneakers.  She's independent in picking out what she wants to wear, and it's her favorite outfit!  She had a new pink bag, full of her toys from the day before, and we were told that she had not let her gifts out of her sight!

We were not at the orphanage long before it was decided that it was a good time to go and take Tory's visa photo.  We left the orphanage with Tory and her baba, and made the drive to a city about half an hour away.  We parked and made our way to the local photo shop to have her picture taken, and she isn't a fan of you just clicking the camera in her face.  She sort of stared down the camera at first, but after a bit of coaxing, she finally smiled for the photographer!  She loves to see her picture after it's taken, and seemed pleased with her picture.

While we were there, I popped my camera's memory card out and put it in the photo kiosk, printing the picture we took the day before of the three of us.  Once it was finished, I gave it to Tory to add to her photo book.  She just beamed!  All pictures and paperwork finished, we asked for directions to the post office, so we could mail the postcard we picked up in Denny's region.  We knew we'd beat the postcard home, but our kids love getting things in the mail, and what's cooler than a postcard from mom and dad!  (As of this post, that postcard still hasn't made it here.  Hopefully within the next week?)

Tory spent the ride back to the orphanage looking back and forth between Scott and me, looking at our wedding rings, holding our hands, and listening to the conversation between our translator and her baba.  Neither of us can remember the question asked, and we almost missed it, but Tory was asked a question, and she responded with an English "yes" instead of "da."

Once back, it was time for us to learn more about her diabetes, and she sat down at the dining table, while her apartment "mother" explained her ideal blood sugar level, and how much insulin she gives based on her actual level.  Tory helped with each step of the now familiar process of checking her blood sugar level and receiving insulin.  She had lunch after that, a nice meal of fish, fresh tomato and cucumber, a feta-looking cheese, and an apple.  They take care of Tory, and for that, I am so very thankful.  I cannot imagine how Tory's diabetes would be handled in other orphanages, or if anyone would ever have bothered to push to find out why she lost weight suddenly, why she was apathetic about playing.

Tory wanted to take us on a walk through her village, and we were hungry, so she escorted us outside, up a set of stairs, and out a different gate that led further into the village.  She held Scott's hand the entire walk, and I stopped to take several pictures.  Somehow she knew when I stopped, and she turned around to call me to come on.  As we walked, we passed an old playground, with painted metal fencing around the outside, and metal swings, slides, and jungle gyms inside.  Our translator asked if she liked to play there, and she replied that she did.

We walked on to the grocery store, and Tory stopped once to drink from a running fountain.  We went in to the tiny store and got snacks and water, then walked back to the playground.  She wanted to swing on every single swing there, and would call to Scott to come push her or me to swing next to her.  I barely fit my hips into the metal swings, but we had so much fun, swinging and climbing on the playground.

It reminded me so much of my childhood, before all the metal playgrounds were gone, replaced by big plastic slides.  I know, I know, the metal gets hot in the summer, but there is something wonderfully nostalgic about the paint-chipped blue jungle gyms, red and yellow swings, and bright silver slides.  And not only that, but we talked about our tendency here to get rid of the old, bring in the new, and there, they preserve what they have.  It was beautiful, everything there was beautiful.

But back to our visit.  The one day there that the temperature changed drastically from morning to afternoon, I was wearing long sleeves, and I felt a headache coming on strong.  I was  a bit dehydrated, from eating these yummy dehydrated bread slices, and even drinking a liter of water wasn't enough to help.  We sat at a table at the playground, and Tory got out the nesting cups we gave her.  She would unstack and restack the cups, pretending they were full of tea or coffee or (ahem) beer, and occasionally full of chocolates for us to eat.  We must've played there for over an hour before walking back to the orphanage.

Back in her room, she changed into something more comfortable.  She called from her room into the living area "Obicham te, Mama!" again, just like the day before, telling me that she loves me.  My girl has been waiting for a Mama for a long time.  Even the initial report we received about her described that she would draw pictures and say they were for her Mama.   I don't know how far in advance they prepared her for us coming, but she knew that she was finally chosen before we arrived, and she was excited!

We sat down at a table in the living area, and Tory dealt cards to us.  She made the rules up as she went, calling the game 'Dog' (we called it 'Tory Makes the Rules' because we never knew how she was going to set up the game or make us turn in our cards).  But we laughed the entire time, and talked about how we are really in for a change at home with such a bossy young lady!  She is a sassy thing; cute, for sure, but S-A-S-S-Y!!!

Faster than we wanted, our day with Tory was over, and it was time to drive back to the capital.  She happily waved us off, knowing we'd be back the next day and ran to play with one of her friends.  My headache tapered off a bit, as I dozed on the drive.  We needed to sign documents and have them notarized, stating we wished to continue with the adoption, so we drove to meet one of the other ladies with our agency at a notary's office.  We went over the translations, signed 5 or so documents, then left to go back to the apartment.  We were so tired, and the cigarette smoke inside the notary's office brought my headache back in full force, so we didn't even eat out that night.  I think I fell asleep to Phineas & Ferb speaking a foreign language.