Sunday, December 21, 2014

A little Christmas wish....

I get up early in the mornings to have some quiet time before the day starts.  I drink my coffee.  I spend time in His Word and praying over the day to come and the things on my heart; friends and family, struggles and joys, a world that needs Him so desperately, the fatherless. 

This morning, I have my cup of coffee and just the lights on the Christmas tree on.  It is quiet.  Well, relatively speaking.  I can hear the hum of the humidifier that Serenity is hooked up to at night to help keep her lungs moist with the trach.  I hear the baby swing rocking back and forth as I try to keep Little Man asleep.  I hear Hope "s'moping", as the kids call it, back in her bed.  It has been part of most nights here since she came home.  She huffs and puffs (I don't know how else to describe it) in her bed when she wakes up.  It isn't a cry.  That we respond to.  It is just an "institutional" noise.  We used to try to get up and stop her, but the girls have said that the noise doesn't wake them up anymore, but us coming in does.  So, we let her s'mope.  So it is quiet compared to the days...but always life humming around me.

I look at the Christmas stocking hung up.

Sixteen lives represented.  I think of the few short years - which seemed an eternity at the time - that it was only two - Handsome and I.  How lonely it seemed.  Now, I rejoice over each precious child that God has given us.  I think of each of their stories ~ each so unique, yet also so intertwined with one another.

Sixteen....but I have a little wish.  I wish there were two more hanging this year.  Two more for my two tiny daughters overseas that are waiting for us.



Yes, the Lord has called us to redeem two more precious little lives.  We have the first home study visit on Monday.  We will be turning in paperwork to their large Asian country hopefully by Tuesday.  In two to three weeks, we should receive "PA" - which is preapproval from their country to move forward with their adoption.
Little Brooke is three years old and has been blessed with an extra chromosome.  I have wanted for so long to adopt a child with Down Syndrome, but God always had another precious little life for us instead.  I have always rejoiced over His choices - but have secretly hoped that meant that we would adopt at least one more.  Brooke is at an amazing home, run by an American family.  You will have to read their story here.  It is pretty incredible.  I am so thankful that this is where one of my daughters is - she is loved and well cared for as she waits.  I am jealous that Handsome will have the chance to meet them when he and The Helper go on the pickup trip.  I am going to find out from our agency if it would be acceptable to get in touch with them after we have received "PA".

Precious, tiny Jillian has Apert Syndrome, just like Serenity.  (Did I hear you squeal, Jessica Cooper?) She just turned a year old at the end of October.  She is about the size of our 7 month old Little Man - who is not so "little" - so at least for now, it appears she is well taken care of.  She is in a government run institution in the same general area as Brooke.  The biggest difference (that we can tell) right now between she and Serenity is that Jillian's thumbs are also fused, giving her "rosebud" hands.  This will give her very little ability to use her hands, unlike Serenity.  I cannot wait to get her home and have Serenity's amazing team begin freeing her to thrive.

This was a long battle to come to the point of truly trusting we were hearing God's voice calling us.  It seemed so crazy....but that story will have to wait for now.  I will just praise Him for their beautiful lives.  I will praise Him that each life matters.  Even two tiny little girls tucked away in an enormous country, both abandoned at the gates of institutions.

We are trusting God to provide all that we will need - the strength, the courage, the ability, and the finances.  We have a tax-deductible account with The Shepherd's Crook - another amazing ministry and family.  If God should lead you to give, you can click here.

More than anything, we need your prayers.  Please pray for the meeting on Monday with the social worker. We have truly loved each social worker that God has brought into our home.  Pray for the medical reports to be done on Monday so we can move forward with that step.  Pray for the "PA" to come back quickly.  Pray for peace and patience as we wait.  Pray for each day as we strive to fill our children's hearts and minds.  Most of all, pray that God is always glorified.

Another adventure begun...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It is enough....

For several weeks (well, maybe months), I have been mentally eying the date of December 13th.  It was almost like a countdown in my head.  It was coming....what did I have to show for it?  December 13th was the one year anniversary of Serenity and Hope coming home.  I simply cannot believe that a year is gone.  No, I even need to rephrase that - a year has gone by.  You see, as December 13th crept closer and closer, I began losing perspective of what God has done in this past year - it is not gone, it has been used completely and fully by God for His purposes.

He brought home these two little ones:

He brought this Little Man safely into our home:

He carried precious Grace through her hip surgery at the end of June

He provided what Serenity needed to thrive through the hands of doctors; air through a trach and the removal of pressure on her brain by a skull expansion....

And He brought her safely home again.

To thrive...

All the while He was doing this, He was providing for, nurturing, protecting, stretching, growing, blessing us.  A million hallelujahs would never be enough.  I simply cannot praise His Name enough for all He has done!  He has redeemed me!  To Him be all glory, honor, and praise.

And yet, I had lost sight of all of that.

I guess I didn't realize how much I was counting on posting the incredible changes in one little life a year after she was rescued from an earthly hell.

I wanted to be able to "show" the world amazing transformation pictures.  I wanted her to be walking and maybe beginning to talk or sign.  Some families have truly incredible transformation stories.  I love seeing and reading about them.  I love praising Christ for what He has done!

And yet, my precious Hope....

We struggle to get a good picture of her.  In most of the pictures above, she has the same scared look as in her profile picture.  She is still on "hyper alert" all the time - every noise, every movement, every bit of life has her vigilant for her own safety. Anything new is a threat.  Any change throws her back into chaos.  Where is our amazing story?

It is is just in the tiny details.  The details that would not seem important or huge to anyone else.  She is not screaming every night anymore.  She does not lay on the floor like a limp rag.  She is drinking independently from a cup now.  She scootches on her bottom to get places close by.  She can tolerate short trips to the store or church without too much fallout when we get home.  She does smile at her family and get excited when they play with her.  

It doesn't sound like much to you, does it?  I understand.  

This was my struggle.  I want so much for her!  There is so much possibility - so much ability unused.  There is so much awaiting for her!  And yet, she is still trapped in her own little world.

I am pouring back through all my adoption materials and research.  I am seeking out help from those that have "been there, done that" before me.  Last night, God arranged for me to talk with the most amazing adoptive mom - one who has been in these trenches for a few years before us.  She had so much to say that I needed to hear - so much direction and perspective.  It was like God was pouring out healing balm on my soul! One of the many things that I pondered after we talked was that we are in a very small category when we adopt; an even smaller one when we adopt special needs as a large family; an even smaller one when we adopt special needs as a large family from a truly horrific institutional setting...and when we say that we have adopted special needs, as a large family, from a truly horrific institutional setting and her name is Hope - we are in a category by ourselves.  There are no "experts" on Hope.  There are people who can give direction and insight - but no one who knows what is a perfect solution for Hope.  No one, except her Creator.  And He gave her to us.  He put her in our family by His beautiful, perfect plan.  He knew what she needed, and it was us.

So what does that mean to me?  It means that where she is right now is enough.  It is enough that she is safe and loved.  She will never be hurt again.  She will never be ignored and neglected again.  She will never again feel her tummy hungry, she will never again feel her body dirty.  She will never again be stuck in a crib all day with nothing.  She will never again be touched by hands that do not love her.  She will never again be ignored.  She will never again cry without her mama's heart breaking for her.  She will never again be alone but for her Father in heaven.  She will never again be an orphan.

This is enough.  It is more than enough.  This is the beauty of adoption: that a child born of someone else, even in a different country, is placed in a family and is loved with a fierceness that only God in heaven can understand.  That regardless of what she is or is not able to do - regardless of the damage done to her - regardless of whether that damage will ever be repaired - she is a beloved daughter who carries her father's name.

This is enough.

This does not mean that I will not keep seeking direction and guidance for her well-being.  It does not mean that I will stop crying out to my Savior for her.  It does not mean that we will not continue to seek to help her grow and thrive.  I am not giving up because she is my daughter!  But it does mean that I will strive to never lose sight of the fact that she is safe.  She is beloved.  She is mine.

It is enough.  Praise to God that it is enough.

To Him be all glory, honor, and praise.