Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prayer Guide

Today we start the second leg of our great adventure!  We are leaving for New York for the Shelter Conference trip this afternoon and catching a way too early flight in the morning.  We will be in NYC until July 2nd and then we will fly to Russia.  I have a lot of packing, laundry and tying loose ends up today, so this blog won't be as long, but I feel compelled to take a few minutes to ask for specific prayers.  The following is a day by day guide to where we will be and the prayers that we think we'll need on specific days. 

From now until July 2nd- Pray that we have wisdom in New York. 
We are still about $400 short of our goal for this trip.  This goal was based on estimations of the costs from the adoption agency.  We've seen God work so far and we are trusting that He will provide again!  Pray that God provide and that He will bless those who have already been so generous!  We have not booked a hotel in St. Petersburg yet because Brock might have some connections to a free or discounted room.  (even in Russia, this man has connections!!)  Please pray that God will lead us to a safe, clean and inexpensive hotel that will be in the proximity required.  Please also pray that we will stay healthy and, in spite of strange food and "don't drink the water" warnings in Russia, that our tummies will be okay.  Pray also for our protection from accidents and foul-play as we travel. 

July 2nd We fly from JFK to Saint Petersburg with a layover in Frankfurt.
  Pray for our safety during travels.  Pray that the layover and luggage transport will all go smoothly.  I'm always a little nervous traveling internationally (probably because I haven't done it very much at all!) so pray that we have God's perfect peace.  Pray that we will be able to rest on the plane and that we will be alert and clear-minded when we land.

July 3rd.  We arrive in St. Petersburg, Russia and our translator will meet us at the airport. 
As silly as it sounds, I am asking prayer for her not to have hit traffic or anything else that might delay her being at the airport when we arrive as it might prove a little challenging to call her.  Pray that the custom's process will go smoothly.

July 4th.  Rest and recovery day. 
Pray that we will  be able to sleep and that, in spite of jet lag, we will feel refreshed.  We will look in St. Petersburg for fireworks to celebrate the Fourth!  Ha!!

July 5th, We meet with the doctor who will poke, prod and drain us to deem us healthy enough to be Roman's parents.
 Pray for this appointment to go smoothly and that we would have peace about it.  I don't like going to a doctor who speaks English,  so pray that we will be peaceful and calm. The last thing we need is to be anxious and have a bad blood pressure reading!  After the doctor's appointment, we will fly to Murmansk, Russia.  Once again, we will meet another translator at the airport, so again pray our safe travel and no delays. 

July 6th.  We will meet in the morning with the Ministry of Education to be approved to meet our son.  Pray that  they will find favor with us and that we will make a great impression.  Pray that we will be wise and remember the social customs that are unfamiliar to us but might make a big difference to them.  On the afternoon of the 6th, we will drive to Kandalaksha, the town of the baby home.  (We just learned this was the preferred term over "orphanage" and I like it so much better!)

July 6th, 7th and 8th.  We will get to spend time with our son each day!  Pray for our first meeting with him that we will have wisdom and discernment.  I can't imagine that God would have a different plan for us, but we want to stay pliable to Him.  As strange as it may seem, we are praying that Roman would not take to us right away because it will mean that he does not "indiscriminately bond".  We want to have to work for his affection because it means that he is more likely to have a long term bond with us as his parents later.  Pray that God would protect our hearts during this process because it can be scary to think that our son might not like us right away.  Pray that we will be wise and realize that the bonding process takes time and if it starts slowly now, it will more likely mean that it will be healthier in the long run.  Pray for Roman's heart, too.  We will get to spend several hours a day with him and the last thing we want is for him to be very sad when we leave.  It is going to hurt my heart to have to leave him, but it will break it if I know that he is very upset with this, too.  Pray for us as we talk to the orphange directors that will have presence of mind to think of all the questions that we need to ask.  Pray that God's Spirit will supercede our travel weariness, our human frailities and our emotions. 

July 8th.  We drive back to Murmansk.  Pray for God's comfort and for the peace that comes from knowing that He who began this work will see it to fruition.  The six week period of waiting will be challenging but it is just a necessary season. 

July 9th, 10th We fly back to St. Petersburg where we will stay until it is time to fly home on the 11th.  The flights were $1000 cheaper to fly on the 11th instead of the 9th, so pray for our safety in the city.  St. Petersburg is a beautiful city and we are looking forward to spending the two days there, but wee have been told that Americans can be targeted for muggings and other crimes, so pray that God will protect us and that we will have peace that He is able!  Also, again, pray that we have wisdom to not be stupid!

July 11th.  We fly back to NYC arriving at JFK around 9 PM and then STL around 11PM.  Again, pray for our safety as we travel and that everything will go smoothly.

During all of this, pray for Brooke and Tamra at Brock's office!  We are so thankful that he has a job that allows him to do everything that  has needed to be done while leaving his agency in very capable hands!  What an exteme blessing!   

We know that all things might not go as smoothly as we would hope and there might be obstacles along the way.  We also know that we serve a God who is bigger than any problem we face.  So, we are praying too that things would go smoothly and, at the same time, we have all the confidence that even if they do not, circumstances are being orchestrated with a greater good in His mind.  We are praying that no matter what, we will keep our minds on Him and that, even if things do not make sense to us, we only need trust Him and He will guide our steps.

So, there it is.  The time has come and we are being called to Go!  And for those of you who have partnered with us in this, we are asking you to Pray.  For without prayers, this would not have been possible.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The real "Incentive"

As I am writing this blog, I am at Disney World at the end of a long and exciting day.  Most of you who have read this know that I won the trip through Scentsy.  I had had no idea there was a trip, let alone that I had almost qualified until New Year's Eve.  My heart and mind were hyper-focused on our son.  And really, I don't feel like I "earned" anything-I don't feel that I deserve in any way to be treated like a VIP here (but it is fun!)  I do feel like I have had the incredible privilege of sharing our story, and watching, in utter amazement the way we have had an entire community-emotionally and geographically-rally around us. 
 It has been so humbling to witness the number of people who have sacrificed to help provide financially, whether it was filling up baby bottles with spare change, donating on the PayPal button on this site, buying a "Gorby"  Bear, ordering Scentsy or just writing a check…
 You have been the avenue of God's Provision for us.
 It has been amazing to have the right people with the right words at the right times when it has been hard to see the next step.  Eighteen months is an incredibly long time to be "pregnant".  We have gone slowly on purpose so that we could raise the money as we went.  We wanted this adoption to be paid for before we brought our son home so that I could afford to stay home with him.  There have been many days, weeks even when we felt like there was no end in sight.  It has taken all of our emotional strength sometimes to put one foot in front of the other.  I have been astounded by the perfectly timed words from sympathetic mouths.  You have not minimized the road we have travelled and you have not offered simple platitudes.  You have spoken Truth to us and, in many cases, emotionally picked us up and carried us until we got enough strength to walk again.
You have been the avenue of God's Encouragement for us.
And the prayers!  We could not have done any of this without your prayers!  As we have said from the beginning, each dollar represents a brick in the Great Wall of Adoption, but the prayer is the mortar that holds the wall together.  We will never know the depth of  intercession that you've whispered in your intimate time with the LORD, but we have felt the power of your prayers.
You have been the avenue of God's Blessings for us.
We still have a ways to go, emotionally, financially and physically.  Please keep praying for us. 
For God's peace.  That would continue to guard our hearts and minds.  The same God who has been faithful yesterday will continue to be faithful tomorrow.
For God's provision.  That it would continue to flow out to us.  We still have a ways to go, but every time we have had another bill or fee due, the money has been there!  God is so good!
For God's protection.  As we travel to and from Russia that He would protect us and, even  more so, that He would continue to protect our son.

I did want to share a story that speaks to how many people are investing in our miracle.  I was in the bank last week depositing some of the pennies that Brock has been saving for twenty years in a five-gallon jug.   (Adopting Roman was the ONLY thing that could convince Brock to cash in the pennies.)  I was talking to the tellers while I filled out the deposit slip and another customer in the bank suddenly chimed in, "Oh!  Are you the family adopting the baby from Russia?"  Yes, we are.  One of the tellers had a prayer card with Roman's picture on it at her station and she showed it to the customer.  "Oh, yes, that's the Facebook  Baby."  It may seem like a small thing, but when you share our blog, you give us a chance to share our story with more people.  And what are our stories but to a testimony to what God has done in our lives?
Brock and I have had fun this week dreaming of what our next "Every 'Scent' Makes a Difference" campaign could be.  After Roman comes home, we are wanting at a portion of our Scentsy commissions to be used for something like helping another family adopt a baby.  Disney has been fun and I hope I get to win more trips, but the real prize at the end of the day is putting feet to faith and investing in something bigger than ourselves.  And every one of you who have done something self-less for us in our journey has been our inspiration.  I can't wait for you to meet Roman.   
You are the fingerprint s of God in our story.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Breeding Ground for Miracles

Dear Roman,

What an adventure bringing you home is turning out to be!  And I imagine that we haven't even seen the half of it yet.  We are a little over three weeks away from getting to meet you and are so very excited!  We had some speed bumps this week.  If I weren't confident in the God we serve, it would feel like road blocks, but I know that our God is a God of details and nothing surprises Him.  Evidently, my sweet son, we are all guinea pigs in this expedition.  Our adoption agency has not adopted a child out of your neck of the woods yet and all of us are sort of learning as we go.  How do you like that?  God had to create a whole new avenue specifically for you! 

I wanted to share a little bit about what has happened this week.  We received a call from Anyra on Monday saying that Russia needed more paperwork from us.  We had sent them a notarized copy of our marriage lincense, but they needed a legal copy with the raised stamp from the recorder's office.  They also needed a letter saying that our home study case worker had a degree in social work even though we had sent a copy of her diploma.  They had to have this in St. Petersburg by Friday or our travel dates would be delayed.  We didn't have either of those papers and your dad was hot!  Tuesday morning came and your dad was racing to get the visas filled out and sent off.  At 2:00 , he got the call from the agency that they had the paperwork in their hands and he took off.  He had to make it to St. Louis to get to the agency and then to the Secretary of State's office to have those papers apostilled by 5:00 so they can be expedited to get to St. Petersburg by Friday  and St. Petersburg is nine hours ahead of us.  On his way, he realized that it was going to be impossible to get to the agency and across town to the Sec of State's office in time so he called another Shelter agent, Mark Emms and had him go to the agency and pick up the papers and meet Dad on the interstate.  Mark was a miracle-maker-or rather used by The Miracle Maker!  Dad blew in the Secretary of State's office at a quarter to five and after telling them what he needed and the time crunch, he started to get reprimanded for being so last minute.  He apologized to them and said that he had just gotten the paperwork in the last half hour and no one had had any idea that this needed to be done until yesterday.  They have been helpful there.  In fact, everytime we've dealt with this office, they have been extremely kind and very understanding.  Dad then frantically tried to find a DHL hub, called them and they agreed to stay open for him.  (who does that??  Another blessing!)  When he got there, they told him that it had to be paid in exact cash (something about another Russian hoop) and so he had to go back out and find somewhere to get $143.91 in cash fast.  Mind you, it's almost 7 pm so banks aren't open.  He went to the mall and bought a box of Sour Patch Kids with a hundred dollar bill.  So, when you dig through your baby box of memories and come across a box of Sour Patch Kids, you will know it represented the end of a long day on the journey of your Amazing Race. 

This morning, the phone has been ringing a lot with telemarketers.  Dad answered the first one that promised us a cruise getaway.  At 10:00, the phone rang again and when I look at the caller id, I misread it and thought it said "Travel-ista"  I started to ignore it, but something in me caught and I felt compelled to answer.  It's a woman named Vika who is working on our Russian visas and she told me that she can't do a double entry since our travel dates aren't within 30 days and because we don't know the exact dates of our second trip.  She gave me her number and told me to call her the minute we got back to the States and knew when our next travel dates were so that she could try to get the second set of visas expedited.  Our first visas are supposed to be in on the 17th which I pray happens because we are only supposed to be home on the 20th and 21st this month.  Vika was extremely sympathetic and kind and that was such a blessing.  She deals with who knows how many people a day and we are all just names, but she was so compassionate and it felt like another avenue of God's grace.  I guess God knows that pushing us to the limit is stretching our faith and growing us like nothing else could!

As I'm typing this, your Dad just called me.  He had checked this morning that all the documentation had been received in Russia and we are free to make our travel plans!!  My skin feels all tingly.  God is making miracles!  How else can you explain all this?  Do you realize, Roman that you were knit together in your birth mother's womb and God attached little fingers on your little hands and as He placed a beating heart in your chest and breathed in His breath into your little lungs?   And at the same time He was knitting you, he was creating in us a love and passion and fire for you.  God knew we needed your picture when we did.  We weren't supposed to get your referral until all this paperwork had already been done and yet, I'm looking at your face right now.  At the end of the day, we haven't run all over the great state of Missouri and we haven't talked to countless adoption representatives and goverment employess for a hypothetical child.  We have done it for you, Roman.  We have done it so that  it wll be your blue eyes and dimples in our family album.  I asked your dad this morning if he thought that maybe this adoption might all fall through and the powers that be might make this all impossible.  He replied with a simple, "No."  How can you know that with certainity?  "Because, Ashley, he is our son"  If God be for us, who can be against us....we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

This morning I read the following passage in Terri Blackstone's book, Vicious Cycle in the note from the Author in the back of the book.  It said so clearly exactly what I needed to hear.

"God is not bound by time or space, as I am, so my thinking about God's dimesions is limited by my own experience.  He can be everywhere at once and attend to billions of problems at once.  He can be touching me and also touching you.  He can be so close that His breath is sweeping my skin, yet He can be that close to you as well, even if you're across the world from me.  He can hear all my prayers and not just give me what I ask for, but thankfully, He can assess what's best for me given His purpose for my life and the deisres of my heart."

You, my precious son, are our heart's desire.  You are across the world from us right now, but our God, who is sovereign over time and space and government and speed bumps is laying a path that will lead us to you.  I wonder if right this minute, you too can feel the presence of God as clearly as I feel it.  I'll never know the answer to that, but I do know this:  God is moving mountains for all of us. 

I keep thinking of Romans 8.18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."  I know this verse is talking about the eternal glory when we leave these earthly bodies.  But, I also can't help but think of this verse in terms of what we are dealing with today.  All the speed bumps and hiccups and frustrations and difficulites and hardships aren't worth comparing to bringing you home.  The frustration will fade when we hold you.  All the difficulties will diminish when we all lay down to sleep under the same roof.  I can't wait to hear your little feet patter across our floor.  I'm so exicted to watch you splash in a bubble bath and climb the monkey bars at the park.  I ache for the day that you will curl up on your dad's shoulder and fall asleep.  And I will be completely overwhelmed everytime I watch you bow your head for bedtime prayers.  Yes, driving back and forth to St. Louis, getting papers signed and notarized and raising money won't be worth comparing with the miracle of holding your little hand and kissing your little cheeks.  We've had many twists and turns along the way during this process, but it's kind of like reading a book.  You might not know how the author is going to bring about the happy ending, but you know there is going to be good ending. A precious friend of mine reminded me yesterday that every speed bump along the way will just be used as another bedtime story.   We are in the middle of a story that is written by a truly great Author.  One who has promised that "all things work together for good for those who love the LORD and who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8.28-there's that Romans again!  You were given a pretty incredible name, little man!)   Maybe the reason that there are so many hoops to jump through is so that when we look back on all of this and when we tell our story there will be no other explanation except that only God could be powerful enough to orchestrate every detail.  "His power is made perfect in our weakness" 

So remember when you notice that your dad drives a little fast that there was one time he raced to St Louis to make sure that he could do everything in his power to bring you home.  He takes good care of us.  I am amazed that not only do we get the awesome privilege of being parents to you, but that you get the awesome privilege of growing up under a man who will teach you how to provide for and protect your own family when God gives you one.  Your daddy is a pretty amazing man who already loves you so much that it physically hurts when someone tells him we might be delayed a little in getting you. When he got home that night after all the driving and calling and back bending, he pulled up your picture and looked at you for a long time.   It's all worth it, Roman. 

You have been completely worth it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Here's What I Know

Today I am more than a little overwhelmed.  We got our travel plans for Russia yesterday.  We leave July 2nd.  That, in and of itself is awesome news.  The overwhelming part is the weeks leading up to that moment.  Since I worked my Scentsy booty off to help offset the cost of the adoption and since Brock worked his Shelter booty off because that's just what he does, we are the proud recipients of two trips!  I won a trip to Disney and Brock won a trip to New York.  We leave on the 11th for Disney and will get back to Missouri on Monday, the 20th.  I have a Scentsy party that night and then on Tuesday, we will leave to go to New York until July 1st.  From NYC, we are going to try to fly out to Saint Petersburg on the 2nd and get to Russia on the fourth.  (I wonder how they celebrate the Fourth of July? lol!  We will celebrate, happily by having finished an 18 hour plane ride)  On the 5th, we have a doctor's appointment with a Russian doctor so he/she can deem us adequately healthy.  For $1600 a person.  I wonder if ObamaCare could do as good a job.  Then we will fly to Murmansk...we had thought train it, but the powers that be are only giving us a few hours to get from St. Petersburg to Murmansk.  We then have to go before the Minister of Education to interview and then the orphanage directors and then we finally get to meet our son.  We don't know yet if we will get to stay in Apaptity where our son currently lives or if we have to travel the two and a half hours for the few hours a days that we will have visitation priviledges.  I do know in the next 9 days, we have to get our Visas, find $8000, mail out our prayer cards, register and remember to breathe.  I also have 5 Scentsy parties (this is a good thing becasue the "due date" (pardon the pun) is quickly approaching)

So that leaves me feeling a little overwhelmed....and nervous....and jittery...and, to some extent, flat.out.scared.  Little things like all the cash that we will have to carry to NYC so we can have it for Russia.  Heck, just carrying that much cash period.  I've heard stories of how many muggings take place in Russia.  "Don't carry a backpack or expensive jewelry (no worries-I'll just make some more!)"  Then there are the other things like the fact that I am linguistically challenged.  I really am.  I grew up in a house where my father spoke fluent, beautiful Spainish.  I learned "Hola".  Well that and a few other phrases...where is the  bathroom?  Where is the hospital?  Thank you.  Have a good day.  Great things to know.  But not very helpful unless the person I am asking can give directions in ENGLISH!  I digress.  How do I begin to pack for a three week trip that includes all the glitz and glamor of a Shelter conference(?!?) and a trip halfway around the world?   Do I really have to bring orphange bribes (ie diapers, clothing toys) to the conference?  How am I going to check out enough books from the library to keep me going for 3 weeks?  YARN!  I can crochet little hats for the little ones and leave those at the orphange!  Breathe Ashley Breathe.

Okay, so I take a deep breath and play the "Here's What I Know" Game.

Jeremiah 29.11  "'For I know the plans I have for you'" declares the LORD. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.'"  Ashley, the LORD already knew exactly what the dates were going to be before you even started the adoption process.  You and Brock have pursued this with the utmost confidence that this adoption has been part of His perfect plan for your life.  God is God of details.  He's not going to drop you in the details.  Rest assured that God knows exactly what His plans are in all of this and the only thing you have to do be obedient with what's before you.  You concentrate on the activity of being obeident and you leave the outcome of blessing to Him who is able.

Phillipians 4.6  "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and petition make your request known to God and the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus"  Ok, LORD.  You have instructed me not to worry.  And my "human nature" is absolutely no excuse for being disobedient.  So, more than my worry, I trust You.  I can't add a single ounce of anything valuable to my life by worrying, but, through this, as I learn to lean on You more, you will build my character.  There are so many aspects of this that are daunting.  And those are just the logistics of getting Roman here.  Those aren't even counting the feelings of being entrusted to love and care for one of your children.  But, I do know this, I can take all these concerns and leave them at Your feet.  I can ask you to keep us safe.  And trust that even if You allow something to happen, it will be for Your glory.  I can ask that you will give me wisdom and trust that You will give it abundantly.  I can ask that give me your peace and trust that my surrendered heart has nothing to fear.   You provide a peace that makes absolutely no sense-a peace that passes my understanding.  And that peace will set a guard over my heart and my mind.

Romans 8.28  "All things work together for good for those who love the LORD and who are called according to His purpose"  I had no idea whatsoever that I could/would win a trip to Disney.  We had absolutely no idea that our Russia travel dates would come hot on the heels of the NYC trip.  We had no clue that we would get this far in the process and still need so much.  But You did.  None of this surprises You.  And we know that there is a beautiful and divine order in this seeming chaos.  All the dates we have, all the time and money we don't have.  All the baby items we still need.  All of that...every last little detail of that is being intricately woven together for good.  And LORD, there have been so many ways that we have fallen short in this process, but we have begged your forgiveness, we have trusted Your grace and we have pressed on. 

Isaiah 58.8-9“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."    In my mind, there are a lot of things that I would have done differently.  But, when you boil it down to the simplest terms, who am I going to trust more?  My own pea-pickin' little brain that only can see a sliver of what is happening?  Or the God of the universe who knows all, sees all and has laid out the richest and most most fulfilling path through this season?'s a no brainer.  'Nuff said.

Phillipians 4.19  "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus"  Ashley, He knows more than you do what you need.  And as One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and as One who is sovereign over time..He. Will. Provide.

I Thessalonians 5.18 "In all things give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"  This one is humbling, LORD.  How can I be anxious and nervous when all I have to do is look back to the countless times You have shown yourself to us?  Thank you, LORD that, in spite of the mountain we have to climb, there is a little boy we will get to bring home.  Thank you, LORD for the friends and family with whom You have surrounded us who have been a tremendous source of encouragement and inspiration.  Thank you for allowing them to be Your hands and feet.  Thank you, LORD for providing every step of the way exactly what we needed, exactly when we needed it.  Thank you, LORD that you are the same yesterday, today and forever.  I'm so thankful that we know You and I can't imagine what it would be like to walk this without you.

One more thing I know.  In Exodus, God called Moses to lead His people of out Egyptian slavery.  Pharaoh said no and it took an infestation of flies, frogs, lice and locusts not to mention water turned to blood, boils, hail, dieased livestock, darkness and death before Pharaoh finally "allowed" that which God had already ordained.  God then leads his people to camp out between Pi-Hahiroth, Migdol and the sea and then God hardens Pharaoh's heart.  Read that again.  Exodus 14.4  "I will harden Pharaoh's heart and he will pursue them"  God did that.  It sort of sounds like God booby-trapped His own people.  I'm not a whiz, but I do know this.  If you are surrounded on three sides by impenetrable objects and your worst enemy is coming at you from the fourth side, you are pretty well stuck.  I can just imagine the scene.  The Israelites are getting ready to make camp when the ground starts to quiver.  As Pharaoh's horses and army get closer,  I can imagine dead silence for a moment.  "Is this really happening?"  And then uproar.  "Why did you bring us out here to die?!  Why couldn't we have just stayed in Egypt??"  And, I can imagine Moses is pretty scared, too, but he tells the people, as a good leader would, "Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today...the LORD will fight for you.  You need only be still (Ex. 14.13a-14)  And then God tells Moses, "Why are you crying out to me" (?!?!?)  And then He instructs him to raise his staff in the air.  Are you kidding?  LORD, you put us in this position, Pharaoh's army is chasing us and you want me point a stick to the sky?"  (that's my vivid imagination of what Moses might have been saying in his own head)  But thankfully, Moses was obedient and the Israelites got to participate in one of the most well-known miracles in the Bible, the parting of the Red Sea.  Did you know that every miracle in the Bible is preceded by a small act of obedience?  There was nothing magical about Moses staff.  The miracle came as a result of an obeident heart. 

 I have heard so many mothers talk about the minute their newborn is laid in their arms, they forget all the pain of their labor.  I guess no child comes without a little pain, a little discomfort and a lot of growing. 

Praise the LORD that in spite of all the what-ifs and how-comes and what abouts and I haven't yets and I need tos, He still has a plan.  I don't have to worry about all the things happening right now, I just have to be obedient with what's before me today leave the rest in His capable hands.  And at the end of this season, when we finally have Roman home, it won't matter that our schedule was insane for a season and it won't matter if he has matching bedding and valances.  It won't matter if everything is exactly how we wanted it to be when we brought our first child home.  It will just matter, when he crawls up in our arms that our miracle will have come home.  God will protect us.  He will keep us.  He will cause His face to shine upon us and give us peace.  (Numbers 6.24-26)  He is a God who longs to be gracious to us.  He rises to show us His compassion.   (Isaiah 30.18) 

And that's what I know.