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.