Friday, August 19, 2011

Roller Coasters

It's time for a little more therapy.  The last two days have been an emotional roller coaster.  I am weary beyond belief and all I want to do is just hold our son again.  We will start with the facts of the situation thus far. 

First the jerky and uncomforable ride to the top of the roller coaster.  Yesterday, Brock called the FBI to ask about our background checks.  We need two separate checks and one of them is on it's way to Russia right now.  The other, we were told takes a minimum of 8 weeks to process.  October 1st by that math.  We mailed it three weeks ago and, as of yesterday, it's not in the system.  They assured Brock that this was not unusual, but the most basic and primal part of me feels like it is unbearable.  I keep having nightmares that Roman is an 18 year old teenager when we get him and doesn't need us anymore.  Five more weeks, possibly.  35 days.  840 hours.  50,400 minutes.  3,024,000 more breaths to take. (and that's not counting the hypervenilating breaths)  Five weeks isn't terribly long, I know this in my head, but my heart just hurts.  Maybe it would be easier if I didn't know how his little fingers felt wrapped around mine or the joy of  seeing him look up into his daddy's eyes and offer a slow smile.  But then again, it's that memory that gives me strength to push forward one more step.  A marathon is completed one step at a time. 

Then the downhill thrill of the roller coaster.  Brock called Jo Ann Emerson's office this morning-our Congresswoman-and asked if there was anything they could do to help us get these documents more quickly.  We are more in a rush because we misread some infomation on our instructions from the agency and now we are frantically trying to make up for lost time.  Brock said that the woman with whom he spoke was so incredibly kind and told us that they absolutely could help.  I was astounded.  Of all of the issues that office deals with on a day to day basis, a little family in a little town in Southeast Missouri shouldn't be a high priority, but not only did they act like it they could help, we were treated like it would be their honor to help.  What an incredible blessing! The woman with whom Brock spoke couldn't have offered us any more grace and compassion than she did this morning.  We weren't just nameless people who were needing something to add to her likely already full day.  We were a couple who was desperate to bring their son home and she was excited that she could play a part in helping us fulfill our dream.  I was thinking about that on a deeper level, too.  How often do we hesitate to call  out to God for the "insignificant" things because He has so much more going on in the world that needs His attention?  And yet,  He "longs to be gracious to us.  He rises to show us compassion"  (Isaiah 30.18)  I've always gotten a picture of that verse of the Sovereign Creator of the Universe sitting on the edge of His throne, waiting and ready to come to the aid of anyone who will call on His name.  If it's big enough to touch our heart, then we can be sure that it's big enough to concern Him no matter how small it may seem in the grand scheme of things  "Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you".  Lord, my concern is that it will be a long time still before we can hold our son.  My concern is that my heart will break in the waiting.  My concern is that our window of opportunity will run out and we will have to start all over. You know these concerns and You know that to us, it doesn't feel trivial.  I trust that You have goverened every step of our process and you aren't going to drop us in the details.  A friend reminded me last night of the old hymn "He didn't teach us to swim to watch us drown."  And as we look over our 100 for 100 list below, we are AMAZED by the outpouring of generousity of friends and loved ones.  And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that every excited "YES!" that we have gotten in response to this has been evidence of God's provision.  These people are the fingerprints of God in our story.  And if we can have faith in the things that we can so plainly see, why shouldn't we have faith in the ways that God is working behind the scenes to either protect us, protect Roman or just create a dramatic finish so that He alone can get the glory for authoring the story of our life? 

Another jerking and slow climb to the top of another part of the ride.  Brock talked to Irina this morning and she told him that the medicals that we had done in Russia were only valid for three months.  They will expire October 5.  If we do not have a court date before October 5th, we will be required to fly back to Russia for another set of medicals ($1600 not including air fare and hotel costs) and then fly home and wait again for a court date.  And money is only part of it.  The more heartbreaking part is that it will be that much longer until we get Roman home.  I just want my baby home.  I know he is well cared for where he is, but I don't want someone else tucking him in at night anymore.  I don't want someone else putting his socks on his chubby little feet.  I don't want him to wake up as one of 50 children in a home and have to wait his turn to taken out of his crib and fed.  I just want to take care of the son that we so strongly feel like God has given to us.  I miss him so much right now that it hurts to breathe.  And yet, there is a rock solid foundation that I am standing on that tells me that God knows what is happening and He already has the days of this painful season numbered.  "Those who wait on the LORD will soar on wings like eagles"  I have faith that we will soar over the ocean-not physically on eagle's wings, but on an airplane. "...they will run and not grow weary"  This is the race has been laid out for us so clearly and He has given and will continue to give strength to finish it. "...they will walk and not grow faint"  When we simply cannot run another day, He will provide the strength to just...take...another...step.

I just want our son home.  I want to stop feeling like I am going to burst into tears everytime someone asks, "Where's that baby?"  or "How much longer?"  They are exicted with us and I am so glad that we have a strong community supporting us and are ready to celebrate his homecoming.  But the truth is, I don't know.  And every question reminds me that even a month and a half after having met our Roman, we still don't know.  We covet your prayers.  I want to believe that God is setting circumstances so that at the end of this, there will be no other way to know that it came to fruition other than to know that only God could have moved the mountains and the paper and the agencies.  Our original thought when we left Russia was that we would be traveling back around Sept 1st.  Now, we are praying feverently that it will be before October 1st.   

Now that I'm in my 30's roller coasters do a lot more than they  used to.  They make me tired and sore.  That's how I feel right now.  My mind is so tired from thinking about bringing him home. Thinking about how to get him home faster.  Tired of wondering if there is anything we are missing or anything we should have done differently.  (not misreading those documents would have helped!)  And my heart is sore.  I am learning more deeply what it means to just "cast our cares on Him because He cares for us"  How could I doubt that.  God knows what our desire is?  He loves Roman more than we do. And He wants what's best for all of us.

This I know:  God is still good.  He still causes all things to work together for those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose.  And He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.

I'm sure glad I don't have to govern the universe!  And I'm thankful that I can lay my concerns down at His throne and know that they will be far better cared for than we could do on our own.  I'm so thankful for you Jesus.  You will see us through.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

100 for 100

It has been 33 days since we have seen our son.  Thirty-three days since the morning in the park that we pushed him in a swing and held him on the see-saw.  Thirty-three days since he curled his little fist under his little chin and put his sleepy head on our shoulders while we carried him back to the orphanage.   Thirty-three days since we kissed his sweet cheek and told him we loved him.   Thirty- three days since he heard our voice promise him that we would be back as soon as we could to bring him to the family that God designed for him.   And every day since then has been nothing more than one step closer to bringing our son home. 
I have gone to sleep every night thinking about Roman.  I have woken up every morning thinking about Roman.  I can't wait for the day I can read the same book five times in a row before he will go to sleep.  I crave being woken up in the middle of the night to a child who needs nothing more than for me to pull him in my arms and rock him until he feels safe enough to fall asleep.  I look forward to shampoo beards and mohawks.  I'm excited to have every pot and pan pulled out in the kitchen for a makeshift drum set.  I even long for grocery store trips to be nothing short of an adventure.  I want my life to be governed by parks and coloring books and sippy cups and toy trucks.  And we are closer than we have ever been to having all of this.   I married my very best friend and I love him more every single day, but there is still a void for both of us in our little family.  And God is filling that hole with a precious blue-eyed baby who is more than we could have asked for.  He gives so generously.
Today we received in the mail the form that we needed from Homeland Security approving our petition to adopt.  This form was supposed to take four to six weeks and it only took eight days.  Praise the LORD!  Provided everything else goes as smoothly, we should  be travelling back to Russia get Roman around the first part of September.  We have been so blessed in this entire process and we are continually being astounded every single day.  There is only one more obstacle to overcome.  It is a huge mountain to us, but we also know that it is, at the heart of the matter, nothing more than an opportunity to watch the LORD work and grow our faith even more.    Roman's referral came at the exact right moment it was supposed to come, but, nevertheless, it came about four months earlier than what we expected and consequently, what we had budgeted for.  We need to raise $10,000 for the orphanage fees, court costs, travel arrangements and hotel bills.   $10,000 is a big mountain to climb, but we have just descended the  $35,000 mountain God built on Scentsy, teddy bears, "Ride for the Russian", "Change a Life" and the  books, clothes and other items we have sold.  There have been so many of you who have kept up with our story and who have been so incredibly generous with us through this entire process.  And I don't just mean the amount that you have given, but rather the sacrifice that you have made to give.  Brock and I are completely humbled by this.  When we started this adoption process, we wanted it to be debt free with it.  God always has all the money you need to do what He has called you to do.  And time after time, so many of you have been the fingerprints of God to us to provide for us.  But not just for us.  You have provided for an innocent child, halfway around the world.  A baby whose birthmother-an orphan herself- didn't know how to have a family so she placed her sweet son in the only environment that she herself had ever known.  We were told that is the vicious cycle of so many orphans.  But through your prayers, encouragement and support, you are breaking that chain for Roman's generation.   We cannot thank you enough.  Even though we are the ones who were called to be his parents, you have been the ones who have helped change his life. 
We have one final fundraising campaign.  100 for 100.  We are asking for God to call 100 people who would be willing to donate $100 so we can bring Roman home.  Would you be willing?  I know $100 is a lot of money (and believe me, we won't turn away a partial $100 gift either!) but $100 brings Roman closer to his forever home.  Below is a list that we are excited to watch God fill up.  If you give, you can either choose to have us list your name or, if you are more comfortable, you can give us a special message for Roman for your number.   Email me at if you want to participate.  So many of you have already done so much and we are so incredibly and unbelievably grateful.  You have allowed God to work through you in ways that that are indescribable.  Pray about this opportunity to be a part of changing Roman's life.  And if you cannot give, please send us a message letting us know that you are praying for us in this final stage. One more mile and our family will be complete for this season.   
1.  Rick and Frances
2.  Anonymous -trwf
3. "We love you, Roman and are excited to play a part of building the bridge to your new home"  Bammie & Papa
4.  Anonymous-bpf

5.  "We thought Roman needed his mommy and daddy more than we needed a couple calorie-laden meals out to eat"  Anonymous

6 Anonymous gg

7  Anonymous

8  Anonymous

9  Anonymous

10  Anonymous

11.  Anonymous-mk

12.  Anonymous-wcm

13.  Anonymous-2

14.  "Roman, I can't wait to touch you!" Grandma MO
15. Anonymous
16. Anonymous
17. Anonymous
18. Anonymous
19. Anonymous
20. Janet & Gene
21. Anonymous-twf
22. "Welcome Home, Roman"  Mary Ann & Travis
23. "We can't wait to meet you Roman!!"  Baba E, Uncle Dave, Joshua & Isaac
24."We are so excited about you!"  The Newman Family
25. Advance Assisted Living

26  Holly Ruser
27. Eddy & Paula Eubanks
28  TBWF
29.  Love, Nanny
30.  Roman, you are such a blessing by God's design. You have wonderful parents and we can't wait to spend time with you! Kunze Family
31.  Jerrod & Beth Murphy
32.  Anonymous-talf
33.  Anonymous CDB
34  Anonymous CEF
35  Anonymous DTH
36.  Leslie Stephens, Shelter Insurance, Ironton, MO
37.  Merissa Madden, Shelter Insurance,
38.  Uncle Cheerios
39.  "We can't wait for you to come stay at our house, Roman!"  Renae Holzem
40  Anonymous-LTBC
41  Anonymous-CDB
42.  "Uncle" Kevin Block
43.  Anonymous bcf
44.  Anonymous YCB
45.  "Come be a TIGER with us at a game.  Welcome to TIGER Country Roman!  Love, Harper and Reid"
46.  Anonymous-csf
47.  Anonymous KRF
48.   Anonymous psc
49.  Anonymous-vg
50.  Jim Eubanks

51.  Anonymous-cg
52.  Anonymous-v2

53.  Anonymous v2
54  anonymous cn
55.  Anonymous-pjg
56.  Anonymous-THF
57. Anonymous ltw
58. Anonymous-bdf
59.  Anonymous-jw
60.  Anonymous-jec
61.  Anonymous-kra
62.  Anonymous-mdsw
63.  Anonymous kf
64.  Anonymous
65.  Anonymous
66.  Anonymous
67.  Anonymous
68  Anonymous JHF
69  Anonymous maba
70.  Anonymous cjh
71.  Anonymous msl
72.  Anonymous sbl
73.  WWC Church
74.  Anonymous
75. Anonymous
76.  Anonymous
77.  Anonymous
78.  Anonymous caf
79.  Anonymous 1/2-s  Anonymous wcm
80  Anonymous sce