Friday, October 14, 2011

Fear Not...

First things first.  Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, texts and emails.  It brings tears to my eyes to think of the number of prayers lifted to our Heavenly Father yesterday afternoon on behalf of our family.  Our God is good and His timing is still perfect.  I HAVE to believe that.  If I don't have that, I don't have anything left right now.

We called the agency this morning and we were told that Tatiana had  not been able to see the judge today.  I don't know why and I don't have to know why.  I do know that Tatiana is doing everything in her power to help us bring our son home.  She is supposed to meet with the judge on Monday.  Timing is everything.  I'm not sure how we keep from losing our mind in the next 60 hours, but we will just go one minute at a time.  My sister had called some people and felt burdened for everyone to pray at 9:05 am on Saturday morning.  My first thought was that this would be too late.  Now, I see.

Last night, before we went to sleep Brock and I played the "Thankful Game".  I Thes. 5.18 says, "In all things give thanks for this is the will of God for your life."  We don't know what the days ahead hold, but we know Who holds them.  We don't know exactly what we are supposed to be doing right now, so we are starting with the basic building blocks.  Give thanks. 

I had a restless night of crazy dreams.  At one point, I woke up and I was sweating through my pajamas.  I was covered in blankets and pillows.  I had dreamed that the judge just needed me to get more covers on me.  I had two big pillows on top of me along with blankets and a quilt.  I must have been quite a sight!  The ridiculous idea that something as silly as pulling more blankets on myself would somehow win favor with a judge who has no idea who I am.  "Come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 18.28-30  Physically, I was heavy laden with blankets and pillows and it was suffocating me.  Spiritually, I was heavy laden with worry and uncertainity and it was suffocating me.  Last night, the only thing we needed to do was rest and trust. 

I found a few treasures before I went to sleep.

Isaiah 41.10 was shared by a precious friend yesterday and it was felt like oxygen to me. 
"Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be dismayed for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and I will help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

A few verses later in verse 13, I "found" this treasure: 

For I am the LORD your God, who takes you by your right hand
and says to you do not fear, I will help you.

In my mind's eye, I saw a father with a small, scared child.  Her Daddy bends lows, takes her hand and coos in her ear, "Don't be scared honey.  I am your Daddy and I will help you."  Right now, the only way to get Roman in the arms of his parents is for his parents to fall into the arms of their Father.

My God told me last night as clearly as He told Israel through Isaiah many, many years ago that I have nothing to fear.  He is my God.  He will give us the strength we need and He will help us.  He will take our right hand with His left so that His right hand is free to uphold us.  I never knew until a few minutes ago that the right hand signifies ominpotent, eminient power.  My God is able to save. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We need a miracle...

We just received notice from the judge that she wants a long list of more documents.  On paper, I work for Brock Williams, Shelter Agency LLC. I hadn't started selling Scentsy at the time of the adoption, and we didn't want anything to coflict with the original paperwork.  According to this judge, it is a "conflict of interest" that Brock signed my letter of employment, even though I am, in fact an employee of Brock Williams, Shelter Agency LLC.  It is also unacceptable to her that we filed joint tax returns.  I don't know how to provide separate tax returns for 2009 and 2010.  We are now also required to provide notarized and apostilled copies of the US Poverty Guidelines as there is no point of reference for her to determine that we have the financial means to provide for Roman.

We have two options:

1.  Do our best to provide her with the information (even if it is seemingly impossible) and pray that she doesn't want anything else.
2.  Drop this case and begin again with a new referral. 

Even if we had the money to start over, neither of us want to.  We can't walk away from Roman.  God is just going to have to make a miracle happen.

This judge has been a judge for three months.  We were told that she was way too lenient in the beginning and got her hand slapped and now her pendulum has swung the other way.  Irina is dumbfounded. She doesn't even know what to tell us to do.  The staff in Russia is completely dumbfounded.  Brock and I are numb and dumbfounded.  The judge is just plain dumb.  The only one who isn't dumbfounded is God and He is silent.

Please pray for us.  Pray for a miracle.  Pray for a change of heart.  Pray that when Tatiana goes to the judge tomorrow that....I don't even know...  Just pray for a miracle.  I am weary to the bone.  I am weary of answering the same question.  I am weary of not having answers.  I am weary of not hearing any good news.  Please just pray for us.  I don't know what God is trying to teach us.  I don't know what we are supposed to be learning or be doing or thinking or feeling.  I just feel broken.  Please forgive me for not having strength to call each of you who deserves a personal phone call.  I don't know how to do this anymore.

How Long, oh LORD?

My thoughts feel fractured.  I can't concentrate and I can't sleep tonight.  It is 3:12 in the morning and my brain is in overdrive.  It is a little after noon in Russia.  Is the judge eating her lunch?  Why should she eat when I can't sleep?  Why do we still know nothing?  We asked our agency what the repercussions would be if she doesn't respond within the two weeks and were met with an very unsettling, "There's not really much we can do."  I know that I'm not supposed to know all the answers and I know that this season won't last forever.  But our heads and our hearts think very differently sometimes.  I feel forgotten.  I feel unheard.  Our family's future is reduced to a pile of papers that is sitting on a the desk of a woman who has no idea who we are while every single day we wake up hoping for a miracle and every single night we go to bed wondering how much longer this season must last.

When we were trying to get pregnant, every month came with the crushing single line on a stick.  I'd cry for a day or two and then try to fix everything in my life that could possibly be wrong so that maybe God would see how good we were being and bless us with a child.  I know that's a ridiculous notion.  But right now, it feels like the agony of each of those days in all of those months have been heaped into a huge pile and is overwhelming me.  How long, LORD?  Everyday there are babies taken from homes where they have been abused or neglected.  How long will mine sit in an orphanage?  I don't understand, God.  You have the power to change hearts and move mountains. Why does it feel like You are being still right now?  How much longer do we have to answer every question with, "I. don't. know."?  Our agency keeps telling us that we are so close and while we know this is true, it feels like Roman is slipping farther away.  I want to trust You, I really do, but it's taking strength that I don't feel like I have right now.  I'm crying out to You, LORD.  My emotions are raw.  Nothing about what I'm feeling right now is pretty, but it's honest.  You are still the same good, loving, patient and kind God as You have always been. But, You feel a million miles away right now.  Roman feels a million miles away.  Please God, take pity on us.  Put me back together.  Put our family together.

"Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint;
heal me, LORD,  for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, LORD, how long?"
Psalm 6.2-3

There is nothing new to humankind about what I am feeling right now.  David felt it.  Habakkuk felt it. Countless other souls have felt it throughout history.  How long?  You know exactly how long.  You are still in control. And that's why You are God. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Still Waiting...

I don't really want to blog today.  Still no news from the judge.  She has eleven more days to respond.  Praise God there is a legal cap on this part of the waiting season.  Waiting is hard.  Waiting for something you so desperately want is harder.  Waiting without knowing how much longer you must wait seems to be the hardest. 

There are a lot of things we don't know right now.  We don't know when we will see our son again.  We don't know how much he has grown in the last three months.  We don't know what we are supposed to be doing while we are waiting.  We don't know how much milk to buy when we go to the grocery store.   We don't know how to plan for a trip to see my family for the holidays.  I don't know how to plan Scentsy activities and since that is the only way I'm bringing any income into the house, it's a little nerve-wracking.  We don't know how to answer the countless questions we get asked every day.  We don't mind the questions because we are so grateful that people care, but we just don't know how to answer all of them.  It's easy to get bogged down in the "don't knows", but it's easier to positive and thankful in the "here's what I knows".

We know that time after time God has performed nothing short of miracles in His timing, His provision and His strength.  There  are so many people  who tell us daily that they are  praying for us in this season and we can't tell you what that means to us.  We know that this season cannot last forever and that there is a specific purpose to it.  We know that God does not delight in making us miserable, but He does delight in developing our character.  We know that He knows.  We know that His ways are not our ways and that His ways are higher.  We know that this delay is not the result of God being incapable or negligent.  He is able and He has a purpose for season.  We know that we can trust Him, that is is faithful and He is able to do abundantly more than we could ask or even imagine.

I've been thinking a lot about the Israelites' journey to the promise land.  God could have just "teleported" the entire Israelite nation into the promise land.  After all,  in Acts 8.38, it says, "...the Spirit snatched Peter away and the eunuch no longer saw him..."  But He walked them through the wilderness.  He performed miracle after miracle.  He led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  But they just kept complaining and God kept letting them wander.  I think I understand why they were complaining.  They ate the same food every day.  They wore the same shoes and the same tunics every day.  Once, for three days they had no water and then when they finally found water it was bitter.  I would love to picture myself being more spiritually mature than they were and tell myself that I would be amazed everyday by the provision of manna.  I would like to say that I would rejoice over the fact that my shoes and tunic never wore out, but I don't know.  And here we are, faced with our own opportunity to choose. God has lovingly and faithfully called us out of our Egypt of childlessness and into the promiseland of parenthood and we have had to walk through the wilderness to get there.  I am not equating childlessness to slavery, but I am saying that both Brock and I have felt very much so that there was something more for us in this life.  We have wanted to be parents for so long and finally, we have been chosen to go.  I also know that parenthood will not be all milk and honey.  There were battles the Israelites had to fight in the promise land, too.  I don't want to focus on all of the inconveniences and hiccups.  I want to stay focused on all of the ways that God has proven Himself faithful.  We can't turn away now.  Not when we need Him the most. 

So, yes, waiting is hard.  But God is faithful.  We don't have to have all of the answers today.  We just have to trust the One who does.  He knows exactly how many seconds we have before we can see our son again.  I believe that with my whole heart.  Until then, LORD, protect him and keep him.  May You cause Your face to shine upon him, be gracious to him and give him peace.  Tell him we love him and that we will be a united family soon.  Please move quickly, LORD.