About Me

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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.


Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

More than we could ever have imagined

A week after we got home from Colombia, we got an e-mail from our divinely appointed lawyer stating that our adoption case was being reopened and that they would consider giving us the second chance that we were asking for.  This was a miracle in itself, since they flat out told us that nothing of the sort had ever been done before.  Within days, our lives turned upside down all over again as we re-immersed ourselves in all of the paperwork, phonecalls, appointments, and financial agreements that go along with an international adoption process.

As confident as I felt, knowing that only God could have orchestrated this turn of events, not a bit of it has been easy.  I detested almost every step we had to take and cringed with every check we had to write.  I can't tell you how many times over the last four months that we reached another roadblock and I just threw my hands up in the air, saying, "God, I quit!  This is just too hard, too complicated, too frustrating, too costly--in so many ways. I just don't want to do this any more!!!!!"  Then someone would always come up beside me and show me that it wasn't time to give up hope just yet.  Anything can happen with the time we have left.  Somehow I always found the resolve, the strength, the determination, and the resources to keep pushing ahead.

So, here we are now, almost three years to the date of watching our dreams come crashing down, and once again we wait for answers.  Just why DID God give us the inspiration and just the right connections to pursue this case again?  Why DID He open this door again?  Within the next thirty days or so, we should finally have the answers we are seeking.  Will "Juan" and Julian ever become our legal children, or does God have something completely different in mind for the five of us that we just haven't seen yet?

 I, personally, can't even say just what it is that I'm hoping for.  Of course, I want us to be approved this time around.  What a humiliation to go through this all again and receive the same response.  Yet I can't say I'm hoping to bring one or both boys home, either.  We are fully aware of all of the very real challenges that will come with that. I can't imagine life without  them, though, and fortunately, this time I know that I will not lose either of them, whether we can adopt them or not.

My prayers are very different than they were three years ago.  I'm not praying daily for this to all go through and work out.  My daily prayer is only that God will do more through this situation than we could ever ask or imagine.  If it means bringing one or both of them home, then so be it.  If it involves just one of them or neither of them, then so be it.

Just a few days ago while I was out on my porch, God and I had a little heart to heart, and basically I found myself rehearsing all the ways that He has already done exactly what I've prayed for-- by giving us more than we ever could have asked for.  Right after coming back home after our first trip to Colombia, I was already overwhelmed with having found the other end of the phone line through which all of my conversations with "Juan" had taken place two years prior.  I actually stood in the same place where he stood for all of those phone calls.

As if that wasn't enough, God later connected me with the very person that stood beside him the day they told him we weren't coming for him.  Through her, God began revealing details of those days that I always wanted to know. I wondered why  I even needed to know, but I thanked God for filling in those gaps.  Then this summer, as we sat around the table in Mercedes' home less than 48 hours before coming back home, she filled us in on sweet details about each of the boys when they were children.  I will never forget the thoughts that ran through my head in those moments, realizing that God was still continuing to reveal their story to us.  All in his perfect timing, just as it was always meant to be.

I don't know what to expect or even hope for this coming month as we begin to finally receive answers, first from Colombia, then from immigration, then regarding the grants that we applied for.  All I know is that God is going to continue to use this story and this situation in greater ways than we ever could ask or imagine.  I know He will because He already has.  His track record doesn't change.

 I hope that in the midst of whatever you find yourself facing today, you will see that God has done the same for you.  If you delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart.  My desire is for everyone who has followed our journey to look at our situation and say, "That could only be God" (quote from session six in our Esther study by Beth Moore).

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Sustainer

My emotions are all over the place these days.  I find myself on the brink of tears one moment to being  completely confident in Christ the next.  I find myself at total peace one day to being utterly confused and bewildered the next.  God's fingerprints and provision are so unmistakenly all over our lives right now (and over our boys' lives in Colombia), yet it is so bewildering to keep running into delay after delay in this pursuit to adopt them.  I want answers and direction, and God says, "It's just not time yet.  Keep waiting on Me and keep clinging to My word."

 It amazes me to see how He is using this study on Esther to speak directly to me week after week.  One week I found myself admitting to how terrified I am--terrified that this might not go through again and yet terrified that it just might!  That week in Bible study, the whole session was about facing our fears (when Esther had to face her fear of approaching the King even though she was not summoned, which could very likely be her death sentence).  So, I start to get past the whole fear thing, and then I find myself agonizing through another unexpected wait.  Then I preview the group session for Bible study, and what do you think it was all about?  Waiting.  Waiting on God's timing, accepting that when He puts a hold on something that we think should be moving along, He is definitely up to something, bringing all the people and events all together for just the right moment.  (Esther fasting for three days before approaching the King, then when she's given permission to see him and is offered up to half the kingdom, she still waited two more days to make her actual request.)  Hmmmmm.  The quote that got to me was about accepting that "the meantime is God-time".  If we're waiting, it means that He's still orchestrating it all.  (After all the divine events we watched God orchestrate in Colombia both times we were there, you'd think I'd get that by now.)

I've definitely had a lot on my mind lately, though, not really sure which direction our future is going to go in just a few  short months from now.  I've also really struggled with all of the sacrifices God has asked us to make as a family, more than just financially.  The other day I walked my class to lunch, then I went in my classroom, shut my door, and just spent some time with God.  I was having one of those "woe is me" kind of days.  As I began pouring out my heart, I found tears just streaming down my cheeks as I heard myself asking, "Haven't we already sacrificed enough, God?  Financially? Emotionally?  Why do you just keep asking for more from me?"

Then, just like usual whenever I reach those points of helplessness, God sent me a boost maybe an hour later via an e-mail, reminding me that He's still right there.  We'd applied for a $2,000 grant to help with some of our adoption fees.  We were told that the maximum amount of this particular grant was $2,000, but this e-mail said that we'd been awarded $3,000!  My heart just skipped a beat as I read the e-mail, even though I barely had time to process it because I had about five kids standing around me, waiting for my attention. I also can't neglect to mention that I had a friend downsize her closet recently, and she gave me pretty much a whole new wardrobe.  We have another friend who has helped out on several occasions with extra cash, this time which helped pay for teacher fees I still owed at school, David's cafeteria lunches for a month, and enough to be able to take David to his school carnival this week.  People have picked up the tab for us at restaurants so we didn't have to miss out on the fellowship with our church family.   Our translation fees were covered by someone who was inspired by our book.  I even found money on the ground one day in a wide open parking lot at the grocery store.  Yes, God has asked us to sacrifice a lot lately, but He has also taken care of us.  As much as I hate to be on the needy side rather than the giving side, it is humbling to see just who and what God has used to continue to meet our needs.

He may have asked us to walk through a valley again, but His fingerprints are everywhere, showing us that we are not walking alone and that He alone is our Sustainer.  I hope you see His fingerprints all over your own life, too.  What an intimate God we have.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Waiting

Okay.  I think I get it now.  I get why I wasn't "allowed" to teach the Esther study last semester.  It wasn't time.  Whether I thought it was just the right time or not, it wasn't.  If I thought last week's session spoke directly to me, this one pretty much had my name written all over it.  Last week was all about facing our fears, knowing that God is with us, no matter what.  Even if the thing you fear the most actually happens.  This week is all about waiting.

The main quote/concept I took away from the session is this:  When we're always waiting on a specific event or person or action, we will always lose heart.  But when we're waiting on God, we will mount up with wings like eagles.  We will run and not grow weary.  We will walk and not faint.  When we're waiting on God, our strength WILL be RENEWED!

I'd like to think that God did not reopen our adoption case only for it to close again.  I'd like to think that God would not have reunited us with "Juan" and given all of us a new hope only for it to come crashing down again.  I'd like to lay claim to faith that we will be able to go to him soon and that we will be able to finally bring him home as our adoptive son.  I'd like to think that all is going to go well.  But all I know and am laying claim to is that God is still writing our story and that He is orchestrating something greater than our minds can fathom or understand.

Therefore, my hope is in HIM, in the confidence I have in His purpose for all involved.  Waiting on a specific result will only drive me a little more insane each day as I wait for it.  Waiting on HIM frees me to be confident that He is continuing to work out His purposes in me, Mike, David, and both boys.  I hate waiting, but maybe that's because I've been waiting on the wrong thing all this time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cause and effect

Teaching cause and effect is one of my favorite skills to teach to my second graders, and they always seem to get into all my little cause/effect charts that have to do with study skills, good or bad behavior, etc. (I really like the most recent one that they helped me make--IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW DIRECTIONS, THEN THE TEACHER IS NOT HAPPY.  IF EVERYONE DOES FOLLOW DIRECTIONS, THE TEACHER IS HAPPY. (Making the teacher happy is all that really matters, right? LOL. )

Learning cause and effect isn't always as easy or fun when you've had to learn the hard way.  However, I just got the best cause/effect statement ever from one of my favorite Bible study teachers, Beth Moore, while previewing this week's session.

IF ___________, THEN......My God will be there.  

No matter what.  Every time.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm hanging on to this....

You know, I guess I just thought/hoped that it would be easier and prettier this time around.  Not so much.  We haven't had any real issues or problems, everything just seems to be taking forever.  Every little aspect just takes T.I.M.E. (and way more than necessary, if you ask me).

After a grueling three months of repeating week after week, "Please hurry!  We're running out of time!", our home study is finally complete and in the mail, headed to our home.  Once again, according to the state of Texas, we are qualified to adopt our precious "Juan" and his nineteen year old brother, if God wills it that way.  Now we'll see what Colombia will have to say this time.....and then we'll see if God decides to speed things through immigration.  Talk about living life completely up in the air!  It's nerve-wracking, to say the least.

This paragraph from our Esther study really hit home:

"I don't know exactly how God perfects plans that seem so bleak to us in process, but these two things I know.  He never takes His eyes off of us or off the clock ticking over us....the same eye that's on the sparrow is on the wristwatch."