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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Friday, November 30, 2012

A single day in time

I never knew how much could ride on a single day in time, but there has been so much riding on today's date that I feel like I've been in the race of my life for the last six months leading up to today. Let me back up and explain how this all started.......

As I made clear in my book, we understood and accepted that the journey God  led us on was always meant to lead us to Julian, our son, though we could never officially adopt him.  He was already past the age of being able to be adopted internationally, and we had already lost our chance with Colombia, anyway.  Once denied, always denied--that's just the way Colombia worked.  Our hearts, over time, learned to let go of the younger siblings, though we knew we'd always love them.  In February, however, I went through an intense period of questioning with God all over again when "Juan's" second adoption fell through and he found himself back in that same orphanage.  I still vividly remember the day I sat out on my back porch in late February or early March of this year, with tears streaming down my cheeks, and I boldly asked God to give him back to us.  Not long after that, Julian started begging us to somehow try again to adopt his brother.  Personally, all I wanted was to see the boy again and to be able to be in his life.  I had no desire to go through an international adoption process all over again.  However, in May of this year, God put a certain person on my mind to contact (someone I barely even knew), and when I did so, the whole world turned upside down again.

That person sent me a link to a specific part of the U.S. immigration website, saying that if he was reading it correctly, it looked like there was still a chance to adopt BOTH boys......if Colombia would agree to reopen our case to adopt "Juan".  So, I clicked on the link and read it, and then I got to the part that said an I800 form had to be filed for the sibling who was over 18 before November 30th, 2012.  No big deal, right?  In order to file the I800, you needed birth certificates for both boys to prove they were brothers, evidence that you were adopting the younger sibling, and an approved I800A form (which can take up to 90 days to be approved for).  Before you can apply for the I800A, you have to have a home study completed.  Our minds started spinning.  It was already May.  In  just six short months, we would need to find a lawyer in Colombia to help us see if our case could even be reopened, we'd need convince our agency to work with us again, we'd need to update our home study (which we didn't know would have to be completely redone by a new home study agency because our first one had closed), receive our I800A approval from immigration (which could take up to three of those six months), get both boys birth certificates, and file the I800 form with immigration for Julian.  Plus we would be in Colombia for one of those six months.  I remembered clearly how long the first process took us, so I never really believed this could be done.  I had a feeling God was up to something in order to give "Juan" back to us, just like I'd boldly asked, but I never believed it would be possible to win this race against time to adopt Julian, too.  However, without even having time to think it through and convince ourselves that it couldn't be done, God seemed to push this whole thing into action, anyway.

Needless to say, we had a lot of hurdles to jump.  NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, went as planned.  Absolutely everything took way longer than we hoped or expected, each time adding fuel to my belief that there was just no way to adopt Julian.  We'd never win this race against time.  Once we turned the page on the calendar to November,  I said, "God, there's just no way."  And God said, "Really?  Why don't you just sit back and watch, child."  So we did, and He showed up in ways we could never have fathomed over the last 29 days.  Here we are, at the end of our timeline, with Julian's I800 already filed, word from Colombia that we are "approvable", and so incredibly close to completing this adoption of what appears at this time to be BOTH boys. (I say incredibly close, but until it's complete, it still seems so very far away). Nothing is written in stone, yet, but I am finally letting it sink in that we will very likely be bringing both of them home.  Everything that we'd been told and believed was impossible (getting a second chance in Colombia, period, and also adopting a child over the age of 16), and it looks like God has made a way.

Once again, I stand in awe........

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Our Thanksgiving Miracle

I begged God to give us an answer for Thanksgiving.  I didn't ask for a specific answer, I just asked for an answer so we can accept it and begin to move forward, either to finish this adoption or to drop it.  I woke up  an hour later than normal, checked my e-mail, and noticed that our attorney had written to me at 5:49 a.m.  I immediately checked it and called him right away to make sure I understood what it said.  Looks like God answered my prayer very specifically by giving us an affirmative answer on Thanksgiving Day.  Our psychological and social reports are considered "approvable" this time around, so now we proceed with the final steps to finally complete this adoption.  Tomorrow morning I am headed to the post office to file our petition for Julian's visa, which, God-willing, will stop the clock and freeze his status because it will be filed before his time ran out at the end of this month.  I haven't shared a lot of details about our process on my blog this time because, quite frankly, it all seemed like an impossible task.  However, just as time seemed to be running out this very month, God has seemed to bring it all together.  This has been such a backwards process, so complicated that I really didn't believe it could be done.  Now I sit back in awe as everything seems to be falling right into place, just in time.  I feel like I've had the letters STRESS written all across my face this month, and now they have been totally replaced by the letters RELIEF.  I can't even tell you how relieved I feel in this moment, despite the paperwork that still lies in front of us.  It sure will be a lot easier to put our minds to it to finish this up now that we have an answer, now that we know we've found favor in their eyes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The day the music died....or did it?

Three years ago today, November 20th, we received word that our case was officially closed.  It was the day that the music finally died.  Today I find myself a nervous wreck, waiting on an answer again. Our paperwork was finally presented yesterday, and I talked to my attorney this morning as soon as I found out.  He will be on top of it from here.   I guess they were wrong when they declared three years ago that there was nothing else that could be done.

I e-mailed the lady that Julian lives with to let her know how close we finally are to an answer, and she let me know that her entire church has already been praying.  What a humbling feeling to know that prayers aren't just going out on our side.

Julian has always told me that he felt his whole purpose in our lives was to keep us connected with his brother because he believes with all of his heart that his brother is meant to be with us.  I hope this all ends with him seeing God answer his prayers in a mighty way, giving not only his brother a family, but by keeping them together, as well.  No matter what, God will get the glory--I'm just a nervous wreck waiting to find out how.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My current thoughts

A good friend of mine gave birth to her second child today, which was actually a few weeks earlier than her due date.  That's twice now that she hasn't even had to carry a child for a full nine-month pregnancy.  I found myself a little jealous, to be honest.  I feel like I've been pregnant for four years now, and I'm still wondering if a miscarriage is around the corner.  Just saying....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Here goes.....

FINALLY, despite unexpected delay after unexpected delay, our documents have been translated and will be presented to Colombia.  I told Julian, and he said, "Well, now we just wait and see what God has planned."  I'm so thankful to have the spiritual connection with him that I do.  Whatever the outcome this time, he has been involved in every single step and has witnessed just how much we've done and how hard we've fought for him and his brother.  No matter what, they know they are loved and were worth fighting for.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One step closer

We don't have all the answers we need yet to know if we're ever going to be bringing the boys home, but today we took a giant step closer to the possibility of it actually happening.  After getting our fingerprints done early last week, our agency called the Immigration offices to explain our time crunch and to see if things might be able to be pushed forward.  Getting an approval for this particular form can take up to 90 days, so we knew we were attempting an impossibilty when we filed it with only 45 days to make it happen.  As of Monday morning, we still hadn't even been assigned an officer to our case.  Between two phonecalls and two e-mails since Monday, we very surprisingly received our immigration approval via the phone and an e-mail today. There's still more to be gathered and submitted within the next 23 days before the month runs out, but getting that approval today was a huge miracle that we really needed to happen.  I'm still not assuming that this adoption is definitely going to happen, but God really showed His fingerprints all over it today--for that, we are grateful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

All This Time [Lyrics] - Britt Nicole

Feliz cumpleanos

Wishing a very special boy a very happy birthday today.  Three years ago this very day I thought I heard his voice for the last time.  I thought it was final when I said goodbye, told him I loved him, and hung up the phone.  I thought it was over, and all I could wonder was "why?".  Why did we ever have to meet, just so we could dream and hope and love, and then watch it all come crashing down?  God always knew, though, that our story wasn't even close to being over.  For reasons I couldn't understand, God just would not let me let that child go.  I never imagined that we'd be here, three years later, fighting for that boy all over again.  I still don't know what the future holds, nor have I even allowed myself to assume a certain outcome.  All I know is that God is working out all things for good and that He still has a purpose for that precious boy in our lives. I treasure those four days we had together in the summer because they were a gift that we didn't even know was coming.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Progressing

A lot went on this week. Our paperwork finally made it to Colombia  and is currently being translated. (I'm not even going to begin to explain what held it up three extra weeks......I'm just thankful that it's finally there.) Our attorney has already gone ahead of us and talked with the people over our case to let them know it will be presented to them very soon.  He is eager to stay on top of things, to keep it moving, and to represent us.  What a nice feeling it is to know that he already knows us.  We're definitely not just a piece of paper this time around--to anyone involved.  We also got our fingerprint appointment for immigration scheduled for November 20th, and we were able to sidestep the appointment and get it done three weeks early.  We walked in on Wednesday afternoon to see if they would take us on a walk-in, and even though the lady very firmly said that they do NOT take walk-ins and that they ONLY reschedule appointments by mail, she made an exception to take us that afternoon because they weren't busy at all.  (Maybe she was being nice because it was Mike's birthday. :))  Every day this month brings us one day closer to the answers we have been waiting for over the last four months (or more like the last four years).

Isaiah 30:18
Yet the Lord LONGS to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who WAIT (or long) for Him.
(I learned today that the words long and wait here are actually the same Hebrew word.  Isn't is nice to know that as much as I long for an answer here, God is longing to give it to me?)