Just pausing from cooking to share a little update and prayer request.
Our attorney is meeting with the judge tomorrow to explain our request for a later court date, and secure a new one for us.
Please be in prayer that the judge is understanding, that the date is as soon as possible in January, and that we hear back from him by the weekend!
Thanks so much! And on this day of Thanksgiving, I just have to say again how thankful I am for all of you who’ve loved and supported us through this journey!
And also, how thankful we are for the blessing of children, and for the goodness of God in leading us to our daughter.
I saw this graphic on Sunday and had no idea how much I’d need to remember this in the coming week.
At 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, we heard that our allotted judge was finally scheduling cases, and we were given a court date.
Now, I’ve dreamed of that court-date moment often over the past two years, much like a pregnant mom imagines what going into labor will be like. I thought that when we finally pinned down that ever-elusive court date, our reactions would include dancing, praises and joy — not the nervous stomachs, racing hearts and near-panic attacks we both had. The reason for the internal chaos? The date was next week. We’d have to fly out on Monday.
So we started praying. Praying and talking and planning and trying to figure out what we were going to do, was it even possible to go on such short notice, and all the while thinking of that little girl with those gorgeous brown eyes and wide smile and knowing that there was no question — of course we had to accept the date and GO! Donnie and I sat up talking until he had to get ready for work at 5:00 a.m. My nervousness turned to butterflies over the thought of finally, finally meeting her and hugging her and loving on her in just a few days! How thrilling and lovely and wonderful that felt.
But then the logistics started falling apart. I’m not at liberty to discuss a couple of the issues here because of family privacy concerns, but I can tell you about two: getting last-minute tickets was going to be more than we budgeted for. And one of the problems involves some medical testing scheduled for next Tuesday, over a new concern that really should be sorted out before embarking on a month-long stay in a 3rd world country.
It has been an emotionally exhausting 24 hours, much of it spent in tears fueled by self-doubt and frustration. How could we say “not yet” to this date that we have begged God to give us for so long? How was it even possible that we could choose to postpone further what has already been postponed by circumstance way longer than we could’ve ever imagined?
I’m afraid that some people won’t understand, that some of you reading this are feeling angry and frustrated with us and think we’ve gone mad. One of our older children felt that way — at least, initially. He was angry and said we were abandoning his sister if we didn’t go get her right now.
(Hearing that felt like shoving a knife into my heart and twisting it…)
He understands better now, and if you’re close friends with us, I don’t mind sharing a bit more with you that I cannot divulge on a public blog (if you need more clarity to help you understand the “whys” behind this seemingly-crazy choice to delay). I’m sure our son isn’t the only person who is going to hear what we decided and think we’re certifiably insane. But I think that if you know us, and you know our hearts toward Pearl, you can trust that there had to be some compelling reasons for not hopping on a plane this Monday.
The good news — the judge is scheduling cases, and it’s just a few weeks longer to wait. Courts reopen on January 15th after Christmas break, and the lawyer is moving us to one of those mid-to-late-January dates. I will post again when we know for certain what we’ve been assigned.
In the meantime…thank you again for all the prayers and love you’ve shown us through this process. I really do (finally!) see the light at the end of the tunnel and we feel encouraged most of all, that progress is finally being made — even if it’s not at lightning-fast speed. It won’t be long now, I’m certain.
I just realized that it’s National Adoption Day. Quite obviously, I’m thinking about our sweet, sweet girl on the other side of the world and praying against the mountains of bureaucracy in her country that are keeping us from going to get her.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I can’t imagine how long this process has felt for her. Because it’s felt like forever-and-a-day for me, coming at it from an adult’s perspective. I can’t even imagine how much longer it feels to a child.
We think about her all the time. My eldest son asks almost every day, when he gets home from school, “Did you hear anything yet?” or “Any word on when you’re going to Uganda?”
We’re putting up the Christmas tree and all of us have commented on how we really thought she’d be here by now. She factors into our conversations, with comments like, “After Pearl gets here, we’ll ________.” And every day during our homeschooling Bible time, we pray for her. We pray her home.
One day, I know the prayers will be answered. When it’s the right timing, whatever that might be.
I was talking to a new friend last night, one who’s been through miscarriage and desperately wants to have a baby. I saw that familiar sadness in her eyes as all the moms in the group talked/bragged/complained about our children. I know what that longing feels like from the seven years of infertility and loss we went through before having our first child, what it’s like to be the only one in a gathering of women who has no children to talk about. It’s a miserably heartbreaking feeling.
This adoptive child longing is somewhat different, but similar in many ways. I think that until a mother’s heart knows that all her “babies” have made it home, that empty, gnawing feeling lingers.
I wonder if it even compares to the longing an orphan feels to have a family? I can imagine that feeling is so much worse than anything I’ve ever known.
It breaks my heart that there are millions of kids around the world experiencing that today, and every day, until someone steps up to adopt them. Please join me today in praying for all of them, and for our Pearl, and consider what you can do to help these kids connect with their forever homes.
I always feel bad when I go a while without blogging here, but it’s hard to blog when there isn’t much to say.
We’re still on hold, waiting for the powers-that-be to schedule our court date. There is nothing in the world that we can do to hurry the process at this point.
So, we wait.
And wait some more.
It’s funny combining this season of waiting with this holiday season, because with each holiday that comes, I simultaneously am grateful to be here with my family (because I thought probably I’d be in Uganda) and wishing that I wasn’t here (because then I’d be in Uganda).
That probably doesn’t make much sense, but when one chunk of your heart lives 8,000 miles away and you’re powerless to go retrieve it — that’s what it’s like.
Just keep praying her home, folks.
Please keep praying her home.
Today is Orphan Sunday, a day that churches everywhere take time to remember orphans around the world and encourage people to do something tangible to help meet their needs.
Every day, but today especially, I feel grateful for the people who’ve gone before us and opened our eyes and hearts to older child adoption. There are many factors behind our choice to adopt, but these families have played a huge role in taking away the “scariness” of it all.
They’re the courage behind our pursuit, why this mother has a daughter now, when I thought I never would have one.
Of course, she isn’t here yet. We’re ready to go, but there are delays in the courts and I don’t know when they’re going to clear. There is nothing I can do to make them clear, to make us get her home sooner. I know that God has a timeline that might not equal mine, one that I might not understand because of how long it’s taking. But still, I trust Him.
I know I can’t make anyone catch the passion we feel for adoption, any more than my environmentalist friends can persuade me to go hug a tree and save the whales. It’s just not where my heart is centered. All I can do is share our stories, pray for the orphanage God has placed in front of us, and the specific child we’re being led to make our own.
I just know that God loves these babies. Yes, even the 15-year-old “babies” about to age out of the system–He loves them all and needs for His people to step up and care for the least of these.
Thank you to all our beloved friends and family who’ve enabled us to do just that. Your gifts and prayers have helped us reach this point that we’re able to make one less orphan in the world. It’s such an honor to be able to do that, and we could not have possibly done it alone.
I hope our daughter will always be aware of all the love that added up to bring her here. The love behind the financial sacrifices people made on her behalf. The generosity behind the donated clothes and toys, the letters of encouragement, the fasting and praying that was done for her. I hope that all of it adds up to something wonderful that lets her know that she is wanted. She is adored. She has a purpose in this world and people standing beside her, just waiting to help her achieve it.
I think what breaks my heart on Orphan Sunday is knowing how precious she is and that she is just one of millions of kids who are going to bed tonight, hungry and parentless.
She has hope to cling to, and she clings to it with all her heart.
I hear all the time that her friends want to know, “When will it be my turn? When will a family come for me?”
I don’t know how I’m going to answer that when I’m there. I don’t. Unfortunately, I don’t have a line of people building up behind me to adopt our daughter’s friends. I wish I did — but I don’t.
Just promise me that today, you’ll take some time to pray for the orphans around the world and ask God what you can do to make a difference.
Look at that little thermometer over there — I am so happy to share that we are finally fully funded, ready to go to Uganda and get our girl!
(NOW, if we can just get a court date. Wouldn’t that be nice?)
Before I tell you what happened, I want to eliminate any confusion — we are still finishing up our current fundraising projects. The food box fundraiser will continue monthly through the end of the year, and we’re having another silent auction to hopefully sell the remaining items that were donated to us for that purpose.
The reason I can confidently say that we are fully funded is that a sweet, generous couple has offered to make up the difference left after we finish earning what we can through fundraising. Part of that will be a gift, any remainder will be a small loan with incredibly gracious repayment terms. It’s a direct answer to our prayers.
I see this couple as our Aaron and Hur, coming in at the end, holding us up so we can complete what God has led us to do.
You might not know that Donnie was furloughed during this recent government shutdown/slowdown/slimdown — whatever the bureaucrats want to call it. Thank goodness that is finally over and he is returning to work as I type. But the past three weeks have been hard, wondering how long it would last and how we could wrap up saving what we needed without his salary. I prayed myself to sleep every night, very basic, very needy prayers…
“God, I don’t know what we’re going to do. We can’t do this without you. I don’t know how you’re going to work it out, but I know you didn’t bring us this far to disappoint our daughter. I know you’re going to make something good of this. Please work it out. Please show us what to do…”
James 4:2 kept coming to mind: “…you have not because you ask not.”
“What more can I ask for, God? People have already helped us so much. I’m embarrassed to ask for anything else. I’m embarrassed to admit how desperate I feel or how much we’re struggling with this. I know there are people who think we are fools for adopting, who don’t understand the motive in our hearts. But I know what you’ve promised, what you’ve asked. I know this is of you. Show me that you still believe in this, please…”
Ask. Seek. Knock.
By last Thursday night, I’d just had enough. I was so choked by my own misery that I didn’t care anymore about pride, I didn’t care if I was embarrassed. I didn’t care if sharing our truth opened a whole new can of doubt for the naysayers to run with and throw back at me. I knew we had not yet asked, sought or knocked enough; there were several stones left unturned, and I wasn’t going to leave them that way. I couldn’t.
So, I wrote a letter, outlining what we still needed — both financially, and in prayer support. I basically just put heart to paper and let it bleed.
And then…our nearest-and-dearest responded, so kindly it made us cry. By Friday afternoon, my eyes were so puffy, I could’ve passed for this guy, smiles and all:
I was almost shocked by how exhausted I felt. Donnie said the same thing.
I didn’t realize the weight of this burden until it was lifted off us. It felt like when your 40-lb. toddler falls asleep at the amusement park and you have to carry him for hours. You’re just absolutely spent when you finally put him down.
On Sunday, we were invited to share our testimony at church, and we did. And then the pastor took up a special offering for us. Just…WOW, God. Wow.
I hope those who are standing with us realize the magnitude of what they’ve given: the gift of being able to let that tension go….
Adoption is so stressful. It just is. It’s like so many life experiences, you think you’re ready for it, but you just can’t understand how hard it is until you’re in the middle of it. Every adoptive family needs Aarons and Hurs. I’m so very grateful for those who get it. Who really GET what the bible says about caring for orphans and widows and joyously give accordingly. They are like GOLD to us. More precious than that, even.
We got some new pics of our sweetie last week. You know I can’t share full-face shots or her real name until after we’ve been granted legal guardianship, but she had her hair braided and was so excited for us to see it.
I’ve talked about her hair before; how being allowed to grow it out is a tangible reminder to her that we’re coming. I think it’s great that the orphanage’s pastor is allowing her to do this. As he says, her heart is set on it and he can’t bear the thought of cutting it ever again…even though it means more work for him and her. As you can imagine, hair care isn’t exactly easy in a third-world orphanage environment. But they do the best they can with what they have, and I think she looks beautiful.
Still no court date, obviously. I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops when it comes. Until then, please continue to pray for us, for all the same things we’ve asked for in the past:
- For favor with the lawyer, judge and embassy so that the process can happen soon and efficiently.
- Good health for Pearl as she waits for us (they’re experiencing a lot of rain lately, and with that comes an increased risk of malaria).
- Provision for the remaining money we need for in-country expenses.
- Peace and patience as we wait!
“Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.” -James 5:10-11 (MSG)