Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hold up

Friday we got a letter about our I600, the application for Enam's visa to come home. They wanted further documentation that he was abandoned by his biological father. I don't know if this will be a simple or lengthy fix, but its a delay and an uncertainty.

Of coarse it would come on a Friday afternoon, where we would have to wait all weekend to contact our agency about and get any more information. The good part of that is the only place to turn is God. I was pretty anxious Friday night, just trying through willpower to not completely freak out. This morning my heart still felt heavy. Jacob and I prayed together and I released some pent-up tears. It was really good to verbalize and remind myself more strongly what is true about who God is, his purposes, promises, and power in our lives. It was really freeing to recognize that God is the one who has given me this heart for children and my desire to bring a child in need into our family, and that he has given me this for his purposes. So I will trust him, because it is his plan, not mine at work here. My plans don't turn out much of the time, but his are established before the foundation of the earth! It may not be easy, it may be painful, but his plans are good and glorious and high above anything I could construct. All this to say, regaining an eternal perspective on my temporal circumstances is bringing back to a resting place in Christ and a peace and patience through the uncertainty of this process.

We are still so far along. This wait and delay are such a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things and Enam coming home is just on the other side. And if he is not, we trust God's goodness and divine wisdom in all of our lives. Already, I'm filled with gratefulness for the grace to know the goodness of God and the promises we have to hold on to when life gets messy. He's replaced my anxiety about plans crumbling with a wonder at his great power.

So now, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, we press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phillippians 3:13-14).

I've decided to continue on with Enam's blanket and I bought some fleece fabric on sale today (considered that a sign to proceed). It really helps me to have a hands-on way to express my love for him. Its not put together yet, but below is a basic plan. I was told this batik fabric's symbols mean "back to your roots", "bravery" and "God is King." I think that's fitting :).
***Update: Our in country contact thinks they can get the documentation we need by the end of the week! I hope that is so!***

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Maybe a little longer

Well ... we found out more details about the last few steps coming up. We have struggled to communicate with our agency to get a good grasp on this process. We are also seeing just how variable adoption laws and procedures can be, even in the same country.

Long story short it looks like his homecoming will be 2 months at best, or even 6 months or more. We are still hoping and praying for a shorter wait, of course. We are still optomistic, but trying to calm ourselves down that we may have to wait a bit longer than we thought.

At first realizing this, I was struck with several fears: what if he gets sick again, what impact will 6 more months of poor nutrition cost him, and how will 6 more months of not emotionally, psychosocially, and physically being attached to us cause him and our family to suffer? Then I remember the truth, that God is with him. He will care for him like the sparrow and the lillies of the valley. He will provide for him and He will be there for Enam if he should fall. I also remember how God reassured Habakkuk that the wait may seem long, but God will not delay. I am remembering God's promises and trust them for Enam's sake and for our family when he comes home.

So thank you friends and family. You have been such an encouragement to us, carrying us through this process with such compassion, commitment, love, and generosity. We definately feel that we are standing on the shoulders of a great community, reaching for this beautiful life of redemption and healing that proclaims the goodness of Christ's power in our lives. Your support enriches our lives and, no doubt, our children's as well. I am so thankful that we do not bare this burden alone.

I am slowly turning back to hopeful expectation and trying to prepare myself that we may have one more Christmas without him. I am remembering how bitter I was after 3 weeks of false labor with Rylan and him not budging as his due date approached. I heard a great sermon about not spoiling the good gifts God has for you by being impatient. I then really appreciated and enjoyed the week before Rylan was born and even celebrated his due date coming and going with a new haircut :) (Here's an old picture of me huge pregnant with Rylan 4 days after his due date)

I'm not there yet. I am still turning away from the fears and resentment. But I am turning, and resettling myself in my resting place, once again, the mighty hands of God.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The homestretch!


We recieved the final court documents today! (only a month after we were expecting it) We filled out our last petition for a visa to bring Enam back and will be sending it out in the next day or two. I'm so ready!

We are told it can take about 6 weeks to get approved, of course with governments timelines we have learned not to hold our breath. I'll let you all know as soon as we do hear something back.

For now, I'm keeping busy on the homefront with craft projects for Halloween and Christmas. I also have some material from Ghana to make a blanket for Enam! (I'll post a picture of the blanket when I finish it.) Now I also feel confident enough to set up the crib and go ahead and find the cabinet space for sippy cups. Thankfullt, much of the waiting periods have been full of wonderful distractions, namely Keiran and Rylan. But I'm excited to gradually spend more and more time preparing for our third son!

Some sweet friends of our gave us a baby shower a couple of weeks ago. It was so encouraging and helpful! If anyone else wants to see the kind of stuff we need, check out our Target registry.

Friday, August 24, 2012

One big step closer!

All we heard when we got back from Ghana was that our new court date would be September, no specific date to hold on to just ... September. We were grateful to have others working on our behalf so we tried to be patient and focus on getting back to work and back to school. Thankfully our lives are full of worthy distractions.

As we were getting to the last dollars of our monthly grocery budget, I started thinking about September more and wondering if there was any better idea of the timing. I guess Jacob was wondering too and emailed our agency contact.

Thursday night we got an email stating that the in-country coordinator had been called urgently to court and that the judge had granted us the adoption! Good timing, huh. We got the email as we were preparing to go out for a dinner date, so then it became a celebration dinner.

So now on to the best part of the waiting, NESTING! I can't wait to set up the crib, stock the dresser and closet, and celebrate with friends at baby showers.

We have about 6 weeks or so before we can bring him home, but this feels like the beginning on the next phase for our family, now a family of 5! Now that we are officially his parents, this journey feels different, but good. Its almost like when Jacob and I got engaged: we were not married yet, but just having a formal definition and clear intention allowed a guard to be dropped and deeper love to begin to flourish. So this is our adoption engagement, I guess. We are relieved to be past the loose commitment of the beginning and on to one that is more substantial, while looking forward to the full commitment of living life together as a family.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our month-long week in Ghana

Last Sunday,we said goodbye to Enam Christopher, for now. We flew home Sunday night and arrived Monday morning. I'm so glad we have our lovely boys to come home to, it will make the waiting a little easier. We showed them more pictures and videos of Enam and they are both excited for him to come home.

So here are the details of where we are at in the process now. The judge they usually work with will be on a medical leave for another 3 weeks. The coordinator will stand in for us at court, then we will file with the Embassy in the US for Enam's visa and passport to come home. We agreed that we would rather wait a little longer for a judge that is more likely to give us a favorable decision than risk another judge. So we are thinking it will be between 2 and 3 months  before we go back to bring him home. I really hope we can have him home for Christmas.

It was also good to talk to our in country contacts to ask them about Chrismond, the twin who passed, and about Enam's biological family.  We learned that he has an older brother that lives with the mother and that we will get to meet her our next trip! I am excited to meet her, thank her and encourage her that we will always pray for her and teach him to always remember her with love and gratefulness. Our contacts also assured us that the parents are happy that their children will be adopted and cared for. These parents often do not have work and cannot afford to feed all of their children and sometimes unable to even house them. It is a hard reality, but with a hopeful end.

It was a pretty crazy week. With all the drama of the culture shock, the fresh reminder of true proverty, and the change in adoption plans as well as getting to know our youngest son, it felt more like a month. I am thankful though, I feel like God gave us a lot of peace and rest in his faithfulness and goodness. Last week I studied the book of James. It begins with the encouragement that "the testing of our faith produces perseverence. And let perseverence have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing". It was very encouraging to see God's work in my life giving me rest when I otherwise would be freaking out or falling apart. I also know that those praying for us help hold us up through all of the challenges. So thank you. Another couple there, who were not believers, were more anxious about it all and could not believe how we held it together and were so mature. I got to give God the glory to answer them because I know it is not my inherent self.

Now I'm also holding on to Matthew 6:33. After encouraging us to not be anxious about the details of life, this verse reads,"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Finally, more pictures!
-The first night we picked him up from the orphanage

-The Cape Coast Castle (mentioned in the previous post)

An amazing artist we bought from (even though it was on the restaurant patio)

Our wonderful group and in country coordinators

Final goodbyes, just for now

Friday, July 27, 2012

We are in Ghana now! I have been to Africa (South Africa) before, but is this is something else. The beach at Cape Coast is beautiful and the weather is great, but the streets are chaotic. They are packed with people, cars, motorcycles, farm animals, vendors, and hustlers. It is a bit stressful to go for a walk, and quieter streets are probably not safe. Even at the beach or the restaurant patio across the street, we get bombarded by hustlers. We did get a few things on our souvenir list and bought from an amazing painter, but you can't sit in peace for very long before someone offers to sell you something you don't want. It doesn't help that you can spot our white skin a mile away. Everyone is friendly, its just intense.

Yesterday, we visited the Cape Coast Castle where slaves were captured and sent to England and the British colonies.  It was difficult to visit the dungeons, especially since the chapel and Governor's mansion sat just above them.  It was really good to see it though, to face the reality and have a fresher compassion for those who died and survived.

But on to the baby, which everyone really wants to hear about. He attached to Jacob pretty early. He will let me hold him and care for him, unless Jacob is nearby. Everyday he is getting more playful and interactive.  We had one bad night, but them I noticed a tooth had popped through. Last night he slept well and has been babbling more. We gave him a bath last night too, which is one of my favorite baby activities.

Court was pushed back from Thursday to Friday, today. We dressed up and drove out to the court. We sat through some other cases, then went back to meet the judge in his chambers for our adoption case. Another couple went first with our lawyer and the social worker. They came out looking stunned. Basically, the judge told them that he hadn't looked at the paperwork and would need to reschedule. The lawyer couldn't meet till next Thursday. Our coordinator has told us that this judge has been trouble in the past and he doesn't trust him to pass our case or not hold things up.

Right now we are waiting for our coordinator to try to find a different lawyer for us and try to meet with a judge that has been more helpful in the past. So we are just waiting to see what will happen next.

Our first morning here I read James 1. Those words are ringing in my ears now. I am thankful to see how God has matured us and am hopeful for because of his goodness. We will let you know how things proceed from here as we learn ourselves.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So its been over a year since I last posted! Most of you have kept up with us on facebook, but here's a quick recap of the last year.

May 2011 -We sold our house! We made a profit and were able to pay off one of my student loans, put a down payment on our next house, and had a chunk to officially start the adoption process.

July 2011 - We moved into our new home! It has more space, a bigger and more functional yard, and our mortgage payment is cheaper. God blessed us beyond my expectations.

August 2011-My oldest son started school. He had a wonderful Kindergarten year at a great school.  There are so many interracially adopted kids!  Two other boys in his classroom have the same family pattern, 2 biological boys and an adopted child. I love that it is a familiar family type here.
     We also put money down with an adoption agency and completed our homestudy. We decided to pursue adoption in Ghana for several reasons. The Nepali government was going through another threat to its political stability and the US still had a hold on adoptions there.  It was just too risky for us to pursue. Ghana's  profile fit very well for our family in timing, age of child, and cost.

February 2012 - We got an email asking us to consider twin 9month old boys. We thought, discussed, and prayed about it for a couple of weeks and decided to accept them. It was mostly a step of faith, trusting God to guide our steps, even if it suprised us.

March 2012 - We had a big fundraiser with Both Hands foundation. So many gave us their time, energy, and generous donations. It was a huge blessing to our spirits and the financial burden.  We also were able to bless a beautiful widow in our neighborhood.  Check out the foundation in my links to learn more about the great work they do. At the end of the month, we sent off our dossier (big fat application to the Ghanian government)!

May 2012 - The twins had their first birthday, but I wished it had been with us.  The Tuesday after Memorial weekend, we got a call that they had gotten sick and were hospitalized, they think it was malaria.  One of the boys actually passed away that weekend. He had already been buried by the time we were contacted. The other twin was doing well physically,but the details were sparse.  We have grieved and feel peace for the one who passed,but are now very eager to bring the other home, to love and care for this little one who has lost so much.

June 2012- We finally got a court date and booked a flight!  We will be there a couple weeks in July for court and to file paperwork for his visa. He will likely stay with us for much of the trip, but we will have to leave him.  We should be able to travel one more time and bring him home by early September. Oh and we picked a name! Enam, a Ghanian name that means "gift from God."

So now that we are all caught up, I can blog more timely and more in depth. There have been a lot of emotions and lessons learned the past year and I hope to do a better sharing them with you our friends and family.