Balancing Act

January 27, 2009

So, where are we in the process? We’ve been getting that question a lot lately. It’s funny because one of our high school girls was telling me last night how much she loves Mondays because she gets to read our blog and the unfolding of our adoption story. She said it’s like waiting for her favorite show to come on. I thought that was so cute. But, I told her get ready for an uneventful “season” 🙂

I love our agency so much. I emailed our case worker last week to see if she could be specific about where we are in the process. The basic answer she gave is that our paperwork is in Russia. It has been translated and sent to the ministry of education – which is the branch of the Russian government that is over international adoption. We are now put in a “databank” of waiting parents and our facilitator who is in Russia will continue to be an advocate for our “case”.

So, her last words in the email were that we could tell our family and friends that we are “waiting” and that we will be probably for a while. I’m grateful that our agency is quick to answer questions, they are honest with where we are in the process and they are also very encouraging.

One of the realities of waiting is the longer the process takes, the likelihood of our paperwork expiring increases. When our paperwork expires, we will have to redo the paperwork, re-authenticate it all and send it again to Russia. Our first batch of paperwork begins to expire in May. When I mentioned this to our case worker she said that she hoped we wouldn’t have to worry about that and that hopefully something would happen before then.

So, here we sit in the balance of excitement, anticipation, patience & endurance. It is such an unusual spot to be in It’s possible our agency could call with good news next week, but it could also be next year. We just have to be ready for both options. It is a tough balance of guarding my heart and allowing my heart to explode with joy and anticipation at the thought of meeting our little one. It is also a tough balance of just trusting God’s timing and trying to plan our immediate future with things like high school mission trips this summer.

At times I feel like my heart is doing literal turns in my chest. I have been having dreams of what it is going to be like to get the call from our agency. I dream about meeting our little one for the first time. I wake up from these dreams with such hugely differing emotions. I am filled with excitement over this path that God has led us down. But I am also filled with deep sadness, almost like the feeling after a “break-up” with a boyfriend or girlfriend – only way more intense. It feels like a loss in the pit of my stomach when I realize that it was just a dream. But, I also wake up with sheer joy and deep love for this little one. I wish I could just bottle it all up and send it to Russia so our little one will know what is waiting for them.

Thank you so much for journeying with us. Each week we find out about more people who are following our blog and walking with us, waiting with us and anticipating with us. We don’t know what we would do without your constant encouragement. God has truly blessed us deeply with family and friends and we are beyond words with gratitude.

Updates:

  • Our paperwork is currently in Russia
  • People are continuing to give financially and we are so grateful and amazed

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for patience and joy in the waiting
  • Pray for wisdom as we make plans for our summer
  • Pray for the ministry of education in Russia and our adoption “advocate” – for wisdom and speed
  • Pray for our little one – that he/she would be loved and touched and snuggled

We’ll update again next Monday. Until then, love Kate & Steve

the Divine Weaver

January 20, 2009

Have you ever bought a new car, thinking that you had never seen one like it before,  only to drive it off the lot and suddenly see it everywhere? That is how I feel about our adoption. Before I knew only a few people who had adopted or been adopted internationally. But as soon as we started down this journey, it feels like everywhere I turn there is someone who has either adopted internationally or is close to someone who has adopted.

This weekend was another confirmation of how God weaves the stories of people’s lives together. On Friday night,  we took 115 of our high school students on what we call a “Winter Advance.” It is basically a spiritual retreat where we just have a blast together, worship together and learn from God’s Word. It was such an amazing time. Three of the students who went on this retreat were girls who (in the past year) have been adopted internationally.

One was adopted from the Ukraine about 8 months ago. Another  was adopted from South Africa 4 months ago. The third girl was also adopted from South Africa, but for her it was only 1 month ago. Is God amazing or what? I mean, for the last 7 years in ministry, I don’t think I’ve met one person who was adopted internationally. And in one weekend, this year of all years, I have connected with 3 people who have been adopted.

One of these 3 precious girls was in my small group. I feel like because of the books I have been reading about the tough transition adopted children experience, we were able to connect on a deeper level. Even though I knew this 17 year old was absolutely grateful to be in a family and have the hope of a better life, I asked her “What do you miss about Africa?” Her eyes glazed over with tears and she shared with me how much she missed her friends. It was such a powerful reminder to me that although adoption is an amazing gift for both the parents and the child, no matter how bad their situation may have been, they still lose all that they know as “home.”

I just love how God is the divine “weaver”. He weaves the story of our lives to connect with others who share similar stories, so we can encourage others that they are not alone in the journey of life. Not only do we have Him, but He has given us others – friends, acquaintances & strangers that He puts in our lives at just the right time.

Updates:

  • Not much to report, all we know is that our paperwork is in Russia
  • I have emailed our case worker to ask her what that means as far as a timeline.
  • Hopefully next week I’ll be able to give you some more specifics about where we are in the process and what the next few months are going to look like.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for wisdom and speed for our facilitators in Russia – that our paperwork would be processed and moved through the system quickly
  • Pray for patience as we wait and trust in God’s timing
  • Pray for our finances as we slowly move closer to our goal
  • Pray for our little one – that they would be loved, cuddled and sung to

Thanks for being a part of our journey, a part of the weaving that God is doing in our story and how He is using you to encourage and strengthen our hearts! Until next Monday – love, Kate & Steve.

Trusting God

January 13, 2009

We want to first say thank you to all of the prayers and encouragement we have received over the past couple weeks with the uncertainty of things going on with our adoption. I’m excited to say that we continue to hear nothing but positive things about Russian adoptions – that they are continuing and moving forward and we have no reason at this point to think any differently.

It was a very good reminder for us to remember that admist the changing circumstances and crazy up and down emotions, we need to keep our eyes focused on God – the only unchanging part of our story. So, thanks for continuing to pray for us and with us and encouraging us as we follow Him.

I also want to share a deeply encouraging letter I received last night from one of our high school students. She said in her letter that she had been thinking about Steve and me and our future child. She shared about the frustrations she was feeling with how we were having to work so hard and pay so much to get Baby Garcia and yet “irresponsible teenagers can pop babies out and not even care about them.”

As she continued to struggle through the emotions and feelings of “unfairness”, it led her to God’s heart and to trust in His sovereingty in each of our lives. Wow. I’m not sure I could have asked for a more encouraging letter on so many levels.

So many times as “youth leaders”, Steve and I wonder if what we say/do has any impact on our students. We always try be honest about our relationship with God. We never want people to assume that we have a perfect journey with God. Instead, we are two broken people who have been rescued by a merciful, loving God. At times I am afraid to share my struggles. What if they think I’m not a “good Christian?”

This card we received was one of many confirmations of the importance of living an honest life. And that it is okay to struggle with trying to understand God. This struggle leads us to knowing Him better. We shouldn’t be afraid when we have doubts and frustrations.I am so completely blessed to know that there are high school students who are learning to live an authentic, broken, freedom-filled lives.

Thanks for journeying with us. We have a feeling there will be much waiting ahead for us. But, our prayer continues to be that we know God can bring us a referral tomorrow and we ask for that. But, we also ask for patience and grace as we wait on His timing.

Updates:

  • Our paperwork is in Russia. The next step is waiting for a referral. The time frame we were given is now to 6-9 months from now.
  • Our agency assures us that despite what’s being said in the media, adoptions are continuing to move forward
  • We are slowly getting closer to our financial goal We are still blown away by how God is using people. Thank you!

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for our paperwork to supernaturally be sped up
  • Pray for our hearts as we wait and struggle with God
  • Pray for high school students and people in our lives that hear our story – that they would be drawn to the heart of God
  • Pray for our little one – that he/she would be cuddled and loved and my new prayer request is that he/she would be sung to

Until next Monday, love, Kate & Steve.

A Yo-Yo Week

January 6, 2009

We had such a wonderful time in North Carolina for the holidays. It was so great to be with both sides of our family and to catch up with friends. We were so encouraged by their interest and love for us and our little one. It was fun to sit face to face with people who have stayed updated through our blog and get to just “talk” about the adoption.

My parents gave me the baby blankets that I used when I was a baby. One was made by my aunt and one was made by my grandma. That was so special to have and they are already in the crib waiting along with the alligator I bought at IKEA. He sits in there until our baby comes. I just couldn’t bear the thought of an empty crib. Sue (Steve’s sister) gave us 3 children’s books about Russian or Eastern European adoptions. My eyes just filled up with tears when she gave them to me and as I read through them. They are beautifully written and illustrated books.

On New Years Eve, we got together with some friends and they gave me a little mobile that had gift cards attached to them from Target and to Babys ‘R Us. Wow. I continued to be humbled and amazed at the ways God is encouraging us through this process. Even though at times it still feels so far away from reality, He sends us little reminders that we are moving forward and this is actually happening. We are so grateful for all of our family in friends, in Ohio and North Carolina and all over the world!

gifts001

A few posts ago, I mentioned that there were serious issues developing in Russia that may lead to some delays. Well, yesterday at church, a dear friend came to me and said that she was praying for us because she had read some discouraging news in our local newspaper about Russian adoptions. Of course, right after church I got a newspaper. One of the quotes that stood out to me was “ Russian federal prosecutors opened an investigation…and authorities have called to restrict or end the adoption of Russian children by Americans.” (For a full reading of the article and the details of the story, you can click HERE)

This is a tragic story on so many levels, but for us personally, it was very difficult to think about. My mind was bombarded with so many thoughts. The overwhelming emotion was frustration. Why would God bring us this far only to close the door? Why would He provide and make His path seem so clear only to allow it to become fuzzy again? So I had to come again, like I do so many times, into His arms to find rest. I have to find that my joy and satisfaction can only come from Him alone, not a child. I want to be able to say no matter what happens, God is still God.

Here’s where the yo-yo comes in. I called our agency case manager this morning to ask her about the situation and if she’s heard anything new. She actually seemed very encouraged and positive about what is going on. She said that although there are news stories out there, what is actually happening with adoptions is “business as usual”. There will be some more added requirements to the paperwork and maybe some more time spent in Russia, (which would affect us financially) but she seemed very positive that adoptions were still taking place. So, I was so excited to hear that.

Obviously, we never know what could happen anywhere in the world, but we are continuing to feel more and more encouraged that we will one day, get to hold our little one in our arms. Oh, how I long for the day.

Updates:

  • No new updates on paperwork
  • We are continuing to receive financial gifts and we continue to be overwhelmed and humbled at who God is using
  • Waiting is going to be the word of the year

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for continued wisdom for the Russian officials and the US facilitators as they make decisions about the future of adoption
  • Pray for our hearts as we wait and long for our little one
  • Pray that God will somehow speed up our paperwork and our waiting time

We are so grateful for you and were reminded this past week how important it is to have a loving, encouraging support system in life. Thanks for being that to us! We’ll update again next Monday. Love, Kate & Steve