The Rollercoaster Ride

February 24, 2009

I used to love rollercoasters. I even have a picture of me and my grandpa on a stand up roller coaster at a theme park when I was about 10 years old. I mean, I loved them. I don’t know what happened. But, now rollercoasters are on my top 10 least favorite things. I will stand in line for hours with my friends when we go to theme parks, all the way up to where you board the rollercoaster and then I will gladly take their wallets, glasses, flip flops, and keys to hold while they enjoy the ride.

My least favorite part is that first big hill…you know the one. The one where all you hear is “click, click, click”…You can’t see where the top of the hill is and so every second of the way up you are bracing yourself for the plummeting fall. I love it after that. I love going upside down and twisting and turning, but I just can’t make it past the hill.

This is where we are in the adoption process. We have stood in line to get ready for the “ride”. Now here we are, we have boarded the ride, and there is no turning back. We are going up the “big hill”, never knowing when the actual “fun”(aka. finally going to bring our baby home) is going to begin. And I have to tell you, I hate this part. Mostly because I just don’t know what is going to happen and when it is going to happen. Do you notice a theme in my posts – airplanes, rollercoasters…do you think God is trying to teach me something about control?? 🙂

But, the reality is, we did just get some not so great news from our agency. We received an email this past weekend to all of the families adopting from Russia from our agency: “It is the understanding of Joint Council that (a bill was presented) before the Russian Committee on International Relations which calls for a temporary moratorium on U.S. adoptions from Russia. (It has been) argued that U.S. controls are insufficient in protecting children adopted from Russia.”

This was from the JCICS (which is an international adoption advocacy organization). We have been told that many bills like this have been presented before to the Russian committees and have not moved past the “discussion phase”. So they are cautiously hopeful that this bill will also not make it through. But, this is where the trusting gets tough.

I thought it was difficult trusting God during our infertility, but then He led us to international adoption. I thought it was difficult trusting God with raising our money for the adoption, but He continues to provide abundantly. I thought it was difficult trusting God during the waiting, but then He gave us a peace that passed all understanding.

So here we are, close to ur financial goal, hearts full of love for this baby that we do not yet know…and there is a chance of us being back at square one. God has proven to us that He is trustworthy and that He is directing our path. But, it gets tough when the pathway is broken or the signs are unclear. So we trust…we trust more than we ever have before and we are asking God to give us the faith that we can’t muster up in our own strength.

This is why our God is so amazing…because He gives faith to those have no more faith. He gives hope to the hopeless. He gives peace to the unrest. So, please pray.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray that this bill will not go through and that the advocates for international adoption in Russia will speak with clarity and persistence.
  • Pray for those that are making decisions – the government agencies, the judges, the courts, the committees…that they would see international adoption as a positive alternative for their beautiful children.

We so appreciate your prayers and are so grateful to know of all of the people in our lives who are in this with us, who are cheering for us, and who are so desperately wanting our little one to be a part of our family. We are so grateful for the support system that God has given us. We are deeply and richly blessed. Most of the updates are in this post, so we won’t bullet point them this week. Just pray as you feel led and we will keep you updated on the status of the decisions in Russia.

Until next week, love, Steve and kate

Enjoy the Flight

February 17, 2009

So, I’ve made a conscious decision not to email (aka nag ☺) our case worker at CWA unless I have a legitimate issue, concern or question. This is very difficult for me because I always love an up to the minute report on progress. Even if the progress is “none”.

If you’ve ever flown with me on a long flight, you know that periodically, I will ring the little stewardess button. She will come over and ask if there is anything I need, and I will respond with, “just wanted to make sure that everything is going ok in the cockpit.” I wish I were joking. She (or he) usually responds with a nice smile and a “yes, everything is ok and we will be sure to let everyone know if something happens. So just sit back and enjoy your flight.”

I know it is ridiculous of me to do that. But, again, it goes back to this issue I have of control. I just want to “make sure” everything is ok. When I can’t see out the front window of the airplane, I don’t know the pilot and I really don’t know how an airplane works, my fears kick in and I just want to “make sure”. I have found myself doing this with the adoption too. I just want to “make sure” everything is ok with our paperwork and that things are running smoothly. Even though I know if there was a problem, I would be contacted immediately.

When I can’t see what is happening in Russia, I don’t know the facilitators and I really don’t know the details how the paperwork process goes, my fears kick in and I just want to “make sure”. So, I have made it a personal goal and a practice in trust and self-control to no make contact…to “sit back and enjoy the flight.”

So, it was wonderful last week to hear from our case worker. She emailed us to just say she was checking in and to let us know that our paper work is great and is “officially registered” and there are no changes or issues. She also told us that our region (St. Petersburg) is experiencing no problems and running smoothly. So, what an encouragement and we are grateful.

I’m so glad to know that I received that information with no prompting from me. God really does know me and knows how much I can handle. But, I have to give Him the opportunity to show me that instead of taking things into my own hands. That is what He has been teaching me this week.

On a different note, can I just tell you how amazing it has been to receive emails from people I have never met from all over North America? People who have “stumbled upon our blog” and just wanted to share a little bit of their story with me. It is so encouraging and exciting! One email began with…”God led me to your story because it is so similar to mine…” another email said…”we are beginning the process of an adoption from Russia and have been so encouraged by reading your blog and hearing your story…” I just think it is amazing how the story God is writing in our lives connect us to others – others that we may never meet.

We have been so encouraged by the stories of those who have gone before us in their journey of adoption. Now we are in the middle…Stories pouring into us to encourage us, as we pour our story out to encourage others. It is a beautiful picture. Thanks again for journeying with us. We are learning that even though the wait feels inactive, God is moving in our hearts with much action as He teaches us about patience, waiting and His loving and comforting care for our lives.

Updates:

  • We are officially registered in St. Petersburg
  • We are continuing to receive financially gifts and we are so blessed and grateful
  • We are encouraged by the reports of how things are moving in Russia

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for wisdom for the facilitators in Russia – to lead them to just the perfect child for us
  • Pray for wisdom and guidance for us as we continue to make summer plans with this student ministry at our church
  • Pray for our little one – that he/she would be cared for, sung to, cuddled, well-fed

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

I Know You Know This But…

February 10, 2009

The last 2 Sundays in our church we have been studying through 2 Peter. This past Sunday, our pastor talked about being “reminded” of things we already know, because it is easy to forget. Essentially, it was as if Peter was saying, “I know you know this but, here are some things to remember…”

We felt inpsired to write this blog about “reminders” regarding our adoption…

I know you know this, but…

We have been on this journey of adoption for 9 months now

God put adoption into our hearts after 5 years of infertility and a strong, unshakable desire to be parents

God allowed us to meet children that we love as our own to show us that we can love children who are not from our womb

God burdened our hearts for Russia after seeing a documentary about adoption in that country. This was reinforced after we met several people who have adopted children from Russia

We have struggled and have experienced deep pain through this journey, but we have learned that God is close to the broken-hearted.

We have experienced deep blessing and joy and love through the outpouring of kindness, generosity, encouragement, compassion of people.

We cannot imagine any other path for our lives now that we are on it, though it was not what we expected when we first got married.

Adoption is a beautiful reflection of God’s relationship to us.

We have learned a lot about waiting. And we continue to learn about waiting when there seems to be silence.

We began this process with $0 towards our adoption. And here we are, 9 months later we are within $5000 of our goal. Wow and thanks!

If you told me I would have to wait more than 9 months for our baby, I would have told you I couldn’t do it. But, now that I am in it, I know that the grace of God is carrying me through.

Honesty is sometimes difficult and oftentimes scary. But, the more real we have been in this process with people, the more love, support and connection we have felt from others.

We have not been able to walk this journey alone, we cannot walk this journey alone and we will not be able to continue down this path alone. We are grateful for you.

God has gone before us, He walks beside us, He comes behind us. He hems us in…and that is the only security that we can put our trust in.

So, I know you knew all of that, but sometimes it’s good just to be reminded. Thanks for persevering with us. Thanks for journeying with us through the “quiet times”.

Updates:

  • Waiting, waiting and some more waiting ☺
  • lots of silence lately

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for our little one- that his/her heart would be prepared for us, that our hearts would be prepared for him/her
  • Pray that our paperwork would move quickly to the top of the stack
  • Pray for the caretakers – for love, compassion and affection for all of the children they take care of
  • Pray for us to reach our financial goal

Until next Monday. Love, Steve & Kate

How is it going?

February 3, 2009

“So, how is the adoption going?” Steve and I were talking today about how many times we have been asked that question this past week. We are so unbelievably grateful for the prayers and interest and questions that we have been blessed with by so many people. In fact, just this past week, I have received 3 emails from different people that I have never met that somehow found our blog, started reading it, and joined in the adventure with us. Wow.

We have family from back home who are asking us on a regular basis how things are progressing. We have friends that we see daily who are asking and praying. Friends from all over and from all different times in our lives. It has been  pretty amazing. It is humbling and its a great blessing. These are things we never anticipated at the start of this process.

We are definitely in a different phase of this adoption. We officially began this process last May and when people asked the question, “so, how is the adoption going?”, we always had a tangible, concrete answer. Answers like “we’re getting ready for our homestudy”, “we are doing our training”, “we are writing our fire escape plan ☺”, “we’re getting paperwork together”, “we’re waiting on documents”, you get the point.

There was always something going on. Something we could put our finger on. We always had a solid answer to give people and it made us feel like the process was moving. But, now, here we sit, writing the blog like we do every Monday, sitting on the same couch, in the same room as we have every week for the past 8 months. But, this time is different. This time, the busy-ness and the preparation have been completed and we wait. We wait and we trust.

We trust in what we can’t see and have absolutely no control over. Sometimes it is easier when there is a lot going on with the craziness of getting papers together and sent out because you feel like you are “doing something” and contributing to process. Honestly, when I really stop and think about it, it’s easier because I feel like in some way, I’m in “control.”

But when the “busy-ness” ends and there is absolutely nothing else we can do, we are stripped to the point of trusting that God is moving even when we are not. And that is a scary place to be sometimes. I think through all the things I could do.

Maybe I could email the Russian government and tell them how badly I want a child. Maybe I could find someone on the “inside” and ask them to move the paperwork to the top of the stack. Maybe I could…. Maybe I could just trust that God is bigger. Maybe I could just trust that He has a grand plan for our lives, for our baby’s life and He is going to intersect our lives at just the perfect time. Maybe I could slow down, enjoy the calm and trust Him. Maybe I could.

It’s tough. It goes against my nature of wanting to “fix things” and make them better. But, there is beauty and intimacy gained in trusting God, resting in His timing and His plan. That is really what I desire above all. Thanks for resting and waiting with us. Thanks for encouraging us with words and emails and notes. Thanks for being a part of a blessing that we never could have possibly dreamed of when we began this journey.

We are so tremendously blessed and grateful for this path that God is leading on. We have been given so much.

Updates:

  • The waiting continues ☺

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for our little one – that they would be loved and held
  • Pray for those that are taking care of our baby – that they would be encouraged and know how grateful we are for them
  • Pray for wisdom for all of those involved in bringing us to our little one

We’ll update again next week, even if there is no “news” to report. Until then, love Kate & Steve.