I don’t know why I am still so surprised by what God does. He is so good. So loving. During the waiting and the tough times, He always sends me reminders that He is with me. That He is a loving, gentle God who is absolutely in tune to my heart. So why am I still surprised?

This past Sunday at church, I met two girls who were adopted from India. This makes a total of 6 girls that I have met in the past year who been adopted internationally who have just “happened” to visit our student ministry. So, I met these two girls and instantly my heart connected to theirs. They are biological sisters who were adopted when they were 7 and 8 years old. Their story is amazing.

They were given to an orphanage in Bangalore, India (which is even more amazing that I have BEEN to Bangalore!) along with their younger sister because of the way the dowery system is set up in India.

When a daughter is born, they are given a “cost” to the parents that must be paid to the family of who they will marry into. The family of these girls could not afford their dowery, so the 3 girls were placed in an orphanage.

While all of this was happening, a couple in Colorado, who could not have children of their own,  adopted a boy from the states. A few years later, they received a newsletter from their agency. One of the pictures on the newsletter was of these 2 sisters. The parents looked at the girl’s pictures and said, “these are our daughters. We have to adopt them”.

They called this adoption agency and said the girls on their newsletter were the girls they were called to adopt. The agency informed them that there was also a third sister who wasn’t pictured. This couple replied, “then she is ours too.” After lots of complications, paperwork and waiting, the 3 girls from India came “home”.

As I sat and talked to these girls and they opened up their story to me, I was overwhelmed with emotion…to listen to the other side of an adoption story is truly a beautiful thing. Their story is filled with pain and sadness, one that began with feelings of abandonment and neglect, one that ends up being a beautiful story of redemption.

As I was listening to their story, I said to the girls…”wow, this is so amazing. You have to feel so…” Before I could even finish my sentence, one of the girls, with tears in her eyes, finished my question for me… “Special? Valued?”

“Yes.” Is all I could muster up at the moment. It was reminder of how God turns ashes into beauty. How He takes 2 girls, who began their life feeling like a “debt”,  to be able to stand in security of having value.

God is so good. When I feel like I can’t take one more step forward, He lifts me up and exposes me to a story like this. It reminds me of the beauty of adoption and brings me back to His heart.  He is the Author of our story: the twists and turns, the ups and downs, the joys and heartache, the security and doubts…they are all a part of the story He is writing in our life as He brings us closer to His heart.

Thanks for following our story, for being a part of our story, for giving us encouragement as we live out our story. We are so grateful for you!

Updates:

  • waiting and silence (I guess that’s not really an update…just our reality right now).

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for our little one, wherever they may be, that they would be loved & touched
  • Pray for us as we struggle through prolonged periods of silence

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what it LOOKS like to wait. When I wait in line at the grocery store, I usually look at the magazines or try and talk myself OUT of the snickers bar that inevitably ends up on the conveyer belt as my “prize” for doing the grocery shopping ☺ When I wait for someone that I’m meeting at a coffee shop, I usually sit and enjoy the people watching until they get there….waiting.

The waiting for our little one has been unlike any kind of waiting I’ve ever experienced. It’s this underlying & deep anticipation that is a part of everything I do….I’m never not waiting. So, how do you go on with life, while at the same time wait? Can they happen at the same time?

Trust me, there are days when all I want to do is curl up in our little one’s crib, close the door and boycott life until we get “the call”. But, is that what abundant living really looks like? Is that what a fulfilling life looks like?

I was thinking about this verse in Acts…Jesus had just been resurrected and there was a promise that He was going to return. It says that some of His followers were just standing there, staring at the empty sky. They wanted so desperately to see Jesus that they were going to stand there staring at the empty sky until He returned. They were paralyzed in their waiting. That is how I feel sometimes.

I know that closing myself off to the world around me isn’t going to make the waiting go by any faster, but sometimes, I feel like there’s nothing else I can do. Sometimes I feel so overcome with the waiting that I can’t do anything… But, I’m again brought back to the heart of God. He knows the waiting is hard. But, He also knows that He has great things in store for us even during the waiting. He has much to teach us, much to show us, much for us to experience. And I would hate to miss out on all that He has for me because I’m “staring at an empty sky”.

So, I am learning that I can wait and live at the same time. I think of it as like a CNN news program. The ticker on the bottom is streaming “waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting….” Meanwhile, life is taking place on the main screen. God is writing our story, giving us opportunities that are sometimes related to, but oftentimes not related to our adoption. He has given us family that we love, friends that we have a blast with, ministry that is growing us and changing us and encouraging us. We have so much. He is moving and active, even as we wait. So we desire to be moving and active… even as we wait.

Thanks for waiting with us. The road has been long and there is still much ahead, but we are more convinced than ever that He is preparing the heart of our little one for us as He is preparing our heart for him/her. We so appreciate your prayers and your encouragement and your commitment to our journey.

Updates:

  • no news from our agency
  • we will soon begin the process of updating our paperwork

Prayer Requests:

  • for strength as we wait
  • that our little one would be touched and loved until we meet
  • that our adoption will happen soon

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve

The Beauty of Pain

May 12, 2009

One of the reasons why I so love my church is because of their deep sensitivity to pain in the midst of holidays and celebrations. Another reminder of this compassion was communicated through an absolutely beautiful, heart-felt prayer by our pastor’s wife, Jeanine in the main service on Sunday morning.

The prayer began thanking God for each of the mothers that we all have, and then she continued to cry out for those people who may be struggling on a day like today. She prayed for those who may have lost their moms or their children, for those who have a strained relationship with their mom, and she also prayed for those who desperately desire children, but for some reason are unable. I could tell that she was praying out of the deep pain of her own heart, as she remembered her own few years of infertility before God blessed them with children.

As she prayed, I opened my eyes and saw the young mother who was sitting directly in front of me whose husband suddenly died a year ago. In front of her was my dear friend who lost her own mother a few months ago to cancer and is now holding her husband’s hand in the hospital as he is being treated for pancreatic cancer. Behind me was a student whose being put in the middle of a messy divorce.

I was suddenly overwhelmed with the beauty of pain…this pain unites us as humans. We feel. We love. We hurt. We wait. We have passions, hopes, dreams. We have relationships that bring joy and relationships that bring pain. We are all created in the image of God…which means we have a God who knows feelings. A God who not only knows them, but created them.

He knows pain. He knows love. He knows hurt. He knows waiting. And I felt in my heart, as I stood there in the middle of Jeanine’s prayer, of this beautiful picture of the thread of suffering that weaves through our lives as people and ultimately connects to the heart of God.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:15-16).

How grateful I am that I can pray to my Father with confidence, in the pain and desperation of my humanity and know that He offers the mercy and grace to help me in my time of need – and that He is a God who sympathizes (not just empathizes) with my pain.

Updates:

  • Things continue to be quite slow right now
  • We will soon begin the process of updating our paperwork that will soon expire due to the long waiting period

Prayer Requests:

  • for strength as we wait
  • for our little one, that they would be loved and touched
  • for the adoption to happen soon

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve

Expectations

May 5, 2009

Well, after going almost 2 months without hearing any news about the progress of our adoption we were glad to report our update last week. Now that we have some more clear information (like when we were officially registered in Russia and the new region we’ve been assigned to) we definitely feel better about things. We feel like our agency is confident and moving forward and optimistic that families are receiving referrals and adoptions are taking place.

However, now we are digging in and waiting even longer. We are just now sinking into the reality that we have 8 more months to wait…and that’s if things are going according to plan.

In addition to this we are now starting the process of updating our paperwork. Most of the documents have a 1 year expiration date. We knew this heading in, but still actually being in this spot was something we were hoping to avoid.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “expectations” and how, intentionally or unintentionally, we have expectations for almost everything. What life is going to look like tomorrow or a year from now.

We have expectations about relationships and events. We place expectations on ourselves, on others. Sometimes it seems like the loss of an expectation feels just as strong and painful as if you actually lost something or someone.

For me, this weekend is a difficult one. Mother’s Day has been a sensitive day for me for the last few years, but I remember thinking last mother’s day that it was going to be my last one that I would be just an “onlooker.” An expectation.

Mothers Day is a tough day for lots of people, for those who have lost their mothers, for those who have a strained relationship with their mother, for those who have lost children or feel like they may never be a mother. The sensitivity of the day is definitely a reminder of how precious and intimate the relationship of “mother” is.

It is a reminder for me to be grateful for the mother who, maybe even now, is in Russia and making the decision to put their baby up for adoption for whatever reason. I am so grateful for this woman, for her loving sacrifice and selfless, humble gift. It is that gift that I so desperately long for and can’t wait to hold in my arms.

This mother’s day, I will be praying that God would prepare my heart to be the mother that this little one needs – to feel loved, valued and completely accepted.

This weekend I had the opportunity to lead worship for a women’s retreat. One of the songs I led was called “Worth it All.” As I have been practicing and getting ready for the weekend, the lyrics to this song have been a great comfort to me…

I don’t understand Your ways
but I will give You my song
Give You all of my praise
You hold on to all my pain
With it You are pulling me closer
And pulling me into Your ways

Now around every corner
And up every mountain
I’m not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains
I’m desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need
I will say to You

It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it all
I believe this

…I am so grateful for a God who pulls us close to His heart and to His ways as we go through pain…

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve.