Wanted: Wisdom

September 29, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I was with  a small group of women discussing the word “wisdom”. What is it? How do you get it? Where does it come from?

We had great conversation about how wisdom is a gift given generously by God when we ask for it. But we have to ask in faith that He will give it to us. It was one of those evenings where on my way home I thought, “that was a good conversation…I think I understand wisdom now.”

Fast forward from that night to last Thursday. We received a call from our case worker asking us if we would be open to broadening the age range we requested for our adopted child from 0-18 months up to 26 months. She let us know that she believed we would receive a referral much faster if we did this.

For us, this was a big decision. For the last year and a half of this process, I had always pictured a little “baby”.  That I would have only missed out on a few months of their little life. I felt like I could handle that. But, two years? Thats two years of their little life, we may never know. Two years of their life that we weren’t a part of. Two years of not having a mommy or daddy to hug them and cuddle them and kiss their bumps and bruises.

I asked her if I could call her back after I talked to Steve and we prayed about it.  She was absolutely agreeable and applied zero pressure on us.  She was simply calling to give us the opportunity to think about it. I began to pray. I texted a good friend athe message “pray for wisdom”.  Then I began to think more about that word. Wisdom.

It’s easy to talk about in a circle of friends. It’s easy to give the word a definition. But, when I was placed in a spot where I was desperately seeking wisdom, new questions and new frustrations about the word came to my mind. How do I know if I have it? How do I know if the decision we make is one made out of God’s wisdom or just my own desires? When I ask for wisdom in faith – how do I know when it gets to me? Why doesn’t a package appear on my front porch labeled “wisdom” where all I would have to do is open it up and there my answer would be – “Wisdom from God….”

As I prayed and began desperately seeking wisdom, I began learning that wisdom and faith go hand in hand. If God’s answer to this question were wrapped up in a box and placed on my front step, faith would not be necessary. And isn’t this entire journey of life meant to bring us closer and closer to the heart of God? To trust Him more. To know Him more. To walk with Him and near Him more.

As I quieted my spirit, I sensed Him telling me, “Don’t look for a box. Look for ME.” After a lot of thought and prayer we decided to go ahead and increase our age range because we fully believe God is taking us on this path to our child. Who am I to tell God how old my child is?

I am fully convinced that He has our child picked out for us, that He knows the number of hairs on their little head. That He knit them in their mother’s womb and has even prepared their little heart for us. I am convinced that no matter how old they are, God will give us all that we need to be good parents.

This has been an adventure for sure. But every step along the way, God has given us peace as we make decisions. Peace in these circumstances are only from Him and a reminder of His continued goodness, faithfulness and leading in our lives. We can hardly wait for what He has in store for us. He has already given us so much along the way and we haven’t even met our little one yet!

Your love, support and encouragement are constant reminders of His love for us. Thank you for being so committed and loyal as you journey with us. We hope to be able to share some really good news with you soon!!

Updates:

  • We broadened our orginially requested age range from 0-18 months to 26 months
  • this requires us to do some rather expensive paperwork adjustments
  • we are so thankful for friends we’ve met through this blog whose wisdom and advice have been priceless to us

Prayer Requests:

  • that our referral will come soon!
  • we have SO many other life decisions to make that are affected by the timing of this adoption. We need lots of wisdom 🙂
  • for our little one, that he or she would somehow know that we’re coming for them!

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve.

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When I was born, my grandma gave me a little stuffed raccoon named Ralphie. Little did she know that Ralphie would become like a child to me. I wouldn’t go anywhere if Ralphie wasn’t with me. I loved Ralphie so much. I slept with him every night and took him on every trip with me. I brought him in for my kindergarten show-and-tell. Ralphie truly was the love of my little life.

I’ll never forget the day I lost Ralphie. I was in the airport getting ready to leave with my family for vacation. Before our flight, we stopped in one of those little convenient stores to pick up some snacks for the flight. We went to the bathroom, looked in a few other little stores and finally made our way to the terminal. We sat down in the waiting area and realized the Ralphie was missing.

Losing things has always been something I’m very good at. It began with Ralphie and continues to this day. In fact, when I got married, my dad made 10 extra car keys to give to Steve and assured him that he will need them. He was right.

But, I’ll never forget the rush of a response my parents had when we realized Ralphie was lost. They went on a mad dash around the airport, retracing each step and asking everyone “Have you seen this raccoon”?

Finally, my dad found Ralphie. He was sitting at a newsstand without a care in the world. Life (for all of us) was better again. I was ecstatic to be reunited with my favorite stuffed animal. My parents were relieved to not have to know what it would be like for me to go a night without Ralphie. Everything was better.

I was reminded of this story when I was talking to my mom a few days ago about our adoption process. She said, “Isn’t there someone I can call? Can I call Russia and ask them where your baby is?” Of course she was partly joking, but the feeling behind it was very real. “Can’t I do SOMETHING to fix this?”

I know that my parents would do ANYTHING to make life better for me. They have proved that over and over again in the way they have raised me. I have so much security and confidence in who I am because of how they have always met my physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

But, there is something about this waiting that strips all control away from everyone involved. I wish I could tell my parents…”Yes, if you just do (fill in the blank), we will meet our baby.” And I know they would. But, I can’t say that, because there is nothing we can do right now except praying for God’s perfect timing.

This is a vulnerable place. We all just want things to be “better.” It’s often uncomfortable to live in the waiting because things feel unaccomplished or undone.

I love checklists. In fact, sometimes I accomplish tasks and then write them down on a “to do” list after the fact, just to have the satisfaction of checking things off. But, I can’t check this one off. I wish I could. I wish I had a line on my check list that said….”Waiting. CHECK.” Now, let’s move on to the next step.

But God is showing me that His plan is bigger than a check list. Life is more layered and beautiful than boxes that get marked off. It’s not about just moving on to the next thing.

He is showing me that He wants me to truly experience life. To live and move in the times that are uncomfortable and not just try to get out of them. To gain wisdom and soak in every moment and lesson that He is wanting to teach me.

I can’t wait for the day when I tell my parents…now I do have something for you to do: come up to Akron and meet your grandbaby. But, until then, we wait. We all wait. And we continue to pray for our little one. We continue to pray for the caretakers. We continue to pray for the judge and the facilitators and our case worker.

Thanks for waiting and praying with us. We truly could not do this without you!

Updates:

  • we continue to work through paperwork. Sometimes it feels like it will never end
  • we rejoice with friends of ours whose international adoptions have successfully gone through. We are inspired and encouraged.

Prayer Requests:

  • we are growing weary of waiting
  • pray for our little one, that they would be loved and well taken care of until we finally meet

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve

Planets

September 15, 2009

This past Friday I went out to lunch with a friend who adopted a girl from Russia about 10 years ago. She and her family have been so very encouraging to us through this process. It is so wonderful to have a support system of people who have been down this road and who know exactly what I mean when I say “referral” or “USCIS” or “waiting”.

She shared with me such a sweet story. The night before we met for lunch she told her daughter at bed time that she would be going out to lunch with me. Her daughter replied….”They’re STILL waiting?” I thought that was precious that this little girl felt our waiting and longing from the other side of the process. I am so grateful for their friendship.

I’ve been thinking a lot about planets this week. For those of you who know me, you may laugh, because I am definitely not science-minded in any way. But humor me. You may have heard the facts before about how the planets are aligned. If the Earth was posititioned even a centimeter closer to the sun, we would all burn to death and if the earth were positioned just a centimeter further from the sun, we would all freeze to death.

Sometimes I wonder why God would make it that way. Wouldn’t He want to give some “buffer room” in case of some catastrophic event? I mean, less than a centimeter. That’s not  a lot to work with.

But it’s so beautiful that He would do it this way. It’s a reminder that He is a God who is detail-oriented. He knows His creation deeply, intimately, specifically. He is not a God who needs “buffer room”.

I think God wanted all of us to make sure we know and remember that He is the One who holds life together. I am reminded that if He can align our planet so perfectly to be able to sustain life, do I not also believe that He will align our hearts to our little one’s at just the right time???

And the right time may not mean the quickest time, the easiest time, the time that I would want on my time table. But, the RIGHT time. The time where our lives will thrive together.

The waiting has been hard. There have been days, like last night even, that I have pleaded with God and asked Him to please let me meet my little one. Sometimes I feel like my heart may explode with the anticipation from waiting. I wonder why and how long Oh Lord?

…And then, in the deepest place of my heart that wells all the way up into my mind, I sense His still small voice whisper into me.. ”Planets. Trust me.” I take a deep breath, and my anxieties turn to excitement as I wonder about the aligning He must be doing.

Updates:

  • we continue to work on paperwork here and there, but for the most part we are just ready for the phone call to come

Prayer Requests:

  • the waiting continues to be tough for us both
  • please pray for our little one, that they will be loved and held and well cared for until we meet

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve

The God Who Connects Hearts

September 8, 2009

Last night was our first kick off night of our Sunday night programs with the high school ministry. It was an awesome night with new and familiar faces. I was energized and reminded how much I love high school students and how God has blessed us in so many ways. We worshiped together, dug into the bible together, and just enjoyed being together. It was so fun and fulfilling and exciting.

Last night was also a marking of a new season. Summer is officially over and a new school year begins. The summer flew by. It’s also amazing to think that we have now been officially waiting for 5 months in our new region of Pskov. In many ways it has gone by so fast, and in some ways, the wait feels never ending. But, what I continue to be reminded of is that God is sovereign and is writing the story of our lives to connect with our little one.

Each twist and turn is a part of  the story, part of the adventure. So I have truly begun to feel grateful as we wait  and to believe that God is preparing the perfect time for our adoption to take place. I think there is so much beauty and power in our stories. There is so much to gain in the process, but I often  just want to skip to the “outcome”.

However, the story is what builds us, what molds us and challenges us. The story is what makes us understand who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly. And even more, the story helps us to gain understanding into the heart of God. In the heart of God is beauty and redemption, but there is also pain and waiting. He knows pain. He knows waiting.

So as He gives me these opportunities to connect with Him and the story He is writing in my life, I pray that I would open my heart to what He wants to teach me, what He wants to show me, how He wants to surprise me and blow me away with His goodness and kindness and faithfulness. But, I have to let Him write it and not take the pen in my own hands.

God has led us to some beautiful stories of adoption as we have written this blog and been able to “meet” other families going through the same process. I have been so deeply encouraged by the writings of those who are going before us. Steve and I have been following the blogs of two different families who are just a few months ahead of us in the process. They both, in the past month have brought their children home from Russia.

Steve and I sit on the couch together and anxiously await their updates, to see their pictures of the children in the orphanage and even wonder if one of those pictures may have captured our child. Often tears stream down our cheeks out of joy and celebration of two children who now have parents who will love them forever, cherish them, value them and tell them of their story. And tears stream down our cheeks because we feel the depth of emotion as we journey with them.

We are grateful that God intersected our paths with these two families who we would never have known had it not been for our common bond of adopting from Russia. And now we feel forever connected to these people we may never even meet. So the power of story reminds us again of the God who sees…the God who connects hearts.

We continue to pray and believe that God is working behind the scenes, moving the pieces and parts of our story to beautifully collide with the pieces and parts of a little one’s story in Russia. Out of that beautiful collision will flow a new family, a father to the fatherless and a child to the childless. God’s redemption will be in full glory.

Thank you for journeying with us. We have been so blessed by the countless ways you have encouraged us. God knew that we could not walk this path alone. The path of pain and waiting can never be walked alone. We are so grateful for the people He has placed in our lives to hold our arms up when we are weak and to cheer us on to the finish line. We have truly felt strength rising as we are in this time of waiting.

Updates:

  • everything that we can control seems to be in order
  • we just anxiously await the moment that phone rings

Prayer Requests:

  • we are growing weary of waiting and need strength
  • for our little one, that they would experience love as they wait for us

Until next Monday, love Kate and Steve