Thursday, May 30, 2013

Levi Love

We got some great pictures yesterday. On Sunday I saw our cousin, Alicia, snapping away taking pictures of Levi and these were some of the great surprises I found in my inbox. Here are a few of my favorites. 

He just finished a growth spurt and is getting so tall!

At three he's still a paci boy. We know...his teeth, his age. In due time.
For now, he's still enjoying this little blue security blanket.

Our boy and his beloved Nana

Worthy of double duty as the blog header and a picture in this post, this is my favorite.
That's the sweetheart who makes my days so rich.
Thank you Alicia Tegen! Pretty sure you made the grandparents' week especially those in Georgia who don't get to see this boy very much.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Adoption From the Eye of the Storm

We've been absent here a long time. This semester, mainly March and April, has been a time to be silent on the blog about the adoption. We've often heard from others about the hardships involved in adopting children, and we'd nod in agreement or internally tell ourselves we knew all about it. But, really we didn't and probably still don't. Adoption is no simple thing. To answer a call to enter brokenness and be willing to be part of the puzzle of redemption is not for the faint of heart. We are gaining stamina and learning that standing in the middle of the battle is not the time for lamenting. I've done my share of that this past year. 

In March we discovered that after five months we finally had received our first of three clearances. We thought we had received it earlier but there had been a misunderstanding. Finally, at the end of March we got it. That meant next came the national clearance then the judge's then the passport and, finally, travel. I know we've reviewed it's a whole lot of clearances and a whole lot of time waiting between each one. Finally having the area clearance meant we could then wait for the national. We had no idea what would hit us here...

On Tuesday, May 14th, I missed a call from our agency. I'm always excited when that number pops up. But when I called back there was bad news. The national committee met and had decided that we did not seem to be a good fit for R. "Too young," they said. "Denied." 


We're twenty-nine and thirty-three. 

Under other circumstances I'd be flattered, but that Tuesday I cried a whole lot. Jason and I love R so deeply already. Every book and training and phone call has been with her in mind. We've talked to Levi about her since he was born. We hoped the one page acceptance letter filled to the edges using the smallest margins and font size would show our love and commitment. But, we are fully aware that commitment doesn't make us older or change Levi's age. With so many things already having been said, we had a lot of praying and thinking to do mid-May. Since our agency is allowed to send one appeal on our behalf we began our attempt to write such a letter that same day. Letters had to come from our agency, our home study agency, from us and a personal friend who adopted under the same circumstances years ago. Additionally our orphanage would send one in separately. So that whole week we prayed and gathered letters finally submitting everything last Monday, the 20th, including a picture of Levi hugging R's picture. The phone and email have been quiet since then with a warning that there could be weeks or months more of it to come. We do know they received it and that is the grand news of last week.

By now we should be professional waiters. It's been four years since we realized a little girl would join our family by way of India. And in the four years we have been great pupils, totally surrendered to God's time, learning every lesson there is to learn in this process...are you believing this? Don't. I can only speak for myself that I have a long way to go. Jason...he's doing a lot better in many of these here areas. Yet, in this particular phase in which we find ourselves, while there are lessons to be learned about surrendering, there are also some big lessons to be learned about warring in prayer and believing that it is not God's plans for little girls and boys to sit for years in limbo waiting. That brings us to a new phase in this adoption-- the intensified warring phase. Not that we haven't been doing some of this all along it's just that, well, desperate times call for desperate measures. In this uncertain time we are resolute that our only hope is in God convincing a small committee in India to see past the black and white numbers. We believe this little girl, R, is the one we've been waiting for. We believe she belongs in a family and in limbo no longer. We believe the Lord will be victorious and that this long ache will finally come to an end. Faith will be made sight and a little eight year old will meet the family that has been longing for her for four years. 

Sometimes I've believed that this adoption was our plan, but I'm reminded lately that this is not the family plan we would have naturally chosen. Breaking birth order, adopting an almost pre-teen across cultures, five years difference between our's not the way we would have written things. Yet something quite mysterious happens when we fall in love with God-- we realize his love and ways are better than anything we ever could have dreamed up. Even if there is sacrifice and hardship, doing life with him is the deepest of riches. And then it happens, come rain or shine our hearts long to do life his way. We even yearn for it. And so it is with this brown-eyed, precious girl. While walking this path may be scary and extremely hard at times, we are so  honored that the Lord is setting her into our family to cradle in our arms and love forever.

Once while at Billy Graham's training center we read a quote (warning, I thinking I'm going to butcher it) by Ruth Graham: Views from the mountaintops are amazing but the fruit grows in the valley. In this valley of waiting on word from India, we pray some good fruit comes. Grey hairs are not good fruit in my opinion so we're hoping and praying for more. For us, for others, for R. 

The emails are there in the small office where they'll decide. Pray with us that they read and review them in weeks, not months. Pray that anywhere the enemy is trying to steal, kill, destroy or delay that his head would be absolutely crushed to steal from R any longer. Pray that God's kingdom invades the earth, the he draws people to himself and opens wide the door for our total, legal custody of R. 

And to leave you with a grand praise, the week we got the hard phone call we made a new friend who, when watching our daughter's video, started translating everything for us giving cultural insights. We also got a check in the mail. From our best calculations, our adoption is fully funded. Tickets could be purchased tomorrow. Visas could be ordered. Hotels booked... Now there's a little encouragement and fuel for us all. 

Show yourself, Jesus. Be glorified through this adoption even in the midst of this storm...