Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tough times...But have faith

Isaiah 25:1O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.

Our work has had three rounds of layoffs this year alone. Our benefits have been cut - two holidays a year and our vacation accrual has been capped. I still praise God I have a job, but the task is getting exceedingly more difficult. With morale down and having to fill my boss' shoes now that he was let go, (never mind being 8 months paper-pregnant), and all the Mommy and Wifey stuff I'd rather be's all too much to take sometimes.

But tonight I rest in God's faithfulness. He never said we wouldn't have hard times. And our hard times are relative. I'm not hungry from lack of food. I'm not cold from no coat, no blanket or no power. I'm not wet from not having shelter. I have everything I need and blessings that abound! I have great friends, an amazing family and a wonderful life. It's just hard sometimes...

Just two years ago, our home was almost consumed by fire in the San Diego wildfires. The home behind us burned to the ground, yet ours was almost untouched! A thin layer of ash - resembling just a little dust was all that we had to clean up inside our home. The outside required a hose, but nothing more. Neighbors were in much worse shape - some lost everything, and some had a home but everything inside was ruined. But God literally posted a hedge of protection around our home and everything was in near-perfect condition.

After 4 years of infertility/miscarriage, I am expecting my adopted baby boy by Christmas!

And after three rounds of deep cuts in staffing this year (and others in previous years), Chris and I both have jobs!

I have many friends that cannot say the same. And many of them know the Lord, but the one thing I know is that God is faithful. He will not allow something to happen that isn't for our good or for our growth. We are to rely on Him, not our own powers. That doesn't mean do nothing, but do everything with petition and prayer!

A week ago, Chris and I were getting some updated medical info for Russia when we go back there to court. One of the things we had to get was a chest x-ray. I told Emily we were going and she asked me if it was the same place we saw the skeleton x-rays hanging from the ceiling last halloween time. It occured to me that we were going to the same radiology lab that we had gone to when we found out about our miscarriage - exactly a year ago! Emily apparently did to because she said, "That's the place we found out about the baby not having a heartbeat."

I knew at that point I couldn't take her with us. While she was at school, Chris and I went to get them done. The same x-ray skeletons were hanging from the ceiling. But this time we were there to get x-rays supporting our adoption. It was a strange feeling. I had to use even the same dressing room as the time before, but this time I knew that no one would be able to give me bad news that day! God redeemed even my radiology experience!

Tomorrow is Saturday, and I am thankful I get to spend some quality time with the family! Emily has a Martial Arts championship, and after, we are going to clean out the closets and get ready for Ivan's arrival. I'm so excited for the days to come.

Speaking of days to come - I'm reminded of my favorite chapter of the bible, Proverbs 31. It exemplifies a woman who does it all - works, starts her own business, feeds and clothes her family (and the poor), and is worth far more than rubies to her husband. I love the passage not just because she's superwoman and can do everything (which is encouraging). I love it because she is so, so faithful to a faithful God. So much so that in verse 25, it says, "She can laugh at the days to come" That's the faith I aspire to achieve. I want to be so secure in my faithful God that I can laugh at the days to come!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ok, ok...I miss the little guy!

"Jehovah is pleased with those fearing Him, with those waiting for His kindness." Psalms 147:11

So...I thought I was going to be all calm, cool and collected during this wait. Yes, he's in a great baby house. Yes, he has great caregivers. And yes, he's doing just fine. But I want him home now where he belongs. As the days pass, I am definitely missing him. I think about him more and more.

What troubles me is I've only been home 3 days. I have probably 45 more days before I'll see him and more than 60 before I can go get him!

So, what's a mom to do? Well, I can say with all assuredness I will be nesting. Feathering the nest for his arrival. I have to get my husband to clear out all his stuff from Ivan's bedroom closet. I have to find yet another spot for the treadmill that is tucked in the corner of his room. I have to get a stroller and carseat and clothes! I have to sort through Emily's old toys and put out the age appropriate ones for Ivan. I will be busy, but I just want him home now!

I do know that we are so incredibly blessed to have only started this journey such a short time ago and already have a child match and adoption proceeding! I know that the Lord has had me do most of my waiting prior to this decision to increase our numbers via international adoption. And knowing others who are waiting for years for a healthy baby, our experience is really so short...but it's hard to resist that childlike urge to crawl up in our Heavenly Father's lap and beg Him to please, please bring my baby home quickly!

We have the right and the priveledge to do this (and I have) but we have to be prepared for the Parental answer -

You are waiting because the wait is good for you.

Just like we tell our children, God wants to teach us that every good and perfect gift comes from Him and comes in His timing. And believe me, His timing is always perfect! It doesn't mean we can't ask, but it does mean that when do we ask, that we are driven by the desires of His heart and not those of our own. If God shows us that our desires don't align with His, then we must accept that and be obedient.

I can be patient, but if the Lord wills for this adoption to proceed more quickly, I'm fine with that too! :)

Day 2 with Ivan

I so wanted to write this while in Russia as to not forget a single detail, but alas, fatigue and packing to leave got the better of me, and I didn't get it done. Yesterday I fell very ill, stomach problems. Since I can't seem to sleep tonight, I'll take advantage of it to get this post completed!
Day 2 with Ivan was a magical day! We got up very early and had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. We also spent much time in prayer about confirmation. We knew this was the child God had for us, but we were a little concerned. This is a huge decision, and although there was some positive reactions to his environment the first day, (and it was such a short time together) we just wanted to be sure that as we left, we were making the right choice!

God answered all of our prayers!

We went to our morning visit, and it was just one translator, Nastia, Chris and me. We were able to see more clearly his little personality. I asked if I could strip him down to see his feet. I think I mentioned that they overdress the babies. He had on the cutest little dress slacks, turquoise green tights and sandals. I just love baby feet, and I heard that rubbing their feet is a great way to bond. So we took off all the layers and finally got to those little stubby feet! My daughter had the fattest little sausages, and Ivan did too! :) So I started tickling his little feet and he was delighted!!! He laughed huge laughs! He loved it! It was great to see him be so free! He was more into walking around on this visit too. He didn't want to walk to Chris much, but he would walk to me, and just as I was about to grab him up, he would spin around 180 degrees and plop down in my lap. So cute! And if that wasn't enough, this child who never said anything to us yet, looked right at Chris and said, "Da Da"! Now, they say Papi for Daddy, and so we know it was a fluke, but we're claiming it anyway!

Chris brought his iPhone and played some music for Ivan. We heard he liked music and liked to dance. I'm telling you, it was so cute watching Chris play this music and sing worship songs to Ivan.

Then we had to leave and go back to the hotel for a bit before the second visit. We went back and met with Jane our translator to settle up payments of the first trip and get all the information we need for subsequent trips to finalize the adoption. A lot of information for sure. Jane was so good and patient with us. We brought a photo album with pictures of Emily, Chris and me for his care givers to show to Ivan. Jane wrote little subtitles in Russian so that his caregivers could tell him, "This is your sister Emily waiting for you" and "This is your Mami and Papi".

We then left soon after for our second trip to the baby house. On the way we stopped to get flowers for the director. She was delighted! We brought some other toys and clothes for Ivan. She said she would keep the clothes separate and dress him in them when we arrive to take him home. Then she asked if we would be okay taking him outside since it was his walking time. We said sure! It would be great to see him outside.

I'm so glad we got this experience. They brought him to us, and he was dressed up like the Michelin Tire Man! I mentioned that they overdress the babies, and he had a lot of layers on. I thought at first, there was no way he could walk in all this! We were concerned that he couldn't walk well on his own. We'd only seen him go small distances inside. At first, he did stumble a bit. I attribute most of it to his shoes being about 2 sizes too small. When we got him outside, he was running! He led me all over the grounds. He is all boy. He would fall to the ground and laugh! And he kept wanting to put rocks and dirt in his mouth! :) He was also so trusting. I would hold him and he would arch his back, go completely limp, and then laugh. I thought that was amazing to be so vulnerable!

We also got a glimpse at his caregivers. He absolutely loves them! One of them was outside and he would wave to her and run after her! She loved him so much, you could tell. It was really great to see. One of the things I had prayed for is that he was favored by his caregivers, so that he could receive love from us more easily. And that is apparently the case. In fact, every care giver or doctor that walked by him stopped to kiss him, or make him laugh. It made it easier to leave knowing that he is well cared for and loved. I did cry a little when we left, but really I felt so secure. They are going to take such great care of him I know! And I know they are excited for him to have a hope of a future.

Being home now, it is more sad to know we have to wait 6-8 weeks to get him home, but I know the time will fly. We will have to go back two more times. One for court, and one to bring him home. Can't wait for that glorious day!