Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Unknowns

Strange title I know, and this will probably be a jumble of a post but here goes...

It is a weird feeling, getting closer. Feeling like I am in the second trimester of this "pregnancy". We, obviously, still have no idea when we will get a referral, or how long after we get our referral it will take for us to travel the first time, and then the second time to bring her home; so, I feel like I am in that never ending second trimester. We hope to get a referral in Aprilish and then get to bring her home in summerish...but, who knows.

I remember being pregnant with my biological three, and what it felt like as I got closer. Thinking about decorating their room, picturing whose features they will have where, whose personality traits they will have for what, how big they were at the time in my tummy, wondering when I need to start getting out, washing and folding their little clothes. There were many unknowns with my bio three. Even if they would come out healthy is never really known. The unknowns of this little on are totally different. Like how old she will be - could be anywhere from 0-12 months. How big she will be - she could be 6 months but only weigh 8 pounds. Obviously, she won't look like us :-) I wonder if her mom is even pregnant with her yet, or maybe she has already been born and is cold and alone somewhere. Maybe she is with her mom, but her mom is dying. Maybe she is hungry and crying. Will she have some disease that will be hers for the rest of her life. Is anyone holding her. How will she be received being an African child in a white family. There are so many unknowns.

This really has been an awesome journey, but I feel like the closer I get to the end, the more I hate that I am on this journey. I know that sounds weird but bare with me. I do not hate that we are doing this. I am so very excited about this child and so thankful that I am getting to love her, but I hate that there is a need for it. For adoption. Adoption is wonderful, a gift from God, as He has adopted us into his family. But there is so much grief involved in it. Just as our Heavenly Father, and Mary and the disciples felt keenly the grief and loss of Jesus at his death on the cross - THE requirement for our adoption - , I am realizing more and more the grief and loss that MUST go on in order for me to adopt my child. It isn't as it should be. My baby should be able to stay and nurse at her momma's breast. To grow up in her own culture with people that will teach her heritage through living it out with her. To have siblings that share the same blood. I long for that for her, even though it would mean she would not be mine. I hurt for her momma. I hurt for the choice that she will make, either by her death, not being able to provide for her child, or even just not wanting her child (there is much grief in that as well). I HURT FOR THEM BOTH. It rips at my heart. I wish that there was another way, if I could just bring them both here and care for them, help them stay together, I would. Even if it meant my not being the mom. I long for the eternal.

There is also the unknown in my heart. The unknown of feeling like I am crazy for doing this. Even though it has been confirmed and confirmed in so many different ways that we are doing the right thing for us and for our family, I just still get those looks and those questions of WHY? Why do you want more kids? are you crazy? Probably! :-) Why adoption when you can have your own? Why from Ethiopia? many reasons - but just to share one - have you seen how amazingly adorable those kids are :-) Why spend your money like that when you have three kids that you need to take care of already? because it is God's money and he will provide it and take care of us at the same time. He promises to after all. I know and FEEL all this and more in my heart, but there is always that little whisper that likes to tell me that I am crazy to be doing this. When I already feel overwhelmed by the craziness of three kids, why am I adding more? When I could be paying off my house or saving money, why be using it in such a way? LIES! I renounce them all. But, the whys, the whats, the whens all linger.

Lord, be my comforter. Remind me that in the middle of all the unknowns, the questions, that you are ever constant. My Rock.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Humble Gratitude

I have felt gratitude, I have felt humble (though this could have been humility and I just didn't know the difference), but I don't know that I have ever felt so grateful as to be humbled - until recently.

It is no easy thing to ask people for money. Money is such a sticky subject. People get all out of whack, uneasy, confrontational, protective, secretive, when it comes to money. There are surely more manners attached to talking about and dealing with money than there are for sitting down to a formal dinner. Seriously, I feel uncomfortable even writing this. But, we did ask. We asked for money. We didn't really want to. We actually planned on not doing it and just taking out a big loan. But, we were encouraged to, so we did. Uncharted territory for both of us, but we plunged ahead.

Plunged is actually not the right word though. We didn't really plunge. We more like, took a hesitant step, not really expecting much to happen. Our initial mailing had 30 letters in it and as we licked, stamped and mailed those letters, we prayed over them. We prayed for the people that they were going to, we prayed that our efforts would be fruitful, but we really didn't have much expectation. We even sort of laughed about how if everyone sent in $10 then we would have $300 more dollars than we started with. I smile now thinking about how pathetic that was. That we would expect so little. Really that we were expecting so little from the Lord. He was so ready to show us what he could do.

Within a few days, our first response came. Not at all who I thought would respond the fastest - my sweet 91 year old grandmother.

BAM!! $300!!! Right off the bat! We could go nowhere but up from there! Humbled that she would love me so much and believe in what we are doing so much to give so generously to us. Humbled that the Lord wanted to show me right from the beginning that my expectations of Him are sometime so pitiful. He wanted to show me what he could do.

It continues to be that way. Random little (and large) acts of kindness that were so unexpected. God using his people to pour out on us in amazing ways. Few times in my life have I fallen on my knees and cried to the Lord in Humble Gratitude. In fear, yes, in anger, yes, but in overwhelming and outpouring gratitude - sadly, few times. I am overwhelmed by people's support of us.

Are we close to the amount of money that we need? Not really (though closer than when we started to be sure). But I am one step closer to understanding how lavish my God is and how powerful His Spirit is inside his people who are gathering around us. Honestly, that is the real gift. I will probably someday forget about all this money stuff. To feel gratitude so strong that it humbles you, I hope I can hold on to that one.