One week ago today we were cleaning up from our fundraiser - we raised over $5,000.00 that night.
We are so thankful!
We have around $20,000.00 raised so far thanks to the very generous giving of our family and friends.
At this point, we are continuing to prepare our house and ourselves. I was cleaning out the bedroom upstairs - you know when you all of a sudden have an empty room you think you may as well use it as a storage room for the time being, that's what had happened in there in the last month - and hanging up Isaiah's jacket that is too small for him - wondering what size our new son will be. He will come home to a bedroom all his own, a Cars bed with Cars sheets and Cars comforter - it's a "boy" room.
Eric has started a list for packing. I have been buying gifts for the kids to open while we are gone.
My love language is gift-giving and I think that Isaiah's is too...not that he won't need us to be here but hoping to "ease the pain" if he is reminded each day that I was/am thinking about him. He has started to say "I'm going to miss you when you're in ***."
It's all becoming so real.
We found out that our dossier was submitted to the embassy in this faraway country last Thursday. They will review it and we might receive travel dates in as little as 4 weeks. That's real. And scary. And makes me want to be afraid. All of these thoughts have taken hold of my mind and heart this week and it's been a tough...long week. I'm so excited to add another child to our family - it's not that - I'm not afraid of HIM....it's the process, the trip, the way my heart will become involved in this country, the kids I leave behind praying they are "o.k." every day, the schedule that I so love of work and school and Autumn decorating - none of this matters in light of bringing a child into your home and loving them as your own...but they are my thoughts none the less.
I have reminded myself of who God is this week <again>: He is a God of Peace, the kind I can claim as my own but not understand; He is a God of Restoration, He doesn't want to "band-aid" pain and hurt or push it away because it's difficult to deal with, He desires total restoration so that I am stronger for the experience, not more battered; He does not give us fear or timidity and if I'm experiencing that, identify that Dark Source and renounce it. It's been a deep week and required much of me.
The idea of Restoration is so important in adoption and attachment. Children who are adopted experiece rejection, betrayal, pain, avoidance and apathy such that in some cases their very brains do not develop...that part of the brain that can accept love and empatize/sympathize is under-developed. That's true - ugly and true. Children who are adopted from an orphanage or foster home feel uprooted, not often safe - they don't know what to expect. They feel loss and grieve that loss deeply. So, when I think of the ministry of Restoration, I'm thankful. God really wants to heal this wound in my children at home and the one coming home. He doesn't want to gloss over the pain - He asks me to walk through it with them. Eric and I will do that. We've committed to that walk with them. What I know and continue to learn about my God is that He will never stop. He will continue to protect them and bring healing to them. Our job as parents is to provide an environment where they are aware of God, trust God and His goodness and feel safe so that they can listen to Him. For our children I pray that they can look back on their personal testimonies and see clearly how God led them to Himself...
Back to the love languages, dear Annie - her love language is continually developing. We think it's physical touch and service...she demonstrates those things to us. That's hard to do from far away - so the gifts I'm thinking about for her include her working with my mom to make special meals and treats while I'm gone. I bought her a special cookbook - 6 Sisters - and I'm marking recipes and buying ingredients for her to find when I'm away...things like "make your own fruit snacks."
Eva just loves to be held...she's 2...and really beginning to voice her fears and anxiety over environmental and people changes - opening gifts for her won't mean as much but we have a little mantra that we've started together where she asks, "Back Mommy?" and I say. "Eva, Mommy always comes back", and she laughs in her funny voice and says, "Yeah!"
I'm dreading that last glance I have of them before we board the plane.
We will skype and text. It will be bearable.
On a lighter note, I have been watching "Pioneer Women" and loving to try her recipes - the latest one was twice-baked potatoes...they were delicious! I like her real cooking style. It's midwestern for sure.
We have been talking to friends of ours about being a part of a different church plant starting in January. If you've ever experienced the first Sunday that a new church opens its doors, you can understand the allure - this will be the third one we've helped with. It will look differently, at the last church we had/have significant leadership roles and I, at least, will not be in leadership for this upcoming church. I'm thinking we will be good to get all four kids to church without a big fuss much less be responsible for anything else. I'm really excited about this. It's a stretching experience to meet new people at church and a church plant forces you from your comfort zone and makes Sunday morning, at least for us, a real service project. Our kids seem to be doing well with this as well. They experience different types of church settings with a variety of people from different backgrounds.
Here's my final thought: this adoption has gone so smoothly. We have read about other families being held up at different stages of this process and we have experienced none of that so far. We trust that God is smoothing the way, opening and blinding eyes as needed...this causes me to think that our son must need us quickly - please pray for protection for him and us. We can't wait to meet him and to see him with our own eyes!