Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Only God!

Nineteen years ago as a newly married twenty year old, God was speaking very loudly to me and Cliff.  At the time, we thought God was calling Cliff into full-time ministry and me as his ever supporting ministers wife.  I remember sitting in a service at my home church, the one just months earlier I had walked down that center aisle, and feeling God speaking so loudly to me.  As soon as the invitation was given, I found myself kneeling at the altar.  I uttered a very simple prayer that day.  I prayed, "God I will do whatever you want me to do, whenever you want me to do it, and whereever you want me to do it!"  I could barely see through the tears that flowed.

As I stood to go back to my seat, I remember fear gripping my heart.  The reality of what I had just prayed, and meant, hit me like a ton of bricks.  And so out of a heart of fear, I reasoned that I would probably be on the next plane headed to Africa!

Why Africa?

Well, it represented the farthest place I could think of away from my family and friends.  And for some reason it was the first place my fearful little heart thought of. 

Last year as I prepared for my trip to Africa, I was flooded with the memories of this time in my life.  I found it very funny that God was sending me, eighteen years later, to the very place that scared me so badly.  Only this time I wasn't so scared. 

Well fear tried to grip my heart again, the day before I left.  I remember sitting on my love seat in my living room and thinking to myself "tomorrow you are going to get on a plane, fly for 16 hours and be in Africa!"  I began to panic.  My blood pressure was escalating  and by the time I picked up the phone to call my friend I was in full on panic.  The only works I could get out through the tears as she picked up the phone was something like "do you know I am going to Africa tomorrow!  Do you know how far away that is from my children!"

I am reminded of these moments now as I wait with much anticipation for a lawyer to send us notice in the coming months telling us it is time to come back.  My fear has been replaced with a great love for this far away country.  Who knew that the place that caused me such fear would be the place that my heart longs for.  Who knew it would be the birthplace of my second daughter?

God knew!

Nineteen years ago it was no coincidence that my mind immediately thought of Africa.  I believe it was the beginning of God preparing me for what was to come.  The beginning of God planting in me dreams that I didn't even know how to dream. 

Isn't He wonderful!

I am reminded today of Isaiah 55 that talks about our ways not being His ways and our thoughts not being His thoughts.  I am reminded that He knows my yesterday, my today and my tomorrow.  He knows that we are on a need to know basis because if He unfolded the whole canvas of our lives, it would probably paralyze us with fear. 

So I enter today with a thankful heart.  Thankful for a God that orchestrates my days.  Thankful for a God whose plans are beyond what I could think or imagine.  Thankful for a God who takes a surrendered heart to places it never dared to dream nineteen years later.

Have a blessed day!

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P.S.  I thought you would enjoy knowing that nineteen years ago instead of being on the next plane to Africa, we actually boarded a plane to Texas.  Cliff was in school there for a year and then we returned home.  Guess what great blessings God brought into our lives from the great state of two precious children!  Now that brings a smile to my face!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Where We Are In The Process

Tonight we put together bunk beds in Amelia's room.  She was so excited to finally have bunk beds and get to sleep in the top bunk.  It hit me when I went back into her room and saw the new bed that we are adopting a little girl from Africa!

Not a day goes by that I don't think about her but actually making room for her in our home just makes it so much more real.  And then the more I thought about it I just wanted to cry because while I have a comfy bed waiting on her, the reality is that she went to sleep on a red dirt floor tonight.  Oh how I can't wait to tuck that precious baby into her new bed!

So, I thought I would give everyone a quick update as to where we stand.  We have completed our homestudy and are waiting to get the finalized report showing we are approved.  We should have it any time now.  Once we have our homestudy in hand, we will send the I-600 form to the goverment.  This form is a "petition to classify an orphan as an immediate relative."  The time frame for this approval is six to eight weeks.  As part of the petition, we will also be given an appointment to go get FBI fingerprints done. 

Once we have the approval from the I-600, we will mail our dossier to our lawyer in Uganda.  The dossier is a lot of papers that are required by the courts.  We will be working with our lawyer during the six to eight week waiting period so that we have all the required documents ready to be mailed when the approval is received. 

And then we just wait for our lawyer to notify us of our court date.  The courts in Uganda close down mid November through mid January.  When I asked our lawyer, he seemed to think that we could get a court date before they close. 

So that means that we are hoping to have our newest little member of the family here by Thanksgiving. 

We appear in court for the Judge to grant us legal guardianship.  That day at court, the Judge will give us a verbal ruling.  Some Judges also give you a written ruling that same day and then others make you wait a week to 10 days for your written ruling.  We have to have the written ruling in order to get her passport and visa. 

From what I am hearing now, the passports seem to be causing delays.  I know of families that have been there 8 weeks waiting on a passport.  I'll be honest and admit that that scares me.  But every case is different and I know that God is in control!

Once we have her passport and visa, then we will fly home and be greeted at the airport by lots of you because my daughter is already planning for the big airport celebration.  She informed me today that everyone would have a balloon and that she would probably be too busy organizing everyone to take off running to greet me!

So there it is in a nut shell! 

We have seen God do so many amazing things along this journey.  I look forward to sharing them with you soon.  I wanted to close by listing some things we would really like you to pray about with us:

  1. Pray for Brenda!  Pray that God will prepare her for us and prepare us for her.  She will experience so many firsts, please pray that she is not too overwhelmed.
  2. Pray for us - Cliff and I will travel together, but he will not be able to stay the whole time (unless God works a miracle and this all happens faster than it ever has before!) so that leaves me and Brenda together alone in Uganda.  PRAY!
  3. Pray for our lawyer.  We believe that we have picked him but pray that he works with great ethics and diligence.
  4. Pray for the Judge that will hear our case.  The person who will approve her passport.  The people involved in getting her visa.  We are praying for things to go smoothly.
  5. Pray for our I-600 to be approved quickly. 
  6. Most of all we just pray for God's will in this situation.  As I stated earlier, He has brought this together and is in the details.  Our prayer early on when we felt God nudging our hearts towards adoption was "if You open doors, we will continue to walk."  It is a total trust thing because we can not do this! 
Thanks so much!

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