Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Worshipful Wednesday #4

Thank you all for the encouraging comments and emails. I am feeling much better. I have been focusing on all I want to do over this next year and half during this time of waiting - more on that later. Doing so is really helping me to be more positive about this prolonged period of time until we are able to bring our little one home.

Just a short "Worshipful Wednesday" today as we still have house guests.

My friend Wendi sent me an email with the following Scripture after reading my previous post:

Psalm 34:19 "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all."

And then at work, my co-worker said something very similar:

Psalm 55:22 "....He will never let the righteous fall."

Praise God for His promise to never let us fall. He is our Deliverer and He is always faithful to His promises. Even when it seems like everything is falling apart and all hope is lost, He is there carrying us through. He will see me (and you) through the trials of this life.

I have no reason to fear.

Psalm 18:2 "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge."

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Day of Unexpected News

I am having a really hard time right now. It seems like everywhere I go lately, I am reminded of babies and pregnancy. We currently have house guests staying with us while they house hunt. We are not super close with them, but I have to say I wasn't expecting them to show up at our house with an obvious baby bump we had heard nothing about. I guess they didn't know how to tell us. Then I just got terrible news from our Korea program coordinator. After we receive a referral in 6-9 months, we will have to wait another 9-11 months to travel to Korea to pick up our child. If we take the average of both times, we will now be waiting at least 18 months. When I was pregnant, I dreamed of setting up our nursery in our third bedroom. When we first moved in, the third bedroom sat empty for quite a while, a painful reminder of what was not to be. But the one thought I was consoling myself with was that I would not leave here (we are due to move in May 2011) with empty arms. Now it looks like I will be. We will again move and still not have a child. It is hard to even write this. I am crying as I do. I am so afraid of the Korea program going the way China did, where the wait just keeps getting longer and longer. It use to take 1 year to adopt from China, now I have heard it takes 5 years. The reason given for the delay was this:

"This is due to the Korean government (Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs) emigration permission issuance quota that ESWS has been assigned. Based on the number of children who have already been matched, the quota will be exhausted before the processing of the April 1 (and after)-submitted families occurs."

So basically families that have accepted a referral after April 1st will not get to travel this year and so this is going to push everyone back.

I had begun to pray that the Korean government would change their policy on issuing quotas even before I got this news. I am going to continue to pray that they change this policy. I feel it is only hurting the children. These are children who were available for domestic adoption in Korea and were not adopted who have now ALREADY been matched with families. I understand their desire to cut down and possibly eliminate international adoptions, but I really don't see how this helps accomplish this goal.

I am really trying to trust God with this. I know His timing is perfect. But I am just so sad.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worshipful Wednesday #3

Have you ever thought about how truly amazing prayer is? What an awesome privilege it is to be able to talk (and listen) to the One who created heaven and earth. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 62:8:

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."

God not only allows us to pour out our hearts to Him, but actually invites us to do so. We can take all our fears, concerns, anguish, grief, and even our anger and bitterness to Him in prayer.

"Not so, my Lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." 1 Sam 1:15-16

Because of what Jesus has done for us in reconciling us to God, we are able to freely approach Him.

"In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Eph 3:12

There was a period of time where I was afraid to ask God for children. I mistakenly thought doing so meant I wasn't surrendered to His will. What was interesting was that it was only after beginning to surrender my desire for children to the Lord that I began to be able to pray about it. I had to be humbled and realize I had no control over this issue. But how freeing it was to bring my desire for children to Him, pouring out my heart to Him in prayer.

So today I praise God for the blessing of prayer and the blessing of being prayed for by others.

Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers and for your mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Heb 4:16

"I call on the LORD in my distress, and He answers me."
Psalm 120:1

Monday, April 19, 2010

Joy is Coming

Life feels very busy lately! Now that we have gotten through the main part of the adoption paperwork (and the fact that I have pretty much given up on trying to complete all my homework and reading for my class (Perspectives on the World Christian movement) at church - it is too much!), I have been trying to catch up with friends. Friday night two of my closest friends came over and we spent some time praying together. I have many friends who are single and desiring to be married. In almost every area of my life - friends, work, church, and family - I know of people desiring marriage. I have had a strong desire to be praying for all of them lately so it was a blessing to be able to pray with my friends about this. On Sunday, I went to a bridal shower for another friend. It was wonderful to see friends that I don't usually get to see since we don't live near each other.

However, there were parts of the bridal shower that were hard for me. And I hate feeling like this. As it often does at these type of events, talk turns to how many children the couple "plans" to have. Someone said a beautiful prayer for the bride-to-be. In the prayer, she asked the Lord to make their marriage fruitful and produce children. There is nothing wrong with this at all, I always pray for friends who are getting married to not experience infertility. But I found myself wondering why the Lord hasn't allowed our marriage to be "fruitful." And why for most people they get to "plan" how many children they will have and when they will have them. At times like these, I have a tendency to fall back into old thought patterns, thinking that maybe it is because I am unworthy of God's blessing and maybe if I had been a better person we would experience His blessing of children. I know thoughts like these are wrong. The blessings we receive are because God is good, not because of anything we do. Sometimes it is hard not to let my thoughts get away from me wondering why we have to walk this difficult path. Today I happened to hear a song on A's blog (Lisa also posted about it) by Josh Wilson that really spoke to me. These lyrics in particular really jumped out at me:

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you?
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now?

Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending
Someday somehow you’ll see, you’ll see

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

The pain of now can't compare to the joy that is coming! I am holding on to this right now. Listen to "Before the morning" below.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Officially Waiting!!!

We received our "Welcome to the Korea Program!" packet by email this week. We are now officially waiting for a referral! We have actually been on the list since March 26th when are home study approval was finalized. I didn't realize we we already on the list until we received the packet. I thought we had to wait for our social worker to finish writing up our home study. We are waiting for a referral of either gender, but more than likely we will have a boy. We are required to be open to gender since we have no children (though we would be anyway). Because families with children usually request girls and because boys are less likely to be adopted domestically in Korea, families without children usually receive a referral for a boy. I have, however, seen a family without children receive a referral for a girl recently on a blog I have been lurking on. I am actually excited about the possibility of a little boy. At the time of referral, our child will be about 6 months old. Children are not eligible for international adoption until they have been available for domestic adoption in Korea for 5 months. South Korea began a campaign to encourage domestic adoption in 2007. However, adoption is less accepted in Korea so there are still more children needing homes than families desiring to adopt. You can read more about this here and here. The wait time until we will receive a referral is 6-9 months.

That means our child may have just been born and may be born any day now!

Currently, it is taking 6-8 months after referral to get the necessary paperwork and permission to travel to Korea to pick up your child. This is an increase from the 3-6 months it used to be, so our child will more than likely celebrate his/her first birthday in Korea and be a little over one by the time we travel to Korea.

So what's next? Our social worker needs to finalize the write-up of our home study and have it notarized. Then we send a copy of it off with the I-600A form to Citizenship and Immigration Services for approval. And then we wait.

I can't wait to meet our child! It sounds strange to even say that. After over five years of waiting and longing, I began to wonder if it would ever happen.

It was not easy getting to this point, but I am so excited to be here now!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Worshipful Wednesday #2

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about how I was feeling after my miscarriage. I was at a point where I needed to step back from the busyness of life and take time alone with the Lord to heal. At that time I came across a post on Beth's blog which the Lord used to speak to me. She wrote:

Right now God has me tightly in the palm of his hand protecting me and loving me, and asking everyone else, except for the people HE has chosen, to please leave the room so that he can bring the young girl who is “asleep” back to life. I am the young girl asleep right now, and in due time, I will rise with a new and vibrant life, and what a story we will have!”

She wrote this based on the following passage from Luke.

When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother. 52Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She is not dead but asleep."53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up... ".

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to praise music while cleaning my house to get ready for company. And in the midst of it, I remembered this post I had written the year before. And I realized that I had indeed been "awakened." As all around the earth is full of the new life spring brings, I have been reminded that I too have risen with "new and vibrant life." Of course, there are and will be times of grief as I remember our baby, but the season of heavy grief has passed. The Healer has set me free.

I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever

Over the mountains and the sea,
Your river runs with love for me,
and I will open up my heart
and let the Healer set me free.
I'm happy to be in the truth,
and I will daily lift my hands:
for I will always sing of when
Your love came down.

I could sing of Your love forever,
I could sing of Your love forever,
I could sing of Your love forever,
I could sing of Your love forever.

Oh, I feel like dancing -
it's foolishness I know;
but, when the world has seen the light,
they will dance with joy,
like we're dancing now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We Are the Truth Campaign

I am sure everyone has heard by now about the little boy who was adopted and sent back to Russia. What a tragic situation this is, not only for the little boy, but for adoption in general. Part of what bothers me about this case is that adoption is most often painted in a negative light on television and in the news media. Whenever someone who was adopted commits a crime, for example, their adoptive status is always mentioned. Seems to me that far more crimes are committed by people who were raised by their biological parents. This case will only continue to spread misconceptions about adoption and adoptive children. I am not saying that there are not serious developmental and behavioral issues that occur. Very likely, the boy's mother was incredibly overwhelmed and perhaps ill-prepared to deal with some of these issues.

What also concerns me is that it puts international adoptions in jeopardy. I just received an email from our adoption agency about the "We Are the Truth" campaign being initiated by the Joint Council on International Children's Services. Here is part of their statement:

The outrageous treatment of Artyem by his adoptive family has rightfully resulted in outrage by the Governments of Russia and the United States and all who care about children. The tragedy has cast a light on intercountry adoption that says it is not safe, the system failed and adopted children cause insurmountable problems. The heartbreak of Artyem Saviliev’s abandonment has once again elevated a singular incident to a level which may result in the suspension of intercountry adoption. Suspending adoption, even temporarily, will only cause thousands of children to suffer the debilitating effects of life in an orphanage.

You, the community of adoptees, adoptive parents, adoptive grandparents, child welfare professionals and child advocates know that the outrageous and indefensible actions of one parent are not indicative of how children are treated by adoptive families. You know that families who encounter difficulties do not simply abandon their child. You know that help is available, that solutions are found and that families can thrive. And you know that suspending adoption does not protect children but only subjects them to the depravity of an institution…and an entire life without a family.

You, the adoption community know the truth. You live the truth. You are the truth.

Join our campaign to bring the truth to light and help children in need find a permanent and safe family.

To be a part of this campaign you can sign the petition letter here. And for all my blogging friends for have adopted, this is from the JCICS website:
We Are The Truth – an adoption blogger day: To ensure the world knows about every successful adoption, on Thursday, April 15, 2010 blog about your adoption or the adoption of someone you know. It doesn’t matter if your adoption is with Russia, domestic or otherwise international. Let the world know your truth!
So on April 15th let others know the truth about adoption!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Worshipful Wednesday #1

During this time of waiting and uncertainty, I think it is more important than ever to spend time praising God. Right before my first IVF cycle, my mom came to visit me and brought the movie Facing the Giants with her. She actually had no idea that the movie had an infertility subplot and was the perfect movie for me to watch at the start of treatment (though I do think they wrapped up the infertility subplot a little too neatly). One of the main messages I took from the movie was to praise God, whether we win or lose, whether a cycle is positive or negative, no matter the outcome, praise God.

At we set out on a new course towards adoption, I once again sense the need to spend some intentional time in praise and worship.

This was confirmed for me by my co-worker. A few weeks ago, I was telling her something about our adoption and she told me she had received a word from the Lord that morning and based on what I was telling her, she felt like it was meant for me. She said,

"Don't wait till the battle is over, praise Him now."

Don't wait until the adoption is finalized. Don't wait until we have a referral, travel orders, or anything else. I need to praise God now for what He has already brought about up to this point. I need to praise God for who He is. Because He is worthy of all praise. God inhabits the praise of His people and fills us with joy in His presence. And so I want to start what I hope will be a regular post from here on called "Worshipful Wednesday."

I believe one of the main purposes of my life is to declare the praises of Him who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

Eight years ago just this past March, I committed my life to the Lord. Prior to that my life was in a downward spiral of self-destruction. I lived without God and without hope. But the Lord took hold of me. He lifted me out of the pit, He took me out of my downward spiral and set my feet upon the Rock (Psalm 40). Where there was once self-destruction, there is now restoration. Where there was brokenness, there is now healing. Where there was despair, there is now hope. Where there was condemnation, there is now none (Romans 8:1). I was once lost, but now I am "found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ" Phil 3:9. I was lonely, but now I know God is with me always and has promised to never leave me or forsake me (Isaiah 43:2, Hebrews 13:5). I was once held captive to sin, but now I have been redeemed.

And so in this first Worshipful Wednesday, I give praise to the One who redeemed my life.

Psalm 103

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children-
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Peter or Paul?

I read something in Beth Moore's book on the life of the apostle Paul "To Live is Christ" a few years ago that has never left me. In the chapter where she writes about Paul and Silas's imprisonment in Phillipi, she contrasts Paul's experience in prison in Acts 16 with Peter's experience in Acts 12. In Acts 12, Peter is led out of prison and out of the city by an angel of the Lord. In Acts 16, the Lord frees Paul from prison through a great earthquake, and yet he stays.

Beth Moore writes, "Sometimes God frees us from chains so we can turn our backs on our slavery and walk away like Peter in Acts 12. He was free to leave. As a result, the church that was praying for his release was edified. Other times God frees us from chains so we can remain where we are to share the message of freedom with other captives. Paul was free to stay. Because he did, a man asked, "What much I do to be saved?" (16:30). And an entire household found sweet liberty." Further down she writes, "One was free to leave and one was free to stay, but we each trust God with His perfect plan for our lives. God reserves the right to use His servants and their experiences in different ways. Let's try to resist copying a blueprint from another person's ministry."

Where am I going with this, you may be wondering. I have noticed a struggle that some in the adoption/loss/infertility community seem to have after having a child in regards to what to do with their blog. Change the name (if necessary) and keep updating on life with their new baby/child? Start a whole new blog? Stop blogging? What about readers who have supported throughout who are still "in prison?" This dilemma made me think of the above passage. Because I think the answer is different for each one of us. Some are called to stay and continue to minister to others struggling with infertility/loss. Others are freed to move on to be used for the purposes God has for them. I really appreciate the sensitivity of those who are concerned with those of us still waiting and therefore feel uncertain about posting pictures and updates of their new life. But there is no reason to feel guilty about this. God has done an amazing thing, celebrate it. Yes, it is true that some of us who are still waiting may not be able to read these blogs as frequently, but who knows we may be catching back up in the future when we are parenting as well. I believe those God calls to continue to minister to other women know it and have a specific desire to reach out and encourage others even though they themselves have been freed. If this is not you, you should not feel guilty about moving on. However, I do hope those who move on remember what was hurtful to them so as not to be hurtful to others. For those who have been freed to stay, I am so grateful for you ladies who come alongside others who are hurting to offer words of comfort, hope, and encouragement. What a blessing!

Not sure why I felt the need to write about this. Maybe someone out there needs to hear it.

P.S. This post is not directed at anyone in particular, I promise. Nor am I only referring to blogs on my list - I lurk on lots of other blogs (but not as regularly) and read LFCA.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Because He Lives...

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a part of the Christian faith which you can choose to believe or not believe. It IS the Christian faith. If Jesus is not risen, then we are dead in our transgressions and sin. We are without life and without hope. There is no victory over sin and death. There is no victory over the spiritual forces of darkness. If Jesus is not risen, we would not be new creations because there would be no power to bring new life. I know He lives, because He live in me - I am a new creation. "The old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor 5:17

Jesus said, "Because I live, you also will live." John 14:19

Paul said, "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." 1 Cor 15:12-19

I love the words of the hymn "Because He Lives"

Because He Lives
I Can Face Tomorrow
Because He Lives
All Fear Is Gone
Because I Know He Holds The Future
And Life Is Worth The Living
Just Because He Lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
"The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

If you have never called upon the name of the Lord, I pray today would be the day you do so. Jesus is waiting. He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."