So we’ve made it through the last week of the courts being officially open and our cases were still not heard. Oh, how desperately I’m grasping to believe that the prayers of the righteous are effective. We have prayed and begged and silently waited. Hundreds of fellow believers have strived with us in prayer, longing with us for these boys to come home. And here we sit, almost September, with no end in sight. Maybe our cases will be heard by an interim judge during the rainy season. Maybe we’ll get assigned a new court date for later in October. Or maybe our cases will sit open for months (as I’ve watched so many others do) before we ever surface on the judge’s desk again. Only God knows and finally, only His will be done. How I would love better insight into His will…I know He is making us holy. I know that our marriage has grown leaps and bounds since we began our adoption journey last summer. I know that we love the true God more because He has revealed Himself to us through suffering. But, how long, O Lord, will you make our boys wait for a mommy and daddy? Please, Father, have mercy on these two little boys.
I also wrestle with the critical eyes that I know are watching, wondering if this adoption really is God’s plan, given all the obstacles we’ve faced. I even find myself wondering the same thing during the lowest moments. Then I pause in front of the two 10×13 pictures of our boys hanging in the play room, I look deep into their beautiful eyes, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has called me to love these boys as my very own sons. It is not for me to know if God will ever finally place them in my home (though I believe He will), but He has given me the task of loving them from afar, praying for them with all my might and treasuring their smiles and laughter as only a mommy can.
I’m constantly amazed at how much of our adoption journey reflects the truths of our Christian pilgrimage. As Christians, we are called to fix our gaze toward heaven, that we might persevere in faith until the end. Though there is no feasible end in sight, God calls us to keep looking toward the end so that we will not give up in the present. If we stop thinking about heaven and focus on our immediate lives in the here and now, we’ll inevitably become so discouraged by the trials and hardships of life, that it will be next to impossible to persevere. In much the same way, if I quit thinking about the day when we finally will meet these two boys face to face, I become so discouraged by the fact that they are not in my life right now. My despair makes me want to give up, just quit the process altogether. If I am going to press on in this wait, I must keep hoping for a day when they finally will be a part of our family. As Christ calls me to not stop preparing as I wait for His return, may I also not stop preparing for these little boys to come home.
Since July of last year, the Lord has continually reminded me through various trials and hardships of the brevity of life. Losing Baby Jaiden and Baby Max were strong reminders that death is inevitable for everyone and I certainly want to make the most of the life God has given me. Yesterday afternoon, my uncle Paul (mom’s brother) passed away. He was only 49 years old, but after a life-long battle with alcohol, his body finally gave in. He’s been in the hospital for two weeks and spent his last few days in Hospice care with my mom, Granny and several close friends and relatives by his side as he awaited his last breath. His death is difficult for so many reasons. We hope and pray that he was in fact a believer (several conversations in these last days have given us some hope that God did indeed save him) but we really cannot finally be sure. Then there’s also this feeling that in many ways, my uncle just wasted so much of his life. Instead of allowing the hardships in his life to turn him toward God, he rebelled, turned inward and became depressed. This depression led him to an addiction that he was never able to win and ultimately took his life. Such a death as this one causes me to really think about how I am spending my life for God’s kingdom. Whenever the Lord decides for me to meet death, I long to be able to have a confidence that I did not waste my time on earth, but devoted myself to loving the Lord and serving Him. And while I grieve for my family as they suffer this loss and grieve for the life I wish my uncle had been able to live, I am also deeply convicted to pray fervently for my children…that God will save them at an early age and give them a steadfast faith in Christ from that day forward. None of us are righteous apart from Christ and none of us can ever expect to fight sin and win unless Christ is our Victor. I pray God will have mercy on my children and that victory over sin and death will be theirs in Christ alone.
Please pray for my family, especially my mom and Granny. Its been a long, hard two weeks and I know they are weary. May the Lord refresh their hearts and comfort them in their grief.
Though we did not pass court this past week, we did learn late Thursday evening that the courts will be hearing cases into next week and will possibly have an interim judge to hear cases a couple days a week through the rainy season. The courts have been hearing several of our agencies’ open cases and hopefully ours will be one that is heard next week. While this wasn’t the answer we were hoping for, it is the bit of mercy that we needed to press on in this wait. Its as if the Lord said to me, “Yes, I know you discouraged and ready to give up, but I am working…keep persevering.” So, we continue to wait and pray and hope that this next week may bring good news from a distant land.
Ha-I told you this life of mine was a roller-coaster of emotions. Whatever bit of hope and boldness I possessed yesterday has slowly been sinking today. Even as I talked to my sister this afternoon, I felt a knot in my throat as I asked her to pray for me and my heart should we not pass court this week. One of the hardest fights of the Christian life is to believe God based on what He reveals to us through His Word and NOT our circumstances. I find myself in this battle tonight…wondering if God intends to place these children in our family or if we are chasing a crazy dream that we need to let go of…I really do believe God called us to adopt and planned the steps for us to take. But with absolutely no end in sight, I can’t help but wonder if we are still on the right path. And I’m fighting to believe that He is good, He does love me and He is faithful…even if I never actually meet our boys. I’ve listened to the song “Storm” by Lifehouse often these last few months. Oh, if I could just see Jesus face-to-face, I know these momentary struggles would fade in the light of His glory and grace. Please Lord, anchor my hope in You alone.
Till what, you may ask? Until the Ethiopian courts close for their rainy season, which would mean not having our case heard again until sometime in October or later. But, we do have three precious days in which our Most Mighty and Powerful Heavenly Father can move all the mountains that stand in our way and at last cause these boys that we have prayed and longed for to be our sons. We know that our agency director and legal rep are pushing for us to be approved before the rainy season…I’m so thankful that they love our boys and also long for them to be in a family. I would humbly ask that every time you think of me or our family from now through Friday, that you would petition our Lord on our behalf to allow our cases to be approved this week. God is good and we give Him thanks and praise for growing our faith through both hardships and blessings. May this be the week that we see His goodness in the land of the living! O Lord, please deal bountiful with your servants.
Kind of a last minute decision on my part, but we were almost out of diapers and I noticed we didn’t have a lot planned this week, so…we are potty training! Molly Kate has been showing signs of readiness for a while and last week she peed and pooped on the potty, so here we are! Lots of moms had told me they thought Molly Kate would train easily given her personality and I’m happy to report that I think they were right!
When she woke up this morning, I took off her pjs and immediately put her into her big girl Elmo panties and a t-shirt. Its now nap time and she peed in the potty about seven times, pooped once and only had one major accident (we happened to be in the kitchen so it made for easy clean-up!)!! I am so proud of her…and she seems really pleased with herself (the gummy bears help as well)! Plus, I’m really looking forward to only having one child in diapers and the savings!! This has been one area of parenting that I have NOT been looking forward to, but thanks be to God, it has been a smooth process and we’ve even managed to have some fun as we go! You should see her face when the pee finally hits the water in the toilet…priceless!
We have these regularly in the summer and my mother-in-law thought they were fabulous last night! We’ve tried a variation of side dishes and have decided we like them best with chips & salsa and fruit. The recipe is a combination of two or three, so I’ll just post the way I make them!
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
One red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
One yellow squash, sliced in 1/8 inch thick rounds
One zucchini squash, sliced in 1/8 inch thick rounds
1/2 c. mayo
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 c. pesto
Hoagie bread (or bread of your choice)
Marinate sliced vegetables in balsamic vinegar for at least 30 minutes. Grill veggies until cooked and tender. In a small bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice and garlic. Open hoagie bread and spread mayo mixture on both sides. Top one side with feta cheese and the other side with pesto. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes. Arrange veggies on sandwiches and serve. The combination of flavors is outstanding. Kevin is always surprised that this meal has no meat and that he could still enjoy it so much!
Monday was a surprising day for many reasons (who knew your entire adoption file could be lost by professionals?!) but mostly I was surprised by my reaction. I did not cry one time the entire day…not because I’m not longing for my boys, but there seemed to be a more quiet surrender to God’s plan for us rooted deep within my heart. When I awoke Monday morning, I knew the lies that would fight for my belief as this was our fourth time (really fifth because the first set of bad news from Ethiopia was Max-Abush’s death) to wait for news that might change the rest of our lives. If we received news that we didn’t pass court yet again, I knew I would be tempted to believe that God just doesn’t care about me or that my prayers are ineffective or that God is never going to place these boys in our family. So, I departed from my usual Bible reading plan and decided it would be helpful to tend my weapons in order that I would be more prepared for the battle that awaited me. Over the last year, I’ve developed a long list of passages that I refer to often surrounding the topic of suffering, trials, etc. Monday morning, I decided to read Job 42, Psalm 141 and 142 and Isaiah 41:8-10. I took my time, allowing the Lord to let each passage sit in my heart and ready my mind for the news that would come later that day. And, for the first time in our adoption journey, when the bad news finally arrived, I found myself trusting God and not despairing. Why in the world didn’t I tackle these days with this approach prior to now? These are the moments when God graciously gives me a glimpse of the great work He is doing within me through our wait. Thank you, Father.
And we still don’t have our boys! We found out late last week that our cases were going to be heard today, but decided not to broadcast it as we’ve had so many ups and downs so far. Well, as it turns out, the courts actually lost our files (hard to believe, isn’t it?!) and so they are supposed to re-schedule our cases to be heard in the next 7-10 days. We know so many of you have prayed so faithfully for us and we would ask that you please continue! There’s still time for us to pass before the rainy season, so we are humbly asking God to move powerfully and show mercy.
Easy, quick to prepare and relatively inexpensive…plus it was delicious! I think I would rather make my own crust next time, but since this was my first attempt at the recipe, I decided to stick to their ingredients. We are definitely adding this one to the monthly rotation! Click here for the recipe.