Thursday, January 22, 2015

God always knows.

     How about a post that talks about our most recent adoption UPDATE?! Two weekends ago, we sent off our application (finally) to our chosen agency. It felt like we had been hanging out for weeks with this application. And weeks is probably fairly accurate. Our biggest hang-ups were printing a family picture at Wal-Mart (I kid, I kid) and the special care checklist. This special care checklist was beyond overwhelming. Beyond. I remember sitting down late one night to tackle another small section with Eric...and just sobbing about whether we should say "no" to some conditions and "yes" to others. Battling guilt and wondering WHO would adopt these babies with certain conditions was heart-breaking. I sent out a quick email to our consultant asking for guidance and direction. We are working with someone wonderful from Christian Adoption Consultants. Bless her heart, she responded right away and assured us it was OK to say no. God calls different people to care for every child. We muddled our way through a few more  conditions and then turned in for the night.

     Shortly after Christmas day, we hosted Christmas with Eric's sister and parents. It was the perfect time to dust off our special care checklist...because Eric's mom, brother-in-law, AND sister are all nurses. We were SO thankful that Eric's sister (who is a NICU nurse) could go over the checklist with us. She went into great detail over every single condition on the 5-page, SINGLE- SPACED, list. It saved us a lot of time from googling and we got to talk with a person about things that weren't all scary! We had such peace after our conversation with her. Phew! Thanks, Em!

     With our family picture in tow, Eric sent our packet on its way. Our consultant had touched base with the agency to let them know our app was in the mail. She advised us that if we didn't hear back from our agency by this week...we should let her know. Well, on Tuesday, as my Kindergarten kiddos went off to lunch, I noticed I had a voicemail from a familiar number. It was our agency. I immediately felt excitement...they must have called to let us know they received our application! I quickly checked the  message and our case worker said that she "already had an update" for us. I wasn't quite sure what this meant...but wondered if they had already approved us.

     Thankful it was my lunch break, I returned the call and talked with our case worker. She had shared that they received our application on Friday. Everything looked great. She then went on to say that she had gone ahead and sent our application to their agency in South Korea to get the ball rolling.

     *Sidenote: We chose an agency who had a South Korea program. However, South Korea does not allow this particular agency to work with families in Ohio, unless we get special permission. We were told this wasn't a huge deal (it had been done before), but it would take fact, up to 6 weeks...yikes. Although the approval didn't usually take that long, that was the time frame they had to give us.*

     Sooo... as I was on the phone feeling giddy that our application had even made its way to the agency and that our case worker had kindly sent it to South Korea already....she continues on to say that she had ALREADY heard back from South Korea! Up to 6 weeks?! How about TWO DAYS!? We were approved by South Korea! I was all kinds of excited. I think I sent Eric about 30 emojis with the kiss face. HA! God showed up and showed OFF, friends! I had been praying specifically about the timing of this approval and he answered it. Even our case worker couldn't believe she had already heard back from them in such a short period of time. I emailed our  consultant and overused the exclamation mark but it was warranted. She approved of my exclamation mark usage too. What a huge answer to our prayers!

     So what now?! Now, we finish up our online training and begin the home study. Dun, dun, dun, dunnnnnnn. We're still prayerfully considering which home study agency is best for us. We've had some really great talks with one agency in particular. Would you pray for clarity and discernment with this decision? The home study is a long and grueling process and we want to work with the right agency for us.

     Friends, I am fully aware that our journey is still long...but this quick approval was such a HUGE blessing already. I am finding the good in every single step of this glorious unfolding because I know it's growing our character and our relationship with the Lord. God knows what we need and when we need it. That is for sure!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

And one.

3:00 AM.

     Wide awake. I debated on whether to capitalize on my alertness and do something more productive. Something more productive than taking up space in our bed...not sleeping.

4:00 AM.

     Still not capitalizing on productivity...but still not sleeping, either.

Buzzzz. Buzzzz.

My phone vibrated on my nightstand...indicating I had an email. Since sleep and I weren't friends, I decided to define productivity as: checking my email at 4 o'clock in the morning. Oh the joy it would be to see what kind of spam message I was getting at such an odd hour. But behold! It was my encouraging word from KLOVE. *Well played, KLOVE...well played.* I opened it to find this verse from Matthew 7:7.

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." 

     I can assure you that this verse did NOT send me into a deep slumber. But it did send me into a deeper state of thought about what God might be speaking to me at this wee hour of the morning. 

     A few years ago, as a Valentine's day present, Eric and I went to a Francesca Battistelli concert put on by a local Christian radio station. One of the opening bands for Franny was Love and the Outcome. *Can I just say that we love hearing their music on the radio because it's like we knew about them first!? Ok, not really. But it's still cool to think that we heard Love and the Outcome's music before they hit the "big time" radio stations. Anywho,  I digress.* The super sweet husband and wife duo played a few of their songs to open things up. Eric and I both really enjoyed their music. Since this particular concert was in February, Love and the Outcome's album wasn't due to come out until later that year. I remember being a little bummed that I had to wait so long for their album. But nonetheless, I quickly plugged their release date into my phone. That way, I could purchase their album as soon as it came out...and you can bet your bottom dollar I did just that. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I flipped quickly through the songs we hadn't heard yet. I tend to "taste test" my music when I buy an album...each song only gets about 30 seconds of air time until I go to the next one. Once I've tried every song, then I go back and play them all the way through. As I began to play their song Ask, I quickly passed the 30 second "taste test"...and before I knew it, the song had ended. And then I found myself pushing back to hear it again. And again. And again. The words in the chorus were filled with encouragement I needed to lean on:

There is a purpose in our seeking
There is a light beyond this door
We have a promise in our knocking
He wants to give us so much more
If we just ask, ask
If we just ask, ask 

     As I said, this was a "put on repeat" kind of song for me...especially as we began to struggle with infertility. With every failed pregnancy test, I came back to this song time and time again. But after a year had passed, I began to feel like a broken record. In fact, I began to feel just...broken. So instead of asking...I pulled back and waited. I prayed for peace and understanding. I asked for forgiveness for all of the bitterness I was feeling. But somewhere between bitterness and feeling selfish for asking for something that clearly wasn't meant to be at the time, I quit. I quit asking.

     So enter again, this verse from Matthew, that came across my phone on a night when sleep seemed impossible. Thankfully, the words of truth seemed to come at a most opportune time and reminded me of the song I had leaned on for so long. The same song that had collected dust for the past year or so when I declared that I was done asking. Done. So much so that when this song came across my iTunes playlist, I'd quickly push Next. I didn't want to hear it anymore. I was trying to move on. I had been there and "asked" that already. But the words in Matthew 7:7 encouraged me to play the first verse of Ask in my head that night. The same first verse that got me past that 30 second taste test a few years ago:

What do you need?
What fears do you hide?
When you're on your knees
What tears do you cry?

Our Father knows your deepest hurt
Before you've ever said a word
But still He wants to hear your voice

When I think about what it is that I truly desire...I feel like I've asked a million times.  I'm confident that God already knows my heartache. And I'm confident that He already knows the desires of my heart. But perhaps, God was whispering to me that night with these powerful words from Matthew 7:7..."Lindsay, ask me again. Ask me and make that one million...and one."