Always on Time

27 01 2011

The long-awaited (and much prayed for) I171-H came in the mail on Monday!! This was the last piece of the puzzle that we needed to be able to send our dossier to Ethiopia. It was a reminder from God that He is sovereign and completely in control of our adoption journey. It’s a bit of a long story, but here it is (for anyone that wants to know):

We have been praying, and praying, and praying some more that we would be able to complete this “paperchasing” phase since October. My human spirit wants to hurry…..and wait……and hurry…….and wait. God has revealed to me my “lack” factor – trust!! and also my short-comings – control issues!! Life is very easy and seems to go a lot smoother when I am in control, but I have had NO CONTROL over this adoption process. I have had no other choice but to pray and trust the Lord; after all, me telling Him what to do hasn’t worked out so well for me.

All of our part of the paperwork was collected by August, and I had been hoping to submit the dossier by October 6. Obviously, I have had to push the date back again and again. Insurance changes. Home Study Hold-ups. Fingerprints. USCIS. Every month I begged God to just be done….

After a very hectic holiday season and roller coaster of emotions, I just told God that I was done telling Him what to do. I relinquished any notions of control as we waited for the last government form to come in the mail. I started submitting prayer requests to our church prayer team. I asked them to pray that we would receive the form quickly – I would like to send the dossier before the end of January. (But I wasn’t going to be devastated if it was later.)

On Monday, Morgan went to the mailbox at 5:00 pm. She dropped the mail on the counter and went to the living room to play with Reagan. I was thumbing through all of the junk and bills……and there it was!!! I started screaming and jumping and crying, all at the same time. I called John and told him I was headed off to FedEx to get the dossier in the mail.

I’m sure the man at Postal Web Plus thought I was terribly insane. My heart was racing and my hands were shaking as he notarized the final copies and filed them into manila envelopes. He asked about options to send it – overnight, of course! Should I pay $95 to have it there by 3:00 or $125 to deliver by 10:30? I went with the later option, received a tracking number, and rushed home to email our agency with the good news.

On Tuesday morning (at 10:30), I called Emily (our family coordinator) to make sure that she received my email. I could sense her smile as she answered “….your dossier is on my desk right now.” WHAT?!?! It wasn’t supposed to get there until 3:00?!?!??! It left Houston on Monday at 6:30….and was on her desk by Tuesday at 10:30?!?!? It was with her next statement that the Lord reminded me that He is in control…..

“We send out dossiers to Ethiopia on Fridays only. They must be in our office by 11:00 am on the Tuesday before so we can process them to send them out by Friday. Your official DTE date (that’s adoption lingo for Dossier to Ethiopia) is THE LAST FRIDAY OF JANUARY 1/28/11.”

Yes, I lost it on the phone…..and once again, God saves the day (or date). It was at this moment that I was humbled, knowing that the God of the universe is significantly involved in the very details of my insignificant life.

Thank you Lord for showing your power, You are always right on time, please remind my doubting heart of this EVERY DAY of my life!!

Vanessa

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It’s Been Way Too Long….

17 01 2011

The blog title should tell it all….it’s been way too long without an update about our life and growing family. It’s not for lack of time, but rather the motivation to be still for a few extra minutes and log my thoughts.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind with the holidays – I find myself loving and loathing them at the same time. Every year I determine to change my perspective, but find myself back in the same thought warp as the year before. At least I have another 11 months to restructure my thoughts and maybe get it right next year.

The adoption process is moving, albeit slower than this mommy heart would like. We are waiting for the elusive I171-H to arrive from the U.S. immigration office. This is the very last document we need to be able to send our dossier to Ethiopia. Then the next stage of waiting begins……
I would have never imagined that this adoption journey would find me so vulnerable – there are times when I feel anxious, excited, overjoyed, and then very sad. It has been a journey of faith that continues to deepen my foundation on the rescuing redemption of my Lord Jesus. Hard lessons – sometimes learned easily, but often in my case, the hard way.

This new year is sure to bring new beginnings – renewed health, financial freedom, deeper faith, and a growing family. May you be blessed in 2011. God be praised!!

Vanessa





Christmas, already???

12 11 2010

One of the interesting things about being in the Worship ministry, is that Christmas music is heard streaming from my office, as early as July each year.  I am used to having visions of sugarplums dancing in my head happen so soon.  It’s not uncommon for me to come home whistling “O Holy Night” in August.  My family is used to it.  It’s normal to them.

But something I am seeing more and more lately is that signs of Christmas is coming earlier and earlier each year.  I have already seen the displays in HEB, and Target, and a leisurely stroll through the Dallas Galleria last weekend confirmed my suspicions.  Christmas is in full swing!

At least, it is for a few retailers.  No doubt, in the midst of this recession we are in, they are working hard to get their share of our shopping and their profits.  They are scrapping for an ever shrinking market, as more and more American’s are effected by the economic downturn.

But, in reality that is not what bothers me.  Retailers are supposed to do that.  There bottom line is what drives them.  In many ways, they are working hard for their Christmas bonus, which is more than most of us do for our Christmas bonus.

No, what bothers me is the early-ness of it all.  Well, that, and the focus on spending and spending, and spending.  What I mean is this.  I LOVE to shop.  I don’t need all these fancy commercials telling me that I deserve the newest electronics, greatest new fashions, and other gizmos’.  No, I already fight those feelings.  I know that I have a broken wanter.  I love new things, but the secret is that I am hoping to do Christmas different this year.  I am expecting less, and seek to give gifts that mean more, (gifts of time, etc…) and take care of those that go without.  The drive on consumption is powerful, and the marketing geniuses know what they are doing.  I am hoping to do an increasingly better job of pushing against it all again this year.  I am expecting great things this Christmas, as I did last year.  It’s just not going to look like most American’s Christmas.  Will you join me?

The early-ness is another thing that is irking me.  Perhaps we can focus on being thankful for 1 month before the retailers remind us that they are waiting.  Take time with your family to talk about what you are all thankful for, each day this month.  We are doing that as a family, over dinner each night.  I am praying that my kids learn thankfulness in this simple act.  It’s so much fun.





Rescue via Servolution

1 11 2010

Last weekend, God moved in a mighty way.  I saw a glimpse of promise, as I witnessed the body of Christ, pouring out for a stranger, and her children.  I saw this family rescued from disaster, because people gave in the name of Christ.

Here is the story, as a good friend emailed it to me:

“Yesterday my wife came home upset because she has a little boy in her class that has been living in a Suburban in the school’s parking lot.  Come to find out that he is one of 5 kids, and the mother is a single mother trying to finish her dental hygienist classes to provide for her family.  They were living with her sister but the sister’s son beat the little boy up so bad that he was hospitalized.  So, she took her kids and left her sisters house.  They have no money, and have been living in their Suburban in various parking lots.

We drove around last night looking for them, and were just about to give up when we found them in the parking lot at Cullen Park.  The Suburban was filthy and smelled like urine.  They also had a little baby with them with no clothes on.  The boy in my wife’s class had sweat stains on his t-shirt that were old, like he had worn it for days.  We put them up in a hotel last night until Monday.”

As soon as I received this email, Friday morning, I passed it on to my LIFEgroup.  The calls came in immediately.  This Mother, was about to be shown the love of God in a real, physical, tangible way.  God was about to prove Himself to her.  I was pumped.

Saturday morning rolled around, and my friend and I, and our families, collected all that was donated, drove to the Motel 6 that she was at, and delivered it to her.  Tears rolled down her face as we told her of God’s love for her, and His saving power.  God showed up in that hotel room in Motel 6 last Saturday.

There is no end to the lives that can be changed, when we give our time/talents/and treasures to tell someone of the love of Christ.  How are you serving your neighbors?  Is there something that you are doing that is part of this SERVOLUTION?  How has that changed their lives?  How has it changed yours?

 

 





4 kids who have my heart

12 10 2010

 

Top Left: Beautiful Ikokole, from Uganda.  Wearing her new dress that she bought with the $20 we gave her for Christmas last year.  Oh the joy we could feel in her own words when she wrote us a thank you!  With it, a new dress, shoes, and some candy.  How marvelous.

Top Right: Little Dude = Olsen, from Haiti.  Olsen is near and dear to us, as he was one of the reasons we entered the fray known as Adoption.  See, after the earthquake in Haiti, with no information from Compassion, International, we thought to ourselves, “what if…would we bring him to live with us?  Would we be willing to adopt him?”.  The answer, an quick and resounding “YES”.  There was no need though, months later we received word that he was fine, and had a new baby brother.

Bottom Right: Dita Anastasia.  We don’t know much about her yet, as we just sponsored her 2 weeks ago.  She is from Indonesia though, and we love the Indonesian people.  From her card we know that she lives with both Mom and Dad.  Who are both, only sometimes employed.  Sometimes.  We hope to make a difference in her family.

Bottom Left: Brian Lubuka, from Kenya.  He lives with his Father and Grandmother, not sure what happened to his mother.  Knowing Africa, and the desperation there, it’s probably not good.  Both Father and Grandmother, only sometimes employed.

We read about these children, and in the face of abject poverty, they don’t cease to be children at the core.  They love to play together, and sing, and bicycle.  How joyous.  However, we do know of the need that they face; many of these kids working to help bring home food for the family.  There are many days that these kids question if they will eat dinner.  Many face even more peril.

Our prayer is that God would sustain these children and that through Compassion and their partners, education of the whole family would go to better there chance to succeed in life.

Edmund Burke said: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Don’t sit idly by, and do nothing.  All that it takes to make a difference in a child’s life, is $38/month.  That’s ALL!  That’s your fancy coffee budget.  That’s my fancy coffee budget.  I have decided to change my buying habits, and make a difference in a child’s.  These 4 children know of a compassionate God, a God that sustains them, and gives them hope.  Jesus is real to them, through these $38/month.  Will you make a difference?  Will you change your buying habits, to change the very LIFE of a child living in poverty.  Trust me, it will change your life too.  Please, click here, and let the journey begin.

 





Well, that wasn’t too bad!

4 09 2010

Hello friends,

After six weeks of paper chasing, John and I are just a few documents away from being finished with our paper pregnancy!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the encouragement and prayers over the last few weeks.

We mailed all of our home-study paperwork on Tuesday to our social worker.  We will be meeting with her within the next week or so.  This is the last report that we will need in order to submit the immigration paperwork to USCIS.  Once we get the immigration paperwork back, we will be ready to submit our dossier to Ethiopia and wait for our referral for sweet Samuel.

I can remember the overwhelming feeling when we began this process, but can look back and see the hand of God over the whole process.  He has guided us and poured out His favor over the last few weeks.  We were told that this process would take 4-6 months to complete, and we have almost finished in six weeks.  Glory to our Wonderful God!!

I have been dreaming about our little boy a lot over the last month.  I will wake up to him calling out to me and holding his arms  out to me.  My heart aches to see him, my arms ache to hold and comfort him.  The Lord is truly knitting our hearts together, but until we are united, He will continue to be our Comfort.





“Rock My World” Quote

17 08 2010

So I was grocery shopping in Kroger today and just happened upon the book section.  (This is rare occasion, as I am a coupon fanatic, and shop strictly by a grocery list.)  Anyhow, there was one particular book that caught my attention, so I picked it up to thumb through it, and my world was rocked when I read the quote on the back cover:

“What you are doing I cannot do, what I’m doing you cannot do, but together we are doing something beautiful for God, and this is the greatness of God’s love for us – to give us the opportunity to become holy through the works of love that we do, because holiness is not the luxury of the few.  It is a very simple duty for you, for me, you in your position, in your work, and I and others, each one of us in the work, in the life that we have given our word of honor to God….You must put your love for God in a living action.”

Mother Teresa

I started to tear up in the grocery store thinking of how greatly privileged I am to be love in action.  I am so grateful for the many fellow believers who have partnered with us on this journey of love.  Together we are doing something beautiful for God.