Saturday, May 4, 2013

God Provides the Bonding

This adoption process has been an incredible journey.  There are many highs, many sacred blessings along the way, but there are also many hurdles and struggles as well.  We have experienced such exceeding joys and such immense heartache.  Adoption is an emotional roller coaster!

About 3 weeks ago, I went to the USCIS (United States Citizenship Immigration Services) office to try and move up our fingerprinting appointments so we could have all the necessary paperwork done and secure a June court-date.  (In Uganda, courts close in July.) God had previously let us know that we needed to get our son home as quick as possible. (Not sure the reason why, just a distinct impression.)  So, I went into their office and asked very politely if we could move up the appointment.  I was met with disdain and treated very unfairly.  I was heartbroken!  I cried (actually sobbed) and my dreams of getting him home sooner rather than later seemed to be crushed.  I poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father and told Him I needed yet another miracle.  I knew He could.  We decided that we would try this again and go in the next week. 

So the next Monday, we all went down (my husband and I and my son) to the USCIS office once again.  This time the same lady was very nice and allowed us to join another group going in for their fingerprinting.  This would have been enough of a miracle, but the story doesn't end there.  When they called us back to fingerprint and they were getting our information, they asked for our Social Security Numbers. ( It wasn't on the USCIS appointment paper to provide your SSN, so we didn't bring ours.)  Of course, my husband and I have our SSN memorized, but my 18 year old son (if you have a child over 18, they have to fingerprinted too) didn't have his memorized.  He remembered that I had text his SSN  to his cell phone (for a school form) only a couple of days ago.  He asked if he could go to his car and get it.  They gave him permission, but when he got to the car, he remembered he had deleted it because it was sensitive information.  He sat in the car for a couple of minutes, praying, and then he said the numbers just came to his mind!  He went back in and told them all the numbers and in order!  Two miracles in one day!   My joy was beyond description.  We had witnessed more miracles and we were rejoicing in it.

Then last week, we had some very negative feedback from a couple of people who didn't think we were doing the right thing with this adoption.  I was not only sad, but found myself feeling angry.  (Boy did I see the "Mama Bear" come out in me!)  I had to work through some tough feelings and have since had to let it go.  Another ride on the emotional roller coaster!

This week we got a court date and I was elated, although I can't give specifics as to the exact date, it was perfect timing!  I was so excited!  Then during my phone conversation with our agency, I was told I needed to fly out early.  I needed to fly to Africa ALL BY MYSELF!  (Steve will fly out 8 days later.)  I quickly turned from intense elation to feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed.  I will write more about this whole experience another day, but needless to say, I was struggling and crying.  I was scared.  

I expressed to my husband how my emotions have been so crazy and so up and down during this whole process..  He said it was as if I was pregnant.  I laughed when he said that, but, as I thought about that idea this week, I realized that God was indeed providing me with a unique opportunity.  He was providing me with an opportunity to bond with my son through an "artificial pregnancy."  I am feeling all the up and down emotions which naturally come with a pregnancy.  I have the opportunity to really worry about our son, plead for him in prayer and learn to really love him BEFORE I meet him.  Isn't that what we do in pregnancy?  We pray and dream and worry and thus we bond with that baby BEFORE we ever meet them.  I was bonding with my Ugandan son!  I am so grateful for the opportunity God has provided me to love our son and pray for him, dream about him, worry about him and struggle for him and thus bond with him.  God has amazing ways to provide for our needs.  I am so grateful for this bonding process.  :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

God is a God of Miracles!

Miracles.  In the dictionary, a miracle is defined as "an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God."  We have seen amazing miracles already in our adoption journey; we have seen the hand of God and have witnessed events only He could provide.

I want to share with you some of these miracles and to testify that our God is a God of miracles. Each event testifies that God is real, that He has all power, and that He loves His children.

Miracle #1:  We consider the first event a miracle.  The fact that we found Washington clear across the world could be nothing but a work of God.  7,698 miles separate us from Washington.  He was an orphan in Africa.  How was it that I was drawn to the very web site he would be listed on and "happened" to check on the very day he was on their front web page?  A coincidence?  I don't think so!   God loves this young boy so much that He orchestrated all things necessary for us to find him.  

Miracle #2:  Our whole family was drawn to Washington.  It was as if we knew him.  We recognized that he was to be a part of our family and it was unanimous.  We knew we needed him and that he needed us.  

Miracle #3:  We were given $5,000 by a generous family member to be able to start the adoption process and start it quickly.  She was at the temple and had an impression that our family needed money.  We are so blessed that she acted on her impression and donated. God knew what we needed and provided!  Because she was obedient, we were able to secure Washington as ours.  (God ALWAYS provides, but many times it is through others he takes care of our needs.) 

Miracle #4This miracle is so amazing that it is hard to tell without having tender emotions.  About a couple of weeks into the process, our home study agency called and said they realized that we would be "breaking birth order" (placing a child in the middle of the family vs. the end.) if we adopted Washington and it was their policy not to break birth order.    This is taken from my journal account:  

"I was SO devastated and heartbroken.  I was sobbing on the phone with our case worker and I asked her if there was any way I could talk to the director and tell her how much we needed Washington and how much I love him and wanted him to be in our family.  I think she sensed my heartbreak, so she promised to talk to the director the next day....  I was determined to fight on, but didn't know what to do."  

I remember sitting on my floor in my bedroom sobbing uncontrollably and feeling completely helpless.  I remember that all at once, I felt a comfort come over me and I knew with a sure knowledge that everything would be okay; that Washington was meant to be in our family that somehow Heaven would help make that happen.  I felt inspired to send a picture of our family for our case worker to show the director.  The next day the director called and asked me to tell my story.  She said that although they NEVER break birth order, she heard I had a compelling story to tell.  I told her everything, about how we wanted him, about how we knew he was ours, etc.  We had a lengthy phone conversation and at the end, she said that she felt that we indeed had a compelling story and that she was willing to take it to her complete team.  We fasted and prayed all weekend that their hearts would be softened and that this huge obstacle would be overcome.  We knew that if God could "part the Red Sea," He could do this miracle for us!
On Monday, I received an e-mail saying that the whole team met and were willing to waive their rule in our case!  They never normally break birth order, but God touched their hearts and a MIRACLE was performed!  I wrote in my journal:

"God is a God of miracles!  I am so amazed at the tender mercy and miracle Heavenly Father has performed in our behalf!  He is SO good to us and I will praise His name forever."

Since then, other small and quiet miracles have also happened and I will share details about them another day.  I think if we actively look for them, miracles are all around and we may witness them every day.

 I love my Heavenly Father and I am amazed at His love, mercy and devotion towards His children.  I am so grateful that He loves us enough to provide miracles in our behalf.  I testify that miracles are real and still abound!  :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

My Eyes Were Opened

Until I was shown the plight of the orphan around the world, I was never really aware of the realities these children face.  It is said, "Ignorance is bliss," and there is some truth to this saying; but I will attest that knowledge is power and will effectively change the lives of others.  We are taught to follow Christ's example and live His teachings.  Christ has taught us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and afflicted.  This charge has had new meaning to me the past few months as my eyes were opened to the suffering of the orphan.

These are some of the things I have learned the past few months:
  • In the Ukraine, when the orphan turns 16, they "age out" and they are given a meager amount of money and kicked out of the safety of the orphanage and are released to be on their own.  They are now on their own with no training, no skills, and little to no education.  There are men (WOLVES!) who literally hang out outside of the orphanages waiting for newly released young women to coerce into human trafficking, a sex slave.  Can you imagine the girl's desperation as she is fearful at the reality of not being able to provide for herself?  Every country has an age where the child "ages out."
  • Orphan children in many countries, when they turn 5 or 6 are sent to adult mental institutions to live.  Can you imagine those kind of living conditions?  Can you imagine the plight of the special needs child who need extra care, attention and medication?
  • And then there is the abuse, neglect and deprivation abounding in many of the orphanages.  The real-life footage I've seen, especially of the orphanages in Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Bulgaria, etc.) would make any strong person weep.  In many instances in these countries, the children (especially special needs children) are treated like animals.  Unbelievable circumstances!
  • And some orphanages, like the ones in Africa, simply just don't have the funds and resources to give the children all the nutrition and basic necessities they need.  It's not that they don't care, they just don't have the means.
I didn't share this information to depress you, but rather to encourage you to open your eyes and heart and join me in praying and helping these helpless children of God. (There are many ways to help- prayers, educating ourselves, and if so blessed, giving monetarily.  Some of us will be "called" to rescue them through adoption.  Pray about what the Lord wants YOU to do to help.)  There are great blessings attached when we follow Christ.   

One person can make a difference, but many can make a change! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

God Has A Plan

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to go to Africa and hold the orphans.  I was drawn to them.  I felt that they needed to be sung to and held and told that they were special sons and daughters of God.  It was always a part of "what I wanted to do when I grew up."  I decided that getting a nursing degree would be my key to make that happen. I pictured a humanitarian mission.  When I graduated from high school, I started  pre-nursing classes at Weber State University.  At that same time, I met and fell in love with my husband; we married and we felt like we needed to start a family.  I dropped out of college to be home with the kids, but with a determination to return and finish my degree some day.

This last fall, I decided the time was right to return to school and finish that degree.  Before registering for classes, I prayed about the decision.  Imagine how shocked I was when the answer I got was NO!  I was not to go back to school.  I was so heartbroken and plead with the Lord and told him how I wanted to help the children and the only way to be a part of this humanitarian project was to get this degree.  Still, the answer was NO.  After days of weeping and grieving over the answer, I softened my heart and told the Lord that if He didn't want me to be a nurse, please guide and direct me to know what to do instead.  The answer I got was "free up your time and serve."  I didn't know what this meant, but I was determined to be obedient.

I started helping out wherever I could with friends and people I went to church with.  I was serving.  In the meantime, a friend of mine introduced me to a website,  This website lists orphan children with special needs from all over the world.  My heart was stirred.  I would check on the children every day, cry for their plight and pray that they would be kept safe and that angels would surround them.  I thought there wasn't much I could do for them except to pray.  (After all, I already had 9 biological children and international adoption is VERY expensive.)  So everyday I would pray for these precious children.  I prayed families would find them and that they would get the care and love they deserved.

One day as I was viewing the newly listed children on the web site, I came across a young boy named Washington who stole my heart.  All the excuses of why I couldn't adopt seemed trite and trivial.  This precious African boy was mine and I would do whatever it took to adopt him.  God had a plan for me after all.  I would be going to Africa and holding the orphans, at least one of them!  And it didn't take a nursing degree to get there!  I understood what the Lord wanted me to do- "free up my time and serve."  Serve one of his precious children from across the world in Africa.  :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Children Are The Greatest Gifts God Has Given Us

Our Heavenly Father gave Steve and I nine wonderful gifts, but the party wasn't over yet.  He had one more gift He was saving till just the right time.  When He knew we were ready to receive this precious gift, He led us to the place He was saving him.  God is leading us to Africa to receive gift #10!

We couldn't be more excited to add one more of God's precious children to our family.  As soon as we saw our precious boy from Africa, we KNEW he was ours.   This is his bio on the Reece's Rainbow website:

Washington is 11 years old.  He is deaf and has had limited schooling in his home country.  This is the description from a family that recently spent time with him:

Washington’s personality is very sweet and thoughtful. He is wonderful with younger children and always offering to help without being asked to. He also really wants a family. He carries in his pocket a newspaper picture of a random family that he showed us. Broke my heart not to be able to take him home with us right then. He can write his letters and can show you the sign language for each one, so despite a limited education he seems like a really bright child.

Can you see how him wanting a family so bad that he was carrying a random newspaper picture of a family touched my heart?  How I longed to be that family!  I took it to the rest of the family and we all agreed and knew it was right.  (There was much prayer and fasting involved in this decision after we talked about it as a family.  We didn't take it lightly.)  Although we knew adoption wouldn't be easy, we knew with Heaven's help we could and would get through it.  We have already seen so many miracles performed in our behalf, each one confirming our decision to make "Washington" a part of our family.  

I wish I could show you his picture on this blog, but because of restrictions from his country, I will refrain until we are home and safe to share.  Believe me, he is a handsome young man and he will be loved beyond anything he could possibly imagine!  As this adoption has progressed, I have often stood back in amazement at the love you can have for a child you've never met.  We love him SO much!  We worry about him and pray for him constantly.  We can't wait for the day when we can hold him and tell him he is loved and wanted and that he will have a forever family!

I will explain more and share some of the miracles in future posts.  I just wanted to share how excited we are to become the parents of yet another one of Heavenly Father's precious children.  We are so blessed!  :)