Saturday, February 23, 2013

From An Angry Heart That God is Still Changing

I'm not sure if this is a good time to be updating our blog. I'm really angry and my heart is well...almost bitter. I was checking my Facebook and came across a video called "Gallon Smashing." I'm sure you've seen it. It's had more shares than a lot of other videos about clean water, adoption, or dying people in third world countries. It's a video about these guys who walk into grocery stores, bust open gallons of milk and pretend to be hurt. What's really sad is that thousands and thousands of people share this video and other pointless videos like this just because it's "funny." I don't think it's hilarious. I don't think it's funny. I think it's sad. Our lawyer emailed me this week and told me that I could expect our son Canaan to start changing once he moves out of the orphanage because he will get to start drinking milk. He will get to START drinking milk. The people in these videos are wasting gallons and gallons of milk that my 2 year old son can't even get access to right now. Forget the milk issue...There are dying people around the world just because they don't even have clean water to drink or bathe in.

I'm so angry. Angry that people who can do something choose not to. I don't understand it. Obviously I know that everyone is not called to adoption...but if they were, would there still be 147 million orphans in the world? How do I make people see that one person can make a difference? This is where Justin's voice of logic and reassurance would tell me that this is where I have to trust God to change people's hearts and I have to continue on the journey that He has called us to. Lord, this is where I need your help. I can't make others change, but I strongly desire for them to. I know we are comfortable living in our homes worrying about OUR own "needs." But I beg you, open people's eyes to see that they are living in LUXURY and they CAN make a difference. Please break our hearts for the things that break Yours. Please break my angry heart so that I can love people who don't understand yet. 

I don't say these things so that you will give to us. But I ask you to do something. Don't pretend like there are not people dying. Don't listen to the statistic of people without clean water and not try to make a difference. Don't act like you do not see the family who is struggling that lives down the road from you. Don't act like you don't have time or can't afford to. Don't. If you do, you're missing what the Gospel is about. 

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:17-19

It's not right for me to be angry at people that waste gallons of milk. It's not right for me to be bitter toward people who complain about their brand new SUVS. It's not right for me to roll my eyes at people who are "stressed" because they don't know what to get their kids for Christmas because they already have everything. God has obviously opened mine and Justin's eyes. As much as I want to guilt people into changing, I know I can't. A friend just reminded me that I must walk the road God has called me to and trust that He will call others to himself as well. I'm sorry for the rant. God still needs to do a work in me just as much as He needs to do a work in people who smash gallons of milk in a grocery store. God give me grace to forgive, especially in the times that I don't want to.

Now for an update:
We received pictures last week, but apparently we keep getting pictures of another little boy who is definitely not Neema. Our lawyer is supposed to go out this week herself and take pictures of him because everyone else has snapped photos of another kid. We did see Canaan. He looks like he has grown in the picture and he was holding our bag of goodies that we sent him! He was wearing the same outfit as in the referral picture. Hopefully the outfit we sent him will fit. The one he had on is probably one of the only sets of clothes he has.

This week we got a letter from the U.S. stating our i600a is moving on to Kinshasa, DRC! Yea for progress! We're also constantly checking our email for new pictures (of Neema) and updates on the boys. We are in the midst of the "waiting period" right now. It's hard but we are doing things to help us through it. We've starting getting things ready for the boys' room. It makes it seem more real by actually getting their room ready. Val brought over their first gift Thursday night.  It's symbolic too. :) We flew all the way around the world (airplane and globe) to Africa (giraffe) to give our boys a family name (C for Carroll). I love it. It's perfect for their room. Thanks Val. You know me all too well!

We are still in the process of fundraising. We're going to start a puzzle fundraiser in the near future so be on the lookout for that! You can have your name on a piece of their puzzle that will be in their room for $5. 

I'll leave you with one of my favorite videos. It's what I want our family to look like one day.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Waiting Begins...

This week has been eventful to say the least. We have been waiting on an update (pictures and more info on the boys). We mailed our dossier (a bunch of very important paperwork, i.e. certified copies of birth certificates, marriage license) on Jan. 23rd. After talking with someone in our adoption services they told me that paperwork gets lost almost every time when sent by USPS...which was how I mailed it! I immediately began getting paperwork together again so I could mail it. Our lawyer in the Congo could not get the paperwork from court until she had the official paperwork in hand. I soon realized that I did not have any more certified copies of our birth certificates and marriage license. Full of emotions I just began to sob. Overwhelmed with not receiving anymore information about our boys. Overwhelmed that I sent the paperwork through the postal service instead of FedEx. Overwhelmed with the work/evaluations at school. Overwhelmed that our adoption is going to take 3-6 months longer due to the changes the U.S. has made with DRC. Overwhelmed. 

I knew this adoption wouldn't be easy. I knew it wouldn't be a fast process. But I didn't realize how hard it would be emotionally. Even though I have never been pregnant (and still want to be) I almost envy the mothers who are because they know when they will get to see their baby. We don't know. We don't know if they are safe. We don't know if they are being cared for. We don't know if they are being fed or held. And we don't know when we will get to go get them.

Adoption has taught Justin and I so much about faith and trust in God. There is so many "unknowns" and "what ifs." We can do nothing but trust Him. I am still amazed at the ways God is working. I am confident that in all this God has a purpose and a plan for every moment and desires that we glorify Him in it. So with all the "unknowns" and "what ifs" that are to come, Lord help us to glorify you. 

After rushing to order and overnight certified copies of birth and marriage certificates I received a call from our consultant saying we passed court. We passed court? How could we pass court? WE PASSED COURT! This is a huge step in our adoption process and I truly believe that the prayers of our friends and family were heard and answered. Thank you Lord for answered prayers and working even when we didn't realize you were. I just found out today that she did indeed receive our dossier!! Woo-hoo! Even though we know very little of what is going on in DRC and with our boys, we trust that God is there. He is working in our lawyer, He is working in the people who are caring for our boys, and I know that He is working in the hearts of people here. He is working in ways that we are not even aware of and we praise Him for it.

On a positive note some very special people have worked very hard to plan a fundraiser for us! HUGE thanks to Beth Ann and Maddie for all of their hard work. They planned a chili supper and silent auction for us last weekend (Feb. 2nd). We also sold our t shirts. We expected to raise a couple thousand...maybe. We raised $5,000!!!! Amazing! These are the moments that I realize only God can work in these ways. If you came or have donated to us, thank you. I know thank you is not enough but it's all we have. I am overwhelmed at the support and encouragement we have received. Thank you for being Christ's hands and feet to us and to our boys. 

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

We trust that God is working things according to His plan and purposes and He can use all things that happen to make Himself known and glorified.