C and J just left with Meme. That was the hard part. I had to have a big 'ole cry when they left. I just love them so darn much. God continues to remind me to give them over to Him. That He is their provider, not me.
The excitement builds as we think of seeing A and G for the very first time.
We are praying for peace for the kids that surpasses all understanding.
Okay, seriously. How do you pack for two babies? I have no idea how much they weigh at this point. We've not received an updated weight since the beginning of December. I'm told that some of the babies are being moved to a newer facility, so updates are a bit sparse. Which, I would normally be okay with that, it's just that there are so many variables to packing for these little ones. I know I need to turn this over to the Lord. I can't do it. Don't you love when you get to the point where you throw up your hands, scream aloud at God, and say, "I can't do this! You'll have to!" And He replies, "Finally."
I'm wondering what it's like to see your baby's face for the first time? Of course, with C and J, I can picture it as though it was yesterday. Will it be different? I haven't seen photos of them for two months. Will they look as different now as they did in their updated photos? Am I really going to hold them and kiss them and whisper into their ears that I love them? How could this be? How could God be so good to allow us to experience this and so much more. For C and J-they will see the brother and sister they've been praying for for so very long.
I've been focused on so many other things: work, house, car, etc. I'm choosing to focus first on Jesus and my family. Everything else is just details, and I know God has the details covered.
It appears as though I'll be teaching on my last day of school. It's an interesting turn of events. My long-term substitute's child is sick, poor thing, so she's staying home today. I'm excited to see what the day brings. It will definitely be fun being in the saddle at least one more time :-) Thank you, Lord, that report cards were completed yesterday, and of course, praying for her child to feel better.
We leave in five days. In many ways, it feels like it's the most normal thing to do: to jump on a plane to Africa and bring our children home. In some ways, it seems surreal. I remember thinking as I stood in theBaby House in Guatemala that I could hardly believe that I would be allowed to take two babies home. Staring into the faces of the babies and toddlers while there was just beautiful...changing diapers, a necessary evil. I kept thinking, "Really? They'll let us leave with two beautiful children? Really? " So yes, it's true, really. It's what God does. It's who He is. Really. He sets the lonely in families.
I don't know who you are, but He wants you to know that he sees you and He loves you. He sees your struggles. He sees your questions, your doubts. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Though all may fail you, He loves you. Though times may be tough, though your father may not be, He loves you. You are worth more than rubies. You are worth more than diamonds. You are everything to Him. He died for you.
I died for you, child.
He wants you to know that. Wherever you are. Whoever you are.
Peace to you.
Grace. Mercy. Love. His love. Not the world's version of love. His love.
I distinctly remember sitting in this exact chair by the computer, telling my husband that I didn't feel content. I wanted to be at peace, yet it seemed as though something needed to change. I wasn't sure what that was: my job, our family, our house-I just couldn't pinpoint it. As I described this to one of my friends, she said, "Wow, this reminds me of Joshua, crossing the Jordan." I just kind of looked at her blankly because I didn't know the story. Well, I do now. I've read it, meditated on it, and thought about a few hundred times since then. We have seen the result of what God has been whispering to us very clearly over the last few weeks. Here's the rundown:
Referral of Babies-October 26 (change of family) Sell car-buy van-Jan. 9 (change of car) Negotiations underway for sale of home-Jan. 22 (change of house) Last day at current job for a while-Jan. 26 (change of job)
So, one month and much has changed. I told God many times that I was ready to cross, to cross to the other side. I didn't know what it meant, I just knew He was calling us. I still don't know fully all that it means, but I'm excited to see where He leads.
We're in the midst of packing for our trip to pick up the babies. We leave in less than one week-wow.
I'm so thankful. It's the only thing I can really say. I've tried so many times over this last month to verbalize to our friends, coworkers, family how thankful I am that they have come along side us in this journey. It has been nothing short of a miracle to see how God has worked in others' lives and our lives over the last year.
Praising God that He never changes, for being our rock.
I'm missing Casa Bernabe tonight. I miss the faces. I miss walking into the baby house and touching the babies. I miss this amazing feeling of being enveloped in the arms of God through children. Perhaps it's my babies I'm missing. Perhaps it's the devastation in Haiti. I want to do something, but I want it to be purposeful. I want it to be God working through me, prompting me, leading me forward. I'm thinking back to little Carlos, who I had the honor to carry to church at Casa Bernabe. I keep thinking...he went home. He went home. And for Gabriel. Gabriel who went home to his family in July 2008. He went home. But this isn't the reality for so many children. They'll never go to their earthly home again. How Lord? Show me how to love these children as you love them. Not with words, but with actions. Orphanage. Love. Mission. Life. Do something. You have one life to live. The way you live your days is the way you live your life. It's what's on my heart, and it needs to come out.
I realize I'm rambling. Perhaps I'm tired. Perhaps I'm overwhelmed with a flood of emotions. Thanking God for the ability to type and get out some of the stuff crammed into my brain.
When I was at CB this summer, there were many times that I felt as though I was on an "observation" mission. I can't really explain it, other than to say, there was so much activity going on around me, and I would just observe. I was learning. I was learning of how things were working together. I watched the missionaries. I watched the house mothers. I watched the cooks. I watched everyone. I described it as feeling as if I was "home". Though, there was a nearly numb feeling I experienced the entire time I was there. Everything was so raw. So in-your-face. I didn't have to talk so much about love those days. I lived it. I was able to love without any expectation of receiving love back. I remember when little Ana Carolina came and sat on my lap. There has always beeen something about her from the time I first saw her picture. Her eyes grabbed me every time I looked at her. And when I was at the orphanage, it was the same way. However, at first, she wanted nothing to do with me. Which was somewhat odd, as most of the children were eager to play with anyone and everyone. She was reserved. On one of the last nights, Jim and I went to the toddler house. This is where Ana Carolina was. As we were playing with children, she sat down on my lap, and I caught my breath. I don't know why. There's just something about her. We have named our daughter Ana,though she goes by Carolina. I don't know the connection, but there is one there.
I must go to bed. It's getting late, and if I don't get some rest, I won't be able to do devotions before C and J awake in the am.
First, praying for all in Haiti and those waiting to hear word on loved ones.
Prayer request: There is a paper needed at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa by USCIS here in the States. Please pray that it gets there smoothly.
We are not frantically packing, as I thought we might be. Much to the dismay of more organized people, our suitcases are in the attic, and they are EMPTY. We've not packed on thing. The babies' cribs are full of things we plan to take for them, so that's a good thing. We leave in two weeks. It's okay, though. We plan to pack lightly for ourselves.
We have shown the house quite a few times over the last few weeks. We currently have an offer and another family is coming to look at the house for the second time today. Praying and Praising God. Also, sweating like a madwoman as I run around cleaning up our home for millionth time this month...slight exaggeration, and actually Jim did most of the work on this one.
We sold Jim's tractor and purchased a van. Praising God for his guidance with this. The kids LOVE it. Because they love it, it makes me love it all the more.
Some friends are throwing us a shower this evening. The only thing they've told us is that our friends Megan and Ken will serenade us with a rendition of "Islands in the Stream"-can't wait! They are singing maniacs :-)
I will be done with work in 6 days. I had a moment as I sat there yesterday, thinking of my students. I realized for the first time how much I will miss them. I mean really miss them. They bring so much joy to my life. They're so funny. So sweet. They're like little golden retriever puppies...they just love you and love you and love you. They keep you young. It's like reliving your childhood all over again some days. You even start to think like a first grader. I find myself laughing at the oddest things. I remember when I first started teaching this grade level, I thought they were a rare breed. They laughed when things fell off the wall, I tripped, said the wrong thing, etc. Now I find myself laughing along with them. Crazy.
And then there's my friends at work. Words can't express what they mean to me and how much they encourage me. I trust the Lord and His best for all of us. It just doesn't take away the "I'll miss them" factor. However, God has provided an awesome new teacher for the students and a wonderful lady to add to mix of women at work. I'm so thankful for His hand in all of this, down to the last detail.
When we started the adoption journey, I had NO idea it would be like this when we brought our babies home. Actually, I didn't ever think we'd actually bring babIES home. Always thought it would be one. I know I've said it a lot in this post, but seriously, just praising God for His goodness. It's not been easy. I could write a year's worth of posts on the struggles and things we've learned along the way. We've learned, however, that God is Faithful. He is always with you, no matter what comes along.
A wonderful friend sent this to me today. How did I miss these verses??!!
"When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. ~Matthew 17:6-8