Monday, January 18, 2010

Chip In for Victoria

You may have noticed the Chip In widget on my left sidebar. It is to raise funds for Victoria, the little girl in John Sergeant's orphanage that is waiting on her forever family. She has over $500 in her grant fund already, but our goal is to raise $1000. I have said it before on this blog, and I will say it again, there are no shortage of families who want to adopt the children on Reece's Rainbow, only a shortage of funds to do so. I was talking to Andrea, the director of Reece's Rainbow recently and she reminded me that if each child had a $10,000 grant, there would be NO ORPHANS on Reece's Rainbow. Won't you please consider helping Victoria find her family by donating to her grant fund? Every dollar raised will help a family afford adoption and save Victoria from a life in an institution. You can give as little as a dollar, but please consider giving at least $10 because any donation less than $10 is charged a 30% processing fee. I hope when we travel to meet John Sergeant I can tell Victoria her forever family is coming soon. I would love to be able to take pictures and give her family an update until they can travel to bring her home. You can help make that dream possible with your donation! Just click on the widget to donate via is super fast and easy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dossier En Route

I got an email from our adoption agency social worker that our dossier is en route. Once it is apostilled, we will get our travel date. This is estimated to take 3-5 weeks. Please pray for it to happen quickly and without any snafus. We are realistically hoping to travel in March. I am praying that it happens sooner, but the likelihood of that is slim to none given the time frame we've been told. On the bright side, surely it is warmer in Eastern Europe in March than in January/February! I'm a warm weather girl through and through. Lows have been in the single digits and highs around freezing here for the past couple of weeks. This is very unusual for Alabama. I have dern near frozen. I cannot handle the cold! So Greg was worried about me traveling over there in the winter. I would do anything for Sarge, but I'm not sure they make warm enough clothing for me to endure single digit highs! I would gladly try if they would let us travel now, though!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So I Spoke Too Soon

I'm not joking, within MINUTES of publishing my previous post I received an email from our adoption agency social worker that said I needed to redo the documents I overnighted two days ago because the date on them did not match the date on our home study. I burst into tears. Then I pulled it together and rushed around to get the paperwork signed and notarized (again), and overnighted via FedEx (again). BTW, that would make a grand total of $100 I've spent overnighting the same papers. It's really not the paperwork, expense, or even the frustration with the process of adoption. I'm just starting to feel like I WANT MY CHILD HERE WITH ME. If you've ever been pregnant, you know the feeling you get around 8 1/2 months gestation? That feeling that if you have to be pregnant one more second you will go insane? That's the only feeling I've ever had that compares to how I feel now. But it's compounded because I know my child is in an orphanage when he could be at home with a loving family. The more days he is there, the more days I feel like I'm losing with him. I do take comfort in knowing that God is with him. I believe that and I'll post more on it later...I heard a really neat story that I want to share about that. But, I don't have time now as I'm off to cook dinner and clean before Clayton wakes up. Please pray for patience and that everything from here on out will move quickly and smoothly!

Dossier Submitted (For Real This Time)

I got the lost-in-the-mail supporting dossier documents redone. They were Fed-Ex'd (overnight=arm & a leg) on Monday. We got word from our adoption agency that they arrived yesterday. So I think that's it. Unless there is some unforeseen circumstance, we should get our travel date for our first trip in 3-5 weeks. Which means we are looking at traveling probably sometime in March. Then 1-3 months between trips before we go back to get Sarge and bring him home. So we're thinking May-ish before he comes home. Of course, this is all just could be earlier or later, depending on who-knows-what. Someone told me when we started the process to "expect the unexpected," so that's my plan from here on out! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Woke up at 4 a.m.

And this was on my mind:

I talked to our social worker with our adoption agency yesterday. Two of the forms I sent her (the last two to complete our first set of dossier documents) the week before Christmas are apparently lost in the mail. She never received them. Had I known, I could have gotten her new ones out, but she thought I just hadn't sent them and I thought she had already received them. I've Fed-Ex'd her every other document, but I didn't this one because it was so crazy at Fed-Ex when I stopped by that day with pre-Christmas shipping. I decided just to mail it because she was also waiting on a couple of things from our home study agency that wouldn't be available until January 4, so I thought I had time to get them to her via snail mail. Lesson learned...I will continue to Fed Ex everything to her so I will have records of sending/receiving. It may cost more, but it is worth it to have the peace of mind that our adoption paperwork isn't hanging out in the back of our mail carrier's car for weeks on end.

I mentioned our home study agency also had to send a couple of things...there was a miscommunication between them and our adoption agency about how many copies of the home study were needed. One was sent December 14, but our adoption agency needed three. By the time I found out about it, our home study agency social worker had left for a mission trip and wouldn't return until Jan 4.

So why is this keeping me up at 4 a.m.? Because it has set us back a few weeks in the process and I'm fretting about it. We're now looking at getting our first travel date sometime in February, which means we probably won't actually travel until March. I had let my heart get set on traveling in February at the latest.

The thing is, it's nobodies fault...except Satan's. Our social workers have been wonderful and the situations I mentioned above are not because of any wrongdoing on their part. They are both so incredibly supportive and responsive, and they've been on top of things. It's just these little setbacks can be so frustrating! Especially now that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If one thing has been revealed to me through the adoption process, it is that Satan is doing everything he can to frustrate the process. I hate that guy. I mean, think about it...have you ever heard ANYONE say, "We decided to adopt and the process was so EASY!" No, you are more likely to hear something like this, "When we adopted it took (insert long number of months years here), and (insert random setbacks here) nearly caused us to give up." And it's amazing to me how much paperwork mysteriously vanishes during the process. I'm convinced Satan is fueling the fires of hell with lost adoption paperwork. Consider this: knowing God's heart for orphans, and his expectation that his people care for orphans, why wouldn't Satan be working overtime to stop adoptions? He's working through the expense, corrupt agencies (not ours, thank goodness...we have an awesome agency...but there are some out there that are shady), government, and just the system in general.

So I'm laying here praying...thinking...blogging to get it all out. It helps me regain peace that Sarge is going to be o.k. until we get to him, whenever that may be!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Derek Loux

One thing that I love about Reece's Rainbow is the wonderful support system that it provides for parents adopting children with Down Syndrome. Through Reece's Rainbow I've become "virtual friends" with so many people. It's been amazing the way we all just connect over these precious children. Some of them I email with or chat online. Some of us follow each other's blogs and just know each other through our comments. Most all of us are a part of the Reece's Rainbow Yahoo Group. Somehow, though I'm not sure exactly how, I found out about the Loux family and have followed their blog for several months. That is the only way I "knew" Renee and Derek, from stalking their blog...but it is obvious that their heart for orphans is amazing. I've been mesmerized by their writings of adopting 8 children...three of whom were found on Reece's Rainbow. They have 2 biological children for a grand total of 10 kids. They also plan to build a therapeutic community for orphans with special needs, with a focus on equestrian therapy.

I'm writing about them tonight because Derek was tragically killed in a car accident on December 23rd. His memorial service was today. Their family plans to carry on his legacy and move forward with their vision to build a home for 30 orphans. Please visit the LOUX FAMILY BLOG to read more about Derek and his lovely family. Please visit THE JOSIAH FUND website to read about and partner with this family and their endeavors to give a forever family to 30 orphans. And finally, please read Derek's post from his blog entitled "Redemption" below. I think it will give you an idea of just what kind of person we lost here on Earth. Allow it to inspire you to carry on his legacy by becoming actively involved in orphan care.

By: Derek Loux

Friday, December 12, 2008

Renee’ and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have Down Syndrome. Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy. Dimitri has serious mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is the size of a 1 year old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him. Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited resources. The harsh reality of the “survival of the fittest” principle is a life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can’t get enough! He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri, there’s not much immediate gratification. In fact, it’s unknown when and if there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, “Why try? What’s the point? What will this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more potential? This looks like a lost cause.

Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri’s house. The day had been long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.

I was thinking, “Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable … and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What if Dimitri doesn’t improve at all? What if we get “nothing” out of this? … Ahhh, there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”. The love the Greeks called “erao” love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can get out of it. This is unlike “agapeo” love, the God kind of love that treats someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It’s when I love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love into my weak heart, and He’s using little Dimitri to do it.

On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, “This is Redemption. Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can’t even really appreciate or comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy, I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly “Papa” feels towards us.

Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to “pay Him back”. You’ll never get close you goofy little kid.