Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I think I've posted this pic before, but Amy (Reece's Rainbow Family Service Coordinator) sent it to me in its original, uncropped state the other day. I've spent some time enhancing and tweaking the colors. It's a faxed copy so the quality isn't that great and there were some lines on the photo. I was able to make it look a little better. I hope we can get the original when we meet Sarge. But for now, I love looking at this newborn picture! What a treasure that we have a picture of him when he was so little. Most families don't have newborn pictures because the children are typically in the hospital for a little while before they get to the orphanage. There aren't a lot of photos of the children taken until they are available for adoption and then they will usually just take a snapshot for the agency. So, we don't really know why someone took this newborn picture of Sarge, but we certainly are glad to have it!
People magazine did a story on Andrea Roberts and Reece's Rainbow! It's in the February 19th issue, which is out NOW. It will only be available for a couple more days, so go get your copy. The cover has Elin Woods on it and the article about Andrea is on pg. 86. This is incredible exposure for orphans, especially those with Down Syndrome, and Reece's Rainbow! Hopefully there will be a flood of forever families found for these precious little treasures.
Friday, February 12, 2010
"Dear Prospective Adoptive Parent,
USCIS would like to congratulate you on your Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition approval and for completing the first step in the adoption immigration process."
And with those words I burst into tears...we're coming to get you soon Sarge! I've been such an emotional basketcase this week. I've also been nesting like a crazy person. Cooking, cleaning, washing, re-washing, organizing, re-organizing. It's nuts.
We are ready for a new little boy in this house! Now if we can just get that travel date!!!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
One of the questions people ask me a lot these days is, "How will you handle coming home without your child after the first trip?" For those of you who don't know the adoption process in the country from which we are adopting, law requires that adoptive families meet the child in person before they accept the referral. Then, there is a 1-3 month wait for the court date in which the child is formally adopted. So we will make two trips; the first to meet Sarge and accept his referral, and the second to adopt him. We will return to the U.S. between trips without our son. That is probably the most difficult part of this whole process; at least I anticipate that it will be the most difficult part.
However, God has given me a word that has provided me with so much comfort. Recently, I was in a Bible study on angels. I was raised in a church that really didn't talk much about the Holy Spirit or angels. All of that seemed kinda mystical to me as a child, and even into my young adulthood. As I've gotten older and studied more about spiritual beings, I know that they are real and that God provides comfort and guidance to his people through the Holy Spirit and angels.
During our study, the teacher, who is an older man of great faith, shared the following story. One of his best friends had a child with Down Syndrome. This child was born during an era when children with disabilities were often institutionalized, much like the children in Eastern Europe of today. When this child was born, his parents were encouraged to put him in an institution. They were told that they would never be able to have the life they always wanted if they raised him at home. The father was a collegiate level coach, and he and his wife already had four daughters. This child would surely be too much to handle and would interfere with his success as a coach.
The young couple thought about the difficult decision and just couldn't bear the thought of sending the child to an institution. They decided to raise him at home. They met a lot of resistance from others, but they never regretted the decision. However, the father felt really anxious about how he was going to be able to take care of this child. Remember, this was in the 60's and there wasn't much support available for children with special needs.
One night as the father lay awake worrying about whether or not they could raise this child, he heard babbling coming from the baby's room. He went to check on his son and as he walked into the room, he was shocked to see not one, but two babies in the crib. They were playing and "talking" as babies do. He hurried back to his bedroom to wake his wife, but when they went back to the baby's room, there was only their son in his crib.
The father knew what he had seen. He knew that God had shown him his child's angel to give him reassurance that he could raise this child and not to worry because this child was in God's care. He said he never worried about whether or not they had made the right decision after that night. God also allowed the father to see the angel again later in the child's life.
Something that you should know about this father; he is not the type of man who is given to mystical hocus-pocus type stuff. From what I know of him, he is extremely down-to-earth and matter-of-fact. His personality is not given to dishonesty or fantasy that is often associated with stories of spiritual beings. In fact, had the story not been from him, I might not have believed it myself. But because of his very nature, I cannot help but believe every word, and I take great comfort in his story.
When I think about Sarge, and all of the other precious children with Down Syndrome who have been orphaned, I think of this story. It gives me incredible peace to know that they have angels watching them, playing with them, giving them companionship and comfort until their mommies and daddies come for them.
(Sidenote: Are these pictures the cutest or what?!? I love them!!! Those precious little chunky monkeys with all their angel garb on...I could eat them up!)
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We had a wonderful surprise today! I emailed our adoption agency social worker to inquire about our dossier. It was sent for apostilling on January 15th, so it had been a couple of weeks and we hadn't heard anything. That isn't unusual...but for some reason I felt this urging to email her and ask if there was any news. AND THERE WAS! Our dossier was apostilled and sent on January 26th! She had emailed us but we didn't receive the email. She explained that they were having some email problems at our adoption agency last week. She had emailed us and didn't get a notification that it wasn't delivered. So she assumed it got to us. We were thrilled to find out that we are further along in the process than we thought. The best part was that she told us we should be travelling this month if all goes as planned! YIPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING THAT SHE IS RIGHT!
We are going through the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan in our small group. This is the second time Greg and I have read it and dare I say, it's been even more convicting the second time around. I can't really say if it will be more life-changing yet. The first time we read it was around the same time we committed to adopt Sarge. We thought that was a radical decision. But really, has it been? Have we really experienced any discomfort or persecution for our decision? I'm not saying we have to seek out to live a miserable life, but I do think that if we are truly living as Christ did, it doesn't look like the world and there will be some discomfort in comparison. I don't think Jesus would have lived in suburbia U.S.A. with an SUV and 2.5 kids. Just sayin'. But we KNOW that even in our worldly discomfort, we will have the most peaceful life with Christ if we are doing HIS will and not OUR will. We are still praying about how we can continue to live courageously...radically...for Christ. We know we aren't even close at this point. And we also know that this is a journey we're on, and that we will never be perfect in our attempts to give like Christ until we are in Heaven with him. This morning I got the following email from my husband. It is to our small group, just so you understand to whom it was written. I feel compelled to share it because the scripture he refers to is probably the most compelling scripture on why sharing this "crazy love" is so important. I hope it challenges you like it is challenging me. I can't get it off my mind.
"I read the following verse tonight, and in light of our discussion last night, found it very powerful, especially the latter half, and wanted to share it with each of you. It is from the New Living Translation, James 5:3
3 Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.
To picture God piling up the "treasures" we accumulate and hold on to in this life, and placing them all beside us on the day of judgement as evidence AGAINST us is very sobering to me! How will I feel if on the judgement day, I have a huge pile of stuff that I hoarded and held on to because i thought i needed more, while countless others stand with nothing as they never had anything and lived a life in need, and to have to explain to God why i have a pile at all, well, I don't think ANY explanation would be sufficient for the One who gave it all to me in the first place.
What a powerful, convicting verse!"