Wow, It has been so long since I last posted. I know, and I'm sorry. But today is strategic in writing this post. You see, we can now say that THIS MONTH we will be able to call our child OUR child. We have finally hit the time when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are just a few weeks away from officially having a new son, and then just a few weeks more away from bringing him home. We may finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but believe me when I say that the Light has always been shining through this process. I think the hardest part of the entire process has been the waiting, but I have no doubt that we've learned things during the wait. Now, don't get me wrong, it hasn't been a fun wait. We are ready. Ready for him to be home with his family. When one talks about prayer, we often learn that God does answer prayer though it may not be in the way we had hoped for. He may answer in one of three ways: Yes, No, or Wait. I sometimes think that the hardest answer is Wait, but it also may be the answer that brings about the most growth. Now in this situation, I don't for a moment believe that God has been testing us with this wait just to see if we are committed, or to test our perseverance, or anything like that. This child needs to be home with his family and I don't believe that the God that calls us to care for orphans and widows in their distress would throw in an added wait to see if we are for real. God knows our hearts. This, I feel, was not his original plan. Likewise, I hear people sometimes say that this child was born to be with us. Hey, maybe we could even tell him that someday when he asks about his birth parents, about being abandoned, about how he came to live with us. "Well, honey, God created you to be with us from the very beginning". Hogwash!!! Forgive me if you've used this phrase or have thought this before. But I don't believe that for a moment. God's design was not for a child to be abandoned so that he would grow up in an institution. Our God is a God of love. Abandonment is not a biblical principle and I refuse to believe that the God that I serve would ever plan for abandonment, cultural adversity, and displacement to be THE plan for a child's life. Now, I did say that our God is loving and I know that He is very good. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God doesn't design abandonment, but He can work for good even in the abandonment. And I don't believe that God designed delays and additional waiting in the placement process, but He can work for the good in that as well. For those of you thinking about adopting, please understand that I am not saying that this particular waiting is a part of THE process, but it has been a part of OUR process. I've known other adoptions that have gone more quickly and I've known others that have taken longer. It is not my intention to compare our adoption to others and place any judgments, good or bad, in those comparisons. But just let me say this, we're ready. We've been ready. Enough already. The process for the country we are dealing with has been said to take about 3 to 4 months after the first travel date. Some of you may remember that our first travel date was in April. Well, it's been more than 3 or 4 months and we are definitely ready. I know that many adoptions have been right at that 3 to 4 month mark and I have no doubt that future adoptions will be in that time frame as well. There are many wonderful people both in America and in our child's country, that work hard to minimize the wait time. Things happen. I don't believe that God designed it this way. I'm not necessarily saying that this is the work of Satan, but I do know that if it is that God is going to have the last word because our desire and our sense of urgency has not wavered. If anything, our faith in this process has gotten stronger. This is our son. Whether the paperwork shows it legally yet or not, he's ours. We've known in our hearts for a long time that he is ours and it's time to bring him home. God, thank you for helping me to grow during this waiting period. I think I've grown now, thank you, I'm ready to be done with the first phase. Yes, the first phase....the beginning. This process is not "adoption". Adoption doesn't stop when you bring the child home. Heck, that's when it starts. This is merely the prelude. I'm now ready for the main event.
A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege to speak at an adoption conference that was held by our agency. It was a fantastic one-day event with several classes and sessions that met the varieties of needs that are present when you have dozens and dozens of people gathered to hear about the different facets of adoption. I was on a panel of Fathers in Adoption with two other men and I was truly blessed by the turnout for our session. There were many couples in attendance that wanted to hear from the dad's point of view about the process of adoption. (time for a quick plug. Plan now to begin looking for information for the 2013 Crossroads of America Adoption Conference late summer/early fall of next year. You won't want to miss it). There were two questions from our session that stick in my mind, particularly as it pertains to the waiting process and to the urgency that we currently feel. One question was, "when we had a child biologically, my wife prepared the nursery for our daughter; bought clothes, painted things pink, and all that. How can you prepare for an adopted child when you are in that waiting period and haven't had a referral yet? One, my wife doesn't like to sit back and not be active, but also how can I as a dad be doing anything"? Great question. (one of many, many great questions). One of our answers to this was to prepare yourself. Later there will be paperwork and processes and things to be done. Take the time now to start preparing yourself for when your child comes home and even long after he's been home. Learn about attachment issues and behaviors. Learn about the culture and the history of the country your child is from. Down the road, when your child asks what their home country was like you don't want to say, "wow, good question. Maybe I should look into that." I think it would be so much better to say, "I've been waiting for you to have questions about that. There is so much history that is very fascinating. Let me tell you've what I've learned." Prepare yourself. and your family. That's what we are learning now, even in the final wait. And what I've learned is that we are prepared. We're ready. Our children are ready, our home is ready.
The other question we were asked was "since guys are not as emotional as women and it may be harder to feel 'connected' with the adoption process, did you have a time when you can think of that the fatherly instincts started to kick in"? I immediately thought of a time. It was at this same conference, one year earlier. I was not a speaker, we were attendees. Going into the conference, Michelle had shown me a few pictures of some children from the country we were pursuing. "what do you think of these kids"? "Cute", I said. They were pictures. I'm sure there may have been sad stories to go along with the pictures, but I wasn't going there. I was prepared to wait for the country to match us with the profile we had filled out. "Well what about this boy?", Michelle asked. "Boy? Are we thinking boy? I mean, we weren't only saying girl either, I just hadn't been thinking of a specific gender." Well, while attending the conference and hearing many different stories and pieces of information, something clicked. The fatherly instincts kicked in right then and there. "Show me that picture again....that's our son. Get him off this list. We need to get paperwork going, quick. We need to get him home." I can't really explain how and why it all happened that way, except to say that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him. This was truly God. He didn't design for this child to have the life of an orphan, but He now was molding our family and our hearts to prepare us to bring this child....THIS child....home. Yep, the instincts kicked in and I've never looked back. One of the greatest compliments that I've received throughout this process has been from my friend Josh. Josh and Stephanie have become great friends that we met through the world of adoption. We've really formed a wonderful family bond with many, many people. Josh told me at the conference this year that he was amazed at the change in me from last year's conference to now. Basically, he was saying that I went from that deer-in-the-headlights look, to someone who knew exactly the path that God has us on and is determined to help not only our own child, but to help as many children as we can to find their forever families. That is what we continue to focus on.
Our process won't be over this month, it will be beginning this month. But even as we begin our main event, it is our desire to be whatever source of information that we can to as many families as possible so that they can start their prelude. Statistics show that there are around 150 million orphans worldwide. We are creating one less. Many others have also created one less (or two less or five less or 10 less). But no one can adopt all of these children themselves. The epidemic is only going to get better when people answer God's call on their lives to take a step of faith. What's holding you back? Money? Please!!!, I've tried that one. It doesn't work. God won't even give you the satisfaction of thinking that money is a viable reason not to adopt. Very few people, and I mean very few, go into adoption with all of the funding in place at the onset. But I personally have never heard of anyone stopping the process because they simply couldn't raise the money. Is it easy? Well, is anything that is so totally worth it ever really EASY? No, but it happens. Sometimes you can't even explain why, but it happens. So, if not money, what other excuses might you have? Fear? Understandable, but God tells us to fret not. Philippians 4: 6-7 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanskgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Fear has no power over us. God has given us a way, Jesus Christ IS the way, and fear, anxiety, and worry have no place in our lives. Fear isn't wondering if a child will "fit" into our family. Fear is these children wondering if they will live to see adulthood; wondering if they will ever experience the love of a family. That's real fear. Our "fear" should be turned into great triumph. 150 million orphans. That's too many. When are you going to join us and say Enough.....Enough Already!!!