Loss & Redemption

This morning, Sisi’s foster mom posted a photo of she and Sisi when Sisi was just a little baby.  I shed a few tears…because so much of this beautiful redemption story is also about loss.

Sisi’s four years have been colored by loss and restoration, loss and restoration.

She lost her birth parents at less than three weeks old.  But she got her foster family the same day.

She will lose her foster family very soon, but she will gain us.

It’s a lot to ask of a little girl.

My prayer for her this morning is that the brokenness that is born out of all this loss will be the brokenness that makes a space for Jesus and His redeeming love.  That the healing of these broken places will come from Jesus and not from me.

Her foster family will always be our family too.  They have loved our daughter so fully.

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Hopes and Prayers

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John tells me how beautiful Bulgaria is.  And I know that it must be.  It’s the place that gave us our daughter.

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He knows her now.  He has played with her, held her, embraced her, been growled at by her and been totally ignored by her.  He knows her.

I can’t REALLY show photos…she’s still not ours.  She belongs to her country and she is happy and safe and so well loved in her foster family.

So now, we get paperwork together.  We write her new name…Sylvia Grace Virginia Carter.  We get fingerprinted.  Again.  We pray.  We miss her.  John misses the Sisi he knows.  I miss the Sisi I want to know.

And that’s a whole other thing.  We’ve been talking about Sylvie and who she is and what she will be like; but for four years, a little girl named Sisi has been existing and living life.  We have to let go of our dreams of Sylvie and our imaginings of what she is like and embrace the Sisi that IS.  It’s the reconciling of dreams and expectations with reality.  Like when you give birth…and the little life you thought you knew in the womb is different than you imagined.

Sisi is somebody.  She has eternal significance and she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  And while it doesn’t feel much like rescue (she has the most beautiful and loving foster family), adopting her is shifting her destiny and changing her future.  It’s changing things in the world.

I long for her to be with us, to be in the midst of our glorious chaos, shaking things up and shaking them down.  I want to hear her loud voice demanding the “Telefono!”  I want her home.

But I also grieve for her family.  Her foster mom and dad and sisters.  They have adored her…lavished love on her.  They have invested in her ever since she was a tiny baby.  And now they let go with grace and love…There are not words to describe how I feel about them and the brutal beauty of their sacrifice.

You can help in this final leg of the journey.

Pray

  • Pray for us to finish this final paperwork.
  • Pray for fundraising and grants to come through
  • Pray for preparing of hearts for this Bulgarian Princess
    • Mommy and Daddy’s hearts
    • Lila and Claire’s hearts
    • Nora’s heart, this may be hardest for her
  • Pray for her foster family. Their grief will be great.
  • Pray for her to be home by Christmas.  This is my hope and prayer…that she would be with us for Christmas.

Give

 

 

He Sets the Lonely in Families

There are two things people say most often about adoption.

  1.  You can’t save them all.
  2. Do you really need another kid?

And I agree.  We can’t save them all.  And adopting one out of 154 million feels like a drop in the bucket.  But here is what I know.

It would only take 7% of the Christian population to solve the orphan/foster care crisis.  Only 7%.

Imagine if that 7% were empowered to bring these ones into their homes.  Imagine if the other 93% rallied around that 7%.

No, I can’t save them all.  But the body of Christ can.

And frankly, no.  I don’t need another kid.  (I sometimes wonder if I need the ones I have, hardy-har-har.)

This is not about me.  Or us.  Or our family.

This is about a child that God called us to rescue.  This is about a little girl who needs us. This is about giving God our yes.  This is the overflow of our redemption.  The overflow of how very loved we are.

This is about being a family for Sissy, not getting a kid for our family.  Our family already has a ton of kids.

From now until Easter, I’m going to share Reece’s Rainbow kids…I am asking you to pray over their profiles.  Give God your yes and see where it leads.  There are so many things that we can actively DO.

  1.  We can pray.
  2. We can give.
  3. We can show up for adoptive/foster families, helping with fundraising and meals and moral support.
  4. We can adopt.

This is Curtis

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Pray for Curtis today.  He is a person of eternal significance, created in the image of God.  Ask God what your part in these lonely ones’ lives is.

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Good Good Father

 

In church on Sunday, we sang this song that has been playing in my head on repeat ever since.

It’s “Good Good Father” by Housefires (or Chris Tomlin, if you’d rather).

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I am singing this all day today, over  my own heart…over my sweet husband, over all six of my beautiful babies and the two boyfriends in law…over my seventh baby in Eastern Europe; the one who has never known a father at all.

And I am realizing something for the millionth time as the words sink in deep.  (God is faithful to teach me the same lessons over and over…as often as I need them.)

He is Good.  Nothing can change that.  It’s who He is.  Yes, even when things are Extra Hard and Really Scary.  In the Big Life Things…He is perfect, loving, kind, and He is For Me.  He is For Sylvia.  He’s not a magic genie that makes life easy and makes it all okay…but He is For Me.  Perfect in all of His ways to us.

I am loved by Him.  Nothing can change that.  It’s who I am.  Yes, even when I struggle to hold onto that Truth.  Even when I don’t feel very lovely…even when I don’t feel loved by Him, I am loved by Him.  It’s Truth.  Even if I reject it…it’s still true.  It’s who I am.

Sylvia is loved by Him.  Nothing can change that.  It’s who she is.

And so I have newfound peace moving forward.  I’m eating this elephant one bite at a time…I’m freezing my hand to the sword.  He stands with me and I know that this is not my own battle that I fight, that this battle belongs to Him, the Good Father.

And when a Daughter asks a good, good Father for bread, He will not give her stones.

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Good Good Father by Housefires

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
but I’ve heard the tender whisper
of love in the dead of night
You tell me that you’re pleased
and that I’m never alone

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, It’s who you are,
It’s who you are
and I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am,
It’s who I am

I’ve seen many searching
for answers far and wide
But I know
we’re all searching for answers only you provide
Because you know
just what we need
before we say a word

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, It’s who you are,
It’s who you are
and I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am,
It’s who I am

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh it’s Love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so Unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
as you call me deeper still
as you call me deeper still into love love love

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, It’s who you are,
It’s who you are
and I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am,
It’s who I am

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, It’s who you are,
It’s who you are
and I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am,
It’s who I am

On Hurricanes And Provision

I think I had an epiphany this morning.

I have friends in the adoption community now.  Mamas I’ve never seen in real life and maybe never will until heaven.  It’s kind of neat, because they’ve walked or are walking where we are, built-in relational equity.

Several have checked in, fearing for our safety with these impending storms.

And I just say to them over and over:

I’m not worried.  The thing about hurricanes…there is literally NOTHING you can do about them.  You can not be in control.  All you can do is be smart, pray and wait it out.  Just wait it out.

And suddenly I realized, that’s how I need to approach adoption.

Adoption is frightening.  So many uncertainties.  The paperwork, the costs- financial and emotional, the process, the unknowns.  All we really know is that Sissy is our daughter and we need to bring her home.

But just like God knows how the path of this hurricane is going to blow, He knows the path this adoption is going to take.  He already knows.

We’ve seen Him in this process.  He taps us on the shoulder and whispers- “I am here.” I had a dream where He came up behind me, touched my shoulder and said these words:  “It’s not going to be as hard as you think.”  He is doing things.

He’s with us in EVERY storm…not just this hurricane.

And maybe this doesn’t seem like the most amazing epiphany ever…but I feel a shift in my spirit this morning and I feel less fear.

Fear lies.

God can do this.  He can bring Sissy home.

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He’s A Good Father

Today, I am going to a birthday party.

It’s a birthday party for a sweet little girl turning three years old and this is the first birthday party she’s ever had.  Maybe the first birthday anyone has taken note of.

She was adopted from China.

I made her a little piece of art last night and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what verse of Scripture I wanted to use.

I landed on James 1:17.  Every good and perfect gift comes from above.

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Aila is a good and perfect gift.  Her smile is infectious and when she claps those sweet little hands, everyone falls to pieces.  This verse perfectly sums up who she is to her family.  This little girl is truly beloved by her parents and her sister and brothers, her extended family and her family of friends too.  She is a much prayed for, much adored little treasure.

But in her country, she was not seen as a treasure.  She was not seen as a good and perfect gift.  Aila has Down Syndrome.

And it strikes me that it is just like God to shine a light on a jewel like Aila, so that others can see her beauty…where some tried to hide her away….He would not have that.

And that makes me think about God and gifts even more…because some of the gifts He gives me, I’m not always grateful for.  Some of the things that come my way do not seem like favor.

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My first real blog post here was called Caroline and the Puddle and the gist was that we were walking our then puppy to the sound to play and jump in the water.  She saw a puddle on the way and was straining to get to it.  It was the best thing she’d ever seen, because she didn’t know that the sound was in her future.

This is me.  As I pray about our future- seminary, buying a house, adoption…I want it all right now.  Waiting is so hard.  Not knowing what is next is even harder.

And then, it dawns on me…not being in control is the hardest part.  I think this is what God wants from me. To relinquish control and to surrender in the waiting.  To trust that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.  And to trust that He is a good father and He wants good things for me.  To be still and know that He is God and to relish every day as it comes, taking notice of the good gifts all around me.

To stop wishing my life away on things that are to come.  Those things are going to come whether I love the life I’m in or not.  I might as well settle in and bask in His love.  He is always there.  He does not leave.  He gives good gifts every single day.

Tonight, I will celebrate one of those good gifts.  I will kiss Aila’s sweet cheeks and hug her parents and just be grateful with them, for the good and perfect gift that Aila is.  For the way God loves us.  He’s a good father.