Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Now what?

Fingerprints sent to FBI?  Check.

Autobiographies written for homestudy?  Check.

Doctor exams for two parents?  Check.

Derek passing out at the sight of a needle?  Check.  (Well, actually, he felt himself losing consciousness, and was able to lay down on the floor of the lab before he collapsed.  Awww, what a good daddy!  He'll do anything to rescue his son . . . even face a needle!)

Guardians appointed for our most priceless treasures?  Check.  (You know, in case we are not around to finish the job of raising them . . .)

Prayer letters sent out to all of our nearest and dearest?  Check.

Copies of birth certificates, marriage certificate, insurance, etc?  Check.

Documents detailing all of our assets and (gulp) liabilities?  Check. 

All this stuff notarized?  Check.

Stuffed in an envelope and sent off to our homestudy social worker?  Check.

Hmmm.  Now what? 

Well, we will be praying.

And learning Russian.

And waiting.

And reading and researching and talking to people who've actually accomplished what we are setting out to do, trying to prepare as much as possible for life with Gideon.

And waiting some more.  Sigh.

Also, we are getting ready to start our first fundraiser!  (Yes, Gideon does have a lovely large grant, and we are SOOOOOO grateful for that!  However, we are still going to need to do some fundraising to get him home.)  So stay tuned for fundraising news, coming soon! 

Hope all my dear readers are having a fabulous first day of summer!  It was all sunshine and brightness here in western Washington and the kids played in the water and on the swings, laying in the grass eating Craisins and Cheerios and singing praise and worship songs together . . . Nice change after the last two weeks of gray gloominess!  I love summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Meant to Be

Meant to Be, by Steven Curtis Chapman.  This is one of my favorite adoption songs!

My Most Precious Treasures

One of the hardest things about signing on the line and committing to this adoption was the thought that I would have to leave my other kids at home while we travel to meet Gideon and bring him home.  This thought held me back longer than any other objection in my mind.  Money?  God can provide that.  Money is no big deal to our God.  Paperwork?  We can write till our hands cramp (and we have!)  The challenges of parenting an older, post-institutionalized child with disabilities?  Well, yeah, that could be a biggie, too, but we already love him so much, and we are going to take that day by day, and we trust God.  That fact was not enough to deter me from signing up to be Gideon's mom.  No, the one thing that I kept getting stuck on was the travel.

Now, I have always dreamed of traveling.  I have even specifically longed to travel to Eastern Europe.  It is one of my life-long goals to see the world, or at least finally get out of the good old USA for at least a peek at the rest of the world.  But I was thinking of after my kids are grown and gone, or maybe taking them with me.  But now I have fallen in love with a child in a country that requires both parents to be in their country for at least two weeks, and then to return home or stay in country while we wait at least two more weeks, and then for at least one parent to return to that country again for probably another two weeks, before they will finally let me take the new love of my life home with me.  And that means leaving the other three loves of my life behind.  For weeks.

Oh, how I wrestled with this situation!  I spend basically every moment of every day with my children.  I left them overnight, once or twice.  That's it.  We are a very close family.  Two weeks?  Maybe three?  Perhaps six?  Oh, no no no no.  You've got to be kidding me!  How can I do this to them? 

So I prayed and prayed about this one issue, at least as much as any other, before we finally decided to commit to this adoption.  And the Lord gave me enough peace that we have decided to go ahead with it.  After all, my three kids have had me for years.  Every moment of every day for years.  And Gideon?  He's had nobody.  Day after day, for years. 

So when I think of my boy, waiting, alone, I know what I must do.  I will go.  I will leave three of my most precious treasures at home so that I can go all the way to the other end of the world to claim my other most precious treasure. 

And I have been praying about where, exactly, my darlings will be, who will take care of them, while we are away.  And then I got a phone call.  Before I even had to ask anybody, my darling, lovely mom called me up and offered to come and stay with my kids for as long as we need them to!  Praise the Lord!  My parents are willing to drop everything, whenever our travel date arrives, drive eight hours from their home to ours, take on our three lively little dumplings, homeschool them, and keep up with the farm chores, and they are happy to do it!  They are looking forward to the chance to bond with the kids, and they are going to do a great job with it all!  They may want to sleep for a week when it is over, but I have complete faith in them! 

It just gives me so much peace to have that piece of the puzzle fall into place.  I will miss my kids, for sure, but at least I know we have a plan.  A good plan!  Our kids will be able to stay in our home, and stay in their routine, and stay with grandparents who adore them.  Do I want to leave them?  Of course not.  But at least now I feel that it is possible!  Thanks to two sweet, loving grandparents who are willing to make it possible! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Paperwork and Dreams

There is a lot of paperwork involved in international adoption! 

We have each written autobiographies, filled out at least a couple of dozen forms detailing all sorts of personal information, obtained copies of ALL SORTS of documents, and otherwise jumped through whatever hoops our homestudy social worker tells us we need to jump through, and all the time I am spending on all this paperwork I am thinking that I would fill out a THOUSAND forms and jump through TEN THOUSAND hoops to get you home to me, sweet Gideon!

We are finally almost ready to send all this paperwork to our social worker, and then we just wait some more.  Wait and pray.  Our boy needs our prayers.  Please remember Gideon in your prayers, dear reader!  I am a mommy who cannot hug my baby boy, and I am heartbroken whenever I think of all the hugs he has missed out on. 

I had a dream last night.  In the dream I was laying down, half-asleep, cuddling Gideon and running my fingers through his hair, feeling him breathing against my cheek, and he was SO REAL, and then I fell asleep (yes, still in my dream!) and while I was sleeping somebody snuck into my home and plucked Gideon out of my arms, and I woke up grasping for him, reaching out for him, trying to catch him, but the one pulling him away from me whisked him away into another room, put him in a crib alone, and shut the door.  I cried and cried. 

I woke up for real and cried some more. 

I miss him.  I have never met him, but in my dreams I have.  And I wish I could just go storming across the ocean today and take him home with me right now.  I cannot.  So I am storming heaven with my prayers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meet My New Brother

Hi!  My name is Isaac, and I am eight years old. 

 I am Josiah and Gracie's big brother, and soon I will be Gideon's big brother, too.  I am looking forward to having him be my brother, and figuring out Russian, and also teaching him English.  I will also teach him how to play games.  I will also help him with his physical therapy.  I will also teach him about my favorite TV shows:  The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show and Leave It To Beaver and Lassie.  I will teach him about computer animation, which is what I love, and see if he wants to be a movie maker with me when we grow up.  I am so excited to meet my brother and I just want to hug him right now! 

Meet Our Son!

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 
~Matt, 18:5
We are adopting this sweet little boy! (You may recognize him as "Eddie" on the Reece's Rainbow website.)  He will turn five years old on August 23rd.  He was born with CEREBRAL PALSY. He was placed in an Eastern European orphanage shortly after birth due to his disability, as is very common in his country.

 He was recently transferred from the orphanage to a mental institution, which is where nearly all abandoned children with any sort of disability are placed when they become “too old” for the orphanage.  Unless he is rescued, he would spend the rest of his life locked away in an institution.  

When we first became aware of the desperate need of children with disabilities in Eastern Europe, we were moved to tears.  We had no idea that children were locked away and treated as “defective” simply because they were born different from other children.  Once we knew, we could not pretend to NOT know.  These are God’s cherished children.  These are “the least of these.” 
Gideon’s sweet, hopeful smile drew us to his profile again and again, and this little boy soon filled our dreams and discussions.  We are very eager to kiss his little head and wrap him in our longing arms and to shower him with love and to never let him go.  He has been waiting too long, and we are working as quickly as possible to get him home.  He has two brothers and a sister who are so excited to welcome their new “forever brother” home. 
He is already so very loved. 
Our God is a God of adoption.  He is a God of redemption.  He is a God of love and mercy.  After all, He adopted me.  He chose me.  I was a foreigner.  I was a mess.  I brought my problems into His house.  I was going to be a lot of work.  But He did not leave me there.  No.  He rescued me.  He took on my mess and my past.  He gave me His name and a place in His family, FOREVER.  And since God has chosen ME, chosen to adopt even me, then I choose Gideon.