First, my husband Peter continues to amaze me. Last year, you may remember that he ran a marathon to raise funds for our adoption. As if that weren't impressive enough, today he ran in the same marathon, and finished 11 minutes faster than last year! This year, he wore a picture of our daughter on the back of his shirt -- so we definitely had that "full-circle" feeling today. We feel so extraordinarily grateful to finally have seen the face of the little girl he was running for last year . . . and so very grateful to everyone who donated to help bring K home!
Second, we received some good news from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration office. They sent us an approval letter this week saying they will allow K into the country! We are happy to have evidence that she will someday step off an airplane and arrive at her new home. No word from the orphanage or anyone else in India yet, so please keep praying that someone is paying attention to her case.
Third, my friend Karen gave me a seriously tasty chai mix . . . Big Train Spiced Chai. It's not too sweet, and has plenty of complex spice flavors. Just in time for the first cold autumn weather! (When Peter began the marathon this morning, it was a brisk 33 degrees . . .)
Friday, September 14, 2012
K, these are your brothers celebrating the first glimpse of you . . . and your big sister, who can't wait to teach you everything she knows.
The only reason I hesitated to share these things was not wanting to make anyone else feel like I have felt in the past -- that we didn't have any "magical" indicators during our adoption. When we did our first adoption, I read LOTS of adoption blogs, and sometimes there would be these bizarre and wonderful things parents experienced, for example a woman who felt like she received a message from God about their child . . . and looked back in her journal, and it had happened on their child's birth date, etc. We never had anything like that happen before, and it's not my intention to make anyone feel like they're lacking something if they haven't either. I just want to record this back story so I never forget, and so K can read it someday.
With that said, here goes: (It's long, so grab a cup of coffee or something!)
First, as I mentioned in a previous post, we had spent over a week researching other country programs and foster adoption, but felt like we weren't done with India yet. The night before K's referral, I had a weird dream about this blog (that's never happened before!). I dreamed that there was a 12th comment on my most recent post. I knew there had been only 11 comments (and it had been that way for days), because I had posted the 11th comment myself to answer someone's question. So I woke up Friday morning curious about that very specific dream, and checked the blog -- and sure enough, there was a new, 12th comment. It was from Candice, another adoptive mama friend, and I clicked over to her new blog post, which had a picture of a sign that said "wait." She quoted passages from Job and Psalms about God being huge and powerful, and being patient and waiting for Him to act.
Although I felt those verses were intended specifically for me, I didn't understand that they would have such an immediate meaning -- because we'd been waiting over 3 years already, I was kind of stuck in thinking long-range! So I kind of shrugged and thanked God for the reminder. Then came the sad, teary morning of doors to other countries closing . . . and then the glorious e-mail and call about K! In retrospect, it seems God was telling me "Wait just 5 more hours! I've got this under control," and trying to save us from a morning of anguish. :) It makes me smile even while I type to think about longing for a sign, then literally seeing a picture of a "wait" sign on Candice's blog!
Back in 2010, an attorney had contacted our agency with information about a 2-year-old girl who was available in India. We prayed and tried to discern if this was the little one God had in mind for us -- she wasn't from the usual city or orphanage Dillon worked with, so it felt really out of left field. But when we looked through her paperwork, we figured out that the age they'd given us was wrong. She was actually 4 years old, putting her at the same age as Anya Rashi, and too old for our home study parameters. After some research about "artificial twinning," some phone calls to other adoptive parents who went that route and much prayer, we said no.
It was agonizing -- we know that each day a child gets older, it becomes less likely they will find a forever family, and frankly, I felt like a terrible person for saying no. But we never felt like we had that "go ahead" from God. So we put her photo on our computer desktop and kept praying that God would find her family. (I'm happy to report that she was matched with another family!)
All that to say . . . her name is the same as our K's name! It was a little confusing at first when Jynger at Dillon called and said our daughter's name was K! But it seemed as though God was reassuring us that He is in charge of placing children with their parents. He knew the K who was supposed to be welcomed into our family, and also took care of placing the first little K with the family meant for her.
A Birthday Present
In late August, in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I had prayed quite often about what a great birthday present a referral would be, and even told a few people what I was praying for. But my birthday came and went, and at the end of that day, I thought, "Oh well. Hopefully, we will hear something before Christmas."
After our referral, we spent a few crazy days signing and notarizing a huge stack of acceptance paperwork, and sending lots of e-mails back and forth with Jynger at our agency. In one of them, she mentioned that she had some trouble opening the first referral e-mail the orphanage sent her. My heart jumped a little bit and I e-mailed back with the subject line "A Frivolous Question."
In it, I asked if she would mind checking the date when the orphanage first sent the referral e-mail about K. She e-mailed back that the orphanage had sent an earlier e-mail, but the attachments with information about K couldn't be opened. It was first sent on my birthday, two days before she called us! It makes me tear up, even a few weeks later, to think of that answered prayer.
The Bible says that God is our good father, who loves to give His children good things. What were the odds that, after three years, our referral would happen to come right on my birthday?! But it did . . . and I think He was just showing that He delights in giving us the desires of our hearts, even down to the timing of this best birthday present of a lifetime.
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At first, I hesitated to write out all of these details, because I've also been in the position that so many are in right now: waiting and waiting, without the benefit of any dramatic or spiritual signs that all is unfolding as it should. I finally decided to share these things as an encouragement for other waiting families -- that His eye is on your sparrow, even when you can't see it. Most of the time (for the first three years of this adoption!) we don't get to see how He's working on our behalf.
But I wanted to remind you during the hard days that He sees your agonizing wait, and He sees your child all alone in the world. And He is cheering you on as you work to make sure one less child will grow up in an institution, and He is saying, "well done" as you help make sure that a child will get to experience the loving arms of a family.
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And for you, dear K . . . most importantly, I hope this account will reassure you that God truly sees you. He has a plan for your life, and loves you beyond measure. The circumstances and loss of your first family will rightfully be cause for sadness and grief -- but God specializes in redemption. He can take a tragedy and make something beautiful from it. I hope that when you grieve the circumstances that left you alone in the world, you will take comfort in seeing these details about how you came into our family. You are a beautiful creation, and we are so humbled and grateful that God is weaving the stories of our lives together.
I am also hoping to find out that another prayer has been answered -- that you, sweet K, have been able to feel the Father's love for you while you wait for us. I have prayed so often that you feel His loving arms comforting you when you're sick or in pain, or when you wake in the night. I hope someday to be able to hear that those prayers were answered too.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Given the way that her preschool experience went, I expected some tears from Anya Rashi when it was time to go into the school. She surprised me, however, by chatting happily with a pair of twins we know from our local Y, and walking in with a wave and a smile. After school, she seemed chipper and excited about her new adventures (which may have been helped by going out for ice cream after school.) She reported that her teacher is "beautiful."
The tears did appear this morning, however, while she was getting dressed. She says the day away from me was just too long, and cried for about ten minutes. Oh my heart! We'll see how tomorrow morning goes . . . and I will have a little one-on-one time with her while the boys are at their piano lesson today.
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I also wanted to record another "first" for our K -- her brothers' and sister's first reactions to seeing her first photo. Anya Rashi loves to hear what her brothers thought of their first glimpse of her, and we hope K will be just as happy to hear everyone's reactions. Just as we did for our first referral, we gathered everyone on the couch with the laptop, then opened up the document with K's photograph.
Aaron was overwhelmed that we had some news at last, after waiting and praying for 25% of his life. He came over to the end of the couch where I was sitting, leaned over and gave me a huge hug. He was a little choked up, and said into my neck, "I can't even believe this is really happening." He just stayed that way for a few minutes, then went back where he could see K's picture.
Nathan absolutely LOVES babies and little kids (and says he wants six kids when he's a father), was beside himself with joy. His first words about K were: "She looks so cute! SO CUTE!!!" He also came over and gave me a great big hug, then scrambled back to his seat next to Peter so he could look at her picture a little while longer.
Anya seemed entranced by the fact that there was now a face to match up with what, for as long as she can remember, has only been an idea. We started the adoption when she was still two years old, so waiting for a sister is literally all she can remember. Her first words were: "She's a tiny little fairy! Her name has to be Hello Kitty!" (This is high praise from a girl who would wear her two Hello Kitty shirts every day if her mother would let her.)
So, dear K, this was your first introduction to your big brothers and big sister. We hope they will be your teachers, your protectors, your companions in everything our family does, and most of all, your lifelong friends.