Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Passport and planning!

The past few days have been a whirlwind of excitement, celebration, and attempts to plan international travel during a holiday week!

Our good news came on the night after Christmas.  Late on December 26, we were checking e-mail for a reply from a sweet India adopting family who had offered to deliver a photo album to Kavya for us.  Instead, we saw an e-mail from our agency with a most welcome subject line:  PASSPORT.

We were both in shock.  After waiting for so many months, I could barely believe it!

The boys were still awake, so we went into their rooms and told them.  The next morning, Anya climbed into bed with us.  We thought of a fun way to share the good news with her . . .  Since the first week of September, we've been telling the kids that we would celebrate Kavya's passport by going to our favorite Indian restaurant.

She stumbled sleepily into our room and laid down with her back to us.  We said good morning, and she mumbled "Good morning" back.  Then we told her, "We're going to S_____ restaurant for lunch today!!" and waited to see when she would figure it out.

After about two seconds, she whipped around with huge eyes, and said, "The passport came?!?"  Yes, indeed!!!

Since then, we've been frantically making appointments at the medical center and the embassy, and working with our travel agent -- we found out pretty close to the weekend, and there are holiday closures this week, so we had a smaller window of time to work with.

Then, just after finalizing our plane tickets and hotel arrangements, we discovered our cred*t card account had been compromised/hacked.  Yikes.  After a few phone calls, we got things sorted out and made sure that when we show up at the airport, our tickets will be there and paid for!

And we took down most of our Christmas decorations to boot.

Tonight, our family New Year's Eve celebration was especially happy as we looked at the empty chair at our table.  It won't be empty for much longer, thank God!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Somehow or other, He came just the same

Merry Christmas to all!  Christmas Eve brings the end of Advent, which means "to come" or "to wait."  I've appreciated that word in new ways this December, as we continue to wait for Kavya's passport.

I thought I might be kind of a wreck today -- when we received Kavya's referral in August of 2012, we never dreamed she would still be in India at this point.  But I am unexpectedly okay, and even celebratory.  I think there are a few reasons for that.

First, in the midst of our wait, I feel surrounded like never before by people who find themselves in heartbreaking circumstances.  Parents watching their child slip further away into addiction, a husband watching as his wife enters the final months of her journey with cancer, a friend whose parents are both hospitalized and undergoing surgeries this week, a relative battling crippling depression.  I am hyper-aware of people dealing with far more difficult things than waiting for their child's passport.

Second, I have been so loved and prayed for by so many people.  Our friends, other adoptive mamas, our church, our families -- so many people are lifting Peter and me up in prayer.

And third, this unexpectedly long and difficult wait reminds me of the place and world that Christ entered.  No one was expecting him -- the Jewish people had endured a few centuries when no prophets were speaking.  His timing, at least for the unmarried Mary and Joseph, was pretty inconvenient (and downright scandalous).  He arrived in a chaotic, overcrowded city that was occupied by foreign oppressors.  Difficult circumstances, no doubt -- circumstances people endured with no end in sight.

Yet, to paraphrase Dr. Seuss, somehow or other, He came just the same!  No matter what is happening on our noisy, messy planet, or in our noisy, messy lives, He came to dwell among us -- the Word made flesh, the fulfillment of many promises, God with us.  He really came here, and invites each of us to follow Him from the manger to the cross, to believe in the forgiveness, peace, and eternal life that is His alone to offer.

That's the main reason I am doing just fine -- no, the reason I'm joyful this Christmas.  Even while missing my daughter (and wondering with the nuns do to celebrate Christmas with the children?), Christ is reason enough to have joy.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving and other thoughts

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with our families. Actually, we took advantage of the fact that the beginning of Hannukah and Thanksgiving fell on the same day -- the first time that's happened since the 1880s (and it won't happen again for hundreds of years).  So instead of turkey and stuffing, we ate brisket and beets and the kids played with dreidels.  I still made pumpkin and apple pies though -- gotta have those!

I've been trying to remain thankful during this season of waiting.  And actually, our delayed travel has brought a few benefits.  My back has had time to heal (I lifted weights today for the first time since September), and I've been able to help Peter's mom after her knee surgery, which I wouldn't have been able to do with a newly-arrived 2-year-old.  And we will be able to attend our sons' boychoir concert this weekend too, which we didn't want to miss, since it may be Aaron's last one (due to his voice changing).

But I've also been trying to allow myself to feel sad.  Some days are just hard, as we wait and wonder when we will hear about Kavya's passport. We are definitely having the sensation of missing someone we've never met.  And I am also grieving for the millions of other children living in orphanages in India.  About 8,000 of them will go home to families this year, and they all rely on the same maddeningly unpredictable process to get there.

The dates and timelines keep swirling around in my brain, too.  We began Kavya's adoption when Anya was 2, received the referral when Anya was 5, and now Anya's birthday is two weeks away . . . so Kavya won't be home until Anya is 7.  And it is so frustrating to know that we have legally been Kavya's parents since July 31, when the judge signed our adoption paperwork in court -- and she's still not home with us.

I'm trying to follow the model of the Psalmists, and be honest about every thought and emotion.  I bring it all to my Father, good, bad, and ugly.  And then after being brutally honest about my sadness, anger and frustration, I meander my way back to what I know is true:  He is still good, and He is the only trustworthy thing in this world.

He sees every child that is hungry, lonely, ill, or without a family.  He loves them and weeps over them more than I do. He is still good in the face of inefficiency, injustice, pain, and sadness.  He loves Kavya more than I will ever be able to.

I'd be lying if I said that takes away the sadness and frustration entirely.  But it does give me comfort to focus on something true and good.  And during these last, long weeks of waiting, that is what I need.