Friday, August 24, 2012

Rough Week and a Promise

This has been a rough week. I mean really rough. The amount of tears that have been cried this week is shocking really. :) Our adoption worker, Terri, had told us to be prepared for a 4 month wait between trip #1 and trip #2 (it’s been a little over 3 so far) however we have recently seen it happen A TON faster than that. There is a family that travelled on their first trip to Volgograd over a month after we did and they are back in Russia right now, had their court hearing today. Without seeing that I think I would be doing a lot better, but seeing how fast it COULD have happened (their agency and POA (Power of Attorney who is the person on the ground in Russia, also our representative -ours is Lena) did things a lot differently) is literally like torture. Knowing that MY baby is still sitting in an orphanage, seemingly no closer to getting home, and if the process had gone differently he could be HOME by now…

We found out today that our documents are STILL not at court. Our POA was waiting until the “good” judge was back from vacation to submit our documents to him. That’s nice and all but I would take a judge that would grill us in court over my baby waiting any longer to get home. The word as of today is that our documents will be submitted to him Monday and he typically schedules a preliminary hearing with the social worker from the orphanage, the Ministry of Education (or Department of Education, called both things, sort of the equivalent of DHR), and our POA within TWO weeks of submitting our documents to court. THEN during that preliminary hearing he will schedule a court date for us, which we have seen be about 2 weeks out, but that obviously varies. So, if the time frames stick with what our POA is telling us it could be a month before we make it back to court. My heart is just breaking the longer this takes. My baby just keeps getting older (18 months) and I know way too much about brain development/attachment/neglect/etc. due to my job. I realize that God is bigger than all of that, but knowledge is my enemy right now and I wish I didn’t know so much about adoption and the effects of all of that on the children. :)

I have definitely come completely to the end of MY rope. But, guess what? It’s not really the end…

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV)

Oh how I need that strength only He can give. I honestly can’t explain what we’re feeling right now.

The Lord brought this song to mind this morning, oh how fitting it is (minus the sentence that says “there’s no reason worth this”…because Elijah is TOTALLY worth this). I have just been listening to it on repeat, bawling. It describes perfectly how I feel.

“Trust In Me Now” by Anthony Evans 

I know your past
The point of breaking into pieces
I know you feel
Like there’s no reason even worth this
And when you cry
The tears that fall don’t even touch your pain, no, no

Even though you feel alone
Even though your strength is gone
As your weary heart just tries to hold on
Even if your faith is lost
Even if its hard to trust
In a Lord, that would let the rain fall down
Trust in me now
Trust in me now

I can hear every prayer that goes unspoken
I feel the weight of everything that’s on your shoulders
So don’t give up
There is nothing we can’t overcome
There’s nothing we can’t overcome

Even though you feel alone
Even though your strength is gone
As your weary heart just tries to hold on
Even if your faith is lost
Even if its hard to trust
In a Lord, that would let the rain fall down
Trust in me now
Trust in me now

I can see what you can’t see
And I will hold you close to me
Through the storm until you can see the light

Even though you feel alone
Even though your strength is gone
As your weary heart just tries to hold on
Even if your faith is lost
Even if its hard to trust
In a Lord, that would let the rain fall down
Trust in me now
Trust in me now
Trust in me now
Trust in me now

You can listen to the song here.

To top it ALL off…today is our little girl’s two year Heaven birthday. Like I have mentioned before, God has orchestrated every single detail of our journey and I am so glad that our little girl is in Heaven with Jesus and we are able to adopt Elijah. He has a plan in ALL of this, I know He does, but I definitely just feel drained…emotionally and physically as well (this may be because I have ran my heart out this week…I needed the endorphins but may have done permanent damage to my body :) ).

Headed to the police department right now to redo a local police clearance form that is now expiring due to the longer than anticipated wait. Goodie. :) I hope this is the only document that we will have to redo before court…

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Hidden Cost of Adoption

No one tells you about the hidden costs of adoption. Sure we got a break down from our agency about costs that we could expect to incur, but the hidden costs…

Things like…

IMG_1274 IMG_1275 and…

IMG_1283 IMG_1292 and…

IMG_1288 IMG_1312 and…

IMG_1316

This is just a small small sampling of the “retail therapy” as Dee Dee (the other family that travelled to Russia with us for their first trip) describes it. I can’t seem to stop buying things for him. I have been buying from outlets, zulily, totsy…I’ve been buying things on sale and with coupons. So that’s something…

I was talking about said retail therapy with a friend and she pointed out that it probably is the only thing that makes me feel connected to him. It’s all I can do to care for him right now. That’s totally it. It makes me feel like I am doing something when I purchase things/get things ready for him. It’s all useful things, after all, he needs clothes on his body, he needs useful toys, he needs a place to sit, a way to travel…but my goodness, I need to stop. :)

Side note…I have this obsession with onesies and since he won’t be able to pull them off for much longer, if you ever come to my home in the near future after we bring him home, that is what he will be wearing. :) Also, I have a new obsession with t-shirts with appliqu├ęs and his name/monogram on them (thanks a lot Jill. I got one at a shower I had this past weekend and now I need more…need is a strong word there…). I want a whole wardrobe of them.

And the other hidden cost for us…food. Comfort food. Raisinets, ice cream, greasy hamburgers and fries…anything that I don’t have to prepare and cook. My friend Kat (who is also adopting and has been in the process for a very very long time) and I decided that we need to market adoption pants with a drawstring/stretchy waistband. Yep.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

DE Release Letter

We FINALLY got word on Tuesday that our DE (Department of Education) release letter had been received! This basically is a letter that says Elijah is free to be adopted internationally. The DE tries to explore all options – trying to contact birth parents or other relatives, etc – before issuing this release letter. Now that this letter is in hand our entire file is being notarized/authenticated over in Russia and should be submitted to court next week.

I am a little bit unsure the process from there…I have gotten mixed messages and timelines so we will just wait and pray and see. We are praying desperately that we will get a court date assigned to us next week, soon after submitting our file to court, but we have been told in other regions this can take around 30 days after the file has been submitted.

Once again, we ask for your prayers…prayers that every person that comes in contact with our file will feel a sense of urgency to complete their part. Prayers that our facilitator on the ground knows exactly what she is doing to help expedite the process. Prayers that the judge will see our file early next week and issue us a court date so that we are back in Russia within the next couple of weeks. Continued prayers for Elijah that he is continuing to grow, attach to his caregivers, be happy and cared for…and that the Lord will be preparing him for this adoption. Thanks for all of your support and prayers!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Contentment

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13

Contentment. This one is hard for me. While we were going through infertility, loss, waiting for a referral...all of that...I honestly felt like I had grasped this verse and really was living it through Christ's strength. Back then it was only Barry and I that were effected (affected? How can I be 30 years old and still be confused by the usage of those two words??). I could SEE the Lord using our story to impact others, I knew that He really was using all things, even our suffering, for His glory.

Now my child's life is in the picture and I'm having a hard time feeling content. I have a hard time seeing why this wait is in anyone's best interest, most of all my 17 month old.

Maybe that's it right there...feeling...maybe contentment, just like joy and many other "emotions" isn't about a feeling. It's about a knowledge that He is in control and will orchestrate things according to His will. It's about being firmly rooted in His promises so that when we don't feel content we know that the only way to stay sane is through Him and His strength. Through His strength we can face each day content because we are all, not just Barry and I but Elijah too, right where He wants us to be. After all, look at what He has promised us...

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

I don't need to rely on my feelings but trust that He can and will use even this time for His glory. I pray that it isn't wasted time and that there is purpose in the wait, especially for Elijah. Maybe he needs this time to form stronger bonds with his caregivers so that he is better able to transfer those attachments one day to us. Maybe...I don't know...but I do pray that there is purpose in this wait for each of us.

I just looked up the definition of contentment and one of the definitions was "ease of mind". That's a hard one for me not knowing how Elijah is doing or how he's being cared for, but God tells us "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

In essence, making us content. Casting out those anxious thoughts, resting in His promises, being thankful in every situation, trusting Him with each of my tomorrows as well as Elijah's tomorrows = Contentment. I think I can do this. Obviously not in my own power, but through His strength, I can do it.