Friday, May 16, 2014

Roadblocks, Detours, and Disappointments

This is not a posting I was ever wanting to make on this blog.   And I won't spend a lot of time trying to be creative in my writing.  Today we hit a major road block in this adoption process and as I try to write this post, I'm heartbroken and numb, trying to adjust, trying to trust, trying to remind myself who is in control here.
On Tuesday morning the call that we had been hoping for, longing for, praying for....finally came!  Our adoption coordinator called that morning to tell us that our SDA appointment was May 27th in Kiev and we would be flying to Ukraine on May 25th.  I was elated!  Full of joy and thankfulness!  Wanting to tell everyone about this exciting news! Ellie, Josiah, Ashley and I rejoiced together and I asked Ellie to quickly  construct a poster for me to take to Jim's office.   After I dropped Josiah off at school I drove over to Jim's office and walked into the receptionist area with a huge grin on my face.  Jim's staff could tell something was up.   Fortunately, Jim wasn't with a patient...he was standing in the hall.  So I held up my sign and burst into tears.
Finally!  After months of waiting...we had our travel dates!  And it was less then two weeks away!!  For two days we excitedly began making plans to travel.  Jim's schedule was cleared of appointments, shopping lists and packing lists were made out, childcare arrangements were put in place, weekend trips that had been planned were cancelled, thoughts of hugging my son before the end of the month filled my head.  But Thursday afternoon that all came to a screeching halt....

There is a family that we met during our hosting time last Christmas who has been tracking along at about the same pace as us in the adoption process.  Their approval and SDA appointment came a couple weeks before ours and this week they have been in Ukraine.  It's been a rough week for them.  They arrived in Kiev, only to hear that the Orphan Services Director did not want to give them a referral to travel to Lugansk for their daughter.  After much prayer, the director reluctantly granted them permission and their referral, but made them sign a form saying they were not holding Orphan Services or the American Embassy responsible for any danger that they would encounter on the journey.  Yesterday, we saw their blog with this update:

They closed adoptions to our region today.

My heart sunk as I read this and I immediately tried to contact our adoption coordinator to see if this was true.  Igor is in the same region as their daughter.  What would this mean for us?  Although I repeatedly tried, I couldn't get a response from our coordinator.  But this morning I received the dreaded phone call.  Yes.  It's true.  Effective immediately today, all adoptions in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have been closed.  Orphan services feels it's too dangerous to allow American families to travel there.  NO exceptions will be made.  Now instead of calling the travel agent who had reserved our flights to pay for our plane tickets...I would call him and tell him to cancel the reservation.  We could not travel.  

So what does that mean for us going forward?  Tonya did give us a smidgen of hope to hang onto when we spoke this morning.  She said that the SDA is going to wait and see what happens with the election on May 25th (Yes, we had been scheduled to travel on election day....of all days...)  If things get messy after the election they are going to try and get the children who are in the process of being adopted out of those regions to a safe place.  Right now, that's all the information we have.  We don't know if the region will open back up for adoption.  We don't know what would happen if they moved Igor to a safe place.  But today, even as we reel from this news we will choose not to hang our hope on man and his abilities, but on God who is Sovereign in all things.  God.  Who moves mountains.  God.  Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or think.  God.  Who is our only stronghold and strength when everything else crumbles around us.  God.  Who says,

Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
God is fully capable of rescuing Igor and bringing him home to us.  He is fully capable of accomplishing this adoption in a way we couldn't have imagined and has never been done before.  But we will declare, just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego declared...
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire (the Ukrainian unrest)  and He will deliver us out of your hand,
O King.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O King,
That we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that 
you have set up."
"But even is He does not....."  Even if He does not fulfill this dream....We will still praise Him.  We will still love Him.  And we will still trust that His plan is best.  
So please pray with us....
 - for healing of our broken hearts
- for renewed trust in God's sovereign and perfect plan
- for protection for Igor
- for God to be glorified
- for God to bring about Igor's rescue
- for safety for the family in Ukraine right now.  They are in a very dangerous place.
Jim told me yesterday, that when I texted him the news that Igor's region may be closed for adoption, He immediately began to pray and He was reminded of the story of Abraham and Isaac.  Abraham was asked to offer his only son on an altar as a sacrifice to God.  To prove that Abraham trusted God's plan even when he didn't understand it.  To show that he loved God more than anything else.  Jim was reminded that Igor (and all of our children for that matter) is God's.  He doesn't belong to us and he never will.  God will work out His best plan for Igor... in His His way.

"what Thou wilt; as Thou wilt; when Thou wilt." - Thomas a Kempis

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mile 20

"Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God." 
Psalm 42:11

I have been putting off updating our blog for several days now because I was unsure of just what to communicate.  I wanted to wait until we found out our travel dates for Ukraine.  For the past couple weeks I have been on pins and needles, expecting every phone call to be from our adoption coordinator telling us the exciting news that we would be heading to Ukraine this month.  But that call hasn't come. In fact, because of three different holidays in Ukraine in the last two weeks, it seems like things have slowed down to a snail's pace.  Thursday, when I spoke to our coordinator and found out that it could very well be another 3 weeks before we travel I was completely deflated and full of frustration and questions.  I feel like my prayers have been bouncing off the ceiling lately.  There are some specific things I am praying for that have gone unanswered or God has said no to.  As we pray for mountains to move, for Igor to be rescued, for God to be glorified….He seems to remain silent.   And Thursday I hit the wall.  Forgive my running analogy for those of you who aren't runners, but that day felt very much like mile 20 in a marathon.  The wall, in a marathon, happens somewhere around mile 20.  When you hit the wall you feel like you can't possibly go another step.  Everything hurts, you strength is zapped and 6 more miles seems like an impossible feat.  You just want to sit down and quit.  It's TOO hard to go on…what were you possibly thinking when you thought you could do this?  And that was Thursday for me.  I was angry with God for not answering.  I was so very worn with the waiting.  My faith was crumbling.  I felt like I couldn't ask God for anything big, because He wouldn't come through.  This whole adoption journey for us has been going on for 2 1/2 years now and I'm so ready for the happy ending.  Thursday, as I heard more discouraging and frightening news of unrest in Ukraine, in areas so very close to Igor, the question that has been nagging at me in the very back recesses of my mind came spewing out.  God, are you really going to put us through this whole ordeal and not rescue Igor?  Are you planning to break my heart all over again?  I can't take this anymore!  I had hit the wall.
     How do runner's finish a marathon after they've hit the wall?  They refuel, rehydrate, and refocus their eyes back on the goal.  So after sulking for more of the day than I care to admit, I finally, though skeptically, opened my bible to seek nourishment for my depleted soul.  And as I looked to refuel with the "Bread of Life" and rehydrate with the "Living Water," God turned my eyes to Psalm 118.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Oh let Israel say,
His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Oh let the house of Aaron say
His lovingkindness is everlasting
Oh let those who fear the LORD say,
His lovingkindness is everlasting.
From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?

The word for lovingkindness here is chesed which means goodness, kindness, deeds of devotion, faithfulness, mercies, unchanging love.  The lies that were weighing me down were, "God doesn't love you as much as others, He's not always good, He can't be trusted.  He won't come through."  The truth is God is only good.  His love for me never changes.  He is full of goodness, kindness, faithfulness and deeds of devotion.  He is completely in control of this whole situation and He is working out His perfect plan.  His plan….not my plan.  His timing…. not my timing.  His glory…which will be my happy ending…no matter what happens.  So we continue to wait, and trust….and wait….and trust.  Please continue to pray for Igor's safety during all this unrest in Ukraine.  Click here for a recent story on Donetsk.  Continue to pray that God will keep the doors of adoption open and bring Igor home.  

On a lighter note…we have two new ways you can partner with us to raise funds to bring Igor home.  We have decided to relaunch our T-shirt sales.  Because of some problems with our original company, we are using a different printer and handling sales ourselves.  Our dear friend, Chris Harrell, came up with a wonderful design.  We think you'll love this new shirt!  You can click on the picture on the right to be taken to a page that explains how the sale will work this time.    

The second way you can help us raise money is simply by doing something  most of you do regularly anyways….Drink lots of coffee!!  We have set up a fundraiser with Just Love Coffee Roasters.  JLCR has a variety of products…12 oz. bags, 8 oz. bags, Individual cups, mugs, t-shirts….  You simply need to click on the link on the right to be taken to our storefront, and from there, shop for products.  Be sure to use our link, otherwise we won't get credit for the sales.  Feel free to share our link with all your coffee drinking friends!  
Psalm 118: 15-17
The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
the right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
I will not die but live,
And tell of the works of the LORD.