July 2010


This post is from 2 years ago today. It had nothing to do with adoption, but it was a moment in time I will never forget.

With empty hands

Tonight there was a change that impacted people I love. In protecting privacy there are no identifying details in this story. Thanks for reading and understanding that this blog is a place for me to take an active and moving event in my mind and lie it to rest here for the night.

I went to help. There was a brief moment in time that seems some how frozen. From that moment you recognize someone you love is in need, you want to help. And love, I think, means you want to fix it and make it better. Whatever it is. And you believe, through love, that it is your sole responsibility to fix whatever is wrong and protect those you love.

Love is such a wonderful thing. Loves provides happiness and memories, and faith and hope. But in a moment where you cannot change what is affecting those you love, love brings pain… or allows pain, or requires pain, I am not sure which. There must be a direct correlation between how much you love someone one and how helpless you feel when you cannot protect, when you cannot fix. I saw this tonight.

In my mind there is an ideal world where everything works the way I think it should, I can fix anything, I know everything, and there is no mountain I cannot move. But outside of my “ideal world” there is an encounter with the reality of what a small little being I am in this great big universe. Life is a cycle, full of changes, we do the best we can to prepare, but there are surprises, shocking surprises that leave you feeling lost and confused. No book or research can prepare you for that unanticipated change in the cycle. Without information I feel stripped of who I am, finding a core fear that dwells suppressed by the endless trail of information I feed to that needy monster of fear.

By human nature we want to know why. And by human nature I believe we will find and create those answers in their own time – in the right time. The same series of events that we can create and follow in our mind, bring us to the blessings we receive or the losses we encounter. The blessing in my mind, may be a loss in yours. (for a moment back to the adoption – my blessing is another woman’s loss). How can sadness and happiness, comfort and loss be in the same exact moment. A happy ending depends on where you stop the story (quote plagiarized from a Google search – I have had a long night, sincere apologies and gratefulness to the author who penned those words).

When I have nothing to offer, when that suppressed fear finds it’s way to the surface, I do not have the answer, I cannot fix the problem, I am not even sure if I understand the question – it is there I have only love. And I offer my willingness to share the sadness and the loss, to carry a portion of the burden, if I can, if I am allowed, so that the burden is not so heavy for the ones I love.

In moments of loss where grief brings the pain we experience today, it is a result of the happiness we once experienced.

Love. Loss or Change. Fear. Reality. Blessings. Relief. An infinite amount of information could exist related to any one of these words, but tonight all captured in one moment.

Even when your hands are empty your heart can be full. Tonight that is all I had to offer.

 
What’s you Point of View on loss and pain, when you can’t make it better for the ones you love?

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” Habakkuk 2:3 (LB)

  • Noah waited 120 years from the time he started building the ark until it began to rain.
  • Abraham was told he would be the father of a great nation and didn’t have a child until he was ninety-nine.
  • God told Moses he would be the leader to lead his people out of four hundred years of slavery, but then made him wait in the desert forty years. 
  • Joseph spent years in prison before God raised him up and he became the ruler God wanted him to be. 
  • God had David anointed as king, but then David waited for years until he actually got to be king. 

We all have to go through these waiting periods. Even Jesus waited for thirty years in the carpenter’s shop before setting out on his public ministry.

Why do we wait? It teaches us to trust in God. We learn that his timing is perfect. One of the facts we have to learn is this: God’s delay never destroys his purpose.

A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the difference between “no” and “not yet,” and so must we. Many times we think God is saying, “No,” but he is saying, “Not yet.”

(Click here for the full Purpose Driven devotional)

I can look back through the past two years of blogs and see a perfectly woven tapestry of moments in time creating a perfect design. If I waited patiently (which I didn’t) or suffered in anxiety (which I did), still things only came to pass in their perfect time.

I’ll save the articulation of all of our timing miracles for another day. But it is only by grace and mercy that I have moved from relentless anxiety around waiting and my lack of patience, to be able to respond calmly (though passionately) to the statement “Patience can move mountains”. Waiting calmly in anticipation I watched a miracle happen. I still don’t claim to have patience, but I tell you that sometimes that’s all you really have to offer, and that’s okay, because it’s the exact thing that needs to be offered.

What’s your Point of View on timing and patience?

From th adoption blog of MegaGirl and DivaGirl:
 
Perseverance the Sister of Persistence
Yesterday I learned a few lessons in perseverance and persistence. Sometimes you have to ask twice. Sometime you have to wait it out. And sometimes you have to wait it out and ask five times.

May I tell you my story again?
Yesterday, I was assisting a family with an issue related to adoption, and looking for a way to to get their children to America. After a year long wait since they first saw the faces of the children that would become their own, it was time. It was time for their wait to be over.

I contacted the organization that could assist with the uniting of this beautiful family. I told the woman on the phone my story (sorry the actual story is for another blog). A complete stranger, my only hope to grant this request. I needed the help of this woman. I’d never met her, and surely will never meet her again. There is nothing I can do to repay her for her patience with my persistence. One hour, twenty-four minutes and twelve seconds on the phone in waiting , hoping that this woman would have mercy on me.

She told me there was nothing she could do, she had tried and she was genuine. I asked, “May I tell you my story again?” and she agreed to listen. I think I told her my story 5 times before we were off the phone. Somewhere in the mix I told her I was begging for her help, and again asked if I could repeat the story. I was asking for her to give us mercy and grant our request now. And our request was pricey. We were asking for something very expensive. What we were asking for was beyond the means of those involved. Again I asked for “immediate” assistance, and to please assist us financially with the issue we were facing.

One adoptive mother, now my sister, has persevered a storm. A year long storm. And if she could persevere a year long wait to her children. I could persist to have our needs meet at that moment. The persevering was over, it was time to be persistent.

And the perseverance of one mother along with the persistence of another mother paid off. A waiting family and their children are days away from being united as one!
 
Luke 18:1-8
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4″For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Hebrews 10:35-36
35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Defined: Persevere
-verb (used without object) 1. to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.
2. to persist in speech, interrogation, argument, etc.; insist.

-verb (used with object) 3. to bolster, sustain, or uphold: unflagging faith that had persevered him.

Defined: Persistent
persisting, esp. in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering: a most annoyingly persistent young man.

Quotes
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
Calvin Coolidge

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak
Thomas Carlyle

Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other, a matter of time.

Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.
Napoleon Hill

God is with those who persevere

No great achievement is possible without persistent work.
Philemon Bertrand Russell

If at first you don’t succeed, get a bigger hammer.
Alan Lewis

What’s your Point of View and experience with perseverance and persistence?

From my post 2 years ago regarding ComdeyBoy’s adoption:

Living out loud

*I would like to apologize in advance for any references in this post that might offend. I really want to be able to make my point and this topic is hard to cover without pictures. I want to clarify, I know that skin colors do not come in red, yellow, black, and white. I don’t use these references to make light of the issue, in fact the opposite, I am trying to embrace their culture and what is important to them, and how much I love each of them.

Today Daddy T and I attended a class at our agency. It is a required class for those adopting children over the age of 12 months. While we were there, we ran into a couple from a previous class. I love being part of this adoption community. There are a few things about being adoptive parents that can only be understood by families who are adopting or have adopted. We were able to have lunch together and talk about our journey. It was so nice.

Today the class, and some conversations, reminded me of just how unique and special this journey is. I reflected on the extreme change that is about to happen to my family. Being a mother of three is only the tip of the iceberg for what’s about to change in my life and the life of my family. We are about to become a transcultural family. We will be a Turkish-Polish-Swedish-Norwegian-African family (not listed in any particular order, if you were wondering). All of us. We embrace all of those cultures and we are so excited to continue to teach our children about where we come from and what makes us special.

Once a family becomes different, visually different, there are many things that people will be able to tell or assume about our family. Some correct assumptions, some incorrect. Family photos with two light colored children and one dark colored child… likely some one’s curiosity will require them to ask why.

One thing I appreciate about my family of origin is the diversity. When my family gets together it is like a United Nations meeting. We have Native American, Turkish, Greek, Taiwanese, African-American, and now we will add African. We love ALL the little children of the world, red and yellow, black and white – is that song still politically correct? The diversity extends beyond skin color and into colorful pasts, careers, religions, life stories and family dynamics. We know no two people or families are alike, but with my family, sometimes the only similarity is that we have so many differences.

So from my perspective Daddy T’s family has tons of similarities through out the family and extended family. It was one of the first things I noticed when I met his family. They stood out because they all seemed so similar. I definitely appreciate this about his family. The Grandmas are Grandmas, the moms are moms. Not a dynamic changing environment like my own family. I don’t want to draw any comparisons to say one is better than the other, that is not the case. They are different in a way that has to be appreciated. For Daddy T and I these worlds can create a great compliment for us and our needs.

I do have to wonder how his family may experience this change we are about to bless them with. We have made a decision that impacts his family differently than it impacts mine. If my family goes out to dinner (red, yellow, black and white), will anyone even wonder about our new little boy… will anyone walk up and say, “Hey, are you all related?” No, I think mostly people would decide we aren’t all related. However, Daddy T’s family will now include black and white. I look forward to the unique journey that this dynamic will create on its own.

Daddy T and I have decided we are willing to live out loud. We understand that people may approach us and ask questions. We have plans about how to deal with that and how to answer those questions. This is another reason I have this blog, to educate our friends and family about this change. Having this child requires us to be a family living out loud. So much for us all to learn and wonder about.

What’s your Point of View on living out loud?

“But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. . . . Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:6, 8 (NLT)

Click here for the full devotional at the Purpose Driven Connection.

Here is the follow up post from my previous entry:

Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”
Aristotle

From my last post:
Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

A comment on post:
I have been visiting often now, and I must say – that quotation got to me. We are readying ourselves to take this journey God has put before us and the thoughts of how to deal with those who tell us that we are wrong… that bothers me the most right now. Thanks for the thoughts!

More thoughts:
I have heard this kind of story more than once lately. The story of a person or a family, trying to do the right thing, feeling led by God, but the critics decide to voice their opinion. I do think that people are doing this “voicing” because they want to help, but clearly they don’t understand the impact of their words. They want to protect me, protect the do-er. But in the process they are losing sight of the needs of those I am trying to help. There are many of you who want to help, who feel lead to help… indeed there is always a critic. Give the critic respect, but you don’t have to take their advice. If you are directed by a higher power, by The Higher Power, then a critic is only a critic. It’s not their mission, it’s not their calling. When the critic comes, you can ask them to pray. Ask them what God would tell them about the situation.

I wanted to throw a couple of verses out. They are random and out of context… I am open to hearing why these verses don’t mean what I think. But here are some words I felt lead to :

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
So, help me understand. Is it even possible to be out of God’s will in wanting to care for an orphan, a fatherless child? “Pure and faultless,” is looking after orphans and widows… I think that means that caring for orphans is not only good, but required… but that’s just me. You decide for yourself.

Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’ Zechariah 7:10
Is the critic oppressing the fatherless when the critic points you away from caring for an orphan. Is the critic going against this verse? It says we should NOT oppress the fatherless or the widow, should I hinder the work of someone who would care for these?

And say before the Lord your God, I have taken all the holy things out of my house and have given them to the Levite, and the man from a strange land, and him who has no father, and the widow, as you have given me orders: I have kept in mind all your orders, in nothing have I gone against them: Deuteronomy 26:13
Interesting, it appears to me God says even what is set aside for Him should be give to the orphan. – see the next verse.

When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. Deuteronomy 26:12

“When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. Deuteronomy 24:21
Should the first of what is set aside for God and the last what we have belong to the orphan? I think these verses tell me, some of the first fruits and some of my last fruits do belong to the orphan.

I would ask you to challenge yourself to ask, is caring for this orphan what I want to do for me, and will God bless that (I think he will), or am I carrying out God’s command and honoring what has been asked of me. Then you will be able to respond to your critic.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt

What’s your Point of View and experience with critics?

How do you know when a dream is from God or when it’s just something you’ve thought up yourself? The Bible tells us that God, “by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20 LB)

(Click here for the full devotional from the Purpose Driven Connection)

A previous blog post I wrote:

I often come across quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson that make me think,or that I somehow find myself relating to. The other day I posted a couple of his quotes on facebook. I’ve gone back to this quote a couple times. I posted the quote and then my own comment below:

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I wonder if Mr. Emerson walked the talk. I don’t know much about him. But I often see a lot inside of his quotes.

Courage. An interesting word. dictionary.com says : the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. Courage is to do it without fear? I guess if I don’t have fear then it doesn’t seem very courageous… so to me it is to do it in SPITE of fear or doubt.

Sometimes other people doubt me, sometimes I doubt myself. But I know all things are possible…all things.

 

No, I wasn’t given a big vision or “dream”, but I had a desire. A desire to follow God and a desire to grow my family, so for me a dream of adoption. Did I know my family would grow from 4 to 8 in less than 21 months? No, and it’s not like being told to build an Ark, but it’s definately bigger than I could have dreamed. It’s bigger than me, and certainly way more than I could do I my own.

What’s your Point of View, have you been given a dream bigger than you?

I wonder why God took us in and adopted us. We are broken sinners. We are totally imperfect, our only redeeming hope is to return at least a portion of the love God gives us. And even that love can appear conditional at times. I am in awe of the mercy and grace of a God who will accept anyone no matter how broken, wounded, damaged, traumatized, and ungrateful… and will not only accept us in, but give us love, hope and a future.  Not only did he take us in, he gave his only son so that I might be saved.

I was recently considering how this works in the flesh. What if I were presented with a child broken and wounded? Would I be willing to take that child in and care for him, accept him as my own? But even more would I give up one of my flesh and blood to save that child? Could I give up a part of myself to show grace to a child whom I do not know? Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son. Would I be willing?

A few times in these adoption journey’s I have been asked if I am doing what is best for the children already in my home when I add another child. Some people have asked if I am “sure” I am doing the right thing. I can tell you I feel that God has called me to these adoptions. I can tell you that I love these children and would give my life for any one of them. I don’t know what it means to do what’s “best” or to be “sure”, but I believe I am following God’s direction.

God chose me. I was broken yet he took me in.

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