I promised myself when I started this blog that I wouldn’t be pressured by timelines or false expectations to put words on a page. My desire is to write by the Spirit’s prompting. And in reality my lack of writing reflects the adoption process for us right now. The adoption journey is hard at times with not a lot to do but wait. The first 5-6 months were easy breezy! Lots of paperwork and small tasks to check off a list before the silence of waiting sets in. I’ve found myself in moments of sorrow and frustration wondering why we have to wait so long!! It’s easy to be mad and resentful to a point when we don’t realize that we’ve made it the norm. This is where I found myself a month ago…choosing to be angry.
So I decided to join the women’s bible study on Wednesday mornings at our church hoping for a little bit of revival from the desert called “waiting.” Our Women’s Minister, Debi Newman-Reisling, is leading us through a study called “Freefall to Fly” by Rebekah Lyons. Just the first page of this study was something I so desperately needed to hear. “It’s God whispering: I am here. I am true. I am strength. I love you as you are. Broken and fragmented. Let Me carry you. Let Me show you a life you never dreamed or imagined.” Up to this point I had turned this waiting process into one of anger and not one of joy, patience, hope, and TRUST. I’d slowly stopped trusting that the Lord has this! That He knows best! Rebekah mentioned something so profound to me in the video we watched on that first day. She said “God don’t show me too much, because I may try to tweak it.” That’s what surrendering looks like. To ask for just one step at a time. Show me today and not tomorrow.
We are learning through this process to lean on the only One that satisfies. There is purpose in the desert. To trust that he will show us the next step to take, because even in the desert He always makes His presence known!
We have been fortunate to have some amazing people walking with us through this journey of adoption. But there are two people in particular that have really shaped the way we’ve approached this adventure!! We want to introduce you to Amber and Dylan!! They are Mom & Dad to sweet Sydney, Lovers of people, Adoption & Foster care advocates, and most importantly followers of Jesus. They are leading the way in our church to care for the orphans and we can’t say enough about them! We sat down with them just over a year ago to hear their adoption story. They had just introduced the Belong Ministry at PCBC by sharing their desire to create a culture within our church to care for the fatherless. Our intention for lunch that day was to simply hear their story because for us adoption was way, way, WAY in the future. But after hearing their story and the road that brought Sydney home we began to rethink our perfect little family plan. Adoption had become our WHY WAIT plan.
One of the best things they ever told us was what we like to call “the onion effect.” Adoption will quickly peel you to your core. The 100 page application, which sparks hard conversations, will take a layer. The 3 rounds of home study meetings where you bear your soul to a stranger. Yep that will take a layer…maybe two. The hurtful comments that people make (even when they don’t realize what they are saying has hit a nerve). That’s another layer. We are continuing to be peeled to the core. Eventually you start to hit the layers that make your eyes water. This past week was an eye watering moment for us, but also one that keeps our eyes on Jesus even in the midst of the tears. We were reminded this last week that God has His perfect plan. A plan that will bring us closer to Him!
We were presented with a potential match through our online profile and boy does your mind start racing the second you get a call like that. The adoption timeline is unpredictable, but we still fight to make our own plans and put this journey in a box. The reality of the call was that this birth mom was in the hospital when she reached out, and we could become parents within a matter of days!! But all we could do was wait for a reply to find out if she wanted to move forward in the process with our agency. So we found ourselves in prayer. Prayers for this to be it, but at the same time asking for God’s will to be fulfilled. Amber always reminds me that there is purpose in this process. We had the divine privilege of praying for the birth-mom and for her baby no matter the outcome, because we are not the only ones facing a life changing experience. She is as well. It’s a great perspective to be aware of the other side. To understand her struggle and pray for God’s will to be done in her life. Two days after we initially received the call from our caseworker we were told that she had not responded back about moving forward. And it would be unlikely to hear anything back at that point. It’s hard not to start visualizing that baby and what it will be like to bring them home, but we can freely hope in something big because our God is BIG! I kept reading through Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work with in us.” And we can be okay with the disappointment, because we know He is in control and always faithful. We are confident that God’s using this to draw us into a deeper understanding of his great love. So we willingly ask to be peeled to the core as we joyfully await Baby Tew!
At the beginning of this year the girls in our small group decided to individually pick a “word of the year”. Each of us was to pick a word that would represent our goal, hope, or focus for the year. I’m really bad at this kind of thing….like when you get asked to pick one word that describes you. How do I describe myself in just one word? Needless to say I avoided the task for a couple days. I kept feeling anxious every time one of the girls would let us know what her word was and why. Honestly, I didn’t want to take the time to quiet myself enough to think about it. But it became my turn! I really started to think about a year from now, especially in the sense of our adoption journey. What did I want to be the thread that would weave our story of 2016? And it came to me! PRAYER.
I’ve never been “good” at praying and I often wonder why prayer is so hard? I find myself distracted and unable to express my thoughts. And I rarely pray out loud with others in fear that doesn’t sound good enough or that I will get tongue tied. I recently started reading a book called “The Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller. He talks about the difficulty of coming to God in prayer because we are messy.
“The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy. And prayer makes it worse. When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.”
And boy am I messy!! And even more needy. My prayer life over the last few months has showed me of my need for Him. I find myself constantly asking the Holy Spirit to take hold of my mind. Thoughts of self-doubt seem to be the thorn in my side. Constantly questioning things I say or even tasks I complete at work, but asking the Holy Spirit to take the lead is empowering. For example this blog!! hah I never thought I would start a blog, but I feel like our story of adoption is something to be shared! It may seem unworthy of even asking, but my prayer for this blog is for Jesus to reveal Himself through my writing. For Him to be the focal point.
My goal for the coming weeks is to set a prayer time in the morning. I think of my Dad when I think of a scheduled prayer time. He is disciplined in his prayer life and I know that every morning he is up reading and praying in his office. I know because he will ask about my friends or prayer requests I gave him months ago. He will just say, “Hey! How are Daniel and Kim? I was praying for them this morning.” I am always blown away by his commitment to pray for MY people. The last few months have been challenging for some of my closest friends. Watching them in their valleys, with not much I can do. But Jesus can. And He will. Prayer has taught me to trust and know that He is good. Even in the valley. Prayer is meant for us to understand our place, which is in relationship with God, our Creator. So even when our lists seem too long or our prayers seem repetitive let’s be reminded that Jesus tells us to come. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Fundraising. That’s right! I said fundraising. To some, the thought of asking for things seems real uncomfortable and slightly awkward. And I’m not even talking about money. I used to be really bad at asking for help, which revealed an ugly word called PRIDE. Ryan used to give me the hardest time in college because I never asked my professors for help. He couldn’t believe that I would rather fail a test than just go ask!! I had this deep rooted insecurity that would build up anytime I thought about raising my hand or setting up a meeting to talk with a teacher. I always defaulted to spending countless hours trying to figure it out on my own, and I’d say 99% of the time I would come up short. I really think it took an understanding of “grace” to release me from this prison of control. The thought of holding my plans loosely before the Lord now gives me a sense of freedom and hope. To trust that He’s got this!!
“11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
Fundraising has become a common topic in our house these days. Ryan’s new job with The Last Well is centered around telling the story of the ministry and asking others to be apart of the mission to bring the Gospel and clean water to the country of Liberia. His days are spent connecting with people and putting plans together for raising funds to drill wells. Key word CONNECT! Ryan and I love to be with people…It recharges us! When we started thinking about all that we needed to raise support for our adoption we both sunk in our seats a little. Thoughts of doubt and anxiety came flooding in and quite honestly it seemed too big a task to handle. But we were reminded that God has lead us here…to this place. A place of vulnerability. A place to get on our knees and lift our hands to Him and say “We desperately need you!” We have learned that fundraising isn’t really about asking for money. It’s about inviting people in to be more than just an observer and become a part of the story.
So we’ve decided to get creative! I bought the most comfortable t-shirt last weekend and thought…T-SHIRTS!!!! What’s better than a new comfy tee to add to your collection?! Ryan and I have decided to start at T-Shirt fundraiser! I’ve spent the last week figuring out all the logistics and now we’re ready!! Head over to our FUNDRAISING page to find out more!