Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Not-So-Small Miracle

When we started this process - we were super overwhelmed at financial investment it takes to adopt internationally.  I know I have shared before - but we had just made a major lifestyle change when we left UPS after 10 years - and honestly thought the call to adopt would get quieter - because - after all - it didn't make sense now.  Instead the desire grew - and we knew that this step of obedience would require us to trust that God would literally provide at every turn.  It's amazing when I stripped away the ability (that I think we have) to control circumstances - how easy it had become to rely on my own abilities to determine our families trajectory.  I mean, we balance our checkbooks most of the time according to our life goals - a new car, house, vacation, retirement savings, shopping spree - whatever it may be.  All of the sudden those things didn't seem nearly as important as the calling to adopt and have there be one less orphan.
The first book I read once we filed our adoption application was Adopted for Life. Prior to reading is book, Nate and I felt such pressure to "handle" this alone.  To figure out a way to "make it work" - whatever it looked like.  Asking for help from our community felt - honestly - almost embarrassing.  We knew people would think - if you can't afford the $30-40,000 to adopt - how can you afford bringing a baby home and the everyday care that requires?  Does the average person have that much extra laying around to just do this?  Maybe - but this certainly wasn't our momentary financial situation.  In the book the author talks about just how hard it can be to accept help from others.  BUT it also discussed how every Christian is called to care for the orphan and the widow.  For some of us, that is the actual action of adopting and caring for a child.  For some, its giving financially - so that the families who are called have the ability to go.  And for some - its simply praying or meeting other physical needs - clothing, feeding, encouraging - providing respite or guidance through the process.  I had never really looked at it like this before.  I wish I could say that it took all of the anxiety out of the fundraising process for us - but it was still hard to start.   What made it easier what the absolutely insane amount of support we received from our community.  We never realized how many people truly have a heart for adoption - but don't necessarily feel called to do to the adopting. 
Which brings me to this:  we are so so SO  thankful for every single one of you who have reached out, prayed, bought a t-shirt, filled an envelope, and just sent encouragement our way.  Our hearts have been so overwhelmed.  As we sat and rolled shirt after shirt - realizing that each of them represented a person who was thinking of us and praying for us.  We have opened mail daily - with letters, pictures and financial support for our little one.  It literally has taken our breath away and brought us to tears.  The last few weeks Nate and I have talked multiple times about how (his words) "near-sighted" our view of our circle was - and how we thought we knew what and who God was going to use to provide.  We had NO idea. 

Through a face full of tears on Saturday night after rolling t-shirts - and again on Sunday - I told Nate - Who are we? Who are we? All we did was say yes.  That's it. We said yes.  We are no one special.  We knew we were called - and we knew at any expense we would go - to be obedient.  We thought we knew there were people who would want to be a part of her story - but we had no idea.

We honestly feel like we are right in the middle of a miracle.  And not a small one. One that brings an orphan in to a family.  One that gives a child with a name given to her based on circumstances - a name given to her by parents.  This could not have happened without our not-so-small circle.  I don't know why we were the ones called to do the action of adopting - but I am so thankful and humbled to be part of the story that is unfolding.  I am so thankful to each person who has chosen to be part of her story in other ways - because you have also chosen to be obedient and to say yes.  You are part of her story.  We could not be more grateful to the God of the Universe for being so very kind to our family - for providing even we doubted - even when we were discouraged, frustrated and burnt out.  He has never left us - and He won't now - always provided and I know He will continue.  He is so very good. 
I say all this to say two things:  (1) THANK YOU! From the very very very bottom of all our hearts.  As I have delivered shirts and opened mail with my kids - each of you have given me a chance to share with Skylar and Wyatt how God is providing for our family - for our baby's family - and how He promises to meet all our needs - and how God always keeps His promises. He has not called our family to do something that He is not going to make a way for.  And (2) if YOU feel called to adopt - but feel equally overwhelmed by the investment of it all - do it anyway!  You might not be able to afford it on your own - but your circle can! It's hard to ask for help! I get it! But don't rob your people of the true blessing that comes from giving and providing a way for a child to come home.  Also, buckle up for the ride because God is going to take your breath away when you say yes in obedience to a call He has placed on your life.  There is nothing like feeling like you are right in the middle of a miracle. 
Nate confidently claims this verse for his life - and I don't know of a better way to sum up what we have experienced these last few weeks.
Look at the nations and watch - be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe - even if you were told.  Habakkuk 1:5
Thank you for following our journey - and for allowing us to share our story.  May we all praise God together for what He is doing in one little girl's life -and how He is working on Nate and I through her story.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Paperwork and Prayers.

Signing our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China.  

For me, feeling this almost-linen-like piece of paper with its bright red official stamp brought on a new wave of emotions.  By signing this, I am promising to never abandon our baby.  Promising to fulfill our commitment to adopt.  I am promising to love and cherish a baby that was born to another Momma.  Another Momma that loved her for 9 months while she grew inside her - and another several months outside of her belly - before deciding for whatever reason - medical reasons or otherwise - that she could no longer keep her baby or give her what she needed.  A Momma who made sure to leave her in a place where she would be found and given the medical attention that she needed.  Here I am literally 7,000 miles away - promising to take care of a baby I have never met - but already love. 

Yes, this must be what it feels like to get hit with a tractor trailer of emotions.  Thankfulness for her Momma - and that her Momma chose LIFE.  Overwhelmed-ness because we are going halfway around the world for a child we have only a few papers worth of information on?  Anxiousness - because despite all the what-ifs - I just want to hold her, make her feel safe and show her love and that family is forever - and I want to do it now.  Sadness - because while I am looking forward to meeting her, holding her, and seeing her face - I know in that same moment she will experience fear of a stranger, grief, and loss - as everything she has known for the last two and a half years will be changing in the blink of an eye, quite possibly with no preparation on her end.   Gratitude - because through all of this we have been loved and supported like we never had imagined we would be. 

I ran the complete gamut of emotions all in the amount of time it took me to sign my name. 

So, what now?

We sent our signed LOA and several other documents (as a packet called an I-800) overnight to the USCIS lockbox in Texas.  They arrived on 4/16/2018.  And again we wait for approval. 

We know we need a quick turnaround on these papers if we want to have any chance of traveling with our agency's June group.  The thought of waiting until July makes me sick to my stomach - but I know that God has brought us this far - and he will not leave us now. 

Please pray with us as we continue to wait on approvals and apply for her visa/immigration paperwork!  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wyatt Anderson Turns Four!


Four years ago in the wee hours of the morning on May 1st - I was timing contractions, worrying about how I was going to be able to balance two kids, learn how to be a "boy" mom, and wondering how in the world my heart would be able to handle love for another baby because it literally hurts how much I love Skylar.

Fast forward about 12 hours, some serious contractions, one argument with your dad (over ordering lunch while I was in labor) and lot of patient encouragement from your Mimi later - and I was head over heels for another boy.   For the second time in my life, I knew a love so big it hurt.  

I wasn't sure we were going to survive the threes - especially at the beginning - because you have your daddy's stubbornness (never mine), a desire for everything to be "jutht wight", and a mind all your own.  I am so thankful that I love your middle name - because it is used way more than I ever anticipated.  You need very little sleep (again, not like me) and are strong as an ox.  To celebrate you - I looked back over just the last 30 days of photos of you on my phone - and it's amazing how these photos managed to sum you up perfectly.

You love to cook, create, and make a mess in the kitchen with me.  I am so thankful for this - because (1) your wife one day will be super lucky and (2) it is something we get to do together a couple of times a week that makes us both really happy - minus the [sometimes] major cleanup.

Your dimple.  No explanation needed.

You love to paint, color and create!  Part of this comes from being with your sister so much - but part of this is just your imagination blossoming! I love watching you "make thtuff"!

What a good helper you are!  In this picture you are helping me measure a closet and prepare for your sister.  You pray for her every single day, and your "China baby" is going to be so blessed to have a brother who is so quick to help.

You say your best friend is your dog, Knox. You are so good at remembering to feed him, give him treats, and "twain" him.  Because "he only weally liketh to lithen to me, wight, Mom?  Thit, Knox!"

You LOVE animals, bugs, creepy-crawly things.  This lizard (that you named Domino) played until he literally couldn't play anymore.  You are ALL boy - we have had a staple in your head, and a splinter that you never complained about lanced out of your foot all in the last 60 days.  You are tough as nails!

You love being outside.  You are so strong! We ran/walked a trail here and climbed to the top of the tower (which you call the Eiffel Tower) and then you still had energy to run almost all the way back to the park and play.  I am so thankful for your adventurous spirit and energy (even though I am exhausted 99.99% of the time).

You give the BEST snuggles.  Before having a boy, I really anticipated you never sitting still - and sometimes you don't - but never is there a day that goes by that at some point you don't ask me to "thnuggle" you.  These are my favorite moments, and I really am sorry that I keep sniffing you and playing with your hair even though I know it bothers you. 

You are just the cutest little thing.  You have style all your own.  Matching totally doesn't matter - blue-on-blue-on-fifteen-shades-of-blue - totally "goes".  You also go through a minimum of three outfits a day right now - because you have different outfits for different things (play outside, nap/rest, school pickup, sleeping) - and you can't stand to wear something if it gets wet or dirty.  One day I will tell you how many times I have taken your "dirty" clothes out of the hamper and put them right back in the drawer to save myself from doing laundry just for you every other day.

You are endlessly funny. You have no idea that most of the things that you say and do are truly hilarious (and sometimes inappropriate).  It's probably a good thing.  I have almost  mastered the "look away and laugh silently" while simultaneously praying I can come up with something mature and motherly to say in response to things you say and do.

So, there you have it, little [big] boy.  You are strong, kind, sweet, hilarious and everything I didn't know I needed in a little person. You try my patience on a daily basis - but I love you to the moon and back a hundred million times and then some.   Now, please, stop getting big.  Stay little with that sweet little boy voice and laugh forever and ever.

Love, Momma