The Journey

December 28, 2006

Course Corrections

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dtcaugust2006 @ 8:01 pm

When Jonathan and I were called to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our life changed. Mainly, because our priorities changed. We no longer wanted to live for ourselves, we wanted to live for God.  Interestingly, many people we know now mistakenly believe we made this commitment a long time ago. Not so. Jonathan and I were born again and baptized in 2003.

We both were raised in the church, but it was a shallow, nice “churchianity” that took place in our head and not our hearts. We went to church with our folks on Sundays to spew out memorized prayers, listen to boring sermons, and be frightened into temporary obedience. After the hour of church service (and boy, did the minister/priest hear it if the service was one second longer than one hour), we went home and essentially forgot about Christ and His teachings.

We both grew up, graduated from high school (we didn’t know each other and lived in two distant towns), and commenced living our lives for ourselves.

For about 10 years, we each, in our own way, flailed. Picture Lake Michigan on a day of six foot waves with a person in the water who thinks he can swim, but really can’t. Lots of kicking, gulping and splashing. That was us. Little fish in big water.

Then one day, the Lord led us to one another. We stopped and looked at each other, and saw our futures through a hazy midst. It was like recognizing an authentically friendly voice and seeking it out in the fog. We could sense such hope and promise in each other, and we were tired doing life by ourselves. Both coming from failed marriages, we knew we had to take a different approach if this one was going to work. So, we sought out a church — one that was different from the unfulfilling ones we grew up in. We found a non-denominational fundamentalist church led by a forty-something-year-old man who had a gift for preaching. The church was in a warehouse setting with a “rock” band. We were uncertain when we walked in and stunned when we walked out. It was nothing like we had experienced before. We went back.

Shortly after we started attending, the church began the Purpose Driven Life campaign. We joined a small group and read the book. The first sentence hooked us– “It’s not about you.”

“If it’s not about me, then who is it about?” we asked. God answered, and Jonathan and I were transformed. It was mid 2003.

We began to make changes. Some large, some small. Slowly but surely we tried to become better people. We continue to try to be better than we were/are. We try to love more. We try to be more like Christ. And we try every day, and sometimes, it is a moment to moment struggle.

This blog began as a recounting of our journey to adopt a baby from China. But, unfortunately, due to some new regulations China has issued and some old sins, it appears that isn’t going to happen in the near future.

So, like so many times before, God has made a course correction. And despite so much evidence of the Evil One trying to distract us from our mission, we plod on. Sometimes with our chin down, but mostly with our chin up.

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…

October 5, 2006

Eighteen Months

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dtcaugust2006 @ 9:19 pm

Most everyday I log onto www.groups.yahoo.com to check on the status of our dossier in China. With anticipation, I click on the link that will take me into our agency’s database, which lists all of the waiting groups as well as a few of the most recent groups who have already traveled to China. Statistics are given for each group, including group number, dossier mailing date, log in date (in China), date reviewed by Chinese authorities, referral date, and travel authorization. What amazes me as I follow the progress of these groups (and my own) is how the process in China seems to be slowing down to a crawl. Based on the most recent statistical trend, I calculated how long it will be until we receive our referral — 18 months! Wow! That is far from the 6-7 months that used to be standard.

As I pick up my jaw from the floor, let me say that it never occurred to me that there would be such a pronounced chasm in the waiting time. Just to demonstrate the hugeness of this span, consider what life events can occur over 18 months. In an 18-month period:

  • Babies are conceived, born, and learn to walk
  • Automobiles are leased and turned in
  • Couples meet, fall in love, and marry
  • Cancer can strike, treatment can be initiated and completed
  • Job positions are sought, found, and given up in order to move on
  • COBRA and unemployment will start and expire
  • You can register in an accelerated college program and obtain a degree
  • Homes can be listed and sold with “move” time to spare

A slightly more fanciful list of things spanning 18 months might include:

  • The time it takes between planting and harvesting of a pineapple

  • The time it takes to write, produce and release a theatrical movie

If you have any other 18-month statistics to add, let me know. I’ll post them.

Let me conclude by saying that I realize the tides can change and God is still in charge. And I’m only slightly in shock. Really.

September 13, 2006

Where the Railroad Tracks Lead

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dtcaugust2006 @ 6:24 pm

In life it is easy to become fixated on what one doesn’t have to such an extent that one loses sight of the gifts one already has. Today I want to share with you a few of those gifts.  

Below is a photo of my husband and son. They are two of the most precious, wonderful, loving people I have ever meant. I am blessed to be part of their lives, and I so enjoy being a wife and mother to them.


74247238608_0_bg.jpg 

My husband, Jonathan, is a godly man, caring husband, and dedicated head-of-the-household, who has drastically changed his life for the better over the past few years in his quest to follow the Lord. Travis is a loving, thoughtful boy. He is showing the beginnings of a strong sense of responsibility, and he has a knowledge of right and wrong that few children his age have. I feel so privileged to watch him grow into a man, especially since I am not his biological mother.

We have a good life together. I believe this is due in part to our desire to live simply. We try to make every effort to be in the world but not of this world. We don’t have or watch broadcast television, we don’t receive or read the newspaper.  We spend our time together talking, preparing meals, praying and reading the Bible, doing homework, playing games, and raising our animals.


However, as much good as there is in our lives, there is still bad. Author and pastor Rick Warren once said he believed that life was like railroad tracks. One rail is the good stuff and one rail is the bad stuff. No matter which we are currently focused on, the other is still there.
 

Today, I found out that my dear step-father most likely has lung cancer. Masses were found in his left lung and chances are, given his history, they are malignant. Upon hearing this news, I was holding up reasonably well until my mother said in sobs, “It would just kill Pop to not to get to see Lauren.” I crumbled into tears as I took in the magnitude of this statement. Here is this wonderful man in this difficult situation and he is concerned about not having the chance to see his new granddaughter? He has other biological grandchildren, why does he care about this one? And then it hit me. It is because he loves me as though I was his own, and this baby is an extension of me. All this time he has treasured the same dream that I have. As I have shared the details of the adoption process with him and my mother, he has been invested in this with me every step of the way.

I am ashamed that I did not recognize this before. I should have. I have a step-child myself and I can easily look back and see how my love for Travis has grown so intensely over the past four years. Pop has been in my life for nearly two decades, all the while quietly engaging in my life.

 

Thank you, Pop, for being such a beautiful example to me of another love – the one between God the Father and each of us, His “adopted” children. And, Pop, it is now my turn to be with you every step of the way. 

August 30, 2006

An Elephant in the Room

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dtcaugust2006 @ 6:16 pm

Did you ever have a situation where this big THING was in your life and you couldn’t do anything about it but wait for it to resolve itself? Maybe you wanted something to start or to end or to come to fruition, but God instead called on you to be something you had never been, which is PATIENT?

When Jonathan and I were first contemplating adoption, it was a wrenching emotional process. I soooo wanted to be a mother. Jonathan and I soooo wanted to have children together. But the unknowns were so great that I (more than Jonathan) waivered out of fear, grief, and self-doubt. Fear because of the unknown. Grief because I had to give up hope in conceiving naturally. Self-doubt because I couldn’t understand who would want to give ME their baby (after all, babies are so miraculous and precious, who wouldn’t want to keep their own?). It took two years for me to put my trust and hope in the Lord and let Him lead me into and through the process of adoption. Funny, but once I did, the most amazing things began to happen.

Compared to my dark, despairing vision of what the adoption process was, this was easy! Things moved quickly and smoothly. I said to myself (and to my husband), “this paperwork isn’t so bad!” and “Wow, the social worker is really on our side!” And, poof!, money started showing up in our budget to pay for this long-awaited baby! So, six months later and only slightly out of breath, we had completed our hurdles and sent the dossier to China. Whew!

Of course, we know there are a few things to do over the next twelve months. Let’s see, we need to clear out the office and turn it into a nursery. We need to save the money for the trip. We need to buy some baby supplies, research travel, get shots, pack. All in all, no big deal. Right? I mean, we’re over the emotional distress of starting the process and we’re done with the rigours of the paperwork! So, on to the easy part. We can sit back and relax…Ahhhh, get comfortable in this chair…Sigh…

Soon after the paperwork was out of our hands, an interesting thing began to appear in my life.

All of one whole day had passed since we turned in our dossier, when my dearest husband brought me his laptop to show me that he has downloaded umpteen “Gotchya Day” videos of others getting their China babies for us to watch together. Hmmmmm. I think there is something large and gray in the room with me.

A week passed and we got our travel information packet from the agency with the names of the others who submitted their dossiers with ours and the assignment of our group number – 141. That means we are only 20 groups behind the group that is currently next in line to go pick up their babies from China. Twenty groups! Ohhhh, I think some large beast has its trunk wrapped around my neck because I’m having trouble breathing.

Almost a month has now passed and we still have not received our LID (logged in date) from China and there are still 19 groups ahead of us. Ouch! I think there’s an elephant in the room and his tusk is in my chest!

As the baby of the family, patience has never been my strong suit when I’ve wanted something. Don’t get me wrong, I was never spoiled with material goods as a child. We didn’t have much, but my mother and grandmother always made sure that I was lavished with lots of love — hugs and kisses and affection and kind words. And, boy, oh, boy, is my heart full of hugs and kisses and affection and kind words for the baby girl waiting for me in China. I haven’t seen her; I don’t even know that she has been born yet, but I’m already crazy in love with our daughter.

For now, however, instead of having my daughter in my arms, I have a large, gray elephant that follows me around to remind me every moment that I don’t yet have what I so desperately want. And it is difficult not to notice a large, gray elephant hanging around. I could fall into depression, but instead, I choose to give this yoke to the Lord. Every day, I thank Him for this lesson of patience (sometimes through clenched teeth), which I know is meant to mold me into a better person. And every day, my elephant and I pretend to go about life as usual.

August 4, 2006

Delivery of the Dossier

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dtcaugust2006 @ 1:24 am

Yesterday, we delivered five months of hard work into the hands of our adoption agency. We have been working with Adoption Associates, Inc. in Jenison, Michigan. They have been fabulous. Lots of hand holding. Lots of smiles and encouragement. Lots of availability. Yesterday was no different. As I handed this soul-bearing set of documents to Michelle, our adoption consultant at AAI, she responded positively. Exactly what I needed, when I needed it.

I thank the Lord for bringing this process to us. It has at times been taxing, but it was a far more pleasant experience then we were expecting. Once again, God has been faithful. Once again, we have not been given more than we could handle. Once again, He took the weight onto His shoulders. 

Within days, our dossier will be sent to the far East to be logged in and reviewed by the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs. Within a month we will have that precious “LID” (logged in date) from the CCAA on which our countdown rests. If it be His will, in about a year the child born of our heart will arrive into our life forever changing it. 

Our thanks to Adoption Associates and our praise to God! 

Pictures and Computers

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dtcaugust2006 @ 1:23 am

Beth and I worked tonight on finding the necessary pictures for our dossier.  Part of the LARGE package of information that will be sent to China includes some pictures of our family and our home.  We have the necessary family pictures (although we’ve decided to take more family pictures in the future) and thought we had the necessary pictures of the house.  Apparently, due to a computer hard drive crash a few months ago . . . those house pictures have disappeared.  BUMMER.

The good news is that this is a relatively simple thing to fix.  Simply get out the digital camera, straighten up the clutter around the house a bit and take some more pictures.  The bad news is that we MUST get this done over the weekend or risk missing the next submission deadline of the adoption agency.  Looks like we’ll all be straightening, de-cluttering and taking a few pictures in the next 72 hours!

How Our Journey Began . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — by dtcaugust2006 @ 1:23 am

red thread

Our decision to adopt Lauren Elise from China began shortly after we met. Due to some short-sighted decisions made earlier in my life, we’re not able to get pregnant. Through much prayer the Lord led us to choose adoption.

We originally met with a local adoption agency in the late summer of 2005. We submitted our initial application and were then ignored for two months. We pulled our application and began searching for another adoption agency. We were blessed to find a spin-off of the first agency, and they took the time to explain the process and give us the guidance we needed. We submitted our application to our adoption agency in February of 2006 and began the process of being inspected by the agency and the government – not to mention jumping through a series of hoops that our government finds it approrpriate to follow.

Our home study is now complete. The governement has agreed that we are not criminals and the state has certified all of our dossier documents that were initially notarized (that was one of those hoops!). Our paperwork is at the Chinese Consultate today and we are tieing up a few loose ends before sending the entire dossier to China . . . and then we wait.

The Toni Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.