Friday, May 27, 2005

Affirmation Along the Road

May 26, 2005
Ahh... so cute! We arrived home from work, checked our mailbox, and discovered a Huggies box waiting for us. Inside, it contained a bunch of free samples: baby soaps, wipes, lotions, and the cutest, tiniest little diapers I've ever seen! (And did I mention they were free?)

Fun things like this just affirm what the adoption agency worker told us: that as future adoptive parents, we are officially "expectant parents!" (We just have no idea how long this "gestation period" will last...)

"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." (Psalm 5:3)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

It's Just Practice

May 25, 2005
Well, that was fun... We just updated our profile (see the link to the left). We're psyching ourselves up to write our autobiographical profile for the adoption paperwork, and this was great practice! How do you write..."Dear Birthparents, we're kind of bizarre, but fun.." ?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Make a Memorial Posted by Hello

Picking Up Stones

May 22, 2005
On Sunday, our pastor's sermon was based on Joshua. We were reminded how Joshua had the people gather up stones to create a memorial of what God had done. They wanted to be able to look at a physical reminder, and be able to tell their descendents of God's faithfulness when He had called them to step out into the Jordan River.

We each received a stone to take home with us. Our pastor impressed upon us the importance of having "memorials" in our own spiritual walks; places to look back and remember.

Our stone represents this point in our life where God called us to step out in faith into adoption. We want to be able to tell our children about God's faithfulness in creating our family.

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

Well, Hey, if the President Likes Bethany...

May 21, 2005
I (Calvin) thought it was a little amusing that President Bush was speaking at Calvin College. Then I almost fell over when he mentioned Bethany Christian Services, the agency we are adopting through. But I love the context in which he speaks of Bethany - of going out into your world and making a difference by loving and serving people.
Kid, that's part of the heritage I want to pass on to you when I get to be your dad. Our heavenly Father has called us not to be spectators of His kingdom, but citizens.

Below is an excerpt from President Bush's speech at Calvin College's commencement:

"As your generation takes its place in the world, all of you must make this decision: Will you be a spectator, or a citizen? To make a difference in this world, you must be involved. By serving a higher calling here or abroad, you'll make your lives richer and build a more hopeful future for our world.

At Calvin College, you take this call to service to heart. You serve as "agents of renewal" across the Earth. You volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters to mentor young people. You work at Bethany Christian Services here in Grand Rapids, one of the best- known adoption services in America. A former Calvin student and professor, Vern Ehlers, serves in the halls of Congress. As the Class of 2005 goes out into the world, I ask you to embrace this tradition of service and help set an example for all Americans. As Americans we share an agenda that calls us to action -- a great responsibility to serve and love others, a responsibility that goes back to the greatest commandment. "

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Mountain to Climb

May 19, 2005
It's here! A big packet arrived in the mail today from the adoption agency. It contained the huge stack of paperwork that comprises our Adoptive Family Self-Study Packet! In reading the questions, it feels a bit overwhelming- like getting ready to climb a mountain- but we will take it step by step. The paperwork questions every autobiographical detail of our lives- past & present. There is also a long list of other necessary documents: tax/income data, criminal background check, fingerprinting, birth/marriage documents, family health history, insurance, wills, etc.

We also recieved notice of our Orientation Day! We are scheduled to attend this required session on Saturday, June 18th. It will be 9-5 in Seattle, so we will need to figure out travel details, and pay the orientation fee. It looks like we will be making a lot of trips up to Seattle in the near future!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Lessons Along The Road

May 16, 2005
It is exciting to see how God is giving us opportunities to share the knowledge and experiences we're gaining along the road to adoption. The other day, a friend expressed her desire to have children also, saying "I just don't know what to do." I shared with her the testimony of how God provided confirmation, showing us that we were to begin growing our family by pursuing adoption this year. I told her that I believe God will make it clear to them when the timing is right, and whether they should pursue medical intervention. He works in different ways and in different times with each circumstance.

This afternoon, another lady in our church called my office, and mentioned that her sister has recently expressed interest in adopting, after struggling with many years of unexplained infertility. (We have prayed for this sister and her husband before, and they had not been open to considering adoption at that time.)

I was able to share details about websites, agencies, information meetings, etc. for her to begin researching adoption! God's timing is so perfect. If we had not begun the adoption process, I would not have been able to provide the necessary information to help this family in their desire to become parents.

Friday, May 13, 2005

An Advocate Along The Journey

May 13, 2005
Why did they change their minds, I wonder?
Two weeks ago, the company that services Calvin's Health Reimbursment Account denied a request to reimburse January's hospital bills. So, we went ahead and paid the bill from finances we had intended for adoption expenses. But today, we received a check in the mail from the company for almost the amount requested. We hear God saying He's in control! He will be our advocate, working upon the hearts and minds of people.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

In the Mail: Heading North

May 12, 2005
At 11:14 am today, the mailman arrived at my office to drop off the mail, which was unusual. He typically just stops at the mailbox, and doesn't come inside the building. In the midst of his deliveries, he almost forgot to check for the outgoing items! I reminded him to check the mailbox, so he ran across the parking lot to gather the mail. It was exciting to see him walking to his mail truck, carrying that manila envelope containing our application!

It's now in the mail, and on its way to Seattle!

It's out of our hands, and completely in God's. We're praying that he will prevent the paperwork from getting lost, and will guide our application to be viewed by people who will joyfully assist us through the adoption process.

We have also been in prayer for the birthmom(s) we will meet. We are praying that they will sense God's peace, and he will give them wisdom and safety during this time of uncertainty. We're praying the moms will be able to meet with understanding, godly counselors, and will choose life for their babies.

Embarking the Journey

May 11, 2005
After looking at our completed paperwork sitting on the table for about a week, we decided to take it with us to our Wednesday night Bible study group. Our leader, Jeff, asked for a special prayer time, with everyone in the group praying over our application, and the entire adoption process.
It was amazing to see the group lifting us up in prayer- some even in tears- as they helped carry this burden with us.

It was also encouraging to see the excitement from our church family about our decision to adopt, and to hear their affirming comments, as they expressed their confidence in our future parenting abilities. One couple even told us, "You're one of the few families we would trust to raise our own children!" Wow! (Guess who we'll be asking to write a letter of reference for us!) :)

That night during our bedtime devotions, we re-read one of our favorite Biblical passages- one that has guided us during our entire relationship:

"Whether you turn to the right or
to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
'This is the way;

walk in it.'"

(Isaiah 30:21)

Called to the Impossible

May 6, 2005
During the past few months of intense prayer, we have felt God drawing us to a deeper faith; to step out of the boat, and walk into the impossible with Him- to pursue adoption. (Impossible for us, but not for God!) In reading Hebrews, chapter 11, we were impressed by the faith of those who were called to the impossible:

Enoch: "He was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (v. 5-6).

Noah: "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith" (v. 7).

Abraham: "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents. . .For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though
he was past age- and Sarah herself was barren- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise" (v. 9-11).

Moses: "By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible" (v. 27).

"God had planned
something better for us so that only together
with us would they be made perfect." (v. 40)

God had called these people of faith to take steps, seemingly without knowing all the details and without possessing all the physical resources, but with unimaginable results- results we would have called impossible!

So, today we began what appears to be an impossible journey- from our human standards. We finally sat down and filled out the preliminary application forms, and we wrote out a check- the first investment into our future journey. We know that in our own human strength we don't have all the resources (time, emotional & physical stamina, finances, etc.) to complete this journey on our own. But we know that God is faithful. As He guides us down the road, He will provide along the way.