Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Courageous in the Worst of Times.

As most of you know, or have unfortunately experienced, this adoption has not gone well. I'm actually pretty sure that no adoption goes well. Why that is, I am not sure. Why it is so difficult to adopt a child that has been left in the first place is way beyond me. But that is actually not what this post is about. Not today anyway! This is more about what I have recently learned, just over the weekend actually.

From the start, almost a year ago, Charlie and I have been killing ourselves to get this done. We just want to get it over with. I'm sure many of you that are in the same process, or have already brought your children home are/were the same way. I want that little boy in my arms, at my dinner table for dinner, in his warm clean bed at night, and even in my timeout corner...this is because I'm not completely delusional. I know that once we get him home it's not going to be all sunshine and pixie dust. I just want him home! In the beginning, it was Martin. Most of you know how that ended. If not, here is the post that explains it all.

We have lost sleep from pulling all nighters, I feel like I have neglected my kids at home, I put off other things I should also been working on, and Charlie and I are at each others throats and we never fight. We have been "controlling" the adoption or at least killing ourselves trying. We find ourselves pushing issues that should have been dropped, asking everyone for favors to get our paperwork done just a little faster and so on. Then we lost him. It absolutely did not make sense to me then. I didn’t search out a child to adopt. Martin just was delivered to us. Well, his picture was anyway. I just knew we were doing exactly what God wanted us to do. But now, I think I'm starting to see some answers. Maybe not all of them, but some things are falling into place. I will get into that later. We later moved on and asked to me matched up with another little boy about the same age. That is how we found Dmitri! We have been trying to take things a little more slowly. At times yes, we try to take over, but we are always set back in our place by one thing or another. Up and down, back and forth this has gone, and continues to go. Here we are, a year later, and sometimes I feel like we are no closer to him than we were back in February before we even new who this little boy was!

We finally finished up our paper work and sent it to Dima's country for a court date. In the meantime we found out from a volunteer that he is sick in the hospital and has been there with pneumonia for 2 weeks. My heart is sick with worry and so heavy with sadness. I hate picturing his tiny little body in a hospital bed all alone with no visitors. The volunteer informed me that the hospital is in a remote place and they don't get to go visit. I have often read that orphans that end up in the hospital do not get visitors. I have to believe that he is NOT alone. I think about a little prayer that I read to Haiden and Noah in 1 of their books the other day.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Bless the bed that I lie one.
4 corners to my bed.
4 angels around my head.
1 to watch and 1 to pray.
And 2 to guide me through the day.

It makes me think of Dima, and helps me to have faith that his angels are taking care of him and loving him until we can get him home.

We also found out that 2 family members just recently found out about him. His grandmother and uncle never knew until the other day that he existed! In his country, it is the law that all the relatives are to be contacted if a child is wanted in an adoption. If they agree to the adoption, then they are to sign the guardianship papers waiving their rights to the child. If they do not agree, then they have to take on the responsibility. Why in the world the family isn't contacted before this point in the child's life is so beyond me! Why do these children waste away in an orphanage and that is completely fine, no family contacted....until someone else wants them??? Now, the family will not respond to sign the papers. They won't answer their door or return phone calls. I am completely and totally in a state of panic. I am dreading this is a Martin situation all over again. The night I found this out, I cried and cried. What were we going to do? Who could we talk to? Could we write a letter to the family? There are so many questions we ask wondering how we can fix this and control this. I think to myself, there just HAS to be a way.

Jumping back a few weeks ago, Charlie and I were at church talking about the adoption and keeping everyone is our small group informed on where we were in the process. A wonderful man and leader of our small group who we only just met a few months ago, but deeply respect a great deal told us that he was praying for us. He also told me something that has stuck with me just about everyday. In fact, I emailed him a few days ago asking him to tell me again because I was having a rough day and wanted to see the words. He said…

"We do not want to be so focused on the destination that we miss the journey. Often God's purpose is found in the journey, not just the destination. Many times God prepares us during the journey so that we will be prepared when we arrive at our destination. Many of His greatest lessons and blessings are found in the journey. Trust God's sovereignty through the process."

After hearing this, and then getting that last bit of devastating news, I decided Charlie and I need to change the way that we handle everything. I just don’t know exactly what we could do differently. Then, I received a post on Facebook from a friend...and I'm so sorry if you know who you are because I can't remember! She said that I needed to just be still and quiet, and to just wait for Him to tell me what to do next. At the time I read that post, I didn't know it yet, but that has been the BEST advice I have heard so far.

Now, I’m fast forwarding up to this past weekend in church. This Sunday was one of those Ahhh Haaa Sundays, one of those days where everything made so much sense to me. I was glued to the sermon and even took notes! Seriously I never take notes. 99% of the time we forget to even take our bible with us. The sermon was about being courageous in the worst of times. Better yet, how to be courageous in the worst of times was the point of the sermon this week. A few ways that struck me…

1) Be righteous and obedient. This, I honestly feel like I am doing. I do without a doubt feel like we are on the right path. I feel like I am obeying what He has commanded Charlie and I to do as far as being involved in this crazy world of adoption.
2) Trust Him and His sovereignty. He has our long-term best interest at heart. This one I have had some problem with. With all the issues that have set us back in our adoption journey, I have often wondered what His plan was for us, and for these children he has brought into our lives. I know that it is alright for me to question and have my doubts, but I struggle hard with disagreement in His plan.
3) Trust in His control. These 4 words did it for me over the weekend. They helped to put my mind and heart as ease. Now, I still worry there is no doubt about that. I have now been in love with Dmitri like he is my own for months now. We have gone to see him, I have held him, hugged and kissed him, and have dreamt about him night after night. I would love nothing more than to have this boy in our home as part of my family.

Is that part of His plan? I certainly hope so. I pray for it to be His will all day and all night. I know there is no bargaining or persuading. No amount of words that come from my heart and from my mouth will change anything. I just hope that if Dmitri is not meant for our family, that God will be a great comfort to us in our grief and while we move on. I know this will happen! To quote from Charles Spureon, “As sure as God puts His children into the furnace of affliction, He will be with them in it.”

So until we find out, and I hope that is soon I will just try to be still and listen to what He wants. That is so much harder said than done but I have found that I am doing a much better job than I was last week. He has our best interest at heart, He has our best interest at heart……….

“Be still,” I hear Him softly say.
“Be still, lay all aside.”
He who made the universe stoops down,
And gathers up my cares.

“Be still,” He chides again.
His work begins within my weary soul.
“Be patient. In quiet stay.
Listen to me.”

Though pressed on every side,
I clear my heart and mind.
In timid voice and heart,
I lift to Him my praise.

How quiet, His presence.
How healing, His words.
In hushed awe, I listen.
I savor each one.

My will, He bends.
My heart, He sweeps clean.
My strength, He renews.
My soul, He fills to overflowing.

He teaches through His word.
I heed what He tells me.
I stand and give Him praise.
Together we go forth to serve.

Now, I just have to remember all this if things should not go the way we pray!


  1. Melissa, I can totally relate to this post of yours. For the longest time, I was only focused on rescuing Alexander. Bringing him HOME...I lost sight of what God intended for us.

    Now, Alexander will never come to our home and Andriy is. I would have never imagined that was what God had in store. But, I had to learn to hold the child with an open hand and heart, I had to give Alexander back to God to see what HE wanted.

    He wanted Alexander, in return, He is giving us Jadon (Andriy).

    I pray peace for you. Discernment. Time to be still. Calming breaths to breathe and the Word to fill you.

    Christie Taylor adopting (Jadon) Andriy on RR

  2. I wanted to share with you something I wrote on my old blog, it is from Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts. I thought of it immediately when I read this post.
    A pickup drives into the lane. I watch from the window, two brothers meeting, talking, then hand gestures mirroring each other. I think of buried babies and broken, weeping fathers over graves, and a world pocked with pain, and all the mysteries I have refused, refused, to let nourish me. If it were my daughter, my son? Would I really choose the manna? I only tremble, wonder. With memories of gravestones, of combing fingers through tangled hair, I wonder too ... if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.

    To see through to God.

    That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.

    Maybe so.

    But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places? To more-God places?
    How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God-communion.

    To fully live—to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal. It is possible, wildly.

    I now see and testify.
    So this story—my story.

    Love you friend. You are never far from my thoughts.

  3. A couple of verses come to mind here. Not always easy, but a good reminder. Praying for your family including Dima.

    Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 NASB)

    We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (James 5:11 NASB)