Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Find You On My Knees

God answers prayers.

His timing is perfect

There is simply no other explanation.

Every delay this adoption has met so far was proved this week to be absolutely necessary. Down to the day.
  • Samantha's profile appearing, disappearing, and reappearing on the Reece's Rainbow website months ago, delaying my initial commitment to her by several weeks
  • Key players at the adoption agency being out of the office due to surgery and the birth of a baby
  • A background check from California that seemed like it would never come, delaying the completion of my home study for weeks.
  • 12 hours of Hague accredited course work that turned out to be the wrong 12 hours and had to be completed again.
  • A homestudy that was lost in internet-world for 3 weeks, waiting to be edited, delaying my ability to begin dossier paperwork
  • Documents that I thought were finished were declined by our state capital, needing to be completed again.
  • Three trips to the doctor's office before finally getting a proper medical clearance
  • And several I've-never-seen-that-befores all along the way
With each delay, I must confess I wondered what God was doing. I wept, not just out of frustration, but out of desperation. "Why, God, would you allow this to happen?! My daughter is wasting away in an orphanage! You know she needs to come home to her mother so she can start healing. And I know that You can do this. So how long must I leave her there?"

Even though I know that God loves my daughter more than I do, I would quickly resort to begging. "Please God. Please have mercy on her!" (as if He wasn't!)

And then it happened. 

After waiting nearly five months for Samantha's file to arrive (the biggest delay of all!), I was faced with the dark reality that all of the paperwork I'd been working on for months was already getting old. If her file did not surface, the agency was going to be forced to send me profiles of other waiting children.

I have never been so devastated in all of my life. For two days I felt nearly hopeless. "God is this what you want?" I would ask. "If this is truly your will, I will follow You. But I just don't believe that You want to leave her there!" 

I resigned myself to crying and waiting. And more crying.

And then Susanna sent out a plea asking for fervent prayers.

And I started receiving encouraging notes from friends. One, from my friend Sara, read:
I am praying and sending our plea to others. Keep trusting, Grace. Shut out all doubt. This means war.
At this point something inside of me finally snapped, waking me up to the true reality of God. I do not worship a God who is unable to fight for me and my daughter. My God can do anything! I must pray to Him with all trust and hope. And I must NOT let myself give in to sorrow (in other words, I can't let myself go back to that dark place where I was lingering before). I decided at that moment to trust God with Samantha' life. And this is not to say that her life depended on my decision to trust, but that my life did.

And so I began to pray as if my life depended on it.

For four days I prayed in anticipation of a meeting that was to happen in Sam's country, not knowing if the outcome of this meeting would affect our adoption process, but hoping it would.

And SO many of you prayed with me. SOOOO many.

And those prayers literally changed my life and my view of God. I have never ever experienced Him the way I did in those days of intense prayer. I have never approached Him with such trust and expectancy. I have never believed so fully in His love and POWER.

When God answered our prayers, and delivered Sam's file, right at the time of that meeting, I finally was able to wrap my pea-brain around God's perfect timing. Every single delay I have experienced was leading up to this moment. If everything had gone as I'd wanted, my dossier would have been ready weeks, maybe even months before Samantha's file was found. And I would have been faced with an impossible decision. But He knew. And He acted.

So today, as I visited my doctor once again to update an expired medical clearance, as I waited at the police station for a new background check, and as I walked out of the state capitol with with a stack of 9 documents, still not apostilled because of a computer glitch...I couldn't help but think, "It must not have been the right time, huh God? I'll try again tomorrow. You know best."

And He does.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Every prayer, EVERY SINGLE PRAYER A YES!!!!!


This is new territory for me.

God has never been so close, so real as HE is now.

Read this.

And then thank the LORD ON HIGH for being faithful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All glory. All honor. All praise be HIS forever.

And now, another look at my favorite little face.

He Did It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I woke up at 6:30 am to pray.

By 7:35 my phone was alerting me to a new e-mail.

An email titled, "We have the file!"

I have never experienced such a clear, bold, direct, and perfectly timed answer from God. If anyone has ever had ANY doubt that HE loves us and hears us, let me tell you right now, HE IS GOOD!!!

I'm not a good pray-er. My focus is easily lost. My flesh is weak. I am often burdened with doubts in the One who answers prayers.

But this is how I can know that He is good.

He works despite me.

Sometime tonight or tomorrow I will have my daughter's file. Do y'all know what that means? I get to introduce her to all of you!!!

Here she is: Samantha Love

This is the sweet little face you all have been loving and praying for. This is my daughter.

I have SO much more to tell you all, but for now, I'll just say thank you. Thank you a million times over for praying.

Love to you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

URGENT! Pray-ers Needed. Please Spread the Word.

I received some troubling news tonight.

I've been praying all day today, and will continue to pray constantly until Wednesday.

Now to add more and more faithful people to our numbers.

We need as many people as possible on their knees before the Hope of the World. The lives of MANY children depend on it.

Pray in the Spirit.

Pray without ceasing.

HE knows the details.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Until We Know With Certainty...Please Pray

Ok folks.

While I still cannot post details about what is going on in Sam's country (and I continue to know so very little, anyway) I want to urge you all to keep praying. Please, please pray without ceasing!

From where I sit, as a mere sinful human being, there are major obstacles standing in the way of Samantha's adoption.  This has been a week full of tears and questions with no answers. It has also been a week of stretching, growing, and leaning in close to hear God's voice.

Despite being emotionally drained and completely jumpy at the sound of my phone's e-mail alert as I wait for news, I have been so very aware of God's presence these last several days. I've also become readily aware of my own lack of faith in this very present God. I believe with all of my heart that He can do whatever He wants. But I have not believed in the work He is doing at present.

Today, if you want to pray for me specifically, please pray that I would believe and not doubt that God is at work answering my prayers for Samantha. Pray that the Spirit would give me peace in knowing that just because I don't know the answer yet, doesn't mean that He doesn't have one. And pray that I will take comfort in knowing that He will let me in on all He's been doing at just the right time.

For Samantha, please pray with all trust and boldness that her file will arrive THIS WEEK. Please ask anyone and everyone you know to pray along with us. I cannot express to you how important this is. Someday, when I can disclose all of the details of her miraculous adoption story, we will stand in amazement of our great God who can do anything. Who stopped at nothing to rescue one precious, chosen child. But for now...please pray.

Susanna mentioned on her last post that there were people fasting and praying over the special needs children in Sam's country, and for the meeting that will happen on Wednesday morning. I've been thinking a lot about the power of prayer, and what a beautiful picture it is that people are on their knees all around this country (an beyond!) for these children, and particularly for my daughter. There will be a group of people fasting and praying in Lincoln from Saturday until the meeting in Eastern Europe on Wednesday morning. If you would like to participate, for even part of the time, please take a look at this excerpt from the "The Celebration of Discipline" on the discipline of fasting.

Thank you, Body of Christ. I would be lost without you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

God Can Do Whatever He Wants

God can do whatever He wants.

Our human limitations are not a reflection of His ability. Only a greater indication of our need for Him.

I need to learn to pray accordingly.

And I would also ask you to pray.

There have arisen many delays in the adoptions of children with special needs from Samantha's orphanage. The delay in Sam's adoption specifically, concerning her file, has reached emergency status. There are details that I unfortunately cannot share at this time, but the Spirit knows all about them and will intercede, if you will only pray. Pray that God will make a way for all of these children to get home. And especially pray for Samantha, that God would show Himself faithful on her behalf, and that His Holy Spirit would give me a heart that wants His will, and His will alone.

I am also told that there are people who will be fasting and praying about a meeting that is to take place next Wednesday morning in Samantha's country (I believe this will be a meeting of government officials). I do not know details, but I know that "this meeting could affect many children in need of families."

Finally, please pray that the medical needs of waiting children be met without delay! Susanna, from theblessingofverity.com blog, posted that there are exciting steps being taken in the right direction. She says to "Please pray for continued strong motivation on the parts of those who have offered to help, until the children are receiving the medical intervention they need!"

In this time of need God has been teaching me, through various means, about prayer. One such lesson happened yesterday through a devotion a friend shared with me from Sarah Young's book, Jesus Calling. It said:
When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me. Speak to Me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers that I have set into motion long before you can discern the results. When your requests come to mind again, continue to thank Me for the answers that are on the way. If you keep on stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind-set becomes much more positive. Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promises.
I heard something similar in a sermon I was watching online the other day, and can't help but think that was no coincidence. God doesn't need me to come to Him begging, as if I am asking a favor from someone who doesn't really know me or like me. I should pray to him expectantly, with a thankful heart, because He faithfully answers and comes to my aid. I should praise Him that He has heard me, and has already deployed armies of angels to fight for Samantha. And I should keep praying, not because He didn't hear me the first time, but because I need to align my heart with His.

Thank you for being in this with me.

Love to you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Take A Look At The Fundraising Thermometer

Because of the generosity of several friends, including two friends who are tithing their income each month toward the adoption, I was able to add an additional $3,000 to the thermometer!! This money has already been used toward paying down my adoption loan. (Very cool to be able to start doing that already!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for donating toward Samantha Love's Ransom. I can now say that we are officially MORE than half-way there!

And the same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Thursday, January 5, 2012

He's Made A Way For Us To Walk In

As promised, there are some incredible ways that we can now help all of the children in Samantha's orphanage. ALL of them!

The Baba Programme would be a GREAT place to start. In fact, before you read the rest of this post, please go and read this page of their website, under the title, "We Can Make A Difference". Seriously. Please read it. 

Although the Baba Programme is not a complete solution to such a deep need, it is a great start! 10 hours a week with a grandmother-type-figure may just be enough to help some of these little ones hang on until a forever family comes to find them. On days when the children are visited by their baba, they will receive an extra diaper change. They'll be gently cleaned and held, talked to and loved. They may receive gifts from the baba's home. They'll be given extra (very much needed) food.

I'd say a donation to the Baba Programme is money well spent!

The INCREDIBLE mothers from my yahoo group have uncovered some other ways we can help, in addition to the Baba Programme. For more information, please email Stephanie at nusker1@hotmail.com.

And of course, it goes without saying that the very best thing we can do for these children is work toward bringing them home.

  • Please continue to pray that families would line up to receive each and every child upon their release. 
  • Consider helping to financially support families who are bringing children home.
  • And, if the Lord is stirring your heart, please heed his voice and consider opening your heart and home.

Thank you again and again for everything you all are doing for Samantha. My heart is full!

Love to you all.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

She Has A Name!!!!

Oh my goodness friends, I am a wreck! But in a good way. Some of the moms in my yahoo group have been busy at work today, making contact with people in Samantha's country. They sent a picture of Samantha, as well as her Reece's Rainbow name, "Kami" and were able to find out that SAMANTHA HAS A BABA!!!! Her Baba is quite new, but reports that my Sam has great potential! My mama's heart is so proud :) This means that she is being held, her diaper being changed more frequently, and that her baba will bring her additional food! Praise Jesus that HE is answering prayers and opening doors, not only for Samantha, but for all of the children in her orphanage. God is breaking the chains and setting the captives free. PRAISE HIM!!!

Also, I now know her birth name! I can't post it here, but still had to share. This just makes everything that much more real.

I will write more later, when my head is not spinning, because there is a way all of you can help!

Love to you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Adoption and Sanctification

Adoption: Proceed With Caution!

I read this blog post by Adeye and her husband only a few hours ago. While I'd meant to be asleep by now, I'm still thinking about it, and feel a tug to share my thoughts with all of you. Adeye and Anthony's post is a very important dose of reality to people who are either adopting or considering the adoption of an institutionalized child.

I am reminded (again) tonight that I need to strip away any and all expectations I may have had for my Samantha. I need to prepare myself to welcome her home and love her as she is. Even if she can't love me back. (At least not right away.)

Cute as she is, my little girl has been neglected and mistreated for years.

She lives in an institution.

She is incarcerated in a crib, day and night.

Her cognition has already been irreversibly damaged by malnutrition. Her body will try to catch up, but the damage to her brain is permanent. She will likely be severely delayed.

She may have acquired Institutional Autism.

She may suffer from an Attachment Disorder.

She may have developed strange habits in order to comfort and stimulate her brain: rocking back and forth or banging her head against the crib. She may chew on her fingers or wrists.

It's possible that she will not want to be hugged, or even touched at all. She may have to learn to enjoy my touch over time.

She will need all manner of therapy when she gets home...speech, physical, occupational.

She will very likely spend the rest of her life in my home, needing full-time care.

All of this to say that I understand this adoption is no small thing. There will be MANY times when I simply do not know what I'm doing. There will be frustration. There will LOTS of tears. There will probably even be times when I grieve the loss of my care-free-travel-the-world-do-as-I-wish independence.


I also understand that the same God who created the world, and raised my Savior Jesus from the dead, LIVES INSIDE OF ME. And there is no limit to His ability. His love for Sam (and me) goes on and on...forever.

So for now, I'll continue to educate myself. And more importantly, train myself to trust the Almighty. He can do what I cannot.

The Psychologist who did the mental health evaluation for my home study introduced me to an author and theologian I'm now surprised I'd never heard of before, Henry Nouwen. After my evaluation, he graciously sent me a copy of one of Nouwen's books, entitled, "Adam: God's Beloved". This incredible book details the last 10 years of Mr. Nouwen's life, in which he dedicated himself to the service of a severely handicapped young man. While some people questioned Nouwen's choice to give up his career in the Ivy League in exchange for life with Adam, Nouwen insisted that Adam was the greatest teacher of his lifetime. He credited Adam as giving him a deeper understanding of the gospel of Jesus.

I often think of Henry and Adam as I imagine my new life with Samantha. I suspect, in some ways, she'll understand the world better than I do. And I expect she'll see the Lord more clearly than I, with a purer heart.  And as I seek to care for her, as Adam did for Mr. Nouwen, she will make me more holy. She will help me to see God.

I know life with Samantha will have its challenges. But I welcome those challenges, and I welcome the opportunity to draw nearer to the Lord through them. And through her.

Thank you all for your continued, generous, overwhelming love and support. I am so, so blessed.

Love to you.