This past week has brought some interesting insight and decisions for us. It started when my sister contacted me about a foster case she heard about. It was a pretty far stretch but I looked into it anyway. Long story short, nothing came of it and that felt ok. But it did make me start to really wonder how we have not received one single call when I know these kids are out there. So I decided to email our caseworker at Cherokee Nation (CN) and we basically came to a mutual conclusion that if we are only interested in children up to 1 year and not willing to take sibling groups right now then it might be a good idea to start looking at other options such as expanding our preferences, continuing our certification with DHS, private agencies, etc. I totally expected her to say this but for some reason it really hit me hard and left me questioning pretty much everything up to this point...did we just waste a year and half? Is adoption really what God is calling us to? Why did we feel pulled toward CN if that's not going to happen? Am I even hearing God or just my own human emotions? Fortunately I have a very patient & level headed husband and a couple of friends and family members who have been through the adoption journey who let me work through all of these emotions. Everyone I talked to about it was very encouraging that if we felt like God was calling us here than we are probably right where we should be, we just can't see His plan. I still felt like I needed to DO something though, so I've been researching other agencies because Gentry wants a sibling now and I totally have baby fever and I get into this cycle... maybe we should just go with the crazy expensive private agency or hire an adoption attorney and just get us a baby! But wait...we could just have another biological child then right? Ok wait why did we decide to adopt anyway? Deep breath...because we are confident that that is what God has called us to do. We're not trying to have another baby...we're answering what we *believe* is God's call and simply saying we are willing to open our hearts and our home to a child who wouldn't otherwise have all of these blessings. The blessing of a safe home, loving parents, an incredible big sister, a ridiculous amount of friends and family to love and support them, and growing up knowing they are a Child of God. SO...I've pretty much just had to cool my jets and renew my perspective this week. On paper we have made a few small changes: we are continuing with our DHS certification (I had kind of put that on hold because I just wasn't "feeling" it) and we are going to an informational meeting with Catholic Charities (this would basically be a private adoption through a crisis pregnancy agency). At this time we are keeping our status with CN as adoption and low-risk foster up to 1 year old.
In one of my first posts I mentioned the song Oceans by Hillsong, I'm sure most of you have heard it. One famous line from it is "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders". I kind of picture that when we started this process it was like we were walking out onto a swinging wooden bridge with rope handles. I thought that was trust. Now I feel like the bridge is still there but the rope handles are gone, it still feels safe but a lot more scary. I think we're just beginning to understand what it really means to trust. There might come a time when that bridge completely falls out and we will truly have to rely on God alone to keep us up, that is probably what "trust without borders" is really like and to be perfectly honest I'm not sure I'm ready to know what that is like, I prefer safe. But I do know that wherever He calls us He will be right beside us. And one of the main reasons I have that confidence is because of the awesome faith of all of those around us, praying for us, sharing their stories of faith, bible verses to confirm what we believe, etc. We as a couple are not doing anything great by any means, we are just two regular weak & broken people who think we heard God calling and gave a nervous 'Ok we're willing...'. It's because of all of the support around us that we have been able to continue this journey headed who knows where! :) Here are a few sweet reminders that God has provided to us from people in our lives:
* One of the my coworkers reminding me that something God has been so clear about in his Word (James 1:27) can't be wrong.
* A sermon about how we are not going to mess up God's plans. I worry so much about if we should certify with this or that or change preferences etc but ultimately those decisions are not going to "mess up" God's bigger story that He's writing here. I like to picture that maybe God's path is a nice straight line and so maybe it curves a little more because of my choices but it ends up in the same place.
*Spending time with an amazing friend who has adopted a child with special needs and realizing how "messy" adoption is, both legally and day to day life. It sounds so noble to want to join the cause of "orphan care" but the reality of it isn't pretty or romantic or glamorous. It's 24/7, real life, mundane, challenging and tiring. But then I remember that Jesus spent most of his time with "messy" people... sinners, tax collectors, the very people who wanted him dead. And I for one am not very good at going into the messy places of life so this will be a big challenge for me.
*Looking at a local adoption attorney's website and the first thing on her site was this message from Jesus Calling: "stop trying to work things out before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time. When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today's agenda. If it isn't, release it into my care and go on about today's duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in it's time. A life lived close to me is not complicated or cluttered. When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you. Though the world around you is messy and confusing, remember that I have overcome the world. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have Peace. 'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven' Ecclesiastes 3:1". A lot easier said than done, but I'm working on it :).
And then finally at church today our sermon led me to this thought: when we made the decision to follow Jesus into this adoption, we surrendered our timeline for when we would have a second child. He is completely in control and I just have to be patient to see the great things He is working on. This is not our story, it is God's story, we are just the lucky ones he is hopefully going to use to bless one of his smallest and most vulnerable children. I can't thank you all enough for your continued prayers and support for us and our second child, wherever they may be at this time.