Friday, October 31, 2008

The Happy Post

I promised you a "happy" post this time, so I'm going to start with Halloween. We never bothered with Halloween until moving to our current neighborhood. Colton was too young to care before that, and Eli wasn't here yet. When we moved here, though, we discovered the child-like fun of Halloween. The kids will dress up this evening. I will take my place on the porch steps with a big box of candy. All the neighbors sit on their porches or in their driveways to give out candy. Tim and the boys will roam down one side of the street and back up the other. When the candy begging is done, we will gather with a bunch of neighbors next door for a cookout.

On the adoption front, please be in prayer. I am still re-researching agencies. I thought we were all settled, but I'm not so sure any more. One is way more expensive than the others. Does that necessarily mean better or that the others have hidden fees? Another is only 4 years old. Maybe they have more passion because they are fresh, or maybe they lack experience. One tells us that Bulgaria is reluctant to allow 2 children to be adopted at the same time because there are so many families wanting to adopt. I don't think I buy into the "one per customer" theory. Another tells us that Bulgaria will adopt 2 children as long as they are siblings. Another won't let us request siblings. Still another agency says you can adopt 1 child, siblings, or 2 unrelated children. It is so HARD to sort through it all. And this is not something that a person can already instinctively know something about. As has happened several times now, I think I am zoning in on an agency to choose. My prayer right now is for wisdom and discernment.

On yet another topic, have you ever read "This Present Darkness"? If you haven't, you absolutely must. First let me say that yes, I realize it is fiction. On the other hand, (to those who have read it), don't you think there's a chance that prayer works that way? It makes sense to me. Okay, for those who haven't read it yet (and I'm not going to spoil the story), here is an idea what I am talking about. The basic story line is realitively simple: a bad guy is taking control of a town. Told you it was simple. The twist is that one minute you are reading about the bad guys or the people in the town, but the next minute you see the spirtual side of the unfolding drama. Angels fighting for good. Demons trying to take people down. Now here's the best part. The angels are not allowed to fight on the offensive unless they have enough strength to win. Where do they get their strength? The prayers of "the saints." So if the Christians aren't praying enough, the angels can't fight. When the Christians are praying, the angels are unbeatable.

Now, I say all of that not just to recommend a good book but to make a point as well. Early voting has ended. Only one day of voting remains. All you can physically do is cast your vote. But that's not ALL you can do. Everyone says, "Pray for the election." Everyone says, "It's okay. God is in control." Yes, I believe God is in control. That doesn't mean He won't let America collectively do something stupid. Yes, He can work all things together for good with either choice. But I also really believe we need to make sure that the angels working this side of the globe have our constant prayer support. I say this to me as much as anyone. Let's see if we can get beyond, "Lord, be with the election," or "Let your will be done in this election." We need to cry out to God about this election and many other aspects of our nation right now. Whether the end times are imminent or still a thousand years away, our nation as a whole is not glorifying God. We need to take that back. I'm concerned about what kind of nation we are leaving to our children. It is already so much harder to raise my children in this time period because it seems like a huge chunk of society has no concept about the things in my value system. If we would take the focus off of self and turn it back to God where it belongs, we would see many areas of society that would suddenly be corrected. Are you ready to fight for what you believe in?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just Wondering Out Loud

As you may have noticed, I've not done a lot of updating on our adoption. That's because we have come to a painfully grinding halt. There is a sweetheart of a lady at church who brings us 5-10 dollars almost every week where she has sold a couple more of our pizza cards. That's as fast as the money is getting raised. Do the math. Even at $10 a week (and counting the money we've already raised), it will take us 78 YEARS to raise this money. I think we can all agree that I'll be too old by then.

I know our God is in control. I know our God can literally do anything. I know our God still does miracles today...I've personally witnessed a few. I know that if God wanted, He could just add $45,000 to our bank account right now, and I'd find it in the morning. But I also know that God allows His people to have free will. And He often gives people an opportunity to participate in what He is doing. If they choose not to participate, He will either accomplish His will through someone else (allowing them to receive the blessing), or He will allow the mission to go unfulfilled.

Now, when there are 143 million orphans in the world, I can't help but think that if I don't adopt my 2 girls, then there will be two more girls who never get adopted. After all, there is not a waiting list for all children.

I hope you aren't hearing whining here. I'm not. I'm frustrated, yes. I don't feel we've gotten the emotional or financial support that I had anticipated. I still feel the need for more children. I still feel called to adopt. Because of the major lack of financial resources, we are rethinking our adoption plans. We're back at square one, you might say...saying "yes" to adoption but trying to figure out the details. We wanted to adopt 2 girls from Bulgaria. Maybe we need to reconsider international and look at domestic. Maybe a different agency would be less expensive. Maybe we should try to adopt just one (at least for now). How old can we be and still get this done? Should we reconsider the age range or other details of the child we seek?

I'm reminded of a story from the Bible. (I can't give you the reference because I'm doing this off the top of my head. But I think I have all of my facts straight.) Remember when Moses sent the 12 spies to check out the land up ahead. I forget what nation they spied on, but they came back with 10 negative reports. Only two men (Joshua and Caleb) said that the Israelites should move forward and take the city. God's plan was for them to take the city. Joshua and Caleb agreed, but most people were not supportive. Did God go ahead and take the city anyway? Did God send someone else to defeat the city? Did God let Joshua and Caleb take the city and everyone else just missed out on the victory? No, the entire nation (Joshua and Caleb included) were punished by having to wander another 40 years before coming back to this point and taking the city after all. Do you see the correlation? Just because God can cause His will to happen in spite of our disobedience, it doesn't mean He will. Even if He brings us back to this point 40 years from now, it will be too late for us to do the adopting. As I said, I know God can move $45,000 our way in a heartbeat, but if we don't pick up our fundraising participation (or find a fundrasier that actally does all that it claims), it may never get done.

Can I just stop here and turn this into a prayer request? We are praying for clear direction in every step of the process. We are praying for increased income so that we will qualify to adopt two. We were close at one time, but the babysitting ended. Right now I am enrolled in a course on medical transcription. Hopefully this will be one way to work on that income thing. Finally, we are praying for direction on fundraisers. It seems like most of what we have tried so far has not been very successful. We still have more than enough bracelets and pizza cards for sale. We are praying to be surrounded by people who understand our desire and support us. We are praying to come into contact with people who have been moved to help out. I know people adopt all the time. It can't be this hard for every family who adopts.

Tune in next time for a "happy" post. ; )

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vacation Time

Our vacation is officially over. : ( We decided back in February that we would use Tim's Fall Break as a chance to take the boys to Florida. They've never seen the beach before. Of course, they would have been happy in a town of 400 with nothing "to do" for 600 miles around as long has the hotel had a pool. Still, they loved the beach! And they were so good about the drive. I was so tempted to see if we could borrow a portable DVD player or buy a cheap one. But we survived another vacation drive without it. They took a few toys, their DSes, coloring books, and white boards. They took a nice long nap going and coming, we looked for water towers, and I even read aloud a little bit.

Their favorite activities would have been running on the beach, swimming in the indoor pool, and pushing the buttons on the elevator. My favorite activity was eating out. We decided to spend most of our money on eating out rather than local attractions because we figured the kids would mostly want to swim anyway.

Here's the view from our room...

Here are the kids. Colton is enjoying a pop-up sun shade that one of our neighbors loaned us while we were loading up the van. (I love our neighborhood.)