Archive for March, 2013


From Self to Dependence

From the beginning of this journey, one thing I have personally struggled with is the finances.  Those that know me, know I tend to be pretty fiscally responsible. We’ve worked pretty hard to eliminate the debt from our lives, and aside from our mortgage and Thomas’ “brain” (a.k.a. student loans), we have.  We don’t have a crazy nest egg, and live fairly simply, often giving away our excess.  Things like vacations were saved for and paid for in full.   Fundraising was a HUGE reason we had initially ruled out adopting internationally.

So then why would God call us to this? Why are we being led to a long and expensive process?

I was too comfortable.  I was too independent.  I was too self-sufficient. I was too selfish.  I was too…, I…, you get the idea.

What I needed was to experience God. To do that I needed to become uncomfortable, dependent on Him, recognize my own insufficiencies, become selfless, and let God work, in me first.

I love to give. Send someone dinner, support missionaries, surprise someone in need, help out a friend, or donate to a cause.  Receiving is sometimes uncomfortable. But, when you have a child on your heart, one that is yours, even if a world away, and you can’t even put their name in print yet, you give up a little bit of that pride.

In giving up that pride and fundraising I have learned that:

  • This is much bigger than me.  I didn’t want to be embarrassed, or look bad for asking for help. God is calling us to adopt. It’s about bringing Him glory, not about my pride.
  • We are called to give, to share what we have. In Acts 4:34-37 they lived communally. (I heard a pretty good sermon about this last Sunday, if you missed it you can find it here. (If it’s not up yet, it will be soon.)   This doesn’t work unless we are willing to accept when we are in need.
  • It is a tangible way to know we are being supported. There are plenty of times, we have wondered – “Are we crazy? Is this mountain scalable?” Each time we are affirmed by the financial and emotional support of friends and family.  So, are we crazy?  Definitely, but it’s the good kind of crazy!
  • I am not alone. I have the support of friends and family. Not just in raising funds, but when it gets real and crazy – when we are getting ready to bring him home, when we are dealing with medical issues, when I’m juggling two pre-school schedules, etc.

Most importantly, I am being obedient to God. He is not a prize at the end of this, but holding me and pushing us forward. Why? He loves the orphan, and I do too. I am serving Him my adopting a lost child and bringing him into my family – a full heir.  Others are helping the orphan by helping us (and/or others) in their journey to bring a child home. Russell Moore explains this much better than I can in “Adopted for Life

Our adoption by God, making us full heirs with Christ, cost Him separation from his Son, and watching Him suffer a punishment He didn’t deserve, so that we could become part of the family. Swallowing my pride and accepting help to do His will doesn’t seem like such a big deal after all.

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Fear

(Please note – Julie is posting this, but it was written by Thomas.)

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

 

First, let me apologize for the lack of updates over the past week or so. It truly has been a whirlwind week. God has done some pretty amazing things in our lives during this past week and in every way, He has met us where we were and brought us to a place of humble obedience.

 

The story starts a week ago when I got a somewhat panicked email from Julie saying that the little boy we’re praying about was not on the agency’s waiting child list any longer. She emailed the agency and we both started praying. I confess that we both were afraid that someone else had adopted him. Even though we have told God that our ultimate hope is that this little guy would have a family of his own and that we would be alright with God’s decision in this as long this happened. But I found out that I wasn’t alright with it. I was fearful that God wouldn’t come through.

 

In many ways, it brought back memories of the first week we knew of our pregnancy with Lucas. I remember getting the call from Julie saying that, because of some bleeding, they wanted her to go in for an ultrasound. When she asked if I should be there or not, they told her I probably should because it was either going to be really good news or really traumatic news. On my way over to the doctor’s office, I was very fearful. My fear lead to anger towards God because I couldn’t understand how He would allow us to finally become pregnant only to have the child yanked away only a week in.

 

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate … leads to suffering.” ~ Jedi Master Yoda

 

Thankfully, God had other plans. In hearing Luke’s newly formed beating heart, I heard God’s promise that no matter what happened, He would walk with us through this time. So, when we thought Luke might have birth defects beyond the cleft lip, although we were cautious, we trusted God. The opposite of fear is trust. We trust God not just because His Word is true, but because He has proven Himself over and over again.

 

Coming full circle to the adoption, I just stopped what I was working on and asked God to give us an answer. Our homestudy wasn’t quite done yet, so we assumed we could switch countries if we needed to with no issue. I remembered how God had proven Himself and started to trust. When the news came in that our little guy was no longer listed because they removed him for us – my heart leapt for joy! This doesn’t mean that we have a formal referral yet, but we received the news as a confirmation from God and an answer to prayer.

But God wasn’t done yet. Since then, God has:

  • Blessed us by allowing me to win a gift card a a company function which in turn has allowed me to share with those who congratulated me about the pending adoption.
  • Blessed us with gifts from friends and church family.
  • Blessed us with the completion of our homestudy so we can begin applying for grants to help with expenses.
  • Blessed us with some fantastic news about some adoption law changes in South Korea.
  • Blessed us with an overall financial picture that says our next payment is completely covered and one of the next ones as well.

I won’t say that fear is completely gone and will never come back. Honestly, the news out of North Korea these days is very frightening. But I know that no matter how difficult this process is, I can trust that God is sovereignly working all things together (Romans 8:28). I believe now, more than ever, that this little guy is to be part of our family.

 

As always, we appreciate your prayers in all of this. Here are specific ways you can pray:

  • PRAISE: Please just join in praising our might God for all that He has done so far!
  • Please pray also for peace in Korea and that our little guy remains safe.
  • Please pray for a speedy approval by both governments so that we might have a referral sometime in the next three months.
  • Please pray that we may qualify for some grants to help offset the costs, and that the responses are swift.

Thanks so much for your prayers and support during this time. It means everything to us!

 

As always, if you want to help support our adoption financially, please check out the methods in the links above or to the right. Thanks!

Thankful

I realized it has been awhile since we update everyone on where we are at in the process. I think this is primarily because he haven’t had any “news” to speak of. We received word that S. Korea continues to change and adapt the laws so we really don’t know what to expect. It seems that every time we think we learn something, we end up with more questions.

But then God does some really cool things and reminds us that He is working this all together for good. Some very generous givers (including one just a few moments ago!) have blessed us tremendously. Julie’s family is hard at work on the fundraiser garage sale and pork roast (more information to come on that). But the neatest thing to happen is something that is going on with Luke. We have prayed every night for his future brother (along with our friends who are missionaries in Africa, his friends from Church and thanked God for Netflix, race cars, racing trucks, racing tracks and racing cars). The other day, Luke started talking about how he wants a brother to come and play games with him. My heart about melted. Luke wants a brother!

Yes, this is a lot of work. Yes, it is an emotional experience. But it is so worth it. And in adopting a little boy and in giving Luke a brother, we get to show both of them what it means to be adopted by our gracious God. We hope we are also living out a little bit of the Kingdom of God.

So, we ask you to pray for God’s blessings in:

  • Finalizing our home study so we can move it along to the appropriate government agencies.
  • A quick approval from those government agencies.
  • That we would only have to make one trip to S. Korea rather than two.

We rejoice in:

  • Continued financial blessings.
  • A very smooth process so far.
  • Opportunities to share what God is doing in our lives.

Thanks for taking the journey with us!