Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Already There

Good news!  The potential "birthmother" drama dissipated today.  Turns out the woman was looking for a different child.  I have ALL...A. L. L. court documents done and ready to be filed now for BOTH girls.  Happy day.  But my lawyer's out of town until Thursday or Friday so I still can't file without him.  I'm moving tomorrow so I have spent the day packing and trying not to freak out about the unknowns still ahead.  I feel like inch by inch we're getting closer, though.  These are the lyrics to a song that has really been an encouragement to me lately.  My cousin who's daughter has been battling cancer over the last couple of years (now in remission, praise the Lord)  told me about it and it has been a real encouragement especially in recent days so I thought I would share the lyrics.

Already There
by Casting Crowns

From where I'm standing
Lord it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can't control

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

From where You're standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan

Here are a couple of pictures to make you all laugh!

Evolet and her good friend Brooklyn.  They got crazy in the fingerpaint.
Josie covered in fingerpaint and walking around like it's normal.
Josie running from Evolet while Evolet tries to freak her out by pretending to eat a bug.  Josie's exact words were "Mommy, I told Evolet to stop eating the bug and she won't STOP!"
Evolet pretending to eat the bug.  She didn't actually do it, but according to a Zambian who was there, these types of bugs are totally edible.  Yum.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just When you Think Things Can't Get Worse...

So my dad had this saying that "When you see light at the end of a tunnel it's probably a train coming at you."

I always laughed and rolled my eyes and thought it was a little pessimistic, but darn it...dad's have a way of being right sometimes.

For real, though.  On Tuesday, all the paperwork was in and done for Evolet and Keira.  I was so happy...went out and celebrated by watching a movie with my friend.  Came home and hugged my kids and sang songs about Jesus!  It was a really great day.  I allowed myself the joy of feeling like we were at the end and the fight was almost over.  I spent that night restless thinking about home and how I'm so close to being there. The plan was to file for court the very next day after my lawyer finished up his paperwork.  It sounds simple...right?

So I woke up to a text from my social worker--who I thought I was done working with.  She says "A woman came intot he police station in Balastone claiming that Hope (Evolet) is her daughter."

And the Bomb falls.

What?  How in the world is this possible?  Why the day I'm supposed to file for court?  Why do I have more crap to deal with now?  Have I not done enough?

All those thoughts kind of hit me at the same time.  This is absolutely beyond ridiculous.  Everyone--lawyer and social worker included have said they think it is a false claim.  There are myriad of possibilities that it COULD be, but it is very unlikely that this woman is actually her birth-mother.

So I told my lawyer to go ahead and file for Keira before something else goes wrong.  The plan was to go to court for her at least on Monday.  Did he do that?  No.  I still can't get a hold of him and the courts close in 30 minutes.  And tomorrow is a holiday--African Freedom Day.  So...as if weekends aren't the bane of my existence anyway I get the special treat of having a three day weekend to freak out about all of this.

My social worker wasn't able to get a hold of anyone until late in the day so now she'll be going to Balastone on Monday and trying to sort this through.

Add to that that British Airways is sold out past June 22 and we need to get our tickets...well, now.

And I have to move for the fourth time since being here.  Thankfully, I didn't have to stress about that for long.  My friend Katryn has graciously agreed to open her home to an "on the verge of psychopath" mom and her three kids for a couple of weeks.  What a blessing!  I really don't think I could have handled the whole house hunting thing again.

I feel like this tornado of impossible circumstances is like swirling around me.  I don't know alot of things right now, but I do know this:

1.  This kind of insanity has to end--now.  I won't continue to live in another country at the whim of this person or that person anymore.  I'm going home to my husband and that's that.

2.  God knows that and he's got the whole world in His hands.  I can't explain the peace that gives in the middle of this.  It doesn't make the pain and uncertainty go away,  but it does give me a freedom to know that even though I am only human and can only do so much, God has known from the beginning of time what my tomorrows would look like.  He knows these girls and He cares for them so He'll do what's best by His holy will.  He can't do anything else--He's God.  And he specializes in "impossible things".

"He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. 

He turns a desert into pools of water,
and parched land into springs of water. 

And there he lets the hungry dwell...
he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks. 

The upright see it and are glad,
and all wickedness shuts its mouth. 

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let him consider the steadfast love of the LORD."
-Psalm 107:33-36 and 41-43

Monday, May 21, 2012

Still in the Tunnel...

...Wait!  Is that a light?

Sorry I haven't posted any cutesy pics lately of my kids all dolled up and looking amazing.  I don't think I would win the mom of the year award for this past week.  I'm doing good to bathe them and keep junk in their hair.  I randomly find Josie hanging out in the pantry with brown sugar all over her face or (like yesterday)  motor oil, deoderant, and salad dressing.  They've been eating cornflakes and oranges for probably 2 meals out of the day.  Momma's anxious--and exhausted--and not very entertaining lately.

But, today I was told that the elusive "paper" that's been the cause of all this stress is now in the hands of my social worker.  The last paper we need for Keira should be available tomorrow as well as the final--FINAL papers I ever have to ask Elizabeth for!!!  Yay!

So if those things can be in our hands tomorrow, then my lawyer can file for court and we'll go either Wednesday or Thursday.  Friday is a holiday, and probably Monday too so I really am hoping it all comes together.

I've been trying so hard to cast my cares on the Lord.  There is so much that weighs on me and some days and I can't even remember what home is like.  I know I miss it--painfully.

So Darren and I are starting to talk about travel plans and tickets.  I still probably won't be home until the last week of June.  One more month.  I can hang on that long, right?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Power of Prayer and a Kit Kat Bar

I'm so encouraged by the amount of people that prayed for me today.  Some people even got up at 2 a.m. to pray during my 9 a.m. meeting here.  I really seriously am blessed to have friends and family like y'all.  (Yes, I can't wait to be back where that is considered a valid word)

God was good to answer some of those prayers today.  I was extrememely anxious about what I was going to say in the meeting.  I didn't know what to expect and more than anything I didn't want to jeapordize my kids...or get thrown in jail.  You just never know in Africa.

My friend Megan took me to the office and we waited for over an hour.  Then we were told that the boss was in court and would have to meet later.  In the hallway I ran into Keira's biological father--slightly awkward.  He was called by Elizabeth too, but wasn't sure why.  So Megan and I ran some errands and just waited for a call.  I was told to come by again at 2 p.m.

 Megan had to go to pick up her kids from school so I waited at the mall across the street until 2.  I tried to eat lunch but was still a little anxious and wondering if I was just making too big of a deal of the whole thing.

I just kept praying for peace and the right words to say.  So would you believe that when I walked into the office I wasn't even nervous?  God gave me a peace that I truly can't even explain.  I showed no emotion--which I was told would only make things worse if I did.  I just stated the facts.  It turns out too that I ended up meeting with a different boss which probably was a good thing.  He was much more professional and even though I still had to apologize very formally and everything for the misunderstanding, he heard me out and listened to my frutrations as well.  He said that he has instructed Elizabeth to finish as quickly as possible because she's been reassigned and he needs her to move on.  So in fact she said she would go to the police station for Evolet's report tonight after work.  We'll see if that happens.  I gave Elizabeth a kit-kat bar (the woman's a chocoholic bigtime) and it seems that for now we are back in a position where we can communicate again, but hopefully she knows that I'm serious about her doing her job.

Keira's dad was asked to come in because--get this--Elizabeth lost the consent forms he signed months ago and needed him to sign new ones.  So that meant that I had to take them to the magistrate's court to get them signed again.  It was kind of a ridiculous day really, but I can see ways that the Lord is moving and I am so thankful.

My lawyer got back to me--finally.  He's been out of town and now that this storm has passed he's decided to resurface.  I really felt like I needed him to be present the last couple of days, but I also know that everything is going according to God's plan so I won't complain.  It can't be a coincidence that he only got back to me five minutes AFTER this meeting was finished.  God obviously didn't want him there.  Anyway, we are supposed to meet tomorrow so I can pass off some of this paperwork for him to start filing. 

I really do believe that God is fighting for us.  The ways may seem small and we're still waiting for tangible evidence that will calm our hearts more, but I know that he is with me and I know that He is getting ready to display his glory in a way that I don't understand now, but I would choose if I could see into the future.  I wouldn't have chosen for things to be this hard, but I trust him and I know He's good.

Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for God's sustaining Grace.  It is no small matter that I am in the middle of a battle that is more than flesh and blood--more than anything I can fight in my own strength.  A friend posted this on my facebook wall and it has offered so much encouragement to my heart lately.

O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. -Psalm 10:17-18

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Day in Zambia

So my days in Zambia generally fall into one of two categories

Category 1:  A day with excellent news and also bad or confusing news
Category 2:  A day where nothing happens

Most days fall into category 2, but today was a Category 1 Day.  I had a confrontation with my social worker which was traumatic for me.  I hate fighting and handle it by either apologizing for things I didn't do wrong, lashing out like a cornered animal, or as was the case today weeping in her office and crushing under the overhwlming weight of everything that's going on--doesn't help that Keira keeps having nightmares and I haven't had a good night's sleep for quite a while.

So I accused Elizabeth of lying.  Which I was somewhat justified to do I think, but the situation in question ended up being a misunderstanding.  I still think that if you've told someone you're doing ALL you can to help them and six months later you still haven't managed to get one piece of paper---that falls under the heading of lies too, but still.  I accused without having ALL my facts straight.  I quickly apologized, but apparently that wasn't good enough and now I'm being "called into the principal's office" where I don't even go to school.  She called her boss on me!  I can't believe how things manage to keep getting more and more ridiculous.  This has become a very personal thing for her when all I've ever wanted was for her to do her job!

Ok so the good news though is that in the midst of this very stressful conversation with Elizabeth she tells me that her boss gave the ok for Keira to be adopted.  We still have to collect the paperwork and file for court, but this was a HUGE answer to prayer that was slightly overshadowed by the drama of the day.

I'm thankful that my friend Megan was there for support and to remind me that in the end it is God's will and not mine that will be done.  He can work through all of this and it seems that he is even though it is still a mess.

I don't know what to expect from tomorrrow.  I really wish my lawyer could be there to help advocate for me, but I haven't been able to get a hold of him since Sunday.  Maybe he hates me too.  I know that I will need to apologize for the horrible Zambian crime of offending Elizabeth and for opening my mouth without having all my facts collected...even though I was probably right.  I also know that I will now have an audience with her boss and can delicately, but firmly plead my case for these girls and our need to be done quickly.  My prayer is that Elizabeth will have already picked up the report before our meeting and then I won't need to plead for anything.  I can just apologize and grab my documents and go.

Please pray that I wouldn't do anything stupid. I've been told that above all else I am to show no emotion at this meeting tomorrow. That's not easy.  I am very rarely anxious, so when I am I look and act defensive or breakdown in tears and that is not what these people need to see.  I have to be calm and collected and the more I think about how to force that the more I want to cry.  I know that God can harden and soften hearts at his will and pleasure.  I know that even though Moses wasn't good with words he boldly went before Pharaoh and God blessed him.  I know that even though alot of people here don't like me that God can enable me to manauver these tricky customs of communication even when I don't understand them.  I know that I can trust him to guide me through whatever comes my way. I know that even though God is throwing the one thing I hate more than anything--confrontation--my way that He can use me and get me through it.

Still--I'm anxious.  I've been made to feel like I've done something horribly wrong by demanding that my social worker do her job.  I have been polite and nice and kind and understanding of Zambian slowness for 6 1/2 months and I just feel like enough is enough.  I do hope all of this is overwith soon.  I saw a glimpse of that finish line today and it felt oh so nice.

 P.S.  I miss my husband more than anything in the world right now.  I will die if I don't get back to him soon.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day Wishes

I wish alot of things lately.  I wish I didn't have strep throat and I wish my water wasn't off.  I wish I smelled better, I wish my kids weren't as loud, I wish my electricity would stay on.  More than anything I wish Jesus would come back.  I wish he would make things right again--heal the broken and bring justice to his people.  Erase the pain and darkness with the light of his presence.  It's a grace that he hasn't and I know that.  He delays His wrath in love, but I look around and I long for it.

So I'll settle for something of a smaller scale--the miracle of adoption.  The beauty of his love displayed in a parallel that is so close to gospel sacrifice that it feels like Satan and the world has opposed us in every way.  Christ says that the persecuted are blessed.  And I know my suffering pales in comparison to what many others have experienced.  It is all relative, but right now this is the hardest thing I have ever done...to date.

This has been an interesting time of paradoxes for me.  Most of my life I've beheld God's goodness in a comfortable form.  Now things are hard and it is a temptation to wonder where his goodness went.  But for my children, being in a family has been the first tangible evidence of it and they are learning about the God who is good to them.  For me it's the hardest time, but for them they are experiencing love and thriving even though they have no idea how good they are even going to have it when we get home!  I think things are terrible, but they are ecstatic to just be living where we are and eating and doing the things we do.

Tomorrow (Monday) at 1 p.m. I have a meeting with my social worker and lawyer.  I'm taking them out to lunch and leaving my kids so am hoping to have an uninterrupted discussion about the state of things and where we are headed.  I always hope that these meetings are curves in the road and most of the time they are uneventful, but I'm putting a stake down tomorrow and I pray for the boldness to demand answers for the sake of my children.  My wish is that by Mother's Day I could look at these two kids and tell them they are mine for good.  And that we are going home on a particular day.  Please pray that with us! In the meantime just pray the water comes back.

"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted...I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you: therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."--Job 42: 1, and 5-6

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Too cute not to share....

So today was a photo day for us.  The sun was bright and the kids were giggly.  We were all dressed up and ready to go have some fun with our friend Sophie and her daughter Natasha.  These little munchkins make me laugh so hard.  Their little personalities are developing so well and it's fun to capture some of that with a camera.  How cute are these little things?

Josie rockin' her new jacket.

Love the progression of those three photos!

Josie wrinkles her nose up when she says "banana".  It is one of the most precious things in this universe.

All three riding on a tree stump.

Precious Sister kisses
I love this one.  This kid is so radiantly gorgeous!

Beautiful Keira.

Cute little Josie.  My how she's grown!
I wanted to share the lyrics to a song that's been going through my mind alot lately.  We sing it at our church and it's a great reminder of God's complete control over things and His goodness even in the midst of the trials of this time:

"Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain

Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well

You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night"

I love these three.  They are such a blessing!