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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Retrospective

I'm typing from a beautiful beachfront hotel. (A Christmas gift from my parents to our whole family - thanks Mom and Dad!). It's cool and foggy outside and the sound of the waves drowns out the sounds of my younger boys playing with legos on the floor behind me. As I went down to breakfast this morning and as I walked into the lobby, the first family I saw was comprised of two parents and three children. The youngest child, about 10 years old has Down Syndrome. My first instinct was to walk up to their table and meet them, to tell them all about our plans to adopt Ezequiel and ask them for any words of wisdom they might offer. I did not. I realize every family reacts to their special needs children differently and was just too intimidated to approach this family. I tried to watch this family without appearing to stare. Their sweet DS child drank his juice and ate his meal with great care. He neither spilled nor yelled out. He was mannerly and tidy. His family talked happily and made plans for their day. I was filled with a great pride that I, too, will soon be among the ranks of those raising such a child!
As I look back over this adoption process, I see how God has been weaving together every detail from the unpleasant delays to the "chance" meeting of a young girl who lives just one town over from mine and yet spent her previous summer doing missions at Ezequiel's orphanage. I know God is not finished with the lessons and "coincidences" that Ezequiel's life will bring into ours. From his early life as an unwanted pregnancy and his journey to an orphanage that deemed him worth saving, Ezequiel has a testimony. I can not wait until that testimony includes his ultimate arrival at his forever family and the healing that God has already begun for him coming to fruition.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

The US Embassy in Manila has received the cable letting them know it's time to schedule Ezequiel's visa and passport appointments!!!! What a wonderful Christmas gift!
We are also officially finished paying for our adoption AND related travel!! God has lavished us with gifts from friends and family, amazing fund raisers from Friends of Ezequiel, an interest-free loan from The Abba Fund and grants from both Show Hope AND Brittany's Hope. The grand total of all those efforts is well over $22,000!!! It simply blows me away to think we went from a family with a small savings account to a family with a fully funded adoption in just over five months! God is truly able and does SO much more than we ask or imagine! I realize the cost of adoption is HUGE. I understand if everyone working on behalf of the child and family donated their services, adoption could be much less expensive but, let's face it, these people all have families to care for and need to support themselves. If any of them are capitalizing on a family's desire to have a child, that is between them and their creator.
The truth of the matter is, life is valuable and precious. There is no cost too high to walk in obedience to Christ and if my Heavenly Father saw fit to give His very life blood for my soul, how much more should we be willing to give of our finances to save a child? Ezequiel is a beloved son of the King. He is a treasure in an earthen vessel.
I still feel complete amazement that God is giving us THIS child! This special boy with the extra chromosome and the beautiful face . . . this tiny two year old who just learned to walk is entrusted to MY FAMILY! We could not be more grateful!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

APPROVED (YES, I AM SHOUTING!!!!)

I received an email to day from USCIS letting me know that our I-800 petition has been approved!! I can not express the joy I am feeling in words but it is almost uncontainable!!! What is the next step? I'm glad you asked . . .
1.USCIS sends our packet and approval to the National Visa Center
2.The National Visa Center sends a cable to the US Embassy in Manila
3.The US Embassy in Manila tells the Inter Country Adoption Board to schedule
4.Ezequiel's visa and passport appointments
5.The ICAB calls our agency when both documents are ready
6.Our agency calls us to bring home our son!
Due to the fact that ICAB is closed for most of December, we are looking at a late January to early February travel date. I would, of course, love to be leaving RIGHT NOW to get our boy but I believe the Lord is altogether trustworthy. He knows every facet of the lives of everyone involved and has chosen a different travel date from the one I would prefer. I have learned one lesson well through the course of this life: His ways are NOT my ways but His ways are always the BEST! I will try to wait patiently.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday

Yesterday, I took a HUGE leap of faith . . .I'm sure the angels in Heaven sang my name and the demons shook at their very cores . . .I said the phrase "Merry Christmas" out loud, in public to a cashier with other folks in line behind me (ha ha)! I hesitate to use my blog to rant but indulge me. What on Earth is happening when a country believes the phrase "Merry Christmas" is an offense but "happy holidays" is perfectly acceptable?
Folks . . "holiday" means "holy day". The ONLY holy day that takes place in December is the birth of Christ so, I've got news for you. If you're using the phrase "happy holidays". You're still acknowledging the birth of Christ is holy, sacred, set apart and special. Guess what? You're right. It is.
Speaking of birthdays, our sweet Ezequiel turns two on December 17th. He won't be home. We won't be able to bring him a gift and watch him smash cake and smear it all over the place. I know he is in the capable hands of his loving caregivers at Gentle Hands. I am praying daily that the Lord will help us to wait with grace, never losing sight of God's sovereignty in ALL THINGS. It's so much easier said than done.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!