Monday, December 14, 2009

Another year almost over...

I can't believe 2009 is almost over. Time sure does seem to fly. I hope this finds everyone healthy and enjoying the holiday season.

Well, another year has come and gone again and we still haven't been to China to pick up our little girl. This was an extremely slow year for referrals from China. It took them a whole year to get through one month! This had been talked about in the adoption circle how the month of March 2006 was a huge month and would take a long time to get through. What that means is that there were a lot of dossiers submitted by people to China and so it took a long time to get through. We are told by our agency that China is continuing to address the length of the wait for referrals. Before and through March 2006, we are told that there were alot of dossiers submitted but after March it dropped off somewhat. So we hope that is true and that now the referrals could move along a little more quickly, but only time will tell. China's Center of Adoption Affairs has a new director now as well so I don't know what that will mean for us. They continue to try to get more orphanages to do international adoptions, but I guess it costs more to get a child ready for an international adoption because of the medical exams that need to be done to make sure the child is able to be adopted. Different organizations are working at raising money for these orphanages so that more children can be adopted. So we continue to wait. It's been 40 months now that we've been waiting for our little one from China.

As you may have read in the last post, we have decided to adopt from Ethiopia as well. I still need to get paperwork done for that and we need to have another homestudy done for this adoption. We would like to adopt a little boy and name him Samuel. So there is still a lot to be done with this adoption and I think I will finally have the time to work on what needs to be done. I think this adoption should move along quicker than the China adoption. So we'll see what happens.

We've had a busy year. We've been very thankful that Ron has continued to be able to work with the economy the way it is. Even though he works for a small company there was only a short time in the spring when they had to lay off their workers but everyone was called back by summer and they have been pretty busy since then. I continue to babysit for our neighbor's daughter every day. Since our neighbor is a teacher I still get the breaks that I'm used to getting as a teacher which is really nice. The little girl I babysit turned 2 a couple of months ago. It has been so fun to watch her grow and develop (since I started with her at 3 months old) and get some hands on experience before we have our own children. She is pretty attached to me and calls me "her Mary"! I also babysit one day a week for a friend's two children. Those children are 5 years old and 2 years old. My friend is also on the school schedule so that is nice. I've also been working a couple evenings a week for an organization called Goldenrod. They provide respite care and community habilitation for handicapped children and adults. I had two clients - one a little girl that I provided respite care for and a young woman I provided mostly community habilitation. So between babysitting and then working evenings plus being involved with our church and other responsibilities, I began feeling overwhelmed and like Ron and I didn't have much time together. So after much praying and soul searching I felt like I needed to give up my hours with Goldenrod. I enjoyed the work very much but felt like I couldn't give the time and energy that I wanted to. Plus Ron and I have had only one car for the past year and a half and it was a little tricky making everything work. We always found a way to make it work somehow. Surprisingly it has worked out pretty well for us to only have the one car.

Ron and I continue to be very involved with our church. We really enjoy the people. Ron heads up the Men's group and I do the Women's group. I continue to be on the Leadership Team and starting in January we will also be helping with the youth. This youth group is much smaller than the one we helped with at our former church. Since we taught Sunday school for the junior high and high school kids we already know the kids and enjoy being with them, so I think we will enjoy this.

The women's group just completed a study with the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. What a great book! Someone had recommended it to me and so I suggested it for our group and we really got a lot out of it. I would recommend this to any of you. It makes you look at your life as a Christian and think about how you're living that life and if it's really how Jesus taught us to live. It's very challenging and thought provoking.

I think that is pretty much a wrap up of our year. It's hard to believe that another year has gone by. We're really hoping that by next year at this time we will have at least one of our children, if not both!! We keep praying and waiting. We would love your prayers as we wait. Have a wonderful Christmas and may we all remember the true meaning of Christmas!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

three years...

Well we've been waiting on our China adoption for three years now. Our anniversary for our LID was on Aug. 3, which is also our wedding anniversary. How is it we've been waiting three years and there are still 19 groups ahead of us yet? Does that mean since China matches about one group a month that we'll have 19 more months of waiting? Oh, I really hope not. I know the wait will all be worth it once we have Marisa in our arms but right now the waiting doesn't make any sense and it's hard. It's hard to watch videos of others receiving their adopted child, but yet I have feelings of happiness for the new parents and just wondering what emotions I'll be experiencing when that moment arrives for us. The waiting might not be so bad if going into this adoption we would have had an idea that it was going to be a long wait. The people that are completing their paperwork now for a China adoption realize that the wait will be longer than 3 years. But things really slowed down after we had completed our paperwork. I'm not saying we've ever wished we weren't doing an adoption from China, we're completing this adoption because we believe our little girl is in China.

We received paperwork from our agency to complete for our Ethiopian adoption so I hope to get through that stuff fairly quickly. I'm not looking too forward to doing the paperwork but it's part of the process. If we only had to rely on ourselves to complete it, it wouldn't be so bad but there are some forms and things that others need to fill out and get back to us. We still haven't decided on a name for our little guy from Ethiopia. We have been tossing around a few names but none have stuck yet.

I can't believe how quickly the summer has flown by. I've been busy tutoring, doing respite care and community habilitation with a couple of clients, trying to take care of my garden which seems to quickly become overrun with weeds, harvesting vegetables from my garden, and doing some canning and freezing of fruits and vegetables. It feels like I really haven't had much chance to enjoy the summer because I've been so busy with so many things, but it does make time go by more quickly when we're busy so I guess that's a blessing.

I try to keep a positive attitude about our adoption even though it is progressing so slowly. I know it's in God's hands even though I can't understand what is taking Him so long to bring our daughter home to us but I know He's got it all planned out and it will all come together when the time is right. With the distraction of a second adoption that may help as well. We continue to need your prayers as we endure this long wait for Marisa and also need your prayers as we pursue the adoption from Ethiopia for a little boy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

here we go again...

After much prayer and discussion we have decided to go ahead with a second adoption/concurrant adoption. We are still pursuing our China adoption for Marisa, but have decided that we would like a sibling for her. Our adoption agency, Great Wall China Adoption (GWCA), has started a new division called Children of All Nations (CAN). CAN is doing adoptions from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Mexico at this time and will be adding more countries in the future. We have decided to go with Ethiopia. We turned in our application on June 22 and it was approved. The next step was filling out a paper on our preference of gender and age for a child, along with a contract. We completed both and sent them in on June 29. So now we begin the process of compiling our dossier, which is the pile of paperwork that has to be gathered and notarized and authenticated. All of that is then sent to Ethiopia to be translated and then they use this information to match us with a child. We submitted our preference for a boy this time. We haven't agreed on a possible name yet. So now we'll be busy with getting the paperwork together and all the other things we need to do - getting fingerprinted, doctor visits, background checks, a new home study, etc. I'll be glad when that's done and hopefully none of that will have to be renewed for Ethiopia because hopefully the wait won't be as long as what we've waited for our China adoption.

As we start that adoption we have had to resubmit paperwork for our China adoption. We have to be electronically fingerprinted again in Michigan City on July 14. This will be the third time we've had to do this and the third place we've gone. Each time we've gotten a little closer to home. Once the fingerprints and other paperwork has been processed, we will receive a new I-171H form that states we have permission to adopt an orphan and this will be good for 18 months. I hope this will be the last time that we'll have to do this, and that we'll have Marisa home with us within 18 months.

Our summer is busy. I just got back from visiting a college friend in Northern Michigan. We had a wonderful time chatting, shopping, eating out, and doing nothing. We always have so much fun together. This summer I have been tutoring a former student of mine 2 days a week. I have picked up a second client for respite care and community habilitation. So between tutoring, providing respite care or community habilitation, and trying to keep up with my garden and other things, I am staying very busy! Ron's work has picked up this summer. All the guys that had been laid off were called back. That's such great news for all of those guys! So there is a lot of work right now that will need to be done before the end of summer, but they are not sure what the fall will bring. We'll be praying for continued orders to come in so that there will be work for everyone.

Ron's nephew got engaged last month. He lives in New Orleans and met a girl from down there. They've been dating for awhile. They plan to get married next year in June. They have an engagement party coming up that Ron and I hope we'll be able to attend.

So many exciting things happening! So life continues...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

decisions, decisions...

Since the wait has been so long for our China adoption, we are considering starting a second adoption. It's so difficult to know what to do for sure. We would be happy with one child but yet feel like it would be nice for our child to have at least one sibling. If we wait until our China adoption goes through then we will be even older and not sure about going through the whole process of starting another adoption. It's hard to decide where to adopt from. Our adoption agency started another agency that works with the countries of Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Mexico. There are some financial breaks if we decide to go with this new agency since we are already in the process with the China adoption. Of course, there is always domestic adoption as well. So there is much to consider and many prayers being said as we discern God's will of what is best for us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

waiting...

There is a song by John Waller called While I'm Waiting. It's used in the movie Fireproof. I loved the song from the first time I heard it and it seems very relevant to our wait for Marisa. Here are the words:

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on you Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on you Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait
I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting
I will serve you
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on you Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on you Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
I will move ahead bold and confident
I'll be taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting
I will serve you
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint

I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
On you Lord

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:7

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1

These are the promises I cling to as we wait for Marisa.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ups and downs...

Not too long ago I read the book The Shack. It is a total work of fiction but it really makes you think about God, the Trinity in a whole new way. The book has had such an affect on me I can't even explain. I would highly recommend this book.

We just saw the movie Fireproof the other weekend. That is an incredible movie and definitely something any married couple should see. What a powerful movie! Marriage is not a committment you enter into lightly. Rent or buy the movie.

I am so glad to see the days getting longer. Having it get dark so early is not something I enjoy. I love to see the sun shine like it has these past few days. It is so bright shining off the snow. It really helps brighten my mood since I do not like winter very much.

Well, we've been waiting for 2 1/2 years now on our adoption with no speed up in sight as of yet. The waiting really does take it's toll. Today I was at a low point and was thinking do we continue with this adoption? Is it really going to happen? But when? Ron and I aren't getting any younger!! But then I look at other adoption blogs where people have their daughter from China and I think that could be our little girl and my heart longs for her. So then I feel like it is right to continue this adoption no matter how long the wait is. I believe strongly that it is God that has put this desire in our hearts and if we just continue to trust his timing it will happen.

In the meantime our lives have not been put on hold. We continue to get involved and stay involved in things. It does seem we are busy most of the time. I am so thankful for that because it does make time pass by more quickly.

A couple of weekends ago, Ron and I made a trip up to Charlevoix, Michigan where my best friend from college (Brenda) lives. She had called earlier in the week to let me know her mom had passed away. Brenda's mom, June, was like another mom to me. She was such a neat lady and I have so many special memories of her. I first met June during my college years when I'd go home with Brenda for a weekend. Her mom would sit with us at the dining room table and talk to us about what was going on in college, etc. Then after college Brenda and I continued to stay in touch and would make trips back and forth to visit each other. When I visited Brenda, we always spent some time with her mom. Brenda was very close to her mom and I'm sure there is a big empty space in her life now. June told me she thought of me as another daughter. She had a wonderful full life of 86 years. Now she is home with our Heavenly Father enjoying her life in a new body. We'll see her again someday.

As time passes, it makes me sad when we lose someone here on earth that I am close to. I always think "that's one person that Marisa (our daughter) will not get to meet". But that is part of life and there will be many other wonderful people that will be a part of her life and I just need to keep remembering that. Plus she will meet all of these wonderful people someday in heaven anyway so I shouldn't be sad about it. Right?

When you think of us, please pray for us. We have our good days and bad days as we continue this long wait to bring our little girl home. We want to keep the desires of our heart in line with what God wants and not to get impatient with the wait, but to continue trusting in God's faithfulness. Also, pray for Marisa. Her saftey, health, and well-being. That she has wonderful caretakers. Pray also for her mother as she leaves her (for us to adopt) and I'm sure it is one of the hardest things she'll ever have to do and it breaks my heart that her mother will have to do this so that we can have a child. Pray for a sense of peace and comfort for her mother, that she will know that her child is loved and being well taken care of. Thanks for the support so many of you have shown during this long wait.