Friday, November 30, 2012

The Dangling Carrot Continues.....

When I found out my caseworker was making a trip to MG's country, I was VERY excited.  She was going to the city where MG is and was going to see her.  I was so hungry for information about her personality and to know that someone I could ask an obsessive amount of questions was going to be the one to see her, well it was just what I needed!

The first few days she was in country she was staying in the capital.  The main reason for her trip was because there were several cases going before the high court and she wanted to be there with the families.  She emailed me several days into her trip and told me that the Orphanage Director expected my court date to be 12/5 or 12/6.  WHAT?????  Super, crazy, excited!!!!  I started making a list of everything I would have to get accomplished, starting making my packing list, started researching airfare, and finally allowed myself to get REAL excited about it!    Every morning I was obsessively checking my email looking for that long awaited travel confirmation.

It never came.

Instead, in a horrible string of events, one of the cases was dismissed by the court.
That family had been battling for their daughter for over four years.
How do you tell a precious girl who is beyond old enough to understand, a sweet girl who had spent time with her hopefully soon-to-be family, that the court said no?
My heart hurt so bad when I found out.  I felt sick and all I could do was pray for them.  I can not even begin to imagine the vacuum she must feel she was pulled into.

Because of these events, my coordinator stayed in the capital with the family.  I felt like a horrible person because I was so disappointed that she wouldn't make the trip to MG's city after all.   I was so looking forward to new pictures but most of all, I was already preparing my interrogation about MG's personality, does she still know I'm coming? Is she excited about me?  Is she scared?  Does she still have hope in her little heart?

And then I thought of the mom who will never be able to bring her daughter home.
I go back and forth between crying for her and praying for her because that's all I can do.

It took my caseworker 2 days to email me back about her trip to MG's city and the fact that they still don't have a court date for me.   I know she didn't want to send that email.  In her mind, I think the trip was going to turn out quite differently for everyone involved.  I know she pours her heart into each case and she has prayer warriors who pray for each family.  She is invested in her cases emotionally, spiritually and physically!  Even though I am disappointed that she didn't go to MG's orphanage, I LOVE that she stayed with the family and loved on them and tried to provide comfort for them.

The day I received her email, I had been sick and was feeling emotionally lousy.  Being so close and yet so far at the same time is really starting to take a toll on me.  I get real excited just to get let down.  But I'm fearful of guarding my heart so much that I become apathetic (not towards MG, just the process).  I know that's not a healthy way to deal with the wait.

So while I was wallowing in self-pity, my dogs informed me that the mailman had arrived.  A few days earlier, a friend of mine asked me for my address because she said she had a Christmas gift for M.  I opened the box and inside was this beautiful, handmade purse from India.

I sat down and cried.
It is so beautiful and that kind gesture was exactly what I needed to renew my hope.  One day SOON, my sweet baby girl will be carrying this purse around!
And you can bet that I will post a picture of that!

In the end, I have resigned myself yet again to surrender all of this to the Lord and to hope, wait, and trust in Him.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Crazy old news and maybe new news tomorrow??!!

After talking to several adoptive mamas, I realized that I never saw a copy of my NOC.  I emailed my director who is in-country now and asked if I was supposed to have a copy- I just thought it was at the embassy :)  Well, she sent me a copy and guess what?  My NOC was issued in ONE day!!!!!  I already was completely overjoyed that I got word in 15 days but to have the actual document in front of me and to see that the issue date was the NEXT day from the date of my Article 5 letter??!!!!  CRAZY!!!!!

I'm still in shock I think!  She also told me that she hopes to hear word of my court date tomorrow (they are a crazy amount of hours ahead of us so it's like Monday for them tomorrow).  PLEASE pray that I will hear word!!!  I'm not sure if finding out about the rapidness of my NOC if that is supposed to be an encouragement about tomorrow, but I'm definitely praying!!!!!  I will have to SCRAMBLE to get everything together but I know that Lord will line everything up that I need :)  It's been almost 2 months since I submitted my court petition so I'm really praying that I will get a final word so that I can make travel arrangements.

I hope you are enjoying that last moments of the Thanksgiving break!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfulness and Hope

On November 4th 2011, I went to see Joel Osteen.  Just the other day, a good friend of mine was making fun of me for it, asking somewhat jokingly, how could I buy into it?  I told him to shut up and then started to cry.  You see, when I was at Joel Osteen, a lady was speaking.  She spoke about a woman whose only desire was to be a mother.  All of the odds were against her but she knew that the Lord had planted that seed in her heart.  After 20 years of praying and failed infertility treatments, she was on the verge of losing hope.  She had a random encounter with a stranger that renewed her hope and a week later, she received a phone call about adopting twins- would she take them?  The story was much longer and more detailed than what I am writing but when this story was being told, I had this overwhelming feeling that God was whispering to me that indeed, Munni would be my daughter.

Ten days later on November 14, 2011 I received an email.  It was from the agency where I found MG on the waiting children's list.  It simply stated, "Kristen, I am sorry to tell you that we won't be able to complete Munni's adoption.  In addition, we are putting our waiting children program on hold.  I wish I had better news."  The End.  No phone call, no comforting, nada.  Crushed, devastated, bewildered, confused....all of those emotions were running around in my head.  Hours earlier I had just won a fundraising grant with Ordinary Hero.  Talk about a buzz kill.  I prayed and prayed for clarity.  Did I imagine what the Lord whispered to me at Joel Osteen?  Am I crazy?  No.  Again, I heard the Lord tell me, "wait."  And so I did.  And I prayed every day and chose to trust that somehow, someway, He would bring about this adoption.  I didn't tell anyone about the email because I felt that by spreading the bad news, would be giving life to it.

EXACTLY one month later on December 14, 2011 a lady I didn't know contacted me through my blog.  I can't tell you how amazing Sarah's heart is for the orphan.  She asked me several questions about my adoption process and we exchanged emails.  This was the first time that I shared what agency A had told me about not completing Munni's adoption.  Then Sarah wrote me back and told me, "I have a back up plan for you."  I don't doubt for a minute that God brought Sarah into my life!  Talking with her renewed my hope to fight even harder for Munni.  Sarah was in contact with another agency and had called them and advocated for Munni and me.  Think about that!  She didn't even know me but took the time to make phone calls and investigate options for me.  To this day, I can't thank her enough.  I don't think I will ever be able to put into words just how grateful I am for meeting her!  Two days before Christmas, the situation was getting dire due to the change in adoption process in MG's country.  Sarah called me and told me to call agency B and talk with the program director.  She said that she was confident that they could help me.  I made the call and that's when the Christmas Miracle occurred!

I look back over this story and it makes me cry every time.  I see how much the Lord loves sweet Munni and how much he loves me.  The people he's weaved into our lives who brought encouragement and love, I wouldn't trade for anything.

Back to the other day when I told my friend to shut up (we are very good friends so it wasn't mean like that) and I started to cry.  I told him the night that I went to Joel Osteen gave me the hope I needed to keep battling for Munni.  When people told me it wasn't going to happen, I held onto the truth that woman said that night:  If God gives you a dream, he will honor that dream and bring it to fruition- EVEN when in our human minds, it doesn't seem possible.  And so now, a year later, I am a couple weeks from boarding a plane to meet my daughter for the very first time.

Hope got me through it.  Thankfulness is what I think every time I see her beautiful face.  It reminds me once again of the verse God has brought me to time and time again:

"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" - Genesis 18:14

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday- Photography

Another week and no news on the adoption front.  What better to do than keep myself occupied than with the Scavenger Hunt Sunday?  Here are my interpretations for this week!
Button:  I spend a lot of time with these buttons.  Probably too much time...

Favorite Fruit:  I live in the Midwest and I get so excited for this time of year because that means Honey Crisp and Granny Smith Apples!

 Map:  When I was 20 years old, I promised myself every year I would go somewhere I've never been whether it be domestic or international.  I've kept that promise to myself so far and one of the ways I keep track is by highlighting where I've gone in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.  Oh, and that's a bookend I picked up in Nairobi :)

Strong:  I trolled Craigslist for months to find this 1906 beauty!!  However it took 5 really big guys, a lot of sweat and even more determination to get it into my house.  Times like these I'm glad I'm a woman :)

Vision:  I grew up playing the piano.  I'm SO THANKFUL my mom made me learn.  My vision is that my sweet Munni will learn to play!

 Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hopeful for some news...

I found out that one of my caseworkers is traveling to MG's country this week.  First, would you please pray for protection over her as she navigates several different cities and orphanages?  Also, please pray that she will be able to advocate for the many families who are waiting for news about their children.  Hopefully, she will be able to accomplish much being there in person.  Her timing for arrival is pretty good since it will be the end of their major holiday and no foreseen delays in the near future (there are always delays, but I'm talking about the kind you can plan:)  In regards to my situation, she is thinking that she will find out info about my court case and *hopefully* will email me with a court date!  I also asked her to please love on sweet MG for me.  I can't tell you how frustrating it is to be SO close to the end and at the same time, not be able to do anything about it.  All I have is prayer and really, that is more than enough!  If I really believe that the Lord says he will do what  he says, then I know that he will bring it to fruition in his timing.  I've been reading the book of Luke, and in particular, have been reflecting on the story of how Zacarias and Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist.  They had prayed and prayed and prayed for a baby.  It was at the point when they did not have any control over the situation that the Lord answered their prayer.  I'm at that point :)

I came across this poem recently and it really touched my heart.  The author is unknown.

Two Mothers of Love
Once there were two women
Who didn't know each other
One you do not remember
The other you call mother
Two different lives shaped
to make your one
One becoming your guiding star
The other became your sun
The first gave you life
And the second taught you to live in it
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it
One gave you nationality
The other gave you a name
One gave you the seed of talent
The other gave you an aim
One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears
The age old questions through the years;
Heredity or environment-
Which are you the product of?
Both my darling-both
And two different kinds of love!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Prayer for Baby T

I just found out yesterday that my very good friends found out on Thursday that their 6 week old baby boy has been diagnosed with a very serious skin condition.  It is an extremely rare condition, so the diagnoses is not yet set in stone.  At best, it will be a life-long condition with very serious side effects.

He is getting a biopsy Monday at 12:50.  On Thursday at 5:30, he will be seen by all the dermatologists in the town where they live.

Please join me in prayer for Sweet Baby T and his family.  So far, this is what the medical profession has said but we also know the power of prayer.

Please pray with me as we pray to destroy, crush, tear down, crumble and shatter the strongholds of disease, illness, and sickness from Baby T.  We bind his sweet, precious body to the healing and protection of the Holy Spirit.  We pray for wisdom for all of the specialists who will see Baby T.  We pray that the Lord would envelop my friends in his love, comfort and peace as they process all that is happening to their sweet baby.  We pray that the Lord would strengthen them for the journey ahead of them.  We pray for Baby T's sisters who are old enough to understand but not quite old enough to grasp the depth of seriousness of this diagnosis.  We pray that my friends would have an amazing support group in their town to pray with them, support them, and be there for them.

Ultimately, we know and trust that the Lord has Baby T in the palm of his hand.

I asked my friends if they were comfortable with me posting this on my blog and asking for prayer for them.  They gave me a resounding "YES, WE NEED IT."

Please, please keep their family in your prayers.   I know prayer works.  I've seen it happen and so we lift all our prayers to the Lord who promises to do exceedingly above and beyond all that we could even think or imagine.

I can't thank you enough- mutual love and concern for those in need is a beautiful thing.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Photography

This was the longest week ever!  I had an in-service day which honestly, I'd rather have my students!  And also, we had our first conferences as well so that made for a late night.  I was so excited about these prompts but because of the busyness of the week, I didn't think I'd have time to get them all.  So I came up with an additional challenge for myself (like I don't have enough going on right now!) and decided to put my big girl camera away for this assignment and instead, use my iphone with my lens attachments I have for it.  I had SO MUCH FUN doing this!  I used three lenses:  Macro, fish eye and wide angle.

Here are my interpretations:

Nature- My neighbor's tree is in all it's glory right now!  I love the funkiness of the fisheye for this:

Cooking:  I went to my sister's to hang out and to see Barkley Boy....only Barkley and his new humans weren't home :(  I was sad, but we are trying for round 2 today.  It's a tradition in our household to eat cheese popcorn while watching movies.  As you can tell, the popper has many years under its belt!

Whimsical:  This house was built by one of the Design Professors at UC's DAAP program.  It's been around since I was little.  It's right up the street from me and it makes me giggle every time I see it.

Vintage/retro:  This theatre has been around a very long time.  They've repaired the sign and now they have a ball that starts at the top of the 20th century and drops at the New Year's Eve party.  It's an amazing staple in this community!!

Week's Best:  Originally I thought I'd use my sister's bird house, but then when I was driving for my ritual morning coffee, I drove by the mushroom house and used that instead.  I love the sun flare and how the bird house is nestled in the trees.

I didn't hear anything about my court date for MG, and being that next week is Diwali, that puts me at the week of Thanksgiving for the next possible time for me to maybe hear something.  I keep praying and trusting.  That's all you can do, right?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Photography

It was a busy, busy week and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get all of the prompts but since I missed last week's hunt, I definitely made it my goal!  Here are my interpretations:

Wild:  I have been wanting an ipad for awhile now with the approaching trips to India.  My good friend  Mer tipped me off about buying the refurbs.  I saved a pretty penny AND I'm super happy with my new toy!  I also wanted a cover that would be obnoxious so I could find it anywhere :)

Welcome:  I was doing a photo shoot and happened upon this fat fellow lying on his doorstep.  I couldn't resist and had to take few shots. 

Adventure- Here's a fun fact, I used to take belly dancing lessons.  I loved it!!  This was a scarf I wore (all the medallions added a nice sound effect :) ) Anyway, I love the sanskrit writing on the medallions. It reminds me of the adventures I'm about to experience picking up my daughter!

Classic-  Every Saturday I treat myself to a Venti stirred white chocolate mocha.  And one of my pups takes the ride with me and gets a pupaccino.  It wouldn't be a Saturday without this tradition!

Vibrant- This is a shot of part of an oil painting I painted.  It's one of my favorite paintings.  I just love how vibrant the colors are.  

 Happy Sunday!