Wednesday, September 23, 2009


and so we wait.  i have to confess, this is something i am not particularly good at. i mean i am really not good at it - at all.  i could tattoo the verse,"WAIT upon the Lord" across my forehead and am certain it would make little difference.  not to mention, my children would be ridiculously embarrassed if their mom showed up with a tattoo across her forehead, or in any other place, for that matter. 

september 9th we turned in our home study paperwork. was that only two weeks ago? we are waiting to have it reviewed so that we can begin the next step of applying to CIS for immigration. we are still very much at the beginning of this journey. perhaps that is the thing making me feel so restless this wednesday morning.  i know how much further we have to go. and no amount of my typical running or rushing will make much a difference. 

friends, i also know, that this is only one of the many lessons this adoption will be teaching us ( is it possible that God is using even this time of waiting to refine, polish and prepare our family for this next step? we have friends from college who are in china right now bringing home their 4th child. they have just wrapped their arms around their gracie. i woke this morning to find a facebook post and blog about their journey. i was so thankful for the reminder that at the end of all this paperwork and at the end of all this waiting is a little girl in china also waiting.  waiting for her family.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

xue zhu's orphange...

this is xue zhu's home.  right now, that is.  we are fixing to change all that just as soon as we can. but for now she is living in the guangzhou city social welfare institute (orphanage) with 3000 other children.  this has been her home since july 2008.
 guangzhou city is in the province of guangdong in southeastern china.  it is also where the consulate offices are located. all china adoptions must go through this city.  when the day comes for us to bring our daughter home, we will spend approximately two weeks in this area.  someday we will walk through this gate.  we will walk into this building.  we will walk into a room where our daughter waits.  someday we walk out with her in our arms.   it seems impossible and incredible as i sit looking at these photos.  these pictures are not home, they are foreign and far.  but i am reminded...again and again...
"even the sparrow has found a home..."   and somehow, i know we will get there.   

Friday, September 11, 2009

to stand beside an ocean

we spent this past labor day weekend at the beach. there is  nothing quite like standing next to the ocean. it has always given me immediate and unequivocal perspective on my size. i remember so well the awe i felt as a child when first discovering it. i quickly became nothing more than a speck. one of the trillions of sand grains underneath my feet.  

as an adult, everything in my world seems to have shrunk dramatically. but not the ocean. it still seems as majestic to me today as it did when i was six. i find great beauty in that constancy. i find it to even provide great comfort. there is reassurance in the knowledge that something is so big, so grand, so awesome it could in no way be diminished by my pseudo-sense of maturity and age.  the line, "i hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean," from the song I Hope You Dance, is well written. how can i not? no one can escape their smallness when confronted with its grandness.  and this is not only important, but it is great blessing.

perspective was exactly what i was in need of this weekend. as we battle through the tremendous check list of our adoption, we have, again, come face to face with our speck-hood. but even this frustrating fact has, in a strange way, brought a sense of comfort. again, we have encountered something so much larger than ourselves. 

i have learned in life that most things seem to have some kind of hidden crack - a minute opening waiting to be unearthed. if i keep prying, keep pushing, keep asking i can, willfully (sometimes), make advancements. i can chisel my way in. i can claw my way through. oh, not so in the daunting world of adoption. as the entire process has unfolded more and more clearly, it only makes the tiny-ness of my will and my size that much more obvious. there is no amount of prodding that will move this great beast along.  it is a great wall. it is a mountain. it is even an ocean. my parents, and especially my husband, would tell you that i have never responded particularly well to the word, "no." there is nothing like it to make me want something that much more desperately. i am certain this is not one of my better character traits....but, nonetheless, i must confess it sort of comes with my territory. i don't really remember the great battles of will my parents had with me as a child, but i have heard stories. they are not pretty stories. i cannot say that this gift of battle, is necessarily from God, but because He uses all things and wastes nothing, i do know He has used even this ugly nature for His good. it is part of what makes me want to push through this challenging mess.  

 rick and i have often felt hopeless, helpless and powerless in this pursuit of our little china girl. our size, even together, is stuck definitively in the realm of microscopic. again, it is just another way in which we are reminded that we can do nothing apart from Him. "...for apart from me you can do nothing." ~ john 15:5. this lesson doesn't come easily to my stubborn nature. i am forty years old and still want to stamp my foot and demand my way. i want to beat my fists on the table and plead my case. i want to assert my rights and present my wishes.  but then i walk down to the water's edge and i stand beside the ocean. as a believer in Christ i cannot even begin to look at His righteousness His glory. even a glimpse of it exposes me in my diminished state. even the mere hint of God's awesomeness reveals my utter wretchedness. i can tell you i don't like it - not one little bit. but i trust God is using even this formidable (at times) adoption to reveal my rebelliousness as i attempt things without Him. 

i can go ahead and jump in the ocean and swim with all my might. i can store up all my energy. i can plan and prepare all i want. i can even use floaties and goggles, but i will be completely and utterly lost at sea if i think that i can in any way attempt this on my own. sure, i find that sometimes discouraging. but, i am learning to find it encouraging. i am learning to see myself as small and my God as big.  sometimes we just need to stand beside an ocean.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


everything about xue zhu's situation screams, "hurry!" everything. her heart condition. her institutionalization. her age. her distance. her loneliness. our impatience. everything. 

so last week i did what seemed obvious: i began to push the agency on the timing. i asked questions like, "is there no way to move this along?" and "can't her medical needs be reason enough to expedite the adoption?"  they were reasonable questions and we asked them with great hope.   maybe no one had actually thought about going faster.  the answer we received, however, was not one of agreement and hope. we, instead, actually landed with our feet pointing in the opposite direction. it became clear that the timeline we were working from was not the same as the agency. this wasn't about faster, this was about slower.   all along we thought the process would take about 6 months from the time we started pursuing xue zhu in july. in our minds, that was clearly december...maybe january.  this is important considering we were told she needed another surgery before her 2nd birthday (february).  what became clear through all my pushing and questioning, however, was that we had 4-6 months once our dossier was "logged in" in china.  friends, our dossier won't be in china until (maybe) november . four to six months from november? are you kidding me? is this possible? how was this miscommunicated? why? why? why? where is God's perfect timing in that? 

how could we ask these expectant questions only to end up traveling further away from this child. nothing about this makes sense to our desire to rush in and make comfort... to control. we found out this information 8 days ago. i haven't been able to write one word about it until now.  somehow even typing it into this silly blog makes it real.  as i type this morning, i can feel the discouragement in my very fingertips. the pounding of each key seems to mock my plan, my way, my wishes. and yet as i write even these words, i can see before me, in black and white, the wrong way my heart is bent. "my plan? my way? my wishes?" all week long it has been a struggle surrendering to the fact that this is not my story. this is HIS story and HE is writing the next chapter.

i can attempt in my emotional and human and very shortsighted ways to believe i know what needs to happen when...i can formulate an outline and i can type up a timeline...but i cannot write the next chapter. this is for Your Glory O Lord. even this little, lonely, abandoned china baby is about Your Glory, Lord. i know that in my head. but my heart asks fearfully, 
"how far must i go to be stripped of myself in this process?  can we not just agree and accept our control issues and sign on a dotted line? can we not just work this out quickly and then head into china with all engines firing? O Jesus, we know time is in Your hands. You, are the Alpha and the Omega.You hold all things and all time in Your hands. You have even promised to 'make all things beautiful' in Your time. why is that so hard to trust?

"but i trust you, O Lord; i say, 'You are my God.' 
my times are in your hands."  ~ psalm 31:14-15

my times are in His hands. xue zhu's time is in His hands. the timing of our adoption is in His hands.  will we, tightlyscheduled-timedriven-clockoriented-impatientpersons-clockwatchers-calendarcontrolledhumans, will we ever really get it? can we get that he holds all time? that our God is not only the Keeper of Time, but the Creator and Author of Time?

"when i was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
all the days ordained for me were
written in your book before one of them came to be."
~ psalm 139:16

yes, His story... told in His time...written in His book.