Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Out of My Hands

It was a strange feeling today, walking away from the FedEx store with empty hands.  I had gone in there with a binder stuffed full of documents for our adoption.  Documents we had to have notarized, then authenticated at the state level, then certified by the Secretary of State in Washington DC, then approved by the Rwandan Embassy in Washington DC too.  Whew!  Feeling that thick binder in my hands I knew our journey to adopt Christine was coming to it's end (we pray)! 

Knowing the documents were now in FedEx's possession and it was up to them to deliver them safely & in a timely manner to Rwanda, I felt a lot less in control.  "It's out of my hands now," I thought, and then I corrected myself, "Well, it never was in my hands to begin with."  This whole situation belongs to God. 

Our first desires to adopt Christine began when KaLia made her first trip to Rwanda in 2006 at the age of 8.  She bonded with Christine & they loved each other enough to call each other "sister".  When they returned and I heard the stores and saw the pictures, the thought began to enter my head, should we adopt Christine?

In 2007 the whole family went to Rwanda for 2 weeks.  Again KaLia & Christine held fast to each other, and again we wondered, should we adopt her?  When we got home we actually began to find out information about international adoption and were ready to begin, but then suddenly the door closed and we felt like we didn't have a clear "go ahead" from God.  So we waited.

Then in 2008 we spent 3 months in Rwanda.  When Christine was on break from school she stayed with us, and it was also during this trip that we enrolled her in a different (better) secondary school.  She called me mom, Mike dad, and KaLia and Nate were her sister and brother.  Christine had known Mike since 2004, but had just met me briefly in 2007, so while she was deeply attached to her dad, the relationship between myself & Christine would be a slow bloom.  But when we returned from that trip we knew we would pursue an adoption of Christine.
Our family in Rwanda 2008

What you may not know is that we were pursuing two adoptions at the time, Christine and our Rwandan son Michael.  Since this is the story of Christine I have not mentioned Michael thus far, but his story & God weaving him into our family was also happening all along.  They are our children in our hearts and we knew it was time to make them legally ours also.  Six months after we returned to the US in 2008 we were back in Rwanda for another three months, but before we left I filed applications to be approved by the US to adopt internationally.

While we were in Rwanda in 2009 we worked on getting documents like the children's birth certificates (not an easy task when their births were never registered to begin with, which is common).  While doing this we found out through Michael's extended family that, although he thought he was 15, he was actually 16.  The US government will not let you adopt an international orphan who is over the age of 15.  Suddenly, we would not be able to adopt Michael after all.  It was during this trip that God had been teaching me to praise him in all circumstances and to trust in his goodness.  Here was some real "field application" for those truths and although it broke my heart I surrendered it all to God and just asked him to use us to do His good will for Michael & Christine.  We have our plans & our desires, but I know God desires what is best for us & I trust His will.
April 2009

Christine was still 15 at this time, and so we proceeded with her adoption.  That was over 12 months ago now. It has been amazing to me how many delays, fumbles, road blocks, etc. have been a part of this journey.  Plus, the kids & I have not been back to Rwanda since May 2009.  Over 12 months now.  I miss my Rwandan kids so much.  It is so so hard to be a parent from the other side of the world!  I need my kids with me so I can truly be a parent & be a real & permanent part of their lives. 
 Michael & Christine during Mike's visit, November 2009

I had hoped to send our paperwork with Mike when he left for Rwanda over a week ago, but it was not ready until now, so I'm sending it across the world and it will arrive with just 1 week left in Mike's trip, and it's all in God's hands.  Just like it has been all along.  Just like Christine is.  Just like our son Michael is.  And just like our own futures, all our hopes and dreams, our plans of being in Rwanda this fall for nine months.  It's all in God's hands.

"In God's hands" does not mean that we just throw our hands up and say, "Whatever God wants will happen".  No, it means we know that God is in control and his hands are powerful!  We also know that he has chosen to make himself vulnerable to our desires (that's a quote from Pastor Dav).  He has chosen to limit himself to working through our prayers, and there are times when we are required to contend for those things which we desire.

Look at Luke 18:1-6
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'  "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "
 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Please pray with us for this adoption.  Expecting it to be done in Rwanda in one weeks time is to ask the impossible God to move in a mighty way!  Our God can make a way where there seems to be no way!  He is the mountain mover!

I'm praying & believing & telling my mountains, "You are gonna fall!  To the glory of God!"


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We give

We surrender our whole lives & all we have to God and to do the work he has called us to.  Sometimes that includes surrendering the ability to be there for our loved ones in their times of need or loss.  Yesterday, May 19th, Mike's dad (Vern) passed away.  So many people were praying for him to hold on, but God allowed him to be released from the pain of this life and pass to the next.  I believe what he experienced when he was embraced by the Father arms of God was complete wholeness in every way.  A new body, new mind, new joy, new peace.  We say, "he isn't suffering anymore" but if in fact he is in heaven it is so much more than that.  Just like receiving Jesus as your savior is so much more than just being saved from Hell, entering heaven is so much more than just being released from the pain & suffering of this world.  SO... much... more!

Of course for those who are still here on this side of eternity, we are left to mourn the loss of his presence in our lives.  We appreciate your prayers for everyone.  The kids are doing OK.  They are sad, but even Nate said, "Grandpa is with God now and we will see him again someday."  It is challenging for Mike, in that he is so far away & unable to be here with us all.  We are thankful that we are able to talk with him on the phone or Skype.  I do wish Grandpa could have waited to meet his Rwandan grandchildren, but we will be together in Heaven one day (::tears::).

 Christine with KaLia & Nate- February 2009

We finally got our paperwork back from Olympia for Christine's adoption and expressed it to Washington DC.  It has to be approved by the Secretary of the State for the US and then the Rwandan Embassy.  Normally this process takes 2 weeks, but we are praying for it to happen much quicker- because I want to then send the documents to Rwanda so Mike can present them to the government there & maybe even get approval before he has to leave Rwanda- and maybe even bring Christine home with him!  This is a huge longshot- but that doesn't stop me from believing our God can do it- for His glory!

If he could Mike would be here with his grieving family, but he is helping someone else in desperate need right now.  Visit the Ten Talents Blog to read about the boy, Benjamin, who lives in the Home of Innocence and needs heart surgery urgently.  We are praying for him & for the resources to come in so he can get his surgery.

God Bless You,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Important Request

Mike left yesterday morning for a three week trip to Rwanda.  I won't go into all the details here, but if you visit our Ten Talents blog you can read more about some of his goals for this trip.  However, I have an urgent prayer request right now that goes beyond what is happening in ministry.  Mike's dad's health is seriously declining.
This is a picture of Mike with his dad from January, 2009.
Vern McColm worked as a drywaller (putting up sheet rock) for many years, back when asbestos was in sheet rock.  His lungs suffer from asbestos poisoning.  His heart is also now very sick & working very hard.  Last Saturday Mike was able to visit his dad (his mom & dad live about 45 minutes north of us), specifically because the doctors have said there is nothing else they can do for him and he does not have very long to live.

Why this would happen now, when Mike is in Rwanda for 3+weeks, I do not know.  But one thing I do know is that our God can do anything.  I am praying, and I would ask you to pray with me, that God would sustain Vern until Mike returns from Rwanda.  I can not explain to you how much of a rock Mike is to his mother and the rest of his family, but they need him to be here in a time of distress.

Vern has been placed on in-home hospice.  Right now he is miserable.  Please pray for him to be made comfortable so that 3 more weeks will not be so much of a hardship.  Pray for God to sustain his heart and lungs so that they are able to supply what his body needs right now.  Pray for him to have appetite, for his blood sugar to be stable, and to be able to sleep at night.  Pray also for the family to have peace in this time.

Mike will return home on June 9th.  I would so appreciate it if you can bring Vern & the family before God's throne in prayer until that time.  

Thank you & God bless you,