Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hurry up and wait . . .

Our current adoption journey status fits nicely with today's title...Hurry up and wait...a phrase that I am reminded of as I think about my nephew, Josh, who began basic training at Fort Knox a few weeks ago. Unless the Army has changed its entire culture in 20 years, he is thinking this quote quite often. Our family experienced some of the same as we wrapped up the initial phases of our paper pregnancy. As reported previously, 7 months worth of copy this, complete that, read this, write that, authenticate those ended in March and now we wait. Still waiting. And more waiting to come.

By the way, Josh, we are soooo proud of you and pray for you often...hang in there buddy.

Now that the wait has begun, it has been interesting to sit down, take a couple of deep breaths and reflect on what the last year has meant for us. What an amazing opportunity and experience this particular walk with Christ has been. God could very easily take care of our/His little girl all by Himself, but thankfully He chose to include little bitty us in His plans. We get the opportunity live out James 1:27...WOW, what a blessing and a privilege, the depth and breadth of which we have only just begun to experience and imagine.

While we have known from the beginning how wonderful and crazy this journey would be, what we may have underestimated is the size of the fire He has stoked in our hearts through this process. There is so much more that we could and should be doing...He is stirring something more in our hearts and we are trying our best to sit still and listen. What it is, when it is, how it is to be...we have no idea...but something is there. Please continue your prayers, as right now that's all we know to do.

Marice and I had the awesome opportunity yesterday to sit with our Pastor and another waiting family from Church and have a conversation about our respective adoption journeys. Somehow, they are going to edit out the words muffled by choking back tears and the occasional sarcasm and wit (brought on by our Pastor of course...not me) and whittle nearly two hours of amazing testimony down to a 4 minute video to be shared at Church on Orphan Sunday (11/8). Should be exciting...I simply pray that we (I) didn't get in the way of what God wants to say !

With that, we'll sign off for now. We love you all and thank you for your prayers...they are felt.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Divin' In...in more ways than one

Blog updates have taken somewhat of a backseat for the past month or so...what with Spring Break, two very exciting concert experiences and the beginning of 7-year old Summer baseball. We had a great Spring Break week of wild fun and some relaxation in Gulf Shores...a bit unseasonably chilly, but a cool day at the beach is better than a...well, you know. Trevor and his very courageous, dedicated father braved the low 70's-some-odd degree Gulf waters and went wading chest deep to "swim" in the waves. Yeah, that was a whole bunch of fun. :) "So sink or swim we're divin' in." Brandon had a big time on his first trip to the beach, where he played in what he called the "snow" (sand) all day and the pool all night. And, oh yeah, he got out of the habit of enjoying sleeping in his own bed. On a brighter note, though, his and Marcie's seashell hunting was a big hit and his vase full of shells stands in our living room as a proud reminder of this accomplishment. Thanks for a great week Nana and Papa!

A few weeks later we had the awesome privilege of seeing Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith (the United Tour) at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. What an amazing night of entertainment and worship with these guys...and Mary Beth sat down right across the aisle from us! And since we enjoyed that night so much...and because sometimes our great God has a wonderful sense of humor...we saw the same concert two nights later in Paducah. Nashville was special, being their current hometown and all, but Paducah showed some serious love for their "original hometown boy". Now THAT was an amazing night of worship...celebration...tears...awesome. We were blessed to have Trevor and Karla share this one with us...and Steven even acknowledged Trevor and his homemade sign. But the most fun/special time at the Paducah show was the opportunity to volunteer with the wonderful folks from Show Hope, Steven & Mary Beth's orphan care/adoption foundation. Trevor went early and stayed waaaaay past his bedtime to help us (sorry Mrs. Carner). As you can see by the picture, he was pretty worn out. The week was far more special than any words we could come up with to describe it. We will simply say thanks to the One and the other ones who provided the opportunity for us. With all that has transpired in our lives the past year or so, we can definitely say this week that we have never felt more secure and faithful in our decision to follow God's will and begin the process of uniting with our own little Cinderella. Closer every day baby girl...we love you and we will see you soon. God Bless!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We have a LID ! ! !

No, we didn't get a new hat....we received our Log-in-Date with the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA)! In all His infinite wisdom, God decided our annual two weeks of celebration between two most special occasions - Brandon's birthday and Trevor's birthday (with a couple of very special dates in between) - needed to be extended. So now, every year until we are united with our daughter, we will celebrate March 20, 2009 as our place in line for that most special occasion. What a week! It started Sunday, which was appropriately titled "Adoption Sunday" at FBC Paducah, with a kick-off event to empower our congregation's heart for adoption. Amazing message of the Gospel and Adoption that morning...and a chance to have lunch with the guest speaker/pastor and our own pastoral staff that afternoon. Had a chance to see Lucy, the executive director of our adoption agency at the church luncheon, as well as meet Emily face-to-face for the first time (she is the agency's China coordinator). Hugs and smiles all around! And now a LID...wow! God is so good and He is in control! Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, March 6, 2009

We Are DTC ! ! !

That is the first of many initials we hope to be explaining in the days and weeks ahead. As each of you know, we began a paper pregnancy 6 months ago that recently culminated in the completion of our dossier (the "D" in the title prompt). We mutually agreed :) that since Marcie had pretty much handled the first two pregnancies, I would take care of this one. While it was at times labor intensive...I would have to say it really wasn't as bad as all the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" experts say. And I am extremely pleased to report that it was accomplished with no pain medication whatsoever...not even the smallest dose. OK, I'll stop being funny (by my definition of the term anyway) and get back to it. It was truly a team effort, as is the case with every aspect of our wonderful life together...and we are better spouses and parents today because of the process...and to God goes the glory for what we learned about each other, about our plans as parents and about our hopes and dreams as a family. I love and adore my wife, and I am a better person because she is here.

OK, back to DTC. The "T" and the "C" stand for two of our new favorite words these days...to China. Put it all together and our dossier was shipped to China TODAY (Friday 3/6/09)! Everything the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs ever wanted to know about us (and believe me, that's a lot) is bound up in a DHL envelope and headed for some airport. Don't worry, we'll be tracking its every move via the internet and look forward to "seeing" it reach its final destination. Once there, we will anxiously await a LID...but I'll save that explanation for another day. Until then, we are happy to be one milestone closer to meeting our daughter. Don't worry baby girl...mommy and daddy are coming. And, by the way, your big brothers are turning two years old and seven years old as we speak...oh my sevens. Thank you God for this opportunity...help us to use it for Your purposes. Love to all and thanks for your continued prayers.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year ! ! !

Well, Thanksgiving and Christmas were a blur. And even though the boys (all three of them) are still bouncing off the walls, things are starting to quiet back down...relatively speaking. We had an amazing Christmas and thank God for the many blessings which were bestowed upon us. And the neat thing was, we stayed focused on the real reason for the season...the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Now, it's 2009, and we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a few of the things that stick out in our minds from 2008...pardon the random rambling, but it's what we do best. Brandon turned one and Trevor turned six (and a first-grader to boot)...Marcie turned 30 and Kevin hit 40...yikes...and our marriage turned eight. No more trips to Vanderbilt Pediatric Gastro Dr...yay. We discovered the City Museum in St. Louis...and Kev barely survived it. Saw our beloved StL Cardinals lose up close and personal...twice. Marcie went back to shool...no not like that...she became a preschool teacher for two-year olds. Came to the conclusion that Brandon may never get his hair cut again. Mourned and celebrated Grandmommie's going home. Saw Disney through the eyes of a six year old (highly recommended). Watched Trevor learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Watched Brandon's personality blossom. Discovered that Wii injuries are real (see age discussion above). Followed God's path and began the process of adopting our little girl from China...now that's a pretty big one. All in all, it was a great year...and while much more happened, these were a few of the things that stuck out.

As I posted earlier in November, we went to Nashville to get fingerprinted as a part of our Department of Homeland Security USCIS approval. It went well and there haven't been any agents knocking on our door since...so we must have passed. :) Once that application is approved, maybe in February, our Dossier should be ready to send to China...and then we wait. Months or years, we are not real sure...but as we know...God's timing is always perfect. We continue to pray for our little girl's birth families and their individual situations and know that He has his arms wrapped around the entire process. He is a good and loving God and to Him goes all the Glory!

Happy New Year to each of you and your families.