God is so good. So completely and utterly good. At times, it leaves me speechless. But this is not one of those times. This time is one of those times where God's goodness has me bursting at the seams! I literally can't keep quiet about how amazing it has been to see his hand guide us in the past several days.
It has been almost two weeks since I posted my prayer request post. After I posted that request I stepped my adoption research up a notch. Even I didn't know that was possible. It already felt like I was going fast a furious with it. When we surrendered to the call to adopt, we started broad, considering every possible country to adopt from and method by which to adopt. We didn't want to limit God in anyway, or just assume that he was leading in a certain direction. We knew that he called to adopt special needs, but that is a VERY broad catagory. Not only is it a broad catagory, but there are orphans in every country that the United States is allowed to adopt from that fit into the special needs catagory. So while we had narrowed it down a little, there was still much whittling to do to narrow it down further. After researching different countries, we learned that we are not eligible to adopt from all countries. Each country has its own set of requirements that foreigners(that would be us) have to meet, and we don't meet every country's criteria. Stupid rules, if you ask me. But nobody asked me. So while I'm not a fan of the guidelines of some countries, I chose to see it as God closing that door and narrowing down our search.
I pretty much had ruled out international adoption for now, and narrowed it down to a very awesome Christian agency in Houston, or a CPS adoption through Buckner. We have done the first part of the preliminary paperwork with both and it was time to pick a path and take the next step. Problem was, Josh wasn't completely on board with either.
Every time I tried to get his opinion about which way we should go, he would say he didn't have a peace about either.
When God originally called us to adopt he did it through our discovery of the plight of special needs orphans in Eastern Europe(GREAT story that I still plan on sharing with you when I get the chance). When we decided to adopt, we knew that we would be adopting a special needs child from that part of the world one day, but we didn't know if that was exactly where God was calling us to adopt from right now. If you know much about adoption at all, you know that international adoption is a different and more difficult process, in many ways, than domestic adoption. And on top of that, adopting from the majority of the countries in Eastern Europe is a completely different ball game. Very early in the research game it was as though that door was quickly shut. The Ukraine and Russia are VERY expensive to adopt from and they require TWO semi-extended trips to finalize your adoption. Plus BOTH parents have to travel for the first trip.
Paying between $50,000-$80,000 to be away from my children for about 6 weeks not only seemed impossible, but I didn't WANT to do it. Door shut. Just can't do that right now. I kept telling Josh that the exorbitant amount of money wasn't the problem. Whether the adoption costs $1000 or $100,000, God is going to have to provide the money. Plain and simple, we don't have it. The scary, and nearly impossible, part of an Eastern European adoption, for me, is the travel. Being away from my children for that amount of time(overseas, none the less) is not something I feel capable of doing. Just can't.
Regardless, that is where Josh's heart was. Even after I laid out all the facts for him about why it just couldn't work right now, that's still where his heart was at. To be 100% honest, my heart was in Eastern Europe also, but I could not fathom such a difficult undertaking at this point in my life. And by "difficult undertaking" I mean, to adopt from the area of the world that I consider to be hardest, at least in my opinon.
We reached this dead lock about a week ago. I was frustrated, to say the least. All my countless hours of researching various countries and agencies and methods of adoption, only to have Josh and I not be able to whole-heartly agree.
Then Josh had to pull a typical "Josh". He said that even though his heart was in the Ukraine, he understood how I felt about traveling there and that he would be on board with whatever method I chose.
Why does he always do that? He just has to be so darn agreeable. Not only did he say that he would be on board with whatever path I chose, he said that he would use virtually the rest of his vacation for the year for us to do the required training to adopt.
This should be good news, right? But it just felt all wrong. I took a step back to examine my heart and I quickly saw that over the previous week I had been doing much more researching/thinking/planning than I had been praying and seeking the Lord. It was giving me serious anxiety to feel like we were right back at square one. But worry and anxiety are not from the Lord. And not only are they not from the Lord, they are a sin. I should have seen all my stressing and worry and a big flashing red light that I was doing this on my own, and not relying on the Lord. It helped to have a little reminder from my husband that if God calls us to do something, then he will give us the strength to do it. I finally relented. I gave it all back to God, and told him that I'd go where ever he calls me to go. Even if it takes years to get there. Even if it feels impossible.
But luckily, God is not bound by what we consider impossible, now is he? THIS is where the story gets good...
I have an A.W. Tozer quote written on a piece of paper that I leave in front of my computer so that I will see it several times a day. It says,
"God is looking for people through whom he can do the impossible. What a pity we plan only the things we can do by ourselves."
Here I had been working so hard at trying to figure out how we would be able to accomplish what God has called us to do. I was trying to pick the path that I thought was do-able. The goal that I was capable of achieving. Notice all the I's? No wonder I was so worried and anxious. I'm not capable of doing all that much on my own. I had good reason to be concerned about trying to take on something as huge as adopting a child in my own strength and with my own wisdom and resources. So, once again, I surrendered everything to the Lord. I told him that I would stop trying to do it my way and that I would just follow where he leads, in spite of how difficult and scary that may be. Immediately, all the worry and anxiety were gone, and nothing but that sweet peace that passes all understanding. In the days that followed, God gave us a direct peace about pursing an Eastern European adoption. Impossible? Maybe for us, but not for God.
I quit with the hours of research and decided to just sit back and wait for the Lord to direct. Novel idea, I know. Honestly though, that's hard for a person with my personality type. He's already given us the direction, so I'm ready to just barrel ahead full speed. I daily had to choose to spend less time on the computer doing research, and more time on knees seeking the Lord's face. He quickly removed my blinders about my notion of a Ukrainian or Russian adoption being impossible. An independant adoption of one or two special needs orphans in the Ukraine was only going to be upwards of $30,000. Not NEAR the $50,000-80,000 that our first research had revealed. Our first information was on a Russian agency adoption of 1-2 healthy children. Very different from an independant adoption of a child with Down Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Don't get me wrong, we don't have 30k just lying around, but that was just God showing us that once we do things his way, nothing is impossible. The Lord chose to keep me blinded to this seemingly simple piece of information because he knew that if I knew it, that I would suddenly think that maybe I could do this thing on my own.
So here we were praising the Lord that we didn't have to raise as much money as we had originally thought, and that the process wouldn't take as long as we thought either. Once we commit to a child, we could have that child home with us in as short as 7 months. That's super-fast in the international adoption world. Here was God starting to open doors, possibly much faster than we had anticipated.
First kink. We don't have passports. That may sound like a simple problem to fix for most of you, but we are folks of very humble means, and we also don't have an extra $250-300 it takes to get Josh and I passports. My birthday is later this month, so I decided that I would use any money that I got for my birthday to get my passport. Half the problem solved right there. Josh's birthday is at the end of November. When I told him that I was going to use my birthday money to get my passport he said, "Great!" What I really wanted to hear him say, is that he, too, would use any money he got for his birthday to get his passport.
But he didn't.
I had looked up info on getting passports, and when I saw how long it takes to get them in once you have applied for them, I got a teensy bit worried. I wanted to ask him if he would consider using his birthday money to get a passsport. But I bit my tongue. Instead, I gave it back to God, and in return he gave me back that sweet peace of his. No worries. He was in control. Aaaahhh. This was much better than when I was trying to figure it all out myself.
Later, that.very.day, I made a very random decision to clean out my jewelry drawer and switch it with my undergarment drawer. This was random for several reason. 1.I have many other much more pressing areas of my house that beg for organization. And, 2. Cleaning out my jewelry drawer and swapping it with my undergarment drawer was not on my cleaning list that I tend to stick too very closely. (Just a tad type A, eh?)
Despite the sheer randomness of it, I got to cleaning anyway. Amidst my underwear drawer what do you think I found...besides underwear, of course?? An unmarked envelope with 300 bucks in it!!! I am so stinkin' serious!! I marched straight in to the living room and held out the money to Josh and told him where I found it. He took one look at it and said, "We can get our passports!" Praise God, yes we can!!
I've always heard that God works in mysterious ways, but I honestly never thought he'd make money appear in my undies drawer. However he chooses to work, though, I'm fully on board!!
Next week Josh and I will be applying for our passports!! This is only our first step of many towards bringing our special kiddo home, but it is very exciting! I can't wait to see how he is going to continue to work and provide as we chose to obey him and walk by faith daily.