Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Stuck

I've been trying to put into words how I feel lately, and the one word I keep coming back to is STUCK.

I know you've all read as I shared about the heartache, the disappointment, the sadness, the frustration, and all the other feelings that come in the waiting. But I haven't quite been able to put this feeling into words just yet.

I feel stuck. I feel like I am stuck in a season that I outgrew long ago. And it's an extremely uncomfortable feeling.



I'm writing because I know it can't just be me. If this adoption has given me anything, it is a deep sense of empathy for those going through infertility. I have cried with more friends, prayed for more friends, and had my heart broken again and again for women who are also waiting to be mothers. Some still waiting and hoping to get pregnant and birth a biological child. Some who have suffered through infertility for years and are now on the adoption journey, waiting to bring home an adopted child. And then there are those of us who don't have children, and feel called to adoption as the way to build our family, who are waiting too. Here we all are - waiting with empty arms and an empty home for a child to call our own.

However it is that you've come to this place of waiting, it is the same ache for a child. I know there are so many who have suffered and are suffering through infertility who hear again and again, "but why don't you just adopt?" They think it's an easy fix. But even if you always wanted to adopt... even if you believe adoption is beautiful... you may still long to birth a child. Similarly, since beginning our journey to our daughter through adoption we have heard again and again, "but why don't you just stop this and try to get pregnant?" It is so hard for people to understand that THIS is the desire of our hearts. We know there might be an easier way (or honestly, there might not... because we have no idea if we are even able to get pregnant!) but it doesn't mean it's the way for us. Everyone has an opinion, and many voice them, but only God knows the desires of our heart.

So here we all are. Childless mothers. I hated that label when I heard it first, but I can't think of anything else that describes us quite that well. We are mothers in our heart - in our soul - but we do not have children.

And so we wait in a season we have outgrown. I feel that "stuck", out of place feeling more often these days than I would like to admit. I'm 31 and my husband is 40. Most friends who are our age have at least one child - some have a house-full. It is hard to find ways to relate to them. As I look around at what is "normal" and "expected" for people our age, it's obvious that being childless puts us in the minority, and I feel it.

When everyone else on our street is chasing their (multiple children) and I'm standing in the front yard with nothing to do, I feel it. When all of my mom friends are discussing birth stories, or sleep issues, or potty training - and all I can do is sit silently at the table, I feel it. When my newsfeed is taken over by birth announcements... and... as the years pass, children starting their first day of school... it makes us feel so behind.

I feel it when I pass by what should be a nursery in our house, but instead, it's still a guest room. I feel it when I walk by the kids' section of every store and fight down the desire to buy a child cute clothes.

I feel it at Christmas. Oh... do I feel it then. As we decorate the house - just the two of us - for the 6th year and hang up an extra stocking for the child we keep hoping for. When there are only a few gifts under the tree - because we don't have a child to buy for and our siblings have decided we're all too old for a gift exchange. When Christmas Day feels empty, because there are no children (not even nieces or nephews) on either side of our family because we are the oldest siblings and we have no kids. And all the days leading up to Christmas that should be filled with making cookies for Santa and watching cartoon Christmas specials and tucking a little one into bed in her Christmas jammies... that are instead spent in a quiet house. Christmas is the hardest. (... and I would be lying if I said I'm not already dreading the holidays this year.)

I'm writing all this with the hope that someone, somewhere is reading it and saying "me too". Not because I wish this painful wait on anyone ever - but because if you're in it, I want you to know that you're not alone.

I wish I could give you some magic formula that would make this season pass faster, or hurt less. There are times that I have handled it with grace, and times I have not. I think that's okay. There is an ebb and flow to the waiting... some days, and some seasons, are just harder than others. I have learned to let myself feel the hard days - to cry when I need to, to be mad when I need to be. (Sometimes chocolate and wine are the best medicine. I understand!) But I let myself enjoy the good days too... the times when I can bless other people because of the season we're in. It helps to do something positive on those days! We keep nursery a lot at church, and sometimes we babysit for free for friends who need the help. It blesses them, and honestly, it blesses us too (because we do love kids and enjoy our time with them!) We feel like we have so much love to give, and while we wish we could lavish it on our daughter, we try to love other children who are in our lives well instead while we wait.

I can tell you that the waiting got a little easier when the adoption paperwork was over - and I've been able to keep myself busy with other things. Projects and "to do" lists help occupy my mind and heart - because when I slow down and get quiet, the sadness comes. But I have also seen that I can't go 100 miles an hour all the time, because that's not healthy either. So I'm trying to learn balance (and failing often).

I don't know if any of these words resonate with any of you, or any of these thoughts make sense. I just feel like this has been on my heart for a long time, and I needed to get it all out. If you're in this season with me, know that I would give anything to be able to reach out and hug you... to pull up a chair and cry over a cup of tea as you share your struggles. I know you feel lonely, forgotten, and out of place... but sweet sister you are not. If you are feeling "stuck" today, please know you're not alone.

Monday, August 10, 2015

More paperwork, updates, and difficult news...

It's been a while since I updated our blog - so sorry friends! We have had a crazy busy summer - between a huge event for our non-profit, a freak accident that injured my wrist (and left me unable to type for a while), lots of trips out of town (fundraising for The Sound of Hope and other family things), working on our office, and also working on adoption paperwork, there hasn't been much time for the blog.

Yes - we are STILL working on adoption paperwork. We have actually been in process so long that we are now having to update "expired" approvals. (Did you know that - according to the US government, your fingerprints expire? Yes - the prints that are only yours, completely unique to you, and never actually change? The ones they use to catch criminals? THOSE fingerprints? Apparently they "expire" after 18 months and you have to redo them. Interesting, huh? *sigh)

Anyway... I thought I'd do a quick update for all of you with the latest on our adoption. So here goes...



In March, we made the difficult decision to change home study agencies. I won't go into details here, but after our experience with our first home study it was the right decision for us. Unfortunately, that meant an extra $700 we weren't planning to spend, and copying and completing a bunch of paperwork we'd already done. *sigh (again)

In June we had to get new physicals, new references, new financial info, and a new home visit to update our home study. In July, we had to send that updated home study, along with some immigration paperwork to the US Immigration Office to renew our I-800A approval before our fingerprints "expire" (which is still so crazy to me... but you've got to do what you've got to do!) The short version of all that is this: Last year we were approved by the US Immigration office to adopt a child. The next step is sending them the file of the specific child we are going to adopt with another round of forms and fees, so that they can approve that specific adoption. But while we wait, we have to keep our initial approval from expiring. So that's what we've been doing this summer.

Once all of that was completed, we looked into applying for a grant (since our timeline continues to stretch and expenses continue to mount.) While reviewing a fee list on our main agency's website last week, I noticed that a Psychological Evaluation was listed as a requirement. Confused - I sent our agency an email. We've been pursuing this adoption for 42 months, and been in process with them for 30 months, and yet we'd never been told about a Psych Evaluation. Surely this was a new requirement for new families, right?

WRONG.

We were told we would have to do a detailed, expensive Psych Evaluation as part of our process - that essentially forces us to revisit every area of our lives - past, present, hopes, dreams, struggles, plans - that we've already been through TWICE with TWO different home study agencies. Frustrated doesn't even begin to explain our feelings.

Then, while we were on the phone trying to get clarification from our main agency about our process, they delivered two more pieces of upsetting news: #1) The social worker informed us that she didn't think we would have a referral by October. As we've been waiting and hoping for a referral to come "any day now", this was very disappointing. And #2) She told us that things are moving slowly, and it could very well take 12 months to get our daughter home AFTER we receive a referral and are matched.

I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. When we've talked about wait times for travel, we've always estimated around 6 months. We only know one other family who adopted from this agency and this children's home, and their daughter was home in 6 months. To hear that we might have another 16 to 18 months before Kate is home was devastating. To be told that we might have to watch her grow up in pictures for a YEAR after we are matched was unbearable. I will never forget the look on my husband's face when we heard that news.

I spent the next hour sitting in the bathroom floor crying while Rusty held my hand. It was hard to breathe. It was hard to think. I actually thought I might be sick. This news was just such a shock to my system after hearing such good news back in April! We had been so hopeful, and we'd been waiting patiently. And yet, once more, we were met with the news of additional requirements and more delays.

I was reading a blog today about a domestic adoption that took a long time and the mother said this:
"... as a prospective adoptive parent you prepare yourself for bumps. You know the range of where the bumps might come up. And you know there are risks. But what you don’t expect….at least what I didn’t expect…was to hit every bump in the road head on."

That resonated with me so much. This has been our story. This has been our struggle. It hasn't been just one bump... or a handful of delays. I feel like every single step in this journey has been uphill, and we've been struggling to get our footing the entire way.

These days I struggle with not knowing what to feel. We have been through every emotion - and we've experienced each of them over and over again. Our life has felt like a roller coaster that we can't get off of. We have felt all the highs... all the joy and hope that comes when you are "expecting". But "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12) and we just can't keep feeling that "high" every day. We have felt the lows... the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and yes, even the bitterness. We've dealt with more than our fair share of heartache, fear, and confusion. But underneath it all, like a constant current, is this longing... this ache for our child.

We know this is still what we are called to do. God confirmed it to us in extraordinary ways, and our desire for our daughter has never changed.  We have discussed it over and over again, and we are committed to this process. We are resolute. But that doesn't make the waiting any easier.

This has been the most emotional exhausting, heart-wrenching thing I have ever endured. And yet, we still wait... we still work... we still hope. And we crave your prayers in the waiting... until the day our Kate is home in our arms.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Another Mother's Day (while we're waiting)

Mother's Day is difficult when no one calls you Mommy.

It can be a painful holiday for women who have lost a child... women who are struggling through infertility, and also for all of us (waiting) adoptive mommas. It is hard because our arms our empty - and our hearts are aching. This is the 4th Mother's Day I've experienced since we announced we were adopting. And each one is hard (because I miss my little girl and I long to be a momma) and each one is awkward (because I'm not a momma yet. Or am I?)

I don't quite know what to do on Mother's Day. There is inevitably a sad moment - when I wish I had sweet Kate bringing me a handful of flowers and a handmade Mother's Day card home from Sunday School. But in all the other moments - I don't quite know what to do. My mom has been so thoughtful and gotten me Mother's Day cards "from Kate" several times. And each year, at least one sweet friend writes a heartfelt Mother's Day wish on my facebook page - and that blesses me so much. Because the truth is - I AM a mother in my heart. But it's hard to see that. I don't have a child at home. I don't tuck anyone in bed at night. I don't rock a baby to sleep, sing along to Sesame Street, or kiss scraped knees. My house isn't littered with toys and cheerios. I don't deal with tantrums or timeouts - runny noses or fevers. So I worry that other people just don't view me as a mom - not in any of the ways that count.

And yet - I have longed to hear someone call me Mommy for the longest time. I love a little girl that I have never met. I worry about her, and pray for her... even though I've never seen her face. I talk about her, and dream about her. And I have worked countless hours... days... months... and years to try to bring her home.

But what do I do on this day? I don't have anything or anyone to celebrate. And without a baby bump, I don't even appear to be an expectant mother (even though I am.) I don't look like a mom. And I don't really feel like a mom. So when (inevitably) the mothers in the room are asked to stand at church on Mother's Day - I have always stayed seated.

Until today.

Today, I was back at the church I grew up in (Lakeview Baptist Church) with my mom. Rusty and I were given an opportunity to speak about our orphan care ministry... and I was glad to be busy. Glad for the distraction. But today - when the mothers were asked to stand - the pastor (God bless him) made SURE to mention that meant EVERY woman who had EVER been a mother - including foster mothers and adoptive mothers. "But my child isn't home yet", I thought to myself. Still intending to stay seated. And then I got the eyes from my brother and sister-in-law. The eyes that said "he means you! You'd better stand up!" So I did. And I felt awkward. And illegitimate. And I wondered if I'd made a mistake. But I took my rose and sat back down teary eyed.


And then, the precious pastor, Darrell (who happens to have adopted nieces) brought another rose over to me personally. "I just wanted to make SURE you got one of these today" he said. He wanted me to know - without a doubt - that he meant me too. He'd prayed the sweetest prayer for us that morning before we spoke, and he'd asked God to bless our adoption. And now he'd made sure that I was recognized and honored. I was so, so touched.


It was already a special Mother's Day - but that wasn't all God had in store for me. After lunch with our family, my baby brother and new sister-in-law showed up with a gift. I, of course, assumed it was for my mom. But then they handed it to me! I didn't know what to do!

Inside - was the sweetest card for a "Momma to be"...


... and our little girl's 1st Bible! (and it's a princess Bible! They know me well! ;) 


Thank you Aunt Michelle and Uncle Jaron! What a precious gift!


Needless to say - there were lots of tears this year... but not tears of sadness. On a day when I have always felt so sad, and awkward - our adoption was celebrated. And as I carried home my roses, and put baby Kate's Bible on the shelf - I was reminded to have HOPE and FAITH.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, 
the evidence of things not seen.     ~ Hebrews 11:1

To all of you who have been so thoughtful and kind to me this Mother's Day (and for the last 3 years as well), thank you. God bless you for your compassion and tenderness on a difficult day.

To all my other waiting adoptive mommas on Mother's Day - as you work and pray to get your little darlings home - keep HOPE and FAITH in your heart! Our stories are not yet finished!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Good news!

Good news! Oh it feels incredible to type that in an adoption update. Since we began our process - we've had a lot of delays, setbacks, and roadblocks. Each time we talked to our agency - we were given longer, and longer timelines. It has been heartbreaking, and it has been discouraging.

Until today!


Today we got the first encouraging phone call we've had in a long, long time. The director of our agency called to let us know that BOTH families ahead of us waiting for a referral from the Pattaya Orphanage have been MATCHED!!! Praise Jesus!!!!

Now these are just the two families that were waiting from our agency (and that orphanage matches children with agencies in countries other than just the US) - but this is a sign of MOVEMENT and we are rejoicing. We were told that while they cannot guarantee anything, they feel confident that we will be matched with a child by the end of the year if not before. (Thank you Jesus!!!)

We are praising God for good news on our adoption front - and the first real movement we've seen in this 38 month process. We have renewed hope, and we are so excited for the day we will see our baby girl's face for the very first time!

Please continue to pray for God's hand on this process - and for sweet little Kate (wherever she is tonight.) We love you baby girl, and we can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kate's corner

This is a little glimpse of the little shelf in my daughter's room. As I've said before, most of Kate's things are put away until she comes home (the few things we've bought or had gifted to us). Her room is still just an extra "guestroom" (because I cannot bear to look at an empty nursery while our adoption process drags on).... 

...but this little shelf in the corner reminds me of what will be. 


The bookcase was my grandmother's. It is full of my favorite children's books and and a few toys. When I get upset that I can't buy Kate things yet (because we have no idea how old or how big she'll be when she comes home... so shoes and clothes aren't really an option) I buy books. I cried the first time I read Nancy Tillman's "On The Night You Were Born" and "The Crown On Your Head". We had just started our adoption paperwork, but I couldn't leave the store without them! And so, we have those, and "Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You". Someday, I hope to have them all. And someday, I will read them to my little brown eyed beauty before I tuck her in bed.

The two top shelves hold special keepsakes. The little handmade bunny from Thailand is the first thing we ever bought our little girl. The journals are for me to fill with letters to Kate and parts of her story I'm recording along the way. The box is teak wood - also handmade in Thailand. The little jar of sand and shells is from Pattaya Beach - a mile from the orphanage we're adopting from. The painted word is from a dear friend. "Eucharisteo" reminds us to choose grace and joy and thankfulness along this difficult path. And the latest addition is the beautiful glitter letter sign - handmade by a fellow Thailand adoptive momma! It will someday remind our little girl that she is LOVED - but these days, it reminds me that we are loved, and our little girl is loved - by a loving and powerful and purposeful God - who is in control of this adoption, and who will bring her HOME!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It’s okay to not be okay. (Part 2)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog, and where I was (emotionally) when I wrote it, and what God has been revealing to me since. I know it was kind of a long, rambly blog (I actually hesitated to post it!) - but now that it’s out there, I don’t actually think I’m quite done with this concept yet. Because when I talk to people who have been through (or are going through) real pain, this subject keeps coming up. They keep telling me that they wish people would stop spouting Christian cliches and just grieve with them.

In my blog I shared this -
I think somewhere along the way, we Christians began to think that comforting someone equals encouraging them. But friends... sometimes you can't fix it. Sometimes, you can't make someone feel better. Sometimes, comfort just looks like "weeping with those who weep." (Romans 12:15) It's a hard lesson to learn (and one I struggle with too) but I think it's an important one.  
{Image Source}

Can we talk about that a little more?

It seems like the go to response for Christians these days sounds like this…

“Count it all joy!”
“We should be joyful in times of suffering!"
“God allowed this to happen for a reason… someday you’ll understand!”
“Maybe God was protecting you from something!”
“God is totally going to use this someday.”
“God will redeem this!”
“He works all things for His good!”

… and so on, and so forth. It’s as if we can’t allow people to feel anything bad. We’ve got to try to fix it - or at least explain it - immediately! (And yes, I’m guilty too.)

I think we, as Christians, have gotten uncomfortable with grief. I think we’ve forgotten that it’s our job to comfort people with the comfort Jesus Christ has given us (2 Cor 1:4), and to mourn with those who mourn, and weep with those who weep (Rom 12:15). I think we’ve gotten into a terrible habit of putting pretty words on top of a hurting heart - like sticking a bandaid over a gaping wound.

A gaping wound that’s still bleeding… and seriously - the bandaid’s just not going to cut it.

I think we’ve forgotten how to step into someone else’s hurt and acknowledge it, instead of just trying to fix it.

I think about all the horrific places I’ve been, and the heartbreaking things I’ve seen and done and can’t explain…

...holding the hand of a woman dying of AIDS in Africa that I could not help at all…. holding the hand of a dying leper in India whose pain I couldn’t stop… holding the hand of a trafficked woman who has spent the last 17 years of her life in a brothel…. holding babies in slums that will likely die of a preventable illness, or be trafficked or abused or both… visiting a 15 year old friend in the hospital just months before she died of leukemia… grieving with a widow who lost her husband less than 2 years into marriage…. holding a newborn baby girl who will never meet her daddy….

I have been in enough slums and brothels and hospitals and funeral homes to know that this is a sick, sad, and broken world. Can we stop pretending like we’re okay with it? Can we acknowledge all the terrible injustice all around us, and let ourselves feel the grief and frustration and anger - righteous anger - that Jesus felt a time or two?

Maybe one of the things that keeps hurting people out of our churches, is the facade we put on. Maybe they can’t identify with us because we’re pretending that everything is okay because we have “the hope of Christ."

Can I tell you something? Everything is not okay!

Yes - I know that the hope I have in Christ is a real thing. Yes, I have experienced the kind of peace that passes understanding. I have felt those awe-inspiring moments where God ministered to me in the most tangible ways - and I was able to stand on a dark day when I should’ve crumbled. I have felt unexplainable joy and strength on a day when there should have only been tears and utter hopelessness.

But I have also felt crippling darkness, and grief that seems to swallow you whole. I have felt bitterness and rage and frustration and confusion. I have felt an ache in my heart that I feared would never go away.

And in all of those cases… on the days when grief was crippling and the days when peace was tangible - I believe God was present. I believe He was holding me. And I don’t believe there was anything wrong with me on those especially dark days either.

I just believe we live in a broken, hurting world. Can we recognize that please? And can we stop pretending that God is some sadistic giant playing games with us like we’re little pawns? I don’t actually think God is responsible for all these horrific things that happen. I don’t see His hand on them. That’s not my God. (So, let’s not give him all the credit for the bad stuff…ok?)

Can we remember that there are more than just powers of “good” at work here? Can we remember all the scripture that talks about suffering and all of creation groaning and remember that we aren’t supposed to be completely at peace here? Can we remember that this is a battle and that we are in the midst of a war between good and EVIL? Can we remember that the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion?

We don’t have to be defeated or live as those who have no hope - but can we just be REAL? I know those truths are messy and scary and uncomfortable - but they are REAL. And the scripture that references them is just as important as the ones that tell us to choose JOY. There is a season for everything… and not every season has to be joyful. There is a time to weep, remember?

A very wise friend of mine (Laura Jacobs) shared this with me after reading my last post:

Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time [a season] for every single feeling… Weeping, dancing, mourning, laughing… all of it is in there. We as Westerners really suck at knowing what Season it is. When it’s summer we complain about the heat and when it’s winter we complain about the cold. God’s been teaching myself and a LOT of people I know about just being in the season that you’re in… accepting it, feeling all of it, before moving on to the next season. So feel all of it when you need to feel it… you have BIBLE permission to be in all of your emotions as they come.

I was so encouraged hearing that TRUTH - that we have Bible permission to embrace the season we are in. Sometimes - it’s Spring, and our hearts are blooming with new HOPE. Sometimes it’s Summer - when everything is lush and green. But sometimes… it’s winter. And everything feels cold and dark. And that’s okay!!! You don’t have to pretend it’s Summer if your heart feels frozen. You have permission to be exactly where you are - and you can trust that God WILL use that season. Sometimes, things have to “winter”… they have to go dormant before new life appears. Some of the most beautiful flowers come from bulbs that have to spend the winter buried beneath frozen ground before they’ll bloom. "There is a season for everything under the heavens." (Ecc 3:1) It’s not supposed to be summer all the time!

Someday - we will see His glory. Someday, every tear will be wiped away. Someday, we will experience REAL peace and joy and freedom in a way we never have before. But until that happens - can we recognize that the world we’re in now is broken, and sometimes that is the only explanation for our pain? And can we grieve it - really grieve it - together, so we don’t feel so alone?

I am reminded of the scripture "Jesus wept." (John 11:35)  I've always wondered why He wept when He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. (As a matter of fact - he'd already told his disciples (John 11:11) and Martha (John 11:23) he was going to do it!)  So the more I think about this story the more I wonder... what if his reason for weeping was simply to show empathy to Mary & Martha?

John 11: 33 says that Jesus saw Mary and her friends weeping, and "he was deeply moved [..] and troubled." And then in verse 35 we read, "Jesus wept." So is that why he wept? Because they were weeping? Because they were grieving? Because it troubled him to see people he loved in pain? Maybe they weren't tears of sadness, but tears of empathy! What an example for us! Sometimes weeping with someone is the most loving thing we can do.


-------------------------------


*Here’s a little bonus material for you, also sent by my wise friend Laura. It’s Brene Brown’s teaching on empathy, and this little video says SO much. If you’re trying to figure out how to “get in the boat” (or in this case, in the pit) and love someone through a rough time, or if you're trying to figure out what not to do when someone you love is struggling, this will give you some great perspective. 





Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3 years...

Three years ago today we announced we were adopting with bright eyes and hopeful hearts. Three years ago, we imagined that by February 2015 we would have our little girl home and in our arms, or at the least, be holding a photo of her sweet face by now - just waiting for the call to bring her home.

Three years have passed but we are not yet a family of 3 - not even close. It has been an uphill battle to say the least. Three years of working and fighting to make our dream of adoption a reality.  36 months of praying for our little girl. 1,096 days of hoping to hold her in our arms.

It is so hard not to have her home today - but we will not give up. She is worth every day... every month... every year that we have to fight for her. She is worth every prayer we've prayed and every tear I've shed missing her. I don't know how long this chapter of our story will be... but whether it's 70 pages or 700 - I know how it ends. It ends with us bringing Kate Jackson home from Thailand, and tucking her into the bedroom down the hall. (The bedroom where I sit and cry and pray on hard days.) This chapter of waiting and hoping ends with a little girl with big brown eyes and brown sugar skin calling me mama. And I will hold on to that vision until I can feel the weight of her in my arms.


We were told last week by our adoption agency that we could expect to wait another 1.5 to 2 years to be matched, and another 6 months to 1 year after that to bring Kate home. That means it could be 2017 before our daughter is home with us. (Though we are praying for a miracle to bring her home sooner!) I can't even tell you how it felt to hear those words. I can't even wrap my mind around enduring 3 more Mother's Days and 2 more Christmases without our daughter. I can't imagine 3 more empty years without her. It was a dark day for me.... for us. It was all I could do not to fall apart.

... but that day, (after shedding many, many tears) I realized there is something steadfast* within me. My heart aches, but I trust the word God has given us. I know He has called us to adopt our daughter from Thailand, and I have seen Him confirm it in extraordinary ways. So I will not waver. Frustration may come, but I am resolute. Doubt and fear will not sway me. I will stand firm on His promise and fix my eyes on the vision He has given us for our family. One foot in front of the other for as many miles as it takes... we will continue to walk this journey to bring our daughter home. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*For those of you who are regular readers - I feel the need to add a THANK YOU here for all your prayers. So many of you comment or message me often to let me know you're praying for us and our adoption - and that must be true... because I should have crumbled when we got this news. It was a dark day - but it could've been so much darker without your prayers holding us up. So thank you for covering us in your prayers - and please, please continue! We hope you'll join us in praying for a miracle - that this new timeline will be much shorter than what we've just been told. We know God is able to move mountains!