Thursday, March 25, 2010

now i know what a yo-yo feels like

i'm kind of in a weird place with all this adoption stuff.  as far as the world sees or knows, our family consists of a daddy, a mommy, and three little people.  but not a day goes by that i don't hurt for our littlest one in ethiopia or feel like a part of us is missing.

we have another son.  we just can't hold him.

it's odd because when you're pregnant, the baby may not have his own twig on the family tree yet, but there's no doubt that he's with you.  he's there.  and after a few months everybody around you knows he's a part of your family, and the sweet ladies in wal-mart are happy to rub your tummy to remind you of it.  i don't have that with this baby, but despite the lack of his physical presence, he's every bit a part of me as our other three were when i was expecting them.

this is so hard to explain.

i feel like i'm rambling so i'm just going to get to the update part.  a couple of weeks ago, i wrote about the discouraging news we heard about ethiopia's new requirement that both parents appear for their baby's in-country court date.  as i've told many of you, i wasn't really anxious or worried about it, because despite the fact that i had no idea how in this world we were going to swing the additional expenses that decision brought with it, i knew with complete certainty that god knew of that ruling long before it was handed down and long before he led us to adopt there. 

so yesterday i was chatting with some other moms while we waited for our girls to finish their ballet class, and one of the moms (who recently returned from adopting her daughter from china) told me that she heard about the court's decision, and she asked how it would affect us.  i casually told her the details: how we would both have to appear in court now, how our adoption budget had gotten tossed after the very unexpected changes, and how we would have to make two trips (the second to appear at the US embassy to finalize the adoption and actually bring our baby home).  but as i told her that only half of cases pass court on the first try and that we might actually have to go to ethiopia more than two times, it hit me like a ton of bricks:  allison, this may not happen.  

with all of the changes and uncertainty surrounding ethiopia's international adoption program right now (coupled with the potential for uncapped, multi-trip expenses), it felt like the baby i was holding to so tightly was slipping away, and i wrestled with that realization through tears all afternoon and evening long.

it had never occurred to me until that moment outside abby's ballet class that god's call on our lives for adoption doesn't guarantee us the blessing of a baby in the end.  

as i talked with a friend at her house this morning, i told her that i was grieving but slowly digesting the possibility that the lord may have put us on this path for another purpose.  we can already see many changes in our family because of this journey (god has graciously placed orphan ministry at the center of our hearts, and we have devoted our lives to working with pearl ministries and its partners in uganda), and those are things we thank him daily for doing in our lives.

but i just can't get past the hope that our little guy is waiting for us somewhere along this path.

the tears of yesterday turned to the joy of today, though, when i received another message from our agency tonight.  while i am trusting the lord in his sovereignty and recognizing that i can't see this journey from beginning to end as he can, i was encouraged by the news we heard:
  • good: the court president said this week that parents will only be required to attend one hearing.  if their case doesn't pass court (which can happen for reasons as small as a missing signature), they won't be required to appear a second time.
  • really, really good: as part of the healthcare bill that was passed this weekend (i'm not saying a word about that!), the adoption tax credit was amended.  what used to be a credit that did virtually nothing for us because of our particular tax situation is now a fully refundable credit that will do a tremendous amount to cover the additional travel expenses we'll incur because of the recent changes in ethiopian adoption.  
the lord has been so faithful to encourage us and provide for us just when we needed it most, and the news of today is no exception.  god is god, and god is good.

now listen, you who say, "today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. what is your life? you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. instead, you ought to say, "if it is the lord's will, we will live and do this or that."  james 4:13-15


Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

so happy for you. hugs, hugs, and more hugs!

The Taylors said...

Praising God for the works He has done. Love you friend.

Giann said...

Praise the LORD!!! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

my heart is with you during this time. i know how hard it is constantly go through all the ups and downs. i thank God not only for His sovereignty and guidance, but also for placing such wonderful friends nearby that can give hugs, lend an ear, and share coffee with when i am so far away! it's amazing how God works. i was going to email you, but after reading this, i figured i would go ahead and share with you now..any- hoo, i had read an email a few years ago that touched my heart and i have never forgotten it. i'm sure you've heard the story, but i found the children's book yesterday and while reading it, thought of you and your family. i stopped right there and prayed for you is the Legend of the Three Trees. WONDERFUL! Reminds us of how God has a plan for us and in His timing, greater things than we could ever wish or imagine will be given. It reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11, which is still my life verse, and i pray it to you today during this time of struggle and hope roller coaster. "For He knows the plans He has for the Lewis Family. Plans to prosper the Lewis' and not to harm the Lewis',Plans to give the Lewis' a hope and a future." (If you haven't heard of The Three Trees, let me know..) I love you all..Anna L.

The Lin Family said...

So thankful for that perfect timing of encouragement! God knows your heart and knows the perfect timing to bring the little guy home! Much love!

Brian and Jen said...

Al, that is awesome news! Thanks for sharing what God is doing in the life of yall's family!