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Thursday, September 9, 2010

.Playing It Safe No More.

Psalm 37:7 - Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.

Today is a day that we have waited for, anticipated, dreamed about, talked about, and anxiously expected to happen much further down the road.

Today, September 9, 2010 at 12:45 PM our world was permanently changed. We officially have a referral for our son! Let me back up, as this will come as an unexpected shock to many.

In order to really understand I need to back way up.

Remember me? The girl who likes to play it safe, not rock the boat? I would rather hide out in my home and day after day go through sameness just to feel safe, secure. I am the girl who was always scared of her own shadow, the girl in high school that the boys loved to tease because I screamed whenever I was so easily frightened. The thought of something new, the thought of an adventure makes my stomach back flip and cartwheel and cavort around like nothing else can.

Then, almost a year ago, God grabbed a hold of my heart and rocked my world upside down by leading our family out of our very safe cocoon inside of camping ministry. It was basically all I had known my whole married life, and it was all my children had ever known. I clung to my Savior like no other time in my life, and I learned to relinquish my futile hold on this make-believe control I thought I had over my family and my plans for our future. It was freeing. It was scary. But for once in my life, I was allowing God to truly be Lord - Leader. I felt a peace that passed all human reason. God surprised us and blessed us with an amazing ministry position at our home church where my husband is now the Associate Pastor. That situation looked impossible by all human standards, there were so many reasons it shouldn't have worked out, but it was, and is, a total God-thing. His hand was all over the situation, weaving and molding our story. I see His fingerprints now so vividly.

Just as I had settled into our new normal, just as I was starting to allow myself to feel a little bit safe again, just as I was trying to get my pinkie finger back on those fake reigns of control, God pricked our heart and ripped the blinders from our eyes focusing them in on Africa - Ethiopia, and to the belief that we had a son waiting to be brought home to our family. Nothing feels safe with adoption. We took a leap of faith without the finances to back the adoption up. We looked foolish to many, careless even. We have had to put our heart on the line, we have had to be vulnerable and humble ourselves enough to let other people bless us financially. It has been hard. Much harder than I anticipated. We have felt lonely at times, wishing to be surrounded by people who get it - God's heart for orphans, but finally understanding that it doesn't all happen at once. We continue to pray that God would use us as the catalyst in our church, our families, our community.

Through the hard parts of this journey, God has made it impossible for us not to cling to Him. We have poured out our hearts, our fears, our desires, to our Father like probably never before. Daily I have been praying that God would break my heart for what breaks His, that I would live with eternity in mind, and not this futile, empty, vanishing world. And little by little God is changing me. Some of it is small changes that may seem silly, like finally relinquishing all of my COACH items. Because carrying them around made me feel like a hypocrite when I was constantly "preaching" about how little those in third world countries have, and how I was willing to surrender it all for the sake of Christ. And some of it is big changes, and that is ultimately where this story leads. Please hang on for a bit longer.

It happened on a Thursday. It was mid afternoon, Cadi and Scotty were napping, my house was clean, we were having dinner at a friends' home and I had nothing to prepare, so I hopped on the computer and logged into AWAA's yahoo group. I scrolled through the newest messages. I saw once again someone mention the Waiting Child List. People had been mentioning it all week, praying that by the time Court reopened in Ethiopia (it closes for a month every year) the list could be cleared out. I remember thinking how great that would be, and how special those people were to be able to accept one of these children. The list is full of children who have special needs - sometimes the special need is simply that the child is older and less likely to be adopted because there are very few requests for older children. Others of the children have varying degrees of special needs. I finally felt curious about this list. I wanted to join in praying for these children, but I want to put faces to them. I requested the password and entered the site.

What sweet, beautiful children popped up on the screen. I slowly scrolled through them reading the little description written about each one and then quickly praying for the child and his or her forever family. I then scrolled to the very last child. My heart kind of skipped a beat and I felt a gentle tug because the child was a baby and a boy, and then I read his description. I knew that God would never call us to that special need, though, I clearly remember thinking and feeling relief wash over me. That would be too hard, and we had already requested a healthy baby boy and were nearly done with our home study based on that request.

Then I opened his picture.

I do not know how to describe what happened next without sounding like a crazy person, and I guess I have just resolved myself to the fact that unless you have walked this road before this is going to sound crazy. I am okay with that. {grin}

Immediately upon the photo popping up on my screen I burst into sobs, deep gut-wrenching, shoulder shaking, ugly sobs. Because I knew that he was my son. The only thing I can liken it to is having Scotty laid on my chest after birth (I say Scotty because this did not happen with Cadi due to her traumatic birth), locking eyes with him and knowing that he belonged with me. It was the exact same thing with this baby on my screen. He belonged with us!

I could write for days probably of all God has brought us through since then. My husband will have to tell his side of the story, as it was not so instantaneous for him, although now (because of the Spirit's gentle gracious leading) he feels the same as I initially did and still do. After prayerful consideration and seeking counsel from godly people and after God made it clear in Jim's heart as well, we called AWAA and found out what we had to do before we could accept this baby's referral. We had to have a completed and approved home study. Our home study was approved this morning. And today, September 9, 2010 at 12:45 PM our world was permanently changed as we officially received the referral for our son!! We must respect the confidentiality of this referral and our child and at this time we cannot disclose any details about him or his special need. We have ten days to accept this referral, and we are working on going over his medical history with a physician. We then have to pay a large chunk of money to be able to accept his referral - which we have all of!! But let me just say that he is gorgeous, and just looks so very sweet.

What's next for us?

Next we submit our I-600A. This is our application for advance processing of an orphan petition. We will also need to submit just shy of $1000 with this. Once that is approved we wait for our final fingerprinting to be scheduled. Then we once again wait - this time for the I-171H form which allows us to bring a child into the US. After that we can send our dossier to Ethiopia (and submit more money), and we wait for our court date and first trip to Ethiopia!! I am hopeful our first trip will take place before the end of this year, and that we will be bringing our son home very soon into the new year!! Wow.

So things are expedited at this point. Please pray for us. Please pray for discernment and wisdom in preparing for our son to come home and in preparing Cadi and Scotty for our future. Please pray that God would pull the finances together for all of this to happen at the quicker pace that it needs to. Please pray for continued peace, and please, please pray for our precious baby who is half way around the world waiting for his Daddy and Mommy to bring him home. Oh how I wish I could tell him that we are coming!

This is not how we planned it. We had planned it much safer. A healthy baby boy. But God's plan is perfect, and He planned for this baby to be in our family. He will equip us. I have no doubt. He has already enlarged my heart and opened my eyes.

I'm playing it safe no more. I'm only a shadow of that timid girl I once was, and it's all because of Him.

The safety net has been completely yanked away.

But I am free-falling in the best way possible - in the arms of Jesus. {grin}

Psalm 68:6 God sets the lonely in families....

We are claiming you, sweet boy. We are claiming you as our own - no longer an orphan, no longer lonely, but rather a son. We are doing this because God has claimed us as His own, and we are orphans no more - lonely no longer. We are already praying that someday you will call God your Daddy in heaven, too. That is where your true adoption will take place.

Daddy and Mommy are coming. We love you. We want you.

God has changed us already because of you.

Your Mommy Always~
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Kathy's Kitchen Korner said...

Oh Tiffany . . . this brings tears to my eyes . . . just to know how God is working in such an amazing GOD-WAY!! There is just no other way to explain it! Praying for you as you continue to "free fall" into the very arms of the One who loved us enough to spread out His arms to die for us!
Love you Tiffany!!
Kathy (and Wayne too!)

Unknown said...

I wish you could see the HUGE smile on my face and the tears in my eyes. I wish I were there to hug you in person, and jump up and down out of praise and delight!

It has been such a blessing being able to witness the progress, and hear all of the ups and downs throughout this entire adoption. Your testimony is so powerful. Seeing what God is doing in and through your family has been amazing. I'm so happy! I'm warm and fuzzy inside just picturing you sweet, precious, little boy in my head.

God is SO, so GOOD!! I am actually going over to see my friend's new home and celebrate with her over their recent adoption. They too have been through many ups and downs, but God has been faithful in their journey as well. We're celebrating tonight...and we'll be celebrating with you and thinking of your new little one, as well as the rest of your family.

Soooooo much love to you Darling family! We will continue to lift you up and cover your family in prayers. Woooo hoooo!!!

Lots of love always,

rameelin said...

Love you! Will write to you very soon...

Bethany said...

The day I have been praying for! I am so excited that you were able to share this information. I know he will be beautiful and just what God wants for your family. I cannot wait to meet him :)

Anonymous said...

Praise God!!! I am so excited for you and Jim and for this little boy!!!! What an amazing journey God has you on!!!

Much love, JO

Heather said...

Tiffany, This is so amazing!! I will be praying for your son and that everything will fall into place according to God's will and that you and Jim will have a special peace as this is all happening. How wonderful!

Kylee said...

I don't even have words...I am just so beyond thrilled. I am amazed at God's goodness, it is so real and perfect. He works in such incredible ways and it amazes me. Tears fill my eyes as I write this...I pray that you are united with your sweet baby boy soon!

Dear Jesus, thank you for Your faithfulness to this beautiful family. Thank you for enabling them to surrender their lives to You and for in return blessing them with a baby boy. Watch over this little prince and help him sleep safely and soundly. Let him feel Your peace over him and let him grow into a boy that fears your name and loves you.
Thank you for your faithfulness and unending mercy, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Donna said...

Tiffany, I have been reading some of your comments on Facebook and got the idea that you were planning on adopting, but was not sure as I had heard nothing about it before. Congratulations to you and Jim. I admire your courage and the great love you have for God and all people, especially children. May everything go smoothly and you are able to get your precious little son very soon. I will be anxious to hear all about him. Love you all, Aunt Donna

The Ashworth family said...

Tiffy - I am crying as I am reading your post - I can't believe how God is working in your life. I have so many friends that are adopting right now and I LOVE it! I am going to bed tonight praising Jesus and excited to see how this love story with you and your sweet boy continue! Love, love, love you!

Tia said...

Praying....and shedding tears of utter joy for your family.....and praying some more!

Erin Hurley said...

What a beautiful story of God's working in your life in BIG ways!! Congrats on your referral! Your new son really is precious and we'll be praying for you all!

Anonymous said...

awesome. awesome. awesome!!

Addie Talley, Photographer said...

Oh my goodness, I am so, so excited for you! Big hugs!

Anonymous said...

Wow that is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your story :) I am so happy for you and your family and cannot wait to hear how amazing your life together with your son will be. I will keep you in my prayers.


Debb said...

Will keep you and your little boy in my prayers! AWESOME to see God's fingerprints all over this story!

brandy said...

We will be in continued prayer until your son comes home! Reading this brought tears to my eyes and encouraged my heart! We may have the opportunity for a private adoption here only 30 minutes from us! We know that God has called us to adopt we are just waiting for that child! And now we feel this may be the baby (unborn child)! Just reading this encouraged me knowing that if it's in His plan and we step out willing to be used and live life on the edge (live like a JEsus freak! lol) HE will provide for every step of the way!! I can't wait to see what happens next in your journey!
Praying for you continually,

jkseevers said...

OH MY! We are soo excited and overjoyed for you!! This is such exciting news and we will definitely be praying for all of the details. Isn't God just so funny like that to just catch you off guard, and change your heart forever? amazing.
Praising God with you!!

sue said...

Congrats!!!! What an incredible blessing! Can't wait to go along with you on this journey.

BARBIE said...

What wonderful news! I am praying for you and can't wait for the day you bring your precious son home.

Lynn said...

I've been a reader for some time now, and after reading (& crying) through this post yesterday, amazed at how God is working in your lives, I heard a song on KLove on the way to work that is YOUR song!! :) It's called Keep Changing the World by Mikeschair. Maybe you've heard can find it on YouTube. But I'd like to officially dedicate it to YOU. You're doing amazing things, and you're truly changing the world. God bless your family, and especially your new son!

Elizabeth said...

I just love following your blog right now. I mean, I always have but right now, you always give me such warm, fuzzy feelings. And a sense of hope in a world that seems so crazy right now. I can't wait for you to go snuggle your blessing!

Jessica Kramasz said...

Oh wow!! Yay! Congratulations! I am so happy for you. I will be praying for you and your new son.

mosey said...

Very excited for you! I love watching your story unfold...

You didn't sound crazy to me, in fact we had a very similar experience in that when we walked into the hospital our daughter was in the NICU and before our case workers even pointed her out, my husband knew without a doubt which one she was.. He just walked right over to her. It was an awesome feeling! It's this instant recognition of THIS is my child! Isn't it the most amazing feeling in the world.

Mama E said...

Tiffany - I have been following your journey. Today I read this post and my heart has been filled with JOY for your family. When I got to the end of your post I was literally covered in goosebumps! I will continue to pray for your process and for this gorgeous boy. Blessings. One question - a few posts back you casually mentioned that you had reason to believe that your referral was coming sooner rather than later but were unable to share why at that time. Are you able to share now why you felt that way?

Reilly Parker said...

Wow Tiffany!! I just sat here reading your blog with tears coming down my face. Your sensitivity to God's leading and your willingness to follow him is such an example to me. Your little boy will forever understand the love of God through your display of love for him. It is so awesome to me how God leads and directs and makes me realize what an awesome God I serve. I am so happy for you guys and will keep you in my prayers. I strive to someday have the faith that you do! Love you much:)

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