I kind of hate the stigma given to Mondays. The fact that "we all dread" Mondays must mean one of several things...none of which I feel I need to explore. But I understand. I recall the need to set my alarm after two days of sleep-in bliss weekends. (I no longer really need to do that ever since the first of two instalments of human alarms over five years ago.)
Today was a good Monday. The feeling of peace somehow invaded me last week, though we hit the twenty-five month mark. I am certain it was the moments I briefly touched on. Regardless, it was nice to feel that sense of tranquility and confidence in the journey.
The feeling remained today which actually surprised me because as sure as the rain will fall, these moments of encouragement often only last so long. Thinking I would just go with it, until the feeling dissipated, I went about the morning and finally as one small three year old sang to himself in the tub, I flicked on the computer and whipped through the inbox.
And there it was. An email from Imagine. Regardless of which individual sends it at any given time, my heart always flips just a bit when I see who the sender is. Something, any newsy update, or information is enough to cause the minor palpitations. So, saving it to last (perhaps due to a stupid superstition about the colloquial saying "save the best for last"...) I perused all other friendly, news worthy, work related messaged.
And then I clicked and read some wonderful news. An integral member of the Imagine Staff who left just over a week ago has returned.
And while that is good news in my mind, I think it deserves a few moments. It's good not simply because she has a wealth of experience with Imagine. It's not good because enabling her to return means that the board must feel the financial viability of the agency is not at risk (ie: her salary is back on payroll and they are satisfied enough with the budget that it can be afforded). It's good not just because she will now be devoting some of her time to the role of case worker, (working with families who have been referred...that right there deserves a yee-haw). It's good not simply because it means that the board must feel there is still (and will continue to be!) an abundance of work.
It is good for all those reasons and likely many many more of which I am certainly not aware.
At this monthly marker, this reminder of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years of waiting...
...she thought to herself, "I may lose my ever loving mind!!!"
...at which point she was reminded of a few distinct, definitive moments of divine intervention throughout her whirlwind week.
...and she reflected upon the One who was, and is, and always has been in control.
...she took a(nother) deep breath and rested in the knowledge of perfect timing - knowing in her humanness she would nevercompletely understand, but holding fast to the certainty that she had to release control and accept His will. For, just as the sun will rise and set, as it did the day before and would the following day, she knew of His faithfulness and sought confidence in it.
...and there, resting there, she found safety and peace - if but for a moment.
This is getting ridiculous. I believe the last referral made (of which I am aware) was September 7th. While you may think I'm ornery for knowing the date, I think it's sad that I can recall it partially because it was made alone (often several come in together) and it was that.long.ago.
Throw up a little prayer for the children waiting for families tonight and for the families waiting for their children tonight - the ones whose faces we have seen and the ones whose faces we have not.
This wait is becoming a little much even for the hopeful.
I used the word "everlasting" when describing God this morning and I hold fast to that.
However, the journey and the seasons...they are not for the faint of heart.
And some days, learning to dance in the storm is a tough routine to master.
I'm anticipating the Singleton Referral Timeline document to come out in the next several weeks. And, while comments have been made that we are already seeing the timelines and it won't reveal anything, I disagree slightly. While we are seeing longer waits than in months previous (ah hem, I'm being very polite), I do believe this document will be insightful. I want to know to anticipate twenty-eight months. I want to know to anticipate twenty-seven months. Heck, at this point I am game to anticipate thirty. I just need to anticipate something. An idea of when I should begin allowing my heart to leap when the phone rings would be appreciated.
So yes, we know timelines but I want to more fully know timelines. Feel free to disagree with me or believe I am grasping at straws but it ain't gonna change how I feel.
So, what's a girl to do? What's a family to do to find hope, seek anticipation (again), and fill the yearning for completion?
After receiving an email reply from Imagine that, while a referral by Christmas isn't impossible it certainly is not imminent, I felt lead to action. I grow restless, weary, anxious, irritable, and any other synonym similar to the above, when I feel that my hands are tied but yet there is something I should or could be doing.
However, (and you had to know that was coming!) we serve a Great. Big. God. And so we are praying. And there are so many others who are praying for us. (We don't take one single prayer or pray-er for granted.) And we know that He hears our cries. And I'm not saying this means His timing will be our timing but we also know that He aches for the orphans and He has a plan for us.
We've been thinking and praying and wondering for awhile, what to do. Our kids are growing (what a concept eh) and getting older by the day...us too. And, while we're not using our walkers yet, we would hope not to have to do so by the time we need to get on that plane.
On Wednesday we increased our age request.
Not an earth shattering, life changing (uh, actually we hope it will be life changing!) increase but enough that we are both comfortable, we've opened up a slightly greater window of opportunity, and with where our family dynamics currently reside, we feel it's best.
And I am excited...ummm, maybe that's a bit of overkill...I'm encouraged.
I don't know why but this feeling of hope is rumbling up inside...perhaps it is the ache, desire, and longing of my heart. Maybe, just maybe it is something More. It's odd, as our increase isn't huge to say the least, but it's given me a little extra bounce in my step...which I don't actually believe is 'just' a bounce. It is possible that it is affirmation of our most recent open mindedness. We'll see.
Being the ornery one that I am, and seeking affirmation that this wasn't just done on a whim I investigated the possibility of our decision before of course, diving in head first.
We both needed to be comfortable. Check.
I wanted reassurance from Imagine that while it wouldn't create monumental shrieks from the mountain top, any increase is of course helpful. Check.
What would the (local agency) financial implications be? This was huge to us, as we just forked out around five hundred smackers for our two year update. We weren't in to shelling out another several hundred for a ridiculous piece of paper...which is what I was hearing the cost to be, through other agencies via families who have done the same thing.
So, nervously I called our local agency to inquire...
...and hello! It's free. Big.Fat.Whopping.Check.
Two hours later the forms are updated and filled out, emailed to me, printed out in triplicate, signed by us, sealed, stamped and out the door. Imagine should have the change at the first of next week.
And I have been encouraged by several things this week...one of which was an email from a new friend whom I hope to meet some day and who I have quickly (!) learned to be faithful to the core and wise beyond her years. *She confirmed:
There is a little Keizer Girl in Africa that God has chosen for your family
(*she is about to go bring hers home!)
So, there you have it...nothing is constant but change.
Change is often good.
Change can bring great things.
I believe change has brought renewed hope and anticipation and the reminder that we cannot limit God or put him in a box. All things happen with reason and for a reason.
...for the most delicious turkey, barbecued perfectly by the most wonderful man.
...for this three year old and his fire-y temper proceeded immediately by his abundance of kisses, sense of humour, and infectious laugh.
...for this small five year old who wears his heart on his sleeve. Always.
...for all this food. It is not taken for granted.
...for the blessing of simply having it, in abundance...which isn't actually that "simple" at all, is it?
...for the friends who all pitched in.
...for the small friends of our small children, who reciprocally love each other so very very much.
...for the care, love, laughter, teasing, pleasure, joy, sincerity, grace, friendship, blessing of each person sharing in our giving of thanks. (and for the fact that it was in fact possible to seat eighteen of us)
...desserts. Enough said.
...small (very!) messes to clean after guests have left. A sign of a successful night. Perfect actually.
...riding his two wheeler for the very first time. "Training wheels off please, Daddy."
...I don't believe there is anything more perfectly Fall than the sight of those first fallen leaves on grass, green from autumn rain, yet glistening in the day's sunny rays.
I'm in constant internal monologue and dialogue (with God) over our situation...our journey...our life. And I find the more I mentally digest, the easier it seems. Yet, the more I allow my heart to scream out, the tougher the wait...and the weight. Pun intended.
I just shared a few thoughts with a friend which, for me have been eye opening (likely again) over the past few days. Because, if you're like me this journey has day-to-day ebbs and flows. Moments, days, sometimes (rarely) weeks will go by and I'm fine. I can endure the wait. Other moments, days, weeks go by and I truly do not believe I can last it out. We've talked about our "line in the sand" and how hard the unknown is on me and how, while we do our darndest not to live our life as a family on hold, there is something impossible about doing that. How can you live as if complete, when you all know, (as sure as the sun will rise) someone is missing?! (And seriously, if you have the answer for that one you can speak right up.) On road trips we are always thinking and talking about how it will work as five. (Notice I said "will" not "would" or "could"...that was intentional.)
Wherever we are, one of us is thinking about our life as an expanded family, or our boys are asking about or on the lookout for something for their baby sister.
So in order to talk myself down, back to the brink of reality and rationality I have to take it from a mental angle. And the past couple days have been revealing to me.
Yesterday morning I was reminded to be thankful for all.that.laundry. that needs to be folded on a weekly basis. I must be grateful for all.those.thousands.of.square.feet. to vacuum. It is imperative that I be patient throughout those.many.silly.arguments.I.must.break.up.
And I am.
If I weren't thankful for those things...the laundry, the vacuum(ing), the ridiculous arguing, it would mean we weren't able to cloth ourselves, sleep under a solid roof, or have our two children.
Instead of always looking, waiting, and wanting for more I should focus perhaps on what is present in the here and now. And extra couple of months truly will not kill me. It could in fact grow me.
If we didn't have to endure this wait, it would mean we wouldn't be on this journey at all. It could mean two things...either we never hopped on this adoption train in the first place or we did hop on but when the agency went belly up, we chose not to pick ourselves up on the floor and get back on.
The other thing I have been processing is something I heard while sweating it out this morning in the basement. A psychologist was commenting on parenting styles. And, while I consider myself a relatively educated woman of average intelligence and fairly knowledgeable in the kid department, I had to hear it voiced through "an expert".
This is what he said: our parenting is a product largely of how we were parented.
That's to say we either do as was done to us or the near opposite.
My sister and I are two years apart. My husband and his brothers are 11 months and 14 months apart. We are all, the five of us, similarly age gapped from our siblings. And this is not uncommon. So, there are times when I find it hard to let go of the fact that our children will not be consistently age gapped. And in moments of weakness for some reason I find this hard to grasp. Re-reading that last paragraph makes me feel rather superficial - that's not my intention.
Yet, when I think about it...when I rationally think it through...it truly is not a big deal. So they won't all be 19 or 20 months apart - that ship sailed around July 13, 2009. I'm not sure why I am finding it so hard to get over.
And there are days when I start to panic over the fact that we set out on this journey when I was 28 and I am now nearing the end of 30. Gasp. There, I said it.
But, at the end of my life, (and longevity runs pretty thick in my family so I think I've got quite a ways to go), I am quite certain that being 28, 30, or 31 will make no difference.
And when I think all this through, when I let my brain do the talking to my heart instead of vice versa, I realize there shouldn't necessarily be a line in the sand. I realize that what's done is done and what's to come is already planned out...and has been for thousands upon thousands of years.
And that has to be okay.
For I know the plans I have for you", declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I read and re-read that earlier today. Thinking I had misread it...and then I realized I hadn't.
Don't stop seeking.
Never cease praying.
Continually seek Him.
Sense urgency in your need to follow.
Seek His presence, His will, His desire, and His truth for your life.
Be Scared To Miss What God Has For You
I think it's so simple, easy, effortless to be remiss about much that goes on around us. Life can pass us by so quickly and then we look back wondering where the time went. Constantly waiting for the next best thing, we often lose out on the here and now.
I find myself, at times, thinking perhaps this journey is too much. Maybe we need to stop. I will wonder how long this can continue. When do we realize and accept that we have been "so close" for so long and could continue to be "so close" for so long.
And then I think it through. I intentionally stop what I am doing and pray it through. I sit (or jog) in silence letting the journey, our family's destiny if-you-will, and God's will flow through my mind and throughout my prayers.
Every time I do this I realize that I am so so scared to miss what God has for me.
And so we wait.
With anticipation we wait.
Expectantly we wait.
It would be tragic to miss what God has for me, for us, for this family...
And I think that, that some days is what keeps me going. Fear of what we would or could miss. Because God's plan is bigger than my dreams. And, His will is far more miracle-filled than I could fathom.
I was reminded a short while ago that God had a plan for this, for us, for our journey long before Canada or Ethiopia were ever formed. He does all things for our sake. Before we were breathed into existence He knew all of this.
It would be shameful to put Him in a box or freewill this journey to a halt because of fear.
So here's to stepping out in faith more often, if for no other reason than I am scared to miss what God has for me.
I've come to realize over the past many months, that I have a real passion for redoing small pieces of furniture. It's so relaxing and while there is nothing creative about the way my brain works, (my drawing repertoire consists of rainbows, daisy-looking-flowers and stick people), there's something therapeutic for me, about this hobby.
So, when I was offered my sister's and my childhood rockers - as well as one other special piece which will receive some TLC soon - while my parents were going through a gianormous storage unit, I jumped at another project...or two.
And it was fun!
And I, (after receiving tips from a friend) tried my hand at stripes.
And, while not perfect I am pleased with the outcome.