journey

Ours

Little buddy bravely joined our family today, although to us, he’s been ours since we got his picture nine months ago.  I found a quote a few weeks ago that resonated so strongly with me. It’s been on my mind the last few days as we prepared to travel. It goes like this:

 

Your identity is simply who God says you are

Love it, especially for all our boys. Before they were anybody else’s, they were and are His. 

 

 Over the past few years I have come to dislike the phrases: “ so lucky”  “how blessed” and “saved”  in regards to adoption. While I understand them and typically they are well intentioned, they leave a bad taste in my mouth. Mainly because we are the lucky ones for getting to add another adorable boy to our family. We are blessed to be chosen to parent him and Jesus already did the saving, so I will just do the parenting through His grace. 

 

It’s true our family has been made by unconventional methods, but the way they came to us, does not make them who they are, it’s just one part of many that make up their story. To us, they are just our sons and today we added a third to our family.  

 

He is doing pretty good, lots of crying right after we got in the taxi but he calmed down once we brought him into our hotel. We have not seen a lot of smiles although we did hear his little voice a few times. We were told that his foster family has been preparing him and telling him about this next step in his life. They are awesome! 

 

We got to meet the foster dad today as he came with the mom to the agency. They broke my heart, so in love with our boy. We gave the mom a bouquet of flowers although there aren't really any proper ways to truly thank her. We walked out with four bags filled to brim with stuff and she made food for Sawyer for the next few days. Everything was neatly prepared and put in containers.  Naturally, I was crying when it was time to say goodbye. His foster dad took his cheeks in his hands and planted a big, huge kiss on his forehead, whispered to him in Korean and stood back. At first his foster mom did not want to hold him again. I had picked him up and he was doing well in my arms, so she didn’t want to disturb him. I told her “really it’s okay” and she took him and held him close as tears filled her eyes. A tight squeeze and big kiss then we all walked to the elevator and he was handed back to me. He cried and cried as did I. Such wonderful people!

 

He has done very well, ate dinner and played in a bath. He cries occasionally but is really doing excellent so far. We are just waking up and slept okay. I included some pictures of the flowers, beautiful flower shop, "american" section at the grocery store across from our hotel and of course him.

 

Welcome to our family Sawyer Nathaniel Harang Cook 

 

 

 

Not the call I was expecting

This is not the post I was expecting to write.  I was expecting to be writing an excited post filled with travel information.  Instead, I am feeling vulnerable and struggling to form words for my thoughts.

July seems like a long time ago.  We received a referral in July.  It included a picture of a chubby baby that we now call our son.  After formally accepting our referral both Ron and I felt an urge to pray for November.  I didn't receive a whole lot of instruction, just pray.  In August, I started reading the book The Circle Maker.  It's an excellent book, I really enjoyed it and felt spurred to "Pray Big" as the author put's it.   So that's what I did, I prayed daily and fervently for a November court date.  I took notes from the book and felt like I was reading it for this appointed time.  After all, we felt such a heavy impression to pray for November.

The last day in November came, the call did not.  This past Friday I was working the Christmas Shop at our kid's school.  I am on the committee team for the event because any committee that entails large amounts of shopping, is exactly where I should be. So I had to be there most of the day. Midway through the morning I checked my phone and saw that I had a missed  a call and had voicemail from my caseworker. My pulse quickened and my palms started to sweat.  This was it!  I just walked out of the gym leaving my station and the kids to pick out whatever gaudy gift they wanted.  I couldn't wait.

Once outside the gym, I hit play and listened to my message.  My caseworker rambled on and on about an urgent email they received from Korea the night before.  We were required to get a new set of fingerprints.  This time from the FBI, not Homeland Security even though we had a set done a few months ago.  Those were irrelevant now.  She wondered could we get this done ASAP, could I call her back to discuss, could I do this all by Monday?  Our paperwork was up to move forward but could not unless we got this done.  It was a short window and she did not want us to miss it.  Again, this was not exactly what I thought I would be hearing. 

I finished out the afternoon at school, helped clean up and went home.  I called Ron and told him everything.  I then set up the appointments (thankfully this could be done the next day) and put Charlie down for a nap.  Next, I just sat down on the couch, perplexed.  I am still perplexed.

Not only did we not get a travel call, after talking with my caseworker I found out that best case scenario we might travel in March.  Worse case scenario we will travel in June.  I sucked in my breath and said "June, seriously?"  She went on to say that all the families ahead of us had waited eleven months to travel and June would be eleven months for us.  JUNE!   The warmth of June seems so far away from this chill of December.  I have no idea why we felt such a need to pray for November.   We really believed God would do it.  I still know He could have done it, but I just don't understand why He didn't.  Especially after all the confirmations we saw during the month of November.

We received three cards from different people in November.   They all said that God had laid us on their hearts and they were praying for us.  We also had a young woman approach us while we were walking Marge at a park.  She admitted that while she felt uncomfortable doing this, she believed God wanted her to pray for us.   She wondered "Was there anything we were specifically believing God for and could she pray over us?"   For real, that happened!   In addition, through a series of random events we were informed a local church found out we were adopting and wanted to support us.  We do not attend this church. Last week a $2,000 check arrived in the mail from them.   For real, that happened, too!  God was moving on our behalf left and right. 

As I sat on the couch reviewing all of this in my head, I wondered if I had missed Him completely?   Did I interpret His will according to what I wanted it to be?   I had spent the last six weeks with a restricted diet as a form of fasting.  Not so that He would do what I wanted but as an act of faith in accordance to what I believed He was doing.   Why did I, a girl who has an unhealthy love of sweets, give them up?  Was it all for nothing?  I wish I had some clear answers, but I don't.  Do I feel sad, mad and confused?   Heck,  yes and then some, but do you know what else I feel?  I feel thankful, grateful and assured that He is still good.

Thankful because after I sent out a text to our families with this update my dad called me a few seconds later.  I answered and he just said,  "Smooch, (apparently I can't outgrow that nickname) I love you."   Then he listened as I cried, encouraged me and pointed me back to the goodness of God.  He's a keeper.  My mom called as well only she was mad about the situation. The kind of mad that lets you know she loves your kid like you do and wants them home too. It's endearing.  Then came the text from Ron's sister.  She, more than most, knows what it's like to spend time on your knees speaking the Word of God over your child.  She encouraged me as well.  His parents let us know they would continue to pray, too.  I then texted my two dear friends who also happen to be neighbors.  One came walking across the street moments later with a bottle of wine in her hand and embraced me in a hug.  The other showed up later that night with an entire cake.  Clearly, the sweet fast is over.  Thankful for them all.

Grateful because while this was not what I had wanted to hear, it is news.  We now know where we stand and where our paperwork is in the process.  The not knowing is brutal and now I have some direction.  That is more than I had before I got the phone call.  As Ron reminded me, at least we are moving forward, slowly, but forward none the less. 

Assured because through the roller coaster of emotions I felt on Friday, I also felt Him.  He never leaves, ever.   He was there when I wasn't ready to talk with Him about it and He was there was I ready to yell at Him about it.  He is good even if I don't understand His ways.  I can trust Him because he has proved His faithfulness to me over and over.   He is worthy of my praise simply because of who He is. 

Now, I have a choice.  Over the last few months, I had purposely carved time just about every day to pray.  Do I continue to sacrifice other things to find time to spend with Him?  Let's be honest, It's easier to make the time when you think doing so might help you reach a goal.  Now that I know that is not going to happen will I try as hard to meet with Him? Heart Check...

Maybe I will never know what all of this praying was about. Maybe I will find out in a few months that something specific was happening in November and my part was to be obedient  and pray it through. In any case, while this is not at all how I hoped it would go,  the time spent in His presence is.