Not Impressed

I’d like to go on record with saying that I am so far entirely unimpressed with the year 2013. Really, I’d be fine if we skipped it. Like an old hotel, I’d like to move straight from floor 12 to floor 14. Bell hop? Anyone?

It’s been a rough few days and I have the bags under my eyes, the twisted muscles in my neck and the knot in my stomach to prove it. I look at the calendar and I look to the heavens and I wait. Because things have to go up from here.

This morning, I flipped open my (in)courage daily inspirational calendar to this quote by Holly Gerth:

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

“I’ve always thought of those words in the context of believing in God…But that morning it seemed the One Who Loves us whispered that part of faith is also about believing that our obedience makes a difference – when we can’t see the results.”

The past few days were hard for more reasons than one. I talked my kids through the events that have transpired over the last few weeks and it broke my heart. I sat with my nine year old as anger and pain and doubt clouded his crystal blue eyes.

Why would God let this happen?”

“We have a good family and we want to love a little girl who needs a family. Why wouldn’t God let us love her?”

“Why do these bad things happen?”

“What’s going to happen to those kids in the orphanage?”

His questions were great. They were deep and real and honest and beautiful and I didn’t fully know how to answer them because I have the same questions. So I told him.

I told him everything I’ve been telling you and myself for the last ten months. Hope is slow. It’s so slow that sometimes we can’t see it.

I told him that God promises to be the Father to the fatherless and we have to believe with a faith beyond our sight that He is there with those children. We have to believe that they experience God in ways that we never will because He is all they have. We have to trust that He hasn’t forgotten the children – all the children – around the world who are waiting for love.

We have to believe and in this moment, we must build an altar for our kids. We must set a place for them to look back on and remember. We must guide them in this thing called faith that so often requires blind action.

Officially, our adoption is not yet terminated. There is still a thin thread of hope, but that thread gets dimmer each day. I feel like I’m preparing to lose a child. I imagine that this is much like it feels to miscarry. We haven’t given up hope entirely, but we are preparing ourselves to move on.

But can I share the miracles in this story of ours?

Friday, after I listened in on a call from the Department of State for adoptive families in process, I hung up the phone discouraged and defeated. I sat next to my husband and sobbed in his arms. In that moment I felt like it was over completely.

You see the thing is, I’ve always thought I would adopt a child from Russia. I’ve been waiting for so long for God to give us the signal to move forward, but I never once doubted that He would. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t bring home a Russian child. Not once.

But Lee, my steady and wise husband, has a different vision. He has a passion for adoption…not just Russian adoption. To him, whether the child comes from Russia, India or America doesn’t matter. This brought me a lot of comfort, particularly because the idea of adoption was initially difficult for him to embrace. He had deep reservations, but in the course of this past six months, God has really opened up an excitement in Lee about the beauty of building a family through adoption.


Later that night, I sat down and opened an email from an old college friend who didn’t even know all that was going on inside my heart. This is part of what it said:

I’m writing to you because God has been sending me clear messages for you. I’ve been praying for you all and following along here and there on your journey. And every time I read one of your posts, I get an image of Christ riding in, like a soldier redeeming this situation for good. EVERY TIME you write something about the current situation in Russia or your heart breaking over the possibility of loss, the words “promise” and “redeemed” come flashing in my brain. I immediately get a sense of urgency to tell you that God will follow through on the promise He has given you. He is good. He has made a promise to you. He planted seeds so long ago in your heart for this country and for the people there. This horrible situation will be redeemed. His promises will be made known to all who know you and hear your cries.

She ended her message with a beautiful prayer that I have printed out and read over and over. Because I’m so heartbroken right now that I don’t know how to pray. But her prayer gives me the words to lay before the altar.


My heartache goes beyond the potentially failed adoption. There are other things mixed in that have worked together to form an emotional tsunami. But this one thing I know – God is good. He has not left the throne. Right now, I cling to the fact that our faith must be manifested in obedience. Like the quote mentioned above, we have embraced our faith through obedience and we are learning more and more each day about what it means to live courageously – even when the steps of faith don’t look like we thought they would.

We took a risk in moving forward with the adoption. It was a step of faith. It was obedience. And in our obedience God has worked miracles. I pray He’s not finished. I pray that the redmption of this story does include the completion of our adoption.

But I’ve no doubt that our family’s story is not finished yet. I believe my friend’s vision. I believe that God has redemption in store for us and we wait in expectation with hands held high. And when it is all said and done, no matter what the outcome may be, we will build an altar of remembrance.

We will look at our children (all four of them?) and we will point to these days and we will say, “Look, kids. Look at what God has done. He is faithful!”

Pray with us?


It’s raining today

She’s walked around the house whimpering and clutching her ear.  She hasn’t slept a full night in four days nor has she eaten much of anything.

This is the child who never says no to sleep and food.  Ever.

More than once when she was younger, she would vomit in the middle of the night and go right back to sleep in it and we wouldn’t know she was sick until the next morning when the house smelled like death.  Hope you’re not reading this while drinking your coffee.

So we knew something was wrong.  The Walgreen’s Walk In clinic nurse lady said Swimmer’s Ear.  It was a best guess since she couldn’t see past the impacted wax in Tia’s teeny tiny ear canals.  So off we went with drops and an Icee, because Tia didn’t scream bloody murder when the nurse lady looked in her ears.


She spiked a fever and her ear hurt so bad she couldn’t even eat a Wendy’s Frosty for lunch. This was bad.  So we made a phone call to a local ENT and I bribed her a second time in three days.

“Be brave and I’ll get you a little treat,” I promised.  Because in the past it’s taken me and two nurses to hold her down for an ear exam.  Bribery is my only defense.

“That is a nasty looking little ear,” the doctor said as he peeked inside.  Her eyes were squeezed shut and she took big deep breaths to keep herself calm.  “Most adults wouldn’t be able to function under the type of pain she is probably experiencing.”

Her ear canal has swollen shut, a negative reaction to the medicated drops.  Does she have an inner ear infection in addition to the outer ear infection?  No one can say because she has so much wax in her ears and it’s packed in tight like cement.

“I’m surprised she can hear anything at all,” he said.  I told him we repeat things a lot.

So Friday morning, we are headed into a local surgery center to have her sedated and have her ears roto-rooter’ed (Yes, that’s a word…it’s a verb).  From there we will better be able to determine exactly what’s going on inside her ears and hopefully relieve her of this nasty, ugly pain.

Until then, it’s lots of Tylenol and hugs and probably a few more sleepless nights.  The little radiator climbs in bed with us around 1:30 when her current dose of medication wears off and sleeps on top of me the rest of the night.  The good news is that last night, for the first time in several days, she hasn’t cried throughout the night.  And she’s still asleep this morning.

Probably because it’s raining and dark outside.

Look at that, I somehow managed to tie that random title into this post after all.  Go me…

How is your week going?