Wednesday, March 20, 2013

While We Wait

A Peace That Passes

It's funny....on our agency's FB group page, you can clearly identify where people are (emotionally) in their wait.  It has been true for me that my emotions and ability to cope has been ever changing as the months tick by.  For the moment, I am resting well in God's plan for my family but I know that, almost without notice, that could change.  I'd like to think, at this point (SO very close to getting "the call"...hopefully), that the one thing that will disrupt my peace will be the news of our referral, but if our  wait continues and my resolve weakens, I pray that I will remember all I've learned in these many months and intentionally leave it all up to Him.

The Name Game

Occasionally, Jeff & I discuss names for our girl.  Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a name in mind that we could begin to refer to her as (and maybe have something monogrammed.....after all, the girl is going to live in the south; it's a rite of passage, right?); but, for the most part (even though we do have some favorites), we don't feel that we can come up with something just yet.  After all, she will have a name and we will incorporate that in some way.  We will either use her given Ethiopian name or use it as her middle name.

For now, we'll stick with "LG".

Unexpected Blessings

(Well, here's a little of the names that we are considering means, "unexpected blessing"; stay tuned:).

I have likely mentioned this before but one of the things that has been such a blessing for me has been the friends that I have made through this process.  There are several moms that I enjoy "chatting" with (though, at this point, it's all done electronically and we haven't met in the real world) fairly regularly regarding adoptions and life, in general.  Two of those are Lindsay (who received her referral in January and is waiting for a court date) and Ashley (who received her referral YESTERDAY:); would you pray for their cases with me; for quick movement for both.  Oh....and April also received a referral yesterday.  Extra excited for her since a previous referral was lost.  And, selfishly, I'm hoping and praying that we have our referral by the time that they travel because I know I'll be able to depend on them to love on and take lots of pictures of our girl while they are in-country.

A Teensy Little Pity Party (or just awe)

I guess it's a little ironic to share this next thing (since the beginning of this post talks about peace) but, because I want to remember everything and because I hope that something read here may someday help someone else (or at least make them feel "normal"), I'm going to do so.

Several weeks ago, I got the distinct feeling that our referral wasn't going to happen anytime soon and also that my heart needed to be prepared for families behind me (on the wait list) to receive their referrals first.  Specifically, I felt inclined to message Ashley (mentioned above) and let her know that I was expecting her to get her referral before me and that I was okay with that and wanted her to know, ahead of time, that I didn't want her to feel badly when that time came.

So yesterday, when she received her referral, she messaged me to say that they had just gotten "the call", and can I just tell you that I was (and am) SO over-the-moon excited for her!  Moments after I got her message, I got into the car to head to the school to pick Braeden up and while my radio played a worship song (that I can't recall right this moment), big crocodile tears escaped from my eyes.  I'm not really clear, even now, if those tears were out of happiness for Ashley or pity for myself.  I think it was a combination of both; but mostly I am in awe of a God who places the lonely in families and then, being the Master that he is, carefully coordinates all of the pieces to make the puzzle of that family complete.

Just the Facts (on Details)

Our fingerprints expire in April (they were good for 15 months).  Jeff & I have received our new appointment paperwork and will be repeating that fun process this coming Friday.  Unfortunately, Jordan's paperwork (he has to do fingerprints too; because he's over 18) and appointment haven't come in yet (they were processed separately last time too).  I am praying that they come in in time for him to have his fingerprints done next week while he is home for Spring Break (if the paperwork comes in, we will try walking in next Friday to take advantage of his being home; even if his appointment is technically for another day).

Thanks for sharing in our journey to "LG".....someday (soon) she'll have a name, a face, a home and a forever family.  We appreciate your prayers to that end!

Next fun thing......update home study (expires in July)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Super Bowl that never was and girls need dresses...

Today, while traveling home from Indianapolis, IN, I decided to stop at an outlet mall in Edinburgh, IN that has a lot of great stores to see what was going on.  It was this outlet mall that my wife and I stopped at a little over 13 months ago when we were on our way to the SUPER BOWL to see what they had for our family!!  It was February 3rd, one month after our dossier made it to Ethiopia and it was on this trip that we received our first update since joining the ranks of the "waiting list"...we were number 27!! Kelley and I talked a lot about what life would be like with a little girl in our home.

It is no coincidence that a little over 13 months later, I am in Indianapolis for a meeting and I pass this outlet mall again.  For those of you who don't know the story, let me give you a "fairly" short version:  on February 3rd, we were in the midst of selling my former company (O'Charley's Inc.).  I had known that this was coming since October 24th, 2011 (74 days after being named CFO of the the company) but I obviously could tell no one.  In January 2012, we were deep into the due diligence process with the potential buyer and our beverage manager came into my office and said "I have two tickets to the Super Bowl from Budweiser.  Do you want them?"  I had never been to the Super Bowl so I said SURE!!!  But, I needed to confirm the dates of the game and the timeframe for closing the deal so I told him to come back in a week or so and make sure I could go.  He checked back around January 25th and said he needed an answer.  My CEO told me that we would likely close the deal around February 8th or 9th, and I should GO TO THE SUPER BOWL!!  Well, I was pumped.  Our tickets were on the 40 yard line in the Budweiser box!!  Kelley and I made the drive up on Friday, February 3rd and had the discussion noted above.  We got to the "Bud Light Hotel" to our rooms, which were comped, and found lots of free stuff in the room.  That evening we walked around Super Bowl village and just tried to take it all in.  We were texting and giving FB updates all over the place.  We got to bed around 11pm, tuckered out from a long day.

Around 3am, I got up to go to the restroom and I checked my was going crazy with emails, text messages and voicemails from lawyers, my CEO, investment bankers, etc...I sent a note to my CEO asking what was going on.  He called me at around 9am and said the deal had changed and that the buyers did not want to give the stock another day of trading and so we were closing on Sunday...SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, we had to come home on Saturday, February 4th.  Since we weren't going to the Super Bowl, I thought I would try and make it up to my sweet bride and so we stopped in Edinburgh, IN at the outlet mall and bought stuff for our kids...she seemed okay with that tradeoff...

We got home around 3pm; I got into the office around 4pm and stayed until 10pm; I was back in the office at 6am on Sunday morning...we exchanged signature pages around 3pm and I left the office around 4pm on Sunday...I came home and it hit me; everyone in my life thinks I am at the Super Bowl and I couldn't tell anyone otherwise.  Kelley and I went to the bonus room in our home and settle in to watch the game; me with my laptop as I review versions of the press release announcing the deal until around 10pm.  During the early part of the game, my oldest son Jordan sent me a text asking "hey Dad, send me a picture from the Super Bowl" and I got up from the couch, snapped a picture of the TV and sent it to him.  He quickly responded "what the crap is this?" and I told him him the truth that me and mom weren't at the game but I couldn't talk about it until Monday morning and that I would call him at around 8am to discuss it.

A lot has happened since then:  we finalized the deal in May of last year; I stayed on until January of this year; I started a consulting engagement in February of this year with a company that had a Board meeting today in Indianapolis, which gets me to the point of the dress.  Did you know that girls love dresses and pearls...the photo below is a dress, pearls and hair bow I purchased for her on the way home...I didn't get to see a Super Bowl but man did I get to buy a great dress for my little girl...I hope she likes was definitely worth it...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Waiting sucks...but it is worth it...

At this point, we are around 14 months into a 9 month wait (my estimates only) and I am constantly wondering how much longer we will have to wait...then I spend this evening looking at another blog from Tymm and Laura Hoffman and I come away feeling so encouraged.  I am learning more and more each day that my struggle with our adoption timing is related more to my own preconceived notion that our process is supposed to be fast, not difficult and easy because, let's be honest, I am a good person; I am doing something good; I am doing what God would have me do...right?  WRONG!!!  

My biggest problem with our adoption, if I am totally honest, is my own sinful belief that my life is supposed to be easy because I am a believer in Christ.  If that were true, then wouldn't everyone be lining up in this world to accept Christ as their Savior because they wanted an easier way in life.  No, the reality is that my life isn't supposed to be easy.  I am also not a good person; if you really knew the thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis, you would not want to be reading this blog right now.  In reality, I am just a totally screwed up person graciously allowed to serve a Holy and Merciful God because of His goodness and His kindness.  PERIOD.

While I do feel like I am doing what God would have me do in adopting an orphan from Ethiopia, at no point did God say to me "Jeff, if you do this, I will make it easy, I will make it last no longer than 9 months and I will make sure that you get exactly what you want."  That is what I heard...but that is not what God said.  Many good people told me before we headed down this path "you need to be prepared for the cleansing that will take place in you during this process."  Man was that ever true...I guess God still has work to do in me through this process.  While I would love for Him to deliver us from this process by giving me what I want, I am learning more each day to ask that He deliver us through this process and make us into the family he wants us to be in order for Him to receive the Glory He is due and so that things will be perfect, just like He is perfect.

 To quote something I heard over this past weekend from Ben Petrick, a former MLB baseball player diagnosed at age 23 with Parkinson's disease, "I am getting stronger at being weak".  Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. "  I am learning this more and more each day.  I am also learning more each day that, in God's eyes, learning that lesson is more important than having things my way...that is something to lean on, even when things seem so tough.  

May God richly bless you...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Monthly Wait-List Update

Just as we were heading to bed last night, Jeff glanced one last time at his phone and saw that he had an email from our agency.  Just as we expected, we are, again,  #2 on our agency's wait list.

As I shared in yesterday's update, we definitely don't like that we find ourselves (still) here, but we're okay.

In the past couple of months there has been a lot going on in Ethiopia and in the Ethiopian adoption system that have had lots of things at a bit of a standstill (orphanage license renewals, agency license renewals, changes in how some paperwork is done, MOWA officials visiting the US resulting in a slow down of the oh-so-important letters that they process for finalization of an adoption).  Mostly this applies to families who already have referrals. Waiting, at that point (once you've seen your child's face) becomes an entirely new and different struggle and there have been lots of families in our agency in that predicament with no movement detected.

Our agency actually has had a backlog of families who received their referrals in late November, December, January and February who hadn't been granted court dates.  By the way, it's probably best that we weren't one of those families; I don't really think that we are going to do well in this second (waiting for a court date after referral) and third parts (waiting for an Embassy date after we've been to court) of our adoption; the part(s) that begin once we have a referral.  In fact, I've been praying that while all of this slow down has been going on, that once it picks up, it REALLY picks up.

Anyway, the greatest part of today's post is that on our agency's Facebook page earlier this week (I believe it was on Monday), we all agreed that we should come together and pray BOLDLY for movement THIS WEEK and I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it's been to see MULTIPLE families, since then, finally receive word that they have court dates, preliminary hearing dates, etc.  On Wednesday alone, THREE families not only got their court dates but had to be packed and on a plane within 48 hours of that long-awaited phone call.  They are Ethiopia-bound as we speak.  God is good.

In addition, during these days of praying specifically for movement, our placing agency's three-year license renewal was issued and many of the orphanages also went through the relicensing procedures (which does slow down referrals).

The GREAT news from the month of February is that 5 children were placed with their forever families.  Even more exciting is that all five children are children who are typically considered hard to place; 2 HIV+ children and one sibling set of three.

And, so, to wrap up this already too long post, even though our family hasn't moved an inch since last month, I'm feeling very encouraged and hopeful that it is only a matter of time; His time.  And resting in His promises.......

"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:31