It's been a while since I've posted, so I have quite a few random thoughts that I'd like to share, so bear with me. First, this is a lot harder than we anticipated it would be, infinitely harder. We had an idea that we would be waiting and that it would be quite expensive and that this would add to our family, but there are other things that have come up that we could not have seen or prepared for.
Stress: Everyone experiences stress in some fashion or another, for a variety of reasons and deal with it in different ways...some healthy, some not so much. Right now, we're experiencing probably the most stress that we've ever collectively dealt with, and to be honest with you, we're barely treading water dealing with it. There are the obvious factors; the waiting, the fundraising, the waiting, the preperation, the waiting...but there are other factors that I don't think you can fully appreciate until you've been through this process yourself. As you know, we have been and are very open about our faith and our reliance on God to see us through this process. What we didn't anticipate were the trials and tests that we would go through once we said "yes." We are do'ers, and in being so like to push full-steam ahead once we've made a decision to do something. What we've found with adoption is that once you've made the decision, there's not much you can really do afterward to change the speed at which things happen. Sure, you can get all of your paperwork done as quickly as possible, get your physical done and the appointments made, but after that there really isn't anything for you to do...but wait. Even further, once you have your refferal and you have laid eyes on your child, the waiting gets worse. Now there is a real person you are waiting for and who is waiting for you to come and rescue them and there is very little you can do to speed it up.
Other trials we didn't anticipate happened and are happening here at home. Our family is a very busy family, with both adults working, kids in school and sports, both of us very active in the church and a social life sprinkled in there somewhere. We've quickly realized that we simply had too much on our plate and have begun to step away from several activities on our calendar in preperation for our little girl's arrival. Also, Christy has been unhappy and underappreciated for quite some time at work, and through this process it's become apparant to her that her job is not "her job" meaning this is not what she's supposed to be doing. It's also become apparant that our family is not healthy right now, not in way of someone being sick, but in regards to mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Christy working so much and not being able to be here at home where she's needed; she works more than I do and gets paid less, which isn't fair and is quite burdensome. Also,we have 3 young boys here at home who need their momma before and after school, me who is failing daily in the morning routine of getting the kids and myself together to make it to the bus, and a little girl who, if something doesn't change, is going to have to be put into day-care a short 6-8 weeks after arriving to America with a new family...and she doesn't even speak English. So, we're looking at options for Christy to work from home because, honestly, it takes two incomes to maintain our current lifestyle. Now, we love our house, our neighborhood and the schools, but if this doesn't work out then,at this point, all options are on the table because our family has to come first. Many prayers are appreciated in this regard.
Fundraising: I absolutely loath the thought of having to ask people for help financially, so much so that we've exhausted all monies we can extract from my 401k and life insurance, but the truth of the matter is it wasn't enough and we can't afford to pony up the approximately $20,000 it takes to adopt from Congo. So, we've swallowed our pride and asked for help in the way of donations, a matching-grant and several fundraisers and everyone has come through in a huge way, so much so that we're close to having enough to be able to travel and go get her. Unfortunately, even with all of the donations and the grant, we're still $2,000 short of where we need to be. We've already asked everyone we know for help, and we don't want to be those people that keep asking and keep asking, so we're praying for His provision in this regard, even to the point of taking a personal loan to cover the rest. I hate doing that, but I'd rather go that route then her having to spend one more minute in the orphanage in Congo than necessarry. Things happen over there, we'll just leave it at that. More prayers needed.
Travel: How do you plan to leave your 3 young children here in the states while you travel halfway across the world to a third-world country where you'll be out of cell phone range and be gone for several weeks? This has proven to be the latest in a series of tests that we hadn't anticipated. Yes, we knew that we would have to go to Congo to get Imani, but it's all so abstract at that time that you simply say "We'll work it out." Well, we are now in crunch time and we are having to work it out! Fortunately, we have been blessed with two things: Dillan's soccer buddy's mom has offered for Dillan to stay with them as long as needed while we are traveling, and the other is Christy's mom, my mother-in-law. She is still staying with us and will be while we are traveling and can, therefore, watch James and Ben...with the help of some of our wonderful neighbors. Trust me when I say this that I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER would have planned on my MIL living with us for over a year but, as it turns out, God saw the big picture where we did not and had a better plan. So we're rolling with it and trying to let go of controlling it. Keep the prayers coming...
We were warned that there would be times where we would be tested and my how that has proven to be true. I firmly believe that we, in following what we believe to be God's will for our family, are being attacked by the enemy in our areas of greatest weakness so as to try and destroy us from within and stop us from doing His will. I've learned that this is when the devil fights the hardest, when you are doing God's will, and that punk has been fighting us every step of the way. But, I've also learned that the reason the devil fights so hard is that he knows that God has something wonderful planned for us on the other side. So, we're excited as to what that is, we're excited to be so close to going and getting our little girl, and we're excited to see what the future holds for our family.
Thanx again for all of the support and prayers, they both have been sorely needed and appreciated.