Thursday, November 17, 2016

The "Not So Much of an Update" Update

Fall has finally arrived in Memphis, friends! Well, I think so anyways… And although it seems to have taken its time, I’m hopeful that the “boot weather” is here to stay. Like so many, fall is my absolute favorite time of year and when asked my favorite color, I simply say… “fall”. Our nest just always seems extra cozy and coordinated this time of year… says the girl with the red kitchen, burnt orange hallway, olive green bathrooms and mocha brown bedrooms full of mustard yellow accents. However, in just a few days all things pumpkin will become all things peppermint in the Cooper Cottage, and although I truly enjoy the “most wonderful time of the year”, I’m sad to see the pumpkins go. But, every day, every month, every season is just one moment closer to bringing our little love home. With November being National Adoption Month and the holidays just around the corner, I wanted to take some time to update our village. 

1 year. 11 months. 500 puzzle pieces. 150 t-shirts. 900 bracelets. 20 blogposts. A tribe of over 500 people from 28 different states and 4 countries. What seems like over a million pieces of paper. And here we are… with “not so much of an update” update. We continue to be so overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity, love and support shown for our little family, and we are beyond grateful that so many have joined us on this incredible, scary, messy, beautiful journey. We are currently waiting on an official referral. In July, we were told that we had been “softly matched”, but it has not been made official since Haiti is now transitioning after becoming a Hague country in 2014. We understand that like us, our village has so many questions, and we always, always, always want you to feel free to ask, and please, keep asking. Although we sometimes struggle with feeling discouraged after giving the same responses… “We are still waiting”, “One day closer”, “Praying it will be soon”, with every question asked, we hear His Spirit say, “You are not forgotten. Your child is known. Your child is loved and prayed for by so many.” We desire to be good stewards of this season by becoming as educated about adoption and the process as possible and by educating others as well. God is also teaching us so much as we trust His Word and His heart as He continues to work ALL things for our good and His glory.

So while we wait, I have the amazing privilege to teach a few days a week at our church’s preschool. A few weeks ago while on my way to school, I noticed something unique. Along the side of the two lane road is a row of pine trees for about half of a mile. They are grand and green… well, except for this one smaller tree that happens to not be an evergreen like the rest. This tree’s leaves are bold and shine bright with all of the favorite colors of fall. You would never know that this tree’s leaves were actually dying, because they are beautiful, but again, this tree is so different than the rest. So, after I passed, it happened. Our Creator did what He does, friends. He showed up in the small and quiet. I know I’m not the only one, because I talk to friends every day who are in a season of waiting, a season of uncertainty, a season of change, a season of hurt. I sometimes, well most days, feel like that tree, wanting my story to look like everyone else’s and yes, sometimes, I feel like I’m dying on the inside. BUT… it has been the past 5 years of infertility and these days of waiting that have resulted in a lush, bold, bright, beautiful relationship with my Creator. I am also learning that there is such freedom and grace in transparency among God’s people. He created us to show our “true colors”, friends. That two lane road is now my favorite part of my drive, my reminder from my Creator to embrace this season, because He is creating something new within me - something that is beautiful and honestly, cannot even be explained other than my Creator was, is and always will be… GOOD. 

Below is a recent update we received from our agency as well as a few other resources that we wanted to share with our tribe.  

From Lifeline Children’s Services: As many of you know, there has been a lot of transition happening in Haiti since they officially became a Hague country in 2014. We are grateful that IBESR has made clear their desire to serve the best interest of the children of Haiti that are in need of forever families. As IBESR has sought out the best way to insure that adoptions are done in alignment with Hague regulation, there has been a shift in the way that they are choosing to match children with adoptive families. In the past, under the old law, we (Lifeline) were able to propose specific matches for families to IBESR. Now, under the new law, IBESR is the entity with complete control over the matching procedure, and they are not giving US agencies the same leverage in the matching process. In other news, the passport office in Haiti has made the announcement that they are out of passport booklets, which has caused delay for families who are waiting on their child’s passport in order to begin their final file review at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The good news is that the US Embassy made an announcement that they are, at this time, allowing families’ files to be submitted to the US Embassy for their final file review, as long as all the adoption paperwork (with the exception of the child’s passport) is present. This is great news for these families as it allows the US Embassy to be working on something, while we are waiting on the passport booklets. At this point, there has only been hearsay in regards to when the new booklets will arrive, but we are praying that this happens sooner rather than later. We will keep you all in the loop on this as we receive further updates from Haiti.”

*There is a documentary on Netflix called “STUCK” that we highly recommend. It is very informative while also communicating and illustrating the good, the bad, and the ugly of the international adoption process. Check it out and feel free to let us know what you think. 

* "Holiday Tips for Waiting Families" - "As the holidays roll in, you may find yourself in a time of longing and waiting—waiting for your family to be complete; waiting for your child; and waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing. Our eternal perspective and belief in God’s sovereignty can help us journey with these emotions and still have joy. Read some tips that our post adoption team offers to help your waiting have more purpose."

*Also, feel free to visit our agency’s website to learn more about the Haiti program. 

Your continued prayers are most appreciated, friends. Please pray for the following as we desire nothing more than for our God to be glorified through this journey:
  • Pray for IBESR as they continue to improve this new matching system. Pray for an urgency to streamline this new system for the sake of the many children in need of forever families.
  • Pray for the passport issue to be resolved quickly and for the passport booklets to be replenished soon.
  • God's provision
  • Our preparation for parenting 
  • Our child's spiritual, physical, and emotional health
  • For those providing care to our child until he is brought home
  • The people of Lifeline as they guide us through the remainder of the process
  • Those impacted by Hurricane Matthew

Worship in Waiting: (Songs that the hubby and I have recently been serenading to each other.)

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