I'm waking up to yet another gorgeous day in what has become the most perfect summer (weather-wise) that I can ever remember. This weekend we went camping, and it was in the 70s. The next two weeks forecast highs of 81! It's July!!!
Today is my eldest daughter's 10th birthday. Double digits with the teen years looming in front of us as my son turned twelve last Friday. The pre-teen attitudes and adjustments have hit us full force, and there has even been talk of "girlfriends" with the very first mention of an actual girl. I don't know if I'm ready for all this or not, but I better get ready.
Speaking of getting ready, after much prayer and waiting on the Lord, the answer with regard to adopting is Wait! The experience with our orphan boy opened our eyes to the reality of orphans and the need for adoptive parents. It has given us a sense of urgency as well, but no sense that God is leading us to adopt immediately. There is much yet to do to be ready to pursue adoption seriously!
We came into this process with the thought that we might adopt someday. We had not done any research, talked seriously with other adoptive families, read any books, saved any money, had a home study done, etc. etc. While we trusted that God would equip us to do whatever He called us to do, whenever He called us to do it, and while we didn't want to miss the opportunity that God might be dropping in our lap this summer; we felt a bit overwhelmed and unprepared to embark on adopting a child immediately. After much prayer, we sense that He is calling us to wait on Him, so wait we will.
As we prayed, there were several issues that came to the surface that we have been challenged to deal with so that we can be ready if/when He calls. One of the biggest issues is my present relationship with our son. He and I have been butting heads lately, and there are times when the frustration is so great that it seems like the relationship is disintegrating before us. I have realized that I am unequipped and unprepared to be a mother to a teenager. The strategies that I've used all these years raising toddlers and younger children are not adequate when dealing with pre-teens and teenagers. Before I bring another son into the picture, I better make sure that my relationship with my current son is healthy! There was also an unsettling feeling about how close in age the two boys would have been, with our orphan friend being not even a year younger than our son. I think it would be better for our family (and our son) to consider a boy that is at least 2 years younger, if not 3, so that it would truly be a little brother, not a twin.
Beyond my relationship with my son, I have also been convicted that I have grown lax and lazy about discipline in general. I need to go back to the basics and become more consistent in biblical discipline. I need to practice greater self-control over myself and my own temper and frustrations! I recently re-read Ginger Plowman's Don't Make Me Count to Three, and am encouraged to get back on the right track! Though there is always room for improvement, and I can not expect to attain perfection in these areas, there is much that can be improved before we bring another child into our family. As we wait on the Lord, I want to be dilligent in using this time wisely and first doing what is best for the children He has already entrusted to me!
Another concern is that of simplifying our life. The adoption process would be a huge time investment, and it's hard to see where that "extra" time would come from. There must be things that we can do to make better use of our time and to simplify, while still doing what God has called us to do. This will be an ongoing process. To begin with, I need to establish a better routine and a system for chores/housework. For some crazy reason, my husband thinks the kids need to keep their rooms clean. Absurd, I know, but I must submit (which also means that I need to keep my own room clean as a good example). ;)
Some other to-do list items include talking with families who have gone through international adoption, especially those who have adopted children who were the same ages as their biological kids, and researching adoption. We are also continuing to work on Dave Ramsey's recommended Steps to Financial Peace. We are working on baby step #3 (3 to 6 months expenses in savings) knowing that our "emergency fund" may morph into an adoption savings fund.
As I write, it is with the idea that God will call us to adopt, but we have not yet received that call. Let me be clear that I do not want to get ahead of Him, but many of the things He has laid on our hearts are things that need to be addressed whether or not we end up adopting. The most important thing, for me, at this time, is to make wise use of my time and be preparing for the day when He may lead us to bring a child into our family. I appreciate your continued prayers for wisdom and discernment as we wait, pray, and prepare.
Continue praying, too, for our orphan friend. He returned to the orphanage without the promise of being adopted by a family here in Indiana. My heart aches for him as I consider what life is like now after knowing a family's love and experiencing the abundance of America. There is one who has a mother's heart for him who would appreciate your prayers as well! May God watch over him, bless him, and lead him to his forever family.
One final thought, I have been a bit distressed through this experience to receive opinions and advice from those who claim to be Christians, yet appear to have no understanding of what it means to walk by faith. God's Word does not call us to be irresponsible, but God does not guarantee that we will have all of the answers before we embark on our journey. The classic example of this is Abram. God said, go, and Abram went even though he didn't know where he was going. God calls us to walk by faith and not by sight, and Chris and I are willing to do that. We want to follow Him step by step. There are some who doubt our ability to do this thing, who don't think we should even be considering pursuing adoption at all, or at this phase of life, but if God leads us to do it, we must trust HIM to be faithful to equip us, to go before us, to sustain us, to strengthen us, and to accomplish HIS purpose in us and through us. Our faith is not in ourselves, but in our God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and has a perfect plan and purpose for our lives. More than anything, I want to be obedient to Him. I appreciate those of you who continually point me to Him and share godly wisdom from His Word. He alone is faithful, to God be all the glory!
Grace and Peace,