Saturday, May 23, 2015

Statistics and Prayer Requests

I can honestly say that in the last month (really since the start of this year), I've prayed more fervently and more specifically than I ever have before. That's not to say that I haven't done either in the past, but this adoption, the waiting, the loss, the longing for another referral, have brought me to a level of prayer, trust, and faith in God that I've never had before.

That's not to say I don't get discouraged. I do. Somedays, I find myself feeling very let down (I'll explain a little more about why in a moment), but I repeatedly turn it over to God. I find myself praying at 3:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and everytime in between.

I'm a numbers and stats person. I'm very Type A, and for quite some time I've followed all the referral stats coming out of Bulgaria (and although I know there are those that will tell me just not to look, I feel that this helps me to be more specific in my prayers). First, I regularly look at and piecemeal translate all of the stats off the Bulgarian Government's website. It's not the most efficient method, but it gets me the information I need. I also follow the blog of another adoptive mother who takes the time to translate in detail each meeting of the IAC (they're the ones that issue the referrals). Here is some of the info I've gathered:

* In the years 2013 and 2014, 10-15+ referrals (sometimes more) were issued at most meetings. These were a mixture of both traditional and waiting children of varying ages and special needs.
* At this point in 2014, there had been 15+ referrals for little girls in our age range (I know there were at least 15, but I'm thinking it's closer to 20). We are open to quite a few special needs, but our age range is young, which we are well aware slowed down our referral time. We have always been very aware of that. (No need to tell me)
* At this point in 2015, there have only been 6 or 7 referrals (one set of twins so I'm not sure how to count that) for little girls in our age range. 
* At this point in 2015, there are only around 10-12 referrals issued per meeting, sometimes less. 
* There were very few referrals in the month of April. 

(I also have other stats for boys and some for older children, but I don't know them off the top of my head, and I'd need to double check the accuracy) 

So what does all this mean? These are the stats. These are the facts. I'm a very concrete person so when I look at these it's very easy for me to become discouraged and quite panicky. 

This is what my eyes see  . . .

But . . .

Over the past few months, God has been showing me that this is not just an earthly battle. This is a spiritual battle, and it must be fought on a spiritual front. My last post was entitled Far Be It From Me to Not Believe, Even When My Eyes Can't See, and in it I referenced the song "It is Well" by Kristene DiMarco. I have listened to this song multiple times in the past couple weeks and one of my favorite lines says:


Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can't see
And this mountain that's in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Y'all right now my physical eyes can't see, and it would be very easy to give in to that. To let the fear and discouragement and resentment creep in. But time and again, I go back to this line. Far be it from me . . . 

So I pray. I pray in desperation. I pray in praise. I pray in thankfulness. I pray in tears. I pray.

And once again, I'm asking you to join me in prayer. I know that this is our journey to walk, but I also know that many of you have come alongside and walked it diligently and prayerfully with us. I'm asking you to pray for an increase in referrals. I'm asking for you to pray for there to be an urgency to match these children with families. I'm asking you to pray.

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time - waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God - it changes me." C.S. Lewis



Sunday, May 10, 2015

Far Be It From Me to Not Believe, Even When My Eyes Can't See

I know I said I'd see y'all in a month, but I felt like I needed to share this on Mother's Day. This past year has been both beautiful and extraordinary and difficult and heartbreaking for our family. And every step of the way God has been right here with us, carrying us, comforting us, and mending our shattered hearts.

Every so often a song is written that speaks to my heart in a deeply special and intimate way. Today, in church, my husband led a song of which I've heard bits and pieces but to which I've never given my full attention. Today, I did, and I can honestly say that no song has ever spoken to me like this. Every single word fit. I didn't have to try to make it connect or relate to my life. I felt like it had been written expressly to speak to me. And so I wanted to share it. No matter where you are in life He is there, through it all.


I hope all of you had a blessed and beautiful Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Taking A Break

I'll be logging off the blog for at least the next month in order to focus on seeking God and to pray for movement in Bulgaria. Talk to y'all in about a month (give or take).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thankful

Thank you to each and every one of you who listened to yet another fit via my last blog post. Thank you for your prayers and your support and your kind words. This journey is hard ... exceptionally hard. It brings with it extreme joys and great hope, but it also brings with struggles and heartbreak not only while waiting but, for many, even after they are home. After a lot of struggling and wrestling with this whole situation, I finally came to the realization that God is on the throne. Not the Bulgarian or United States governments, not the MOJ or the IAC, not any agency ... We have turned this over to God. We've asked Him to lead and guide the IAC and MOJ. We've asked Him to "surround us with favor as a shield" (Psalm 5:12), and He has done all of those things. I don't always understand the timing, and I will continue to daily, hourly, moment by moment bring our requests before His throne knowing that He hears me, and He loves us. I can rest securely in that knowledge.

And now I want to take a few minutes to talk about something else. :) You see with all we've been through I sometimes forget to say what a blessing this kid is.



Statistics say he shouldn't even be here, and at the very least, he should have severe brain damage. But we are a family that doesn't pay much attention to statistics. If you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you've probably figured that out. 

Andrew is seven and a half now. He's one of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet. He talks incessantly. He loves superheroes to the point of obsession. He wants to either be a Texas Ranger or Colossus when he grows up. The jury is still out on that one. He sings constantly. He loves Jesus. He has strong opinions and can be stubborn. He's funny ... really funny. He is my buddy and my pal, and he will make an amazing, albeit bossy, big brother one day.

I know what a blessing he is. I know what a blessing being a mom is. Even on those days when I'd like to take a vacation to an island in the middle of nowhere, that knowledge sits squarely in the back of my mind. And for all the moments I wish I could stop time and keep him young, there are a million more where I am amazed at the little miraculous person he has become. 

"The days go so slowly, yet the years go by so fast ... "






Thursday, April 16, 2015

Delays

If our adoption story was a novel, at least one chapter, quite possibly two, could be dedicated to delays in the process. It comes with the territory.

Right now the Bulgarian government is working on making sure that all of the agencies on the Bulgarian end have their accreditations up to date. They will be focused on this for about the next four weeks which will delay the releasing and issuing of referrals among other things. There's no way around it. It has to be done in order for these agencies to facilitate referrals, but it is frustrating . . . understatement of the century.

Here's the thing ...

There have been referrals issued in the past few weeks that have not been released. We know that much. We also know that there will be more referrals issued in the coming weeks because the IAC, the committee that issues the referrals, will still be meeting (as far as we know).

There are kids living in orphanages that need homes. There are families ready and willing to adopt these kids.

So here I go with the prayer requests again. Anyone sick of my prayer requests yet?

Pray that we are in the group of referrals issued but not released.
Pray that in spite of all that's going on that they are still able to issue and release referrals over the next month.
Pray that things pick up in Bulgaria. It's been quiet and slow lately.
Pray for the families waiting for kids and the kids waiting for families. This is hard on all involved.

Pray that I don't pull all my hair out or lose the last ounce of sanity I have left. I'm. Over. Waiting. Like way over it. In my head, I feel like we shouldn't even be here right now. Like we went backward instead of forward, and I am not happy about it. Sorry if that doesn't sound very sweet and holy, but I'm being honest. I need to be given an extra large dose of patience right now. I'm very thankful I serve a God who loves me and doesn't give up on me in spite of my fits and impatience.

As always, thank you all for every single prayer and all of your support. It means the world to us.