Monday, March 25, 2013

Count Your Blessings

I'm going to copy my blog post from our adoption blog today, as the events with our adoption in the past 2 weeks are just plain amazing!

God's Amazing Grace.

Where to start.  The last time I blogged, I had opened a savings account so I'd have a place to hold any money donated as we work to bring in the funds needed for our I800a ($1100) and our dossier (roughly $6000, including postage and document preparation).  Since then it seems that on every turn, the Lord is granting us grace.

Did you know that the term "Grace" is defined as unmerited favor?  I was pondering on that today as I was driving home from gleaners, overwhelmed by God's amazing outpouring of blessings over the past week.  Who am I, Who are we, to be given such amazing grace?  We aren't all the special.  We aren't even that great of parents.  I see so many other parents who are doing what seems to be so much more for their children.  I am so flawed.  I am so inadequate.  I am so not the energizer bunny.  I am so inherently selfish.  I am so easily tempted to take the easy way, to give in to selfish interests, to escaping from the things that matter to do things that are a complete waste of time.  But that is the amazing thing about God.  He doesn't give us what we deserve.  He doesn't give us what we have earned.  He doesn't give us what will get us by.  He gives to us with amazing generosity according to His will for us, regardless of our merit.

I know, some of you will say, "but look at how great your older kids have turned out!"  And yes, our older children are all amazing young adults.  But I can't take credit for that!  I made so many mistakes as a young mother, and as a not-so-young mother.  God has led and directed our lives and stepped in to shown us so many things that have changed who we are as parents over the years, but He has also worked in their lives to work His good will.  I can not take credit for the good that I see in our children.  God gets all the credit.  I know that without His grace, I would have failed miserably as a parent.

But God has taught me so much.  He has taught us so much.  I have come so far.  I praise God for the dynamics of our family today.  We are not perfect, we are all sinners living together under one roof.  We sin against each other, we get impatient with each other.  But we all love each other and are quick to forgive and forget.  And He has drawn us to walk down a road that surprises even us.

So many times since we started down this road I have questioned the wisdom of this.  How can I care for one more, how can I learn to care for a child damaged from living in an institution?  How can I continued to meet the needs of the children I already have and another child with medical and special needs?  How in the world can we afford to adopt when we have never even had a saving account when we seem to have more month than money most of the time?

But God keeps stepping in and showing me that this is NOT about me.  This is not even about US.  This is about HIM.  Look at every man and woman who is in the hall of fame in the Bible and you will see flawed people il-equipped for the job that God gave them.  You will see parents who make mistakes, people who sinned greatly, even people who didn't learn from their mistakes.  But you will see a God who orchestrates HIS will regardless of the worth of the people He chose to use.

I just wanted to share with you that I have doubts, I feel ill-equipped to take this new adventure on, but God continues to show us that this is HIS will.  And so many times, when people follow God's leading, everyone, even those called, feel that it is crazy, reckless and ill-advised.  But God does know what He is doing.  Every time.

So, now to specifics.  I'm going to list my recent doubts, and then how God has answered...

We have not met the standards of BCS to pass our home study, how will we adopt Priscilla now?  God knew what was best.  Being rejected by BCS, although it looked like a dead end, was in reality a ticket for an upgrade!  Our new home study agency,  Adoption Home Study Service, has been a breath of fresh air.  Mike has answered our questions quickly and patiently.  His visit with us last Thursday was comfortable and friendly.  Esther was even sharing a book with the social worker that Mike brought with him once she warmed up to them.  He found nothing that would prevent us from being approved, but did give us a little home work (we need to install 2 more fire extinguishers and create a couple of documents).  He plans to have our home study completed in under 3 weeks from now!  It was definitely an upgrade to switch to Mike's home study agency!

How can we afford this?  God has already caused Daryl's boss to grant him an unexpected bonus, then last week a raise, and now he has the opportunity to work overtime.  He has blessed my business when we needed it to make ends meet.  People have stepped in to donate towards the spaghetti feed to cover the supplies we needed.  We were able to sell some exercise equipment to cover the cost of some documents.  Our tax return covered our commitment fees, as well as our home study fees and also pay off our dental bill from this past winter.  And to top it all off, we now have a family stepping in to match all funds raised in the next 5 weeks!  It is not if WE can afford it, it is really a question of How is He going to provide.

How can I handle another child with special/medical needs?  Looking back, I was not equipped in the slightest when Esther was given to us.  But God knew that, and He gave her to us anyway.  We are being equipped for this every day, every hour.  And He will give us the grace we need when we need it.  He has always come through in the past, and I must trust.  But I must also prepare.  I'm reading about attachment disorders, sensory disorders and we will be working with a team at the University of Washington to prepare for her medical needs. Looking into the future is futile as a  human.  We can't change it or even know what is coming.  We can prepare for probably situations.  But I know from experience that God does put us in situations where we can only go on by His grace.  And I know from experience, that it is not that bad a place to be is an amazing place to be in.

Another year without a swing set for our younger children (we had planned to use our tax return to purchase a new play set for the kids as swinging is great for kids, especially for Esther right now).  Last week a family we know locally asked if we wanted their "old" swing set.  Now we have a 4 year old swing set just the right size for Esther (as well as Dayton, Elizabeth and Carese soon).  And just in time for the wonderful sunny weather we are having around here! (photos courtesy of our daughter, Rachel).

What if the spaghetti feed is a bust....we can't afford to purchase the supplies even!  Well, I still have no idea if we'll have a decent attendance  but in the last couple of weeks we've had lots of encouragement in the way of donations - gift cards for businesses, commitments to cover all the noodles, half the sauce, and all of the corn.  Plus two families have donated $100 ea for us to use to purchase the remaining ingredients.  I'm still not sure if it will cover everything, but I'm sure we are close!

You know, adopting Priscilla is such an amazing picture of God's grace.  She doesn't know about us,  she doesn't understand that God is working to ransom her.  She has no idea.  She has done absolutely nothing to earn our love.  She has nothing to offer us.  She is seen by the world as flawed.  She is seen by her culture as unworthy of keeping, even seen as a curse by some.  But God sees her a His child.  His creation.  Worth of everything it takes to ransom her.  To save her life.  To give her love.  To give her a place to call home.  He's done this for me.  I did not deserve His love, I did not deserve anything, but He loved me enough to die for me and adopt me as His child.  To pay the ultimate price. I hope you have experienced His amazing grace in your life.  I pray that someday Priscilla will experience and know God's amazing grace and that she too will become His child.

So, here we are.  Experiencing God's amazing grace.  Unmerited.  Undeserved. Unlimited.

We will work hard to be faithful to His call, His provision, His mercy.

Will you work with us?  Will you help us to make the most of this gift of a matching grant?  Please share our story. No, wait.  It isn't our story, it's His Story!  Please share what God is doing to ransom our Priscilla.  Share how He is moving mountains to give this little one a new life, a new home, and a new family.

And just to be clear.  The matching grant offered to us is not limited to funds sent to Reece's Rainbow or to monetary gifts.  They have offered to match dollar for dollar all funds raised whether it is via Reece's Rainbow, our FundraiZr account, directly to our paypal account, donated to us in person or even if it is an item donated for auctions or raffles.  Amazing, just Amazing!

37 days to see miracles happen!

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