Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lesson Learned . . . Again

Throughout Mikaela's adoption, God taught us a lot about what it means to trust Him and to follow Him, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He taught us more about the Gospel, about what it means to be adopted by Him and, in turn, what that shows us about the responsibility and privilege of being an adoptive parent. And, as Mikaela's adoption drew to a close, He taught us to take each day, each step of the process, and pray for it specifically and persistently. Jesus's statement in Matthew 6:34 that each day has enough trouble of its own, and that we therefore ought not worry about the next day, was frequently in the front of our minds. We learned that we could not take even the smallest step for granted, and that lesson was highlighted over and over again in Mikaela's story. Maybe it's because I had finally realized what He was trying to teach us, but our last few days in Ukraine seemed especially full of moments that demanded that we look to God and to God alone for answers. Things that should have been relatively simple, things that we often take for granted—getting Mikaela's passport, taking a train ride back to Kyiv (the capital of Ukraine), making it onto our flights on time, and arriving home with all of our luggage—turned out not to be so simple, after all. We did make it home, obviously, but that's a story for another time. The point is that, somewhere in the past two years, I've let that lesson fade. We all make assumptions about the regularity of life, but my focus on trusting God and God alone for the things that we need has slipped a bit. Already, though, He is recalling to our minds that lesson about taking life one day at a time, and that came to light this past week.

In our last e-mail, we said that our agency expected that it would submit our pre-approval application yesterday. Alas, that did not happen. There was a question with one of the aspects of our application that they needed to verify with us first (it turned out to be a non-issue, just a slight miscommunication), but that means that the process has been delayed again. We are still praying that we will be granted pre-approval for Isabelle's adoption, but now our prayers have backed up a step, so that we are now asking God that our application would be submitted to China as soon as possible. (Just to be clear: we are not frustrated with the agency at all. They were absolutely right to double-check the accuracy of the application, because it would be far worse to submit an inaccurate form to China and to try to correct it later, than it is to wait another day or two at the outset.) Adoption is one of those areas in the Christian life that brings the believer into a place of having to submit fully to God's will, to trust in Him and Him alone for every good thing. That means that nothing can be taken for granted, not even the successful completion and submission of the first bit of paperwork necessary for us to bring home our daughter, the one that God has led us to adopt. It's hard to slow down and pray, painstakingly, over each step in the process, but that is exactly what must be done. There really is no looking forward. The only kind of forward-thinking that seems permitted is the hope that we will soon have Isabelle here in our home with us.

One final note before signing off for the night: The biggest reason that we haven't been sending out e-mails or putting up new blog posts very frequently is that we are in the late stages of planning a big orphan awareness event here in Cincinnati. Kristie's parents founded a non-profit organization, The Shepherd's Crook Orphan Ministry, ten years ago, and I have been working for them for the past four years. In just over two weeks, we are going to hold an event that aims to educate people about the plight of orphans around the world and what they can do about it. The night will be interactive, and we hope that this will be a powerful evening for those who come. You can view an invitation video here, and if you'd like to come, there's a place to register on that same site. Admission is free, but each person coming must register for his/her seat. If you will be in the area on June 22, we'd love to see you there!

~ Greg

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