Shaken

It’s been about 2 weeks since I last blogged and there are a few reasons for that. As you likely experienced yourself, the summer is busy. Not just “To-Do List-Busy”, but “There’s-Only-So-Much-Summer-Left-Busy.”  Since June was pretty much entirely devoted to fundraising, we’ve been trying to make up for lost time with camping and day-trips.

But perhaps another reason is the celebration of our dear friends’ being chosen by a birth-mom, and bringing their baby home, only to lose her two short weeks later. The mother had changed her mind.

It doesn’t happen a lot, in spite of what you might have heard: About 1 in 20 cases, and usually a birth-mom changes her mind before the couple brings the baby home.

We are heartbroken for our friends. We were so thrilled for them and were so blessed to have met their baby girl. The news rattled us, to say the least. No one expected it. Everything leading up to that point seemed so God-ordained. The birth-family seemed so certain, so relieved to know this baby would have such amazing parents.

The past few weeks have led us through a lot of soul-searching. All of which makes our resolve to adopt ever-more sure.

As I’ve said before, one of the common platitudes we hear is, “It takes a special couple to adopt.”

But we are not special. We are not strong. We are not prepared for that kind of devastation. We are shaken and weakened just by this news of our friends.

We are fragile… but our God is mighty. 

We won’t withhold love from any baby… but we very well may have our hearts shattered.

We may face more than we can handle on our own… but we are never on our own to handle it. 

What we may experience through adoption is a mere shadow of the heartbreak our Father has over those who reject Him. Yet His heart can handle it, and He does not shut down. He can never grow weary of loving.

“How great is the love the Father is lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

And if WE have been adopted into God’s family, we feel ever-more burdened to adopt children into our own. But our ability to stand and move forward with determination has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him. The God who loves us and will sustain us. The God who loves these children. 

So that no child will leave our home without being loved as our own and covered in prayer for the rest of their lives.

“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

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Please pray for adoptive and foster families. They probably aren’t as strong as you think… we all need your prayers!

What’s Next?

Now that our fundraising events are over, the question we keep getting is “What’s next?”

And I completely understand the sentiment. I’m a planner and always like to have a game plan for “what’s next.”

But other than writing a about a hundred “Thank-you” cards, the next thing to do is really just to wait.

(Anyone know a scribe-for-hire? It’s amazing to know that SO many have contributed to our Adoption Fund!)fundraising status

To wait… one thing I ought to be good at by now, but am not.

Compared to the wait for Elise, this has been a piece of cake. But I’m still always anxious to hear any news from our agency of a birth-mom wanting to make an adoption plan. Any news that could be the first contact that leads to our baby.

Tyler and I were talking whilst washing dishes together last week. It was just after we had put our names in for a birthmom’s consideration. I was expressing my excitement that we finally had a chance – albeit a small one – to be chosen. From January to April the agency had 3-4 birthmoms a month looking for parents for their babies. But since we were approved on May 5, there have only been 2 opportunities for us to be considered. And the first one was twins, which we didn’t put in for.

Needless to say, I’ve been a bit anxious. Waiting just isn’t easy for me.

But Tyler couldn’t relate. He’s excited for our next baby, but his emotion doesn’t wax or wane.

Why couldn’t we ever be on the same page? It’s not like I’m looking for him to cry with me through sad dog-movies. Or sad dog-movie previews. Or sad dog-commercials.

Then he said something that reminded me of why I love him, “I actually don’t mind waiting. It means there’s nothing for us to do. Just to wait for God to take care of it for us.”

My soapy hands paused from scrubbing for a second as his words sunk in. I had been looking for him to connect with me, to draw him into my emotions. Instead, I was drawn to his: steady joy in trusting the Lord to work for us.

So what’s next for us? Well… just waiting. But waiting doesn’t mean nothing is happening or that our purpose in life is somehow immobilized. Just that God is the One in control.

And there’s no one better to trust our lives with.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

No Heroes

One of the most common words of encouragement people give when they hear that we are adopting is, “That’s awesome. It takes a special person. I could never do that.” As if we’re either crazy or we’re heroes.

While I know the sentiment is well-meaning, I cringe a little each time I hear it.

Because aside from my aptitude for stacking cheerios, I’m no more special than you are.

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In all honesty, adoption is not something that we felt called to 7 years ago when we got married. And there is nothing that sets us apart from any other loving couple, except for the fact that God has called us to it now.

I get it… I have also often thought “I could never go through what she’s going through,” or “Wow, they are special people to live so sacrificially.” 

But actually, it’s God’s M.O. to take our circumstances and ask us to simply yield to His plan for redemption through them. No matter how weak and unqualified we feel.

In fact, sometimes our weakness brings even greater glory to the Lord, because in our weakness, He is strong.

I read a banner on facebook recently that said something to the effect of, “God puts you through hard situations to make you stronger.”

But I’m not so sure that’s actually the case. Over and over in the Bible it says, “The Lord is our strength.” Strength is not about us growing, but about us trusting. Trusting that God is working out redemption from our circumstances and will give us enough strength to face each day.

So if anything, our strength comes from being weak.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in your weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, because I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

So please… don’t exalt our calling to adopt as any more important than your own. You may feel like life is easy right now and you aren’t living any sort of “calling.” Or, you may feel your weakness has somehow immobilized your ability to serve the Lord. But whatever your circumstances are, they are important to God. And no future plans are more important than every single “today.”

 

P.S. Our Fundraising dinner is this Saturday from 5:00-6:30 pm at Peace Church (6950 Cherry Valley, Middleville, MI 49333). Come grill-out with us!

Goosebumps

Coincidences happen all the time.

My husband and my brother have the same birthday.

Both of my grandmas were named “Marge.”

My mom decided to name me “Cheyenne” when she was only 9 years old, not knowing that my last name would be the exact same letters: Cheney.

Thanks, Mom.

Sometimes coincidences give more meaning to your life. Like when my mom had to have her first colonoscopy and found out that her nurse home-schooled her kids too. We heard about it for the next 12 hours after her surgery. That common bond really put her at ease.

Or maybe it was the drugs. Either way, apparently this coincidence made her first colonoscopy a very meaningful experience.

And then there are coincidences like this:

Remember my post last week about the results of our Garage Sale? I talked about how God has given meaning to our heartache of infertility by giving us a “new song” of praise that it led us to this path of adopting. I spoke of Psalm 40:

“I waited patiently for the Lord;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a New Song in my mouth – a hymn of praise to our God.”

An hour after publishing this post, we were singing these very words in church. Literally a New Song to us – I later discovered our Worship Pastor actually wrote the song.

Talk about coincidence.

I need to start carrying a purse just so I have tissues on me. Good grief. Thank goodness we had already “greeted each other.” Boy would they have been in for a surprise when they shook my tear-coated hand.

I’m not kidding, next week I WILL have tissues on me. Because if that wasn’t enough, this week I sat down next to Tyler in the row and opened up the bulletin to discover that the sermon was titled “Adopted.”

Crazy, because I had just finished placing announcements about our Fundraising Dinner in everyone’s mailboxes at the church.

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And guess who was preaching? Our Worship Pastor.

Darn it, I should have known. He has it out for me, I think.

Except that he had no idea I was going to hand out invitations to our dinner. Nor do I think he even knew about our dinner. It’s a pretty big church – we really don’t know him or his wife at all.

At the climax of the sermon, he shared his story of how his “foster” sister became his sister. From a name that represented a life of mistreatment and indifference…

… to a new name that represents her new life in a family whose love for her knows no limits.

I tried to not look at him as his emotion broke his otherwise seamless presentation. Seeing his emotion made holding back tears too hard. But his family was sitting, sniffling in the row right in front of us. Good grief… it was no use.

Following his story, he proclaimed that as Christians, we have been adopted by God. It is our identity. And as such, we are called to a life of hospitality to children who aren’t necessarily born to us- whether that be through adopting a child ourselves or through supporting adoptive families.

Meanwhile, people all around us held our picture in their hands, with an invitation to help us bring our baby home.

*whew* (holding back tears again)

Did you get goosebumps?

Some coincidences are more than a weird accident.

Sometimes… God acts on our behalf before we’ve even asked.