Saturday, April 12, 2014

2 Corinthians 2:12

These precious little feet have been with us for 4 1/2 months and I must say that his joyful spirit (yes even as a baby) has our family completely captivated and in love. All fear of the unknown goes out the window and to the pit with one glimpse into his dark brown eyes. 

We've had lots of truthful information be brought into the light about his case, yet not a ton of movement.. which is just the system and the way it goes some times. There's a check in with the judge in June, which we've been told nothing major should come to play here, and then trial set for October... this is where the judge will decide to reunify or to terminate and move for adoption. With that info put out there, I also want to mention that this little guy has some strong women advocating for him. Our CASA worker, CPS CM, and his attorney are fighting like the dickens to get him to stay with us. Aaron and I have more info on his case and bio parents than we ever expected to have, and we are feeling completely overwhelmed in a blessed way so we can not only know his story should we be able to adopt.. but also we know his bio parent's and some of their specific needs that we can petition in prayer before our Lord. It's a funny thing how what we thought would be frustration or anger towards the bio parents that has completely turned to compassion. Being surrounded by so much abuse and oppression and addiction and bad choices and cycles of bad choices continuing on from generation to generation and to see some of these helpless babies and children be stuck in this can {insert honest.. & hopefully judgement free comment here} honestly create an anger inside. An anger that can cause a person to turn from trying to change it because it's "too much to deal with and I don't want to subject myself to being around that and vulnerable to a system that does not always make the right decision and bring justice"...  During a coffee date at Freedom Cup with a fellow (veteran) foster mom she and I were talking about this anger and that this anger towards these problems and this system is inside because I'm pretty sure The Lord is angry about it too. The Lord does not will for an adult or a child to be stuck in the cycle of all those things I listed above.. in darkness. But the difference is that us, who believe in Christ Jesus, have a hope that moves us to action to stand against the cycles of darkness.. stand up and say "I will not let this continue to happen on MY WATCH". 

With that backing I hope I have softened some hearts just as The Lord continually softens Aaron and I's.. Lots of info has been brought to our attention and those advocating for JJ are trying to push the courts to bring a decision QUICKER than in October. I know each of my posts usually end with asking for prayer, but I can tell you that without the support each of you have given us and with out these prayers strengthening us and encouraging us and protecting us... I'm not sure how our mental state would be right now! ha! So again I will humbly ask that you will shout out a quick yet BOLD prayer if you can to move the mountains and paperwork needed... and hearts to be changed and saved and for The Lord to finish what HE has already started. One of these days (when we are not bound legally to silence!) I would love to share some of the amazing stories...

Grateful for each of you that have journeyed along side us for the past 2 1/2 years... 
The Spirit keeps reminding me of this and speaking this to me whenever my mind and eyes and heart begin to wonder away from looking to HIM.. 
But thanks be to GOD, who ALWAYS leads us as captives in Christ's TRIUMPHAL procession...
2 Corinthians 2:12 

and another I have be clearly told to memorize... 

NOW.. unto HIM... WHO IS ABLE... to  do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to HIS POWER that is at work within us, to HIM be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout ALL GENERATIONS, for ever and ever! AMEN.
Ephesians 3:20-21 
It's up to US to believe that HE can do these things we ask Him to do... whether or not he will is up to Him. -Priscilla Shire

Friday, January 3, 2014

Exodus 14:14

The LORD will fight for YOU. You need only to be STILL. ~Exodus 14:14 ... thank you Moses. We needed this.

So I know it's been a pretty long time since the last post. And the last post wasn't necessarily the most joyful. Aaron and I have been waiting to post anything until we really had an update and had a clear path. So the good news? We're updating which means we've had lots of progress!

After Colombia closed (yes unfortunately after they denied us, and all the other families in our agency, they closed their doors to Americans completely wanting to adopt children under 6yrs old), we took a step back and tried to figure out exactly where our next steps should be. Another unfortunate reality is that with so many shut downs and slow downs, and 3-5 yr waiting periods and countries not allowing families with their own bio kids already and very real scandals exposed in the world of international adoption, we knew our call was changed to domestic.  To spare you guys a very detailed and long story I'll get to the point- at first we stepped back and thought maybe we needed some time to recover and recoup and heal from us losing our vision of adopting from Colombia. {then God slapped us in the face, bringing us back to reality- not our FALSE SENSE OF REALITY we were so easily slipping back in to}

In June we began our Foster licensing classes, had a whole new home study written for Foster to Adopt, re did ALLLLL the fun {except not} paperwork,  got re- fingerprinted,  etc....  and all is done. And was submitted in November. And if I haven't physically seen you in the past couple of weeks- ....WE HAVE A BABY BOY IN OUR HOME!!!!!! And I want to take a moment and thank our life group and all who contributed to cleaning our house and stocking it with all things baby we would need while we were at the hospital and for feeding us as we brought baby JJ home!!!! Not saying this for any other reason except to acknowledge God's glory and plan and hand in all things- He has surrounded us with friends who have sacrificed for us, prayed with us, felt/feel pain with us, and encourage us. I love how He knows just what you need even before you need it.

We are legally just fostering right now in hopes to be able to adopt him. The state allows the bio parents  a chance to implement their rehabilitation plans so that's where we are right now. We've been told we're looking at a 90% chance of being able to adopt baby JJ, but in this world of adoption (foster-domestic  matched- or international) we've learned one main thing- NOTHING IS FOR CERTAIN. So we take it day to day and cling to God's word knowing that The Lord did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power and love

We've been asked all kinds of questions about JJ and his bio family and how long we get to keep him and how we are going to handle it if he goes and how we are protecting our hearts and not getting "too attached" and how we will handle our daughters if JJ doesn't get to stay. The simple answer: We trust God. The long answer : We TRUST God. HE's the one who brought JJ to us in the first place. And He's the one who determines the time we get with JJ. As far as bio family goes- our hearts will be filled with compassion- because Jesus tells us to do so. And who are we to judge things we do not fully know. And for those wondering how we handle it knowing JJ may not be apart of our forever family. Somedays great, trusting fully in our Savior... and some days not so great and our human nature takes over and we kick and scream and cry. But the bible tells us to have a set mind and not to waver or we will be tossed like a wave of the sea (Jas 1:6). We know this is another clearly marked path for us, and because we know The Lord called us down this road we will not look to the world and all its fears it speaks. We will not think about all the possible outcomes- because, well that's just plain scary. We will not think about the emotional risks on our end like the world tells us to because our God is up to something much grander than we can see. We are exactly where HE has called us to be and because of that, there's no where else we'd rather be. It's the SAFEST place to be.

And as for staying protected and detached so we don't hurt as much if he leaves our home.... the answer is no. We will hurt if JJ has to leave. We will cry. We will be angry for a moment. But NO love is ever convenient or easy or painless. We will love him. We will attach. We will bond. And we will make him a part of our family because no matter what happens down the road, right now in this moment what he needs most IS LOVE. And to learn how to attach. And to learn how to bond. He needs a family, like we all do :-). And The Lord has called us to do that. Foster/ Adopt and all forms of adoption are hard. And ugly. And beautiful all at the same time. It hurts. It heals. It teaches. It grows. Sweet words of encouragement were spoken to me after leaving JJs first (quite discouraging) court hearing.
What's worth in eternity, looks very different from what's worth it here. Um YES.

So this has become one of our truths we are clinging tightly to....
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

On another note
So unfortunately a very real question that may pop into your head is, where did all the money go that was fundraised, and donated, and saved? WELL ... I'm so glad you asked!! Because through this update as well I pray you can see God's faithfulness and blessings and HIS EXTREMELY PERFECT PROVISION. Luckily adopting through the foster system has very minimal costs. We prayed... and I mean prayed HARD. Then God gave us this sentence .... { That money served it's purpose, and it has a new purpose. } It provided confidence and peace and reinforcement to us that we were in His will and moving forward as He called us to. But it has a new purpose now.... The Lord one by one revealed to us other families going through the adoption process that were in need of financial help. So to make this short and sweet- If you had any part in donating to the garage sale, or bake sale, or to the One Less Race.. if you had any part of the financial blessings on our family then we have some really incredible news. That money has now gone forward to serve a whole new purpose in the journeys of helping FOUR families from our community that have newly added children to their families through the miracle of adoption. The money that was lost was ours. And that's okay- it's a great reminder that things of this world like money are temporary with no eternal value.

If you're still with me, then I want to THANK YOU for your interest and concern and love for our family. Thank you for the prayers that have carried us through these past 2 years!!!! .... and I would be forever grateful if you would continue to pray with us for our family and baby JJ. We know we have JJ for a few more weeks for sure- and so we are grasping hard to HIS grace, and love, and truths day in and day out.
We love each of you and are so thankful for your continued support! Aaron and I talk VERY frequently about the support of our family and community....!!! I don't know how we would make it through without you.
-Aaron and Maren