Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ben must know something...

Thank you Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop for the dishes and cuppie!

"Jonathan will be here any minute" said Ben. While I don't think he will be here any minute, maybe Ben knows that something is about to happen. "If you build it they will come", well at the Shafer home it was "if you get the room together the LOA will come". So, with that as our motto, we took some time today to rearrange some things and get Jonathan's room ready.
According to Ben, Jonathan just needs a pillow and then he can come.

Crazy Silly Stuff I Worry About

I figured I'd post something since it has been a while since we last did so. People who are "in the know" about our adoption efforts will ask Kim and me how everything is going, and if we have any news.

There is no news.


We are still waiting for the LOA (Letter of Approval) from CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) The amount of time we have been waiting is still considered "normal." ("Normal" is a pretty broad window of time ... months!)

In the meantime, Kim is trying very hard to preoccupy herself with other activities. Our home-office is now neat and tidy. She's preparing next year's homeschool curriculum and lesson plans. If this LOA doesn't come soon ... our kids will just have to skip summer vacation and start school work!!

And I find myself worrying about silly things. I worry about what the impact of our (approximately) 2 week absence will be on our kids. The idea of being in China, and us missing them, and them missing us ... is something that bubbles up into my thoughts quite a bit. How will they cope when Mom and Dad are half a world away? I know my mother-inlaw is *the best* but ... how will I cope with being that far away from these 4 kids? Rationally, I tell myself that all will be well. But there's something about that idea that makes my Dad radar ping like crazy.

It's not an ureasonable thing to think about, I suppose. But, it is kind of like worrying about what you will have for dinner the Tuesday after next .... there are just a lot of things in between now and then that make the concern seem a little irrational.

And then I wonder what happens if this whole thing gets delayed longer and Kim and I end up travelling at Christmas time ... ping ... ping ... ping. Ping. PING PING PING PING! There goes my Dad radar again!

Pastor Rob says that worry is God's reminder to pray (See Phil 4:6)

I'm trying to take that to heart.

But there's thing pinging sound in my head ...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Praying for his family

I believe when God puts someone on your heart, it is so you will pray for that person. The last few weeks, I have been thinking more and more about Jonathan's foster family. I have been asking many questions- the biggest being- do they know Jonathan has been chosen? Do they know that he has a family waiting for him? I have to believe that Jonathan's foster parents are kind people, and that they love him and have been taking good care of him.

Jonathan was abandoned at a little over 3 months of age; he was in the orphanage for about 2 months; and to our knowledge he has been with the same family for the last 2 years and 3 months. This is the only family he has known. I know it would break my heart (even if I knew it was coming) to have a child who we have loved and raised be taken from our home to be adopted- which is a good thing. My heart breaks for the foster mom, who will have to say good-bye to the little boy she has loved. My heart breaks for Jonathan, who is too young to really understand that being adopted is a good thing. We will be taking him from the only family he has ever known. How scary for him! I want to bring Jonathan home as soon as possible, but part of my heart is breaking for all that he will lose when we adopt him. He will lose his foster family (we most likely will not even get to meet them.) He will lose "his siblings" (yes, there is mention that he has foster siblings.) He will lose his language; the food he loves; the home he has grown up in. So much loss for such a small boy!

Yes, he will gain a lot when adopted. He will gain a new identity, a new family, a new home, the opportunity to learn about God. Yes, so much too gain in the long term ... but at age 3, all you care about is the here and now.

So, I would ask you to pray. Pray for Jonathan's mom and dad (as of this moment, they are the only mom and dad he has known). Pray that they would continue to love him and take good care of him. Pray that they will have peace as adoption day approaches. Pray for Jonathan. Pray that he will transition well to his new family. Pray that he will know that we love him and have chosen him to be a part of our family.

We take some comfort in James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Wisdom. We know who to ask for it. We know we need it. How else would we manage all the conflicting emotions, weigh the pros and cons, and choose to deliberately step forward into a future that has so many unknowns?

Thanks in advance for your prayers. We are hoping to share good news soon!

Monday, June 8, 2009

50 days and waiting

It has been 50 days since our dossier was logged into China's system. The good news is that we have waited 50 days. I am trying to prepare myself that we might have to wait roughly another 50 days. On the one China message board that I frequent, there is the 100 days and waiting for LOA club- this is one club no one wants to be a part of for obvious reasons. From this message board, I am able to surmise that families have gotten their LOA's as early as 30 days and one family has been waiting almost 200 days. As you can see, one could possibly drive themselves and their family crazy trying to figure out when their LOA is going to arrive. So, I continue to turn my cell phone on when I go out (something I never really did before all of this), I continue to check my email (quite frequently), and I continue to live life and take care of my family. Lastly, I pray that today may be the day!
Why is there a Thomas train up above? That is because we made our first purchase for Jonathan. Once Jonathan is home, he will be sleeping in a small bedroom that is off of our room. We will be setting up a toddler bed for him. Because all of our crib/toddler bed sheets have gone through 4 children and are stained and have mostly "baby" prints on them, I decided Jonathan deserved a new bedding set for his new room. I was in Walmart this weekend and found the perfect Thomas the Tank Engine toddler bed set. It gave me the idea of taking some trains with us when we travel. I was excited, the kids especially Ben were excited when I showed it to them. Ben has now been asking us to "please set up Jonathan's bed". Maybe he knows something we don't!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

God is beyond awesome!

Spent some time praying today--asking God to please help me be patient as we wait for our LOA, asking God to please provide the needed monies to bring Jonathan home...

Fast forward two hours later, I went to get the mail. I was actually hoping we would get a letter from one of the grant foundations we have applied to, but a quick scan of the mail and I saw we didn't. But we did have an envelope addressed to The Shafer Family. No postage, just our name typed on the front- so someone had to hand deliver this envelope. I opened it and was amazed to find a typed paper that said "Please accept this gift to help bring little Jonathan home" and then there are about 6 Bible verses about how God loves children and caring for the orphans, then I saw a bank check written out to us for a rather large amount. It is a mystery to me who could have given it to us, I think it may be our neighbor across the street, but whoever gave it to us apparently wanted to do it anonymously (and here I am posting it for the world to see).

I cried, I called Jeremy and told him, I showed the kids-- God is so awesome. As we have been on this journey it has been amazing to see how God is meeting our needs. We received a check a few weeks ago from a good friend in Rochester. This friend is elderly, has little income, is not connected to the internet (so she can't read our blog or know of our financial need) but a few days after I shared with her that we were adopting we received a check from her to go toward getting Jonathan home. She didn't know our need, but rather God must have spoken to this women and she gave what she had. God is using people, who I never would have expected, to help us bring Jonathan home. All praise goes to Him! Our garage sale also yielded a few families giving donations to our Jonathan fund. What a great testimony of God's faithfulness to not only us, but our children as they witness God at work.

We don't like talking about the financial aspect of our adoption, but this anonymous gift has opened the door to do just that. Many have asked why it costs so much. We are not buying Jonathan. We do need finances to pay Bethany for their services in coordinating the adoption and being our representative to the Chinese adoption affairs, we have had to pay for different approvals through US immigration, we will need to pay for our plane tickets, visas, hotel and our in country guides and travel, we will also be making a donation to the orphanage that Jonathan is connected with. We will also need to pay for Jonathan's medical examination and visa before he can leave the country and the fees associated with completing the adoption paperwork in China.

When we started this journey, we started it in faith not knowing how we were going to pay for everything. God knew and He has consistently provided through grants, individuals, the yard sale and through us tightening our own financial belt. I am amazed as I look back and see God has met every need before the money was needed. We are in the home stretch, we currently need less then $10,000 to complete the adoption. That number seems big, our personal finances are stretched, but God already knows where that money is going to come from. It is so exciting to be in God's will and watch him meet this need. I can't imagine Jonathan not becoming a part of our family, he already is. God will complete what He has started.