Tuesday, September 23, 2014


    Let’s talk about “Expectations”.  Since I’m not right there with you I’m going to pretend you said, “Ok Meg, I’d love to!”  
    I heard once that “Expectations are offenses waiting to happen”.  I remember thinking at the time how profound that was and so I logged it away.  I have considered the saying often when I’ve found myself putting my expectations on others; essentially making other people responsible for something I have, more or less, made up in my head.  Expectations often go un-verbalized as well.  Ugh, I have no idea why we do this.  We set people and ourselves up for a no-win situation, don’t we?
     Now that we’re all thinking back on the last several awkward conflicts with friends and/or loved ones, let’s take it a step further…     What happens when we put our expectations on God?  We have the nerve to be offended, upset, or even angry… right?  He didn’t perform as expected, or give us what we wanted and prayed for.  As if we knew better or something?  Ouch.  
    It makes me think of Job.  Job chapter 38 and following to be exact… 
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm.  He said: ‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.  Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.’” Job 38:1-4
      I think we forget, in the midst of enjoying God as our friend and that He has our back and all that happy fluffy stuff,…. that our GOD, the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… is Holier than we can possibly comprehend, more powerful than we can imagine, and perfectly sovereign over all.  Who are we to question, even for a second, the plans or thoughts of Him who created us?  Who are we to think we have His omniscient plan figured out?
    I’m saying this to myself mostly.  I have recently put my expectations on God and tried to make Him responsible for filling them.  I didn’t realize I was doing it… it kind of crept in.  Regardless, He is the only One who has the right to be offended in this situation.  I was convicted of it the second the question was finally answered… “When do we travel?” 
   Yep, we have a travel date! YAY!  And do you think I was happy when I very first read the date?  No, I am ashamed to say, I wasn’t.  Immediately I cried out of disappointment and frustration.  Our court date is Dec. 4th.  We will travel by Nov. 25th ; 2 months and 2 days from today.  …I robbed myself of my own initial joy because I put my expectations on God’s plan! This was His plan the whole time, I was the one who kept wanting something sooner.  Yet I have the nerve to be upset when “sooner” didn’t happen.  I DO NOT know better than the Omniscient One!  UGH!  Learn from my mistake please!  Log this away for yourself… consider it often as you find yourself beginning to do the same.
    I’m good with the date now; now that the Holy Spirit and I had a little one on One time.  Still a bit disappointed that it’s 2 months away, but the disappointment is from wanting to hold our Little-Bit so much, not from disappointment in God.
 BUT... This means everything can happen now!  WOO HOO!!  We can book our flight & lodging, we can start making and freezing meals for when we’re gone, we get to PACK!, clean carpets, make doctors appts., etc.  It’s REALLY happening! 
I can finally let the breath out that I didn’t realize I’d been holding until now…

Praise God for His faithfulness and mercy!
We’ll see you SOON John-Patrik!

All for Him,
Meg (and Rich)

Monday, September 1, 2014

One of Our Missions

    I don’t know if we’ve mentioned this in our blog before but one of our missions in this adoption is to be proof to others that adoption is doable.  I know what our reasons were for not going forward with an adoption and I don’t think we’re that different from other people. Our desire is to show is that it’s not far-fetched, unattainable, too hard, too complicated, and most importantly… it’s not too scary.   We’ve prayed over this particular point extensively.      
     Since I’m on the subject in this post (by design) I feel I should clarify something…  We totally appreciate Todd asking for prayer on our family’s behalf! We truly appreciated him acknowledging our adoption process to the congregation!  However, there may have been a misunderstanding about questions… We genuinely appreciate it when people ask us about the adoption.  Adoption is a total mystery to most people and are happy to help explain it!  What Todd meant was that maybe the questions could be “How can we pray?” rather than “When do you leave?”  We wanted to let you know that we appreciate either. Your questions are welcomed!
       (Back to the post…)  We’re not saying everyone should adopt… although if we all did there would no longer be an orphan crisis.  The point is… don’t do nothing; there’s still plenty of need out there in many different areas!  Our enemy would love nothing more than for us to be frozen and ineffective because of fear.  …Fear of the unknown, fear of messing up, fear of rejection, fear of opinions, fear of our past resurfacing, fear of being inadequate… All Jesus wants is a willing, obedient heart; leave the rest to Him.  Seriously, it’s that simple!  We humans try to over complicate things, but really all that complicated over-thinking is just a hindrance to whatever it is Jesus wants for you. 
    Hebrews 12:1 tells us “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”   It goes on to point out in v.2 that Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith… He knows the most effective way to grow YOU.  Your life’s story is being written by Him!  Throw off what holds you back! This verse requires an energetic reaction; a response. I could site many scriptures that support how when we’re walking in obedience that God is behind us; the Creator of heaven and earth has our back!  (Ex. 33:13-14, Jer. 29:11-14, John 14:21, Rom. 8:28, Heb. 11… to name a few) That fact should inspire and empower us! THIS is where our confidence and faith comes from… not from ourselves.  Words cannot describe the fullness of joy the Holy Spirit has given us knowing we are exactly where God wants us to be; it dwarfs any fears we may still have…
    SO… since we’re obeying what Jesus has asked us to do, does that mean it stops being scary?  …Uh, no.  It’s still scary AND we’re going forward in faith.  Both can co-exist.  We just choose not give the scariness too much attention.  Acknowledge it, fine, but don’t dwell on it because that would please the enemy and he’s not the One we’ve set out to please in this.
          Our adoption is well within an average adoption time frame for Lithuania. (Each country is different so if you’re thinking of adopting internationally study up and pray for God’s direction!)  We’ve had a relatively bumpless road thus far, nothing uncommon to Inter. adoption. (And we definitely appreciate it!) Our bumps will come though, you can’t do God’s will without opposition; it’s inevitable. Given how many health issues our little one has there are several potential bumps right off the bat, not to mention all of the unknowns!  But I can say even now, it will all be worth it because I “know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Rom. 8:28)   …And we do love Him.  We need to remember though that “for the good” does not usually mean easy or fast or fun.  It means that this is what is required to help transform us into who Jesus wants us to be. (Rom. 12:1-2) 
     The Holy Spirit empowers us to accomplish God’s will; with Him all things are possible!!  My personal theme verse for this whole thing starting way back in Oct 2013 is Jer. 33:3 “Call unto Me, and I will show you great things!”  So that’s what we’re doing.  It’s been an incredible experience; He has shown us great things already!  I can’t wait for what is still to come… 

A progress update…  We got our I-800 immigration application approval!!!  This means that, God willing, we will be getting our travel date this week!  That would mean we could be leaving for Lithuania by the end of THIS MONTH!  WOO HOO!!  (*insert happy dance*)  Also, last week John-Patrik got the package we sent with the doll I made, a photo album with all of our pictures, and some clothes.  The ladies there were so thoughtful and took pictures of him opening it and playing with his new doll.  They say he hasn’t put it down since that day. (Need a Kleenex?  Yeah, me too!)  This month he was moved to a room for slightly older children and hasn’t been able to play with the original doll he loved so much and what I modeled this one after so he was very happy. The house mothers there call it his little girlfriend.   (The blur is the doll that he keeps swinging around.)

All for Him,
            Meg and Rich

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The waiting is the hardest part...

Don't panic, this isn't a blog update about how much I love Tom Petty music!

Well, it feels like it took a long time to get to this point, but...
The light at the end of the tunnel is NOT an oncoming train! Our signed, accepted referral is officially in the hands of the Lithuanian Central Authority, and updated medical stuff has been translated and reviewed by us. Our next batch of immigration paperwork is ready to go in the next few days. This means, we could get a travel date in as early as four weeks! We could be in country by September!

 Speaking of medical documents, they contained some Great News in that department! The earlier reports of autism appear to be incorrect, and he'll be less disabled than we had initially anticipated! Turns out that he CAN walk with help, he LOVES to hug and be affectionate, he DOES pursue and interact with his environment, and he's very active. He's still well behind an average four year old (obviously...) but the situation will be different than we had planned for, in a good way.

We've received a copy of John-Patrik's birth certificate and are now familiar with his "back story." Note that we'll be keeping those details private out of respect for him and for his birth family. This information will help us to bond with John-Patrik, help him with the grieving process (something all adopted children go through), and help him understand why we've been blessed to be a family.

 We can also now send John-Patrik a package! This is really exciting! We should have something ready to go by next week. I hope to include some things for the staff and other children as well.

In a recent picture we received of our boy, he was holding a handmade doll. The doll's name is "Rasa," the Lithuanian word for "Dew." We saw it in several pictures, and John-Patrik appears to be rather attached to it. So... Meg decided to recreate it for him, and she banged it out in one evening. Isn't she awesome!?! 
Here it is:
 photo 20140729_172720_zpsjtz5azcc.jpg
Here is John-Patrik holding the original Rasa:
 photo Patrik4_zpsd0ddc5be.jpg

Things moved so quickly at the beginning of our adoption process, it's been difficult at times for me to be patient now that we've entered the waiting game. We've been waiting for the paper trail to abate, and for the remainder of our funding to finalize. We're very close, we can see the finish line, but we haven't been able to cross it, yet. I've had to remind myself often that God is the one running the show, I'm just along for the ride. It's my duty to be obedient to His Word, and trust that He will make the plans, and allow us to participate in the glorious things He has laid out for our lives.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV)
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

 That's the beauty of it, we're not supposed to know how it unfolds, otherwise we wouldn't need to have faith. If we knew ahead of time how it ended, don't you think we'd probably get a good chance at screwing it up? So, I'll go ahead and continue to have faith in God's plan for this adoption, since that is how he laid it out for us to operate.

So, how can you help John-Patrik, and his new family? First, and foremost, pray! Too often, we wimpy humans exhaust all of our available options, then 'resort' to prayer, when that should be our FIRST option. Do the other stuff, but by dang, pray! Specific prayer needs right now include the children and the staff at the orphanage, as chicken pox is making the rounds there. That would be hard, so let's support those great caregivers as they love on those children. Down's Syndrome kids are at higher risk for secondary infections related to chicken pox, so keep that in your prayer as well. Second, if you feel so moved, donate on our behalf, through Reese's Rainbow, our GoFundMe, or the GoFundMe for Gathering Family. Donations to Gathering Family don't just help us, but also helps another family that is adopting internationally right now!

Thanks for reading our blog! God bless!
Rich and Meg Theisen

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Good News! And, slightly less good news!

So, first the Good News… We’re OFFICIALLY MATCHED!! YAY!! A very large, important, step that we are now past. This means that John-Patrik is ours according to the Lithuanian Central Authority! They read through our Home Study, went through our paperwork, and liked us and don’t require any additional documentation or information. Excellent! (We like you too, LCA!!)

And now for the slightly less good news… We will not be traveling until Aug. / Sept. (*sigh*) Yes, I’m disappointed. VERY. I thought we were just weeks from traveling and the much awaited meeting of our son. But I was wrong. And this is why… In our “Adoption Process Guidebook” that the agency gave us it goes from sending off your Dossier in section 5, to section 6: “Preparing to Travel”. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE our adoption agency and would refer anyone to them! They’ve been efficient, attentive, and supportive! We’ve never had to wait more than I couple of hours to hear back from them about anything; they rock! (An Open Door Adoption Agency out of GA.) They just need to update the guidebook is all. The other reason I thought we’d be leaving sooner is because the I-800A approval only took 30 days instead of 70. And it did knock off a month and a half, but not enough to go get him before August. So now that we’re matched with our Little-Bit a bunch of other stuff can finally happen in order for us to move forward, each item needing a few weeks respectively:

Our contact in Lithuania receives the official proposal matching us to John-Patrik from the Central Authority

She translates it and sends to us via email.

We ask questions and/or accept the proposal.

Our contact gets permission from the LCA to visit John-Patrik…

She visits him, talks to caregivers, teachers, doctor’s, takes new pictures. She sends information and pictures to us.

We formally accept referral.

Article 17 letter issued

We file the I800 with USCIS (second half of the I-800A process for immigration)

US Embassy in Lithuania issues the article 5 letter.

We file the DS260 immigrant visa form online

Agency’s lawyer takes documents to court and the computer randomly assigns us a judge

Once judge is assigned, the lawyer speaks to judge and gets court date

Then we plan travel.

Also, while all this is happening John-Patrik will be getting another round of many doctor and therapist visits and an updated, full-disclosure, medical report. Whereas before we got a brief overview, this report will be much more detailed.

Although the later travel is disappointing, I’m really trying to keep perspective and stay positive.
 First, God’s timing is best… Period. 
 Second, the disappointment cannot overshadow the awesome news that we’re officially matched; He’s OURS!!! (WOO HOO!!) 
 3rd, having our travel time later puts us into off-season pricing which means food, airfare, and lodging will be significantly less expensive and that is a really good thing!
4th, It also means that we have plenty of time to comfortably raise the remaining funds.
5th, is that I don’t need to think about how my garden will get harvested, canned, frozen, & of course eaten. Nothing will be accidently wasted! 
 And the 6th reason I can be positive is that now I have even more time to study Downs Syndrome.

No, I didn’t want to wait even longer, but this really isn’t about me. Like, at all. This has been God-driven from day one and, as much as my humanness wants to take ownership of it, it’s not mine. It takes effort, diligence even, to keep myself from trying to take it out of God’s perfectly capable, Mighty hands. We just really wanted to meet John-Patrik, and we will… just a little later.

In other news… Thank you to everyone who donated for our garage sale! We raised a nice amount that gets us that much closer to Little-Bit!

AND, Thank You to Jody Price for the changing table! (My back thanks you too!) And Thank you to Lisa Melo who donated the crib, portable highchair, shopping cart cover, sheets, and pretty much John-Patrik’s entire 4T wardrobe!! You guys are awesome! 

Feeling very blessed.

All for Him,

Meg (and Rich)