Saturday, April 12, 2014
There's a song by Matthew West called Do Something. The message is simple, and poignant...
"If not us, then who?
If not me and you
It’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when?
Will we see an end
To all this pain?
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something"
That's how we feel. This is our opportunity to Do Something! To show people that adoption is doable. It's a real, tangible thing that can bless the life of a child, their lives, the lives of their church family, the community, and yes, bless the world!
So, you should do something! Give, adopt, act, serve, help, SOMETHING! Pray for guidance in your own life as to what that Something that God wants you to do is, and for the courage to get off of the couch and GO DO IT!
The progress update...
The home study is complete and we've been officially approved to adopt. All of our paperwork (our dossier) is either at our agency in Georgia or with the Federal Government in Dallas (our I-800A application). Our agency is getting our paperwork translated into Lithuanian while the US government is processing our application to allow John-Patrik to immigrate to the US as our son!
What does this mean? It means that in 30-90 days, the waiting will be over and we will hear from the Lithuanian Central Authority 15-30 days after the processing, and they will give us a travel date and court date with 30 days notice. That means, that we could have a travel date in 45-120 days!
It's really happening! It's not just an abstract idea about something we'll be doing at some time in the future, we're really going to spend 20 hours on a plane and go to an eastern European country that we've only seen on the internet to pick up the boy that God has chosen for us to take into our family!
So, thanks for checking out our update, and again, our apologies for the lengthy delay. A public thank you is in order for Sharon Freeman who organized and pulled off an adoption shower for Meg! Thank you also to the many, many people who gave us gifts and helped with the shower. Also, we just cannot thank enough the dozens of people, friends and strangers alike, who have donated to our fundraising effort. We are so close to our goal, it's very humbling!
In God's love to each you!
Rich & Meg
Here's the official video for "Do Something" so you can listen right now...
Thursday, January 30, 2014
I LOVE it when God blows my socks off. LOVE IT. I pray for it. In fact, if you know me personally, you’ve probably been in the room praying with me when I’ve said it. And do you know what? I think He loves it too. One of the incredible things that has happened through this adoption is that I’ve have had the enormous privilege of watching our boys’ faith grow. They have seen, with their own eyes (figuratively, of course) God’s hand moving through this whole thing. We have a running total on our huge white board in our “school room”/family room of where we are with the adoption fundraising. (Let me just tell you, it was an act of faith just in the decision to do this; I was afraid they might not see the numbers change and lose heart. I repented of my unbelief and have since felt so stupid, I wish I could un-think it!) But God, in His grace, has provided. Incredibly so! They have watched that number shrink steadily. He has continued to provide, and through some of the most delightfully unexpected sources! It has nothing to do with the money. I’ll say that again, it has nothing to do with the money. …And everything to do with watching the Creator of all things direct His attention on tiny us by supplying what we need. In humble amazement, I am stunned by this thought. He makes me giddy. And my kids are starting to understand just how big our merciful, gracious, God really is and it just tickles me to no end. I wonder if John-Patrick will ever understand all of this? I hope so.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Saturday, December 21, 2013
-Matthew 25:35-40 (KJV)
I feel like "the least of these" most days. Someone catches me in the hall, hands me an envelope. Pulls me into the lounge, gets out their checkbook. I don't deserve this. We're just trying to help one child. But that's the nature of grace. God gives us gifts that we don't deserve. He started it when He came to Earth in the form of a babe, and grew into the Savior of mankind. We deserve nothing but punishment and wrath, God chose to give us salvation. We are the least of these! I thank God for that!
Been too long since we updated you, and we're sorry. Getting ready for this adoption is quite a process, and with work and school for the boys going, too... Well, sorry, and we'll try to be more diligent!
The support has been pouring in and it's incredible to us. People we didn't expect or friends we hadn't spoken to in a long time, every donation, no matter it's size, is incredibly humbling. It's been a while since we updated, but we are BEYOND the halfway point!
To see how God is moving in our lives, and the lives of those around us is AMAZING! Thanks for your prayers, your love, your encouraging words, and your support. We can't do this without you!
Commitment contract is done, Home study is underway, and a letter introducing OUR family to the Lithuanian Central Authority has been sent. This is the Lithuanian Government's first chance to get to know us, and we are praying hopefully that they'll accept our request to be matched with Patrikas! Our agency's representative in Lithuania described us after reading our letter as an "unbelievable family," now talk about pressure! But, with God's help, we know we can do it!
Friday, November 22, 2013
I can’t shake this sense of urgency; I’ve never felt this before. Pictures like this one certainly don’t make this any easier. My heart is sick for him and my eyes burn from crying thinking about how long it’s going to be, even in the best circumstances, before we can love on Little-Bit(Patrikas).
Expositor’s Commentary points out that Isaiah’s “rapid-fire” style here“underscores the authority and urgency of God's commands to His people(that’d be us too) to obey”. Immediate action. James 1:22 nudges towards the same… “Do not merely be hearers of the Word, DO WHAT IT SAYS!” (paraphrased & emphasis added) Go. Now. Chop, chop. Shake a leg. Get off your fanny and start moving!
So here’s the thing, what happens when the reader and researcher of said verses (i.e. Me) receives the intended message but is faced with the very real, not fast, un-urgent, process? You wait, that’s what. Pardon me… I wait. (You read about me waiting… and hopefully pray too!)
Yes, I realize I’m 4 weeks into this. Yes, I know I need to pace myself.Don’t judge me, I’m new. Patience is not one of my strengths. I’m still accommodating this odd process. So different than when I was pregnantto add to our family… 1. I already know what Patrikas looks like. 2. I know [some of] how much he needs (developmentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) 3. I don’t know how long it will be before I get to meet him (at least with pregnancy you know it’ll usually be about36-40 weeks). 4. He’s not technically mine yet. And, 5. There’s a contract involved. …All of these things are the opposite of having a natural child. There is one similarity however, that I did not see coming; I am emotional as all get out! (…Hence the heartsickness and puffy-burny-crybaby-eyes.)
As far as an update, our application was approved! YAY! We got our Commitment Contract from An Open Door Adoption Agency on Monday(Today is Friday) and it’s not signed much less mailed yet. Why, especially with all this talk of urgency? (I need to preface this with: I’m not saying any of this to pressure anyone into donating. It’s just what we’re dealing with right now. But feel free to donate as the Spirit leads! J) With the signed contract they also need a check for $2000 for them to send us our Dossier. This tells them that we are very serious about pursuing Patrikas; it also means that he will be unavailable to anyone else and the people in Lithuania now know our names as Patrikas’ potential parents.
The Dossier, in case you are unfamiliar, is the magic packet of information the governments involved, in our case the U.S. and Lithuania, need sayingthat we are who we say we are, among A LOT of other stuff. That is to say, we are not human traffickers nor are we any other form of perverse humanness; we are healthy, we are genuine, and we promise to love Patrikas like he was our own flesh. The Dossier will travel ahead of us gathering various signatures from Idaho’s government, the U. S. State Department, and finally, Lithuania’s Central Authority.
Anyway, seeing as how we don’t currently have the full $2000 yet the contract will remain unsigned, our Dossier will continue to be unsent, and we will now get creative in how we can raise what’s needed. Needless to say, I’m rethinking everything in my house reconsidering our need for itso that it can be sold for adoption funding. Thankfully, the adoption agency is ok with staying in a holding pattern until we have the needed amount to send them.
And did I mention that in addition to all of that we also have our Homestudy beginning? That’s another magic packet of information &reports on us & our family, plus adoption training hours, and home visits. It also has a cost of $1400 but that won’t be due for another 6-8 weeks; that’s ages away compared to the Dossier’s ASAP status. In the Homestudy, every fiber of our household, including all 7 of us, will be turned upside-down and inside-out to ensure our readiness and safety for little Patrikas. We just received that packet yesterday; it’s pretty intense. I have to say this though: I do not resent this privacy-violating process, the idea of being scrutinized is not my favorite, but it’s necessary to protect little ones… it’s not personal; it’s due diligence. (…Remind me of that later when I’m whining about it, would you please?)
So generally, I’m starting to feel the gravity of what we’re doing. It’s pretty huge. Like I was telling my good friend, and adoptive mama herself, Sharon; I’m not nervous or fearful about the adoption itself; about having a new personality being added to our family dynamic, the magnitude of Little-Bit’s needs, or even having a crib in my room again. (I’ve already made space!) At this point, as I’m sure will be the case throughout, the hard part is battling the unbelief that God will provide and, in looking at this ginormous stack of papers that is our contract, the legal aspect of it. The possibility of missing some key sentence worth of vital information that could cause a big fat delay and this is just the beginning.(Remember that sentence for when I start on the Dossier… *Ugh!* Expect neurotic, OCD-like behavior) As for right now, just like with a pregnancy,I’ll consider it labor only in the form of paperwork… hard and sometimes tedious work for a dang good reason.
As for the unbelief, I’m thankful for God’s mercy and scriptures likeMark 9:23-24 showing us that Jesus himself addresses this subject directly and that we can and should ask for help in the midst of our unbelief to overcome it and that we have the freedom to ask & receive forgiveness for it. There’s also 1Cor. 10:13 where Paul tells us that we arenot tempted beyond what is common for man and that God, who is faithful, always provides a way to stand up under it; whether that be through friends (or husbands) bearing the burden with us speaking truth into our life; scripturally smacking us back in line if needed, or allowing us to be extra sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s correction, guidance, and reassurance, or the most obvious; scripture itself... Whichever way it happens, through all of this, regardless of how early into the process I am… I get to experience God’s grace and mercy in ways I’ve not been able to before now and for that I’m deeply thankful.
Monday, November 11, 2013
A couple of months ago, Dan (our pastor) asked us to read the Gospel of Matthew for our Adult Community Groups leadership meeting. In a rare turn of events, I actually did...
The above verses grabbed me, then. They grabbed me again last night at our most recent ACG meeting. Jesus asking the disciples, "why are you afraid?" He was asking me, too. That's the beauty of where I am now. I'm not afraid. I am finally in a place where I can look at this mountain that's in front of me, realize that there's absolutely no way up it, and I can turn to God. I can put it on Him. I can say, "I can't do this, but You can!" And He is. He is.
It is incredibly humbling to be this broken down. To finally be a man who can trust God first, and his own efforts second. I used to operate with an attitude of "I'll bang out what I can, then when I fall short, I'll throw it to God and He'll give me a hand." Those times are behind me. They should have been a long time ago. Trust Him first, then act out of that trust. That's what He expects of us. That is His desire for our lives. Not just for adoption, for every facet of our lives.
Fundraising is starting to ramp up. Meg (with the help of some other great ladies) is cranking out knitted fingerless gloves, and my boys and I are making paracord bracelets to sell. If you're interested in either, get in touch with us through our personal Facebook pages, or leave a comment on this post.
Also, our application is being reviewed, and we are beginning the search for someone to perform our Home Study. This is our fist financial hurdle as well, as most estimates we've heard on the cost of the Home Study put it somewhere in the neighborhood of $800-$1600. We'll let everyone know when we're going on that.