Match Made In Heaven

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We’ve been matched!

Its been a while since I have posted, and there was good reason.  We have been waiting.  And waiting. And waiting.

To be honest, I didn’t have the patience to do a post about patience.  (Side note – I also was not effective enough to actually finish reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  But alas, that is a conversation for another day..)

The tide has turned, and now the countdown to China has begun!  This train (perhaps the Oriental Express) is leaving the station. We have been matched with a little girl in China.  The news came the Friday before Mother’s day.  (How cool is that?)  The weeks since then have been packed with yet more paperwork (even though they say we are at the end of the paper chase, I’m not sure I believe them.  Ugh.)

The moment I first heard her story will be a moment I will never forget.  It reminds me a lot of the ultrasound I had with little Hulaloo.  Within a few minutes I had a picture.  I saw her face and I knew she was ours.  To be honest, I knew before I saw her picture.  Here’s why..

I read a lot of books and it takes a lot for me to say that a book really affects me, but the  The Circle Maker was one of those books.  Our small group recently read and discussed the book over several weeks while we ‘ prayed through’ the big issues affecting our lives. The highlights are Dreaming Big, Praying Through and Going Long.  If I said nothing more than that, I think you would agree that the long process of international adoption requires all those things. But wait.  There’s more.

A highpoint of the book for me was a section that discusses the difference of prayer made in true faith.  Most people who pray regularly ask God for guidance and answers with a hopeful attitude and heart.  But like Indiana Jones who steps on to the invisible bridge in The Last Crusade (all things in my life relate back to Indiana Jones, Star Wars or Seinfeld) someone who truly has faith, ACTS with confidence (as if the prayer has already been answered.)  If we truly trust God hears and will answer our prayers, there comes a point where we are assured its a done deal before we actually see it.

As I mentioned before, we have been waiting for a year and a half.  I was starting to waiver a little bit and become weary and impatient.  I had faith, but I was tired and having difficulty understanding why things weren’t moving more quickly.  I believed there was a little girl somewhere in China that was ours, but I wanted to see her little face . I thought about the birthdays we had already missed.  I want her to know that even though we weren’t with her , they were celebrated.  Every year on our little Hulaloo’s birthday, I write her a note that talks about the year and my hopes and dreams for her.  I put a little gift in the card and don’t give it to her.  I save it.  The cards will be a gift for her on her 18th birthday. Since I knew that our newest little one was out there, I decided to act on my faith.  I wrote the first birthday card for her.  I told her about our eager anticipation of her arrival and told her the special meaning behind her name.  Everyone in our family has the middle name Lee and Leigh, spelled differently but part of the same family.  We are different, but we belong together.  I shared with her that her middle name would be Li, spelled in a way that honors her Chinese heritage.  It would be different but fit perfectly in the puzzle God is fitting together to make our family.

Two weeks AFTER I wrote that letter, I got THE CALL.  During the call the agency was describing her medical history and some of the details regarding her life in the orphanage.  The name of the girl? Her last name is Li. 

Yep, you read that right. Her name was already Li. We will truly be honoring and keeping her Chinese name.  God had worked it out already.

This was one of those few AHA moments in my life.  We probably only get a handful of those in our lifetime.  I’m keeping my eyes wide open for more in the next steps of this journey! Keep your eyes wide open for the aha moments God has planned for you. You never know when it will happen!

LLI (Live Life Intentionally)

Your Friend, 

Meredith



 

The Circle of Community

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The Farmer in the Dell by Hoopla Kidz

 

Did you ever play the Famer in the Dell as a kid?  Remember ‘Hey Ho the Dairy O, the famer takes a wife?’  

It was one of my favorite games as a kid.  I would sing my heart out and eagerly walk the circle hoping that my hand would be taken next.  It didn’t matter if I was the farmer or the cheese, I wanted to be part of the game!  I have always craved being part of something bigger than myself.  I love being associated with a group that has a common vision and values.  In school it was sports and later in college it was the Cooperative House that I lived in at Purdue University. Even now, all these years later (lets just say double digits,) I get together with some of my girlfriends from the house twice a year.  Its easy to step back in to a place and reconnect with those that have common memories and interests.  I love it!

One of the things that has been an unexpected bonus in our journey to adoption has been the strong and passionate adoption community. We continue to be introduced and welcomed into the circle of those who have traveled the path before us. It is amazing to me the people that God is placing within arm’s reach every step of the way.   From bloggers  that we have never met to family members we haven’t seen nearly enough, we have found resources to answer questions and clear the way for our next step toward completing our family. I  can already tell the adoption community is a group with strong ties and a commitment to something greater.  I am looking forward to moving inward for their support as we get closer to welcoming Little W into our arms.

The process has made me reflect on the influence of community in my life.  The power of a community to change lives isn’t a new concept.  Its over 2000 years old.  Its called the Church.  Say ‘church’ today and most people think of a building with a particular denomination on its sign.  In reality the church building is the home base for a particular body of believers.  Whenever I have moved or changed jobs, I yearned for a ‘family’ where I was accepted and embraced just as I am. For me place where I have always felt most embraced and free to be me is the church.

I have often heard people say ‘I don’t need to go to church to be spiritual or a good person.’  Nope you don’t.  
But this attitude misses the beauty and strength and intended purpose in its community.    Is the church full of hypocrites? No, but there may be a few. Rest assured that the church is made up of 100% sinners.  Like a biological family, it can get messy in any community when human beings are involved.

The church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints. 
Membership is not dependant on performance.  Isn’t that awesome?!

For each of us, community and human connection can fill a void that no amount of facebook or tv can replace.  Maybe you too are adopting, or you are caring for an elderly parent, or are single and lonely. Each of our needs is different, but the common denominator is that each of us can gain strength in connection.  YOU have to take the first step.  Reach out.  Don’t wait for it to come to you!

LLI

Meredith 

Thankfulness is Bittersweet

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This is the day that the Lord has made.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

Have you ever felt like life is just pounding you with blows that rattle your faith or your joy?  It seems like we have been surrounded by immense loss and sadness in the last month.  Death has shadowed dear friends and our own family,  putting a damper on what is normally a festive kickoff to the holiday season.  Do you ever wonder why God allows loss and sorrow in the world?  I do.  Life is sometimes painful.  For many people the holidays hold an emptiness that no amount of music, food or Black Friday deals can fill.

Now I’m no theologian, but I know myself enough to understand that there are things that I’m not going to catch on to without a little help from our Creator.  I guarantee that with my selfish nature if I lived in a world without valleys, I would have  no appreciation for the beautiful view from above.  Losing people I have loved makes me more thankful for those still with me.  Being financially strapped for a time in my life, makes me thankful for every dollar I have.  Seeing persecution half a world away makes me more thankful for my religious freedom.

A friend of mine recently lost both his mother and father in a tragic accident resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning.  (Sidenote – make sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home!)  In the waiting room of the ER my friend gathered his children around him in the midst of the trauma and the pain to pray.  They thanked God for the day that HE had made.  He wanted his children to see that God doesn’t always allow us to see the plan in the moment.  Regardless of how we feel, there IS MUCH to be thankful for, even if we have to look carefully.

A few days after the funeral, I received results from yet another (minor) surgery.  It made me wonder if I had asked better questions or taken action earlier, perhaps we would have conceived again.  The answer is maybe.  I thought about what my friend had said, so I pulled my car over and thanked God.  If things in my life had gone differently, I likely would not be on this road to adoption, and I am VERY sure its His will.  He knew what it would take to get me to this point.  So in the midst of circumstances that some would find disappointing or disheartening, I choose to be thankful.

Dear friends, pray for and reach out to those experiencing loss and sadness this season.  If you are in a dark place yourself, please look up and inward to find something to be thankful for, even if it is only the sunrise.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118: 24 English Standard Version (ESV)

LLI

Your friend,

Meredith

More Blessed to Give than to Receive

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IMG_4685 (800x427)

When we started down this road of adoption it was a very personal decision that we made as a couple.  Some of the challenges we have anticipated and I’m sure there are many more we haven’t. We knew what it would cost.  We agreed that we would bear the responsibilties for this new child and that included financial responsibility.  Will it all be easy?  No. Have there been and will there be many sacrifices along the way? Yes. Yes. Yes.

So when our small group asked to do a special benefit lunch for us, my initial thought was ‘There are so many people that deserve it more than us.’  But then I thought about something my Mom had shared with me a few weeks before. She reminded me that we need to be mindful not to  deny others the blessing of providing love and support.  And the truth is every ounce of support is helpful! We have gained strength and reassurance from those around us as we move farther into this adoption process.  That need will do nothing but grow as we get closer to being matched and bringing Little W home.

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. ‘

Acts 20:35

 

Has there been someone in the last 30 days who has asked you ‘How can I help?’ or said something like ‘let me know what I can do?’  My guess is that most of us gloss over it while in our minds we are formulating the plan that will move us to a goal all on our own.  ‘I can do it!’ is our internal mantra.  Not a bad thing, but some things in life are better when we let people move a little closer to us.  My question to you is this:  ‘What blessings are you denying to others and yourself?  Is your ‘I can do it’ attitude keeping others at arms length?
 
Denise & Cathy  (true servants / servers !)

Denise & Cathy
(true servants!)

Mike & Dee (Hamming it up)

Mike & Dee
(Hamming it up)

We were recently surrounded by peope who wanted to bless our adoption process. Our small group will be some of the first family members that this new little one will know in the USA.  How fitting that they should play a role in bring Lil’ W here! Of course the principle of ‘More Blessed to Give than Receive’ is one of the primary reasons for us choosing adoption in the first place.  Dear friends of MFCC, please know that we will pay it forward.
LLI!
Your friend,
Meredith

I cannot change the world, but I WILL change the future of one child

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  • There are 17,900,000 orphans in the world (who have lost two parents)
  • Each year, 2.6 million children die as a result of hunger-related causes
  • Americans in the lowest 5% income range still enjoy a greater level of wealth than the richest 5% in the nation of India
  • It is estimated that 600,000 to 800,000 humans are trafficked every year.  1/2 are children. 
     

When I think about all the bad things happening to innocent people in the world, it is disheartening.  In a world where there is so much beauty, joy and good, how could there be so much sorrow and evil?  Then I think its too much for me. I am too small and insignificant to make an impact. Somebody should do something!    In the words of Matthew West:

 
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, 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
 
And so I am.  So we are.  I am married to a dear man I will simply call ‘hubby’ who made a commitment early in our marriage to adopt.  As is the case with so many, we found our vision for a family very difficult to fulfill. In 2010 we were blessed with a biological daughter .She is the light of our lives.  Her four short years have taught me more about God’s love for us as a father, than all my other years combined.  But our family is not complete.  We believe firmly that there is a gap to be filled. We have blessings to share and important things left to do in this life.  So here we go! 
 
  
 This blog is the story of our adoption.  We are figuring out life as we go along. (Just as you are.) Join us in the journey
 

Live Life Intentionally!
 
 

(LLI)

Your friend, Meredith 

  

 PS – The photo in my first post and on FB is a licensed image (not the child we are adopting.) We are currently waiting to be matched!)