DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG POST IS GOING TO BE LONG! Not because I'm trying for it to be, but there's a big story to tell, and a couple of paragraphs just isn't going to cut it!!
We have had a big day around here. First of all, our fingerprints are taken and submitted, and we should hear back from USCIS soon and have our final paperwork submitted hopefully by the end of the week/beginning of next week. This is truly incredible, as I mentioned last night! SIDE NOTE: This fingerprint place was the Taj Mahal of fingerprint places!!! It was like the extreme opposite of the last place we went! And I praised the Lord for it!!! 8-)
This is the LONG part: Most of you do not know that there has been another side to our story. One that we weren't at liberty to tell – until now. When we first “found” Yuri on fb a little over 6 weeks ago, we called to inquire about him. At that same time, a couple of other families had inquired as well. Eventually, another family was given the “go-ahead” by Reece's Rainbow (a ministry that helps connect families to orphans in foreign countries) to pursue adoption of “Sam” (that's the name given him on the Reece's Rainbow website – reecesrainbow.com). We were given the “go-ahead” to act as a “backup” in the event things fell through with the other family due to the incredibly short time line that everyone was working against. The team felt that if there were 2 families working toward the same goal, the odds of Sam “falling through the cracks” would be substantially reduced.
From the minute we saw Sam's face on the website, both Shane and I felt like we were to be his parents. Apparently, this was happening in the other family as well. We each have a deep concern for this child, and each wanted to see him find his forever family – both believing his forever family was our own. However, our only “race” was the race against Sam's time-clock that has been steadily ticking -- as when he turns 16, if there are no prospective parents with paperwork ready and the process started in his country by that time, he's given a small amount of money and turned onto the streets to try to make his own way after living in an orphanage his entire life and being labeled “unemployable” by his country because of his hand differences.
As we have sought the Lord's guidance in all this, we have prayed all along that He would “slam the door closed” if we were to stop pursuing this. Instead of any doors slamming shut, they have been thrust WIDE OPEN and we have felt very strongly that we were to continue moving forward. So we have. The other family began their paperwork at about the same time we began ours. We have completed our paperwork in a practically unprecedented time-frame and the other family came up against some snags. This morning, we got notice from Reece's Rainbow that the other family has decided that because of the snags and delays that have come up, they needed to terminate their adoption pursuit so that we can pursue him fully and bring him home as soon as possible. It was a completely selfless act for them to step back and let us move forward. Their hearts are hurting as they will need to grieve this loss – which would be very hard to understand if you've never been through this process. Yuri/Sam is already deeply embedded in our hearts – as he is in theirs. When something is already in your heart, and it gets “taken away” it's a definite loss -- the loss of their dream for this boy they thought would be their son.
I am so impressed by their love for this child that they have never met, and I am truly grateful to them for listening to the Lord's leading in their lives. Please pray for their hearts to heal quickly. I feel confident that this time in their lives was to prepare them for something that the Lord has for them in the future, and I hope someday I'll hear what that is. But for now, we are sad with them -- but at the same time, thrilled for our family as we can embark full speed ahead on this crazy journey!!
We have been simply awed at the Lord working in and through the people in our world who have been put in place “for such a time as this” to walk with us through pursuing this child for our family. He has orchestrated a beautiful story that I hope will be used to encourage people who are wondering if the Lord is telling them to do the same thing He's pointed us to. I know that the Lord has promised that “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) and there have been many times that I've just had to cling to that as I don't understand how something could possibly work for good (as the other family is feeling right now, I'm sure).
As Shane and I drove the 2 hours to our fingerprint appointment this morning, I told him how extremely cool it is when you KNOW that you're right where the Lord wants you at that minute. The confirmations that we have received over and over and over through this process have just helped us feel SO SAFE about where we are headed. It doesn't make sense to us that the Lord would guide us to do this right now – with Shane's work schedule being SO busy, a three-week trip planned for the summer to see our exchange student kids and their families, and some other commitments, but once again we fall back on the fact that “'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD.” (Is. 55:8) and in that we rest, as we have many times before.
We have been blown away at the times that the Lord has directed us to HIS plan for us and it's been so much better than the plan we thought we wanted for our lives. Even when it looked like the plan might fail...He's still in control and still working – even though we might not see how it can all work out for “good.” There are probably things that we won't see how “good” came of them in each of our lives (and THAT list I'm compiling for the Lord when I see him in glory), but that's where trusting comes in. This story is one where the good can definitely be seen – right now and hopefully for a LONG time to come! Though Yuri doesn't become “officially” ours until ALL the paperwork is approved by ALL the right people (and that number is large!), Yuri says “yes” to us becoming his family, and the judge signs the Decree of Adoption, we feel like those things will fall into place as the rest of this process has been so seemingly anointed by the Lord.
Thank you friends, for walking it with us. Please continue to pray as the Lord leads, for His hand to work out the PERFECT timing for us to travel, etc. Leaving our other kids is going to be rough. I'm a very over-protective Momma Bear. But, I know that the Lord is going before us, and I actually even have peace about being gone from them for so long, knowing that the Lord's hand of protection will be on each of us as we're apart. That might be a couple of months from now, or it very well might be sooner. Only God knows. And we rest in that.
P.S. We have NO idea what we're going to call Yuri/Sam when he gets here, but we doubt it will be either of those names. He has two other names – his given name and one that he goes by!!! We are going to let him help us make that decision and will keep everyone posted on that. 8-)