Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why "two" journeys?

Welcome to our new blog! If you are wondering why we have a new blog - we just felt it was best to have a blog just about the journeys we will have with two precious girls from Ukraine.

Oh my - did I just say 'two girls'? Yep! For many of you who have followed our story so far - this is the first you have heard that there are two. Nastya has a sister~

Katya is eleven years old and we have known about her for quite awhile. We first heard about her from Nastya on the night the children arrived from Ukraine. We actually had tentatively heard previously that she had a sister but were told that she was in a different orphanage and unadoptable for various reasons. We assumed that Nastya didn't really know her sister - which is often the case in Ukraine. We quickly found out that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Nastya told us all about Katya - what she likes to do, what she looks like, what she likes to eat, and how very close they are. We realized that regardless of legality - we would never willingly separate these girls who had been through so much together, who loved each other so dearly, and who had given each other strength and joy through their trials. So that left us with some serious questions ~ could we possibly pursue adopting not one but two older children? Could we care for five children? Could we afford this financially? How would two more girls affect our family dynamics?

This was far outside anything we had considered as we prayed about adopting the past few years. My prayer was always that if God wanted us to adopt that He would pretty much just 'drop the child in our lap' that He wanted us to adopt. Of course I had my pre-conceived notions of what this would look like... But I figured that we might always be too timid to take the first step and would want to know that it was His plan - not ours. And if you go back and read how this all happened and as we look back on far more details and incredible timing, we wholeheartedly believe that it was God's perfect will for Nastya to have come at Christmas - it was an answer to her prayers and to ours. So not doubting that, we were still quite shocked with knowing that there were two! But we go back to the same basics that led us here in the first place. Here's what you may remember reading as I pondered these things before....

We are praying and asking God to faithfully reveal His perfect plan for our family. We know that His plan is absolutely perfect and He promises to reveal it to us...

We know that God brought this child here for this time. We also know that in the past when we have been faced with huge decisions, we have diligently sought the Lord to give us direction. Every time He has been incredibly faithful to lead us in the paths He has for our family. Would He forsake us now? No. I can rest in that assurance. I know He says to me, "Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know" Jeremiah 33:3. And He says that He is our Protector, our Saviour, our Shepherd, our Strength, and that His grace is sufficient for us. I rest in this truth. I know that God has protected us from some stupid, bull-headed decisions in the past - such grace! He has saved me when I did not deserve it - He called me to Himself. I was the one who was lost in my own sinfulness and did not even know I needed to be saved, and He dramatically got my attention and caused me to know His lovingkindness and His grace and to know Him personally. To call Him Father. To call Him Lord. To call Him Saviour. You ask - why is all this relevant now? Well it is relevant because the Lord did not walk away from my mess and He did not think I was too risky or too imperfect or too messed up to bother with saving. No - He loved me when I was disobedient and didn't really care what He thought. And it is relevant because I want (only by the grace of God), to do whatever His will is. I wholeheartedly believe that we would all choose His plan for our lives if we could see the whole picture from His perspective. I believe that He loves me perfectly, that He is wholly good, that He is omniscient, and that He is able to all things.

So I know I can trust Him to not only have a perfect plan but to reveal that plan. And I know that I can trust Him to give me the grace and the strength to do whatever He calls me to do. Last, I know that He does call me to lay down my life just as Jesus modeled. I struggle with that and this has caused me to see my own selfisness... Oh and how I don't want to see that selfishness, but it is there and I just pray and ask God to give me the grace (undeserved) to have His love and His joy. I believe there is joy in sacrifice and servitude. I have been blessed to experience that joy this week.

But again, God is faithful and gives the grace to love when it is easy and when it is hard, because He gives us His love. So all that to say, it is summed up much better in God's own words, and this has become a regular prayer of mine this week.Colossians 1:9-11 "For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy"Really read this verse above - it is such awesome, peaceful truth. We ask you to pray with us that this would be true in our lives! In all this, I have said I believe all that I have said above before now, but wow - this time with Nastya and considering adopting her along with all the fears, concerns, unknowns, sacrifices and possible obstacles involved in that decision - we really have to decide to trust God, to trust this truth, to rest in His love and power. It is a unique time and we look forward to seeing His plan revealed one step at a time.

Well we are still in the same place - trusting God. Where else should we be? We would be blessed and honored to be the parents of these girls if God so chooses. But I am learning though to get rid of my expectations and plans. So I will not say that we will adopt these girls, because I certainly do not want to presume to know the future. We are pursuing adopting them. We will face obstacles and struggles and this will surely be a very joyful and very difficult journey. But we know it will be beautiful because we know God is in the midst of it and He promises to make beauty out of ashes and all things beautiful in His time...

Isa 61:3 -
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

I know that this will come as a surprise to many of you and many who love and care for our family will have concerns for the difficulties this will bring to us and our children. Please know that we are not naively pursuing this, that we are consistently praying for direction and weighing the costs involved. Please feel free to discuss any concerns you have with us so that we may consider them and pray over them.