A year ago today...

...Ben and I were in our car discussing a blog post I had read earlier that day and we felt God speaking to us loud and clear, telling us to adopt.  It was such a clear "calling" to us, that we reacted immediately (in 2 weeks, we had selected our agency and started the process).  I am happy to report that, a year later, we are still passionately pursuing that call! 

We have seen God "show off" to us time and time again this year!  Blessings have been overflowing and we have learned SO much!  I'm definitely not saying that following God's call has been easy--He never promised that it would be.  However, I have never felt more fulfilled in all of my life.  

God has changed my heart and my life in so many ways this year.  I have learned so much about myself and about how it's not about me at all!  This is all about God getting the glory, and the best way we can do that is take steps in obedience to Him and allow him to "show off!" 

So I want to encourage you to be obedient so you can be a part of His story.  If God is telling you to do something, just do it!  Don't just say "I'll pray about it"--God wants action!  Don't try to apply logic--God is MUCH bigger than logic!  Love is a verb, people!  So get on it! 

If you want to reminisce a bit (for those who have been around a while), or better understand how this all started (for those who are newer to Team Huss), below is an excerpt from the email we sent to friends and family on September 28, 2009 sharing our news...

Ben and I wanted to share something with you that’s going on in our lives (no, I’m not pregnant).  We’ve already spoken about this to our immediate family members.  Sorry we couldn’t get to you in person—I’m sure you understand.  Please share this with anyone we inadvertently left off.  It’s kind of a long story, so I’m sorry for the length of the email—but we really wanted to share it with you…

I’ve been feeling a stirring in me for the last few months or so.  I don’t really know how to explain it any better than that—a stirring from God.  Our recent sermon series at church (appropriately titled “jack’d up—no perfect people allowed”) was about the 12 disciples, so there had been a theme of how we respond when God says “come”, stepping out of our comfort zone, living sacrificially, etc.  And I continued to feel the stirring, but no clear direction to anything in particular.  Until a couple of weeks ago (September 16th to be exact)…

I was reading my usual series of blogs while I ate my lunch that day.  One of the bloggers is Jenny Simmons (www.jennysimmons.com).  Her post that day was about living sacrificially.  She was specifically talking about a girl named Katie who gave up her comfortable “normal” life in TN to move to Uganda to take care of orphans.  I felt more stirring while I was reading, so I forwarded the blog post to Ben (who hates long emails, I might add) and told him that he didn’t have to read it, but that I wanted to talk to him about it when I got home from work.
Ben had a doctor’s appointment that day (he has a torn ACL), so he had lots of “free time” while sitting in the doctor’s office.  So apparently he started reading the blog post that I sent him.  He called me from the doctor’s office when he was halfway through reading it and asked me what I wanted to talk to him about.  Since I was at work and I sit in a “cubicle farm”, it just wasn’t appropriate for me to talk to him right then.  So he hung up and apparently read the rest of it.  He called me an hour or two later and asked me again what I wanted to talk to him about.  Again I told him it wasn’t the best time.  Now, don’t get me wrong, Ben is usually interested in what I have to say, but not THAT interested.  So I was intrigued that he cared so much.
On Wednesday nights we meet with our church “small group”, so Ben picks me up at the bus stop and we ride together.  So that evening as soon as I got in the car he said “ok, we only have 20 minutes before we’re there, what did you want to talk to me about?”  So I launched in to telling him the same thing I mentioned above about feeling a stirring for so long, then reading the blog that afternoon and feeling even more stirring.  I listed several things to him in the context of “I don’t know what God is calling me to do…give financially, adopt a child, etc.”
Then Ben stopped me and said that when he read the blog that afternoon, he also felt something.  And when I was rattling off those things, when I said “give financially”, he didn’t feel anything.  But when I said “adopt a child” he felt something.  I said “what—it freaked you out?”  And he said “no—it was like a jolt of electricity through my body”.  Then we both looked at each other, smiled really big, and knew something cool was happening.  So I asked him what that meant and he said “It sounds like we’re supposed to adopt a child.”  Wow.
Adoption.  Wow.  It’s crazy!  Until now, I had never had an experience where I truly felt God calling me to do something.  Now I know what that feels like and it’s pretty cool!  The “normal Lauren” would apply logic to this situation and totally talk my way out of it.  But the “obedient Lauren” is just trusting God and having faith that He’ll guide our steps.  And this has really taken my relationship with Ben to a deeper level than ever before.  It’s really awesome to be on the exact same page with something this life-changing!
During the last week and a half we've been researching and listening for God's direction toward a certain country, age, race, etc.  We’re doing our best not to make “something out of nothing” with normal daily things.  For instance, on Thursday morning when I was in my car, I found myself trying to make every song that I heard relevant to adopting a child.  hehe!  I realized what I was doing after 2 songs and I just laughed at myself.  We’re both trying to listen/watch for God speaking and we’re just feeling our way through this with a lot of prayer.  Please consider joining us in this adventure by praying for us.  I’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Ways to pray for us:
  • For us to continue to focus on building love and respect in our marriage
  • For us to have clear direction from God regarding an adoption agency and country (we have a short-term goal of settling on an adoption agency THIS WEEK)
  • For us to be faithful to what God has called us to do…even though the world would say it’s impossible (“look at your bank account—you don’t have the money to adopt”; “it’s such a long process—are you sure your heart can take it”; “what if you don’t bond with the child”; etc.)
  • For safety, protection, and love over our baby—wherever he/she is

Slowly, but Surely

Got the call from our case manager this evening.  We're certainly moving slowly, but at least we're moving! 

(Can you tell I'm trying to keep things positive and encouraging?  In reality, it's still tough.) 

Our new numbers are...
#42 on the girl list (moved 3 spots since August 6th)
#27 on the boy list (moved 1 spot since August 6th)
#29 on the sibling list (moved 1 spot since August 6th)

We found out that the Ethiopian courts are in their court recess right now, so I'm assuming this has something to do with the numbers moving so slowly.  Our agency anticipates them coming out of recess soon (they have a scheduled court date at the end of September), so here's to hoping that we move more than 3 spots next month!

Check out the "Our Digits" page (top right corner of the blog) for more details on the overall wait time and what that means for us.

Legal Stuff

On Saturday we received our FDL--a letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that we need to have in order to adopt.  The official title of the letter is: Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application For Advance Processing of Orphan Petition.

While I don't understand all of the legal "stuff" (that's what our agency is for), I know it is another item that we get to check off the to-do list, which means we're one step closer to Baby Huss!

Here is an excerpt from the letter that is apparently what all of our fingerprinting and background checks were for...

It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan(s) as defined in Section 101(B)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

If the Department of Homeland Security says so, then it must be true! 

Waiting Stinks

It's true.  Waiting is NO FUN.

We had SO many adoptive families tell us that the waiting period would be the hardest part of the adoption process and we didn't really get it...until now.  It's hard.  Really hard.

You see, up until you're put on the waiting list, the process is kind of under your control.  How fast or slow you fill out forms, go to appointments, etc. is how fast or slow the process moves.  And when people ask you what the status is, you actually have something to tell them.

Then one day, you submit your dossier and everything just stops. 

And you wait.

How fast or slow those numbers move is totally out of our hands.  Not a darn thing we can do about it.

I really wish that I could report all of the productive things we've done while we've been waiting.  You know, reading parenting books, child-proofing our house, setting up the nursery, attending baby classes, etc. 

But that's not the case.

We've pretty much been in a funk. 

Don't get me wrong.  We really WANT to be excited about this.  But we've been guarding our hearts for so long.  We know that the adoption process is unpredictable.  We know that anything could happen.  So we haven't really allowed ourselves to make it a reality.

I think we're getting there.  But please pray for us.  And can I ask you a big favor?  Please don't give us any of the cliche lines like "it's all in God's timing," "He has the perfect child picked out for you," etc.

We already know that. I promise. We do.

And we believe it.