Special (?) Needs- Part Two

From yesterday’s post: Over the next several months as I got to know Lightening Bug better, I realized that first and foremost he was my son.  He is playful, mischievous, extremely gregarious and confident. 

And, he just happens to be cleft affected.

Have there been some challenges for us because of this? 

Yes. Surgery. Speech therapy twice a week.  Ear tubes.  Specialist visits. Some future dental and orthodontic issues. 

Have they conjured up fear, anxiety and heavy burdens on my heart? 

Not any more than the challenges of parenting Little Bee.

I wish I could wrap up my story here and say “the end”.  We had our “perfect American Family of Four”.

But, God doesn’t work like that.

Part Two:

2.5 months after returning home from China with Lightening Bug, this picture changed our lives.

It was an icy, cold, Friday afternoon and I was bored, so I decided to do what I normally do when I’m bored and take a look on our adoptions agency’s website of children with special needs who were waiting for families to adopt them.  (Now mind you, I’d done this bored, adoption web scrolling countless times!)

But on this day, as I scrolled down the list of photos and descriptions, I saw her.

And I stopped dead in my tracks.

It was a picture of Lightening Bug’s  foster sister.

I knew this because we had an almost identical picture of her in a photo album given to us by Zach’s foster mother the day we adopted him.

When we got that album, we didn’t know who she was, her name, her story.

But we had this picture of her and Ross and I prayed for God to find a family for her.

After reviewing her file and wrestling for five weeks with some big questions for God,

“can we afford this?”

“do we have what it takes to care for her special needs?  Her special needs aren’t on our LIST?!!”

“do we really want to be a family of five?”

We heard God whisper a few things to us:

I am calling YOU to be the answer to YOUR prayers and adopt this little girl.”

 “Yes- she has some needs that aren’t on YOUR list, but I’m not going to put you guys in any situation that I can’t handle!”

 So, in that crazy, audacious-like faith, we began the process of adopting her and started getting use to the idea of becoming a family of five.

6 months later, in the middle of paper chasing for this little girl, God handed us another surprise.

For the first time in our almost 15 years of marriage and 2 months shy of turning 41, found out I was pregnant!  (We are still trying to figure out how THAT happened!)

Thankfully, our adoption agency allowed us to proceed with our adoption as planned!!!

As the shock of the reality of going from 1 to 4 kids in 18 months began to slowly sink in, we began to prepare ourselves for our 2 new arrivals

On February 23, 2011, Little Mister  made his world debut.

 6 weeks a 1-day later, Ross and I boarded a plane to China and on April 10, 2011, we met Lady Bug for the first time.

Within hours of adopting her, we realized that there were more medical and developmental needs than we originally thought.

There have been days when these challenges have brought me to the point of tears and I feel anxious, fearful, and deeply burdened.

There are moments when I wonder how I am going to survive to the next hour.

It’s in those times that I hear the God whisper to me a few reminders:

First, before time began, God knew who my children were going to be.

Second, regardless of how “perfect” or “imperfect” any of my children are, they are MY children.  God has entrusted them to my care.

Third, God won’t put me in any situation HE can’t handle and as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7-8, 16-18:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.And though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Special (?) Needs – Part One

Our adoption journey began in January of 2004, when-after one of those “epic marriage conversations”, Ross and I sensed that God was calling us to add to our family through adoption.

14 months later, on March 30, 2005 in the Hubei Civil Affairs Office, we met our daughter for the first time.

Our first family photo. Little Bee was not happy with this new arrangement.

After this amazing adventure, Ross and I both sensed that our next child would also be from China through the incredible, miraculous adventure of adoption.

In March 2007, we submitted our dossier for another baby girl and settled down for what was looking to be an18-24 month wait for our next referral.

21 months later, with no referral in sight for the foreseeable future, Ross and I came to a few realizations:

First, we weren’t getting any younger. In fact, our 40s were quickly creeping up on us.

Second, Little Bee was getting older and longed to have a sibling sooner than….who knew?

Third, we became aware of the increasing need for Chinese boys with specials needs to find families.

These realizations jolted us to reexamine who our next child from China might be.

As much as I longed to have another little baby girl from China, we sensed that our next child from China was not going to be a baby girl, but in fact, a toddler boy with special needs.

Special Needs

Up until this point, those two words conjured up anxiety, fear, and a weighty burden in my heart.

Having grown up with a special needs sibling and having several friends who have special needs children- either biologically or through adoption- I marveled at their strength and courage.

And while I marveled at them, I secretly prayed,“Lord, don’t let that be my calling. Please. Pretty please.”

And yet- here I was- actually sensing that God was calling ME to be a parent of a child with special needs.

So, being the recovering control freak who loves to have as much knowledge and information about whatever it is I’m stepping into-I read A LOT of special needs adoption blogs, group posts, and Wiki articles about various special needs. This, combined with my degree in Special Education and experience working with special needs children and adults, enabled me to come up with our LIST of special needs we could “handle” and would consider.

We submitted THE LIST to our adoption agency in January 2009.

2 weeks later we were staring into the eyes of a 19-month-old boy who had a bilateral cleft lip and palate and some potential developmental delays.

;

Our little dumpling

Despite some unanswered questions in his file, we sensed that this chubby cheeked little boy was in fact, our son.

On October 25, 2009 in the Guizhou Civil Affairs Office, Ross, Little Bee, and I met this cute chubby cheeked little guy for the first time and I became the mother of a playful, exuberant 2.5 year old boy.

First real time photos. Doesn’t he look like a little emperor?

;

My son.

Over the next several months as I got to know Lightening Bug better, I realized that first and foremost he was my son. He is playful

mischievous

extremely gregarious

and confident.

And, he just happens to be cleft affected.

Have there been some challenges for us because of this?

Yes. Surgery. Speech therapy twice a week. Ear tubes. Specialist visits. Some future dental and orthodontic issues.

Have they conjured up fear, anxiety and heavy burdens on my heart?

Not any more than the challenges of parenting Little Bee

I wish I could wrap up my story here and say “the end”. We had our “perfect American Family of Four”.

But, God doesn’t work like that.

(tune in tomorrow for Part Two)

An Acceptable Burden? – Part Two

From yesterday’s post:

As Ross and I thought about this woman and her amazing ability to care for multiple children at a time in her poverty, we realized that our idea of “an acceptable burden” was pretty lame.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I groaned as I scurried around getting all of the necessary documents notarized to the 5th power for our dossiers.

I’ve grown a vineyard and have a cellar full of barrels that contain the whining I’ve done over the glitches in the adoption system that have pushed our waiting for whatever the next thing was in the adoption process to be delayed YET again.

I’ve looked with longing and a bit(!) of envy when I see my friend’s newly finished basements, home theater rooms, kitchens, pools, home additions, landscaped yards, and vacation homes.  I have to remind myself that while they are taking trips to the beach and Disney every summer, we are scraping our money aside so we have the change needed to bring one of our children home.

I’ve had to grit my teeth and smile as I listen to countless comments from people ranging from, “You guy are such wonderful parents to bring ANOTHER child into your family” to “Wow- getting ANOTHER kid?!?”

And while these steps along the road to adoption aren’t fun and for the faint of heart, they aren’t as worrying a responsibility as I like to make them out to be. 

Part Two:

Paul instructs his followers in Galatians to:

“Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”

-Galatians 6:3(the message)

When I read these words, it’s as if Jesus is speaking directly to me:

“Julie, get down off of your easy, Radical Christian-revised version( RCrv) of the American dream.  Open your eyes.  There are 143 million children who will go to sleep tonight without knowing and experiencing the love of a father and mother.  These children are all but forgotten by society.  They are lucky to receive even the crumbs from the tables of wealth and excess.”

“Will you share in their burdens?  Even if it means walking away from your desire for comfort, ease, and more?”

“Will you endure more well meaning but stupid, insensitive comments so that one of my children can know the love of a family?” 

“Can you suck it up and quit whining about things that are way out of your control and trust in my timing of your adoptions?”

 “Will you consider it pure joy to partner with me and my heart for the orphans knowing that in the process I am refining your vision with mine?”

Lady Bug has been home ten months now.  In the process of adopting her, God threw us another huge curveball that was born 6.5 weeks before we adopted her (click here and here for more on that story).

The adoption journey and time home with Lady Bug have proven to be the hardest and most trying of any of our adoptions.  The paper chasing and adoption process for her was by far our most frustrating and eye rolling.  Within hours of meeting her, we realized there were more health and developmental issues going on with her than what we were originally lead to believe.  Navigating the diagnosis, misdiagnosis, speech and hearing specialists, educational accommodations, and trying to figure out what delays are due to lack of exposure versus developmental have been mind numbing.  The meltdowns, tantrums, language barriers, and sensory overload shutdowns have brought me to the point of tears more times than I can count. Add to that caring for a newborn and two other kids.  It’s been beyond exasperating at times.

When I get to the point where I’m beyond done, God whispers to me, “This is MY burden to carry Julie.   I won’t put you in any situation that I can’t handle.”

When we carry the burden of adoption upon our shoulders- we fulfill God’s commands that are scattered throughout scripture-

“Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17

“Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’”

– Zechariah 7:9-10

“look after orphans in distress” – James 1:27

We step deeper into the heart and mind of God who is a father to the fatherless.  We become his agents for bringing His justice and His kingdom to fruition.

When the weighty responsibilities become too big- we have a God who is bigger and is able to carry them for us.  He’s been modeling and reminding us of this

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” -Psalm 55:22

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”- 1 Peter 5:7

Not all of us are called to adopt.  But as believers and followers of Jesus, we are all called to care and support the cause of the orphan- whether it’s through:

  • financially coming alongside a family who has the heart and home for a child but doesn’t have the necessary funds
  • cheering on a family who’s been waiting for the better part of forever for that phone call to come and get their child
  • bringing meals and offering to do laundry and housework for a family who has just returned home with their child and just beyond exhausted and exasperated
  • offering to babysit children so their parents can get a much deserved date night away from home
  •  spending your vacation going overseas and supporting the work of orphan care
  • get certified to be approved to offer respite care for foster children in your community so that the amazing families who love and care for these precious kids can get a night out or weekend away
  •  advocating for foster care in your community

Yes, our adoption journey has been hard.

Yes, there have been days when I’ve been beyond done and have wanted to throw in the towel.

But every night when I tuck my daughter into bed- I think about what her life would be like if we had not wrestled with the “acceptable burden question” two years ago and opened our hearts and lives to her.  I think about the hole that would be in our family if we had said no. 

My fight is to see a huge dent be made in the number of orphans worldwide.  I long to see the church rise up to the call and care for orphans in distress.  I ache to see boys and girls experience the love of a mom and dad and go from being orphans to children and heirs.

I hope we can reexamine what our acceptable burdens are, take God at his word, and join the countless others worldwide who have wrestled with this question and have gone all in for caring for orphans.

Questions:

  • For all of your fellow adoptive and foster parents out there, how have you wrestled with this question of an acceptable burden?
  • What have been some of your joys and your frustrations?
  • How have you seen God come through for you in the process?

An Acceptable Burden? – Part One

Last month, one of our pastors, Mike Hipsley, preached a sermon entitled, “Pick a Fight”.  My family was honored to be one of the LifePoint stories he shared of people who have picked our fight. (Click here to watch this sermon.  It’s AMAZING!)

Our fight is adoption and has been on our family level for the past 8 years.

This fight started as a simple desire to add to our family through adoption.  As we started on our adoption journey for our first child, we did a lot of reading and research about the orphan situation in China.  This lead to learning more about the orphan situation worldwide.

What began as a means to have children, grew into an all-out passionate fight to help see 143 million orphans find families.

It has sent us on an amazing adventure to China three times.  It has made us fall in love with a country and a culture that up until eight years ago was just a place on the map.

Little Bee and Aunt Jennie on the Great Wall

It has given us God’s heart for the orphan and broken it a hundred times over.

It has enabled us to cross paths with some amazing families who are also on this adoption journey; each journey to their children an incredible sign of how God puts families together.  I could go on and on about the joys, struggles, and insights God has taught us on this journey.

I’d like to, however, share a bit about one particular insight, or “life lesson” we’ve learned through this process.

It came through a question Ross and I were challenged with when we were deciding whether or not to adopt Lady Bug.

The question of, “What is an acceptable burden in adoption?”

An acceptable burden?

Webster defines burden as ….. “a worrying responsibility; something carried.”

When we “found” Lady Bug’s picture two years ago (another amazing story for another time), we wrestled for a good five weeks with some big questions for God over whether or not to pursue adopting her.

“Can we really afford this?”

Adoption is EXPENSIVE.  Take it from me- we are adoption poor three times over.  At the time we were asking this question, we had only be home with Lightening Bug for 2.5 months.  The dust on the debt book had not even begun to settle.  The 5-digit loan we had to take out was still feeling fresh and raw to us.  We were wondering how long it would take to us recover from it.  We laid hands on our cars, major appliances and our house and prayed that nothing would break, die, or be destroyed in the next 5 years.

And yet here we were- faced with the question of if we had it in us financially to adopt again.  To jump out of the boat of financial self sufficiency one more time and into the adoption-poor ocean; trusting that God would be true to His promises and provide some of the cattle on the 1,000 hills we’d need in order to fund this adoption.

“Do we have what it takes to care for her special needs?”

Lady Bug’s special needs were not something with which we were originally comfortable.  In fact, they scared me a little bit.  (ok, a lot!)

They weren’t on my “list” of special needs we would consider.  Why?  Because Ross and I didn’t think it was something we could “handle.”

Caring for a child with these needs would require some major surgeries. There was the potential for serious developmental delays that would require lifelong care.  And while neither of these issues would be something that would be world ending for us, they still felt rather scary, unknown, and huge.  A burden neither of us felt like we could handle or wanted to bring into our family.

“Do we really want to be a family of five?”

To be totally honest, being a family of four was absolutely dreamy to me.  I had my son.  I had my daughter.  Life was good.  It was easy.

our happy family of four

I was seeing the opportunity to jump full throttle into ministry just a few short years away.  My days of feeling benched on the working part-time sideline would soon be over.  I felt like I could start dreaming and getting excited about where God would take me and how I could use my gifts.

Being a family of four would have afforded us the ability to give each of our children opportunities to develop to their fullest potential.  Easily affording a private school education.  Multiple extra curricular activities.  Amazing family vacations all over the world.  The “easy” possibility of serving overseas (being a family with 2 kids would be a lot easier than a family with 3 kids).

It would have afforded me the opportunity to step into my “Radical Christian- revised version (RCrv)” of the American dream.

As we were wrestling through these questions with God, he answered us with a question of His own.

“What is an acceptable burden?”

As we thought about that question, we were reminded of a woman in China who also wrestled with the same question.

A woman who lives in one of the poorest provinces in China where the average annual income is less than $600US a year.   A woman, who by worldly standards, lives in poverty.  A woman with two grown sons who could go about with her life eking out daily survival.

A woman who, when presented with the same question of what is an acceptable burden in caring for the orphans in her city, stepped out in faith and declared, “how could I not care for a few of these precious kids?”

A woman, who since 1999, has been fostering multiple children at a time.  In her own words, “loving each of them like any mother would love their children.” 

A woman who tenderly and lovingly cared for a tiny baby boy born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate.  Laboriously feeding him without the aid of cleft nursing bottles and making sure he was well fed and nourished.

A woman who, when given a little 3 year old girl and told “don’t expect her to ever walk or talk” taught her how to walk, dress herself, use the toilet, feed herself, dance, talk, and help her take care of the other babies in her care.

Lightening Bug and Lady Bug’s foster mother.

As Ross and I thought about this woman and her amazing ability to care for multiple children at a time in her poverty, we realized that our idea of “an acceptable burden”   was pretty lame.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I groaned as I scurried around getting all of the necessary documents notarized to the 5th power for our dossiers.

I’ve grown a vineyard and have a cellar full of barrels that contain the whining I’ve done over the glitches in the adoption system that have pushed our waiting for whatever the next thing was in the adoption process to be delayed YET again.

I’ve looked with longing and a bit(!) of envy when I see my friends’ newly finished basements, home theater rooms, kitchens, pools, home additions, landscaped yards, and vacation homes.  I have to remind myself that while they are taking trips to the beach and Disney every summer, we’ve been scraping our money aside so we have the change needed to bring one of our children home.

I’ve had to grit my teeth and smile as I listen to countless comments from people ranging from, “You guy are such wonderful parents to bring ANOTHER child into your family” to “Wow- getting ANOTHER kid?!?”

And while these steps along the road to adoption aren’t fun and for the faint of heart, they aren’t as worrying a responsibility as I like to make them out to be.

(Come back tomorrow for Part Two!!)

Sweet, Unexpected Gifts – Part 2

2.23.12

One year ago today I woke up with the worst migraine of my life.

After a few hours of not feeling better, my husband had the wits to call my OB and they immediately sent us to labor and delivery to get checked out.

As the test results came pouring in, it became evident that I had developed a severe case of preeclampsia.  This news came as a surprise to us as up until this point, I’d had a rather easy and healthy pregnancy.

Since my son wasn’t quite ready to make his debut naturally and I was getting worse by the hour, it was determined that I needed to have a C-section.

This method of birth wasn’t exactly how I was “planning” on delivering.

Yet, just like everything else about my pregnancy, this was yet another thing that was totally out of my control.

I remember praying on our way to the hospital, “Ok God, what are you going to hand us next?”

At 3:00pm, after the decision to proceed with the C-section had been made, my OB told Ross to pick up X and Z from school, make child care arrangements for them, and be back by 5:00.

As I quickly made several phone calls and texts informing people of our unexpected delivery date and as the doctors and nurses prepped me for the procedure, I remember quietly praying:

“Jesus, I’m a bit scared here.  This is really out of my control.  Please be present with me during this procedure.  Give me a peace that passes all understanding.”

During the next few hours as I was wheeled onto the OR and prepped for the C-Section, it was as if Jesus was right there with me- holding onto me and carrying me through the procedure.

At 5:41pm, I heard the sound of my son’s first cries.

Tears of new life.  This little gift from God handed to us when we were at the end of ourselves.  Loudly announcing his triumphant entry into our lives.

The giver of joy had arrived.

Ross and I were very deliberate in choosing the giver of joy’s name.  We knew we wanted him to have a Chinese middle name.  I mean, hey, if you’re gonna be a kid in the Blauwkamp household, it comes with the territory.

As the words “giver of joy” sank into my soul, I sensed that this little guy’s name needed to include that.  I asked my sweet friend, Grace, if her mother could help us choose a Chinese name that meant “giver of joy”.

Her mom found the name Chuan Xi.  Chuan means “to spread” (in fact, it’s the same character believers in China use when they say “to spread the Gospel”).  Xi means “joy” (the same character as XiXi’s!)

So here was our little Chuan Xi.  All 6 pounds, 1 ounce and 18 inches of him.  It’s a safe bet that he is probably the only white kid in Carroll County Hospital’s history to be given a Chinese middle name.

Over the last 12 months, Chuan Xi has definitely been a giver/spreader of joy in our lives.

I’ve watched as X, Z, and K have joyfully and tenderly adored and loved on their brother.  I’ve smiled as I watch people’s reaction to our story of our 2 miracles in 2010 (more about our 2nd miracle in a future post).  I choke back tears of joy when I think about how grateful I am that God didn’t listen to my tweet and gave me a gift I didn’t want, but desperately needed.

An unexpected gift.

I stand  in awe as I ponder how God is in the business of handing out unexpected gifts.  Gifts that demonstrate his abundant love for us.  Gifts that show off his creative lavishness.  Gifts that remind of that He is the God of the impossible.  Gifts that wink of His sense of humor.

It’s those unexpected gifts that God hands us that are the sweetest.

“For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; 
   

I sing for joy at what your hands have done.” –Psalm 92:4

Sweet, Unexpected Gifts- Part 1

2.22.12

Tomorrow my son turns a year old.

Like most mothers, it’s hard to believe a year has gone by in the life of one of your precious, beloved kids.

One year ago I was laying on the couch.  Very pregnant.  Very uncomfortable.  Very much not feeling great due to a broken ankle and injured shoulder.   Very not feeling “totally right” (for reasons that would soon become apparent as sudden onset of preeclampsia.)

With the arrival of our son being quite eminent, I was also feeling very unprepared of what lay ahead.  And I was a bit anxious about what life with a newborn would entail.

There was still a bit of shock and disbelief that this was still actually happening.

Yet here I was.  41 and pregnant for the first time in our fifteen years of marriage.

When Ross read the results of the above fact on a home pregnancy test 32 weeks prior, my first reaction was not one of joy or elation.

It was tears.

Tears of disbelief.  How could this be true?  This has never happened to us before!  Why now?

Tear of fear.  We were in the middle of adopting Zach’s foster sister, a sweet four year girl who desperately needed a family to adopt her.  Our kids were praying every night for her to come “home.”  We were getting used to the idea of having a 3rd child and trusting God to provide us with the resources to fund the adoption.  News of pregnancy could postpone or stop the adoption all together.

Tears of grief.  The life growing inside me could possibly mean that a little girl in China could be denied a family.  This little girl with whom I was already bonding.  In an instant I felt like my daughter was being yanked out of my heart and my life.  I feared I might lose her forever and it felt like I would have to bury this child in my heart before I ever even had the chance to see her face to face.

Tears of anxiety.  A baby?  At my age?  I can’t work part time with a baby.  I’ll have to quit my job.  How will we afford that?  A baby?  Really?  I don’t do well with the whole less than 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep thing.  How will I keep from losing my mind due to severe sleep deprivation?  A baby?  Hey God, this was not part of my life plan.  Did you not get that tweet?

Tears of anger.  I did not want to be pregnant.  I was actually a closet pregno-phobic.  The thought of being pregnant, becoming even more overweight, giving birth, sleepless nights, and raising a baby terrified me.  I was quite content adding to our family through adoption.  I never grieved our perceived lack of being able to conceive.  I was bit peeved with God for throwing this wrench into my life plan.  I had some choice words and frank conversations in my therapy sessions with Jesus with the arrival of this news.

Over the next several months I fell into a season of depression and anxiety.  I drifted through days on autopilot and often woke up in sheer panic mode.  My world felt like it was crashing in around me like a hurricane and I couldn’t even hold on to the goodness and promises of God that I knew were true.  I was in the pit.  The more others celebrated and laughed at God’s sense of humor and gift to us, the deeper into sadness and despair I sank.  It was dark

.

I knew in my head that God was giving us a gift.  But my heart felt otherwise.  I felt like my life as  I knew it was quickly coming to an end.  What perceived control I had was getting thrown out the window.

I laughed bitterly when I read Psalm 16:5-6

“Oh Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup.  You make my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.  Surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

As my son continued to grow inside me and as our adoption paperwork continued to get processed and approved (our adoption agency miraculously said we could proceed with the adoption as planned!) God began to quiet my heart and speak.

“Julie, do you trust in my love and care for you?” 

“Do you trust that this child you are carrying will be a giver of joy?”

 

Giver of joy.

Those were words that a colleague prayed over me in my days in the pit.  That the child I was carrying would be a giver of joy.

When those words were prayed over me, they felt like bitter salt being sprinkled on my wounded heart and life plans.

They hurt.

They reminded me of my out of control and very pregnant state I was in.

They reminded me that the life I had been building and dreaming up for myself was quickly coming to an end.

They were a sobering reality that I was standing on the boundary lines of a very scary, very dark, and very unpleasant to me future.

And just like salt on a wound, those words also began to cleanse my soul.

Reminding me of God’s goodness:

“Every good and perfect gift comes from God above” – James 1:18

Reminding me that God was not out to punish me or give me a bad gift.

 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”- Luke 11:11-13

Giving me a living example of God’s power.  That He is the God of the impossible.  Putting a picture of Lightening Bug’s’s foster sister on our adoption agency’s website the one afternoon I “happened” to take a look.  Placing life in the womb of an almost 41 year old.

Giver of Joy.

Those words and that prayer sunk deep into me.  A message from God himself that this child I was carrying was to be a giver of joy.  A smile, a laugh, a hug from my good, Heavenly father.  Not only for me, but for all he would meet throughout his life.

I held onto those words and that promise.  They were like the ray of hope in the darkness of my soul.  They helped me realign my current perceptions of my circumstances with God’s portion for me; his pleasant boundary lines for my life.

Reminding me that despite how out of control and scary my life was feeling, that God was still God and was still good and gracious.

Despite my angst and frustration that my life was spinning out of my control,  God had my back in all of this and what He had in store for my life was way better than anything I could ever dream or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

And so, I walked wobbled ahead- anticipating the arrival of my son.  Holding on dearly to Jesus and His promise of His graciousness and this gift that was meant to be a giver of joy to me.