Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fingerprints, Fear & Faith!

From my personal journal on October 3, 2013:

Well, today I learned I have "fat fingerprints"!  Yep! Straight from the officer's mouth.  Travis and I traveled to Greer, South Carolina, for our immigration fingerprinting.  We had a nice trip just visiting together as we drove 2.5 hours one direction.  Fingerprinting took very little time.  Travis was done in 5 minutes.  Mine took at least 15 minutes.  The official said I was very difficult to fingerprint because my prints start and end at my fingernails.  He worked very hard to get good prints.....I sure hope he did!

We have learned so much on our adoption journey.  I am enjoying the knowledge gained, the exercise in trusting God more, and the like-minded goal for Travis and I.

Every once in awhile, the fear creeps in and I wonder many things.  Things like how will we afford life after adoption--medical bills, higher insurance premiums, less work for me--, how will the children adjust to each other, what therapies/surgeries will Lawrence need, am I equipped to meet all my children's needs????  And the questions can go on and on.  BUT, I make a choice.  I choose to push the worry aside and trust.  "Trust and obey for there's no other way...."  The Lord has clearly brought us this far.....I know He will continue to meet our needs.

Psalm 37:3-6
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and HE will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."
Praise HIM!  Thank you Lord, for being my peace.

Let go......and let God

From my personal journal on November 6, 2013:

Working on adoption education today and this really spoke to me from Michael Monroe:
"The challenge is to hold our expectations loosely, always willing to surrender them to the One who has called us to this amazing adventure.  And as we let go, we find that God's desires for our family are so much greater and better than what we ever expected!"

This is so true......... for families, marriages, couples, friendships, singles, dreams, goals.......any of us!  Let go of our human expectations and follow HIM!  Surrender to Him and blessings will abound!  But, we do not surrender to gain blessings but because He has asked us to obey, to take up His cross and follow.  Abraham, David, Daniel, Ruth,, me.  Each one of us has been commanded to obey.  Sometimes in the tiny day to day decisions and sometimes it is in the great, life changing decisions.  Each choice to obey God, honors HIM!  God's desires are greater than our minds can comprehend!

I Corinthians 2:9 
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him."  Amen!

How did we get here?......a brief (because the journey is long) overview over the past 9 months

The following are letters to Lawrence written the past 9 months (many of these were written before we knew his face or name):

Dear sweet and precious child, 
I cannot wait to meet you, to hug you, to love you, and to learn from you!  I have wanted to write these letters for a long time....though I have not written until now, my heart and mind have been writing you letters, praying for you, dreaming of you, hoping for you for some time.  We love you.  All four of us----love you!  We wait with great anticipation to meet you.

The seed of you being placed in our lives started years ago.  When Dad and I had been married, maybe two years, we were vacationing at the beach when we noticed a Caucasian family with a young Chinese daughter.  Dad and I both felt our hearts tugged and together we knew that one day--we hoped--that would be us.  At times placing you in our lives and home seemed like a impossible, overwhelming dream but we never ignored the desire to have you in our lives.  You were already in our hearts.  I know it is because you are another gift from God.  

About three years ago, we talked about pursuing you.  We set up a meeting to learn more about adoption.  BUT, shortly after it seemed God had different plans.  My sister Dee lived with us for three months and then Meagen lived with us for three months.  We then wondered if we had misunderstood the desire in our hearts~maybe international adoption was not what God wanted but instead He was placing people in our lives that needed love and care.  And so life moved on.........
until February 14, 2013.  On that night as we sat around our dinner table enjoying Valentine's Day heart pancakes, God spoke to us thru a seven year old.  Out of what seemed to be nowhere, Brilee asked about adoption and specifically if we could adopt.  He then went online to learn more about adoption.  Now, surrounding this time, it seemed God used several other methods to prompt us.  A song "Kings & Queens" by Audio Adrenaline was released with stirring lyrics;


a college friend posted on facebook the announcement that her family was adopting from China; several messages and Scripture leapt from God's Word into our hearts leaving both Dad and I confident that we could ignore this calling no longer.  It was time to take a step of obedience. 
So, March 6, 2013, we met Lauren at Bethany Christian Services.  We were convicted, we were ready~ whatever "ready" might require.

April 3, 2013~
Today I was struggling with which country to adopt from.  I felt unable to "choose", wanting God to lead.  After talking to Lauren on the phone and praying, I reviewed the waiting children list and spotted "Eric" in Hong Kong.  My heart started to beat quickly!  I wanted to call and tell everyone, "I've spotted a very special child!"  And yet, I felt very crazy at the same time.  How does one know who their child is in this situation?  By the time Dad returned home, I could not contain myself!  We soon inquired about "Eric". 

{As a side note, our Father placed "Eric" in another family but we are so thankful for this specific moment that opened our eyes to Hong Kong and led us to Lawrence.}

May 29, 2013~
Today was our second homestudy interview with Lauren.  We went to Dollywood yesterday, celebrating the start of summer.  Throughout the day, we thought of you.  We look forward to family outings with you.  Brilee and Brooklyn talk of you often, imagining how they will help and teach you.  We are so excited to have you in our lives!

June 13, 2013~
Our homestudy is complete except two interview sessions and remaining education.  This Wednesday, Dad and I will travel to Knoxville to complete our one-on-one interviews with Lauren.  As I was thinking about this appointment today, I realized I am excited for Wednesday, I look forward to it!  There are two main reasons I look forward to our adoption appointments: 1) Each step brings us closer to you!!! 2) Each appointment is time Dad and I spend together- preparing, planning, getting ready to have you in our lives.  Dad and I tend to keep very busy schedules so time set aside for both of us to be together, getting ready for you, is special.  treasured. unique.  Just like you!

July 27, 2013~
Where are you sweet child??? I've cried today as I pondered this question.  I pray for you and your caregivers.  I pray your needs are met.  Dad and I look forward to having you home with us, where we can take care of you, laugh with you, smile with you, hug you.

We have been closely watching the Hong Kong waiting child list since the completion of our homestudy.....looking for you.  All of this is very exciting and yet it is hard to not know where you are.  Praying our Father is caring for you and will make you clearly known to us.  We also pray that we will be the best family for you- the best to care for you and meet your needs.  We love you, little Hurley!

August 19, 2013~
Each day we think of you with wonder...this past week, Brilee started third grade and Brooklyn started preschool.  As we prepared for school, I wondered about you.  Where are you?  What are you doing?  Are you receiving hugs, kisses, and warm cuddles?  I hope so!  I pray so!  Momma cries often these days-wishing you were near-wishing I knew you were okay.  It is then that I pray to our Father to hold you, care for you, bless you.  I love you.

Friday, August 16th, we noted a new little one named Lawrence waiting in HK.  Is it you?  May God make you known to us. 

This Sunday during communion, Ronnie Fair shared Isaiah 53 with us.  As I read the comforting and truthful verses, I cried again.  I thought of you.  I have been asking the Lord to make you known to us and I believe thru His Word, He has!  Isaiah 53 contains beautiful words-truthful, piercing, promising, and comforting.  Oh sweet one, we are anxious to meet you but waiting upon the Lord.  You are His!  Praise God!  He is caring for you and He will bring you to us.  We love you!

August 30, 2013~
What precious words we received today!  "We look forward to working with you to bring Lawrence home."  Wooooohooooo!!!!!  Our home. Our boy.  We have filed our intent to adopt Lawrence and have been chosen by HK to pursue you.  We love you!  We are excited to meet you!  We cannot wait to have you home.  Brilee talks about sharing his room with you, getting bunk beds to share, and playing cars together.  Brooklyn can't wait to be your big sister, play with you, to teach you things. 

We looked on google maps to find your home in Hong Kong.  Brilee said he couldn't believe how beautiful it is.  We think of you often~ so far away and yet so close in our hearts.

September 24, 2013~
Recently Brilee announced your name will be Brody Lawrence.  He feels strongly that you should have a "Br" name like your brother and sister but also we want to honor and remember where you came from.  Lawrence is a very special name to us~ our dear neighbor Lawrence passed away October, 2012.  I believe God spoke to us thru your name, Lawrence.  You have been called Lawrence since your first days at Mother's Choice.  So now, Brilee tells anyone who will listen that his brother's name is Brody Lawrence.....Brooklyn is proudly sharing the news too!  I guess you have been named by your Mother's Choice family, your Hurley family, and I believe God himself. 

October 4, 2013~
Today while I was working, something told me to check our adoption portal.  I was thrilled to see an update on you- complete with pictures!  It was so good to see you growing healthy and strong.  These were the first pictures we have seen with your hearing aid on.  You wear it so well!  I hope it helps you hear.  You are so handsome.  Dark brown eyes, perfect nose and sweet, gentle mouth.  Mommy cannot wait to kiss you! 

Most days I wish I could get a daily update on you but that just reminds me to pray for you and trust you to our Heavenly Father's hands.  I am so thankful for your wonderful caregivers at Mother's Choice.  They truly love you and want the best for you.

November 23, 2013~
Our dossier has been in HK since the first of October.  Since then we have received two sets of questions from the Adoption now we wait, either for more questions or we hope, Matching Approval! 

This past Sunday night we shared our family's story with our church family.  We told our Southside family a little bit about you~and of course, they already love you too! Really and truly.  They were so happy to know a little bit about you and pray for you.  You have a family, little one!  Across the world, you have a family- waiting, ready to love you.

December 18, 2013~
We have been waiting for an update-----and today it came.  Merry (early) Christmas--we have matching approval from HK!!!!!  Yay!!! This means HK agrees that you are ours and we are yours.  We have cried all evening!  We are so glad to hear that preparations are being made to bring you home!  We love you, Brody, and can't wait to have you home! our arms! 

December 22, 2013~
The Lord's Day. Sunday before Christmas.  I cried most of the worship service---overwhelmed with God's love and mercy for me, overwhelmed with Christ's sacrifice, joyful that next Christmas you will be home, and so longing to hold you.  So many emotions...... God is so good.