Monday, March 18, 2013

Perfect Love Drives Away Fears


Recently, I have been posting about how God has been changing our minds about what adoption should look like in our family. (See Big Kid Adoption and Big Prayers.) We originally thought we would adopt one healthy child under the age of three. Fast forward about a year and we in the home study process being approved to adopt up to two children, unrelated or siblings, ages six and under, either healthy or with some correctable and/or minor medical/special needs. In my post  "Big Kid Adoption" and "Big Prayers," I wrote about how researching and finding answers to our questions has helped put to rest our fears about adoption. While this is true, perhaps even more true is that God's love has put to rest our fears.

1 John 4: 18 says that perfect love (God's love) drives out fear. While I am all for preparation, I know all the preparation in the world without the love of God in our hearts, wouldn't be enough. God's love enables the preparation and education to lay our fears to rest.

Sometimes I still have fears. This week I opened my inbox and found an email from K. our social worker with a draft of our home study for us to look over. (We happened to receive the draft on our 3rd wedding anniversary! What a nice gift!). I was so excited to read our home study! Reading it made our adoption seem more real. Yes, I felt very excited, but I felt a little nervous and fearful too! The reality hit me that Andrew and I will be completely responsible for these children that we are bringing into our family!  I am sure every new parent feels a little nervous about the responsibility of parenting children. For me, God's love is what calms and soothes those fears! God fills my heart with love for these children who will someday be mine to mother. When our children are finally home with us, and the days are long and hard, it will be God's love that will help us through those hard times.

I don't want to sound like I am tooting my own horn here - I am praising God for His power and love in me. I am not capable of being loving in and of myself. By nature, I am a very selfish person. I want what I want and I want it now! Know what I mean? But God, through His great love, has saved me from my sin and selfishness. He has changed my selfish nature and is helping me to continue to change and to become more loving like He is loving. Every inch of our adoption journey, from the idea being born in our hearts, to God opening our hearts to the very neediest children (older and special needs), has been because of God's love in our hearts. 

1 John 4: 7-14 NASB

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Monday, March 11, 2013

This Week We Are Celebrating 3 Years!

Three Years ago, I was a blushing bride...

in love with a handsome groom.

We committed their lives to loving each other...

and began living our happily ever after!

We enjoyed a relaxing honeymoon in the mountains.
Life has been an exciting adventure together. Since then we have...

Graduated with BAs together!

Goofed off!

Celebrated our first anniversary!

Bought a "fixer upper" and fixed it up!

Celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary!

Began the journey to parenthood!

Can't wait to see what God has planned for us next!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Big Prayers

God isn't Offending by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren't impossible to you, they are insulting to God. Why? Because they don't require divine intervention.  

- Mark Batterson
The Circle Maker, pg 13

From Healthy Children Only...

Andrew and I initially were thinking we would adopt only healthy children for several reasons. Our reasoning was that healthy children seemed best because of our limited financial resources. Medical special needs may require expensive treatments! We also know that parenting a child with special needs can strain a marriage, in addition to the strain of parenting children through adoption, and parenting in general! We felt our marriage must come first, not just for our own well being, but for the well being of our children.

To What If?

But God has a way of leading us and changing our hearts and minds!  First, the topic of adopting a child with special medical needs was opened up between Andrew and I again by an email from someone we have never met in person, but have a slight connection with through the adoption. Next, I ran into a friend who is also adopting from Bulgaria and we discussed different special needs that their family was open too. A few nights later in women's Bible study, we were challenged to pray big prayers. What will the result of these big prayers be as God works in our lives? After that, Andrew and I prayed that God would help us to know what special needs, if any would be a good fit for our family. 

Facing our Fears...

Our agency provided a list of common special needs to us. Could we parent a child with needs on this list? It seemed scary and overwhelming at first! Every parent wants their children to be as healthy as possible. Parenting a child with special needs seems scary!

There is nothing like information to drive away fears. About that time we started meeting with our social worker and she connected us with a doctor who has experience with children adopted internationally.  The pediatrician and I had a great chat. She went over each of the special needs on the list and explained a little about the challenges associated with each, as wells as local resources available to help with some special needs.  This helped us narrow down the list to what we thought we would be able to provide good care for with good health insurance and the resources in area. Andrew and I talked some more about each of the special needs on the list. As we looked over the list, some of the needs listed didn't seem like a big deal to us! Vision problems are considered a special medical need? I know lots of people who need to wear glasses or contacts and I even have a sister who is blind in one eye. That isn't so scary! Club feet? That can be corrected with free or low cost surgery/treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children. I think we could handle that!

God's Perfect Timing

For us, the timing God used to open our hearts to the possibility of special needs, was perfect. You see, we have to be specifically approved by our social worker in our home study for each special need we are willing to considered adopting. If the email or the Bible study had happened a month or two later, we would have already completed our home study and would have only been approved to adopt healthy children.

Stepping in Faith and Obedience

This week, I email to our social worker the list of 19 special needs we feel we could parent. While we are still going to be approved to adopt healthy children, we are also going to be approved to parent children with certain special needs. What made our list? Probably different things than someone else who is adopting.

We still have uncertainties, but we know that the God who called us into adoption is with us every step of this amazing journey, leading us, guiding us, and providing the strength and wisdom we need. And believe me, we need God's strength and wisdom!


Don't think you could adopt a child with a medical or special need? Pray and ask God what His desire is for your life! The following resources may also help you with your decision. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

Snapshot from our Weekend!

This weekend, Andrew and I enjoyed a trip to our local international grocery store, which has a small Bulgarian section. What we purchased:

Seasoning Packets for soups, stews and even stuffed peppers! We tried the stuffed peppers for Sunday dinner yesterday and they were delicious! Can't wait to try the soups!

Pickled Vegetables, which I wasn't sure that I would like, but am quickly acquiring a taste for! The jar we got is pictured below - called a cocktail salad. It includes pickled cucumbers, carrots, and red peppers.
Pickled vegetable "salad" which is popular in Bulgaria!

Rose Hip Marmalade, which we decided we liked but not as well as Rose Hip Jelly, which we had bought last time.
What we bought last time and loved!