Yearly Archives: 2010

Her Inheritance

“And I want Mommy to have a baby in her belly,” I overheard her say as I was walking up the stairs this morning. I stopped in the hallway outside her room just long enough to hear “but sometimes it takes a long long time for babies to come. You have to pray and pray and pray. And wait.”

My daughter delivered a five year-old summary of her mommy’s life.

Nate had been talking with them about Zechariah and Elizabeth. And, to Eden, Elizabeth was another one of those women – like Sarah and Mary … or her mommy – whose story reminded her that pregnancy must come at the hands of a miraculous God.

I’d never told her I want to be pregnant.

She wasn’t my “second choice”, and I didn’t trust her young mind to later process my desire alongside of her own story with a healthy perspective. She was too young to catch wind of her Mommy’s pain.

The first time I remember her mentioning it was after a playgroup where all the women, but two of us, were pregnant. Children built towers, played instruments and read books around their mothers who shared life-stories. Naturally the topic of pregnancy came up. And my little one, who has not yet lost the hyper-vigilance that is a survival mechanism for many orphans, absorbed every word.

Later, in her prayers, she asked God to “send a baby to her mommy’s belly.”

It initially hurt my heart.

I’ve been preparing to field questions and observations about how our family is different for years. I just didn’t expect the first of them to be about my personal scarlet letter. I anticipated that she’d one day feel the pang of our skins’ different colors and her unique entrance into our family, but I didn’t suspect she’d have this other difference on her radar.

While the things that make our family different don’t seem to be a struggle for her now, they may one day become more than observations. I could call it maternal instinct that makes me want to protect her from every potential hurt, every pain. But my heavenly Father’s instincts were different.

His protection came not from avoiding that which would cause pain, but for offering His companionship as I walked through it. The valley of the shadow of death is land claimed by the Father. It is a holy place.

For me. And for my daughter.

At five, she has lived years I want to erase, but that God will redeem. And then, as one grafted in to this family, she has inherited new opportunities for pain.

But the ground I’ve taken in my life and heart, as it relates to processing my lack, doesn’t need to be won over, again, by her.

Her inheritance comes (from God) through me. She is my legacy. What I win in my lifetime — in terms of a hopeful perspective on all He has allowed and joy in the midst of “setback” — she gets to live out.

Her words to Nate this morning were not pain-filled. Sure, something in her – I’m not quite sure even why – wants her mommy to be like the other mommy’s with babies in their bellies. She longs, in the way a five year-old has capacity to. But what she has come to know as commonplace Christianity has taken me years to receive:

You don’t always get what you want, but in the face of delay, you pray and pray and pray. And wait. Sometimes for a long, long time.

And in the meantime you worship the One who holds beauty.

My highest aim as a parent is not to try and protect my children from all that might befall them, but to, instead, seek the healing touch of Jesus in every area of my own life, knowing that they will inherit what I leave behind. The “unfinished” will be theirs to finish or to pass along. And those ashes subjected to beauty, will remain their crown.

At five, Eden doesn’t wonder if God will still be who she believes Him to be if, next month, Mommy isn’t pregnant. “God is good, He is so so good to me,” she sings as her bare feet dangle from the potty.

Bracing myself against the hits I fear might come from the Father is a distant memory. After many years of having my soil tilled and turned, the ground is supple to receive the God of Hope.

And because of His great mercy in my life, to save me from my fearfully expectant heart, my daughter receives new land on which to plant.

My freedom won is her inheritance to build upon.

The fullness of God I pray almost daily for in my own life, isn’t just my platform for the next age. It’s hers too.

And her daughter’s.

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Sara Hagerty

Sara and her husband, Nate, have been married for nine years and brought home their two children from Ethiopia last year. They recently started the adoption process for two more from Uganda. They have a heart for prayer and to see people touched by the love of Jesus. What started as a blog chronicling the ups and downs of adoption has become a passion for Sara. You can read more of her musings on orphans, walking with God through pain and perplexity . . . and spinach juice at Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet.

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Beauty From Ashes

Ashes: The remains from something destroyed.

The enemy: Referred to as the “destroyer” {1 Cor. 10:10, Ps. 17:4, Job 15:21, Ex. 12:23}.

Sin: Leads to destruction/death {James 1:15, Romans, Due. 24:16}.

Many of us have seen first hand the effects the destroyer and sin have on children.

Their lives become mere ashes.

If you would have told me 5 years ago {when we first started adopting} just how far the destroyer would go to destroy children to ashes, I would not have believed you.

Now I know differently.

I understand the lengths the enemy will go.

I know that sin, even in the life of a child, truly will lead to destruction/death.

My heart has been broken.

I have read about {and experienced first-hand} 5 year olds in bondage to,

sexual sin
idolatry
thievery
deception.

I have watched as my own 5-year-old daughter attempted to eat out of a garbage heap {despite the fact that she has never known hunger}.

BUT.

We have a promise, mamas.

One that is much, much bigger than the plans of the destroyer.

One that breaks the bonds of sin.

JESUS.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and the opening of prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty from ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit, that they may be called the oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isa. 61:1-3

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The McCourtneys

Zane and Summer McCourtney met and married in 2001. They have been ministering in Uganda since 2004, first at a Bible college and church planting and now working with the unreached people in Northern Uganda, a region of the country devastated by 25 years of rebel war. They

She’s ours

Dear Mum, Dad, brothers and sisters:

I’m very happy to hear from you and receive your pictures. I love all the toys you send to me. Thank you Mum and Dad. Hope to see you soon as possible. I’ve been working hard with English. When we meet each other, we can make simple conversation.I hope to get a electronic dictionary which can help me to study English easily. I’ve been dreaming of becoming a member of your family and start a new life in the States. In the end, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Miss all of you, Mum, Dad, Brothers, Sisters.

I can’t even begin to tell you all the emotions I am feeling right now. The idea of this beautiful teenager living in my home. My daughter, who we don’t know. But, there is something about this adoption that goes beyond my understanding. The Lord bound us together; this is His plan.

I’m not foolish. I understand all the risks, all the issues that can occur. But, I see a joy in her that I did not see before. The first photos we saw early spring 2009, when we were still waiting for Asher to come home. She

This Christmas: An Advent Prayer

Lord, meet me, join me. Make my aim, Lord, this Advent to bring joy to you through the giving of myself–my time, my plans, my agenda–for you to use. My gift of myself to you must take priority over my gifts to my family and friends. After all, it is your birthday we are celebrating–not mine, not my children’s, not my husband’s, not my friends’–your birthday, Lord. Part of my gift to you is loving the people you have put in front of me–those who are easy to love and those who are not. I want to give you my response to lonely people around the world–the orphan, the widow, the ones who are all alone, the ones who others have passed by. But, I do not know how to respond. Forgive me when I do not take the opportunities you have put in front of me to do it. Help me, Lord, to be able to do it.

Keep at the front of my mind that the cleaning of my spiritual house must take priority over the cleaning of my physical one, that nourishing my family’s souls is more important than holiday meals, that encouraging peace and harmony in my home is more beautiful than twinkling lights. Remind me, Lord, that in-filling times alone with you must happen alongside outpouring times with others. Remind me, Lord, and enable me to act in obedience with that reminder.

May an awareness of your presence fill me every moment of my day so that rather than you being squeezed out of my busyness, I will be aware of you walking with me as my shepherd. You are the only one this Advent season who can help me find those ordinary yet amazing experiences of joy that you provide with such grace and mercy and love amongst all the responsibilities, pressures, and heartaches of this world.

Lord, meet me; join me; forgive me; enable me; remind me; be present with me; reveal yourself to me.
Amen.

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Kelly Raudenbush

Kelly is a stay-at-home mom/manager to 4 children–one of whom is celebrating her first Christmas home this year. She adapted this prayer from an anonymously written advent prayer she received at a women’s Bible Study that inspired her to take it and write one for herself. Though she’d love to spend more time writing, she is a part-time editor and part-time blog-surfing junkie, always on the lookout for good resources and essays to post on this site that are way better than what she could come up with. You can learn more about their adoption story as well as follow day-to-day life on their personal blog.

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This Christmas: To My Son

Dear Finley,
It’s that time of year again.

The stores are crowded with people and, when we go outside for walks, we have to layer you up. Your little self is still used to Ugandan weather and so, it’s taking a little getting used to, this take your breath away chill in the air. I bundle you in hats and coats and kiss your freezing cold cheeks as we run our errands. Baby on my hip. Smile on my face. You make me so happy, Finley. It takes a lot longer running errands with you, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Last year, I remember getting ready for Christmas and having a lump in my throat the whole time. Being on the edge of tears for reasons I couldn’t explain in a sentence. I would wrap a present and think of you. Make cookies and wonder where you were. What you were doing that very instant. What name we would name you when you were with us.

It was only a few days until Christmas and suddenly I realized I had to get you your first ornament. I felt like such a bad mommy that I hadn’t thought of it before. Even though you wouldn’t be physically with us that year, you were being carried in my heart. each. and. every. day.

And so, all of a sudden, I threw myself into searching. It’s all I could think about. I had to find you the perfect ornament. And, then, finally I found it.

This year, I didn’t even have to think about what to get you for your first year with us. It was there in front of me, and it was perfect. A little sailboat made out of fabric for the little man who came all the way from across oceans to be with us. Our beautiful little man. Our Finley Asiimwe.

A few days ago, we laid under the Christmas tree, and I taught you how to stare up at the pretty lights and ornaments like me and my daddy used to do.

And, even though your little, you marveled.

You would look at the tree, look at me, and put your little finger back in your mouth, content to just stare. Pressing our heads together, we laid size by side. My arm around you. Both of us staring up. Enchanted. Enjoying the simpleness of life. We laid there until it was your bedtime and I had to pull you away. I love making memories. And, even though you may be too young to remember it, that night will always be one of my favorites.

I am so thankful for you, Finley, and everything you bring to your daddy and my life. We couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present this year then you. We love you more then you know, little man, and I am so so happy and honored that God chose you to be our son. You are perfect to us in every single way.

I love you to the moon and back.

Mommy

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AbiQ

AbiQ, is married to the love of her life and best friend. They currently live in a snug little apartment in the east bay with their little man, Finley Asiimwe, and two pups, Lexi Louanne and Mr. Mogley Winchester. AbiQ and her husband man just brought their baby boy, Finn, home from Uganda last month.

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This Christmas: This is it…

Advent.

I grew up in a church in the south, but we never really celebrated advent. I mean, we went to Christmas parties. Our church read scripture about the birth of Christ. We sang all the songs. But, the word “advent” didn’t enter my lexicon until the past few years. Even now, I don’t really spend a lot of weeks or even days preparing for the celebration of the Messiah.

I do know what it’s like to wait. In August of 2009, Anna and I started the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. We had discussed this for years and finally took the definitive step forward. Since then, it’s been a process of waiting. Get this form turned in and wait. Have this notarized then wait. Pay this fee and wait. Make this phone call and wait.

We decorated the house for Christmas with a slight sadness because we have waited so long and Lucy still isn’t here yet. We had seen her face, but we didn’t even know when we’d be able to view it outside of a backlit computer screen. It was frustrating.

A week ago, we got a call from our agency that said we had a court date. We’re going to be in Ethiopia at the end of January, and we arrive at court on February 4th with the anticipation that she will be ours. So now, even though she’s not here yet, we celebrate Christmas with a joy that our lives are about to change forever. There will be new joys, new hopes, new life that enters our house. Maybe that’s what Advent is about. The anticipation of new joys and new hopes and new life.

After years and years of wait, the Hebrew people got the Messiah they had been promised. All of humanity was given the Savior of the world. He didn’t come in a way that they expected. But, when he did come, all was right with the world. God never shows up the way we want him to. He always messes with our sense of expectation. For a while, I thought he was some cosmic bully, just letting us know that he’s in charge. I’m starting to see that God messes with our expectations because he wants us to know that if we take control of our lives, it just doesn’t work out as well. When he takes control, he blows our expectations out of the water. He lets us see just how small our plans are.

So, this year, I will celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. I will celebrate knowing that God knew this Christmas would be my last as a nonparent. I will celebrate because God has an enormous plan for the eventual redemption of the world, and I am a small part of it. I will celebrate because he knows what he’s doing, even when I don’t.

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Russ Polsgrove

Russ and Anna have been married for 5 years. Even as friends, before dating or marriage, they shared with one another that they each wanted to adopt. After marrying in May 2005, talk of adoption slowly entered its way into their conversations. Russ, working as a youth pastor, and Anna, working as a teacher and at a girl’s group home, saw the need more than ever for children to have loving, safe homes. After coming to this realization, they chose to begin the adoption process to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. They will travel to Ethiopia at the end of January to meet Lucy and eventually bring her home. They are so excited about their story of choosing adoption to bring their first child home. You can follow their journey on their personal blog.

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