Praying With Expectation

Before I share what God has been teaching me this past week, I want to take a minute to thank everyone who participated and shared this year's Passion Into Action campaign. I cannot wait to share how many t-shirts were purchased, which non-profit organization won, and how much money we will be able to donate to them this year thanks to all of you! The shirts will be shipped to us in the next week or so, and once we sort, package, and ship them out, I will have the exact total of our donation. If you did not have a chance to purchase our shirts but still want to participate, check out Forget The Frock for their great design. All of their proceeds benefit Feeding The Orphans!

Off we go!

Last August many of my adoptive momma friends and I stayed up until midnight to register for the the Created For Care Retreat at Lake Lanier, Georgia. Since that night, I have looked forward to this special weekend with friends. One of my dearest friends, Dalia, came with me this year, and we planned to make the 9 hour drive to Lake Lanier together Thursday morning on March 5th. As luck would have it, a winter storm came through the South on Wednesday and continued overnight. Dalia and I left that morning an hour later, hoping that the roads would be clear by the time we reached Kentucky. For two hours we drove through Indiana without much trouble at all, though we saw several vehicles on the side of the road. After we reached Louisville, we were cruising along without any trouble when all of the sudden, we came to a screeching halt.

And we stayed there.

For 3 hours.

Our 9 hour drive slipped through our fingers. For the first hour, I was convinced we would start moving before too long. We snacked on an interesting combination of kale chips and donuts. The second hour, we learned the cause of our standstill. Over 200 semi trucks were blocking our path, as they could not get up nor down a huge hill just south of us. People had spent the entire nights in their cars. Dalia and I decided that a quick work out on the side of the highway was appropriate and laughed as we got burned some calories to T25. During the third hour, we found out that the National Guard was coming to help motorists. Dalia and I were sitting in the middle seats of my minivan watching The Help. All the while, I was grumbling internally because I knew this delay would prevent us from having time with my friends in Georgia that evening.

Post work-out

Then, it hit me. We had been sitting there for 3 hours, and I hadn't even asked God to help us. Has that ever happened to you? You stew about a problem and complain to yourself (and maybe to others), but you never ask God to help you solve it? That was totally me. So I finally prayed, "God, please just make a path for us. We will follow. Just make a path." At nearly the exact same moment, about a dozen cars went barreling down the right shoulder, making a path through the deep snow. Dalia got out of the car to see where they were going. We knew our exit was a half mile up the road, and that exit would pave the way across Kentucky, leading us to I-75. Dalia came back and said that they were getting through somehow. I then joined her, walking to the right shoulder, and sure enough, the cars hadn't gotten stuck. We talked the driver in the right lane, and that person immediately took off. Then, we told each of the three cars in front of us, and they also took off, following the path on the right shoulder. We jumped in my minivan and could not believe it as we passed dozens upon dozens upon dozens of vehicles, just sitting on that highway, one behind the other, with an open exit next to them. We made it to the exit and praised God that He had answered our prayers! I told Dalia, I felt like He was saying, "Amy, just ask me. I am right here."

South bound lane of I-65

We finally reached our cabin just before midnight, 15 hours after we left home. The weekend at C4C with so many wonderful friends was so good for my soul. Saturday night at dinner, I was sitting with my sweet friend, Lauren, and I told her, "I just want to hear This Is Amazing Grace during worship tonight. I loved that song the previous year, and I just my soul just needs it." I felt that nudge again, "Just ask me," so I did. About 30 minutes later, we got together in the main conference room, all 450 women whose hearts bleed for the fatherless. I can't remember now if it was the very first song or the second one, but you should have seen my face when I heard those first four notes and started singing This Is Amazing Grace at the top of my lungs! Once again I smiled and thought, "Just ask." I experienced this most intense, beautiful Kol d'mama de Kah during that song. I never wanted it to end!

Lauren and me at dinner
Earlier that day I had attended a session called Date With God. I blogged quite about a bit about DWG after attending C4C last year and was excited to see what God would show me this year. When I sat down to journal, and this is part of what I wrote.

Show me. Teach me. See me. I am here. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing me through the loss, the grief, the storm, the doubt, the hurt, the attack. I stand a year later and rejoice. I celebrate all you have done. I see the fruit that fell from my shaken tree. I trust you. My faith is so much stronger than before. Lord, I love this precious one in China. He is ours and is the one you called us forth to bring home. I want to know him. I know the plans you have for me. Plans to prosper me, my family, and Ty. Help us deepen our roots in your solid ground. Let us stand firm and rejoice where you have brought us AND where you are taking us. 

After journaling and praying a bit longer, I made my way over to the world map. I looked at the tiny peninsula where Tyson lives, put my hand over China, and allowed myself to feel him. Really feel my son who at that moment was sleeping in an orphanage across the world.

You see, we have walked this road before. I know what it is like to yearn and long for a child so far away. I remember all too well the days spent playing at the park or swimming at the pool, not really present because my heart was in China. I will never forget the desperation I felt, the urgency in my heart, to bring Tucker home during that 132 day wait for LOA.

I promised myself that I would not live like that again during this adoption. I would use my effort to pray for Tyson's protection, nutrition, safety, and love rather than despair in heartache. I would enjoy every single moment with my family until Tyson came home, trusting that my Father would bring him home in His perfect timing. We had experienced the fulfillment of God's promises during Tucker's adoption, and my faith had been strengthened during our wait, giving me the knowledge and confidence that Tyson will come home, too.

Just like last time, I watched as families progressed through steps of the adoption process while our family's case stood still. On December 9, 2014, our dossier (i.e., a large packet of information about our family) was logged into China's database. On December 22, 2014, just 13 days later, we received word that our dossier was Out of Translation. We then received Tyson's file, submitted our Letter of Intent to adopt him on January 15, 2015, and received PreApproval the very next day. Such an exciting day for our family! On the flip side, a review of our dossier was not taking place. We were at a stand still. January and February passed by without any movement. On a few occasions, I felt frustrated seeing others move ahead while we stayed in the same place. This opportunity for fear to creep in was quickly squashed with my faith. I chose to trust the Lord and His timing. This is the fruit of our labor from Tucker's adoption.

With that said, putting my hand on that map of China during my Date With God, closing my eyes and imagining my son lying in a crib inside an orphanage...the tears just fell. They streamed and poured to the floor, and I shared my heart with God. During that time, I told the Lord that I was ready. Ready to move forward, meet my son, and bring him home. I let myself feel my little boy across the world, feel his absence here and his presence there. The tears continued to fall. It was such a sweet moment and made me feel long to hold my baby boy.

Coming home from C4C, I felt not only celebratory for all God has brought us through this past year, but I felt ready to move forward in His calling on our lives. On Wednesday night I went to sleep, and for the first time and with a pure heart, I prayed that God would grant us our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) so that we could move forward in this adoption process. Thursday morning (March 12th), I woke up and felt such a strong desire for Tyson to come home. I posted on Facebook my first prayer request for LOA:

Today I would really love your prayers for movement in our adoption process! We have been waiting for our LOA again for quite awhile. Our dossier was translated on 12/22/14, but it hasn't been processed any further yet. Once we receive LOA, we should travel within 2 to 3 months. I am very ready to bring my son home! Thank you for your prayers!!

I also emailed my social worker and asked if she had heard an update. Around noon, I received an email from my social worker that said, 

Hey Amy, 
No new news today. I will continue to try and find out about your dossier and also your update. I know it is difficult to wait and I have noticed how peaceful you are. I will keep in touch and hopefully we will hear something soon.

I felt a wave of despair. Something had to be wrong. During Tuck's adoption, we got logged into the "old" database, and our information didn't transfer to the "new" database, which caused our very long wait for LOA. China had just updated their database over the New Year, so that previous experience made me wonder if this had indeed happened again. Were we stuck in the old database??

Several people had already left comments saying that they would pray, and one adoptive momma friend shared that she had been awake at 2:30 a.m. praying for our family. I hadn't asked for those prayers, but she was praying nonetheless while I slept. I can't think of a better way to love on our family than to pray for us!

I called my social worker, and as soon as she answered, I started telling her that I felt like something was wrong...that we were stuck in the old database again. While I took a quick breath, she said something to the effect of, "Amy, when I got to work, I checked the database, and your case is in the Match/Review phase." 


Were our prayers truly answered the night I prayed and before we had even asked everyone for them? While we were sleeping, and likely while my friend was interceding on our behalf at 2:30 a.m., officials in China had reviewed our dossier! I later learned that our dossier was actually through the Match/Review process, which means that our LOA has been issued!

I cannot explain the relief, the joy, and the celebration I felt and continue to feel days later. We went from standing completely still for nearly 3 months to leaping ahead to LOA. Praise God!!! 

Friday night and Saturday morning, I found myself rushing to fill out our next round of paperwork. I double and triple checked every letter and box and started printing everything. Of course, with only an hour to spare, I ran out of printer ink! I rushed to Target, purchased new ink, drove home, printed the documents, addressed an envelope, rushed to the Post Office, and overnighted everything to our adoption agency. They should receive it Monday by 3:00 p.m. 

Why did I bother rushing to overnight it when it could take a week or two to arrive? Because I am praying with great expectation for God to bring our LOA to our agency Monday. This past week, He has shown me 3 different times to just ask. He is a loving Father, and He delights in us. The Lord answered our prayers for LOA before we even requested them from all of you! He knew the intentions of my heart, and it wasn't until that Wednesday night that my heart was ready to move forward for the right reasons - because I want to bring my son home - versus the wrong reasons (other people are moving forward...why not us?). 

As our pastor recently said that our faith should be shown in our expectations and our actions. I am believing with great faith that God has the power to bring our LOA on Monday, and so my actions reflected my faith by rushing to complete that paperwork and overnighting it to our agency. Tomorrow is Monday, friends! Please join me in praying that this very special documents arrives at our agency, and we can move forward in requesting Tyson's immigration to the US. 

"...'According to your faith let it be done to you.'" (Matthew 9:29)

1 comment:

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

First I have to say it was so great to meet you and I am so happy for your family that you are going back to China. I pray the next few steps will go quickly.

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