Psalm: 90:09- We spend our years as a tale that is told

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Torn in Two

     I have not had much time to blog this past summer but the long and short of it is we have had an overall blessed transition. As we set boundaries we are dealing with some expected behavioral issues with Talia as well as some sibling rivalry issues with Harper. Even when the days are long I feel really blessed that God has entrusted us to care for  these two precious little girls. Talia's adjustment into our lives has almost been too easy and with that well I go back to the verse that first brought us to Talia. "For those that have been given much, much is required in return" (Luke:12:48). I had that as my Facebook status the day we received Talia's file a little over a year ago. You would not believe how many sweet and concerned friends messaged me or  to see if I was okay.  Little did everyone know we were given Talia's file and that our lives were about to be blown apart in a very big and amazing way that only God himself could have orchestrated. I know many people, like myself not so long ago, thought of the words "given much" in terms of financial security, properties, cars, 401K's, stocks, loaded emergency funds,  etc. The verse has more to do with being good stewards with all the blessings bestowed upon us then financial security in today's society. That is something we created, not God. We all have been given much, whether God has blessed you with a bigger portion of His money or with many gifts from the Holy Spirit it is just how we decide to use it and are we doing it in a cheerful manner set forth by the Lord. We are accountable for our resources, knowledge, abilities that He has given us so in return He asks us to follow Him and do everything through Him (notice I didn't say through us!)

    In Talia's adoption we were clearly called to be her parents and He clearly chose to heal her heart to bring Him glory. He literally shined through our daughter in such a miraculous way! Sometimes what God is asking us to do is not so clear. In fact, we may think that we are walking the right path with Him and then all of a sudden the carpet is pulled out underneath of us and we say, "What Lord? What was that for?" As my dear friend told me sometimes events in our lives or circumstances presented to us are tests. Yes, tests! Something that is so good can actually be bad and the closer you get to Jesus the more He will ask you to walk a little faster and keep up with His ways. Now I hope I am not losing all of you already! I was right where many of you were a few years ago. Sure I believed in God and yes I believed Jesus died for us but I was nowhere living the life of a follower...nothing in my life pointed to, "Yes I am a child of God" and "Yes He is living through me daily in every decision" and "Yes I will follow Him no matter the cost". So my personal relationship with Christ grew by leaps in bounds when we took Talia's file and we let Him ride the course of our lives and boy did His provision come through!  I don't think I will ever experience a year like that again! As we became more open and shared our story the clearer it became why He chose us to be her parents.

   Anyone that is friends with me knows I live for adoption stories. I advocate for aging out or hard to place children. I am huge proponent for adoption and helping the children that are left behind and where ever I go I talk about the plight of orphans around the world and the care they are receiving in orphanages. The poor mailman has literally left with an adoption packet! It is just my way of educating others about orphans because as David Platt says it is easy for forget about them! So you would think I would tell everyone that they need to adopt (okay sometimes I try! ha!) However I have become increasingly aware that not everyone is called to actually bring home a child not born from their belly. I use to think wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone adopted? Well honestly although a wonderful thought that would not really solve the root of the orphan crisis. We live in a fallen world where there will always be orphans. There will always be someone needing our help. Some people are called to adopt, some people are called to financially support children coming home and some people are called to sponsor children. No matter the act I believe we are all called to pray and help orphans. At first that was a hard pill to swallow why would someone not want to adopt a child that needs life saving surgery?  I guess because I always wanted to adopt it seemed like everyone else would want to help a child in need, right? Well what I have come to realize in my little world is that even when we have the best interests at heart it may just not be right even though that child needs a warm bed at night and a blanket to sleep with. But I know my blog followers will say " But Mary Jane you jumped out when the timing was not right, you jumped out when you had no money to adopt and you jumped out when nothing made sense medically in her file, in fact it sounded horrific"! And my answer is "Yes" to everything it didn't seem right at all but there was such a strong conviction that this was my daughter and God left no margin of error on our decision. He really made the decision for us. So it was more then just jumping out in faith and it was more then saving a child's life. 

   We get asked a lot of questions...there is probably a top ten list of questions we get over and over again so I plan on tackling them one by one in a separate post. Here is the main one from adoptive parents: "How do I know if this child is mine or if I am being called to adopt?" It just so happens this past week we were face to face with a picture of a child that we thought could be ours ( I know take a deep breath Talia has only been here 2 months!) Let's just say in the past I have seen what it looks like when a person is suppose to leap out in faith and when a person is not. It looks very different and the outcomes are very different. In fact, they can be devastating, That is why if you are believer you need to ask the Lord to help guide you in your decisions. He wants to be a part of them just let Him in. 

    A few weeks ago I heard about China's new living relative program. Before this program children were not able to be adopted if they had a living relative but now if the parents relinquish their rights the child gets placed in a social welfare institute and can get placed on an adoption list. My Facebook friends will attest that I do post many pictures and profiles of children that need their forever families to come forward. I pray over each one and never have I ever been attached to a picture as I was of this one beautiful young lady named Candice. Candice's father can no longer care for her as he is disabled due to a traffic accident and her mother is no longer present in her life so he placed her for adoption this year. She is 12 1/2 years old and will age out of the system at age 14. I knew there would be a lot of inquiries about her and when I heard she was matched with a family I was delighted! And then last Friday I was told that the family adopting her backed out and she was available again. For some reason my heart sunk for her and Todd and I prayed and kept her in our intentions throughout the weekend. It was like I could picture her in every errand I ran last weekend. It was all I was consumed thinking about. So many things were running through my mind. Was God calling us again? And why does He keep calling us so soon after every adoption? And how in the world did He think I could handle parenting a 12 year old? I know nothing about that age group except for what I went through in middle school! I went from one extreme to the next she wouldn't like it here, our house is too small, she will want privacy, she will dislike being the only older child around, our girls won't like her, etc. I spun it around and around and around and then I saw the video of her and heard her voice and I cried. So angelic and the course of our lives was about to change once again. We were actually considering her! My 10% chance of her being ours quickly jumped to 60%! I should preface this and tell you that Talia's baptism was this past weekend and as I wrestled over this decision my parents were in town, my brother and my best friends. All people that I could have talked this over with and confessed our big secret but I didn't want anyone else's voice. I wanted to hear the Lord's voice because at the end of this life it doesn't matter what others thought of our decisions. I am more concerned with what He thinks of how I answered his calling for me. I woke up the day of Talia's Baptism and as I got ready I think I had my revelation in the shower. You see this was all starting to look very much like how we got Talia's file. Things just fell into place, I could picture her here, I could see my future with her. We were open and willing to bring her home. Another older child from the same orphanage in the same video was being adopted by our new friends right down the road. What are the chances of that? Everything pointed to having her here!  I felt like I could not go on another day without her but something in my told me to stop and just let Him speak to me. That is always everyone's advice and I never understood what firm Christian believers meant when they would say, "Chat with God. Listen to His voice. Find Him in your decision". First off, how can I chat with God? Is he really going to answer me? With Talia's file it was crystal clear with a date this time there was no date so that didn't help matters. I have to tell you it is SO VERY HARD to find God's voice in the constant chatter of this world. Nothing points to Him. It all points to us and what we want. It was at that moment I begin to think how selfish I was. This child needed a home and I could be a wonderful mother to her but I didn't like how it looked. I wanted her to have her own place to hang out with friends, a bigger house to give her privacy, a Suburban so that I could fit her and all her friends, a bank account that would allow us to give her anything she wanted and so deserved right? (side note here no offense to those that drive Suburbans-you know what I mean it could be any car). I didn't like how it looked because that is not how I pictured my life. It didn't add up to what I wanted and I felt she deserved so much more then what I could provide her with. I was weeping, weeping from the despair of wanting her so bad like I had wanted so many external things in this life. I spent my first 34 years being selfish is that how I really wanted to spend the next 34 years?  Even if this adoption through off the course of what I had planned for our lives? I wanted to break free from it all! EVERYTHING! The torment and the anguish and the remorse I felt as the water streamed down my face. I was ripped apart and the layers peeled off of me like an onion...and God was rocking me to my core!  So in the shower I made the decision okay Todd and I need to sit down and fill out that Letter of Intent it doesn't look right but this is the right thing to do and she is ours! Amen! 

Wrong!!! Totally wrong! 

A minute after that revelation it hit me like a ton of bricks literally my head hurt and the Holy Spirit was just moving inside me.  I realized I wanted her. I wanted her to be my daughter in the worst way. I loved her and did not want anyone else to submit that Letter of Intent until I did. I was weeping, weeping from the despair of wanting her so bad to be my daughter and for it to look different. I wanted, what I wanted and I wanted it now! I was always a firm believer in you want something then go out after it. The world is yours...well did that sure slap me in the face! When I laid out my intentions to the Lord I asked for discernment and clarity and for Him to be clear. It seems the decision was never clear until that moment when I realized I wanted her and I once again was being selfish. He knew how bad I would want her and He asked me to follow and trust His plan for her not mine. My way although seemingly good as I would be bringing home a child that so deserves a home is bad because it was me, not Him. I think this is so important to realize especially for people that have adopted. We long to help the children that are waiting. But to those that have not adopted this pertains to you as well.  I pray for you all in your daily lives to try to clear the chatter and clutter and try to find Him. There are so many things society says we need or must have because we work hard and deserve it right? We fool ourselves into to thinking this instead get lost in what He has in store for you and your life. It will be so much more fulfilling then you ever imagined. It will no doubt be a harder walk but in eternity is where your soul will lie with Him and that is better then anything that this world has created. 

    My heart ripped was torn in two that day and as I celebrated Talia's baptism in my mind I wondered if Candice will ever come to know the Lord and surrender her life to Him? Will show know the real love of a family? A family that sticks together no matter how tough things get. A family that does not break apart due to a fallen world and its lies. A family that can love on her and handle all the grief and loneliness that she will no doubt experience. Will you pray for her and for her family to come forward soon. At this point I do not believe it is us so I am letting her go even though every ounce of me wants to hang on to her. She has already made her mark on our lives and for whatever reason she took my heart and maybe God is preparing us for something else or maybe He was testing me to see if I was going to be obedient or only follow Him so far. In the meantime I pray for the desires of His heart to be in my heart because His ways are not my ways and I long for them to be. We do not have a dime to start the adoption for Candice but we have one room left in our house and for us that was enough. It wasn't the finances that stopped us for Candice or the crazy looks or concerns that our family and friends would give us when we said we were adopting a 12 year old it was the fact that God has asked me quite clearly to be one of His sheep and to listen to His voice, not mine. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)

    I know this post was pretty personal but I live my life openly. I think that is one of my gifts and so I want to share what I have experienced in hopes it answers the question: "How do I know when God is calling me to do something vs. me wanting to do something?" Seek His voice. I bought a new bible the other day and guess what verse I read as soon as I opened it up. "All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6).

    I am going to do my very best to advocate for her and see if she comes back to us or goes to the family that God intended to be hers. Here is her sweet and beautiful face and she is with Living Hope on their individual list. I do not want to ever see her on an aging out list. She has a year and a half before she ages out and Living Hope has promised a fast time frame to her even if you are starting from scratch on a dossier. Are you her forever family? Please strongly consider praying with your spouse about lovely Candice. 


15 comments:

  1. I WILL pray for her Mary Jane and for you and your bravery and honesty!!! I applaud them all

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  2. MaryJane this is a great post, so so true, love it. Candice...she is gorgeous.

    When we were waiting to know who our waiting daughter was, to get a referral and put a face to who we were journeying to, I absolutely fell in love with the sweetest little girl and it was agony. In the end she went to the family God had chosen for her and God showed me that the purpose of her being put in my path was so that I could pray for her, I stayed awake many nights praying that she would be ours, but most of all that she would be put in a family, a family that would bring her to Him, and He did, she is home now in America with a Christian family. He also used the experience to open me up to and break my heart for her "special need", one that I didnt even know existed and now found myself open to. Just the same as your blog and your two beautiful daughter's stories have opened me up to waiting children with those "special needs". Your journey to Talia has brought me closer to my Saviour and strengthened my faith. God bless you and your family. xoxo

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  3. Candice is amazing. Praying for her. Thanks for the awesome real post. I just wrote a similar one yesterday.

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  4. Candice made a last impression on our family as well! We will pray and see where the Lord leads. Do you know if she is considered special focus? No one has been able to tell me.

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    1. Is she special focus because of her age?

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  5. We, too, live in Charlotte, NC. We have felt God asking us to adopt for about 5 years now. We were ready to start a homestudy to adopt an 8 year old and a 5 year old when my husband sudenly lost his job of 21 years. Thus, we are in the waiting mode---waiting for God to show my husband where he wants him to be to be the provider of our family. IN the meantime, my dear sweet mother suddenly passed away, providing for us to pay our bills while we wait on God , and making it possible to pay for the adoption. We just need God to lead us to that full time position to continue. THe other 2 girls have since disappeared, and I pray that they were adopted. When we saw Candice, we STRONGLY considered adopting her, only to quickly hear that another family was moving forward. We were saddened. There is an 8 year old with a blood disorder that we are also hoping to adopt, but would like to adopt 2 at once. Until we saw Candice, we had never considered anyone older than our 10 year old......just 2 kids younger. However, we still would like to adopt Candice, as long as God leads us to a permanent job quickly. Perhaps my husband losing his job was to give us time to consider adopting an older girl. I don't know. PLEASE keep me posted on anything you learn about her, including if a family is pursuing her. I would like to follow her COMING HOME even if its not to us. (incidentally, my 21 year old son is courting a Candace). (My boys are 21 and 18, girls are 15, and almost 11).
    Suzanne smartinnc@gmail.com

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    1. I got your facebook message. It seems many of us were in the same boat as you wondering if God was calling us to her. I think God is surely preparing her family's hearts and minds right now and He knows just who she belongs with. I will pray for your husband to find a permanent job and I pray God leads you to your daughters. He is in the business of changing our minds of what a family truly means!

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  6. Is she special focus because of her age, what else do you know about her?

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    1. Anonymous I can not share her file but if you write to Living Hope Agency they will share with you if she is not matched yet. They only allow 2 families at a time to view her file. She is special focus because she is part of her China's new living relative program. She has no medical needs and is healthy but there will no doubt be a long road for her ahead as she transitions into a new family.

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  7. You need to examine whether God is calling you or you are just on an adoption high and getting addicted to it. This is easy to have happen and it is also the cause of many families who irresponsibly adopt too soon or adopt an age they have no experience with and it results in families torn apart and disrupted adoptions.

    Be a good steward to the blessings He has given you and take care of your 2 girls 1st. From what I have seen I think you have more attachment issues with Talia than you think. A seemly too smooth transition is a big red flag for a child who doe snot know how to attach but just knows how to go with the flow very well.

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    1. Dear Anonymous, I totally can see where you are coming from and from your wording I will assume you have adopted as well. "Adoption high's" and post adoption depression are very real feelings and experiences and although I have never experienced post adoption depression I have experienced adoption high's. The first 7 weeks home with Harper I had such a huge longing to go back to China. I wanted to be back and be present in her birth country. I actually missed China! When we returned home there were so many emotions and thoughts running through our heads. However, with Talia's adoption not one ounce of me had that high. This time I had two "darling" toddlers running circles around me and calling me "Mommy or Mama" around the clock...ha! I am guessing I also did not have that high because I did not travel to China this time-only my husband did! I totally agree with you that many disruptions in the adoption world do occur but that may not be due to them adopting too soon or adopting an age that they never parented. I am not going to assume why disruptions happen and my heart goes out to every family that has to go through that type of heartache. I do not think adopting any child should be a decision made recklessly, fast or because you feel sorry for them. I think I made it clear (I hope) in my post that if God clearly asked us to adopt Candice and submit LOI we would have and in doing so we would have been good stewards to Harper and Talia as well as honoring and obeying God's call for our lives. To me that is what it means to follow God and to put our needs and worries aside. We can be realistic and say that the walk would have been hard but I firmly believe that He would have covered Harper and Talia and us in any transitions and hard times that would have surely come with the addition of an older child. I do not believe I mentioned anywhere in my posts that Talia is attached to us. Is she bonded? Yes definitely but we are far from her being "attached. Some therapists believe that you take half the child's age when you adopt them and that is how long it takes for a child to become attached others say take the age you adopted and double it. So in that case Talia would be 6 before she was attached to us. I appreciate you sharing your opinion but considering you signed yourself anonymous I am not sure how much of my "real life" you have seen with me and my girls. Talia is definitely not a go with the flow girl. I am very transparent about that especially with my daily postings on Facebook when I don't have time to blog. She is a fighter and thank the Lord she is because she would not be alive otherwise. As we set boundaries we are surely seeing institutionalized behaviors that have come from her first year of life in the orphanage. It is heartbreaking but we know the Lord can heal her and we can show her the correct ways on how to react to new situations and rules with in our family. I am very real about how hard adoption is and I will be the first one to stand up and say I could not get through my days without the Lord, my loving husband and the amazing support of friends-via online and offline!

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  8. I received some amazing news this morning. Please share in a prayer of Thanksgiving with me-Candice's forever family has stepped forward! Prayer and advocating works! Living Hope will be receiving more files this fall for the living relative program and I plan on advocating for those children as well. Should you have any questions as always e-mail or message me. I am so blessed to have such an amazing network of friends. The support, comments and sweet messages you all had sent me were not needed but so appreciated. Last night as Todd and I were falling asleep he whispered to me "I can totally see Candice here with us" and I replied "but God can not!" so pray for our hearts and minds as well as the announcement of her family is bittersweet for us.

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  9. Big hugs to you, my dear. Thanks for your honesty with your whole process.

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  10. Yeah for Candice! Your girls are lovely and it will get easier! Being a parent is tough, but so worth it! I guess all good things come with a price don't they.

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