Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Goodbye, November

Our Thanksgiving with Cousins in Birmingham
I can’t handle being in limbo much longer.

Our social worker gave us a rough guideline weeks ago… she said that if we don’t have adoption news by December 1, then we probably won’t get Amelia in 2010. So I guess I will know by 11:00 today whether we’ll get Amelia this year. If all is silent today – and silence seems to be the theme lately – then I can have a major cry and then wrap my mind around at least another month or two of painful silence as our baby girl grows older by the day.

If I'm being completely honest, I won’t let hope go for at least another week. December 1 was only a rough guideline, and I’m not good at letting go. This is my daughter we’re talking about. I have to believe we could hold her soon.

Your prayers are appreciated.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent

It is Advent Season.

Advent. To tell you the truth, I’d never paid much attention to it. Until this year. Amelia is teaching me about Advent.

Advent is about waiting. It is about anticipation. Until recently, I’ve always found it difficult to “anticipate” Christmas day in a religious sense. I can anticipate it for the fact that we see family, or seeing Caroline’s face light up at the wonder of Santa. You have to admit that Christmas as we know it is pretty magical, even for those who only celebrate it in a secular sense. So call me a heathen, but my anticipation of Christmas hardly differed at all from that of someone who is not a Christian.

But lately, I have begun to understand how believers felt 2,000 years ago as they clung to a promise without understanding when or how it would be fulfilled. As my heart aches to be united to my daughter, ancient believers’ hearts must have ached as the promised Messiah did not come for hundreds of years. I can understand how their faith must have been tested; God strengthened them and helped them continue to believe – even when it appeared as though He had stopped working.

And finally, when they least expected it, and in the least likely way, their Savior came. After all of that talk of Rulers and Kingdoms and Princes, a low class infant was born in a barn. Jesus spent thirty years as a carpenter before He really began to show the world who He was. Our promised daughter will also come to us, but it will only be a dim reflection of the greatest Promise ever fulfilled.

So here I am… welcoming Advent during my own season of waiting. I now know what it is to wait on God. I now know how it feels to cling to a promise without having its fulfillment in sight. My wait for Amelia helps me wait for Jesus. On Christmas Day, regardless of where we stand with our adoption, my heart will rejoice that the greatest Promise of all was finally fulfilled at the perfect time… through the birth of our Savior. And while my heart still aches for some smaller (baby girl) promises to be fulfilled here on earth, I realize that my greatest anticipation should be for Jesus’ return.

Come Jesus, come.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

AW Tozer on Thankfulness

"Now as a cure for the sour, faultfinding attitude I recommend the cultivation of the habit of thankfulness.  Thanksgiving has great curative power. The heart that is constantly overflowing with gratitude will be safe from those attacks of resentfulness and gloom that bother so many.  A thankful heart cannot be cynical."
Wishing you a day full of thankfulness!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Parade Day

The only thing better than going to a parade would be going with your little sister. Next time, sweet Caroline!



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lyrics


Oh no, here comes that sun again
It means another day without you my friend
-  Ben Harper

I will think of you each time I see the sun
Didn't want a day without you
But somehow I've lived through another one.
-   Brooke Fraser




Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday

5am here, 2pm in Uganda: My heart begins to race as a realize that those working on our behalf in Uganda are perhaps making progress at that moment! I whisper a constant prayer through my morning routine.

11am here, 8pm in Uganda: My heart sinks. If our Ugandan contacts knew something, they would’ve contacted us by now. It is closer to their bedtime than to their work time. Another day with no news.

2pm here, 11pm in Uganda: I am trying to reawaken my hope and prepare to give my happiest self to Caroline and Brad. I think about my weekend… filled with friends and preparations to get our home ready for Amelia and Christmas visitors. Life is good here. We are blessed. I ache for Amelia, but we ARE blessed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wishing for Amelia...

Clinging to Hebrews 11, the "faith hall of fame". I love verse 1, and cannot decide whether verse 13 encourages or terrifies me. I think it's one of those verses you have to "grow into" as a Christian... praying to get there!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 
Hebrews 11:1
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 11:11

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pins & Needles

Every time the phone rings, I pray it’s our agency.

Every morning at 11am, I get a pit in my stomach – because it seems like news from Uganda usually comes during our mornings, or not at all. If we don’t get a morning phone call, I try to emotionally call it a day and pray that there is more news tomorrow. It’s not healthy to watch the phone all day long!

It has been two days since our “Ugandan Wednesday” day of fasting and prayer, and we have not heard a peep of news regarding our family’s status. I have rarely prayed so hard in my life as I have been praying this week. God is sweet to draw us near to Him in the midst of our longings for Amelia.

Time is running out. If we don’t hear anything in the next week or so, then I’m not sure that our Christmas prayers will be answered in the way that we’re hoping.

No matter what happens, we will praise God. I mean that. He is so good… He is so loving. I may have an emotional breakdown if we don’t get to Amelia soon – I admit it. But I am sure God will pick me right back up, speak love to my heart and pour strength into my soul.

He will either lavishly gift us with the ability to fly to her now, or He will compassionately sustain us and strengthen us for more waiting. Whatever He does, He does out of love. Out of power. Out of wisdom.

The desire of our hearts is to get to our daughter. We offer that up to God with all of our hearts, and we trust whatever He does with our requests. Please keep praying!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No News, Keep Praying

Thank you so much if you have been praying and/or fasting for us to get to Amelia this December. We have no news to report yet. Of our friends who are also in the same Uganda process, one recieved great news yesterday, while one recieved another delay. It was a day of rejoicing and hurting for families we have been praying for.

We have no idea what any of this means for our family, but we are praying with great hope and expectation. I don't know what God's will is for timing. We will certainly trust Him and praise Him regardless of if we get our way. Our hope is that these desires of our heart come directly from Him, and that He is about to work a miracle and bring us to Amelia in a few more weeks!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This Ugandan Wednesday! (starting today!)

Wednesday is a big day for us. It could be a critical day in whether we receive the miracle of holding our baby girl in 2010. We are asking friends and family to fast with us from 3pm CST today through 3pm CST tomorrow… this is a full Ugandan Wednesday. There are many kinds of fasts and a many things you can fast – not just food. We aren’t even sure yet what or how we will fast during this time! Please take part in whatever way you can!

Fasting is such a powerful way to confess to God that, just as we rely on Him more than even food or whatever else we may chose to fast, we also rely on Him ALONE to bring home Amelia… more than on agencies, or documents, or lawyers, or anything else. We know that fasting is meant to be private, but we are desperate for other believers to join us. If God is going to work a miracle, I want MANY to be involved and be in awe of His love and power when we finally hold Amelia.

Eight amazing friends threw Amelia a baby shower on Sunday. It was a beautiful expression of love for our girl, which I plan to write about in full soon.  After the shower, I felt like I did after Caroline’s showers… full-term pregnant, and excited that the end is near. Move, Jesus, and let us go to our sweet Amelia soon!

Monday, November 15, 2010

HUGE NEWS!

HUGE ADOPTION NEWS!
I've never wanted my blog to go private, but I also try to be mindful of what I write since we're dealing with adoption, which in many ways is a legal issue. 

Here is all you need to know. GOD IS MOVING! In power, and in might, He is moving. We are asking for miracles... we are working in a tiny window of time, and we want God to show off within that tiny window. Sure, we want His will... but I am starting to think that a MIRACLE is on His agenda!

If you want to know details, and if you want to be a part of the miracle by storming heaven in prayers and fasting with us, PLEASE email me and I'll give you specific prayer requests. I feel sure that God is about to show off. You will be blessed to be a part of it through prayer!
rachelgoode1@gmail.com

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chaco's

I have never been earthy in my life. I have always wanted to be, but if you know me, then you maybe just laughed at the idea. I don't even pull off the LOOK of earthy.

Well look out world, because my mom gifted me with some extremely nice shoes, (Chaco's,)  for Uganda. I love them. I may learn to pull off "earthy" after all! :-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two Words for You

I have two words for you...

...
...
...

December.
January.

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

January is much more likely, but December is much more possible than we thought last week!

AHHHHHHH!
PRAISE GOD for His BEAUTIFUL movement! Pray that He keep moving in power!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let Hope Rise

After a week of tears, it has been a week of renewed hope for getting our Amelia home.  Don't get me wrong... victory still appears far off. But perhaps it is not.  This is spiritual warfare. God is moving. Please pray!

So let hope rise,
And darkness tremble
In Your holy light,
And every eye will see
Jesus, our God,
Great and mighty to be praised.
 - Hillsong


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PROGRESS!!!!

We made a drop of adoption progress yesterday!! We still assume that our odds of traveling in 2010 are nearly non-existent, BUT my spirits are lifted enough that I feel like Brad and I need to begin packing our bags. Emotionally, we’re preparing ourselves to travel as late as February or March. Practically, we need to make it possible to leave in the next several weeks!

Our plans are filled with uncertainty, but I take comfort in the truth that God has already numbered Amelia’s days in Uganda, and her days in America with us. He knit her together in the womb, and He is sovereign over each day of her life.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
-Psalm 139:15-16


Monday, November 8, 2010

Last Shall Be First

So often, we wonder why terrible things happen to the innocent in this world.  Why do some go hungry while wicked men prosper in riches? Why do young children suffer at the hands of our apathy?  I loved the lyrics of the Brooke Fraser song "Flags."  We cannot explain these tradgedies, but we find comfort in the teachings of Christ, that someday, the last shall be first, the meek shall inherit the earth, the mourning shall be comforted...

You who mourn will be comforted
You who hunger will hunger no more
All the last shall be first
Of this I am sure

You who weep now will laugh again
All you lonely be lonely no more
Yes, the last will be first
Of this I'm sure

I don't know why the innocents fall
While the monsters stand
I don't know why the little ones thirst
But I know the last shall be first
I know the last shall be first
I know the last shall be first

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nursery Inspiration

We haven't gotten Amelia's room beautified yet.  Getting her home in itself is expensive to say the least, so decorations fell to the bottom of the list.  Now that we're starting to grasp the reality that there is still a wait ahead of us, we might as well spend our time with some paint and creativity.  I'm thinking citrus orange and pink! If you hate it, don't tell me, because I found an inspiration picture I love and am gung-ho to create Amelia's own version! Some day, I will post our handi work!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Full Circle - You HAVE to Read This One!

Whenever I am tempted to feel sorry for myself regarding our adoption wait, I am humbled by the stories of those who have had fertility struggles. Waiting three, four, five years to even know the first thing about your child sounds remarkably painful… at least Brad and I know Amelia’s sweet face, and know that there will be a happy ending.

One particular couple had been dealing with infertility for a long time already when our Caroline was born. I was amazed at how they welcomed our little girl into the world without jealousy or bitterness. They even stood outside of our labor room door and waited for her birth.

One night in April of 2009, God placed this couple on my heart very heavily – so heavily, in fact, that as I prayed for them, I felt that surely God would bring them their baby soon, and so I wrote them a letter telling them so. I prayed over the letter as I wrote it.  Within the month, they conceived and now have a beautiful baby girl.

This story just came around full circle.

On Tuesday, these friends came to our house with their baby, and a letter. They knew how I had been struggling this week with the adoption wait, and how I had cried.

The letter was in my friend April’s handwriting. Her letter said her heart was broken for our wait. It talked about God’s sweet purposes in trials, and about Biblical themes of waiting for your children, and about her faith that we would be united with Amelia at the perfect time.

And then my friend April told me something amazing.

The letter was the same one I had written her in April 2009. She had only changed the names. She had given me back the exact words of encouragement that I had handed to her during her wait.

April’s little girl is very close to Amelia’s age. They would have been conceived only a couple of months apart. As the Holy Spirit urged me to write those words in 2009, He had to be smiling to know that the letter would not only be to April, but to me as well. He had to be smiling to know that within months, He would create both her baby girl and mine.

God’s timing is amazing. His ways are sweet and perfect. Thank you, God, for such a precious reminder of Your loving control over the bringing of children into our families.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Adoption Wait in Pictures

Thanksgiving day, 2008.  We decide our next child will come through adoption.


May 2009. We begin the process.


June 2009.  Caroline waiting outside the agency for her parents to finish individual home study interviews.


Fall/winter 2009. Moved into our house, homestudy finished, ready for Amelia!
December 2009. What we'd prayed would be our last Christmas without Amelia.

February 2010. Caroline turns 2, Ugandan adoptions go on hold and we are unsure whether they'll work again.


Spring 2010. Hope for Ugandan Adoptions!! We plan to travel in June 2010 to get Amelia.


June 2010.  We hope to travel to Amelia in August 2010.



September 2010.  Hoping to get Amelia in November 2010.

November 2010.  Thinking we'll probably get Amelia in 2011, but there's still some hope for 2010!
 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Where Two Or More Are Gathered...

Tonight, members of six different families gathered around me, Brad, and Caroline to pray for Amelia and our adoption process. Praise God for the sweet faithfulness of our friends! They truly renewed our spirits and strengthened our faith. When God is stirring the hearts of His children, we can be sure that He is moving.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  - Mark 11:24

Even if We Have to Wait...

Each day, seeing Amelia in 2010 appears less likely.

Here’s the thing:

This adoption isn’t about us.

I’ve been crying and struggling and longing and crying. I’ve been hurting and wanting our beautiful second daughter to be wrapped up in my arms.

But every time I start to pray that God let us go to Amelia “as soon as possible,” something doesn’t sit well in my soul. It doesn’t feel like the right prayer.

I want Amelia with us NOW for two reasons: 1) for her own good and 2) for the joy and comfort of our family. But God is so much smarter than me. He sees a bigger picture that I cannot fathom.

I can stomp my feet like a toddler and declare that He surely cannot love me unless He gives me my way, and quickly. But like a loving parent who withholds a child’s indulgences, God desires to teach me patience, and faith.

He desires to refine and shape our family through these struggles. More than that, He desires that Amelia’s story will allow many to see what an unfathomably beautiful God He is. He wants many to see Him for all that He is, and come running to His arms. He longs for His children even more than we long for Amelia. I pray that many of God’s children run to His arms long before Amelia is ever in ours.

So I have decided on a new prayer. It makes my flesh uncomfortable, but the Holy Spirit will strengthen me enough to stand strong in my request. My new prayer is not that we get Amelia immediately. It is not that we are kept safe from harm, if we have to be in Uganda during the sometimes tumultuous elections in February of 2011. It is not that things move smoothly from here on out. Yes, I will rejoice if these things prove to be God’s will. I want these things. But they are not my most fervent prayer.

My prayer is that God be glorified.

My prayer is that as we walk towards this adoption, others will see how our Creator loves us, and holds us up with His grace when we are stricken with grief or are tired. My prayer is that many will come to be adopted in a Spiritual sense by their own Heavenly Father, and that YOU see our longing for Amelia as a mere shadow of God’s longing for YOU, His precious little child.

We are tired. I am broken. I ache for my daughter. But God is painting a beautiful story. Unimaginable good will come of this. Please pray for God’s goodness to be known through our sweet journey to Amelia.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Habakkuk 2:3

A verse of encouragement from a sweet friend:
This vision is for a future time.

It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Milkshakes & Breakdowns

Who knew that Chick-fil-A's peppermint chocolate milkshake could make me cry?

I had no idea that I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I've grown accustomed to adoption delays. In fact, I was quite proud of my emotional strength this past week. It is starting to look less likely that we will get Amelia in 2010. It is still a possibility, but my mind can't wrap around how it could work out, given various circumstances. Yet, I hadn't cried yet. I was feeling strong in my faith, knowing that if 2011 was God's timing, then we could trust that and rest easy.

That is, until our little family ate lunch at Chick-fil-A. As we cleaned up our mess and prepared to go home, Brad noticed a picture of the Christmas time milkshake, which we devoured last holiday season. Brad exclaimed his amazement that the shake was already for sale, and jokingly exclaimed, "It's Christmastime!"

Christmastime?

Before I knew what had hit me, a wave of immediate tears slammed into me like a Mac truck, and I slumped back into our booth, sobbing. I didn't know if Amelia would be with us by Christmas. I pulled it together quickly, realizing what a nut-case I looked like in public, only to have it nearly happen again 30 minutes later in Target when we passed racks of baby Christmas pajamas.

I'm still praying with all of my heart that we get our baby girl before year end... but even more than that, I am praying that God do exactly His will, even if His will is more painful waiting. We know that His will is loving, and that our sufferings are meant to STRENGTHEN our faith and teach us to hope AGAINST circumstantial evidence. God is mighty, and He is love. He CAN bring Amelia home at the perfect time, and He WILL, because it is His desire.