This morning in Sunday school, we read from the book of Jeremiah and learned how the Lord likens Himself unto the Potter and we unto the clay. The Lord tells us in Jeremiah 18:6 - "Behold, as the clay is in the Potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand."
With this illustration in mind, our sunday school teacher asked us if the potter, while at work on the potter's wheel, ever throws the clay away . Someone commented rather than throwing it away when there is a flaw in the work, the potter would instead form it back into a big blob and start all over. One of the main points of our bible lesson this morning was the reality that when God works on us to reshape us and mold us into His image, the whole process can be quite painful.
And as silly as it may sound to call myself a big blob of clay that I just know God is reshaping via the international adoption process, let me just say that for the past week I have felt somewhat like a large mass of EXCRUCIATING PAIN walking around for everyone to see as my mind and emotions reel with a tormenting and relentless kind of steady ache through my entire being, threatening to cause me to burst into tears in the middle of the public eye at any given moment... Let me tell ya, when one feels like that, there is no refuge in that kind of storm. And yes, one begins to feel like a big blob of God knows what - abandoned, dejected, hopeless, despairing. Are you getting the picture I hope?
A few days ago I reached out to other families who have adopted from Zhongshan Welfare Institute (this is where my precious little girl is right now) and to these parents who already have or are in the process of adopting internationally, many for the third, fourth and fifth time, by asking for help to "get over" or overcome my depravity because do you want to know something? A person can only take so much. Here's what I wrote on this particular yahoo group:
i am hoping to gain some words of wisdom from some parents who have gone before me with adopting an older child. with our first she was a small baby and we didn't receive her pics until 6 weeks before travel and that was hard enough! now we've been looking at our six year old daughter's pics since december, 2010 and LOA is taking way longer than anticipated. if i thought that by screaming at the top of my lungs, and stomping my feet and pounding the walls with my fists would lessen my angst i would do it. nothing right now, not even prayer, seems to ease my mental anguish. and when i am all alone, all i do is cry. how do i hold onto and believe in God's good and perfect timing through this extremely, emotionally difficult time?! help!!!
Shortly following my inquiry came this loving and gracious response from another mother who knows firsthand the anguish that awaits any parent who has been called onto the mission field of international adoption:
I just saw your note. I’m sorry you are hitting a dry spell in the wait for your LOA. The wait simply stinks! So many of us on the various forums seem to get to that point where it seems as though we can NOT take one more day and yet He carries us through it. I’ve been there in the tears. I’ve snapped at people that didn’t deserve it. I’ve been unfaithful in my doubts. And still, He came through in amazing ways. I promise He is writing your story even tonight when all seems so bleak.
And can I make you a promise to pray with you until your daughter is home? Sincerely, like several times a day? Others have done the same for me and sometimes I think it is what got me through.
I really look forward to hearing how your story unfolds. My daughter Grace is my Zhongshan girl (adopted at just turned 7 in Nov. 2009). She is so precious to us and definitely worth all those tears and sleepless nights!
Mom to 5
Upon reading Shelley's words for the very first time, I did actually experience somewhat of a lessening of the complete lack of faith and hope I found myself under. And I believe it kept building throughout the next day when I was at a 4th of July celebration out in the middle of nowhere and a woman I have never met before suggested to me that perhaps God's timing in this matter has nothing to do with my family or my little Mei Mei but just perhaps His timing involves another little child at that very same orphanage who would not be able to handle Mei Mei leaving him or her behind and who needs to be able to leave with their family at the same time Mei Mei does.
And do you want to know something else? That scenario posed by this woman whom I've never met before in my entire life is the only one that has brought me any degree of relief or comfort! And it's the only one that seems to hold back my tears. Because friends, so much hinges on LOA. As Mei Mei's mother, I am not allowed any contact with her without it, and nothing else in the adoption process will go any further without LOA. Nothing. And all I can think about is getting her home as quickly as possible.
In addition to all of this, we've received news recently from two separate adoption grant agencies that our applications have been denied. I didn't know I would take it so hard...
So here we are, maybe, hopefully, only three months away from traveling to get our girl, and we are $15,000 short of our goal. ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, $16,300 has already been raised for the cause of this particular orphan, our daughter whom I've never met and whom I didn't know even existed before Decemer 6th of 2010 and whom I would do anything for now to free from a life of destitution, from a life void of a forever family and whom would most likely be denied a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus without the intervention God is orchestrating on her behalf right at this very moment through my little family of three.
Friends, I do not know where the rest of the money will come from. Will you pray about this for us? Will you please ask the Lord to show us His will and His way in this matter so that we can continue to move forward without impediment or delay? With our first adoption, we did it all on our own. Actually, we ended up taking out a personal loan that caused me to feel the necessity to go back to work the very same week I got home with Sonya from China. The regret of that decision lingers still.
Of the $16,300 so far gathered, $2,300 of it has come from personal donations ($300 of which is designated specifically toward Sonya's travel expenses). We have received checks in the mail from friends, family, neighbors and strangers ranging anywhere from $10 to $500. The rest of the money has come through our three fundraisers ($9,000) and the Show Hope Grant ($5,000).
We still owe $3,100 to Hand in Hand; $4,000 for the rest of our China fees; $5,500 for the orphanage donation; and roughly $8,000 in travel expenses.
Do you want to know why I am comfortable involving you with all of this? For one, you have given me permission with your care, concern, prayers and personal involvement already. For two, because what this whole adoption journey has shown me is that asking for your help with prayers and money has nothing at all to do with me. It really has very little to do with my girl either. Rather, it has to do with what my girl represents and what our family represents in the matter of caring for the orphan and responding to the call. Some of us will be called out onto the mission field of international adoption while others will be asked to assist. We are the goers, my little family of three. And some of you are the senders. Some of you reading this right now will some day be the goers too, and when that day comes, I will rejoice with you, I promise...
One more thing, will you copy and paste our blog address and then send it to everyone on your email list so that we can get the word and the need out to a multitude of people? We need your help. Will you please help us?!
And if anyone reading this, after praying to the Lord for His will and His way, feels so inclined as to assist us in our adoption process either financially or by organizing a fund raiser on Mei Mei's behalf, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share with you our home address or our home phone number. Thank you so much for caring and for sharing and for praying! We really couldn't do it without you!