Happy 9th Birthday, Jack!!! Can it really be that you've entered your last year of being in the single digits? Oh Jack, you are such a joy and an adventure, as well. In this past year, you have grown so much again. Physically, I'm afraid it won't be long until you're inching up on this Mama!
Many of the descriptors I chose to describe you last year still hold true ~ you are independent, sensitive, creative, tender, persistent, insistent, loving, enthusiastic, entertaining, funny and so much more.
Jack, we love you and thank God for blessing us with you!
As I also posted last year, October 15th is the National Day of Miscarriage and Infant Loss. Of course, many of us understand that we do not just limit our reflection and rememberance to one day. We remember when our hearts ache, and it is painfully obvious that there is a piece of our hearts missing. We remember when we see other children the same age that our child(ren) would have been and we wonder what our little one(s) would have looked like, how their personalities would have seized us. We remember when we miss getting to tuck them in at night and say their bedtime prayers with them. We remember when we do not get to comfort them after a skinned knee. We remember as we make our way through family traditions. We remember when we are at the grocery store. We remember, we do not forget.
We remember and we pray for the many who have lost babies, who have lost babies early in pregnancy, who have lost babies at birth or shortly there after. We remember ...
Just an update on the adoption process - our paperwork with immigration including fingerprints and our home study "expired" on August 28th. Thus, we updated our home study over the summer and submitted our immigration extension, and we just received approval of our extension! The paperwork and process can be so overwhelming - I was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed just with these updates, how quickly I had forgotten how much effort was involved in pulling together the complete dossier last year!
Chances are we will likely have to submit another extension (or two) of our immigration paperwork and another home study update before we actually receive a referral as our extension expires next December, and the current wait time is approximately 4 years (we are approximately at the 15 month mark from our log-in-date (LID) in China). There are so many factors, however, that can impact the wait time - number of families with completed paperwork, number of families who drop out of the program, number of families adopting from the Waiting Child program, among other things. We are in the Waiting Child program as well which means that we can review referrals of little ones with special needs. This may shorten our wait time, we will see.
Although not physically a part of our family yet, China Girl holds a place in our hearts. Just this past weekend Jack was asked how many kids are in our family. This shouldn't be such a complex question, right? Well, Jack went on to explain that, in addition to him, Samuel and Lydia, there is his brother who died (this is the simplest way for him to explain it) and there is China Girl. Poor lady who asked, who knew she would get such an answer as this!
God has His plan and will bring China Girl (physically) into our family in His perfect timing. Until then, we wait and pray for this little girl who is at the end of our red thread.
“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” –An ancient Chinese belief
We all have these phases, these chapters in our lives, right? It's not just me? Times where, even though we recognize we are unbelievably blessed, we are in a funk. Despite that this is my favorite time of year, despite that I'm loving watching the boys grow and learn with this new school year, despite watching Lydia's personality blossom every day, I'm feeling like I'm in a funk. Likely the root of this is a laziness in my relationship with God lately.
After having Owen, I journaled the following:
It seems when life moves on as normal, we get into a comfortable relationship with Christ, but when life throws you a curve ball like this, from our experience, our relationship with Him grew.We had and have hope, we could cry out to Him and know that He has a purpose in this, we don’t know what that purpose is and we may not ever understand what that purpose is, but we can cling to the hope that we have in Him.
Not saying that I want another curve ball, but I do want to re-ignite that relationship with Him. I want to focus more on prayer and set my mind there, instead of lending it to thoughts of my to-do list and instead of borrowing tomorrow's worries today. In self-reflection, it is almost comical how I needlessly worry about various things when it is clear we are not to worry.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."
How blessed are we though, and how blessed am I that despite my laziness and my sinner's heart, He still loves me unconditionally? It is clear to me that I truly struggle with this character trait, I am, simply said, not good at loving unconditionally. There are women in my life who model this character trait so strongly. I pray that I might use God's and their example as a reflection of where my heart longs to be.
This post is a bit on the rambling side, but it is a good reminder to me of where I am, of how I am flawed, of how I need our Saviour, of how I long for my eyes to be a reflection of one filled with the Holy Spirit and how I can change my heart to love unconditionally. Because really, how can I choose anything but this for my sweet children, my husband, my family and my friends?
May I grow to become an example to others and to my sweet children, like sweet Samuel here ... because no post, no matter how serious is complete without a picture ...
Longing to serve with joy and desiring to lead, with my amazing husband, our precious children to have hearts that beat for our Lord. Rejoicing in the love and grace of our Father and the endless blessings He has given us.