End of Month Adoption & Prayer Update

The whole first half of the year we were excitedly rushing around preparing for our home study, paperwork needed for our dossier, and our USCIS clearances.  We had a fundraiser in May with so many dear family and friends joining in with us to bring our child home.  We were officially put on the waiting list in mid-summer and have been waiting ever since.  Now it feels like we have been waiting for a long time even though in the grand scheme of things we have not been waiting so long.

This is how we feel about waiting (hehe):

waiting

This is how PC feels about waiting:

pc yawn

This is actually a pretty terrifying picture, but the reality is that I accidentally caught him mid-yawn.  I said, “Look like you’re waiting, Caspian,” as I held my phone up.  He yawned.

Waiting is no fun, and we are just at the beginning of our waiting period (many families wait for quite a long time)!  We moved up slightly on the waiting list for our agency in the past few weeks, but the reality is that we have absolutely no idea when we are going to get a referral or go to Uganda to bring our child home.  A good adoption agency never guarantees that you’ll have a child in a specific amount of time (if they do, run away!  Can you say “baby buying?” Run far, far away!), but they do give general timeframes and estimates.  We could potentially have a long wait, or God could move this mountain and it could be a short(er) wait.  The reality is that the landscape of International Adoption (everywhere–not just Uganda) is changing drastically.  In the meantime we are waiting, praying, and living, and we are beginning to realize that we are grateful to do all of those things because that is part of life as a redeemed child of God.

studio sunset

It’s human nature to try to force the outcome of a situation–to make things happen the way we want them to and in our timing.  The reality, however, is that God’s way is so much better than anything we could dream up on our own!  And through the midst of this waiting and uncertainty, we will cling to the truth and reality that is our faith in Him.  There is much work to be done in the here and now, and we’re not going to just pine away during the waiting process.  We are going to be a force for all that is right and just in this world and we want every aspect of our lives to reflect God.

On January 28 of this year, when I posted a blog announcing to everyone about our plans to adopt, I wrote, “Seth and I want God.  We want His plans for our life more than we want a life of ease or the regular “American dream” family picture.  And God has whispered to our hearts, “You were made for this.”  We believe that wholeheartedly.  We always have and, no matter how our adoption story unfolds or the timing, we will never stop believing that His plans are far greater than ours.

How You Can Pray for Us & Our Adoption

1.  Pray for the whole International Adoption world–pray for the governments, the caseworkers, the government officials, the adoptive families, and the orphans.

2.  Pray specifically for our agency’s work in Uganda, that the Lord would keep fostering good relations between our agency and the people in Uganda.

3.  Pray for our child–whoever he or she is–that someone would care for him or her while he or she is waiting for us.

4.  Pray for things to go smoothly in this process, and pray for our hearts that we would continue to trust God and step boldly into the unknown!

Thank you again for being a part of our lives and our adoption story!  We are so grateful to each and every one of you, and we cannot wait to tell our child about all of the people who prayed, gave, sacrificed, and loved so that he or she could come home to us.

End of Summer Adoption Update

uscis pic

If you are my Facebook friend, you might remember me mentioning how I had to set the adoption work aside during the month of May (after our fundraiser) so that I could just focus on the recitals and finishing out that dance season well.  It was a hard thing to do because there were still so many things that we had to do to continue the whole wheel of events that had been set into motion with adoption stuff (the first half of the adoption process of paperwork and medical exams and home studies is like a part-time job, one that required many late nights for the husby and I).  But, the Lord reminded me that the timing was in His hands!  He’s had our whole adoption process in His plan from the very beginning, and if He wanted me to take a break from the adoption stuff, then I would and Seth and I would trust Him in the process.

So, Seth and I took a month-long break from the adoption stuff.  And we were glad we did because, to be honest, we were kind of burned out from adoption stuff.  We had to trust that God, in His infinite mercy and grace, still was doing great work behind the scenes.

Every year, I have a sort of theme verse and word that God gives me to focus on, and this year–2013–that word is more.

Not more money.  Not more stuff.  Not more studios.  Not more Prince Caspian’s.  Not more candy.

But more of Him.  And, as this year has unfolded and I have been surrendering to Him each day, He’s been revealing more of Himself through every aspect of this year.  You see, the more we get to know God, the more we want to know God, and the more we learn to trust Him wildly through every single day to do great things.  As I’ve been reflecting over these past six years of doing what I love at Reverence Studios, I have been realizing that I’ve been knowing Him and experiencing life more than I ever would have if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith to open Reverence.

Just like He has provided every step of the way (and then some!) for me and Reverence Studios, so He has orchestrated every step of our adoption process.  And so, when the timing was right in early June, we started back up again.

We went and got our USCIS fingerprints done, and we passed (pictured above)!

We were officially put on our agency’s waitlist for the Uganda Program, and we received our waitlist number several weeks ago!

We finished up our recommended adoption reading!

So, what comes next?

We wait.  During this waiting season, we’ll be working on getting the nursery together and any shots that we need to get for traveling to Uganda!  We’re also working on learning some basic words and phrases in Lugandan, which is the main language in Uganda.

But you know what we’re also going to do?  LIVE.  Even though we long for our child and pray for our child with deep feelings that only come when you fall in love with someone across the world, we are also not going to stop living in the process and enjoying this special time with just Seth and me in the house.  We are going to work, minister, worship, celebrate, love, laugh, and be obedient to what God has called us to do in this season!

And in the process, we are going to wait for Him to do more.  Because He is the only One who can.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

-Ephesians 3:20-21

A Prayer for the Governments That Influence Adoption

To our regular human vision, governments have an incredible amount of power when it comes to the adoption process.  They are ultimately the ones–through their court systems–that determine if people are qualified to be parents.  And truthfully, I completely get it.  Children are the future of a nation, and I very much understand that they need to carefully check out each family.  There are so many families who give adoption a great name, but there are also people who have tainted adoption, mistreated their adoptive children, and are shady mcshadersons in general.  The people in charge HAVE to do their homework so that they can act in the best interests of the children involved.  I completely understand and support that.  Most of the general public does.

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But, for an adoptive family who wants nothing more to give a child a home, it can be tense and stressful to wait on the government to make their decision.  After all, it’s completely out of our hands….or is it?

“You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. -John 19:11 (HCSB)

God is the One who grants authority, who positions kings, who puts rulers and governments in place.  And, unless that government requires you to do something against God’s Word (which is a whole new can of worms for a different post!), we need to follow the regulations that are in place–the law–even if it doesn’t always make sense to us.

For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.  Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. 

-Romans 13:4-5 (HCSB)

Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God,
and those that exist are instituted by God.

-Romans 13:1 (HCSB)

And so today I’d like to ask you to join me in praying for the governments that influence adoption all over the world…from the United States and beyond!  The government workers, the case workers, the social workers, the judges, the lawyers–they all need wisdom to do their jobs for the greater good of the children and families involved.

Adoption Reading

Since Seth and I are officially “waiting” for a referral and we don’t know exactly how long that wait period will be, we’ve been spending a lot of our extra time this summer (when things aren’t as cray-cray at the studio) doing some adoption/childrearing-related reading to educate ourselves.  We know that when our little one comes, we won’t have as much time to do so.  We also know that there are certain things that we’ll get an education on just by experiencing them, but the books are still helpful as well.

I have always been passionate about giving a voice to those who don’t have a voice and helping those who society has forgotten and rejected and I’ve always been interested in adoption, but I have to tell you that now it is a cause that burns so deeply in my heart that I can’t imagine a life without advocating for the orphans of our world.  I’m thankful for each opportunity I have to educate others, and I’m thankful to those who have educated me.

Here was our summer adoption/childrearing reading material…

Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting by Johnny Carr:  This book was recommended to me by a friend (and our wedding photographer) Lindsay who sits on the board of directors for Bethany Christian Services.  Johnny Carr is the national director of Church Partnerships at Bethany, and he explores the big picture of what orphan care should look like in this book.  I knew the information in some chapters, but others were very eye-opening.  He writes, “Critics of adoption are quick to point out that the money spent on an international adoption of a child who has a living parent could be given to the biological family to help them raise the child and provide for food, clothing, shelter, school supplies, and other necessities.  Theoretically, I agree.  Unfortunately, poverty cannot be reduced to a mathematical equation.  Poverty is a culture.”

The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis:  Our adoption agency suggested that we read this book, and we’re glad they did.  Seth and I read it each night before bed and it was highly beneficial!  She addresses many of the concerns and challenges that adoptive parents face, and her approach to loving our child exactly where he/she will be when they enter our home and continue to grow.  It’s exactly what we–and our child–will need.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp:  This book was recommended to us by some of the studio families as a great, Biblically-solid parenting resource.  One of the reviewers on Amazon said of this book, “The key thing that distinguishes Tripp’s book from most parenting books is that he rightly understands that our goal in parenting is not to produce children who are obedient, nor is it to produce children who are happy. Rather, both of these are the beneficial result of raising our children in such a way that we are always addressing the issues of the heart (selfishness, rebelliousness, discontent, etc.) rather than just working on the externals.”  We couldn’t have said it better!

I know that reading books does not make you a perfect parent, and that there are a HOST of things that we will learn by experiencing them!  But, we want to take the advice of those who have adopted and parented before us and prepare ourselves as best as we are able to in advance so that we are ready for what may come!

This fall we plan to read:

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen (recommended to us by friends who have adopted internationally)

Parents out there–do you have any other suggestions?

Summer Organizing Projects

Before I commence with today’s post, I need to tell you that I’m a TERRIBLE blogger and did not take any before/after pictures of these organizing pictures.  But, here’s a funny Ryan Gosling meme that is semi-related to organization for your amusement…

ryan gosling meme

So, I posted the first two of these on Facebook at the beginning of July and my Facebook friends started to say that I was exhibiting major nesting behavior.  I did not even think about it like that, but I realized they were absolutely right when I did think about it!  LOL!  I seriously needed to do some projects that get pushed aside during the school year (imagine me saying that in my Mrs. Hughes from Downton Abbey voice), and decided to start tackling them whenever I had a moment to spare.  Here’s what I did:

1.  Organized and turned over the studio files.  When my computer crashed and I had to get a “new” one, I had to transition over to a new system with my computer files.  I kept up with things on a monthly basis, but there were some “yearly” things that I needed to update and organize.  I also had to shred the old student files from the 2012-2013 school year and put the new ones in and get all my meetings and choreo together, and get my home office and desk at the studio into shape!

2.  Cataloged my books.  This was a project I had been wanting to do for years and years and finally took the time to do it!  Hooray!  It took hours and I have 700+ that I’ve collected over the years (including my kid, youth, and teen books that are in storage awaiting the future Kline children that I did NOT include in the catalog because Seth wasn’t around to help me lug them down from the attic).  But it felt really great to have them done.  You see, I loan so many of my books out that I was having a hard time keeping track of them.  This is like my own personal Library of Kirsten…sans Mr. Dewey and his decimal system.

3.  Cleaned out my kitchen!  WORD!  When we moved in on Cinco de Mayo of 2012, we were trying to get everything moved in and unpacked in one day because of the recital happening a couple weeks later.  Thanks to the Lord and our amazing tribe of family and friends, we were able to do so.  But…everything in our kitchen cupboards got…disorganized over the past year and I needed to organize it.  It got to the point where a stack of pots and serving plates were precariously balanced on top of each other like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

4.  Re-visioned my dance classes and lesson plans for the upcoming year.  Summer is the time for changing things up, so I really like to prayerfully focus on the upcoming year and how I can best help my students grow and mature in their dancing and lives.  I also officially started preparing for the 2014 spring recitals.

5.  Purged my car.  Because I am an Artistic Director, I have everything in my car from markers to tap shoes to CD cases all over the place.  My car needed some serious TLC, so I gave it some love (I’m not one of those people who names my car, but Seth and I jokingly call my car the Big Caspian).

Most of the other stuff was organized this spring prior to our home study.  I’ll do my traditional end of season clothing purge in September and then we’ll rearrange some furniture to start setting up our child’s room!  Can’t wait!

When do you do your reorganizing?  Any tips that you want to share?