Esperar

I love the Spanish language.  I plan to be fluent one day.  Hopefully sooner than later.  Sometimes, I like to read the Bible in Spanish on my YouVersion Bible app.  I discovered something beautiful the other day when I was reading Psalm 27:13-14 (which God put in my face 3 times in one day this week)...

Psalm 27:13-14
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord 
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; 
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

(Note the theme: waiting.  Not once, but twice.)  That word, "wait," doesn't have a very positive connotation for me.  I tend to wait with impatience and anxiousness.  Oh, waiting.  Despite our best efforts, we're forced to do it all the time.  We have to wait at stop lights when we're running late.  We have to wait in line at the store when we have several other "TO DO's" on our lists.  We have to wait for results from the doctor.  And the list could go on forever...Good things come to those who wait, right?  But in our culture of instant gratification, we feel like we HAVE TO wait.  When do we choose to wait?  I know for me, waiting would never be a choice if I had any say in it.  But God calls us to wait for Him.  And He lets us decide what that waiting time looks like.  We can wait begrudgingly and impatiently.  We can despair over the length of our waiting time.  We can even be angry about it.  We don't like to wait.  But I don't think that "wait" was supposed to be a four-letter word (figuratively...clearly it's a four-letter word in English...).  If God commands us to do it, then He intends it for good.  There's hope in that...literally.

My Spanish name in high school was Esperanza.  Hope.  Verse 14 in Spanish says, "Espera en el Señor....pon tu esperanza en el Señor."  Wait for the Lord....put your hope in the Lord.  That verb, "esperar, " means "to wait."  It also means, "to hope."  In Spanish, waiting and hoping are the same.  Why do they feel like different ideas in my heart?  

I want to wait with hope.  Not with a despairing and anxious heart.  I need a daily reminder to wait with hope.  I think I found the inspiration for my first tattoo...



Country-less

I'm pretty sure that we could win some kind of record for "World's Slowest Home Study Paperwork Completers."  Our summer was so busy and went by so quickly. We've had little time to sit down and do paperwork.  So, yeah, we're still not done.  Our poor social worker.  She's been gracious toward us.  In a little while, I'm going to try to coerce Michael into doing a few more chapters of our homework.  Wish me luck.

And in the midst of adjusting to our new homeschool schedule and my Guatemala hangover (as a friend nicknamed it), our hearts have been doing some shifting.  After Guatemala, we felt the need to reevaluate the "where."  Michael never had a strong feeling beyond Latin America.  I believe that God directed us to Colombia from the start for some purpose, but my heart felt less certain about it being the birthplace of our future children.  

I used to have this little Colombia icon on my phone and laptop wallpaper.  It always made my heart leap with hope to see it pop up on the screen.  After Guatemala, I realized that I really didn't feel that anymore.  But I also knew that coming down from the spiritual highs of an amazing missions trip is not a good place to be making big decisions in.  To make a long story short, Michael and I talked about it and realized that we both felt our hearts being drawn to Central America.  Unfortunately, Guatemala is not currently an option.  Google "Guatemala adoption" and the word "scandal" and you'll find out why.  Guatemala won't reopen for years at this rate.  I know it would be our first choice, but right now, that door's not just closed--it's a door with about 47 deadbolts on it!

Our agency also happens to have a pilot program for Honduras.  We looked into it.  We prayed that God would open that door if that's where He wanted us to go.  For a few weeks, it looked really promising.  Almost too good to be true....because it was.  For all intents and purposes, that door is now closed.  

So, we were back to Colombia.  And honestly, none of this adoption stuff was ever our plan.  It's the Lord's.  And so, we went into this with no preference whatsoever about the "where."  So, if God tells us Colombia, then let's go to Colombia!  So, I began to reconcile myself with the idea that it was still Colombia.  My heart warmed to the idea again, yet I felt the need to stay open to God's leading.  I actually told a friend last Friday, "We're planning to adopt from Colombia, but we're asking God to change that if He has somewhere else in mind..."

Well, apparently, He does.  Last night, I accidentally discovered that our agency's Colombia program requirements have changed, and we no longer qualify.  They are only working with adoptive parents of Colombian descent and parents who are willing to take children with severe special needs, children over 8 (which they won't allow us to do anyway because of birth order), and large sibling groups.  And after some research, it looks like other agencies are doing something similar.  Colombia is no longer the go-to country for adopting younger children.

Where does that leave us?  I've emailed our contact at the agency asking that very question.  But for the time-being, we're country-less.  That doesn't sit well with me.  I like to have a plan.  When I asked God to close the door to Colombia if it wasn't the right path, I assumed that He'd show us another open door first.  

So what will we do?  I'm not sure.  Our agency also has a Costa Rica pilot program.  The website says they have sibling groups with children as young as 2.  That has potential.  And they announced yesterday that they received a license to work with Ecuador.  They have yet to post the requirements, but it definitely sounds like it's worth looking into.  Actually, about a year ago, I felt God laying Ecuador on my heart, but I thought it was about something completely unrelated to the adoption process....maybe I was wrong.  I've been begging God to speak.  He keeps telling me to wait.  So, like everything else in the adoption process, we'll be doing some more waiting...

Please pray for my hair to stop turning gray.  I'm going to look like an abuela by the time this is all said and done.  :)

Guate

So, it's been awhile.  Too long, in fact.  And Guatemala is largely to blame.  It's not that I've been in Guatemala all this time, although that would've been fine with me!  It's that Guatemala wrecked my heart in ways that I didn't think were possible.  I could write for days about what I experienced there.  It's taken me 2 months to even begin to process all of it.  I'll do my best to summarize...
This was my 7th missions trip.  I've seen need and poverty before.  I've fallen in love with little kids whose skin tones are much more beautiful than mine.  I've left a piece of my heart in every place I've served in, but I've always been able to come back and be comfortable in my life at home.  This trip was different.

The school where we worked in Xenacoj.

We stayed in a town called Santo Domingo Xenacoj in the mountains about an hour west and slightly north of Guatemala City.  Words won't adequately describe its beauty.  I fell in love with the Mayan people, the simplicity of their lifestyle, the mountaintop views, the bumpy van rides on terrible dirt roads, the missionary family we worked with, our AIM team leaders, and a little girl named Florecita.  Wanna know what it was like?  Go listen to the song, "Mountaintop," by the City Harmonic.  "We've been to the mountaintop. We've seen the glory of our God.  HE IS HERE!"  That's the only way I know to accurately describe what happened there.  God showed up.  We were ready.  Hungry people were fed.  Widows were blessed.  75 little souls found Jesus.  Many more were loved on.  Sick children were healed.  And people who were desperate learned that our God is El Roi, the God who sees.



Me and precious Florecita.

God broke my heart for the things that break His...in a way that I can't really come back from without being completely remade.  I've experienced so much joy and so much pain.  I left more than a piece of my heart there.  And I'm still trying to figure out how to live without that part...

So, what does that have to do with our adoption?  I'm still trying to work through that. But this is what I do know... Before this trip, I was adamant about adopting an infant.  It was a dealbreaker.  And as much as I'd still love to adopt a precious little baby with big brown eyes, God spoke to me as I sat on a dirty sidewalk holding a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl in my lap and crying my eyes out.  I don't need a baby.  After 5 days, I already loved that little girl like she was my own.  God showed me that I could just as easily love an older child.  My heart still hurts for her.  Literally hurts...for her and others like her.  Every single day.  I don't know what the Lord has in store for Flor, but I am holding onto the hope that I will someday get to hug her again.  One day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with grief, I cried out to God to show me what I'm supposed to do with the heavy burden in my heart.  He gave me Micah 7:7, which says, "But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me."  I know He hears me.  I know He didn't break my heart without purpose....great purpose.  So, for now, I watch in hope for Him to reveal what's next...