Guess what?!?

Guess what?!?  

We're waiting again!  Haha  I got you all excited with that title, didn't I?  :)  Honestly, at this point, if we weren't waiting for something, I'd feel like my life was incomplete.  But we do have more good news...

First, the document we need was legalized in Nicaragua yesterday and should be en route to CR as I type this.  They are expecting it to arrive next week.  Please pray for that document to move smoothly and quickly through the right channels to get to our amazing lawyer!  Our lawyer is ready to get it to the judge as soon as she gets it!

Keep praying for that judge!  For God to move in his/her heart to resolve G's case immediately so we can go!  If we don't leave soon, we will end up being stuck in CR over Christmas and New Year's, as the whole government shuts down from December 20 until January.  As much fun as a Tico Christmas would be, Michael doesn't have enough time off as it is, and we don't have the extra money to stay!  So please be praying for us to get travel approval in time to get in and out before Christmas!!  :)

But if there's one thing I've learned in this process, it's that we have zero control or "say" in the timing of all of this craziness.  Sooooo...if for some reason, the Lord wants us there for Christmas, pray that He works out some serious details in the financial area!  

Also, WE GET TO CALL THE KIDS ON SUNDAY!!!!!  We were initially told that we wouldn't be able to speak to them until our travel date was certain.  But we get to call them Sunday night at 6 o'clock our time (4 their time)!  So somebody must think we're leaving soon!  ;)

Pray.  For.  My.  Spanish.  I can read it well and speak it decently...but understanding it from children who speak quickly and inarticulately...I have some, but little practice with that...and this is over the phone, no less...where there aren't any nonverbal cues to help.  AHH!  Thankfully, we found out this morning that there are 2 Americans working at the orphanage who can help us translate if we get stuck.  

And pray for little Miss G.  She's struggling with her emotions a little.  What she's about to do...what all of us are about to do...is going to be really hard, and I think she's trying to process that.  Hopefully getting to talk to us this weekend will put her heart at ease.  We love them so, so much that I'm pretty sure liquid love will be pouring through the phone lines via our broken Spanish!  Pray that they will sense that in an almost tangible way!

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!  The document we needed to complete our little girl's file and keep her legally adoptable has been found!  And when I say, "Hallelujah!" I literally mean it!  God be praised--because we had given up hope.  Pretty much everyone working on her case thought it was a lost cause.  They had even started her legal abandonment decree over a week and a half ago.  Michael and I had prayed and agonized and come to the decision that I was going to live in Costa Rica with all 5 kids..assuming that the court would grant us guardianship.  We were talking with various contacts in Costa Rica about places where I could live safely and affordably...and alone...with 5 children.

And then, Saturday night at 10:30 pm (8:30 pm Costa Rica time), our amazing lawyer emailed us the good news.  They found the legal document.  This thing was literally a needle in a haystack...or maybe more like a broken off piece of a needle.  A partial needle...since we didn't even have a full name to search for.  But somehow, a lawyer in Nicaragua found everything we need.  I screamed when I read the email.  Michael thought I was crazy.  Asher did a little dance when we told him the news.  Landyn just smiled.  My favorite friends, Jacob and Ellie, celebrated with us and then kept doing my dishes at 10:30 pm...because they're weird and awesome and I love them!

So God be praised, because many staff at our agency--people who have worked in international adoption for years--people who have walked with other families through crises like this--they called this a miracle.  Our church family clapped and cheered and celebrated God's goodness with us Sunday morning when we got to tell them the news.  I have no doubt that God allowed this delay so that people who don't know Him might know His goodness.  No one can read or hear the details of this adoption journey so far and not see glimpses of God's goodness throughout. And as hard as it was to walk through, this crisis also strengthened our resolve as a family.  We were not leaving G behind for anything.  Landyn said to me last week, "I've wanted a sister all my life.  G is my sister.  I'm not leaving without her."  (God bless that girl!  She has no idea how hard this transition to "sisters" is going to be.  I pray she remembers how she felt last week when things get hard--when G feels more like a stranger who steals my time and attention (and her clothes) than a sister.  But they will be real sisters someday...)

I think that having to fight for our kids like this has prepared us even more for the days ahead.  Awhile back, before we knew for sure that these 3 kids would be legally ours...back when things were uncertain and scary and we only had faith and a weird Spanish dream to go on....I remember crying out to God for some peace and relief from the incredible sadness and longing I felt whenever I thought of these 3 (which was about every 3 minutes), I remember God speaking to my heart and saying, "You will need to remember the agony you feel right now over these kids once they're home."  When things get hard during the first year, I will go back to that place and remember how much it hurt when they were first growing in my heart.  Hopefully, remembering how badly we wanted them will help us get through the first days of grief and loss and change.

That same night, we got a second email from our lawyer telling us that about our edict.  This was the really annoying thing that caused our initial travel delay.  There has to be an edict published in the paper, announcing our kids' adoption, before we can schedule our court date.  There was a long list of families before us.  They said it wouldn't go in until mid-November.  It was published on Friday, October 19!!!!!

So what does this mean?  It means that as soon as the judge rules that G's case is resolved and that her file is complete, we can go meet our kids!!!  It could be as early as 10 days.  That's best case scenario.  We are needing all of you prayer warriors to help us out again!  Your prayers have been so powerful, so keep them coming!  Our lawyer said to pray that the judge accepts the document (along with the rest of the corresponding details that prove that the man on the document was in fact G's father).  Pray hard for favor with the judge.  Pray that there are no issues with the document being legalized in Nicaragua (probably today) and sent to our lawyer in CR.  Pray that PANI approves us to move forward immediately.  We are ready!  And we are so relieved that we can do this via the "regular" path!

Together

It amazes me how much a situation can change in a moment.  You can wake up one morning thinking you know what's ahead, and by the end of that very same day, your world is a different place.  Your plans are turned upside down.  Your hopes are smashed into tiny, broken pieces.  And your heart?  I don't think there's even a word in the English language to describe what happens to your heart.

I thought I knew that adoption was hard before this week.  I had no idea.  I thought I knew what it felt like to have nothing but the promises that we have in Jesus to rely on.  I had no idea.  I thought I knew what it felt like to agonize over our kids' lives and to physically ache for them to be with us.  I had no idea.  I thought I knew what Jesus meant in John 14:18 when He told His disciples, "I will not leave you as orphans."  I had no idea.

I feel like a broken record even typing this again, but seriously, the spiritual warfare surrounding adoption is like nothing I've ever seen.  It is intense and dark and ugly.  It is intended to steal hope, kill dreams, and destroy the chance for new life.  We've seen it in every step of this process, but the closer we get to the end goal...the closer we get to bringing these kids home into our family, the more intense it gets.  Satan does not want their lives to be redeemed.  He does not want them to know the goodness of the Father and the wholeness and healing that only come through Jesus.  And so he's throwing out all the stops in a way that I wasn't prepared for.  I never dreamed that we would go from planning travel to waiting until next month to start planning travel to waiting indefinitely and uncertainly...all within a week's time.  There have been a lot of tears throughout this process, but I'm fairly certain that the majority of them have fallen in the past week.

So, rewind to last week...our immigration approval came back early, and we were elated!  For the other families (all 2 of them) that have adopted from CR through our agency, this meant travel!  And so we started talking with our agency and our lawyer about possibly leaving in 2-3 weeks!  We were scrambling!  I started making packing lists, planning out our kids' homeschool work for 6 weeks of being out-of-the-country, looking at plane tickets, contacting the missionary at the campus we are hoping to stay at...we got all of the kids' beds ready for them to come home to.  We were ready to go meet our babies!  

Then we got an email from our agency on Thursday of last week saying that there was a problem that was going to cause a slight delay.  The judge said we could not travel yet because our edict hadn't been published.  Apparently, for every adoption case, they have to publish it in a newspaper.  It's just another hoop in the obstacle course that is adoption.  The reason they hadn't published ours yet was because there are several families getting ready to adopt at the same time, and with this being a new program, they hadn't experienced this volume of edicts yet.  So we were looking at November.

I know that it's only a month more, but it was heartbreaking to go from "could you be able to leave in 2-3 weeks" to "maybe you can go in November..." And to add insult to injury, we were also told at that point that we have still not been approved to start talking to our kids on the phone because of our uncertain travel timeline.  I was incredibly sad....sad in the same way that I felt the day that our old agency told us that we could never adopt these kids.  I felt completely helpless.   I felt like this was so wrong and senseless to keep us from our kids over a publication.  I wanted someone to blame.  I wanted justice.  I wanted someone to do something about it.  I wanted everyone to be doing something about it.  I wanted to know why they couldn't just publish all of the edicts at once and get this show on the road!  I wanted God to show up NOW to save the day...but He seemed silent.  I cried everyday.  I cried for the days and weeks that we thought we'd have with our kids that are now lost to us forever.  I cried because our little guy will be another year older by the time we get there--another birthday in an orphanage.  I cried because November 3 is Orphan Sunday, and my children will still be orphans on that day.  I cried because my heart literally felt like it was being crushed.  

And then yesterday, we got a call that made that mountain look like an anthill.  We were informed yesterday that our little girl's file is missing a ridiculously important document.  Without this document, her status as "legally abandoned" is invalid.  We don't know how this document was overlooked 2 years ago, or if it has since disappeared into thin air, but either way, it is missing and needs to be found ASAP.  Today, there is a woman in another country searching for it on our behalf.  I don't know her, but God bless her.  Please pray that she finds it.  Pray that the enemy cannot conceal it from us.  If she does not find it, our path is going to be very difficult.

Without this document, the courts have to start over in the process of declaring her "legally abandoned."  We know our lawyer is working on getting this fast tracked for us, but we don't know how long it will take.  We were told it could take up to 6 months.  In the meantime, our boys are ready to be adopted.  They gave us the option of possibly proceeding with a partial adoption--where we bring the boys home and go back for G later.  And honestly, I think a part of me died at the thought of it.  

As I sat on the floor next to her bed and tried to pay attention to what our agency program coordinator was saying, I just kept picturing us walking away from her and the orphanage with her brothers-- the only blood family she has left in her life.  She has already experienced so much pain and loss and abandonment in her short little life.  She would never, ever understand--no matter how many different ways we explained it to her.  And she would never forgive us.  God has given me glimpses into her little heart--in dreams and in visions--even before I knew she was real and alive and waiting.  And I know this would be beyond devastating for her and for our whole family.  

But in the meantime, our oldest is scheduled for surgery in CR in January.  With our original timeline, we would have been home before that, and we would have scheduled his surgery here.  Now we don't know when we will go, but I can't bear the thought of him having surgery and me not being there to take care of him.  We are in a really hard place.  The kind of place that only God can rescue us from.  In the kind of mess that only He can make something beautiful out of.

The only thing I know for sure is that we will not leave her behind.  I don't know if that means I will have to stay in CR with the kids by myself longer than we had planned, but we will not abandon her.  She will know that she is loved and wanted beyond measure.  She is worth every fallen tear, every extra penny, every extra day spent waiting for paperwork.  

There's a song that a friend sent me awhile ago.  It's become my anthem in this adoption process.  I thought I knew what that song was about...but I had no idea until yesterday.  One of the lines in the song says, "I'll find a way to get you here if it takes my fleeting breath."  That line has taken on a whole new meaning...



Our only hope lies in our God, who is faithful to complete what He starts.  He is strong enough to save.  He works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose for them.  He's a God who didn't abandon us when we were hopeless and helpless. He's a God who is all-powerful--"todo poderoso"--and we're asking Him to intervene.  We're asking Him to let redemption win this one.  We're asking Him to fight battles that are raging around us that we can't even see, but we can feel.  We're asking Him to clear the road for us to follow.  Please pray with us and for us.  Pray that this document is found today...and that even if it isn't, that God will open a different door for us to walk through--that He will make a new path that ends with all 7 of us coming home together.

This was over our house last night when we left to go to worship practice at church...
Our God's promises are never reversed.  They never fall short.  They never return void.  He will not leave us or forsake us.  He will not leave them, and neither will we.


Mis queridos niƱos, you have been growing in my heart for years now...even before I knew.  I have loved you by name for 11 long months.  I will not leave you.  Your beds will not stay empty for much longer.  We'll find a way to get you here if it takes every breath.  We are coming.  And we are coming home together.