I am thrilled to share with you that I am proceeding with the adoption of a precious baby girl from China!!!
After many months of praying and seeking God's will, I believe with all my heart that this is what He is leading me to do! I'm beyond excited and at the same time have a peace in my heart that only God could provide!
Over the past couple of weeks many things have happened to help confirm this decision. So many of you have been praying and to each of you I am thankful! I am thankful for your willingness to share your encouragement, ideas, concerns and thoughts with me. I know that being a single parent will not be an easy task but God does not always promise that life will be easy. What He does tell us in Psalm 37:4 is to:
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
I believe my desire to become a Mom to a beautiful little girl from China is from God and I look forward to the day when she and I will finally meet! I'm trusting God and asking Him to lead each and every step of the way.
God has also provided peace when it comes to the financial challenges that this journey will entail. I'm trusting Him! It was wonderful last night as I was shared with my small group Bible Study how God has answered prayers in such a wonderful way! After listening to my journey and hearing of the answers to prayers they had been offering up on my behalf, they soon asked, 'When do we have the garage sale/car wash to help bring baby home?' That sounds like a fun adventure that I may tackle next spring.
The final peace to move forward came in a conversation that I had with a precious lady at my church. Until Sunday night I was not aware that she too had adopted a child as a single lady. Sunday night it was mentioned to me that I might want to talk with the dear lady as she could provide a lot of insight as to what was involved in being a single Mom and some of the many changes her life took on.
Fast forward to Monday night, a 'God Thing' happened I believe. After teaching piano I headed to the church for our scrapbooking group. The key holder had not yet arrived so I went back to my car to wait for him to arrive. Within 1 minute another car pulled up beside mine (for a totally different meeting) and this lady was right beside me! (I attend a church with 600+ people in attendance on a Sunday so you can see how this was so neat!)
After the church was unlocked I found her and asked if I could talk with her for a few minutes. I shared with her about my desire to adopt a baby girl from China but more than that, to seek God's will and follow His leading. She shared some of her story and how her life had changed in a wonderful way when she adopted her daughter. She said there were some difficult times but I'm sure any parent can attest to this in their lives. She encouraged me to gather a strong support group around me and I shared with her that this group was well established already and praying for me as I sought God's leading in this. What a wonderful encouragement she was and when we parted ways I knew God was opening the door fully to move ahead with the adoption! (I didn't share this with my scrapbooking friends as I wanted to share it with my parents first...that was tough as you know I like to talk and the excitment of answered paryers was just bubbling up inside me!)
That night, for the first time in many, many nights, I went to sleep with a peace in my heart that only God can provide, knowing that I am to trust Him and move ahead with this. That peace is still with me and I praise and thank Him for answering my prayers!
God's timing is perfect! As I've mentioned before, I was planning on removing my name from my agency's list on November 1st if I didn't have peace in moving forward. As I didn't know how God was going to work or what He was going to do, I had begun to prepare my heart for this difficult task and asking God to help me through the grieving that was already beginning to take place. You can imagine my imense joy when He had another plan and I just needed to be faithful to Him and wait for His perfect timing. His timing isalways perfect! (Just as you reminded me last week Joy!)
The next day, Tuesday, I went to visit my parents. They were so excited when I said to them, 'Pack your bags Grandma and Grandpa! We're going to China!!!' They are absolutely thrilled and both shared that this was their desire for me yet they knew that the decision had to come from the Lord and not from them. They said they can't wait to welcome this precious new life into our family! It will be so wonderful to share this trip with them!
On Tuesday I was also able to share with my dear friend Norma and her husband John that I am moving forward. They were both really excited and we shed a few tears of happiness together. Norma is a precious friend and has supported me 100% of this journey regardless of how many times my thoughts changed from...yes...no...yes...no.... she was just there...listening, loving, crying and supporting. Since we see eachother numerous times a day I'm sure she felt like she was on a pendulum ride that constantly swung one way then the other. Thank you Norma for your support! Love ya!
(Deb, as you're reading this...sorry I didn't have an opportunity to say anything before you left on your trip! I wanted to so badly but knew Mom and Dad had to hear first. Thanks for understanding! Love ya!)
As I have had opportunities to share my answer with friends this week I've been overwhelmed by their love, support and encouragement. What a humbling experience to have so many caring people tell me of their prayers, love, and encouragement. I'm so very thankful for each of you and appreciate your love and support immensely!
The questions that many people are asking are:
1) When will you get her?
2) How old is she?
2) What's next?
1) My estimation based upon current timeframes is that I will probably travel to China late in 2006. I am working on a timeline that will explain the steps necessary when adopting from China.
2) How old is she? Well...my best 'guesstimation' is that she will be born anytime between now and maybe March of 2006. For many years the children adopted from China were being referred around the ages of 14-16 months. Lately the age has dropped *yeah!* and many babies are meeting their forever families before their first Birthday, some as young as 8 or 9 months old!
3) What's next? I spoke with my social worker today and set up our next 2 meetings for the mornings of Thursday, November 10th and Friday, November 18th. He feels that because the majority of my paperwork (police check, fingerprints, medical, etc.) is done he could complete my homestudy by the end of November. I have assignments to complete re: international adoption and I also need to send him in my list of references so that he can get in touch with them.
Another big step for me will happen this Sunday. I will be attending my first official information session with Open Arms (OA), assisting me in preparing for adopting, traveling to China, etc. One of the exciting things about this meeting is that I will meet other families with OA who are at the same stage of the process I am and are people that I may eventually travel to China with! (All families in a travel group receive babies from the same orphanage. This allows us to keep in touch after we return home so that the girls can grow up knowing others who were born in the same province they were.) OA normally sends travel groups of 5-7 families together from what I understand. I have so much to learn and some of that learning will begin this Sunday! Again, God's timing is perfect! I've known about this meeting since the beginning of September but did not allow myself to respond to the invitation until today when I knew it was full steam ahead!
If you've read this far with me....thank you! There is so much that I want to share with you!
I know this 'stroller coaster' of international adoption has just begun but I'm buckled in and can't wait to see what God has over the next hill and around the next corner! Please grab a seat with me and come along for the ride of a lifetime!
Love to all of you, Catherine