Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"It Is What It Is"

I don't remember who it was, but I heard someone really smart once talk about waiting...

You know, that thing that no one likes to do. In line for your favorite ride... In your car while someone in front of you ignores a green light... drive through at Starbucks... checking out at the grocery store... you know... waiting.

Where was I? Oh, what the smart guy said. He actually asked a question. He inquired, "When you go to a restaurant, and someone waits on you, what are they doing?"

I thought back to the times I was in a nice eating establishment. You know the ones where you food doesn't come wrapped in paper, or in one of those red, plastic baskets. I thought of the times I have been in a real, nice restaurant and have been waited on.

The answer to the question is not anything like what I do at the stoplight or in line at McDonald's. No, the person "waiting" on me is not called a waiter or waitress because they are checking there watch wondering when it is their turn to sit and eat. Not at all.

The best service I have had at such restaurant, the waiter was attentive and helpful. Offering food and beverage suggestions, never letting there be an awkward ice to soda ratio in my cup (a pet peev of mine), and never assuming that we would just get his attention if we needed something. No, he wasn't waiting for us to do anything. He wasn't waiting, he was serving.


Many of you have come to this blog to get updates on LT (This is what we are now calling our child...stands for Little Tyger....I wanted to go with Crouching Tyger but thought that may be a little too insensitive. My father called me Pumpkin Head, which is the killer demon in a 1988 slasher film...let's talk about insensitive...) 

Where was I? Oh the blog. Updates on LT are as follows: 
  • We officially stated the paper process in January (2016). This included us filling out a medical conditions checklist which allowed the agency to know what special need we are willing to consider for our son. This is first and it was really, really hard. We knew that each box we didn't check on that list were possibly hundreds of children we would not see. But we would never want to adopt a child we are incapable of caring for. So this was a hard, but circuital step in the process. 
  • In March, we started meeting with our social worker at Lutheran Family and Child Services here in Springfield to start what is called the Home Study. This is an extensive examination of who we are. The social worker told us that her job was to tell the agency how fit we were to be parents (sounds fun hu?)
  • Included in the study was at least 12 hours of parent training videos that we were to take. Topics such as attachment, development, discipline, Chinese culture, etc really helped us understand where we are headed as an adoptive family with a special needs, trans-racial child (I also learned some new words. Don't freak out, click here to read more about transracial as a valid identity). 
  • As of now, we are expecting our Home Study to be completed some time in June and then we will move to the next step, which is focused on getting paperwork ready for China as well as the US government. 
  • Bre will be 30 years old on July 3rd. We will be officially old enough to adopt from China :) So when you shoot off all of those fireworks (that were made in China) you can think of us! 
But for now, we wait. We wait for a Home Study to be completed. We wait for Bre's birthday. We wait to meet our son, who is likely already born, 1/2 way across the world not yet knowing that his mom and dad are working so hard to come and get him.
Waiting sucks. No one likes waiting. We hate it so much that we have even stopped saying it. We now say things like, "This is a hard season" or "It's just a really long process" or my favorite recently, "It is what it is".

Remember that question about going to a restaurant? Imagine if your server decided that instead of taking your order they said, "Ah, it is what it is". What would you say? What would you do? 

It made me think. Why am I so frustrated? What is it that is really bothering me about this waiting. And I think I have found the key. I am waiting on the wrong things.

We are not waiting on Lutheran Family and Child Services... 
We are not waiting on the US and Chinese governments... 
We are not even waiting on Bre's birthday... 
We are waiting on God...
And like a good worker at a fancy restaurant, while we are "waiting"... we are serving. We are asking God what he wants. How does he want us to pray? What does he still have for us to learn? What preparations have we overlooked?

I want to share with you some things that we are learning while waiting. My hope is that you can take this and apply it to whatever you are "waiting" on God for. Here are some things that are HELPing us as we wait.
I'm a preacher, so of course there's an acrostic... H.E.L.P.


H - Harness the Power of Your Community


We are never meant to do any of this alone. Bre and I have been blessed with awesome support from our families and friends. We have said from the beginning that adopting a child would be great but growing hearts in others for fostering and adopting would be even greater. We started with that goal and now that we have been given a little extra time, the goal is the same.

Times when what your waiting on feels the most distant is when you need your community the closest. And that seems to be the same time we want to push them away. We have this warped sense of self-pity that wants to recluse ourselves from everyone.

I am reminded of the parable that Jesus told of the woman who lost a very valuable coin (Luke 15). She lights a candle, sweeps the entire house, turning over ever piece of furniture until it's found. She didn't cover herself in a blanket and wallow alone, she got busy. The story says that, after she had found it, she called up all of her friends asking them to rejoice with her.

If what you are waiting on happened today, who would you call to come and celebrate with you? It's that community that wants to not only be there when you rejoice and your waiting is over, but also wants to help you turn your house upside down looking with you. Harness the power of your community. 


E - Educate Yourself. Someone Has Been In This Waiting Room Before You


This one is dangerous. It has a tendency to remove any "woe is me" attitude from your time of waiting. If you want to skip it, ok... But really what else have you got to do? Have you ever thought that someone else may have been through what you are going through? I am always amazed at how big the world is and how easily accessible education can be now with the internet. Sometimes I will type the most random question into Google, and not only find the answer, but Google usually auto-completes the question!


OK..That's not very random, but it's late and I couldn't think of anything funny. But at least this was helpful.


A few things that Bre and I have tried to educate ourselves on through this process (other than parenting) is how to make the process of adoption less daunting for those interested. Our searches landed us on a great organization called AdoptTogether.org. If you read my post about World Adoption Day, just know that the founders of AdoptTogether.org also created that day! 

We knew adoption was going to be expensive. We are even still trusting God to provide as we save and welcome gifts from our aforementioned community. But stumbling across AdoptTogether.org was exactly what we needed. If you have not seen this following video, please watch it. This is the founder of AdoptTogether and his TED Talk. Seriously, even if it means you don't read the rest of my blog...you need to watch this video.




17.8 million children. 17.8 million children who are literally waiting. Waiting for someone to love them again. Someone to clothe them, feed them, and come to their aid when they cry. That seems like an extreme comparison as I type it, I even am saying to myself, "Don't type that, it feels kinda guilt trippy, Jesus Juking, and unfair". But even other couples that we know who are adopting, having many more setbacks than we are. There are people waiting longer, and more deserving in front of us in the line. You see, educating ourselves while waiting reminds us that there are those who have been in the waiting room longer than us. 

Whatever you are waiting on God for, educate yourself. You will find comfort in knowing that no one sits in the waiting room alone. 


L - Love the Destination Even if You Hate the Journey


One of my favorite things in the world to do is go skiing in Colorado. But, one of my least favorite things to do in the world is driving to Colorado. If you are from Kansas, you might want to skip to the next paragraph. There is nothing more depressing than driving all night on the same highway and realizing when the sun comes up you are not even 1/2 way to the mountains.

But I still love skiing. And every time I get discouraged in Kansas, a John Denver song comes in my head and I know that the Rocky Mountains will still be just as beautiful, maybe more so after the wait I have endured.
I can't wait to be a dad. I'll sometimes look in my rear-view mirror trying to imagine what it will be like to have a car seat back there. Likewise, I can't wait for Bre to be a mom. You moms may have like one more shot at Mom of the Year, because after that you don't stand a chance.

We can't wait to give LT a home and a family. We are already trying to get his room ready, even though we are not even sure how old he will be...
Even though we couldn't say we are loving this journey, we can without a doubt say we love the destination. We love where all this is headed. Someone wonderful is about to rise above the Rocky Mountains on my list of favorite things in this world. But I know we've still got a lot of Kansas to get through.

(Yes, the blog post celebrating LT's arrival will be affectionately titled "WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE!")


P - Pray for the Unseen


We have learned (and are still learning) the power of prayer. I know that not everyone that reads this blog is a Christian, or even believes in God, but hear me out. If you made it through the parable of Jesus and the numerous times I've mentioned God, this won't be a surprise that I talk to both of those guys on a regular basis.

We truly believe that there is power in prayer. So, recently we have started praying for LT. We know that it's pretty likely that he is born, and if not already in an orphanage, soon to be adding to that 17.8 million.

We pray for his health, which is unknown to us.
We pray for his caretakers, whom we will probably never meet.
We pray for his birth parents and what ever hardships they must be going through. We know that not every orphan child is abandoned but many lose parents to sickness or at worse violent crime.

We pray for China, even though we have never been there.
We pray for many international students we know who have returned.
We pray for a husband and wife who were recently baptized in America last week who flew back to China yesterday morning. Praying that they find a community of believers to share their faith with. 

We are praying for the unseen.  

Hebrews tells us that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we might find that grace in our time of need. And that's exactly what we are trying to do.

Approach God | With Confidence | For Grace

No more, "It is what it is"

Whatever you are waiting on, know that God has grace for you. Pray that He will give you the dose you need every day as you "wait on", or in better terms, "serve" Him.







Thanks for reading, and a HUGE thank you to all who have bought shirts from Modfund.com and have given through AdoptTogether.org we are getting closer and closer to our goals for our fundraising. Feel free to contact me at allen@northsidechristianchurch.net if you have any questions about our adoption. Thank you again for your gifts, love and prayers!

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