Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To pass court in Ethiopia takes perseverance :)

It is funny how a day can start with such anticipation and a hope of life-changing news... and by the end of the day, it was as if that day was a year ago and nothing new is under the sun. Well, this is honestly how I can describe today. I woke several times last night-- obviously anxious for the upcoming news-- court. Did we pass? Did we not? I would wake up and think, could they be seeing our case now?........ What about now? ......... Maybe now???

Well, it was none of those times. Our case never even made it before the judge. Most of the cases from our agency for the day didn't make it before the judge. MOWA (Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs) decided that one of the pieces of paperwork needed to process our court appearance was outdated and needed updating. I won't bore you with the details. The bottom line is, Tony and I need to have a piece of legal paperwork re-signed, notarized and certified. Then we will overnight this paperwork to AWAA and they will forward it on to Ethiopia. This all must happen before June 16th-- our next chance at court.

Our reaction? We feel pressed-in on and maybe a little under fire. I know that my response to this matters. It matters just as much as the circumstance itself. We certainly are not the only family by far to have detours in the journey of adoption. Nor are we even in the minority. I have watched families for 18 months now walk this road. I have a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, who are with us now and who follow behind us. And who am I to be dissatisfied with God's mighty ways? Or hang my head in dispair instead of making my petitions to Him with all praise and thanksgiving?

Shortly after I hung up with our agency upon hearing the news of no court, I heard these words clear as day:

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1: 2-4)

Not just once, but over and over. It was a whisper, but clear and true. Is this easy for me to do? No. It is a moment by moment choice. And even then, only by the Grace of God which lives in me and makes me new.

So... we did not pass court. We didn't even make it to court. That's okay. Tony and I went out for dinner by ourselves and drown our sorrows in nachos and beer-- just kidding!! Well, sort of :) We had a nice evening out and tooks some time to process the news, adjust our thinking, make plans and move forward. We're also thankful for all the friends and family who are praying for us and walking the road of adoption with us.

And now... look to June 16th. It's our next chance to become Joshua B. and Rebekah S.'s mom and dad. We're excited to bring these two home to Team D!!!

Grace and Peace,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Did I just dream that???

Okay, so now that I have him home, I go in and out of thinking that he never left. It is strange. I think back on the last 7 months and it is all a blur. And yet, in some ways, I don't really feel like he is home, either. The pick up at the airport was priceless. I surprised the boys by telling them we were going to pick up their Aunt Emily, who was coming for a quick visit after her finals. Yes, it was an outright lie. I'm okay with that. So, when their dad came around the corner of the gate (there is only one in Fayetteville's airport), they did not see him at all. I had to call their attention to him and when I finally got them to look, it seemed like they were looking right through him-- as though it was one of those images on Star Wars-- you know, holograms-- or whatever they are called. Finally, they accepted that it WAS in fact their father, and all bets were off. Sam jumped up into his arms and suctioned himself to Daddy. Isaac started bawling and wrapped his arms around Tony's waist, and Wyatt just kept hugging him and pulling back and asking questions-- imagine that :). I'm glad I could pull off the surprise. Sometimes I think that I'm an "all work and no play" sorta mom. Militant about chores, good routines, schoolwork, etc. My husband calls me "The Warden". That's not a fun name. I forget to turn tense moments into funny moments a lot of times and sometimes I forget to smile and just not be on a mission-- whatever the mission of the moment is. So, I'm happy that I could surprise them in this very important moment of their lives-- reuniting with their daddy.

A friend of ours asked us the other day if now that we've had this time apart and had to go through an extended period of separation, if we learned anything major or realized any new, marriage-altering truths or made any new committments to one another. That is a loaded question and not one easy to answer. Both of us just sorta stood there awkwardly silent... ummm... well... Even after a couple days to process the question, we still don't really have an answer. I don't know why, either. I guess you would think we should-- but why? Our whole marriage has been one new experience, adjustment, challenge-- call it whatever you want-- after another. Aren't most people's? And with each challenge, we seem to come out on the other side understanding one another, our marriage and our family in some deeper way. Not that WE are able to do that-- but God just seems to cause the hard things to work out for His good and His glory. And it isn't something that we realize while we're in the season, or even right after the season. It is a slow recognition over time and distance away from the event that God used to refine us.

I guess if there is one thing that keeps coming to my mind, it is to not waste time. So much of my time can get eaten away in that which does not matter in the least. Or, my own selfishness or fears can keep me from fully living the life God has intended-- and this wastes time as well. And what is sacrificed in the time-wasting is everything that matters and is eternal-- relationships, talents, love, wholeness, God's kingdom coming through our sacrifices, etc. It is the hardest thing ever-- knowing how to invest the gifts God has bestowed... time, talents, resources, relationships. And there is only this one life, only this one chance and only the people He has placed most intimately in my life-- starting with my husband-- NOT for MY benefit, but so that they will experience God's eternal, life-giving love through the love with which I love them. This is a weighty proposition.

The other part of this awareness to not waste time, is the fear that we will trade in God's glorious riches for treasures here on earth-- not even meaning to, or consciously-- but just wasting opportunities to be "salt" and "light". And, I'm not talking about signing up for and organizing all the latest, greatest "ministry" opportunities or being a part of the newest "vision" either. I'm talking about the every day choices I/we make-- to either choose God's heart on a particular matter... or not.

Each day removed from deployment season has it's own set of ups and downs. Sounds like life to me :) Fortunately the honeymoon didn't last long-- Tony and I have already had a couple little quibbles. Which is fine-- because then we have to make-out... I mean "up". :) He has had to ease into time with the boys. Seven months with only grown ups can put a shock to your system when you come home to three raucuous boys! And as far as my dream state... well, I'm glad deployment wasn't a dream. I have a feeling that the further out we get, the more I will be able to see God's sweet work once again.

Grace and Peace!

PS... Stay tuned on the 20th for news of our court!!!!!! Please pray for our family to find favor with the judge and for Joshua B. and Rebekah S. to legally become members of Team D.!!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

I think this is the beginning of many thank you from my family. First, thank you for reading this blog-- however shoddy and sporatic I am about posting; I know there are many faithful readers, still. Thank you for reading about babies who need formula, thank you for being a part of our efforts to raise money and meet the goal of $12,500 worth of formula to feed our malnourished babies at AWAA's Transition Home!!!!!

Thank you for praying our family through the past 6+ months of deployment. By grace alone, we have come to the other side of this journey-- he isn't home yet, but he is in the country and working hard to make it back to us!!

Thank you for praying over our adoption process. As with any adoption, there are twists, turns and unexpected hiccups along the way. Of course, we aren't "there" yet; but getting closer every day. I still covet your prayers for our upcoming court date on May 20th, and prayers that we will be able to still travel on June 6th. I stand in awe when I look back upon God's goodness and mercy to our family. From the very beginning, He has caused all things to work for His Glory-- whether it has been providing a much needed document at the right time, causing Tony to come home early for travel, answering prayers on behalf of ALL families in AWAA to pass court, bring home children sooner and cause government systems to work for the benefit of children and families.... He is so good.

The next two weeks are huge for our family. Reunion with our Daddy, wrapping up another year of teaching my boys, experiencing the court system of Ethiopia and by God's grace, legally adding two more children to Team Dragovich. The anticipation is rising... and where there is great good to come, there is also great opposition from the enemy. Please continue to pray for us-- I do not know what to expect. I cannot even fathom. But one thing I DO know...

"I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Be STRONG and TAKE HEART and WAIT FOR THE LORD"!!! (Psalm 27:13-14)

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An Opportunity for Living Faith

Tom Davis is on a mission. He is raising money to buy a specialized formula for our malnourished babies living in AWAA's Transition Home.

Who is Tom Davis?

Tom Davis is a photographer, author and advocate for orphans worldwide-- in particular, Africa. He has written some great books, including Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds-- a statistic filled, reality check, call to action for Americans; especially Christians; who are supposed to "be the hands and feet of Jesus" or "live the red letters" of the New Testament but sadly seem strangely absent from the front lines on the war against poverty. He has founded an organization called Children's Hope Chest-- with this mission:

Children’s HopeChest believes that every orphan has the right to know God, experience the blessing of family, and have the opportunity to develop independent living skills.

Tom has teamed up with OUR agency, America World Adoption Agency (AWAA) to provide formula to the malnourished infants which arrive in our Transition Home. It is as horrific reality. Infants who are 6-12 months old weighing less than 7-8 pounds. Several of our babies at the Transition Home this very day are on feeding tubes, because their little bodies are too weak to intake nutrients any other way.

PLEASE be a part of this campaign of Tom's to provide Nutramigen-- a specialized formula-- for the babies of our Transition Home. As I stated at the beginning of this post, he is on a mission to raise $12,500 by Mother's Day, so our babies can have a chance at life and to experience the love of a "forever family"!!

Visit Tom's Blog to learn more. Read his interview with AW's Duni Zeneye, and then please consider giving. Think of it as a Mother's Day gift. Give so that another child may have the chance to know the love of a mother. Give so that another mother may have the chance to know the joy of loving a child. Give so that they both may experience the love of the Father through the blessing of adoption.

Grace and Peace,

PS-- Just a note... the picture of the infant in the picture at the beginning of this post is NOT one of our AW babies. That would violate privacy laws for our TH children.