Monthly Archives: September 2015

God in the waiting and the weariness

This past week was a hard one.  On Monday, China time, an important stack of papers was supposed to be dropped off at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China.  This would be our LAST step before we would be waiting for travel approval from China.

We found out on Tuesday that there was a shipping error and the papers did not get delivered.  There was a chance of them getting delivered on Thursday, but because we are approaching several weeks of holidays in China, we could be looking at losing several weeks and travel being pushed back weeks later than we thought.

I’m going to be honest, I did not handle this well.

For several months, I have felt a little like I can’t breathe.  I am usually a person who lives very much in the present.  I am aware of people, of situations, of relationships, of the Holy Spirit.

Lately, though, I am foggy.  Distracted.  I feel like I am never fully there.

On Wednesday it really hit me.  I had so many fears along the way about if I could love her enough.  If I would feel about her like I feel about Campbell and Bennett.  But I don’t have any fears about any of that anymore.  I am her mom.  I cried, so grateful for the love God has given me for my baby, and yet so weary of the wait to meet her.

In the midst of my emotional breakdown, I began to think about waiting.

Waiting.  Ugh.  Is there anything worse in this life?  Maybe it’s just me, just my personality, but I like action, I like seeing God do things, I like forward movement.  Something tells me it’s not just me though.  Waiting is hard.

And really, who among us is not waiting for something?  Waiting for God to heal.  Waiting for Him to show up in our relationships.  Waiting for Him to provide.  Waiting to know His plan.  Waiting for peace.  Waiting for Him to do what He has promised.  Waiting for Him to make a way in what seems impossible for us to navigate.

Waiting to fly across the world and bring our daughter home.

Once again, the Lord used the lyrics of a song to speak to me this week.  As I have felt crushed under the weight of the five or six or ten weeks that stretch out in front of me, I was reminded of the Truth of Isaiah 40:31 this week.  My strength does not come from the end being in sight.  My strength, my ability to endure, comes from the PROMISE that although I may not feel it moment to moment, my God has promised to give me the strength I need to endure all the moments of this.  I may feel weary, but He will continue to give me the stamina I need to walk this out, however long that may take.  I can endure, because the source of my rest is not in this waiting being over, it’s in Jesus who called me to this to begin with.

I will run and not grow weary
I will walk, I will not faint
I will soar on wings like eagles
Find my rest in Your everlasting name

You are my revival
Jesus on You I wait
I’ll lean on Your promise
You will renew my strength

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Happy Birthday Ellie!

Today, September 15th, we celebrate Elliott’s 2nd birthday.

We had the opportunity to send Ellie a cake, photo album of her family, & stuffed animal through our agency.  We were overjoyed to get these images back.  What a sweet circle of little friends she has with her.  Her first birthday celebration.  We can’t wait to celebrate you next year, precious baby.  You will never celebrate without your family around you again.

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Immigration Approval!

On Wednesday, August 26th, our paperwork arrived at the US Department of Immigration (once again).  Earlier in the adoption process, through May and June, we filed an initial application with US Immigration.  At that point we were given approval to bring a new citizen in to the country, based on the specifications listed in our home study.

At this point in the adoption process we were required to send a second application, which included the specifics of the exact child we were asking to make a citizen, as well as sending them a copy of our approval from China (and a bunch of other pieces of paper!)

Today we received our I800 approval from the US government!  We have now been officially approved by China to adopt our little girl AND officially approved by the US government to bring this girl into the country as the newest, most adorable citizen.

4153602669_0a9c9fe77fOver the next week to ten days, we’ll get entered into the National Visa Center’s System and receive a specific number we need from them.  Then we’ll complete an application for her visa & receive verification that her file has been forwarded to the consulate in China.

At that point, all pertinent documents are dropped off by our agency rep in China at the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  The consulate reviews everything to make sure that our adoption paperwork meet all the requirements of the Hague Convention, which oversees adoptions.  After ten business days, the agency rep picks up our Article 5 letter – stating all is complete and meets all the requirements.

At that point, we will OFFICIALLY BE WAITING FOR CHINA TO GIVE US TRAVEL APPROVAL.

We are literally coming to the end of this process.

Which is good because I’m a little ridiculous at this point.

God spoke several things to Russ & I that have led us to believe we will be traveling the last days of October & meeting her the first days of November.  He is going to have to show off with His timing if that is the case.  We know He can!  Will you pray with us that every step clicks along smoothly & in 50 days we are on our way to China??

Unstoppable God

This morning we sang a song written by Elevation Worship called “Unstoppable God”.  The words resonated with where my heart has been lately.

Heaven thundered
And the world was born
Life begins and ends
In the dust You formed

Faith commanded
And the mountains moved
Fear is losing ground
To our hope in You

We began this adoption process with more questions that answers.  How would we ever afford this?  How would this whole process work as we walked out the journey of my Dad’s dementia?  How do I adopt a baby and still live out my calling as a pastor and a therapist?  Could we really do this – imperfect people, imperfect marriage, and all?

We had way more questions that answers.  And yet, we said yes.  We took one step of obedience, then the next, then the next.  We didn’t know where exactly those steps led us.  Oh, we knew we were saying yes to a sweet little girl in China, but other than that, we had mostly just questions.

Weeks after we had said yes to adoption, I attended the local IF conference.  The theme, of course, was faith.

“It isn’t in the measure of our faith, it is in the measure of our immeasurable God.”

I wrote in my journal that weekend. “Kristin, you don’t have to understand it to do it.”

It would only be two months from this point that we would see God answer our first big question – He would provide all of our financial needs for this adoption almost effortlessly.

Unstoppable God
Let Your glory go on and on

Since November of 2013, we have watched my dad fight a horrible fight with dementia.  I don’t write much publicly about that, because it is not just my battle and I have a deep desire to respect the privacy of the rest of my family.  I will say this though, it has been the most heartbreaking loss of my life.  Navigating a loss like this that keeps going and going is hard anyways.  But beyond that, you don’t know and love and then watch a great man like my dad slip away day by day without feeling tortured.

Russ and I both struggled with why God would ask us to do this now.  Why would He call us to adopt when our family is going through this?  How would this be for my mom?

I could not have anticipated what God would do in this.

I began to see throughout the early moments of our adoption that my mom had an excitement that I had not seen in her for months and months.  I began to feel like parts of my family that were lost for a while were back again.

Around April I was on the phone with my mom one day when she told me that she felt like this adoption was for her.  That it had given life back to her.  It will forever stand out as one of my favorite moments in the adoption process.

This doesn’t take away the sadness.  Grief still has a strong presence in my family.  There are hard days and excruciating things to navigate.  But in the life of Elliott Hope, the Lord has shown us that He still has good things for our family.  He has given us excitement about the future again.  He has helped us to remember that in the midst of some of our saddest days, He still has plans for us, beyond what we can imagine.

Impossible things
In Your name they shall be done

Three years ago the Lord called me to start the Freedom Counseling Center.  I’ve spent three years growing as a therapist and a pastor, learning how to mix my love for the Lord, my gifts, and my passion to see people experience the true freedom God desire for them in their lives and their relationships.  I love what I do.  I know I am called to this.

My kids were two and four when I started the counseling center.  Babies.  It was hard.  Now, at five (almost!) and seven, it is so much more manageable.  Why would God call me to go back to raising a baby?  How would I even do that?

Throughout the last year or so, I have toyed with the idea of expanding the counseling center.  I almost hired someone at one point.  It has worked though, just being me.  I have been able to grow and develop my style and find a niche in the community.  But what happens when I have a new baby and can see less clients?

In June I was having lunch with a former coworker, whom I have kept up with through the years.  Someone I respect and admire.  I was beginning to toy with the idea of hiring someone.  Keep in mind, I had no master plan.  As we talked about her desires for her life professionally, it became clear to me that it was her.  That all this time I was waiting for an answer to this big question of how to go about adopting and managing the counseling center and the Lord had delivered something even better – someone I already know loves Him and loves people to serve along with me and lighten my load.

In one month, we have gone from one counselor in one office to the construction of a complete counseling center with multiple counselors.  Only God.  Only God would give me the ability to keep doing what I love, to EXPAND that, and to bring home a new baby girl.

Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns unstoppable

If you know Russ and I personally, you know that we don’t come by the marriage thing naturally.  We have a tremendous marriage, I absolutely believe that.  We have fought, cried, prayed, and gone to counseling to get there though.  We both are very committed to working on ourselves.  We know that our marriage depends on it.

I walked into the adoption process with fear.  Would we move towards our defaults during the stressful parts of this?  Would I become bossy and critical?  Would Russ retreat and detach?

Eight and a half months into the process, I can say with sincerity that I am more in love with this man than I have ever been before.  We have faced hard things in this process.  We have asked questions of ourselves and had conversations that have challenged how we love God, how we love our kids, how we look at this world.  We have experienced pain.  We have been excited together.  Together, we have seen God work miracles.  Even in this adoption, He continues to work miracles in us.  I am grateful that I get to be obedient.  I am a million times more grateful that I get to be obedient with Russell King.

We’ll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable