Sunday, November 27, 2016

Closer every day

Sorry for the blog silence.  It is quite busy in the Thurman household these days.  After we accepted Y's referral this summer we found out we had to completely redo our dossier.  I quickly brushed the dust off my binders and folders I had thrown in a cabinet after learning of our last baby boy's illness and subsequent loss of his referral.  We spent this past summer and fall updating our homestudy and gathering documents for dossier #3.   Three dossiers in 4 years...

Third time's a charm.  Right?!?!

As I type, I have a huge smile on my face.  There are many things I am thankful for during this holiday season.  One being that WE PASSED PAIR!!!!   This is huge guys.  There are two approvals we must have before traveling to bring our boy home.  One comes from the US Embassy(PAIR) and its purpose is to determine if the child being adopted is a true orphan.   Our case was closed last week and we received our PAIR letter in the mail Friday!   So next we need Ethiopia's approval.  This comes from MOWA.   This is a monster.  We are currently seeing cases sit at this step for a very long time.  Way longer than in the past.  Ethiopia has made some governmental changes recently and we are beginning to see movement again.  We are prayerful that this continues.  If I have learned anything in the past 4 years, it is this

Don't hold your breath Mandy.  It's Africa.  Things change all the time. 

This is our last step and we are more than ready to get our boy.   We get frequent updates on him and I have many friends traveling now to bring their children home.  They give him sweet love for me. We were able to send our first care package to him.   A photo album of his family.  I want him to know how much we love him.  He is doing so well.  Growing like a weed.  Sitting up by himself like a big boy.  Always smiling.  We are missing so much.  

Can you please pray with me that we move through this last part quickly?  That MOWA continues signing positive letters and letting families, who have longed to hold their children for far too long, go get their babies.

I will continue to update during this part of our process.   It is happening guys.   We are closer every day.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

God's Master Plan

I don't even really know where to start.  In my last post I told you that our agency had told us we couldn't really move forward in Ethiopia.  Our hearts were broken.  We still felt so strongly that our son was there.  Weeks went by.  I was struggling.  I spent most of my day dreaming about the son we would never know, crying, becoming more and more depressed.  Many things bothered me.  Our first referral, F.  We couldn't find him so I feared he had already become a victim of the sex trade. Our second referral, Y, was so sick that we were unsure how long he might survive.  Not that money is everything, but we had spent over $32,000 and were left with what seemed like nothing but emptiness.

On April 6th, I was at my lowest.  I remember saying how I felt God had completely abandoned us.  I couldn't feel Him anywhere.  I was angry.  Very angry.  I was in my car crying, screaming out to Him.  I began to question everything.  Were we really called to this?  I even questioned His love for me.

Why?  Why have you left us here?

My precious, fellow adoptive momma, friend had sent me a post from an agency asking for paperwork ready Ethiopia families earlier in the week.  Josh and I had discussed but there was no way we could start all over again.  Financially or emotionally.  We couldn't afford another $30,000+ nor could our hearts handle sitting on another wait list.  I had pushed it aside.

Until that moment.

I decided to call them and just ask what the fees would be.  It was nothing serious and I knew it was even ridiculous to call.  I asked for the Ethiopia coordinator.  She got on the phone.  I asked about fees and kinda filled her in on what we had been through the last 3 years.  I began to talk about our F.  I started to cry.  It hurt to talk about him.  Remember, we had been told he couldn't be adopted. Read here for more.  She asked me for his name...then his orphanage...then I heard

"Mandy, we have him."

"Do what?"

"Yes, we have him.  He's being adopted by a family that is completely in love with him."

And there I went.  Full on ugly sobbing.  Tears of disbelief and complete joy.  I can't go into details but our precious F is going to have a mommy and a daddy.   It's the answer to over a year of prayers.  The conversation could have ended there and it would have been amazing.  I mean, what are the chances that I found our F?   With God nothing is impossible guys.

So once I recovered we moved on to Y.  Our last referral that we learned, after 7 months, that he was so incredibly sick with 2 debilitating diseases.   Read here for more.   She told me about another little boy that was at Y's orphanage that was on their waiting child list.  She told me to take a look.

Okay.  Here we go.

I had always questioned the photo we had received of Y.  I did not feel that it was actually him.  It didn't look like the initial photo of him.  It didn't look like a child with the disability that he had been diagnosed with.  We were told it was, so I didn't push anymore.  I was laying in the bed still reeling from finding F when I took a good look.  Guess whose face was looking at me?  Yep, the same little boy whose face we had fallen in love with.

Mouth drop.  Well actually heart drop.

So I was right.  We had been given the photo of a different child.  I don't know why or how.  But we did and I was looking right at him.  The child we had stared at for months was sitting on this agency's waiting child list.   Waiting for his forever family.

I promise I am not making this up.  In one random phone call, I found 2 of our boys.  There are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia and in one 30 minute conversation I had found them.

So the same day that I felt that God had completely abandoned us, He began to untangle the web He had been weaving for so long now.  A plan that I was having trouble wrapping my head around.  I still am really.

I called the next morning to learn more about the little boy whose face we knew all too well.  His name starts with Y also.  He is 15 months and has some health issues.  Possibly significant ones. This agency has been amazing and we have received a diagnosis.  We do not know what this means exactly for his future.  There is a long range of possibilities from nothing to very serious.

He's beautiful.   And he's our son.  God lead us right to him.  Again.  And we can't turn away.   As scary as it is, we can't turn away.

So, different agency means we start all over again financially.    This is where we struggle.  We have no clue how we are going to do it.  We are just recovering from the previous $32,000.  We can only pray that this money went to benefit children in Ethiopia.   But now we have to come up with $14,000 in 2 weeks and another $3,500 in 30 days and another $5,500 in 2 months.  This doesn't include travel or any other fees required after the initial 2 months.   And there will be more.  

People have always said that God will provide.  And He did with the first agency and referral fees.   I must believe that He will with this also.  But I will not lie.  I am nervous.  I find myself being annoyed that I am so nervous.  I must trust Him.  I must trust that He, who makes all things possible, will make this possible too.  Our God that has moved so many mountains, sometimes right smack into our path, is working a miracle.  

Shew, so with ALL that being said my incredible friend has made us a fundraising page.  Josh and I struggle asking for financial help.  It is difficult and feels uncomfortable, but we can not do this alone.    If you would like to support us by giving a donation, please see Missy's page here.   If you cannot give financially, please support us by continuing to pray that our boy becomes stronger and healthier.  That we are able to move quickly through this process and finally bring him home.  We are amazed and speechless by the support we have received in the past 3 1/2 years. We love you all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Finding His Purpose

I woke up this morning with an overwhelming pain in my heart.  This seems to be my new normal.  I miss my boys.  I miss being their mommy.  I have never wanted anything more in my entire life.

Throughout this journey, Josh and I have prayed for God to take hold and lead.  We would only follow.  Giving over complete control has been hard.  There are many times I wanted to grab the reins.

"Hold up here God, wrong way."

I wanted to tell Him that on March 24th, 2015.  And again on February 8th, 2016.  Both days when we lost our boys.

I have been holding off on writing this post.  Praying things would change so I wouldn't have to.  But they aren't and this is just where we are.  We are being told not to continue our adoption journey in Ethiopia.  There are many changes occurring and things are very unsettled.  Some of the proposed changes will greatly effect the opportunity for these children to have forever families.  This is disheartening.  Since the need is so great.  Millions of children who will never know the love of a mommy or daddy.

We have been given the opportunity to switch to our agency's China program.   We have prayed about this over the past month and will continue to.  Currently our hearts are not there.  I'm not sure if they ever will be. We are deeply in love with Ethiopia and 2 precious boys there.   We know this very well means we will never bring home our son.

So here we are.  Over 3 years, 2 boys, and $30,000 later.   We are more broken hearted than we have ever been but we know our God is unfailing and faithful.  I just can't help but wonder...

What was His purpose?  Why did He bring us to this?   What are we supposed to do now?

I am struggling with this being God's plan.  To open all of these doors and break our hearts for His children, to only slam them shut and leave us here.   To have us fall in love with 2 boys.  One having over a 75% chance of being a victim of sex slavery when he ages out and the other with such a severe disability it is unknown how long he will survive.  

I know that is not it.  That is not my God.  I know there is more.  I just wish I could see it.  Like right now.

Currently we are working on finding F.  The first little boy we were referred.  We are prayerful we will find him and fight to make him not just another statistic of a child left behind.  It is easy to run wild with the possibilities of connecting with F and having a future with him.  He can not be adopted but we yearn to have any type of relationship with him that we can.

I do know that Josh and I feel strongly led to help these children that will never come home.  Like our 2 boys.  We plan to travel to Ethiopia this year and become active with our agency's (un)adopted program.  

Is this it?  Was this His purpose all along?   Are we being called to love these children instead of bringing one into our home?

I wish I knew but in the meantime we will pray and continue to follow.  Thank you for your continued support.  This has has been hell and you all have been there for us.  We love each and every one of you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sweet Y

Yesterday marked 3 years since Josh and I began this journey.  February 8th, 2013.  I was so nervous.  So was he.  It was scary, exciting, stressful.  I remember spending hours researching agencies, countries, the financial aspect of adoption.  I would sit and watch Gotcha videos all day long.  I would cry knowing that one day that would be us.  We would be walking through those gates to hold our son for the first time.  I still get chills thinking about it.  We knew we had a difficult road ahead of us.  Not one person had told us it would be easy.  

The past 3 years have taught me more about myself than I could have ever dreamed.  I can't think of any other experience I have ever had to go through being this hard. Single mom in nursing school...not even close.   I have seen things in myself that I did not know existed.  It is a testimony to what mothers can do.   God gives us a special gift.  A mother's intuition. 

February 8th, 2016.   Josh and I, once again, sat down to listen to someone tell us devastating news about a child we have grown to love.   A child we have prayed for.  A child we have dreamed of.  A child we have watched grow for 7 months. 

On January 11th we received an update on Y.  He looked different.  So incredibly sad.  Attached was a brief update.   He was sick.  I knew instantly it was bad.  A mother's intuition you may say.  For a month, I pushed and prayed like I had never prayed in my life.  On my knees, crying out to God to heal our sweet boy.  I wanted answers.  Yesterday we got those answers.

I am limited as to what I can say on social media but we received Y's medical reports.  He has a very severe disability, actually two.  At 15 months old, he is unable to support his head and neck along with a multitude of other problems.    We are unable to move forward with his adoption, for a few different reasons. 

Again, we are left heartbroken and empty.  I have been thinking about what to say and I just don't have the words yet.  My mind, nor my heart, has had time to process.   We are grieving...hard.   Please be patient with me.  I am not me right now.   I now have 2 boys that I will never hold or kiss their sweet lips. 

We do not know what is next.  I want to quit.  To save myself from ever feeling this pain again.   But God is still there, pushing us to keep going.  We both feel him.  Please pray that God continues to lead us, and that we continue to listen and follow.  It is so easy to turn from Him when you are deep in darkness but in Him comes light, and we know that. 

No one ever said it would be easy.  Easy it has not.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  You have been praying right alongside us since you learned he was sick.  I am so thankful to have each of you in my village. 

My sister-in-law sent me this.  I found it to be perfect. 

"Though I bring grief, I will show compassion. So do not despair when hard times come your way, and do not try to escape them prematurely.  Timing in My prerogative!  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  Grief is a season, and I use it for your good.  Unlike the four seasons of the year, the seasons of your life are not orderly or predicable.  When you are grieving, you may feel as if sorrow will accompany you the rest of your days.  But remember that I have promised to show compassion.  So great is My unfailing Love for you!"