LOA!!!

After 131 days of waiting, we finally, finally, finally got our LOA.  LOA is the precious document we have been waiting on from China for oh-so-long.  It means we have been officially approved to adopt Maggie and that we can start the American immigration process.  After that, we can bring her home.

In God’s providence, China decided to upgrade their database during our LOA wait.  This was supposed to mean a one week shut down of their system, but as of today, 8 weeks later, things still aren’t running the way they should be.  And as they have slowly brought different processes back online, the LOA process has been the last glitch to fix.  And so we have waited. And waited.

It is hard to describe the waves of emotion I have felt throughout this LOA process.  Many times I didn’t know how I could take even one more day, so great was my longing to get to Maggie and my frustration over bureaucratic delays.

Today, my overwhelming emotion is relief.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.  I know that excitement and joy will soon come, as we complete the final steps and start thinking more about traveling to China to get our daughter.  But for today, I am savoring the overwhelming sense of relief that our fate and hers is no longer resting on whether China can fix their computer system.

Her paperwork has already been sent on to American immigration, and it feels FANTASTIC!

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Packing List for China

I NEED to save this post so I can find it when we go to China.  IF we ever get to go to China!  Tomorrow marks 130 days of waiting for our LOA, that precious piece of paper we need to be allowed to start the next phase of our adoption process.  It has been a very stretching time for us, but I’ll save all that for another post.

For tonight, I am posting this link, as a sign of my hope that China WILL get their new database working correctly so that we can go get our girl.  And when we do, here is what we need to bring...how will I ever pare this list down to fit into a suitcase?  It’s crazy!

Reflections While Waiting

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*Post first published on Visionary Womanhood, July 2013

Our adoption process hit a snag recently.  We are waiting on a very important document, and China has chosen this moment in time to launch a new database.  I trust this automation will be a great thing someday, but right now it is making our wait time unusually long, and no one knows when things will be up and running smoothly again.

While I wait in my comfortable home, surrounded by loving family and friends, I am keenly aware that my baby spends most of her day lying alone in her crib.  If I reflect on her situation too much, my desperation to get to her can become overwhelming.  Tears are always just below the surface right now.

I am tempted to let my emotions rule, but I know this is the time to take every thought captive to Christ.  Every day I fight an inner battle: will I allow my thoughts to be shaped by what I know to be true from God’s Word or by my fears and circumstances?

God’s Word tells me He is faithful.  He loves me, and He loves our daughter.  He is a God of mercy, a gracious Father. He is sovereign over all creation, and He does all things well, for our good and for His glory.  He is omniscient and He already knows how and when this will be resolved.

Sometimes, when I walk through the valley, my heart struggles to believe these truths.  I have to remind myself that His Word is even truer than what I see and feel.

Isaiah 26:3 has been a source of strength and comfort:  “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You.”  Early in this journey of waiting, I felt a sense of peace whenever my circumstances looked hopeful.  I soon learned that kind of peace is built on shifting sand.

The key to abiding peace has been trusting in God.

Of course there are still ups and downs, good days and hard days.  My mind isn’t as steadfast as I had thought it was. I can’t do any of this in my own strength.

My fickle heart turns to fear and doubt so easily, but His Word is a light to my path. The Holy Spirit is renewing my mind as I meditate daily on God’s attributes and promises.

In the early days I prayed, trusting the Lord to bring our paperwork quickly. Now, after almost 130 days of waiting, I am just trusting Him.  Period.

I am learning to seek Him for Himself, not for His gifts. I am resting in Him like a weaned infant clings to its mother—wanting the milk but having nowhere to turn for comfort except to the One who has withheld what I want so very much. And I am finding comfort there, even in the absence of what I crave.

So often our sanctification comes in fits and starts, a little bit here and there as we walk through life.  And then there are times like this, when we seem to grow by leaps and bounds, usually through trials.  Through this time of painful waiting, the Lord is teaching me to rely on Him in a new way.  I am learning to trust Him when I can’t see what He is doing or why.  I am learning how to be content in all circumstances.

I have been praying for a miracle.  Greater sanctification isn’t the miracle I had in mind, but the Lord knows it is even better than what I wanted.

This refiner’s fire is a heart work that goes far beyond my comfort zone.  I am still praying for that precious paperwork, which represents our little girl’s deliverance!  But now  I also pray that the Lord will improve upon this time of waiting.

UPDATE on this update: We got the paperwork we needed on day 131.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!