Posts filed under season of waiting

A Hummingbird and a Call (One Year Later)

One year ago today, I was sitting in our backyard holding a hummingbird that had flown into our window. I was simultaneously hoping it would stay forever and be my animal friend and hoping it would fly away. I was hoping it would stay for obvious reasons. Hello! Who wouldn't love an adorable bird who drinks sugar water being your friend?! At the same time, I was hoping it would get better enough to fly away. I had an important call I was waiting for and really wanted to give all of my attention to this call.

Our social worker had emailed us the day before (Thursday) asking if she could call as she had a file of a child she wanted us to consider. I was hopeful, but cautious in my hope. After about 20 minutes of holding this fragile bird and feeding it, it flew off. As I was standing up, my phone rang.

She said he was a six year old boy. She said she thought he would be perfect for us.

I knew. I knew he was our son. 

I called Brian to tell him the two simple things we had—his age and gender. Then I went on a walk. I've had strong feelings before, but this was intense. My husband and my family can testify that strong feelings are sometimes the only way I feel things, but this was different. It was confidence and hope and tentative love. All for a six year old boy on the other side of the world. I prayed that God would help me discern my feelings.

We prayed together over the weekend and called Monday morning asking for the file. What followed was 43 days of waiting to see his face. Those 43 days were painful. They were heartbreaking. I didn't know what my son looked like, but I knew he was the child we had been waiting for.

Oh, how much can change in one year! Now we're in a new season of life, filled with fighting for attachment, building love, and growing in trust. One year can hold so much. This past year has seen our family of two turn into a family of three. 

I am thankful God brought Tisetso into our family. Adoption isn't rainbows and unicorns, so when you have sweet moments (like this anniversary), you hold on tight. I am excited and hopeful for what the next year will hold.

Posted on May 29, 2016 and filed under adoption, anniversary, season of waiting.

When I Grow Up...

I've always wanted to write. When I was in elementary school, I remember meeting an author at our school library. She wrote children's books covering various times in history, which was one of my favorite subjects. Pouring over her books inspired me. When I grew up, I wanted to be an author.

Artwork by Kirsten Ovitt and Design by Brian Malcolm

Artwork by Kirsten Ovitt and Design by Brian Malcolm

Beginning in May, I started writing a Bible study. I've wanted to write something for a while and had several ideas floating around in my head. What prompted my sitting down in front of a computer was our women's ministry at Redeemer Fellowship needing a change. We decided to mix up the format of our monthly Bible studies and needed materials.

Artwork by Kirsten Ovitt and Design by Brian Malcolm

Artwork by Kirsten Ovitt and Design by Brian Malcolm

It has been such a blessing getting to write for the ladies in our church. The fruit of the Spirit is a topic the Lord knew I needed to be writing about and meditating on these past few months. The chapter on patience was especially a blessing to write. Pouring over Scriptures about patience while we were in the midst of waiting for T's file was such a comfort to my soul. It was also a huge challenge.

Artwork by Kirsten Ovitt and Design by Brian Malcolm

Artwork by Kirsten Ovitt and Design by Brian Malcolm

I am almost done with the study (7.5 chapters out of nine are done). I don't know how quickly I'll be able to finish as the next couple of weeks are going to be very busy, but I am excited to present the full work to the ladies in our church. It has been such a blessing to feel like I'm using the degree I got and my passion to see women studying theology and loving God more because of what they are learning. I'm already plotting what I'll write next. But for now, I'm going to focus on finishing chapters 7.5 through 9 and getting life in order.

Posted on September 25, 2015 and filed under Writing, season of waiting.

Clothes and a Lion Named Roy

Because we have a little less than 3-4 months before heading over to South Africa (if the courts approve our referral), we've started getting ready to welcome T* home. One of the main things we've been able to get for T have been clothes. We've been buying a ton of the summer items that are on clearance now because, when we head over, it will be summer in South Africa. Talk about feeling sorry for this kid...he's leaving summer and being dropped right into the middle of our winter when we return.

I surprised Brian with a sweet t-shirt I found for T. Target had a series of band t-shirts. I was going to wait to give it to Brian until the day we signed the paperwork for T, but I couldn't wait. I'm pretty sure this kid is going to be STYLIN'!

Along with clothing this kid, we've started making our registries for our adoption shower. We even found an awesome stuffed animal we will give T when we meet him for the first time. A lot of attachment resources recommend giving the child a stuffed animal for them to have during the crazy time in their life when they are leaving one life behind and starting a new one. T's favorite animals are lions and horses, so that's where we started. We found this sweet guy on Amazon and are excited to give it to T (we also bought a back up). We're calling him Roy until T has a chance to name him.

Definitely subscribe to the blog if you don't want to miss anything. We are so blessed to have so many people who are asking about T and what's next, so we don't want to miss anyone. We're excited to keep you updated as we have more info.

*Legal name withheld until he is legally our son.

Posted on August 2, 2015 and filed under adoption, season of waiting, getting ready.

Moving Forward

Last Wednesday, Brian and I sent an email to our agency telling them we would like to move forward in adopting T*! We are so excited because he seems to be a perfect fit for our family. Since we've accepted the informal referral, the agency and lawyers in South Africa will bring a referral request and our dossier before a court to request an official referral. This process will take about four weeks. That puts us about 3-4 months out before heading to South Africa if all goes well!

Please be praying with us as we are hoping that we will be approved and that it will take less time and we can get to South Africa sooner rather than later. Our desire is to be with our son for Christmas this year and home before the end of the year. 

More info to come soon!

*Real name will be withheld until he is legally our son.

Posted on July 27, 2015 and filed under adoption, South Africa, season of waiting.

IT'S HERE!

On Monday afternoon, we got the file! It's been a crazy week since. Brian and I are praying over this little fella and feeling really confident about him.

A lot of people have been asking what happens next, so here's a general timeline that we just got from the agency:

  1. We will take his file to a doctor to be reviewed. It will help us understand the medical portion of the file.
  2. We will notify the agency that we would like to officially make him ours!
  3. The paperwork will be sent over to South Africa and we will receive his full file (we currently have a file with redacted information).
  4. We will have two weeks to go over the full file and accept it.
  5. If we accept the file, we will have to receive approval from our government and from the South African government.
  6. When we've received the approvals, we will have the all clear to head over to pick up our kid!

Our prayer is for clarity and timing. We are praying that if this little guy is ours, we would be bringing him home by the end of the year. Please pray with us! Thank you for walking with us this far! We will write an update when we have one. Stay tuned!

Posted on July 17, 2015 and filed under adoption, South Africa, season of waiting.

Hope in the Lord

This season of waiting has been hard. If you've talked to me in the last three weeks, it seems the waiting has intensified as we are waiting for some paperwork and for a file to come through from South Africa. Each day I wake up with hope for the day. And each day, for the last three weeks, I've given up hope somewhere around 10:30 am because the work day is officially over in South Africa. 

When you are waiting for an adoption to move forward, you have such hope. You hope for the timeline to be quick (you don't want to wait for 10 years), you hope for the child to be loved where they're at right now, you hope they will be protected from evil people who prey on helpless children, you hope that when you meet them for the first time they don't hate you. You hope and you hope and you hope. These past few weeks have been filled with such hope; it's almost overwhelming at times. As we've been waiting and hoping, I've found such encouragement and joy in Scripture.

Over and over again in the Psalms, we are called to hope in the Lord.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.
— Psalm 130:5-8, ESV
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
— Psalm 131:3, ESV
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
— Psalm 146:5-7, ESV

As I looked at my watch this afternoon and saw that it is bedtime for our child in South Africa and realized we will be waiting until Monday (at least), I realized that God is not wasting this time. This huge idea of waiting on the Lord and having hope in the Lord is finally settling into my soul. I am starting to understand more fully what it means (in my own small way) to hope in the Lord. God has allowed me to translate this season of waiting into a deeper understanding of hoping in Him and I am so thankful.

I am realizing more as I write this out that my hope in the adoption, for a child, is not a bad thing, but it could and probably will disappoint. My hope in God will never disappoint. God will never disappoint. 

Posted on June 19, 2015 and filed under adoption, season of waiting, South Africa.

Peace in Waiting

I've sat down and started several blog posts over the last couple of months, but was unable to publish them. For fear of sounding like a broken record, I just didn't have anything new to say. It was tough. Knowing something and seeing it on a screen in front of you made it more real for me.

In the midst of this season of waiting, one thing has emerged—peace. The last file we looked at was in December. Over the past six months, the Lord has done such a great work. When I am tempted to freak out over the many things on my mind God was so quick to remind me about the sweetness of His sovereignty. 

Back in April, we got some disappointing news about the adoption. Providentially, that week, I was preparing to talk about the sovereignty of God at our women's seminar. When tempted to freak out, I already had Scripture floating through my mind to calm my heart. God has been so good to remind me of these truths over and over. (I often need to be reminded, as I quickly forget.)

As we are praying for the right child for our family, please pray with us. We don't know how our family will look at the end of this process, but we are trusting that the Lord knows and will work powerfully to take orphans on the other side of the world and bring them into our family.

Thank you for praying with us and asking if there's any new news. It is so encouraging us that people care. We look forward to the day when we have big news to share.

Posted on June 1, 2015 and filed under adoption, season of waiting, South Africa.

Little Things

We've been asked by many if there are any updates. Simply put - nope. Nothing. All is quiet on the adoption front. In this quiet, I find small glimpses of things to come in the little things. I wanted to share a few of them with you.

kid pumas

I found these sweet, kid-sized kicks at a garage sale for $1! For those of you who have never set eyes on my husband, he's practically a walking advertisement for Puma. I joke with him that I think his endorsement checks are getting lost in the mail. I saw these and instantly was able to envision our child wearing shoes just like their dad.

south african rand

Last week in Knoxville, my mom did a treasure hunt with my nieces and nephew. They were sent to hunt for chocolate coins imprinted to look like actual currency. The only coin they didn't find was a coin from South Africa. My mom saved it for me. It was a sweet reminder to pray for our kid(s).

The last little thing was a set of Transformers letters I found at a thrift store. I sent Brian a text while I was at the store to see if he wanted me to get them. He replied enthusiastically that he did want them and that he used to have the 'M'. When I brought them back to the house, Brian proceeded to transform all 26 letters of the alphabet (he had a little help from the Oneal kids).

I've noticed and have been thankful for these little things throughout our days. I've currently got the kid Pumas sitting under the glass in our coffee table. It reminds me that, Lord-willing, those shoes will be filled some day. We are very much looking forward to that day!

Posted on March 31, 2015 and filed under little things, South Africa, season of waiting, adoption.

One year later

One year ago, I clipped the envelope holding our adoption application onto our mailbox. I remember waiting with eager anticipation to watch the mail man grab it and walk away. Thus began our adoption process. It was a quiet beginning and has had ups and downs since. One whole year...

It is a bittersweet anniversary. When we started this process last December, we thought we would be in South Africa by now, meeting our kids, and being parents. We've since learned that was a misunderstanding on our part, but it doesn't diminish the hope we felt in this being a quick process.

It is a sweet moment, too, because more than anything I'm learning the Lord's timing is best in this process. In the year we've been walking this path, we've prayed over seven children and felt they were not our kids. I cannot wait for the day when the Lord answers our prayers to show us who are kids are supposed to be. God's timing is perfect, so the fact that we are not in South Africa right now means that this moment, being lived right here in Aurora, Illinois, is best.

For those of you still praying with us and encouraging us as we wait on the Lord, thank you. Your kind words, prayers, and listening ears are invaluable. You mean more to us than you know and your part in our adoption story is essential.

Posted on December 4, 2014 and filed under adoption, season of waiting, South Africa.

What's Next?

Now that our dossier has been completed and shipped, we've gotten the question "What's next?" quite a bit in the last few weeks. Well, the next step was for our dossier to be received in country, but we were notified Tuesday afternoon that it was received by the agency in South Africa. That's a huge relief!

So the answer is that the next step of the process is waiting. Nothing to do. No paperwork to collect, sign, notarize, or apostille. It's all done for now. Now we wait. Now life continues as normally as possible knowing that life could change at the drop of a hat (as any life can). It's just different because we've removed all barriers to getting these kids home. All paperwork is turned in. All it takes is a phone call and a file of a child (or children) in our inbox. 

It's been mentioned by several people that waiting must be the hardest part. For both Brian and I, it is one of the easier times. We know that the timing is completely in God's hands. Our kids will come home at the exact moment He has ordained. There is a huge peace we've found in trusting the Lord. A quote by Paul Tripp has been brought to mind several times since we started waiting.

You live your life in the utterly mundane. If God doesn’t rule your mundane, He doesn’t rule you because that’s where you live.
— Paul Tripp, War of Words (sermon)

Our life, while different than some, is mundane. We go to work, we eat dinner, laundry is done, cleaning, repeat. There has been a sweetness to handing this season over to the Lord. It's no longer up to us to finish anything. It's all done. Now we wait, trusting the Lord to rule in this season, as well as the next.

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray with us that the Lord would protect our kid(s) during this season of waiting. Pray He would provide loving caregivers, food, clothing, and shelter - things we cannot provide for them at this time.
  • Pray for us as we wait and prepare to welcome the child(ren) into our lives. 
Posted on October 16, 2014 and filed under dossier, season of waiting, South Africa, adoption.

African Safari

This weekend was a whirlwind trip up to Rochester, MN to visit my side of the family. My paternal grandmother (Grandma Cookie) just moved into assisted living and her home (which she had lived in for 60+ years) had been sold. I've spent many good times in that home and I really wanted to see it one last time before it was handed over to the buyer. The home needs a lot of work, so it is going to be flipped and will never look the same. 

Grandma Cookie's kitchen wall - it has looked this way as long as I can remember.

Grandma Cookie's kitchen wall - it has looked this way as long as I can remember.

Living in a home for that long and never throwing anything away makes for a busy weekend. There was a garage sale and the home was quickly being cleared out to make way for the new owners. One great find - BAGS of beanie babies. While many people were giving their beanies away, throwing them away, or selling them, my grandma saved them all. So when my uncle asked me if I wanted any, I jumped at the chance. We now have a full African safari of animals.

We grabbed any animals that are found in Africa, or more specifically in South Africa. When we were picking out animals, Brian grabbed the mongoose, of which we weren't sure there were any in South Africa, because he hates snakes. I just looked and there is a mongoose native specifically in South Africa. (Brian will be happy to hear there are creatures eating the numerous [venemous] snakes that live in South Africa.) I'm excited for our kids to play with this set. I'm already thinking through other things that could make the safari more fun, but I think we're off to a good start.

Posted on October 14, 2014 and filed under adoption, season of waiting, preparing for kids.

World Quilt

When we met with our social worker for our final home study interview, she warned of the time that lay ahead that would just be waiting. As our dossier paperwork is coming to an end, the waiting is drawing closer and closer. I've never done well with just waiting, so she suggested having a project to do to keep me busy during this season. 

I really wanted to make a quilt that was modern and something we would have for years to come. After scouring Pinterest for a couple of hours, I found a pixelated world map quilt I wanted to make. I contacted the designer and asked to purchase the pattern. Unfortunately, she does not sell the pattern. So I began scouring again. I found nothing I liked. Thankfully, a wonderful woman at our church, who has agreed to teach me how to quilt, found a great pattern. I liked it a lot because it is easily personalized. (I'll be adding photos of my progress as I go along.)

Today I am starting my first quilt. I am excited to have something tangible to do during this season of waiting. I am excited that when this season is done, I will have something to wrap my kids in and keep them warm. I am excited to pray for them and for us as I work on this quilt, for when God knits our family together through adoption. Can you tell I'm excited?

Posted on August 13, 2014 and filed under adoption, dossier, season of waiting, South Africa.