Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Wow, God!"

So, today was a totally a "Wow, God!" kind of day.  For those who need further explanation, that means all I could do was say, "Wow, God!"  :)
I'm not even sure my words will do justice to the emotions I felt today, but I'm going to try. 
First of all, church was exactly what I needed today.  God spoke to my heart in several ways, and I had some great fellowship with some fellow believers and friends and the promise of more of that same fellowship in the days ahead.  Sometimes I just get so weary and spending time with close friends and believers is just something I crave.  I'm in that sort of season right now, and this morning was refreshing to my soul.
So, Andrew and I got in the truck and headed to his parents' house for our weekly Sunday afternoon lunch with them.  Which I look so forward to!  (Just a side note, its an amazing blessing to have amazing in-laws!  So, thankful for them.)  As we were driving, Andrew told me that some good friends of ours, an amazing couple in our church had given him a check for our adoption fund.  They mentioned that they had been blessed with a nice income tax return and wanted to donate to our adoption fund.  He said, I haven't looked at it yet, but its in my Bible.  Just the news that someone had made an unexpected donation, caused the tears to start flowing.  You see, and here is where I'm completely honest and ashamed to admit, that I've been battling the big doubts lately.  The thoughts like, "There is no way on earth we are ever going to be able to raise the amount of money we need."  I hate that sometimes my faith is so little and weak, but I'm extremely thankful that my Father in Heaven, continually reminds me to trust in Him.  Deep down, I know He can do it, but I get so overwhelmed at times when I look at the big picture!   So, I reached around and pulled out his Bible to look at the check, and was shocked!  It was written out for a very significant amount!  The tears immediately got heavier, and I think I cried almost the whole way home.  I was just so overwhelmed by the generosity and compassion of this couple.  I know for a fact, they had other things they could have used this money for,  (Don't we all?)  I am humbled and in awe of the way this couple allowed God to work through them.  I just pray that I will always be open to being used as He has used them in my life.  Their gift today, means more than just an addition to our fund, although that in and of it self is appreciated, it was a refresher to a weary heart.  A heart that is trying so very hard to cling to God's promises and trust and live by faith that God will make a way, but also struggles with being human and becoming overcome by the doubts and pain of this journey.  My prayer is that I will always be open to the lessons God is teaching me through this journey.  That in the end, our story will be full of "Wow, God!" moments that others will see, that we can share with our children one day, and that we will always share with others to bring honor and glory to our Great God!  This is the story He is writing for our lives.  This is the purpose and the plan He has for us.  In the moments when I don't understand or I am trying to wish it all away, I pray that I'll remember this verse: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." I Peter 1:6-7
I have tried to respect the privacy of our freinds, in this post, and I hope that I have; but it was too big of a moment in our journey not to record it and I wanted to say to them, "From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You, Friends!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Long over due update!

Okay, so when you have to reset your password because you can't remember the old one you have definate proof that its been way too long since you blogged! :)
When we began this adoption journey, we committed to always being open to "a change of direction" if we felt the Lord leading us to a different path than the one we started down.  We have found, that is a very hard thing to do; however, it is also very rewarding.  I think it is hard for several reasons, one, because you get your head and heart set on something and you don't want to give it up.  Two, because you start to doubt yourself, "well, we thought this was the right path, now we feel it isn't, what if that happens again?"  Third, we let ourselves get wrapped up in what others around us might think.  "Well, we've already said this is what we are doing.  What if they (everyone involved in your life) think we are making the wrong decision."  We've come to realize, God's way is always best and He is the One we should be concerned with, not everyone around  us. 
During December and January, Andrew and I both began to realize that we didn't seem to have a true peace about the path to Ethiopia.  We wanted to do it, we saw the need and wanted to say this is the way we need to go, but we just couldn't take the next step.  When you want to do something so badly and  you can't find the strength or courage to move forward, I think that is a huge red flag.  (I'm not just talking about fear, either, because I think fear is a constant in any area of adoption.  You can have peace in the midst of fear, but when that peace isn't there, that is when, I think you need to start seeking and see if this is really the path God has for you.)  We continued to pray about it and talk about it and we finally realized that there were things about the Ethiopia process that we felt just wasn't for us.  We still think there is a HUGE need in Ethiopia, and we are still praying for the precious orphans there!
So, you may be asking, what is the new plan?  Well, it really isn't that new, its actually the original plan that started all of this in motion to begin with.  Many of you know that about 7 years ago I spent some time in an orphanage in China.  It was those 2 amazingly heartbreaking weeks that started the adoption seed growing in my heart.  When Andrew and I first talked about adoption, while we were dating, it was specifically China that we talked about and the seed began to take root in his heart as well.  However, one of the qualifications to adopt from China is, you must be 30.  My amazing husband, isn't quite there. :)  So, we thought, we'll adopt from somewhere else, first, and then adopt from China when we adopt the 2nd time.  Well, what we've realized is that its going to take us a while to raise the funds to be able to afford this adoption journey.  By the time we have raised the money, it will more than likely be close enough to time to start the paperwork.  So, after much prayer and consideration, we decided to just continue to raise the money we need, and move forward with China when the time is right.
There is a 2nd part of this decision.  It is the decision to step way outside of our comfort zone and really put our faith where our actions are.  We have always said, "I don't think I could ever do foster care.  It would be too hard if you have to give them up."  Well, we felt that God was working on our hearts in this area as well.  As if He was asking us, do you really trust me, do you really trust my sovereignty?  This is something I will probably write a completely different blog about in the near future, because all of a sudden God has given me this passion about being willing to lay aside your fears and worries about being hurt, in order to help someone who is already hurting, through no fault of their own.  Why is it okay for us to say, "I can't do that, it'll hurt too much" when their are babies and children out there that just need to be loved and they have no control over their circumstances.  Anyway, I'll expound more on that later, just know its something that has taken very deep root in my heart.
So, basically, our new plan is two fold, one for the future and one for the present.  Right now, we are starting the process to do foster-to-adopt.  When Andrew turns 30, Lord willing, we will begin our journey to China.  After the last several months, I know that we really never know what the future may hold.  Our job is just to be open to where He is leading us.
Through the foster-to-adopt program, we could have a baby placed in our home in less than 4 months!  That has us very excited, and very, very, busy!! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Transparent Heart--Singing to my Savior

This evening I feel a need to be very open and transparent about something I have mostly kept to myself.  I have shared some of these thoughts and feelings with God, Andrew and a very limited number of close friends & family, but other than that I've been pretty closed-lipped about it.  My biggest fear in sharing these thoughts is that others are going to misunderstand and think that I wish I didn't have to adopt or that I'm 'settling' for adoption as my 'only hope' for a family.  Please let me be very clear, no matter my feelings toward my infertility.  I am THRILLED that we are adopting and that God has blessed us with the ability, the desire and the heart to adopt.  My sadness and grief in regards to my fertility is in no way related to our desire to adopt.  To me, they are two completely seperate issues, that just happen to be connected in a few ways.

Infertility is not something people talk about.  I think there are probably many reasons for this, it makes people uncomfortable, they don't know what to say, they are afraid of making it worse by saying something dumb, or they are afraid of reminding you of it by bringing it up.  Take it from someone on the other side, it is uncomfortable,we aren't looking for the magic answer in your words, you could very possibly say something dumb, (but don't we all do that everyday!) and most importantly you can't remind someone of something that they can't forget about.  I read a magazine article the other day that said it perfectly.  It was an article on Laura Bush and she was talking about her struggles with infertility.  She said, "The English language lacks the words 'to mourn an absence.'  For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not.  Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only 'I am sorry for your loss.'  But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness.  For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives.  Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?" (Ladies Home Journal, June 2010).

This blog comes after I had a very difficult night, last night.  I was emotional, I was questioning, and I was having a bit of a pity party for myself.  After Andrew went to bed, I got back up and came into the living room, to try to find some peace.  I sought the Lord, I asked him my questions, I poured my heart out to Him, telling Him that I didn't understand.  That I was trying to trust, but that there were moments when the doubts overshadowed my faith!  I finally found a very real sense of peace.  The kind where I felt like He was wrapping me in His arms and wiping away my tears and telling me it was okay to grieve.  Its okay to be sad, but that I have to remember in the pain that He is there for it all.  I have to fight off the devil's lies and remember God's promises.  I read about some of the women in the Bible who had these same type of struggles...Hannah, Rachel, Sarah, Elizabeth, and how God had a plan for the infertility they faced.  He also showed me, that yes, He had a plan for them, but they were sad and grieved, too.  I feel like the sin is not in the sadness, but in letting the sadness turn you away from God.

I am not blogging about this so others will feel sorry for me.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I have a Father in Heaven who loves me more than I can even imagine.  He has paid for my sins and forgiven me and is preparing my future home in Heaven so that I can live with Him eternally.  He has blessed me with the most amazing husband anyone could ever ask for.  We have the best families, church family, and friends.  He has even blessed us materially with more than we even deserve!  I also know and believe with all my heart, that this path He is leading us down right now, though very difficult at times, is the best path for us. 

I am writing this blog because I want others to know.  Infertility is painful and hard and there is no shame in that.  I will not hide the fact that it is hard, and there are many, many times when I don't understand.  I have cried the tears, and asked the questions, and I'm sure many more questions and tears are to come.  But I know through it all, that there is a reason, and that He loves us with an everlasting love.  

Many times in my life I have found that song lyrics can help me focus my thoughts.  Today was no different, this song, I have a Song, by Shannon Wexelberg helped me put my thoughts into words.  

I want others to know that through the pain and the grief, I have a song and I want to praise my God because I know, even when I'm questioning that He loves us and is taking care of us!  I pray my song is a tribute, an "anthem," to His faithfulness that brings Him all the glory and honor!  Thank you, Mrs. Wexelberg for this song that says exactly what is in my heart!

(2nd verse)
When I cannot see tomorrow
When the questions flood my mind
Looking back on wasted time
When my soul is full of sorrow
When the pain won’t go away
And such brokenness remains
I join the music rising far above it all
It’s an anthem to my true and faithful God

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to take a quick moment to say, "Merry Christmas!"  We are celebrating and enjoying the day with family.  We've had time with both sides and are enjoying every minute of it!  Santa brought us way too much and a significant addition to our adoption fund and for that we are very thankful!  More importantly than that, we are taking time today to remember and celebrate the reason for this day.  We are so very thankful for the ability to celebrate the birthday of our Lord and Savior.  I pray that we always remember the true meaning for this celebration and we look forward to the day of teaching our children what Christmas truly is all about!

7And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ he Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
15When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
16So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
17When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
18And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
My prayer for today is that I will be like Mary and will treasure all that God is doing in our lives right now and spend time daily pondering them in my heart.  May we all glorify and praise God for everything we see and hear, just as the shepherds did long ago!  Merry Christmas everyone!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thrilling and Terrifying

Our last post briefly mentioned that we had been talking and praying about the possibilty of adopting a sibling group from Ethiopia.  Well, the complete truth is, we are planning to adopt a sibling group, of two, unless the Lord closes the door or points us in a different direction.  As of this moment in time, we are praying for our two precious babies on the other side of the world.  This decision has brought so, so, many emotions.  I just thought I was emotional before...wowzers! :)

The idea of adopting one child was and still is overwhelming, while the idea of adopting two children is completely and underly terrifying and yet absolutely amazing all rolled into one.  Seriously, I have never been more scared or so sure about anything in my entire life.  Its hard to explain and yet I find my self wanting to try. ;)

So far, the hardest thing for me in making this decision is realizing that our first born child is probably already in Ethiopia.  Here is what we have said in regards to our kids.  We are "planning" (I say that lightly because we are learning you never really get to plan too much in the adoption realm!) that one of them will be under a year old at time of referral, and the other will be no older than 3 years old.  That means, if we are praying for a referral around this time next year, our first born could already be there.  It also means, our 2nd born could be born at any time.  Its a crazy, crazy thought to know that your child/children could already be in this world and you don't know them or even know anything about them yet.  You better believe its turned this momma-to-be into a prayer warrior.  Its also made me a little anxious about getting things moving.  I try to remind myself that God's timing is PERFECT, but it's definately not the easiest lesson I've ever learned!  (See previous post!) :) 

So, Lord willing, the Gamel Family of 2 will become the Gamel Family of 4 within the next year and a half.   Until that time, we'll just keep praying, trusting and seeking the Lord's perfect path for us and believing that He is holding our babies close, keeping them safe, and helping them know they are loved beyond measure!  What comfort is found in knowing that our God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."  Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

God's Timing & Two at Once?

So, I saw a plaque the other day that said something I need to be reminded of from time to time, or possibly every day...this is not word for word, but basically it said: Trusting God means trusting His timing!  How true that is in our lives everyday, but especially during this "Paper Pregnancy."  If it was up to me and my timing, I would have turned in ALL of this paperwork about 2 weeks ago.  Its just about ready, and what isn't completed is just what I've been putting off, because I know we can't turn it in yet.  I guess something about it being completely filled out and just sitting seems worse than almost filled out and sitting.  So, why haven't we turned it in, you may be asking, or maybe not, but if you are reading this, you are probably wondering...we just don't have the funds to go with it yet.  I'm not too, terribly discouraged by that, I truly do believe God will provide and I trust that He'll make a way, but where I have a break-down in my trust from time to time is trusting that His timing is right and good and PERFECT.  I am finding it very difficult to sit and wait and TRUST, when I think about our children being out there. 

Oh, and yes, that isn't a misprint, we have been praying about and seriously discussing pursuing a sibling group.  Which means, that one of our children very well could be alive and living in Ethiopia right now.  As a mother-to-be, that is both very difficult and incredible to think about.  To know that half way around the world, your first born could be living his/her first year or so without you, and you are sitting at home waiting to raise the funds to go get him/her.  Can you see why I wish I could've turned that paperwork in 2 weeks ago...but I also know that God is working all things together and when we see the end and we have these precious babies in our arms, we'll know that His way and His TIMING is PERFECT!  Father, help me to remember that when my heart is aching to do all that I can physically do to bring home these precious babies you have placed in our hearts.  Hold them in your loving care, keep them safe and help them to know that their Mommy and Daddy love them even now, even before we know who they are.  Please bring us all safely together in your time.  Thank you for loving us and for loving them, and for bringing us together to be the family you want us to be.  May our lives and our family always glorify and point others to You!

No promises, but I am going to try to get better at this blogging thing.  Several times a week, I sit down to blog, and one would want to hear about, who knows.  We'll see how it goes. :)     

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Emotions of Fundraising

Emotions are funny things.  I've been an emotional wreck this weekend.  It started as I walked into our church's fellowship hall yesterday morning and saw the massive amount of baked goods and casseroles that had been made to sale for our 1st fund raiser.  We may be members of the smallest church I've ever attended, but the hearts of the people are HUGE!!  I am continually overcome with their generosity, support and love!  This amazing family that God has given us through our church has me constantly thanking Him for His provision in our lives.  These people love God with all their hearts, and all of their actions, words and deeds are daily proofs of exactly where their hearts abide!  The bake sale was a huge success!  We raised close to $1500!!!

I went to the sale with my amazing mother-in-love and was so thankful to be able to share it with her.  Then about half way through the morning, my phone rings, and its my sister.  My phone is on 'roaming' at the church so I just kept silencing it, thinking I'd call her back later; however, she kept calling, so I finally answered.  She wanted to know where I was, which I thought was odd, because she knew I was at the bake sale, and then she said, well we are outside your church and didn't see your car.  My mom, sister and niece had driven up (about 2 hours) just to surprise me!  It was a great surprise and I enjoyed being able to share the afternoon with them!  Our family, both sides, have been so incredibly supportive of our decision to adopt and we couldn't be more thankful for that!

The emotions that are brought forth by having to fund raise have always been a hard thing for me.  When I was in the youth group, and we did fundraisers for youth camp and other activities, I HATED it!  I have just always felt this overwhelming dislike for having to ask other people for money, no matter the cause.  I have never been good at it and it has always made me feel inadequate and uncomfortable.  So, maybe this is part of God's plan for me, to grow my faith and stretch me out of my comfort zone in order to follow His plan.  I will not hide the fact that this is hard and very scary for me.  I have no doubt that God can provide the money for this adoption, but I have to pray daily for the strength it takes to step forward every day, not knowing HOW He is going to provide it.  I'm a planner, I like to have every step planned before I begin the journey.  This is probably the 2nd thing He is planning to teach me in this journey.   When I say I pray daily, it would probably be more accurate to say I pray many times daily, because as soon as I begin to get comfortable with things, the doubts start to creep in and I have to ask Him to give me the strength for the next step.  I saw a sign the other day that said "Take a step of Faith.  You do not need to see the whole staircase, just take the next step."   That is exactly what I feel like I'm asking God to help me to do.  We will not be able to see this whole staircase, until after we have brought our baby home and can look BACK and see the steps He has helped us climb.

So needless to say, the emotions are difficult at times and thrilling at other times.  Through it all, I'm thankful that God is guiding us and has provided such amazing people in our lives to make this journey with us.  I pray that each of them know how much we truly love and appreciate them and all they are doing to help us walk this path!