Thursday, December 15, 2011

Well, that was wild!

So, here I sit, 6 hours after being awakened in the middle of the night, still not really fully processing what just occurred, nor fully grasping what God has in store, yet fully trusting in His sovereignty.

What we know that we know that we know that we know is that God called us to adopt from Ukraine.  Period.  He's made that abundantly clear, no questions, if's, and's, or but's. 

What we don't know is WHO He wants us to adopt.  While we absolutely believed it was Vlad and Dima, apparently God had other plans. 

God brought two boys into our family this summer at a time when we weren't expecting it, we fell in love with them, they said they were in love with us, and we thought the rest was history.  Ha!  Love stories are never that easy, are they?

Vlad and Dima look like us and act like us.  They like the things we like, they laugh at the things we laugh at, and they have the most precious, tender, compassionate hearts ever.  Oh how I love those boys.  They LOVED working alongside Matt, particularly Dima.  He was always tinkering with stuff, and he still has a stash of tools and half-disassembled treasures in his fort at our ranch.  Vlad loved everyone in our family passionately.  He was so tender with Selah and Kiefer.  He got along well with everyone, and was truly just a rare gem.  There were so many things that confirmed they were Pattersons.

But God had other plans.  God most likely knew that we wouldn't just jump into another adoption for any ole kids.  He knew our hearts needed to follow in love with Vlad and Dima in order to pursue the paper chase, fundraising, home arranging, and  heart preparations necessary for adopting more lovies.  During this season of our lives, it took our love for Vlad and Dima to get us to commit to all of the exhausting requirements of international adoption.

In my heart, I'm secretly hoping (and may or may not be praying!) that somehow, some way, Vlad and Dima will become available.  Not that I don't want them with their aunt, I just feel a motherly fierceness protection over those boys.  They were my sons.  I love them.  I want to make sure their aunt is stable and will take good care of them.

Our two biological sons feel the same way!!!  When I broke the news to them a little while ago, Parker (our 15yo) was angry/upset/sad.  He didn't take this lightly.  He still believes Vlad and Dima are his brothers.  He loves them and wants the best for them.

Sawyer (our 11yo) immediately went into protection mode.  He asked all kinds of questions about the aunt.  Is she a drunk (common in Ukraine)?  Does she love them?  Will she meet their needs?  How do we know she's OK?  Who will verify this?  Can Dad go see them and ask Vlad and Dima what they want?  Can Dad go make sure they're OK?  Sawyer then went on to explain how Vlad had shared with Sawyer some disturbing things about Vlad's bio grandma in Ukraine.  Typical Ukrainian stuff, and what he shared with me is probably why Vlad and Dima were removed from their mother's care.  Grandma would NOT be a good placement for Vlad and Dima, so then I wonder if this aunt is the daughter of Grandma.  Probably.  Is she in a better place than Mom and Grandma?  I sure hope so.  I feel protective, too, but I have to choose to trust in God's sovereignty.  He knows what is best for Vlad and Dima.  I do not.  I can only feel what I feel, and I know not to trust my feelings, but to trust God above all.

So, where do we go from here?

Good question. 

With my being in Texas and Matt being in Ukraine, this is a little difficult, but we know God orchestrated it this way for a reason.  Matt said the SDA was VERY accommodating and easy to work with.  They gave him a HUGE stack of files of children who are available for international adoption.  Our facilitator, translator, and Matt went through the files.  Matt said there's definitely no shortage of children available.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of waiting children in Ukraine, all available for international adoption. 

An internet friend had been advocating for our family to adopt 2 boys whom she hosted in the past. So, those two boys were the first files my husband requested.  He truly thought we would adopt them, but the SDA said that their orphanage director recently declared that he is no longer cooperating with any international adoptions.  In fact, he posted a sign outside his orphanage that says, "NO MORE FOREIGNERS!"

So, that door closed. 

My husband prayed for God to show him who to pursue.  Hundreds of possibilities, everything written in Ukrainian.  The translator recalled two boys in the Mariupol region of Ukraine who were begging for a family to come for them.  She found their files.  Matt called me to discuss things.  I told him I trust whatever decision God leads him to.  Then he discussed a few more files with me, but I had NO sense of direction whatsoever.

Oh, backtrack for a minute with me.  I didn't mention that I had woken up at 3:30AM to pray.  Then Selah woke at 3:45AM (she's sick right now).  Then my cell phone rang at 3:55AM.  It was Mattie, using Tara's phone, calling from the pizza joint across from the SDA office, frantically asking me to find the names of the two boys that the American family was wanting us to adopt. 

Meanwhile, it is the middle of the night here, so everyone is asleep but Selah and me.  Selah wasn't happy.  I have very little voice (I'm sick, too), so I'm trying to talk on the phone, get my laptop open to search for the boys' full names, and keep Selah happy.  All while still half asleep.  Then the internet was out.  Not kidding.  Couldn't access the links to the two boys because of no internet.  Meanwhile, Selah was getting into all kinds of paperwork, tossing it about the room, so I start giving her all kinds of novelties to try to divert her.  Things like medicine bottles, dirty shoes, fingernail polish bottles.  Yep, all of the things she's not allowed to play with, I start tossing onto the floor to try to keep her occupied!

Then the internet comes back up, so I get to the page with the two boys, only to find it's all in Ukrainian.  Somehow the "translate this page" icon was no longer on the page, so I have NO CLUE what the info says.  Tara gets on the phone and asks me to describe the Ukrainian characters for her so she can transcribe things and translate as best as possible.  So, here I am with a baby playing with all kinds of no-nos, my having very little voice, in a panic to get this info.  So, I start describing to Tara what the Ukrainian characters look like.  It's comical now.  Things like, "OK, this looks like an upside down capital L.  Followed by something that looks like a cursive lowercase r."  Then Tara says, "Oh, is is a swoop with a straight line over the top and another straight line coming down from that on the right?"  Yep, that was it!  Only there were at least 50 different characters to translate.  Ugh.  Then we realize the last names aren't even listed.  So we start looking at the region.  Back to things like, "OK, this character looks like a capital N with a squiggly line above it.  Then a lowercase b character.  B as in Boy.  H as in Hog.  C as in Cat."  You know, stuff like that!  We finally realize there's an identifying case number, and the numerals are normal numerals.  Ahhhh, that would have been so much easier!!!

Then we find out those are the boys whose orphanage director refuses to cooperate. 

OK, so who do you want us to adopt, Lord?

So this is when Matt calls me.  Did I mention he forgot to take his cell phone, so he's borrowing Tara's cell phone?!?!  Thank God for Tara!!!  So we discuss several options, and, ultimately, I just leave it all in God's hands.  I truly had NO idea who God wanted us to pursue.  I thought it was Vlad and Dima!!!

Matt and I hung up, I prayed, got Selah back to sleep at 6AM, prayed some more, and some more, and some more.  Broke the news to the kids.  Sadness.  Then Matt called to tell me that he and Mattie will be taking a 16 hour overnight train ride Sunday afternoon to the region of Mariupol to visit an orphanage there.  It's the orphanage where the boys are that our translator recalled during the SDA meeting.  Matt just felt that was the best option.  He doesn't "have" to adopt these boys (there are two of them, half-brothers, ages 11 and 13), but he wants to go visit with them.  Then he can decide if this is what he believes God wants.  If he feels it's not what God is asking, He can go back to the SDA to ask for another referral.  He can go back to the SDA two more times before our dossier would get kicked out. 

That's all I know for now.  I'm just praying for God's will to be done.  And for our hearts to be soothed as we learn to let go of Vlad and Dima.  (And I might just throw in extra prayers that if God does still want us to adopt Vlad and Dima, that He would make a way and make His way known.)  Oh goodness, this is just too much.  I can't imagine being in Matt's shoes, making these decisions with Mattie instead of with me.  But Matt and I both agreed that God orchestrated it this way for a purpose.  Matt is LOVING having Mattie with him, and he's comfortable making these decisions.  Meanwhile, the rest of us simply wait and pray.  And pray some more.

Thank you for joining us in prayer.  God has a plan.  He always does.  Faith is built during trials.  It remains stagnant without mountains to climb, hurdles to cross, challenges to face.  He's building our faith through this, and the good thing is that we're not in control.  At all.  We can rest in His peace that passes all understanding, in His sovereignty that is unlike anything we can fathom.

PS  Many of you have emailed me about the 15-year-old Ukrainian boy who ages out Dec. 31.  We were approved to adopt up to 4 children between the ages of 6-14, so we're not approved for a 15-year-old. :-(

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