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Friday, October 21, 2011

Preparing my Heart at Women of Faith

As I prepare for the coming Women of Faith conference in Kansas City, I have been thinking about some of my prior experiences with the ladies on the porch.

My first Women of Faith experience was in 2001.  Several ladies from my church were going to Women of Faith in Anaheim, CA and they invited me to go with them.  We didn’t really have the money to attend, but my husband and I saved for the expense.  We were new in the area and felt would be good for me to make some friends at our new church home.  Besides that, it sounded like a fun break from my day-to-day life of mom, wife and church secretary.  On a sunny Friday afternoon, I left our 1-year-old daughter with my grandma and headed out in the van full of laughter and soon-to-be memories.  Little did I know that these women planned to bless me with my ticket and hotel expenses or that these would become true sisters in Christ.  The weekend started with a fabulous dinner in an Anaheim restaurant packed with women and more laughter.

From there we went to the conference. It was unlike anything I had ever attended. The music lifted my spirits and the speakers inspired me.  We laughed and cried ever more than in the van on the way there!  Each woman spoke from her heart and touched me in an unexpected way.  The sincerity filled the enormous room and reached me all the way in the top row.  Like Thelma, I grew up with my Grandma.  I dreamt of traveling the world with Luci.  Sheila’s stories of motherhood seemed so much like what I anticipated with my daughter.  My heart went out to Barbara who was unable to attend due to her illness.  Marilyn let me know that it was ok to be a Christian with a slightly sarcastic sense of humor.  Nicole knew my deepest thoughts, from standing alongside my mother-in-law during her fight with breast cancer several years earlier to wearing multiple hats every day.  I went home with new friends and a renewed energy unlike anything I had felt in a long time. This was something I planned to attend over and over again.

What happened that weekend prepared my faith for a sudden change that would forever change the world.  The following Tuesday was September 11, 2001.  I turned on the television as my husband prepared for work and watched the World Trade Center crumble to the ground.  I stood in disbelief as my husband entered the room and hugged me.  Together we stood dumbfounded at the horror taking place.  I quickly dressed, gathered my things and headed to work with my Bible in hand.  Throughout the day, many people visited and called the church.  No one knew quite what to say or do, except to pray.  My weekend at the Women of Faith conference seemed like it had taken place a lifetime ago, but the results were still there.  My faith did not waver in the following days.  In fact, it continued to grow as I searched the scriptures and sang hymns. 

Attending the Women of Faith conference that year wasn’t a life-changing experience in itself.  It did, however, prepare my heart for many life-changing experiences.  I am so thankful for the people and events that God puts in our paths to prepare us for our future.  While I haven’t attended every Women of Faith conference since then, it has a dear place in my heart and I would encourage any women to attend.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Visas, Court Dates and Christmas...Oh My!

There is so much to say about our adoption much that I can barely wrap my head around everything!  I decided it would be best to simply update our status and get to the rest another time.  On the American side, we are waiting for the I600A to come back.  This is the preliminary application for the visa.  As part of this application, we must be fingerprinted again and all of our documentation up to now will be reviewed.  I'm not so sure how long this takes, but we have friends who are about a week ahead of us in this process so we watch them closely to know what's coming next.  On the Taiwan side, we just received a court date.  It isn't until December 2nd, which is later than we hoped.  Apparently a home study must be done on our son and his birth mother, which takes 45 days.  Our attorney is working to get this portion of the process hurried, but we don't know know if this will happen.  If the court date is December 2nd, we can loosely plan to bring home our son in early January, a month sooner than we had been told at the beginning of the process.

As much as we would like to have our son home for Christmas, January is good too.  Our calendar is packed through 2011 and there would be some serious logistical issues if we go to Taiwan before January (though we would joyfully make it work).  January will be a calmer time when we can devote more attention to a new family member and help him to adjust to our way of life.  From what I am told by several people (including my husband and daughter), our son is shy and slow to warm to new things.  Christmas in our home would quite possibly overwhelm him, though we have already made plans for a simpler celebration this year.  Chinese New Year is in January and that would be fun for all of us to celebrate together every year as a remembrance of our new son coming to our home.  As with the rest of the process, it will all happen in God's perfect timing.  Until then, we will be preparing our home for the arrival of a little boy.