The Garrisons

Follow our journey on adoption #3 for child #8!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

God is good.

My heart is full.   My God is good.   And my words are inadequate to express it to you all.

This post isn't about adoption - although because our family is in our third adoption process, the story will include adoption.   This post is about what happens when you take a scary leap of obedience and do whatever it is God is calling you to do.   For us, adoption.  For you, I don't know.

There is no way I could ever recount all the instances of God's faithfulness in our lives, but lately, I've been so overwhelmed by his goodness and provision.    Four years ago, we started our first adoption process, and while we felt clearly led there and were excited, it was SCARY.   So many questions...what will this look like?   how will we afford it?   how will it affect our at home kids?   how will we afford it?  (oh, did I mention that one already...?)    What we found in the process of following God - despite the questions - was the JOY of obedience and his miraculous provision.   It was a faith stretching journey, but one that proved to us over and over again that he will completely provide, especially when the idea was his in the first place.   The finances - check.   The first real international travel experience (I hated the idea of leaving our kids!) - check.   The adjustment with a new one at home - check.   The positive impact on our kids - check.    The blessing of our Elijah - BIG check.    God is so, so good.

Our second adoption was easier to decide to go ahead with because of what we had experienced the first time....but this time God called us to add THREE children to our family.   Once again, he blew us away by providing.  By far his greatest provision has been in the adjustment to adding that many family members at once.   Friends, I will not gloss over this one.  It was HARD for me.  I love, love these kids, but it's not easy to attach to that many children at once.  It was hard emotionally, financially, logistically, and so on.  If I'm honest, I will tell you that some of this is still a work in progress.    But God is amazingly faithful, and has helped me navigate the most difficult of emotions and times.   God is so good.

So, now we are find ourselves in round 3.   Once again, there are many questions - but we now walk with a fuller faith and an assurance of God's faithfulness that comes through witnessing his hand in your life.    He is once again proving himself faithful.    Let me give you a few examples...

Nathan and I really don't know how this adoption and all of it's related expenses are going to be taken care of.  It's a lot.  Frankly, we're depleted with 7 kids already, and back to back adoptions.   I have applied for some grants, but have not heard much back yet.    We have an adoption related expense due this week that is just under 3G.   Unfortunately, we don't have that lying around, so our plan was to use our home equity line of credit.  Blech.   I hate that.   I felt sick to my stomach about it, but knew it was really the only option we had.   Yesterday, I went to get the mail.....and yep, you guessed it.   A check from a grant (that had never even acknowledged receipt of our application) for THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS.   Yes - that's right - the day before we needed it, the money came in almost the exact amount we needed!!  

Coincidence...?  I think not.   God is good!

Oh - we also got our I171H that day, too.   (for those of you who don't speak adoptionese - this is a VERY important form from the US Immigration Dept that allows you to bring another child home).

God  has also blown is away in the area of Nathan's work.    He works so, so hard to support all of us, and we love him for it!  He works full time at a local hospital as a physical therapist, and then also contracts himself out to see patients at nursing homes in surrounding communities.   That contract work plays an important role in our finances.  Over the summer, he was given a pay cut with the company he did the most contract work for.  Major bummer for us.  So, my hubby, being the resourceful breadwinner he is, began to make other contacts.  Can I just tell you that God has more than provided what he was going to lose!   AMAZING.  God is good!
Just today, we had a gentleman come work on our house.  As we got to talking, I found out that he and his wife have taken in four foster children (to make seven children total - just like us) into their home and are planning on adopting them.   We shared experiences, and he opened up about how difficult it had been.   I was able to encourage him, and I think he found comfort in just knowing someone else had walked in similar shoes.   Before he left, he told me that he felt like God had brought him to our house today to hear what he needed to hear.

Coincidence...?  I think not.   God provided me the opportunity to share what he was doing in our life and encourage another.  He's so good!

I could ramble on with story after story about times just like these that God has provided for us.  But here's the take home message - If you are walking in his will, God WILL provide.  Not sometimes.   Not every now and then.   ALL OF THE TIME.     I shake my head when I realize the crazy faith journey we would have missed if we hadn't said yes to what God had for us four years ago.   All of the ways I would have missed him working, and the joy I would not have experienced.

Maybe it's not adoption God is calling you to...maybe it's something else that feels scary and crazy.  I hope you will find encouragement in this, and not let your fears keep you from saying YES.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. 
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
There is absolutely nothing to fear about tomorrow; for God is already there.
Psalm 91:4

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back to school & a quick adoption update

Haley - The girl who made me a momma...16 and a junior in high school.   

Hayden - Freshman in high school!!  Love this sweet boy.

Emma - 13 years old, 8th grade.   Spunky and sweet - keeps life fun!

Grace - 2nd grade.   So proud of her progress & kind compassionate heart.
Aleigha is in 1st grade!   Smart and sweet - can't  believe how she's grown!

Solomon - Tender hearted and our most curious child - still home with mom!
Elijah - His way or the high way. :)  Leader through and through!  - 3 1/2

We've started the school year and are off to a good start!   We're enjoying the routine that the school year brings, although I'm always a little sad to see the kids go back to school.   Five of them are off to school every morning and the boys stay home with me.  We keep busy, go to Bible study on Tuesdays, and they go to Grandma and Grandpa Garrison's on Wednesdays (this is SUCH  blessing!). 

On the adoption front, we are waiting for a referral!  Our dossier is in Ethiopia, and we will be matched with one child, either gender, younger than the boys.  We are approved for ages 0-4, but have requested that the child be younger than our boys, who are currently 3 and 3 1/2.   So, who knows!  We get lots of questions from friends about how long we will wait, why wait times are different for different families, etc.  The answer is not has to do with what agency you are using, how many orphanages they receive referrals from, how many families are waiting with that agency, special needs you are open to, ages requested, etc.  Each adoption journey is so unique, you really can't compare. 

We've (well I've) filled out lots of adoption grant applications...we're hoping this will be the ticket to not have to do as much fund raising.  We anticipate having to do some, and are praying that the adoption tax credit is extended, but really crossing our fingers for some grant money.   Most of them have said they'll let us know by the end of November.  

Other than that, we are keeping busy with the kids, watching Hayden run cross country, church activities, and just every day life.   We are blessed for sure, and anxious to see who God will add to this brood below!