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So I was listening to a Mike Bickle sermon yesterday…nothing like a Mike Bickle sermon to turn your life upside down in a way that needed to be done.  I heard him say something that I’ve heard him say at least a hundred times.  He said when people he knew 20 years ago come to visit IHOP, they often say, “Wow Mike.  Your dream finally came true,” to which he always responds, “IHOP isn’t my dream.  IHOP is my calling.  A rich life in God is my dream.”  He said that’s what he daydreams about–getting closer to God, knowing Him better.  He said that if he approached IHOP as if it were his dream–his goal in life–then he would burn out very quickly.

Like I said, I’ve heard him say that a hundred times before, but this time it struck me like an arrow of truth flung straight into my heart.  I have been confusing my calling with my dream.  The source of this mix up goes back several years.  See, for many years I longed very deeply to be married and have a family, and I mourned almost daily because I wasn’t sure if that would was possible because of some personal matters.  Those who know me well already know what I am talking about.  Then, as God began to put the desire for adoption on my heart, I grieved even more deeply because I didn’t know at the time that these desires were coming from Him and I didn’t know if they would ever be fulfilled.   Therefore, these desires of my heart that were placed there by God began to feel like the dreams of my heart.  God was placing His calling for me on my heart and I confused that calling with personal dreams and desires.

Because of this history, from the time I married Ed I have felt like my dreams were finally coming true.  And that worked for awhile.  However, with this upcoming adoption, I have begun to feel severely overwhelmed.  Check out my previous posts for evidence.  I even began my business with the idea that I had to work hard to make my dreams come true.

I was wrong.  Adoption isn’t my dream.  Being a wife and a mother is not my dream.  These things have never been my dream.  They are my calling.  My dream has always been a deep, satisfying life in God.  That’s why I’ve made the decisions in life that I have made–decisions that seemed foolish and wrong to those around me–tough decisions–risky decisions.  This beautiful life in God is my dream…and if I never adopt a single child…if Daniela is the only child I ever have…my dream is still being fulfilled.  I will pursue my dream with all my heart.  It’s up to God to fulfill my calling.

Whew!  I feel like somebody just lifted a weight off of my shoulders!  This is so much better.  I can breathe again.

So what now?  We’re still pursuing adotion.  We’re still planning to buy a house and a car.  The Funky Lamp isn’t going anywhere, but I am considering some changes concerning my business.

Having priorities in order is so liberating!

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Facing undetected expectations

As we grow closer to adoption…though it doesn’t feel like we’re any closer at all to getting the paperwork done…I am forced to face head on some fears and issues that have been shoved to the background since Ed and I made the decision in our dating days that ours would be an adoptive family.  I should warn you early on that this entry is a mental release of thoughts, fear and emotions.  It may not present solutions to the problems stated herein but is a definite vehicle to finding those solutions.  As I solidify and process these thoughts, my brain will become more organized to pursue solutions to said problems.  Now that the disclaimer is complete, let’s get on with it.

I know that adoption is one of the most difficult things that a family can undertake.  Inherent with adoption is loss, tragedy and grief on the part of the child.  This can also be true on the part of the parents if infertility has led to adoption; however, that is not the case with us.  We have come to adoption as a result of our faith, as a result of our desire to take in those who have no one and love them as our own–to love them in the way that God has loved us.  Just as is the case with us and our adoption with God, these children will come to my home with significant trauma in their past and even their present.  Though their past may have included abuse and neglect (to put it mildly) these children still love their birth parents.  Their dysfunctional home is the only home they have known.  Coming into my home–as healthy of a home as it may be–and calling my husband and me “Mom” and “Dad” will be an extremely difficult adjustment for them.  These children will need significant emotional and psychological healing.  On top of that, Ed and I plan to adopt a child with special needs–a child with either a mental disability or a physical disability.   To say the least, this will not be any easy time for our family.

Because we know that this will be a difficult process, we have been doing research on adoption to help make the transition as smooth as possible.  We have been learning what to expect and what are the best methods for parenting children from the hard places.  In my research, I recently learned a startling statistic:

  • 1/3 of adoptive families have a relatively seamless transition.
  • 1/3 of adoptive families have significant challenges but are able to deal with them and/or overcome them.
  • 1/3 of adoptive families face such difficult circumstances that the family collapses.*

1/3 of adoptive families collapse?!  That is an absolutely HUGE number!  I knew this process was difficult.  I never considered that it would cause my family to collapse.  I think I just had this underlying expectation that since I was doing God’s will, though the process may be difficult for a while, it would ultimately be successful and we would be one big happy family.  I never even considered that might not happen.  I know that being armed with information and being connected with those who have done this before, as well as being connected with professionals, increases our chances of being in the 2/3 of families with successful adoptions, but the chance of being in that bottom 1/3 still remains.  How will this affect my other children?  Will my daughter, Daniela, grow up to resent her parents because we brought in a child who destroyed the family?  Will I grow to resent that child and I feel that he or she ruined our lives?  I know, I know.  That’s a horrible thing to think and most people would never even say it, but I have to be honest with myself.  I am a fallen human being and I am capable of these sorts of thoughts and emotions.

On the flip side, God is able to love all of His children unconditionally–regardless of how we behave.  Something the Lord has been teaching me for the last several years is that I have to depend on Him for literally EVERYTHING!  He can give me the ability to love this child.  Furthermore, I have to look at the benefits my family would receive from adoption.  These children will teach us all about the strength and vitality that God has created within the human race.  They will give us an opportunity to serve selflessly and to love someone the way that God loves us.  They will give us the opportunity to experience greater depths of the love of God, as God loves the “little ones” with a ferocity we can not imagine. And I’m sure there are a thousand other things I’m not thinking of right now.

All in all, I still think adoption is worth it, but before we bring a child home, I need to come to terms with the risks I am taking and trust God as if my life depends on it (because it actually does!)

*Statistics courtesy of Dr. Karyn Purvis, Empowered to Connect.

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I got a call yesterday from a very good friend.  She asked me why I haven’t written any blogs lately.  My answer?  I’m really bad at this stuff!  So, thank you, Jordan, for keeping me accountable.

During my conversation with “very good friend Jordan” we both admitted that we’re bad at follow through.  You see (and I think I have discussed this in my blog before, but it bears repeating if for my sake alone), I am the visionary type…full of ideas…wonderful, alluring, attractive ideas.  The problem is that once it is no longer an idea, but is an actual, practical reality, I’m no longer interested.  Jordan is the same way…maybe that’s why we make such good friends.  However, we don’t exactly motivate each other to follow through on the practical end, do we?

That’s where my husband comes in.  Ed is Mr. Practical.  You need a list?  He’s already made it.  You want a plan?  He’s probably already solicited you to make one.  Thank God for Ed!  Jordan hasn’t found her “practical half” yet, but I’m accepting applications from wonderfully more-than-amazing men.  Relax, Jordan, it’s only a joke! I will keep my little nose where it belongs.  I promise.  Hehe!

Back to Ed.  When I started The Funky Lamp shop, I was sure it was an amazing idea that was going to pad our budget and that I would love for the rest of my life.  Two weeks into it, I was already done.  I had only made one sale (still have, as a matter of fact), and I was discouraged.  My thinking was, “What if I invest months in this and it never works.  I should quit and move on to the next great idea.”  Thankfully, Ed got wind of it and rescued me.  “No, Maranda,” he said, “we have to decide to work on this for a specified period of time before we consider giving up.  Statistics say [see…there he goes with his practical statistics] that it takes an average of 8 years to get a small business off the ground.  How about we give your shop one year before we reconsider?”

I, of course, agreed.  It takes blood, sweat, and tears to be successful.  I could have incredible ideas all day long, but without the work, I’m just full of hot air.

What’s the moral of the story?  Get married so that your “better half” can compensate for your weaknesses?  NO!  Of course not!  The moral of the story is to get to know yourself and then learn from those that God has placed around you in order to be successful.  None of us have the full package.  We’re not supposed to.  We’re supposed to live in community and learn from each other.  Reach out to those around you who can help you.  What are some of your weaknesses?  Who could you learn from or seek encouragement from in those areas?

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