Archive for Adoption

God Told Us So

On Monday morning, April 2nd…I missed a phone call from our adoption agency. In most of the mornings prior to this week, I had my phone glued to my hip just waiting to hear something. Anything. But when I talked to our family coordinator the Thursday before Easter (March 29th) she said she really figured on not hearing anything for a couple of weeks yet because of our dossier being submitted right before the huge Chinese New Year celebrations/shut downs. But she also knew that we had enlisted several prayer warriors to pray specifically for our LOA to be issued by the end of March! So when I talked to her on Thursday and she said there were no updates to our file—I won’t lie, I felt a surge of disappointment run through my body.

But it was also in that disappointment I heard God say, trust me…my timing is perfect. I heard your bold prayer for an LOA by the end of March. But maybe my timing is better?! Do you still trust me? Did you hear that word, STILL? Because you see, we have to pray specifically and boldly. God actually wants us to! But when He answers—which He always does in some way—what does that do to our faith? Does it decrease it simply because it looks different than what we asked for or desired? Or is there possibility that it can catapult our faith because we know without a shadow of a doubt, He can be trusted and knows best?! That ultimately, His will IS best?

 

So, after that Thursday phone call…a great lunch date with a girlfriend reflecting on the goodness of Jesus…and celebrating our risen King for Easter—-I was 110% back in. Without a doubt, I STILL trust you, Lord! Stubborn faith, round 537 for our boy. There was no holding back. I took the time to think about everything God has done in my life, Justin’s life and through the course of time—and through grateful and humble tears said, Lord, you called us to this. Long ago. You also promise to never leave nor forsake us in anything we might face. I trust you and what you are doing. More than anything, I love you. Now…let’s bring our boy home already!

So, all that to say. Monday, April 2nd (THREE days later), I missed a call from our agency and literally gasped when I saw their number on our phone. I couldn’t dial it back quick enough and had to actually sit down as I listened to our family coordinator say, “I’m calling with really good news.” She was calling to tell us that just that morning she received electronic notice that our LOA was issued! Ecstatic. Relieved. Overjoyed. Amazed. Grateful. These are just a few of the words to describe my feelings in that moment. Complete awe.

Now, while a part of me wishes the LOA would have had the actual date of March 31st—I also just chuckle and am grateful for the date of April 2nd because that is SO God and will forever be a reminder to us of His faithfulness despite whether we see Him working. Someone clearly made the decision to say yes to us before the end of March! So in all actuality—He did answer our bold prayer for it to be a yes by the end of March—but I really think He wanted to increase our faith BEFORE we knew that it was answered! In fact, I had resolved that because we didn’t hear before the weekend, it was a no to that specific prayer request. And by Friday, March 30th, I was totally OK with that! But it was in that thinking that it actually catapulted our faith into remembering the truth of who God is and that He can be trusted!

So today as I reflect on the timing of all of this, I see God everywhere. All throughout history, God has this profound tendency to work mightily in the last minute. That eleventh hour. Abraham & Isaac. Moses standing before the Red Sea. Jesus rising from the dead. The list goes on and on. Maybe to us it seems like the eleventh hour and to God, really, it’s His first minute. Either way, it’s awesome. Because what a faith filled and radical trust He asks us to have! And in that faith and trust…He blesses us beyond our wildest imaginations.

Introducing….our son, Arie Chang Ritter.

Arie means Lion of God, and Chang means an unhindered spirit. Which in all honesty and bold assurance—we know are true of this little man. Why? Because God told us so. And the last time He told us something, He delivered.

Reflect Him

Season of Advent. I absolutely love this time of year and felt compelled to spend more time posting over the next few weeks to bring some GLORY to the beautiful days of Advent!!! Short, sweet and to the point so everyone can ‘have time’ to read!

So today, I’m going to keep it real simple and say this: a King is coming!

Of course this time of year that’s an obvious statement. Referring to the birth of Jesus. But what about every other day and month of the year—do we stop to remember that? Imagine what could happen if we kept that type of a Kingdom focus? Because His word says He is indeed coming back again one day. This time not as a baby in a manger either. But like Matthew 24 states, like lightning and with great power and glory.

So let’s challenge ourselves to be a people who stop complaining, who remember how much we’ve been given (and not just in the material sense either) and rise up! Side note here: I know I’ve mentioned it before, but do you know how dangerous complaining is? Take it from someone who has worldly permission to complain about the things I have gone through and experienced in life. Complaint won’t do me any good—or those around me. Not to mention it is one of the greatest schemes of the enemy of our soul to try and keep us from fulfilling God’s intended purpose in our life. Experiencing grief is one thing. Complaining is something completely different.

What if there was a new golden rule that says, if you’re going to complain about something—YOU have to be the one to come up with a solution. And can I tell you something, we humans…don’t have all the solutions…but there is ONE who does!

So let’s be a people who know WHO Christ is and want our lives to be a reflection of Him. Let’s be a people who always remember, A KING IS COMING!!!

42“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. Matthew 24:42-44

Living Surrendered

OK, so yesterday was apparently “World Adoption Day” and I’m a day late to post this…but then someone informed me it’s actually “National Adoption Month”—phew—I’m not actually late at all. 🙂

HUGE UPDATE and PRAISE!!!

We decided to enter into the China adoption program with America World Adoption Agency (AWAA) this summer. It has been a complete answer to prayer and we know without hesitation, EXACTLY where God wants us to be! Without writing a novel, I will tell you this:

July 26th – Approval to be a part of the China program with AWAA (a miracle in and of itself…will explain at a later time)

August 1st (yes, SIX days later) – they asked us if we wanted to review the file of a little boy that they instantly thought of our family for. Of course, we immediately said yes!

August 11th – submitted what is called a letter of intent (LOI) to China—which basically says, we want to adopt this little boy!

August 18th – Pre-approval granted to complete the steps to adopt our little boy from China and to begin the home study process and our paperwork chase!

November 2nd – Home study report complete

So what’s next? We will submit our paperwork and home study for a bunch of authentications and certifications. Then we will be granted pre-approval from USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) to bring our son into the United States. Once those steps are complete, we submit a GIANT stack of paperwork (known as a ‘dossier’) to China to receive our official approval (known as an LOA) to come and get our boy! We hope to travel in early 2018 and are trusting God for His perfect timing!

His hand has been all over this decision. Everywhere. We have seen Him move quickly and efficiently (for international adoption, our timeline has gone lightning fast!). We have witnessed miracles in the process—and in our son! Things have happened that can only be because of God. And we know, it’s totally because of prayer!

You see, before we entered AWAA’s program, we both began to pray for God to clearly show us the child He has chosen for us (along with asking our friends/family to pray that same thing)! Plant him/her in our lap, more or less. And boy, did He. Justin and I have been one hundred percent on the same page since stepping into this decision and have had such peace. Peace that transcends all understanding. Peace that allows us to say yes to very unknown possibilities. Peace that can only come from our perfect Father.

And while this process has been nothing short of incredible. Emotional. Time consuming. Exciting. Amazing. Faith building. And expensive. It’s totally and completely worth it!!! I’m not kidding you, we have seen miracles! Miracles that would make even the most skeptical of skeptics stop and ponder. But we almost missed it! Had we given up or given in when the adoption process took a huge turn of events earlier this year…we would have missed this. I honestly feel as though we would have missed His best for us!

Which, mind you, that phrase ‘best for us’ isn’t always in the way we think it is going to come. For us, it has been from our hearts being completely broken for all of the stories behind the faces of waiting children we’ve seen. It has been letting go of a little boy in Korea whom we dearly loved and were calling son and brother. It has been having conversations with our children (and each other) about how trusting God doesn’t mean we always know ‘the next step’ or the ‘why’ behind His decision. His best has meant keeping our hearts open and soft, with the complete possibility of them being broken again—all while knowing that He always works for His glory and our good. His best has meant having to be totally and shamelessly honest about my past, knowing that in that honesty, the possibility of adopting internationally could be over. It has been in the form of trust and then miracles. Small and HUGE. His best has taken us to the most beautiful little 4 year old boy, that is forever going to be a part of our family.

And while I wish I could share his precious face with you today, I can’t just yet…but know it’s coming soon! And until then, just know, God wants to bless each one of us with His best for our lives. We just have to realize that His best isn’t always ‘our way’ or our first chosen path. It might take a sharp turn to the left or the right to find it—maybe you’ve even heard it referred to as a ‘wrong’ turn. But, take it from me—do not be dismayed or discouraged when the path you could have sworn was His chosen path for you completely halts. Swerves. Or leaves you wondering, why or what on earth was that for?! Pray. Trust. And persevere.

Remembering always that Romans 5 is God’s spoken truth when it says, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” It’s impossible to fail or take a ‘wrong’ turn when you’re walking with and surrendered to God. Even the paths that end up suddenly ending or taking an abrupt turn of events are likely because He sees the bigger picture. He sees things from a Kingdom view. A perfect view. A view that always says, “I want what is best for you…which ultimately, is ME.”

So, I ask you this…is your life surrendered to a God who not only knows best, but loves you with an everlasting love and WANTS what is best for you, not just in this life…but eternity?

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. – Hebrews 10:36