This Sunday we will have an opportunity to share what we have learned about orphans and adoption. We are going to serve lunch at 12:00 at Galt Bible Church in the gym. We will show some videos, look at some statistics, read Scripture, and discuss our response as the church. There will be lunch and an opportunity to donate, as well as a bake sale and craft sale. Donate or not, we’re hoping people will come to learn about something that is near to God’s heart.
We still do not know if we are getting a little boy or a little girl, but we are pretty sure it will be a boy. And if it is a boy, we will name him Elijah. No, we still do not have a referral, pictures, or info for who the next member of our family is. But since we’ve been waiting for so long (over seven months) we decided to make a tradition that we call Elijah John Day. We started this long wait for the referral on Dec. 12. So on the 12th of every month, we go out to ice cream. We have done this three times so far. We thought of this tradition once we had been waiting for four months and we’ve done it for our 5th, 6th, and 7th months of waiting. We thought of this because of an adoption video we watched. The family in the video went to ice cream 18 times because they waited 18 months! I can’t imagine waiting that long. But they were adopting from Ethiopia and it takes much longer to get a referral from there.
Last week was a really hard week in our adoption journey. On Wednesday we got news that a thirteen year old girl named Allie Jo is about to age out of China’s system. In China, children are no longer eligible to be adopted once they turn fourteen. We had first seen Allie Jo months ago on a blog post that was published by our agency in hopes of finding her a family. Her story touched our family and in so many ways we wished we could adopt her. But she has cerebral palsy and we didn’t feel that this would be a wise choice for our family. A few weeks later, we read that someone had begun the process of adopting her. We were so happy. But now for some reason or another it has not worked out, and Allie Jo only has three weeks left to be adopted. Our hearts ache for her as we can only imagine the fear and anxiety that she must be feeling. She so desperately wants a family and time is running out.
We spent the rest of Wednesday and Thurday morning praying for Allie Jo and wondering again if we should think about adopting her. We knew it would not be best for our family and God did not give us peace about going for it, but we felt (and continue to feel) horrible. We feel desperate for her to have a family. What is no one else steps forward? She just has to have a family. Of course this happens all the time- children age out of China’s system and can no longer be adopted. But Allie Jo’s story touched our hearts and made it real to us.
And just as we were consumed with her story, we got the call we had been waiting for. Our adoption agency had a potential referral for us. The cutest little boy with PKU was needing a family. PKU was not on the list of special needs we were prepared to review, but Sarah and I decided to take a look at the file . We couldn’t help but feel excited. We spent the rest of the day researching PKU, contacting doctors, going over his file, and discussing how his need would play out in our family. By the end of the day, we knew that this was not our little boy. More than him not being a good fit for us, we knew we would not be a good fit for him. But we felt horrible.
After all, each of these children needs and longs for a family. If we birthed a child with cerebral palsy or PKU, we would not question whether or not the need is a good fit for our family. Why is this so different? I have wrestled with this question with each of our adoptions. I don’t have the perfect answer. All I can say is that adoption is different. You choose the age, sex, and special need for each child that is adopted. This choosing is difficult for us, but that is how it is done. In saying no to one child, we are saying yes to another. Each child needs a family, and we are saying yes to the child God has created to be a part of our family. With each adoption, He has guided us perfectly. When He provides His perfect peace, we know to proceed. And when He doesn’t, we stay put and continue waiting on Him. But it hurts to say no to any child. We long to hear that Allie Jo is adopted. We want to see our little PKU fellow in the arms of a mommy and daddy. But we have to leave that to God. He loves them so much more than we do. We know that He is in control. He sees the whole picture, while we see only a part. And so we will continue to wait for our sweet little one, and leave Allie Jo and each of the others in His hands.
Last Saturday, we had a garage sale at our old house. All of the money went towards bringing Baby Eby home. We had some friends who donated things for us to sell. The boys loved playing with all of the toys that we had set out for sale. My sisters and I made lots of homemade treats. Hannah baked muffins and prepared coffee for the morning hours, Emmy made cupcakes, and I made three different kinds of cookies. We earned a good amount of money selling our baked goods. We have had many garage sales over the years, and my sisters and I have never made that much on our baked items. Hannah and Emmy drove over to the old house with Dad at about 6:30am. Mom, the boys, and I went over later, at about 7:45am. We stopped getting steady customers at about 1:30ish. My mom had taken the boys home by then for their naps, so my sister, Dad, and I closed everything up. Here are some pictures of all the fun we had:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
There is a sweet little person living in China right now. And this person is a part of our family. He or she is an Eby. And even though we have never seen his face, we miss him. We have been waiting to be matched with him for four and a half months. When we began the wait on December 12, the trends at the time showed that we would most likely be matched within three months. This was also the case when we were waiting to be matched with Peter and Nathan, but we only ended up waiting two weeks with Peter and one month with Nathan. So we were pretty certain it would happen quickly this time around too. We even thought there could be a crazy chance we would be matched before Christmas.
So for the past 20 weeks, we have been a bit on edge. The activity in our house comes to a halt every time the phone rings. We all wonder if this could be it. At first this was fun and exciting. Any day could be the day we would find out who we are adopting.
After we were matched with both Peter and Nathan, there was a really long wait for the next approval- about a three month wait. And then there were other shorter waits, making it five and a half months from being matched with Peter until we could go get him, and it took four and a half months with Nathan. This wait was long partly because we were matched so quickly. Our paperwork in China had not been translated yet because it had just arrived there. So as the last few months have passed, I have been consoling myself with the idea that the wait after being matched will most likely be shorter than it was with the other boys. The long waits for Peter and Nathan, after having seen their faces, were really difficult for me. There aren’t words to describe how my heart hurt for them and longed for them during those times. It was painful to have to just wait while our paperwork took months going through all the appropriate channels. It was hard. So this time around, as the wait to be matched has stretched out before us, I figured that it was probably a lot easier to wait to be matched than to wait after the match.
But as the months have passed, our excitement has faded and we are just plain discouraged. A few weeks ago, I decided that waiting to be matched is just as hard as waiting after the match. Maybe harder. I am ready. We are all ready. We are ready to love our little one. We are ready for the hurt and longing that come after seeing his face. We are ready.
Last week our family coordinator at our adoption agency said that the trends are getting longer, and we may end up waiting six to nine months total. It could be shorter, but it could also be longer. Nine months would take us to September. This was a big disappointment, but a turning point in my heart.
We are big planners, Steve and I (and the kids by default). And we have done a pretty good job mapping out just how we thought things should go. Being the third time around, we thought we had a pretty good handle on this whole adoption situation. But God has shown us that we are maybe just a wee bit too planned out. And now we find ourselves with no choice but to wait. We are not in control. He is. And I have come to realize that this is exactly where we need to be. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I want to stop planning and let Him work. His plans are always much better than mine anyway.
This Easter was fun, but not as fun as it could have been because we don’t have Baby Eby yet. We still don’t even have a picture of who this little one will be. But I can tell you that we did have fun on Easter. We went to the sunrise service at our church, Galt Bible. It was at 7:30. After, there was a breakfast and then the normal Sunday service. We stayed for all of it. It was really fun. And we even had time to play on the church playground in between breakfast and the normal service. Then we went home and did some cooking for dinner. Next, we went to Fairmont Convalescent Hospital, like we do every other Sunday. I prepared a chapel, and my sisters and I presented it. We really enjoy doing that. We went home and finished making dinner and ate after that. My Grandpa bought a prime rib, I made potatoes, Hannah made hot cross buns, Emmy made jello, Mom made strawberry pie and prepared the asparagus. It was a really yummy feast. Here are some pictures:
Since we have been waiting so long for the adoption, our friends, the Spenkers, invited us to their farm. They thought we might like a distraction. Some baby goats had been born, and they let us hold them. There were also tractors working to help them build more space to keep their goats. The boys loved watching them work. The Spenkers are going to open a creamery soon. So that is why the tractors were there. They’re building the new place to milk and make cheese and such. It was a very fun visit. Here are some pictures:
Henry is our family dog. I thought that I might write about something random since nothing is happening with the adoption. We’ve had Henry since as long as I can remember. My mom even saw him be born. He was just a puppy when we got him. Now he is about eight years old and still just as jumpy as the day that we got him. We thought he’d grow out of his jumpiness, but he never did. He is really sweet though, and has never bitten anyone- except for me when he mistook my hand for food. But he truly is a great dog.
For those of you who don’t know, we are still waiting for the referral. It is really wearing on us. But life in the meantime has been good. We went to my grandparents’ cabin for the weekend. We had lots of fun. My mom taught my sisters and I to make baskets out of magazine pages. My grandpa helped us fold the papers, and I stapled some pages together to make bigger baskets. The boys collected rocks and we had a lot of fun playing in the snow for one of the mornings.
The boys are loving their spring break from preschool. My sisters and I are not having a spring break because we want to finish school early. That way we will hopefully be finished before we go to China. We don’t know when we will go, but we’re hoping for June. I can’t wait. The boys keep praying for a van many times a day. We are still looking for a big passenger van that seats 15. You can pray that we will get one soon.
So as we continue to wait, I get more and more jumpy. But God will give us a child at the perfect time.
We have been waiting for the referral for a while – since two weeks before Christmas. The referral is when you get a file with a baby’s picture and you can say yes or no. You have doctors look at the medical file and the pictures and then you give an answer. Any day now our adoption agency will give us a phone call and tell us we have a referral. And they will send us the file of the baby in an email.
It’s not very fun to wait. I jump every time the phone rings. I can’t wait to see the face of our sweet Baby Eby. It is hard to wait, but I know that it’s all in God’s hands. Sometimes I get tired of waiting. And other times I feel like I want to control everything and I don’t want to wait. But I know that God will give us patience. It’s fun to wonder what Elijah or Bethany might be doing. Those are the names we have picked out, depending on if it’s a boy or a girl.
We are also waiting for a van right now. We want to get a passenger van with 15 seats. This would mean we could take out the back seat for storage and drive my grandma and grandpa places with us too. We’ve been looking for a van but have not found one that fits our needs. I have been praying that God will give us a van for free soon. I know that that seems crazy, but I believe that God can do it (most of the time).
Even though it can be hard to wait, and even though it’s hard to trust God at times, I look forward to the day we will get the referral. I hope that baby Elijah or Bethany is having fun right now in China. But I also hope that we all get to go get him very soon. Sometimes I feel like I miss Baby Eby, but that could be strange because I’ve never met him. The waiting definitely gets to me at times. But I can thank God for the hope of getting the referral the next day. I sure do hope we get the referral soon though. I want to see Baby Eby’s sweet face soon. Even the boys are getting anxious. It’s very hard to be patient, but it is all in God’s hands.
I sure am looking forward to having another little brother or sister. I love hanging out with the boys, even when they hit or are in a bad mood. They are so sweet. And I sure am looking forward to having another one.
I love China and I’m definitely looking forward to going again. It’s such an adventure, especially with my little brothers. But the best part is getting a little baby. But it definitely is really fun we finally get to go home. It’s also fun to show the new baby our house. I can’t wait to meet Baby Eby.