Monday, April 25, 2011

Heavy heart

It's been a while since I've last written here. There's many reasons for my failure to update the blog, the biggest reason is because I've been discouraged (it's not easy for me to admit that). You see, I feel like since it's been over a year since we have decided to adopt, that God would just be "handing" us everything we need. Over the last few months, He is working on me to show me that I need to work for the things He will give me, and that means putting me out of my comfort zone. People that know me and that have known me for a while know that I don't like being uncomfortable, I'd much rather hide and go into a box. But if we are to obey God's commands, we certainly will not be comfortable. I really don't think Moses, or Abraham, or Noah was ever comfortable when they followed God's plan!

We've been taking baby steps I guess you could say. God has shown us a different direction. This whole time we thought he had wanted us to go to Ethiopia. Well, Ethiopia's government has been changing adoption regulations, and it could now take quit a few years if we were to proceed. I did some more research, and rather casually looked into a different agency. We were happy with everything from this place, including their information, their fees, and the great, sweet lady we talked to. They work a little differently than our last agency, and we were told that Ghana is open and we are eligible to adopt through the country. Robert and I prayed about this new possibility, and felt that we needed to keep this door open. The sweet lady from the agency asked if we'd like to see pictures of a few of the children available. We said sure, although we felt that God would choose the child and didn't want to become "attached" to a child that may not be ours. There was a few pictures, one of them was a little boy named Samuel. I can't remember exactly whether I called or emailed the agency to request more information about him, but the response was there is already a family trying for this child. Then she continued to say...but there is another child I just received, I'll email you pictures of him right now. Well............this child took my breathe away and knocked me over. It's the first time I "felt" the child. I immediately prayed about him and sent the email to Robert. We talked to the kids about him, trying to protect them by saying he is a possibility, we don't know what God has for us. But I can tell you now...this is the child we are still fervently praying for. His name is Noel. He is younger than what we had said we would take. It's funny to me that what we were thinking was right (Christian agency, Christian orphanage, school-aged child) is not what God has for us. But we trust Him and His perfect plan and know that what He has is so much better!!! My heart hurts to get this child.

That evening, I wrote an email to my pastor. This is what it said:
Hi P. Rob,
As you know, Robert and I feel we have been called to adopt.
I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to share some background info. During my pregnancy with the twins I spent most of it in the hospital because I was sick, had hypertension, and had low amniotic fluid. After having an emergency c-section, my body hemorrhaged and I needed a blood transfusion. The doctors were afraid I would go into cardiac arrest, and I was monitored constantly, and at one point after the delivery had a nurse by my side for 24 hours as ordered by my doctor. Thankfully, Robert and I had made the decision before all this to have the procedure so I could not have any more children. I was young, 22 yrs old, and the doctor told me they don't usually do the procedures on someone so young, but I remember telling him if we decide to have more children, we would adopt. Robert and I have always talked about it. In 2007, we started looking into adoption, and chose Guatemala as the country we felt God had for us. After beginning the process, we received news that Guatemala had closed its international adoption program. We both agreed it was a closed door and "walked away". But this overwhelming feeling hasn't left. My heart hurts. I believe God has been working on me, calling for us to obey for a long time now. Robert and I have been praying about this earnestly for over a year now, and we both firmly believe it is time to obey and follow His plan.
This is where it gets hard for both of us: we need to swallow our pride and ask for help. I'd rather hide in a box (or a turtle shell, haha!) than to put us "out there". It's uncomfortable.
I know there's a ton of needs out there, plus I know the church wants to build, and I'd love to see the Journey go on a missions trip :), but I also know we can't do this alone.
If you could bear with me, this is how I see it in my head... I feel like Robert and I are at a race, but the scary thing is we are the runners (yikes!!). We're in those starting block things with our butts up in the air, and God is the voice calling out..."on your marks, get set...." and we've been waiting for Him to say "GO!". I believe we now have His "go", and we've started this race. But then out of the starting blocks we look over to the stands and realize there's nobody there cheering us on. We stop and wonder why, then realize we haven't invited anyone to come cheer us on to support us. We do realize that not everyone we invite will want to come to those stands (that scares me). But we know we need to keep going, to run with all our might, keeping our eyes on the path God has for us. We need to obey.
Robert spoke to you a few weeks ago asking for help and support. He said you would like for us to come up with a fundraiser idea. We are very open to hearing what you and the church may have for ideas. We don't want to take away from other events going on right now (passed thru fire, night before the fourth, building fund, etc). We were wondering if maybe a yard sale and bake sale (on the same day) held at the church would be ok? We are also working on t-shirts and homemade candles to sell. Plus we've been in touch with Kaleo coffee and are trying to get bands and singers in there; and we are waiting to get mugs and coffee to sell from them.
Honestly, we are looking to raise about $22,000. We know it will take a miracle, especially in the short time we may have of 6-12 months. (We were told there are times when it moves quickly and could be even faster, under 6 months! Yikes!)
We had originally thought God was going to bring us to Ethiopia to get our child, but recently feel God is pointing us to Ghana, Africa. We have a child in mind that we are praying God has for our family.
Robert and I and our kids would so appreciate your prayers, encouragement, support, and help. Would you and The Journey Church come be in the stands of our race?
In His love and grace,
Bethanie Downs

So, over the course of the last few weeks and a few discussions, we decided to do an auction at our church on June 18. More news to come on that! We also have tshirts that just came in that we are selling for $20. More news (and hopefully a way to order them online) to come!

God is so good all the time. He is faithful, just, full of grace, love, care, and knows all of our needs and the desires of our hearts. I'm overwhelmed by His goodness!