things to think about

June 26, 2008 at 4:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

the future

Our agency wisely requires us to take a couple of online courses prior to our boys arrival. So today, Tague and I sat down to the computer and took the “Conspicuous Families” course. It is a class designed to help us think through what it will be like to be a racially mixed family and how to ‘color our world’ in a way that our boys will see other people like themselves in our lives.

The class also introduced us to some of the invasive and insensitive comments/questions/looks that we are told to expect as the result of our family being racially blended. We will soon be a family that is obviously not genetically linked and our relationship status will be on public display forever more in a way that is different than it would be if we were adopting a couple of white skinned, blond-haired kids. We may be a curiosity to people and the obviousness of our adoption may give some more courage to ask things that they normally wouldn’t. Such as, “Are they your real kids?” Or “How much did you have to pay for them?” Or, “What do you know about their real mom?”

What must these questions sound like in the ears of a child?

We’ve been told by many experienced friends that this IS what’s coming, so we should be thinking about it now in preparation for these awkward situations. People don’t mean to be rude and they don’t mean to make the journey for an adopted child harder.

People are just interested in the story. We are fascinated with the whole idea of being an orphan. (Just think of how many children’s stories have an orphan/stepmother/orphanage/abandonment story line! Annie, Stewart Little, Madeline, Oliver Twist, Cinderella, Tarzan, Lilo and Stitch, Meet the Robinsons…… I’m sure you can think of lots more!) The way families come together and the way permanent lifetime bonds are formed is deeply interesting. And that’s ok. But, the way we respond about issues of family and race will create a category in our boys’ minds as to how they are to think about it. I already love these little fellows. I want them to have a wonderful world and a wonderful experience, knowing that they are loved and that the very purposes of God are accomplished in joining us all together as a family.

I can’t imagine that we’ll be standing in line at Target someday and someone will ask an insensitive question that may linger in their young minds. We have a long way to go as parents to do this well. I have only seen the world through my own eyes and my own white, biologically intact family experience. Trying to begin to see it through the eyes of another person of a different race and a different family of origin situation is very new.

Seems like adoption is having the unexpected side benefit of making me more aware of how needy I am and more desperately dependent on God and His mercy!! Thank GOD He’s willing to equip us to do what He’s called us to do!!!

Garage Sale Update

June 23, 2008 at 4:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yes, it’s been weeks since our ‘Adoption Garage Sale’, but we’re just now finalizing things and are excited to report back to everyone involved.
There were 25 families that donated items to the sale that raised almost $3,800! Now, that is an amazing thing all by itself. But even cooler is this: Our orphanage requires a payment for each child when the family is matched with the child and then another when they take the child home. We are adopting two kids, so our payment is double. The total cost for our first payment was $3500 and the lawyer fees were about $150. God gave us what we needed for this important first round – actually a little more than we needed! That is really impressive!

And people are still asking about ways to partner with us to get these little guys home. We feel certain that God will continue to ‘multiply’ this garage sale to complete the second payment as well. (Someday, we’ll tell more of the story of what’s going on even now behind the scenes.)

You played such a big part in making this a great success for our family and we THANK YOU!
Everyone’s enthusiasm and joy for us was such a gift and a blessing. We were overwhelmed by your generosity and were tremendously blessed before the first dime even came in!! Just watching the body of Jesus rally together on behalf of two precious orphans in the middle of Uganda was crazy and profoundly humbling. Thank you all!
With great joy and gratitude –

the sale

The “More”…

June 19, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

As many of you know or can surmise from our previous posts, there are many details involved In the adoption process:  finding an adoption agency, paperwork, the home study, the letters of reference, the fingerprinting (X 2 for international adoptions), the I-600A, the country specific administrative and legal requirements, the orphanage administrative requirements, the travel requirements, etc. etc.  These would fall into a category that I would call “logistics”.  I like logistics.  I feel at home doing them.  Logistics fits well into the talents and experiences God has given me.  You could say that I am wired to do logistics.  Logistics are necessary and must be done for an adoption to take place.  However, they are not the only thing.  I have found myself longing for what I call the “More”.  

The “More” could be quickly defined as the joy of the Lord and His glory in this process.  For instance, our eyes being opened to the wonders of God’s plan of our adoption into His family as described in Ephesians 1 (the source of our blog title “Plan A”).  Or the “More” could be seeing God connect Amani with another orphans home that is exploring adoption as an option for the many orphans under their care.  Or it could be the joy of seeing others have their hearts broken for cause of orphans and watching God move in varied ways in their lives to carry out the call of James 1:27.  

We know experientially that the joy of the Lord is our true strength, we rest in that, we long for more the fullness of joy described in Psalm 16:11.  We seek His strength to carry us through.  We want to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.  

We also know, that we were formed for God so that we might declare His praise (Is. 43:21).  Our desire is to do the adoption in such a way as everything about it declares His praise.  In the midst of the logistics, we want to be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings about why we exist and how every piece of what we are doing and hurdles we are facing are all working together for His glory.

Pray for the “More”.  Pray for us that we are strengthened by His joy, and are moved for His glory.

So strange……

June 14, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We’re settled into the states and are back on our time zone and all our laundry is even clean. We’ve eaten all our favorite foods and I even got a little teary-eyed when I went grocery shopping because I was so blown away by the choices, the climate-controlled environment and the amazing sanitation! (Thank you, Target!) But things are not really the way they should be yet. Two of our kids are not even on this continent. That is strange.

At this point, we’ve only really known them for a few days (although Tague met Phillip in February). So, it’s not actually tearful or heartbreaking emotionally that they aren’t here yet. Our home still feels ‘normal’ to us. But we all know something is missing. In our hearts there is a growing affection for these two little boys – so in a way different than we’ve ever felt before, we miss them.

We look at the pictures and try to image what life will be like with them here. Kelsey and I were shopping yesterday and picked up a couple of baby books for Zach and some sidewalk chalk for Phillip. It seems good to be preparing in small ways like that. We can’t really DO anything to make them get here faster. It is very much in the hands of the lawyer, the courts, the judge, the social worker – and, most truly, in the hands of God. We are praying that He will make our path smooth and move our case along in ways that are unexpected and can only be attributed to His intervention and favor.

For whatever reason, we’ve had a hard time uploading pictures to facebook, but here’s a webpage with our stuff on it. (Warning: there are hundreds of pictures. That’s what you get when you take 4 digital cameras in your group on a major trip!)

Site http://web.mac.com/taguelisa

(there are two pages on this site – Passion Kampala and iweb.

We’re home!

June 10, 2008 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After more hours on a plane than I care to remember, we are finally back home!    Our travels were smooth and we are all healthy and are now readjusting Central Time.    We’re also adjusting to our reality here.   It’s good to be thankful for the things we take for granted.   It’s good to be thankful for our beds and our safe tap water and our full pantry and full closets and our shelves of books.     Our paved roads and our school system and our government and our church building and our vehicles and our pharmacy are all turly amazing gifts.   The Hardings have had a ‘gratitude check’.

Our fridge has pictures of Phillip and Zach and we are trying to figure out how parent well from 8,000 miles away.    Leaving them was not easy.    We didn’t make a big scene for their sake, but just told them a simple goodbye and that we’d see they again soon.   Then we left with tears in our eyes and somber hearts.

There are still many legal things to do and we don’t know when we’ll have our boys in our home quite yet.  Be praying that God gives great speed and favor to our process!   Be praying for us as well as we fulfill our final requirements for our adoption agency here at home — a couple of on line courses and a list of good references for international doctors, adoption specialists, etc.

Thanks for all your faithful support and interest!!   To God be the glory!

Zach

June 6, 2008 at 8:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Zach

Phillip

June 6, 2008 at 8:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phillip

June 6, 2008 at 8:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last day

June 6, 2008 at 8:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Today is our last day in Jinja.   We’ve spent days playing with children and getting to know our two boys.   Yesterday afternoon we spent a little time downtown Jinja helping some new friends move and doing some shopping.   We found a little deli run by Europeans and enjoyed a great lunch, ice cream and all!
Late in the afternoon we took a boat ride to the headwaters of the Nile River.   Amani let us take Phillip and Zechariah so they met us at the boat dock in their finest little duds, all cleaned up and ready to go.   Baby Zach doesn’t care where he is so he had a great time charming everyone along the way.   Phillip is much more cautious.   He sat on Tague’s lap most of the time and kept his little hands balled up tightly.   He never spoke a word, but watched everything around him.    When we got to the headwaters (an amazing place where the water literally bubbles up from deep in the earth to form the gigantic river) we got out on a little island where there was a Hindu family from India, a group of Muslim tourists who were singing/praying, our white American family and two little bitty black boys.   It was ‘diversity central’.
Our boat ride continued down the Nile and we went monkey watching.   The monkeys were bouncing from tree to tree and enjoying the night.    Amazingly smooth water and monkeys leaping around.   What an unbelievable family field trip we were on!   Our guide, Shorty, got us back to the dock and Tague and Joseph took the boys back to the baby home.   Apparently, once on dry land, Phillip got more comfortable because he talked with Tague all the way back.   They talked about motorcars and motorboats and he was smiling.
We don’t know what Phillip’s life was like before Amani, but we suspect it was very hard.   When something new comes along, he is silent and withdrawn.   Unfortunately, the other day one of the Ugandan ‘mamas’ told him that he was going to get on a plane and go away with this new family to America.     He was NOT ready for that information and cried really hard for a long time.   He doesn’t say much, we are sure he understands a lot.   The ‘mama’ knows that a life in America will be a great future for him, but all he knows is that it’s more change in his already stressful little existence.   We tried to just take it easy with him from that point on.   When we’d pick him up he’d really cry and try to get down…so we let him down and just stayed in the same space with him, giving him time to recover and come over if he wanted to.   Haley invited him to play on the tire swing but didn’t make him go.   After a few minutes, he got up on his own and joined her and the other kids on the swing.   We’ll have a lot of helping to do probably.   It took a long time for his little heart to be hurt…… it may take a long time to heal also.   And, like I said, we suspect he has a lot to cry about.

Baby Zach

June 4, 2008 at 9:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Zachery (Zechariah)

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