adoption, creation, milestones

When I was a little girl living in Japan, I learned about mountain folds and valley folds, and about making sharp and precise creases in the colorful papers we would fold into frogs and dogs, cups and cranes. These days I am teaching young fingers how to do this, and remembering again how important it is to do one step, then the next step, the next step, and then the step after that. It’s helpful to read through the directions before we begin so we know what is coming next, but it is also quite important to simply do the steps precisely, methodically and in the correct order to be able to bring a new creation from what was simply a flat 6″ square of paper. *

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So it was, too, in Genesis 1, where we read that the earth was formless and void. God made beauty out of chaos one step at a time, each creative step laying the foundation and groundwork for the next step in the creation that delighted and pleased Him and that He pronounced “good,” and finally “very good.”

And so it is here, too, in this time of mountains and valleys, starting with one small picture that became an inquiry, then a piece of paper, signed, folded in thirds and tucked in an envelope.  That little paper multiplied and is now over halfway to filling a three inch binder as we follow each methodical step, then the next, the next, and the next.  In this project we know what many of the steps are, but we don’t know what the finished product will look like.  There is a holy mystery in the folding and unfolding of these papers, because we are both the paper folders and the paper being shaped.  Even while we make precise creases and follow orderly steps to bring a new little one into our family through this adoption process, God is working His own process, creating something beautiful and yet unrevealed in each of us.

We hope you’ll follow along to see what God is making here, but right now, here is what we know of the steps we are taking in this folding and unfolding of papers, processes, and people:


                  Welcome Home
                Travel to China – 2 weeks in country
              Invitation to travel – plans made to travel in 1 month
            Finalize Immigration
          Letter of Approval (LOA)
Log-in Date – Dossier has been received by PRC
     
Dossier – will take 2-3 months once submitted
   
Immigration Pre-Approval (I800-A) – application submitted 1/14/2016
 
Homestudy – Completed 1/13/2016
Pre-approval from China to adopt – Completed

You may also enjoy listening to what has become our family’s theme song for this adoption.  It may not have been written with adoption in mind, but as we listened to it, we decided it just beautifully illustrates some of the grief and especially the hope that are part of an adoption, whether it is an adoption into a family or our adoption as a son or daughter of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKMjEvF2Fkw&feature=youtu.be

Our friend Kirstin, a mother of three biological and two (going on three!) adopted children, has often observed that every adoption is really a series of miracles.  We saw and thoroughly enjoyed some parallels to that bit of wisdom in this behind-the-scenes look at our theme song video:
http://stevencurtischapman.com/behind-the-scenes-on-the-glorious-unfolding-music-video/

*In Japanese, the art of paper folding is called origami. In Chinese, it’s zhezhi.  If you’re interested in pronunciation, I recommend checking out an app called Pleco.

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adoption, dossier, milestones

For anyone who has adopted or who has walked alongside someone who has adopted a child, it will come as no surprise to hear us say that adoption is quite a series of steps. We will post soon about what those steps look like in this adoption, but yesterday we took another step closer to meeting this little one!

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Jason and I after our appointment at the US Citizenship and Immigration offices as part of our approval to bring a child into our family from another country.
adoption, China

We are excited to share the happy news of a new season of wonder!
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There is a little one in China who has captured our hearts.
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And we can’t wait to tell you more as we travel the road to meet her!

 

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When this blog title came to me, I was expecting it to be a lighthearted download of ways in which I see God working in a family with young children.  I am publishing this first post now, but that plan was formed over four years ago when I was leaving a position on the church staff for which I wrote a brief devotional each week.  I was worried that without the accountability of a weekly deadline I wouldn’t maintain the discipline of writing, which is one of the things that helps me to see God’s amazing way of working right before my eyes.  At the time, I had three young children and we were expecting our fourth child.  Through them, I often saw myself as I imagine God might see me, and I was delighted with the wonder of it all in that season of my life.  

On what was to be my last day at my job, I went for a prenatal check of our baby.  I was well into the second trimester, and my husband and I were shocked to learn that the baby’s heart had stopped beating.  In the days and months that followed, we were blessed and awestruck to see God’s amazing grace poured out on us.  We were like babies ourselves, knowing nothing of this new world we found ourselves in, but having our every need met with love, warmth and tenderness – usually before we even knew there was a need.  We look back on that season four years ago and we are still overwhelmed by the sweetness of God’s unfailing love and perfect provision in what was the hardest thing we had ever walked through.  
In the four years since, our family has walked some very hard paths.  We lost our fifth child, again in the second trimester.  A year and a half later, two of our parents and our beloved pastor fought battles with aggressive cancers.  Two of these dear ones have now joined Jesus and the saints around the throne, along with the two grandparents who were beloved mentors to both my husband and me – all in one year.  It has been a very steep stretch of road.  We are still grieving.  But even as difficult as this has been, we have seen wondrous things.  We have seen miraculous things.  And in the same four years, we have been blessed with another little life laughing and filling our home with an abundance of joy.  
These seasons of joy and grief have all been seasons of wonder.  We are in one of those right now.  I bet you are, too.  Will you join me in pondering the awesomeness of God’s grace in this new season of wonder?