Time Stands Still

I can’t believe it’s already been a month, to the day, that we accepted our 2nd child referral. Just like in many times past in our adoption process, we felt this would finally trigger everything into motion. Yet, once again, as this process loves to do, we find ourselves sitting, helpless.

Time has seemed to stand still in a way.

No progress made. No new news. We’re even still waiting to  receive our 2nd child’s social in order to move forward with the court document preparations, step 1 of many in this final stretch before we’re able to actually bring them home.

Meanwhile, baby-showers are planned, invites are out, cribs are purchased and baby rooms are nearly finished. Yet we still feel like we’ve barely started moving. Our hearts far ahead of the legal process that separates us from our children.

Are we planning for nothing? Is all of this in vain? Will it even work out?

As our friends and family begin to come around us with their wonderful support and begin to plan with us, it is both bitter and sweet. I want to leap forward; I want to prepare with no hesitation; I want to know for certain of when they’ll be coming home. Yet when left alone with my fears and doubts, I wonder if I will be made the fool out of all of this.

It’s hard to stay strong all the time. Strong for my husband, whose fears are voiced like an echo of my own. I feel if I give way to them, the whole house may fall. I’m left with trying to hold up the walls, arms trembling from the weight, but a determination that only a mother can know.

I don’t care how one becomes a mother, whether through child-birth or through caring for the orphan, a calling is a calling. Period. And once one’s heart is awakened to it, there is no going back.

Oh Lord, when will this road end? I know your leadership is perfect, yet my flesh wants to scream against it, “I want things my way.” I know all of this has a purpose. I put my life in your hands. Once again, I choose to pick up my cross and follow you. Whatever that looks like. Lead me in your strength.


Here’s to you, Toby

Dear Toby,

Thank you so much for the love you gave us. For how quickly you opened your heart to us and stole ours in the process. Although we only had you for 10 days, we loved you through and through.

Unfortunately, we had to make the oh-so-tough decision to give you away. No matter how much we loved you, our hearts and time must be for our coming children. We will have a full house in a few months. Filled with the new coos, cries and laughs of 2 beautiful boys that God hand-picked just for our family.

I thank God that he matched you with another wonderful family who I know will care for, love & spoil you just as much as we would have.

So here’s to you, Toby.


Jesus’ Longing Embraced in Mine

The long-awaited second referral has been accepted.  Though exhausted by this leg in the race, we continue to put one step in front of the other and stride towards the finish line.  The next lap in the marathon has begun.

We now have pictures of both of our children.  Though only a snapshot, a capturing of a second in their lives, we love them without even knowing them.  It is amazing how two children in the middle of Africa have two hearts in the middle of America lovesick.  I find myself sometimes trying to even forget about this whole heart-wrenching, roller coaster-ride adoption process and put my hand to grindstone of the day-to-day-mundane in order to fill my mind and dull my heart from the sharpness of the longing I have for my children.  I desire to be with them and see every page of their life’s story turn as I gaze into the beauty of God’s creation and artwork.

In this chamber of my heart, my Jesus has dwelt.  His dwelling is not only in His faithfulness to be good on His word He has given to us but in His own experience in His heart as He graced the planet long ago in the regions of Galilee.  Jesus, the bridegroom, came from the height of the heavens where the legions of angels did not cease honoring and lauding Him with praise in order to walk the dusty streets of Israel in pursuit of a bride (Eph. 5:31-32).  His attraction was so great towards this bride that He chose to experience her life in this age.  The joys, victories, misunderstandings, heartaches and losses that is our common experience, also became part of His experience .  What must it have been like for the sovereign God of the billions of galaxies of the universe to be crafting furniture for the commoners of Galilee?  What filled His thoughts as He daily looked into the eyes of the men and woman of Galilee whom He came to save, walking in futility and disillusionment while His precious, atoning, redeeming blood coursed through His veins but having not yet been shed?

“Like a lily among thorns, so is My love among the daughters,” (SOS 2:2)

Those whom He had come to set free and save He had to wait for (John 3:17).  He could not reveal Himself until the ordained time.  The Father had a plan and He would walk in full submission and obedience to this plan.  The years of Jesus before His public ministry were mostly spent in the day-to-day mundane of carpentry work and village life, providing for His family as He longed and waited for the day in which the Father would glorify Him and give Him his inheritance (John 17:1, Eph. 1:18).

So as I round the last curve looking for the home stretch, I mourn and ache over my distant children and I connect with the heart of God.  A God so close and relational that He and I can converse and share history in the stories of our lives of the longing for our inheritance.  I must embrace what He embraced.


My beloved I will wait for

Our rings have sat, cautiously tucked away in a small box in my jewelry case, for nearly 4 years now. Adam and I used to treasure these rings upon our fingers when we first started dating, promising ourselves not only one to another, but that we would have a holy and pure relationship before God. If our love was true, it would wait.

Tonight, as Adam sat at our kitchen table, completely unaware of the idea that I had been holding in my heart since the weekend, I sat down across from him and innocently placed before him a small box wrapped with blue paper, topped with a silver bow. “What is this”, he asked with a smile, a bit surprised.  “Open it,” I said.

It took him a few seconds after opening it to realize just why I had re-wrapped these 2 rings that were once so special to us, but had been long forgotten with the overflow of life’s newer and more exciting treasures. But alas, he looked up at me with a smile. Tears had filled my eyes and were now softly running down my cheeks as my shaky voice managed to say, “These are now for us to wear for the children. Every time you look at it, you can remember to pray for them”.

It was true then and it’s still true now.  It’s form and meaning slightly altered, but the message still remains.

We will wait for our beloveds.

I never knew then that these rings would once again return to minister to me. To help give me courage. Strength and hope in the waiting.

We both proudly placed them back on our hands after finding another finger that it also fit. We are proud parents. We hold our children in faith.

Jesus, bring our babies home to us.


Clinging

Am I trusting God? I mean, actively choosing to trust God, on a daily basis. Anyone can say the words “I trust God”, but who are you when you are all alone? When you are left to yourself with your thoughts and your worries. Are you really trusting God?

Am I trusting that God is really watching over my children, in another country, far out of my own reach. Do I really trust that He is making sure they are fed, cared for, protected, watched over, held and loved?

Do I trust God when I am not there looking over His shoulder?

I have to. I have no other option. I can either choose to worry, which produces no fruit at all, or I can choose to trust my God whom I claim to love and follow. It is times like these, when I feel I have no control over my life circumstances, that I must choose to fall on the rock which I claim with my mouth when times are good and easy. Maybe fall isn’t the best word, more like cling! He is my strength. He is my hope. Without Him, I fall apart, I am lost. Let me be found leaning upon my Beloved in these times. It is now when He feels the closest. If I only choose to accept the invitation.

I trust you, Lord. That you are not only able to hold me, but my 2 children who only you can reach.

~ Jennifer

Fire By Night

It’s been 19 days since we first heard about our new little baby boy. It only took us 1 day to decide “Yes!”, we wanted to make this boy our own, and thus told our adoption agency we wanted to move forward with him. Let’s bring this little one home!

Finally, our time had arrived! After all the waiting and all the steps, we had finally gotten to the good part. The ship was now moving… or so I thought.

Yet, here we are, over 2 weeks later, and what I thought would be a very quick jump off the starting block has seemed to turn into simply, “On your mark, get set…”

As we continue to wait much longer than expected for our 2nd child, I must daily fight the temptation to feel anxious, frustrated, disappointed. Each day passed seems like a counted failure, having not produced the news of our other child. The days drag on, one after the other, and still no word. Everything sits stagnant. Nothing to do but wait.

I keep fighting it… Be anxious for nothing.

In the midst of my self-centered, narrow vision of my own small life, God breaks in with a beam of light. He gently drops a mustard seed of hope into my day-dream. When my eyes seem to be squinting the tightest, my vision the narrowest, God breaks in and somehow manages to lift my gaze a little higher. He gives me the imagery of the Israelites as they are traveling through the wilderness in search of their promised land.

Numbers 9:15-18- “Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning… Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. At the command of the Lord the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the Lord they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped.”

They were completely dependent upon the Lord’s leading. Did they ever question His timing? His judgment? Lucky for them, they had the luxury of actually seeing a physical cloud and fire to add to their confidence in following the Lord’s leading, but do His sheep not know His voice? And is He not the same God today as He was then? Does He not still lead, still direct His people?

In His goodness, He is in every moment of my life. Every detail. And He sees so very far ahead. He has gone before me, and He goes after me. He sees the beginning and the end. Am I trusting, daily, the hands that are leading me? In every step of this process, He desires to be in it with me. By Him and for Him and through Him, is everything.

He doesn’t demand, yet instead invites me. What will I do with my trials? I want to choose not to walk them alone on my own strength, but to intentionally ask Him to be in all of it with me. To trust in Him. To let Him lead.

I will be anxious for nothing. He has been and always will be my cloud by day and my fire by night.

~Jennifer

Our new addition!

Sorry Saturday, but Tuesday just may be my new favorite day of the week. It was a big day for us here at the Welch household.

So who’s ready for the news?…..

1) We accepted our first child referral! A precious newborn baby boy! Now we’re just waiting for our second little one, hopefully not too far around the corner. READ MORE

2) We received our approval letter for a matching-grant through Hand in Hand Christian Adoption! This means that Hand in Hand will match any funds that are donated for the expenses of our adoption dollar for dollar up to $5,000! Not only that, but now all donations are tax-deductible! Deadline is April 5, 2011.  FIND OUT MORE

So thank you, Lord! You are good! You are SO good! And just when I think you’re done, you just keep on comin’!

~Jennifer