Saturday, November 19, 2011

OK, Let's Talk Thailand

Warning--major spiritual content ahead.  ;)
I haven't thought about the blog, or read any other blogs for about 2 weeks.  As I mentioned in the previous post (that was a repeat and I'm not sure anyone read) I was on a small team which coordinated our women's conference last weekend, and it consumed me--mind and body--for a good 2 weeks.  Then afterwards I was completely braindead.  And if I'm completely honest?  I allowed myself to be sucked into the distraction. There was some level of selfish self-preservation to be thinking all day about something else--something about which there were MANY tasks to be done, rather than be thinking all day about Thailand, Asher and a situation about which there is NOTHING to be done.  I long for the day when I can be exhausted caring for the needs of a one year old, but caring for the needs of 230 women was a diverting substitute for a while!
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One thing I really appreciate is that the people in my life have not put Asher out of their hearts and minds, and they have not let me do so either.  I have received numerous inquiries on updates, dozens of encouraging notes and words, special Scripture verses that were plucked out of the Word and chosen just for my son and for me, and even powerful songs of hope that my friends have reminded me of in a challenging time.  Here's an excerpt of one of those powerful verses:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior....You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you.  I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will bring my sons and daughters from the ends of the earth--everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."  Isaiah 43: 2-6

Now I realize that it is taken out of context, and I left out a couple verses, but that part about gathering children from the east?  Bringing sons and daughters from the ends of the earth?  Protecting us from the rivers and waters? Yeah. Powerful stuff, that.  I'm trusting that God is ok with me taking solace from his Word, even if Isaiah wasn't really writing about adopting an Asian child.  :)  It reminds me that Asher was created for His glory!  A dear friend has dedicated this verse to Asher, and I'll never forget it.

Another friend of mine, whom I haven't seen in years, but with whom I have a musical background, reminded me of a song I also hadn't heard in years.  In the midst of my worry and anxiety, she reminded me of these simple words that gave me such freedom:

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!  Just to take Him at His word.  Just to rest upon His promise, just to know 'Thus saith the Lord.'  Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!  How I've proved Him o'er and o'er.  Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!  Oh, for grace to trust Him more."

I read somewhere that refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemy.  I think there should be some sort of witty cliche about worry and fret, that it will accomplish nothing but while you're worrying about everything else you'll give yourself an ulcer.  I'm still working on how to make that short and pithy.  ;)  When I sang that song, I truly did experience a lightening of my heart.  I was reminded that He has proved faithful over and over.  I experienced that sweetness that comes from surrending to the God who is in control, who knows my son and his circumstances, and the promise He will never leave or forsake us.

Even just this week when I was at Bible study, we were going around the table talking about the different names of God in the Old Testament and how we see those aspects of God in our lives today, I just didn't want to share (which is unheard of for me, the blabbermouth) because I was tired of talking about this and crying.  And yet two of my friends answered for me.  He is Jehovah-Shammah, "the God who is there."  He is Jehovah-Shalom, "The Lord who is peace."  And the one that really set me off, He is El-Roi, "the God who sees."  The thought that sends me into a tizzy more than any other is the fact that I don't know where my son is.  I don't know where he's living, what kind of conditions he's in, even what city he's in.  He's in a (possibly literal) sea of hurting people who are all trying to just make it through this disaster, and I worry that no one there will take as good of care of him as I would.  That he'll get lost in that sea (not necessarily literally, but figuratively).   And yet MY GOD IS THE GOD WHO SEES ASHER.  He knows the exact latitude and longitude where Asher laid his head last night.  He knows who is holding him and giving him one of those 8 daily bottles this very moment.  He knows when he is hungry and thirsty, when his diaper needs changing and when he is unsettled or sad.  I believe this with my whole heart and soul and it gives me a peace when I can just TRUST HIM to care for my son.

Usually Thailand in November is a celebration.  The Loi Krathong festival is right about now.  I haven't seen a lot of news updates on how the flooding has affected the festival, but some Thai-mama friends found a video of the celebration from last year.  If you've seen the movie Tangled (and if you haven't--go rent it RIGHT NOW!) you know the scene in the movie where they release floating lanterns each year to celebrate the lost princess.  That scene was based on a Thai tradition during Loi Krathong.  My friend Angie so rightfully saw these lanterns and it reminded her of their lost princess, who should have been home by now.  To me, this beautiful scene represents the beauty of Thailand and the hope that is there.  I believe the country will rebound and recover, and will experience victory over adversity.  And I have hope and TRUST that our memory of Asher's time in Thailand will be that he was loved and cared for, and his connection to his homeland will be strong and positive.
As far as updates go, our agency still has hope that we will receive 1st approval as early as January.  Normally travel would follow within 8-12 weeks.  However, I'm not as optimistic about January, because the families who received referrals last March (ours was June) still don't have 1st approval.  Also, the Thai government usually only has 2 court dates a month, at which time they only schedule 3-4 families to be there in person to receive custody.  All the families that were supposed to travel and have court dates this fall have been postponed to spring, which means that there will be a backlog of families ready and waiting for Thai courtdates.  Our prayer right now is that the Thai government will increase the number of courtdates per month, or allow several more families per month to travel.  It is possible that April is still our month to travel--but we are not holding our breath.

7 comments:

Jo B. said...

Dear Daughter,
I, too, immediately thought of Asher during Thursday's Bible Study (during the video) when we were reminded that we have a God who sees. I glanced over at you and recognized the look on your face (the one that comes with tears), and knew that God was reminding you (and me)that He sees Asher and is holding him in His protective hands. You are so right that in a situation in which we feel powerless, we can run to the One who has all power and knowledge and strength ... not just to protect the child we can't see at the moment, but to lift our hearts and comfort us. I love you!
Mom

Wendy said...

Jen,
Maybe this will give you a little solace. When you go to Thailand to bring Asher home, you are not going before a court. You meet with some members of the Thai adoption board (about 4 ladies sitting around a table with plenty of toys for the kiddos), and it's all very low key. Lily slept through all of it. There are a few sessions going on at a time, so other families are meeting with various board members simultaneously. You wait in a big room with many other families, take your turn, sign some custody paperwork, and you're done pretty quickly. The 3-4 families you are referring to are the Holt families (likely from different parts of the US/World) with whom you are staying/traveling, but there are plenty of other families there as well; I don't want you to think that there are a sum total of only 3-4 families allowed per board meeting. That waiting area is full of dozens of families (and hot!). So, they are getting through and are able to get through a lot more than a few families at each board meeting. They are actually more efficient than you'd think. Lily's visa was even done a full day before they said it would be ready--and that was during the Queen's Birthday/Mother's Day when the whole country pretty much shuts down. Keep holding on. Those Board ladies have this down to a science; I would not be surprised if they were able to fit in even more families per session, and if they did increase the number of board dates, it would mean dozens and dozens of additional families that could be processed.

stephanie said...

Just want you to know that I love you and you are in my thoughts and prayers, Jen! xoxo

woosterweester said...

I have started to write a comment several times and failed. I just want you to know that my heart gets so much of what you're saying (minus the special circumstances surrounding Thailand itself right now). I have a million and one things I want to say, but instead I will leave a verse that has been encouraging me recently 1)because I apply it to the tough stuff we have to go through in order to get our babies and 2) for our children who will be adopted into our family and have had a hard hand dealt them at such an early age. Praying this strengthens your heart--so glad you share with us this way. We all ache for Asher too, and you put words to some of the emotions we all are experiencing in the wait with you.:) Love you friend!
"For I know that through your prayers, and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." Phil. 1:19b

Becky said...

I've missed you, Brazenlilly! That's all I've got, I just missed you.

Aimee L. Salter said...

Crying tears for you, and praying for your family - all of it.

He sees and He feels. He feels your pain and knows anything Asher's experiencing too.

I'm praying He will bring His miraculous power to bear so that Asher feels safe and you guys get to see him and bring him home SOON.

Matthew 11:28-30

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Nina said...

Precious Jen, My heart and prayers are always with you!! Great is His faithfulness to be with us through it all. Love you dearly