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Are you willing to walk to Cana?

Lately life has been so busy, I have just worn myself out. Between working a pretty emotionally and physically demanding job, to some side jobs to bring in extra adoption funds, to painting my Mandala Art (which has been surprisingly popular), to the never ending paper work and fee schedule…it’s all been a lot. I understand why most people wouldn’t dream of adopting without their significant other, it’s a challenge to do it all alone. And honestly, sometimes this journey has made me feel more desolate than I would like to admit. 

Adoption is hard. Adoption is a sacrifice. Adoption is expensive. Adoption is work. Adoption is living without sometimes. But friends, we are all adopted sons and daughters. In one way or another, adoption is a calling the Lord has given to each and every one of us. No, not all of us are called to physically adopt. Some are called to pray for anyone in the process. Some are called to support financially. Some are called to do acts of service for those in need. But, we are all brothers and sisters through adoption. We are all called to LOVE. Love is lived out in separate ways for each person. 

Lately, as we journey through Lent,  I have been doing more reading and less social media. The time in the desert is so crucial because as it is written in Hosea 2:14,

“Therefore I will allure her to the desert, and there I shall speak tenderly to her heart.”  

Anytime we allow ourselves the opportunity to step back from the craziness and chaos of our world, it allows a door, otherwise blocked, to be opened for the voice of the Spirit to enter in. If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to try it. You never know what you will hear. 

So, I have been reading a book called, “The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible,” by Mark Batterson. I wanted to share some quotes and reflections that were placed upon my heart during my reading this evening. One section I have been reflecting upon a lot today is on “Coincidences.” I don’t believe in them, even when they seem to happen often for me…in the smallest of ways, but they do. Do they for you? 

Batterson quotes from a Dr. Halverston, 

“You go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you. Wherever you are, God has put you there; He has a purpose in your being there. Christ who indwells you has something He wants to do through you where you are. Believe this and go in His grace and love and power.” 

He goes on further to write, 

“You go nowhere by accident. You may not be right where you want to be, but God can use you right there. In fact, God may have you right where He wants you. Whether you’re taking a mission trip halfway around the world or a trip to the local grocery store, God is setting up divine appointments along the way. The challenge, of course, is that they are harder to recognize closer to home because we operate on autopilot. Don’t be in such a hurry to get where you’re going that you miss the miracles along the way—or the miracles that may be out of your way!” 

When I read this it was as if the Father Himself was saying, “Hello! Can you hear me speaking to you? These words are meant for you alone, Jacqui!” When had become so doubtful? When had I lost hope that this journey I have been on is going EXACTLY AS HE PLANNED? When did I suddenly decide my plans were the better ones…even though I am fully aware of the falseness of that lie. It got me thinking though, of the many times this past year that God has arranged a divine appointment at just the right moment. 

A few examples for you: 

Around Christmas time, I was on break from work (Work at a school for children with severe behavioral and developmental needs) for Christmas. I had planned to go visit some Monastic friends of mine during break. As I sat and waited for my flight to board, I was thinking about how much I missed my kiddos. I love my job and I also know how much some of our students rely on that daily routine of school and ABA therapy. I was excited to slip away for some time with friends and some quiet time with the Lord, but I missed my own routine too. As I boarded the plane, I found an open isle seat. There was a mother and her teenage son sitting by the window. I took my seat and settled in for my quick one hour trip. As the plane took off, I realized that her son had autism. When you work with children on the spectrum daily, it is very easy and almost second nature to pick up on it when you are out in public. 

Unlike some people, who may encounter a child or adult on the spectrum and become unsure how to respond/react, I was elated. God had arranged for me to randomly choose the last seat in that isle, next to a child who reminded me so much of my kiddos I  missed from school. His mom and I got to talking and I was just so overcome with the providence of the Father. To protect their identity and their privacy, I won’t share further details. But just that one hour flight made a huge impact on my heart. If you are that lovely Mamma who sat and talked with me this past Christmas, thank you. I think of and pray for you and your son all the time. You were an instrument of the Father that day!

Another “coincidence” would be when I started to pray about adoption. It was terrifying to announce it publicly. I knew I would have MANY naysayers and MANY people who would act as if they have a right to an opinion, and that’s OK we all do it, but it doesn’t make it right or easier on the person you are judging. But as I announced it, some of my strongest supporters have been strangers. People that I have only met because I said yes to His will. I said yes with fear, but also with faith. In that yes, He provided me with friends who I may have never connected with (some of them local!) and other adoptive families who I can turn to in days of joy and days of trial. This is a journey. With every journey, there are hills and valleys. But because I said yes, He gave me the right people, in the exact moment I need them. And those who have been my biggest objectors, just give me the drive to push on and follow only His voice. 

When I pray about the little girl I will be adopting, my heart flutters with anxious excitement. It’s hard to do all of this work and not have any idea what your child looks like, what their stories are, what their struggles and needs are, etc. You can’t really plan and prepare until you are further into the process and have “matched” with your child. To this point, I have been working hard (as well as many supporters) to get my home study completed. Once I have my home study approved, it will clarify the ages I have been accepted for and the sex, disabilities, etc. Another HUGE part is that once I have the report, I can begin applying for aide and opening a tax deductible account, which allows for those larger donations to come in. My home study from start to finish (including a $500 fee to my adoption agency for review of the home study) will be over $8,000! In total the entire adoption will end up costing about $40,000. It seems impossible, but every time fees are due, the Lord has had it there. Yes, it’s taken constant work and petition and prayer, but it’s been there. 

In Batterson’s book I read, 

“The last time I checked, the population clock ticked 7, 121, 929, 889. If you line everybody up in a single-file conga line, it would…circle the earth at the equator 59 times, which reminds me of something I’ve said to my daughter, Summer, … ‘If all the girls in the world were lined up, and I could only choose one, I’d choose you.’…I might have to circle the earth quite a few times to find her!” 

When I read that I couldn’t help but think of my baby girl. I know she is out there. She is one of the billions of girls in that “conga line,” that I am looking through. Around and around I am going, each signature signed, each paper notarized is one step closer to seeing her face in that line of girls. All of them belong. All of them need loved. Are you doing your part? Am I doing mine? 

The next part of the book was talking about how God’s miracles defy earthly limitations. The author discussed how it’s a twenty mile walk from Capernaum to Cana. Also being sure to point out the fact that Capernaum sits 700 ft. below sea level, making that climb to Cana all uphill. He asks, in reference to what we are willing to do to make way for God to do His work in us,

Are you willing to knock on 435 doors? Fill six stone jars? Hike 20Mi uphill? Most of us follow Jesus to the point of inconvenience, but no further. We’re more than willing to follow Jesus as long as it doesn’t detour our plans. But it was the willingness to be inconvenienced that defined the Good Samaritan. And that’s how he becomes someone else’s miracle. Most miracles don’t happen on Main Street. They happen off the beaten path, about twenty miles out of town.” 

 

So, again, I ask you, “Are you willing to walk to Cana?” 

 

How can you help? 

  1. PRAY! I am awaiting to finalized copy of my home study, then I will be applying for grants.
  2. I am going to be working on a HUGE project these next couple of months…keep your eyes peeled for news! 😉 
  3. I am painting and selling Mandala Dot art. If you or someone you know is looking for a unique and meaningful gift, please reach out to me to commission one for yourself! 100% goes into my adoption funds! 

 

 

The Lord is doing AMAZING things! Stay tuned!

May the Angels’ be your guardians and the Saints’ your friends +

 

Slide show of a few of the Mandala pieces I have painted recently.

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Emmanuel is coming….

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Friends! Thank you! Due to lots and lots of hard work and generous donations from wonderful friends and family…we have worked so hard to get SOOOO close to the $3,000 home study fee that is due in January. Last I checked, we are only $800 (maybe a little less than that) away from being funded for the first big home study fee. I just paid a $1600 deposit yesterday, and had three medical tests done in the past week too (covered by my income and insurance). Praise God! And thank you for your willingness to help the needy. It is so appreciated. I don’t have enough words to convey my gratitude.

As the holiest of seasons rolls around, we Byzantine’s are in a fast period called the Nativity Fast. As I have been fasting and praying to prepare my heart for the birth of the Christ Child, I cannot help but ponder if this will be the last Christmas morning that my little one’s heart experiences, without a mothers love. Everything about the Christmas season screams “Family!,” yet millions of orphans languish and continue their hearts fast…waiting to be found. Waiting to know they are loved. They were chosen. They are home.

One of the books I like to read, throughout the liturgical year, is called, “The Year of the Grace of Our Lord.” How fitting is that! The title of my funds raised page is “God’s Graces.” Also, this is the year, God willing, that a little girl will be found and brought from great darkness into light. As I was reading the opening pages for advent, I was struck by the irony of the books title, but also this quote:

The East has seen Advent…as a time of awaiting the light which will shine forth. The Celebration of Jesus’ birth coincides with the victory of light over darkness in the physical world—from Christmas on, daylight lengthens. In the same way, our interior darkness will be dispelled by the coming of him who is the Light of the World.”

What hope fills my heart at reading these lines! Christ’s light; even as a wee babe, wrapped up in pieces of cloth lying in a manger in a barn/cave, shines ever brightly. In the same way, my mother’s heart is searching for my baby’s light. Where is she? What is she seeking this night? Does she know of the Father’s love…and that Christ is coming to be born in a mere manger…yet He is the Savior of the world?!

When I was a nun a priest friend once gave a homily, during the Advent season. He spoke of making our hearts a manger. How we needed to take the season of Advent to rid our “cave,” of dirty and unwanted things and prepare a resting place for the infant Christ Child to inhabit. I will always cherish that homily. It made Advent tangible for me. The image of my heart being a cave for a child to seek shelter and refuge in is one that resonates. What does your cave look like? Have you, “Cleaned house,” so to speak? Have you prepared your manger bed with fresh and soft hay for Him to rest His tiny head upon?

Please join me for the duration of this advent season, as we spend time with our families doing holiday traditions, in praying for the heart of my baby. Pray that she is filled with the light of the Christ Child on Christmas morning, and not the ache to be loved by a mother. My own heart will eternally feel that ache, but I at least have had the great gift of celebrating many Christmas mornings with mothers’ who have stepped into that role in my life. I am so blessed with love. I am so blessed with faith. Pray, with me, that my little one is about to spend her very last Christmas alone!

Thank you again for those who pray and those who donated towards this beautiful journey. Every penny gets me one step closer to embracing a little one with the arms of a mother…sometimes being the first time they’ve ever known that embrace. Can you imagine! You are helping to bring about and amazing thing!

May God bless you this season of preparation.

May the Angels’ be  your guardians,’ and the Saints’ your friends! +

 

I have a public adoption page on facebook where I update on funds raised and needed, advancements made, etc. :

Talitha Koum Adoption!

 

For those who wish to still help, you can donate to my personal paypal:

Jacqui’s Paypal

You can also send money via apple pay or snail mail (email for my phone number or address!)

 

 

Also, once my home study is completed, I will be opening a tax deductible donation page. This would be a great opportunity for those who own a business or wish to donate as an individual and receive a tax deduction too! (It won’t start until next tax year!)