Just One.

Since I was young, when I am at my darkest or saddest moments, my heart aches to write out my feelings. I see them as love letters to the Lord. I have so many journals that they more than fill an entire book shelf! I have always found that I can speak my heart most clearly when I write. Tonight is one of those times, but instead of hiding it away behind a fancy leather cover, I wanted to be vulnerable and invite you to hear the words that rest in my heart this evening.

This adoption process is hard. I am worn so immeasurably thin… How many tears have I wept the past three days alone? Too many to count…but God knows! This journey has stretched my heart in ways I never knew a heart could stretch. The entire process is exhausting waves of excitement, fear, joy, anxiety, celebration and dreams, setbacks and fees. It’s a lot. I am often overcome by the weight of this, “yes.” But I push on and continue to be amazed at His providence and support. He pushes me when I am a “doubting Thomas,” and He shows up whenever I am at my weakest and most vulnerable spot.

At times, it feels as if all these appointments, doctors visits, papers that need notarized and signed for what seems like the ten millionth time…will never lead to my child. It feels like I am in one of those fancy doors at a hotel that just keep spinning and spinning, and if you don’t get out fast enough, the end never comes. Sometimes I sit here and stare at the list of “to do’s and Still Owe’s” and I want to give up. I doubt that I have the strength to do it all, after working several jobs to save funds (even though it feels like it’s all due before I can even make it!).

St. Teresa of Kolkata has always spoken to my heart…especially after my time spent at Kalighat (Mother’s Home for the Dying). This evening I was really struggling in my faith when it comes to this adoption journey. I started listening to a talk a beautiful friend once gave on Mother, and a few lines really struck a chord in my heart. These words re-centered me. They reminded me why I began this journey in the first place.

A little over two years ago I arrived back in America, after living in India for four months. It was then that I first felt and heard the calling to adopt. It was also then that I first let fear be my answer and said, “no way, man!” I came up with every excuse. I can’t afford it. I am single. People will judge me. The child could reject me. I’m not experienced enough. I don’t have enough to give them. etc. All lies that Satan spoke (and at times continues to speak) into my heart. But then I saw India. I saw poverty. I saw orphan hood. I saw love. I saw Christ!

“There are more people who have food, than there are people who are hungry. If we all fed just one person, there would be no more people who are hungry. It doesn’t require a Herculean effort.” ~ a friend ~

“Mother Teresa wrote to the Archbishop to ask for permission to found the Missionaries of Charity, … she said, ‘I know, Your Excellency, how inadequate I am. I know that I don’t have the skills to carry all of this out. I know that this is much greater than I am capable of, but . . . wouldn’t it be worth it, to make all of this sacrifice, if even just one of these little ones were brought back to the Heart of Jesus?”

The heart of the Missionaries is just that, going out and reaching ‘Just that one.'” I witnessed it first hand the day I spent hours bathing and changing 300+ women at Kalighat. I will forever remember the moment I walked around the corner and was overcome at the sights, smells and sounds around me. My humanity told me to run. To avoid the discomfort that was sure to be found in this place. Praise God I stayed! That day turned out to be one of the best and most beautiful days of my life.

The memories I have of the love I received from women who were in worse shape than the most horrific photo you could find on the web. Women who had maybe hours left of their life here on earth…living in the most horrific pain and a lot of them were abandoned and alone. Or so I thought. I quickly learned just how present Christ was in their hearts and in the heart of that home, itself! Love lived there. Love was breathing and intermingling as people from all over the world sat beside one another just listening, massaging and dressing the shells of a life that once was vibrant and fully alive. In those hours, “The Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us.”

I came home from that trip, changed. I still am learning just how much the Lord did in my heart during that experience (all four months, not just the one day at Kalighat). I knew that the Lord had called me to adopt. I stepped out into the deep, aware of the challenge it would bring…never comprehending just how demanding it would be. But I am so grateful! Because of that Yes, the Lord has worked wonders in my heart. Here are a few blessings that I have witnessed in the past year of this adoption journey.

  1. When I started out, I was scared of being alone. This journey takes everything out of you! Could I do it without a spouse to lean on? No one in my life really understood what the adoption experience was like and that terrified me. But He quickly provided a friend. Another single Mamma, who ironically (or not so ironically!) had adopted from the very foster home that I had spent four months serving at! How cool that a year after coming home, I would become close friends with not only another single mamma, but one of the little girls I had come to love during my time away! 🙂 Through this friend, I was introduced to many new friends who have all grown (and are continuing to grow) their families through adoption from India!
  2. Just a few weekends ago, I went to Cleveland for the day to celebrate an Indian festival called, Holi. It is the festival of colors! This is to celebrate the change of seasons from winter to spring. It celebrates the victory of good over evil and is meant to spread happiness and love. Let me tell you it did all of that and then some! We threw these bright colors at one another and celebrated the culture of our children, together as one family! Ah, it was glorious! (I also met the families of several more kiddos I had met, while in India!)

Because of my beautiful friend, I have now been blessed with so many friends and fellow India lovers 🙂 It has made this process so much easier to have people who “get it.”

Last week, I found out that I didn’t receive a grant I had applied for back in November (Yes, some grant cycles take months before any monies are awarded or denied). I was bummed because there are only a handful of grants that accept single applicants. So this was a huge disappointment.

I had also applied for another grant, that was supposed to be reviewed and decided upon today. I was so distracted all day at work because I knew that the grant committee had my application open on some table somewhere, and I was begging the Lord to provide some desperately needed funds! I came home to an email that they had decided not to review my application until June 25, because of the amount of applications they had received this round and other circumstances. Not going to lie, that was tough. I sobbed. All day I had been imploring our Lord to provide, and I was so sure it was going to happen…and then came home to find out that it hadn’t even been a possibility, yet.

I did mail another grant out yesterday, and I am continuing to pray for a positive response from both today’s grant (being reviewed at the end of June) and the one I just mailed. I have found one more grant that I can apply for and will hopefully be finishing that this week. Please join me in praying for peace, patience and surrender. Every, “No,” I get is one, “Yes,” for another family. It is still One More Child…a step closer to their forever family. That is cause for rejoicing!

In the next few months, I will owe a lot of agency and filing fees. I am excited that these next steps will include starting the registration process in India, so that I can finally match with my baby! It’s so hard to be working non-stop and hoping and pining for this little one that my heart already is in love with, and I don’t even know who they are or what they look like. I ACHE INTENSELY for that day to come!

I currently have a balance of $1450 to pay for the rest of the first set of agency fees (I’ve already paid a portion off). Almost immediately after that I will owe a nearly $5,000 (this is why grants would be an AMAZING gift and relief right about now!) fee to register with India. I anxiously await the moment when I can check off one more thing from my process countdown. Every heart drawn is one step closer to my little one never spending another moment without her Mamma’s love. (My Dossier is complete, I just need the fee to go along with the paperwork!!!!)

India Adoption Timeline

Pray with me, that the Father would provide (as He always does) the monies needed at the appropriate time. Pray for my heart to find peace in the time of waiting. We all know that our timing is imperfect and that the Father’s timing is nothing but perfection (if only my heart could remember it more often!).

If you or your friends would like to help in any way, please reach out to me! I would accept any help, even just a friendly phone call or hug! 🙂 There are so many ways you could help (as so many of you have) bring this little girl home!

I currently have been painting and selling some Mandala artwork, to help raise the needed funds. I will be hosting a paint party soon as well! I will have my artwork displayed for sale at Muggswigz coffee shoppes June, July and August! You can also commission specific art pieces if you have a particular theme, design or color scheme you like. Be sure to join my facebook group, Talitha Koum Adoption!, to see my latest creations and pieces for sale!

Thank you for reading and following our journey!

Blessings+

A hopeful Mamma

 

paypal.me/JacquelineMcNeill

 

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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!)