Monday, January 24, 2011

4 Months Today!

The Brannans have been on the official wait list 4 months today for our Ethiopian child(ren)!  This feels like a huge accomplishment; although we've done absolutely nothing but WAIT.

Well, I can't say absolutely nothing.  We still go to work every day, we go to church on Sundays, we sing in the praise team, we have dinner with friends, we do I guess we're not completely idol.  

Waiting on anything is not my strong suit to say the least.  Just ask Mark.  In some ways, that's good, like I don't procrastinate in most things.  I run around doing everything as it comes up, so I don't have to have something sitting on a list for later.  It drives me nuts to put off tasks!  Let's get it done now!  However, not waiting patiently for others makes my heart beat faster, it makes my eyes search around the room like a lunatic, and it makes my legs shake with anticipation.  I want to jump in there and "help" people finish their stories, draw a conclusion about a situation, or scream, "Get to the point!"  Clearly, this is not going to help my current situation as a waiting adoptive mother.  No amount of twitching and yelling will bring Zane home sooner.  

Waiting for anything is a humbling and refining process.  In the first few weeks of waiting, there is still passion for the goal, hope for the shortest wait ever, and giddiness over a new journey.  After the honeymoon period subsides, waiting becomes difficult.  When we don't see progress, or we lose focus on the goal, waiting feels like running head first into a brick wall over and over again.  We get tired, forget the purpose and eventually, stop running.  We protect ourselves from the pain of rejection, hopelessness, or just plain silence.  And the result?  Complete despair.

It's no wonder why in Psalm 130, the writer uses terminology to suggest waiting as an "active duty".  God never intended waiting to be an idol and joyless actively, yet we believe the lie that God may not come through for us and we must sit in self-protection while we wait.  God will come through, and he will not forget his promise and his purpose in our lives.  

Psalm 130:5-6 says, "I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning."  

Do you hear that?  Waiting involves our entire being!  Our minds, bodies, spirits, and souls are fully engaged when we wait for the Lord.  We read his word and mentally tune into what He wants to say to us every day.  We physically move where he wants us to impact the world for His kingdom.  We listen to His Spirit speak peace, joy, and hope over us as we are reminded of the long-term goal.  We notice God moving and working and being in every aspect of our lives as our souls are filled with joy at His work in the world around us.  Our waiting is active "more than a watchman waiting for the morning."  Watchmen on the towers of city walls do not sleep on the job.  Their livelihood depends on actively noticing every shadow and every sound approaching their city.  There was no "drifting off" or "losing focus" because laziness meant certain death.  

I can't tell you how it does my heart good to know that God is active and He expects me to be active with Him in my waiting.  I am not a powerless bystander waiting for an unknown cause.  My King has a battle plan and I have a responsibility to follow His commands.  Self-pity, isolation, and set-backs are lies and have no power to thwart the plans of our God, and I have a choice every day to actively participate in God's plan, or give myself over to self-focused depression.  More than I want my way, I want to know Him.  And that's worth waiting for.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Are We Adopting From Ethiopia?

Today we learned that we are #18 for a single boy and #15 for twins/siblings.  We are slowly getting closer to the day that we will see the face(s) of our child(ren)!  Please pray for us to have patience that only God can give as we eagerly anticipate the day he (they) will be ours!

We often get the question, "Why Ethiopia?"  There are so many reasons to adopt from countries all over the world, including the United States.  We are passionate about the protection and rescue of children all over the globe, but what led us to Ethiopia is the hope of a better future for the country, and at the same time the harsh realities of its current situation.

In a recent video I watched, I was reminded that

  • 39% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. 
  • Only 50% of the population attend or has attended K-3 primary schools. 
  • There is one physician for every 35, 000 people.  
  • 46% of the 85 million people in Ethiopia are children.  
  • Of the 40 million children, 6 million are orphans.   
  • 123/1000 children in Ethiopia never make it to their fifth birthday.

Ethiopia's annual health budget is $140 million.  Care for orphans in Ethiopia requires up to $115 million a month!  This is an injustice that requires our attention and fervent action.

Children are a blessing, and our God will see to it that they are protected.  "You shall not mistreat the widow or the fatherless child.  If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry and my wrath will burn..."  Exodus 22:22-24

We want to join God in what He is already doing in the world to care for those in need.  His heart is for the orphan, and if we bear His Name, our hearts should reflect His.

This is so much more than Mark and I having our first child(ren).  The lives of millions are at stake, and our God is using His people to be the "hands and feet" of Christ.  Our goal is His glory living in us and through us to draw all people to His Kingdom.

This is why we are adopting from Ethiopia.