Psalm 37:4

Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Changing blogs

I am switching blogs while we travel.  I need to password protect our updates while we are traveling and frankly it's easier to do it on wordpress.  So, if you would like to follow along its, message me for the password and I will be happy to share it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We're Going To Thailand!!!!

Finally, the news we have been waiting for has arrived!  We found out Monday that we are scheduled for the November 20 meeting date.  That only gives us 2 weeks before we leave!  2 WEEKS!!!!!
We have been waiting for so long it started to feel like we would just continue to wait forever.  It feels really exciting and scary to actually be booking flights and hotels!  Yay!!!  The past two days have been stressful trying to get reservations and details worked out.  We finally have our flights and hotels booked (we are leaving November 13) and for the first time today I was able to just think about Lauren and the fact that in just a couple weeks our family will finally be together.  Wow.  I cannot even imagine how it will feel to see her precious face in real life, to see my 2 children together, and us as a family of 4.  Speechless.  I have been on a roller coaster of emotions the last couple days and all day when I started to feel anxiety or stressed I was singing this song.  We sing this at our church and I LOVE it.  Please give it a listen...I gotta go!  I've got a thousand things to do!!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

1 step forward 2 steps back

I just realized that I haven't posted about our progress, or lack of progress.  Well, it is progress but some days I feel like we are as far away from traveling as ever.  One thing I've learned in this process is to never count my chickens because there's always something else that can go wrong.  I'm not complaining or being negative but just being real.  Every single step of our adoption, except for one so far, has been the longest estimated wait time.  Every time we take another step I breath a sigh of relief and pray we are finished with delays but then something else happens to hold us up.  Let me fill you in...

September 6 - the one year anniversary of our referral of Lauren we finally got the call that we received first approval at the September 4 meeting!  Yay!!

September 9-  received word our article 16 came!  Double yay!!  (This is the one thing that came sooner than expected)

September 10-  article 16 delivered to our house

September 12-  mailed I-800 application to the drop box and sent the visa packet along with a care package to Holt (Jason took care of this for me because I have major anxiety when going to the post office, don't ask it's too tramitizing to explain)

-Sigh of relief and hope that we will sail through to travel-

September 13-  I-800 arrived at the drop box in Texas

September 27-  received a call from Holt telling us that USCIS has to send us a RFE (request for evidence) letter.  Commence the tears!!!  It's all because our home study said we were approved for a child 0-24 months and by the time we finally got first approval Lauren was over 24 months.  If the home study would have said 0-2 years it would have been fine.  Grrrrrrr!  Now we have to wait for a new home study to be mailed to us then we have to file a supplement 3 and send a $360 check.  Beyond the money and extra paperwork we are wasting time!  At this point one day delay is more than I can handle!  The positive thing is the Thai director doesn't think it will delay us much in travel.  Of course at this point I am thinking of all the ways that we can possibly be delayed with the rest of this a government shut down!!!!!

I feel like I'm getting good at being disappointed and learning to handle it with grace.  I sometimes find myself asking why it has been so hard for us to complete our family.  I know the wait and pain now will be worth it in the end, but in this moment it is so hard.  I have cried more tears in the last few months than I think I have in my entire life.  I don't even get mad when the delays come now it's just sadness.   If I think about having to file this extra paperwork for too long I get knots in my stomach and feel sick and not to mention the government shut down that is looming.  I trust Gods plan and his time but oh how it hurts my heart...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Grass Isn't Any Greener...And You Still Have to Mow It!

The "grass is greener" proverb is used quite frequently when it comes to married vs. single life.  For some reason I have been more aware of this topic in the last few weeks.  I don't know why because divorce has become such the norm for society  you would think I would be desensitized to it by now.  I have experienced divorce in my own extended family multiple times so you would think that it would be no big deal to me...but it is.  I know divorce is a sensitive topic and there aren't many of us out there that it hasn't affected.  I am reluctant to even write about it because of that very fact.  

It is not God's plan for people to divorce.  I know there are valid reasons to and I am not speaking about those people.  I don't feel anyone should stay in an abusive relationship, or stay with a spouse that cannot,  excuse me, will not be faithful.  And what is there to do when your spouse is just finished and wants out no matter how you feel???  You fight for your marriage but can't make them stay and before you know it you are a divorcee. 

I am talking about the ones who just quit, walk away, give up.  The ones who think it would be easier to be apart than together.  The ones who don't want to do the work that it takes to make a marriage work because it would be "easier" to start over with someone new.   I am talking to you.  Divorce does not just affect you and your spouse.  Whether you like it or not it affects your children (no matter their age), your parent's, friends....EVERYONE!  I have noticed one common denominator when someone walks away from a marriage, a hardened heart.  Why?  Because you have to harden your heart to do what you are about to do to the ones you love the most.

This started weighing on my heart a few weeks ago when I read a post about divorced parents being proud that they could be together at a special event and get along for their child.  Don't get me wrong that is great, but the thought that was in my head was why didn't you fight harder to save your family?   I would stand up and clap if someone would say we were on the verge of divorce and we went to counseling, or got back into church, or worked hard to find the love we lost, and we have saved our marriage.  Don't you think that's what your kids truly want?  Parent's who love each other and fought to stay together.  Wouldn't that make everyone the happiest?  Not, my parents are divorced but they can be in the same room for my birthday party and not fight.  Or when I overheard a woman, who is separated from her husband, say to her child "what's wrong?"  I wanted to scream at her "What do you think is wrong!?!  His parents are separated and you expect him to act like life is great!"

I hope my mom doesn't mind that I share this story but my parents divorced when I was 28ish years old.  I know the pain it feels as an adult, I can't imagine the pain I would have felt as a child.  I watched my dad walk away from a 30 year marriage.  He just quit.  He walked away at a time that my mom was recovering from an 8 month illness.  It was to the point that I was preparing myself to lose my mom.  I thought she was going to die.  All the doctors who treated her thought she had cancer that they just couldn't find.   Before she got sick she weighed 130ish pounds and when she was released from the hospital she was 94 pounds.  She was wearing a little girls size 12 clothes.  My dad chose at that time to just walk away.  You know how he did it?  He hardened his heart and he turned away from God.  The devastation has a ripple effect, even though the one causing the pain refuses to believe it. 

My heart hurts for the families that are on the verge of making a huge mistake and throwing away everything they have spent so many years building.  I think I am so acutely aware of the ending of families recently because we have spent so many years and so much money just to complete ours. We have fought hard and there were times we wanted to give up but we haven't and we won't.   We are on the verge of completing our family and I am watching others just throw theirs away.

Last night Jason and I had a date night because Isaac went to a birthday sleepover.  We saw a dear friend, who within the last year lost his beloved wife to cancer, out to eat with his granddaughter.  I flippantly said "we were having a date night, dinner and going home to watch a movie, that's what our dates consist of"  like it didn't mean anything or wasn't good enough.  The moment the words came out of my mouth I regretted it.  I felt I could read his thoughts with the look he had on his face.  I knew he would give anything to have one more of those nights with his wife. 

The last few weeks have made me more aware of my own relationship with Jason.  I need to nurture it and be thankful for it and treat each and every day as if it were our last.  We are all guilty of taking things for granted at some point in our lives.  Spouses, children...people who we love.

The school where I work I see on a daily basis children who are neglected by their parents.  We take them to the nurse for clean socks, give them hugs, and nurture them as much as possible for the 7 hours a day that we are with them.  You never hear about those people dealing with infertility do you?  I know the pain of watching people who don't care for their children the way they should continuely have them and you can't. 

I'm sure I'm not overstepping when I speak for the ones who have lost their spouses, dealt with infertility, or endured the waiting, financial struggle and sacrifice to grow their family through adoption...don't quit, don't take your children or your spouse for granted!  Love them like there's no tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Watched Pot Doesn't Boil and Pit Happens!

"Pit Happens". That was the title of a message at church a couple Sunday's ago.  We are doing a series on Joseph, which I have absolutely loved, and the "Pit Happens" message was about Joseph being thrown in the pit by his brothers, but God still had his hand on Joseph and a plan for his life.  Joseph didn't give up even when things got bad.  Well, that's at least what I took from the message.  By the way, I feel like every message the last few Sunday's was preached just for me.   Right now I feel like I am in my own pit, I'm ready to get out of the pit but The Lord has me right where he wants me, for now.  It has taken me awhile to realize this, but even though I'm in the pit God's hand is still on me and I have favor with him.  Let me explain a bit about how I've been feeling.  I really hate to share this publicly because only the people closest to me know and frankly I would prefer to keep it that way, but in order to understand what I have to say I need to share.

I have been struggling.  I have been a mess emotionally and spiritually.  I am so weary and frustrated of waiting for first approval.  It's the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I have cried more in the last few weeks than my whole life.  I haven't felt very gracious either.  I struggle to be happy for others who are getting good news and I know it's wrong.  My mind has been so full of thoughts and worst case senerios that I actually prayed for God to just shut all of my thoughts off!  I have tried to focus and keep my mind from wondering but until today I have been unsuccessful.  I feel like we have been watching the pot and waiting for it to boil by living from one DSDW meeting to the next.  Holding our breaths and trying to will it to happen and finally coming to the conclusion it's never going to!  The frustration is so great you would like to just give up to be rid of the pain but you know that would never be an option because there's a little girl that needs a family half a world away and there's a family that needs their little girl before they can feel complete.  Oh, we are continuing to live.  We go to football practice, church, baseball games and family dinners.  We go to the races and cheer on my cousin.  We put on our happy faces but even when we are laughing and having a good time there's still that pain in our hearts and that thought that someone is missing.  This has been the reality we have lived in for too long.  I have begged and pleaded with God to make it happen, thrown myself on the alter and poured my heart out. All in the hopes that I could gain some peace and understanding.  The truth is I may never understand why this adoption is taking so long.

Sometimes you grow so weary you start to question that if what your doing is really what God wanted for your life.  Sunday at church I was so emotional I couldn't sing, I could barely stand and the tears wouldn't stop.  All I could pray to God was for him to hold me up and give me strength to keep standing.  I could feel his embrace and even though I was so broken I knew he was with me.  Even though I couldn't sing the words for crying, my heart was singing his praise.  I have prayed so much lately it felt like I was in constant prayer.  While I'm driving, eating, washing dishes, but I felt like I wasn't in devoted prayer time.  So, last night I went to my closet and got on my knees and prayed for strength, grace and a peace filled heart.

I have been reading a book that I borrowed from my uncle David, who is a preacher, called "Not A Fan".  He told me about this book several months ago and I had kind of forgotten about it.  I happened to be out of reading material and remembered this book.  So, I borrowed it and have been reading.  I have enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.  I decided I would try to finish it tonight so I took it with me to Isaac's football practice.   I hadn't even read half a page when The Lord spoke so clearly to me.  The chapter was talking about how we have to die daily.....what does it look like to die daily?  That's what I was asking myself.  I mean I've been in church my whole life and I've always heard that phrase but what does it really mean?  The very next paragraph I read starts out  with the question "What does it look like to die daily?"  This is what it went on to say..." Dying to yourself may mean walking by that empty room in your house and asking God if there is an orphan child in another country that should be sleeping in that bed."  What!?!  I about dropped the book!  The chapter ends with the suggestion to pause and think of ways that you can carry a cross and die daily.  Everything fell into perspective in that moment. Adoption is the cross we have been called to carry and I will do it gladly and with joy in my heart.  It is not all about me and what I want but about Gods plan and I will wait for it!  So, I continue reading...

The next chapter talks about following Jesus, wherever, whenever.  It talks about the end of Luke chapter nine where Jesus meets a "fan".  A man tells Jesus he will follow him wherever he goes.  Jesus replies "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son on Man has no place to lay his head."  We're left with the impression that the man quickly rescinds his offer.  When we say we want to be a follower of Jesus we need to be prepared to follow him "wherever".  The chapter goes on to say..."Wherever?  What about at the game?  What about in the neighborhood?  What about when you're back home with old friends?  Or what about this, what if God points to a place like Burma or Thailand and says, What about there?Talk about a punch in the gut!  This time I had to lay the book down and let it all soak in.  I felt God clearly had me read those words at a time when I needed reassurance that I was doing what he wanted me to do.  I don't want to just be a fan of Jesus I want to be a follower. WOW!  I was speechless.

So, let me end with this...I have answered God's call to bring home an orphan from Thailand to complete our family.  However long it takes, however much the cost, I will conduct myself with grace and faith and continue to wait on God's perfect timing.  I will pray on my knees daily for strength that only God can supply. I will follow him wherever he takes me.   My name is Angie Ledbetter and I am not a fan!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

11 Months and Counting....

Today marks 11 months of waiting for first approval...11 of the longest months of my life.  This waiting is getting very, very hard.  I'm asking for anyone who reads this to please say a prayer or two for us and another family that also received their referral in September.  In a few hours DSDW will be meeting in Thailand and we are praying for first approval this time.  I know the trend has been every other meeting for a family or families to get first approval.  There were three at the last meeting so I am trying not to get my hopes up, but how can you not?  I have prayed a lot already today and am trying to stay calm and in control of my thoughts and emotions, but I know the disappointment will be great if we don't.  I have been running on God's strength alone for the last 3 weeks already so I also ask for prayers that if we don't receive first approval at this meeting that I have continued strength until we do.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Blessed and Blessed Again...

Wow!  What a week it has been!  The Lord has been so good to us this week.  We were fortunate enough to be the featured family on Give1Save1 Asia.  If you are a FB friend I didn't need to tell you that and I'm sure by now you are sick of seeing the link.  Haha...  I am so thankful for all the friends, family and strangers that donated money this week.  We ended with $516.00!  What a BLESSING!

Also, this week I finally started working on Lauren's bedroom.  I had planned to do it all summer and just kept putting it off.  I know why now...because this was the week I was supposed to do it.  It was very therapeutic.  I felt like I was doing something at a time when there's nothing I can do but wait and pray.

  It's not completely finished but you get the idea...I decided to get a toddler bed just in case we need to put it in our room when Lauren comes home.

Another blessing this week has been the time I have spent with the Lord.  I have felt his presence all around me and he has spoken to my heart every time I have turned around.  My mom and I went to my Sis in-law's Bible study Thursday night and the title of the study was, A Woman of Patience.....a Woman of Power.  Oh good grief!!!  That was my first thought when I heard it, but it was such a blessing to my soul!  She talked about how patience has power and the reason patience is powerful is because patient people cannot be controlled by the devil or the circumstances he brings to upset them.  Wow!  Powerful!  My sis in-law also spoke about the importance of realizing that patience is not only the ability to wait, but also how we act while we're waiting.  That point right there is the thought I have focused on since the beginning of our adoption.  I knew it would be a long wait but I wanted to wait gracefully.  I don't think I've always accomplished that but I am trying.  After the Bible study we went to Brumley to hear Jeff and Sherri Easter sing.  I love to listen to gospel music and it was good to spend quality time with my mom.  Friday night Jason and I had a very spiritual and humbling conversation with our friend after Isaac's ball game.  I love to talk with others about God and his goodness and it was a blessing to hear his testimony. Church was so good this morning.  We started a new series on Joseph, I love the story of Joseph.  Anyway, our pastor encouraged us to explore God's favor this week.  So, I thought I would start with  the Webster's Dictionary to see what the word favor means...friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior and gracious kindness are a couple of examples.  I want to be in God's favor and  I am excited to study it this week!  Also,  Isaac brought this card home from his class.  If I understood correctly, he had to write down 2 verses and choose one to memorize.  He chose the first one...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...

Then he had to write why he chose that verse on the back.  He wrote...I like it because right now our adoption is taking forever and we feel like we can't Do anything...