Friday, I sent all of our dossier papers to the various Consulates to be authenticated. We had two documents that had to go to the US Secretary of State first, and then they will be forwarded to the Embassy in DC. They are all out of my hands now. All documents were received on Monday and are being processed.
We sat down on Monday night to work on our adoption parent education, but started with our dossier checklist to see what we needed to get done this week as our papers are being authenticated. We were able to check off all the various boxes on the list! There is such a sense of accomplishment when I get to place a check mark in the little box. Once the documents are sent back to us from the Consulates and the Embassy, we can put them all together and submit them all to the agency, who will submit them to the CCAA in Beijing.
It seems like a lifetime ago since we began this journey, but it was only October. Since then, so much has happened, and I am forever changed because of it. My father went to be with the LORD on December 28, 2007. He taught me so much about life and love. Even in my rotten, rebellious teenage years, he loved me unconditionally. He had the courage to stand up to me when I was wrong, and tell me so. It wasn't easy, and there were years that I thought my relationship with him was irreparably damaged. By God's grace, and my father's faithfulness, our relationship was restored. At the time of his death, he had become, once again, my biggest encourager and prayer partner. I spoke with him at least weekly, and I miss him dearly. I am not writing this to make you feel sorry for me. No, I know with all confidence that my tears of sorrow will be wiped away and I will be reunited with my earthly father one day when we meet again in heaven.
There are many lessons that my father taught me over the years. One of my most treasured lessons that I learned from my father's life is that success is measured not by the amount of monetary profit at the end of the day, rather it is measured by the lives that are touched by our service. My father would not be considered wealthy by most American standards, but he was richly blessed in his service to others. He told me more than once that I could not have anything I wanted, but that I could have anything I was willing to work for as long as God was glorified through my actions. This has become the cornerstone of what I want my children to learn.
I know this is wordy, and you are probably wondering if my rambling has a point. Well, here it is. Can you look back on your life and see how your purpose has been shaped by those around you? Can you see how the ones in your past have shaped your future goals and desires? There are too many people to list in one little blog post, but I can say that I can look around me and see those who have influenced me toward where I am today. Some people, like my father, have been positive influences in my life, and others have been shining examples of what I do not want to be. I can name many, many people that could be labeled as successful by worldly standards, and yet I look at their lives and see squandered potential. It breaks my heart to see amazing, talented individuals who could have used their influence to God's glory, but for whatever reason, they do not. I am not saying that these are bad people, don't get me wrong, they are not bad, only short-sighted. Have you ever been given a God-sized dream, and realized that you can be part of His purposed to bring it into reality? Think about Noah for a moment... others thought he was crazy, but he followed God's plan and humanity was redeemed for it.
This adoption process has sharpened my focus on the needs of orphans around the world. James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (NIV). I have always had a heart for humanitarian aid organizations. But the needs are so great and diverse, it is easy to get lost in the sea of needs. All of these needs are real. They all need workers who will toil towards an end goal that is bigger than themselves. Many of these needs overlap and mesh together. For me, orphan care is the need that affects my family in a very real way. I am touched by the amazing families who work in this area through adoption. But what of the millions of children left behind?
That is where organizations like Children's Hope International, Compassion International, East-West Ministries, Shaohannah's Hope, and so many others come into play. These multifaceted organizations have humanitarian aid divisions that can focus on the care and need of the orphans who are not yet chosen for a forever home. And they need our help. Fundraising, donations, and raising awareness to the needs out there are all important. And, I guess this is just one little way for me to help out. I know that there are many causes out there that need help, and I am not trying to say that one is more important than another, no, this is one of many good causes, and unfortunately one person cannot focus on them all. I will not tell you that you have to choose orphan care as your primary focus, but it is a very real, viable option to consider.... just a little food for thought.