Thursday, January 24, 2013

Satan hates what God loves

Almost a year ago, we brought Samuel home.  We'd been in the adoption process for three awfully long years, and we had completed all of the adoption related training that we were required to do.  Seminars, books, documentaries. We'd bought a few things that we'd need for a child, and we got several things while Samuel was in the hospital right after his birth.  However, there were several aspects of having a newborn that James and I were not at all prepared for. Some of those things were things that most new parents face - like the struggle to treat each other with kindness when we were both sleep deprived. 

I have come to realize that Satan hates the things that God loves. God loves children and he loves the fatherless. Satan hates it when Christian couples add a child to their family. Satan hates it when Christian couples adopt.  The Bible calls Satan the father of lies, a murderer, the deceiver of the whole world, our adversary who seeks someone to devour.  Those are very strong words. Satan is not the cute red character that people dress up as for Halloween. He is evil, cunning, deceitful, and dangerous. When we began the adoption process in 2009, we had no idea what the road would hold for us.  We were hopeful, prayerful, and well, naive.  When we answered the call that God had put on our hearts to adopt, Satan entered our lives in a new way and we were blindsighted. After our first failed referral, I was heart broken and angry that God had not chosen to let the little girl live after we had pleaded for her life.  After our second failed referral I was even more heart broken and began to wish that we'd never considered adopting.  We went to counseling for a little while during that time.  In the midst of all this, there were losses and hardships in other areas of our lives. I lost a job and broke my leg (which is fine now), and we lost three people that we loved. A third referral came and fell apart after we'd met her in Ethiopia. A dear saintly Ethiopian couple read James and I the story of Abraham and Sarah and assured us that our child would come to us.  Our hope was restored. A fourth referral failed and we both knew that it was time to step out of the international adoption program. We had our son in our home about 3 months after we switched to the state side adoption program. Our social worker told us that our adoption story makes little sense outside of the work of God. God gave us a desire to adopt, and he was faithful to give us a son. He also allowed us to walk through a terribly dark valley with Satan quick on our heals, wrecking havoc.

After we brought Samuel home, James and I had some hard times in our relationship. We argued more intensely than I can ever recall.  It has always been important to us that we attended church together as often as possible, and we have always enjoyed it. Sundays suddenly became one of the worst days of the week.  On the days when I had to go to work, I usually managed to get myself and Samuel ready and get our dogs taken care for the morning without an undue amount craziness.  You'd think that Sundays would be simpler since I had James home to help me get Samuel ready. That was not the case. We'd get so angry with each other just trying to get ready to leave for church. There was one Sunday that I asked James why we were even bothering with church if all we did before we left home was argue.  It was then when I saw our Enemy's work.

Here's my advice for couples considering adoption, waiting in the process, and adjusting to having a newly adopted child in your family:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
Do not expect for the things God call you to do to be easy and without sacrifice.  There will be hardship, pain, and suffering.  But there will also be blessings, grace, and mercy beyond measure from the God of Peace.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christmas Recap

This Christmas was so much happier than the past few had been for us. The child that we'd waited for was finally with us.  We spread our celebrations out over three weeks.  The week before Christmas we spent a few days in Arkansas visiting my parents.  One night while we were there, we all went to see the Christmas lights at Garvan Gardens.  It was a very nice display. After we had finished walking through the garden, we went to eat at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. Samuel didn't want to eat the dinner that I had packed for him, which was sweet potatoes. So I decided to try to offer him the only that I'd ordered that he could chew - refried beans.  He thought they were great.

 We spent Christmas at home, and some of our neighbors came over for Christmas dinner. The main gift that James and I gave Samuel was a Fisher Price Nativity set. We didn't have it set up for him. I had just wrapped up the boxes. I'd unwrap one box & he would crawl away with a wise man. Unwrap another box, and he'd crawl away with a sheep and so on. I wasn't sure that all the pieces had been accounted for, so after he was put down for a nap I decided to set it up and see if we had all the pieces.  Well, we had everything except baby Jesus.  James and I both crawled around the living room looking under the furniture looking for it. No luck. I had already bagged up the discarded wrapping paper and taken it to the garage, so I brought it back inside so we could go through it. I was very glad that we found it mixed up with the crumpled paper!

The cake was my main contribution to dinner. James baked the ham.  This was my first time to try making fondant, and it was not as hard as I thought it would be.  I used marshmallow cream and confectioner's sugar. I blended them together in my stand mixer, which kept me from getting super sticky marshmallow cream all over my hands.  I flavored it with almond extract, and it tasted much better than boxed fondant.  Here's the instructions I followed: The Farm Girl Recipes

We went to Louisiana for a few days around New Year's to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with our family there.  James' grandparents gave us Sky Miles tickets, so we were able to fly.  Samuel did great on the plane. Not a bit of crying.  He will barely tolerate an hour long drive to downtown in his car seat without having at least a small melt down. He's learned how to crawl, and he doesn't care to be restrained for very long. 
 After having two very active dogs in our house for several years, I'd learned to put only unbreakable ornaments at the bottom of the tree. Samuel was excited to find pretty ornaments at the bottom of his grandmother's tree. We got to the ornaments before he broke anything. 
Samuel got to see his cousin for a little while.  I think these two will love playing together!