Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Caution: War Zone

A recent and very true scene from our life on the "Adoption Highway".  The setting is bedtime:

True Princess G.A.:  (tears)  Mommy, I can't do this adoption thing.  (tears)  You and Daddy have talked to us about what it will be like when the boys get here and I thought I was ready.  (sniffles)  But now, I just know it is NOT a good idea.  (sobbing)

Mommy:  Oh, Honey.  Come here.  Talk to me.
True Princess G.A.:  It's just that we do not have a car big enough to get everyone to the Golden Corral!  The boys need to stay in Honduras.


Our pastor began a new sermon series last week entitled Kingdoms.  In a nutshell he reminds us that no matter which "highway" we are traveling through life on, we are in a war zone.  If we do not recognize that fact, we will quickly become a casualty.

"The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness", made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ....We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."  2 Corinthians 4:4-6,8

A battle is raging between the Kingdom of Darkness, ruled by Satan, and the Kingdom of Light, ruled by God.  We were born into the Kingdom of Darkness as sinners. 

Romans 3:23 says, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

In the Darkness, we were still loved by God, our Creator, the ruler of the Light, but separated from Him by our sin.  When we accepted Christ, we left the Kingdom of Darkness and moved into the Kingdom of Light.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Now we have an enemy.

When we were in the Darkness, the ruler of the Light, God, still loved us, but when we left the Darkness and moved into the Light, the ruler of Darkness, Satan, witheld his love.  At that moment, he began to hate us and now he prowls around like a lion looking to devour us.

This is the warfare. 

It is deceptive.  It is cunning.  It is riddled with lies.  It can be disguised.
Once you have been called out of the Darkness, once you have accepted Christ and made a decision to live in the resurrection, not just at the foot of the will be called to go back into the Kingdom of Darkness as the hands and feet of God helping the lost find their way to the Kingdom of Light.

You will be attacked.  You will be persecuted.  You will face obstacles. 

This is the warfare.

God loves unity.  God loves family.  God loves productivity, purpose, and plans.  Satan adores conflict.  Satan thrives on broken families.  Satan is fond of all that is unproductive, lacks purpose, and is unplanned.

God loves the orphan.  He desires for him to be brought out of the darkness into the light.  He commands in  Isaiah 1:17 that we 'seek justice, encourage the oppressed...defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.'  Satan loves the orphan right where he is...desperate, deceived, hungry, thirsty, alone, unloved.

This is war.

Driving down the "Adoption Highway", you have entered the battleground and unless you are aware of your enemy, you are at risk of becoming a casualty.

The enemy will test your patience trying to discourage you.  He has tested mine. 
  • In the beginning, we were at the mercy of our agency, our social worker, our physician, our records office, our friends writing referral letters, and our psychologist.  Each person held documents that were needed to complete the application process, but we had to fit into their schedules, their timelines, their lives....PATIENCE. 
  • We were at their mercy again when it came time to compile the dossier.  This time the demands on them were greater as duplicate documents needed to be filled out on letterhead, revised, and notarized requiring more of their time and a bigger committment.  Again, we had to fit into their schedules, their timelines, their lives.....PATIENCE.
  • Now we are waiting 75 days for USCIS to approve our I-600A application and mail a Favorable Determination Letter, yes, 75 days.....PATIENCE.  
  • It doesn't end there.  Once we have that letter we will need a letter from the Honduran Consulate before our dossier can be mailed to Honduras.....PATIENCE.
  • Once our dossier is received in Honduras, it will take a month to translate from English to Spanish....PATIENCE.  
  • Then we will wait another two months after that for IHNFA review and approval of our dossier before we are even considered for a referral......PATIENCE.
  • At that point we must be prepared to wait another six to twelve months for a referral....PATIENCE. 
Know your enemy.  Anticipate your enemy.  Be prepared for your enemy.  He is ready to strike.
The enemy will test your resolve trying to crush you.  He has tested mine.
  • On the "Adoption Highway" doing something once is not enough.  Be prepared to do the same thing two or three times.  Case in point, five reference letters needed for the application, three different reference letters needed for the dossier; two criminal background checks done for the application, another one done for the dossier; physical fitness forms needed for the application, another physical fitness form needed for the dossier; photos required for the application, different photos required for the dossier....PERSEVERE.
  • Gary's employment letter and our Psychological Evaluation had to be revised, renotarized, and reapostilled after review by a Gladney attorney in Honduras....PERSEVERE.  
  • We took the MMPI here.  We will be required to take the three hour long test again in Honduras....PERSEVERE.
  • We met with a social worker and psychologist here in America.  We will meet with a social worker and psychologist again in Honduras....PERSEVERE.
  • Life has been interrupted for doctor appointments, psychology appointments, MMPI testing appointments, fingerprinting appointments, biometric appointments, phone conferences, social worker visits, notarizing and apostilling, now we must travel to NY for Adoptive Parent Training.....PERSEVERE. 
Know your enemy.  Anticipate your enemy.  Be prepared for your enemy.  He knows your weakness.

The enemy will expose your fears trying to bring you to despair.  He has exposed mine.
  • Sitting around a campfire just a few weeks ago, a dear friend said, "I hope you are not flying into Tegucilagapa airport.  It is terrifying.  You'll be flying in a big plane approaching a tiny airport surrounded by huge mountains.  Often there is zero visibility due to fog.  You circle around and around and around then the pilot must be spot on to land safely."....TRUST, He will strengthen you and help you. 
  • People ask, "Don't you know these kids come with serious medical and emotional problems?".....TRUST, He will strengthen you and help you.
  • There are a plethora of unknowns in the world of International Adoption....TRUST, He will strengthen you and help you.   
  • I, personally, will be leaving my family in America to stay with Thunder and Lightning for a month in Honduras before they can come home.  Who will take True Princess to school?  Who will give Kind-Hearted Warrior his asthma medicine?  Who will help Fair Maiden with her homework?  Who will cook?  Who will clean? Who?  Who?  Who?.....TRUST, He will strengthen you and help you. 
Know your enemy.  Anticipate your enemy.  Be prepared for your enemy.  He wants to crush you.

The enemy will attack your common sense.  He has attacked mine. 
  • He will make you question your decision financially....can we really afford to do this?....what about the cost of a college education?.....what about our retirement plans?....???....SUBMIT yourself to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  
  • He will try to take your eyes off God.  He will shift your focus to looking at everyone else and their story, their timeline, their victories....SUBMIT yourself to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 
Know your enemy.  Anticipate your enemy.  Be prepared for your enemy.  He wants to destroy you.

All the while God's voice will thunder in the background saying, "Ask Me.  Seek Me.  Find Me.  This is your story.  I am the author.  Do not allow the enemy a foothold in your life."

Philippians 4:8 says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."
Expect your enemy to attack you.  Know him.  Anticipate him.  Prepare for him.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the devil's schemes and go forward with the sound of God's reassuring thunder in your ears.  Advance in the storm.  Arm yourselves with prayer and Jesus' promise to answer your prayers.  In His name we will command mountains to move;  we will bring peace to troubled waters; and we will set captives free.  When we realize that we have an enemy, when we anticipate that enemy, and when we prepare for that enemy, we will be in a position to claim victory.....orphans will come home out of the darkness and into the light in His perfect timing.

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