Wednesday, July 26, 2017

the one with the picture

one year and six days ago we saw our sweet girl's face for the first time. our agency sent out an inquiry email, asking if we would be interested in more info for a little girl they were about to put on the waiting child list. and of course we said yes. and then there she was. just a tiny little babe, various pictures of her crying and holding a cookie. and we were suspended in this moment between then and now, where we knew our son or daughter was out there but knew nothing about them and here was this child in an e-mail that could be our daughter but who knew because how actually do you make a decision like that? and we had exactly 12-hours to say yes or no and i just remember looking at evan and saying, "the only reason i can think to say no is money. and i don't think that's a legitimate reason for Jesus." and so we said yes.

we said yes one year and six days ago.

and yesterday was a hard day for me. watching a handful of my agency's families travel to ethiopia to bring home their daughters (of course. make it as hard as possible.) and i don't know how i can possibly wait two more months. and that is just me relying on the power of prayer and believing that Jesus will answer my pleas for an October court date.

we are currently in the middle of what is called the i-604 investigation. this process happens in ethiopia to make sure that our daughter is an abandoned or relinquished orphan (we know her story but they want to prove that it's true and she's not being trafficked). and now we are waiting on two people to be interviewed by the embassy for further proof of this. one is a police officer and he is already refusing to come in for the interview without a court order but it's not through the court so the court has nothing to do with it so there can't/won't be a court order so basically we won't get his interview (they always do that). and the other was her guardian and we haven't heard back on whether or not she will come to the embassy.

SO. praying that this will be resolved quickly. that we'll either get these interviews done or they'll write the letter excusing them (i mean, like what even is this process) and we'll be granted our PAIR approval.

one hundred billion steps for each piece of the puzzle.

we got this picture this morning from another mama whose sweet girl is also at our orphanage. i officially cannot handle it. my heart longs for her today. i've been on the fine side of things through this whole process but i can feel myself slowly starting to unravel at the edges. and the hilarious part to me is that i want her here now but we don't even have a bed for her yet. crying and laughing about that at the same time, all the time. and sweet maddox, asking all the time when we'll go get his sister. so much sweetness, i can hardly handle it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

clinging for life to all you promise

i have been one shaky, teary HOT mess today, y'all.

because we got ethiopian approval today. you read that right. the thing that was just closed (MOWA) approved us to adopt zara.

my agency called me today at 12 just as evan and i sat down for lunch. i saw her name pop up, started sweating and flapping my arms, you know, all chill things because i have no chill, and she's like, "hi larissa. do you know why i'm calling?" well now all of mccormick's knows THAT WE HAVE MOWA APPROVAL THANKS TO MY SHOUTING. 

you guys. i've been boldly praying for not quite two weeks. and with those bold prayers, i have literally been fighting off fear and it is exhausting. i did not actually know how much fear i literally carry around internally with me on the daily. my inner monologue is seriously this:

"but what if we don't get approval and then we don't get to travel?"
"we need both MOWA and PAIR approval and it's only two things but that's a lot to depend on in four-months."
"october is not that far away. is this the most ridiculous request i've ever made?"
"what if they want us to travel this weekend because we can't because we have a wedding."
"courts are closing. when do courts close? how long do they close for? what if they don't open until november for some reason? i should email CHI and ask them."

it is bad. it is constant. even just wondering the dates of court closure for rainy season could send me in a spiral down a deep hole of panic about what needs to happen before we can go. so i have to physically repeat 2 timothy 1:7 (sometimes outloud) to myself. but i am constantly fighting off a spirit of fear that i did not realized i carried around like the worst best friend in all of history. this best friend is not good to me and must go. i am constantly telling myself, my thoughts, "NO." firmly and over and over again ("take every thought captive and make it obedient to christ." 1 corinthians 10:5) and training my thoughts to not even turn to fear when something is a little hard or a little unknown. it literally is a workout for your entire soul. i dig it.

and if you would like to continue to hear about how great is our God, read on. because not only do we have MOWA approval, but our agency is working to get us a court date at the beginning of october. the courts will close for august and september for the rainy season and open right back up in october. i already knew this when i began asking for october but it is still dependent on these two approvals. so it's not cheating. 

even though God literally plucked this mountain from right in front of my face and chucked it across the whole wide world, we are not finished yet. we still need PAIR approval (3-6 months). we need to buy our tickets. i still want to travel with my two friends (and our three girls are all at the same orphanage now so if you don't think that's a promise from God, i'm sorry we can't be friends anymore.) and they need their approvals, too. we need airline miles. we need billings tickets to not be literally $10,000 + your right arm so we don't have to drive to bozeman or denver to fly out.

PRAY WITH US. your prayers are being heard. HE IS THE GOD WHO SEES US. 

but dang. we are celebrating so many victories (BABIES CAME HOME ON FATHER'S DAY) and so many mountains being absolutely obliterated. i turned on my adoption playlist on spotify this morning and the first song that came on was "unstoppable God" by elevation. so if you ever wondered if God uses spotify, HE SURE DOES. "faith commanded and the mountains moved. fear is losing ground to our hope in you....impossible things in your name they shall be done."

God is SO good. i know i have a lot of words here, but i'm also speechless at this excitement. we mostly have words of THANKS for joining us on this journey. for asking and caring and praying with us. for the people who tell us they're also praying for fall with us. THANK YOU. our girl is coming home!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

you move the mountains

evan and i have been listening to "do it again" by elevation worship non-stop for the past few weeks. it has become our daily prayer to cover this adoption season, this unknown. i've always given each season of life and struggle a worship song and i cannot believe how seriously perfect this song applies: "i've seen you move, you move the mountains. and i believe i'll see you do it again." because on april 21, ethiopia shut down adoptions without any explanation. the worst part of all of it has been the rumors floating around about why and how long and what it means for us as this specific part of our journey, because some of the rumors are terrible and i'm over here like, "LALALALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING YOU'RE SAYING BYE."

i don't do super great when there aren't a ton of details. if you cannot answer all of my questions, don't even bother coming to me with the story because i literally need all the details. all of them. so my stress level has been extreme.

but i also have surprised myself during this season. my typical control freak personality has sort of stepped aside for this open-handed personality to take over. there is absolutely nothing i can do (i've already done it all: contacting my reps, sending letters, asking my friends to do the same, etc.), so this is me: "fine God. take it. i don't even want it." AND SO. he took it and he has it and i can confidently tell you that when you let God have your problems, IT IS SO MUCH BETTER TO LIVE LIKE THAT. also, i keep reminding myself that the God who brought us through $8,000 in seven days would not have brought us through that to leave us here. (whenever something is too much for me, i just remember that. it is probably the only thing keeping me going.)

SO. here's a little timeline of what has happened since the suspension:

april 21 -- suspension announced

may 2 -- my birthday and nothing happened. 

may 5 -- our case went to the first court date. an orphanage rep appeared and if the court decided to continue our adoption case then our case would be sent to MOWA (ministry of woman and children's affairs) but because MOWA was suspended, it just stayed at the court.

june 5 -- the start of the busiest, most stressful week. i start to lose my mind and feel attacked on all sides.

june 6 -- several families receive the letters they were waiting for to get their children out of the country. possible sign that MOWA is working again. we all casually FLIP. OUT. and pray that the suspension is over.

june 8 -- i realize that if MOWA is working again, then my case should be at MOWA. we find out that OUR CASE IS INDEED SUBMITTED TO MOWA!

june 8 -- take evan lunch and receive e-mail that we've also been submitted to PAIR (pre adoption immigration request)!

june 8 -- realize why i'm having such a stressful and terrible week and why i'm feeling attacked on all sides, hello.

ethiopia has literally said NOTHING to anyone about the suspension. it's kind of like a passive aggressive friendship being rekindled. no one says anything about the fight you just had. you just pretend like nothing ever happened and get on with your business. i'm just going to keep walking around on my tip toes until zara is home.

we now get to wait some more on these two submissions to be accepted. once they're accepted we'll get a court date and we'll go get our girl! (in tears just even typing that up.) PAIR can take 3-6 months and MOWA can take just as long as they please. there's a lady from my agency who had PAIR and MOWA approval within two weeks. others are waiting over a year. MOWA is basically a matter of where your paperwork lands on the stack.

so here's the thing: i've been saying since the beginning that the travel unknown is my worst fear. i have asked my agency no less than 15 times when i will be traveling and at this point, they just tune me out. i didn't actually realize that this was a fear until this weekend when i was discussing child birth with a mama friend of mine. (hi mary!) i pretend it's not a fear by saying, "travel stresses me out." but no. let's call it what it is: A FEAR. and so, my mama friend was telling me how she prayed for specific details before the births of her children, requests if you will, and these were incredibly specific. like down to the time of day she wanted her children to be born. AND GUESS WHAT? God delivered. so i'm like fine. i'm claiming this fear. i'm taking ownership of this stress and this fear and i'm not going to let it rule over me any more. so i have started praying for incredibly specific aspects of our travel.

+1 i'm praying that we'll travel at the beginning of october.
+2 i'm praying that our airline tickets will cost around $1,000 per person.
+3 i'm praying that we'll be able to travel with two other families (we know them, they're both adopting little girls and one of the girls is at the same orphanage as zara).
+4 that someone would gift us their airline miles.

i kept thinking about how silly #4 is. we want to fly UAE and so who is even going to have miles on UAE and can you even do that? but then God keeps reminding me that a) no mountain is ever too big and b) did he not raise us $8,000 in seven days?

we would LOVE if you would pray with us for these four specific things. we can't wait to see how God answers our prayers and to continue to watch zara's adoption story unfold.

"for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind." 2 timothy 1:7