Psalm One Million and One

Thanks for stopping by! I’ve added a couple pages of FAQs, both The Head and The Heart.  In part because I love any chance to reference this fantastically amazing group of music makers that hail from Seattle, but also because I think there are sort of two different aspects to all of this.  There are the basic logistical issues (which are actually far from basic), and then there is an emotional piece that factors in to everything.

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. I know it sounds crazy but I almost FEEL pregnant, at least in the sense that I’m experiencing my typical first trimester symptoms; namely, absolute exhaustion and emotional chaos. At least I’m not peeing every 30 minutes!  We had the high of feeling so much love and support when we publicly announced we were “expecting,” to the low of not everyone being as excited as we are (which was expected, and even understood, but still surprisingly painful).  Then we found out our home study appointment has been bumped up two weeks (to THIS weekend, yikes!), which on one hand is great because it means our process is moving along. On the other hand, there is a whole slew of nerves involved in someone coming into your home to make a judgment on whether or not you are good parents. We received updated pictures (taken THIS weekend, oh my stars) of our little man, and I can’t tell you how my heart somersaulted looking at those.  But the same day brought devastating news about another family in the adoption process. So our week, I guess, mirrored real life, in that it was all over the place.

I think when I was younger I thought there would come a time when this stopped – that I would finally have “figured it out” and everything would be even-keeled and good (or at least consistent) all the time.  I’m finding now that even if my life is in a really good place, I’ll still experience these modulations – it’s part of who we are. I think that’s why I love the Psalms so much.  You get real, raw emotion – both glorious highs and desparate lows — that mirror the human condition, which is anything but one note. You read about the psalmists’ joys and victories, but you also feel the agony of his disillusionment and defeat. And that’s okay.  I’ve finally stopped waiting for my life to feel good ALL of the time – I just try to find joy in the present. Somehow, someway. I’m usually terrible at it, honestly.  I think I’m a whiner by nature. 🙂   But I’m working at it, and it really has been a salve to my soul.

Last spring I took part in something called Redemption Group with Soma Tacoma (the concept originally started with Mars Hill Seattle and trickled south to the City of Destiny).  I can honestly say that those several weeks fundamentally changed how I view my identity in light of the gospel.  I am so thankful to the people (and their families – it’s a huge sacrifice) who work hard to make it happen each session.   At the end of your session, everyone writes their own Psalm.  Each psalm is so beautiful and nuanced and honest, and collectively the individual psalms tell such an amazing Story.  I wish I could share each one, so you could taste some of that beauty.  But for what it’s worth, here is mine. This is my song. . .

(I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind…I can’t escape Elton).

 

Psalm 1 million and 1

 (A psalm like all others before it, not worthy of my Father’s ear, but listened to and treasured just the same, because of His great Love)

Father God, the hem of your robe fills the room and I play beneath it

I am not overwhelmed

Pure joy fills my heart as I bask in my Father’s attention

I am surrounded by Your mercy and encased by Your love

You watch in joyful contentment, and delight in the most basic of my accomplishments

I am Yours, I am safe, I am loved

 

But like Eve, I want what I cannot have

I am not satisfied with what you offer

I begin to believe that I alone am enough and my strength comes from within

Instead of thanking you for my blessings

I resent what You do not give

I am lost, I am alone, I am unrepentant

 

And yet You will not let me go

I pry Your grip from my arm finger by Holy finger

And yet You will not let me go

I spit in Your face and blaspheme Your glorious name

And yet You will not let me go

I am angry, I am defiant, I am arrogant

 

But You, O Lord, You fight for me like a lion

With bravery and honor I can’t possibly deserve

You are unmoved by my anger and unafraid of my threats

You allow me to thrash until exhaustion, then gently pull me close

Give up, come home, and meet Jesus, You tell me

I am tired, I am thankful, I am ready

 

You whisper a song into my ear and the Spirit carries it to my heart

I burn with passionate fire and hope shines from my eyes

Shouting your praises from the rooftops, I look like a fool

My people do not understand, but I am too enamored to care

I revel in our relationship and desire to know You more

I am hungry, I am eager, I am new

 

But O Lord my God, mother Eve’s lineage runs deep

And her deception is so embedded in my flesh that it feels alive

I fight against it, but I simply cannot win

I would rather betray You than give up part of myself

So many lies surround me and I lose my grip on the Truth

I am weak, I am ashamed, I am weary

 

Do not give up on me, King of all people

Rescue me from my disbelief once more

I have known Your mercy and felt the power of Your steadfast love

I long to drink deeply from Your endless water

You, O Lord, are the only thing that is real

I am sorry, I am grateful, I am Yours

 

Daughters of Zion, hear what I am saying

Heirs to the throne, do not ignore my cry

Listen to the voice of your Father shouting

You are wanted

You are wonderful

You are worthy

Welcome! Our journey is just beginning…

Welcome to our family’s obligatory “We’re adopting so we started a blog!” blog! Thanks for joining us on this sure-to-be eventful journey.  We are in the process of adopting a little boy with Down Syndrome from Eastern Europe. More on our love muffin later!

A couple of things right up front: I didn’t decide to start a blog because I’m naïve enough to think I have anything super profound, insightful, or earth-shattering to add to the already robust international adoption dialogue.  There are many, MANY, smart, amazing and intelligent people out there already blogging about adoption (both domestic and international), as well as special needs.  I have spent countless hours pouring over their words and lives, and feel extremely grateful they are willing to take the time to put it out there.

But every story is different, and I decided to chronicle our family’s adventure for two primary reasons: first, to share information with other families who might be traveling down this road; and second, to make adoption more tangible for people who actually know us.

As I became more and more convinced that God was calling us down this path, I scoured the internet for information.  I wanted to know anything and everything: How long does it actually take? What are these families like? What are the children like? What was the process likes?  And so on and so on.  I was looking for confirmation that families “just like us” were also adopting, so that I could convince my good-natured husband I wasn’t a crazy person.  I looked for adoption blogs by families adopting from specific countries we were interested in… I looked for adoption blogs with families who already had young children in the home. . . I looked for blogs written by military familes adopting…I even looked for blogs written by other women named Ali. Okay, that’s a stretch, but you get the point.  Basically, I was having a hard time believing Jesus when He said this was going to happen and was really no big deal, so I looked for proof that it could, and had, been done before by people like us.  Funny, right? He has already worked my little heart over in this process, and I have no doubt there is more to come.  So to that end, I want our experience out there.  If even one mama (or papa) is combing the interwebs, looking for proof, I want to offer it.  You can do it! And hopefully, here you will find the story of how it happened for us.

Secondly, I think sometimes there can be a misconception (or maybe it was just for me) that adoption is for those “super” people.  You know, super-religious, or super-rich, or super-nice, or super-philanthropical, or super-moms and super-families.  And trust me when I say our family doesn’t fit that box.  Don’t get me wrong, we love Jesus more than anything, and if it wasn’t for Him we wouldn’t even have the crazy little awesome family we do, but we aren’t necessarily nailing the, “Oh, have you met the Kojaks? They are all so patient and loving and kind, and their kids are SOO well behaved. . .” image you might think of when you think of awesome, have-it-all-together, “ideal Christian” families. (Not than anyone ACTUALLY is, just that we aren’t even good at pretending). 🙂 We are big on grace around here, and it’s a good thing we love a God who gives lots of it.  So I wanted to write about our experience, because chances are, if you are reading this blog, you know us somehow.  And maybe it will take some of the “unknown” and “super” stigma out of the idea of adoption.  Hopefully, when it’s all said and done, you can say, “Oh, I know a family who adopted, they are totally normal.”  Well, that might not be completely accurate, but as normal as it gets these days.

I also decided to write about all of this for two completely selfish reasons.  One is to document how this little love came to be a Kojak, so he will never forget that we fought for him, that we wanted him desperately, and that he is part of a family who never gives up on each other. Now let’s be real – I started baby books for my other two that have never been finished, so there’s a solid chance I will space out and forget to blog for months on end.  But I hope not!! Because the other reason is to hold myself accountable.  I want to be as real and transparent as possible throughout this journey.  If you know me, you know that I tend to share all my ugly whether you want it or not, so I’m hoping to do the same throughout this process.  To be honest, I’m afraid I might try to hide anything hard – I don’t want to scare anyone away from adoption, and I don’t want anyone to think we are in over our heads.  I want to give everyone the impression that this is all awesome, and we are awesome, and adopting is awesome. But life (and adoption) simply isn’t like that – and I want to be held accountable for being real. Because we shouldn’t be afraid of hard – hard almost always turns into something beautiful.  My true intention is that this a place where I can examine tough questions, as well as share my doubts, insecurities, and heartaches.  Because sometimes, finding someone who shares those might make you feel more normal. I am terrified of opening myself up to criticism in this process, but I have to believe that our honesty about things will somehow bring about good. As a reader, I would just ask you to be gentle with my vulnerability. Please be honest, but also be kind and respectful. I will always do the same. And if I don’t, please call me on it. I will undoubtedly blow it at some point, and say/write something that causes offense, but I would love the chance to make it right.  Remember, I mentioned we thrive on grace around here. 🙂

A couple of random notes:  I am going to commit to updating this blog once a week.  If we have no new progress, I will bore you will random stories, or share what’s on my heart.  You can follow the blog if interested, and I will try to post updates on FB (until FB friends start telling me that’s annoying).  If you have any questions, shoot them our way.  We’d love to talk about any and everything.

Also, I have no desire to proofread and edit and stress about the grammar in my content – so forgive me in advance.  I know I have MANY grammar loving friends (I am a Public Affairs person after all), so I’m just asking you to look the other way on this.  WInk, wink.  I would never post anything if I made myself nuts about it being perfect first.  (Hmmm, there’s got to be some future post about this in relation to adoption, but I’ll have to stew on that).

More importantly, thank you for being a part of this!!  We will desperately need your prayers more than ever, and just knowing we have friends and family who support us is huge!  It takes a village people, and you are part of ours.  Let’s get this party started!