Sunday, May 29, 2011

We're all waiting...

When we said, "Yes" to God, we entered a whole new world on this incredible journey of adoption. For over 1 1/2 years now, our life story has been wrapped around "adoption." We're still waiting, of course. Actually - we have decided now that we are all professional "waiters."

Not a day passes by without Allison, Nicolas, and Annikah praying for Paulina...typically Annikah is the one who leads in the prayer. Her typical prayer goes something like this: "Dear Jesus, Thank you for letting Paulina be our sister. Please let her come home soon and help the people who have our papers to look at them. Please help Paulina love you because you love her. Please help all the people who are taking care of her - help them to love Paulina and to love you, too." Annikah is waiting in prayer - anticipating her new sister will learn to love Jesus as much as she does.

Since Nicolas is the practical thinker in the bunch, he has been the one who was always concerned about the adoption time frame, how much everything was costing, and whether or not we were going to have enough money to cover the expense of our adoption. He's also the one who has been preoccupied with not "IF" but WHEN Paulina would encounter mean kids who could possibly hurt her with mean-spirited questions or comments...and how he can protect her. Nicolas is waiting in anticipation of what it means to be Paulina's big take care of her.

Allison has been one of our best sojourners in this adoption process - she senses when we're worried or stressed and has a terrific ability to share that burden with us. When we're privileged to spend time with Paulina, Allison is the one who makes a special point to talk to Paulina at her eye level and listens to Pau carefully - to pick up on the things she cares about, like the horses; chickens; the park and her friends Mayra, Carlitos and Anita. Allison is waiting to be the best big sister a younger sibling could ever imagine...and she's waiting to celebrate the finalization of this part of our journey.

And then, there's Paulina...Paulina is the one who has been waiting longer than any of us. I've often wished I could have a peak into her precious little mind.
  • What does she wonder about?
  • What does she think when she sees us all parade into her life - happy, hugging, kissing, talking, hugging some more, playing, hugging some more and then saying "good-bye" once again. What does she think when we all walk away together, leaving her behind?
  • What does she think about the nannies who care for her?
  • What does she think about the other children who share a home with her? They are all children who are specially challenged: some can't see; some can't walk; some can't move at all - most cannot talk. What is she thinking about all of this?
This is really all she knows -- this IS all she knows. This is Paulina's "normal." Paulina has been told that she's going to live with her new family -- but, really...what does that mean to a 3 1/2 year old little girl who only knows the people and place where she currently lives? She's waiting. Paulina is waiting for the unknown - something that everyone else seems very happy about, yet she knows nothing of.

And so...we're all waiting.

Psalm 27:14 (New Living Translation): "Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD."

In our time of waiting - Pam and I have found that if we try to rush things along or push doors open, then we are not waiting...we're doing. This passage (and many others) does not tell us to "Do things quickly and impatiently for the Lord." No, it tells us to WAIT, BE BRAVE AND COURAGEOUS...and then again, WAIT. And of course, the icing on the cake...wait PATIENTLY for the Lord.

We're not worried, we're not preoccupied with the nitty-gritty details in the in-n-out of every day...we have become professional "waiters." for those of you who really want to what's going on while we're waiting...

Two weeks ago, the US received our final paper work from Mexico. During this process (of waiting), the US reviews Paulina's official birth documents, her statement of history, and her status as a legal orphan, along with the official statement that Mexico recognizes us as eligible to adopt her.

Once we receive the final approval from the US government (possibly within the next couple of weeks), our adoption agency will help facilitate setting up our appointments with the Mexican government (not necessarily in this order) to:
  • Finalize Paulina's adoption in the State of Chihuahua
  • Getting Paulina's name to be officially changed to "Paulina Fe Tooley" (Fe = Faith in Spanish)
  • Flying to Mexico City with Paulina
  • Making an appointment to get Paulina's Mexican passport
  • After we get her Mexican passport, we have to take her to the US embassy to have her adoption finalized there and to have her Mexican passport changed to a US passport and to obtain her adoption visa.
  • Then, we will fly back to El Paso, Texas - once she touches US soil, she will have full citizenship rights.
When this will all take place? No one knows...we're anticipating it will happen soon, however. Perhaps in the middle of July...but then again, we're "waiting," so we can't truly begin to plan.

Financially, we've been positioned well - thanks to the sale of our personal vehicle, several garage sales, wonderful donations from several friends and one particularly generous donation from some very dear friends who God had lead them to care for "the least of these" through our adoption.

As international adoptions go, expenses mount up without warning - many revolving around non-glamorous details like translation of official documents, authenticating documents and travel.

We thought that we were doing okay up to this point - however, our adoption agency recently notified us of $2,500.00 in fees that we have not anticipated. If you feel impressed to be a part of this adoption journey with us financially - we would GREATLY appreciate your investment. No amount is too small nor is it too big.

Still...we are waiting...waiting on the LORD.


Alison Weinstock said...

Joel and Pam-
Hello from Olathe! Wow! What a powerful testimony of what it means to wait upon the Lord! I will be rejoicing with you when Paulina gets home with her forever family!


Rick Tooley said...

2 Peter 3:8 reminds us... "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
Often we don't understand the lesson we're learning in the midst of the learning process, but it's always strengthening to realize that God "deems" us teachable. So, don't lose heart... God is even using you while we all wait with you... only He knows the number of eyes that are watching you... using you as examples of what it really means to watch, wait, pray, trust, & obey. Thanks for being willing to go through the hard lessons so the rest of us can learn some lessons with you along the way.

I love you and your "little crowd" more than I know how to express, & can't wait to see how "Fe" responds to four-wheeler rides and 10 layer chocolate cake at Aunt Wendy's & Uncle Rick's house!

AVToolman said...

Every night Justin prays, "Dear God, ...and please help Paulina get home safely and swiftly to Uncle Joel's house. Amen" Some nights he asks me why it's taking so long but his prayer is always in such a way that it's a foregone conclusion. She will come home.