When we started this process, we began with open eyes, open hearts. We knew it would not be an easy process and I do not want anything that I am about to say to imply otherwise. I also don't want to sound ungrateful for everything that has occurred in the last 13.5 weeks.
We are thrilled to be almost 60% funded with some great options for funding coming in the next weeks.
We are also thrilled and very grateful to have already submitted our dossier to the Ukrainian government.
Now we are waiting.
It is hard to wait.
No one in our generation likes to wait.
The process at this point looks approximately like this:
Submission Sept 24,
3-5 weeks until we hear about our approval
3-4 weeks until we get a travel date which is approximately 3-5 weeks before we actually travel.
THEN 6-8 weeks in country.
That looks like travel time will be around December 3-17 and given the delays in the government around the holidays it will likely have to be two trips (I CANNOT imagine getting on the plane for a trip home and having to leave Lena there for a few more weeks!!!) All this culminates that our process would likely not be complete until early-mid February.
This is all according to the way other people's process is going right now. It is all unofficial and every process is different. Every region, judge and orphanage works a bit different. All kinds of things can speed up or delay the process.
Friday, I was walking with my kids in their stroller and I started praying. I was asking God to have His hands on each person that comes in contact with our paperwork. I know that this doesn't always mean that he will speed things up.... but just that they would hear our story, see our hearts, overlook the possible "t" not crossed or whatever. That they would see Jesus in our paperwork. While I was praying, I just started feeling the urge to ask for more than just a smooth process (for those in this process, you know better than I, that asking for the smooth process can be a miracle in itself!)
I felt in my spirit to ask for more. Verses began to flood my mind along the lines of "Ask and you will receive" Did you know there are many different forms of this, but it is all only contingent on asking within the Will of God. So, seeing as how we fully believe that we are in the Will of God by bringing Lena home. I feel like we can - and even should ask. The thing that I felt led to request was that we get to go to Ukraine in November.
Again, this doesn't make sense according to the timeline that others are experiencing right now.
It also doesn't completely make sense as far as Ronnie's work schedule.... but that is another story.
I started praying for November - and then remembered that Lena birthday is in November.
That evening, among some other miraculous answers that I will not talk about now, I was telling Ronnie about my prayer time that morning. He responded, "oh, I have been praying for that too!"
Basically, we are asking for something that can ONLY happen by God's hand. There is no way we could take credit for this. But November travel would not only be good since Lena regularly asks us to come for her birthday, but also because we could possibly get the process managed in one trip and get most - if not all - of it done before the holiday shut-down.
Many times in Scripture you read of really bad odds - stories where the deck is stacked against God's people and then you read "But God...." and that is basically what this amounts to. God has shown Himself already in this process. We have learned so much about Him in these last months that we otherwise might not have learned.... and now we are asking for a "But God" moment. We are asking for something that doesn't make sense.
So, we want you to join us. The Bible tells us over and over to ask. And also instructs us to ask in one accord (believing together) for BIG things. God enjoys giving to His children. He specializes in giving things that cannot be explained by any other means. He doesn't always answer with Yes - but we will ask regardless.
If He says "no" we will go when we are allowed to go - we will work until the day we bring her home - and we know that the work has just begun. We will work to show her love. We will work to be a family and make sure that she knows she is just as much a part of us as anyone else is. We will make as many trips as we need to make, we will stay as long as we need to stay.
We know that God can move schedules. We know that He specializes in overcoming the odds. We say - with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego "We know our God is able to save us but if he chooses not to - we will praise him anyway." We know our God can move these schedules - but if he chooses not to - we will praise Him anyway!