Waiting for Isaac

“You are waiting for your Isaac, not Ishmael.”

When the Lord came to Abraham and told him that he and his wife Sarah would soon have a baby, Sarah laughed.  Then she got to business! In what I can only surmise was her anxiety and fear, she worked out a plan to make that happen.  Poor Hagar and Ishmael.  The intervention of one anxious woman and her compliant husband caused some serious chaos and heartbreak. 

“You are waiting for your Isaac, not Ishmael,” my dear friend encouraged me. 

This process is a roller coaster.  That is all I can say.  One minute you are up on top scanning the view and taking in the excitement and the next moment your heart has plummeted so fast that you scream to get off the ride.  But, no, we are not getting off the ride.  Our baby is out there and we are going to find him or her. 

Last month Ian and I were presented with an “adoption situation”.  Because this “situation” involved a very hurting expectant mother who obviously struggled deeply in her own life, we were challenged to explore an area that was foreign to us.  We sent the expectant mom’s medical records off to four different physicians to seek opinions on the risk factors.  We were seeking recommendations as to whether to go forward.  You see, this precious woman was hurting and still is hurting deeply.  In an effort to numb her pain, she has made some life-style choices before and during the pregnancy that could potentially put this baby at risk long-term.

When you begin to contemplate adoption, you think of finding that perfect baby to fill your home with coos and giggles and late-night feeding and crying sessions.  You don’t think about cocaine, fetal-alcohol syndrome, disease, etc.  You are searching for your baby. 

After researching the significant range of risk factors for this hurting expectant mom and her precious baby, Ian and I felt led to move forward and have our family profile book shown to her.  We prayed diligently and asked trusted prayer warriors to pray for the Lord to clearly slam the door if this was not His choice for our family.  A week after our book was shown to her, we got the call… she had chosen a family local to her home state for the honor of raising her son as its own.  She wanted to keep the baby in Florida where her other two children lived.  I understood, but naturally my heart sank just a bit after receiving that phone call. 

We had spent the prior two weeks researching various substance abuse and health issues and their effects on pregnancy and the developing baby.  We listened to doctors and educated ourselves.  We PRAYED and asked for the Lord to provide wisdom and protection.  He DID provide His protection as His faithfulness is never-ending.  However, the disappointment still stung deeply.  “I have lost 7 babies and now this?!”  I stomped by foot and whined and complained for a good 4 or 5 days… I let it out to Him and in His mercy He took my hope and reignited it.  He knows where our baby is and He will lead us to him or her.

“You are waiting for your Isaac, not Ishmael.”  I thank the Lord for His intervention as my dear friend walked directly across my path as I received the news in that church parking lot.  “You are waiting for your Isaac, not Ishmael.”  Her words still echo through my mind and heart two weeks after that disappointing phone call.  I will never forget them.

We are still waiting for our Isaac (or Isaacina as I like to joke).  We are so eager to see who the Lord brings to our family… maybe a boy?  Maybe a girl?  Dark skin?  Light skin?  Somewhere in between?  We don’t know the plan, but we do know and trust He who holds the plan in His hands.  We do know He is good and faithful and loves deeper than we can even imagine.

As we get closer and closer to the anniversary of that crushing day when we delivered our precious Ryan Adeline into heaven, we are still praying.  As I listen to our sweet 7 year-old little girl say with eager expectation and excitement, “Mommy, the greatest thing about adoption is that the baby won’t die!” and “Mommy!  Daddy!  When we get the baby we will now have four children!” (She always includes Ryan in that number and of course she has no idea about the 6 other little lives rejoicing in heaven). 

I am a completely different person than I was a year ago.  I am grateful for the grief… it has brought me so much joy in the Lord and joy in my amazing husband and my two precious girls.  Our hearts are so much bigger now and cannot wait to find our newest family member. 

We are searching for you, Little One!  He will lead us to you, Sweet Baby!  We will find you because He knows exactly where you are.

Please continue to travel with us on this journey.  Please pray.  We have reached over $15,000 of our $30,000 goal.  Thank you so much!  Please pray for financial provision and if you feel led, please invest financially in our family’s journey to find our little one.  Please share our story and our blog link to anyone who may care to know more.  Every amount helps us… every prayer and word of encouragement is so appreciated.  Thank you for your gracious consideration.  Thank you for your support.  We are humbled.

This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

–Psalm 118:24

Adoption Update. 10.07.13- Close to $14,000 Raised! Woo hoo! :)

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Dear Friends and Family,

We apologize for the delay in getting this update out.  It’s been a crazy busy season here for us at our home and in our lives (as it is for most of us in the fall).  We do, however, want to give you an update as to where we are in the adoption process.

As many of you know, we have successfully completed the home study process.  The social worker came to our home on August 20th for our one and only home visit.  That meeting lasted maybe 30 minutes.  He came in, met our girls, asking them a few “get to know you” questions and a few questions about their thoughts about adopting a baby.  Obviously Emerson was much more forth coming with her answers as she is very excited and extremely outgoing (like her Momma).  Addison, on the other hand, clung to me and answered him into my ear as she is our more reserved child (like her Daddy).  Needless to say, it was a pleasure introducing our social worker to our two precious girls and for him to hear the excitement in their answers.  We briefly toured our home with him and then had a few moments of final discussion with him.  At the end of the meeting he gave us the wonderful news, “Congratulations, You are approved!”  Music to our ears!  🙂

Within minutes of the social worker’s departure from our home, Ian headed off to work and I headed inside to complete our adoption agency application.  Needless to say, we have been an official waiting family with our adoption agency for just over a month now.

We have received information on 2 “situations” (adoption terminology for possible adoption matches) but in both situations we did not proceed as the varying risk factors (financial risks, birth mother stability, cooperation of birth father, etc.) were too great to proceed.  We are continuing to pray for patience, wisdom, and discernment in this entire process and are very excited to see who the Lord will bring into our family.

In other news, we are very excited to share that we have raised close to $14,000 towards our adoption fund.  We are so incredibly grateful for the incredible outpouring of support that we have received.  Thank you so much.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.  We love to hear from you and so appreciate your prayers, emails and notes of encouragement and support for our family.  Thank you all for your support and love.  Keep you posted as soon as we know something.  🙂

In His Grace,

Ian and Lindsay Leiviska

If you would like to invest financially in our family’s adoption…We humbly thank you.

PayPal:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=EV8Q8QBF53CXL&lc=US&item_name=Leiviska%20Family%20Adoption%20Fund&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donate_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

August 19, 2013- Our Adoption Journey Update… Making Progress!

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Dear Friends and Family

What a whirlwind this past two weeks has been!

We are excited to share that as of our last update we have received sponsorship of an additional 48 pieces of our Adoption Fundraiser Puzzle!  This brings us to 192 pieces sponsored for a total of just over $4800!  We are so grateful to each and every one of you for your support of our family and for the life of this precious child!  We still have a long way to go and are humbled as we ask for your continued support.  Thank you so much… your gifts will be felt in our family forever.  If you feel led to support us financially in any way, please see the information below to contribute to our journey.  From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

On to other news… 🙂

Ian and I submitted all of our paperwork to the home study agency on August 6th and heard back from them on August 8th.  In a nutshell, we scheduled all 3 of our home study meetings right away which was awesome.  We met with the social worker twice last week for about two hours each session.  Additionally, we have been able to get every document that we were responsible for handling completed and to the social worker.  That list includes: doctors referrals, referral letters from friends, FBI clearances, NC State Criminal clearances, all legal documents (birth certificates for all 4 of us, marriage license, etc.) and all financial data.  That in and of itself is a MIRACLE!  Praise God!  🙂

The first meeting consisted mostly of Ian and I sharing our lives with the social worker… describing to him our lives as individuals starting from each one of our respective childhoods to where we are today as a couple and family.

Our second meeting was again about two hours long and was a continuation of our story.  We spoke more in detail about our girls, why we have come to the decision to grow our family through adoption, our parenting styles and approach to discipline, our faith in God, etc.  During that second meeting, we were able to learn a lot from the social worker about the adoption process as a whole.  Our eyes were opened to adoption as not only a process that is finalized once a family finds the child (or infant in our case) that they gave been longing for, but as a journey that continues after that child is brought into the family.  We learned about the adjustment process and the feelings that the adopted child may feel at certain times in his/her life, to the feelings and emotions of every single person in the family.  The change in the dynamics for the entire family is something that is to be protected and honored.  We also discussed adoption across racial lines and where our hearts are in that area.  Ian and I are simply eager to see who the Lord brings to our family.  Eager to hold and love on Emerson and Addison’s little brother or sister… Wow!  We seek to find His child for our family… we are leaving all doors open.  Yay!

Where we are now…  The social worker will be coming to our home tomorrow morning at 10am for the one and only home visit of the home study.  He will view our home, meet Emmie and Addie, and talk with us for a short time.  Once that meeting is over, our expectation is that he will finalize the home study by end of week.  Yay!  At that point, we will pass along the home study packet over to our agency.  It is at that point that we should be officially a “waiting adoptive family’!  Yay!  🙂

Ian and I spent the weekend working on our respective duties… He worked his tail off cleaning and organizing various parts of the house for the social worker’s visit and I spent the entire day on Saturday working on our family portfolio to show prospective birth mothers.  These amazing women are given the opportunity to look over the portfolios of a number of “waiting adoptive families” and this way are able to choose the family to whom they will bless with their precious little one.  What a journey is the process of simply compiling our lives into one book!  “Simply” is probably not an accurate word to describe it!  Ha!  Needless to say, the family portfolio book is 99% complete and should be done and ordered this evening.

We are so excited and energized about this entire journey.  The information and areas of enlightenment about this amazing process to grow families has even more invigorated us and our desire for our next precious little one!  We are overwhelmed at the honor it is to seek out our child this way.  We are so grateful to the Lord and His grace to cover us in this process.

We are beyond blessed to have so many supportive friends and family members to lift us up with encouragement and prayers during this time.  Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.  We love hearing from you and look forward to sharing more with you soon!

As mentioned, the financial aspect of the adoption is a big mountain to climb with legal fees and agency fees just around the corner.  If you feel led to support us financially in any way (every little bit helps), we would be more than grateful.

Adoption Puzzle Donation Information:

PayPal:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=EV8Q8QBF53CXL&lc=US&item_name=Leiviska%20Family%20Adoption%20Fund&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donate_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

Thank you, All!

In His Grace,

Lindsay Leiviska

laleivis@yahoo.com

Home Study Here We Come! Update: 8/7/13

144 Adoption Puzzle Fundraiser Pieces Sponsored So Far!  :)

144 Adoption Puzzle Fundraiser Pieces Sponsored So Far! 🙂

Friends and Family,

Ian and I are so excited to give you an update on the adoption process as well as the adoption fundraiser puzzle.

First of all, we are so excited to say that you guys have blown us away once again by your love and support.  We could not get through this time of growth without the support and encouragement of you all.  Thank you!

We have nearly doubled our sponsored puzzle pieces in the past two weeks!  Praise be to God!!  Woo hoo!!  As of this evening we have 144 pieces of our adoption puzzle sponsored.  That is a total of $3605 raised to support our adoption process.  Yes!!!  🙂

A few weeks back, I mentioned to you that Ian and I would be attending an adoption agency informational meeting here in Charlotte.  He and I were deciding between two agencies and we were waiting to attend that meeting in order to make a decision.  Well, although the meeting was very helpful and gave us a lot of useful information regarding the adoption process, we ended up going with another agency.

We have chosen to go with a smaller agency based out of Greenville, SC.  Through these initial days of the adoption process, I have had the privilege to speak with several adoptive mothers as they have shared their experiences and offered their advice.  One particular lady has quickly become a precious friend and support to me during this time.  She and her husband ended up using an agency based out of Greenville, SC in order to locate their sweet baby boy last December and Ian and I feel led to do the same.  Yay!!!!  Decision made.  Check!!  🙂

Here is where we are now… because the agency we are using is based out of South Carolina, Ian and I need to have a North Carolina licensed adoption services agency perform our home study.  We have located a reputable home study agency here in Charlotte that specializes in pre and post-placement adoption services (i.e. home studies, post-placement visits, etc.)  We are even more excited to announce that we submitted our home study application and fees via US Mail (uh oh!) yesterday.

The best part is that this home study agency is able to perform an expedited home study (our choices were to wait 8-11 weeks or expedite the process in 2 weeks).  Hmmm???  What do you think we chose to do?  YES!!!  We paid a nominal additional fee to expedite the home study process.  I spoke with the home study agency yesterday and they said once the application is received they would be contacting us within 24 hours.  Needless to say, I should be hearing from them by end of week.  Yay!!!  I cannot begin to tell you how amazing it feels to be one step closer to holding our precious baby boy or girl.

We want to remind you that it is because of your generosity that we reached that financial benchmark to the home study process.  Thank you so much!  We are beyond grateful.

In advance, we thank you for your continued support and prayers.  We are overwhelmed with gratitude for each one of you and cannot wait to share the news of each stage of our journey with you.

Please forgive us that the puzzle pieces have not been put together in the photo.  We have not mastered the art of keeping  puzzle out on the dining room table without little hands touching and ultimately continually disassembling it.  Ha!  🙂  We will get the hang of it soon, I am sure.

Thank you!  Thank you, Friends!  Please continue to pass this along to anyone who may desire to help us in any way.

Will send out an update once we hear from the home study agency.  So excited!  🙂

In His Grace,

Ian and Lindsay Leiviska

Adoption Puzzle Donation Information Via PayPal:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=EV8Q8QBF53CXL&lc=US&item_name=Leiviska%20Family%20Adoption%20Fund&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donate_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

 

Adoption Journey Update! July 24, 2013

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Friends and Family-

Thank you so much for the amazing outpouring of encouragement, prayers and other areas of support for our family as we pursue the adoption of our next precious little one!  We have been blown away by your love and friendship.

We want to give you all an update on our Adoption Puzzle Fundraiser as well as some additional updates on the adoption process.

First of all, as of this afternoon we have over 73 puzzle pieces sponsored by you all!  Thank you so much to all who helped in this process and thank you to all who are praying and encouraging us in other ways!  With 73 pieces sponsored, we have raised $1830!!!  That is so awesome because that money will now allow us to pursue our home study!!!  Yay!!!

What is a home study some of you may ask?  A home study is basically a detailed report of our home and our family.  A licensed social worker will interview our family, come to our home and assess our home to make sure we are a secure adoptive family.  This home study is required by law for any adoptive family.  We are so excited that we reached the financial benchmark to go forward with this step in the adoption process.

Additionally, Ian and I have narrowed our avenues of adoption options to two agencies.  We will meet with the second of those agencies this Friday and then will pray and discuss and make a decision as to which agency we will pursue.  Meeting with the local agency here in Charlotte this Friday will hopefully answer some questions as to which route we should take.  Please pray for wisdom and discernment at this junction.  Our goal is to begin the process of securing the home study early next week.  Apparently the home study process can take up to 3 months, but it definitely can be completed sooner (praying!!).  We will keep you updated on that.

Obviously, we still have a big financial mountain to climb in this process of domestic adoption, and we thank you so much for your continued support.  To think that just 8 months ago, Ian and I received the biggest blow of our life in the death of our precious Ryan Adeline and now are filled with such an awesome hope and excitement for the arrival of our next son or daughter!  We are so super excited!

Please know that if you have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask.  We are so excited to be on this journey with all of our friends and family!  Please pass this along to anyone who might be able to assist us in any way.  Someone just may know someone who is searching for the right family for her sweet baby boy or girl.  Thank you so much, All!

PayPal-  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=EV8Q8QBF53CXL&lc=US&item_name=Leiviska%20Family%20Adoption%20Fund&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donate_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

Will update early next week once we make our agency decision.  Thank you!!!  So excited!!

In His Grace,

Ian and Lindsay

Storm Clouds- July 17, 2013

Storm Clouds- July 17, 2013

Boom!  Crash!!  The thunder I hear overhead is preventing the girls and I from heading out to a play date at the pool.  Despite the 90 degree weather, we are stuck indoors for a bit, so I had might as well do something productive while we wait it out.  C’mon, storm clouds… go away!

Storm clouds… how quickly they pop up in the sky and how quickly they pop up in our lives.  This morning while meeting with my weekly Women’s Bible Study group, we discussed how often when we face trials that we want to run through them.  We want to get rid of the pain, fear, or trouble that plagues us as quickly as possible.  Who wouldn’t want to get it over with?  I mean, no one likes pain.  Even the one-celled amoeba knows to flee in the opposite direction of a noxious substance.  So it makes perfect sense that we, as human beings, would naturally strive for the light at the end of the treacherous tunnels we often find ourselves traveling.

This morning we spoke in detail about Jacob and his wrestling match with the Lord (Genesis 32) prior to his reunion with his brother Esau.  We discussed his ensuing transformation and blessing because of his wrestling match with the Lord. He received the new name Israel and became the namesake for God’s people.  We spoke of how the Lord often requires us to “wrestle through” some very difficult circumstances in our lives with Him in order to grow us.  We must wrestle “with” Him… not in the sense that He is our opponent, but in the sense that He wrestles alongside of us as we tackle the burdens and trials in which we find ourselves.

Anyone who has read any one of my whopping 3 previous blog posts knows that I love me the Book of James.  “Consider it pure joy, My Brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so you may be mature and complete… lacking nothing.”   When we experience pain, trials, and difficulties we as believers have incredible hope and freedom in them.  We have God Almighty to wrestle through them with us.  By walking or wrestling through them WITH Him, we cannot helped but be changed for the better. His Word tells us that the whole point of our trials when we walk through them WITH Him, is so that we may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

As Christians, when we face those storms in our lives, we love to quote Paul who says in Romans 8:28, “For God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” We should remind ourselves of that incredible Scripture. However, as a precious friend pointed out at just the perfect time in my journey through the intense grief in the aftermath of losing of my angel baby… the Scripture does not end there. It does not end with “called according to His purpose.” No! Paul continues to share huge truths of our hope in the Lord! He continues to tell us that “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” If I may have a little rope here… God works all trials, all pain, all suffering for good for those who love Him because He desires us to be conformed into the likeness of His holy and perfect Son Jesus! Hello?!!! How awesome is that?!! His goal is for us to be more and more like His Son as we walk with Him! That we will radiate His Son’s glory through our lives. We are refined through fire just like gold (Ephesians 3) to be pure and holy like Jesus! Wow! That the Lord cares so much about us to work all things for our good. When we walk through (despite our instinct to RUN!!)  and wrestle through the storms with Him, what amazing things He will do to us and through us!

Prone to Wander

The power of corporate worship… when the church comes together to worship the Lord. What an amazing experience! Had one of those mind-blowing experiences this morning at my home church. The act of lifting our voices in song to bring praise and honor to the Lord was unbelievably powerful this morning. As I sang to and for the Lord in agreement with my church family I was struck by these words from the time-tested hymn “Come Thou Fount”:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

How true these lyrics are! How quickly I am to wander… to go off track… to seek my own desires and thus, miss out on the abundant blessings that the Lord has for me. And yet He is faithful to take my heart and seal it for Him forever even in my wandering!

In the aftermath of losing our precious Ryan Adeline, the Lord revved up my passion for the memorization of His Word. Scripture tells us to hide His word in our hearts, but it wasn’t until I lost my sweet baby girl and experienced the excruciating pain that comes with such loss that I truly understood how life-giving His Word is to those who call Him “Father”.

About a month after returning home from the hospital, I found myself snuggled beneath a protective barrier of heavy blankets in my “Quiet Time” spot (the left corner of our brown, leather reclining loveseat). Looking back, I believe that the barrier of blankets I heaped upon myself each morning was my attempt at protection as if each layer could somehow shield me from the onslaught of painful jabs that my heart repeatedly welcomed during that time. That cold morning, in my efforts to memorize His Word, I sat in that spot on the loveseat while reciting over and over again Psalm 51. When I got to verse 12, I felt the weight of it nearly knock me off my seat. David pleads with the Lord: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation.”

At that time the thought of experiencing joy at all was something I longed for, but being numb in my pain, I couldn’t grasp tightly. However,

“Grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”

Those words blew my mind.

You see, for years as I walked through my growing relationship with the Lord, I would find myself cycling through patterns of running in a panic to cling to Him when life was hard and not going “my way” to drifting off course when things got easier and I didn’t “need” God to sustain me. I would basically go on Lindsay-Pilot. Then as we all can relate to, life would throw me a blow and my hunger and efforts to seek Him continually would kick into high-gear. I would feel guilty at my lack of faithfulness to Him despite His unbelievable blessings. I would experience feelings of condemnation in response to the inexpressible and glorious joy that He would restore to me so quickly in my reunion with Him. I would secretly wonder how He could be real if I could so quickly leave Him. I believe that this guilt while somewhat appropriate, was not what the Lord would desire me to experience at all.

I finally “got it” that February morning when reading David’s plea to the Lord. “Grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” The “willing spirit” that David begs for is of the Lord. Just like David, I am going to blow it over and over and over again. My heart is “prone to wander” and yet if I ask Him, He will give me a “willing spirit to sustain me” in my relationship with Him. Every ounce of my relationship with Him is in fact a gift from Him. I do nothing on my own. I earn no part of the abundant life that He pours upon me through Christ. What the Lord sealed into my mind that morning and repeated to me today during worship was this: He knows who I am. He knows that I am prone to wander… that I need Him to give me a willing spirit… that the joy of my salvation is of Him, from Him and 100% because of Him. Nothing of me!!

I can take a deep breath of relief and blow out all those lies that tell me that I have to be perfect to be true to Him. I cannot EVER be perfect. I cannot EVER repay Him with the same level of faithfulness that He will always give to me freely. He is God. He is faithful and He is faithful enough for the both of us at all times.

In this journey of searching for the next little one we will call our own, my sweet husband and I can take a deep breath and trust in His faithfulness to us and through us. He has already “restored to us the joy of (His) salvation” and has restored to us the dream of the completion of our family. As James said so succinctly, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress” (Jas 1:27). I am so glad the Lord was faithful to sear James’ words into my mind for such a time as this.

He is faithful to His Word. He is Faithful to pour out life abundant to us even in our wandering. Wow! Praise be to Him forever and ever!!