See...one of our biggest heartfelt prayers right now has been, "Lord, please prepare Grace for our family, and please prepare us for her." We will be walking into the orphanage (her home) and taking her from all she is familiar with. We want it to be a smooth transition for her (we do not want to take her screaming from the orphanage!). So, our prayer has been for God to really prepare her little heart to recognize us as a daughter recognizes her Mama and Daddy and to go with us without fear. And I tacked onto our prayer a simple, "And please prepare us for her. AMEN."
And as I lay in bed in the dark this morning, I began to see the string of events in our lives recently... We were supposed to receive court papers within 2 weeks; it has been EIGHT weeks, and we are still waiting. We are waiting on immigration papers. We are awaiting word on an adoption grant. I've spent many frustrating moments waiting on one of our children who has recently begun to take a much longer-than-needed time to do almost everything. Another child has been extra sensitive emotionally lately and has been acting out. Yesterday I found myself having to slow down longer than usual in a public bathroom (3 times!!) as one child had overalls on and had to unhook them and rehook them (an event that I'm convinced took hours...meanwhile we're in a hurry!). Then the other day as I was attempting to sew an apron, the sewing machine decided to have a fit, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I was almost in tears, and as my sensitive child hugged me, I said, "If I just knew HOW to fix it, I'd be okay...it's so frustrating to know how something is *supposed* to work but not to be able to do it." And several times over the past few months, I've had episodes with my Kitchen Aid mixer...as I'm making the dough for bread, I keep forgetting to turn the speed down on the lowest setting before adding more flour...with it on a higher speed, when I add the flour, the flour hits the kneading hook and then puffs up in the messiest cloud of flour that lands on everything (everywhere except in the bowl, of course!). I keep thinking, "UGH! I need to remember to turn down the speed before I add the new flour!" Haphazard crazy things that happen in normal everyday lives, BUT as I thought on all these things today, I realized that THIS is the answer to my prayer. All of this is part of the preparation for Grace to join our home.
I'm reading The Connected Child, which is a FABULOUS book for adoptive families to read. It helps prepare the adoptive family to successfully connect an adoptive child to the family (particularly one with special needs or one who has spent the first formative years of her life in an orphanage). And as I began to read this book, I realized that Grace is going to need a family who is patient enough to walk alongside her as she takes the slower pace at many things. She is going to need us to be patient and compassionate when she is extra sensitive emotionally. She is going to need a family who can sympathize with how frustrating it feels to know how something is *supposed* to work but to not be able to do it yet.
In all these rather irritating (and higly frustrating!) events we've been going through, God is gently guiding us toward a deeper compassion and insight that is preparing us for Grace. He's showing us that if we turn down the speed on our "mixer," we will be able to add Grace to our family without creating a mess. AMAZING how life's lessons are perfectly tailored for what God is preparing us for! Even more amazing that we KICK at these very things that are creating in us what we have been praying so fervently for!
May I NOT kick any more! May I submit humbly to my Heavenly Father's loving pruning shears, knowing that cutting back the branches produces beautiful fruit. And may my fruit be lots of PATIENCE!! :)