Monday, September 7, 2009

joy & sorrow

"For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

"A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance."
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NLT)

The long-awaited call came early Monday afternoon. We had been anticipating it since we first saw his face in nine months ago.

Our official referral call!!!

Of all the places to be, we were up at Mt. Hood starting our annual camping trip with our very good friends, the Ponds.

I heard Geoff talking on the phone and literally went flying out of the tent (OK, tripping!) so I could hear the good news myself. (Thanks, Jessica, for repeating the news for me!)

We received our new son's file soon after the call via email and learned a few fun surprises. (The one and only time I have been thankful for Geoff's Blackberry!)

The first is that once we successfully pass court in Ethiopia, we will be the proud parents of TWO eight-year-old boys! Yup. It appears that our new son isn't a year younger than Liam. He's a few weeks older!

We were a bit worried at first, but Liam assured us that he truly just wants his brother and it doesn't matter who is older. (Oh, I love that boy!)

The other fun thing we learned is that our Ethiopian son is described as being "very active, friendly, sociable and funny." Did I say twins?!? Yup. We have often used those very same words to describe Liam.

As I've shared previously, both boys have similar facial structures and expressions. Granted their hair color and skin tone are very different, but somehow, they both resemble each other.

Only God can take two children half-a-world apart and create them to be so similar, yet unique in their own beautiful ways!

We are in awe of how wonderfully He works through the smallest of details. I absolutely cannot wait to see all four of our children together.

We returned from our camping trip to an email full of photos of our new son...M*****! As well as two DVDs. :-)

The first was from back in February when he learned that we desired to adopt him. The second was from June when our care package finally arrived. We were able to hear his sweet voice talking to us and watch him while he saw photos of our family for the very first time. Incredible.

You'll have to believe me that he has an absolutely beautiful smile. Oh, and very long eyelashes.

We were all so excited to watch the DVDs that we didn't even bother to unpack or shower. Our hearts were so full of joy as we got a glimpse of our precious boy.

After watching the DVDs twice, we decided to open the rest of our mail. In it, Chelsea had received a letter from Tengetile, our precious 10 year-old Swazi 'daughter.' We have sponsored her through World Vision since she was three.

Tengetile had handwritten a sweet note of thanks for our sponsorship in English, sharing some of the benefits she has received. She also decorated the page in colorful, hand drawn flowers.

I read her note over Chelsea's shoulder, smiling. It has been such a joy to watch this sweet girl grow over the years.

My joy was quickly ended when I heart Chelsea gasp and say, "Oh no."

She pointed to a note at the very bottom of the page written in a different person's handwriting. The note read:

"Tengetile is now an orphan. She has lost her father."

I cannot even begin to describe the utter grief and sorrow we are all feeling on behalf of our precious little girl in Swaziland. We have prayed for her every single night as a family for the past 7 years.

One moment, we were rejoicing over our new son and the next minute we were reeling in the devastating loss that our Sweet Tengetile has experienced.

Sheer joy and extreme sorrow. One child no longer an orphan, another now an orphan.

Sometimes life just really stinks.

And yet, God is still God. And, God is still good.

"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21b (NASB)

The more I learn, truly, the less I know.

The one thing I am sure of, however, is that it is possible to hold both joy and grief in tandem.

More importantly, I am absolutely certain that God's promises hold true.

He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Nor will He forsake Tengetile.)
Despite the losses and pain life brings our way, God will use them for our good and not our harm.

His goodness always prevails. His love never fails.

Wherever God has you today, I pray that you know how very much He loves you.

The joys in life are meant to be fully enjoyed. The sorrow God allows always results in growth.

Don't give up or give in, my Friend. New life is just around the corner. I promise!

Today I am thankful for the joy God has granted in our family through M***** and I am trusting Him to bring healing and new life to beautiful Tengetile.

LIVING A BLESSED LIFE means embracing both the joys and sorrows.

Abundantly blessed,


Amy said...

Oh, Amy!! What a bittersweet post this was. First of all, I am in AWE at the greatness and mercy of our Father who blessed you with an official referral of M. Oh my...what sheer joy I know your family feels today! I am rejoicing with you all over that answer to prayer!! I will be praying for sweet Tengetile too. The moment I read it I thought about "Scared" by Tom Davis...I will pray that God's presence and mercies will be new every morning to her and that she will protected and loved by her Father in heaven who holds her in the palm of His hand. Such joy and sorrow together...but we embrace them both knowing that our God remains faithful. And thank you for your sweet & ENCOURAGING words on my blog - I so needed to hear them. I'll be praying for your two little ones in Africa as I fly there tomorrow. MUCH love! Amy

emily said...

Great news on the official referral! I love Jessica. :)

Christy. said...


Anne L.B. said...

How good of God to bring you both messages the same day, lest you have only sorrow.

Becky Ryder said...

Congrats!! God always sends answers at the best times. When we're getting antsy to go get Lucas, we get an email from a blog mom with a new picture to help in the wait.

I'll be praying for Tengetile. You love and notes to her with help her through.

PS-Love all the pics of your kiddies, they're beautiful!

Searching for God in the everyday said...

Congratulations! I am so excited for you! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. And I am so sorry for Tengetile. What a heartbreaking message to receive. I am praying for her and for you, too.

Andrea said...

What a huge Praise for your family and your sweet new member. And such sadness for your Tengetile. It's so hard to fathom the way the world works sometimes huh?
As you said though our God never changes, He's never surprised...I thank God that Tengetile has you to pray for her and lift her even from so far away.

ellie said...

Wow! Congrats on your official referral for your son! You must be just over the moon excited!

I am so sorry for Tengetile . . . I will be praying for her.

hugs :)

xo ellie

Blog Owner said...

So happy for you and especially for precious "M." Sorry to hear about your sponsored daughter. That is heartbreaking.