Thursday, February 26, 2015

Truth

Because I needed to read this today (and maybe you do, too):

Psalm 10

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
    who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
    he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
    your laws are rejected by him;
    he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
    He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
His mouth is full of lies and threats;
    trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
    from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
    like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
    he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
    they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
    he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself,
    “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.

15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's Happening Wednesday

Way back in 2013 I shared the goings-ons of the Lotz family each Wednesday in a post called "What's Happening Wednesday."

That's because there was so much going on that it was hard to keep track of it, and a catch-all post was the best way to tie everything together.

I'm reverting back to a "WHW" post today because, well, there is plenty happening and I don't have time to expound on all of it. I'll hit you with the "blurb" version of the happenings (and also a few of my opinions):


  • Still working on our home study update. Paperwork. Medicals. Fingerprints. TB tests. References. Fun. I am always incredibly thankful for the Genius Scan app, which has changed my life for the better in a million ways, particularly in the adoption aspect of my life. 
  • Brad has given into my adoption addiction. He mentioned to Brody that maybe one day he would have a sister from China. Brody doesn't forget anything (except hand-washing), so this is basically a given. I guess that means we will be adopting a Chinese girl in our future. I can't say I'm disappointed. :o) (However, I'd like to go ahead and finish up our CURRENT adoption...and now please.)
  • If there was a Sam's Club within 5 miles of my house, we MIGHT eat there every day for lunch. Cheap, tasty (Their soft pretzels!!), healthy (probably not the soft pretzels), and free crumb cleanup. 
  • We Lotz's have a few other exciting things up our sleeves for 2015. I can't divulge details at this time, but you should know that they are kind of big. 
  • My mom got another Stitch Fix and kept EVERYTHING they sent her. (Everything was really cute and I'm hoping to borrow a few things!) I'd say that was a success. I'd also say that if you think Stitch Fix is just for 20-somethings, you are wrong. I won't divulge my mom's age, but I'm not even a 20-something anymore, so...)
  • We have begun a minor/major bathroom renovation. With some major snow coming down outside, Brad went ahead and took out a cabinet and part of a wall in the bathroom, then capped all of the plumbing to allow us to do some transformative work in there. The only problem: We don't have a clear plan for the bathroom yet. Oh well, at least we know SOMETHING has to happen in there now. I can't keep showering in the 4'6" shower in the boys' bathroom, nor can I constantly hang out in their pee-crazy environment. 
  • Brody had a checkup (part of the home study update process.) He is in the 93rd percentile for weight and 98th percentile for height. Big boy, for sure. The only downfall to his size is that people assume he's six years old and should be reading by now. They also assume he should be past the meltdown phase. He is not. He is incredibly sweet, though...I read him an adoption-related storybook last night and, therefore, teared up a bit thinking about how he came to us (It's best for my emotions if I just read without thinking too deeply, which I did not do last night.) He asked why I was talking funny, then saw a tear and left immediately for the bathroom to get a tissue. He then came right back to me and held my face in his hands to wipe my tears. He will be a gentle, caring, sensitive husband one day. 
  • I got some great advice the other day, so good that I think it's worth passing along: When (not if) you pray for your kids, pray that they would be found out the very first time they sin. This way, we (parents) can address their sins immediately without a long history of secret sin that seems acceptable to our kids until it destroys them. (See Numbers 32:23, Ephesians 5:13, Proverbs 5:22, Isaiah 59:12) I think about lying...I want my kids' lies to be found out the very first time they tell them so they can be reproved for it instead of them continuing to tell lie after lie until they get to a point of no return.
  • Lastly, our boys are becoming good friends. This means they beat up on one another every now and then, but they also create obstacle courses around the living room with the couches, chairs, cushions, and pillows. But they are at their closest at bedtime when the avoidance of sleep becomes their greatest goal. They share a bedroom, so after tucking them in we often hear the rolling of wheels as they scoot their beds together, then we hear their muffled giggles, bonking heads and dropped pillows, and boy stories. ("Poop," "toot," and "booty" are all staple vocabulary words at this time.) It's a great time to listen and enjoy their childhood, until it gets absolutely ridiculous with jumping on beds and--sometimes--crying in hurt or anger. Obviously we try to stop things before they get to this point, but we hate to interrupt a good story or brother giggle session. Oh, the balance of parenting. (<===This is actually a very general statement that not only related to bedtime shenanigans but also the constant tension in my heart of mercy and justice, as I tend to lean to the  justice side of things.)
And there you have it. That's what's happening.

Friday, February 20, 2015

adoption update {no progress news}

I have been sick in bed for a while now (SINUSES absolutely knocked me off my feet!), so I'm just now catching up on life and laundry.

Here's a quick adoption-related update.

Our adoption paperwork has gone back to DRC for corrections to my husband's name (SIGH). Who knows how long those corrections will take, but at least we know some sort of movement is happening. Even if it's backwards, it still kind of feels better than nothing.

An agency worker is on her way back to our house for a home study update, as we have to have one to request an extension on our I-600A, which we have had for almost 18 months now. It is FRUSTRATING to have to have a home study update, as you have to do virtually all steps over again. Medicals, pet medicals(!), financials, recommendation letters from friends and coworkers, and fingerprints (because our fingerprints have changed SO much in the last 16 months). At least we learned a lesson with our medicals last time. (I wrote about that experience here, SO very frustrating.)

And there you have it. Please continue to pray that our paperwork will get corrected quickly so we can get over there to meet Sweet C and file paperwork for our investigation. And, of course, pray for the DRC adoption situation. We serve an amazing God who loves us more abundantly than we can ever imagine, and we are incredibly thankful for His grace over us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

to do

We are well past the 500-day mark for families who have been waiting to unite their families with their adopted children from DRC. In those 500 days of waiting, over one dozen children have died in DRC without access to advanced medical care that life in the States would have afforded them. Malaria, dysentery, heart problems...all have taken lives during the wait for bring kids home, and only one piece of paper separates life from death.

Both Ends Burning, an advocacy group that seeks to help protect the rights of orphaned children, has set up a new petition pleading for help from President Obama to bring these legally adopted children home. Many people in the DRC adoption community believe that words directly from Obama would go a long way in persuading Kabila (DRC's President) to let the children go home. For over 500 days now, the children have been used as pawns in Kabila's political scheme to maintain control in DRC. (He has made it clear that he wishes to run for a third term, which is unconstitutional in DRC, as it is here).

The idea is that Obama is seen as a hero of sorts in DRC, so words from him might be very persuasive. So far, Obama has been silent on the issue (as he has essentially been silent on many other important issues, but that's another day's topic).

We are going big, seeking 100,000 signatures. ANYONE in the US can sign, and it takes about 2 minutes total. You must verify your email address after your initial visit and signing of the petition, but all that takes is a click. Also, this is a NEW petition, not the same one that we posted a year or so ago. Please consider signing. Again, I don't know that this is the final answer and solution to the Exit Letter Suspension, but I can't sit and do nothing to bring our girl home.

Petition here. Please sign and share.

Monday, February 9, 2015

a pulse

We finally felt a pulse on our adoption case.

Our case has sat silently since about July, when we heard we had finally received a Supletif(f?) Judgment. We waited and waited to receive documents from that judgment and to hear that we had received more judgments and finally our Act of Adoption.

But we heard nothing. Absolutely nothing, despite a few trips from some of our agency's workers. It seems that courts have all but stopped working on adoption cases, since legally adopted children STILL aren't allowed to leave DRC with their adoptive families. (We are 502 days past the beginning of the Exit Letter Suspension, which began in September 2013. That's 502 days that kids and parents have been separated because of a political power struggle. It is truly sickening.)

I have heard that mayors in some DRC areas have told judges not to worry about signing adoption paperwork because there was such a log-jam. Other judges have simply decided the adoption cases don't matter right now, since these kids can't go anywhere.

I see the situation differently. My concern is that DRC will lift the suspension (a good thing!) with an arbitrary date regarding completed adoptions, saying that only people with adoptions completed by (arbitrary date) will be allowed to bring children home. That would be extremely hard to swallow when we have been in this process since before the suspension began with virtually no forward movement on our case.

It is my prayer that these judges would see how important it is to get the cases through court quickly.

All that said, we do finally have a pulse on our adoption, albeit a weak one. Our agency received more documents for our case last Thursday. That's the good news. The bad news: My husband's name was written wrong on the documents, which means they will probably have to be redone, and who knows how long that will take! At this point, it would probably be easier for my husband to legally change his name, but I think that's probably out of the question.

Anyway, it's nice to finally feel a pulse, to know that this adoption is still alive, despite the long moments in a comatose state.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

mercy and judgment

No new news to share. There was a Department of State phone call with DRC waiting families today, but it yielded no real updates. They are working on the situation, making many phone calls to DGM in order to end this Exit Letter Suspension and still working to get kids home who have been fully Exit Letter-ready since September 2013. Yada, yada, yada.

Our court paperwork seems to be stalled in the court process, too, as is the paperwork of several other adoptive parents. Judges seem to think it doesn't matter whether or not they process our cases since kids aren't going home. I see it another way. I am concerned that when the suspension is lifted DRC will say that all adoptions completed by (insert arbitrary date) will be allowed to take their children home. This would mean that we would still be stuck, despite our 16+ months in court, and the long-term situation is questionable.

It's a crazy thing, to think that we first saw C as a tiny baby who couldn't even roll in her crib, and now we still haven't met her and she is running around with long braided hair extensions. She is eating solid food and speaking Lingala to her friends and foster mom in her foster home.

I know this is hard on everyone, not just us. This has to be hard on her foster family, as they are getting more and more attached to her as days go by. And while it's not really all that hard on C right now, unless she gets sick (in which case she will not have access to great medical care because she is not HERE), each passing day gets harder and harder for her to leave her foster family in the future. And although it's a sad truth in adoption, it's still not fair to her.

So that is where we are. We continue to be in prayer for her safety, for the other children and families involved in this suspension, for softened hearts in DRC, for quickened court paperwork processing, and for a HUGE 2015.

Thankful that these words came via an image at Beth Cupitt's shop on Etsy:

"Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually." Hosea 12:6

(Two examples of Beth's art are below. I just couldn't keep this goodness to myself. Also, HINT Bradlee!)