Archive for May 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Raw Fish and a Maybe Baby

Aren't we just so stinkin' cute together?  I'm glad we got married.
Last week at this time Josh and I were emailing back and forth with a birthmom that was considering our family for adoption. We were connected to her through a friend and it was a crazy "out of the blue" situation, but it looked pretty likely that it might actually happen.  We know enough about the adoption world to know that adoption is unpredictable.  Anything can happen at any time and so last week we kept saying, "Maybe we're having a baby soon.  Or maybe not." Weird, right?

In the "maybe" moments there was excitement and "how would we work out travel plans?" and "I wonder if she'll call us?" and dreaming about that sweet newborn smell.  In the "maybe not" moments there was "this probably won't work out" and "what if the birthfather won't sign consent?" and a myriad of other stressful thoughts.

We talked, we prayed, and we waited for more emails, more questions answered, more contact.  We went to Pennsylvania for our friends' wedding.  We ate great ice cream.  We got to experience the awesomeness of Wegman's over and over again, raw fish and all.
And then, Saturday night, I opened up my email one last time before bed to this, "Josh and Katie, I've decided to keep the baby."

Josh was already asleep so I shook his arm, trying to wake him up to tell him.  He stared at me with this shocked and glazed look.  "Are you awake, Babe?  Do you even hear me?" I whispered.

He opened and closed his eyes a couple of times, then looked straight at me.  "Um...this feels sort of like a strange dream."

In the morning I had to remind him (and myself) that it really wasn't a dream.  It wasn't what we expected, but it was real.  It was such a flat out weird experience.  There's nothing else I've known that compares to it.  On the one hand, we are thankful that she made this decision now (not after months of contact with us), and happy for her that she doesn't have to experience the heartbreak of not parenting her child.  On the other hand, we're disappointed that this situation that seemed so perfect, isn't. It's very surreal.

I don't have this all neat and tidy to present to you with a fancy bow.  Life is complex and you can't just explain away what God does, assuming that you've got Him all figured out.  He can't be figured out, people: He is God! I don't understand why but I don't have to understand what He's doing.  In fact, I CAN'T understand what He's doing because I am not Him.
Our baby is out there.  I have no clue how many "maybe babys" we'll love before we meet our child(ren).  But I'm praying that soon I'll be holding our baby, seeing in the flesh what I know in my mind-that God is working this for good.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Come and See

Way back when we first started talking about adoption, we were absolutely certain that we wouldn't be able to do it alone.  We knew that the money wasn't going to fall from trees and yet we also knew that God was giving us a desire to adopt.  So we started the process, unsure exactly how all of the funds would come in, but confident that God would bring it.  And every step of the way, He has been faithful.

It was true then and it is true now; we cannot bring home our child(ren) without God providing.  Guess what He has done in the four weeks since we found out about our grant?

"Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man."  Psalm 66:5

Through the Hand in Hand grant, through new friends, through old friends, through single friends and married friends and friends in other countries, through amazing family, through gifts small and large, God has brought in $10,700!  If we said we were encouraged by that, it would be a major understatement!  We are so blown away by the generosity and love we've been shown.  Every time another dollar comes in, it is a reminder to us that God loves adoption.  It's a reminder to us that He doesn't want our child to be an orphan; He wants to bring our baby home to his or her family forever.  And it's a reminder to us that we are incredibly blessed with crazy generous friends and family who love because He has first loved them.

When we combine the recent matching grant and gifts with the funds we've saved over the last 2 years, we're beyond half way toward our goal of having $25,000 ready to complete the adoption.  I just talked with our adoption consultant, Tracie, yesterday and she said that we're definitely at a point where we can begin applying to agencies and lawyers.  We really are getting closer to becoming a family of six (or seven)!  We still need around $10,000 before we can bring home our baby.  We're not out to twist anyone's arm to give (because arm twisting is not only annoying, it's wrong!).  But please join us in praying that God would continue to provide.

I have heard of people going through the adoption process, feeling like they are walking alone.  This has absolutely not been the case for us.  Thank you so much for your excitement, for your questions, for your generous gifts, for your support, and for your prayers.  We thank God for you!

(If you do want to give, you can write your check out to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption” postmarked by May 18 to this address. For tax purposes please include our name on the outside of the envelope only…do not put our name on the check itself.)

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Josh & Katie Fenska
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS  66030

Note: We've already maxed out the "matching funds" part of our grant so if you give at this point, it won't be matched.  But anything given until May 18 will still be tax deductible and will still go to our adoption fund.  To read more about the grant, click here.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fear Not: Part 7

(If you missed the earlier posts in this series, you can find them here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6.)

I want to just be really honest here and say that this idea of actually needing to fight for faith has been the crucial point of challenge for me.  I don't want to have to work at this.  I want everything in life to be easy-lasting peace included.  I want to just slap a scripture on it and repeat, “Fear not, fear not” a couple times and feel all better. But that’s not how trust in God usually grows.

If you want to strengthen your muscles, you don’t expect that just sitting at home on your couch is going to do anything to help you get toned.  And we rarely grow in trusting God by merely doing nothing either.  There is a war going on in our hearts - the war for faith in God.  Wars aren’t won in a day and we won’t win the war against fear in a day either.  There’s battle after battle after exhausting and challenging battle before victory comes.  The question is whether we’re going to choose to pick up our weapons and fight for faith or merely be trampled by our fears.

So how about you?  Are you using the weapons of prayer and the weapon of reminding yourself of what God’s Word says is true about Him?  Are you doing that even when your feelings and circumstances are screaming otherwise?  Or are you just passively listening to what your fears and circumstances seem to be saying?

I’d like to share a little bit about how fighting fears with faith in God has made a difference in my life.  I share this not to make you think highly of me (I could never have brought about this change on my own).  I share this to give you hope.  I’ve never met a person more consumed with fears than I was and I have seen that God really can transform fearful hearts like mine.  It really is possible for you and for me to grow with the help of the Holy Spirit.

First, let me share some things that I’ve tried to do over the years to weaken fears and anxieties.  I’ve tried to ignore it (you know-try just not to think about it and hope it goes away).  That didn’t work.  I tried to convince it away (you know-tell myself that the statistics were incredibly unlikely that I would get kidnapped while going to the mailbox).  That didn’t help.  I tried to educate my fears away (you know-scour the Internet for every possible way to eliminate anxiety attacks).  That didn’t work either.  In fact, going to the Internet to help me weaken fear has only brought on more fears.  I’ve tried to barter with God; “Lord, don’t you think I deserve some peace?  I’m trying to follow You!”  That didn’t bring me lasting peace either.  So what did help me not to fear what is frightening? Honestly it’s been the two things that Philippians 4 mentions: prayer and "talking to myself."

I started really engaging in this war against fear when I came to our church. The Lord kindly introduced me to a book by Ed Welch that my friend, Jodi gave me about fearing people vs. trusting God.  Through this book and some other excellent resources, God started to show me that my fears were not happening just because I’m naturally introverted or because of my family background or because this is just how I’ve always been.  I started seeing that fear had to do with my heart and what I was really believing about God.  I started to see that through the help of the Holy Spirit teaching me to fight for faith, lasting peace was really possible.

I began to re-read passages in scripture about anxiety and started asking God to help me see how trustworthy He really is.  Instead of just reading the same scriptures over and over hoping that just reading them would change me, I started praying through scripture and thinking about it.  I began talking to myself and reminding myself of who God is.  Slowly, over time, this started to become a way of life for me.

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