Sunday, September 30, 2012

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Over the past week we have truly experienced love amidst chaos. We've gone through scheduled tooth pulling for Keira on Monday, a torn calf muscle from a bounce house for Christopher-Ryan which required a doctor visit on Monday and then Thursday. Kathie had multiple interruptions in her busy schedule between phone calls and running the kids to their appointments. Sophie got stuffy and fussy fighting off a cold. Alex, who never gets sick, was feeling pretty punk for the last half of the week. David has worked on minor DIY projects. On top of all of that, throw in the normal ins-and-outs of kids and discipline. Always lots of love - sometimes lots of chaos!

In regard to the adoption, this week we sent off our Home Study autobiographies* and questionnaires* to FTIA and heard back from them that our caseworker should be contacting us to schedule the first visit. We then started work on our parent training** that is required for all China adoptions. CCAI has a wonderful program for education and it has both educated us and challenged our thinking.

Obviously we've had lots to keep us busy and lots to think about. We are antsy to get everything done and find our daughter, and at those times we feel like nothing can stop us. However, there are many times that we are flat out scared. Here's just a small list:

  1. The home study-will everything go ok?
  2. Where will the money for adoption service/legal fees come from?
  3. Will we get our dossier done with everything needed?
  4. Will China accept our dossier?
  5. Leaving the kids behind when we travel to China.
  6. Will this whole thing take forever?
  7. Will our new daughter like us?
  8. How will we ever get through this whole thing?!

These fears and others hit us at random moments. Fear isn't anything new; we all experience it in our lives. So what is the solution, how can we not be crushed by all of this? The answer simply is love. It is amazing how love can change a human heart. I John 4:18a: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear...”

When we see the pictures of the waiting children in China, the love we have makes all of the fears melt away. There is no hoop we won't jump through, no question we won't answer, nothing that we won't give to get our daughter. This perfect love comes from within us and we know it has been placed there by God. It is so much bigger than ourselves. It has moved us out of our comfort zones, shifted our priorities, and opened our hearts.

Through the chaos of big family life, we've been blessed this week by others who have shown us love and support. Their kind words and deeds have meant so much to us. We've continued to be stretched in our lives in a way that helps us grow. We are amazed at God's capacity to love us and show us how we should love others.

*The autobiographies are completed by mom and dad and help the social worker as the home study documentation is prepared. It is a short paper on your life history, major family and life events, where you've lived, worked, schooled, etc. It also addresses your decision to adopt. Ours were between 5-6 pages. The questionnaires again are completed individually by mom and dad. Questions such as: Describe yourself, spouse, and children physically and their personalities, describe decision to adopt and anticipated challenges, and several others. There were 26 questions to be answered, most of them in great detail!

**China complies with the Hague adoption mandates. We are required to receive education to prepare us for adoption. Topics include: Overview of the process, Grief and Loss, Talking to your child about adoption, Chinese culture and history, Attachment, Assisting in your child's development, and being a multicultural family.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Adoption: Want vs Need

So you guys just wanted another kid right and that is why you're adopting? ......Nope.

You have a bunch of money and are wanting to pay it forward by taking in someone who has less? Hahaha....let me get my breath...Ok.....sorry....still recovering......No!

So what is the deal then, why do you want another kid? Why adopt?

We have five wonderful kids who are healthy. We were very sure that we were done having babies so David has already visited with a doctor to, no pun intended here, seal off that avenue! Our lives were very comfortable. Our youngest will be turning three this month and we were all set in our routines. For Kathie she was already looking forward to the time when they would spread their wings and leave the nest, so she could maybe feel like more than just "mom." But then...

God began to really show us how much we loved kids; and not just the baby-toddler ages, but all aspects of them. Everywhere David goes, little ones are just drawn to him(and vice versa) and he loves interacting with them. In fact, this often scared Kathie and made her think he might be getting the baby bug! But,truth is that Kathie enjoys them so much as well. God then began to give us interactions that planted seeds. He began to impress on our hearts the orphan issue in the world today, and in particular, in China; the heartbreaking conditions these children live in,and the thought that there is no one to show Jesus to them, no one to love them, no one to care about what they might like, or think, or want to be someday.  None of our motivation came from a "want" of another child.  It came from love pure and simple, as well as a NEED to give that love away and do what we feel called to do, to live our lives in the way that God wants us to.

Do we "want" another child? Absolutely now, yes we do! We already have a love for this unkown child and can't wait to meet her. There is a string from our house to China and we are excited about every inch that we move along that string to get to her! This need and love has been put into our hearts by our Father who pours out His love on us. It doesn't make sense financially. It doesn't make sense when looking at our comfort/living level.  It just plain doesn't make sense! But since when has pure love ever had to make sense? :-)

For our family looking after orphans has become something more than just writing a check to give money to someone else who is doing the work. We are so very thankful that there are agencies who are doing this work. They are amazingly important, and we realized that even if we were unable to adopt, we had a responsibility to support them. We also know that without those people who are called to financially support adoption, everyday families (we are not Brangelina or Madonna!) would not be able to meet the monetary demands. Adoption for us is now both a want a need and we feel honored that God has chosen to work in our lives in this manner.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Steinbergs: David, Kathie, Alex, Christopher-Ryan, Lyriel, Keira, Sophie and ?

Our adoption journey began (in our eyes) about a month ago. Now, of course, in hindsight we see that God has been preparing us for a while now. We truly feel that God has given us whatever we have to be used for Him. We are to be poured out in His service. James 1: 27 states, “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and father, to help orphans…” God put in our family’s heart the capacity and willingness to parent and love another child. Our kids cannot agree on what television show to watch or what to have for breakfast, but they all agree that they are supposed to have another sister. We are thankful for their loving hearts.

Our family took most of August to pray, research, and discuss the possibility of adopting a little girl from China. God brought confirmation after confirmation that this was something we were definitely supposed to pursue. We mailed our official application to CCAI (Chinese Children Adoption International ) August 24th and received word that our application had been approved August 30th. We have selected FTIA (Families Through International Adoption ) as our Home Study Agency.

Promptly on Monday, Sept. 3, we spent most of the morning in fear about how we were going to be able to fund this adoption. For those who don’t know, Chinese adoption costs roughly $26,000. Thank goodness there was a group of fellow adopters that we could immediately notify that we needed encouragement and prayers. They responded right away with both! We know that this is a time like no other that we will have to trust in Him. We can’t wait to continue to share how He moves and provides as we journey to find our daughter in China.

We have attached a couple of links to videos that speak to our hearts and we pray speak to yours as well.