Monday, December 31, 2012

The End Is Just Another Beginning.

And so it goes... something is coming to an end. Funny... as I thought about this blog post the end of 2012 didn't even enter my mind and yet, as I write about the end of Operation Elli it happens to be the last day of 2012... a year that will live, at least in my mind, in infamy.

The phrase Operation Elli was
first coined by my dear
friend Jessica Blanco. 
I have learned a lot in 2012, more than I ever expected but since I lean on my Lord for guidance and wisdom and direction, I'm not surprised that when I just let go and allow Him to run things He has let me in on far more than I could have ever imagined. That's just how He works. I'm so thankful that He is so much bigger than me or anyone or anything else around me. It's impossible to fully trust in someone or something that's just as big as you are.

Which brings me to the end of "Op Elli" as it's affectionately called around here. It's the end because we leave in almost exactly 72 hours from this writing for the airport here in Jackson, MS. We will then fly to Atlanta to wait for 4 hours to board a flight to Seoul, Korea. Fourteen and a half hours later we will deplane only to wait another 4 hours to board a plane to Guangzhou, China which is I think about a 6 hour flight. Once there, we will wait another 5 hours to fly the less than one hour trip to Haikou, China, the home of Elli's orphanage. All in all, I think the Gman estimated 22 hours flying and 13 hours or so waiting. Every bit of it totally and completely worth it because Elli is worth everything.

My reason for writing is to thank you  - all of you - who did any thing to help bring Elli home. It was an operation that lasted for a year and that included hundreds of people and the result will be an itty bitty 5 yr old girl who knows no one, doesn't have a clue what love is (they do not tell each other they love each other there), and who really is mostly excited about her dog that she is coming to America to see. But to all of us, it doesn't matter because we know what she will discover once here... a forever immediate family and a forever church family. I also believe she will discover a loving and sacrificial heavenly Father who sent His son to not just raise $35,000.00 and take an incredibly long plane flight to rescue her from a hopeless situation but a son who gave up a royal life for a time to come to earth and give his life sacrificially, enduring agony and pain... all for her. THAT is why her middle name is Hope... more than anything, we want her to know the hope that she has in Jesus Christ.

write your name and a verse address
for Elli's adoption box.
So many of you committed to wearing the red "Elli" bracelets we had made up months ago. You have been praying for her consistently and she has stayed on your mind for months. Now, as we begin the process of boarding a plane to bring her home, I have one last request for your bracelet. If you would, after January 7th, 2013 (our Gotcha Day), take off your bracelets, write your name inside and a verse or message to her for her "box". I've made a box for her, a box full of letters and notes, and all kinds of goodies that have been given to us this year as we waited for her. I want her to know exactly what her presence in our lives means and that it's not just us but US... our family in Christ... that have loved her so dearly. If you want to write more, a letter or card just for her for when she's old enough to read it and understand it, then by all means, please do. She spent more than 5 years not understanding or hearing the words "I LOVE YOU" that is not all made up in one or two days, weeks, or even years. How much love will she see when she opens that box and realizes all the days of prayers and sacrifice and love that went into the year we all waited for her?

My posts will have to be small. I'm having a hard time keeping my composure lately. I have waited a long time to hold her in my arms, to promise my love and devotion forever, to see Kate become a big sister... and I have a hard time looking at all of this without seeing God's great "giving" to me (as He did to Job) after his "taking" from me in 1996. The parallels are just too great not to see His hand in it all and I do have such a difficult time not falling apart when I see Him work his redemptive power not just in the lives of people but in the situations that occur in every day life. This past year was such a year of redemption in so many ways. 2011 was very disappointing and sad for me. He is gracious - always - to do a work that we just cannot comprehend if we are willing to wait on Him for it all.

Please keep up with us here - hopefully our VPN will work in China and typing on an Ipad won't be more than I can manage. It may cut down on my long posts which will probably make most of you happy since it's the pictures that we all care about anyway! :)

We will return on the 17th and will most likely be sequestered for several weeks as we seek to build the security and trust with Elli that she needs. We hope to see you all in February.

I came across these pictures which reminded me of all the new things I learned about and new experiences I had in 2012. I have to say, 2012 was an amazing wonderful year personally in the lives of our family. I'm thankful that our lives personally don't have to reflect what we see around us. God is on His Throne regardless of who is in power in any country, state, or city of the world. I am thankful that History is really His Story and we know the end of the story already. May your 2013 be one of seeing HIS handiwork in your lives. Keep your eyes open lest you miss something big. It's the end of 2012 but the beginning of something new, 2013. What's He got in store for you?

This was the day we got our notice that
we were accepted by China to be Elli's
forever family. We officially went from
being a family of 6 to a family of 7. 
After 29 years of marriage we finally had our
marriage license.
We had no idea we never had one. 

Our fundraiser at Sweet
Tree Yogurt for H of C was
 such a success it even shocked
the owner.

One of my favorite ministries
is the youth ministry at our
church. Solid Ground is made
up of a bunch of awesome kids.
They wanted to help bring Elli
home so they designed and sold
these t-shirts and made enough
money to pay for our China Visas.

Our church chose to begin
a new ministry in 2012. Hearts
of Compassion was born from
a desire to help bring children
home to their forever families
regardless of where they come from.

One thing every adoptive family
needs to do is raise money. Very
few families have the money to
pay outright for their adoption.
I decided to make a little business
Many of you were gracious enough to
help bring Elli home through
Kate 'n Elli's
Thank you.

Haikou City, Hainan Province
is where Elli is from. We had never
heard of this city until Elli was
referred to us.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A REAL reality show...

It's all too real to me now.

This is the ribbon we, as a group
chose to identify ourselves
The site where every and all my good
info comes from. Lots of BTDT moms
some going back for the 4th and 5th times.
I've begun to tie the requisite ribbon onto our suitcase handles. This ribbon is what our DTC (dossier to China) group decided we'd use to identify ourselves to each other once we landed in Guangzhou (GZ) so that if any of us were blessed enough to end up there at the same time we'd recognize each other and be able to give real hugs instead of virtual ones. I joined the DTC Spring-Summer group back in May feeling like I'd never be at this point but knowing it would happen in a blink of an eye.

A little "happy" for Asa, a 2 1//2 yr old
son of a new friend who will come home from
Elli's orphanage in February.
Add to her clothes, gift bags for all the gifts
that we give to all the people that have
in any way aided in our adoption process
I had, weeks ago, with Kate, laid out the clothing I was going to take for Elli. Then I changed my mind, and changed is again. I have decided that it's time to just pack it up and be happy with what I've chosen. There are only so many hours in a day to obsess over clothing and especially over clothing of a 5 year old who probably wore many of the same outfits over and over again and none of which were ever hers to possess to begin with. She will be delighted with any of it and all of it. There are only a few toys in the suitcase because they have Walmart and other stores there where we will take her to pick out a few things on her own. After all, she may never have had a chance to pick out anything for herself... EVER!
Of course she has a "Bama" shirt... the National Championships
will be played while we are over there... at 8:30 in the morning! :)

Rx and OTC... now to break them all down
into suitcase ready samples.
I have to gather together a list of medicines we need to take as well. The most important being Ambien and Melatonin. We would appreciate as much sleep as is pharmacologically possible. There are other important meds to take and thankfully we have a wonderful doctor committed to making sure we have everything we need.

There's also the trip to the bank to get the money we need in brand new crisp bills. Yes, they need to be new and crisp without writing or creases...  this is a big deal. We want to make sure they take our money.

One of many that will be taken to
alleviate the pain and boredom
of hours and hours and hours on a
plane or in an airport.
Then there is the corralling of the electronic devices. They are being summoned from near and far. When the speculation becomes fact - that we will fly out of Jackson, MS at 5pm on the 3rd and arrive in Haikou City (Elli's province city) at 5pm on the 5th even a cheapskate like the Gman will begin to consider what other electronic devices might need to be purchased to ease the hours of sitting on and off airplanes. Our flight from Atlanta, GA to Seoul, Korea alone will be 14.5 hours. I figured we'd spend between 12 and 15 hours just in layovers... hmmmm maybe adding a bit more to our debt load doesn't sound so bad. Or, better yet, promising that whatever else we get can be birthday, valentines, mother's day, anniversary... for the next 2 years...

The little blue present is Elli's
from Aunt Sandy. Can't wait
til she opens it.
We have to have this little guy
taken care of for two weeks.
Of course there are a lot of other aspects to planning for this trip. Like taking down all the Christmas decor. Sure, with us leaving on the third of January we could get away with leaving it all up but I really don't want to return, exhausted, on the 17th and face the reality of having to put it all away. So, my usual December 26th and 27th pack up will commence shortly. Something I'm not looking forward to. My mom is usually here to help me pack up. She and my stepdad Don usually fly in on Christmas day and fly out on New Year's day or the day after. This year, they chose to stay in Ohio with my brother. His wife is dying of ovarian cancer, she's only 43. She's on Hospice care right now and in a lot of pain. She's virtually bed-ridden and I know her well enough to know that besides the great amount of pain she is in, she is absolutely HATING being stuck in the bed. I love them and I hate that I am so many miles away. I cannot stop in whenever to say hi, to help out, to read to her to talk to her, to take my nephew and niece someplace fun just to get away. I cannot do anything for them, but pray. Praying is big. We have been praying for years. It's been hard for the kids to see God choose not to answer their prayers but this world being what it is, sin being sin, and the fall being the fall... we all have to realize that things are not always going to work out the way we would like. Trusting Him is still what we need to do, no matter what things may look like to us - His lens is a whole lot bigger than ours.

So, I will push on toward a goal that I am completely unfamiliar with; except for one thing, there is a little girl who needs a mama to love her unconditionally and forever and THAT is something I am very familiar with. Please pray for us as we venture forth into unknown wilderness excited to see what God has for us but hesitant in a way because of the unknowns. Trust and Obey, there is no other way... so, so true...

Amazing Love, Amazing Grace... He's all we need and He will give us all that we need to be the mama and papa  and sister and brothers that Elli Hope needs. Here we come sweetheart... it won't be long now.

Here are some fun things that Elli will see when she gets home:

Kate made Elli her own
mosaic "E" hanging above
her lightswitch.

I thought she was too cute
to pass up.

He knew the plans he had for her and for us
long before we had any idea. 

"Hope" in Chinese.
This is something she
never had.

Drew took this picture when Kate was
3, she is in the bottom corner, It's hanging
just above her bed.

I have a feeling she will
put her jewelry hanger to
I made this for her bows.
It appears she will have
quite a lot to choose from
There cannot be too much of this
in our home. I hope to hear a lot
of it.

Kate is graciously sharing EVERYTHING.
Her favorites are Sock Monkeys. 
A gift from a dear friend.
This sweet picture was taken
by a friend from college
when I was pregnant with Drew
over 20 years ago. I have put it
in every child's room ever since.

Waiting patiently for
a playmate.
She has no idea...


We are hoping for a lot of these for precious Elli Hope.
We'll be home on January 17th for her first
night in her forever home with her forever family.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My little Chinese Southern Belle.

And here she is... in all her celebratory glory! This is probably her finest hour, in all her 5 1/2 years, the celebration of her adoption. What a glorious day!

Elli is the cute one in front of the cake looking at the camera with pearls around her neck.

It appears she lives in a fantastic orphanage. The walls are beautifully decorated. There are clothes to dress up in. They even know how to dance....

I am thankful that God put our daughter here, in Haikou City, Hainan, China. I can't explain why He didn't allow all of our friend's children to be raised in orphanages like this one. I am assuming a lot just by the way the pictures look. I could be being fooled right now but I don't think so. I cannot wait to meet her and to hold her and to welcome her into our family. I think she's excited about a forever family. But to look at her, she may just be a happy-go-lucky kind of gal and be happy about life in general. That's ok with me. We would love a little "happy-go-lucky" around here. Especially from a little girl who was abandoned at 6 days old.

 She's old enough to have stories to tell. I want to hear them even though I am afraid to in a way. I don't want to hear the scary stories that I have heard from other parents. I don't want to know that she's seen things she shouldn't have, she's heard things that have frightened her, that she's had bad dreams of things that she's imagined. She very well could tell me those stories. Then again, maybe not. Regardless, I will listen, and hold her and help her put it all in perspective. I cannot promise that she will never again have those feelings, or those dreams, or see things that she'd be better off not seeing.  I will reassure her that regardless of all of it, past, present or future, that she will never have to feel or be alone - again - EVER. I cannot wait until the day that she completely processes that truth and allows it to sink into her tiny little body. I want to see her whole self melt into the reality that life for her will never be the same; in a very good way.

She will still have days to play dress up, she will still have days for celebrations with cake and parties with friends but it will be in a totally different context. At the end of the day she will lie down in her own bed that is covered in her own pillows and snuggle with her own stuffed animals, dolls, or big sister. She will close her eyes knowing that in each and every other bedroom in her own house is sleeping her own mama, her own baba (daddy), and her own ge ge (big brother) and if she is really lucky, her own little puppy will be at the foot of her bed too (although he does prefer his mama).

Oh, pretty girl, we will be there in the blink of an eye. Two and a half more mos and you will have a new name. We will party again!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Unashamed... but who REALLY likes to ask?

Today my post will be taking a slightly different turn. Here at My Elli's Hope and also here I am going to make a rare but less uncomfortable than a year ago plea for Elli's adoption fund.

This adoption, for anyone who follows either of my blogs, has been eye opening in so many ways. God has revealed Himself to all of us, especially to my children, in ways we, as Americans rarely see because we are raised to feel so self-sufficient and with an attitude of "I can do anything I put my mind to". It's not a bad thing, really, until it blinds us - or rather makes us fearful - of stepping out in faith and allowing God to be God; especially in the area of finances.

This post almost one year ago reveals only the beginning of our journey for Elli. During this journey I have picked up some trinkets along the way meant just for me, left lovingly placed, lovingly timed and always obvious (praise Him for that) on the path for me to scoop up and keep hidden in my heart. Actually there were some trinkets that I knew needed sharing. HUGE and SHINY ones that shouldn't be placed in secret but mounted on a mantle for all visitors to rejoice in with us. More like trophies than trinkets.

Trophies like I spoke about in the beginning. An $8,000.00 check. A gift so shockingly large that not even an imbecile like myself could miss what He was shouting at us. Then came little surprises on Sunday mornings, cash pressed in the palms of our hands with a little wink and a squeeze. Returning from the alter after prayer to find an envelope with money enclosed mysteriously appeared on my seat. The occasional check that arrived in the mail enclosed in a card or letter of love and encouragement, almost always from a church member who we barely knew. A check sent by a loving brother and sister-in-law, they themselves paying thousands to medical professionals as she continues to battle a cancer that has ravaged her body for over 7 years. These are trophies He's given me along the way as encouragement to persevere, press on and fall into His arms as he carries me to Elli.

Then there was Operation Elli, our gigantic yard sale where more than 50 friends came together to raise money for our adoption fund.

Another enormous blessing that has been much larger than even a trophy has been a new and very powerful friendship with Arturo and Jessica Blanco and their 3 children. They were instrumental in helping us pull off the largest yard sale known to man (certainly it was). Jessica even coined the phrase "Operation Elli". It's hard to believe that we first knew Jessica when she was Josh's age. Now we have a friendship that will last through eternity. There are not words in this world to express my thanksgiving for this precious family. Between their time, Jessica's many organizational skills and Arturo's medical expertise (as well as much more) they are fully invested in Elli. (There has been mention of a shared custody agreement).

Another trophy on our mantle has been a surprise that truly knocked the wind out of me. The story is long and I must one day blog about it because it speaks to God's ability and desire to change the hearts of men who don't even love Him in order that His will be accomplished. It's an amazing story of young strangers sacrificing for something so much bigger than themselves that I am not sure they fully understand exactly what they have done.

To summerize... On August 24th, 2012 we joined a dear friend at Trustmark Park to watch the Mississippi Braves (MBraves as they are affectionately called) play... well, to be honest, I cannot remember who they were to play. I got to know one of their players through friends in Jacksonville, AL where he went to school with our oldest son Drew when we lived there. (although the boys didn't know each other). His name is Todd Cunningham. Watch for him next year in Atlanta. I am SURE he will play in the big leagues soon.

At the end of each season the players pull together their "pot of errors" as I call it. The money that has been collected as fines from each of them throughout the year from mistakes they've made like being late to practice etc. Now these guys make next to nothing and their fines are quite large. Obviously the hope is that they will work harder NOT to pay any fines. Typically, at the end of the year they collect their pot of money and throw a party. This year it equaled close to $600.00. Those boys could have quite a party with that. But for some reason, there was a thought to "doing something bigger, more worthwhile" with that money. Todd, the precious child of God that he is, had the perfect idea. 

Under the guise of a surprise for his host home parent who is a dear friend of ours and the opportunity for Kate to yell "Play Ball" at the start of the game we came out on the field that evening as Todd jumped up, out of the dugout and grabbed a mic. Amongst a photographer and videographer, we waited for Todd to present Pam with a special gift when he began to talk about a familly that he hardly knew, who no one else on the team knew, but who was in the process of adopting a little girl from China. Needless-to-say, this had nothing to do with Pam and everything to do with us and Elli. When the shock wore off, I watched Todd hand Michael a check for almost $600.00 as the dugout exploded in applause and smiles. I turned to them and applauded THEM. A whisper from the Holy Spirit to a young ball player became a sacrifice of praise that most of the rest of the team didn't even know they were making. That trophy is, by far, the largest on my mantle.

We were also blessed by a gaggle of giggling teenagers all whispers as they designed and sold Tshirts for Elli's adoption fund. Kids I teach on a regular basis caught up in the drama and delight of being on the precipice of adulthood yet somehow dug deep down to come up with an amazing fundraiser. They alone paid for our Visa's to China - 4 of them - not a little accomplishment. They too have a part in the life of a little girl on the other side of the world.

Between precious friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, total strangers and a few family members, (as well as a very timely tax refund) we have been able to cover all of our adoption agency fees, US Gov't fees, and Chinese gov't and orphanage fees. We have never been late with a payment, we have never had to put the adoption on hold because we lacked the necessary funds to move forward. God has been faithful to move the hearts of many. Now He has given us one more opportunity to meet the needs of our travel expenses which are quite large. Airfare alone will amount to almost $10,000.00. We will be staying in China for 12 - 14 days most of it with Elli in tow as we try to build a relationship beginning in an atmosphere that is familiar to her. The length of stay is a requirement of the Chinese gov't, one we cannot avoid.

Our last fundraising effort is through our church's adoption ministry called Hearts of Compassion in conjunction with Lifesong for Orphans, an organization that makes available matching grants to families that are adopting enabling donors to receive a tax deduction for their financial gift. We will be matched by Lifesong up to $3000.00 (although if more is given it is not matched but still available to us). If you or someone or business you know searches each year to find a way to increase their tax deductible status or if you have desperately wanted to be a part, in some way, of our adoption of Elli or any adoption, no gift is too small.

If it is on your heart to help us with our adoption costs consider being a part of this grant.

Make your checks payable to Lifesong for Orphans
Put in the memo area "preference Farhart/#3056
and send it to the following address:
Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Farhart/3056
P.O. Box 40
Gridley, IL  61744

Please continue to pray for Elli, for us, for our travel, and keep abreast of our journey here. As the days draw close to our "Gotcha Day" when Elli will be ours, I will continue to post words and pictures detailing all the great works God has done. We hope to travel in January. We should know our exact travel itinerary by Christmas.

Feel free to forward this post to anyone you think may be remotely interested in our adventure.


PS... and the other trinkets you are wondering about? They are deep and personal precious gems that have altered my heart and mind and relationships with God and people in ways I could not have imagined a year ago. Maybe, as time goes on, God will allow me to reveal those as well. But instead of putting them on a mantle they will be placed gingerly on soft pallet and only displayed for a very short time. After all, they were really meant for my heart.

In case I overlooked something...

I have ignored this blog for far too long. It's not that I don't thoroughly enjoy writing, I really do. It's just that now that fall schedules are in full swing and with the reality that because we homeschool my kids never leave (definitely one of the few things that occasionally find me on the pro AND con side of the "why are we doing this?" discussion page) I rarely get time to put my thoughts together in my brain let alone on this blog.

I have begun having trouble staying asleep. I really didn't think that would ever happen to me. I used to be able to get up in the middle of the night, nurse a baby, go back to bed and fall back to sleep immediately. I used to feel so sorry for the few friends I had that would comment "Oh, not me, once I open my eyes, I'm done. I am awake for the day." Now, that person is me. I do wonder how much is aging (I had heard that as we age we need less sleep) and how much is my own fault. At some point I am going to try to organize my bedtime habits like I am trying to organize my school and home. At some point probably means in 10 years.

I do know one thing though, one of the reasons I am not able to go back to sleep is because I wake up with so many thoughts racing like the Indy 500 through my brain. I try to push them out but that takes so much time that I get impatient waiting to fall back to sleep. I then allow thoughts of what I can accomplish in the dark and quiet of our home take shape in my imagination and I am drawn out of the bedroom.

All this to say... It's way too late in coming but better late than never.... I am finally introducing Elli to all of you, most of whom have already met her but after all, it's HER blog, isn't that why you read it?

Elizabeth Hope Farhart
Born March 15, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A letter to my daughter half a world away

Dear Elli,

I miss you. I don't know how that is possible but God did something in my heart when He confirmed His desire to find you and bring you home to the family He created you to be with. There is so much happening here at home, Kate and Josh to camps, Sam getting ready to leave for college, Drew trying to come home for a visit but getting stalled at every turn. I am trying to rearrange the house for you. Creating a space that is just yours. Creating a space that screams THIS IS MY HOME... FOREVER!

I am tired of waiting for you. I hate that I know you are somewhere out there and have no idea that there is a mommy and daddy and brothers and a sister who are DYING for you to be revealed to us. There is a whole body of believers who have worked hard to help us bring you home. We are all tired of waiting. Yet, God wants us to wait. He wants us to trust Him perfectly. He wants us not to be impatient, or to shed tears, or to feel stressed because we have to wait. He wants us to rest completely in Him knowing He holds you in his loving arms and will give you to us when HE decides it's the right time. I am so thankful for His control, for His Holy Spirit that speaks to me daily to calm my spirit and enable me to set my mind on the things above.

So, although I am tired of waiting, I will continue to wait. I will continue to wait as long as it takes because you are WORTH waiting for. I love you with all my heart, only God could create that kind of love in a mother who has yet to even meet her daughter.

Soon we will be together and we will delight in each other. I cannot wait... but I will.

I love you desperately,

I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry. Ps 40:1

Sunday, June 3, 2012

That you may know...

There are a lot of things I'd like Elli to know. I fear I will be horribly impatient as I have to wait for her to even comprehend the simplest of thoughts in English let alone the deeper thoughts and truths of God's Word. I have found that I don't care much about my simple thoughts though. I want her to know the Word and I want her to know it deep into the depths of her being.

I have had days upon days and years upon years to cradle my biological children in my arms and sing them praise songs to learn by and to sleep by. I have had hours on end to teach them the Word of God and discuss the meaning with them at each and every age level they entered. I didn't feel the urgency since I knew that they would be with me day in and day out and yes, I could "teach them to my children, talking of them as I am sitting in our house, and when I am walking by the way, and when I lay down, and when I rise." (Deut 11:19). I knew that I had total control over the worthwhile-ness of every conversation, every event, every day. I didn't always make it what is should have or could have been but I had those kids to cradle and hug and cuddle and rock... but not Elli. Elli is being cared for in a different way at a different place in a different country with a very different "god". My hope and prayer for her is that God has placed a Christian caretaker in her midst that prays for her constantly and speaks the Word over her daily. I am indebted to whomever cares for her just for keeping her alive, just for preparing her for me to be her mommy.

When I think of what I want her to know, to grasp, to gulp into her very being so many truths of Scripture come to mind. Today I was reminded of one of my favorites. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Of course I know that that verse is really meant for the people of Israel. It's not that we can't make some semblance of application for ourselves and obviously I do or it wouldn't be one of my favorite verses. Put into the perspective of the orphan, though, I almost can't hold back my tears. If Elli was old enough to read that verse, what would she think? What kind of plans could God have for her? She is in a country that hates God and celebrates a little fat man. Her future is completely unsure unless of course she turns 14 while in an orphanage and then the reality of what lies ahead for her is unthinkable.

Yet, this is what she doesn't know. The plans God has for her are in the works, even now. Those plans actually began long before any of us ever knew they would exist and have physically been going on for months; endless (it seems) months. The plans God has for her are to be the little sister and youngest daughter in a family of 6 who are prepared even now to sacrifice all that they can to bring her home to them to have a forever family with a future and a hope that is unimaginable. No longer will her only options be evil. Even greater will be the ONE she will learn of. The ONE who had her hope and future planned all along. The ONE who regardless of anything else in the world loves her in a way she has never known she could be loved.

As I have been writing this, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me as well. He has been reminding me that if Elli doesn't fully know all the plans He has for her, I most likely have no idea of all the plans He has for me. What is going on behind the scenes that He is orchestrating to enable us to bring that hope and future to fruition for Elli.  I smile and half laugh as tears well up in my eyes because I am fully aware of all that I don't know.

Yet, He doesn't want us to be fully in the dark. Ephesians 3, verses 17 - 19 remind me that I "being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to KNOW the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that" I "may be filled with all the fullness of God." One day Elli will KNOW that too and may even have a more full comprehension of what that really means because of where her life began.

I am thankful to be able to KNOW so much but am confident that what I don't know is being carefully and wonderfully planned by a Heavenly Father who KNOWS exactly what we, Elli and I, need when we need it at just the exact time that will, in the end glorify Him.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lonely dreams

I have been non-stop at my computer. I have wondered what in the world I am looking for, waiting for, staring at. I can't understand my need to see every Facebook post that comes up and each email that appears at my inbox. It's not like me and it's disturbing me a bit. I told a friend today that I felt like the 6 year old younger sibling that hates to go to bed before all the other kids because she's sure she is missing out on something fun.

I figured out, tonight, what my "issue" is. I am waiting for DTC. Dossier To China is one of the "biggies" in adoption lingo. It means our dossier (set of papers that the Chinese care about regarding our adopting one of their girls) is on it's way and will arrive soon. That leads to the organization that is in charge of all things "adoption", the CCCWA, to then send an email or something digital to our agency giving them the date it arrived in their hands. THAT, my friends, is called LID (the Lock In Date). THAT is huge because that gives the agency permission to then present us with who they think would be the princess that God has chosen for our family. Our Elli.

Now, I know that we are going to hear the terms DTC and LID sometime within the next 2 - 3 weeks and I am unsettled and fidgety. I don't want to be but I am and so I am just accepting it and trying to live with it. I have been stalking blogs of other adoptees looking at their timelines like the one you see to the right of this post. Each blog's timeline tells it own story of swiftness or hesitation, miraculous movement or sedentary stagnation, none of which is explainable both of which lead to the feet of Christ for those who trust Him, either with tears of thankfulness or tears of petition. One way or another, as I have said often enough to cause eye-rolls: God is gonna do what God is gonna do.

I found a blog I'd not seen before called Ladybugs and Elephants. All I wanted to do was to check out her timeline and compare it to mine just to get some kind of encouragement. Every seasoned adoptive mom will be shaking her head right now at the foolishness of doing such a thing but I am desperate for some kind of "sign".

What I didn't expect was to read her snippet about her young son running to her room for comfort from a bad dream. She then makes this realization about her little girl Nola who they are waiting to bring home from China:

What happens when she has a bad dream?
And the reality of it hit me.

Nothing.  Nothing happens when she has a bad dream.

There is no one to run to.  
She cannot even get out of her crib to find someone.
There is no one to comfort her.
No one to rub her back.
No one to stroke her hair.
No one to gently kiss her.
No one to softly whisper that she is safe.
No one to tell her she is loved.
No one to stay with her until she falls into a peaceful slumber.

I am suddenly reduced to tears and a feeling of desperation that I've not felt in a long, long time. You see, I am one of those moms who never, and I mean NEVER minded waking up to quiet a frantic baby. I was determined to enable my babies to enjoy what I believe should be the most peaceful and calm time of their day. My babies had very few nightmares and I think it was because I worked very hard to calm them before bed and pray for their calm sleep. I prayed specifically that their dreams would be filled with Jesus and His special messages to them. 

Of course as they have aged, they have had more nightmares. But as they have aged they've had less and less of a need for their mom or dad to comfort them. They've learned how to manage themselves. But Elli, who comforts her? I don't know. I have never had a child that I had no answers for or about. I have a daughter that I do not know anything about except that she was chosen for me, for us, from the beginning of time. I only know that her abandonment was no surprise to God and that He will personally guide Logan (our adoption counselor) to her when she finally gets that permission to present her to us. 

My only hope, my only prayer, is that God Himself comforts her when she has a bad dream. No child deserves to open her eyes in the middle of the night knowing full well there is no one to snatch her up and tuck her in close. No one to pull the cover over them both making her feel secure. No one to sing hymns of love and eternal life in the darkness. No one to whisper promises of always being there to help get her through her hard nights. 

Elli has lonely dreams right now. I am kept from doing anything but petitioning my heavenly Father for grace and compassion on her. But one morning I am going to open my eyes and there, tucked tightly next to me in bed will be a little girl who can barely speak English, having had a bad dream the night before, ran into the room of the woman who she knew could make it all go away. 

Unless, of course, she had wrapped herself around the body of her big sister in her bed. That would be just as OK with me! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

He knows your name...

I sat, Saturday night, watching Kate dance in Kings Daughter. I was staring amazed at how those girls improve year after year and how beautifully they accomplished the dance and techniques that were expected of them, and then, totally unprepared, a group of beautifully clothed "angels" in blue sparkling dresses came out and danced, to a song that is not new but stuck me in a very new way. I caught my breath and began to cry realizing that the words to that song are words that I want Elli to know. Words I wish I could whisper to her right now as I hold her in my arms. I can't though. I can't because I don't know who she is; because I don't have her here in my arms. All I can do is hope and pray that God, through the Holy Spirit will reveal these truths to her tiny, precious heart in a miraculous way as only He can...

Dear Elli,

I pray that one day you will be able to sing this song and know the truth of this deep into the center of your very being.

I have a Maker
He Formed My Heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

I have a father
He calls me his own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

I love you, my child whom I've not yet met. The truth that HE knows you and loves you enables me to move from one day to the next waiting on HIM to reveal you to me and allow me to go and rescue you and bring you home to your forever family.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A family portrait of adoption...

There has been a lot on my heart and in my head over the last several months. I have been learning. Basically, I've been reading everything I can get my hands on. I hate going into anything of importance blindly or at least I like to be able to talk  my way through a situation. I like to at least appear to know what I'm doing or what I'm talking about.

This is far too important to just sit back and let happen. It's not an issue of trusting the Lord or not. Of course I leave it all in His hands, every night as I lay in bed thinking of her as I drift off into a sleepy fog and every morning as the kids and I pray for Elli. It's a matter of doing MY due diligence. The stuff that is required of ME!

But as I study and read and read and read some more I feel less excited and more nauseous. I'd be bothered by that if I for a minute thought those feelings were unreasonable. Honestly, though, I had those feelings each time I found out I was pregnant with child 2-5. After all, I had a good and totally comfortable thing going and by adding another child to the mix it was, in a way, upsetting the apple cart.

Of course, those feelings came and went because what was I supposed to do to change it? Absolutely nothing. It was gonna be the way it was gonna be and I soon stopped seeing the change as a disruption and more as an adventure.

This time is very different and although it's scary different in a way, it's also good different. There have been a lot of serious, prayer-provoking, decisions that have been made between the Gman and myself. There have been very thought-provoking discussions between the kids and myself. What I have seen has delighted my mother's heart. Everyone has realized there is a precious little girl out there who desperately needs and deserves a home and a family who loves her. They are more than willing to put aside their comfort and what they know to be stability in order to bring Elli home. We pray for her every day. We pray for her care takers. She already has a place in our hearts, we just need to place her in our home. What I am seeing is that my kids are learning that putting aside what they know as comfort and security is worth it when it comes to the comfort and security of another who's never, ever known it before.

I have a friend who is about 2 months behind us on this journey. We became friends through this experience and are equally as nervous, excited, and totally nuts. We laugh about how "crazy" we are to be doing this and convince each other that there is good crazy and bad crazy and we are totally good crazy. But crazy we are none-the-less.

I just sent the last bit of paperwork necessary to get our dossier out of the country and into the hands of Chinese officials who will determine when we will meet our little one via pictures and a file and ultimately when we will hold her for the first time. I have been called a control freak in the past but I really don't think I am one. However, I will admit I have a love-hate relationship with someone over on the other side of the world having such a huge impact on our lives. I hate it because it's in their hands, I love it because ultimately it's really in God's hands and I so adore watching Him do totally bizarre stuff. So now, I am gonna practice my total and complete trust in Him (after all you never improve if you don't get harder and harder stuff to practice on) and wait patiently for my official DTC date and LID date and eventually the file and picture of my princess.

No, I am not really excited. I am a lot of things, emotionally, but excited is not one of them. There are too many other feelings crowding out excitement. But I can tell you, when I see the picture of Elli, all those other emotions will fall by the wayside and yes, excitement and joy and love and awe will replace them all.

I am amazed at the families who do this more than once. I find it very difficult and possibly it's an age thing. I do believe that it must be done more often and I hope and pray that this adventure of ours will lead our own children to search their hearts as well when it comes time for them to begin their families. I hope and pray that Elli will be the beginning of a long line of adopted Farharts. That the beauty of our adoption through Christ will be forever pictured in the Farhart family for generations to come.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Am I expecting too much?

I read this yesterday. It was an excellent blog post and made me think.

A Lot.

I am thinking mostly about what our expectations are of Elli and how little effort I expect from her regarding those. I forget that we are taking a little girl whose knowledge about the world outside her orphanage, foster home, or town let alone other people and asking her to fall in love with us and everything about us in a few short days... OK, we'll give her a couple of weeks.


This is "Abigail"
She has a family that will
get her sometime this year

How is that humanly possible? To be honest, that takes a tremendous amount of trust. How do you trust people you don't even know? What if her idea of family, sisters, brothers, mamas, daddies, etc is very different from what her reality becomes? What if she has no idea what to think and just sits stoically by while we try to get her to jump up and down with glee at the thought that now SHE has US... YAY for her!

And I watch our adoption account dwindle and wonder how in the world we are gonna fund this whole thing.

I am expecting - REALLY EXPECTING - a little girl to be just gloriously in love with every aspect of her new life and completely trust us to provide everything that is good and right and necessary and wonderful for her and I can't even trust the Creator of the Universe, the owner of cattle on a thousand hills (Ps 50:10). Well, I say I do, I really try to, I so completely want to. There are days, fewer and fewer, that I sort of don't.

It's not that I don't trust HIM. I know He can do anything He wants. It's just that I don't think I am worth his effort. Really that is what it boils down to. I have read about His work, I have heard about His work. I have even SEEN His work. But when it comes to little ol' me...

And yet, what did I say I wanted Elli to know, to trust, to be convinced of?  I said I wanted her to stand firm on the fact that...

This is "Logan"
She has a family too.
they will get her soon

"she is worthy of belonging, she is worthy of  a last name, and she is worthy of forever"

I meant every bit of that. I am adamant about that.

And yet, why don't I feel that way about God's love for me? To be honest it's because I am not worthy. I am well aware of that truth. HOWEVER, I am WORTH IT. See, I know that Christ's blood covers me. That when God looks upon me He sees his perfect Son and THAT makes me WORTH His energy, His effort, His supernatural work. He created both Elli and I. He was clear that He wants us to do what He wants us to do. We have no doubt that we are in His will - this, we are sure - is a no-brainer.

I have no other conclusion to make than if I expect Elli to fully trust us, I must fully trust HIM. I am not a fool though. I know that there is reality to face and that one little Chinese orphan cannot fully trust anyone. Most of those precious children have no reason to trust, no experience in that behavior.

I, on the other hand, have no excuses. Oh, yes, He knows I am a failure so many times and loves me anyway but I am still expected to go with what I KNOW. I KNOW HIM. He will provide. I will REST in the knowledge that His will is what it is and He will accomplish it.

Thank God!