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Me, saying yes.

taste & see!

I’ve always had commitment issues with children.

I was in university when I first felt the desire to do work for children in difficult circumstances. A year after graduating, I resolved to pursue this aspiration though I didn’t know how to get started. I initially volunteered for a number of things: reading and giving lessons to kids living in cemeteries and under the bridges of Manila; facilitating skills training for parents of street kids; raising funds for small organizations serving in communities. Then as part of my masters program (in social work) I organized kids and their parents living and working in the city’s colossal garbage dumpsite.

All these involvements were short-term, as if I could never get myself to invest emotionally and be engaged for an extended period with any of the children that I encountered. When I did get my first employment in a child-focused organization, it was as a…

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Hans?

Last week we were approached by a discipleship group-mate to discuss the possibility of our adopting a newborn baby boy. The timing was serendipitous, for it had only been a few days ago that we attended the first meeting of an adoption families support group started by our Ninong Reu and Ninang Judy.

Hubby and I were both caught off-guard by the proposition, although nothing was certain then and we had only been asked whether we would consider adopting this child who might be given up by his mother. With all the months of sluggishly preparing our documents for our adoption application, it was as if we were faced with THE question for the first time: “ARE WE READY?”

The prospect of having our baby very soon kept us awake that night, talking and praying albeit with apparent caution. I was trying to read how he, and I myself, to be honest, felt about it: For one, we had already expressed our preference for a girl, though we had of course expressed, too, that we would joyfully receive God’s gift of a child to us, regardless of sex. Then there was the timing factor. I suppose we’d programmed ourselves to have our baby come next year. We both knew that we were not in the best financial state, too, so could we really do it, if the baby were to come, say, within the month?

While pondering our own readiness and consulting with God in prayer, with due diligence we began getting advice from friends (2 lawyers and a judge) who could guide us through the adoption process via this route of having an identified child (as opposed to having a child matched to us by the adoption agency). More importantly, we sought godly advice from our disciplers: Ninong Reu and Ninang Judy, and our discipleship group leaders Kuya Joel and Ate Amy. Over the course of a mere few days I witnessed/experienced a number of wonderful things: First, the hubby became more and more comfortable with the likelihood of raising a boy — Hans Rodrigo (instead of Hannah Aurora), boy who would grow up into a God-fearing man, a godly husband and father. Second, we both began experiencing genuine concern for the baby, who had a complex family background and was also born premature. Third, we became more and more at peace as we anticipated how God’s perfect will would unfold, having been reminded of His sovereignty and faithfulness.

We are in a period of waiting now, as the child’s family postponed giving their final decision to either give him up for adoption or have him raised by a close relative. It seems to me that as the days roll by, the possibility of his joining our family is becoming dimmer. Our prayer now is for God just to guard our hearts so that we would continue joyfully trusting Him and fully surrendering to Him our desire to have a child. We are also praying for this baby, that wherever God may place him, God would nurture and protect him and allow him to receive the love and the care that he needs.

A Day for the Books

Yesterday was a remarkable day. It began ordinarily enough: Drove Daddy to work, drove back home, took a shower and got to work. During the trip from Daddy’s office, I got to ponder my prayers for him and for our family. I realized I could be more intentional and specific in my conversations with God.

So I started talking to Him. “How great it would be,” I said, “if Wowell could be regularized in his job come July, and then have his transplant in August or September. Then our baby could come in November or December, soon after Wowell passed the critical stage of his recovery from the transplant. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Lord? What a Christmas that would be! Would you grant it?”

Then I was humbly reminded of God’s sovereignty when this verse came to mind: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

Near the end of the day I received a call from Hope Foundation, the clearinghouse that coordinates the matching of kidney donors and transplant candidates across the country. We had received similar calls a few times before informing us that a possible match had come up, but this time was different. I was informed that Daddy was Priority #1 for the available kidneys, and that we should proceed to the hospital right away for blood extraction and tests. He would have to be immediately admitted to be prepared for the transplant.

I called Daddy and we prayed together, declaring that God’s will is always perfect. The next minutes whizzed by as Daddy took a taxi from the office to the hospital (he had been instructed not to wait for me to pick him up as he needed to be there as soon as possible), while I prepared all the stuff we would need for confinement and informed close family members and our prayer warriors before proceeding to the hospital as well. As we negotiated the early evening traffic we arranged for me to pick up his 2D-Echo from his cardiologist (This doctor primarily oversees Daddy’s laser therapy that we are crediting for his now-75% healed diabetic toe wound — a wound that has been around for almost 8 years). In an unexpected turn, the doc advised us that Daddy should not proceed with the transplant until his toe wound had completely closed. Daddy informed the Hope Foundation rep, who then advised us to wait for the opinion of the transplant doctor and the nephrologist.

As we waited we kept reminding ourselves: God’s will is perfect, whatever it may be. Soon enough, we received confirmation from the transplant doctor that Daddy could not be cleared for the transplant, as his toe wound would be prone to infection that his body would not be able to fight off once he’s given anti-rejection drugs to facilitate assimilation of the new kidney.

We updated our family and our prayer warriors, and we prayed again, repeating our declaration that God’s will is perfect, indeed. We admitted that we were yet to grasp the lessons God was teaching us. I felt we probably needed a heart-check especially in the department of trust and surrender; on the practical side, we thought we were also being reminded to be more diligent in caring for Daddy’s wound.

As we drove back home our conversation turned to “Courageous Caitie” and her family, and how their story calls us to appreciate God’s “No’s” in the light of eternity and His kingdom. Some people will be healed and some will not, some will live long and some will not, but all these circumstances take place against the backdrop of a much bigger scheme of things, over which there is a sovereign God. It is this kingdom mindedness, this eternal perspective that allows us to see that it’s not about us but about HIM, and that the point is not on whether one is healed or not, whether a relationship is restored or not, whether a problem is solved or not, or in any circumstance in itself, but on whether God is glorified in us be it in life or in death.

This is a hard thing to understand, anak. It’s quite hard to explain, too, but your Dad and I have been through so many things that have brought us to this point in our relationship with God — this point of surrender, of gratitude, of knowing our wholeness in Him, of knowing that there is no better way to live than to live for our Savior and Lord. We have arrived at this point only by grace, as we immersed in the immeasurable love of our Almighty God. And so we each proclaim that by the grace of God, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

How I wish everyone would experience this love! I suppose this is also why Caitie’s parents have been so purposeful in sharing their story to the world: because they want to be used for God’s kingdom, to make Jesus known to as many people as God would allow them to reach. For, as Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” (Luke 11:33) In this, then, the Lucas family has already been victorious: They have obeyed Christ’s commission to “make disciples of all nations,” having pointed so many people to Jesus.

Now, Daddy and I are continuing to wait on the Lord — for his healing, for your coming, and for all that He has in store for the future. Just this morning, Daddy reminded me of Joshua 1:9, where God reminded Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Indeed He is with us. And so as we wait, we can continue fixing our eyes on Jesus and leading others to Him — our Savior and Lord, the author and perfector of our faith, the one source of our strength and our joy, and the one whose glory we seek to manifest.

Life Connected

Hello, anak!

Over the last few days, Daddy and I have been discussing our answers to the essay questions in the adoption application. They’re comprehensive and quite challenging! But we are yet to sit down and really begin writing. We are old and slow, for sure. Anyway our target is to submit our requirements within April. We are really excited, Daddy was even imagining that we’ll be bringing you to church soon, as we watched the many kids at the Resurrection Sunday service yesterday.

Just want to post here this memento from church. Soon you’ll be joining us in one of these 🙂

Life Connected 27 March 2016

We’ll all be connected soon! We can’t wait for you to be with us.

Baby Steps

What have we accomplished so far?

  1. Attended the pre-adoption orientation.
  2. Photocopied the application forms.
  3. Identified (but have not yet invited) the three people from whom we will request reference letters.
  4. Placed an order online for our birth certificates and marriage certificate.

We are praying to be able to go through the essay questions and respond to them together. I believe it may be the most challenging part of this first stage.

I realize it’s possible that you’re already here on earth, anak. It may be you’re still in the womb, or maybe you’ve already gone out! It exhilarates me to think you are somewhere out there right now. I can’t wait for us to meet.

 

So I wrote this for him 🙂

 

Heart-Support

It’s been a little over two days since we gave our full “YES” to adopting a child, and already our hearts are full — thanks to the love and support we have received from family and friends.

Many are praying for us now, journeying with us, encouraging us with such thoughtful, loving words, helping quench our apprehensions. These people are such a blessing from God, another testament to His immeasurable grace.

We start work on our requirements now.

This. Is. It!