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Posts Tagged ‘sanctification’


Father’s Day is always a bit conflicted for me. And a lot of that has to do with my father. Like every father, mine was a complex combination of good and bad. Days like today remind of this in a painful sort of way. He provided us with many of the basic things a father is supposed to do . But there were also a few things that really hindered me, and that may present a struggle the rest of my life.

So, I am reminded of the power of a father: for good or ill. My own kids will be blessed by my presence. But not always. I bump up against my weaknesses all the time. Parenting is meant to humble and sanctify me. While there are times of great joy and immense fun, there are moments when I am utterly exasperated and brought to the end of myself- seeing myself as full of sin, sick and sore.

At times it is if they plan to drive me crazy. After all, this would be an example of talonic justice as I often tried to drive my mother crazy.

For me, being an adoptive father is just like being any old father. They don’t listen or remember, so I say the same thing countless times even in the same day. The concept of an inside voice is utterly foreign to them. So our home is often loud and chaotic. My respect for my father-in-law who raised 6 kids grows steadily.

But, despite my own failings as a parent they have a great affection for me. Those crazy kids.

To catch up on the sagas ….

We actually received the kids passport cards. We aren’t sure how, since they supposedly didn’t have our paperwork. But it ended well. And for that we are thankful.

Still nothing from the IRS as yet another deadline has passed. The story keeps changing. We keep getting the run around We have contacted the Senator’s office. As as result, the new, improved and extended porch has not been started.

Summer has come in earnest as temps are now regularly above 100 degrees. So the kids are not out as often the requests for a movie are more frequent. I am now subjected to various Beverly Hills Chihuahua movies. Each as ridiculous as the rest.

They are quite ready to head the the Farm to visit with their grandparents and cousins. As well as escape the heat (and maybe even math). Hopefully the allergies that continue to plague Amie and Eli as well.

“What do you say to someone who suggests Belgian colonialism might have been the good times?” Anthony Bourdain.

The other night Amie and I watched Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode about the Congo. He’s been wanting to see the Congo since reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It was very interesting as he started in Rwanda and traveled west along the Congo. It is so sad to see what has become of such a great land. Such a tragic waste. One day we’ll have to share the sad history of the Congo. But it made me want to re-read The Heart of Darkness.

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This is essentially a follow-up to my previous post.

Apparently there was a big dialogue between the Agency, the Embassy and the lawyer in the DRC. What happened may depend on who you heard it from.

“What? Why? When?”

We were told by the agency that there were communication failures, largely due to cultural differences. Based on what the Embassy says, I think something different is going on.

These problems are not particular to our case. As we interact with others in the process, we hear a strangely familiar story. Missed appointments. Same excuses- the Embassy told me to come back later (it might be because you didn’t have the proper paperwork).

I think I have a really good idea of what is going on, and am frustrated that the agency does not seem to see it too. Perhaps they are just saving face, but that is never a good long term strategy if your business relies on trust. I’d like to see some ownership of the issues, and movement to correct the problems. Instead I get “let’s just focus on getting your children home.” And why haven’t we been doing this the last year?

I go back and forth about addressing this. As I noted before- I feel vulnerable. Amie’s about to travel to a foreign country and have to rely upon the very person I suspect is the problem. But if I call him out now … he could make this drag on even more.

I also recognize that I am not in the best state of mind to address this. I am understandably angry. I’m raw. I am prone, right now, to sin in my anger. I’ve been studying Colossians in preparation for a new sermon series this Fall. The old self wants to vent that anger. I want to go all Hulk on these people. The new self, united to Christ and in the power of the resurrection, knows that I need to be patient and gentle even as I admonish. I have a hard enough time doing this with my son who has a Ph.D. (or is it black belt) in pushing all my buttons. How much harder when dealing with people who are keeping me from my kids. There are months of their lives we can’t get back. I feel robbed of more than money.

So, I feel like Vinnie Barbarino, except my confusion is emotional instead of intellectual. Being on vacation doesn’t help. We have too much time on our hands. Our minds are not occupied with other matters and turn it over too often. I know that realizing this is half the battle, or more. But it is like a whirlpool, a vortex, a black hole sucking us in because we are unable to withstand the gravitational pull. Or is that centripetal force?

Either way, it weighs upon the mind. So, today is a 2-fer. Just because I’ve got too much time…

Perhaps I need to keep in mind the passage from Proverbs I was talking about with Jadon the other day- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

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Paperwork, that is.  We’ve been doing a whole lot of paperwork lately.

We’ve been working on a grant application that is due this week.  There was plenty of chasing down paperwork and crunching of numbers which had to be done.  They required a letter from the pastor attesting to our incredible character.  But I am the pastor.  So, they had us ask an elder to do one on the church letterhead.  The problem with our 2010 tax return, which has not been submitted due to the adoption refund, came back to haunt us so to speak.  We had our CPA fax us a letter explaining why we were not sending them a copy of our 2010 tax return.

Everything seemed to be resolved until I went to look for my 2009 W-2s.  I have the tax return, but somehow misplaced the W-2s.  Thankfully our CPA come to the rescue again.  He scanned them and e-mailed them so we could include them in the application for the grant.

Please pray that our hard work is worth it  besides the sanctifying work that was (hopefully) done in our hearts.

This morning I got a less pleasant call from the CPA.  The scanner had issues with some of the receipts we sent for our aforementioned adoption refund.  I would have to re-scan some things.  I would have to identify the exchange rate so he could know some of the amounts spent in China.  We also had to conjure up a copy of the decree and its translation.  More angst.

Then we came across the “donation certificate”.  It may be called a donation, but without it we aren’t bringing the boy home.  $3,000.  This may make our task much simpler (please, Jesus, please).  Then Amie found a letter that served as a record of the financial transactions with the adoption agency.  That amount was well over $9,000.  This put us well over the maximum for the adoption refund.  Instead of sorting through all the other receipts for postage, consulate fees etc.  all we may have to send is those 2 things along with the decree.

Big sigh of relief.  Maybe.

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