Got some good--no, great!--news this week. It turns out that after 4 tries, our homestudy was finally approved by our placing agency. Yes, that's right! Four tries, (and 3 months) later we finally...almost have our homestudy. Now the homestudy travels to Lifelink's Bensenville office for final approval, notarization, etc. before returning to the local office. Once this has been completed, we can finally send in the I800A (the final form that needs approval before our dossier can be sent to China). Unfortunately this final approval will likely take another 2-3 months. Realistically I should probably expect 4 months. I guess I had forgotten the marathon that is adoption paperwork.
On the other hand, I really feel that God has been softening my heart and changing my attitude over the last few weeks. I've been really convicted about my feelings towards certain special needs. Even though we have selected several special needs that we feel comfortable accepting, I think God wants me to be willing to stretch. Perhaps God won't give me a child with one of those needs, but I think he's concerned about my heart attitude and the precious souls behind the needs. In particular, facial clefts and other facial deformities have been on my mind. Truthfully, I am S-H-A-L-L-O-W. There's just no way to sugar-coat the truth. But God underscored this flaw to me and has been breaking my heart, little by little, and giving me some things to consider. When we were adopting Maimie, God showed us that he had a child with cleft lip and palate for us. That was a stretch for me. She hadn't had any surgeries when we accepted her referral. And now a child with cleft lip and palate is completely comfortable to me. Maybe God wants to grow me and change me to be more what I should be. Thankfully, God sees past our physical appearance and sees into our hearts. I Samuel 16:7 says: "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." Actually just knowing that encourages me.