Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Planning (with care)

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that. --James 4:13-15

I figure some of you readers out there (whoever you are) might be interested to know some more details of our plans for the future. Admittedly, there is still a significant amount of "coming-together" that has yet to occur, but we continue to sort out what we can and to trust that our sovereign God is working all things together according to His will.

The church has begun the process of a pastoral search. Mike is committed to serving in his current role as pastor through June if that is what works best for the church. Depending on the needs or circumstances of an incoming pastor, the exact timing of the transition may be adjusted earlier or later as necessary.

Where will we go? We have been blessed to be able to move into Mike's grandmother's home near his family. They live close to Canada's capital city of Ottawa. This location will also be a bit closer to my family in Pennsylvania. Granny, a wonderful lady with whom I am so eager to spend time more regularly, has been living with Mike's aunt for several years but has maintained the family home as well. It is a three-bedroom, brick home with lots of character, and will serve our family just fine. It is in town, close to a small park and within walking distance of the local library. There are several grocery store options closeby and even an aquatics center! (Have I mentioned that Ethan has learned to swim with no flotation device?? --just within the last few weeks at the YMCA!)

What will we do? Mike is planning to enter a PhD program in Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. He also has a few leads on job opportunities, including a position with the company he worked for while he was in seminary. During that time, he provided personalized care within a group home setting to clients with severe autism. Mike found real satisfaction in serving these individuals, and he is excited about the possibility of returning to that same company.

Ethan will be starting school in the fall. In Maine, you are not automatically required to send children when they turn five. Because of the reality of Ethan's developmental delays, we choose to take advantage of this policy. We feel Ethan has made tremendous progress in the last year and would now be ready to start school. However, he will turn six just before the schoolyear starts, and we learned that school policy in our new neighborhood demands that six-year-olds enter first grade. Because we are concerned that his may not be in his best interests, we have been advised to pursue an evaluation by a licensed child psychologist who will determine the best placement for our son. It's really a win-win, I think. If he fails, he gets to go to kindergarten as we think he should. If he passes, WOW!

I will also continue with my classes. Since my degree program is available entirely online, I can continue even across the border. I am really enjoying the program. Currently, I am writing a paper proposing unique ways that the Church can support families who adopt transracially. Maybe I'll share a bit on that topic in a few days.

What else? Fortunately, my permanent resident paperwork is still valid, though its format needs updating. I have sent the necessary documents to receive the new permanent resident card. This not only provides me with legal standing in Canada and the ability to cross the border freely, but it also allows me to work if I choose. Also, we have sent the paperwork to acquire official recognition of Canadian citizenship for both Ethan and Abby.

Another huge issue is the sale of our house. Obviously, we are hoping that the right family will come along to purchase this great home. We think it has so many outstanding features, but we also know that it is a tough time to try to sell a home. We are praying that God will provide just what we need in His time. (Interested in a great place in Maine??? Check out http://www.547nmainbrewer.wetpaint.com/)

How does all of this affect the adoption? Remember the part about the significant "coming-together" that only God knows. That applies strongly here. Home study updates will be required as our living/working conditions change. It is possible that our time to pick up our Ethiopian kiddos will fall at just about the same time as our move...or it is possible that it will be some time after. Canadian immigration has assured us that there will not be any problem for these children to enter the country based on their father-child relationship with a Canadian citizen. There is still some question as to the exact steps necessary to finalize all aspects of North American adoption recognition and citizenship documentation in our unique situation, but, again, I have been assured by our caseworker that there is no problem with our planned arrangement.

I am, of course, extremely eager to receive our referral! Beyond the obvious excitement of seeing our potential children's faces, it will allow us to address other issues of planning. I am sorting closets and other storage spaces in anticipation of a giant yard sale in the spring, but there are many items that I am unsure what to do with. Should I put the cloth diapers and the training potty in the yard sale pile or the keep pile? What about all Abby's old clothes? Will we need the crib, the toddler bed, or more bunkbeds?

Indeed, there is still many details to be worked out, but we continue to plan with care, relying on the assurance that we have a God who is with us all the way.

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