Beards, Tambourines, Seas, Baby Boys, Hope. Want to hope with us?

Today I bought a tambourine. Mark has been growing a beard. What do those things have in common? What do those things have to do with the Red Sea and a baby boy? Pregnant Hope.

It is complicated and very uncertain but we are ready to share. Ready to open up our hearts of hope to those who want to peek in.

Where do you start telling a story in one post that started on a late night in September of 2013?

Maybe the beginning?

I opened up a website. I saw his picture. I fell in love instantly. I told myself not to. It was dangerous water. But we don’t get to tell our hearts what to do. Do we? I tucked his picture away and cried myself to sleep. Hope was stirred, but it was hope with no guarantees and there were/are a million obstacles in the way…. full of  hurdles, mountains, fears, impossibilities. I immediately visualized the course ahead as a raging river.  The Red Sea.

The following day, I shared baby boy’s story with Mark. His heart was drawn.

We began to pray. To wonder. To dare to hope that maybe God might make a way. Part our “Red Sea”.

Over the next month, things started happening. Mountains started crumbling. Hurdles began to bow down to God’s hand. He was moving.

We called several agencies trying to find out about baby boy.  They all told us the same thing. His file was not even started in China and once it was ready that getting our (their) hands on his file would be next to impossible.

We found ourselves standing at the edge of The Red Sea. The waters raging in front of us. We felt like baby boy was sitting on the other side and there was nothing, absolutely nothing we could do to get to him.

Then Nov 5th happened. I woke early. I journaled and cried a lot. My heart was a mess of emotions.

Mark and I talked. It was time to tell our family about the growing desire to step into the reckless unknown and start the process of adopting from China, with ZERO promise and only a .01 % chance we could adopt the little boy whose picture and story had stolen our hearts.

That is craziness right???? We were not interested in adopting “any child”.  We wanted him.  We had already grieved deeply that we had not started pursuing Mae Yossell when we first found out about her in Oct of 2012…and just to put this story in context, we were not matched with Mae Yossell at this time. Mae was not available to us b/c of her status in China. We had found that out a few weeks before. In our hearts we had “lost her” and we could not bear to lose him too.

So that morning, I wrote a letter to our family and close friends to explain that we had fallen in love with a child (Mae Yossell), once before and felt the devastating loss of not getting her and we found ourselves there again. This time it was a little boy. We explained that we probably could not adopt b/c it would be impossible to get his file, but we had to try. We had to put our first foot into the sea. I composed the letter. Set it aside to “sit on it” for a bit and discuss with Mark when he got home from work.

WITHIN MINUTES of setting the letter aside we got the email and phone call about Mae Yossell!!!! They called saying her status had just been changed and she was available to be adopted by our family and asked if we wanted to view her file. I called Mark. Through ugly tears, I read him the letter I had just written. I told them they called us about Yossell. He said to call them and tell them she is our daughter and has been since the day we found out about her. We were so full of joy. But we were also full of loss. We were going to have to let him go. God had heard our heart desires and prayers for “YoYo”.  Those mountains that were crumbling and hurdles that were bowing at His bidding were for us to get to HER.

The human heart is an amazing thing. Capacity to hope and fear in the same moment. Rejoice and grieve in the same breath. I have learned to give my heart time and permission. Time to adjust. Permission to feel. I was over the moon over Mae. I was devastated over baby boy.  So was Mark.

Over the next few weeks we tried to “give him back” to the Lord. I begged God to help me release baby boy back to Him. But I just could not. Something deep in us knew we needed to keep hoping. My emotions vacillated hourly and could weep at the drop of a hat.

We had to be honest we still longed for baby boy too.

As we started full steam ahead on Mae’s adoption we also asked our agency what we would need to do to be prepared if we COULD get his file. They continued (and still do) to tell us it is HIGHLY unlikely they can secure him for us, but we want to be ready if God parts that raging sea.

Our home study has been approved for two children from China. Our dossier is being prepared for two children from China. We have an extra crib in the attic. Mae’s room is grey and pink b/c it is our deepest desire to add a grey and navy blue little boy crib beside her’s.

A month ago during church, I was tearing up in worship as I cried out to the Lord for baby boy. I felt the Lord whisper to me that He is able. He can do whatever He pleases. He can part any sea. On the way to the car after church, Dax said to me “Mom you know what I learned today? I learned that God could part a really big wiver (river) so that a man (Moses) could walk through. I learned that God can do anything Mom.” OH MY STARS!!!!! Dax has NEVER EVER EVER told me before or since what he learned in church. He initiated telling me that day. I did not ask. The Holy Spirit ministered to me through Dax. He reminded me that He is able. He can work miracles.

OK, so back to Mark’s beard. He started growing it in January during a prayer and fasting month at church. It is his visual expression of his hope for baby boy. He has done it quietly, but has felt recently like God wanted him to share why he did not shave it when January ended. He is going to keep growing it until we hear that baby boy is either our son or that another family has been matched with his file. With every stroke of his hand through his beard he remembers to pray. As the weather has warmed this week and it is itchy and driving him crazy he is even more motived to pray God moves quickly =).

The tambourine you ask? Well that is my act of faith. I heard a talk at a conference (Created for Care) last month where the speaker, Beth Guckenberger mentioned Exodus 15:20 when Miriam, the sister of Moses, took out her tambourine to praise to the Lord for what He had done and what He was GOING to do. When Miriam and the other Israelites ladies were packing their precious belongings on their way out of captivity and heading into the promised land, wasn’t it curious that she would pack a tambourine? Why did she take that? Because, she wanted to be prepared to praise Him WHEN He made a way. She was always ready to praise. Beth said she began packing a tambourine when she travels to be prepared to praise Him when He moves or provides. I knew in that moment, I needed to buy a tambourine to have it ready WHEN!!!  When I opened up my bible to read about Mariam’s tambourine in context…guess what had just happened prior to her praising Him? The Red Sea had parted and they had walked through on dry land. Miriam was on the OTHER SIDE of the Red Sea dancing and praising God for His provision. His miracles. His hand. I have my tambourine ready to praise Him when He makes a way to the other side of the river to where baby boy is.

We cannot share any information with you about baby boy. His story is not ours to share. We can’t explain the hurdles that still need to come down, b/c it is not time for that.

But what we can share with you is our hope. We are hoping against all hope. We are clinging to Him asking Him to make a way. To move papers. To make connections. To orchestrate crazy miraculous timing. To put baby boy’s file in the hands of our agency. We can do that. We can ask you to prepare your proverbial tambourines or grow your beards in pregnant hope with us.

And before you ask…I promise to let you know if and when we find any information out. Until then we will continue to wait.

Thanks for hoping with us,

Tona

4 thoughts on “Beards, Tambourines, Seas, Baby Boys, Hope. Want to hope with us?

  1. Oh my word!!!!!!! Such wonderful things to pray about!! Exciting times in the Ottinger house!!! Praying!

  2. Pingback: Broken Hallelujah (an update) | Tona Ottinger

  3. Pingback: Bye Bye Beard and Shaking Tambourines | Tona Ottinger

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