It actually introduced an uncomfortable topic before bed time last night. What's the plan for Joelle? Have you ever stopped to think about this for your family? What's the plan with our kids? Do we want them to get a great education, excel in sports, band, or just be an all-around great person? For us the question was, do we ever see ourselves taking Joelle back to the Congo? We may be getting ahead of ourselves a little bit since tomorrow is only her first HALF day of Pre-K, but hey, somebody's gotta plan.
So there was the question from Amy, 'Jared, do you ever plan to take our daughter back to the Congo?......Jared.....Jared...
..answer me.' I half-laughingly stayed quiet to create a little more suspense. But it wasn't long before the words came out, 'That's not really my decision.' And as the words popped out of my mouth before I knew what I said, there was a silence in the room. Because there was a ton of truth in that statement. Tomorrow's Pre-K enrollment is our decision. Putting her to bed at night is a decision we make daily. Hey, which color bow she wears for the millions of pictures we take of her....that's our decision. But the future of my daughter and our family...not so much. We've prayed and prayed that God would bring our daughter home. And throughout those prayers, we asked Him to keep us faithful as parents.
We have reminded ourselves constantly that even though she is 100% our daughter, she 100% belongs to Him. I've prayed countless times that God would use her to make His name great on this side of eternity....and not let us stand in the way. I don't know exactly what that means right now. I imagine that it may sting a little in the future, and so maybe tomorrow is good preparation. Like I said, maybe you'll think we are getting a little ahead of ourselves...but I can't help but think of things like this as we prepare to drop our little one off at her first day of Pre-K. There may come a time that the Lord leads her to a place away from us, and as uncomfortable as that is, I couldn't think of a better place for her to be than at the very center of His plan. After all....it was His perfect plan that brought her to us in the first place.
So tomorrow is a pretty small step for those of you raising teenagers and paying student loans we know....but it's the beginning of something big for us! And might I add, it's one of the smaller things we are experiencing this week.....
Wednesday morning at 11am we are re-adopting Joelle in the US and she'll officially become a United States citizen! After a year and a month of planning, waiting, praying, waiting, filling out papers, and waiting....our process will hopefully come to an end with this adoption. Joelle is already our daughter in the US and her home country. However, Wednesday's court hearing will see to it that Joelle is fully entitled to all the benefits of a US citizen, and she'll receive an official birth certificate with Mama and Papa's names on it. That's pretty exciting! It's a very simple hearing that probably will not last long at all....but it's a big day for this family. Joelle will officially become Joelle Tenley Lemons....and I'm sure there will be many pictures to follow!
Lots of cool stuff happening....and it reminds me every day that our God is faithful, and He always works things out according to His good and perfect will.
So we'll leave you with a few pictures. Our good friend Billy Colegrove (1029 Photography) took some time out of his day a few weekends ago to take our first official family pictures and he did a great job!