Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adoption Prayer Requests:

"Oh, Lord and Mighty Savior...please hear our plea's to bring your orphans home.  Please move mountains and let things go smoothly and quickly.  We love your orphans...we are willing to fly across the oceans, to face the unknown, to fall in love with your beautiful Ethiopian children.  Love is a choice...giving of ourselves we have chosen to do.  You placed them in our hearts...and in our lives...all we want is to give them a forever home like you have for us with Heaven.  Thank you Lord for this journey...for these children.  Please move these mountains and bring our kids home."

  • Floate's...apt. today.
  • Coffield's
  • Herwehe's
  • Lancaster's
  • Williams
  • Kramer's
  • Davidson's
  • Winn's
  • Darling's
  • Michel's 
  • Hellman's
  • Hall's

  • Munn's 3/1 (date of court date)
  • Sorrenson's...official to sign their documents so they can have a court date!
  • Major's 3/10
  • Hatmaker's 3/10
  • Robinson's 3/10
  • Storm's 3/10
  • Druckenmiller's 3/10
  • Jamison's 3/10
  • Wanderer's 3/14
  • Jurren's 3/15 
  • Anderson's 3/21
  • Jones 3/21
  • Dreyfus 3/23
  • Cassidy's 3/24
  •  Shelburn's
  • Barth
  • Chapman

Waiting for an answer - Hopeful of a change:

  • Mullis 3/14 for #3 court date...for now
  • Henderson 3/15 for #3 court date...for now

 Loved this post...

Twelve reasons adoption is good for the believer…

Let me say upfront that first & foremost, adoption is about finding the right family for a child (& not vice versa). It is about providing permanency for another human being.
That being said, there are a lot of other secondary benefits for those who are led to adopt. If someone came to me with one of these reasons as their primary reason or motivation for adopting I would encourage them to tap the brakes because, as I said above, adoption is first about providing a home for an infant/child/teenager. But like many things in life there are layers of benefits.
Here are 12 secondary reasons why I believe adoption is good for the Christ-follower:
  1. Adoption & the adoption process provide a venue to trust God like few other things can
  2. Adoption is a visible picture of the Gospel – adopted children are brought into the family & receive all the blessings, rights & inheritance of the biological children
  3. Adoption enables us to enter into the pain, loss & grief of another human being which is good for our hearts & soul
  4. Adoption reminds us that we are not put on this earth for ourselves – we are here to serve, especially those who have no voice
  5. Adoption is what God has been up to ever since Genesis 3 – setting the lonely in His family
  6. Adoption teaches our children, both biological & adopted (& the local church – that God’s people look out for those who cannot look out for themselves – it’s just what we should be doing
  7. Adoption forces us to confront our motivations, beliefs and expectations about how we build our family
  8. Adoption demonstrates that love is a choice, not a fleeting emotion
  9. Adoption is one of God’s answer for the orphan…one day there will be no more orphans, but for today adoption is needed
  10. Adoption helps foster compassion
  11. Adoption is infectious – those who watch a family go through the adoption process will be more likely to process it for themselves
  12. Adoption teaches perseverance & endurance because it can be hard – really, really hard
Are there any that you feel I’ve missed? What would you add to this list?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 18 Devotion...

From the pen of Charles Spurgeon:

O tested soul, perhaps the Lord is dealing with you to develop your gifts.  some of your gifts would never be discovered, much less developed, if not for your trials.  don't you know your faith never looks as good in the warm weather of summer as it does during winter?  Our love is all too often like that of a firefly whose light appears much stronger when surrounded by darkness.  And hope itself is like a star whose light cannon be seen in the sunshine of prosperity but is only discovered during the dark night of adversity.
Afflictions are often the dark contrast in which God sets the jewels of His children's gifts in order to make them shine even brighter.  Wasn't it just a little while ago you were on your knees praying, "Lord,, I'm afraid I have no faith.  Please let me know that I do"?  Although perhaps not consciously done, wasn't this, in fact, a prayer for trials, for how will you ever know you have faith until your faith is exercised?  You can depend upon the fact that God often sends trials in order for us to discover our gifts and to make us certain of their existence.  Besides, the goal is not merely discovery of our gifts but is the real growth in God's grace that results from holy trials.
God often removes our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians.  He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by disciplining them through forced marches and difficult service.  He makes them ford streams, swim across rivers, climb mountains, and walk many long miles with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs.
Dear Christian, couldn't this account for the troubles you are now experiencing?  Isn't the Lord revealing your gifts and causing them to grow?  Isn't this His purpose in dealing with you?

Trials make the promise sweet,
Trials give new life to prayer,
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.
                   William Cowper, 1731-1800

From the pen of Jim Reimann:

Joesph is a great Old Testament example of suffering.  Sold into slavery by his own brothers, he later experienced prison just as the apostle Paul did.  Yet over time he saw God's hand at work and, when given the opportunity to take revenge on his brothers, he said, "You intended to harm  me, but God intended it for good...the saving of many lives" (Gen. 50:20).  He was his leadership abilities and his position of power in Egypt as the result of being refined by affliction.
Paul learned the same lesson through suffering, for he wrote,

(The Lord) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.                      2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"See, I have refined you...I have tested you in the furnace of affliction" (Isa. 48:10).

Along with the above...I know that adoption of God's orphan is also a huge spiritual battle.  Satan wants nothing more than to stop such a beautiful thing from happening.  I know that through all that we and others are going through when we get our babies home...it will mean all the much more. Trials do make the promise sweet. Fighting for them makes them even more ours.
I still pray for all of the struggles to come to a quick end and all of our babies to be home...but, I will take from it, while I'm going through this fire, a lesson that God is showing me...take how He is shaping and developing me in the area of orphans and standing up for them...I will develop whatever gifts or lessons He is teaching. I will fight to the end to get our boys home and fight for others to bring their children home.  I will become a prayer warrior for the many who are going through the same streams, swimming across the same rivers (or oceans in our case), climbing the same mountains, and walking many long miles with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. With God we will prevail and rescue these orphans...but, along the way...I want to be developed into who God wants me to be...refined in the fire, the clay being shaped by the potter...and the weak one being held by my Father when I think I can not possibly be shaped and refined any more.
  This journey is so worth it...just never thought it would be so uphill...but, I will try to do it with grace and strength.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Latest...

Update on Adoption:  No update.  One blessing is that we needed our homestudy update authenticated by the state.  I had taken it with me to Ethiopia...if I had not came home when I did I would have had it in ET and would have either had to come home anyway or would have had to figure out how to get it to Darren to get this process done.  God knew and the timing was perfect.  Within a couple of days of being home we found out we needed this done...Darren was out of town for the week...and so, between taking care of sick kids I went downtown and had it taken care of within 20 minutes.  I overnighted  the papers to AWAA and they had a sweet family (thank you Garrison's) going through D.C. on Saturday that are picking up our homestudy and delivering it to the staff in ET.  Now we are praying that the judge will show favor and move up our next court date...or better yet...just sign off on our papers.  If not our next court date is not until March 15 and then we are looking at another 2 to 4 weeks after that before we can have an Embassy Date...we are praying hard.

Update on Sickness:  Well the last couple of weeks of sickness have been crazy but, I believe are settling down.  Lauren had a very hard time...I think the antibiotics made her very sick. We ended up in urgent care and I was one scared mom.  After a week of Darren being gone and me scooping a lot of "samples" up to take in from both of my kids... their results came and they were negative...Praise the Lord!
They still don't feel well however and now on week 2 of being home Lauren has a horrible cough, low grade fever, and headache...I'm thinking Ozark Allergies...I'll give her a couple of more days and then make a call if needed.  Sigggh.  

I miss our boys terribly...I want our family together forever.  I know it's all in God's timing and I give it to Him.  He knows all and He has this.

February 5 - 6

Our flight home was good.  We had the chance to help a young couple in Germany...first time parents and twins on top of that.  Mom had fallen ill and was having a hard time...very dehydrated.  The kids and I jumped in and changed diapers and helped with them as long as we could.  They ended up having to stay in Germany so she could be seen by a Doctor...happy to report that they did make it home and are settling in to their new life with their sweet boys.

We made it to Chicago and were exhausted.  We rushed to an earlier flight...and they were boarding...we just made it and saved ourselves 7 hours.  Oh...nothing like home! 
February 4 - Birthday Boy who doesn't even know...

As soon as I hit the steps at the Transition Home I began to loose it.  The tears began to flow.  I can't believe that I have to leave 2 of my kids so far away.  I am going to miss them so much.

Today is G's Birthday...today is the day we go home :(. We have gifts for our sweet boy but, I have decided to just give him the gifts and not talk about his birthday (he doesn't know when it is... his birth mother didn't even know...we only know by birth certificate). I don't think us leaving on his birthday would be much of a present if we told him :( So, we will just celebrate late when we're all together. Happy Birthday sweet boy who so desperately wants what we take for granted...a family to call his.

To think all of us know and expect to be celebrated on our DAY...for 9 years...this boy has not even known the day nor has his family...and they have not had any means to celebrate...they've just focused on staying alive...it's all gonna' change...every child deserves a family and a celebration of their life.

I pray that many more would take a step towards rescuing the orphan...it's not easy...at some time you might feel so overwhelmed that you want to back out...it might feel akward and so unnatuaral...it might be hard to believe that God has called you to change your whole family for the sake of 1 or 2 children that were not from your womb...but, he has placed in your heart...and you love them like your own already.

The moment when you sat at a table with their birth mother...you looked in her eyes and saw no hope for their future in this present state...you heard her say that she didn't even know her own birthdate...you saw and knew not so good things of their past and of her past and thought...how can I? Why me? Can I make it better...do I have it in me...will smiling and hugging her give her any reassurance...this breaks me so much and overwhelmes me.

I know it seems like rambling...but, it's so hard to put all of my thoughts together today...As you stand in a crowded, smelly court room and see your and all of your friends kids relatives walk through a door to say, "Yes, I am giving them up"...then they walk out and look across the crowded room scanning and trying to figure out if you are the one who will take their child...and you've seen a video of her, you already know who she is...you think...why her? Why are we the blessed ones who are receiving these special gifts? Why is she loosing them?
When you scanned the room 1st thing and realized she was not there and panicked that she was not showing...then she was ushered in the room and your breath was completely taken away...you watched her every move and studied her and saw things in your soon to be son that she was doing...you stood within inches of her without her knowing it was you...your breath is taken away by sitting across from her for hours knowing who she is...you think...is this how it was EVER suppose to be...children in such desperate situations...family members signing them over in front of you in this little room...why?  Why is it this way?  Why me? Why them? Why her? It's just not right.

Then when you watch her go into the judge's chamber and you know "this is it"...she is giving up her most prized possessions...then you go in after her and you see her case worker lean and whisper to her and she looks at you and knows...she knows you are the one...you quickly look away then look and slightly smile then touch your daughters hair and give her a kiss hoping that she can see that you are loving and love children...you sit across from her with no one allowed to leave the room and you glance back and forth with what seems forever.

Then when you arrive back at the guest house and she is there sitting on the couch and you have your time with her...you hand her a photo book...she's never had photos of her children.  You watch her smile at her boys/your boys.  You have included photos of their new home, their bedrooms and she seems pleased with what they will have.  Then you reach for her hand and ask some questions. After that you take a photo and smile with her... and you think why does she have to go through this? It makes you think of your own birth mom and the day she had to give you up...what was she feeling?

Then you head to see your boys and when she's not suppose to be there she's standing on the porch with your babies shoes in her hand.  My baby/her baby...so strange, not a clue what to do...can I do this...should I just go home? But, you move forward. You go in and  your baby smiles at you and is so excited to have you get him...your other child is off playing with his new brothers and sisters...and you walk  out carrying your baby/ her baby and you want to do what's right...your heart feels for her (I've been adopted too you know...it's feelings from both sides)...and you hand your baby to his birth mother and he pushes her away...you work hard at him being happy with her for their last goodbyes...that was not to happen with me there...but, yet I'm it...no one else there to do a thing...I have to make this good for her...it's so in me for her to have good last memories. His uncle a handsome 20 some year old stands and gives kisses and hugs and you see his sadness...you say, "Kisses for mommy" and he doesn't want too and turns from her and again pushes her away.  You know that he has already made the transition...but, you see in her that she has not...how can this be...how do you make it okay for her last time seeing her kids.

  You walk down the stairs with your baby to your other son and you glance up and see her looking at us together...shouldn't they just be together having a birthday party together as a family...isn't that the norm for families...in a nice Chuck E Cheese...with tons of gifts...isn't that what we all take for granted, isn't it the norm...NO THIS IS THE NORM...this is how most of the world is...not what we do or see daily in our selfish pampered lives.

 But, if it's God's plan for my life, for your life...it is SO WORTH IT....hard, easy, sweet, not so sweet...whatever...if God's in it then it's right! And you will be broken and forever changed.

Happy Birthday G...you deserve the best...and I know what you've had in the past is so far from that...but, we will not dwell on the past and I promise to give you a promising future. I will protect you, love you unconditionally, I will do my best to be the mom you need.  As you stroked my arm the other day and touched my freckles and studied them...I felt what you needed, what you wanted...I felt it in your small fingers...then you looked up at me and I saw in your eyes that you just want love...love that in this selfish person does not always come natural...but, with God...I can do it...and so can others if we just let down the selfish walls and look how God adopted us and gave freely.  Life is to short to let these little ones suffer.
Happy Birthday G! Next time back...I will not leave without you...sorry I'm leaving you on your Birthday.

The psychologist today helped us out with translating and letting G know that we were going home tonight.  I was so scared of his reaction...since he's not did well every time we've left him.  Actually it went so well.  He was talking about when we come back and he flies to America.  He actually seemed almost relieved that we were going and the next time he saw us would be for him to go home with us FOREVER.  I think he was tired of the hard goodbyes daily as much as we were.  He gave us lots of hugs and was off to play...I'm amazed by how much easier this was then I thought it would be.  Praise God!!!  I gave many more hugs to D and then took him back to his room...yes, he threw a fit when we gave him back.  Oh, sweet baby...soon we will never have to give you back. 
February 2-3

Well these last few days have been a blur.  Lauren has now became sick. :(  We finally had to take her to a local hospital to be treated...not what a mom ever wants to have to do in a 3rd world country.  We went around 10:30 at night and thank the Lord that everything was packaged and sterile.  We had to take "samples" and have blood drawn.  Scary night.  She has a bacterial stomach problem and is now on antibiotics.  We didn't have a choice...she was in so much pain.  Praise God it wasn't anything more.

We did get to go see the boys once Lauren's medicine kicked in.  We decided to take the laptop today and watch cars.  G was so excited to watch every part of the laptop boot up.  He would make the funniest faces with each thing it did.  While I was using the mouse to get the movie ready...I felt little fingers on my arm.  It was my sweet 3rd child.  He was studying my freckles and touching each one.  He was stroking my arm.  Oh, my...my heart melted.  He slowly looked up at me and I could see...He was looking in my eyes for love and that I gave him back.  He smiled shyly and continued to stroke my arm.  Wow is all I can say. The kids all got underneath a blanket on the couch with suckers in their mouths and  right then and there I could tell that we were a family.  My kids.  

Later when D got up from his nap he was a wild child.  He was tickling his brother, (Yes, a 19 month old acting so old).  When it was time to feed him his lunch he was so funny.  Lauren and I fed him on the couch and he was climbing all over it...restraints at home will be needed...highchair where are you...lol! He was a hoot!  Laughing and biting the spoon and acting so, so silly.  Every day his personality has shined more and more.  After he ate we all climbed on the couch and wrestling broke out.  G was laying across all of us and we were tickling him...D was one of the main "attackers"...he was so cute.  Next thing we knew he pulled G's shirt up and blew on his belly...is he really only 19 months old.  Then he blew on Lauren and my belly...he wouldn't blow on Corbins...so funny!  There was head locks and lots of laughing as a FAMILY!  I love this new family :) 

The time here in my sweet boys country has not went at all like I had envisioned.  I had this all planned out in my "head".  Instead there has been someone sick since day 1 and now the hospital, really?  It's time to consult with Darren and decide what we should do.  On top of everything else we were just told that MOWA is closed and moving offices and our chances of passing court on the 8th are slim to none.  How long do I wait...really court date # 3?  My heart breaks.

Well...I left it up to Darren and he has booked us tickets for Friday.  It is time to get my kids, (well, 2 of them), back to the states and let them recover...Corbin is still feeling flu like and having stomach issues as well.  Why is this not turning out like I thought it would be?  How will I say goodbye to my 2 sweet boys?
I have a feeling that it's going to be easier on G for us to "not" visit him every day.  He really has struggled.  Our last visit we didn't get him sent back to his house with his friends, (we found out that if he goes with his buddies he goes happy), and when it was time to walk him down...well, he refused.  He was so upset and sat on the curb.  We ended up having to leave him with one of the workers sitting on the curb...It breaks my heart that he takes our leaving so hard. D? Well, he is attaching so well...and leaving this sweet baby is gonna' break me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1

While a major snow/ice storm is brewing back home...we are headed to the Sheraton to swim.
WOW! The pool is like a true resort pool. What a great day. We ate at “Lucy's”...Lauren's favorite place and then went for 4 hours to the pool. Truly a GREAT relaxing day. It made me feel like I was anywhere but center city Ethiopia...next to the slums.
Very interesting...the Government here put up metal walls around the slums (which are across from the Palace)...because the AU summit is going on. Hide the truth.
It is truly sad that on the other side of the pool and hotel walls is the slums...in just a small area over 30 to 40,000 people live. Up to 10 families share 1 kitchen and bathroom all in one small area. It is so, so sad.
Another note...there are horrible things going on in Egypt..praise God that our plans to be there this week were changed!!! God is good! I am so happy that we are far away from the chaos in Egypt! But, am truly sad that it is a scary place right now.

I miss Darren...I would even take the snow storm...I pray that everything would happen quickly and the family could be put together as a whole.
Tomorrow we will go to the Thome again. I can't wait to be at home with our boys. :)