Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finally FOUR!

Today the courts confirmed what God had already ordained in our hearts. Biruk became our son. Officially. Dirt and I are beaming.

..this also means that we can finally, officially show pictures of our son on our blog. He is ours! (this is the most recent picture I have, taken last month - though he tells me he's grown in the last few weeks)

The phone rang just after noon today. My social worker is out of the office this week, but told me that if they heard anything, another SW would call me. Gladney’s name appeared on my cell phone and I quickly answered. The voice was super up-beat. If it were my normal SW I would have known this meant good news. I had come to discern her good news voice from her bad news voice within the first three syllables. As the woman introduced herself to me, all I could think is if she didn’t have good news, she needed to tone down the happiness in her voice – because she just sounded too chipper to deliver bad news. As my thoughts rambled on I heard her say the word, “approved”.

I interrupted, “Did you just say that our adoption is approved?”

She confirmed.

Praise God!!!!!!!!!

Then I have no idea what else she said. Maybe something about filling out forms and a timeline for our embassy appointment. She’d later need to recap all that in an email. I literally felt the stress drain from my body. I remember saying, “I can breathe again” (she probably found that to be a very inappropriate response to whatever she was saying – but all I could feel was relief and joy).

God, did this really just happen? All those prayers. Did you finally say yes? Today? December 28th was the day you chose for us? Thank you for saying yes.

Okay, who to call first, Dirt or Biruk?

I glanced at the time, it was 12:12…just after 8pm in Addis – Biruk might be going to sleep soon- I figured I’d call him first, then we could try to conference Dirt in so the three of us could chat together. (Brilliant, I know).

When Biruk picked up I immediately blurted out that we got approved. He replied, “What?”

“We got approved, the judge approved our adoption”

“Seriously?”

“Yes!”

…giggles, laughing…”I am so happy”

“Me too”.

Then we tried to conference in Dirt. No answer on the cell or the office number. Impossible. How could he not be available?

Biruk and I chatted for a little while longer, laughing and talking about how today was the best day ever. He said things like, “Am I dreaming?” ,“I was already your son”, and “When can I come home”….but mostly we just laughed and released all the stress and anxiety we had been carrying around for the past several weeks.

We tried Dirt again, but got nothing. I couldn’t contain myself anymore, I wanted to shout our good news from the rooftops – so I called my friend and prayer warrior Heather. She picked up the phone anticipating news from me – when I told her that Biruk and I were on the line and that our adoption was approved, she squealed and cried. It was the perfect reaction.

Biruk and I ended our call with me praying – lots of praises to God and prayers for a quick embassy process. Lord, please bring him home soon.

According to my agency, the current average wait time for Embassy appointment is as follows: Families whose adoptions were finalized recently waited 4-6 weeks on average from time of finalization of their adoptions to their files being submitted to the US Embassy, 1-2 weeks on average from time of submission of their files to the Embassy to receiving an initial response from the Embassy (letting the families know if anything additional is needed for their cases, if their cases have been forwarded to USCIS in Nairobi, Kenya, or if their cases have been cleared), and 1-2 weeks on average between time of clearance from the Embassy and their scheduled Embassy appointments (depending on the Embassy’s available appointments and a family’s availability to travel).

Our agency has 22 families ahead of us that are waiting for an embassy appointment.

We are praying that Biruk will be home soon. I last saw him on March 1, 2011 – when we said “see you later” at the Bole Airport in Ethiopia. I would like to have a 1-year anniversary of that day at the same place.


I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Catching Up: December

I guess it goes without saying that I haven’t blogged in a while. This month has been one of the most intense months of my life and I’m not sure how to give a sensible recap.

There were several “I should be blogging about this” moments that took place, but seriously, if I had blogged through this past month you probably would have diagnosed me with mild schizophrenia. Maybe not even mild, perhaps full-blown cat-lady crazy.

Overall it was a pretty crappy month. Things fell apart in a few arenas, I took on the stress of a rent payment (studio), I was beyond busy with a Christmas photo rush, my computer crashed with Christmas pictures of five families on it (photos retrieved by super-hero husband, but computer RIP), oh..and CHRISTMAS (which is a beautiful holiday, but let’s face it - it’s no Labor day – Christmas has a whole lotta prep work!).

…and the adoption debacle. [sigh]

I drifted between anxiety and peace all month. Anxiety = feeling like I couldn’t breathe, difficulty sleeping, sadness, anger, nervousness. Peace = His sweet precious peace that surpassed all understanding – unexplainable.

I meandered in and out of these emotions without any control. One moment I'd be calm and the next I needed to take deep breaths just to prove that I wasn’t suffocating under the weight of the anvil of stress on my chest.

I showed up at a women’s tea only to break down in tears in the parking lot. Once I thought I had it together I bravely walked in and was fine until someone said “hi” to me (the nerve). Poor girl walked into the eye of the storm with that comment. I broke down and began weeping.

..and that was just the beginning. I cried at work, I cried at home, I cried in the car, I cried in bed, I cried in front of my kids, I cried behind closed doors, I cried in the living room, in my office, the kitchen, the mudroom, the bedroom, at church, on the phone, and inside of a mouse’s right shoe. (Not really the last one, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention). I was a big cry baby. And it wasn’t pretty.

Last night I was sharing with Dirt how frustrating it is to pray so fervently for something, only to see the exact opposite happen. That has pretty much been my story this month. I prayed for an early approval of our case and instead, we are sitting here 10 days after our court date with no approval. I am bearing the weight of my own disappointment, and also the weight of B’s disappointment (and fear). It’s a lot to bear. I know it’s not mine to carry; he belongs to the Lord and the Lord loves him more than I do – BUT my heart can’t help but feel that pain with him and for him. If you’re a mom, you get this.

The events of this month have prompted me to examine my life. What is God trying to show me/teach me? Why isn’t He answering my prayers? What do I need to learn so we can move on already? I am reading His word daily, praying daily (constantly?), fasting, trying extra-hard not to sin, and trying to listen for His voice and obey it. I am closer to Him now than ever before, yet He won’t answer my simple prayer….a prayer that would glorify him. So what gives?

Dirt says that THAT is the blessing. Being close to the Lord is what He wants and ultimately what I should want. [stinknuts]

Last Saturday I designed our Christmas cards with a verse that has meant different things to me over the years, Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Today that verse means that I am thankful that I’m in the midst of the storm. Even though I hate it with everything in me (I hate it, I hate it, I hate it – foot stomp/arms crossed), I know that He is perfect and if I continue to draw near to him, wait on Him, hope in Him, and trust Him, then He will make me strong.

Thank you God for your promises. You are good.

Disclaimers:

  1. I will not be offended if you don’t want to say “Hi” to me for a while.
  2. My thoughts today do not necessarily represent my thoughts tomorrow or any day thereafter. I could revert back to crying crazy again at any moment.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Our First Date



I could sill hear his words, "mom...sometimes when I think about you , I cry". "why?" (duh) "because I miss you".


I miss you too.


The conversation was just two days ago. I could tell that he was growing weary...he asked if I had called our agency to inquire about our court date. I assured him I had.


I know his struggle, it's my struggle too. The wait is exhausting.


Today, as I was packing up to leave work, I glanced down at my cell phone and noticed a missed call from my social worker. Could it be? My heart fluttered!


Without listening to my voicemail I called her. No answer. I checked my voicemail and heard her happy voice (she gets kind of sing songy when she has good news. I love her sing songy voice). She left me a message explaining that our Family court date is Dec 1st, our final court date is Dec 14th. The 14th is the date that we would normally travel for...but she didn't think that we'd have to travel because we had already received permission from the judge to not travel....so there is a slight chance...if the judge were to find favor with our case...maybe...just maybe we could completely pass court on Dec 1st. That is best case scenario. The other scenario is that the judge decides that I actually do need to come for the court date, and on Dec 2nd I make travel arrangements to go to Eth to attend court on 12/14. Yikes. Not my favorite plan.


Then what?


We'll...since it wouldn't be international adoption unless there were a gazillion variables, here are some potential scenarios:


1) we pass court on 12/1, get submitted to embassy, get an embassy date on Jan 15th, I travel to Eth to get B and bring him home. (this is my favorite)


2) we pass court on 12/15, bring B home around Jan 30th.


3) we pass court, our embassy papers take the long route, and B comes home end of Feb or early March (not my favorite)


4) we don't pass court. (I can't even go there)


Soooo...please join me in praising the Lord for all he has done and in praying that we can pass on 12/1 and take the short route to embassy. We're ready for our son to be home.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Amaya











Amaya,

Today we went to your doctors appointment and your doctor was impressed by how smart and wonderful you are. He told you that you were doing a great job staying healthy and you beamed with pride. Then we went to Dunkin' Donuts for your favorite breakfast (Egg & Cheese on a Croissant), then we came home and I straightened your hair (a very special birthday treat). After you admired yourself for a while we played photography and we took these pictures. Then it was lunchtime and I let you choose where you wanted to go...you chose the McDonalds with the Playplace...so off we went.


I love being with you. I am so thankful that we spent your 6th birthday together. Praising God for you today, and always my littlest girl.


xo


Mom

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tweenagers

On Saturday I had an early photo shoot with a family at Fort Foster.


It looked like it was going to be a decent day for pictures, so I tried to book another family after the first session - the whole killing of two birds with one stone thing. I have a ton of families who have mentioned wanting fall shoots - but there really ain't much fall left.





All three families declined the time slot due to other commitments or whatever. ...and since Renee was coming with me to shoot the first family we decided we'd bring along our tweens and do a tween session.






Avery and Ellie are ridiculously cute. They are so much fun when they're together.






I'm so thankful that we got to do this shoot. I seriously think that every kid should have a tween shoot. Photographs aren't just for babies and seniors.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Days Turning to Months

I finally broke down and actually read some of the update emails my adoption agency sends to everyone in the Ethiopia program. I was sitting on the sideline thinking I was too good for those group emails...I had convinced myself that we were on a "God-Timeline" and I wasn't really concerned with what was happening with all the other families in the program. I didn't care how many people were in line before us, God was going to fast track us...because I had prayed for things to go quick and easy.

Doy.

So today I realized that we are still going to be waiting for a while. A long while. I made the mistake of thinking that when courts opened we would get our court date. I am now realizing the grave error in this thinking. We're not going to find out anything for a while. Months. [gulp] We probably won’t find out about our court date until sometime in December (I guess I can stop waiting by the phone now). Our court date will likely be sometime in January. Our embassy date will likely be sometime in late February.

Whaaaaaaaa. (<-me crying)

I am weary. B is weary. Every time I talk to him he asks me if I got our date yet. I hate saying no to him. [sigh]

Dear Lord, please hasten the day that he is here with us. The waiting is difficult and on days like today it feels unbearable. Lord, fill me with your peace, sustain me, be enough for me today and every day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

School Pictures

My kids are THE most impossible kids to photograph.





The minute I take out the camera and ask them to play nice nice things go downhill.

They flare their nostrils, bug their eyes, oversmile, undersmile, and other amusing (yet annoying) tactics. I think they just like to frustrate me.



The only one who shows up on the scene ready and willing to professionally model is Amaya.

...and she works the camera like nobodys business. The problem is that she won't let me touch her hair or clothing. ...she's a total diva. She usually shows up thinking her hair and wardrobe are awesome, when it's really an awesome mess.

These are our school pictures this year. Not because I couldn't do better, but because I don't have the energy to try.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spiritual Leader

Amaya came home from school last week with a very special surprise. She reached in her backpack and pulled out a certificate that said that she accepted Jesus as her Savior and Lord.

I'm pretty sure the Holy Spirit has taken over since then, cause that girl has been filled with songs of worship ever since. She even decided to start a candle lighting ceremony as part of her worship. - come to think of it, she might be a budding legalist - which is so "un-Moore" of her. I'm sure the Holy Spirit will work that out.

Often when we hear people share their testimonies, they say "When I was five I accepted the Lord"...super boring...but super beautiful too. How wonderful to grow up loving the Lord. When I think back on my life I wonder about how a relationship with Jesus would have helped me through some dark times, how my decisions would have been different if I had known Him from the start. Yet I look back, not regretting, just wondering.

There is also a beauty in being saved as an adult - somehow it becomes even more precious to know that He sought you and found you in the midst of your willful sin and rebellion against Him and He called you to Himself - not because your parents were saved and you grew up going to church, but because they weren't and you didn't. He had to go out of His way to find you because He wanted you..purposefully. He reached down into your life and lifted the veil that covered your eyes and allowed you to see Him. Oh, I'm so thankful He saved me.

So while Amaya's testimony will be one of the boring ones, I'm so glad she has eternal security early in life and she will get to walk with Jesus through the peaks and valleys of adolescence, dating, and beyond. She will learn from a young age that He can be trusted, leaned on, prayed to, and depended upon. She will grow up knowing that she doesn't have to lead, she just needs to follow Him.

Praising God for her boring testimony!




I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. - Luke 15:7




Thursday, October 06, 2011

Open!



The last twenty days have been peaceful. Once we received our referral I stopped waiting by the phone expecting it to ring every day. It's been nice. Since the courts were closed I rested in the assurance that nothing was going to happen with our case. Nothing. We were just sitting around waiting for courts to re-open.



They re-opened last week. This is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I haven't heard from my case-worker, but I can only assume that our file has been submitted.



I also heard yesterday from a friend who is "in the know", that 2 people from our agency recieved court dates for November 21st. Another friend (who used a different agency) got her court date today for November 24th. I'm praying that we will get a November court date as well. Once we pass court we are officially his parents, but we also need to pass our Embassy appointment (which is usually 3 weeks after the court date) in order to bring him home.



...so...here's the super-huge prayer that I'd like to ask you to pray with me: Dear God, please bring B home before Christmas. I know it's a lot to ask because there are people and papers involved, but I also know that you can do anything. In the name of my all-powerful King Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Confessions of a Pinterest Addict

I'm addicted. To Pinterest. There I said it.

I knew it would be addictive. I saw others going down..spending time pinning. I scoffed at them. I already spend too much time on FB - why would I even go near another online social-thingy...especially one that could give me a case of the "wants".

This is precisely the reason I was avoiding Pinterest and resisting the invitations that were piling up in my email box.

But then it started to feel like everyone was doing it...and I began to think that maybe I was missing out on something. Something good. And well...apparently I'm a follower...cause I broke down and joined. I was accepted to the Pinterest party that was already in progress.

That's when I fell in love with it's pinny-goodness.

What is Pinterest, you ask? My answer (not to be confused with an official definition) is: it's a groovy online "magazine" that you and your friends are all browsing together. You are all dog-earring pages and showing each other what you've dog-earred. Minus all the paper, annoying ads, and stupid articles. It's boiled down to the best of the best; it's so super-efficient. Mouth-watering recipes, cool craft ideas, design & decorating tips, and inspiring photography poses. (There are other categories, but these are the ones I'm following).

When do I have time for this nonsense? I mostly pin on Dirt's ipad while I'm in bed and Dirt is watching something sports-related on TV. Actually I even pin during shows I'm watching. ..and while he's talking to me. ..and while I'm waiting for water to boil..and well...it's definitely multi-task friendly. I even pinned with my girlfriends last week - all three of us at my kitchen table with our ipads, oohing and pinning together.

If you aren't on Pinterest, you should be.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unlikely Subjects

It seems like I've been taking a lot of pictures lately...but none of my peeps. On Sunday I had big hopes of dragging the kids out for a photo shoot as a replacement to the 2011 school pictures that I refuse to purchase. But by the time we got hair combed no one was in the mood to get dressed and go on a photo adventure with me.

So...I did what any mother would do...I bribed them for a few quick pics in the yard.


If I don't get around to taking them out for a formal shoot, I will at least have these. I'm calling this one the school photo shot. This is what Amelle looked like in 5th grade, in case anyone ever needs to know.





...and this one...well..she's a nut. She wanted to get dressed in her prom dress (with flip flops) and wanted wet hair so it layed flat and would not let me touch it to fix the part. She absolutely loves this picture. She asked me to put it on Facebook. She thinks she looks sixteen and even asked me to show Avery to see if he could figure out who it was. Um...she's crazy. Crazy cute.




Oh, and what do we have here? The world's oldest student? Not quite. I recently came across a photography challenge that started and ended with taking a self-portrait. I don't really have any photographs of me, which I'm really okay with...but figured it might be good to try to take some.

Of course...once the camera was set up...I had company...





What was even better than taking self-portraits was taking photos of me with Amaya. I think I'm going to try to get pics of me with each of the kids soon. My friend Nancy recently recommended a remote for my camera which I would love to get. I'm sure it'll be a thousand times better than the self-timer.

I'm looking forward to setting up a photobooth-type activity for the family soon. Stay tuned for some interesting pics!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life in Limbo - Adoption

On Saturday I had a great phone conversation with B. I love when we can get beyond the normal, "I love you, how are you, I miss you, school is good" stuff. Our conversations will go wherever his language skills and my understanding skills will take us. On Saturday we laughed together about a mutual friend. It wasn't really all that funny, but it sure tickled him - and once he started laughing..well..that laugh is just infectious. I began laughing and the sound of both of us laughing at the same time was some good medicine.

When the laughter faded he said he wanted to skype soon [pause] ..then "I miss your face". My heart sighed deeply. .... I miss his face too. I will skype with him, although I know that skype won't satisfy. Nothing will fill the void. Nothing can satisfy the longing of a mother's heart to have her child safe in her arms. I'm sensing that B is longing in the same way - for the comfort of his mother's arms too. (...he marvels at my fat arms, "mom, your arms are sooo fat". Gotta love that. Skinny arms need not apply.)

Today a FB message from B read, "Hi Mom, I love you I miss you so much!!! Mom you are the best of best in my life mom. I love you so much!!!!!"

What am I suppose to do with that? Writing back "I love you too" doesn't seem like enough. But then again, boarding the next plane to Africa seems like overkill. So I'm stuck. Holding his adoration in my heart. I suppose I should cherish that expression of love - surely once he gets here and is subjected to my drill sargentry (mostly just in the mornings), he'll change his mind about me. Maybe he'll downgrade me from "the best of the best" to "good" or "tolerable". I don't know.

I just miss him.

Last week I came across this dried up, flattened little rose bud (pictured above). B gave that to me the day I met him in early 2009. As I was getting ready to leave Kolfe he plucked it off of a rose bush and handed it to me. Maybe he hoped that it would help me remember him? Ha...did I ever. The rose bud might not look like much now, but to me it is a beautiful symbol of the day God planted the seed of a son in my heart.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Big Daddy

This post might need to be filed under "Things That Are Only Amusing To Me". I apologize in advance.


I'm away. Out of town. In a hotel. ...which means that Dirt and I had a great chance to catch up last night. Don't ask me how that works. When he's in bed next to me we don't always chat, when he's not...we do. Weird.

Anyway...we were catching up on events from Monday...the day he and Avery went on a field trip. Let me back up a little bit....the kids are at a new school this year. A very small school where the 10-15 kids per class migrate from grade to grade with each other. The social circles are tight and when Avery asked if I could chaperone his field trip, I assumed something was up. Socially. Like maybe he was afraid he wouldn't have anyone to sit with on the bus and his mom was a better option than sitting alone. I don't know? I have no real proof, I just found it odd that he was requesting that I chaperone. Normally Avery is socially adept and moves confidently and easily in and out of social circles. For this reason, he doesn't usually want his mom hanging around.

The Lord must've intervened because I was about to call Dirt and tell him that I though HE should go on the field trip, when an email came in from him saying that he thought he should chaperone. (Love when that happens).

So Monday was the day of the big field trip. Dirt rode on the bus with Avery and 30 other boisterous kids. He was responsible for a group of boys - Avery and his buddies. Apparently one of Avery's friends is a "leader" - he's bold, funny and kids follow him. This particular boy seemed to really like Dirt. At one point he overheard Avery call Dirt, "Daddy" and then decided that he was going to call Dirt "Daddy". Then somewhere along the lines "Daddy became "Big Daddy" and by mid day all the boys in his group were calling him "Big Daddy". Much to Dirt's amusement.

On the way home, the leader boy was organizing various chants on the bus. They would call out names and then a chant would ensue. Of course, a "Big Daddy" chant was imminent. But then out came another chant, "We Love You Big Daddy!". ...from 30 kids on the bus.

As Dirt was telling me this story, I'm cracking up. Dying. Tears are rolling down my cheeks. I'm concerned that someone from hotel management is going to come knocking on my door because they think I might be slaughtering a hyena in my room.

If you know Dirt, you know that he is a gentle giant. He is the most mild-mannered guy; so quiet and unassuming. He's so not the "Big Daddy" type.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's A Boy!

We got our referral today! It's a boy. He's 66.5 inches long and 92 lbs. The labor has been arduous and the delivery ain't over yet.

My cell phone rang at 5:11p (does anyone else find this mildy amusing?) - and even though I saw my social worker's name, I figured she was just calling to tell me why things weren't progressing. It wasn't until I answered and heard her sing songy happy voice that I realized that THIS might be THE call. "Are you ready to receive some emails?"

Um..heck yeah.

Okay...so it's not like most referrals where the parents have no idea what they're getting. I confess that I already knew most of the stuff in the referral. But this call was far from anti-climactic because that awful waiting is over. We are "offically matched" with him. There is now certainty that we're getting submitted when courts re-open. No more paper cuts.

So....

We have arrived at our current destination. Next stop: Waitsville. (Didn't we just leave there?)

1) Court opens Oct 8, we get submitted then.
2) We wait for a court date (estimate 2-4 months).
3) Once we pass court we are officially his parents!
4) We wait for an embassy date (usually 2-4 weeks from court).
5) I travel to Ethiopia to attend the embassy appointment with him and bring him home!

I am praying the impossible: to have him home by Christmas. I know this is unlikely - but I'm convinced that God likes my crazy BIG prayers....so I will continue to pray them! Please join me!


This is happening people. Really happening! Holla!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rockin' the Rocket

Last week, "rocket parts" mysteriously appeared in the house.


Apparently Dirt and Avery had been to the hobby shop.



It didn't take a rocket scientist (ha!) to figure out that the rocket essentials that laid dormant in my dining room would soon be used to construct a rocket...that would one day be launched from our backyard...


...and used as an awesome microphone.



Sunday was the big day.




holy smokes..

She blasted off into the heavens, released her parachute, and descended oh so carelessly back down to earth.


Are rockets feminine, like boats? Anyone know?



Ground zero will never be the same.


Actually it will. It already is. I just felt like this story needed a bit of poignancy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. Not because it’s Monday…not directly anyway…though that doesn’t help. It’s because I fear the paper cut. Let me explain.

Our adoption process was going along swellingly well. Things were smooth, our agency was helping to move things along quickly because of B’s age. My plan was to have him home in September and on most days I believed that was going to happen. I was praying, my small group was praying..and things were happening! God things – like getting our fingerprints done early, our agency working on B’s referral before our CIS approval came back, and our CIS approval coming back in record time. My calculations had us getting our referral about a week after our dossier was in Addis. Amazing timing. This was in early July – which meant that we could get submitted to court before the August closure. Life was good.

Each day I waited expectantly for the call from my social worker (sw) between 10a –12p. You see, my sw had assured me that the referral should be complete "soon" – they had mostly everything, they were just waiting on one piece of paper. At one point she even told me that she could actually read me the referral, it just wouldn’t be “official” until they got that last piece of paper. I just knew that any day I’d get the call, and I assumed, based on my complex mathematical calculations that it would be between the hours of 10am and 12pm.

For those who are so inclined to step inside my brain (a scary, scary, place), here is my complex mathematical rationale: Ethiopia is 9 hours ahead of Texas, so by the time my sw gets to work in the morning, the workday in Ethiopia is already over. Therefore any new news on our case would be waiting in her email box upon her 8am arrival. Since we are 2 hours ahead of TX, her 8am is my 10am. I figured that she’d call me within the first 2 hours of her workday because surely she isn’t going to save a referral call until the end of the day – it’s kind of a big deal. Okay, now you can get out of my brain…it’s super crowded in here – between you and all the words to Led Zeppelin songs from my college days…there just isn’t room for much more.

Back to the story…

Every day I was infused with hope as 10am rolled around…but by 12pm…my shoulders rounded forward as hope drained from my body. As the last drop of hope exited at precisely 12pm, a sting of sadness would settle in. A paper cut on my heart.

As of today, I have endured 50 paper cuts. Although my sw assures me that everything is fine with B’s case, she is just waiting on the Ethiopian sw to email her the last piece of paper, which should be “any day”….tomorrow at high noon I will likely receive my 51st paper cut. I’m sorry if that sounds defeated and dreary. I have heard “should be any time now” or “should be next week” at least 10 times – and last week when she told me “should be early next week” I decided not to believe her. Sort of. Because I want so strongly for this to be true I will unwillingly, expectantly await her call between 10a-12p. I can’t help it.

I keep reminding myself that it doesn’t really matter when I get the referral because the courts are closed now anyway, I just need to get it before they re-open in October – that's all that really matters. That’s the logical part of my brain talking. However, I don’t live there. I live here: Dude. At this point, I just need it. I need that part of this process to be done. Now. I can't wait another day. I can't wait another second. I need some chocolate.

Lord, please let tomorrow be the day. Thank you. Amen.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Today is B's birthday (a story for another day). Normally when one of my kids has a birthday I'm busy figuring out cake and gifts and how to make the day special. Today was different. Despite my prayers for him to be home by the time his birthday rolled around, he was not. This was the birthday email I sent him:




Happy Birthday sweet boy!

On your birthday I am reflecting on a few things that I'd like to share with you:

1) The preciousness of your life. Read Psalm 139 today. You will see that you were precious to God before you were born. He tells us that you are wonderfully made! His work is good - he made you perfect in his eyes and you are precious to Him who created you. He knows the plan for your life - all the pages of your life were written before even one of them came to be. I know that you have suffered pain in your life. I know that your life with your birth-mom wasn't easy and your life at Kolfe has not been good - but God will use those experiences somehow, someway for your good and His glory. Romans 8 tells us that he works all things together for the good of those who love Him. He is at work in your life! He has a beautiful plan for you and it is good!

2) Your past and your future. Today, as we celebrate your birth I think about your past. I think about your birth-mom who gave you life. I think about her carrying you in her belly and her labor to have you. I think about her holding you and carrying you and kissing your forehead when you were a precious little baby. Oh how she must have loved you - you were such a beautiful baby boy! When I think about some of the hard times you had with her my heart hurts that you didn't feel loved. I think about how difficult it must've been when she died. How your little heart must've been confused and sad. I wish I had known you then so that I could've lifted you up and held you in my arms and told you that I love you and that I would be your new mom and I would take you home with me and never, ever, ever leave you. I wish I could've told you back then about your future in America - where you will one day live. I wish I could've told you about your new mom and dad that love you - and your little brother and two little sisters, your grandmas, your aunts and uncles, and your church family - and all the love that so many people have for you. I wish we could go back to that day so I could hold you and tell you about all these great things that your future holds.

3) I think about where I was 15 years ago today - the day you were born. I was just meeting your dad. We met the year you were born. I fell in love with him when I met him and I knew we would someday marry. We had our first conversation about adoption in October of 1996 - while you were still a newborn baby. We had no idea when we dreamed about one day adopting - that our son had just been born on a distant continent halfway across the world. We did not know - but God knew! This was part of His plan!

4) I think about you today. I hope you have a fun day celebrating with your friends. My heart longs to have you here with us so that we could celebrate your birth together. I want to look you in the eyes and tell you how happy I am that you were born. I want you to know how good God is to give us such a special son. I want you to know that you are so loved and so precious to me and dad and we will always care about you and look after your best interests. We will help you choose the right direction in life. We will always pray for you. Me and dad will always love you.

I hope you know how precious you are. You are loved by God and you are loved by your family!

Love,
Mom

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Seriously God?

Today God rocked my world. Check this out:

This morning I was chatting with a friend from church who stopped by the house to finish up some work he had done for us a while back. He mentioned that he was going to NY. When I nosily asked why, he shared that he was going to help with a ministry that was in need of some labor. As he was telling me about his trip I felt compelled to give him a $50 Visa Gift Card that I had hanging on our refrigerator. I thought maybe he could use it for gas. Someone had given me the gift card a few months ago as a thank you for taking photographs of her baby. I hung it on the refrigerator not really knowing what I was suppose to do with it.

Immediately after I felt the urge to give him the gift card, my own selfishness began to seep in. I began thinking of reasons why I should keep the card for myself and what I could use it for. However, my greedy thoughts were abruptly halted when I sensed God saying, “Give him the gift card, I can do so much more”. I sighed to myself, headed into the house, obediently grabbed the card off the refrigerator, and then walked back outside and gave it to our friend. He thanked me and then he left. It was 11:59am.

At 12:06 I checked my email and found a message from my caseworker. The email said that we had received a $2000 grant towards our upcoming adoption costs!

Um. Tears. Laughter. Praise. Ephesians 3:20.

Seriously God, You are amazing. Thank you for loving me so much and allowing me to hear Your subtle voice and see Your mighty hand at work! You are the author of all that is good.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School: 2011

We weren't sure the first day of school was going to happen this year. I mean, we knew it would happen...eventually...we just weren't sure that it was going to happen today.



Hurricane Irene struck yesterday - and although it was less than devastating (far less), we did lose our power for 28 hours, 32 minutes, and 14 seconds...or so.



The kids had to brush their teeth "Africa-style". Bottled water only because we had no running water.




This year is a BIG year for our family because Amaya started Kindergarten at the same school that the older kids are attending. Did you catch that? 1 school, all 3 kids. One drop-off! Holy cow, life is good! (she was just a wee bit excited!)




Amelle and Avery had a lot to smile about too - they are attending a new school this year - one with a less stringent dress code! Amelle gets to wear "regular clothes" - which was kind of exciting!




Avery still has to wear a collared shirt - but there is freedom in colors and styles. He wanted to go on record as being "unhappy" about starting school. Although he's glad to be going to a new school, lets' face it, school is far less enticing than summer, so he wanted to ensure that his picture did not depict a smile. ...even though I was making strange fart noises to try to force a smile. He was stone cold.



3 kids. 1 school.
I can't stop pinching myself.




It was extra-special to find a friend waiting for us in the parking lot. Ellie is also attending Seacoast Christian this year - friendly faces are good on the first day at a new school.

Don't ask me why that picture is blurry - I'm going to blame it on the fact that we were late. Or maybe Renee pushed me as I snapped. Or maybe my focal point was aimed at that little spot of rotten wood between Ellie & Amelle's legs. You'll never know the truth.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bridge Jumping!

Bridge jumping has become a favorite sport around here.



...so on Friday when I received a text from a friend that she was headed to the bridge...





...I alerted my troops and within minutes they were in bathingsuits and we were headed out the door.






Avery is the real jumper in the family...Amelle has done it, but has no real desire to continue doing it. Amaya can't wait to jump - but I think she needs to become a stronger swimmer (there is a current).






In the meantime, she can paddle a kayak! (which I got to try and LOVED)


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nature Walk - People

All the photographs from our nature walk should be on one post.
However.
I am lazy.
And Picasa only uploads 4 pictures at a time.
So...here are the peeps.


Will & Avery





Amaya.
Wow I should have cropped this picture. (I'm too lazy to go back and do it now). Sorry Beckett.





The gang - minus me
(again, I was apparently too lazy to set up the auto-timer)





Heading home