Saturday, December 31, 2011

3 weeks later

It has been 3 weeks since we first got on a plane to go to Addis Ababa. To make the long trip over to meet our precious daughter at last. It has been a little over 2 weeks since we came home and let me tell you...those 2 weeks have been long.

It was hard to leave Ethiopia - the sweetness of the people, the amazing JOY they have, amidst the poverty and dirt. The beauty of the terrain. So many things that heighten your senses. We had such a sweet, sweet time there with our little girl. I feel myself longing for not only her, but for Ethiopia as well. Craving the food, the bustle, even the crazy driving. To leave that sweet week and come back into the crazy busy, crazy commercial, crazy hustle of the holiday season. My kids had one week of school left and it was full of Christmas parties and such - the scramble of the forgotten teachers presents! Last minute presents to buy. Loads of laundry. Trying to grieve - oh how my heart felt paralyzed. Such a dear reunion with my kids, but they had suffered our absence as well. They had a great week with friends, but within an hour of being with them, I could feel the release of a weeks worth of pent up emotions coming out of them. Trying to be present with and for them, to just sit and hold them, to not get frustrated with their whining when I really wanted to whine myself. Loved being back with them, but it made the "unfinished" part of our family even more obvious. Trying to process out all I was feeling, getting in the Christmas "spirit", when the meaning of Christmas felt so very different than any other year of my life probably. Honestly, this paragraph wears me out just writing it!

We had a sweet Christmas - spent together as a family and with some extended family. Celebrating the birth of our Savior, loving watching my kids open their gifts and the excitement that they always have.

But the absence is never far from me. My arms longing for the weight of her. Wanting to start this new stage of our life. Our kids are very excited to bring her home and love looking at the pictures of her over and over, the videos showing her sweet smile and giggle. My 3 year old asking most days if we can go get baby "R" after dinner, or after nap, or tomorrow when we wake up. My almost 8 year old telling me that the thought of R coming home ranks a 10 on a scale of 1-10, but sometimes the excitement gets bumped down a couple of points by the fact that he is now having to share his room with Micah (the 3 year old!). My sweet Kate is ready to go shopping for her new little sister! Not a day goes by that I don't go through all the pictures - memorizing her face again and again.

So, what are we doing now? Waiting...again :-) Once all of our paperwork is gathered from passing through the Ethiopian courts, it will be submitted to the US Embassy in Ethiopia. That normally takes a few weeks. Then it take another couple of week for them to process your case. Typically there are request for further information, such as requesting to meet with R's birthmother. Sometimes it can get referred to a bigger US Embassy in Nairobi. Then eventually, though we do not know when, the Embassy will clear our case and we will be issued an Embassy date - THAT is when we get to go back!!!! So, it could be 5 weeks, it could be 3 months. Please pray with me that it is the former, and we can get this baby girl home to our family!

So, in the meantime, I am nesting some more. Moving Micah into Daniel's room. Unpacking the crib, going through girl clothes - what do I have, what do I need. Learning all I can about caring for african hair and skin, practicing my techniques on Kate (though she has silky straight blond hair). Shopping :-) Working on being in the present. Savoring this time with only 3 kids, and no infant. Movies, putt-putt golf, ice skating, sleeping in! I know that will change for a time when little miss gets home, but I am ready and excited about the change.

Can't wait to be able to show you the sweet little smile that is behind this heart!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trip 1 - Day 5: the day we have to say good-bye

I have prayed for this day for so long. Probably envisioned this day even more than the day that I finally got to meet her. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would rip my heart out, and tear a piece of me off to say good-bye to her - to leave her so far away from me, to have my children on 2 different continents.
It was a day like most of the other days - we were picked up to be taken to Hannah's Hope. We spent the morning easily getting smiles, holding her as she slept, giving her her bottles. Then back to the hotel for lunch. Then back to Hannah's Hope for our last visit with her. I knew it would go by quickly. A part of me longed to go home: I wasn't feeling great, I was dreading the 28 hour travel day home, I was missing my sweet kids here, anxious to get this heart break over and start marking the days until we get to go back and bring her home. In those last few hours of holding her, I longed for her, even more than I ever have. Wondering at her, at this precious child that God had chosen to bless us with, marveling at how He could have picked me, picked her, picked us to be brought together as a family. As I was holding this sleeping child in my arms, I saw Wass coming toward me, I knew the hour. I tried to blend in hoping he would just walk on by so I didn't hear the words I knew were coming,
"It is time to go."
As I walked over to the baby house I felt as though I was walking to my doom. My heart was surely going to beat out of my chest. I had done this every day this week - left her in the more than capable, very loving arms of her special mothers. Yet, this was different. This time didn't have a 'you get to come back in the morning.' It was hard to see my big strong husband saying good-bye to his tiny little girl. Snuggling her one more time.
I held it together pretty well, not wanting to freak the other older kids out with my sobbing disaster of a self. I held it together pretty well as we went back to the hotel to pack up and get ready to go to the airport. I held it together pretty well through the chaos of finding our way through the Addis airport and having our plane delayed over and over because the oven in business class wasn't working.
The plane was pretty full but there were some empty seats right in front of our row so we decided to spread out a bit. Not a great idea, I really needed the comfort of my husband because I DID NOT do so well as the plane took off. In that moment of that plane lifting off from my daughter's country, it hit me so hard I could barely breath. I was leaving her and I didn't know when I would get to go back. There is no getting up and going back in the morning. There is no after lunch visit before her bedtime. I am going to miss these next few days, weeks, maybe months of her life. I really thought I was going to stop breathing in that moment it hurt so badly. I had been praying for grace and mercy all week long, and it was only that building up of my strength in God's presence that got me through that moment. Leaving her not only in the hands of her special mothers, but in the hands of her very Special and very Loving Father. Trusting Him with her took on a completely different meaning once I had held her in my arms.
The flight home was hard. Long and hard. It took us about 28 hours of traveling to get home. There were several times that I swore that only the love for one of my children could make me go through that again! But go through it again I will, and next time I will bring my daughter home for good!

Trip 1 - Day 4: Court Day

On our Court Day, Danny picked us up early so that we could make it to court on time. The traffic was horrible! We had to stop to pick up Haile (our court processor/advocate) to go with us. Court is not at all what you would imagine. It isn't some nice court house with revolving doors. We did go through a security check to go in, and then trekked up the 4 flights of stairs to the court waiting room (not so easy to do in that altitude). We walked into a tiny little room where most of the chairs were broken and it was packed with people. We had been warned ahead of time to be quiet and respectful as the judge has closed court before due to people being too loud. There were tons of people - adoptive families, birth parents there to relinquish their rights, and other people there for various reasons. Though feeling a bit better, Matthew was still pretty sick so he was propped up against a wall in a corner dozing in and out of awareness. There is no order to how people are called so you have to be there when court starts and wait until you get called. We got there at about 9:15 and we were finally called into the judges chambers at around 11. It was very simple and very quick. She asked us such questions as: Have we educated ourselves and prepared ourselves for adopting a child, how did our other children feel about another child, had we started learning some about Ethiopian culture so that we could teach our child about her country, had we connected with other families with adopted children, did we know that once this was over that she was officially ours. Once we answered all her questions, the words we had been waiting for, "She is all yours!" What a strange mixture of feelings! Excitement, fear, what have we done!!!! and wonder, just plain wonder! We officially have 4 kids!
After court, we went to the market to shop a bit. It was crazy - so many things and so many people. We had a list of things that we wanted to look for - some things for our family, some things to have for her as she grows, special little gifts we can give her at different times in her life. It isn't like you can just go back to Ethiopia and pick up something you forgot so we tried to make the most of our time.
After a short rest at the hotel, it was back to Hannah's Hope and "officially" our daughter. Even though I knew she didn't know the difference, I whispered over and over to her that she was "officially" ours. It did feel different somehow.
It was bath time so I got to give her a bath - been a while since I have bathed a slippery little baby! She really loves the water and smiled and "talked" through the whole thing. I lotioned her all up, then one of the special mothers put a big glob of baby oil in my hand to rub in her hair - a little different from my little white babies :-)
Tomorrow is our last day...dreading it already.

Trip 1 - Day 3

This was a great day - nothing planned but just being at Hannah's Hope with R. After we picked up R from her Special mother, we took her into the clinic to weigh her. She is growing! She is about 4 months old (we is hard to know for sure because birthdays are not something that is very important in Ethiopian cultural and are often wrong), but she seems by her size and development to be closer to 3 months. She weighed 10 lbs., was 22 in. long, and head circumference of 38 cm. I loved checking her all out - counting her toes and looking over all her fingers.
We got Wass to translate so we could ask the special mothers some questions about her. She eats about every 2 hours - they really do give them a bottle every time they cry. If she just ate an hour ago but didn't finish all her bottle, the next time she cries, they give her the rest. When she wakes up at night she might drink an ounce of milk and then go right back to bed, so she is really used to just sort of snacking anytime she wants to! She seems like a pretty easy going baby.

After lunch we went back to Hannah's Hope - R had just gotten out of the bath. We spent some time talking to Almaz and she gave us a CD of pictures of R birth mom. When her birth mom came to Addis for her court date, she came to Hannah's Hope to see R. The staff talked to her for a while and asked her questions that they will give to us when we go back and they took pictures of her with R. It was much harder to see these pictures than I thought it would be. She is a beautiful woman and her love for R was obvious. I love this woman dearly and my heart hurts for her.

Matthew got really sick today. Running a pretty high fever, chills, and having a hard time staying awake and being upright - a little scary when you are in a 3rd world country and have no idea what to do if he needs medical help. Thankfully I had brought a prescription of antibiotics so he started those and within about 24 hours was feeling better. We had court the next day so staying in bed was not an option!

Trip 1 - Day 2

So sweet to wake up knowing that that we get to go right to Hannah's Hope to play with our girl! We only got to go to Hannah's Hope in the morning this day because we had some other things planned for the afternoon. Like every morning, we found R outside with the babies playing in the sun! She became more and more responsive through the week and it was awesome to watch her become aware of us. Hannah's Hope works like a clock - the kids wake up every morning about 6:30, eat, rest, play inside a little, then they are outside by about 9 to sun. At around 10:30 all the toys and babies are packed up and taken inside to the baby room. I spent a lot of time in the baby room rocking and feeding R. It was pretty intimidating to care for her in the midst of the special mothers who care for her all the time. With the language barrier it is almost impossible to ask questions or talk to them about her. It was interesting to watch the special mother's response to me as well. Their caution of me at first, then becoming more and more comfortable with me as they saw that ,"oh, maybe she does know something about what she is doing!". There were several times toward the end, when Matthew was holding our R (so my arms were free) and another baby was crying that they would point to me and then to the crying baby telling me to go help with that one. They often have a baby in their arms drinking their bottle, one foot bouncing a child in a bouncy seat, and another toddler snuggled into their side. I was more than happy to love on the other kids when I could. So they feed the babies and then lay them down for a nap, the toddlers know to come in, lay down on the rug, they cover up their heads with a blanket, and they go to sleep - amazing! This is a picture of the baby/toddler room:
While the kids are napping, they clean. To go into the the baby house, you take your shoes off and put on a pair of crocs or flip flops - these are scrubbed every day. The toys are cleaned, the blankets washed, the floors are swept and mopped, the courtyard swept - it is very clean.

Typically by around 3:30, all the kids are upstairs, getting baths, playing, having bottles and getting ready for bed which starts around 6:30. R is in the ladybug room with about 6 other kids.
We went back to our hotel for lunch and to rest before our Ethiopian cultural dinner that night. Since this was really the only day that we had a large amount of free time, we decided to see some of the city. Addis is pretty hectic! There are tons of people, and lots of cars and they drive like crazy. There are no stop lights or traffic signs so even at a major intersection, people just sort of bust their way through. Pedestrians have no right of way so there are people running across the road everywhere trying not to get hit, all this coupled with the donkeys, horses, cows, and goats that just walk around or lay in the road, riding in a car in Addis was quiet an experience. So we hired a taxi and went to the National Museum and St. George Orthodox Cathedral.
We got back to the hotel just in time to be picked up by Wass and taken to the Ethiopian Cultural dinner. Wass is the primary driver, tourist guide extraordinaire, and special father at Hannah's Hope. He is a very willing conversationist and we loved asking him questions. Some interesting things we learned from Wass is that Ethiopians love American Country Music, Ethiopian Protestants only listen to spiritual music and they do not drink or dance, to tell a girl you like her you would throw a lemon at her chest and if she like you back she will pick it up and kiss it, and that Beyonce learned how to shake her booty from Ethiopians who are the best booty shakers around! He knows a ton about the different regions of Ethiopia so we also learned a lot about the Afar, which is where R is from.
The cultural dinner was amazing. They bring you warm water and soap before and after you eat to clean your hands and after dinner you have a coffee ceremony. Ethiopian food is yummy - you eat it by tearing off a piece of Injera (a flatbread) and picking up the food so you really need your hands cleaned in the end!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trip 1 - Day 1

We left Knoxville at 6am on 12/10. Don't really think I slept at all that night! Our donations were all packed and we were ready to go - that big box is a rocking chair and we had a tote and 2 duffle bags packed full of diapers, wipes, formula, etc. So thankful for all the things that people gave to take over with us.

We went from Knoxville to DC, and then boarded our plane that went straight to Addis Ababa - a 13 hour flight.
Watching the screen the entire way - pretty sure I didn't sleep for that 13 hours either!
We landed in Addis at about 7:45am (about midnight our time) and after we stood in line forever to get our visa, go through immigration, find our luggage, customs, etc. we found our ride and got to our hotel at about 9:30. We were given our itinerary and saw that we were being picked up in 45 minutes to go to Hannah's Hope to meet R! Can't even explain that feeling - to know that I was finally going to get to hold my little girl. This is us riding in the van to go to Hannah's Hope.
Finally we saw them - the black gates that I had seen so many times in other people's pictures - the gates that lead you into Hannah's Hope.

We were greeted by the older kids will shouts and hugs - so precious to be greeted by these sweet little faces. Tears are already rolling down my face and these aren't even my children, but they are kids that I pray for daily. Then our driver D told us that our little one was over at the baby house. The special mothers take the babies and toddlers outside every morning to "sun" and play. R's special mother was holding her when we got there. Finally, the moment of holding her in my arms had come. She was so tiny, even more tiny than I thought she would be. But so perfect. She fit perfectly in my arms.
It always amazes my how my body doesn't forget the feel of a baby in my arms, or the swaying my body automatically started when I held her. It remembers what to do. We spent about 4 hours that day holding her, giving her a bottle, and getting to know her.

We also met with Johannes (our family coordinator) to exchange money (100 birr = ~$6 USD) and to place our coffee orders.

Fell into a very happy sleep that night - looking forward to the next day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

In 24 hours...

we will be on a plane to go and meet our sweet little girl!

We have been so amazingly blessed by phone calls, prayers, tons of donations, little gifts to take with us. The Lord continues to bless us with the fellowship of His people around us. Can't wait to share her with all of you :-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thoughts during Advent

Advent is always a special time in our family. We get back into the routine (which we often lose during the hustle of getting back into the groove of school) of nightly family worship. The lighting of the Advent candles, the readings printed out, the hymnal open, the Jesse Tree starting to fill out, our favorite little Advent Calendar set up - we have many little family rituals we tend to each day to remind us of where our focus should be.

This year these things seem so magnified. It began with our first night of Advent. My husband had us all sit in darkness for a short time (our 3 year old doesn't sit anywhere for very long), then he lit our first Advent Candle. It was so very real. The longing for the lights to come back on. The waiting for the light...then the one candle lit. It made the darkness go away. Not fully, not yet, but a light in that dark room. While the dark has been penetrated by the light, we still wait, with longing, for it to be gone completely.

I think it all seems so much more real this year because I have been in a state of waiting, of longing. If I am honest with myself, I will admit that there have been few times in my life I have really had to wait for anything. Maybe a week, or a month, or a year. But to really WAIT? Probably not. Let me note here also, that I do not do waiting well, it is not pretty. I am an instant gratification person. So this wait has been really hard.

There is the waiting, yes, but there is also this AMAZING story of adoption. God has gone to such impossible lengths to adopt us, to rescue us. This year I have been overwhelmed with the OT prophetic stories of the coming of the Christ child. The plan that God had for us. His voice, the light that was brought forth out of the void of nothingness in Creation. The amazing Shoot that will branch out of the stump of Jesse. The sacrifice that God provided Abraham in place of Isaac. All those OT stories point us to the story of our adoption, an adoption that will change the course of our life.

During this time of waiting for our child, the love of God has been so present and so real for me. I want so much more of Him. The longing has pointed me to Him over and over. As I have longed and waited for our sweet Ethiopian daughter, I have had to cling to my Father who has adopted me. Knowing that His love for her, for all my children, for me, is so much more that I can comprehend. Knowing that He longs for her adoption as well (not just into an earthly family).

Now we prepare for our first journey to meet her. My heart is all over the place, as are my hormones! I am crying at everything, laughing and sobbing at the same time in amazement that God has called me to this period of longing in my life, and that at the end of this waiting, there will be a sweet little light as our prayers are finally answered and she will be united to our family. The darkness won't be gone, the pain of her story will still be there, there will be hard days for all of us as we walk our journey out, but it will make us LONG even more for the day when all darkness will be cast out, and we will walk in Pure Light and Joy again.

I can't wait to get her in my arms. To touch her and kiss her sweet face. The longing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paperwork, and Plane Tickets, and Praise OH MY!!!

WE ARE GOING TO ETHIOPIA!!! Yep, that's right - we got a court date! After our referral on 10/10, I really thought that we were done with such amazing news for this month. They prepare you that it could take more than 6 weeks to gather all the paperwork, get it to the Ethiopian Courts and then wait for them to issue you a court date. We got a court date in 2.5 weeks. To say that I was shocked...would be an understatement.

So, WE GET TO GO AND MEET OUR GIRL! I am so excited. I think I cried more over the court date phone call than the referral call. The fact that I am going to see her, going to get to hold her, going to go before a judge to declare my intent to make her my own, makes her seem so real to me. Even more so than seeing her picture for the first time. I can't wait to hold that little girl in my arms.

So, we have plane tickets purchased and are starting to make our plans to travel. There are lots of phone calls, planning, purchasing, etc. that needs to happen before we travel, as well as making a plan for my sweet little kids that I am leaving in the hands of dear friends here. Really my list goes on and on, but I am daily giving it the Lord's hand, and asking him to please work out all the details. He has been so faithful to do so thus far, and I trust that He will continue to do so.

So, what will it look like when we get there? We have an itinerary for each day that includes such things as cultural dinners, shopping in the market place, etc., but the majority of our time will be spent just loving on and cherishing the moments that we get to go to Hannah's Hope to hold our baby, and love on and play with all the other kids there. Oh, my heart aches at the thought of it. We will have a day of court where we go before the judge to answer questions about ourselves and declare officially our desire to adopt R.

and then...we have to leave her. I know this will break my heart, I know that I probably will be a wreck until I get to go back to her, I know that I will carry my phone around like crazy waiting for the news that we get to go back. I also know that she is in good hands at the Transition Home in Ethiopia - those special mothers really do care for those little ones well, and I know and trust that she is in the even better and tender hands of her Heavenly Father, whose timing will be perfect and whose care for her will be much better than even mine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet "Coincidence"

This adoption process is hard - all the emotions involved in it can really wear me out! Enough paperwork to tile my floors with, enough money for a salary, waiting and waiting for a referral, then the sweetness of getting to see our little girls face for the first time but knowing that it could still be months before I can hold her...then come the doubts.

Doubt - why am I really doing this? can I do this? i have three kids already and I am already so busy. do i have the energy for one more? did you really say to go down this road Lord - did you really say it or did i make it up? do I even want to do this? life is calming down a little now that Micah is 3 and in preschool 2 mornings a week and now I am adding another little body to our mix? plagued with doubt...

Today felt especially hard. By 9:15 I had everyone dropped at their schools, I was starting a new volunteer thing in Kate's class and had to be there at noon so I had a couple of hours that was going to be "down time" (whatever that is). I was totally exhausted from not sleeping last night and my plan was to come home and go back to bed. But...I really needed some new shoes, and I had a coupon that was about to expire, and this morning was my only chance this week to do it. So, I went home for a bit, then trudged back out to my car to go to the store. I almost turned around several times thinking, who cares if I save $10, I am so tired, I just want to take a nap. But...I kept going.

A little back story. FB is not all bad. In fact, I have reconnected with people who I probably would never have had the opportunity to. When we first started fundraising last fall, I posted it on my FB page. Not long after I got a message from a sweet girl that I went to high school with. I did not know her well, she was several years younger than me, but in a small town, you know everybody some. She has a huge heart and she wanted to donate toward our adoption funds. Those totally out of the blue people totally blow me away! The people who really have no "personal" interest in our lives, but want to support us and this process that we are in. Like the older couple who instead of giving us $10 for the junk that they bought at our yard sale, gave us $100.

So today, filled with doubt, exhausted from lack of sleep, with coupon in hand, in my few kid free hours of the week, I drove to JC Penney to "buy shoes" or so I thought. Shopping around, I hear my name. It is my friend, my sweet, tenderhearted friend who after years of not seeing her, blessed me with a donation to our adoption. With tears in her eyes, she told me about how she has been praying for us and for our little girl. She told me how she had been blessed to read my blog (which is so poorly written and rambling I can't imagine anyone reading it). She told me of her heart for orphans, and how as a young girl that she took her $20 a month allowance and sponsored a child. I could see the love pouring from her eyes and her faithfulness in our Lord coming from her words. I can not tell you how much the Lord knew that I needed that. How much I needed the sweet reminder that I am not in this alone, and that He has raised up an army to pray for us and for our little girl. Sometimes that army is invisible to me, but at those moments that I am being bombarded with doubt, He is ever faithful to make it visible. He is ever faithful to remind me, if I will listen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Donations for Hannah's Hope

Our Agency's transition home in Ethiopia is called Hannah's Hope. Below is a list of running needs that they have there. I will be taking several large totes of donations and will gladly add more if you have something you would like to donate. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! These donations help them care for our kids when we aren't there to care for them, and we are so grateful for that!

For babies:

  1. Diapers
  2. Pull-ups
  3. Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo
  4. Lotions, baby oils and baby wash
  5. Diaper rash cream—the staff is most familiar with Desitin, however all kids are helpful.
  6. Baby Wipes
  7. Bottles- specifically Avent bottles—both 4 oz. and 9 oz. sizes
  8. Multivitamins for babies—liquid drops
  9. Organic flax seed oil (not capsules)
  10. Vegetable or Soy based formula
  11. Dairy based formula

Things for older children:

  1. Shampoos and conditioners that are fortified for curly hair
  2. Dandruff shampoos
  3. Body soap
  4. Body lotions—especially for dryer or ashy skin
  5. Clothing for boys and girls between 4 and 13 years old and especially need pants and pajamas
  6. Shoes including sneakers (these are especially good for the older boys to play soccer in), for 4 through 13 years old children
  7. Powdered Milk

Other things:

  1. Air freshener (any kind that is safe to use in children/babies rooms and bathrooms)
  2. Regular size towels (both blue and pink).
  3. Braun Thermometer Covers
  4. Deodorant for men and women
  5. “Boppies” for infants (‘C’ shaped pillow)

6. External hard drive

7. 10-20 black three-ring binders (2 inch)

8. Camera and memory cards, 1-4 GB

9. 36. Rechargeable camping lanterns (for when electricity is out)


3. Cold medications for older children and adults

4. Amoxicillin

5. Vitamin C drops

6. Zinc drops

7. Antihistamine syrup

8. Amoxicillin syrup, 125, 250 and 400 mg. doses-antibiotic

9. Co-Trimoxazole-antibiotic

10. Gentamicin drops-for thrush

12. Metrendazol syrup-antibiotic used to treat parasites

13. TTC eye ointment

14. Salbutamol Ventol-for asthma, I think

15. Azithromycin (Zithroxmax, Zmax) syrup-used to treat infections caused by bacteria

16. Ceftriaxone, IM and IV for injection, 250 mg, 500 mg and 1000 mg (Rocephin)-antibiotic

17. Gentamicin eye drops

Questions that make it hard to hold it together

I have told you about some of the funny things that my 3 year old has said about his new baby sister "R". Well there have also been some very hard questions, some really intense (though brief as he is only 3) moments, confusing and conflicting moments, moments that I really have no answer to.
Like this morning at breakfast.
Micah said, "Mommy, does R live in Ethiopia."
"She does for now, Micah."
"Well, does R have a Mommy?"
"Well Micah, I am going to be her Mommy."
"You are? But you aren't in Ethiopia. Does she have another Mommy in Ethiopia"
"Yes she does have another Mommy in Ethiopia."
"What happened to her?"
"Well, she couldn't take care of R the way that she wanted to."
"Why not?"
"Well (notice how all my answers start with Well - they are hard questions), in some places, people don't always have enough food to give their kids."
I got several Why's about this one then...a little unsure of things, sounding a little nervous, I got this...
"Mommy, do you have money? Do you have enough food?"
I could really just feel the confusion (and a little bit of uncertainty coming from him).
So I pulled him onto my lap, reassured him that we have plenty of food, plenty of money, reminded him that the Lord feeds the birds of the field and clothes the flowers in splendor, and that He loves us even more that those things. That He knows what we need, when we need it.
I am so glad Micah isn't old enough to look much past his concern for himself, and not know to ask why then does God not provide those things for all people. I really wouldn't have an answer for that one, because I simply do not know. I ask Him that question often - but I know that His ways are not my ways, and that His ways are infinitely better.
I can't imagine really. I feel like almost every Winter it hits me. Every Winter, when I pass a homeless person on the street, or see a child with no coat, it hits me. I wonder what it would be like to be that Mother who does not know where the food for her children will come from. If they will be fed that day, or the next, if they will be cold that night or have a place to be warm. It confuses and pains me. I saw that confusion, that pain, flash on the face of my 3 year old this morning and it was hard to hold it together - to not be overcome with the pain of it.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Friday, October 14, 2011

things to remember

My kids are thrilled at the thought of a little sister.
Micah's comments have really been the absolute funniest. Constantly looking at her pictures, carrying it around.
Today he said, "Aww. she is so cute Mommy. She is so nice and brown! She look alike me, except I am not brown." Some of our dearest friends here in Knoxville are Indian, and he has said many times that she looks like them.
Many times when we have seen friends this week Micah has blurted out pretty quickly, "I am getting a new sister. Did you know, her name is R (he says her name). She is my little sister."
Today he was saying her name over and over and we started talking about whether or not we would actually call her R (we will keep her name for sure but not sure what she will go by yet), then he said, "Maybe we could call her Megan." Totally out of the blue - no idea where he got that name.
We were driving down the interstate and he said, "When we stop, can we get R then?" We told him it was going to be a long time before we could get her and he said, "Then can she hear us when we talk to her?"
I have caught him on the computer trying to work the mouse down to the iPhoto icon so that he can look at her pictures.
It will be a very long wait for him. I am sure that he will love her to death (until she starts getting into his business, and taking time away from him anyway).

Kate had a dr. appt. today. While we were waiting we were playing hangman. A few rounds in Kate had a three word hang man. I finally guessed it was I Love R. That melted my heart.

I often catch Daniel staring at her picture on the fridge. He told me today that he hasn't really been very excited about this whole adoption thing, until he saw her picture. Now he can't wait.

Just some sweetness I want to remember.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Wow - I never thought I was going to get to write this post! It has been a long, long process this far. We started this process in February of 2010 - 20 months ago! But...on to the good stuff!

A little back story first...

I was really getting discouraged about our, really. My birthday was October 4th, and I prayed for days that the Lord would give us a referral on my birthday. I thought that would be the greatest gift ever. Well, my birthday came. I carried my phone around like crazy. Our agency is in Oregon so I always knew that I have up until 9pm my time before the hope of a call is gone for the day. We were out to dinner as a family - it was probably 6:30pm. I got up to go get one of my kids some ketchup (stepped away from my phone for a second!). When I came back to the table, I had missed a call FROM OUR AGENCY!! Imagine my absolute excitement as I thought the Lord had answered my prayer in EXACTLY the right way. I listened to the vm, but was just a check in call. My heart sank. I really almost cried in the middle of my birthday dinner. I had such a hard time enjoying the rest of the night - the singing, the cake, the presents, all covered by a sadness. I can really just see the Lord - looking at me with His ever patient smile as He watched my impatience, again, just longing for the moment that He would get to reveal His plan.

I had several friends who were praying that I would get a referral on my birthday as well. When I told them about my disappointment the next day, one friend had a great insight. She said that God perhaps did answer my prayer - I just didn't know it yet. That perhaps that day, October 4th, was a very important day in the life of my child, and that it would be revealed to me later. Such wisdom.

Fast Forward to Monday, October 10th:

Mondays in the adoption world, while you are waiting, means the beginning of another week of hoping for a referral. Monday came, we went about our day as normal, but it is always in the back of your head, wondering. I spent part of the day with two families who have sweet little boys from Ethiopia - we were all joking that I should rub their heads - that it might bring on some good vibes or something! About 7:15 that night, I was getting Micah and Kate ready for bed; Matthew and Daniel were on their way home from Cub Scouts. My phone rings - it is our agency. I think for a second, could this be our call? I knew that our case worker had been out of the office for 2 weeks and I had emailed some questions while she was gone. I knew that I was still so disappointed from the other call, that I immediately thought, "Oh, this is just our case worker checking in." I answered, we chatted for a bit, then THE WORDS - I have a little girl that I want to talk to you about! I think I yelled WHAT at her like three times!!! I was so shocked!

We started talking about her - telling me all her info, what little there is of it. About 10 minutes into the conversation Matthew got home. I met him at the door, phone in hand, smiles and tears on my face. He looked really very confused, and a little scared, then it dawned on him that there was probably only one thing that could make me look like that - A REFERRAL!!

We talked with our case worker for about an hour. She told us her approximate birthday and then told us the day that she came into the transition home where she is now - it was OCTOBER 4th!!!!! My birthday - the day that I spent ALL day praying that the Lord would bring us a baby. He answered my prayers in such a sweet way. I almost fell out of my chair when she told me that.

After we got off the phone with our case worker, and while we were waiting for a new email with her pictures to come through, we went to tell the kids. We turned off the TV and I said, "Guys, you know that Mom and Dad have been on the phone for a long time, and we have something we want to talk to you about." Kate jumped up out of her chair and yelled, "Did we get a referral????" I was so happy to scream back YES! Daniel grabbed me around the waist in a huge hug and had such a look of amazement and wonder on his face. Micah was extremely confused by it all as he had no idea what a referral meant, but he started dying laughing at us all jumping and dancing around.

We decided to put the kids to bed while we waited for all the pictures to come through. It wasn't long until we heard the feet of the older two coming back downstairs. They couldn't sleep they were so excited. So the four of us looked at her pictures and talk about her for a long time. Then we called our parents and sent a few text. At this point it was close to 11pm so we decided to stop for the night.

I couldn't though - i came back downstairs multiple times until midnight looking at her sweet face, and back up at 5am the next day looking at it again. Just can't get enough of her :-)

The next day we started the mountain of paperwork - which we mailed in today!!!

I can not tell you how super excited I am - we all are. Micah has asked a million times to see the pictures of HIS baby, asking if he can sleep with his baby, can his baby come home today when he gets up from his nap. We know it could still be a long wait, we know that there could be some very big things that can come up even in this part of the wait, but for now, I am just praising God that He connected our lives with this little girl.

It is amazing how there can be such joy, and such sadness over the news that a new little girl is coming into your family. That is another post.

Monday, September 19, 2011

September Update

We keep moving up! Our official September #'s are # 2's all around! It is like a race to the finish line - I wonder which one will come first??

The wait that was originally supposed to be 9-12 months has turned into 12-18 months. We are now closing in on waiting for 15 months and we are so ready. It has been quiet a roller coaster. International adoption in our chosen adoptive country is somewhat unstable at this point. The changes that have come in the last 6 months have been substantial.. There are families that have lost their referred children. Families in real danger of losing their referred children - that live daily dreading for the phone to ring, afraid of more bad news. There are orphanages being shut down, and other already over run orphanages becoming even more packed with the children from the other shut down orphanages. There are children languishing away while the higher ups battle out the details. It is scary and uncertain sometimes and I wonder if I have it in me to stick it out for even one more day. Then I wonder what it will look like to be granted the amazing privilege of being matched with a child and in the same breath what it would feel like to have that child be taken from us. I cling to the only hope I have. I try to see the big picture. I rely on the promise that the Lord has said that He will not leave them as orphans.

Please continue to pray for not just our process (we are really so small in all of this), but the process as a whole. Adoption, I know, is not the answer to the millions of orphaned children in this world - it really only touches a tiny percentage of them. But, the Lord has given me the hands and feet to do this tiny part for now.

"I long to to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small task as if they were great and noble." - Helen Keller

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Remembering Motherhood

Last spring as school was winding down, we made the decision to no longer home school. This was an agonizing decision for me. My other half has always known that we would eventually send our kids to public school. We are both public school kids ourselves, have nothing against public school, and he is all about getting them "exposed" to the world while they are young and in our home so it isn't such a shock when they get older. Me, I just don't want them exposed, ever. I always LOVE to be in control and I wanted to control their environment, as well as their education. So 2 years ago, when our oldest was gearing up for kindergarten, we decided to do a home school cooperative program. The best of both worlds - a few days here, a few days in a classroom setting with other kids. It was a great choice and I am so glad that we did it. But...I am so glad that we aren't doing it anymore :-)

I agree, full out, that the Lord has given us children and that we, as their parents, are the best choice to care for them and to "raise them up in the way that they should go". I loved my family being all together, I loved our slow mornings and afternoons curled up on the couch reading, I loved watching the light turn on as I taught them new things. I do not plan on any of this stopping (except the slow mornings obviously). I plan to continue teaching my children, reading with them and to them, teaching them new things. But what I also plan on doing is becoming their mom again, and enjoying it.

What homeschooling has done to me is make me their teacher...first. I have lost the joy in being their mom. I was so wiped out by the academic education of them that I lost the relational and spiritual teaching of them. I was walking around with a huge rock of responsibility that was taking my joy in them away. I was not being a good mother, because all I had to give them was the teaching. I missed them.

I spent the last half of last year praying that the Lord would change me, that he would make me enjoy homeschooling or give me the freedom to to send them to public school. I felt like such a failure because I thought I wasn't giving my kids the best by not homeschooling. I felt like a failure because I couldn't do what all the other moms around me were doing. So I prayed. I had a friend ask me whose permission I needed to not homeschool. What a great question. So I started asking the Lord to give me permission to quit. It came almost instantly. All I had to do was ask that - and I felt such freedom to release that expectation on myself. I have had many people try to change my mind, but the Lord has always given me a great peace about it.

Now, it has only been a half of a week of public school and I know this is way too early to tell if this is the answer to my sucking as a mom, but man, I have so enjoyed my kids this week. I have enjoyed teaching them. I have enjoyed reading to them, and letting them read to me. I have enjoyed sitting down to do piano with them in the afternoon instead of yelling at them to get their practice done - because by the afternoon, I had nothing left to give them, and a whole days worth of curriculum yet to plan for the next day. I have enjoyed my still at home little guy, because I have some energy left to give him, and a desire to actually teach him something for a change (my daughter started reading at 3, sweet Micah doesn't even know all of his letters).

I feel like I am remembering what it means to be their Mom. I miss them like crazy, it is driving me a bit nuts that I don't know what they are studying each day, but I send them off each morning under God's protection and supervision, praying with them and for them like I have never done before. Trusting and enjoying...

Monday, August 1, 2011

some sweet moments

Just to share a few sweet moments with my kids lately:

My kids do a summer library reading program each year. When they finish and turn in their reading log they get to write their names on a a handprint and put it on the library wall. Kate put her hand on Ethiopia.

A few days ago at the park, I was pushing Micah (just turned 3) on the swing. I started talking to a fellow swing pusher- asking about their kids. They asked me how many kids I had, and if they were girls or boys. As we shared our kid info, Micah chimed in and informed the Dad that he also had a little sister in Ethiopia and that she would be home soon. My heart burst with excitement over bringing our little girl home. He will be such a great big brother!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A year and some days

As of June 26th, we have been on the waitlist for 12 months. We started out as #75 in line for a little girl, and #45 in line for siblings. It has been a long year...but we are closing in, I hope!

So many people ask me why we are doing this? Why add more chaos to your already young family of three kids? If I want to add more chaos, I obviously can carry my own biological children, so why go through this long ordeal of adopting one (or two)? The answer is quiet simple (and complex). The Lord has put it in our hearts to. It isn't just about trying to grow our family (we can do that pretty well - our three precious children are testimony to that). It is about answering a call. A call that the Lord put on my heart ages ago, and Praise God, brought me a husband with that same call.

We sort of always knew that we would, so when it came to a time in the life of our family that we started talking about it, I ask the Lord to show me if that was the right thing to do. He was so pleased to do so, over and over. He still does. On days that I doubt, I ask Him to show me again, and he does, ever faithful.

It has a tough year with waiting. Watching the program change, almost stop, trusting, waiting, hoping, watching. The Lord has stretched and moved me in amazing ways. If this had been about just growing my family, I could have already done that (twice probably!).

So, where are we after a little over a year of waiting (it has actually been well over a year since we started, but only year since we got on the list)? We are getting close! Not close to bringing her/them home...but at least close to getting a referral and getting those first glimpses of who our precious children are. We are around #7 for a girl 0-24 months, and #4 for siblings 0-24 months. Our hope of bringing a child home in the summer has been gone for a while, so I have started praying for a Christmas baby, though that may be a long shot as well.

People ask where we are financially? Waiting...The Lord has told me he will provide this, whether that is through donations, or taking out loans, I do not know...but it will come.
It cost about $30K to adopt 1 child, and about $45 for siblings. We have paid about $15K so far ($6K of that we borrowed - the other we had saved). We have raised through donations, yard sales and t-shirts about $8K, and have been putting money aside into our adoption fund as we can. So, we still have a need here (esp. if we do get siblings).

That is a brief update on the last year. Hoping to have some really good news to share soon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

an unexciting update

Well, for June we are still #13 for a girl and #7 for siblings. The movements has been very discouraging and I feel like I am having to rally my spirits daily. It is very hard, but I keep trusting and waiting, trusting and waiting. Enjoying the time we have together as a 5 family.

There were about 21 families who passed court and will be traveling back for their second trip to bring their sweet ones home (some are actually there right now). Hoping and praying that will mean that there will be some movement soon.

In other family life...We have closed down shop on homeschooling. We finished the year with a bang and have been loving summer break. We have made the very hard, but exciting decision to send our kids to public school next year. They will go to Ball Camp Elementary - Daniel in 2nd grade and Kate in 1st. It will be a big transition time, but we are ready for it. The journey to come to that decision was painful, but we feel a great peace about it. (and I am SOOO ready to not have the big responsibility of being my kids main educator!).

We had a wonderful and exhausting week of VBS last week, Daniel is in Basketball camp this week, and we are looking forward to a week at the beach coming up the end of June. July will hopefully be a bit slower, with Kate going to cheer camp and probably a week at my mom's while Matthew travels to San Diego. Fun stuff...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Official May Report

We continue to move. For May we are officially #13 on the girls “list” and #7 on the siblings “list “.

It is exciting to be moving consistently. We have been on the wait list almost 11 months now. We were told to expect a 9-12 month wait until we would get a referral of a child. With all the unknowns in the process right now, we were just today told to expect that time frame to be increased to 18 months. A little discouraging, but we are still very thankful to be in it, though the waiting is painful at times.

We continue to pray and wait.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

(Bitter) Sweet Questions

My sweet middle child Kate. I love her heart. She is so sweet, so insightful, so perceptive. She is always ready with a joke, a laugh, an encouraging word, a hug (as well as a sassy frown and smart remark!). She is a calm place in the middle of two wild book end brothers. She so longs for a sister.

We have tried (for the past little over a year now) to not talk about our adoption a ton. Knowing that kids realization of time is different than ours (well, not so much as I want most things NOW, or better, YESTERDAY too). We have tried to not live our life around it, because we have no idea when it will happen. But sweet Kate seems to often be reminded of it. Seeing some cute clothes (our baby would look cute in that), a new toy (I beat out baby would love that), an old toy that we are putting in the attic(are we saving that for our baby?) , a new outfit for her (I will get to give this to our baby someday). I am also thinking all these thoughts, just not expressing them.

We have been telling them, and ourselves, that it would be this year, maybe late summer, maybe fall. In my mind planning my next school year imagining that I will have another little one (or two) to put in the mix.

Lately, with all the possible changes to the adoption process, I have tried to talk about it with them even less. As it occupies more and more of my thoughts and prayers, trying to not live my life like I am waiting. Trying to plan my next months as just a family of 5. Breaks my heart really.

Lately I feel like Kate is talking even more about it. Probably because we have friends who are also adopting and have things like pictures of their kids, or have been to meet their children already and are now just waiting to bring them home. The other day Kate climbed up into my lap and said, "Mom, when will I get to meet my little sister? I am really ready to have her here." Oh me too, me too. Then today she was looking at some pictures of bedrooms or something like that and her little eyes got bright and she said, "Oh mom, when can we start decorating my little sister's room?" I didn't want to tell her that it was too painful to do something like that, not knowing how long it could take, so I just said, Not yet sweetie but hopefully soon.

So bittersweet.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Is It Coming Yet, Mommy?

We love music at our house. It is always on in the car, someone is often banging away on the piano or drums. A little pre-cooking dinner jump and jive session in the kitchen.

There are several Classical pieces that we listen to often enough that Micah (who is a few months shy of 3 years old) knows that there is a sudden instrumental boom to them. Two of these pieces are Vivaldi's Four Season's Winter, and Hayden's Surprise Symphony. Whenever these pieces come on, he immediately starts asking, "Mommy, is it coming? Is it coming?" I always say the same thing, "Almost sweetie. Almost, but not yet."

I can sometimes just feel the nervous tension in Micah as he is waiting. Sitting all strapped in his car seat. He is excited and yet nervous. Even as a 2 year old, wanting to have some measure of control. Sometimes he even ask if we can skip this song, because the not knowing when it is coming wears on him. Still not totally sure that it will come this time, or perhaps that it will be different when it does. What if, just what if it doesn't come at all? Sometimes he thinks it is one of those songs with a sudden boom, and it really isn't, so we spend the entire song with him asking every few minutes, "Is it coming yet, Mommy?" (at which point I often just skip it because I am tired of answering).

Doesn't that sound exhausting? (the waiting, not the asking - though that does get exhausting too!)

Waiting turning into it ever going to happen? Can I make it happen? What if it doesn't happen?

It struck me this week as we went through this drill for what probably is the hundredth time, that I often live my life in that same spot. Always waiting. Is it coming yet? Never being satisfied to relax and find joy in the measure of life I am in, because I am worrying about what the next one is going to be. Always looking to the next big musical boom in life, thinking this will be the thing that makes this piece worth listening to. The sudden explosion of violins that makes Life worth living.

When I was younger, I loved the Dr. Seuss book Oh, The Places You'll Go. He calls it the Waiting Place:

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

If you back up a bit in the Dr. Seuss book, he talk about how you get to this Waiting Place.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place

I spend so much energy in this place. Worrying. Trying to Control, Manipulate.

Jesus addresses this place of worry in all of the Gospels:
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" (Like 12:25-26)

Why do we? I don't know what it is for you, but I think for me, it is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that I won't be able to handle whatever it is that comes up next. That is will be too much for me. I react to life from a place of fear, which leads to worry, which leads to never being happy with where I am in life, because I am always waiting for the next thing. That is not from the Lord.

Psalms 27:1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident.
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
The LORD, Praise God, has given me a spirit of POWER, not of fear. He has given me the power to not just react to life, but to LIVE it. He has given me the power to rest, knowing that while whatever is coming may FEEL like too much, it never will be - because He is in control of it.

What is really comes down to, almost always, is what I will choose to believe. Will I choose to believe the lie that I have to worry, obsess, toil, not trust? Or do i choose TRUTH - that the Lord is my light and my salvation, what should I ever fear?

Joshua 24:25 "then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

We Hit The Teens!!!!

Even though everything is totally unstable right now in Ethiopian Adoptions (in a worldy sense anyway), I can't help but be excited that we finally hit the teens (unofficially) for both of our numbers.

We are now #19 for a girl, and #13 for siblings.

We have also made the decision to change our age parameters to 0-24 months. another blog post on that one...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Seriously, I feel REALLY pregnant. Not just adoption pregnant. My moods are all over the place. It has been a very emotional week, full of praying and crying out. I am one minute crying, the next crying in joy, the next yelling, the next hugging and ecstatic. Not sure what to expect from myself at any moment.

There have been big changes that have come up in the Ethiopian Adoption process and we have no idea how this is going to change things for us, not to mention the impact it could possibly have on the waiting orphans in that country. You can read more about that here:

Suffice to say, it could drastically increase our wait times. I am talking years, not months. So I wake up in the mornings knowing that this is going on and my heart is so very heavy. Then I look on our list serve of other families in our agency and see baby and after baby (4 to be exact) being referred out to what will become their forever family and my heart burst with joy, with excitement, with amazement, with thanksgiving. I am reminded of the David Crowder Song, "You Are My Joy!!" (
And he set me on fire and I am burning alive.
With his breath in my lungs I am coming undone.
And I cannot hold it in
Remain composed.
Love's taken over me
So I propose the letting myself go.
I am letting myself go.

You are my joy.
You are my joy.
You are my joy.
You are my joy.

I just can't hold it in.

Someone once told me at the beginning of this that adoption is a journey, and maybe, just maybe there will be a child for you in the end. I have given lip service to that - saying that it has been an amazing journey - and it has. But the significance of - there just might be a child in the end - has never really sank in - until now. Until I am faced with the possibility that there might not be, and if there is it could be years. That the little faces I have pictured and the sweet moments and the hard ones I have been preparing myself for seem a little less real. There is much grief in that.

And I am faced with loving a people who will be suffering even more. More children in institutions for years instead of months, decreasing their chances of ever being adopted as they get older. More children on the streets, dying, hungry, because there are no open beds for them in the institutions.

I understand. I do. I am thankful that we have people who want to ensure that adoptions are ethical and protect the children and their families. My heart is for the children.

My prayers have slowly changed from asking the Lord to please stop this, to praying that his Will be done. If this is His way of protecting them then so be it, I trust Him. I will continue to pray.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Sweet Poem

Legacy of An Adopted Child

Author Unknown

Once there were two women,Who barely knew each other.
One is in your heart forever,The other you'll call mother.
Two different lives, Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,The other became your sun.

The first gave you life,And the second taught you how to live it.
The first gave you a need for love,And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent,The other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotions,The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,The other dried your tears.
One gave you a family,It was what God intended for her to do.
The other prayed for a child,And God led her straight to you.

And now you ask me, Through your tears, The age old question through the years.
Heredity or environment… - Which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling…, neither,
Just two different kinds of love.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Numbers

Update to our numbers...

For the month of January we are officially #33 on the girls list and #15 on the siblings list!

Being a Feeler...

There is no way to get around it really. If you are an F, then you just are. I spent much of life trying not to be that way - avoiding, hiding, etc. You get the picture. All my therapist friends would probably call it "emotionally constipated" (I do love that phrase!). But, alas, I am a feeler, and mostly I am very thankful for that.

However, being a feeler is hard. It can wear you out as much, if not more, than being "emotionally constipated". I really FEEL things - good and bad, and I often get overwhelmed with those emotions. Like my last post of being overwhelmed with emotions for the birth mother of my child. When my friends suffer, I FEEL it (though my husband might say I am not always as in tuned to his emotions :-)) I think it hits more when it is cold outside - I start thinking about all the homeless in my city and it hurts, I think about the woman and child who approached my car in the target parking lot yesterday asking for money and it hurts. I am bombarded with knowledge of child prostitution, women being exploited and sex traffic, radicals shooting and injuring the people who serve our country and killing children in the process and I really think I am going to vomit. IT HURTS. This world hurts.

As I was reading this morning, I was really struck by a sweet word from the Lord - I really felt it. Felt His promise to me, to us. It says this:

Psalm 10:
17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

Hear those beautiful words - do you FEEL them? Ask the Lord to let you feel them: He hears our desires (spoken, not spoken, even those we don't even know we have), He encourages us (He has the perfect words to meet us right where we are), He listens (not just listens, but loves to commune with us, loves to hear our voices), He defends (thank you Jesus!)!

I long for this time, this time when terror will not strike again. When all darkness, oppression, death will cease and the Earth will be made perfect.