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.