Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Shower for #2!

Angie's nieces were there
wearing their cute Africa t-shirts she made them!

On February 28 we had a shower for Angie (#2) and for Micah! It was lots of fun and she got loads of cutie boy stuff! What fun to celebrate with her! She is God's special gift to me. Who would have thought that I would find another mom adopting a son at the same time (back to back on the waiting list), with the same agency (in Oregon no less), who lives less than a mile from my house? Only a sovereign, all-knowing God can do that! I am always encouraged by her as she turns to the Word in every situation we've encountered along this long road.
She is bright and beautiful,
sweet and cheerful, compassionate and transparent.
I love my BFF Angie!
2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to thank God for you,
brothers, and rightly so,
because your faith is growing more and more,
and the love every one of you has for each other
is increasing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Welcome Home William!

We had the privilege to welcome home our friends as they brought home their 8 month old son William from Ethiopia on Monday, 2/22/10! Their flight was scheduled to come in at 5:15pm but was delayed a few times and they finally arrived at 9pm. Rusty kept asking me "do you think we should just go home, it's late, put the kids to bed?"...etc. But I was bound and determined we were going to be there! What an opportunity for the girls to see exactly what it will be like when it is Mom and Dad and Evan getting off that plane! Besides, the crowd was thinning with each delay, in my opinion, which increased my chances of actually getting to HOLD this precious one!!! :) Ulterior motives for sure!
The girls made this darling poster which we taped to dowel rods (is that the right word?) so they could hold it like a banner and afterwards we rolled it up and stuck it in their bag when they weren't looking so they could see it later and keep it for him (if they choose).
Yes, Paige is wearing a sticker on her forehead (smile). She is my comedian. She likes this "look" for some reason??? With my first I never would have allowed it, especially in public, but now I just say "sure" and get a little chuckle when people look at her funny. I think it is nice of me to offer the public some comedy relief, and character building for her to be made fun of. :)
OK, anyway, the homecoming was glorious! William was smiling and cooing at his fans. He had all the energy since he was able to sleep 14 out of 18 hours, unlike Mom and Dad who were "exhausted beyond all physical endurance" as Karen put it. Praise the Lord for His wonderful work in bringing this family together again!
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

We passed court!!

February 18, 2010
Evan is officially our son! We have court approval!
We had our second chance at court on Wednesday the 17th. We waited and waited to hear from AGCI and finally at about 2pm we got an email from our CW saying she didn't have any info. We didn't know what to think. Finally at 2pm on Thursday she called and I swear it was my referral call repeated!! I saw the # on caller i.d. and almost didn't want to answer it for fear it would be bad news. But it wasn't...we passed! Evan is OURS after all this time! I completely fell apart in total relief. Thankfully she understood where I was and just said "go celebrate and call me later when your ready to write down info". :)

We are super excited and hope to travel either 3/22 or 4/5. There is light at the end of this long, long tunnel.

Thanks so much for your support and prayers! God is very good.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

AABC Shower

We have a really awesome church family. We have been at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church for 2 years now and it has been a huge blessing in our lives. We know that one of the reasons God led us to this place to worship is because of the Biblical teaching regarding adoption. Now it is all coming to fruition as we prepare to welcome home our new son!
My faithful assistant Morgan always at my side.
This onesie is from and says
"Special Delivery from Ethiopia--Handle with Care"
Thanks to the "J Team" (Jonda, Janet, Jennifer, and Jessica)
for the delicious cake and punch that perfectly matched the darling invitations!
The whole party was perfect. What a blessing to have so much love and support...
and baby boy clothes!!!
My treasured buddy, my SIC, Jonda
I know how hard you worked to make this day special and I appreciate every bit of it!
She and Kevin are now in the process of their own Ethiopian adoption!!!
Go God!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Even More Shower pics...

Check out this beautiful food!
Danielle is so talented. She painted the canvas above the fireplace, AND did custom iron-ons for the onesies, AND covered the wooden "E" for Evan's bedroom!
AND made these darling and delicious cupcakes! They had chocolate pudding and chocolate chips in them--super moist!
My niece Austin was there to celebrate. Ew, I feel old...she was the flower girl in our wedding and now she's in college (and I am STILL having babies?!)!
Sweet baby Jordan. My friend Stefany's son (home from ET last March). He has been my "substitute" Evan since we first met this past summer. :) And his mom has been a rock of support and encouragement. There is nothing like a friend who has been there.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Shower pics...

Here's Angie #2, my dear friend and shower hostess Angelia, and my friend Myra
Interesting factoid: Myra and I graduated high school together and then lost touch. When we reconnected on Facebook we realized we both had 3 daughters and were adopting sons!! Her 2 year old son Sam came home from China in October!
One of our favorite gifts was this step stool for Evan's room. A friend had this built and custom painted to match his room. It is gorgeous!
My buddy, and other shower hostess, Susan painted this plaque and picture frame for Evan's bedroom door. It also matches his room perfectly!
Morgan is becoming quite the cook. She made and iced these sugar cookies for the shower all by herself! Even at risk of bodily harm from Angelia who explicitly told us not to bring ANYTHING! Morgan's response.."I'll handle Miss Angelia!" Brave girl. :)
My precious friend Eveline who is from India and this was her first ever baby shower! When she told me she had never been to a shower before I was tempted to tell her "it is customary in the US to wear your bathing suit to showers" but I resisted. :) Eveline has a love for the Lord that is unmatched. She is the wise one who told me "God is the master planner. I have plans but I put them UNDER His plans because His are best." Those words in her sweet accent have echoed in my mind throughout this difficult process. There really is something about her accent that makes her words sound infinitely more wise!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Feb 6 Baby Shower

On Saturday, February 6, three of my girlfriends got together and hosted a baby shower for Evan. It was a really nice party with beautiful invitations, delicious food, fun, adoption-related games, so many wonderful gifts, and, most of all, an awesome assortment of treasured friends!

Thank you Danielle for hosting the party at your house. Thanks to Angelia for designing, addressing and mailing all the invites! Thanks to Susan for her original, personalized games. And thanks to all three for the delicious food and thoughtfulness.

The funniest moment of the day was when I opened a package that included little boy underwear from Gymboree and exclaimed "are these panties??" and every mother-of-a-boy in the room shouted "NO--THEY ARE NOT PANTIES, THEY ARE UNDERWEAR!!" :) Yet, another vocabulary change for this mom of girls!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coincidence? I don't think so!

This is our new friend Meredith and her son Liam.

Meredith was looking for someone to watch Liam as she prepared to return to work after maternity leave. She heard about my mom from the sister of our old neighbors. My mom keeps babies at her house. Meredith called and set up a time to meet my mother and it happened to be the day after we received our referral of Evan. Mom had his photo on the coffee table when Meredith arrived and it sparked an exciting conversation! Turns out Meredith has been to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last summer for two weeks and has a love for the country and the people. She was so excited about our adoption and wanted to share her photographs and stories from her trip with us.

We set a date and were able to see so many beautiful photographs and hear all about her adventure! It was a real blessing to Rusty and I. Who would have thought that we would "coincidentally" run into another Ethiopian contact right here in KY?

As you might imagine, this connection "sealed the deal" and mom now keeps little Liam full time (a blessing for her) and we get to see them regularly! Praise the Lord! He is sovereign.

From one man he made every nation of men,
that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he determined the times set for them
and the exact places where they should live.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Are we ready? Not usually.

So this is Evan's crib. Everyone who comes over laughs because we have his photo in there under the mobile, but this is the best we can do for now! We tease about how he is quiet as a mouse and ALWAYS sleeps through the night!! Such a good baby! My friend asked me if I was ready to get up in the middle of the night again, I said "sure, for 2 or 3 nights until he gets used to our schedule!" ha ha. Hopefully he will get into a good rhythm quickly but I have no idea what to expect? I'm sure I am unprepared, just like I was with the other three! One day at a time--right?
As you might imagine, we are talking to a lot of people about adoption these days and many of the families express an interest in adoption for their family. Two of the main concerns that come up are cost and difficulty (paperwork, waiting...etc.). I remember what Russell Moore said at the talk he gave at our church "just DO IT! It's not as expensive or as difficult as you think it is!" and I agree. The paperwork is cumbersome, just like taxes. You have to find documents that you don't know where they are or how to get them. You figure it out. You have to fill out long forms and sometimes you don't know the answers. You do it anyway. You have to pay fees for lawyers and others working on your behalf. You put the money together just like you do for other things you want and are important to you. Remember the Doritos commercial slogan "we'll make more!"? You do all of this in order to
How's that for simplifying the matter? Really. I don't say that as a guilt trip, because not everyone is called to adopt, but if you are feeling that urge, that prompting, than that is probably why you feel guilty as you read this! :) All I'm saying is that if you believe God is leading you to adopt don't let money or difficulty slow you down. It is quite do-able, many others have done it, and God has never been anxious over finances!

Ephesians 3:20-21

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New info on why our court date failed.

The AGCI case worker just called to let us know she had more info on yesterdays failed court date. She said our birth mother was present but she answered one of the judges questions differently than she had originally answered it on her paperwork at the time of relinquishment. He asked how many aunts and uncles she had and she said five or six and her paperwork said two. Wow, we had no idea they were so particular. I wonder if she even understood? I feel bad for her, now she has to make a second trip to Addis (8 hours).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What I learned about parenting from "flunking" Ethiopian Court...

Today was our court day in Ethiopia where we hoped a judge would legally make Evan our son. We have prayed and prayed and had such phenomenal prayer support from friends and family I thought surely God would grant our request! Remember the persistent widow?? :) But today wasn't our day and it didn't happen as we had hoped. Our case worker is in Africa right now so one of the other CW's called today at 4:15pm to let us know that we didn't "pass". She said "the birth mother didn't respond correctly" and that she didn't know exactly what that meant but would try to find out more and get back to us. The bottom line is that the judge rescheduled our court date to Wednesday, February 17. This was good news since I have heard of families waiting another month for a new date. The agency had prepared us that only 1/2 of the families pass court on the first date due to circumstances outside of the family or agency control. So we knew this was a fair possibility. My prayer from the time we knew the date was that God would help me to TRUST HIM in the outcome. This morning in the shower I wondered if I should tell myself that we wouldn't pass and "prepare myself" for that and then if we did it would be especially sweet. I think of myself as an optimist, so I find it difficult to do that. Besides, I really didn't want to play mind games with myself, I just wanted to believe that His way is best and TRUST HIM!

We just studied John 13 this week and one of our principals was that Jesus knows all things and loves unconditionally. We saw this as He washed the disciples feet, even Judas, who He knew was going to betray Him. He knew what was in his heart, that he was insincere, and yet He loved Judas to the very end. Knowing that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) I can KNOW that He will respond to me in the very same way! His response to me will be based on 2 things:
1. His knowledge of all things.
2. His love for me, my family, and Evan-- unconditionally.

So when she called today and I heard the tone of her voice I thought "this isn't going to be good news" but I pushed that thought out of my head and returned to "neutral". When she said we didn't pass I accepted it as matter of fact and knew this was God's decision, not a judge's, not the agencies, not the birth mothers, but God's, for He is in control of all things. Since I know He loves me unconditionally I can rest that He is working all things together for good in this circumstance. Wow! Even I was surprised at the peace I felt. The CW seemed surprised too, I think she expected me to cry (for once I remained dry!).

So what did I learn about parenting from this?
I learned that God wants me to accept His sovereign decisions without throwing a fit, a tantrum, or questioning Him as if I know better (not that we can't ask questions) and in doing this I show Him the respect, honor and trust He deserves! What He showed me is that He wants Rusty and I to train our children to respond to us this way as well. When we answer our children with "no" or "not right now" they too should respond respectfully and without clamor because they trust that we love them and know what is best. Like everything else, if they can't respond to us that way, how will they ever respond to God that way? But this will take training on our part. Correcting them when they respond incorrectly and TEACHING them, guiding them HOW to respond correctly. After all, isn't everything easier to learn at eight than at thirty-eight???

Besides, Angie and Matt (#2) still don't have their court date, so this could just be part of the master plan for us to travel together! They'll pass the first time, we'll pass the second time and all travel together in March....The End. :)

So right now I praise God for knowing what is best all over this big world while I sit here in my bed clueless in Kentucky.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Adoptive Moms in process--Does this look like you?

This is my new "position of choice" in the evenings. I wonder how many of you adoptive-moms-in-process can relate? Look at the supplies all in place--a brownie, a soda, tv remote control, my planner, cell phone, and of course, my laptop--lifeline to all that is adoption related! My fingers itch to blog! After dinner the desire begins and intensifies as bath time rolls around, until finally with all the girls tucked in and prayed for, I can relax and live vicariously through another mom who is actually holding her little one!! Or see photos of someones trip to Ethiopia and Hannah's Hope, read about their hotel, the food, what to pack, or just enjoy their story of how our great God brought them to this place of desiring to add to their family from around the world. What an awesome thing to be able to connect like this!

Hebrews 10:24-25

24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Do you need an adjustment?

Some days the waiting is hard and it's easy to feel sorry for myself and ask God "why?" I think things like "God, wouldn't Evan be better off at home right now with his family? Why does this take so long? Can't you make it go faster?" So the other day at my Bible Study our leader asked the question "are you in a difficult period of waiting right now?" and my first thought was "YES!! ABSOLUTELY!!" Hear "poor me". Then I heard God's still small voice say to me "really? Is that how you see this? Because I see it as your opportunity to be part of a wonderful work I am doing in this world--maybe you should see it as the PRIVILEGE it is." Wow! It is up to me how I view this. God could have given this opportunity to another family and we would have missed out on the blessing and the privilege to raise Evan, to experience another culture, to see God move, to be His hands and feet...etc. There are so many things to be thankful for and I just need a reminder every now and then that this isn't "torture", this is PRIVILEGE! Do you need a "perspective adjustment" today?

My new favorite quote:

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid He might ask me the same question." Anonymous

Not too much longer...

Look at these sweet lips!! How can I wait another day to kiss him? Boy I really struggled at the end of nearly 7 weeks at #1 on the waiting list, but I have to say that his photo has carried me along these last 4 weeks! I wondered if it would be harder after we saw him and knew WHO our little Evan was? But, so far, I would say no. The whole key is to keep things in MOTION! As long as it feels like we are moving forward it seems bearable. It really seems like it is going to be real now!

We have been blessed when it comes to photos. We received 6 photos with his referral. Then about a week later the agency passed on 2 snapshots another family had taken of him while they were picking up their child. About a week later we received 2 more photos from a dear, sweet, compassionate mom who took them during her visit to Hannah's Hope! What a treat! Every pic is a special blessing to us!

We are so pleased that Evan is at Hannah's Hope where we are hearing wonderful reports all the time about how terrific their care is and how much the "special mothers" love these little ones. Each special mother is responsible for 3 babies. My friend laughed when she heard this and remarked "his ratio is better there than it will be at your house!!!" :) LOL I am truly looking forward to "my hands being as full as my heart"!

Our Family Prayer Jar

Colossians 4:2

2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

My friend Jonda told me that her family had a "prayer jar" where they keep all the prayer requests they are aware of and they draw them out daily for prayer time. I loved the idea! So, at Christmas-time when I got "crafty" with the modge-podge for some other homemade gifts I made, I decided to make one for our family out of a leftover Miracle Whip jar! No one can say I'm not GREEN now! :) I used wrapping paper and modge podge to cover the jar, then just cut out magazine letters for the top, and finished it off with some ribbon! Not the most beautiful craft I've done, but one of my favorites when it comes to it's use! We use it at every meal. Carley (our youngest) prays at breakfast, Paige prays for lunch, and Morgan prays at dinner. They each get to draw out a prayer when it is their turn. I guess when Evan comes home we'll have to incorporate an afternoon snack!

Here's what I've found:
  • The girls get SO excited about drawing--it's like winning the lottery!
  • In turn, they are SO excited about prayer!
  • They are learning to think of others needs and pray for these things at other times throughout the day as well.
  • They are actively listening for peoples prayer requests so they can add them to our jar.
  • Our family can "see" God working in these situations! As the prayers are answered we are putting them into an ANSWERED PRAYER envelope which I am planning to convert to some kind of foam board for Praise to the Lord!
  • This opens up lots of good conversations about how God might choose to answer these prayers and we talk a lot about our motto "be a family of ACTION" to say "how might God want to use US to answer this prayer?". Instead of just praying for them, let's think about how we can be part of the answer!
  • We no longer forget about the important needs of our friends and family.
  • We are learning to be persistent in prayer

Why Wouldn't I?