"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Just like me"

One of the things that is hardest for me at this point in our adoption process is the fact that many people know my son better than I do. Yuck! One of the things I have always worked really hard at is knowing my kids. I try to be really aware of who they are, their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, personality quirks, etc... I try to see each one of our kids as a total individual. To allow them to be who God created them to be. To totally enjoy their uniqueness. I like to think that I know, love, enjoy, and respect my kids better than anyone else does - next to their creator.


With Joshua Gebeyehu I do not have that honor yet and quite honestly it bugs me!


A week or so ago, IAN's director visited Ethiopia. Yesterday Liz, our adoption coordinator, sent me a note about Joshua. She relayed that she was visiting with Joan and Joan was telling her what a fun personality Joshua Gebeyehu has. (I am so thankful for every tidbit I get, but it is also so weird to have ladies in an office 2 states a way discussing my son in a more intimate details than I am able to.) She relayed that if Joshua G. does not want to do something... he DOES NOT do it. But when he wants to do something he goes after it with much enthusiasm. He loves to smile, wave, and hug.


Hmmm.... reminds me of another D!


So I was sharing this information with Brenna last night at bedtime. Each detail made her giggle with familiarity. She finally exclaimed, "Mom, he sounds just like me!"


Remember my mom's first comment about his little picture? She said, "He looks like he might give Brenna a run for her money!"


Soon, little man, your momma will know you inside out! And big sister Brenna will be giving you a run for your money!





In the moments when I am most worried about Joshua Gebeyehu, when I am most sad that he is alone and waiting, the chorus of this song has brought me comfort and hope. For as the song says my Joshua Gebeyehu truly is safe in His arms.


Please keep Joshua G. extra close in your prayers this weekend. IAN has outgrown the care center that he has been living in since December. All the children and staff will be moving to a new location May 1. It is exciting for IAN to have this new property, but my momma's heart is worried about Joshua Gebeyehu having to make yet another transition. Please pray that Joshua will feel the safety of His arms.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

He is mighty to save!

I highly recommend that you check out a blog that I have been stalking.
I first ran into this story last week. Another blog I follow had a post that said "Pray for Chrissie." Since I have a Krissy, this immediately grabbed my attention. So I clicked on the link and began to read about "little Chrissie" as we have started calling her. Chrissie was born with severe heart and lung problems. Most doctors do not know how she lived 4 days. She is now 4 years old. She had open heart surgery 11 days ago and is fighting an amazing fight to get well.
Her mom blogs right from her bedside. Crying out in moments of desperation asking for people to pray. One morning I clicked to check in on Chrissie and the blogpost simply said PRAY NOW! For the next hour or so, I sat at my computer refreshing the screen every few moments as her mom relayed prayer requests via her cell phone as a team of doctors brought her baby back to life. Now this could sound shallow, or attention seeking, but God is using this in the most amazing way. Not only is Chrissie somehow holding on, but thousands of people are hearing the story. And trust me this momma in Texas is seeking to give God all the glory. It is beautiful. Read her post from early this morning "Wonderful Wednesday Witnessing" and believe in the mighty power of God's healing hand in a whole new way.
So join my family in praying for "little Chrissie."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some things I can't wait to know...



  1. Joshua Gebeyehu's shoe size

  2. where his tickle spots are

  3. if his toes are long ans skinny or short and chubby

  4. what his hair feels like

  5. the sound of his giggle

  6. his favorite foods

  7. if his belly button is an "inny" or an "outy"

  8. the feel of his hugs

  9. the sound of his voice

  10. what scares him

  11. the legnth of his eye lashes

  12. how many teeth he has

  13. his favorite sleeping position

  14. does he give sloppy or dry kisses

  15. does he suck his thumb

  16. will he call me momma, mom, or mommy

  17. will he be scared, curious, or happy to meet me

  18. what kind of toys does he like most

  19. how does he look when he is running
  20. what makes his eyes twinkle as happily as they are in the picture above

Each time families from our agency travel to bring home their children they kindly offer to gather information for the families who are waiting. I am so grateful, but most of what I want to know is not measurable by anyone else. I will fly away in 1 month or less to meet my son. I do not have too much longer to wait. I received a copy of his adoption decree in my inbox this morning - it has been done for a while but I just caught a glimpse of it today. An appointment with the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 2 looks to be a sure thing, but there is a slim chance we could go for May 19 instead. Unfathomable! Just keep praying me there, God will be faithiful to complete this work He started!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Praise Him...now?

This blog has become my personal record of all the amazing things that have happened and are happening in my life. I am not really sure why I am compelled to share so many deep spiritual moments with you all, but I am. I am working at not questioning God's nudges in my heart. I have felt Him reminding me that there is an important event in my life with Him that I have not taken the time to record. Today, I will try to remedy that.

Last Monday, I truly expected some kind of update from Ethiopia. If you recall, we did not pass court at our second appointment on April 14. We were told that we would have to wait for more information until the MOWA office opened Monday the 19th. I was really proud of the way I handled the wait from Wednesday until Monday. BUT by Monday I was truly on pins and needles. I was ready for a call! My cell phone was my best friend, it was never more that an arms length away. I thought I had prepared myself for anything... good news or bad. What I had NOT prepared myself for was silence! I love silence, but the silence last Monday was deafening and defeating! I sent poor Liz an SOS email at about the time her office was closing begging her to reassure me that this was all going to work out. She patiently and gently replied that she had heard nothing from Ethiopia all day, the internet must be down or the power out or both. She promised (for probably thew 4th time) that she would call me as soon as she heard ANYTHING!

By Tuesday, I was fidgety - full of nervous energy - and completely unable to concentrate. I spent the morning wandering around Target. I bought Joshua Gebeyehu a couple outfits, a matchbox car that looks like Mommy's Expedition and one that looks like Daddy's Jeep, a big glittery bouncy ball, and a stuffed Golden Retriever. I bought Krissy a journal for the trip with the title "What the World Needs Now Is Shoes, Sweet Shoes." I arrived at our office very late. Chad laughed at me! He took one look at me and knew any kind of bookkeeping I would attempt would be messed up, so he took me out for lunch. I remember telling him I was sorry that the waiting was driving me crazy, it was even driving me crazy that it was driving me crazy!

After lunch I went to pray with some good friends at our church. (We do this every Tuesday.) There were only three of us able to attend, but we were each waiting for important news. We concentrated on the verse "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12. It helped to share my frustration with them. It helped to know that God realizes that hope deferred - all these delays - were making my heart sick. But I was still restless, frustrated, and distracted.

So I headed out to my favorite running trail. Running is where my brain rests. If I will find solace anywhere, it will be on the running trail. I had not gone far when I swear to you I heard God ask me, "Can you praise Me now?" I almost laughed out loud! Praise Him when my mind was spinning so fast I could not even concentrate on my problems? Praise Him when I had no answers? Seriously? (I bet you know the answer to that.) "Seriously." My mind went totally blank for a while all I concentrated on was breathing and the sound of my feet hitting the asphalt.

Slowly the oldest words of praise I know were whispered from some corner of my soul. It was the Doxology. The hymn that ended the church service at my Grandma's church when I was a child. In that moment I could hear my beautiful Grandma, my Great Grandma, and my Dad singing all around me. It was so beautiful, so filled with so many memories. Memories of generations of faithfulness, both on the part of my amazing elders and even more so on the part of my Father in Heaven.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen.
This doxology played over and over in my mind and it slowly took over my heart. It became a huge, wholehearted song of praise. It was awesome! I was able to sing praises from the deep of my soul (don't worry kids, momma was not singing at the top of her lungs as she ran! more like from the depths of my heart) the whole 3.5 miles I ran. Real praises, whole-hearted praises to the God who had sustained me. Who was continuing to sustain me. Who had given me peace and assurance throughout the looooong winter. Who granted my heart's cry for joy only 2 days earlier. Who knew me inside and out and still loved me.
By the end of that run my heart was light. I had totally surrendered it all. I had praised Him in the the storm, in the trenches, in the midst of my waiting and wondering. And He had renewed my soul.
I went back to my office with a quiet heart and a smile on my face. I was not fidgety, but calm and completely at peace.
And then my cell phone rang... it was the call I had been waiting for and the news was wonderful.
There you have it, the rest of the story! To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What happens next?

Now that we have passed court, we wait! Seems to be a theme around here, huh? We wait while the IAN representatives in Ethiopia work hard!

Typically after court is passed, there is a wait before the adoption decree is presented. Our adoption decree was miraculously done at the time we received news that we passed court. This miracle will make our wait to travel shorter than most! This is such a blessing because most likely we will be able to travel before summer school begins. Krissy has really wanted to go to summer school. She has also worked so hard to raise/earn the funds to go with to Ethiopia. I did not want her to have to choose between the two events. Because our paperwork has a jump start, there is a really good chance she will be able to do both.

Thank you God for this adoption decree!

After the adoption decree is issued, Abebe will apply for Joshua Gebeyehu's Birth certificate. When the Birth certificate is completed then Joshua's passport will be created. Then all three documents - the adoption decree, the Birth certificate, and the passport - are presented to the US Embassy for review. After all documents are submitted to the US Embassy, Joshua will have a US government required medical appointment. Because his Birth certificate will indicate he is over 2 years old this medical exam will include a TB test. The results from the TB test are not in for 3 days. Finally after reviewing all the paperwork, the US Embassy will assign us an appointment in Ethiopia to receive everything we need to bring Joshua Gebeyehu into the US as our son.

Typically families hope and expect to travel 8 weeks after they receive the news that they passed court. We have a really good shot at a June 2 Embassy appointment. (For a June 2 Embassy appointment, we would be boarding a plane headed to Africa May 28!) That would make our wait a couple weeks shorter than most! However, although I expect to have a really good estimate as to our travel date sometime this week, our plans will not be officially approved until 10 days or so before we board our plane. So hang on folks, it is going to be a wild ride!!!


**Please pray for the staff in Ethiopia, the administrative staff , Abebe, Mitin, and Lelane, as well as Sister and the nannies. I am so thankful for all their hard work and the care they are giving Joshua Gebeyehu. Joshua Gebeyehu looks happier and healthier in every picture I see of him. Please pray that the paperwork gathering continues to proceed faster than expected. Pray for Joshua's medical appointment. I do not know how invasive this is, but I do not like the thought of him at the doctor without his mommy. Pray that it would not be a scary experience and for fast and Embassy pleasing results. Please continue to pray that God would prepare Joshua's heart to bond with ours in a deep way. Pray that he will feel like he is coming home not leaving home when we arrive in just a few weeks to claim him as ours.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Has he seen us yet?

I am wondering today if Joshua Gebeyehu has been able to see us, his family, yet? Remember that photo album I prepared? Well, it arrived in Ethiopia last week. BUT Joshua G. was not able to receive it until we passed court. Soon after I found out we passed court I posted a note on IAN's yahoo forum asking if any of the families that are in Ethiopia this week would be able to make sure that Joshua Gebeyehu receives the photos of his family.

I found this email in my in-box this morning:

Alicia, I am so happy you posted those photos! I met Gebeyehu on Monday - he is adorable! I did know his name or who his parents were, so I wasn't able to email you personally to update you. He is precious, he came running into the baby room where I was sitting on the floor and without even waiting for me to smile at him or say hi, he flung himself onto me to give me the biggest hug. He is incredibly smiley and happy and was just a joy to be around.

Congratulations on passing court! I will ask Sister to give him the picture book.

So many things to smile about in that email! Do you think he's seen us yet? Do you think he has any idea all the hugs, laughter, tickles, and craziness that are waiting for him?

One thing that is for sure... he is ADORABLE!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrating in style

Remember the "5" wine? It was well chilled at this point! Chad and I enjoyed every drop!


My brother and sister and their girls brought us congratulations balloons. They chose a lion for Africa, congratulations for obvious reasons, and red, green, and yellow balloons to match the colors of the Ethiopian flag. I can not wait to see what Joshua Gebeyehu thinks of balloons that float!



My mom brought all of us pink shirts. We all laughed and laughed because we have giggled so many times about Joshua wearing pink! We all proudly wore our pink today. Chad seriously went to work in a pink polo, shorts, and sandals! (Remember he is a commercial contractor. It is a "manly man" field of work.) He said that the shirt should have had a target on it because it made him the target of all the guys' jokes all day. It was totally hilarious! He was way out of his comfort zone but looked pretty cute if you ask me!


Here are the big kids in their pink shirts. You can tell how very excited we all are because Krissy agreed to be in an early morning picture. (Brenna does not move very fast in the morning, I think her smile came after the flash!) Jamison was probably the most excited about his pink shirt. He has been asking for one and all the pink shirts we found were dorky. Grandma Donna found a cool one!


Chad and Emily and the girls also found these fun blinking "Big sister/brother" pins. Every one if the kids wore theirs today! Jay and Krissy had them on their backpacks. Sierra and Brenna pinned them right on their shirts.
Brenna says she does not feel older or wiser now that she is a big sister. After surviving this winter, Chad and I definitely feel both older and wiser!
It was a fun day! In the next weeks there will be many things to take care of, plan for, and adjust to but today we simply rejoice!









Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Introducing...

our SON Joshua Gebeyehu Chad D.



This is the first glimpse we had of Joshua. It was taken in January.


This is Joshua just a week or so ago! He is so precious it takes my breath away every time I see his face.


SO I am sure you are all wondering how this all happened?

MIRACULOUSLY!


The last few days have been long, very, very long. The internet has not been working well in Ethiopia so I had no idea what was going on. The silence was making me crazy. I was truly losing it! I was absolutely NO good at work so my amazing boss (aka husband) let me spend this morning wandering through Target. Then he took me out to lunch. After lunch I met some ladies at our church for our weekly Tuesday prayer meeting. There was no way I could sit at a desk and concentrate so I hit the running trail. Between prayer and exhaustion, my mind was calmer and I was ready to face another day of waiting. At 2:45 Liz called. Remember 2:45 here is 10:45PM in Ethiopia. I was seriously holding my breath. So far calls with Liz have not been filled with a lot of good news. To my complete joy and astonishment she told me that we not only passed court with the receipt of the MOWA letter BUT they also had Joshua Gebeyehu Chad's adoption decree. HE IS TOTALLY OURS!

So I am sure you are wondering how the kids reacted? Watch this!

video



Yes, I know the camera is sideways and the picture quality is terrible... but the video is still priceless!



We are hoping to travel the first week in June. If we can get Embassy clearance for that week, Krissy will still be able to go to summer school. It will be tight, but there is hope.

My joy is not complete tonight because our dear friends did not get the same news of court passing...yet! Please pray that they will receive their miracle quickly. Pray for peace and hope as they wait. There is no way to express how hard this waiting is. I have never experienced anything like it.

Thank you God for Joshua Gebeyehu Chad D.

**Gebeyehu is pronounced "gubba - you" kind of like "w" but with a "g" in front.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Confession

I AM REALLY TIRED OF WAITING!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Peace and Joy?

One emotion I have talked about and thought about in the last months is peace. What is peace anyway? Is it feeling totally calm and dream-like? I suppose to some it is. However, the peace that I have referred to all throughout this process is a little different.


The peace that I have felt is more along the lines of "it's gonna be alright", "even though things are rough you are doing the right thing", "it is going to get better." My sense of peace has been a foundation which has made all the other circumstances and emotions bearable. On top of peace I have felt love, fear, sadness, impatience, frustration, weariness, and contentment. But the peace, HIS peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding, was the glue that held me together, the foundation that held me up. That feeling of calm has been an indescribable gift.


A week or so ago I started asking God for the gift of JOY. I have been so thankful to be filled with peace. I have been grateful that I have not been overly anxious. Many times in the past months I have counted my blessings and been very content. BUT I have not felt sheer joy is so long. Joy is such a wonderful feeling and I was missing it.


So I started asking God to trade my heavy heart for a heart of joy. This is a type of request I have never asked of God before. I have pleaded with him to change circumstances. I have rejoiced and thanked Him for the many blessings in my life. I have shared secrets and sang at the top of my lungs - both mostly in my car all by myself. But, I have never asked for my emotions alone to change.


I must tell you that I have been so blessed! Today I feel happy, brimming over with joy. It really makes no sense. Not one circumstance in my life has changed. We are still waiting on MOWA, we still have some stressful stuff to get through at work, it is still windy and a little chilly outside. Nothing is better, nothing is worse. But my heart is joyful.

One of my best friends asked me this morning if we had news about MOWA. When I told her we were still waiting she commented that my face looked so happy she was sure I had some great news. I told her I was happy, miraculously joyful, for absolutely no reason other than sometimes God grants the desires of our hearts.


So continue to ask my friends. Ask God to grant the desires of your hearts. Ask him to give you an emotional break, a bit of peace or joy or love, whatever it is that you need. And then pay attention so you do not dismiss His answer as a weird coincidence.


Thank you God for this heart of joy.

***I also have to comment about the court date vote. I either have the most loyal, supportive friends and family members OR you are all gluttons for punishment?!? I am not sure I even want to go through another day of waiting for news about court, but you all seem to. Thank you for your love and support and prayers. I am so excited to see how and when God will bring Joshua G home to his wonderful family and friends. AND I will keep you posted. Everyone but Krissy. She does not want anymore court updates and teasing. I have promised that someday soon I will show up at her school with the amazing news that she has a baby brother. Until then she has quite enough court drama.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Court Update

I have not learned a ton of information about why we did not pass court yesterday, but I will offer what I can.

7 or 8 families with our agency had court dates this week. None passed. UGH!!! (At least it is nothing personal)

MOWA did not have the paperwork turned in for any of us. We would all like to hate MOWA, but our agency is supportive of their efforts. I trust our agency so if they think MOWA is doing the best they can under their present circumstances I can give them grace as well.


MOWA's office is closed until Monday for some type of meetings. When they reopen one of our agency representatives will personally go to their office and plead for our letter. Once the letter is obtained, we have met all requirements under Ethiopian law and will officially be Joshua G's parents.


So continue to pray for this MOWA letter. I am told not to worry that there is not a problem, just a delay in paperwork being filed. (Which of course is a problem, ha!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crumbs

What a day! I will be honest and tell you that I was really struggling with anger and bitterness this evening. Anger can perhaps be productive at times, but bitterness is just ugly.


I just could not understand why a God as BIG as our God would not just move in a BIG way and wipe out all the yuck in our life. Instead "all" I get is crumbs! I argued with God that sure I was thankful that we received a tax return - which by the way was very unexpected, we have had to pay in quite a bit of money the last few years. BUT what I really wanted was not money but my son! Secondly, we received a check from a customer today. We have been waiting on payment from this customer for a long time. It is a relief to have the funds. BUT the check was only about 10% of what we are owed. UGH!


As I sat in Wednesday night worship tonight I kept telling God I was sorry for feeling numb at best, bitter at worst. As I allowed music to wash over me, He reminded me of a "crummy" story in the Bible.

In Exodus, God frees the Israelites from slavery. It is a truly magnificent story. The freed slaves are traveling through the desert to get to the land God had chosen for and promised them. He provided them manna (crumbs of bread) every morning to eat. They were commanded to gather only what they could eat each day. This crumb gathering lasted for 40 years. Now God could have chosen to supply a buffet every day. He could have varied the menu. And the Israelites definitely complained and doubted, but they learned to trust. (My version is seriouslu shortened, please look it up and read it yourself!)


I taught this story to the kids at our church this year and we kind of made fun of the Israelites. We noticed what a short memory they had. God miraculously sets them free and a couple chapters later they are whining about the food being so bad they would be better off as slaves. This teacher did not learn her lesson all too well, huh.


God absolutely showed up today, in amazing and unexpected ways. They may not have been the exact blessings I would have chosen - but who am I to choose?


This lesson to be grateful and have faith and joy no matter what was drilled into my head again with Brenna's choice of a bedtime story. We have been reading Dr, Seuss books. Tonight she chose, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Sappy me was nearly teary when I read how the Who's still sang the "hated" Christmas songs even after the Grinch stole all their Christmas stuff to stop their merriment. Choose faith and joy, OK I am getting the message. It is even starting to sink from my head into my heart.


I was also encouraged by an email from another adoptive mom. She reminded us that she had to go through 3 court dates. She is home with her little girl for 6 weeks or so now. They seem to be doing marvelously, and I recently saw her mention something about "next time." If she would consider this process again after the stress of waiting through 3 court dates with so little time to "forget the pain", I am encouraged.


Thank you to so many of you for your encouraging, loving, and kind emails, texts, and the prayers I am feeling. I have no further information about why we did not pass court or when we are rescheduled, but I will pass information on when I receive it. We may never know the why's for these delays. Hang in there with me anyway and the thankful for the crumnbs, even if they seem pretty small sometimes.

Want the good news or the bad news first?

The bad news is we did not pass court. No one from our agency did today and because the internet in Ethiopia is down I have no other details.


The good news is that our taxes are done and we get a refund!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Court Take 2

So tonight or early tomorrow morning our case is once again being heard in Ethiopian courts. (Remember that Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us.)I would love to fill all of our hearts with peace, hope and inspiration. I have none to offer. I am nervous and uncertain. However He has plenty! So here is something to cling to while we wait.


"Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9


"Behold, I am the Lord... is there anything too difficult for me?" Jeremiah 32:27


"Do not let your heart be troubled, trust in God." John 14:27


"For I know thew plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to strengthen you not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


"He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it" Philippians 1:6


"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you" John 14:18


"As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15


I am tempted to tell God how to run this show. But I choose to entrust him with each step in this journey while I hope he grants the desire of my heart. Join us in trusting God's timing and promises tonight.


*** A quick shoes update! Krissy's school collected $243.29 to help cover shipping for the shoes that the kids donated. We have several people helping us figure out whether to ship them or pay for extra baggage on the airplane. We have chosen the locations we hope to deliver the shoes to and will post more when we have confirmation from these organizations.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It feels like it might be hope

The last week has been really hard on this momma's heart. Waiting to bring Joshua G. home has been tearing me up! Early last week we received a picture of our little guy that broke my heart. He looked like he needed me! He had on a pink shirt and little girl capris. His face just looked so tired - like he needed his momma to pick him up and snuggle him into bed.


As the week went on we began to learn more details about his condition when he arrived at the Care Center. He was in much worse shape than we realized. God truly saved this little boy. He has made "unimaginable progress" according to the angels in Ethiopia that are watching over him. I am forever grateful for the love, nurturing, and attention that I am told has been lavished on our son.


The combination of the lonely, sad photo and sad details of Joshua G's early life turned this momma into a wreck. My heart was absolutely shredded. The protective, nurturing instinct that only mom's have was (and is) in overdrive. I told Chad that I was leaving for Ethiopia the last Friday in May and not returning until our son is with me. (I can not promise that will truly happen, but I am most thankful to have a husband that hugged me and told me to do what I need to do!)


Alright Alicia, you are thinking... where is the hope in all this depressing news?


The HOPE came first through the prayers uttered for our upcoming court case and for peace in my heart offered by my dear friend last night. It surfaced again in pictures of Joshua G that were in my in-box a few minutes ago. Oh, I can not wait to show them to you. He looks SO GOOD!!!!! He has grown and changed so much since we first glimpsed him Jan. 19. We will have to see he might be 2! He is standing tall, holding his name card like a big kid, and concentrating very hard on waving to the camera. Unimaginable progress!


So my friends, join me on my knees thanking God for saving our son. Thank Him for restoring Joshua G's strength and bringing him to a place of safety and nurturing. Thank Him for the gift of hope. I have been scared to hope because it hurts so much when you do not receive what you hope for, but that is a cowardly way to love. So I choose hope.


God willing I will be able to show you these pictures of HOPE on Wednesday after we pass court.


***OK I was just blessed once again! I just received the most amazing video of our son. He is waving and blowing kisses. I am a happy wreck for a change. Don't know how you got it to me so quickly Liz and Monica but I am grateful beyond words.

What does God expect of us?

Since beginning on this journey to adopt our son, my eyes and heart have been opened to things I never before chose to see and hear.  I would be lying if I said prior to this experience I did not know that there was poverty in the world, but I chose to insulate myself from it.  Many times I would change the channel if a program or news report about famine, homelessness, or helplessness was aired.  I had been a follower of Christ all my life but I somehow managed to ignore the 2000 times that I was commanded to care for widows, orphans, and the oppressed.


As my eyes began to open, I was overwhelmed and humbled.  I have truly been seeking God in a new way.  What does He expect?


One book that I would recommend if you are asking this same question is The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Sterns.  To see more about this book link to http://www.theholeinourgospel.com/


Finding Joshua has been more than just bringing home a child that needs a family.  It has been a journey to learn more about the world.  Last night Brenna was sounding out a word that started with "Ug" her first guess was Uganda.  That really made me think about the way our family's focus has changed.  As first graders my other kids would not have heard the word Uganda.  I am thankful that our world has enlarged.  I am so proud and continually amazed at how easy it is for my children to embrace the world.  They do not make helping hard.  They do not come up with excuses.  They do not wait for the perfect time, enough money, the most brilliant plan.  They simply love and reach out!


I do not want this open view to narrow once we have Joshua home.  I want to continue to learn more of what God expects of me.  I want to keep following.  I have no idea where He will lead.  I am certain it will be amazing and difficult and scary and beautiful beyond my wildest dreams.


If you are seeking... wondering what God expects - take a few minutes to check out the link above.  Watch some of the videos, order the book, take a step!  Who knows where He will lead?!  (This is not a book about adoption.  It is a book about serving, sharing, stepping out, using what we have.  Remember Krissy's example last week.  We do not have to have much to give much.  Krissy had an idea and a few posters.  God turned that into 175 pairs of shoes.  Please do not talk yourself out of serving because you do not have enough to make a difference!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Day Without Shoes


Here is a sneak peak of Krissy surrounded by shoes. 

Last Thursday Krissy proposed to her student council that their school participate in "A Day Without Shoes."  The idea was embraced and implemented very quickly, since today was THE day.  With the Easter holiday the student body was told yesterday about the event taking place today. 


Students were encouraged to go shoeless, but required to wear socks.  Check out Krissy's toes!


When I dropped Krissy off at school this morning, I had no idea what to expect.  I was a little worried that she would be disappointed in the response. 

I had NOTHING to worry about. 

Each of the 7 teams at her school was given a hamper.  They were all overflowing.  The shoes that the kids donated filled the back of my Expedition with the seats folded down!

A total of 175 pairs of shoes were donated!

They are a variety of shapes and sizes.  There are 34 pairs for little girls, 25 pairs for little boys, 67 pairs suitable for teen/adult girls, and the rest for teen/adult boys.  The students also donated some money to pay for shipping costs or to be otherwise donated to people in need while we are in Ethiopia.  We also have 59+ pairs of flip flops that were donated by the children of our church.  To be honest I have no idea exactly what will happen with all these shoes.  But if God sent them our way, I trust He has a plan for each and every one of them.  I have no doubt that we will find just the right places to bring these shoes and what an amazing adventure it will be!  (If any of you have suggestions for shipping/distributing these shoes, please let me know.)


Thank you God for providing us this amazing opportunity!  Thank you for blessing Krissy's first efforts to care for the poor.  Thank you for the wonderful teachers at her school.  I am humbled at their response to my daughter's desire.  Thank you for the students that sent shoes our way.  Please guide us to the right people and places so we bring these shoes to the destination You have in mind.  It is an honor to serve you!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Worth It!

I just have to state for the record that even though the process to bring Joshua G. into our family has been difficult, I have no doubt that it is worth every bit of impatience, anxiety, and uncertainty.  Even if he is the most annoying, nuaghty, troublesome child ever - it is WORTH IT.  I am absolutely, completely, totally positive of that FACT.

Why?

Because, every child deserves a family.  Every child deserves to be loved, prayed over, tucked in at night, read to, and adored.

We love you Joshua G.  No matter what.  I have no doubt that you will bring us great joy, but in the moments that you do not - we will love you still.  We will never stop being thankful that God placed you into our arms.

(Most of the difficulty and stress in our life during this wait has been business related, not adoption related.  However I will not lie and say that the adoption process has been pain-free.  Waiting, longing, wondering, worrying, and wishing do take their toll.  Do not consider adopting without counting the cost.  It will hurt!  But it is worth it, a child is at stake!)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Brenna Joy!


Brenna is 7 years old today!

She is way too fun and creative for a traditional birthday cake.  Our new favorite treat is Cold Stone ice cream.  She nixed the cake idea and wanted candles in ice cream instead!  It was way too fun!


She was thrilled to receive some birthday cash!  (I love this picture because it shows off her freckles.)



What Brenna wanted most for her birthday this year was zhu zhu pets.  Zhu Zhu pets are toy hampsters.  They  roll/crawl around and make silly noises when you push the button on their nose.  She is showing one off above.



Zhu Zhu pets also have all these fun accessories like tunnels and wheels - just like you would have for a real hamster.  The only difference is thet Brenna's mom will allow Zhu Zhu pets in the house.  I do NOT do actual hampsters, mice, or any other creepy crawly critters.  Brenna, Sierra, Alexa, and Adrianna had a lot of fun playing with the new pets.  Auntie Emily figured out how to put it all together... never fun.  Thanks Em!


Krissy was also busy this evening.



One of the ways Krissy has been raising money to pay for her plane ticket to Ethiopia is by selling donated items on Ebay.  A friend from church donated a matchbook collection.  Grammy helped to sort the match books into lots and get them photographed and ready to list.  The collection is pretty cool.  An example is below.


The other thing Krissy has been doing to prepare for our trip is gathering items to donate to the people of Ethiopia.  Tonight she enlisted the help of Grandma Donna and Emily.  They all worked on posters to hang in halls of Krissy's school to notify the students of the "No Shoes Day" Thursday.  (See my Shout out for Krissy blog post for details)  We will let you know how it goes!



We are all so proud of you Krissy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Testing...

I have had a few people tell me that they could not post comments on my blog.  I switched a few things tonight, so try again!  On my computer I just click to leave a comment, type your comment in the box, click anonymous unless one of the other choices fits you, click publish comment.  Hopefully it works better for you all now, it is fun to hear from you!

Easter at the D's

This was a very nontraditional Easter for us. Good Friday was consumed by a huge, yucky storm. Grammy was not able to make it into town to dye Easter eggs with the kids, a tradition we all look forward to.


Brenna and Sierra still dyed eggs, but it was not nearly as fun as usual!



I used the eggs the girls dyed as centerpieces at the Easter tables. They were very cute!



We had originally planned to go to my mom and dad's house for Easter dinner and an egg hunt, but the storm knocked out their power for several days so the party was moved to our house. It was a fairly simple switch from my perspective as mom had all the food purchased and ready to go. All I did was set the tables (which Krissy and my mom helped with) and put the food in the oven. I will host that way ANY time!



Above, Brenna is showing off the treasures she found on her Easter egg hunt.


Jamison and his Dad love to wrestle and roughhouse. It will not be too long and Jamison will be as tall and strong as his dad. I suspect an end to the roughhousing about then!



Krissy helped hide eggs for the younger kids. Not to worry she came out of the hunt with her fair share of candy anyway!
***There is one family from IAN traveling to bring their son home this week. They sent a note to all of us who are waiting this morning. They noted that Joshua G. was a cutie pie. He was blowing them kisses. That squeezes my heart! I want to see him blowing kisses. As we gathered yesterday with my whole family I heard my dad say we were all there except Joshua G. I am so thankful he is a part of all of us already! It is also breaking my heart that he is not official yet, that I am still waiting on a letter! Would you please pray for joy, encouragement, and action this week. I am feeling very discouraged, that is not like me! Please pray that God would blast through the paperwork ice jam both in Ethiopia and here at our company. Many important details in life feel totally stuck right now, I am longing for movement!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter in Ethiopia

Easter or Fasika in Amharic begins with 53 days of fasting in which no meat or animal products are consumed. This includes all meat, eggs, milk, butter, etc... (It amazes me that in a country in which many do not have enough to eat, fasting is a common way to show God honor. Here in America where we have so much, fasting is rare. Perhaps having little makes one more aware of Who supplies one's needs?)

Palm Sunday or Hosanna (I love that name for it!) is the Sunday before Easter. It is the a celebration of the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Crowds gathered, people laid down their cloaks in reverence so the donkey's feet would not touch the dirty path. In our church in America, Palm Sunday has a festive feel. The children usually enter the sanctuary waving palm branches. I have explained Palm Sunday many times as the "parade for Jesus."

Hosanna is celebrated in much the same way in Ethiopia. In addition to palms being used in a processional some of the most devout followers weave their palms into rings or crowns. These usually have a cross as a part of the design. They are worn until Easter as a symbol and reminder of all that Jesus chose to endure to save us.

Good Friday services are observed. Good Friday is a national holiday in which many go to church services. A few Ethiopians go to church Thursday to recognize the last supper and remain until Easter Sunday!

The Easter celebration begins on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. About 8pm people begin the processional to their houses of worship. The processional is a very festive affair. The people are filled with excitement. They are wearing mostly white, the traditional Ethiopian ceremonial clothing. They worship, pray, and study the scriptures until 3 AM. At 3 AM they celebrate the resurrection of Christ. They then return home. Some break their fast immediately, others sleep a few hours and then wake to break their fast. (Remember the 53 days without meat products... I would be most anxious to eat some protein!)

I did not find very good pictures of Ethiopian Easter traditions, but have read the Fasika/Easter is the most important holiday in Ethiopia.

I pray that this Easter has a special meaning to each of you. I pray we each experience the miracle of Christ's love and resurrection in a new and unexpected way. May the resurrection become real to each of us in a way we have never before experienced.

Happy Fasika to you! And thank you Jesus for enduring the cross for us!



There are some traditional breads that are eated at Easter. Also beg wat (lambs stew) is eaten with injera. The feasting is ceremonial and very festive as one might imagine after such a long time of fasting.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shout out for Krissy and prayer request

I have to take a moment to tell you once again that I am so proud of Krissy. Last night she and I had the opportunity to tell the children at our church some things about Ethiopia. She and I spent several evenings planning the presentation. She offered many suggestions and helped choose some really cool videos to show the kids.

We had invited the kids to bring flip flops for us to deliver to children that need shoes when we are in Ethiopia. We chose flip flops because they are inexpensive and light. We can pack a lot of flip flops in a suitcase and keep the weight under 5o lbs. But does a $2.50 pair of flip flops have any impact? Here is the video she chose to show the kids that they can!




Krissy so loved the idea of going without shoes for one day that she presented the opportunity to her school's student council this morning. They loved it! Her middle school has decided to recognize Tom's One day Without Shoes movement on April 8. The students will be asked to donate a pair of shoes that she will bring with to Africa. ( Also a big thumbs up to her amazing student council for being willing to move forward on this with so little notice!)

How cool is that?

I am really proud of her! It is so exciting to get a glimpse of the woman I know she will become. I am not totally sure how we will get all these shoes to Ethiopia?! We collected 58 pairs last night alone. It is a problem I am thrilled to have though.

Now onto my prayer request!

I found out yesterday that if the letter from MOWA that was missing when our case was heard in court on Monday shows up, Joshua will become a D immediately. We will not have to wait for our rescheduled court date April 14.

Please pray that this letter arrives! It would be such a blessing to get a happy surprise! I can not tell you what a long, yucky day Monday was waiting for a phone call. We would also really like to travel for the May 19 or June 2 Embassy dates so that Krissy would be able to attend summer school. Most importantly, I desperately want Joshua G. to be an son instead of an orphan. He is already our son in our hearts, but I want it in writing!