Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Yesterday, I had to have a pelvic ultrasound. Not to worry- I am physically OK (I will be), but I walked out of there not so mentally OK. As I was watching the screen, I teased the tech a little by exclaiming, "There is no baby in there!" as she measured my uterus. (Not such a great thing to exclaim in an OB office ultrasound room...) Of course I followed it up with, "Just kidding- there isn't supposed to be" :) Poor lady. She just needed to look at my ovaries for crying out loud...everyone is a comedian, right?

Anyway, as I stared at my purposefully empty uterus, I began to feel that little knot well up in my throat-yes, you know the one. Somewhere in Africa, there is a lady whose uterus is not empty right now...rather, it is likely filled with my little miracle (or miracles). I have never met her. I do not know her name, how old she is, whether she is married or unmarried, whether she has food and water or shelter to keep her healthy and safe. She does not know how much I love her and that child, how often I think of her, wonder where she is or what she is doing, and she doesn't know how often I lift up prayers knowing that my God knows exactly who and where she is and what her needs are. Oh, how I wish I knew her. She is the most courageous woman I ever hope to meet.

Although she will not likely have the opportunity to lay on a table and look at her unborn child on a monitor, she will know them in a personal, intimate way before they are ever born. She will be the one to feel the midnight jabs of heels or elbows, to endure the hours of agonizing labor, to be the first to hold her child, our child, in her arms. Yet, the one thing she is certain to end up with in the end: emptiness. Emptiness in her uterus, yes, but an even deeper emptiness in her heart and soul. She will give her child to us, and we will get the wet sloppy kisses, the first words, the first everything...yet she will have been their mommy first. It is a right that can not and will never be taken from her. But will her "firsts" be enough to sustain her from the enveloping pain that the emptiness will bring? Oh God, please let those moments sustain her and give her peace.

We have to reconcile that this child (or children) that we are so longing for, that we will one day soon hold in our arms forever, a gift to us from our God in Heaven, was someone else's first. The fact that God has allowed them to come into our lives means that He has allowed that emptiness in someone elses. This fact, I am certain, will leave a little piece of emptiness in my heart for her forever, and a million times more thankfulness than you can ever imagine for this woman I do not know. How can I so desperately want something that will cause someone else such pain?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beware the Great Wolf!

Taking a couple days to enjoy friends and each other @ Great Wolf Lodge in KC, KS this weekend. All of Missouri and Kansas are here, seriously! We are so blessed to be able to enjoy our nieces and nephew and our friend's kiddos while we wait on our own! Not too fond of getting into a bathing suit...but that is a whole 'nother post!

Looking forward to April updates! Congratulations to all the referral families so far this month! Keep 'em coming!!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update on the update...

Well, more news on the adoption process home front...we found out this week that it is likely our first trip will happen for court, not immediately after the referral. This is good because:

1) We will have less wait between trips 1 and 2 (presumably)...

2) We will have a higher chance of meeting our kiddos birth family (they are required to attend court)...

3) We will know when (if) we go home between trips 1 and 2 that our kiddo is our kiddo, no give backs :)...

So, to speak to the "if" in no. 3...we are definitely on our knees about the time between trip 1 and trip 2. There are definite plus' to coming home between, specifically the visa that is issued to our kiddo- no re-adoption in the US would be necessary. However, the idea of leaving our kiddo behind after just meeting them seems very emotionally overwhelming. If the time between trips amounted to weeks, instead of months, we would certainly consider staying in country the whole time, even if it meant that Brandon had to come home before us. We are also not certain that our agency will allow this, but we are keeping the door open for that. I know that we are not the only ones with this on our minds, so as more families travel and rules are established, God will have the opportunity to open or close this door for us.

Mainly, we continue to be thankful for our case workers and in country workers with AGCI, maintaining the utmost professionalism and concern for families. Also, the families walking this path with us have a high amount of integrity and love for our Lord, and for that I am also grateful. We knew the path to our kiddos would be filled with joy, uncertainty, and longing...but thankfully God is walking ahead!

Remaining on our knees for our kiddos...


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Armor of God

A good friend of mine in my Seminary program is writing an original curriculum for kiddos about the Armor of God. As I have been evaluating it for our class, I realized that some days I leave mine hanging in the closet. Leaving the Armor of God hanging in our closet is like leaving our coat and gloves at home and wearing shorts and a tank top when there is 6 feet of snow. It is an all around bad idea!

Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us clear instructions on how to prepare for daily battle: "A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and unseen authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. Forshoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle, you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times, and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere."

As Paul was writing this letter to the Ephesians, he was in chains. Literally bound up in evil for doing the will of God. Yet, he wore his armor of God boldly, and continually encouraged his brothers and sisters in Christ. There will be some days on this journey of adoption that we feel the heat of the devil's arrows; indeed, some were fired at us this week. He does not want our children to come home, he does not want God's plan for us to succeed, yet it will. IF we put on our Armor!

Here are some fun coloring and activity pages for your kiddos about the Armor of God...teach them early! Make it their favorite piece of clothing...like that one they wear even when it is dirty and stinky! http://www.coloring.ws/armor.htm

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. Ephesians 6:13


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sovereign God...

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do His will. And I know that I will triumph. Isaiah 50:7

The past 24 hours have been full of emotional ups and downs. Uncertainty, relief, excitement, worry, thankfulness, hope, longing. You name it, we have had it.

First, we have the best adoption agency on the planet (I realize that I am biased, but I will not waiver- it is true). There have been some significant changes to the Ethiopian adoption program in the past couple of days, and they have been so compassionate, proactive, and concerned in their communication. When Brandon and I were choosing our agency, core Christian values were at the top of our list, and this situation has brought to light the wonderful impact of that decision. God has blessed us with so many people to walk this path with, whose constant reminders of the faithfulness of our Lord overshadow the heaviness of this process.

The changes, in the long run, are good...looking out for the best interest of our child, of their biological parents, and ultimately, for us. First, instead of making only one trip to pick up our kiddos in Ethiopia, we will be required to make two trips. First, we will travel shortly after our referral to meet and "accept" the kiddo. The pros: we will meet and bond with our kiddo sooner, get to experience them and create memories at a younger age, get to have more time in Africa (for me, this is always a plus!),have more time to experience the culture, more travelers to take donations to Hannah's Hope (a super cool bonus to spoil our kiddos better) and ultimately be able to share these special memories with our kiddos. The cons: because we will not have likely went to court yet, the kiddo is not officially ours yet on the first trip. This means a couple things- they will have to stay at the orphanage...we can spend time with them there, but cannot have them with us at the hotel or take them anywhere. Bummer. Also, there is always the possibility that we will meet and bond with our kiddo, and then the birth parent may change their mind before the court case is final. Another big heart bummer... Also, we will have to leave our kiddo to come home without them, wait for an unknown amount of time for the court case to be heard, passed, and our embassy appointment before we can go back to get them...likely 6-8 weeks minimum. BIG heart bummer! The minor bummers are the extra time and financial strain of two trips, but God has already taken care of that! So, we are processing what this really means. Likely, the processes are going to be elongated, as more people will be travelling, more time to get kiddos out of the orphanage (less room for new ones), and generally just a longer wait! BUT- what we do know is that God's timing is perfect! The date is picked. He knows exactly when we will hold those kiddos in our arms for the first time, and He promises to hold us- both now, and when we have to leave them behind! So for now, we wait and we pray...especially for those families a little further along than we are. Their uncertainties are so much greater in many ways. They know their kiddos, and they have less time to prepare all around- especially financially. So we are lifting everyone up now, in this uncertain time of change for our kiddos. Thankfully, God is Sovereign! King over all our troubles and uncertainties.

Secondly- we talked to K today to get new official numbers- that is always fun. (Although Sara does an amazing job keeping track unofficially for us during the month, it is always great to hear that official spot!) So, without further ado...

Girl- 37

Boy- 25

Siblings- 14

Yay! How fun is that! And, how cool is it that we know about more referral activity last week that these numbers do not reflect yet! More fun to come with the April updates! AND- even more cool (as if!)...3 infant girls, 3 infant boys, 1 toddler girl, and 2 sibling groups found their forever families this month! God is so amazing!

For the final bit of good news today...we received our Favorable Determination Letter today! My husband, God love him, came into the house with the mail saying, "Hmm, I wonder what we got from immigration?" As I am screaming (the neighbors could hear, I have no doubt), my Gracie dog is looking at me like I am nuts, as is, now, my husband (probably because I am jumping up and down and screaming at this point, wildly opening the envelope). In deed, our "permission slip" to become parents to our African blessing is here... the last piece of the paper puzzle...the "golden ticket". He says, "Congratulations, Momma", and as we hug tight, I say, "You too, Daddy." Ahhh...melt...sniff...Thank you God for this ray of sunshine in our cloudy day. (I have to laugh a little...someone actually gave us permission to be parents? Oh, boy!)

"There aren't even words to describe just how great You are. In all Your majesty, You continually provide for me. There just isn't anything that You can't do. Lord, I've seen Your work before, so I will trust You all the more, because You are...

You are the Sovereign God, bigger than all my problems. And in every situation, there is nothing too hard for the Sovereign God. A wave of Your hand can command the seas to hold their peace. If you can handle the seas, then I know that You can deal with all my needs. So, I will put every situation into Your capable hands. I don't have to know the plan...because You are Sovereign God.

He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think; so take your burdens and lay them at His feet, and watch Him meet the need. We have victory, because You are...

You are the Sovereign God."

--"Sovereign God", by Maurette Brown Clark


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(Semi)-wordless Wednesday...

Why Africa? WhyAdoption? Why, why, why...

...because we said "Yes, Lord."

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am, Send me!" Isaiah 6:8


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In the beginning, God created...

a stir in our hearts for Africa. Brandon and I made our first trip to Africa almost 4 years ago. Since that time, our hearts have developed a love for the people of Africa. January marked my 4th trip, and each time I go, I fall deeper and deeper.

My hubby Brandon and I have been married for 11 years, together for 16...he is the love of my life, my best friend. Our passion for each other rivals our passion for our God, the rock upon which we stand. We have no children yet, with the exception of the most spoiled Yorkie-poo on the planet... she is jet black, so my mother in law teases that our kiddos will fit right in with her black grand-dog. I have yet to determine if this analogy follows proper etiquette. (smiling)

You see, we surprised our families fiercely with our call to adoption around our birthdays in October. I am sure as they opened their "birthday presents", they may have been expecting an ultrasound picture, or something of the sort, yet they were met with a frame filled with the prayer and scripture that is on the side of the blog. Brandon and I have chosen adoption as our first choice, because Africa is where our children are. I knew it the first time I held an African baby in my arms...Brandon, well, God needed some more time to work on him :)But here we are, after much prayer, many late night talks, and that mountain of preparation they call "paperwork", and God is good.

Now, we wait. Some days the waiting is OK. Time is filled with ministry (I am a Children's Ministry Director), homework (finishing my Master's degree in Children's and Family Ministry),being the wife God intended me to be, family, friends, and all the goodness God gives me everyday! Other days, the wait stinks...those days, time is filled with blog stalking, AGCI list serve stalking, sitting in the baby's room, crying, and all other worry filled, self involved things that do nothing to honor God :) The good thing- He is there no matter what kind of day I decided to have!

Anyway, I have been procrastinating at starting this blog, probably because through my blog stalking of fellow ET adoptions, I have become slightly intimidated, as if it is somehow a contest :) Today, I decided it would be an amazing gift to our kiddos to show them that their momma was always super crazy about them, or just super crazy...probably both! I hope you enjoy sharing this journey with us...