It is Black Friday and I am amazed at the consumerism of our country. I have heard of people camping out for over a week, standing in line for hours and literally physically fighting over items that soon will be forgotten. Today as I read these facts online I am reminded of our shopping experience this past week with our family-
David is traveling today to Ethiopia and he will spend a good amount of time with Tia and Garrett's birth family while he is there. We pray for and talk daily about their family and as most of you know Garrett continues to be concerned about their basic needs being met. As David's trip was approaching we headed out to find a few gifts to send to each of their siblings and to Werke, their birth mom.
As the eight of us entered Target the kids headed straight to the dollar spot and I thought that they would pick out a few dollar toys that they wanted to send to each sibling. I was so wrong! The very first thing that Garrett brought to me was a small pair of socks and he said, "Mom, these will be perfect for Abush." Abush is Garrett's four year old brother- Not a toy for a four year old but a pair of socks...... I took the socks holding back my tears and said, "Garrett, these will be great and if you want you can now pick out something for him to play with." Garrett replied, "No, he will need more than one pair of socks mom. He doesn't have even one pair." He then handed me more socks. My heart ached as I watched my son look over all of the fun things in order to provide for his brothers basic needs. We purchased socks for the entire family and then picked out a few fun things for each of them as well.
As we were checking out I could tell that they were excited to be sending gifts to their family and God did the neatest thing. The lady who was helping us check out continued to stop what she was doing to look at Tia every few seconds. I found it a little odd but many times in public people stare at our family. The employee finally said, "Where are they from?" As soon as she started to ask I knew that she was from Ethiopia. We explained that everything we were purchasing was for Tia and Garrett's family in Ethiopia. It was so neat that as we were purchasing these things that in Tia and Garrett's native language the cashier was speaking to them-
It is the little things that God does to amaze me. Not things that money can buy but the memories and lessons of life that He gives. So thankful that before the hustle and bustle of this season God reminded me yet again that a pair of socks for a precious boy would change his little life half way around the world.........
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
By far the hardest day of my entire life! Saying goodbye to my precious children not knowing when we would return to bring them home. We made such sweet memories the week that we were together (as you can see in each of these photos).
I will never forget holding Garrett on my lap as David held Tia in the orphanage. I tried to pray out loud but had no words and so David prayed over us. Garrett was sobbing out loud and my shirt was soaking wet from the combination of my tears and his. I didn't want David's prayer to end because I knew that we would then share our last goodbye.
As I gave them each one last hug and kiss I couldn't imagine really walking away from this place and from them yet I knew that I had no choice. I looked into their eyes, said to each of them, "I love you", and whispered, "We will be back soon, I promise!" With that I had to hold onto David and walk quickly to the car or I knew that I would never leave. (Good thing that I didn't know then that it would be seven long months before our return or I would have stayed!)
We got into the car and as we drove off I looked up to see my daughter hanging out of her bedroom window crying and waving goodbye to us. She then quickly signed I love you with her small hands and as I signed back I cried like I had never cried before-
Thankful that two years later we daily get to say I love you and never have to be apart again!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The moment that we had been waiting for and dreaming of came two years ago today. For the very first time we held our youngest son and daughter. Moments that I will cherish forever and a day that will never be forgotten.
I will never forget pulling up to the office of our adoption agency and walking into the office area where they told us to be seated. I grabbed David's arm and squeezed tighter than I had ever squeezed (even harder than during the births of our first four children) as we waited for the orphanage staff to bring Tizita and Geremew to us. We had seen hundreds of photos of them to the point that I felt that I knew them yet I really knew nothing about who they really were.
As they walked into the room I literally held my breath and fought back the tears. I didn't want to scare them by crying yet the joy in my heart was overflowing. All of the days of praying, seeking wisdom, making phone calls, filling out paperwork, and the heart break of thinking that they may never be ours melted away in that moment. Here we were holding these gifts that God had made to be ours.
I first held Tizita in my arms while David quickly scooped up Geremew. Just as I had when I was handed our four biological babies I wanted to take in each inch of my precious daughter. I wanted to see every small detail on her face and so I quickly put my hands on her cheeks and gazed into her eyes. She had a tear in her eye and as I wiped it I thought that this would be the first of many tears that I would get to wipe from her eyes- I am sure that the excitement and fear of that moment was overwhelming to her. To see her mom and dad in person for the very first time must have been unreal for her.
Tizita and Geremew grabbed our arms and continued to rub them over and over. It was as if they were just making sure that we were real and that they were not dreaming. They would then touch our faces and laugh in delight. They held tight to us both and from the first moments that we were together you could see the joy in their little faces.
We had very little communication that first day together because Nicco our translator was checking over their paperwork as we played and interacted with the twins. The twins didn't speak or understand any English and of course we knew very little of their language. Little did we know that Nicco was collecting information that would change the course of our adoption process as we played, took pictures and loved on our kids that very first day.
We brought bears for Tizita and Geremew that we as a family had made at Build-A-Bear. The six of us had recorded our voices inside the bears and so it brought such joy to them as they pushed the button and would hear Megan, Kaylee, Lindsay and Jacob speak to them. They would laugh out loud and push the button over and over. Pure joy for me as a mom to watch two very scared, shy orphans know that they were loved and that we were there only for them.
Along with the bears we brought both Tia and Garrett a special blanket for them to sleep with each night. We knew that this time together was so special but it was only a few days and we would have to return home without them. We decided to take a blanket for each of them to sleep with while we were apart. I literally prayed over these blankets- I prayed that God would use these simple blankets to remind Tia and Garrett each night that we loved them and that we would return soon to bring them home with us forever. They both had these blankets with them each night the months that we were apart. Tonight as I tucked them both in (and every night) guess which blanket was covering them first? These small simple blankets that continue to remind them that they are loved and cared for! Each night as I pull those blankets up to tuck them in I praise God for all that He has done- A reminder now to me how much He loves me!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Two years ago tonight I was in tears as I walked into our bedroom and announced to David, "I am not going with you." He responded, "You are going. You know that God has clearly said for us to go and we are going." He held me as I cried and explained that I couldn't leave because while I was tucking in Lindsay and Jacob they both cried and expressed that they didn't want both of us to go.
Our bags were all packed and tickets in hand for our flight to Ethiopia that was scheduled to leave early the next morning. After receiving word that Tia and Garrett were not adoptable a few weeks prior we felt God leading us to go to Ethiopia and try to find their missing birth family. Their birth family had to be located in order for the adoption to move forward and we knew that if we didn't go there would be little chance of ever bringing them home.
My mind swirled with all of the unknown- I thought of the millions of people in Ethiopia and how we were setting out to find one family out of the millions. I thought about the fact that we were leaving our kids here and that we were traveling half way around the world without them. I thought about the fact that I would soon be holding my precious twins not knowing if we could ever bring them home. I thought of how foolish it seemed to spend so much money on airfare with no guarantee of making progress while there.
I really wasn't sure that my emotions could handle what was ahead. What if we traveled half way around the world and didn't locate the family? What if we spend a few days with our twins only to break their hearts (and ours) because we had no hope for them to come home with us? What if we got to Ethiopia only to find that Tia and Garrett were no longer at the orphanage? The list went on and on long into the night.
All of these questions and concerns yet God's still, small voice continued to whisper, "Trust me." In my clearest thinking I knew that God was saying to go yet the circumstances sometimes paralyzed me. I quoted scripture after scripture to myself as I was laying in bed trying to get a few hours of sleep prior to our departure. I didn't sleep much at all but by the time our alarm went off at 3:00am I knew that God was going to do something amazing on this trip- I just had no idea how amazing the next two days would be............
What is God calling you to do yet the circumstances seem to be paralyzing you? What is He whispering? Are you listening and obeying? I am so thankful that we did-