Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thoughts of today and days gone by.......

Warning this will be a long one:

When I came home this afternoon I found it really strange that there was music playing when I walked in the front door. I quickly realized that the music was playing from the computer and there was a precious letter from my wonderful husband. David knows that the past few days (maybe I should say weeks) have been very hard for me. I know and trust completely that God is in complete control of this adoption process but as a mom who likes to "fix" things I just can't stand to have to wait. David's note left me instructions to listen to three Stephen Curtis Chapman songs and I cried for 45 minutes as I listened. Here are a few of the words that I was reminded of today:

What Now (Stephen Curtis Chapman)

I saw the face of Jesus in a little orphan girl
She was standing in the corner on the other side of the world
And I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my heart
Didn't you say you wanted to find me?
Well here I am, here you are

So, What now?
What will you do now that you found Me?
What now?
What will you do with this treasure you've found?
I know I may not look like what you expected
But if you remember this is right where I said I would be
You've found me
What now?

What now.......I want to take you back to February 18, 2006. This was my first trip to Ethiopia and I want to share with you some of my journal. Little did I know that this day would forever change my life and the life of two orphan children who were only a few years old, living on an island in the middle of a lake in Ethiopia. 

Feb 18, 2006

After lunch today we had the opportunity to visit "The Center for Hope" which is an AIDS orphanage in Addis. All of the children who call this place home (Over 400 of them) have had their parents die from this horrible disease and each of them find themselves battling this disease as well. As we arrived at the orphanage all of the children were play soccer, hopscotch and hand games outside. As we walked down the road toward the orphanage they all saw us and quickly ran to us. My emotions were so scattered: I wanted to pick them up and hold each of them until they were close enough for me to see the signs that they were sick. My emotions were flooded with fear of all of the "what if's" . Thankfully two precious girls grabbed my hands and they changed my fears with the simple touch of their hands. 

I spent the first 30 minutes at the orphanage painting fingernail after fingernail. With each nail it became more and more real to me that each hand that I am touching represents a life that will be taken much to soon from this dreaded disease. I would begin to cry and have to completely disconnect my emotions, look into their eyes and smile. These precious children just like my own children in so many ways- yet nothing seemed the same for them.

As I finished painting nails a sweet girls who was about 10 years old took my hand and lead me into the girls sleeping area. She was so excited to show me her bed. As she was standing proudly by her tattered bed I realized that this is all that is truly hers. I again had to shut off all emotions and just hugged her because I felt the tears forming in my edges of my eyes. This precious 10 year old girl named Alliono is so much like my wonderful Megan but what a different life she lives. They are different in so many ways- She is sick and  Megan is healthy, she has dark skin and Megan's is white, she doesn't have a mom or Dad and Megan has both who love her deeply, she shares a room with 40 other girls and Megan has a room to call her own but inside both of them God has placed a need for Himself. The outside they are so different yet deep inside everything is the same. (Another thing that is the same is they both have a piece of my heart!) Alliono is precious to me and her face will forever be etched in my mind. 

After I left Alliono I then walked up to the top of the hill to visit in the "sick child" area of the orphanage. As I climbed the stairs I wasn't sure that my heart was ready. I held the doorknob and cried out to God to be my strength as I was His Hands and Feet to these hurting children. As I opened the door a cute little girl dressed in a red outfit was standing right inside. She looked to be about one and a half  years old and she was just beautiful. I bent down to pick her up and as I did I realized that in a few short weeks her time here on this earth would be over. I sat and held her for  a while and just looked into her hurting, sick eyes. She wouldn't have a mommy to hold her as she became sicker, no one to tell her how special she is, no one to kiss her sweet cheeks, no one to calm her fears when she is scared, no one to play peek-a-boo with, no one to comfort or hold her as she ends her time here on earth and begins her time in heaven. I loved on her for quite a while and then passed her along to Chris. 

I entered the next " sick" room and this was the baby room. I noticed that there were several babies in cribs and several feeding themselves their bottle. I then noticed the adult worker in the room as she walked towards me with a tiny baby. She handed me this little bundle and she handed me a bottle. This little guys was all wrapped up in a red and white blanket. I quickly sat down in a rocking chair and felt so honored to sit and feed this little baby. As I started to rock him -I gazed into his eyes that were sparkling and wondered what His life would hold for him and where he was from. I did know that his mother had died soon after she had him and that is all I knew. I also knew that his name was Micholas. I knew that I was holding a baby boy who was precious to God and I just prayed as I sat rocking him. I didn't want him to finish his bottle because I knew that when he finished it would be time for him to be placed back in his crib and I didn't want that moment to come. As he finished his bottle I could no longer put aside my emotions and I started to cry as I remembered back to how special it was to me to feed my own babies when they were his age- How sweet it was to gaze into their eyes. He will never know that feeling and neither will his mother. As I said goodbye to him I couldn't believe that I was going to have to put him down in his crib and walk out the door. I wanted to bring him home with me- to give him love, a family and hope. As I started out the door in broken English the helper in the room told me that HIV positive babies aren't always HIV positive and that for up to six months post delivery they can carry their mom's antibodies that show us as HIV positive. My daily prayer I decided right then and there would be that this special boy would in fact not be HIV positive and that God would heal his tiny body. If he was not HIV positive then a family would be able to adopt him. I knew then that if this were the case that I would love to bring him home to live with us! 

My prayer was this...

Father- Thank you for being the father to the fatherless. You know my heart and the hurt that is there. You know how it ached today as I spent time with these precious kids. You know how hard it was for me to see such need and have no real way to help. God, be all that they need. - Give the hugs, kisses and care that they each need in ways that only you can. I know that today you have changed me forever and I know that you are calling me to be a mother to the motherless- The motherless half way around the world. Thanks for today- I will never forget where you took me to change me! I love you with ALL that I am- Use me to do amazing things for you! 

Little did I know that this first trip to Ethiopia my life would be forever changed! I had the opportunity to travel back to this same orphanage a few short months later to find out that Micholas was indeed not HIV positive and was adoptable. When I arrived back at home our family began to pray everyday for Micholas and it was a bitter sweet day when we found out that a wonderful family in Michigan would be adopting this precious baby boy. Sad, in that we had hoped that God wanted his home to be here with us, but happy that he would have a mom and dad to love him. Micholas will never ever be forgotten by me. God used this tiny baby to get my attention and turn my heart toward the motherless. 

Just as the song says...... 

I saw the face of Jesus in a little orphan girl

She was standing in the corner on the other side of the world

And I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my heart
Didn't you say you wanted to find me?
Well here I am, here you are

So, What now?
What will you do now that you found Me?

What will I do now? I will follow you and love the ones who you have called me to love! Now that I have found you- You will have ALL of me! Thanks for this amazing journey- I can't believe you have called me!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A visit with our kids.......

I received an exciting e-mail early this weekend from our good friends Amy and Mike Rogers. They have been serving in Ethiopia as missionaries for the past year and a half and they contacted me to let me know that they will be visiting with our kids this Friday. They will be in Addis for a few days and they have set aside the entire day on Friday to visit with Tizita and Geremew. What a joy for me as a mom to know that our kids will be loved on, cared for, and have extra attention for a while this Friday! I look forward to having new pictures and more personal information on both of them after Mike and Amy's visit with them. Pray with me that as Mike and Amy love on them that they will understand that we are trying out hardest to get there as soon as possible to bring them home! 
We continue to wait for a court date and there seems to be a little bad news on the adoption front in Ethiopia. Apparently one of the adoption agencies in Addis has not been honest in the adoption process and has now caused the Judge to not hear any cases of adoption where the child or children were abandoned in Addis without more investigation. We have been told that our twins were not abandoned in Addis and so this should not effect our adoption, however it is so hard to get a straight answer. We continue to wait and pray knowing that God is in complete control. I hurt for those kids who were so close to being brought home who this will effect. Please pray with me that this quickly passes and that the children waiting can be with their forever families soon. 
It has been a wonderful Mother's Day (aside from Megan breaking her arm) and I look forward to next year having all 6 kids here withe me to celebrate- Trusting Him-

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joy in the waiting

As we continue to wait for a court date for our precious twins I was reminded today of how God patiently waits on me. I can't imagine the longing He must have had as He patiently waited for me to say yes to Him. This entire adoption process has made me think about my Heavenly Father and His adoption of me. The price He paid for me and for me alone- All of my sin He bore- long before I knew Him. 
I know how He patiently waited for me to trust Him alone - I am sure because He loved me so deeply yet couldn't be connected to me because of the sin that separated us. A decision He couldn't make for me he could only provide the way.
I know that He longs to hold me close, talk with me and listen to my every care. He longs to cheer me on and cry with me often.  I am the only one who can chose to allow this gift to be received. He offers but I have to accept.

As we are waiting patiently for our children to come home to us I catch only a glimmer of what my Father must feel! We have paid the price financially to bring our children home-He gave so much more. We now wait and it is completely out of our hands -He had to wait for me to say Yes to Him- He provided the way but I had to say yes. I long to hold our precious children and spend hours loving them knowing that I am not promised that they will love me back- He longs to have all of me and I am the one who can hold back anything by choice.

What an amazing Father I have that not only adopted me but is allowing me to adopt. This journey is changing my life and I know I will never be the same!  Thanks you God for the gift of waiting on you as I know that you so often wait on me- 

Monday, May 4, 2009


For the past five months we have been so excited about adding Tizita and Geremew to our family. We have gathered mountains of paperwork, all 6 of us have had shots, we have sent a care package to our precious children,  have weekly done some pre-adoption counseling, started to prepare our home and raised money to bring our kids home from Ethiopia.

The first part of this adoption journey started with the mounds of paperwork to get our home study and Dossier complete. Each day we would remind ourselves that the task of paperwork would all be worth it in the end! David and I are both organizationally challenged and so a long list of paperwork to collect is not our cup of tea! With everyday we were able to check things off of our ever-growing list. The list is now complete and our Dossier was mailed to Ethiopia at the end of March.

We have all six been vaccinated and I must say that this has been the most unpleasant part of the journey for the kids. Lindsay and Jacob had to keep reminding each other that this would all be worth it to have another brother and sister. Megan and Kaylee did great with their shots but they are both really glad that they are over! David finished up today with his booster shots and I thankfully didn't have to have any boosters.

One of the greatest joys so far in this process was packing and sending a care package to our kids. Megan, Kaylee, Jacob, Lindsay, and I  had a blast one day at the mall as we searched for special things for the twins. Megan and Lindsay were in charge of Tizita's package and Jacob and Kaylee packed Geremew a package. The care package was limited to one Gallon sized zip-lock bag. How do we send our love as a family in one small bag? Tizita's bag was packed full of hair accessories, a notebook, a pen, T-shirt, and other girly things. Geremew's bag was stuffed with a toy car, a notebook, a pen, T-shirt and several other boy things. Both bags had a photo album of our family, our home and notes from each of us. I cried as I packed the bags with the kids- I knew that our precious twins would soon know of our love for them. As a family we prayed that these bags would reflect our love, hope for the future and an amazing joy as they received them. A few days after they received their bags we received photos of our amazing kids wearing the T-shirts that we had sent. Tears of joy came again as we knew that they knew that their family was coming soon to bring them home!

David and I have enjoyed our time of counseling as we prepare to bring two more children into our family. On David's trip to Ethiopia last year he had the opportunity to spend a week and a half with RJ who is an adoption counselor. When we started to pursue adoption this year we knew that he would be one of our first contacts.  He has been so helpful as we meet each week to discuss what adding twins from another culture to our home will look like. He has shared many thoughts, ideas and suggestions that we have really taken to heart. For David and I it has been wonderful for us to spend hours talking about what is to come. Many dreams and many fears of what our days ahead will hold. We have had some great family conversations from the thoughts that he has shared with us. Our entire family will be meeting with him this week and we look forward to this journey knowing that so many have gone before us and so many will follow.

Preparing our home is the stage that we find ourselves in at this moment. David says he is "nesting". Having six children will be logistically challenging at times and so we are preparing the best we can to cut down on any extra chaos. The reality of 16 shoes at the door when we come in from being out can seem overwhelming and so we are adding systems to our home to make things run smoothly! The laundry room (that is always full of laundry with 6) is also getting a major makeover. Eight name labeled tubs for clean laundry on a rolling cart that can be rolled from bedroom to bedroom, a huge folding table and plenty of storage shelves for all of the extras that we are going to need. Lindsay and Jacob are adding beds to their rooms and Lindsay is so excited that we found Tizita bedding that matches her current bedding (Thanks to Pottery Barn). David's mom has towels that will soon have their names stitched on them to go in their bathroom. We are adding babydolls with darker skin and five year old boy toys to the playroom. This is so much fun for all six of us because we know that these changes mean that our family will all be together soon.

If you would have ask us in January how we were going to come up with over $30,000 we would have said that we had no idea and we didn't. We did however know that God was calling us to step out on faith and follow Him. We as a family prayed that God would provide what we needed to make our family complete. An amazing and unexpected part of this journey has been to watch our children get so excited about God providing for us in amazing and unheard of ways. They truly have seen  God provide when we trusted and obeyed Him. Something that we could never teach without experience but a joy to watch unfold in front of us. I will share in the next blog how God has provided in ways that we could have never ever dreamed of-

Now we wait.......on a court date, an embassy date and for the day that we get to hold our precious Tizita and Geremew!

Enjoying the Journey-