Monday, December 31, 2007

Saying Goodbye .... to 2007!

Wow!, what a year! We have been stretched more this year than probably any other single year thus far of our journey here on earth. It's only by God's goodness and grace that we have made it through the valleys and mountain-top moments this year!

Tomorrow not only marks the first day of a new year, but also our daughter's third birthday! It's hard to believe that nearly three years ago we got that life-changing email ...... "a little African American girl ... born with a heart defect ... having open heart surgery today". I will never forget the exact moment of receiving that information. While it was much different in many ways than we had anticipated (we were not expecting the health issues) .... we knew for SURE, this was the child God had led us to nine months prior. We had the absolute privilege of praying for our precious Naomi all throughout her open-heart surgery. By evening we received word that she made it through and was stable and to get on a plane headed for Houston! We had to adjust travel plans, as with her hospital stay, I'd need to go alone and be with her until closer to the time she could come home. So three flights later, the last of which was in a terrible storm and I was certain I was not going to land properly! ...... I landed in TX. Unfortunately I had to wait til the next morning to get to the hospital.

I will always treasure the first moment I laid eyes on our precious daughter. While she was still on a breathing machine, dialysis and umpteen other tubes and wires ..... I saw those big brown eyes and it took my breath away. My heart crumbled as the realization of her aloneness sunk in. At that moment it no longer mattered to me who understood or supported our adoption. What I knew was that a woman that I would never have the privilege of meeting made the courageous decision to give this little girl the gift of LIFE. In our culture today, that should never be minimized. And now it was up to us to be her family. People have said how lucky she is to have a family .... while they mean well, they have it all wrong. Every child deserves a family. Through Naomi's life, we have understood in such a greater depth of just how much God loves us. His love for us is not based on what we have to give ... His love is a free gift, a complete gift ... the only thing that really satisfies the soul.

Do you know His love? .... do you know Him as your father? .... I cannot think of a better way to start off the new year than accept His free and perfect gift.

Tomorrow our 'lil spunky Texan babe will open up her birthday presents. And we will enjoy PINK cake (her request). No doubt our hearts and minds will be often drifting half a world away as we anxiously await news of our other 'lil babe that we have yet to meet. Our hearts are just overflowing with joy as we wait .... yet the journey of adoption is terribly bittersweet. To be adopted, means you have experienced great loss. But we'll save those thoughts for another post. Tonight we give God great THANKS for all He's done for us in 2007!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Praying you each have a blessed Christmas! We are just overwhelmed this year by God's Goodness, Joy and Love. How we long to have all of our children together ... yet He has been so gracious as we await that special news! We are just entering the 3-5 mo. time frame our agency gave us. How exciting!

Monday, December 17, 2007

No news here ... entering week 11 of this wait. Continue to pray with us as we trust the Lord to care for our little-one ... so far away.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's Not Fair!

Sometimes our daughter will tell us this phrase when she isn't so happy about the outcome of something. And ... sometimes our answer is, "yeah, life's not fair!". But today as I think about my life and what God has done for me .... I too can say ... it's not fair. Before you think I have fallen off my rocker, let me explain. :)

I think about all He has done for me ..... sending His son to suffer and die for my sins. How is that fair? How in the world am I deserving of such love? He has given me a life I do not deserve. He pours out His tender mercies on me each day. He gives me strength to go on ... some times He alone is my strength.

A few years back, I underwent some scary health issues. I didn't know what the future held. I was so frightened and deeply challenged to really decide what I believe. Through God's grace, He chose to bring us through all of that. What could easily have been life-threatening ... was all caught in time. Yes there was pain, sorrow and loss. But still to this day I am overwhelmingly amazed by all the blessings the Lord has poured out. He has given me so much. Most of all, I have known HIM more which makes my life rich ... even on days that seem dark and dreary.

Are there days I pout like my daughter .... "it's not fair!!". I'm afraid I have to say yes ... I do. But the real truth is the opposite of that phrase ... I don't deserve this life ... how I thank the Lord He doesn't give us "what's fair". I would have far less.

Often in the busyness of life we don't stop and realize just all we have in HIM. Maybe you are experiencing a storm in your own life and need to be reminded that your heavenly father is right there ... wanting to give you everything He has. We have to look to Him and receive it. We have to submit ourself, our ways, our flesh to Him ... then we will truly be fulfilled.

On the adoption front ... the wait is difficult. I wish I were handling it with more grace than I am. But one day we'll look back and see God's hand in it all. How I don't want to miss out on what He's trying to teach me through this journey.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Week 8 . . . that's where we are in the wait!

We have been blessed this week by a surprise visit from Grandpa Gene! That has been enjoyed very much.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Paper, Glue & Glitter .. Oh My!

The title pretty much sums it up ... kiddos and I have been working every spare moment on stuff for our booth at the upcoming craft fair in our local town. We have no idea what to expect as far as what size crowd will come through ... and in ND the weather can be pretty unpredictable this time of year!

We are now seven weeks into the waiting process for our referral. It has proved to be very difficult, which we expected. The agency we are working with is awesome, as is our local agency that did our home study. We were very blessed to attend a Multi-Cultural Support Group hosted by our local agency this last Saturday. It was awesome to share experiences with other families. The couple sharing their story recently returned from Ethiopia with their first daughter. She was half of Naomi's size at only 9 mo. old! What a sweetie she was.

Naomi had so much fun playing with her little friend she met at the last event who was born in Vietnam. We all tried to convince her daddy it's time to go for #2!! We'll have to work on him a little harder it looks like.

Several countries were represented including Vietnam, China, Guatemala and Ethiopia. We are thankful for this support network.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Are you waiting?

Many times in our lives we'll find ourselves waiting. It could be for tests results ... it could be for a child who's gone astray ... perhaps a job ... a spouse ... and for many who have joined us on this journey it is a season of waiting on your child to join your family. Everyone reacts to waiting in different ways. I find great comfort in Isaiah 40:31 during seasons of waiting.

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:31

Our family is in a season of waiting. There is a tendency to worry, become weary, and wrestle with all the unknowns. But what a comfort it is to know that when we wait for the Lord, we'll gain NEW strength.

We hope that no matter what season of life you are in .... that you might find strength as well in your "waiting".

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reflections of a mother's heart

Sweet child of mine . . . how often my thoughts are of you. I wonder where you are today ... if there is someone to hold you and comfort you ... if you are hungry. How I long to be with you. It seems we've labored for so long now, to bring you home. People we will never even meet have joined us in this journey of bringing you home. There were times I didn't think I could do any more ... but each time I would think of you and knew you were counting on us to keep going. What joy fills our hearts to know you'll be part of our family. Our hearts also grieve over all you've lost already. I cannot give you back that which has been lost ... but I promise you that with the Lord's help we will share everything that is within us with you for a lifetime.

For now we wait. We wait with great expectation that you are being found, cared for and loved by the One who created you. Some day, my child ... they will call us and we will gaze upon your picture and prepare to travel to your homeland and welcome you into our arms. So many details we must trust the Lord for on this journey. Your life is a gift and one in which we treasure and embrace. How we long to see you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Checkin' In ....

Hello there! Nothing really new to report. You can just keep waiting right along with us. :) So what do we do while we wait? Plenty! Now that my (Shelly) health issues seem to be completed we are trying to just play catch up around here. I'm realizing just how LONG I'd been sick for. Crazy! Can you say messy house?, cluttered closets, long over-due to-do lists?!! Everyone is sporting a new haircut today, so we aren't lookin' so shabby around here. Well, that is everyone except the girly ... no scissors have yet to touch her hair! Speaking of hair, that reminds me that I need to be working with middle brother on hair-care since he'll be the primary one in charge of her sweet head while we're away traveling. We have this "deal" in our house. Daddy washes the hair once a week and I do the daily upkeep. Fair enough. :) I'll post sometime soon on what we've found to work well for our hair woes. Since all hair is different, I look forward to seeing our new babe's hair and finding what works best for her as well.

Other than that, we are keeping up with our studies and I've been tackling a few creative projects. One of those you'll see soon. I made a fun tin this last week and couldn't figure out what to DO with it. So, we decided we might as well have a 'lil fun on here while we all wait and have a silent auction! ... just in time for your gift giving needs. :) So stayed tuned for pics very soon!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Time for Tag?

Ah, the wonderful world of blogging ..... I've been "tagged" by my dear, long-distance friend Miranda. You can visit her family over at On the Road to Emmaus

In other words, it's just a creative way to get to know each other. So here goes:

Present/Past Jobs:

1. Stay-at-Home Mom/Educator for 14 years.
2. Demo for Stampin' Up! (stamping/scrapbooking company)
3. Cleaned houses & gave piano lessons
4. Worked at a family owned farming retail business.
5. Helped people decorate their homes with a decorating company.

Places Lived:

1. Grew up in rural Illinois
2. Spent 2 years in Louisiana while my husband was in the Air Force.
3. Lived in 3 different apartments in the inner-city of Chicago (while hubby attended Moody Bible Institute)
4. Moved to rural North Dakota in two different locations where we plan to stay a very long time.

Favorite TV Shows:

1. Can't say that I have any. I prefer playing games with my family.
But if it were a movie! .... now that would be easy .... I love the series by Michael Landon Jr. of "When Loves Comes Softly", "Love's Enduring Promise" ... and the rest. New one is out soon! Yeah. :)

Books I've especially appreciated recently (in no particular order):

1. Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp
2. A Life that says Welcome by Karen Ehman (awesome book on hospitality)
3. Carried Safely Home by Kristin Swick Wong (adoption)
4. The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst
5. The Psalms - without the Lord I would fall and never be able to get back up again.
Pretty much anything on organization, home-making, hospitality, adoption, parenting, education ..... trust me ... I need all the help I can get!

Food Faves:
1. Chocolate
2. Homemade Taco Pizza
3. A particular salad at Chilis
4. Cheesecake or any other yummy dessert
5. Grilled chicken served next to steamed veggies

Places I've been: (wow my list is boring compared to my friends!!)
1. Texas to meet my daughter nearly 3 years ago at Texas Children's Hospital while she recovered from open-heart surgery
2. Tennessee - Great Smokey Mountains
3. Georgia - to see dear friends
4. Lord willing I will soon leave the USA for the 1st time ever, to meet our new daughter in Ethiopia.

Things I enjoy:
1. Quiet - after everyone is tucked safely into bed at night.
2. Good Coffee - especially when served by one of my sons in a favorite mug.
3. Spending time with the man of my life.
4. Playing games with my fam! .... the latest family fave is Quiddler!! ... and I love to win!
5. Photography - both taking pictures and preserving them and being creative with them.
6. Making things for others with paper crafts, stamping, etc.
7. Visits from friends, both old and new.

I will tag:
Jana at It's Good to be the Queen

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A wonderful message . . .

Today I'd like to share with you a message by John Piper. Many of you are probably familiar with him. Anyway, it's a fabulous message and we hope is an encouragement to you. Click on the link below and it will take you there.

Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel :: Desiring God

As we reflect on adopting again . . . we can't help but be overwhelmed with humility and awe of what God did for us, His children. He did not adopt us based on who we are, but because of who HE is. We weren't "good enough" ..... but we are His children .... for all eternity.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Pictures to Share with You

We'd like to share another family's blog with you who recently traveled to Ethiopia to meet and bring home their daughter. They worked with the same agency we are. We so appreciate all the pictures they took that helps to share the great needs in our child's homeland. We are so eager to meet the newest member of the Roberts family and share our lives with her.

Almost to Ethiopia

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quiet, but still here . . .

So ... yes, we realize we've been quiet for a couple of weeks. Sorry 'bout that. We so appreciate all of you who have somehow found your way into our lives and are on this journey with us in some capacity or other.

Ended up back at the doctor for more testing this last week. Everything turned out okay. I do not desire to go there again anytime soon!

Recently I've been reading a most wonderful book on adoption by Kristin Swick Wong titled "Carried Safely Home", by FaithWalk Publishing. I would encourage ALL adoptive families and their extended family/friends to soak up this book. It is a story of one family's adoption journey (two actually!!) to Vietnam. The author just opens up her heart and allows you to glean so many amazing lessons God taught her. It has been a timely book for me. I want to share a couple of entries from the author with you ... they are lessons applicable for anyone, not just adoptive families.

"Jesus also promises that those who follow him will have troubles and persecution, so good must not always mean deliverance from difficulty. The New Testament claims that trails are not counterindications of God's goodness but a portion of his good gifts. They allow us closer fellowship with Jesus, because they produce godly character in us and because they are "achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Cor 4:17). Paul and James both exhorted their readers to not only accept their sufferings but to rejoice in them because of the good that God would bring from them (Rom 5:3-5, 2 Cor 12:10, Js 5:2-4)."

"God is working everything together in our lives for our good. He desires to abundantly bless us - on His terms. Only he knows what good means for us."

WOW ... did you catch those last two sentences???

She goes on to say .... "Sometimes he gives us what we feel is good; sometimes he gives what we instinctively recoil from and withholds what we desperately want. In both cases, he is creating more good in us and for us than we can imagine, though his blessings do not always coincide with what makes us happy. God's good does not always feel good."

As I've spent time reflecting on the health trials God allowed into my life these last months and some other incredibly difficult things ... none of it changes the fact that God is GOOD ... and He wants good for my life. HIS good, likely will look far different from how I'd picture it. Even through crisis, pain and heartbreak .... He brings good ... and often times that's how He brings it. I'm so grateful that my heavenly father isn't willing to leave me the way I am, but rather He wants to refine me into the person HE designed me to be.

While our paperwork was being authenticated, they encountered a problem with one document. That has been re-ordered and as soon as it arrives we are told our dossier will be complete. Please pray that goes through smoothly.

We have appt's on Friday to get our immunizations done finally!! .... we'd put that off while I had my surgery.

May you be encouraged today, no matter circumstances you find yourself in and know that God is good .... and His good is better than any earthly thing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Alive and Well . . .

What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been. What was supposed to be a routine gall bladder surgery ... turned into a lot more. After quite a traumatic ordeal ... I am now home, recovering and feeling SO much better!!! The day everything happened, we received our CIS approval in the mail! Hooray!!! We were elated ... then less than 30 min. later I was bent over in pain hardly able to breathe. We've learned a lot through this process and we're sure there is still much we will learn.

The biggest truth that covers over everything we've been through is this .... God is good ... no matter what. He is good in the mountains and He is good in the valleys. He is sovereign and nothing is allowed into our lives that doesn't first pass through His loving hands. We clung to that at our very core. While it seemed our lives were being quite shaken up, we knew that no matter what ... we could cling to that, because that is what the Bible says to be true. We have to not only trust God in our hearts, when all "feels" well ... but we also have to trust God with our minds and submit our thoughts to Him and allow Him to align them with His truth.

While I hope to NEVER experience again some, no rather much, of what I did in the hospital .... I am trying with all I am to embrace what it is God wants to do in me through this experience. I don't have to understand it ... but I need to trust that the One who created me is in control. He has never and will never leave my side.

Turns out I had some complications following surgery and they were able to put a stent in to fix the situation. That will come out sometime in the near future. In a small way, this seems to be bad timing (with everything with my health) ... in that we have many other things needing our time and attention right now. But the Lord is good and allowed all this to happen this year ... while all of our insurance needs have already been met because of Nathaniel's surgery earlier in the year. We are extremely grateful to the Lord for His provision.

So .... news on the adoption front. We are happy to report that Fed Ex picked up the remainder of our documents today! They are now being authenticated and within two weeks ALL of the paperwork should be behind us on this side of the adoption!!!! Please pray that the notarizations are accepted. We have had quite a challenging time thus far and have had to re-do MUCH.

We are more eager than ever to be one step closer to meeting the new member of our family. Our hearts ache to see her face and hold her in our arms and tell her how much we love her ... and even moreso how much her heavenly father loves her.

Several have asked if we've picked out names. Nothing definite. Have some ideas??? ... we're certainly open to suggestions!! Just post a reply.

By the way ... our guestbook is pretty empty and there are over 2500 hits to this site .... are you ALL shy out there that come to visit us? :) You really should consider clicking on that link on the side and sign in and say hello! We'd love to hear from you.

We just enjoyed a visit from David's parents and brother. Now in a couple of days Shelly's family will come to visit. What a blessing!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow . . .

You know the song ..... are we are singing it today. It's been a very mixed combination of highs and lows here today. Let's start low and work our way up. We found out that no one really likes how any of our notarizations have been done in ND!!! It was shocking to receive the news that even our agency license and social worker notaries weren't going to pass. But, we will keep pressing on through every hurdle. Kate, at KBS Dossiers, has been incredible and we now see why we felt led to hire her for the authentication process as there has been one hurdle after another. So ... we are hopefull that within the week this will be ironed out! Now we just need that insurance form (that the people did not want to cooperate sending quickly) and our CIS letter and we are pretty much good to go for our dossier!!! Listen carefully, because you just might hear us shout HOORAY all the way from ND when it's said and done!!

And .... another dear friend came over to bring meals from several gals for our freezer!!! We cannot tell you how much this blessed us!!! I will rest SO much better knowing that my family's tummies will be well cared for while I recover. You gals are amazing!!! .... it was overwhelming to see what you did for us.

So ... for those of you who want to know, my surgery is at 10:00 tomorrow morning. We anticipate a laproscopic surgery and back home late tomorrow afternoon. Since surgery is later than we'd hoped, Josiah and Nathaniel will be going for Plan B tomorrow. That's okay, because they are excited about Plan B as it means they get to go be with the family that Colton's been working for. Colton will be here holding down the fort with sis and studying.

Now I just want to see that CIS letter while I recover on the couch! :)

We are encouraged as we continue to see the Lord pave a way to unite us with the child He's put on our hearts to join our family. Please pray for her provision for nourishment and safety until we are able to travel. That is something heavy on our hearts every day. As much as we already love her ... it's incredible to know that God loves her even greater ... and we praise Him for her life and all that He will do through it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Re-Done and Ready to Go!

We finally were able to make the trek BACK to Lisbon to have all things of our from ND re-notarized. We are thankful that these were all caught now, instead of creating a delay later. We are waiting for just ONE important document to arrive in our mail box before all items are ready for our dossier. Pray for us that it will be processed quickly and arrive soon!

There is never a dull moment around here in the meantime though. We are back part way into our fall school routine which feels good. On my good days while waiting for my surgery I am working hard to keep up with the SaCH project. On the bad days? ... well, let's just say I've never taken so many mg's of Ibuprophen in all my life. A couple of days, even the dose I can take hardly touched it. But ya know what?? .... this is really a small thing in the big scheme of things. Thankfully, my surgery should be quite routine and Lord willing I'll be back to my old self in a couple of weeks. My gall bladder and I are no longer friends and we need to part ways! A LONG ways!

We are soon awaiting grandparent visits and that always makes us very happy!!! Do you realize how few people travel to or through North Dakota? :) Thankfully the grandparents make their way out here. We treasure the time we get with each of them.

We appreciate you all for praying for us through this journey. And ... since it's a "good day", I best get back to cutting paper for the next batch of cards.

(note: the pic on this post was at the Great Smokey Mountains Nat'l Park)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

If You're New Here . . .

Welcome! ... if you're new in following our journey, you'll want to click on the right under where you see archives. We began documenting our journey here in April. So go there if you want the "whole story". Please drop us a line and let us know you stopped by. ~The Roberts Family

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Few More Pics

Well, now that our laundry is clean from the trip and we're settled in a little ... thought you might enjoy a few more pics. Naomi absolutely LOVED her time at the Reimers in Georgia. She was NOT happy about coming home to an empty bedroom. She kept saying, "I want to sleep at the kids house!" (she was in Momma and Daddy's room there.) Big sis Emily Grace (who is in the previous post in the family pic) is such a blessing to be around. She is such a great helper and serves with joy. Naomi could not get enough of "dress up" with her. Shown in this picture is the "baby" of the family, Annabeth - 18 mo., same size as Naomi (well, if we smooshed down Naomi's hair, and she has heels on in the pic). She was CERTAIN she could handle wearing the dress up shoes too and we just hoped we wouldn't end up with a sprained ankle! She thought she was somethin' prancing around the house in this sparkly outfit.
The boys enjoyed walking out on rocks and they were great to stop all the fun awhile so Mom could get some pics. Looking back, man I felt rotten those days ... but am really grateful for some wonderful pictures. I am feeling much better now, by the way (definitely not 100% pain free - but very liveable) and hope to put an end to all this pesky gall bladder problems with my upcoming surgery.
We spoke with Kate today, who is working on the dossier process with us. The plan is to go have the current things that arrived notarized, along with all the rest we have to re-do the notaries for on Monday. We are just waiting for the CIS clearance letter .. pray that comes SOON and an insurance letter. Then we will be nearing the end of the dossier process!! This will be a huge milestone.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Home Again!

Well, we made it! Just under 4,000 miles and we're all still in one piece! ... well mostly. I, Shelly, have a pesky gallbladder this is hollaring to be removed ... so that is on the agenda for this week. Still waiting to get into the doctor. Hopefully they can do laproscopy and have me on the mend before ya know it.

In the meantime, we got 4 major pieces of mail!!! .... we are SO happy to have in our hands all three passports and our FBI clearance. We are just waiting on CIS approval. That along with some other items needing re-notarized, we are making headway on the great paper chase.

Our trip was overall wonderful, even though Shelly had several days of not feeling well. We all made it through with not catching any nasty bugs of which we are always grateful for!

We were able to stop in St. Louis and see Shelly's brother and his wife. Their "hospitality on the road" was amazing! They met us at the zoo for a very warm and wonderful time. (Little did we know that would be one of the cooler days on the trip!!, the rest was usually 100 and higher.) We then went to the hotel they had gotten for us complete with a large outdoor pool where the boys swam for hours!, while we got to enjoy a great visit. They brought pizzas and homemade brownies. Naomi could not be happier that Aunt Susann remembered her favorite food! - chocolate. :) That visit ended way to short and it was time to head on to TN.

We enjoyed a very warm stay in the Great Smokey Mountains. Now, we knew we were going "to a house in the mountains", but we had no idea how literal that actually was! Let's just say David did all the driving and Shelly did not always keep her eyes open. Ha. We will be forever grateful to the Cross family for opening up their home to us.

After a week there, we treked on down to Georgia ... just to see if we could find any hotter temperatures to enjoy. Just kidding. (It WAS hotter there, by the way.) Our time with the Reimers family was so wonderful. Even though we got to stay over two nights, it ended all too quickly. It was such an encouragement to see a family raising up all their little ones to the glory of God. We will treasure our time with them for a long, long time.

Then it was time for the LONG trek back to ND. It went remarkably smooth ... other than 20 miles of a NASTY storm near Omaha. Thankfully we never had to dive into the ditches to escape the tornadoes. The temp went from 101 to 67 in less than 30 minutes! High winds and heavy rains that followed made for some unpleasant driving. It was almost strange to drive today without the sun beating through the windows on us. Boy were we grateful for A/C all this trip!

We enjoyed time away as a family to really reflect on our lives. It was a long-overdue trip. We're anxious to get Shelly's surgery over with and onto our fall plans. We'd appreciate your prayers through this time. We have boxes of supplies sitting here ready to be put to use for the Stamp a Child Home project as well. They may just have to sit a few days. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Checkin' Out!

We are checkin' out of here for a few days. Some family of some dear friends of ours have opened their home to us in Tennessee. It's been a long, long while since we've ventured off on a vacation, other than visiting grandparents. Our kids can hardly wait to see the mountains! It should be a very wonderful and relaxing time since we'll not be all smooshed into a hotel room for a week. :) On the way, we'll be making some stops. There is a wonderful hotel chain that gives a complimentary room to ministry families. We get to go to TWO of them on the way and better yet they are only 3 hours apart ... which translates into leisurely travel and clearance shopping that day!! ... and much swimming time for the kiddos.

We just received our "Gladney Approval" which means we're one step closer on our adoption journey. We are still waiting for FBI clearance, CIS approval and passports to arrive. And ... when we get back we have to get a pile of paperwork re-notarized and sent off with the final documents we are waiting on. You can pray that all of our paperwork will arrive by the time we return ... that'd be awesome!!

We are looking forward to a break from the fund-raising and just enjoying our kiddos and making some wonderful memories together. Be watching for some beautiful photographs along our way. Camera card is empty, so I'm good to go for a few hundred! :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

When Love Takes You In - Steven Curtis Chapman

As we work through the finalization paperwork woes we are going through ..... we pause and remember the "why" in what we're doing. This video/song by Steven Curtis Chapman reflects our hearts so much. It is a song that recognizes the realities of the orphaned and shares the beautiful hope that can come through love. As much as we love this child we have yet to meet ... the Lord's love is greater still ... and so we trust that everything He began will come to completion. We appreciate your prayers for our family .... all 7 of us. Thanks

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Paperwork Woes

Bad news is we found out that all the paperwork we had notarized at our bank now has to be redone. Good news is we have a day to do it before we leave for TN. Just felt like a hard bump in the road today. We are grateful for an amazing team in our adoption agency and the person helping us getting everything authenticated. As I was at the bank the other day I said to the lady ... "the paperwork we went through to buy our house was nothing in comparison to this"!!! Something that Eugene Allison, the founder of the Abba Fund said to me just keeps coming back as a constant reminder and encouragement ..... "These children have worth and they are WORTH working hard for!!". That is so true. Whether it is fund-raising, or going back to redo a big pile of paperwork .... it is nothing in comparison to the needs of the child God is bringing into our family. What joy it will be to experience that glorious day .... when we get to see this little person face-to-face.

The notarizing along with a few other paperwork glitches are in the process of being fixed. We'd appreciate your prayers as we work through these obstacles.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Playing the Game and Finishing Well!

It's been awhile ... where have we been? ... baseball games! Josiah just finished up the season yesterday in the near 100 degree weather! If that weren't enough ... it took 7 innings, rather than their usual 4 for someone to even score! (that's how close it was!!!) They came away placing second and represented their team very well. We spent much time watching teams and coaches interact this summer. We came away feeling extremely blessed to have such a wonderful coach instilling so many great lessons of life and character into these kids. He created such a strong sense of "team" in these young boys. They learned to depend on each other, encourage one another and work together. We have really enjoyed getting to know Josiah's coach and hope to continue to have a great relationship with him, as he's only 2 blocks away.

There have been many parallels between Josiah's ballgames and our lives. If you regularly read our blog, you'll notice I often compare our journey to a race. Sometimes it feels though like last night's game .... inning after inning, no budging to get forward. There are times we feel "struck out" ... as in the case of the "great paper war" with a doctor this last week. Sometimes we feel dehydrated, like in that 90+++ degree weather this last 3 game tournament. Sometimes we lose perspective of the big picture ... and it's the chatter of friends that keep us going. Just like Josiah's teammates and how their encouragement matters so much for each player to do well .... we need our teammates so very much. So often we hear from a special "teammate" at the perfect timing .... we see that as no coincidence. :)

We're working hard to finish compiling every piece of paper needed to go to the person helping us with authentication of our dossier. We are waiting to get our FBI clearance packets, CIS approval and passports yet. Those will all be added to the dossier. We'd love to see our dossier in the hands of the Ethiopian government by the end of August.

Sunday we head out on a very LONG adventure to the mountains of Tennessee. Months ago when someone so graciously offered their place to us, we had no idea how much we'd need it right now. It's time to step away and regroup ... both in our family and our ministry. We are looking forward to time to just reconnect and build some wonderful memories together. We are also on the hunt for a larger vehicle as we pass through big cities. We are upsizing to a full-size van. I personally would like to get something inbetween, but for the money, this is a far better option.

As we near the end of the paperwork process, we will need to pick up the pace of the Stamp a Child Home project. While we've made great strides towards our goal ... we have far to go. We are trusting God to work out every detail.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Compiling our Dossier! (and a new friend!)

Naomi met a new friend this week at the baseball game! She and Elijah are quite a pair. Perhaps someday she'll sit well for me to do her hair like Elijah's big sister who is absolutely gorgeous by the way. :)

Well, If all the paperwork to the our US placing agency, in addition to our homestudy isn't enough .... now it's time to compile all of the documents for our dossier. Those of you fellow adopting families reading can understand this undertaking. For our friends and family who haven't adopted, you might find the below list interesting. These are all the things that have to be done just for the dossier part of our adoption, which is all the paperwork that will go to Ethiopia. There it will be translated into their language and then the referral process begins. After much contemplation, we decided to hire KBS Dossiers to do the authentication part of our dossier. Since we have not done this before (international adoption) we are unsure of just how each piece must be done .... but what we do know is if there are errors, it won't pass through. We are grateful to have been in contact with Kate at KBS Dossiers. Not only does she come highly recommended, but she clearly knows this process well and is very attentive to the families she is working with. So ... after we pick up the last of our medical reports today, we'll be sending everything we have so far off to her! It has been our goal to have our part of the paperwork completed before leaving for TN the end of the month.

*A written statement from the adoptive parents stating why they want to adopt from Ethiopia

*Certified birth certificates for each parent

*Certified marriage certificate

*FBI clearance letter for each parent


*Homestudy agency license

*Homestudy preparer's license

*Employment/self employment/homemaker letter

*Proof of life and health insurance

*Financial statement

*Bank letter

*Copies of passports

*3 reference letters

*2 passport size photos for each parent

*Power of Attorney (basically this says that we give Gladney's in country rep. permission to go before the courts on our behalf)

*Medical certificate for each parent

*CIS approval letter

*A post-placement agreement from Gladney

*Family photos

I'm sure some still wonder WHY all of this? ... especially after reading the list for the dossier. Well, a friend at the Abba Fund said it so clearly in relation to our fund-raising efforts yesterday. He said that these children have WORTH ... and they are worth all of this hard work!!! So simple and so true. We are so eager to have all this "work" behind us and go on to meet the child that God has led us to all these months. It's amazing how things are coming together. Once the paperwork is completed, we can put our focus onto the Stamp a Child Home project and not be trying to juggle quite so much. We are also really looking forward to our upcoming travels to Tennessee!!! The timing could not be more perfect to be able to break away for awhile and just spend time as a family!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Busy Week of Blessings!

LOTS to fill you in on! First of all I want to share a blessing concerning our oldest son. He just got a new job! He has prayed a long time about his future and that he'd know what job he was to do in preparation for that. Well .... it all came full circle last week. He is now working for a wonderful man learning to do custom fencing. When they aren't fencing, he'll be helping him in other ways such as roofing, and other miscellaneous farm work. Colton could NOT be happier. If all goes well for both of them, this will turn into a long-term arrangement. His new boss is a great guy ..... very devoted to his family, shares many of the same values in life, etc. Colton is thoroughly enjoying his time with Mr. Troy. David is also getting to work some, which is a huge blessing as he's without his second job right now til school starts back up. Colton's first goal is to raise his part of his plane ticket to travel to Ethiopia with us. We are SO grateful that he'll be going with us to see a land and people that have been on his heart for a very long time. Will write more on that at another time.

We were blessed to attend a special adoption event hosted by our local Family Christian Bookstore on Tuesday! They wanted to meet some area families who have adopted and celebrate the lives of the children represented because of the James Fund project they do. It was such a meaningful morning! Naomi was crazy about a little girl that was born in Vietnam who was just learning to walk. Our social worker was helping with the event and any time that we get with her is always a treat!

Then I came home to the new shipment of stamps and accessories!! I had just about a day to get things ready for my open house. The open house went wonderful yesterday. I got to spend time visiting with various customers who have become dear friends. It was such a leisurely day and couldn't have been better.

We are leaving on a trip the very end of July .. so for the next two weeks, you know where I'll be ... seeing just how much can be accomplished til we must pack up.

Wednesday we got our CIS fingerprints done. That all went well with one "funny". The gentleman was having trouble getting my prints to turn out ... he said ... "What kind of work do you do mam?". I wasn't sure how to "take" his question. Turns out he asked if I wash my hands a lot ..... uh, YEAH!, I'm always washing/cleaning/stamping/washing/cleaning on and on it goes as a mom of a busy household. Too funny!! I hope they pass through okay.

Our homestudy has been proofed by our placing agency now and as soon as we have our TB tests done this next week that part will be completed!! We want everything done on our part before we leave on our trip on the 29th ... YIKES!, that isn't far off! The next time we pack after that should be to Ethiopia. We cannot wait!

We so appreciate all of your prayers and support through this journey. We never could do this alone.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Miracle of Adoption

This is a powerful video of another family who has experienced the miracle of adoption. To us it is also a beautiful testimony of what can happen when people work together.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Our paperwork made it safely to Gladney on the second attempt. We only have 3 more items that they need to finish processing everything. One of them is pictures. I know .... who would have thought that's the part I've struggled with organizing! We also need pics for our dossier paperwork. A combination of things have held up the progress with getting pics done and having them all organized and labeled. Either someone was in need of a haircut, or someone was a ball practice, or I was trying to meet a SaCH order ... or was just too wiped out to get everyone ready for family pics. Slowly but surely I've been saving up photos and will have everything printed on Tuesday when we go to town. Then my plan is to have them compiled and completed by Friday. For some reason it seemed easier to compile pictures for Naomi's adoption. We were putting it altogether for her birthmom to see and so that's who the receiver would be and I knew what I wanted to include and what I wanted to say. Sad thing is, I don't believe Naomi's birthmom ever even saw our packet that we so careful prepared for her. But that is a whole other story to write some day .... maybe.

Anyway, this time the "receiver" of the photos are the officials in Ethiopia. Somehow in pictures and captions we are to tell them about us, show them our home, tell them why we want to adopt a child from their country and how we plan to keep their heritage alive. This will all be translated into their language.

To complicate things we moved last year into a major "fixer-upper" home and I have yet to get an outside angle that doesn't show a very unfinished view! Progress we have made, but new windows and doors leave behind a siding mess and we aren't to the point of repainting yet.

We will be so glad to have our part of the paperwork completed. We are grateful for a wonderful team in our agency and social worker to help us along the way.

Tuesday we'll be in Fargo for a special adoption program that is being put on by Family Christian Bookstores to raise awareness for their James Fund (the bears that can be purchased and sent to orphans). We are so happy to get this opportunity. They have a full morning planned of activities and hope to have the media there to raise interest to further this project. Our social worker from the agency that did our homestudy will be there helping as well. Should be a wonderful day! Then Wednesday morning we go BACK into Fargo bright and early for fingerprinting appointments!! That'll be one more thing we can mark off the list.

The photo pictured above was taken on the 4th of July by the flowers that our neighbor labors over continuously. We get to enjoy their beauty outside of our window each and every day! ..... nice neighbors, huh?!! :) She does an amazing job each year.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We wanted to include a link to this article by Owlhaven on poverty around the world. We encourage you to read it. This author has been a huge source of information and encouragement to us as we prepare to travel to Ethiopia to bring home our child. I believe that as Americans we are so blinded to what poverty really is. We often fear learning, because that won't make us feel good inside. As we assessed our family's resources entering into this next adoption ... we realize that by the American culture's standards, we may not have a lot of luxuries. But as we think about the child God is bringing into our family and their culture and homeland .... we have so much to give. I'm not talking merely monetary things. You see, for the most part, as Americans we are so rich and spoiled that it's like our own disease. Always going, always buying .... we are left ignorant of what really matters in this life. It's not just money that will change the shocking realities of poverty. There are children that need a home, yes they need healthy meals and medical care ... but they need something even greater ... they need the love of a FAMILY. They need to know they belong. Many of them have lost their parents due to illness and disease ... parents that they deeply loved. Because of lack of medical care ... another thing we take so for granted here in the US ... they are left with no family.

Our children wait expectantly to meet their new sibling. They long to give them all they have to offer. Someone to read a story, learn to throw a ball ... a strong shoulder to cry on when they realize this world is not perfect and there is a part of them that misses their homeland greatly. Our family is not perfect ... we have our share of imperfections as anyone does. We can not do nearly as much as we desire to make an impact on the lives on the orphaned ..... but we must do what we can do ... and for right now, that is bringing home another child and sharing everything we have with them. We firmly believe that every child, no matter where they are born ... deserves the love and stability of a family. We long to see our child's face, to hold them and whisper to them that everything is gonna be alright.

We encourage you to read the article above. Just click on the word poverty and it will take you there.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


We were blessed by a special day with friends today! Good food and fellowship, doesn't get much better than that when sharing it with friends. The kids enjoyed fireworks they had purchased and then we all went to our local small-town fireworks display, which is fabulous! A long and wonderful day .... a welcomed change from assembly lines of cards. :) We are so grateful to live in a country blessed with so many freedoms.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Great Mail Frustration!

So, we couldn't figure out where on earth our paperwork to Gladney had gone! This would be the big batch of paperwork they are waiting for to process our adoption. While they were looking for it .... today's mail came ..... wahlaaaaa! .... RETURNED, for NO reason. Address correct, checked it 3 x's! So ... it's back in the mail and hopefully this time Mr. Postman will deliver it. What might not seem like a big deal to some .... this was a big discouragement to us. So much had already had to go in place to get to this point. Now it's been running around in the postal system and because of the holiday week, will not get there quickly. UGH.

While we wait for all this, we are working hard on our dossier paperwork. I am also cleaning out stamping supplies and organizing and getting ready for my upcoming Open House.

Would appreciate your prayers for the paperwork to arrive to it's proper destination this time. Thanks!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Quick update and a Mother's Realization ....

Isn't it interesting how we are all created different and unique. I don't know about you, but I'm a "thinker" ... always have been, always will be. If I'm "doing something" ... I'm thinking while I do it .... If I'm "being still" ... I'm thinking while I do it ... If I'm "stressed", I'm thinking while in that state ... if I'm "relaxed", yep .... still thinking! So, as often is the case when I curl up next to my main man each night and hear him quickly drift into snoreland .... I recap the day, think of a few things going on the next day, check my heart to see where I've gotten of course, reflect on all the ways God is working in our lives and taking care of us .... not without fail, somewhere in there every night these last months my heart and mind drifts to Ethiopia.

Lately I've had a growing concern that when our child sees us for the first time, they may be afraid. Unlike with Naomi, I was there while she was still hooked to a breathing machine and could hardly "see" anyone! She came home as a newborn to her light-skinned siblings. Trust me, in North Dakota in the middle of winter, everyone is at their lightest! :) But this next babe .... they will have been surrounded by dark-skinned caregivers all the days of their little life. As I thought of each of our children and how deeply I love them .... something occurred to me that I hadn't thought of until this time. I know ... with all this "thinking" I do ... I surely should have thought of this before, right?! My mind drifted past the part of us meeting our wee-one for the time and onto life all together as a family. Then it hit me ... what will it be like when this new babe sees Naomi?!!! A sense of peace just washed over me ... and I thanked the Lord once again for each piece of this puzzle that He is putting together, so to speak. We've often thought about how another child similar in ethnicity to Naomi could be a blessing to her down the road ... but I hadn't spend a lot of time thinking of it in reverse! So now I wait with great expectation to see just what it's like when these two precious children meet for the first time.

The picture posted here is a special one to me. It was just a simple shot taken two summers ago while living in Lisbon. To me it depicts a special bond between brother and sister ... a bond that is greater than division of any color this world has accomplished to create ... a bond that goes deeper than genetics ... and a bond that can be for eternity, unlike any worldly good we can obtain.

Now for the quick update!: We got our letter stating the appt for our CIS fingerprinting. Gotta love how others schedule your appts for you! .. 8:00 a.m. in downtown Fargo (1 hr. away) which falls on a day right AFTER we have to be in Fargo for another appt. I guess they don't take gas prices or people's schedules into consideration. Ha. We also got two of our certified bank letters in the mail today. Funny how you can be "in good standing" with a bank with such little money. But as we all know, it's not how much money you have, it's how you are a steward with it that matters. I know many question why on earth we are adopting when we do not have a overly-substantial income ... I'll step up on that soapbox on another post ... but for now I have a stamp room to clean so we can keep on the assembly line for the Stamp a Child Home Project. Will be giving you and update on that soon as well!

Back to cleaning!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Good Day!

Today we made a mad rush to Fargo for lots of appointments. We started with Nathaniel's post-op appt. Everything looked good and he is able to do what he wants as he's able ..... in other words, start back to normal life without overdoing it! ... and don't break anything in the process!! He still has a ways to go in recovery .... but he's on the mend and doing well. Hard to believe he's spent half of a year dealing with the accident, two surgeries and recovery. It's not hard to believe for him .... but overall, he's been amazing and such a trooper.

We first though made a stop to the post office and filled out our applications for our passports! Trips like this make things seems more "real". Naomi took everything in that was happening. She's already protesting of getting left at home. This breaks my heart. She kept saying ... "Mommy is leaving me alone!!!". Josiah (the 9 yr. old) lovingly reassured her, "No, mommy is not leaving you alone, she's leaving you with Nathaniel and Josiah!". Try as he might ..... she was not consoled! She talks often about "the baby being in Ethiopia". She understand so much more than we can believe at her young age. She is eager to be a "big sister". Would someone tell her how "big sisters" wear big girl underwear????? I really thought we'd tackle that easily this summer. She's going through a stage of high dis-interest in getting potty trained. Ugh. I'm wondering if it's worth pursuing at this time. I'm one of those "wait til they're ready and do it in one week" kind of moms. I'm not seeing the potential at this moment! :)

We then went to get Nathaniel, Josiah & Naomi's physicals done so Gladney can know they are healthy. We got to talk to our pediatrician about contacting her when we get a referral so she can help us look over the medical reports. She did some studies in the cities with inner-city kids, from what we'd been told, hope that's right ... anyway we were really impressed when we brought Naomi home that she was very thorough about developmental issues. She was SO supportive and excited about the upcoming adoption. She talked of a co-worker who'd been in Africa on a trip a few years back and of the incredible needs there.

My amazing husband dropped me off at the nearby Arby's where a couple of friends were meeting while their daughters had sewing class. What a TREAT! It's amazing what an hour with other moms will do for you. We all got much chattering in ... gotta talk fast when you only have an hour! Anyway ... I was just encouraged by David caring enough to let me have that short break in a very intense season of life right now. The paperwork and fund-raising ... not to mention, motherhood, trying to be a good wife, ministry ... and whatever else I'm forgetting .... it can tucker a girl out. But I just also want to say that this has been such a "rich" time in my life. The Lord has ministered to me in such amazing ways. I honestly do not know what would have become of my life without Him. I'm learning about just how much He loves me .... even when I fail, or fall down, or deal with junk in my life.

David got a bunch of phone calls and emails done for our dossier paperwork yesterday. We are making headway! We want to have all of our part of our dossier paperwork in place by when we leave for TN the end of July.

And ......... for you stampers ..... it's also a good day ... no, GREAT day!, because my new stamping catty arrived!!! I'm so inspired with new ideas now. Yeah!!! It's gonna be a fun catalog year making creative creations with friends! ..... and fun new ideas to help Stamp our Child Home!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

On the Mend!

Just wanted to post a quick update ... Nathaniel's surgery went well. He even got to bring home the flexible rods that have been keeping his leg together inside ... that made him happy. It made me happy that they came home sterilized! :) He is free to walk on his leg as he's able. No running, jumping, climbing or jolting for 4-6 weeks. That won't be so fun ... especially after a week or so and he's feeling better. At least the end is in sight for him and by the time we travel to TN early Aug. he should be free to do all he wants again!

This pic was taken on his birthday ... he had to have sis in it. They are pretty inseparable. What a great dad he's gonna be! She was not happy when he came home last night and she saw his leg that the doctor had hurt (her words). I said ... "What's wrong with his leg?". "It's BROKEN!", she replied. No ... thankfully it's not broken! ... it has actually gotten fixed ... try explaining all that to a 2 yr. old! :)

Busy week around here. We have our last homestudy meeting tomorrow, which we're looking forward to. We have such a great social worker.

We're still in the midst of home repairs. We moved into this house last year in major "fixer-upper" condition. After having done much to the inside, it's been time to focus on the outside! David, Nathaniel & Colton built a small deck where an outside entrance had been off the room we use as our bedroom. Then they replaced the door and window on that side. Progress is great ... but we're finding it a challenge to get an angle of the house for pictures for our paperwork that look "good" with all the construction! Ha. Crazy.

Thanks for all your prayers for our family during this time. Most days we feel we're running a marathon ... but we are learning much along the way.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Here we Go Again . . .

Well, 5 months have now passed since Nathaniel's sledding accident. Almost half a year ... that is hard to imagine. In some ways it seems like just yesterday that traumatic day (which is sis's birthday) happened. I'll never forget looking out my window seeing David pulling a sled with a body not moving on it. As a mom we feel so "in control", but sometimes we are shaken by the unexpected and realize we are not in complete control of anything. Thankfully, a dear friend was visiting that day .... we were supposed to be celebrating Naomi's birthday. She stayed with the other kids while we escorted Nathaniel through two ambulance rides, two different ERs and a terribly long 24 hrs. waiting for surgery. A little bit of shock set in that night as doctors and nurses told me time and again ... "Do you realize how hard he had to have hit that tree for his femur to be broken so badly?". God's grace was so evident in our son's life that day as He allowed his strong leg to take the brunt of that accident .... things could have ended so differently.

His surgery went well with a very long recovery to follow. Nathaniel worked diligently every day to improve and is now running again and enjoying pretty much all he wants to do. I have a feeling that Monday will hit him pretty hard. Thankfully this surgery is less invasive and is actually to remove the flexible rods that have supported his leg all these months so that it could grow back together. We are unsure of what recovery will be like til we see how things go. Best case we believe is crutches a few days and "going easy" a few weeks while the bone fills in where the rods have been and where surgery took place. As you can see from his picture, he's adventurous and LOVES to be outside. But we'll be keeping him quiet awhile out on the new deck he just built with dad. Being stuck inside in a ND winter was very depressing for him. I think he'll enjoy being able to at least be outside enjoying fresh air this time! :)

Nathaniel is a great kid ... hard to grasp he's half grown now, just having enjoying his 12th birthday. He's a wonderful brother and my "right-hand-man" most days. We grew a lot together this year. That accident really caught us off guard and we were faced with many challenges over the winter. As a family, we've grown to appreciate each member in deeper ways. We've learned not to take life for granted as much. We've seen the fruit of a family knowing how to work hard together.

We appreciate your prayers as we journey through this next little chapter in our lives. Surgery is at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, June 11th. This mom will be relieved once she sees her boy come out of recovery and catches a glimpse of those dimples. Yeah ... dimples ... some how this kid manages to keep smiling through each trial. No, not all smiles ... we shed our share of tears over the winter too. But we are so grateful for each member in our family ... even the one we have yet to meet! :)

P.S. (This picture is NOT of the tree he hit!, the one he hit was actually much smaller ... though caused him considerable damage. I will never take a picture of that other tree!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Little Progress . . .

Today was nice .... it was refreshing to get OUT of my stamp room and into town (Fargo) to meet with our social worker. We cannot imagine going through this with anyone but our amazing social worker, Sharon. She saw us through much in our first adoption with Naomi. We would not have made it through nearly as well without her strong support. We've been working so hard on the Stamp a Child Home project and it was really nice to take a break from that today and "talk adoption" with her. She rejoiced with us in all that's been going on with the fund raising and also talked through some of the preparation we're doing as our family grows.

We chatted about age, gender, extended family, community support, our awesome boys, the little Miss in the house and many other things. Curious about any of that? ... just ask.

We also discussed the difficult realities of Ethiopia and a people that we have grown to love deeply. As Americans ... we get so "busy" living life, buying "things", running here - running there, none of us really have much comprehension of the depth of poverty around the world. Sure, we've all seen pictures on TV, read stories, etc. ..... but it's interesting when God leads you to go bring your child home and you realize that now it is one of your own experiencing these things .... it all becomes much more real. We talked about the things we will see when arriving at our new child's homeland ... we discussed our sadness in having to take them from their homeland, yet the joy in being able to give them a family, food and shelter. It is all very bittersweet. Not a day goes by that we aren't torn with many differing emotions. We are growing in many ways and know that we'll come to the other side of this journey changed people.

Another thing we discussed was some of the factors in our daughter's adoption here in the US. Some of you know we faced some very challenging things in her adoption. In stark contrast ... we have nothing but good to say about the agency we are using this time, also in TX.

We have most all of our paperwork ready to send off for our I600A, which is a big accomplishment. This part wears me down ... all the paperwork. But David takes it in stride and we both know that when we see our child for the first time .... all that will be a distant memory.

Lord willing, there will be 3 Roberts getting passports soon. It is our desire for Colton (our oldest son, age 14) to go with us to Ethiopia. He has long had a burden for missions and Africa. He wants to coordinate an effort to take supplies into orphanages while we are there. If you are interested in getting involved in this part of our trip, please contact him!! ... he would so much love to hear from you.

Well, break time is over ... must clean up this room and get a plan for a very busy few days. Our last homestudy meeting is next week! We hope to have it wrapped up by the end of June. Next is tackling our dossier for Ethiopia. What's that? ... just tons more paperwork ... theme of our lives, remember? :) But that's okay. We continue to keep our eyes on the big picture and somewhere half a world away we know there is a child counting on us to finish this race well ... and so we keep pressing on, not looking back.

Don't be shy ... leave us a note so we know you came by to visit. Your friendship and support means so very much to us.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Marathons and Memories

Just how many cards On Mother's Day we took a photo break and I wanted to share some of those with family/friends across the miles. We sure have some eager kids who are ready to meet the newest member of the Roberts' family!

Some have asked on the timeline of our adoption. We hope to have a better sense of that soon. In the meantime we are tackling the paperwork we have and know that more will be arriving in a few days.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today was an amazing day! We had our phone conference call with Gladney Agency in TX (the agency we'll use here in the states for our adoption) which was referred by The Abba Fund (where we worked through before for Naomi's adoption loan). They are AWESOME!!!
We also, as a family, have been coming to grips with the reality of the sadness that comes with adoption. As joyful as we are to be welcoming a precious child into our family ..... the other side of that is very difficult to fathom. Think with us a moment of the "why" behind the needs of these kids. If all was going well in their world, there'd be no need for them to be adopted. We will write more about this down the road .... but what we are learning is to turn those thoughts that come into prayers ... prayers for our child and all the other waiting children out there.

After talking with the lady at Gladney today we got off the phone with a sense of excitement. With all the work and busyness ... we'd lost perspective a bit of what's going on in our lives. Our family will be once again forever changed! We will be the parents of FIVE children! .... that in itself is a tad shocking to us! :)

Okay ... that's all for now. Hope you enjoy the pic that was taken on Mother's Day. This Mother's day was really a contemplative one for this momma. While I am overjoyed to have my amazing crew here with me day-to-day ... my heart aches for a child who's face I have yet to see .... yet whom my heart loves so deeply. Crazy journey we're on!

We appreciate your prayers and encouragement!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Welcome to our little corner of the world

As we embark on yet another amazing journey of faith, we wanted to create a place where we can communicate with all of our family and friends who circle the globe. We do not know all the details of the future .... but we certainly know who is the one in control and we walk by faith ... trusting in His perfect plan for our lives.

This time around we have a special burden for the children of Ethiopia. We're in the midst of the tackling the piles of paperwork for our updated home study and applying to the agency which will handle our international adoption. We are anxious to have all of this part behind us and moving on towards meeting the special child that we are already growing to love.

We hope that you'll enjoy this means of keeping up-to-date with us on our journey. We so much appreciate your prayers.

The Roberts Family
David, Shelly, Colton, Nathaniel, Josiah & Naomi