Saturday, March 29, 2008

Children Around the World

Wow!, we felt so blessed today. The local agency we work with for the ND part of our adoption hosts a Multi-Cultural Group quarterly. It is such a special time to connect with other families with similar dynamics. It was so fun seeing how the kids had changed since our meeting in the fall. The other family that has adopted from Ethiopia has a little girl that is just two days difference in age from our new babe. It was such a neat opportunity to whisper in Naomi's ear .... that is about how big "sister" is gonna be. This little sweetie had just learned to walk and it was so much fun seeing her toddle all around. Other countries represented were Guatemala, China, Vietnam and the USA twice! (woo-hoo!!)

We got to share of our experiences in becoming a multi-cultural family. It's interesting how different our experiences have been with domestic adoption and international adoption ... even though both of our daughters will probably share similar skin tones. It was just so awesome to be in a room full of people where you could talk candidly and know they would understand! To empathize with each other when you face challenges and to rejoice with each other in our diversity.

It's a blessing for our boys as well, to see other families with similar dynamics. They love seeing all the little kids.

Back when our family began, we never dreamed we'd someday be a multi-cultural family. What a special journey this has been. We've been stretched and grown in ways we never would have thought possible. We are just so full of joy as we anticipate meeting the new little member of our family so many miles away. We cannot wait to tell her in person how much we love her and how we've been longing to see her. AND!, we picked out some very appealing toys today to pack in the suitcase to try and entice her while she learns who we are! Mission accomplished!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

News from afar . . .

"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." Psalm 25:25

All of you fellow adoptive families know exactly what I'm talking about. We work SO hard to do all of our part in this process ... the literal mountains of paperwork, the finances, during all those months it seems the work will never end. Then we get to the "waiting period". At first we are THRILLED to be there because it's the part we've waited SO long to achieve. But often quickly that "high" settles and we wait and we wait having absolutely NO control in anything. At times we almost wish there was just one more bit of paperwork we could conquer to speed it up, but there is none. Sometimes during that process we're found guilty of even wishing time away, just to be over the long enduring wait. What a challenge that was for me, because I did not want to wish away time with my children here that I have home ... yet I found myself struggling some days to cope with the "here and now" as I anticipated what was to come.

So during this wait we long for bits and pieces of our child's life to be revealed to us. It can haunt us how much we've missed out on .. the things that will forever remain unknown to us. I was not anticipating just how hard that would hit me when we received our babe's referral. I'm kind of a photo-nut! I absolutely love to take photographs, create with them, preserve them. The earliest photo I have of our babe is at nine months old. While I am SO grateful for that, fully realizing some children won't even have a baby photo ... it still was a loss and I needed to just accept it as that.

As families have traveled and shared pictures with us, now I have received a few more "bits and pieces" of our babe's life. Each one is an amazing gift. Someday she will have these and be able to see that she was treasured, loved and nurtured ... even during this time we are apart. So this morning when I had new pics in my inbox ... yeah!! ... so happy ... and sad. Sad of what we're missing out on, but SO happy to see every tiny detail.

You'll remember from an earlier post we sent a doll to our babe. So these pics were of the family that delivered it. From one picture you can tell that the doll passed the "taste test" and is being enjoyed! :)

Yes indeed ... "Like cold water is to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." How we long to travel to that distant land ... Lord willing, it will be soon.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A couple pictures and a couple thoughts . . .

So ... here it is, another Monday. Here is ND that means another cold, windy and snow-on-the-ground Monday. Snow is fun in November, December, January and if you stretch it ... can be fun in February. But March? .... not so fun. I'm ready for TULIPS!

Wish I could show you pics of all our precious children, but since we have yet to make it to our court date ... I'll have to settle for showing you four of them. I still kind of chuckle when I realize the "number" of children we'll have. I think we're going to make it to the prestigious title of "mini-mega" family. Mega would be like 10 and we're only half way there, so we'll graduate at the "mini-mega" size. :)

Anyway, Easter was a reflective/somber time for me. It just so clearly explains the "why" behind all that is going on in our lives. To think about what God did for us, by sending his ONLY son ... that He would care THAT much for me ... it's so hard to comprehend. Jesus is the absolute foundation for why we went on this adoption journey yet again. And while I am about to burst open with anticipation and joy of meeting our next child ... and pouring out my love to them .... it's only a fraction of what God offers to us, every day.

Monday, March 17, 2008

We have a COURT DATE!!!!

What a glorious ray of light on a very drab North Dakota day! So here's the deal ... I have really been struggling with all this lost time with our little one. We were ready back last fall for her .... and yet she had to wait several more long months and it just was really ripping at my heart. So I've been asking God for a miracle with her court date and to redeem some of this lost time. As you know in the world of international adoption ... NOTHING is in stone ... so this is just a date and it's possible it can be post-poned, or a new date given if her case doesn't pass the first time through. But just as I asked for a miracle for her date ... I will keep asking for God to make the path smooth for her court hearing. I'm especially burdened for her birth-mom in this part of the process.

So! ... the date is April 9th! With the time difference, we'd like to ask you to be praying the evening of the 8th and any moment in between that the Lord leads you to pray! Thank you so much.

Monday Morning Ramblings . . .

Well, I must admit ... I just hesitate to post anything on here lately. I often sit and ponder just how much to share. While writing a friend last night, I told her ... "I feel like there is no more stretch left in my rubber band." There's this wonderful little devotional put out by the Shaohannah's Hope ministry. In it a parent is giving some insight in one section and one sentence really stood out to me this morning. "God isn't going to send you where He is absent." How true this is! I have to say that this journey I've been on is something I have never experienced before, even having adopted once already. It's like all the layers of my heart have been peeled back and God is using this time to teach me so much about HIS children.

As a mom we take on so much responsibility for the day-to-day needs of our children. I think this is in part what makes this section of the waiting so difficult. In our babe's pictures I see her moving out of the "innocent baby stage" into this cautious season of wondering what on earth is going on in her life. It is a comfort to know how much the Gladney staff cares about these precious children. Yet we are eager to move on to the next phase of this journey and begin the process of earning her trust and helping her to heal.

Scott Hasenbalg in this devotional says this: "The adoption journey is not easy, but every hour of toil, every obstacle encountered, every tear shed, every sleepless night - all are but a shadow of the price that God paid for us. Jesus came to be a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), and if God was willing to pay that ransom for us, how much more will He be willing to lead us in ransoming His beloved children from their state as orphans? And it is His love that compels us onward in obedience, whatever the cost, for He who calls us is faithful. Our God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who is rich in mercy and grace, who generously provides for all that we need, this God knows the costs we will incur, and promises to be with us and for us every step of the way. This is about faith in action. This is an invitation to experience God in ways we've never experienced Him before". Wow! ... how true. And so we walk on and trust Him. Little did I know back a year ago when God was speaking to my heart that there was a child in Ethiopia that we were to go and bring home ... little did I know all that this journey would entail. One thing is for sure ... we will never be the same. God has done something in our family that has changed us forever ... and we are only part way there. God is not sending us where He is absent ... He will walk us through each step, sometimes carrying us. His grace is sufficient both for us and for this precious child that He's bringing into our family. He has a wonderful plan for her life. He has sustained her and He will continue to work out every detail of her future because He loves her ... because she belongs to Him ... because she is HIS child.

As we approach Easter ... do you realize that for your own life? You are HIS, He loves you and He doesn't want to leave you just as you are, but He has a plan for your life. His plan for our lives doesn't always look familiar to us. But I can tell you that there is no better place to be.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cleaning Out!

Okay, Becca, this post is for you! Ummm ... you asked for something "fun and inspiring ... to keep me busy". Well you could just come over and see for yourself what's got me busy! I am CLEANING OUT!!! Yes, it's true ... our home has kind of been neglected this past year as we worked hour after hour on our "Stamp a Child Home Project". I'll spare you the details.

I could easily spiral downward during this time of waiting for a court date and dealing with all the unknowns, but I'm trying with all my might to stay productive. While I am praying for a miracle for an expedited court process for our babe, there is really nothing else I can do about the situation. I've been asking God to redeem some of the time lost with her. As I contemplated on what our transition will be like in bringing her home, I decided there is PLENTY I could be doing right NOW, so that I can put all things aside again while we settle in as a family.

SO! ... that's the inspiration behind the dump truck picture. What I would LOVE to have a picture of is my dear husband eyes when he came home for lunch and saw the mountainous piles headed to the "give-away-place". That was a great photo opportunity that got missed, I'm afraid. I assured him there was NOTHING in my piles that he'd miss and kept right on filling bags.

Since our 3 yr. old is a very easy waker-upper, we decided some creativity is in need for our transition time when we come home. The great big closet David built in our bedroom for storage was the perfect solution to this in-between time when we want to be close by to meet her needs without waking up the 3 yr. old! So off the closet doors came (that needed to be replaced anway) and thanks to my amazing middle son, in went the crib! Just ask the guy and seriously in 15 min. the crib was down from the upstairs in pieces! And in about 15 min. more it was all back together! And I must add that the youngest son was great at keeping sister occupied while we tackled everything. That's what I call team work.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dolly for sister

Naomi was happy to give sister's doll a hug before we ship her off to TX. Then she will travel with a family to Ethiopia. We are SO BLESSED by the families that God has brought into our lives through this journey. We thought it would be fun to see a pic of sister with the same doll so we can compare size! :)

One week down waiting for a court date. They have been taking a horribly long time. We are asking God for a miracle to redeem some time that has been lost on this journey. Our little one has waited far long enough for her family! How grateful we are for the Gladney staff in Ethiopia and the way they care for the children. Yet we ache to hold her ourselves.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Always on my mind ... forever in my heart.

Just a quick posting here. I am working on an order for our Stamp a Child Home project. If you have questions about that, just leave a comment and I can share more in email. Thanks. Anyway! .... as soon as I saw this saying in a new stamp set I purchased, it so perfectly summarizes an adoptive momma's heart.

We got to send out a care package to our sweetie this week! SO happy about that. The kids drew pictures and we sent the softest blanket ever and a chewable-safe photo album with our pictures. It felt good to finally send a couple of things that have been waiting here all these months. We hope they can bring comfort to her, not only now, but also when she makes yet another transition into our arms.

Okay ... back to designing cards. At least now the end is in sight!

If you are the creative type and would like to see some more ideas, pop over