Monday, October 28, 2013

Elusive Court Date

Court date, court date, court date.  It’s like this chant that has taken up residence in my head, even in my sleep.  I check my email about every 10-20 minutes, hoping against all hope that MAYBE we have a court date.  So far, all I have gotten in my in-box are advertisements for shoes and teeth whitening.  I get up at night to use the bathroom…  and check my e-mail.  I pause in between classes at school to check my e-mail.  Before, and immediately after, running with a friend, yup, then, too.  This is horribly time consuming, and if I could just convince my emotions to communicate with my brain, I would be perfectly at peace knowing that our court date WILL come in God’s perfect timing.  Ugh.  Stupid emotions.  

But don’t worry, I’ll let y’all know when we hear something!  

Hadson (right) and his friend, Nathan
A few times I’ve talked about the boy that started this whole adoption ‘thing’ for us.  Well, our precious Hadson turned 16 last Friday!  He’s growing into such a wonderful young man, overcoming some incredible odds, and is walking faithfully with God in Brazil.  He’s involved in Bible clubs, the church missions committee, and is even going on a missions trip up the Amazon river in a few months!  It will be an adventure for him, and an exciting time to see God at work.  
We tried calling him Friday afternoon, and it was a comical disaster.  Between a poor connection and a total language barrier…  well… at least we tried, right?  I’m thankful for our missionary friend there that translated a little for us, and was willing to talk and update us on the happenings down there.

A friend from college translated a message for him, which I posted to him on FaceBook.  I wanted a fluent moment to tell him how much we loved him, thought of him as our son, and that we were proud of him.   Hadson’s response (via Google Translate) had both of us in tears: “right now I'm crying, I thank God for having known you I though not blood I mi son of pr
oud parents call you I love you thank you”

Goodness, I miss that boy!

First official use of "Bobbiton"
Friday morning was the first official use of my jogging stroller.  We have named it “Bobbiton”, and it works very nicely!  My friend that I usually run with happened to be babysitting that day.  Rather than cancel our “run” (read: slow jog/walk), we used our stroller!  It was fun to be pushing the pumpkin-orange thing through the trees and trails at the local college, blending in with the fall colors.

Later in the evening, we had one of our martial art classes.  The lady I was working with was asking about my family, if I had kids, etc.  
Yes!  I do have kids!  Two, in fact!  
She asked their ages.  
Well, 7 months and 13 months.  
The look of confusion was priceless.  “How did you manage that?!?  <long pause> Wait, is one adopted?”  
She then asked which guy in class was my husband?  
To which I replied, “The good looking one!”
She takes one look over at the pile of boys wrestling on the floor and says matter-of-factly: “Oh!  The blond!”  
Yup, he’s mine!

So there have indeed been some fun, lighthearted moments as we…  wait…  and prepare.  
Thank you for your continued prayers as we continue to be slightly stressed, on edge, and rather confused.  :)  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lions, Soccer, and Brazil

As so many of you have responded positively to our adoption puzzle fundraiser, here's an update!  We're at 68.8%!  We're humbled by the sacrifice many of you have made for us and our kiddos.  Among the donors to our puzzle are people we've never met, other adoptive families, anonymous folks (I stick a Bible verse on their puzzle pieces), hi-school students, grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, people that know Jesus, some that don't, folks in seminary, people living internationally, old friends, new friends...  I'm overwhelmed by people's willingness to show love in such a tangible way.  Some pieces were even given as a gift in honor of someone else.  How cool!  :)
Here's a pic of our puzzle as it is this evening:

For those of you that are a part of this, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

This morning in church, we had a missionary come speak about what God is doing in Brazil.  Juca was a professional soccer player who left professional sports to work with kids and share the Good News of Jesus through sports ministry.  He challenged us to see people as precious to God, and not be stand-off-ish because they look or speak differently than we do.  He shared how so many Christians in the U.S as well as Brazil have "too big of a halo" on their heads and it keeps them from reaching out to the lost and broken people around them.  Many of the kids that he works with are street kids, and if they are not reached for Jesus, they will be reached with the drug culture around them!  

Juca also challenged us to remember that God can use even the small things for His glory.  He reminded us of the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000+ people with only a few loaves of bread and fish.  This young boy's lunch was small, but Jesus did great things with it.  

At the end of his time, he took out two small soccer-ball piggy-banks and offered them to anyone that would be wiling to set aside a little bit of money for the ministry in Brazil, to be collected when he and his wife come back next fall.  I jabbed Philip in the ribs and made sure we got one.  So, my kids have a missionary project already, and they are not even home yet!  It occurred to me afterwards that they might be a bit young to understand, but, then, kids are NEVER "too young" to serve God.  Hey, who knows how much they might retain?  And it is important to me that, even though we might not be able to "go" and serve internationally at this time in our life, we are mindful of those that do and we uphold them through prayers and giving, even if it is a small amount!  
My kids' missionary bank on their changing table

Please continue to share our puzzle opportunity on your FB pages and with your friends!  It really does mean a lot!  

Also, if you want to learn more about Juca's ministry, 
This is the ministry FB page:
His personal FB page:
The U.S. site for the ministry:
and the YouTube link highlighting some of Juca's soccer carreer:

Thursday, October 17, 2013


On a "date" at the park
Things are getting close! Yesterday afternoon we had a pre-travel phone conference with our agency. I did learn some things, which I will share with you after this brief commercial.

Our adoption puzzle. :) Yes. See that lion picture on the right of your screen? That’s a 1,000 piece puzzle upstairs in our kids' room. We started the puzzle as a fundraiser to help with the $25,000+ of adoption expenses. To date, all of our agency expenses are paid for. Now, we are looking toward airfare (twice!), and in-country expenses such as food, lodging, travel visas, transportation, etc. We have been blessed to have 647 pieces sponsored, which has brought in $6,470. The remaining 353 pieces are still available for sponsorship at $10/piece. Completing the puzzle would provide the rest of the funds we will need to bring our kiddos home. Would you consider sharing this opportunity with your friends and family? Click the lion picture for more information.

Goofing off with my friend's daughters
Now, back to the conference call. As some of you know, we have been waiting for our “court date”. This is when Philip and I are required to appear before an Ethiopian judge and commit to providing for our precious kiddos. Our agency gave us a list of the paperwork that we will need to have on hand with us in Ethiopia during that time:
  • Delegation of Parents to Orphanage: authorization for the orphanage to continue to care for our kiddos between our first and second trips
  • I600 - Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
  • I-864W – Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support Exemption
  • DS-260 – Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration 
  • Privacy Act Release Statement for Adoption Cases
  • Ethiopian Visa with Entry Stamp ($20/each)
  • US Embassy Fees (in cash): $230 per child and $720 for second child’s I-600
That incredibly good looking man I married

More paperwork. My favorite. Actually, this is a short list, and won’t be too bad!

As we have known, both birth-mothers are required to travel to the capital city and give testimony regarding the adoption to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA). One of our kids’ birth-moms was able to do this before the court closure, but the other was unable to travel at that time. Her MOWA interview is on the 22nd. We should be hearing within a few days after that about our assigned court date. We should have anywhere from 10 days to a few weeks notice before we need to appear in court.
Philip, Lexie and Katie

On a more personal note, I’ve spent so much time thinking about the precious women that carried and gave birth to my kids. What are they like? What are their hopes and dreams? What circumstances drove them to choose adoption? Is there anyone that can comfort them in their grief? What little we know about our childrens’ stories is a heartbreaking tale of poverty and dead ends. I am mindful of their pain and forever thankful for the privilege these women have granted me of raising my children.

I continue to be rather scatterbrained, to the point it’s almost comical. Thankfully, my friends have chosen to see the humor in my air-headedness! I sure hope this “prego-brain” is temporary. Just this morning I was driving to Bible study and decided to spend the time in prayer. Upon arriving at my destination, I realized that I had just spent the last 15 minutes daydreaming about meeting my kiddos for the first time. Oops. I am grateful for a God that sees my good intention, and for a Spirit that intercedes on my behalf! I need much intersession!

Thank you for your prayers and support during this time. Happy Autumn, enjoy the cooler weather and Fall colors.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Leg-warmers on Goats, And Other Scatterbrained Thoughts

I may or may not have been playing with blocks.
The Ethiopian courts open again in 8 days.  Since our case has already been approved, I’m praying we’ll be assigned a court date within a week or so after that.  A few of the adoptive-mom friends I was talking to this past week said they were given about 2 weeks notice to get to Ethiopia for their first trip.  Theoretically we could be in-country within 3-4 weeks!

It feels strangely familiar to be “waiting” again, waiting for something completely outside our control. The difference this time is that we have a realistic timeline, a estimated “end” date, and a ton to do in the meantime!

It seems like there are always new things to do or think about.  What kind of formula would be best for the kids?  Are there any formulas without sugars?  I've been told to avoid soy, too.  What kinds of baby food do we travel with?  Which baby foods don’t have a bunch of added sugar?  (Yeah, I have a ‘thing’ against sugar!) What about hair care for my daughter?  Anya will have some unique needs (dry scalp, and coarse, frizzy curls).  Wh
at will we do in-country?  Where do we stay?  How do we hire a driver, and what is a reasonable daily rate?  What kinds of things should we take the time to see?  How difficult and expensive is it to travel to our kids’ hometown?  How do we set up that transportation?  It would sure be nice to visit a national park while we’re there (lions and monkeys and zebras, oh my!), but which one?  How do we get there?  How long do we stay, and can we afford it?  One mom suggested adding plastic diaper covers to the registry to help contain diaper blow-outs.  Another mom suggested breast-milk banks to avoid formula altogether, which launches me into a research project about how to pasturize breast milk.  A few folks recommended goat’s milk.  Great, maybe I should raise goats, too.
The bizarre, wonderful guy I married

I’ve been hanging out in the book of Proverbs looking for child-raising advice and verses that I can use to help train and guide my kids to know and love God.  I’m also in the middle of 3 other parenting books, and am procrastinating on doing laundry.  Indeed, I am highly skilled at forgetting about laundry.  No, laundry has nothing to do with parenting books. 

I've been meaning to write a blog post about our adoption puzzle fundraiser. I’d love to finish that puzzle up and be able to put it on the wall. Money is awkward, of course, so maybe I’ll procrastinate on that, too.  It would be
huge to have the rest of that puzzle completed so we have airfare money for the second trip.

My two younger brothers moved out this past week, so I also get to reclaim parts of my house that I forgot existed.  My mom is asking about curtain rods for the kids’ room, and I should pull out my suitcase and start packing.  Oh, and are there water bottles that can purify water for us while we’re out of the States?  Need to research those, too.  
Coffee from Uncle Kurt and Auntie Sadie

A friend gave Anya an
adorable giraffe-print skirt, (reminding me I might add leg warmers to the baby registry?).  Another friend gave us a pound of Ethiopian coffee and a small mug.

I was blessed to meet two other adoptive moms this past week, both with kiddos from Ethiopia. It was so fun to hear about their experiences and see how their small people have transitioned so well into their lives and homes.  

I was excited to talk to my grandmother last week and hear her enthusiasm for her great-grandkids.  Her Sunday school class at church has been holding our entire family in prayer through this process.

All in all, the last couple of weeks have been relaxing, in a physical sense.  My brain, however, is going nuts.  Pardon me as I put diaper covers on formula, put legwarmers on goats, and raise water bottles that do laundry.