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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lessons learned...

WOW! What a journey this adoption has been for us so far. We have had our ups and downs and passing court was definitely a high for us! We're still just so thrilled that she is forever ours and eagerly await our return trip to pick her up and bring her home to share with you. She really is the most content baby but we would have loved her even if she cried the whole time! We fell so in love with Ethiopia on our last trip and can't wait to return to be there again. I will admit that this surprised me quite a bit. I will be the first to tell you that I like being comfortable. And I have quite a few items around the house that help make more comfortable and I so often feel like I NEED those things...my certain pillow, a fan for a sound machine, a favorite coffee cup, a comfortable mattress, a daily routine that makes me comfortable, friends that make me comfortable, etc. So I was a little anxious about leaving my comfortable life here and flying around the world to Africa. I knew the people in Ethiopia were mostly NOT comfortable...minimum wage is $20 a MONTH, many do not even have a job and resort to begging on the street, children aren't guaranteed an education, people are dying of a disease that is not considered life threatening in the States. People are not necessarily living "comfortable" lives in Ethiopia. So I was unsure how I would feel...I just assumed it was something I HAD to do to bring our daughter home so I would go and suffer through it. I could not have been more WRONG! I absolutely LOVED Ethiopia...LOVED the people who were so friendly and proud of their heritage and the little that they did have, LOVED the staff of AWAA agency that we used, LOVED the city and the place we stayed and ALL of it! Not once did we feel uncomfortable with where we were or with the beautiful people there. We LOVED the other families who were there with us and had a great time fellowshipping with them. While meeting Zadie's birth mom was heart breaking we LOVED getting to hug her tight and tell her that we would not forget her bravery and would pray over her with our daughter daily. We really did LOVE our trip! But here's what I know...looking back we did not love our trip because we are just flexible people (although being stuck 3 days in the Amsterdam airport gave us a new appreciation for flexibility). We did not love our trip because we are used to traveling to 3rd world countries or because we are used to putting up a barrier between us and uncomfortable images being from America where we tend to sweep uncomfortable stuff under the rug. Nothing about our selfish tendencies would have allowed us to enjoy that trip...I am a flawed person who SHOULD have not enjoyed any of that trip. However, by the GRACE of God I was allowed a fantastic, eye opening, perspective changing, awe inspiring trip to a world that I am not used to and I hope I will never forget. We have so been taught how important and privileged we are to be able to go to the THRONE of God to pray and petition for the needs of our brothers and sisters and WE FELT EVERY ONE OF YOUR PRAYERS! We truly feel that the most treasured things we can ask for and receive from our fellow believers are your prayers. We are humbled by and grateful for the time you took to pray over our journey because we were weak vessels made strong. We have witnessed God's love in so many new and different ways than ever before and I truly hope that if you have the opportunity to talk to us personally that we will have the words to share that with you. To God be the glory!

Now we ask for your prayers once again. We are currently waiting to hear when our tentative travel dates will be to be able to go and bring our daughter home. We were told 4-6 weeks. Our agency is able to submit our post court paperwork every other Wednesday to the US Embassy. The Embassy will review our paperwork and either confirm us to travel or begin an investigation. We are praying that our paperwork is collected quickly and efficiently and that the Embassy allows us to travel for the earliest possible date which would be January 19th. The next possible date would be February 2nd. At this point we really are thankful to just have passed court as so many of our sweet friends did not have their letter written and in their file when it should have been. And we really are just grateful to have held our daughter and met the friends we made. But of course our heart aches to hold our daughter indefinitely and forever. Will you pray with us for a quick Embassy date? Please also pray with us for the other families in process who are held up in ANY way...please pray God's favor for these families and for paperwork to be in place ASAP! Please help us pray these children home! Again...we are so grateful for your prayers!

Monday, December 27, 2010

INTRODUCING ZADIE TESFANESH CHAMBERS!!

We got word this morning that we officially passed court on the 24th! This means that Zadie Tesfanesh Chambers is legally and eternally a Chambers! Praise the LORD! We now wait for them to compile our post-court paperwork and then submit it to the US Embassy to find our next travel dates to pick her up and bring her home forever. We so appreciate your prayers for a quick turnaround to get her and for our hearts and her health in the interim. Also, please pray with us for the families still waiting on MOWA letters and approvals as we hurt with them during this difficult wait. However, we hold tight to the promise of God's sovereignty.

Now...here's the best part! We can share photos of our daughter! We'll start with this video! More to follow!




Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bittersweet


Today was our last day here in Ethiopia. We head home tonight on a midnight
flight. It was a very emotionally draining day for us here. We woke up and had
breakfast and didn't know if our court date was in morning or afternoon. The
AWAA staff arrived and told us to load up to head to court around 9:15. We went
to the court house (totally not how I pictured it...think local DMV office) and
stood around for a bit as birth families were there giving their consent first.
We were then called by name to enter the one little room where the adoption
judge sits. We were called in with 3 other families (which we've never heard
of) and we all answered her mainly yes or no questions and were done within
about 7 minutes. She informed us the MOWA letters had not been delivered that
day and she would let us know that afternoon. We left the courthouse and came
back to the guest house and were told to wait in our rooms and we would be
called down one a time to meet with our birth moms/families. I had a hard time
anticipating this meeting. I'm still not sure I've processed much of it at all.
We met with her for about 15 minutes and then after an emotional goodbye to her
we went up to our rooms and waited for lunch. I realize I'm passing over that
part of our day without much emotion or detail but until you've been in that
situation personally there really are no words to describe it. I'm sure I'll
process through it and feel the need to write it about it soon. We enjoyed
lunch and then headed to the TH to see our daughter for the last afternoon.
After a while the AWAA liason came by and told us that three families had
confirmed letters written by MOWA that should be at court in morning which means
an approval coming in less than 24 hours. The other families' letters were not
written yet and they should find out if they will have to be given a new court
date. We were one of the 3 with confirmed letters! We're thrilled with this
news but it's been bittersweet as we've grown very close to these other families
and it was hard to see their dissapointment and share in that with them. We
then spent the rest of the afternoon with our daughter until they told us it was
time to say goodbye. We let her go knowing our God will be protecting and
surrounding her with angels. We are worn out from a fantastic albeit draining
trip and will head home tonight on a midnight flight. We ask for your prayers
for our flight home...for our connection in Amsterdam; that it would take off to
Houston on time so we would be able to avoid the chaos from last week getting
here. We also ask for your prayers for our daughter and her health right now.
And lastly we ask for your prayers for the families that are still waiting to
hear confirmation that they have passed court to be able to move forward in
brining their children home. This is a tough season of waiting and especially
going through the holidays being apart from our sweet children. We so
appreciate your prayers throughout our journey...we know God is faithful even
when we can't see it and we look forward to celerating his son's birth in a
couple of days with our family.


Autumn





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Feeling very blessed and thankful ...


We spent the day today passing out our donations to the 2 local orphangages. we
got to watch them eat and see where they slept and we then passed out the care
packages
so many of you had in helping or buyng! They were a hit and the kids
loved us showing them how to use them. Some wanted to keep in their bags and
some wanted to take it all out and play wth it all right away! We loved just
spending time and loving on these sweet kids! After this we headed back to
transition house where we began delivering care package for aoptive friends and
taking photo's for other famlies. All the babies are just beautiful and those
nannies parade them around and strut their stuff and those kids just sit there
looking stunned most of the time!! But they don't need all the showyness...they
truly are beautiful babies and so many we saw today were beautful babies that
have nobody coming for them or sending care packages to them or praying for
them..what about those babies and what you can you do to look at them face to face
and be uncomfortable by it?

As you are sleeping tonight, there will be 7 families here that have their
challenging court day tomorrow. Not challenging like it's a test of strength
and feats but challenging as I've gotten myself worked up over now. There is
also a chance we will be able to meet the birth mom after she relinquishes her
rights at court that morning. She then will come to the guest house where we're
staying and sit down with us and chat. We want her to know how much we will
love and care for her daughter and that we will tell her about her mother and
just basically love her the only way we can...with our eyes, our body langage,
our hearts! Plese pray for us tonight (your time) for this meeting to go
smoothly and for her to feel a peace and burden to be lifted.

Also, 7 famlies will be headed to court tommorow. One family went today and
they found out at lunch that they had ineed passed!!!! We all cheered!!
Tomorrow may be a different story as there are so many of us and it's been
common lately for the judge to see 10 more families than MOWA had time to write
letters for. So the judge is seeing 30 familiies and MOWA only wrote 20 letters
that day. Sometimes you can pass on the spot if everything is there...if that
letter is missing then they can wait for it, wait until tomorrow, or reschedule
and givv you a new court date. We are asking your prayers that we would pass on
the spot tomorrow! That we would hear that T******** Chambers is officially
yours!! What a Christmas girt!!

But if that doesn't happen, if our MOWA letter is not written and if we get
stuck again coming home from Ethiopia in Amsterdam and miss our connection and
spend Christmas morning in the Amsterdam airport AGAIN then I still want to say
that after these last 4 days that we are blessed and I will be thankful...

Pray with us frinds, feel His blessing this week, tell Him you are thankful...

Because of Him



Monday, December 20, 2010

We made it!!!


After 96 hours of traveling, 3 hotel airports, 3 flights, and 3 countries we are
pleased to report that we made it Addis Ababa!!! There were so many answered
prayers along the way and when time allows (and a faster internet connection is
available) I'll share more of the story about our last leg of travel. But for
now we just wanted everyone to know that we're here and we spent almost the
entire day holding our sweet, sweet Zadie! She is precious...worth every minute
of the last 96 hours and we can't wait until we pass court to show you her
pictures and look forward to bringing her home soon to join our lives. She is
THE MOST CONTENT baby!!! She only fussed when we had to wipe her nose and
please pray for her health as she is battling another upper respiratory
infection
. There is a VERY large travel group with us and we've enjoyed
spending the day getting to know all the couples and meeting their babies with
them. What a fantastic trip this is turning out to be! We are headed to bed
(at 5:30 our time) because we cannot hold our eyes open another minute! After
not sleeping for over 24 hours we are exhausted and hope to catch up on sleep
and hit the day running tomorrow refreshed! On the itinerary is a day of
shopping followed by more visiting with Zadie and then an Ethiopian traditional
dinner and dancing tomorrow night! Oh, and care package and photo
friends...we'll be doing that on Wednesday for you all!

Thanks for the continued prayers!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Same song...fifth verse

Ok...so it's a LONG song! Yesterday we had a flight leaving Amsterdam heading to Paris and then on to Rome getting in 2 hours before our flight to Ethiopia. We were thrilled to print boarding passes as there was no way we were going to get in to correct part of airport to print a boarding pass. We went to bed with an alarm to be up at 5:00 am to head to airport to see if we could get on another flight as they were predicting LOTS of snow in Paris and we did not want to be STUCK in Paris. For some reason (read that GOD) we woke up in the middle of the night and I got online to see what other options we had. I found a flight going to Dubai and then on to Ethiopia and we called KLM to try and book that flight. The first lady cancelled our Amsterdam/Paris/Rome tickets and tried to book this flight...she said she had it but we would need to talk with the International service desk to confirm it. We were on hold for another hour and half before we ever spoke with anybody. Finally when someone did come on the line she told us that flight was sold out...she then tried to get us on flight to Nairobi and then Ethiopia but that flight was full also. After another 45 minutes she told us she could book us on a direct flight to Rome leaving at 1:00 giving us plenty of time to make connecting Ethiopian Air flight at midnight. We took that option and tried to print our boarding passes but computer would not find reservations for us so we used old boarding passes that we printed night before to get through security. We made it to airport at 8:00 am not knowing how long security lines were (they were not long) and FINALLY made it inside airport! WOOHOO! Now we are waiting at gate to see if the flight indeed takes off but we've watched dozens of flights leave now. When we get to Rome we will have to find our bags and then go out and recheck them through Ethiopian Air for midnight flight. Please pray with us that we can locate our bags smoothly and rebook them smoothly and get on our Ethiopian flight SMOOTHLY! We are praying that we are holding our daughter in less than 24 hours!!! We have a long way to go but we are praising a sovereign God through all of this! Praying we're posting about more than sitting in an Amsterdam airport SOON!

Thanks for your continued prayers...we can feel them!

Becuase of Him,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

HALLELUJAH!

Okay...so after spending the day at the OUTSIDE the airport getting the lay of the land we are thrilled to announce that we have been able to PRINT our boarding passes for tomorrow's flight. This is HUGE because the entire departures terminal for KLM flights has been SHUT DOWN all day...meaning they literally have blocked ALL entrances into the entire Departures 2 building. I have never seen a longer line in my life! 8 people wide, at least a mile and half long from the other departures building with no hope of getting through. We don't have our baggage as it was checked through to Rome so we don't have bags to check...we just needed a boarding pass to get back IN to the airport tomorrow and we needed to get to a kiosk to do that and couldn't access any kiosks ALL DAY! We also could not print our boarding ALL day after several phone calls to KLM...it just wouldn't pull up the info online. So we were feeling VERY hopeless all day! Josh was even going to spend the night standing in the hopeless line just to see where he could get. A security guard told us not to try that but to go back to room and see if we could try again in the morning. So we left and came back to hotel to try and see if we could but another flight that was NOT KLM so we could get boarding pass to get INTO airport to work from there. Well, we decided to try to print boarding passes ONE more time and it WORKED!!! And we even have the EXIT ROW...now we're nowhere close to being where we need to be. These tickets are supposed to go to Paris tomorrow afternoon and then on to Rome and get us in at 10:00 where we hope to make our Ethiopian Air connecting flight at midnight and then we'll be BACK ON TRACK for the rest of trip. SO PLEASE PRAY that our flight leaves here tomorrow and then leaves Paris as it's supposed to snow in Paris tomorrow also. We've completely written off our luggage...who knows where it is, which if FINE with us. We packed one extra outfit in our carry on and then all the care packages and even bags of chocolate for nanny gifts so we'll be OK without (though it would be great if we did find it for the donations to make it to Ethiopia). So we're closer but not out of the woods...please pray for the snow to not be heave and for our flights to leave on time and for us to make it to Ethiopia by Monday morning. We know God is in control even when the ENTIRE airport is not in control of anything!! We will be praying for extra doses of patience as well...one day this will be a great story for Zadie!! We worked HARD to get to that little one! And we'd do it again if we had to...let's just pray we DON'T have to!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

No room at the inn...

So...today has been the craziest travel day I've ever experienced. After flying for 8 1/2 hours from Houston to Amsterdam we were told the last 15 minutes that the Amsterdam airport was shut down and they were wanting us to circle for an hour and half before landing due to snow. Our pilot said we did not have enough fuel for that so we were rerouted to Dusseldorf, Germany (20 minutes away...strangeness) and refueled there. So we were delayed by about an hour getting into Amsterdam. We found a self serve kiosk and scanned our boarding passes for a flight we didn't connect to (no worries...that flight didn't end up taking off that morning for Rome anyway and we heard stories that people boarded that flight and sat on runway for 3 hours thinking they were going to take off and ended up back at airport anyway). So we had boarding passes for a later flight...about 4:00. We went back through security and waited at gate until about 4:30 as messages kept playing overhead that flights were beginning to be canceled throughout Europe from Amsterdam. We were told there would MAYBE be flights after 4:00 and ours was scheduled to leave at 4:30 so we waited. 4:30 came and went and then we were told there might be flights that would leave after 8:00. So we changed gates and sat there for another 3 1/2 hours hoping to get a boarding pass for a flight out (with a large group of others). The entire time there were NO gate agents...just these big T (for Transfer) desks that had lines that were HOURS long just to get to talk to an agent who ended up knowing nothing because the airport was shutting down due to weather closures. At this last gate we waited with others and about 45 minutes before flight left the waiting room filled up and the board still didn't say cancelled so we were hopeful and praying for a flight. The crews began preparing for a planes arrival and finally 2 gate agents showed up to work the desks and my heart began beating faster! They told us to wait as they called in to find the incoming plane and what the plan was. Josh was standing at the gate desk this entire time to be up there when something happened. After about another 20 minutes they finally came on and said the flight was cancelled and that we would have to leave the gate area so they could shut it down. No more than that was given. Big FAIL!! We were also told ALL public transportation was shut down going into city center. No trains, no taxis, no buses...nothing. About 5:00 in this ordeal I got ahold of my father back home who was trying to find out how he could help by calling our airlines and mentioned that the airport at the hotel was full which I assumed as the whole airport was slowly shutting down. At that point I got a little emotional about the whole ordeal as we did not sleep on the plane (after trying a sleeping pill and having a good travel pillow it just didn't happen...there were 2 little ones crying around us off and on but the flight wasn't that bad at all...the nightmare began when we landed!) so I was exhausted and hungry and I knew I was about to just cry to cry...just because I was so drained. So I went down to the restroom and of course there was a little boy about Oliver's age just sitting on the counter with his mom telling her he was sad because they had been there so long and I made it to (fantastically closed off completely) stall and just cried...oh how I missed my boys and how much I wouldn't have left them these few days early just for this!! :) That helped tremendously and I calmed down and got some cold water and went back to waiting area for more waiting! Just had to get it all out!

After the last flight of the day was canceled we figured it was time to try to head down to baggage (no bags as they are checked through to Rome but we did pack well in our carry ons for this trip) and out to see if indeed everything was shut down. Oh what chaos! There were people EVERYWHERE...we found the taxi lines and were told there were some taxis running but that half the city was closed down due to snow so we probably couldn't get in to city center (where the hotels were). Trains were half running but we weren't sure where to go and afraid we couldn't back to airport. There were people finding spots on tile floor and sitting and playing cards and just trying to find somewhere to rest and I was beginning to feel hopeless and STUCK! We spent about 45 minutes just trying to find out what our options were (not very many) and even the hotel shuttles line was fantastically long and standing outside in the blowing snow was miserable. So we decided to head to the Sheraton hotel which is connected via a walkway just to at least sit on carpet for the night. There was a sign out front saying the hotel was fully booked but Josh went in anyway just to check. I stood out in hallway watching as people walked away feeling so hopeless and tired and rundown. After about 15 minutes he was at front of line to talk to someone and I saw him take off his backpack after what I thought was the lady shaking her head. My heart leaped but I assumed he was just tired of wearing it. Then he got his wallet OUT and my heart started beating faster! Some rooms had just opened up and we GOT A ROOM at the Sheraton with a personal bathroom (woot woot) and a BED!!! We ordered room service, brushed our teeth, and went to bed! What a relief! We woke up (I think the stress of not knowing what time we had to be up did it) and saw a message from Dad that said we had a flight out on SUNDAY to connect in Rome a few hours before our scheduled flight to Ethiopia that night at midnight. So we ask for your continued prayers that we do indeed get to leave Amsterdam on Sunday and that we do INDEED connect in time to make our next flight (which is the important part!!!) to Addis Ababa. Who knows where our bags are or what we're going to do tomorrow but we're just so thankful to HAVE A ROOM!

Which leads me to the title...never before have I spent so much time thinking about what Mary and Joseph must have felt like as they traveled from inn to inn and were told there were no rooms. How hopeless they must have felt and how desperate they must have been to find ANYWHERE they could lay down and how worried to be having a baby and not knowing where they would be able to do that. I can't imagine giving birth in a stable...on hay...with animals around me. I know from reading children's books on the subject that we idealize it and make it sound so charming and peaceful but can you imagine? I know the thought of laying on a tile floor tonight was unbearable to me and how my heart leapt when we were told we could have a room. I'm thankful to God for taking care of us in the midst of the chaos and I suspect Mary and Joseph felt the same way on that incredible night so many years ago. I suspect in their hearts they were just thankful to find a place to lay down and I suspect they knew in their hearts that God was taking care of them. Thank you God for the small gifts you give us daily and for the gift of your Son.

Now back to bed...thank you for the prayers...we know God answered them today.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

1 last minute prayer request

We leave TODAY! We will spend the weekend in Rome and be in Ethiopia on Monday morning by 8:00 am (midnight here)! We hope to update the blog while we're away if you're interested. One last minute prayer request we have is for our donated supplies to make it in to country to be used where needed. We have heard from several families who have traveled recently that a few of their bags were searched and medical supplies were confiscated (even generic supplies like children's Tylenol, Motrin, etc). The guards said they needed a letter from the orphanage stating they needed those medical supplies in order to get supplies in country. This is a new to everyone and is not happening to everyone and even to those families it happened to they confiscated items from one bag they randomly searched and not the other bags. So we were advised to spread our donations out throughout our bags (which we have done) but we're asking for prayer that ALL of our donations get through customs and make it to the places we intend for them to be. We have FULL faith that God has gone before us and we appreciate your prayers for us while we're away!

Because of Him,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

LAST DAY OF PRAYER REQUESTS!!

Today is our last day of our 5 days of prayer requests which means we get on plane tomorrow! WOOHOO! After waiting 19 1/2 weeks we will finally be able to MEET and HOLD our daughter!! We definitely feel covered by all of your prayers this week and we thank you for praying with us. We said good bye to the boys today for the next 9 days and did so with Wyatt running a 102 degree fever. He was still in good spirits though after lots of extra cuddling last night. Oliver was ready to go from the moment he woke up! They are both in very capable hands and when I told Wyatt that Nana said she would hold him as much as he wants he said "good, that will make me feel better!" Melt my heart! Answered prayers!

Today's focus will be in on what happens AFTER our court trip. We will leave without our Zadie while our court decree is translated and a visa and passport is applied for for Zadie. After the Embassy receives our paperwork they will look through it and either clear us for an Embassy appointment or if there are questions they will begin an investigation. Here is how you can be praying...

-that we would pass court and get this process started!
-that the Embassy would receive our paperwork and look through it quickly
-that the Embassy would clear us right away and no investigation is necessary
-that we would be back for our Embassy appointment in the shortest amount of time (4-5 weeks)
-our visa interview for the 2nd trip

Also, we ask for prayer as it's very possible that we will meet Zadie's birth mom on this trip if she is willing. We would love to meet her and somehow convey to her how much this child will be loved. We ask that you'll pray over this meeting as it makes me nervous and we pray that she'll feel God's love through us, our body language, and what the translator hears us say.

YAY! We're getting so close now and we so appreciate you praying for us and with us! Our court date is on December 23rd so it will take place while you are sleeping on the night of the 22nd. We're hoping God wakes some of you to be our prayer warriors while we go to court for our daughter! But no matter the outcome we give God all the glory!

Psalm 33:4,5 For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all
he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice, the earth is full of
his unfailing love.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prayer request day 4 of 5

Today's prayer requests will focus on our boys, Oliver and Wyatt. They will be staying with Josh's parents and are thrilled to get to go the "forest" (as they call it) or country as Josh's parents live in small town near Texarkana, TX. They were told they get to have 2 Christmas' with the first being in Atlanta, TX with Nana and Pawpaw. Oliver has been packed for days (only toys) so we'll need to remedy that situation tonight. We're asking for prayers over their little hearts as we will be gone for 9 days (longest stretch we've ever left them) and for this mommy heart as the thought of being apart from those boys just breaks it! We are together 24/7 and I will miss them terribly but understand that this will be not just necessary but healthy for us to be apart for a bit! We know they are in capable hands and ask for prayer for Nana and Pawpaw as they take on a 2 and 4 year old FULL time for the next 9 days RIGHT UP UNTIL CHRISTMAS! Here are more specifics...

-for the boys hearts to be secure in our love for them as we're gone for 9 days
-for the health of the boys as they're both coming down with colds
-for a peace for them during the wait
-for the upcoming transition as we add a third child through adoption
-for good behavior while we're gone (not perfect, just good through the transition of being away from home!!)
-for Nana and Pawpaw to be healthy and have an extra dose of energy to adjust to their new visitors

I know the enemy is trying his best as today the craziness has begun. From a last minute trip to Target where I thought my purse had been taken (literally in my zoned out state of trying to remember things I began putting my things in the wrong, empty cart near my correct cart with purse in it and I walked the ENTIRE store and filled up other basket before realizing purse was not there. Employee found empty basket with my purse after I talked to manager. Loopy Lou!!!) to Wyatt coming down with a fever and getting a phone call to come pick him up early from preschool! I know the enemy would love nothing more than to wreck my attitude and steal God's glory but we're praying that does not happen! Please pray with us that God would be glorified through this entire journey!

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give
thanks to him and praise his name.

Because of Him,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 3 prayer requests

The focus on today's prayer requests will be Zadie. We're so excited to finally get to meet her and hold her. We're praising God that there will be one less orphan soon. We know God specifically called our family to this and He knew from the beginning of time that she would be a part of our family! Here are the requests...

-that Zadie would heal from her recent skin rash and would continue to stay healthy and that God would protect and surround her with His healing hands
-for the initial bonding and attachment to begin between us and Zadie
-for the waiting period in between trips...that God would give Zadie and us a peace as we're apart and watch over her
-for the HUGE transition Zadie is about to make in flying home and joining our family (leaving her home country, new family, new country, new sights and sounds and smells)
-for the flight home with her on our 2nd trip (smooth layovers, smooth flights, sleeping baby!!)
-for her heart as she processes adoption as she grows up

We thank you all for taking a minute to lift up these requests in prayer.

Psalm 68:5-6
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 2 prayer requests

Today our prayer request focus will be on our court appearance. This is the reason for our whole trip to Ethiopia. From the information I have been gleaning from other travelers we will probably be in the room for roughly 10-15 minutes. Basically the judge will ask us a few questions such as our reason for adopting from Ethiopia, our commitment to adopting our daughter, etc. and then our part is done. If the other parts are completed such as the birth mother being present to give her consent and the Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs (MOWA) having written the approval letter then we can possibly pass court on the spot and be told that T******** is legally ours!!!! That of course is our prayer...that we would PASS ON THE SPOT! If we do not pass we will NOT be required to make a return trip for court. Either way we will come home and wait for the US Embassy to give us clearance to issue her visa so we can bring her home. So passing court this trip means a faster turnaround to bring her home. So our prayer focus for today will be the following...

-court will be in session as planned for our time slot (there have been times when courts have closed unexpectedly for various reasons)
-necessary people to be present
-our letter from MOWA to be written and on judge's desk
-all other paperwork in place and to be correct (all names, dates, etc. correct)
-our testimony to be clear and glorifying to God(answering the questions makes me anxious)
-that we pass right there and then!!!!!

Thank you all for praying with us!!

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for
his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your
faithfulness.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

5 days of prayer

About a month ago a fellow adoptive mom sent out a facebook invite to be a part of a prayer rally for 5 days before they headed over to Ethiopia to go to court for their son Micah. I loved the idea and knew that when it was time for us to begin preparing to leave that I was so going to copy it!! (Thanks Janet!) So we'll be sending out a specific request for the next 5 days to help cover this adoption in prayers. We would love it if you would take a moment when you read them to pray for them with us.

Day 1-TRAVEL

-We pray for safety as we travel and for the pilots and ground crew and all those that have a hand in getting the plane to our destinations safely.
-We pray over for gate connections and that our baggage would arrive with us!
-We pray for rest on the flights so we can concentrate on what we need to concentrate while in Ethiopia and so that we have the energy and emotional stability to handle all that will come with meeting, bonding with, and then leaving our daughter.
-We pray that God would be glorified through these requests, our trip, our time, our connections we make with those around us.

Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,"

Thank you all for praying for us and with us!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Risk or Unbelief

I cannot believe that in just 10 days I will have our daughter in my arms for the first time. (I assume Josh knows she will be in my arms first...at least now he does...we'll see if he counters). This daughter who I do not know but love so much...a daughter I have stared it for 19 1/2 LONG weeks waiting on a court date to hold her, a daughter I didn't even know I wanted 3 years ago and now I can't imagine not having her here one day. A daughter that will make things decidedly more difficult...from the literal aspect of having 3 kids 4 and under to watch all day to the outward appearance of how our family will look to others (to those who approve and to those who don't) to the spiritual questions of how we can love outside boundaries the way we do (1 John 4:19). I will be honest and tell you that this journey has been hard, bumpy, and tiring. I will also tell you that there were days that I wanted to give up, to just do the "normal" thing and have another bio child. Why did we have to be so different? Why were we called to do something "risky"? OH how I long to tell you that those few days are nothing in comparison to loving my Savior and the desire to be obedient to Him and the joy that comes with that...but still my flesh is weak and those thoughts take hold now and again. I recently read a quote that the desire for our lives to be risk free is a form of unbelief. Let me write it again...the desire (and a strong one at that) for our lives to be RISK free is a form of UNBELIEF. WOW...did that sting! How unbelieving I can be! I will be bold and claim it here that Josh and I feel that we are not done growing our family through adoption. Our hearts know that if God wills it there will be more kids joining our family by adoption. And we also feel that God is calling for us to be even "riskier" with our next adoption and bring home and love an HIV + child. We are passionate about loving those affected with this disease on a continent that does have the wealth to gain the 2 pills needed to give life to those infected. You and I can easily walk down to our local Walgreens or CVS and pick up a prescription for 2 pills that mean the difference of life and death to a person infected...2 pills that make the virus virtually undetectable in an infected person's blood stream...2 pills that very easily allow an infected person to live a very "normal" disease free existence. This, folks, scares me quite a bit. I KNOW we will lose much in this decision...literally, we'll lose income (and maybe 250 cable channels) in paying monthly for the needed meds; we know we'll probably lose friendships; we'll probably have a harder time in nursery settings and preschool and schooling situations. Basically, we'll be UNCOMFORTABLE...much more so than we are now. But it's NOT ABOUT ME! We do it all for the sake of ONE...that ONE child that has NO HOPE of being adopted because of a nasty disease that the child had nothing to do with to cause it. A child that will face death if we don't face losing friends and 250 cable channels.

You know...I've been thinking this year about what the first Christmas must have been like. There was no Santa Clause, no toys, no stockings, no trees, no lights on houses, no wish lists. God must have been in agony as He knew what He was doing to His only SON...sending Him to live in a fallen world to be tortured for 33 years and then to die a horrible death all for the sake of you and me. God became UNCOMFORTABLE and RISKED IT ALL...GAVE IT ALL just to save us and to show us He loves us. Oh, I hope you have time to pause this Christmas to remember why we celebrate Christmas...to reflect on that first Christmas before it became what it is today. We will be celebrating this year as a family living together as 4...thankful for this time as we know that God will make known the time our family will be united and become a family of 5 soon...and then we'll wait on His guidance to continue to be "risky" with our lives. So our wish for you this Christmas season is to have a new year full of risk, adventure, and BELIEF!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

God loves us enough to do it the hard way...

Wanted to write today to give a big PRAISE THE LORD as our daughter's orphanage license has been renewed and we've been waiting on this process (for many weeks now) to happen as we would not have passed court without it. Many families who have recently traveled for their court appearance have been held up and have been waiting to pass court and move forward with bringing their children home because of this ONE piece of paper. Today we got word that the license has been written and these families can move forward and this will now not affect us passing court in 3 weeks!

Recently a fellow adoptive mom shared this..."the journey is not towards children, it's towards obedience. The children are the added blessing...". I have to say that through this entire journey I have learned so much about being obedient and God's faithfulness. So many times we (as fellow Christians) choose to be obedient and then immediately want control of the reigns again. "Ok Lord...I'll adopt, but move over...I need to pick the child that fits best, the agency that I like best, and I want to be in control of the timing of it all". Sound familiar? "Yes Lord...I'll add to my family, but I still want to be comfortable enough to go on nice vacations, live in the house I like, and send my kids to good schools" or "Yes Lord...I'll donate money to charity this Christmas but I don't have enough to sponsor a child monthly with all my car loans, mortgage, cable bills, cell phone bills, preschool tuition, etc.". Oh, how it hurts my heart to see how wildly I'll give myself over to the "American Dream" but how stingy I can be with the Savior! How I can sit and watch TV or peruse Facebook for so long and how little time I have to sit with the Father and just listen and learn. What am I willing to give up? Truly, what are we willing to let go of? Because He wants us to let it ALL go...ALL except for our relationship with Him. Now that is a lesson I'm still learning...but what I have learned is that God is willing to do it the hard way for our blessing and benefit! Think about that...how many times do I as a parent just give in to my kids to take the easy way out? They cry out or whine for a toy and while I know the loving thing to do would be to hold firm to my rule of no new toys to teach patience and self control but I choose to give in for my convenience! Or Oliver is struggling to write his name on his homework (yes, our preschool gives homework) and I give in and write it for him just to save time; fully taking away the chance for him to practice and feel ownership over learning a new concept. Now, these are not things that happen every day but so often I choose the easy way out..the easy way to ME and I'm learning that God NEVER takes the easy way out because he LOVES us so much. Wouldn't it just be easier to for Him to have done it all himself? He didn't NEED to sacrifice His SON, He doesn't NEED me to pray over things, He doesn't have to wait on me to learn the lesson before moving forward...but He LOVES us and takes the time to do it the hard way. He is patient with us and waits for us and teaches us. One of the things I've struggled with is voicing my prayer requests in group situations. This semester I joined a women's bible study at our church that takes place during the time Oliver is in choir on Wednesday nights. Most of the women I've met are new to me. I've felt God several times lead me to share the requests we've had over this adoption...out loud! You laugh at the thought of sharing something so small but my face turns red BEFORE I even talk out loud...in fact just at the THOUGHT of speaking up my face TURNS RED! So feeling him lead me out of my comfort zone was a big lesson for me. I figured I could just jump on my blog and have the request covered in prayer or call family members but I knew (from learning many a time the hard way) that if God is leading me there that I should obey. The first time I shared was when court dates were very SLOW in coming and as I shared my request for God to move mountains to assign court dates my eyes welled up with tears as I was up against a wall with that waiting...and just sharing made all the difference for me. But it also spoke to so many others' hearts that night and that Friday dates began getting assigned. The second time I felt God leading me to share was last night about the court license being issued and then TODAY the license was issued. I can't tell you the chills I felt when I saw that e-mail today!!! I will say I've never been obedient to God and not seen the blessing follow after...maybe it takes some time, maybe it's instant, and maybe we'll never see it physically at all, but it's there. What is God asking of you today?

As always we appreciate your prayers and we know that God is using each and every one to accomplish all that He has in store for us. We will be updating soon on ways you can pray for us as we prepare for and travel in 2 weeks to meet our daughter in Africa. Less than 3 weeks now and we'll have her in our arms!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spread truth...World AIDS days is Dec. 1st.

truthbutton

Please click on the picture above and take the time to watch the video. This is a very real passion of ours and we hope and pray the Lord will use us in this arena for His glory! More on that later...



Monday, October 25, 2010

COURT DATE!!!

PRAISE THE LORD we have a court date! Our court date is for December 23rd!!! NOW...I'm not gonna lie...my first response was not PRAISE THE LORD! My first response was ??????????? I NEVER thought she was going to tell me a date in December much less the END of December much less 2 days before CHRISTMAS after we decided to leave the boys home for our court date trip!! BREAK MY HEART!!! However, I knew God was whispering to me...remember I'm in control...remember MY timing is perfect...remember how much I love you...remember I work ALL things for your good...remember I hold the universe in my hands...this was not a surprise to God! HE PICKED this date for us! And we give thanks! We probably were not going to have her home by Christmas with a November court date and this way we get to see her as a Christmas present! And just think...we have the privelege of taking care packages to waiting children for other adopting families and now those families have time to KNIT new Christmas sweaters and snail mail them to us (which saves money) for us to take! (OK...that was a little sarcasm thrown in) But we know this is a good thing...even when the circumstances are not what we would have chosen. We will make the best of this situation because we serve the Lord with gladness. We ask for your prayers for our travel arrangements and wisdom for when to go and how to work it all out. We ask for prayers as we wait longer to bring our daughter home and we ask for prayers for all the other families waiting with us. Thank you for walking along beside us in this journey!


Location:FM 529 Rd,Houston,United States

Power of prayer...

14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15

Oh, the power of prayer! I'm still astounded and astonished and in awe that the creator of the universe allows us to bring our requests to Him personally at the foot of His throne. That the relationship we have with our Savior is encouraged and purposefully planned and cultivated to be an intimately personal one. What a Savior we serve!!

After a frustrating few weeks of waiting on a court date call I was beginning to spend more and more time praying, praying, praying. I didn't know what else to do...I needed to be in His presence to find rest for my soul and find an attitude adjustment. And I was weary...weary of waiting, weary of not hearing any news, weary of feeling so helpless to move forward, weary of being completely not in control of the situation. So I prayed and listened and prayed some more. What I thought I was doing out of frustration turned out to be some extremely sweet times with my Savior. Looking back I can see how God used those times to just meet me in my need and continue to teach me about His character and the power of prayer. And on Friday, God moved through our adoption agency. 4 people received their court dates and there were numerous referrals and people cleared with the US embassy to go bring their children home forever! It was a fantastic Friday! Which now means that we're #1 for a court date!!! Yes, the list is unofficial. But we're so close!! I don't know if we'll get the call today or this week or not for 3 more weeks but knowing there has been movement has been enough to give this parched soul a long, cold drink! I can't wait to share when our court date is because I know prayer works and I know you'll be praying along with us for a successful court date!! Praising the Lord today because this is the day that He has made!! Woohoo #1!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Serve the Lord with gladness...

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Psalm 100:1-2, 4

We're praying for victory today...victory in hearing news of a court date. Victory in moving forward in bringing our daughter home. Victory in knowing that God has defeated the enemy who would love to thwart plans to bring her home. We know that God is faithful to His people and we know that we've been told to be thankful in ALL things. So we strive today to serve Him with gladness...we strive today to be thankful in ALL things. Gladness when the phone may not ring, thankful when the courts may not give out any dates. We are thankful that we are able to come into His presence...that the God of the universe allows US to come into HIS PRESENCE!! We come before Him with singing today. We lay our weary hearts at His throne and serve Him gladly. We know victory is ours!!! His timing is perfect!!

We boldly ask for your prayers for court dates today. We boldly ask for your prayers for our daughter. We ask for your prayers for all the families in this process with us. This process is long and hard and not for the faint of heart but we love because He first loved us. His grace is sufficient and we pray...join us won't you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Growing uncomfortable...

I have been thinking a lot about being comfortable lately. About how for many of us one of our main goals is to be comfortable. We buy so many things for comfort...our cars have comfortable seats, we spend lots of time buying comfortable furniture by sitting on it to test it out, we look for comfortable clothing, and have many accessories to help make us comfortable. We like to stay in our "comfort" zone and even have ways to make our temperature comfortable in our homes, cars, offices, etc. We are a society that loves comfort! We seek comfort physically, emotionally, and many times spiritually. We grow up envisioning what will make us most comfortable...a spouse, 2 kids, maybe pets, a certain job, a house in a certain neighborhood...and then we spend time looking for ways to attain these things and then maintain our comfort. Me included...I love a cozy couch, a plush mattress, and some AC!! I like to be comfortable!

What made me begin to notice these things was a cuing in of things spiritually for me. I've been noticing and making the connection that most times that I hear the Holy Spirit whispering to me about something, its usually something that is OUT of my comfort zone. Something that just goes a step beyond what I'm "comfortable" with, something that makes my heart beat a little faster and scares me a little. So then often my response is to push it aside or to think about it so long that the moment passes away leaving me no choice but to pass it up. I think many times we'll take christianity and going to church as long as we're comfortable. We pick churches that have programs, classes, people, pastors that look and think like us. We're willing to pray for things we need like healing, comfort, grace, peace, and prosperity. We want those things...but the minute the Holy Spirit whispers something to us that is convicting and takes us outside those things we tune it out. I say all of this because I DO all of this. I want to be comfortable!

We spent last Friday and Saturday at the Together for Adoption conference in Austin, TX. And I will say that my heart is bursting after hearing the messages and worshiping with 900 other believers who have a heart and passion for the fatherless. I would love to write PAGES about what was shared but I won't do that here...if you ARE interested however in hearing some of the INCREDIBLE messages from the conference then you can go here and download the messages and get some more information. What I will share is that going in to the conference I felt a little self righteous. I was a doer!! I was adopting...I was doing my part in what God has commanded us to do many times over in the bible. Right? Wasn't that "enough" to feel a little self righteous? I mean, come on, I only have a 4 bedroom house. I stay at home and Josh's salary isn't gonna support 13 kids, right? We have 2 cars but they won't seat more than 5 people and I'm not sure our couch can hold more than 4 people either. Adding one more child is good and we're adopting so that is good right? I can just enjoy the conference and be one of the doers! I've always noticed that God has a way of whispering when He wants me to hear something...a quiet whisper that doesn't go away. A whisper that I desperately want to hear but then don't always want to obey. A whisper that says I need to call off an engagement; a whisper that asks if we will fully trust Him in our adoption journey and let Him decide the gender; a whisper that asks if I fully trust Him to decide what my family will look like and the number of children He will place in my home. This question scared me for a minute...you mean you may want me to have more kids? But we can't afford more kids God. Then Dave Gibbons says "What we're saying when we say we can't afford more kids is that God is a dead beat dad. If He calls us to the fatherless and we obey then HE WILL PROVIDE the check!!" And then we hear it explained that if Jesus is the father to the fatherless then He's a FATHER. And if He's a father then he must have a wife and the church is the bride of Jesus. And if the church is the bride of Jesus and Jesus is the father to the fatherless then the church is the MOTHER to the fatherless. Then we hear that the church needs to be louder in speaking out for orphans than Hollywood is and slowly by slowly our arguments and reasons and objections begin to fade away. And slowly by slowly we begin to move towards listening to the whispers and letting our ideas of what WE wanted for our family fade away. What we're left with is a broader picture. One that is far more beautiful and perfect than the one I went in with. A picture of a family made up of many colors from many places sharing many things in a 4 bedroom house with a family that loves them (and maybe a few more used, comfortable couches one day) We look forward to the day when our house is filled with all that God has promised us and will bless us with. We may be uncomfortable in this journey, we may not have as much room as we want, or as much money as we want, or enough time to myself as I want! But I'm ready to be uncomfortable, ready to be stretched for the sake of these children. Because another question was posed...what if we don't? What if we don't step outside our comfort zone and take in these children or visit these children or give to support these children?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let the gathering begin...

So here we are...roughly a week out from when courts are "scheduled" to open back up. I will say that I remember last year that courts did not open the week they planned to open so I'm not holding my breath and am trying to prepare and guard my heart in case that is the case this year. However, courts should be opening soon!! So in preparation of our first trip over to see our girl we have begun preparing to travel. I have gone to get 3 out of our 5 recommended travel vaccinations. I was only going to get 3 thinking that we were going to be staying in Addis. However we are now hoping we have the chance to travel 2 hours outside of the capital city to see our sponsor child through Children's Hopechest at Trees of Glory care point. We would love to get outside the city and see the country side and be able to hug our little boy that we sponsor in person and pray with him. So that means a few more vaccinations just to be on the safe side. If you are thinking about or could be persuaded to let go of $34 a month to help feed, clothe, and provide school for a precious child of God in Ethiopia then I would encourage you to go here or visit this blog here! We can't wait to hug on and play with some very lovely little kiddos.

One other part of preparing to travel will hopefully involve your help! We are hoping to fill as many suitcases as we can manage with donations for the various places we will be visiting in Ethiopia. This will largely include our agency's transition homes where they care for the children they have brought in from surrounding orphanages to match with their forever families. We also hope to travel to the Trees of Glory care point to meet our little boy and the other 85 children that meet here for food, clothing, basic needs, and schooling. We would love to gather little trinkets (matchbox cars, pencils, stickers, chap stick, neosporin, bars of soap, etc.) to fill bags to take when we go visit. There is a long list of donations needed so in hopes of making a bigger impact we were thinking we would highlight 5-8 things off of the list and concentrate on those needs when we travel. Those would be...

1. boys/girls underwear sizes 2T-8 years.
2. neosporin
3. A+D diaper rash ointment
4. Children's Benadryl and Infant/Children's Tylenol
5. Children's vitamins (Tri-vi-sol, Poly-vi-sol, chewable multi-vitamins ages 2-9)
6. non scented wipes
7. scrubs (women's sizes 6-10)
8. Baby bouncer seats, 2 bumbo seats, baby activity seats (we're hoping to take one or two of each hoping to find the slimmest ones in boxes packed up)

We'll also be throwing in baby toys (not cotton as it is hard to keep clean) that will fill in "blank" spots in our bags for the baby room.

We'd love your help in gathering these items. Also, if you'd like to help but live out of town you can make a monetary donation through our "donation" paypal link or mail us a check with "supply donation" and we'll use it to help buy needed supplies!

I have to say this is my favorite part...that we get to show up with all of these supplies!! What a blessing we get to be! Thank you abundantly in advance for helping fill our suitcases!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Talk about a giveaway!

This family is holding the "mother" of all fundraising giveaways! Check it out...and if you win I'd love to steal the Ethiopian flag blanket from you for steering you their way! And maybe a t-shirt or 2...or maybe the snack bags! I love me some good snack bags!! So let's just say I want to win it all...feel free to enter your name as "Autumn Chambers" or something like that...


Monday, September 13, 2010

Your joy is mine...

Yearn

by shane barnard


holy design
this place in time
that i might seek and find my God
my God

Lord i want to yearn for You
i want to burn with passion
over You and only You
Lord i want to yearn

Your joy is mine
yet why am i fine
with all my singing and bringing grain
in light of Him

oh You give life and breath
through Him You give all things
in Him we live and move
that's why i sing

acts 17:25-28, hebrews 12:28-29

Shane and Shane have been playing on repeat around here lately and one of their songs that I adore getting lost in and worshiping with is Yearn (lyrics above). One of the lines from the song that just captures my heart is "Your joy is mine..." OH how I love that line...hear it and just sit in it. I know so often my joy is dependent on so many OTHER things or rather my lack of joy. But if we truly believe that HE gives life and breath and that through HIM He gives ALL things then what can possibly steal our joy?

I know courts are about to open again and with that comes anxiousness across the board for those waiting on a court date to be scheduled. I have sat here and gone through past trends and recent information and worried and played with dates in my head over and over and then I hear God tell me to rest...just rest. Let it go and give it to Him. He knows the exact dates we will get to see our child and the exact day that we will get to bring her home and if it's not how we planned, if it's sooner or later or MUCH later than we planned, then it is still His PERFECT timing. She is loved...by us, her nannies, our extended family, but more importantly by God and that is enough. So, I will rest and choose peace and will find my joy in Him...even in the waiting. We love...because He first loved us.

Love to you all...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

REFERRAL!!!!!! It's a....

We received our referral call THIS afternoon!!! I still can't believe we got the call!! We chose to accept the referral of a BEAUTIFUL 2 1/2 month old BABY GIRL!!!!! Yes, a girl!!!!! Still can't believe that part either!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were also told that she has a slight heart murmur...she will have an echocardiogram in the next few months. Apparently they are harder in Ethiopia to have done (as you can imagine) and we had the choice to accept the referral, wait on more information, or decline the referral and wait for another one. We've known all along that God was in total TOTAL control of this adoption and we surrender COMPLETELY to his will and sovereignty!! We didn't hesitate at all to accept this referral. We have an international adoption clinic here at Texas Children's Hospital and we know we will be well prepared for anything or any circumstance that comes our way. Courts are closed now and will not reopen until October so we have time to visit with specialists and are confident we will have a "plan of attack" ready to go when she gets home! So we are confident in God's divine wisdom in placing this beauty in our care! WE LOVE HER already and the boys are thrilled with the news of a new sister!! I however am still in total shock and awe!!! GOD IS GOOD...ALL THE TIME!!!

We cannot share pictures of her until she is legally ours after we pass court in Ethiopia but I will tell you that she has the most beautiful light brown skin, chubby little cheeks, beautiful almond brown eyes, and the cutest pink little tongue sticking out in her pictures we received!!

We share this news because we know prayer works and we are asking that you would help us cover her in prayer. We are praying for God's protection over her; for God's ultimate healing of her precious, redeemed heart; for wisdom for the doctors she will visit while in Ethiopia; for peace for her as she waits on her forever parents to get there; for wisdom, peace, and patience, and blessing for her fantastic caregivers in the transition home in Ethiopia. We pray for patience for us as we wait for courts to open and we ask for prayers over our boys as their little hearts prepare to be stretched to make room for their sister and become a family of 5. We will continue to update you on our prayer requests and ask that you remember to pray for other families in the process with us. I will update as I hear news and I will be posting more about donations we would love to be able to take with us when we travel this fall!

Love to you all,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On deck!!!

We finally got the "on deck" e-mail from our agency today!!! This e-mail basically sums up how the referral process goes and says that you should be expecting your referral in the next 1-3 months. Yes, that is what it said...1-3 months. But from other adoptive families experience I knew it was going to say that as everyones' "on deck" e-mail says that, that I know of. I have seen several families get this e-mail and then wait more than 4 or 5 months to receive their referral. And we have also seen families receive this e-mail and get a referral within the same week! We of course hope we are in the latter group but we know God already knows the day we will find out who He has chosen for us and we rest in that today. Not to say that I still don't jump every time the phone rings! We're so excited that our year long journey has finally gotten us to this point! Hard to believe! Hope to have more news soon!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting oh so close!!

Yay for another referral today!! And this time it was for a boy (a tiny 5 week old boy!!) so that makes us unofficially now #1 for both a boy and a girl!! We're so ANXIOUS to know what this child will be!!! We're glued to the phone and the internet to stay updated!! Can't believe all the movement! Please, please join us in praying for our child and our referral call as well as others who are in Ethiopia going to court dates and those that are waiting on Embassy clearance to bring their children home. We so appreciate it!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Just a quick update!

Yesterday we learned that there were two more referrals for people on the list in front of us which made THREE referrals this week alone! We are now NUMBER 1 for a girl and #2 for a boy!!! Again, this list is unofficial so their might be some families in front of us that didn't ever join the Yahoo Group and introduce themselves or become a part of our fantastic online community. Also, it could possibly still be months before we hear anything. BUT WE'RE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST!!! It could be next week!!!!!! We're absolutely giddy with excitement about getting our phone call and finding out if our next child will be a boy or a girl. We really will be thrilled either way! We just can't believe it's possibly so close for us! Court closures are right around the corner (August 6th-Sept. 27th) so getting a referral now would mean lots of waiting as we would have to wait for court to reopen before we could even be submitted for a court date but that is okay! We're learning a great deal about enduring patiently! We would love your prayers over this next phase! I'll keep you updated!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

4 months and giving up apples and bananas!




So the big 4 months of waiting milestone has come and gone (for those keeping track it was on the 18th). We haven't had phone or internet this week so this post is late, late, late! However, I have been writing it in my head over and over! I like to do that throughout the day...write posts in my head. Of course they always come out better in my head and when they're flowing out inevitably I am never by a computer to get them down as hardcopy but that is ok. Does anyone live their life that way? Always composing in your brain? Surely. No matter. Moving on. So FOUR whole months of waiting. Doesn't sound all that very long does it? Guess that is a matter of perspective...for us 4 months of waiting on a child who we have never seen a picture of or don't know anything about is not that long of a wait. The hardest part is knowing what that child might possibly be going through as I go to sleep in my large, comfortable bed tonight. When we think about what that small child will endure in these next few months before we know them and cannot physically do anything about then the 4 months seems like an eternity. However, what we rest in is knowing that our God is in control and is surrounding our child with angels as He prepares us for that child and brings our child home to us. We serve a BIG God who does not lose control in the circumstances or is unprepared for this fight this child will endure. We find peace in our God and in knowing that we can pray for this child and that prayer is indeed ENOUGH at this time. I will say that in 4 months of time we have gone from #17 in line for a boy and #10 in line for a girl on the unofficial list that a group from our agency keeps to NUMBER 3 for both a boy and a girl! I LOVE THAT! God is so in control of our journey and I just laugh at His sense of humor. So many people would assume (as we did) that requesting either gender would guarantee us a boy (which is wonderfully perfect for us mind you) as the wait time for a boy is half the wait time for a girl. I have loved watching as we move up on both lists at just the right times to keep us guessing! Guess it's the closest we will come to being "surprised" by the gender of a baby of ours! And I love the freedom we have found in giving God total control!

Which brings me to the title...giving up apples and bananas! I have been thoroughly enjoying Beth Moore's bible study When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. But my absolute FAVORITE nugget of truth that I have heard and have held on to recently is a message on understanding that God wants to be the THRILL of our lives!! I have grown up in the church as my parents did and their parents did and so on. I have sat through many messages, attended youth camps, read my bible, etc. But for 32 years I have missed this truth somehow! I have focused so much on the sacrifices of living for God and the things that I CANNOT do as a follower of Christ that I have MISSED what I CAN do!! Beth Moore points out that God wants to THRILL us and be the adventure of our lives!! She makes the illustration that all our lives we have been given apples and bananas spiritually and that God says that He didn't only feed us apples and bananas...He wants to give us kiwis and mangoes and papayas and pineapples!! There is PASSION where God is and the work He is doing! There are RIVERS of delight! Our God is limitless...get that?? LIMITLESS!!! I so know I don't live like I know that truth...I LIMIT God to what I know as my reality but scripture says otherwise! OH MY how I loved hearing that and feeling that. I get to find JOY in my faith and in my wait and in my struggles but not only in the those hard things! There is JOY now in the sunrise and the cool breeze and the laughter of my boys and the embrace of my husband. JOY from the Lord and I am thankful!! Thankful for this adventure that we've been called to and THANKFUL that the adventure does NOT END here! I love walking this road to grow our family through adoption but I have faith that God is not done with us after this adventure ends...this is just the beginning if we'll be listen and obey. And I don't know about you but I want kiwis and mangoes and papayas and I will be making sure my kids know this truth also!

As always we so appreciate your prayers as we move along this road to our child. We pray for patience and contentment with God's perfect timing. We pray over the child He has chosen for our family and for the transition to a family of 5. We pray for peace for the transition for our young boys as we prepare to make two long trips to Africa and bring our child home. And we thank you for praying along with us.

Because of HIM...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

3 months down and a lifetime to go...




We have officially been DTE for 3 months now. We can't believe how fast time can pass most days. The boys and I spent the last week working at our church's vacation bible school. Josh and I are volunteering in the nursery twice a month and I volunteered to help with VBS if needed in the nursery and I was quickly taken up on my offer! I have to say it was a long week working with 8 14-16 month olds! However, the boys (who are not quite old enough to be in the "real" VBS program) had a great week doing crafts, singing songs, and learning about Jesus. I am impressed with the volunteers that worked with their age groups and the material (and craft projects!!) that they completed in a week!

Summer is moving right along and we're hoping to be getting closer and closer to getting a referral of the child God has planned for us in the next couple of months. However, there is a new rule involving having a birth certificate from the child's region before getting a court date scheduled. Through our paper chase stage I found it difficult at times to get all of our birth certificates here in the United States and we have a dedicated office for that! I can't imagine trying to get this official piece of paper from a "region" in a third world country and all the logistics that need to fall into place to make this new rule happen. So, as you can imagine with me, there has been quite a slow down in the process in the last month. The new rule for making an appearance in court just went into effect so we figured things would slow a bit to allow some time for the learning curve that would accompany this new process. So it's back to "hurry up and wait!" Again, we know that God is the author of this journey and our child will not spend ONE MORE DAY in Ethiopia than God has allowed. However, we are getting REALLY excited that we're getting closer to actually seeing a picture of our child!!

On another note, I can't begin to tell you or share with you all that God is teaching us through this process. But I can share bits and pieces which is why I love this blog! I am always amazed at how "blind" we can be to things that are written plain as day in our Bibles and I know there are scriptures alluding to this. How I love when we begin to "see clearly" as God allows our hearts to truly grasp what He is passionate about and the Holy Spirit begins revealing the truth to us. I was talking with someone the other day about passions and what we would say if someone asked us what we were passionate about. What would you tell someone you are passionate about? I wonder if it would line up with something the Bible says God is passionate about. Would it be your job? Your hobbies? Traveling? 147 Million orphans? The poor? The neglected? Children being sex trafficked? Would others know your passion? Would how you spend your time, your resources, your talents, your money point to your passion? These questions have been on my heart and I'm hoping to spend more time on my knees learning how Christ wants me to answer these questions. I'll also be praying that you'll know how He wants you to answer these questions. I'll also challenge you to read the book Radical by David Platt. The whole message is about taking back your faith from the American dream. I'm hoping it will change your life in a big way as it has changed mine. I'd love for you to take 2 minutes to watch the video below. As always we truly appreciate your prayers over our adoption and those walking this adoption journey along with us.





Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dos!





So, 2 months in! And what a great month it has been on the adoption front! There has been tremendous movement this month. Lots of families bringing children home, lots of court dates being assigned to families with referrals, and LOTS of referrals recently! So, so exciting! We have moved from about #16 in line for an infant to #7 in these 2 months. Now, this list is completely unofficial in that it is comprised of AWAA families that choose to be a part of the Yahoo Group where this list is compiled. There are always "mystery" families that may be in line ahead of us that are not a part of this fabulous wealth of resources group! And that is ok! We're still doing really okay with the waiting and I'm sure that is because we're so new to it. I know the wait only gets harder...the wait to hold them after we see their face, the wait to bring them home after we meet them and leave them Ethiopia, the waiting as our family is apart during these trips. We knew this adoption process would involve waiting...hard waiting. But we're in love with a BIG GOD who supplies peace beyond understanding and we are beyond grateful that we are privileged enough to draw from that peace. And through this journey that is what we've learned most...how amazing our God is and how amazing it is that He allows us to be a part of His plan and all the while He LOVES us...REALLY LOVES US! How amazing it is that our adoption gives us a glimpse of our vertical adoption through Christ. And how do you begin to explain all that to those that are casual or cavalier about our intent to adopt? I guess the same way God does day in and day out with me...with grace and mercy and kindness and gentleness. He knows I don't "get it" like I should but He still shows patience and mercy and grace daily...even when I don't want or deserve it! We will be praying fervently for the families on this adoption journey with us and we'd love and fully appreciate you joining us in praying as well. Here's to month 3!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One month DTE!


We have officially been on the waiting list now for one whole month! I have to say it will probably be the easiest month we spend waiting. We know we have at least 3 months before they say we might have a referral but with the slow down that occurred when the Ethiopian government and courts changed their court requirements to parents being required to make a court appearance we have a feeling that it will be at least 5-7 months but we don't really know. So what have we done while we've been waiting? We had a 2 year old birthday party for our little Wyatt, a visit from the Austin Cragers (my brother and his family), let Pop host Oliver in his backyard for O's first camping experience, and helped with a garage sale this weekend (thanks Garretts and Jones for letting us join in). We've definitely stayed busy...guess that isn't too hard with two boys under 4 years old. I have a feeling this next month will go by just as fast which is a great thing in the adoption world. Hopefully I'll post more this next month. Also, a HUGE thank you to those of you that have supported our adoption costs by purchasing a t-shirt. Your support means more to us than you know...more than a thank you can convey. You are a huge part of our child's story. Thank you again. And we still have more t-shirts to sell for those of you still wanting to help! Here's to month 2!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Love it...

Found this on a fellow adoptive family blog. What a blessing it is to learn from other adoptive families sharing their hearts. Great quote.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him." --Derek Loux