Friday, April 30, 2010

we have hit a snag.

Please keep us in your prayers. I can't give details right now, but we have hit a roadblock (or maybe just a bump in the road) and we need prayer. Hopefully we will be able to update you further sometime next week. Thank you!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

it's here!

Today was the day: our I-171H is here! 9 weeks of waiting and praying for this day -- now it's here and we are beyond excited!

Within 15 minutes of joyfully plucking the envelope from our mailbox, I was sitting with Jon in the office of our kind and generous friend who faithfully notarized nearly 40 documents for us. Tomorrow I will drive down to Olympia to have our dossier stamped by the Secretary of State, and then send it on to Washington DC to get authenticated by the US State Department. It will trek back across the country to our placing agency, and from there it will be FedExed to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tonight we are collating, stapling, and organizing the 200-some pieces of paper that make up our dossier and all its necessary copies, cover letters, and notary pages. (For a brief but terrifying time tonight I couldn't find the original I-171H form! After sending Jon to the office where we made copies earlier, I finally found it - I had accidentally stapled it to the back page of a letter of recommendation... Oops!) It will be hard to hand an envelope to a UPS employee tomorrow, knowing that those papers represent not only 7 months of work on our part, but more importantly they are the key to bringing home our child!

Speaking of our child... We have news! The mailman is not done with us yet. Any day now we will receive the official referral paperwork for an absolutely beautiful, sweet, and dearly loved 6 year old girl! I wish I could show you her radiant smile, share her gorgeous name (we're keeping it), and give you a few more details about our soon-to-be daughter. All in good time. For now I will just say that we are in love.

You may be wondering how we ended up with a 6 year old girl when we originally set out to adopt a baby or young toddler... Maybe I'll post the long version sometime, but the short story is simply that we followed God and this is where He led us. Although adopting an older child presents a unique set of challenges, we could not be more excited for the road before us.

And finally, to our amazing support system / prayer team, THANK YOU. This would not be happening without you. We love you, and please keep praying! We'll update more soon with specific requests for this next stage of the journey. For now, I leave you with the Ethiopian good-bye: Ciao!

Friday, April 16, 2010

confession, part 2

To confess is to admit the truth -- not just the truth about ourselves, but also the truth about God. My last post tended toward the former, so here is its counterpart: a confession of God's goodness.

God is so good! In the midst of a hard waiting stage, he has provided us with unexpected blessings and encouragement.

The blessings God has given us in this season have come mostly in the form of beautiful new friends. Over the past couple of weeks the boys and I have met and become fast friends with another adoptive family who lives just 2 miles from us in the same little neighborhood. They have 4 sweet little girls who get along great with our boys, and they are also adopting through YWAM Ethiopia. The number of things we have in common is, as Liane our social worker would say, "off the charts!" We have already made such a deep connection in sharing this journey together and we thank God for putting them in our lives at the perfect time! Looking forward to dinner plans with them this weekend so our whole families (dads included) can finally hang out.

Another amazing connection we made recently is with an Ethiopian family at our preschool. I got to know this sweet single mother of 3 girls while we both sat in the preschool hallway waiting to pick up our kids. Though she barely knew me, when she learned we were adopting from Ethiopia she immediately "adopted" us -- inviting us over for dinner, sharing Amharic words with us, offering to help us with childcare, and teaching us about Ethiopian culture. I took the boys to her home last week and we enjoyed homemade injera, and a half-dozen other delicious Ethiopian dishes whose names I've forgotten. I experienced my first traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, and she even showed me how to roast the beans myself (though I think it will be awhile until I am daring enough to try it at home!). Her 14 year-old daughter promised that if we adopt a girl, she will teach me how to do her hair -- a huge relief because I will be totally clueless. I was blown away by their hospitality and willingness to share themselves and their culture with us.

How good is our God? He knew we would need these blessings as we wait. Before we could even ask, God provided us with abundantly more than we could ever expect. That is who he is - the God who blesses, the God who provides, the God who lavishes good gifts on his beloved children.

And so I confess today: GOD IS GOOD.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I hesitate to write this today because I want to be positive and not complain, but this is not really a complaint -- it is more of a confession. And unlike complaints, confessions are healthy and good for community. I know how helpful it has been for me to read honest accounts of the struggles that others have had when they've gone before me on this road...

So for that reason, I confess that today was one of those hard days.

Oh, the hard days. All expectant families have them, whether 'paper-pregnant' or regular-old-pregnant. I remember the hardest days of my pregnancies being mostly in the late first trimester - the end of the beginning but not quite the beginning of the end. I was terribly sick, but what I hated more than the sickness was not knowing how long it would last. I remember honestly feeling like I would never feel good again, even though I knew how silly that was.

I think that must be exactly where we are in our adoption process. We are sick of the waiting, the not knowing, the empty mailbox... but what is harder than waiting and not knowing is not knowing how long the waiting and not knowing will last. I know the same things I knew when I was 18 weeks pregnant and still throwing up. This can't last forever. One of these days you will wake up and this stage will be over. You will laugh and say, Oh that wasn't so bad after all. Joy and peace and thanksgiving will overflow, erasing the memories of anxiety, and impatience, and doubt. But today, to be brutally honest, that knowledge doesn't help and that day seems a million miles away. "I believe! Help my unbelief."

This morning I read Psalm 3, and this verse stuck out to me: "I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." That's all I can do. Go to bed. Pray. Wake up. Pray. Know that the Lord sustains me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

be part of our story

When God called us to adopt from Ethiopia, one of our biggest questions was: How are we going to pay for this?? God reminded us that he is a pretty resourceful guy, and not to worry - we are in good hands. So far he has provided for us every step of the way and we know he will see us through to the end... which is really the beginning. :)

One way that God has provided for us is through the generosity of our family and friends, many of whom have pledged their financial support toward our adoption costs. We are overwhelmed by the love and support we have already received! However, a few weeks ago we learned that due to a change in Ethoipian adoption law, we will now have to double our travel costs, to the tune of about $5000. Rather than one trip to pick up our child, we are now required to travel twice - once to appear in court when the adoption is legally decided, and a second time 1-3 months later to bring our child home after their passport and visa are available.

We are humbly asking all those who are willing and able to please consider making a tax-deductible donation -- any little bit helps! To donate toward our adoption costs, you can mail a check to:

Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St
Gridley, IL 61744

Make the check out to Lifesong for Orphans and write Ballast #1232 in the memo line. Lifesong will send you a receipt for tax purposes. I am also required to give this little disclaimer:

*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s s
uggested use.

(I can assure you, however, that 100% of your donation will go directly toward our adoption costs.)

God is telling a story here. It is a story of a child coming home. It is a story of hope, a story of promises fulfilled, a story of new love and new life. Will you be part of our story? There is not one single aspect of this adoption adventure that we can accomplish on our own. We are completely dependent upon the grace of God and the loving support of our community, near and far. We love you all, and we can't do this without you! THANK YOU!

[If you do send a check to Lifesong, please shoot us an email,, so we can send a thank-you and eventually an adoption announcement.]

Thursday, April 8, 2010

enjoying the walk

The boys and I walked over to the elementary school this morning. It is Spring Break, so we had the place to ourselves and we had a great time in the windy sunshine. On the way home, I told Dexter that he and I were going to church later and he could watch a Thomas video while I finished some work I needed to do. He was excited until we walked past the street where we would have turned to go to church. "Mommy! You're going the wrong way! Church is that way!" I explained that we were going home first, where we would play for awhile and eat lunch, and then later go to church as promised. This was far from satisfactory. All the way home he whined and cried, trying many different tactics to convince me we were off-track.

"I don't want to eat and play! I want to go to church now!"

"No Mommy! Turn around!"

"You said we were going to church!"

"I don't want to go home! I am NOT going home."

It was a beautiful day - Nate and I noticed flowers blooming and new leaves unfurling as we walked along. Dexter missed it all, because he was too busy being frustrated with me. And what do you know? Despite his impatience, complaining, and accusations that I had gone back on my word, it all worked out wonderfully. We went home, we played, we ate lunch, and then... hooray! We went to church and watched Thomas!

Hmmm. I'm sure there's a lesson for me in there somewhere if I think about it hard enough... :)