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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

laminin

Do you know what laminin is? I had never heard the word until this morning. We found out last night that our police clearance paper for our dossier had an expired notary. No one caught it until last night, just when it was ready to make a trip to D.C. I went to the police station first thing this morning to get a new one. Apparently the chief of police is no longer there and the interim would be in "meetings" all day! Bummer.

My mom called as I was driving home, and told me that I had to watch this video. It reduced me to serious tears.

Oh Lord, forgive me for questioning for one moment who is in control. Please watch this video, you will be blessed. I am humbled and so thankful that the God of the Universe holds all things together in His hand- even police clearance letters!




P.S- A little while after my pity party and then getting a proper perspective, I got a call that our new police clearance was ready to pick up. I LOVE living in a small town (surrounded by a big city)!! I sent it off. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

boo


Two of my blog buddies didn't make it through court, AGAIN.

Stop by to tell them you will pray their court dates are successful on Friday.  Two very precious boys are waiting in Ethiopia for their mommy and daddy to come get them!

Eric and Tara, and Steve and Pam, we are praying for you!

Friday, April 25, 2008

it is done!!!


Woohoo!! I just heard from my social worker and the home study is complete, finished, D.O.N.E!! I am either driving to pick it up tonight or first thing in the morning. I am super excited and ready for it to be out of my hands.

One more step closer to getting my babies.

Have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

waiting for you

"Rest in the stillness of my Presence while I prepare for you this day.......Be still and know that I am God......I am always with you, so you have no reason to be afraid.....your fear often manifests itself in excessive planning" These are all words that greeted me this a.m in JC. I am honestly having a hard time being patient today.

ALL of our papers have been redone and have been sitting on my counter, ready to be overnighted back to the agency since Tuesday morning, but we don't have our updated home study.....so we wait!!! I'm getting impatient with all the waiting. I love our sw, I just am ready for all of our dossier to be back in Ethiopia so we can get in line for a court date.

Daily He is giving me opportunities to trust Him for all things. Today is no different.

Just because I like Seal and he is singing about waiting!! :)


Monday, April 21, 2008

coffee



Did you know historians believe that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee? The word coffee is derived from Kaffa, Ethiopia where the first coffee trees originated. According to Ethiopian legend, a goat herder noticed that his herd were frisky after consuming the beans. He tried them and liked them and noticed that they helped him stay alert while tending his goats. Word traveled among spice traders and soon coffee became popular in the Middle East and Europe. It isn't known for sure who first tried the beans as a drink, but many believe it to have been an Ethiopian.

By the 6th century Ethiopians were growing coffee. It soon became Ethiopia's most important crop and still is today.

Do you love a good cup of coffee? Are you like me and your day hasn't officially started until you get some joe flowing through your veins? If so, try the coffee from Gobena. The couple that started Gobena adopted a beautiful baby girl from Ethiopia and 100% of the profits benefit orphans through various charity programs.

Click here find out more and purchase some for yourself. You will not be disappointed, it is good stuff!!! :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

manna


"And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Gather of it, each of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you have in your tent.' " And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little, had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, "Let no one leave any over till morning." But they did not listen to Moses. Some left parts of it till morning, and it bred worms and stank. Moses grew angry with them. Morning by morning, they gathered as much as they could eat."  Exodus 16:14-21

Just as the Israelites couldn't store up manna for the future, but had to gather it daily, so it is with my peace.  I read this in my devo this a.m and it occured to me how often I want to see the big picture, the complete picture.  The Lord faithfully gives me exactly what I need, moment by moment.  Yesterday I read, "if I pulled back the curtain to allow you to view the heavenly realms, you would understand much more.  However, I have designed you to walk by faith and not by sight."

Many days, I feel like the Israelites, "thank you for this gift, but I will take a little extra just in case you don't show up tomorrow."  

We did get more details as to what papers need to be redone.  We are waiting on one more detail about our dossier and its authentication.  Another great opportunity to trust!

This is my prayer for today, "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time in need." Hebrews 4:16


Trusting in Him for the details, for the care of my kids and for the exact date that we will finally be a family of 8!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Avery!!

Avery and Silas Bottomly. This is the day she committed to praying for a baby!!

First day of school.

Avery with her Charlie. :)

Avery and Abbi- best friends since birth

On the softball field


Tomorrow is Avery's 9th birthday!! Where does the time go? She is a delight, and a joy to parent. She has such a precious spirit and love for life. I'm just so thankful the Lord called me to be her mom! She is working on her culinary skills and we all benefit from her various creations. She can't wait to have the baby brother that she literally prayed for, here in her arms!! She wants us to get a monitor with two listening ends so that she can have one in her room!! Love her. :)

P.S- We met with our awesome social worker tonight.  It was great to see Jenna again and do the necessary updates to keep this ball rolling.  I will say the ball is at more of a slow roll right now and not the fastball that I would prefer.  It is all keeping me at the cross and trusting in Him for all the details.




Friday, April 11, 2008

doubting

I promise that I will stop posting about American Idol after this, but I want to share this last thought.

As I mentioned, I downloaded the song "Shout to the Lord" from itunes after Idol Gives Back. I know the song well from various worship cd's, etc. and I have now listened to this particular recording multiple times and the Lord has used the words to be a balm to my soul the past 24 hours.

Yesterday I saw a post on a yahoo group saying they had just received a referral and they prayed they would make it through court before it closes in August.  Wow, it hit me in the gut. For those that don't know, the Ethiopian courts close each year for a time during the rainy season.  It is too difficult for many that don't live in Addis to travel the dirt roads, so they close. The time changes each year but it is usually sometime in August-beginning of October.  (please feel free to comment if I have this off)  Bottom line: if you don't pass court before they close, you wait until they reopen, get a date and travel in the fall.  We are currently praying that we travel this summer sometime.

I stewed on that for awhile, and then was comforted by, 

"mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name"  

"nothing compares to the promise I have in you"

"my Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is NONE like you" 

"my comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength"

"I sing for joy, for the works of your hands"

"wonders of your mightly love"

"let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship you!"

Why would I stop trusting in His perfect timing now?  Why would I question whether or not our paperwork will arrive in Ethiopia at the perfect time, why would I doubt that we will travel at the perfectly appointed time?  Well, I am a sinner for starters.  I was overcome with gratitude as I listened to the words.  I was awed that He would have this song sung to millions on the most popular show in television, and that He used it to minister to me at a time when my mind was doubting. 

Thank you Lord for your provision.  Thank you for caring for B and W in Addis right now. Thank you that you are the Father to the Fatherless and you have ordained this from before the foundation of the world.  I long to be with my children, I pray that it is soon, but I am thankful that You are in control and I will rest in that today.

I would ask that you would pray on our behalf.  That we would complete the necessary paperwork, that it would get to Ethiopia quickly, that we would get a court date shortly after that and that the judges in Ethiopia would find favor on our kids and our family.  

I have several friends that need our prayers as well for successful court dates.  Please pray for Eric and Tara and The Thorne family.  Several families are traveling now too!  I can't wait to see pictures!!!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

shout to the Lord!


Maybe my expectations were too high, but I felt like the show last night wasn't as authentic as last years.  It seemed to be more like an awards show.  Honestly, I just wanted to see more video clips of Africa and less of Miley Cirus.  I am not knocking her at all, my kids are big fans, but for her to have two performances and only a few videos of how the money raised last year is working- didn't work for me.  

I still fully support the concept and certainly hope that they raise more money than last year. They are working with some great organizations here and in Africa.  I loved the Annie Lennox and Chris Daughtry clips in Africa.  Beautiful.  I long to be on African soil, to smell the smells, to touch the people- so these certainly resonated with me.  

I was totally blown away last night when Ryan Seacrest said "and to finish the night, our contestants are going to sing Shout to the Lord!"  Wow.  I have already purchased the entire version on itunes.  You should too!

What did you think?

adoption update:  We have our homestudy update on Tuesday night and will be working hard to finish up the required paperwork changes before then-- pray that it all comes together and we are able to get our dossier back to Ethiopia soon. 
Monday, April 7, 2008

idol gives back

Last year we sat as a family and watched Idol Gives Back.  We didn't know what to expect, but the Lord ended up using this show to further convince our hearts that we had two children in Africa that were ours.  Moody and I cried a big ugly cry through most of the show! We were really thankful that the folks at Fox and many other companies decided to do something so positive!


Will you please tune into this years show?  The preview from last week showed two sisters from Ethiopia so I assume that there will be more footage from Ethiopia. Encourage your friends and family to watch!!

 Wednesday - April 9th
6:30 p.m cst (notice it is starting 30 minutes earlier than normal)
Fox

If you are not convinced yet, watch this video from last years show with Carrie Underwood.  I bet you will change your mind!! :)


Friday, April 4, 2008

make gwens day



My friend Keva was gracious enough to give me this "You make my day" award! She has been such a great encouragement to me throughout this whole process.  Keva and her husband have adopted one precious boy from Russia, and they recently returned from Ethiopia with another beautiful boy.  They are in full-time ministry, have an authentic walk with Jesus and have blessed others by their faith in Christ!  Thank you.

I get to pass the award on to someone.  I have so many people that bless me on a daily basis, so it is hard to pick just one!  I am going to give this to my friend Gwen


Gwen has adopted twice from China and longs to journey to Ethiopia to bring home more of her own children.  The Lord has given her vision to create a book that will share adoption stories.

She has an illustrator already on board and many people have generously committed to be a part of the project.  Will you please consider sharing your adoption journey with her?  You can see details on her blog but all correspondence will take place via email.  Email Gwen at s.oatsvall@comcast.net to let her know that you are in!!

I know the Lord will bless this venture and use it to bring home 2 (at least) more orphans to their forever family!

Gwen, you make my day!

p.s- On a personal adoption note. Our dossier made it back from Ethiopia to the new agency yesterday. Pray that few changes will need to be made and they will be done quickly so it can travel back to Ethiopia. I appreciate your prayers greatly.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

full house, full hands, full hearts

I just read an amazing post over here and had to share it with you.  It is beautiful.  Take a minute to read it, it will bless you.

Kids and Moms (and Dads)
I have been thinking a lot about kids lately... kids who don't have moms (and dads)... kids waiting for moms, and what life is like for kids who do not have parents. I have been thinking about the transformation that occurs when a child realizes he has a mom, a dad, a family...security, love and somewhere to belong.

With some of our kids, that "realization" that they have a Mom and a family, that they have someone to belong to, someone to watch over them, someone to care for them and someone to love them, has been gradual. With some of our kids, there has been this "a ha!" moment, where you could just see that they "got it".

There was baby Maggie... almost four months old... laying on the bed in our hotel in Vietnam on our first full day together (I had been visiting her for days at the hospital before this point). Before her hospitalization she had lived in a government orphanage where the babies had their names written on their legs in black magic marker so they could be told apart, and got very very little personal attention. She didn't cry when she was hungry or when she wanted something. She was quiet and tiny, but I could tell she loved being held and loved the attention I was giving her.

I walked away from the bed where she was laying to get a bottle for her, and she made this teeny tiny pitiful (feeble attempt at a) cry, and I rushed over and picked her up and offered her the bottle. She got this look of amazement on her face with a little smile that seemed to say, "Holy cow! You mean that crying thing WORKS with you??" and after that she did not want anyone but me and always wanted me close. She got it. I was there for her. I was her mom.

With Mercy, she was nine years old. She had had a mom before, who did not value or respect her role as a mom. Mercy knew neglect and abuse and loss. Despite that, she came to us with an open heart and a surprising amount of trust. At one point during our first week, Des needed her hair washed (and Mercy had been the one to care for Des up until that point, even though she was only three years older). Mercy told Des to go into the bathroom so she could wash her hair, and I gently told Mercy that I could wash Des's hair, and reminded her that that was the kind of thing a Mom should do. The social worker had warned us that "letting go" of being the caregiver of Des might be hard for Mercy and we might have some power struggles over it... but Mercy looked at me and looked at Des and looked back at me and said, "You wash all the other little kids... You would wash Des's hair too?" and I said, "Yes". And she said, "And then what would I do?" and I said, "Well, you could go play." And she looked at Des again and then back at me, and then she got this huge smile on her face, and you could almost SEE her letting go of the responsibility of caring for her little sister. She ran over and gave me a hug, and then took off to play. She got it. I was there for her and for her sister. I was their mom.

With Solomon, that moment came when we left AHOPE for the second time together. We had spent two days together, and then we had gone back to AHOPE to visit. As we walked through the gate and the kids called out his name and came running to say hi to him, he sat in my arms with huge, silent tears running down his cheeks. He would not make eye contact with anyone (including me, the kids and the nannies) and just stared ahead with this heartbreaking acceptance of the fact that he thought he was being left. Again. It hurt me so much that he had come to accept this from life... that nice people came and went, but he did not truly belong to any of them. I couldn't imagine how his little heart felt and how he had endured all that he had already. I comforted him and held him close and told him over and over again in his ear that I would never, never, never leave him.

He started to relax a little the longer we were there and I stayed with him, but he was not his usual self. And then it happened. I put him in the sling, we waved good-bye, went back out through the gate and headed back up the road towards the hotel for some lunch. He got this HUGE grin on his face, and was bouncing up and down in the sling laughing, and then grabbing my face and kissing it over and over as we walked. He was so happy and joyful. He got it. He was not going to be left again. I was HIS. He was mine. I was his Mom.

Since then I have watched him blossom with love. I have watched him learn how to expect and look forward to being held often, comforted when he cries, rocked to sleep, having his needs met, getting individual attention and being smothered in hugs and kisses often. As I crawled into bed last night, a few hours after I had put him down to sleep, his little body turned towards me, and without waking up, he put his arm on me, snuggled in close and let out a content sigh.

All kids deserve that knowledge, that peace and that comfort. All kids deserve to know that they are loved and that they belong to someone.

I believe with all my heart that our Heavenly Father did not send us down here to go at life alone, to worry about ourselves and to focus our lives on material and trivial things. I believe with all my heart that we are meant to live in families... mothers, fathers and children together, focusing our lives on loving, enjoying and serving each other.

We have several reasons to believe that Solomon most likely spent very little (if any) time with his first mother. And yet even after multiple changes in caregivers and "homes", multiple losses and lots of suffering without a mom to comfort him, he KNEW what a Mom was for from our very first days together. His heart and soul reached out to mine and grabbed on firmly. He knew that he wanted a mom. He knew that hugs, kisses and rock-a-byes were something he wanted, deserved and needed. The other kids we met in Ethiopia knew it too. They knew that they belonged with parents. They knew that something big was missing from their lives.

My heart rejoices for my kids and others that have had their lives changed so drastically...who were once alone, and now live with love, security and family. Watching Solomon over the past few weeks has reminded me of what an incredible miracle adoption is.

And at the same time, my heart aches for the so very many kids who are living life alone right now. . Even the very best orphanage is no comparison to a home and family. It is wrong that these kids must wait and yearn for a family. They deserve, as all children do, the peace and security that comes with the knowledge of knowing that they belong to someone, that they are being cared for and that they are loved.

This is why I support adoption...because I have seen the sadness in the eyes of the children who wait for moms, I have seen the amazing transformation in children once they have been "claimed" and loved, and because I believe, with all my heart, that that love and belonging is what our lives on this Earth are supposed to be about.

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emily
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world." James 1:27
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