Sunday, September 28, 2008

Time and Timing

In light of the great waiting game we have ahead of us, I am often reminded of this quote that I heard Beth Moore share a few years ago:

Timing is more important to God than time.

(Beth credited a pastor by the name of Adrian Rogers as the original author of the quote.)

Dustin and I waited a very long time to make the decision to adopt and I often wondered why the delay.  We obviously felt God's calling to reach out in some way and really felt the stirring of adoption for our family, and yet doors were not opening in a way to allow us to step forward.  We attended two different adoption seminars and still nothing, no clear "GO" signal.  I was confused.  Why would God put something on our hearts and not make the way seem clear.  Did we go ahead with this life changing event just trusting God would work out the details?  And yet as anxious as I was (Dustin was a little more hesitant at times.) to get started, we did not have that inside peacefulness that said to our hearts, "It is time."

So we waited. 

A year went by.  

We waited some more.  We contacted friends and family who had been adopted or knew someone adopted.  

We waited some more.  I worried that if we did not move on this calling that God would see it as a lack of faith on our part.  We asked a dear friend who has done great humanitarian work in the Kibera Slums of Kenya what he thought of adopting from Africa and was it the right thing to do?  Was it o.k. to remove a child from everything that is familiar, albeit utter poverty, and relocate them to our home in a rural setting with little diversity?  His response helped, "If God has put this on your hearts, I doubt He will let you sleep until you do it."

Another year went by.

We mulled it over in our hearts and minds for so long, that the topic was fairly common place around our house.  We knew that we wanted to adopt an older child because they are less likely to be placed in comparison to infants and toddlers.  We knew that we didn't want to wait too long because it was important for Madison and Sage to be close to their new brother or sister.  We wanted them to have plenty of years growing up together rather than Madison or Sage heading off to college having only spent a short time really connecting with their newest sibling.  I think a few factors came together at just the right time to give us a push forward, as if God said, "O.K.  Now it is time."  We believe God's timing was and is perfect.

So, now we wait some more.  We have one final step to complete our dossier, then it will be authenticated at the state and federal levels.  At that time we will officially be placed on the waiting list to receive a referral for the next member of our family.  Will we adopt a son or daughter? Or both?  How old will he or she be?  What circumstances in their little life caused them to become an orphan?  What heartaches will they carry with them to this new country?  What joys will they experience in the newness of everything?  What will the depth of their loss be when they leave everything that they have ever known to live with a family that they really don't know?  How much will this new way of life affect Madison and Sage?  Will any or all of them have a bad day and wish we hadn't done this?  Will a son or daughter wish they could go back to Ethiopia?  Will Madison or Sage wish they could go back to the way things were?  How long will it take to really feel like family?  How long will it take to recover from a 30+ hour plane ride with three (or four) kids?!  I guess these answers will come only after waiting.

We have many people ask how long until the adoption is finished.  We are guessing (and I do mean guessing!) that we will be placed on the wait list sometime around Christmas.  Most families are on the waiting list for 3 to 5 months.  Once we accept a referral for a son or daughter, then a person goes before the Ethiopian courts on our behalf in order for the courts to approve the adoption.  This process can take another three months.  Once our case is approved in the Ethiopian courts, then we will travel approximately three weeks later.  Adoptive blog friends, did I get all of that right?  (I might be wrong... wouldn't be the first!)

While we would love to travel next summer, we are trying very hard to keep an open mind so that we do not have unrealistic expectations.

So we wait. And we pray.

Thank you, God, for this time of waiting.  Some days will be difficult, we know, but thank you for these last few months with Madison and Sage as a family of four.  Help us make the most out of this time and place a peace in a little person's heart in Ethiopia tonight.  Help him or her to know that they will be a part of a family again.  We trust you, knowing that you are working your perfect timing into this situation.  We pray that it is you who is glorified and praised in the midst of our planning and preparation.  Please don't let us ever forget that we, too, are orphans given a place in your family because of Jesus' amazing act of love and grace on a nasty, ugly cross.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gladney Swim Party

We attended a Gladney Family Association swim party this weekend.  Madison and Sage had a ball and loved the heated pool.  This weather has been heavenly!  I cannot remember when we have enjoyed so many beautiful days for this length of time.   Is there anything nicer than warm sunshine on your face accompanied by a light, cool breeze?!  It was a perfectly delightful fall afternoon!  (Hmmm.  I must be getting old....I thought only "old" people discussed the weather!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday's Quote

"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."

-Mark Twain

Some days as mom and wife get the best of me. I got a kick out of this quote when I turned my flip calendar over this morning. Have a blessed day!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Injera and Congratulations!

Beef, chicken, lamb, salad, green beans, chick peas, lentils and potatoes!


My sister, brother-in-law, niece and I went to the Queen of Sheba Restaurant again last night.  It was fun and we all enjoyed the family style sampler meal.  My sweet sister is quite the cook and is now anxious to try her hand at making injera.  Anyone have any suggestions or success stories?  I hear it is quite a process to make.  Because you use pieces of the injera to scoop up your food it is a utensil, bread and plate all at the same time.  You might notice the large piece of injera under the food on the sampler tray.

Congratulations to Grace on meeting her sweet Anna for the first time!  Read about her first day in Ethiopia here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We received an email this afternoon that we are officially approved by our adoption agency. Completing our dossier is next on the list. We are actually waiting on just a few documents and CIS approval to finish up the dossier requirements. One step closer to Ethiopia.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pre-Teen Giggles

Madison is going to kill me... the girls were goofing around on the computer tonight and I couldn't resist posting this "self portrait" of her and her sweet friend "B".  They crack me up!  The only reason Sage didn't get in on the picture is because he and Dad were playing baseball on the wii.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Blog Design

I am so excited about the new look on our blog.  Nikki (a different Nikki) designed it for us.  The money she charges for blog designs helps her go on mission trips.  She is currently saving for a two week trip to Ethiopia in February 2009 and a later trip to the Dominican Republic.  On top of that, she donates $5 of her fee for a charity.  Currently her charity for the month of September is Ethiopia Reads.  I think it is a great combination...our blog looks great and she gets to travel to serve others!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dinner at the Queen of Sheba Restaurant

Several families gather twice a month at the Queen of Sheba Restaurant.  Sage has asked for a few months, "Is it the right Tuesday for dinner at the Ethiopian restaurant?!"  So, tonight was a night that families usually get together.  As we were pulling into the parking lot, Dustin told the kids not to make a scene if the restaurant smells unusual or if they don't like the food.  We really didn't know what to expect.  It was wonderful!  Madison wasn't crazy about the injera, which is a crepe like bread with a sour dough flavor that Ethiopians use to scoop up their food.  Sage was in heaven... it was actually acceptable to use his fingers!  We ordered a sampler plate served family style.  We tried chicken, beef, lamb, chick peas, green beans, potatoes and lentils.  Each of these dishes are eaten with the injera.  Sage really liked the lamb.  The spices were yummy and seemed so exotic in comparison to regular American food.

We did not recognize anyone at the restaurant and asked our server if she knew the Bottomlys or any of the other families that usually get together.  She pointed to a table of three people and said that she knew one of the women.  I introduced myself and they asked us to join them.   It was wonderful meeting Shala and her friends, Mark and Dawn.  Dustin and I enjoyed sharing stories and hearing how God is working in each of their lives.  Isn't it cool when total strangers come together with the common thread of Jesus and you can visit and enjoy one another's company?  Thank you Lord for new friends.

"May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all.  Then we'll be a choir - not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!"  Romans 15:5-6 (MSG) 


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gladney Gathering

After school and work we made a quick trip into the city to attend a kind of meet and greet with Gladney families.  It was a lot of fun and Madison and Sage enjoyed meeting some new kids.  Madison was especially glad to meet Malak!  We had read tons of great stuff about The Gladney Center for Adoption when we were in the decision stage and felt good about choosing them as our adoption agency.  But meeting actual Gladney families and hearing their stories really added a boost to our already confident decision.  One mom was telling us how much she loved Gladney because their philosophy is "family for life" and they are available for any circumstance throughout an adopted person's life.

I am terrible with names, but met one man who introduced himself as a Gladney kid.  I didn't quite get it at first, but what he was saying is that he was adopted through Gladney when he was just a toddler and he is now 34 years old.  We met beautiful children from Russia, China, the US and Ethiopia tonight.  Go Gladney!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy 81st Birthday Boppa!

Niece, me, Boppa, Sister, Cousin and her Daughter

Happy September!  Where in the world did August go?  

We celebrated my Boppa's 81st birthday on Friday.  I am the oldest grand kid on my mom's side of the family and had the special first privilege of mispronouncing names as a toddler.  Somehow grandpa or papa wound up as Boppa and he's carried the name proudly ever since.  As a 30-something I still introduce my grandpa to everyone as Boppa.

My cousin was home from Virginia along with my sister and me.  We took Boppa to lunch while Nana was gone for the afternoon working as a docent at a local historical home.  A special note about Boppa is that he is recovering from a quadruple bypass surgery he had on 7/29/08.  Doesn't he look amazing?!

Nana, Boppa, Niece, Mom, Sister

Later that same evening my sister and I made dinner for my grandparents and my mom.  It was nice and the evening ended way too soon and it was time to head home.  On my way out of town I stopped and got gas and this thing was in the parking lot:

It is called a tornado intercept vehicle.  Ugh!  Just what I wanted to see when I was preparing to get on the highway for an hour's drive home.