Monday, January 26, 2009

We Pray to the Same God

Long Post Warning!

I have a to-do list a mile long, school is canceled tomorrow because of today's ice storm, the dog needs to be fed, but all I really want to do is put into writing what happened this morning.

For a little background: When we started the adoption process last June we saw a little boy on Gladney's Bright Futures page. Even though Gladney is changing some things about older child adoptions, previously they posted several pictures of older Ethiopian children on their site. During one of initial phone calls with Gladney, we were even given a little bit of this boy's information. He was/is a doll! The funny thing was, I was not drawn to him like I expected to be. I think we even pictured ourselves adopting a son, but something in my heart paused, not allowing my feelings to grow for this sweet thing. It really puzzled me, because this was totally out of character for me. We knew it would be several months before we were approved, so we chose to keep this little guy in mind and just see what happened.

Fast-forward to November. We were nearing wait list status and still had this eight year old boy on our minds. Not knowing if we were to pursue his adoption or not, we decided to call our caseworker and see if he was still available. If he wasn't, then that would answer our question. I sent Mary an email inquiring on a Thursday afternoon. I got an email from her on Friday and she asked if we could visit by phone the following Tuesday. Ugh! I would have to wait a whole weekend to find our answer!

Mary called on Tuesday and I proceeded to ask her about the sweet boy. She said she had a little something different she wanted to discuss. Because older children are harder to place she had an unusual circumstance. She continued by saying that three siblings were available and would we be interested? I was stunned. My immediate, down deep reaction was, "Yes!" But of course, I had to call Dustin. I thought I knew what his response would be, but I certainly had to ask him first. She was only able to share the gender and ages and other than that we would have to wait the normal time frame to be offered an official referral. Our homestudy only approved us for one or two children, so we would have to re-do some of our paperwork if we wanted to pursue the three siblings. If we were not interested in adopting three children, then we could continue as planned.

Dustin's immediate "yes" response confirmed what I felt in my heart. Our paperwork was updated for three children and then we had to just wait. We were officially on the waitlist on January 7th. On January 21st, Dustin and I were getting in bed and were talking how long we thought the wait would be before we could find out more information about the siblings. I told Dustin I would give it until the middle of March before I would start "harassing" Mary for information!

To our total surprise, Mary called the next day with the referral and we finally got to see three beautiful faces, Y, M and H. We knew immediately that these were the children God had planned for us. I realized why I had the pause in my heart for the 8 year old boy. While I pray a family scoops him up, I knew the siblings were the reason God had not allowed my heart to fall for him.

Our last post announced our referral and we have been overwhelmed by comments on the blog, on facebook, by email and phone calls. The adoption blog community is truly amazing! One of the first comments came from coffeemom. She thought she may have met the twins when she was in Ethiopia last May adopting her sweet Gabriel. I sent her our referral picture to see if she recognized them. Yep, she had fallen for the twins and shared several photos with us! What a blessing. And since I hate filing through a mass of photos, I thought she was such an angel to offer to do this for us. Coffeemom sent the pictures in a few separate emails, but it looked as if I didn't receive all that she sent. I was happy nonetheless and didn't dare want to be presumptuous and ask, "Was that all?" So I didn't. At least not for two days.

Then I got to thinking. If these are some of the only pictures we will have of the kids before they are adopted, it is o.k. to ask. And coffeemom, being an adoptive mother herself, will surely understand. So I sent an email last night asking if she had originally sent more than the four emails I received last week.

I opened my email this morning, and sure enough, there were three more emails with pictures that she sent, but for some reason didn't get to me. And one of those emails included coffeemom writing about meeting Y, M and H and how she fell for the kids (not realizing they were siblings) and especially fond of Y. In fact, coffeemom was so taken with Y that she inquired about her last June (the same month we started the adoption process) to she if she was available. When she found out that Y had two siblings, coffeemom said she was heartbroken that they could not adopt three more kids. She began praying for the kids, wondering if anyone would ever adopt three older siblings.

Looking back, I believe God was orchestrating details and events that would bring Y, M and H to our family. There was a reason why I didn't become emotionally attached to the first little boy last June. God was preparing our hearts for these sibilings. Coffeemom was praying for them. We were praying for our children that we didn't know yet. We were praying for God to show us if we were to adopt a little boy, or did He have other plans for us? Had I hesitated to ask for the remaining pictures from coffeemom, I don't think I would have ever known this part of the story. And coffeemom would have thought I received the emails and didn't comment. So glad I asked!

I expressed my surprise to someone the other day about how God showed Himself in a situation. My friend told me, "Honey, why are you so surprised? We pray to the same God!"

I was reminded of these words today when this story unfolded. We pray to the same God and He is Wonderful. I thank Him for allowing us to see glimpses of His hand in our lives and in our adoption process.

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We were shocked to receive a phone call from Mary this evening with our referral! We've been on the phone all evening with family sharing information and pictures of three beautiful children that stole our hearts with the first picture. Yes, three. Two sweet twin girls who recently turned seven and their four year old little brother.

Dustin and I have said many times that had we started this journey thinking we would adopt three children, we never would have had the nerve to start. God has given all of this to us in baby steps and we feel His love and care in matching these three children with our family. We are humbled at the thought of becoming their parents.

They have the sweetest smiles and our little guy has big, beautiful brown eyes. They are precious. Simply precious.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Love of a Sister

Came across this on another blog this evening, and as heart breaking as it is, I wanted to post it here also:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

...To Love Them

A quick post about dinner last night at the Queen of Sheba Restaurant.  We had such a great time (so fun that I forgot to take any pictures!)  Adoptive families gathered to welcome home sweet Eli.  He is such a beautiful baby.  There were tons of families that came, many that I only know of through blogs, so it was great to actually meet moms, dads and kids.  The restaurant was so busy that extra help was called in to serve tables.  A young man (H.)  and his wife helped as waiters.  H. easily engaged us in conversation and asked about our family.  We learned that he was adopted from Ethiopia when he was 14.  When we told him we were adopting, we asked if there was one thing he could share with us as an adoptee that would help our kids.  He praised his mom for driving hours to the nearest Ethiopian restaurant, in addition to other things, to help him and his brothers stay connected with their heritage while they were growing up.  He said keeping their culture alive was very important.  The second thing he said was, "To love them."  He assured us that the adoption process and transition is not easy, parents make mistakes, but adoption is good and God is faithful.  H. said that when he tells people he is from Africa, the first things that usually come to a person's mind is desert and starving kids.  He said while there are deserts and there are starving children, there is still so much more to his beautiful country.  He gave Dustin and me good things to think about and discuss as we prepare for the future. (I would love to share more of H.'s story, but I didn't ask his permission and don't want to assume that it is o.k.  He and his wife were absolutely delightful and shined the love of God with genuineness and beautiful transparency.)

Delicious food, wonderful company and lots of new friends.  Thank you God!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We're on the Wait List!

We were very excited to get the email today from Mary telling us we are officially on the wait list.  Woo Hoo!  The kids squealed when they read the title of Mary's email.  Sage ran out the door to tell Dustin.

We are approved for up to three children and have requested either gender between the ages of 4 and 8.  Sage is nine and it is recommended that we stay in birth order AND we so do not want to do diapers again.  Don't get me wrong, we LOVED the toddler stage... just don't want to do it again.  

Thank you, God, for patience during the paper chase and especially for the patience needed during the coming months...

Merry Ethiopian Christmas

Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa. It still follows the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. It is a day when families attend church.

After returning home from NM, we had a wonderful Christmas celebration with Dustin's family.  Dustin's sister and brother-in-law have four children, and our kids have a ball when they all get together.  Can't imagine what it might be like next year!

Dustin's Mom and Dad

Dustin's Sister and Her Family

Papa and Mema with their Six Grandchildren

My mother-in-law is a great cook and always makes a special Christmas dinner followed by a delicious dessert or two.  This year was chocolate tarts and homemade cream puffs with a raspberry cream filling.  Yum!