Friday, February 26, 2010

A Giant Ball of Contradictions

Lately, I feel like I have had so many feelings in my heart at one time, I am just one big contradiction.  Last night, I had a night full of rough dreams and woke up feeling overwhelmed by the unknown.

Thankfully, I had the time to spend part of the morning in the Word and turning everything over to God.  Why don't I learn to just keep it all surrendered?!?!

A dear woman from Ohio penned these words.  So, thanks Larisa M. for letting me post this! Larisa and her husband adopted their son.  He is home with them now and is a TOTAL doll.   She wrote this poem, before she met him and I think it begins to describes my giant mess of emotions.
• I'm your Mom, but I've never met you.

• You're my son, but I still don't exactly know how to say your name.

• I can't wait to meet you, but it terrifies me too.

• I can say "Where are the suitcases?" in your language, but I haven't learned "I love you" yet.

• You're not even four, but you're one of the scariest people in my life.

• I've never seen you face to face, but I miss you terribly.

• I've never held you, but my arms ache for you.

• You're one of the most important people in my life, but you've probably never even thought about me. I doubt if you know what I look like yet.

• I have no idea how to be a parent, but I'm going to be asking you to commit yourself to my care.

• You're my only child, but I'm not your only Mom.

• Being your Mama is undoubtedly going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done, but probably also one of the most rewarding.

• We live on two different continents, but God has chosen us for each other, and He'll be there through everything.

Author: Larisa M.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Countdown is On!

Yup, that’s right, the countdown is winding down and there are only five more (albeit very long-feeling) days until court! Because of the difference in time, the court date will actually take place during our Sunday night.

Someone asked me, “Do you hope you pass?” Umm…Yes! We hope, hope, hope that we pass. However, we know this is all in God’s hands, not saying that failing court would be easy, but we trust that God has orchestrated this from the beginning and He isn’t going to bail on us now! We also realize that sometimes things that hurt is just as fully God answering prayer in our lives. Easy can equal worthless for me, because I depend on my own strength and not on the Lord’s.

We rejoice in God’s promises. I have been thinking of these verses from Matthew 7:7-11 lately, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Lord, we are asking! Now give us the faith to recognize you are giving us bread and fish, regardless of any court ruling!

We so bad want to know, that yes, Jada and Adia are officially “ours”.

Please continue to pray for the Birthfather as he needs to make a long trek and I can't imagine the emotions that must be playing through his mind.  Pray for his peace and comfort.  Pray for his children.  Pray for the salvation of the family. 


Two years ago today, this is what Jon and I were doing.
Yep, it is our anniversary!

I recently heard on the radio that the “honeymoon effect” is up after two years. Gasp! Horror! I tried to break the news gently to Jon. He basically said I don’t have to believe everything I hear. Whew. ;)

God has been good to us.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Mystery Made Known

One week until court!  Isn't that crazy? 

Leo Jr. and Sr. High just had the Winter Retreat and it was a blast! I have to admit, when I heard it referred to as "Snow Camp" I told Jon that sounded horrible, combining coldness with camping is NOT my idea of fun.  I was pleasantly surprised.  We were at a Bible Camp, but it was warm, there were beds and fireplaces and the setting was beautiful.   

The theme was "The Mystery Made Known" and I would not do it justice to even begin to describe it here, but it was such a blessing. 

Two of my three little, err, I mean, younger brothers (Jeff and Jay) came along, so that was an added bonus!
Jeff, Jay, Brad and Caleb on the tubing hill
Abby and Raquel boarded as an elephant and a raccoon.
Jon, Brad, Jay and Cory do the "Quadruple-Stack-Barrel Roll" trick
A small part of the group on the peaks.
What is snow camp without a good snowball fight?
As part of the weekends theme, Jon and Eric had a three part skit revealing the "mystery".

March 1 is one week away.  Please continue to pray with us that God's will is accomplished for court!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane...

Hi everyone. I must say, I have been very nogastalgic lately.  In many of the pictures we have received of Jada and Adia, the same caretaker is holding them and smiling down at them.  As I have been thinking and praying for her, I have reflected a lot on my time at CVE, in Mexico, as a caretaker. 

I miss the people there, a lot. 
Back when days looked a little more like this,
and this,
and this,
and this.
It seemed like adventure and catastrophe were always just around the corner. 

After we were married, we traveled to CVE for our wedding reception there. 
It looked a little like this,
and this,
and this.
We went back about a year ago and watched the girls for a week. 
It looked a little like this 
and this,
and this,
and this,
and this.

I told Jon that it has been too long.  He agreed and 'fessed up that he was planning a quick trip for my b-day.

Tickets were purchased before we knew our court date, so we will be gone March 4-8
YAY!  CVE, Here we come! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Court Date Details

As stated, our court date for the girls is March 1st.  Thank you so much for praying these girls home! 

If we pass, on March 1st, the girls are officially "ours". We could even start to post pictures then!  :)

I have recently read that the court date is about at a 50/50 pass/fail rate.  This wasn't a number put out by any government or agency, rather, estimates based on recent trends. 

Why Wouldn't We Pass?

On March 1st, a judge will review our dossier (stack of detailed paperwork, that has been authenticated in D.C.).  One missed detail in this can be cause for failing court.  Also, we need to have a few sentence letter from the Ethiopian MOWA (Ministry of Woman's Affairs).  If this letter isn't present, which is a common scenario, we would fail the first date.  In addition, birthfather has to be interviewed by the judge and sign off, one final time on the girls.  It is possible that he doesn't come as it is a long trip and it sounds like there is a different cultural importance of time/dates. 

If we don't pass our first date, a second date is given, usually 2-3 weeks later and our agency scrambles to fix the problem. 

After we pass court, an expected travel date is 4-6 weeks after court.

Please pray with us for March 1st. 

In honor of the snow and my new "every-post-must-have-a-picture" pact, some sledding shots. :)
Jon and Grey fly over a mound.  This reminds me so much of a Calvin and Hobbes!
Jennifer, Aunt Sharon and Sarah

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Day Late

Yesterday was the famous/infamous Valentine’s Day. It depends on whether you are single or married to make that decision.  I told Jon that V-day is like a marriage tax…you know, an obligatory purchase, necessary to appease the wife. Jon thought I was really clever and asked if that means I don’t want a gift. I told him I would probably be mad if I didn’t get something heartfelt. :)

Other February 14th Milestones:

-Adia and Jada hit 3 months of age!

-Celebrate Ferris Wheel Day (I am not kidding, so if your local ferris wheels aren’t covered in snow, you should go out, a day late, but still fun).


(More to come on court details later this week)

Also, I have made a decision to not to have anymore bare posts. So, from here on out, you will have a picture with the post, even if it is completely unrelated! :)
Happy Valentine's Day! 
No, these weren't all for me.  It was Jon's client drop-by week, so I enjoyed lots of flowers until he made his deliveries!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Don't I Learn?

Yesterday was not a good day (besides meeting family for dinner) :).  My vehicle as been in the shop, waiting for a part, so I have been housebond (since last Friday).  I waited on notification of a court date (really hoping it was on my birthday, March 8) and pictures of the girls.  My spirit was very "disquieted" within me and I was having a really hard time trusting God.  I know, I know, it seems like we have barely even started waiting, but patience has never been a strong suit. 

Jon says I only like immediate surprises, as in, "Hey, Ames, look, I've got a surprise, here it is!" and not "Hey, Ames, in two weeks from now, I have a surprise for you."

This morning I realized something about myself.  If there is a problem, I go after it.  I fix it.  I ask "excuse me, can I please speak to the manager?" or something.  Why do I insist on "doing" things?
This morning, my Bible study had me look at "resting" in God.  I had plans to be painting the room that would be the office for the day.  The Christian Radio station played a program about "resting".  With lots of time by myself and paint fumes, I was very convicted at my sin of impatience and lack of trust and surrender.  I finally surrendered, by the Grace of God, I just felt restful.  Restored to peace.

I just took a break from painting because I was parched and popped by my e-mail.


We have a court date!  Our court date is set for March 1st.  WHAT?!?  I KNOW!!!

I am so humbled. Feel so foolish.  To God be the Glory. 

John 3:30

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Updates: Like Water in A Parched Land

The family who delivered our care packages are back in the US with their two new family members (joining their two bio children)!  They can't upload pictures until tomorrow, but, bless this busy mama's heart, she sent me a detailed e-mail on the girls' progress.  I was going to condense it, but all the information was so important!  ;)

I put especially heartwarming info in green.

Hi Amy, the girls are doing wonderful. I think they are growing great. They do not look too skinny anymore. Their heads are shaved on the side from when they had their IV's in the hospital right after birth so I didn't know at first why their hair was like that but I asked and then they told me. Jada G. is starting to get a little tiny roll by her knee. It's very little but it's starting. They were fed often and the nannies took very good care of them. There are always at least 3 nannies in the room with the infants at all times. The twins were usually in the same crib or bassinet right next to each other. They wrapped the care package blankets around them right away. I put their booties on them, you'll see in the pictures when I finally get them out. I held them both for quite a while. They don't cry a whole lot but when they are hungry they will let you know. They eat really well. They are no longer the smallest babies there .There is a new little girl who is only 5 lbs so they look big compared to her. I think they are doing wonderful. There is also a full time nurse that they hired a month ago. She is great. She speaks great english too. She was always in the infant room. So if there ever is anything of concern, she is right there. I felt very confident with her (and it takes a lot for me to have confidence in a nurse or doctor for my kids, it's just mommy instincts). Neither one had diaper rash or any skin issues at all that I could see. I tried to look them over really well. The booties actually fit really great. I would guess we have at least 15 pictures of the girls. I can't wait for you to see them. Hang tight, sorry for the delay.

Updated Weights and Measures:
               Weight       Head       Height
Adia M      8.11          37           52

Jada G      8.00           36           50

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Letter to the Birthfather

Dear H,
Words fail us. Oh that you could know how we have prayed for your daughters, we have waited for them. We expected God to grow the love in our hearts for your daughters, but what has knocked us over is the love and grief we feel with your family. We hadn’t thought much about you, the birthfather, but now that our joy is your loss, we think of you often, we cry for you and we pray for you.

We are so sorry that you lost your wife of 18+ years. We are so sorry you lost the mommy to your 8 children and so sad that you had to make the decision that you couldn’t care for your twins after the death of your wife. The only greater love we can think of is Christ giving Himself on the cross for us, for you. We pray for your salvation and the salvation of the 6 kids with you and for your comfort in your grief. We pray that you would feel assurance in your heart that your precious babies are going to have a Daddy and Mommy who, through the grace of God, will love them very much and will teach them in the Truth of the One God. We pray you would have enough food today and tomorrow.

Thank you H. We can’t comprehend the level of grief you are feeling, but please know, we love you and all 8 of your kids. We are incredibly honored to be the parents of two of your little gems.

May the God of comfort be known to you.
In the Love of Christ,
Jon and Amy

Friday, February 5, 2010

"Types" of Orphans

Recently, someone asked me about the "types" of orphans who are being adopted.  This is honestly a confusing question to me.  Here is the USCIS definition (Basically US Immigration):
A child may be considered an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents. The child of an unwed mother or surviving parent may be considered an orphan if that parent is unable to care for the child properly and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

If a child doesn't fit into these parameters, they cannot be adopted by a US family.

Jada and Adia have a father who is living.  In this situation and according to the UN definition, the girls are orphans, specifically, maternal orphans, meaning Birthmother has died and now Birthfather, H, is unable to care for them. 

I can hardly think about H. and the six children with him, without becoming a mess of tears.

Adia and Jada would be considered relinquished children.  In Ethiopia, in situations of relinquishment, the surviving parent has to sign off on the child/ren, multiple times. 

There are also children in the international adoption circles who are "double orphans" meaning both parents have passed away.  This isn't uncommon, especially in areas with high AIDS rates.  Often a parent will relinquish rights to a child after their spouse has died and the parent knows it will only be a short time before their life will be claimed as well. 

Other children fall into the group of abandoned children, meaning they have been left somewhere and found without any identification or way of knowing who the parents are. 
Within adoptable children in the USA, there are children who have parents with their rights terminated, or in the foster care system, there are kids called social orphans.

So many hurting and vulnerable children!  Let's be on our knees for the orphan, they are close to God's heart! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Great Diaper Debate

I need your experience and wisdom...

Cloth vs. Disposable diapers

When Jon and I were thinking that we would be matched with one toddler boy,  we had decided that we would try using cloth diapers.  I know, I know, maybe I don't know what we are getting into, but here are the advantages/reasons why cloth diapers would be a good fit for us:
1) Huge Savings. 
2) Investment already made: My sis-in-law has scads of "Bumgenius" and "Happy Hiney" diapers that we could use.
3) Better for environment (although I have heard the amount of water used to constantly be washing diapers is just as bad for the environment?)

Now that we know we have two girls coming, is it crazy to consider cloth diapers?  Maybe if I would use disposable at night and cloth during the day? What do you think? Janel sent me a link the other day on a great price on diapers and formula and I started doing the math for two!  Whoa.  This baby stuff adds up!

Dilemma #2: The Diaper Genie:
If we decide to use disposable diapers (in at least some capacity), what do you think of the "Diaper Genie" concept? Is an off-brand okay?  Is this a necessity for the nursery?

Please, pour out your wisdom!  :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Hudson!

We celebrated our nephews birthday this past weekend.  Justin and Sarah went all out with a "Cars" theme and Sarah made a beautiful cake! 

Grey and Hudson play with a remote control dinosaur
Our gracious hostess and Paige.  Paige is 16 months old and adorable!
Navy and Merritt
Jon read Hudson's new book.  Hudson loves "Cars" and dinosaurs.
Jake and Charlie, I hadn't seen Charlie since Thanksgiving and he has grown so much! 

With the kiddos running around, I started to get baby fever, worse!  We officially hit our 3 Week mark (since we said "yes" to the referral).  Oh my.  How time isn't flying.  :) We are thankful for the preparation time.  I just feel every day.  Adia and Jada are never far from our thoughts. Oh babies, we can't wait for you! 

I love this picture of Hudson, Post-multiple cupcakes.  :)
Hudson had a good day, lots of cupcakes, gifts and wrestling with the uncles.  :)