Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wrapping Up The Season

The Christmas season is almost over. I guess I think it is offically over when we are in the new year and I finally decide to take the Christmas decorations away. It is always hard for me to put the twinkling lights, the festive ornaments and the special nativities away each year. When I put them away, my home suddenly becomes seamingly sterile and dark.

We live in Wisconsin which means cold, dark days in the early months of the year. In December, our home is filled with candles in each window and a mantle filled with greenery and lights. Not to mention the 8 foot Christmas tree we have nestled in a corner in our living room! Even though our days are short and our nights are long, with the extra light in each room, we don't seem to notice.

Until January hits.

Sometimes I wonder why God created a season like winter. I know several people who suffer from horrible mood swings when they don't see the sun. Why would God want us to have a season of cold, dark nights and short, snow-filled days?

I can only speak for myself and say that in this season, I tend to slow down, spend a lot of time in reflection and cuddling up with my family. If I was to continue on the pace we set in the summer, where our days are filled with soccer games in the yard, hours of weeding in the garden, staying up late catching fire-flies, I think I would eventually wear out. But, in these winter seasons, I am given the opportunity to rest, to think, and to just be.

Take today, for instance. It is cold out! Snow is on the way. There is no school and I have a house full of kids playing their own thing right now. That leaves me with some time to relfect on the Psalm I just read or to just be in conversation with my Lord. I need to look at these days as true gifts! Gifts of extra time to be still.

So, I just made some pepermint tea and I am going to snuggle up on the couch, waiting for the snow to fly and read a new book. Sounds pretty good - even on a winter day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bearing Her Burdens

An open letter to Amaya,

I know that we will never meet on this earth. I know that you are not even allowed to know anything about me. But, I love you with a love that is only possible when God enables me.

I will be your son's new mom. I can't even begin to know or pretend to understand the pain you are in. I want you to know that your courage is an inspiration to me! You had the courage to give your son an opportunity to a different life. I can't say a better life, because I know you love him so much that no matter the circumstances, he would have been secure and happy in that love. I will say that your little boy will now have opportunities that he has only dreamed of.

He will be able to go to school and someday fulfill his dream of becomming a teacher. He will be able to ride a bike, sleep in a bed, eat all day long if he likes; go on vacations to mountains or beaches, visit amusement parks and ride roller coasters all day until he feels queazy, and someday drive his own car. He will be able to vote for his leaders and maybe even someday, be one of those leaders!

I want to promise you that my husband and I will love this little boy with all our hearts. We promise to raise him in a church, where he will be surrounded by Christian families who love each other's kids as if they are their own. He will worship the Lord each Sunday and will be taught God's word. I promise you that in our house, we will serve the Lord.

G will be taken care of; he will have brothers and sisters who love him and care for him also. He has grandparents who are already in love with him and even 2 great grandmothers! There are many aunts, uncles and cousins who will hold him, play with him and laugh with him every chance they get.

I want you to know these things, to somehow ease your mind and reassure you of your decision to give him up for adoption. I promise to love him! I also promise to tell him about Ethiopia - the beauty, the kindness, the landscape, the celebrations. We will eat Ethiopian food and listen to Ethiopian music to help G feel "at home". I will tell him about a mother who loves him so dearly that she chose a new life for him. I will always tell him about you.

My heart breaks as I think of you having to say goodbye to your one and only son. I am so sorry that life has been hard for you! Thank you for teaching G songs about Jesus, for those songs have comforted him in the orphanage. Thank you for preparing him to live with a Christian family who will carry on what you have started. Thank you for loving him and putting that precious smile on his face. Did you know he has a dimple on his cheek? I want you to know that his new daddy has that same dimple!

G will share a birth month with a new sister! And that sister has the same dimple!

I also want you to know that God chose our families to be united through this adoption long before either one of us thought of it! God has been in control this whole time and has made a way for us to be a new family.

God loves you and I pray that He is comforting you now. I pray that you are not in physical pain, but most of all, I pray that He would let you know that G is going to be loved by a new family! I pray that you know about us through the comfort and the cousel of the Holy Spirit.

Someday, we will be together, in heaven. You and I, two mothers who both loved the same child. Only in heaven can we come together with no jealousy or envy, but with true love the way God intended. We will be two momma's, two women who won't even need to say anything; we will just know how much we each loved and cared for G in our own times and in our own ways. On that day, I will run to you and hug you and say thank you. And I will tell you all about G and the man that he has become.

All this is possible because of your selfless gift to G.

Humbly,
Traci

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Do You Get It?

As I tucked my precious girls into bed tonight, I couldn't hold back the tears. In fact, I couldn't even talk I began to cry so hard. Something was building up inside of me, a vast love for Jesus that could not be contained any longer. I sobbed and used broken words to tell my girls how much I love Jesus. Eleanor got it.

I then went into Harry's room and said, "My prayer for you is that one day you know the deep and great and wide love for Jesus like I do."

This evening had been filled with bad news on the TV, reports of yet another snow storm coming our way, and an aching, nauseas belly. We were stressing a bit about Christmas Eve and the food preparations and the decorations and the gifts. After dinner, we all went our separate ways in the house. Some of the children went to the family room to watch Ice Age. Joe went in to the bedroom to work on the computer a bit. I wrapped up in a comfy blanket and flipped on a movie I had been anxious to see.

When I was a little girl, my sister saw a certain 70's movie called Godspell. She ended up with an 8-track or maybe a cassette tape of the soundtrack. I grew up listening to these peculiar songs of Christ's words, but not quite His words. As a teenager, my sister was no longer living with us and I still listened to that tape over and over and over again. My parents probably got sick of hearing me sing along in the bathroom each morning as I got ready for school. For some reason, these songs stuck with me.

But..I never saw the movie.

Until tonight. Again, you might think it odd that at Christmas time there are movies about Jesus' life and death. Although, flip through the channel guide and you'll see everything from the Discovery Chanel to National Geographic doing shows on this mysterious man named Jesus. The world just can't seem to get enough of him, even though they are not sure what to make of him and his teaching.

So, I watched a commercial free 2 hours of the movie. I sang along to each song (probably continuing to drive my family crazy) and would hush my children (who all ended up watching with me!) when they asked about the afros, suspenders, painted faces and shoes (all ultra 70s!!).

At one point, Jesus says, "My heart is broken over the grief I am about to bear."

Then, he goes to the garden to pray, begging his disciples to watch with him, pray with him. The message puts Jesus' words like this, "My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do YOU want?"

We all know the rest of the story. God wanted a sacrifice for our sins. And Jesus was willing to be that sacrifice.

Do you get it? All this hoopla about the holiday season means NOTHING if you don't get the reason why Jesus was born in the first place! Jesus came for one reason, to die.

There is a song we sing at church that rips my heart apart each time we sing it. One line says, "It was my sin that held him there." My sin. Those ugly, horrible, shameful things I do, often in the secret places of my life. Jesus could have easily said, "this is not worth it!" and jumped off the cross. But my sin held him up on that cross of wood until my justification was accomplished. How could I not be a blubbering fool when I think of how much I love Jesus?

Dear Lord, forgive me for sometimes going through a day and not thanking you for the gift of your son. Thank you for loving me so much that you were willing to watch your son be tortured and die a painful death. But thank you even more for raising him from the dead and that he sits beside you this very moment, interceding for me and my sin. Thank you for reminders of that great love you have for me, even in crazy movies from the 70s. I pray that my children would know you like I know you. I pray that you would enable, equip and empower me to be the kind of mom you have called me to be. I can't do this without you! You MUST work your love and grace and forgiveness through me to them. Help me to love them the way you love them so that they can turn to the world and love it. At this Christmas season, where we focus on the birth of Jesus, help me to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus as well. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. And I need forgiveness. I can't seem to get through a single day without sinning. Well, not even a single hour! I love you Lord, for you have provided a way for me to live as your child, redeemed and spoken for. I get it.

Amen.

The Best Christmas Present of the Year!

We were just given the best Christmas present of the year!!! We have a court date!

February 23rd, 2009.

Mark the date on your calendar and start praying. If all goes well, G will be our son on that day!

I also wanted to post some Christmas thoughts from the orphanage where G is living. The words are incredibly inspirational:

(From Henok, orphanage director in Soddo)

May the JOY of Christmas and God’s blessings be with you!
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your hard work.
Many Ethiopian Childs who otherwise would have died are alive today because of your help.
Many thanks to all the people who are working so hard.
Many thanks to all of nannies who are feeding the children and having the qualities of a good mother.
Many thanks to the people who traveled so many miles day and night to rescue the children.
Many thanks to the parents who accepted our children.
Many thanks to all US staff who works so hard with great motivation.
Many thanks to Addis staff who takes care of our children and move paperwork around with great responsibly.
God is good. He has brought us together to change the lives of children, this is not an easy job for any of us, but God gives us only what He knows we can handle. He also gives us the tools and abilities to do what He calls us to do.
Again thank you very much to CWA who takes care of us all so well by providing continuous encouragement, I appreciate your investment into our lives very much!

(From Dr. Kelemu, his wife Mekdes, and their family and staff. Dr. Kelemu and his wife were instrumental in CWA developing our work in Ethiopia, and he is the sole director and surgeon for approx 1 million people at a hospital in the Soddo region.)

Christmas greetings in the precious name of Jesus Christ!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them. Isaiah 9:2

What a privilege to be alive, healthy and enjoy the blessings of 2008 Christmas. God is expressing his love to each one of us thru his miraculous plan of Christmas. He accomplished his share of reconciliation by giving us the biggest gift we can ever think of. This gift of Christmas had eternal life hope richness and security in it. Who ever receives this gift of true Christmas has eternal hope. Let us unravel the parcel of the true Christmas gift. It has all what we need in it. What a privilege to receive this gift. We wish you all the blessings that have been planned for you before the foundation of the world.

This Is Where George is From - and Where His Mother Still Lives

SODO, Ethiopia (AFP) — Okume Ochubo's tiny plot of land in southern Ethiopia is lush with waist-high maize sprouts and other crops, but she and her seven young children are struggling to feed themselves.

"We cannot survive without food aid, we collect assistance whenever it is available," she said, as two of her children jostled under the shadows of giant eucalyptus trees.

"We are praying to God for a better situation," the 40-year-old farmer added, her voice barely audible under the breeze of swaying maize leaves.

Okume is one of millions of people in the Horn of Africa nation -- a country with a long history of extreme food shortages -- who are at renewed threat of hunger as a result of failed and delayed rains.

The British charity group Oxfam announced last week that the number of Ethiopians in need of emergency food aid had risen from 4.6 to 6.4 million since June, as rising food prices and drought continued to compound the crisis.

But in Wolaytta district, some 330 kilometres (200 miles) south of Addis Ababa, and most surrounding areas, it is a crisis of a different kind.

The region is known for its diverse crop varieties, and a recent downpour of rain since August has turned the valley into a sea of green.

But the area's apparent fertility is deceptive. Rains fell at the wrong time, reserves are dwindling and 50 percent of the area's two million inhabitants are facing what aid workers have labelled a "green famine".

Prior to that, not a single rain drop fell for eight months, leaving farmers with dwindling food reserves, while plunging the entire region into one of the worst droughts it has ever seen.

"It certainly is one of the worst in Wolaytta's history, probably third to 1984 after 2003," Abraham Asha, representative of the US-based charity group Concern, told AFP.

"Had it not been for the quick response of the government and NGOs, the disaster would not have been averted," he added.

At least a million people died in the 1984 famine, with the then dictator Haile Marian Mengistu accused of concentrating scarce resources on the lengthy conflict along the border with what is now Eritrea, and the 2003 crisis left 14 million Ethiopians in need of food assistance.

The current Ethiopian government under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been criticised for spending too much of its budget on the military and not enough on guaranteeing the basic needs of the population.

The authorities also expelled several aid groups operating in the Ogaden region, where government troops have since last year cracked down on a rebellion, further deepening an alarming humanitarian situation there.

At the height of the drought in April, Abraham said hundreds of children in several districts suffered from stunted growth and weight deficit.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said up to 12 percent were diagnosed with acute malnutrition in the area at that time.

Experts blame numerous factors for the chronic food insecurity behind the facade of green fields in Wolaytta and the rest of southern Ethiopia.

High population density of up to 800 people per square kilometre and a system of smallholdings have always exerted huge pressure on the land.

"Resources are being exhausted and population is increasing. The region has to take drastic measures such as voluntary resettlement to curb the burden," Abraham said.

Government officials on the other hand, are banking on high yields as a cure for the problem.

"In this district, productivity is far from satisfactory. Farmers here produce only 20 quintals of yield per hectare when other nearby zones produce up to 80," district administrator Hailebirhan Zena told participants in a recent meeting.

"We are focusing on increasing yields through irrigation. It is no secret that Wolaytta lies in proximity to several rivers," he said.

Despite the number of hungry Ethiopians doubling since April and aid agencies reporting a funding shortfall of 260 million dollars (190 million euros), chronic malnutrition has stabilised in the region.

Yet local residents remained pessimistic. The September harvest is thought to be enough to stave off starvation until December but unless reserves last until February, millions will be on the brink again.

"It will happen again as not enough stocks will last until then. It is even expected to be worse next year," Abraham said.

Aid organisations have warned that Ethiopia -- one of Africa's poorest countries and its second most populous -- on the brink of a major famine to that which killed millions in the 1980s.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Twinning

I learned something new today. And, I have to humbly admit that it took quite a while for a certain concept to sink in - I am going to have artificial twins!

There is a great term floating around the international adoption scene; articifical twinning. Twinning is when you have two children who are less than 9 months apart in age who are not biological siblings. There is actually great debate over twinning -or so I have found out. So much so, several adoption agencies refuse to let parents twin and have implemented a 1 year wait between referrals.

My artificial twinning is happening purely by circumstances and not by intent. When Joe and I were discussing adoption, we always talked about a boy that would fit in age between our 2 biological boys (who are 9 and 3). Personally, I was hoping for a 4 year old, but God had something else in mind. We saw G's picture and he was listed as 5 or 6, and honestly, it crossed my mind that G would be closer to Isabel than the boys. That obviously, did not stop us from moving forwrad.

It wasn't until I recently posted on an adoption board that a woman replied, "Oh! You are entering the world of artificial twinning!"

At first I kinda felt queazy! What in the world is artificial twinning? After a little research, I discovered it in not nearly as gross as it sounds. And, I had to admit, if all goes through with the adoption of G, I will have twins! In fact, the latest paperwork indicates a March 2002 birthdate for G. Isabel...March 2002. These two could seriously be twins!

Isabel is "over the moon" thinking about suddenly being a twin and all the attention that comes with that. I am not too worried about her (I hope I am not being niave), because she already is used to sharing time, attention, love, and stuff. G, well, he has been an only child, and only recently has learned what it means to live with "siblings". It should be very interesting to see how these two very different children deal with being "twins".

The beautiful thing, is that many adoptive parents with artificial twins report nothing but normal sibling interactions coupled with a great bond due to being the same age and going through the same experiences. We have already talked about soccer teams, Sunday School classes, and getting driver's liscences at the exact same time. Oh, and sending two to college in the same year - yikes!

Again, I just can't let my mind go that far ahead of where we are. So, for tonight, I am going to dream about my twins (I think I secretly have always wanted twins!) and then wake up tomorow and wait for my court date.

I like learning something new every day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

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The Death of Jesus

I highly recommend having a Bible-reading plan. When I don't, I tent to not read the Bible, simply as that. Joe and I did the Discipleship Journal reading plan about 5 years ago, and we both grew so much that we decided to do it again the next year. After that, we grumbled about "being burned out" and decdided to just do our respective studies we were involved in.

Well, I am back at it and felt so compelled to just start that I did not wait for the first of the year. I found myself in the middle of John, reading Habukuk, Nahum, Job and Revelation. So, I am getting lots and lots of prophetic warnings of not worshipiing idols or trusting in my own strength. Then I read in Revelation of the seals, bowls and trumpets. Each morning, I close with my readings from John and over the last two days I have been reading about the crucifiction.

What struck me this morning is how I am being led to read small bits at a time. Two days ago, I read about Jesus standing before Pilate and hearing the crowd chose Barabas. For a whole day, the sounds of the crowds turning on Jesus resonated in my mind.

Yesterday, I read about my Lord and Savior being beaten, mocked and having a crown of thrones forced onto his head. That whole day, I could not shake images that I had seen from The Passion of The Christ and to meditate on the tremendous amounts of pain and suffering that took place that day.

Today, I read about Jesus being thirsty, and drinking vinegar on the cross. Then, he died.

Everything in me wanted to just rush to the next section, when Christ is resurrected. But, my reading stopped there. My mind wanted to remind me that everything is OK, I know the rest of the story. But, I realized I need to stay in this place for a while.

Whenever I see that I am about to read about the death of Christ, I must admit that I balk a little. Like I said, I know the story, I know how it ends. Usually I race through it, not wanting to really let it sink in.

This year has been different. I am not sure why God put on my heart the need to start my reading plan now. I also don't know why in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I would be reading about the death of Christ and not his birth.

But, isn't that really what his birth is all about? It seems so anti-holiday spirit to look at this time of year and remember the WHY behind the birth of Jesus. He did not come to fill our homes with presents and cookies and songs of "Baby, It's Cold Outside". Jesus was born for one, single reason....to die for me. He was born so that he could be hung on a cross, a completely innocent man, for all the wrong that I have done. He came to teach me about God's immense love.

So, today, while the kids are opening their advent calendars and eating the chocolate treat, I will be thinking about the nails being driven into Jesus' hands. While the neighbors work on their holiday display, I will be seeing Jesus on a cross. While my family enjoys a delcious meal together, I will remember Jesus asking for a drink and being given vinegar. And when I lay myself down to sleep, I will wonder why God would let his son die for me.


My reading stopped there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What to Write about as I Wait?

I have struggled coming up with ideas of what to write lately. You see, I have no news. There are no updates, no real information coming in. Simply, we are waiting.

I was told, "Now you are entering the hardest part, the waiting.", and I laughed it off replying, "Yea, right! I have enough to keep me busy around here! I am not one of those parents with no children who are waiting for that first baby." Yet again, I have to admit I was totally wrong.

This is hard! I think the hardest part for me is that this adoption has stopped feeling real. When I was getting all the paperwork together and working hours a day, it seemed very real to me. I knew that I had to get certain documents in by a certain time in order to "get" G, the child we had chosen.

Ugh - it almost makes my skill crawl to write those words - the child the chose. It was very difficult to see a list of children and "pick" one. I wish that wasn't the case and Joe often says we should have let the agency chose for us. But, when I think of all the things that have lined up so perfectly, I start to realize that we did not chose G - but God chose G and our family to be together.

So, I think I will begin sharing what I am learning as an amazing pastor preaches each Sunday and as I read God's word. I do know that I am learning what it means to not be in control. I am learning to wait on God's perfect timing and in that waiting to not complain or grumble, but to trust in that perfect timing.

How often do we stress, worry, fret, complain and grumble as we pray to God, pleading for Him to act or move. Yet, He has heard our prayers, He has it all under control and He is simply waiting for all the factors to line up perfectly. I don't know why He asks us to wait; it could be an unstable force in Addis that would put Joe and I in danger, it may be a cab driver that needs the work, it could be a job that needs to be completed..I just can't say now. But, there will be a day when we can look back and know that God had us fly to Addis at just the right time to pick up our son.

Oh, I can't wait for that day when Joe and I walk through the doors of the foster home and run to hug our son. And then, I look with anticipation for the day we walk off the airplane and see our children after a long week in Africa, when we introduce our kids to their new brother!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Church

The church is not the building. Our pastor today said something that has been ringing in my ears all week; you must commit to the church so the church can commit to you. He was not talking about the building or a particular denomination, he was talking about the body, the people.

Over the last week, the church has blessed us in an amazing way. It humbles Joe and I greatly to see how God uses his people to show care for each other. In the last week, we were given 3 checks from our spiritual family and we now can pay for G's plane ride home!

As we struggle to come up with words that even come close to adequately sharing our thanks, we are reminded of how God provides when we trust Him. God is so good - all he time!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent

Every advent, I pull out the advent wreath that adorns our table, buy new candles to light and make a big deal about each Sunday when a new candle is lit. A few years ago, I bought an Advent activity book that gave me ideas of small, simple things to do with the kids each night of advent. Our family has truly come to appreciate the waiting.

Being totally honest here (which blogs can let us be), I never really understood the waiting. Of course, we knew how to wait 24 days until Christmas. But that was more about decorations, making cookies, what party we were going to this weekend, and of course, what presents the kids would want. It really wan't much waiting at all. I think about how my kids are pained as they say, "I can't wait until Christmas!" But the reality is that the entire month of December is fun - they get extra cookies and candy, we stay up later to watch TV specials, we take the kids around the city to see light displays, we fill our home with Christmas carols. They fill their waiting with distractions that are pretty fun!

But now, I feel I have a small taste of the longing and the waiting that the Israelites felt as they were waiting and waiting for a savior! Again, I emphasise that what I am experiencing is a fraction of what our ancestors felt, but, it is a longing and a waiting still the same. My waiting is not filled with fun distractions; in fact each morning I wake up praying, "Lord, let today be the day that we get a court date!" And each morning I check my email to find nothing.

While I am waiting to bring our son home, I am getting extremely annoyed with commercialism. I am sure you have heard about the trampling death of an eployee at Wal Mart - I shake my head and cry as I think of people being so desperate for a TV or an MP3 player or Guitar Hero that they were willing to trample over a man to his death. How far have we come?

I drive around town and still see crowds at the malls and Best Buy - despite hearing warnings of doom and gloom in the economy. And, I look at the faces of the shoppers and drivers - there is very little expectancy or joy. In fact, they seem to be pretty tired, pressured, and angry. I really don't like seeing what Christmas has become.

We need to get back to the advent - the waiting of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to look to the heavens with expectancy... longing. We are promsied such amazing things when that day comes:

"He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions
for the poor of the earth.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash arond his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them." Isaiah 11:3-6

I can only imagine when there will be a just judge - who sees not with his eyes or his ears, but judges with righteousness that comes from the Spirit. Christ will set all things right - there will be no more hunger, no more orphans, no more widows who are not cared for. The world will be right. Don't you long for that? Don't you want that?

Why aren't we looking expectantly for Chrit's return? Even Christians take this month to buy, buy, buy - and we have forgotten what it means to wait.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In The Waiting

Well, it has finally hit me that I will be waiting, and there is nothing I can do about it. I watched a special on TV last night by Feed the Children that spotlighted the condition of orphans in Kenya. I cried as I watched the abandoned babies being taken to an orphanage. But, then I started sobbing for my son.

This red tape, government stuff is driving me crazy! "They" sure make it difficult to adopt. My social worker asked us if we would consider another child (to round out our family - so I guess it would have to be a girl). Joe laughed and said, "If she is free." But that truly is the case! We are tapped out and are struggling to buy extended family Christmas presents, but yet we would gladly welcome another orphan into our house if we could.

It is funny what the world desires....stuff! I am sickened by the commercialism of our country, especially this year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not Worthy

I have been overcome lately with the feeling that I am incredibly unworthy to be part of this plan. God has been working mightily through this adoption process. We have continued to pray that God would open doors. But, God has been breaking down walls. I am amazed how far we are in such a short period of time. As I look back on the past few months, there were many times that our process should have been stalled but instead, things flew! So, I wonder why God chose me to be part of this plan and to show me how He works.

I am realizing how self-centered I have been my entire life. I am usually concerned with me, my family, my husband, my house, my school - I am sure you see the pattern there. But, now, I am seeing how much God loves this one little boy in Soddo, Ethiopia. God is "moving mountains" to take this boy out of an orphanage and bring him to America. And God saw something in our family that made Him chose us to be this boy's new family. Why?

I am far from the perfect mother! I yell too often, I am too impatient, I expect a lot out of my children, and I even long to be alone at times. I see other mothers who are much more patient, much more gentle, much more loving - why didn't God chose them? I have too much of my dad in me - I want to fight it out sometimes and I am quick to let anyone know what I am thinking. How is God going to use that in this adoption?

Our family is going through what appears to be a transition - many things seem to be up in the air. Job, home, school - all like juggling balls! Joe and I are trying to figure things out, but we know we can't change anything while we wait upon G to come home. What is God doing by throwing us these curve balls while we are juggling? I know I am being vague, but I need to be at this point.

What matters is that I know God is still asking us to trust Him one day at a time. I keep going back to "give us this day our daily bread". Asking God to meet my needs today and not worry about tomorrow. How many times does God mention in His word not to be anxious, not to worry about tomorrow, how to let tomorrow take care of itself? For God to mention it so many times, He must have known how much we (humans) would worry. I am trying to lay this burden of worry at His feet each day.

But that is when the feelings of unworthiness come flooding back in. I am anxious. I am worrying about tomorrow. I am STILL trying to do things on my own. So, why would He chose a prideful, stubborn, sinner of a woman? I don't know the answers.

I am humbled by my God who cares. That is all I know right now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Updates/What You Can Do

A few quick updates from earlier posts :

G now knows he is being adopted! Yea! We are preparing a family photo album to send to him, so he can start getting to know his new family.

G's medical reports showed a relatively clean bill of health. There were a few numbers out of the normal range, but after consulting with my dad (thanks Dad!), he said everything looks good - and G probably has a cold :)

Also, with a travel date coming soon (we pray), if you want to help in any way, we will be able to deliver some much needed things to the orphanages in Ethiopia. I just read an update from CWA that quoted a nanny (a woman who works in the orphanage) from G's orphanage saying, "We really need toys. The kids coming here have never had toys to play with. They have worked most of their young lives, helping by working. These kids need to learn what it means to play." So, keep your eye on those after-Christmas sales. If you can find a good deal on some toys, we will be packing up some huge boxes to take with us when we travel.

I am sure there will be other things you can donate. As we get closer to our travel date, I will post the other requested items.

Prayer Requests

I just got off the phone with my case worker from CWA. We celebrated the fact that our paperwork is progressing at lighting speed. Now, we are at the mercy of the court in Ethiopia.

Patricia (our case worker), asked me to pray for all the children stalled in the court system. Apparently, due to "national pride", the courts in Addis are stalling. There are dozens of children with families waiting who are just not moving through the court system. The Ethiopian people are starting to feel ashamed that they can't care for their vast number of orphans, so they are pressuring the court to slow down the adoptions. Yet, they still can't care for their orphans!

We agreed that part of this is a spiritual battle. The enemy does not want ONE child to be saved. We must overcome this atmosphere with prayer.

Please join me in praying for:
1. A December court date for us (I am going for it all!)
2. The court system in Ethiopia would open up and start moving - for the sake of the kids
3. Continued protection for G in his orphanage.
4. That Joe and I can both go to Ethiopia
5. Child care for our wonderful kids :)

Thank you all, for your continued prayers.

I-171H

Good news! Good news! On Saturday, my beloved got the mail and quickly came to me with a kiss and a shout, "We got it!"

We have officially received approval from the US government to adopt a child from a different country. This was the last piece of paper needed before our agency's office in Addis could submit our papers to the courts.

Once again, God is tearing down the walls! Our agency prepared us that our form would not show up until at least January. Instead, we got our form 2 weeks after getting fingerprinted. Praise God. We are witness to what God calls you to, He will provide!