Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where Do I Even Begin?

It has been a week and 4 days since we met George for the first time. Those 11 days have brought great heart-ache, much soul searching, some moments of joy and lots of lessons. Thankfully, I journaled my whole way through Africa, because I knew I would forget those little details that made the trip so memorable. Honestly, at this point, I don't even want to revisit those moments. I can only take my life one hour at a time right now.

I can tell you that I am learning so much about my sinfulness! Don't get me wrong - that is a good thing! I have prayed that I would be more like Christ, and what other way can I possibly look more like Christ without rooting out some sin areas in my life. I have realized how much I "take" from my children; I take all the love they give me and have made that what susatins me. The sin there is that I am not letting God fill me with His love! So, when one of my children (George) refused to love me, I was devastated and all I wanted was to get back to my other children so they could love me and make me feel better. Gently, in the middle of the night in Africa, God revealed this to me by saying, "Le ME love you the way your children love you."

Second, I am very selfish. During this incredibly hard transition, I have found myself being incredibly self centered. I say things about how hard this is, I didn't ask for a child that threw hour long temper tantrums, I can't figure out how to get this child to say a word - any word! Then, I stop and realize that all I have cared about over the past few days is me and how this is affecting me. How dare I? I have taken a child out of his environment, put him in a place where everything is different - sounds, sights, smells - everything! He is scared, lonely, frustrated and all I can do is say "Poor me! I have a child that screams and throws tantrums".

As I exist these days hour by hour, I am leaning hard on God and His truth! I am standing on a verse of scripture that calls us to care for the orphans and the widows, how can this "go wrong"? I have come to realize that it WILL be a hard road - that obeying God's word does not guarentee and easy path! But, He is faithful. HE was faithful to Joe and I in Africa as we struggled with illness, jet lag, an unruly child. HE was still with us and always saying "I am here with you."

I will start writing about our daily experiences soon. There is so much I want to share. We experiended many highs and many lows, but through it all we came out different people, and that is good.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen!

It has been quite the Easter Sunday! It began beautifully, with a wonderful service with amazing worship and our pastor speaking the word of God. After service, our family watched 26 three year olds - fun, fun!

We had a yummy lunch with friends - the food was delicious! Then.....well, the attacks just have to keep coming :(

Harry threw up in our friends entry way, Eleanor was miserable with her cold/cough and then Lincoln was accidentally knocked to the ground and was in great pain asking to go home.

Sigh....that's about all I can say at this point. The stress just keeps piling on and Joe and I have to keep reminding each other that prayer WILL protect us and our children. We are tired and stressed, but still celebrating that we serve a risen king! The ONE whom death could not hold! This same Lord loves us and cares for us -He has all the power we need to get through this time in our life.

Be with us, Lord Jesus. We need you and love you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Attack From The Enemy

I remember being chilled to the bone the first time I read Job. In the first chapter, God asks Satan, "Where have you come from?" And Satan replies, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." I Peter 5:8 says, "...your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

Christians can sometimes fall into a dangerous sense of comfort when we don't realize this about our enemy; he is roaming, pacing, hunting around the earth. The Bible is so clear about arming ourselves and outlines the armor of God. We take a risk when we don't arm ourselves each and every day. This is serious business.

But, sometimes, the enemy gets even more aggressive. I read many times on an adoption board about all the illnesses, problems, deaths, and countless other things that happen to families right before picking up the adopted child. I have also hear similar stories about families leaving for mission trips. We get distracted, we start to worry, we lose sight of what we are doing - we take our eyes of God. This happens naturally, it is in our make-up to want to worry about things or try to take control.

To my surprise (which I am disappointed that I was found surprised!), the enemy is attacking us. Lincoln fell at church, a totally freak accident for a boy who is extremely active and falls, crashes, jumps, wrestles, and flies around the house every day. He was simply throwing a ball with another little boy when something happened (trip? stumble? fall?) and he ended up hitting his clavicle just-so on a plastic bin of books. And snap. The nursery workers didn't see what happened, but when I came to pick him up, Lincoln was on a kind woman's lap, obviously crying and in pain, with an ice pack on his back. Being a mom of 4, and Lincoln being the youngest, I just assumed he fell and was a little sore, but would be just fine. I didn't see any marks, any bruising - nothing to indicate a broken bone. My "mommy-radar" went off later that day when Joe threw the first pitch to him outside and after attempting one swing, he fell to the ground in pain. For this baseball-loving boy to be in so much pain that he couldn't even swing a bat, I KNEW something was wrong. After a pain-filled night, I took him in for an X-ray. The nurse who collected the films and put them in the viewer called me in immediately and said, "You don't need to be a doctor to see this one!" Sure enough, a huge break! The doctor came in and said, "I have seen a few worse."

We get home from the doctors and I notice Eleanor getting very pale. By dinner, she was pushing away her plate and saying she was so cold. Within an hour, she had a temperature of 102 and was lying in her bed feeling horrible.

Then, the icing on the cake (so to speak) came when we found out that a couple (lovely, church-going couple who wanted to grow a family) who just loved our home, decided not to put an offer on the house because her mother convinced her that our neighborhood was "too scary". Don't even get me started on Christians who are afraid of the scary black people that live close by!!! That may be an intense blog for another day.

At the end of the day an email comes in for the nannies at the foster home in Addis where George has just been moved. "George is very sad and depressed. He is not playing with the other children. He is not talking." My heart broke.

All this..and more to be shared maybe at a later date. Just trust me, the last 24 hours have been very hard in the Weldie household. And this came just on the heels of pure joy and excitement and thanksgiving!

So, after tucking the healthy two into bed, encouraging Eleanor to finish the last of her tea, settling Lincoln into a comfortable position in his bed, I sat on the floor of Lincoln's bedroom and did the only thing I knew to do; open The Word.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11

"For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

Words that came straight from the Father's heart and ministered to me more than any self-help book, or web site about the health of my children, or conversation with a girl friend. God promised me as I sat there, that He carries me close to his heart and that He is leading me and my young. He is gathering us in, keeping us held together within his strong and protective arms. And, His word says He will help me. Sometimes that is all I am ever looking for; a little help. I am told not to fear, not to be afraid or discouraged or worrisome. I needed to remember who God is!

While I am aware of the enemy and his tactics, I worship The One who defeated him 2000 years ago when Jesus rose from the dead! Because of who God is, I am safe and secure in His arms and I know He will help me. We will get through this week, even with illnesses and broken bones. We will get home with George, even if we suffer from any number of things while in Africa. We will be a family who worships God every day and remembers that He is our shepherd who loves us.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One Week From Today!

One week. One week! ONE WEEK! I can't believe that we are leaving for Ethiopia in one week :)

I have had many people stop me and ask, "Are you ready?" I honestly don't know how to answer that question. The bunk beds are up, clean sheets are on the bed and clothes are hanging in the closet. But, it just dawned on me that we don't have enough chairs now at the dinning room table...and it really is going to be a tight sqeeze in the van...I'm wondering if we need a booster seat in the van...I have no idea what size shoes to, am I ready?

Again, this is reminscent of being pregnant the third or fourth time. Loved ones would ask if I was ready and I would smile and say, "I guess." I had the crib up and a few packs of diapers ready to go, but beyond that, I had learned that nothing truly prepared a mom for what was about to happen.

The beauty is that each and every child is so different! I was never guaranteed that my biological children would arrive healthy, content and ready to sleep through the night. There were many tough months as Joe and I tried to figure out the personalities of each child. Some liked to be cuddled, some liked sitting in their swing hours on end. Some were ready for solid food early, some spit it out until they were eight months. Some cried loudly, some just whimpered. It was a learning experience each time.

I know it will be somewhat different this time, George is obviously not an infant. But, I am prepared for months of that learning curve. We need to figure each other out - and we need to figure out how he fits into our family. We keep wondering which child will he bond to first? Will he follow after his big brother Harry, wanting to do everything he does? Or will he find comfort playing on the floor with his little brother Lincoln? Or, maybe, he will crawl into the lap of Eleanor and listen to her read him stories. Or...maybe it will be his new twin sister, Isabel, because they will be in the same classes and share birthdays?

I don't know George yet. I am not even going to guess what our lives will be like - I think that is so dangerous. I do love him - maybe. If I am being all-out honest, how can I say I love a child when I don't even know him? What I have to stand on is that God loves this child so much more than I! He will fill my heart with His love for George, and my job is to let that love flow through me into him. That is no different with my bio kids, and that is a lesson I have had to learn over and over again. These are God's children - in no way are these mine. So, I am called to a life of stewardship with these beauties.

My job as a mother is to pray for these children. And to raise them in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. Then, my job is to stay connected to the vine that provides me with enough grace, mercy, love, forgiveness and patience to raise these children. If I have let myself whither a bit, and am not feeding from the source, my patience gets short, my forgiveness is conditional and my love is very selfish. In other words, I get pretty ugly. I know the secret! I know what to do! The challenge is to wake up each day and do it!!

So, I don't know if I am ready for George. There is a lot of trust that is going on here. I am trusting God will work it all out. I am trusting that our parents will do a wonderful job with our kids at home and they won't miss us at all (highly likely!), and I am trusting that a couple of years down the road, Joe and I will look at each other and wonder what life was like without George Weldie.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Little Plaid Shirt in the Closet

It has been a bit hectic around here the last few weeks. Not only are we getting ready to go to Africa and add a son to our family, we also put our house up for sale in the hopes of moving into something a little bigger. When I look back, I think, "why not?". I realized I have made major moves three times in my life. And all three times, I have been pregnant! And since I totally feel pregnant now, why not add a move to make it feel like old times?

Anyway, I am sure this is how God shows me how much He is in control - and obviously, I have needed to learn this lesson over and over again. I have learned to sit back and wait...God WILL make His way known. I could get into a discussion about God's perfect will vs. His permissive will, but not really in the mood for that tonight.

I am in the mood to tell you about how my heart skipped a beat today. I was doing my regular running around getting the house ready for a showing when I needed to throw something into the hamper that is in Harry's closet. First thought that slammed into my mind was, "This is now the boys' room. This in no longer just Harry's room. George will be here soon!" I have a great set of bunk beds staring me in the face every time I walk past that room, and Joe found this really cool blue shag run that I just love (he has such style!).

But, what made me catch my breath a bit, and brought a huge smile to my face was when I opened up the closet door and saw this little orange plaid shirt on a hanger. That is George's shirt. This is his home.

That shirt hanging there, in one instant represented this entire journey. He is now part of our home...he has possessions here in this house. No one else can say that is their shirt. It is waiting for George and only George.

I had waited until this past week to put out clothes and set up beds. I refused to let myself get too caught up in the emotion of it all. I have been scared of it all just disappearing, suddenly finding out none of this was real. But, over the last few days, my mommy instincts are firing up into high gear. I find myself "nesting", which I never thought would happen with an adoption. I find myself actually letting myself say his name, out loud, as if he was already part of our family. I now say, "he IS our son," and not "he will be our son".

Isn't that crazy? I have a son, half way around the world. He has been moved from the orphanage that has been home for the past 13 months, into the crazy world of 3 million people in Addis. He knows we are coming...and he is waiting. What will he do when he sees me? Will he shyly walk toward Joe and I? Will he wear that amazing smile and the ever-popular dimple? Will he know I am his momma? Will he know how many nights I have not slept at all because I was praying for his safety and his protection? Will he know that I have let him into my heart? Will he know how much I love him already?

I see that shirt, dangling from a hanger that is too big for the shirt and I chuckle. I have a son, waiting to come home. Hang on, George. We're on our way!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Walking the Walk

Joe comes home from work a little early today and sits down in our rocking chair and proceeds to tell me this story about a man named John. John is the leader of a men's Bible study that Joe goes to each Thursday morning. He is a great big guy who is committed to a life of following Jesus.

Several months ago, John went to Las Vegas with his wife and family. John was given some free tickets to see the Penn and Teller Show. Amazingly, John gets chosen out of 10,000 to participate on-stage in a magic trick. After the show, John was given a prop from the trick and then went back to the hotel to catch some sleep.

In the middle of the night, John is woken up by God. Seriously! God says to John, "I want you to take a Bible to Penn."

John laughs back at God. "Are you kidding me? Penn is a vehement atheist. He hates Christians!"

"John, I want you to take a Bible to Penn. Tomorrow."

John obeys.

A few weeks later, as the men meet on a Thursday morning, John shares his story about the experience in Las Vegas. Then, it's forgotten about.

But then.. this YouTube video surfaces and Penn sits in front of his computer sharing the story about being given the Bible. I wish I could figure out how to imbed the video here - but I will post the link at the end of this entry and I encourage you to go see it for yourself.

What amazed me was this man, a professed atheist, was down right moved by a man giving him a Bible. Penn says, "I don't respect people who don't proselytize. If you believe there is a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell, or not getting eternal life...and you think it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? This guy....cared enough about me to proselytize and give me a Bible."

Did you get that? Here is someone who disagrees with everything I stand upon, and even he is saying he doesn't respect Christians who DON'T tell people about Jesus. And you now what, people? He is right!

On a side note, this reminds me of when Caiaphas says, "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." That man had no idea the TRUTH that was coming out of his mouth, but it was indeed better for all of us that Jesus died on our behalf, so we don't suffer the eternal consequences of our sin. More on that another day.

As for Penn, he is speaking the truth here! If we know there is a heaven and a hell and that many, many people around us face the reality of spending eternity in either place, why do we think that is unimportant? If we thought it was important, we would tell people about Christ in a loving, sincere way. We shouldn't worry about being socially unacceptable, we should care about some one's soul and where they will spend eternity.

There are so many lessons here in this story. First of all, John was obedient! He thought God was crazy for asking this of him, but look at the result! Second, God used that gift of a Bible to teach Penn something. Third, Penn now has a message for Christians, even if he doesn't realize it. John was walking the walk. Can someone say that about me? Can someone say that about you?

I grew up in the 80s, but can remember a phrase from the 70s that was rampant among the church. If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you of the crime?

I am so encouraged by this video - on You Tube getting over 250,000 hits! Look at how simple the message was, "Here's a Bible I wanted you to have." That simple gift made a huge impact on a man. A man that God desperately loves!

I am encouraged to walk the walk, go around my block and give Easter gifts that share the good news, and continue to love my neighbors. I am encouraged to take every opportunity to tell someone of the hope I have in Christ. I am encouraged to take the chance, say the name of Jesus, and maybe, just maybe, plant a seed that will grown into a mature relationship with our Savior.

In our obedience, God can and will use us!

Watch for youself.....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Can This Day Get Any Better?

I just finished writing about how excited I am after getting two amazing emails. Then, I get this! Two new pictures and the follwing update :

Georgebush always presents himself as a warm and happy boy. He has a wonderful and smiling face and good approach with nannies and with his age group. He has a very good appetite and his favorite foods are bread with tea, meat wat and injerra (I will be running down to the Ethiopian cottage to get some help!), and mango jouse (not sure what this is, but will investigate). He is very good with babies and has good sociability. Likes to play with kids his age. He is practicing to speak English and has good understanding of it by listening. Speaking English is limited to drawing a picture. He still has no health problems. THIS IS GREAT THANKFUL!

Oh my...I'm in love!

I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it...

Ok - I am totally dating myself here. For those of you who started singing a Pointer Sisters song are probably right around my age :) I recieved some great information over the last two days and I have been singing this song ever since.

Two weeks! Two weeks! There is not much more to say. But, I really do have more to say, probably because I am so excited!

Yesterday, I recieved the latest medical report on George. I am never happy with his lack of weight gain, but I know that will change quickly in a matter of two weeks. (Did I mention we were leaving in two weeks?) What I just love to read are the comments about his personality. Here are some excerpts:

Healthy and Sociable, a bit shy, open, He is able to experience his feeling for me example if he feel sick he is telling me that he is sick. He is very kind.

No, Medication is given for him because of having good health status.

George was not admitted in the Hospital. He is in very good health status. He is very sweet boy. He knows some English words and drawing well.

What jumps out to me, each time I get a medical report, are the comments about his disposition. Over and over, I hear words like "sweet", "shy", "kind". The caregivers won't wrote about Sweet Baby Georgebush. Then I see the pictures of the boy, with a dimple, looking at pictures of us with the sweetest little smile...and I believe I am letting down my guard.

It's really starting to happen. I am in love with this child! My heart races when I think about seeing him, and I imagine spending quiet moments in Ethiopia with him. We won't have many words to share, but my hope is that a mother's hug will speak volumes.

Today, I was surprised with George's birth certificate! Wow! I wan't expecting that. So, there is it. An official document with an official seal that says George is our son. The Ethiopian court re-named him Gorge Bush Joseph Weldie and gave him a birthdate of 2/22/2002 (isn't that cool?'s George Washington's birthday - even cooler!). As you read on, there is it...Father - Joseph Weldie, Mother - Traci Weldie. It really is real now. He is our son. He has our last name and we are his parents.

Last week, I was frozen with fear and the knowledge of how much work needed to be done. Today, I find myself smiling a lot and laughing to myself as I think that now I am a mother of 5. Five!

I can remember all to clearly the days of teaching high school as a single woman driving a 1979 Toyota Celica with 200K miles! I can remember going home to an empty apartment and cooking up some Uncle Ben's rice and eating all alone in front of the TV. Often, I would wonder what the next decade would bring. I can tell you honestly, that the idea of having 5 kids, one of whom is adopted form Africa, never entered my mind!

It is pretty amazing what happens when you start following after God, hard. He may surprise us fact, I would bet on it.

Anyway - I am so excited!