Friday, January 30, 2009

Fun Fridays

Since we've been living here in Kansas we've been celebrating Fun Fridays. It's a great time. We home school 4 hard days every week and although we do some household chores on Fridays, we also try to do something very fun (and educational) on Fridays, like field trips or special family outings. It's one of my favorite days of the week (Sunday is my absolute favorite day of the week :) I like Fridays because after we do all those chores, the house is all clean (Aaahhhh.....) and I also love doing fun stuff with my kids. :) They also look forward to Fridays every week!!

Today we happened upon "Kansas Day" at the local elementary school. The school did a great job putting this day together to celebrate the "birthday" of Kansas and we went over and participated in the school event! It was complete with volunteers in olden day prairie costumes, arts, crafts, family life activities of prairie days including gun displays, leather punching, candle making, corn husk doll making, rope making, hair braiding, an apple cider press, marble games, etc. etc. etc. EVERYTHING was hands on and the kids came home with tons of special "Kansas" projects! We had a great time and I was so blessed to find out about the activity from a dear neighbor. What fun this was!! Hope you enjoy these photos!

We haven't heard anything this week from BFAS about "EMMA and JOSHUA". I'm not sure I ever wrote the post that I intended to this past week (it's been a good but busy week) letting you all know that we DID finally decide on these American names for our children from Ethiopia. We *may* still use their Ethiopian names, but we just don't know what they are yet-- so we had to give them some names so we could discuss and pray for them specifically as a family!
Emma means, " One whom heals"
Joshua means "One whom God has saved."

Perfect names for our little ones!! Anyway-- We are really ready to get their medical and family history information, as well as their names. I expect we'll get this information any moment now. I'm trying hard to be patient. It'll be nice to know some more about them and sign all of the official documents so we can officially start waiting for a court date which will HOPEFULLY be sometime in April.

By the way-- Joel and I just finished reading "There's No Me Without You" by Melissa Fay Greene.....very good book. It really impacted my perspective of international adoptions from Ethiopia. I highly recommend this book for anyone involved in orphan care, and everyone adopting from Ethiopia. I just received "Red Letters" by Tom Davis in the mail today---- I'll keep you posted about this book. I'm excited about reading it to see how God is using this man....I've already heard so much about his mission and heart for the lonely!!!

Since we got our referral, my heart has ached for Emma and Joshua. Since I saw them, I have been so concerned for their broken hearts. I am sure they are lonely and confused, scared and sad. I can't imagine what they have been through in losing their parents. We are on the other side of the world and we can't help them. I can't show them love yet. How does God know just what truths I need to hear every time I go to him in prayer and open my Bible for study??? Amazing. I can't be with these children to comfort, love, protect and be there for them yet but God can and He is with them. Thank you Lord.
These are the Scriptures that I touched me today and spoke to my grieving heart..........

Psalm 10:17 "Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them."

Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit."

Matthew 11:28 " Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

Please pray for Emma and Joshua.

Blessings and hope your Friday was Fun, too--- AMY

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Next Step..... more waiting!

So this is just a little note to give you an update of what is next in our adoption process. Since this is the question I've been answering the most the last few days, I thought you blog stalkers might like to know also!!! :)

First, we will receive the medical and family history information on these two siblings. (We are praying this happens in the next few days.) Then, if everything looks ok with their information, we will officially accept the referral by signing and notarizing some official forms from our agency. Then, we'll WAIT.

Our "dossier" (the packet that we compiled with tons of required documents for the adoption) is in Ethiopia and is being translated into AMHARIC, the national language of Ethiopia. I think I understood that our translated dossier will be picked up tomorrow by our agency staff. Our translated dossier and the paperwork for the children will then be submitted to the court system in Ethiopia (our agency director made it sound like this would happen this next week in her referral email to us but we understand that we are dealing with the bureacracy of a third world country and there are lots of complicated, unexplainable things in all beaurocratic systems!!! So, you can guarantee we'll be praying for that one too!!) Then, we'll WAIT.

While we are waiting, the Ethiopian courts will verify all of the documents and then give us a court date. They will notify us of the court date. It is probably safe to say our court date won't happen BEFORE March 31 but it will probably be in April sometime. Then, we'll WAIT.

After the court date, IF we pass first try( ok-- we will be praying about this date too!!) we will be the legal parents of these two precious babies and we will WAIT to travel to pick them up between 2-4 weeks after the court date. Hopefully, they will be home with us by late spring. We are optimistic and we believe in the power of prayer!!

So--- that's what is in store for us along this journey. We will WAIT while our paperwork is being juggled around in Ethiopia. The hardest part of this is that we are on the other side of the world and we can't see or know what is going on in Ethiopia every day to help move the process along for our adoption, and WAITing is so hard when you don't know what's being done to bring these babies home. I am going to really pray for peace and I'm going to keep reminding myself that just because we don't HEAR any news or updates, this does not mean that the process is not taking place--- it's just that we can't see the progress and we lose faith.

This reminds me of the story in the Bible when Jesus was walking across the water and Peter asked if he could walk across the water towards Jesus? Jesus said, go ahead. So, Peter, gets out of the boat and starts walking across the water. But the
minute the water gets a little rocky and Peter takes his eyes off of Jesus, he starts to sink. Jesus catches him and says, "oh, ye of little faith."

I don't want to sink. I know Jesus also told me to "GET OUT OF THE BOAT AND COME TO HIM" in pursuing this adoption. He told me to get out of my comfort zone, have faith, be obedient in caring for orphans. He spoke to me and told me to WALK with HIM and LOVE as Jesus loved. He told me to GET OUT OF THE BOAT AND COME TO HIM!! This is His plan, His will-- I don't want to take my eyes off of Jesus because I don't want to sink and I know that HE will carry me through this and safely carry me to the other side!!

Please continue to pray for us, pray for Emma and Joshua (these are most likely, going to be the American first names for our Ethiopian children) and please also pray for the other families in various stages of adopting with BFAS. There are 5 court dates among our friends this week--- I will be lifting each one up in prayer so these little Ethiopian babies can come home to loving families and homes, soon-- please join me in lifting them up!!

Many Blessings---

Friday, January 23, 2009


Did I mention that these 2 children are beautiful??? I just can't stop staring at them!! Their little smiles are contagious and I find myself smiling back at their pictures because their smiles are just so amazing!!! They have a sparkle in their eyes and a smile that you can't even imagine!! I CAN'T WAIT to show everyone how sweet these two children are....but because of Ethiopian laws, I can't post their photos on public domains and websites, until we are home with them!!

So, just trust me--- they are beautiful. They are gifts from God and true treasures!!

James 1:17 "Whateve is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights."

We are so blessed,

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We received the phone call and email from BFAS yesterday, January 21, 2009. It was a referral for siblings. An adorable 2 year old boy and his precious 4 year old sister. They are at Kunkeet and we were so thrilled to recognize the siblings in some of the photos that a fellow (sweet and thoughtful) prospective adoptive parent, Nguyet, posted to the BFAS site last week. I was stunned, shocked, amazed, excited and speechless. The children are beautiful and are a perfect match for our family. We are both excited and humbled. Our heart aches for another family, around the world- that for whatever reason, has been and is still hurting. I can only pray that God knows and will give comfort and peace to these people on the other side of the world that are suffering. We are thrilled yet at the same time, saddened to know these children have been through so much loss and grief in their young lives. We also grieve for the birth parents and family, for their loss. I can't imagine the heartache of a mother, father or the children enduring the hardships these people have faced that brought them to this place in life. We will honor their gift of life and are humbled to open our home, love and share our family with these beautiful siblings.

It is also very important to note that we don't have full disclosure of information yet. We are still awaiting the children's medical or family history but, Angela told us that this information will be sent by Agitu as soon as possible via email
(hopefully we'll know more about these children tomorrow!!)I am an optimist!!! :)

The BFAS staff has been amazing to us and we appreciate their hard
work and tireless efforts in helping the orphaned children of
Ethiopia find loving homes, despite the MANY challenges that they
face in this complicated process. Thank you Agitu, Haile, Angela,
Molly, and all of the rest of the BFAS staff for the work you are
doing. You will wear many crowns and jewels in heaven!!!

For our dear friends and family-- PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE CHILDREN!!! PLEASE PRAY FOR THEM!! PLEASE PRAY FOR US!!! Pray that the Lord would heal the hurts these children have endured, keep them healthy, protect them from any danger, provide their nutritional needs, and open their hearts to a new family and knit our hearts together. Pray that we are equipped to love them through all the challenges, to know how to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Please pray that we are patient with the rest of the adoption process. I thought it would be easier once we "knew" who they were.....I don't think this was an accurate guess of how I would feel--- seeing their beautiful faces makes me know and feel even more of a sense of URGENCY to love them, to protect and provide for them, to bring them home- than I've felt yet!! I think God is already knitting them into my heart and that is so amazing to me. God is so good.

Thank you Lord.

These scriptures are fitting today.....
Psalm 68:5 "Father to the fatherless, defender of widows--THIS is
God, whose dwelling is holy."

Psalm 78:4 "We will not hide these truths from our children but will
tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord."


Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK Day!! It has been so nice to have an extra long, 3 day weekend. We've enjoyed the break and change in pace.

Our family is doing well. Everyone is healthy right now. The kiddos are doing fairly well with their school work and are growing and learning new things every day. For the most part, we are on target and where we should be in our curriculums right now but our days seem to have gotten a little crazier in the past several months. In the past I read a book called "Managers of Their Homes" by Teri Maxwell and it was a very good guide and book of suggestions for organizing your homeschool and family time so that you can have peace in the home. I don't follow her scheduling to the 30 minute increments like suggested (that's a little TOO regimented for me), but I do try to use many of her ideas to help organize my days at home with my children so that we can accomplish our school work, chores, quiet times and play time without the craziness. When I try to stick to my planned "schedule"-- our days do work out so much better and we accomplish so much more. But....recently, I've been struggling to maintain a schedule, as I've been very easily distracted by unimportant "things" (ie....dirty dishes, the laundry pile, phone calls, facebook, email (waiting for the referal and checking my inbox way too often!! and etc.etc.) So-- recognizing that we have some room for improvement in our home and homeschool day- I am going to re-read this book and seek that the Lord help me to focus on those tasks that I need to make priorities and let the other "things" fall to the side so that our home can be more peaceful, more productive, and a place of refuge-- not craziness!!

Regarding our adoption.....we are continuing to pray for the Lord's perfect timing and plan for our family. Praying for patience and peace, also. No referrals have been given since December 26 (to my knowledge) so we are hopeful and praying that the families in front of us on the waiting list get some good news (referals!!) soon so that there is some movement on the waiting list and we will be one step closer!! We're also praying for those families with court dates in the next few weeks--- if these processes go smoothly and the adoptions pass through the ET courts first try, well, logically there will be more time ( and energy!) for the BFAS employees in ET to focus on getting those new referrals out!! So, while I am really praying hard for OUR adoption process,I am also praying for the other families that have also been called to care for orphans and are waiting on this journey, also!

Hope your day is blessed and restful--

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Name Game

The Name Game.......So that's what Joel and I have been doing for the last few days. We have always struggled with naming our children and this adoption is no exception. While we have decided that we will "probably" give our children new first names and keep their Ethiopian name as their middle name.....we have not decided on these names. The "probably"--- is mentioned because if our children's given Ethiopian names are easy to enunciate and spell- we will proudly keep their given name from Ethiopia. But, in our culture and society, we don't want our children to always be in the spot light because their name is so incredibily different than their peers names, but we do want to honor and remember their Ethiopian names, so we'll use them as their middle names.

So---- we don't have a referral yet and we don't know what gender children we are going to adopt. This makes naming even more challenging-- so we're just really trying to come up with some good ideas for all gender combinations just in case. We do want to give our children their names before we bring them home so that we can specifically pray for them by name and begin introducing them to our 2 1/2 year old so that he can start to associate with the children--- he's just too young to understand "adoption"-- but he will be able to look at a picture of these 2 children and understand their names and become familiar with them as a part of our family discussions and prayers. So----- here are a few of our favorite names.......
might I also mention that we do take into account the meanings of names and think they are important.....

For 2 girls----- Emma(one who heals) and Ella(light)
For 1 girl and 1 boy--- Sarah (princess) and Samuel (name of God)
For 2 boys---- Joshua (whom God has saved) and Justin (the just)

We also like these names......Jordan (decending), Grace (the graceful), Meagan (the strong), Ava (lovely bird), Grant (great), Spencer (giver of provisions),
Isabella using nickname of Bella(consecrated to God).

We would LOVE some input so if you have some great names and want to play the name game with us, feel free to comment on this post and give us some new ideas!!! We need as much help as we can get!!!

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor more than gold and silver." Proverbs 22:1


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quiet days, Quite days.

The last few days have been quiet days on the adoption front. Not much information to pass along or share yet......we are just waiting for a referral and praying for those sweet, innocent, scared and lonely children that have no family to call their own today. We are praying and waiting. God knows the right timing, God knows the children, God knows our family and our strengths, weaknesses, and our abilities.
God knows.
I'm really TRYING not to worry about the details, just trying to TRUST God with all that I am. But, in my effort to be transparent in this blog, I will admit again that this has been super hard for me. God has shown me that my walk with Him needs some growing in the trust department. There are moments every day when fear grips me and I have a dialog similar to this one in my head--- "I am crazy.....WE are crazy.....why do I think I can handle any more on my plate right now, especially two emotionally needy children. Everyone else thinks we are crazy to adopt right now, too......How will we do this? What if we FAIL at parenting these children and our family crumbles because of the additional stress?? What if there is not enough of me to go around! What are we doing? Etc, Etc, Etc....."

But......when I stop my rambling, whining and put a kibosh on my personal little anxiety attack--and when I re-focus on God, and not on myself...... I have peace and I KNOW THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE GOD WANTS US TO BE AND WE ARE DOING WHAT HE HAS CALLED US TO DO RIGHT NOW. God knows and will give us the strength and endurance to run this race. God brought us to this place, no doubt. We know that God called us to adoption and to fulfill this purpose right now, we know this for sure.

What I doubt is my ability- what I fear is failure and what people think of me. But, I believe God's Word. In His Holy Word, He tells me that I don't have to do this.....GOD will do it THROUGH me. I know that God does not give us a spirit of FEAR, but of love and sound mind.......I know that I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me...... Who can be against me, if God is on my side???
THESE ARE GOD'S TRUTHS......the little ramblings in my mind, are attacks by my flesh and they are lies and they are NOT from God. God is TRUTH.

So, this is my prayer request today--- please pray that we are strengthened, encouraged, and steadfast and unwavering in our adoption journey. Please pray that God's TRUTHS are our compass and guiding light. Pray that we trust Him and have faith that He will work out the little details!!

So, while the last few days have been quiet days on the adoption front, they have also been "quite" the days for me, emotionally and spiritually. It's an adoption journey from above, for sure.....I can feel the growth pains and spiritual stretching!!! :)

Hope your Sunday has been blessed--- AMY

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dossier On It's Way To Ethiopia

Got the call today from BFAS, that after some minor hold ups with expiration dates on some agency paperwork, the newly dated agency paperwork has arrived and our dossier is now moving, really on it's way to Ethiopia. We are still officially waiting as of 12-19-08, but our completed dossier, with all the appropriate authentications and apostles, etc. is now on it's way to the birth country of our children.

I've had a roller coaster day today. The emotions that come with an adoption are much more intense than I ever expected. There is the sense of knowing that what and where we are is the perfect place in God's perfect plan and those are such peaceful, powerful moments. And then...... there's the sense of an overwhelming urge to totally be in control of paperwork and processes that are totally out of my control so that I can hurry up and help and love and protect and nurture and mother these 2 children that so desperately need a mother!!! Frustration develops at this place and I realize that these feelings are worldly, and exhibit a very human lapse in my faith and trust in God's provision, God's protection, God's timing, and God's Divine plan for our lives. I am humbled by my weaknesses and thankful that God knows my struggles and is so gracious and loving to me, in spite of my shortcomings.

Please pray that we are strong enough to wait for the Lord. Please pray that we are able to more fully trust in God's perfect plan, His perfect timing, and His provision for us and for all of our children. God knows.

My favorite scriptures that I repeat to myself daily to keep my life in focus when I'm feeling like I need to control things......

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Blessed Day

After a very busy but good Monday, here are some of the small moments that happened today that I am thankful for......

1)The kids worked hard on all their schoolwork.

2)During Jackson's language arts this morning, he said, "Wow Mom--- I love looking things up in the dictionary with you-- this is fun!" aaaahhhhh-- a great homeschool mom moment!!!

3)Madilyn told me "goodnight" and said "I Love You" in Amharic at bedtime. They are so excited about adopting from Ethiopia. So sweet.

4)Joel found out today that when we travel to Ethiopia, the Army allows 21 days of "non-chargeable" leave for an adoption. YEEHAW!! Free days off for him to travel for the adoption.....YEA!! God is good.

5)While I was cooking dinner tonight, Joel Daniel played legos in the floor for 45 minutes straight, alone. It was so peaceful and nice!! Several months ago, I was dreaming of him playing independently and quietly for only 10 minutes-- he's rounding that toddler corner!!

6) I caught up on all my laundry today. Whew. That was big.

7) When we walking next door to Bible study this evening, Hannah ran down the stairs, out into the 20 degree coldness in her PJ's just to give me a kiss and say she loves me. aaaahhhhh....they are such treasures!

8) We got word today that we are OFFICIALLY waiting for a referral as of 12-19-08.

9) I read 3 chapters in a fun-read for myself tonight. Nice.

10) The kids are in bed..... and sleeping. :)

Psalm 40:16 " May all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "The Lord is Great!"


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy 2009

Well---we're home. We've unpacked all the suitcases and gifts, gone grocery shopping, and are truly settled again. That was a lot of work!!!

We had a nice visit to Texas and got to spend good time with our families. The kids did great on the 9 hour drive both to and from there and overall it was lots of fun. We were all sick part of the time, but we still enjoyed being there. We did not get to make all the connections and visit with our extended families as much as we had planned since we got sick- but we did get to see everyone at least once over the break!! We were actually all exhausted by the end of our 2 week trip and I welcomed 2009 in my PJ's, being cozy and comfortable at home. We drove back to Kansas on New Year's Day.

I am constantly amazed that the time has flown by so quickly and 2008 is now gone. It was a year full of changes, growth, and pleasant memories for us. We've been so blessed and looking back, I realize that we are not grateful enough for the goodness God has lavished on us over the past year. Don't get me wrong here, we are thankful for the blessings God has given us, but I know we become complacent to the good things and take it for granted that it will always be "good". Over the holiday break in Texas, I had a huge reminder of the evidence that I take good things for granted every day. Our family was struck by a stomach flu. UUUGGGGHHHH!! Yuck! No fun! Terrible! Did I mention, my FAMILY was struck....not just one or two of us-- it swept it's way through (no pun intended :)) ALL of us, for the last 7 days. We quarantined ourselves from our families, bleached, sanitized, changed bedding, and cleaned like crazy---but this bug still managed to hit some of our extended family members too-(Sorry Angela, Amberly, Katie, Braden, London, Dawson :() But-- this little illness was a good reminder to me that my health, feeling great every day is taken for granted. I felt so rotten when I was sick. I was weak, exhausted and just felt terrible. I need to be continually thankful for all good things- my health and my families' health included at the top of that list!! :)

On the adoption front-- all is going fine. Our completed dossier was sent to our agency on December 15 and we applied for advance visa's with CIS and got our fingerprinting on that day also. We were told that the CIS approval letter would take 60-90 days to get back, but we were pleased to find the very non-descript, plain envelope with the approval letter in our mail stack when we returned. Apparently, it was processed in 4 days. Wow!!

Our dossier has NOT made it to Ethiopia yet-- our agency says it will hopefully be sent this next week. They had some expiration date issues on their agency paperwork and had to get those things resolved before they could send our documents. I'm so glad they caught those expiration date problems and let us know about the hold up. We will be officially waiting for a referral when our documents arrive in Ethiopia and they project a max wait of 1-2 months for a referral. Don't worry- we'll keep you posted!!

In the meantime, please pray for the 2 specific children God has planned to join our family. I'm praying that God comforts them in such a time of turmoil, confusion and loss. That God protects them from any harm and that God provides for their physical needs to be met until He places them in our home. I'm also praying that once they join our home- they will be receptive to our family, they'll accept our love, heal emotionally from the losses and hurts they've endured in their pasts, and adjust to all the changes with resilience. Please join me in praying for them also.

I've been pondering these words of Jesus this morning--

"When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just." Luke 14:13-14

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." Matthew 6: 19-20

Blessings-- AMY