Saturday, February 28, 2009

A few photos...

The kids pose for a quick picture to send to Emma and Joshua in a care package! We have been blessed to send them a care package- it was fun to gather up sweet gifts for Emma and Joshua.

Jackson really wanted to make his own cake this year, literally. He did a great job. He wanted a football cake (his favorite sport) so he made it and even iced it. I only helped a little with his name!!

US on Jackson's 9th birthday with his beautiful cake!! It really was a tasty and very cool cake!

On our FUN FRIDAY last week Mommommy, Poppy and I took the kids on a field trip to the Steamship Arabia Museum (VERY cool!!) and then to the "70 years of OZ" celebration! It was a neat children's exhibit of the Wizard of OZ! We do live in Kansas, you know, so we've had to watch this movie many times while we have lived here!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009


I've been sluggish to blog these last few days......I've been struggling in many different ways and have really been seeking the Lord for peace and strength during my computer time each day so forgive my absence but I've needed to be in the Word, reading His truths, praying, and reminding myself that GOD is bigger than all our struggles and desires.

Last weekend was lots of fun celebrating Jackson's 9th birthday with Joel's parents here. We really enjoyed our time with them and the kids were so surprised to see Mommommy and Poppy at the restaurant when we met them for dinner-- the looks on their faces and their joy in seeing their grandparents was priceless. Another neat memory!

Mommommy, Jackson and Poppy at Tampico's for a pre-birthday, surprise dinner!!

So there are some challenges and things that have been weighing down my spirit these last few days and I'll share a few of them with you here....

On Monday we received some news about WHY we haven't received any news or our medical histories on our 2 referred children. It has been 6 weeks since we got our referral and we initially were told we would get the information in the "next day or two" but apparently there have been some issues to resolve. Of course, the information I was given is confidential and I was asked not to share publicly so I can't go into details..... but it wasn't great news and the issues are not medical as we had assumed. They are hoping to resolve the issues and still move forward with the adoption so the news isn't terrible- just not great for "our" timing. So, I've been struggling with feeling out of control and being patient-- I'm just READY for the official information on our children, our official acceptance of this referral, and then positive movement towards a court date. Purely a worldly desire on my part, as I know in my heart that GOD is in control and that HE has much better plans for me than I could ever imagine (Jeremiah 29:11). I definitely know that God being in control is the better option-- I'm just struggling with waiting on God's timing! That seems so silly to write down- "I'm having a hard time waiting on God" but in utter honesty-- it's how I really feel. UUUUGHHHH--- the battle!!

I also have several dear friends in my life that are struggling in their marriages. My heart is breaking for them and I've been praying constantly for their relationships with their spouses. That He would restore them and give them wisdom, peace and strength in the midst of adversity. My heart hurts for their pain and agony--- their tears have been shared and I am praying for the protection and restoration of theses families. I am adamantly standing behind my sweet friends in REBUKING Satan---proclaiming Jesus as THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. The evil one comes to kill and destroy but these families belong to GOD--- get behind me Satan! God' Truth in Mark 10: 6-9 "But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not seperate." Please pray for my sweet friends that are struggling, they are unnamed by me on this blog but they are known to God. Please pray--- my heart is so heavy for these families.

Over the last few days God has also been laying some scripture on my heart.....It's about the "Transfiguration" in Mark 9:2-12. Until last Sunday-- I can't remember EVER reading this scripture and I've read Mark many times before. This scripture was mentioned in our pastor's sermon on Sunday and I came home and looked it up because I did not recognize the reference he made. On Monday night-- at our Bible study--- again, this passage was referenced and read. On Tuesday, I was listening to my Christian radio station in my kitchen and there it was again-- "The transfiguration" scripture. You're probably not going to believe me but last night, I was reading in my 365 day Bible and the New Testament scripture for Day 56 (February 26) was Mark 9:2-12: The Transfiguration. LORD--- what do I need to learn from these words you keep laying before me? I read the scriptures over and over again. What is God speaking to me through this specific scripture???

During the transfiguration, Jesus took Peter, James and John up to a mountain to pray. There Jesus was transfigured before them in glorious light and white-ness and appeared with Moses and Elijah. The disciples were scared and confused. God spoke to the disciples through a cloud that enveloped them and said, "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

Well- I've been scared and confused lately, too. During this whole adoption process I've questioned my calling to parent two more children. I've questioned God's timing-"Do you really want us to adopt TWO orphans Lord- now??" I've been in my own"cloud" of fear and confusion. We've tried to be obedient in God's calling for us to pursue this adoption and I've seen His GLORY work out situations and open many doors through this process already. BUT-- I've also been impatiently waiting and showing a lack of real trust and faith in HIS plan. I believe God has been speaking to me, again..."Jesus is my Son, whom I love. Listen to HIM." I realize today that my understanding and appreciation for Jesus must go beyond what He can do for me here and now. His eternal Kingdom is so much different than the values of this world. So much better!! I need to truly listen to HIM and follow His example. I need to stop expecting Him to just give me instant relief from my present struggles and challenges but instead trust in His guiding and loving work in my life. My trust and faith in Jesus needs to grow, especially during these rough moments! God is good and keeps loving and growing me every day. Thanks for following our journey- it has been such an emotional and spiritual stretching for me!

We're praying Emma and Joshua get to come home soon!

Ps-- Have I mentioned lately that I just stare at their pictures and smile....they are both soooo adorable!

Hope your weekend is blessed-

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Surprise Visit

YEA!!! We got a call last night from Mommommy and Poppy (Joel's parents) and they wanted to come for a surprise birthday visit for Jackson this weekend!! YEA!! We can't wait! The kids and I have been missing our extended families a lot the last few days(and that nice, mild Texas winter weather)lately, but we had no idea that a visit would be coming up so soon! We are very happy and looking forward to some time with Mommommy and Poppy!
Jackson's 9th birthday is this Saturday and he has been counting down for months. It just amazes me that he is going to turn 9!! Where or where does the time go?? He is such a joy to me and I look forward to celebrating his birthday this weekend!! He has 2 special friends that will be coming over for a sleepover on Friday night and then he has his birthday menu all planned out (for the last few years we have let them pick their favorite foods on their birthday- very fun!). So, Jackson has everything planned out and even put the special items on my grocery list today! HAHA!! He wants pancakes/bacon/sausage for breakfast, chicken nuggets and macaroni for lunch and pizza for dinner on Saturday. I really wish he wanted some veggies, too and I may have to add some 'bonus' side dishes in there because I just can't feed them all that unhealthy stuff without adding something green! :) The funniest part of his MENU is this... He has also requested a football cake with "REAL" vanilla ice cream. HAHA!! Now this request made me laugh because I didn't know they knew the difference between the healthier frozen yogurt that I normally buy and the yummy ("REAL") Blue Bell ice cream!! I guess they have finally figured out that I've been trying to trick them and they really do like the "REAL" ice cream more than my healthier version! HAHA! It is his birthday so I guess I"ll give in and get the "REAL" thing! Jackson is such a gift and blessing to us!! God is so good!

The kids have absolutely NO IDEA that their sweet grandparents are coming and they will be on cloud nine at about 5pm tomorrow! It's been a hard secret to keep from them because Joel and I are excited!! We are really looking forward to a fun, family-filled weekend full of birthday celebrations and time together! I'll let you know how Jackson's menu works out!! I hope your weekend is great also!


PS--- no adoption updates yet. Please pray for Emma and Joshua and specifically that we get their full information soon so we can start moving forward to bringing them home!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Wow--- as I just sat down to this computer I realize that I am really tired tonight. This was a 3 day weekend for us and it has been a full of fun activities: a family shopping trip, laundry, basketball games, laundry, grocery store,
2 consecutive date nights(not normal but it was fun!), Sunday School, church, laundry,a dinner party, a sleepover, and today was full of some major chores and catching up on things like going through dressers and closets, to pack away those clothes the kiddos have outgrown and yes-- I did finally fold all of that laundry! YEA!! I am caught up on my laundry....but only until tomorrow morning-- so don't feel jealous or anything!! HAHA! :)

Anyway--- we have been more busy the last few days than we normally are and we have also felt that during these busy days, we have really been under attack as a family. I am not only physically tired, but I am also emotionally tired. A good night of sleep will do me good!!!

As for adoption news.....nothing yet. We are just waiting for medicals and family history information. We did get a very brief email that stated it would probably be another week before we got our medical and family histories on these siblings. My immediate response was ANOTHER WEEK??? WHY??? Well---I really don't know but I am trying hard to be patient and trust that God's timing is better than mine. He KNOWS all of our Army/moving issues, He KNOWS Emma and Joshua's issues, He can move the mountains and He can take care of this adoption. He LOVES us all and has a plan for our lives. This wait is a part of God's plan and is not mine to control! I have been struggling to be patient and WAIT and TRUST--but I am clinging to God's truths and repeating them over and over in my mind.....

Habakkuk 2:13 "If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed."

Psalm 94:19 "When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer."

1Corinthians 13:4 "Love is patient and kind."

Philippians 4:13 "For I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me."

Hebrews 11:1 "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen."

Hebrews 10:36 "Patient Endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised."

Hope your weekend was great and your night is restful.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thawing Out

Last night Joel and I went on a Valentine's date with 10 other couples from his small group at CGSC. We ate at Stix and had a YUMMY and FUN Hibachi grill experience. It was a really great dinner out.

Now, if you go back to the beginning our our blog to read the whole story-- you'll know that Joel was NOT onboard to adopt just 6 months ago. He was praying about it with me, but he was a little resentful towards me because he didn't think we could handle more craziness in our house!! ANYWAY-- the LORD has changed his heart in an amazing way and he is so excited now, that "did we get any adoption news today?" is the first question he asks me when he gets home from work every evening. He also has shared photos and our adoption adventure stories with those military folks he is in class with every day. To make a long story short--- he's been talking about the adoption-- LOTS!!

Well, to be very honest with you-- even though I am totally pro-adoption and feel led by God to pursue this adoption---there is a part of ME that hesitates to tell people we are adopting. I know lots of folks will think we are crazy and insane to WANT 6 children and I don't feel particularly comfortable going through the whole story and be in the center of a conversation, etc. etc. etc..

Well- I am sure that you know what God is doing to me, right?

You got it..... He is making me get out of my comfort zone. He is growing and stretching me in a most uncomfortable way! AAAGHGHHGH!!! I was asked MANY MANY questions last night during our Valentine's date about our adoption and I was also asked to speak to a women's group in a few weeks on the subject of the orphan crisis in the world and how we as Christians can make a difference for these children. Can you imagine? I am NOT a public speaker. I am NOT funny or eloquent. I am NOT qualified to speak on adoption. Really---I just filled out a bunch of forms on a checklist. I am so overwhelmed that God is opening these doors of conversation about adoption but I am also excited.

I am super excited because I can see God working during these discussions. I know in my weakness, HE is strong. I am excited because I KNOW that God is planting seeds and opening doors and windows and converstations that will lead other Christians to DO SOMETHING to help these helpless children. God holds the orphan close to his heart and in the Bible, He calls us to care for them but most of us are frozen as Americans. We KNOW there is a crisis out there in the world, but we are just FROZEN because we don't know what we can do to change and impact the crisis. So we just pretend it's really not there and we just pass by on the other side of the road. Why do we do this??? I think we are overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the problem. The orphan crisis is so huge and we are so small. There 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia and it may not seem like much, my friends-- but our family is THAWING OUT and we are going to change the world for 2 of those 4.5 million children. God is at work in our lives and I am so humbled to share our story.

Pray about what YOU can do, also. Maybe you can't adopt children into your home right now....but you CAN send $30.00 a month to Africa to feed, clothe, medicate, and educate an orphan. You CAN pray. You CAN support a Gogo(local Ethiopian foster mom) through a Christian nonprofit organization. You CAN start a orphan ministry in your church. You CAN support and encourage those families you know who are adopting.


You can do something to care for one orphan in our world, and for that child--
you WILL change the world.

Check out the tabs on my blog for several Christian organizations that we've researched and are supporting. These people are sharing God's love to orphans around the world. Please join us on this journey!

WITH LOVE on Valentine's Day,

Sunday, February 8, 2009


So this week was full of lessons for me. I wish I had taken the time to stop and write about each one as they happened but I didn't, and now I'm pretty overwhelmed at the thought of typing about these moments because they've all been so profound. God's goodness has been evident to me all week, even though we've faced many challenges and bumps along the path. I'll share two of the most striking issues we've faced this week and what God has shown me through them.

Lesson #1...... I need to be thankful, even for the things I may not think I want or want to be thankful for.

This week "Uncle Sam" sent us an email informing us that our next Army assignment was going to be changed. We were assigned to move to Ft. Bliss in November and while I haven't been particularly EXCITED about moving to El Paso TX, we were OK with it. I groaned and whined under my breath (El Paso is not a garden spot) but it was ok. The job was going to be good for Joel and the dwell time was going to be approximately 12-18 months so that was ideal for us since we are pursuing the adoption at this point. Well, the NEW assignment was going to be with a unit deploying in May/June and my dear hubby would be immediately deployed for 12 months after graduating from this course. Reminder--- we are in the MIDDLE of adopting siblings from Ethiopia and we will probably travel in May/June. So-- the prospect of travelling to a foreign country alone, bringing home 2 scared and confused kids (along with a language barrier)while next moving to another state, and a starting a one year deployment........well, short story- these ideas sent me into panic mode. Those are many life changing events all in a very short period of time!! We began praying for wisdom for Joel when he spoke with "Uncle Sam" and we also prayed for God's will to be done in this situation and that He would have us go where we needed to be to accomplish His will in our lives. After 3 long days of waiting.....we got the reply email back last night and "Uncle Sam" is going to let us move to Ft. Bliss as planned since we are in the middle of our adoption. They even wished us well with the adoption process. OH, THANK YOU LORD!!! I am now REALLY thankful and REALLY excited about moving to EL PASO. I know it's NOT a garden spot, but I know it is where God wants us and that's exactly where I want to be! Looking back over these last few days of uncertainty, and the hard questions that have come up......I can honestly say that it has been amazing to see God at work on our behalf. To realize that He restored HIS plan for us, despite the "needs of the Army". I am comforted that He knows the needs of our family at this very moment, and he protected HIS plan for us!! Isn't that cool???

Lesson #2.... Compassion. Yesterday, we got an email about our adoption. We did NOT get our medical reports yet, but we did find out WHY we haven't gotten them. Apparently, when our children were examined last week by the agency pediatrician, the DR found that our little boy has "deformed legs". They are waiting for the x-rays reports to be gotten back and added to the medical files. This was a jaw-dropping moment for me. WHAT??? A LEG DEFORMITY?? What does that mean? Can he walk? Will he be able to walk/run/play with other children? Will he require a wheelchair for the rest of his life? Oh my goodness.....what does this mean for our adoption? Will we still accept this referral???

I immediately began looking closely at the photos that were sent to me of the children.....According to the photos, this little guy has 2 formed legs, 2 formed feet, and 10 toes. His legs look normal. He is sitting correctly with the exception that one foot is turned slightly inwards! OHHHHH--- maybe he's just pigeon toed. Or bow legged. Maybe it's a correctable problem with medical treatment. But what if it's worse? Can I handle a major orthopedic issue in my life right now? Are these the siblings for us???? What are we going to do now???

I began to pray for his sweet legs- for healing. I began praying for clarity in the medical reports so that I could understand the extent of the problem when we get this information and I started to pray for our correct response to this news when the Lord stopped my rambling and spoke to me. These were the words God spoke to me...."THIS BOY IS MADE IN MY IMAGE. He may be lame or deformed by your standards, but what gives you the right to determine his value or worth to me, based on your idea of physical perfection? I desire compassion from you and mercy. Love as I first loved you. Remember my words, Whatever you do to the least of these, you do also to me."


I was so wrong. I am ashamed to admit to you, but I had started making judgements on this poor child's ability to be a part of our family based on his physical imperfection, before I even realized what I was thinking. I had to ask for God's forgiveness. At that very moment, God showed me that while I might not have a physical deformity, I am worldly, sinful, and have a very lame heart. I need to have the compassion of Christ for others, namely--for this little boy. I needed to recognize that at this very moment, I am a part of the plan of GOD! God may have planned for THIS to be the child that is plucked out of that orphanage because he has a need greater than the others. He and his sister! We can provide medical care and treatment for a leg problem! God showed me that my compassion needs to grow. After praying and discussing our little boys' medical needs, this is the email note we sent back regarding his leg deformity.....
"Thank you Agitu for the update on the medical reports. We appreciate that your pediatrician did a thorough exam and will be praying that the X-ray report gets to you quickly. We have been/are praying for these two children and have faith that this sweet boy’s “leg deformity” is one that we can help him to overcome with good medical care here in the US. We really look forward to finding out more about these children and we still anticipate moving forward with their adoption despite this little boys’ possible medical issue." 

My desire is to be honest here and share both my joys and my struggles. My pride makes it difficult to journal about my shortcomings but my prayer is that God will use my testimony to bring Him glory and honor. He carries me when I am weak. He forgives me when I mess up. He is compassionate and kind, even with me! He loves me even though I don't deserve it.

Please pray for Joshua and Emma. Please pray for our family. Please pray for me. These are only 2 of the pretty emotional events that have caused me stress this week-there have been many others that I won't mention because of time. I feel that we are under attack at this very moment and satan is trying so hard to shake our Faith in Christ, and undermine the Work of Christ in our family. Pray that we are strengthened and steadfast in fulfilling God's plan!

Many Blessings---

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sweet Letters to Ethiopia

For Madilyn's journal entry this morning, she asked if she could write a letter to "Emma and Joshua". Of course, I said yes and so I wanted to share her final draft with you because it touched my heart. It is precious to see the love of Christ in our children. It teaches me so much about the truly important things in life and motivates me to re-examine my priorities and focus on truly loving others the way Christ loves us. What a joy this morning was for me. I hope you enjoy this, also.

Dear Emma & Joshua,
My name is Madilyn Marie Newsom!!! I am nearly 11 years old. In just a few months we are going to come get you and bring you and your brother home to live with us !!! I am so excited to meet you and your little brother !!! I just can’t wait to meet you!! You have the prettiest smile I have ever seen !!!!! We bought you and your little brother some clothes and a toy to send to you !!! I think about you every single day!!! I am sorry you don’t have a family right now but we want you to come and be part of our family. Every day is a day closer till I get to meet you and your little brother !!!!


P.S what is your favorite color?

Isn't that just pure sweetness on paper? I love when I get a sweet glimpse into the hearts of my children. I am so thankful the Lord is working in their hearts to grow love and compassion for the 2 special children on the other side of the world that God is knitting into our family.

Matthew 18:3-4 "Then He said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."

My day has been blessed, hope yours is also--

PS-- we are still waiting on medical and family histories. Please pray we get these soon!