Thursday, October 29, 2009

Praise God, They Are Ours!!!

We just got the email we have been waiting for weeks to see! These precious little ones belong to our family!!! Thank you for your prayers!
As of right now, we may be traveling the first week of December.
We are all jumping up and down around here, praising God for His goodness!!
Sweet Momma

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Every second brings us closer...

Today as I sat down to read to my two youngest I asked Pumpkin to pray and ask God to bless our school. His prayer began like many other prayers and then he began to pray for his little brother and sister in Ethiopia...that they would have a good day and that they would be happy. "And God please help us to pass court, because every second that goes by brings us closer to the moment when they will be home."

This sent me into a fit of tears, how profound from my little six year old boy.

Would you please pray for:
- all of our paperwork to be in order.
- the family member of our kids that may be at the court proceeding. That God would comfort her and give her peace.
- the judge that signs the papers.
- our new little ones, as they are told that they have a new family.

We will be praying Wednesday night because Ethiopia is nine hours ahead of us. We hope to know if we passed, sometime Thursday morning.
Thanks again for your prayers,
Sweet Momma

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Joy Through Obedience

Hi all. Stand-up Dad here. Sweet Momma does most of the blogging for us - and she does a great job. But every once in a while I feel the need to blog. This is one of those times.

If you’ve read our blog, you know that we just received our court date - October 29th. This means that unless we hit a snag somewhere, we should be traveling to Ethiopia very soon. Also, if you’ve read one my early posts (ok, my only other post), you know that for me, the decision to adopt was largely one of obedience. I did feel God calling us to adopt and even though I had many fears and questions, I knew it was the right thing to do.

It has now been a little over a year since that decision. Over that year, God has been doing amazing things in my heart. My feelings quickly changed from obedience to excitement, at least for the two kids we would be adopting. I always knew that once we received our referral, I would fall in love with whomever God had chosen for us to adopt. That has certainly happened. But what I didn’t expect is the burden and love that God has given me for a country and for a people. This is now larger for me than adopting two kids; our family has adopted a country.

I don’t know what the future holds and this trip to Ethiopia may be our only visit. I hope it’s not. I hope that we can return to Ethiopia in the future both to visit the homeland of our two new children and to do missions work - helping out in any way we can. My children are saving money (and raising money) to give to the orphanage where our children currently live and we plan to sponsor one or more orphans at that orphanage. Love can do amazing things.

My reason for blogging is much more than telling you my story. I’m writing to encourage you. God may be calling you to do something in your life - whether it be adoption, a missions trip, witnessing to your neighbor or any number of things. Sometimes when we feel God calling us to a task, we resist. We think we are just not equipped to carry out that task. We believe that somehow, God chose the wrong person. He didn’t. Maybe the first person he is trying to help is you. For when we are obedient to God, even when we don’t want to be and even when it doesn’t make sense to us, God can do amazing things through that obedience. And I think you will find, as I did, that God can take that obedience and turn it into joy.

Stand-up Dad

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Fun!

It wouldn't be fall without a trip to the pumpkin patch. We have gone to the same pumpkin patch every year since M&M was a baby. You may call that boring, but I call it "tradition!" It was a beautiful day today and we took our time enjoying all the fun of the biting turkeys, smelly pigs, corn maze, putt-putt pumpkin golf and pick your own gourd for the kitchen table. I can't believe how big they all are getting next to the "How tall this fall?" sign. We can't wait to add two more sweet faces to all these pictures. Next year will be a lot of fun!
Sweet Momma

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Many Hands Make Light Work!

What a joy it has been over the last couple of days to watch as my children work to help ready our home for their little brother and sister.

I feel very thankful that I saved all of our children's clothing as they have grown. I was able to go to the bins in the garage, choose the clothing in the best condition, wash it and place it in the closet. There are just a few things needed that should be easy to acquire. My four kiddos have had such a fun time helping to go through the clothes and there were huge smiles when they realized that all the clothes were in the closets and dressers. It makes it seem real, finally.

Another way that we are preparing for our little ones arrival is to complete two quilts for the beds in the boys room. I could not believe what a blessing all of their hands were this afternoon as I sewed. One child would carefully place the triangle of fabric on a square so that I could sew them. The next child would snip the thread that held all the blocks together and yet another would snip off the extra piece of fabric, so that I could sew the next piece on. Things went so quickly. The quilts are far from done, but we are all enjoying the process of preparing for a little brother and sister.

I can't wait to see if this helpful attitude carries over to other jobs like cleaning the bathrooms and laundry! They are wonderful kids and generally do their chores cheerfully. I am just enjoying this precious time of anticipation with each one of them.
Sweet Momma

Monday, October 19, 2009

We have a Court Date!!!

Pumpkin is almost officially a Big Brother! He is showing you how he feels about the news of a court date!

Thank you for your prayers! We heard today that we have a court date scheduled for October 29! That's next week!!! We are so excited after this long wait to get to this place.

Our court date is when a representative from our agency goes to the courthouse in Ethiopia with our paperwork and the paperwork of our kiddos. He will bring it before the judge. If everything is in order, the judge will sign the papers and our kids will be officially ours on that day!

After court is passed our kiddos will be flown from their orphanage in northern Ethiopia to Addis Ababa, the capital city. Once there, they will live at a transition orphanage run by our agency called the House of Hope. They will need some medical tests once they arrive.

We will then wait for a US Embassy appointment. This appointment is where our kids will receive a visa to enter the United States. We will plan our travel around that appointment.

Our agency has told us to tentatively plan to travel the week of Thanksgiving with an appointment on Thanksgiving Day. That would be cool! But the American Embassy is closed on Thanksgiving. So, we may wait a week or schedule it earlier that week. God has been so good through this process thus far, I know he will work out these details.

I ask you again to pray on October 28-29. They are 9 hours ahead in Ethiopia:). Pray that the paperwork is all completed properly and that we will pass court on the 29th.
Thank you in advance for your prayers and for walking through this with us.
Sweet Momma

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Cover"ing Me With Patience

Today I got an email from our agency to let us know that one of our referral pictures of our precious kids had been chosen as the cover for a promotional magazine for our agency. It is a publication about all of the humanitarian work that our agency is doing in different parts of the world.

The head of the Ethiopia group wrote and stated that they don't usually use pictures of kids until they have been adopted, but because our kids were so DARLING...well she didn't say the second part, but I know she was thinking it. Anyway, she said that our kiddos orphanage director had given permission to use the photo and did we have any objections? I said that we did not mind at all.

I find it funny that I am not allowed to post their sweet faces online, but they will be on the cover of a publication for all to see. My impatient nature wanted to say, "You are welcome to use the picture if I can get a lead on a court date." I know, I know, in God's time.

They really are absolutely adorable, and I can't wait to show their faces and be able to say that they are ours and they belong to us and they will be part of our forever family.

I have to admit that all the waiting is getting to me. God is working out something in my character for sure. I hope I don't miss it.

Today at our Homeschool co-op a friend shared a wonderful piece of scripture with me and a few other ladies. It spoke to my heart in an amazing way and reminded me that God feels my hurt and anxiety and that He is with me. It also reminded me that He is with our little ones as they wait for their forever family.

Isaiah 43:1-2
Now this is what the Lord says-the One who created you, Jacob, and the One that formed you, Israel-"Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.
Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and I love you.

Then read vs 5-7...WOW!
Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east,(Ethiopia is in Eastern Africa - I Know I am stretching this:)) and gather you from the west.(We live in western Washington) I will say to the north: Give them up! and to the south: Do not hold them back! Bring My sons from far away, and My daughters from the ends of the earth--everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him.

Thanks for listening,
Sweet Momma

Friday, October 9, 2009

Three Months Since Referral

Today is three months since we saw the faces of our new kiddos. Time flies.

We got a little information about our kids yesterday. Our agency sent updated heights and weights. Our little girl (5) has grown an inch. Our little boy (3) has also grown an inch and gained one pound since last March. I can't wait to get them home and see how their growth changes.

There isn't much to say except to ask you to pray. Pray, Pray, and Pray some more.
Sweet Momma

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Please Pray for a Court Date!

The courts in Ethiopia are open again and the reality of bringing our little ones home is very close. Well, sort of. Right now we are waiting for a court date. We have learned over the last week that although the courts are open, not every employee is back to work and those that are back to work are currently in two weeks of training.

We are readjusting our hopes for a court date in early October and praying for a court date some time in October. It feels selfish to ask you to pray for OUR court date when there are many families waiting for court dates and referrals. So please pray as you feel led.

We also learned this week that our little ones have most likely not heard of us yet. It is for their protection. They have been through so much loss in their lives. It would add to that if they were told of our family and then for some reason the adoption fell through. We do not anticipate any problems, but adoption is a very uncertain process. Our little ones will be told all about us as soon as we pass court and they are legally ours. Now you see how important that court date is. That is the day we will become a family. All the way on the other side of the world there will be two little children that will grow up calling me Momma. And we haven't even met.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

God is in control. Sweet Pea has really struggled with waiting lately. Every day she mentions how she wants us to just get on a plane and bring them home, or how she can't imagine how wonderful it will be to share her room with her new sister. It's always nice to hear her say it, because it is always what I am thinking and it gives me the freedom to agree that it is hard to wait. I remind her that God knows the exact day and moment that they will meet and he is not anxious about it, so we should try to just trust in His ultimate timing.

Thank you for joining us in prayer. Thank you for your support through this process. It means a lot to this fairly impatient family!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cider Anyone?

Pumpkin taking a turn at the cider press
M&M straining the cider

I love fall! I love the leaves, the crisp air and crunchy, sweet apples! Some dear friends of ours invited us to their house yesterday to make cider. I remember doing this as a girl and I couldn't pass up the opportunity, even though we were so exhausted from our weekend.

They had an amazing set-up. There was a "hopper" with a motor that cut up the apples. Then we all got a chance to work the cider press. There is nothing better than standing outside on a beautiful fall day drinking freshly pressed cider. Yum!!

Our friends sent us home with 5 gallons! There were many smiling faces at breakfast this morning as we all enjoyed the sweet cider. Thank you Hope family for the sweet drink and even sweeter memories!

It is my desire to take the time this fall to enjoy the beauty of this season. Yesterday was such a wonderful start!
Sweet Momma

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bible Quiz Meet!

Our church has a Bible Quizzing team that our two oldest daughters are a part of. Last year Stand-Up Dad and I were asked to lead the group of quizzers. We have been learning a lot about quizzing and having a lot of fun.

The best part of quizzing are the monthly meets. Each month, during the school year, our team travels to a church within our district and competes against 100-150 other quizzers. Each church in the district takes turns hosting the monthly meets.

This weekend was our first experience hosting a meet. Wow! That was a lot of work. I am still so tired I am not sure how to describe it.

The meets are Friday night and all day Saturday. And there were 150 quizzers and their coaches and family that attended. We had to provide housing for over 100 people and a meal for 200 on Saturday. There was also the need for volunteers to set up every quiz room in the church and tear it all back down for church service Saturday night.

We have prepared and searched for volunteers for weeks and we pulled it off. I was told that the meet was very organized and that everyone had a great time. I am so glad! I was not sure how things were going from my vantage point in the kitchen.

I sure learned a lot in the last two days. Being in charge of something this big takes a lot of planning. And even then, it may not go as planned. Working with other believers is such a blessing. It is a true picture of the body of Christ, working together, using the strengths God has given each of us.

God sent me some amazing help! I am so thankful for every washed pot, garbage emptied, chair moved, and coffee made. I wish I knew a way to let them know how much I appreciate their gift of service. The words "Thank you" are certainly not enough.

I am already making a list of the things we will do differently next time we host a meet. But for now I can go to sleep knowing that it will be at least a year before I have to go through it all again!

Sweet Momma