Friday, July 29, 2011

We Passed!!!

We passed court today! I got a phone call on the way home from the grocery store from our caseworker and just waited tensely until she said, "I have good news!" I can't even explain the sense of relief I feel. Like a humongous boulder has been lifted from my shoulders. And tomorrow is her birthday. That is pretty significant to me, and I am so thankful to the Lord for giving us the gift of passing before her birthday.
So, now we have more waiting. :) We will wait a couple of weeks for our agency to gather the right paperwork and then a wait a couple of weeks for them to submit it to the Embassy. Then we will wait to hear from the Embassy if they need anything additional, or redone. Then they will give us our travel clearance, and dates for our trip to finally bring her home. The Embassy has definitely been scrutinizing things more carefully as well, and the process has seemed to take longer for most families at this point. So, I am holding all of these estimates loosely, but just so incredibly thankful to BE at this point.

Proverbs 25:25
"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." AMEN to that, and thanks be to the Lord who moved us on to the next step.

happy birthday

Hope Bezualem,
Today is your first birthday! I want you to know we are celebrating your life today, and thanking the Lord for the precious gift of YOU!

We first saw your sweet face on September 8, 2010. I remember I was folding clothes on a Wednesday afternoon, and my phone rang. I looked at the number, and my heart leaped as I realized it was our adoption agency! I answered, and our caseworker Kristin, said, "This is it! I have your referral!" I started crying, and felt overwhelmed, and was just so excited to see you. I called your dad, and he rushed home, and we called Kristin back together, and she sent us your pictures. You were so tiny with huge, dark eyes and soft, dark hair. We were instantly in love with you, and so thankful that the Lord had chosen US to be your parents.

I will also never forget the first moment I saw you in person! We had traveled to Ethiopia for our court date, and got to visit you three times. The first day you were outside with all the other babies from your room enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. I was studying the other babies, trying to find you, when all of a sudden I saw you! My heart leaped as I recognized those big beautiful eyes I had memorized from your pictures. And getting to hold you for the first time, was indescribable. You weren't afraid of me, you were calm and sweet, and I kissed you and thanked the Lord for you, and getting to be with you.

These last 11 months have been filled with so many emotions, as we wait and pray for you. We have been so thankful for updates monthly about your growth and development, and have marveled at how much you have changed. Mostly, though we have loved and longed for you. You have been a part of our family before we ever saw your face, but since we have known you, we think about you constantly.

And we are not the only ones! There are so many friends and family who are praying for you and love you too, and who are so excited to meet you.

Hope, when I think about you, I think about what it will be like to have a little girl in this house full of boys. I think about holding you, kissing your cheeks, seeing you in your crib when you wake up in the morning, and around our table at dinner time. As wonderful as it will be for us, I also know those first few days for you will be confusing, stressful, and maybe even scary. You will be leaving behind everything that you have ever known, and you really won't understand why. I guess I just want you to know, that I understand that as much as I can, and nothing you do will make us love you any less. We are yours, and you are ours, and that is how it will always be from now on.

My other prayer for you Hope, is that you will come to know and love Jesus, and that He will fill your heart in ways that only He can. His love is always enough, His grace is complete, and His power and understanding know no limits. He is carrying us through this process, He comforts, encourages, and challenges us through His word, and gives us what we need for each day. There are so many verses He has shown me, but here are a couple that mean so much to me when I think about you:

Psalm 62: 5, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him."
Psalm 130:7, "O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption."
Isaiah 40: 29-31, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Hope Bezualem, we are SO thankful for you, we are SO ready for you to be home with us, and we love you SO much!!


*your birthday is actually July 30th, but I started this letter yesterday and finished it this morning, and couldn't figure out how to change the date!

Monday, July 18, 2011

keepin' on

It's tricky to think up new post titles when I feel like I basically write the same thing over and over. :) These last two weeks have been pretty tough, I have struggled more than I have for quite awhile with the same basic things. But, I can say that no matter how confused, disappointed, discouraged, upset, or sad I feel, He has been with me. There has been a whole lot of pouring out my heart to Him (Psalm 62). I was encouraged on Sunday, as our pastor spoke about Ephesians 1:15-23, and Paul's prayer for the Ephesians. They were in very difficult circumstances, but his prayer for them was not that those circumstances would change. It was about them gaining wisdom and revelation to know Christ better, and understanding the hope and power they had because of what Christ had done for them and in them. So, that has been more of my prayer this week. Not as much about our adoption specifically, but more about my heart, and knowing and loving Christ better.
We still have not heard if we have passed court or not. MOWA is getting farther behind schedule, and the rainy season is looming. So we have been trying to stay busy, and here is a little of what we have been up to.

-projects! I love a good project, and it works really well as a distraction from stress too. I have painted our dresser and nightstand, and put together some other furniture we had in our basement to sell on craigslist. I also reworked our bedroom a little bit. Painted some frames, and lamps, changed around some pillows, comforters, and accessories. Nothing major, but it feels refreshed and new to us. I also made a family rules canvas for our family (an idea I saw on other blogs.)

-dollhouse. I brought up my dollhouse from the basement that my dad made me for Christmas one year. I think I was maybe 5? I LOVED this dollhouse and spent countless hours playing with it. It has lived in attics or basements for quite some time, and bringing it out feels so good. I painted it and let the boys play with some of the less breakable furniture I have. My Grandma Geddie made me a lot of ceramic furniture for it, but ceramics and little boys just do not go together very well.

-summer list. I made a summer list for us of fun things to do, and we have almost finished it! I think maybe we were not as ambitious as we could have been. Like going to McDonald's is on our list (yet to be marked off); the boys contribution. We did have our water balloon fight yesterday though! I think I filled balloons for 45 minutes, for maybe a five minute fight. :)

-pictures. This hasn't helped so much in the staying busy/being distracted category, but we received some of the best pictures of Hope to date! A friend who travels to Ethiopia a couple times a year offered to visit her and take some pictures for us. They are beyond precious. The last time we were with her she was just a baby, and she is well on her way to toddler hood now. And she was smiling and laughing in them, which is something I had been longing to see. (We didn't have any picture of her smiling before this.) Truly such a gift to have those.

-package. I sent Hope a package for her birthday, through another family traveling at the end of this month. I know we won't be with her, so being able to send something to her means a lot. I sent a little tag blanket that my aunt made for her (all of my boys have one that they still sleep with, and love), a baby photo album that I filled with pictures of us, and a little toy that Aaron's mom had given us for Christmas. It makes me feel connected to her, at least a little bit.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

june, where did you go?

How is it already July? It just feels like summer got started, and we literally have 33 days until school starts. I have loved this summer. It has been so relaxed, and has just felt right. If we feel like doing school we do it. If we feel like going somewhere, we go. And by we, I guess I mean me. :)

Some highlights from June:

Eli and Micah passed their swimming class! It was awesome to see how much they improved this year, and they really love to swim.

Aaron took all three boys camping for one night with three other dads and their boys. There were 4 dads, and 8 boys, and they all had a blast. The dads were exhausted (it rained and their teepees weren't exactly waterproof), but I think they would all do it again. I for one, being a mom of three boys, will GREATLY encourage them to. :)

All three boys went to Vacation Bible school and loved it. Isaac especially was pretty thrilled to get to go.

We had a party for Eli who stopped sucking his thumb! We had been trying to figure out a way to motivate him to stop, and told him he could have a party if he did. His first choice was Chuck E. Cheese, but we talked him into Dave and Buster's (we had free kids meals, and Aaron had credit for games). All three boys had a great time, but can you say stimulation overload?? So that was great, except that a couple weeks later he started sucking it again, and told me we could just have another party and then he could stop again.

All five of us went to the College World Series in the new stadium. Aaron was given tickets for the championship game, and it was really fun. We found a free parking spot (with a 30 minute walk, thankfully the night was beautiful), and had great seats. The boys really did pretty well. Eli and Micah could have definitely stayed the whole game, but Isaac was ready to go around the 5th inning. Aaron bought a funnel cake and popcorn, and the boys literally swarmed him, their backs to the field, totally focused on eating those snacks as fast as humanly possible. They loved it!

Aaron's brother Miguel, came to town for a very short visit. He and wife and girls are missionaries in the DR, and we miss seeing them so much. It was great to see him, and the boys picked right back up where they left off with him in terms of wrestling, wrestling, and more wrestling.

Eli and Micah went to a Stars Wars Party at our library which they LOVED! Eli has declared Stars Wars his favorite movie, although I don't think he has actually even seen all of one of them. There were two Storm Troopers in full costume, and E and M both took their light sabers (which they consistently refer to as light savers).

June was a great month! So thankful for the many blessings in our lives.