Friday, September 30, 2011

micah's yard sale

Micah has been wanting to have a yard sale for months. There seemed to be enough distractions during the summer that he would forget about it, but last Saturday he was determined. He got a big plastic bin from the basement and started collecting things to sell. And then he found some old yard sale stickers and started pricing things. I think Aaron and I realized we were going to have to do something. Either tell him he couldn't have one, or help him out a little and just do it. We live on a busy street, but not exactly a kid-friendly one where people will stop just because there are cute kids selling stuff. But, neither one of us wanted to squash his initiative or creativity, and really for one day that we would be home anyway, it's not that big of a deal. I had to let go of my expectations of having a grand yard sale with tons of stuff, and plenty of advertising, and realize that it really doesn't have to be perfect. So, I started collecting some things too, we realized we could put our craigslist stuff out there, and we just might have enough for an actual yard sale. At least now people might actually stop to check it out. It's actually a bit disturbing to think you don't really have anything to sell, and then suddenly your guest room is full. So, we are having a yard sale tomorrow! Now all three boys are so excited, I find myself baking cookies and buying apple cider for them to sell too, and an evening of pricing and sign making lies ahead of us.

Hopefully, no matter how it goes, Micah will have fun, and feel valued. And it will definitely be a memory! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

this and that

* This is hard to see, but it's one of Eli's pictures. The content may be a bit questionable (a building with spikes covering one side, and spike covered machine guns on the other, but I love his attention to detail!

*The boys were outside one day, and kept running inside for paper, crayons, and tape. I discovered later their handiwork. Those would be bridges for the ants, you know, because ants need a lot of help getting around. :)

The days sure are slipping by quickly lately! Here we are at the end of September. I don't have too much to share, just some odds and ends about life lately.

-I made a pear pie this week to share with our neighbors who came over for dinner. The unfortunate part of that is, only Aaron and I like it, and I am the one who is home all day. Those odds are not in my favor.

-The boys had See You At the Pole today at their elementary school. I was pretty unsure how it would go, as these are elementary kids and unable to really lead things on their own, but was pleasantly surprised at how many kids were there, and their participation. A great friend of mine who also has a son there said something along the lines of it being the first step for them in making a stand for Christ. And she is right.

-I have been struggling with motivation lately. Motivation to do any projects (I have painting projects, and other things to get ready to sell on Craigslist), but find myself doing virtually nothing during the afternoon when Isaac is napping. Why is it that it takes so much work to get into good habits and be productive, but ridiculously easy to be lazy?? Maybe it is just my personality, but I am giving myself lots of excuses lately.

-All three boys are really loving AWANA. I think Eli and Micah especially. They are in Sparks, and basically ask every day if it is Sparks night.

-Speaking of Eli and Micah, they are doing great with school. Micah was recognized (over the intercom no less) for showing support for his classmate by seeing his lunchbox and bringing it back to their class. I guess it's the little things, right? :) He also got a little certificate from his music teacher for having an especially great singing voice. Nana would be so proud! And Eli has been drawing up a storm. Every day he comes home with a picture he started at school, and spends tons of time at home adding very careful details. I also let them get hot lunch at school for the first time this week, which they LOVED. I am still trying to figure out how to handle homework and the tests they have. I don't want to put too much pressure on them (hello, kindergarten), but want them to feel good about they know, and not stressed out. So far they are doing fine, I guess we'll just keep playing it by ear?

-Haven't heard anything yet this week about adoption stuff, but am feeling peaceful. Thankful for that.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Every so often I will have a dream about Hope. Sometimes she is home with us, sometimes we are over there with her, sometimes she is older, sometimes she is a baby. Last night she seemed to be her actual age, just coming out of being a baby, but not quite a toddler. I'm not sure where we were, but it was like we had been gone from her for a while. Someone handed her to me (I think it was maybe her caregivers?), and she wrapped her arms around my neck and laid her head on my shoulder, and just held on to me. It was like she knew we had been gone, and now we were back and she just wanted to hold on. Oh, how I long for that day. For her to know the security and comfort of a mom and dad, who are there every day, who belong to her and she to us.

Sometime next week an appeal will be written and delivered to the sitting judge, asking her to change what the embassy is asking to be changed in our paperwork. Since the courts are closed, she is not required to change it, so I'm really not sure how great the chances are that she will. If she agrees, it will take few days to get that changed and resubmitted, and then we wait to hear back again from the embassy. They could come back again with more changes, or requests (so frustrating that they don't just tell you everything at once!), or we could receive our clearance. If the judge refuses the appeal, we will wait until October 10 or some day close to that when the courts reopen, and basically go through the same thing. I feel like I have let go of expectations again, and am as ready as I can be for whatever the news may be. If I have learned anything this process it is to hold expectations with an open hand, but hold on to the truths and promises, and character of Christ with clenched fists!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

when the answer is no

The meeting between our agency rep and the embassy happened today, and the embassy is insisting the paperwork is changed before they will give us clearance. There is one more option our agency is going to check into this week, but more than likely we will be waiting until the courts reopen in October to resubmit our paperwork again. I'm sad, but okay and peaceful. Is this the news we have been praying and hoping for? No. Is God still good and sovereign? Yes.

I listened to one of my dad's sermons Sunday after seeing it mentioned on another friend's blog about 1 Peter 5:5-7. It was so good in so many ways, but he asked three questions referencing the verse about casting our cares on the Lord. They were, 1)Who knows more about your situation? 2)Who cares more about your situation? and 3) Who can do more about your situation? Those questions have been running over and over through my mind, as well as the thought that having an anxious heart is really having a prideful heart. I have also thought that this entire journey is first of all about God's glory. It's His story that we are so thankful to be a part of. And then it is Hope's story, and if there are ways that it can be more complete and full, and answer the many questions she will have someday then I want that for her. We are last, our timeline, and expectations are the least important component here. They are a big deal to me, I think it's okay to grieve when things don't happen as I hope they will, but then I need to move on. Keep fighting for her until she is home, but move on from what I think things should look like. So that is what I am trying to do, press harder into Christ and WHO He is, fight harder through prayer for Hope, and move forward. Teeny, tiny step by step.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Sometimes it's hard for me to know how honest to be on this blog. I know how easily things can be misunderstood, and I think my pride gets in the way of that often. I also want to mostly look back and remember the good things about this time of life. But, at least for today, I am going to put those things aside, and share what I am feeling right now.

I am tired. I am tired of being in this adoption process. I am tired of having either no news or bad news to share when people ask, and then both of us feeling awkward and not knowing what to say after I share. I am tired of feeling like God has forgotten us, and that the opposite of what we are praying for keeps happening. I am tired of not being able to plan ahead, of not knowing when we will be back in Ethiopia, and the next stage will begin. I am tired of thinking we will have a daughter in one stage of development (infant), and then having to adjust to a new stage (toddler). I am tired of taking clothes out of her closet that she has already outgrown (3 times now.) I am tired of thinking we would be in this process for 18 months, only to be in it still at 25 months, and counting. I am tired of seeing dates come and go that I never dreamed we would be passing without her. I am tired of potentially being near the end, only to have another roadblock in our path. I am tired of struggling with the same issues, over, and over, and over. I am tired of trying to think of positive ways to describe what we are going through. The truth? It sucks right now.

So that is a little window into what my heart is feeling now. It seems to want to hold on so tightly to discouragement and bitterness and self-pity. And what a slippery slope the three of those guys can be! You know what though, despite the fact that I feel this way, and sometimes act on those feelings, the truth is that God is still there. He will not and does not change, despite what I feel and do and say. He can take this ugliness from me, and still love me the same. There is some tremendous hope and peace there. I don't have to be perfect and deal with all of this perfectly, I think what I need to do is remember. Remember what He has done, and how far He has brought us. Remember His words, His promises, and His character. I can be honest with the hard stuff, but I need to be honest too about the great stuff He has done.

I am thankful for the chance to know and pray for a little face for 13 1/2 months, before she is even home.
I am thankful for plenty of transition time for all of us with school starting.
I am thankful for a heightened sense of being intentional with my boys.
I am thankful for many days of sweet time with Isaac.
I am thankful for the chance to grow with my husband through this, and see our relationship deepen.
I am thankful for a growing awareness of the bigger picture of adoption, and the hurdles that are there in every stage of the process.
I am thankful for the chance to pray for other families in this process, see them bring home their kids, and share in this with them.
I am thankful for the opportunity to experience God's presence and grace in ways I never have before.

I have sort of distanced myself a bit from it all again. I am feeling peaceful, but like I just need a bit of a break from the heaviness of it all. I don't want to talk about it, I just want to let it be for a while. Which is sort of ironic being that right now, we need prayer more than ever. We heard again from the embassy, and they rejected our paperwork again. This time they want something added to a court decree, but that can't happen right now because the court are closed for the rainy season and won't reopen until the middle of October. There will be a meeting sometime next week (tuesday, wednesday, or thursday) between an embassy official and a representative from our agency to decide if there are any other options. This was pretty crushing news for me, and since then I have been struggling with discouragement. A lot. Aaron and I are praying that the course that the embassy is on in terms of our case will be changed, that they will give us clearance. That God will throw open the doors that seem to be closed so we can bring our girl home.

*We also have the most amazing support system through our family and friends, God has used them over and over to remind us of His love. I know they are also playing a huge role through prayer in bringing Hope home too. I do not take that for granted, and feel terrible when I feel the way I do now, in terms of not wanting to talk much or reach out. So, thank you to everyone who prays for us and our sweet girl, we really couldn't do this without you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Although he is not so little anymore, I think I will always think of Isaac as my littlest. And, I have been enjoying so much my time at home with just him. He is funny, inquisitive, cuddly, and really just so easy. He will play on his own, without any prompting, for long stretches of time; especially if I am close by. He loves to help me too, make granola, find things, put things away, etc. And he loves it when we have errands to run. I can't believe how much easier it is to go places with just one kid! I actually enjoy it, and can think about what I am doing at the same time!

Sometimes we do some "school" together, which he just eats up. I think he would do page after page all day long. We sort of have a routine down together now. Monday we go grocery shopping, but just about every other day we come home from taking Eli and Micah to school, and he watches a show of his choosing (a pretty big deal when you are the youngest), and I finish cleaning up the kitchen from the whirlwind of breakfast and rushing out the door. Then we play together until lunchtime, and after lunch he goes down for a nap. Our days are simple, and quiet, and fun!

I am really trying to live in each day while we wait for more adoption answers, and just be thankful for where we are. I remember before we passed court, how I longed to be where we are right now. I thought, if we could just pass court I would be so content. HA! That lasted all of 3 weeks. It really is just a reflection of my heart I guess, and how my true contentment and joy are found in Christ alone. As these days (that feel like weeks) stretch on, I want and need to fight my feelings of discouragement and sadness with the truth of who Christ is and His power that can move mountains, both in Ethiopia and the ones in my heart.

Friday, September 9, 2011

one year

One year ago today, at around 3:30 in the afternoon we got the referral for Hope Bezualem. She was tiny, only 6 weeks, with huge dark eyes. It was so surreal, seeing the face you have prayed for and dreamed about for so long, and a moment I will truly never forget. A little like finding out you are pregnant! This year has been one of the hardest I have experienced, the tension between having absolutely zero control over something you care about with every fiber in your being. I hope I have grown in ways that are good, I think I have. But, I have also found myself struggling with many of the same things over and over. Bottom line, I believe in God's goodness and trustworthiness, and am thankful for where He has led us. I don't necessarily feel that way every moment of every day, but that is what I hold on to, and eventually end up.

Our embassy paperwork hasn't been resubmitted yet, but hopefully sometime next week. Our agency wanted to get some more info together about Hope's family, just in case the embassy requests it. I am praying the embassy's questions will be satisfied with all the work that has already been done to bring us to this point, and we will be cleared next week. Resolution Lord, please let it be soon!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

still fighting

Well, we heard from the embassy early Friday morning, and it wasn't what we had been hoping for. In fact, after reading what they had to say, I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. Basically, they are questioning Hope's status as an orphan, something that has already been carefully and thoroughly researched and confirmed. It's almost as if the embassy missed entire pages of our paperwork that would clarify what they are questioning, which I guess is a good possibility. So, now our agency will resubmit some of our paperwork that they missed with a letter of explanation, and we wait again to see if they will accept it. I understand that they are only trying to do their job, and I knew something like this was fairly likely to happen, but it has been a huge wake up call for me that we are not done fighting for our girl.

Passing court was such a tremendous relief, and I sort of thought we were done with all the hard parts. Now we would just wait a few more weeks, but not with the heaviness and anxiousness I had been feeling. I knew things could happen with the embassy, they can even request their own investigation, but for some reason I just wasn't as concerned. Not that we are ever supposed to worry about things anyway, but I really thought we were in smooth waters. I really don't know why I felt like this, especially watching so many other families have struggles getting through the embassy stage. Anyway, I don't feel defeated or like giving up, what I feel like doing is fighting! Fighting for her the only way we really can right now, and that is through prayer. Praying that the questions the embassy has will be answered without several additional steps, praying they won't ask for an investigation, praying that the Lord would do what only He can, and MOVE US THROUGH. Praying for open doors and open hearts, for paperwork that is perfect and complete, and for God's will to be done.