Saturday, December 17, 2011

whirlwind (but a good one!)

Holy Cow, it has been a crazy, but wonderful last couple of days! Friday morning I checked e-mail at 5:00am on my way to the gym, and saw the email from Addis Adoption with the subject, Clearance-Shawl. (Yes, they did spell our name wrong!) I sucked in my breath, opened it and read the words I have been hoping to read for so many months, YOU ARE CLEARED TO COME FOR YOUR VISA INTERVIEW!!!! Aauugghh! I started crying and laughing, ran upstairs and woke up Aaron, ran back downstairs and re-read it over and over. Aaron came down pretty quickly after that, I did not make it to the gym, and we just sat there, overwhelmed and feeling like we were in a dream.

Then we started looking at plane tickets, talking about when we could leave, and thanking and praising the Lord for such a wonderful gift. It appears that the embassy has openings for interviews right away, like next week, but we need to confirm a time with them which we are hoping to do on Monday. Right now we are thinking tentatively about leaving Sunday, Christmas day, and being there about a week. I haven't allowed myself to really think about this step for so long, or prepare for it at all, so Aaron and I are both feeling a little overwhelmed about this next week. My response to everything apparently is to do the things that are of least importance, like planning her outfits, while Aaron's response is to do nothing while continually lamenting about how much he has to do. We are quite the pair right now! :) But so, so, so thankful for the Lord leading us to this next step, and praying for His continued guidance and wisdom.

I have also been so thankful for the many friends and family around us who have walked with us through this process. One good friend of mine brought a "celebration lunch" over on Friday, and it was especially sweet because she was the same friend who brought dinner over after we got back from our first trip. It was so great to celebrate with her this time with tears of joy instead of sorrow. And there are so many others who have prayed for us faithfully, listened, spoken words of encouragement and wisdom, and truly helped us carry this burden. I know we are beginning a whole new stage of this journey, that may well be even harder than what we have gone through already, but I just can't wait to tell Hope all about everyone who has loved her before ever knowing her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


This week has both dragged and flown by at the same time, and I find myself just wishing it was over. We did hear from the embassy Tuesday morning; what I like to call the "no response, response." Monday night I slept terribly. Every dream I had was about hearing from the embassy, and most of the time what we heard back from them wasn't good, or what we were hoping to hear. I tossed and turned until my alarm finally went off, and I hurried downstairs to check my e-mail. The embassy sends their responses early, early in the morning so I knew if we were going to hear anything today it would already be in my inbox. There was nothing in mine, but I checked Aaron's too, and they had sent a response to him. It was basically that they had our file and were reviewing it, and to give them 5 business days before contacting them again. (Which I did think to myself, really?? It's not like this is something I ordered online, and am waiting to have delivered. This is my child! Why wouldn't I contact you every day all day until you give me an answer?! Not really sure what we are going to do, but that's was just my first thought. :) )

I have to say, it was kind of a downer. I have been trying so hard not to get ahead of myself, not to get my hopes up, and really giving everything to the Lord continually. But, I realized I am not a robot. Just because I want to do something in a certain way, or feel or not feel something, I am human. My heart and my emotions are real, and while I can and need to submit my thoughts and feelings to Christ, I don't really know how to stop them from coming. And I don't think I need to beat myself up for struggling with them. It's an opportunity for surrender. I think I'm just a little scared of going back to that dark place in my heart that was SO HARD. Where I felt alone, and forgotten, and disappointed so much of the time. The Lord has done a lot in my heart, and has brought me out of that into a new place of trust with Him. But, I am not done struggling with those feelings, and honestly probably won't ever be! I am weary, and so is Aaron, but I know that means His grace and strength are greater.

This morning I read this, "The word trust is the heart word of faith. It is the Old Testament word, the word given to the early and infant stage of faith. The word faith expresses more the act of the will, the word belief the act of the mind or intellect, but trust is the language of the heart. The other has reference, more to a truth believed or a thing expected. Trust implies more than this, it sees and feels and leans upon a person, a great, true, living heart of love. So let us 'trust also in him,' through all the delays, in spite of all the difficulties, in the face of all the denials, notwithstanding all the seemings, even when we cannot understand the way, and know not the issue; still 'trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass.' The way will open, the right issue will come, the end will be peace, the cloud will be lifted, and the light of eternal noonday shall shine at last."

Monday, December 12, 2011

As hard as these last few months have been in terms of our adoption, one blessing I have loved is getting to know my littlest in a whole new way, just he and I. I have loved spending my days with him, he is truly my buddy! I have learned things about his personality I didn't know before, and I just love being the expert about him. Not in a prideful way, but more in a way that happens naturally through spending so much time one on one.

Today he informed me he didn't want to have rest time, but that he just wanted to, "hang out with you mom." He really likes to be near me, not having to necessarily interact with me all the time, but just be close by. He is so different from his brothers, a little hard to figure out sometimes, and truly gives the best hugs and kisses of anyone I know. I have been more mindful lately of really trying to soak in my time with him, because Lord willing, it is coming to an end soon. I think I may miss it more than I realize.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

catching up

Isaac trying to barricade himself from my parents dog, Bo


I have gotten so far behind with blogging! And then when I think about how far behind I am, I lose all motivation to try to start catching up. But, I just decided, I'll start where we are today, and if I feel like writing about what we have been up to the last few weeks I will.

So, adoption update first. We heard right before Thanksgiving that the judge who had initially requested that Hope's parents come to Addis, decided she could change the paperwork without seeing them. Yay! This was good news, way less complicated than all that would be involved in them making the trip. And, we just heard yesterday all the documents are translated and ready to go and will be submitted to the embassy on Monday. This is a tentative Yay!; sometimes not knowing what is going to happen is more comforting than knowing bad news. We really don't know what the embassy will do, but are praying ultimately for the Lord's will to be done, whatever that is. Of course I would LOVE to be cleared and have our visa interview so we can bring her home, but the truth is I don't know what is best. I can't see the future, and how everything works together, and am trusting in the Lord who does know all those things.

We have been doing good as a family too. We were able to spend a few days with my brother Andy who came home for his two-week leave from Afghanistan in Oklahoma with the rest of my family. So thankful for that time together, and so thankful for a family who really loves to be together.

We also decorated the tree Monday, and Tuesday morning the boys all woke up requesting "Christmas breakfasts." There were tears and moans when I informed them all we had was Grape Nuts and Uncle Sam's. :)