3 Months Old!

Happy 3 months, our sweet little A. I’m not one for birthdays outside of yearly, but now that we know you, I can’t help but be all cutesy about you!

Yesterday, we went to church for the first time since receiving your referral. Last week was VBS, so the kiddos got up and sang a couple of songs for all of us. I got a little teary eyed thinking about you up there some day. Wait until you meet your new friends! Oh, I just can’t wait for you to meet everyone.

Your family is so excited to meet you too! Yesterday, your grandma (my momma) and your Aunt Becca (my sister), bought you a bunch of clothes for you to wear next summer.

Here are some of the clothes Aunt Becca picked out for you:

I love the blue dress =)

Aunt Becca got you the onesie on the left for THIS Halloween. She is really hoping you will be here by then. We are too..

Soon, baby girl, soon!

A Different Kind of Waiting

We haven’t heard anything about a court date yet. I was really hoping we would on Friday… definitely wishful thinking. Now I’m looking forward to this next week. There is a rumor going around that courts are closing August 22nd, which is a couple weeks or so later than usual, so that is good news for us! Please join us in praying. We know that if God wants us over there to meet our sweetie before courts close, we will be, but God still wants us to call out to Him and give our burdens to Him.

So now we wait. It’s a different kind of wait than before. Before, we didn’t know who our kiddo was. Boy or girl? Age? Alive yet? Medical needs? And on and on. Now we know our baby. And now we wait to meet her and hold her and tell her we love her. Because we really, really do. This part is harder in some ways, but somewhat easier in others. I don’t want to be someone who says this part is harder and make light of the wait that families go through while on a waiting list. That part is hard. We didn’t even wait 4 months, and it was hard. I can’t imagine waiting a year, 18 months, 2 years… I’m not going to act as though I’m a veteran “waiter”, because I’m not. God knew our wait wouldn’t be long, and I always had this understanding in my heart that we wouldn’t, but I didn’t tell anyone that. And I certainly didn’t know how that would work. Now we see all of the little details, and more are revealed and remembered every day. Thank you, Jesus, for planning all of this out in such an obvious “You” way.

But still, we wait. And that’s fine. We long to meet our baby “A”, but we know God is working. He hasn’t forgotten us now!

I will continue to update as we know anymore. We have a couple of phone calls this coming week, and maybe know more then. Thank you for supporting us and praying with us! We can feel it (especially me.. when I have little meltdowns on the phone with my momma about not being prepared for a baby…). We love you all!

I’m So Eloquent These Days..

Ok, we are doing a lot. I keep thinking how I need to update people are what is going on right now and what is next and yadda yadda, but I don’t know what to say. So, I will just put it all in a big jumbly (probably run-on) post.

Right now, we are waiting to find out if we will get a court date before court closure in Ethiopia. There is a rainy season every year that occurs right around nowish/beginning of August and last into the Fall at some point. The problem is, no one really knows when it is going to close until they’re like, “hey, we’re closed.” Sort of. It’s actually kind of crazy it we do get a court date before closure, because most people wait a month or so to get a court date after receiving their referral, but recently families have been getting them in a little over a week or so. My hopes are already up, so the “I’m not getting my hopes up” saying isn’t going to work in my case.

We are scheduling phone calls. We are trying to secure some money. We just paid $6500 in referral fees, half of which my parents graciously paid for us. Our adoption fund is zero, and we’ll hopefully (come on, court date!) be spending at least $5,000 more in just a couple of weeks for travel (and then another $5,000 a few weeks later…). We are applying for grants. However, a lot of grants give out monies bi annually or quarterly, so the next deadlines are either in September or December, which isn’t all that helpful for right now. We will still apply and hope to get some to pay for some medical costs or something of that effect, but still. It’s not right now. We did apply for a fund through our agency, which could allow for some help right away (this is where I’m asking you to pray, please!). We are adjusting budgets to allow for a new member of the family on one income instead of two. I will be staying home to take care of “A” (that’s what we will call her for now until we disclose her full name), so we won’t have as much income, but we need more…hmm. My employers have been awesome about saying I can come back part time at some point if I want to/need to.

I have already bought some things. We bought three outfits. We bought a lamp. We started a registry on Amazon. I don’t know what I’m doing. Amazon gives you all these suggestions for categories that you “need” to register for. We are going for ACTUAL (ok, still some wants are on there) necessities right now, not our society’s view on things needed to raise a babay.
Okay, dinner time. More later, maybe? Probably.

We know God will continue to provide as He has always done and always will do. This is all happening so fast, but we are going with it. Please pray for God’s continued providence. Although, we already know He will answer that prayer =)

A Cute, Little Update

I have been out of town for the past two weeks, and my goodness it feels good to be home!

I’ll just get to it. It may be choppy as I am tired from travel, paperwork, and constantly having my mind racing for preparations. Just try to understand what I am saying below…

Last week, I was with all of my lady cousins and aunts and grandparents back in Indiana for our “girls week” that we have every summer. Thursday evening (the 12th), I got a phone call from our agency while shopping, and I got a little excited (even though we had not been waiting long enough to receive a referral or anything..). Keep in mind, though, that Ryan is not a girl, so he was not in attendance at girls week.

One of the caseworkers (ours is out of the country..) said they had a little girl they wanted to talk with us about, and if I had time to talk. Well, I did, I told her, but I was not even in the same state as my husband, and I had no access to a computer to look at the documents she was about to send us. She conference called Ryan in who was at home in Lexington. So, from a bench, I listened to the information on our beautiful little baby girl! When our caseworker said she was almost 3 months old (yes!) I laughed! Our age parameters went all the way through age 5… we were not even considering the idea of actually being referred a baby, especially not just 3 months into our wait!

Ryan drove up Friday morning so we could talk with the International Pediatrician together and decide if we would move forward with accepting the referral. The talk with international ped went really well, and she was very optimistic despite some medical special needs. After that call, we KNEW. We sat for a minute, Ryan said he was scared to be a daddy and then told me to call our caseworker back and say yes. So, we did.

There is a lot more to write. More specifics about when she will be coming home (we don’t know for sure at this point), but I will elaborate on that more. For now, we are still shocked, and so excited.

Please pray for our little girl and her health. She has made tremendous growth since coming into the orphanage, but there are still some obstacles to overcome and other medical concerns to be managed and worked out. We know God will continue to love on her!

I know… it’s tiny and not good quality (and just a hand),but it’s the best I’m going to do at 11:00. Boo, I know. And sorry, but for confidentiality purposes, this hand is about as good as it’s going to get until we bring her home! If I happen to see you in person, I would love to show you a picture, though =)

Reading, Reading.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading to pass the time…

I just finished “There is no me without you” by Melissa Fay Greene. It was excellent. It is about an Ethiopian woman who started bringing in children who were affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis and eventually sets up a foster care home for dozens of chillens. This book helped me learn lots about Ethiopia and its history as well as an abundance of information about the history of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Definitely eye opening and helpful in my education of Ethiopia. This book also explains a lot of corrupt practices within the American government surrounding the spread and treatment (or lack thereof) of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

I am currently reading “28 Stories of AIDS in Africa” by Stephanie Nolen. It’s just what the title says. I have read 8 of the stories so far, and I continue to have my heart broken with each personal story I read. It is amazing how the stigma behind HIV/AIDS continues to be so prevalent and keep those who are HIV+ from sharing their status with their own family for fear of being beaten and shunned.

Basically, we are just trying to learn as much as possible during this time of waiting.

Concerning our adoption…

We have asked our case worker to not send us our monthly number updates for awhile. It is going to be awhile, and there’s really no need to know exactly where we are at all times. It is draining, consuming, and as I have mentioned before, has become an idol to me previously. We are excited for the possibilities to come, and are trying to keep it that way for now.

So, we are waiting and reading and learning that this adoption is just one thing that God is doing in our lives. It’s not about us and our numbers and such. It’s all about Him and what He did for us all those years ago on the cross.

Adoption is my idol.

I don’t blog much anymore. Once we were on the waiting list, I didn’t really know what to blog about. I decided I wasn’t really into sharing our everyday life details, as they are no more exciting or important than the next person’s life. I also knew we would just be waiting forever, and I was kind of mad about it. That first day or so we were finished with the paperwork, I felt relieved. About a week into our wait (pathetic, I know), I was completely overwhelmed. I was bitter. I was anxious. There wasn’t a whole lot to do anymore. Nothing to check off a list. I became obsessed with checking the Facebook page for families in our agency’s Ethiopia program. People kept asking about our adoption, and I had nothing to tell them (still don’t, by the way). I read about other adoption stories and became envious of the mommas who were bringing home their little ones. There have been zero referrals from our agency in well over a month. Every time I do the math, we could be waiting well over 2 years. Yadda yadda… on and on.

Our adoption and all news in the adoption world quickly became an idol in my life. When something didn’t go exactly as planned with our paperwork, I would burst out in tears. When I would receive a reply from our case worker, my day would get better! We have had a pretty smooth process thus far, and yet I find something new to complain about every single day. I was basing my happiness and fulfillment in a completely wavering adoption process. And then I would somehow try to “add Jesus” to the adoption. That’s not how it works. But, still, somehow I had taken a beautiful display of the Gospel and made it a god in my life instead.

In the small group we began attending, different points of application of the sermon are discussed at the end of group time. The first one is always, “preach the Gospel to yourself every day”. That hit home for me. As I have spent the first few moments of my day pleading with Jesus to be enough and reminding myself of what He has done, this idol of mine quickly sprung forth. I knew it was there all along, I just wouldn’t admit I could place something so Gospel oriented above the one who makes the Gospel possible.

I was reading the Bible yesterday, and this verse pounced on me..

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:10

Right before this verse is when Paul writes that we are saved through grace, not by our own doing. But what struck me about verse 10 was the fact that I have been created IN Jesus for works that God already has prepared. Basically, I need to stop controlling everything and know that God already has everything prepared (how exactly I thought compulsively stalking Facebook groups/blogs/etc was helping control our adoption is  besides the point). He is sovereign.

Enter Tullian Tchividjian’s book, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”. Great book. Read it.

I have written and deleted about a hundred words in this section as I try to explain in a concise manner what I have learned from this book so far. Basically, He is enough. The Gospel is enough. I am already redeemed. I am already like Jesus, because He lives in me. I need to stop doing things to become more like Jesus, and work to understand what He has already done for me at a deeper level. This is how I will mature as a follower, not by adopting 10 children.

Anyway, don’t think I’m saying, “stop doing good things and just sit there and read and pray all day”. I know that’s not what the Bible commands either. But I do know that I have got to stop complaining and grumbling to God about what He hasn’t done for me despite all the good things I’ve done for Him, and be reminded of what He has done for me. I have got to stop trying to allow lesser things to fulfill me and remind myself I already have the only One able to fulfill.

” By daily preaching this gospel to ourselves, we can more readily see and confront all the idols in our lives-including those we may not be quite as aware of. We will be able to recognize that every temptation to sin is a temptation to not believe the gospel-the temptation to secure for ourselves something we think we need in order to be happy, something we don’t yet have: meaning, liberty, validation, and so on. When we succumb to temptation, we are failing to believe in that moment that everything we need, in Christ we already have. Real freedom happens when the rich resources of the gospel smash any sense of need to secure for ourselves anything beyond what Christ has already secured for us.”

Tullian Tchividjian

Two Months

Today marks two months of being placed on our agency’s wait list. It feels like much longer… sad. Oh well! Continue waiting we will.

This past week, I was on vacation, so I spent the week at my parent’s. It was wonderful! I caught up with a couple of friends, helped out around the house, and spent time with my parents and sister. Ryan came up for my momma’s birthday. We were supposed to get family pictures done at my parent’s church since they were redoing the church directory. Well, long story short, but my sister forgot to show up. So, we had our own impromptu session at the house, which was actually much more fun and a whole lot cheaper than the professionals at the church…

First picture… redo.

I love them!

To “celebrate” our two months on the wait list, we put together a care package for our newest sponsor child, Aynalem. She is beautiful! We have sponsored her through Children’s HopeChest. We met Kristin through the adoption group we are connected with, and she is in charge of sponsors for Kebron Orphanage in Modjo, Ethiopia. In one week, a group is making a sponsor trip over there, and we are so excited to know our sweet little girl will find out she has a sponsor! We are hoping to go on this trip next June and be able to meet her then =) My heart has been a bit heavy knowing we could wait a long time to even know who our little one(s) is, so it’s nice to look forward to this potential trip in a year or so.

I’ll post more pictures of Aynalem when Kristin sends us some from her trip. I can’t wait to see her smiling. I can’t get enough of this precious photo.

We should be getting our May numbers this week sometime. I’m not expecting much, as there were literally zero referrals in our agency this month. However, I know of a few families who have left to pursue waiting children through other agencies, so we will still move up a few slots. Just check our timeline in the next few days to see how far up we moved!

Until next time…

7 Update

A few days after we started our food month, I decided not to write about it much. We also realized we needed to make the parameters better match where we are at as a family. Ryan and I made it a week eating the 7 foods we decided upon, and then decided that was about enough. It was hard. Really hard. I lost four pounds in one week (which was cool, but I wasn’t really looking to lose weight) and I was short on patience, which was not cool since I nanny for a 3 year old. I know… it was only a week. BUT, we learned so much! I did not have a single sensitive tummy issue, because we weren’t eating any processed junk. I also got really creative and have sense enjoyed cooking! I am STILL cooking and looking up recipes and I feel like a better wife. Hopefully that continues =)

We have also continued to cut out processed foods from our diet and incorporate much more fruits and vegetables as well as shopping as ethically as possible without spending more money than we feel comfortable on food. My body feels much better, and I am excited to continue to learn more to better serve my husband and someday children.

For the rest of the months, we are going to find ways to incorporate purging of excess that  will change our lifestyle as well.

 

As far as the adoption, you all may not hear a lot about it for awhile. We are settling in for a 2 year long wait or more. I’m not thrilled about it, and I pray that God brings forth the children who need homes through the most ethical means, but I have to trust that this time will not be wasted. I have to trust that our little one is taken care of for now, because who is a better father than Him? So, yes, the thought of switching agencies to be on a shorter waiting list or changing our parameters to get a child quicker often pops into my mind, but I know we were led to where we are, and God doesn’t make mistakes. Sure, He could lead us elsewhere further on in the process, but we certainly don’t see that now.

Anyway, my best friend here in Lexington is due to have her first baby TODAY. Come on out, Brooklyn! We can’t wait to meet you, and we can’t wait for you to marry our son some day =)

A New Addition

So we have a fund for everything. One of those funds is “home improvement”. We were planning on using a chunk of our tax return to put in some new flooring, because our carpet is just bluh. Well, God decided we should do something else with the majority of that fund, because new floors aren’t really that important when it comes to the Kingdom of God. However, we saw a wonderful commercial about dyson machines being 20% off through Mother’s Day. We were half joking when we looked into it and realized we had just enough in our fund to purchase the one we wanted (on sale)! We didn’t even have to pay shipping or tax when we bought it online, and we got it 3 days after we ordered it!

I am as much in love as one can be with an inanimate object. We have two lovely cats. Most of the time I feel as thought we live in a home with about 10 cats because of the massive amounts of hair they leave behind. That vacuum sucked it all up, and it was so gross and beautiful.

Siiiigh. Even Ryan was excited about vacuuming!

This is almost as good as getting new floors!

I am also just very happy to have a new, much more efficient vacuum. It will definitely cut down on allergy issues people have when they come over (Ryan and I don’t seem to mind the cat hair floating in the air), and hopefully help us all breathe a lot better. I have also started brushing the kitties every day. I know this is so unexciting, but it really isn’t.

 

Also, we got our official April numbers (we get them at the end of each month).

#134 for a girl and #114 for a boy.

Premature Nesting?

Not a whole lot going on in the adoption world over here these days. Sure, I think about it all the time, but nothing to really be doing necessarily. I just read a lot and pray for our chillen over in Africa =)

However, we DID purchase our first piece of furniture for the kiddo’s room! Remember Repurposed Soul? Well, we bought an adorable dresser from them! They are also going to redo a cute little rocking chair for us that my grandparents gave me =) It will look great in here.

We know it will most likely be at least two years from now until our little one is home, but it was still so exciting to think about him/her using this dresser some day!

I have also been enjoying cooking lately! Maybe I shouldn’t admit that to the world wide web in case I decide to hate it again tomorrow, but I have been on some weird kick lately. Last night, we went to a friends’ for dinner and I made some cookies that looked funny, but tasted pretty okey dokey to me and the rest!

I’m trying to switch to eating/cooking more whole foods, so these had oatmeal and bananas and whole wheat flour in them. I’d like to think they’re pretty healthy for a cookie 😉 I’d also like to think this weird obsession with looking up recipes and cooking more (cooking two times a week means obsessed to me, OK?) has to do with trying to have better eating habits for when little Tengi comes home. I’ll be a chef by then, basically.