Monday, May 14, 2012

happy Mother's Day!

To all the mamas and will-be mamas out there - happy belated Mother's Day!  Being back in Ethiopia is like coming back to a second home.  We  drove in and the kids immediately jumped on Anthony, yelling "Underdog!!!"  and pulling him out back to the little swing set at the Transition Home.  Their joyful laughter and big smiles makes your heart feel like it is going to burst.  The kids here are the sweetest children I have ever met.

It was an amazing mother's day for us.  We have already witnessed God's hands at work in SO many moments.

The first has been our time with Elora.  We walked into her room and the nannies began saying "Rekik!!  Mommy's here!  Mommy's here!"  And suddenly, i saw her precious face again...and I got overjoyed and terrified all at the same time.  As she looked at me uncertainly, I realized that we had a lot of getting to know each other to do.

But the getting to know her...has been utterly amazing.  I have no idea what her routine is she likes to be held..when she drinks...when she naps.  This sort of thing usually scares me to death...but we have been taking it one step at a time.  I read the book "Kisses from Katie" (an AMAZING read!) on the airplane ride and was struck with one simple line that said something like: "I had no idea what I was doing...but I knew I could give her plenty of love and we would figure it out together."

So I have taken a deep breath...focused on loving Elora..and watched all the little miracles unfold.  Like getting her to take a 3-hour nap...and figuring out that she cries only when she is hungry or tired.  Discovering that she likes to be held in a cradle position or cuddled close to my shoulder ...but NOT facing outward!  We have celebrated her sleeping through the night (2x now!) and kissed her little cheeks more times than we can count.  She greets us with big grins every time now (she can be a fairly solemn thing) and loves touching our faces with her little fingers.  In these two days...I feel like we KNOW our daughter..and that she KNOWS us.  And to me...this is SUCH a miracle.  We still have a long way to go...but the loving each other part is there.

Here is my second witness of God's gracious love for us and His little ones.  We watched as a couple, tired beyond belief, fresh off of a plane, met their 3-year-old daughter for the first time.  This sweet girl had her whole world shatter about 5 weeks ago..her family gone, her life as she knew it ended.  She shyly walked into the arms of her new mama and daddy..unsure, hesitant, a little confused...and within the day, this sweet ones heart was theirs.  You could just see the joy on her little face every time she saw her new mama.  Her little arms were constantly wrapped around her daddy's legs, never wanting to let go.  This little one's face...going from Uncertain to Certain of Being Loved has made my heart burst open all over again. 

Every time i am here...I don't want to leave without taking all these children home with me.  They love so openly...and have lost so much.  There is so much pain that surrounds adoption...but the Joy and Love that surrounds it is's just God's fingers EVERYWHERE.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

We Made It!!! Woo Hoo!

After two months of waiting to see Elora again...we finally made it back to Ethiopia.  This morning, we got to see her sweet face and amaze at how she has grown in two months.  Our sweet girl is rolling over, holding toys and giggling.  And she is finally starting to get hair!!! Woohoo!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nairobi or Bust!

Ever since our paperwork has landed at the Embassy, I wake up each morning, jolt out of bed, and rush to my computer to see if there are any emails.  Since Ethiopia sleep time is our awake time, I often find myself stumbling downstairs at 3 in the morning to see if anything was sent. :-)

 I was able to spend Tuesday morning happy dancing around my kitchen when we received the miraculous news that Jason and Jessica, the couple submitted to embassy with us CLEARED.   In 6 short DAYS.  The investigation of the case itself is supposed to take WEEKS.  AND their case is an abandonment case...just like ours!  This just does NOT happen with abandonment cases right now!!  We were OVERJOYED for them.   And...then that joy also turned into a great big swirly lollipop of hope being dangled in front of us.  We had fasted and prayed together with Jason and Jessica all day before being submitted to the embassy...surely our happy dance time was coming!

I slept little Tuesday night...just waiting for my 3 AM email.  No such luck.

I slept even less Wednesday night....CERTAIN the email would be there this morning.  There WAS an email...but not the one I wanted.  As I read it...the first thing that popped out was "insufficient evidence" and the next was "Nairobi."

Alas, we have NOT cleared.  We will be sent to Nairobi for them to decide our fate.  To say that I wasn't disappointed, would be a lie.  I sooo badly want to go and get Elora.  I sooo desperately want to go to embassy with Jason and Jessica! 

But then Perspective hit...we are being sent to Nairobi after a mere 8 days!  Hallelujah!  There are cases that have been sitting at the embassy for weeks upon weeks and are ONLY now being processed.  A friend's case sat for 7 months!  He moved hearts of stone in Jason and Jessica's case...I have no doubt.  And He is doing the same in ours!  I know with assurance - I mean, REALLY, TRULY know -  that God's hands are on our case and that He is in control. 

I have been mulling over how to pray with Faith but not pray with  Assumptions alll week.  I always find it a struggle to "pray without ceasing" and believe that He can do "immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine" while at the same time, knowing that I may not really get the outcome I want. 

But after our news today...I think I understand it a little better.  All I know to do is keep petitioning the Throne every moment of the day for Elora to be home..and home quickly!  I believe that God is greater than Nairobi...greater than the Estimated Time It Will Take.  And even if the answer comes back in a way that I don't like I have His reassurance that He is in control.  That He is faithful.  That He cares for my baby...and she is precious to Him.  That He heard my request but His way and timing is always better for me.

This morning, right before receiving the embassy email, I went to read my devotions and instead, my Bible fell open to Psalm 72...the whole Psalm is about God's power over all the rulers of nations...and about His love and care for the needy and afflicted ones...  Guess what nation is specifically mentioned in that Psalm?  Sheba!  Or what is now known as Ethiopia!! :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

In His Hands

Spending one week in Ethiopia...only one week...and you fall in a new kind of love. A how-did-life-exist-before kind of love. With a country. With a baby. You find out the exact shape of a face you only dreamed about. You trace the outline of cheekbones and smiles. You kiss sleepy eyes and a soft forehead.

You feel torn..because she is still not completely yours. And yet she feels like she is. You soak up her surroundings. A little red low-railing crib connected to many others. Multiple pairs of eyes peering up at you. The children capture your heart. The people capture your heart.

And your week goes by in a whirlwind. And on the final find you have not stolen enough kisses from your sleeping baby to get you through the next 2 or 3 months. You have not caressed her fingers long enough to remember the exact feel of them. And yet...the Inevitable has come. You find yourself slowly dressing her in your favorite pjs that you bought for her. And you cuddle her during a final bottle. And you bundle her in a blanket that you brought specially for her. And you take a deep breath. And you walk back to her room. And you hand her to a nanny, explaining, “We are going back to America.” And they nod and smile and carefully place your precious baby girl in her crib next to all the other little ones. And they prop up her bottle and walk away. And then you walk away. But you cry silently, a thousand cries deep in your gut.

I was resolved to wait hopefully and prayerfully for our embassy appointment.  After all, things have started out so well...and we've had no reason to believe otherwise.  And yet somehow,  by Day 5 of waiting, my hopeful prayers had already started to be submerged under doubtful worries.   And then I heard my 2-year-old singing

"He's got the little bitty baby, in His Hands...He's got the Mommy and the Daddy, in His Hands...He's got the sisters all together in His Hands...He's got the whole world in His Hands..."

And I thought...Wow.  He does, doesn't He?

Monday, April 2, 2012

embassy submission!!!

Deep breath...we found out today that our paperwork has progressed faster than expected and will be submitted to the U.S. embassy on Wednesday morning!!  We are beyond excited as this has been what we have been praying about since we left Ethiopia.  We were anticipating the paperwork to take 6-8 weeks...and it has been 4 weeks!  The US embassy's acceptance and approval of our paperwork will be Elora's ticket HOME!!

We covet your prayers.  Things at the embassy can go in soo many ways right now.  What was once a simple process has turned upside down.  This is the part of the journey where we all hold our breath.  Some cases receive approval within weeks; others take months; many end up getting sent out of the country to Nairobi for further review.  Without the embassy's approval, our children are not allowed to come home. This is SUCH an agonizing time..

Our friend Julie, who has sent us many precious pictures of Elora, is in the midst of having her paperwork reviewed in Nairobi.  After waiting for her paperwork to be approved and spending weeks apart from her sweet Zaidee, she decided to return and is now staying at the Transition House with's just so HARD to be away from them.

We are asking for prayer that our paperwork, Julie's paperwork in Nairobi, and Jason and Jessica's paperwork - the other couple in Ethiopia with us -all fall into the hands of someone with a soft heart and willing spirit.  We desperately long for Elora, Zaidee, and Joshua (their little boy) to be HOME. 

New picture of Elora that Julie sent me!
Joshua and me at the Transition House

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A New Picture!

Today, I checked my email to see a sweet surprise from a new friend in Ethiopia, Julie Jorgensen.  :-)  She took a picture of our precious girl and it melted my heart. 
One of the most amazing parts of this journey has been meeting others along the way.  We have been able to share heartbreaks and hope, tears and joy, breathless anticipation and miracles.  Julie is staying with her little girl Zaidee, who is the same age as Elora, at the Transition House until she and her husband pass Embassy and can bring Zaidee home for good.  Her beautiful daughter, Zaidee, shared her awesome hat with Elora!  Check out pictures of Zaidee - one of the most beautiful little girls I have ever seen - and follow her Mama's story at

I miss my little girl and want her to come HOME!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Since returning home from Ethiopia, I keep trying to gather up the whole trip in my thoughts...but I fail every time.  Already, it all seems a bit surreal.  But I want to remember everything that I can about the home country of my daughter. 

Like how the dusty streets of Addis are home to people to numerous to count.  I close my eyes and I can see the poverty...EVERYWHERE.  Row after row of tiny shacks held together by pieces of corrugated metal.  I can hear the constant horns beeping, the donkeys braying, the people begging for food.  I remember a young mother, curled up in a ball in front of a small shop, eyes unseeing, one hand held out for money, the other protectively wrapped around her toddler.  The people milling everywhere above her, almost running over her and her son...and how he never left her side.  I see the elderly, lying in the dust..and wondering if they are dead or alive.  The lame, the disfigured, the scarred, the sick, the street children...they crowd every shop, every dusty street corner.

The children..the people...they amaze you and break your heart all in the same breath.  Never have I met people with such dignity, respect, kindness and determination.  And yet, they have been dealt disease, famine and economic devastation.  We were told about  the street children.  Many are as young as 2 and 3 years of age.  Their parents have died and there aren't any other family members.  They band together in groups and live on the streets, begging for food.  They will not be placed in an orphanage unless a parent or living relative actually brings them to the orphanage and relinquishes them personally.  Picture your two-year-old and 3-year-old, being forced to take care of each other because there is no one else to do it for them.  

These sweet children, enveloped us in shy waves, warm smiles, and pleas to have their pictures taken.  They gave hugs as readily as the sun shines and giggled endlessly over their pictures.  

You leave Ethiopia, wanting to take every child that you meet home with you. And you thankful for the policemen, family members and parents who brought your sweet child to an the place where God intersected your life with their own and you get the incredible privilege of becoming a mother/father/family.