Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You are Special

Today I had the privilege to read to Olivia's 3rd grade class, 13 students in all. I read "You are Special" by Max Lucado. I knew that most of the students would have read this book before (about 95% of them had) but it is such a great book, I just had to read it.

The teacher had me sit on a chair and then the students gathered around me on the floor. Two students (including my own child) were sitting on my feet, so I had to ask them to back up a little.

2 - 3 pages into the book, I left some blanks and asked the students to fill in the words for me. After doing this 2 times, I felt A LOT of pressure on my foot and noticed that Olivia was very close to me again. I got the hint that her pushing on my foot was her way of telling me to stop asking the kids to fill in the blanks. Apparently this embarrassed Olivia. She later explained that I should read the book "exactly as it it written and not ask the kids to fill in the blanks"! Otherwise she said I did a good job.

For those of you who haven't read this before, the story draws a distinct parallel to God and how we should live to please Him and no one else.
The setting of the story takes place in a small village of people called Wemmicks. They give each other star stickers for their good looks and talents. Those who lack good looks and talents receive dot stickers. Punchinello, for one, is full of dot stickers.
Punchinello allows what others think of him to 'stick' with him and bring him down until one day he meets his maker, Eli. His maker didn't care what the other Wemmicks thought of Punchinello. What mattered was what HE thought of him and he thought he was 'pretty special'.

Punchinello laughed and asked "me, special? Why? I can't walk fast. I can't jump. My paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?"

Eli replied, "Because you are mine."

Our Creator knows us by name too. He created us and He makes no mistakes. We are His and what other people think about us, doesn't matter. Trust His love because what matters is what He thinks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall Weather!

The leaves are beginning to change and the sumac is already a deep red. We love this time of year! Hiking is our favorite fall past time.

This past weekend, we took the girls to a hilly area where we could see for miles at the highest point of our hike.

Avery just woke up from a nap just as we arrived to our destination. She soon had to walk on her own but would have rather kept napping.

An orange colored berry bush I spotted along the trail:

Avery said, "mommy, take a picture of me sitting on this stump." Too cute! Look at her pose!

Just had to take this picture of them resting after our hike.
And after a long beautiful day of fresh air, Big Sis reads to the little ones before bedtime.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

God's Timing

God created TIME
Man created THE WATCH

We heard this at our couples' Bible study from Tommy Nelson.

I've known that everything is in God's hands and in God's timing.

But ever since we started our adoption journey, I have been making predictions on our referral. I am done with making predictions. Indeed international adoption has proven to be unpredictable but more importantly, we will receive a referral for our child when he is ready to join our family. This is God's timing - not timing that anyone can predict.

143,000,000 Orphans

There are 143,000,000 orphans in the world. 143 million children who don't have a mommy or a daddy. This number is too big to comprehend but if you click here , you will get a better perspective.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More preparation

I received a phone call out of the blue the other day from the Epilepsy Foundation. They asked if we had any donations for them to pick up.

What I love about EF is that they will take anything from clothing to house hold products and they will do curbside pick up. This beats the work of a garage sale!

So, I said "YES! We do have stuff!" I have to get rid of stuff to make room for our son and this call was what I needed to get myself motivated to dig through boxes and other clutter.

It's interesting because as I was going through old toys of the girls (and I was able to get rid of some- shh! don't tell the girls!) I came across toys that should be very fitting for our son.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thinking of our son as we wait

We continue to prepare our lives and our hearts for our son. We have not been introduced to him yet but in our hearts, we know him and we love him. We know that our son has at least been born already. After we receive our referral, we will know our child's life story but for now we can only imagine what is taking place in his life.

We can only imagine the anguish and pain our son and birth family will experience or have already experienced. It's heart wrenching to know that he will inevitably go through a major loss in his life. Because of this, our referral will come with mixed emotions. We will be overjoyed by knowing who he is and saddened by the story behind why he became available for adoption.

Physically, we are ready for him - we have a place for him to sit in our van, a place for him at our table and a bedroom with a bed ready for him. We are also ready to love on him and welcome him with open arms and hearts. This part of our preparation has been enjoyable, simple and filled with excitement.

Emotionally, this will no doubt be a difficult transition for our family and our son. I don't know if we can fully prepare for this part of the journey. We are sensitive to the fact that while he may find joy in joining our family, he will also be mourning the loss of his first family for some time. This is a hurdle we will prepare our best to come along side him, support him and do what ever we need to help him deal with his loss.

Someone on our forum made the following statement in regards to the lengthened wait time and I couldn't have said it any better:

"Somewhere, on the other side of the world, was a family, a family whose future was someday going to somehow intertwine with mine. And what that family was experiencing right then was something I could never imagine. And they would have probably given anything in the world to have nothing to complain about but a wait…"

They are the real heroes in this journey and they will always have a place in our hearts and we will be forever grateful to them for the gift of our son.

The wait and disappointing news

We have been waiting over three months for our referral. Our agency gave us an estimated 6 - 9 month average wait. But as I pointed out in an earlier post, since we are requesting a toddler, we should get a referral sooner. They have been averaging a little over 2 months for a toddler referral.

Last week, someone on our adoption forum stated that their specialist told them to expect a referral in September and that there are only about 5 families in front of them waiting for a toddler boy. Since this family has been waiting less than 2 months, I realized that we are one of those 5 families, which means we must be at the top of the list for a toddler boy referral. Again, this was last week.

Then yesterday, the disappointing news came:

Our agency hasn't given out a batch of referrals since the beginning of the summer. In an email from them yesterday, they announced that the referrals have slowed down and they are lengthening the wait times. They also don't expect referrals to pick up again until October 1st.

People on the forum have speculated as to why the referrals are slowing down. This is the explanation I understand so far: 1. More and more agencies are processing adoptions in Ethiopia. 2. The increase in the number of adoptions means more court cases in Ethiopia. 3. There are reports that other agencies have put a hold on the referrals of children with at least one living birth parent. There is a question about when a child has at least one living parent if they are by definition an orphan.

Many children our relinquished by their birth family due to severe poverty, so many children will still have at least one living parent.

I have faith that what ever bottle neck or red tape we find ourselves in, it's all part of our journey to bring our son home for I know that "Everything will work out for the good for those who know Him."

First Day of School: Part 2

Avery's first day of school.

She loves school!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

The girls were dressed and ready to go by 7:15 a.m. Lauren and Olivia started today. Avery's first day of K is tomorrow!

The first day went well!

Labor Day Weekend and Pirates!

Some of the kids in our neighborhood dressed as pirates and used our playset as their ship.

Is JACK SPARROW on board!?!