Monday, September 27, 2010

Projects for Baby 'S'!!!!!!

Just had to share the projects I have been working on. The book is to take with us on our first trip....(which by the way is in exactly 17 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and to leave there for our daughter to look at until we return. Hopefully she will enjoy looking at our pictures, and biting and drooling all over the book, which is just fine. That's why I made it soft and squishy! I have been working on that book for a few weeks and had to finish it by hand since my sewing machine is acting up. I am not a great seamstress, but can get things done, and it was so bright and cheery it was fun to do. I didn't show the last page, but it has a little mirror for her to look at herself and see herself as part of our family now, too!

The little onesie is to take for the second trip. I stitched that little Africa on (copied the idea from so many that have gone before me!) I can't wait to get to dress her myself!!!!! PINK, PINK and more PINK!!!!!

We are so thankful to our church for all of the wonderful stuff that they have collected to bring to the orphanage. My mother and friends have also been collecting goods and I have gotten money to buy supplies from both of our families. What a treat to get to spend it on these kids. Tony loves looking at all of the stuff we have collected and thinking about the kids enjoying it all. We will have to carefully pack and weigh, then repack and weigh again, and figure out how to spread all these goods out between the two trips. We have so much to take! It is very exciting! I began gathering toiletries and such, and for a clothes-horse like me, I have already laid in bed many nights trying to figure out how to fit all of my clothes into one carry-on....scary! I really want to travel light, so I will have to just trust in the Lord on this one.

We are also having a 3-day lay-over in London on the way back and are very excited about that. Neither of us have been to London, so not a bad 10-year anniversary trip (6 months late, but hey?!). It seems like we have been waiting forever and now it's just a few workdays, a couple of weekends, a camping trip, some soccer games, cub scout meetings, pot-lucks and loads of laundry away! Can't believe it! In 17 days I will hold my daughter for the first time, and be a blubbering mess. I hope she isn't scared. I know that I am. But the good kind of scared, like the "in awe, fear of the Lord" kind of scared. What a wonderful gift Love is. Can't wait to share it with our daughter.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Amharic for "family" (phonetic spelling). We have been talking a lot about that lately at our house. Without giving too much away that is particular to our son, Tony, we have had to revisit what it means to be a part of a family recently. As we have been preparing for the arrival of Baby 'S', he has been dealing with his own heart. Because of his own adoption story, he has faced some pretty big questions lately; like where is his place after this baby comes? Will he still have a place?

As heartbreaking as it is to think that he still struggles with these things, I try to remain calm and imagine what the Father would say. How many times have I acted like I wasn't sure that I was a "family girl", forever etched on God's heart, a part of His Kingdom, His family! How many times have I looked around and wondered if I was good enough. It takes us all a while to really "act" like and then "know that we know" we are one of His! We have been using that term "family boy" (I didn't come up with this, lest you think that I am clever, but read a good book) with Tony a lot. I think he understands it now. When he seeks out the "family-like" closeness from someone other than Chris and I, we pull him aside and say "you're not really being a family boy right now, do you want to try again?" He understands that whatever he was doing, now needs to be directed towards us or needs to originate from us and not from someone outside of us; like sitting in someone else's lap, or wanting to play with other random Dad's at parks.

Now, Tony has adjusted so well to life with us, but the changes that this baby will bring, I think, are making him question his place. We will continue to work. And it has inspired me to examine my heart. When do I not exhibit "family girl" behavior with the King of Kings? I can't say enough how much I have learned about God's love and His plan of redemption through Jesus by being both a foster and adoptive parent. Some things are just little personal treasures, and some things I feel I must share. We have all had different views in life and the view from Adoptive mother is one that I can share.

I really try not to be preachy, but several times I have had people say to me (well meaning) that if you don't bond with a child in the first year, you never will. Poppy-cock!! It is harder and you have to keep working and being a good listener to their little hearts (even after 3 years), but it works! And God is such a big God! He is the God of second chances. He is the Redeemer of time. He turns Beauty for Ashes. Can we only truly become His child if we are saved as children? Will we never truly be "bonded" to Him if it doesn't happen in the infancy of our lives here? I doubt that anyone would answer "no" to that. Adoption is a mirror to our adoption into the Kingdom. Our parenting should be a reflection of His. Our families a copy of the Kingdom. One song that I have been singing all week. I love this song, so will add it here. I am sure many of you know it, but if not, please listen to it.

"Child of God"
Father you're all I need, my soul's sufficiency......

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


One of the families from our adoption agency posted on her blog a few days ago about their experinces while at Hannah's Hope, Ethiopia.(Thanks Katie!) She was describing her arrival at the orphanage and being led into the office area. While waiting for the director of the orphanage to come in (and bear in mind she hasn't met her child, yet) she is glancing around and notices a shelf. On that shelf are folders with childrens names on them. All of the children in the orphanage that already have families chosen for them had a file with heir first name and their soon-to-be last name. She tells how that really moved her. And reading it, myself, I was moved. Knowing that we will be waiting another 2 plus months to meet my child and another month or two after that to bring her home is sure hard. But knowing that she has already been named "ours" is astonishing. In an orphanage on the other side of the world is a folder with our last name on it. That folder means that the little girl working hard to grow in the next room is ours forever, whether she realizes it or not. She has been "placed" in a family. That is exciting!

But, there are so many more children all over this world that don't have a folder with their new last name sitting on a shelf. They go to bed dreaming of having a family, a home, a mother and a father. I can't help but think of those without. Our daughter's destiny has been sealed. The King of Kings has "placed" her in a family. How many more can He do this for?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big brother blues!

Our little cowboy ponderin'
the arrival of his little sis".

Wonderin' when he will get
to show her "the ropes"...pardner!

1st trip Court Dates!

Underground church in Lalibela
Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Lalibela was intended to be a New Jerusalem in response to the capture of Jerusalem by Muslims, and many of its historic buildings take their name and layout from buildings in Jerusalem.

Emnat na Mihret
Amharic for “Faith and Mercy”

I thought it would be fun to post a few words/phrases in the language spoken in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, where Hannah's Hope Orphanage is. I chose "emnat na mihret" today because what could describe our needs and the needs of our daughter anymore than these two words. Faith and mercy for the journey still ahead of us all to become the family that God has ordained. Faith and mercy for all of the orphans still waiting for someone to claim them as their own. And it is by faith and with God's mercy that we have made it this far! All we have left are a few months and a few trips to the other side of the globe and back :) Emnat ne mihret, Father! Emnat na mihret!

We received our first trip court dates. As I posted earlier, we won't be traveling until after the courts re-open in October. But, we were so happy to get a call from Julie, our case worker, on Thursday. She said she was very surprised that they were already handing out dates for October. Our daughter's birth-mother has to appear in court first, on Oct. 6th. We then travel for our court appearance on Oct. 18th. If all goes well, the sometime shortly after that (a week?) she will be officially ours! We, of course, will already be back in Tennessee and waiting to hear about her US Embassy appointment. When we receive that then we will travel back to get her and bring her home, approximately 6-8 weeks after the first trip. Let's pray for 6 weeks, or what about 4-5 weeks? Since we're asking, let's think big!!

I am very relieved just to know WHEN we are going to meet her for the first time, to see her smile, to hold her, kiss on her and to snuggle with her. I pray that she has an easy time with all of the adjustments; spending time with us and then seeing us leave her for those weeks, before returning to bring her home. So, if you are praying, please pray that her birth-mother is able to make it to her appointment (sometimes they are not able) and that all of her paperwork is there. If one of those things doesn't happen, then we don't "pass" and they have to reschedule that part of the proceedings. It will not effect our first trip, however, we will still finish our portion of the proceedings and when everything is done, then the judge makes his ruling to declare her legally adopted. Then, pray for a quick embassy appointment, so that we can get back there as soon as possible to bring her home. We will be praying to bring her home the end of November, but possibly as late as mid-December.

Emnat na mihret to you all! Whateveryour journey is; enjoy just "doing it" with Jesus!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Courts closing.....and heart-sick

Well, as fast as we moved to get our paperwork and as hard as our agency works, it looks like Ethiopian courts are closing soon for the summer. The Ethiopian staff at our agency got word yesterday that there will be no more appointments given until they open again sometime in October. I physically felt sick when I heard this. We, along with a few other families, just missed this cut-off by 10 or so days. That means there are families that got their referrals just 10 or so days before us and have appointments the last week they are open.

I was just enjoying my referral "high" so much I hadn't really thought much about this. It kind of hit me hard. I was mentally prepared for this possibility, but really hoping for a miracle. What does this mean? Even though we received our referral July 6th, we won't be making our first trip any sooner than October. And second trip November or December. That means a probable 5 month wait to bring our baby home. This feels especially "wrong" because she is so tiny and has so much growth to make up. I want to get her here and into MY arms. I want to monitor her progress and not have to wait for emails. That's very hard. I know she is being very well taken care of, but there is no care like "mommy-care".

It's hard not to feel a little bummed. After almost 10 months of waiting for a referral, when we expected 8 at the most, and then just missing the one trip plan by 2 months, which adds another month at least, and now just barely missing court closures, I can't help but feel a little short-changed! We seem to be (pardon the cheesy quote) "a day late and a dollar short". Not at all the outcome I was hoping for. And everyday that I don't get to hold my baby girl, I am very aware of her absence in my arms. It makes it all that much harder for me knowing that she has already been at the orphanage for three months! She didn't just arrive and then get a referral. So, she will spend the first eight months there. It just seems wrong, somehow. We know all of these things are part of the process, but it just still feels so wasteful. She's there....we are here.

There are things that I know to be true, though. There will be an "END" to this journey. I am just ready to get there! God loves our daughter more than we do and He won't let her down. For all of the milestones that we will miss over these next months, He will give back to us in joy, I know. He will comfort her for us. And us, too.

Good news! this weekend there is a group traveling and I have four mothers who volunteered to check in on Baby 'S' for us. They are going to take pictures of her, love on her and most importantly, pray over her. I really feel grateful to them. Wish I could be there, instead, but am so happy to know that they are going to be with her. It seems unnatural to have other people meeting your child before you do, but that is part of the craziness of this whole thing. I am so thankful for our agency's adoption group, what a blessing they have been. And they don't hesitate at all to do something like this for each other. I pray I have the opportunity to do the same for someone else.

I recently made a "baby book" for Tony. It just kind of describes what kind of baby he must have been. I really prayed about it before making it, and felt that God just kept inspiring me. Since we didn't get him until he was 5 1/2 and the youngest picture we have of him is when he was roughly 3 years old, I had to be creative. But, he loves it. It gives him a story! Everyone needs a story. It makes him feel important. At the beginning and at the end of the book I wrote, "and even when we weren't there with you, Jesus was." That is our daughter's story right now; if I were to write it down. We are not at the "END", but while we aren't there with her "Jesus is".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I just wanted to share with everyone some good news that some fellow adoptive parents are rejoicing over this week. Their son was at the same orphanage as our little one for the last 3 or so months and had some of the same malnourishment issues that our little one does. They were not only in the same orphanage, but also shared a room! Way cool! I get so much encouragement out of the progress that he has made. It is miraculous! I am so excited for this little boy, who started out with difficulty, but whom God has surely touched. He is amazing! So, please go to their blog and read the post entitled "I stand amazed AGAIN!"


We are praying for the same testimony for our little one. We know that God's hand is over that orphanage and that even now He is looking out for and loving my daughter through all of the wonderful people that work there. So, grow baby grow!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Send your love to the orphanage.........

A few people have asked me about helping out the orphanage that our daughter is placed in. I thought first that I should tell you about our Agency's ministry there. And I will attach a list of items that are ALWAYS needed at the orphanage. We will personally deliver them to the orphanage. We will be collecting items, as well as money :), to take to the orphanage with us on our first trip over. We are hoping to fill up at least two large Rubbermaid containers. If your heart has been drawn to the plight of the orphan and the widow, then here is a great opportunity to sew into a ministry that is "being" the Gospel to the needy in Ethiopia. To look at statistics about Ethiopia, refer to a previous post about why we chose Ethiopia to adopt our daughter from.

And an update on our Baby 'S'; we did receive word that she smiles, can stand on her feet when being held, holds her head up and makes good eye contact. We have been praying intensely for our daughter. We were blessed to get to view some video of her that a friend who just went to pickup her precious son took while she was there. It was very special (sorry, we can't share it), but I was very struck by how TINY she was. I have to keep myself from getting scared for her. We have to trust in GOD. He loves her infinitely more than we ever could. HE has a plan for her. HE has placed her in our family. HE will redeem the time for her. HE will be faithful to complete the good work that HE has begun in her life. HE can hold her while we are absent. HE rejoices over her.

We have her room all set up. It's so amazing to look at her crib and think that in a couple of months (Lord willing) she will be in there. I can't help but stop and stare into her room every time I pass by and I pray for her. What is she doing? Is she being held and loved? I get much peace knowing that the Special Mothers at Hannah's Hope take such good care of the children.

Here is a video about adoption ministry from All God's Children International, our agency.

For more information on the adoption agency and their ministry, visit their website. Here is a video about one of their recent projects.

website: allgodschildren.org

Donation info:

A to Z (and more) of Things Needed at HH Ethiopia
For babies: (Clothes are not a large need as of right now—please focus on supplies if possible)

a) Whole suitcase of diapers, half being for newborn babies
b) Pull-ups (for the few toddlers that are almost toilet trained)
c) Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo
d) Lotions, baby oils and baby wash
e) Diaper rash cream—

f) Baby Wipes
g) Bottles-Avent bottles—both large and small sizes
h) Bedding—we get this from Target—please contact Julie about this
i) Multivitamins for babies—liquid drops. Also, organic flax seed
j) Vegetable or soy based formula—this is the kind that is most needed
k) Dairy or Soy based formula

Things for older children:
l) Shampoos and conditioners that are fortified for curly hair
m) Dandruff shampoos
n) Body soap
o) Body lotions—especially for dryer or ashy skin
p) Clothing for boys and girls between 4 and 13 years old and especially need pants and pajamas
q) Shoes including crocs, sneakers (these are especially good for the older boys to play soccer in), for 4 through 13 years old children
r) Bedding-sheets for the older children (just get twin sizes and we resize them. Pink (bright), red and green (more lime than grass green)

Other things
s) Air freshener (any kind that is safe to use in children/babies rooms and bathrooms)
t) Regular size towels (both blue and pink).
u) Braun Thermometer Covers
v) Deodorant for men and women
w) Cloth Diapers and Covers—these are donated to Government Orphanages
x) “Boppies” for infants (‘C’ shaped pillow)
y) Infant Bouncy Seats or Bumbo Seats
z) If you are looking for things to carry these donations over something that would be helpful is to put them in the large Tupperware storage containers. This would be helpful to help store different things like toys etc.

Thank you! It is because of families and friends like you that we can continue to care for these children with the finest and the best supplies! Thank you for your participation!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Birthday "Gift"!

(can't post pics of her until she's legally ours, but here are her feet!)

She has arrived!!!!!!!!!!
My birthday gift was our Baby 'S'! I received a call from our case worker on my birthday for our daughter. Her Ethiopian name means "gift". What a perfect birthday "gift". She has some special needs that we need to be praying for. She is tiny! I mean really tiny! She came to the Hannah's Hope orphanage in April and they have been trying to put some weight on her since then. She is now 4 months old. I have found myself singing a lot today. I am overjoyed to be a mother again!

We are just so thrilled. We have actually completed all of our referral paperwork and overnighted it today. That was a whirlwind! Now we wait for our agency to check it, send it to Ethiopia, and then pray they open a file for us quickly. You see, in Ethiopia in September, and sometimes all or part of August they close their courts, due to the rains. We could get all of this moved through quickly and they can stop giving court dates until they reopen in October. Obviously, due to our daughter's developmental needs, every day is important. So pray for her and for us and for the courts! We need some miracles! We need to bring our baby 'S' home.

Side note: I will refer to her as Baby 'S' because we cannot use her Ethiopian name, but I
will use her initial. And we haven't decided yet what name we will give her. We also can't post pics of her, either, so you will have to use your imagination. Hint: she's cute, brown, tiny, big eyes, lips I would have to get botox for ......... and just perfect!

So, please pray! Just to review the process. We will have to travel twice. Once in approximately 4-12 weeks (depending on court closure deadlines) to appear in court. Prior to that her birth-mother will appear. After our first trip we will come back and wait 4-8 weeks to return for Embassy appointment and to bring her home. I will post the courtdates as we get them.
It has been a very emotional last few days, but we are just so thankful. And trusting God that he will look after her, whisper in her ears for us and fill her heart with love. Also trusting Him to work all of the details out in His timing! Believing in miracles and the "peace that passeth all understanding"!
Welcome into our hearts Baby 'S'.....we've been waiting for you!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Slip-n-slides and busted lips..

Today Tony had a friend over to play. We got out his new slip-n-slide. He decided to jump immediately on it to show his friend how fast he could go. There was no water on it yet. Stopped dead-in-his-tracks, face plants and comes up with a heck of a busted lip. Lesson learned: slip-n-slides don't slip or slide without water! Bless his heart! He is so passionate.......boys:) Hey, come to think of it, Chris has a scar from a slip-n-slide injury....from just 3 years ago? Hhhummmmmm......BOYS

We received our new # for July and we are #3. Yeah, not very impressive, since we were #4 last month. It seems infant girl referrals have slowed to a snail's pace. But, what are you going to do. We can't add a day to our lives by worrying about it. Trying to enjoy everyday of this journey with the Lord. I feel like one of the disciples, sometimes, though. Jesus invites me to go to the other side of the lake and I agree to go. He seems to be sleeping peacefully right through the middle of "my storm". I start to get anxious and wake Him up. He calms the storm and then asks me "why am i afraid? Have I still not learned to trust Him?" I mean I was willing to cross to the other side of the lake. Cross over to the other side of fear, anxiety, faithlessness...you name it. Whatever we need to be on "the other side of". And then the storms come. Things don't go according to OUR plans. And it always struck me that Jesus was just sleeping right through this storm. What did the disciples feel when they looked down and saw Him just snoring away while they were panicking? How could He?

I think sometimes that is my perception of God's seemingly inactive participation in MY plan. How can He just sit idly by while my plans just fall apart? I mean, I got in the boat didn't I? Or is it truly making it to the other side that He wants to use to "free" me of the things I "got in" the boat for?

Whatever His plan. I know that we will make it to the "other side" of this process. And I hope that my faith in the "Giver of all good things" is even stronger for it. And I hope to leave many of my trappings on the shore and be forever changed by the Captain of the ship.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't lose hope!

That seems to be a phrase that I have been repeating to myself, and to my friends in the same position, a lot lately!! This journey is taking so much longer than we had anticipated. That is frustrating and disheartening. I tend to flounder between complete trust in God's plan and feelings of weary-I don't think I can wait any longer-losing heart moments.

We turned in our initial application almost 15 months ago and still have, at least, another 4 months until baby comes home. What might soon add to that wait is that the courts close in Ethiopia for all of September and part to all of August. So, if we don't get a call by next week for the baby, then we will have to wait that extra 1-2 months to get before the courts....just waiting for them to open again. We don't actually appear in the court for the second trip, just the Embassy, so that wouldn't change anything. The first trip will be scheduled approximately 6-8 weeks after you accept your referral, though. As the month of June winds down here, it looks like we will miss the cut-off to make it to the courts before they close. If we get our call after next week, then probably we will not be making the first trip until October/ November and then the second to bring her home November/ December. Wow. That seems like a lifetime away after all of the waiting that we have already done. Confused? So am I. Especially trying to "map it all out" in my head. Which has proven o be fruitless, anyway. There are many more elaborate explanations of this new two-trip policy, but that's my rough interpretation of it.
Okay, all things in perspective. We are all having a great summer at the Smith house, with all sorts of activity and time with friends and family. We are truly blessed and will just keep-on keeping-on.

Hopefully the next post will be about our "referral call"! Hopefully...

Tony swimming in the Nolichucky- you've come a long way, baby! 6/21

Monday, June 14, 2010


We are officially #4 on the list now! Yeah! We are truly getting prepared for the next stage of this process. Well, frankly, I feel we have been prepared for the next stage for a while, but the process seems to be dragging out longer than we expected.

Adoption lesson #1. Almost EVERYTHING about adoption will take longer than what you are told. So, be prepared to wait and wait and then wait some more.

Adoption Lesson #2. Don't assume anything, because things can change at the drop of a hat. Like the travel to Ethiopia, just two months ago we were expecting only one trip there and now we have to take two.

Is it all worth it? Absolutely, and I haven't even seen a picture of my Ethiopian Princess, yet.

Is it hard? Absolutely, but have you met Tony? Need I say more?

Can anyone do it? Yes, there is nothing special about us, just God's plan. But, I hear people say all of the time that they would love to adopt, just dont think they could "do it". Like they don't have what it takes. Not true. I want to advocate for all of those Fatherless children out there. If God ever tugs on your heart, don't ignore it. What a beautiful image of the Father's love for us all.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Still waiting. I will post soon with some really deep thoughts about this whole process, but for now am tired. But thankful! It has been almost a year since I injured my knee and I am still rehabbing it. What a different summer I am going to have, though. I have a grateful heart for the small things this summer; like driving, swimming, gardening and just being outside with Tony and Chris. I am not taking those things for granted! And what wonderful weather we have been having!
I am thankful that I just celebrated 10 years of marriage to my best friend. What an amazing ten years it has been. I couldn't have imagined ten years ago where life would have taken us. I don't think that I would change a thing. For all of the potholes in the road have become wells to draw from, deeper dependence on God and a greater trust in Him. I have relinquished so much in the past ten years, but am painfully aware that I still have FAR to go in this walk with the Lord and with Chris. Chris still hasn't seemed to have caught on to the secret that I am not perfect...."shhhh, don't tell him!" But, seriously, what a treasure he is to me.
On a different note, Tony had his friend spend the night tonight and I sang them a song before bedtime (maybe a little dorky for some 8 year-olds, but Tony loves it) and his friend said "Tony, you are so lucky that your Mom is an opera singer." I just wanted to write this down, because I am sure that in 10 years Tony will forget how "lucky" he is and think that what I do really isn't that "cool". I just love the things that they say at this age! But, at 18 I am sure that he won't enjoy me showing up at his high school wearing my "Don't make me use my opera voice" T-shirt. That's what makes the idea of doing that seem so much fun, though! hahah (evil laugh)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Patience now....please!

Please all praying people pray for us! We have now been on the waiting list for 8 months and are wondering when this thing will happen. The waiting time frame when we started this was 6-8 months, but at #4 unofficially, it seems we might not be moving as quickly as we had anticipated. I am getting a little anxious. This does not fit into my plans! You see, I had the whole thing mapped out beautifully. We would be back with our little girl by mid-summer and that would give us all time to learn about each other, and plenty of time for me to "mother" before I had to go back to work in the fall. Then, Ethiopia changed their travel policies. That will add some time (not to mention the added financial burden) with having to make two trips to Ethiopia now. There are many positive things about the two trips, but ultimately, it will add time to the "coming home" end of things. And now, it seems that there just isn't as much movement on our list. So, my plans just aren't going to come to fruition.....imagine that! God kindly laughs at "our plans" I know. We must all learn to trust Him. He is faithful and will not fail us, even if His plan looks different than ours (chuckle).

But, could you please pray anyway? That God will do all things in His time, but maybe sooner than later? And no matter what He does, please pray for patience for us. This whole journey is beginning to feel very long. I wish I could answer the question that I hear almost daily; "when are you getting your baby?" I am truly ready to have a response to that, other than "I have no idea!"

And pray for all of those orphans that are left behind. My wait is nothing compared to theirs. Waiting for a home...... a family. There are some 143 million orphans in the world. Can we make a difference in one orphan's life? Yes, we all can. We can not forget the Fatherless among us and across the world. May all of our hearts be stirred to practice this "true religion".

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. Mother Teresa

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


New Official number on the waiting list! This is our number for May. We pray that things start moving even faster, especially since I am out of school for the summer and now have many hours to sit and feel anxious about the wait! This number does not take into account the people who were in the process of getting their referral paperwork in when the numbers went out. Yes, I said paperwork; every step of the way there is more paperwork. I pray that we don't get our referral while we are out of town, because you want to get your paperwork done immediately so that you can get your travel dates ASAP. Lord, give me patience and quickly! :) But, seriously please pray for our referral to come sooner than later, so that we can get that baby home and have lots of time with her before the school year starts again.

Also, yesterday was Tony's "forever" day. We celebrate the day that he was "officially" ours; forever. We had a picnic and cupcakes, and Tony swam in the lake by himself. That was quite an accomplishment for him. He has come so far! I am so excited about the growth that he has made. I am so thankful that God has given us the same opportunity. The chance to be His forever, with unconditional Love that we can never be separated from. How wide and deep is His love for us all. I pray that we can all love our children the way that the Father loves us, and those days that we fall short, we can accept God's mercy and start afresh.

I thought that I would put up some statistics about the country of Ethiopia, since people have asked why we chose that particular country to adopt from. These facts had an influence in our decision; go where the need is greatest. The following statistics give you a brief overview of the need there.

There is an estimated 4 million orphans in Ethiopia......
 1 in 10 children die before their first birthday
 1 in 6 children die before age 5
 Over 50% of children are stunted
 Malnutrition is the underlying cause of more than half of all child deaths
 Although accurate statistics are hard to come by, it is estimated that approximately 4.4% of the population in Ethiopia is infected with AIDS (CIA World Factbook) and that there are approximately 1 million AIDS orphans
 Only 50% of children attend primary school (K-3)
 Average class size in government schools – 85-100 children
 Overall literacy rate is 42%, with many more girls and women illiterate than men
 Unlawful kidnapping and forced seizure of young girls for marriage is common in certain parts of Ethiopia, especially in the SNNPR (13%) and Oromia (11% )
 1 in 4 women dies in childbirth or from a pregnancy-related illness

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Who am I?

I am wondering today who I really am... do you ever have that kind of day? I felt very sensitive at work today. It was one of those days when you realize that other people are actually judging the quality of your work. This comes as no surprise, since my work is reflected in the progress of my students. I am questioning whether or not my best was good enough this semester. Maybe I should have done more of this or that with my students, or maybe I need to focus more on (fill in the blank) next semester. At some point I guess we all question whether or not the very thing that we have been laying our hands to is even making a difference. So, who are we then?

When I picked Tony up from school, one of the teachers pulled me aside and said how much she enjoyed me bringing the opera to his school. She even said that she was so impressed that I did that for a living because she thought of me as "just another Mom". That's funny. Just another Mom. You know, I actually took that as a compliment. That allowed me to remember that, though I get much satisfaction out of my job, when it comes down to it, I am "just another Mom." I waited a long time to be a Mom. I even think I wouldn't mind having that quote on a t-shirt, coffee-mug or a key-chain. Then on days that I feel less than accomplished at work, I can remember that I have a "fan club" at home. My time is not my own. I am more than the accomplishments of my students or even my own. I am not perfect, nor do I have to pretend to be. I have a son who thinks that I hung the moon and a daughter who doesn't even know that I exist, yet. That is who I am..."just another Mom."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Typhoid Vaccination Hurts!

Okay, so today Chris and I got vaccinated for Typhoid. The nurse said that it won't make your arm hurt like a tetanus shot....yeah, it wasn't anything like that....it was ten times worse. I couldn't even lift my arm up to play the piano for my students today. Very painful! Anyway, just thought I would share that fact.

There doesn't seem to have been much motion these last two weeks with the referral portion of the list, so we are still waiting, and waiting, and waiting.....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting closer!

We are getting closer. I am thinking about the fact that we haven't been vaccinated for typhoid yet, and what if my little sister plans her wedding for the late summer or fall and we have to travel during that time...it's getting crazy. The new "two-trip" policy to Ethiopia will begin in May, so I don't think that anyone can say definitively how much time will be in between the two trips, etc., until they get this new "ball rolling". My experience with almost every part of adoption/foster-care is to never rely on a time estimate, you will only be disappointed. Instead, we put our Hope in the Lord. He has all time, space and everything else that we need to walk out this Life. That is a relief. Sometimes all of these unknowns feel very burdensome, but then I remember that I am not supposed to carry them.
Tony is the sweetest little boy in the world. He is so excited about getting a little sister. Whenever he sees a dark-skinned person, he says "Mom, they are Ethiopia!" Since English is his second language, he tends to say things a little differently sometimes, so it is still so cute. I have to explain that not all people with darker skin are from Ethiopia, but he is so focused on getting this little sister that he can't see things any other way. He is going to be such a big help. And I am so glad that we have had three years of him alone, he needed it. It takes a while for orphans to really believe that they are loved forever, loved unconditionally and home for good. I think that he is there. We are so in love with him.
We have room for another, now and can't wait to see her picture for the first time. Then the hard part comes; waiting to get to her, then having to leave her for a while, oh, I dread that. I know I will be a mess leaving her. But, only for a while. Then comes the waiting to hold her again. But, God's timing is perfect...we must believe.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


We are now officially #9 on the infant girls list. And I am tired from being at rehearsals every night this week, but am starting to feel a new surge of energy just thinking about getting closer to having that baby in my arms. I deleted my very last post...since it was reallywritten out of my frustration in the recent changes in the adoption community. I want to start over, with faith that God will work all things out for those of us who love Him.

I was so broken-hearted to see the story of the Russian boy that was shipped back to Russia. I am so thankful that we have Tony! I hate that the boy was shipped back home, but obviously that mother had some major issues. I pray that like Tony, it gets better for him, and that he finds the home that God has planned for him. I am scard for the International Adoption community, it has received so much bad publicity lately and the other countries are taking notice. We must pray for orphans everywhere!

Must go to sleep now. There is a list of things that I need to take care of this next week, like get an International Pediatrician, get vaccinated for typhoid and get some sleep!

Just think....some where in Ethiopia tonight, sleeps my daughter and her birth-mother. We are forever connected to them both.