Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Advent!!!

I've been so looking forward to this season. And I'm so glad that it is finally the first day of Advent, 2009. The focus on drawing nearer to Christ (and to one another as a family in the process) is filling my heart. There are two new books on the sidebar now which are also on my coffee table. A nice new festive background graces my blog (don't be surprised if it changes again between now and Christmas!). The first candle in our advent wreath was lit tonight. But here's a thought to start off your advent season that will top anything I could say:

This video is particularly poignant to me this Advent season as we are waiting not only for Christmas, but also for Mihret and Yoseph to come home. I was so aware, as we read and sang together this evening by the Advent wreath, that Mihret and Yoseph don't need any of the piles of material "stuff" they will encounter when they get here. They need a Savior. That, I believe, is why He is bringing them here. It all makes the Advent experience for us even richer this year. I hope yours will be too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

God sets the lonely in families...(yes, this is it!)

Sorry; if you've seen me in the last two weeks this will be pretty anticlimactic. But for those far away, now you'll get the scoop. I had been waiting for a chance to tell some family members the news before I went public. I have been ready to write this since Thursday,though, but for some reason have kept holding back. I think that part of me just really doesn't believe that this is real. Two weeks ago, through a series of events that were completely unexpected, highly unlikely, and quite possibly miraculous, we "found" our children. We had been facing some pretty significant problems and disappointments with our adoption process, and had been praying and asking others to pray that we would have clarity as to how we should proceed. Our family had been praying in faith that God knew and saw the faces of the fatherless. He knew the need, He knew our hearts, and we prayed that He would make the connection if His plan was to allow us to bring adopted children into our family. On a Monday morning, while Jim was in Washington D.C. for a meeting, we received pictures and information about siblings in Ethiopia. I was frantically calling and e-mailing Jim. He was calmly praying. In a very short period of time (probably less than an hour) he was clear that God wanted us to move ahead with this. And we did. Mihret, whose name means "mercy", is three years old. Her brother Yoseph is 19 months old. Even as I type their names I am overwhelmed again with God's goodness, and yes, His "mercy". This truly is more than we could have asked or imagined. Jim and I have been talking about adoption for over 15 years, and our family has been actively pursuing it since last January. And now, these beautiful children are waiting for us.

There is so much more I could say; so many stories of God's faithfulness over the last two weeks in affirming this decision and helping us to move forward. We have been buried in paperwork, standing in line at the Post Office every other day, and praying, praying, praying. And always looking at the sweet faces of these children which we have placed in almost every room of our house.

Please pray for us and for Mihret and Yoseph. As far as we know, they have lived with their father and mother until very recently. Their father died, and their mother left them in an orphanage because she was unable to care for them. We cannot even imagine the pain that she must have experienced. In Ethiopia, 81% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, and 27% live on less than $1 a day. Many families are literally unable to feed their children, and it's a common practice for parents to relinquish their children to an orphanage, or even abandon them on the street. Last year there were more than 4.3 million orphans in Ethiopia, and only around 8,000 were adopted. Mihret and Yoseph's mother did not know when she left them that they would be adopted, but took them to a place where she believed they had a better chance to survive. Before we travel to bring the children home, their mother will know that they have a family. It's very unlikely that we will ever be able to meet her, but we will never stop praying for her.

We still have a long wait before we can bring them home. We've done everything we can here. Next week our paperwork will go from Virginia to South Carolina, then to Washington D.C., and finally to Ethiopia. At that point the Ethiopian government will set a court date for the children. If everything is in order, a date will then be set for us to travel to Ethiopia, have an appointment at the embassy in Addis Ababa, and then finally bring them home. We are trusting the timing of all of this into God's hands. We have a general idea of how long this process usually takes, but will place no limits on what God might do.

Thanks to all who have prayed for us so far on this journey. Keep it coming! We will continue to keep you updated. Oh, and we are not allowed to post the children's pictures until our case passes court and they are officially ours. If you see me on the street, though...well that's another matter. I will most likely have those pictures close by.

"God sets the lonely in families..." Psalm 68:10

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pie for Breakfast

No, this isn't the "big news," (you'll still have to wait a couple of days for that), but I couldn't resist sharing. Sweet Pea and I are lovers of all things pumpkin. At the first hint of fall, we start planning all of the pumpkin recipes we can't wait to try out. (Of course, the rest of the clan are perfectly happy to help out as taste testers). This year we found a new one called Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, which surpisingly Sweet Pea doesn't like, but is a big hit with everyone else. No matter how many pumpkin recipes we try, though, there is just no match for plain old pumpkin pie...for breakfast, of course. Last night I got the urge, so we whipped up the pie before bed, and we all went to sleep anticipating our favorite breakfast.

Okay, okay, for all of you health nuts out there, let's review the ingredients in pumpkin pie. Pumpkin. A veggie for breakfast; what could be better? Or is it a fruit? Those seed always throw me. Milk (need I say more?). Eggs (obviously right for breakfast). Cinnamon (a super food; great for everything from blood sugar to balding). And, okay, there's some sugar (no more than you would eat in a bowl of boxed cereal, I'll bet).

Go ahead and try it; there are only a few weeks left of pumpkin season, and then there will be no more pie for breakfast 'til next year. Oh, well I guess there's always apple. And blueberry. Oh, and there's peach...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Big news coming soon...

Sorry, that's all I can say. You'll just have to check back in a few days...