Friday, February 26, 2010


At about 11:00 this morning, my Mom and Dad left for Ethiopia! It,s hard to believe that just about 5 or 6 months ago, we didn,t even know about our children, but it is not hard to believe that God has brought us through this whole adoption process. It is going to be a beautiful moment when I see them for the first time. Anyway, my Mom and Dad are on they're way to Ethiopia, but they're flight was cancelled, so they are only about a third of the way there. I would like you to pray, if you aren't already, for my Mom and Dad while they fly to Ethiopia.

   I'll keep you posted, Sweet Pea.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sweet Pea's first blog post

Hi! Sweet Pea here. Today my Mom taught me how to put posts on the blog so that I could post while she is in Ethiopia. What you are reading right now is actually my first blog post ever. So, anyway, I hope I'll be writing down what's happening - in Ethiopia! (If my mom and dad are able to call and tell me what's going on!)  You'll know just about everything thats going on on the other side of the world. Things like meeting our children or visiting the care center. Anything exciting.

Well, that's all for now. Except one thing; my mom is adding a picture of our family. Sort of. I made us out of Legos. What do you think?

Sweet Pea

Monday, February 22, 2010

Because I am His

The other day I was telling  a friend that I used to wonder whether I would think our adopted children were "cute."  I know that probably sounds awfully shallow, but if you're a mother you know that your own children are always beautiful to you.  Our four "biological" children may not be the most beautiful children in the world to everyone else, but they are to me.  From the first moment I saw those wrinkly little faces as they emerged from birth, I was rapt.  They were, and still are, perfect to me.  And so I wondered, would I have this same unreasonable pleasure in gazing at the faces of the children God brought to our family through adoption, or was this a response that was somehow born through the process of biology and birth?  Well, now I know.  We frequently receive pictures of Yoseph and Mihret from the care center where they are living.  And they are, of course, the most beautiful children there.  (To me!)  My eyes are instantly drawn to them in a picture of a dozen other children.    I love them , and I delight in them. Because they are mine. 

And as I've been pondering this, God has kept showing me a deeper truth. Recently I was laying in bed wondering how God can look at me with any favor when I am so unlovable.  Being in a stressful, busy time definitely puts me in a position of being very aware of my sinful nature.  To paraphrase Paul, why do I do the things I don't want to do (get impatient, stressed, and out of sorts, fail to sit at the feet of my Lord), and I can't do the things I want to do (be patient, loving, kind, faithful)?  I have been feeling sometimes far from God, and often failing Him.  And I was struck with the truth that He doesn't, of course, love me because there's anything worthy about me.  He loves me because I am His.  Because He has adopted me into His family, I am beautiful to Him.  Because of Christ's death and resurrection, I am a sister and daughter in His family. He sees me as His own. Yes, of course I've known this before.  But now...I get it.

I think Mihret and Yoseph have already taught me more than I will ever be able to teach them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Lenten season

This may be my favorite time of year.  I know that we will have to modify some of our family traditions, given all that our family has happening during Lent this year, but I thought I'd offer a resource we enjoyed last year, and it's simple enough that I think we can even keep up with it this year.  It's a free download called "Lent Activities for the Family."  Just click HERE, then scroll down to the third item on the page (Lenten Tree and Activities Book).  (The first two books on the page sound great also, but they're not free!)
Blessings to you all during this season of Lent.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

To add to the last post...

Read this:  Special Hope Network: "How Lovely is His Dwelling Place".  This is the website of precious friends who are truly giving up everything to move to Africa and care for orphans with special needs.  We love them so much, and will selfishly grieve when they leave in April.  They are really much more than friends; they have filled the roles of friends, counselors, and pastor, as well as being just tons of fun.  This post, though, is not tons of fun to read.  It is, however, piercing.  Because it's the truth.  Do you want to hear it?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Count the Cost

If you've ever read this blog before, I'm sure you've gathered that we're excited about adoption.  When we were dating, Jim and I dreamed about adopting.  As a family, we've talked and prayed about adopting for years.  I can look back and see seeds that God was planting in our hearts over the years to draw us toward this plan that He had for us; even toward these specific two children that He has always known would be part of our family.  And I can tell you that there is an indescribable joy in being right where God wants you to be.  A sweet sensing of His pleasure when you step forward in obedience.  An experience of His blessing that is almost tangible.

But if you know me really well, you have also seen my fear.  There have been moments throughout the process of this adoption when I've hovered on the edge of panic.  I've spent sleepless nights wondering what we were thinking to take blind steps into this unknown place.  What might we be taking on?  What might we be giving up?  I mean, really; we're in a pretty good place.  We are financially stable even in this culture, and compared to most of the world we are ridiculously wealthy.  All four of our children are healthy (and at least in my opinion they are also beautiful, intelligent, and talented!)  We've had the opportunity to be educated, and to educate our children.  We have wonderful friends.  We are free to worship, as well as to do pretty much whatever else we want to do.  And here's the thing...I am so selfish.  I don't want my life to be harder.  I don't want to suffer.  Am I really willing to sacrifice?  This is what I am learning, and what I long for: that I would experience more and more deeply the truth that God is more satisfying than anything.  That there is nothing I have that I would not lose for the sake of obedience to Jesus.  That I would pursue whatever He calls me to with abandon.  I am so far from being there, but I am learning...I am. 

I am sitting in my comfortable house, on the couch, with my laptop on my lap and a heating pad on my back.  I hurt my back today lifting boxes (looking for clothes for Mihret and Yoseph).  I felt sorry for myself.  I wondered how I could possibly get done any of the things on my (very long) list if I couldn't even stand up straight.  In pain, I snapped at the children.  Without the frantic pace of busyness I've been keeping since we got our travel date, I started worrying about things.  Missed flights.  Power outages in Ethiopia.  Parasites. Lice.  Temper tantrums on 17 hour plane rides (maybe the children's; maybe mine).  Attachment disorders.  Long-term effects of malnutrition.  Racism.  Taking care of African hair (okay, that might seem out of place, but it's on my mind!)  And there are lots of others. But at some point, God just got ahold of my heart.  And I got it (at least for the moment).  So what?  What if we miss our flight (or worse).  What if there are lice, parasites, temper tantrums, attachment disorders, special needs I can't foresee?  Really?  What if our children (all 6 of them) experience painful challenges?  God is bigger.  He is better. Better than living a life that seems safe, comfortable, and predictable.  I want to be in the center of His will.  We've been reading and memorizing Psalm 91 lately:  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  We've been talking with the kids about the fact that you can't be in Someone's shadow unless you're very close to Him.  And that's where I want to be.  And I don't think He is staying in the clean, safe, comfortable places.  Honestly, when I think about what we're doing in those terms, I feel like an idiot even considering that we're facing anything that might be considered "suffering".  There is so much more we could do.  There is so much more we could give.  I hope and pray that our children (all 6 of them!) will learn to live with abandon for God.  That they won't have my steep learning curve.  And I hope I keep learning too.

Here's something I read this afternoon that's worth checking out:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh. My. Goodness.

I cannot seem to find the time to take a deep breath!  Or to write a post for this blog, apparently!  I'm hoping to find the time to write some more soon (sooo many thoughts I'd love to share), but for now I just want to offer this piece of information...

We're leaving on February 26.  That's 16 days from now.  We'll be flying out on a Friday morning and arriving in Addis Ababa on Saturday morning after a 17 hour flight.  We'll meet Mihret and Yoseph on Tuesday morning, and they will be with us from then on. We'll fly out of Addis on Friday night Ethiopian time, and arrive back at Dulles on Saturday morning (our time).  Somewhere in there, due to the time change, we lose an entire 8 hour night of sleep.  Might not make THAT up for a long time!

Please keep lifting up the prayers.  Oh, how we need them.