Thursday, November 4, 2010

Please help us with this...VOTE for us TODAY!!

Our family has entered a video in a contest  with Dave Ramsey called The Great Giving Challenge.  If we are one of the three winners, we will get $5000 to GIVE AWAY to families who are raising funds for their adoptions!!

The contest has been going on for a couple of weeks already, and we just got our video submitted today (we found out about the contest after it started, and then had some technical difficulties) so we need to get a LOT of votes FAST because the voting ends on Sunday!  The ten videos with the highest number of votes will go to the judges, who will choose three as the winners.  You can vote once a day, and there is even an option to get an e-mail reminding you to vote each day!  Also, if you have a blog or a Facebook account, please post this for us.  The top ten videos on Dave Ramsey's website already have between 500 and 1600 votes, and we're just now getting started!!

PLEASE go to the following link and vote for us.  We are so excited about the chance to help at least FIVE children come home to their families.

Here's the linkAdoption Changes Lives Forever

Vote every day!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Year Ago Today

On November 2, 2009, Jim was in Washington DC receiving an award.  He rarely travels for his job, so that was unusual.  Meanwhile, I had made a casual inquiry into a listing on Rainbow Kids, a waiting list for orphaned children.  I hadn't planned to make that inquiry.  There were so many reasons why it wasn't practical.  We were already working with a different agency (and would potentially lose a lot of money if we switched).  We were really planning to adopt one little boy and then adopt another little boy in a year or so, and this listing was for siblings; a little boy and a little girl.  We never imagined a girl! So when I saw the listing, I ignored it.  Then a friend (a mom who had already adopted from Ethiopia) e-mailed me the same listing.  She had seen it too, and wanted to know if I had noticed it.  I e-mailed the agency which was representing those two children (thinking to myself, "I'm just curious.  We couldn't really pursue this, but it can't hurt to ask..."). 

So mid-morning on Monday I received an e-mail back from the agency.  It seems that somehow, even though the listing had been up since Friday, and I had waited and dragged my feet about responding to it, I was the first person to inquire about those two children.  The caseworker said that she could send me the file, but that I would need to let her know right away if I was interested.  I waited by the computer (I can picture it now with complete clarity; the computer was on the dining room table, which was stacked with various piles of things I needed to get done that day), and then it came.  The e-mail was titled, "Beyene Siblings information", and it contained medical reports, social reports...and pictures. 

I am not a particularly spontaneous person.  I like to plan.  I like to know what's coming.  I was undone at the thought of making a decision of this magnitude based on some sparse medical and social information, and three pictures.  And without my husband.  I was calling him frantically on his cell phone, and though he was hearing what I was saying, every time he tried to respond I could only hear static.  Finally, I did hear this; "Send me the pictures."  I e-mailed them to his phone.  I waited.  I called again, spoke with him, and again could not make out his response.  Then he sent me an e-mail.  I still have it.  It said this:

Let's go for it. God is big! I have to turn phone off but I will call latr.

So there it was.  I called the caseworker, and she said that I needed to fill out an application and send a check.  At that point, I was just feeling stunned.  And scared.  I sent Jim another e-mail, telling him some more details about our next steps, and telling him that I was scared.  He immediately sent me another e-mail:

God is good.  Those are our kids.

He was right.  On both counts. Those are our kids.  I'm crying now even as I type those words.  And God is so good; I cannot even begin to describe His goodness in bringing us to that day a year ago, and in every day since.  I cannot even begin to describe His goodness in the ways that He protected the children and prepared them to be part of our family, or the ways that He affirmed us through every step of the long months that followed as we tried to get them home.

I wasn't allowed to post those pictures last year on November 2, but I can post them now.  Here they are:

And here they are now:

God sets the lonely in families.  Psalm 68:6

Celebrating these "anniversaries" in our adoption is more than just reminiscing about special days.  These are milemarkers that point me to God's goodness, sovereignty, mercy, and grace.  To me, celebrating them is an act of worship.  Today our prayers are full of thanksgiving and adoration.  

Sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.  
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.
Psalm 96:1-4