As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here We Go!!!!

It's time!!! We're all packed up and ready to go to Ethiopia!! A big THANK YOU to our amazing Sunday School students and their parents for all of the wonderful donations that are packed away in those big blue totes and one of the suitcases pictured above. The children at Hannah's Hope will be so blessed because of your love and support!

Many people have asked when we will be bringing our children home. It all depends on whether or not we pass court on August 5th. If all of our paperwork is in order and the judge has received our approval letter from the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's, Children's and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA), then we could possibly travel back to Ethiopia four to six weeks later to bring our children home. However, MOWCYA has reduced the number of letters that they process each day, so our approval letter may not be present for our court date. If this is the case, it will delay the process. Because the Ethiopian court system shuts down for a month and a half beginning on August 6th, we really don't know what to expect. We may have to wait until the courts reopen at the end of September before they will look at our case again. Lately, most families have not been passing court the first time. This could add several weeks or months to our timeline. (We will not need to be present when they examine our case again.) God knows exactly what will happen and when, and we are trusting His perfect will to be done.

We would appreciate your prayers this week as we travel (it's a loooonnnggg flight), as we meet our boys for the first time, for the twins as they try to process what is happening, for the twins' birth mother as she attends her court appointment on Monday, for our children who stay at home with their grandparents, for their grandparents (11 days is a long time to babysit), and for our health as we experience a different culture with different foods and unsafe water. Thank you so much! We know that God is going before us and preparing the way, and we pray He would be glorified this week as our adoption journey continues to unfold.

Due to unreliable internet service in Ethiopia, I most likely will not be posting anything to my blog while we are there. I plan to take lots of photos, though, and will share them along with an account of our trip when we return.

Hope everyone has a great week! See you later, and off we go!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

God Is In EVERY Detail.......

Wow. Some amazing things have been going on over our way lately:

1. It is not only incredible that we received a court date so soon, but everything surrounding our court date whispers, "God." First of all, usually when families receive their court date, they have about a month until they travel. We received our court date, and had a week and two days until departure. Secondly, we knew that because of the rainy season and court recess, the Ethiopian court system closes down in the months of August and September. So we really didn't expect to travel until October, at the earliest. Come to find out, our court date (on August 5th), is on the last day that the courts will be open in August. That's right, on the 6th, they will close. We were also the very last family that was accepted into court before the closures. The family after us received a court date of October 17th. (We wish they could have traveled with us, as we have come to know them a bit - they are a wonderful family. We plan to take lots of photos of their kiddos for them while we are over there).

2. We received some photos of one of our boys lately, in which he is wearing a very special shirt. What is so special about this shirt, you ask? It is the exact same shirt that my nephew, Yikealo, wore when he lived at Hannah's Hope (our agency's transition home) two years ago. To see the shirt and read a little more about it, click here. This shirt is definitely a family hand-me-down!!

3. When we started the adoption process, we decided that it might be a good idea to take our oldest daughter, Shana, along with us on our first trip to Ethiopia. She really wanted to go, and we thought it would be an invaluable experience for her. So we told her that if she could raise the money that she needed for her plane ticket, she could go with us. She excitedly started planning a garage sale/bake sale, which we held in May of 2010. She made about $2,200 that day. Last week we booked our flights, and guess what her ticket cost? Almost exactly the same amount. She is so excited!

The court date, the shirt, and the ticket. Coincidences? I don't think so. God has every detail planned out and under control, no matter how small they may seem. He definitely knows what it best for us. So while I'm a bit nervous about traveling to a foreign country and meeting our sons, I am also extremely excited to see how it all goes. Because I know that God has it all worked out, down to the last detail.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Court Date!!!!!

Today, we received our Ethiopian court date of August 5th!!! Wow! We're still working on travel arrangements, but it looks like we'll be leaving on July 31st!!! That's just a little over a week away! Yay! Pretty soon, we'll be holding our 2 boys in our arms for the very first time, and we can't wait!! We have lots to do in the next week, and we ask for your prayers as we prepare to head across the world on this life-changing journey. Thank you so much!! God is good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Twins' Room Revealed........

The twins' bedroom is finished! Well, actually, it won't be complete until they are in it, and we can't wait for that day!! But I've done as much as I can for now.

Africa (with a heart over Ethiopia), a zebra, and a monkey grace one wall:

I painted these canvases, which hang above the bed:

My talented mother made these curtain valances:

Flip the Frog and Mo the Monkey were gifts from our adoption agency:

And then, of course, there's the closet, where I'm starting to collect all sorts of cute clothing in twos:

So....put it all together, and it looks something like this:

I also put together a collage of the boys' referral photos, which hangs above the chest of drawers. But I can't show that to you, as we are not allowed to post photos of the boys online until they get home. The collage also includes Ethiopian and American flags.

Have a great day, everyone!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Beginning To See..........

On October 10, 2008, I was in the O.B. department of the hospital, gazing down at the new little life that I held in my arms. My tiny nephew, London, was a perfectly-formed miracle, and I was so glad that he had arrived safe and sound. Little did I know that on the same day, in a different hospital half a world away, there was another mother giving birth to two tiny, perfectly-formed little boys - two miracles whose lives would be forever connected with mine.

There I was in the hospital, celebrating new life. Simultaneously, my sons were being welcomed into this world as well. At the time, I didn't realize the significance of the moment. But God knew. He wove together an intricate, perfect plan using two little boys and a mother who lived on opposite sides of the earth from each other. His plan is not finished yet; it is still being brought forth, little by little, piece by piece. But now I'm beginning to realize just how perfect it is. For so long, I've waited in the dark, believing that God would bring His plan to light. He is doing just that. And now I'm beginning to see.............

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Keeping Busy........

This past weekend found us traveling to Kentucky on Friday and Saturday, and to Michigan Sunday through yesterday. Whew!! We had some business to take care of, but we were also able to sneak in a few days for a mini vacation with the kids. 

In adoption news, we keep busy staring at our boys' pictures while we patiently wait for our court date. We're hoping to be able to travel to Ethiopia yet this summer; however, the Ethiopian court system shuts down during the months of August and September. If we can't squeeze in before then, we most likely won't meet our boys face to face until October or November.

Today, we moved all of Malia's belongings into Shana's bedroom. The two girls will now share a room, and I will start redecorating Malia's old room for the twins. I hope to start painting tomorrow. I'm also working on a photo book of the twins and our family for the boys' birth mother, as well as a couple of photo albums to leave with the boys when we travel to meet them for the first time. We can't wait!!!!!

Have a great day, everyone!!