Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, and comments. It's encouraging to have others come along with us on this journey. Travis and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful year to come!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Now, we know that things could always be worse. I mean, Abraham and Sarah waited 10 years from the time God led them out of Ur until they had Jacob. Hannah waited for many long years until God gave her Samuel. Joseph was wrongly imprisoned for 7 years in Egypt. I know that God has a plan and all things happen for a reason. I know all those things. But I am so sick of hearing people say them to me; it doesn't make this any easier. I am done waiting.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
That being said, I wanted to share another important date with you. Yesterday, December 1, was World AIDS Day. This pandemic disease has become more and more relevant to us as we learn more about Ethiopia. I began reading a new book last week titled There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. The book is written by an American journalist who discovered an Ethiopian woman named Haregewoin Teferra who is defying all social codes and mores by trying to rescue the AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. This woman's journey and subsequent mission is sobering, humbling, and eye opening. AIDS is destroying an entire generation in Africa while we Westerners haven't a clue. I feel ashamed by our lack of knowledge and action. If you have any desire to learn more about my daughter's culture and country, please read this book. I can't tell you how much I have been touched by Haregewoin's life and story; I promise you won't be disappointed.
I want to leave you with a brief selection from this book.
Waiting in a clinic for the result of an HIV blood test, or for a child's blood test, is the archetypal experience of modern Africans.
The patient waiting for results may imagine that the outside world-the industrialized democracies of the West-once alerted to the terrible situation here, will ride to the rescue. Because how could people know and not help?
A few may suspect that the outside world has been fully informed, for there has been no shortage of experts. In fact, extensive documentation has been collected and collated, graphed and disseminated.
Stephen Lewis calls the voluble hobnobbing of experts on the subjects of global health and orphans "speakathons"; they "give credence," he writes, "to the proposition that if you talk about something for long enough, the illusion will be created that progress is being made...And I suppose there has been some progress in the world of reports, analyses, figures, tables, diagrams, and at least a thousand PowerPoint presentations, not to overlook throbbing intellectual rumination, but very little progress that's discernible in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children on the ground."
The African patient, waiting for test results, discovers that the outside world, while not completely indifferent, is not going to intervene to save his or her life, or the child's.
Around the world, a few fantastically popular television shows strike me as bizarrely playful versions of contemporaneous darker scenes.
On American Idol and its many knockoffs, singing contestants wait for verdicts issued by seated judges. "Yes, you go on to the next round," they may hear; "See you tomorrow," or "No, your competition is over," "America has voted," "Your journey ends here." Viewers phone in votes for their favorites. In other shows, individuals fight for survival on island expeditions until they are voted off the show, off the island, by their erstwhile comrades. The last man or woman standing is crowned "the survivor."
These programs are "reality shows."
In Africa, by the hundreds and thousands and millions, but one by one, a person sits in a clinic waiting room, jumpy or still, feeling fine or feeling nauseous, coughing or not coughing. Or she squats outside in the dirt yard, holding her head in her hand, occasionally looking up and calling to her children not to wander too far. Each waits to hear his or her name called. Inside the examining room, a doctor or nurse or nurse's aide examine a slip of paper and looks up. The eyes speak first.
Negative: You advance to the next round. See you tomorrow.
Positive: America has voted. Your journey ends here.
There are no television cameras.
No viewers at home are cheering or weeping.
No viewers at home phoned in their individual votes. Most never knew anything was at stake.
"I have heard there are treatments," a woman will whisper.
"Not in our country," the doctor will say with a sad smile.
"Does it mean I will die soon?" a man will ask.
"Yes, I'm afraid that is what it means."
"I thought perhaps I just had a cold."
"No, I'm afraid not."
"Thank you, Doctor."
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So I haven't become completely obsessed, but I can tell you that I found out we are #10 in line for a baby girl! We are hopeful (from what we've been hearing) that a January referral is very possible (oh, Jesus, we pray), and that 6-10 weeks later, we could be traveling to meet our daughter.
Monday, November 17, 2008
My favorite onesie. It reads, "I'm new here."
Bathtime fun with pink rubber duckys
As if planning a surprise party wasn't enough, Sara also crocheted us this beautiful lavender blanket, which matches the baby's room perfectly!
Lots of books for bedtime stories. This one, My Daddy and Me, also has another in its set, My Mommy and Me.
Discussing teething tablets and other mommy tricks of the trade with our friend Terri.
You might be wondering what all those guys did during the shower portion of the evening. They all watched for the first few gifts and then found this...
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
As of now, most families at the top of the list are at the far end of their wait time (right at or just over 9 months). I'm hoping and praying that things start to move again before the holidays and that we might not have to wait until February for a referral.
In other adoption news, I would appreciate your prayers as we submit our application with Shoahannah's Hope for an adoption grant. This is something I was sure we would never get, but as my Mom said to me, the worst that can happen is that they say no. As always, please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we fervently long to bring our little one home.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Our downs? Well, all this planning for the baby really made me want the baby...now. I had a very difficult time returning to work after a week of baby stuff. And part of what makes it so difficult for me is not knowing what kind of time frame we're working with. The thought of having to wait until next March or April really makes me almost deflate. We also found out Ethiopia is raising their country fees, which will affect us by about $4,000.
So what keeps me sane in the midst of all this uncertainty? The fact that our God is sovereign in all things. No matter how difficult it is to see or understand, He is always in control; nothing surprises Him. And in the strangest moments, just when I'm ready to give up, He reminds me of His all-surpassing love for me. That alone is unfathomable. I am humbled that the God of this vast universe takes the time to love me...and you...completely and perfectly. That's what keeps me going. When I look around at the uncertain state of our economy, the upcoming elections, the 4 year old boy in our congregation who's fighting a losing battle to brain cancer, the massive famine in Ethiopia...I have to accept and know God is in total control and does love this world.
Friday, October 10, 2008
America World Received 7 Referrals ranging from infant to 5 years old in October.
The DTE of the last family who received a boy referral was 02/08/2008
The DTE of the last family who received a girl referral was 12/13/2007
The DTE of the family who received referrals of sibling group 0-5 was 5/9/2008
The DTE of the last family who received a referral of 5 year old female is 7/5/2008
We have now completed boy referrals for all families up to March for boys and up to February for girls
The next DTE for girl referral:2/1/2008 (This is what we're waiting for...an infant girl.)
The next DTE for boy: 3/3/2008
The really exciting news is that our DTE is 5/2/2008. So we only have 3 months of waiting families ahead of us! Now we don't know exactly how many families that is as AWAA can't release that kind of information to us, but I do know it is getting very close! Please pray for us as we continue to get more and more anxious to bring our little girl home, and also for a referral before Christmas!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
October 2007 - Marks the one year annivesary of Travis' employment as Youth Director at our church. To be honest, this was one path God had in store for us that we never saw coming. But I know Travis would agree with me when I say I can't imagine my life without those kids.
November 18, 2007 - We celebrate Travis' 31st birthday.
December 2007 - Last Christmas season was kind of depressing for us both. We had started to get mixed feelings from the El Salvador program, and our home just felt empty. I am sure this Christmas will be much more uplifting as we should so close to knowing and bringing our little girl home.
February 2008 - One of my best friends, Shari, and her husband Ben have their first child, a precious little girl named Savannah. Savannah was a bit small and had to spend 17 days in the NICU, so Travis and I were making several trips a week to St. Francis. I have many fond memories of sitting in Labor and Delivery with Shari while both of our husbands were out of town with the youth, taking Savannah's first pictures in the NICU, spending time with Shari in their hotel "suite" and waiting to visit Savannah every two hours.
April 21, 2008 - We celebrate my 27th birthday...hopefully I will celebrate my next birthday with our daughter!
June 2008 - Travis and I took our youth group on an 11 day mission trip adventure to the Navajo Nation in Arizona/New Mexico. This trip, although completely exhausting, was worth every single second. I'm totally bummed that I will miss next year's trip, but I'm pretty sure I won't be much help with a baby in tow.
July 1, 2008 - Travis and I celebrate our 8 year anniversary.
September 2008 - A lot happened in September. My best friend Anne got engaged (and will be getting married December 27 and moving to Morrocco in January!); our goddaughter, Gabrielle, turned 2; we lost our friend, Charlie May, in a tragic motorcycle accident; we painted the baby's room; our good friends Alex and Amie moved back home from Denver, CO to Indiana.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
And after much debating, we decided to paint the whole room one color. Initally, I wanted to do something special with paint, like stripes or something to that effect, but the thought of painting over my hardwork in such a short time period (like when she moves to a big girl bed) made me think we should stick with simple. Here's the paint color we chose (the one on the top left):So there you have it. Her room is starting to look less like a catch-all storage space and more and more like a real nursery. It gives me great delight to know that this time next year I'll actually have real baby to go with it.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
September 05, 2008
World received 11 referrals of children between the ages of 0-6 years for the
month of August from Ethiopia. Below are the DTE of the families who received
Referrals on August 5, 2008
DTE: 11/1/07- Infant girl
Referrals on August 19, 2008
DTE: 11/19/07- Sibling group under 3
1/25/08-Sibling group under 6
2/1/2008-three year old female
Referrals on August 26-29, 2008
DTE: 12/21/07- Six year old female
In addition 4 families with DTE of 2/1/08 received referrals of infant boys
Based on the new referrals, the wait time for an infant boy is 5-7
months while the wait time for a female 0-6 years is 5-9 months. The wait time
for siblings under 7 is 5-7 months.
Thanks for all your continued prayers and thoughts....
Friday, August 1, 2008
America World received 10 referrals of children between theThis would keep us on target for referral between December and February...9 months for us would be February 2.
ages of 0-5 years for the month of July from Ethiopia. Below are the DTE of the
families who received referrals this month:
Referrals on July 21, 2008
DTE: 11/21/07- Infant Boy
12/7/07- Infant Boy
12/7/08- Infant Boy
12/21/07- Infant Boy
1/25/08- Infant Boy
1/25/08- Infant Boy
Referrals on July 29, 2008
DTE: 1/25/08- Infant Boy
Based on the new referrals, the wait time for an infant boy
is 5-7 months while the wait time for an infant or toddler girl is 7-9 months.
The wait time for siblings under 7 is 5-9 months.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
After a stop in the Zoo's gift shop and some refreshments at DQ, we were all beat. On the car ride home, Cassidy announced to us all that she'd had the best day ever...and I'd have to agree.
Ready to Go!
Will loved the Oceans Exhibit
On the Carousel
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We don't have any pictures of us swimming, but here's some of us swinging post-pool.
And some kisses for Auntie Sarah
After the pool party, we decided to head home and play with Gabby for a little while longer before bedtime. She was a real trooper; she wasn't fussy and went down very easy in her pack & play. I did, however, make a discovery about myself over that weekend. I am a very, very, VERY deep sleeper. I rarely wake for anything in the night (Travis actually says I sleep like the dead...I don't move much and make very little noise.) So I have always wondered if I would be able to hear my babies/kids when the time finally came. I worried that I would make a horrible mother, never waking for crying children. Well, I found out I was wrong. I heard absolutley every noise she made that evening; I don't think either of us slept for more than a couple of hours. So, in a strange way, I'm comforted in knowing that God didn't make me defunct. It's actually a lot like grace...He gives us exactly what we need, always in the right amount, but never before we need it. I'm sure when we finally do bring our daughter home I will discover much more about myself. For now, this small discovery will suffice.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Although news like this isn't surprising, it's always a blow to our morale. I have currently put all baby items we've collected/been given away, and we've decided to wait until after the first of the year to work more on her room. Please pray for us to continue to be patient and understanding, and that we wouldn't lose heart. It's easy to do...
Friday, June 27, 2008
This is the mission where we stayed in Fort Defiance, AZ.
Our Hike to Window Rock
The Canyon de Chelley (pronounced de Shay) Work Team
Learning to Make Fry Bread from our homeowner, Joann. (You can see her in the background.)
Some of our Group Striking a Pose from Cathedral Rock in Sedona
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The kids in our group were amazing. I was so touched by the way they opened themselves up to be moved by God. I saw them give piggy back ride after piggy back ride to attention-starved children, pull weeds and paint houses for 2 days straight, encourage each other, cry with each other, and pray with each other. I feel so honored to have been part of such a group.
Our chaperones were also incredible. They were there for us, especially Travis, when we were out of patience and running on empty. They stepped in at exactly the right moments and helped us continue on.
Here are some pics from the trip...I'll try to post some of our actual experiences later on today or tomorrow.
Hiking in Sedona, AZ
Our Group at the Grand Canyon
At Kids Club with Cecelia & Stacey
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Travis and I are about to embark on a 10 day mission trip with our youth kids. We're headed out early Saturday morning (read: 6am) in a convoy of 4 mini-vans, 14 youth, 6 adult chaperones, and 1 purpose. We driving the 1,400 miles in just 2 days, stopping only in Oklahoma City on Saturday evening. We'll be spending Sunday evening through Friday morning on the Navajo Indian reservation in the Arizona side of the Four Corners area (where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, & Utah meet). While we're there, we'll be doing some home repairs for the Native Americans and also working a Vacation Bible School for the Navajo children. As many of you know, I went on a similar mission trip back in the summer of 1997, so I'm anxious to revisit the area and see how it's changed, if at all. The area is quite impoverished, and maybe the closest to "real" poverty we can see inside the United States.
After our week of service, we'll be taking the youth to camp at the Grand Canyon for a couple of nights. If you've ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know that just seeing it is a religious experience in itself. I think I'm really more excited about seeing the reactions of the youth than I am about seeing it again myself. Pictures, no matter how well taken, do not do the Canyon justice. Hopefully, we'll also get to stop at Walnut Canyon (where we'll see ancient Indian dwellings carved into the walls of the canyon) and Crater Rock (where an asteroid pummeled into the earth many thousands of years ago and left an unbelievable hole).
If you would, remember us in your prayers over the next week. Travis and I have been praying over this trip for many months, specifically that the youth would not see this trip as a vacation or to go into it thinking about what they are going to get out of it. It is our earnest prayer that they would be prepared to serve these people and to show them the love of Jesus Christ. And although we know we, too, will be blessed beyond comprehension, I pray that the focus is not on us.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
We received one of our first gifts for our baby a couple of months ago. It is, perhaps, one of the most thoughtful gifts anyone could have gotten for us. Our friend Emily and her daughter Gabby (also our goddaughter) sent me this book, special ordered from a couple in Canada.
As you can probably tell from the title, E is for Ethiopia is a children's alphabet book, but instead of phrases like, "B is for blocks", they use items particular to Ethiopia, like "B is for the Blue Nile". (Although if you ever happen to one day in the future read this book to my daughter, you'll notice that the Blue Nile isn't very blue...in fact it's pretty brown and muddy looking.) Also in the back of the book is a description of all the items/places mentioned and a brief history/cultural lesson. Travis and I found out all kinds of tidbits of information about Ethiopia, such as:
"C is for Coffee" - Did you know that coffee is Ethiopia's largest export? In fact, Ethiopia is the first place on record that learned how to roast coffee beans and then brew them. They love their coffee, and they have special coffee ceremonies each day where the women roast the beans over a fire. (And as much as we love coffee, I'm sure we'll be sending back lots of coffee on our trip!)
I can't wait to begin reading this book to our daughter and teaching her about her heritage. Thank you Emily & Gabby for this very special gift!
Monday, June 2, 2008
Before the cake...
...I think he might like it...
...He likes it! He really likes it!
And what's a party without a pinata? Here's my neice Cassidy, whacking the crap out of the pinata. Listen carefully for her grunt as she swings hard but unfortunately misses. Too cute!
So, what does that mean for us? If the process keeps at the current speed, we should receive our referral right around the first of January. Once we receive a referral, time to travel (actually going to Africa and bringing her home) is 6-8 weeks. Travis is still praying for a Christmas miracle (hey - anything can happen), but we'll most likely then have her home mid-February.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
For those who don't know, our journey began over one year ago, April 22, 2007, the day after my 26th birthday. Travis and I applied with America World Adoption to bring a little girl from El Salvador into our home and hearts. We spent many months furiously paperchasing, gathering documents, notarizing everything, feeling like we were being scrutinized under a microscope, and finally submitting all our paperwork on October 5, 2007. Our wait for our forever daughter began. God, however, had different plans for us. We found out just after the first of the year that adoptions in El Salvador were all but shutting down. The wait, initially projected at 12-14 months, grew before us to 18 months, then 24+. We had a big decision to make...should we stick with El Salvador or switch to another country? Initially, even before we applied to America World, my heart was drawn to Africa. Travis wasn't so sure at first, so we chose El Salvador. Then we both began having dreams about an African daughter. I started feeling stirrings and strange longings for Africa. And then we were presented with this choice. So after much prayer, we decided to switch countries and began our paperwork...again...this time for Ethiopia.
I have to say, once we made the decision to switch, neither one of us has looked back. And so, after a year of fretting, gathering and regathering documents, anxiety, and tears, our wait began again on May 2, 2008. The projected wait time is just 7-9 months. Although I don't have my hopes up for anytime this year, we should be traveling to Africa after the first of the year to pick up our daughter. She'll be anywhere from 0-9 months...but that's all I know for now.
As we continue to wait, I will be updating this blog with any new news we receive from America World, tidbits of information about Ethiopia, our life while we wait, and my general thoughts on anticipating motherhood. And hopefully, one day soon, I will be able to post about our long awaited referral. For now, though, we continue to wait...