Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Been Awhile...

I'm shamefully overdue for a apologies. Our holiday weekend was pretty busy, and now I'm fighting a cold (yuck!) and new found allergies (when did this start? Is it being 28?). Here's the low down on the adoption front. Last Wednesday I received a phone call from my agency saying they needed an updated Power of Attorney form for the courts, and stat. They needed to receive it by Friday to have it hand delivered by the CEO of our agency on Tuesday (the day our case went to court). This sounded encouraging to me, b/c when I asked what difference it would really make if our case was on hold, she didn't really give me a definitive answer. So I called Travis and he came downtown immediately; we ran to the government center, signed the document in front of a notary, and then had it certified at the Secretary of State's office. Within 2 hours of her phone call, I had it FedExed priority overnight, and I was trying really hard not to get my hopes up. On top of that, there was twittering on my adoption chat group that the investigation was over. I hardly slept at all Monday night, and I kept dreaming about the case.

Unfortunately, I was right not to get my hopes up. AWAA called me Tuesday to tell me that our case is closed for now, pending this investigation's completion. They still haven't been given any estimations by ET on when this might conclude. I'm still hopeful that we'll travel sometime this summer, but we still have to take it one day at a time.

So that's the scoop. I've been struggling more this last week or so. I think my most difficult times are when I'm home with nothing to do, so I'm trying to keep busy with projects that don't revolve around the baby. My heart just feels raw. Hopefully I'll feel better in a week or so because I can't stop work on her room entirely!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 3 - Sophie's Choice

Meet Sophie. She's a soft, lovable, and cuddly pink and white dog we've been sleeping with for the last several months. Although I felt somewhat silly bringing a stuffed animal to bed for the first time in probably 20 years, I have to say I've grown attached to her. But Sophie was not meant to remain with us forever. We said goodbye Tuesday morning as I carefully packed her away with 2 new onesies and a new dress for our baby girl, and a note of thanks to Mia's nanny. She's leaving Saturday with the Bayly's for Ethiopia and her mission is to impart our smell and comfort to our darling girl. Before, when I thought I'd be holding her in a matter of weeks, I hadn't really put very much thought into this 2nd care package. I was trying to leave room for other families whose wait might be longer than ours. Now, however, I wish I'd had more time to prepare a better gift. I wish I'd prayed over Sophie, written a blessing to be prayed over Mia, something else.
Tonight, I wish I could hold my baby. I wish I could know how much more my heart will love her, and how my life will be changed forever when she finally comes home. But for now, Sophie will carry a small part of me across the ocean and into Mia's arms.

Gracious and Heavenly Father, tonight I ask a blessing on Sophie. I pray that she will bring comfort to Mia, as she brought to me. Please continue working in the Ethiopian government. I pray that you would put a fire in the hearts of the officials working there, that they might feel a passion to end this investigation quickly. Thank you for all of our wonderful blessings, including this opportunity to spend more time with you. I can already see how much more I've grown to know you through this trial. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 2 - Worry

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Today has been more difficult. I do still feel God's peace, but I've felt myself wavering more. I find myself thinking about tomorrow and the months ahead, and I start to lose it. I wonder how long this hold will really last, if things will work about and we'll still travel this summer. Or, my worst fear of all, that it'll drag out into court closure and our case won't even be heard until October. That's when I just want to throw up, crawl into bed, and pull up the covers. And then God gently lifts my face back to Him. "Focus on me, Sarah, and me alone." My heart is overwhelmed and humbled with His love for me.
It dawned on me yesterday when I was doing my Bible study that God already knew this would happen. Before we ever saw Mia's face for the first time, before she was ever conceived, before we decided to adopt. This is part of the plan. Nothing takes Him by surprise. What an awesome God we have. When Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow, it's because He already knows the story. And all we have to do is trust Him for today, take Him at His word, and He will carry us through tomorrow.

Almighty God, I cannot fathom your knowledge. You knew me before my body was even formed. You knit me together in my mother's womb. And you know what the future holds because you wrote the story. And we know that love wins. We praise you Jesus and we thank you for loving us so very much. Please ease my broken heart this evening. Continue to work through the Ethiopian courts. Watch over my baby girl; tell her we love her. Help me focus on today, and help me to trust you for tomorrow. I love you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 1 - Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Today I am focusing on peace. Not worldly peace, that is fleeting and dependent on our circumstances. But the peace Paul describes in Philippians as transcending all human understanding. I don't think I have been praying for anything harder and more fervently in my whole life, and yet I feel a strange sense of peace and calm that my mind keeps telling me is crazy. Yes, it is crazy and illogical to be so calm in the midst of so much uncertainty, but then again, so is the cross. It is crazy how much God loves us.
Let us today pray for God's peace to rest upon all the families that are being affected by this hold. Peace for the children, some of who are old enough to feel the impact of this additional wait.

Lord Jesus, you are the author of all things. Nothing is hidden from your eyes, and you know our hearts and desires. Today, I ask for you to rain down your peace on us. Help us keep our faces on you, and comfort us in this time of uncertainty. I know you are working in all things, and I would ask that you continue to be at work in Ethiopia. Please uncover the things that need to be uncovered, and we boldly ask you to bring our children home quickly. Thank you for your constant and abiding love. Amen

Monday, May 11, 2009

God is Always Good

One thing I have struggled with in blogging about this adoption journey is remaining real and true. I think sometimes I appear to have things "together" (whatever that means) because I struggle with revealing some of the wide range of emotions we have felt during this time. You experience everything from the mountain top to valley low, and the unfortunate truth (or fortunate, depending on how you look at life) is that very little of this process is in my control. And God has definitely used this process to draw us closer to Him, so I don't want to appear patronizing or trite by saying things like, "God is always good" or "God is in control."

Thus brings me to the point of this post. I received a phone call from AWAA today, informing me that MOWA (the Ministry of Orphans and Women's Affairs in Ethiopia) is putting a hold on some of their international adoptions. Ours is one of them. I can't reveal the details as to why, but, again, none of these details are in our control. No one is quite sure as to how long this will delay things, but a similar situation occurred last fall and delayed things by about a month. It could be longer, or it could be shorter. We just don't know. (In case you are wondering, our court date will likely not happen on the 26th, because without MOWA's recommendation letter, the judge can't approve our case.)

Honestly, when I first saw who was calling me today, I had all kinds of thoughts, like maybe for some strange reason a judge heard our case today, maybe they're calling to tell me our travel can be expedited, or something else exciting. This was certainly the very last piece of news I expected to hear. And then almost immediately, before the tears or anger or despair could come, I heard a line from Sara Groves' "Song for My Sons" in my head.

I can not say that life will always go on as it should,
But I can say that God is always good.

Believe me, the tears have come, and we are heartbroken at the thought of another unknowable wait, but I'm trying to take comfort in Christ tonight. God is always good. Our baby girl won't be in Ethiopia one day longer than He predetermined. And I don't want to dismiss the fact that I do still have one very powerful tool: prayer. James tells us the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (5:16). I feel God laying it on my heart to have a period of prayer and fasting, not only for our situation, but for the other families this affects, the children who are waiting in Ethiopia, and the entire process. Let's come together over the next 7 days and ask for God to work in a mighty way in Ethiopia. If you have any interest in joining us, please leave me a comment or send me an email. I'll post our prayer/petition for each day, and let's ask God to move this mountain from our path.

We'll start today with this verse from the Psalms.
"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart, and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:13-14

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My First Mother's Day

I wrote this note to Mia shortly after we received our referral call. In honor of my very first Mother's Day, I thought I would share it with you.

Sweet baby girl,
It has been all of 48 hours since we received the phone call telling us we have a baby girl - you. And for the last 48 hours I haven't been able to get you off my mind. I guess this is what becoming a mother is all about. I love your darling face, your big, bright eyes, your cute little nose, your long fingers and toes. I love you. And even though we have not yet met, my heart belongs to you, precious Mia. Even though you don't yet realize it, I have become your mama and you are my baby. I have been praying for you since before you were ever conceived, and even still while you were in your mother's womb. And before even that, I know that God, our Heavenly Father, has been loving you.
I cannot wait until the day when we will finally meet. Until then, baby girl, you are in my every thought and prayer.

We're coming soon, love...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

April Update (Finally!)

We finally received our monthly update on Friday! I think they normally come a week or so earlier, but because of power outages in Ethiopia, they've had a difficult time getting all the information sent back to the U.S. office. I have to say, these 2 pictures are the best ones yet. She's actually smiling and I can see her personality starting to come out. She is absolutely beautiful and her smile is radiant; you can't help but smile when you see her. She's still pretty little, just right at 6 pounds, but is healthy and appears to be developing well. Our report states that she loves to cuddle, responds to touch and sound, and usually only cries when she's hungry or wants to be held. I'm not sure these next 9 weeks can go fast enough! I'm hoping that our friends the Bayly's will pass court on the 11th so they can travel on the 16th to not only meet and pick up their son but also deliver another small care package for us. I also have to work on my next round of questions for the May update. This last time I asked about her sleeping conditions, favorite position to be held, her nanny's name, eating schedule, and personality. This time, I'm definitely going to ask if her Ethiopian name has a meaning, but I'm open to more suggestions. Any other advice?

PS. If you have a moment, check out the Whipple's and Lunceford's blogs. Both families just returned home with their new babies and have posted their "Gotcha Day" videos. I promise you won't be disappointed or dry-eyed.