Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The who, what, where, when and how's...

So, I feel like the time has come when I have 3 seconds to sit down and tell you why we've chosen Ethiopia. As I was thinking this out, I realized my years in high school composition would really come in handy right now, and that this will read much like a high school thesis. However, please do not grade this because I've been out of high school for 11 years now! So bear with me!

Really, we feel like Ethiopia was the best option for us for several reasons: 1. need 2. practicality, and 3. personal reasons. Ethiopia is an African country that is slightly smaller than the state of Alaska. 80 million people call this area home, and it is the 20 most populated country in the world. Of the 80 million people, 5 million are orphaned children waiting for a mother and father and sisters/brothers to call their own. There are many reasons why the children are orphaned: poverty, disease, and effects of war and drought. The life expectancy alone is only 46 years of age for men and 49 for women. This mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. The Gross National Income is only $110 a year. A year!!! I spend that much a week on groceries! Aids and other diseases are also a major problem in Africa that have come to affect Ethiopia as well.

So what about China's 600,000 orphans or Russia's 3 million? Yes, we know there are millions of children waiting for a home, but that's where the practical aspect comes in. Nick and I have a heart for orphans and would love to adopt again in the future. But we thought why not start off with a pleasant experience. At this time, Ethiopia is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest country to adopt from. "Cheap" is a relative term but in the end choosing Ethiopia over, say Russia, will save us literally tens of thousands of dollars. All this to say, we know you can never put a price on a child, but God does gift us with what He wants us to have.

Now my favorite part...have you ever seen an Ethiopian child? They are the most beautiful, joyful people!!! We have had the privilege of being in a town where many families have adopted children from Ethiopia. That community alone is reason enough to choose Ethiopia as our country. Our little girl will have so much support and connection with other people who are not only her race but her cultural background! We have just fallen in love with Ethiopia and are so excited to integrate it into our lives.

We have been blessed to be welcomed in to the Ethiopian group here in Morton and are also a part of the Ethiopian Culture group in Chicago. They have cultural events and festivals that will allow not only our little girl but our whole family to make Ethiopia a part of our lives. This is so important to me because I want her to know that she is special and that God brought her from an amazing place and she should be proud of who she is.

There is so much more to say on this, and I would love to share our hearts for Ethiopia with you. If you're interested please let me know, and we would love to get together with you.

I know I promised to share the name we've chosen, but Nick has "nixed" that for you can blame him :) But soon enough I'm sure I will slip! I'm just so excited for her to come home, and I love to call her by her name instead of just "our little baby in Ethiopia." This way she is more real to me.

So what is our time frame? Well, things seem to be moving pretty slow right now. It takes about 3-6 months to gather all the paperwork and do the that puts us around March. Then there is about a 12 month waiting period to get our referral, which is when they match us with our daughter! We will receive a picture and all of her important medical and history that's about March '12. Then there's more waiting, then two trips to I've lost track, but it could be a very long time, or God-willing it could be a year total. We just have to see how God wants to move!

I just wanted to share one last exciting piece of information for those of you who have shared an interest in partnering with us financially on our adoption. We were recently accepted by International Children's Adoption Resource Effort (ICare) to partner with us in raising funds. ICare is typically a grant organization that helps families financially with their adoptions. With the turn of the economy, ICare has stepped back from their Grant ministry and is now providing families with the use of their 501(C)3 accounts. This way anyone who would like to provide a donation to bring home our little girl can get a tax deduction for their gift. Its just a little way we can give back to those who give generously to us as well. So far, every penny we've needed has been provided, and we are so amazed by the work God is doing in our lives. It just shows that when you step out in faith, God blesses the work!

Now to some praises, I had asked you to pray for our friends, Greg and Dawn, as they waited for their referral. And last week they got it!!! They now have a picture of their 3 year old little boy and are planning their trip to go meet him!!! Thank you so much for your prayers, we are just so excited for them and can't wait to meet their new family member.

Continue to pray for Jenny and Phil as they wait for the arrival of their little girl, Reagan, sometime in April or May next year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Big 3-0...

So today I turn 30.

It's not so bad, right?

All summer, I was so depressed about turning 30. Before then I could pass as a young mom in my 20's, but to think about the 30's...ugh! After 30 there is no turning back. At that point you are just a middle aged mom. A soccer mom. Forever.

My mom told me that when she turned 30, she laid in bed all day. That was going to be me, I just knew it.

I decided I was going to take matters into my own hands. I wasn't going to wallow around in my own self pity, I was going to do something to prove 30 wasn't the end of my youthful life.

I decided to run a marathon.

Who does that? My mother-in-law, that's who. Her 50th birthday present to herself was to run her first marathon. If you've seen the woman, she is gorgeous and looks no older than 30. I decided right then and there that is the gift I wanted to give to myself. To kick dirt in 30's face. So I grabbed my best friend, Amy, and we started training.

We were so naive :) We trained and trained and trained until we were beyond burnt out. The month before the marathon were we pushing ourselves to the limit? No. We stopped training. Sure, we did our long runs together once a week, our "girl time", but the in-between runs were a thing of the past.

So this weekend (the weekend before I turned the dreaded 30) the gun went off and we started out on 26.2 miles. Now, this wasn't just any 26.2 miles...this was 26.2 miles of pure hills. But step by step, mile by mile, we made it! And it was SO fun!!! We had the most amazing fans, who catered to every need. They screamed whenever we ran by, so loud in fact people around us just laughed and said, "that's awesome." They had crackers, water, and bagels for us. For most runners, energy chews, jellybeans, and gels are what keep them going. Not for us, we fuel up on Snickers, Diet Coke, and LOTS of Ibuprofen. Yes, our fans kept our sugar levels high and our pain levels low!

So, I'm feeling good. On top of the world! 30 isn't so bad. In fact, I think I'm more youthful, more outgoing, and loving life more now than when I was a young, 20-something mom. I only have bright things ahead of me, a husband who loves and appreciates me (even the bad); three beautiful, healthy, hilarious children; the MOST AMAZING friends and family; a beautiful baby girl in Ethiopia; and a God who chooses to love and forgive me no matter how many times a day I fail.

I think 30 is going to be pretty great.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret...refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil."

It's amazing what handing over your worries to the foot of the cross and saying, "Here it's all yours Lord," will do for one's nerves. It's been an amazing week! I have just been pouring out my concerns to the Lord and saying, "hey you want these? You can have them!" And I've felt so peaceful! I've had amazing opportunities to get together with friends and just share our story. I've been meeting with other adoptive mom's and getting their honest feedback on the whole process, and I was invited to help organize a United 4 Orphans event on November
6th. All of these things have made me incredibly excited for what Nick and I and our family are doing!

I want to invite you all to the United 4 Orphans event. It is going to be a great time of worshipping and praying for orphans around the globe. There will be delicious desserts, dynamic speakers, and the chance to taste and support Gobena Coffee. If you'd like more information visit the United 4 Orphans 2010 Facebook Page or

Did you realize that there are 147 million orphans in the world today? Poverty, disease, death have taken beautiful, innocent children from the arms of their parents and put them in a world of fear and desperation. A recent statistic showed that if 7% of Christians in the United States adopted one child there would be virtually no orphans left in the world (thanks to my friend Danae for educating me in the world of all things orphan). To me that seems like such a small number. If Christians could step up and make that big of a difference in the world, it would be staggering!

We had a big week this week! We got a lot of paperwork done and mailed in several packets. It may seem like such a small thing to sign an adoption agreement or an application, but there are some big time checks going in each of those packets. I still can't believe the money that has just happened to show up extra in our bank account the last month. I mean logically, I know where it all comes from: extra hours on the job, a gift from a friend, but to have the perfect extra amount we've needed just astounds me. It's so exciting (and slightly stressful) to see the deadline come up and look at our checking account and be like, "Whoa...its the perfect amount...write 'em a check." And to write a check so there's a new concept in our house :)

Owen, Amra, and Wrigley (in his silent way) constantly amaze me as well. They always have a special prayer for their sister. They've thrown out things like, "let her know we love her," "keep her safe", "let her know we will come get her", "help us get all the money we need to get her." I think I tear up at every meal and bedtime when it's time to pray because their hearts are so innocent, and they know what this means to us and their sister waiting in Ethiopia.

On a more personal note, I've fallen in love with my daughter. It's been a weird concept for me. It started out so depersonalized, I just saw the work, the timelines, the DOLLAR signs. But now I see her. When you're pregnant you don't know what your child is like, but you can feel him/her. You can cradle your stomach and hear his/her heartbeat. Adoption is so different. I don't know anything about my little girl. I don't even know if she is born yet. But I love her. I don't know what her face looks like, but I know she is beautiful and I know she is mine. It's been a crash of emotion over me the last few days. There was a moment when we weren't sure we'd make a deadline, and my heart just broke. Suddenly there was no option, we would find the money because I NEED my daughter. She's out there waiting for mommy and daddy to bring her home. Please pray for her and her little heart.

We have more exciting news that I will share in the next blog because we are waiting on a few logistics, but God has answered a big prayer financially for us that will be so beneficial. We've also narrowed down to a couple names, and I just want to share why we chose specifically Ethiopia. Sorry this was so random, but I've been reading so many other blogs that put mine to shame, that I'm like, "you know what, this is me, this is what you get." I only have 2 followers now, but someday...someday (!) I will have 968 followers like and if not I'm just glad that YOU were reading :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's been on of those weeks...

It's been one of those weeks where everything is woe is is so one understands. So I just didn't write, which you should all be grateful for. For those who don't know, I babysit full-time for 3 wonderful children (and that's not an exaggeration) plus I have two of my own. Owen goes to school full day, but he comes in around 2:15, so he is there part of the time, too. I find myself driving to and from preschool, changing a diaper, playing a game, picking up the game, making lunch, cleaning lunch, back to preschool, get Owen at the grade school, and back to the preschool five days a week. Evenings consist of soccer games, church events, and Bible Study. I'm also closing in on running my first (and only) marathon, so that takes up one night as well (yes, one night because honestly I've given up on running the other days that I'm supposed to). So needless to say, I find myself exhausted at the end of the week. However, this past weekend ended with Nick having to go out of town for work, and me taking on the weekend by myself. So of course the whining sets in, and with whining comes bitterness, and bitterness brings fret...and blah, blah, blah.

Things haven't been moving so quickly or smoothly in the adoption world, so of course I whine. "God, this is what YOU wanted us to do, so....where is the ease of it all?" Why is my faith so quick to fade when I get the slightest bit of resistance? I always see the lesson and the joy after I get through a trial, but during it? Not so much. But then my wonderful, insightful husband tells me to stop whining to him and whine to HIM. Is that really ok? Is that respectful? Well, maybe I shouldn't whine, but it is ok to tell him our disappointments, our frustrations, our fears, and He will listen. He promises peace, "Come to me all ye who are weary and I will give you rest." So that's what I did, and you know what...peace. Suddenly, I get my focus again, I see His purpose and I know that He is leading us.

Last night Nick said something that just made me see everything in a fresh perspective, "I just feel like I need to be in Africa holding my little girl right now." And Amra prays, "Lord, please let our little baby know that we love her and will be there to get her in a year." It's then I remember, its not about me or the paper or the timeline, it's about bringing an orphan to a place that's her home.

Come support National Orphan Day and Gobena Coffee! What a great cause and reason to join together to remember those in need. If you would like more information, let me know. And don't forget to check out!