20 June 2015

All About Daddy

If you're like me and tend to procrastinate, here's a perfect, last-minute gift for dad. I worked on this with my 4-year-old a few days ago, and his answers are priceless. (I will share them after we present daddy with his gift!)

Just click on the link below and print out the form, then you or your child can fill in the answers with your child's responses.

Click here for Free Printable: All About DAD
(The link will take you to Dropbox. If you don't have a Dropbox account, it will ask you if you want to sign up. You can simply close out that pop-up box if you don't want to. From there just click on DOWNLOAD or OPEN in the upper right-hand corner and the document will open in Adobe Reader.)

18 June 2015

Raw Honest Truth

A friend asked me recently if there was any news on our international adoption because she hadn't seen a blog post in a long time. I was reminded that not everybody is on Facebook, so some people don't get my regular updates.

I haven't blogged in a while because it feels like I'm always saying the same thing about our adoption: we need one more paper (and that paper always is changing); it's out of our hands; your prayers are appreciated.

And that's pretty much where we're still at, but with an added urgency for an expedited process. The Federal Court in Ethio closes every year for a "rainy season" closure. We don't know the exact dates this year (they tend to change from year to year), but most likely they will close from August 6 until mid-October.

So, if we don't get a court date ASAP, we're looking at several more months before M, M, and D can join our family. Typically when the judge agrees to hear a case, he sets a court date about 4-6 weeks later. So it is imperative that we get a date ASAP to beat the August 6 closure.


I was asked recently via email how I'm dealing with the delays, and this is how I responded:  

This morning as I checked email yet again hoping to hear some good news from our agency, I was reminded of back when I was single and obsessed with some guy, and I would constantly check voice mail/email, etc. for a message. It's the same now. I'm addicted to checking for messages.


When I do get a message from our agency--and it's about something other than our kids--I am supremely annoyed. Like how dare they waste my time with info about a conference call recording or a new webinar or a program update! My feelings aren't particularly rational or logical. :) I vacillate between having a great attitude and being fully confident that God will accomplish this at just the right time ... to being all-out angry and frustrated and disappointed with God. Sometimes I ride the roller coaster several times in one day. And wow is it tiring! I've never been so tired in all my life from doing nothing but waiting. My mind feels preoccupied most of the day.


And then there's all the FB adoption groups I'm a part of. Some are super encouraging and informative, but others are like watching a train wreck. It kills me to hear stories of children who were probably trafficked, and the adoptive parents are the last to find out. Or their home becomes a living hell after the child gets home, and they question whether they should have adopted. 


God has clearly only given me grace for today (most days!) but I am not equipped to deal with possible future problems for which I have not been graced-up.

We willingly stepped into this journey knowing it would be difficult, so we're certainly not looking for sympathy. But my best self-therapy is writing, and the best thing for our family is prayer. Hopefully today's raw, honest truth accomplishes both.

Thanks for walking with us. We love and appreciate you.






13 May 2015

We Have a Plan

Doesn't every obstacle seem easier when a plan is in place?

Well, we have a plan. [big sigh of relief]

We received our negative recommendation today from the Ministry, as expected. Only 1 day after it was supposed to come, so that is good!

Besides the "you don't have one paper and we still need it," they have also requested an updated license from our children's orphanage director.

The director *thinks* it will take between 10-14 days to get his renewed license.

Once this is received, our team in Ethiopia will file our case at Court. We are petitioning the Court to review the case, as is, and to agree to hear our case without a positive recommendation from the Ministry. If that happens, Ken and I will fly to Ethiopia to meet with the children and to go to Court. (!!!!)

In the past few weeks, several cases like ours have been successful, and we are hoping, praying, and dreaming for a similar outcome.

I feel a little like the widow in the Bible who kept banging at the Judge's door, demanding justice in her case. He finally relented because he was tired of being harassed.

I'm sure some of you are tired of my "banging" at your doors, requesting prayers to "bang" at the doors of heaven. And if that's the only reason you're praying, that's OK. Believe me, I'm tired and humbled to continue asking for prayers.

If it weren't for three beautiful brown children who are in need of a mom and dad, I would've given up long ago.

Thank you, friends. We appreciate each and every one of you so much.

Looking forward to good news in the near future...

Luann

11 May 2015

Tomorrow

So tomorrow is the big deadline when we are supposed to receive our recommendation from the Ethiopian Ministry (MOWA). For some reason, I had it in my head it was Wednesday, and when I realized it was Tuesday, I got all nervous.

Our social worker reminded me that MOWA does not necessarily meet deadlines, so it's possible we won't hear anything tomorrow. And if we do, all "authorities" involved are convinced it will be a negative recommendation that will then be appealed to the Courts. 

Well, I have a Higher Authority who will do whatever He wants, so I'm not throwing in the towel quite yet. 

Thanks to all who have been praying. Addis Ababa is 8 hours ahead of CST, so if you're awake in the night, please keep knocking on the doors of heaven. 

"Expect great things for God. Attempt great things for God." -William Carey


‪#‎FourMillionMinusThree‬

29 April 2015

Impossible

Around the time Ken and I started this thing called "the adoption journey," we were at a party at my cousin's house. Now you have to understand that when Lori throws a party, there are lots of people and lots of good food.

I don't remember the occasion, but there were a lot of people there. A lot. Most of whom I didn't know.

Lori and her "tribe," (friends, family, etc.) are some people of serious faith. They are Jesus- invoking, God-fearing, bursting-at-the-seams-with-faith kind of people. So when a man we met at the party learned we were adopting, I wasn't surprised that he wanted to pray over us.

I don't remember the man's name, what he looked like, or much about him. But I do remember his prayer. Mostly because it lasted for about 15 minutes--while we stood next to a trampoline in the backyard, and also because he prayed big. BIG, big prayers over us. That God would do more than we could ever imagine. That money would come from the least likely places. That God would show Himself through this process.

At that time we thought we were adopting one child. And we needed about $42,000.

On the car ride home, Ken and I were kind of quiet. I think this man's prayers kind of spooked us. Where did his faith come from, and was he prophesying some sort of huge "thing"?

Fast forward to now. We're adopting three kids. THREE. One who is a pre-teen. (Lord have mercy.) We've seen money come out of rocks, and God has supplied all of our needs.

[There were a few bumps along the way, like the time the social worker was coming over to do our home visit, and that morning the street sewer backed up into our pipes and nearly overflowed our bathtubs (sewage, people!) and we were without water all day, not to mention the clean up.]

After all this, we're told the Ministry has a May 12 deadline to write our recommendation, and all the powers that be are convinced it will be a negative recommendation....if they even honor the deadline. And then we'll have to go to Ethio Federal Court and attempt to have them overrule it. Which, quite honestly, I believe they will.

But what a hassle.

I was thinking today that I wished I could get that mysterious praying man back over here to pray for us again. For a miracle positive recommendation from the Ministry. And not just for our three children, but also for a three year girl at their orphanage who has a family in Utah waiting to bring her home as well. For an expedited process. For quick and just and godly decisions by leaders who may or may not believe in God.

But although I don't have that man, I have all of you. So I'm going to throw out a quick challenge. There are 13 days until our May 12 deadline. Will 20 of you join us in praying once every day for a positive recommendation, an expeditious process, and favor with those in authority?

Our 7-year old girl needs a home. Our 9-year old girl needs a home. Our 12-year old boy needs a home. The 3-year old girl at their orphanage needs a home. They all need nutritious food, adequate medical care, a mom and dad, a church family, neighbors and friends who have their best interests in mind.

If you are willing to be one of the twenty, like this post, leave a comment, or send me a message.

<3






07 April 2015

I suck at praying (but I rock at altered lyrics)

I'm a terrible pray-er.

I think I used to be better at it, but over the years my time spent praying has consistently dwindled.

I'd like to blame it on having a 4-year-old child constantly underfoot, but that's not totally true. I know prayer works--I've seen too many other-worldly experiences not to believe. But I get overwhelmed.

Like lately. I try praying for M, M, and D who are stuck in Ethiopia, waiting for our adoption to be finalized. I try praying for my sweet mother-in-law who is courageously fighting Stage 4 cancer. I try to pray about the sale of our condo in Florida that is supposed to close this Thursday--and for which we have to bring $13K+ to the closing. (#UpsideDownTimesAMillion) I try praying for my hubby and the writing deadlines he has for his book deal.

But more often than not my prayers devolve into something like Anne Lamott's book on the three great prayers: "Help, Thanks, Wow." (With an emphasis on the HELP portion.)

Sometimes I manage to utter whole sentences such as, "Lord, have mercy." And I feel proud of myself for having both a subject and a verb in my sentence.

And maybe, probably, my non-poetic utterances are OK. God knows. It's not like He needs a debriefing on our situations.

This past Sunday in church, we were singing "Mighty to Save" The lyrics go like this:
Saviour, he can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save

I started thinking about the mountains in my life and the first thing that came to mind was MOWA, the Ethiopian Ministry that must sign off on our kids' adoption. So, with a smile on my face, I sang my revised lyrics in to Ken's ear:
Saviour, he can move the MOWA
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save


Then we sang "Your Grace is Enough" by Chris Tomlin. Once again, I inserted my own lyrics:
So remember Your people
Remember *our* children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

I have to admit, I felt rather clever singing these new lyrics. While I'm no Weird Al Yankovic, this felt like one of my more brilliant moments. I always get songs stuck in my head, so when I turn the stuck-in-my-head song lyrics into a personal prayer of sorts, I'm praying constantly. 

For my mother-in-law, who is thousands of miles away from us, I like these revised lyrics of Kari Jobe:
When she walks through deep waters
I know that You will be with her
When she's standing in the fire
She will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
She will not fear

She is not alone
She is not alone
You will go before her
You will never leave her

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake her
We are pressing into You
Lord, You fight her every battle
And we will not fear

I haven't found a song yet for my hubby that says, "Stop procrastinating and finish the stupid book," but I haven't given up looking.

What about you...any songs that you like to sing as your own? What do your prayers look or sound like during this season of your life?
 

24 March 2015

Nobody Should Cry Alone

Nobody should have to cry alone, especially a kid.

In one of our last updates on the children, the social worker that sometimes M gets sad and goes off by herself to cry for a while.

I know all kids cry. My 4 year old cries at some point nearly every day. But Mom or Dad is always nearby to comfort him.

I keep wondering what would cause a 9-year-old girl to cry. It could be anything really. A toy not shared. A disagreement with her sister. The perception that someone else is receiving preferential treatment.

Or maybe she cries because she has no mommy to tuck her in at night. Maybe someone is bullying her, and she doesn't have a grown up to stick up for her. Maybe she longs for a daddy to tell her how beautiful and funny and smart she is. Perhaps she is hungry. Feeling sick and not getting the right medication. Maybe she longs for a family. Maybe she is sad or scared or anxious and doesn't know why.

Whatever the case, the fact that she sometimes cries, alone, keeps me motivated.

We won't give up on these three children. No matter how long it takes. No matter how much money it costs. We will keep praying, advocating, and trying every avenue we can think of to get our kids home.