Sunday, May 11, 2008

Information about Kamashi

This was a post made today by Sue, the owner of our agency, regarding the children of Kamashi:

"CCI families are adopting children that no one else cared about. We are working in a region where NO OTHER agency is working. As you know, that means that we can serve children that would never have had loving permanent homes."

This is another testimony that Sena and Simbona were hand-picked by the Lord, from an unbelievably remote place in Africa, to be our children. Thanks to God for His grace!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Simbona and Winnie the Pooh

This was a message posted on CCI's Yahoo group, by the family who has been posting the information about their recent travel to Ethiopia. Their twin girls spent time in the same orphanage that Sena and Simbo were in, and they know him very well. It's such a funny story! ---

I have to share a sweet sweet story from this weekend. We pretty much only turn on the tv on the weekends, often for Saturday morning cartoons. (The writer's husband) brought the girls down on Saturday morning (to let me sleep in :) and turned on Winnie the Pooh for the twins. He said they got very, very excited and started gibberjabbering in Oromifa, but kept repeating over and over again Simbona/Simbo. George finally realized they said his name every time Winnie the Pooh was on the screen. They thought that Winnie the Pooh was Simbona :) I don't know if many of you have seen Simbona, but he is quite a chubby baby. We thought that was so cute that they thought they were seeing their good buddy Simbona on tv and were sooo excited about it. Just thought I would share.

----I am thinking that maybe the twins knew that Winnie the Pooh was a favorite stuffed animal that Simbo likes, or maybe a character on one of the few shirts that he wears... Not sure!

Monday, April 7, 2008

New information about our babies

(This information also came from the family mentioned in the previous post...)

Simbona is so big and healthily chubby. He was playing with a couple of legos when we arrived. (This family's adoptive twin) girls talk about him all of the time and play like they are taking care of him, so he must be pretty popular...ha ha ha...also made the car ride no problem. (*Side note - our babies were transported on a 14 hour journey from their orphanage in Kamashi to Addis.) The poor nannies though all were car sick, as probably none of them had been in a car before.....but they never stopped caring for the children and making them a priority even through their sick moments...
What was really neat is that when the caregivers realized which children would be siblings back here in the states, they started already introducing this to the children.

Stuff for the babies' "baby book"

This post was listed on our agency's Yahoo group. I wanted so much to post it on my blog so that everyone would have a good idea what life is like for our babies. Also, it was a welcome comfort for those of us (like me) who were a little "alarmed" at the pictures that we received from our agency. It was posted by one of the two families from our agency (the other family was my friend Nora) who just returned from Ethiopia from picking up their children.

Hi Everyone,
I feel compelled to explain something from my point of view as many
of you have commented on the children looking overwhelmed in the
photos. I hope this helps ease some of your worries :) The
orphanage is very simple and plain. The walls are plain white and
until this trip there were not many toys or colorful things to look
at. Also, there are not any white people there...AND. ...many adults
are stunted in growth due to malnutrition. So we showed up and
probably looked to the children like 3 giant white women and 1 giant
white man. We had only one day to assemble, organize, and
distribute 8 bags worth of donations; teach the nannies how to use
the items we brought; photo and video all of the current children;
photo and video all of the new children; deliver the care packages;
and explore the orphanage to see what else is needed. AND I was so
surprised to find out that daylight doesn't come until after 7am and
is gone before 7pm, which was critical as there was NO electricity.
(We were making coffee with flashlights in the morning :) When we
went to deliver care packages, photo, and video the children, they
had to stop playing and doing what they were doing, come and sit on
a chair or come to a certain area, and be surrounded by the white
giants with things that had red and green blinking lights on them,
while flashes of light were going off around them. Then they were
given bags of things, but did not understand necessarily what they
were for, as most if not all of these children have never had
possessions before. So really from their perspective, it was
perfectly legitimate to look confused.... hahaha... .I would have
probably been screaming and crying...hahaha. ..I just wanted to see
if I could shed some light on the events from a child's
perspective. I have seen this in Guatemala as well. There is no
time on these trips to take with each child, making them comfortable
with the photographer, to try to get good smiling photos. THere is
just too many other very important bits of business to attend to to
assure the progressions of the current and future adoptions. But I
promise you that I saw all of these kids from a short distance
behaving like regular kids, playing with their friends, smiling,
interacting with the nannies and the new toys. AND you will have
the real genuine smiles in person someday soon :)

Well, not to make this email longer, but I thought you might be
interested in the routine of the kids at the orphanage. Here is
what I observed on a Saturday:

Wakeup and morning routine, dressing, breakfast occurs between
around 7:30 to 9ish. This is because there is no light until then.
The nannies in the nursery were busy feeding up to 3 children at a
time usually with one baby with a bottle and 2 older
babies/toddlers, spooning porridge into their mouths. They were
using the bassinet part of the pack n play to situate 2 of the
children with one on their laps. The diapering of the babies was
very intense. THey would layer a cloth diaper and then a piece of
plastic and then another layer under the clothing. The flurry of
feeding and diapering it seemed to just continue and continue
throughout the day. Oh, before the dressing, the children are all
washcloth bathed and some kind of thick pink cream is rubbed all
over their bodies to keep their skin soft. THe nannies rubbed fast
and furiously, stimulating morning circulation, which the babies
seemed to love. THe nannies were hard at work also singing to the
children, working with the little ones with sitting and standing,
and giving them tons of kisses and hugs. The older toddlers and
older children in general were not bathed until the evening. THis
involved them undressing and sitting on the side of their gutter
system while bar soap was rubbed on their heads and was washed all
over their bodies while water was slowly poured over their heads.
THe kids all would rub furiously all over their bodies trying to
remove the day's grime, which was substantial. ..hahaha. For all 3
meals, the older toddlers and older children ate Ingira (I haven't
looked up the spelling :( THis is a flat fermented kind of sour
bread that looks kind of like a big oversized thin pancake. While
we were there the evening meal included a bit of cooked lentils in
sauce as well. The toddlers donned huge bibs that covered their
entire bodies while they sat on the edge of a mattress and ate. You
use Ingira actually as a utensil to scoop up the lentils and this
really develops fine motor skills. We have been extremely impressed
with our girls fine motor and attribute it to the ingira. Then the
kids begin a day of play with the sticks, rocks, and especially
marbles. THey would roll the marbles down the gutter system that
they bathe in, make holes in the dirt and try to roll them in, and
hit marbles with other marbles for a more advanced game. They play
tag and hide and seek. THe older toddlers loved to play with the
babies, trying to help care for them and make them smile. AND some
of the older children would also make their way in to play with the
babies. At night, bathing of the babies occurred again, with more
cream, more feedings, more diapering, etc. The older children lay
down on mattresses on the ground, with the babies in the cribs and
pack n plays. When we left at 4am on Sunday to return to the city,
we went to see if the nannies needed help with light to prepare some
children who would be traveling. They were doing all of this
bathing, feeding, diapering in the dark very easily! They must be
used to waking with the younger babies throughout the night and
continuing their care. What amazing women! My girls also came home
singing Alleluia and we saw a couple of the nannies with Bibles.
THis was great to see as well!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

God is great!

Today I recieved photos from my dear friend Nora, who has just returned from her trip to Ethiopia. The pictures that she sent me were SO MUCH BETTER than the ones I had received from CCI. The kids look healthy, beautiful, and SO SO SO CUTE!!! You are just going to fall in LOVE with these babies. They are adorable.

Sena must have been napping before the photos that were taken of her by CCI. Her eyes looked so bad! But in these shots Nora took, she looks much healthier. Simbo is being held by a woman who really appears to love him in these pictures, rather than sitting alone in a crib. My heart is put more at ease that they are doing well (as best they can without Mommy and Daddy).

Thank you, Lord for your gracious provision of such a good friend in Nora. There is NO accident that she and I became friends for this very reason (and more). Just think how anxious I would have been had I not had Nora's pictures to see before we travel in THIRTEEN DAYS!

Thank you, Nora!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More pictures of Simbona

Sue sent us another set of pictures of Simbona today. He is seated in a bouncy chair. He still has no smile on his face, nor sparkle in his eyes. I want him HOME NOW!!! My children here at home are just aching to hold them and love on them.

She remarked in her email that she and her daughter (who travelled with her) are experiencing chills, diarrhea, and vomiting. She will be sending out a DVD with some video footage of the babies as soon as she is back on her feet.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New pics of the kids!

Debbie sent us some new pictures of the babies (as Sue has returned from her trip to Ethiopia and took pictures of all the adoptive children). I have to say, I was really shocked to see their faces. The pictures that we had gotten only 6 months ago showed twinkling eyes, chubby cheeks and bodies, and a zeal for life.

These pictures showed an entirely different picture. There was not one picture in which the babies were smiling. The sparkle seemed to have disappeared from their eyes. They looked so sad and seemed much thinner than before. Simbona's beautiful hair has been shaved off (maybe due to a lice outbreak??? Not sure) and he was just sitting alone in a crib in his pictures. He didn't seem to be even one bit joyful at some toys that had been placed in his crib to make him smile for the pictures. He has really thinned out in the face, and is wearing a shirt that I saw him wear in a picture taken 6 months ago. Has he not gained any weight?!?!?!

Sena had either just woken up from a nap, or she is not feeling well. Her eyes are droopy and she seems to have lost a lot of baby fat. She has lost that "spark" in her eyes and her legs look so thin. A nanny was holding her in the picture, so at least she was being held.

I can only think back to the emails that Nora sent me about Yacob being so sick (due to malnutrition). Could this have been the fate of these two sweet angels? Could it still be? Please pray that they will be kept healthy and nourished so we can bring them home!

I am in agony right now! All I want to do is go get my babies and hold them and feed them and love on them. I don't want them to go another day without their Mommy and Daddy who love them so much.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Note from Nora #3

Nora got a chance to meet our babies while she was in Ethiopia! (It doesn't hurt that she's an MD and can give us her "professional opinion" about their health in the note below... (Don't tell me THAT is a coincidence!)

First, I need to say that Simbona has the chubbiest thighs! Why is it that mine are about the same size and nowhere near as cute???? Both of your children are absolutely beautiful!
Zenha is doing wonderful! I absolutely fall to pieces everytime she says, "I love you" or "Ah my ay" or "mama". She has the cutest dimples when she giggles! We have been sleeping together except for a few times when I have rocked/sung her to sleep and then did some chores or took a shower.
Yacob is not doing so well. They have run a bunch of test but we do not have all the results yet and they are ordering a cat scan of his head. My guess is that he has a seizure disorder that is being caused by an underlying illness or malnutrition issue but we need the results of all of his tests to determine the exact diagnosis. It brought tears to my eyes to think of the chubby cheeks he had in the photos on the CCI website and now to see him with absolutely no body fat--on his cheeks or anywhere else. -Nora

Please be in prayer for Yacob and all the other orphans who are living in extreme poverty and need love and care. We just don't understand what life is like outside the United States. We are so blessed and take it so much for granted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

We booked our tickets

We decided to go with Susan Parr Travel (who specializes in adoption travel). Their staff is so familiar with the in's and out's of travel in Ethiopia. They are also very professional and helpful. We are on our way!!! We purchased travel insurance (in case we get sick on our trip - God forbid) because our US health insurance will not cover us abroad.

When booking our travel plans with the travel agency, I had to give information about the babies, like their birthdates and names. It seemed so exciting to be able to call them Sena and Simbona MCXXXXXX! (You know our last name.) :)

Note #2 from Nora

I need to keep this email short but wanted to let you know that I briefly met your children and (another adoptive mom's) children today. They are absolutely beautiful and based on the few minutes that I was able to spend with them seem very happy and in good health. I took a few photos (which I will send as soon as I get home) and told them that you loved them and would be there soon. -Nora

Isn't she just the sweetest thing to be taking care of me while she's on her trip to Ethiopia???

Monday, March 31, 2008

Note from Nora

Your children are in the city!!! I am going to help Sue take Yacob to the doctor's tomorrow. I have not seen him yet but apparently she is very concerned about his health. I think I might get to meet your children since we have to go to the guesthouse to pick him up and that is where your children are. If I do get to meet the children, I will definitely take photos. If it helps to ease your mind at all, the women taking care of the children are absolutely wonderful. I was there today when the brought (another adoptive family's) children to them and they were actually crying when they left. I gave them both hugs and told them how much we appreciate them taking such wonderful care of our children and how much it means to us that they love them so much.

Yacob is a little boy who is waiting to be adopted. He is on the waiting child list on CCI's website. Please pray for him to recover quickly without pain and discomfort!

We be travlin'

I got a call from Debbie today saying that we have an embassy date scheduled for April 22. I got on the phone immediately and am getting quotes from two different travel agencies, Susan Parr Travel and another one referred by our agency. I can't believe we are going to be travelling soon!

My e-friend Nora is in Ethiopia right now picking up her sweet daughter Zenha Bethlehem. Nora is adopting from our agency, too. She is such a sweetheart to give me updates as she is travelling. She told me yesterday that Sue (CCI's owner who is also travelling with Nora) will be transporting our babies from the orphanage to Addis while she is there. So exciting! Nora also plans to take pictures of our babies if she gets a chance to see them, so we can get some new footage of their sweet faces.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Orphans and Africa

I don't really love Rick Warren, because he ranks up there with the "Joel Olsteens" of the world in new ageism and "feel good Christianity", but this latest video clip really has a lot of good statistics in it. There are more orphans in this world than half the population of the United States! We as a blessed nation of wealth need to use what God has blessed us with to help those in need. As the Casting Crown song goes,

...If we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ

Aren't we basically picking and choosing who should and shouldn't come to Christ if we fail to reach out to those orphans around the world, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them? Didn't Jesus in the Great Commission call us to go to "all nations" and share the gospel? Do you realize what impact your life would have on a lost and hurting soul through the adoption and discipling an orphan?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Choices

Every day we make choices. Every move we make in life, whether physically or spiritually is composed of choices.

God makes choices, too. The most perplexing, mind-baffling choice He has ever made is the choice to include me in His kingdom. He chose ME! I am so broken, so full of self, so prideful... It blows my mind that He, out of all the people in the world, would chose someone so lowly and undeserving. Yet, He reached down, and scooped me up out of the pit, and adopted me into His family. I am His child. I was once seperated from Him, but He brought me home to Himself. And now, I am whole.

I am perplexed by this fact - Not only did He adopt me as His own, but He chose me (and Kevin) to adopt children. I am not worthy of the calling. I have been chosen to mother two of God's most precious masterpieces... Sena and Eli Simbona. They are precious. They are GIFTS. Yet, He overlooked all my failings and falterings, and He chose ME to be their mother. I am so eternally grateful. I pray that the same Spirit that called me to be their mother will guide me into all wisdom and I strive daily to care for His children in the way He will lead me. I pray that I will be obedient to whatever He has called me to do during this journey of motherhood, whether it is comfortable, whether it comes naturally, whether it required stretching me to a place where I might break.

I pray that this Easter you, too, make the choice to place Jesus first in your life above all else. After all, He chose YOU.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Well, today is truly Good Friday. I woke up this morning to an answering machine message from Debbie, asking me to call her back. We passed court today, and the children are legally ours!

We are so excited. Soon we will be holding those precious babies in our arms!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another bad dream

Last night I had a dream that Sena's mother had changed her mind and decided not to allow us to adopt her. I was in Ethiopia, at the airport, by myself. Kevin apparently stayed home to take care of our kids. In my dream, anyone who was there to adopt children had to fill out a bunch of forms while in the airport before uniting with their children. (Gee. Could this perhaps have stemmed from all the documents I've had to fill out and submit over the past week?) :)

I was filling out the forms, someone came and spilled a bunch of water on the table where I was writing. The forms got all wet. I approached the counter to ask the woman if I could get another set of forms, and she looked at me with an exasperated look. Apparently, there was only ONE set of forms for me, and they couldn't be duplicated. (Kind of like how our dossier had to be notarized, authenticated, certified, etc., etc.,) I said, "Oh, well, let's just forget it. They'll dry!"

As I was waiting for my paperwork to dry, I got a call from CCI. They told me that Sena would not be our daughter. I started moaning and sobbing. I couldn't imagine life without her! CCI hung up with me. Then I realized, I didn't know if that meant we could adopt another second child or not! I knew that Simbo would be our son, but we also wanted a daughter! Was I going to have to wait in Ethiopia until another child could be referred to us? Would we no longer be able to adopt a second child because the children's paperwork had already gone through court? Would I have to do another complete dossier? Would I have to travel back home with Simbo and wait to return a second time for our daughter?

The wonderful part of the dream was, that a group of a few women (apparently who were fostering Simbona) approached me in the airport, holding that sweet little Simbo. They taught me how to say some soothing words in his native language. After I learned the words, I said them to him in my most soothing Mommy-voice. After speaking to me only for a few minutes, he turned to me and put his arms out to me and acted like he wanted me to hold him. He was mine at last! That was a sweet moment. (Of course, this is probably not what our first meeting will truly be like at all.)

Well, as you can see, I am not getting much sleep lately. I just PRAY and PRAY that both Sena and Simbo will be ours... SOON! I don't think I could bear it if the children who I already consider mine in my heart could not be mine. Although it would be a wonderful thing for these babies to be reunited with their birth mothers, I don't think I would be able to truly celebrate for them.

After reading this, you may be thinking to yourself, "Where is her faith now?" Well, let me tell you, I serve a BIG GOD with a perfect plan for my life. Although it would break my heart in two for something like this to happen, I know that His plan is sovereign and that whatever He has planned for me is best for all. I have not lost faith, but I am weary right now in this process. I place my full trust in the One who will call all things to be as He has planned. (I just happen to be having a few bad dreams on the side...) :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Court date rescheduled... AGAIN

Well, folks! Let's hope that the third time is a charm. I was expecting to get "the call" today regarding the outcome of the court hearing. By 3:00, I was getting a little anxious. I had been out of the house all day and rushed home to see that little blinking light on my answering machine... No such thing. When I looked at my cell phone, I realized the battery was dead. So, (I reasoned) maybe Debbie tried to call my cell phone and I just didn't receive the call!

So, I called her and asked her the outcome, holding my breath all the time. She told me that apparently there was some type of holiday in Ethiopia, and that the court date had been moved to Friday. AUGGGGHHHH! Why she didn't call me before to let me know this? Not really sure. But, at any rate, here we are, in the wait mode again. Friday just happens to be Good Friday. I wonder if there is any correlation of any kind? :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tomorrow's the day!

Well, tomorrow, when I wake up, the children's case should have already been through court (God willing.) Addis Ababa is 8 hours ahead of Oklahoma time. (So, it's about 7:00 pm here right now, and 3:00 am there...) I just pray that everything goes well, and that both of the birth-moms are able to make it to court.

I have to tell you, I have been under EXTREME spiritual attack lately. I don't know what is going on, but I just feel a heaviness in our household. It really has nothing to do with the adoption. I just feel this overwhelming heaviness on my heart. I just ask humbly that you lift me up in prayer right now. And while you're at it, pray for a successful court date, too. :) (Thank you, Teresa and Danielle, I can already feel your prayers!)

Maybe its because it is such a gray day outside. It's been dark, cloudy, and rainy all day...

I LOVE this!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sending more documents...

On Wednesday, Debbie called me and told me that CCI was asking for more documents from us. They wanted me to complete the I600, the DS230, and the I864 and FedEx them later in the afternoon. Well... after looking over them, I could tell there was NO way that I was going to be able to do that. They were WAY too difficult to complete, and I had to get our 2007 tax packet and make a copy of the entire thing. (I have no idea where it is... Kevin does our taxes.) And, since Kevin is out of town on business (yet AGAIN), he can't help me find the taxes and he won't be able to sign all these forms until he returns on Friday.

Thankfully, it was a good thing, after all. (Praise God!) Since the agency is so new at the Ethiopian adoptions, they weren't quite sure how the forms were supposed to be completed. So, by Friday, they had it all figured out (I think...) Kevin came home Friday afternoon and I spent all evening and all morning Saturday morning getting these forms finished and ready to be sent off.

These forms are for the children, in order to start processing their visas once the court date is completed. WOW! It looks like things are really starting to move along!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yay, for my friend, Nora!

One of the "friends" I have made over the internet is an adoptive mom named Nora. She is adopting from CCI as well, and was scheduled the same day that we were for our court date (March 13). Her case went through! I am so happy for her. She will be leaving the US on March 26th to go pick up her little girl!! She has experienced a lot of anxiety throughout her adoption journey. There have been a lot of uncertainties for her, and now she can rest in the peace of God. I am praising God for how He has carried her through this whole process.

This news may be promising for our family, as well. Since Nora's court case went through on the 13th and she's traveling 13 days later, perhaps it means that we will be traveling soon after our court date, as well! I am ready for whatever the Lord calls us to do. I'd better start a packing list!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Court date has been moved to March 19

Hey, everybody!

Well, I got a call from Debbie today, and it seems that Simbona's birth mother was sick and couldn't make the court date. So, it has been rescheduled for March 19th. I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed for about five minutes or so. But, when receiving the call, I just reminded myself that everything goes according to God's perfect timeframe. He is the One in charge of everything, and that His plan is so much better than mine.

One of the other adoptive mothers from our agency who had the same court date as mine made it through court. I was so happy for her, because she is a single mother and was really anxious about getting through court. She told me that she thinks her embassy date will be around April 1. That's a pretty quick turnaround for travel! (The embassy date is when the child is given a visa in which to travel to the US. Even once the child is declared legally yours on the court date, they can't travel without the visa. Visa processing takes a little while, so that's why there's a discrepancy of time between the court date and the embassy date.) Perhaps if her embassy date takes place in such a short time, that will mean a "positive" for us as well in regards to a quick travel date.

All in all, I am certain what my God is capable of, and I just imagine that He will cause things to move rather quickly. He has done so many miracles and amazing things through this adoption, that I wouldn't expect anything less in regard to our upcoming court date and travel. I just have such a complete peace about the whole thing no matter what. It is so comforting to know that our lives are in such good and perfect hands. Now if I could just have as much trust and total faith in other areas of my life as I've had with this adoption... :)

Great video about adoption by James Piper

God ordained adoption before the beginning of the world.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Look what God has done!

A dear friend of mine (that I've known since puberty and zits) emailed me the following letter...

"Congratulations Julie! I'm so excited for your family. I just have to tell you how you have blessed ours. You know we have been talking about foster care for 2 years, but have not done it. When I recieved your first e-mail in January, I found myself just crying as I read your blog. (My husband) and I talked that very night and I called DHS the next day. We begin our classes to become certified foster parents next week. Not only has God orchestrated this adoption for you, but through your obedience it has also changed our lives. Can't wait to see the children God has planned for us. Hope to see you soon. I would love to get together and talk. Maybe we can get together in March before you travel to get your babies. I'm sure both of our schedules are going to become a little more difficult to get together in the near future!" (I edited the name above to protect her privacy.) :)

I have prayed since the beginning of this adoption process that God would touch lives for His glory! I am so thankful that I get to see some of the fruit of those prayers! I have had friends that have been praying in agreement for the same prayer. What a wonderful blessing to be able to see the impact that God has had on others' lives as a result of this adoption! I mean, it is certainly a privilege that God shared this with us. I mean, after all, He is GOD, and he certainly doesn't have to let us know that our prayers are impacting people behind the scenes. But, what a wonderful and merciful God we serve! I am going to continue to pray that this adoption (and these beautiful angelic babies) are going to change the lives of YET MORE people for the praise and glory of our Lord. YAY!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Can you hear my teeth chattering??? It is a brisk 58 degrees in my house today. The heater has not been repaired as of yet, because the repairman has to order the part. (Apparently, having a geo-thermal system is kind of a headache, because the parts aren't just laying around in abundance...) Ugh.

We are using two electric space heaters that my (darling) friend let me borrow, but we just can't seem to bear to light the kerosene heater that she let us borrow. The smell just gags everyone and we all end up with headaches about two hours after we light the thing!

So, I guess until our heater gets fixed, PRAY for us that either (1) the part comes in so we can get our heater FIXED, or (2) that the weather gets much warmer so we won't continue to FREEZE!!! Brrrrrr!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Time keeps on ticking...

Time flies when you're covered in vomit. Keaton is going on his third day being sick. He obviously has what they call "rotovirus"... They don't call it "roto"-virus for nothing! Have you ever heard of "roto-rooter?" Apparently, there is a business that cleans out septic systems named RotoRooter. Imagine that concept in the stomach of a two year old. Pretty accurate description! :(

He is at least not as sick as he was. His little eyes are droopy and he smacks his dry little lips like a little old man, and he is LOOPY! You might think he was drunk if he wasn't two years old. :) He certainly isn't himself lately. I can't really describe his behavior; he is just a little "off" right now. I guess it could be the loss of brain cells (because I'm sure he deposited a few of them into the "barf bowl" with as hard as the poor thing has been heaving...)

Well, at least time is going fast. My days are kindof running together, taking care of the sick. Pray for Keaton's health. He needs them!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Germs, weather, and broken heater

Well, we are officially contaminated today. Keaton had the stomach flu early Sunday morning, and now Rachel has it. Poor thing! It's her 5th birthday. Thankfully, after much prayer and rest, she is feeling better this evening. Keaton, on the other hand, is having a much harder time recuperating. His two year old body is just "plum worn out" from being so sick for two days. I feel so bad for him! His little tummy has NOT been happy AT ALL, and he has been having explosions out both ends. :(

I guess it is a blessing that we don't have the babies home, because they would probably share in the misery around here! Add to that the fact that our Oklahoma weather is really wacky right now, and it's a double blessing! On Saturday, it was 72 degrees outside and BEEEEE-Utiful! On Sunday, it rained cats and dogs, and the storm brought a cold front across the state, along with tornadoes. Today, it is about 40 degrees outside, it snowed, and the wind is blowing about 60 MPH.

We don't have a working heater in our house right now, because our compressor went out on Saturday morning. Thanks to good, godly friends (thank you, Cullens!), we are able to borrow a kerosene heater and two electric heaters to keep us warm. (I guess the broken heater would make it a THIRD blessing that we don't have the babies here!)

We can't wait to see them, but are truly thankful for God's provision in preventing them from arriving in our current state of household chaos. LOL :)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Birthday party for Rachel

Today is Rachel's 5th birthday party. She actually doesn't turn five until Monday the 3rd of March, but we're having her party today with friends and family. We bought her her very own bike with training wheels, and a pair of quad roller skates. She wanted to have a "panda and koala" birthday party, so I ended up having to make her a cake (as I didn't trust the local Wal Mart bakery to do her cake any justice...) It turned out better than I expected! Not bad for a beginner. :)

Rachel was so surprised about her bike. I just loved this picture that my friend Charlotte took when she first saw the bike.

I can't believe my baby is turning five! She was little just yesterday. I keep telling her, "You can't ever get any bigger than four years old!" She just gives me a big smile and says, "I'm gonna, Mommy! I'm going to be five, and then six, and then nine..." Oh, it goes by WAY TOO FAST!

Verse for today

Hi friends!

Well, as you all well know, I am a "doing" type of person. Now that there's nothing to "do" but wait, it gets a little frustrating for a person like me. Today I read a Scripture posted on an adoption Yahoo site that I read. It was very fitting for me, so I wanted to post it here.

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely,
the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be
patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single
day." -Habakkuk 2:3

God sure is good to have words of truth in His book to comfort me in every need. Hey, at least its March 1st! We only have 12 more days to wait to see if the court date goes through! Yay!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ouch! Take two...

Well, I got my second round of shots today... They didn't hurt any less than they did last time. :) Kevin was able to start his vaccines today as well. I'm only one series of shots away from being done with them. I don't love pain.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

WE GOT A COURT DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today, Debbie called me and told me that we got our court date! It is scheduled for March 13th. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the E. adoption process, the court date is when the children are declared legally ours!) Now, not only is this INCREDIBLE NEWS, but it is also a miracle. From all the Yahoo groups, emails from other adoptive parents, and the forums that I have read, it typically takes at least 3-4 weeks for a court date to be issued after your paperwork is submitted to the Ethiopian court. It was only ONE WEEK after we were submitted to the court that we received our court date! PRAISE THE LORD! I know I've said it before, but He has just made this adoption process to Ethiopia so smooth for us. He has just cleared the path for us to bring these babies home. It is no doubt in my mind that we have been called to adopt these little babies, and that He has orchestrated the entire process by His hand.

Now, (if the court date does not get moved, postponed, or changed for any reason... you know how courts can be) the court hearing will take place on the 13th of March. If there are no missing documents from the babies' files, if the birth mothers are able to appear in court that day, and everything is approved by the courts, the BABIES WILL BE OURS. After that, it is anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks after that that we TRAVEL to bring those babies home. Pray for us that the court process goes smoothly, and that we are able to bring them home as soon as possible. YIPPEEE! (Can you see me jumping up and down right now???) I don't know HOW I'm going to be able to focus on homeschooling today! :)

Friday, February 15, 2008


I got my first set of shots today for the trip. (I sound like a puppy or something, huh?) Kevin had to miss his appointment (he was scheduled to come with me) because his flight got delayed. (He has been out of town for the past two weeks on business.) I think he probably planned that, don't you? Hee, hee.

I got my shots from a place called Passport Health. They do immunizations for travellers. It was a very informative visit. The nurse went over all the health and safety guidelines for travel to Ethiopia. She wrote me prescriptions for Malaria meds and for Bactrim (for "traveller's stomach). I had the option to take all kinds of shots (that I didn't really think were necessary), like a Rabies shot. (Let me know if you see me foaming at the mouth when we get home from Ethiopia...)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Submission to court - Take two...

Well, our paperwork was not submitted to the Ethiopian court, as we had originally thought. Dereje apparently contacted Debbie and told her that he would be submitting it today.... It seems that he is new to the Ethiopian court and says that it is taking longer because they are getting established in the court system, but he promises that it will speed up. Well, in the meantime, another week of the babies' lives have slipped by. I am sure that promise to "speed up" may benefit some families down the road, but as for us, well, I don't know.

I know the Lord has a plan and a reason for every delay. It is just so hard sometimes, waiting. I guess for the time that I am in waiting, I need to enjoy my other kids more while I can, and continue trying to get this house in order... What a MONUMENTAL task! Ugh!

Rick Warren (not one of my favorites.. he's becoming really "new agey") says, "Hope is about the future. Hope is wanting and believing in something you don't have yet. An in that space between wanting and having, between the present and the future, lies a gap that you can fill with one of three things: despair, fear, or faith. Despair is the decision to quit hoping, to quit wanting anything because disappointment has broken your heart. Fear seeps in when you want something but lack confidence in God's faithfulness. Faith upholds you when you want, and even when you ache while you don't have what you want. It helps you stay focused on God's trustworthiness".

I think God's Words of wisdom are so much better!

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9

The eyes of all look expectantly to you,
And You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing. - Psalm 145:15-16

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Submission to court!

I spoke with Debbie today, and she told me that our paperwork was going to be submitted to the Ethiopian court on Monday. She wasn't sure how long it would take before we were given a court date once it was submitted. (When we have our day in court, that means the babies are legally ours! A power of attorney attends court in Addis on our behalf, so we don't have to travel to be there.) A lot of times, though, the court date gets moved before it happens, or you have to be submitted to court more than once due to the necessity to gather more information, etc. So PLEASE pray for a fast court date and that we only have to go through court ONCE!

Debbie told me that once court is over, we travel 6-8 weeks after that. Getting so excited, but SO IMPATIENT! Please also pray for our ability to wait patiently. (This is going to be SO HARD!) Thank you so much for your prayers. We so desperately need them. :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Another hilarious dream... (LONG)

Last night I had another Ethiopia dream, sillier yet than the last one. My dream started in the airport at Ethiopia. I was astonished at being there, because my husband and I have not yet gotten our Hepatitis or yellow fever vaccinations. I kept saying, "We don't have our shots yet! We can't be in Ethiopia!" My hubby told me that we could get our yellow fever shots at the airport. (???) Our 2 girls were with us at the airport, while we stood in line to get our yellow fever shot. We stood in a place that looked like a lab of some kind, where they processed specimens of people who were being tested for yellow fever. (So, the place was crawling with yellow fever germs.) All of a sudden, I saw the girls running through the lab, knocking over specimens and playing among the germs. Rachel actually had a germ-infested cotton ball in her mouth, chewing on it! Of course I freaked out.

My hubby seemed to disappear from the dream at this point, and my girls seemed unusually uncontrollable (which is not typical of them in real-life). They actually bolted off from me and got on an elevator, and started going "up"... without me. I kept thinking, "How am I going to find them in this airport?!? I don't know anything about this airport and I'm in a completely foreign country!" Thankfully, one of my daughters showed back up, and then after a little more frantic waiting, the second one returned to me.

I came to a really busy hallway in the airport, where it looked like there were a lot of adoptive parents coming to meet (and claim) their adopted children for their "gotcha day". Some woman put two babies in my arms, and it seemed foggy, so I didn't really look at their faces well. (My hubby was still MIA at this point... ) I went to the airport restroom so I could see their faces better in the light, and realized that one of the babies was not mine! Simbona was in my arms, but another boy baby was in the other arm, and he looked so sick that he was near death. His eyes looked dried up and he was laying lethargically in my arm. "Where's Sena!?!" I shrieked. I just kept thinking that I couldn't show my husband that I got the wrong baby, or he'd come unglued! I tried to nurse the sick baby, and happily, he did. When I was done, he seemed to be much healthier. "Good! Now Kevin won't be mad at me!" I thought.

The girls continued to be as naughty as possible, running off from me and going every direction. "I can't do this by myself!" Hubby was nowhere to be found.

Fast forward - Kevin and I seem to be touring Ethiopia, and are on a sight-seeing excursion (with the babies) to a beach. (The girls are missing from this scene, this time.) So, Kevin and I are riding on this speed boat to an area in Ethiopia where we can enjoy some beach time... the whole time I'm trying not to let the babies fly out of my arms and into the ocean (because of course, there are no child carseats in speed boats!) We get to the beach, enjoy our time, and then I get back in the boat and we go back to our point of origin. I suddenly realize, KEVIN IS NOT WITH US! He must have gotten left back at the beach! AUUUGGGHHH! Now, how am I going to find him in this foreign country, when I don't know how to get around and don't know the language!?!?

Fast forward again, to the next scene - I'm riding in a sports car, with the two babies in my arms. I'm assuming that we are driving to the beach area, where Kevin is stranded... I look over, and my NINE YEAR OLD SON IS DRIVING! I look up, and I see an intersection of the highway that we are coming up on, and it looks as though he is getting ready to take the exit leading to Iraq. "Whoa! Hold on!" I jump in the driver's seat and do an incredibly illegal U-turn, (not really sure where I'm going, but I am sure that it's not Iraq!)

Well, that's the end of the dream. I'm not sure how it all ends. Does Kevin get home to the US with his loving wife and two new babies? Do the two girls get left in the Ethiopian airport? Will I go back to Ethiopia and get Sena, and exchange the wrong baby? Tune in next week, for the next episode of "Crazy Dreams of Our Lives".

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to you, Simbona!

Today Simbona turns one year old. Oh, how I wish he could be home so that we could celebrate this special milestone with him! No one in the orphanage probably will even acknowledge his birthday today. Not that he would even understand, but I love making a big deal out of birthdays. :)

So, Simbona, whatever you are doing at this moment, just know that your forever family in Oklahoma love you and are praying for you today, on your special day... January 24.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Our God is an AWESOME God!

Well, I have two fabulous miracles today to speak in praise about! We serve a great and MIGHTY God!

First, Erin has had absolutely terrible athsma. Last night, she barely slept because she was coughing so much. Today, we had to miss church because she was doing so poorly. We had family worship today at home instead. Poor thing couldn't even sing because she was coughing so much.

So, after family worship, Ryan, Keaton, and I laid our hands on her and prayed over her. I quoted from Isaiah where it says that Jesus took up all our infirmities on Himself, and that He was stricken by them (this is a poor paraphrase). My dear friend Charlotte keeps telling me that we can pray in faith that God will heal our sicknesses, and I just never believed that this could happen in my home. (Sure, I believed that He could do miracles in YOUR home, but it just didn't seem possible that He would do those types of things for ME.) But, friends, let me tell ya... He did a miracle today! :)

After we prayed for her, she went to sleep for about two hours and woke up a different kid. She was hungry (she hadn't eaten for about 12 hours), she drank hot liquids, and looked altogether 100 percent better! She is still coughing (just a little), but the Lord definitely worked a miracle in her little body! I am in such extreme awe, because usually when her athsma gets this bad, nothing but a day or so on steroids makes her feel any better. Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer, even though my faith is no greater than a mustard seed!

Secondly, I have a dear friend who is adopting a sweet baby girl from Ecuador. My friend has severe varicose veins in her legs, and needs surgery. They are a threat to her health, because the clots in her legs could go to her heart, causing serious problems! She wanted to postpone the surgery because of the cost. (Just like a momma... putting herself last so she could save her dollars to use towards bringing that baby home from Ecuador!) But, she and her husband prayed about it and decided that the surgery was a necessity. Long story short, God blessed this dear family by providing an extra $1200 in her husband's paycheck... Just the exact amount that my dear friend needed to pay upfront for her surgery! How could anyone say that God doesn't exist? He answers our prayers lovingly and SPECIFICALLY! I am thanking Him for graciously providing for my dear friend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The following letter was posted by Merrily Ripley, from Adoption Advocates, International:

We heard today that a family was not allowed to proceed with the adoption of a child from Ethiopia because someone saw a picture of the child on the family's blog and reported it to the Embassy (probably the Ethiopian Embassy but I am not sure on that.) Evidently the blog was raising money for the adoption and that was an issue as well. This was not through our agency, we have always cautioned families not to post photos of their referred children until after things are final in court. But I am concerned because any negative regarding adoption can hurt us all. So, please be cautious.

adoptionadvocates. org

Because of this, I am going to be removing the precious pictures of our sweet babies until our court date is final. Sorry! If you want to see pictures, please see me and I will be happy to show them off!

Is that crickets I hear chirping?

You know, in the movies, when there is a scene where it is supposed to be really quiet, and for emphasis they play a sound byte of crickets chirping in the background? Well, that's what I feel like is going on right now. We haven't heard anything in regards to our adoption in what seems like forever. I am a "doer". I feel like I should be "doing" something to help facilitate this process. I'm kind of missing the paperwork stage of the adoption, because at least then I felt like I was "doing" something to accomplish a goal. Well, until the next time I hear something new regarding the adoption... Chirp, chirp, chirp.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Are you sure we were approved???

No one better let our homestudy worker get ahold of my blog address, otherwise, she may decide to nullify our approval! We strive to have fun in our household. Just thought you might want to see the ways we choose to do it...

Words meant for me

At a ladies' fellowship at my church, we were in a "round table" discussion, and the topic of our family's adoptive process came up. My dear friends shared some words of practical household wisdom regarding adding two small babies to our home. After the night was coming to a close, one of my friends, Shirley, approached me to give me some words of encouragement. She told me that she knew a quote that would encourage me:

The will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you.

Another sweet friend of mine, Teresa, told me that the quote Shirley had spoken was one that was dear to her heart, too.

Teresa gave me a darling little plaque at church the next Sunday that had that same quote on it. She told me later about a inspiring story regarding that plaque. Prior to the ladies' fellowship, she had travelled to Edmond to a bed and breakfast to purchase a gift certificate. She felt the need to look around in their gift shop before she left. She found the plaque in the store and felt like the Lord was telling her to purchase it for someone. So, she obeyed. After the night of the ladies' fellowship, she realized that it was for me that God asked her to purchase the plaque. Isn't He just the sweetest Person? He uses my friends to bless and encourage me! Thank you, Teresa and Shirley for being the vehicle He used to bless me!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

God whispers

God is SO good at the art of encouragement. As I've said before, I have times where I start trusting in my own power to make it through mothering two new babies. He lovingly and mercifully sends me little messages throughout each day to remind me, yet again, that HE is the One who will provide all that I need to do what He has purposed for me. The only requirement on my part is, to LISTEN for his little whisperings throughout each day, and TRUST that He will enable me to do immeasurably more than all I've asked or imagined (Eph. 3:20).

One day, as I was reading a daily devotional (My Utmost for His Highest), and the reading was absolutely aimed at encouraging me. It was a lesson on Abraham. He "went out, not knowing where he was going" (Heb. 11:8). The devotional goes on to say: 'There is no logical answer possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. (i.e., WHY are you adopting two babies?) One of the most difficult questions to answer in Christian work is, "What do you expect to do?" You don't know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. God never tells you what He is going to do. He reveals to you who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you "go out" in complete surrender to Him until you are not surprised one iota by anything He does?' God has told Kevin and I to "go" to Ethiopia and bring back two of his dearly beloved babies and provide them with a loving, Christian home. Dare we not be obedient?

On another day, I attended a ladies' fellowship at my church. We watched a video entitled "Reclaiming God's Plan for Women", featuring Above Rubies' founder, Nancy Campbell. The entire segment was about adoption! Apparently, she is very active in facilitating adoptions for the orphans in Liberia. Her own daughter, Serene, who already had four children of her own (and was pregnant with the fifth, I believe), felt God's calling to adopt from Liberia. They had chosen two children to adopt. Serene stayed in the US while her husband travelled to Liberia to pick up the children. While he was there, he fell in love with another baby, and called her up and asked if she would consider adopting her, too. Serene agreed. But, when the husband and three children were about to leave Liberia, they discovered that the two siblings had a fifteen year old sister in need of adoption, too. "What do we do now, God?", she asked herself. "I am only 29 years old and my oldest child is only 7. How can I adopt a teenager? I'm only a young mother. I can't possibly...."

Well, the end of the story is: Serene and her husband adopted all four children and they doubled their family overnight. She once had four small children; they doubled their family size to 8 immediately. She now says that she couldn't imagine her life without them all. What an encouragement to a mother (ME) who is contemplating the ability to mother two more. :) There is no way that Serene could accomplish the task of mothering without reliance on and the empowerment from her Heavenly Father.

Thank you, Father, for always having the right words at the right time!

TWO babies?!?!?!?

During the course of this adoption process, whenever I have told my friends or family that we are adopting, they have reacted with surprise. And when we go on to tell them that we are adopting TWO babies, they always seem to respond with something like, "Are you crazy?" or, "That's insane!" (that one was from my dear pediatrician) or, "WOW! You're going to be really busy!" Even friends of mine who have more than six children of their own have uttered, "Wow" in surprise.

Now, to those friends and family who may have had reactions similar to this (and there are many of you sweet things out there :), I am not trying to make you feel guilty or tell you that I am upset by this. I am not surprised by your reaction at all. We expected our loved ones to be surprised and amazed. God has called us to do a mighty work for Him through this adoption. And, God has a tendency to cause surprise and amazement in people. ;)

I have to admit to you, that I have had my share of doubts about our calling to adopt two babies at one time. Those of you who know me, know that I have a tendency to be a "worry wart" (as Debbie coined it). I worry only because I place myself in the driver's seat of my life, and I forget that God is in control. However, I have found that I am not alone. There are several people in God's history who were called out of their comfort zones to do something mighty for Him.

One in particular was Moses. He had doubts about God's calling him to the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. After all, he was not a great orator. "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?", he asked. Yet God empowered him to approach Pharaoh and he led the people out of Egypt.

I want to be like Samuel. When God called him, Samuel heard His voice and he replied, "Here I am". Kevin and I have said "Here we are" to God's call. We want to be used to do His mighty works. It will not be ME that is successful at mothering these babies. Not at all. It will be the provision of God's grace that empowers me to do a work that could not at all be done in my own strength.