"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Monday, May 31, 2010

An Opportunity To Serve

Today I feel so incredibly blessed. I was able to celebrate another birthday yesterday and this year, all I kept thinking about was how lucky I am. I have a wonderful husband, amazing kids, a beautiful Ethiopian princess coming home soon, a comfortable home and plenty to eat and drink, and the love of friends and family. What more could I possibly ask for? Not a single thing! So as I was reflecting on all of my blessings, I got to thinking about the many people in Ethiopia who have so little.

As we get closer to leaving for Ethiopia, I am getting more and more excited about what we will be doing while we are there. Obviously I am super excited to scoop up little Grace Hiwot and smother her with love, but I am also so very excited to have the honor of serving some of the other kids in Ethiopia who are not being adopted. We are busy gathering donations and supplies to bring and we hope to help with a building project or another service opportunity.

For those of you have have never considered what Ethiopia is really like, I wanted to share a video with you. For many of you reading this blog, you have seen these beautiful children first-hand. For others, please take a few minutes to watch this video and see a glimpse of the kids who are in need of our support. I had the privilege of hearing Tom Davis speak at the orphan summit I attended in April. He does incredible work in Ethiopia, and if you are looking for an organization to support, I encourage you to check out Children's Hope Chest. We are also willing to take donations with us to Ethiopia. Please email me if you are interested in making a monetary donation - in addition to the supplies we bring, we plan to purchase many needed items in country in order to help the economy and provide the orphanages with exactly what they need (for instance, the specific formula they use, etc.).

***Be sure to pause the music at the bottom of the blog before you watch the video.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

She Has Seen Our Picture!

Here are a few of the many pictures we just got of our little one seeing our faces for the first time. We were told that she was napping when the director of the orphanage decided that she could get her "goodie bag." The director of our adoption agency was so funny when she sent me these pictures...she said, don't be alarmed that she is not smiling...after all, a "giant white guy" that she has never met is trying to tell her about her new family. I can only imagine what was going on in her sweet little mind...

We also have a picture of her holding our family picture. It is so darn sweet. Amazing to think that our pictures are in her little hands all the way over in Ethiopia! So cool! Thank you so much to the wonderful traveling family that was able to deliver our pictures and goodie bag. They have been so helpful and we appreciate all of the wonderful photos and updates that they sent to us!!!
We are still awaiting word about when our embassy appointment is. It is so hard knowing we are going to travel soon, but not having a specific date. Hopefully we will learn something very soon! Have a great Wednesday...By the way...only 11 more days of school/work :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Difference Between Boys And Girls...

GIRLS: Last weekend was full of dance recitals and all sorts of girly fun with Alyssa. These three girls did the cutest trio..it was so much fun to watch them dance this year. I am so proud of Alyssa's commitment to dance and her desire to work hard and have fun with her dance troupe.

Spending time with her and traveling to dance competitions has been a joy. She is truly the sweetest girl and doesn't even complain about the time commitment, make up she needs to wear and things she misses out on because of her dance schedule. She has even gotten used to the fake eyelashes she needs to wear all the time!

Such sweet girls!

BOYS: Seriously???? This is what I found them doing last weekend when they had a few minutes to themselves...I think the pictures speak for themselves...
Bryce was on "my team" - he helped me clean the dirty boys off...

All I can say is that I am so happy to be adding a little more girl power to our family soon! Love you boys, but... boy are you messy!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Isn't She Cute???

Grace Hiwot

She will be all set to go to her brothers baseball games...

Don't you love her little shoes on the wrong feet?

Our little one knows that it is baseball season around our house! Well... to say that we have been busy is an understatement. Typically, the second week in May is crazy around here. We have two baseball players with practice and games almost every night, our daughter is a dancer who always has competitions and recitals in May (five recitals this weekend alone), and my husband always travels to a big trade show around this time of year. Add an adoption to the mix and it makes things even more wild. So, last week Monday, I was driving home from work (I am subbing until the end of the school year) when my cell phone rang. I try very hard not to talk on my cell phone and drive, but when I saw the area code for Louisville, I answered. Susan (our agency director) told me that she had some good news for me. Luckily I was at a red light, because I was a little shocked and very excited. The experience was sort of like labor and delivery...it's never quite like you think it will be. I sort of thought my husband would be with me (or at least in town) when we got "the call." I talked with Susan until I got home...then, I drove into the garage without seeing my son's Ripstick - now the Ripstick is in multiple pieces. When I came in the house to tell the kiddos the good news, it was sort of bittersweet for my middle son (the Ripstick owner). He was a good sport - he now has a new Ripstick - his mode of transportation to and from school. After breaking the news to the kids about the Ripstick AND sharing the good news about passing court, I called my husband who was picking up his luggage at the baggage claim in the Las Vegas airport - strange how the timing goes sometimes.

So...the good news...We passed court last Monday. We were told that we would probably travel in 6-8 weeks. 6-8 WEEKS! We have so much to do. We are getting very excited and look forward to hearing about our exact travel plans and Embassy appointment soon. We just got these new photos. It was so nice to hear about our little girl. The family that traveled and took the pictures has been such a huge blessing. It is so wonderful to know that they have met her, given her a goodie bag from us and have shared these adorable pictures with us.

So, now we get ready to travel! We have our last appointment with the travel clinic tomorrow to get some more vaccinations. Thanks so much for your kind words and support. More to come soon!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We Passed Court!!!!

We had a successful court date this week!!! It is official, she is our girl! More details to come soon...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Surprise!

What a wonderful Mother's Day...I was lucky enough to be woken this morning by my littlest guy and a great big Mother's Day hug. Soon after, I was treated to breakfast in bed and some wonderful gifts. We were then off to church which was awesome. I felt like the pastor's message was written especially for me...I love it when I feel so connected to the message and when the scripture readings seem to fit into my life so completely! Today, we heard all about Hannah and the incredible love that she had for The Lord and the love she had for her child. I was so moved during our church service today, because I was having so many thoughts of our little Ethiopian sweetie's biological mother today...Our pastor talked about Hannah's (1) Hurt - I can only imagine that hurt that our little girl's mother has endured... Hannah's (2)Heartache -it takes the most amazing kind of love there is to say goodbye and offer your child an opportunity for a new life -placing her in an orphanage out of pure love...I don't know if I could endure that kind of heartache...Hannah's (3) Heart - what a beautiful heart our little one's mother must have...and Hannah's (4) Hope -I am sure that our little one's birth mom has so much hope for her. I pray that her birth mother will have peace and will know about the love that we have for our little one and the promise we will make to her to guide her, love her, provide for her and to cherish her.

After leaving church and making a quick stop to do a little shopping, we went to lunch with my brothers, their families, and my mom. We went to our favorite Italian restaurant and the food was delicious. It was so nice to all be together. We were then off to see the other side of our family. I was excited because I had ordered both of our moms (the grandmothers) a glass tile pendant necklace that said "grandmother" in Amharic. It was a nice way to remember our Ethiopian little one while we were celebrating together.

So...the big Mother's Day surprise came late tonight. I got an email from someone who welcomed home another adopting family that just flew in from Ethiopia tonight...this particular traveling family has been such a blessing to us. They had already made my week by emailing us while they were still in Ethiopia to let us know that they met our girl...they even traced her foot for us and got to take a couple of pictures of her. SO...my surprise was that when they returned home tonight, they told someone at the airport that they had been able to deliver the goody bag that we had sent to Ethiopia and that OUR GIRL HAS SEEN OUR PICTURE! I get chills thinking that she is in Ethiopia right now and has actually seen our picture! The sun is rising in Ethiopia while I type this...My hope is that she will be able to look at our picture again when she wakes up today! Please keep praying that we will get the call soon that we have passed court and we are on our way to Ethiopia!
Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Summit 2010

This week I had the pleasure of attending the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Minneapolis, MN. It was Amazing. I had the pleasure of being with 1,300 like-minded people who care about the 147 million orphans in the world and gathered together to learn about how we can do more to help them.
I was lucky enough to travel to the Summit with three awesome ladies. We had a great time. It was so much fun learning about new organizations and programs that care for the "least of these." It was also wonderful to listen to testimonies and presentations by some of the "who's who" in the adoption care community.

We even got to hear the former First Lady of Guatemala speak. Her name is Patricia Arzu. She has an incredible faith which is the core of everything she does in her service to thousands of children in Guatemala City. Here is a picture of my great friend Lori and the first lady. Lori has an adopted daughter from Guatemala and the first lady was gracious enough to talk to us (and even pose for a picture).

In addition to meeting some of my "friends" from "blog world" at the conference, I was so excited to be able to meet up with my great friend Amy. She is such a wonderful person. We were able to spend a little time catching up in between awesome speakers. Some of my favorite speakers were: Doug Sauder, President of 4 Kids of South Florida; Tom Davis CEO of Children's HopeChest; Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child; and, of course, Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman.

Steven Curtis Chapman performed some of his beautiful songs after his incredibly humble wife, Mary Beth, spoke. Mary Beth did an amazing job of sharing her journey through the past two years after the death of their little girl Maria. Mary Beth is the president of Show Hope and together with Steven, they promote adoption awareness and provide adoption grants to families wishing to adopt. So far they have provided more than 2,000 grants!

The Summit was wonderful. I will definitely attend again next year. Thanks so much for checking in with us. I hope to have some good news to report on the adoption front very soon! Please pray for us to have a successful court date soon!