Thursday, June 30, 2011

a miracle happened already

i have had so many blessings this week already, i couldn't count them if i tried. i first want to have a shout out to the main people helping care for thomas, phoebe, ben, and abigail -- thank you fredericks! you are simply the best! thank you amy decker for taking on 2 15 year old eating machines! thank you hoffmans for being brave enough to take a small army to kings island for three days! you guys all rock :)

okay, another shout out to tim moss, my travel planning companion extraordinaire! if it is possible to put together a crazy intense itinerary involving two countries in two weeks, we did it! and i think we did a darn good job, but i will get back with you in about ten days on that one :)

and a final shout out to gerard sefuku. a rwandan who God put on our path last may, right after we had gotten home. he was the piece of a puzzle and we are both so thankful that God led us to each other in an unexpected way. he has been a Godsend providing hotel rooms and a car/driver for some special trips we have planned. he blessed us totally...

if you are new to reading this blog, i hope you can go back and read the past posts. there are only a few because i am a lame blogger. some of this might make more sense...

we are combining two things in this trip: rwanda and ethiopia. i can hardly believe we are able to do this. see, when we went to rwanda in march of 2010, God changed me. He broke my heart on march 3, 2010. i fell in love with africa and its people. i fell hard. the very first day there, we went to visit a hospital and went to two home visits. we met ambrose, a man who had his leg amputated. and we met a woman whose husband had died, she had HIV and was raising their children in a falling down shack. if i knew then that God was going to take us back a year and a half later to visit with ambrose with his prosthetic leg and the woman in a new house (thank you TriMedx Foundation!) because we would be adopting two kids in ethiopia, well, i wouldn't have believed it. because it would have been too incredible to be true. but God is incredible and that is exactly what He has done. i remember it like it was yesterday, sitting in an outdoor restaurant the night of the third with greg and tim (and ben and sam), and none of us being able to speak words because there were none. the tears just dripped on our plates. that was the day the poor and orphaned had names. even though we had adopted before, it was never about the orphan. it was about me. finally, we would be doing it for an orphan.

i am supposed to be going to bed in one hour and fifteen minutes for a 3 am wake up, so i am going to make myself stop typing soon. but i have to document this because it made my heart, once again, really see how God hears our prayers. how He knows the desires of our hearts. how He answers in ways i never would expect....

for the last few days, i have been praying that greg would fall in love with ethiopia. i mean really really love the people and place. he has been a lot of places, but i wanted this one to stand out. he calls about two hours ago to let me know he had arrived safely. his next words were 'and i've already had a little drama.' he tells me how he gets to his hotel to check in and he goes to get his wallet and can't find it. for those of you who know greg, this isn't surprising (think back to china of 2004 when he couldn't find the $7,000 that had fallen out of his money pouch ... and ben found it under the seat on the bus we were on.... 'nuf said). he goes through every pouch of his backpack and satchel. nowhere to be found. the hotel staff start calling the airport and taxi services that bring people to the hotel. they take him back to the airport. the hotel had called them and they had all the taxi drivers going over the parking lot to see if it had fallen out. they tore apart the taxi he had been in. they let him through security with his passport to go to lost and found. a guy is standing there with it. he asks how much money greg had in it. $300 and still there. as he was walking back down the corridor, he said there was a plexiglass wall and the workers and taxi drivers were watching him trying to get a read on whether he had found it. he shoots them a thumbs up and he said they literally started jumping up and down and squealing! he said he had never seen people so excited to have someone find a wallet. he gave his taxi driver some money because greg felt like some of the drivers thought he might have taken it and greg knew he had not. when he got to the hotel, the staff surrounded him with hugs and the security guys jumped over his little booth and hugged him. he said he couldn't believe the joy everyone had because of finding his wallet.

and who found the wallet in the parking lot of the airport? a little ethiopian girl :)

so i'm thinking ethiopia has already made an amazing impression on him....thank you Lord :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

what i do know...

** i decided to delete the amazing and treasured photo that we received showing the kids with their birth mom right after finding out they were being adopted. i am paranoid :) as you are not supposed to post pictures until it is official. so, if you want to see the pics i have, email me at :)

i realized that i never really said who our new kids are! it had been so long between posts that i didn't realize i never included who they are and what we know. so far anyway.

i know that:

...we got 'the call' on april 28. with the next day being my birthday, i hesitated about 4 seconds before knowing that there is no stinking way i could wait one hour, let alone 16. these were the kids that sheila at west sands (our agency) had talked about with me a few times. their relinquishment paperwork had been waiting for clearance regionally. we finally had our final US approval. so both sides were now able to make the match.

...they are a brother and sister. he would be 8 in july and she would be 10 in december. their dad died of AIDS-related diseases and their mom is HIV+. she took them to the orphanage in november 2009. for the last two months, she has been working at the orphanage (which i was so glad that she was present when the adoption letter was read to them .... see below).

... the picture in the last post was taken right after our agency's in-country coordinator read them the letter we had written about our desire to adopt them. when i saw how happy they looked, well...that picture will forever be etched in my mind and heart.

...i felt strongly about having to know that they wanted to be adopted and if they understood somewhat what that means. when they were asked, the reply was: 'They know because they have friends who have been adopted and they cannot wait for their time to come." alrighty then, that works for me :)

...when asked to describe their personality, the reply was "She have so nice behavior and cheerful and he is quiet, and happy boy. alrighty then, that works for me :)

... it is about three in the morning in ethiopia. and in about 5-6 hours, their birth mom will make her way to addis ababa for her final relinquishment. she has had to go through this four times already ... twice locally and twice regionally. my heart hurts for what she will most likely do tomorrow. officially and irrevocably, relinquish them forever. can she sleep right now? is she at peace? tomorrow afternoon, our agency will call with how her court appearance went and whether they are any issues that would prevent us from traveling friday. i can only rest in what i know to be true at this point -- most likely, this is exactly what she has hoped and prayed for...that an american family who are Christian come forward for her babies. this is sacrificial love. please pray for her now and in the days ahead.

...we want God's will to be done. if these are our kids, we will praise Him! and if they are not, we will choose to praise Him...

Friday, June 24, 2011

from very very big details to just little ones

now that the time to travel is drawing near, i feel like it is right to start documenting all the emotions that surface when you are about to meet your kids. i have never figured out how i can love reading blogs so much, but never feel the need to do my own ... unless we are on an adoption journey. and that part is clear -- i need to process all the things that go on inside and putting them to paper always helps. and it helps me feel closer to home when i am away.

okay, so this week the real work began on getting an itinerary together! i love being crazy busy for a crazy busy trip :) it looks like the Lord ordered our steps to go back to rwanda! we just gave it to Him and asked that if we were to go, that He would pull all the details together and that is just what He did. sam, sarah, and i leave july 1 (greg leaves june 29 for some meetings in ethiopia) and meet smurf at the airport in addis to fly down to kigali on the second. we will be there through the fifth and fly back to addis.

but here is what i want to remember today. God had been working behind the scenes for a long time that only was made known last weds. last january, when we were thinking about adopting again, we didn't know where in africa it would be (congo? uganda? ethiopia?), we began looking for signposts along the way as God's way of leading us to the right destination. one day while at work, a guy stopped by greg's office to introduce an ethiopian pastor to him. greg took notice :) this pastor leads an ethiopian church in indpls. the trimedx foundation had began working with him to see how they might be able to help there. fast forward. i was in a conference call weds. with this pastor, and the director of the foundation, so he could share some cultural wisdom before we leave. he asked about our kids and i told him they were from a small town called 'n*z*reth'. (you know where this is going.) that is his hometown. he just returned from there. that is the town where trimedx would be helping. but nobody, except God, had connected the dots to know any of this. the chances of this happening can only be credited to a loving Father. so trimedx will be leaving a mark on the very town where our kids have grown up.

and pastor desta offered to translate our paperwork indicating he could tell by the family names if they were Christian, muslim, or something else.

and this morning i woke up to, "your children come from Christians". my cup overflows at that news.

i titled this post 'from the very very big details to just little ones' because the little ones are sometimes the Godwinks that you need. this week has been super busy with horse camp, church camp, and travel stuff :) i have lived in my car. on thursday afternoon after four days of going, we were driving through monrovia and i was hungry and remembering that we had so very few food choices at home. i was craving a big ol' salad. i knew we had croutons and dressing, but no lettuce (seriously, all this was going through my mind, it just sounded so good!). i thought i could just run in IGA, but i wanted to get home and just veg so badly that i opted to go home to peanut butter bread :) driving down baltimore road and almost home, we passed a little house with a large garden. and there was a homemade sign by the driveway saying 'free lettuce'. i thought, "are you kidding me?!!!" i turned around and pulled in and asked if they really did. the guy says, 'yes, i just picked it. do you want a big bag?". i said, "yes, i certainly do." later that night, i ran back up to IGA (not by choice :) and on the way home, there was not a sign anymore.

sometimes, i swear, i think He just delights in showing us His hand from the very very big details to just little ones. i love that about Him.