Thursday, December 22, 2011
First, we don't know who our baby is yet. We've just submitted our dossier, so we are now in the "waiting for a referral" stage. We've requested to be matched with a baby boy 0-6 months!
So, how did we get back here? Well, it all started when I was in Ethiopia to pick up Rahel. It seemed like almost everyone in my travel group was adopting a baby boy-I was surrounded. I just had the nagging feeling that we were suppose to be adding a boy to the mix. Then, on the airplane ride home, we sat behind a family and their new baby boy and all I could think is "we're leaving someone behind." I know that sounds crazy-we hadn't even officially gotten Rahel home and I was already feeling like we'd be going back. In fact, I told my friend Heidi that I was going back as soon as we stepped off the plane.
Only problem with that--my husband DID think I was crazy--and who wouldn't really. We've been on a whirl wind adoption ride over the past two years and it does seem a little out there. The one thing he did say was, "if it's God's will, then we'll adopt again" followed by--"but please don't talk to me about it for at least a year." So I prayed and prayed. I actually prayed that if this nagging feeling that we were not quite done was not from God that he would take it away. Sometimes I begged him to take it away, but I just couldn't shake the prompting.
Over the summer, I would awake early in the morning after having vivid dreams about our baby boy. It seemed as if God was continuing to nudge me towards adopting again. So, I changed my prayer. Instead of asking him to take away this feeling, I prayed that he would turn Nick's heart towards adoption in his perfect time and that I would be patient.
During that time of prayer, I was in a women's bible study reading the book "Sun Stand Still." It's about asking the impossible of our big God because he is certainly able to remove any obstacle, change hearts, and do the impossible. On one particular night, October 24th, my friend who is adopting with our agency said that they had just taken in a large group of severely malnourished babies. I had been reading about the drought conditions that had led to wide spread famine in the Horn of Africa and how nearly half of Ethiopia was now in an "emergency state of drought." I had seen pictures of starving little babies and it just hit me--I had a strong feeling that our baby was already born or in his mom's womb and that we needed to act sooner than later.
So that night, I went home and told Nick, "I really think our baby is either in his mother's belly or already born." This was a turning point, because this time he said, "I'm sure you're right." It was the first time he didn't counter my adoption talk with a "let's wait" response. The next day, I mentioned that we needed to schedule Rahel's 6 month post-placement visit with our social worker and that maybe we should ask her if she could also write an updated home study for us to adopt a baby since she'd already be here and a revision is less costly than a completely new home study. His response--"that makes sense
So I scheduled it and we had our home visit on November 9th. Over the next few weeks, my husband really sought the Lord and I could see a visible change in him as he began to trust that this was God's plan and lead us in that direction. We had bible study the night of our home study and as he told the group about it he said, "I'm excited to see who our next child is." Let's just say I was beaming. Here is a man announcing his excitement over the next little one to come in our family just 3 months after asking me not to talk about it for at least a year. It was just such clear confirmation that this was only from God.
God gave us other confirmation leading up to us saying "yes" as our pastor preached out of the book of Acts. One Sunday, our pastor was teaching about Phillip and the Ethiopian and how Phillip had worked hard and done the will of God and was on his way home for some rest when God interrupted and told him to go south to the desert road. He said, "Phillip could have said no--he could have listed all the hard work he had already done for the Lord and how he didn't know if he had anything left to give, but Phillip said YES--even though he had lots of excuses he could have used." He then asked, "How much comfort are you willing to forgo so that the kingdom of God can go forward? If God is calling you to do something--lean in and follow that prompting." He said, "You may have a much easier life if you don't, but others will miss out." I just couldn't help but think of the little one that would be missing out on the love of a family if we said "no" to adopting again.
On another Sunday he said, "It's time to make room at the table-even if it's not convenient-but because it is right." It was vivid imagery as our table only seats 8 people as does our car. When we were contemplating adopting Rahel, we kept saying, "we have one more seat at the table and one more seat in our car, so why not adopt her." This time though, we are maxed out. We will have to MAKE ROOM (even if it is not convenient). I'm looking forward to that.
So the next question we usually get after telling people that we're adopting again is "are you done now." Well, I really think that we will be complete once we bring our little boy home. I keep coming back to the imagery of a train (we've added 6 kids over the past 7 1/2 years, and it definitely feels like a "train" of kids have come through here). As I picture our family, this new baby feels like the caboose to our train-brining up the rear. My neighbor came over to notarize some of our paperwork and when I told her that we thought we were done after this one she said, "Seven-the number of perfection and completion-you know from the bible." I thought that sounded just about right-our seven from heaven-what a blessing!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
We made "bird nests covered in snow" during school last week with our bird unit.
He loves spending time with his dad (so do I)!
He's a great big brother (so long as no one knocks down his lego creations:)
He and Hermela are great friends. They enjoyed being on the same soccer team this year and he recently taught Hermela how to ride her bike without training wheels--he was so proud that he had taught her how to do it.
We are so thankful for our first arrow in the quiver that seems to always be growing.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Here's their biggest fan (he was a big fan of the dirt hill as well).
We've embarked on a new adventure as RV campers. Now, I love to be outside, but sleeping outside, well--it's just not my thing. The RV has been a great solution for this and a really economical way to travel with a family of 8. We took it out for our inaugural trip over Thanksgiving weekend.
Dining Room/Master suite
Then we had one more adventure on our trip. My awesome husband gave me a super thoughtful early 10th anniversary gift (our anniversary is in about 3 weeks). He surprised me with this double skulling boat that he found and had refinished for me (I rowed on the crew team in high school and coached for a while in college).
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Anyways, she is a great helper and almost always eager to pitch in. She loves it when it's her cooking day-every Thursday-and she usually wakes up early all excited to let me know it's her day-which also means her day ends in the rocking chair with mom.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Meron has the sweetest heart-full of love. She loves the Lord with "faith like a child." It's the kind of love we should all have-pure and without reservation. We are so excited to see what plans the Lord has in store for her and pray she always follows him with all her heart.
So, we have these conversations about Jesus and salvation and what it really means to be a Christian all the time. It's one of my very favorite parts about home schooling-we get to spend lots of time talking about Jesus.
So, I asked her if she had ever asked Jesus into her heart in Ethiopia. I knew she was taught about God and that she and her family went to church, but now that we have the language to understand each other better, I could finally ask her that question. She said she didn't know.
So, I asked her if she wanted to pray to ask Jesus into her heart and she smiled and said yes.
Then, we talked some about how their earthly adoption into our family is like the heavenly adoption that we all experience when we are "adopted" into God's family as sons and daughters.
Now, the kids keep saying, we just need Colton to pray so our whole family will be Christians.
We look forward to that day and pray that our family will live our lives as followers of Christ-loving him and loving others.
For "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." Romans 10:13
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10
Monday, November 21, 2011
Now Rahel jokingly says, "I am Rahel Candace, queen of everything."
Meron asked, "If Rahel is the queen, does that make me a princess?"
Now our adoption is recognized by Ethiopia and the US and our state. So, welcome "officially" to the family Rahel Candace!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
It was a special day for a very special girl. Hermela decided to follow Jesus last year and has been asking to be baptized ever since. Our church does beach baptisms twice a year, so this time, we finally agreed. The last one was in May right around the time that we were travelling to bring Rahel home, so she was so excited that it worked out this time.
Both sets of grandparents were able to be there along with other family and friends. Several of Hermela's friends from church were also baptized that day-two of whom are from Ethiopia. It was so sweet to watch them standing beside each other waiting in line to go into the water. I took the cutest pictures of them excitedly waiting together and couldn't help but think of how crazy it is that the year before, these girls had been in Ethiopia and now here they stood together waiting to tell the world that they've decided to follow Jesus!
I bet you'd love to see those pictures---and so would I, but I unfortunately deleted them some how on the beach. Total bummer. I've been waiting to post this post thinking I'd get a few pictures from my mom or a friend (which I haven't done yet). At least I know a few other people did catch the moment and we also have it on video.
Hermela is a such a kind and loving girl. She's one of the most thoughtful and compassionate people I know. She works very hard in school and around the house and must have super sonic hearing, because she's always (and I mean always) the first child to come running when we call for something or someone.
We are so proud of you Hermela and know that God has great plans for your life now and in the future. We pray that you would continue to love God with all of your heart, soul and mind.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Mathew 19:14
Monday, November 14, 2011
I'll translate through the spelling and grammar:
We are THANKFUL for her. Rahel is a happy, funny, kind, smart and thoughtful girl. She has blended into our family beautifully and it's hard to remember life before she came home. She has such a great sense of humor, she's helpful and she works very hard.
She's also a great artist. She did this free hand by simply looking at one of Caroline's coloring books. At first I thought she was tracing the drawings, but then I watched her as she looked intently back and forth and drew it by sight. My drawings still look like a first graders, so to see a child draw like this who has had such little exposure to art is amazing.
She's picked up soccer like a champ and is getting stronger and more coordinated with each practice.
She lives life with a smile (well most of the time--as long as you don't serve broccoli or cauliflower for dinner :-)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18