Tuesday, April 27, 2010

144 cupcakes + a weekend with the President + 30 hour famine + X = our last two weeks!

Since almost two weeks have passed since my last entry I will do my best to bring you all up to speed on the events of our family. **Please note** at some point I will make an entry of photos, but they are all still on the camera and of course transferring them from the camera to the computer is a task I usually leave for my wonderful husband!

~144 Cupcakes~
Brandon and I headed south of the border (well the state border) to deliver cupcakes and thank you's to many very special people. The youth group at our former church recently blessed our family in great ways and we wanted to say thanks in person. It was fun (?) to bake cupcakes for an entire day! Actually, the house smelled wonderful for days! The hard part was washing my hands every time a bit of batter touched them (allergies) and resisting the temptation to taste! We had a great time with everyone at our former church and we are in awe of their love for us and for the LORD!

~A weekend with the President~
We spend the weekend with the President... of the Evangelical Free Church of America :) We attended our district spring conference and got to hang out for the weekend with other pastors and wives. We heard from Larry Osborne several times throughout the weekend. He was a GREAT speaker and I am still processing many of the things he shared. A highlight for me was a breakout session for pastor's wives. The wisdom shared as well as the laughter and prayer were priceless!

~30 hour famine/ cows on the yard ~
Our church participated in the World Vision 30 hour famine and I got to help behind the scenes as well as do the actual fast. This year the money will be going to Ethiopia. It was GREAT to be able to tell the student's about our love for Ethiopia. I shared about our baby's "tummy mommy" who might be feeling the hunger the students have felt but also has a growing child in her. As I fasted I thought of our children's birth mothers (most likely all over the world) and my heart and tummy ached. I think the students were pretty thrilled by the thought of the money they raised going possibly to the family and friends of our future children! We got pretty into one of the big fundraisers. Instead of putting flamingos on yards the students put large crazy cows on yards. Families paid for the cows to go on others yards, for the cows to be removed, and for insurance. We were "cowed" three times, but we had the joy of "cowing" 12 yards! I also got to help students deliver cows to area yards.
Let's face it... X is most likely always going to equal adoption.
The wait and referrals...
Things seem to be moving in the referral department. This is a HUGE answer to prayer! We were so encouraged to hear that our agency gave out 10 referrals last week and the movement on the list has begun. They are currently giving referrals to families who were waiting in May of 2009 (remember our wait date is 1.21.10). As usual we don't know where are at on "the List," though we are very thankful to be on it! I will wait until they are giving September families referrals before I call the agency to ask for time frames. Who am I kidding, sometimes I don't think I can wait another week! I guess I should say that Sept is my goal! The interesting thing about the wait is the "hidden people" in the game. If every waiting person was active in a yahoo group or blog roll you would have a pretty good guess where you were at in the wait, but many people remain hidden which means none of us really knows where things stand.
Two trips...
No new news here. Recently someone wrote in a yahoo group a "top ten reasons why two trips is great" list. While many of the things listed are perks of two trips, I still feel that ethical agencies and families are being punished for the actions of unethical people/agencies. I also feel that the extra airfare cost of 5-6 THOUSAND dollars makes benefits like "more time to shop (one that was listed)" not seem so great. The entry ultimately said that we have to think about that is best of the child. Personally, it seems higher costs could mean fewer adoptions which does not seem best for those waiting for a forever family. I know many of you may disagree with me, but I feel it is significant. I guess it means we covet your prayers all the more that we would find favor in the eyes of those reviewing the grant applications we sent in. We think we might hear back from a couple of them in May. I am still praying that by the time we make it to the top things will have changed again and two trips will become more optional!

Well, I guess those are the highlights from our family. We have some exciting things coming up in May! I will fill you in on those soon :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Struggles in the adoption journey

The road to baby is not without stress. Whether that baby comes from your womb or the womb of another courageous woman, the road to baby isn't easy. When a baby is in your womb you might deal with morning sickness, weight gain, cravings, loss of sleep, uncomfortable feelings most of the time and on and on. Sometimes, as I deal with a totally different set of struggles on the road to baby, I find myself forgetting the struggles of tummy pregnancy.

This week the US government made official what has been rumored for some time... Starting May 9th families adopting from Ethiopia will have to be present for their child's first court date. They will then return home without their child and wait for an embassy appointment so they can make another trip to Ethiopia to bring baby home! MOWA (Minister of Women's Affairs) is still not very excited about this change, so I guess one never really knows how long this change will be in place. This is a blow for our family as it will cost time, emotions, and money. I also feel like the reasons for it are not totally just. To me, the agencies who are having the issues should be penalized, not everyone. I guess my heart breaks in the same way for the 1,000's of families longing to adopt from Russia who were told today that because of the actions of one woman the country is now closed. At any rate, we are powerless and will conform to the law.

Honestly, I have spent very little (no) time thinking specifically about how this will affect our family. We have some dear friends who are further on the journey and this new law will affect them in huge ways. We are praying for a pre-May 9th miracle court date. Only God can do a miracle like this! Please join me in praying and trust God knows the details that I can't share!

Our specific agency (which I so respect and appreciate) has not been giving out "healthy" (HIV and Hep -) infant referrals in a LONG time. I know that babies have come into their care, but the pre-referral paperwork is bogging them down (or something like that) and they are not being referred. Also, there have been many orphanage closures in a region of the country and this plays a part too. Please pray that one day soon we will see things turn around, and even that ground will be gained on the big waiting family list.

Through it all we see God's blessing surrounding us. We see glimpses of hope each day, and we experience joy with the struggles. We have MANY opportunities to practice surrender! The road to baby is never easy, but in the end... it is worth it!

Silly ears!

I am a magnet for strange medical issues! I guess I should be thankful for the reminders each day that I am not perfect and that I am in great need of Savior who is... Jesus!
I have silly ears! My silly ears prevent me from enjoying much outdoor activity unless it is over 80 and windless! Wow! I sound like a wimp! Most of you know about my massive food restrictions, and if you read my last entry you know I am not one for roller-coasters and prone to motion sickness. Well, lets add another issue to the list shall we? I have super sensitive ears! My ears burn and I develop a pretty intense headache whenever I am out in cold or wind. Yes, I can see a "Great Lake" from my window so it is pretty much ALWAYS windy where I live. Today I enjoyed a long walk and was gone for over an hour. I have been home for a couple of hours and my ears are still in pain. I attempted to google all of this to find some cure and all I learned is that I am not alone! Many people have vented on their blogs or on medical sites about this and I could not locate a reason or a cure. Currently I wear cotton balls, a headband, and a hooded sweatshirt... I think I scare small children with my walking attire! So, if you see some kind looking woman totally overdressed for the current weather to the point to sheer creepiness give her a little grace, she might just have silly ears!

Monday, April 5, 2010

I am NOT a roller-coaster fan!!!

I admit it, the smallest thought of a roller-coaster turns my fragile tummy! Twenty years ago (wow, I can't believe I am old enough to say that) I was with my family at Disney World and they convinced me to go on a train ride called "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad." After some time in line we passed a few signs about pregnant women avoiding the ride and I started to question the type of train ride I was signing up for. Then we got to the train in we were forced to put on several buckles... "hmm this is going to be more than a train ride"... yes, my fragile little tummy was forced to endure a roller-coaster. I remember the few minutes of that ride almost better than any other part of the trip. I remember placing my hands over my mouth to "hold everything in" and burying my head in my mom's arm as she kept telling me things like "we are almost done" and "it isn't that bad." I do like to have fun, but my tummy is just ever so fragile. As the years have gone by my motion sickness has become worse and worse, and now (I can't believe I am admitting this) swinging on a simple park swing will push me over the edge!

So, why am I letting all of you in on this secret... because I am on the ADOPTION ROLLER-COASTER!! The "paper-chase" part of the journey is like riding in the car with someone learning how to drive stick. They can barely get it going, then they gun it quickly and then in kills and comes to a halt. In the adoption process the beginning is filled with paperwork and filling things out so quickly only to put them in the mail and wait... then repeat the process when good mail comes the next week. Well, this stage of the game is the waiting stage which I have often referred to as "paper pregnancy." Pregnant women should not ride roller-coasters!!!! Pregnant women need to hang out on "It's a Small World." The real roller-coaster in adoption (I imagined) would happen in between the referral and coming home... it still might, but I am already ready to take some ginger root and go back to the condo for a nap because...

About a month ago the 2 trip rumors began... then the rumors ended and one trip it seemed to be... now the rumors have started once again. Please note that our agency has NOT said these rumors are credible and neither has the US government adoption update web-page, which I see as the facts page of ordeal. I guess the bottom line is we are such a long way from traveling that we really should not spend time worrying about it, though we do anyway!
There have been almost no infant referrals in our agency in quite some time. There is a region in ET our agency works with that is having some issues and we hope things are getting cleared up, but in the meantime it seems with each agency email I am reminded that our wait time for referral (receiving the child's file) grows and grows. What was once 4 months turned to 8 and then to 9 and now to 12... will it keep going up? The bright note is many families are bringing their child home 3 months after the referral!
Last week for a few hours one day we were faced with a possibility that would have totally rocked our world. Once we investigated it more we realized that what seemed to good to be true certainly was. This "possibility" did cause us to come to a deeper level of surrender and trust in our great Lord so for that we are thankful!
How do I stay in the process without riding the roller-coaster? I have decided to step back from my one of my favorite yahoo groups. The group has many lovely elements, but I find that rumors spread there, and I don't need to be a part of that!

Other news:
~My family came for a short visit last weekend. It was such a blessing to have my grandparents, parents, and brother here at the same time!
~Brandon's first Easter weekend as a pastor went very well! It was a blessing to rejoice with our church family that Christ is Risen!!! It is also a blessing, as a pastor's wife, to have a much more relaxed husband to share my life with :)
~I have joined a few Bible studies and am now in 4 groups throughout the week plus the group I lead on Sunday. These studies on top of my other ministry commitments are filling me days with exciting opportunities!
~I am so excited for me dearest girl friend Nikky to come for a visit this weekend! There will be lots of laughing, crying, praying, talking, and eating. There will be very minimal sleeping!