Monday, July 28, 2008

A Garment of Praise!

I have purchased one beautiful white linen dress for Baby M. She will wear it home from Ethiopia as a garment of PRAISE. I bought this dress on faith with a prayer that God would allow her to wear it before she grows out of it. It is displayed on her dresser as a reminder to us that God will complete this good work that he started. These verses from Isaiah 61:1-3 speak of the mission that God has sent us on with this adoption. "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." It is our hope that through this adoption our girls would be eternally safe and comforted and their lives would speak of the righteousness and splendor of our Lord.
(The little ceramic plaque also resides on her dresser and says, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you".)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stil Waiting

It seems we are caught in the Ethiopian court closures. We have been given a court date of October 8th. Although this is not what we were hoping for we are still rejoicing as now there is an end in sight. The extra time will afford us the opportunity to begin to collect donations from friends and family. We have been offered a tremendous opportunity to make a list of supplies and give it to some co-workers in the food industry. They have generously decided to supply various much needed commodities for the transition house our children are in, and the orphanage they are from. Our family will stuff our suitcases full of everything from new children's clothing to school supplies and medicine. If you have a desire to participate in this opportunity to help these orphans during this most difficult time in Ethiopia(it is being called The Green Famine since crops are growing, but none will be ready for food supply until September or October), please contact our family via e-mail. We will be happy to transport whatever you feel led to give. As we wait through the next few weeks for our successful court date please join us as we pray for the safety of our children, and the desperate needs of the orphans and the people of Ethiopia.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Day Satan Tried to Take Me Down.....and failed!

So Thursday was the day that Satan tried to take me down. Want to hear about it? Nothing extraordinary was taking place that day except my oldest daughter needed to have three impacted wisdom teeth extracted. All was going beautifully... in fact, the sky was blue and the temperature outside was perfect. Her teeth came out fine and I drove her home to get her into bed and begin to administer a little TLC for a couple of days. It was as I walked through the door that things took a turn for the worst. I entered and my kids said, "Call Terra at AWAA, she needs to talk to you about Baby M!" My heart began to pound! I knew that unless there was trouble she would not call me on only one of my two girls in Ethiopia. I got Natalie in bed and had a pit in my stomach. I called AWAA as soon as possible and immediately Terra picked up the phone. Another sign of urgency. I can not tell you specifics on the conversation, but I can tell you that I got off the phone and thought doom and gloom in regards to Baby M's health. Of course my husband was on a business trip and would only be able to console me over the phone. I told the older kids that Baby M was sick, but since I did not have all the details at this point I did not want to alarm anyone so I just kept in my real feelings of dread to myself. In the mean time my mother who lives a few houses down the road is recovering from a neck injury. She was on heavy pain medication. My brother who had been visiting her that day called me very concerned and said he had just left Mom and Dad's house and had called as he was going home just to check on them one more time. Dad had told him that Mom had fallen down and he could not get her up. Since my brother was now stuck in traffic he wanted me to go and see what was going on. I was very scared not knowing what I would find. When I got there she was on the ground next to her bed and her breathing was very shallow. Since she had a neck injury my dad and I did not want to move her so I had to call 911 for the first time in my life(and I hope the last). My sweet mother was taken away in an ambulance with my dad in attendance. I needed to get back home to all the kids so my brother met them up at the hospital. I felt so small and inadequate... like there should have been two of me to take care of everyone. I walked back down to my house sort of stunned. But was the attack over??? NOOOO! Because when I got home the door had been left opened and my new little kitten and my 8 month old Newfie puppy were gone!! O.K. at this point it became obvious that this was a major spiritual attack. All I was thinking was: my oldest daughter is sick, my youngest daughter is around the world and sick and I can not hold her, and my mother is maybe critically ill. Then to boot I loose my animals and my husband is gone. Yet the funny thing was that I had a strange sense of calm and strength. Satan was trying to rock my world yet God gave me all the tools to tackle each crisis as it came up. That night I was on the phone with my brother every half hour checking on the situation in the ER all the while taking my kids to and from VBS(so their world seemed normal), getting dinner, tending to ice packs and anti-inflammatories and trying to get more information on Baby M's situation. It was a tough day and night to say the least, but since I am not controlled by randomness I was not defeated. I have a God who is bigger then illness or trauma or chaos. My God brings peace, clarity and a sense of calm in a storm.

So now it is three days later and you want to know how it all came out right? Well, Natalie is swollen. but is fine and recovering. Baby M was not as sick as we had originally thought. There had been a miscommunication. One of our AWAA families was able to confirm this since she was in Ethiopia last week picking up her daughter. She e-mailed me dozens of beautiful photos of Baby M as proof that she is, "healthy as a horse!" My mother fell, not due to her neck injury, but because we found out she was actually allergic to the pain medication and it was causing weakness and confusion. She ended up with pneumonia due to her shallow breathing, but she is now back home reunited with my dad right down the street where she belongs. My cat was actually sleeping under the computer desk and the dog was roaming around having a great time but came back wagging her tail behind her. My husband came home after everything was back in place and squared away. I guess this was something God wanted me to learn...With him I am tougher than I think and with him I do not have to fear at all. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways be mindful of him and he will make straight your paths. "

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Working Out the Kinks!

As we prepare our lives for two more precious children there are a few kinks that have needed to be worked out before all is ready...

The first kink was in my back. I tweaked it several years ago while pushing the little girls in a stroller. I ignored it at first(a very bad idea), and after about a year I had a severe back problem that physical therapy didn't even touch. Finally, I decided to take back my health. I started by visiting a chiropractor to realign my back. It took about four or five adjustments. Then in order to keep the problem from reoccurring I began lifting weights three times a week and walking five days a week. It has been a year and a half since I started this program. I am pleased to say that over the course of that time I have lost a little weight and it has stayed off, I am so much stronger that I feel I can carry a baby again, and the best part of all...the kink is gone!!

The next kink is my age...I'm 46! Are you surprised that I tell you this? Well don't be because I worked this kink out too. Physically I feel great...and emotionally I am mature enough to not care about what people think...and Spiritually I always listen to the Word of God which does not say anything about retirement, but does say a lot about finishing the race strong. So this brings me to another one of my poems. (Yes, I did write the adoption poem on this blog!) Here it is...

Aging Ladies

An aging lady droops just a bit where once all was tight and firm.
A jiggle is seen where it never had been and her waist's a bit hard to discern.

Little lines now appear like the feet of a crow 'round her eyes as she laughs through her day.
Though the cream in her jar states, "Miracle Cure!", her smile proves they are here to stay.

She aches a bit more at the end of her day, she sighs at the changes she sees,
When out of her head pops a long silver thread that she yanks out triumphantly!

Her children cheer as she jogs 'round the block gaining muscle tone with every lap.
But the sweat and the pain convince her again that it's healthier to take a cat nap.

But not all is grim as time marches on, there's a positive thing that is true,
Those baby stretch marks that were purple and dark are faded to a light shade of blue.

Though her body will fade as the years go by, you won't see a frown on her face,
Because this lady has learned to be more concerned with laughter, and wisdom, and grace.

The last kink we worked out was how to fit eleven people in a four bedroom house. O.K. here is the answer...with lots of love, lots of cooperation, and a little creativity. Of course my husband and I took one room for ourselves. We told everyone that we share a room and so will they. (It's good to start practicing life skills early don't you think?) So our twenty-one and twenty year old young women graciously share a bunk bed trundle with their five year old sister. Our fourteen year old sweetly resides with our other five year old girl. And when our newest 10 year old daughter comes home it will be a bunk with a trundle set up as well. Our two boys share a room downstairs. And as for little Baby M....she will be in one of our two walk-in closets that has been transformed into the most elegant miniature nursery you have ever seen(complete with a small window)!

So now that we have worked out all the kinks we are able to it will be up to God to work out the one that we cannot....Court Date ASAP! Praise God for His abundant provision for our family!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thoughts on Safe and Happy Travel

As we wait with expectant hope for our court date before the closure this is the time to prepare for safe and enjoyable travel. This will be the third major trip our family has taken outside the United States where a great deal of precaution and planning must occur if safety and health are to be maintained. Some areas I will focus on to equip us for a successful trip will include proper clothing(minimal amount with maximal usage)and footwear, food and water safety, medications, camera and laptop equipment, and preparations for a long plane flight. Unlike our other two adoptions where all of our kids accompanied us on our trips abroad, this time we will bring only two of our children. Our thirteen year old boy and fourteen year old girl are coming along to welcome our newest family members and help with bonding.
When packing each traveler will only take one carry-on suitcase and a backpack for incidentals. Since this is a quick trip(one week) clothing should be at a minimum so that most of the carry-on can be left available for new clothes for Baby M and Beautiful E as well as gifts for caregivers. I will bring Forever New (a travel laundry soap) for washing clothes in the sink. In case you might wonder if taking only carry-on suitcases will be enough room for all we need in Ethiopia... we accomplished this for both our two week trips to China and carry-on and one backpack. Rolling clothes into "tootsie rolls" and squeezing them into one gallon Ziploc bags works great!
Bringing much of our food along with us rather than eating out saves money and the stomach. Dehydrated camping meals, Lipton's Cup-O-Noodles, Oatmeal packets, power bars, peanut butter, crackers, tuna packets, dried fruit, Chrystal Lite, and other foods of this kind can be life savers. We also have a water filter that is very compact and is Army tested for extra precaution. I brought this to China and even though I boiled all our water in a hot pot I still filtered our water we used for food and tea and not one of us got sick that two weeks. Many others on our trip had trouble. Taking cool showers so your pores are not open to bacteria and not allowing your face to get into the water prevents waterborne illnesses. Of course bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth is a must. If you forget and dip your toothbrush into the sink water boil it or you'll be sorry.

Another area I took extra time planning out was what medications should I bring. I packed a little of everything for our family from Benadryl to Tums to Band aids. For our baby in China I brought a prescription of Antibiotics(which we used). The Scabies medication we brought along not only got rid of our baby's problem, but since I was the only one to bring it I was able to share with the group and about six or seven other children found instant relief. What a blessing good planning can be. Lice medication was brought to both China and Russia and was not necessary to use but I was glad I brought it just in case.
Camera equipment of course with video capability is mandatory. Our laptop can show movies so we will pack a few it a flat storage case. That make the plane ride easier for the kids in case the airline movie is inappropriate. It also give the kids an option in the room since we are not big TV fans.
The last thing we will bring on this trip to Ethiopia is an attitude of gratefulness and humility. Gratefulness to God and to the Ethiopian people that they will allow us to adopt two of their precious children.And a humbleness that comes from knowing that as this country gives up these children we are the ones who receive the unmerited blessings. It is truly God's grace in action.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I have recently heard about a new miracle cure for malnourished children. It is touted to be as important a breakthrough as penicillin. Its name is Plumpy-Nut and it is a simple concoction of peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar, minerals and vitamins. This creamy paste is highly nutritious, calorie-packed, and has a shelf life of two years. This is important because refrigeration is non-existent in the areas where this product is needed most. It is given as an outpatient regimen and yields results in days after treatment begins. It is currently being produced in four African nations (including Ethiopia), and is extremely cost effective(less than a dollar a day per patient). To further educate you on this product and its success here is a link to a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper. Also here is a website for more information on Plumpy-Nut.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Let the Heavens Rejoice!

I have to laugh when it comes to the common question that naturally arises at one of my husband's business functions or at a dinner party...."So how many kids do you have??" As my husband says, "It's like they tee up the ball!" After a small pause, I get into the right position so I can really see their full expression...and I say calmly, with a slight easy smile,"Seven." Eyes bulge, awkward gawk, long pause, slight gasp . I can almost see the mental picture form in their heads. Me barefoot, hair askew, dark circles under my eyes, rolling pin in hand with two babies, three toddlers and a four and five year old hanging on my legs. Finally they answer with some inappropriate response like," Your kidding...right??", or "I could never do that!", or "You must be a saint!" , or" I'm soooooo glad it's you and not me!!" The answers to these questions are, "No!", "Yes you could if you chose to!", "No, I only wish I could be that holy." and, "So are my kids!"
The sad thing is that it is not just the secular world that feels this way. I get these responses from the church as well. Many prefer to sign up for the curses of debt and reject the blessings of God. Sometimes I feel I should apologize for my behavior(you know... being willing to mother so many) because it simply makes people feel so uncomfortable. Two's snug, three's a crowd....but about cramping ones style??? The funny part about it is I feel like I'm the one who is free. I'm not confined to the societal rules of how many children are appropriate(1.7) or what they should be(one boy and one girl). I do not have to live by the rules that dominate most of the lives around me. My standard is set by a much higher value system...Heaven. And in that place all who come into the family of God are welcomed. And when spiritual children are born angels rejoice. No moaning and gasping. Can you imagine the angels responding to spiritual babies the way people respond to (too many) children being born into a family? What like Gabriel would say," Not another one, we already have so many up here!"And so I choose to respond as the heavenly host and praise God for His blessings of children and for his provision of a way for each of us to be born again into the family of God through his son Jesus.
And so after the adoption of our two newest girls from Ethiopia is finalized I look forward to that inevitable question.... and the answer will be (with a twinkle in my eye), "Nine!!!!"
Praise the Lord and let the heavens rejoice!

Monday, July 7, 2008


If you want to directly help orphans in Ethiopia with AIDS here is a way. Check out this website...All proceeds directly benefit the Ahope orphans.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Calling All Comments!

I recently discovered that not all our readers are able to comment on this blog. I changed the setting so that now everyone can leave a response if they want. So please feel free to leave a response so we know you have visited us!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Vacant Spot!

As I wait with much anticipation for the miracle of a court date before the August 7th closing, putting care packages together for our girls has helped ease the longing a bit. With the help of a dear friend I was able to sew a beautiful photo album for Baby M. My friend is a real quilter and she let me "shop" at her house for all the fabric. I was able to use flannels and Minke(an extra soft baby blanket material) to bring texture and warmth to the book. Baby M will also receive a summer sleeper, booties, and a bright, soft yellow teddy bear. Beautiful E will receive a nightgown, colored pencils, a drawing book, jellybeans and a camera for her to take pictures of loved ones in Ethiopia. It is nice to have a project and give our girls something to express our love for them while we wait. Saturday, July 5th, one of the AWAA families will be traveling to pick up their precious two-year-old boy. They most generously agreed to deliver our cargo of love to our children. This is the second time another Christian family has literally been the hands and feet of Jesus for us to deliver these packages and I cannot express my appreciation. My heart has an vacant spot and a desperate longing for my children that is hard to describe. I know it will only be filled when we bring our two newest children home and they are safe!

Baby M's Photo Album

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More Photos of M's Book

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