Our Story

Our Story
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.
~ Kristi Larson ~

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn't grow under my heart - but in it!
~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger ~
Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the CALL to Give LOVE, MERCY, and PATIENCE.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Merry Christmas To ALL

Among the craziness of two adoptions and buying a new house - - going about our lives at work and at home - - Christmas Cards were not on my list of priorities!  We just sent out TONS of Thank You's for those who helped and supported us along the way.  If we missed you or you were a supporter through prayer and love....here is your THANK YOU pic!

I love getting Christmas cards and seeing all of our friends and family!  This year - however - as a mama of FIVE!  I am doing my best and that will always be enough!  So, instead of getting to open up a cute little envelope from Idaho with precious pictures of our family....here is your Christmas Card from the Krohns!   Know you are all loved and appreciated and we hope you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!  May God BLESS you beyond measure- as HE is continuing to do in our family!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Magic of CHRISTmas!!

Christmas is always such a magical time of year!  I love the lights and the cocoa...the songs and warm fuzzies!  I have LOVED watching our newest boys experience Christmas for the first time!  Ethiopian Christmas is nothing like it is here in America so it is all brand new to them!  I LOVE watching Isaiah's eyes sparkle as he saw Christmas lights for the first time - his whole hearted response when he is filled with awe is "WOW!" - kinda breathed under his breathe!  I absolutely LOVE it!  He gave the same response when he helped me wrap his first Christmas present EVER - a gift he picked out for his little brother!  As we got it all wrapped up in shiny paper - he sat back and sighed and breathed out "WOW!".  I LOVE it!!

Many people talk up the Magic of Santa at this time of year!  Polar Express fills your heart with "I Believe" statements and everywhere you look there are elves and Santa flying through the air delivering packages!  I love the concept of Santa but have to say that my heart has been heavy the last couple of years that the MAGIC we focus on is flying reindeer and mini toy makers!

Christmas IS about Magic....
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that a teenage virgin could become with child!
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that a pregnant teenager could travel for days on end 9 months pregnant...on a donkey at that!!  (I shed a little tear of sympathy whenever I think about the discomfort - this was NOT an easy feat people!)
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that random men from FAR AWAY were given a MAGIC star to follow to meet the new KING!
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that angels sang to stinky field workers tending sheep to tell them the news of a new baby - talk about a birth announcement!
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that God protected this new babe and his family while men were trying to kill him - even at birth he was a threat!
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that a husband-to-be trusted God and his future wife enough to believe her and stay by her side no matter what everyone else thought - - a man of God is always MAGICAL!
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that Christ became man FOR ME - for you....when we DON'T deserve it - - not in the least!
~ It is pretty MAGICAL that HE loves us THAT MUCH...the magic is BEYOND words!

Our kids figured out the whole Santa thing all on their own!  Jarod has known for a while, Noah a couple months ago, and Leah a few weeks back!  We did not want to thoroughly confuse our new boys with what Christmas is really about so you could say we are an unbelieving (Santa) family!  We taught them the history behind St. Nicholas and why the God loving Saint started hanging socks and giving gifts - it was out of love.  He wanted to make those around him feel special and happy!  Isn't that what Christmas is about - didn't God give his son so we could feel loved, special, and happy!?  Do I feel like we have lost the MAGIC of Christmas??  Far from it...I think we are focusing on the TRUE magic of CHRISTMAS and we DO BELIEVE...in the ONE who Created us all an LOVED us ENOUGH!!

Merry CHRISTmas to ALL!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Beyond Thankful this THANKSgiving!

Thanksgiving is always a time to sit and ponder all of the blessings that we tend to take for granted the rest of the year.  We try to slow down the pace and sit and enjoy those around us!  We eat yummy food and spend extra time with those we love.  This year, Thanksgiving seemed to sneak up on us!  We have been busy, busy, busy with adding two new additions to the family and moving just THREE days ago!  I honestly cannot believe that the day to give thanks is already here and gone and we are now heading into Christmas season!

I cannot even begin to put into words all that I am thankful for!  It is always difficult to really grasp all that God has blessed me with, but this year (as always) - - I am undeserving of all that God has given me - - and yet, so incredibly THANKFUL that HE chose me to walk this life!  I am blessed to share my life with an amazing man who loves God and his family!  I am blessed and thankful for GOD's amazing plan for my life and that HE doesn't leave us where we are - - He molds us and uses us...and for that reason we said yes....for that reason we went from being thankful times THREE last year to thankful times FIVE this year!!!
Last Thanksgiving I DIDN'T know....
~ We would be blessed with TWO amazing blessings from Ethiopia.
~ We would be getting brothers instead of a sister.
~ We would be expanding our family as well as our home.
~ While I ate turkey and pumpkin pie, my boys had little to no food to eat.
~ My boys were spending their last few weeks with their families, trying to make ends meet enough to stay together.
~ My heart would be FOREVER changed due to two brown eyed little boys.

This Thanksgiving....
~ My boys got to have turkey for the first time.
~ My boys had their fill and plenty left - they will never have to worry where there next meal will come from.
~ I pray that the boys' families in Ethiopia are safe, healthy, and have food to eat.
~ I am thankful for a home of our own - with space to roam - and warmth and comfort.
~ I pray that the boys' families have shelter and warmth today.
~ I am thankful for a God who watches over us and guides us to follow His will for our lives.
~ I am thankful for a God who can watch over the lives of our now extended family halfway across the world - may He bless them special today and may they know how thankful we are for their amazing love.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
Psalm 100:4

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 
Colossians 2:6-7

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
Colossians 3:17

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One Day at a Time - - they ALL add up!

Life has been crazy - but we keep pushing ahead...one day at a time!  One foot in front of another - one sunrise and one sunset - one day at a time has brought us to.....THREE MONTHS home with our precious 5 year old....AND....ONE MONTH home with our handsome ten year old!  I can't imagine my life without these two Ethiopian blessings and cannot remember my home without them in it!  As I have posted before - my house is LOUD and FULL and ROWDY.....but I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Days are not always easy - there are days where there are a lot of tears (Mostly MINE as I wade through the stress of all that my life entails).  There are mornings like this morning when Isaiah wanted his Mom, not me, but his Ethiopian Mom (he asked for her and said "today, my mom")....this mama's heart broke as I saw the longing in his eyes for her.  Some days Nahome is out of sorts and cries and whines about everything - he seems unsettled and can't seem to get a grasp on life.  There are days when Isaiah is withdrawn and quiet (mostly on the weekends).

BUT - - - there are a LOT of good days - - - the hard days are few and far between and most days we have belly laughing, boys wrestling, and giggles galore.  Our home is not the same - our family is not the same - our lives are not the same - and thank goodness for that....we are MORE because of this crazy journey that God brought us on.  We are MORE for the crazy BOYS he brought into our lives!  We are MORE....because we said YES!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the next few months!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Blessings - Among the Chaos

People often ask me these days how life is going!  They say things like "Your life is SO exciting!" and "I just don't know how you do it!".  Well, both comments are right - our life does have a LOT of excitement these days and I'm with you in wondering how I do it - most days I am at a loss!!  Our life is Crazy and Insane and only God is providing the strength to get through!  There are ups and downs to any family but add a couple of adoptions and trying to buy our first house - the emotions come and go often!  I was reminded the last few days of the blessings that make up my crazy life and wanted to share a few of them with you!

These have ALL happened within the last week...

~ Daddy cleaned the bathroom - and I only had to ask once!!!  Sharing a bathroom with 5 kids (four of which are boys) about has me going INSANE!!!  SO ready for our 5 bedroom house with THREE full BATHROOMS!!!

~ Leah was helping explain to Nahome what a stop light was on our way home!  She very kindly was explaining the difference between green and red and was a little confused as to what yellow was!  He was listening intently and nodding his head!  This is progress for our "twin" five year olds!

~ Nahome, who carries around a grin from ear to ear every day just because, was SO excited to go to "Church? Candy?" for Halloween.  He beamed as we walked through the rooms and candy was willingly dropped in his bag - he burst forth with emotion when we walked around the corner to the end and a BIG room with 4 JUMP HOUSES was awaiting him!!!  He inhaled a breathe of amazement and shouted "THIS IS SO FUN!"

~ Noah keeps Isaiah company in the back of the van and lately they have been serenading us and belly laughing all the way home from school!  The other day Noah was holding a rabbit foot key chain (don't ask me where it came from - something called the abyss of the backseat of the minivan of which I try to avoid).  He was pretending it was a microphone and belting out the song lyrics to "Give Me Jesus".  Isaiah was singing along with him, when he wasn't giggling his head off that is.

~ Jarod is a thinker and a planner and likes to be in control!  We moved him up to the front seat to ease the chaos of 3 boys sitting squished together in the back of the mini.  I have LOVED getting to visit and talk with him on our way to and from places.  He tells me about his day and the book that he is reading for school!  After our very first stop on Halloween, he offered me the ONLY candy that was in his bag so far because we had been talking about our favorite candies and it happened to be mine!  Love seeing his giving spirit shine through!

~ Isaiah is starting to show a little bit more of himself lately and I LOVE to see it!  There have been quite a few things I have been blessed by this week....hearing him ask to pray for dinner in Amharic.....having him tell me his favorite color is red because it is the same as Jesus' blood....having him sing old time worship songs that he learned in the orphanage....listening to him give his first public speech in front of all of the 3rd graders and parents (he even used a microphone)....him showing me a verse in his Amharic Bible that I needed so very much today (He was SO proud that it was in his brother's book of the bible too - Nahum!) "The Lord is good.  When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge. And He knows everyone who trusts in Him" - Nahum 1:7

Many of you know that we are in the process of buying our first home and are supposed to be moving soon!  We were supposed to close on our house yesterday and it is still unknown if and when the deal will come through!  I have been stressed and consumed with worry that we will lose our precious home that we want so very badly!  We absolutely fell in love with it and feel it will be a perfect fit for our family!  When I start to worry and stress lately I try my best to stop and TRUST in the God who has the perfect plan.  It is NOT easy but I am doing my best.  I have been working hard to put things into perspective and be Thankful and feel blessed for what I DO have!!!

We have been blessed to be able to put a roof over our children's heads, had wonderful neighbors, and plenty of room for the kids to grow and play!

We have been blessed with the means and opportunity to HOPEFULLY venture into a new home where we can make new memories!

We are BLESSED that we have a home to go to ...

Union Beach

Floodwaters from Superstorm Sandy surround homes in South Bethany, Delaware

People look at one of many homes badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy is pictured in the Cosey Beach neighborhood of East Haven, Connecticut

People stand among the burnt-out remains of homes in Breezy Point, Queens, New York

Emergency personnel stand in front of a tree that fell on a house after being toppled by winds from the remnants of  Sandy in the east end of Toronto

It didn't JUST hit our beaches...

Hurricane Sandy revs up into a 'superstorm' that threatens much of America's east coast

A man  sweeps the muddy water from his small business in La Plaine, Haiti, as residents try to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

I am reminded today of all that God has done for me and my family and all that He IS doing for us!  No matter what our future holds - I know that we have each other and that as long as we hold on to God, He will provide and take care of us!!  I will choose to PRAISE Him, no matter the outcome!

"Praise the name of the God forever and ever,
for he alone has all wisdom and power." - Daniel 2:20
(Another verse my son shared with me, that was underlined in his Amharic Bible!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Whirlwind...

It is so crazy how you can wait and wait and wait for something to happen, and as soon as it does it seems like life picks up to a hundred mile an hour pace and you have trouble keeping up....anyone know what I'm talking about or is it just me??

Adoption, for those of you who are not agonizing through the wait, is ALLLLLL about waiting and timing!!!  (I'm learning that so is buying a house - but that is a whole different topic all together!).  It seemed like it was FILLED with Hurry Up and Wait scenarios!  Hurry up and get all your homestudy appointments done so you can WAIT on USCIS to run your backgrounds and approve you!  Hurry up and get your paperwork done so you can WAIT and WAIT and WAIT for a referral!!  After this point, you pretty much just WAIT and WAIT and WAIT (Well, you get the picture!).  I'm not sure what other adoptive mamas did during this time but I know I spent lots of time wishing the days away - wanting my boys home - wanting our family to be complete and our lives to begin together!!

Well - FIVE months ago we got on a plane as a Family of 5 to meet the little man who had stolen our heart!  On this journey we also got to meet the young man who would become our big brother!  ALL I can say about the last FIVE months is - there has been waiting and waiting and waiting - BUT it has been a WHIRLWIND!!!

In a blink of an eye(I can say that now, but it was agonizing during the wait!) our summer was gone and Nahome was home with us - adusting, learning, growing!!  Here we are a couple months into Fall and Isaiah has made his journey across land and sea to the place he now calls home!  The kids are all in school and we had FIVE Parent-Teacher Conferences to prove it!

Tonight seemed like a milestone night for me in the whirlwind I have called life lately!  I finished up my First Quarter Conferences at school!  When I look back over the last couple of months and all that has taken place, I am in awe of God's grace in helping me through!  In the first quarter of this school year, in the midst of a new classroom, new grade level, new currriculum, new state standards....we have completed two adoptions, went from 2 kiddos in school last year to five this year, not to mention we decided to BUY a HOUSE and are SUPPOSED to close next week and move the week after!!!!!!

I was sitting in a doctor's office with one of the kiddos last week (With five kiddos it seems like they never end) and looked in the mirror!  I looked to Josh and asked if I ALWAYS look that TIRED!!!  I know that I feel tired a lot and life is BUSY but I didn't realize how exhausted I am all the time until I looked at my face dripping with exhaustion in the mirror.  As I reflect back on what has taken place in the last couple months I TOTALLY get why I am so exhausted!  Now - our adoptions (SO FAR) have gone smoothly and transitions have been easy!  The boys are doing GREAT (Pretty sure we are still in the honeymoon stage we like to call SHOCK with Isaiah - so ask me how he is in a month or two!).  I cannot imagine the exhaustion that I would feel if we were have a difficult time - as MANY adoptive families do and ARE!  I have just realized that our life consists of a LOT these days and there isn't always energy to keep up with it!

I praise GOD that HE has brought me on this crazy journey and blessed me with an AMAZING family!  The last few months have been a whirlwind for sure and frankly I don't know if it will settle any in the future!  Thankful that God walks beside me and carries me through! Rejoicing that His grace is sufficient and He is the ROCK I can lean on when I fail time and time again from trying to do things my own way!  I will do my BEST to live in the moment and soak in each and every precious memory that I am making with my kids!  They grow all to quickly and before I know it the whirlwind will have carried us on to another time and another adventure!  Doing my best to hold on for the ride and enjoy the view of the adventure we call life...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our New Normal!

So many people ask me how things are going?  How are the boys doing, adjusting, coping?  How am I doing, adjusting, coping?  What is life like with all the change - how are the bio kids with the new kiddos in the house - how are the new kiddos adjusting to the rest of their siblings?  I have to tell you that a LOT has changed...

There is SO much more laundry, cooking, and dishes to do when there are SEVEN people in the fam!

There is SO much more laughing, wrestling, and rough housing with FOUR boys in the house!

There is SO much more NOISE in the house - FIVE kiddos playing and being kids increases the noise level exponentially!

There are Frustrating times trying to sign or play charades trying to figure out what the non-English speaking members of the fam are trying to say or what you are trying to get across to them!

There is LOTS of giggling and joy watching the boys experience things for the first time - Just this Week....riding bikes, going to the zoo, going to a movie theater (Nahome said "That is a BIG TV, MAMA!")

There is fun times and frustrating times watching the boys learn the ins and outs of our family, get used to our routines, and make themselves comfortable in the family.  We are doing our best to show them what being a part of the family is all about.  They are getting to know their siblings and act like siblings (which at times includes bickering but that is a good sign, right?  Feeling comfortable enough to be themselves and show emotion).

There are LOTS of Sweet times - hearing "I love you, mama" in Ethiopian accent from my precious boys!  Nahome curling up in my lap in the evenings and nuzzling his head into my neck and falling asleep.  Hearing my boys giggle when they get tickled (Man, are they ticklish!) My boy who screamed and cried when we would lay him down for a nap when he first got home 2 months ago - going in and crawling in bed this afternoon and falling asleep just cause he was tired (This is called PROGRESS, folks!)

OUR hearts have probably changed the most...our hearts are full and our eyes are open!!  God has blessed us tremendously MORE than we ever imagined and we are continuing to trust HIM with our lives and our family!

We have a BIG week ahead of us!  Daddy and I both head back to work (I've got parent-teacher conferences which are always fun, but late nights!).  Isaiah is excited to start school tomorrow - his class has been preparing for his arrival ALL school year and will make sure he has a warm welcome!

It feels weird to NOT be waiting by my phone for 2AM emails from the embassy or news from our Family Coordinator on court status...we have made it through to the other side....our kiddos are home, sleeping just down the hall, all in the same house and on the same continent - I feel blessed and full of joy each time I think that GOD has chosen ME to Mama these FIVE precious kiddos!  Love them all!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Heart is FULL!

After a very long week with Daddy out of the country he finally made it home with the newest member of our family....Bizuayehu Isaiah Krohn officially became a US Citizen when they made it through US Customs in Portland yesterday afternoon!

We got to talk to them once they hit the US and it was music to my ears to hear their voices and know they were so close to home!  We waited through the afternoon since they had a 4 hour layover in Portland before making the hour flight home!  We finished watching the Broncos win again on their blue field and then we headed out to the airport to finally be all together again!

The kids were SO excited to see their Daddy and their new Brother!

Their flight got in a few minutes early and before we knew it they were walking through the doors...

We were blessed with many friends and family who came out to show their support!  It was so nice to be able to show Isaiah a few of the people that love him and have been praying him home!  

We gathered the boys' luggage and we headed out - to start our journey as a family of SEVEN!

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” - ISAIAH 6:8

Feeling SO blessed that we chose to say YES to God's plan for our family!!  Cannot wait to see what HE has in store for all of us!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I wish I could be there...I wish I could see his face light up....I wish I could feel him wrap his arms around me and hold on like his life depended on it...I wish I could see the twinkle in his eye when he smiles....I wish I could give him a hug when he has to say goodbye to his friends....I wish I could walk hand in hand with him out the transition home gates - an orphan NO MORE!!

I KNOW with all of my heart that Josh and I made the right decision!  It makes perfect sense for me to stay behind with Nahome and the rest of the kids while he makes a QUICK pick up and head home!  Financially we have already paid PLENTY on airfare and to only have one traveling for our 3rd trip to Africa in 4 months helps.  It makes sense to leave the kids in their routines of school and life!

BUT....this mama is having a hard time letting go!!  I am jealous....I have grown to LOVE Ethiopia and it makes me sad that I am missing out!!!  I am overjoyed that Isaiah will be with us forever in just a few short hours - - but it still feels so distant since I don't get to be there to experience it!

I am THANKFUL for an amazing husband who has grown into a strong man and a loving Father!  I am THANKFUL that Isaiah once again has a father - and that he will be there to see his face light up - to give him a hug - to make him smile - and to walk hand in hand with him and tell him he is an orphan NO MORE!!  

Isaiah should be waking up soon - I cannot imagine what is going through his head as he knows Daddy is coming soon to pick him up!!  I pray for his heart as he says goodbye to ALL that he has ever known!!  There is such a sense of expectancy but a sense of loss and grief as well - - which was evident in the pics we got of his tear stained face last week as he started his final goodbyes!  I pray the goodbyes will NOT be final - - we have every intention of returning and keeping the boys connected to their country and their people!  I pray for peace for my boys heart and comfort for all of the changes to come!

The kids are SO excited to have Isaiah home and I can't wait to watch Nahome and Isaiah be reunited!  Part of what made leaving back in August so difficult was knowing that not only were we leaving but Isaiah was losing his brother too!  Nahome is SO excited and has been counting down with excitement right along with the rest of us!

It is just shy of 4 days now until our family of SEVEN will be all together again!!!
BUT - first things first - - it is just over 2 hours until Isaiah's GOTCHA DAY!!!!
Welcome SON - into our home, our family, our hearts - FOREVER!!!!
We love you and are blessed to call you our SON!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Trusting in God's Perfect Timing!

It never ceases to amaze me that you can time and time again think you know what will happen...what is expected.....what is trending with other families....it never ceases to amaze me that we don't take into account what God has planned for OUR family!

Rewind to a week or so ago when we got our email stating they were now going to look into Isaiah's case and either CLEAR us (Which was happening to a LOT of families) or request a Birth Relative Interview (Which was NOT happening for very many families)!  Most families were receiving their emails from embassy between midnight and say 2ish.  So, that night I tossed and turned and had difficulty sleeping!  We had played out scenarios of what would happen in the morning when we cleared - it was bound to happen...it was working out that way for everyone else...surely our case was no different.  Midnight came and went...so did 2 and 3 and 4 and 5...by this time it is not the anticipation of clearing that keeps the sleep at bay but it is the dread that something is wrong with our case.  My mind started reeling of all the possible scenarios.  Morning comes and still no news - I begrudgingly climb out of bed pouting and whining and wondering...email my agency and within thirty minutes the email I'd been waiting for comes through - they are requesting a birth relative interview!  BUT...it is too late in the morning to hear back from embassy when it is scheduled for.....again more waiting....planning scenarios in my head....

I go to bed the next night hopeful for sleep and find it!  I was so incredibly exhausted from the night before that I wasn't all too worried about the interview date...I was hopeful it would be a week or so out just like Nahome's had been!  My heart sank at 4am when I rolled over and saw that the interview was not the following week but almost 3 weeks away.  I pouted and whined and may have shed a tear at the injustice of more waiting - - I once again begrudgingly crawled out of bed - - once again disappointed.  I zipped an email back to embassy verifying that was the EARLIEST appointment available and to let us know if they could fit her in sooner!  I sent this more for my own sanity at trying to control the situation than actually thinking anything would come of it....I HONESTLY did not think I would even get a response.  It was once again too late in the Ethiopian day to get a response and now it was Friday so I would have the weekend to settle into my woes of more waiting...

I was SHOCKED to receive another middle of the night email Sunday night that stated they had just received an opening for October 3rd - a week SOONER than the original date!  I was ecstatic and yet humbled.....God made me wait all through the morning for the email on Wednesday night......all through the night Thursday night to be disappointed with the results.....all through the weekend to have my spirits lifted at a sooner date....SIMPLY to show me that I AM NOT IN CONTROL....to show me that HE IS GOD!!  He could have given us the earlier date from the get go - - but as usual He had something to show us, to teach us!

Okay - now that you've got the recap (mini-sermon) on how last week went...let's fast forward to this week and the anticipation of the birth mom interview!  I'm sure that you would have learned from the past experience and trusted in God's perfect timing in the first place...you wouldn't have tried to control or analyze every little thing...you wouldn't doubt God's goodness or fear for the worst!  I'm sure that I thought I had learned my lesson....

In anticipation of Clearing once the birth mom interview took place, we went ahead and put some flights on hold!  This way we could receive our clearance email early in the night (Again, most fams were receiving their all clear around midnight) and let our travel agent know to book the flight first thing in the morning!  Now - this scenario only works IF you get cleared the day of the interview....if not, you just wasted an entire day of your poor travel agents busy life...for NOTHING!  Well, as I lay on my couch at 1pm and still at 2pm watching 'Flashpoint' and 'Cupcake Wars' because I can't shut my mind off....I am telling myself that the embassy is really busy so it may take them some time to get the typical midnight email out - maybe it won't come through until 1 or 2.  By 3am and 4am my mind is thinking about all the wasted time we had spent finding flights because I JUST knew something had gone wrong with the interview and we weren't going to clear....after all the interview had been over 6 hours earlier - how come we hadn't heard anything!?  My mind was on autopilot as I grabbed my phone, opened the email app, pressed the refresh button, every 2-3 minutes for hours on end...

I started PLEADING with God....PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let us clear....we are so very ready to bring our son home....please, oh please, oh please (sounds like a spoiled whiny toddler to me)!  I was justifying needing to clear because of all the plans we had made and the dates off of work and on and on and on...  Once again, God made me wait in anticipation that turned to worry and dread....for an email that FINALLY came through just before 6am (7 1/2 hours) after the interview took place!

God is FAITHFUL and HE (and HE ALONE) has allowed us to CLEAR EMBASSY to bring our son home!!!  Not only did we clear though, God wanted to teach me something along the way....it is the same thing He teaches me on a daily basis....He tries often to show me that He's got this...to not doubt when it doesn't go EXACTLY how we expect it to!

~ Because our case needed a birth mom interview, our son got to say goodbye to his mama and she got to hold her handsome boy for one last time before having to let him go...
~ Because our interview was scheduled for October 3rd, dear friends of ours in ET got to take pictures and video of Isaiah with his birth mom...so as he gets older he can always remember the love that she had for him!
~ Because of our interview being scheduled, Isaiah's mama was able to give him pictures of some of his family that he may never see again (priceless treasures).
~ Because our interview was rescheduled for the 3rd instead of the 9th it made it so I would not be missing parent teacher conferences at work....a blessing!

My fear and dread and worry and my disappointment and whining and pouting are NOTHING in comparison to the LOVE that took place today between another Mama who now shares my heart!  God knew that she needed her goodbye!  God knew that Isaiah needed just a little more time!  God knew that I ONCE AGAIN needed to be put in my place and have my lesson learned (Will I learn this time?....God teach me to TRUST You)!

We are so INCREDIBLY blessed that God has called us on this journey to grow our family - - but we are reminded DAILY that we are NOTHING without Him!  Please continue to pray for our family as we adjust to adding another blessing to the family dynamic!  Daddy leaves on Monday to pick up Isaiah and bring him home!!   My son will be in my arms in 10 DAYS!!!!!  Pray for safety....health....sanity...and healing!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week of Hopes

Here we are, once again, at the end of a weekend and on the brink of a new week!  I never enjoyed Sunday nights before - weekend is over and we have to head back to work/school - but in the adoption world...when your child is halfway around the world...when the people deciding when you can bring your son home function 9 time zones ahead of you....Sunday nights are a moment of excitement and anticipation!  Offices are opening in Ethiopia - paperwork is being worked on (or so we hope) - my son is waking up to the roosters and the sunrise!

We have a BIG week ahead of us and we are prayerfully hoping that everything goes smoothly!  We know that it will go as God planned and have prayed that God would go before us and pave the way for our family!  Tuesday night while we sleep an interview will take place in our case.  Isaiah's birth mom will go before the US embassy officials and once again tell her story and give her consent for us to adopt him.  We should receive an email sometime in the night giving us the ALL CLEAR to come pick up our son!  As my heart is excited to finally be to this point - I still can't get over the LOVE it takes for his mama!  I will spend my next couple days with not only Isaiah on my mind and in my heart, but his birth mama too!  I will be praying for her heart and his as she travels to the city for her last goodbyes!  I pray that she knows that we love her son so very much and we will do our very best with God's help to raise him to be a Godly young man!  I pray that he will get to see her again someday!  I pray that he will cherish his memories of her!

We also have some stuff coming together for the house this week - the appraisal should be done (keeping my fingers crossed) and our loan getting finished up!  We aren't set to move for a month or so but having these things out of the way will definitely put my mind at ease!

Continuing to pray for God's guidance and trusting in His journey for our family!  Feeling blessed each and every day that He has chosen me for this thing I get to call life!  Loving being a wife and a mama!  Excited for what is to come this week!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Worth the WAIT...

We are another step closer to bringing our sweet Isaiah home!  We got submitted to the US embassy a week and a half ago on September 12th!  We were anticipating a 2 week wait before we heard any response on our case.  We were pleasantly surprised to receive an email this Wednesday morning the 19th - only ONE week after we got submitted!  The email said they were done reviewing our families paperwork and would now look into Isaiah's status as an orphan!  Past history has told us that we would receive an email the NEXT day that would tell us we were either cleared to travel or that they wanted to interview Isaiah's birth mom.  We were fully anticipating a birth mom interview (this is what took place in Nahome's case)....BUT there have been MANY families lately with birth relatives who were not being called in for interviews - their cases were just clearing!!  We were praying that we would be part of this group as well!  As I laid down Wednesday night I knew sleep would not come easily.  My mind was reeling knowing sometime in the night I would receive an email that I was hopeful would tell me that we could bring our boy home!  I tossed and turned and checked my email ALL night long!  I got up and hopped in the shower and started getting ready for school - frustrated and discouraged that I hadn't heard from the embassy as expected.  My mind started running through all of the reasons why - there was something wrong with our case, etc.  Just before 7am an email came through from the embassy requesting a birth mom interview.  Our agency quickly responded and told them to schedule her for the next available appointment.  I was doubtful that we would hear back from them that morning because it was getting late into their work day.  I spent Thursday waiting and wondering, yet again, what our future held.  Most cases are cleared the same day as the birth family interviews so I was excited and anxious to hear when it would be.  Nahome's interview in his case had been scheduled for the next week so we were hopeful that it would be sometime in September or early October.  I woke up early Friday morning to an email that had come through from the embassy with the birth mom's appointment date - OCTOBER 9th!!!!!  SERIOUSLY!!???!!  That was not a week later - - it was almost THREE weeks later (18 days to be exact)!!!!  My heart sank knowing that we had MORE waiting ahead of us!  But...it is what it is and I'm thankful that we have a time frame narrowing down when we will get to bring our boy home!  It gives us a couple weeks to square things away with work, finish things up for the move here at the house, and prepare our hearts and minds for yet another change in the family!  I had posted on Facebook Thursday night, as we waited for the interview to be scheduled, "Whatever emails come and go in the night, are in God's hands anyway!".  We know that this is God's plan and His plan doesn't always make sense to us but it IS always perfect!  So we will continue to trust in His timing and entrust our family into His will for His glory!  Hoping the crazy busy schedule that makes up my life will help the next 3 weeks go by QUICKLY!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A "Hello" from Half a World Away

I LOVE it when my friends are in Ethiopia!!!

I LOVE that they are picking up their son who is NO LONGER an ORPHAN!!

I also LOVE that they got to love on my sweet boy for us - who is also NO LONGER an ORPHAN (And I have the BIRTH CERTIFICATE to PROVE it)!!

I also LOVE that they took some sweet pics and
video for us of our precious boy!!!

I also LOVE that we shouldn't be too far behind
them in picking up our son FOREVER!!!!

I LOVE the personality that is shining through....can't wait to give him a HUG!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

EMBASSY...And Beyond

We were so very excited to be awoken by a new email "DING" on my phone that came through at 2:22AM Wednesday morning!!!  The email was from the US Embassy in Ethiopia informing us that our case for Isaiah has been submitted!  There was a cruel typo on the email in the subject line - it read "Case Cleared" which means you are cleared to travel and pick up your child!  I bolted out of bed so I could read clearly if we actually were cleared - - yep, didn't think so!  BUT - we were SUBMITTED which is a huge step closer to bringing our son home!  This mama got to look at his new Birth Certificate with us listed as his parents too - - may have shed a little tear!

So, what is next...
~ The Embassy has to review our file - which usually takes 10 business days (two weeks)!
~ We will receive another early morning email once they have reviewed our file, informing us they are verifying Isaiah's paperwork.
~ Within a day or so of that, we should either be cleared (unlikely) or they will ask for an interview with a birth relative (most likely).
~ An interview will be scheduled - usually for a week or two later.
~ Most families are CLEARED to travel the same day as birth relative interviews.
~ Then, we schedule an interview for us with the US embassy for the following week and then book flights and pick up our son!!!
~ Hopeful to have him home by mid-October!!!!!

Only Josh will be returning to Ethiopia to bring Isaiah home!  It breaks my heart to know that I won't get to be there to reunite with him in his home country but it is what is best for us right now!  With four kiddos at home - one barely home from Ethiopia - we figured I better stay home and man the fort!

Please continue to pray for our paperwork....that the process with Embassy would go smoothly and quickly!  Please continue to pray for Isaiah's heart as he waits for us and as he prepares to have his world turned upside down!  We are reminded daily that this journey that we are walking is the path that God has led us on and his mercies and grace continue to go before us and pave the way!  We are blessed beyond measure each and every morning just to awaken to the sweet (or LOUD) sounds of children giggling and playing!  We can't wait to get Isaiah home to join in the fun!!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

One Month In

Well - here we are one month in - - - Nahome became an official US citizen and set foot on American soil one month ago today!!!  It seems like he has been home forever and is doing INCREDIBLY well!  He fits right in with the rest of the family, loud, rowdy, and can rumble with Daddy like a pro (He wasn't quite sure how to wrestle with Daddy at first - he'd never had a daddy before!)  I just wanted to take a minute to show you and remind myself how far we have come!

In the beginning....Nahome refused to eat anything but Injera and Tibs, Eggs, Bananas, and Mangoes...NOW - he LOVES chips, french fries, and Starbursts (All Super nutritious, I know)!!!!

In the beginning....his fits were full of shoulder shrugs, fake crying, and kicking and screaming....NOW - he starts crying because he is upset and so he is asked to go to his room until he is done and BREAKTHROUGH (just tonight) he calmly walked to his room and sat on his bed while he got his tears out and then walked back out to chat with me about it.

In the beginning....he would run up to ANYONE (Chiropractor and Realtor included) and show abnormal comfort levels and affection like trying to climb on their backs :)....NOW - Nahome has a normal apprehension around strangers and gets shy and quiet and even hides behind mama's legs!  He finds us throughout out the day and asks for kisses and wants a hug or asks to be held - - this is HUGE attachment breakthrough folks!!!

In the beginning....Nahome talked A TON!!!  He loved to talk to us, himself, other people - in his Ethiopian language!  He loved to sing to himself - I think it was partly self soothing for comfort....NOW - Nahome still talks a TON it is just in English now for the most part!

In the beginning.....he cried and threw fits at bedtime!  We had to lay with him while he clung to us desperately as if we were going to leave and never come back....NOW - he brushes his teeth, lays down and pulls his covers up, holds his hands out to pray, gives hugs and loves and then rolls over and goes to sleep!  (I am probably most thankful for this transition!)

Some of my favorite moments...
~ Watching you experience ICE for the first time!
~ Watching you run through the gate at the airport to reunite with your brothers and sister that you had missed so much!
~ Listening to you learn to let Fletchy (our dog) outside...."Come on, Fletchy!" - one of the first English phrases you learned!
~ Watching your eyes light up when you get to take a shower!!
~ Calling you a "Silly Goose" and having you look purely confused and say "Nahome, no goose!  Goose fly"...and then watching you flap your wings to show me!  Then listening to you a week later call Daddy and Fletchy a silly goose!
~Listening to you say your favorite color as you see it all around town and thinking everything "Yellow" belonged to Nahome!
~ Watching you smile with pride when you finally got to go to "classes" like the big kids!
~ Watching you hold your hands out to pray at meals and bedtime, overly pinching your eyes closed, and whispering "yes" during prayer time (Not sure where he got this last one - but I'll chalk it up to a Great Grandpa and Uncles that are pretty vocal prayers - - not that he is met anyone of them though - - those must be some strong prayin' genes!)

We are truly blessed to be a family of six - together and living life!!!  While it has been one month since Nahome made his way to our home, it has also been a month since we had to say goodbye to our big brother Isaiah!  The first few weeks were a nice break to bond and adjust and I was glad to have some time with ONLY four kids in the house!  Now that everything has settled down and all of our friends that were in Ethiopia with us are heading back to pick up their kids or have at least been submitted to Embassy - - NOW - - This Mama's heart aches for her son!  It is amazing how full and loud and kid filled your house can be and yet all you think of is how the family is still not complete!  Part of my heart is still in Ethiopia...Please pray with us that we get submitted to the US embassy THIS week - we will know sometime in the night tomorrow (Tuesday) if this is the week or we have to wait another whole week!

Through it all - the highs and the lows - the good times and the bad - - the quiet times and the LOUD - - I am constantly reminded of a faithful God who is walking this journey with us!  A God who has blessed us beyond measure - given us grace when we were undeserving - given us patience when we didn't think we had any left - given us joy in the faces of FIVE beautiful children!  Is it exhausting at times - Yes!  Is it overwhelming - Often!  Is it worth it - every minute of every day!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

More BIG Life Changes - BRING IT ON!

August of last year we finished compiling our paperwork and we sent it to Ethiopia to officially mark the start of our waiting for the daughter that God had planned for us!  I made a goal that by my birthday this year, I would have met her.  I wasn't sure that we would have her home yet but I wanted to have at least met her and held her in my arms!

Well....fast forward a year later and my birthday has come and gone!  I not only celebrated a milestone birthday - I turned 30!!!  I know, I look way to young, but it is true!  Here we are and I can tell you that I have NOT met my daughter....BUT you know what....I have held and loved TWO amazing boys that God has placed on my heart and in my family!

My sweet boys!!!!  Love them SO much!

WELL - If we don't have enough craziness in our life with 2 adoptions and 3 trips to Africa in a few short months.....why not bring on some more CRAZY!!!  We have decided to become HOME OWNERS!!!!  We have rented for the last 10 years and are ready to settle in and make something our own!  We realized in the spring when our 3 kiddos were all in baseball and we were driving not only 20 minutes each way to school, but then making the same trip in the evenings for practice 6 nights a week.....something HAD to change!  We are quickly realizing also that the house we are in is pretty spacious but the THREE bedrooms just isn't gonna cut it with our growing family!

We wanted something with LOTS of bedrooms and space and a little bit of acreage for the kids to run and play!  We of course wanted it close to the school so that work/school/extra curricular activities will be easier to juggle!  We found the PERFECT house just before heading to Ethiopia to pick up Nahome!  My mind COULD NOT handle any more stress or changes....I needed time to wrap my mind around everything and get everything settled with BOTH adoptions!  We weren't home long when we decided to at least go take a look - - we completely fell in love with it and are SO incredibly excited to be making this step!  It is gonna be crazy busy for the next 6-8 weeks as we continue to bond and adjust with Nahome, finalize paperwork with the US embassy to bring Isaiah home (hopefully in the next 6-8 weeks), finish up all the paperwork involved in buying a house (FOR THE FIRST TIME), pack and move our ever increasing crew, not to mention our everyday busy schedule that makes up our lives!

We are hoping to have Isaiah home around the same time or a little before the move - this will save us a ton of headache and fees of updating adoption paperwork to change our address!  We know that time frames on buying a house are always unknown and we have learned that adoption time frames are always changing - but we trust that God will orchestrate everything together for His glory!  We rest in peace knowing that He is in control!

Our beautiful new home is 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and sits on 7 1/2 acres of God's open air!

So blessed for where God has led us over the last year....so excited for where He is leading us in the future and the plans He has in store for us!

Please continue to pray for our family:
~ That we would continue to bond and adjust to being together.
~ For Isaiah's heart as he waits for us - and for his paperwork so he doesn't have to wait anymore.
~ For Nahome and Mommy as we start school this week - or "Classes" as Nahome calls them!
~ For us to trust God with all the BIG things and the SMALL
~ For us to continue to trust God in our finances as we are buying a home and have to travel to Africa for the 3rd time (Josh's car broke down too, not even 2 hours after we accepted the offer for the house!)
~ That God would continue to use us for His plan and His glory!