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, 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!