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.



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...


video






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

GOTCHA!!!!!

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!

God's TIMING IS PERFECT...
~ 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!