Monday, August 9, 2010

One Year Ago...

One year ago, I sat here weeping much like Hannah. I prayed and prayed that God would give me a baby. My heart was so full of love and it ached to have a child. My hope seemed to fade with each passing day. In my head, I knew that God was in control and He would do what was best for us. But there were some very dark days for me last summer.

One year ago, we had just celebrated our first grandbaby’s first birthday. It was a marvelous celebration!! I’m not sure I was ready to be a grandmother, but that baby captured my heart the first minute I ever laid eyes on him. I certainly love that little guy more than I ever imagined and being a grandmother was easy! My job was to love him, play with him, and face it--spoil him! If you know me very well, I don’t like to party just half-way. While I didn’t want to embarrass my husband, I think I went a little overboard with a beautiful red wagon full of gifts! Imagine us walking into the party with an obscene amount of presents for a one year old. Oh, well...that’s my job!

After all the gifts, cake, hugs, and kisses I left that party praying for my baby. We were barely out of the driveway, when the tears started again. God, please hear me! I want to celebrate MY baby’s birthday!

One year ago, in a very different setting another mother was on the other side of the world. It was a cool day just before rainy season began. She was also crying out to God for her baby. As a mother, I only imagine what was going through her mind. God, I love my baby more than anything and I have nothing to give her. I want my baby to have clothes on her back, food in her belly, and a roof over her head.

One year ago, this mother made an amazingly difficult and loving decision. She chose to give her baby a chance at a better life. This day, her decision and this child has forever changed our lives!

Today, I sit here in awe of God’s handiwork. He held me tightly one year ago as I wept for a baby to hold in my arms. Our same great God held that mother too on the other side of the world as she wept when she placed her baby in the arms of a social worker. I wonder if she was praying for me on that day as I was praying for that baby?

Today, the tears are still rolling down my cheeks because my heart is so full of love and gratitude that I think I will burst! Today, there’s so much laughter that fills each room. Those dark days of last summer are so far away now. Because of God’s great love, amazing grace and gift of Mercy, our lives will never be the same!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

20 Ways You Know You’ve Entered Motherhood

  1. your cute hair style has morphed into a pony tail.
  2. dangling jewelry is a thing of the past.
  3. the characters in your dreams are all Muppets.
  4. important things like washing your hair or shaving your legs have to be penciled into your agenda book.
  5. you can’t remember the last time you ate a hot meal.
  6. you no longer consider buying or wearing anything that’s dry clean only.
  7. anything written on your “to do list” must be completed with one hand.
  8. you now despise the alphabet song.
  9. you no longer have blisters on your feet from wearing uncomfortable, yet stylish shoes just to make a good impression.
  10. you don’t mind picking someone else’s nose.
  11. it’s been so long since you’ve been to the hair salon, you forgot the name of the salon you've visited for years.
  12. your idea of a prime parking spot is the one closest to the cart return.
  13. you are convinced the most effective way to torture someone is depriving them of sleep.
  14. you have an audience in the bathroom.
  15. Cheerios are a staple food along with milk, bread, and ice cream.
  16. if you only have enough time to stop at one store, you chose The Children’s Place over Ann Taylor Loft.
  17. your pile of laundry has doubled.
  18. you strictly observe meal times and nap times.
  19. you smile until your face hurts.
  20. all the troubles in the world seem to melt away with a sloppy wet kiss.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Want A Crying Baby

No need to read the title again. I want a crying baby. There are times when Mercy is crying so loudly that I can’t even think and her tears seem to be for no apparent reason, then I may have a different tune. The words come to mind, stop crying!

I don’t have all the answers and it may take me many, many guesses before I figure out the root of her discontent or pull a trick out of the air that will calm her down. However, my baby cries! I celebrate that, because there was a time when a bump on the head wouldn’t even bring the tiniest whimper. Other mothers would be amazed and tell me how lucky I was that my baby didn’t cry every time she crawled into a chair leg, or lost her balance and tumbled over. The sad reality is orphans eventually learn to stop crying if no one ever responds to their cries for food, for comfort, for love.

Call me a first time mom, but upon hearing her first cry I run to my baby to make sure she is okay. In time, I’ve learn to distinguish the difference in each of her cries. She woke up and wants to play. She is hungry. She is frightened. She wants to be held. Perhaps the most desperate cry of all...she dropped her pacifier or baby doll out of her crib.

Now, Mercy will cry and tug at me. Why? She knows that I will make things better for her. Is she spoiled? I wouldn’t say that. Can you spoil an orphan child? Besides, how does a baby communicate? When a baby cries and we respond, are we spoiling them or are we are reinforcing trust.

Isn’t that what God does? When we cry out to God, He responds to His children. Is He spoiling us? When God answers, it creates a greater sense of faith and trust.

Even this old hymn reminds me of this truth.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

On the days of endless crying because of teething, discontent or I can’t figure out why she is crying I must remember--I want a crying baby. I want a baby that trusts her mommy and daddy to make it all better.

I am always amazed how God uses this tiny little person who can't say word to teach me more of God's Truth.

Shhh....... I just heard my baby crying. Nap time is now over, let the playtime begin.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy 14th Month Birthday!!

Today our little girl is now 14 months old!! I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but I used to think it was strange that parents would tell their baby's age by "months". However, now I celebrate every month we have our baby girl!!

We missed the first year of her life and I'm making a point to celebrate each milestone. With each month that passes, we are amazed at how much she has learned. She is not the same child we brought home seven weeks ago. A friend predicted Mercy would be like a flower opening before our eyes and she was right!

Today I celebrate and praise God for bringing Mercy to us!

She's come a long way in just seven weeks:
  • sitting without tipping over
  • crawling
  • eating baby food
  • pulling up on furniture
  • self feeding finger foods
  • drinking from a sippy cup
  • gained 2.5 pounds
  • climbs in her little chair
  • claps her hands
  • plays peek-a-boo
  • blows kisses
  • signs "all done"
  • cheers at the end of mealtime prayer
  • two new teeth
  • raises her arms when she wants to be held

She has stolen our hearts with those big beautiful eyes and sweet smile. When she wraps her tiny little arms around my neck, I simply melt. I never knew love would be like this. It's better than I ever imagined it would be.

Thank you for walking along this journey with us.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Day that Changed Us Forever!!

As I wrote today's date, April 22, it hit me that it has already been one month since we met our baby girl. I cannot believe how the time has flown by! In many ways, I feel like we just got home. But we can barely remember what life was like before Mercy came home.

Many people have asked me about our first meeting Mercy. This may be lengthy, but here's the story.

I will never forget that amazing day in Ethiopia!!! The trip was long and exhausting. We left Nashville on Mercy's first birthday, March 20th. We arrived in Ethiopia 27 hours later on Sunday night. We made arrangements with our driver who met us at the airport to come for us the very next morning and take us to get our baby. It hardly seemed real to me.

Even though our bodies were so exhausted, we were too excited to sleep once we finally reached the Guest House. In my mind, I kept imagining what it would be like to see our daughter for the very first time and got very little sleep at all.

On Monday morning, we were expecting our driver at 9:00a.m. It had been awhile since I had been in Africa and forgot how African time works. You see, 9:00a.m. is anytime before 9:59a.m. Typically, a long wait doesn't bother me,but those 40 minutes seemed eternal to us. Mike was making small talk to the man at the Guest House. I couldn't concentrate at all. Believe it or not, I had nothing to say.

We heard the driver coming through the gate and Mike grabbed my hand and said, "This is it! Let's go get our baby girl!" It was hard to hold back all the tears. The emotions were so heavy that I could hardly breath. Fortunately, the drive to the Transition House was short and the roads were relatively smooth.

We pulled up to the Transition House and were greeted by dozens of children that ran to give us hugs. The babies were all located on the second floor. We followed the drive and nanny upstairs to meet Mercy. She was not yet ready, so we waited in the hallway for them to get her dressed. Then with her thick African accent we finally hear the words we had been waiting for, "please, come in."

In the second crib, stood our beautiful baby girl! We walked over to her and I knelt down in front of the crib. I didn't want to scare her. Mercy was tilting her head from side to side making noises with her little tongue sticking out. She reached out her hand to touch my face as tears filled my eyes. Mike immediately picked her up! She cooed and touched his face. He passed her to me and Mercy wrapped those tiny arms around my neck as I just held her so tightly cheek to cheek. THIS is the moment that I had waited for my entire life! It was love at first sight!!

We played with our daughter. Our daughter. God melted our hearts and formed a family that moment. I honestly felt that she knew we were coming for her. Her smile, her big brown eyes, those tiny little fingers were all more amazing than I ever dreamed it would be!

We waited for the nurse, signed the paperwork, and left the place our daughter had called home for almost four months. Mercy has no idea how much her life is about to change! Nor do we.

Thank you, God! My heart is so full of love and gratitude.

"I will not leave you as orphans, I am coming for you!" John 14:18

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether
or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prayers of the Saints

As God puts us on your heart, please pray for us. My friends asked if we knew our agenda to pray specifically for us. We do not really know anything for certain. We will let Mercy let us know what she feels like doing. Hopefully, she will love shopping like her mommy (and daddy too!)

Here are a few prayer requests that have been on my heart for long time.
  • We will have safe travel to/from Ethiopia.
  • Our luggage (especially our baby things) will arrive
  • We will be alert and well rested. We will get Mercy less than 12 hours after arriving in Ethiopia.
  • We will all be healthy.
  • Mercy will bond quickly to us.
  • The LONG journey home (22 hrs) will be as comfortable as possible for Mercy.
  • Mike and I will be patient with one another as we begin this new adventure.
  • Finally, we pray there are no unexpected delays at the Embassy.

Thank you for the countless prayers! I cannot wait to tell Mercy how many people have prayed for her and love her before we ever laid eyes on her.

That is a love that only comes from God.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mercy!!!

Oh, my sweet Mercy!! As I sit here on Friday night getting ready to wrap up and head to bed, I just looked at our Ethiopian clock. It is now March 20th, darling. You are a tiny little thing and don't really know it yet, but today is your birthday!!! Happy Birthday!!!! We wanted so badly to be with you on your first birthday, but instead we will be coming for you! This is the last birthday you will ever wake up alone. You don't know this now, but your mommy and daddy will make the biggest fuss over you and your birthday.

Your birthdate is very special. Today is the first day of spring. Everything comes to life after the long cold winter. What a perfect day as you are about to begin your new life with your forever family! We cannot wait to see how much you will grow and change in front of our very eyes.

We love you more than you can possibly know! I am so happy that the wait is almost over. And I promise that your daddy will snatch you up out of your crib!!!

Until the day we hold you in our arms,

A Different Kind of Safari

I just sat down in my comfy chair and picked up my laptop to blog for the last time in awhile. There are a million things going through my mind right now. It really is hard to chose just one to jot down and share.

I feel like we are just dreaming. Mike and I have made many trips to East Africa. It is hard to believe that this time, we will not be working 16 hr days, or walking for miles in the hot sun sharing the gospel. We will not be preaching on Sunday or teaching church leaders. This trip has an entirely different purpose. God purposed this trip long ago that we would bring our baby home.

It doesn't even seem real to us. And if it doesn't seem real to us, then just imagine what Mercy will think! She has no clue how her world is about to change. My mom told me not to cry because I could scare her and that would be her first impression of me. But how can I look into those huge brown eyes and hold that tiny little thing and not melt.

I'll never really know what it's like to go through 9 months of carrying a baby, but I try imagine and compare our experience. An adption is something so special for many people. Everyone who is close to us has an investment in this child! She has been prayed for and loved long before her feet ever touch the ground in America. She is the miracle that we all prayed into our arms and hearts!

Thank you for sharing this safari with us!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Attempting to Focus

It is getting harder and harder to stay focused on anything! Every person who passes me in the hall or elevator at work asks, "how many more days?" Even my husband admits it gets tougher as each day passes.

We have so much done. Now, just cleaning and putting our things in the suitcase.

I am so blessed that my hubby has copied all of our adoption document, exchanged our torn dollars for newer bills, got our travel meds, passports, frequent flyer cards, and a list of emergency phone numbers. Then tonight, he picked up baby cereal for Mercy. I had bought baby formula, but I never thought about cereal. (except for Cheerios, of course!) It is so funny, because I have always been so organized, but I kind of like being able to trust that to someone else and have confidence that he will get the job done!

I think of Mercy all day! When I am home at night, I am constantly looking at the Ethiopian clock to imagine what she is doing. I cannot wait to have her in my arms.

For weeks now, people keep saying to me, "You have no idea how much your life will change!" Probably not, but this is what we have been praying for and waiting for a long time! When you think about, does ANY parent really know how much their life will change? We can all imagine it, but until you hold that child in your arms for the first time and realize they are counting on you for don't fully know.

My prayer life has increased as I must depend on the Lord for more. God, thank you for this precious gift. YOU are the giver of life and YOU are the One who creates families. Thank you for Your plan to bring Mercy into our family. Help me to the best mom I can.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Do!

Just when I thought I couldn’t love him more, I do!

I must confess something. Although I am super excited to be a mom and finally have our daughter living in our house (instead of the other side of the world), I have wondered how that dynamic would impact my relationship with my hubby. Naturally, you won’t have much time to truly devote to one another because you’ll have a tiny little person who requires constant care.

I wonder if that is why we did not pass court the first time. I can never really figure out what the Lord is doing, but those few weeks and grieving and praying together were precious. I have seen my man in a way that I never have before.

My man is often misunderstood because he tends to be quiet and hold back his feelings. I, on the other hand, will let it all out for the world to see. Even I have seen this giant melt when we get new pictures of our baby girl. At night, we hold one another tightly as we literally cry out to the Lord for Mercy. There is something so tender (and super attractive, I might add) to see a daddy and his girl.

Last week, we received a new video. As soon as I got home, we quickly put in the DVD. My love reached across the sofa and grabbed my hand as we see our daughter on a huge TV screen. I glanced over to see his beautiful blue eyes full of tears, along with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. We watched that short 3 minute video over and over. Just when I thought he was ready to turn it off, we watched again in slow motion, pausing it here and there. I just cannot get enough of her and her sweet daddy.

I have finally stopped this now, but I used to tell him—if it’s possible, I think I love you even more today. (because he thinks I’m too cheesy) He grows more precious to me! Even with all my anxious feelings, I’m excited about our new adventure.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Overwhelmed By Gifts for Mercy

I don't know where this week has gone. I started a blog entry, blinked and the week was over! Last weekend almost seems like a blur, but there are many sweet memories that will forever hold in my heart.

On Sunday, a friend that I had not seen in nearly three years had a shower for Mercy. Several girlfriends made the long trip to celebrate our baby girl! I felt like a real expentant mother. My friend asked if I would be open to playing games and I laughed. What game would we play? I don't want to get out a roll of toliet paper and guess how big around I am!

Instead, we had a time of prayer for our baby girl. Each person took a different aspect of our next leg of the journey and Mercy's future. So many have carried us on the wings of prayer these last few months and the prayers continue.

Thank you, Lord for these godly women who are a beautifu example for our daughter.

Monday, March 15, 2010

There Are No Words

I recently met a man from Ethiopia. My friend who works in another area of our company had told me of this man and his desire to meet me. I felt like I had too much to do to take time and pull away from my desk. However, I wouldn't trade those minutes for anything.

I had to be in that area for another errand that I had to take care of and stopped in. She was happy to introduce me to this gentleman that we'll call “Al”. He asked questions about our travel, flight, hotel, places we hoped to see, and how long we’d be in his home country. His face was aglow as I told him our plans to bring our baby girl home. I always carry pictures of our daughter and asked if he wanted to see them. With great excitement, “yes!” he exclaimed. I told him about our journey and how God had found this baby girl just for us. Al looked at me with huge tears in his eyes and said, “There are just no words. Thank you. Thank you, for taking this baby from my country. You will never know what you have saved her from.”

Without trying to be too nosey, I asked about his life in Ethiopia and what brought him to America. Al’s story was heart wrenching.

Because I never let anyone cry alone, I was all teary when I shook his hand and returned to my office. Those few minutes that I had procrastinated for weeks blessed my heart. I knew that our life would be forever changed because of adoption and, sure her life would be different too. I never thought of the impact it would have on a total stranger.

I may have passed this man a hundred times in our building or others with their stories of suffering and perseverance. How many times do we glare at someone who is dressed differently or speaks with an accent and have very little patience when they are holding up the line at Wal-mart?

God has spared us. By His grace and mercy, we will never know the hardships of living in a refugee camp for years or being forever separated from our family because of war and poverty. We will never see our children starve to death in front of us. We will never experience complete loss of our home and possessions. Because, GOD did more for us than we deserve. God, may we remain forever grateful for your mercy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Does Every Mother 'Nest'?

I am nesting and resting--more nesting than resting honestly. My husband got up super early and left for the office and I just laid in bed. Afterall, it was still dark and only a few minutes past 6 o'clock. I hoped that I would fall back to sleep, but that didn't happen. My mind was plagued with the lengthy "to-do" list that I created just before I drifted off to sleep. But before I jumped up, I laid perfectly still in a quiet house--no radio, no TV, not even the cat was purring. I could hear outside our window the most beautiful sound--SPRING! The sweet little birds were singing as the sun was coming up. THAT is the sound of Spring and along with Spring comes new life! This Spring God is truely bringing new life to our family. The birdsong is another reminder that Mercy is coming!

There's still much to do to prepare for this little girl. Actually, I believe we are ready for her we just have to get ourselves ready. I have been praying for my baby for many years, but it hit me last night. I'm having a baby! I'm going to be a mother! In the midst of the excitement was anxiety and fear. What if, I don't know how to comfort her? What if, I don't know what to do with this tiny little person? What if she doesn't like me? What if....????? The list could go on and on, until I chose to stop myself. I do NOT know all of the answers, but I know the One who does.

Once again, Jesus Calling is ever so timely!
Refuse to worry!! The temptation to be anxious is constantly wit you, trying to worm its way into your mind. The best defense is constant communication with Me. Together we can keep the wolves of worry at bay.

"Rejoice always! Pray constantly." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
"And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?" Luke 12:25-26

I'm so happy that we have unlimited minutes, free nights, days and weekends to be in constant communication with our Father.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spring is Coming!

It is finally March and I drove to work with flurries in the air, however I continue to tell myself that spring is coming! We have had an unusually cold and snowy winter and like many folks in middle Tennessee, we are tired of the bitter cold and snow. But for us, "spring" brings a new life into our family.

We received new pictures of Mercy last week and I am amazed at how much she has grown in only six weeks! She seems to change so much with each new picture we see. I look back on the first picture that I ever saw of her and wonder how much I have missed in the months it has taken to bring our baby girl home.

I wonder when she started rolling over and when she started raising her little head. How old was she when she got up on her knees? How did she crawl? Did she do the army crawl on her belly or did she coordinate her arms and legs to get herself around? Does she have teeth? I'm sure she does, but how many and which one came first? What is her favorite toy and how is she lulled to sleep at night? These are all things that I want to know like I know my name. It may all seem trivial, but I think these things are so important.

People can ask the strangest questions! Someone recently asked me how I could be certain they handed me the right baby. I'm not sure my facial expression disguised what was going on in my mind. I politely answered saying, "I will know she is mine, because a mother knows her child." Even though I've never met her, I know that I can pick out my baby in a room full of orphans. I have prayed for this baby for a lifetime.

People might think I am so strange, (and I can't believe that I will admit this to you) but I just stare at her pictures memorizing every little feature of this beautiful girl. At night, I sit in her room praying and waiting for our baby girl. On more than one occasion, my husband will come upstairs and I will have pulled out her tiny little clothes to look at, sort and refold. I'm surprised I haven't worn out these new things just from admiring them and wishing for that little girl to be home. I imagine how cute she will be all dressed up and if I have a bow to match the outfits that she has. She lives on the other side of the world, but she is my baby girl. I may not know how many teeth she has or what makes her smile, but I will.

As much as I love her, I know that it is nothing compared to the love God has for His children. He was there when she rolled over and laughed outloud for the first time. He has held me when I cried and knows the deep desire in my heart to be a mom. I don't think it was a mistake that the day she became ours, the verse for the day was Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Thank you God for answering prayers in Your perfect timing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Even Good News Will Keep You Up

I have not slept well this past several nights. Perhaps God is getting me used to functioning on little sleep. BECAUSE.....we just received the date for our Embassy appointment!!!!!!! (I could fill this page with explanation points) Our appointment is set for Thursday, March 25th. Our baby girl is coming home!! I cannot remember the last time I was this excited.

I may not sleep again tonight as I am in awe of God's goodness and miracles that we have seen over the last few months.

Thank you for your prayers as we continue to travel this road.

".....I am coming for you!" John 14:18b

Monday, February 22, 2010

What NOT to Do Just Before Bedtime

In months past when I could not sleep, the reason would usually be one of two things. One, I had consumed too much caffeine throughout the day or even splurged and had a diet coke after 5:00pm. The other reason that keeps me up at night is watching back to back crime shows such as Criminal Minds or CSI for hours.

Now, the new thing that I have to avoid just before bed is reading! I'm not much of a reader, but in the last few weeks, I have been working to complete our educational requirements for our adoption. We must complete a stack of books, a number of powerpoints, and a video about adoption, bonding, and potential problems our child may have due to the transition, cross-cultural adoption and just plain being adopted.

Some of the things I have read are simply terrifying! I do not want to live in denial or fear, but I am chosing to trust God. I believe this baby is the child that God has planned for our family since the beginning of time. Any new additions in a family will bring major change, but God has called us to this and will give us just enough strength as we need it.

Isn't that what every parent experiences. In this way, I do not believe we are any different from anyone else.

I pray constantly for our sweet girl! Some things I ask for seem ridiculous, but I am praying that she will love us! I pray that as she sleeps at night, that God is preparing her little heart for her forever family and within hours (or even minutes if He choses) she will feel securely loved.

For birth mothers, they have had 9 months to talk to their baby and prepare them for their sweet voice. My voice will be completely different and she will never have heard me or English words for that matter. It is likely to frighten her, so I pray that my words will be soothing to her.

I just glanced over at the clock and see it is 7:15am in Ethiopia. (we keep a clock set on her time so we can feel closer to her) I praise God that we are one day closer to seeing her beautiful smiling face!!

"I will not leave you as orphans, I am coming for you!" John 14:18

Friday, February 12, 2010

We Passed Court!!!

Just before the light of day, the alarm sounded. I tried very hard to remember every moment as I lay there. Hundreds of thoughts race through my mind, because I believe this day will forever change my life. I wanted to dash downstairs to log on to email and see if we had a message from our adoption agency, but I just lay in bed dreaming of Mercy. Regardless of the news we were about to hear, I wanted my husband to be the one to see it first. My friend said it must feel like Christmas at your house. That is true, but I don’t know if Santa will leave me a lump of coal or a pony! And a part of me feared we would relive our earlier disappointments.

My husband quietly got up to check email. Those two minutes felt like an eternity. Any second I might hear the words that I have waited months to hear, our baby girl was coming home. Or I would hear the dreaded words that cause my stomach to ache and my head to spin, we have been postponed again. Would I know from the way my husband enters the room what that message read? Would I even get out of bed if we got unfavorable news again? Can a find a cute outfit to match the joy in my heart if she is coming home? However, when my husband entered the room he just said, “We didn’t have a message.” Wow! That was not the response I had prepared for. I figured if this was our court date, then I thought we would have gotten word by early morning. I wouldn't even allow my mind to think about all the possibilities. Instead, I tried to stay focused and continue getting ready.

I grabbed my Jesus Calling devotional book and the scripture verse was from Psalm 37:4. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." I wondered if this would be the day God would answer my prayer and give me my heart's desire. I prayed thanking God for answering our prayer in His perfect time and trust that He knows when it's best.

Ironically, I was helping with a baby shower at work today. I logged on to check email one more time before I made several trips to load the car. Just when I was buckled in and ready to pull out, I remembered...the ladel!! I had to run back into the house and rummage through the drawer looking for the ladel. Just before I dashed out the door for the second time, the phone rang. My heart hit the floor as I reached for the phone. It was my husband and from the sound of his voice, I didn't know if he was about to share good news or bad news.

Then he said, "Well, are you sitting down? Maybe you should take a seat." Almost in a hysterical tone, I said "Tell me! If you know something, tell me!!" Without any more hesitation, he said, "Okay, we passed!!!!" We both erupted into tears of joy!

This means that our little girl is legally ours. Now, we are waiting for our travel date. Our agent seems to think that we will go either on March 25 or April 8. Naturally, I want the earliest date possible. We will miss her first birthday by only a few days and I am not as upset as I thought I would be, because we'll more than make up for it once she's home.

This will certainly be a Valentine's weekend that we will never forget. My heart is so full of love at this moment. This IS the day that I have waited for all my life. I'm a mommy!!! Legally, I have a little girl living on the other side of the world. But in my heart, I think I've been a mom for a long, long time.

As I reflect on all the events of today, I am amazed at God's precise timing that would cause me to run back in the house for that silly punch ladel just as my husband was going to call. He would never have called my cell phone with this kind of news. WOW!!!

Thank you for sharing in this journey with us!!

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Waiting Again for Court

I'm so excited, I can't even sleep. I have been almost giddy. A complete 180 degree change from earlier this week when I was anticipating our court date. And now, I look at the clock and see that it is February 12 in Ethiopia and the court will open in 5 minutes. This could be the day that will forever change our family. I am still fighting anxious feelings today, but more than that, I am so humbled that God would let me be a mother. God is entrusting my husband and me with a tiny baby girl to raise her to follow Jesus.

As we pray toward tomorrow, there are so many things that I have asked the Lord. I believe I have used up my quota for prayer request, but if you feel led to pray tonight as you lay your head on the pillow, here are some specific things that we are praying.

Our dossier is perfect. Every "i" is dotted and "t" is crossed.

Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA). They must complete documents to accompany our dossier. I pray they would have all of their documents completed and with our documents.

The judge will show up to court. Anything could happen with no explanation required and our case would not be heard if the judge is absent.

The schedule of the court. Many cases are scheduled per day and sometimes, they do not get to all of the cases they had planned. I pray that our case will be heard.

The birth mother. She will have to show up to court and transportation and work situations could prohibit her from being there or cause her to be late. I am always praying for the birth mother. She is making one of the hardest and most loving decisions.

I have been listening to Travis Cottrell's CD, Jesus Saves-LIVE. I keep repeating #7, "Do It, Lord"

Do it, Lord! Do it, Lord! Do it, Lord we are praying

Do it Lord, do it, that Your glory may be seen!

Yes, Lord! We are praying for this miracle in our life.

Once again, thank you for praying! I will post our court results as soon as I hear something.

"I will not leave you as orphans, I am coming for you!" John 14:18

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leave it....leave it!!!

I enjoy watching this show called, "It's Me or the Dog". Even though my husband isn't crazy about it, it's a better option than "Say Yes to the Dress" or "Cake Boss". The premise behind the show is a dog trainer comes into a family to train their unruly dog. The trainer holds a treat in front of the dog and repeatedly says, "leave it, leave it." After the dog had excercised some self-control, she will allow him to have the treat.

For some reason, those words keep coming to my mind. "Leave it.....leave it....leave it!!"

I suppose those are the words the Lord would be saying to me. Our new court date is Friday, February 12th and I am tempted to worry. This past Monday, I was a wreck! I am ashamed to admit it, but I literally made myself physically sick with worry. Why would I worry? Do I not believe that God is big enough to take care of our court case? His timing is perfect and our baby girl will come home the exact day He has planned.

My husband knew that something was wrong because I was so quite. I curled up next to him and admited that I was so scared then burst into tears. And now, I am tempted to start thinking about all that could go wrong with our case and allow that same fear to destroy me all over again.

Worry doesn't rob tomorrow of it's trouble, but robs today of its strength.

That is when the words of the dog trainer, came to my mind....LEAVE IT!!! I do not want to pick up that cloak fo worry and fear all over again. It was simply dreadful. Unfortunately, I didn't do so well the first time, and the Lord is giving me another chance to trust Him in the dark.

Even my quiet time is saturated with verses about trust!

"I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever." Psalm 52:8
"When I am afraid, I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3

Here is an excert from Jesus Calling that I want to share you.

Strive to trust Me. Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity. Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain all the blesings I have hidden in the difficulties. If you believe that I am sovereign over every aspect of your life, it is possible to turst Me in all situations.

There have been plenty of difficulties, but even more blessings that the Lord has brought into our life. It keeps reminding us that He is faithful to complete His work in our family.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..." (Proverbs 3:5) God is still teaching me what that looks like this week. I am determined to leave it! Leaving the fear and trusting Him is a faith excercise and demonstrates how much we believe God. It doesn't mean that we do not care, but that we have confidence that God is more than able to take care of our situation. I will say, "I trust You, Jesus!" in response to whatever happens.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just a Case of Braxton Hicks

I'd like to think that I'm not a worrier, but who am I kidding. The stress that I felt this morning was something fierce! My husband is always so calm, cool, and collected but not even he could stand the waiting. At 9:45AM I was ready to call our agent but he encouraged me to be patient. In less than ten minutes, he called me back and wanted me to phone our adoption agency. I had to leave a voice message. The thoughts and words were hard to form in my head. "I'm calling to see if you have any word on our daughter today." Of course, she called while I was out of my office and left the following message: "I just received your message and I am confused. I don't understand why you would be calling. I'm not going to know anything until our court date on FRIDAY!!!" The emails we have exchanged clearly stated that our case was going to court on Tuesday, February 9, 2010. My husband and I were completely dumbfounded. We had spent a number of sleepless nights, countless tears, and the most precious moments in prayer for this day--our court date only to learn it's not until Friday!

What started as disappointment and anger has melted into relief and laughter. We haven't been postponed or rejected; today was never our date to start with. Later it was explained why there was confusion between the Ethiopian calendar and our calendar, but that didn't really take away the sting.

Would you call this "false labor"???? I think so.

I wonder if there is a quota on how many times you can ask friends to pray for you. If so, then I've used all of my requests in the last few weeks. Like most people, I try to figure out what God could be teaching us.

The last few weeks have been trying, but there have been some of the most tender moments that I have shared alone with the Lord and my husband. I wouldn't trade the time we have literally cried out to the Lord for our baby girl for anything. I wonder if we would pray and seek Him with such intensity and desperation if we had not hit this speed bump along this path.

God continues to remind us how badly we want this child! Several years ago, my pastor said something so profound. "There has never been an unwanted adoption. While there have been many unplanned pregnancies, there's never an unwanted adoption." How true! I am gaining a little more understanding of Romans 8:15. "We have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [and daughters], by who we cry, 'Abba! Father!'" God has adopted US into His family! He wanted us so badly and went to great lengths to make us His children! After months of paperwork and waiting to clear homeland security, I see how challenging this can be. However, we do not give up because we long to have our baby home. God didn't give up on us either. "We are adopted as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will" Eph. 1:5

God has worked out many details throughout this journey. Why would He abandon us now? We trust that He will be faithful til the end. Until the day we hold our baby girl, we will trust Him in the waiting.

Monday, February 8, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog

Why in the world would anyone have a blog? I believe those words have come out of my mouth more than once. And when many have asked if I had a blog, I just chuckle and say no one is really interested in what I am doing. Even though that may still be true, I must give praise where praise is due. There are hundreds of tiny miracles and even more that I'm sure have gone unnoticed.

My husband and I have been on an amazing journey these last few months after God laid on our hearts to grow our family through the miracle of adoption. We prayed for months before we chose an adoption agency that was a good fit for us. From the week we sent in our application, we have seen the hand of God at work. We completed all of our paperwork in 10 weeks and were prepared to settle in for a long wait. However, God's timetable was much different than ours.

I've never been a fan of movies with flashbacks, but there are gaps in our story that must be completed. I'm excited to share this journey as we prepare to bring our baby home.

"For in You the orphan finds mercy." Hosea 14:3