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.