The crazy journey of our family living this beautiful life for our awesome God!
"...Whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of GOD." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ethiopia, Here We Come!!!!!

It's crazy how in a single moment, everything can change and turn upside down.  We had one of those moment this last week and we're still reeling from it all.  

At the end of last week we finally got the call we've been waiting for and were told that we have approval from the Ethiopian government and we've been given a court date to go and make our boy legally ours!!!!  It's strange even typing those words.  I'm still in shock and can't believe it actually finally happened.  We had been waiting indefinitely on this and we really had no idea of knowing when it would happen.  It should have happened a few months ago but because of the way things are going with international adoptions in Ethiopia, it could have taken several more months.  There is absolutely no rhyme or reason as to why we finally got our approval.  All I know is that I'm beyond thankful to God for His graciousness in finally granting our approval.  

The process had started to get unbearably hard and I think out of a means of trying to protect my heart, I had started to assume it may be Christmas before we would be able to travel and go to court.  We had actually just talked about making travel plans to just go visit him and at least see him sometime in August if we didn't get our approval by then.  We knew we couldn't go on endlessly without at least seeing his face and courts close for a few months during the rainy season so we had planned to make a trip during that time to just meet him, hold him and love on him.  Well, I'm more than thrilled to not have to make those plans and instead he will likely be in our home, in our arms by then.  How big a difference a single moment makes.  

I can't even describe how overwhelming it is to have this sudden change in direction.  Before "the call" we were just functioning on sheer will power and hard core faith.  We knew God is sovereign and we trusted that His plans are best but the pain was still so real and so hard.  I had to preach truth to myself everyday because the "unknown-ness" of it all and the pain of watching our little boy grow up in pictures was getting to be more than I could bear.  I didn't talk about it much because anytime it did come up, I burst into tears and the waterfall of emotions wouldn't stop.  The way things are going in Ethiopia and a lot of negative news we had gotten recently were making things look pretty grim.  Most days...most moments...were consumed with thoughts of our precious little boy and wondering if and when we would ever get to hold him in our arms and finally make him ours.  But we still knew that no matter what, we serve an awesome God and no matter what the outcome, He is good, perfect and always knows best.  And now, in an instant, our thoughts are consumed with the reality that in just a few weeks we WILL get to hold our little boy and make him officially ours.  It's surreal.  Absolutely surreal.  Everything I've thought about and everything we've planned for and hoped for for the last 3.5 years is finally going to come to fruition.  It's hard to even describe.  3.5 years of planning, dreaming, imagining what it will be like, hoping, praying, crying, pleading, wishing and all coming to pass in an instant.  I told Luke that I hope that at some point during the next few weeks before we leave that my heart and head will slow down and go back to normal for a little bit because right now they are FULL of butterflies, thoughts, plans and just a flurry of emotions and excitement.  It's all so awesome though. :)  

Thank you so much to all of you who have prayed us through up until this point.  We cannot describe what it means to us and we are beyond thankful for the part you've shared in supporting us and loving us and helping us through thus far.  Please keep praying as we go crazy putting all our plans into motion and pray for our little boy's heart as he's about to experience the biggest change of his life.  He's spent almost the last year of his life in an orphanage and now we will be bringing him home to a completely new world.  It's going to be scary and hard and unknown.  Pray for all of us as we walk this new path.  

I'll keep you updated on here what our specific plans are and I'll definitely try and update as we make our trip and see him for the first time.  Our court date is June 16th so we'll likely leave for Ethiopia around June 12th or 13th.  And we're unsure of how long we'll be gone.  We are buying one way tickets and praying our way through...following God's leading as we wait for everything to take place.  We will be in Ethiopia for 8 or 9 days and then we have planned to go over to the DR Congo for 4 or 5 days to visit the missionaries we know there and the boys we support through Mercy's Reach.  We are thrilled for that opportunity!  From there we aren't sure whether we'll be heading back to the states to wait a few weeks to go back and get our little boy or if we will be able to head straight back to Ethiopia and bring our boy home with us at the beginning of July.  It's all still up in the air and will be until the last minute.  But we'll keep you posted!!  

Ahh.....can you believe I even just typed all that????!!! I still can't believe it.  But we serve an awesome God and I'm so thankful for His grace and care.  He is matter what, He is good.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What's in a picture?

I don't think I've ever stared so much at a picture before in my life.  After 2 months of waiting, we finally got a new picture of our little guy in Ethiopia!!  I had asked for picture updates several weeks ago but it took over 3 weeks to finally get them and my heart was weary and breaking over not being able to see him.  But I'm elated to see his face again finally.  I really can't even describe the emotions or what it's like to love a child in a picture so much and to watch your little one grow up in pictures.   It's a crazy mess of emotions.  I'm over the moon to see a new picture of his precious face.  People. Seriously. He is so cute.  I CANNOT wait to kiss his cheeks and hold him in my arms.  I can't wait till I can share his pictures on here.  It's awesome to see him and know he's still there...he's still real...he's growing.....oh wait, he's growing. Yes, that's a good thing but then when I see how much he's changing in pictures it breaks my heart to see how much we're missing and how much time he's spending in an orphanage.  That little boy we first fell in love with is gone...I will only ever see him in a single photograph.  I will never hold that baby or study the details of his face.  He's now older, changing, growing up.  He's 11 months now....almost out of that baby stage of the first year.  I'm going to miss his first year.  I can't even.  It turns my heart upside to down to think of all that.  But I know that is part of this journey and so instead I turn to studying the one precious piece of him that I do have.

I never knew you could analyze a picture so much. It's overwhelming to open up that e-mail the first time...I see the thumbnail and can't wait to open it up and see his face on my screen. My heart is filled with butterflies. What will he look like? How much has he changed?  Is he healthy?  Is he growing?  Has he developed?  And then we finally see him and it's like falling in love all over again as we see the face of the little boy we know to be ours someday.  Then I start studying the picture like crazy.  After all...when you only have 1 picture of your child, you devour it like nothing else!  I zoom in so his whole face fills my screen...Grahm loves it when I do that and asks for me to do it over and over again and replies "aww...he's so cute mom."  Yep. He is.  It probably might sound strange to someone who's never been in this position, but I'm sure my adoption mom friends can relate.  I look for every detail I possibly can.  His nose looks a little damp underneath, is he sick? Or is he just hot and sweaty?  Do his eyes look tired or happy?  How much have his fingers grown...I zoom in and compare to our previous picture from 2 months ago.  I can see where even his fingers have changed.  I zoom in again and see how his hair lines have changed...his hair is getting fuller.  His ears have even changed in my eyes.  There's a lot to notice when you don't get to see someone everyday.

I drink it all in as much as I can and then I immediately save it to my phone screen saver and constantly check my phone the rest of the day just so I can see his face again. I want to memorize it so it's burned in my memory and I can bring his face to mind anytime I want.  I memorize the lines on his cheeks, his cute little button nose, the lines of his kissable lips, and I burn the image of his beautiful big brown eyes into my mind in hopes that if he lives in my mind he won't feel quite so far away.

I love this little boy in pictures.  This little boy who lives half a world away.  He's stolen my heart and it will never be the same.  I cannot wait for the day I get to hold him in my arms.  I'm thankful for the truth God loves him more than I ever will or can and I can trust His ways and His sovereignty.  For now, I'll keep clinging to that and study my picture some more.

Oh...and if I happen to see you in public and I suddenly shove my phone into your face...I apologize in advance. :)  It's only because I want you to see the little boy I love so dearly who has captured my heart so fiercely.

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