Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father ... James 1:17

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rhythm of Life = FAITH

Our family is learning a new rhythm of life - in a good way, but sometimes good is also hard.  It seems as though our family has been in a transition of some sort for 6 months or more. We have had 4 or 5 major family changes in less than 6 months.  They are good changes, but they are challenging changes.  They have been changes that have forced us to depend on God above everyone and everything else.  I am not learning the lesson very well, clearly, because boy can I feel the refining He is continuing to do in me.
We got another call on Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) and found out that more is missing from our court documents than we thought - a specific letter with specific information has to be obtained before we can get the recommendation letter (which we are also waiting for).  Our case was rescheduled (again) for December 3rd.  Oh how disappointed I was - and honestly still am!  I had a very hard time finding anything to be thankful for and I spent most of Wednesday questioning God and asking a lot of whys!!  I don't think God is upset with me for being sad, disappointed and frustrated - after all HE made this mama's heart and HE has filled it with great love for Mary-A!  I still don't understand why it is taking so long, why HE has chosen this path for our journey, why we seem to be moving in the wrong direction, why God doesn't move the legal mountains to make this adoption happen by Christmas (which HE could do), I don't know the answer to these and many more whys - but what I do know is... it doesn't really matter WHY - what matters is that God is in control!! God is sovereign!! God is good!! and God loves Mary-A even more than I do!!  I am learning to rest in these truths.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
   Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
   and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
   nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
   I will bring your children from the east
   and gather you from the west.   Is 43:1-5

The other transition of our life I won't go into right now, but suffice it to say,  it too is bringing challenges I do not feel equipped to handle.  Our security rug was pulled out from under us and we have been left with decisions that we were not prepared to make and disappointments in relationships we never anticipated.  Beth Moore said "Please set me free from the false security that comes from having more of anything than I really need." (Eccl 4:6) -- when I first read this, I immediately thought of the financial aspect - but as I thought about it and reread it, I realize that God only reveals to me, He only gives me, as much of the future as I need.  If I saw more than what is 3 ft in front of me, it would not require me to have as much faith to take the next step. 
We are faced with exciting opportunities, a beautiful journey of the heart and a tomorrow that asks us to have MUCH faith -- to trust God with our family, our future and our hearts!!  God is at work in a big way, and we trust that He is preparing us for something bigger than we know.  The trials and difficulties we face today and tomorrow are just building blocks for us to be stronger and closer to each other and to Him.
As you think of our family, will you please pray that decisions would be very clear, that God would move in a mighty way so that we may bring Mary-A home soon, and that above all HE would be glorified through our family. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sad News

We did not pass court again! Our case has been rescheduled for December 1st.
"Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His ways!" Romans 11:33

Monday, November 22, 2010

No news!

I didn't forget to post, I just don't have anything to post. No news yet from Ethiopia and so we wait. I've decided I'm not a big fan of waiting!

Romans 8:26-28
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. for example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Court travel - Days 1 & 2 - Court Tomorrow

We arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday night. Everything went very smoothly at the airport getting our luggage, getting our shuttle to the hotel and getting checked in at the hotel.
Sunday morning we returned to Beza International Church where we had worshiped with our dental mission team last month. We felt right at home and truly enjoyed our time of worship. We met up with our new friends, Levi & Jessie who selflessly serve and care for the Drawn From Water children.

Before we left Texas, the mission trip team donated Christmas gift for each of the kids at the Drawn From Water house. We were SO excited to deliver the trunks full of gifts to Levi and Jessie. We also returned to Korah to deliver some pictures that were taken on the dental trip and visit with friends we made last month. After a little shopping, we got cleaned up and went to dinner with Levi & Jessie and their sweet kids to celebrate Jessies's birthday. They took us to a great little restaurant and we had an amazing night of fellowship and good food.

Monday morning we checked out of our hotel, loaded up the van and headed out for our LONG drive and journey to meet our daughter. We had been warned about the bumpy, rough roads and about 2 hours or so into our trip, we hit those roads. They were bumpy and rough like I have never experienced bumpy and rough --- it was like pieces of the road were missing. On top of that, the road was about one lane wide, but it was really a two way road (and sometimes 3 cars across), and the sides of the road were lined with locals walking with their goods to market, donkeys, goats, school children and herds of ox.

The scenery and experience of rural Ethiopia was surreal. I can't begin to describe the beauty of the patchwork fields of yellow meskel flowers, purple tef, tan wheat and red soil. The beauty of the people chopping eucalyptus trees, carrying bundles of firewood on their backs, the little boys shepherding the herds of goats and young girls collecting water in jugs.

I loved watching the little children in the doorways of the tukuls that dotted the countryside and the school children holding hands as they walked for miles talking and laughing on their way to school in a nearby village. I felt like I was in the middle of a National Geographic special - it was truly amazing.

After about 10 hours of driving (we did stop for a yummy breakfast) we arrived in Nekemte. We checked into our hotel and then left to tour the emperor's palace and to visit the YWAM Nekemte orphanage.
YWAM does an amazing job at their orphanages of loving on the children, and this was no exception. The orphanage in clean and tidy and the nannies are the best. After a short visit we left and drove a short distance to see the sight of the new Widows and Orphans home that is being finished. It is beautiful and the view from the back is breathtaking.

Now it was back to the hotel to work on a little water issue. When we turned on our faucet the water that came out resembled Coca-Cola. This presents an issue since I have a real issue with showering every morning. It seems that the hotel had been without water for a few days and they were working on getting the water to come out of the faucets clear. Since we weren't sure this was going to be taken care of by morning, my sweet husband bought a case of water and planned to pour it over my head in the morning so that I could have my daily shower. Fortunately, the water was clear in the morning and I was able to take a regular shower. Well, as regular as the showers get in this kind of accommodation. It is really quite humorous -- a square tray in the floor with s shower head coming out of the wall is the shower -- no, no shower curtain. You are close enough to the sink and toilet that you can take care of all of your morning business at one time. It's greatness. But, now I've skipped forward to Day 3 - and this is THE big day. So I'll wait and do Day 3 next time.
PRAYER REQUEST: Tomorrow (Monday the 22nd) is our second court date. As we sleep tonight, our case will be reviewed again by the judge. We are prayerful that our letter of recommendation will be there and we will officially 'pass' court. We should know tomorrow morning, one way or the other.
Psalm 91:14-16
Because he loves Me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him My salvation.”
(thank you Syd for sending me this verse!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We're Home

We returned home from Ethiopia yesterday. We met our beautiful daughter on Wednesday and she stole our hearts!! She is precious and God has blessed us beyond what we could have imagined. I plan to blog about our days in Ethiopia and our experience of meeting Mary-A, but for tonight I will just give a quick court update.
Everything went smoothly at court with her birth mother relinquishing rights and for us consenting to the adoption. The judge was kind and gave our case a favorable ruling, but there is one document that comes from a specific governmental department that was not ready. Our understanding is that there have been numerous new people hired in the department and that this has caused a delay in getting the letter of recommendation that is needed to officially 'pass court'. Our case was rescheduled for November 22 and prayerfully the letter of recommendation will be ready and Mary-A will legally be ours.
Thank you for your continued prayers. They carried us through the difficult times of this trip and buoyed our spirits like nothing else could!
"Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:3-5

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We meet our daughter today!

I'm laying in my bed in Nekemte, Ethiopia. It's 1:00 in the morning. So many thoughts are rushing around in my head and heart. Today we meet our daughter! I won't even pretend that I can articulate what I am feeling. All I know is that God has gone before us this entire trip and He is preparing our hearts and Mary-A's heart right now as she sleeps-as she sleeps in her orphanage for the last night. Lord, please let her like us!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ethiopia Here We Come!!

Travel day is finally here! We are walking out the door and headed to the airport. I will send updates whenever possible.
Please pray for safe travel, peaceful hearts, amazing union with Mary-A (Nov 9th), God's blessing on meeting birth mother (Nov 9th), and successful court date (Nov 12th).
Can't wait for everyone to see our beautiful daughter!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ethiopian Necklaces

In 3 days we will be on our way back to Ethiopia. My heart skips a beat just thinking about it! I am obviously thrilled to finally be meeting our sweet Mary-A, to hold her, squeeze her, and kiss those adorable cheeks. But, there is also a thrill in my heart to be returning to Ethiopia. This country did something to my heart and I can't forget the beauty and graciousness of the people. I am so grateful that God allowed us to experience our child's birth country prior to meeting her, because I truly believe it gave me a deep desire to keep her connected to her amazing birth country.

Many of our friends and family have purchased a magazine bead necklace from me as a way to support our adoption. We were able to get some of these necklaces in Ethiopia. After being there, I appreciate the colors captured in each of these necklaces because they remind me of the vibrant colors that were all around us in Ethiopia. Each of these beads is hand rolled from a strip of magazine paper and the end result is truly gorgeous. We have decided to sell these ETHIOPIAN magazine bead necklaces as a way to support our adoption and ask our friends and family to continue praying for our family and Mary-A over the next several weeks as we travel to meet her, go to court to finalize our adoption and then return to Ethiopia with our other 4 children to finally be reunited as a family!! 1 necklace is $25 or 3 for $70. I will be happy to deliver them or ship them - just let me know! Thank you for all of the amazing support, prayers and encouragement as we travel this journey God has chosen for our family!

Monday, November 1, 2010

High Highs and Low Lows

We will be on the plane bound for our daughter in Ethiopia in less than 4 days! I am SO filled with emotion there are no words to adequately express what is in my heart.
However, the enemy is hard at work trying to distract and discourage here in the Porter family. We refuse to let him!! We have experienced some unexpected circumstances this past week, but I was reminded of the first verse we learned last year:
Gen 50:20 "You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
We are also holding steadfast to:
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Satan may have thought he pulled the rug out from under us, but we will land on our feet through the power of Christ Jesus!
We rejoice in all the unknowns that this weeks holds because we know that God is going before us. And we look forward, with sweet anticipation, to all the firsts that next week has in store because we know that Christ Jesus and ordained them from the beginning of time.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family!