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

Friday, January 28, 2011

30 hours until together!!

This week has been a blur of emotions, tears, new information, fear -  more tears, hugs, good-byes that weren't supposed to happen, questions needing answers, and lots more tears!  Per our agency's recommendation, Craig and I took Mary-Aster to the US Embassy on Monday to ask them to show us favor and allow us to come home that evening.  We were told that all of our paperwork was turned in and complete and there was a SLIGHT possibility they would let us leave.  On a positive note, we did get to speak with the adoption officer, however, the news he had for us shook me.  The US Embassy was actually going to Gimbie to investigate cases.  I was devastated.  The only thing that kept me from needing to be mopped up off the floor like a puddle was that the officer was informative, sympathetic, patient and kind.  God put that man across from us because HE knew that would get us through this difficult time. 
Craig made the decision that I should take the children home that night on our scheduled flight and he would stay with Mary-Aster in Ethiopia for however long it took.  I don't have words to describe my shock, disappointment and feeling of helplessness.  We went back to the guest house, broke the news to the kids, and began separating our stuff to take home from Craig and Mary-Aster's stuff to leave there.  It was painful and telling her goodbye when we left for the airport was horrible -- but through many tears and sobs we were off for our flight back to Texas.
The older four children are seasoned travelers.  They were SO helpful, sweet and easy.  We waited in SO many lines -- lines for security, lines for ticketing, lines for immigration, another line for security and then lines to get on the plane --- and that was before we ever left Bole Airport in Addis.  We had a 7 hour flight from Addis to Franfurt (the kids slept 6 1/2 of those hours) - then a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt- and a 10 hour flight from Frankfurt to DFW.  We arrived in Dallas Tues afternoon and were met by our dear friends the Orlies who had brought a truck for all of our stuff and my mom who brought a car for us.  They knew this is not how I had pictured our homecoming, and I was sad about it.  It was a real bummer to be coming home without Mary-Aster and daddy and it was a real bummer to not know when they would be coming home.  We walked in our home and felt it filled with love.  Our friends had brought groceries and flowers and notes and comfort food -- it touched my heart and made us feel SO loved and supported!!
Weds morning I woke up and, as I always do, checked my email first thing.  There was an email from the adoption officer at the Embassy.  He said they had concluded their investigation and for Craig to appear at the Embassy for a 1:00  interview the next day.  WHAT?!?!?  Was I reading that right?  He said that Craig could wait and walk out the doors with all of Mary-Aster's Visa/Immigration paperwork the same-day.  This is a modern day miracle of God moving mountains! 
Craig and Mary-Aster will be boarding their plane in 7 hours and will arrive home tomorrow afternoon.  Our family will finally be together at home!!  I can not express my gratitude to God and how miraculous these last couple of days have been.  He moved people and circumstances and red-tape, and changed hearts.  HE gets all the glory!!

2 Samuel 22:15 "Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.
Psalm 9:1 "I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. 
Psalm 28:6 "Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Party of 7!

Our first 48 hours in Ethiopia were very challenging and humbling -- and in retrospect humorous. Thanks to jet lag and fatigue I can't remember how much I shared in my Gotcha Day post, and I can't seem to go back and view it, so I might be repeating myself here, sorry.
Mary-Aster was quite sick the first 12 hours we had he. She vomited on Hannah on in the car on the way to the guest and continued to vomit and have the worst diapers I have ever seen (even after 4 children). She finally started keeping down small amounts of water and turned the corner. In the meantime, Katy woke up vomiting and Luke followed shortly. We had so many bodily fluids go so many directions I didn't know what to do. We were all still having jet lag issues and was so weary. This is not the adventure and family bonding I had imagined.
It was in the dark morning hours when I couldn't sleep but my body was screaming for it, that Satan attempted to discourage and steal the joy I knew God had for us. I was humbled and cried out to God - is this what you brought us here for? We don't know when we arer going home and everyone is miserable and homesick, and this is what You wanted for us?
And then I had friends emailing and Texting how much everyone was praying for us - sending me scriptures of encouragement - and boosting my spirit with the reminder that God is for us and HE will carry us through. At that moment I realized nothing I did or could do was going to change these circumstances -- I musts rely completely on Christ.
I am very happy to report that everyone is great and popped by quicker than I have ever seen. Luke has enjoyed 'sledding' on bucket lids down a steep ramp on the side of the guest house -- the screams of delight are hilarious. Emily has made friends with the ladies that work here and is their little helper delivering laundry and such. Katy can be found out front kicking the soccer ball around with the guest house guard. And Hannah has enjoyed playing games with me and watching the daily life of the local people. So, you're probably wondering about Craig. Well, as most of you know, one of these things I love most about my sweet husband is his love for life -- he lives it to the fullest and experiences all there is to experience.
So, in typical fashion he has taken Luke 'hiking', to the store to buy sugar cane, and todya they joined some local boys for a feisty game of football (soccer). Last but not least, Mary-Aster is enjoying her new family -- she is smiling and babbling more. We can also she see is enjoying the freedom of walking around and playing with her siblings.
We are blessed and richer for this experience already! We also received some hopeful Embassy news. Please pray the rumors are true and that God will bless us with favorable timing.
I can't post pictures right now, but have some CUTE ones coming.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gotch day!

The day has finally arrived! We leave in 45 mins to go and get Mary-Aster. Hannah is gathering goodies to take to the transition home, and we are all giddy with excitement!!
Can't wait to post picture and share the experience with you.
We are so thankful to God for the journey that brought us to this day, in this country to get this special baby girl!
"My heart leaps for JOY and with my song I praise HIM.". Psalm 28:7

Monday, January 10, 2011


12 bags weighing 50 lbs each, 6 carry-on suitcases full of clothes and shoes, 6 backpacks full of airplane activities, and 6 Porters so excited they can't sleep!!! 
It's bedtime here for our kids and as I tuck them in, pray with each of them, and kiss them good-night, I realize this is the last night I will go through the bedtime routine with 4 children.  It's 6 am in Addis, Mary-Aster isn't awake yet (at least I hope) and she doesn't know that in about 48 hours her life will forever be changed (as will ours).  In 48 hours she will be smothered in hugs and kisses, we will dress her in little outfits, and read books to her -- we will cuddle her close and wrap her in soft blankets -- I will get to play with her hair and whisper in her ear how much I love her!!! In 48 hours both of our worlds will change forever and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will be blessed beyond belief.  The trip we have dreamed of is finally here and I am SO grateful for the journey. 

These are the verse that God gave me that called us to adoption, they still move me as they did the first time I read them:

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

John 14:18
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

James 4:17
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Proverbs 24:12
Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”  For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.  He who guards your soul knows you knew.  He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Her day is almost here!!!!!!!

In 4 days we leave to get Mary-Aster... We're not sure how long we'll be gone. At least 2 weeks but it could be more. I have been washing clothes, gathering medication, choosing airplane activities, buying junk food, and collecting formula. Tonight, clothes finally started going in suitcases and formula in trunks - suddenly this trip seems REAL! It has been a busy and long few days. I am so tired and still a bit overwhelmed by all that is left to do. But, the thought of walking out the doors of the Thomas Center with Mary-Aster in my arms keeps me going. Oh, and can you believe this - our "gotcha" day will be my birthday! What a memorable and amazing birthday gift.
Thank you to all who have donated formula or cash for formula!! It is so incredibly important an appreciated by the orphanages. We are continuing to collect formula and need a whole bunch more!!!! Please keep it coming!
Prayer requests:
Please pray Mary-Aster's case is processed through the Embassy quickly without the need for more documentation
Please pray for our children to enjoy this experience and for Craig and I to help them really soak it in and live this time to the fullest!
Please pray that we will have opportunity to touch the lives of others share Jesus' love
And of course please pray the Mary-Aster's transition is smooth and she will feel loved from the beginning

God is good and we are praising Him for this opportunity!