Monday, August 5, 2013

advocating for your child

I've went back and forth as to whether or not I should post about some recent encounters we've experienced as an adoptive family, but after much thought, here I go...

Before becoming a "real" mom, I surrounded myself with moms in every season of motherhood to watch them and learn from them - this was quite easy to do, considering most women in my circle of friends are moms, most of my coworkers are moms, most of the people I go to church with are moms. So if you're a mom and we spend any amount of time together, you may now know that I've been studying you...not in a weird, stalkerish way. I was just trying to learn everything I could to prepare myself in my expectant stage of motherhood. You read plenty of books before you have a baby, right? But nothing in those books compares exactly to real life experiences -- although, I must admit, almost every page of "The Strong-Willed Child" (the toddler chapters anyway) is played out in our home nearly daily. If you're a mom (new or empty nest), you know what I mean, that learning from real life experience is more fundamental than what is read on a page. So from that thinking, I watched, I asked questions, I listened, I took mental notes (and sometimes handwritten ones!) on how to and how not to handle certain situations. During my "pre-children education" one valuable thing that I heard on several occasions from several trusted and wonderfully role model-esque moms was that once you know your child, there will be times that you need to be an advocate for them.

Children are so vulnerable and can be so easily hurt unless someone stands up for them to protect their hearts. Being an advocate for your child does not mean covering up something they're guilty of, or brushing off something they did to hurt someone else, but it does mean knowing and understanding your child (biological or adopted), and stepping in to speak up for them when they can't speak up for themselves (either developmentally or for fear of embarrassment) in certain situations. 

Several weeks ago, we were at a party and a family member asked to hold one of our boys. We let her, as we want our boys to feel secure enough to visit with others, knowing that mommy and daddy aren't going to leave them. He was with her for several minutes then turned to see where JT and I were (an excellent sign of attachment). As he began reaching for us to hold him, she said jokingly, "Your mommy doesn't want you."

Now, 1st of  all, I'm going to give this person the benefit of the doubt that she was saying those words but really meant "I'd like to hold you longer because you're so cute"...but 2nd of all, I don't think those words should EVER be spoken to ANY child, biological or adopted. Regardless of age, would you want to hear the words '- "your mommy doesn't want you?" No, you wouldn't. Period.

Like I said, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't literally mean what she said, but as soon as the ill-thought words escaped her lips, the hairs on this momma's neck rose, I'm sure my face flushed bright red as I responded loudly and affirmatively "This mommy ALWAYS wants her son." and took him from her arms without a second's delay. I had to go on to explain to this person that she needed to consider both of our sons' histories and I did not ever want her to say those words to either of them again. Sadly, she became upset that I advocated for his heart in this situation and responded with "he's so young, he doesn't know what I said."

 Funny thing about kids, they pick up on everything. He knows the word "mommy." He knows the word "doesn't." He knows the word "want," and he knows the word "you." He may not be able to speak all of those words yet...I mean, cut him a little slack, he did just start hearing English for the 1st time 3 months ago...but in our day to day routine, I'm confident that he audibly understands almost everything that is spoken to him.

I needed to protect his heart, even if that meant temporarily hurting a grown adult's feelings.

I know some of you are going to read this and think, "Erin, you are way too sensitive. You've got to let comments like that just roll off your back." Honestly, I don't believe that I am too sensitive in this particular circumstance. My children each had a year and a half of wondering if their mommy wanted them, I'm not going to let them continue to wonder any longer. If you see me smothering my children in hugs, kisses, and "I love yous" please don't roll your eyes at me. I'm making up for lost time, folks, I'm trying to reconstruct broken hearts to their wholeness.

Another more frequent avenue we've had to cross has been on the family relationship of our boys. Because of their relative closeness in size, you would not believe how many times we've been asked "Are they twins?"

Now, before you say -- whoa, Erin, please don't tell me you're offended by this question -- no, I most certainly am not. I certainly understand the question, given their similar sizes and developmental stages. Because of the difference in skin color, it's pretty obvious that they're not our biological children, and I think adoption lends itself to some fascination with most people, leading them to ask questions because they're genuinely interested.

So, no, the "Are they twins?" question does not bother me...what does bother me is the questions that follow. For some reason, telling people that they are not twins makes them more nosey interested nosey about our little family situation.

The conversation usually goes something like this:
Passerby: "Oh your little boys are so cute! Are they twins?"
Us: "No, they're not. They're very close in age, but not twins." (Smiling)
Passerby: "Well are they brothers?"
Us: "Yes, they're brothers." (Smiling)
Passerby: "No, I mean, are they REAL brothers?"
Us: "Yes, they're real brothers." (A little less smiling)
Passerby: "No, no, I mean, are they BIRTH brothers?"
Us: "They are brothers. Thank you for stopping to say hi to us." (Smile and walk away)

Like I said, I think most people, are innocently asking the questions because they are interested in adoption, but some questions are a little too personal for strangers to know the answers. Besides, in what world does it matter if my children are "real" brothers or not, is that going to change your perspective of my family? Are you going to like us any less? I would hope not. I'm sure this type of conversation will linger with us for the rest of the boys' childhood (if not longer), while we'll try to graciously answer the probing questions about their past, please understand that certain details are their story -- their very own story-- the only thing that belongs to just them in this life. So for that reason, we will choose to speak up for our children to avoid possible embarrassment when certain questions are asked. One day, when they feel comfortable to share their stories, they can do that. But for now, certain facts are not really "ours" to share.

All that being said, please don't read this and think, "Oh my gosh, I can't ever talk to Erin about her kids again. I'll probably say or ask the wrong thing." --- I would never, ever want to shy away anyone from questions about adoption or our family. Please, let's have conversations, but I just need to be respectful of my children's past, so a few questions may not get direct answers until the boys are old enough to answer them if they choose to do so.

Childhood should be the most loving, enriching, joyous, character-building times of life...but the wrong words spoken at the wrong time, within the hearing range of little ears can change the heart of a child. If the idea of advocating for your child is new to you, I encourage you to join me - I know, I know, I've only been a mom for like 2 seconds compared to most of you, but since this idea is certainly not my own, I feel comfortable sharing it by using our family's real life examples. I'm so thankful for the wisdom of seasoned mommas all around me--you know who you are and you are so valuable to this new mom. Thank you for teaching me to "fill up their love tanks" and "always protect their hearts." I'll admit, I don't successfully do these things everyday, but I'm trying.

And for those of you still wondering if our boys are brothers: Yes they are brothers. Their birthdays are 3 months apart, you do the math.

hugs to you,
erin

Friday, June 14, 2013

home.

They're home!

The boys are here. With us. :)

I think the fact that I haven't yet blogged about THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER is a sure tell sign that this momma has been BUSY lately!! Plenty (and I mean plenty) of people told me that time disappears once kids arrive...and na├»ve me didn't listen. I had so many projects that I had bouncing around in my head to do before the boys came (including posts about our 1st trip to Ethiopia) and when I didn't get them done, I thought "I'll just work on them during naps or when they're playing"...hahahaha... :) Anyway...

We've been settling into our new life for 5 1/2 weeks and the boys seem to be adjusting really well. They're definitely attaching to momma and daddy, and for that I'm so very thankful, as bonding and attachment can be a concern with any adoption. However, I'd be lying if I said it's been all smiles and rainbows from Day 1. Adoption can be such a beautiful thing, but because it's born out of brokenness, it can also be hard. By saying that, I'm just trying to be real and honest...you know I'm not perfect! Truth be told, behind my rose-colored glasses of excitement, I wasn't emotionally prepared for how hard it was going to be (for them and myself) that first week. Despite plenty of adoption education and numerous phone conversations with our agency about the (potential) grieving process associated [toddler] adoption, I just kept replaying the sweet, smiley "Gotcha Day" videos from my list of stalked favorite blog sites. Although both boys had plenty of smiles for us, their sweet little minds had a lot of processing to do (and will possibly continue to do for a lifetime).  After we signed them out of their orphanage, our children experienced grief that I'll never fully know. And understandably so, as they grieved the only stable environment they had known and as they grieved the loss of their familiar caregivers (boy, did they love their nannies!).

But thankfully over the past month, they have learned to trust us and now their faces LIGHT UP when they see us. Each morning when they wake up, I love walking into their room to be greeted by the biggest smiles and sweetest giggles EVER...seriously, I wish you all could experience it! The heart change that has happened to both Carson and Noah over the past few weeks is miraculous and you can visibly see trust, safety, security, and love for us now in their eyes. We had been strangers to them, two people who looked, smelled, and talked differently than anyone they had ever been with...trying to hug them, rock them, feed them, bathe them. Just to think about the HUGE life change that our kiddos experienced overwhelms me, so I am incredibly thankful to God and His provisions with how well they are adjusting to our family life.  HE truly is the author of our story, and I am realizing it more and more every single day. We, as their parents, could never provide the unconditional love, grace, and security that they need moment by moment, day after day. I could never do it on my own, I'm far too selfish with my own time, my own life...but God has been using these 2 precious boys, my sons, to show me how much of my life isn't really mine - but a life to be used by Him to serve others. We spent a week in Ethiopia before bringing them home and one particular night, we were having a VERY difficult time soothing Noah to sleep (I can't blame him, his world was had just been flipped upside down). While I was rocking (and rocking, and walking with him, and singing to him, and rocking, and walking him, and singing to him...), I began to get so frustrated at myself that I couldn't soothe his frightened cries. I began to think of myself as a failure of a new mother, and as negative thoughts about myself and my inadequacy in meeting my son's needs, I began to pray.

I cried (ok, sobbed) to God, "What is the glory I'm supposed to see in this moment? I need you to show it to me." As I continued to rock in the darkness of our hotel room, I sensed God was saying to me, "Do you see how much Noah needs you right now? Despite how difficult it seems to meet his needs, to comfort him, calm him, and assure him he's being taken care of? That's how much you need me, my child. You've been trying to do things on your own, but I'm here to take care of you. I'm here to soothe your spirit and comfort you through the easy times, the difficult times, and the uncertain times. Quit being so self-reliant, find rest in Me." I was taken back by the analogy he had placed before me. Rocking my crying son in the middle of the night made me realize how helpless I am without my Father. While Noah didn't fall miraculously back to sleep after my conversation with God (wouldn't that encourage more parents to pray!), I rocked him with a new picture of what mothering represents. I'm so grateful for the reminders of His unconditional love for me. Seeking Him daily doesn't make being a new parent any easier, but it has made me more aware of the love I'm supposed to be reflecting toward my children...even in the midst of a hard day.

Wow...I really turned off course from this homecoming post! For those of you who stuck with me through the last paragraph of digression, congrats, you are rewarded with super cute pictures of the boys' over the course of the past few weeks:


Trying new foods (they never want to go back to the rice cereal they used to eat!):

 
 
 
 
Learning how to share and play together:
 

 
Hot day? A bucket, some water, and 2 cups can be REALLY fun:





 
 
They love to explore:
 

 

 


 
 
And they've loved meeting new cousins:
 
                                     
 
 
Well, nap-time's over. I can hear them chattering away to each other in their room, so I better go. I really do want to post about our experiences in Ethiopia at some point, perhaps by their 3rd birthdays? :) Until then, enjoy your weekend!
 
 
love,
erin

Saturday, March 2, 2013

First Family Photos

JT and I are home from Ethiopia, but a part of our hearts remain there. We got to spend 5 wonderfully glorious days holding our sons, playing with them, feeding them, rocking them to sleep, studying their facial expressions, reading their eyes. This past Wednesday was one of the most difficult days of our lives as we kissed them good-bye until we can return to bring them home with us...it was seriously so, so difficult. We had tried to prepare ourselves for the moment we would hand them back to their nannies and drive away from their orphanage, but nothing could've adequately prepared us for the deep loss we imediately felt. Throughout the ups and downs of this process, God has constantly carried and comforted us, so we're leaning on Him again until we can be reunited with our little loves. We're trusting Him to send The Holy Spirit to surround them with His love, care, and protection until then and we're praying that we'll get our call to aboard that long flight to Africa VERY soon.

I have SO much on my heart and mind that I have want to share, but as we're getting back into our daily schedule (and as our bodies are trying to figure out what time zone we're in), I'm going to keep this post short (word-wise) and just let you enjoy some pictures of our newly acquainted family of four. This is the moment we've been waiting so long so share...

 
Introducing our sons:  
 

Carson James Bell ~ 17 months old
 
 
 
Noah Brady Bell ~ 14 months old
 
 
 
Mommy and Carson dancing in the orphanage courtyard
 
Playtime in the family visiting room at Abenezer Orphanage
 
Daddy kissing sweet little Noah
 
 Proud Daddy with his 2 boys
 
 First "official" family photo after passing court!!
(Note: Noah is completely asleep, unaware of the day's big event)
 


We love these little guys SO much and are anxiously awaiting our Embassy date which should be approximately 8 weeks from now according to our attorney. Praying it's sooner!

After spending a week in Ethiopia, I have so much to reflect on and share...you've been warned, so be prepared! ;)   Until then, feel free to keep looking at our handsome little guys' photos!

love, erin

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Here we go!!!

All ready to board our flight!! Keep us in your prayers!

Love, erin

Friday, February 15, 2013

You rocked it...(and giveway winner)

Over the past 36 hours, the Valentine's Day Love Big, Give Big Challenge of $1000 was met...and passed!! You helped to raise $1500 for my friends' adoption and I can't wait another second to say,
 
"THANK YOU"
 
You rocked it! I knew the $1000 would be easy-breezy, (yes, I'm a grown woman saying "easy-breezy" -- that's what happens when you work with kids all day! ... I also once accidentally called my husband "doodle noodle" in public! hahaha-- but I digress) and you stepped up and surpassed the goal! How awesome that many of you gave without reservation and many of you gave without even knowing this family. Truly incredible.
 
Sometimes we hear statistics, see heart breaking images, and become emotionally paralyzed. We start to think and then subsequently believe: the needs are SO great, I can't really do anything to change the brokeness in this world. We, ourselves, can't change the brokenness of the world, only Jesus can bring the redemption needed to bring full life, but we can use the gifts he has given us to love, give, and serve the people around us. By choosing to give and share what we have been blessed with (no matter how small the gift or deed), we can start a ripple effect that potentially can touch many lives.
 
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
~ Mother Teresa
 
Never underestimate the power of a ripple across undisturbed waters. Even the smallest pebble will produce a ripple that can go far past what our eyes can see. Yesterday, your generosity created a ripple. Look for ways to create another ripple today. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to visit the undisturbed waters where God is calling you. Pray about how you can use what we has given you to do great things for Him. When we seek to follow Him and love like He loves - every.single.day - we should be surrounded by rippling water. Better bring a life vest.

 

I love that this challenge went beyond people that I know. Thank you new friends for loving my friends. Because many gave who I don't know personally, I may need some help getting in touch with the giveway winner!

The randomly selected winner of this challenge is:  Angie Best
Thank you Angie for your Valentine gift to the Ames Family's adoption fundraiser! I would love to send you an Ethiopian gift after we return from our trip! Please contact me by email: headingtoethiopia@gmail.com  If you know Angie, please let her know she's the winner! :)

Although this Valentine's Day Challenge is officially over, the Ames Adding To the Crew online fundraiser is still running for 22 days (from today's date), so if you know of anyone that might be interested in their story and/or giving toward their adoption please send them to: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/USS-Ames-Adding-to-the-Crew/38625

Thanks again so much for giving! Your hearts were loving big this Valentine's Day!

love,
erin





 
 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love Big, Give Big this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and love is in the air. Do you have your valentine cards filled out and ready for delivery?? Are your cards store bought or handmade? Which would you rather receive, roses or chocolates?

As you're making plans and getting ready to celebrate on Thursday, I can't help but bring your attention to two very special adolescent boys who are incredibly worthy of lots of valentine wishes and gifts, which is why I'm posting this special Valentine's Day challenge.

Our friends, The Ames Family, are counting down the days until they can meet and bring home the two newest members of their family (Remember, their boys are currently in the SAME orphanage as our boys? Read their story here.). These 2 biological brothers are in for such a surprise when we meet them next week (eek!! Still can't believe we're headed to Ethiopia next week!) and shower them with gifts from their new family. I absolutely cannot wait to see their faces as they unwrap the gifts lovingly picked out for them by Sarah and the rest of the Ames crew...seriously cute stuff that they will LOVE and treasure until they can meet their family face to face.

Last week I found out that when the boys were told they were going to be adopted, they couldn't believe that someone wanted them.

Press pause for a moment, did you read that last sentence? Let that thought sink in: they couldn't believe that someone WANTED them.

Oh, sweet boys, you are wanted...wanted more than you know. And you are loved more than you know, not only by your new family, but by Jesus who has had his eye on you since the day you were born, counting the hairs on your head, crying with you during difficult days, keeping you safe when you felt alone, preparing and opening hearts to place you in the wonderful family you are about to join. You were created for GREATER things, AMAZING things that only you can do. We fully believe this about you!! You are so desperately wanted and your family is working very hard to bring you home as quickly as possible.

This adoption is atypical in its process because of the boys' ages and is moving at a much faster pace than most other intercountry adoptions. Although their case is being fast tracked, the costs of their adoption are the same as that of a "regular" adoption...which is requiring a lot of faith on Sarah and Jordan's part for the funding of this adoption. Most adoptions span over the course of (literally) years, creating time for families to financially prepare for each fee as it is required, but with their adoption possibly being complete within the next 6 months, the total funds needed within such a short amount of time can really be daunting when looking solely at the numbers on paper. BUT, we know that God can do HUGE things when we follow Him.

This brings me to my challenge.

I would LOVE for this Valentine's Day to be different for this family, will you join me?? While you're sealing your paper valentines with a kiss, would you consider sending a "virtual valentine" to this amazing family? I would love to have 100 people send a virtual valentine of $10 toward their adoption fundraising effort, totaling a gift of $1000 for Valentine's Day to help celebrate the love of family. They have no idea about this challenge...can you help meet the goal??  I think it would be incredibly awesome if we could surprise them with this special gift. I know there are (at least) 100 of you out there that could give $10. Step up to the plate. I also know there are some of you who could give more. Go on, hit it out of the park. Love Big, Give Big.

$1000 to this fab family should be easy-breezy, so let's get it done! I believe this goal is attainable, especially considering the facts that each year, American Christians spend:
  • $3 billion/ year on bottled water
  • $4 billion/ year on cosmetics
  • $7 billion on sports events
  • $11 billion a year on coffee
  • $13 billion a year on pets and diet programs
  • $17 billion a year on golf & boating
  • $20 billion a year on soft drinks
  • $21 billion on cable TV
  • $76 billion a year on eating out
These crazy high numbers are what CHRISTIANS spend on this stuff...if we really say that we love Jesus, are we following his command to care for the orphan and love our neighbor? While not everyone feels led to adopt, we clearly have the resources to help in other ways, what are we waiting for?

(I know that there are some of you that are thinking, "I can't give anything right now, I'm not even sure how I'm going to cover my own bills this month" -  to those of you in this category - bless you, this particular challenge is not for you; but you can certainly pray for these precious boys. Imagine how valuable and wanted they would feel if they knew so many people were praying for them as they wait for their family.)

To be a part of this challenge, GIVING is SO VERY simple.
1.) Visit their website:
http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/USS-Ames-Adding-to-the-Crew/38625
2.) Give $10 (or more <--- hint hint) using any major credit card, bank card or paypal account
3.) Submit - This "Virtual Valentine" is automatically delivered to their account.
4.) Share this post with your friends, family, facebook friends/groups, on your blogs, twitter, email, - let's help them get these 2 guys HOME!!

When giving on their "youcaring" site, make sure you leave a "Happy Valentine's Day" wish for the boys and their family. Anyone who gives and leaves their Valentine message between now and midnight on Valentine's Night (thursday night), will be entered into a drawing. A random winner will be selected to receive a gift from our Ethiopia trip next week. :)

Could it be any easier to send some love this Valentine's Day? Seriously, this gift is much easier than trying to figure out what to buy your honey!

Thanks so much, can't wait to see the love that's spread around! Happy Valentine's Day!!

Hugs,
Erin

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two tickets to paradise...er, Africa

That's right, we're FINALLY going to Ethiopia to meet our sweet boys! We got our phone call today, telling us that we have a court date scheduled for February 26th...only 20 days from now!

I can't believe we're in the trip planning process of this journey, but SO thankful that we are! We don't have many details about our trip yet, as we still have to have a phone conference with our agency later this week, but our suitcases will soon be packed and we'll be itching to board the plane. Not looking forward to the 13+ hr flight, but totally looking forward to the handsome little faces we'll meet when we get there!

Another family from our agency is there right now and emailed me earlier today that they were able to take some pictures of our boys for us! Unfortunately they haven't been able to email them to me yet (Internet connections aren't consistent or reliable there...it's like they're in a 3rd world country or something!), but the photos will do this momma's heart some good the moment they land in my inbox. I'm so anxious to see how they've grown in the past few months. These precious pictures will have to hold me over until I can lay my eyes on them in person. Wow. We're finally getting to meet our babies...not just in prayers, not just in daydreams, but for real. 20 days cannot come fast enough!

More details to come later, right now I'm going to get our suitcases out of the closet, I might even start packing! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Update on our Adjournment

Just wanted to let you know that we found out the Ministry of Women's Affairs has not issued our "consent" yet.

HUGE Bummer.

According to our case worker, there is no reason as to why they haven't issued the consent in our case, other than they are "understaffed" (-per MOWA) and cannot work through all of the adoption consents as quickly as they would like.

That being said, our case is still in adjournment until our consent is filed with the courts. Once that happens, we will be notified of our court date.

...praying this happens soon. Very soon.

"I am STILL confident of this: I WILL see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for The Lord." ~ Psalm 27:13-14

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thousands of miles, but connected by heart

Half a world away, in the capital city of Ethiopia, 2 boys will soon be part of a family. Soon they will have a mom and a dad. Soon there will be no uncertainties about about their acceptance, their self worth, or if they'll ever experience the love of a family. Soon they will be HOME.

**While some of you have already heard the news,
this is what I've been bursting at the seams to share! **

Two of our closest friends, Sarah & Jordan, recently received their referral for 2 boys from Ethiopia and we couldn't be more thrilled for them! You may remember this family; just about 2 years ago I had posted about their family being matched with a sibling set of 4 for a domestic adoption. This adoption was an emotional roller coaster of faith and trust for every member of their family. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the finalization took much longer than either Sarah or Jordan (or the kids) would have liked, but this past November, they were (legally) made a forever family.

Our Family


While working through this adoption, Sarah and Jordan became deeply convicted toward the plight of the orphan, and the biblical mandate to care for them. Their hearts couldn't bear the thought of saying "no" when they believe that we're called to say "yes" if God commands us to do something. So they began the process to Ethiopia...less than 2 months later, they've received their referral and they are scrambling to complete all of the necessary paperwork to bring home their newest family members, 2 biological brothers, ages 11 & 12. 

Here's a super exciting fact...their sons are in THE SAME ORPHANAGE as our boys!! How cool is that? I couldn't believe it when she told me the news earlier this week. The magnitude of that thought runs deep.

As two families, we live states apart, but our 4 boys are eating, playing, and sleeping in the exact same building.

In Africa.

Another amazing thing about this situation is that JT and I will have the privilege of meeting/hugging/playing with them when we go over, and Sarah has asked us to "introduce" the boys to their family through a photo album she's creating. What an absolute honor! Honestly, I'm not sure I'll be able to do an adequate job with this task, as I'm sure I'll be bawling my eyes out the moment we meet them. I'm in tears just thinking about it. Can you imagine showing two adolescent boys, pictures of a family-- THEIR family? In an orphanage, by their age, most children succumb to the fact that they most likely will not be adopted; but life is going to be different for these 2 boys and we get to be a part of it. I'm in total awe of all the details unfolding before our eyes and feel so blessed to be woven into this adoption story. I don't believe that it's coincidence that their referral happened so quickly, or that all 4 boys just "happen" to be at the same orphanage at the same time. God has truly been working at our hearts (as individuals and as couples) to recognize and call out the need for orphan care and I believe He is using this connection between our families to propel our holy discontent toward something greater for His glory.

 “I believe that the motivating reason why millions of people choose to do good in the world around them is because there is something wrong in that world…something so wrong that they can’t stand it.” ~ Bill Hybels (in his book "Holy Discontent")

While we have no idea how God is going to use us; we do believe he is using each of our adoption experiences to break our hearts and mold them for something bigger than we can imagine. Something only He can do. Please keep our friends in your prayers as they work at lightning speed to complete the necessary paperwork for their adoption, and continue to pray for us to keep our eyes on God's plan for our lives. If we've learned anything through the past few years, it's that we truly can't do anything on our own, but only through faith and trust in the plan our Father has in store for us.


Love you, Ames Family and can't wait to see how your story continues to unfold!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Court date yet?

So it's been 2 months and 16 days since we first saw their sweet little faces smiling at us from our computer screen. That's 110,698 minutes of wondering what they're personalities are like, what they're doing, what they're learning...

I had been putting off posting because I thought surely by now, I could post with our court date...the day we've been longing for...the day we will build our travel arrangements around, to finally - FINALLY! - meet our boys.

But we're still awaiting our date. This wednesday (Jan. 9th), our attorney in Ethiopia has his adjournment with the judge to review our case and go over the boys' files. If the Ministry of Women's Affairs has issued our consent, we should find out our court date within the following week. Please pray that they have issued their consent for our case and that it is in the judge's hand by the time of our adjournment. We've had so many delays over the past 2 years (all totally out of our control), that the thought of another one makes my stomach turn. We just want to see them and hold them.SO.badly.

Please join us in praying that our consent will be in the judges hand by Wednesday. Looking forward to filling you all in our date!

(**We have some pretty exciting news to share, but it's not ours to share just yet...check back soon, I think you'll agree that it's pretty awesome!**)